VFTRG contributor Joe F. has been inspired of late to write blog entries so here is his early, early thoughts on the 2013 Molson Pace.
The news that the Molson Pace at Western Fair Raceway will take place this year is reassuring. However, the race is situated in the middle of more schedule traffic than is generally the case. The elimination round takes place on Friday May 24, six days after the Meadowlands Maturity and the day before the Dan Patch Invitational in Indiana. The final is scheduled for Friday, May 31.
One condition stipulates that the racing secretary may cancel the race if nominations are not received from 40 separate betting interests. In both 2011 and 2012, 32 horses were nominated. In each case three of them were from the Burke barn, so there were no more than 30 separate betting interests. More problematic is the fact that some of those routinely nominated never show up. Last year there were two eliminations, one with five horses and the other with six—and three of the eleven were from the Burke barn. In 2011 there were two eight horse eliminations.
After a winter on life support, Western Fair can’t afford the embarrassment of carding a pair of five and six horse eliminations—not in 2013. But after all the speeches that were delivered, editorials written and signs waved, I’m sure all of the self respecting owners and horsemen of Ontario will be nominating their better open horses to this year’s Molson.
Last year it was Foiled, Aracache and Razzle Dazzle providing the excitement, but this time around I’m sure we’ll see Cheddar in the mix. He was nominated last year but wasn’t entered. Hey, he won the Windy City and raced in the Jug. And his stablemate, Michaels Power, who won the Confederation Cup over a half, will surely make his presence felt. The very fast Rocknroller, Panther Hanover, also raced in the Confederation Cup at Flamboro; he’s a lock to be nominated and entered in the Molson. Needy is another who circled the little track in the Confederation Cup, as well as racing there in some OSS events. The fans will enjoy seeing him at Western Fair. Mel Mara, too.
Burke will surely nominate and enter Foiled. It’s home away from home for him. Atochia isn’t himself, so maybe Something For Doc and Annies will accompany Foiled. I bet TOL and Dapper Dude are also nominated.
The track at Western Fair is kind of narrow, so they start seven across. And in some cases connections may not be wild about racing their pacer over a narrow half like this. But they’ll do it for the sake of the sport. After all, what would the politicians say if they saw puny little five and six horse fields in the Molson eliminations, again? No, the horsemen and owners will step up this time, you can bet on it. I imagine Western Fair will be forced to rehire some of the folks they laid off, just to process all the nominations that will be pouring in. Eh?