06/25/2012 3:29PM

Walter Case Jr., Googoo Gaagaa, World Records


There are a myriad of interesting topics to write about this week. Walter Case Jr. will likely find out his future driving fate when the Massachusetts Racing Commission renders their decision on his appeal, world record holder Googoo Gaagaa and his ineligibility for the Hambletonian, and the stellar crop of 3-year-olds this season head my top three.

Case went before the board last Thursday (June 21) and his lawyer Jeffrey Pocaro argued that Case has been a model citizen since he was last licensed in Massachusetts in 2008 and had no driving infractions during that brief 25-race stint. The board is expected to rule sometime this week; possibly as soon as Tuesday.

Anyone who has read my past blogs would know that I am in favor of Case being permitted to return to the bike. However, I believe if Case is granted a license it should come with the stipulation that any abuse of the rules would result in an immediate indefinite suspension.

One thing that worries me is Case’s complete isolation from the public eye over the last six months and his separation from the normal harness world. He is no longer on probation but still lives the life of a recluse. How will he handle a return to regular driving? How will he deal with the pressures of having to return to normalcy? These are interesting questions and I have some doubts.

No “Gaagaa” in Hambo

Not long after viewing Googoo Gaagaa’s latest world record 1:50 4/5 performance in the $500k Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs last Saturday, the chatter began on his ineligibility for the Hambletonian and whether supplements should be permitted for the prestigious event.

I do not see any reason why the Hambletonian Society can’t alter the rules for the years to come and allow for supplements to the Hambletonian. A 10 percent fee seems like a fair amount considering the accolades that a win would bring, though I’m not so sure Googoo Gaagaa’s connections would have paid the $150,000 to enter if they had the chance. My guess is that if the option was available, he would be sold after the Yonkers Trot and his new owner would put up the dough.

But that is all irrelevant since it will not occur. With the Hambo out of the picture I immediately thought of the Nat Ray Invitational. Why not invite Googoo Gaagaa to face off against the top older trotters in training in the Nat Ray on Hambo Day? Convincing his connections may be difficult, but perhaps a purse sweetener or a bonus to Googoo Gaagaa if he wins would entice the partially pacing-bred budding star.

My sources tell me that if Googoo Gaagaa’s form remains intact he will get the invite.

One final thought on the trotter . . . my gut tells me he will be sold before the end of August.

More World Records?

Looking at this year’s group of sophomores on both gaits, I can’t help but think this could be a record breaking year. Considering the depth on the pacing side, I fully expect to see a sub-1:47 mile at some point. If the weather is accommodating on Meadowlands Pace night (July 14) and the race is not slated too late on the card, I wouldn’t be shocked to see something spectacular that night.

On the trotting side, I can see the world’s first sub-1:50 mile on a track other than the oddly configured Colonial Downs (1 ¼ mile oval). Between Googoo Gaagaa, Uncle Peter, Stormin Normand and a few others, there is enough ability to push one talented colt to a big performance.

Speaking of records, it seems very likely that Googoo Gaagaa could become the fastest trotter to ever step on the track at Yonkers Raceway. The current all-age record for trotters at Yonkers, set just 10 days ago by Blacktuxwhitesocks, is only 1:54 1/5. I’d be surprised if Googoo Gaagaa did not trot at least a 1:53 and change mile given a decent starting post position.

In fact, the world record for 3-year-olds on any half-mile track is 1:53 3/5 set by Dennis at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in 2008. The all age mark is 1:53 2/5, although Cash Hall did trot a 1:51 1/5 mile in a time trial back in 2006.

Odds and ends

Anyone who purchases Harness Eye past performances for this Saturday’s stellar stakes card at Pocono Downs will enjoy performance comments for each horse in the finals. In case you missed the action, I watched the races for you.

Looks like the Meadowlands is sticking to a $25,000 guarantee on Thursdays for the pick four pool. Considering they have not raced on Thursdays in quite some time and the fact that they missed their $75,000 guarantee this past Saturday ($68,196), it seems like a good plan to start small.

After reading Jay Bergman’s recent column, I can’t help but agree that a schedule change is probably in order for the Meadowlands. A November through March schedule with a “Saratoga type” 7-week offering from July 1 through the third week of August seems about right.


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Daniel More than 1 year ago
This guy has had enough chances, nothing changes if nothing changes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They should let Case back in he's one of the greatest ever. - What a load of B.S.! While you're at it someone sign Canseco. He wouldn't use steroids anymore. And give Bernie Madoff another chance. He was really making people's stacks and stacks of paper before that one disgression. Case's arguments shouldn't even be heard. It's called consequences for your actions. That's how society works. If we keep giving seventh chances and eight chances, you have no shot at ever stopping the problems. The game is bigger than any one man. It has gone one nicely without him. Sorry Mr. Case wasted his opportunities (that's plural) but that's his own fault.
mike More than 1 year ago
Let's look at this from a different point of view-despite being one of the games best-he may be one of the worst human beings-despite his driving victories-he has zero morals! He burned every bridge in every state-and the only reason Mass wants him to drive-they may get an extra money in pools-everyone deserves a 2nd chance-but not 20?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Russo, you are a fool. Trying to rationalize Case's dishonesty because you think everyone else has been dishonest. NOT EVERYONE is dishonest buddy. NOT EVERYONE breaks the rules. The logic of it is so flawed. There shouldn't be lasting consequences for any wrong doings should there? Why not just continue to let people break rules, steal and cheat honest people continually. Maybe we'll give them a quick slap on the wrist once every few years. It was just a stupid, stupid comment pal. Not trying to get personal - just can't let your ignorant, stereotyping "everyone in horse racing is dishonest" comment slide. Unless you personally know everyone, you have no qualification to even begin to make a comment like that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
and save all the crap about second chances. Dude is way, way, way past his second chance. I don't believe in seventh chances. At that point you just aren't willing to accept responsibility and change.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He'd be great. Right up until the next relapse. As a handicapper who bets his own hard earned money, I prefer less people like Case in the game.
John Russo More than 1 year ago
Harness Racing needs Walter Case Jr. back in the bike, athough, he's lived a troubled life he is still one of the greatest drivers in the history of the game. He may have been dishonest (along with other bad qualities) but honestly, who in the game hasn't. If Wally comes back I myself would certainly go watch (and bet).
Michael Arndt More than 1 year ago
I am wondering why anyone who wants to tilt the needle in harness racing back toward honest racing would want Case back in the sulky....
John Esposito More than 1 year ago
Exactly ! It's going to take time Michael. So many unethical people involved in the sport right now. I am glad to see some track owners are playing hardball and not letting the train wrecks of our sport ruin thier investments. I feel better gambling at a track that I feel is serious about keeping cheaters out !
orsch226 More than 1 year ago
Kudos to yonkers raceway for posting free pp's for their guaranteed pick 4's on monday and tuesday. Very convenient. they got me to throw 80 bucks into the pool tonight.
Tim Bullock More than 1 year ago
According to Commissioner Cameron at today's board meeting (being aired at http://www.mass.gov/gaming/), she will have a recommendation on Walter Case's appeal at next week's meeting.
Carl Hiel More than 1 year ago
i hope they give case another shot he would help out at the big m with all the heavy hitters chasin that paper give the fans somethin to talk about and see.I hope he proves all the negativity mongers wrong . the big guns might not have been around the past couple of weeks at the big m but that just gave tony hall a chance to shine and that he did .Bunch longshot action sat startin with first race.Yonkers and harrahs are both chalkfests..Not as many big names usually means some big scores can be had and that 's what it is all about . i bring up balmoral and hooiser no super allstars there handles goin up nice payouts competitve races.why cant it catch on at the big m?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
because they race for more money at the tracks you mention. naturally the best in the business would come to work there. naturally owners of the best horses would want the best trainers and best drivers. i doubt there's a comparable business model anywhere that doesn't work this way. if you owned a horse would you want JD Wengerd driving or David Miller?
Carl Hiel More than 1 year ago
they may have better drivers at yonkers and harrahs but as a bettor not a owner i am saying much more more action and bigger payouts attract a bigger handle and that sustains a track longer than slot infused purses.With all the top tier drivers at those 2 tracks and bigger purses why haven"t the handles gone up ? For the owners and drivers thats great but for the guy"s betting i think they chose boxcar xactas over a 9.90payout for a pick 4 at yonkers not to long ago and the handles are sayin the samething
John Esposito More than 1 year ago
Good post Carl ! I also enjoy the Big M and have been to the other local tracks. I can't agree with Case coming back. I would rather see a new breed of driver and more diversity on the track. I think the Big M is on the right track .. people are coming to the races but they are not betting too much. I think there needs to be a Harness Racing for Dummies App for iphones. They could offer free $2 betting vouchers at the track to introduce people to watching a live race .
Carl Hiel More than 1 year ago
that voucher idea sounds real good john ,i stiill say after 25 years the big m is one of my favorite ways to spend a fri or sat nite . i believe Mr Gural is giving it his all i have noticed the difference in customer service compared to the last couple of years its like nite and day