Day At The Track
Don Maiorano and Soapy Sap

14yo Soapy Sap 'definition of a professional'

For more than a decade, harness racing trainer Don Maiorano has counted on Soapy Sap. Now, as Maiorano counts down the days to the 14-year-old female trotter's retirement at the end of the year, he is especially grateful for their time together. "We've lasted longer than most marriages," Maiorano said, laughing. "I know it's a business, but you get attached. There were many times when she bailed me out. She's part of the family, really. She will be missed, for sure." Maiorano bought Soapy Sap at age 3 in October 2006. For her career, she has won 39 of 318 races and earned $529,565 in purses. All but 20 of her starts and one of her victories came with Maiorano, who in addition to owning the mare is her trainer. Soapy Sap never won six figures in any year, but she was dependable and durable despite diminutive size. Over the past 25 years, no female trotter has started more races at the Meadowlands, where she raced 106 times in her career. She won 13 races at the Big M, including legs of the Singer Memorial and Super Bowl series, and finished among the top three a total of 40 times. Overall, she hit the board 144 times and earned a paycheck in 218 races. "She's the definition of a professional," Maiorano said. "I was offered money for her, but I turned it down. I'm not a guy with a lot of money, but I enjoy this and it's a lot more fun when you have a nice horse. It was fun racing at the Meadowlands against those big horses in those series and winning a couple races. It was just a good feeling." Maiorano, who has a two-horse stable, is based at Johnson Park in Piscataway, N.J., on the banks of the Raritan River. Although the park is surrounded by busy roads, with the city of New Brunswick across the river and Rutgers University campuses also nearby, it is a quiet location. The park, with a half-mile track, was once a bustling part of the state's racing scene, but is now home to only a handful of horses. "I've been down here since the '70s," said Maiorano, who in addition to training horses has owned a taxicab and worked in construction. "She's been stabled at some other places, but she can get a little hot with a lot of other horses around and grab on. "Over here, she's nice and relaxed. When she's ready to jog she'll start jogging herself. After about 20 or 25 minutes she'll know she's had enough. At this age, I let her basically do what she wants to do to stay happy. She's happy here. She watches the people in the park; out her back window she watches the deer. I don't know if she would have lasted this long if she was somewhere else." Soapy Sap is one of 64 horses to race this year at age 14. Harness racing's mandatory retirement age is 15, with all horses celebrating their birthdays on Jan. 1. Maiorano expects Soapy Sap to make two more starts before the end of the year, with the first being Friday at Freehold Raceway. When her career on the track comes to an end, Maiorano would like to see her begin a new career as a broodmare. Soapy Sap, who has a mark of 1:53.4 set at the Meadowlands as a 7-year-old, is a daughter of Yankee Glide out of Alphabet Love. "She has a great attitude," Maiorano said. "A lot of people told me she was a real fun horse to watch. She's so little and would sit in the pack and if she was within three lengths of the leader at the three-quarter pole she was usually right there with them at the end. She just dug in and gave you her best. "That's why I would love to see a foal out of her. I know she's not real big and she stands a little crooked up front, but she goes." Maiorano would like to breed Soapy Sap himself, but has received calls from several people interested in buying the mare. "I'm going to try my best to do something myself because I would love to have a foal from her, but that's a dream pretty much because I'm not sure I could afford to do it," Maiorano said. "The most important thing is I want to give her a good home. She deserves a good home." Maiorano is thankful for the assistance he received over the years with Soapy Sap, from the drivers to the veterinarians and farriers. "I've had a good team behind me and they helped make this all possible," Maiorano said. "Her legs are still like a 2-year-old. She doesn't act her age. On the racetrack she still wants to go." When Soapy Sap retires, Maiorano will turn his full attention to his remaining horse, 6-year-old trotter Latoka, and try to find another horse to fill Soapy Sap's shoes. "I've always been a small guy; I've pretty much always owned and raced everything myself," Maiorano said. "It's very hard, especially nowadays, to replace a horse. And to get something like her, I'll probably never have another one. Hopefully I can replace her, but she's going to be hard to replace. I'm just happy to have had one like her for all this time." Ken Weingartner  

Focus Power, Harness Racing

Horses of the meet at Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) have announced their harness racing "horses of the meet" for 2017 at Batavia Downs. Pacer of the Meet: Focus Power While racing in the top Open class for 13 starts at Batavia, western New York newcomer Focus Power won three times and finished second another five while amassing $36,010 in purses. He was on fire in September when he won three out of four starts while setting two new lifetime marks during that period (September 2, 1:53 and September 23, 1:52.4). After being claimed at Yonkers just prior to the start of the Batavia meet, Focus Power made an immediate impact to the good fortunes of owner James Caradori and trainer Darrin Monti. Driver Drew Monti was aboard for every start. Overall Focus Power has nine wins in 2017 and earnings that total $97,395. Trotter of the Meet: BZ Glide BZ Glide was a fixture in the weekly Open trot once again this year and showed although he's getting older, he hasn't lost a step. In 15 starts against the local best, BZ Glide won three with six seconds and a third banking $34,405 in the process. He also set a seasonal mark of 1:56.3. As has been the case every year, the family affair of Alana Caprio training and Mike Caprio driving, the two also team up in ownership of the big trotting gelding. For the year, BZ Glide has a total of five wins and earnings of $52,405. Mare of the Meet: Voltina Competing the entire meet in the fillies and mares Open I or II, Voltina was as tough as they came winning three Open I's and one Open II along with six second place finishes and took home purses totaling $34,060. She took her seasonal mark of 1:55 at Batavia as well. Owned by CHS Racing LLC, the Tony Cummings-trained Voltina had a career year winning a total of eight races and earning $69,456 in purses. Kevin Cummings was aboard for the majority of her starts. Claimer of the Meet: Quicksilvercandy A Listed as the winning-est pacer in North America for a good portion of the year, Quicksilvercandy A had a field day racing at Batavia Downs. Moving up and down the class ladder, the mare ended up winning seven claiming races including the $20,000 Claiming Championship final for her division in November. Her four seconds and two thirds also helped bump up her bankroll to $40,165 for the meet. Owned and driven by Larry Stalbaum, Quicksilvercandy A recorded a career year of 20 wins and $108,994 in earnings under the training of Kim Asher. Most Improved Horse of the Meet: In Runaway Bay N In Runaway Bay N came to Batavia Downs off a less than stellar early part of the year. He made his first start at Batavia in August, winning in the bottom class; non-winners of $1,000 in 1:55.1. He strung together four wins while working his way up to the Open where he finished second two weeks in a row. The following week he faced Foiled Again and finished a respectable fourth to the richest Standardbred of all time. Since then he has won three Open paces. For the meet, he took a seasonal mark of 1:53.1 and earned $39,050. In Runaway Bay N is owned by Super Mile LLC and is trained by Angelo Nappo. Kevin Cummings was in the bike for the bulk of the work. The connections of these horses will be presented their trophies in the winner's circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 16) during the 10th annual "Night of Distinction" awards ceremony. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for UNY USHWA  

Social Media, harness racing

Reminder – Social Media Policy

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) is mindful of the important role social media forums have in relation to engaging in discussion and debate on key harness racing issues. As part of its role in the industry, wherever possible, HRV is increasing the openness and transparency of information using social media and other forums. It is however expected that use of social media is conducted in an appropriate and reasonable manner, and HRV Stewards will take a strong stance on comments which are deemed to be malicious, false or otherwise improper.  The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Integrity Department have recently became aware of concerning comments made on social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook. Letters will be sent shortly directing a number of licensed participants, including some registered owners, to attend inquiries before the HRV Stewards in early January 2018.    Participants in the Victorian harness racing industry are urged to remain conscious and aware of their obligations in regard to the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) and the HRV ‘Social Media Policy for Participants’. The relevant AHRR and Policy applies to all licensed persons and registered owners and is available here:  For any queries in relation to this policy please contact the HRV Integrity Department on 8378 0222. Harness Racing Victoria

Matthew Craven, harness racing

Trainer-driver fined $4,000

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer-driver Matthew Craven.  AHRR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances The charge under AHRR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Craven related to a blood sample taken from the horse ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ at the Terang trial meeting on 18 June 2017. The definition of a ‘race’ within the AHRR includes an official trial. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that the analysis of the blood sample revealed it to contain the prohibited substances triamcinolone acetonide and meloxicam. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in NSW confirmed these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant blood sample Mr Craven pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and barrister Damien Sheales, representing Mr Craven. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board highlighted Mr Craven’s cooperation throughout the investigation and guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, along with his good record in the industry. The HRV RAD Board also emphasised the purpose of the rules in relation to prohibited substances and the dangers associated with horses competing with these substances in their system.  Mr Craven was subsequently fined $4000, of which $2000 was suspended for a period of 12 months.  ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ was scratched at the track prior to competing in the trial. HRV RAD Board Hearing – Matthew Craven HRV RAD Board Panel: Alanna Duffy (Chair), Peter Kilduff, Rod Osborne

Dual Tasmanian Youngblood's Challenge harness racing champion Matthew Howlett will represent Tasmania at the Garrard's 2017 Australasian Young Driver Championships in Brisbane this week. The best young talent from each state, along with three representatives from New Zealand arrived in Brisbane to tackle the first round of heats at Redcliffe tonight (Wednesday). The AYDC Series, showcasing the star drivers of tomorrow, then moves to Albion Park on Friday, December 15 with the last round of heats conducted on the final night of the Queensland Summer Carnival on December 16. Albion Park's chairman David Fowler said the Australasian Young Drivers Championship provided many benefits for both the drivers and industry. "These are our driving stars for the future and series like these give them a really good shot of being in the national limelight," he said. "The young drivers are chosen for their natural ability, it will be the cream of harness racing's National young talent campaigning so punters won't be afraid to put their money on them," he added. Matthew became the youngest winner of the '60 degrees' Youngblood's Challenge in 2013 at just 16 years of age and repeated his title win again in 2016. Proudly following his father and grandfather's footsteps into harness racing, Matthew first hit the track in pony races at six years of age. Matthew's driving career commenced in November of 2012 and he greeted the winner's circle just two months later, he went on to clinch the 2015/16 Tasmanian Junior Drivers Title and has racked up 60 winners in total including a victory last night with Rockin An Rollin at Luxbet Park. 2107 Australasian Young Drivers Championship - State and New Zealand representatives: Todd McCarthy (NSW - defending champion). Narissa McMullen (QLD). Chris Geary (NSW). Michael Grantham (WA). Jayden Brewin (SA). Jason Lee (VIC). Sheree Tomlinson (NZ). Dylan Ferguson (NZ). Kimberly Butt (NZ). Matthew Howlett (TAS). Peter Staples

Victoria’s trots industry is mourning the loss of a gentleman of the harness racing sport after Bob Conroy died on Tuesday at age 88. The Daylesford trainer and brilliant horseman enjoyed a life dedicated to harness racing, which he shared with his wife Pat and their five children, including Glenn, Anne-Maree and Peter, who themselves have combined to drive more than 800 winners. Renowned as an outstanding trainer of trotters, Mr Conroy spent a life training from Daylesford, having been raised in nearby Korweinguboora before occupying the former Daylesford Trotting Club track, from where he would often venture into neighbouring Hepburn Regional Park to educate his horses. A trots trainer, driver and breeder, Mr Conroy’s training successes include Mary Beverley’s win in the 1973 V. L. Dullard Cup, Lincoln Star's win in the 1978 Bendigo Pacing Cup and 1978 Italian Cup, and the Lightfoot Laurels on four occasions (Lucy Lastic 1997, Miss Universe 1999 and 2001 and False Gem on 2008). His greatest stakes win came when Amazon captured the $30,000 Australasian Trotters Championship final in 1984 and then the same year the E B Cochran Memorial Trotters Cup, while notable triumphs also include Mister Everest in the 1990 Chris E Howe Trotters Cup, two Central Victorian Trotting Championships in 1991 (Omaorio) and 2005 (Sutters Glory), the 1996 Coulter Crown with Lucy Lastic, First Signal's win in the 1999 Cranbourne Trotters Cup and then the R C Freestone Trotters Cup with Miss Universe. Other notable performers he trained throughout his distinguished career included multiple metropolitan winners King’s Pride, Eden’s Return, Magic Madge, Minnesota Fats, Hot And Dry, Kyvalley Duke, Speeding Fine, Baltic Prince and Looks Like Me. Mr Conroy’s trotters Bootleg Bert and Margaret Ruth delivered his last trotting wins. Bootleg Bert won the Decron Trot at Melton on December 4 while driven by Glenn and Margaret Ruth won at Geelong on Saturday night, when Anne-Maree drove her to victory in a heat of the Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship. Harness Racing Victoria extends sincere condolences to Mr Conroy’s family, colleagues and friends. Harness Racing Victoria      

DOVER, Del --- I Love My Boss made good use of leaving from post 1 as arguably the finest Delaware-sired harness racing trotter came down the passing lane, and when front-trotting Thereisademoninme broke stride nearing the finish line, reached the finish line first in 1:55.3 to win the $25,000 Open trot at Dover Downs. Jonathan Roberts was content to race behind Thereisademoninme this week, after cutting the mile last week, to only finish third beaten three-quarters of a length. Uva Hanover with Tim Tetrick driving put pressure on Thereisademoninme from mid-backstretch until late in the stretch, and finished third but was placed second. Thereisademoninme was a breaking second in the photo but was disqualified because of a lapped-on break and place fourth. Kanthaka, handled by Tony Morgan, was fourth then placed third. I Love My Boss, the former DSBF champion at two and three, was bred and races for trainer Bob Shahan and Jim and Ashley Parsons. Now six, the Don Boss Vita-Wild One gelding has won $108,956 this season and $498.220 lifetime. The prior race, a $13,500 Winners trot, was won by John DeVito's My Cherry Pie trained by Jenny Melander and driven by Corey Callahan. Soda Pump (Tetrick) was second with Blownoutofthewater (Morgan) third. Jim Moore's Royal Becca J (Jack Parker Jr.) in 1:56.3Hollywood Highway (Tim Tetrick) in 1:55.2 won $12,000 Winners sub-feature trots. Dedododo Dedadada made longshot music in a $12,000 Winners pace at 53-1 odds with Russell Foster in the bike. Jigtime Jones (Tyler Davis) and Teggers Hanover (Vic Kirby) finished second and third respectively. Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Allan Davis and trainer Mike Hall had two wins each. Enhance Your Mind, Jag Out and Sweet Bobbie lead eight fast female pacers in the Wednesday $25,000 Mares Open pace feature Race. ENHANCE YOUR MIND HEADS $25,000 MARES OPEN WEDNESDAY Enhance Your Mind, last season’s Horse of the Meet is back in top form after a win last week in the $25,000 Mares Open pace on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at Dover Downs. Owned by trainer Bryan Truitt, Enhance Your Mind has won half of her 18 starts and $133,020 this year. Vic Kirby is her regular driver. Jag Out, racing for Hochsprung, JL Benson and Nick Surick stables. with Tony Morgan drew post 8 after an impressive second last week, also from the outside. Owner-trainer Gary Ewing’s Sweet Bobbie and Art StaffordJr. Has won three of her last five outings. The sharp Diva’s Image leaves from the rail for trainer Jen Bonjiorno and owners  Our Hrs Cents, Stable 45 and J&T Silva stables, will be in the hands of Tim Tetrick, Mike Casalino’s Nat A Virgin and Corey Callahan, Mike Hall’s St. Kitts with Jonathan Roberts in the bike, Joe Davino, Pat O’Brian and Brad Shackman’s Keystone Riptide, guided by Ross Wolfenden. And completing the field is Legacy Racing’s Empress Deo steered by Ross Wolfenden, fresh from a win last time out.. Dover Downs now features a 50-cent Pick 5 wager starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Marv Bachrad

A man accused of lying to a Queensland corruption watchdog investigation into harness racing match-fixing has been charged with perjury as the cheating scandal around the industry continues. The 35-year-old, who was charged with match-fixing in November, is accused of lying to the Crime and Corruption Commission about his participation in match- fixing conduct and the release of inside information. His perjury charges come after Queensland’s championship-leading driver and prominent industry identity Shane Robert Graham and another of the state’s top harness racing drivers, Leonard Cain, were charged on Sunday in relation to the long-running sting. Graham has been charged with two counts of disclosing the knowledge to another about a relevant bet, two counts of facilitating match-fixing conduct for a pecuniary benefit and one count of encouraging another person to make a relevant bet. Shane Graham at the Beenleigh watchhouse. Photo Annette Dew The alleged cheating operation was at the time likened by Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett to organised crime. The allegations of match-fixing centre on two races at Albion Park in July and October. On Monday, a 65-year-old man was charged over allegations he knew of a match-fixing arrangement when he put bets on a race. Those charged under the ongoing investigation into major and organised crime around racing circles remain before the courts. “The Queensland racing crime squad will pursue all information received regarding match-fixing and criminal conduct across all codes of racing,” Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said on Tuesday. Reprinted with the permission of The Courier Mail

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 12, 2017 -- Bessie pocketed Classical Annie from the gate and kept her there throughout the mile as she captured Tuesday's $15,000 harness racing filly & mare winners Over $10,000 Life Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Bessie had little trouble thwarting the first-over challenge of Dreamsteeler for Jim Pantaleano, and she was just as strong late, downing Classical Annie by 3/4 lengths in 1:56.4 over a "good" surface. Dirty Secret was a ground-saving third. Rick Clapper trains Bessie, a 6-year-old daughter of Equinox Bi-Cantab's Chorine who now boasts $367,097 in career earnings, for Paula Clapper, Umholtz Racing Stable and Kennedy Sports Corp. It was one of three wins for Pantaleano on the 13-race card.  THE MEADOWS ADDS $20,000 GUARANTEE FOR WEDNESDAY PICK 5 On Wednesday, Dec. 13, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $20,000 total-pool guarantee for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Tuesday’s Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a two-day carryover of $6,469.87. In addition, Wednesday’s card includes a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4, a regular feature of each program at The Meadows. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 8-12) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Wednesday’s program is 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

DAYTON, OH. - Guatemala native Edgar Herrera fell in love with race horses shortly after his family moved to Illinois when he was 14 years old. His father found regular work on the backstretches of Chicago's tracks and it wasn't long before Edgar started cleaning stalls and gradually learning the harness racing ropes too. When the affable 27-year-old got an opportunity to move to Ohio with trainer Bob Phillips two years ago, he was anxious to spread his wings. In addition to his normal caretaker barn duties, Herrera serves as Phillips' second trainer and shipper as well. While Edgar appreciates his regularly weekly stipend for all his hard work, he is especially grateful for the chance Phillips gave him to drive enough qualifying races to earn his provisional drivers license last April. While being a full-time catch-driver is not on his bucket list, finding his way to the winner's circle at least once has been a goal he has dreamed about often. The dream came true on Monday afternoon (Dec. 11) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway when Herrera guided the trotter Donnas Dream to a 1:57.3 gate-to-wire triumph in a $10,000 condition/claiming event. The 3-year-old filly from the Philllips Stable was sent directly to the front from the innermost post position and held off Bosston Tahoe (Jason Brewer) and Speed N Home (Kyle Wilfong) in the stretch, prompting a wide grin on Herrera's face that was still evident an hour later. "I may just retire from driving now," joked Edgar, "because I don't want this feeling to ever go away. I can't believe it!" It took Herrera 52 drives to get his initial score, but the wait was well worth it. "I'm glad my parents moved us here. I love America! You can find work doing something you like, and make your dreams come true." For Donnas Dream, it was her sixth lifetime victory and boosted her career earnings to $123,853. The daughter of Power Play is owned by the Blackfoot Farms of Illinois. Gregg Keidel

DOVER, Del --- Feel Like A Fool enjoyed an excellent outside trip behind Emeritus Maximus (Russell Foster) on the backstretch before moving three-wide on the final turn to take the lead on the way to 1:52 harness racing victory in the Monday, Dec. 11 feature race at Dover Downs. Tony Morgan wins four, needs 20 for 16,000th. It was only the second time this meet that Tim Tetrick drove the millionaire winning gelding for trainer Bob Clark and owner Kovack Stables and second win. Singing Saint (Tony Morgan) closed strongly to finish second. Skyful Of Lighters (Allan Davis) was third. The nine-year-old altered son of Art Major-Fool That I Am won for the fifth time in 2017 good for $49,116 this year and $1,211,156 lifetime. The longshot on the card came when Eddie Davis Jr. piloted Warrawee Monarch, owned by The Wiz Kids Stable, and trained by Bart Dalious to a 1:54.3 victory in a Delaware pace. Middle Aged Crazy (Jonathan Roberts) was second in front of race favorite Bad Man Sam (Corey Callahan). Tony Morgan's four winners give him 15,980 lifetime, the second highest for a North American driver. Corey Callahan had two wins as did trainer Bobby Clark. CELBRITY PEGASUS, THERESADEMONINME HEAD TUESDAY $25,000 TROT Tuesday has become top trotting day at Dover Downs.  Last week, Celebrity Pegasus  came from far back to end Theresademoninme’s win streak in the $25,000 Open trot. This week they meet again on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Post time is 4:30 p.m.  Art Stafford Jr. driving Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Ianquinta and Minisink Farms’ Celebrity Pegasus trained by Eric Ell, got away last in an eight horse field last Tuesday but rallied to overtake Theresademoninme and Jonathan Roberts in the final stride for a 1:54 victory. Check past performances and note Mike Casaino and trainer Dylan Davis’ Thereademoninme has three wins and four eight seconds in his last seven races. I Like My Boss drew the rail for trainer Bob Shahan and Jimmy and A.M. Parsons with driver Allan Davis. He has won two of his last three starts. Tim Tetrick drives the sharp Uva Hanover, trained by Linda Toscano for Martin Steinberg and Sake Your Claim Stable, from post 2. Murmur Hanover and driver Vic Kirby, also have an impressive winning record. Three newcomer to the feature trot are J.L. Sadowsky’s Home’N Dry with Corey Callahan, Kanthaka and Tony Morgan racing for Chris Beaver and RBH Ventures Inc. and Bamond Racing’s Crazshaha with Ross Wolfenden. All three are in from recently racing in Yonkers features. Among a group of strong trots on the under-card is a $13,500 Winners event. Miami (Kirby), who has won two of three including a week ago, Bamond Stable’s Credevie (Allan Davis) from post 1, John DeVito’s My Cherry Pie (Callahan) and Arty Foster’s sharp Petrossian AS (Russell Foster) in a nine-horse field. Dover Downs now features a 50-cent Pick 5 wager starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

Sudlersville, MD- While many Harness Horse Youth Foundation (HHYF) camp alumni have made their marks in the harness racing industry over the past 40 years, a whole new generation is now showing up on programs regularly. Artie Dick, 21, who attend camp at Balmoral Park in Illinois, recently picked up his first Meadowlands driving win with Major Legacy. Besim Odza, who is just 18, earned his first training victory at Freehold with Steady Pulse; Odza attended camp in Goshen, New York. And Delaware native Eric Davis, 21, who has been driving on the New England circuit debuted as trainer and driver last week at the Meadowlands with Arpeggio Hanover. HHYF is proud of these young men, just a few from the long list of individuals who got their first tastes of harness racing by attending HHYF summer programs. Is there someone in the business who you are proud of? There's no better way to honor him/her than by making a contribution to HHYF or perhaps you will include HHYF in your year-end giving? To make a donation, go to www.hhyf.org and hit the donate button, or you can send a check or money order to our current address, 217 East Main Street, Sudlersville, MD 21668. Now in its fifth decade of service to harness racing, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org. Keith Gisser

Batavia, NY---Jim Compton has been a respected western New York harness racing horseman for over 35 years. He trained, drove and bred many horses that are still remembered at his home tracks for their competitive nature and success. For his years of dedication to the sport, the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will present him with the Lifetime Achievement Award in the winner’s circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 16) during the 10th annual “Night of Distinction” awards ceremony. Compton’s full time job was working for General Motors in Rochester, but his passion was for harness racing. So in 1978 he started moonlighting at the farm of local driving legend Fred Haslip to learn the ins and outs of the business. After a few years he got his trainers license and in 1983 he drove his first race. Compton and his wife Sandra always ran a small but successful stable, racing horses like Sly Hi, No Parking Zone, Splurging Rita, Gasper Again and Held For Ransom, who won multiple Opens at Batavia Down, Vernon Downs and Buffalo Raceway en route to amassing 51 lifetime wins. When Held For Ransom’s career was over, Compton bred him to one of his race mares named Suspicious Burns and the result of that breeding was a horse named Michael Scores. Michael Scores was a New York Sires Stake star and rock-solid overnight campaigner for 11 years. He won 86 races and earned $668,079 lifetime without ever seeing the Grand Circuit. He set track records at Tioga Downs (1:50.4) and at Batavia Downs (1:52.1) when he won the 2006 Kane Memorial Pace. And he will always be remembered for his “intentionally parked out” style of racing. Compton’s numbers were not gaudy, however they were efficient. On the training side he had 578 wins out of 2,892 starts with $1.9 million in purses and a UTR of .337. As a driver he won 522 races out of 2,725 starts and made $1.13 million in purses and a UDR of .330. And all the horses he either trained or drove were 50% in the money over his entire career. Post time for Saturday night’s card is 6 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Redbelly Jack will be strongly fancied to complete a clean-sweep of this year‘s Soldiers Saddle Series in Friday’s $15,000 final at Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway, after another outstanding win in last week’s semi-finals. Driver Nathan Xuereb, for father Michael, again allowed the Rock N Roll Heaven four-year-old  to settle at the tail of the field from his second-row draw, and he was still last passing the 600 metres before setting the horse alight at that point. Four and five wide around the final turn is not the best place to be at Bathurst, as the leaders often kick at that point, but he again showed an exceptional brand of speed to range up to a gallant Double Encounter, which had led up the three-wide train, to score narrowly but easily. While the tactics might have appeared very different to the last lap “go for broke” charge in the previous week’s heat, in reality they were very similar, reliant on that high speed that enables Redbelly Jack to come from virtually anywhere in the field if he enjoys clear running. Double Encounter was brave in edging death-seater Might And Main for second, and Studleigh Kristen ran on well for fourth to qualify for the final, along with Eliza Dushku and Hez All Courage. John O’Shea handled the driving duties for Amanda Turnbull with the second semi-final winner Dream To Share NZ, sprinting well from mid-field to easily account for Zaras Choice and Sonny Studleigh, rating 1:57.7 for the sprint distance with a 58.7 final half. He’s hopeful of retaining the final drive with the Kenneth J five-year-old, a horse he’s formed a good association with, winning twice this season and placing at every other run. “He’s a lovely horse to drive, with no bad habits and a real genuine attitude. I really like him,” was J.T’s post-race assessment. Others to make it through to the final from this race were Little Bit Dusty and Taylors Reason, from the Bernie Hewitt stable which will have four runners, and Presidential Dude. O’Shea backed up for a driving double in the following C2 race when leading throughout on What A Jolt, for Lester Hewitt, a previous UDR trainer in the Bathurst premiership and very successful with his small team. The Village Jolt four-year-old maintained a strong tempo, with all quarters sub-30s for a 1:57.3 mile rate, in taking his record to six wins from 12 career starts, four of those wins coming in his last six starts. Lucy Lamb (Mat Rue for father Ken) came with a wet sail to score running away in a C3-C5 sprint, after some anxious moments for her driver who opted for a spot four back on the pegs, and who was in some danger of not finding clear room after working into the running line around the final turn. Fortunately the run did come after straightening, and the Flightpath daughter did the rest, easily putting away leader What A Curtainraiser and death-seating Smithstars Lexus for her second success in what had been a rather mixed season. “We’ve been teaching her to race from off the speed,” Mat Rue commented, “ and she seems to be getting the hang of it now. I’ve got to admit, that decision to head to the pegs after the start wasn’t looking too clever when I got held up between runners on the bend, and I wasn’t looking forward to explaining to Dad after, but now I won’t have to! An orphan foal, she was raised among a paddock of lambs at the Lambs - Wayne and Anne’s Golden Gait Stud, that is - and was christened “Lucy the lamb” as a consequence. That became her racing name after Ken Rue acquired her from the stud. The resilience that enabled her to overcome a tough start in life has also helped her cope with a lung disease and very brittle front feet, necessitating being shod every second week. Little wonder that she’s one of the more popular horses racing in the western districts at the moment. If she settles in her races, there will be many more wins, and fans, in the future. Other winners at this meeting were Always Mysterious in C0-C1 grade, driver Justin Reynolds repeating the successful tactics of Nathan Xuereb in the previous race by coming with one late run to score easily, and Steve Turnbull’s all-the-way effort with Shadow Hunter  in C0 class, the maiden win after a string of places for the half to Tiara winner Pixies Parlour. The Bathurst RSL-sponsored Soldiers Saddle Final will be the highlight of a strong card at this Friday’s Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway meeting. Terry Neil

December 10, 2017 - 36/1 Bird Parker (6m Ready Cash-Belisha) rallied off cover to score by two lengths in today’s Gr. II International Grand Prix du Bourbonnais (purse €120,000, 2850 meters, 17 starters) at Paris-Vincennes. The Philippe Allaire trainee was handled by Jean Philippe Monclin for owner Elisabeth Allaire. Christophe  Toulonge bred Bird Parker that now has posted 17 wins in 61 career starts for €1,534,605 earned. Bird Parker entered this race with four recent wins for driver Joseph Verbeeck in the Tour European traveling series (the finale at Mons Ghlin, and wins at Gelsenkirchen, Avenches and Waregem). He was fourth in the Grand Prix de Bretagne. Race time was 1.12.4kr off steady fractions (1.12.3kr with 1500 meters remaining; 1.11.9kr at the 1000; 1.12.6kr at 500 to go). 7/10 favorite Bold Eagle (6m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) was second for Franck Nivard, trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski. He rallied three wide down the backside and led into the lane before Bird Parker swept past. Third was 11/1 Ringostarr Treb (7m Classic Photo-Farsalo Egral), an early leader that raced on the pegs with eventual cover, driven this day by Gabriele Gelormini for trainer Jerry Riordan and EVAM Racing Trotters Srls. 22/1 Propulsion (6m Muscle Hill-Danae) was fourth for Orjan Kihlstrom and Lionel (7m Look de Star) took fifth for Bjorn Goop. Both of these are Daniel Reden trainees.  44/1 Belina Josselyn, on the front mid-race, and Carat Williams was seventh, this one into the race after six straight wins. Valko Jenilat was the sole dq in the race and Wild Honey finished ninth. The top three earned automatic Prix d’Amerique invitations. Replays:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep--IZdqQlM (English race call) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibSQBipJtWY Post race celebration photos follow. The races leading to the Prix d’Amerique and exceptionally well presented and always draw an enthusiastic crowd and significant press coverage. Thomas H. Hicks

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For more than a decade, harness racing trainer Don Maiorano has counted on Soapy Sap. Now, as Maiorano counts down the days to the 14-year-old female trotter's retirement at the end of the year, he is especially grateful for their time together. "We've lasted longer than most marriages," Maiorano said, laughing. "I know it's a business, but you get attached. There were many times when she bailed me out. She's part of the family, really. She will be missed, for sure." Maiorano bought Soapy Sap at age 3 in October 2006. For her career, she has won 39 of 318 races and earned $529,565 in purses. All but 20 of her starts and one of her victories came with Maiorano, who in addition to owning the mare is her trainer. Soapy Sap never won six figures in any year, but she was dependable and durable despite diminutive size. Over the past 25 years, no female trotter has started more races at the Meadowlands, where she raced 106 times in her career. She won 13 races at the Big M, including legs of the Singer Memorial and Super Bowl series, and finished among the top three a total of 40 times. Overall, she hit the board 144 times and earned a paycheck in 218 races. "She's the definition of a professional," Maiorano said. "I was offered money for her, but I turned it down. I'm not a guy with a lot of money, but I enjoy this and it's a lot more fun when you have a nice horse. It was fun racing at the Meadowlands against those big horses in those series and winning a couple races. It was just a good feeling." Maiorano, who has a two-horse stable, is based at Johnson Park in Piscataway, N.J., on the banks of the Raritan River. Although the park is surrounded by busy roads, with the city of New Brunswick across the river and Rutgers University campuses also nearby, it is a quiet location. The park, with a half-mile track, was once a bustling part of the state's racing scene, but is now home to only a handful of horses. "I've been down here since the '70s," said Maiorano, who in addition to training horses has owned a taxicab and worked in construction. "She's been stabled at some other places, but she can get a little hot with a lot of other horses around and grab on. "Over here, she's nice and relaxed. When she's ready to jog she'll start jogging herself. After about 20 or 25 minutes she'll know she's had enough. At this age, I let her basically do what she wants to do to stay happy. She's happy here. She watches the people in the park; out her back window she watches the deer. I don't know if she would have lasted this long if she was somewhere else." Soapy Sap is one of 64 horses to race this year at age 14. Harness racing's mandatory retirement age is 15, with all horses celebrating their birthdays on Jan. 1. Maiorano expects Soapy Sap to make two more starts before the end of the year, with the first being Friday at Freehold Raceway. When her career on the track comes to an end, Maiorano would like to see her begin a new career as a broodmare. Soapy Sap, who has a mark of 1:53.4 set at the Meadowlands as a 7-year-old, is a daughter of Yankee Glide out of Alphabet Love. "She has a great attitude," Maiorano said. "A lot of people told me she was a real fun horse to watch. She's so little and would sit in the pack and if she was within three lengths of the leader at the three-quarter pole she was usually right there with them at the end. She just dug in and gave you her best. "That's why I would love to see a foal out of her. I know she's not real big and she stands a little crooked up front, but she goes." Maiorano would like to breed Soapy Sap himself, but has received calls from several people interested in buying the mare. "I'm going to try my best to do something myself because I would love to have a foal from her, but that's a dream pretty much because I'm not sure I could afford to do it," Maiorano said. "The most important thing is I want to give her a good home. She deserves a good home." Maiorano is thankful for the assistance he received over the years with Soapy Sap, from the drivers to the veterinarians and farriers. "I've had a good team behind me and they helped make this all possible," Maiorano said. "Her legs are still like a 2-year-old. She doesn't act her age. On the racetrack she still wants to go." When Soapy Sap retires, Maiorano will turn his full attention to his remaining horse, 6-year-old trotter Latoka, and try to find another horse to fill Soapy Sap's shoes. "I've always been a small guy; I've pretty much always owned and raced everything myself," Maiorano said. "It's very hard, especially nowadays, to replace a horse. And to get something like her, I'll probably never have another one. Hopefully I can replace her, but she's going to be hard to replace. I'm just happy to have had one like her for all this time." Ken Weingartner  
Batavia, NY---The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) have announced their harness racing "horses of the meet" for 2017 at Batavia Downs. Pacer of the Meet: Focus Power While racing in the top Open class for 13 starts at Batavia, western New York newcomer Focus Power won three times and finished second another five while amassing $36,010 in purses. He was on fire in September when he won three out of four starts while setting two new lifetime marks during that period (September 2, 1:53 and September 23, 1:52.4). After being claimed at Yonkers just prior to the start of the Batavia meet, Focus Power made an immediate impact to the good fortunes of owner James Caradori and trainer Darrin Monti. Driver Drew Monti was aboard for every start. Overall Focus Power has nine wins in 2017 and earnings that total $97,395. Trotter of the Meet: BZ Glide BZ Glide was a fixture in the weekly Open trot once again this year and showed although he's getting older, he hasn't lost a step. In 15 starts against the local best, BZ Glide won three with six seconds and a third banking $34,405 in the process. He also set a seasonal mark of 1:56.3. As has been the case every year, the family affair of Alana Caprio training and Mike Caprio driving, the two also team up in ownership of the big trotting gelding. For the year, BZ Glide has a total of five wins and earnings of $52,405. Mare of the Meet: Voltina Competing the entire meet in the fillies and mares Open I or II, Voltina was as tough as they came winning three Open I's and one Open II along with six second place finishes and took home purses totaling $34,060. She took her seasonal mark of 1:55 at Batavia as well. Owned by CHS Racing LLC, the Tony Cummings-trained Voltina had a career year winning a total of eight races and earning $69,456 in purses. Kevin Cummings was aboard for the majority of her starts. Claimer of the Meet: Quicksilvercandy A Listed as the winning-est pacer in North America for a good portion of the year, Quicksilvercandy A had a field day racing at Batavia Downs. Moving up and down the class ladder, the mare ended up winning seven claiming races including the $20,000 Claiming Championship final for her division in November. Her four seconds and two thirds also helped bump up her bankroll to $40,165 for the meet. Owned and driven by Larry Stalbaum, Quicksilvercandy A recorded a career year of 20 wins and $108,994 in earnings under the training of Kim Asher. Most Improved Horse of the Meet: In Runaway Bay N In Runaway Bay N came to Batavia Downs off a less than stellar early part of the year. He made his first start at Batavia in August, winning in the bottom class; non-winners of $1,000 in 1:55.1. He strung together four wins while working his way up to the Open where he finished second two weeks in a row. The following week he faced Foiled Again and finished a respectable fourth to the richest Standardbred of all time. Since then he has won three Open paces. For the meet, he took a seasonal mark of 1:53.1 and earned $39,050. In Runaway Bay N is owned by Super Mile LLC and is trained by Angelo Nappo. Kevin Cummings was in the bike for the bulk of the work. The connections of these horses will be presented their trophies in the winner's circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 16) during the 10th annual "Night of Distinction" awards ceremony. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for UNY USHWA  
New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program is currently organizing its 20th Annual Stallion Auction to be held through OnGait.com Feb 6-8, 2018. The harness racing program annually offers hundreds of former racehorses a safety net through rehabilitation, retraining, and placement in carefully screened and monitored homes. New Vocations embraces racing and the excitement and joy of racehorse ownership. At the conclusion of a horse's racing career, New Vocations stands ready to assist with its aftercare needs. "We rehabilitate the horses, break them to ride and care for them until a qualified adopter can be found," said Executive Director Dot Morgan. "Then we educate the adopters on the characteristics of racehorses, answer myriads of questions, encourage them through problems and offer training guidelines. New Vocations has a lifetime return policy for any horse that it has adopted. "The stallion auction is our biggest fundraiser of the year. If you have a breeding that's not going to be used, please consider donating it. Or if you know someone that's not using theirs, tell them about our need. Generating dollars is the ultimate goal so if you don't have a breeding, think about a year end contribution." New Vocations is a 501 (c) 3 charity; donations are tax-deductible to the extent of the law. For information about the stallion auction or donating a horse email dot@horseadoption.com or call (937) 947-4020. Donations can be made through our website at www.NewVocations.org or mailed to New Vocations 3293 Wright Rd. Laura, OH 45337. Dot Morgan
DOVER, Del --- I Love My Boss made good use of leaving from post 1 as arguably the finest Delaware-sired harness racing trotter came down the passing lane, and when front-trotting Thereisademoninme broke stride nearing the finish line, reached the finish line first in 1:55.3 to win the $25,000 Open trot at Dover Downs. Jonathan Roberts was content to race behind Thereisademoninme this week, after cutting the mile last week, to only finish third beaten three-quarters of a length. Uva Hanover with Tim Tetrick driving put pressure on Thereisademoninme from mid-backstretch until late in the stretch, and finished third but was placed second. Thereisademoninme was a breaking second in the photo but was disqualified because of a lapped-on break and place fourth. Kanthaka, handled by Tony Morgan, was fourth then placed third. I Love My Boss, the former DSBF champion at two and three, was bred and races for trainer Bob Shahan and Jim and Ashley Parsons. Now six, the Don Boss Vita-Wild One gelding has won $108,956 this season and $498.220 lifetime. The prior race, a $13,500 Winners trot, was won by John DeVito's My Cherry Pie trained by Jenny Melander and driven by Corey Callahan. Soda Pump (Tetrick) was second with Blownoutofthewater (Morgan) third. Jim Moore's Royal Becca J (Jack Parker Jr.) in 1:56.3Hollywood Highway (Tim Tetrick) in 1:55.2 won $12,000 Winners sub-feature trots. Dedododo Dedadada made longshot music in a $12,000 Winners pace at 53-1 odds with Russell Foster in the bike. Jigtime Jones (Tyler Davis) and Teggers Hanover (Vic Kirby) finished second and third respectively. Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Allan Davis and trainer Mike Hall had two wins each. Enhance Your Mind, Jag Out and Sweet Bobbie lead eight fast female pacers in the Wednesday $25,000 Mares Open pace feature Race. ENHANCE YOUR MIND HEADS $25,000 MARES OPEN WEDNESDAY Enhance Your Mind, last season’s Horse of the Meet is back in top form after a win last week in the $25,000 Mares Open pace on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at Dover Downs. Owned by trainer Bryan Truitt, Enhance Your Mind has won half of her 18 starts and $133,020 this year. Vic Kirby is her regular driver. Jag Out, racing for Hochsprung, JL Benson and Nick Surick stables. with Tony Morgan drew post 8 after an impressive second last week, also from the outside. Owner-trainer Gary Ewing’s Sweet Bobbie and Art StaffordJr. Has won three of her last five outings. The sharp Diva’s Image leaves from the rail for trainer Jen Bonjiorno and owners  Our Hrs Cents, Stable 45 and J&T Silva stables, will be in the hands of Tim Tetrick, Mike Casalino’s Nat A Virgin and Corey Callahan, Mike Hall’s St. Kitts with Jonathan Roberts in the bike, Joe Davino, Pat O’Brian and Brad Shackman’s Keystone Riptide, guided by Ross Wolfenden. And completing the field is Legacy Racing’s Empress Deo steered by Ross Wolfenden, fresh from a win last time out.. Dover Downs now features a 50-cent Pick 5 wager starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Marv Bachrad
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