For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Impossible Dream: Loosening the Purse Strings

By now you have head the USTA has decided not to fund any television time for the Meadowlands Pace and the Little Brown Jug, citing the funding would support two tracks.  Personally, I think that is short-sighted thinking.  First of all, the funding for the Meadowlands Pace would be a partnership, the USTA not payingfor the whole package.  Secondly, other than the Hambletonian, the Meadowlands Pace is probably the biggest harness racing in the United States; it would not be a case of promoting the Meadowlands but the best in harness racing.  Fortunately, the Meadowlands Pace will likely still be televised.

As for the Little Brown Jug, the last thing they need is promoting the track.  They do very well without any additional publicity.  Showing the Jug on TV would be presenting an American Classic, a bit of Americana to the American public.  Even better, while not popular with 'veteran' gamblers, televising the Jug would allow those not familiar with harness racing to watch a race from a track with a configuration most friendly to attract newcomers; being able to see the whole race with possible bold moves being made down the back stretch.

The USTA will form a committee to consider funding television broadcasts for 2015.  I suspect they will decide against it which will be a shame but understandable as I suspect the USTA is not exactly rolling in the money.  As Dean Towers wrote in Harness Racing Update, the shame is the industry can't come up with the $75,000 to televise the Jug.  Horsemen and tracks don't seem to be in a hurry to part with slot revenue giving people the view they are out to milk the slot machine revenue until the government cuts them off cold turkey.

Update:  Phil Langley, President of the USTA, addresses the controversy resulting from the USTA to decide not to fund the program.

Foiled Again lost last night in the final leg of the Levy.  Will he win next week in the final?  Who knows?  What I do know is he will give a better account of himself; a half million dollars will do that.

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