The Empire Breeders Classic finals will be contested tonight at Vernon Downs. Rather than going into a big explanation, here are my picks: Empire Breeders Classic (fillies, 6th): Perfect Alliance, Lola De vie, Wygant Lady, Royal Malinda. Empire Breeders Classic (colts, 9th): Modest Prince, Jurgen Hanover, Blackwolf Run, Twisted Pretzel.
If you love sires stakes races, Tioga and Vernon Downs are the places for you. Eight of thirteen races at Tioga are sires stakes affairs while at Vernon Downs, nine of twelve are state sired affairs. If you include the two breeders stakes, eleven of the twelve races at Vernon have a New York flavor.
Don't forget, today is the Artiscape and Roll With Joe stakes at Tioga.
Hoosier Park is doing well with their all-standardbred racing schedule as they will be increasing purses by 10% starting the week of June 18.
The babies are here! This week's condition sheet shows 2yo races are being carded on the wagering program at the Meadowlands Friday night. Not only does this help alleviate any potential shortage of horses, but for those owners who spent their money at the sales last year, it is the time their instinct is validated or shown to be a bust. Of course, the downside are those two year old trotting races, but I just stand clear away from those; they are too risky for my taste early in the season.
Speaking of the Meadowlands. What happens when the cream of the Meadowlands driving colony head north for the North American Cup eliminations, being replaced with Freehold drivers and trainers driving their own stock who are racing mostly green horses, bottom class, and horses that have been racing at Freehold to race in series designed for them at the track? A recipe for disaster, huh? Well not at the Meadowlands where handle on Saturday night increased 53% over last year's racing program.
Some will say it was the Belmont Stakes crowd sticking around but I tend to doubt it; they had their fill or busted their bankrolls. What we have here is proof you don't need the best drivers and horses to stimulate wagering; you need competitive racing, whether a field of $10,000 claimers or stakes horses and competitive pricing. The only problem is while on-track handle has improved, without alternative revenue sources, it is important they work on bringing gamblers back to the track so more on-track wagers are made; something hard to do these days with home wagering. Unfortunately, this effort really can't take foot until November when the new facility is up and running, attracting people who haven't been to the track in years.
Before and After: Did you know that many of the horses that get rescued come to legitimate horse rescues in deplorable condition? Let me make it clear horses of all breeds and disciplines (from racing, show, riding, and even pleasure) show up in poor condition. Those who want to make this a racing only issue are sadly misinformed. Anyway, take a look at these pictures to see what a good rescue can do for these horses once they get the time to give them some TLC. It's amazing. The rescues do their part, all they need are members of the general public to do theirs either by donating and/or opening their homes to some of these majestic animals.