- An easy transition to the timing of races in hundredths. This change begins on January 1. Say good bye to 1:49.3 (where '.3' is 3/5ths instead of your math class 3/10ths) and say hello to 1:49.25 which will be mathematically correct. What will make things more interesting is while American races will be timed in hundredths, Canadian races will continue to be timed in fifths. (Update: Implementation has been delayed to a date TBD)
- A great FFA season. The seeds have been planted for a great campaign with some of the best horses we have seen in quite awhile. Hopefully, the upcoming year will live up to the hype.
- Another great Yonkers International. It may be a throwback to our glory days but let's not kid ourselves, it shows what racing should be; an international affair.
- No disrespect intended to John Campbell, but the formal coronation of Tim Tetrick as our 'driver laureate', our new globe trotting ambassador for harness racing and all around class guy.
- The continued truce between Jeff Gural and Joe Faraldo. If you haven't noticed it, things have been quiet of late between the two men. We like it this way. Both have their own views on how racing should be saved, and at times they are diametrically opposite of each other, but public bickering doesn't help anyone.
- A 'relatively' quiet Meadowlands meet, one without controversy, no talk about exclusions and counting to one hundred before announcing any new policies.
- While on the subject of the Meadowlands, full fields, dare I say overflow fields once Yonkers and other tracks reopen? It has been nice these past two weeks having full fields. I realize the odds are the overflow entries will be disappearing, but hey, you can hope.
- With the deadline to get a casino gambling amendment to the legislative floor this year having passed, we wish for super majorities in 2016 so a North Jersey gaming referendum can reach the ballot box. Face it, every year a referendum doesn't get voted on, the Meadowlands programs gets shaved a little bit more.
- In Florida, the failure of the de-coupling movement for if the state manages to de-couple racing from their card rooms and casino floors, it will only be a matter of time until de-coupling spreads like a virus.
- A successful Suburban Downs meet at Hawthorne. Success at Suburban Downs may make Hawthorne value their harness meet besides the fact they control the revenue from OTW.
- 2017 racing dates for Balmoral and Maywood Park. Hey, we can dream can't we?
- If Thunder Ridge Raceway races in 2016, customers. Betting customers. Heck, when I would be considered a whale, a track is in big trouble.
- If not the return of Harness Racing Update, a new publication to discuss the serious issues involving racing. One can't expect publications operated by racing organizations to deal with the serious issues.
- If the long discussed USTA racing channel on the Internet comes to fruition, the creation of an app which can be watched on devices such as Roku, Fire TV, and other devices. Some of us dinosaurs still like watching racing on their televisions, even if the signals come from the Internet.
- Donald Trump. Face it, as long as we have Donald in the Presidential election, even the stupidest thing done in the standardbred industry will look like sheer genius.
- Back to New Jersey, a successful debut of exchange wagering which will be profitable not only for racetracks but convince those doubters in states such as California they should adopt exchange wagering.
- The return of Walter Case. We can dream can't we?
- Billy Parker in the Hall of Fame (this will be on my list until it happens)
- More racing opportunities in Michigan.
- Co-mingling of foreign pools into American pools and vice-versa.
- Introducing a mile rate for races shorter or longer than a standard mile. A mile rate will make it easier to handicap races; especially when horses race at different distances.
- Another successful year for RUS Ontario. Perhaps hosting a race or two in the Martimes, maybe during Old Home Week?
- Pari-mutuel wagering for American racing under saddle events. I know there are doubters out there but until it is given a fair chance, we don't know do we?
- Cal Expo exercise their option early and begin negotiating an extension of the lease to Watch and Wager early as the lease to operate a harness meet at Cal Expo ends in 2017.
- With the cancellation of PA Harnessweek, a new gig for Heather Vitale and Steve Ross.
- A return to the day when post time meant post time (we can pray for miracles can't we?)
- A winning year at the windows. Now that would be a Christmas miracle.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
What I Would Like to See in 2016
An annual tradition of VFTRG is our list of times we would like to see in the upcoming year. For your consideration is my list of things I would like to see in 2016.