Friday, February 28, 2014

Chester Team Says LIttle About Track But Racing Datesa Reinstated

Barry Brown, the head of the racing operation at Harrah's Philadelphia, didn't tell the Pennsylvania Harness Commission much about the track's plans to deal with its controversial racing surface, but he said enough to get the 2014 racing dates reinstated.

In late January, the commission had suspended the Harrah's 2014 racing dates because management had not come forward with any information about what, if anything, it planned to do about a racing surface that many drivers had complained was unsafe.

The situation took on a far more serious note after driver Anthony Coletta was critically injured in a Nov. 17 spill that occurred in an area some drivers have said is particularly dangerous.

Meeting before the commission yesterday, Brown never specifically said that management would take any action which would involve fixing the racetrack, only that experts were being brought in to examine it.

Brown was not subjected to any follow-up questions from any of the commission members. When asked to clarify the situation afterward by Harness Racing Update Brown refused to comment.

He did say that the meet would not start on time, but was careful to blame the delay on the surface being frozen and made no mention of the delay being the result of possible repairs to the track.

He said the meet would be delayed by "one, maybe two weeks at the most." Brown said he would submit a revised racing schedule to the commission on Friday.

The track was originally scheduled to open March 14.

Written by Bill Finley of Harness Racing Update

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Bee A Magician in Horse of the Year Romp

To those who say no one is perfect, meet Bee A Magician. The magnificent female trotter capped off a 17-for-17 3-year-old season in fitting style last night as she was named the 2013 Horse of the Year at the annual Dan Patch Awards banquet at Dover Downs. She was, of course, also named Trotter of the Year.

With Bee A Magician running the table in 2013, there wasn't much suspense last night when it was time to rip open the envelope that held the winner of the Horse of the Year title.

But there were several categories that were announced that many thought were to close to call. In one of the most widely anticipated races of the year, Captaintreacherous was named Pacer of the Year over golden oldie Foiled Again.

In the other categories that were not announced until last night, Royalty For Life won the 3-year-old male trotting championship over Spider Blue Chip, He's Watching won the 2-year-old male pacing title and

Anndrovette won the older pacing mare championship for the third straight year.

For much of the year Bee A Magician and Captaintreacherous were locked in a tight battle for the Horse of the Year title. But when Captaintreacherous was unable to beat older horses in the TVG Free-For-All Pace on the same night that Bee A Magician took the Moni Maker to end her year with a perfect record it was apparent that the filly was going to win the coveted title.

"I actually thought we were the underdog until that last start of the year when we won that night and he didn't," trainer Nifty Norman said. "That probably caused a swing. But you never know. I was confident but I am glad it is over. I am very happy for the owners. They deserved this."

Written by Bill Finley of Harness Racing Update

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Show Pool Bandits Hit Freehold

The show pool bandits, players who appear to be manipulating the show pools at small tracks, may have made a big score Thursday at Freehold.

It is believed that the bettors make a large show bet on a hopeless longshot in the pari-mutuel pools in order to drive up the show payoffs on logical contenders.

They then make show bets on the top choices with offshore bookmakers who do not put the bets into the track pools. Several show bets along these lines were made recently at Pompano Park.

In the 11th and final race on yesterday’s card, $2,000 was wagered to show on Messie Hanover, the longest shot in the field at 21-1 and a horse burdened by the eight post. There was only $2,904 in the entire pool.

Driven by Joe (Irish) Hanney, the mare broke stride and finished last. With Messie Hanover finishing out of the money, the winner, Miss Fineline, paid $25 to win and $22 to show. I Luv It, the second choice at 5-2, finished second, paying $3.80 to place and $6.20 to show.

Written by Bill Finley of Harness Racing Update

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