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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Potpourri of Racing

British Columbia harness horsemen are looking forward to Saturday's races at Desert Park with anticipation as the standardbreds join quarter horses and thoroughbreds on the same race card, albeit as exhibition races.  This should be interesting for while standardbreds have raced over rolled over thoroughbred surfaces, this will be one of the few times standardbreds will be racing over a full loom track.

How these races will go over remains to be seen.  No doubt we will be seeing slow times as the horses will race over deeper surfaces and how the horses will come out of each race will remain to be seen as the conditioning of the horses may need to change, but one thing is for sure, something needs to happen and if there is a racetrack willing to experiment, standardbred horsemen would be foolish not to try.

After all, racing in British Columbia has been curtailed as there is only one extended meet track, Fraiser Downs.  With Fraiser cutting back on dates, there is a huge gap in the racing calendar, a gap which needs to be filled to make the British Columbia standardbred industry stronger.  This experiment may work, it may not; the fact is the horsemen are looking outside of the box to strengthen their product.

Of course, it requires the willingness of other horsemen groups to allow experiments like this happen.  With the traditional adversarial roles when dealing with each other, could you see most thoroughbred groups allowing standardbreds to be on their wagering card (the reverse is true)?

What good is HANA (Horseplayers Association of North America)?  They represent horseplayers when dealing with tracks and in cases where tracks are totally blind to the need of horseplayers, they attempt to influence the tracks through gentle persuasion and when that fails, has called for boycotts which have been successful.  Andrew Beyer writes about this in the DRF.  While the examples cited are thoroughbred related, standardbred tracks watch what is happening elsewhere and HANA has gotten involved with standardbred tracks.   If you have never joined HANA, why not now?  The cost is right (free).  Click here to sign-up.  

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