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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fall of the House of Rodney

It looks like the Fall of the House of Rodney is now complete, destined to end in a local courtroom in upstate New York.  Looking back in hindsight, it is obvious poor business decisions were made as the market has been claiming breeding farms nationwide.  A freak head injury caused the house of cards to collapse ending a history of prominence in the NYSS and forcing their overnight stock to the sidelines with babies unable to be raced.

Fortunately for harness racing, its market share is so small the end of Rodney will make little news in the racing journals and national media, unlike similar affairs involving our thoroughbred cousins, which is another issues, but how we got to this ending should not go unmentioned.

Make no mistake; the end of Rodney Farms could have happened a lot cleaner than it has occurred if the owner would have done what many advised her; send her stock to auction meaning most if not all of the horses heading to Canada for one final time.

Instead, the owner took the hard way, investing every dollar they had to keep Rodney Farms operating, partially out of pride, but also to protect those horses which made Rodney and the racing operation what it once was.  Over the past few years, a plea to the industry went out seeking assistance, a plea which appears for the most part to have gone unanswered.  Finally, the well ran dry which brings us to today, the final chapter.

 Perhaps the annals of harness racing will cite the end of Rodney Farms on mismanagement with a training accident merely being the icing on the cake, but this unfortunate ending may have been avoided if standardbred racing had a standardbred after care program modeled after the thoroughbred after care program which has recently been adopted; something the standardbred industry has chosen not to adopt.  While the end of Rodney Farms was destined to occur, one has to wonder if the standardbred industry has failed in not providing the means to help bring Rodney Farms’ end to a less painful ending.

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