It has been officially announced that 3yo sensation Captaintreacherous will be skipping the Little Brown Jug. The famous excuse of "in the long term interests of the horse" was given, another term for 'maximizing our profits'.
My response is so what?
Now, before anyone writes me about my comment about maximizing profits, relax. The partnership group which owns Captaintreacherous pays all the bills and they have every right to worry about maximizing their profits. I'm just saying it the way it is and there is reason to worry about the horse's ability to perform. He has gone through some difficult races and he's looking at two starts in Lexington, the Breeders Crown (possible elimination and final), a possible start in the Meadowlands Superstakes and the return at four for another campaign. Certainly the fear of drawing post eight as is the need to go two, if
not three heats to win the race are valid concerns looking at the
Captain's engagements the rest of the year. If I was sitting in the same position of lead partner Myron Bell, I would probably make the same decision as there are other owners whose interests need to be protected.
So what did I mean by 'So What'? Captaintreacherous may head down to Lexington a week earlier to get ready for his engagement there and while he does that, the Jug will still be contested and while it would have been a feather in the cap of the Delaware County Fair to have the Captain in the race, it promises to still be a great event. Owners of other horses will be very happy to see the Captain skip the race for it opens up the path for someone else to earn the winners' share of an estimated $550,000 purse.
You see, the Little Brown Jug is not about who wins the race, it is the experience. Racing in front of 40,000 fans, people who enjoy harness racing for the sport. Anyone who has ever raced at Delaware remembers what a great experience it is and typically looks forward to being able to return again with a suitable contender. In the United States, there is nothing like the Jug experience. In Canada, the closest event is the Gold Cup and Saucer which is contested on Prince Edward Island. It isn't the $60,000 purse which draws stables from Ontario and the United States to compete at Charlottetown, it is the experience. Like the Gold Cup, the Jug is a big deal. Captaintreacherous' connections realize it is otherwise it would have been announced a long time ago that the Captain wasn't going to Delaware.
Let's face it, you are not going to see the same excitement at Lexington where harness racing is a poor second cousin to Keenland. You aren't going to see the same excitement at the Meadowlands for their fall stakes program and there is a good chance you are not going to see the same attendance at Pocono Downs for the Breeders Crown.
By the time September 19 is over, I tend to doubt many people are going to be bemoaning the fact the Captain didn't start in Delaware. In fact, if the race for HOY honors remains close between Captaintreacherous and Bee A Magician as the season goes down to the wire, it may be the only people regretting not starting in the Jug will be Captaintreacherous' team if the lack of a Jug start costs them a few votes when the ballots are tallied and the lack of a Jug start is held against them.
Best of luck to Captaintreacherous and his connections as he bypasses Delaware. In the meanwhile, the Great American (Standardbred) Race is going to be contested in less than two weeks. It's time to get excited.