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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Well Deserved Recognition; Justice Meted Out

Congratulations to all the winners of the USTA President's Award but in particular, congratulations to Joe Faraldo and Alex Dadoyan, representing the SOA of New York as well as Robert Galterio, representing Yonkers Raceway for being recipients of the honor.  Their hard work in getting Yonkers' races simulcasted to Europe via PMU has paid off dividends and is the start of a new phase of sending American races abroad.

There is still work which needs to be done; in particular a better way to report distance races in the past performances.  In particular the final quarter, 'mile rate', and ideally the time of a horse's first mile and last mile in a race (yes, there is an overlap) would be helpful to handicappers, both domestic and internationally.  However, with the success of the French experiment, it will take time for the USTA to come up with the best way to report this information.

In addition, while horsemen at Yonkers have accepted the need for route races, the willingness to race longer races is still resisted by horsemen elsewhere as show by the end of 1 1//8 races at the Meadowlands.  Unfotunately, with purses lower at the Meadowlands, management has little leverage to induce horsemen to race longer as they have other tracks to race at.

Justice has been served in California with Osmin Carrera being handed a $1,000 fine and 524 day suspension for removing a dead horse from the track to avoid a necropsy plus possession of a hypodermic needle.   While the suspension is only 524 days, Carrera must undergo a fitness hearing after the suspension if he wishes to participate in racing once again.  While the CHRB has been liberal in the past with licensing people, in this case I doubt he will be approved again.  For all practical purposes, Mr. Carrera's days in harness racing are over.

In yesterday's HRU, Jeff Gural indicated he underestimated the impact of people wagering via ADWs, unwilling to come to the track.   As you are aware, tracks are paid a pittance for each dollar bet on their product via simulcasting.  The only way tracks are going to be able to recover a portion of those commission is by either partnering or forming their own ADWs and compete with existing ADWs in an attempt to recoup those wagering dollars.

At the District 2 (Michigan, Indiana) annual meeting, there was controversy regarding RUS.  The feeling is there should be a separate association in charge of RU races  This is not a practical solution being the stud book is the same and horses have the ability to race both under sulky or under saddle so as the keeper of records, the USTA is the logical party to maintain control over RUS races.  While I expect the RUS rules to be approved at the annual meeting, I do expect some pushback.  Failure to pass the RUS rules could cripple the movement.

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