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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Harness racing onto something?

    This New York Times article mentions how harness racing faces the same problem as t-bred racing: breeding is way more lucrative than racing. But someone on the sulky side has an idea:

    Officials are mulling changing the conditions for many rich stakes races, barring competitors sired by a horse who was 4 years old or younger at the time of conception. That would make a 4-year-old sire less valuable and more likely to remain in competition another year before entering into the lucrative breeding industry.
    It seems like a good idea on-paper/on-line but will it catch on?
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  2. #2
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    My understanding is that the insurance to insure TBs is too expensive to keep them running if they're successful--they are more valuable in the breeding shed in one piece than they are running on the track....

    And I would doubt that TB track officials would agree to do that--in their world they just want to fill a race! To make a condition like that would be akin to shooting themselves in the foot!
    "Good gardening is very simple, really. You just have to learn to think like a plant." ~Barbara Damrosch~



  3. #3
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    I think it sounds like a good idea. All the talk about how expensive it is, is all bs in my opinion. Insurance companies are like lawyers and politicians - greedy.

    I've always heard that STB's are sounder than TB's because of the way they are trained and raced. Is this true?



  4. #4
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    It may sound good but probably unrealistic as far as TBs go.... I've heard it's hard enough to fill some races at the smaller tracks without intentionally weeding out your entries. Actual TB trainers would have better insight into this. Oh Dick Hertz, where are you??? And Jessi P???

    Well, the insurance companies may be greedy but when you go to several companies and they all hand you quotes that are just about the same (out of sight) what are you going to do??? Keep running the horse, bankrupt yourself and risk the horse breaking down to the point where it has to be euthanized, or take the easy route--retire it, send it to the breeding shed and make a bundle??? The choice seems pretty clear to me. It's the way it is!

    I don't think there's any truth to the rumor about STBs being sounder. They have many problems too, just different ones--front ankle problems and hock and stifle problems. You just can't send young horses out there and pound the snot out of them and expect them to remain sound. I do think STB training is still more rigorous than TB training nowadays though. TB trainers don't work their horses nearly as much as they did even thirty years ago.
    "Good gardening is very simple, really. You just have to learn to think like a plant." ~Barbara Damrosch~



  5. #5
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    I think especially the smaller tracks would profit from that in the long run. I mean, there could be a fan base that last longer than one short summer, this attracts people and betters.

    A while back they offered a 10y/o mare with nearly 150k earnings through some retirement program. Those are the bread and butter horses of the small track for the small time owners who don't have the resources to buy a new one every year.

    Something has to give, because the breeders cup is all nice and dandy, but that's the top 5% - maybe! The middle section needs the old campaigners that stay sound. When no sire makes it past 3 on the track -how can you measure! And I am speaking as an amateur owner/trainer (not currently, but growing up)

    It can be done. But I doubt the ones that hold the top percent of stallions are willing to go for it.

    (on that note, while it would be a thrill, I'd be devastated if I were to own a triple crown winner, there is no way but down after that, no way can that horse fulfill the expectation on any subsequent start...)

    it is kind of sad that the good ones have become a commodity (and the not so good ones a liability)
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.



  6. #6
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    It wasn't all that many years ago that horses raced past three - this is relatively new in harness racing. Most of the stars of the past raced to 4, 5 and sometimes 6. Going back 20 odd years: Cam Fella, On The Road Again, Nihalator, Matts Scooter, Dragons Lair, As Promised, Laag, Beach Towel, Jennas Beach Boy, Mach Three, and many more raced past age 3. Just recently, Rambaran was retired at I belive 12 and he is a fairly sought after OSS sire. I can also think of many local sires that raced beyond 3: Scruffy Hanover, Overburden, Clintons Cigar, Freedoms Pass, Nealies Ten Spot, Tajma Hall, Witsend Fiddle, Lemoyne Hanover (deceased), Pants With Me, Gourmet Beast, Dal Reo Hopsing, Nazko Promise, and there are more, going back farther, comtemporaries of Lemoyne Hanover.

    Standardbreds are sounder than Tbs, simply because we lay a different foundation to our young stock - they get jogged slow around 500 miles before they start working on speed, and we don't work for extreme speed right off the bat, but work them down gradually - takes a long time to bring a baby down to qualifying time and there are reports about 2yo in training on both Standardbred Canada and USta sites. There are not a lot of 2yos that actually make it, percentage wise - some just wont come down in speed, some get kicked out to grow more or grab a brain, 'brain surgery' takes dozens out for a while, and some just can't pace or trot worth a damn and there are a few that come up unsound enough to never come back.

    With smaller tracks, most horses are aged, but there are young ones as well, as there are sires stakes of some sort for every level of track...that money cannot be designated just for places like WEG, CalExpo, Big M, Pompano, etc as there are dozens of smaller venues as well. The Grand Circuit, such as it has been reduced to, encompassed the trotting and pacing Triple Crowns as well as Sires Stakes races' the Triple Crown races were not always contested at Big M or The Red Mile...the Kentucy Futurity being the exception as it always was at the Red Mile...but the rest were all over the place.

    I am rambling, cant sleep, so decided to type...or maybe typo.

    Standardbred Canada article about this idea: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/new...four-soon.html

    Also in the news on SC is an article about Admirals Express, who is way on the other end of the scale - he is 12: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/new...-woodbine.html
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  7. #7
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    I think before we delve into the topic of "standardbreds are sounder because of this, that, or the other," we need to realize that the physiological stresses experienced between racers in the two disciplines are very different.



  8. #8
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    Mr. Gural is both a very dedicated and opinionated person, however, most days he needs a zipper on his mouth with somebody else holding the key

    The Standardbred Industry already has breeding restrictions (as to stallion quantities) that begin implementaion for 2009.
    It hasn't helped that artificial insemination is used for Standardbreds, as opposed to the normal mounting that T-Breds use.

    How many more restrictions should breeders and owners be required to swallow at the bequest of non-zippered-mouths?

    Quote Originally Posted by sk_pacer View Post
    It wasn't all that many years ago that horses raced past three - this is relatively new in harness racing. Most of the stars of the past raced to 4, 5 and sometimes 6. Going back 20 odd years: Cam Fella, On The Road Again, Nihalator, Matts Scooter, Dragons Lair, As Promised, Laag, Beach Towel, Jennas Beach Boy, Mach Three, and many more raced past age 3. Just recently, Rambaran was retired at I belive 12 and he is a fairly sought after OSS sire. I can also think of many local sires that raced beyond 3: Scruffy Hanover, Overburden, Clintons Cigar, Freedoms Pass, Nealies Ten Spot, Tajma Hall, Witsend Fiddle, Lemoyne Hanover (deceased), Pants With Me, Gourmet Beast, Dal Reo Hopsing, Nazko Promise, and there are more, going back farther, comtemporaries of Lemoyne Hanover.

    With smaller tracks, most horses are aged, but there are young ones as well, as there are sires stakes of some sort for every level of track...that money cannot be designated just for places like WEG, CalExpo, Big M, Pompano, etc as there are dozens of smaller venues as well. The Grand Circuit, such as it has been reduced to, encompassed the trotting and pacing Triple Crowns as well as Sires Stakes races' the Triple Crown races were not always contested at Big M or The Red Mile...the Kentucy Futurity being the exception as it always was at the Red Mile...but the rest were all over the place.
    sk,
    you make some valid points, however others are mis-construed.

    There will come a time (rapidly approaching) when the smaller tracks (markets) simply cease to exist, with a mass exodus of horses and horsemen relocating to thriving markets (i. e., tracks).
    Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, California, Illinois and others, are struggling to stay in business, absent of subsidation that the thriving markets enjoy.

    It has long been a practice of breeders to locate sub-par stallions and/or mares in these lesser markets, however with those smaller markets drying up, these culls (for lack of a better term) will simply disappear.
    Two examples of these abuses are in Michigan and Ohio. For the year 2001, the Michigan Dept of Agriculture had 242 stallions regsitered (a terrible abuse) for the state's program. Ohio numbers were/are similar. The result are CULLS being produced that are incapable of racing (while being competive) in larger markets and for purses which would insure both owner and horseman profitability.

    With the subsidation of purses in the larger markets and the dwindling smaller markets, more horses are going to race as aged. There are simply no other options.

    Quote Originally Posted by On the Farm View Post
    I think before we delve into the topic of "standardbreds are sounder because of this, that, or the other," we need to realize that the physiological stresses experienced between racers in the two disciplines are very different.
    I agree that we should adhere to the topic of the thread, rather than taking pot-shots are different breeds.



  9. #9
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    wildernessD - we started AI way back in the 70's when there was that horrible virus in Kentucky. Rather than risk passing it along, they just started AI.....I belive Stoner Creek and Walnut Hall were the first to do this. And yes, books are restricted now, 125 I believe is the number, overseas breedings are not counted though as several stallions stand in Australia as well as 'here'.

    I am well aware of the smaller tracks being gone and some of the larger ones with viable markets as well. Here, in SK< we went from 80 days in 1998 to 0 in 2003 but managed th get a whopping 10 days at a bullring track made for wagon racing. Now, we have managed to get that doubled, in 5 years. Alberta lost Stampede Park and Northlands has deigned to MAYBE give Standardbres 50 days in the dead of winter - Edmonton is a bitterly cold place; OTOH, TB's have 100 days, prime racing season because of a dirty backdoor deal between HPBA and NP. The Balzac track MAY be ready to go next fall, or maybe mid summer and if the projections are right, it will a permanent home for Standardbreds, and the rest of the stakes for 3 and up will not be eliminated as were several high dollar stakes. In Sask, we lost all stakes money because of bad management in the racing commission - no racing commission should be run by members of one breed only - it hurts all involved and here it was TB people after all the lotto money, and they about killed their own racing as well because of it - horsemen got mad and moved, leaving the dregs of the TB's here, and there are not enough to even fill a card, so they are topped up with QH racing.

    Our western breeding program, in general, despite it being a smaller market, is sound. Some of these horses can compete at Big M - Rons Girl, Red Star Minckler to name two. A few Manitoba breds have competed sucessfully in Ontario - My Friend FLicka (what was the breeder thinking??) and Noonday Hardball at fairly high levels, and several others at smaller venues, and all were consistantly sub-2 minute pacers. Here, we are just rebuilding the breeding industry, but it is slow going, very slow

    I am babbling again......still tired from last night's no sleeping......
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  10. #10
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    Feb. 21, 2007
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    sk,
    Nearly all of Canadian Harness racing is subsided by VLT's.

    In the US, that is simply not the instance, and it is far too late at this point for these smaller harness racing markets to even consider (although you couldn't convince them of that) entering the over-saturated VLT market.

    BTW, IF you PM your email privately (unless your already on my Canadian list)?
    I archive some occassional items on Western Canada that you may enjoy.

    edited:

    It has been proven (especially in the Ontario Standardbred structure) that VLT's are NOT beneficial to the breeding programs and farms.



  11. #11
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    It's actually ALL Canadian racing, running horses of any breed and harness - exceptions being Paints and Arabs at local fairs, but ever fair track is lotto and/or VLT funded. VLTs are regulated by local gaming commissions as to who can have them and even where in the building - Manitoba, for instance, is at its limit except native casinos, so that money doesn't help many horsemen, AssD excepted; MGE is lotto funded as are we. Alberta is a mix and so is BC. The biggest problem with VLTs is it gets people into the Instant Gratification mind set - easier to plug coins into a machine and punch a button than to read a program. The biggest mistake made here was when they yanked the casino out of QBY' that genius move reduced betting by more than half, then days were cut, and now the track is gone, really gone - the whole area is now the World's Stupidest Structure....er um, an indoor soiccer field or five, for international use only - they wont even let the kids play in there. Great use of land and buildings.

    The only US places I know of that are getting something from VLTs or casinos are the racinos held by Stronach et al, but those are huge venues. I know VLTs are just a patch for tinancial problems caused by bad management, greedy management, lack of proper promotion, and myriad other ills and that is on both sides of the border. The racinos however are a different matter - they DO work, the one here worked: people would play a few races, go do soemthing else in the casino, then come back and bet a few more (advanced wagering) but they always came back to watch the feature and last race.
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

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  12. #12
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    We're straying off-topic

    In the US and most states?
    Slots are not allowed to be called "slots", thus they are configured and referred to as "VLT's".

    These "VLT's" are different than the previously recorded races and their software that Mr. Stronach's son designed.

    NY, PA, Delaware, Fla, Indiana, Maine, and there is likely others that I have missed.

    NY & PA have been the biggest benefactors to their harness racing programs with purses comparable to or exceeding the WEG & Meadowlands at some venues.

    The Meadowlands just began a 2nd three-year subsidation by the NJ casinos with a stipulation to NOT secure slots/VLT's during that time frame. The Recently renewed $90-mil is in Jeoprady over contractual wording by Freehold Raceway (a publicly owned company). Thus, even though NJ doesn't have slots, they benefit from slots.

    Illinois has a controversial subsidy from Riverboats, however BIG $$ are in escrow awaiting a Supreme Court Ruling, while the State of Illinois just drafted a law for the upcoming years that would require the Riverboat subsidation to contine. The boat operators are squaling like "stuck pigs".



  13. #13
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    Regarding the retiring of super-performing Standardbred 3 year old colts, like Dewey and Somebeachsomewhere and others - one theory I've heard is there isn't a lucrative 4 year old racing series. They would be thrown into open competition with very tough, mature horses where they may not be competitive. So given the choice of continuing to race or stallion syndications, the sensible economic choice is syndication.

    Has anyone else heard this? And I wonder if it's a comparable complaint with TB racing?



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