For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tempting Fate

There was an accident Saturday afternoon at Red Shores Charlottetown which resulted in a 'No Contest' being declared by the judges after the race.

No problem with the decision of 'No Contest' but once again we had a situation where a loose horse was heading the wrong way up the stretch as the race was reaching its conclusion.  Fortunately, this time we didn't have a tragic horse collision, but I wonder why the race wasn't stopped once it was clear two horses were loose on the track with the potential of causing a mid-race collision?

In Ontario, a rule has been adopted to prevent this type of situation from happening again (though tracks have till the end of 2014 to comply) yet this rule is only applicable in the province. As in the United States, the rules of one province or state doesn't get replicated in the next jurisdiction. Why doesn't one commission learn from what happens elsewhere I don;t know.  I guess we need to wait till tragedy strikes in PEI before they learn.

With Ron Burke's passing of Todd Pletcher's seasonal record for the most earnings (excluding Pletcher's winnings from Dubai) in a season, those who hold in contempt successful trainers went at it, casting accusations towards Burke's operation.  Based on these comments, I must say those who comprised a list of the most despised professions in America must not interview horseplayers for trainers would easily be number one on that list, for nothing brings on hatred and suspicion like success.  Those who accuse Burke and others of cheating need to realize 'obvious' doesn't imply 'proof'; it never has, it never will.  Yes, there are trainers who cheat (and they don't have to be 'successful'), no question about it but those who base their assumptions on 'obvious' are just as likely to be wrong as right.

Unfortunately, racing continues to go in the wrong direction when attempting to catch those cheats by attempting to detect the latest and greatest drug.  Racing would be better served by using blood passports.  Rather than chasing the cheaters, the sport should rely on these passports and develop a quick test to compare the blood chemistry against the base sample with anything outside of a normal variance resulting in a scratch with fines applied where appropriate.

What I don't understand - Part 1.  With only 17 days remaining in 2014, why hasn't the NYSGC approved race dates yet?  I realize the tracks know when they expect to race, but why can't the commission remove all doubt by approving race dates earlier?

What I don't understand - Part 2.  Many tracks have stopped racing for the season, even Yonkers Raceway where for all practical purposes horsemen race year round.  Why are there any tracks racing, these last two weeks of the year?  Most people have their mind on the holidays instead of gambling so why not give horsemen and the horses a couple easy weeks before beginning the 2015 racing wars?  I can understand Pompano racing, being it is in an area where people go on vacation, but tracks like Dover, Monticello, and The Meadows?  As Bob Newhart once dead panned on the original Bob Newhart Show, "They don't stop for anything do they?".

What I don't understand - Part 3.  What were the Harness Racing Victoria judges thinking when they came down in what could be best described as a raid at the Ballarat Trotting Club?   Their weapon of choice?  A measuring tape.  In a crackdown, the judges took out their rules to measure sulky widths to discover which trainers were using a UFO sulky that were 5 centimeters (2 inches) too wide.  Due to their last minute approach, 6 of 10 starters in the evening's Grade 1 stakes were scratched.  While the trainers were wrong to use the sulky, HRV officials could have announced they were going to enforce the sulky width rules before descending on the track.  This 'gotcha' moment served the interests of no one.  The only thing it did was make harness racing look like a bush league sport.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.   I just want to use this space to thank an individual who remembered reading an article about a certain horse on this blog.  It turns out this horse was adopted out with a contract but despite the wording in the contract, was sold to an unsuspecting person.  It turns out the person who read about the horse was treating the horse who was apparently abused by the person who had previous possession of the horse but was being treated by her at the request of the person who bought the horse.

Thanks to this person, I was able to put the person who originally adopted the horse out with a contact with the person who was treating the horse and now the horse is back home while seeking a new home.  A tragic situation has been avoided.  To the person who was treating the horse and the person who had acquired the horse, thank you.  It made a difference.

No comments: