Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why Aren't Saddle Pads Uniform?

I am at simulcast centers sometimes, playing a few races on the massive rows of TV's. Some thoroughbred, some harness. It amazes me how I have to "switch my brain" between watching the little bitty horses on the televisions between the breeds, because of saddle pads. I don't know how many times I have bet the two horse at Mountaineer and cheer a white saddle pad - a victory; then at the same time I have bet the two horse at Mohawk and look up in time to see the white saddle pad jogging in victory there too. A double score!

Except that the white saddle pad belongs to the three horse at Mohawk.

Why are saddle pad colors different in harness and thoroughbreds? I have no idea.

I wonder how the first conversation went (let's say the thoroughbreds had their choice first, which I do not know for sure), when deciding in harness to pick saddle pad colours.

"OK, let's make the one horse red"

Bettor: "Same as the runners, correct, red"

"We should make the two blue. It rhymes."

Bettor: "Blue? The two horse in the runners is white and the three is blue. We have crossover fans, so why not make them the same? Why would we want to confuse our players?"

"I like blue. Blue for two."

Perhaps Dr. Seuss was the first harness racing commissioner.

It seems pretty simple. With simo-centers dotting the landscape, people watching both breeds on Twinspires TV, or on small windows media player screens one would think we would want to have coordinated saddle pads.

Someone should call for a commission. We could get it done in six or seven years, if we hurry.

3 comments:

Glenn Craven said...

I've always wondered about this myself, though I don't pay much attention to the standardbreds. It really doesn't make any sense; might as well be the same far as I can see.

I like the Seuss reference.

Cangamble said...

I think someone quoted that the cost to the industry would be something like $250 million in order to match harness saddle pad colours with thoroughbred saddle pad colours:)

But seriously, at least in harness racing you can go by the driver's outfit.

Pacingguy said...

Actually, blame it on the runners. Harness racing was the first to adopt to colored saddle pads. The t-breds then decided it was a good idea. I suspect being the t-bred people consider their sport 'blue blood' and harness racing the 'poor relative; the decision was made that while they wanted to adopt colored saddle pads the thought process was 'heaven forbid we do the same thing as those poor cousins chose, we will use a different color sequence.

In other words, another example of the lack of cooperation between the breeds.