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Monday, December 10, 2012

Time for Retaliation?

With announcing details regarding the 2013 racing season at Pocono Downs, track Vice-President Dale Rapson has announced preferences for overnight races will be in this order:  PA Sired Horses; Horses stabled on the grounds at Pocono Downs; horses stabled in Pennsylvania.

It's bad enough they are essentially trying to have a closed shop at Pocono Downs, but now they are seeking to seriously injury the training stable industry in New Jersey by forcing horses who would races at various tracks to now stable in Pennsylvania if they want to race at Pocono Downs.

As of now, no details regarding Harrah's Philadelphia preferences for 2013 have been announced but one has to wonder if New Jersey racing interests are going to respond to this shot across the bow.  At a minimum, the Meadowlands should implement a similar preference rule to penalize Pennsylvania horsemen as Pocono's preference rules were implemented with the support of the PHHA. 

How about preferences for NJ sired horses; NJ-Owned and NY sired or owned horses; horses stabled in New Jersey assuming New York doesn't attempt to draw away New Jersey stabled horses?  If Pennsylvania horsemen are attempting to close their track to New Jersey horses, it only makes sense for New Jersey to retaliate.  

Closed tracks benefits no one in the long run, but there is only so many attacks the New Jersey racing industry can take before responding.  I believe the line in the sand has now been crossed.  Sometimes you need to take a stand.


Anonymous said...


I believe the preferences are the same as recent years. If they are new, the reality is that horses from NJ, NY and elsewhere will still race at Pocono. Most races this year didn't have A.E.'s and plenty didn't have nine horse fields. There should be room for trainers with horses that don't meet the stated preferences.

This sounds like a PHHA idea. If so, you have to figure Harrah's Philadelphia will have the same rules. Same horsemens group at both tracks.

I see it as an attempt to encourage people to use PA as their base, not start a war on Jersey or anywhere else. What's wrong with supporting the state's breeders and training centers?

Pacingguy said...

I know there has been a preference for PA-sired horses, and I am fine with that.

Looking at the last condition sheet from Pcd5/8, only certain races were designated as PA Sired; others had not preferences listed ( so it would appear to be an expansion.

Supporting state breeders is totally acceptable, but trying to raid out of state training centers where their existance is tenuous crosses the line. This is the problem with racing, robbing one state for the bettermant of another. Racing needs to get out of this tunnel vision and look at the big picture.

Marv S. said...

I can understand why the track is giving preference to on-track stabled horses. It costs the track money to run the backstretch stabling operation and would be unfair if they bore those costs while those horses raced at M1, TgDn, MR, VD, Fhld, etc.

However, I can't imagine these state-based preferences would pass legal muster. Imagine a hotel saying that reservation preference would be given to PA residents. Or a liquor store (state regulated) would only sell to PA residents. Seems to me this violates the Constitution's equal protection clause.

Anonymous said...

The constitutional point is interesting, but tracks have the courts on their side if they simply refuse entries without giving a reason.

They can't discriminate based on sex, religion, race and other factors, but I've never seen anything that prohibits a business from giving preference based on state residence.

Anonymous said...


Your suspicions that Pocono Downs wants to limit horses from out of state and possibly convince trainers to move horses to PA are confirmed.

See the story from the DRF's Jay Bergman posted 12/13.