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Author Topic: Has Harness Racing lost it's soul ?  (Read 1598 times)
King Nothing
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« on: January 21, 2013, 03:28:26 PM »

 Once upon a time the horse was the star, drivers next and trainers third. Horses were viewed in almost mythological proportions, we viewed battles for the ages. Whether it was Ramblin Storm in a sat night battle at the Big M or Lorryland Butler at the hilltop, it was an event. When a horse like Jaguar Spur or Matts Scooter came to your local track it was must see racing. From Rambling Willie to Niatross and Nihilator to Mack Lobell, you were ready all week to see the action and the greatness.

 Now with so much speculation about who's an epo/doping horse and questions to a horses real abilities vs enhanced, one has to wonder if racing will ever have that "magic" again. I think the answer is pretty obvious when there's more threads about politics and music than real race horses and i don't blame anyone for not caring anymore.  

 head shake
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jdizigg
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 03:33:15 PM »

Once upon a time the horse was the star, drivers next and trainers third. Horses were viewed in almost mythological proportions, we viewed battles for the ages. Whether it was Ramblin Storm in a sat night battle at the Big M or Lorryland Butler at the hilltop, it was an event. When a horse like Jaguar Spur or Matts Scooter came to your local track it was must see racing. From Rambling Willie to Niatross and Nihilator to Mack Lobell, you were ready all week to see the action and the greatness.

 Now with so much speculation about who's an epo/doping horse and questions to a horses real abilities vs enhanced, one has to wonder if racing will ever have that "magic" again. I think the answer is pretty obvious when there's more threads about politics and music than real race horses and i don't blame anyone for not caring anymore.  

 head shake

Nobody seems to want to put any effort into bringing the sport back.... We need families and young people at the track participating and sadly there are usuallly 0 people under the age of 30 who like and enjoy the sport.  I wish the tracks and the USTA could come up with REAL solutions before its to late... I routinely talk to people about coming out to the track and will try and speak to people and help them figure out how to have a chance at making some money....  I dont care what people say i will go down fighting for the sport even if its a long slow death...
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Mel from Moline
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 03:34:11 PM »

Like everything...it evolves. There hardly are any tracks with barn areas anymore. Me and an old friend were just today discussing the fun we had at the Hawthorne double header meets of yesteryear. working all dall and all night sometimes....it is what it is. The comraderie that was the "backside" is virtually nonexistant today.
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 03:41:23 PM »

King I agree with you. Back in the day the Friday night mares open pace was the race we always went
to watch. I liked the match up of Green With Envy and May Wine, Take Care, and Antholenia D.  Then
on Saturday off to Freehold for the Invitational Race. We looked forward to that. Today there is no rivalries like it was
back in the day. Also my local paper The Star Ledger used to have a whole page write up on the races daily.
That is also gone so the interest leaves with it. I remember in the paper on Meadowlands pace night they would
put the program page for that race in the paper spent many a summer days by the people handicapping that
race.  Do you think it is possible to ever get that feeling back has it gone by the wayside ?  When we are celebrating
a $ 400,000 on track handle on a Saturday Night at the Meadowlands it makes me sad ?  I'm glad the numbers are
up for this year but if people aren't going to watch live it will never garner the buzz it once had.
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King Nothing
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 03:51:16 PM »

Agreed that things have evolved but horses aren't the focus anymore. We talk about trainers issues far more than real horses. Remember when Hoofbeats told you the exact way a horse was shod, angles, pads and all the equipment they wore ?  I grew up around the track on both sides, i used to see the same people every weekend gambling, it was somewhere you had to be. And the backside, well it was a great place for a young man to grow up quick lol. We worked hard and partied harder... Now racinos are the focus most places, free buffet and free slot play. How many more years to go ? At least i was there when it mattered most...
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 03:57:14 PM »

Nice post, but, I don't think the # of OT posts necessarily has anything to do w/ the quality of the game. Personally, idk as much about harness as most of u guys so the only real opportunity I have to post is irrelevant/stupid stuff and as somebody who likes to hear his own voice every once in awhile Ill be posting some inane comments regardless if Dan Patch came back from the dead or if Thunder Ridge was the only track running. I know a lot dislike the OT stuff n for that I apologize but I just can't help myself, sometimes I gotta post!!

Also re: JDZ, the guy is truly an ambassador to the sport, answers any/all questions a novice like myself has, kind enough to structure tickets (even though I lose my $ wayyy b4 the multi-race starts), his willingness to answer even simple questions demonstrates his love for the game.. Idk if he can parlay his current role into a position on the administrative/management side of things but I certainly hope so, guy cares about the game has creative solutions to problems, nuff said
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 04:11:06 PM »

Where's our Gural in Illinois?
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King Nothing
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 04:20:02 PM »

Where's our Gural in Illinois?
I do like his idea for an older horse traveling series lol i think it was once called the Graduate... But still good idea. 
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2013, 04:55:36 PM »

I'm glad the numbers are
up for this year but if people aren't going to watch live it will never garner the buzz it once had.







Dont lose hope.....   I think the New Big M has a legit shot of bringing back some of the old magic..... I am enjoying myself more then I did 20 years ago at the track...  I love introducing the sport to people I know are first timers....  Hard work will get people back in the seats....   and I see first hand the team at the Meadowlands is working hard to bring people back to the track.     
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 06:06:14 PM »

I'm glad the numbers are
up for this year but if people aren't going to watch live it will never garner the buzz it once had.



It all has to do with the advent of the computer and the ADWs.

They have made it so easy for the GP to place their bets from the comfy of your own house and thats why they don't go to the track anymore in person.








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sulkyfromouterspace
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 06:25:00 PM »

It all has to do with the advent of the computer and the ADWs.

They have made it so easy for the GP to place their bets from the comfy of your own house and thats why they don't go to the track anymore in person.










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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 08:17:13 PM »

It will continue to slid downhill as breeders have less foals to sell.  The numbers are falling fast and foals for 2012 while unofficial will be under 9,000.  They expect 8,630 in North America.  While the new gamblers are few and far between so are the new owners.  From a owner point of view it has gotten so expensive that buying and raising yearlings is a major risk.  So what has happen breeders breeding less.  Tracks at some point are going to have to reduce dates like it or not.  What Gural has done at the Meadowlands needs to happen with PA. tracks and Illinois tracks.  CLEAN UP YOUR HOUSE.  Bettors will come back.  How about some other form of cross track pick five or pick 6 on weekend cards.  A change in blood drawl from race day horses.  Harness Racing Update had a long time trainer wanting a change from post race to pre race.  If the horse blood test comes back cloudy the horse is scratched.  Without a clear blood test the horse doesn't race.  Also needs to qualifer to race back with that clear blood test.  The article had lots of merit would like to see more changes to rid the game of cheats.  Maybe owners will come back to a cleaner game as the gambler returns to a cleaner game.
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 10:40:55 PM »

It will continue to slid downhill as breeders have less foals to sell.  The numbers are falling fast and foals for 2012 while unofficial will be under 9,000.  They expect 8,630 in North America.  While the new gamblers are few and far between so are the new owners.  From a owner point of view it has gotten so expensive that buying and raising yearlings is a major risk.  So what has happen breeders breeding less.  Tracks at some point are going to have to reduce dates like it or not.  What Gural has done at the Meadowlands needs to happen with PA. tracks and Illinois tracks.  CLEAN UP YOUR HOUSE.  Bettors will come back.  How about some other form of cross track pick five or pick 6 on weekend cards.  A change in blood drawl from race day horses.  Harness Racing Update had a long time trainer wanting a change from post race to pre race.  If the horse blood test comes back cloudy the horse is scratched.  Without a clear blood test the horse doesn't race.  Also needs to qualifer to race back with that clear blood test.  The article had lots of merit would like to see more changes to rid the game of cheats.  Maybe owners will come back to a cleaner game as the gambler returns to a cleaner game.
Most all owners that care about their horses r so sick of it.

Then there are those that jeopardize every horse and driver by either being wired stoned or drinking .
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Claiming King
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 11:09:04 PM »

King I agree with you. Back in the day the Friday night mares open pace was the race we always went to watch. I liked the match up of Green With Envy and May Wine, Take Care, and Antholenia D. 
 

You forgot my favorite, I Marilyn.
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clubhouse
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 11:49:02 PM »

Where's our Gural in Illinois?

That would be the sheriff from Crete. Bring in the paddy wagons.
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sulkyfromouterspace
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2013, 04:52:42 AM »

Where's our Gural in Illinois






Great question....and hopefully other tracks will follow the New Nig M's lead in cleaning up their tracks.....facility and the horses !!



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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2013, 09:27:42 AM »

let's all get real here and use some common sense, racing will never get back to the old days with full granstands.elvis has left that building and is only returning on big days.
back in the day racing was the only thing to bet and it was not 100% honest back then either.unless you were blind or a idiot it was all over the place with a ky derby winner being dqd buzzers being used to races in new york being fixed with filion involved.in chitown we had the banks clan pelling anderson ledford and whoever nowadays.all along the way and up until this day we were and still are being ripped off by the racetrack and state govts.virtually all the racetrack owners are still in place and you think it will be different ?  laughing guy laughing guy
add in all the otbs and adws now open and you think things will go back to the way they were ?  laughing guy laughing guy
there is no betting that is 100% honest,books charge a vig lotteries do not pay off at close to real odds unless the powerball jackpot is $185,000,000 +.people and horses get sick and real info is withheld to keep their opponent fro gaining an edge.
there is also not enuff horses to go around and dates need to be cut in both breeds
track owners need to take care of the bettors period and not gouge the players at every turn
forget about racing returning to its glory days and 100% so called honest racing.figure out how to take care of the bettors and they will show up live on occasion but they will drive the sport at an otb or online with gusto at their own leisure
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« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2013, 09:35:30 AM »

There is no "technical" reason why harness racing cannot return to the glory days.  Its all about marketing.

One need only look at NASCAR to see that anything is possible with marketing.

NASCAR moved from a regional oddity to one of biggest sports in America after they got a commissioner and a marketing plan.

Love him or hate him, Gural is the ONLY hope for harness racing.  Right now he is as close to a commissioner as we have.  He is a "commissioner" with no authority, so all of the little generals in the industry need to listen to him for the game to survive.


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TheRedMile
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« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2013, 09:42:38 AM »

take a closer look at nascar and you will see it is on a downward trend
plenty of open seats in the stands the last few yrs especially at indy for the brickyard
sponsors leaving left and right
when a big idea for advertising to pronote the sport is a below avg driver like danica patrick the sport is in trouble

There is no "technical" reason why harness racing cannot return to the glory days.  Its all about marketing.

One need only look at NASCAR to see that anything is possible with marketing.

NASCAR moved from a regional oddity to one of biggest sports in America after they got a commissioner and a marketing plan.

Love him or hate him, Gural is the ONLY hope for harness racing.  Right now he is as close to a commissioner as we have.  He is a "commissioner" with no authority, so all of the little generals in the industry need to listen to him for the game to survive.



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« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2013, 10:34:05 AM »

NASCAR on a downward trend?  Maybe, after decades of success.

And they still frequently get top billing on ESPN and get frequent mention on sports (and non-sports) talk shows while harness racing does not exist even in local newspapers.  NASCAR drivers do national commercials and are household names to tens of millions of people.  In addition, leeave us not forget that the original commissioner who made NASCAR a household name (Bill France) is no longer with us.

Dana Patrick gets ink because she is hot.  Same thing happened when Robyn Smith started riding thoroughbreds.  Also hot.  She wasn't much of a rider.  Today's woman jockeys are a hundred times better than she was.

Its been the way of the world since Eve gave Adam the apple.
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« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2013, 12:14:33 PM »

let's all get real here and use some common sense, racing will never get back to the old days with full granstands.elvis has left that building and is only returning on big days.
back in the day racing was the only thing to bet and it was not 100% honest back then either.unless you were blind or a idiot it was all over the place with a ky derby winner being dqd buzzers being used to races in new york being fixed with filion involved.in chitown we had the banks clan pelling anderson ledford and whoever nowadays.all along the way and up until this day we were and still are being ripped off by the racetrack and state govts.virtually all the racetrack owners are still in place and you think it will be different ?  laughing guy laughing guy
add in all the otbs and adws now open and you think things will go back to the way they were ?  laughing guy laughing guy
there is no betting that is 100% honest,books charge a vig lotteries do not pay off at close to real odds unless the powerball jackpot is $185,000,000 +.people and horses get sick and real info is withheld to keep their opponent fro gaining an edge.
there is also not enuff horses to go around and dates need to be cut in both breeds
track owners need to take care of the bettors period and not gouge the players at every turn
forget about racing returning to its glory days and 100% so called honest racing.figure out how to take care of the bettors and they will show up live on occasion but they will drive the sport at an otb or online with gusto at their own leisure

'Tross, that is truly an honest & logical post.  Very hard to disagree with anything you've said.

I'm just going to add that I've probably "introduced" a few dozen people to PPK over the last several years & none of them have shown the least interest in returning.  Some have been back to go to the buffet or to the slots or card room but NONE for the horses.
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« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2013, 02:32:28 PM »

My opinion on this is that it has  to be in your blood. Most of the stories on here are all started on how we
went to the track at a young age with our parents or friends.  Most of my friends that I still go to the track
with we went with our parents and watched them gamble and learned to read the programs from them.
The other highlight was watching Racing From Yonkers with Stan Bergstien and Dave Johnson.  We would
hang out and bet each other on who would win those races while we played cards fun stuff.  So to bring
new people in it has to start at a young age and have them interested in it.
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sulkyfromouterspace
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« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2013, 04:25:58 PM »

I am under the impression that most posters have not been to the New Big M in awhile......   Wait until you see the crowd of the Hambo in 2014 at the new building....  then tell me you wont see packed grandstands....yes...the building will be smaller....But PACKED !!!!


The Big M is returning to its place as the Greatest harness track in the USA   flag

The Fat lady is far from singing in the swamps of jersey !!


 geezer    baby we were born to run !!!
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« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2013, 04:44:35 PM »

I am under the impression that most posters have not been to the New Big M in awhile......   Wait until you see the crowd of the Hambo in 2014 at the new building....  then tell me you wont see packed grandstands....yes...the building will be smaller....But PACKED !!!!


The Big M is returning to its place as the Greatest harness track in the USA   flag

The Fat lady is far from singing in the swamps of jersey !!


 geezer    baby we were born to run !!!


Is that really a way to attract new fans, by building a new, smaller facility?

Right now, the purse structure is not competitive with YR which is why Sears & Brennan both drive & dominate that track.

We'll see if Gural is able to put together a combination of cutting enough costs with a higher income to not only move the needle all the way back to prosperity but also keep the horsemen happy & stable.  If he does that, there's the guy we should be backing for the 2016 Presidential election!
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« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2013, 05:02:04 PM »

Is that really a way to attract new fans, by building a new, smaller facility?

Right now, the purse structure is not competitive with YR which is why Sears & Brennan both drive & dominate that track.

We'll see if Gural is able to put together a combination of cutting enough costs with a higher income to not only move the needle all the way back to prosperity but also keep the horsemen happy & stable.  If he does that, there's the guy we should be backing for the 2016 Presidential election!




Dolfan----- you are soooooo upset that the Meadowlands is doing a great job.... admit it.....    You are trying to mask your hatred with some pleasentries...     Brennan and Sears are Banned from the meadowlands ......they pissed off the Godfather of Harness Racing.....Jeff Gural...  you just dont do that.....    When the Big M has slots and purses are kicking yonkers  a s s ....    you will see Sears and Brennan come crawling back....    just Watch !      I love the Meadowlands....and I am having more fun now then I had there in 20 years.....   Sorry you cant say the same....



Sulky
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« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2013, 05:07:57 PM »

Hey Dolfan.....This video is for you.....and for even more BIG FUN....visit the NEW Meadowlands !!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuAD19X63Xk&feature=player_embedded
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« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2013, 05:40:45 PM »

There is no "technical" reason why harness racing cannot return to the glory days.  Its all about marketing.

One need only look at NASCAR to see that anything is possible with marketing.

NASCAR moved from a regional oddity to one of biggest sports in America after they got a commissioner and a marketing plan.

Love him or hate him, Gural is the ONLY hope for harness racing.  Right now he is as close to a commissioner as we have.  He is a "commissioner" with no authority, so all of the little generals in the industry need to listen to him for the game to survive.




Nascar attendence is down 40% since 2006.......most of the tracks have lost tons of money the past few years........sorry but Nascar is not a good example IMO........I live less than 2 miles from a nascar track where they race twice a year and the cost of camping, merchandise and tickets have triple in the last 10 years and they will not let you bring in a big cooler.......you can have a cooler that fits maybe 6 beers and after that they are 10 bucks a piece......they have driven the people away by raising the cost on everything so they just watch on TV as the ratings havent went down much
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« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2013, 06:16:04 PM »

Hey Dolfan.....This video is for you.....and for even more BIG FUN....visit the NEW Meadowlands !!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuAD19X63Xk&feature=player_embedded

Loved it!  And just to test your memory, here's one for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcSOgkP0sPA

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« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2013, 06:24:00 PM »

Dolfan----- you are soooooo upset that the Meadowlands is doing a great job.... admit it.....    You are trying to mask your hatred with some pleasentries...     Brennan and Sears are Banned from the meadowlands ......they pissed off the Godfather of Harness Racing.....Jeff Gural...  you just dont do that.....    When the Big M has slots and purses are kicking yonkers  a s s ....    you will see Sears and Brennan come crawling back....    just Watch !      I love the Meadowlands....and I am having more fun now then I had there in 20 years.....   Sorry you cant say the same....

Look I did very well (owning) at the Big M & have no complaints.  Believe me, it is not hatred - I love the sport too much.  But I admit that I find 1 mile tracks not really harness racing, 5/8's just barely.  I was born & bred on the 1/2's.

I know Brennan made his comments but Sears?  Banned?  Why?  For being too good?  Gingras got banned from Yonkers a few years ago but that was because of suspicious driving habits.

If it's going to take slots for the Big M to survive, well, the state could've done that & Gural doesn't deserve the credit.  It will also be a short-lived fix as the states are going to eventually change direction & open up gambling to many different venues, not just tracks.
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« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2013, 06:33:46 PM »

Dolfan !!!!   You got the GS BUG too !!!!!    HAHA !!!!   I respect that  !!!    trophy

I also respect you're love of harness racing....   maybe Im looking thru rose colored glasses....  maybe fans "love" the sport more then horseman that been burned by the game....who knows.... BUT ,,,, I love harness too.....   we can agree to disagree....

The Meadowlands is unique ...People seem to embrace harness here......  I am a believer that harness will be king again.....  and slots will introduce many new fans to the sport....unlike Yonkers.....     

I think Mile track racing is the Best.....    especially this year at the Meds....awesome stretch drives !!!   
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« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2013, 06:37:05 PM »

Sears was fined last year at the Meds for giving holes......he cried like a baby......   and took his ball to yonkers..... He was the posterboy for the Meds...now he is not welcome by Gural....  although he will be back for the big stakes races .....just like the crook Brennan....
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« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2013, 06:38:57 PM »

Thanks for sharing the Feelings gong show......I forgot about that one !!    you got me !!

Keep them coming !!!   although we need to keep them at the OT.....    people get salty when having fun on regular threads
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« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2013, 08:34:50 PM »

Sears was fined last year at the Meds for giving holes......he cried like a baby......   and took his ball to yonkers..... He was the posterboy for the Meds...now he is not welcome by Gural....  although he will be back for the big stakes races .....just like the crook Brennan....

Yeah, giving holes.  Y'know there are 2 sides to everything.  If you play nice & do favors for each other, the horses last longer but the races become less interesting.  You bust balls & you sacrifice better racing at the expense of the horse, the owner, the trainer.  But the vet makes more $$.

Can't blame Sears for leaving though.  He's been the sport's #1 driver (& M1's) for many years now.  Rarely stiffed a horse, you always had a chance when you bet him & he gets treated like a newbie.  If you want to be recognized as the best track, you have to have the best purses, horses & drivers.  Only time will tell & it'll certainly be up to the individual states to decide where slots will go. 

As far as the mile tracks go, you must enjoy watching races on TV.  This thread asks if the sport has lost its soul.  IMO, the further you get from 1/2 mile track racing the further the soul gets.
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« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2013, 08:44:42 PM »

Sears was fined last year at the Meds for giving holes......he cried like a baby......   and took his ball to yonkers..... He was the posterboy for the Meds...now he is not welcome by Gural....  although he will be back for the big stakes races .....just like the crook Brennan....

He did give quite a few hole for no apparent reason and his half in, half out was  tought to watch, It has ruined many a flow and wrecked the outside horses trying to get into therace. I dont think he'll be missed by meadowlands regulars. The flow of the race has suddenly been much better
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« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2013, 05:38:34 AM »

As far as the mile tracks go, you must enjoy watching races on TV.  This thread asks if the sport has lost its soul.  IMO, the further you get from 1/2 mile track racing the further the soul gets.


you are right about the thread Dolfan...

I will sum it up.....
A very Different Yonkers.....Lost it's soul
The New Meadowlands....Finding it's soul
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« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2013, 05:44:10 AM »

I will agree that 1/2 mile racing is more "fan friendly" ......  you can see the action ...because its closer.... BUT.....I hope the Meadowlands increases the camera angles for the fans.....  The split screen does not help much with watching the action.....Let's get some better camera angles at the Big M .   With HD TV their is no reason to miss out on any of the action !!!  the stretch drives on a mile track are pretty awesome !!    trotter
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« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2013, 11:25:29 AM »

I will agree that 1/2 mile racing is more "fan friendly" ......  you can see the action ...because its closer.... BUT.....I hope the Meadowlands increases the camera angles for the fans.....  The split screen does not help much with watching the action.....Let's get some better camera angles at the Big M .   With HD TV their is no reason to miss out on any of the action !!!  the stretch drives on a mile track are pretty awesome !!    trotter

Two big changes are needed:

Replays need to provide the head on view.  They provide it right after the race.  Why isn't it available for later view of replays?

We need a way to see the horses on the outside in the stretch.  The most critical part of the race is blind.  We see horses as they enter the stretch, then they disappear if they are not within a few lengths.  Who is blocked?  Who got interfered with?  Which drivers stopped driving?  Who got cut off?  Some horses won't pace at the head of the lane, then take off late.  We see them flying late, but don't see that they wouldn't pace earlier in the stretch.  So much is missed.
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« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2013, 12:08:52 PM »

You guys are so intent on M1, watching angles on TV, hoping to get some kind of edge.  But the sport will never attract new people that way.  People are too lazy to keep up or learn something new.

The sport's soul lies in places like Goshen & Delaware.  You can't go to those places & not feel the ghosts of harness racing's past.  The only chance is to get people to love the sport & that is not happening outside of a rare occasion.  Maybe YR has lost it's soul - I don't know.  Here's what I am becoming more certain of:

Maywood Park's configuration of the track, the banking & the angled gate along with the early, untimed start & open stretch makes for the best 1/2 mile track racing & every 1/2 miler in America should copy it.  Then they should take those 5/8's tracks & either turn them into 1/2's or mile tracks because that's where people are gambling.  When you look at the pools on the 5/8's they pale in comparison to 1/2's & milers.

I know this is a small sampling but after 78 races pp 8 has a win % that doubles pp 1 at Maywood.  This is with cheap horses & bad drivers, in general.  That easily proves to me that Maywood has found the best combination to make the races interesting & fair.  I would expect that with a full sampling that number will turn completely which would still be a major victory.
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« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2013, 01:11:21 PM »

You guys are so intent on M1, watching angles on TV, hoping to get some kind of edge.  But the sport will never attract new people that way.  People are too lazy to keep up or learn something new.

The sport's soul lies in places like Goshen & Delaware.  You can't go to those places & not feel the ghosts of harness racing's past.  The only chance is to get people to love the sport & that is not happening outside of a rare occasion.  Maybe YR has lost it's soul - I don't know.  Here's what I am becoming more certain of:

Maywood Park's configuration of the track, the banking & the angled gate along with the early, untimed start & open stretch makes for the best 1/2 mile track racing & every 1/2 miler in America should copy it.  Then they should take those 5/8's tracks & either turn them into 1/2's or mile tracks because that's where people are gambling.  When you look at the pools on the 5/8's they pale in comparison to 1/2's & milers.

I know this is a small sampling but after 78 races pp 8 has a win % that doubles pp 1 at Maywood.  This is with cheap horses & bad drivers, in general.  That easily proves to me that Maywood has found the best combination to make the races interesting & fair.  I would expect that with a full sampling that number will turn completely which would still be a major victory.
Well said Dolfan.
I think most of us older players first were exposed to harness racing at half mile tracks. The action was up close and personal. They went by us a couple of times and we could see the action easily.
Once those of us who were intereested in the sport became a bit more knowledgeable, many of us preferred the mile tracks.
But for new fans going to a mile track and weatching it on TV, well, it just doesn't excite the newbie the way the half mile track excited us.

A question for JDZigg, where did you first get exposed to harness racing?
Mine was at maywood park.
If I would have gone to hawthorne on a january evening first time out, I'm not sure the sport would have grabbed me.
Of course, hawthorne eventually became my favorite Chicago track to play.
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« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2013, 01:16:02 PM »

I'm intent on angles, because I am intent on winning.

Its the ONLY reason I bet harness racing.  If winning wasn't everything, I would play slots.  Lots of different games and different sounds and different colors.
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« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2013, 01:59:19 PM »

You can't save the "sport" with the animal.  NO kids today get to hear about how their ancestors rode horses as a mode of transportation; few areas have any sort of mounted patrol;  heck, parades often have few horses.  Like it or not we don't DIAL a phone anymore and we don't see horses like we once did.

The only way you can save the "sport" is with the human.  Kids today love the Kardashians (why?) and other PEOPLE and do almost anything to get more of them.  The current human roster in the sport is laughable, except for maybe 30 (talking drivers here because they are the ones in front of the camera the most).  Save the sport, get new faces.  A few dozen more Callahans would not hurt. 

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« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2013, 05:27:26 PM »

I totally agree with new faces helping the sport....This Kid Joey Bongorno(spelling).. is 19 and has the coolest job of any 19 year old I know.... Hes a good looking kid and can be the new face of harness racing....Jeff Gural should market the hell out of this kid......   I wish the game had more diversity....I hate to say it...but more people and companies would embrace harness if it had more diversity...( drivers)...   I know the Meadowlands plans on having latino nights....that will help....but more latino drivers would seal the deal.....IMO.....



Sulky
 trotter

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« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2013, 06:34:31 PM »

The kid does look to have ability.  Let's hope he wants to improve and wants to be honest.  If so, yes, market him.

Or we could hope for 13th generation Legrange Miller, or Lemarcus Miller,  or Angulus Miller, or maybe Austin Merton, or Chet Merton...you know, the ones that would thrive on merit and ability, not simply because they are the only 3 people in the entire universe that know the sport exists and know you can drive horses to make money. 
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« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2013, 06:41:38 PM »

Good point FVRedhot !
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« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2013, 07:33:56 PM »

Once upon a time the horse was the star, drivers next and trainers third. Horses were viewed in almost mythological proportions, we viewed battles for the ages. Whether it was Ramblin Storm in a sat night battle at the Big M or Lorryland Butler at the hilltop, it was an event. When a horse like Jaguar Spur or Matts Scooter came to your local track it was must see racing. From Rambling Willie to Niatross and Nihilator to Mack Lobell, you were ready all week to see the action and the greatness.

 Now with so much speculation about who's an epo/doping horse and questions to a horses real abilities vs enhanced, one has to wonder if racing will ever have that "magic" again. I think the answer is pretty obvious when there's more threads about politics and music than real race horses and i don't blame anyone for not caring anymore.  

 head shake

Harness racing used to be exciting going back to pre 1990 and now, its like nobody cares. There isnt a 'buzz' as much as it used to be surrounding 'big' races. Its a fantastic question to ask, "what happened"?

There's a 'buzz' that still surrounds the Super Bowl, the final 4 and the Indy 500, but the harness racing buzz has faded away in the last 2 decades and i'm just not sure why.

Maybe it has to do with the boom of social media and the internet age and during this age, there's more 'negative' stories that are read by people and the 'stars' and 'heroes' of the past are easily torn down. When Mickey Mantle was womanizing and drinking like a sailor in the 1950s and 1960s, fans didnt know about it because the media wasnt 'allowed' to tell tales. They knew that if they tattle told on Mickey, he would never give them another interview....stars off the field shenanigans were private. Now, you have TMZ generation tearing everyone down, there are few true heroes anymore and people are just much more skeptical these days due to all the negative press that's easily accessable thru the internet.

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« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2013, 10:21:41 PM »

Well said Dolfan.
I think most of us older players first were exposed to harness racing at half mile tracks. The action was up close and personal. They went by us a couple of times and we could see the action easily.
Once those of us who were intereested in the sport became a bit more knowledgeable, many of us preferred the mile tracks.
But for new fans going to a mile track and weatching it on TV, well, it just doesn't excite the newbie the way the half mile track excited us.

A question for JDZigg, where did you first get exposed to harness racing?
Mine was at maywood park.
If I would have gone to hawthorne on a january evening first time out, I'm not sure the sport would have grabbed me.
Of course, hawthorne eventually became my favorite Chicago track to play.

Burton, mine was at Roosevelt Raceway when I was 14.  I remember the 1st time my dad took us to M1 I said "I can't see a thing, this is no fun".  I never changed my mind.  I always found it more interesting to watch & handicap the 1/2 mile tracks.  I watched Abbatiello, Filion, Haughton, Chapman, Insko & all the others.  I never grew tired of watching 1/2 mile track racing although finding a bet became more difficult as the favorites dominated.  Still, it was the sport that 1st attracted me & I eventually became an owner.  That became more difficult as the vets dominate.


Harness racing used to be exciting going back to pre 1990 and now, its like nobody cares. There isnt a 'buzz' as much as it used to be surrounding 'big' races. Its a fantastic question to ask, "what happened"?

There's a 'buzz' that still surrounds the Super Bowl, the final 4 and the Indy 500, but the harness racing buzz has faded away in the last 2 decades and i'm just not sure why.

My theory has progressed & now I believe it is for these reasons, in no particular order:

- Too many stakes races, spreading apart the better horses.
- Poor or no training skills, keeping many horses off the smaller tracks.
- Trainers winning at totally unbelievable % because of "good vets".
- Poor or no training skills, almost eliminating heat racing.
- This romantic idea that the faster you go, the better, shortening a horse's shelf life.
- Poor or no training skills, leaving a good horse's form unsustainable.
- The need for instant gratification by every dope who can't go 3 minutes without texting.
- Poor or no training skills.
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« Reply #46 on: January 24, 2013, 04:52:09 AM »

Meadowlands wagering is "through the roof"

 geezer The Meadowlands has plenty of soul....  Sing it w me........The roof The roof......The roof is on fire......we dont need no ,,,,,sears, brennan or Pena......let the Mother f r  thrive !!!!     horse shoe



Medowlands is the sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooul TRACK !!!


Put your hands together for the NEW BIG M !!!!!



http://www.wat.tv/video/soul-train-dancer-o-jays-put-3unw1_2f1mr_.html
 




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« Reply #47 on: January 24, 2013, 04:57:02 AM »

OK OK.....ENCORE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.wat.tv/video/soul-train-dancer-carl-douglas-3unwv_2f1mr_.html
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« Reply #48 on: January 24, 2013, 07:55:09 PM »

Sulky,

Jeff Gural better hire you and bottle whatever that positive energy you have is.
I think it's contagious.
Keep it up.
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« Reply #49 on: January 24, 2013, 09:04:14 PM »

Thanks Burton....If harness fans don't see the positive things going on at the meadowlands....then they aint harness fans...PERIOD !!  and ALL should support someone trying his best to save our sport !!      trophy
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