A whole new view for horseracing fans
Drivers asked to explain their performance, good and bad; unparalleled transparency brought to Chicago racing
MELROSE PARK, IL – The Illinois Harness Horseman’s
Association (IHHA) this Friday, will unveil unprecedented between-race
interviews that promise to revolutionize the way that fans handicap and
understand harness racing in Chicago.
“I hope racing fans tune in to the Maywood Park signal on Friday,”
said IHHA President David McCaffrey. “There are no other horseman’s
associations or racetracks going behind the scenes like we are, doing
immediate post-race interviews with drivers and trainers.”
The IHHA board decided during the summer to pursue post-race
interviews with drivers in order to help fans understand why drivers
make certain decisions on the track and to explain extraordinary
“If a horse is the favorite to win a race and he races terribly and
finishes last, I think fans want to know what’s going on,” said
McCaffrey. “It could be something as simple as a piece of paper in the
track that spooks a horse and causes him to break stride or a knee boot
that comes loose and impedes the horse’s gait. Either way, the fans
deserve an explanation.”
By bringing the drivers into the living room, the IHHA hopes that
the public will become more engaged and will use the interviews when
they handicap races. The board also hopes that the interviews will bring
more transparency to the sport. To that end, fans will eventually be
able to submit questions via Facebook and Twitter.
“There are a lot of factors on the track,” said IHHA board member
and driver Marcus Miller. “A driver might get boxed in or there could be
an equipment malfunction. Drivers make mistakes sometimes too. But the
public needs an explanation. We need them to know that we’re honest out
The concept is similar to what fans of other sports are accustomed
to seeing in post-game interviews. Jeremey Day will be conducting the
post race interviews. Day is co-host of the North American Harness
Update and a Daily Racing Form Harness handicapper for Balmoral
Racetrack. Drivers will be asked about their performance on the track
and given the chance to explain what happened.
“We want to address the questionable parts of the race,” said Day.
“If a driver’s strategy seems questionable or there was an equipment
malfunction, we’re going to look at the replay and talk about what
happened on the track.”
For the past month, the IHHA has been conducting generic interviews
with trainers and drivers. A collection of these interviews can be found
on the Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association YouTube channel. IHHA
board member Bernie Paul said that these interviews will be different.
“These aren’t going to be fluff interviews. We want the tough
questions,” said Paul. “We ask NFL quarterbacks about why they threw an
interception or ran a specific play. Racing fans deserve that same kind
The first driver interviews will be conducted on Friday, December 7th at Maywood Park.
are going to be surprised,” said Paul. “This is a whole new approach to
the sport. We think this will really help with handicapping and give
fans a better understanding of the entire game.”