Day At The Track

When a dollar is not a dollar

02:32 PM 30 Mar 2015 NZDT
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Harness racing is a worldwide industry which is getting more and more international as time goes on.

Stallions move between hemispheres and bloodlines are getting to look the same no matter where in the world you are.

The World Trotting Conference brings together all the administrators from around the world to try to smooth some of problems with horses moving between countries and different systems.

One issue which they seem to ignore repeatedly is the one with regards to money won in different countries and how it is counted in the overall scheme of things.

In Canada and Australia, a dollar won anywhere in the world is counted as a dollar won when assessing a horse's lifetime earnings.

In America and New Zealand, every dollar earned outside of the country is converted back to the local currency equivalent in dollar terms.

With so many horses moving back and forth between Canada and America and also between Australia and New Zealand it can either inflate or deflate a horses earnings which to us here at Harnesslink is just absolutely ridiculous.

It can also alter siring charts as we saw last year in the two year old ranks in North America.

In Canada where they count every dollar won as one dollar, Sportswriter topped the charts for two year olds with a lead of $125,000 over his nearest rival Art Major.

In America where they convert money won outside America to American dollars at the exchange rate on the day the money is won, Art Major finished $26,000 dollars in front of Sportswriter.

We are of no doubt that Sportswriter was the leading money earning two year sire in North America in 2014 and we recognize him as such in all our articles.

When we quote any money won either by a sire or individual in a story, the figures we use are always sourced via Trackit from the Canadian Harness Racing Site as Trackit is the only database with a true money won system in our opinion

In our view the American system is an absolute joke and is done primarily to protect the stallion owners based in America from those upstarts across the border whose stallions just happen to earn more money in a season.

The same anomaly occurs between Australia and New Zealand.

Harness Racing Australia to its credit counts every dollar won anywhere in the world as one dollar earned for all its lifetime records for horses.

New Zealand on the other hand converts all money won overseas back to New Zealand dollars on the day the money is won overseas.

That results in inflated lifetime earnings for a lot of New Zealand horses who spend big parts of their racing careers in Australia.

In some cases it has turned horses into millionaires when in reality they are still a fair way off the magical seven figure mark in actual earnings.

We will highlight a couple here just to show the difference it can make.

Take our latest millionaire in Stent who according to Harness Racing New Zealand has earned $1,010,053 to date where in actual dollars earned the figure is $984,460.

Another horse to have his earnings inflated was Vulcan who was lucky in that when he raced in Australia the New Zealand dollars was worth in the high seventy cents range in relation to the Australian dollar.

So why Harness Racing New Zealand records Vulcan as having earned $1,006,002, in actual dollars won, his earnings stand at $898,855.

Now these are two absolute champions and should be respected as such but the system has let them down badly in our view.

Let us have a look at a horse that raced extensively in both hemispheres in Tupelo Rose.

Tupelo Rose's earnings as recorded on the four countries data bases we have mentioned in this article.

* Harness Racing New Zealand  -  $1,146,603

* Harness Racing Australia  -  $879,867

* Standardbred Canada  -  $586,785

* United States Trotting Association  -  $578,671 

As you can see the current system has left us with four different figures.

Which one is the correct one is a hard question to answer but we would lean towards the Australian as probably being closest to the truth in this instance.

As the above example shows the current system between these four countries is open to ridicule and rightly so in our opinion.

We need some commonality on these important statistics and all four countries on the same page.

A dollar earned anywhere in these four countries should be treated as a dollar earned by the governing bodies by each of the four countries.

Until that happens you should treat all claims with regards to money won and sires stakes earnings coming out of America and New Zealand with a high degree of skepticism.



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