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Livingston book sequel to feature Standardbreds

Award winning equine photographer Barbara Livingston, whose popular books Old Friends and More Old Friends, painted a sentimental portrait of champion racehorses long gone from the spotlight, has completed a third edition of that series. While her first two books focused on Thoroughbred racehorses, the latest, Standardbred Old Friends, focuses on the distinctly American breed that evolved from a horse that carried the family to church, raced at the county fair and now competes world-wide at a trot and pace. The book, at $30, is ready for pre-order now at www.harnessmuseum.com. Standardbred Old Friends portrays 43 horses, from age 19 to 37, most of them multimillionaire world record holders with Hall of Fame membership, but some of more modest distinction, occupied as show horses, in law enforcement or hardworking, blue collar performers. With writer Ellen Harvey telling the rich tales of horses from Sweden to southern California, from Maine to Florida, Livingston has captured images of horses whose achievements are now decades past, but whose memories will last a lifetime. The collaboration, ready for shipment in June, grew from a 2008 Hoof Beats magazine article featuring ten champion Standardbreds over the age of 20. The article, with Livingston's photos and Harvey's stories, won top honors for journalism at the 2009 World Trotting Conference in Norway. In 2012, the two started a trek of nearly 10,000 miles to capture the lives of nearly four dozen horses whose commercial worth is long gone, but who are cherished ever still. The book's 153 photos and 43 stories were gleaned from thousands of photos and 150 interviews. Standardbred Old Friends looks at the lives of 43 horses like North American and European superstar Mack Lobell, now 30, at his home along the shores of Lake Malaren in southern Sweden, 2004 horse of the Year Cam's Card Shark at historic Hanover Shoe Farm in central Pennsylvania and mother-daughter Hall of Famers Country Kay Sue and CR Kay Suzie among the live oaks at their home in central Florida. The senior "old friend," 37-year-old Waco Hanover, was depicted against the deep snow of his home in the foothills of Vermont's Green Mountains. An autumn sunset in the tide pools of Maine's Popham Beach State Park was the setting for Dreamy Starlet and McKeever Hanover, a pair with 297 races over 13 years, with 4 foals between them, now in their 20s, but active in the show ring and hunt field. For a video sample of the photos in the book and a look at the making of Standardbred Old Friends, featuring 30-year-old champion Standardbred roadster Autobahn at Cane Run Farm in Kentucky, click here. Cover images are attached; Mack Lobell on the front, Dreamy Starlet and Elizabeth Tewksbury on the back. For more information on Barbara Livingston's work, as well as her earlier books, Saratoga, Four Seasons of Racing and Horses in Living Color, click here. Standardbred Old Friends can be purchased from the Harness Racing Museum or by calling 845-294-6330. To contact Ellen Harvey, email oldfriendsbook@hotmail or call 732-616-6092. The horses included in the book are: Armbro Feather Cam's Card Shark Country Kay Sue and CR Kay Suzie Dreamy Starlet and McKeever Hanover Dust Devil Flat Foot Fluzy Giant Victory Hattie Heatherjeankillean Hi IQ Hot Lead Incredible K Jate Lobell Jo Jo Geronimo/Jupiter Keystone Wallis Lady Ashlee Ann Larks Crown Lilting Laughter Mack Lobell Matt's Scooter Miss Easy Moni Maker Monterey Rebel and Saddle The Wind NL Loren Oriental Express Sir Taurus Stacey's Echo Staying Together Supergrit Tap In Tarport Mark Town Sweetheart Victory Tilly Waco Hanover Western Dreamer White Birch Mares: Three Mile Island, Town Pro, World Order Winky's Gill Winnies Guy/Autobahn by Ellen Harvey

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Dean Braun – Positive Swab to phenylbutazone

Harness Racing NSW has been advised by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that phenylbutazone and oxphenbutazone has been detected in the post race urine sample taken from MAGICAL TELF NZ after it raced and won Race 3, the Slingsby Holdings Australasian Young Drivers Heat 2 (2300 metres) at Tabcorp Park Menangle Harness meeting on 15 February 2014. This finding has been confirmed by the Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Melbourne. An inquiry into these findings will be held on Thursday 1 May 2014. Mr D Braun the trainer of MAGICAL TELF NZ has been advised. HRNSW

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Stewards Inquiries – Cobalt Positives

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards today opened inquiries into the results of analysis from two approved laboratories that the prohibited substance Cobalt above the threshold of 200mg/Litre in urine samples collected from the following horses; COOGEE COOGEE (Trainer M Hardy) following its win in race 7, the Uranquinty Hotel Ladyship Pace (1,755 metres) conducted at Wagga on 24 January 2014 THE BIG MARN (Trainer R Nicholson) following its win in race 11, the Flying K Final (1000 metres) conducted at Menangle on 21 January 2014. MAJOR DENIAL (Trainer R Nicholson)  following its win in race 1, the Tattersalls Hotel Pace (1710 metres) conducted at Goulburn on 27 January 2014 Mr M Hardy was issued with a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 190 (1),(2) & (4), in that as the trainer of COOGEE COOGEE he did present that horse to race at Wagga on 24 January 2014, not free of a prohibited substance, namely cobalt above the threshold. After being issued with the charge Mr Hardy was granted an adjournment to enable him to present further evidence in defence of the charge. The inquiry was adjourned until 30 April 2014 commencing at 11am. Mr R Nicholson sought an adjournment at the opening of the inquiry to allow him further time to present his case. After some evidence was taken from Mr Nicholson and HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr M Wainscott the inquiry was adjourned until 30 April 2014 commencing at 1.30pm. HRNSW

Roxane Griff, harness racing

200,000e Prix de L'Atlantique on Saturday

A solid field of 11 will contest Saturday's Prix de l'Atlantique at Hippodrome Enghien. Race seven on the card features the exceptional mare Roxane Griff with Eric Raffin at the lines and other international stalwarts Timoko, Tiego d'Etang, and Univers de Pan. The Gr. I International UET Masters Series event is over the 2150 meters autostart course for a purse of 200,000 euros. Six of the starters have career earnings of over 1 million eduros. Timoko will have a driver change as Pierre Vercruysse replaces Joseph Verbeeck behind the Richard Westerink trainee. Italy sends two hopefuls to the race including Pascia'Lest with Enrico Bellei to drive and Olmo Holz with Christophe Martens up.  The FR program page summary is shown below. 7 ème (15H40) : Prix de l'Atlantique (Trio, Classic Tiercé, Mini Multi, 2 sur 4, Couplé Ordre, Trio Ordre) European Trotting Masters Series 2014 Groupe I Course Internationale 1 TIEGO D'ETANGCH. BIGEON 8a2a3a9a2m134a6a3a1a1'10"4(Vinc.) (CHAILLOT - HAROLENE) - Propriétaire : F.L. ADAM - Entraineur : CH. BIGEON - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 1259980 € 2 TIMOKOP. VERCRUYSSE 0a5a139a0a2a1a2a1a1a1'10"0(Vinc.) (IMOKO - KISS ME COULONCES) - Propriétaire : R. WESTERINK - Entraineur : R. WESTERINK - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 2149590 € 3 PASCIA' LESTE. BELLEI 2a3a137a0a3aRa1'10"3(homol) (VARENNE - SUPERIORS SUN) - Propriétaire : S. QUERCI (ITY) - Entraineur : TH. DUVALDESTIN - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 829382 € 4 QUINOA DU GERSF. NIVARD 4a6a7a4m8a0a136a0a0a1'10"6(homol) (GANYMEDE - TARGA DU CHALANGE) - Propriétaire : Ecurie LE TREMONT - Entraineur : F. SOULOY - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 1001543 € 5 QUOUMBA DE GUEZJ.M. BAZIRE 0a5aDa2a138a7a0a5a1a1'10"6(homol) (URFIST DES PRES - VANINA DE MAREUIL) - Propriétaire : Ecurie VAUTORS - Entraineur : J.M. BAZIRE - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 1155569 € 6 UNIVERS DE PANPH. DAUGEARD 1a5a2a2a2a130a1a3a0a1'10"0(homol) (KENYA DU PONT - GYPSILORE) - Propriétaire : O. HORVATH - Entraineur : PH. DAUGEARD - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 1037530 € 7 ROXANE GRIFFE. RAFFIN 1m3a1m4a1m135a5m5a1m1'10"2(Vinc.) (TENOR DE BAUNE - JULIA MESLOISE) - Propriétaire : Ecurie GRIFF - Entraineur : S. GUARATO - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 2303118 € 8 TALICIA BELLAA. BARRIER 3a3a2a3a0aDa131a2a1a1'11"7(Vinc.) (GENERAL DU POMMEAU - ILLICIA BELLA) - Propriétaire : Ecurie Jean Paul MARMION - Entraineur : J.P. MARMION - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 606350 € 9 CABALLIONM. ABRIVARD 3aDa9a2a13Da9a2a110a1'12"0(Vinc.) (KESACO PHEDO - LADY BRICK) - Propriétaire : CABALLION AB (SWE) - Entraineur : F. LEBLANC - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 538281 € 10 OLMO HOLZCH. MARTENS 1a2a1a0a130aDa5a1a0a1'11"1(Vinc.) (URONOMETRO - VEUVE DU KRAS) - Propriétaire : F. DELMOTE (BEL) - Entraineur : V. MARTENS - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 401846 € 11 AISLE STANDJ. VERBEECK Da4a6a137a4a7a6a3a4a1'10"6(homol) (SCARLET KNIGHT - TWISTERELLA) - Propriétaire : Stall ESCAPADE AB (SWE) - Entraineur : R. KUIPER - Distance : 2150 - Gains : 391748 €    On Sunday at Turin Italy the Gran Premio Della Costa Azzura will be contested over 1600 meters autostart. This Gr. I International UET Masters Series contest attracted 11 entrants for the 132,000 euros purse. The lineup is shown below in position order with driver and career earnings in euros. Mack Grace SM headlines this group. 1. Op, Edourdo Moni, 319,999e 2. Napoleon Bar, Enrico Bellei, 585,187e 3. Oropuro Bar, Marco Smorgon, 418,277e 4. Oibambam Effe, Andrea Guzzinati, £309,542 5. Owen Cr, Pietro Gubellini, 545,838e 6. Mack Grace SM, Roberto Andreghetti, £1,324,238 7. Linda di Casei, Alessandro Gocciadoro, 689,331e 8. I Am Grif, Maurizio Cheli, 249,804e 9. Union Life, Joseph Verbeeck, 223,414e 10. Omas Np, Ferdinando Pisacane, 106,107e 11. Newyork Newyork, Lorenzo Baldi, 326,248e by Thomas H. Hicks,for Harnesslink.com

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features two $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 18) in the fifth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 19) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fifth round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: As has been the case throughout the 2014 edition of the George Morton Levy series, Foiled Again was once again at the top of the headlines this past weekend at Yonkers. The 10-year-old sauntered around the half-mile oval in 1:51 this past Saturday night. "That's what he's supposed to do," said driver Yannick Gingras after the gelding's fourth win in as many Levy series/season starts. Foiled Again was a narrow winner in his Levy division on April 12. Leaving from post position No. 3 as the stronger half of a 1-20 entry, Foiled Again had to work to get around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett). He did so before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile and found a :56.3 intermission with Bettor's Edge (George Brennan) away third and A J Corbelli (Tim Tetrick) fourth. It was Dancin Yankee (Ron Pierce) then moving from fifth, engaging Foiled Again toward a 1:24 three-quarters. Soon after, Bettor's Edge -- who, as with Foiled Again, was three-for-three in this series entering the evening -- slipped out to race second-over. However, Bettor's Edge became very rough very quickly, soon jumping it off. Foiled Again owned a half-length lead entering the lane. His pesky rival wouldn't go away, but wouldn't go by, either. Foiled Again won by a head in 1:51, the fastest local mile of the season. Third went to P H Supercam, beaten a half-length. Mach It So (1:52.1) and Clear Vision (1:52.1) won the other two Levy divisions. Last Friday night's fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker for Open mare pacers saw three $40,000 divisions go postward. The first event saw Breeders Crown champ Shelliscape (Tim Tetrick, $7.20) get her first series win with a handy, down-the-road effort (:27.3, :57, 1:24, 1:52). Ramalama (Matt Kakaley) was unable to sustain a first-up bid, while Monkey On My Wheel (Brian Sears) could only match strides from the pocket. Monkey On My Wheel did get second, beaten three-quarters of a length, with Ramalama third. Defending Matchmaker champion Feeling You was also flying under the radar until Friday evening. Leaving from post four with Tyler Buter doing the honors, Feeling You operated from second-over. That didn't seem so opportunistic when pole-sitting Rocklamation (Gingras) rated a cheap half (:28, :57.3). Rocklamation maintained her advantage in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters, taking a half-length lead into the lane. Feeling You, left to fend for herself, continued her assault on the leader. She outgamed Rocklamation by a head in 1:53.1. The third and final Matchmaker had Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube) throw down the gauntlet with the fastest mile of the series to date. Leaving from post five, Yagonnakissmeornot made the first lead before yielding to the 4-5 favorite in Somwherovrarainbow (Sears). After a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and :55.4 intermission, it was Krispy Apple (Tetrick) trying her luck first-up. That one couldn't sniff the leader before a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with Somwherovrarainbow owning a 1-1/2 length lead into the lane. However, she was powerless to deny Yagonnakissmeornot, who edged from the pocket and rolled away. That final margin for the second choice was 2-1/2 widening lengths in a season's-best 1:51.4. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 116; 2. George Brennan - 104.5; 3. Tim Tetrick - 80; 4. Brian Sears- 41; 5. Daniel Dube - 40. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 210.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 93; 3. Rene Allard - 40; 4. Joe Holloway - 25; 5. Kevin Carr - 20. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 78.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 53.8; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 53.8; 4. Brad Grant - 20.5; 5. Joe Pennacchio - 20. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Northfield Park, Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway. Northfield will host the Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers on Friday (April 25); Freehold has eliminations scheduled for the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old colt trotters on Saturday (April 26); also that day the Meadowlands will feature the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers; and action at Yonkers will continue that Saturday with the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy finals and consolations. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

From Norway, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Italy, most every state and provience in the USA and Canada, Europe to South America, names for the harness racing Standardbred filly by Somebeachsomewhere from the mare, Put On A Show, are flying in from around the world. It is not too late for anyone who has yet to enter the contest to get their name choice submitted to try and win the $2,500 cash prize in Harnesslink’s “Name the Foal Contest.” So far nearly 600 names have been submitted for the foal. Her caretakers at Hanover Shoe Farms say, “She is a bold and brassy filly who has a mind of her own. She is very playful but never strays too far from her mother’s side.” There are new photos and also a video of the filly with this story so you can check her out while coming up with the prize winning name. The prize money has been sponsored by the owners of Put On A Show, Richard and Joanne Young of Florida, along with the Somebeachsomewhere Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, PA. There is no purchase necessary to enter the contest. You must be age 18 or older and a legal resident of the country you live in. All entries must be submitted in English. Just click on the link below and fill out all the required information. The name cannot be more than 18 letters and/or spaces combined per the rules of the United States Trotting Association (USTA). Any name that has been used in the past 15 years cannot be entered. You can check on your name suggestion to make sure it has not yet been used by going to the free service at the USTA by clicking this link http://pathway.ustrotting.com/search/. Just type in the name of the horse and click. You will then see if the name is already being used. Contestants have until midnight on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 to enter the contest. Contestants are allowed to enter only one name for the foal per email address and only one winner will be allowed per household. Within one week after the deadline date, owners Richard and Joanne Young will select up to five (5) approved names for the foal. They will draw by lot to declare the official name of the foal. If there is only one person that submitted the winning name, that contestant will be declared the official prize winner and receive the entire $2,500. If there are four (4) entries or less with the same name, there will be a drawing in descending order with those entrants dividing $1,000 evenly and the final name drawn being the ultimate winner and get $1,500. If there are more than 5 entries of the same name, all those entries will be placed in a drawing and the first four (4) names drawn will receive $250.each and the final name drawn will receive $1,500. To enter the “Name the Foal Contest” click on this link. The official rules for the competition (in detail) can be obtained by clicking on this link. Please take a moment and read the official rules so you are familiar with the regulations. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Phil Hudon comes from a big harness racing family, there is Jerry and Dave who are cousins, Jerry is in Alberta and Dave is located in British Columbia, (BC). Phil also has brothers John and Steve out in BC and in Ontario, Phil has his brother Pat and dad Joe. If anyone has had the pleasure of speaking with Phil, there is something about his laugh that seems so genuine. Phil comes across laid back and easy going and the laugh suggests he truly enjoys having a good time, regardless of who he's talking to. A touching moment right of the bat is Phil describing what his brother Pat had to overcome. Several years ago during a qualifier, Phil's brother Pat was driven into the track due to a horse accident. "He's lucky to be around" Phil says. "He's good now, but it was scary at the time." Thank God Pat is okay, it is tough to think of what the drivers have to contend with at times day after day. Yes drivers wear helmets, but all their limbs are exposed and it's a blessing and a testament to the skill drivers possess that accidents rarely occur. Big Jim by far, would be Phil's most exciting horse he's raced to date. "We won the Breeders Crown (at Pocono Downs) and the Governors' Cup (at Woodbine Racetrack) and we got to race against all the top horses for a couple of years and I've never experienced that before. It's pretty thrilling to drive a horse like that, a world class horse." Phil explains. "That's what it's all about right there" says Phil. "Drivers can get good horses... but great horses make you look so much better." Away from the rush of racing horses, if Phil isn't following hockey, you can catch him at a baseball game. "I used to like the Canucks, but I like the home teams so now it's the Leafs unfortunately" says Phil laughing. Oh Phil, I feel your pain and so does every Maple Leafs fan out there. "I like the Blue Jays, LA Dodgers and the Detroit Tigers in baseball." Phil notes. Life has been hectic for Phil who races seven days a week! "I go everywhere now. I go to Flamboro once a week and Western Fair on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and the rest of the week I'm at Mohawk/Woodbine." That sure is a lot of mileage and travel time, but it only goes to show how much Phil is dedicated to the sport he's passionate about as well as doing his very best to support his family. Phil has three kids, Madison 14, Zach 7 and Delaney who is 7 months old. "It's tough; you miss out on family time because it's work, work, work." Phil acknowledges. "There are nights they're going out for dinner and you miss out on all of that. On weekends, you just can't take off and go to the cottage unless you book the weekend off but then you lose your drives." It must be difficult trying to hold together two firm commitments. On one side you have your family in your heart and the other side, there's horse racing which you love and you need to be fully committed to driving and ensuring you're always showing up to the track to be able to provide for the family you love. It is reasons like these that I feel the horsemen and women within the horse racing industry do get enough praise for what they do with the sacrifices involved. Phil does admit it's tough on the family at times with all his travelling. "I'm hustling a bit more this year" explains Phil. "I got to get back rolling because I was slumping for a bit.... I find I am sharper when I am racing everywhere. Plus I am going for 4,000 wins so I'd like to get that. I am still a couple hundred away though." It would be awesome for Phil to win his 4,000th win at Woodbine or in a major stakes race. Talk about what an awesome win photo shot of that would be, nothing short of spectacular. North America Cup for number 4,000! "Wins are wins" says Phil. "You can win a five claimer and it picks you up.... I find racing all the time keeps you sharper." Phil came to Ontario from British Columbia at a very young age, Phil was only 16. "It was tough; I had no friends, nothing." Phil says. "It was just me, my dad and his girlfriend at the time and two dogs, we only had four horses." "I quit school at 16, but I wish I didn't though." Phil explains, "I thought about (finishing school) a bit... but I wanted to drive horses, that's what I really like doing." Phil explains how it can be tough in some races when the horse you're driving is really pulling, but there isn't one particular drive that sticks out to Phil that would he would consider his most intense drive. Phil unfortunately has been in a few accidents which resulted him popping out his shoulder a few times and cracking his wrist once. Phil considers himself lucky to date, which is remarkable and that must say a lot about his driving skills and his keen awareness for the horses and drivers around him each and every race. "There's been people badly hurt, you know with broken arms and legs. I've just been lucky, touch on wood." Phil says. Luck plays a role in many things in life, but for the time Phil has been driving, I strongly believe it's his driving aptitude combined with luck that has brought him this far. Phil does not give himself enough credit. During our conversation, Phil pays respect to his fellow horsemen, the horses, the owners, but not once did Phil give any credit to himself. Phil should give himself more credit; no one lasts long in any career without being skilled, decent, humble and respectful. Of which all of these attributes Phil possesses. Phil was a big wrestling fan back in the day; Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock were his two guys he would cheer on. "Back in the day, the Rock was awesome and with Stone Cold, they were playing a good role." Phil says UFC is another sport Phil really enjoys watching. One of his favorite fighters is BJ Penn. "I loved BJ Penn he was awesome, the Prodigy... I like watching good fights, there's a bunch for great athletes like St. Pierre, and he was awesome." Phil says. However, don't expect Phil to be entering the Octagon, he enjoys watching the fights, not being a part of the fights. Phil enjoys the brotherhood of the driver's colony at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks. "I don't really do grudges" says Phil. "You go about your business; if you end up in a grudge match you're only hurting the owner and the horse. You need to keep your head on right; you always need to use your head." Phil does consider himself a joker, one who can dish out the laughs and still be able to laugh at himself. To be a fly on the wall in the driver's room, one can only imagine how much fun the drivers have with one another. by Roderick Balgobin, www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, April 15, 2014--Here's an update regarding driver Andy Miller, who was injured in a Yonkers Raceway accident Tuesday night. According to Miller's wife, Julie, as well as trainer Scott DiDomenico, Andy Miller broke a pair of lumbar vertebrae in his back. As of this writing, he is awaiting transfer from Lawrence Hospital (Bronxville, NY) to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in northern Manhattan for further evaluation and treatment. Andy Miller has feeling in all his extremities, and is obviously in a lot of pain. Driving Marmara Denizi--a 3-year-old gelding co-owned and trained by his brother, Erv--Miller was in the back of the field and unseated during the $10,000, first race pace. Also unseated was George Brennan, who was driving 13-10 favorite In the Clear. In The Clear was a tight-pocket second down the backside the second time when he looked to slip out and appeared to step on the wheel of a first-up Fiftyshadesofhay (Dan Dube). In the Clear went down, as did Brennan, who did get up and resume his assignments for the evening. Miller did not lose consciousness, and none of the horses appeared to be injured. The race was won by Keystone Dalton (Jason Bartlett, $9.30) in a maiden-breaking 1:59. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway            

It is more than a month since Im Victorious suffered a serious tendon injury in the Inter Dominion Grand Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The healing process has been a slow one but trainer Michael Brennan is extremely happy with the progress his stable star has made since the incident and is looking forward to being reunited with him in the future. "Snoop (Im Victorious) is getting daily physio on the injury, he is being looked after over there in Sydney by a great team of people and they are trying to ensure they keep some mobility in his leg despite the excessive scar tissue," Brennan said. "He will continue the treatment in Sydney for another six weeks or so and after that he should be ready to make his way back home to Perth and live out his days in a paddock on my property, I think he deserves it." While there had been some speculation that Im Victorious could make a miraculous comeback and return to the racetrack, Brennan believes that it would be highly improbable. "More than likely he will never be able to race again but to be honest I'm just hoping that he will be 'paddock sound' so I can get him home and spend time with him again." "His injuries have healed to the point where the vets are no longer concerned with regards to infection in the tendon and now they are just making sure through the physio that too many adhesions don't form and create issues for us." It has been a tough time for everyone concerned with Im Victorious but Brennan admits he has come to the realisation that he has to move past the devastating loss of the Western Australian Derby winner. "I had arrived at the point where I just had to move on, there was no point in dwelling on it, the whole situation was very devastating for all of us and now I have to try and find my next star." Im Victorious won more than $750,000 in his 34 start career and won 22 races. By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing Harness Racing New South Wales                 Warning to recipients:   This email and any attachments are confidential and subject to copyright. If you are not the intended recipient any use, disclosure or copying is unauthorised. If you have received this email in error please advise us immediately by reply email and delete all copies. It is your responsibility to examine this email and any attachments for viruses. Any personal information in this email must be handled in accordance with privacy legislation.          

It has been such a downward spiral for the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs that this latest lowest of lows has harness racing driver Jody Jamieson contemplating switching allegiances to another NHL team. As for which team Jody might start cheering for, nothing has been decided but all of us Maple Leafs fans understand that at some point we must all move on or do we become the Chicago Cubs of the National Hockey League. "It's in my blood" says Jody, "I'm a diehard fan but this is getting out of hand." Jody's career in harness racing has been remarkable, with some comparing his success to the likes of hockey greats Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby. As flattered as Jody is by the comparison, in no way does he consider himself to be painted with the same brush as the hockey legends. "It's a lofty comparison, and it's not something I am not comfortable with" Jody notes. Admittedly, Jody feels he was able to jump start his career thanks to his father, legendary trainer Carl Jamieson. "My father is a hall of fame horseman and I had probably one of the best starts anybody could have in this business, by having him back me up." Jody says. A key piece of advice given to Jody by his dad is to always be respectful, regardless of whom that person is. It doesn't matter if it's a groom or a racing official, everyone matters. Jody Jamieson's name is up there with drivers such as Tim Tetrick, Mike Lachance, Chris Christoforou and Brian Sears and even after all the wins and accolades, Jody's focus hasn't changed. There's never a race he takes for granted and Jody admits he's human and makes mistakes, like everyone else. "I'm out to win every possible race I'm in... it's never lack of trying or being prepared but I make mistakes. Thank God there is another race right after that one where I can try and redeem myself." Jody says. With any sport, competition is extremely fierce and the guys who lead the standings are always battling between themselves and new comers. The saying goes, if you're going to win, you want to beat the best and Jody acknowledges everyone on the track wants to make a name for themselves. "That's what makes this game so fun, in one moment you're king of the castle but twenty minutes later you're knocked off." Jody adds, "It's very competitive, every twenty minutes, every night of the week." All drivers and trainers have been through dry spells, going through stretches of time without positive results. A piece of advice Jody was given is you need to learn to lose well before you learn to win well. "Don't get to high with the highs and don't get to low with the lows" is Jody's approach to keeping a level head to remain mentally grounded. "If you look at my record, I have way more losses than I do wins and I've learned to deal with it and keep it on the track as much as possible." With people having hard days or rough spells, it's amazing how well the horsemen are able to cope and still keep it classy amongst them. "I find in Canada and Ontario, it's the kind of people we are." Jody says. "We all try to get along off the track; there is no reason to be enemies off the track and not like each other. But when we go to the gate, it's on! I think that's taken for granted in other places, with people taking issue of being beat in a race." "Not only is life too short, our careers are too short to be hung up on every last thing, so you have to keep it light." Jody says. "I think I can relate to almost anybody, I enjoy busting (chops) and I can handle having my (chops) busted as well." Speaking with Jody, the biggest take away I got would be understanding how tough it is to mature in such a highly competitive sport. Yet in an odd way it can still be very easy. Yes I am aware there is a contradiction to what I have just written but the difficulties I perceive is being young with an ego. At this point I am not speaking for a driver, I am thinking of myself as a young one who is 18 or 20 and all I focus on is me and my success. If something were to come in between, I can honestly admit I would of taken issue from the get go. However, through it all in any sport, life hands you a constant wave of highs and lows and the earlier you notice these waves, the easier it is to 'ride it out' so to speak. Things can't always go your way, if they did, how would anyone learn? Over the last couple of years, Jody admits there have been some up and downs and this year he is more driven because of that. "Last year it took me until December to win a Classic race. It was the Cleveland Classic with Apprentice Hanover." Apprentice Hanover is trained by Benjamin Wallace and won the race in a time of 1:52.1 at Northfield Park. "There were big races where I came in second or third, but it wasn't the win." Jody admits. Jody is happily married to Stephanie and Jody has a daughter Hailey who is 11, a son Jett who is 2 and a baby girl on the way who is due in July. As much success as Jody's had over the years, he is now racing for his family, not just for him and this means ensuring his family can live happily. "I have a young family and I am recently married and I want to be a part of their lives to... I'm going to spend the best time with my family and I am not going to change anything. I'm going to be prepared as ever, more prepared than I've ever been to go on the race track every night." Jody says, "Before it was about wins and putting up big numbers, now it's about making a great living and being able to provide for my family down the road." "I had the one year where I broke the wins records in Canada. I drove right until the end of the year and then I quit for a month and just relaxed, it gets really stressful.... I had that one (great) year and I thought I want to treat myself a little bit." Jody adds, "I want to be the top guy and make enough money to enjoy life." Jody also missed some time away from the track to attend the O'Brien awards and Jody flew to Finland to be the ambassador of Canadian harness racing. To add to Jody's time away was the volcano eruption in Finland where the dust had to settle before Jody could fly back home. So at what point did Jody change his outlook? Or at what point did a light go off where Jody realized it was more than just about him? "When you're in it, running from track to track winning races and having some success, you don't think of anything until you're laying on a beach in Mexico... you don't think of it until then." Jody points out. Throughout his career, Jody has grown close to many people who have supported him and who always believe in his talents. "Mark MacDonald and I used to be thick as thieves and as best friends off the track and fierce enemies on the track." Jody continues, "We'd do anything to beat each other and Mark moved away and we haven't kept in touch as much, but definitely Mark was a huge influence in my career. He helped me learn my craft and have a better mindset on the race track for sure." Jody loves what the new Meadowlands racetrack is doing, "they're doing incredible work" he says and at one point in Jody's career, the idea to go to the big M did cross his mind, but home is where the heart is. "I'm from Moffat, Ontario, Canada and this is where my family is and this is where my family's family is. This is where I'll be unless something worse happens like what is happening with this Liberal government." "In 2011 the Standardbred industry received $176 million dollars to operate harness racing in Ontario. In 2014 harness racing will be lucky to have $70-$80 million." Jody points out. The money the racing industry received is from an agreement between the racetracks and the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation, (OLG) which is a Government entity, based on revenues brought in from the creation of the SLOTS programs at each racetrack. With the racetracks already established, the OLG agreed to give a percentage of all revenue to the racetracks so the OLG could put in slot machines and the money given to the tracks would go towards purse money to create a higher level of competition within the province. Anthony Macdonald, who is a horseman, is running as a PC provincial candidate hoping if an election takes place, the standardbred industry will have a stronger voice at Queen's Park, (the provincial legislator). Jody is a strong advocate and supporter of Anthony and his efforts to bring more awareness to the standardbred community and Jody is willing to help anywhere he can. "Anyone who knows Anthony, you can't tune him out and I am going to campaign hard to help get him elected." Jody states. "We have 3 or 4 candidates who are pro harness racing on the Conservative side." Jody feels strongly that the Liberal government has messed up several industries outside of harness racing, such as the gas industry, the powers sector and even the teachers union. "Horses don't speak" says Jody, "they are nice to look at and people love them but they don't speak. We need to do a better job speaking for them.... The OLG's revenue was around a billion dollars and we were only getting around 20 percent, maybe less. Now the OLG is taking in the full 100 percent in revenue. We are in trouble and this money, (the $500 million/5 year proposal from the Liberals), it has kept racing open but we are on a life line and we are bleeding badly." Away from the politics and the tracks, Jody is the type of guy who likes to help others where and when he can. Jody would love to help the Toronto Maple Leafs, maybe try and get them a Stanley Cup sometime soon! "I'm so aggravated with this season, I like Randy Carlyle. He's a horse guy who started in the horse racing business before he was drafted." As you can tell, Jody is a massive hockey fan and aside from the Leafs, his favorite team is the Jamieson Jets, an adult men's hockey team. One thing to point out is Jody's son Jett was not named after the hockey team, even though some people make that connection. However if the dad who named the son said it wasn't, there's nothing to discuss. If Jody had a man cave, it would be filled with Toronto Maple Leaf paraphernalia and his entire top win photos including the North America Cup pictures, the Battle of Waterloo and Breeders Crown pictures. To date, the second heat of the 2007 Little Brown Jug is Jody's most memorable race. In that race he was driving great horse Tell All. "I could remember my heart beating the whole time."Jody says. "The half was in 56.1... I kicked the ear plugs on him around the last turn and he dug in, but he really didn't dig in like I thought. Brian Sears slipped off of David Miller's back going three wide in the stretch and I didn't know half way down the stretch if I could hang on. So I hit the wire not knowing if you have a clear cut win. It was the best ever (feeling)... I'll never forget him." "I would love to win the Hambletonian. I've been fortunate to win big races and I'd love to win them all again. Just because I won them, doesn't mean they're off my bucket list." Jody adds, "It would mean a lot to me to win any of those races again, they're special, special races." Jody enjoys interacting with fans. "I love meeting fans...they message me of Facebook and Twitter. I think its wild and I thrive on it, I love meeting with the fans and doing whatever I can to meet fans." Jody says. A few summers ago, Woodbine asked Jody to go to a Jack Astor's opening in Toronto as the restaurant was doing simulcasting. "I went in my driver suit, not a soul knew who I was, not a soul and I had my suit on and they knew what I did at the end of the day they loved it. I loved it and meeting people who want to get to know me. Like I said, horses can't talk but I can and I want this industry I love to survive and prosper." By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova  

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) today handed down its decision with regard to the penalty review hearings of Mr Eric Anderson and Mr Glenn Douglas against the decision of the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board to disqualify Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas for 6 months for offences against the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR) relating to an investigation concerning the horse Talk To The Hand. Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas, through their legal representative Mr Sandy Robertson, argued the penalties imposed upon them were excessive.   These review hearings were held in conjunction with review applications of the HRV Stewards who argued through their legal counsel, Mr Neill Murdoch SC, that the penalties applied by the HRV RAD Board were inadequate. His Honour Judge Nixon, in delivering his decision, announced that he considered the offence seriousness to be in the high category and that he considered the most critical principles requiring consideration in the case to be denunciation, general deterrence and the preservation of the integrity of the harness racing industry.  His Honour stated that public confidence in the harness racing industry is critical and that the giving of false evidence to Stewards could not be tolerated and must result in significant penalty being imposed. His Honour remarked that the lies told by Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas surrounding the death and disposal of the horse Talk To The Hand were maintained until the bitter end and that such lies were told to deceive the Stewards. His Honour indicated he gave consideration to the numerous references supplied in support of Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas which described their extensive involvement and success in the harness racing industry over a lengthy period of time, references which were not before the HRV RAD Board on 5 March 2014 when Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas appeared unrepresented. His Honour found that in all of the circumstances of the case, the penalty of 6 months disqualification imposed by the HRV RAD Board upon Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas for their respective conduct was a just and appropriate penalty.  His Honour confirmed the imposition of these penalties and taking into account time served (8 days), such periods of disqualification will expire as at 8 October 2014. In arriving at this decision, His Honour noted that it should not be assumed in the harness racing industry that a period of 6 months disqualification is the ‘ceiling’ for penalties that may be handed down in circumstances where false evidence is provided to the Stewards or where persons frustrate or endeavour to frustrate investigations of the Stewards.  His Honour also noted that in addition to the powerful references supplied, His Honour was also required to consider the evidence of Dr Sarah Jalim, as a result of the position of Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas that their conduct was in order to protect the interests of Dr Jalim.  His Honour indicated he considered the evidence of Dr Jalim, both before the HRV RAD Board and the VCAT, regarding her inactivity (in reporting matters to the HRV Stewards) at a relevant time on the evening of 21 August 2013 at the Bendigo harness racing meeting, which resulted in her pleading guilty to a charge before the HRV RAD Board on 5 March 2014. Glenn Douglas, Eric Anderson and Sarah Jalim The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to various charges issued by HRV Stewards under the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR) against licensed trainer/driver Mr Glenn Douglas, licensed stablehand/registered owner Mr Eric Anderson and veterinarian Dr Sarah Jalim. The charges were issued in connection to the conduct of the relevant parties concerning the Glenn Douglas trained horse ‘Talk To The Hand’ which was scheduled to compete at the Bendigo harness racing meeting conducted on 21 August 2013.  After arriving at the racecourse, the horse became unwell and its health quickly deteriorated resulting in the horse being assisted onto a float by Mr Anderson, Mr Douglas and Dr Jalim before the horse was euthanized by Dr Jalim.  The fact that the horse was euthanized was not brought to the attention of the attending HRV Stewards on the night by Mr Douglas, Mr Anderson or Dr Jalim. Mr Eric Anderson Mr Eric Anderson pleaded guilty to 6 charges issued by HRV Stewards. Charge 1 – ARHR 187(6)               A person shall not frustrate or endeavour to frustrate an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 1 were that Mr Anderson frustrated the investigation of the Stewards by not ensuring the immediate notification of the death of the horse ‘Talk To The Hand’ and by arranging and conducting the burial of the horse in Boundary Bend, Victoria, with asbestos piping, actions which inhibited the extent of the post-mortem autopsy conducted upon the horse. Charge 2 – ARHR 187(2)      A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 2 were that Mr Anderson, when interviewed by HRV Stewards on 22 August 2013 regarding the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of ‘Talk To The Hand’, falsely advised that the horse had been alive when it was removed from the Bendigo racecourse and also alive when it arrived at the stables of Mr Glenn Douglas after being transported by Mr Anderson in a float.   Charge 3 – ARHR 187(2) A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 3 were that Mr Anderson, when interviewed by HRV Stewards on 22 August 2013, falsely advised that Mr Glenn Douglas whilst checking on the welfare of ‘Talk To The Hand’ in the night of 21 August 2013 had found the horse to be alive and that Mr Anderson had only discovered the horse to be deceased at the stables of Mr Douglas on the morning of 22 August 2013. Charge 4 – ARHR 187(2) A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 4 were that Mr Anderson, in a secondary interview with HRV Stewards on 22 August 2013, gave false information by denying that ‘Talk To The Hand’ had been euthanized in the vicinity of the Bendigo racecourse on 21 August 2013. Charge 5 – ARHR 187(2) A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 5 were that Mr Anderson, in a secondary interview with HRV Stewards on 22 August 2013, gave false information by advising that the carcass of ‘Talk To The Hand’ had been burned at Boundary Bend, Victoria, when the horse had in fact been buried at this location. Charge 6 – ARHR 105(5) The owner or authorized agent or other person in charge of a horse whose death has been notified, or which should have been notified, under sub rule (1)(a) shall not dispose of the carcass without the permission of the Controlling Body or the Stewards The particulars of Charge 6 were that Mr Anderson disposed of the carcass of ‘Talk To The Hand’ without the permission of the HRV Stewards. After hearing submissions regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a 6 month disqualification upon Mr Anderson in relation to charges 1-6 and ordered such disqualification to commence immediately. Harness Racing Australia  

A quiet trial at Ashburton today should top pacing sensation Terror To Love off nicely as he heads into Saturday’s $100,000 Easter Cup at Addington. Given an easy time by Ricky May in the sedate two-horse trial, the bulky stallion was only pulled out very late in proceedings, dashing home for a narrow second behind 8-win pacer Smiling Star. “That is all he needed heading into Saturday,” said May, who was pleased with how the entire found the line. “I gave him a pretty stern warm-up and he is very forward so I’d say that the run was just perfect for him,” he added. “I know it was a very slowly run affair but he wouldn’t have blown a candle out afterwards. I was pretty happy with that to be honest,” concluded the champion reinsman. When asked what his confidence levels were like heading into Saturday, May admitted that he was very impressed with Adore Me last Friday. “She was just tremendous last week but I think ‘Terror’ only has to replicate his run in the Auckland Cup to beat her again. He has proven himself time and time again,” he enthused. “It’s obviously not going to be easy to give Adore Me 10 metres and beat her, especially if she goes like she did last week, but we all know how much he loves the two miles at Addington,” he concluded. The trial was run in a pedestrian 3-11.6, with quick sectionals of 55.5 and 26.7. As reported by Harnesslink last week, Adore Me will be driven by Blair Orange in Saturday’s Group One feature, with Purdon heading across the Tasman to drive Supersonic Miss in the APG semi-final. Orange will also steer the champion mare in the Taylor Mile 13 days later, with Purdon committing to star two-year-old Follow The Stars in the rich $A300,000 Australian Pacing Gold Colts & Gelding Final. “It is an absolute privilege to drive a horse like her,” said Orange, who is two from two on the champion mare. “It’s going to be a tactical affair with just the six horses in the field, so I will just see how the race unfolds, but I am confident she can win,” he added. The other four horses in the Easter Cup are: Arden Rooney, Jivin Cullen, Donegal’s Guest, and Pemberton Shard. By Mitchell Robertson

Four-year-old Alta Christiano, the youngest and least experienced runner in the Garrards Horse And Hound Easter Cup at Gloucester Park on Thursday night, is poised to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. his fourth victory in the $40,000 event and maintain his unbeaten record in Australia. Hall, who has won Easter Cups with The Falcon Strike (2003), Patches (who dead-heated with OK Windermere in 2006) and Rebel Scooter (last year) delights in setting challenges for himself and his pacers. And he is testing his skill by lining up Alta Christiano against several older and vastly experienced pacers with outstanding form in standing-start events and over marathon trips. Alta Christiano has had only 13 starts for nine wins and he has never contested a race over the Easter Cup journey of 2902m. Alta Christiano, to be driven by Clint Hall, has taken part in only one standing-start event, over 2200m at Forbury in October 2012, when he began safely off 10m before breaking into a fierce gallop 500m after the start and finishing tenth as favourite at 7/4 on, 66 metres behind the winner Alta Capone. Alta Christiano has not been extended in winning easily at his five starts in Western Australia, all in mobiles over 1684m to 2536m. He is a rising superstar who looks set to meet his latest challenge and emerge triumphant, despite the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line of six. Alta Christiano, a chunky stallion, has dashed to an early lead and coasted to victory in his first two starts in his four-year-old campaign. Hall sen. originally intended to take him to Sydney to contest the $100,000 group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on Sunday April 27. But he scrapped those plans a couple of weeks ago when he discovered that Beautide, brilliant winner of the interdominion championship at Menangle on March 2, was being set for the Len Smith Mile. He explained that he decided to keep Alta Christiano at home and to give him more experience before tackling champions of the calibre of Beautide. Clint Hall's priority will be to get Alta Christiano away to a safe beginning. Once that is achieved he will formulate his tactics, which most certainly will be to dash forward in an attempt to get to an early lead. Polemarker Hez Got the Nod (Shannon Suvaljko) is a renowned frontrunner and Pembrook Henry (Chris Lewis) also revels in the role of pacemaker, but their drivers would be ill advised to try to retain the lead if seriously challenged by Alta Christiano. In a touch of irony, the main dangers to Alta Christiano appear to be pacers formerly prepared by Hall sen. They are the 40m backmarker Hokonui Ben and This Time Dylan, who will start off the 20m mark. Hokonui Ben, now in the stables of Aldo Cortopassi, and This Time Dylan, now trained by Michael Brennan, meet Alta Christiano on favourable terms. If all Cup runners had to start off their automatic handicap marks, Hokonui ben would be starting off 120m, not 40m under the discretionary conditions of the race. And This Time Dylan would start off 80m. Hokonui Ben resumed after a month's break at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he set the pace and won from the fast-finishing This Time Dylan over 2130m. He will be improved by the outing and looks a strong each-way hope this week. Hokonui Ben is a grand stayer. Clint Hall drove him to a memorable all-the-way victory in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m in mid-January. Three starts ago, at his second run for Cortopassi, Hokonui Ben covered a good deal of extra ground before finishing powerfully to win the $50,000 RWWA Cup over 2536m from Northview Punter and David Hercules. It is worth noting that Hokonui Ben, winner of a 3200m stand in New Zealand in December 2011, has started in only two stands in WA, winning them both, the group 2 $50,000 Navy Cup at Gloucester Park in November 2012 and another 2503m event a fortnight later. Cortopassi has high hopes that Hokonui Ben will give him his second training and driving success in an Easter Cup. He drove Total Defiance when the New Zealand-bred four-year-old raced in sixth position before unwinding a spirited three-wide burst from the 1000m to get to the front at the 250m mark and win from Real Life and Badboy Nitro. Brennan, who trained Anvils Big Punt for his all-the-way win in the 2011 Easter Cup, will be looking for another strong finishing effort from This Time Dylan, who will again be driven by Chris Playle. This Time Dylan has started in seven standing-start events for four wins. The Justin Prentice-trained Braemoor is a standing-start specialist whose past eight wins have all been in stands. The seven-year-old will start from 10m and cannot be underestimated. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who has won the Easter Cup three times (Abmidas, 1997), OK Windermere (2006) and Arma Harris (2010), will be represented by three of the six front-line runners --- Pembrook Henry (Lewis), Compact Rocket (Stuart McDonald) and Finbar Abbey (Chris Voak). All are capable standing-start performers. Lewis will be aiming for his sixth Easter Cup after successes with Pallaton (1980), Gold Rowan (1984), Village Kid (1987), Abmidas (1997) and OK Windermere (2006). Hazelmere horseman Mike Reed, who trained and drove Just Packapunch for his win over Scanio in the 1995 Easter Cup, has five-year-old Polak primed for a strong effort. The gelding, who worked in dashing style in winning a Byford trial on Sunday morning, will start from 10m. He was the 7/4 favourite in last year's Easter Cup when he raced in the breeze in the middle stages and finished a sound fourth behind Rebel Scooter. LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW CAN OVERCOME UNFAVOURABLE DRAW Libertybelle Midfrew has been most impressive at her first two Australian starts and she should maintain her winning form by proving too strong for her rivals in the Garrards Horse And Hound On Course Now WA Oaks Prelude over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The daughter of Christian Cullen is unfavourably drawn at barrier four on the back line, but she has the ability to overcome that disadvantage and make it three wins from three starts for her new trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko in the space of 17 days. Libertybelle Midfrew covered a lot of extra ground before finishing powerfully to beat All About Pink by more than two lengths at her WA debut over 1730m at Gloucester Park and then she rated 1.57.8 when she dashed to the lead in the middle stages and defeated Cielito over 2185m at Pinjarra after sprinting over the final 400m in 27.1sec. Reed is also hopeful that his other runner My Samantha Jane will be prominent and will earn a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9. My Samantha Jane has had 13 starts for two wins and five placings. She followed an all-the-way win over 2190m at Northam with a close second to Jungle Jewel at Kellerberrin and a fighting third behind Libertybelle Midfrew at Pinjarra after leading early and then sitting behind the pacemaker. She will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line on Friday night with Stephen Reed in the sulky. Byford trainer David Thompson will be represented by smart fillies Harriet Elisabeth and Harper Grace. Harper Grace is ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier. She has led and won at two of her four starts --- over 2130m at Gloucester Park and 1684m at a 1.55.5 rate at Pinjarra. Harriet Elisabeth has won five times from 11 starts, but her prospects diminished when she drew the outside barrier on the back line. She revealed improved toughness at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from Highest Royalty and Lipizzaner. Lipizzaner, who will start from barrier two on the front line, will be driven by Matt White for Byford trainer Ryan Bell, who will handle stablemate All About Pink from barrier three on the back line. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has a high opinion of The Parade, who has won at six of her 14 starts. The Parade, a last-start Bunbury winner, is sure to be prominent after starting from the No. 4 barrier off the front. RED SALUTE GETS HIS CHANCE West Australian-bred five-year-old Red Salute has recovered from a hoof injury and he gets an ideal chance to return to the winning list when he contests the 2536m Garrards Horse And Hound Open Daily Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Ross Olivieri-trained gelding will appreciate a drop in class when he starts out wide at No. 5 on the front line. He has the ability to overcome that disadvantage. Red Salute, driven by Chris Voak, resumed after a three-week absence in a 2130m event last Friday night. He enjoyed a soft run when he raced on the pegs in fourth position before he finished strongly, out four wide, to be fourth, only two metres from the winner Hokonui Ben. Red Salute has won 15 times from 53 starts and Voak is confident the bay will develop into a contender for the major feature events at the next summer carnival. Thursday night's field is quite even and it is difficult to predict which horse will start favourite. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand with three of the eight runners, Whos Mistake (barrier two), Passion Stride (six) and Benjamin Banneker (the only runner on the back line). The Chris King-trained Lord Lombo is a versatile performer who will have many admirers after excellent seconds to Hokuri Handrail and Lovers Delight at two of his past four starts, following a victory over Uppy Son and Midnight Dylan. Copagrin, an M1-class performer, will be lining up against much better performed pacers, but cannot be discounted from the prized No. 1 barrier. SOHO VALENCIA LOOKS A STAR BET Soho Valencia is tough and versatile --- and these ingredients should guarantee him of victory in the 1730m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He has had three starts for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. after being off the scene for 17 months, and his form has been most impressive. He worked hard in the breeze at his first two outings for seconds to Northview Punter and Sensational Gabby and then he revealed great determination to charge home, out wide, from eighth at the bell to get up and snatch a nose victory over the pacemaker Franco Torres. He sped over the final 800m in 56.4sec. and rated a smart 1.56.4 over 2130m last Friday week. Clint Hall is likely to send him forward from barrier three on the front line in a bid to take up the role as pacemaker from the two nine-year-old veterans on his inside, Lombo Air Express and Talk It Up. The Bob Mellsop-trained Little Boy Blue could also make a bid for the early lead, starting from the No. 4 barrier. The five-year-old mustered plenty of early pace when a brilliant all-the-way winner over I Am Legend and Mighty Flying Thomas at a 1.55.8 rate over 2130m last Friday week. by Ken Casellas

Avonnova is classic rags to riches harness racing story. The former Sydney pacer was claimed for a modest $20,000 amount last October before being transferred to Queensland where his meteoric rise continues at a rapid rate. During his twelve starts for new trainer Ian Gurney, the Art Major gelding has won seven including his last four on the bounce prompting connections to look at bigger targets. And a return trip to Sydney is on the cards. The Gr.1 $100,000 Len Smith Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle on Sunday, April 27 will be his next start where he will tackle the likes of Inter Dominion/Miracle Mile hero Beautide, Victoria Cup winner For A Reason and Australasia’s fastest pacer Smoken Up among others. The steep rise in grade for Avonnova resembles more like The North Face of North Twin Peak in the Rocky Mountains. But the pacer who has quickly established himself as one of the best in the Sunshine State is worthy of an opportunity to box with the best. “When I first claimed this horse I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking him back to tackle the best pacers available but his form warrants an opportunity and we’re going to take it. His form is outstanding and the times back it up.” Gurney said. In his last two winning performances, Avonnova has created track record efforts at both Albion Park and Redcliffe. Last Saturday night, Avonnova started from the outside gate before racing wide in the early stages, eventually, he parked outside leader Destreos before sprinting clear over the concluding stages to win comfortably. The winning time of 1;54.4 eclipsed the previous Albion Park 2138m track record time of 1;54.5 set by Field Officer in last year’s Gold Coast Cup. “I don’t think I’m doing anything special with the horse but obviously he enjoys his new environment and routine. Maybe the warmer weather agrees with him up here. “I will say this about him; he’s the worst track worker I’ve ever had. I couldn’t believe how poorly he worked when he first arrived but eventually we worked each other out and we haven’t looked back. I like spacing his runs and he’s thriving under that routine and the Sydney feature fits in perfectly with his current system. “I’m not expecting to beat those top line pacers but I’d say if he drew well and secured a trouble free run, he could easily run a place on his current form. It’s a massive step-up in class but his wins have been full of authority lately and the times are on the board.” Gurney has confirmed that young gun Bart Cockburn will commute to Sydney to partner the gelding who races unhoppled. “Bart will be definitely taking the drive in Sydney, I’m sure he will be fighting them off with a big stick to retain the drive. “With the race being on a Sunday, it doesn’t interfere with his book of drives at Albion Park on the Saturday night. Obviously they get on well with each other so it would be crazy to change what we have going currently.” Another former Sydney pacer in Miysis will make the return trip with Avonnova early next week. by Chris Barsby (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

Columbus, OH -- Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is rising swiftly from its foundation and poised to become one of the most remarkable harness racing facilities in central Ohio.   Set to start its first race over the five-eighths mile track built under the supervision of Greg Coon on Friday, October 3, the new oval promises to be another shining star in a galaxy of world-class gaming destinations owned and operated by Penn National Gaming.   Long-time horseman and racetrack executive, Mark Loewe noted, "Penn National Gaming is excited to bring a first class gaming and racing facility to the Dayton market. Following the traditions that started in 1972 with the first Penn National racetrack, Red Carpet experiences are the standard at all our properties and Dayton will continue that tradition."   As the vice president of Ohio racing operations, Loewe (pronounced Low--'ee) certainly has his hands full in the Buckeye State. Not only has the hard-working native New Yorker been overseeing the transition from the transfer of Raceway Park in Toledo to the Dayton facility, but Loewe is also responsible for overseeing the transfer of racing from Beulah Park to the new Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, a new Thoroughbred track which is also under construction.   In addition to the racetracks, Penn National Gaming also owns and operates two stand alone casinos in the great state of Ohio. Hollywood Casino Columbus and Hollywood Casino Toledo are both up and running and a big part of the firm's success in the mid-west. Nonetheless, the highly anticipated grand opening of the harness track at Dayton remains high on the list of Loewe's priorities.   During a recent tour of the Montgomery County facilities, it was clear to our group what a strong commitment Loewe and Penn National have placed in the Dayton structure. In addition to the $125 million in construction costs, the firm also paid the state a $50 million casino license fee and a $75 million relocation fee to move Raceway Park. An identical investment has been made in the Austintown plant, bringing a half billion dollar outlay to Ohio horse racing.   Nationwide, Penn National owns and/or operates 18 casinos, 7 racetracks and 7 racinos. They have a large stake in the future of racing, and Mark Loewe shares that commitment. Having worked his way up through the ranks at Penn National over the last six years, first as General Manager of the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club and then as Vice President of Racing at Penn National Racecourse in Grantville, Pennsylvania, Loewe has proven himself a capable leader with horse sense.   With his boots on the ground and a sharp eye on the progress, Loewe has been actively involved in the planning and construction of the facility, especially the areas that effect horsemen. Loewe and company "are confident that the Ohio harness racing community will enthusiastically embrace the amenities and opportunities at Ohio's newest harness racetrack."   The race paddock houses 140 stalls, enough for a 14-race card. Each 10' x 12' stall has full drainage for bathing with floor mats. Every detail has been considered and implemented to ensure that horses and horse people have a first-class facility in which to race. The construction, staffing and ancillary jobs associated with project will employ around 1,000.   The five-eighths mile track, designed and installed under the supervision of the famed Coon brothers, sports twelve degree turns and an all-weather stone dust. By all accounts, Dayton promises to be a prominent and exciting new place to race harness horses.   by Chris Tully        

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Award winning equine photographer Barbara Livingston, whose popular books Old Friends and More Old Friends, painted a sentimental portrait of champion racehorses long gone from the spotlight, has completed a third edition of that series. While her first two books focused on Thoroughbred racehorses, the latest, Standardbred Old Friends, focuses on the distinctly American breed that evolved from a horse that carried the family to church, raced at the county fair and now competes world-wide at a trot and pace. The book, at $30, is ready for pre-order now at www.harnessmuseum.com. Standardbred Old Friends portrays 43 horses, from age 19 to 37, most of them multimillionaire world record holders with Hall of Fame membership, but some of more modest distinction, occupied as show horses, in law enforcement or hardworking, blue collar performers. With writer Ellen Harvey telling the rich tales of horses from Sweden to southern California, from Maine to Florida, Livingston has captured images of horses whose achievements are now decades past, but whose memories will last a lifetime. The collaboration, ready for shipment in June, grew from a 2008 Hoof Beats magazine article featuring ten champion Standardbreds over the age of 20. The article, with Livingston's photos and Harvey's stories, won top honors for journalism at the 2009 World Trotting Conference in Norway. In 2012, the two started a trek of nearly 10,000 miles to capture the lives of nearly four dozen horses whose commercial worth is long gone, but who are cherished ever still. The book's 153 photos and 43 stories were gleaned from thousands of photos and 150 interviews. Standardbred Old Friends looks at the lives of 43 horses like North American and European superstar Mack Lobell, now 30, at his home along the shores of Lake Malaren in southern Sweden, 2004 horse of the Year Cam's Card Shark at historic Hanover Shoe Farm in central Pennsylvania and mother-daughter Hall of Famers Country Kay Sue and CR Kay Suzie among the live oaks at their home in central Florida. The senior "old friend," 37-year-old Waco Hanover, was depicted against the deep snow of his home in the foothills of Vermont's Green Mountains. An autumn sunset in the tide pools of Maine's Popham Beach State Park was the setting for Dreamy Starlet and McKeever Hanover, a pair with 297 races over 13 years, with 4 foals between them, now in their 20s, but active in the show ring and hunt field. For a video sample of the photos in the book and a look at the making of Standardbred Old Friends, featuring 30-year-old champion Standardbred roadster Autobahn at Cane Run Farm in Kentucky, click here. Cover images are attached; Mack Lobell on the front, Dreamy Starlet and Elizabeth Tewksbury on the back. For more information on Barbara Livingston's work, as well as her earlier books, Saratoga, Four Seasons of Racing and Horses in Living Color, click here. Standardbred Old Friends can be purchased from the Harness Racing Museum or by calling 845-294-6330. To contact Ellen Harvey, email oldfriendsbook@hotmail or call 732-616-6092. The horses included in the book are: Armbro Feather Cam's Card Shark Country Kay Sue and CR Kay Suzie Dreamy Starlet and McKeever Hanover Dust Devil Flat Foot Fluzy Giant Victory Hattie Heatherjeankillean Hi IQ Hot Lead Incredible K Jate Lobell Jo Jo Geronimo/Jupiter Keystone Wallis Lady Ashlee Ann Larks Crown Lilting Laughter Mack Lobell Matt's Scooter Miss Easy Moni Maker Monterey Rebel and Saddle The Wind NL Loren Oriental Express Sir Taurus Stacey's Echo Staying Together Supergrit Tap In Tarport Mark Town Sweetheart Victory Tilly Waco Hanover Western Dreamer White Birch Mares: Three Mile Island, Town Pro, World Order Winky's Gill Winnies Guy/Autobahn by Ellen Harvey
Even with a substitute driver, Take The Money and Perfect Alliance continued to dominate Bobby Weiss series action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs with easy wins on Wednesday night. Two $15,000 divisions of the Weiss were held for three and four-year-old trotting fillies and mares. With regular driver Andy Miller injured, trainer Julie Miller turned to Yannick Gingras to pilot the two four-year-old mares. He delivered, as Take The Money (Donato Hanover-Repititions) coasted in her split to a win in a career-best 1:55:4 and Perfect Alliance (Credit Winner-Yalta Hanover) strolled to a victory in 1:54:4. The pair are now a combined 13-for-13 in 2014 starts, including three Weiss wins apiece heading into next week's group final. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review Once again the weather was a wild ride this past week in Northeastern Pennsylvania, which obviously affected the racing wars at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. A gorgeous weekend led to the fastest times of the young season, but rain, snow, and bitter cold on Tuesday brought sloppy conditions. Nonetheless, the action stayed thrilling no matter what the track conditions or winning times were. Here is a look at the week’s best performers via another edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: DRIVE ALL NIGHT It’s always fascinating to watch how excellent horses progress throughout their careers. They will often go through periods at their where they face the top classes, and then almost inevitably start to drop down in class as they age to face competition more suited to their talent level. But there are some that have a tendency to rise to the top of whatever class they inhabit. Drive All Night certain falls into that category of horses that seem to find a groove no matter the caliber of horses they face. A few years back, he took on the pacers in the highest condition classes and even the Open pacers at Pocono, and he always acquitted himself well. These days the nine-year-old gelding is a denizen of the mid-priced claiming classes, and he has been cleaning up. He came into Saturday night’s $20,000 claiming event with back-to-back front-pacing victories at Pocono with the $15,000 claimers. The step up in class didn’t bother him a bit, as driver Simon Allard sent the 9-year-old gelding trained by Marty Fine to the front end and guided him to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:50:4. That gave the veteran 54 lifetime wins, and he’s showing no signs of slowing back down. In fact, with performances like that, he might just be ready to step back up to the face the whippersnappers in those top classes once again. Other top pacers this week include: Abelard Hanover (Jonathan Roberts, Donald Billings), whose victory in Saturday night’s Preferred pace came in 1:48:4, the fastest time recorded at Pocono so far this season; Its Rock N Roll (Anthony Napolitano, John Barchi), who moved up in class and switched barns Saturday night and still picked up his second straight win at Pocono and his third straight overall, this one coming in a career-best 1:51:3; and American Shuttle (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who ripped off her second straight claiming win on Sunday night since arriving from Yonkers, matching her career-best of 1:53:3 in the process. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: WIND OF THE NORTH Saturday night’s condition trot for non-winners of $23,500 in the last five starts felt like an Open considering the high caliber of the horses competing. Some of the standouts in the six-horse field included  Meadowlands shippers Banker Volo and Jurgen Hanover, Imagine Hanover, who was fresh off a late closer sweep at The Meadows, and Money On My Mind, who finished second in Preferred company in his previous start. With that kind of competition, it’s not surprising that folks were a little skeptical of Wind Of The North, the four-year-old gelding from the Clifton Green barn who was coming off back-to-back condition wins to start his 2014 season. He was moving up in class, so that’s probably why he was let go at 6-1, but this is a trotter who proved last year as a three-year-old he could compete in the toughest classes. He proved it again and then some on Saturday night. With Mike Simons in the bike, Wind Of The North battled both Money On My Mind and Banker Volo in the stretch before prevailing in exciting fashion. It took his best effort, a career-best 1:53:4, to come out on top, but this third straight victory should go a long way in preventing anyone from underestimating this peaking trotter again. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Definitely Mamie (George Napolitano Jr., Brewer Adams), the accomplished mare who won a tough condition battle on Wednesday night in 1:55:4; Keystone Thomas (Andrew McCarthy, Joe Pavia Jr.), who rolled on the front end to a condition win on Wednesday in 1:55; and Smokin Dabra (Ron Pierce, Marty Fine), who moved up in class in style with a claiming handicap victory on Wednesday in 1:54, his third win in a row. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WHIRL MONROE Tuesday night’s sloppy track seemed conducive to long shots, and this condition pacer with Anthony Napolitano in the bike pulled off the night’s biggest shocker at 36-1, paying off $79.80 to win. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MARK MACDONALD MacDonald has been spending more time at Pocono than ever before, and it’s paying off big dividends, like on Saturday night when he ripped off four victories. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LOU PENA Pena is always a major factor at Pocono, and he’s been making his presence felt again in the first few weeks of the 2014 season. On Saturday night, he scored three training wins. That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs  
With his regular reinsman Andy Miller sidelined following yesterday's racing accident, world champion trotter Sevruga did his best to lift Team Miller's spirits on Wednesday, scoring his second straight win at Harrah's Philadelphia. Trained by Andy's wife Julie and owned by KDM Stables Corp., Sevruga ($3) won his season's debut from post eight in 1:52.1 on April 2. The six-year-old SJs Caviar gelding overcame his assigned outside post once again in Wednesday's $30,000 Winners Over Handicap Trot for another victory. Subbing in for Andy, Corey Callahan rolled the multiple-stakes winner to the lead, clearing to command past the :27.4 quarter pole. They continued to front the eight-horse field through middle splits of :56 and 1:26.1 en route to the one and a half length victory in 1:55.3. Fox Valley As and Baximum came on for second and third. To read the rest of the story click here.
Legal Brief stuck his nose out in time to win a photo in Wednesday's featured race at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Trained and driven by Jordan Derue, Legal Brief (Party At Artsplace) survived a first over journey to prevail for the third time in six local tries. The even money favorite worked hard to best rival One Shark Road (Jim Devaux) who nearly wired the field but had to settle for second. Longshot Five Across Nickey (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot. Legal Brief stopped the timer in 1:58.3 for his victory in the $6,000 conditional-claimer. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway    
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