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Friday, January 10, 2014

Northfield Park Steps Up and Fills the Void, Senior Power

Northfield Park has stepped up to fill the void left with the cancellation of Super Sunday by carding the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial on Friday, August 15 for 3yo open pacers.  This event will emulate the Battle of the Brandwine which was cancelled this year by having the top eight purse earners who enter to race in the final with the second set of eight racing in a consolation.

Of course, the question is will the marquee colts be willing to race on the flying turns of Northfield?  Northfield will contribute $250,000 to the final with $100,000 dedicated to the consolation race.  With more than half the anticipated final purse coming from the track, I do expect the race to be well subscribed.  No, being a half mile track race the field is likely not to be as strong as the Battle of the Brandywine fields , but it should attract a credible field.

We talked about the feel good story regarding the retirement of thoroughbred Cost of Freedom from the racetrack thanks to donations of fans.  While Cost of Freedom has been retired, there are allegations that some of the funds donated may have been misappropriated as reported by the Paulick Report.  While I encourage people to donate to horse rescues and the retirement of horses who have no business being on the track, as a donor you have the responsibility to know who you are dealing with.  You work hard to make your money, hard enough where you want to make sure the funds are being used for what they were intended for, not enriching anyone.

Senior Power:  What about having races restricted to older horses as a way to keep horses racing?  I discussed this briefly with regards to keeping our oldest horses racing instead of retired and while I still feel the same way, I don't think this idea should be dismissed so quickly.  What is wrong with setting up races for horses who are ten years old and up (or eight and up)?  Granted, many of these horses can't go the time their younger brethren can go but does it matter?  The gambler wants to bet on a competitive field and if the race goes in 1:50 or 2:00, do you think it matters; a thrilling stress drive is thrilling regardless of the speed.    Not only does it keep older horses on the track, it keeps them away from dealers who may have unsavory plans for the horses they buy.  As tracks have different qualifying standards for two year olds, if you race a senior class, would it hurt to have a different qualifying standard?  Of course, if you have a horse like Foiled Again,. there is no reason why they can't continue to race against the youngsters.  If tracks can write races for six years old and under, is it that difficult to write races for eight years old and up?

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