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Monday, September 2, 2013

Racing Tough and a Victory for the Little Guy

Have you ever thought harness racing has gotten too much like golf, being a gentleman's game?  If so, you would have loved Sunday's Shady Daisy and Cane Pace at Tioga Downs.

In the Shady Daisy Nikki Beach played some good old fashioned hard ball, refusing to give up the lead (until he ran out of steam).  Don't get me wrong, that move cost me any chance to collect on the race, but these days stakes races are too often raced like the win is already conceded before the race begins and turn into snooze fests.

Maybe if we raced the old fashioned way of racing tough, more people would be interested in the game.

What more can you say about Captaintreacherous?  The line couldn't come fast enough in the Cane Pace for the 'Captain.  While the 'Captain went wire to wire, he had to win the race the old fashioned way, he earned it thanks to the constant pressure of Varadero Hanover for the first half mile of the race.  No letting the Captain get away with an easy mile.  Yes, the 'Captain was fortunate to have the rail during the duel but even with the rail he had to fight of a swarm in the stretch to win in 1:49.2, giving the fans a race to remember.

Based on this and earlier performances, they may as well start engraving Captaintreacherous' name on the end of year hardware right now. 

Chalk one up for the little guy.  Jimmy Marohn Jr, leading driver at Tioga Downs,. took advantage of being able to choose his mount in the last leg of the annual Drivers Challenge and it worked out for him as Marohn won the last leg of the contest, giving him the the overall contest title earning a cool $25,000 (he won $10,000 for taking the first leg of the contest at Vernon Downs last week), defeating Brian Sears and Tim Tetrick among other top money earner drivers in the nation.

Granted, it was only one competition but it is interesting to note in a contest where the trainers didn't get to pick the driver, the little guy came out on top.  Make no mistake, to compete in the top tier of racing a driver must have talent, but it also goes to show you there are some darn good drivers racing outside of the limelight who by choice or luck don't get to shine because trainers don't give them the opportunity.


JLB said...

I disagree with you about "the line couldn't come fast enough" for the Captain. JJ's horse had every chance to go by. Sometimes horses in the Captain's position cannot see a closer flying on the outside, and they battle back too late. In this case, I believe that they could have gone around again, and the result would have been the same. I am not ready to crown him as a superstar, but his race in defeat at Pocono last time, coming off a layoff, and this win, do solidify his reputation as the top three-year-old pacer.

edge1124 said...

The Captain wins this race by an easy length if he gets even a 3 second breather but he took pressure the entire time. It looks as though JJ might have passed Capt.T maybe 30 feet past the wire just as they go out of picture but of course he was no longer urging him so I doubt one can see he would have won again had they gone around again....cause Vegas had some horse with little room to get by. But had Vegas been on the engine with that pressure trip, he probably would have finished 10 lengths behind Capt.T.

Anonymous said...


I don't want to take anything away from Captaintreacherous after the thrilling finish to the wire, BUT the Tioga judges fined Tetrick $100 for kicking in the stretch. It's listed in NYS Gaming rulings. Tetrick did the same thing in the horse's race at Pocono, but no fine was ever reported by the Pocono judges.

Why are fines so ridiculously low? Purses have skyrocketed in Pennsylvania and New York and the fines are the same as years ago. Why wouldn't Tetrick put his right foot against the horse's leg to encourage him to go?

In the end, it cost Tetrick $100 at Tioga to earn thousands for himself and tens of thousands for the horse's owners. Fines should be a deterrent to breaking the rules, not encouragement.

Pacingguy said...

I've argued a long time about these fines. They make no sense and are a cost of doing business. I once proposed fines be set based on how much a driver/trainer earned the year before so the fines would hurt and be a deterrent and not a cost a driver or trainer will gratefully accept.

edge1124 said...

It is like knowing you could rob a bank ($50,000) and only get 30 days in jail (served on weekends), what a joke. So if a coach in sports gets fined, usually the team pays for the fine but if the coach keeps doing it and results are not what they use to be, they will switch to a new coach. So let's fine the trainer and driver EACH $100 for kicking the horse's leg infraction BUT if they finish in the money, then add an additional fine (25% of driver's winnings and maybe 10% of the trainer's prize). If this keeps happening things might change. It was even more noticeable at Pocono but the judges did nothing. Accountability for judges doing their jobs in a consistent manner with other tracks is lacking.