Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jason Settlemoir Honors Horseplayers Association with USHWA President's Award



Jason Settlemoir, president of the United States Harness Writers Association, has announced that H.A.N.A., the Horseplayers Association of North America, and driver Yannick Gingras will receive President’s Awards at USHWA’s “Night Of Stars,” the annual awards banquet, on Sunday, February 27, at the Marriott North in Fort Lauderdale Fla.

Today’s release will look at H.A.N.A.; a release tomorrow will focus on Gingras.

Horseplayers, both Standardbred and Thoroughbred, have long been the lifeblood of the equine racing sports, but they and their concerns/suggestions have usually received short shrift from the sports’ organizations and racing officials.

The self-formed H.A.N.A. is trying to change that: “H.A.N.A. is committed to giving horseplayers a voice” reads the very first sentence of its mission statement.

Among the areas where H.A.N.A. thinks that racing could present a more attractive product to potential customers/bettors are: universal signal availability to all outlets at all times, without exception; the long-awaited and long-debated lowering of takeout rates -- H.A.N.A.’s ideal figure would be in the 10 percent range, a number not far off from “optimization of handle” studies by university economists; a severe hard-line stand against drug misuse in racehorses; “pool integrity,” which they define as a secure tote system which displays correct and final odds as soon as the gate springs; and large, competitive race fields.

The horseplayers association, headquartered in Virginia, has Jeff Platt as its President, while its secretary has been Dean Towers, known to many harness racing participants, an Ontario horseowner who wrote his university thesis on off-track betting. The group’s website is www.horseplayersassociation.org.

Those involved with H.A.N.A. will receive their award on February 27 at the Florida banquet, as mentioned above.

Tickets, accommodations, and other information about the weekend can be had from Steve Wolf at stevejw@bellsouth.net; a congratulatory ad in the souvenir Dinner Journal, honoring anybody being feted that night, can be arranged through Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com.