- There’s a joint meeting of the Harness Tracks of America (HTA) and the Thoroughbred Tracks of America (TRA), which from now on in this blog will be referred to as HTA/TRA conference. Yesterday a panel called “Returning Fans to the Racetrack and Solving Problems That Have Driven Them Away,” and panelist Richard Shapiro of the Calif Horse Racing Board, which from now on in this blog will be referred to as CHRB, had this to say:
"Racing sold its soul. I don't blame the gambler for not going to the track; the show stinks!The show stinks? I dunno, as I’ve written before here, I love going to the track, and all of those I go to have comfortable, clean (mostly) facilities with plenty of self-service betting machines, TV monitors, seating, race replay screens, and lots of simulcasting, especially in New Jersey. I don’t really think about paying for admission and papers, and I think he answers his own question as to what the fans have to look forward to amidst year-round racing - the shorter, boutique meets like Saratoga, Keeneland, and Del Mar. If Saratoga raced six months it wouldn’t be special anymore. Am I the only one who feels this way about going to the track?
"You're asked to pay for parking, you have to buy the form, you pay for admission," Shapiro continued. "Why? I'm very critical of racing. What's going on with year-round racing? Nothing's ever new. What does racing ever give the fan to look forward to? Look at the most popular meets every year: they're they short meets like Saratoga [Race Course] and Del Mar." [Thoroughbred Times]
- Churchill increased insurance coverage for jockeys to $1,000,000 at the Fair Grounds, and made a further commitment to do so for “jockeys competing at CDI tracks in Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, and Indiana prior to the start of our 2005 Thoroughbred racing seasons in those jurisdictions.” [Bloodhorse]
- Sweet Catomine goes in the Santa Anita Oaks tomorrow, and from listening to her owner Marty Wygod, it may be the last time she sees her own kind for awhile.
"We really like her going a mile-and-a-quarter (of the Derby) more than a mile-and-an-eighth (of the Kentucky Oaks)," said Wygod, who began thinking of the Run for the Roses shortly after Sweet Catomine won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park. "She has been running faster than the colts and most times on the same day as they have run."You may want to take a look at the Oaks futures pool (not many people have) if you think Sweet Catomine will indeed go against the boys (of course you'll want to see how she does tomorrow) - you can find prices like 25-1 on Summerly, which is sure to change after she faces Runway Model (14-1) in the Fair Ground Oaks today, 14-1 on Sis City, or 30-1 on Pussycat Doll.
Wygod insists his filly is more of a tomboy.
"She enjoys body contact," he said. "In one race, she got belted at the start and she was not intimidated by the contact. I've never seen a filly like that. She's just as large as the colts and she would also get a five-pound weight allowance in the Derby (for being a filly)." [North County Times, link via Equidaily].
- Feel free to email me with comments, links, or winners.