I have a confession to make. For whatever reason, I was not much into racing last year. Last year's crop of horses just didn't draw my attention. It was a ho hum year and I am sure at times it showed in this blog
One year later, it is a different story. The Meadowlands is beginning to recover Problems in the Garden State remain but for now it seems to be adjusting to the reality that overnight racing was going to be quire ordinary but fortunately the gamblers (syndicate or not) are responding. Despite what some people are saying, it may not be pretty in the Garden State but the racing industry appears to be adjusting nicely.
The racing this year has been much more interesting with the so-called Gural rule in place; not just at the Meadowlands but at WEG tracks. The FFA ranks are much more interesting with the now four year olds continuing to race Horses that didn't overly interest me last year now interest me as they compete against their more seasoned competition. Who would ever have thought we would be seeing horses such as Market Share, Uncle Peter, Wishing Stone, and Arch Madness competing against each other. Truth is in the past, the FFA class was FFA in name only but now, we are seeing true FFAllers doing battle with regularity.
We are still seeing aged campaigners like Foiled Again still being able to get that occasional victory. Why his story may not be as compelling as Rambling Willie, in some ways Foiled Again seems to be a successor to the great Willie.
Those boring three year olds of last year have been replaced by a cast of equine characters that have caught my fancy. Captaintreacherous, Jerseylicious, and others are making the sophomore pacing ranks interesting to watch while on the trotting side we have Smilin Eli making us wonder where his bottom is and Corky, who faltered last night at Pocono (yes he won, but a little luster came off), is sure to be heard from the rest of this year. Not to forget the fillies, Ms Caila J Fra has been added to the mix.
The best thing is stakes season has really just kicked in, there is plenty more exciting racing coming our way.
Sure there are some forgetful stories, such as Thunder Ridge Raceway which thankfully, has most likely completed its final year of racing. Make no mistake, the Kentucky horsemen needed that meet to earn some purse money, but let's not kid ourselves, its story will be grouped with the harness tracks of Phoenix and Las Vegas, mistakes which never should have happened. Yet for all those bad stories we hear about horses who have been going on a tear such as Tracys Shadow whose win streak ended at eighteen,
North of the border, what was promised to be the destruction of the Ontario racing industry seems to have been averted; no doubt to late for some but finally the message was driven home that racing is an important economic engine to the Ontario economy. Make no mistake, the glory days are gone but it appears Ontario will avoid the meltdown that struck Quebec.
Yes, while last year was a bummer, this year is turning into a pretty good year for the harness racing fan.
This week's fines and suspension list shows us that Sheldon Ledford was recently denied a groom's license by regulators in Illinois. If you want to know why even applying for a license was absurd, take a look here.
Last Call: If you haven't made your plans to go to the races at Goshen, New York for their four day meet and never have, now is the time do it. The fourth of July features the New York County Fair Races; July 5 brings us the Landmark States for 2yo and 3yos; July 6 brings us amateur racing and the NYSS State Fair races for 3yo pacers of both sexes; July 7 the meet concludes with NYSS State Fair races for 3yo trotters, a RUS event, and Hall of Fame Trot.
Back to the Track: It's been a while since you last went out to the track? Why not check what your local track is doing on Back to the Track weekend which is July 5 thru July 7 and head out to the track?
I stumbled upon this Facebook page about Ali (or Alafiza as officially known) who is a registered Arabian horse that was burned in a fire. Instead of the common answer of euthanizing the horse, his owners decided to give him a chance to recover. It's a long battle but he is winning it. Some of the pictures aren't pleasant to look at but what is wonderful is the will to live If you have the time and are on Faceboook, you may want to give this page a look.