For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fruition of a Dream and Other Goings On

A field heading into the first turn at Historic Track. 
Matinee racing begins the first weekend in June.
Saturday night is the fruition of a dream.  A dream of having a race full of super stars for fans to get interested in.  Of course, I am talking about the Meadowlands Maturity.  True, the four year old trotters have already stepped up to the plate in their own edition of the Meadowlands Maturity but let's face it, the majority of harness racing fans prefer pacing events.  Just look at some of the names in the Maturity; A Rocknroll Dance, Bolt the Duer, Mel Mara, Hurricane Kingcole, Sweet Lou, Warrawee Needy, and others take to the field of battle for what should be an exciting tilt. 

Of course, this race is just four year olds, but they will soon do battle with the aged FFAllers and after a little seasoning, the FFA ranks should be exciting for the rest of the season.  Races the fans and gamblers will be excited about, looking forward to Saturday night when the big boys take to the track that week.

Fans of  the trotting side of the sport should be looking forward to tomorrow night as well as the AJ Cutler Memorial FFA will be contested at the Meadowlands as well.  Mister Herbie, making his second start of the season, going against Guccio, the hot Modern Family, Wishing Stone, Sevruga, and some outsiders.  This race is the appetizer for the Meadowlands Maturity Pace.

Kind of reminds me of Saturday nights at Yonkers before the Meadowlands first opened.  I can't wait.

In Harness Racing Update, Dean Towers has some suggestions for making harness racing more palpable for thoroughbred players for which there is little incentive for them to crossover.  The ironic thing about it is many of these items are things the standardbred fan have been asking for already.  If you aren't pleasing your standardbred fan base, how do you expect to draw thoroughbred fans in?

Trainer Renee Allard, the fourth leading trainer at the Meadowlands has been shown the door from the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs by track management for unspecified reasons.  When one doesn't know the story behind the exclusion, one must be careful in making comments so I won't pass judgment on the exclusion.

While I am a supporter of the right to exclude someone from racing, there is a downside to it; why do some trainers get excluded and other's don't?  I realize each situation is different but as Allard is shown out the door, the welcome mat for Casie Coleman has been put out (after Coleman apparently agreed to certain conditions).  If memory serves me correctly, this is the second year in a row Coleman has served a long suspension under the trainer's responsibility rule.  The Meadowlands was correct in refusing entries from horses transferred to her assistant trainers during her suspensions, and I can understand why those exclusions were lifted once the suspension was over but allowing Coleman to return to the Meadowlands leaves some to question if justice is being applied fairly or are certain favorites being given a pass?

I don't expect any track to publicize why they have excluded someone from racing as it would open track management to the potential of civil litigation.  That being said, I don't know why a track can't issue a general list of activities which could result in an exclusion along with a disclaimer that management may exclude individuals for other reasons as well.  This way, horseplayers  can get an idea as to why someone was excluded without subjecting track management to the possibility of litigation.

After several years of hope, the proposed Fair Start Rule in New Jersey has apparently been killed off at the May meeting of the NJRC.  I kind of suspected this was going to be the end result once the proposal started stagnating within the commission.  Disappointed?  Yes.  The racing commission had the opportunity to do something to protect the gambler's interest and they failed to do so.  Being the racing commission are industry insiders one shouldn't be surprised at what happened.  If racing commissions were to be truly looking out for the betting public's interests, why don't these commissions have gamblers as full members on these boards?

While the damage has been done, Ontario horsemen must be pleased with the firing of OLG Chair Paul Godfrey as well as the resignations of the OLG's entire board.  It seems while the OLG was busy decimating horse racing throughout the province, Godfrey and others in the OLG were doing quite well financially, making rules for themselves which made life 'more comfortable' in a period of austerity.  While racing will never be the same in Ontario, if plans to include racing in the provincial gaming strategy is followed through, those who manage through this lean time may be rewarded.  No, purses will likely never be what they once were, but they certainly should be an improvement over current purse levels. 


Anonymous said...


Thank you to Jeff Gural for leading the way on getting 4yo's to continue racing and thank you to everyone in racing who has supported the idea.

Why people get tossed from one track and still race at another is one of those unexplained mysteries of racing. You hear a lot of talk about "why", but never know what's true unless the banned person explains.

Lack of a fair start pole is one reason racing has trouble attracting new players. All it takes is a bet on a horse that breaks before the start, the realization that they've lost all chance of winning and then they're also told there's no refund. The newbie questions how that's fair and never returns. Can you imagine a casino keeping all the bets when there's a malfunction or dealer error?

Pacingguy said...

No I couldn't see a casino do that. I mean it's one thing when a horse breaks right before the stop, but to have a horse refuse to come to the gate when they are close to the paddock is totally absurd. It is like saying a thoroughbred who refuses to load into a gait doesn't get to race and you lose your bet.

Stupid is what stupid does.