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Author Topic: Has Harness Racing lost it's soul ?  (Read 2035 times)
King Nothing
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« on: January 21, 2013, 02:28:26 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, 02:33:15 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, 02:34:11 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, 02:41:23 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, 02:51:16 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, 02:57:14 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, 03:11:06 PM »

Where's our Gural in Illinois?
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King Nothing
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 03:20:02 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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sulkyfromouterspace
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2013, 03:55:36 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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Sea Biscuit
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 05:06:14 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, 05:25:00 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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Illinois sucks
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 07:17:13 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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fuzzypants
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 09:40:55 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, 10:09:04 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, 10:49:02 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, 03:52:42 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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TheRedMile
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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2013, 08:27:42 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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Psycho Dad
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« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2013, 08:35:30 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, 08:42:38 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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Psycho Dad
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« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2013, 09:34:05 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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Dolfan
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« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2013, 11:14:33 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

'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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NJGUY
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« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2013, 01:32:28 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, 03:25:58 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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Dolfan
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« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2013, 03:44:35 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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sulkyfromouterspace
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« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2013, 04:02:04 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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