HRU Feedback

January 8, 2017

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RE: Without revealing your age

Dean Towers’ column on what racing old timers used to say and experience (Without revealing your age – Jan. 1) brought back memories of betting at the “$2 Win” windows. Want to bet place or show? Stand in line at seller windows for “$2 Place” or “$2 Show.” More windows took bets for higher amounts. Have a ticket to cash? Go to another area of windows staffed by cashiers.

— Bob Absher / Forty Fort, PA

More responses to Towers

Thanks for a great year of the new Harness Racing Update. I enjoyed every issue and look forward to many more. I also try to patronize your advertisers.

This next comment is for Dean Towers and his article about how old your memories are. Well here are some of mine: In our family, the daily double meant an afternoon of racing at Delaware Park and then an evening of racing afterward at Brandywine Raceway. Speaking of which, some of my favorite memories were when they expanded from a half-mile to a 5/8 mile track. This was when they added opening windows for the grandstand and clubhouse. On nights the weather was good, one of the highlights was to see the windows retract into the roof and then be able to hear the hoof beats of the horses as they ran in the races. Also seeing some of the great horses and drivers in the signature race The Battle of The Brandywine. Being from the Philadelphia area, I also remember Liberty Bell Park and their signature race, The Colonial Trot. Most people most likely don’t remember, but for a short time there also was harness racing at Atlantic City Race Course. And don’t forget the great racing at Garden State Park. I also made it to Freehold the one year they ran the Breeders Crown. Unfortunately, I also have attended races at many other tracks we don’t have anymore in my travels around the country. But for now I enjoy live racing at Harrah’s and Pocono Downs and Freehold. Thanks for the articles over the past year. Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

— John Chambers / Lansdowne, PA

More anachronisms

How about: “Let’s go to the Meadowlands. They let you in for the last two races for free!”

— Tom Fanning / Jackson, NJ

Support for Pennacchio for USTA prez

Thank you for allowing time for discussion involving the upcoming election for the new USTA president.

The candidate I am supporting is Joe Pennacchio.

Joe has a long and storied history as a leader with vision in both the business world and harness racing industry.

While working for recent presidential appointee Carl Icahn, Joe brought incredible foresight and leadership to top positions, serving as CEO of an Icahn affiliate company for several years.

He said, “We’re delighted to have Mr. Pennacchio on board and believe his successful track record as a leader and motivator will… achieve its potential.”

An avid amateur driver with over 150 wins, Joe has traveled the world as an ambassador for harness racing. He has owned and bred harness horses for over 30 years, including Breeders Crown winner Yankee Slide.

As tireless president and executive director of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association, he successfully led the efforts to defeat the attempt by track owners to “decouple” the track and casino operations, which would have ended harness racing in Florida.

I saw, first hand, how Mr. Pennacchio worked with legislators on both sides of the aisle—something very rare in today’s political world.

This is a topic that threatens harness racing everywhere.

While other candidates have stated their qualifications, I note that they are involved in other business activities that would preclude them from focusing entirely on the needs required to successfully lead the USTA in the direction necessary to “keep up with the times.” In other words, their work for the USTA would be divided with their other obligations.

With Joe Pennacchio now retired from any other business obligations, his attention will be “undivided” with an allegiance that will stretch no further than the USTA and its membership for the advancement of our grand sport.

There are no other candidates for this position that have the experience, dedication and enthusiasm of Joe Pennacchio.

Joe will bring the leadership, vision and foresight needed to insure a vibrant future for harness racing.

— Dein Spriggs / president Florida Amateur Driving Club

Milici story missing important fact

There is an important fact in this story that seems to be missing:

Tom Milici is a graduate, magna cum laude, of the Lou Pena school of training a standardbred.

If, as mentioned, one trainer at Yonkers knows what is happening, then MANY also know what is happening, and it must be fairly egregious if that cesspool known as Yonkers Raceway is willing to refuse his entries.

How the names Josh Marks and Tracy Brainard continue to be linked to the sport of harness racing is incredible given all of the suspensions and otherwise bad actions of these people.

None of this comes a surprise to me, as I’ve been watching these characters take over the game for the last 25 years. What is surprising is that a reporter could find at least one “anonymous” trainer to make a statement.

The fact that only one spoke out is interesting to me, as the money that the cheats “win” is coming directly out of the pockets of the trainers that never speak up. This is an old story that has been discussed at length before.

Whether or not Milici stays or goes matters not as there is always a new and willing and fresh “beard” to sign on and get paid.

The fact that I, as little more than a casual bettor of Yonkers had heard of the Marks, Brainard, Milici “trifecta” a long time ago, makes me wonder why it took so long and so many wins to try and purge the track of those three?

Don’t worry though.

There is another “University of Lou” undergraduate who is studying hard and learning all of the lessons required to rob the public and otherwise undermine a sport that more resembles roller derby today than an honestly contested sport.

— Vic Dante / Bloomfield, NJ

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