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Saturday, March 15, 2014

It's My Sandbox and I Get to Say Who Plays in It

An article in HRU calls for Jeff Gural to explain why certain trainers are being shown the door at the Meadowlands.  While ideally it would be great if that would happen, in the real world it is not practical as announcing why someone is being excluded exposes track ownership to possible civil action by the person being excluded.  The net result would be exclusion rights would be for all practical purposes extinguished, leaving those who would normally be excluded to continue to race.

Yes, the exclusion rule could be applied arbitrarily and someone could be ruled off for no good reason at all but it is the best tool tracks have without getting tied up in litigation.  If left to racing commissions to act on these individuals, it could be tied up with hearings and appeals for years.  An exclusion is in effect immediate.

Is it fair?  No.  Could an 'innocent' person be ensnared by the privilege of exclusion?  Yes.  Is it the best weapon harness racing has to deal with people who may be suspect?  Yes.  Is it sad that relying on property rights and 'It is my sandbox and I will say who gets to play in it" is the best way to keep the sport cleaner?  Absolutely.

Unfortunately, in this litigious society it is the way it is.

A deal to fund racing at the eight core tracks in Ontario is being finalized this upcoming week with some support being given to the remaining tracks which choose to operate.  How good a deal it is?  I will leave it to Canadian Bloggers more intimate with the going ons in Canadian Government and racing to opine on it.

One thing I will say is I talk how American racing would benefit from a centralized body controlling racing dates and wagering, the same model would probably be ideal in Canada as well.  While Ontario still is the crown of racing in the nation, racing is stable on Prince Edward Island, and Quebec is recovering from a near death blow, racing's future is less certain in the other Maritime provinces and out west.  A coordinated effort to promote racing throughout the nation would help stabilize the industry elsewhere.

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