HRU Feedback (2017-07-30)

July 30, 2017

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Dancer wore Woolworth’s colors

I was quite surprised in Bill Finley’s column, “Time for owners colors, and the Hambletonian is the place to start” (full story here) that he nor Hambletonian Society’s Moira Fanning, did not mention that in 1983, Hall of Fame trainer/driver Stanley Dancer drove and won with the great mare, Duenna, wearing the Clearview Stable colors for owner Norman Woolworth.

It’s already been done and seemingly never caught on for other owners.

— Steve Wolf / Coral Springs, FL

Stakes stimulate breeding

I have read in this publication both articles and responses about stake races versus overnight purses, especially at the Meadowlands, that dealt with where the money should be allocated. And although it seemed that both sides had made seemingly valid arguments, they missed the real point. The discussion should have gone one step further and discussed the allocation of purses between younger green horses versus seasoned overnight horses.

The main purpose for stake races is to stimulate the breeding of more horses that in turn become the overnight horses of tomorrow. The only way breeders have a chance to make out economically is that if there’s a market to sell their product, which are yearlings. The main incentive for people to buy these yearlings is the potential for a financial score and/or the excitement factor that goes along with it. Without the potential financial opportunity that is created by stake races that market would dry up. It is actually by and large the horses that don’t race at the stake level that become the meat and potatoes overnight horses of tomorrow. We need to create more incentives to stimulate the production of the new horses or we will continue to see the decline of new foal counts and more short fields in overnight races. We, as an industry, also need to create a better purse structure so that the purchasers of yearlings have a better chance to recoup their investment which in turn to leads to more demand, which leads to higher prices which leads to more foals which leads to bigger fields which leads to bigger handle etc. etc. .What is the point of having a horse in stake race with a purse of $20,000-$30,000 or non-winners of two to go for $13,000 when you can claim or purchase an overnight horse with much less risk and wait time to race for the same or more the following week?

— Eric Cherry / Boca Raton, FL

Harrington Raceway – Governor’s Day?

Hi there, did I miss them? They raced for over $600,000 in purses. (13 races). Four were $100K DSBF Finals. (Editor’s Note: You’re right. We missed them. They are published, late, in this issue on page 13).

Also, I sit here and look up at my father’s colors hanging on the wall and I would be remiss as a charter, and one who knew every driver’s colors from an early age if I didn’t respond to the Antonacci promotion of owners having colors.

I am not against it for stake races, but even then it is difficult. Back in the day Stanley Dancer would constantly forget to bring the Clearview colors and then the program would be wrong as he was in his own colors. It is another tool for a charter to make more accurate calls if they can see the driver colors, especially when they are 4 deep at the 3/4s and stretch calls. Until every track can afford technology like “Trackus”, then the charter needs the helpful tool of driver colors.

And a person grows up and dreams of driving and before they even get a “q” license they have designed their own unique colors. It is part of the harness driver dream. Drivers are known by colors.

Last but not least, the colors are expensive and not everyone has the resources to buy two or three sets of colors. Another big item to put on an owner’s bill? With large stables with lots of owners it would be logistics nightmare of sending them with the horse.

I vote “NO.”

— Judy Davis-Wilson / Executive Administrator, Delaware Standardbred Breeders’ Fund

What is going on(line) at the New Meadowlands?

The biggest news story in harness racing by far this week was the injury to Walner and the fact that he was going to miss the Hambletonian. We hadn’t seen a superstar three-year-old trotter with as much anticipation since Muscle Hill.

A friend of mine messaged me Thursday afternoon with the news and I didn’t believe him at first so I went on the computer to the Meadowlands website to see if it was true and there was no mention of Walner. I was confused. Searching around social media all I saw the Meadowlands account mentioning was a Journey cover band there in October. Eventually I found the unfortunate injury confirmed from the USTA.

It’s puzzling that Jeff Gural’s New Meadowlands would now ignore one of their biggest free tools social media in promoting the sport’s biggest race. In the past they had a strong online presence with photos and racing updates all the time. As this is written today there is still no mention of Walner by the Meadowlands. Meadowlands is always pushing for more marketing spending from other regions and social media expenditures from the USTA and the industry but now can’t be bothered to cover the biggest story on the biggest race at their own track?

— John Zimmerman / Lake Forest, IL

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