For years the race conditions for two of harness racing’s top stakes events, the Little Brown Jug and the Jugette, have stated that 20% of the total purse is set aside and paid to the winner of the race(s). There are set formats, depending on the number of heats, for the paying out of purses. It is all listed in the race conditions that are posted on the United States Trotting Association website.
But such is not the case for this year’s 2013 Jugette winner, I Luv The Nitelife, according to owner Richard Young of Coconut Creek, Florida.
The 2013 conditions for the Jug and Jugette clearly states from the United States Trotting Association website (www.ustrotting.com) as follows:
Racing Conditions for the Jug and Jugette:
Race Sponsor shall determine the number of horses that will start in each division not to exceed 10. If one division the event will be raced two heats of one mile. If separate heat winners, the heat winners will return to race the third and final heat. The winner must win two heats. Twenty percent will be set aside for the winner, eighty percent divided equally between the first two heats. Forty percent to the elimination heats and 60 percent to the final. Purse will be divided 45-25-15-10-5% each heat with the exception of the third heat if necessary. The track retains the right to conduct either or both events in a single dash with 20 percent going to the race winner in addition to the 45-25-15-10-5% pay off.
The 2014 conditions for the Jugette do not mention anything about the 20% being set aside for the winner.
“It was one of the deciding factors in racing our filly in the Jugette,” Said Richard Young, “We knew that the purse distribution was different than other stakes races because the Jugette is actually a Fair Stake, but it clearly says that 20% is to be set aside for the winner. That comes out to just over $50,000 and now the officials at the Little Brown Jug are saying we are not due this money.
“Vegas Vacation also won the Jug in straight heats on Thursday just like we did on Wednesday,” Young stated, “And their owners are getting paid the additional 20%. Something is not right here.”
“I knew before the race that the Jugette was going to be changed so that there would not be three heats,” Young said. “I actually thought that would not happen until next year. I found out a few days before the race that this year’s Jugette winner would be the filly that won the second heat but it was never mentioned not paying the 20%. There was never any official notification that the 20% of the purse withheld for the winner would not be paid if it was two or three heats.”
Attempts were made to contact race officials at the Little Brown Jug Society for an explanation of the conditions and the 20% payout but no calls were returned.
“After I made a few calls on Saturday I was finally put in touch with Tom Wright on Sunday,” Young explained. “He is the president of the Little Brown Jug Society and the Director of Racing. He told me that they (Little Brown Jug Society) changed the payout procedures for the Jugette because the race would no longer require a filly to have to race three heats in one day like the colts.
“He said this was publicly announced but I have never heard of this,” Young said. “I never received notification as an owner making the stakes payments and never read anything about this change for 2013. I have read the conditions and see the changes made for 2014 but nothing was ever changed in the conditions for 2013. It’s still the same as it had been for years.
“We only want what is rightfully ours,” Young said. “If Vegas Vacation’s owners got paid the 20%, we deserve it too.
We entered I Luv The Nitelife in the Jugette in good faith according to the conditions posted by the Little Brown Jug Society and won both heats the same as Vegas Vacation did.”
By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com