Racing at DuQuoin and Springfield will be interesting this year. While the Illinois Racing Board has approved their racing dates along with pari-mutuel wagering, it appears as of now the State Department of Agriculture has zero funding available for purses. Race at your own risk as it once took almost a year for the winner of stakes races to receive their purse checks.
The good news is Maywood Park has decided to continue racing for the time being (at least until the sale of the facility at a bankruptcy auction) as they had withdrawn application to vacate the rest of their days for 2015. The plan was for Balmoral Park to take over the then vacant Friday nights while dropping Sunday evening racing.
I am not thrilled with TVG (oops, 4NJBets) right now. I wanted to play the Confederation Cup card, including Ontario's second RUS race of the year at Flamboro Downs and of course, they failed to aacept wagering on Flamboro. Why is Flamboro Downs along with a bunch of other Canadian harness tracks missing from the NJ slate when every obscure thoroughbred and quarter horse track in North America such as Assiniboia Downs, the Downs at Albuquerque, and Will Rogers Downs are offered for wagering? True any track which wishes to be simulcast in NJ must have an agreement approved by the NJRC but I suspect it has more to do with the NJSEA outsourcing management of the wagering system to an entity which operates Monmouth Park; people not exactly looking to promote standardbred racing. If nationally TVG offers a signal, it should be offered in the Garden State. If the thoroughbred people are not willing to approve harness signals as they do with the runners, then NJ should get out of the ADW game and open up the state to any licenesed ADW.
It seems a shame all the effort racing secretary Peter Koch goes thru putting race cards together netted this week 8.75 (Friday) and 8.69 (Sat) starters per race at the Meadowlands. Besides the known issues of competition for horses from slot tracks, it seems part of the problem may be the fixation on having 13 races a night. The amateurs have been invited back to fill the Friday night program to reach #13. Instead of trying to get multiple divisions of a race in order to have 13 races with fewer horses , maybe having 10 races with full fields would be better. After all, serious players rather see full fields.
Belmont Prediction: There will be no thoroughbred Triple Crown winner this year. It seems every year of late there is a horse who lays in ambush ready to pounce on the Triple Crown contender in New York and there is no reason to think this year will be different. The fresh horses always seems to do better than the horse who has been racing in two demanding races. Of course, things have changed with the runners as well. In the 'good old' days, the horses who raced in the Derby, moved on to the Preakness before heading on to the Belmont; hence each horse has been through the same tough schedule. Now it is skip the first two races and lie in ambush or after a less than stellar finish in the Derby, it's skip the Preakness and try to regroup in New York.
On a personal note, you may have noticed my postings have been less frequent of late. Due to family obligations, my time has not been my own and I have been dealing with issues involving family members, myself included. Hopefully, things will quiet down and I will be able to post more often. In the meanwhile, we soldier on and post when possible. In the mean while, I thank Joe F. for keeping things going by posting occasionally.