- We don’t generally think that harness drivers share the same chance of critical injury as jockeys, but there’s always risk involved when it comes to horses and humans, no matter what the endeavor. Veteran driver Hal Belote suffered fatal injuries in a three horse spill at Harringon Park in Delaware on Monday night. Whether they’re running, pacing, or trotting, they’re still going fast, and one misstep can cause a tragic chain reaction. Belote’s horse fell, causing two horses behind to go down, seriously injuring their drivers as well.
"It's like stubbing your toe when you're going 35 miles an hour or more," [Delaware Harness Racing Commissioner Hugh] Gallagher said. "You've got a lot of weight, and a lot of speed combined."In the US Trotting Association’s account, Belote was said to be a popular figure among his racing colleagues and the USTA’s Jerry Connors remembers him on his Free For All blog: i didn’t know Hal Belote very well, but i remember one qualifying session at Liberty Bell where we were introduced and he said, "I’m Happy Hal.” Hal Belote was 51 years old.
Gallagher said Belote was hit by Warrington's horse [Steve Warrington, torn ligaments in his knee and facial lacerations], racing immediately behind, and then by Givens' rig [Brandon Givens, compound fracture of his leg], which he said "apparently had considerable impact" with Belote. [delawareonline]
- News like that makes petty disputes seem downright inappropriate, especially when it comes to the human athletes that bear such risk each day. Here we go again with ads on jockeys silks. Mark Guidry wore one during the final race on Oaks day, and drew scrutiny from the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority for doing so. It seems that Guidry did not seek permission from the track, owners, or stewards, as is generally required, because of an exception in the rules that waive the need for such approval if the rider is wearing a recognized logo of an organization such as the Jockeys’ Guild. The problem here is that the logo was part of an ad by JockeyMedia.com, a group affiliated with the Guild that is helping jockeys market their silks to other advertisers. "If an ad probably is really a commercial ad, should there be some approval ahead of time?" said Lisa Underwood, the authority's general counsel. [Louisville Courier-Journal] Shouldn’t the authority be worrying about more important things?
- In the Ohio slots referendum derby, the Learn and Earn group will not amend their prospective ballot proposal to include Cincinnati because, they claim, to change the wording would mean starting their petition drive from scratch. As it is, obtaining the 322,899 required signatures by August 8 is not a lock. Louis Beck, the man behind the Cincy initiative, points his finger at Penn National, which is trying to avoid competition for their nearby Argosy casino in Indiana; he calls them "the 800-pound gorilla in the room.."
Beck said any ballot initiative that leaves Cincinnati out will fail. "They can't win without Southwest Ohio. There's no chance of it."
But Andy Bowers, a spokesman for Penn National, which also owns Raceway Park in Toledo, said it's just the opposite. That's because he views voters in Southwest Ohio as more conservative, and thinks that they will be more likely to approve gambling if it's not in their city. [Cincinnati Enquirer]