Day At The Track

It was a North Eastern Pacing Cup with a difference being held at Carrick Park on Friday, but just like last year, it was harness racing driver Mark Yole putting his name on the honour roll once again when Tisu Spirit led all the way to score in the 2650-metre standing start event. “I’m absolutely stoked,” said Yole after his third driving win in the race, and his first as a trainer. After stepping away cleanly, Yole had to fight standing start specialist Goggo Gee Gee for the lead in the run into the first turn. Once finding the lead Yole set a handy tempo on Tisu Spirit and the American Ideal gelding dug deep when challenged hard by the $2.80 favourite Kardesler and Be Major Threat over the concluding stages. “We had to do a little bit of work to find the front running into the first corner, but once we got there, I wanted to keep him rolling a little bit as he tends to wait for them late, but he seemed to do it alright and kept fighting late when the others got to him,” explained Yole about the one-metre win. The mile rate was recorded in 2m 3.1s, which was only 0.6s outside of the track record. It was the sixth outing for the pacer in Yole’s care since being purchased by clients of the Yole stable. “I chased him a couple of times, it was before I purchased Salvator Mundi that I had a few owners that put a syndicate together, but he wasn’t for sale,” explained Yole. “We ended up buying Salvator Mundi and the same group of owners were keen for a country cup horse, so I put in another offer which was accepted,” added the winning trainer-driver. There are plenty of options for Yole with the gelded son of American Ideal going forward. “I will see how he pulls up as it was a tough run tonight, so I will wait and see if we go to the Devonport Pacing Cup next week or wait and go to the Burnie Cup at the end of the week,” said the Carrick based trainer. Tisu Spirit’s win was the last leg of a driving double for Yole who scored on the Geoff Smith trained Devil Of Tyne earlier in the night. For complete results of the nights racing click here. Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

The Vicbred Super Series two-year-old harness racing fillies’ winner, Tough Tilly, is a Captaintreacherous half-sister to the brilliant but ill-fated Centenario 1:53.4 ($332,520), who won the two-year-old colts’ final in 2018. Their dam, Beninjurd, an unraced Art Major mare, ranks as a sister to an earlier Vicbred champion in Philadelphia Man 1:52.6 ($559,135), who won the three-year-old series in 2012 and is now at the stud in NSW. Beninjurd, who was bred by Benstud Standardbreds, the breeder-owners of Tough Tilly, is also the dam of the top Tasmanian pacer Somedan 1:55.9 ($121,373).  The grand-dam, My Liberty Belle (1:57.5), won 19 races and $185,333 in stakes and was one of the best daughters of a champion sire and broodmare sire in Fake Left. She was a sister to the Albion Park winners Sunvale and Stage Door Johnny, being out of a fine racemare in Sweet Liberty 1:57.9 ($102,706), by Gatwick from the Jerry Adios mare Sue Adios, a NSW Ladyship Mile winner who founded a great winning family in Queensland. It includes the QBred Triad winners Expensive Ego (1:50.6), Art’s Treasure (1:50.9) and Smarty Jones and others such as Sweet Clementine (Queensland Oaks), Stage Coach Kid (1:56.5), Lagoon Stride, Rockyourbaby (1:56), Who Said What (1:54.2) and Gran Chico. Tough Tilly Star Galleria is cups material Star Galleria, who won the $30,600 P. J. Free-for-all at Menangle and is regarded as Grand Circuit material of the highest order, is a seven-year-old gelding by Art Major from Starlitnight. He is a member of an old time NZ family, which was represented by the winner of last year’s NZ Cup winner Self Assured and the Fremantle Cup winner Caviar Star. Starlitnight was a Tuapeka Knight mare from Star Of Bethlehem, by Soky’s Atom from Tabella Beth (1:55.6), a mare by Able Bye Bye. Tabella Beth was the dam of a high class pacer in Spirit Of Zeus 1:57.8 ($243,472), the NZ Kindergarten Stakes winner Karmic Reward (1:58.6) and of Spirit Of Beth, who left Victory Spirit 1:53 ($242,808) and United We Stand 1:56.7 ($135,186) and the unraced Bethany, the dam of Lazarus 1:48.8 ($4.1 million). Soky’s Sunday, a Soky’s Atom mare from Tabella Beth, left New York On Sunday (by New York Motoring) and Miley Maguire (by Christian Cullen), both of whom founded good winning families. New York On Sunday became the dam of Asoka 1:53.4 ($205,008), Yellow Taxi (1:58.8) and Boy From Ipanema (1:59.8), while Miley Maguire left the WA Golden Slipper winner Mitch Maguire 1:50.4 ($336,828) and Benjamin Button (1:57.5). Spirit Of Bethlehem, a sister to Soky’s Sunday, was responsible for a most successful branch of this family including Our Bettor Spirits 1:50.2 ($329,624), the NSW Tatlow winner Our Crown Law 1:51.4 ($208,885), Spirit And Desire 1:55.9 ($131,891), Dracarys 1:51.2 (WA Solid Gold Bracelet) and God’s Spirit (1:50.2). Star Galleria ranks as a half-sister to Night Of The Stars 1:55.5 ($114,982), now at the stud in Victoria, and to Star Venus (TT1:53), the dam of Self Assured 1:50.3 ($736,419), Caviar Star 1:54.2 ($357,112), Vega Star (1:51), Star Of Memphis (1:52.9) and Star Of Dionysis (1:53.6). Maajida top three-year-old filly There was never much doubt that Maajida was the season’s top rating three-year-old filly as she was the previous season at two years, and she duly confirmed her class by winning the Vicbred Super Series Final at Melton. It was her fourth success on end, and she downed the best fillies in the State after being required to overcome a difficult barrier draw and a wide passage.  In 23 starts Maajida has now won 17 and been three times placed for $457,300 in stakes for breeders Les, Gary, Ian and Steve Johnson, of Atworthy Park, The Rock (NSW), who also race her. Maajida is by the Mach Three horse Somebeachsomewhere (sire of Poster Boy, etc.), from Arterial Way, who took a record of 1:55.8. She produced earlier winners in Lifeonthebeach 1:50.2 ($178,282), a winner of 22 races including the Bathurst Gold Chalice, We Salute You (1:51.3) and Manuela (1:57.9). Arterial Way was by Art Major from a fine racemare in Better Motoring (1:58), by New York Motoring from Better Yet, a half-sister by Nat Lobell to a NZ Oaks winner in Preferred and to others in Marc Bohan 1:59.4 ($179,260) and Queen To Be, a successful broodmare in NZ. This is a long established NZ family and an earlier top three-year-old filly belonging to it was Toliver Bright, who numbered the NSW Princess Mile, Southern Cross and O’Shea Guineas among her four successes at that age. Maajida Vicbred winner by Western Terror The Vicbred Super Series Final, for two-year-old colts and geldings, one of the features of the New Year’s Eve meeting at Melton, was won by Kimble, a little fancied gelding by Western Terror from Im Wrongly Accused. Western Terror, a son of Western Hanover, has been among the top bracket of Australasian sires for many years. He has sired such winners as Terror To Love, the winner of three NZ Cups, Baby Bling 1:50.5 (Miracle Mile), the ‘Cups King’ Im Corzin Terror (1:52.2), Terrorway 1:52.6 (Qld. Blacks A Fake), the Queen of the Pacific winner Pistol Abbey and Terror Time (1:49.2). Im Wrongly Accused (1:58.5), the dam of Kimble, was by Bettor’s Delight from the Mach Three mare Gross Misconduct (1:59.4), who proved a very successful broodmare. Besides Im Wrongly Accused, a Victoria Oaks heat winner, she is also the dam of the Menangle winner Southern GNP 1:52.6 ($162,013), Prosecution Witness (1:59.6) and Crime Scene. This has been a most successful family, as Marriedtothemob, a half-sister to Gross Misconduct, was the dam of the top Tasmanian pacers Im Jaks Teller (1:53.1) and Angela De Marco. Kimble was bred and is raced by Chris O’Connor, of Terang, and is the first foal of his dam. Kimble Harness Million winner Aladdin, a three-year-old by Sweet Lou from Pacing Delight, by Bettor’s Delight from Pacing Grace (1:57.7), by In The Pocket, finished third at his only attempt as a two-year-old last season. But the Sweet Lou gelding has proved himself to some purpose in his three-year-old racing, winning the $200,000 NZB Harness Million at the Auckland Cup meeting, downing a star-studded field, and prior to that running a close third in the NZ Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington. He has won three races with five placings from 12 starts for $145,994. Bred by Woodlands Stud, Aladdin ranks as a brother to a former smart youngster in Virgil 1:52.3 ($137,405), who won the Group 2 Diamond Creek Farm Classic at Invercargill, and a half-brother to Mason’s Delight (1:55.6), a winner of four races at Menangle. Their dam, Pacing Delight, was a half-sister to the thrice Group winning juvenile Pacing Major 1:52 ($621,436), now competing successfully in America, the NZ Junior Free-for-all winner All U Need Is Faith 1:49.8 ($376,657), Our Amazing Art 1:57.4 ($165,363), Symphony In Motion (1:59.4) and the Dream Away mare Grace Way (1:56.8), dam of the VHRC 3YO Cup winner Three Ways 1:54.1 ($229,329), Make Way 1:51.7 (Redcliffe Derby) and Forgotten Highway 1:55.6 ($148,975) and recent Menangle winner Shanway (1:55.7). Maddison’s Delight, an unraced sister to Pacing Delight, is the dam of the talented WA filly Sweet Maddison (1:57.5, 8 wins to date) and American Dealer 1:53.3 ($177,105), who finished third in the Harness Million. Pacifico Dream – champion 3YO The Mach Three colt, Pacifico Dream, firmly established himself as the top Victorian three-year-old pacer of the season when he won the Vicbred Super Series Final at Melton. Earlier in the season, he captured the Caduceus Club Cup and the Victoria Sires Classic and from 17 starts he won 10 and was three times placed for $213,630 in stakes. Pacifico Dream has a background of blood to back up his claims to further promotion, being by Mach Three from Mint Julep, by Presidential Ball from Australia’s first ever sub 1:50 mare Jadah Rose 1:49.6 ($465,424), the dam of the dual Vicbred champion and four-time Group 1 winner Guaranteed 1:50.4 ($856,316), now at the stud in Victoria, and Jadahson 1:53.9 ($277,390). Jadah Rose was a half-sister to the Tasmanian Derby winner Scooterwillrev 1:55.8 ($196,585), the exported Timeseel 1:52.7 ($169,530) and Karalta Shine 1:52.6 ($168,973) and others in Hes Real (1:57.1), Lies (1:58) and Elegant Outlook, the dam of the recent King Island Cup winner Karalta Kruise. Other members of this family, which was founded in America by the thoroughbred mare Esther, were the Moonee Valley winners Clickety Clix (1:59.5) and Karamea Temptation, Splash Some Cash and Classic Cavalier (1:59.1). Pacifico Dream, who was bred by Melbourne identity Harvey Kaplan, ranks as a half-brother to the promising filly Momentslikethese, a finalist in the Vicbred 2YO on the same night. That’s Perfect impresses That’s Perfect, who won his first race in Western Australia at the New Year’s Eve meeting at Gloucester Park, after commencing his career in Victoria, is an Art Major gelding from the same family as that which produced the champion Victorian pacer Ride High. That’s Perfect, who was a Southern Cross winner at two and three, has only been sparingly raced, but he has shown up as a very useful pacer, and it was a strong field he beat at Gloucester Park. The winner of 15 races and $139,455 in stakes, the five-year-old gelding is out of a handy racemare in Perfect Life (1:58), a Live Or Die mare who has produced others in Perfect Major 1:55.3 ($157,648), Perfect Look (1:53) and the two-year-old Rogue Wave, who was placed in the Vicbred Final at Melton on the same night as That’s Perfect won. Perfect Life was out of Secret Life (1:58.6), a noted producer by Safely Kept from Lifeline, by Classic Garry from the racing and breeding influence Larrakeyah Lady. Secret Life produced two high class pacers in Major Secret 1:55.1, a winner of 22 races and $464,872 including the NSW Derby and Vicbred 2YO Final and now at the stud in South Australia, and Beauty Secret 1:52.4 ($425,921), the winner of 24 races including the Victoria Oaks. Others from Secret Life were a promising stayer in Somewhere Secret 1:53.8 ($124,047), Vanderley (1:54.2) and the Presidential Ball mare Play Ball, the dam of the Vicbred 3YO champion Out To Play 1:53.3 ($236,927), a Listed placegetter in Paintball, and so on. That’s Perfect was the first leg of a winning double for Art Major, being also the sire of The Kraken, an impressive end-to-end winner over 2130 metres and a stayer of some real potential. APTS trotting sale graduate When Keayang Livana won the $100,000 Vicbred Super Series Final, for four-year-old mares, at Melton recently, she became the 10th Vicbred champion which had been sold at the Australasian Premier Trotting Sale.  Keayang Livana was sold for $8,500 at the 2017 sales to Paddy Lee, of Terang.  Bred by Kevin Newbound, she was got by Imperial Count (son of Angus Hall) from the Sundon mare, Poignant, whose dam, Be Positive, was by Game Pride from Hayley Patricia, by Tuft.  Be Positive, who won 11 races, became the dam of the cups winning trotters Posimistic 2:01 ($136,043), Exuberant 2:06.4 ($108,205) and Got It Show It. She was a half-sister to a capable trotter in Thunder Thighs (10 wins), who, in turn, left Gluteus Maximus 1:59.6 (winner of 14 races and $104,855). Endsino, Aldebaran Eve, Needabacardi, Cruisin Around, Kyvalley Clichy, Is That A Bid, Majestic Belle, Dont Care and Banglez were other Vicbred champions from the sales. Keayang Livana By Peter Wharton

Itsrockandroll A captures the Open Handicap pace at Dover Downs on Thursday night. At the start of the race, Itsrockandroll A left quickly, and driver Corey Callahan was able to settle into third. Trojan Banner N and Shneoncrzydiamond A disputed the early lead. Trojan Banner N won that early battle and led the field to the quarter in 28.1. Itsrockandroll A took his cue and sprinted from third past the quarter to gain command reaching the half in 56.1. Goldberg, normally on the lead, raced from off the pace and rallied on the outside picking up horses one by one down the backstretch. The three quarters were reached in 1:24.1  Goldberg was able to grab the lead but not the rail as a stubborn Itsrockandroll A fought back at the top of the stretch. In the deep stretch,  Itsrockandroll A retained the lead late, and won by a neck, as the even odds favorite.  The race time was 1:51.2 Itsrockandroll A (A Rocknroll Dance) is owned by Michael Casalino Jr. and Dylan Davis. Dylan Davis trained and Corey Callahan was the driver. Goldberg finished 2nd for trainer Brenda Teague and driver Montrell Teague. Itsrockandroll A Rollwithpapajoe was third for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and driver Tony Morgan. Racing resumes at Dover Downs on Monday.  Post time is 4:30 pm.    Alex Kraszewski

Harness racing fans, harnesslink community, we have some important and exciting news to share with you. The current iteration of our website is now over ten years old and while it has done it's job incredibly well, the time has come for an upgrade.  Due to a number of technological changes, our current website has started to experience several problems behind the scenes which need to be solved. This has also fortunately given us the chance to review our current design as website design has changed a lot over the last ten years.  Our new website will be coming sometime in the next few weeks and should bring with it a faster, cleaner, more modern design. We know that change is hard but we also hope that you will keep an open mind and enjoy our new look when it is launched. Here's to the next chapter! John and the Harnesslink team Here is a picture of our original Website dated 2002

The first known 2021 foal sired by McWicked has arrived and it is a filly! The foal was born on January 7th at 8:20 a.m. and her dam is Bestfriendforever. Both mare and foal are reported to be doing well. “This is a very nice filly,” said Dino Vasos. “She is plain but beautiful. She is very alert and has good conformation.” McWicked, p, 2, 1:52f; 3, 1:47.3f; 1:46.2 ($5,103,271), stood his first season in Ontario in 2020. He is a 2020 Canadian Racing Hall of Fame Inductee and retired as the richest pacing stallion ever. His many accolades include being 2018 Horse of the Year in the U.S. and in Canada. Bestfriendforever is a Stakes-placed 1/2-sister to Tipitina, p, 1:51.3f ($434,795). “We are breeding to McWicked again in 2021,” said Vasos. “We would like to say thank you to Winbak Farm for standing a great stallion.” In 2020, McWicked served full books in Ontario and in Australia. For more information on McWicked, please visit www.winbakfarm.com or contact Pat Woods, Winbak Farm of Ontario Manager, at 905.838.2145 or pat.woods@winbakfarm.com.

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 7, 2021 -- Newcomer Hereslookinatyou N followed cover beautifully, then roared through the lane to spring a 22-1 in Thursday's harness racing co-feature at The Meadows, a $9,400 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace. Hereslookinatyou N, who had been performing at Yonkers and Saratoga, picked up the live cover of the first-over Circle The Page before peeling off around the final turn for Jim Pantaleano. The 5-year-old daughter of He's Watching-May Fly easily outkicked the rallying Dark Force to down her by a length in 1:54.3. Early leader Amelia's Courage A saved show. Chas Norris trains the winner for Kimberly Zabielski. In Thursday's co-feature, a $9,400 Filly & Mare Conditioned Trot, Petey Sarah vacated the pocket early and made the move stand up, scoring in a career-best 1:55.1 for Dan Charlino, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Knox Services and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The 4-year-old daughter of Uncle Peter-Maxine The Mighty triumphed for the eighth time in 29 career starts. Tony Hall piloted four winners and Dave Palone three on the 13-race program. Live racing at The Meadows continues Friday when the 13-race program features a pair of carryovers: $1,586.13 in the Pick 5 (race 8), $1,392.67 in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. Hereslookinatyou N Petey Sarah   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

Hard working West Australian harness racing trainer Tracy Reay has been rewarded for her persistence with 11-year-old gelding Betabeeasy. The lightly-raced pacer was well backed to get the money at Northam harness racing club on Tuesday-and he showed he still has a spring in his aging legs with an impressive all-the-way victory. Betabeeasy (Bettors Delight-Easy As (Midshipman) had been out of the winner's circle for four-and-a-half years. His previous win was at Brisbane's Albion Park on June 21, 2016 (1.55-1) with Pete McMullen taking the reins. "He ran a great third and fourth at Gloucester Park last month and a few of his other runs were good from awkward draws. He was always going to lead from the number three barrier at Northam and he does like it out in front," Reay said. "To be fair, it was a drop back in class. But he was well handled by Kyle (Harper) who rated him to perfection," she said. "My partner John Jelf was a bit keener on him than I was. I've learnt over the years not to go to the races full of confidence because if you go down, you're not so disappointed! "But I was rapt for the win because the horse is my little mate. You can do anything with him, and I just love him. He hasn't got a vice in the world, although he can be a bit of a pest at the trot meetings." To watch Betabeeasy win at Northam click here. Betabeeasy combines with driver Kyle Harper to score at Northam Reay, who is based at Pinjarra, still smiles about how Betabeeasy came to be in her stable. "I'd bought another one from Sydney from Kevin Pizzuto, who used to have Tiger Tara. When I went to collect it, Kevin just happened to have put Betabeeasy on the float as well," she laughed. "He was only a cheapie, but he was also then an eight-year-old! He's had a slight suspensory issue in the past but there's no problems with the old fella now. "We've got an estuary not far away, which is an inlet off the ocean, and the first time I hopped on his back to ride him down there I was a bit worried, but he wasn't concerned al all. I walk him in the shallows quite a bit, but I also take him into a few deep spots where he has to swim." Reay and Jelf are currently training about 18 horses at their property near the Pinjarra trotting track. "At this time of year, we normally start at 4.30am, because you have to do them early when it's hot," she said. "John and I don't mind putting in the time and effort because 90 percent of our team are usually rejects, cast-offs or on their last chance. We're having fun and we pick up winners here and there on the outer tracks." Reay, who has held an A Class trainer's licence for nearly 30 years, said when she was growing up, her parents were involved in the sport. "I was probably only 14 when I started doing trackwork for dad. I used to also ride a lot and mum and dad bought me a horse-it turned out to be an ex-pacer!" she said. "I also spent time working at a gallops stud where I would ride them. My partner John would one day like to train a galloper-I'm not keen, I just love the standardbred, because they're just so straight forward. You throw a rope over their neck to put them on a float." Reay said her godfather the late Les Marriott was also a big influence when he was located at Pinjarra at the end of his career. Known as 'The Rifleman', Les was a great horseman and a leading driver for many years. "I also learnt heaps while I was working with Aiden Warwick, Gary Elson and others. John also learnt the game from doing pony trots before he graduated to the senior driving ranks. His grandfather John Blackburn loved the horses and raced a quite a few nice ones including Magic Miss." Reay said her favorite win was with a pacer named Kobiashi Maru about 10 years ago. "It was at Gloucester Park on a Friday night. It was New Year's Eve and the win was totally unexpected," she laughed. "John was the winning driver. The horse won a few for me and he was always double figure odds. There's nothing like a surprise win." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Hayden Cullen's dream homecoming at Cambridge tonight night is being dampened by one small detail: he won't be there. The man taking over Australasia's most powerful harness racing stable is learning the realities of what that means — work always comes first. Cullen is now the trainer for almost all the horses which until last week were part of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's All Stars brand, with the pair taking a sabbatical from training. The 36-year-old now runs the most powerful stable in the industry even though to casual punters it will look much the same tomorrow night, with Cullen also taking over Purdon's famous colours and Purdon and Rasmussen both driving. But this is Cullen's team now and he has been in the north working them this week. Until today. "I have had to come back to Christchurch to work the babies because they are at an important stage and we need to look forward with them," he tells the Herald. "So while I looked after the horses up there this week, I won't be going to Cambridge. That is a little bit of a shame because it is my home track and I'd love to have been there but this is my job now, I have to look after the whole team and delegate staff to be where I can't." Cullen says it was a surreal feeling to see his name in the form guides next to Self Assured and Spankem. "This isn't usually how it usually works. When you start training it is often with a few maidens and unraced horses, not New Zealand Cup and Miracle Mile winners. I don't think it has sunk in yet and I don't think it will for a few weeks." So what does all this mean for punters? It would be unrealistic to think Cullen, or anybody else, could maintain the standards Purdon and Rasmussen have set so some horses might eventually see a dip in performance. But there is no proof of that yet and if things change that should take a while to show up. Cullen is a young man taking on a massive job and while he has been trained by the best as their foreman, he is still going to learn as he goes. Cullens keen to stamp their own mark But the reality is Spankem and Ashley Locaz raced in the Auckland Cup only eight days ago so would have taken little work this week leading into a mile race, while Cullen says he is happy with Self Assured, who hasn't raced since winning the New Zealand Cup because of a corn. "I worked him on Wednesday and he worked well," he says. "He is not carrying any extra weight and is ready to go but the draws make it tough for all of ours because it looks like Copy That will lead and that will make him very hard to beat." Spankem raced in the Auckland Cup eight days ago so would have taken little work (Trish Dunell Photo) The Flying Mile at Cambridge being what it is, with leaders so hard to catch at this level, Cullen's debut with three of New Zealand's best pacers could well end in defeat because the best version of Copy That might be unbeatable in front. But Cullen should get his first solo training victory — he has 62 in partnership with Brent Mangos between 2011 and 2014 — with Italian Lad (R8, No 11). "He has worked well and is fitter for his last start so he will be hard to beat." If he is right Cullen and his wife Amanda, who will help run the stable, can raise a glass for their first win in a unique chapter of New Zealand racing. And then tomorrow get straight back to work. FIVE HORSES TO BACK AT CAMBRIDGE 1. Son Of Patrick (R5, No 3): High drop in grade and has experience in mobile racing taking on the best 3yos at Addington last year. If he trots all the way he should win, as he did in his only previous start here. 2. Italian Lad (R8, No 11): Sat parked outside top 3yo B D Joe here last start and ran him close. Only here to get a penalty-free win before heading to Sydney. 3. Majestic Man (R7, No 6): Last time he raced in a sprint here he beat Sundees Son. Too short to back but Pick6 and multi anchor. 4. Hot And Treacherous (R11, No 7): Has been racing primarily in the elite 3yo pacing grade and falls into a perfect race. Almost another Pick6 anchor. 5. Santa Maria (R6, No 3): Latest outings at Alex Park have been in stronger maidens, has the gate speed to use her draw and the boss (trainer, Tony Herlihy) is on board. By Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

Breckon Farms, the model Ohaupo-based harness racing breeding establishment founded by Ken and Karen Breckon in 2007, is offering its largest and best quality draft ever at the NZB Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka on February 13 and 14. The consignment comprises 21 colts and 15 fillies by nine different stallions including champion sires Art Major (6 colts, 6 fillies), Bettor’s Delight (2 colts, 3 fillies) and Majestic Son (1 colt). There’s also stock by the emerging sires A Rocknroll Dance (3 colts), Father Patrick (1 colt, 2 fillies), Sweet Lou (2 colts), Betting Line (1 colt) and Always B Miki (1 filly) and five colts and three fillies from the first crop of the brilliant, young trotting sire What The Hill. The draft comprises progeny of Group winning mares such as Twist And Twirl and Willow,  both NZ Sires’ Stakes 3YO champions, Linda Lovegrace (Caduceus Club Classic) and Fear Factor (NZ Sires 2YO Trot Final). Lot 121, Lovemeto is one of eight by first season 'Muscle Hill' stallion 'What The Hill' in the Breckon draft Other highlights including siblings to the Group winners King Of Swing, winner of the Miracle Mile, A. G. Hunter Cup and Breeders Crown 2YO, Bettor Twist (NZ Sires’ Stakes 2YO Final), the dual Sires’ Stakes champions and Harness Jewels winners Elle Mac and One Change, High Gait (Breeders Crown 2YO, The Redwood and Vic. Oaks), Tailored Elegance (Sires’ Stakes 2YO Final), Tickle Me Pick (Harness Jewels and Sires’ Stakes 3YO), Luby Lou (NZ Derby and Oaks) and Stress Factor (Vic. Derby and Breeders Crown 3YO).  For a closer look at this year's yearling draft click here. For further details visit www.breckonfarms.co.nz   Peter Wharton

Grove City, Ohio - The 2021 Ohio Standardbred Stallion Directory and Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association Membership Directory is now available electronically at the Ohio Harness Racing Horsemen's Association website, www.OHHA.com. The directory includes pedigree pages for 54 stallions currently standing in Ohio, 27 Pacers and 27 Trotters. In addition to the pedigree pages, the directory includes a list of 84 all stallions standing in Ohio, 2020 earning statistics for stallions and broodmares, and a listing of OHHA members. The directory is scheduled to be mailed on January 14th to all current OHHA members and associates. Hard copies are available as part of an OHHA Associate membership. For more information on being a member of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, call 614-221-3650. Frank Fraas The Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association (OHHA) is a non-profit organization serving Standardbred horse owners, breeders, trainers, drivers, and fans who participate in the sport of harness racing in the Buckeye State. OHHA was founded in 1953. The mission of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association is to preserve, protect, promote, and serve the entire Standardbred industry in Ohio and beyond.  

Soho Burning Love A was super good in the harness racing Mares Preferred/Open Pace at Dover Downs on Wednesday night World Champion Shartin N, led the field in the post parade one last time with her trainer Jim King Jr. in the bike, as she started her next journey into retirement.  Her stablemate Soho Burning Love A apparently wanted some of her own love and won the Mares Preferred/ Open pace.  She’s Pukka N and Feelin Red Hot were quickest away from the gate. Feelin Red Hot retook the lead from She’s Pukka N and posted 27.3 opening quarter.  She remained on an uncontested lead to the half in 55.2. Soho Burning Love A chose to race from off the pace and was able to shadow a perfect second over trip from race favorite Bettors Heart N. The three quarters were reached 1:23.2.   A classic stretch duel between Bettors Heart N and Soho Burning Love A ensued.  But just like her stablemate Shartin N did so many times during her racing career, Soho Burning Love A, was able to dig down deep and grind out a victory. The race time was 1:51.3 and the margin of victory was a head. She was sent off as the 3/2 second choice in the wagering. Soho Burning Love A Soho Burning Love A (Auckland Reactor N) is owned by Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King the same former owners of Shartin N. Jim King Jr. trained and Tim Tetrick was her driver. Finishing second was a game, race favorite, Bettors Heart N. She is trained by R. Nifty Norman. Dexter Dunn was her driver. Machnhope finished third for trainer Noel Daley and driver Andrew McCarthy. Tim Tetrick won five races on the card. Live racing continues Thursday at Dover Downs. Post Time is 4:30 pm. Shartin N winning a $50,000 Invite at Dover Downs on March the 4th, 2020 in sensational fashion   Alex Kraszewski Dover Downs

Harness racing driver Lindsay Harper has the distinction of winning the inaugural Celebrity Sprint (renamed the Village Kid Sprint in 2012) when Shattering Class defeated Allwoods Chief and Nebulizer on December 31, 1998 and now he has high hopes of winning the $50,000 feature for the third time when he drives Bletchley Park in the 1730m event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Bletchley Park, trained in Bunbury by Stephen Reed, has drawn favourably at the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Harper is sure to use the talented five-year-old’s gate speed in a bid to get to an early lead and set the pace. The Harper family has a splendid record in this Group 2 sprint, with Harper also scoring with Shattering Class on December 31, 2002, and his sons Donald and Kyle each being successful, with Donald driving Hayton Bain (3/1) to victory over Mr Yankee and Sneakyn Down Under in 2008 and Kyle winning with Mysta Magical Mach (9/2) in 2012 and $56 outsider Bettors Fire, who led from barrier seven and beat Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull in 2017. Bletchley Park warmed up for this week’s assignment in good style when he started from barrier six and raced in tenth position before he started a three-wide move with 870m to travel. He quickly moved into third place 300m later and fought on gamely to finish a well-beaten third behind Galactic Star and Vultan Tin over 2536m when he covered the final 800m in 55.49sec. He showed his ability over 1730m when he started from barrier five and raced three back on the pegs before finishing solidly to be fourth behind Chicago Bull, Shockwave and Vampiro in the Mount Eden Sprint in October, with the winner rating 1.53.2. Bletchley Park’s owner Albert Walmsley is hoping that the all-the-way victory by his four-year-old The Code Breaker at Northam on Tuesday night will be a good omen for Friday night’s race. The Code Breaker is a full-brother to Bletchley Park. Another full-brother is Bling It On, who made a successful trip to Western Australia in late 2016 when he won a heat of the Interdominion championship at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park and then finished fourth behind Smolda in the final at Gloucester Park. Bling It On raced 100 times for 49 wins, 24 placings and stakes of $1,882,957. Baby Bling, a half-sister to Bletchley Park, The Code Breaker and Bling It On, also made a successful trip to Perth in November-December 2012 when she won the group 1 Mares Classic and finished third behind Lucie Boshier in the group 3 Norms Daughter Classic. Looming large as Bletchley Park’s most serious rivals are last-start winners Balcatherine, Galactic Star and Vampiro as well as WA Pacing Cup winner Vultan Tin. Balcatherine, the only mare in the field, is handily drawn at barrier three for trainer Gary Hall Snr and driver Gary Hall Jnr. A winner at ten of her 19 starts, she is in superb form. She worked hard in the breeze for much of the way before winning the Group 3 Christmas Belles Pace at a 1.54.5 rate over 2130m on Thursday December 24.  Two starts before that she gave an outstanding performance to race without cover before scoring an easy victory over Somebeachparty in the Group 1 Mares Classic. She is sure to prove hard to beat, but she will need to set a record if she is to prove the master of her 11 male rivals. No mare has been successful in the 22-year history of this event, and only three mares have been placed Lombo Rapida (2000), Meggie Dear (2002) and Ima Spicey Lombo (2012). However, the Halls have a wonderful record, with Hall Snr winning the race five times, scoring with The Falcon Strike (2003), Rakarebel (2011), Hokonui Ben (2013) and Beaudiene Boaz (2015 and 2016) and Hall Jnr winning with all of those pacers except Rakarebel. For good measure, Hall Snr has also prepared eleven placegetters six seconds and five thirds. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond are seeking their second success in the Village Kid Sprint, and they will be represented by Galactic Star (barrier six), Vampiro (nine) and Justasec (No. 3 on the back line). Dylan Egerton-Green will handle Galactic Star and he is hoping to go one better than he did when he drove the Bond-trained Our Max Phactor into second place behind Our Field Marshal in December 2018. Galactic Star started from the outside of the back line in the Village Kid Sprint in December 2019 when he was seventh at the bell and charged home, out five wide, to finish third behind Vampiro and Herrick Roosevelt.     Vampiro, a $12.70 chance, set the pace for Michael Grantham from barrier four and won by a length at a 1.52.9 rate. This week he will be driven by Colin Brown, who won this event with The Accelerator in 1999. Vampiro maintained his strong form when he raced three back on the pegs and finished powerfully to win from Bletchley Park and Galactic Star in a 2536m Free-For-All three Fridays ago. Justasec, to be driven by Deni Roberts, has wonderful potential, but he faces a considerable rise in class at his first appearance in a race over a shorter distance than 2130m. Thirteen wins from 24 starts underline his tremendous ability. Ken Casellas

Columbus, OH - With the suspension of harness racing for about three months during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, total wagering at all U.S. harness tracks for the year was down by 18.39 percent from $1,424,886,558 in 2019 to $1,162,848,201, a decrease of $263,038,357. In addition, the amount of purses distributed was down significantly by 30.82 percent. In 2020, horsemen earned a total of $304,059,115 a decrease of $135,486,904 from the $439,546,019 in 2019 purses. The 2,358 race days in 2020 was 1,066 less than the 3,424 race days in 2019, a 31.13 percent decrease. Despite all of the lost race days, the per race wagering average increased by 10.5 percent from $5,008 in 2019 to $5,534 in 2020. To better understand the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and the lengthy suspension of racing during 2020 had on the numbers, the economic indicators are broken down into three categories. 1. The year-to-year economic indicators for 2020 compared to 2019. 2. The "Before COVID" economic indicators before the shutdowns caused by the pandemic comparing Jan. 1 to March 22, 2020 to the same timeframe in 2019. 3. The "After COVID" economic indicators after tracks resumed racing following the shutdowns comparing June 1 to Dec. 31, 2020 to the same timeframe in 2019.               Following are the comparative economic indicators for U.S. harness racing from 2019 to 2020. ECONOMIC INDICATORS ON U.S. RACES YEAR-TO-YEAR COMPARISON Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020   2020 2019 % Change Total Wagered $1,162,848,201 $1,424,886,558 -18.39% Per Race avg. $45,140 $39,991 +12.87% Per Betting Interest $5,534 $5,008 +10.50% Purses $304,059,115 $439,546,019 -30.82% Race Days 2,358 3,424 -31.13%   BEFORE COVID Jan. 1 – March 22, 2020   2020 2019 % Change Total Wagered $299,074,258 $315,189,172 -5.11% Per Race avg. $52,756 $56,976 -7.41% Per Betting Interest $6,594 $6,975 -5.46% Purses $53,949,205 $52,804,155 +2.17% Race Days 474 455 +4.18%   AFTER COVID June 1 – Dec. 31, 2020   2020 2019 % Change Total Wagered $844,385,389 $796,464,289 +6.02% Per Race avg. $42,414 $35,097 +20.85% Per Betting Interest $5,173 $4,414 +17.20% Purses $248,668,418 $306,707,985 -18.92% Race Days 1,866 2,339 -20.22%   “Obviously it was a very difficult year for everyone in harness racing, especially for our horsemen, racetracks and everyone whose employment depends on our industry,” said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. “All of them should be commended for their efforts and compliance with the required health and safety measures that allowed us to return to racing. And we’d like to thank all of our loyal harness racing fans for their continued support through tough times.” Please note:  The information above includes U.S. and Canadian common and separate pool wagers on races contested in the U.S. Dan Leary Director of Marketing and Communications  

As his name suggests, connections of Riverina harness racing star Rusty Crackers have had to endure more than a few moments of frustration with their enigmatic pacer. But the talent of Rusty Crackers (Dawn ofa New Day - Dilingers Comment (DM Dilinger) was on dominant display in the Yenda Producers Leeton Cup on Friday when, parked in the death seat, he sizzled through the marathon 2582 metres scoring a 14 metre win and rating 1:59.6. The win got the new year off to the best-possible start for his loyal connections, but it wasn't without a few anxious moments behind the $1.35 favorite for claiming junior reinsman James McPherson. "He put in a couple of roughies before the start, and he had my heart pumping for the first little while!" James laughed. "But for all his antics, you can't get away from the fact of how he goes, and as soon as we made our way up outside the leader, I knew we could control the race and that he had a bit of class on his side," he said. The win was testament to the composure of the young driver, now starting only his third season in the race sulky - and equal proof of the grit and ability of Rusty Crackers, who added a third country cup to his name with the win. To watch the video replay of Rusty Crackers click here. Rusty Crackers is owned by Matty and Melissa Painting from Coleambally, in NSW, and raced on lease by Jindera reinsman Tom Gilligan and his fiancée Brooke McPherson. Tom works as a farrier and Brooke does shift work at Hertz car rentals, so they share the training duties, with Tom doing the majority of the driving. But Gilligan said Brooke's brother James was able to take the reins when circumstances suited, as they did in taking a full five-point claim for the Leeton Cup. "We all train together at the same place and James has been driving really well," Gilligan said "When we need a concession, we're more than happy to put him on. He had close to 40 wins last season, and he does a great job for us." Gilligan said Rusty Crackers arrived at the stables after his owner Matty Painting experienced health problems in 2018. "Matty asked me to train a few for him for a while, including Rusty Crackers. He'd already won a race, and Matty said the horse had a few dramas and was a bit naughty, but he did like him," Tom said. "When we first got him, he just used to do stupid things, which is a little bit in the breed, I think, but once you get on top of them they go okay. That probably took about 12 months, but he's matured into a really nice horse," he said. Rusty Crackers won at his first start for Gilligan and McPherson at Cobram in June 2018. Since then, he's had another 14 wins for the couple, including the Wagga Wagga Cup and the Temora Cup as well as his latest in the Leeton Cup. He also gave the couple the thrill of their first Menangle win. "I think the little bubble at the start at Leeton might have been a trainers' error perhaps! I think we might have had him a bit fresh," Gilligan said. "Between Brooke and I, we're good cop, bad cop - she spoils him, and I try to keep on top of him! "When we first got him we could hardly get him around a half mile track, he'd hop and skip and have a bit of a canter, but both the Temora and Leeton cup wins were on half-mile tracks and he's matured into a lot better gaited horse." Rusty Crackers got 2021 off on the right foot in what will be a big year for the young couple. They are expecting their first child in February, and also finalising plans to buy their own property. First things first, though, and Gilligan said Rusty Crackers would be next set for the Goulburn Cup on Sunday week. "We are just going to chase him around in a few of the cups this year and see how he goes - I know Goulburn will be very strong, but we have to race the same horses if we go to Menangle anyway, so we'll give him a try and see how he goes," he said. "Probably his weakness is not having really good gate speed, and when you get against horses of that class it's pretty hard to round them up from behind. But if he could just take the next step, we'd be over the moon. "If I had ten like him, I wouldn't have to work! He's tested our patience, but we'd put up with any horse any day of the week if they were talented like him." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Pompano Beach, FL...January 6, 2021...Image Of A Dream, craftily handled by Rick Plano, closed fastest of all to capture Pompano Park's $11,500 Open Handicap Pace for Mares on Tuesday night as the harness racing track made handle history with its first back-to-back million dollar plus handle nights in its 57 year history. The win by Image Of A Dream was just one part of an outstanding night of racing in South Florida as the handle of $1,168,771 for the 10 race program came on the heels of a Monday handle of $1,134,368 on the 13 race card. On to the racing, Image Of A Dream, the six year-old daughter of Rockin Image may have begun her journey to the winner's circle three days earlier when she drew the best of her rivals as the number one post was assigned and posts two to seven were drawn with Rockin Image having drawn the two post. Her margin of victory was a length on the strength of a :28.4 kick home to collar the pacesetting Casie's Believer (Joe Chindano, Jr.) inside the sixteenth pole. Glenferrie Blade (Wally Hennessey) was another neck back in third while in the garden spot most of the way while Northern Dali was next. Cult Icon managed to pick up the nickel in the classy field scratched down to seven with the scratch of She'sgotitgoingon. As the wings folded, Casie's Believer zipped out to take the lead with Glenferrie Blade leaving to her inside and these two were one-two early as Cult Icon was also on the move in search of the top spot herself. After a hot opener of :26.4, Cult Icon was pressing on and stuck her head in front heading into turn two but not clearing at the half in :55.1. On the backside, Cult Icon began to feel the toll of her effort and Plano had to make a decision of whether to sit chilly for a bit more or swing wide around Cult Icon. He decided "patience" was in his best interest and he stayed cool until finding a seam to swing widest of all at the top of the lane. From there, Image Of A Dream who dug in fastest of all to win. After the race, "Plano said, "Well, we drew an advantageous post to start so we were within striking distance all the way. I thought I'd stay put as Andy's (Shetler) mare (Cult Icon) looked like she had enough and we were just lucky to make that decision. That's all there was to it!" Image Of A Dream won for the seventh time in her career and this payday sent her career bankroll to $43,595. She paid $12.20 as fourth choice in the betting. Image Of A Dream On the wagering side of the ledger, Pompano Park established a "first" in its 57 year history with two consecutive million dollar plus handles--the Tuesday handle being $1,168,771 for the 10 race program on the heels of the Monday night handle of $1,334,368 for the 13 race extravaganza. The Pick-5 carryover of $28,182 on Monday produced an ambitious $150,000 guaranteed pool for Tuesday and a record $207,403 of new money was added, bringing the total pool to $235,585. When all was said and done, the 50 cent Pick-5 payout on the 7-5-8-5-6/8 combinations returning $10,628.90 to 19 "Send-It-In" genius handicappers--that payout bolstered by a 61 to 1 winner--Steal My Thunder--in the fourth leg. The Pick-6 pool, with a carryover going in, attracted a season high $20,884 with that 8-5-6/8-4-4-2 sequence returning $22,333.50 for the 50 cent ducat. The track's Pick-4 Pool of $61,693 was also a new record for that wager. Wednesday's program features a $15,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool and a 4th race pentafecta carryover of $12,795. The Super Hi-5 finale also boasts a carryover of $60,966. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park

Talented young harness racing horseman Sean Grayling has no regrets about leaving his native New Zealand to chance his arm as a reinsman in Sydney. The 25-year-old has called Australia home for four years now after growing up on the North Island of New Zealand in Pukekohe, a 40-minute drive from Auckland. “My Dad Tony breaks-in, educates and trains a team of anywhere up to 20 horses over there,” said Grayling. “He has educated many horses for champion trainer Barry Purdon over the years which led me to going to work for the prominent stable at Cleavedon after I left school at 17. “To date I have driven 120 winners, which includes 12 metropolitan wins at Tabcorp Park Menangle. “I had driven 25 winners back home before heading over here to try my luck.” Grayling moved to Sydney in 2017 and for the first eight months worked for Kevin Pizzuto at Rossmore in the city’s west. He then made the move to work for the Fitzpatrick family at their Jay Jay Farm establishment at Cawdor, which is close to Menangle. “Working for Kev was fantastic,” said Grayling. “I got to learn so much from him and it provided me with a lot of opportunities. “But when the offer came from the Fitzpatricks to go and work for them, I never hesitated as our friendship stemmed back to the days when I was working with Barry. “The move has been really good as the whole family have been nothing short of great to me.  “I get to drive many of their nice horses, and they allow me to train my own horse out of their farm, which I am really grateful for.”  That horse happens to be the entire Pump The Brakes, who last week recorded his 16th career win and the second since Grayling purchased him. “I was lucky enough to pick up a metro win with my fellow last Saturday night, his second win in town for us,” said Grayling. To watch the video replay of Pump The Brakes click here The young reinsman will head across to Penrith on Thursday night where he has four drives. “All the horses I am driving are well in the market,” he said. “I really like the chances of Lucky Beach Boy in Race 2. “He has drawn the back line, but he has really come into his own winning his past two at Penrith and he will be hard to beat again, for sure.” HRNSW MEDIA