Skip to main content

Early Retirement

With the problem of many horses retiring too early, there was a comment from Allan which was good. This can easily be applied to both standardbred and thoroughbred racing.

Here is an idea which may help solve the problem with early retirement. How about two new events, the North American Pacing and Trotting Derbys?

What should happen is whenever a standardbred is registered in the US or Canada, a $50 surcharge should be applied. For this $50, each horse is automatically nominated to these two races (splitting the nomination fees between the two races or base it on the sire being a pacing or trotting sire).

Next, add a $50 surchage to the electronic eligibilty fee and that could be the first sustaining payment. In this case, the fee would be assigned to the trotting or pacing derby based on a declaration made at that time.

By doing this, every horse that ever makes a start is automatically eligible for a nominal amount of money each horse is eligible to race. Of course, after the eligibility certificate is issued, each owner will then be able to decide whether or not to keep making payments to stay in the race, but just with these initial fees, you will have good size purses for races that will be raced for 4yos and up.

Have big enough purses for older races and the economic case to keep them racing is made. Here is a way to have get at least one big race for older horses.

A lot of that is inside baseball, but the point is well taken. We have to shuffle a few million from 2YO’s and 3YO races to the older horses, somehow. Over time this can help us, not only with the obvious, but it also makes economic sense. A full field of sports stars, attracts much more attention than a 2YO pace like the Woodrow Wilson, or the Merrie Annabelle, but it goes one step further and it also attracts more betting. I was at those two races this year, let’s just say the buzz was non existent.

We discussed some of this before in this post, when Darryl Kaplan was making a plea to the business to do something about aged events and keeping horses around for at least a little while.

We wrote this awhile back and my opine has not changed:

The Sadinsky Report is out and they are speaking of purse pooling and using money for marketing. Work out a deal and make a Canadian Triple Crown. The Canadian Pacing Derby, The Des Smith and the New Provincial Cup at Windsor (I'd want the third leg to be the Gold Cup and Saucer, but I won't ask for too much). Make them the three richest races for four year olds and up anywhere. Make them the most prestigious events that this sport in Canada has ever seen. Roll out the red carpet for owners, provide marketing and a budget so on track fans can have an experience they will tell friends about, get them on television, pay a bonus. Think big and give the breeders with their huge checkbooks a run for their money.

Unless someone can tell me that fans pay admission and help the business by watching horses mate at four instead of race, it is something that should be at the very least studied. With handle down 40% the last several years, a Montreal track with 101 year history shutting down, and our sport in worse shape in terms of fan interest than it has ever been before, no idea should be considered a bad idea.


You’d think that horses break their leg before they turn four or something with the evidence of how few seem to race now. I don't know what can be done, but it is pretty clear something has to.

Comments