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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Circle of Driving

Jeff Gural and admittedly many horseplayers lament the exodus of former Meadowlands-based drivers to greener pastures. I for one say "don't let the door hit you on the way out" because I am of the belief their departure allows for an up and coming star to step in and take their place.  It is always exciting to see someone develop into a natural star; Corey Callahan is one name which comes to mind as benefiting from the departure of some of the named drivers.  Now Corey can hold his own against the best of them.

The latest driver who has decided to dip his toe into the Meadowlands waters is Mark MacDonald who has decided if it Friday, it is the Meadowlands.  MacDonald is hoping by racing on Fridays now that the Championship Meet is around the corner he will be able to pick up some drives on stakes-caliber horses.  MacDonald also is looking to race full time at the Meadowlands starting in the fall if all goes to plan.  A winner of 5,000 races already, one has to wonder if MacDonald can be the next superstar to develop at the East Rutherford track.

Personally, if I was running the Meadowlands, I would be doing what Joe DeFrank used to do; travel around and talk to some of the trainers and drivers at other tracks to see if they could be interested in taking their chances at the Meadowlands.  If not for Joe DeFrank, we never would have seen John Campbell, Larry and Ray Remmen, Greg Wright, and others come down and take a shot.  Some were successful, others returned home but they had the opportunity in one of the largest market areas.

While the Meadowlands at present may not be the top track it once was, it is not exactly chopped liver.  Being able to make it at the Meadowlands means  you can pretty much drive anywhere.  So whether or not the drivers come from Woodbine (Mohawk) or come from a track like Western Fair, I say welcome and take your shot at becoming the next harness racing super start.

In what can be a game changer for the worse to alternative Internet gaming, a proposal has been made to change the 1961 Federal Wire Act to ban interstate gaming of all types except horse racing.  The I-gaming industry has been hoping to develop partnerships with other states in order to get larger prizes and more participation.  If the legislation were to pass, I-gaming will be at best a nuisance, not a killer to racing.

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