Good and Lively 1985 Spring
This article I wrote appeared in HoofBeats Reader Forum. I am an avid supporter of Standardbreds. I have my A license as well as a trainer's. I truly love the breed as well as the sport.

Drivers Are Professionals

In response to "Playing the Percentages," March 1997 issue, I am in utter amazement as an owner-trainer-driver that there is a question raised whether a driver should be paid if he or she finishes out of the money. These drivers are professionals. Professionals in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc. earn a great deal of money year after year [and] get paid no matter what-win or lose. It is the same case here.

"The owners have enough burden as it is" is not enough of an answer waive the driver fee. A $20 or $25 minimum driver fee, regardless of finish, is a drop in the bucket compared to the trainer fees, vet fees, shoeing, state and USTA license fees, grain, hay, straw, stall rent (where applicable), paddock fees the night you race, and buying the necessary equipment and supplies to keep the horse going. As an owner, I always paid my driver gladly a percent of the purse or a fee, whichever was greater, but he ways got paid no matter where he finished. Let these owners who don't want to pay up, swap places and see how they like it-getting out in a race and trying to beat seven or eight other horses, taking the risks in all kinds of weather, getting mud and crap all over their clean colors, limestone burning in heir eyes. Maybe if they went home empty-handed, they would change their tune and realize how important a job the driver has and deserves to be paid no matter what!

Lisa Stith
Dover, OH