Just heard long time friend and colleague Jerry Connors
has been nominated as USHWAN of the year by the Harness
Writers. What a deserving tribute to a guy who has contributed
so much over the years. That’s great!
WHERE’S THE FINAL FOUR?
Missing from the just released Meadowlands Stakes Schedule
was a the whereabouts of The Final Four which theoretically
would be staged at The Big M in 06 under the flip flop understanding
with Woodbine Entertainment. In 05, the freshman extravaganzas
comprised of Governors Cup, Valley Victory etc were staged
at Woodbine as The Meadowlands hosted the fall Breeders
Crown. This year The Crown switches to Woodbine while The
Meadowlands should be getting The Final Four. Stay tuned.
Imperative to consider the lessons of the now defunct XFL
football presentation jointly staged by Vince McMahon and
NBC back then. After all the hype-all the upgraded camera
angles- all the dazzling promotion, cheerleaders and celebrity
commentators were digested it still failed. Why? Could it
have been remotely possible that despite all the window
dressing, the basic product was turned out to be mediocre
FOOTBALL? Sooner or later the actual game had to be played.
That being even remotely accurate then wouldn’t it
then be incumbent upon any sporting industry-like Harness
Racing to endeavor to ensure the quality and sanctity of
its sporting product as opposed to depending on extra curricular
effects of slot revenues and thoroughbred simulcasting for
its continued existence?
Regardless of how attractive the ambiance and décor
may be exotic sauces alone will not compensate for mediocre
food. If the food isn’t good, there will always be
Foals conceived by embryo transplant during the 2006 breeding
season will be eligible for nomination to the New Jersey
Racing Program upon reaching racing age in 2009 and beyond
in accordance to correspondence received from Chris Castens,
Executive Director of The New Jersey Sires Stakes. This
will not apply to foals born in 2006 only those born in
2007 and thereafter.
A ROOSEVELT TALE
So it’s the night Buddy hops aboard Tarquinius only
to suffer the indignity of the horse breaking as he leaves
the gate and winds up some half dozen lengths behind what
was a pretty powerful FFA-JFA handicap field.
As is well known, Tarquinius caught the field past the
quarter, swept wide past the third turn and won pretty handily
in what was stellar time for the era.
Which prompted Woody. Yes that Woody! A lot younger, considerably
more svelte but every bit as opinionated to start bellowing
“HE’S BETTER THAN THE TRICK… HE’S
BETTER THAN THE TRICK, meaning Overtrick who by that time
had been forced to call it a year.
Mind you there’s upwards of 35,000 enduring as Neil
Diamond would sing a HOT AUGUST NIGHT and at least 10,000
of them had to be crammed onto the Roosevelt apron.
Unfortunately Loud Mouth Tony Sorvino took exception probably
fueled by a dwindling bankroll as a result of his fistful
of blown exactas tickets none of which matched whatever
number Tarquinius happened to have been.
Now understand Loudmouth Tony had evolved into a balding
over inflated version of the promising middleweight he once
was until Joey Giardello (yes that Joey Giardello) exposed
his delicate crystal like chin.
Tony who worked the night shift at the newsstand on the
southwest corner of Times Square (when it was no mans land)
still had the kick of a mule in his punch and did not have
to watch his back getting in and out of subways. He was
also the kind of guy you could leave your girlfriend with
in a sea degenerates while you went to cash knowing full
well she’d be there every hair intact when you got
So Tony and Woody are debating the relative merits of Overtrick
and Tarquinius in rather heated fashion when I felt the
need to restrain Woody before the famed Sorvino uppercut
might be launched.
The key here is that there must have been 200 people in
the immediate vicinity who felt the need to participate
as the arguments pros and cons were every bit as vociferous
as you might expect from a Yankees-Boston or Ohio State-Michigan
Yes! Hundreds of fans passionately discussing the relative
merits of the two great pacing horses as fight fans would
discourse the difference in abilities and styles of Louis,
Marciano or Ali.
And it wasn’t just an isolated incident. Every night,
there’d be banter about Bret Hanover, Romeo Hanover.
Meadow Skipper, Speedy Scot, Ayres etc and many a voice
demanded to be heard.
It even carried over to Gam Wah.
Imagine that! Fans arguing about which horse is better!