Weighty Issues: How Much Should Racing’s Stars Carry?

This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Don Agriss of TheSportsNetwork.com…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!

Unfair weights a matter of opinion

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace will not be running in Friday’s Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park, a race she won last year. Her connections have decided that the weight assignment is unfair, so the five-year-old mare will skip defending her 2011 victory.

“Larry (trainer Larry Jones) and I really wanted to defend our title in the Apple Blossom,” owner Rick Porter said Saturday. “We were expecting fair weights and when they were released today, Larry called me and we were flabbergasted at the weights.”

Racing Secretary Pat Pope gave Havre de Grace 123 pounds compared to 122 for Awesome Maria, 119 for It’s Tricky and 117 to Plum Pretty.

“Plum Pretty was the most unexpected but a lot of them were very unfair,” Porter continued. “Tiz Miz Sue was getting 8 pounds after just running over a hundred Beyer and winning the graded Azeri Stakes. Absinthe Minded was getting 9.”

Weight assignments are pretty subjective, but the defending Horse of the Year should receive the highest weight and the connections should be honored for that.

While there are other stakes available for Havre de Grace to run the chance to win a second consecutive Apple Blossom would put her in the company of Zenyatta who won the race in 2008 and 2010.

“No one can say that we have ducked any one in racing,” Porter said. “Hard Spun took on every tough race there was as did Round Pond and the immortal Eight Belles. We love the competition. Havre de Grace took on Blind Luck six times and ran against the boys in the prestigious Woodward and we didn’t bat an eye at running in the granddaddy of them all, the Classic. We have decided one thing though, we will take on any horse and take our defeats when we get them but we won’t let the racing secretaries decide who is going to win the races. That is why we took this stand on the Apple Blossom.”

Porter is correct that Havre de Grace has performed versus the best females and males, however, to prove that she is an all-time great Porter and Jones should allow their champion to be tested even if they believe the weight is not appropriate.

“The weights are unfair and I have asked all the journalists to demand that Pope explain how he came up with the numbers for the weights,” Porter concluded. “He owes it to the fans that were going to pack the house for the Apple Blossom. He just didn’t invent these weights, his duty as racing secretary is to analyse each horse and their races and come up with fair weights. Since he had to do it, he should make it public so we can see his thinking and reasoning. I hope he takes on his responsibility. We will run in The La Troienne at Churchill Downs on May 4th. This is exactly what I said we would do if Pope came out with unfair weights. I hope you all understand. We have decisions to make in running a racing operation and today was one of those tough ones.”

Porter and Jones deserve a lot of respect for the handling of Havre de Grace, but they appear to over state the severity of the weight assignment for the Apple Blossom.

All racing fans look forward to seeing Havre de Grace run in the La Troienne and many times more this year.


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