Luck Be Withyou

The stable of horses that God loves

The Stable of Horses That God Loves is rapidly growing in size and in stature. The latest  headliner to join  John Fielding’s  2014 Dan Patch winner, Shake It Cerry  and 21 others, is  2014 Breeders Crown winner Luck Be Withyou, owned by Toronto horseman John Craig. The speedy 4-year-old son of Western Ideal from the Bill Cass stable,  who  has amassed $696.291 in his career,  will  be looking to push his lifetime earnings over the million dollar mark  this season competing in  major stakes events in the U.S. and Canada, including the Canadian Pacing Derby,  Confederation Cup and the Prix d’ete. Like all others in the Stable That God Loves, one per cent of  Luck Be Withyou’s 2015 purse  earnings will be returned to  Chaplain Ken Carter’s homeless  Standardbred Chaplaincy of Canada, dedicated to providing for the emotional, physical , spiritual, and human needs of the horse racing work  force in southwestern Ontario. “It’s gratifying to see so much support coming from industry participants from all over, and it is extra exciting  to know the list of participants in the program  includes  Grand Circuit stars like Shake It Cerry and Luck Be Withyou”  said WEG race announcer and Chaplaincy director Ken Middleton.  “ Having these horses on board  will create  huge exposure for the program and for the sport in general.  It is heart-warming  to  see  so many  people recognize  and support the work that the Chaplaincy is doing for the sport’s participants”. Stables large and small have named  their stable stars to the Stable That God Loves, and some horsemen have given their entire stable,  a gesture that speaks volumes for their huge  support of the program. “All owners should support the less fortunate in our industry.    Every horse that Canamerica Corp and Hyatt Holdings, Inc.,  races  in 2015 will be participants in the program.” said Milton, Ontario  horseman Mark Hyatt, whose late father, Doug, was a tireless worker for the  homeless Chaplaincy.  For additional information:   Bill Galvin      billgalvin2000@yahoo.ca   Ken Middleton:  k.middleton@rogers.com

Sylvain Filion, harness racing

Sylvain Filion wins half the card at Woodbine

TORONTO, February 28 - Sylvain Filion closed out the month of February in style with a five-win performance Saturday night at Woodbine. The veteran reinsman scored his first victory of the night in the first of ten-races on the card with pacer Hit And Giggle A. Filion would then get on a roll by winning three-races in a row. Spark Marky in the fifth, Power Move in the sixth and Nickle Bag in the seventh-race gave Filion a grand slam on the evening. Filion's fourth victory of the night with Nickle Bag in the Preferred pace came from a disqualification to the original winner Avatartist. The Milton, Ontario resident would record his fifth victory of the evening in the ninth race with pacer Urbana Bayama. Filion's last drive of the night would finish out of the money. Filion was not the only driver to have a solid night at the office, as Simon Allard completed a three-win night by capturing the last race in upset fashion with Push Back at 30/1. The five-win night for Filion gives him 43 this season at Woodbine and extends his lead in the driver's standings to nine wins ahead of Trevor Henry. Filion will be back in action with five drives on Monday night's card. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

WDC thoughts, What can be brought to North America?

Watching the World Driving Championship (WDC) races from New South Wales, Australia, it has become clear; we are too provincial in our thinking in North America, unwilling to change to improve the product. Not that these suggestions will take care of things such as post time drag, the amount of time between races, and the integrity issues real and perceived, but we can make the racing more exciting to watch, less predictable, and increase wagering as people will be enticed by larger payoffs. For example, let's take a look at this race from the WDC at Penrith. No one can watch this race and say it wasn't exciting despite the length of the race. What did this race have that we don't have in the North America? 1. Added distance (2,125 meters equals 1.32 mile) 2. A second tier 3. A lot of movement throughout the race You probably are saying, well these WDC races feature some of the best drivers in the world, what about regular overnight racing? Well, let's look at another race from the same card at Penrith, a conditioned race for winners of 1 or 2 races at a country meet, with typical drivers racing. There may have been a little less movement, but more movement than we typically see in the States; horses are not strung out single file. You have horses racing three, four wide. By the time they head into the stretch, everyone is close, and in this case they all came flying at the wire. Penrith is a half mile oval, starting five across with five in the second row. Admittedly, when you start five across the horses in the back row have it easier to get involved than in the states where you typically start eight across. I would never suggest we put eight horses in the back tier on our smaller tracks, but what if we started six across upfront with six in the second row? Now a track like Menangle, a metropolitan track which is a 7/8th mile oval, starts them 10 across and doesn't have an official second tier but they have standing starts with horses being handicapped as far back as 70 meters (291 feet). I am not suggesting we move to standing starts but instead of having standing starts we can handicap races by moving horses to a second row even if we cut the number in the front row to even things out (say seven up front and five in the second row). Some will say it's a different style of racing in Australia. No doubt about it, a style necessitated by the varied distances of races; something which would develop here in time. The point is we can learn something from Australia and from the rest of the harness racing world. We just need to take the blinders off and look. by Allan Schott, for View From the Racetrack Grandstand.      

Equine Herpesvirius.jpg

Notice of confirmed Equine Herpes in Canadas

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has been notified of a confirmed case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), caused by equine herpes virus 1 (EHV-1), in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The text of the Notice is pasted below. The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has determined that this case does not involve a racehorse. However, due to the infectious nature of this virus, the ORC urges participants to take appropriate steps when such cases are reported. Outbreaks of neurological EHV-1 are contagious and have a significant risk of mortality. ANYTHING that touches an infected horse or carries secretions or manure from sick horses has the potential to transfer pathogens to other horses. The horse owner voluntarily placed the premises under a self-imposed quarantine to reduce the risk of viral spread. To date, there have been no further reports of equine illness on the farm. In 2014, there was one laboratory-confirmed case of EHM in Ontario due to the non-neuropathogenic strain. This is the first case diagnosed in Ontario this year; however, cases of EHM have been diagnosed in Texas, Virginia, Minnesota and New Jersey this month. EHV-1 infection in horses can cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal foal death, and/or neurological disease. EHV-1 is not a federally reportable disease but is immediately notifiable by laboratories under the reporting regulation of the provincial Animal Health Act. Attending veterinarians suspicious of EHM should contact OMAFRA as soon as possible. Because infected horses may show no clinical signs, but still shed the virus, the temperature of suspect animals should be monitored twice daily for 14 -21 days and any abnormalities discussed with a veterinarian. Neurological signs, if they develop, may include loss or balance, hind-limb weakness, recumbency, difficulty urinating, decreased tail tone and depression. It is important that a veterinarian assess suspect cases of EHM since it can be difficult to distinguish this from other serious neurological diseases, such as rabies. EHV-1 is easily spread by nose-to-nose or close contact with an infectious horse, by sharing contaminated equipment (bits, buckets, towels etc.) or by the clothing, hands or equipment of people who recently had contact with an infectious horse. This highlights the need for routine biosecurity measures (including hand hygiene and basic cleaning and disinfection practices) to be in place at all times to prevent a disease outbreak. Special attention should be given to cleaning and disinfecting trailers. Current EHV-1 vaccines may reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurological form of the disease. Implementing routine biosecurity practices is the best way to minimize viral spread. The best method of disease control is disease prevention.  

TORONTO, February 26 - A few weeks off didn't bother Nippy W Hanover as she was razor-sharp in winning the harness racing $41,200 Miss Vera Bars series final Thursday night at Woodbine. Originally set for two preliminary legs and a final, Mother Nature caused the second-leg of the Miss Vera Bars to be cancelled twice, forcing officials to scrap the second-leg and send the series directly to a final Thursday night. All nine three-year-old pacing fillies that competed in the first leg on February 5 returned for the final. Maplelea, the winner of leg one, took most of the support at the windows and was sent off as the 4/5 favourite. However, she would have to settle for second-best, as Nippy W Hanover got the job done in 1:57.1. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Nippy W Hanover got away in second from her rail starting spot. Down the backstretch, Baillargeon opted to circle around to the lead and never looked back. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:28 with Maplelea first up at her wheel, Nippy W Hanover turned aside the favourite's challenge in the lane and paced home in :29.1 to win by 2 ½ lengths. Wake N Bake closed well to finish third, while Docs Hollywood took fourth. A daughter of American Ideal, Nippy W Hanover is trained by Blair Burgess for owners Karin Olsson Burgess and Mac Nichol. The sophomore pacing filly finished second in the first leg after winning her 2015 debut the week before. The series final victory improves Nippy W Hanover's career record to four wins from 12 starts and earnings exceeding $50,000. A $2 win ticket on Nippy W Hanover returned $6.90. Nippy W Hanover In order to be eligible to the Miss Vera Bars series, the three-year-old fillies had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie

Less than one week remains to submit nominations for 2015. Is there a horse or person that you think should be added to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2015?  Someone who should join such racing icons as Northern Dancer, Somebeachsomewhere, John Campbell, or Sandy Hawley?  You can have your say by submitting a nomination by 5:00 pm March 4th in any of the following categories: Nominations for the following will be considered: MALE HORSE:  Stallions or geldings whose contribution to Canadian racing occurred in the past 20 years. FEMALE HORSE:  Mares whose contribution to Canadian racing occurred in the past 20 years. VETERAN HORSE:  Horses whose careers have been concluded for 20 years, but less than 50 years. PERSON:  Trainers, Drivers, Jockeys BUILDERS:  Includes, but not limited to Breeders, Owners, Officials, and others. COMMUNICATORS:  Includes, but not limited to writers, broadcasters, photographers, announcers. VETERAN PERSON:  Trainers, Drivers, Jockeys whose careers have been concluded for 20 years, but less than 50 years. Complete eligibility criteria available at: http://horseracinghalloffame.com/inductees/eligibility/ Submissions must include as much detail as possible concerning the record and/or merits of candidates nominated.     For further information regarding eligibility, or to submit a nomination, contact:  Standardbred Nominations:  Darryl Kaplan, Standardbred Nomination Chair, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 1-2150 Meadowvale Blvd., Mississauga, ON L5N 6R6 P:  (905) 858-3060 ext. 241  F: (905) 858-3089 E:  dkaplan@standardbredcanada.ca Thoroughbred Nominations:  Tom Cosgrove, Thoroughbred Nomination Chair, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 555 Rexdale Blvd., P.O. Box 156 Toronto, ON M9W 5L2 P:  (416) 213-2113 F:  (416) 213-2128 E:  tmc@woodbineentertainment.com All submissions will be carefully considered by the Nominating Committee and, if approved, presented to the Election Committee on a ballot for a secret vote. NOMINATION DEADLINE:   WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2015 5:00 pm EST. The final list of the 2015 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Inductees will be announced on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. The 2015 Induction Gala will be held Wednesday, August 5th, 2015 at the Mississauga Convention Centre. We invite you to visit the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame located at the West Entrance of Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario.  Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is available at www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame or by contacting admin@horseracinghalloffame.com or 416-417-9404. Linda Rainey Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Linda.rainey@horseracinghalloffame.com  

It came down to the final race and an inquiry for Marilyn Spitzig and Debbie Campbell to garner the 11 dollars in points and leapfrog into first place in the Hanover Raceway and Slots Handicapping Contest. The event lasted 8 weeks and was sponsored by Hanover Raceway and Slots, Woodbine Entertainment and HDTV in Hanover and Walkerton. Spitzig and Campbell each win a 50 inch High Def Smart TV from HDTV thanks to their final total of $323.80 dollars in selections over the 8 week tournament.   Ron Lauson and Mike Stachelscheid of Hanover finished in 2nd place and won $500 dollars, while Harold and Heather Fleet of Hanover finished in 3rd place, and won $250.00. A total of 15 teams of 2 and 3 players took part in the contest.  Hanover’s next Race promotion is a 2015 Dodge Ram Truck giveaway with Woodbine.   HPI or Cash Card players can register at Woodbineentertainment.com/winatruck and each time they spend $50.00 in wagers at a Woodbine sponsored simulcast theatre, they will receive 1 ballot towards the new truck giveaway.  The contest runs each and every day in March, so participants can earn up to 31 ballots.  For more information contact the Hanover Raceway Simulcast. Hanover Raceway  

Notice to the harness racing Industry - Approval of Amendment at Hanover, Application for Variance Flamboro & Georgian. The Director of the Ontario Racing Commission has approved the application for amendment to the 2015 race date schedule made by Hanover, Bentinck & Brant Agricultural Society for Hanover Raceway (Hanover). To view the full notice please click here.          

London, February 22, 2015 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District in London honoured its top harness racing performers for 2014 during their annual awards night on Saturday. Among the highlights was driver Alfie Carroll taking home his first trophy as Driver of the Year, Kendal Gustav being selected as overall Horse of the Year and Natasha House being voted Caretaker of the Year. Two other awards were announced the night of the ceremony and they include Lisa Thompson who was selected as Horsewoman of the Year and the Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award which went to longtime London horseman Larry Fitzsimmons. Here is a complete look at this year's Raceway award winners: Older Pacing Horse - Kendal Gustav Older Pacing Mare - Twilight Seelster Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt - Good Side Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly - Delta Grace Tone Older Trotting Horse - Moonbeam Hall Older Trotting Mare - Thundering Ovation Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt - M C Wood Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly - Sonny With A Chance Claiming Pacer - Cat Four Claiming Trotter (Tied) - Strike A Light and Weskey Driver - Alfie Carroll Owner - Keith Cassell Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award - Larry Fitzsimmons Caretaker - Natasha House Horse of the Year - Kendal Gustav Horsewoman of the Year - Lisa Thompson Greg Blanchard  

TORONTO, February 21 - Ontario sired four-year-olds were the main attraction Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack in a pair of harness racing winter series finals. The $45,000 Ontario Boys final for four-year-old pacers and the 44,600 Ontario Girls final for four-year-old pacing mares were co-main events on Saturday night's 11-race card. All eyes were on heavy favourite Nirvana Seelster in the Ontario Boys final, as he went for the series sweep. Driven by Phil Hudon, Nirvana Seelster sprinted out quickly to the front to grab his usual spot on the lead and would cruise along in control cutting out fractions of :27, :56 and 1:24.4 In the stretch, Nirvana Seelster continued to pace strong and was never in any danger of surrendering his lead. He posted a final-quarter of :27.4 to score a length and a quarter victory in 1:52.3. Ideal Jet got up to finish second, while Kindofabigdeal took the show spot. A son of Camluck, Nirvana Seelster is trained by Bill Budd for owner Bruce Davy. The four-year-old pacer swept the Ontario Boys series by winning each leg on the front-end. Nirvana Seelster now has three wins from seven starts this year and ten career victories overall. The winner's share of the purse pushes his career bankroll over $145,000. Nirvana Seelster returned $2.80 to win. Nirvana Seelster In the Ontario Girls final, Artistic Fusion was sent off as the heavy 2/5 favourite and did not disappoint winning in 1:53.4. A first-half battle saw a parked out Regally Ready finally clear to the front before the half ahead of Performing Art. However, Jack Moiseyev wasted no time charging Bet Ya up from fourth to overtake the lead from Regally Ready at the half in :55. Meanwhile, Artistic Fusion and driver Sylvain Filion paced along fourth and made a first-over move on the way to the final turn. Artistic Fusion and Bet Ya would slug it out past the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4 to bring the field into the lane. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion powered by Bet Ya and paced on to the win the Ontario Girls final by a length and a half. A hard-closing Jakardez got up for second, while Bet Ya finished third. A daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion captured the first leg of the series, but then saw her four-race win streak snapped in last week's second leg by Bet Ya. The series finale victory improves her record to five wins from six starts in 2015. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote and now has an Ontario Girls title to go along her Blizzard series triumph a month ago. Artistic Fusion now has 11 career victories and earnings of over $142,000. She paid $2.90 to win. Artistic Fusion In order to be eligible to the Ontario Boys and Girls series, the Ontario sired four-year-olds had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime or $50,000 in 2014 as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February 20 - Legion Of Boom pulled off a mild harness racing upset to win The Count B series final Friday night at Woodbine. A field of ten three-year-old pacing colts and geldings squared off in the $43,800 finale of the three-week series event. Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair left from the rail at 9/1 and got away fifth entering the first turn. As the field neared the half, McNair sent Legion Of Boom first up, allowing the 4/5 favourite Conversation Boy to pick up second-over cover. Legion Of Boom wasted no time charging first up and cleared to the front before the final turn. Conversation Boy, who was left without cover first up, made a break around the final turn spoiling his chances. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.2, Legion Of Boom had to dig deep in the stretch to hold off several rivals and score a half-length victory in 1:54.4. Dialamara finished second, while Nobettorplacetobe and His Boy Elroy finished third and fourth respectively. A gelding son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is trained by Gregg McNair and now has two wins in the first five starts of his career. The victory is extra sweet for driver Doug McNair, as he shares ownership of the gelding with Equus Standardbreds Inc. Legion Of Boom now has career earnings of $34,830. The clocking of 1:54.4 knocked close to two-seconds off his previous career mark. Legion Of Boom returned $20.20 to win. In order to be eligible to The Count B series, the three-year-old colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Legion Of Boom Mark McKelvie

The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society is pleased to announce that their 2015 Stallion Auction will begin this Monday, February 23, at 9 a.m.   The Stallion Auction is a major fundraiser every year for OSAS which has been finding forever homes for retired harness horses for almost 20 years. We are very grateful to those who have donated stallion services as well as those who will purchase them.   Bids may be made for each stallion via email to osasadmin@bellnet.ca. The auction will conclude at 4 p.m. on February 28. Questions regarding the auction should be directed to Joanne Colville at 905-854-6099 or 905-339-6748.   The stallions available for auction this year are as follows:   Stallion                         Donated By Windsong Espoir                          Bill Loyens Big Jim                                       Seelster Farms Justice Hall                                 Seelster Farms Sunshine Beach                          Seelster Farms Holiday Road                              Seelster Farms Sunfire Blue Chip                        Tara Hills Stud Glidemaster                                Winbak Canada   Heather MacKay  

The ORC has released the following Rulings which are accessible at the link below: COM SB 001/2015 in the matter of the appeal of Kelly Sheppard COM SB 002/2015 in the matter of the appeal of Sue Gangell http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onrc Jacinth E. Chang Alloy Executive Assistant Ontario Racing Commission (416) 213-0520 (416) 213-7838 (direct) (416) 213-7827 (fax) www.ontarioracingcommission.ca      

Hanover, Bentinck & Brant Agricultural Society is requesting approval for an amendment of the race date schedule at Hanover Raceway (Hanover). The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) is circulating this application for amendment to the approved race date schedule and will receive comments on the application from interested industry participants before making its decision on the application. Copies of the application and business case to support these changes are included with this Notice. Please click here to view the full Notice to the Industry.    

TORONTO, February 16 - Bourbon Bay completed the General Brock series sweep with a dominating harness racing victory Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A field of nine four-year-old trotters contested the $50,800 final of the three-week series. Bourbon Bay and driver Mike Saftic came into the finale off two impressive victories in the opening two rounds and they lived up to their 3/5 billing with another eye-catching performance. A son of Sand Vic, Bourbon Bay sprinted out to the lead from post position one and posted a speedy opening-quarter of :27. A fired up Bourbon Bay had to be reeled in a bit by Saftic down the backstretch as he had a two-length advantage over Severus Hanover in second and more than ten-lengths on Bags For All in third. The duo would reach the half in :56.1 and continue to roll along around the final turn, while the back of the pack tried to tighten up to the leaders. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:26, Bourbon Bay kicked into another gear and extended his lead back out to several lengths on his opponents in the stretch. When it was all said and done, Bourbon Bay scored an easy-looking 4 ½ length victory over Bags For All in 1:55.1. Meadowview Vicky finished third, while Severus Hanover took fourth. A four-year-old gelding, Bourbon Bay had been racing primarily in New York, but shipped north of the border into the Mike Sinclair barn for the General Brock. Bourbon Bay is leased by John Cummings Jr. of Nichols, New York and now has four wins from six starts in 2015. Monday's victory was the ninth career score for the son of Sand Vic and pushes his career bankroll over $75,000. Bourbon Bay paid $3.20 to win. In order to be eligible to the General Brock, the three- and four-year-old trotters had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie

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The Stable of Horses That God Loves is rapidly growing in size and in stature. The latest  headliner to join  John Fielding’s  2014 Dan Patch winner, Shake It Cerry  and 21 others, is  2014 Breeders Crown winner Luck Be Withyou, owned by Toronto horseman John Craig. The speedy 4-year-old son of Western Ideal from the Bill Cass stable,  who  has amassed $696.291 in his career,  will  be looking to push his lifetime earnings over the million dollar mark  this season competing in  major stakes events in the U.S. and Canada, including the Canadian Pacing Derby,  Confederation Cup and the Prix d’ete. Like all others in the Stable That God Loves, one per cent of  Luck Be Withyou’s 2015 purse  earnings will be returned to  Chaplain Ken Carter’s homeless  Standardbred Chaplaincy of Canada, dedicated to providing for the emotional, physical , spiritual, and human needs of the horse racing work  force in southwestern Ontario. “It’s gratifying to see so much support coming from industry participants from all over, and it is extra exciting  to know the list of participants in the program  includes  Grand Circuit stars like Shake It Cerry and Luck Be Withyou”  said WEG race announcer and Chaplaincy director Ken Middleton.  “ Having these horses on board  will create  huge exposure for the program and for the sport in general.  It is heart-warming  to  see  so many  people recognize  and support the work that the Chaplaincy is doing for the sport’s participants”. Stables large and small have named  their stable stars to the Stable That God Loves, and some horsemen have given their entire stable,  a gesture that speaks volumes for their huge  support of the program. “All owners should support the less fortunate in our industry.    Every horse that Canamerica Corp and Hyatt Holdings, Inc.,  races  in 2015 will be participants in the program.” said Milton, Ontario  horseman Mark Hyatt, whose late father, Doug, was a tireless worker for the  homeless Chaplaincy.  For additional information:   Bill Galvin      billgalvin2000@yahoo.ca   Ken Middleton:  k.middleton@rogers.com
TORONTO, February 28 - Sylvain Filion closed out the month of February in style with a five-win performance Saturday night at Woodbine. The veteran reinsman scored his first victory of the night in the first of ten-races on the card with pacer Hit And Giggle A. Filion would then get on a roll by winning three-races in a row. Spark Marky in the fifth, Power Move in the sixth and Nickle Bag in the seventh-race gave Filion a grand slam on the evening. Filion's fourth victory of the night with Nickle Bag in the Preferred pace came from a disqualification to the original winner Avatartist. The Milton, Ontario resident would record his fifth victory of the evening in the ninth race with pacer Urbana Bayama. Filion's last drive of the night would finish out of the money. Filion was not the only driver to have a solid night at the office, as Simon Allard completed a three-win night by capturing the last race in upset fashion with Push Back at 30/1. The five-win night for Filion gives him 43 this season at Woodbine and extends his lead in the driver's standings to nine wins ahead of Trevor Henry. Filion will be back in action with five drives on Monday night's card. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Watching the World Driving Championship (WDC) races from New South Wales, Australia, it has become clear; we are too provincial in our thinking in North America, unwilling to change to improve the product. Not that these suggestions will take care of things such as post time drag, the amount of time between races, and the integrity issues real and perceived, but we can make the racing more exciting to watch, less predictable, and increase wagering as people will be enticed by larger payoffs. For example, let's take a look at this race from the WDC at Penrith. No one can watch this race and say it wasn't exciting despite the length of the race. What did this race have that we don't have in the North America? 1. Added distance (2,125 meters equals 1.32 mile) 2. A second tier 3. A lot of movement throughout the race You probably are saying, well these WDC races feature some of the best drivers in the world, what about regular overnight racing? Well, let's look at another race from the same card at Penrith, a conditioned race for winners of 1 or 2 races at a country meet, with typical drivers racing. There may have been a little less movement, but more movement than we typically see in the States; horses are not strung out single file. You have horses racing three, four wide. By the time they head into the stretch, everyone is close, and in this case they all came flying at the wire. Penrith is a half mile oval, starting five across with five in the second row. Admittedly, when you start five across the horses in the back row have it easier to get involved than in the states where you typically start eight across. I would never suggest we put eight horses in the back tier on our smaller tracks, but what if we started six across upfront with six in the second row? Now a track like Menangle, a metropolitan track which is a 7/8th mile oval, starts them 10 across and doesn't have an official second tier but they have standing starts with horses being handicapped as far back as 70 meters (291 feet). I am not suggesting we move to standing starts but instead of having standing starts we can handicap races by moving horses to a second row even if we cut the number in the front row to even things out (say seven up front and five in the second row). Some will say it's a different style of racing in Australia. No doubt about it, a style necessitated by the varied distances of races; something which would develop here in time. The point is we can learn something from Australia and from the rest of the harness racing world. We just need to take the blinders off and look. by Allan Schott, for View From the Racetrack Grandstand.      
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has been notified of a confirmed case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), caused by equine herpes virus 1 (EHV-1), in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The text of the Notice is pasted below. The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has determined that this case does not involve a racehorse. However, due to the infectious nature of this virus, the ORC urges participants to take appropriate steps when such cases are reported. Outbreaks of neurological EHV-1 are contagious and have a significant risk of mortality. ANYTHING that touches an infected horse or carries secretions or manure from sick horses has the potential to transfer pathogens to other horses. The horse owner voluntarily placed the premises under a self-imposed quarantine to reduce the risk of viral spread. To date, there have been no further reports of equine illness on the farm. In 2014, there was one laboratory-confirmed case of EHM in Ontario due to the non-neuropathogenic strain. This is the first case diagnosed in Ontario this year; however, cases of EHM have been diagnosed in Texas, Virginia, Minnesota and New Jersey this month. EHV-1 infection in horses can cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal foal death, and/or neurological disease. EHV-1 is not a federally reportable disease but is immediately notifiable by laboratories under the reporting regulation of the provincial Animal Health Act. Attending veterinarians suspicious of EHM should contact OMAFRA as soon as possible. Because infected horses may show no clinical signs, but still shed the virus, the temperature of suspect animals should be monitored twice daily for 14 -21 days and any abnormalities discussed with a veterinarian. Neurological signs, if they develop, may include loss or balance, hind-limb weakness, recumbency, difficulty urinating, decreased tail tone and depression. It is important that a veterinarian assess suspect cases of EHM since it can be difficult to distinguish this from other serious neurological diseases, such as rabies. EHV-1 is easily spread by nose-to-nose or close contact with an infectious horse, by sharing contaminated equipment (bits, buckets, towels etc.) or by the clothing, hands or equipment of people who recently had contact with an infectious horse. This highlights the need for routine biosecurity measures (including hand hygiene and basic cleaning and disinfection practices) to be in place at all times to prevent a disease outbreak. Special attention should be given to cleaning and disinfecting trailers. Current EHV-1 vaccines may reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurological form of the disease. Implementing routine biosecurity practices is the best way to minimize viral spread. The best method of disease control is disease prevention.  
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