Day At The Track

Champion filly Princess Tiffany has been forced into an NSW Oaks tilt by the conditions of the restricted Nevele R fillies heat at Ashburton next week. Not being eligible for that race has affected her preparation for the 2700m of the Pascoe Northern Oaks and with full support from owners Braeden and Caroline Whitelock and Phil and Margaret Creighton Mark and Natalie have opted for the Australian campaign. The heats for the Oaks (2400m) are on February 23 (next Saturday) and the $A200,000 Oaks is on March 2 the day after the Pascoe Oaks. The Sires Stakes Board have made both the Methven and Ashburton heats Restricted to R70 rating and total earnings of $50,000 “to give middle and lower class fillies more opportunities in the series”. That means the only remaining South Island heats for Princess Tiffany and Kayla Marie are at Addington March 15; Forbury Park March 28 and at Addington 20. All Stars have won three of the last four NSW Oaks through Fight for Glory, Dream About Me and Partyon but was not earlier on the horizon for this year’s fillies. Princess Tiffany leaves next week with other All Stars Sydney aspirants to be confirmed but likely to include Elle Mac and Dream About Me.   Courtesy of All Stars Website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Prominent harness racing owner, breeder and equestriane Michelle Crawford of Crawford Farms in Durhamville, New York, was the succefull bidder for top trotting mare, Atlanta, winner of the 2018 Hambletonian and voted the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. The sale took place via the internet on www.OnGait.com. In order to buy out part owner and trainer Rick Zeron, who had received a six month suspension stemming from instances in Canada this past year, Atlanta was put up for auction.  The daughter of Chapter Seven, who has already earned $1,140,000, was started at $500,000 as the opening bid. Over the four-day period the bidding continued to increase. During the final five minutes of the auction, she remained at $1,550,000 until the auction was closed.  "This is a real deal," said Eric Cherry, co-owner of OnGait.com. "The other partners weren't sure how to disolve the ownership of Atlanta. Rick Zeron was speaking to me about it and one of the co-owners, Howard Taylor, has successfully sold a number of horses and that led them to us at OnGait. I understand that at least two or three of the partners wanted out on the horse and Michelle Crawford and Brad Grant wanted to keep the mare. "Once we got the page up," Cherry continued. "I started getting phone call from people wanting to know if this was for real. There were more than 23,000 views on the page. We were able to get a fair value on Atlanta as we have people around the world that were interested in her. Using OnGait.com was perfect for this special sale." Brad Grant then confirmed the deal. "Howard Taylor, Bill Holland (Holland Racing), the Crawfords and myself, we were all in to keep the mare and i thank them all." by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink  

East Rutherford, NJ - As a result of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signing Senate Bill 2992 (containing the horse racing purse supplement) into law yesterday, The Meadowlands will raise overnight harness racing purses by $40,000 per card beginning the first weekend in March, then institute another $40,000 nightly increase the first weekend of April.   While it is a great help to be able to offer purses competitive with other tracks in the region, it is vitally important that horsemen support The Meadowlands with their entries as we must demonstrate improvement in the product to NJ legislators.   The continuation of the purse subsidy is contingent on their satisfaction that these monies are being well allocated to the horse racing industry in the Garden State.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

Pompano Beach, FL...February 15, 2019...Two "Minors" played a "major" role on the Thursday Valentine's Day harness racing program at Pompano Park. Brothers Dewayne and Deshawn Minor each won a race on the card with the latter proving to be the unsung hero after the completion of his event. First, older brother Dewayne guided the four year-old mare Surreal Syrah to a photo finish victory for owner-trainer Edgar "Sparky" Clarke in 1:57, eking the nose victory after an ultra game performance over the late charging Worth Considering (Mike Simons) in 1:57. JJ Brenlin (Andy Shetler) finished a fast closing third. It was the first win of the year in five starts for the daughter of So Surreal and just one tick off of her lifetime best.Off at even-money on the tote board, Surreal Syrah paid $4.20 to win. Three races later, Deshawn was in the bike for a near gate-to-wire score with the Florida bred Danza, owned by Marc Cialon and a relatively new arrival in his Deshawn Minor Stable. Minor used different tactics this night sending the six year-old gelded son of Six Of Diamonds right to the front, proceeding to carve out comfortable panels of :27.4, :57 and 1:25.3 before a :29.3 finale sealed the deal over Soccer Hanover (Drew Campbell) and Gold Star Spike (Mike Simons) for his initial win of the season in three starts. Off as fourth choice at 6 to 1, Danza paid $15.40 to his faithful. Deshawn's heroics developed after he crossed the wire after Soccer Hanover's line broke and tragedy awaited before Minor corralled his rival and guided him to safety. "It was pretty hairy for a spell," said Deshawn. "Drew was screaming, 'my line is broken, my line is broken.' I yelled back, I got your back, brother. Stay cool," as the two horses moved side-by-side after the wire." After guiding Drew's horse to safety, Deshawn reflected, "You know, you never know what is going to happen in a race. In a split second, things can go south and we have to make split second decisions to try and avoid anything serious. Thank goodness I was able to help a fellow horseman. "Winning is nice, that's for sure, and this was even better since this probably was the first time that we brothers won a race on the same racing program, but helping in a situation like this is even more special. All in all, it was a pretty special Valentine's Day." by John Berry, for Pompano Park        

Tonight was one of those nights at Addington that Southlanders will remember, with the first six races won by horses with strong southern connections. The Tony Stratford trained Jody Direen capped off some good southern form by winning the first race. Gore trained and owned by Kenny Baynes, she was driven by junior driver Mark Hurrell. He was born and bred in Southland and has only recently moved to Canterbury full time. Alister Black’s quality trotter Get Lucky well and truly got rid of his Addington demons in the next race when he sat parked, got the one one, then lead and won. In some previous starts at Addington he has been a bit wayward, and Black deliberately planned this start to see whether those traits were still there. Tonight’s performance indicates they’re not and the win shows he’s grown up and ready for the big stage. Race Three was won by Smokin By, trained by Mitchell Kerr. Nathan Williamson seems to be the perfect driving partner for the Mach Three four year old, he’s won on him in three of his four career wins. Next up a true Southern Bred Southern Reared gelding Eureka, won for Canterbury horseman Grant Payne. The Washington VC gelding out of Bryleigh Jewel (Elsu) was bred by Keith and Tracy Norman of Brydone just north of Edendale. He’s now won two of his seven starts. The Normans stand Washington VC at their Bryleigh Stud. The dream run continued in Race Five when Over The Love bred by Invercargill jeweller Kevin Schuck beat favourite Winterfell. He stormed down centre track and won easily by an impressive two and a quarter lengths. Trainer Ken Barron has always had a high opinion of the Love You gelding and has been very patient with him. This was only his seventeenth start in three seasons of racing and his fifth win. He’s out of Schuck’s Chiola Hanover mare Cochy Bondhu. Barron, who’s a big fan of the breed, has the mare’s next foal Cochy Malc, a two year old by Dream Vacation. Race Six, the feature race of the night, was the listed $146,250 PGG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales Series Fillies and Southland owned Havtime returned to winning form when she scored by a length and a half. Invercargill lawyer Murray Little shares in the ownership of Havtime with his nephew Malcolm and his wife Sarndra of Cromwell. Malcolm and Sarndra also owned the second horse Allaboutdreams, which is trained by Brett Gray of Ryal Bush. In the Group Three Summer Cup the southern success continued with Washington VC gelding Letspendanitetogetha beating hot favourite Ultimate Machete. In the last race the winner Barrett is part owned by Lochiel accountant Stewart Gillan.  A great night of success for the Southerners.   Bruce Stewart

TRENTON, NJ -- February 14, 2019 -- The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) thanks Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature for passing and signing into law an essential measure to propel New Jersey's horse racing and breeding industry. The $100 million over 5 years will be used for horse racing purse allocations and greatly increase the participation in this thriving industry in the Garden State. "The SBOANJ is grateful for the tremendous support the horse racing and breeding industry has received from the State and the continuous effort to ensure that the many careers and businesses created through the industry are protected," said Mark Ford, President of the SBOANJ. "The New Jersey Legislature and Governor Murphy have made it a priority to create a sound and reasonable appropriation in an effort to bring tremendous economic development to NJ," Ford added. "For these reasons, we thank the Sponsors and the Governor for their leadership on this issue. This measure guarantees New Jersey's position in the industry in order to compete with the surrounding states." The horse racing industry and breeding farms not only aid and protect the preservation of open space in New Jersey, they heavily support the agribusiness and ensure thousands of jobs around the state. The new law will encourage growth in these businesses and throughout the State's economy. The SBOANJ would like to express its gratitude for the remarkable work accomplished through our advocacy efforts. The relentless work of the Association in conjunction with the valiant efforts of the State will pay dividends for the horse racing and breeding industry and the economy as a whole, allowing us to continue to provide compelling purses that will undoubtedly attract unparalleled competitors back to the state. The SBOANJ is also appreciative of the support shown by their longstanding partners  the Meadowland Racetrack, Freehold Raceway, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen Association and the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association of New Jersey. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ

The Tony Herlihy trained and driven Forget The Price Tag will be a huge chance of repeating last weeks impressive harness racing win on the track when he lines up in the Rating 58 to 84 Hydroflow Handicap Trot tonight at Alexandra Park. Last week Herlihy gave the classy 4yo a lovely run on the outer before launching on the turn and winning comfortably in 3-32.4 for the 2700m. This week the distance is a shorter 2200m and although Forget The Price Tag gets a 10m handicap it may not matter judging by the ease of his win in last weeks race. Hardest to beat look to be the Robert Dunn trained Bonnie Highlander who gives Forget The Price Tag a 10m headstart and a fresh up Heaveyweight Hero who is off the 30m back mark. Forget The Price Tag (Majestic Son-Yankeedoosie) was bred by Breckon Farms and at this years New Zealand National Standardbred Yearling Sale Breckon Farms are offering a Muscle Hill colt (Doosie Do) from a race winning Love You sister to the dam of Forget The Price Tag. Doosie Do (Lot 53) Harnesslink Media    

Ex Kiwi harness racing pacer Smart Fortune was back in winning form in Western Australia last Friday night. Formerly trained in New Zealand by Brent Mangos, Smart Fortune (Art Major - Affairs Of State)  was a very short priced winner ($1.40) at Albany for trainer Barry Howlett and he had to be the best horse in the race to win. Driven by Aaron Beckett the son of Art Major trailed early before sitting parked for the majority of the 2258m journey. At the 400m the speedy 3yo pressured the leader and second favourite Bettor Captured before going on to grab a tidy win by a metre at the line.  To watch this race click on this link. Bred by Breckon Farms in New Zealand, Smart Fortune won a heat of the Breckon Farms Young Gun Series in 2017.  Breckon Farms have 26 yearlings entered for sale at this years inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland on the 18th of February 2019. Included in this years sale are two closely related yearlings to Smart Fortune, they are Lot 23 and Lot 106. Lot 23 High Flying Harry is a half-brother by Bettor's Delight to Smart Fortune Lot 23 High Flying Harry   And Lot 106, Shape Of You, is by Rock N Roll Heaven from a race winning Artsplace sister to Smart Fortune. Shape Of You Shape Of You Harnesslink Media  

 A testing workout on Wednesday morning has convinced co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen her glamour mares can bounce back in the $100,000 NZ Breeders Stakes at Addington tonight. And she says while Dream About Me may still be the stable's best mare Elle Mac is the one to beat in tonight's 2600m group one. The pair cost punters plenty when they led and trailed but were beaten out of a place in a similar race two week ago. Post-race blood tests suggested a virus which was just starting to come on and, after that was treated, the open class mares have had their workload upped this week.  Rasmussen has spent much of the last month in Australia with partner Mark Purdon preparing their stars for Victorian and NSW assignments but she returned this week to put the polish on some of the stable stars set to race at tonight's big Addington meeting. "I am sure the mares will go better than last start," she explains. "It was just one of those things. The blood tests before the race were fine but the one after wasn't, so it must have been coming on that day. "They are good now and I really liked how they worked on Wednesday morning." Rasmussen drove Elle Mac in that workout as she will tonight and says she narrowly favours her as the stable's best chance because of her front line draw tonight, whereas Dream About Me has to come off the second line. "I would like to think my mare could lead and I'd most likely stay there and that makes it harder for Dream About Me, even though she might still be the better mare." Dibaba, who caused the shock beating the pair last start, looks at least a place chance again but if Elle Mac leads and races up to her national record 1700m setting form of two starts ago it will take a big performance to beat her.  Rasmussen admits to being as happy but not as confident with Ultimate Machete in tonight's Summer Cup, even though he is clearly the best horse in the race. Good enough to sit parked outside and beat Tiger Tara last season, Ultimate Machete has raced sparingly because of hoof issues this season but worked well this week. "We know he is the best horse in the race but being drawn wide and it being 1980m he could have to work very hard so I can see it being a tricky race for him," says Rasmussen. "He is the top pick of our pair in the race but I can't say he is a good thing and if Funatthebeach got the sit on him he could outsprint him." The richest stake of tonight's meeting could come north as Barry Purdon-trained filly Havtime is the hot favourite in a moderate line-up for the $150,000 Sales Series Pace. Barry also has the firepower to dominate the main pace at Alexandra Park tonight, with Jack's Legend and On The Cards a great chance to repeat their last start quinella in the open sprint. Meanwhile, heavy support has seen the Purdon-Rasmussen trained Chase Auckland tighten to favouritism for tomorrow night's A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle. "He will be a lot better for his three starts over there and is getting fitter all the time," says Rasmussen. "I will drive him off the gate hard to use his ace draw and hopefully lead or trail and I think he will be hard to beat but it is a strong field." NZ Cup winner Thefixer makes his Menangle debut a race earlier and will be heavily supported but Kiwi horses can often be vulnerable fresh up in fast mile races at Menangle so punters should be careful. Michael Guerin

First-year American stallion, Hurrikane Kingcole, was always destined to sire his first Queensland winner at Albion Park on Tuesday (February 12). The son of Cam's Card Shark was represented by all four starters in the appropriately named $7,750 Hurrikane Kingcole At Egmont Park Stud Pace. It was Queensland’s first 2-year-old race in 2018-2019. The Shawn Grimsey trained and Nathan Dawson driven Xavier's Hurrikane won the 1660m mobile by 5.3 metres with a swift 1:56.1 mile rate. Equal $2 favourite, the Vic Frost trained Frost En Ice (Kylie Rasmussen) was second. Although Grimsey admitted the time was good, he believed Xavier's Hurrikane’s real gauge wouldn’t be known until after the brown gelding competed in the $50,000 Sapling 2yo Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Miracle Mile night - Saturday March 2. "That was a nice win but we will wait and see how he goes against the Art Majors and Bettors Delights in Sydney. The Hurrikane Kingcoles seem to be kind animals and this fella has a bit of talent, but how much, only time and development will tell. I think he’s definitely worthy of a trip south. I will know a lot more after March 2,” Grimsey said. He said he had two Hurrikane Kingcoles at his Tamborine Mountain stable. “They broke in okay and this fella is much more forward in his preparation than his sister. He’s also more talented. She (Madetoplay) took three goes to qualify,” Grimsey said. The Gold Coast horseman said he had campaigned horses with moderate success in New South Wales previously. He said both he and owner/breeder, Mike Adamson, also of Tamborine Mountain, believed Xavier's Hurrikane was good enough to take on the best early-season 2-year-olds. “It’s only early days yet but he’s done all he can do and at this minute I couldn’t be happier. He’s out of a Mach Three New Zealand mare (Dougie's Envy), so hopefully that side of the breeding will kick on too,” 46-year-old Grimsey said. “I've got seven in work and he’s by far the best of them. The horse that ran second behind him (Frost En Ice) also went well, so the stallion might have a bright future,” he added. Hurrikane Kingcole sired his first Australian winner at Geelong on January 16 when the Damien Burns trained and Michael Belman driven Youaremy Sunshine got the chocolates by two-and-a-half metres. Hurrikane Kingcole has now sired 136 live foals in Australia and has had six starters to the races. As a racehorse he won 14 of his 49 starts and placed in 10 others for $580,102 in stakes. In 2012 the talented bay paced a 1:48.1 mile at Mohegan Sun Pocono to equal the then-world record for a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track Then the slick pacer, who was bought for $10,000 at the yearling sales, went on to set a lifetime mark of 1:47.3. Hurrikane Kingcole suffered from a myriad of health issues during his career, including throat problems and a broken splint bone in his left front leg. The latter ensured his premature retirement in March 2015.   by Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Trainer Ryan Bell concedes Shockwave has a difficult task in front of him if he’s to win the Group 2 Caduceus Club Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park tomorrow night, but is confident he has the right horse to upstage warm favourite Patrickthepiranha. Shockwave, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr once again, has impressed at his two most recent outings at Gloucester Park, where he overcame barrier five on both occasions, however he has drawn barrier eight tomorrow night. Despite the draw, Bell said he has Shockwave primed for a big performance in the $40,000 event. “As good as our bloke is going, the barrier is a bad one for him,” he said. “I’m confident he will put in a forward performance, but he will have to do the hard yards. “Our bloke is more forward than a lot of others in the field, but with Patrickthepiranha drawn barrier one over 2130 he can still afford to be fresh and be too good.” Shockwave produced, arguably, a career best performance over 1730m on January 25, where he rated 1.54.0, before he returned on February 1 over 2130m and rated 1.57.7. The Group 1 WA Derby on April 5 looms as the likely target for a majority of the three-year-olds engaged in tomorrow night’s feature. Bell described both performances as “pretty impressive” and said the fortnight between runs suited Shockwave perfectly. “He’s been lucky for most of his career so far that he’s been able to have two weeks between runs,” he said. “It has meant we’ve been able to keep him fresh a lot of the time. “He’s probably the type of horse I could keep fresh and I’d only work him at home to have him ready for the Derby.” Bell added he was hopeful he would be able to retain the services of Hall Jnr for the duration of Shockwave’s preparation. Patrickthepiranha, who is looking for seven straight wins, was installed a $1.55 chance with TABtouch, ahead of Gee Jay Kay ($5), Franco Edward ($5) and Shockwave ($5.50). Gee Jay Kay, who was the favourite in both of the recent races Shockwave won, has drawn barrier three tomorrow night, while Franco Edward has drawn barrier nine. Dylan Egerton-Green retains the drive on the Colin Brown-trained Patrickthepiranha and said he was confident the gelding would be able to lead all the way from the inside draw. “He’s got the right draw, but I still have to make sure that he runs off the gate and make sure nothing else can cross,” he said. “It’s a pretty handy field with Shockwave and Franco Edward, then you have a horse like Valbonne who has also been going well. “I have to keep my wits about me early but he should be able to capitalise on the good draw.” The Caduceus Club Classic gets underway at 7.25. Tim Walker

Richard Poillucci is looking forward to watching his New Zealand-bred standout Shartin return to action this season and the 6-year-old Dan Patch Award-winning mare has a new stablemate that Poillucci hopes can keep her company on the stakes trail. Shartin hit the racetrack for the first time this year on Wednesday (Feb. 13) at Dover Downs, winning a qualifier in 1:56 as she prepares to defend her title in the upcoming Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway. Expected to join Shartin in the series is New Zealand-bred Bettor Joy, who was purchased in December from the Down Under stable of Cran Dalgety and is owned by Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King. Bettor Joy, who is a dathe difference in breeding seasons, Bettor Joy, who was born in October 2014, is considered a 5-year-old in North America as opposed to a 4-year-old in New Zealand. Shartin, also owned by Poillucci and Looney-King, and Bettor Joy could provide their owners and trainer Jim King Jr. a strong one-two punch in the pacing mare division. "That's what we hope for, but you never know," Poillucci said. "Bettor Joy is a real good mare. She is just getting started. She raced once at Dover and came up sick on us and finished fourth. We'll probably race her again next week. We're looking for big things from her." Of course, Poillucci also is looking for big things from Shartin. Last year, she became the first pacing mare to earn $1 million in a season, finishing with $1.05 million thanks to 19 wins in 24 races. Her victories included the Breeders Crown, Roses Are Red, Lady Liberty, Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship, TVG Series Mare championship, Artiscape, Betsy Ross Invitational, Chip Noble Memorial, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace. In December, she was named the sport's best older female pacer of 2018 and joined Hall of Famer Cardigan Bay as a "Down Under" import to receive a Dan Patch Award. Cardigan Bay, also from New Zealand, was a two-time honoree (1965 and 1968). Shartin's connections will accept her Dan Patch Award at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando on Feb. 24. The mare remains a top contender for Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year, which both will be announced at the banquet. "It was amazing, absolutely amazing," Poillucci said about Shartin's season. "Looking back at what she did, it's surreal trying to take it all in. You know how many people start out in January with horses and to end up the year with a mare that could stay as good as she stayed all year long is mindboggling. She's just a very special mare. If all goes well, I can't see why she can't come back this year and be a top contender again. There is no reason." Shartin can be a tricky horse to drive, so Poillucci gives credit to Tim Tetrick for playing an integral part in the mare's success. Tetrick has been Shartin's only driver in North America. "Jim King does a tremendous job as a trainer, but the key is Tim Tetrick," Poillucci said. "Timmy took the time to understand her and learned how to drive her. When she goes to the gate, he really has to work with her. She's aggressive. She's not a mean horse by any means, but when you put her behind the gate she just wants to roll. She just wants to go. Those few bobbles she made last year, those were her trying to outpace herself." The 2018 season was Shartin's first in North America. Poillucci hopes the mare can build upon last year's performances now that she has become more mature and acclimated to racing here. "I'm not saying that is going to happen, but that's what you would think," Poillucci said. "We're definitely in the hunt for a good year. I think it can happen. They said she was absolutely just running over horses (in her qualifier). That's a good sign. She doesn't like time off. She wants to race, that's her thing. "I know it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (to have a horse like her). They don't come along very often like this. I may have a couple of very good ones behind her and I'm hoping for good things, but to say they can do what she does, that's a tough act to follow. It's very rare to find a mare that can do what she does." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

The name of the 2018 Harness Racing Horse of the Year will be announced Sunday night, Feb. 24, at the annual U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards dinner at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla. But even if you aren't among the attendees you will be able to watch the announcement live via USHWA's Facebook page. After a cocktail hour and open bar sponsored by McWicked, the awards ceremony gets underway at 7 p.m. and will be available via the Facebook page, sponsored by Crawford Farms and Crazy Wow. At approximately 10 p.m., emcees Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir will announce the winner of the E. Roland Harriman Horse of the Year trophy, which follows the revealing of the names of the Pacer of the Year and Trotter of the Year. To access USHWA's Facebook page, please click here. The entire video will also be available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day, Monday, Feb. 25. Dinner tickets are still available but must be ordered by Monday, Feb. 18, by contacting Judy Wilson via email at zoe8874@aol.com or by phone at (302) 359-3630. Tickets for the filet mignon-featured meal are $175 each. Post time for the evening is 6 p.m., with a one-hour Red Carpet cocktail reception sponsored by the Southwind Frank Partners. Also starring on the Red Carpet will be Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, with the two Heathers broadcasting live on their individual Facebook pages. It's your guarantee to see who's wearing what and what the attendees have to say about the festivities. Heather Vitale's Facebook page can be found here. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found here. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Trenton, NJ — Rich Borowsky isn’t exactly the second coming of Roy Hobbs, but the two do have something in common — a love affair that was interrupted, but never completely extinguished. Hobbs, of course, was Robert Redford’s character in “The Natural.” A young baseball phenom whose career got sidetracked when he was shot by a deranged woman; only to return 17 years later to become a star for a year. Borowsky, thank goodness, didn’t get shot. But his career in the harness racing sulky was interrupted, ironically, because he took a job carrying a gun. The Freehold, N.J. native began driving in 1983, but was forced to give it up in 1997, one year after becoming a police officer at nearby Marlboro Township. “I was trying to do both in the beginning but it just didn’t work out so I left the horses totally,” Borowsky said. In 2017, knowing retirement was just one year away, the desire that never completely stopped flowing through his blood resurfaced again and Borowsky began driving qualifiers at Freehold Raceway. Once he retired, there was no question where Rich was headed. “I just wanted to get back in it,” he said. “I just loved being on the track.” Thus, after a 20-year hiatus, Borowsky returned. And if people think it’s a big deal that Tom Brady won Super Bowls 17 years apart, they should really be impressed with Borowsky. He notched a win in December 2018 at Freehold, making it 21 years between driving victories. “That was really nice,” said Borowsky. “I got another one in January. It’s just great to be back. I never thought I’d get back into it.” Old habits die hard, however. Growing up in the shadows of Freehold Raceway, Rich trained and jogged horses that his dad owned. He got his qualifying license at 16 and regular license at 17, and started driving at the now defunct Brandywine and Liberty Bell tracks. He soon moved to Freehold when he became of age. “I didn’t drive a lot,” he said. “Most of the horses I drove, I trained. I didn’t catch drive. I worked for a few people off and on and 1997 was the last time I drove at Freehold. I just always loved it; I always wanted to drive horses. I wanted to be a driver but it was just tough for me. I didn’t have the money behind me to get horses and it’s hard to get a shot.” Thus, when law enforcement beckoned, he took the security of a steady job. “I guess it was a career thing; just to make a living,” Borowsky said. “I had a chance to become a police officer. I did it for 22 years, it was a great thing. When I knew I was going to be retiring I just said ‘I want to drive again’ and I just went back to the track.” In fact, he returned to his roots. “I just started going to the qualifying races at Freehold; it so happened they were short of drivers,” Borowsky said. “I would just ask people to drive. I wanted to get back on the track. I went every week and I was qualifying a lot of horses. The tough thing was they want the leading drivers. So I would qualify but most of the time didn’t get the drives. “This one horse I was driving was doing OK and from qualifiers they just kept me on. Doing qualifiers opened things up a little bit.” He finally began getting some drives and it felt like he had never been away. “Just like riding a bike,” he quipped. “It felt natural.” His first win in the 21st century came in December with Wicked Business, who is owned by Maggie and Tony Romano with Tony also the trainer. “For the first year back I didn’t have any wins,” Borowsky said. “So it felt really good to get that one.” Borowsky realizes that at age 53, owners and trainers won’t be flocking to him for drives. Thus, he is taking matters into his own hands. He and wife Jill purchased a farm in Bridgeville, Del., complete with a jog track. He plans on purchasing a few horses to train, and is looking to drive at nearby Harrington. “I might still go up to Freehold on weekends, so that’s the plan for now,” Borowsky said. “We’re just getting a couple horses; I think that will be enough for me. But you never know what can happen.” Nope, you never do. Borowsky and Roy Hobbs are proof of that. by Rich Fisher, for the USTA

Trainer Kate Hargreaves and reinsman Alex Ashwood are among the next generation of up-and-comers ready to take the trotting world by storm, and they’re more than willing to bring owners who are new to the game along for the ride. The young pair, who have stable newcomer Just Seduce Me in the Woodlands Stud Pace, a $10,000 race for those classified M0 at Tabcorp Melton Park this Friday, have set up shop in Shelbourne after long apprenticeships with established industry players such as Andy and Kate Gath, Kerryn Manning and Emma Stewart. While the pair have a big vision for the future, their focus on Friday night will be on Just Seduce Me, who Ashwood said would be hard to beat if she finds the front. “She had a trial a fortnight ago at Bendigo and (has) improved a fair bit off that,” he said. “She probably needs another run under her belt but, in saying that, and going by her form over the short (distance), if she finds the front she will be very hard (to get past) as that’s where she runs her best races. Hopefully she can hold the lead.” Ashwood, 24, said the pair had built a team of 12 horses – plus “two babies” recently bought at yearling sales – a feat made easier due to the stables, previously owned by Larry Eastman, being readymade for trotters. And he said the large property had plenty of scope for future expansion. “When it was on the market we didn’t hesitate to take it because everything was pretty much done, all you had to do was move in and start training,” he said. “We are 60 acres, so we can get as big as we want, but at this stage about 20 (horses would be) a nice number.” And the pair aren’t afraid to back their judgment at the yearling sales to bring more talent – and new owners – into their stables. “I think over the past three to four years we have bought about five to six yearlings all up; we have more luck buying the young ones than buying a ready-to-go one and like to bring new people into the game,” Ashwood said. “There’s been people already in the game who have bought shares and there have been a lot of people who weren’t in the game who have bought shares as well. They enjoy it and make good friendships, it is good fun.” The pair aren’t strangers to the highs and lows the trots can dish up, with the recent return of two of their best horses – Resurgent Spirit (66 starts for 29 wins and more than $221,000 in prizemoney) and Ideally Say Yes (sixth in the APG 2YO final at Menangle last year) – prime examples.  Ashwood said Resurgent Spirit – who will go around at Swan Hill tonight – is “very close to a win”. But the short-term prospects of promising youngster Ideally Say Yes have been setback by a fractured pelvis. “I took her to Mildura to race in a three-year-old race this week and going up to the gate she did it then,” he said. “She was just below the better ones (last season) and seemed like she was getting stronger and had improved a fair bit. It was just unfortunate that she hurt herself at the wrong time.”   Shaun Campbell for Trots Media

APG’s Australasian Premier Trotting Sale is less than four weeks away and it’s impossible not to be impressed with the quality of this year’s catalogue. Whilst APG’s pacers have consistently proven themselves to be every bit the equal of their New Zealand Sales counterparts, it’s fair to say that in times gone by, most people would have said that New Zealand bred trotters had the edge on their Australian counterparts. However, the tide is turning, and in recent years there has been exponential growth in the quality of trotter being bred in Australia, particularly by Australia’s leading commercial breeders. The growth in the quality of the Australian product can be seen by putting this year’s APTS catalogue next to New Zealand’s Yearling catalogue: 2019 Trotting Sales APTS Catalogue      NZ Catalogue No. Horses Catalogued 76 69 Prizemoney earned by Dams $2,300,500 $2,150,661 Average Earnings per Dam $30,270 $31,169 No. Dams with earnings $100,000+ 6 3 No. of sub 2:00 Winning Dams 16 7 No. of Winners produced by Dams 91 77 No. of $100,000+ winners produced by Dams      12 14 No. of Group winners produced by Dams 13 13 The results of the ever-increasing quality of yearling going through the APTS is already filtering through to the racetrack.  Recent Group One Dullard Trotters Cup winner, Big Jack Hammer, is a former APTS Sales Graduate, as is reigning Breeders Crown 2yo champion, Kyvalley Clichy. And whilst La Coocaracha, the dam of recent Southern Star winner, Dance Craze, may not have a yearling in this year’s APTS, her half-sister, Meredith Castle, has a cracking Dream Vacation colt that is sure to attract attention, particularly as Meredith Castle has already produced the $200,000 earner, Iona Grinner. The great news for buyers is that in addition to the outstanding quality on offer at this year’s APTS, this year’s graduates will be eligible for the inaugural APTS Group One 3yo Race Series, featuring separate divisions for colts and fillies. If you haven’t already got your 2019 APTS Catalogue, you can order one online by clicking here, and don’t forget that APG’s Online Guide for the 2019 APTS, featuring photos and video footage for all yearlings, along with updated pedigree pages will be available for viewing from 27 February via the APG website. APG Media