Racing Recap: New Jersey Style

2019 a good year for harness racing in the Garden State. 2020 promises more of the same.

by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228

‘Twas the Saturday before Christmas and all across the tracks….well, truth be told, it was a light day of racing across the American harness racing landscape with many tracks either closed for the season or taking a holiday break. But there was one state that had a full slate of racing, that being New Jersey.

Freehold featured three solid races on its December 21 card. The big race was an Invitational Pace that featured a spike in purse to $15,000 and attracted eight characters led by one of the sport’s greatest names in Clint Westwood. The pacer came in with 6-3-7 in 26 starts, and $41,000 plus in earnings.

The leader of the pack was Gokudo Hanover, who in 28 starts posted a 3-7-5 record with $106,960 in earnings. He was followed closely by Rock The Nite with 6-1-9 and $106,605 in 38 starts.

These are not the sport’s best horses—we all know that—but look at the number of starts each horse has made. The field of eight has combined to make 216, a per horse average of 27 per and collectively has earned $559,593 in 2019. If that doesn’t spell grinder, than nothing else will.

In addition to the special invitational pace, the card included the normal Open Pace and its $12,000 purse. Two of the entries have done most of their 2019 racing internationally and of the six “American” based horses; they have combined to make 179 starts. Spirit of Truth is the warrior. He came in with 47 starts, with a record of 4-10-9 and $53,819 in earnings.  That explains why he is 15-1 on the morning line.

The other “over $10,000,” race is one for non-winners of $8,000 along with one other condition. That race featured eight pacers and these guys have made 244 starts this year. There are some fast ones, too.  Egomania has paced a 1:49.4 mile this year and not far behind is Bilbo Hanover and his 1:50.2.  That’s not too shabby in a race offering a $5,000 winner’s check.

As for the races, there was very little drama.  In the Invitational, Sunfire Blue Chip cut all the fractions—27.4, 57.2, 1:26.1 before cruising home in 1:55.1. The 9-year old pockets $7,500 for his work. The legendary Clint Westwood rallied from fifth at three-quarters to get second ($3,750) while Bullet Bob picked up show money–$1,800 to round out the top three finishers.

In the Open Pace, age was served as 10-year old The Onlyest One outdueled Ideal One in the stretch to prevail in 1:55.2. Western Bayama finished third.

The third five-figure race saw Soho Lennon lead at every fraction, winning in a quick 1:54.4.

It was a day of chalk and if you were looking to make money by betting on a longshot, for the most part, you were out of luck. The biggest surprise came in race 10 when Drinkin Again paid $15.60 for his victory over Canbec Kingkazimir.

Freehold is not done for 2019; there will be two more cards taking place next Friday and Saturday and in more good news, the track released its 2020 racing schedule and it includes 85 days of racing, up nine from this year’s total of 76.

A little to the north of Freehold sits the mighty Meadowlands and Saturday’s feature was a $30,000 Preferred Handicap featuring nine pacers. Nine horses, 183 starts, led by Lyons Steel who comes in with 10-5-3 in 41 starts. Endeavor comes in with the best resume; he has earned $259,695 with a 6-2-3 record in 27 starts. He has also clocked a 1:48.2 mile this season.

San Domino rallied from sixth at three-quarters to win the Preferred in 1:51.3, with Endeavor second. Lyons Steel was eighth at three-quarters and came from seventh in the stretch to get third. The winner needed a 26.2 final quarter to reward supporters with $16.80 for a $2 bet.

The Meadowlands will race 92 times in 2020 and will offer over $14 million in stakes purses. There is a big change as Monmouth Park will exercise its right to hold a thoroughbred meet at the Big M beginning October 2 and ending November 21. In recent years, Monmouth passed on racing on the dirt and stuck to the turf, but with $10 million in purse subsidies, they are going ahead with a full fall meet in 2020.

The Meadowlands will now race through September 19. In past years, the summer meet ended on Hambletonian Day, but that won’t be the case next year. Speaking of the Hambo, that race is set for Saturday, Aug. 8 along with the Hambletonian Oaks and eight other stakes races.

Gone are same-day eliminations; those will be contested on Saturday, Aug. 1 and the final will consist of the 10 horses who get through those elims.

David Bowie sang about changes and in New Jersey, there certainly have been more than a few. On the surface, it appears that the changes have been for the good and that’s welcome news for harness racing. Things looked bleak in 2017 and 2018, but things have definitely taken a turn for the better.

The 2020 racing calendars are proof of this.

Good News For Monticello Raceway

Venerable track sees a significant purse increase, let’s hope that’s a good sign

by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228

Social media can be a blessing and a curse. I admit, when I’m bored, I’ll check out Facebook several times a day. Most of the time, I scratch my head and wonder why I’m wasting so much time on the site. I also check out Twitter; I like it better because it provides more news, more breaking stories and if you like sports, Twitter can and does inform.

I was on Twitter the other day and saw some news that couldn’t be found anywhere else. It was under the radar news which required a few clicks on the internet to confirm. And, for harness racing and their fans, the news is———–good!

Monticello Raceway—beleaguered and the subject of many a rumor about its potential demise—has increased purses and increased them significantly. We know that the track will never rival the purses at Yonkers or the Meadowlands but if you look at next week’s entries, the increases are notable.

The Monday, Dec. 16 feature was run for $9,400, significantly more than the norm that was $5,900 to $6,200. The card also featured a race for $8,200, and two for $7,200. Total purses for the day amounted to $62,000 for 10 races and most importantly, 76 horses were slated to be behind the gate when racing began at 12:25 pm ET.

The Tuesday, Dec. 17 card features more of the same: a $9,400 feature; an $8,800 race and two for $8,200 with purses totaling $68,500 over 11 races. These are significant increases. Unlike smaller purse tracks like Freehold, Buffalo and Batavia, Monticello doesn’t offer an open race. Perhaps that will change as horses earn more money in 2020.

To say that Monticello is an important track might be a bit of an overstatement, but make no mistake, the track is important to harness racing. It runs Monday thru Thursday, (most weeks) 52 weeks a year and is the only pure weekday afternoon harness track in the land. It’s the one track that “competes,” with thoroughbred tracks that run in the daytime on weekdays.

Handle has always been steady at the Sullivan County track. Running consistently in the afternoon helps, as does a reliable stable of horses and drivers as well as a signal that is carried by most ADW (Advanced Deposit Wagering) platforms.

There are many that think Monticello’s days are numbered. For years, the race track was a racino, but today, there are no machines on the grounds. The track’s owners built a full-scale casino six miles away and while revenue from that casino supplements harness racing, the track—which now sits alone with few spectators—will certainly not see any major infrastructure improvements in the future.

That’s not the only concern. The casino has been struggling and has not met its revenue expectations. In August, Resorts World agreed to sell its half to its partner, Genting Gaming. Had Genting not stepped in, the casino might have been in serious trouble with rumors of bankruptcy in the air.

Back in the day, those that lived in New York City flocked to the Catskills to take in entertainment and spend time in the country, but those days are gone. Genting owns a casino on the Aqueduct Racetrack grounds; there is also a racino in Westchester County at Yonkers Raceway. There are plenty of closer to home options to choose from.

Some think that the casino boom, if not over, has plateaued and many of them are struggling to meet their lofty projections.. The ones near the big cities are doing well, but those in the country (Del Lago, Monticello) simply are not. Some predict that eventually the Catskill casino will be gone.

That’s easy to say, but the facility is huge, with an 18-story hotel and over 1,000 employees. We know that there are not enough “locals” to make it go, so some clever marketing will have to be done by Genting in the coming days and months in an attempt to lure visitors who have hopes of striking it rich.

Casino woes aside, the racing news is good.  As long as the New York State Gaming Commission mandates racing, Monticello will carry on. In fact, the current agreement between the casino and the horsemen runs through 2025. Unless the track itself files for bankruptcy, chances are good that racing will continue for the foreseeable future.

In New York, purses are connected to casino revenues. When the casinos make more money, purses at the tracks go up accordingly. Take Yonkers for example. The open paces and trots go up and down in accordance to the racino revenues. They have been as high as $50,000 and currently sit at $42,000.

Does that mean the racino is struggling?  Absolutely not. The raceway has decided to spread out those increases in its races. The preferreds, which used to run for $30,000 are now running for $35,000; races that used to run for $16,000 now do so for $20,000—you get it.

All the reports say that Monticello Resorts World Casino is hurting, but if it was, why the purse increase at the track six miles away? I guess we’ll leave that to the accountants and those that pay the bills. My guess is that they are making money, just not as much money as they need to.

As much as the sport thrives on the big track, the big races and the big horses, tracks like Monticello are essential for the sport to sustain itself and keep moving forward.

This is positive news for all–fans, drivers, trainers, so rather than worry, let’s celebrate it.

Yonkers Readies for 2020–and The International Trot Will Be Back

by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228

There are plenty of harness tracks out there, and truth be told, I love them all because each offers something different. Monticello gives us the grinders, small purses and two abreast racing. Buffalo Raceway gets me through the winter and features the unique style of track announcer Wayne Teaven and a colony of steady, durable and tough horses. The Meadowlands is….the Meadowlands. It has to be watched, it has to be followed and now that the purses have increased, even more so. And, not to be confused with the Meadowlands is the Meadows, another track that runs all 12 months.

But for some reason, Yonkers Raceway remains my favorite. I’m not sure why, because many harness racing fans don’t like it. For one, it’s a half-mile track; two, the racing, in particular, the dawdling second quarters can be frustrating, and three, overall handle is middling.

On Saturday nights, both The Meadowlands and Yonkers are running. While the Big M will handle about $2 million, Yonkers struggles to get $600,000. On Saturday, December 7, Yonkers handled just $531,498 over 11 races, an average of $48,318. On the same night, the Meadowlands handled $2,218,523, an average of $170,619 per race.

I know harness racing is driven by gambling, so to dismiss that and say that it’s all about the racing would be naïve. And even though Yonkers handled roughly 25 percent of what the Meadowlands did, $531, 498 is not chump change.

Yonkers Raceway is what it is. I like the colony of horses. They’re good, they run well and they run often. The open paces and trots are run for $42,000 each Friday and Saturday and feature the same crew of wily veterans; horses you can hang your hat on and get behind.

I must confess, I rarely wager, so seeing 30-second quarters doesn’t rankle me like it would if I had a few sheckles on the race. I look for horses that I like and follow and if the urge hits, I’ll plunk down $2.

Take tonight’s open trot. Assigned post 1 is the legendary Obrigado. I’ll root for him, but this is just his second race of the year. He’s going up against five other horses that have made 137 starts, with 37 wins, 27 seconds and 14 wins. I can’t bet him, but I’ll be rooting for him, so that makes a wager impossible—for me. Thank goodness the sport doesn’t rely on fans like me to sustain it.

The other thing I like about Old Hilltop is its race schedule. They race a lot. The 2020 schedule was just released and it has 237 racing dates. For the most part, they will race on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I like that it’s dark on Wednesday because it allows for tracks like Buffalo Raceway to get some attention. The same goes for Sunday with tracks like Saratoga and Pompano getting that same shot.

The best news of all is that the Yonkers International Trot is on the 2020 schedule. There was some doubt because last year, MGM Resorts completed its purchase of the track from the Rooney family. I’m sure the Trot doesn’t make money, but Tim Rooney believed in it and was willing to take the loss to have it on the schedule.

MGM Resorts is a huge company with stockholders and that means the bottom line matters. So far, it looks like MGM is willing to give harness racing at Yonkers a legitimate shot. We know that harness racing (in New York) is required at racinos; that said; they could cut events like the International Trot and use a more minimalist approach. Right now, MGM is not doing that.

And, like they did in 2017, the finals of the New York State Sire Stakes will be on the International Trot card on Saturday, Sept. 12. I also expect the track to offer both an invitational pace and trot, meaning total purses should exceed $3 million.

It may not be the prettiest, smoothest of racing and we all know that trying to win from posts 7 and 8 is very difficult to do, but count me in as a fan. I’ll keep watching and with its smooth HD signal, it’s an easy, enjoyable experience.

Old Hilltop has been going at it since 1899; in 2020, they’ll do it 237 times.

 

 

 

The Potomac Pace Is Over, Racing At Rosecroft Is Not

by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228

Teach who’s here. That’s a line from Sharon Howe, my mentor during my eight years as a social studies teacher in Rochester, NY. Educators—and society—worry a lot about the kids who don’t show up in school, often at the expense of those that do each day to get that education.

When I found out that both McWicked and This Is The Plan were scratched from the $100,000 Potomac Pace I was disheartened, but then I thought of Mrs. Howe’s comments and said, “Let’s Go,” let’s see how the race will shape up with a field of six.

Well, the race went just fine thank you with Endeavor pulling off a nice upset at odds of 11-1. Some may call the victory soft because two heavyweights were missing in action, but there is never a need to apologize for winning a race, a game, or anything for that matter. In 15 years, the Toronto Raptors will still be the 2019 NBA champions with few remembering that Kevin Durant barely played in the series.

As much as we wanted those two pacers to be in the field, reality is not always peachy and perfect.

The race was speedy from the beginning with Dorsoduro Hanover and American History trading the leads through very quick fractions. The first three quarters were clocked in 27.1, 27.1 and 27.0 and by three-quarters, both lead horses were softened up.

Endeavor sat wide and used a first over move to get into contention on the final turn. He only needed a 28 second last quartet to get the win and return a healthy $24.60 to his supporters. He stopped the clock in 1:49.4.

Dealt A Winner moved up from fourth to grab second while American History hung on for third. Dealt A Winner, dismissed at 16-1, paid $11.60 to place. The $2 exacta was a robust $145.60 and the tri paid over $446.

That’s the beauty of harness racing—you never really know what you’re going to get. And, another beauty is that McWicked and This Is The Plan are likely to race at least one more time before they go on hiatus. The hope is that both will run in the TVG Free for All Pace at the Meadowlands on Nov. 23.

The Potomac Pace is the big race of the year at Rosecroft and those that were there said the buzz was palpable and that the track put on a great show on a cool Sunday evening in Maryland.

Racing is far from over at Rosecroft. There are still 11 days remaining with the track running on Wednesdays and Sundays. The Wed. Nov. 13 card features 13 races and each race is full with 9 horses competing—another good sign for a sport that truth be told has had a good year.

The Wednesday feature—money wise—is race 10. It’s a $7,500 purse for Maryland Preferred Fillies and Mares that have won two to four races in their careers. Whateveryoulike is the 3-1 morning line favorite with David Hill in the bike for trainer Winston Williams.

The nine starters have combined to make 207 starts in 2019 and the field is led by Caribbean Sam-nin who is 1-3-4 in 32 starts with $14,585 in earnings.

The top money earner is Graygon who sports 4-7-2 in 22 starts with $26,188 in the bank account. Nine grizzled veterans will divvy up $7,500 with $3,750 going to the winner, $1,875 for place, $900 for show, $600 for fourth and $375 for fifth—just another day of grinding at one of America’s harness racing facilities.

Post time is set for 7:15 pm ET.

 

The Potomac Pace Does It Again

A solid field of 8 entered in $100,000 pace

by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228

There are lots of stakes races in harness racing—lots of ‘em—and many of them offer more than $100,000 and still don’t attract as good a field as tomorrow’s Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway.

For some reason, this November classic has turned into a good little show on a Sunday night in Ft. Washington, MD. Yes, it gets buried on a football Sunday, but if you’re footballed out by late Sunday evening, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to tune into the “PP,” on the 5/8 mile track.

The field is led by the reigning Horse of the Year, McWicked. He won’t win the award this year, but after a dawdling start, he has rebounded nicely. In 16 starts, he has six wins, three seconds, three thirds, a 1:47.2 seasonal best clocking and $1,017,466 in earnings. That’s not a bad season for any horse, let alone an 8-year old. Oh, he also gets Brian Sears in the bike, the Hall of Famer who has guided him many times in his illustrious career.

Next up is This Is The Plan who has run well this year despite the misfortune of trying to beat Lather Up in several races this year. In addition to over $770,000 in 2019 earnings, the Ron Burke trainee has a 3-6-0 record in 19 starts. Yannick Gingras is in the bike which is amazing considering that the overall card at Rosecroft does not offer big purses. Other than the Potomac, the only other race with a significant purse is the $25,000 Maryland Invitational, so getting Gingras to essentially come in for this one race is a good get indeed.

American History is the third choice here and will be driven by the young up-and-comer, Joe Bongiorno. AH comes in with 5-2-2 in 18 starts to go along with $437,000 plus in earnings. You can see the pattern develop here. This is a race that features horses that love going to the post. The eight have combined to make 164 starts this year and the results show 45 wins; a 27.4 percentage.

The other two live wires are Dorsoduro Hanover and Courtly Choice; recognizable names that may have lost a half-step, but if things break the right way, they could be there at the wire. And, remember cashing the check is always the goal in harness racing. A third here adds $12,000, a fourth, $8,000, while a fifth gets a check for $5,000 with another race perhaps just five to seven days away.

Dorsoduro Hanover has a resume that reads 4-1-2 in 16 starts while Courtly Choice comes in with 4-3-1 in 17. Matt Kakaley drives Hanover for Burke while Callahan drives Choice for Blake MacIntosh.

If you’re like me—someone who watches races without betting—and want to root for a true warrior than throw your support behind Slick Tony who will fire from the 8-post. The “Slick One,” is listed at 15-1, but don’t be sad; this is a horse that deserves to run in a race like this.

He has made 34 starts this year with 14 wins. Has he raced the best of the best this year? Not even close—his 14-4-5 record has “only” earned him $177,389 this year, but to me that means nothing. You always need that long shot and who knows–a third place showing would put $12,000 in the Slickster’s bank account.

Sometimes, it’s good for the racing secretary to look for a horse like this to fill out the field. It might be wiser to seek out a more accomplished performer, but Slick Tony has performed enough to be a horse of intrigue in this invitational pace.

On paper he is outclassed, but why not let him run in a very nice stakes race for start number 35 of the year. Horses like Slick Tony are what the sport is all about—grinders, battlers, warriors, workers. For trainer George Leager, he now gets to say that he trained a stakes performer and that’s something that will resonate with him forever.

So, if you’re looking to wager a buck or two on a longshot, there is nothing wrong with showing some love for Slick Tony.

The Potomac Pace is scheduled for a 9:55 p.m. ET post, so that gives you time to watch some football, perhaps the MLS Cup Final, eat a nice dinner, get the dishes done, relax a bit and then tune into a quality Sunday night stakes race at Rosecroft Raceway.

 

Take Five: Observations From The Breeders Crown

by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228

The Breeders Crown is harness racing’s “Night of Stars,” and all of the good ones were on display Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.  Recaps are often skimmed through or ignored, so rather than take you through each race, let’s go over some lasting impressions on a windy, rainy night in Campbellville, Ontario, Canada.

There were five stars that came out of those conditions.  First, was Manchego in the Mare Open Trot.  She was dominant against a quality, quality field.  As she turned for home, the word I bellowed out was “domination,” and that was more than accurate as she dismissed her rivals easily.

Next was Caviart Ally once again getting the best of Shartin N in the Open Mare Pace. Shartin had been the dominant horse all year, but it looks like she hit her peak in the summer with those big wins on Hambo Day at the Meadowlands and then another in the Clara Barton Pace at Plainridge Park.  You never know if this is the case of one race too many, but clearly, the Wonder from Down Under is tired in this the fall racing season.

On the other hand, Caviart Ally is running her best right now, so let’s not take anything away from her. She proved that her defeat of Shartin at The Red Mile in the Allerage was no fluke.  As the mares turned for home, there really was no doubt that Caviart Ally would win. Shartin had the lead, but the leg turnover told the story.  It was a matter of when, and Caviart Ally took the Crown and likely ended Shartin’s quest for overall Horse of the Year.

In the 3-year old Filly Pace, Warrawee Ubeaut dominated as advertised. She was 1/5 as the gates opened and she dismissed her rivals with little sweat.  If she continues to race and mature she will be something to see as a 4-year old.  As for the remainder of 2019, might we see her in the TVG Open Pace, taking on the older ones?

In the Hambletonian many thought heavy favorite Greenshoe “goofed around,” too much, eventually succumbing to Forbidden Trade in the $1 million race.  It sort of looked like he was up to those tricks again in the 3-year Colt and Gelding Trot and again, he allowed the race to get away from him as the talented New York-bred, Gimpanzee prevailed in 1:52.3.

Take nothing away from ‘Zee; he was the best horse deserving of the victory.  The one great thing about racing is you have to bring your game in a race with all that talent.  Gimpanzee sure did.

And, what else can we say, but “Vive la France.”  Those that follow harness racing know all about Bold Eagle, the 8-year old Flying Frenchman.  We may not have seen many of his races, but when a horse has 45 career wins and nearly $8 million in earnings, it’s pretty hard to not pay attention.  Eight days ago, he came to North American to run over here for the first time, and those that have followed his career in Europe say his belter days have passed.

I don’t know if “The Eagle,” read those clips, but he was simply marvelous in the Open Trot.  Driven masterfully by Hall of Famer Brian Sears, the Bold One got away perfectly in fourth and then at the half-mile, took over—for good.  When they came after him late, he had an answer and simply outclassed the field to score win number 46.

It makes you wonder how much fun it would have been to see Bold Eagle come over here at his peak, because he certainly looked like he plenty of race left in him.

It’s always great to see an athlete/horse live up to the hype.  Had Bold Eagle performed badly, the narrative would have been “at least we got to see him race over here,” before his career ended.

If Bold Eagle lost in a close one, the narrative would have been, “wow he ran well, I’m glad we got to see him compete here for what may be one of his final races.”

The narrative was even better and fans walked away thinking, “look at that, the horse lived up to his billing and did so in dominating fashion.”  As he neared the finish line, a wry smile appeared on my face with the thought, “good for him,” muttering out.

A good two days of racing at one of the best racetracks in the sport is in the books.  Next year, the Breeders Crown returns to Hoosier Park for the second time, which like WMP is a 7/8 mile layout.

It won’t disappoint.

 

 

 

Columbus Day Comes To Life at Plainridge Park

by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228

Let’s give credit when credit is due. There are many who think harness racing is stuck in the past, that the sport needs more marketing and that it needs to force its way into the stream of American conscientiousness. That is easier said than done, as the American sports fan has become more discerning than ever. Other than football, what other sports really draw massive audiences? Baseball is down, as his basketball. Baseball has their Division Series’ going on right now, and I’m sure the ratings will continue to trend lower.

Plainridge Park deserves kudos for a clever concept that will take place this Sunday; aka Columbus Day weekend.  Yes, we all know that Chris Columbus was a mean guy; a guy who treated people poorly and for that, some believe the holiday should no longer exist. That said, most Americans will go to work that day, so it’s not like Columbus Day will ever be confused with Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

In case you didn’t know, our Columbus Day is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, so while most of us work Monday, Canadians will be home eating Thanksgiving dinner.

All right, back to the concept.   When Columbus “came to America,” he used three ships—the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria—and in honor of that, Plainridge Park is introducing three stakes races this Sunday named after those three ships.

The Nina will be for trotters; non-winners of $25,000 this year who have made at least 10 starts at the Massachusetts harness track. Leg 1 goes this Sunday, with leg 2 on Oct. 20 with the final slated for Oct. 27. Legs 1 and 2 run for $10,000 with the final going for $20,000. The purses are modest, but it’s a nice way to do something fun and clever for the horseman who toil at the track.

The Pinta follows the same format; it’s for filly and mare pacers, while The Santa Maria is for colt and gelding pacers. The Sunday, Oct. 27 card will feature the three finals which is easy to hype that week, that morning and that afternoon.

What makes this fun is that the track is thinking of ways to gain attention. We know that there will be nothing in the Boston Globe or the New York Times and we know that ESPN, NESN and FS1 won’t be broadcasting but let’s think about how harness racing grabs attention.

Fans of harness racing know where to go to get their information. I assume that most start with www.ustrotting.com and then move to other sites like drfharness, harnessracing.com and perhaps someday, www.harnessracing228.com.

When you visit these sites, you see the usual recaps, some fine previews and some excellent feature stories. But a headline like “New Columbus Day Series Announced for Plainridge,” it does make you take notice. That’s what the sport needs more of.

There will always be discussions on how to expand the harness racing fan base and that expansion may or may not happen. People wake up early go to fishing, but most do not.   Sometimes, the key is to take care of your own. Plainridge Park is doing that. They’re looking to grab some attention; instead of just running three non-winners of $25,000 races, they came up with a gimmick—a clever one—to see if harness racing fans would notice. This one did.

The purses aren’t blowing anybody away, but that’s not the point.  It’s a nicely designed series that will attract a solid field, eliminate some of them and have three finals on a Sunday afternoon. We know that football fans aren’t giving up a Sunday to watch and see who will win The Nina, The Pinta and The Santa Maria, but if you’re a harness racing fan, you might want to check and see when the post times are.