First, the time-sensitive item. The British Harnesss Racing Club (BHRC) is asking harness racing fans throughout the world to vote on the best drive of 2016 for their awards night. Voting ends mid-day on February 14 (remember they are five hours ahead of the east coast. The BHRC Drive of the Year is being sponsored by Tetrick Racing. The six drives nominated for the award may be found here.
While I have my personal favorite in the race for USTA President, I won't be naming them in this column. What I will do is list in alphabetic order the three candidates I feel would best serve the USTA. My finalists are: Fred Hudson, Jason Settlemoir, and Russell Williams. Still trying to select your candidate? Harness Racing Update asks the five candidates five questions. You may see their answers here. Only USTA Directors will be able to vote in the election but if you are a USTA member, remember they represent YOU. Make sure you let your director know which candidate you prefer.
Judging from the coverage in HRU, the Meadowlands is still the number one track in the United States. Not for the coverage of the racing, but of Jeff Gural. Clearly if the Meadowlands didn't really matter anymore, Gural wouldn't be getting much coverage (for and against). I for one would like to read letters about other tracks, for and against, to see what they are doing wrong or doing right. If you are looking at the short term, other tracks mean a lot if you race horses but if you are a gambler, odds are it is the Meadowlands and WEG tracks which matter.
I read in Friday's edition of HRU Marvin Katz's criticism of the Gural rule, in particular how much money he has lost as a result of 'the' rule. Quite honestly, I don't buy it. Yes, maybe he could have made more money if the rule didn't exist, but the rule has been in existence for several years now; it should have been factored in when he purchased (or bought into) these horses.
As for asking would such a rule apply in thoroughbred racing with American Pharoah? Of course not, but then their problems aren't as bad as harness racing's; they have the publicity machine to make their stars known where even people who don't follow racing have heard of them. Just look at all the conversations on the web every time California Chrome raced, his final race occurring at the age of six..