Propad supports the frog

Razerhorse - Masters of science and technology

At Harnesslink we are constantly keeping our readers up to date with all the developments on the harness racing and breeding side of this industry. One part of this industry that tends to get overlooked most of the time is the part played by all the companies that supply this industry with the products we use. So we thought it was time we shone the light on some of those companies and the part they play. One company that has really come to the fore in recent years is Razerhorse. Razerhorse was established in Sweden in 2003 by Erik Lundquist. Erik was searching for a solution to lameness in one of his racehorses and decided to take a scientific and technology based approach to the problem. Convinced that shoeing played a major part in lameness and performance, Erik in partnership with Upsala University in Sweden spent years researching the action of the hoof with the help of gait analysis software and high speed video. Erik came to the conclusion that the design of the shoes should closely mimic every function of a bare footed horse. The innovative design that Erik came up with allows the horse to balance and move as if it was barefoot yet still protects the hoof from wear. The horse has a perfect design from nature so the shoes are made to perform with the horses natural characteristics which allows the horse to perform to the best of their ability. Razerhorse shoes are made from a unique borium tool steel which is tempered during its production to allow flexibility and shape memory. Specific features include a broad toe and a rounded rim for a smoother slide upon hoof landing and a thinner outer rim to enhance traction and reduce stress during motion. Naturally all horses are born with a hoof capsule that is split in the heel by the frog which allows the two sides of the hoof to flex in, out, up and down. A shoe had to be designed to co-exist with this basic function. Because the shoes are made from this unique flexible tool steel, they do not lock in the hoof capsule and instead allow the hoof capsule to move naturally and flex for optimal health and function. Jimmy Takter interview, Conny Svensson shoeing standardbred trotting horse Razerhorse has also designed a pad to work alongside their shoes with the same emphasis on science and technology in its development. The barefoot hoof of the horse has evolved over time so that the frog and the entire underside of the hoof has full contact with the ground when landing. Named Propad, the Razerhorse pad has been designed with a flexible frog support to fill the void between the hoof frog and the ground when the horse is shod. The flexible zone built into the pad allows the center part of the pad (frog support) to follow all the movements of the frog without causing pressure at rest. The flexible frog supports and extends the frog and works as a shock absorber. It unloads the hoof wall and improves circulation in the hoof. The pads are unique in that they give the horse a barefoot feeling when shod. Razerhorse - Propad It is no surprise Hall Of Famer Jimmy Takter is an enthusiastic supporter of Razerhorse shoes and pads as his farrier of over twenty years Conny Svensson has been heavily involved in the development of Razerhorse shoes and the Propad. In the 2013 edition of the Breeders Crown Finals, three divisional winners in Father Patrick, Shake It Cerry and Ufizzi Hanover all won from the Takter barn using Razerhorse products. Father Patrick 1:50.2 ($1,263,326) who has won six from six this year and is a hot favourite for the Hambeltonian this weekend has raced exclusively with Razerhorse shoes. With the ongoing success on the track backed up by the science and technology behind their products, Razerhorse can look to the future with a lot of confidence. Harnesslink media        

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Churchill & Saratoga close on five-year deal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 30, 2014) – Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. (SHRI) and Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (NASDAQ: CHDN) announced they have executed a binding term sheet and are close to finalizing a five-year management contract wherein CDI will manage Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs, NY and Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, CO. Once finalized, the management contract will become effective as soon as CDI obtains necessary licenses and approvals in New York and Colorado.     Should CDI and SHRI be successful in their joint bid to build Capital View Casino & Resort, a proposed world class destination resort casino in East Greenbush, NY, CDI will also manage that facility. A binding term sheet for such management agreement was included with CDI and SHRI’s New York casino license application that was submitted on June 30.   SHRI and CDI have also signed a binding term sheet and begun negotiations on a stock purchase agreement wherein CDI will purchase 25 percent of economic and voting interests of SHRI. In addition to its flagship Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs, NY, SHRI owns a controlling interest in Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, CO; a 50% interest in a joint venture with Delaware North Companies to manage the Gideon Putnam Hotel and Resort in Saratoga Springs, NY and a minority interest in Ellis Park, a thoroughbred racing and instant racing machine facility in Henderson, KY. SHRI, together with its partner Rush Street Gaming, filed a second application for a New York casino in Newburgh, NY in the Hudson Valley-Catskills Region.   “We are very excited about the expansion of our relationship with Churchill Downs,” said James D. Featherstonhaugh, Secretary & Chief Legal Officer of SHRI. “We look forward to a long and successful partnership between two iconic names in the racing and gaming world.”    “We are proud to take an ownership interest in Saratoga Harness Racing Inc., which shares with us a passion for offering premier racing and gaming entertainment,” said Bill Carstanjen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “We are excited to expand our operations into New York and Colorado and hope to become more involved in the Capitol Region if we are fortunate enough to be awarded a license to build and operate Capital View Casino & Resort.”  From Saratoga Casino and Raceway

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Hambletonian card features 7 Grand Circuit stakes

This Week: Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, Lady Liberty, Peter Haughton Memorial, Merrie Annabelle and Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Hanover Colt Stakes and Hanover Filly Stakes, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill; and Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off this Friday (Aug. 1) at Meadowlands Racetrack with the first leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters and 2-year-old filly trotters. There will be three $10,000 divisions for the colts and five $10,000 divisions for the fillies. The big Saturday afternoon (Aug. 2) program is led by the $1,006,125 Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Other major stakes races to be contested that day are the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $300,650 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship for older pacers, the $177,750 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old filly trotters. Also on Saturday, Balmoral Park will host the $50,000 (est.) Hanover Colt Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $50,000 (est.) Hanover Filly Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers. On Sunday (Aug. 3) the Crete oval will feature the $50,000 (est.) Hanover Colt Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters and the $50,000 (est.) Hanover Filly Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. Tioga Downs on Sunday will feature the $78,000 (est.) Tompkins-Geers for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $67,000 (est.) Tompkins-Geers for 2-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Confronted by a challenger who would not go away, 1-5 favorite McWicked dug in, blazed the back half in an amazing :53.2 and captured this past Saturday's (July 26) $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light at The Meadows. McWicked held off Somewhere In L A at the wire to win the Delvin Miller Adios. With the 1:49.1 victory, Casie Coleman, who conditions McWicked for S S G Stables, became the first female trainer to win an Adios final in the 48-year-history of this important test for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Leaving from post two, David Miller was able to give McWicked a rather leisurely half in :55.4 on the front. When Brett Miller moved Somewhere In L A uncovered down the backside and the pair looked McWicked in the eye, the battle was on. However, McWicked edged away in deep stretch to triumph in 1:49.1, a length better than his gallant rival. Cammikey was a ground-saving third. With the win, McWicked pushed his career bankroll to $798,447 and extended a prolonged roll that has seen him sweep the eliminations and final of the Max Hempt Memorial and the Adios. Many of the sport's stars were out on Saturday night at The Meadowlands and none were brighter than Archangel who won the first elimination for the John Cashman, Jr. Memorial trot in a world record 1:50. The mile broke a six-way tie for the fastest mile ever by a trotter on a mile track. Yannick Gingras sent the handsome 5-year-old millionaire son of Credit Winner out fast for the lead with a wicked :26.1 opening quarter then set even fractions of :54.4 and 1:22.3 in the record mile. Archangel was a geared down 1-3/4 length winner over Intimidate with Market Share third. Your So Vain and Sevruga rounded out the qualifiers from this elimination for this Saturday's Cashman final. Ron Burke trains the winner for Legendary Standardbred Farm and Claire Semer. Sebastian K was back to his winning ways in the second elimination for Ake Svanstedt with an easy three length score in 1:51. The race began with Creatine flying off the wings from the outside for Mike Lachance and clearing Sebastian K as they reached the quarter in a dazzling :26. The pace slowed abruptly when Lachance took up on the lead and Svanstedt was forced to yank Sebastian K out quickly before Mister Herbie could get the jump on him from third. He got out, though the judges flashed the inquiry sign and reviewed the move, and was back to the top. Sweet Justice mounted a final turn challenge but was rebuffed with a :27.3 final quarter. Mister Herbie split horses late to be second, Uncle Peter was third in his return to US soil, Appomattox a solid fourth and Arch Madness captured the final berth in this week's race. The winner is trained in the Svanstedt barn for Knutsson Trotting and was winning for the sixth time this year in seven tries. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 509; 2. Tim Tetrick - 443; 3. Ron Pierce - 307; 4t. Brian Sears - 205; 4t. David Miller - 205. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 884.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 444; 3t. PJ Fraley - 189; 3t. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Joe Holloway - 154. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 206.75; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 188; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. S S G Stables - 80. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at The Meadows with the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old colt trotters; at Hoosier Park with the Dan Patch for older pacers; and at Charlottetown Driving Park with the Gold Cup and Saucer eliminations for older pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

The secret of change

The need for change - Clubs in New Zealand

When I talk to overseas harness racing administrators, trainers and owners on my travels and we discuss the management and governance structures of our respective countries and whether they are delivering the best results for participants in our industry, I am frequently having to defend the structure and management of the industry in New Zealand. Northern Hemisphere people struggle to see how you can run harness racing in 2014 with a structure and governance that is a relic of a different time. Northern Hemisphere tracks are owned by either wealthy individuals or companies and they make all the decisions with regards to their tracks. This gives them the ability to adapt their programs and race structure to suit their immediate needs or those of the stakeholders who operate at their tracks. These tracks live or die on the strength of their product and  they try at all times to deliver a superior product to their customers.  As with any structure, there are issues and conflicts but in the main they do a far better job of selling and marketing harness racing to the general public than we do here in New Zealand. Over a period of time I have come to the conclusion that they have a far better management and governance structure than the Southern Hemisphere does. I have given up defending the structure of harness racing in New Zealand and have become a strong advocate for major change in how our industry is governed. How can it be in 2014 that we have a system of governance for our industry that is manifestly inappropriate for a business in the 21st century.  Currently we have a system that is controlled by the trotting clubs of New Zealand. Any major changes to the administration or structure of  ANYTHING  within the trotting industry requires the approval of a majority of those clubs. They meet once a year which means change within the industry happens at a glacial pace. The Executive of Harness Racing New Zealand can tinker at the edges but for anything major they need to take the proposal to the annual meeting of trotting clubs for their approval. Can you imagine any business in 2014 being able to survive and prosper if they were unable to adapt to changing trends and challenges in their business on a regular basis due to the necessity to wait for a once a year meeting for approval. If you speak as I do regularly do to a  lot of the successful businessmen who are involved in the harness racing industry in New Zealand, you quickly appreciate how frustrated they are at the inability to change what many see as a dysfunctional governance and management structure. Both the Auckland and New Zealand Metro trotting clubs have made massive gains in recent years in how they structure and manage their business due to the influence of several successful businessmen on their respective boards. But there is so much more they would like to do both now and in the future but are hamstrung to a certain extent by the current management and governance structure.  So what should any new management and governance structure look like.  First and foremost the clubs should concentrate on what they do best, running their clubs and their race meetings in a professional and profitable manner. That is what they were originally set up to do and most do an exemplary job. But any governance or leadership role in the management structure of harness racing in New Zealand should be withdrawn. The management of the day to day running of harness racing  should remain as it is now. Harness Racing New Zealand employees do a sterling job implementing the current policies and strategies of the industry as set by the executive and we are lucky to have them. The current executive and clubs structure should be replaced by a board that has industry representatives but also has a much stronger business focus and expertise. An eight member board with five business orientated members who have a knowledge of the harness racing industry along with one representative from each of  the three industry groups that have a large monetary investment in the industry; 1)                  Owners 2)                  Breeders 3)                  Trainers/Drivers  Should this board be elected by industry participants or be a mixture of elected /appointed members is something for wiser heads than mine. However the details of how a structure such as this would evolve need to be carefully developed so we don't harm the industry we are trying to help.   Now I can hear the screams emanating from some quarters but I also know from having already had this discussion with many of the major players in the New Zealand Industry that there is a broad consensus on the need for structural change. People involved in the harness racing industry are some of the most passionate people you would  ever come across. Why would you work in this industry with its long hours in any weather if it wasn't for a genuine love of what you were doing. We have some fantastic people in the harness racing industry in New Zealand who do a wonderful job of promoting our sport to the wider public and we have a great racing product that is in my view as good as anywhere in the world. What we don't have is a governance structure that lets this industry flourish. Just have a look at the last twenty years and see how much this industry has changed and progressed. Frozen Semen and Shuttle Stallions have opened our industry up to the very best stallions available worldwide with a result that our equine product has closed the gap enormously with the Northern Hemisphere product. Trackside has taken our racing product to a much wider audience throughout Australasia. Betting options have expanded and harness racing clubs have diversified their income streams. The only thing that has NOT changed for several generations are our governance structures. I have spoken to several government ministers about this issue and the message is always the same. Any change to the present structures must come from WITHIN the industry itself. If this industry is to truly reach its potential and maximize its returns to its stakeholders, then we need a governance structure that is more applicable to the 21st century and not the 19th century. I therefore invite any like minded people who hold a similar view to my own to contact me to see if there is a way we can progress this matter further.  John Curtin JC International jdci@harnesslink.com

 It was a mixed bag of news from Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus this week as the track continued to deal with a negative finding this month by the Office of the Legislative Auditor. Auditor James Nobles on July 14 released a report indicating in part that purse contributions made by Running Aces from 2008 through 2012 were deficient by $436,000. The auditor also found that purse contributions from betting on live races at Running Aces and from betting on simulcast races through the same time period were not in compliance with state law. In addition, the legislative auditor report said the Minnesota Racing Commission failed to adequately oversee purse contributions at the track. The issues may soon be resolved. A deal is now in the hopper to resolve the purse shortages, said John Derus, a board member of Running Aces. “We are very close to a document on that,” Derus said of the settlement involving purse contributions. Derus indicated that the framework of the settlement has been reached with the Minnesota Racing Commission. “We are doing what the racing commission asks,” Derus said. He predicted the contract would be ready to sign shortly. The tentative agreement was reached following a legislative hearing at the State Capitol on July 22. Under the guidelines of the agreement, Derus said Running Aces was prepared to pay back the full amount that horse owners were shorted during the 2008-2012 time period. Track officials are on record indicating the purse shortages were a result of a misunderstanding of state law. Running Aces had been calculating purse payouts from the take on individual races. The legislative auditor found that purse contributions, under state law, must be computed on the total amount collected from bets. The latter is called the handle. The tentative agreement calling for Running Aces to pay back the entire sub shorted horse owners goes beyond what the auditor recommended. In the report, Nobles stopped short of recommending the full amount be repaid because of the role played by the racing commission. Nobles also pointed out that the organization representing horse owners, Minnesota Harness Racing Inc., had also signed off on the purse arrangement with Running Aces. The preliminary agreement will likely call for Running Aces to pay back the money over a three-year period. The agreement is subject to final approval by the Minnesota Racing Commission. Running Aces took steps in the spring of 2013 to change its purse payout policy when it learned from the racing commission that an incorrect formula was being used. Live simulcast issues could be resolved A second issue that has dogged Running Aces may also be close to being resolved. Derus said the finishing touches are being made to an agreement with Canterbury Park in Shakopee that will return live simulcast betting on thoroughbred races to Running Aces. The agreement, Derus said, would reopen live simulcast betting on horse races from Canterbury Park and other tracks from around the country. Derus said he expected the contract to be signed in the very near future. Presently, the track is allowed to simulcast only harness races from tracks throughout the country. The ability of Running Aces to carry televised thoroughbred horse races at its track was lost in February 2013. Running Aces lost its contract to televise thoroughbred races after negotiations for a new simulcast agreement between Canterbury Park and Running Aces failed. Running Aces officials sought the new contract after the Canterbury ownership signed a long-term marketing agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The 10-year contract calls for total payments of $83 million to the Shakopee racetrack. by Cliff Buchan for the Forest Lake Times (repritned with permission)

A fluke is defined as “an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck”. So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much. Kept Under Wraps is no longer the hunter in his mini-rivalry against Birdy Mach – he has to be hunted by virtue of his two-from-two record against the highly rated New South Welsh colt. The colt by Bettors Delight in the care of Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took out the 11th heat of the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for two-year-old colts and geldings at Shepparton last night with a blistering fourth quarter of 26.8 seconds. Birdy Mach ($1.50) and reinsman Luke McCarthy pinged off the arm to find the lead early from the 2190-metre start with Kept Under Wraps ($2.70) straight on to his back for in-form Greg Sugars. Kate Gath took the third favourite Burnaholeinmypocket ($13.60) to the breeze from gate seven, the trio jogtrotting through the middle stages of the race to make it near impossible for the backmarkers to make late ground. With a third quarter of 30.5 seconds after earlier splits of 31.4 and 32.1 it was always going to be hard to topple Birdy Mach in the straight, but once Kept Under Wraps gained  the sprint lane in the home stretch his withering burst of speed carried him over the line first. The final margin of a half-head was closer than when Kept Under Wraps defeated Birdy Mach in the Tatlow Stakes (1.1m) the start prior. Burnaholeinmypocket battled on gamely for third. Lilley admitted Birdy Mach might still be a little bit green and said that horse lacked nothing in the ability stakes before heaping praise on his fella. “Last night to come home with a really quick last quarter like that was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “He’s really come along nicely in the time I’ve had him down here.” Lilley said leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon was likely to take Kept Under Wraps and Messini, who Lilley has also enjoyed immense success with of late, back for the Breeders Crown semi-finals and finals next month. “I’ve definitely enjoyed having them here, that’s for sure,” Lilley said. Lilley used to work for Purdon in New Zealand before starting his own training operation at Kaiapoi, near Christchurch. “The relationship with Mark goes back a long way,” Lilley said. “I worked for him when he started out about 15 years ago, then I went out on my own and I’d work a fair few horses on the beach. “Mark would send some down to me that were suited to beach work and he actually sent me a really good horse in Cool Hand Luke (16 wins from 36 starts).” Lilley puts the polish on Messini tomorrow night at Bendigo in heat nine of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown three-year-old colts geldings series. Messini has won four races on the trot – including an 8.8m success in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final two starts back. Meanwhile, Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Its Just Kenny made it two wins from two starts with a 3.4m win in the 10th heat of the two-year-old males’ Breeders Crown series last night, the Kenneth J gelding going 1:59.8 to defeat Mojo Major by 3.4m. The other heat winner was Show Me The Bling, who defeated Mach Doro by 1.4m in a fast rate of 1:58.4 (last half 56.9). Show Me The Bling is trained by David Aiken and was steered by Nathan Jack. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Rich feature events at Gloucester Park in November are on the agenda for outstanding filly Libertybelle Midfrew, who will resume after a brief spell in the Rigbys Bar Pace over 2130m on Friday night. Hazlemere trainer Mike Reed is setting the New Zealand-bred Libertybelle Midfrew for the $40,000 Norm's Daughter Classic and the group 1 $100,000 Mares Classic and she should have no difficulty in overcoming the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line on Friday night. She has not appeared since she outclassed her rivals in the $150,000 WA Oaks in early May when she beat The Parade by more than seven lengths to take her Australian record to five starts for five wins. If Libertybelle Midfrew continues her dazzling form Reed and owners Albert and Julie Walmsley will be sorely tempted to tackle the $175,000 Golden Nugget championship at Gloucester Park on December 5. She will be driven for the first time in a race by Mark Reed on Friday night and there appears to be no filly in the race capable of extending her or ending her winning sequence. Jungle Jewel and Maddy White are smart fillies, but do not appear to be in the same class as Libertybelle Midfrew. Jungle Jewel, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has won at eight of her 22 starts and will be attempting her fourth win in a row. But her task from out wide at the No. 6 barrier looks extremely difficult. She was most impressive at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when she raced three back on the pegs in a field of three before being sent forward at the 600m mark and sprinting over the final 400m in 27.6sec. to beat Harriet Elisabeth and Casey Isabella at a 1.59 rate over 2130m. Maddy White, a winner of seven races, has plenty of ability and she should enjoy a soft run from the inside of the back line and should be running on solidly at the business end of the race. By Ken Casellas

Saturday's 89th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian Trot at The Meadowlands has drawn a field of eleven 3-year-old trotters going a mile in harness racing's most prestigious race. The Hambletonian is the opening leg of the Trotting Triple Crown which also includes the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity. Leading the field are Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton, all trained by Jimmy Takter, who is a two-time Hambletonian winner with Malabar Man (1997) and Muscle Massive (2010). Takter is looking to become the first trainer to sweep first, second and third in the modern era of the Hambletonian. Father Patrick is the 4-5 morning line favorite and will be driven by Yannick Gingras from post 10. Trixton is 7-2 and will start from post 7 with Takter driving and Nuncio is 9-2 with Hall of Fame driver John Campbell leaving from post 5. "At this point, I have three really good horses and they're racing scary good," Takter said. "I've got to keep them fresh and make sure nothing goes wrong. I have the three best horses, and I would be extremely disappointed if I don't win the Hambletonian this year. My goal is to win the Hambletonian. It's fun. The Hambletonian is the biggest race in our sport and something you work hard to win." Father Patrick, the 2013 Dan Patch award winning champion 2-year-old colt trotter, and is perfect this year in six starts for $510,931 in earnings and is ranked second in the current Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Top Ten Poll. "He's the best horse I've ever developed," Takter said. "He's just different. He has all the things I like in a horse. He's a good sound horse. You can't find any fault with him. You can do anything you want with him. He's so handy. Patrick, to me, is the perfect horse." Owned by the Father Patrick Stable, the colt has wins this season in the Earl Beal Jr. at Pocono Downs and the Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. He has won 15 straight starts since losing to Nuncio in his second career effort. Overall, Father Patrick has banked $1,254,988 with 16 wins in 17 starts. Co-owned by the trainer's wife Christina, Trixton has six wins this year in eight starts for $283,855 in earnings. He was third to Father Patrick in the Dancer Memorial and is coming off a victory in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands. Trixton, sixth in the harness poll, has career earnings of $337,542 with 10 wins in 16 starts. "He's the kind of horse with a big future as a 4-year-old. He's improving, getting more professional and very confident." the trainer/driver noted. Nuncio, owned by Stall TZ Inc., finished second to his stablemate in both the Earl Beal Jr. and Stanley Dancer Memorial, his only losses this year in seven starts. "I'm very happy with the way he's been coming along," Campbell said. "Jimmy trained him from behind all winter and we've qualified him that way, and raced him that way, and he's started to figure it out. Nuncio, 10th in this week's poll, has earned $342,003 in 2014 and has 10 wins and seven seconds from 17 lifetime starts for $803,077. John Campbell has won the Hambletonian a record six times with the most recent victory coming with Glidemaster in 2006. The supporting events include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for trotting fillies; the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings; the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies; the $300,650 John Cashman, Jr. Memorial Free-For-All trot; the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship; the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic for state bred 3-year-old pacers and the $177,750 Lady Liberty featuring Free-For-All pacing mares. The Hambletonian card has attracted international media interest, including live television coverage on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. Here is the Hambletonian field in post position order: Note that Don Dorado starts from post 11, which is in the second tier. 1. Resolve, Corey Callahan, 20-1 2. JJ Alex, Francisco Del Cid, 50-1 3. Doncango, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1 4. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, 12-1 5. Nuncio, John Campbell, 9-2 6. Royal Ice, Ron Pierce, 20-1 7. Trixton, Jimmy Takter, 7-2 8. Il Sogno Dream, Aaron Merriman, 50-1 9. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, 12-1 10. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, 4-5 11. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, 20-1. The 89th Hambletonian has an approximate post time Saturday of 5:11 p.m. ET. (With files from the Meadowlands & UPI)  

In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great new newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. This week’s newsletter contains the following feature stories: Do we need to have safety checks for Starting Gates? – With the accidents this season at Freehold Raceway and now Summerside Racetrack with starting gates is it time for mandatory safety checks? Well Said Pedigree/Review – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the very good racehorse and stallion Well Said p,3,1:47.4m ($2,690,693). Bitter-Sweet Meadowlands Closing Weekend - It is a bitter-sweet week for harness racing fans world-wide this coming weekend as the Meadowlands features its final weekend of harness racing action for their summer meet. The need for change in NZ Harness Racing Clubs -  With a structure and government that is a relic of a different time and clubs that can only make a change in format once a year at their annual meetings it is time for a change. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. achieved a notable milestone at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when his only runner, Massive Attack, scored an easy all-the-way victory over Show You A Trick and Mister Atomic in the 2130m Lancaster Park Pace for two-year-olds. This gave him the distinction of becoming the first man to train 200 winners in a season in Western Australia. Hall has no stand-out performers at Friday night's meeting at Gloucester Park. But he has good prospects of opening the program with a winner when he will be represented by improving four-year-old Globalization in the Legends Bar Westbred Pathway Pace. Globalization is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line and is sure to be prominent throughout the 2130m event. He set the pace and won two in a row at Gloucester Park, over 2130m and 1730m at Gloucester Park before he did not enjoy the best of luck in finishing fourth behind the classy Our Jerry Lee at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. Globalization's stiffest opposition is likely to come from Captain Proud and Justlikelindt. Captain proud, trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo, is in sparkling form and the four-year0-old gave a spirited display when third behind El Machine and Leda McNally in the Manea Classic at Bunbury last Saturday night. He worked hard before winning from Just Moses at Bunbury two starts before that. by Ken Casellas

Morgan Woodley is poised to notch a record third victory in the $35,000 Next Payment ATM Howard Porter Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night and chalk up his century of winners in the 2013-14 season. The brilliant young reinsman has formed a tremendous liaison with David Hercules and the seven-year-old is sure to prove extremely hard to beat in the 2536m feature event in which he has drawn barrier four on the front line. Woodley, one of four drivers to have won the Porter Memorial twice, looks set to make a bold bid to take up the role of pacemaker in the early stages. Brilliant mare Leda McNally has drawn the coveted pole position, but Chris Voak is unlikely to attempt an all-the-way win if Woodley, as expected, applies considerable early pressure. Leda McNally is a smart frontrunner, but she is even better suited when held up for a late charge. She produced a powerful finishing burst to win a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park two starts ago and then she surged home from eighth in the middle stages to finish second to El Machine in the 2100m Manea Classic at Bunbury last Saturday night. Ten-year-old Rocket Reign will start from barrier two. The veteran possesses good gate speed, but it would come as a surprise if Mark Reed attempts to set the pace with a pacer who has a losing sequence of 20. David Hercules is in sparkling form and is unbeaten at three outings in his current campaign, setting the pace to beat Im Themightyquinn over 2130m and then working hard in the breeze to beat Please Release Me in the 2536m Winter Cup and again when he defeated the pacemaker Northview Punter over 2130m last Friday night. "I was pleasantly surprised when he was able to get up and beat Northview Punter," Woodley admitted. And Byford trainer David Thompson is delighted at the way David Hercules is racing. "He went super last week and has thrived since then," he said. Northview Punter is a strong stayer, but his prospects of winning the Porter Memorial diminished when he drew out wide at No. 6 on the front line. The New Zealand-bred four-year-old, the youngest runner in the race, is trained by Gary Hall sen., who has won the Porter Memorial as a trainer-driver with Makes The Rules in 1999 and Its Written In The Stars the following year. Woodley has won the event with All In Teck (2008) and Has The Answers (2011) and the other reinsmen to have won the race twice were Phil Coulson (Pure Steel in 1978 and Gammalite four years later) and Fred Kersley jun. (Gap Road, 1983, and Quecee, 1990). Pinjarra trainer Chris King, who has brought Leda McNally back to top form in the past fortnight, is seeking his second success in the Porter Memorial, a race he won with 41/1 tote outsider Flamin Tact in 2010 when the gelding was handled by Robbie Williams. King also has a handy second string in Lord Lombo, who is not well drawn at barrier five. An interesting runner is former Victorian open-class performer Our Blackbird, a New Zealand-bred six-year-old by Bettors Delight who will be making his first appearance in Western Australia. Our Blackbird, now trained by Ross Olivieri, has won at 15 of his 64 starts. He faces a stern test from the outside of the front line, even though he has been performing soundly against quality opposition in Victoria. Four starts ago, in the 1720m Sokyola Sprint at Melton, he finished fourth behind Five Star Anvil, Smoken Up and Chilli Palmer and three starts before that he was third behind Chilli Palmer and Smoken Up in the group 3 Geelong Cup. Our Blackbird will be driven by Chris Lewis, whose only success in the Porter Memorial was with Hilarion Star in 1992. Lewis seeking a birthday gift Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will celebrate his 59th birthday on Friday and he hopes to celebrate the occasion with a winner or two at Gloucester Park in the evening. One of his best prospects appears to be veteran pacer Tee Pee Village, who is ideally drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the Moondyne Joes Fremantle Claiming Pace. Trainer Clive Dalton has brought the 12-year-old back to racing after a spell in fine fettle and the gelding followed his first-up second to Pride of Colorado with a strong effort to win a 1730m claimer from The Oyster Bar at Gloucester Park last Saturday week after he had worked hard in the breeze for most of the way. Tee Pee Village is a good frontrunner, but Lewis may have to be content to race without cover, with The Oyster Bar the likely pacemaker from the prized No. 1 barrier. Looming as the hardest for Tee Pee Village to beat are Pride of Colorado (barrier six) and Our Arlington (seven). Trainer Aldo Cortopassi has engaged Mark Reed to drive Pride of Colorado, who will have many admirers after dropping in class. After sitting in the breeze and beating Tee Pee Village three starts ago, Pride of Colorado finished boldly from sixth at the bell to be second to Heez Orl Black over 1730m and then was a fighting fifth behind David Hercules over 2130m last Friday night. Reed looks certain to go forward with Pride of Colorado from the wide barrier and seek a forward position, most probably on the outside of the pacemaker. Our Arlington, trained by Gary Hall sen. and to be driven by his son Gary, has the ability to overcome the wide barrier. The six-year-old finished strongly to win the Past Presidents Cup from Dundee Three and Please Release Me two starts ago before setting the pace and finishing fifth behind David Hercules in the 2536m Winter Cup four Fridays ago. By Ken Casellas  

The hotly contested Gr. I International Hugo Abergs Memorial at Jagersro, Sweden for 1SEK million first prize, was decided by the judges in favor of Ed You, the seven year-old gelded son of Love You. Robert Bergh is trainer/driver for Stall Sedin HB (also owner of Nahar) as Ed You closed on the outside to nip Occhione Jet on the line. Ed You won for the 22nd time in 58 career starts. Actual winner Un Mec d'Heripre, handled by Franck Nivard for Fabrice Souloy, was disqualified for interference against Magic Tonight and Johan Untersteiner in mid-stretch. The pacesetter was Truculent and Johnny Takter as they parked out veteran Commander Crowe and his teamster Robin Bakker. Un Mec d'Heripre followed the Commander, his Fabrice Souloy trained stablemate, as the veteran eventually put away Truculent at top of stretch and appeared toward a popular victory until flattening out in the final 100 yards. The whole field seized the moment and Un Mec d'Heripre left second on the outer behind the tiring Commander Crowe and moved to the lead scoring easily by a length. Ed You and Occhione Jet flashed up on the outside to be second and third. Judges immediately signaled inquiry and then disqualified Un Mer d'Heripre alleging that he forced out, affecting Magic Tonight . Well regarded Orecchietti make a miscue early and was disqualified. Summary follows for the V75-6 event: Hugo Abergs Memorial Gr. I International UET Masters Series, 1609 meters autostart, 1,000,000SEK to winner, 1.10.1kr, winner by disqualification of Un Mec d'Heripre for interference in stretch 1st Ed You (7g Love You-Lancia Brick-Super Arnie), Robert Bergh trainer/driver for Stall Sedin HB, 22nd win in 58 for 3,220,685SEK 2nd Occhione Jet (6m Pine Chip-Estella Jet-Supergill), Erik Adielsson for trainer Stig H. Johansson 3rd Oasis Bi (6m Toss Out-Up Front JM-Self Possessed), Bjorn Goop Today was an historical day in European trotting racing. Jägersro (Malma) hosted the initial Breeders Course Final, this with ten three year-old open trotters racing for 550,000SEK first money. The international field included five Italian-breds, three Swedish-bred, one French and one Finnish horses. The contestants are trained in Sweden, Holland, France and Finland, and owned in Italy, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Holland and Finland. Winter's Iceman, a three year-old gelded son of Love You, owned in Finland, took the prize for teamster Jorma Kontio timed in 1.11.6kr over the 1609 meter autostart course. Italy's Spartan Kronos ended second for trainer/driver Conrad Lugauer. That son of Muscle Hall-Dame Kronos was a 2013 import from Germany. The Jerry Riordan trained, Orjan Kihlstrom reined, Conway Hall filly Saphire Bi was third for Italian owner Maurizio Cavezzzali with From Dust To Dawn home fourth. Race summary follows: Premio Going Kronos, Final Breeders Course for three year-olds, 1609 meters autostart, 550,000SEK to winner (€60,000), 1.11.6kr 1st Winter's Iceman (3g Love You-Catch The Lady-Running Sea), Jorma Kontio up, third career win in 12 starts for 776,501SEK 2nd Spartan Kronos (3m Muscle Hill-Dame Kronos-King Conch), Conrad Lugauer trainer/driver 3rd Saphire Bi (3f Conway Hall-Valley Jean Bi-Valley Boss Bi), Orjan Kihlstrom for Jerry Riordan trainer 4th From Dust To Dawn (3m From Above-Emotional Dust-Banker Hall), Johnny Takter Tumble Dust, a son of Crazed-Affinity-Victory Dream, wired a solid field to win the Prix Cagnes-sur-Mer at Jagersro, defeating heavily favored Corky and Erik Adielsson in making his first start for trainer Stig H. Johansson. Tumble Dust was quick away from post one for Bjorn Goop in this V75-4 event and parked Corky (4m Muscles Yankee) throughout, holding that one safe by a neck in 1.10.5kr over the 1609 meters autostart course. He secured 200,000SEK first money for Stall Tumble Boys and trainer Tomas Malmqvist. Tumble Dust is model of consistency as he scored victory five in 21 career starts, with five times second and six thirds, for earnings of 2,264,059SEK. The Conway Hall son Tycoon Conway Hall was third for Steen Juul. Prix Cagnes sur Mer for four year-olds, 1609 meters autostart, 200,000SEK to winner Fractions: first 500 meters 1.08.9kr; 1.10.7 at 1000 meters, finish 1.10.5kr (1:53.43) 1st Tumble Dust (4m Crazed-Affinity-Victory Dream), Bjorn Goop, Tomas Malmqvist trainer, fifth career win in 21 starts for 2,264,059SEK for owner Stall Tumble Boys, career slate now 5-5-6 in those 21 appearances 2nd Corky (4m Muscles Yankee-Clarice Marie-Balanced Image), Erik Adielsson, Stig H. Johansson trainer 3rd Tycoon Conway Hall (4m Conway Hall-Golden Sunday-Supergill), Steen Juul up by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (July 29, 2014) – On August 1st, the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association (SHHA) and Saratoga Casino and Raceway will host ‘Wally Hennessey Night,’ at the casino’s harness track. The night will be dedicated in honor of the legendary driver who made his Saratoga debut in 1987. Following the third race of the night, Hennessey will be honored by world famous horse racing announcer and local favorite, Tom Durkin.    “Wally Hennessey Night” will offer fans plenty of fun filled activities in addition to the evening’s harness racing card. Stewart’s will be on hand offering up free ‘make-your-own’ sundaes while supplies last, sponsored by the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund.  Additionally, following the third race, a group photo will be held on the harness track near the winners circle. All guests will have the opportunity to join the photo with both Wally Hennessey and Tom Durkin in what is being planned to be the largest group photo in the history of the harness track. The photo will be available to purchase and take home later that evening.  Drawings will be sponsored and conducted by the SHHA for all horsemen and guests who present a valid New York State racing license, for a chance to win grain and other equine supplies. Parking and admission are free, as always, and in honor of the event, programs for the evening’s races will be available for no charge. The first post time for the August 1st event is at 7:05pm.  “Hosting an event like this is truly an honor for us,” said John Matarazzo, Director of Racing Operations at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. “We’re very proud to be a part of Wally’s historic accomplishments and couldn’t be more excited to celebrate such top class in harness racing.”  Hennessey will be inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in Ontario on August 6th where he will join an elite group of standardbred drivers. Hennessey is already a member of the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame, the Florida Hall of Fame, the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame and the Prince Edward Island Wall of Fame at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino in Charlottetown. Immediately following his induction in Canada, Hennessey will be traveling to Ireland, where he will be driving in the Ladbroke's Vincent Delaney Memorial series at Portmarnock Trotting Track in Dublin.  “The SHHA is honored to be part of such a special event honoring Wally Hennessey for being inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and being invited to represent the United States at the Delaney Memorial in Ireland,” said Tom McTygue, Member of the Board of Directors for the SHHA. “We hope to have the opportunity to do this for other drivers in the future to showcase and promote the sport of harness racing.” Wally Hennessey’s storied career began in the early 70’s and has brought him to tracks all over the world. Since then, Hennessey has become one of the premier drivers in all of harness racing, amassing 8,588 career wins and nearly $58 million in purse earnings.  by Tom Engle, for Saratoga Raceway 

With only 11 horses entered in the Hambletonian Trot, the three-year-old colts will go straight to the final with no two-heat elimination races needed. The purse for the final will be $1,006,125. The Hambletonian fianl will be carded as race 13 on the 15 race program Saturday afternoon. The Jimmy Takter trained trio of Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton will headline the field for the 89th edition of the American Trotting Classic. Joining those three are Datsyuk, Don Dorado, Doncango, Harper Blue Chip, Il Sogno Dream, JJ Alex, Resolve and Royal Ice. The Hambletonian post position draw will take place at 4PM at Victory Sports Bar along with the draw for the John Cashman Memorial and the Hambletonian Oaks. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

Ex-pat Kiwi harness racing trainer Nicole Molander believes recent stable addition – Mingara has the potential to be one of Australia’s best standing start trotters. The New South Wales horsewoman said she only had to add the finishing touches to the former Jason and Megan Teaz trained mare, who arrived in Sydney on June 12. “She’s won all four of her races easily – beating the best trotters going around at this time of year at Menangle last Saturday. You have to put those wins down to Megan and Jason,’’ Molander said. “The horse came to us in absolutely immaculate condition. I have been very impressed with Megan. Everything we have asked about the horse Megan knew the mare’s traits back to front.’’ Mingara has now recorded four consecutive victories at Tabcorp Park Menangle on June 21, July 8, July 12, and July 26 for her Kiwi owners and breeders Graeme and Barbara Wisnewski. Molander believed Mingara had the potential to possibly match it with Group One-winning stablemate, Keystone Del one day. He will be back jogging next week in preparation for his 2014-2015 campaign. “This mare doesn’t quite have the same zip as Keystone Del but she has been very impressive winning all three of her standing starts. “Megan and Jason have done a splendid job with her. She has immaculate manners and a really nice gait. She gets to the front not long after the start - even off handicaps.’’ Teaz (Megan) deflected the praise saying Mingara’s time was up in New Zealand merely because she had to race off long handicaps against stern opposition. “Nicole is a very good trainer and has rounded her off nicely. We always thought Mingara would go well in Australia,’’ Teaz said. “She was the best of the six we’ve got in work. She would run the fastest sectionals in most of her races but had too much ground to make up off her handicaps. “Potentially, King Of Cool isn’t that behind her. We’ve got a lot of time for him.’’ Mingara was the $1.40 favourite in Saturday’s $20,000 Glenferrie Farms Trotters Handicap. Blake Fitzpatrick had Mingara in front after 30m from her 10 metres handicap. That brilliant start saw her dictate all the pace to win the 2300m event by an increasing 18 metres. She stopped the clock in 2:56.5 with a 2:03 mile rate. She trotted her first quarter in 31.7, second quarter in 31, third in 28.7 and home in 28.3. In New Zealand Mingara raced 27 times for six wins and nine placings from November 2012. Her Kiwi bank balance stood at $46,464. She’s won an extra $25,500 for her four wins at Menangle. The 5-year-old Thanksgiving – Sporty Spice mare won three of her New Zealand assignments this season. Molander said she would now race her throughout the winter and autumn before spelling her in the summer. “We will take her to Victoria if we have to because they have lots of open class standing start events there. We would not be scared to travel with this mare,” Molander said. Meanwhile Teaz, who is in her fourth season of training with husband Jason, has now won 10 races from 79 starters. They have also placed 22 times for $73,152 in stakes. In the sulky junior driver Teaz has won 12 races from 243 starters since 2008. “I prefer training to driving these days. I do love driving the trotters but I really love conditioning horses for our owners,’’ she said. “We are nothing without our owners. I’d like to thank them all very much, especially people like Tony Armstrong, Wayne & Carol Aylward, and my father-and-mother-in-law, Basil and Helen Teaz. “I really enjoy training horses and I get that opportunity because of our owners. Jason and I are very grateful to the people who support us.’’ The 24-year-old horsewoman said the household’s training and broadcasting lifestyles were working well despite her husband Jason being based in Dunedin. “Jason comes back all the time to help me. I also owe a lot to Ray Bradley and Kayla Sharp, who both help me out. We work our team from Ray’s track at Ohaupo.’’ Teaz’s husband Jason was appointed the New Zealand Racing Board’s race-caller in Otago, the West Coast and Tasman in November Last year. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

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At Harnesslink we are constantly keeping our readers up to date with all the developments on the harness racing and breeding side of this industry. One part of this industry that tends to get overlooked most of the time is the part played by all the companies that supply this industry with the products we use. So we thought it was time we shone the light on some of those companies and the part they play. One company that has really come to the fore in recent years is Razerhorse. Razerhorse was established in Sweden in 2003 by Erik Lundquist. Erik was searching for a solution to lameness in one of his racehorses and decided to take a scientific and technology based approach to the problem. Convinced that shoeing played a major part in lameness and performance, Erik in partnership with Upsala University in Sweden spent years researching the action of the hoof with the help of gait analysis software and high speed video. Erik came to the conclusion that the design of the shoes should closely mimic every function of a bare footed horse. The innovative design that Erik came up with allows the horse to balance and move as if it was barefoot yet still protects the hoof from wear. The horse has a perfect design from nature so the shoes are made to perform with the horses natural characteristics which allows the horse to perform to the best of their ability. Razerhorse shoes are made from a unique borium tool steel which is tempered during its production to allow flexibility and shape memory. Specific features include a broad toe and a rounded rim for a smoother slide upon hoof landing and a thinner outer rim to enhance traction and reduce stress during motion. Naturally all horses are born with a hoof capsule that is split in the heel by the frog which allows the two sides of the hoof to flex in, out, up and down. A shoe had to be designed to co-exist with this basic function. Because the shoes are made from this unique flexible tool steel, they do not lock in the hoof capsule and instead allow the hoof capsule to move naturally and flex for optimal health and function. Jimmy Takter interview, Conny Svensson shoeing standardbred trotting horse Razerhorse has also designed a pad to work alongside their shoes with the same emphasis on science and technology in its development. The barefoot hoof of the horse has evolved over time so that the frog and the entire underside of the hoof has full contact with the ground when landing. Named Propad, the Razerhorse pad has been designed with a flexible frog support to fill the void between the hoof frog and the ground when the horse is shod. The flexible zone built into the pad allows the center part of the pad (frog support) to follow all the movements of the frog without causing pressure at rest. The flexible frog supports and extends the frog and works as a shock absorber. It unloads the hoof wall and improves circulation in the hoof. The pads are unique in that they give the horse a barefoot feeling when shod. Razerhorse - Propad It is no surprise Hall Of Famer Jimmy Takter is an enthusiastic supporter of Razerhorse shoes and pads as his farrier of over twenty years Conny Svensson has been heavily involved in the development of Razerhorse shoes and the Propad. In the 2013 edition of the Breeders Crown Finals, three divisional winners in Father Patrick, Shake It Cerry and Ufizzi Hanover all won from the Takter barn using Razerhorse products. Father Patrick 1:50.2 ($1,263,326) who has won six from six this year and is a hot favourite for the Hambeltonian this weekend has raced exclusively with Razerhorse shoes. With the ongoing success on the track backed up by the science and technology behind their products, Razerhorse can look to the future with a lot of confidence. Harnesslink media        
Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs announce a new format for the 2014 Drivers' Championship, scheduled to take place on a pair of marquee race days at both New York courses. The first round will take place at Vernon Downs on Friday, August 29, along with the $200,000e Crawford Farms Open Trot and the Zweig Memorial Trot for three-year-olds. The second round is slated for Monday, September 1--three days later--at Tioga Downs, where the Drivers' Championship will share the spotlight with the Cane Pace, the Shady Daisy, and a preliminary leg of the Miss Versatility series for distaff trotters. Past years have seen the six top money-winning drivers in North America and a sponsor's exemption join the leading driver from both Tioga and Vernon, but the 2014 Drivers' Championship will implement a new means to compile the nine-driver field. This year, the leading drivers (by wins) at Tioga and Vernon will be joined by: - the top three (3) Meadowlands drivers (by purse earnings) - the top Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit driver - the top Harrah's Philadelphia/Pocono Downs driver - the top driver aged 25 or younger - a sponsor's exemption As of right now, the field would be comprised of Jim Marohn, Jr., Chris Lems, Yannick Gingras, David Miller, Tim Tetrick, Sylvain Filion, George Napolitano, Jr., Scott Zeron, and the sponsor's exemption. The field will be finalized according to drivers' statistics as of the close of racing on Sunday, August 3. As in past years, the overall winner takes home $25,000--equivalent to a driver's commission for winning a $1,000,000 race. Additionally, the leader at the conclusion of the first round wins $10,000. In addition to a slew of other giveaways and promotions, both tracks will host a Jim Marohn, Jr. bobblehead giveaway in conjuction with the Drivers' Championship to commemorate last year's winner. With a healthy lead over Aaron Byron in the Tioga Downs standings, the "Mighty Mite Part Two" is poised to defend his title. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs
An astute horse player once said "time only counts in jail" when referring to handicapping a harness race. "Class wins out" he added. Final times were usually a good barometer when trying to pick a winner in a horse race, but today that idea might not 'hold water'. With all the new equipment, and there is plenty of it, and improving breed of horseflesh, the horsemen of yesteryear wouldn't believe the final race times that trotters and pacers produce today. There were always fast times on the big mile tracks of long ago but final times on the double ovals have improved to where even cheaper claiming pacers today shade the two-minute mile--the former standard of excellence--and many obliterate it. Monticello Raceway opened in June of 1958 and prior to 1974 there were just 12 recorded miles in 2:00 or faster. Now, a two-minute, or faster, mile hardly raises an eyebrow. It seems like the new time-standard is 1:55 which was a world record clocking in 1955 when a pacer by the name of Adios Harry was driven to victory by Luther Lyons one warm summer evening over Vernon Downs three-quarter mile oval. Perhaps a time of 1:55 is a non-entity on the mile and 5/8th mile tracks, and that clocking is even becoming passé on half mile tracks. However, a 1:55 clocking here at the Mighty M doesn't happen often and is a special local accomplishment. But yesterday, (July 29) there were two miles clocked faster than 1:55 and one that stopped the timer in 1:55.1 which excited- to an extent- the local rail birds True, at some other half mile tracks if a horse can't pace in 1:55 or better he won't get much purse money. But here in the fresh Catskill Mountain air miles faster than 1:55 are far from commonplace. The fastest mile on the Tuesday (July 29) card was turned in by a pacer named Johnny Grippa and driver Jimmy Devaux when they toured the Mighty M oval in 1:53:3. A time like that may not be special downstate but here it was the fastest mile of the year, thus far. Johnny Grippa, a 6 year old Cam Cardshark gelding, owned and trained by Jack Sheehan, cut all fractions (27.2; 57.2; 1:25; 1:53.4) carrying a $12,500 claiming tag and finished one and half lengths ahead of Bettorsluckystreak (Jimmy Taggart, Jr.) and Memory Game (Mike Merton) who ended-up in a dead-heat for second. Sent off at odds of over 5-1 Johnny Grippa paid $12.60 for win. The other swift mile was recorded by Muscleshooter when driver Austin Seigelman yielded command at the quarter pole and retook before the paddock turn and went on to score a 1:54.1 triumph, three lengths ahead of Tyler's Great (Jimmy Marohn, Jr.) Owned by David Hamm and trained by Chris Marino, Muscleshooter returned a $3.00 win mutuel. By the way, the pacer who won in A:55.1 was Ideal Carver, driven by Bruce Aldrich, Jr. And every one of the 10 races on the card went in 1:59.3 or faster. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 30, 2014) – Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. (SHRI) and Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (NASDAQ: CHDN) announced they have executed a binding term sheet and are close to finalizing a five-year management contract wherein CDI will manage Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs, NY and Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, CO. Once finalized, the management contract will become effective as soon as CDI obtains necessary licenses and approvals in New York and Colorado.     Should CDI and SHRI be successful in their joint bid to build Capital View Casino & Resort, a proposed world class destination resort casino in East Greenbush, NY, CDI will also manage that facility. A binding term sheet for such management agreement was included with CDI and SHRI’s New York casino license application that was submitted on June 30.   SHRI and CDI have also signed a binding term sheet and begun negotiations on a stock purchase agreement wherein CDI will purchase 25 percent of economic and voting interests of SHRI. In addition to its flagship Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs, NY, SHRI owns a controlling interest in Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, CO; a 50% interest in a joint venture with Delaware North Companies to manage the Gideon Putnam Hotel and Resort in Saratoga Springs, NY and a minority interest in Ellis Park, a thoroughbred racing and instant racing machine facility in Henderson, KY. SHRI, together with its partner Rush Street Gaming, filed a second application for a New York casino in Newburgh, NY in the Hudson Valley-Catskills Region.   “We are very excited about the expansion of our relationship with Churchill Downs,” said James D. Featherstonhaugh, Secretary & Chief Legal Officer of SHRI. “We look forward to a long and successful partnership between two iconic names in the racing and gaming world.”    “We are proud to take an ownership interest in Saratoga Harness Racing Inc., which shares with us a passion for offering premier racing and gaming entertainment,” said Bill Carstanjen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “We are excited to expand our operations into New York and Colorado and hope to become more involved in the Capitol Region if we are fortunate enough to be awarded a license to build and operate Capital View Casino & Resort.”  From Saratoga Casino and Raceway
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