Harness Twits & Thoroughbred Twits, the Big M & Mine That Bird

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone.

It's Kentucky Derby season, when we'll see such amazing quotes like:

"The work was good. The horse should be good"

"Things are on schedule. Things are good"

"We're good. He's cleaning up his feed tub. Things are good"

Inevitably, two thirds of those horses don't make the Derby, because things were probably not "all good". In harness racing it was always like this to some extent, but that - the past year or so - has changed, big time.

In HRU today (page 3 pdf), the new Meadowlands initiative to get trainer feedback on layoff horses, and their paddock interviews are looked at. In addition, information from the top driver at the Meadowlands via twitter was examined.

Trainers in racing love to talk about their horses, they love to talk about what they're working on - most of them live, eat and breathe their horse's -  but in harness racing it's a bit different, because they seem to have have no trouble at all talking about it on camera. This is great, in my opinion, because it humanizes them, and lets customers and fans know that horses are not machines. It also helps customers make a bet or two, too.
  • When we are open about the above we let customers, potential horse owners, and the general fan into the sport. We go "inside baseball" and it is a tremendously interesting part of racing. The races are not
    pre-determined, they're races with many variables. We should never run away from being open.
The Meadowlands, driver Yannick Gingras and the trainers mentioned (and those not mentioned in the article) should take a bow. What they are doing is very important to change customer, and potential customer perceptions.

It's not anywhere near as open as that in thoroughbred racing, and they should look to model themselves after those crazy "jugheads", because they need to. Yesterday there was a protracted twitter conversation about having to report, or not report first time geldings. We've been having this discussion for like 50 years, and still to this day in thoroughbred racing, geldings are announced after people have bet their pick 4's or fives, with seemingly no fix. For gosh sakes racing, if a trainer doesn't report it, scratch the horse, they won't do it again and your customers won't get screwed.

Also in HRU today, Jeff Gural responded to Finley's critique of his open letter. There is some fascinating stuff in JG's response.

Notes:

I watched the cash roll into the Rainbow Six yesterday, and I am convinced that the best thing that ever happened to that bet was having it hit last month. People are slugging away again, and I suspect the fact that someone hit it makes people want to retry. Regardless, for those that were hoping this bet failed, or went away, it's not. It's here to stay and has begun to be a staple of Gulfstream Park.

There was a great article on Mine That Bird in the DRF today (h/t to Railbird). People love horses, especially the ones they see on TV. I loved that lady, and I loved that story.

There's some rumor that the TOC will not be touching the rake on the very successful So Cal Pick 5. We'll see.

Why is this a great game? I took a pick 4 yesterday at Tampa, and with three winners that were very logical, I was alive onto a horse in the last leg where the ticket would've returned $40,000. The horse - a longshot -came third. But the fact remains, what other game can you handicap, get three logical winners and be sitting on a ticket that might be worth $40k in five minutes?

I think of a horse we owned every St. Patrick's Day. Happy Irishman. I called him "Happy". He always seemed happy, but maybe that was just me thinking he was. I don't speak horse.

Have a great day everyone.

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