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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Forget the Numbers, Let's Talk People

If you are in Canada, you no doubt have been reading how there are 9,000 less jobs in racing as a result of Ontario's dropping of Slots at Racetracks program.  Whether there are those many jobs lost already who knows?  People tend to count things like job losses to prove their points.

What can't be denied is with respect to harness racing, the big hit is taking place on the lower level tracks and the horsemen who race on those circuits.  How are they taking it?  Garnet Barnsdale has a column in the most current edition of Down The Stretch.  Clearly people are worried and they have every right to as the latest draft proposal for harness racing in the province eliminates racing at most (read that smaller) tracks and leaves Ontario with a five track harness circuit.  After reading Barnsdale's column, the story changes from number and dollars to impacts on people's way of life.

Then on the other hand, we have people, who if the charges are true, should be shown the door and never come back.  Stillwater, New York police have arrested and charged a Saratoga Raceway trainer for allegedly "overdriving, torturing, and abusing animals" after conducting a week long investigation.

Now, the trainer is entitled to his day in court.  If convicted of the allegations, let's see what the New York Gaming Commission, race tracks, and regulatory bodies on the state/provincial levels do.  Will they tell him to find a new career?  Will he be allowed back or will he leave the country as others have done.  These days where people are sensitive to the treatment of horses, anyone convicted of horse abuse should never be allowed back into the sport; the sport must send a clear message that abuse will no longer be tolerated.  We will be following this case.

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