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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Strike One off the Christmas Card List

Well, rest assured Jimmy Takter and Ake Svanstedt will not be exchanging Christmas cards this year after Takter referred to Svanstedt as a 'Prick' for his drive in the TVG Trot when he guided Sebastian K back into a spot he drifted out of just as Maven was ready to make a move in the stretch.

Well, I guess calling someone a name is a trade magazine is better than one of those good ol' fashioned fights in the backstretch, but my question is even though it wouldn't have changed the results, is why not file an objection with the judges to bring the wrong doing to the attention of the judges for a possible violation of racing rules because while the leader is entitled to any part of the track, once you are in the stretch, you are expected to choose and stay your course.  It also violates an unwritten rule that once your horse is done, you do nothing to impede a live horse.   The judges may have given Ake a brief vacation.

Of course, this brings up the issue of the passing lane, the argument being if a passing lane existed, Maven would have had a clear shot.  From my perspective, unless you like races where a horse can sit on the wood the entire mile just waiting for the passing lane in an attempt to win the race, the passing lane is a 'good idea, bad execution' idea.  Sure, in theory it makes sense, but in practicality, it cut down the movement in a race.  Without a passing lane, sitting behind the leaders slugging it out is a spot to nowhere; you are forced to try to get out into the race action to have a chance.  Thus there should be more action in a race.  Of course, on the mile track it really doesn't matter because 9 out of 10 races, the horses will drift in the stretch and there is plenty of time to move through.

Ron Pierce is debating whether to remain at the Meadowlands or head back to Yonkers.  My guess is he will end up back there as last winter he didn't get many hot horses in the winter and I assume the same will be the case this year.  No doubt Jeff Gural will not be happy, but hey, as Pierce himself says, he has bills to pay.  A man has to go where he can make a living.  Besides, if Pierce leaves the Meadowlands, it gives another driver the opportunity to move up to the big track.

Sunday's Progress Stake at Dover Downs has six starters; three from the Burke stable. albeit uncoupled.  The purse for the race is $301,560.  My question is 'Why?'.  Why even bother scheduling a stake race this late in the season when you can't draw a full field?  Local horsemen are never happy about these stake races where outsiders come in and win the money but it makes it worse when you are giving the money away to outsiders and the track is not getting a bang for their dollar..  Horsemen by allocating stake money out of their purse account are, in effect, putting some of their money up for marketing the sport; it is perfectly reasonable for them to have it at least put to good use if the money is going to outsiders.  This is not a good use.  The horsemen are pouring their purse account money down the drain and have every reason to be upset.

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