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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Case of the Missing Grand Circuit Races

The Grand Circuit finished a two-day stand at Springfield, Illinois.  Well, maybe not so grand; especially if your ADW or racetrack didn't carry the races from Springfield.  As an example, TVG, 4NJBETS, BetAmerica, Meadowlands, and Pocono Downs were among the ADWs and racetracks which didn't carry the Springfield races.

Granted the Review Stakes are not the stakes races they once were and the racing card was not exactly compelling, so I can see why some ADWs and tracks decided not to carry the races, but what good is branding a race as a Grand Circuit event if those who follow harness racing can't even follow the races?

I am not suggesting each wagering outlet carries the entire race card from tracks like Springfield, but if races are going to carry the Grand Circuit designation, they should be available on all wagering platforms.  The Grand Circuit should bundle Grand Circuit races into a simulcast product to be offered as a package to all wagering outlets.  I realize tracks have exclusive deals with certain ADWs, but when their contracts come up for renewal, they should negotiate their agreements to allow Grand Circuit races to be made available to all comers who purchase the Grand Circuit race package.  Otherwise, in this day of ADWs, what is the sense of branding a race as a Grand Circuit event if people can't watch and wager them? 

Hoosier Park is to be congratulated on their addition of the Trakus system for use during their harness meet.  With the use of Trakus, racing fans will be able to keep better track of their horses in a race as each horse carries its own transmitter which provides real-time data for following horses in a race plus it allows for additional data collection which may be of use to the handicapper. This is the same system used by WEG in the past for their harness meets but was dropped due to cost considerations (it is still used for the thoroughbred meet).

Here is a race from Keenland which shows the most common use of Trakus.

In addition, depending on how Hoosier Park uses it, they can track how much distance a horse actually travels in a race as well as show an animation of the race replay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Today's Grand Circuit is anything but grand. Usually just a collection of races that don't attract the best of the classes.

There was a time when fans at their local track got to see the best horses and the best drivers once a year. I remember looking forward to Billy Haughton, Stanley Dancer, Joe O'Brien and others. It was a big deal. No more! The best are always available with all the simulcasting.

Some local tracks also regularly hold stakes that are far better than their Grand Circuit week. I doubt John Campbell will be able to restore it to the past glory.