I agree that the purses are horrible and the horses are even worst but as far as how horseman are treated I would have to disagree.
Phil Langley and Eliot " Doc " Narotsky are two wonderful people who have always treated all the horseman with the utmost respect. They are always willing to listen to any complaint from any horseman and they are very heplful with taking care of any situation. And, the people they hire to work in the racing office are very polite and also treat the horseman with the utmost respect.
Racing at the Big M. would be even better if Doc were the racing secretary and Phil was the "Director Of Racing ". These two guys are a credit to the business and are well liked by all horseman who have ever raced in Chicago.
Let's not also forget about the Johnston's who have always taken care of the horseman and their needs for decades now. You cannot find better people then the Johnston's, Doc and Langley to run a harness meet. The only reason horseman are going east is because the IRB and the state have not taken care of harness racing and have caused the purses and handle to drop.
Mr. Nance or may I call you 'Dan'.........
Have to fully agree....... after working fro various trainers on the Chiacgo circuit for almost 3 years upon returning to the states and becoming a journalist, I'd have to agree.
The management team and ownership behind Maywood and Balmoral Park are extremely classy people who went 'over and above' my expectations as a media practitioner for our sport. From the initial meeting with KK, DJ, JJ and DN (aka 'Doc') they always went beyond their ways in accomodating me with complementary valet service upon arrival, free 'escorted' entrance into the facility as well as a fully comped out meal and drink plan on every visit. The media badge they gave me each year is very special as the ones from 2003/4/5 will be saved forever. It's a dual media badge which I've never seen before in the tracks I've also visited as media (Hoosier Park and The Big M). Can also remember the time my car was 'lightly' bumped by another patron in the parking lot of Maywood Park one evening upon covering the races. The security personnel at Maywood Park was so efficient that their security cameras immediately picked up the accident and within minutes the old Dir of Security PG came by in the infamous black Caprice as well as 3 squad cars from the Maybrook facility. Another time I was accosted by an unlicenced groom at the stable gate. With the technologically advanced camera system ste up on the backside at Maywood it was an unbeleiveably swift and efficient experience. The entire security team, including the sargents and the same Dir. of Security as well as the GM himself all ran to my aid as the security man at that gate called it in immediately. There was no need to call the Maybrook boys direct as they came in full force once again and fully pressed charges against this person who physically assaulted me standing in the doorway of the stablegate. The stewards were kind enough to ask me to see them a few days later with the state steward, the association steward and a few others present. They were more than accomodating and were very compassionate in handling the matter efficiently. They immediately allowed the person who tried to mess me up even more on the security cameras get licenced immediately by a very prominent trainer, actually a few days later. This 'groom' was then allowed licencesd access ont he backside moreso then just getting the waveby by all of the wonderful security personnel at Maywood Park. Another incident with a driver on the 'apron' who tried to harass me can't be discussed as litigation is still pending on those issues.
There was another incident at Balmoral Park where a cousin of a trainer who is now based at The Big M was harassing me and a guest one evening. The veteran and 'most seasoned' security guard at Balmoral Park, who is an older gentleman came to my rescue immediately. He tried accosting me whil e sitting with a very high profile owner as he was misinterpreted the events that were happening that evening. He was very apologetic and helpful.... this is the same person who simply allows people to enter the paddock area with a simple wave, smile and nod. No quesitons asked.
Getting back to the subject at hand, the 'upper' and 'middle' management at both Maywood and Balmoral Park are extremely professional, ethical and unbiased people. They always have open arms and ears to listen to the needs of the dozens of media people who flock to the races when there are majors races on the weekends as well as allowing full access to the grounds of both facilities throughout the week.
This can go on and on but in all sincerity I applaud the efforts of these people and look forward to working with all of them in the near future.
There are other accolades which can be delved into, but these chapters are too long to post at the moment and should be drafted for a book on the wonderful care, service, attention and etc.... of these people.
If it wasn't for the people at Maywood and Balmoral Park, I'd consider moving to another racing jurisdiciton such as Hoosier Park or The Big M as these places simply introduce their credentialed media people to their ENTIRE management team then simply allow you to walk around their facilities without any questions. A call might now be put into the people at HoP and The Big M to follow the wonderful lead the management people of these two wonderful Chicago racetracks have implanted in my mind for the rest of living days.