January 7, 2008


At least that’s the implication in a recently posted release documenting just how much money several enterprising drivers were able to accumulate racing at the “Racino” emporiums. Which while wonderful for them doesn’t do the industry a whole lot of good unless its accompanied by massive marketing thrusts illustrating how much money individual horses might accumulate with the underlying suggestion being that horse ownership at those places is not only sensible but profitable.

Which according to Commissioner Scotty Tickets is something we should be SHOUTING at anyone within earshot-as there is real money to be made racing overnight horses at least in some jurisdictions. .

Have you noticed what more than just some of these Dover Downs dynamos actually earn during the course of a season? Especially those horses considered Delaware Select class carded each Monday night for a purse of $32,000. Under the old letter class system most of those horses would probably be classified somewhere between A3 and B1 but after spending time in the first state, their lifetime earnings tend to approximate what free-for-allers used to make.

In fact, one of our ex-alumni Art Director, an Artiscape 6-year-old has banked over $615,000 of which over $380,000 has been amassed at ages 4, 5 and 6 in which he’s campaigned almost exclusively at Dover Downs.

Undoubtedly, there are many other Art Directors making impressive though anonymous livings at assorted slots fueled racetracks the mere knowledge of which might just entice some would be fence sitters to get into the game.

Of course in order for that to happen, WORD would have to get around.

Still not so sure we understand this furor regarding the belated suspension for Smedshammer for moving over in the 2006 Hambletonian.

Over the years it seems we can remember a lot worse in which nothing was done including an incident when a legendary driver was rather obvious failing to pass a tiring “house” horse at a particular racetrack.

Then there was a Meadowlands Pace incident in which a Hall of Famer almost scattered the outer tier hastily vacating the pocket behind his leading and prohibitively favored entry mate who may or may not have needed any assistance although the accompanying explanation suggested the move was to avoid getting trapped in case the leader tired.

Then there was the situation in which a stone closer got used as a rabbit in a record attempt although it didn’t come out until later that the driver of the rabbit had purchased an interest in this newest world champion.

The point here is that just because race commissions, racetracks, and/or stakes sponsors in their infinite wisdom may DECRY that the magnitude of a specific purse negates any potential conflict of stable interest- that is not necessarily the case.

Given the ultimate amenities allocated to trainers such as breeding gratuities to developed stallions, in addition to significant stable replenishment, it is totally unrealistic to expect them not to favor one part of a stable entry over another.

Therefore, stable entries must be carded as betting entries regardless of the ownership involved.

The Meadows will not be racing Saturdays anymore. Without lights and heavy ONLINE competition along with larger RACINO crowds, the track has decided to abandon Saturday racing for the foreseeable future in 2008.

Lots of conclusions can be drawn from this announcement not all of them positive.

The Meadowlands, our number one Harness Track was just accorded the Readers Choice award from the Thoroughbred Times as the nation’s best simulcast facility.

No not the new Favorites Simulcast Parlor over in Woodbridge, but the actual racetrack in East Rutherford.

Whereas it may be a recognition of accomplishment for the facility involved, one has to wonder if it’s something Harness Racing in general should be celebrating and/or publicizing .

Bob Marks



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