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Sunday, August 21, 2016

YS Lotus Snags Gold Cup and Saucer; Make or Break in NJ; Blog Suggestion

Another Gold Cup and Saucer is in the books and YS Lotus was an easy winner by six lengths in a track record time of 1:50.1 which tied the Canadian record for an older pacer on a half mile oval.

YS Lotus was given the perfect drive, staying mid-pack early in the race as the leader Go Daddy Go tripped the timer in a :26.1 first quarter.  As Daddy took the field through the second half, YS Lotus begun his move racing on the outside in a :27.4 (:54.1) second quarter.  By the time the field reached the three-quarter pole, YS Lotus on the outside took the lead in 1:22.2.  After that it was all over as the leader cruised home in a :27.4 final quarter to win by six opening lengths.  The early pace setter Go Daddy Go managed to hold on to second with Alexis Jackpot finished third.

As for Foiled Again, it was a disappointing fifth. eleven lengths off the winner.  Granted he went a tough race parked the entire mile but never was a factor, his back class getting him the final check.  While he may still have the heart to race, clearly Father Time has caught up to the classy twelve year old pacer; any future wins will be coming in cheaper company.  Retirement is something which should be considered; but based on previous comments, I am not sure it is in his immediate future.

I understand this is a horse who wants activity and likes to race, I understand this.  However, after earning more than $7.4 million, it would be better if they found him a new job which would keep him active, but away from the rigors of racing and his continuing drop through the racing ranks.

Make no mistake, this past meet at the Meadowlands was not good, but there is no blame to be assigned, at least with regards to management.  As seen in an article from the Asbury Park Press, Monmouth Park is suffering as well.  Out of state wagering down 30% from last year and Haskell Day, their equivalent to Hambletonian Day showed the worst performance in 14 years.  As much as both tracks have tried their best since Governor Christie tried to kill horse racing, you can only put the finger in the dyke so long before the water leaks; in this case, the water leaking out to other states leaving NJ racing high and dry.

While the model is broken with regards to revenue earned on out of state wagering, the bottom line is racing lives and dies on purses.  Higher purses bring in better horses which brings better wagering which brings better....., well you get the idea.  When you can't offer better purses, the best horses are racing elsewhere or racing at your facility on certain days to cherry pick the best purses you can offer.  Mediocre racing means less spending on marketing which means people lose interest in your product, if they can even remember when you race so handle drops.

November 8 is a make or break day for NJ racing.  Make will mean at least some resurgence in racing.  I dread to even think what break will be like, both for the runners and standardbreds.

I found some interesting reading from the other side of the pond.  During the run up to and the Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend, Sarah Thomas interviewed Dexter Dunn and Aaron Merriman, both interesting reads.   As for her blog itself, Harness Racing in Scotland, it is a blog to follow if interested in racing in Scotland (obviously) and elsewhere in the UK and Ireland.  Due to Thomas' other duties, the blog isn't updated that frequently, but when it is updated, it is great reading.

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