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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Thoughts

Inquiring minds want to know when you visit the USTA's racing results page it doesn't show the wager amount which produces the posted exotic wager payoff.  Does that Superfecta price represent a $2, $1, 50¢ , or 10¢ wager?  Why the USTA doesn't provide this information is a real mystery.  After all, if Standardbred Canada shows what the payoff is based on it can't be rocket science.  I know some will say with all the problems harness racing has, this is the least of the problems.  Maybe they are right but if easy problems like this can't be fixed, how are the tough challenges going to be solved?

Good news in Maryland as Penn National Gaming has come to terms with horsemen to race in 2014 with an option through 2016.  This means Maryland horsemen have at least one more year of racing, regardless of what happens with the selection of a casino site for Prince George County.  Penn National did put together a strong presentation, but it remains to be seen if they can overcome a perceived bias towards National Harbor.

Can't help but notice through HANA Harness' 2013 Grand Circuit Handicapping Contest that there are too many two year old races. . I realize things probably won't change since racing has become in many ways a 'bottom line' sport; have to make money day one and not give horses time to develop.  It won't happen but as far as I am concerned, the Grand Circuit should drop all two year old events from their schedule.  Yes, Breeders are focused on how their horses perform at two and  three but quite honestly, with the majority of horses racing much longer, shouldn't a stallions performance AFTER their three year old campaign matter more?

In New Jersey, State Assemblyman Ron Dancer, a supporter of horse racing (hey, he is a Dancer), has proposed a constitutional amendment to allow slots at all racetracks in New Jersey.  Under his proposal, revenue would go not only to racetracks and horsemen, revenue would also go to reduce property taxes and help the casino industry as they would run the slots.  On the surface it sounds good but being the Division of Gaming Enforcement will determine how much each stakeholder would get, it sounds too much like Slots at Tracks in Ontario.  How long would it be until the DGE decides to cut racing's share of the profits?  What racing and its horsemen would get needs to be determined before any referendum is passed.

Let's face it, this week harness racing is not going to get a heck a lot of notice as attention shifts to the Breeders Cup which takes place this Friday and Saturday.  People are going to look at the Breeders Cup and wonder why harness racing's Breeders Crown can't get such attention.  Don't bother; harness can never get that big.  Thoroughbred racing is contested in 32 states spread through out the country versus roughly 16 states with parimutuel standardbred racing, focused primarily in the Northeast and Midwest.  The reason why television wants the Breeders Crown is advertisers want to advertise so they can reach a national audience.  With harness racing, the appeal to advertisers is extremely limited as there is no national market.

Rather than giving byes to Breeders Crown eliminations based on money earned, isn't it time to institute 'win and you are in' as the runners do?  Horses that win races like the Hambletonian, Meadowlands Pace and similar races deserve free passes if nominated.  Then have eliminations to fill out the fields.

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