Leave it to statistician extraordinaire Bob Heyden to cite
Murray Brown’s 40th year in Hanover, Pennsylvania
with Hanover Shoe Farms and The Standardbred Horse Sales
co. And a Happy Anniversary and many more to a sure fire
Hall of Famer.
That was a rather noticeable statement made by Joe Alborano’s
Artistic Fella at Dover Downs the other night. The Pacific
Fella 4-year-old looked like a very serious young fellow
in decimating his Classic Series field and should make things
interesting for incumbent free-for-allers as the season
There’s certainly a noticeable glut of attractive
racing opportunities abounding from the newly infused slot
emporiums at Yonkers and Pocono.
Yonkers had been doling out about $225,000 per Saturday
with $35,000 Open events resulting in noticeable numbers
of better horses shifting to their side of the Hudson River.
A recent Saturday Yonkers featured no less than six $50,000
opening legs of the revitalized George M Levy series for
the Free-For-All set though most of the entrants would be
considered somewhat below that level by the any standards.
In fact most would be considered AA types with an occasional
JFFA thrown in.
Basically what it means is that solid Saturday night raceway
horses will be earning considerable purse monies in the
weeks to come.
Pocono Downs meanwhile kicked off with a pair of $20,000
opens and an improved purse structure all around.
Add this to the reinstated and reinvigorated traditional
classics like the OTB Classic and Battle Of Brandywine at
Monticello and Chester, and suddenly the end of the tunnel
might just have a glimmer of light.
Seems like a message that needs to get “out there”
very loud very often and very clear.
Can’t help but thinking this new Isle Mile I, Isle
Mile II, Isle Mile III and Isle Mile IV winners over $2,500
life is just a Pompano version of the old ABC classification
system. Be it so, ABC has worked before and might well again.
One thing about the ABC system is that there were seldom
illusions about the overall abilities of horses. They were
clearly identified as class FFA, JFA, AA A, B or C as opposed
to the often ambiguous and interchangeable open/preferred/winners
over designations that not only vary from week to week in
accordance with card filling realities but can be applicable
to most every horse on the grounds.
ECHOING MR. LIEBMAN
Rather refreshing was Ben Liebman’s erudite message
to Albany in which he comprehensively states how nobody
in the New York racing business seems knows anything which
has more than a modicum of truth to it. While, most drivers
can drive horses as trainer can train horses with varying
degrees of expertise of course, far too many race track
officials have proven notoriously clueless especially in
fathoming just why spectators come to their buildings in
the first place and how to keep them coming back.
First sensed this during the nightly mutual wars at Yonkers
and Roosevelt when our sometimes petty but generally valid
customer complaints almost always fell on deaf ears until
we concluded that official indifference was due to an inability
to relate to grievances never having been product consumers
Accordingly always wondered why it wasn’t mandatory
for fledgling racing officials to spend at least some time
during the orientation process simulating public handicappers
in which their weekly salary was governed by the number
of winners they could pick.
They’d learn real fast just what the customers were
Until totally dependent on slot subsidization, racing is
a spectator sport and as such needs some degree of sensitivity
towards the needs of those supplying betting handles.
For what it’s worth, Commissioner Scotty Tickets
thinks Chester is a great place to watch a race…
Don’t know about you but it’s hard to get enthusiastic
when Hambletonian and potential age group champions make
their seasonal debuts at 3:16 on a Monday afternoon….
Heard a major driver was upset over the loss of a racing
day at a major racetrack… You think maybe he could
be a tad mortified as well for it basically means no one
is coming out to watch him drive…
The unequivocal lesson from the defunct XFL is that all
the hoopla, fancy camera angles and window dressing could
not compensate for inferior football.
Come to think of it, we meaning a substantial number of
racetrack regulars in the good old days thought of ourselves
as horseplayers not gamblers. It is the lack of the horseplayer
mentality that is so damningly absent at racetracks these
If REVENUE works and there’s every indication that
he could, will historians liken it to a Tesio type maneuver
down the road?
One good thing about the ABC system back then is that 4-year-olds
got classified in accordance with their abilities instead
of getting victimized by having too much stakes earnings
on their cards to fit most conditions…