For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Friday, October 25, 2013

Here is Idea #1 for New York Fan Advisory Council

In New York, there is a Fan Advisory Council to offer suggestions to fix/improve racing.  While this idea should apply to all states, since you are asking for ideas, here is suggestion #1 for the council.

Get rid of coupled entries. Here is a perfect example. 

Tonight at Vernon Downs, the Kindergarten Classic for 2yo filly trotters has amassed a field of nine trotters to do battle.  Nine horses makes a good field to wager on.  Except this race going for more than $200,000 has only six wagering options.  There are two coupled entries, the first entry comprising of three horses and the second entry having two horses.  How exciting is this race to the bettor.  Box the two entries in the Exacta and you have five of the nine horses in the race covered.  Under the rules for Trifecta wagering, theoretically the winning ticket could comprise of the first, fourth, and sixth place finishers.

Gamblers want full fields to wager on, not to watch race.  Racetracks want attractive races so gamblers will want to wager on them.  Getting rid of coupled entries is a win-win.  What is taking you so long in eliminating them, after all handle isn't high enough to pull off a wagering coup?

The time has come to put coupled entries into the scrap heap of outdated ideas.

News Item - Feuding in Michigan: Hazel Park is seeking to modify their racing application for 2014 race dates to reduce the number of racing days from 44 days to 10 days.  The reason why?  A dispute between track management and horsemen over proposed legislation to save racing.  With racetracks and horsemen both hurting, you would think they would speak with a unified voice.  But then again, this is racing.


Anonymous said...


An opposing viewpoint on coupled entries. I won't bet a race where a trainer or owner has multiple horses and they're not coupled. They should be the same wager, but Pennsylvania separates them routinely.

We know trainers meet with drivers and come up with a strategy when they have more than one horse in the race. You've no doubt seen the post-race interviews or quotes from trainers who discuss that.

I'm not saying a driver won't try to win, but how is a bettor to know what instructions have been given before the race? You know one driver won't park or duel with another when they're both on horses from the same trainer. It would be my luck to bet a driver who was told to pull first over if he can give cover to a horse that needs it. Surely, my horse would quit in the stretch.

Watching Pompano this week, Rick Plano was the trainer of two horses in a race. He drove one and handling the second horse fell to another driver. Can't imagine why anyone would bet the Plano horse he wasn't driving. They should have been coupled because Plano wound up driving against (in the betting) another horse in his stable. That shouldn't be allowed. The Plano driven horse won.

Unfortunately, coupling all entries can make for a race that I also won't bet because the whole field may be just three or four owners/trainers.

Wish I had an answer for this ever increasing issue in harness racing.

Pacingguy said...

For the longest time I shared your view and I acknowledge you will never see a stablemate hang out an entry mate from the same stable.

In the ideal world if entries occurred infrequently, I would still go for entries but with these stables tossing two or three horses into races routinely, something has to give. The game isn't going to survive if you don't give the horseplayer something worth wagering on. A nine horse six betting interest race is not that.