In our last post on Inside Information, we discussed that racing could and should let people know when and if a horse was sick or lame or had his air shut off or didn't like a racing surface, and how he is tonight. These bits of information are huge. With 20% takeouts, the game is hard enough trying to beat it off form, let alone factors we do not know. Hong Kong does this already, and with the internet a laser-fast medium, it is doable in some form.
We got to see this Monday. Brent MacGrath, trainer of Beach has a Standardbred Canada Blog. We all watched the Simcoe on Saturday and it was clear that something was not quite right. But what? It turns out that the Beach scoped sick and his blood was done and his white count was high. A virus. This is great news to handicappers, and to fans of the sport. Usually we only hear such things as backstretch whispers.
Interestingly, a bit of harness racing fact comes out in this. On chat boards and in a few other areas, this is looked at as an excuse; and there are some out there who do not believe MacGrath that the horse scoped sick. We tend to eat our young in racing, for some bizarre reason. I guess the good side is, when you are getting kicked in the ass by people, it is because you are in front of them.
For the record, one of our trainers, the young feller, was there for the scoping. He said it was pretty ugly and he was amazed the horse could have actually won with that much mucous.
Regardless, despite the rumblings of a few people who might not believe them, prodding trainers to say 'why bother', I hope that this trend of letting us know what happened in a race in terms of a horses fitness is only the beginning. Football would not be bet without an injury report, or having to guess if players are in the line-up this week, and harness racing is not much different. People need to know these things to encourage them to bet. And not to mention hearing "the horses air was shut off and that was the reason for the 19 length loss" is much needed ammo to those who think 'the horse was stiffed'. I believe things like the MacGrath blog help racing in myriad ways, so I hope it continues. And I sincerely hope a few people who want to try and ruin it for the rest of us who want to know these things are taken for what they are, and ignored.