On Saturday, the Swedish horse Maharajah won the SEK 2,750,000 ($419,925US) Olympic Trot in a kilometer rate of 1:11.0 (mile rate of 1:59.4) for the 2,140 meters ( 1 5/16 mi) distance, winning convincingly. Mahrajah has been suffering some soreness issues of late but when he is right, there is no one beating him
With this victory, Mahrajah becomes the favorite for the Elitlopp.
Meanwhile in France, Timoko stakes his claim as a main contender with his victory in the 2,140 meter (1 5/16) mile 200,000€ ($260,789US) Prix d' Atlantique in a thrilling stretch drive in a 1:12.8 kilometer rate (1:57.1 mile rate). Expect to see Timoko at the Elitlopp as well.
It is a rare occurrence, kudos to Harrah's Philadelphia (and likely the PHHA) for hosting Kid's Day at the track. The racino is having Sundays this year designated as family days at the oval on the Delaware River and anything being done to get families to the track needs to be commended. Long shot players also had an enjoyable day as there were back to back bombs yesterday with Sentry paying $150 to win in the eighth race only to be followed by Six Pistol paying $132.60 in the ninth race. The result was a rare Pick-4 where two out of four winners collected.
In a Harnesslink exclusive, Billy Parker Jr. opens up and suggests why he has not been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. For all of you quick to say this is a good enough reason to keep Parker out, I suggest you read this column from the Times-Herald Record (you may need to open a free account to read) before passing judgment. I am not making excuses for him but considering his life story, what he has accomplished is even more amazing. I said once before, his story is feature film material. This is a movie worth making, the triumph of the human spirit.
For those who say the Meadowlands doesn't matter, take a look at the corrected USTA wagering statistics for 2012 vs. 2013 as it now shows a 4.22% increase in handle year to date. With the Meadowlands showing a significant bump in the mutuel pools and roughly 40% of the wagering on harness racing is wagered on the Meadowlands, there must be plenty of tracks in the continental United States taking a hit.
While the Meadowlands continues to improve handle significantly over last year's dates, it must be noted the last two Saturdays the Meadowlands' handle was below the $3 million level; no doubt the result of short fields. While stakes races are on the card during the championship meet, mini-overnight late closing events will remain on the card in an effort to increase the size of overnight fields.
Standardbred Canada this weekend had a video clip where drivers were asked what was the strangest thing they ever saw in a race.
Jack Darling's comments reminded me of something not mentioned, which is not surprising being they asked Canadian drivers, was a time at Freehold Raceway when a horse got loose and decided to see how the drivers live by climbing into the driver's lounge in the backstretch (I looked for the video of this but I couldn't find it).