Churchill Downs wants dates that Kentucky Downs wants. I know, I know, this is like the Death Star against Alderaan (with the princess with that goofy hairdo), so when Paulick calls it a "battle", one must wonder. However, giving Kentucky Downs those dates makes sense. They are slowly but surely creating a brand in September. Where else has instant racing machine money worked better - big fields, horsemen love it, lower takeout (lowest in North America, according to HANA) for customers. Handle has increased by about 300%. What's not to like? Expand it and keep working hard.
Handle at Churchill Downs was down again, also noted on the Paulick Report. In the spring, where handle was down quite a bit, Churchill talked about declining foal crops as a reason, and this fall they did too. A few years ago when tracks raised takeout, or did something anti-customer and lost business, they would talk about the bad economy. I think "foal crop size" is this year's bad economy. From the media you'd think foal crop size only affects a square mile in Louisville, and is likely responsible for unrest in the Ukraine, ISIS, and pop group One Direction.
Two year olds in training sales in harness racing were not very well received. It seemed some colts and fillies were rushed, hurting them, and it was more about fast times than anything else (it's different than throughbred racing with times). In HRU, Tony Alagna says he is starting a pinhooking business, where they are buying several yearlings for sale, and selling them all, no matter if they're the best or worst in the barn. That's the way to do this right.
The sale in Lexington is well under way and it should be up once again; there are certainly some excellent colts and fillies selling. Despite partnerships, high costs and other barriers to entry, yearling numbers have been fairly good in harness racing. It's still a tough business for those who breed horses, however.
The disconnect between the hype and substance with the Captain's send-off is noticed. Not in a particular case like this, but overall in the big picture, I think it's good for harness racing to hash this out. Horses will race at four, they will have to prove themselves at four. The big yearling purchasers and syndicators must change the way they look at breeding stock at a younger age because of that. Quite simply: the modus operandi must change.
Enjoy your day peeps!
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