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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Intergrity Starts with the Racing Commissions

When will racing commissions take their responsibilities seriously? With Casie Coleman suspended pending her hearing in front of the ORC on Monday, reports that Electrofire, a Coleman trainee will be racing Saturday night at Yonkers in the care of trainer Andrew Harris. What's the big deal? Andrew Harris is an employee of the Coleman Stable, who has no training starts at Yonkers thus far this year. If everyone following racing at Yonkers Raceway knows Harris is a member of the Coleman team, how do the judges at Yonkers allow this to happen?  Were there any questions asked regarding Harris' relationship to Coleman?  Do the judges care?

Slowly but surely the off-season for harness racing is beginning to melt away.  The northern tracks are starting to reopen, Saratoga Raceway this past Sunday, Harrah's Philadelphia this weekend, Pocono Downs in two weeks, and Vernon Downs in five weeks.  Yonkers Raceway starts off the big money events with preliminary legs of the George Morton Levy Memorial and the Blue Chip Matchmaker pacing series beginning later in the month.   Before you know it we will be talking about the lucrative summer classics.

Speaking of the off-season melting away, planning for another year of exhibition RUS racing is underway.  To keep up with all the developments, visit Monté America to keep apprised of the latest developments.

While still in the formative stages, HANA Harness reports they are looking for potential handicappers to participate in this year's handicapping challenge.  While not finalized, the format will likely be different than last year.  Check out HANA Harness' website if you are interested for further details.  HANA Harness is looking for contributors to write blog entries relative to the HANA mission with a harness-twist as well.  If you ever wanted to opine on the sport but don't want to commit to writing all the time, here may be an opportunity to show up your high school English teacher.

A day late I realize but it is time to go back to Night School.  Night School, which was very successful last year, returns with a new twist.  Both standardbred and thoroughbred racing is covered this year together so you can improve your handicapping skills in all forms of horse racing.  Last night's session is available online so you can see what is in store for participants.  Best thin is attendance is not taken so you won't get penalized if you miss a week.



Anonymous said...

Obviously you're unaware that Harris IS Coleman. Casie is rarely, if ever, in NJ and basically ANY horse you see listed as "Coleman" might as well be listed as "Harris".

Pacingguy said...

No, I am aware of this.

Anonymous said...

You recently gave the Burke stable a "seal of approval", but surely you realize that Ron Burke doesn't train most of his horses any more than Casie Coleman does. And surely you're aware that when Mickey Burke was forced to "hand the keys" over to Ron (without the stable missing a beat), it was no different than the Coleman barn simply changing the "listed" trainer to Andrew Harris.

Pacingguy said...

I didn't really think I gave the Burke stable my seal of approval, but I went back to the column and I can see where you think so.

All I was trying to convey (and apparently not clear enough), is they never were on my radar for being cheats and based on their stats at the M1 so far, they don't stick out. Can there be problems in the stable? Many of you think so and time will tell if that is the case.

That being said, I am aware of the Burke history and my understanding is the turnover of the stable to Mickey was negotiated with the racing commission.

Obviously at any stable with horses located in different stables there are different trainers with the stable taking the credit.

This is a problem I have spoken about before. In the old days I rember seeing Apple Thomas kusted as the trainer for the Haughton stable. Most tracks/states don't do this anymore. It should be required when there is a trainer in charge of a string of horses in a state that both the stable and trainer should be listed in the program and in the event of a positive, the head of the stable and the local trainer are both penalized for any problems.

Anonymous said...

What about the abundance of wives/girlfriends regularly listed as "trainer", so that if there is ever a positive, the driving spouse won't miss a beat?

Pacingguy said...

First, let it be said in the non-racing world, many times a spouse (or girlfriend) is listed as an owner of a company for tax and liability purposes so this is not a unique phenomenon to racing.

That being said, racing commissions should be sending investigators out periodically to see that the listed trainer (spouse) is actually at the barn and making the majority of decisions. If not, the spouses need to be disciplined.

Assuming the spouse is in fact in charge of the stable, unfortunately there is nothing you can really do with the other spouse that drives except to make sure they don't become the listed trainer as there clearly is a financial interest in the spouse's stable.