Saturday nights at Mohawk in Campbellville look like the place to be. I took in the races last night and was struck by the number of bodies at the track.
Mohawk is the anti-woodbine.
I usually go about five or six times live in the summer. If the stable is lucky enough to have one to race at the A track it is something that has to be done, because I have a good time there. This first trip of 2008 was nice. We sat at the tables that overlook the finish line. The service was excellent. Sitting beside us was Western Fair race secretary Ian Fleming (he had a horse racing; he raced well, so congrats) and he was pretty amazed at how many people were there, and what WEG has done with the Hawk.
There are a few tracks in Ontario which really get the juices flowing for live racing, and Mohawk is one of them. We are huge proponents of internet wagering as noticed by many, many posts, simply because it is the future and it is where our biggest bettors toil with their craft. However, the live experience is important. Mohawk has a population of well over a million people within a half hour drive to their doorstep. In the summer I hope WEG pushes this experience, gives the organizers and harness-marketing team a solid budget and some free-rein to do some of the things that need to be done to attract this population base. Harness racing is not corporate like Woodbine, so it takes a different outlook to attract people - marketing 101. Live racing can grow here, no doubt about it.
There is nothing better than an evening out at the races where fans can enjoy a beer and watch people having fun. We rated Mohawk high on our live track ratings post last year, and I see nothing at all to change that rating, other than perhaps moving it up. Walking around last night I noticed every picnic table was filled. WEG might need to add more picnic tables instead of benches. How many times have we said that in Ontario harness racing the past ten years?
My pick for the final, Red Star Catch did poorly. Getting older, I often wake up in need of an equipment change. I think Red Star is in need of one too, since he circled the Mohawk oval like he was wanting to hit the Shell station on Guelph line for some gas and snacks. Get Out of Dodge was the winner. Murray and his crew are one of the good guys in this game, so congratulations are in order on a big effort.