Grading Harness Stakes, 2013, & Sunday Notes

Is grading harness racing stakes a good idea? I, Mr. Giwner of the DRF, and others seems to think so.

Today in Harness Racing Update, the theory about why it's a good idea is put forth.

Last night in harness-land, a relatively interesting Cleveland Classic was contested. Bolt the Duer, who has been in and out (mostly out) the last while, charged up and ran down the very good Thinking Out Loud in 1:51. Pet Rock really had no excuse. A Rock n Roll Dance, who looked fumbly gaited throughout, looks like he needs a break after that very tough season.

Yesterday, as the card went on, there was a nice speed bias at Penn National. A couple of speed horses were let go at odds. You can almost beat their rake with an edge like that.

"Pacer of the Year" is a tough vote this year, mainly because very few pacers stood out, or lasted the whole year. I think the vote is between American Jewel and Foiled Again, leaning to the former. She had a great year in a pretty tough division.

In the spring I thought Check Me Out might have just an ordinary year. Ordinary for her being a year where she might win 9 of 18 or something like that. Then when she reeled off a few, I thought that was completely wrong. When I look back she probably did have a close-to-ordinary year. She was a strong favorite for "Horse of the Year" before the year started. Now she won't even win trotter of the year. Her two big wins were the Delvin Miller and the Elegant Image.

2013: Do we need more stakes for older pacers and trotters? I think so. Next year we'll see Check Me Out, Maven, Win Missy B, Personal Style (who I think is just coming into her own and finding her feet) along with all the other aged trotting mares. We'll see Market Share and Intimidate. We'll see Rock n Roll Dance, Pet Rock, Heston, Thinking Out Loud, Sweet Lou, and about ten others who can pace fast from this three year old crop. American Jewel and other good three year old fillies look to graduate into older pacers too. It should be quite a year.

Who am I most stoked to see next year?  Odds On Equuleus, for two main reasons. First, he was not taxed this season and each time you watched him on the track he looked 100% sound. Second, SBSW is siring precocious talent, but it appears the others caught up to him late in the year. Will his three year olds progress? I'd want to own Odds On Equuleus in a fantasy draft.

There seems to be some griping in Ontario about the raceday cuts. It seems we're hearing more of "I have ten horses and they need to get in every week to survive". That's true, but slots are gone. It's like the government cancelling a $300 million dollar deal with a factory and the factory saying "I have plant and equipment to produce $300 million more in products." Something has to give.

Jeff Gural, Gangham Style. 

Have a great Sunday everyone!

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