The Ladies Classic is again being called the Distaff, which for Pocket readers won't be a difficult thing to get used to because I've called it the Distaff here since the blog started. However, for those of you clamoring for the Breeders Cup Classic to be called the Gentleman's Classic, this is a huge setback. I understand why they changed it from the Distaff, with Breeders Cup needing a Friday championship to promote to newbies and all, but I think that name really stunk. Horse racing needs to change and evolve on things like exchange wagering, takeouts, better digital product distribution, carding better races, horse retirement and better rules protecting the animal - on and on - but changing traditional names of races to new ones is not on my evolving list.
Harness Racing Update reported Hambo handle will be up this year (pdf). No matter how you slice it, the heats did hurt handle though. The Oaks Final beat the Hambo Final in handle, and really, the Final's handle by any measure was anemic.
Dan, a Saratoga meet staple, made reference yesterday to the meet:
Is it just me or is the Saratoga vibe a little off this year? Haven't been there yet so it's just a feeling.I don't know if that's true or not, but six days a week with all those races a day does feel like a bit much. The brand is so strong you could run 5 claimers every race and still garner big handle, but it makes me wonder. Most marketers will tell you a brand is hurt when a brand is hurt; you rarely, if ever, notice it while it's happening. Perhaps Jerry Bossert's tweet a bit ago on a particularly long card told some of the tale. In race eleven's post parade, you could fire a cannon on the tarmac and not hit anyone. I think the customers might be telling NYRA something.
— Dan Needham (@thorotrends) August 9, 2013
For harness fans who don't follow Thoroughbred's, Wise Dan races this weekend at Saratoga in the Gr. II Fourstardave . I think he's assigned the high weight of a small refrigerator.
Rumor has it that there have been three trainers caught with synthetic EPO in Pennsylvania, which were apparently caught with the new testing. If so, it makes you wonder how many others, as well as for how long it's been going on.
Old Home Week starts in Charlottetown this weekend. There are three trials for the Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer. Again, the Island track attracts a quality field of older pacers for one of the more unique and interesting races in harness racing.
Have a nice weekend everyone!