11/21/2012 11:05AM

Hoping to be thankful for in 2013


Rather than the typical “what am I grateful for” post, I’d prefer to look to the future. Here is my Harness wish list of what I hope to be thankful for this time next year.

  • State-of-the-art new Meadowlands grandstand

Clearly going to the track is not what it used to be. While some of the recently built or remodeled facilities have good sight lines or some amenities, if a racetrack is new/renovated nowadays you can be sure it is catering to the slot crowd. I look forward to visiting a plant that is designed for racing and hope to see some good crowds arriving to check it out and perhaps get drawn into the harness game.

  • Great 4-year-olds on the track

For the first time in recent memory I can look at the list of the top money-winning colts on the trot and pace and not have to wonder what they could have done the following year. I haven’t heard one word of retirement from Market Share, Michael’s Power, Thinking Out Loud, Sweet Lou, A Rocknroll Dance, Check Me Out, Little Brown Fox, Heston Blue Chip or Pet Rock. That list contains 9 of the 10 on the leaderboard.

I’m thankful for the scintillating on-track action that we get as a result of all these returning stars.

  • Cooperation

We saw the Meadowlands work with Pennsylvania tracks in 2012 to coordinate stronger Open races. Each track would take turns hosting some of the better older pacers and trotters. I’m thankful for all the tracks that see the bigger picture in 2013 and are willing to work together for the greater good of our sport.

  • The feel good story

In 2012 we got Luc Blais and Intimidate, among others, winning the Breeders Crown. I’m thankful for that diamond in the rough that surprises us during the year and provides something interesting to write about.

  • The return of Walter Case Jr.

No, it probably won’t happen, but I’d like to be thankful for the return of Case in 2013. It is questionable whether he deserves another shot or if he could keep his act together, but there is no denying his talent. There is nothing worse than wasted talent (or so I’ve been told). Selfishly I would like to see him on the track again. He was fun to watch.

  • More guaranteed wagers stretching the norm

Harness racing has made wonderful strides with promoting wagering via the USTA’s Strategic Wagering program. I’m thankful for the advances that continue in 2013 and the larger guarantees that push the envelope.

  • This is Harness Racing!

I’m especially thankful for the tracks that go the extra mile for their HARNESS fans in 2013. Those that initiate new ideas aimed at enticing new fans to show up and making regulars feel wanted.

  • Owners, trainers, drivers and tracks

In what I hope to be a spectacular year of racing, here’s some pre-thanks for dealing with my numerous phone calls and sometimes annoying questions. I’m thankful for all those who help make my job easier and shun the bland gray answers for more colorful and honest responses.

Happy Thanksgiving!