Martin Panza, SVP for Racing Operations at NYRA spoke this past weekend to an industry conclave in Saratoga Springs about what NYRA has done to improve the racing product. While his comments are made in the context of thoroughbred racing, they apply to standardbred racing as well. For those who are in a rush and don't have the time to read the article, here is a very brief summary. Too many racing dates; too many races each day at the track; increase field size; racing is spending too much time on creating customers that they forget to fix the product.
Sebastian K continues to amaze; this time merely by announcing he will be tackling the half mile oval at Yonkers Raceway on October 25 in the inaugural Yonkers Invitational Trot. No, this trotter has never raced on the half mile oval before but his connections are giving it a try in an effort to hopefully get some more foreign horses to race in the Invitational. Now if we can get some top American horses to accept invitations we could be in for some humdinger of a race.
The experiment at Desert Park in British Columbia where there were two standardbred non-wagering events went off successfully, so much that they are talking about bringing back the trotters for 2015. Of course, next time there will be wagering. Expect track officials to seek racing dates next year.
When was the last time you saw harness racing on your evening news? Thanks to Racing Under Saddle, CTV in Barrie had a story on RUS racing on their news program. You can see the clip here. I',m sure this story raised the curiosity of some to check out the racing. The winner of last night's event was Radical Dreamer, ridden by Marit Valstad in 2:00.4, who went wire to wire, defeating Hetties Honey by a head. Radical Dreamer, the also eligible who drew in paid $16.10 for the win. Wagering on the RUS event was respectable with a combined handle of $9,540. Certainly not the highest race handle of the night, but more than $2,000 higher than the third race a week earlier which was a traditional harness race.
No, we haven't gone back in time but today, Mack Lobell and John Campbell were reunited at Solvalla, Sweden. Mack looks as good as ever.