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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Briefs for a Cold Day has a report regarding the cancellation of Super Sunday and it turns out the cost of holding the races was not the issue; it's the unwillingness of Harrah's to guarantee the clubhouse would be open on Super Sunday.  We know Harrah's views racing as a necessary evil, but to not open the clubhouse is ridiculous.  While the Super Sunday Stakes are dead for 2014, the unwillingness of Harrah's to open the clubhouse should have all the players in front of the racing commission.  After all, having a harness meet is the only reason Harrah's has a casino in Pennsylvania; they should be required to host a quality meet and realizing a large audience may be anticipated on a Super Sunday, the appropriate facilities should be made available for use.  Sadly, the bill allowing slots at racetracks is probably so loose, this avenue of appeal is futile.

In 2013, harness racing showed a 6% increase in handle and a 4% increase in purses.  For once the standardbreds improved while the runners treaded water in 2013.  Still, while handle in 2013 was $1.6 billion, thoroughbred racing had a handle in 2013 of over $10.8 billion.

If you read an article on the USTA website about making sure your race horse stays retired, you would think everyone this is beautiful regarding horse slaughter and standardbreds as there is no mention about retired horse being sold to dealers with the horses ending up in a black hole.  According ot this article, all owners are well-meaning and looking out for the best interests of their horses..  Ah, if it was only true.  Just go to the backstretch at some of the cheper tracks on qualifying days and see how many horses are sold to the Amish, knowing some will end up being used by the Amish, others ending up in a grade sale.

Now to be fair, the writer being an USTA director can't be expected to write an article talking about the unwanted standardbred, but writing an article which suggests there is no problem doesn't make it so.  As painful as it may be, it would be nice if the industry leaders would acknowledge it has a problem with hard to place horses.

Have a great day.  Stay warm.

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