An opportunity for harness racing
To the Editor:
During the many years of my teaching career in Massachusetts, I found the summers the ideal time to pursue my dream of being a harness driver.
After launching a neophyte training approach from Rockingham to Foxboro, I headed to Maine in the early '70s. Here I met a number of horsemen who today know they retain my highest regard for them because of the way they treated a "part-timer," as it were. I succeeded in getting a license and considered my self a decent driver, trainer, owner for years to come.
What is more important is to show you how much I, as a single horseman, contributed to the community. In the 90's, I brought a horse back from Montecello Racetrack by hiring a Maine trucking firm. When I got to Scarborough Downs and found a stall I had to get a grainman, a hayman and a tackman for equipment, all local people.
Before racing, I had to get licensed. From then on, it was a local blacksmith, a local vet, local places to eat, lodge and get gas.
On racing nights, I hired a groom to paddock the horse. This is what the "trickle down" theory is all about. I basically had a dozen people "working" for me as I dispensed my money through the community. Imagine, the value of having 1,500 horses stabled on the grounds and the amount of, not just trickle, but deluge of money that can be circulated in the community.
I have the privilege of having some former students enter the harness business because I gave them summer help when I had the chance, two became trainer-drivers, both females, and one, a successful owner. This type of activity can happen in your area with the many horsemen who would be willing to open themselves up as teachers for a new crop of enthusiastic newcomers.
Some of the finest people you will all get to meet will be those in the harness racing profession. This is an opportunity that should not be destroyed by the nay-sayers, who in most cases, believe in nothing but the sad commitment they have made to mediocrity.