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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Watching Progress Pass By

Happy New Years everyone.  Here I am sitting on my couch, saying it would be a great day to head out to the track for a holiday matinee racing.  Then I remembered for the most part, holiday matinees are for the most part a thing of the past.  So pardon me if I wax nostalgic today.

Nothing was better than ringing in the New Year with a New Years Eve of racing at the Meadowlands or Yonkers.  After all, it beats going to a party where it was inevitable someone was going to over indulge and suffer the consequences.  What could be better than hanging out with my racing buddies and welcoming the new year?  Failing that, being an early riser, why not head out to the track on New Year's Day?  Those were the days.

It's not just New Year Day or Eve.  Remember the Thanksgiving Day card at the Meadowlands?  Yes, it was thoroughbred racing which started around 10:30am in the morning but it got you out of the house when there was nothing else to do.  You had your other holidays, all days where your local track had a matinee or realizing people had the next day off, scheduled racing for the night before even if it wasn't their regular day of racing.

For a large number of tracks, those are the days of the past.  I understand things change.  There are more entertainment options for people to partake of.  You can't race if your local thoroughbred track is racing because head-to-head harness racing gets creamed.  With most of the wagering taking place off-track, if you can't get space on the satellite or you can't get onto other tracks' simulcasting calendars you will take a blood bath even if you race with a bare bones staff. 

I understand reasons  Some of hte problems are self-inflicted, others are the consequences of progress.  What makes me sad is instead of being part of progress, racing sat on the sidelines watching progress pass it by. 

Here's hoping racing gets out of its seat and becomes an active participant in progress instead of a spectator.   After all, if you are a spectator, you have no control over your destiny.


1 comment:

JLB said...

Fond memories indeed. Somewhere around the early 70's, I found myself at Freehold Raceway on December 31 for a matinee-and this was before the old grandstand was enclosed. Ron Pierce's father, Don, won the final race at Freehold. I then drove two hours to Brandywine Raceway for the Dec. 31 finale (this was one of the few Winters when that track raced in during that season). The winning driver of the first race-Don Pierce, amid swirling snow.