Friday night the NJSS make its 2013 debut at the Meadowlands with races for 3yo filly and 3yo colt and gelding trotters. Notice, the use of the word 'divisions' was left out of the sentence as there is one race for the fillies and one for the colts and geldings.
That's right; a total of eight colts and geldings will be competing in a $34,000 tilt while twelve fillies will be taking to the track in their $36,000 contest (On Saturday night there are twenty-one pacing colts and eleven pacing fillies competing in their sires stakes races). Certainly there are more NJ-sired trotters than these twenty, but it wasn't that long ago when you used to have three or four divisions of the sires stakes for each age, sex, and gait. Now, with almost all the stallions having departed for more lucrative states the off-spring count has fallen dramatically. Couple this with the fact there are more lucrative races to be had elsewhere, you can see why the number of entrants have fallen off. It wouldn't surprise me if the two year old trotting races will be so sparsely subscribed to that they will be contested as non-wagering events.
Until relief comes to New Jersey racing, things will only get worse which is why it is important the bill to create stakes races for NJ-bred horses is passed as soon as possible. Not only will it provide standardbred farms with business as nurseries, it will provide NJ-based horsemen with racing stock which will allow them to remain in state until help comes.
Many of the tracks in Ontario have had racing dates dramatically cut. Admittedly, with purses being cut, this will be tough for horsemen; especially this year. Wouldn't it be something if these meets were marketed as boutique meets and the public responded accordingly? Unfortunately, we'll likely never know. Even though these tracks are getting assistance to pay their expenses, I suspect they will be running bare bones operations, meaning any thought of having a (creative) marketing campaign highly unlikely.