HRU Feedback (2017-08-27)

August 27, 2017

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Finley’s article exceptional

First off, I love reading every edition of HRU for the excellent coverage of the sport and how the writers get to the heart of just what is happening. Bill Finley’s story on Aug. 25th about Trainers Responsibility (full story here) was exceptional.

Since time began, Kentucky has proclaimed the state was the birthplace of horse racing and I for one beg to argue this. The ’68 Kentucky Derby was proof that when in Kentucky you will do it their way. Dancer’s Image who was trained by Lou Cavalaris Jr. who was an American and received his Canadian citizenship in ’63 was just a piece of the larger picture of what went on that year of ’68. Dancer’s Image had a history of ankle problems that required bute injections to relieve his pain and yet in all of this colt’s races leading up to the ’68 Derby their was never a positive test until that Derby. Back then, there was only one vet that could administer any medication on the Churchill backstretch and that was Dr. Alex Harthill. If some do not know, he was twice implicated in drugging scandals. When the news broke after the Derby that Dancer’s Image tested positive and would be disqualified which would place second-place finisher Forward Pass up as that year’s winner, this latest ruling in my opinion should remove the asterisk from Dancer’s Image and reinforce why there needs to be one governing body overseeing all of horse racing in North America.

This was blatant Churchill / Kentucky being the judge and jury. After all, it was the Churchill Downs vet who was the only vet allowed to administer drugs to all the horses and it was Kentucky who disliked the idea of an owner who just won the State of Kentucky’s most important race donating an earlier purse to the late Martin Luther King’s widow.

As much as I dislike that this ruling could work in favor of known juicing trainers who lawyer up, I only hope that the light will go on and show that by uniting as one the resources could be there to finally put an end to the insanity that is eating away the customer base and, inevitably, the industry.

— Bob Adams / London, ON

Age restriction coming to amateur races?

Good morning, HRU. It was brought to my attention that Dave Yarock of the GSY Club was thinking about adding an age restricted condition to his amateur races, which made me write to him this morning. For whatever it’s worth, here’s what I had to say:

Dave, I’m a long-time harness racing fan and have actually watched my amateur driving friends compete at Roosevelt Raceway back in the day but… I must admit, I was surprised to notice that the GSY Club is contemplating adding a Senior division (age restricted) to drivers 50+ or older on race day to enter.

First off, I think it’s very discriminating for the younger drivers who will have one less amateur race to compete in.

Secondly, as we all know… harness racing desperately needs to attract and market to a younger fan base for it’s overall survival. In my opinion, icing out the sport’s extremely popular two-time amateur driving champ Hannah Miller from competing sends the wrong message and not the best way to go about growing the amateur division moving forward.

I understand trying to level the playing field but at the end of the day, it’s all about competing and attracting an audience for all ages. Please keep in mind if the Open division races don’t fill, the younger drivers who are just as passionate to the sport like Hannah won’t get to drive and that would really be a shame.

Hopefully, age restrictions don’t become the new normal.

Thank you.

— Mike Gallo / Bronx, NY

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