Sunday, December 14, 2008

What Allan Wants from Santa Harness Racing

Frequent contributor Allan wrote a comment to our last post immediately below. It was long. We tend to post long comments here :)

What I Want for Christmas - The Harness List

1 - Shorter seasonal meets. Nothing was better than when Roosevelt Raceway was around. You raced three months at Yonkers then moved to Roosevelt and then back. You had some excitement and you didn't get bored. Opening day meant something. Meadowlands - Starts January 2 and finishes eight months later. Fatigue sets in. Yes, less time to race for the horsemen but guess what? Those that race at racinos they have super purses and the horses get rest.

2 - Meaningful circuits. Similar to above but set up regional circuits cross state lines (yes, a Yankee)so no more than one or two harness or T-bred tracks race at a single time. Doesn't mean you can't have a track start at noon; a track start at 4 and one start at 8 within the circuit.

3 - Reduce post times. For the few of us that go to the track, is there a reason why you need three or four hours to go through an entire card? I know, some people bet at the last minute. Well give them a half hour between races, give them five minutes between races, they are still going to bet at the last minute. The public on the whole has the attention span of a flea give it to them short and give them the relative constant action they crave for. Oh, but there are so many tracks they can play thanks to simulcasting. Realistically, how many tracks can someone play intelligently at a given time? My most enjoyable day at the Meadowlands was when once they were racing when they shouldn't have and they finished the ten race in two hours.

4 - Rolling daily doubles. What can I say, I like the daily doubles.

5 - To steal from the greyhounds, the Double Quinella. Hit the quinella two races in the row and win a nice amount of money. No, not Pick 6 large, but sure to pick up at least a couple of hundred dollars without having to bet a relatively large amount of money.

6 - Classified racing. Again a throw back to the old Yonkers/Roosevelt days. FFA, JFA, Open, A-1, A-2,...., C-3. Yes, Mr or Mrs Racing Secretary you will need to do more work but at least it will make handicapping easier for the racino and casino fans. Again, the attention span is limited, asking them to figure out some conditions which a lawyer would have a hard time to figure out is absurd; then when you see it in a program you will see even at the Meadowlands three races listed as nw3cd with different purse amounts. If they won't go back to classified racing, streamline the conditions and loose those AE conditions (where you have multiple AE conditions.

7 - Sell the Meadowlands to a private entity. Right now, because it is quasi-government owned they don't have the right of exclusion. Sell them to a private concern so they can ban the crooks.

8 - Racing commissions with teeth unlike in NJ where they come up with harsh rulings and then the person appeals and rather than backing up their rulings all the way through the courts, they compromise so the offender gets to miss the deep winter months. Also, don't allow people banned in certain states to race in your jurisdiction. Despite some of the rulings, commissions more like
Indiana and Ontario.

9 - An ADW which will show harness racing prominently on their channel unlike TVG. I know the Tbreds are more popular, but give me my harness racing. If need be, have two channels, one for Tbreds and one for harness racing.

10 - Ban the whips in harness racing. As Andrew Cohen, said in his column in the harness horse, PETA is looking at all racing. They have been successful in getting greyhounds outlawed in many states, the most recent being Massachusetts. American society is become more animal rights oriented, while harness racing fortunately has fewer breakdowns, the whipping is going to get their attention and all you need is a referendum and you are history.

11 - Real horse adoption programs like the one at Finger Lakes at each track or if not at each track within each racing jurisdiction. The rationale, see #10. Unfortunately, while some of people in the industry fight for better treatment of our horses, a large number remain silent probably because they don't care. Here in the lower 48 you are hearing more and more about what is happening to horses after they are done racing.

12 - Get rid of the cheats. 'Nuff said.

13 - Lower the takeout. Plenty has been said about that.

14 - Eliminate eliminations for stake races. Use the KY Derby model. Having races where people are racing for fourth place is not right. Have races where everyone is racing for first. If you want, have smaller though substantial races for those that don't make the cut for the first tier event.

15 - The ability to bet any track racing in the US legally through your ADW, not this one has this track, this one has another.

16 - And lastly, can someone explain to me why we can't bet Canadian tracks through TVG?

Anyway, Happy Holidays to all.

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