- Former NYRA executive Bill Nader has already made an impact at his new gig as the executive director of racing of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Sha Tin racecourse opened over the weekend to a crowd of 63,000, the largest opening day attendance there in ten years. HKJC chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said:
"Our customers really appreciated the novelty of the trainers race at the start of the day and I must give full credit to Bill Nader --- this was his idea and it really worked." [racing.scmp.com]Some 38,000 fans showed up a half hour before post time to watch the Trainers Ride For Charity, as seven conditioners saddled up and competed in a 800 meter dash down the straightaway. I guess they really love their racing in Hong Kong. This of course begs the question of why Nader didn't try that here. I'm sure that it wouldn't have attracted 1/10th of the crowd it did there (a figure that would exceed a typical weekday at Belmont or Aqueduct). But I for one certainly would have shown up a little early to see Bill Mott duking it out on horseback with Baffert and Contessa and Dutrow, and HERE COMES THE TODDSTER ON THE FAR OUTSIDE!!
You think they would have had to spend the prior six hours in the detention barn?
- I was interested to read an explanation of one of the more incongruous horse names one will ever see....at least for a talented three-year old colt who still has all of his equipment intact. Always A Virgin, who took last week's Cane Pace, the first leg of harness racing's Triple Crown for pacers, at Freehold Raceway, will almost certainly not be one at this time next year; especially should he sweep the series by taking the Little Brown Jug (for which he's 3-5 in the Jug futures pool), and the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers. The money may not be quite the same, and I don't believe that the Sheikh is interested in pacers (yet), but the harness set's top three-year olds rarely come back to race at four either. The reason for the name is actually disappointingly simple - the son of the champion pacer Western Ideal is out of the mare Neverhaveneverwill....who obviously has and will again.