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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

From the Heights of Glory......

The afterglow of the Hambletonian seems to have burnt out quickly, at least in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania with the potential to spread further.

If you have never been to Plainridge Racecourse and had plans to visit it, best to do it now as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has seemingly disqualified Plainridge from consideration as a slot parlor site due to alleged mismanagement of the principals of the organization.  With Plainridge now out of the running as a slot parlor, it seems questionable as to how much longer Plainridge will operate as a racetrack.

Meanwhile, some of the blogs have been talking about some blockbuster news of the negative kind involving racing in Pennsylvania.  I have been somewhat skeptical of these reports because the dubious nature of these blogs; having to dig through the pile to determine what is BS and what is true.  Well, it appears there may be some truth to some of the rumors as Harnesslink reports there is an on-going investigation in Pennsylvania regarding some trainers at Pocono Downs regarding some 'serious' racing offenses.  No one at the PHRC or PHHA is talking right now.  It should be noted nothing may come of the investigation but if the blogosphere is right about the allegations it is hard to believe these serious racing offenses are limited to just Pocono Downs and the impact has the potential to spread across state lines.  Of course, if this investigation bears fruit, all is not bad; after all it may turn out the PHHA contributed to the success of the investigation.  More about that as this story develops. 

I recently talked to a trainer and asked them why they don't start any horses at the Meadowlands.  The response was disappointing and sadly not unique to this individual.  Basically, while they feel it would be nice to race at the Meadowlands because the playing field is more level there, the fact is you have to beat five horses to get a check at the Meadowlands whereas you need to beat only three at Yonkers.  No mention of the higher purses at Yonkers, just the number of starters you have to beat  (50% chance of earning a check at the Meadowlands vs. 62.5% at Yonkers).  While the Meadowlands, through creativity was able to create a competitive racing program, at times it was still a struggle to fill those fields.  It would be nice to offer some type of starting fee or purse distribution to all starters, but its not feasible as the overall purse structure would take a hit.  Unless the Meadowlands can get the Pennsylvania tracks to agree to a mutually beneficial racing calendar, the East Rutherford track is going to be dealing with this problem until the purses reach a level to overcome the 12.5% advantage owners have in picking up a a check on the half mile tracks.


Anonymous said...


Credit Harnesslink for chasing the rumors that have been circulating around Pocono Downs for a few weeks. Unfortunately, Harnesslink got confirmation of an investigation at Pocono related to what it asked about, but doesn't report what was asked.

We still don't know why trainers are under investigation. Trainer names have been tossed around by those at Pocono who claim to know there have been positives for illegal drugs, yet those trainers aren't even based at Pocono and only one races there regularly. If the state has turned up anything, it must involve tracks beyond Pocono.

Pacingguy said...

I believe Harnesslink is being responsible at this point by not naming names or the allegations. For one reason, this story started on blogs, some not known to be the most responsible.

As for trainers named, some of the names may be right, others may be wrong. Again, until formally charged it would be a disservice to allege trainer Joe is guilty when no charges may be brought forward.

I concur. If a trainer did something at Pocono, odds are they may have done similar things at other tracks where they race.

JLB said...

Beating three horses at Yonkers for a check is not easy if one draws poorly. All things being equal, I would be much more interested in racing at the Meadowlands, given that the mile track is an equalizer; also, the Meadowlands has seemingly taken a stricter view towards questionable trainers, which helps somewhat.

Pacingguy said...

Don't get me wrong, the elimination of certain trainers is a plus for this particular trainer, that is the appealing part, but many trainers just think five horses get paid and eight horses vs. ten; they don't consider the post positions.

Anonymous said...

When more information comes out of Pennsylvania, it will be interesting to see if the top outfits at The Meadowlands were "clean" themselves!