By Chuck Scaravilli – DRF
There has been an influx of Michigan trainers and riders to Thistledown this year following the closing of Pinnacle Race Course. Four of the former Michigan trainers are in the top 10 in the standings, including leader Robert Gorham who has 10 wins. Michigan regulars Ronald Allen Sr. and Richard Rettele each have 4 wins and Laura Jackson has 3.
In the jockeys’ race, Michigan rider Federico Mata leads the pace with 19 winners from 73 mounts. Perennial local riding leader Luis Gonzalez is second with 12 wins from 47 rides.
Gorham won the training title at Pinnacle the last two years. In 2010 he saddled 67 winners from 298 starters and in 2009 he sent out 83 winners while starting 377 horses.
Gorham has won 916 career races from 5,409 starters.
Mata was the runner-up the last two seasons at Pinnacle. He started riding in 1988 and to date he has won 2,588 races.
The trainer-rider duo of Gorham and Mata have a 50 percent win average when they team up.
* Thistledown’s version of happy hour, Finish Line Friday, will feature live music from 4 to 8 p.m. A bottle of beer is $2 and hot dogs are $1.
Thistledown’s new clubhouse policy Belmont Day was a success. For the past decade on Triple Crown days, there had been a $35 charge in the clubhouse for a seat and a buffet. This year the track’s new owner Caesars Entertainment added a Las Vegas touch and dropped the tab to $19 and the room was jammed and extra tables were needed to accommodate the crowd.
And in Reality MTOBA has sought legislation that would make it possible ( since there is no Thoroughbred Racing in Michigan ) for Michigan Breds to be paid who are running outside of this State.
Page 8 of Senate Bill 0434
(a) A sum to be allotted thoroughbred 1 race meeting licensees
2 to supplement the purses for races to be conducted exclusively for
3 Michigan bred horses. IF, DURING A FISCAL YEAR, LIVE THOROUGHBRED
4 HORSE RACES ARE NOT CONDUCTED AT A LICENSED RACE MEETING IN THIS
5 STATE, THE SUM APPROPRIATED UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE PAID AT
6 THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR TO SUPPLEMENT THE PURSES OF MICHIGAN
7 BRED THOROUGHBRED HORSES THAT WIN ALLOWANCE AND CLAIMING RACES AT
8 LICENSED HORSE RACE TRACKS OUTSIDE OF THIS STATE.
Of course there also seems a lot of language in this Bill that has many strikethroughs to be replaced by things that could continue to change the 1995 Racing Act Law when anybody sees fit and not to the Thoroughbreds advantage by any means.
HBPA BOARD: During the June 16, 2011 regular board meeting, the MI-HBPA board agreed to continue pursuing live race dates at Mt. Pleasant Meadows. A “drafted” contract was distributed to the board for review. The MGCB “expects all conditions to be met and a formal plan to be submitted to the MGCB.” Discussions are underway between the MI-HBPA, GLQHA and the MGCB.
To me this is a completely stupid act in itself. Basically forcing those members who are racing elsewhere and forcing them to race at a venue that they do not wish to take part in. And further punishing them because then those Owners and Trainers who are running out of State will not be paid for their Mi. Breds if there is a legitimate T.B. meet that runs at MPM.
Mount Pleasant Meadows is a half mile racetrack, it never was meant or intended for route horse racing. Yet MPM has always had a mixed breed license and T.B.s were a small part included in this. But in reality it’s for speed balls @ 5 furlongs.
Attempting to run 6, 7 furlongs and Mile races and beyond could prove to be hazardous for these Thoroughbred horses. Routers have to be rated but how does one do this on a half mile track?
At some point you put a horse into full throttle for the finish, but with quarter mile turns this will be like taking a car, getting the speed up to 200 MPH and because of the short turns throwing the cars or in this case Horses into REVERSE.
At such speeds you can expect a lot of tragedy’s. I feel for the horses that have no say. Does anybody realize the difference of the widths of what was DRC and is Pinnacle? A horse blowing a turn had space in-which to recover. On a half mile track with a third of the width? There’s no where to go but through a rail, over a rail and hitting a brick wall.
Taking a sound horse and forcing them to perform on such a racing surface is inhumane and stupid on the part of those that want take the chance that they won’t break down or a tragedy won’t happen.
Richard Rettele who has been both a Thoroughbred Owner & Trainer, and a Quarter Horse Owner, Trainer and Jockey was asked flat out would he race a horse at MPM for a route. His answer was immediate and direct. NO, I wouldn’t race a horse there for a route.
I’d say that pretty much spoke blasting volumes, yet some are choosing to ignore his answer and continue to seek MPM for their T.B. Venue for 2011.
For a lousy stinking short 30 day meet, I ask the HBPA is this worth it?
It it worth money you really don’t have to contribute to the owner of MPM Walter Bay to race there.
And is it fair to those Owners & Trainers that will refuse to race at MPM?
Fact is MPM only has 300 stalls. So where does the HBPA expect these trainers to ship in from? The other States that they are racing in?
But then only 40 people bothered to show up at the July 12th generalship meeting. So I guess it is what it is.
A screwed up mess.
I think the HBPA needs to reconsider this vote and give some serious thought to all of the ramifications. A leader is defined when you take a stand, have a mind of your own and you don’t cave in because of others who are pressuring you. Your basic common sense should prevail over everything else even if it’s not overwhelmingly popular among those who voted yes.
And I wouldn’t say a 6-6 tie is even remotely overwhelming.
Mount Pleasant Meadows in my opinion is a horrific move in the wrong direction. Who says we have to race in 2011 here at all?
As I’ve stated before if the Harness even attempts to try to get the T.B.’s money in escrow or strategizes to to strip the T.B.’s of simulcasting interests, I would withdraw my consent for the use of the inter-state Thoroughbred Simulcasting signal immediately.
This is the only reason Harness even continues to exist anyway and we all know it. Even Michigan.
This 1995 Racing Act Law that everybody is now wanting to revise to their own interests still at present states there must be a live meet running of the BREED, to be able to have an inter-state signal of that breed.
So why does the HBPA feel they must race here or else?
Running a Thoroughbred meet at a half mile track is not in the best interest to the majority of the Owners, Trainers and especially the Horses.
Again there are those who are following others off a cliff. About time somebody here gets a brain.