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Friday, April 5, 2013

A Thank You and Questions About the Grand Circuit Point System

Friday brings us one more blog entry from Joe F. who has been supplementing my blog entries this week while I have been taking care of personal issues.  I would like to personally thank Joe for his efforts this past week.  It goes without saying that Joe's opinions are his own and while at times we may not agree (who does 100% of the time), I believe you would concur his columns have been thought provoking.  Being I have never declared myself the 'know it all' when it comes to harness racing, a different perspective never hurt anyone; it fosters conversation.  While next week I expect to be back to full steam, Joe will continue to contribute occasional pieces (that is unless he starts his own blog like I once suggested).  Here's Joe's piece on the Grand Circuit Point system.
It’s early in the Grand Circuit season; the Presidential, Levy and Matchmaker are the only GC events that have taken place so far. Still, this new points system they’re employing already seems convoluted and strange. Golden Receiver, winner of the Presidential and two preliminary legs that preceded it, is owned by the Our Cents Stable and Nina Simmonds. The former now has 25.7 points while Ms Simmonds has 20. How did they get 25.7 points? I assume the Our cents folks have another horse that earned 5.7 points. Burke Racing has accumulated 25.1 points while the primary Burke owners, Weaver Bruscemi, have 24.4. Good luck keeping those two entities straight all year. And what do they do with Jerry Silva, who owns a piece of everything with four legs? They better higher an extra statistician just to keep track of his points.

It should also be fun keeping track of the driver standings. Members of all three groups—drivers, trainers and owners, get 20--10 and 5 points for top three finishes in divisions/finals and 10--5 and 2 points for eliminations. Tetrick earned 40 points in the Presidential—final and two legs—plus a mishmash of points for win, place and show drives in the first two legs of the Levy and Matchmaker. Gingras earned a few points with Fred And Ginger in the Presidential and many more in the Levy and Matchmaker. He leads all drivers with 102.

Ron Burke leads all trainers with 121 points. Mark Harder is second with 52.5. Let’s see, he got 40 for Golden Receiver winning the Presidential, 10 for Royal Cee Cee winning a leg of the Matchmaker, 5 for Cee Cee’s second place finish in another Matchmaker leg. Oh, wait a minute, Cee Cee finished in a dead-heat for first with Warrawee Koine this past week, so? And Harder not only trains Cee Cee, he is listed as the owner. Good luck with that.
From all indications every race on the expanded Grand Circle schedule is treated equally when it comes to dishing out points. Win a division of the Arden at The Meadows and you get the same number of points you’d get for winning the Peter Haughton. A driver who wins the Jug gets the same 20 points he’d get for winning the Windy City. A trainer who wins the Hambletonion gets the same 20 points as a trainer who wins the William Connors Memorial at Hazel Park. The owner of a filly that wins the She’s A Great Lady gets the same as the owner of a filly that wins the Cinderella. The new Meadowlands FFA Championship is the same as the Gold Cup & Saucer, I guess. None of that makes much sense, but I haven’t seen anything that indicates there is any differentiation being made between top tier stakes and the other kind.


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