Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Please, tell me I'm wrong!

It's a good thing Gord Remmen isn't perceived to be a "problem trainer" because if he were, he'd have had some real splainin' to do last night when newcomer, Wrangler Payday, ran off in 1:50.4. Three-wide at the half, geared down at the wire -- he looked more like Somebeachsomewhere last night than the horse that paced in 1:54.2 while getting runover in a qualifier at the very same track about three weeks earlier. The horse had been keeping good company in Alberta, finishing behind Sixdaysontheroad a couple of times. Maybe the horse scoped sick after that qualifying effort? Maybe he was tied up? The extended time between the May 20 qualifier and last night's race leads me to believe something needed fixing. Maybe the horse had schooled since and was much better than he was in the qually? Maybe, maybe, maybe! With no pre or post-race interview, though, fans will never know. They will, however, be able to watch hosts throwing darts at a program page and be subjected to hearing completely asinine banter about Monday's program on Bet Night Live.

If last night's 4th didn't give rise to such reaction, maybe the 6th did. Here's a review of Gallantly's 2010 season:

8th, 9th, 10th, 9th (on the list for breaks), 6th, 3rd, 9th, 9th (on the list for breaks), 7th(on the list for breaks, Baillargeon private purchase), 6th (gets qualified), looks like Lucky Jim and runs off in 1:55.0 -- which would've been 1:53.4 if Mario didn't have the presence of mind to grab him in the stretch!

I've followed racing closely enough to know that the horse is likely to be night-and-day better in his first start for Team Baillargeon -- especially considering that he's a trotter. I'm in the minority, though. How are Mr. and Mrs. Jon Q Public (the majority) supposed to figure this one out? Can we blame them when they throw their arms in the air, convinced that the races are fixed? "That horse was 3-1 -- he should've been 30-1. Let's get out of here -- we've got no shot at beating this game!" Seriously.

Maybe I'm just a visionary, but wouldn't it have served a much better purpose if Chris Hickey had tracked down Ben in the paddock and asked him some hard questions about Gallantly rather than ask stupid questions of Rod Hughes (65-1-3-5 excluding San Pail) about auto-toss JCS Kadabra? I'm sorry, but there's nothing that Rod can say that is going to make anyone of right mind bet on JCS Kadabra. Luc said this and you added that? Great, good luck. Auto-toss. Now where's Ben? When did you get him? How'd he qualify? How'd he train? What about these equipment changes you've made? How do you think he'll be? Are you betting? I mean, come on!

Did you see anyone connected to the 40-1 horses being interviewed prior to this past weekend's Belmont Stakes? When you watch Game 7 of the World Series, do you want to hear from Alex Rodriguez or the Yankees' Bat Boy? It's the same thing, over and over and over and over again, every night! Two questions (of absolutely zero substance) and then, "Good luck with him!". It's like the Corey Giles interview of a few weeks ago -- Corey looked like he had just arrived at the track from an all-night ACDC concert and there he was -- on camera, exposed to the masses -- and all for the purpose of discussing 27-1 auto-toss, Toystar (who finished 8th)! Real informative. Real professional. Imagine what first-timers that were watching would perceive harness racing to be? The same first-timers that I keep hearing that harness racing needs in order to survive.

It just isn't right, you know -- the damage that such small oversights that no one else seems to want to talk or do anything about can have on our industry. Our customers aren't interested in hearing from low percentage trainers about 30-1 shots. Our customers aren't interested in the fractional times (that aren't even accurate) for the first eighth. Our customers aren't interested in a From The Stand feature that explains why a horse that nearly knocks another down in the first turn gets disqualified. Our customers aren't interested in Laura Diakun throwing darts and picking horseys with cute names. And they most certainly aren't interested in watching or hearing Sandy Hawley -- a Canadian sports icon -- struggle through trying to pretend he knows anything about harness racing. Racing is about gambling and the sooner everyone figures that out and takes steps towards catering to the real wants and needs of gamblers -- past, present or future -- the better off harness racing will be.

Please, tell me I'm wrong...


  1. Thanks so much for this blog..


    Chris Connor

  2. :)
    In all seriousness though, you are bang on.
    If they didn't have the foresight to interview Ben before the race, who is to stop them to interview them after the race?
    Why does it have to be a stakes final or a "score" night in order to get info after the race from the connections.

    best regards,


  3. For sure you are wrong! I agree about yur comments on Bet Night Live. It is a train wreck and Laura is horrible. But the rest I don't agree with. Pete pull out your stats and look at how many long shots have come in and paid huge win prices in the months of March, April and May. This is what wants to make people gamble because they think of the quick easy pay off. Chris does his best with what he has. I would rather listen to Rod Huges than Jody toot my own horn Jamieson any day. I like that Chris goes looking for the less exposed side of the business for a story.