by Garnet Barnsdale
The 5th race at Yonkers Raceway last Monday night (May 1) caused quite a stir on social media (link to replay), but not because of a spectacular performance by one of the horses or drivers.
On the contrary, it was the poor quality of the video that made some of the Facebook natives restless. Jay Hochsteler, who does double duty as a horseman and journalist, posted the video of the race with this introduction: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Yonkers Raceway! We recently employed small children to operate our camera. We hope you are so excited to feast your eyes on the shaky camera and the illogical zooming. It’s a fantastic viewing experience! We may have 50,000 dollar opens but our camera work is straight out of a World Star Hip Hop video!
Watching the race, it did appear as though there may have been a drunken sailor handling the camera for most of the race. Hochstetler – who is the co-host of the popular Trotcast internet radio show – received several comments in response to his post:
• “They must be using the Goodyear blimp.” – Allan Schott, View From the Grandstand blogger
• “Actually, Yonkers is a track that has made enormous upgrades to their TV signal and graphics package. I believe they are HD but often the problem lies in how or on what device you are watching. I don’t know what caused the problem here but it is crazy.” – Moira Fanning, Director of Publicity – The Hambletonian Society
• “I would like to see all of you experts operate the camera when the wind is blowing hard enough to blow down the grandstand. Of all the things wrong with harness racing, this one race I would think is minute.” – Rick Dane Jr. – horseman
Dane Jr. is likely right in that this isn’t one of the biggest issues facing harness racing, but, the others also have valid points. In 2017, with the quality of available technology, a production of this quality is likely to cause a buzz.