Brave Alex Semalu sells as hip 152 One of the most attractive horses in the sale no doubt is Brave Alex Semalu (Yankee Cam), Hip 152.
He has been productive in Open races in Canada for much of the year and shipped south for his last start, a win in a $15,000 conditioned event at the Meadowlands.
He’s won six times this year, earning $163,379.
A 5-year-old gelding, he’s made $344,540 during his career.
New Album (Western Terror) is another who should be among the sale-toppers.
She’s a 4-year-old mare who has made $456,107 and was third earlier this year in the Green With Envy Series at the Meadowlands.
Others to watch are Hip 136, Grams Legacy (Rocknroll Hanover).
Currently trained by Jimmy Takter, he’s a four-time winner this year.
Europan Union (No Pan Intended), a lifetime earner of $427,435, and Ideal Matters (Western Ideal), a last-out winner who has made over $300,000, will sell near the very end of the sale. “I sense there’s a lot of buzz,” Reid said. “We have a lot of nice, mid-range horses who still fit in a lot of conditions.
The Meadowlands is winding down but you have a lot of other tracks that will be going strong over the next many months.
We have something like 50 horses that have raced over the last seven days and that’s a big number.
You always want big names in a sale like this, but not too many people want to sell that type of horse.
Having said that, I think we have a lot that people will like.” Those who are inclined to take a gamble might want to take a look at Hip 11, Deweyforpresident (Deweycheatumnhowe), an unraced 2-year-old who cost $170,000 last year at the Lexington sale. It’s The Product, Stupid I have read thousands of words in this publication from the sport’s leaders, owners and fans that indicate to me that they feel curing harness racing’s drug woes is some sort of magic solution that will make the sport prosperous again.
While I applaud efforts to get rid of the bums and cheats, I fear that in the hysteria to clean up the game a much bigger problem is going unaddressed.
A little about me: I used to bet harness racing fairly seriously in the nineties.
If I bet at all now, it will be a $10 wager on the Hambletonian or the Jug.
I still love the sport and follow it, but couldn’t possibly bet on it, at least seriously.
Harness racing’s biggest problem is that the product stinks.
As a gambler, I can easily adjust to the trainer who wins 35 percent of his starts and every horse he claims improves by two seconds in their next start.
You take his superpowers into account when betting a race and move on.
What I can’t adjust to is six-horse fields, 45 percent winning favorites, one-dimensional, speed dominated racing, ridiculously high takeouts, and pools where my $50 win bet is going to send my horse’s odds crashing down to odds-on.
That’s a loser’s game and I don’t play it anymore.
If the slots money is going to go away some day, harness racing is going to have to figure out a way to get people betting on the game again—or else face certain extinction.
The only way to do that is to dramatically improve what it is selling to the consumer/bettor.
If I own a restaurant and I have no customers I better figure out a way to serve better food, lower my prices or both.
This is no different.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I know what they’re doing now isn’t working.
You ought to take the game as we know it now and blow it up.
It’s the only hope, and you have to start thinking outside the box.
One thing I would definitely do is convert every race immediately to (at least) a mile-and-a-half and tell your racing secretary that you better get 12 horses in every race.
If that means having 8-race cards instead of 15-race cards, so be it.
Bettors love big fields and they love it when they think they have a realistic chance of hitting a $300 exacta.
You’ll never have that with eight-horse fields.
Look at what happens every day at Saratoga, where they have great racing and big fields.
They handle $20 million on Saturday, probably more than every track in our game handles in a month combined.
I know it’s unrealistic to expect that harness racing will ever duplicate what goes on in Saratoga, but it can’t continue to ask the public to bet on (continued on next page) HarnessRacingUpdate.com • 7/29/12 PAGE 6 of 15 Have you owned or trained a horse that has broken down? I shudder the thought because it must be a horrible experience and it certainly affects the mind set of horse buyers.
I know for myself I have trepidation being a thoroughbred owner because of the breakdown statistics.
It’s such an issue in Thoroughbred racing that tracks – like Keeneland and Del Mar – have been ripped up to lay down a different, safer surface.
Touch wood, in a harness race our charges can pace or trot on mud, on a tight track, on a scraped one; they could probably trot around on cottage cheese and we wouldn’t worry about a breakdown.
If you are a Thoroughbred owner who is worried about breakdown rates, do yourself a favor, buy a harness horse.
Ahh, that horse racing sport is a rich man’s game.
You need to shell out millions for any type of pedigree at a yearling sale.
You have to have a top trainer to get your charge through a Triple Crown race at the highest level, and often times your horse’s career is compromised even if you attempt it.
Not so fast.
In harness racing a dozen or so people can purchase a nicely bred yearling at a sale for $40,000.
This colt can be trained by a fellow whose day job involved selling cars.
He is driven by a gentleman that is not a multi-millionaire driver.
He can go 20 for 21, set a world race-record, make over $3 million, and retire as the most talked about three year old since Nihilator.
Sure some thoroughbred classic champions have been bought for a song, but in harness it happens multiple times each year.
Triple Crown winner Glidemaster $10,000; Real Desire $16,000; Rainbow Blue $10,500; A Rock n Roll Dance $15,000.
I could go on for a dozen or more paragraphs, and heck, I have not even mentioned Googoo Gaagaa.
If you’re a sportsman who wants to compete at the top level in racing without owning half a Facebook IPO or a few oil wells to fund it, do yourself a favor, buy a harness horse.
I think that what I wrote above was met with nods of agreement.
We all know it’s true: Buying a harness yearling is a huge opportunity with great value.
Plus it’s fun too.
In what other game can you jog your own horse on a Saturday morning? Try that with a Thoroughbred.
We’re competing with thoroughbred buyers, and the ego of owning a runner, against owning a pacer or a trotter, is formidable.
However, if you look at virtually every complaint Thoroughbred owners have about their game, we have an answer.
I wonder, with slots money still here in many jurisdictions, why aren’t we doing more to attract that ownership by highlighting these benefits? Why aren’t breeding farms and others socking away some seed money in a slush fund for a marketing program that extols the virtues of harness ownership? Why have I not seen ads on HRTV, HPITV or TVG talking about harness horses and the fun we can have for a modest investment, speaking directly to non-harness horse owner’s gripes? Maybe there is, and I just missed them.
Either way, if we’re not telling everyone to buy a harness horse, we’re not only not doing our job, we’re doing our friends in Thoroughbred racing an injustice. what passes for the sport these days.
Sure, get rid of the crooks.
It certainly can’t hurt.
But there are a lot bigger problems out there than that. –Guy Mazzeo Harness Ownership Touches All the Bases About a year ago Bill Finley wrote this on US Trotting.com: “Just about everyone in the harness industry has an acquaintance or two or three who owns Thoroughbreds.
Do the game a favor: Pick up the phone, call your friends and tell them they are in the wrong business.” Over the past several years I have worked with the Thoroughbred industry from Keeneland to SoCal, with The Jockey Club to vets.
Although for the most part the discussions were focused on horseplayer issues, as we all know, betting issues overlap with everything else.
This is a sport, but it’s a gambling sport, and the economics of the supply side meet the demand side not as a matter of convenience, but as a matter of survival.
What I’ve learned, is that Bill’s column was right then, and it’s right now.
Let’s look at some of the problems and characteristics facing the Thoroughbreds of late and juxtapose them with harness racing.
Did you know 99% of thoroughbreds are on Lasix? If you didn’t, you’ve likely been living under a rock, because the diuretic is currently under the microscope, with some states and jurisdictions looking at an outright ban.
There are many Thoroughbred owners who dislike the drug – so much so that some have taken it upon themselves to lead by example, by taking their horses off it.
I’m a harness owner who is not a fan of Lasix, and I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Many of you in harness racing who work with horses each day do not want to use the drug unless your colt, filly, horse or mare truly needs it.
A lot of times it’s used only as a last resort.
If you’re a Thoroughbred owner who dislikes Lasix, do yourself a favor, buy a harness horse.
I played some Thoroughbred races this weekend, as is the norm for me in this day and age.
I scanned last year’s results for many of my prospective punts.
I saw 2012 summaries like this time and time again: 5 starts, 6 starts, 4 starts, 3 starts, 7 starts.
There are 365 days in a year and you get to enjoy your horse at the track 5 times? Our stable has a horse who was recently retired that we bought as a maiden at a mixed sale for $14,000.
He raced 143 times, at seven or eight tracks, usually every seven days.
We paid $97 a start.
How’s that for entertainment as a horse owner? This is not an exception in harness racing, it’s the norm.
If you’re a Thoroughbred owner who goes to the dentist more often than your horse races, do yourself a favor, buy a harness horse. HarnessRacingUpdate.com • 7/29/12 PAGE 7 of 15 9, BmlP, $59,000, Pace, 3 Year Old Colt & Gelding Stake Final (Illinois Conceived & Foaled), 27.2, 55.3, 1:23.4, 1:51.0, FT Al’s Hammered (c, 3, Droppin’thehammer–Alberts Magic, by Albert Albert), $2,000 2010 ILL-CL O-Robert L Phillips.
B-Fair Meadow Farm.
D-Robert Smolin, $29,500, Lifetime Record: 31-10-7-6, $134,454 To view replay click here Saturday’s Results: 3, BmlP, $64,000, Pace, 2 Year Old Filly Stake Final (Illinois Conceived & Foaled), 28.0, 57.1, 1:25.3, 1:55.0, FT 1-Special Rose (f, 2, Duneside Perch–Orgami Rose, by Armbro Mackintosh) O/B-Stanley W Miller.
D-John Roberts, $32,000, Lifetime Record: 6-1-1-2, $35,820 2-Thank You Doc (f, 2, Lexington Legend–Fox Valley Joyful, by Richess Hanover) O/B-Sawgrass Farms LLC.
T-Nelson W illis.
D-Dean Magee, $16,000 3-Incredible Filly (f, 2, Sagebrush–Incredible Angel, by Incredible Finale) O-Stevanna E Turner & John F Fletcher.
B-Engel Stable LLC & Rucker Stable Inc.
D-Dave Magee, $7,680 Calls: 2Q, 2H, 3, 1H, 2Q Finish Order: C Roc Party, Lizzabelle, Fox Valley Ruby, Six Easy Hotspur, Zumba, Dune In Red, Campus Cutie Pie To view replay click here 4, BmlP, $49,000, Trot, 3 Year Old Colt & Gelding Final (Illinois Conceived & Foaled), 28.3, 58.1, 1:28.0, 1:57.0, FT Fox Valley Steffen (g, 3, International Chip–Super Renee, by Angus Hall), $5,500 2010 W ALKER O-Paula E Smith & James K Runyan & Gary M Engel.
B-Fox Valley Standardbreds.
D-Dale Hiteman, $24,500, Lifetime Record: 22-4-1-4, $77,852 To view replay click here 5, BmlP, $56,000, Pace, 3 Year Old Filly Stake Final (Illinois Conceived & Foaled), 27.0, 56.3, 1:24.4, 1:52.1, FT Mj’s Bid (f, 3, Cole Muffler–Rons Girl, by As Promised), $3,700 2010 W ALKER O-Jodi L Siamis.
B-Fox Valley Standardbreds.
D-Michael Oosting, $28,000, Lifetime Record: 20-5-1-3, $155,949 To view replay click here 8, BmlP, $74,500, Pace, 2 Year Old Colt & Gelding Stake Final (Illinois Conceived & Foaled), 29.0, 57.3, 1:25.4, 1:53.3, FT Darth Quaider (g, 2, Sportsmaster–Redhot Express, by Broadway Express), $30,000 2011 W ALKER O-Obermeier & Quaid Stables LLC.
B-Fox Valley Standardbreds.
D-Marcus Miller, $37,250, Lifetime Record: 4-2-2-0, $54,325 To view replay click here Missed an Edition of the HRU? Check out our archive at w w w .harnessracingupdate.com Saturday’s Results: 2, Btva, $43,180, Trot, NEW YORK SIRE STAKES 3 YEAR OLD FILLIES (STARTING FEE $810), 29.4, 58.4, 1:28.4, 1:59.0, FT 1-Lima Playmate (f, 3, Credit Winner–Pacific Legacy, by Andover Hall), $70,000 2010 LEX-SEL O-Raymond W Schnittker & Lima Playmate Stb..
B-Steiner Stock Farm.
D-Steve Smith, $21,590, Lifetime Record: 22-11-4-2, $247,481 2-Pretend To Be Nice (f, 3, Conway Hall–Sloppy Kisses, by Muscles Yankee), $17,000 2010 SHS-HBG O-Janice M Rubin & Mary C Katz & Dr Domenic J Catton & Darla D Gaskin.
B-Janice M Rubin & Steven L Katz & David A Meirs III.
D-Stephane Bouchard, $10,795 3-Fancy (f, 3, Conway Hall–Classical Speed, by Speedy Crown), $42,000 2010 SHS-HBG O-W J Donovan & Christine A Czernyson.
B-W inbak Farm.
D-Shawn Gray, $5,181 Calls: 2, 1, 1, 2, H Finish Order: Lady Crown, Starglow Hall, Feegee, Miss Fidget To view replay click here Lima Playmate (Steve Smith, $3.70) took command past the quarter over early leaving Pretend To Be Nice (Stephane Bouchard), rated the fractions while a length clear of a parked rival, opened up in the stretch and held Pretend To Be Nice at bay by a half-length in 1:59.
Fancy (Shawn Gray) saved ground on the cones throughout and closed with steady late trot for third. 4, Btva, $44,780, Trot, NEW YORK SIRE STAKES 3 YEAR OLD FILLIES (STARTING FEE $810), 29.4, 59.1, 1:29.0, 1:58.1, FT 1-Kristins Victory (f, 3, Cash Hall–Treasured Victory, by Valley Victory), $5,000 2010 SHS-HBG O-Stephen M Smith.
B-Bluestone Farms LLC.
D-Steve Smith, $22,390, Lifetime Record: 19-6-5-3, $162,513 2-Borrow And Spend (f, 3, Credit W inner–Armbro Deja Vu, by Donerail), $100,000 2010 SHS-HBG O-Raymond W Schnittker & Borrow And Spend Stb.
B-Fair W inds Farm Inc.
D-John Cummings Jr, $11,195 HarnessRacingUpdate.com
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