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Hennessy Makes Himself Heard

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Published: January 30, 2009 9:34 am ET

Last Comment: January 30, 2009 8:31 pm ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

If anyone wonders how veteran horseman Rod Hennessy feels about the current state of harness racing, just pick up today's edition of the Edmonton Sun.

In an interview with John Short, Hennessy sounded off on many issues, namely marketing, industry cohesion and slot machines.

"When the economy gets better and we get harness racing back healthy again, every group with a real interest in keeping it that way should sit down in a room and stay there until everybody has a say and we get all the issues out in the open," Hennessy said.

"One day, there will be a new track in Calgary. One day, the people with good ideas about how to get things positive and keep them that way will be heard," he stated.

"Maybe we have to take 5% of our purses, or some amount like that, and spend it totally on promotions," he said. "We have to get younger fans and younger owners interested in what we do."

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

(With files from the Edmonton Sun)

January 30, 2009 - 8:31 pmOne of the things that has

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

One of the things that has changed over the years is the amount or lack of input from sports writers. I can remember when a huge amount of one sports page provided all the previous weekend harness racing from race results to coverage of drivers and yes even glamourizing horses as athletes. Now your lucky if you can find race dates.
I live in Nova Scotia and beleive me when i say that young and old followed Some Beach
somewhere with great interest. Each nite he raced you had to go early if you wanted a seat.
But again look at the newspaper when he races there was always coverage of his races.
You have to tell the public about these racing stars in order to create interest in the sport.There was always racing stars here in Atlantic Canada in the past but ask anyone today and people can tell you ZIPPO.

January 30, 2009 - 1:59 pmWay to go Rod! I can

J. Hubbard (not verified) SAID...

Way to go Rod! I can appreciate that harness racing in Alberta must be tough right now but I admire that you are positive. You should be in charge of the promotions you speak about. So much of what I've read and heard about harness racing in Alberta has been negative and hopeless. I feel horribly for those that will no longer be able to breed, train or race horses there due to financial hardship. Given this, it is tempting to adopt a negative attitude, but ultimately that won't attract people to the sport, it will only attract pity, and pity only drags us deeper. I've seen first-hand how much those involved in harness racing in Alberta truly love their sport. For most it is not a job but a passion, and I don't believe that there is anything they would rather be doing than working with Standardbreds, even on the coldest days in winter! When people see the energy and tenacity of those involved in the harness racing industry there, even during times of struggle, they are more likely to want to be involved. Enthusiasm will always attract people, and in my humble opinion it is the best way to sell the sport. If we show people why harness racing is great, they will become curious, maybe wonder what they are missing out on, and perhaps even show up to catch a piece of it for themselves...

January 30, 2009 - 10:50 amwhat horse racing needs

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

what horse racing needs across north america is a positive image where where there is no tollerance for cheaters, no drugs, no medicated in error that will build bettors confidence. The fines and suspension pages are disgraceful and to find that these people are always being let back into the sport is unbelievable.FOR SOME REASON SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT BEING A PARTICIPANT IN HORSE RACING IS THEIR RIGHT POSSIBLY BECAUSE THE FAMILY HAS BEEN IN THE SPORT FOR DECADES.....COMPLETELY ABSURD...

January 30, 2009 - 10:34 amUntil Standardbredcanada

Shannon O'Rourke (not verified) SAID...

Until Standardbredcanada realizes that it must start promoting this sport in rural areas of this country we will continue to operate at a less than sustainable level. a simple thing like and information booth set up at each and every Rural Fair would be inexpensive to do but the returns would be Great. Kids in these areas love their horses and would be fascinated with this sport if it was introduced to them, however we do not even try to get into that market. It makes no sense at all. We have to try new things on the promotional side and what better way to start than tapping into the youth in this country who already have an interest in equine athletes.


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