n an open letter, Joe Faraldo, President of the SOA of NY, provides a proposal he sent to the NYGC regarding the problem with beards in harness racing in an effort to bring any such allegations to a 'fact based' test.
All I can say is 'wow'. To a person who has never operated a racing stable, it seems like a very detailed proposal which can be summed up as 'disclosure and follow the money'. Trainers will have to document all the parties they do business with and account for the inflow and outflow of funds, accounting for every penny paid out or received by a trainer, making sure money is not being directed to hidden owners or trainers.
Bottom line is if you are a (small) trainer, you better make sure you have a highly competent bookkeeper or CPA doing your books and keep your documentation in order. These requirements will take the hobbyist trainer out of the equation because the cost of keeping such records will be a deal breaker for them.
This is not to say I disagree with the proposal. Far from it. As far as I know, this is the first time anyone has offered a serious proposal for addressing the issue surrounding beards. For a sport suffering from real and perceived beards, the damage has been done; the loss of support for the betting product is immeasurable. Something has to be done and Faraldo's proposal must be seriously considered and I would recommend its implementation. The problem will be as usual, carrying through with the process.
With all the budget constrictions racing commissions have, will racing judges ask for such information when warranted or will it happen only in the rarest occasion fearing the time involved in going over the paperwork or the court fights of trainers refusing to disclose their books? Will New York adopt such a rule but other states fail to address the bearding problem, resulting in a shift of horses and/or trainers to states with looser rules, the same way trainers who can't get a licensde in one jurisdiction seem to show up elsewhere?
This said, one state moving in the right direction is better than inertia. If the New York racing product is more palatable to bettors than the product in Pennsylvania or other states because New York takes a proactive step so be it. This proposal requires serious consideration.