Pretty darn ironic if you ask me. Two years ago Jeff Gural was saluted as the man who saved harness racing. This year, let's just say he is not feeling the love.
Feel smug that you can keep states from decoupling racing from their casino games? Want to go up against a casino industry lobbying effort? Good luck.
I'll be perfectly honest, I am not sure putting the Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug on television is going to do a hill of beans for harness racing though it certainly couldn't have hurt. I'm not surprised the USTA turned down this request because last year when the idea of putting big races on television was discussed at the annual meeting, a director from the New York delegation inquired if it was to give the Meadowlands free publicity. It is apparent, based on the reason given on turning it down this year (i.e., "it would benefit only two tracks"), that argument held sway. Now, to be fair, the USTA is spending money on a social media program which is necessary in the 21st century.
So with the USTA saying no, my question to the industry is if the standardbred that bankrupt it is unable to find $75,000 (without going to the usual cast of characters)? Let's accept the fact at present some states don't allow for the diversion of purse account funds for efforts like this. How could this money be raised?
- A combination of 15 of the highest earning drivers/trainers donate $5,000 each.
- A combination of 75 drivers and trainers donate $1,000 each (the amount they earn by winning 2 races with a $10,000 purse).
- 150 drivers and trainers donate $500 each.
My guess is you won't see any of these scenarios happen. The fact $75,000 can't be raised without attempting to hit up the same people each time is pretty embarrassing. Hopefully, those in the industry recognize it..