For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Monday, May 11, 2015

Thoroughbreds Beat the Trotters Again in Horse Rescue; Get Your RUS Game Ready

The problem of unwanted race horses, formally the sole issue of humane groups has gone mainstream and is being discussed in racing circles.  For example, on Saturday, in Thoroughbred Racing Commentary,  Erin Shea discusses how hard it has been to explain to racing and non-racing fans what happens to thoroughbreds when their racing careers are over.  Thanks to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) and Retired Racehorse Project (RRP), it is becoming much easier to discuss the fates of these horses.

Unfortunately, in the standardbred industry, it is still uncomfortable to discuss the future of retired racehorses.  Yes, there are independent rescue groups, the USTA does contribute where possible to the cause of retraining and retiring standardbreds but their budget is small when compared to the runners.  Now make no mistake, there are people in the industry who do care about their horses, the population of horsemen who care about their horses even after they leave their barn is larger than I ever imagined, but there are still those who have no problem sending their horses to dealers and an uncertain future.  However, for the industry to really be in a good position, there needs to be a standardbred aftercare alliance.  However, the industry lacks the financial resources to set up such an organization.  Perhaps forming an alliance with the TAA would be a good start,  Of course, the runners won't and shouldn't fund standardbred rescue, but sharing the back office could provide economies of scale in getting standardbred rescue stepped up to a higher level. 

Whipping is back as an issue, as Pennsylvania has approved new rules and Illinois is also looking at changing their rules as well.  Let;s face it, the issue isn't going away.  Hiding one's head in the sand isn't going to make the issue go away.  We have come to a case of leading or be led.  For more about whipping, PTP discussed it this past weekend.

Bee A Magician opened eyes in the AJ Cutler Prep race at the Meadowlands, scoring a 12-1 upset from post 10 and is in to compete against the same group of horses next week.  Is she that good?  History has shown mares being able to hold their own against the boys on the trotting side, but is the Cutler final the place she shows her supremacy?  I doubt it; next week with the big money on the line, expect a lot more competition waking up for their share of the purse.  However, if you believe the mare can pull it off, you should still get decent odds next week.

RUS fans rejoice.  The 2016 Ontario RUS racing circuit begins this weekend with two racing dates.  On the Friday, May 15, the currently 16 date season begins at The Raceway at Western Fair District and the continues on Sunday, May 17 at Flamboro Downs as part of the Confederation Cup program.

 These are wagering events so if you wish to show support for RUS, why not make a few wagers on these races if your AD carries them?

This year, RUS Ontario makes a visit to Charlottetown, PEI to be part of the Old Home Week celebration, depending on how the local commission acts, it may be the only non-wagering event on their schedule.  

To keep abreast of RUS Ontario's season, you may visit RUS Ontario's website. 

As for American RUS action, it looks for the most part it will be an exhibition slate again with tracks continuing to sign up.  The American schedule will be released shortly.  Hopefully the codifying of RUS by the USTA will allow racing commissions to enact their own regulations and allow wagering on these events in the future.  Unfortunately, there are certain horsemen groups opposed to RUS because why do anything which may fuel more interest in the standardbred racing?  It makes too much sense.

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