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Friday, August 9, 2013

USTA Advertising for Rule Changes

Having reported on Harnesslink's story about several Pocono trainers being suspected of using an illegal substance on horses, it is only fair that I report on a story which appeared on the Times-Tribune website which said the investigation is focused on only one trainer who races only a few horses at Pocono Downs, contradicting the Harnesslink story.  Of course, it could be a parsing of words in that some of the violations were allegedly discovered at Philadelphia, thus not being considered part of the Pocono Downs scandal.  My guess is it will turn out a few Pennsylvania trainers will be nailed, but not as many as some sources on the blogosphere have suggested. 

A lot of people want to know exactly how big or small this pool of violators is?  We just need to wait until the PHRC releases its rulings.  I suggest people hold their proverbial horses until more is known.  Comment on facts and not on speculation.  But one thing is apparent; the discovery of this reported synthetic version of EPO can be credited to the donation of funds from the PHHA and thoroughbred groups towards buying sophisticated testing equipment.  So indirectly, you can say the Pennsylvania horsemen have helped root out the cheaters; the number of which remains unknown.

Another article on how gambling at the Meadowlands exceeded management's wildest expectations appeared in the press this week.   Granted there was a purse increase in the lower classes earlier this year, and I can understand management moving cautiously on purse increases but if handle was that great, I think horsemen should be rewarded either with an increase in purses in the fall or an increase in racing days in 2013 to reward horsemen.

There were plenty of comments on how wagering on the final of the Hambletonian was drastically lower this year over last, suggesting heat racing was a failure.  However, according to HRU, the amount wagered on the same day eliminations and final exceeded wagering last year on the eliminations (being held a week earlier) and the final the following week.

The USTA is soliciting proposed rule changes from their members to be considered at this year's district meetings and to be voted on early next year.  If you were a member of the USTA, what rule changes would you like to see?    (Note: Rule changes need to be submitted to the USTA in proper form to be considered)


Anonymous said...

The handle on the Hambo elims was higher because they were raced on HAMBO Day, but had those elims been replaced with any two other races, the handle would have been the same (on the other races). In the end, the reality is that the Hambletonian itself handled nearly half a million dollars LESS than the previous year, and that can be attributed directly to the changed format. Why the Meadowlands would try to put a positive spin on what was obviously a failed experiment is beyond me. (I'd even go so far as to say that while the handle on the 2013 Hambo elims would have been easily replicated by two other races, it's likely that whatever races REPLACED the Hambo elims on the previous week's card probably did NOT handle what the eliminations would have, resulting in even further loss of overall handle to the Meadowlands).

Pacingguy said...

First of all, you forget the Hambo is owned by the Hambo Society; they determined the format for this year's race.

Yes, the final handled roughly a half a million less, but all races combined (elims and finals), they came out ahead. Of course the elims did better because they were on Hambo Day. As to what races could have replaced the elims and gotten the handle they did assumes they could have put on quality races; what stakes race would they have put in its stead as the Meadowlands had eliminates some stakes races.

You also forget the Meadowlands wanted to get as many trotting races on the program as possible for French wagering as they were being co-mingled with American pools, especially since the French will not take any pacing races. What other trotting races should they have put on the card?

Lastly, you make it seem that the Meadowlands is the only track to spin their handle results; every track does as does every business spin their revenue/earnings figures when possible.

Pacingguy said...

No need to respond. Yes, it is their view.

Anonymous said...

A decision needs to be made going forward about heat racing; when the handle on the final (predictably) is down SO significantly from the previous year, it should be obvious what needs to be done. This hardly seems like a time to "spin" the results, but rather to do what is necessary to avoid the same dropoff next year. That was my point, and I'm not sure it was clear enough in my first post.

Pacingguy said...

It was clear. My guess is they are looking not at the final itself, but the final plus eliminations; in combo it was higher despite the lower final.

I also understand what you are saying about the week before what races were used to replace the elims. I suspect having a competitive field of ten horses beats a field of seven or eight horses on a night which is not as well promoted.

Example: July 27
Race 5 Hambo Oaks Elim with Mistery Woman in it; total handle for race $55,610.
Race 9 C2 "Last Chance for the C-Notes"; total handle $75,621.