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Sunday, September 15, 2013

What Should the Jug Be?

I can repeat ad nauseam on how some of the star sophomores will be skipping the Little Brown Jug and go off to race in a virtual walkover at another track or ready themselves for the Grand Circuit at Lexington, using a week a lay off.   Which ever way you feel about this, arguments could be made for or against the decision each horse's connections made.  I prefer to look at it as it is a decision to be made by those who pay the bills.  When I am able to buy Captaintreacherous, I will make the decisions regarding the horse's racing schedule, until then it's none of my business.

Some within the industry say the Little Brown Jug needs to make changes to make the race more appealing to top horses (likely getting rid of heats).  Otherwise, the Delaware County Fair Agricultural Society is going to have to make a decision as to whether they want the race to be a great racing event or a second rate race that is a spectacle.

To be perfectly honest, unless the Delaware County Fairground oval is converted to a five-eighths or larger oval, I think you will continue to see horses avoiding the Delaware half mile oval.  Make no mistake, making the race a single dash or an elimination race earlier in the week with the horses returning for a final on the last day would certainly help draw more horses, but don't expect to see a Captaintreacherous-type horse race.

Given the choice, I say leave the Little Brown Jug a spectator event even if it means a diminished quality of horses.  Most of what goes on in racing is controlled and geared for the benefit of owners or breeders; little is done for the customer, the race fan and gambler and it shows in low attendance and handle.  I would suggest harness racing would be in far better shape if more concern was given towards the customer instead of the participants.

The Little Brown Jug is operated by the Delaware Agricultural Society which runs the Delaware County Fair of which the LBJ is part of.  They have a mission to all the stakeholders of the fair and if the pageantry of the Jug is what keeps people coming; making it beneficial to the fair's bottom line, that is the way they should go.

If you want bemoan how the Little Brown Jug may not draw the best horses the way it used to, how the race may become a second-rate spectacle.  I say we shouldn't worry about it and celebrate the fact it is a spectacle.

Rather than worrying about making the LBJ more friendly to race owners, the question should be how to make more events spectacles?  The industry would be in a better place if we looked at things this way.  

In Maine, Bangor Raceway has donated $1 per starter towards a standardbred rescue fund similiar to the USTA's SOS fund, which makes available funds to animal welfare groups who take control of standrdbreds through seizure or surrender.  Depending on circumstances, it makes grants of $500 to $1,000 per each horse depending on the need.

We are thankful for what Bangor Raceway is doing, especially since other tracks are doing nothing, but let's not kid ourselves, the fund has raised $2,452 thus far, meaning anywhere between two to five horses may be helped and only for hoses in possession of the ASPCA or similar groups.  Make no mistake, it is a start, but not enough in the long run.

Elsewhere, some handicapper complained about being shut out wagering when trying to bet at Rosecroft a minute before post time?  The specific complaint was:
Could someone explain Rosecroft's extreme hurry to get races off? I get shutout constantly, a minute to post and they are going into the turn. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

What a novel thing, post time being post time.  My advice to the one who made this comment  is to adjust when you go to the windows and be thankful you are not waiting for ten minutes after post time for a race to actually go off.  Others of us are envious of you.  Maybe those of us who can't stand prolonged post times should be looking at Rosecroft.

Farewell to Raceway Park: Tonight, the curtain comes down on Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio for one last time as racing moves next year to the new track scheduled to open in Dayton.  Those who live near Raceway Park be able for the near future continue to visit Raceway to be via simulcasting, but it won't be the same.

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