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Should Interests Of Bettors Or Connections Be Paramount In A Race?


Published: January 4, 2011 11:48 am ET

Last Comment: January 13, 2011 2:29 pm ET | 55 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

It is an issue which seems to position people squarely on one side or the other. When a driver or jockey heads out onto the track with his/her mount, should he/she be acting in the interest of the horse's connections or the bettors?

In a very candid moment, a recent article by The Irish Independent News has cited jockey Davy Russell as saying that he rides with the interests of the horse and the horse's connections.

Russell's comments are in regard to a situation in which he lost with a favoured gelding (First Lieutenant) in a race, and then, the next time the horse raced (in the Future Champions' Novice Hurdle), he and Russell held off a late bid from a foe and won.

The report states that, afterward, bettors met Russell with some anger. The jockey went on the record as saying that the horse was not ready for the former race and that he did what was right for the horse.

The article quotes Russell as saying, "I've always been a man to look after a horse. That's the way I ride them and that's not going to change. Of course, people lose money backing horses that I ride and horses I don't. But I don't ride around thinking that, you can't. It's not in a jockey's mindset to do anything he thinks might be detrimental to the horse's future. Especially the good ones like this fellow (First Lieutenant). You don't do it. You owe too much to him and his owner."

The author of the article wrote, "On the one hand it's difficult to blame riders who feel honour-bound to ride with only a mind for those who pay their wages while also feeling sympathy for punters who see another barrier placed before them in their struggle to beat the odds."

Later in the article, the author went on to state, "Yet, it is over-egging it to claim that punters are the most important ingredient in racing's food chain. The sport would struggle without their financial input, but if the evidence of other countries with betting systems less open to manipulation or corruption is considered, there's no reason to believe it would become extinct. Remove the owners, however, those willing to invest large sums of money on an expensive hobby, and racing dies on its feet. As sure as night follows day."

(With files from The Irish Independent News)

January 13, 2011 - 2:29 pmMr. Robinson, You claim that

Joe Riga SAID...

Mr. Robinson,

You claim that "someone" has to be locked in the 3 hole. Yes that is true but more often then not it should not be one of the better horses who has pretty much eliminated himself from contention by sitting in a hole and getting locked up, as is the case far far too often. What Mr. Renon says is perfectly true and legit.

You keep referring to why a longshot should pull on a favourite when in reality most of us are asking why is it that contenders often don't pull even when a so called longshot or non contender is leading.

January 11, 2011 - 12:35 pmCarlo Once again I fully

Tim Robinson SAID...

Carlo Once again I fully agree that without fans and bettors there should be no sport. The points I refer to as far as betting are from the patrons side of the track. The way you see it as a bettor is ,you want every horse to move out to give the perception they are taking a shot at the win, when in reality moving a longer price horse strongly, on a favorite who stays true to form only costs you a closer finish.

When I handicap a race for triactor or super I do so with three or four places in mind. From what I see more often than not is you are getting "your wish" to have everyone moving into position for the win. When in reality the first challenger in my scenerio has cost me a tri or super by trying to pass a better horse and taking his chance for second or third away , thus letting a horse up the rail that I had left out because of recent form. This is all part of handicapping ,but again I find todays Driving colony more aggressive as far as making early moves etc.

You ask why would a Driver stay locked in the three hole. My answer to that would be there are only 9 positions to be in at one time during the race. So it stands to reason someone must be locked in the three hole. especially if the rest are following your wishes to be moving early. So when you happen to bet the horse that gets stuck in you automatically assume the Driver is not trying. Maybe for you a race down a mile straight would be more to your liking. I understand your frustration as a bettor and the need to blame someone when the race does not develop your way, but probably when that happpens the guy beside you thinks it was a perfect race.

LOL. Believe me I am no expert when it comes to betting , but obviously we all have different ideas how to have a good result.I wish you luck .

January 11, 2011 - 11:42 amMr. Danko you are seeing the

Joe Riga SAID...

Mr. Danko you are seeing the world through rose coloured glasses if you think trainers/drivers always try to finish in the highest position possible. This is so far from being true it's laughable. I suppose those guys out in Windsor or Michigan (though to be fair I will give them the benefit of the doubt until an investigation is complete)were trying to finish in the highest position possible.

It is a well known fact that dirvers or trainers will often try to just pick up a cheque, sometimes 4th or 5th place money and other times they don't pick up money at all so they can knock some money off their lines. Tell me please sir how this is in the best interest of the bettor who agered on that horse?

Mr. Renon has hit the nail right on the head. These guys follow a parade to the 3/4 and then try to sprint home. That is not what I call racing. And getting locked into a hole with a live horse is brutal too. So often I can throw away my ticket after the first quarter because I already know my horse will not be doing anything today.

At least at the Meadowlands it doesn't matter whether you bet the 1-9 shot or the 30-1 shot more often then not you will at least hear your horse get a call. That's what will attract new bettors. If I was a new bettor at the track and I hardly ever heard my horse get a call or saw him making a move trust me I would not be back.

It's pretty obvious that a fair and honest effort is what will attract new bettors and keep old bettors.

Anything less will simply kill the sport which is already with one foot in the proverbial grave.

January 11, 2011 - 11:11 amTo Mr. Danko, are you trying

John Carter SAID...

To Mr. Danko, are you trying to say that a driver has never sat behind a horse with the intention of dropping a line so the horse could drop in class. For example a horse is in a non winners of $30,000 last 6 starts, but if he drops a line he may drop into non winners of $24,000 last 6 starts where he may be able to win. Please at least try to be serious when you answer this question, because of the way conditioned classes are written it has been going on for ever and a day and will continue to go on. When i played the races i was always aware of the possibility of horses dropping a line intentionally. Absolute nonsense to suggest it doesn't happen. Saying it doesn't fools no one who has been around for 10+ years. I have been around the game for approx 38 years and i know better.

January 11, 2011 - 10:03 amRacing needs bettors so its

Maurie Danko SAID...

Racing needs bettors so its good to clarify responsibilities so all players can do what's best for the sport as a whole - everybody involved aims to maximum his ReturnOnInvestment.
Understanding/supporting that enables each player to enjoy their role/part with confidence in the game. Sometimes you win, sometimes a near miss, and sometimes not even close but that's the risk involved and what keeps the game fun/interesting.

January 11, 2011 - 9:35 amThe winning harness

Maurie Danko SAID...

The winning harness connections get 50% of the purse money so owners/trainers/drivers win more $$ by finishing better/best. Nobody ever prefers/chooses to lose and get less/none. Bettors can rely on that in today's racing.

However, a driver may drive differently if starting from the rail vs starting from the outside on a half mile track (or he might not) but that's a real time decision which is out of the bettors control.

Or perhaps a horse doesn't feel as good as he did last week - still good to go just not the same as his last race. Trainers/Drivers make real time decisions in such cases and the bettor is not consulted or informed.

So to the original question, "When a driver or jockey heads out onto the track with his/her mount, should he/she be acting in the interest of the horse's connections or the bettors?", i maintain, he is competing for his OWN best interests - which are directly aligned with those of the connections AND those of the bettors.

January 10, 2011 - 6:42 pmA trianer gets 2 classIV

carlo renon SAID...

A trianer gets 2 classIV positives 3 month suspension but the horse gets to race again and give him some vacation money! Another trainer classIII positive same suspension and this has not been his first positive. how is this fair to the bettors this is a joke, the ORC is a bigger joke- get rid of the bad apples for good- but the bettors myself included are the biggest joke coming back for more!

January 10, 2011 - 6:31 pmMr. Robinson us disgruntled

carlo renon SAID...

Mr. Robinson us disgruntled bettors are the ones you made your living at you should be thanking us! I have watched close to 250,000 races in my life i have a pretty good idea what goes on. Why would a driver keep a horse locked into the three hole which gives him virtually no chance to win, i believe Cat Manzi has stated this point. All i ask is that my horse is put into a position to have a chance to win. All this flushing cover is ridiculous, by the time all the flushing is done your chance to win has gone into the toilet because the leader just got a soft middle half going fractions like 27, 56.3, 125.4 and finishing in 153 is putrid unexciting racing!

January 10, 2011 - 11:46 amOnce again I just think the

Joe Riga SAID...

Once again I just think the point is being missed. Nobody on this blog has advocated abusing any horse. We are assuming for the sake of argument that we are talking about horses that prior to the start of the race are sound.

That being the case the drivers mindset before a race should be that he will do his best to try to win the race.Just because he's 3rd favourite doesn't mean he should try to finish third.f that were the case boy triactors would be easy simply bet the 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices in that order and if the drivers race honestly you would cash more often then not. But that's not reality. Many times horses are underbet and win and overbet and lose so the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th choice in the betting wins.
As for comparing horse racing to other sports, while I agree that teams don't put in their best players after clinching a play off spot the point is though that the NHL or NFL doesn't market itself as a wagering sport nor does it rely on gambling dollars for revenues.

I am not so naive as to think racing will be perfect no matter what is said or what rules are enforced.There will always be honest efforts and their will always be cheaters.

As a gambler I agree the choice is yours and you decide whether or not you think the risk involved is worth the potential payout.

I simply decided that it is not because I don't feel I'm getting a fair shake and can give hundreds if not thousands of examples. Racing bneeds to decide for itself whether it wants to keep losing bettors therebye risking it's own inevitable demise, or do something about it while it still can.

That being said, to each his own.

Joe Riga

January 10, 2011 - 8:36 amFor the record, I'm a fan of

For the record, I'm a fan of harness racing, and while I do wager, if a track was looking to make any money from the windows, my ten bucks a week isn't going to make a difference.

My answer to the original question, after thinking less than two seconds, was the horse. That opinion is not changing. What concerns me here is that people seem to think horses are machines, and can be programmed to race exactly the same, day in and day out.

In my younger days I was a bit of a track athlete. I can tell you my mile times varied by significant amounts, based on a lot of different things. The same idea holds true for that little sporting event called the Olympics. How many times have we seen a favourite falter?

Horses are track athletes. Some days they are right on, somedays they will be aggressive, no matter what the driver does. Sure there are times that horses aren't sent out to win for whatever reason. But at the end of the NFL season, those betting sports were left to wonder how hard teams would play with nothing on the line, or was health more important than seeding. Having worked as a sportscaster in an NHL market, I would be willing to wager there were times teams at the end of a long road trip, chose not to put in the effort to win, but rather rested a bit so they would be stronger quicker when they got home. It's all part of figuring out your wager, and sometimes it's just a guess.

I never bet a horse coming off a scratched sick or scratched lame, no matter what their record. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong. I never assume that because a horse usually leaves that the driver will send them from the outside.

Attending races at Western Fair, I note that increasingly the people in front of me betting larger amounts of money are playing the 20 cent superfectas. So, if the driver is responsible to the bettor, then if he has the third favourite, he owes the bettor to try and finish third, rather than push hard for a win and fade to sixth or seventh and off the ticket?

Okay, so that's all a bit tongue in cheek. I've been a sports fan all my life. The refs are always against my team, my coach is the dumbest animal in history, etc, etc, etc. Very few, if any of the gamblers who want the drivers to "put the bettors interest first" is capable of hopping on the bike and making it happen.

The folks in the racing industry have to take care of their most important asset - the horses. The gamblers, well by the nature of the beast, they have to take a risk to try and find profit. When racing comes to the point of risking the health of horses and humans just to appease bettors, then I think it has gone way off the rails.

January 9, 2011 - 12:39 amhere's what bothers me...

here's what bothers me...

1. If a horse is not sound enough to race, why is he on the track, same goes for a horse who has had a long layoff, if he needs a start or two before he is ready, use qualifiers, don't let the bettors believe that they have a chance wagering on your horse when they clearly don't

2. when a horses past performance line at a half mile track shows a horse who has obvious gate sppeed and shows him making the lead from posts seven or eight and then he get the three hole and ends up sixth at the quarter, it's a complete slap in the face to those who are wagering on said horse, and if you want to use the excuse of "the horse wasn't sound" etc... see point #1

3. A horse gets away in the three hole and just past three quarters gets locked in by the horse who came first up... again, slap in the face, the driver has put his horse in a position where it is impossible for him to win, I've read the comments of how "my horse does't like air" or "the horse wasn't sound".. then tell me why he is climbing all over the horse in front of him?

I'll be completely honest, I'm a good person and it's something I would never do. but, with the amount of Money being wagered at the track today, I am surprised that there hasn't been a driver assaulted due to "stiff jobs"

January 8, 2011 - 3:42 pmWell if there is one thing

Joe Riga SAID...

Well if there is one thing many of us seem to agree on is that this forum is valuable because at the very least it opens up a debate on the many things that are plaguing horseracing.Many people here have posted some very valid comments, some of which I agree with and others I do not. However I respect every comment that has ben posted here because at the very least it provides the industry with the many different opinions on what the problems are plaguing racing and hopefully the industry will take notice and address them.
For the record most of my comments have been with regard to the driver/jockey race tactics because for thsi particular blog that was the original question. Who should the driver/jockey ride for?
Having said that the conversation has somewhat shifted to discussing other things that are plaguing racing.
There have been many reasons cited on thsi blog a lot of which I agree with.
Along with the inconsistencies of the driving or riding there are many other issues the industry needs to address such as:
drug usage
take out
track maintenance and conditions
concession price
wager types

and I'm sure some of the others who have blogged on here can add more.
For the record even though I believe drives can move more in a race on thing I definitely think has hurt the flow of the race is the 7/8 mile track A 7/8 mile track is terrible for harness racing. Just look at the race flows on any 7/8 mile track and it is brutal. Harness racing should be on a mile track or a 5/8 mile track. Those tracks provide the best flow. I simply can't understand why WEG went to the 7/8 format infrastructure notwithstanding. It was a terrible idea.

January 8, 2011 - 1:08 pmMr.Robinson,

John Carter SAID...


I do agree with your post as i said the only reason i don't play the races is because of the take out issue, it is just way to high when compared to other forms of gambling that are so readily available. If the race game would get there act together when it comes to take out, the races would once again be my gambling choice.

I have never had much of a problem with drivers, you are always going to get the odd bad steer but you cut down on this by sticking to top drivers. There is always going to be the odd fixed race, but this is an exception, the overwhelming majority of races are on the up and up. There is crooks in every walk of life, judges, politicians so on and so on, so of course the race game is always going to have a few shady people involved. One of the problems the race game has is when somebody is suspended for race fixing it gives the sport such a bad image.

January 8, 2011 - 12:26 pmMr. Carter For the record I

Tim Robinson SAID...

Mr. Carter
For the record I am no longer in the sport, I am just a fan and sometime horseplayer. I was addressing the constant blame of Drivers fixing races for every woe befalling a losing wager.

First off I agree totally that the issues you have with takeout are nearer to the betting challenges horse racing is presently experiencing. This area is not something I am familiar enough with to cite the shortcomings involved. I have however participated at a grassroots level for many years and I do know that "most" people in this industry are honest hard working folks who happen to love to compete and focus mainly on racing and care of the Horse they are involved with.

If I have any issue with today's drivers is that they often try to hard to win a race that they probably can't, therefore often finishing two or three positions behind the spot the betting public handicapped them to be. An example of this may be a 20-1 shot being pulled and making a big move for the lead, only to block your horse to a three wide move , or possibly tiring the favorite so the 5-1 horse in the two hole trips out and beats the public choice.

I as a , now. handicapper would prefer that the Drivers could read the program as well as an average handicapper . alas given the competitive nature of a Driver instead of stiffing as some think they actually lose by trying to hard to Win. This is how I see it and we all are entitled to our opinions I just hope the things we say move the sport forward.

January 7, 2011 - 2:11 pmYou Mr.Robinson are wrong,

John Carter SAID...

You Mr.Robinson are wrong, dead wrong. You are simply another person in the sport who simply doesn't get it but don't feel bad because you are far from being alone. This has become a forum where people such as myself and many others can tell the race game why they are going the way of the dinosaur. It allows long time race players such as myself who was a very large player to speak out and say why we have made the shift to sports and poker.For the record my main beef is excessive track takeout not lack of effort by drivers. People like yourself instead of being dismissive should be thankful that people like myself and many others take the time to post and tell the race game why they are losing customers to other forms of gambling. With out fully understanding the problems how do they make the changes necessary to correct the course. Posts like yours are not helpful in any way shape or form.

January 7, 2011 - 9:48 amRoy... yes I knew it was an

Joe Riga SAID...


yes I knew it was an elimination. But I have seen many eliminations where a horse is tons the best and wins eliminations anyways. At the Meadowlands heavy faves win eliminations quite a bit and then still go on to win the final. As a bettor my job is to read the program and evaluate who the best horse is. Unquestionably the 1-9 shot was by far the best horse and proved it the following week in the final. Either way you look at it the bettor is screwed because if you bet against the 1-9 shot and he wins going away then you beat yourself up for trying to get an obvious winner beat and if you bet against him well then you need to spend even more money and in top of that which horse do you take to beat him? At that point you might as well take anyone because if you're betting against a 1-9 shot to give you an honest effort well now you need to read the minds of the others to try to determine who is going and who isn't. None of the other horses look like they can beat him so do I take the 5-1 or the 10-1 shot to beat him. How do I even know they will go? Maybe they're going to "save" their horses as well because why try to beat a horse that really you have no business beating. Might as well go easy and just try to get 3rd, 4th or 5th so you can qualify as opposed to trying hard to beat the 1-9 shot and finishing out of the qualifying.
In principle I agree with the concept of heding and often do when the race is competitive and there are a number of contenders. But when a horse is 1-9 he is "supposed to win" especially after hardly being used in the first 3/4 of the mile.
I have been around long enough to have no doubts that the driver drove to instructions. And those instructions were to put it politely not in the interests of the bettors who rightfully made the horse 1-9 and ended up getting stiffed.

Yes Mr. Robinson...

you are absolutley correct. We are just a bunch of disgruntled bettors who have no reason to complain because every single race every driver and every jockey is out there to win. And that is why notable trainers have actually admitted after eliminations as has the jockey who actually is quoted below as well that the main focus is the big prize the following week, and that is why there has been many suspensions due to drug use, and that is why all those Windsor and Michigan and elsewhere drivers who were suspended for fixing races happened.
Yes you are absolutley correct. Every single race is honest. It's just us poor bettors who don't know how to handicap who are disgruntled and blaming others.

Joe Riga

January 7, 2011 - 8:55 amThis is becoming a forum for

Tim Robinson SAID...

This is becoming a forum for gamblers to blame someone or something for their losses , as gamblers have since I was old enough to notice. I laugh at these guys saying that Drivers choose when to go and not go and things of this nature. I drove horses for many years and thousands of races, I believe Drivers are in a race for one reason that is to win.

I never noticed drivers easing up to let another win, first of all the competitive nature of any one willing to risk their neck out there, and secondly a trainer is not going to employ a driver long who is playing games. Driving is about 5% of the equation ,the horse and how classified and ready the trainer has it has more influence on the outcome.

The bulk of Drivers are more than capable of steering a fast horse to the wire. The other variables in a race such as pace , position, trip, have much more to do with the outcome . Decent horses win about 20% of their races and this is dependant on trip, health, previous mentioned variables , not a driver deciding when to go and not go.

There are always exceptions to this, but a high percentage of races are just straight up races and only one horse can win and only on driver can find the two hole per race . You think picking a Triactor is tough , yes it is ,but try picking a 3 team pro line and see if that works any more often.

January 6, 2011 - 8:10 pmJoe the bettor cant have it

Roy Steele SAID...

Joe the bettor cant have it all ways you have answered all your concerns yourself .... you knew it was an elimination race does that not come into your handicapping or at least make you hedge your wager.

The question is was the driver driving to instructions if he was then a problem occurs. On the other hand I have witnessed a driver been given instructions not to whip our horse but full of pace pulled out of the pocket in the last 300 yards and whipped till broke. Now that driver is no longer driving is serving a lengthy suspension and fine for other infractions.

So we have to put our faith in the powers that be to regulate and investigate ALL suspicious incidents. Up to press they are doing a tremendous job but they need all the info help they can get........ R.S.

January 6, 2011 - 5:48 pmGreat comment by Gary Guy

carlo renon SAID...

Great comment by Gary Guy but they should only need 2 seconds to think!

January 6, 2011 - 11:14 amIn regards to the original

Brian Bolt SAID...

In regards to the original question, it seems rather obvious, and logical, that the answer depends on who you are. The debate highlights the inherent conflict in horse racing and betting, i.e. the interests of the owner/trainer and the interests of the bettor are very often NOT THE SAME. They never have been and they never will be.

As a bettor like myself, you either have to accept that and learn to live with it, or move on to something else. Now that there are so many alternatives out there, it's quite apparent that many are moving on to something else.

January 6, 2011 - 10:51 amI have commented on this

Joe Riga SAID...

I have commented on this topic many times but if standardbred canada permits me I would like to make one last point.

Back in the summer I was watching a saturday night harness card at home betting on my computer with my brother. We both studied the program and determined there was a pick 3 available that seemed fairly easy (and I say this loosely) to figure out because there would be a horse in the final leg of this wager that we expected would be 1-9 odds. This basically reduced it to a pick 2. Knowing there would be a heavy favourite in the last leg I knew it would not pay much and if there was any money to be made the wager would have to be fairly large. Therefore I bet a pick 3 straight for $200.

Well I got to the last leg and with the 1-9 shot winning the wager was paying $9. Seems small I know but when you get it 200 times the bet made a lot of sense as I stood to cash $1800. Although I am not naive and realize anything can happen during a race I pretty much figured my horse would have to break stride or get interefered with or some crazy thing like that happen for me to lose.

Well guess what. My horse went straight to the tope and got very easy fractions. More easy then the one's he normally raced. In the stretch he had a 2 length lead.

He basically had to kick home in 28 seconds to win which should be no problem given his usual last queaters were in the 26 range.

Well lo and beholed the horse sitting in the pocket came out and went past him and won. Not by a nose or a head or a neck but by two lengths. After setting very leasurely fractions my horse "couldn't" even fight him to the wire.
Oh but wait. This was an elimination for a final to be had the follwoing week.

I think we all can predict the endign to this story. The same horse that just lost the following week miraculously found his form again and won by 5 or 6 lengths in track record time. Funny how that happens.

I will not name either of the drivers because they are both very popular and leading drivers. Oh and by the way the horse that beat my horse in the final was nowhere and finished up the track. Thanks for stiffing me $1800.

Now you know why I won't bet anymore. I have had enough.

As and FYI I rarely see this happen at the Meadowlands are not nearly as often. Over there the likes of Tetrick, Sears, Miller, Campbell,Brenar , Pierce etc. will give you a big shot more times then not because over there they like to do something called winning.

Joe Riga

January 6, 2011 - 10:45 amI want to be clear if the

I want to be clear if the horse does not want to go than drivers should not kill them during the race , i am talking about deciding not to race the horse because "we want to prepare them for next race". If you are just preparing them and wont try tell us. Obviously if during the race the driver sees the horse wont go there is nothing he can do . I understand that first time out a horse cannot win and it takes a few races to tighten a horse - but to decide in the middle of the season not to win and not tell the bettors is insider info that is worth a lot of money and it is impossible to handicap.

January 6, 2011 - 9:32 amAfter reading the comments

Shawn Murphy SAID...

After reading the comments it is obvious that every trainer and driver/jockey do not have winning on their minds when the race starts. How many times do we hear that the trainer is giving the horse a tightener after a long break or knowing that trainers like to take 2 or 3 races to get a horse fit? As a handicapper we start to see these trends and consider the history of the trainer in our wagers.

Why are some trainers 5% with first time starters and 25% with second time out? Is it because the horse all of a sudden figured it out? No, the trainer told the driver/jockey to use the first race as a tightener. In racing you get what you get, wager with the knowledge you have gained and hope for the best.

January 6, 2011 - 2:43 amLots of times that is true

Ward Zinn SAID...

Lots of times that is true Sir.You are well respected,but a lot of times there are trainers who send horses out first time back for a tune up.How is that even remotely fair to the bettors,(the bread and butter of your industry).
With all due respect:Ward

January 6, 2011 - 2:40 amNo effort or a training mile

Ward Zinn SAID...

No effort or a training mile should not be put out there for the bettor.If a training mile,keep it at that.Every other sport anywhere does not have a tune up for actual competition.Keep that in the qualifiers.Many trainers are guilty of this.

Thank you Standardbred Canada for posting many comments lately that would normally be deleted.You can see as I, that this sport is at a do or die situation.

Keep it alive.
Thank you

January 5, 2011 - 9:36 pmThis is nothing new! Casie

This is nothing new! Casie Coleman admitted after her horse Sportswriter won the $1.5 million Pepsi Cup that two races before the race she entered Sportwriter into a 20 thousand non winner race where it went off at 1-9. In the interview she says, she wanted to win the 20 thousand non winner race but she wasn't "sending" the horse.

January 5, 2011 - 7:33 pmMr Danko said: The gambler

Mr Danko said:

The gambler is wagering on the outcome only - not the process. Trainers/Owners/Drivers make the decisions required during the process. Maybe the answer is more open communication so the wagering public can better assess what decisions might happen during the race.

Are you kidding?????

Why study the program then? --- you guys like the power of playing God in a race - if the program shows your horse is best, then run him -- do not hold him back - or tell everyone your decision.

That is why people are playing poker and the lottery because the process is transparent.

January 5, 2011 - 7:11 pmIt is the trainer's

Norm Brunet SAID...

It is the trainer's responsability to have his horse at a 100% when he races. Having said that,people have to understand that horses don't talk. I have had horses off their feed the morning of the race but yet their temperature is normal, so no reason to scratch. However the performance is sometimes sub-par or very good and that is why it is called gambling.

I have seen many races for Millions in which the chalk did not perform to expectations and the trainer even to this day can not explain why? Horses like us have good days and bad days.

Many things happen in a a race that influence the outcome, but lack of effort by the driver/jockey is certainly one that should be punished by the authority's.

Owners/trainers/drivers compete for purse money and have to give 100% effort at all times. The only instructions a jockey should take from owners/trainers is strategy to win.
Integrity is crucial if this sport is to grow and the judges have to be more vigilant in assesing a horse and drivers performance.

I hope they nail this guy to the cross for admiting what he did.

January 5, 2011 - 4:33 pmTo Mr.Danko, if part of the

John Carter SAID...

To Mr.Danko, if part of the process is the trainer, driver deciding for what ever reason that the horse is a no go, wether he needs to be raced in shape or drop a bit of money off his card so he can drop in class that is the type of process that is killing the race game and a part(not all) of the reason why in about 20 to 30 years time the race game won't be around. No customer can tell a driver how to drive but they do expect the driver to give that horse every chance to win.

For any trainer or driver out there who thinks going for a jog around the track is acceptable in a pari mutual race then that trainer and driver is part of the problem not part of the solution. Until the race game catches on to the fact that todays gambler demands value for his money by a reduced and competitive takeout rate and also demands that the driver at the very least gives his horse a shot at winning, the game is doomed to go the way of the dinosaur. What other forms of gambling believes it is acceptable to out right stiff there customers, if a trainer and a driver decide before the race that the horse is a no go they have stiffed everyone who bet the horse and that's the bottom line.

January 5, 2011 - 3:51 pmOpen communication so the

Joe Riga SAID...

Open communication so the public knows what is going to happen during a race makes no sense at all. So you have a 10 horse field and 5 guys say they're only going to race for a cheque or not go too hard. Let's see what would I as a gambler do in that situation. Well obviously I won't bet on any of those horse. Let's see what that does to the odds of the remaining five. No odds left worth betting.

Joe Riga

January 5, 2011 - 2:12 pmThe gambler is wagering on

Maurie Danko SAID...

The gambler is wagering on the outcome only - not the process.
Trainers/Owners/Drivers make the decisions required during the process.
Maybe the answer is more open communication so the wagering public can better assess what decisions might happen during the race.

January 5, 2011 - 12:01 pmClearly more discussion is

Georg Leber SAID...

Clearly more discussion is needed. I appreciate how many posts are written on this issue and I am pleased to see that my colleagues continue to care as much as we do.

In my earlier post I said I expect my horses to do their best each time out. That doesn't mean the horse has to die trying for first. I have handicapped races in which my horse was the 3rd or 4th best choice and the strategy might be sit on the rail until the stretch and try to sprint home for the best possible result. Maybe someone bet on my horse to show, in the triactor or superfecta. Also I want the best cheque I can get.

I am sure we all agree safety is paramount for the horses, drivers and owners. If my horse gets parked in the first turn in 27 seconds, okay I am beat this week and yes by all means don't kill my horse and keep her parked the rest of the mile. I have a couple of horses that come from off the pace and that is a valid strategy. Many excellent drivers win that way and I am told that horses that use this strategy last longer than front runners. That's different than not trying.

I don't want to argue unnecessarily with experienced people that have given their life to this sport. Times change and second generation businesses fail when we don't change with the times. In my opinion every business needs their current customers and the next generation of customers. If you don't need them, then please help me, because I need them.

If you are close to retiring then I think you are safe to assume Casino money will help the sport for as long as you need it. If you are in your 20's then you need to take the business by the reins and keep improving the product to make sure you still have a job 20 years from now.

January 5, 2011 - 11:03 amI think many people are

Joe Riga SAID...

I think many people are missing the point here. The question is what should the intention be and whose interests should the driver/jockey ride for.
The intention PRIOR to the start of a race should ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS be to win the race. That is what this game is supposed to be about. If something happens during a race to change that then fine. So be it. Most gamblers can take and deal with that. The point is I don't care if a horse has post 8 or post 1. I am not saying if a driver should pull or not. What I am saying is that a driver/jockey owes it to those who bet on them to give the best effort they can to win the race. Often times they will not win. We understand that. But people please don't forget we also bet lots of tickets where we have horse to place, or show or be on a tri, exactor or super ticket. At least if they try to win and fail they might hit the ticket as opposed to sitting in the pack and doing nothing. And as for the fellow who made the point about needing to attract $2 bettors instead of the big bettors. Please allow me to enlighten you sir. I as well as many a big bettor started out as a $2 bettor. Eventually the amount most people wager increases. It's human nature.
I agree the sport needs to attract new fans. That will only happen when a fan realizes he is getting fair value for his money. Most two-dollar bettors do not complain because quite a few of them are novices and can't really tell when an effort is lacking. Plus if you get stiffed on $2 it's not as big a deal. Put $500 on a horses nose, watch him go to the back of the pack (when he's one of the top 3 favourites) not move and then tell me you're happy because it's the horses health that matters. That is such huge BS.
It's funny how horses are nowhere when they go off 5-1 or 7-1 and yet on another day that same horse will be listed at 6-1 in the program and goes off at 6-5 and jogs. I guess the horse was just ready and felt good and was prepared to take air that night.

Or the reverse happens like a horse is 6-5 and is nowhere and then at 5-1 or 6-1 they go parked half a mile and win.

I don't mind having a debate about not injuring horse and I am not for that. But please please please do not insult mine and other peoples intelligence by pretending everything is so nice and up front and honest when all indications are that the exact opposite is true.

Joe Riga

January 5, 2011 - 9:43 amAs somebody previously said,

murray brown SAID...

As somebody previously said, there is no absolutely right or wrong answer to the question. I think that every horse should be raced to its utmost with thought given to the health and endurance of the horse.

However I do believe that consideration needs to be given to the experience of the particular horse, its position in the draw, the abilities of the horses and drivers/jockeys it is competing against, the way the race is anticipated to be raced, the way it actually does and a multitude of other factors.

January 5, 2011 - 9:21 amLet's get away from what the

Let's get away from what the talented Davy Russell said in Britain and, for a moment,do a little bit of navel gazing right here in our own back yard.

For example, go to the website of Ontario's most westerly Harness Track. Take a close look at #6, displayed so artfully on the front page. Observe the colors on the driver, red and blue. Now, if you can, put my fears to rest and tell me this is not a portrait of a man suspended for life for actions detrimental to the sport of harness racing.

January 5, 2011 - 8:00 amIf it took any of you more

Gary Guy SAID...

If it took any of you more than 30 seconds to respond "the customer" then you may be part of the problem!

January 5, 2011 - 7:00 amTo Mr. Robinski, you made my

John Carter SAID...

To Mr. Robinski, you made my day with your comment about posts either being fully or partially censored. Although my post on this matter was posted in full i believed for a long time that i was the only one that had many comments either edited or not posted at all. Lets remember censorship can be a wonderful thing, selective censorship may in fact solve all the problems of the race game. There is no point in hearing what a disgruntled fan base really thinks. I am a gambling man,who no longer bets the races just sports and poker and i am offering odds of about 1000-1 that this comment doesn't get posted:)

January 5, 2011 - 1:07 amBottom line you can't 'send'

Bottom line you can't 'send' a horse everytime he leaves the gate or you'll ruin him. Anyone that knows anything at all knows that. Also, more often then not just racing your horse is the best recipe to win. More oft than not trying too hard just kills your chances, you've got to have some common sense. It's no different than a skilled goal scorer in hockey that goes into a slump and starts trying too hard it's a recipe for disaster. Truly talented drivers are patient and do well for that simply reason. You bet your money and you're all excited glad you're not driving my horse because I want a shot at winning.

January 5, 2011 - 12:39 amI certainly am not

I certainly am not advocating fixing races or cheating or anything of the like. I can't see where I said anything that would indicate that. I deplore cheaters, crooks, liars etc.
To others that don't feel they need to be 'educated' because they have owned some horses or have bet on horse races well fair play to you but do you not think that a good number of people do need to be 'educated?' What about those new to the game? or do you just want to keep the same 15 people that now bet on the races? Do you not think this game needs to attract new fans? All I am hearing is about the 'bettors' mostly the 'heavy bettors' well for the most part these are the same people that have either tried to gain 'insider' knowledge or actually have done so. These are the same people that have driven/kept fans/2 dollar bettors away. It's thousands of asses that we need in the seats it's not 15 big bettors that will keep our sport alive. This sport needs to GROW it can't be done worrying solely about those that care nothing about horses only cashing their ticket. Beating horses with whips to satisfy some barbaric antiquated notion that this somehow indicates that a driver is trying is idiotic. Out of the dark ages this sport must climb. People today are more 'educated' and don't want anything whatsoever to do with barbarity to the contrary they will do all in their power to end it. The government cares notta about 15 heavy bettors what they care about is 10 tens of thousands fans/voters. Fill the seats and the government won't take away subsidizing. Keep the seats empty and you're done like a dinner. You won't bring new people in by advertising cruelty. Average people like Black Beauty. Show the people in this sport that actually care for their horses not neglect, drug, and missuse them. That would be a step forward into the future. More feel good stories like todays Levitt's giving a good home to a missused horse. It's people like Levitt's this sport needs not those that want to harm horses to benefit themselves. 15(unsustainable) bettors that bet say 10000 on a program as opposed to say 10000(sustainable) betting maybe 50 on an evening. You do the math.

January 4, 2011 - 9:32 pmThere you go. ABSOLUTE PROOF

There you go. ABSOLUTE PROOF that racing is fixed, and ludicrous horsepeople who actually want to justify it. I've seen countless examples of "insider trading" by horsemen, and now we actually have them saying "greed is good"! This house of cards is shaking in the wind, and you can't count on taxpayers to keep bailing you out, because THEY ARE the "irrelevant" stooges betting on the races, and they won't have any sympathy for you when you go hat-in-hand for more welfare money

January 4, 2011 - 9:30 pmQuite honestly I am getting

Joe Riga SAID...

Quite honestly I am getting tired of listening to the same old "know it alls" tell us how we need to be "educated" on horse racing. I am 47 years old. I have been going to the track watching races both harness and thorougbred since I was 11 years old and my brother who is 16 months older then me has been going for just as long. We have both been owners and know a number of owners. Combine we have watched and wagered on thousands upon thousands of races. With all due respect I feel we are both educated enough on the racing game as are quite a few others who have left comments here which I respect.
The bottom line here is simple. Nowadays racing is about money. BOTTOMLINE. Owners race horses to earn money, jockeys/drivers ride/drive them to make money, trainers train them to make money.
99% of the people involved are not in it for the pure pleausre that watching a race brings. I love the sport. But I guarantee you that if you take away the wagering very few people will show up to simply watch, and jockeys and drivers will not risk their necks just for the sheer thrill.IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.Now I will readily agree that the owners pay the bills. But where do you think the money comes from. it comes from the purses which up until casinos came from the betting handle.LET ME STRESS THAT.THE BETTING HANDLE.
I love horses as much as the next person. I don't want to see any horse get injured and certainly I don't want to see any jockey or trainer get injured.
And with all due respect this is not about horses winning first time out or being too green to win or take air.
This is strictly about the blatant and obvious inconsistencies that plague the game on same many fronts. Lack of effort by the drivers/jockey, drugs etc just to name a few.
The racing game has to understand that without the wagering public then yes we will have a lot of nice healthy horses. And they will all beon some nice farm grazing as opposed to racing because no-one will be betting on them.
Racing is about gambling and although I mean no disrespect to horse and horse lovers gambling is about people bringing their money to the track. the horses are the means to provide a betting envirnment just like dogs are at dog tracks (which by the way no longer exist and horse racing should take notice)If this were not the case then why is every track so desperate to get a casino? Perhaps because the moeny is disappearing I dare say.
And why would the money be disappearing?

I have stopped betting on horse racing and now bet on sports. I can bet on a footbal or basketball game and know absolutley nothing and still have a 50% chance of cashing.
In racing I have up to 9 horses trying to beat my 1 and to make it al worse I am being told I should be a mind reader too so I know if I am going to get an effort or not.

Any question why racing will soon be extinct?

Joe Riga

January 4, 2011 - 8:17 pmGreat topic and there is

Roy Steele SAID...

Great topic and there is definatly no right or wrong answer. Especially when training patterns are disrupted with the weather and the trainer can't get his horse in to a race when he wants then the horse might be fit but not race fit, it may take a race to sharpen him..... all horses are different. A good bettor will recognise that with the pp's surely. The recent Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs Sir Michael Stoute the trainer of WOrkforce 3yo turf champion was withdrawn Saturday morning....Why? The trainer couldnt justify the betting publics money being wagered on the horse in unfamiliar turf conditions. So the trainer took the responsibility not the jockey or driver and thats the way it should always be .....ride to instructions. If you dont then you should be accountable for your actions we have stewards judges they know whats going on they have to enforce the rules of racing more.

January 4, 2011 - 8:02 pmLets put it this way

Karl Holub SAID...

Lets put it this way folks-if we eliminate pari-mutuel wagering from this debate, wouldn't the bias of the respondents be overwhelmingly in favour of the owners? But-because it DOES have wagering ramifications, the betting public must be presented with an honest effort by the driver/jockey. Therefore, I side with the wagering customer, because without wagering dollars-owners would go the way of the dinosaur:-)

January 4, 2011 - 7:16 pmOh, by the way Kudos to Mr

Oh, by the way Kudos to Mr Russell for being HONEST and caring for his horse first and foremost. The keyword there is HONEST I wouldn't be afraid to bet my money on an HONEST jockey/driver/person. It's those that try to sell me a good story that I worry about. HONESTY is the best policy. This is HORSE racing HORSES come first and foremost to think any thing else first is a perscription for failure.

January 4, 2011 - 7:10 pmI don't understand the big

I don't understand the big ruckus over this whole drive to win hallabullo. I think someone needs to educate themselves a little about racing horses if they actually believe that a horse must be fit and ready to win his first time out. It can be done this is true, but you can also ruin a horse by driving it to 'win' first time out. Not all horses are equal and not all can be raced the same way. It makes absolutely no sense to me that a horse must be pulled to the outside to show that the driver is trying, this is pure bull, if a driver is corrupt and wants to lose he can lose just as easily by pulling a horse as by leaving it on the rail. I have driven enough in the past to realise that some horses can't take 'air' they give up when you show them 'air' so why if I am trying would I pull a horse to the outside when I know he'll pack it in if I do? What I am trying to get across is that each horse is different, each race is different, and horses are given to be different on different nights. Anyone worth their salt knows that very, very few horses can take a first up trip day in and day out(Actually aside from Mr Big I can't think of any and he didn't race a lot of starts close together). For a lot of horses if you braven them up by 'burying' (this isn't not trying this is just plain common sense)them a few times until they get brave then maybe you can show them some air. Keep them out there and see how long they last. They are all different some need more braving up than others, very, very few never need braving up those ones set themselves apart in that sense. Nothing is more frustrating for a driver to overhear why didn't he pull at the three eights (whereever) when HE HAD NO HORSE AT THAT POINT, and he KNEW if he had pulled that certain horse in that situation he would have packed it in like a cheap suitcase. Okay, if you really want to show that drivers are trying then why not have drivers do a post race interview where they explain why they kept the horse locked, why they pulled when they did, etc. I don't mean have interviews trying to belittle or make a driver look foolish, I mean honestly let them explain themselves. Call it public relations/education because the public truly needs to be educated about horses,drivers, and horseracing. A little explaination could go a long ways.

January 4, 2011 - 6:42 pmInteresting comments by one

Interesting comments by one and all. I suspect many conributers comments were partially or totally censored. No one seems willing to state the obvious. When the Insiders(Owner/Trainer?Driver)are out for a "training mile" etc they won't be betting there horse, the utsiders will.Then when the Insiders are out to win they will be betting!!

January 4, 2011 - 5:54 pmThe driver better be driving

Allan Schott SAID...

The driver better be driving for the customer; the one paying the bills and that happens to be the ones betting on harness racing. No, no one expects someone to race a horse until it breaks down or dies, but if you have a fit horse, you better be racing to the the best of your ability.

I know, owners who race at racinos say the customers mean squat. Well, today they do. But when the province of Ontario cuts your slot revenue like they did in Quebec, you are going to wish there were customers in the stands or at their computers. At non-racino tracks, you already are depending on the customers.

For those owners who say, "Wait, we pay the bills", I ask you if there are no customers you won't have to worry about paying bills.

A racing secretary should realize a horse that hasn't raced in months is not at top form and should get either class or post relief. However, no horse should be in a betting race as a training mile. Nothing is more frustrating when you see a purse speed ball all of a sudden jogging around the track; nothing except a horse in an elimination race which clearly is racing to qualify and not win.

How about the seven or eight hole horse on the half mile track, whow take back and never make a move. No, I don't expect a driver to gut the horse, but he can make some type of attempt; after all the horse you feel you can't beat may not be up to par this week.

Yes, the Meadowlands changed things quite a bit but take a look at half mile racing twenty years ago and look at it now. Back then, there was constant movement and three-wise moves. Now; little movement. Back then, horses tried more than they do now.

There is a reason why people think harness racing is fixed. I would suggest this topic has something to do with these attitudes.

January 4, 2011 - 5:09 pmShould the driver put the

John Carter SAID...

Should the driver put the interest of the owners or the bettors first, an interesting question but anybody who has been around for awhile knows the drivers always put the interest of the owners first wether that is in the best interest of the long term survival of the sport is another question. The race game has forgotten all about what is in the best interest of the customer/gambler along time ago, so why should we expect anything different from owners, trainers or drivers.

What is the horse doing in the race if the driver, trainer and owner know that the horse is a dreaded no go. If the horse is a no go they are out right cheating. They know someone is going to bet on there horse. They may as well just steal the wallet out of his back pocket, it amounts to the same thing. No one wants to see a horse pushed to the point of injury but if the horse is not fit what is he doing in the race in the first place. If an unexpected issue occurs during the race where the driver backs the horse off to prevent injury no right minded person would have a problem with that. In approx 20 to 30 years when the race game is on the verge of extinction perhaps then the industry will understand that yes indeed the customer/gambler did matter.

January 4, 2011 - 4:53 pmI would like to clarify my

Joe Riga SAID...

I would like to clarify my comments as they may have been misunderstood. I absolutley agree that a horses welfare should be a top priority as should be the drivers and jockeys. If at any point DURING a race a jockey or driver feels that pushing the horse would put either the horse, other horses or drivers/jockeys at risk then by all means they should let up. However, prior to entering/starting a race the full intention of the driver/jockey should always be to win. That is where racing must take responsibility to ensure this is the case. It is irrelevant to todays racing to say racing existed before people bet on them. So what. Go ahead and try doing that today. see how far it takes you. Racing today is a business not a pasttime and it relies on money as is pretty obvious to anyone.
I don't think anyone can say racing is not primarily carried on for the sake of betting and if that is to be the case then it needs to be fair.
Don't ask me to wager my money if you're planning to stiff me.

Joe Riga

January 4, 2011 - 4:16 pmI am left wondering if we

Todd Spencer SAID...

I am left wondering if we are looking at the right issue. Is the issue whether or not a driver/owner can have their horse race as they see fit, or does the issue lie with the way races are classified? Horse racing existed before betting came into play, so as a bettor, I take into consideration the fact that a horse is leaving from post 8, the horse has been laid off for 2 months, the 2 year old is making his first start, etc. I think the real issue is classification.

For example, if a class is combined (as is often the case in the Maritimes) there may be no possible way your horse could win, but race officials put you in that class anyway. Do you gut your horse trying to get 1st place?

What about using a system of classes based on speed instead of money earnings? (Class A, B, C etc. - see St. John's).

What about only paying out to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd?

Horse owners and drivers shouldn't be called criminals for putting the welfare of the animal before the bettor.

January 4, 2011 - 4:14 pmInteresting discussion, but

Interesting discussion, but it should not be necessary. The horse and the horses welfare should be #1 at all times.If a horse may be injured, or is not ready or able to win a particular race without the significant possibility of injury, and the driver figures that out during the competition his obligation is to the horse not the bettor.

Many of us have seen horses die on the racetrack because they were pushed beyond their abilities when if they were backed off they would have survived the race (possibly not to race again - but not to die). To push a horse to injury so the betting public thinks they were given "fair odds" is also criminal.

That said, to enter the track with the explicit intention of not trying to win is not fair to the bettor - but once on the track to push a horse to injury because of a perceived obligation to the betting public is totally misguided.

Then again if the horse has no reasonable expectation of winning without the potential for injury, it should not be entered. Thats a whole different problem where horses are entered when they are not ready to keep owners happy with their trainers.

The horse is "racing". The entire industry relies on the horse. The horse is therefore #1 and must be the most important component at all times. If we take care of our horses, the industry will take care of us!

January 4, 2011 - 4:00 pmI am absolutley shocked. Not

Joe Riga SAID...

I am absolutley shocked. Not that this happens because as someone who has been in racing as a fan AND AN OWNER over the last 35 years I know it happens everyday. Especially on the harness side.
In case anyone hasn't noticed racing both tbred and harness is dying at warp speed. Racing may think that casinos will save it but that is wishful thinking at best. As soon as racetrack owners realize that no-one cares about betting on racing anymore they will simply do away with racing and let people wager their funds on casinos. This is already starting to happen at many tracks and will only continue.
Racing needs to understand, which it doesn't appear to yet, that the only way it is going to survive, if it does survive at all, is by sustaining itself through the generation of larger handles. Larger handles will only come when bettors feel that they are getting a top effort for their dollars which at the moment they are nowhere near getting for a large number of reasons.
Everytime a horse goes out to race a bettor should at the very least expect that
a) the horse is fit, sound and ready to race and
b) the driver/jockey will give a top effort to win the race (not simply grab some purse money to pay the bills)

Races should NEVER and I mean NEVER be used simply for training miles.
If the horse is not fit the answer is quite simple. Don't put him in a race until he is.
Also racing should do away with eliminations where drivers/jockeys use the horse only enough to qualify for a larger purse down the road.

I have quit betting on horse racing becuase I am so fed up.
A bettor's job is to read the past performances which is difficult enough to do without having to be a mind reader as well.

Joe Riga

January 4, 2011 - 3:24 pmAgreed - the majority of

Peter Smith SAID...

Agreed - the majority of complaints from Bettors can be erased and replaced with the words "Admit it Buddy - you picked the wrong horse!"

January 4, 2011 - 1:58 pmINSIDER INFORMATION What

Georg Leber SAID...


What Davy Russell has admitted to is a crime of insider information. If the same thing happened in the stock market there would be criminal charges. That notwithstanding, someone coach this guy about statements to the press.

Loyalty is important but so is disclosure. If fans are wagering no one should have an unfair advantage. This is something that drives potential race fans away. Most people who have been around long enough accept that this goes on and will continue.

There are many examples of non-disclosure in our industry today. For example if a 2yr old happens to draw Post Position 9 the owner might be just as happy to drop back to the rear of the pack and not hurt the horse then just wait for the next race. Is that a crime or just good business? Should the betting public be made aware that this horse is not going to try to win?

What about a claiming race? If you buy a lame horse you can't give it back. A wise trainer told me that good sound horses are not in cheap claiming races. Many a new owner bought a claimer that had severe problems and there is no disclosure required. There is no requirement for a trainer to let someone look closely at a horse that he wants to claim. Maybe there should be a vet disclosure document for claimers like CARFAX for used cars.

A 4yr old mare has had 25 starts. Most of those starts has been in a maiden race since the horse has never won. She has made $42,980 for the owner/trainer (over 40K this past year). The race has a purse of $16,000 so those 8 second place finishs are worth $4000 each which is pretty good. The horse has been timed around 154 and closes in 28 seconds. 3 starts back the horse was up by 3 lengths half way down the stretch and lost by a neck in 155.1. I have no doubt (and anyone who has seen the horse run would agree) that this horse can win a race and move out of the maiden ranks. Of course then the horse has to run with better and may not win the next class ($17,000)or make as much money. Since the races are for 5 yr olds and younger she can do this for another year. Is this a good business decision? Should the betting public be made aware that this horse has no intention of winning? Maybe the maiden race should only have a purse of $8,000 or a limit of the number of maiden starts before the horse is a claimer.

This is not an isolated incident. Many horses avoid moving up in class. I just used the glaring example above to make a point.

What about disclosure when an agent purchases a horse for their owners. There are many examples of an agent who buys a horse (for example) for $20,000 and the owner pays $25,000 with the agent pocketing $5,000. As long as it is disclosed then everything is fine but disclosure is the problem.

Most owners of race horses, like everyone else, want a fair game to play in. I expect my horses to do their best every time and I expect my competitors to try to beat me every time as well. Money has a way of making people do things they shouldn't.

Davy Russell is not alone in his actions, he just happened to mention it to the press.

January 4, 2011 - 1:28 pmGood for the jockey. As an

Fran Caron SAID...

Good for the jockey. As an owner I can say that if I felt my reinsman was driving for the bettor, he or she would be fired in short order.

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