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Saturday, December 7, 2013

The End and Other Miscellanery

The Brattleboro Reformer has an article on line talking about the final demolition of Hinsdale Raceway.  What makes this article special is it has a link to some historical photos from the track during its operation and sadly, a link showing how the track was left in disrepair and how the demolition process is underway.

To me it is always sad when a racetrack closes for when it does, a bit of history dies with it.  To think of a track where the ghosts of great horses are still racing over them disappearing is sad but not only that, it is the end of a simpler time.  When Roosevelt Raceway was demolished, not only did the structure go down, but memories of my youth seemed to fade away.  I guess it marks the passing of time.  If you are in your twenties, it may not matter but as you get older, the disappearance of those milestone mean more.   As the Byrds sang in their song Turn! Turn! Turn! "..A Time to be Born, A Time to Die..."  I guess for us lifers who follow racing, the demolition of any track reminds us of that time to die and makes us feel more mortal.

Let's turns to some good news.  With Muscle Hill leaving New Jersey, it appeared there would be no NJSS races for trotters in a few years because you need a trotting stallion and Muscle Hill appeared to be the horse turning off the lights for NJ-sired stallions but two new stallions are heading to NJ to service the trotting mares.  First it was announced that Calchips Brute was heading to Walnridge Farms to stand for $3,500.  Now comes news that the veteran Wishing Stone will be standing at Deo Valente Farms for a fee of $5,000.  Both horses are credible stallions.  Perhaps not marquee but should be supported. 

The interesting thing is Wishing Stone will be doing the Continental thing, breeding in the winter and early spring and then return to the racing wars in July.  There is no reason why this can't be done in North America.  If it works in Europe it can work here and we will get the best of both worlds; name horses still racing yet having a breeding career at the same time.  True, the horse may lose some races but with the emphasis on early speed with those two and three year old stakes, does it really matter to yearling buyers that the stallions racing career tailed off at age six or seven?

Tonight at the Meadowlands six horses face the starter in the second race, the Reynolds stake for 3yo pacing colts.  Not exactly an over subscribed race.  Worse yet was the Reynolds filly stake which was cancelled because only two horses dropped in the box.  I understand the desire to extend the stakes season but unless you are an overnight horse, the moment you are done with the Breeders Crown you are heading to your winter break.  Even the TVG FFA Series for trotters going for roughly $500,000 had a short field of six.  To me it seems clear what needs to happen is tracks should forget about stakes races after the Breeders Crown, they are a waste of effort.  If we are going to race in the fall and winter, the smart thing is to not bother with stakes races.  If you must schedule something besides your regular overnights, schedule some late closing series for horses who during the year fell off the Grand Circuit trail and are transitioning into overnight horses.

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