Slow summer …

August 23, 2009

As always, due to work my blog is slow if not non-existent during the summer months. However, Steve Christ recently made a presentation at the Jockey Club Round Table that I thought was worth posting. It was on how thoroughbred racing’s medication issues are perceived by the fans. Here it is:

“Thank you for inviting me to speak today, and for recognizing the often unheard voices of racing’s customers. My assignment for today was to report to you on how Thoroughbred racing’s medication issues are perceived by our fans. When I received this assignment back in June, I decided to make this an exercise in participatory journalism. It seemed that the best way to find out how our customers perceive medication issues might simply be to ask them. So I posed the same question put to me by the Jockey Club to the readers of my blog on I did not ask them any specific questions or attempt to frame the debate. I simply told them I needed their help to write this speech and asked them how they perceived medication issues in Thoroughbred racing.

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Artistic Fella retired …

February 18, 2009

Today marked the retirement of Artistic Fella. As fans we should be excited we got to see him race as an older horse and what a nice horse he was. I was lucky enough to attend his world record performance at Chester this year as well as his epic duel with Mister Big at the Meadowlands in the Haughton Memorial. He made over 2 million dollars, won the Meadowlands Pace and also won the 2007 Breeders Crown for older pacers.  He rarely ran a bad one.

Ben Franklin Pace in world record time of 1.48.0

A great Haughton Memorial

Old Fashioned, Oliver Cleo and Brian Sears …

February 18, 2009

What a weekend for these guys! Old Fashioned closed as the favorite in the first Kentucky Derby Future pool and justified that on Monday by winning the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in what I felt was impressive and professional fashion.  Brian Sears put on a driving display at M1 over the weekend, winning 11 races, including 7 on Monday. Oliver Cleo continued his impressive display of talent.

Sears is the first driver to win 7 races on a 10 race card since John Campbell did it in 1983. He fell one win shy of Mike Lachance’s record of 8 wins on a single Meadowlands card. His victories weren’t all with favorites either, he paid some of his steers paid double digit prices.

Old Fashioned won like I like seeing top Derby prospects win this time of the year. He rated comfortably off a quick pace and when asked he put his foes away professionally. I can’t help but noticed the similarities between Smarty Jones’ Southwest effort and Old Fashioned’s. Rated professionally off a quick pace ( SJ – 22.4 – 45.4 – 111.1 – 137.2 — OF – 22.2 – 45.4 – 111.0 – 137.2 ) and professionally drew clear. Old Fashion’s Beyer fig isn’t overly exciting, but Smarty’s wasn’t either. The fact that they are/were quick out of the gate, have a high cruising speed, and are rateable are more important right now.

Oliver Cleo, for those who don’t know who he is, is a 4 year old pacer who could be anything. Monday, in his 7th lifetime start, he mowed the Art Unger stakes field down like he was supposed to. He also set a new lifetime mark in 150.3 . On Jan. 9th, he paced a last half in 53.3 to win a division of the Clyde Hirt. The sky is the limit for this guy. He has won on the engine and he has also won from off the pace. I’m not sure what he is staked to, but it will be interesting to see how good he is.

Meadowlands Friday card …

February 5, 2009

Is a good one! The Invitational trot goes as the 5th. The Cape and Cutter series for Free For All filly and mare pacers begins with two divisions, races #8 & #10. The Exit 16W series goes as races #9 & #11.

Personally, I’ve been waiting for the return of Martha Maxine. She was awesome last year at the Meadowlands and continued to run well throughou the season. She returns tomorrow night in the 1st division of the Cape and Cutter.

A small victory?

February 4, 2009

Jayne Vaders lost her appeal Jan. 9th in Pennsylvania Commonwealth court. I originally touched on the subject back last winter and spring on two seperate post: Shaking Head & Catching Up On Recent News … Trainer Vaders actually seems to have stopped by to comment in the Catching Up post. I still find it amazing that this ordeal took almost two years to come to a conclusion and all throughout those two years Vaders continued to win races. has an article about the Vaders appeal.

I think this situation and Jayne Vaders training career could be summed up in three paragraphs from Bloodhorse:

“”Vaders first had her training license revoked in May 2007 by Philadelphia Park stewards after one of her horses tested positive for acepromazine, a Class III drug that is used as a tranquilizer. Stewards testified that she had five or six positives prior to the acepromazine discovery, and had been warned that another violation would result in revocation of her racing license.

Vaders was granted a stay, after which her case advanced to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. The commission denied Vaders’ appeal April 16, 2008, and the case moved on to Commonwealth Court.

Though there is a code in place at the racetrack that contends any trainer with two or more positives must be banned from the track, stewards said they hadn’t previously enforced that rule because they had never before had a trainer with as many violations as Vaders.””

A small victory ….

Harness Racing: The Whipping rule change.

February 2, 2009

Perhaps the hottest topic in harness racing right now is the proposed whipping rule change. Apparently a few folks feel that the majority of the drivers in a majority of the races use the whip excessively. I don’t agree. I do think at some of the smaller tracks with some lesser drivers the whip is overused. That being said, I think the problem should be handled specific to each track or driver as opposed to an industry wide change that isn’t supported by the majority of the fans or the majority of the trainers and drivers.

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Top 10 races … #1 & #2

January 31, 2009

#2 … Kentucky Futurity Heat #1 – Deweycheatumnhowe

Dewey does it from no mans land! I gave this effort a lot more credit than most did it seems. Looking back on it a few months later it may not have been as good as I thought at the time. The form of Clerk Magistrate and Crazed had probably started sliding. That being said, to win this race from the spot Dewey is in at the top of the stretch is impressive.

#1 … Meadowlands Pace – Art Official/Somebeachsomewhere

What more needs to be said? A great race between two great horses. Perhaps The Beach’s best effort comes in defeat.

Top 10 races … #3 & #4

January 30, 2009

#4 … Messenger Stakes – Somebeachsomewhere

The Beach takes on the 2nd best three year old pacer of 2008. He does it 1st over on a muddy track against a foe who had a pretty advantageous trip. Awesome.

#3 … Bluegrass Stakes – Somebeachsomewhere

The Beach is finally allowed to pace! Ties Holborn Hanover for the fastest race mile ever … 146.4. Makes you wonder what may have been if he would have come back for an ’09 season. What records would he have set?

Top 10 races … #5 & #6

January 29, 2009

#6 … Breeders Crown for 2 year old trotters – Muscle Hill

The obvious winter book Hambletonian choice was dominate all season long. It could be argued that he was as impressive and as dominate, if not more so, than Dewey and Donato.

#5 … Haughton Final – Mister Big

Talk about a dog fight? We were lucky enough to see Artistic Fella and Mister Big ding dong it out a number of times this year. From the banks of the Delaware River in Chester, PA to the Canadian north at Mohawk. This race, was probably the best of them all.

Top 10 races … #7 & #8

January 28, 2009

#8 … Patriot Trot – Enough Talk

It wasn’t a head to head duel or a meeting of this years great champions but it was a trot race that went to the half in 53.4 and a final time of 1.49.3. I realize it was a one turn race on a mile and a quarter track but I enjoyed it anyway.

#7 … Hambletonian – Deweycheatumnhowe

Dewey does it and stays undefeated! What a great animal and he had a worthy foe in this race in Crazed. Ray seemed like a stand up guy and to do it as the trainer and the driver is quite an feat.