View Full Version : And now for something completely different...

Aug. 8, 2009, 11:42 PM
...the other, other kind of racing.

Today, in the combined spirit of the Arlington Million and the Hambletonian, I took a trip down to good ole Rockingham Park in Salem NH for the sole purpose of taking in the seventh race:

Pacers on the turf.

That's right -- harness racing on the grass. I'd never seen such a thing before and, well, I was curious.

See for yourself. (http://inlinethumb22.webshots.com/42709/2430440750099108256S425x425Q85.jpg) (Uh, if you can! Sorry, I only had my cell phone camera on me.)

It was, well, much like pacing on the main track. Except from what I could tell the wheels were different.

I haven't a clue about handicapping the Standardbreds, so I didn't take a stab at it...which was too bad for me as the prices were pretty decent. The eventual winner, Cobbler Hanover (Hanover! Now there's a name even I recognize...:lol: ), paid $33 - 7.20 - 11.80.

The Rock is rather moribund these days I'm afraid. I haven't been there since before the TBs left in 2002, and I have to say today's experience was rather like visiting someone in hospice. Sad times.

Aug. 9, 2009, 03:33 PM
can't see anything on your pic. What was different about the wheels? Wonder if Rockingham has a video of it online??

They went a whole whack slower on grass thouhg, 2:06 is pretty slow now :) They about walked the last quarter. Probably because of the drag from the grass

Don't know Cobbler Hanover, quit watching Rockingham when my buddy's horse went home for a while, so not a clue what is going on there.

Aug. 9, 2009, 08:09 PM
IIRC, it had rained a great deal, and it didn't help. But they did run the race-or should I say trot...er, I guess it could have been a pace.....:o

Aug. 9, 2009, 11:03 PM
sk, it looked to me like the wheels I saw on the grass (and it may not have been this way for all of the sulkies) were "solid", as opposed to spokes/bicycle tire.

Again I apologize for the inadequate picture.

Aug. 9, 2009, 11:10 PM
Pacers to race on the turf again this week (http://www.harnesslink.com/www/Article.cgi?ID=74302)

There is a photo link off that page of the pacers on the grass ...

Rockingham raced harness horses on the turf course, which heretofore had always been the exclusive domain of the Thoroughbreds, for the first time in its history on August 1st and the pair of trotting races was only the sixth time that standardbreds had raced on the grass at any track in North America. All of the races were contested at the standard distance of one mile.

While turf racing at various distances is an every day occurrance for Thoroughbreds at tracks all across America, it is an anomoly for standardbreds, which race on their preferred main track surface of crushed limestone. The other grass races for standardbreds were held at Indiana Downs on October 29, 2005 and on October 10, 2006 and then at The Meadowlands on July 24th, 2009.

However racing on grass with pacers is not exactly rare outside of the North America.

Aug 7, 2009 "World record attempt on grass in the UK" (http://www.harnesslink.com/www/Article.cgi?ID=74391)

The public are voting on which six of the top harness racing pacers will participate in an attempt to record the fastest mile on a 1/2 mile grass track anywhere in the world.

This 3 day meeting [at Tregaron] is the jewel in the crown of UK Harness Racing, hundreds of horses and thousands of people make their annual pilgrimage to this small village in West Wales.

Aug. 9, 2009, 11:21 PM
Okay, so after reading your post on the Hambletonian thread sk, I'm thinking that the "different" wheels I saw weren't adapted for grass but rather had the wheel disks.

Thanks for the link Glimmerglass. Nice to see that *someone* took a decent picture of the historical races. ;)

Aug. 9, 2009, 11:38 PM
The pic on harnesslink is just regular bike wheels, some with smoked wheel disks, nothing odd or different like they use in Australia :)

Lots of turf races in Europe. both gaits, it is just here it isn't done much.

great, how harnesslink is down, at least from here......