California racing has been somewhat humorous lately. Not the dysfunctional groups involved in racing, but this time the stewards get into the act. A state steward ordered Jockey Kalya Stra to decide whether she wanted to be a jockey or a mother. What was Stra's offense? She breast-fed her baby.
Fortunately, CHRB Chairman David Israel, issued a directive which lambasted the stewards at Hollywood Park and instructed them to leave Stra alone and indicated a jockey can be a mother and jockey at the same time. It is also California law that women are allowed to breast feed in public. The worst thing about this whole story? The steward which started this whole incident is a woman.
A lawsuit involving the AQHA could have impact on thoroughbred and standardbred breeding. A couple of horsemen are suing the AQHA on anti-trust grounds for refusing to register cloned quarter horses. Should this lawsuit be decided in favor of the plaintiffs, expect to see cloned horses coming to a racetrack near you.
In an installment of what have you done for me lately? Stephane Bouchard has decided to make his move from Yonkers to Saratoga Raceway permanent as he has moved his family to the Saratoga Springs area. Bouchard, who has had success at Yonkers has been crowded out not only by George Brennan and Brian Sears but Ontario refugees and Meadowlands drivers who decide to head over the bridge on days the Meadowlands is dark. Trainers and owners will abandon a driver the moment a new hot driver shows up and it happened here. Yes, Bouchard may not have been as productive as he did before, but when the quality of the horseflesh drops off, it is hard to keep producing the way you did when you got the pick of the field.
Speaking of drivers, someone was puzzled how the Meadowlands can be doing so well handle-wise with the driver colony they have. First of all, while there have been a couple of high profile defections, a drivers colony which includes in no specific order the Millers, Callahan, Tetrick, Pierce, Campbell, Gingras, Allard, Macdonald, and others is not exactly chopped liver. You still need to be a good driver to make it at the Meadowlands. Secondly, despite what some people may say, the defection of a couple of drivers is good for bettors as the wins are spread out further. If you eliminate Yannick Gingras from the equation, you have twelve drivers with a win percentage of 16%-12%; that makes for competitive racing.
I must make a confession, I like the type of racing the Meadowlands has this year. Yes, many of the races are for C-1 and C-2 level horses and lower level claimers and conditioned races but that is the way I like it. No class inflation where horses are moved up due to the absence of horses better than them. Oh, I like seeing great horses races as much as anyone but I detested the old conditioned system they used.
Usually, by this time of year, I have been fatigued by the Meadowlands meet. This year, I am sorry to realize there are only eight days of racing left