04/28/2014 2:50PM

Letter to the editor: All qualifying races should have generic restrictions


There is a practice that threatens our racing industry – that of creating non-generic restrictions to the entrance requirements for a graded race. This year's Kentucky Derby is an example.

Graded races are to be "open" races where the conditions are generic and apply equally to everyone.  They are not to be restrictive by state or specific track. The American Graded Stakes Committee should remove the grading of the Kentucky Derby for any years where this has been the practice. If we don't police this aspect of what graded races mean, then our industry will degrade into one of track wars.  Next, the Belmont Stakes will be giving out points, and California tracks will be given zero points for their races, and the wars will be on.

Examples of generic practices when using a purse or point system are:

• Points vary for finish position in the race – first, second, third, etc. (cutoff is permitted as to only give awards for the top three)

• Points vary for qualifying race grade – 1, 2, 3, and ungraded open races (cutoff is permitted as in only graded races)

• Points vary by age – one set of points for 2-year-old races, a different set of races for 3-year-olds  (could be made by days, weeks, or months from the target race)

• Purse earnings – if earnings are used, percentages of purses are used in the formula (cutoffs could be employed as maximums so that the maximum a 2-year-old Grade 1 win is worth is X percent of $750,000)

The critical point is that these generic rules apply to every race across the country (and worldwide if that is a desire) equally. There is no discrimination against specific states or tracks.

Personally, for the Derby, I would like to see purse earnings used with A) a fixed set of percentages by grade, a maximum qualifying purse by grade, and a multiplier that uses whole months before the target date as an inverse multiplier (divisor) so that a Grade 1 win in April of a 3-year-old year is worth more than one in December or July of a 2-year-old year. Recency has always been an acceptable, generically applied factor in setting race conditions.

But regardless, all qualifying rules must be generic. Otherwise, the race should be deemed "restricted" by the American Graded Stakes Committee and should not be awarded a grade.

Jay W. Lord
Nottingham, Pa.

radiocblue More than 1 year ago
No system indeed is perfect tho am I proponent of streamlining points and $, giving less to races with ungraded stakes and 2YO races, and more to graded and 3YO races. I devised a system that allows one race from each major and mid-major track that reasonably fits on the Derby Trail. I have no real issue in giving different points for different Graded races. The real issue I believe is having races that don't really fit on the Trail. Horses should have a route race on dirt at 3, and run in fields of at least 10 horses., and at least run at 2. Then there's less of a mystery if and when a qualified horse has to run 10 furlongs and face 19 competitors. What's a prep race for anyway?
M More than 1 year ago
How about real reform: all races with qualifying points subject to Hong Kong style monitoring and medication system and disclosure 30 days prior to race.
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
The key to any successful promotion and in its simplest form that is what races like the Derby, Breeders Cup , and so on is K I S S . The harder something is to understand the more folks drop off the wagon.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good thought process for point system. should use points for the eclipse awrds. too many voters dont have a clue or biased. should be negative points for bad outings. CD shouldnt be biased toward hawthorne. but CD does understand how lasix is hurting the young horses. getting rid of the derby trial points and giving very few for lexington and any race before march...is protecting even more horses from getting hurt. the top six 2013 two year old colts have all been sidelined or retired. two year old champions cant win grade 1 races anymore. i wouldnt reward any points until valentines day. the arkansas derby and bluegrass need to be moved to four weeks ahead of the derby. keep our best horses healthy. we cant watch them when they are hurt.
Jerome More than 1 year ago
There are no comments. Maybe it is for the same reason I can't comment. That being: I hardly understood a word of it.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
don't know if Jay did either !
dazed and confused More than 1 year ago
Take two smart pills and call me in the morning.