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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why are we Penalizing Benefits?

In the opening card of the Meadowlands 2014-2015 season, the 9th race for pacers that are NW3 or $40,000 lifetime going for $15,000 is the first race where NJ sired horses are eligible for a 60% bonus.  This means if a non-New Jersey sired horse wins the race, they get credit for $7,500 in earnings but if sired by a New Jersey stallion, they get $12,000 applied to their card.  All gravy if you are the owner of the NJ-sired horse right?

Well, if you keep racing at the Meadowlands, the answer is yes.  However, if you race elsewhere, that bonus may come back and haunt you.  Actually, there is a good chance it will eventually come back and bite you in the proverbial butt.

Let's take a look at two horses; NJ Louie earns the NJ sired bonus, NY Harry is sired by a New York stallion.  After this one win, they don't win a race for the next ten starts.  They end up racing at another track where the conditions are written for average earnings over a period of ten starts.  NY Harry is eligible for non-winners of $800 per start in the last ten starts while NJ Louie is forced to race in winners over $10,000 in 2014-15 because of the 60% bonus.  Despite they both won the same class of race, there is a good chance NJ Louie is going to be hosed for a while until he gets money off his card.

This problem applies not only to this 60% bonus, it applies where purses are increased because a race is restricted to state owned or sired horses.  Tracks which write conditioned races should be writing races based on base earnings, excluding state sired or owned bonuses.  Yes, it may help out of state horses but it would help your own state's horses when they race elsewhere if it was reciprocated.    Of course for this to happen the USTA would need to store two figures for earnings on their computer system; one for base earnings and one for total earnings.

More importantly, it would put horses on equal footing which would make more competitive (read that as 'better') races for the gambler to wager on.  

Think, if implemented, this would be something to benefit both horse owners and bettors at the same time.  The opportunity to do something for the benefit of both doesn't come along that often.  Tracks should move to do this sooner than later.

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