September 3, 2007

While agonizing during the typically insurmountable time it took one of those ALPHABETICAL racing channels to actually show a harness race barely sandwiched between seemingly endless thoroughbred chatter and redundant commercials, it became painfully obvious that what’s needed here is indeed a HARNESS RACING CHANNEL able to provide harness programming and racing exclusively-rather than deluge of thoroughbred races and replays that dominate those networks.

One Sunday for example there were Zweigs from Tioga, Brandywine Battles from Chester, Confederation Cups from Flamboro and the one network which is actually under the auspices of the major establishment in the province presented the Cup final as an afterthought and never delivered Zweigs or Battles as billed on a schedule sheet.

Given the multitude of feature races currently going off at all sorts of oddball hours especially at racino tracks, it seems more critical than ever to have one jurisdiction to turn to. Moreover, like our thoroughbred cousins we too have ample product from Europe and Down Under to provide added color and filler when needed. Significantly, most harness tracks are now offering live feeds of respectable quality that readily can be incorporated to an overall signal.

It would seem that the USTA, CTA, HTA along with the European and Down Under associations could institute some kind of study as to the overall funding and feasibility of this project. Certainly some will surmise that monies extracted from both yearling sellers and buyers for the controversial classic series could be better spent on something else.

Years ago, this industry actually got together to support what some thought was an ill advised venture called American Championship Harness Series (ACHS) on ESPN. Ill advised perhaps due to some curious thinking about making harness racing the sport of the MTV generation-whatever that actually is or was.

It as they say in broadcast terminology bombed and probably set us back some as far as broadcast credibility is concerned. However with all racing (harness included) evolving into more of a living room activity, it may be time to dust off some cobwebs and institute a little exploratory dialogue as to how best to electronically present ourselves.

Got a pretty fine assortment of Real Desire’s slated for the Lexington Select sale including several first timers from productive mares.

# 87 THOU SHALT NOT (Because I Said So) as physically attractive a Real Desire to be found anywhere. Being a three quarter sister to I’ve Got Life 1:50.4 and over $430,000 made won’t hurt at all. #167 CARNIVORE (Party Animal) is the first Real Desire brother to double stakes winning CARTNIVEROUS p,2,1:55.2-07 The dam traces right to Mib Hanover who has a sub :55 2-year-old again this year. #175 PUMPTUOUS (Pumped) is the first Real Desire sister to mega winner ARTCOTIC P,3,1:51f. #203 NITTANY LINEBACKER (Nittany Lion) is the first foal of a Pacific Fella sister to Sweetheart and Molly Pitcher winner ValMcTorian p,2,1:53.3- 07.

There’s also # 283 PALACE COWBOY (Sunset Palace) the Real Desire brother to McArdle Park,2,1:55-07 and #540 REAL APPEALING (Ideal Gal) a Real Desire first foal from a sister to this year’s exciting Ideal Sunrise p,3,1:53f . The next dam is the $400,000 plus winner Before Sunrise

Can’t help noticing the abundance of Perretti sold NEW JERSEY CLASSIC alumni winning as good friend Carl Becker would say EVERYWHERE these days. EXOTIC DESTINATION (Dream Vacation-Tahitian Tasha) won the World Trotting Derby filly division on Saturday. MALTESE ARTIST (Artiscape-Hula Dancer) added the BECKWITH memorial to his growing list of laurels. And McAPULCO (Smooth Latin N) beat some much higher priced colts at Mohawk on Sunday in 1:54. McApulco has a Artiscape brother BUENOS ARTIST at this year’s New Jersey Classic well worth looking at.

Read reports that Atlantic City revenues are dipping down which given the competition from nearby Philadelphia is not surprising. Philadelphia is of course the nearest major population area to Atlantic City thus slots located there would figure to impact accordingly.

And as Atlantic City revenues decline so too must the monies allocated to the State of New Jersey.

Whether or not this will precipitate urgency to install slot machines at The Meadowlands remains to be seen. Certainly with its prime location in the most densely populated area of what is dubbed megalopolis, one would think the likelihood of bonanza exists.

There will be those that insist that any Northern New Jersey located casino will be detrimental to those in Atlantic City, which seems more than likely. However, The AC casinos are already detrimentally impacted according to published reports from the out of state competition none of which does New Jersey coffers much good.

While all of this year’s Hall Of Fame nominees are indeed worthy of inclusion it’s hard to think of anyone more deserving than good friend Lou Guida. Lou certainly left his indelible imprint on contemporary harness racing and as a James Bond theme song so melodically goes, NOBODY DID IT BETTER.

Congratulations Lou!

Bob Marks



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