HRU Feedback (2020-01-12)

*** Editor’s note: In last week’s Feedback column, we inadvertently ran the wrong version of Richard Young’s letter.
The correct version can now be read in last week’s feedback section, here.

Objective evidence shows Tall Dark Stranger was better

I am writing to answer the question asked by Ron Gurfein in the 1-10-20 edition of HRU, “How does Papi Rob Hanover lose 2-year-old pacing colt to Tall Dark Stranger?” (full story here).

In the interest of full disclosure, let me first say that I am obviously prejudiced since I bred and sold Tall Dark Stranger.

Next, let me say that I am not aware of any established criteria for the selection of the Dan Patch equine awards but would assume that any such criteria would include both subjective and objective factors. In light of my obvious self-interest I would like to exclude all subjective factors and consider only objective factors, i.e. the statistical evidence:

Tall Dark Stranger raced nine times winning eight (89 per cent of his starts), earning $715,514 ($79,502 per start) and took a record of 1:49.1.

Papi Rob Hanover raced 12 times winning six (50 per cent of his starts). He earned $754,774 ($62,898 per start) and took a record of 1:50 f.

Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover raced against each other five times with Tall Dark Stranger winning four of the five.

Tall Dark Stranger won the two biggest races for 2-year-olds, the Metro and the Breeders Crown. Neither of these races would be considered Canadian “indigenous” races.

Papi Rob Hanover is a great colt and if Tall Dark Stranger is #1, Papi Rob Hanover is no worse than #1A. While I understand why some think, on a subjective basis, that Papi Rob Hanover should have won the Dan Patch Award, the objective evidence does not support them.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I hope my remarks do not offend David McDuffee, the owner of Papi Rob Hanover. I had the pleasure of meeting him this past year and he bought Tall Dark Stranger’s half-brother from me at the Lexington sale. I found him to be a true gentleman and consider him a friend.

— Jim Avritt / Lebanon, KY

Driver indifference

I have not seen much on this subject but I believe it’s getting more rampant and driving customers away from the sport. I have been a harness fan for 45 years and love the sport. Increasingly, though, I am finding that my 3-1 shot gets to the front or good forward position only to sit there as the outer flow boxes him in and

he ends up last. This past weekend I had at least five racing at the Meadowlands, Mohawk and Miami where horses that should have won the race or at least been competitive down the stretch ended up shuffled back last after going to the lead initially. I am tired of people blaming it on bad drivers. I believe these actions are deliberate and are ruining the sport. I, for one, am seriously thinking of boycotting this type of racing. If you are not on the “chosen” horse you may as well rip up your tickets. I shut my computer off when my 5-2 shot tucked in third, allowed a 70-1 shot box him in without trying to move to the outer flow and that was at the half-mile mark, so he should have been moving. I call it fraud.

— Vinny Bettano

Tetrick in rare athletic company

I want to comment on Brett Sturman’s article about Tim Tetrick not winning Driver of the Year (full story here). Tetrick is like Michael Jordan and Lebron James. We know they’re the best in the world and are supposed to win the MVP award every year but they’re at the point of their career that we EXPECT them to perform at a higher level EVERY SEASON. I hope he’s not bummed out for not getting the award but he should know that as an “athlete” he’s in good company.

— David Marshall