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HORSE FLESH is a very good read…4 of 5 stars

There are not that many mystery novels on the bookshelves (or internet) that center around harness racing, but recently author Tina Sugarman penned Horse Flesh, a novel that for many will be an enticing read. This fiction novel enters the highly competitive world of Standardbred horse racing, and is an exhilarating debut from an insider.  While many in the industry may take offense to the outright knocks on the industry, one must remember this is fiction and the author’s right to “jazz it up” to make it a riveting read to outsiders, should be taken into consideration. Then again, with all the recent controversy surrounding the Little Brown Jug last week, the events in this novel may seem to be spot on. The story features a brilliant harness racing driver whose drug habit risks costing him everything, his cousin, a trainer who refuses to compromise her integrity, a mysterious individual known only as the Scorpion, lurking in the shadows, pulling the strings, the Director of Racing trying desperately to clean up the industry, his mentor and best friend who has his own agenda, a low life groom who knows too much for his own good, the Canadian Mountie who inadvertently gets involved, with unforeseen consequences, and a veterinarian caught between two worlds. These are just some of the players in Horse Flesh, where passions run high and where the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is always blurred.  I found the book to be fascinating, very fast paced and with shocking twists and turns. At first I was turned off as the book did not “grab me” right off the bat and I was not happy with some of the demeaning references to the industry as an insider. As I read on and understood the characters that made up the novel, I had trouble at times to put the book down. It drew me into the read to see where the story was going, what was going to happen to some of the stars and how was author Tina Sugarman going to tie this all together in the end. She did a superb job with some great insights that people in the industry should consider. She got the job done and her HORSE FLESH is a breakthrough debut novel set to entertain not only horse and racing enthusiasts, but fiction fans looking for a fresh read.  Tina’s blending of the life events of four yearlings into becoming racehorses was very well done and woven nicely into the novel. The paperback version is very thick, over 700 pages of small type, so some might want to get the Kindle or Nook version. And don’t expect to read this one overnight! Tina Sugarman writes from her personal experiences and gives a compelling insight into the world of harness racing. She has been involved with Standardbred horse racing in Ontario for nearly two decades, spending summers on a horse farm nearby Mohawk Raceway, the premier harness racing track in Canada. This novel is available through all major booksellers. by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

Michael Grantham

Faces of the Industry - Michael Grantham

‘Adventurous, mischievous, naughty, boisterous’ - the words used to describe harness racing driver Michael Grantham by his family members growing up as a kid. There wasn’t a lot that Michael wouldn’t do as a young kid, from reversing his dad’s trucks down the narrow Epsom Ave driveway at their home in Ascot, to galloping around the Ascot backtrack on his pony ‘Chilly’, or tearing his pee wee 50 around his nana’s backyard, not to mention the training wheels that had been taken off of his bike as a toddler. It was obvious from a young age that Michael, better known as ‘Micky G’, would have some sort of involvement in the racing industry with his dad Mark being a former jockey and owner of Grantham’s Horse Transport and his mum Kellie a well known then Ascot trainer.   After learning to ride on his chestnut Shetland Chilly, Grantham started riding track work for his mum at the age of 14. With his education still being a priority, Grantham was still studying at the time he signed up for his apprenticeship as a jockey and in 2010 he had his first ride finishing 6th at Northam Race Club aboard the Adam Durrant trained, Secret Bullion.    In 2007 twin brothers Tommy and Nathan Berry made the move to Perth where Nathan joined the Kellie Grantham stables as an apprentice.   Grantham formed a close friendship with the brothers and in 2011 landed a 3 month stint in Sydney with Chris Waller.   Grantham lived with Tommy during his time there and had the pleasure of riding track work for Gai Waterhouse and Gerald Ryan.   He describes Tommy and Nathan as one of the biggest influences in his career as a jockey and experienced great sadness with the passing of Nathan in 2014. Another major influence within his riding career was his multi-tasked mum.   Starting to face a battle with his weight, Kellie went to extreme measures to assist Grantham and played a major role in his career as his manager and master as well.  Although his career as a jockey was short lived due to weight issues, Grantham walked away with 97 winners from just short of 1,000 rides. An inspiration to his current harness career is his Aunty Lara, who has her fair share of knowledge within the racing industry being Lou Luciaini’s foreman for a number of years, and Uncle, well-known Group One winning harness trainer and Olympic Gold medalist Michael Brennan.    Brennan assisted Grantham with his health and well being as a jockey, travelling into the Ascot stables several times a week to train with him and keep his nutrition balanced.    Now combining as a strong trainer/driver partnership in the Harness Racing game, Grantham and Brennan are enjoying successes with class horses such as Billies A Star and the part family owned The Bucket List. At the time, Brennan was stable foreman for Gary Hall Snr.  Grantham started driving track work for Brennan and Hall Snr a year after hanging up the silks and decided that he would make the switch from saddle to sulky not long after.   It was only months after he started driving track work that Grantham had his first trial for Brennan on Bledisloe.    In March 2014 Grantham drove his first winner for trainer and father of long-term girlfriend Maddison, Colin Brown on Deflector.   Other than steering around the horses, Grantham received his truck licence at just 17 years of age and now also works full-time transporting horses for his father at Grantham’s Horse Transport.   With several trips to Broome under his belt this year already and staring recently on the show ‘Outback Truckers’, Grantham travels approximately 300kms a day, juggling shifts between harness meetings. With no future intentions to train, the now 21 year old is enjoying life the way it is and looking forward to potentially having his first drive in the prestigious harness race, the Inter Dominion, later this year. Favourite holiday destination: Broome Favourite childhood memory: Being so close with my sister Claire Best looking person in Harness Racing: Stephanie Smith because I can’t split it between Aiden De Campo and Dylan Edgerton-Green Favourite food: Nana’s food By Ashlea Brennan

Wayne Rattray

Rattray inducted into "Racing Hall of Fame"

One of Tasmania's most successful trainer-drivers Wayne Rattray has been inducted into the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Rattray was inducted at a gala awards night at the Country Club Resort in Launceston last Saturday night. The veteran trainer-driver-breeder began the dynasty of the Rattray name in harness racing and his personal achievements sit comfortably alongside the very best the state has produced. He was leading trainer six times from 1984 to 1990 and as a reinsman from 1975 to 1999 he notched 284 winners and along the way collected multiple feature race wins. Some of his feature wins include the 1985 Group 1 Tasmanian Pacing Championship with Napoleon Stone that he partnered to victory and they also won the Tasmanian Oaks, Globe Derby Stakes in the same year. His other Tasmanian Championship winner was Karalta Bay in 1989. One of the best horse's he trained was Cody Maverick that was the state's best 2YO in 2007-08 season winning every feature juvenile event he contested as well as a Breeders Crown semi-final in Victoria. Listen to what Wayne Rattray had to say after being inducted into the Tasmanian harness racing Hall of fame. Peter Staples

David Mace with his daughter Toni Laugher and grandson Jack Laugher at the awards night last Saturday

David Mace awarded Edgar Tatlow Medal

One of Tasmania's best horsemen David Mace was rewarded for his service to the harness racing industry by being awarded the Edgar Tatlow Medal for 2016. Mace, 78, has been involved in harness racing for most of his life having held a trainer's licence for over 60 years and he was a driver up until 1985. As a trainer-driver he won many races with some of his most memorable being with San Eltryn, Royal Zamach, Sarah Lewis (6 wins) and Our Last Knight (6 wins). For the past 42 years he also has been the clerk of the course at all harness and some thoroughbred meetings held at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston as well as working country harness meetings including Scottsdale, Carrick and Burnie on the North-West Coast. His skills as a horseman have been recognised not only in Tasmania but interstate. He remains actively involved in the industry working with his son-in-law and daughter Michael and Toni Laugher and their son Jack Laugher who has developed into one of the state's most promising young reinsmen. Mace was quite humbled by his Edgar Tatlow award and described it was one of the major highlights of his career in harness racing. Listen to what David Mace had to say about being awarded the 2016 Edgar Tatlow Medal. Peter Staples

HARRINGTON, Del. - Jo Ann Looney-King's Spanish Dream ($6, Victor Kirby) was the fastest of four $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund divisions for harness racing 2-year-old pacing fillies with a 1:54.4 triumph at Harrington Raceway Monday. The Dream Away filly overpowered her rivals with a powerful move near three quarters as she won by open lengths over I Won Them Both and Cashmere's Delight. It was the second career win in four starts for the Jim King Jr. trainee. Kirby dominated the DSBF events, winning three of the four, two for owner King and trainer King Jr.. Joel and Dianne Halpern's Westwind Roddylee ($2.20, Victor Kirby) prevailed in the first division in 1:57.2 for trainer Jason Skinner. The Roddy's Bags Again filly notched her third win in five career starts. Jo Ann Looney-King's Logan's Girl ($3.40, Kirby) was a 1:56.2 winner to complete a sweep of her eliminations for trainer Jim King Jr. A winner of 3-of-4 starts lifetime, she is sired by Roddy's Bags Again. Virginia Louthan's Spinpressive ($3.40, Corey Callahan) broke her maiden with a 1:57.1 victory in the third division. Trained by her owner, Spinpressive is a daughter of No Spin Zone. The top eight point earners will return to compete in a $100,000 final on October 5, part of a Delaware showcase night which also features three other $100,000 DSBF final events, as well as $20,000 consolations. In the $19,200 overnight feature, the Open Pace, Richard Lombardo and L&J Racing's Dancin Yankee ($6, Russell Foster) scored a 1:51.4 victory for trainer Josh Green. Kirby had four wins on the program, while Corey Callahan had a hat trick. Jon Roberts and Tony Morgan each had a driving double. Trainer Mike Hall also won two races. Matthew Sparacino

LEXINGTON, KY-- The annual Grand Circuit harness racing meeting at The Red Mile commences on Thursday, September 29 with six divisions of the $334,500 Bluegrass Stakes for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters.   Race four gathers six trotters for the first division. Long Tom, a Muscle Hill colt from the Windsong's Legacy mare Ilia, starts from post one for owner Amg Stable Oy and trainer Marcus Melander. He enters off a lifetime-best 1:56.1 effort in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands.   Stormy Kromer also enters off a lifetime-best performance, drawing post six after a 1:58.4 win from first over as the favorite in the $37,547 Ohio Breeders Championship at the Delaware County Fair. He's owned by Gene Oldford Farms LLC, Wrenn Racing LLC, and Kales Co. LLC.   Division two features another field of six. Signal Hill, who finished seventh in the $266,000 William Wellwood final after a runner up finish in his elimination, competes against Moonshiner Hanover, who finished second in both the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship at Harrah's Philadelphia and the $32,050 Standardbred Stakes at the Delaware County Fair.   Moonshiner Hanover will start from post two for owner-trainer Christopher Beaver along with partners Synerco Ventures Inc. and Bill Manes. Signal Hill races from post five for owners Brittany Farms, David Mc Duffee, Marvin Katz, and Adriano Sorella.   International Moni headlines the third division, attempting to obtain the first win of his career. He ships in off a third-place finish in the William Wellwood Memorial along with Mountain Of Love, who finished eighth following a break at the start. Winless in six starts, International Moni, by Love You out of Moni Maker, has amassed $43,165 in earnings for owner Moni Maker Stable and trainer Frank Antonacci.   The fourth division collects seven trotters. Julie Miller sends Fly On from, by Muscle Hill from the Credit Winner mare Calchips Finisher, from post four for his tenth start this season. Winning five of his nine starts and finishing third in his other four starts, he has earned $60,622 this season for owners Andy Miller Stable Inc., Arden Homestead Stables and Gaitway Stable.   Opposing Fly On is Lars Perry for trainer Jimmy Takter, entering off a break as the 8-5 favorite in a $32,050 division of the Standardbred Stakes at the Delaware County Fair. He'll race from post seven in pursuit of his first win of the season. He races for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Mellby Gard, and Hatfield Stables.   Division five features Peter Haughton champion What The Hill. Sent off the 9-5 favorite in the William Wellwood Memorial, he broke into the last turn, finishing sixth. Winning three of eight starts this season, he has compiled $236,378 in earnings for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry & Theresa Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms.   What The Hill races from post six against New Jersey Viking, an Ake Svanstedt-trainee who has won three of six starts this year including a $55,780 division of the Reynolds at Tioga Downs and the $29,000 Harold Dancer Memorial, as well as Muscles Jared, a George Ducharme-trained son of Muscle Massive who has won four of seven starts this year and exits the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship off a fourth-place finish as the 3-5 favorite. New Jersey Viking and Muscles Jared start from posts four and two respectively.   Capping the card and Bluegrass splits is a field of seven highlighted by the Jimmy Takter-trainee King On The Hill. The colt by Muscle Hill from the Viking Kronos mare Lantern Kronos enters from a fourth-place finish in the William Wellwood Memorial. Earning $86,963 over nine starts this year and two wins, coming in an elimination for the Peter Haughton and a preliminary for the Kindergarten, King On The Hill will start from post one for owners Christina Takter, Goran Falk, Goran Andberg, and Hatfield Stables.   Thursday's program is the first of four Grand Circuit cards this week. Friday's card, September 30, will feature divisions of the Bluegrass for two-year-old filly trotters. The program on Saturday, October 1 will include divisions of the Bluegrass for two-year-old colt and filly pacers, and Sunday's card will feature divisions of the Bluegrass for three-year-old colts and fillies of both gaits.   First race post for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday's cards is 7:00pm. Sunday's card begins the matinee post time of 1:00pm, which will carry through the remainder of the meeting.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

DAYTON, OH. - Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit, the two most dominant active harness racing pacers in the world, will match strides for the seventh time this season in the $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday night (September 30). In their head-to-head confrontations, Always B Miki has won three times capturing the Jim Ewart Memorial, the William Haughton Memorial and the Ben Franklin. Wiggle It Jiggleit was victorious in the Canadian Pacing Derby and the Dan Patch, and was runnerup to Shamballa in the U. S. Pacing Championship where Always B Miki finished fourth. Always B Miki has been installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite on the strength of his recent 1:48.2 win in the Hoosier Pacing Derby and an advantageous two-hole draw behind the starting gate. Wiggle It Jiggleit, the richest horse in the field with $3,612,832 in career earnings, will be 8-5 when the betting opens. He, too, triumphed in his last outing, the Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway. Each pacer has won seven races in 1:50 or faster in 2016. Driver David Miller will return to his native Ohio roots to drive Always B Miki, who has amassed a $2,189,868 bankroll. He is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christine Takter. Montrell Teague will be in his customary seat behind Wiggle It Jiggleit when the pair leave from the five-hole for owners George Teague Jr. and the Teague Racing Partnership and trainer Clyde Francis. Three other millionaire horses will challenge for Dayton Pacing Derby laurels. All Bets Off has earned $2,072,123, Freaky Feet Pete has won $1,519,781, while Luck Be Withyou has banked $1,312,781. The other two contestants are Shamballa, who has $738,641 in his coffer, and Always At My Place, whose 27 lifetime wins have netted $529,672 in earnings. Collectively the illustrious field for the Dayton Pacing Derby has won 188 races and $11,975,698. The $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby will be contested the same evening, featuring a full field of many of North America's elite squaregaiters. Shake It Cerry, the lone mare in the race, has been tabbed as the 2-1 morning line favorite for owners Solveig's Racing Partners and trainer Jimmy Takter. Second choice at 3-1 will be Homicide Hunter, followed by Obrigado (7-2), Wind Of the North (9-2) and Crazy Wow (6-1). Others chasing the Trotting Derby title are Maestro Blue Chip (8-1), Il Sogno Dream (10-1), Centurion ATM (12-1) and Penn (15-1). In total, the nine trotting contestants have won exactly 200 races and $8,779,489. The Friday night undercard features three open class events leading up to the pair of featured Grand Circuit events. Post time for the Dayton Trotting Derby is approximately 9:30 p.m. with the Dayton Pacing Derby post time estimated as 9:56 p.m. Gregg Keidel

3.8/1 Traders (4m Ready Cash-Graziella) took today’s Prix Fidelidade (purse €80,000, 2700 meters, 15 European starters) at Vincennes, the harness racing Quinte+ race of the day. David Thomain teamed the 1.12.3kr timed winner for trainer Philippe Allaire and Scuderia Colibri SAS of Italy. Traders won for the fifth time in 12 starts and raised career earnings to €240,910. 9.4/1 Carat Williams (4m Prodigious-Miss Williams) was second with Gabriel Gelormini up for Sebastian Guarato. Third was 12.8/1 Coeur Baroque (4g Offshore Dream-Joie Baroque) with Damien Bonne driving for Thierry Raffegeau. The 7/10 favorite Classic Way (4m Prodigious-Pole Position) ended sixth. Fractions were quickly set by the front stepping winner (1.10.7kr at 1500 meters to go; 1.11kr at the 1000 and 1.12.3kr with 500 remaining). The Grand Prix du Portugal (purse €48,000, 2850 meters, 16 starters) went to 1.15.2kr timed and 49.6/1 odds longshot Beatbox (5g Opus Viervil-Quolombe Winner) with breeder/trainer/driver Jarme Niskanen up for Ecurie Piper. 4.2/1 Be Bop Mara (5g Mambo King-Quida de Faverol) was second for Gabriel Gelormini and trainer/owner Vincent Renault. 17.2/1 Bleuet des Podis (5m Jag de Bellouet-Fleur Champetra) was third ahead of 3./1 Bel Auteur (5m Password-Possession) and Eric Raffin. Thomas H. Hicks    

Today’s featured Gr. I Prix des Elites at Paris-Vincennes (monte, purse €240,000, 2200 meters, 10 starters) went to 1.7/1 harness racing favorite Dollar Macker (3m Saxo de Vandel-Salt Lake City) teamed by Yoann Lebourgeois. Philippe Allaire trains this seven time winner in 14 starts, for Olivier Henri Thomas. His career earnings increased to €468,450. 5/1 Bellissima France (5f Blue Dream-Quanta Rosa Sun) was a distant second with Mathieu Abrivard up, also trainer/owner. Dhikti Vedaquais (3m Thorsens Vedaquais-Marte Blanque) was third for Anthony Barrier, also trained by owner Philippe Allaire. Beau Gamin, Dragon du Fresne, Billie de Montfort and Best Of Jets were next in the talented field. Dollar Macker was clocked in a sharp 1.12.7kr off solid fractions (1.10.8kr at 1500 to go; 1.11.3kr at the 1000; 1.12.5kr at 500 remaining). The Gr. III  Prix des Benevoles (purse €85,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters) produced an impressive stalking victory earned by 8.1/1 barefoot Spartan Kronos (5m Muscle Hill-Dame Kronos) handled by trainer Conrad Lugauer. The winner is owned in Germany by Th & J Weber-Berchtold. The .5/1 favorite Bugsy Malone (5f Ready Cash-Night Captain) set the pace for Yoann Lebourgeois and was overwhelmed by the winner at mid-stretch. Philippe Allaire owns and trains Bugsy. Third was 126/1 outsider The Last Ticket (3m Thai Tanic-One Way Ticket) reined by Mathieu Abrivard for Norwegian owner Bjron Nyhus. Specialiess (8m Ganymede-Enna Dra) was fourth for Franck Nivard and Fabrice Souloy, trainer for Italy’s Ecurie Nevi. 20/1 Apollon de Kacy was fifth. The winner was clocked in a quick 1.12.3kr off steady fractions (1.12.7kr ay 1500 to go; 1.12.1kr at the 1000; 1.12kr with 500 to go). The Gr. III Prix Alfred Lefevre (monte, 2850 meters, 12 starters) wrapped up Groupe action this day with victory to 1.13.6kr timed, 3/2 odds favored, barefoot and Eric Raffin teamed Ulka des Champs (8f Offshore Dream-Melissa des Champs). 12.8/1 Americaine (6f Chef du Chatelet-Marfine Raudiere) was a rallying second for Antoine Wiels and 28.7/1 Sydney du Rib (10f First de Retz-Eva du Rib) took third with Mathieu Mottier up. Fourth was 17.8/1 Valse de Reve (7f Mister President-Nouba Houba) handled by Camille Levesque. The winner led throughout in quick, steady fractions (1.12.1kr at 1500 to go; 1.12.8kr at the 1000; 1.13.5kr with 500 remaining). Thomas H. Hicks  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Somebody AS, a daughter of Striking Sahbra who shares a name with a nutrition/health company in Scandinavia, showed her fitness Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono by winning the harness racing $20,000 featured trot in 1:54.1.   George Napolitano Jr. left from post two with the Anette Lorentzon-trained mare, gave up the lead to Classicality just past the 27.1 quarter, retook immediately from that one and coasted to the half in 57, then put up a 1:25 time at the ¾ before holding off the potential pocket rocket by a half-length on a cool (51o) night in the mountains. Tweet Me, who had to come first-over, finished third, a length behind Classicality.   Somebody AS, winning for the seventh time in 22 starts this year, has now assembled a very healthy lifetime bankroll of $558,163 for international owners ACL Stuteri AB of Paris (Kentucky, y'all) and Kjell Johansson of Sosdala, Sweden.   Earlier, Chuck Connor Jr. guided a horse back to Pocono's Victory Lane for the first time in eleven years and nine days when he scored a maiden victory behind Claire, a filly with a pedigree (by millionaire Breeders Crown winner Chapter Seven out of millionaire Breeders Crown winner Housethatruthbuilt) that suggests many more good things to come.   Connor, who usually races at Pocono only a couple times a year, posted career victory 1894 behind Claire, and marked his first visit to the local winners circle since he arrived there behind Bet On The Grey on September 16, 2005.   PHHA / Pocono

One of the most amazing harness racing stallions ever with 7,000 mares bred to date, 29 millionaires produced and $234 million in progeny earnings world-wide, Bettor's Delight has nothing left to prove. Click on the link below to see what this stallion has achieved throughout the world because I do not believe any other stallion has even got close. Bettor's Delight is the current leading money winning sire in four countries, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Not just for this year but for the last four years running. Thats unreal and incredible. No other stallion in history has achieved that feat. Enjoy the read on Stallion Sphere here.  

It has been a horror weekend for mighty mare Arms Of An Angel. What was first thought to be a minor “tummy bug” yesterday morning turned into something a lot more scary and saw her rushed to the vet clinic where she spent all last night. Thankfully the diagnosis was much better this morning. “Yesterday was a really tough day, but the vet called this morning so say she seems bright and can come back home,” Tritton said. It all escalated after Tritton scratched Arms Of An Angel from her comeback race – last night’s Les Chant Cup – when she was “a bit off” yesterday morning. “She hadn’t eaten her brekky and then I saw her lying down, which is unusual for her,” he said. “We weren’t going to take any risks so we scratched her, but she seemed ok though much of the day. “Then, later in the arvo, she broke into a sweat, her temperature went up and it got scary. “We rushed her straight to the vet clinic where they did all sorts of tests and spent the night with her. “Anyone who’s had horses knows these things can escalate so quickly. We were really worried.” Tritton said it was a huge relief to get a positive call from the vet this morning. “They say she’s totally fine now and we could work her today if we wanted,” he said. “They say it was some passing bacterial thing. They called it actinobaccillus peritonitis. “She’s simply irreplaceable this mare. We haven’t seen many in the sport as good as her, so it’s such a relief to get the good report.” Given Arms Of An Angel won’t go to the Perth Inter Dominion, there is no urgency for Tritton to get her back to the races. “I’ll see how she is this week before we think about races again,” he said.   Adam Hamilton

The harness racing stables complex at Alexandra Park in Auckland boasts a national award for architecture and was widely celebrated as a notable building when it opened in 1990. Since then it has served its purpose well and is a hive of activity most Friday nights for the trots.  Twenty-six years on and Alexandra Park Sales & Marketing Manager Joel Reichardt is now keen to promote the spaciously covered facility to businesses and organisations wanting something completely different for their next function venue. “It’s an amazing space and truly unique. People organising events or functions sometimes want something different and to surprise their colleagues, clients or guests. Our stables would certainly be a talking point and novel at the very least,” says Mr Reichardt. On race nights, most Fridays, the stables are obviously unavailable but with limited horse training now taking place at Alexandra Park, the venue can be readily available most days or nights. “It has got an amazing and high roof line. The space can be as big or small as you want it. The complex has got a large concrete floor and it cleans up immaculately and presents really well. What’s more it doesn’t smell of horses!” The move to open and promote its stables complex to the public follows Alexandra Park’s decision to drive its functions facilities and convention business more than ever. Mr Reichardt says Alexandra Park’s functions offering is set to become even more attractive with the opening of their significant mixed-use urban village development on Green Lane West, currently under construction. “The development only strengthen our conference and functions offering. Having additional cafes, restaurants and bars within Alexandra Park will mean people will stay after their meetings or catch up before them. There will be so much more of a buzz around the place as well as some lovely new public spaces to enjoy for those wanting some time out.” What’s more Alexandra Park has now got Super 15 rugby team The Blues operating from their new training centre on the other side of the park and they’re often practicing out in the middle of the trotting track. “Having The Blues literally on site is resident star-appeal that no other functions offering can match!” Mr Reichardt says on top of providing top quality functions and receiving great food reviews, ongoing improvements to its functions facilities are a key element in the club’s strategic vision. He says corporates, various associations and clubs, and government agencies remain Alexandra Park’s biggest clients for functions with much repeat business. Outside its race-night events, the park hosts nearly 1,000 functions every year. “What appeals to a lot of people is our flexibility. We can do big or small, catering from 20 to 700 guests and we’ve got eight function rooms. What’s more we encourage people to make good use of all the outdoor space, facilities and parking we have – right here in the heart of Epsom. And that now includes our fantastic stables!” He says Alexandra Park offers all sorts of packages for the likes of school balls, private functions, weddings, daily delegates and multi-day conferences. It prides itself on uniquely tailored solutions at great value for money. For bookings or information phone (09) 630-5660, email enquiries@alexandrapark.co.nz or visit www.alexandrapark.co.nz. For more on Alexandra Park’s urban village apartment living visit www.apliving.co.nz

Summerside, PE - Ken Murphy recorded his 500th victory in the bike Sunday at Red Shores Summerside. The harness racing milestone came as part of a four win performance on the day. Murphy was only three scores away when he opened the card with a trip to victory lane aboard The Tominator then came back with Sandhill Star for the diving double. He reached the hat-trick and his 500th career win with Myambrose trained by Carl MacDougall, Ellerslie, PE in race 4. Reincarnate gave the pilot a grand-slam. The afternoon feature went to Machinthesand in 1:58 flat for Norris Rogers and the ownership group of Noonan Holdings Ltd - Russell and Karen Noonan, Middleton, PE. Sent off at 2-1 odds, Machinthesand used his closing brush to catch fraction setter Doing Some Damage (Brian MacPhee) in deep stretch. Jeb (Jason Hughes) was third. The 5-1-4 triactor paid $59.80. It was the third winner of the program for Rogers who also clicked with Momara and Sporty B Skipalong. Terry Gallant had a driving double. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca By Lee Drake

From disaster came great harness racing success in 2015-16 for Victorian Breeder of the Year, Bruce Edward of Durham Park. Bruce and wife Vicki’s breeding property was razed shortly before Christmas last year but stayed positive throughout and committed to rebuilding his establishment; his stock certainly gave him good reason to remain positive as the year rolled on with horses like Petacular and Ideal For Real cleaning up on the track. Edward was presented with the Woodlands Park Victorian Breeder of the Year award at the IRT Harness Breeders Victoria awards night at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, one of several premier awards to recognise achievements in the breeding industry across the season. Long-time stalwarts of the Victorian industry, Dr Martin & Kaye Hartnett, were recognised with the Metro Ian Daff Memorial for tenured service to the industry. The Benstud Pacing Broodmare of the Year was awarded to the Gleeson-Cameron managed mare, Celebrity Ball, dam of Celebrity Guest and Starburst Girl; while the Niota Bloodstock Trotting Broodmare of the Year went to Fred Crews’ mare, Sundonna, dam of the impressive Maori Law and Maori Time. Three sires were recognised for their impressive strike rate of starters to winners – the A Rocknroll Dance @ Alabar Juvenile Sire of the Year was awarded to Alabar’s own Courage Under Fire (51.5%); the Niota Bloodstock Trotting Sire of the Year was presented to Rosehill Farm’s Armbro Variable (74%); while the Victorian Pacing Sire of the Year went to Royal Mattjesty, formerly of the Stallion Station (72.5%). Championship trophies were awarded to 2YO fillies Petacular (Bruce Edward) and Kyvalley Kyrie (Aldebaran Park); 2YO colts & geldings The Storm Inside (Helen Head) which tied with Our Little General (Lauriston Bloodstock), and Illawong Byron (Dr & Mrs Hartnett); 3YO fillies Rocknroll Magic (Peter Gleeson, Bruce & Craig Cameron) and Aldebaran Eve (Aldebaran Park); 3YO colts & geldings, Our Waikiki Beach (The Fusinato family) and Cruisin Around (Pauleen Thomson); and aged horses Frith (Dianne Kelly), Maori Time (Fred Crews), Super Zeck (Shane Murphy) and Lennytheshark (Kevin Newbound Family, represented by Dion Gleeson). Breeders were again recognised for excellence in breeding salable stock, with Greg, John & Kath Fusinato being awarded the APG Yearling Sales High Earner trophy for their $150,000 Somebeachsomewhere colt, and the Terry Forster & Heather Lyttleton combination for their $47,000 Majestic Son colt at the Australasian Premier Trotting Sales. Excellence in recorded mile rates were presented to over 100 horses who achieved an exceptional time across the season. Breeders of Group 1 race winners across the country were also presented with plaques for their efforts in 2015-16.   Available for comment: HBV President,  Mr Shannon Nixon, 0487 764 966 Photos will be available on HBV’s social media streams across the night, and further images will be uploaded in the following week. Information about the awards criteria and selection process, and full results from the night, can be found on the HBV website under ‘Made in Victoria’.

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There are not that many mystery novels on the bookshelves (or internet) that center around harness racing, but recently author Tina Sugarman penned Horse Flesh, a novel that for many will be an enticing read. This fiction novel enters the highly competitive world of Standardbred horse racing, and is an exhilarating debut from an insider.  While many in the industry may take offense to the outright knocks on the industry, one must remember this is fiction and the author’s right to “jazz it up” to make it a riveting read to outsiders, should be taken into consideration. Then again, with all the recent controversy surrounding the Little Brown Jug last week, the events in this novel may seem to be spot on. The story features a brilliant harness racing driver whose drug habit risks costing him everything, his cousin, a trainer who refuses to compromise her integrity, a mysterious individual known only as the Scorpion, lurking in the shadows, pulling the strings, the Director of Racing trying desperately to clean up the industry, his mentor and best friend who has his own agenda, a low life groom who knows too much for his own good, the Canadian Mountie who inadvertently gets involved, with unforeseen consequences, and a veterinarian caught between two worlds. These are just some of the players in Horse Flesh, where passions run high and where the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is always blurred.  I found the book to be fascinating, very fast paced and with shocking twists and turns. At first I was turned off as the book did not “grab me” right off the bat and I was not happy with some of the demeaning references to the industry as an insider. As I read on and understood the characters that made up the novel, I had trouble at times to put the book down. It drew me into the read to see where the story was going, what was going to happen to some of the stars and how was author Tina Sugarman going to tie this all together in the end. She did a superb job with some great insights that people in the industry should consider. She got the job done and her HORSE FLESH is a breakthrough debut novel set to entertain not only horse and racing enthusiasts, but fiction fans looking for a fresh read.  Tina’s blending of the life events of four yearlings into becoming racehorses was very well done and woven nicely into the novel. The paperback version is very thick, over 700 pages of small type, so some might want to get the Kindle or Nook version. And don’t expect to read this one overnight! Tina Sugarman writes from her personal experiences and gives a compelling insight into the world of harness racing. She has been involved with Standardbred horse racing in Ontario for nearly two decades, spending summers on a horse farm nearby Mohawk Raceway, the premier harness racing track in Canada. This novel is available through all major booksellers. by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - Former New York Met John Franco, one of baseball's all-time great relief pitchers, visits Empire City Casino @ Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Sept. 30), meeting and greeting harness racing fans at Dan Rooney's Sports Bar. Franco is going to be among the faithful watching as the Mets travel to Philadelphia in what figures to be a pivotal game in the National League wild-card race. The Brooklyn native and St. John's University product, fifth on the all-time saves list (424, first among lefties), is scheduled to appear between 7-9 PM, posing for pictures and signing autographs for the first 100 fans, then taking in the game with the Amazin' fans. Franco, a four-time All-Star and three-time National League saves leader in a 21-year career, was inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame in 2012. Food and drink specials are available, not to mention a perfect view of the game on Dan Rooney's large-screen TVs.   John Cirillo, Cirillo World, 914-260-7436, johnnycigarpr@aol.com)  
HARRINGTON, Del. - Jo Ann Looney-King's Spanish Dream ($6, Victor Kirby) was the fastest of four $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund divisions for harness racing 2-year-old pacing fillies with a 1:54.4 triumph at Harrington Raceway Monday. The Dream Away filly overpowered her rivals with a powerful move near three quarters as she won by open lengths over I Won Them Both and Cashmere's Delight. It was the second career win in four starts for the Jim King Jr. trainee. Kirby dominated the DSBF events, winning three of the four, two for owner King and trainer King Jr.. Joel and Dianne Halpern's Westwind Roddylee ($2.20, Victor Kirby) prevailed in the first division in 1:57.2 for trainer Jason Skinner. The Roddy's Bags Again filly notched her third win in five career starts. Jo Ann Looney-King's Logan's Girl ($3.40, Kirby) was a 1:56.2 winner to complete a sweep of her eliminations for trainer Jim King Jr. A winner of 3-of-4 starts lifetime, she is sired by Roddy's Bags Again. Virginia Louthan's Spinpressive ($3.40, Corey Callahan) broke her maiden with a 1:57.1 victory in the third division. Trained by her owner, Spinpressive is a daughter of No Spin Zone. The top eight point earners will return to compete in a $100,000 final on October 5, part of a Delaware showcase night which also features three other $100,000 DSBF final events, as well as $20,000 consolations. In the $19,200 overnight feature, the Open Pace, Richard Lombardo and L&J Racing's Dancin Yankee ($6, Russell Foster) scored a 1:51.4 victory for trainer Josh Green. Kirby had four wins on the program, while Corey Callahan had a hat trick. Jon Roberts and Tony Morgan each had a driving double. Trainer Mike Hall also won two races. Matthew Sparacino
LEXINGTON, KY-- The annual Grand Circuit harness racing meeting at The Red Mile commences on Thursday, September 29 with six divisions of the $334,500 Bluegrass Stakes for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters.   Race four gathers six trotters for the first division. Long Tom, a Muscle Hill colt from the Windsong's Legacy mare Ilia, starts from post one for owner Amg Stable Oy and trainer Marcus Melander. He enters off a lifetime-best 1:56.1 effort in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands.   Stormy Kromer also enters off a lifetime-best performance, drawing post six after a 1:58.4 win from first over as the favorite in the $37,547 Ohio Breeders Championship at the Delaware County Fair. He's owned by Gene Oldford Farms LLC, Wrenn Racing LLC, and Kales Co. LLC.   Division two features another field of six. Signal Hill, who finished seventh in the $266,000 William Wellwood final after a runner up finish in his elimination, competes against Moonshiner Hanover, who finished second in both the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship at Harrah's Philadelphia and the $32,050 Standardbred Stakes at the Delaware County Fair.   Moonshiner Hanover will start from post two for owner-trainer Christopher Beaver along with partners Synerco Ventures Inc. and Bill Manes. Signal Hill races from post five for owners Brittany Farms, David Mc Duffee, Marvin Katz, and Adriano Sorella.   International Moni headlines the third division, attempting to obtain the first win of his career. He ships in off a third-place finish in the William Wellwood Memorial along with Mountain Of Love, who finished eighth following a break at the start. Winless in six starts, International Moni, by Love You out of Moni Maker, has amassed $43,165 in earnings for owner Moni Maker Stable and trainer Frank Antonacci.   The fourth division collects seven trotters. Julie Miller sends Fly On from, by Muscle Hill from the Credit Winner mare Calchips Finisher, from post four for his tenth start this season. Winning five of his nine starts and finishing third in his other four starts, he has earned $60,622 this season for owners Andy Miller Stable Inc., Arden Homestead Stables and Gaitway Stable.   Opposing Fly On is Lars Perry for trainer Jimmy Takter, entering off a break as the 8-5 favorite in a $32,050 division of the Standardbred Stakes at the Delaware County Fair. He'll race from post seven in pursuit of his first win of the season. He races for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Mellby Gard, and Hatfield Stables.   Division five features Peter Haughton champion What The Hill. Sent off the 9-5 favorite in the William Wellwood Memorial, he broke into the last turn, finishing sixth. Winning three of eight starts this season, he has compiled $236,378 in earnings for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry & Theresa Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms.   What The Hill races from post six against New Jersey Viking, an Ake Svanstedt-trainee who has won three of six starts this year including a $55,780 division of the Reynolds at Tioga Downs and the $29,000 Harold Dancer Memorial, as well as Muscles Jared, a George Ducharme-trained son of Muscle Massive who has won four of seven starts this year and exits the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship off a fourth-place finish as the 3-5 favorite. New Jersey Viking and Muscles Jared start from posts four and two respectively.   Capping the card and Bluegrass splits is a field of seven highlighted by the Jimmy Takter-trainee King On The Hill. The colt by Muscle Hill from the Viking Kronos mare Lantern Kronos enters from a fourth-place finish in the William Wellwood Memorial. Earning $86,963 over nine starts this year and two wins, coming in an elimination for the Peter Haughton and a preliminary for the Kindergarten, King On The Hill will start from post one for owners Christina Takter, Goran Falk, Goran Andberg, and Hatfield Stables.   Thursday's program is the first of four Grand Circuit cards this week. Friday's card, September 30, will feature divisions of the Bluegrass for two-year-old filly trotters. The program on Saturday, October 1 will include divisions of the Bluegrass for two-year-old colt and filly pacers, and Sunday's card will feature divisions of the Bluegrass for three-year-old colts and fillies of both gaits.   First race post for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday's cards is 7:00pm. Sunday's card begins the matinee post time of 1:00pm, which will carry through the remainder of the meeting.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  
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