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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Morning Briefs

Racing at Cooper Downs  photo from Facebook
Harness racing action returns to Cooper Downs Racetrack today.  Cooper Downs, you ask?  Odds are you never heard of it racing occurs at Cooper Downs Racetrack and Entertainment, a non-sanctioned meet conducted in Terry, Mississippi.  Some of  these drivers and horses may make an occasional foray to the Midwest tracks but for the most part the participants race for the love of the sport.

The great Monarch Content Group v. Mid-Atlantic Racing Cooperative stalemate ended after roughly four months.  The big losers?  The racing fans who couldn't bet on their favorite tracks.  This type of service disruption needs to stop.  One has to wonder if simulcast fees need to be regulated by racing commissions via a compact.  I am not saying the same fee should apply to all tracks, but based on handle, you can have three tiers of tracks with a different fee charged for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 tracks.  Then this nonsense of holding the bettor hostage can end once and for all.

In a recent interview Phil Langley mentioned the USTA was considering establishing its own ADW.  Some may scoff but it could work.  The USTA is considering a subscription service to a harness racing network on the Internet where racing content, and related programming may be offered,  Well, if they are going to offer harness racing on the network, why not have an ADW network taking wagers on what is being broadcast?  If I may suggest one host for the program, i would like to put Ellie Sarama, who for some reason was dropped from the Little Brown Jug simulcast broadcast last year would be a natural for such a network.   The best thing about a harness racing ADW would tracks and horsemen would receive larger commissions than they currently do.

Of course, for the Meadowlands, such an ADW would only be partially beneficial.  Due to state law, the only ADW legal in the state is 4njbets, currently run by TVG; hence NJ residents who are Meadowlands fans would not be able to join a harness racing ADW, NJ horsemen and tracks would not be able to benefit fully.

Maven finally gets her first win of the European campaign at Solvalla yeterday. For those who have not seen the race, here is the replay.

With the victory, Maven has punched her own ticket to the Elitlopp.  It is just a question as to whether her connections accept the invite.

By now, you have heard how a federal prosecutor has charged four trainers with doping horses, the result if a case which resulted in a trainer taking a plea in a race fixing scandal.  Why some may fear such federal intervention at their local racetrack, I must confess, it would be great if the prosecutor could be cloned and they be put in charge of jurisdictions where tracks are located.

Someone has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for marketing of harness racing in Michigan.  So far it has had a lot of views but little success as of now.  Is it the best plan to market?  I can't say not being in the Michigan area.  What I do know is the situation in Michigan isn't healthy and horsemen pockets are pretty empty, but if they aren't going to step up, who is?

I try to keep my personal politics out of this column but since Indiana's Governor has signed the Indiana Religious Restoration Act, I am be boycotting racing at Hoosier Park for the foreseeable future.  Some argue the impact of the IRRA is being exagerated, but there is no doubt as to what triggered it being passed.  That is good enough for me to support the boycott of Indiana. 

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