And so it begins. The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (yes, a name change) is open and on Saturday, the Meadowlands dropped one race yet has only 8.25 starters per race on the card with five races at the bottom levels of the claiming and conditioned ranks. Come next week when Harrah's Philadelphia opens, the average may drop further.
While getting horsemen to drop into the entry box at the Meadowlands is a challenge, when it comes to amateur races, it doesn't seem to be a problem. Two full fields of ten will be on the card Friday night, providing relief to in putting together the card. Some will grown at the prospect of amateurs on the card, but there are some competent drivers racing. In addition, these races will be competed at full throttle the entire mile.
You have to wonder what, if anything, the Meadowlands will do to mark the passing of Jim Doherty? Being Doherty had raced at the Meadowlands since its opening through 2013, you would think something should be done to note his passing. If the Meadowlands can have the Buddy Gilmour late closing series, naming the next late closer to be developed the James Doherty would be a fitting commemoration.
Later this year, the Meadowlands will host 13 days of Monmouth Park at Meadowlands thoroughbred racing on the turf course from September 24 through October 31. The thoroughbreds were hoping to run 22 days of both turf and dirt racing but no agreement could be made on who would pay the cost to convert the track for thoroughbred racing and back to harness racing. Based on what was mentioned when racing dates were first applied for, odds are expectations were for the thoroughbred horsemen to pay the entire cost, something they obviously were unwilling not to do. This is something surprising because fall rains last year resulted in the cancellation of a few dates which meant no racing. Having the dirt track available would mean no dates would be lost.
Friday night starts the Bluechip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers and an interesting possibility shows up in 5th race where Carolesideal figures to go off an overwhelming favorite from the rail. However, on the far outside is co-Aged Mare Pacer of the Year, Anndrovette at 6-1. Coming off two qualifiers, she is not to be disregarded. It is a question of whether you can get value.
While the ladies take to the track on Friday, the boys kick off things Saturday night in the first leg of the George Morton Levv series and there is an interesting horse in the second division (6th race). Polka A starts from the rail in making his first start in North America. His qualifier was good and lifetime earnings in excess of $219,000; a respectable amount in Australia. The qualifier at the Meadowlands shows the horse may ready at first asking. At 5-1 he may be worth a look but lower than that threshold, I would pass.
In the third division, Foiled Again makes his season debut and lists a 3-1. While not a walkover, there is a good chance he will score in his first start back but then it is a question of value. If you are looking for someone else, Apprentice Hanover is worth a look at 6-1.
West Virginia's budget proposal calls for $2 million in purse subsidies for racing (greyhound, thoroughbred) to be shifted to pay for Medicaid programs. There is really nothing else to be said about this; it stands on its own.