Benny Beam Talks Some Harness Racing

If you are a regular customer on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit over the last many years, or alternatively, if you hang around the backstretch, you surely know Benny Beam (a moniker, it's what he posts as on chat boards, his real name is Scott).

Scott has been around the block, oh ten or two hundred dozen times and usually has something interesting to say - although the way he says it would have him fired from any paid industry position in about ten seconds; let's just say he does not mince words.

But he is worth listening to, as he is sharper than almost anyone I know in this business. He knows his way around a past performance program, the industry itself, insider stuff regarding the horses and their handling that you won't read in the industry press, or what new pre-race is being used on the backside. He's a jack of all trades one might say.

He attended the Breeders Crown this past week and posted some thoughts on a chat board (you need to be a member to read it, so I will summarize it here.)

On Pocono Downs, which is a speed-laden track, where virtually no one can come off the pace:
  • The 1-2-3 should be starting behind the finish/start line .........the 4-5-6 shoule be starting exactly on the finish/start line ...........and the 7-8-9 should be starting ahead of the finsh/start line ..............and they need to increase the bank on the turns ................and dig up--ever so slightly--the inside path of the racetrack
On "picking posts":
  • They better get rid of them
On the lack of trying in some races and the harness racing problem of having all the horses in one or two control barns, with the same drivers:
  •  limit the number of drives to 5 per card....having 5 guys drive power horses for 3 power outfits is killing the game..............also, the splits should be 65/25/10 with the remaining 10 points shared amongst the rest of the field 
On the excitement of the racing:
  • the only races that have any excitement are those where no horse gets a breather anywhere in the mile
On Captaintreacherous and the lack of talent in the three year old class this season:
  •  I laugh when I hear people talk about the captain. He always gets a breather and TT is always beating the crap out of him to hold off a parked out horse. He will get his bridle jerked next year and I will make a prediction the owners will protect him as much as possible and will eventually shorten his season. The press releases will be non-stop the moment it goes off the rails---and it will.
On Intimidate's owner Mrs. Farrow:
  •  I feel there should be a POY award - Person of the Year and the inugural award should go to Mrs. Farrow. Our tables were adjoined the other night at Pocono and thus spent most of the night talking to her and her kids. She might be the most amazing person I've met---racing or otherwise. Hers is a story that should be told to the masses. BTW she didn't blame the driver [on Intimidate's poor finish]/didn't throw her trainer under the bus. Just accepted the result for what it was and get this--the moment she knew she had no chance of winning she was screaming for Mister Herbie to win. What a lady.
On how a railbird like him got invited to the dining room on Breeders Crown night:
  • I just told them I was Murray Brown's nephew
Harness racing has a fear of change, a towing of the line, a lack of rocking of the boat and there is a cowtowing to every special interest or fiefdom as a matter of course. No one spouts much other than pablum. Scott might not deliver his thoughts in the most poltically correct way. But for the love of the sport we need a whole lot more like him.


Anonymous said...

He's no Lenny Bruce.

regards, Porkpa

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. Many a parallel in Australia where many tracks are run like mini fiefdoms.

Blaine said...

If she wasn't upset with Pierce trying to cut the mile; then Mrs. Farrow must've know the horse was short on conditioning and hoping to steal it on the front end by backing down the pace. Intimidate loves passing horses, not the other way around.

tracy said...

Thank you for the kind words about our mum. We have been involved in horses for so long that you learn to take the good with the bad and we were taught good sportsmanship from an early age. If you can't win, cheer for your next favorite adversary.
BTW, I also have photographs, albeit quite grainy, of more than one driver kicking during the 3yr old Pace stretch. It is a bit hard to see because of all the mud though.

Unknown said...

I went from feeling so sad for my mum to being so proud. Thank you for taking the time- it gave me goose bumps every time I read it.
Also thanks for the beer for my father-in-law. Cheers to you.


Carryovers Provide Big Reach and an Immediate Return

Sinking marketing money directly into the horseplayer by seeding pools is effective, in both theory and practice In Ontario and elsewher...