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Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Bits and Pieces

HANA has issued its rankings of thoroughbred tracks.  Now I realize I am in the minority when it comes to horse racing; if they don't trot or pace, I don't bet.  However, most harness players will cross over at times so these rankings may be of interest to you.

Why no rankings for harness tracks?  Being HANA is a volunteer organization, it is probably the fact no one has stepped up to do these rankings.  If anyone has the time and willingness to do these rankings, you may post a reply to this blog, expressing your interest and I will put you in contact with someone who can explain what is involved (don't worry, your personal information won't be posted).

Do you love those guaranteed pools offered for Pick-4s and Pick-5s?  There are a dozen of them this weekend.

Derick Giwner of the DRF talks about pylon violations and how inconsistent the rules are.  I agree with Giwner that the rules give the judges too much leeway in making placings.  His suggested rules still allow for a decision by the judges, but also gives firm rules for any placings.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the resignation of Gary Piontkowski as the head of Plainridge Racecourse.  As the founder of the  track after Foxboro Park closed, he restored harness racing to Southern New England.  While his health issues are unknown, we wish Piontkowski all the best.  Hopefully his successor is able to guide Plainridge to a slot license, otherwise all his hard work goes to waist.

One of the news services I get talked about a horse named Battlefront that died from a heart attack at Aintree after jumping ten fences on the Grand National Course.  While I am sorry that the horse died, heart attacks happen; just like they do to people, so I was not angered about his passing.  What bothers me is that out of the twenty-four starters, only fourteen finished the race with four falling, one being 'brought down' and four others pulling up and of course Battlefront being stricken with the fatal heart attack.  There is something wrong about the Grand National, when you send so many horses over the fences.  This is not like steeplechase races in the United States, this is blood sport.  Sending these many horses  over the fences in a single race has to stop. 

Italy's standardbred industry has collapsed due to the liberalization of gambling rules by the government.  Gambling is up, but not on harness racing where four of the five harness tracks near Rome have closed.  The runners are doing better, but they are not far behind.

For those interested in breeding, there are fifty-eight distinctive breeds of horses in Europe yet researchers have been able to break them down to six distinct lines of horses.  The complete study may be found here.  Breeding is so not my expertise but it looks like the standardbred, welsh horse, quarter horse, pinto, Lippizan, and Russian Arabian share a common link.

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