Sunday, January 6, 2008

Uniform Rules? Yah, right.

I got this month's issue of American Turf Monthly and was going through it. I often start off at the standardbred report, which is a column on harness racing (ATM is generally a thoroughbred magazine). This month's column focused on the breaking rule in racing.

The author begins by looking at one race at Yonkers which was ruled one way, then another race at the same track ruled another way, then a third race..... it was of course, ruled another way.

I have always believed that rulings are generally simple, and we make them complicated. It was nice to read a similar opinion by another person. The writer was of the belief that: If the infraction did not affect the outcome of the race, it should not be an infraction. And also: A handicapper with experience should be employed as a judge, not just friends of friends in the industry.

Let's think about something like this, which we have seen all to often:

A horse breaks stride while sitting third. Two horses behind him have to swerve out, perhaps losing a half length, if that. Not to mention, the drivers overreacted anyway and didn't even have to swerve. The horse who broke gets onstride quickly, comes out and takes the lead. He wins by 5 - jogburger. Then his number flashes, and we have a 20 minute inquiry. Sure enough, eventhough the horses were not overly affected, and eventhough the horse was tons the best - he is chucked.

Then the next day in the same situation ...... he is left up.

Ask anyone who bets and they will, more often than not, scratch their head at inquiries, especially those focused on the breaking rule. I hate to beat a dead drum, but we simply do not seem to respect people's money in the business. They are our customers and need to be respected. Uniform rules, and uniform calls from judges should not be wished for; they should be expected. This is a $15B a year business!

If you get American Turf Monthly, or see it and want to have a good read with real world examples, give it a look. It makes a whole lot of sense.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Look at Balmoral Race 8 tonight (Feb. 11, 2009) A horse who broke didnt have any effect on the outcome whatsoever(5 lengths outside rest of the field) and they dq'd the horse. I am never betting harness racing again.

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