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Showing posts from October, 2008

Gold Cup at Woodbine

Alex made a comment below, about how he thought this year a special race would have given the sport a shot in the arm. This race would involve say, Mr. Big and Somebeachsomewhere.

I read a recent headline that the Gold Cup at Woodbine was being moved.... immediately I thought "wow, they are going to move it to December I bet, and invite the Beach." But no, it now will be raced on November 15th, the same day the Beach races in the Ontario Super final.

Last years Gold Cup was exciting. You had the usual free for allers, but in a neat twist, Tell All, the Jug Champ, and Hagi, the fastest three year old in Canada that year were both invited. We got to see a Jug Champ and a Simcoe champ face older as a 3YO. Tell All ended up the chalk and raced well. Hagi held his own first over.

I thought for sure we'd see something like that before the Beach heads off prematurely to retirement. It should be interesting to see what happens for the Beach's final race, but it won't be the…

Announcers: Stauffer and McKee

I just watched the 7th at Hollywood and it amazes me how good a race caller Vic Stauffer is. He tells you virtually everything that is going on in a race and does so with a sense of purpose.

On the standardbred side, how about Sam McKee? Another masterful race caller.

Sometime I think we take these professionals for granted. But they are tops.

In homage to two greats, here is some video.

First Vic.



And a great call by Sam:



Edit: For Greg, who mentioned Durkin, here is one of the most beautiful race calls I have ever heard (just my opinion, I know others have their fave Durkin calls, too). It was 20 years ago and hearing the crowd down the lane, along with this wonderful call should make us remember just how fantastic this sport was in terms of fan support and drama.

Quick Notes: Infighting, Judging and a Bunch More

Our weekly, bi-weekly, or when I am too lazy to type anything, quick look at racing.

I bet a horse at Flamboro Downs Monday night. I was at Woodbine on Monday watching the tractor tear a hole out of the track, so I needed something to do. I bet the one horse in the 9th. I thought it was an overlay. Apparently everyone else did as well. I bet him with 15 seconds to post at 5-2. The horse ended up 1-5. I spoke to a small track guy recently and he said he hopes that betting exchanges are passed sometime in the future, because we need something to combat this. Also another insider I spoke to says our pari-mutuel system is just not working any longer. I agree.

Plenty of feedback on the Western Fair non-DQ on Monday, with comments here. Moreso, the chat boards are humming. Several people are calling for people to be fired over this. I personally do not know what to think. Plus, as stated, I am pretty lazy tonight, so I will let all those bettors and people like Andrew Cohen fire way.

The Breed…

Horseplayers Sometimes Complain Too Much......

.... but this time I think they have a good complaint. Be prepared to see the most incredible judges call, perhaps in the history of not just harness racing, but the thoroughbreds too (video below).

The chat boards are buzzing about race 12 at London's Western Fair raceway last night. The comments are less than complimentary. In this race, the horse in the pocket along the rail, pulls off the racetrack at the head of the lane. Yep, off the racetrack. He then proceeds to pace a little while, dodging the traffic, because well, horses are not allowed inside the rail so clearly there in no traffic; and then he joins back up just before the wire. Some would think this is a simple call - pitched to last.

In fact, virtually everyone thinks this is a simple call, and not just horseplayers. On Andrew Cohen's board, here is a comment from Woodbine announcer Ken Middleton:

I can't imagine how they didn't place the winner behind the rest of the field.

The horse in question looked like…

Will There Ever Be a Referendum on Horse Racing?

Equidaily ran a story recently on a dog racing referendum in Massachusetts. The proponents want to see dog racing outlawed.

Will this ever happen in horse racing? Will an activist State pop up that wants to get rid of horse racing? Will brutal images be peppered in the press of horses breaking down, just to make a point?

One would not think so, but in this day and age when weird and wacky laws are passed seemingly daily, one never knows.

Breeders Cup Post at HANA

A reprint of a Breeders cup trip post at the Horseplayers Association of North America that I think everyone should enjoy. We do not have these big days in harness racing. We tend to be grassroots, and if we hear $600 for a seat we would have a fairly large chuckle. So I think it is fun to see how the other half lives. I remember my first post on the blog here about harness racing, and it is nothing like this.

Anyway, I can attest that (because I know a couple of them) the group at HANA is top notch and people like John are really good for the game. I wish I could have made it because I would have loved to meet racing writers Jim Quinn and Dr. Z. I read his book about three times, cover to cover when I was a tyke horseplayer.

If you have not joined the association and want to, you can here. It is free, it is for both harness and thoroughbred players and you can help by joining. Please do.

My mother frequently told me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say…

Harness Herb's Top Ten

Our weekly look at Harness Racing's ten best horses, ranked.

Greg reports that Herb had a tough week this week. He had to move a couple out, due to injury and sub par losses.

He moved Nebupannezar in, as he was lights out in a major race (a grade one to runner fans), and has raced well all year. He is close to being the 2YO pacer of the year if he converts the BC.

Enough Talk, with another win, is coming on hard, so he moved up a couple of spots. He has become the top older trotter in racing. He is a world record holder as well.

Federal Flex had some sickness issues, so Herb was not sure if he would bounce back, but he did. He moves in. He is this years Dewey, or Donato in the 2YO ranks - the top juvenile trotter in racing.

Shadow Play has stamped himself the "horse other than Beach", is a world record holder in his own right; and being so close to one of the best ever, the Jug champ deserves an uptick (Herb note: He would have stayed at 4 if he lost by a couple). Frankly,…

Somebeachsomewhere Delivers. Curlin Does Not

In a spectacular day of racing, two superstars slipped on a bridle. One delivered a superstar performance, and one did not. I am not here to beat on Curlin, like I am sure some will. I love the horse. He is wonderful, and he is racing at four. That is enough in this day and age to love him.

First up, Somebeachsomewhere paced another magical mile in the $650,000 Messenger Stakes at Yonkers. The track was a mud bath, and Beach was not handling the going at all. During the running of the race he looked out of whack, and not steering at all well. If he was ripe for a beating this was it. Inside of him was Shadow Play - in any other year, the three year old pacer. He won the Little Brown Jug by 7 and set a World record in the Adios.

While watching the race a seasoned race watcher (in fact a guy who makes his living betting horses and does rather well) said "he can't steer him". He thought he was done. I am enamoured with this horse and thought he was not beat, and when he reac…

For Those Playing the Cup Pick Six.....

Wagering is open for business in many parts of the world, and it tends to be sharp. Today there were several horses bet below their morning line, and some above it and these were signalled Thursday night. They are helpful when constructing pick 6 or pick 4 tickets, I find. So here are a few quick notes:

Marathon - Sixties Icon is being hit pretty hard. Delightful Kiss is taking money.

Turf Sprint - Mr. Nightliner is live. I like this horse, so this is disappointing. I don't think we get any price on him.

Dirt Mile - Pyro and My Pal Charlie are being bet below ML.

Mile - US Ranger is being bet below ML.

Juvy - Street Hero is tepid chalk right now.

Juvy Turf - They are loving Westphalia.

Sprint - Fatal Bullet is live.

Turf - Conduit is taking money.

Classic - Curlin is just over 2-1.

Watching the in running betting at betting giant betfair was interesting today. When Indian Blessing was getting eaten up the action was pretty fierce. It happened several times today. The Brits love their racing…

Slots Solution in 30 Seconds & Breeders Cup Tips

I have been reading reaction and stories about Halsey Minor's news that he would rather get sent to the big house, instead of having a slot machine at his track. It's been pretty interesting.

I thought about it for 30 seconds tonight, and I came up with a solution. A way to use slots cash to raise revenues. Currently tracks get around 10% and purses get about 10%. That's no good. In the vernacular, it sucks.

Pull The Pocket's Amazingly Intricate Slots Solution

7.5% goes to tracks
7.5% goes to purses
1% goes to marketing
4% goes to player rebates

I just upped handles by 20%, we will soon be watching the World Series of Horseplaying on ESPN 2, and we'll get to watch some cool commercials with Luc Ouellette in a tu tu. The sport grows.

Now that we have grown racing, it is time to speak about the weekend.

Pull the Pocket's Unsolicited Breeders Cup Tips

1. Go big or go home - Shoot the moon. If you bet every horse since the BC started, you make a profit. Don't buck the …

Minor: Slots are a Disease & I Will Not Infect Racing With Them

Halsey Minor, the former CNET founder and Internet entrepreneur who wants to buy tracks, might be a guy that can turn this business around. He says "slots do not belong in racing," and that if they are approved for a track he owns he would not implement them.

Minor, with the comptroller by his side, also told reporters that he wants to revive Maryland horse racing without slot machines.

"These things, they're cancer," Minor said at a news conference in the comptroller's reception room.

Minor also said he would consider building a new facility in Baltimore at Pimlico, which is home of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown. Minor said his plans to revive horse racing involve focusing on improving the track experience for fans.

"Slots do not belong in thoroughbred racing," Minor said

Slots are our drug. Like most subsidies that are given without benchmarks or penalties, they make us lazy and allow us to be second rate, ordinary, unremar…

Messenger Stakes - Beach v. Shadow

As we noted, the buzz in all of racing is about the Breeders Cup. But there is a dandy match-up after the glitter of the day fades at Yonkers Raceway in NYC.

Here is the field for the third jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, The Messenger Stakes (10PM).

$650,000 Messenger Stakes
1-Legacy N Diamonds 12-1
2-Brother Ray 15-1
3-Dali 20-1
4-Santanna Blue Chip 12-1
5-Shadow Play 5-2
6-Somebeachsomewhere 1-2

Slam dunk for the Beach at a 1-2 ML? I don't think so. He will have to work, and work hard I think.

In the Confederation Cup, these two horses met. Beach off an Ontario sired triumph, and Shadow Play off of a World Record performance in the Adios. I had to laugh a little bit as this was about the time that people were saying Beach was dodging horses and looking for an easy spot. The Cup was their toughest field assembled and was much tougher than the Cane, or the Jug, Windy City, or even the Messenger. This was one tough field and one tough race to win.



Clearly another shellacking by the grea…

Harness Herb's Top Ten

It is no secret that Pocket readers are flummoxed with the Harness Racing Top Ten poll. We have made it a topic about four or five times. So our cub reporter Greg Reinhart figured we should do our own. I was too lazy so Greg has initiated this weekly event. Each Tuesday will be top ten Tuesday.

This list will be chosen by Harness Herb. A special thanks to Herb and Greg.


Harness Herb's Top Ten List

1. Somebeachsomewhere

2. Mister Big

3. Deweycheatumnhowe

4. Shadow Play

5. Art Official

6. Dial Or Nodial

7. Celebrity Secret

8. Artimittateslife

9. Enough Talk

10. Art Colony

PS: Just for the record I did not pick this list, Herb did. If you have a comment, please address Herb in the comments section.

Tuesday Notes

The Breeders Cup for thoroughbred racing is dominating the headlines and you can find some good information out there. We'll leave that to other bloggers.

Thanks to Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report, we'll run some neat stories about gay horses and horses who get their head stuck in a tree, though. Those never go out of style. No worries, the horse is fine and if she is anything like me when I licked a frozen flagpole at age four, she won't do that again.

Harness news seems to be in a vacuum. The Fall Final Four is at Woodbine, but those races, unless we have a supastar in them never seem to do much for me. I went to Woodbine last weekend though and sat around the Trot Canada National Handicapping Championship. Trot did a good job and Woodbine playing host made the event look enjoyable. The winning bankroll was pretty light. One or two bombers and one could have taken home the prize, but no one seemed to land one.

Woodbine upgraded their toteboard and big screens. It looks a…

Uncoupled Entries,Tackling Problems & Big News!

New York is looking to uncouple entries when trainers enter two or more horses. All I can say to that is hear hear.

Long ago when purses were $250 at Dresden Raceway, or $400 at a meet in Oklahoma it had its place. It does not any longer. The evidence? Look no further than Betfair. They uncouple horses. There is no 1 and 1A and they have done so because it encourages betting, and most importantly, their customers demand it.

A quick anecdote. I was watching the races recently and there was a 1 and a 1A. I did not mind the one, but I feared a huge overbet. The 1A was more than solid and had great late pace numbers on a track that was playing to late. The entry was 3-1 and I sat on my hands. I flipped over to betfair. The one was 9-2 and the 1A was 18-1. The 1A jogged. There was $4000 matched on the 1 and 1A uncoupled, instead of $2000 if not. A win for racing, and a win for the handicapper.

As a horse owner I admit, I love three horse fields, and non-competitive races. If I were a part of…

Slots Revenue Tumbles and Other Notes

In a harbinger perhaps (thanks to Equidaily for the link) slots revenue is falling fast.

The amount of money bet at Pennsylvania casinos dropped more than $200 million in September as the stock market and slots play slumped across the nation.

Harrah's Chester Downs wagers dropped 8 percent from the previous month. Philadelphia Park saw a 13 percent drop.

Never is it a better time to position racing as a place you can win.

Adding to the chorus is the last post at Harnesslink.com. It is an excellent post on poker doing exactly that. Sure poker online is fun, sure it is a community, sure it is entertainment. But they rightfully do not promote that. They position themselves as a place that with skill, you can win. Just look at the marketing with Ferguson's bankroll.



They are saying "our game is open for your business. You can win like Chris, so come play." We can do that too if we put our minds to it. Racing is a great game you can win at if you are good and work hard when …

Lousiana Downs Bucks the Trend

Maybe it is not the economy after all.

Mountaineer Park in Chester WV ushered in the 21st century business model in 1999. At that time their handle was putrid, but they changed. They decided that they would offer their signal to anyone who wants it, for a good price (not the THG 1/3 model, but a low price to encourage people to offer it and to rebate to customers if they wish). The pre-signal distribution handle was $19 million for the entire meet. In 2003 with full coverage, this jumped to $300 million. They grew Mountaineer from a backwoods place that no one plays, to a solid destination for hungry price sensitive bettors.

Following that lead is Louisiana Downs. This meet, while most others showed massive decreases in handles, their handle jumped. They worked with their partners like Premier Turf Club and Youbet.com to push the product. It seems to have worked well.

Now in the third year of a marketing partnership, Youbet.com posted increases on Louisiana Downs racing once again. The …

We're Getting Closer

We have a long way to go to fix betting problems, as witnessed below in Joe Riddell's interview, but we are getting there on other fronts. The NTRA, a couple of days ago announced their 7 point plan. It is a de facto commissioners office on several pressing issues. It will not be funded by fans, as these things tend to be. And so far all tracks seem to be on board.

The initiatives include:

• A continued move toward uniform medication rules;
• A ban of steroids from racing competition;
• Out of competition testing for blood and gene doping agents;
• Uniform penalties for all medication infractions;
• Mandatory on-track and non-racing injury reporting;
• Mandatory installation of protective inner safety rails;
• Mandatory pre- and post-race security; and
• Adoption of a placement program for retired Thoroughbreds.

To implement the plan, a heavy hitter who is highly respected, former governor of Wisconsin Tommy Thompson. One blogger doesn't like him because he is a republican, but it is an…

The Only Article One Needs To Read....

.... if they want to understand why wagering has fallen so far, so fast.

Joe Riddell, a bloodstock agent and horseplayer is interviewed for a business magazine about the 21st century racing customer, internet wagering and more.

Some salient points:

* On needing a national internet business model, getting the fingers out of the pie, and respecting the bettor:

..... not only does it not have the right business model, it doesn't have the right management team in place. As a whole you have to understand where our customers are, where they've gone, what they're demanding and recognize that we need to bring them back into the game and certainly back into the revenue stream. ...

RH: Who are the customers?

JR: Customers are the gamblers who are demanding a certain rate, a certain convenience and customer service that the industry has failed to provide. They're usually pretty high end, very intellectual gamblers who have now had their need satisfied by their bookmakers

What he is spea…

You Can't Win

At many conferences I have been to, and in discussion with most who own horses, or are involved in racing, the question "why is racing fading" is mostly met with the usual: Our game is not exciting, we should ban whipping, we need to play more music, we have to have entertainment between races, and on and on. On the blog and elsewhere with gamblers (i.e. the customers) this is rarely spoken about. The chasm between the inside baseball of racing, versus the grassroots is as large as the grand canyon.

On Paceadvantage.com, a poster cuts to the chase and echos what we have said on the blog for a long time. Racing is dieing because customers can't win.

There have been lots of talk about what appeal horse racing has or could have to the mainstream public. Many give low marks to the industry in attracting more non horseplayers to this game.

In my opinion, there is one reason alone that keeps non horseplayers from crossing over: You cannot win at the game!

The game is so heavily b…

Good for Ray

The talk of late has been steroids in this business. Many of us feel that this has been overblown and driven by other sports and other headlines. Further, we seem to heavily publicize timing issue positives. If a horse wins in 150 with a trace of penicillin or whatever in his system, because he was sick, fans cry that he was "juiced". I think this does us a tremendous disservice.

There are some drugs in this business that are bad. And one of them is EPO, Aranesp or their equivalents. They are brutal on a horse's system and they are used for one reason and one reason only: To win races and take money from honest owners.

Ray Schnittker, trainer and driver of the very nice Deweycheatumnhowe spoke out about it today and it is detailed in this piece.

"I really don't think steroids work," said Schnittker of Middletown, who won the Hambletonian — harness racing's version of the Super Bowl — driving Deweycheatumnhowe in August. "It's a crock, and the poli…

As You Know......

.... Big Brown is done. Of course, eventhough he could be back in four to six weeks, that does not matter in our game.

Retiring Big Brown yesterday was all about protecting an investment first, a racehorse second. This is as it should be, of course, since thoroughbred racing exists for one purpose only, and that is to generate revenue for owners, breeders and state governments, with occasional crumbs thrown to the bettors.

And a little dig at the painfully obvious of IAEH's Iavarone.

That is why I had to laugh when, after Big Brown's defeat in the Belmont, Iavarone's response to a perfectly legitimate question -- "How will this defeat affect his stud value?" -- was met with the most disingenuous type of indignation. "How dare you ask that question at a time like this!" Iavarone raged. "You think this is about the money?"

Well, yeah.


Valerie at our bloglist blog has a good post up on Big Brown et al. She slices with her words like I cut a porterhous…

Case Study: Horse Racing in the Internet Age

I had written a small piece for the blog, but decided that Jules, the ever capable marketing man at Harnesslink.com would do the post more justice with some fancy pictures. So, he nicely accepted the task and posted it on the fine blog at his site.

The report is simply a broad look at racing in the Information age. Google searches are a fine barometer of interest in a product, story and much more. Ad revenue from google makes up the bulk of their revenue, and this ad revenue is not banner ads, or interruption marketing. It is advertising based on you and me - what we search for drives their revenue, and what we search for is gold to businesses.

Anyway, enough rambling. Please pop over to this link for the post on Racing in the Internet Age.

Apologies in advance for having some fun comparing horses like the Beach to Dewey and Curlin to Big Brown, but hell I am just a kid at heart. Playing with google is like playing a video game.

For another interesting web post, check below the article…

Waldrop New President? Grassroots Likes PTP!

Alex Waldrop of the NTRA seems to be throwing the hat in the ring for a central commission. This is good news. He is a good man and would no doubt do a good job in a business that badly needs a "President".

On the internet, the grassroots seems to be speaking out, however. Even elder ladies have caught the wave of Pull the Pocket Mania. I am flattered, but really, I am just a dumb horseplayer folks.

HPI Interactive Doing Some Good & Questions Answered

A quick note about Horseplayer Interactive and what they have been up to. First, I mentioned before that they have added free Bris stats and picks for all thoroughbred cards. They are giving members information, for free, to help them handicap. There are some solid stats and angles in this information.

Further, they have added Compubet stats for harness cards. This too is for free.

The HPI brand has taken its share of knocks from horseplayers, and this is a problem. But offering players some tools to encourage them to bet is a good thing. It is a rebranding step.

Secondly, a comment I noticed below asking a question:

Should the harness racing industry in North America allow Betfair to come in and offer harness racing? How would it work, if so?

I believe that Betfair offering a harness racing element is a good thing (if they did it like in Australia where they act as an ADW and you can bet into pools too), but it would be much better if we did it ourselves. It involves changing the laws of …

See.....

As expected, "it's the economy" is the rallying cry from racing.

The gross domestic product in the USA was 7.3 trillion in 1998. In 2007 it was almost double that. If we are to believe that the bad economy is a reason why we are down, then why did we not double handles since 1998 when the economy grew by almost 100%? Why aren't handles $28 billion this year? We have not grown anything if at all since 1998. Handle was around $14B then, as it is now.

They can't have it both ways.

Wagering Crisis 2008. Anyone Surprised?

I mentioned this post courtesy the Horseplayers Association earlier. In it, the bad news. Wagering is down almost 10% in the second quarter. We clearly have a wagering crisis in 2008.

What happened? I think a good many people already know how we feel. On the blog and elsewhere, the tenet that has helped us go into the toilet has been trumpeted: We are old, we are governed by 1930 rules, we are slow to react to technology and by pricing our product too high we send people home constantly broke and they are tired of it.

Horseman groups sometime feel that they are immune to losses in wagering. We see that with horseman strikes, or with groups like THG stopping tracks from offering their signal to players. This is not the case. Not the case at all.

During the third quarter, pari-mutuel handle decreased 9.85% in year-over-year comparisons. Total purses were off by 2.37% during the same period, while race days were down by 1.29%. For the nine months ending on September 30, wagering is down 5.…

Thursday Notes

Just a few things while passing time here, sick as a dog and avoiding work at all costs.

When are we ever going to learn that we are the problem?

Ray Paulick has a post up about horse slaughter. It is amazing that there are so many organizations and all of them refuse to take a stand.

EPO testing is going on for the Breeders Cup. If anyone is using EPO, don't use it in that window.

I watched some thoroughbred racing on Saturday. At race 5 or 6 at Woodbine, about four tracks with stakes were going off at exactly the same post time. In the UK for oh, about the last sixty years, their central organization has made it that races go off every ten minutes.

A horseplayer at Paceadvantage.com, who is a semi-professional, believes that it might be time for him to leave the game.

* I currently need 3 accounts to bet MOST, not all, tracks onshore.
* I'm sick of odds being all over the place after the race starts.
* Information is poor and about 30 years behind modern technology.

Good Betfair News for Racing

Betfair is currently going to run "in running" betting for all grade 1 races in Australia.

"In the run betting has become so popular in the UK, it now accounts for about 18 per cent of all money traded on UK horse racing."

Also, remember the complaining when Betfair was licensed, from the old guard of racing, protecting their slicerooni? The cannablization argument was first and foremost. It is not happening.

In Australia, the local subsidiary of UK-licensed online betting exchange Betfair has announced that it will increase its funding of the Tasmanian thoroughbred horseracing industry by 12.9 percent.

Increases in TOTE betting have also occurred during the last year. Innovation and bringing our product to a market is clearly a good thing.

21st Century - Debates to Rest & Let's Make History

Timeform is a global data driver, and a service that rates horses based on what they run. They were recently bought by Betfair. In the recently concluded Arc they rated Zarkava, the filly who won, at a 133.

Timeform have put a lofty provisional rating of 133 on Zarkava’s stunning Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe win - and that makes her the joint third-best filly/mare in the past 20 years, according to the world-renowned ratings organization.

And they believe that she has the ability to become the best.
Allez France (1974) and Habibti (1983) have recorded the best female performances in the past 40 years, posting a rating of 136, and Sunday’s comfortable 2 length defeat of Youmzain sees Zarkava ranked alongside more recent greats such as Miesque and Indian Skimmer.

“Zarkava’s basic rating for winning the Arc was 131 but she has been credited with an extra 2lb for the style of her success and the fact that she didn't have an entirely trouble-free passage.

“She's undoubtedly one of t…

Cohen Chimes in on Hambo Poll

This was in this weeks Horseman and Fair World. It was actually penned a week before Dewey lost another race.

This skewed view manifests itself most clearly in the sport’s latest Top 10 poll, with balloting conducted weekly by Harness Racing Communications. Although three voters moved from Dewey to Somebeachsomewhere from the previous week, the collective group still places the pacer a distant second. Dewey received 24 first-place votes, SBSW has 10. Why is there still so much separation?

Maybe the reason is because there are some people who just haven’t seen enough of the Canadian-owned SBSW in this country, considering that just three of his 17 starts have been in the States. I’d love to hear from this week’s 24 Dewey backers why they still picked the trotter over the pacer. What more do they believe SBSW needs to do?

And echoing what some have said here on the blog. Geography. Wow, I thought we lived in an Internet world.

One Canadian horseman said if Somebeachsomewhere were a U.S.-bas…

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 eligibili…