Let's say you and me own a racetrack. It's a long, long way away geographically from any racing epicenter. In that racing hotbed interstate after interstate away from us, slots churn, resulting in purses for $30,000 or $50,000 a race for any decent horse. There is probably a stakes race or two there, too, with not fantastic competition for $100,000. The race won't even have eliminations, and it's in their own backyard.
Our track has $1000 purses, but you and I grab some sponsors, and we get a purse for $60,000 for one race a year, with eliminations the week before for $20,000. It's on a half mile track so getting the eight post can wipe out any chance for a horse owner to even make the final. With our track 500-1000 miles away, it's probably a tough sell, but we're trying.
But a funny thing happens. We look at the entries and we see:
Real Nice: Top class pacer in New York, who has made more than $1 million.
Mystician: A horse who may make $2 million, and who won the richest pace for 2YO pacers in the world a couple of years ago.
Piece of the Rock: Third in the $1.5 million North America Cup.
And so on.
It's like we attracted Rachel Alexandra to meet Zenyatta on a bull ring in the Yukon.
The only race in the World that can get those kind of entries is the Gold Cup and Saucer, in Charlottetown Prince Edward Island. It doesn't matter if you are an owner or trainer from the east coast, Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, or Delaware. It's a race you want to go to.
Racing is about dollars and cents, but don't tell that to the owners who are sending their horses to PEI this month. To them, it's about having fun, winning a race in front of thousands of racefans, and enjoying time spent with friends and family for one of the greatest weeks of harness racing around, in a beautiful part of the World. Good on them. Sportsmanship and fun is supposed to be part of this sport, because it always has been a part of this sport. Sometimes we forget that, and the Gold Cup and Saucer is a delicious reminder it still exists.
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