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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Delays, Farewell, and Turf Racing

If you saw my wish list for 2016, you will have seen me talk about the conversion of times to 1/100ths.  You may have also seen an update showing it has been delayed.  It turns out the USTA has tabled its implementation.  You may ask why?  Is it because Canada has refused to go along with the USTA's lead?  Nope.  The problem is at least one racing commission has refused to approve the rule change meaning they would continue to time races in fifths.  As a result, the USTA has decided to hold off on the conversion.

Here lies one of the biggest problems horse racing has to deal with.  The sport may have national rules regarding things like timing and on contesting the race, but the rule changes are meaningless unless the individual racing state approves their version of the rules.  If there is a problem with getting states to go along with the timing change, what hope is there to get any changes approved on a national basis; especially since it has been known for at least a year and a half that timing was to change to the hundredths?

I am in the process of trying to find out the name of at least one commission which refused to go along with the change and why.

There needs to be a compact which allows rules to be adopted on a national level instead of requiring state by state approval.  If medication changes can be adopted nationally, there should be no reason why commissions can't approve standardized rules.

Auld Lang Syne

Farewell to Balmoral Park which will be racing its final race card tonight.  As you know, Balmoral Park is in bankruptcy and has not been given race dates for 2016.  Whether or not racing ever returns to the track remains to be seen; it depends a lot on what happens with the bankruptcy auction and the success of Hawthorne's two harness meets this year.  Maywood Park had already closed earlier this year.

A little Boxing Day Turf Racing

This race was contested earlier today at Westport as part of the Boxing Day card.  The race was 3,200 meters long over the turf and was won by Cullect A Guiness in 4:11.8.  What makes this race interesting is it was run over the turf, something not done in North America.

A few years ago, there was a race at the Meadowlands over the turf and the starting gate car was bouncing up and down all over the place causing confusion.  You will notice here they use a walk-up start to avoid such problems.

Note the horse not only wasn't up front at the start, but was assessed a 30 meter handicap; the only horse with a 30 meter handicap.

No, I am not suggesting we go to a walk-up start.  Something like that would have heads exploding from traditionalists who are resistant to any change so the odds of getting turf racing is remote.  However, this shows if you make races long enough, a second tier which provides more wagering options is feasible.  Distance racing is something worth having a battle about.

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