For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What Grandstand A#%hole Wrote This?

I am grateful for most of the responses I got regarding my column on the alleged problems with Harrah's Philadelphia track and how all of a sudden after there was a severe injury, all the complaints regarding the track condition became public. 

Then again, you can't please everyone.  Someone who posted the column on Facebook got a comment from a former driver (not at Harrah's).  The response was "What grandstand a#%hole wrote this ?"  I am sure there are others who feel similar but haven't put it to writing.

Normally, I wouldn't respond to this type of comment; truth is if posted as a response to my blog I would have hit the 'Delete' key because it violates one of my rules regarding posting responses which is being respectful (though I may have left the comment up if it referred to the 'grandstand idiot'). But in this case, I think the question begs to be answered.

What Grandstand A#%hole Wrote This?

The type who calls it the way he sees it.  No, I am no Pollyanna who thinks the world is wonderful and bright.  I am a realist.  I realize there is a lot of money to be left on the table at Harrah's Philadelphia if a driver or trainer decided not to race there over fear of physical safety for themselves or their equine charges and realize many make the choice to take their chances to pad their retirement account.  Perhaps they fear they have to because let's face it, if Superstar Driver decides the risk is not worth it,  Johnny Driver from somewhere else is going to be willing to step up and take their place the same way if Hotshot Trainer refuses to race his horses there, Billpaying Owner may find a trainer willing to race at Harrah's.   

This is the beauty of greed, seeking the all mighty dollar despite any perceived risks there may be to oneself.  Let's face it, it is the same greed which has some drivers breaking the rules and being assessed token fines as it makes some trainers become pharmacists in order to get an edge over their competition.  It would be nice to think everyone would play by the rules but we are human and unfortunately, when there is financial gain some of us are going to do things we tell our children never to do (ah, youthful innocence).  
So the bottom line is the person who wrote the blog entry in question is a realist.  One with eyes wide open and knows as a former owner he would never let his horse race over an unsafe surface.

So with that question answered, what this person may have meant to ask (and a far more intelligent question) is how could I suggest the drivers and trainers were enablers?   First let me state right here who knows if it was the track condition which resulted in the accident involving Anthony Coletta?  The horse who fell in front of him may have gone down even if the track was in perfect shape.  Also, I can't and won't say Harrah's track was safe or unsafe because I am no driver and have never taken a horse over the oval so my opinion regarding the condition of the track is worthless.

The point is if the drivers and others thought the track was unsafe, why didn't they make their concerns public before we had a driver laying in the hospital in critical condition?  How come no one went to Harness Racing Update before the incident to complain about the track surface?

I also realize driving horses is not the safest career choice you can make.  When you decide to become a driver, it is just a matter of time until you have your first spill, you just hope it is minor; one you can get up from and resume your chosen profession.  Yes, no one forces a driver to get into the sulky.  That being said, I believe the driver has the right to expect a track is maintained properly and is safe.

If the drivers thought the track was so unsafe, they should have stepped up before a serious injury happened and publicly complained about the track and forced management to repair the track.  Instead, they kept their complaints under the radar and relied on alleged empty promises.  It is just like going out buying booze for the alcoholic relative who promises to stop drinking next week and it always seems next week never comes.  You know what that relative is?  An enabler; the same as those drivers were.  Does it make those drivers bad people?  No.  Does it make them responsible for what happened to Coletta?  Their conscious will be their guide on that one but please spare me the self-indignation.  It is a little to late for that. 

Ending on a positive note, those fans and horsemen who wish to make donations for the benefit of Anthony Coletta may do so by making your checks payable to  "Stay Strong A.Coletta " and mail it C/O TD Bank 2653 S. 5th Street Philadelphia, Pa 19148.  I've made my donation.  It doesn't matter how much your donation is, be it $1 to $1,000 or more it all goes to help Anthony in his long battle hopefully on his way to a full recovery.


Anonymous said...

Pacingguy, please do not try to soft soap it when you present in your blog what a disaster the new Meadowlands is for trackgoers and racing fans. Unless you were actually not there yourself, you can't be realistically be of any other opinion. Before they tear down the old place, serious consideration should be made on fixing that one back up. The new place couldn't adequately handle my family reunion.

Pacingguy said...

I think you posted under the wrong entry. That being said, the old building is history and there is no turning back.

Are you telling me you had a family reunion the first night? Let me say I would not have booked any function there night one because the crowds were bound to be overwhelming. Like any restaurant, there is a shake out period.

Perhaps they shouldn't have booked such an event on day one, that may be true. I suspect within a week or so, they will have the kinks worked out.

And yes, I was there.