Day At The Track

Detention barn for most stakes and select trainers

01:41 PM 16 Jul 2016 NZST
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As of 11:00 pm tonight, all of the horses entered in the Meadowlands Pace, the Hambletonian Maturity Trot and a select group of other horses, will be in settled in for the night at the Meadowlands Racetrack in pre-race stakes barn isolation.

It is the norm that for many major stakes events, horses are subject to a pre-race stakes barn or a detention area where only caretakers and veterinarians under observation are allowed to be with the horses.

After midnight, no one will be able to enter the pre-race stakes barn unless a situation arises and they are called in by security. Otherwise no one enters the barn until 5:00 am the next morning.

“We have ideal stable conditions for these horses,” said Brice Cote, who is in charge of the Meadowlands pre-race stakes barn. “There is plenty of fans to keep the horses cool and they will all be fine throughout the night.”

The pre-race stakes barn or detention area is done to keep any possible improprieties from possibly happening by not allowing anyone with access to the horses unless properly supervised. This is done in the best interest of fellow horsemen and to insure to racing fans wagering on the races that nothing out of the ordinary has been given to or done to the horses.

What is unique about this situation is that a number of prominent trainers who have horses in other stakes races, not the Haughton or Maturity, also must have their horses subject to the detention barn.

For this Saturday’s program, those trainers are Ron Adams, Jeff Bamond, Jr., and Chris Oakes. Four of the five horses are all in the Golden Girls final for a purse of $229,900. Last week the same was done for trainers Joanne Looney-King and Jeff Bamond, Jr.  

Most of these trainers are not allowed to race their horses in regular overnight events at the Meadowlands and must submit to pre-stakes race barn detention. Ron Adams is the lone exception.

Adams, 28, from Lasalle, Ontario, was named an O’Brien Future Star Award winner in 2015 in Canada and has never raced at a horse at the Meadowlands before. He did train the horse in question, Lady Shadow in the Golden Girls Final, for a brief time last season that included one sixth place finish at Vernon Downs, which is also owned by Jeff Gural of the Meadowlands.

When asked why Adams was also made to bring his horse to the pre-race stakes barn, Cote said he could not comment on that situation.

Questions have been raised in the fairness of not having all horses in the same race required to be in the pre-race stakes barn and just singling out a select few, especially for mares when the heat index is near 90 day and night and mares are much more prone to “tying up” in extreme heat and in many cases are turned outside at night, which cannot be done at the Meadowlands facility.

By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

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