Here at VFTRG, we try to show harness racing, while small in size compared to our running cousins, has a global presence. Today we go South to Argentina, where on New Year's Day, the Gran Final Premio Nacional Productos (the National Product Grand Prix) was contested at the Hipódromo de Navarro.
The winner of the Grand Prix was Chucaro Arts Surco (Daniel Brandalise) who navigated the 1,650 meters in a track and national record of 1:57.01 (1:10.9 kilometer rate) for two year olds, Money earned is not readily available but the two year old has won 17 of 19 starts this year. It should be noted, unlike the Northern Hemisphere, the universal birthday for horses is July 1.
When you watch the race, it will make you feel like you went to harness racing's "Field of Dreams", the racetrack seemingly built in the middle of a field.
Quite honestly, given a choice of watching a race at a metropolitan racetrack or in a minimalist setting, give me the minimalist setting and not just for harness racing. When you think about it, it makes sense, after all when the horse was king, a good percentage of Americans lived in rural areas, This rural setting, allows the racing fan to go back to those days and fall in love with horses all over again.
Yes, some states have nice fair circuits, but in some states it is the steel and glass physical plant which greets the punter. I know we can't go back home again, but in the future, if there can be an appropriate blending of the rural feel into modern racetrack construction or even the resurrection of fair circuits, I think everyone involved will benefit.
A documentary on Roosevelt Raceway is in production and is expected to be completed by the Fall or 2017. A trailer is now available for viewing.