Day At The Track

Trotting stallion Volstead is the first victim of the proposed ‘Stallion TAX’ Harness Racing Australia announced on April 16. Haras des Trotteurs Principal Pat Driscoll felt coerced to not shuttle the American-bred European-winning stallion back Down Under after having close to 90 services this last breeding season. The Stallion TAX will see a 15 per cent charge on the advertised service fee of shuttle and internationally domiciled stallions (transported and frozen semen) and is anticipated to generate in excess of $2million annually. “It just does not make any sense to bring Volstead back down here with this crazy tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like,” said Driscoll about the only trotting stallion shuttled to Australia in the 2020/21 breeding season. “I had to make the call by the end of April and I have had to say no. “It is a shame. We worked hard to find a nice stallion and we bred him to our good mares to give him a great start and through all the expenses of bringing him down, we didn’t cover costs in year one, no money was returned to the US (United States) and it will probably be that way in year two when we finish working the numbers. “Even this year if we brought him down we probably would have broke even but then apply this TAX, it just doesn’t make it worth while. “Through Volstead we sponsored the Redwood Classic for the past two years and now that won’t be happening. “These are some of the flow on affects of this new tax/levy/financial imposter that have not been thought about.” Following such positive results from the recent Nutrien Standardbred Yearling Sale in Victoria plus the latest news that breeding numbers were up 10.3 per cent nationally for the first time in more than a decade, Driscoll believes this Stallion TAX is a backwards step. “It is easily the worst decision I’ve seen in the years since I’ve been involved,” stated Driscoll. “There is no other place in the world that there is a tax/levy/financial imposter that subsides racing. “You have the sires’ stakes-type races but that money generally goes back into the same pool . . . this doesn’t. “There isn’t a river of gold at studs as some may perceive. “I can only speak of Haras des Trotteurs but I’ve been operating at a loss since I started. “There are transport costs, advertising, futurity payments, stallion collection and quarantine costs, administration fees and so on. “It’s not this golden goose that people think it is, it is a labour of love for many including Haras des Trotteurs. “We’ve just come off a successful sale where for the first time in history the trotters average was higher than the pacers. “Then, we received some great news that breeding numbers are on the way back up. “We are on an upward trajectory and then they do this. “I didn’t think too many things would derail the growth of trotting in Victoria but this will. “This will severely impact the breeding of trotters in Victoria as the cost of breeding will increase, people will breed less and it could also severely compromise the quality of trotters bred. “We sent out a survey to our stakeholders, a big cross-section of the industry from those that spend who spend $1925 for Used To Me to a service fee of $11,000 for Love You, and 85 per cent are not in favour of this new levy and 80 per cent said they would breed less mares.” The HRA Executive, a ‘membership limited to the State Controlling Body in each of the six states of Australia as well as the six Principal Clubs’ has proposed the immediate introduction of this Stallion TAX to raise funds for the harness racing industry in Australia.  The way in which these funds will be distributed has not been decided yet. The HRA Executive has anticipated this TAX will generate in excess of $2million annually and will be responsible for the invoicing, collection and distribution of the TAX. This has Driscoll and others perplexed. As documented on the HRA website the AHRC (Australian Harness Racing Council and changed to HRA in 2008) was initially created to administer the Australian Trotting Stud Book, to maintain a Central Register of Name, to keep records and to control and enforce the Rules relating thereto. It is the forum and co-ordination point between the State Controlling Bodies for uniformity of rules and reciprocity of horsemen’s licences, registration of horses and suspensions and disqualifications. In addition, HRA acts as the national body in international harness racing affairs and is a member of the International Trotting Association. As a joint member of the Event Committee set up in 2008 with Harness Racing New Zealand, HRA is involved in supervising the Australasian Inter Dominion series (formerly under the auspices of the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council Inc). “How did we get this far?” asked Driscoll. “If you read HRA’s legislations they are keepers of the studbooks, rules and regulations and each state runs their own racing. “It’s gone from that to wanting to put a tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you may, on stallions. “I feel as though Victoria has been sold, as most of this money will be raised here. “I’m staggered that Harness Racing Victoria have let this happen to their own state. “Add to the fact that roughly 90 per cent of trotting mares bred are bred/reside in Victoria and assuming a very large number of pacing mares are bred and also located in Victoria, it’s not difficult to see that most of the tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like, raised, would be in Victoria and go where and to what?” Going by this past breeding season’s numbers, if all the same shuttle/frozen semen stallions were to remain, this levy will affect 52 stallions (28 trotting and 24 pacing) in Australia and New Zealand. A breakdown of those numbers show that 28 of those stallions are with Victoria, nine in Queensland, eight stallions in NZ, five in New South Wales and two in Western Australia. “I just can’t come up with a logical answer. “I’m all for improving the sport, I’ve invested a lot of my own money trying to do so with sponsorship and breeding. “If people want to have a $1million race, ask those seeking to have the race sponsor it!” To read HRA’s entire media release regarding the ‘Stallion Levy’ and propositions for these funds, click here. By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

The new ‘Stallion Levy’ proposed by Harness Racing Australia is a move that has created more questions than answers as Australasia’s biggest breeders know it will have a negative ripple effect on the industry at all levels.  What is wrong with Harness Racing Australia and Andrew Kelly? With Andrew Kelly producing FAKE NEWS with ridiculous numbers today of $18 million spent on “International Sires” it is hard to understand how HRA can justify his salary. With no experience and no investment in the Stallion business he is out of control. He has been in this position for 12 years and far too long! Andrew Kelly is not the only person responsible for this proposed TAX though. Below this letter, we have listed all State members that have been a part of this TAX proposal. This is what the majority of breeders have to say today about this unbelievable TAX that HRA is trying to get in place; Dear Mr. Kelly & the HRA Executive With regards to your recent announcement of a proposed 15% levy on all shuttle and frozen semen non-resident stallions, we would like to formally express our opposition to this Proposal. It is extremely disappointing that there was no industry consultation or discussion in advance of this Proposal. Stud farms, stallion owners and breeders’ organisations were not notified of this Proposal prior to the posting of a general press release on the HRA website. This press release creates far more questions than answers. Based on the breeding data available on HarnessWeb as of April 19th, there were 5,118 total mares bred in Australia to 166 registered stallions in the 2020/21 season. Pacing stallions served a total of 4,331 Australian mares with Australian domiciled stallions serving the majority of mares – 2,662 (61%). The remaining 39% of pacing mares bred (1,669) were served with semen from shuttle and frozen semen stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 700 pacing mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions served 531 Australian pacing mares and North American frozen semen was used to serve 438 pacing mares. A total of 787 trotting mares were bred in Australia. Australian domiciled stallions served 292 trotting mares (37%). The remaining 63% of trotting mares (495) were served with semen from U.S. shuttle stallions, frozen semen from U.S. and European stallions and NZ domiciled stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 62 trotting mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions covered 29 trotting mares, NZ domiciled stallions 109 mares and non-resident frozen semen was used to serve 295 trotting mares. Pacing and trotting stallions who permanently reside in Australia accounted for 58% of all mares bred last season. It should be noted that 114 Australian domiciled stallions will not be assessed this levy and therefore will not be contributing any funds to HRA’s 15% Proposal. Contrary to the opinions of a few self-interested parties who have created a huge misconception within the industry, there is far less money being paid to North American breeding syndicates for the use of their stallions than rumored. In addition, a large percentage of breeding rights for several of the most prominent shuttle stallions are owned by Australian/New Zealand studs or investors with the bulk of collected service fees remaining in Australasia as a return on investment. Also, many stallions are under long-term lease agreements contracted when a 15% levy was not included in the configuration of expenses.  Breeding farms have been relied on to help support the industry by offering discounts as high as 25% to breeders to assist them with rising costs and to provide complimentary breeding’s to clubs and breeders organisations throughout the country as well as various sponsorships within the industry. Now it is proposed that stud owners fund prize money increases to the Inter Dominion, Derbys and Oaks for benefit of a select few. We are not in agreement that breeding should be funding racing. Most of the studs who stand shuttle or offer frozen semen stallions have made significant contributions to the Australian agricultural and general economy. We have made substantial investments in property, buildings, equipment and livestock, we employ staff, purchase hay, feed and other farm supplies as well as support many local businesses (printers, office supplies, petrol, etc.). If this levy were to be adopted by HRA, there would most definitely be a ripple effect felt throughout the entire industry. HRA is attempting to change the way studs conduct their business which we feel would result in a dramatic change to the established culture of breeding. Breeders should be afforded the option of selecting the best stallions available for their mares without being penalized by a 15% levy. Below are just some of the major impacts we believe this 15% levy would have on Australian breeding. It has been a long-standing practice within the industry for studs to offer breeders a discount on the advertised service fee – whether it be for early payment, bookings for multiple mares or farm loyalty discounts. Over the last 25 years, very few breeders, if any, have ever paid the full advertised service fee. This proposed 15% levy on the advertised service fee will certainly see the elimination or reduction of service fee discounts for both shuttle and frozen semen stallions. This levy is extremely discriminatory as it provides Australian domiciled stallions a 15% price advantage as they are not subject to this levy. Many studs offer clients the opportunity to pay the service fee on a live foal basis. HRA has stated the proposed 15% levy will be imposed following a 42-day positive pregnancy test which may lead to the elimination of these pay on live foal options. With regards to the proposed 15% levy being invoiced on a 42-day positive pregnancy test, does this levy carry a live foal guarantee or a refund to the stud farm if the mare fails to deliver a live foal and when would this be repaid? Is the levy applicable to free returns? Complimentary breeding’s? Donations? Ultimately it appears that studs will have little or no choice but to pass this proposed levy on to breeders. Studs cannot be expected to absorb this additional cost on top of an already expense laden business. As breeders’ costs rise due to this levy, breeding numbers, live foals and race starters will undoubtedly decrease. This levy is an HRA attempt to push breeders towards supporting Australian/Colonial stallions who are not subjected to this levy. The most popular and successful commercial stallions available to breeders in Australia are shuttle or frozen semen stallions.  Commercial breeders are less likely to experience the same returns at the yearling sales that they currently enjoy if they are forced to breed to “Colonial” stallions due to this levy.  The considerable number of horses exported overseas by Australian owners will also be affected as Colonial-sired horses will not be as recognizable and may not be in great demand by mainstream North American or European buyers.  Stallion choices in the future will be limited as fewer shuttle/frozen semen stallions will be available due to this proposed levy. This levy, added to the mounting costs of shuttling to the southern hemisphere, will question the economical feasibility of bringing the best-bred and performed stallions to Australasia.  Faced with both 10% GST and this 15% levy, most international stallion owners will be discouraged from considering Australia in the future. If fewer mares are bred to shuttle/frozen semen stallions due to this levy, the Australasian gene pool will be negatively affected in the future. This 15% levy will negatively impact industry sponsorships. Studs have played a critical role in race and club sponsorships over the years, but this levy will certainly affect monies available for these sponsorships. If studs are being asked to fund racing prize money as suggested in your Proposal, how can they be asked to continue to sponsor tracks, clubs and smaller industry events as well? As an example, International Racehorse Transport has stepped up its sponsorship of the Standardbred industry in the last several years, but if fewer stallions are flying back and forth from North America or Europe, how can IRT be expected to support an industry that no longer supports their business model? We would like to request a meeting with the HRA Executive to further discuss our concerns regarding this proposed 15% levy. It is evident that HRA has not considered this Proposal from the point of view of the Studs. We would welcome the opportunity to educate the Executive on the realities of the breeding industry and assist in seeking alternative proposals to benefit the ENTIRE Standardbred community. Faithfully yours, Pat Driscoll, Haras des Trotteurs/Yabby Dam Farm Alan Galloway, Alabar Farms Mark Hughes, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd David James, Empire Stallions Corp Dr. Kath McIntosh, Northern Rivers Equine Vet Clinic Kody Charles, KTC Bloodstock Belinda McCarthy, Cobbity Equine Farm Ged Mooar, Nevele R Stud Peter O’Rourke, Stallions Australasia Anthony Perkins, Trump Bloodstock Darren Reay, Medowie Lodge .................................................... Here are the people that are complicit in proposing this TAX. One of the main promoters of this TAX is one of those members Bob Fowler who has a vested interest in Colonial stallions. Feel free to lobby these ill informed officials below.   HRA Office Bearers, National Body, Corporate & Service Providers     Office Bearers for 2020/2021 Effective Date of Implementation:   30 October 2020 Executive Members                             Graeme Campbell OAM Independent Chair         Ken Brown AM Deputy Chairman (NSW-HRNSW)     Dale Montieth Treasurer (Vic-HRV)                             Executive Members                         Margaret Reynolds (Qld-Racing Queensland)   Joel Wallace (Tas-Tasracing Pty Ltd)     George Fiacchi  (SA-HRSA)     Bob Fowler (WA-RWWA)                           HRA National Body       Andrew Kelly   Chief Executive            Chief Executive: Andrew Kelly   Head of Finance and Strategy: Cameron Brown   Equine Health & Welfare Co-ordinator: Kathleen Mullan   DNA Co-ordinator, Registration, Naming, Clearances: Laraine Rischitelli   HRA Website & Database Administrator, Reports: Kathy Gebert   Clearances, Administration Services: Kerry Macaloney   General Email: hra@hra.com.au   Naming Enquiries: naming@hra.com.au   Phone: 61 3 9227 3000   Fax: 61 3 9227 3030     Mail: Level 1, 400 Epsom Road, Flemington Vic  3031  Australia

Kerford Road A saved ground for much of the Yonkers Raceway harness racing conditioned feature pace on Tuesday, but his move at the five-eighths and late tenacity earned him a spot in the winner's circle.   Jim Marohn Jr. landed the seven-year-old gelding the pocket spot from post four heading for the first bend, but Redbank Blaze A's (Matt Kakaley) brush to the top relegated him to third. Kerford Road continued in the three-hole through splits of :28 and :56.3 before going on the attack past the five-eighths pole.   Kerford Road made inroads on the leader quickly, reaching the Redbank Blaze A's harness as the six-horse field hit three-quarters in 1:25.1. The two locked in battle down the stretch, and Kerford Road prevailed under the light of the wire in a 1:53.4 triumph.   Redbank Blaze A was a neck short in second, completing an Aussie top two. Pointomygrandson (Scott Zeron) was a clear third.   KERFORD ROAD REPLAY     Kerford Road A, an Australian expat that moved to North America in 2020, has won 20 of his 77 lifetime starts and earned more than $145,000. The ownership group of Harmon Racing Stable LLC, Winners Circle Racing LLC, and John Campagnuolo of Loxahatchee brought the son of Somebeachsomewhere stateside; Robert Harmon trains for the coalition.   Yonkers Raceway will be back on Wednesday, May 5 with a nine-race card that kicks off at 7:15 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    Former topliner Chase Auckland could be just days away from his first race in this country in 16 months. The Auckland Reactor six-year-old came through his latest trial at Ashburton on Tuesday with a strong second behind stable-mate and star filly Bettor Twist. “He led them up and she came off his back …. it was the hardest hit out he’s had and they ran 2:59 so it was a decent run,” said trainer Hayden Cullen. Bettor Twist’s last 800 was in 54.2 though they were aided by a tailwind. It was Chase Auckland’s third trial back and all going well Cullen will line up him up in a Free For All mobile pace at Addington next Friday (May 14). “I will nominate him for that race and hopefully there’ll be enough to get the race off the ground” If not then Plan B could be a standing start race the following week. Chase Auckland hasn’t raced here since winning the Group Two Flying Mile at Cambridge on January 10 2020. His last win before that was his defeat of Classie Brigade, New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac and Spankem in the 2019 Show Day Free For All. Overall Chase Auckland has won 14 races from 34 starts and earned $805,281. But he has not raced since getting injured in Australia in February last year. “He fractured a hock,” said Cullen. Since then there’s been a lengthy rehabilitation, in Sydney and Matamata before heading to Cullen’s barn in January. “He’s a very good horse , he’s in good nick and very strong.” While Cullen’s taking it one trial, and hopefully one race, at a time there are ultimate hopes the bay gelding could be a player come November’s New Zealand Cup.

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will pick up the Graduate Series leg and Miss Versatility leg that were previously scheduled to be raced at Mohawk Park.   Also, in concert with the SBOA of NJ, The Meadowlands will add races for 3 year-olds to the Championship Meet schedule to accommodate horses left with reduced harness racing opportunities due to stakes schedule changes at Mohawk Park.   A short series for pacing mares has been placed in late May/early June while Open Trotting and Pacing events for older horses and geldings will be offered when there's a blank spot in their schedule.   Revisions and additions are listed below:   The leg of the Graduate Series for both trotters and pacers originally scheduled for Saturday, June 5 at Mohawk will be raced at The Meadowlands on the same date.   The Graduate leg for both trotters and pacers originally scheduled for Saturday, June 26 at The Meadowlands will now be raced on Saturday, June 19 at The Meadowlands.   The Graduate Series Finals will remain on Saturday, July 10 at The Meadowlands.   The leg of the Miss Versatility Series originally scheduled for Friday, May 28 at Mohawk will be raced on Saturday, May 29 at The Meadowlands.   A leg will be added to the Miss Versatility and raced on Saturday, June 12, expanding the series to now six legs.   The Miss Versatility leg scheduled for Friday, September 10 has been moved to Friday, September 3 at The Meadowlands to accommodate the relocation of the Armbro Flight eliminations on the 10th. The final remains on Jug Day at the Delaware County Fair.   Added to each Saturday during the month of June there will be separate overnight Open Pace classes for 3 year-old colt and filly pacers for a purse of $50,000 ($35,000 if there are divisions). These races will be written with preference to horses that are eligible to the Meadowlands Pace or Mistletoe Shalee and the North America Cup or Fan Hanover.   The same classes will be written for 3 year-old trotting colts and fillies on Friday, June 11 and Friday, June 25. Preference will be given to those horses paid into stakes at The Meadowlands.   A short overnight series will be offered for older pacing mares again with preference given to those paid into Meadowlands stakes. These races are scheduled for Saturday, May 22 and Friday, June 11 to race for $30,000; the top earners will race for $50,000 on Friday, June 18.   Opens for the older horses will be available weekly with the possibility of a few special events along the way.   Information will be updated on The Meadowlands web site soon.   "It's clear that many owners and trainers are affected by the situation in Canada. With the NA Cup and its companion stakes moved to September, there really aren't many options for the 3 year-olds to get races on a big track that they need to be in shape for our marquee stakes," said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural. "It seems like the right thing to do."   SBOA of NJ President Mark Ford had this to say, "I commend Jeff for recognizing the need for these races and I'm pleased we are able to join together and step up to help our horse people. It's a good time to be racing in New Jersey, with our overnight purses at the highest level they've been in years. Our members can have confidence that they will continue to have opportunities to race for purses that are as good as any in the business."   From the Meadowlands

Wales, UK - Saturday night’s opening meeting at Tir Prince belonged to the trainer/driver duo Teresa and James Haythornthwaite, who took out three of the seven races on the card including the feature pacing event: the Anto Russell Memorial.  The mother and son team began their treble when TAKEMETOTHELIMIT led from pillar to post in the second race of the night, with James admitting in the post-race interview that father Alan’s advice had been to roll out slowly from post position 5; advice that he chose not to heed when deciding if “[he] was going to go out slow [he] was as well going out fast”.  The gamble paid off, with the five-year-old son of Art Professor coming home two and half lengths clear of IN THE MONEY (Grant Cullen) in 2.02.6.  DREAMFAIR DUKE (Hugh Menzies) filled the places back in third. The stable’s second winner came in the Dexter Dunn Spring Series heat, where Wales & West Leading Horse of last season KENTUCKY JUNGLEJOE (Mark Pritchard) stepped out of the gate in front and held off the initial challenge of RHYDS LOUIE (Jak Foody).  Heading to the three quarters Foody mounted a second challenge for the lead and in doing so drew the long time leader off the rail;  FRISCO GOTTAGO wasted no time in the hands of James Haythornthwaite and burst through the gap on the rail to take up the running with just under a quarter to go and ran out a comfortable winner by two and a quarter lengths in 2.05.6.  RHYDS LOUIE stayed on well for second and maiden KENOSHA COMET (Mike Evans) improved in the stretch to finish third. Team Haythornthwaite rounded off the night with a win in the final race on the card.  Heavy betting favourite COALFORD TETRICK (David Davies) led out in a blistering 28 first quarter and some felt the race was over at this point.  Going through the half in 58 seconds, it only took until the three quarter marker for the leader to start coming back to the chasing field.  Haythornthwaite and PLAN B opted to get first run on the front horse and cruised to the lead before turning for home, with NO BRAKES (Hugh Menzies) closing the gap to the wire to three parts of a length.  LAKESIDE PADDY (Mike Evans) finished third in the fastest race of the night, stopping the clock in 2.00.4.  The nine-year-old son of Hasty Hall will continue to be campaigned exclusively on hard tracks for the remainder of the season with the aim to keep him consistent in his racing. Last season’s Trotter of the Year DIAMANT DE GODREL overcame barrier draw 8 to land the Prix Bienvenue for owner Savannah Nicholson, trainer John Nicholson and driver John Henry Nicholson.  The stable’s star was taken back at the start and settled at the rear of the field as BROADWAY DU BOURG (Joby Randall) led out. With the race over a mile and a half, the group remained bunched as they passed the mile marker, until EMIRAT DU LEVANT (Richard Haythornthwaite) made a big move off the turn to take on the leader with a lap to go.  DIAMANT DE GODREL stayed close on his heels and down the back straight tipped three wide to challenge, kicking off the final bend to go clear by 2 lengths at the finish in 3.16.0.  EMIRAT DU LEVANT dug in to finish second with long time leader BROADWAY DU BOURG holding on for third. Owner/driver Joby Randall had tasted success earlier in the evening in the first of the two trots with new purchase COEUR DE VENISE.  The race, made up of 7 new imports from France under the Le Trot/TrotBritain scheme, was as much a fact-finding mission for connections as it was for spectators, with Randall establishing after the race that his new charge was brave in front and not willing to let another horse pass him.  Having led out, he held off all challenges over the mile and half distance to run out a length and a half winner from the eye-catching FLASH DE LONGUERUE (Mike Evans) and CEDRE PIERJI (Peter Mather) in 3.12.8. The first winner of the 2021 British season went the way of the track’s Racing Manager, Eric Witherspoon, who was celebrating his birthday with his family in attendance.  OAKWOOD BANDIT (Michael O’Mahony) was felt by Witherspoon to possibly be in need of the run but this proved not to be the case as the four-year-old son of Foreclosure N, purchased last year, held off the late challenge from SPER BUGGY (James Haythornthwaite) to give his owner a birthday to remember when recording his first lifetime win.  Debutant JOHN JAMES (Mark Pritchard) impressed onlookers to stay on for third with the race clocked in 2.04.2. Scottish trainer Hamish Muirhead was described as ‘shrewd’ on The Sulky Show which aired on the BHRC’s Youtube channel on Friday night and his decision to travel so far south yielded success in the form of STASHTHECASH (William Greenhorn). AYR PIONEER (Mark Pritchard) maintained a lead for three quarters of a mile before succumbing to the challenge from RING OF FIRE (Rhun Wilson), but Greenhorn stated in the post-race interview that the mare had warmed up really well and he was confident going into the race that he could land a place, and turning for home he felt he could get the win as she continued to race strong right to the line, running out a two length winner in 2.02.3 over RING OF FIRE, with ALL GOOD HANOVER (Jak Foody) staying on well after a long layoff from racing to finish third. Racing returns to Tir Prince on Saturday 15th May.  The next meeting in Great Britain is at York Harness Raceway on Saturday 8th May, featuring the Smart Bookmakers Final. by Sarah Thomas. for Harnesslink

Keith Waples, one of the greatest horsemen in the history of harness racing, has passed away at the age of 97. Waples was born December 8, 1923 in Victoria Harbour, Ontario. In 1959, Waples became the first driver to record a sub two-minute mile in Canada and the first to win a $100,000 race in Canada. In 1962, Keith Waples drove Tie Silk to victory in the International Trot at Roosevelt Raceway, and in 1972 with the colt Strike Out, he won the Little Brown Jug, the Adios Pace and Prix d'Été. Keith Waples was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1973, the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1978, and the United States Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2008, Waples was an inductee (Athlete category) of the Midland (Ontario) Sports Hall of Fame.  He will be sadly missed by Eileen, his loving wife of almost 75 years, and his four children, Barbara Lennox, Donna Galbraith (Mac), Karen Hauver (Maurice) and Gord (Denise), as well as his 9 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Keith was the son of the late Jack and Bertha Waples and was predeceased by sisters, Jean Swan and Annabelle Caffry, and by his grandson Jason (Jay) Waples. He is survived by sisters Dorothy Rumney of Wasaga Beach, Peggi Diebel of Squamish, B.C. and Mary Jane Burnett of Orangeville, and brother Murray of Barrie. As per his wishes, his body has been cremated and a small private funeral will be held at the Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home in Guelph, Ont., Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. The service will be live streamed and a link is available on the funeral home website. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. As an expression of sympathy, donations to the Guelph General Hospital would be appreciated by the family in recognition of the excellent care that he and Eileen have received there over the years. Donations/online condolences can be made through the Funeral Home at gilbertmacintyreandson.com. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Haras des Trotteurs is sponsoring a fillies and mares race at Addington on Friday night in honour of one of New Zealand harness racing’s prominent trotting personality Heather Williams, who with her husband Lex Williams bred and raced such notable trotters as One Over Kenny and One Over Da Moon.  Heather passed away from a short illness in November last year, and her husband Lex approached Pat Driscoll with a view of putting on a race in her honour, and this week the inaugural Haras des Trotteurs Heather Williams Memorial will be raced at Addington.  “I wanted to do something positive for fillies and mares and recognize the work that Heather did in the industry,” said Lex from his home in Ocean View Beach, Dunedin, this week.  Fillies and mares trotting races are thin on the ground in New Zealand, and Williams initial idea was to provide a mile race so that they got the opportunity to post a mile time, but mile races at Addington are problematic because of the start position, and Ashburton could not find a place on the calendar for it. So a compromise of 1980m at Addington was agreed upon.  “I came up with the idea for the race and approached Pat to see if he would support the race, and he agreed to match my contribution, which is exceptional really.”  Williams says the race with a $20,000 stake is close to a listed race and hopes to get the race to that level in the near future.   Lex  has been active in racing administration and was President for the Waimate Trotting Club for  a decade, while Heather was also actively involved behind the scenes.  “She was a very big part of it for 20 years. She was always very involved in the breeding, and also in the preparation of the yearlings,” Lex said.  Heather loved horses, although that was not that way when they were first married,  Lex says.  “She was actually scared of them, and didn’t like them at all,” says Lex but in time, Heather became a wonderful horsewoman  “She loved preparing the horses for sales. She got a lot of accolades from people on how quiet and well mannered our horses were at the sales, and that was down to Heather,” says Lex.   Lex and Heather, who lived most of their life at their Waimate farm, were particularly fond of trotters, perhaps because the first one they ever bought was a certain One Over Kenny , who they purchased in  the 2003 yearling sales in Christchurch.  The mare, by Sundon, won 32 races and over a million dollars including the Rowe Cup twice, among 17 black type races. She also won six races in Australia including the Group One Australasian Trotters Championship.  One Over Kenny and her son One Over Da Moon also both won the VHRC The Holmfield in 2005 and  2014, a race Lex holds a special place for.  One Over Da Moon has become a successful sire in his own right, despite limited opportunities and will have a daughter representing Lex and Heather in the Memorial race, in Samantha’s Moon, a promising type who has one once and placed three times while racing the best of this year’s 3YO fillies.  Heather, like Lex, was also a fan of the French trotter, breeding multiple times to Haras des Trotteurs stallions including Love You, Orlando Vici and En Solitaire, who stands in Southland.  “We were very big on them. There are a lot of them around.”  Heather and Lex bred the 2018 annual yearling sale topper Ultimate Stride, who is by Love You out of  One Over Kenny.  “We have a lovely En Solitaire filly out of One Over Kenny and we sent her back to him this year,” says Lex, who is also breeding from mares by Orlando Vici and Love You, while he has another in foal to Love You.  “We were keen on the French bloodlines, we have always believed that they will help the breed with their gait and their temperament.”    by Haras des Trotteurs 

New Zealand import Raukapuka Ruler N was supreme through a downpour in the $37,000 Open Pace at Yonkers Raceway on Monday, winning the featured harness racing contest in wire-to-wire fashion.   Jordan Stratton commanded Raukapuka Ruler to take the lead from post five, and the horse did so in a :26.3 opening stanza. He stole a :56.1 second quarter and continued to the three-quarters in 1:24.3 with little opposition offered from the seven others.   Raukapuka Ruler N tuned for home with a two-length gap and put the race to bed with only mild encouragement from Stratton, winning in 1:52.4. A plucky Speed Man N (Scott Zeron) trudged on first-up, but he completed the Kiwi exactor a length and a half short in second. The Real One (Pat Lachance) closed for third off his second-over trip.   RAUKAPUKA RULER N REPLAY     Raukapuka Ruler's score was his 17th from 59 lifetime outings. The eight-year-old gelding's earnings now exceed $340,000. Tritton 2 Inc of Pine Bush owns, and Peter Tritton trains. The son of Bettor's Delight moved to North America in October 2019.   Ostro Hanover captured the $30,000 Preferred Pace one race later in a similar effort.   The six-year-old gelding directed three other leavers to form up behind him going into the first turn, as he used his rail draw to attain front-end control. He governed the tempo through fractions of :27.2, :56.4, and 1:24.3 under orders from Tyler Buter and consolidated the 1:53 victory with a convincing stretch drive.   Ostro Hanover got home a length clear of Ehrmantraut (Zeron), who finished second, and Herrickroosevelt N (Stratton), who took show.   OSTRO HANOVER REPLAY     Ostro Hanover is now 21-for-69 lifetime with a bankroll in excess of $435,000. Daniel Renaud trains the son of Betterthancheddar for the ownership trio of B and I Stables LLC of Closter, Kapildeo Singh of Yorktown Heights, and VIP Internet Stables LLC of Piscataway.   Stratton had a hot night despite the drizzle. He drove four winners: Victorias Maverick (1:52.4) in the first, Lets Have Another (1:51.4) in the fourth, Sheriff N (1:52.1) in the sixth, and Raukapuka Ruler. He leads the drivers' standings with 105 victories.   The total handle of $1,254,745 was the highest on a nighttime card for the track in more than eight years.   Yonkers Raceway returns on Tuesday, May 4 with a nine-race program beginning at 7:15 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk     Grasstrack racing has been a massive success this season , and there will be even more meetings in 2021/22. The dates calendar was released last week and it has 38 grasstrack meetings next season, including three dual code meetings. That’s an increase of four on this season, and includes the return to Hawera in Taranaki. Their two meetings will be held over Waitangi weekend (February 4 and 6 2022). There will be two other North Island meetings at Wairarapa and Kapiti, and 34 in the south. Mt Harding at Methven and Motukarara will be the busiest grasstracks in the country with seven meetings each next season while Westport gets three and Geraldine doubles its quota to two. Gore will also race on the grass twice, as will Oamaru, and the Forbury Park Trotting Club at Wingatui. Methven hosted the last grasstrack meeting of the season on April 26. Methven Trotting Club president Mark Lemon is reasonably happy with next season’s allocation saying “we can handle one meeting a month” though he thinks nation-wide there is still potential to have even more grasstrack meetings over the warmer months. “We should be having a meeting on every Sunday – and we are not doing that.” Grasstrack racing’s popularity with the punter is well known. This season for instance Methven turned over more than a million dollars at five of its seven meetings, with a best of $1,565,647 on October 11. The Hororata Club’s meeting there also did $1,132,720. Mark Lemon : “When you add it all up it was over $9.5 million at Methven … the only two we didn’t do a million on were the two when we only had nine races.” And Lemon says having big open races is the key. “We are very conscious of carding races that get full fields… we don’t have favourite-dominated races.” Of the season’s 34 grasstrack meetings, held between September and April, 25 surpassed turnover of a million dollars. The biggest was Westport on Boxing Day at $1,893,014, while Marlborough (Jan 17), Banks Peninsula (Jan 24), Methven (Oct 11), Banks Peninsula (Dec 29) Wyndham (Jan 6) and Gore (Dec 27) all went over $1.5m.

Four $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes divisions for 3-year-old pacing and trotting colts went postward on a rainy afternoon at Miami Valley on May 3. Despite the gloomy weather, all the tail-sitting events offered excitement for harness racing fans. Winning Ticket began the afternoon by taking the first of two OSS trotting events with Aaron Merriman driving for trainer Chris Beaver. The son of Triumphant Caviar, out of the Credit Winner mare Lotto Winner now has four straight triumphs to his credit in 2021, with seasonal earnings of $77,500 and career earnings of $162,547. Bred by James Bender, Winning Ticket is owned by Beaver, Steve Zeehandelar, Tim Homan and Jim Burnett. The bay gelding used front-end tactics to score the win, snapping off fractions of :29, :58.4, 1:26.3 with a final panel in :29 to fly under the wire in 1:55.3. Peter's Royalty was second for Josh Sutton, nearly three lengths behind the winner, while Tango With Me (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) was a distant third. WINNING TICKET REPLAY   The same driver-trainer combo of Aaron Merriman and Chris Beaver was back in the winner's circle for the second OSS trotting division as Spyder The Striker prevailed in 1:56.3 for owners Beaver, Beaver, Fleming and VIP Stable. The bay son of Uncle Peter - Elena-San Pellegrino hinted in his last start, losing a head decision in a Miami Valley overnight. This OSS victory was his fifth lifetime start as he bested rivals Perron (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) and Lockbox (Chris Page) by a nail-biting nose. Bred by Wilbur Lang, Spyder The Striker won two OSS events as a freshman in his only two start last year. He now has $68,125 in career earnings. SPYDER THE STRIKER REPLAY   The Brian Brown-trained Four-Star Flash kept his unblemished 2021-win streak intact by posting a 1:52 victory in the first of two $50,000 OSS events for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The son of Western Vintage, out of the Bettor's Delight mare Keladi Blue Chip is now four for four on the year for owners Hutchison Harness, D. Wozniak, D. Van Dusen and Acadia Farms. Bred by Marion Beachy, Four-Star Flash, with Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., at the lines, now has $80,010 in his lifetime bank account and was three-quarters of length in front of I'm Sorry Man and Chris Page, followed by 48-1 longshot Sir Charles Of Sky and driver Trace Tetrick. FOUR-STAR FLASH REPLAY   Heart Of Chewbacca added another $25,000 to his already hefty $244,348 bank account by capturing the second OSS division for 3-year-old pacing colts in spry 1:51.2. Trained by Ron Burke for owners Dennis Owens and Norman Rae Racing, the son of Break On The Beach - Jt's Chewbacca-Four Starzzz Shark notched his eighth career triumph in 11 starts. HEART OF CHEWBACCA REPLAY   Bred by Spring Haven Farm, the black colt was driven by Danny Noble to his third straight victory this season in wire-to-wire fashion and finished 7¼ lengths ahead of Truly Noble (Greg Bateson), with Bare It Hill (Chris Page) nabbing show honors. For full race results, click here. by Kimberly Rinker,OSDF Administrator  

Pompano Beach, FL - It wasn't the Fourth of July but there were plenty of pari-mutuel fireworks at Pompano Park as the famed South Florida closed out its season with record breaking handle while several other pools were at--or near--record levels on Sunday night. Total handle exceeded $1.7 million, giving Pompano its record 21st million dollar plus program for the season. In it's previous history dating back to 1964, the track had a total of six such nights. The "Send-It-In" Army members were rewarded with some healthy rewards as the 50 cent Pick-5, with a $100,000 guaranteed pool, paid $708.10 with two odds-on favorites, two 4 to 1 shots and a single 8 to 1 winner comprising the mix. The fourth race pentafecta paid $17,064.78 for the 20 cent ducat on the 4-10-5-2-7 combo and the Pick-6 paid $8,239.50. A pair of Pick-4 events were bolstered by record or near-record pools and the Super Hi-5 finale, with the 2 to 1 favorite winning, returned $3,089.64 for the 20 cent ticket with the 5-6-1-4-8 combination. Driver Kevin Wallis swept both feature events, scoring with this own The Lionking AS ($4.20) in the $11,000 Isle Mile I-II trot and Kinnder Jackson ($2.20) in the $12,000 Isle I pace for Jake Huff, who is the trainer for owners Our Three Sons Stable and Rosie Huff. KINNDER JACKSON REPLAY   Wallis had a "grand-slam" on the card, also scoring with TT Conway ($3.60) and Muscles Aplenty ($5.60). Dave Ingraham continued his hot hand with a driving double steering Rock N Roll Rosie ($2.60) and Take Abit of Life ($15.40) to the winner's circle as fillies and mares were in the spotlight in those events. Two new drivers on the Pompano Park scene, JD Wengerd and Chris Shaw, joined the festivities for the final program, each contributing to the fireworks with winner's circle appearances--Wengerd steering Pick Six ($10.80) to a photo finish win and Shaw picking up a double with Noah's Mill ($18.20) and Matt's Choice ($6.60) in the finale. For full race results, click here. by John Berry, for Pompano Park

A strong session concluded NZB Standardbred’s first-ever dedicated National Weanling Sale, with healthy competition on quality harness racing lots found throughout the buying bench.  NZB Director and Operations Manager James Jennings was thrilled at the conclusion of the inaugural session.   “It was a great result, with the sale beginning and ending well. We couldn’t be happier.” “It was great to have a physical sale again, with a number of Australian buyers making use of the trans-Tasman bubble which I think added a lot of strength to the buying bench. “To have a 92% clearance rate following off the back of a strong National Yearling Sale shows there is still buoyancy in the market,” he said. The two highlight purchases were made during the latter end of the session, both secured for a $36,000 pricetag. Lot 130 (Bettor's Delight x No Liability) purchased for $36,000 by Robert Dunn. Saving the best until last, leading trainer Robert Dunn purchased the last lot of the day, (130) a Bettor’s Delight colt out of No Liability (NZ) (Christian Cullen) from Woodlands Stud’s draft.  “We had to wait all day for this colt but he was bred on the golden cross, Bettor’s Delight out of a Christian Cullen mare.” “He wasn’t a big colt but he was very correct, had a nice head on him, walked very well and his breeding is just impeccable. “Ross Gordon, one of my big owners has put his hand up to buy him. He will be going straight to the spelling paddock now for three months and then we’ll send him down to Christchurch to be broken in,” Dunn said. Australian-based trainer Barry Howlett was pleased he managed to secure Lot 124 via the online bidding platform. He purchased an Art Major filly out of Matavutu (NZ) (New York Motoring) from Alabar Farms’ draft. “We bought her based on her pedigree and have had good success with relations from the family,” Howlett said.   “We were bidding online and we missed out on a couple, I thought we might have got her for a bit less than what we had to pay but it seemed like there were good prices for the quality lots. “We train the half-brother, Jack Mac, who is a really smart horse. “She’ll be coming over to Western Australia to get broken in and we’ll train her.” Ripple Creek’s Trent Yesberg claimed the leading purchaser by aggregate title after he secured five lots for a total turnover of $120,000. His purchases are highlighted by Lot 8, a Bettor’s Delight filly out of Christian Cullen mare Queen Camille (NZ) for $33,000. Offered on account of Woodlands Stud, she is a full sister to multiple Group-winning Henry Hubert (NZ). Yesberg also secured Lot 71, a Father Patrick filly out of Con Grazia (NZ) (Majestic Son) for $30,000 from the Georgia Brooke Lodge draft. Alabar Farms was leading consignor by both aggregate and average, selling 49 weanlings for a total turnover of $626,000 and averaging $12,776. General Manager Graeme Henley was feeling positive at the conclusion of selling. “I thought it was a really strong Sale and the nice horses sold really well with a great clearance rate.” “It’s pleasing to see how the sale has grown over the years, with horses presenting really well and selling accordingly,” he said. All weanlings purchased at the Sale are eligible to be nominated for the lucrative Harness Million Sales Race Series, with entries closing 17 May 2021. To enquire about Passed In lots, contact Bloodstock Sales Representative Cam Bray by calling +64 21 737 199 or email Cam.Bray@nzb.co.nz, or use the ‘Bid Now’ function on the website. View the full results online here. View key sale highlights and interviews here. 2021 National Weanling Sale Statistics Aggregate $1,265,500 Average $11,199 Median $8,500 Clearance 92% Catalogued 130 Sold 113 Top Price $36,000 Lot 124 (B.F) Art Major – Matavatu $36,000 Lot 130 (B.C) Bettor’s Delight – No Liability       NZB Standardbred

Billy Davis Jr. recorded his 3,000th career harness racing win on Sunday night (May 2) as he directed Vintage Grand to a win in the fifth race at Northfield Park.   "The only disappointing thing about getting three thousand wins was that my family couldn't celebrate it with me because they have to stay in Canada due to Covid-19," Davis Jr. said in reaching the milestone.   He went on to say, "When I was sixty or seventy away, I started to think about it but it really came up quicker on me than I anticipated. I remember when I was one away from two thousand wins, it took me like three weeks to get it," he added with a laugh.   DAVIS' 3000TH WIN REPLAY     Davis Jr. recalled his first career win, guiding Spartacus DJ to the victory back in 2007 at Fraser Downs in British Columbia. "He was trained by my Dad. My father had like fifty four hundred wins. At that time when I got my first, I was living in the moment so I didn't know what to expect down in the future. I guess I knew I could drive a horse though."   The 34-year-old Davis Jr., who resides in Guelph, Ontario, has driven at Buffalo Raceway, Batavia Downs, Flamboro Downs, Mohawk Raceway, Georgian Downs, Kawartha Downs and Mohawk.   In his career, he has won over $22.2 million in purse earnings.   "As I have gotten older, I am not driving as much," Davis Jr. lamented. "I remember racing seven days a week, working, it was exhausting, I am making decent money at Buffalo and Batavia (and now Northfield) and I am not killing myself doing it."   Looking at the future, Davis Jr. said, "I just want to stay consistent and reverent and things will work out good."   by Brian J. Mazurek

CHESTER, Pa. -- Soho Burning Love A ($3.00) delivered a decisive 1:50.1 score in Sunday afternoon's (May 2) $22,500 winners-over distaff pacing harness racing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia -- just the second appearance at the riverside raceway from the 7-year-old mare. Soho Burning Love A used two moves to achieve control of the terms out of her assigned outside post -- one to float into third on the first turn, and a second to seize control from early pacesetter Crazy Cute just beyond a :27.1 first quarter. And after the daughter of Auckland Reactor N reached the lead, there was simply no catching her. "She was awesome, as good as I've seen her," said Tim Tetrick, who drove Soho Burning Love A to her fourth victory of the year. "She was just out for a Sunday afternoon stroll; she was on cruise control." Soho Burning Love A rated a :55.4 half before accelerating on the backstretch -- following up a wind-aided :27 third sectional with a :27.2 final split to seal a 2-3/4-length victory. Demeter N, driven by Andy McCarthy, sustained a gradual first-over advance to take second; Eclipse Me N (Simon Allard) emerged belatedly for third over the tiring Crazy Cute.   SOHO BURNING LOVE A REPLAY   Jim King Jr. trains 21-time winner Soho Burning Love A for JoAnn Looney-King, Brian Carsey and Jeff Fought Racing. The featured win was one of four for Tetrick on the 14-race program. In the co-featured event for male pacers, also carrying a purse of $22,500, Shnitzledosomethin ($4.80) parried a persistent challenge from Yonkers invader Tyga Hanover to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:51.3, his second consecutive victory at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 6-year-old Fred And Ginger entire, who enjoyed success on the Indiana Sires Stakes circuit early in his career, drilled a :26 first quarter in line to David Miller before backing the half down to :55.4, but was forced to accelerate again up the far side while Tyga Hanover (Andy McCarthy) encroached steadily. Turning for home, Shnitzledosomethin rose to the challenge, driven out to notch his 25th lifetime win. Tyga Hanover narrowly held second over JJ Flynn (Todd McCarthy), who lifted mildly after losing cover.   SHNITZLEDOSOMETHIN REPLAY   Dylan Davis trains 25-time winner Shnitzledosomethin for Howard Taylor, Ed Gold, Abe Basen and Richard Lombardo. Davis -- whose two training wins on the program were matched only by leading trainer Kelvin Harrison -- also won with Shoobee Doo A ($21.40), who soared off cover to capture his North American debut in 1:51.1 in line to Corey Callahan. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (May 5); post time is 12:25 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here. by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Matt Kakaley, a "youthful veteran" of the sport at age 33, recorded the 5,000th victory of his still-young career when he got Traffic Jam home first in the fourth race of Sunday's twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Kakaley let the Artiscape mare work her way to the lead at the quarter, rated the pace to the half, then kept her ahead of her pursuers for her second win of the year - Matt was in the bike for her first seasonal victory as well, on March 14.   TRAFFIC JAM REPLAY   In addition to the 5000 victories, Kakaley-driven horses have won over $81 million. His best year for victories came in 2011 when he was first 441 times, including 289 of them at Pocono to be the last driver not named "George" to top The Downs in that category; Matt guided the winners of over $9 million in 2017, including Kentucky Futurity winner Snowflake Hanover and three $100,000 wins with All Bets Off. Kakaley also accounted for the $15,300 featured pace for mares, putting heavy favorite Shouldabeenatd on the lead and keeping her pace strongly, including her own last half in :54.4, to cross the wire first in 1:51.3. The daughter of Sweet Lou won her second straight for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. In all, Matt had four victories on the card.   SHOULDABEENATD REPLAY   Featured on the Monday card at 12:30 is a pair of $12,800 trotting contests for the highest-priced claimers at The Downs, with several recent winners looking to extend their current form streaks. Program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono