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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thursday News Briefs

Happy Valentines Day.  Thanks to the upcoming harness racing documentary film, "I Am, A Harness Racing Horse", here are some holiday greetings to share.

Attention Pick-5 Players: Cal Expo has now raised their guarantee on their Pick-5 to a $40,000 gross pool with a 16% takeout rate.

Florida harness racing fans are in for a treat.  Race caller extraordinaire Larry Lederman will be calling the races at Pompano Park on March 3 and 4th.  In addition, during the month of March, Pompano will be racing Sunday nights instead of Thursday evenings as they are seeking more exposure for their Pick-4 with an industry low takeout rate of 10%.

Best wishes to Rachel Alexandra who is in serious condition following surgery after giving birth to a foal.  Apparently, the foal kicked during birth which caused injury to Rachel's small colon.  The foal is fine and is being tended to by a nurse mare.

Law and Order: The ORC has taken strong action against trainer Bertrand Pelletier has been handed a 14 year suspension and $60,000 fine for allegedly having a horse detected as racing with EPO.  Thanks to an observant equipment judge for noticing a nick, an out-of-competition blood test was ordered. After hearing of incidents where it appears a judge in the paddock has fallen down on their duties, it is nice to hear of one being super observant.  As for the suspension, this is the way it should be.  Get the alleged cheater out of racing; he can appeal it but while appealing, he should be on the sidelines.  Unfortunately, the American judicial system rarely allows this to happen.

The Blooded Horse Sale just completed their Winter Sale and there were horses sold for a decent price, ssuch as Haulin Laser at $30,000.  Unfortunately, there are some horses which sold for under $500.  No doubt some of these horses were purchased by bargain hunters, trainers willing to take a chance; others possibly to be used as buggy horses by the Amish.  However, some of these horses may not be that lucky.  I understand these auctions can't keep people from attending and buying horses, but it would be nice if these known standardbred sales had minimums to ensure horses weren't being purchased directly for slaughter.

I would be remiss not to mention the reorganization taking place at Woodbine Entertainment which has resulted in a loss of 109 jobs plus reclassification of others.  This reorganization was made necessary as a result of the end of the SAR program.  Some people will argue if these many people are losing jobs, they must have been unnecessary.  Far from it.  Remember Woodbine Entertainment consists of two race tracks of which Mohawk was an active track even when dark because the standardbreds were stabled there and the track was used for training and qualifiers even when the standardbreds were racing at Woodbine .  In addition to the two tracks, there are four off-track wagering sites and HPI.  When you consider the size of Woodbine Entertainment, those 109 jobs lost were not meaningless.  No doubt some of the reogranization survivors will be wearing two or even three hats for a long while.

I have been avoding discussing the European Horse Meat scandal.  For those who are not aware, some suppliers have allegedly been selling horsemeat as beef and the meat has made it to the retail markets causing an uproar because not all of Europe finds it appropriate to eat horse.  Now news comes out that some of this faux beef has tested positive for bute, a medication which permanently makes a horse ineligible for human consumption in the European Union.  In the meanwhile, governments are pointing fingers at each other, claiming the faux beef must be coming from other countries. 

What makes this ironic is the EU is very strict with the regulations concering horses being used for human consumption, requiring a stable to table passport with all the medications tracked.  Granted this scandal is likely the result of criminal enterprises, but if tainted meat is getting into the public food supply, can you imagine what kind of horse meat is coming from the United States where there is no such stable to table passport?  The slaughter of American horses should be discountinued for its cruelty, it is a matter of health for consumers.   

On top of this, Oklahoma seems to be ready to legalize slaughterhouses for horses, claiming it is 'humane'.  Every politician who claims a slaughterhouse is a humane way to solve the problem of unwanted horses, should be required to be on the floor of a slaughterhouse for a full day and take part in the slaughtering process.  Let's see what they say after they experience it.

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