You know it is never a good sign when a track doesn't pay its obligations to another track acting as your clearinghouse for simulcast wagers and that is the situation Scarborough Downs finds themselves in; owing money to Suffolk Downs. Suffolk Downs claims Scarborough owes over $179,000 while Scarborough says the amount is much less. It doesn't really matter how much it is, if you can't forward the money you owe other tracks for wagers made on their races, you have problems.
Those of you who have not experienced French-style racing yet, Yonkers Raceway is sending races on the later part of their card to PMU today. Races 8-12 are 1 1/4 mile tilts with 12 and 10 horses in the races. Scheduled post time for race 8 is 3:20 pm. Even if you don't wager on the races, watch the races and see what racing could look like if we got progressive.
The writing was on the wall when John Manzi retired from Monticello Raceway. What would happen to the promotions the track used to have, in particular the Heritage Series? In a short answer, 'Gone'. The Heritage series races are contested through the year where races would be restricted to certain drivers based on their heritage with a final at the end of the year. Granted, these promotions probably did little to help the bottom line at the Raceway, but other than a press release or two and a trophy (or a box of matzo for the Passover Pace), the cost was minimal. If nothing else, these races were a tradition at the Sullivan County oval. It is a shame all the work Manzi seemed to do at the track is being wiped away.
Heather Vitale if nothing else is fearless, as she took to the announcer's booth Saturday evening for the first time ever to call a race live as she was invited to call the second race at Pompano Park. As one would expect, her race calling is a 'work in progress'.
I give Vitale credit for trying on a such public stage; that took guts. Just the same, I don't think she will be giving up her Post Time Show or PA Harnessweek for the life of an announcer anytime soon.
On the Outside Looking In? Although part of the Virginia Equine Alliance, I can't help but have a feeling that standardbred horsemen may on the outside looking in this year at Colonial Downs. Negotiations between the HBPA and Colonial Downs regarding leasing the facility are under way and while negotiations may include provisions for standardbred racing, the HBPA tend to worry only about their own.
Yonkers Raceway has announced a 20% purse increase across the board in response to the opening of additional racetracks which could cause them a shortage of race horses; this is an annual routine. Good for Yonkers, doing what they need to do to present the best horses they can but one has to wonder how/if the Meadowlands will respond. Whether or not there are funds for a purse increase in New Jersey remains to be seen but I see Peter Koch earning his money trying to put competitive fields together.
Speaking of Yonkers, Tim Tetrick was interviewed and offered his opinion on longer races.
Best wishes to driver Ron Pierce who has finally decided to undergo long overdue surgery. Here's hoping the recovery goes as well as he hopes, if not quicker. I look forward to his return.