Day At The Track
Lochinvar Art, Harness racing

A masterpiece as Lochinvar Art blisters home

Lochinvar Art proved life’s a breeze at the top of the trots with a commanding victory in the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, pouring home in a 53.1-second last half to claim the $110,000 Group 1. Trainer/driver David Moran was content to go the long way round with his million-dollar pacer, sitting outside leader Out To Play for much of the 2710-metre distance race and, when it came time to burn, he proved in a class of his own as he notched a seventh win in eight outings. “They don’t come around very often and thank God I’ve got him,” Moran said. “He’s got everything. He’s so fast that it’s just not funny.” Moran said the win was the perfect tune-up for the Shepparton superstar ahead of the February 6 Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup, when he will lock horns with the likes of Sydney raider King Of Swing. “He does always back up week-to-week a lot better,” Moran said. “I’m sure two 2700-metre races will tighten him up.” The fact that Moran didn’t bully the field, as was perhaps expected, has only reaffirmed the versatility of the five-year-old, who reminded of his extraordinary speed in the closing stages. Kate Gath nabbed the lead with Out To Play, winning an early speed battle with Sicario to find the front and then Lochinvar Art lobbed to the leader’s outside soon after. Moran was content to bide his time, following an 84-second lead time with moderate first (31.3-second) and second (29.8) quarters, before pressing in a 26.-7-second third quarter. Out To Play battled gamely, but Lochinvar Art had another gear to give, getting home in 26.4 seconds to win by seven metres, with Wolf Stride running on well to finish third ahead of Somewhere Secret. CLICK BELOW TO ENJOY LOCHINVAR ART'S BRILLIANCE: HRV - Michael Howard

Tango Dancer N scores in the 10th race at The Meadowlands Friday night, one of four victories on the card for leading driver Dexter Dunn, Harness racing

Dunn stays hot, wins 4

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The wins just keep on coming for harness racing driver Dexter Dunn. The 31-year-old New Zealand native, who was named the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year for a second straight time last week, registered four winners on the Friday night card at The Meadowlands. Before the start of the program, Dunn was awarded The Big M's Driver of the Week after winning seven times last weekend (Jan. 15-16), and now sits atop the standings at the mile oval with 19 victories in the early stages of the Winter-Spring-Championship Meeting. Dunn's backers got to cash in some nice prices, as after winning with 1-5 public choice Billion Dollar Day ($2.60 to win in race one), the track's leading driver (with 131 wins) during 2020 scored with Smooth Aceleration ($11.40 in the fifth) and Tango Dancer N ($12.40 in the featured 10th) before completing his grand slam with Alexander Hanover ($14.40 in the 13th). Tango Dancer N Another Down Under standout, Australia native Andy McCarthy, had a big night as well, scoring three times during the night. His fans were smiling after those races as McCarthy's winners (Rockin Panda, Always Mindy, Sheikh Yabooty N) were sent to the gate at odds of 7-2, 7-1 and 10-1. Sheikh Yabooty N PICK-6 CARRYOVER: With a sequence that began with a 10-1 chance and a 27-1 long shot, no one hit the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover for Saturday night's program of $7,293. Those who had five winners cashed in for $347.34. Free past performances for the entire Saturday card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. HIGHS AND LOWS: With three odds-on choices scoring during the sequence, the 20-cent Pick-5 returned $75.90. In sharp contrast, the Early 50-cent Pick-4 saw no winning favorites and a healthy payout of $8,987.35. A LITTLE MORE: Simon Allard drove two winners on the program while Kelvin Harrison registered a training double. ... Play in the two Pick-4s was predictably vigorous, as the two pools combined to see over $160,000 in action. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,806,228, the third consecutive Friday where at least $2.8 million was pushed through the windows. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Casino Action

Two-year-old season underway

Kentuckiana Lodge’s exciting two-year-old team started their season on the best possible note when Casino Action ran to a powerful front-running harness racing victory at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The NZB Standardbred Yearling Sales purchase was in cruise control throughout before he said goodbye to his rivals and went on to score by two and three-quarter lengths for driver Todd Mitchell. The win delivered instant success to Casino Action’s owners Ron Burke, Alan Galbraith QC, Hazel van Opzeeland, John Meates and Gary Pay, who race the colt with Chrissie Dalgety. The ownership group was formed after Casino Action was knocked down to Cran Dalgety at Karaka last year.  The Kentuckiana Lodge team have known for some time they have had a classy colt in Casino Action.  But his ability was more of a mystery to Mitchell, who sat behind the pacer for the first time in his debut on Friday night. “I didn’t really know what to expect,” the reinsman said.  “I watched all of his trials during the week and he looked like a little professional.” Mitchell was spot on about Casino Action’s professionalism. The two-year-old knew exactly what he was doing behind the gate and began well before crossing down to take an early lead. “He was up on the bit and he wanted to run the gate.” Sugar Apple and Zac Butcher applied pressure to Mitchell and Casino Action in the final lap of their 1700m win.  That just brought out the Kentuckiana Lodge colt’s competitive qualities.  “He was loving it in front and he loved when Zac came up outside him and had a look at him down the back straight,” Mitchell said.  Once balanced in the straight, Casino Action cruised away from his rivals for a highly impressive victory.  “When I pulled the plugs he was away, I was very happy with him," Mitchell said.  Casino Action reeled off powerful closing splits running his last 800m in 56.6sec and last 400m in 27.8sec. The Bettor’s Delight colt produced an impressive debut mile rate of 1-58.1. Casino Action and Carter Dalgety after a winning debut Casino Action’s ownership group can now look forward to their smart pacer contesting the first colts and gelding heat of the Young Guns Series on February 5 at Alexandra Park.  Like Mitchell, Cran Dalgety was thrilled with Casino Action’s effort.  “We couldn’t have asked for any more from him tonight,” Cran said.  “We will go again in the first Young Guns heat.” “He will get better because he is still a little bit gross and a little bit pretty." Casino Action delivers powerful debut win Misti Gaynor and Chevrons Bypass both put in strong debut efforts against Artisan in the two-year-old fillies event at Alexandra Park on Friday night.  Misti Gaynor burst out of the one-one on the home turn and rallied strongly in the straight, going down by a length to the leader and favourite Artisan. “Todd said that if he had been in front and the winner had been in the one-one you could reverse their one-two finish,” Cran said.  “Alexandra Park is one of those tracks where if you’re sitting in the one-one and the leader does a 50m surge on you at the top of the bend they are hard to catch.” “And that is what happened.” Chevrons Bypass had a tough trip sitting parked throughout and only wilted late in the run home to finish fifth. Of the Kentuckiana Lodge two-year-olds, she will benefit the most from her debut on Friday night.  “Of the three two-year-olds she had the most improvement in her,” Cran said.  “You might look at the result and think she ran an average fifth.” “But with the work she did she only faded late and with a bit of condition still to come off her she is on song for the Young Guns heat.” The first heat of the Young Guns fillies series is also on February 5. Artisan beating home Misti Gaynor Fortunia contributed to an excellent night out at Alexandra Park when running a game second in his first northern start for driver Tony Herlihy. “He went nice because he had to do a bit of work to get around to the top,” Cran said.  “Tony said he really dug in to the line.” “That is encouraging and I think gelding him has really helped.”  Fortunia also heads to Alexandra Park again on February 5.  by Jonny Turner

Dorothy’s Legacy winning Friday’s feature at The Meadows, Harness racing

Dorothy’s Legacy pips rivals in feature

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 22, 2020 — Dorothy’s Legacy needed every bit of stretch to do it, but she finally put Morning Shadow away to capture Friday’s harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $9,100 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace. Morning Shadow set up the stretch duel when she pocketed Dorothy’s Legacy past the quarter. But when Tony Hall moved the 5-year-old daughter of Art Major-Put On A Display wide in the lane, she had enough to down Morning Shadow by 3/4 lengths in1:54.2. Marvalous Song finished third. John Sullivan trains Dorothy’s Legacy for Greg Usner. Hall collected four wins and Dave Palone three on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday when the program features a $563.01 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Freehold, NJ --- Freehold Raceway concluded the Vinny Fusco Jr Memorial Pacing Series this Friday (January 22), with a pair of harness racing finals. One saw a logical result, the other an upset.   Tall Poppy N completed a sweep of the second division, for fillies and mares with a TrackMaster Horse Rating between 71.50 and 75.00 at the start of the series. Just like in the first two legs, George Brennan put her on the lead just after the quarter, and set comfortable fractions. In the stretch, she received a stiff challenge from Thaneeya, but Tall Poppy N held her at bay for a half-length win, in 1:56.3. The winner is owned by Curtin Anz Stable and trained by Kelvin Harrison, and paid $4.20 to win.   The first division final, for horses with a TrackMaster Horse Rating between 68.00 and 71.50, was won by 8/1 If Ur Richimsingle. Leaving from post position two, Daniel Dube put her in the pocket early on. Not long after the quarter, Dube activated his charge, and put her on the lead before the half. She drew off and opened up nearing three-quarters, and never looked back, crossing the wire 2 1/2 lengths in front.   The winning filly is owned by John Cancelliere and trained by Tom Cancelliere. She paced the mile in 1:58.2, for her first career win.   In between those two finals, Lean Hanover defeated Melady's Monet to win the Preferred Handicap trot. Jim Marohn Jr kept him in the pocket most of the way, then activated him in the stretch and rolled by for a 1 1/4 length win. He trotted the mile in 1:57.1, for owners PC Wellwood Enterprises and Karen Carroll, and trainer Linda Toscano.   Live racing continues at Freehold on Saturday (January 23), with a 13-race card starting at about 12:30 PM. The card includes two finals of the Harold Kelly Memorial Pacing Series.     Publicity Freehold Raceway

Tiger Thompson N roars home and wins the Open pace at Dover Downs on Thursday night. Tiger Thompson N and Goldberg left quickest off the gate.  Goldberg led the field through an opening quarter in 26 seconds flat. Dexter Dunn sensed the pace was pedestrian,  pulled the pocket with Tiger Thompson N in front of the stands. The half was reached in 55 seconds flat. The quarter was a routine 28.4. The action picked up as Itsrockandroll A paced first over past the five eighths. Corey Callahan was able to entice Tyga Hanover  and Yannick Gingras, off the rail and found cover, second over on the rim.. Tiger Thompson N  maintained a length lead and reached the three quarters in 1:22.2.  That quarter was paced up in 27.2. At the top of the stretch, Yannick Gingris ducked to the rail with Tyga Hanover saving his mount for a late surge. In the lane, a thrilling stretch duel between both horses ensued. At the finish line, Tiger Thompson N ruled supreme, and won by a neck in 1:50 flat. Tiger Thompson N ( Big Jim) is owned by Nanticoke Racing, Josh Parker  S. Messick and Prestige Stable.  Josh Parker trained and Dexter Dunn was the driver. Tiger Thompson N,  the race favorite, was sent off at odds of 2/1. Tyga Hanover finished second for trainer Andrew Harris and driver Yannick Gingras. Itsrockandroll A was trained by Dylan Davis.  Corey Callahan was the driver Racing resumes on Monday at Dover Downs.  Post Time is 4:30 pm      Alex Kraszewski Dover Downs

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound WA 4YO Championship to Magnificent Storm One of Western Australia’s premier races for four-year-olds, the Group 2 $50,000 WA 4YO Championship, run at Gloucester Park, was won by Magnificent Storm, and although Patronus Star, rated the top three-year-old last season, failed to finish due to a punctured tyre, this fact could not detract from the merit of Magnificent Storm’s success. He has now won at his last 11 starts; Patronus Star has won eight of his last 11. Bred by Pukekohe horseman Todd MacFarlane, Magnificent Storm is a member of one of New Zealand’s most outstanding standardbred families.  Magnificent Storm          --Daryl Hallows, Paceway Photos   His sire, American Ideal, was one of the best performed sires to come to Australasia, being by Western Ideal, a son of Western Hanover. American Ideal had a record of 1:47.8 and was one of America’s leading three-year-olds of his year. His ‘down under’ stock include Bling It On, Soho Tribeca, My Hard Copy, Ideal Scott and others, and in America he sired the winners of more than $110 million including American Jewel (1:48.4) and Heston Blue Chip (1:48). Splendour, the dam of Magnificent Storm, was a Bettor’s Delight mare from Splendid Deal, by In The Pocket from Splendid Dreams, by Dream Away from Scuse Me, by B G’s Bunny.  Splendour won eight races including the Gold Coast Oaks and $148,990 in stakes and took a record of 1:56.2 and was an above average mare. She was a sister to a fine pacer in Maxim 1:53.8 ($494,436), whose 12 successes included the Victoria Derby and NZ Sires’ Stakes 2YO Championship and a half-sister to the Rotorua Cup winner Hartofdixie (1:58.3). Most distinguished member of this family was a champion racemare in Adore Me, who held the Australasian records for one mile and two miles at one stage of her career.  Adore Me was a champion in her own right – she took a record of 1:47.7, won 26 races including 12 Group 1’s and earned $1,667,029 in stakes. Others from this family included Have Faith In Me (1:47.5), who won 32 races and $1,753,164 including the Miracle Mile, Auckland Cup and NZ Derby, Imagine Me, Pick My Pocket, The Dip and the 2019 NZ 2YO Filly of the Year Sweet On Me. Stamford, a younger brother to Magnificent Storm, won at its second start at Pinjarra last Monday in 1:55.1.   Chicago Bull joins select list When the Bettor’s Delight gelding Chicago Bull won the Free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday, he became the tenth richest Australasian bred pacer in history, according to the classicfamilies.net website. The win boosted the eight-year-old’s earnings to $2,323,956, the result of 61 wins and 25 placings in 92 starts, an average of a massive $25,260 per start. One of three Bettor’s Delight winners on the same program, Chicago Bull has won a record 55 races at the Perth headquarters’ track - including 23 at Group level - highlighted by the WA Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup twice, WA Derby, Mount Eden Sprint twice and the WA 4YO Championship. Bred by the Price family, of Winton, in New Zealand’s Southland district, Chicago Bull is the first foal of the Christian Cullen mare Chicago Blues (1:58.1), who produced others in Perfect Stride 1:51.7 ($233,415), winner of the Cobram Pacing Cup five days earlier, and Rockabilly Blues (1:55.6).   Rockin Marty in form Rockin Marty, a son of the American sire Pet Rock, whose frozen semen is now available at Niota Bloodstock, has been one of the stars of NSW racing in January. He has won at his only two appearances – at Goulburn in a 1:54.9 rate over 2240 metres and Menangle in 1:55.5 over 2300 metres. A NSW Breeders Challenge Final winner at three defeating Lochinvar Art, Rockin Marty is closely related to a champion racemare of the 1980’s in Jasmarilla, who won 50 races and $503,000 and took a mile mark of 1:55.2. Rockin Marty is by Pet Rock from Hava De Grace, by Jaguar Cam, a Cam Fella horse from the family of Lonestar Legend (1:49.6), who held the distinction of winning feature races in both hemispheres. Hava De Grace, the dam also of the Menangle winner Sand Blast (1:52.1), Freason and Shadow Son, was out of Grace Robinson, dam of nine sub 2:00 winners and by Perfect Art from Jasmarilla, a mare by Tarport Low. Grace Robinson was the dam of Kevin Seymour Nursery winner Two Eye Cee 1:52.4 ($306,703), the NSW Breeders Challenge winners Eye See Diamonds 1:51.6 ($284,875) and Hardhitter 1:51.4 ($175,430), Oh Eye Cee 1:54.5 ($101,705) and Hava De Grace, the dam of Rockin Marty.  Oh Eye Cee left a top rating three-year-old in Private Eye (1:50.3), winner of the George Croxford Tribute at Gunbower and a semi-final of the NSW Breeders Challenge. Another daughter of Grace Robinson to breed on was the unraced Fake Left mare Zoeyzoey, dam of the good Menangle winners Seeuinnashville 1:51.1 ($127,172) and Zoes Boy (1:54.6).   Gloucester Park winner from good broodmare Jack William, a Bettor’s Delight eight-year-old and a winner at Gloucester Park in consecutive weeks, is out of the American-bred mare Whos Sorry Now, a capable racemare with a record of 1:59, who is proving a successful broodmare. Jack William                  --Daryl Hallows, Paceway Photos Whos Sorry Now is also the dam of Reactor Now (1:52.2), the Kilmore track record holder and a finalist in the Vicbred 4YO Series, and his half-brother Bettor Be Sorry (1:53.1), who won seven on end last season. Whos Sorry Now is a Western Ideal mare from Art’s Touch (1:55.6), by Artsplace from Sweet Affection (1:56.4), by Direct Scooter from the fine Big Towner mare Sweet Reflection  Other members of this family include Whosurboy 1:49 ($1.6 million), the New Jersey Classic winner Sweet Rock (1:48.2), Upfront Hoosierboy (1:49), Artache Hanover (1:49.2) and the New Jersey Futurity winner Arockin Hanover (1:49.4).   Closely related to Smolda Set Ablaze, who scored in runaway fashion in a slick 1:55.7 at Maryborough recently when making only his third appearance, is an American Ideal three-year-old colt closely related to the Inter Dominion champion Smolda. An Australian Pacing Gold purchase in 2019 in Melbourne, Set Ablaze is a colt by the Western Ideal horse American Ideal from the Real Desire mare Smouldering Desire, a half-sister to a grand pacer and Horse of the Year in Smolda 1:50.6 ($2.4 million). Their dam, Under The Mattress (1:58), a Listed winner at Moonee Valley, was by Safely Kept from Lotsa Wealth, by Entrepreneur from the Golden Wealth mare Tara Wealth, who established a great winning line for Victorian breeders Bernie and Margaret Blackshaw. She left 11 winners including the Gloucester Park winner Balthazar (2:00.5) and the thrice Moonee Valley winner Lotsawealth (1:59.8), the third dam of Set Ablaze.   Up-and-coming trotter Revy Jay, who has won three of her last five starts at Menangle, and has graduated to an NR84 mark, is a six-year-old trotter of some potential. Bred by Scott Withers, Revy Jay has a background of trotting blood second-to-none. Her sire, Revenue, has left the NSW Trotters Cup winner Dead Cat Bounce and other smart trotters in Hey You, Matatoki and Our Revenue Maker. Her dam, Steffi Jay, is by S J’s Photo, a successful sire of trotters in both America and Australia. Revy Jay ranks as a half-sister to the cup winners Majestic Ess Jay 1:58.4 ($178,727) and Valley Ess Jay 1:57.7 ($113,668) and the Melton winner Jaden Gil. Steffi Jay, a useful trotter herself, won 12 races including two at Moonee Valley. She was a half-sister to Midnight Rush, the dam of the Vicbred Platinum Home Grown 3YO Classic winner Midnightatpinevale. The family, which traces to a Blackwood Abdallah mare, Cass, produced a talented square-gaiter in Alta Rihannah, who won 16 races including 14 at Menangle, and others in Alta Soleil, who won 12, and Stephen Patrick.   Bettor’s Delight top sire Bettor’s Delight is Australia’s top sire for the ninth year on end. During the extended 2019/20 season his stock won 1,438 races and secured 2,586 placings for a record $14,568,341 in stakes. The Woodlands Stud flagship was also the leading sire of three-year-olds and finished second on two-year-old list behind Mach Three. The champion WA pacer Chicago Bull, top NSW mare Bettor Enforce, dual Derby winner Line Up, Victoria Oaks winner Dr Susan and the Breeders Crown champion Hurricane Harley were among his best winners last season. The leading first-season sire was Captaintreacherous, who finished fourth on the overall two-year-old sire premiership. Majestic Son topped the trotter’s section for the fifth consecutive year with a record $2,751,053, almost $1.6 million ahead of the runner-up Skyvalley. He was also the leading sire of two-year-olds for the second time and the top sire of three-year-olds for the fourth time. Of the top 10 stakemoney sires, four are deceased while Bettor’s Delight is 23 and Art Major is 22. The Australian sires’ list for the season is as follows: Winners Stakes $ Bettor’s Delight 460 14,568,341 Art Major 420 11,121,590 Mach Three* 281 8,611,208 American Ideal 188 5,921,751 Rock N Roll Heaven 220 5,824,329 Somebeachsomewhere* 196 5,463,773 Sportswriter 224 4,575,690 Rocknroll Hanover* 72 3,491,177 Courage Under Fire* 141 3,090,298 Mr Feelgood 173 3,060,867   Death of Aldebaran Eagle a tragedy The death of the American import Aldebaran Eagle (1:52.2) last weekend was a huge blow to the Australian breeding industry. Aldebaran Eagle succumbed to a long battle with illness at Aldebaran Park, Nagambie in northern Victoria. The promising, young sire, who stood alongside Tornado Valley’s sire Skyvalley, will have his first crop racing as two-year-olds this year. Aldebaran Eagle                 -- Ken Weingartner photo A son of the great Muscle Hill and the Self Possessed mare Letsjustalkabout Me (1:56.2), Aldebaran Park was purchased as a yearling by Aldebaran Park principal Duncan McPherson at the 2013 Harrisburg Sale. As a two-year-old he won a $76,000 division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile in 1:55.2 defeating Centurion ATM, while he took his lifetime mark of 1:52.2 at three years winning at The Meadowlands. He qualified for the 2015 Hambletonian Final and was placed in the Colonial Trot and New Jersey Sire Stakes Final and finished up with a stake tally of $240,926. He was later exported to the southern hemisphere where he qualified in NZ before an injury forced his early retirement. Aldebaran Eagle will be represented by three colts and two fillies at the Australasian Premier Trotting Sale at Oaklands Junction on February 7.   by Peter Wharton

Prevented from making a living, horse racing people in Ontario feel as though they’ve been kicked in the groin by the Ontario government, and then kneed in the face after the province allowed NHL hockey to start up this month. The horse racing crowd believes that what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander, the argument being that if NHL hockey is allowed to resume, horse racing should be as well — particularly given the remarkable record Woodbine Entertainment achieved in keeping the COVID-19 virus at bay at both Woodbine Racetrack during the 2020 thoroughbred season and at Woodbine Mohawk Park during the standardbred meet. However, despite the horse racing industry rising to the occasion in terms of protecting people from COVID-19, the Ontario government shut down thoroughbred racing three weeks early in December and cancelled the Mohawk winter standardbred schedule last month — throwing thousands of horse racing people out of work and creating major financial hardships for owners and trainers. Meanwhile, the NHL started the 2021 season just last week and already a number of games have been postponed after some players were put on the COVID-19 protocol list. Mike Tanev has a foot in both worlds. Two of his sons — Brandon and Chris — play in the NHL. He’s also a harness racing owner. The Scarborough resident totally supports the idea that if NHL hockey is allowed in Ontario, so should horse racing. Both professional sports bring in millions in revenue to the province and employ thousands of workers. But Tanev believes that it’s counter-productive for horse racing people to just sit back and whine that the NHL is getting preferential treatment. Instead of crying and pointing fingers, Tanev said horse racing should follow the example of the NHL and approach the province and ask exactly what is needed to get the green light to resume racing. Each Canadian NHL team negotiated with its respective provincial health ministry in order to get a deal to resume playing — including an offer to pay for COVID-19 testing. During the 2021 season, NHL players will undergo daily temperature checks, and they will self-administer them not more than two hours before entering their club’s facilities. Players and other club personnel were tested daily during training camp and will be for the first four weeks of the regular season. After that, the league will reevaluate to see whether clubs should test every other day. “We don’t have to whack the Ontario government over the head with the NHL,” Tanev said. “The province has allowed the NHL to play because the NHL has strict protocols in place, like player testing on a daily basis, which the teams are paying for. If horse racing followed the exact same protocols that the NHL is doing then there should be no reason that horse racing should be allowed. “I just don’t want to hear, ‘They’re playing, so we should be able to race,’ ” added Tanev, who is in the automobile sales business. “If we’re going to pay (for testing) out of our own money, the government has absolutely no reason to say no. And Woodbine Entertainment has absolutely no reason to say no to conducting testing because it would not be coming out of their bottom line.” Tanev said a fellow harness racing owner came up with a plan that would see the owners of the top five horses in each race pay out a percentage of the purse money to go towards testing. “(The NHL) opened the door for us. We need to step inside the door and run with the ball,” said Tanev, adding that he believes WE has to work harder — or at least amp on its lobbying efforts — to get racing back. WE CEO Jim Lawson has said that he has been in constant contact with government officials at both the provincial and federal levels, via social media. Lawson did conduct a media blitz recently demanding answers as to why the Ontario government has allowed one professional sport (NHL) to resume while shutting down another (horse racing). He is also encouraging everyone involved in horse racing to contact their local MPP’s. “My goal here is not to in any way damage the NHL; my goal is not to suggest that the lockdown in any way is not the right thing or important to do,” Lawson told Trot Insider. “My goal is really to say, ‘If you’re going to do this, let’s be fair and let’s consider the horse racing industry, where we have done things right.’ When you think of it, our track record is — first of all, it’s remarkable that we operated seven months at Mohawk without COVID, and that’s generally five nights a week. But secondly, when you think of hockey, they don’t have that track record at all. They operated in a bubble for the playoffs, and by its very nature — of the sport and by the travel that’s required the way it’s structured — it’s definitely more risky than what we’re proposing. “The National Hockey League has 30, 40 people per team flying across provinces, flying into hotels, travelling, going to restaurants and hotels. It’s pretty high-risk stuff,” Lawson continued. “As it relates to the actual play, the players are getting negative tests regularly, they’re testing all essential personnel, to which I say, ‘We’re prepared to do that. We’re prepared to get our drivers tested three or four times a week, or get our essential personnel tested. So, what’s the difference? Why are you giving preference to one sport?’ ” Lawson and Tanev both made the point that while the Ontario government has rightfully ruled that the caring for races horses is essential during the a lockdown, it makes no sense that racing is not. The people caring for the horses are the same people who are at the track when racing is happening. By Steve Buffery Reprinted with permission of The Toronto Sun

After adding a "bag of five" to his expanding harness racing CV at this week's Mildura meeting, you'd think talented young Victorian reinsman Jack Laugher would be content to just enjoy the moment. But after an 800-kilometre round-trip from Bendigo and a 4.30 am finish to his Mildura mission, the single-minded Laugher was back feeding up and doing jog work early the next morning...and setting his sights on the next challenge, tomorrow night's Group One Ballarat Pacing Cup. "Yes, it was a pretty good night on Wednesday (at Mildura). You have your good runs and your bad runs in this game, and at the moment I'm having a good run, so I'm definitely enjoying that," Laugher said. "I knew I had a reasonable book of drives and three of my winners opened up at two dollars or less, I think, so I was just glad to be able to get the job done for them," he said. Laugher opened up his winning account at Mildura on White Star Village (Village Jolt - Priscilla Presley (Village Jasper) for young Mildura trainer Reece Moore. He then scored with Pembrook Charlie (Sportswriter - Pembrook Belle (Art Major) for Julie Douglas. He followed up with Maestro Bellini (Bettors Delight - Santuzza (Safely Kept) for the Kate Hargreaves stable, then continued his fine touch with Laser Major (Art Major - Virgin Goddess (Albert Albert) for Mildura trainer Rick Holmes in race 10. Laugher rounded off the "fab five" in the final race on the big 12-race fixture with Harry McKinnis (Shadyshark Hanover - Haryda Hanover (Armbro Operative) for another local trainer in Peter O'Brien. Jack Laugher back in the winner’s circle again (Photograph: Charli Masotti photography) It was a fitting high-point for Laugher who's launched impressively into the new season. Prior to his Mildura success, Laugher recorded seven wins (including three metropolitan victories), and 9 placings from 44 starters. He got 2021 off to a flier on January 2 winning with Better Be The Bomb at Melton (for Basil Dooley) then followed up the next day with a Group three win in the Central Victoria Championship with Krafty Bart (Emma Stewart). On January 4 he won at Maryborough (Fighting Fury for Emma Stewart); January 6 (Ferocious Son for Basil Dooley); January 8 (Rockasaki at Melton, Emma Stewart); January 9 (Torrid Saint at Bendigo for Julie Douglas; and January 15 (Execution Oro at Maryborough for Emma Stewart). In another career highlight, Laugher makes no secret he is thrilled to be partnering Better Be The Bomb in the Ballarat Cup. He's had four drives on the pacer for two wins and a second. "He's the best I've driven no doubt. He's a lovely horse and to get an opportunity to drive in a Group One race while I'm still a junior is a pretty special thing to me," he said. "It'll be a great just to be there and I think the horse will do his best. The race has changed complexion a little bit, with Hurricane Harley scratched. We will definitely need some luck somewhere, but we'll be doing our best." Laugher has already moved away from family in Tasmania to pursue his career, after following his dad Michael and his grandparents into the sport. "I wasn't really that interested until I was about 16. I was always going to be a mechanic, but about the same time I got offered an apprenticeship I'd already started with the horses and getting my trials licence so I was always going to go this way," he said. "Mum and Dad actually moved to Victoria when I was only little, then moved back home to look after my grandma, but dad still used to bring a team over to Victoria to campaign for a couple of months each year. "The last trip he did I came over with him and I just decided Victoria had more opportunities for me. Tassie is great, but you can usually only race twice a week there - here you can race twice a day sometimes. So I just thought if I wanted to make a living out of it, I had to move." Laugher demonstrates on a weekly basis he's willing to go almost anywhere for a drive in an effort to make the successful transition from concession to senior driving ranks. "I'm not really sure how long I have left on my claim, but it's not long, so I need to be getting those regular drives, and driving without a lift, otherwise when my claim runs out, it's going to be hard," he said. "It's nice that a lot of the ones I'm driving don't need a claim, so hopefully now that I've got a bit of a run going, I can keep it rolling." In the past COVID-extended season the youngster had 89 wins.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Tall Dark Stranger will go down in history as the winner of the 2020 Horse of the Year Award handed out by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. For the members of his ownership group, he might be remembered as the horse of a lifetime. Michelle and Al Crawford's Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Judy and Buck Chaffee's Caviart Farms, and Howard Taylor shared ownership of Tall Dark Stranger throughout his harness racing career, which concluded last fall with 19 wins and two second-place finishes among 22 starts. He earned $2.02 million lifetime. As a 3-year-old, Tall Dark Stranger won 11 of 13 races and $1.30 million. He was harness racing's only millionaire in the COVID-19 impacted season and his triumphs included the Meadowlands Pace, North America Cup, Cane Pace, and Kentucky Sire Stakes final. He is the only horse to ever win the Metro Pace and a Breeders Crown as a 2-year-old and the Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup as a 3-year-old. Tall Dark Stranger established his career-best win time of 1:47.1 in a stakes-record Cane Pace performance at The Meadowlands last August. Only six 3-year-old pacers in history have gone faster. He also won twice in 1:47.2 last season, making him the only 3-year-old pacer in history with more than two victories in 1:47.2 or faster. One of the 1:47.2 triumphs came in the Meadowlands Pace, which he won in dramatic fashion, giving up the lead to Papi Rob Hanover in the stretch before fighting back to win by a neck. He became well known for fighting his rivals in the stretch and winning tight finishes -- six of his 11 victories at 3 came by a half-length or less. One of Tall Dark Stranger‘s 1:47.2 triumphs came in the Meadowlands Pace, which he won in dramatic fashion, giving up the lead to Papi Rob Hanover in the stretch before fighting back to win by a neck.     --Lisa photo. Even in defeat, Tall Dark Stranger gained admiration. His second-place finish in last year's Breeders Crown colt-and-gelding pace came after he set a stakes record with a :52.3 half and battled nearly the entire field as he came down the stretch. He held them all off except Sandbetweenmytoes, who rallied on the far outside to win in the final strides. "Many people think that may have been his greatest race, and I wouldn't argue with that," co-owner Katz said. "But there are a lot of memories. Winning the Metro as a 2-year-old, winning the North America Cup. His victory in the Meadowlands Pace was so dramatic and his performance in the Cane was beyond spectacular. "How do you pick one highlight? He had half-a-dozen races of a lifetime." Tall Dark Stranger is the seventh male pacer in history to receive a Dan Patch Award at age 2 and be named Horse of the Year at 3. The others were Somebeachsomewhere, Nihilator, Niatross, Albatross, Bret Hanover, and Torpid. A son of Bettor's Delight out of Dan Patch Award winner Precocious Beauty, Tall Dark Stranger was bred by Jim Avritt Sr. and sold for $330,000 as a yearling at the Lexington Selected Sale. He was trained by Nancy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras. Tall Dark Stranger concluded his career last fall with 19 wins and two second-place finishes among 22 starts. He earned $2.02 million lifetime.     --New Image Media photo. Following is a compilation of comments by Tall Dark Stranger's owners, reflecting on the horse's career. Judy Chaffee: When he was a yearling, he looked the part. He was very impressive. I said to Buck at the sale, is there any such thing as being too perfect? He already looked like he owned the world, and he hadn't even sold yet. He came to know it himself. Al Crawford: Going into his first qualifier, Nancy said that he was a special colt. Then he was lights out in his qualifier, especially with his last quarter (:26.1). That's when we started to think, wow, maybe he is special. By the time he made his second or third start, you could see he had tremendous ability. Buck Chaffee: When you get into horseracing, you dream of, not even a Horse of the Year, but just a top horse. For that horse to go on and be so fantastic and end up being Horse of the Year is beyond our wildest dreams. It's like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Howard Taylor: I'm hoping I do, but I'm expecting to never have another one like him. I've had a lot of good ones, but I've never had one like him. I've never seen a horse that just says, "I'm not losing." He's just an unbelievable horse. Michelle Crawford: I don't know if there is a horse that brought more excitement to every single race. That excitement of watching him in the stretch, almost every race, there's no other horse like him. I don't know if my heart could take another year of him racing on the track. (Laughs.) But he never gave up. It was unbelievable to watch. Buck Chaffee: His races were always tense; he just never let you relax. He wouldn't get out there and blow the field away, he was wanting to duke it out with them all the time. He made your heart skip a few beats, that's for sure. Howard Taylor: My cardiologist is very happy that he's retired. He didn't want to lose, but he sure as heck didn't want to win by much. I really think that he was toying with them. In the Meadowlands Pace, I was sure he was beaten. I was counting how many others were coming to see if we could still get a check. But then he just did what he always does. It was an unbelievable race. Al Crawford: That is probably one of my favorite races of all time. The other race that stands out is the North America Cup. He just destroyed them. They just weren't able to pace with him. Marvin Katz: You lose sight of the fact he had incredible high speed and could carry it for a very long distance, which is a trait of great champions. Of course, his courage and determination, that is the unique quality everyone looks for that separates the great ones from the rest of them. But he had everything. He was the whole package. Al Crawford: He did what he needed to do to win. He's a very smart horse. Yannick didn't just send him every week, he drove him intelligently, and the colt always got home. I think he was brilliantly fast, but he also had more heart and determination than any horse I've ever seen. Buck Chaffee: Just unbelievable character. Now we're hoping he passes that along to his offspring because we're breeding a lot of mares to him, as you could imagine. We're hoping for them to carry that on. Michelle Crawford: I think he will have every chance to produce any kind of champion. Marvin Katz: I think the market considers him one of the great horses we've seen in a long time. I certainly do. It's been a magical ride. I've been fortunate to enjoy great horses and you really appreciate their brilliance after you have a chance to reflect on it. When you look at what he accomplished, he's in the most elite company possible. I think he's a horse for the ages.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - What a difference a year makes. The first three Saturdays of 2020 were solid from a business perspective at The Meadowlands, as total harness racing wagering of $7.7 million averaged out to $2.569 million per card, resulting in an average per race of $183,523. Turn the page to 2021, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic's continued miserable grip on the globe, business at the industry's handle leader has been booming. Good as the numbers were during the first three Saturdays of a year ago, thus far this year has seen tremendous gains over the corresponding race cards. Betting reached $4,562,477 on Jan. 2, which represented the third-highest single-card handle - beaten only by Meadowlands Pace Night and Hambletonian Day - over the last 13 months. A total of $3,646,603 was put in play Jan. 9 while $3,458,896 was wagered on Jan. 16. Over the three-Saturday span, a total of $11,667,976 was pushed through the windows, an average per card of $3,889,325 for an average per race of $259,388. "That's an increase of almost $4 million when compared to our first three Saturdays of the year before," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The average handle per race has increased over $65,000 and the pools are the largest we have seen on overnight racing in over a decade." Five of the Meadowlands' most popular wagers have seen average pools over the three Saturdays that are deep to say the least. The 20-cent Pick-5 has led the way by averaging $205,437. Rounding out the top five were the 50-cent Pick-4 ($99,858), Exacta ($74,125), Win-Place-Show ($63,370) and Trifecta ($53,730) bets. As usual, the track's Exacta wager continues to take the most total action. Over the last 45 races conducted on Saturdays, total Exacta play has exceeded $3.3 million. "The Meadowlands wagering menu offers horseplayers plenty of action all night long," said Settlemoir. "What an encouraging start for New Jersey racing when you see the size of our pools increase this much going up against the NFL Playoffs on Saturday nights. "We are certainly getting some new eyes on our product with our low take outs and low minimum wagers, especially now that we are offering free programs every night on our website. Low take outs equal greater payoffs, and that creates longer play. We try to create an exciting wagering format for the horseplayers and offering value for the customer is very important to us at The Meadowlands. It has been a major part of the equation to our early success in 2021." DAN PATCH AWARDS: Thanks to a cooperative effort that included The Meadowlands' TV team - both in front of and behind the camera - and The United States Harness Writers Association, the 2020 Dan Patch Awards were held before the racing card last Saturday via a virtual ceremony that was televised to every outlet that takes harness racing all over the world. The Big M's leading driver from 2020, Dexter Dunn, walked away with his second consecutive Driver of the Year trophy before going out and winning four races on the live card. As a result, Dunn will be named the track's Driver of the Week on Friday night during the nightly pre-game show. For those who would like to view the Dan Patch Awards Show, all you need to do is go to YouTube and search for "2020 Dan Patch Award Show." SOCIAL MEDIA STALWARTS: You can always check in with the team at The Meadowlands on Twitter. For early changes, racing information and staff selections, go to @themeadowlands or #playbigm. On race nights, stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Shades Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). THE SCHEDULE: Live racing at The Meadowlands takes place every Friday and Saturday evening. Post time is 6 p.m. The track's live "Racing from the Meadowlands" pre-game show begins at 5:27 p.m. This week, Otten will join Brower on set Friday night, while the team of Brower and Little will bring you the action on Saturday. CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE TRACK? There are several options for those who would rather catch the action from The Big M at home. Racing fans can watch all the races live on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv). In addition, they can watch and wager by going to the Television Games Network (tvg.com) or their favorite Advance-deposit Wagering site (ADW). CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Click on the "handicapping" tab and go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. FREE FOR ALL: Thanks to an agreement between The Meadowlands and TrackMaster, past performances for every race of every Big M program are now available at no cost. To access the free PPs, go to playmeadowlands.com. GUARANTEES SURE TO PLEASE: As any seasoned horse player knows, there are no guarantees at the racetrack. But at The Meadowlands, there are. Each 50-cent Pick-4 (one gets underway in race six, the other in race 10) sports a $50,000 guaranteed pool, which leads to pools normally in the $75,000-$100,000 range when all the action is counted. AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR: The NFL Playoffs are down to the conference championship round, and for those who want to get action on the games, all they need to do is head for The Meadowlands' FanDuel Sportsbook. On Sunday (Jan. 24), the first game is the NFC title game, which is slated for 3:05 p.m. Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (-3). The AFC Championship is the late game at 6:40 p.m. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills will be in Kansas City to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (-3). The big question: Will Patrick Mahomes be able to play? Hours for the track's FanDuel Sportsbook are from 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday. Meadowlands Media Relations  

MILTON, January 21, 2021 - Woodbine Entertainment today unveiled the tentative schedule for the 2021 harness racing stakes season at Woodbine Mohawk Park. More than $20 million in stakes races, including over $12 million in Woodbine administrated events, will be contested at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 2021. "While we continue to advocate for the safe return of live Standardbred Racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park, we are preparing for an exciting 2021 Standardbred meet," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "With a proven track record and industry-leading health and safety protocols already in place, we are confident that when it is safe and permitted to resume horse racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park, we will be well positioned to restart the industry and the thousands of jobs it supports." Currently, horse racing (without spectators) is not permitted until at least February 10 in Ontario due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions. However, Woodbine Entertainment has published this 2021 stakes schedule (subject to the latest government restrictions) to provide horse people with the information required to prepare for the season. Typically kicking off in May, the 2021 Woodbine Mohawk Park stakes season is headlined by the million-dollar Pepsi North America Cup and Mohawk Million races. The 38th Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacers will take place on Saturday, June 19 and is the headline event on a stacked Grand Circuit card of racing. The eliminations for the $1 million contest take place a week prior on Saturday, June 12. The Pepsi North America Cup card will also include the $450,000 Fan Hanover (three-year-old pacing fillies), $330,000 Roses Are Red (pacing mares), $250,000 Armbro Flight (trotting mares), $250,000 Goodtimes (three-year-old trotters) and $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup (invitational pace). The second edition of the Mohawk Million is scheduled for Saturday, September 25. The $1 million race for two-year-old trotters continues to follow a "buy-in" format with nine slots available for purchase. Each slot available for purchase in the Mohawk Million is priced at $100,000 (CAD). The tenth and final slot will be awarded to the winner of the $610,000 William Wellwood Memorial on Saturday, September 11. The deadline to purchase a slot is February 15, 2021. The Mohawk Million card on September 25 is scheduled to be the richest card of the season. The lineup for the night also includes the prestigious $850,000 Metro Pace (two-year-old pacers), $540,000 Shes A Great Lady (two-year-old pacing fillies) and $250,000 Milton (pacing mares). The month of September is loaded with rich stakes events each Saturday, starting with the $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot on September 4 and closing with Mohawk Million night on September 25. The $610,000 Wellwood Memorial (two-year-old trotters) and $400,000 Peaceful Way (two-year-old trotting fillies) take place on September 11, while the $600,000 Canadian Trotting Classic (three-year-old trotters) and $375,000 Elegantimage (three-year-old trotting fillies) are scheduled for September 18. The traditional Champlain and Simcoe Stakes are sprinkled throughout the end of August and early September. Other notable Grand Circuit races include the Somebeachsomewhere (three-year-old pacers) on Saturday, June 5, Nassagaweya (two-year-old pacers) and Eternal Camnation (two-year-old pacing fillies) on Saturday, August 28, and Casual Breeze (three-year-old trotting fillies) on Friday, September 3. Woodbine Mohawk Park will also host a leg of the Miss Versatility (trotting mares) on Friday, May 28, and Graduate Series (four-year-olds) on Saturday, June 5. Both events are administrated by The Meadowlands. The Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals and Grassroots Championships will again be held at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 2021. Final dates for the Ontario Sires Stakes season will be released at a later date. Nominations for all Woodbine Standardbred Stakes close on Monday, February 15. Conditions and payment details can be found in the 2021 Woodbine Stakes Booklet. Woodbine continues to administrate stakes for Ontario Racetracks in 2021, including Grand River Raceway, Flamboro Downs, Clinton Raceway and Hanover Raceway. Stakes payments for all Woodbine administrated events can be made payable to Woodbine Entertainment. Payments can be made through the Race Office, by mail or online. The entire 2021 stakes schedule for Woodbine Mohawk Park is available here. Mark McKelvie

Marloe Hanover wires the field in the Mares Open/Select pace at Dover Downs on Wednesday (Jan.20) night. Marloe Hanover was launched from post eight by harness racing driver Andrew McCarthy at the start of the race. She was parked to the quarter in :26.3 by a headstrong Shes Pukk N and Tony Morgan. Marloe Hanover led the field to the half in :55.1. Dexter Dunn hustled Any Time N to the outside from fifth and raced coverless down the backstretch in pursuit of the leader. Marloe Hanover reached the three quarters in 1:23.3. In the stretch, Marloe Hanover N dug to win by a diminishing half length in 1:51.1 and paced the final quarter in :27.3. Marloe Hanover (Captaintrecherous) the 4/5 race favorite, is owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc. Nifty Norman trains and Andrew McCarthy drove. Shes Pukka N secured the pocket and finished second for trainer Brian Malone and driver Tony Morgan. Anytime N raced a grueling first over trip and finished third. Josh Green trains and Dexter Dunn drove. Dexter Dunn and Tim Tetrick each won three races on the card. On Thursday (Jan.21) Dover Downs will offer a $10,000 guaranteed Pick-5 with a 15% takeout.The Pick-5 begins with the 10th race and concludes on the 14th race. The post time for Dover Downs is 4:30 p.m.     Alex Kraszewski Dover Downs

Hurricane Harley is a shock scratching from Saturday's PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup as connections await veterinary advice regarding his future racing prospects. Owner Anne Anderson said the horse pulled up sore in a hind leg after trackwork at trainer Emma Stewart's stables on Wednesday and had been withdrawn from the Group 1 feature for precautionary reasons. "He'll be obviously going to the Ballarat vets and we will see what the outcome is there," she told thetrots.com.au. "All I know is that they weren't happy with him when he pulled up yesterday at Emma's." The scratching opens the door for emergency Kawalski Analysis to gain a start in Saturday night's race, with the Matthew Craven-trained up-and-comer to leave from barrier 10. Hurricane Harley's absence has also seen favourite Lochinvar Art tighten in TAB markets to $1.15. Anderson said her horse had seemingly been progressing well after his most recent seventh placing in the Ultimate Machete Vicbred Super Series 4YO Colts and Geldings Final on December 31. "He's been terrific. He's been one of those horses that you love to have at Emma's because he has never put in a wrong step," she said. "We were looking forward to the few races he has got coming up and especially with the random barrier draws because that helps Harley. He has got to draw the front. "I don't know that he would have won (the Ballarat Pacing Cup) over that (2710m) distance - that was always a query for me - but at the same time it was nice to draw two." Anderson said next month's Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup hadn't really been part of her plans with the son of Bettors Delight, with a crack at the Miracle Mile a more likely major target. "We were just going to look at some other country cups for him and maybe even the Miracle Mile, but we just don't know now. It's just wait and see, and see what the vet tells us."   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Vincent is a four time Group 1 winner who set records from 1 mile to 2700 metres. All told, he recorded 16 wins from 19 starts with four harness racing Group 1 victories. He had it all. Vincent is a dream horse with a dream resume for a stallion – type, pedigree and performance over all distances. Co-trainer, Mark Purdon is full of admiration for the horse that was harness racing’s brightest rising star: “He was a great young horse, the best of his year as a three-year-old. He came back great as a four-year-old and I thought he would eventually take Lazarus’ place and go on to be the best horse in Australasia.” He is a truly outstanding type with a pedigree to match. His pedigree lines him up beautifully with daughters of most of the best stallions that stand or have stood at stud in recent times. By champion sire Art Major with a Group 1 winning dam and granddam, Vincent will look to pass his excellence onto his offspring. Lot 58 Vinsanity 21NSYS, Lot 58 from NZB Karaka on Vimeo.   Lot 58 at the National Standardbred Yearling Sale is Vinsanity, a Vincent colt out of Alta Flamenco (A Rocknroll Dance). Vinsanity is part of the first crop of Vincent selling at this year's Yearling Sales.  Vinsanity boasts an excellent pedigree, coming from the same family which produced Alta Christiano. An uber talented racehorse, Alta Christiano tragically died early into his promising stallion career. Alta Flamenco is out of the excellent producer Alta Camilla, making her a half-sister to the brilliant Alta Maestro (9 wins, 1:53.3 as a 2yo and 1:53 as a 3yo), Alta Jerome (30 wins, $350,018, 1:50.6 USA), Alta Surreal (17 wins), Alta Teresa (10 wins) and the talented 3yo Alta Sensation (2 wins). The pedigree of this colt carries a modern variation of the outstanding Rocknroll Hanover - Artsplace cross. In this case the great cross is mirrored with the Artsplace in the sires line and the Rocknroll Hanover in the maternal line. He is a tall and athletic type resembling his namesake Vince Carter, a former NBA Basketballer nicknamed Vinsanity in part because of his unbelievable dunking ability. This striking colt will be hard to miss at the sales. Harnesslink Media    

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A $7,400 Open Trot that finds Silverhill Volo aiming for his fifth straight harness racing victory and a $7,200 Filly and Mare Open Pace with Bertha Vanation eyeing the hat trick are the marquee events on Sunday's Cal Expo card. There will be 12 races under the Watch and Wager LLC banner and things get underway at 4:55 p.m.The Open Trot is scheduled as the third race, while the Distaff Open will occupy the sixth-race slot on the evening. Silverhill Volo, perfect in his four outings at this meet, looks to keep the streak going in the Open Trot while leaving from the assigned outside post in the field of nine. A 10-year-old son of Muscle Hill, Silverhill Volo is owned, trained and driven by Chip Lackey. He is eyeing his 29th victory from 140 trips to the post, has $168,000 in his bank account and sports a 1:55 1/5 mark. Silverhill Volo has raced up close and personal in all his wins here, including a coast-to-coast decision in the Joe Lighthill two back. He was hard used while first over in his most recent tally three weeks ago, pulling away by two and a half lengths while making 3-5 look like a gift. Mandeville could prove to be the main rival for owner/driver/trainer Gerry Longo. The 9-year-old sidewheeler had a second, a third and a fifth-place finish behind Silverhill Volo before returning to his winning ways two weeks ago in a conditioned affair. Leaving from the outside post in the field of seven, he left into a pocket journey, then had the needed response when asked in the lane and drew off by a length and a quarter. It was the 31st snapshot in 142 trips to the post for Mandeville, who pushed his earnings close to the $270,000 mark. He lands two slots inside his main rival in the No.7 post for this go-around. In the co-featured Distaff Open, Bertha Vanation has posted back-to-back surprise scores at the top rung for owners Bill and Cathy Dessert and driver/trainer Nick Roland, working out sweet trips on both occasions. This time around she will be asked to depart from the assigned outside slot in the field of seven. Bertha Vanation longshot players delight Those who have backed Bertha Vanation in her last two starts at the head of the distaff pacing ranks have been nicely rewarded, as the mare clicked at 25-1 weeks ago and came back to get the job done at 7-1 last Saturday evening. The 6-year-old daughter of Voracious Hanover is owned by Cathy and Bill Dessert and is trained and driven by Nick Roland, who has been able to work out perfect two-hole trips with Bertha Vanation for those two upsets. "I've been with Cathy and Bill for five or six years now and we bought this horse from her breeder John Hendricks three years ago," Nick related. "She got sick on us this summer and kind of went off form, but the minute she got here she perked right up and showed how much she likes this track." Bertha Vanation won her first start at the meet, had to settle for minor awards in her next two tries, then missed a couple of weeks before suiting up for the January 2 Filly and Mare Open where she dismissed at 25-1 from the No. 2 slot. "Because she'd missed some time, she needed every bit of that two-hole trip and the moderate fractions to get there by a nose," Roland noted. Nick admits he didn't see another pocket journey in Bertha Vanation's future when she left from the No. 4 post in a compact cast last week, but the racing gods were once again in her favor and she prevailed once more at the head of the class. "I didn't see it happening on paper, but for whatever reason Brighten Your Life didn't go and I left hard for the top. I didn't mind it at all when Delightfully Wild retook the lead and we were able to work out another good trip." Upsets are often made of such things. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund has published its list of eligible stallions for the 2021 breeding season. The list includes 34 registered standardbred stallions. The full Stallion Directory, featuring pedigrees, career statistics and earnings of the eligible stallions, is currently available online. Hard copies of the Stallion Directory will be available through the Fund upon request. Eligible stallions are those stallions that have met the ownership or leasing requirements of the Fund and were registered by the Jan. 1 deadline. Copies of the 2021 New York Stallion Directory can be requested by calling 518-388-0178 or emailing info@nysirestakes.com. Keep up to date with news by visiting www.nysirestakes.com. About the Agriculture & NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund:  The Agriculture & NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the state. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races.  
The Illinois Racing Board unanimously certified the dispersal of $12.2 million in recapture fees to the state's three horse racing tracks on Thursday ahead of the 2021 harness racing season.   Though still a point of consternation for the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA), the process went far smoother than last year's certification, when ITHA Executive Director David McCaffrey pointed out a potential flaw in the recapture accounting methods and found himself in a spirited back-and-forth with then-IRB Chairman Jeffrey Brincat.   On Thursday, McCaffrey noted the biggest problem remains the state's General Assembly not reimbursing the Illinois Department of Agriculture -- which oversees horse racing in Illinois -- to make the overnight purse whole after the recapture money is distributed to the tracks. McCaffrey said this part of the law "has not been followed since 1999" and claimed that nearly $300 million in recapture fees have been distributed to the tracks, a total that includes since-closed tracks at Maywood and Balmoral, since it took effect in 1995. (Ed. note - $98 Million to Arlington Park and $298 Million to all other tracks in 25 years (since 1995.))   Hawthorne Race Course, which is in the process of constructing a racino that has a target opening of December, received nearly $5.2 million in recapture fees for both thoroughbred and harness racing. Hawthorne, though, is deferring its collection of recapture fees until the racino is operational and had previously deferred $3.4 million in recapture fees from the 2020 fiscal year.   Arlington International, whose parent company Churchill Downs has not committed to racing at the facility beyond this season, was awarded $4.95 million, while Fairmount Park Race Track -- which also has plans to expand into a racino -- received nearly $2 million.   The return of the St. Louis Derby at Fairmount Park Race Track near the end of Thursday's meeting, Fairmount Park Race Track General Manager Melissa Helton announced the track has requested Aug. 26 as the date for the running of the St. Louis Derby, which would mark the first time the stakes race will be held in Collinsville (Illinois) since 2006. As part of FanDuel 's rebranding of the track to FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing, the sports betting titan is funding the $250,000 event.   Helton added FanDuel would be in demo at the track starting Monday, though COVID-19 mitigations where the track is located in the SouthWestern part of Illinois do not currently allow patrons at the grounds.   FanDuel announced in November it would transfer its sports betting license from Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino to Fairmount Park Race Track, which was granted a Master Sports Wagering organizational license by the Illinois Gaming Board in late October.   Chris Altruda @altruda83 has been a sportswriter with ESPN, the Associated Press , and STAYS over more than two decades. He recently expanded into covering sports betting and gambling around the Midwest. The Horseman's Voice
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The wins just keep on coming for harness racing driver Dexter Dunn. The 31-year-old New Zealand native, who was named the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year for a second straight time last week, registered four winners on the Friday night card at The Meadowlands. Before the start of the program, Dunn was awarded The Big M's Driver of the Week after winning seven times last weekend (Jan. 15-16), and now sits atop the standings at the mile oval with 19 victories in the early stages of the Winter-Spring-Championship Meeting. Dunn's backers got to cash in some nice prices, as after winning with 1-5 public choice Billion Dollar Day ($2.60 to win in race one), the track's leading driver (with 131 wins) during 2020 scored with Smooth Aceleration ($11.40 in the fifth) and Tango Dancer N ($12.40 in the featured 10th) before completing his grand slam with Alexander Hanover ($14.40 in the 13th). Tango Dancer N Another Down Under standout, Australia native Andy McCarthy, had a big night as well, scoring three times during the night. His fans were smiling after those races as McCarthy's winners (Rockin Panda, Always Mindy, Sheikh Yabooty N) were sent to the gate at odds of 7-2, 7-1 and 10-1. Sheikh Yabooty N PICK-6 CARRYOVER: With a sequence that began with a 10-1 chance and a 27-1 long shot, no one hit the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover for Saturday night's program of $7,293. Those who had five winners cashed in for $347.34. Free past performances for the entire Saturday card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. HIGHS AND LOWS: With three odds-on choices scoring during the sequence, the 20-cent Pick-5 returned $75.90. In sharp contrast, the Early 50-cent Pick-4 saw no winning favorites and a healthy payout of $8,987.35. A LITTLE MORE: Simon Allard drove two winners on the program while Kelvin Harrison registered a training double. ... Play in the two Pick-4s was predictably vigorous, as the two pools combined to see over $160,000 in action. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,806,228, the third consecutive Friday where at least $2.8 million was pushed through the windows. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations
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