RUS Ontario announces its first two race dates for the 2015 season which kicks off May 15 at Western Fair District then moves on to Flamboro Downs on May 17. In addition, riders will need to follow a more stringent qualification process to get licensed for the 2015 season. I'm all for a more extensive qualifying systems for riders as it will help mishaps.
Rumor has it with the installation of a new Tapeta track at Woodbine, the standardbreds will move full time to Mohawk Racetrack in 2016. While I doubt horsemen want to lose the presence at Woodbine, for the most part many love to race at Mohawk so I think standardbred horsemen will be for the most part happy if this decision comes to fruition.
Derick Giwner discusses the fact there is no coordination between post times as well the problem of too many tracks operating at the same time. We've been arguing about this for the longest time. A good start at a minimum would be the adoption of the European method for races times, the first race is referred to as the 16:45 at Any Track.
Unconfirmed reports indicate the 'Gural Rule' regarding four year old stallions is about to be dropped by an organization. Whether tracks who currently have similar conditions in their own stakes races will follow is unknown.
We can speculate why the rule is being repudiated. No doubt breeders have expressed their dissatisfaction with the restriction, especially as many of the 2013 three year old stars had less than stellar four year old seasons. Some may argue the addition of new stakes races for four year olds makes the rule unnecessary, but I would argue the industry didn't come up with sufficient races to make the risk of racing at four worthwhile.
My biggest regret is if this reversal is true and becomes the standard for the industry, the experiment of 'going European', racing and breeding at the same time will come to an end after this year. Given enough time, I think more breeders would have tried this approach but if things go back to normal, racing and breeding at the same time will become an even greater exception.
This weekend is the USTA's annual meeting being highlighted by a contested Presidential election between incumbent Phil Langley and Jason Settlemoir. I have my suspicion how this election will go, but I will keep it to myself. I previously voiced my opinion and will leave it at that. Of the rule changes of note, is a bunch of rules for RUS racing; something imperative to get RUS on the wagering menu at some tracks. Here's hoping for a productive meeting.
The Meadowlands is now offering a guarantee on the Jackpot Super High-Five when only one winning ticket is hit. For those who like jackpot wagers, it makes the High-Five an even more attractive wager.