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Saturday, March 29, 2014

And The Floods Came....

Right from above, the condo unit above mine to be specific.  Having been away a few days (Thank you Joe for your column), there are a few things to catch up with.  I may not be posting as much as there will be things to tend to with the 'Great Flood of 2014'; it's only great if you are effected, but I will do my best to keep posting interesting and insightful posts.

As you are all aware, Cat Manzi has retired from driving, and has decided now that he has grown up to train standardbreds, getting them ready to race.  Of course, the decision as to when to retire is up to the driver, but quite honestly, I am glad he has put his whip away and is moving away from driving.  Cat has no fear and has recovered from accident after accident only to bounce back but you couldn't help but wonder if he  kept on driving if it would get to be one accident to many.

While Cat is in the Hall of Fame, truth is fans outside of the New York - New Jersey area  really don't know him that much as he has basically stayed local since starting his career at Monticello Raceway before taking on Freehold, Meadowlands, and Yonkers Raceway.  Cat's biggest influence at the Meadowlands was during the early years but realistically, he was a half mile track driver.  That's not a knock on Cat and he has gone up against some very good  drivers in his career.  When at Freehold, there was no better driver in rating a horse on the front end so I loved it when I backed Cat and his horse was on the front end; it seemed like you were destined to collect.

Anyway, as Cat moves on to his next phase of life, I hope he is recognized in some way at the tracks he made his name at; a chance to give the fans a chance to say 'good bye' to a quite unassuming driver.  A class act all the way.

When is racing going to learn that we need to stop races when accidents take place?  Thursday night at Flamboro Downs is a perfect example of why we need to do it.  By know you likely are aware of the accident at Flamboro where a horse got up and raced without a driver the wrong way up the track and sure enough, we had a collision which required the two horses involved in the accident to be euthanized

I know tracks and horsemen don't want to lose their commissions by cancelling a race (which they ended up doing by declaring the race a 'no contest'), but are we that hard up that we are willing to risk the llives of horses and others when an accident occurs?  What we should do is if the accident occurs less than a half mile in the race, is stop the race and have the horses return later in the evening.  If the race went past the half, then declare the race a 'no contest' and divide the purse money among those horses still racing when the accident occurred..

Tragedy was averted yesterday at Saratoga Raceway and Casino with an early morning barb fire when people on track managed to rescue all 15-20 horse in the barn.  Luck was with them as none of the horses were hurt.  A  huge shout out to everyone who helped in rescuing the horses but it should be noted this was an older barn, one without a fire sprinkler system.  I know they are expensive. but no public barns should be without a sprinkler system.  The cost is expensive, but how much is it to to replace all the horses who may be lost in a fire?

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