02/13/2014 4:38PM

Meadowlands: Going the added distance


Starting Friday, the Meadowlands will once again experiment with added distance racing and more bulky fields. Each night going forward, the tenth race on the card will be contested at the distance of 1 1/16 mile with a field of 12 signed up for competition (FYI, only Harness Eye past performances list the mile times on these races).

[DRF HARNESS: Check out our NEW and IMPROVED Harness Eye PPs and see our discount packages]

From a handicapping perspective the change only adds intrigue at the start of the race. Drivers are going to have the opportunity to secure better position and more importantly avoid racing wide around the first turn. Another wrinkle could be a faster opening quarter. With much of the first quarter being contested in the straightaway, we are likely to see faster early fractions.

From the first turn on, the change in distance is unlikely to mean much at all. Even though officials seem to be carding the lowest level of conditioned horses (C-2) in these added distance races, I don’t expect the sixteenth of a mile to make a major difference in who wins or loses the race. Horses that are sharp on any given day are more than capable of pacing or trotting an extra sixteenth.

The track contested races at the added distance with 12-horse fields last winter and the results were somewhat interesting because it provided bettors with more options, especially in the pick four and superfecta, where players now had to use two extra horses if they wanted to press the ALL button.

While I applaud the decision to try one race a night with the new parameters, I can’t back the decision on the distance of the race or the level of the horses that have been chosen so far.

If you are going to ask horses to travel extra distance, why not choose more accomplished and in most cases sounder horses. Certainly drivers would feel more comfortable handling horses at the B-2 or B-1 level in longer distances races than C-2 horses which are usually in poor form and have been struggling.

On the distance matter, why not make the races 1 1/8 or 1 5/8? A 1 1/8 race would allow a long straightway before the first turn but also add enough distance to the race that early speed horses may actually get tired at the end of the mile and set the race up for more closers. Now, a 1 5/8 mile race would be the most interesting for me. Horses would have plenty of time to jockey for position down the backstretch straightaway prior to the first turn (current second turn). You would also have the added element of whether horses could “get the distance” and it should create more strategy as drivers would have to time their moves properly.

While “baby steps” are nice when trying something new, why not aim for the stars and see if you can catch lightning in a bottle?


Lester Block More than 1 year ago
Richard More than 1 year ago
As long as much of the mutuel results are conceived the day before - it really doesn't matter at all,
Thomas MD More than 1 year ago
What a crock. When are they going to ever stop doing this stuff? Don't they realize that they pollute the past performance when they do this? Ug - time to stop playing the Big M - I had such high hopes for the place.
Howard Marks More than 1 year ago
I agree , but they don't give a * ^%$
David More than 1 year ago
How many times are they going to try these longer races before track management gets the message that we will not bet these garbage races.
N.J.Mom More than 1 year ago
The Feds should shut race tracks down for allowing the needle drug trainers to continue running rampant. It's an out right federal crime. why isn't the FBI investigating this racket?
adelphis More than 1 year ago
meadowlands == boring racing
Jerry de Thomas More than 1 year ago
'increase payoffs' ??? for people with that need, there's doubles, exactas, trifectas, super trifectas, pick three, pick this, pick that, carry overs, the state lotteries, Publisher Clearing House...Yonkers gave the mile & 16th a long try with no apparent success...they're giving it a limited try again...longer races will provide no more early action (will a driver want to be first over for longer distances & perhaps more turns than now ?)...and when they are & begin to back up, the outer tier will have more problems then they do now...because others drink WARM beer, doesn't mean we have to...
Rogelio More than 1 year ago
I suppose folks like yourself should bet on the races from Germany where they race 6 horses since you believe you make more that way. The name of the game is winning and signers are a nice benefit to larger fields. You can play Yonkers all you want and I will opt for Woodbine and The Meadowlands. I guess having been to the races at France, Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden I find 8 horse races rather boring as compared to tracks that race 10 or more horses. Sadly with racing in decline in the US I cannot understand where doing the same will benefit the current business model.........unless of course you want racing to be shut down.
Rogelio More than 1 year ago
Hmmm, why is it we have to race only one way at one distance in North America? They race different distances in Australia, New Zealand, France, etc. Why not race 1 5/16 miles and 1 3/4 miles? As far as the number of horses go........the more horses the merrier because it increases payoffs. While such racing on half mile tracks makes little sense, it does increase the error potential on larger racing surfaces for increased payoffs.
Jerry de Thomas More than 1 year ago
bull puckies...if more horses & drivers get injured with this silliness, then let it be on the head (???) of those who contrive this lunacy...why stop at 12 horses...why not a 'better brillant' version that will remind people of the visions of the Oklahoma Land Rush...heck...why just horses...throw in a few donkeys and goats to make it more 'intriguing'...hope those with sense will simply boycott these races or should I say 'crapshoots'...
Jack H More than 1 year ago
gim·mick ˈgimik/Submit noun noun: gimmick; plural noun: gimmicks 1. a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business. synonyms: publicity stunt, contrivance, scheme, stratagem, ploy; More Origin