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Monday, February 24, 2014

Pride, Cannon Fodder, and Inter-Dominion

To the victors go the bragging rights and the drivers at Flamboro Downs showed their Canadian pride by all donning Team Canada hockey sweaters in honor of the team's gold medal victory at the Sochi Olympics for the first race last night.  Not only was a great tribute to Team Canada, it made a moment which could be shown on television in Canada.

Remember the outrage over the claim of Sydney Seelster?  A great feel-good story was published in the Hamilton Spectator which outlined the story of Pinky and Sydney Weaver from the claim heard around the Internet to the kind gesture of Guy Gagnon to make sure the horse was returned to Sydney.

Last night at the Dan Patch awards, Bee A Magician as expected won the Horse of the Year award.  In an award which was not certain, Captaintreacherous beat out Foiled Again for the Pacer of the Year award.  Some people may dispute the outcome but realistically, the better pacer, performance-wise, came out ahead.

Tbe latest condition sheet at Monticello shows another purse cut with the bottom class going for a purse of $1,100.  They way things are going, will next week be the week the condition sheet shows a purse south of the $1K mark?  Not only are purses getting cut, the raceway supposedly is scheduling 12 less races a week; racing only 10 races a day.

Smaller purses, fewer  races, an untenable position for trainers.  No doubt the raceway is hurting with the simulcast signal restricted to New York only but the raceway can hold on a lot longer than the horsemen can.  Now I am not privy to the MHHA's strategy but right now it looks like a losing one.

Just to make sure it is clear, I am neutral in this dispute.  My problem is at first blush it appears outsiders have managed to use the local horsemen as cannon fodder to fight their battle.  I wonder how many Monticello horsemen are going to be forced into financial ruin as a result of this dispute?

Post positions have been drawn for the 2014 Inter-Dominion Pace which will be contested at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday afternoon, March 2.  A field of 14 will face the starter looking to win one of the most prestigious races in Australasia.  Here is the field for the race which will be contested at 3,009 meters (1.87 miles).  Note horses 11-14 race from the second row.

BarrierHorse (Australian Record) Best Mile Rate
1Im Victorious NZ (11-7-1-0) 1:53.3
2Livingontheinterest NZ (11-3-1-1) 1:54.9
3Seel N Print NZ (19-5-4-2) 1:50.2
4Keayang Cullen (8-1-3-1) 1:53,2
5Forever Gold (9-2-1-2) 1:54,5
6Mach Beauty (11-3-2-2) 1:51
7Wartime Sweetheart NZ (15-2-4-1) 1:56.5
8Smolda (2-1-1-0 NZ Starts only) 2:02.7
9Caribbean Blaster (11-2-2-4) 1:55.4
10The Gold Ace (9-3-1-2) 1:56.8
11Restrepo (12-4-2-0) 1:52.8
12Beautide (11-9-1-0) 1:50.2
13For A Reason (9-4-4-1) 1:49.4
14Terror To Love NZ (1-0-0-0) 1:57.2 (NZ)

My selection in this race is Beautide.  The form for this race may be found here.

Artificial Insemination (AI) an issue?  While standardbreds have been using artificial insemination has been used for years, thoroughbred racing still insists on natural cover.  A case in Australia is challenging the prohibition against AI in thoroughbred racing, challenging the ban which has been in place since 1947.  If the courts rule a ban on AI is restriction of trade and allows it to be used in Australia, it would seem almost inevitable that thoroughbreds around the world will join the standardbreds in using AI.

The divorce between the greyhound industry and the casinos in Iowa is advancing as a House committee has approved a bill allowing the casino industry to pay $70 million to the greyhound industry over a ten year period to allow breeders to transition.  If this becomes law, look at casinos in other states to attempt the same thing.

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