Not only is April 11 opening night at Vernon Downs, it is the passing of the baton as Track Announcer Emeritus Jim Moran will call his final race, ending 50 years of race calling at Vernon Downs. It is nice to see an announcer be given a proper farewell. instead of just disappearing.
Darin Zoccali makes He's Watching his 4-1 top choice in the first edition of Road to the Meadowlands Pace.
The conditions for the Hambletonian Monte Trot late closing series has now been published. Preliminary legs (2) will go for $10,000 (divided) with the final going for an estimated $25,000.
A cautionary tale to all horsemen groups who become intransigent, perhaps for good cause. In Virginia, Colonial Downs has ended negotiations with the VHBPA and is seeking to establish a rival horsemen's group which is willing to accept the track's vision for thoroughbred racing. Whether Colonial Downs will be successful remains to be seen for while in a different state Jeff Gural had attempted to replace the horsemen group at Vernon Downs years ago with a rival group but was unsuccessful as the new group was not recognized by the then NYSRWB. Colonial Downs recognizes it may be a few years before they offer thoroughbred racing (standardbred racing is not impacted), but they are willing to go the distance. They may expect to be in court if a rival group is formed.
The point of this? As Monticello's disagreement with horsemen continues, there is a possibility dissident horsemen on their own may seek to replace the MHHA in order to come to a new agreement. I am not saying horsemen groups should fold or not hold to their convictions, but until they operate their own racetracks (of which they have a poor track record), they need to realize negotiations involves compromise.
Bill Finley may be the only one in the racing press rooting for Steve Asmussen's horse to reach the Kentucky Derby. Read here why he feels this way. The sad truth is more embarrassment for racing may be the only way these types of ills are resolved.