HRU Feedback (2021-12-05)

How to attract youngsters to the track

Forget all those suggestions to bring in youngsters to visit the track on Saturday mornings. Here’s the way to bring the 18+ crowd to the track on Saturday night, with lots of spending cash in their pockets. Call it something like, “Saturday Night, Fun Night.”

Just about everything is a buck and a half on Saturday night. Hot dogs, hamburgers, programs, beers, and soda, and others included. When young people are asked to shell out around $40 to take a date to the movies, certainly this is a sensible alternative. Of course, this suggestion is not meant for freezing nights in the winter. I worked at racetracks for over 15 years and are also aware of what older visitors like. Most of them would easily consume a hamburger, a hot dog, and 3 cups of beer at the track instead of loading up with meatloaf at home before going out for a fun night. Yes, I did take my wife on dates to the Big M before we were married. Sure, it was a cheap date. But we’re now married for over 40 years.

Al Gatto / Roselle Park, NJ

SRF response to Joe Faraldo

In response to Joe Faraldo (full story here) and the freeze brand controversy, there is no program in the U.S., and likely anywhere, for any breed that is of the magnitude, or possesses the experience of standardbred aftercare like the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, (SRF). This organization currently pulls between 600-800 trotters and pacers off the slaughter line every year.

If there is sincerity regarding the welfare of these horses, then reinstating the requirement of freeze brands should be done now. It’s a freeze brand. There is nothing to lose by having two identifications, and Mr. Faraldo’s reference to the cost of $400,000 more requires clarification.

Every year, nearly 20 per cent of standardbreds SRF pulls off these slaughter-lines are re-united with their breeders, owners, trainers, and grooms. In the last few weeks Ron Burke, Lizette Waples, Jeff Gural, David Yarock, and George Millar have taken in the horses they bred or raced, or just cared about. When they were called about the situation, they were horrified. They stepped up without pause.

If more support of freeze brands is needed, from a humane standpoint, I ask Mr. Faraldo and everyone who voted against them (I mean this in the most genuine way) to join me to witness the problems of removing freeze brand requirements. I will show you in Pennsylvania; Ohio; Tennessee; Virginia; Texas; Arkansas; North Carolina; Louisiana, Kansas; Oklahoma; or any place of your convenience, there are many other “kill pens”. Stallions, mares, mares in foal, yearlings, and babies of all breeds and sizes fight for their lives. If a pen owner would even agree to permit someone in, in order to use a microchip scanner a horse would need to be restrained; other horses in the immediate area moved; the area must have light; the microchip scanner would need to be placed close enough by the pol, neck, and crest of the neck to search for a microchip. If identification is made, one would likely want to mark with a brand, should the horse need to be located again among the herd. This process is not feasible.

I encourage the United States Trotting Association Directors and its members to contact me if more information is needed., 609 738 3255.

Judith Bokman / Standardbred Retirement Foundation