Frankly, I was floored. Days like this, especially with grade one and two stock with investors who put their money and heart on the line, are sacred. This is where the sport needs to cater to them, because it's their Super Bowl; it's where losing 50 cents on every dollar invested in horseflesh is buttressed to some degree; it's where a perk or two - with a good result on the track hopefully - eases the pain of the other days. It's where people who invest in horseflesh feel alive, like its all worth it.
There's a lot wrong with harness racing, just like there is in Thoroughbred racing, but one thing harness does well is treat the owners right, especially for big events.
I remember our stable had a horse in a big event several years ago. We were three nobodies - me, a guy who works for the government and dabbles and a professional bettor - and we learned we could head upstairs for a spread of food and drink, just for supporting the event. We stayed outside at the rail, but that was beyond the point. We actually felt we were wanted there.
Woodbine Entertainment, formerly the Ontario Jockey Club, is one of the best at making people feel at home if they invest in horseflesh. Own a horse there, especially for a big event, and you are made feel extremely welcome.
Even bettors there have felt welcome the last several years. I remember getting an invite on Queen's Plate Day with a reserved seat and a free meal paid for by the track. My better half, who looks good in a hat, unlike me, went and we had a great time. Why did I get the invite to these great seats? Because I bet there. Nothing more. I didn't even own a horse.
The Meadowlands in Jersey is another example. Their owners lounge is fantastic. As Justin said today on twitter:
I wonder if we can get @Fox_Hill_Farm to give standardbred ownership a try. We'd roll out the red carpet with The Meadowlands hospitalityThere are countless other examples in our sport, even on big days like Hambo Day.
— Justin Horowitz (@ItstheJHo) April 29, 2014
Look, you're not speaking with Karl Marx the Pocket here. I fully understand that Derby Day is in demand and CDI is not a charity. However, if you can't treat a guy like Rick Porter right, it makes you wonder.
@HplayersAssnNA @Fox_Hill_Farm @foxhillfarm should have said you were hi-limit slots players. Would've gotten in easy!Harness racing has no such issue, most other tracks and days don't have this issue, and they should be proud they don't. If you can't treat your suppliers right on big days like this, why do you even own a racetrack?
— Ben Medich (@Bennihana70) April 29, 2014