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Thread: Has anyone noticed?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Foal MRO will become famous soon enough
    Real Name
    Mike Orlando

    Has anyone noticed?

    I have been handicapping harness racing since 1966. Being a good friend of a trainer that I met about 10 yrs ago, it's fun to go to the races with him and he analyzes the race. It has help me handicap even better. I live about 30 miles from Harrahs Phila previously known as Chester Downs. The first five years Harrahs was great, interesting races and the entries running true to form. That was when Mike Tanner (now USTA Executive VP) was the Racing Director. The year after Mike Tanner left, I had to stop betting Harrahs.

    The races were a total disaster.

    I stopped betting Harrahs for about 5 years.

    This was a typical race: From the gate the 40-1 shot breaks out and gets parked out until the first quarter then the third place horse opens a hole for him and he slips into the cat bird seat.

    For the most part the lead horse may or may not have had a challenge and about 100 feet from the finish line the 40-1 takes the inside lane an wins. The favorite was stiffed undoubtedly.

    Another familiar scenario is the 20-1 shot takes the lead at the first quarter and there are no challenges whatsoever and the horse goes wire to wire.

    Many horses go unchallenged. Many horses are "let in" and given the 2 hole only to take the inside rail after the final turn.

    I was always under the impression that for the most part, UNLESS their is a strategic reason, a driver should either park the challenger until he can either take the lead or tire and drop back. I've never heard of leaving a hole for him.

    The second reason that I stopped betting Harrahs is that the security to the paddock area was NON EXISTENT.

    Until mid 2014 the neighbor up the street could walk up and tour the paddock.

    Mid 2014 I was so frustrated I reported the track to the PA Harness Racing Commission and under the Freedom of Information Act I was able to get copies of Harrahs Driver Policy and Paddock Security. Within days, I received an email from Harrahs admitting that there were "too many holes" and the drivers will be warned and increased penalties will be imposed to violators...admitting also that as of the same week (coincidentally) their paddock allowance policy was changed and only driver owners trainers and vets were allowed. Things were good for about a year. This 2015 season April to July was good. Interesting races, no holes, no stiffing....but as Christmas approached the 'bonuses' were hot an heavy for the drivers. There were horses winning at Harrahs that probably stopped in for a race before heading to the glue factory. This place is unbelievable. I have never seen a track like it except for possibly Pompano Park. The following tracks.. Balmoral, The Meadows, Northfield Park, Meadowlands, Yonkers, Dover, etc all good ...horses run pretty true to form....few holes....lots of park outs and fun to watch.

    Appreciate comments or your observations
    Last edited by MRO; 01-16-2016 at 02:42 PM. Reason: punctuation and spelling

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