I was just jotting down a couple things for a Wednesday wrap (they are added below) and then I saw this from the ORC.
Entitled "Grand Scale Measures", it is a paper on new rules and regulations for Ontario racing. There are several things of interest, like safety vests, a horse health passport, and other measures. But the biggie? Hold on to your hats.....
Owner responsibility -Automatic suspension of a horse for 90 days for testing positive for any non-therapeutic drug.
For the first time I am aware of in all of racing, the owners will be penalized for a horse testing positive for a performance enhancer. This is long overdue.
When you go to buy a video game, cell phone, or anything else, you do your due diligence. When you trust your dog with a kennel while on vacation you do your due diligence to make sure he is safe and well cared for. When you own a horse, often times your due diligence consists of "this guy has high numbers, so he must be a good trainer. Let's go with him." Those days seem to be over. This makes owners treat their horses with respect they deserve. If you employ these people, you go down in flames with them. If you jump from trainer to trainer with questionable reputations you will pay right along with him.
If this is promoted and does what it is supposed to, the first question and comment from an owner will now be: Do you have any positives? Is there anything I should be worried about with you?
All I can say to that is, it's about time.
I notice that whenever Seth at Equidaily.com places up a story on slots he puts it under the “Slots as Saviour” heading – he is being sarcastic, of course. Well New Jersey racing yesterday sent out a press release indicating that Freehold is cutting purses and if nothing is done to help them, the Meadowlands will follow with purse cuts of as much as 45%.
Without a purse supplement, the Meadowlands‚ nightly purse distribution would drop from the current average level of $220,000 per program down to $90,000 nightly.
I don’t blame the powers that be, in going this cap in hand route with some sabre-rattling. Hey, after all it is a tried and true method. Plus, we all know we have severe problems at our flagship track and that something has to be done with smaller, lower handle tracks taking entries from the Meadowlands. But – and this is a big but – a lot of folks seemed to see this coming as early as 2006. My question is: Why was this not addressed earlier?
A news item on Equidaily a bit ago focused on Turftrax, a neat new innovation for overseas horse racing (why can I never seem to say innovation with North American horse racing?) where you can bet horses in-running. They want to get microchips inserted in all saddle pads so bookmakers can offer bets in-running.
While traditional gambling has been losing popularity as many older punters die out, in-play betting has been gaining a growing following on websites such as Betfair.
TurfTrax hopes to capitalise on this trend thanks its fully-automated system, which will make it easy for bookies to offer changing odds as a race develops.
I can’t comment if this would work or if it is a good idea or not. I have never tried it. But as long as people are thinking about innovation and flipping this sports’ traditional methods on its ear, I am all for it. It is probably a decent idea for turf marathons, but I would submit it would be tough in harness racing – there are not enough punters, and these ideas need volume.
Flamboro Downs is promoting its “Pocket Pony” which is a wagering guide for newbies. Initial reaction is good. Anything to get people interested is a good thing. It won’t change handles much I figure, but it does help set a table for growth. Slots players seem to be almost impossible to cross-promote to and it seems tracks have a tough time finding anything that sticks. Maybe this type stuff is a step in the right direction. Grand River Raceway tried this with their simplified program this past year. Small tracks are trying to innovate it seems.
Blair Tells All, Part Two
There is some interesting chatter below on the Blair Burgess Tell All story (here is our post if you have not read it.). For those who have not seen the race I thank Greg for pointing it out to me. You can watch it here. At the quarter you can see Sears is second and Jody J is fourth. Then the fireworks begin.
Edit: Now I see another reader helps us out. Here is a link to embedded video and the story on the race that sparked so much interest. Thanks Jeff!
It is nice to revisit it with video. Watching it again I can not believe Sears put the hammer down. It even looks more odd watching it again. Wow is all I can say.
My previous post was about the fact I searched for a long while to find it, and I could not. How difficult is it to have our championship races on a Breeders Crown website to promote the Crown?
I will have a post up soon on what I think the Crown should do to grow. The magic wand will be out again. I am interested to hear what people think.