For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursday Briefs

It's great that the Association of Racing Commissions International (ARCI) is having town hall meetings (they seem to be the rage these days) for industry stakeholders to discuss the policing of racing as well as how to advance uniform regulatory rules but I can't help but notice all these town hall meetings have been held and continue to be held at thoroughbred tracks.  Wouldn't it make sense to have one of these sessions to be held at a standardbred track where harness racing interests are more likely to be present so they may be heard?  Just wondering.  UPDATE: Just learned this afternoon that two sessions are being scheduled at harness tracks shortly and another one will be at a location which should draw attendance from representatives from both breeds.  Also, just to clarify all town hall meetings are open to representatives regardless of where a session is scheduled.

Off his impressive seasonal debut on Monday at Dover Downs, Wiggle It Jiggleit makes his first start on the half mile oval Saturday evening and gets promptly saddled with the seven-hole.  He may very well win Saturday night but with a morning line of 2-1, it may be worth taking a stab in an effort to find someone to beat him if he goes off less than 2-1.

Also, in what may be a boon for breeders. at least north of the border, Standardbred Canada has gotten its foot in the door with China and its fledgling horse racing industry.  It may be hard to believe but there is a small standardbred presence in China with some racing, albeit under saddle.  With the opportunity to upgrade China's breeding program, the potential to open up the Chinese market to North America hopefully will benefit the industry on these shores.  There was a period where standardbreds raced in Macau, so the possibility of harness racing returning to China is a distinct possibility which would be great for the industry world-wide.

A rescue recently managed to save a standardbred from New Holland but at present; the horse is unidentifiable as the horse had his freeze-brand burned off a long time ago.  Clearly, someone decided to unload the horse and feared being tied to the horse.  A good first rule for horse owners is if you feel the need to get rid of the freeze-brand, there is a good chance you are about to do something you shouldn't do.  One only hopes animal welfare laws would now make such actions illegal.  If not, it should be.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Down Under Brigade flexing Muscles in Levy and Matchmaker

Through the first two rounds of the Levy/Matchmaker series at Yonkers Raceway we’ve seen horses that have never competed in this harbinger of spring before step up, and several of them are from Down Under.

This is the second year under the “Burke Rule,” which restricts trainers to one horse per division. Prior to that, Ron Burke, and others, would routinely have an entry racing in each division. They could only race two in the final, but the numerous $50,000 splits in the five preliminary rounds of the Levy were fertile ground for a powerful stable: In 2014 Burke won nine of the first eleven divisions, with seven of those winners being odds-on favorites.

Aside from the rule changes, another factor that has opened up the Levy to new blood is the passage of time. Foiled Again, the 12-year-old dean of the series, is competing in his eighth edition. He has won 20 legs and two lucrative finals, good for well over a million dollars. But last year he was pulled from the series after three unsuccessful starts and he is still looking for a win this year.

Three-time Dan Patch winner, Anndrovette, is contesting her sixth edition of the Matchmaker, but while she has triumphed in seven legs since 2013, she has never won the final. Iron-tough Krispy Apple is back for the sixth time, but a couple of preliminary legs back in 2013 is all she has to show for it in the win column of late. Many of the horses that have dominated the two series over the past few years are either past their prime or retired.

Back in 2014 the Christian Cullen mare, Royal Cee Cee N, was the only import in the Matchmaker. She failed to win any legs and finished fifth in the consolation. Five horses from Down Under competed in the Levy that year and none of them won any preliminary legs. The Bettor’s Delight gelding, Texican N, who has two seconds in the current edition, did make the final on points, where he finished sixth.

Last year, in a smaller than usual group of nominees, the Jereme’s Jet mare For The Ladies N, who has fared poorly in the current series, was the only import in the distaff series. She didn’t win any legs, but she did take the $75,000 consolation. The Pacific Fella pacer Polak A won two legs of the Levy, each by a neck, in his first two starts in North America. He was sixth in the final. And the In The Pocket gelding, Heez Orl Black N, also won a leg.

On Friday five mares from Down Under competed in the Matchmaker, while seven imports started in the Levy. Eight newcomers to these series have won over the first two weeks and five of them are from the Southern Hemisphere.

The mighty Bit Of A Legend N, who is racing for trainer Peter Tritton, came first up at the half and crushed the field in 1:53 as the 2/5 favorite in the third division. Driver Jordan Stratton, who has gone to the gate in 23,000 races, labeled him the best horse he has ever driven. Bit Of A Legend is now two for two in the series.

Stratton also won for the second time with the Gotta Go Cullect mare, Al Raza N, in Friday’s second leg of the Matchmaker. And Sell A Bit N, also from the Tritton barn, won the first split for Stratton. The Julius Caesar mare dominated the filly and mare open division at Yonkers last year, winning ten of her 21 starts. Sell A Bit, who was 8/5 co-favorite with Venus Delight, won in 1:52.1, the fastest time thus far in the mares’series.

The 8-year-old Western Terror gelding, Texas Terror N, racing for Jose Godinez and Blindswitch Racing, was a 49/1 upset winner in the first leg of the Levy. He finished third this week behind Melmerby Beach and Foiled Again.

Polak A, a winner of almost $90,000 for Tony O’Sullivan and the Bellino family in 2015, finished a disappointing last in the first leg and was not entered this week. However, newcomer Te Kawau N (Bettor’s Delight) joined the fray and, making his first North American start, finished a well measured third behind double winner Lucan Hanover and Texican N.

Dream Out Loud N (Bettor’s Delight) and Western Terror N (Western Terror) were both third in their respective divisions.

Bit Of A Legend N is tied with Lucan Hanover and Take It Back Terry for the top spot in the Levy with 150 points. If the series ended today, Texas Terror N would also qualify for the final and Bettor Rock On N and Texican N would both be part of a four-way tie for the eighth spot in the final, which carried a $529,000 purse last year. Al Raza N tops the Matchmaker point list, while Sell A Bit N would also make the final, which went for $261,000 last year, if the series ended today.

But there are three more preliminary legs left in both the Levy and Matchmaker, and 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, who cruised to victory in tonight’s seasonal debut at Dover Downs, should be in the mix on Saturday.

Joe FitzGerald

Friday, March 25, 2016

The long goodbye continues ...

by Peter Lawrence, VFTRG Contributor

... at the very defunct former standardbred training facility, Showplace Farms, Millstone Twp., N.J.

It closed last October, I believe, and has been getting taken apart, piece by piece, ever since.

These photos are from a visit I made there last Friday.

In the first shot, an orange "007" can barely be seen on part of one of the entrance gates. I believe that was a lot number from the public auction of every part of the place which wasn't nailed down.

The main gate. All photos by Peter Lawrence.

And some parts that were nailed down.
So I guess someone bought the gates.

The second shot is the main driveway, obviously.
The main driveway.
The third is a view through a paddock running along Route 33 of what may have been trainer Linda Toscano's barn.
A now empty paddock.
The roof is being removed over there. I'm pretty sure many of the other barns, which have played host to many champion racehorses, have already been demolished.

The final photo is of the sign in front of nearby Gaitway Farm.
Gaitway Farms, still going.

Gaitway is still up, running, and as far as I know, healthy.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Colorful Distraction

If you happen to be planning a trip to Ireland during the middle of June, you may want to make Portmarnock Raceway a stop on your trip, especially on June 19 when 25 skewbald pacers will be competing on Painted Mile Day, a day dedicated to the colorful pacers.

A Skewbald Pacer

While skewbalds can rarely compete against the traditionally, colored standardbred, they still breed them in Ireland and Great Britain with their numbers increasing.  Mind you, we will never see the day when skewbalds will seize the breeding market and we will see pinto-colored horses all over, but it is a colorful change of pace.  Something you most likely will never see on these shores.

Chuck the Whip?

In a television appearance on Wednesday, HRNZ CEO Edward Rennell expressed his personal opinion that whips need to go, an opinion which undoubtedly has heads spinning among New Zealand horsemen. For example, former world champion driver Mark Jones claimed "I think it's a big part of racing and it's needed and it would be a terrible spectacle if you take it away from racing,"

While I am not sure what Jones means by 'spectacle', I don't think anyone can argue that the use of a whip adds to the color of the sport, something which many people will think is a wonderful thing.  Rennell realizes harness racing needs to get rid of the whip because it is a magnet for animal-rights activists, something which will hurt the sport in New Zealand and elsewhere.  To the AR people and the general public, telling them you are limiting the number of times a driver may use the whip is not going to help; one strike will be too many.  The HRNZ CEO realizes it is best to be ahead of the problem rather than have the problem control the solution.

Here in the States, while the focus of animal rights activists is first on greyhound racing, thoroughbred and quarter horse racing, then harness racing, make no mistake the sport sooner or later will be in the bulls-eye of AR activists.  Whether or not they can directly eliminate the whip is unknown, but rest assured they will be able to launch a campaign which will make racing an outlaw, making it easier for legislatures to decouple or redirect funds going to the sport.

Now I am not suggesting we throw the whips out tomorrow, but there is no reason why a transition to whipless racing can't take place.  We can start one year eliminating the whip in two year old races, the following year two and three year old races, then all races.  For those who feel the whip is a safety issue, we can even let drivers carry the whip for use in emergency situations and then evaluate over a period of time whether the safety issue is real or perceived.  

Then, harness racing will be a spectacle, one we can be proud of.

For Throw Back Thursday, we go to 1997 where we see the Harley Davidson Trot which was won by Australian invader Knight Pistol.

Oh, by the way, if you looked at the race closer, you will notice the lack of a whip in each driver's hand.   While one race doesn't prove anything, Norway has been racing without whips for years and obviously it works.  If it can work in Norway, it can work in New Zealand and it can work in North America.  Granted, it will take bettors some getting used to, before they become comfortable with it.  Being most tracks have a minuscule handles anyway, relying on slots to fund purses, wouldn't it be a good time to make a transition when any temporary drop-off in handle can be managed without seriously hurting purses?

Like many things in racing, it isn't a question of 'can we or can't we', it's a question of the will to make a change.  Change will come.  The question is one can lead or one can be dragged kicking and screaming.

For those purists who love the sport of harness racing for the sport itself, here is a segment called "The Bush Tracks" which was produced by Mississippi Public Television back in 2014.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Nicknames In Harness Racing

Nicknames for participants in harness racing—human and equine—have played a role in the sport from the beginning. Many are straightforward and self-evident: The Redman, Scooter, Muscles, Catman etc.; but a lot of the better ones are more creative and mysterious.

Bill Haughton was dubbed “The Master,” for obvious reasons. He and Stanley Dancer were christened the “Gold Dust Twins” back in the 1950s when the pair ruled the two Metropolitan New York half-milers. Dancer arrived in 1947 and Haughton showed up the following year. The only options for the 15-20,000 fans who showed up each night were win-place-show betting and the Double. The pair revolutionized the sport with their aggressive style and win at all cost tactics.

For an understated guy, trainer-driver Joe O’Brien generated a lot of nicknames. He was “Gentleman Joe,” which became the title of the biography his friend Marie Hill published in 1975.  And he was “The Ice Man,” thanks to his tendency to sit chilly whenever possible. He was also “Jolten Joe” and “Jigglin Joe,” in deference to his penchant for dancing in the bike, as opposed to using the whip.

Announcer Frank Salive is “The Velvet Fog,” thanks to his super-smooth delivery. Best known for his WEG stint between 1991 and 2005, Salive has also called races at Pompano Park, Hanover, Clinton and Woodstock.

We all know Yannick Gingras as “The Green Hornet,” but Harold Story, who logged his first win back in 1947, and was a mainstay at Saratoga in subsequent decades, was also “The Green Hornet.” Story won 3,000 races and handled the great trotting mare, Scenic Regal. He was a “crafty” type in the Eddie Cobb tradition—feared and respected by any knowledgeable bettor.

Lew Williams, the sport’s greatest African-American driver, was “Super Lew.” He tore up Northfield in the 1970’s and was also very successful at Pompano and Windsor. He’s best known for making speed with FFA pacer Whata Baron at The Meadowlands. Williams battled substance abuse issues throughout his career, and died tragically in a tractor accident at age 42.

Ulf Thoresen, the first European to win the Hambletonian (Nuclear Kosmos), was both “The Wizard” and “Mr Goldfinger.” Fans loved him because he often won with outsiders. There’s a race in his honor each July at Jarlsberg.

Another fan favorite, who also brought home plenty of horses that had little chance on paper, was “Magic Man” Bill O’Donnell.

Ron Gurfein, who won the Hambletonian with Victory Dream, Continentalvictory and Self Possessed, all in rein to Mike Lachance, is “The Trotting Guru.” He has always been a sage when it comes to shoeing a trotter for success when the big money is up for grabs.

Thankful, the Hoot Mon mare who gave the world the beastly and dangerous, but very fast, Nevele Pride, carried the barn name “Little Evil.” Harry Pownall said Pride’s daddy, Stars Pride, would kick him right out of the bike if he touched him with a whip, so, in fairness, he may have also contributed to the champ’s charming demeanor.

Nick’s Fantasy, the only Maryland bred to win the Little Brown Jug, was somewhat lethargic by nature, so he was dubbed “Mr Dozy.” The Tyler’s mark gelding also went by the more respectful “Sir Nick.” He was born in a trailer racing to cross the Maryland line before the blessed event, so he’d be eligible to that state’s sire stakes program. John Campbell drove him for the first time in the Jug, where he set a world record for a sophomore gelding on a half. Nick’s owner, Don Sipe, who was very sick, heard him win the three-year-old classic on the radio, and passed  a few hours later.

For some reason Run The Table, the only millionaire by the Meadow Skipper stallion Landslide, was “Artie.” He was big and lazy, but John Campbell said he was at his best firing from the gate, which always required some encouragement. Run The Table, who was the first to beat Jate Lobell, was also part of the first father-son team of Adios winners.

And of course Sweet Lou is “The Great White Blaze” for obvious reasons. He set world records at two, three and five, and is the only pacer ever to win his division at age two and age five.

Strong Yankee (Muscles Yankee), who won the 2005 Yonkers Trot, Kentucky Futurity and Breeders Crown for Trond Smedshammer, was known as “Teddy,” probably due to his cuddly, pet-like nature. He beat Vivid Photo, Classic Photo and Ken Warkentin in the Futurity.

Staying Together, the 1993 Horse of the Year in the US and Canada, was known at the Kentucky Horse Park as “Stanley.”

Speedy Scot, still a top five trotter 56 years after his birth, was, for obvious reasons, “The Castleton Cannonball.”

Western Ace, George Teague’s chippy little Western Ideal gelding, who won the Wilson and Niatross , was “Little Man.”

Armbro Ranger, the featured attraction in Steady Star’s less than impressive portfolio, was “Little Nero.” The latter was one year older and they both took their divisions in 1975. Ranger was from Steady Star’s first crop; his grandpa Tar Heel’s line was fading fast at that point. Nero, who, as I recall, carried the barn name “Garbage” due to the oversized dark goggles, elaborate headgear and varied and sundry other crap he wore when he raced, was syndicated for a record $3.6 million by Alan Leavitt.

Sometimes great horses draw unflattering barn names. Triple Crown winner Super Bowl, who stood 16.1 hands, was good naturedly referred to as “Big Dummy” by his groom. And Beach Towel, who won 29 of 36 starts for $2.5 million and was Horse of the Year at three, was “Bozo.”

Big Towner, with his ancient bloodlines and unpleasant disposition, was labeled “Simpson’s Folly” when he entered the stud ranks at Hanover, but he proved to be anything but. It’s all in a name.
Joe FitzGerald

PRESS RELEASE: New Roosevelt Raceway Website Unveiled

March 23, 2016

By Fred Hudson

The new Roosevelt Raceway website has been launched and it can be viewed at The site has many photos, videos and several newspaper articles about drivers and races from the Roosevelt Raceway glory days.

Everyone who visits the website should read the newspaper articles, especially “Six for Cruise” and a “Perfect Night for Haughton” both located on the Hall of Fame page. Also the article “RR 1960” on the About page is an excellent story about the history of Roosevelt Raceway and it's founder George Morton Levy.

The website is a work in progress and the released version consists of seven pages including a Hall of Fame, Videos, International Trot, and a Then & Now page. In the near future the current pages will be expanded on and other pages will be added, including an American Trotting Championship, Messenger Stake, Gallery, and Event pages.

The websites theme is “Promoting the Past to Promote the Future”.

There is also a link on the website that takes you to a Amazon page that is dedicated to mostly harness racing books. The website was designed and developed by Roosevelt Raceway co-author Freddie Hudson with assistance from Mike Lizzi, Trade Martin, Ray Cotolo and Roosevelt Raceway book co-author Billy Haughton.

For more information contact

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Frustration of Inaction

While racing under saddle (RUS) is doing relatively well in Ontario as they gear up for another season, racing under saddle continues to struggle in the United States.  There may be an occasional exhibition (New York) or non-wagering event (elsewhere) which will put under saddle racing on display, but due to the lack of racing opportunities, the racing often looks sloppy.  Two or three years ago when last there was a Hambletonian RUS Series, what spectators got was a competitive exciting race, a race which changed some doubters opinions regarding the viability of pari-mutuel wagering on it.

So while there will be good racing in Ontario, until something gets moving in state legislatures or racing commissions, here in the lower 48 we need to depend on series such as the NY Fair Series where a series of nine RUS events will be conducted at county fairs with a final to be raced this year at Batavia Downs.  With some luck, this group of dedicated individuals will manage to get some additional races at the pari-mutuel plants in the state.  While any races at the regular tracks will have higher purses, on the fair circuit purses will be minimal, around $750, so only the most dedicated rider, owner, and trainers will likely be willing to participate. If they wish to race for bigger money, they will be forced to go to Ontario.  

My apologies to those who will participate in the occasional RUS events elsewhere this year, but the rest of the industry appears to have abandoned this form of racing.  After getting rules promulgated at the USTA, which at district meetings were poo-pooed by traditionalists who quite honestly, can't see beyond their (fill in the blank) when it comes to innovation.  People who refuse to even approach their legislatures or racing commissions because they are unwilling to go against thoroughbred interests who may claim RUS should be raced by thoroughbred permit holders (as if they ever will) or quite honestly, can't bother to do anything.  

Perhaps they feel threatened with the idea we will have nine RUS tilts and one traditional race on programs (more likely it will be the opposite).  Maybe they are overly protective of their purse account which in most cases hasn't been earned but in fact is a welfare payment.  Maybe they have just given up and are just hoping the industry doesn't implode until they are ready to hit the rocking chair.  Who knows what their motives may be.  

What a shame, for given the opportunity, RUS could be another arrow in the quiver for standardbred racing; another variable in reading a racing program, something which may attract new people to the sport as gamblers or participants (there have been riders who have bought horses to race in these series and in some cases, participate at some levels with traditional racing).  The thoroughbreds have turf races, dirt races, routes, and sprints to present the horseplayer.  99% of standardbred racing, mile races which blur one into another.  This is a quality product?

I'll be the first to say RUS is not ready for prime time in the States.  How can it be when the opportunities to race are so minimal and money earning opportunities are so limited?  However, if we can get horsemen and tracks to develop a series of races with decent purses, even though they are not wagering events and make a three year commitment to have these races, some trainers and owners will take another look and better horses will race.  With experience, the riders will get better and the coupling of horses and experienced riders will be able to put on a good show, a race good enough to wager on.

People say no one will wager on RUS.  How do they know?  Well, they wager on it in Ontario, maybe not the highest per race handles but enough to show acceptance and more familiarity increases handle.  Will people in the States accept RUS? No one can say for sure, but given the opportunity to see some races with better horses and riders, I believe so.   Besides, monté races are conducted in Europe and are well received by punters.  I can't believe horseplayers in Europe are willing to wager on RUS while those in the States are not.  All they need is the opportunity to experience RUS and gain familiarity.  After all, familiarity brings acceptance. 

Perhaps I would be more forgiving if horsemen were more willing to adopt other changes to the racing product, namely distance racing and trailers.  Earlier this year the Meadowlands had races at 1 1/8 miles with two trailers and despite the reception received by gamblers, these races were ended due to drivers not feeling comfortable with the extra horses in the race.  This despite the fact Yonkers Raceway is typically conducting 7 races a week at 1 1/4 miles with four trailers to accommodate the taste of European bettors.  Say what you may about some individuals, at least the horsemen are willing to try something to increase wagering at Yonkers and it will hopefully payoff with co-mingling of pools on those 'French themed' races.  

While I have no doubt some drivers may feel uncomfortable about the extra horses but if I may suggest familiarity breeds comfort.  Of course a driver who never raced with trailers may be uncomfortable but after some races with extra horses, they will be more comfortable with it.

The problem may be the fear horsemen going home empty handed after racing.  At a mile track, horsemen currently have to beat 5 horses to get a check.  Add two trailers and now you have to beat 7 horses to get a check (a 50% chance becomes 41%).  It is understandable owners, trainers, and drivers want to earn money and nothing is more disheartening than going home after a night of racing without a check.  

I realize this is a business and purse money is what pays the bills, maybe there is a need to add more money the the purses of these races with distribution past fifth place.  We know horseplayers like additional horses to wager on in each race; it typically increases payoffs.  Distance racing adds another factor to the gambling puzzle which also aids payoffs.  It is a lot easier to attract gamblers with decent payoffs instead of a parade of horses going off less than 3-1.

Exchange wagering, soon to debut in New Jersey is languishing elsewhere.  Did you know California has already approved rules for exchange wagering yet no track has been able or willing to give it a go?  Some complain about the amount of money which will go to purses from exchange wagering as the model is predicated on volume.  When you consider how little money is being wagered on track resulting in handles being comprised primarily of off-track wagers, wagers which earn the purse account roughly 1.5% of each dollar wagered, can exchange wagering really hurt the bottom line?  Ideally horsemen should get more money for their purse accounts but we are where we are, the time to try bold initiatives has arrived.  Yet for many, inaction is the path chosen, only to arise when an attempt to re-direct slot funds or decouple is launched.   

Slot money has always been a good support to allow the industry to reinvent itself.  Other than the strategic wagering initiative, little has been done.  Unfortunately, the opportunity is being squandered by inertia.   There is still time to right this ship, the question is are there enough participants willing to step up?  The leaders can do all they want but unless the rank and file are willing to change, their efforts are all for naught.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Brief: Langley Responds to Faraldo

In case you haven't seen it, Phil Langley responded to Joe Faraldo's open letter to Harness Racing Weekend Preview which appeared in their March 18, 2016 edition.  Since I wrote an entire column based on Faraldo's letter, fairness indicates I mention the Langley's letter as it clarifies what was reported and opined about.

I would be interested if anyone has an opinion they would like to share after reading both letters.  Feel free to do so.

Budgets and Agendas

If there is one thing harness racing has is inter-fighting.  To be fair, I am sure this phenomenon is not unique to the standardbred sport, you have it in all forms of racing and even in business, you have fighting between employees.  People are competitive and like fighting for their turf.

In a Letter to the Editor of Harness Racing Weekend Preview, USTA Director Joe Faraldo, takes the USTA to task for their spending and transparency in particular, a budget line item for $15,000 for out-of-competition testing at the Meadowlands, subsidies to tracks for broadcasting their races which exceeded the $37,000 per track limit, and the social media initiatives lack of metrics.

It is important to understand in addition to being a USTA director, Joe Faraldo is President of the SOANY, so he under his SOA hat, he is an advocate for horsemen and owners.  No doubt Joe's complaint regarding the out-of-competition testing is because this budget item is being used exclusively by the Meadowlands, basically because no other track can bother; the funds for this testing is available for any track wishing to avail itself of it.  While Faraldo may have issues with the testing regimen being used by the Meadowlands and his opinion regarding the lack of due process, there were no restrictions in how this testing was to be done which quite honestly clouds his stronger argument on fiscal responsibility.  With regards to this issue, perhaps there should be a cap as to how much each track may get for testing which may then influence how a track goes about setting up their testing program.  From the gambler/fan perspective, it disturbs me more that other tracks seemingly can't bother with setting up their own out-of-competition testing.

With regards to the overages on television broadcasting supplement overrides, this is a no-no.  The program was set up with a per track maximum amount.  With only two tracks applying for funds, the temptation to offer more in financial support to the two tracks being it wouldn't blow the overall budget item is understandable, but if the rules called for a limit, the limit should be adhered to.  If only two tracks avail themselves of the subsidy, so be it; the budget for the next year could be reduced thus freeing up funds.

Faraldo also raises a good point as to whether or not this broadcasting supplement is a good use of the association's money, especially if his estimate of how many people viewed the broadcasts is accurate.  It is one thing if an organization is flush with funds, but when one isn't rolling in the dough, the responsible thing would be to make an evaluation if this is the best way to spend the USTA's resources, after all isn't this what you do at home with your budget?  Quite honestly, if the results are so poor, I would question why a track would wish to outlay their own funds with such poor results.  If his estimate of 40,000 people watching these televised races is indeed correct, it may make better sense to have the USTA show these races on its own home page or on the Harness Fan Zone website rather than the USTA and tracks outlay money to be televised..

Which brings us to the social media initiative.  I wasn't there, so I can't comment on the politicking which may have or may not have occurred but why bring up the lack of metrics; it's water under the bridge.  Yes, there should have been metrics before, but that is in the past.  The decision has already been made to have metrics for the initiative this year so an evaluation as to whether this is money well spent may be made at the next annual meeting.

What bothers me about this issue is the assertion being made as to the social media program is only benefiting tracks.  While Faraldo may feel his slot supplements are secure, as we have seen elsewhere in parimutuels, especially where decoupling or reducing supplements is part of the conversation, it always comes down to attendance, handle, and profitability.  Remember when the argument was made better purses will draw better horses which will draw more bettors and wagering?   The better horses part is true but alas, the track aprons aren't exactly overflowing with people and the track with good handles is one without the better horses or slot subsidies.  So it is in the horsemen and breeders' interest to see interest in the sport grow, especially if it can get more people coming to the track or at least wagering on the races.

No doubt the USTA has a responsibility to spend money wisely.  No doubt they feel they are doing so but as in any organization, there is a need for oversight.  If not already being done, the budget should be reviewed periodically by the directors, or at a minimum a group of directors from the various segments which make up the USTA (breeders, horsemen, owners, and tracks.  However, people need to understand, everyone is in this together. What benefits one group benefits the other.

Yes, everyone has their own agenda.  You can argue whether or not funds being spent are giving you the biggest bang for the buck possible, but to look at an item benefiting tracks, or any other segment exclusively is misguided.  You need breeders to give you horses, you need horsemen to race the horses, you need tracks to have the races which allows gamblers to wager on the product.  Without one, you can't have the other.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Passing Lane Comes to Hoosier Park. Bettors Yawn.

So Hoosier Park is adding a passing lane this year come opening day.  Why?  How many handicappers are jumping up and down at the prospect of the lack of movement in races knowing everyone is going to be waiting for the passing lane to make their move?  After all, isn't the prospect of $2.80 payoffs wonderful?

The Meadowlands doesn't have a passing lane and look at how races are conducted there as well as payoffs.  Notice the $3 million handle days they have had?  This is what bettors are looking for, not a passing lane which will make racing at Hoosier look like the standard mile races at Yonkers.

Of course, there will be one group happy.  Drivers at Hoosier have been posting their excitement of the passing lane coming to Hoosier Park.  We will see how business at Hoosier reacts to the change.  Somehow, I don't believe handle will be going up anytime soon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

People to Strike-off your Christmas List; When Will People Learn?

If you believe the Meadowlands should ultimately have casino gambling, you probably will be interested in voting against the resolution to authorize a referendum on allowing two casinos in Northern New Jersey so you can 'thank' them the next time they are up for election.  How do you find out who voted against the resolution?  Fortunately, John Brennan of The Record and has done the work for you.  Feel free to see who the naysayers were and if so inclined, put them on a checklist so when they come up for re-election or seek another office, you can attempt to send them packing out of Trenton.

Of course, if you are so inclined, you can let them know how displeased you are now in the hopes when time for the enacting legislation, assuming the referendum passes, they may look more favorably upon racing.

Another barn fire and twelve horses are gone, having to suffer a horrifying death.  If public training facilities are not going to put in fire detection and suppression systems, appropriate for their climate, or at a minimum offer wooden barns and stalls, when are horsemen going to say, "Thank you, I think I will set up shop somewhere else"?  As an added incentive, maybe carriers who insure horses need to raise rates and offer nice discounts on those who stable at facilities which have upgraded their fire protection capabilities.

Yes, there are costs involved in making changes to making stables safer, but how much does it cost when you get wiped out in a fire?  I don't know, while it is nice to know the industry responds by having fundraisers and GoFundMe sites,in some ways it is counterproductive if you believe if you are a victim of fire, your compatriots are going to help at least part of the way to dig you out of the mess.  Maybe if horsemen knew if they don't properly insure their horses and business from fire, they would be left hanging out to dry, they might start looking at things differently.

When enough business leaves these facilities, these training centers will have to upgrade or go out of business.  Personally, I think private facilities need to be upgraded as well, but at least there, if tragedy strikes you only hurt your owners and yourself (and of course the horses).

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Casino Referendum On Tap for NJ - Hold The Champagne

The New Jersey legislature has approved a resolution sending a referendum on a constitutional amendment  to voters this November, seeking to approve up to two casinos in Northern New Jersey.  The referendum specifies only one casino may be built in a county and must be at least 72 miles from Atlantic City.  To get one of the two casino licenses, one must commit $1 billion towards the construction of a casino complex and for the first 60 days, Atlantic City casinos are the only ones who may bid on the project; if no bids are received then bidding is open to outsiders.  The front runners typically mentioned are Jersey City and the Meadowlands.

Before anyone cracks open the champagne, time for a little reality.

First, is the matter of the amendment itself.  The latest polling shows voters are against an expansion of gambling, 49-44%.  Granted, this is before the campaign to approve gaming has begun.  The problem here is the generational divide.  Older people (i.e., the people who are more certain to vote), are opposed to the expansion of gaming by a higher percentage.  Fortunately, with a Presidential election this year, younger voters should be heading to the polls in greater numbers than a typical election.  Presuming South Jersey will be voting against the expansion, it will be important to rally North Jersey voters to get to the polls.    The point is passage is no slam dunk.

Then is the question of needing to partner with an Atlantic City casino.  This is the easy part for with enough capital ready to be invested, it should be easy for the Meadowlands and Hard Rock Cafe to find a partner from Atlantic City to bid for a casino license.

Now about the front runner status.  This is New Jersey, where political influence and campaign donations rule supreme.  While the Meadowlands is one of the front runners, there is another potential bidder for a Meadowlands license, the builder of American Dream Meadowlands, Triple Five Group, the people who built the Mall of America.  They have a lot of money invested in the Meadowlands, and are also lined up to be one of the few bright spots of the Christie legacy, rescuing the failed Xanadu project.  What better to add to your entertainment draw than something for the adults?  Of course, one can't rule out a partnership with the Meadowlands to solidify a bid.

Then the question comes up, what if another site comes into play?  Perhaps New Brunswick, in the center of the state decides it wants to add a casino to its redevelopment portfolio?  Were a bid to come from New Brunswick and it be a winning bid, either the Jersey City or Meadowlands bid loses out in a game of musical chairs.

Don't get me wrong, if the referendum passes, odds are a casino comes to the Meadowlands, the question becomes whose project is it?  This could decide whether or not horse racing in New Jersey gets a cut of the action.

Good Bye Jackson:  Remember when there was talk about resurrecting harness racing at Jackson Raceway?  Kiss that idea goodbye as a proposed Master Plan for the Jackson County Fairgrounds calls for the removal of the harness track.  While replacing the harness track is somewhat melancholic, one can't blame the county; what is the sense of keeping the track on the oft-chance racing may come back when the land can be put to better use?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Look Back to October 26, 1991

I was going through some stuff this morning and came across an issue of Harness Horse, the October 26, 1991 edition to be precise.  What made this edition so special as it was the only one I kept?  It was the final edition of the magazine as it ceased publication.  What can I say, I seem to subscribe to magazines which cease publication, of which Hub Rail and Harness Horse are the two harness racing magazines I was with at the end (hoping the two I still subscribe to aren't getting nervous).

Anyway, coming across this magazine, I decided to take a look back and see what was going on in the world of harness racing; at least in North America.  Let's take a look back together and see what was happening.

  • Eldon Harner's son Steve Harner died in an accident shipping a horse in to race at Pocono Downs.  Steve a driver/trainer in his own right was only 35 years old at the time of passing.
  • Freehold Raceway, enjoying an increase in on-track and simulcasting handle increases its purses by $30,000 for the rest of the year, meaning $330,000 in purse funds will be spent weekly.  The weekly invitation will be going for $17,000 while $4,000 claimers and maidens will be racing for $2,600.
  • Peace Corps startled horsemen and fans when the trotter was entered in a race at Fargestad racetrack in Karlstad, Sweden, the hometown track of her owner.  The daughter of Baltic Speed won her 13th of 15 starts for the year in a mile rate of 2:01.2 over the 5/8 mile oval, winning easily by 2 lengths.
  • Walter Paisley won the $17,000 FFA with Cleverlator in 1:59.2 over the sloppy Maywood oval.
  • Trainers at Blue Bonnets held a one day boycott, forcing the cancellation of racing on Saturday, October 19 to press their demands for compensation for shipping horses in.
  • Gordon Waterstone reported from Pompano Park on the Breeders Crown eliminations.  Among the elimination winners were Cookout (Jan Johnson, 2yoft) in 1:56.3, Armbro Jacuzzzi (Jan Nordin, 3yoft) in 1:57.4, Digger Almahurst (Doug Brown, 2yocgp) in 1:53.1, and Direct Flight (Ron Waples, 2yocgp) in 1:53.1 while defeating Sportsmaster.
  • Topping the Top Ten for the week is Precious Bunny who earned 15 of the 16 first place votes. Who earned the other first place vote?  Peace Corps.
  • On the Calendar, October 26 is closing day at Louisville Downs while Quad City Downs and Muskegon Racecourse will close the following evening.
  • Jim Doherty ended Tulsa Blue Chip's 5 race win streak with All Da Time at Freehold in 1:55.3 in the Invitational on October 19.
  • How Bout It won the weekly pacing FFA in 1:55 driven by Doug Hamilton at Maywood Park while Lawful Hanover (Dave Magee) won the $130,000 Abe Lincoln Pace for 2yos in 1:58.2.
  • Mohawk Raceway sees Apaches Fame, driven by Bill Fritz, victorious in the JFA/FFA handicap in 1:54. 
  • Garden State Park had $1 million handles on Friday and Saturday evenings (October 18 and 19).
  • On Sunday, October 13, Monticello Raceway celebrated Australasia with Fort York A winning the Australian Pace in 2:04.1 while What You Got N won the Great Barrier Wreath Pace in 2:00.2 and the Qantas Air Invitational Pace went to The Benz N in 1:58.1.
  • Yonkers Raceway doesn't report their attendance anymore but on the plus side, are racing doubleheaders on Tuesdays.  On Saturday, October 12, Armbro Intercept, driven by Richard Wojcio in 1:55.2 won the weekly Open Handicap.
  • Heading into Harrisburg, the sales topper thus far for 1991's yearlings is Winky's Goal ($210,000).  Tagliabue was a bargain at $100,000.   At the major sales, Super Bowl is the leading trotter with his 29 yearlings selling for an average of $52,206.  No Nukes was the fourth overall leading stallion and leading pacing stallion with his 64 yearlings selling for an average of $40,010.
  • The Octoberfest Yearling Sales held at the New Jersey Horse Park sold 257 yearlings for an average price of $4,587.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Race Spotlight: Saturday, Meadowlands 4th Race

In my first ever Race Spotlight (well, under the title of Race Spotlight), we take a look at Saturday's 4th race at the Meadowlands, a race for $7,500 claimers.  As I mentioned last week, you have to do what you have to do to put on a full race card.

Truth be told, I like these lower class races.  Usually, it is easier to toss horses than higher class races, making it easier to pick a race winner (Not putting any pressure on myself, huh?).  Here is my analysis of the race.

Meadowlands - Saturday, March 12, 2016 - 4th Pace - $5,500 - $7,500 Claiming 

1 - St Mattys Day (Ginsburg, 12-1) - Has been racing poorly of late.  Returns to competitive level but not sure I can recommend him.

2 - You Bet Your Glass (M Miller, 6-1) - Longshot winner in dime claimers back on 2/6.  Scratched sick last time.  Must change tactics to be a factor.

3 - Dina's Gamble (McCarthy, 8-1) - Has won on the engine of late; faltered in last.  Monti invader needs to take control from the start.   Worth a look at long odds.

4 - Good Citations (Napolitano, 7-2) - Returns from a trip to Monti.  Won against this class in first start in the Catskills; parked out in last.  Was competitive against dime claimers.  Can take it all.

5 - Camwiser (Husted, 12-1) - Chicago refugee won against nickel claimers.   Failed at Freehold but returns to the mile track which may be better suited to his style.  Don't ignore in exotics..

6 - Eenee Weenie And Me (Bongiorno, 12-1) - Steps up in class.  Horse shows a win over the mile oval at Cal Expo last year so may benefit from the switch to the mile oval here.  Would include in exotics.

7 - Jimmy CR (Marohn, 8-1) - Has started the year poorly and drops to bottom rung.  Don't see.

8 - Who Do You Like (Pollio, 15-1) - Not this one.  Pass.

9 - Penn Turbo Ted (Mann, 10-1) - Shows improvement.  Earns shot in class hike.  Post hurts.

10 - Lucky Lucky Leo (Campbell, 3-1) - Raced well in last.  Drops back into winning level.  Post keeps from being my pick.

Selections: 4-2-10-5

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Aussie Justice

The first day of the International All Star Series was a good one for the world, thanks to Yannick Gingras' two wins and a second out of four starts at the Geelong at Tabcorp Melton race meeting yesterday.  Gingras leads the standings with forty-two points followed by Australia's Dexter Dun with thirty-three points with the World narrowly leading Victoria by 133-124.

You can read more about day one by clicking on this link.  However, what you won't read there is the North American trio of drivers experienced Aussie judging; let's look at a summary of the day for the North American group for the day.

Corey Callhan - Caution for a dropped foot (race 4, 5), Caution for body out of suly (race 8)

Yannick Gingras - Caution for having his body out of the sulky (race 4)

Brett Miller - Caution for lack of control (race 4), Caution for body out of sulky (race 7)

Update: It was Brett Miller's show on the second day, winning the final two races at Echuca.  Miller is now third overall, behind leaders Chris Alford and Dexter Dun.  Victoria now leads the world in team standings.  In addition, Brett Miller is the first North American to get fined for dropping a foot in the fourth race at Echuca with Gingras cautioned over a dropped foot and hitting the pylons in race eight.

It may be interesting to see which drivers move past the caution stage and end up with a fine and/or days) for driving infractions.  Yes, any suspension issued in Australia could hound the driver(s) back in the States.

Aesthetically, what I enjoyed was a line imposed on the television feed showing the 200, 100, 50 meter marks, and the finish line during the run home.  Also enjoyed the camera angles used, unlike the traditional North American picture.  You can judge how they show their races by clicking on this link and experience it yourself.

If you are a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know I am an advocate for distance racing as well as racing under saddle,  As often as I write such articles, I tend to get comments on the blog and elsewhere how the American harness racing gambler won't accept distance racing or RUS.

Well, my question is how does one know the public will reject either of these changes.  Admittedly, if you have one RUS or even a distance race, betting may be anemic, but the only way we will know if either option is acceptable is by trying; introducing these types of races for a set period of time in order to give the customers an opportunity to experience the races and get a feel for how they go.  Then, and only then can you determine if the change(s) is a success or failure.  We can all talk about how successful or bad these innovations could be, but the truth is it is up to the consumer, in this case the punter who will decide.  I say give the punters the product and let them vote with their wallets.  Then and only then will we know how receptive the public is.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A pleasant surprise on TV ...

by Pete Lawrence, VFTRG Contributor/Movie Critic

... in the middle of the night, "April Love" (1957), a film starring Pat Boone, Shirley Jones, Arthur O'Connell and others.

Oh, and a standardbred named Tugfire and the Bentonville Fair.

Reminiscent of a related earlier (1944) movie, the harness racing classic "Home in Indiana" - another film I discovered on TV in the middle if the night, about 20 years ago - "April Love" also had lots of good racing action and stable scenes.

One review I found online referred to "April Love" as a "Home in Indiana" remake, and the storyline was similar ... city juvenile delinquent boy sent out of town to reform - respectively to Kentucky and Indiana - the boy with no horse background took to the sport, the lifestyle and to the cute neighbor tomboy girl (respectively, Shirley Jones and Jeanne Crain), and, ultimately, won a big fair race in his harness driving debut.

Each movie also had a grizzled veteran driver losing a preliminary heat to the rookie driver, in each case declaring, "But it won't happen again, Squirt," or something a lot like that, as they pulled up after the race.

Both movies also featured a gruff but soft-hearted rural relative (both were uncles, I think), respectively, Arthur O'Connell and Walter Brennan, along with loving, understanding aunts.

"April Love" was supposedly based on a 1941 novel called "Phantom Filly," but I see no mention of that source for "Home in Indiana," which seems odd.

By the way, "April Love" was a light musical, while "Home in Indiana" was a drama. Still, they are very similar.

As the old reviews mostly seem to agree, "April Love" isn't great cinema, just a nice movie.


Notes ... I discovered "The Great Dan Patch" in a similar fashion on TV, at around 3:00 a.m. about 20 years ago ... I think "State Fair," in one of its incarnations, also featured harness racing ... the sub-plot of "April Love," that Tugfire was the favorite horse of the O'Connell character's tragically killed son, is a lot like the story of Burgomeister, Billy Haughton and Peter Haughton. Once upon a time, the Burgomeister story of winning the 1980 Hambletonian would've made a nice film (along with the Rambling Willie and Silk Stockings stories). Maybe they still can? ...

Loved the scene in which the victorious Tugfire was brought home in an open trailer, pulled behind a sedan driven by Shirley Jones, with Boone as the passenger. 

Both "April Love" and the earlier "Home in Indiana" were distributed by 20th Century Fox. I saw the overnight movie on the FXM network, which I'm not familiar with. Perhaps it's Fox Movies?

I think I've also seen harness racing in a movie called "Green Grass of Wyoming," or something titled similarly.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Florida Decoupling Dead for Now

With the legislation to allow for the decoupling of pari-mutuels (except for Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs) and casino gaming officially dead, harness horsemen are breathing a sigh of relief.

But make no mistake, while this legislation is dead, horsemen need to be ready for the zombie named Decoupling because like a B-rated horror film, this issue will keep coming back.  Whether racing is able to fend this beast off is hard to say.  To fend this creature off will require a lot of money, especially should future legislation have a carve out for thoroughbred racing for then it will be the standardbred industry fighting with quarter horse interests or alone.

The good thing is an attempt to decouple with a carve out does have a good chance of being declared unconstitutional as the Florida standardbred horsemen were previously victorious in court back in 2009, when the Circuit Court in the second district of Florida determined the law allowing racinos in the first place was unconstitutional as it only required a contract determining the sharing of slot revenue for thoroughbred racing and not for harness racing, citing the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution (the case didn't go further as Isle of Capri reached a settlement with the FSBOA).  Disclosure: I am not a lawyer.

With the importance of thoroughbred breeding and racing in certain districts of the state, the reality is if any decoupling bill is passed in the future, it would likely have a carve out for thoroughbred racing.  While any such legislation may be constitutionally suspect, if you can't afford to battle all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, it doesn't matter if the bill is flawed.  As I learned in Business Law 101, "It's not illegal until it is declared illegal".

While the FSBOA should continue to fight decoupling, it may be in their interests at the same time to make sure if decoupling were to take place, there would be certain guarantees to make sure they are treated fairly.  I offer the following ideas as a suggestion:

Should Isle of Capri surrender their racing license, it must be made available to any other party willing to conduct at least 100 days of racing a year.

If a new licensee was to arise to take over the existing standardbred license in the first year it became available, Isle of Capri would be required to lease the existing facility to the new licensee for $1 a year (all other operating costs would be picked up by the new operator) for a minimum of five years.  This would allow time to seek out a new location to race at.

If any horse racing facility were to decouple, they would no longer be able to offer simulcasting.  If unwilling to conduct racing, they should not be able to benefit from simulcasting.  Anyone taking over an existing license would be able to offer simulcasting.

If any fund to supplement purses is established for any breed, it must be offered for all breeds meaning should Pompano Park decouple, they would have to supplement purses at the same rate thoroughbred tracks would have to supplement purses.

Any non-horse racing industry required to supplement purses must also supplement harness racing purses (a minimum of 20% of their total assessment).

Should Pompano Park cease racing and no one picks up the standardbred license, any funds which would have been paid to supplement purses would be used to establish a fund for Florida standardbred breeders to compensate them for lost business, relocation, and/or transitioning to another type of farming for the next three years.  In addition to the assessment against decoupling facilities, a percentage of any payment from the Seminoles to the state should fund the transition fund to make up for any shortfall.  Drivers, trainers, and grooms should be eligible for lost earnings based on their average Florida earnings for the last three years racing is conducted in Florida provided they participated in Florida racing for all three years.  Payments should be made for three years or until the person relocates to another state or transitions to another industry.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Streak Ends

As predicted, the Meadowlands' streak of $3 million handle days has ended at nine, likely the result of one less race and four seven and three eight horse fields on the thirteen race card.  Clearly, the lack of horses as a result of Saratoga opening contributed to the shortage of horses.  Of course, a $2.8 million handle is nothing to sneeze at.

With the shortage of horses and its expected deepening, the Meadowlands is forced to lower the bottom of the conditioned and claiming ranks with non-winners of $3,500 last 5 starts and $7,500 claimers likely to make an appearance next weekend along with the amateur driving series making its return.  No one likes going this low but no sense complaining about it; you have to do what you need to in order to get enough races on the card.  Besides, as we have already seen, full fields wins out over class almost all the time.  Serious horseplayers rather wager on ten horse fields instead of seven so you have to give them what they want.

Of course, the question is, how low do they go with Pocono and Harrah's both opening soon?  I suspect this is as low as it gets but if necessary, they will drop the bottom lower if necessary. This is the reality of being a track without slots.

Some people have asked with the Meadowlands trumpeting all these $3 million nights, where the purse hike is?  Truth is, the track has overpaid purses so all this extra wagering has gone towards paying down the overpayment and possibly kept purse levels from dropping further.

Ever wonder why your pick seemingly always drops further after the race begins? Odds are it is computer wagering.  This article from the Thoroughbred Daily News goes further into it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Coordinating Race Dates; USTA Rule Changes

Odds are the streak of $3 million handles comes to an end at the Meadowlands this Friday night as the opening of Saratoga Raceway has caused the return of short fields and fewer races this weekend.  Fortunately, many races have 9 horses, but 7 horse fields populate some of the races (4 on Fri, 2 on Sat)  this weekend with one less race each day.

As bad as this is, wait till Pocono Downs reopens on March 19 and Harrah's on April 1.  Then who knows how bad it will be?

Something needs to be done about all these racetracks operating at the same time.  I am all for competition, but to have these many tracks racing at one time benefits no one in the long run with the exception of the horsemen who like short fields as they have less horses to beat to get a check of some kind.  While there may be fewer horses to beat to cash a check, handles will drop and will be used as evidence racing has become less popular, making it easier for opponents to decouple racing from slots.

A committee is being formed at the USTA  to see if schedules can be coordinated. If this committee can be a honest broker, so be it but it is a shame the tracks can't work it out among themselves.  Good luck in getting Yonkers to alter their year-round schedule.

For any negotiation regarding schedules to be successful, all parties must be willing to realign their schedules.  An exception to this would be the Meadowlands which would need at least a short meet to accommodate the Hambletonian which is contractually bound when it must race, but otherwise must be flexible as to when it will race.

As a result of the rule changes approved by the USTA, horses will  have to qualify if they didn't race within 60 days.  Of course, if they don't meet the qualifying time or show consecutive breaks, they may still need to qualify earlier.  Some tracks have a 30 day or 45 day qualifying rule at present, so assuming the track(s) you follow adopt the 60 day rule, the impact may be more significant to you.

The 60 day rule does muddy things up for handicapper, but with higher caliber standardbreds being raced more like thoroughbreds, you often see them racing with longer gaps between starts.  Handicappers will need to go back further in a horse's racing lines to see how they do with these gaps to see if they are ready to fire first time back or need a start or two to get back to racing form.

There was a rule change approved requiring county fairs which chart their races to provide the same information as pari-mutuel tracks.  Depending where you live, there may or maybe an impact.  Tracks which don't chart races won't be impacted.

Another rule change was approved to denote which races have recalls.  More information is good for the handicapper but with recalls occurring so infrequently, I suspect this information will be of little use.

One rule change which should have been approved is the one which would have banned two year olds from racing two days in a row.  This proposal was submitted with fair circuit horses in mind.  Regardless of circuit, two year olds have no business racing two days in a row.

In case you missed it, the Tabcorp Miracle Mile was held this past Sunday at Menangle Park in Australia and it was an exciting race and finish.  The winner was Have Faith in Me in a new Australasian record of 1:47.6 for the mile.  You can find the race here.