Day At The Track
Mike Tanev, harness racing

Tanev lashes out at industry shutdown

Mike Tanev of Toronto, CA has been a longtime harness racing fan, owner and an activist for the Standardbred industry in Canada. He has been calling upon industry officials and government representatives to allow racing to resume during both lockdowns in Ontario. He has a vast understanding of the Covid-19 situation as he has two sons, Branden and Chris Taney, playing in the NHL, who are allowed to play during the lockdown and go through protocols every day for Covid-19. When it comes to expressing his opinion, watch out as Tanev’s bark is worse than his bite. Especially when it comes to the second shutdown of harness racing in Ontario. “It is just ridiculous what is going on,” Tanev said at the start of the interview. I did an interview a reporter from the Toronto Sun Tuesday and I asked him “Tell me what businesses are now closed during this lockdown in Ontario.” He thought about and I then told him, gyms, barbers, hair salons, nail places and the racetracks. Every other business in Ontario is open in one form or another. “And of all these places,” Tanev stated. “the safest place to be is the racetracks because before the lockdown they had proper protocols in place and not one reported case of Covid-19 during the entire time they were racing. “It is an absolute joke that racing is not allowed in Ontario.” Tanev added. Tanev also slammed Woodbine and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA). “They (COSA) ran their televised podcast Sunday,” Tanev said. “And the first thing out of the mouth of hosts Greg Blanchard and Mark McKelvie, who I had respected very much as top people in our industry until this show. They started off talking about without any racing now they would have plenty of time for golfing. These guys are the voice of harness racing and at such a crucial time they are joking about going golfing while there are thousands of horse people whose livelihood are being taken away from them. It was an absolute joke for them to start off the show that way. “It just threw me overboard,” Tanev said. “I thought we were getting some headway. Jim Lawson of WEG called me Friday and I thought we had a great discussion on going forward full blast to get harness racing back going. He told me he was “taking off the gloves” and instead, he announces that the Thoroughbred meet will be put on hold. “Then he (Lawson) announces that hopefully we will be able to race after the lockdown,” Tanev said. “Well, the way the Canadian government is handling the Covid crisis so poorly, that this lockdown could continue for another month. It’s just brutal the way this has all been handled.” Tanev has also been on the phone with COSA President, Hall of Famer Bill O’Donnell. “I talk with Bill sometimes three times a day,” Tanev said. “I talked with him this morning (Monday) and asked why I’m not on the COSA TV program? I’m one of the few owners in Ontario that gives a s—t. The vast majority of owners are silent. They are not going out and talking with the media, not going out and talking to their government officials. The Toronto Sun reporter asked me for the names of other owners. I told him what’s the use of giving you names, these owners don’t say a word. “Since the first lockdown,” Tanev complained. “I’m the only one that has gone out and spoke with the media, with COSA, with Jim Lawson, with government officials.” There has also been a drove of horses leaving Ontario to race in the United States and that alone could cause big problems even if racing is allowed to start up again. “These owners and trainers know we are in trouble,” Tanev explained. “And I guess they are smart to send their horses to race in the USA. At least they have a chance to earn some money back to pay for all the bill. Horses have to be cared for seven days a week, racing or not. I would be curious to know how many horses have left Ontario to race in the USA. At least 500 or more I would think at this juncture.” Tanev also talked about a recent meeting with all the top sports organizations in Ontario and government officials. “Lawson was telling me last Friday,” Tanev said. “That there was this major meeting with all the major sports teams’ executives about getting the exceptions to continue to play the high-level professional sports. Well, guess what, they did not invite horse racing! The Ontario government did not think that horse racing is not a major sporting event in the province? “Well, we’re a professional sport,” Tanev said about horse racing. “A high-level professional sport. If we had been invited to that meeting, we well could still be racing live today. “Right now,” Tanev explained. “The only team that’s playing in Toronto is the hockey team because we have a separate Canadian division.” “Racing in North America had done so well with little or no Covid cases for months,” Tanev said. “We have developed protocols that have worked so well. But we need to get this across to the government officials and the only way to do that is for everyone in the industry to open their mouths, write or call their government officials and tell them like it is. “A lot of people look at me like I have three heads,” Tanev laughed. “They call me a loud mouth. But they fail to realize I have two kids who play in the NFL. I know what they have to go through daily with covid protocols. “Owners have to get off their duffs,” Tanev ranted. “And become outspoken and demand that we can start racing again. I told Lawson that what needs to be done right away to for everyone to send a legal letter. Not a law suit, just a legal letter from a top law firm in Toronto, explain all the protocols and why racing should be allowed to start up again. The government must respond to a legal letter. We need to get their attention in a big way.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Carter Dalgety,Harness racing

Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety

Down Under trainer, driver and horses have fantastic harness racing day of winning. Kelvin Harrison and Andrew McCarthy who are both ex-pat down under horse trainer and driver respectively had a big day at the office on Friday at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Trainer Kelvin Harrison won four races and driver Andrew McCarthy won five races. It was a large day for the pair and to top it off all four of Harrisons winners were with down under racehorses all driven by McCarthy. Starting of the successful day came Big On Personality N who lead throughout and hung on to win in 1:51.4 for American Owner and big time supporter of down under horses Richard Poillucci. Next was well bred mare Bettor Trix N who found her way back into the winners circle in North America after a successful Canadian racing campaign. She got up to win in 1:52.1. Big On Personality N winning at Harrah’s Philadelphia Persimmon A then backed straight up in the following race and smashed fellow race competitors to clock 1:51.4. Finally making it three races in a row Claytons Bettor N made a mess of rivals when leading up in the running and shooting clear to cruise past the wire in 1:52.4. Bettor Trix N, Persimmon A and Claytons Bettor N are all owned by Curtin ANZ Stables who also has a large down under connection. Overall it was an outstanding effort by all down under horse people and races horses involved.   Monday 5th April Miami Valley Raceway OH Ideal Legacy A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $4,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Leonidas A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $40,000   Tuesday 6th April Yonkers Raceway NY Galante A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $15,000 Speed Man N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $15,000   Wednesday 7th April Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Jenora A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $5,600 Real Lucky N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $6,800 Trojan Banner N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $6,800 American Boy N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $8,800   Saratoga Harness NY Rckaroundtheclock N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $5,100 Gina Grace N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $4,825 Misty Memory N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $7,200 Pasultimatedelite N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $3,600   Thursday 8th April Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Thebuckeyebullet N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $8,500 Imshortandsweet N – Time: 1:53.3 Stake: $9,000   The Meadows PA Dream Out Loud N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $7,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Motu Moonbeam N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $12,000   Friday 9th April Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Bigonpersonality N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $6,800 Bettor Trix N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $8,800 Persimmon N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $6,800 Claytons Bettor N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $5,600 Steel The Deal N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $10,000   Meadowlands NJ Bettor Not Bitter A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $11,250   The Meadows PA Dream Out Loud N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $7,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Im Benicio A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $12,000 Wardan Express A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $10,500   Saturday 10th April Freehold Raceway NJ Solid Asa Rock A – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $6,300 Sporty Spook A – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $4,200   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Callmequeenbee N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $8,500   Meadowlands NJ Ana Afreet N – Time: 1:49.4, Stake: $30,000 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Colossal Stride A, 3rd Vettel N   Miami Valley Raceway OH Lucifers Legend A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $6,500   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA   Blow A Cloud N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,800   Sunday 11th April Bangor Raceway ME Media Queen N – Time: 1:58.1, Stake: $3,300   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Robbie Burns N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $10,000 Tango Dancer N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $10,00   Northfield Park OH Rub Of The Green N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $10,500 He Can Fly N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $7,200   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

Mitchell Kerr, Harness racing

Kerr gets lifetime ban for corruption

Following a Judicial Control Authority hearing last month harness racing trainer Mitchell Kerr has been banned from ever training horses again. The JCA has handed down the life ban effective immediately, after Kerr was found guilty of four charges. NON RACEDAY INQUIRY RIU V M P KERR - REASONS AND PENALTY DECISION DATED 13 APRIL 2021 - CHAIR, HON J W GENDALL QC Created on 14 April 2021   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY Information Numbers: A11694, A11696, A11698, A11699 In the matter of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT S A Irving, Investigator Informant AND MITCHELL PAUL KERR Licensed Trainer and Open Driver Respondent Inquiry held at Addington Raceway, Christchurch on 25 March 2021 REASONS, and PENALTY DECISION DELIVERED 13 APRIL 2021 Judicial Committee: Hon J W Gendall QC - Chair Ms F Guy Kidd QC - Member Present: Mr D Jackson – Counsel for Informant Mr S Irving – Informant (RIU) Mr D Bates – Witness for the Informant Ms K Williams – Registrar On 25 March 2021 there were other persons present including Harness Racing and press representatives. 1. The Informant RIU charged Mr Kerr with 4 Serious Racing Offences as provided in Rule 1001, alleging that he on each of the occasions, or during the periods defined, committed dishonest or fraudulent acts connected with harness racing. 2. The Informations allege that he offended, by acting in breach of New Zealand Harness Racing Rule 1001(1)(p) and subject to penalties pursuant to Rule 1001 (2) in the following ways: CHARGE 1: Information A11694 “Between September 2019 and November 2020, fraudulently sold a horse and charged training fees and expenses to the owners of the said horse that did not exist, for the purpose of his own financial gain…” [Although perhaps inelegantly worded, the charge was understood to mean, in its first line that he purported to sell a horse that did not exist, and later charged training and other fees to the owners when such did not arise for the non-existent horse] CHARGE 2: Information number A 11696 “Between 2017 and 2020 dishonestly syndicated ownership in horses “A Taste of Honey” and “Come Together” for the purpose of his own financial gain…” CHARGE 3: Information Number 11698 “Between 2019 and 2020 fraudulently over syndicated ownership of the horse “California Dreaming” for the purposes of his own financial gain…” CHARGE 4: Information Number 11699 “Between 2018 and 2020 dishonestly charged owners for insurance premiums on horses when no policies were purchased, for the purpose of his own financial gain…” 3. Rule 1001 (1) in its relevant provision, states: “Every person commits a serious racing offence …who…. (p) commits any dishonest or fraudulent act connected with harness racing”. 4. The penalty provisions for a Serious Racing offence are contained in Rule 1001(2), an offender being liable to (a) a fine not exceeding $30,000 and/or (b) Suspension from holding or obtaining a licence for any specific period or for life, and /or (c) Disqualification for a specific period, or for life. 5. We record some of the background process leading up to the hearing as follows: • After complaints had been made, and Mr Kerr had surrendered his Trainer’s Licence, he refused any interview with the RIU Investigator. • The Informations (originally 5 but one was later withdrawn) were lodged with the JCA on 21 December 2020 and Mr Kerr was served with them on 22 December 2020. Receipt acknowledged by Mr Kerr on 12 January 2021. • He was requested on 13 January 2021 to advise the JCA and RIU whether he admitted or denied any or all of the charges and whether he had legal representation. • He sought time to engage counsel and advise of his plea(s). This was granted. • On 12 February 2021 his counsel advised the Committee had he had received initial instructions to act but there had not been sufficient time to advise as to any plea(s). • Consequently the Committee accorded the Respondent a further indulgence, and asked him to advise by no later than 22 February 2021 whether Mr Kerr proposed to admit or deny any or all of the charges. • No response was forthcoming. • The JCA then fixed the hearing date for 25 March 2021 at Addington and advised the parties. Over 2 months had elapsed since Mr Kerr was served and further delay was unacceptable given his silence. 6. Then, on 15 March 2021, the JCA was advised by Counsel that Mr Kerr had dispensed with the services of Counsel and that “Mr Kerr will now be representing himself in this matter”. 7. The Executive Officer of the JCA at the direction of the Committee advised Mr Kerr that he was required to attend at the hearing on 25 March 2021. He has not attended. 8. Mr Kerr at 8.53am on the morning of the hearing sent an email to the JCA Executive Officer. He said he “could not afford to attend” because of cost and “mental health” issues. He gave no particulars and we cannot see cost of attendance was an issue given that he was representing himself. He said, “I dispute the allegations”. He apologised to the JCA. He added: “I would ask that any material that is prejudicial to me is to be suppressed as it is likely that I will be facing police charges and therefore I would like to protect my fair trial rights”. 9. We heard Submissions on that issue from Counsel for the Informant and a Press Representative present. The application for suppression was declined (Fifth Schedule, Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Judicial Committee and Appeals Tribunal) • Under R 20.1 all hearings are open to the public unless the Committee makes an order that it or any part be held in private. Members of the public are present, and in any disciplinary hearing it is inevitable that “prejudicial material” will be presented to support charges. The profession and public are entitled to know if there has been misconduct through breach of the Rules of the profession. • No criminal proceedings are pending. • Issues of admissibility of evidence and standards of proof are specifically different. • What the Respondent does not want is publicity but that has in a large measure already occurred in Media articles since the Respondent handed in his Trainer’s Licence in late 2020. • Even if later criminal charges were to occur, a Judge (if trial before a Judge alone) will well understand which evidence or material can be admitted. If, which is unlikely, a jury trial occurred – as is always the case, the Judge can properly direct a jury on only using evidence heard in court, and to ignore and put aside anything they may have heard earlier. • Respondents in professional disciplinary proceedings – whether in Racing or other professions – cannot expect a cloak of secrecy to prevent embarrassment when other community and industry interests prevail. • Finally, any decision of the Judicial Committee shall be published by the JCA on its website, unless there is otherwise a direction – Rule 30.2 10. Given the non-attendance of the Respondent, and he clearly had notice of it, he chose to dispense with Counsel and maintain the cloak of silence, we have had to proceed under R. 24.1. Rule 24.2 provides that evidence of fact or opinion which could have been given orally may be given by way of written statement or affidavit and that the Committee has the same power to deal with the Respondent as if he had appeared. 11. We received written statements, properly certified as required, from 7 witnesses together with 39 Exhibits. The evidence which we accepted as persuasive, and which was relevant to the Informations to which it applied, established to our comfortable satisfaction, that is on the balance of probabilities (as required by Rule 31.1 Fifth Schedule) that each Information was proved. Indeed, we concluded by a wide margin, well beyond what the Rule required, that the charges were established. 12. Having delivered our findings as to liability we heard Submissions from the Informant’s Counsel as to penalty. We also heard oral evidence or Statements from Mr D Bates, and Mr P Varcoe (by telephone from Queensland), in the form of victim impact statements. 13. We have since accorded Mr Kerr a further opportunity to submit any penalty submissions he wished us to consider. These were to be received by 5pm Tuesday, 6 April 2021. He has not responded. 14. We now record our reasons for the findings on each Information and deliver the penalty decision. 15. At the outset we need to make it clear that Mr Kerr cannot escape a disciplinary hearing and possible sanctions by relinquishing his Trainer’s Licence. Apart from the fact that his serious misconduct occurred when he held a licence, in any event the long-established law (as early as 1934 by the Privy Council in Naylor v Stephen and the New Zealand Supreme Court in Caddigan v Grigg [1958] NZLR708), any person who so acts as to bring himself within the ambit of the Rules of Racing is liable to the sanctions provided in those Rules. Indeed the NZ Rule of Harness Racing, in Rule 102(1)(o) specifically provides that the Rules apply to “every person who acts so as to bring himself within the purview of these Rules”. That proposition has been applied in several New Zealand cases of discipline for those who infringe against a Racing Code. 16. Information 11694 – Dishonestly or fraudulently selling a “horse” and charging training fees and expenses to the owner, for his own financial gain, when the horse did not exist. 17. Mr P Varcoe is a businessman residing in Queensland. His evidence was that he had been involved in the NZ Harness Racing Industry for many years and he had 3 horses with the Respondent whom he regarded as a friend. In September 2019 he was telephoned by the Respondent. His evidence was that he was told: a) He had a horse brought to his stable and that he had “driven the horse and it was that good that I had to buy it”. b) He was told the price was $40,000 but he only had $20,000. A persuasive salesman, the Respondent said it was by “Bettor’s Delight” (a colt or gelding) and “it’s too good to miss, you’ve got to buy it”. c) Mr Varcoe talked a good friend, John Beverley, into buying the other $20,000 half share in the horse. He advised the Respondent the next day, who told him that the “horse was good to go and it would be ready to run in 3-4 weeks”. An invoice for $40,000 was sent to Mr Varcoe and partner, and paid. 18. Over the next 9 months the Respondent sent monthly invoices to the “owners”, which have been produced as exhibits, for incidental expenses, shoes, vitamins, winter and summer covers, hopples, bridle, herpes injection, training fees, grazing fees, massage and the like. These totalled $26,175.75 over the 9 months. 19. The “horse” was given the stable name of “Beaver” as that was Mr Beverley’s nickname. 20. Mr Varcoe and Mr Beverley telephoned the Respondent monthly to inquire as to progress that their “horse” was making over those 9 months as they had not been able to sight it at workouts, given they had been told it was likely to run 3-4 weeks after October 2019. The Respondent deflected inquiries by saying he would take the horse to workouts “the next week”. 21. By 9 November 2020, the parties’ concerns increased and Mr Beverley emailed the Respondent to say that since purchasing the horse on 27 September 2019 they had received no proof of ownership; he had seen his solicitor; they would like a copy of the “vendor/purchaser document and would like to see a photo of the horse with brand neck visible; and a copy of “insurance papers which has expired”. 22. Mr Beverley concluded: “If we don’t have these documents within 7 days my solicitor will be contacting NZ Harness as well as Christchurch police. Cheers, Beaver.” 23. The Respondent’s email reply was immediate. He said: “No worries Beaver. I will get all this through to you within 7 days. I’ve had nothing but a challenge with this horse and it’s very frustrating as I’m trying to do the best I can for you guys; it certainly hasn’t worked out like I thought it would ….. I am hopeless with the paperwork side but understand your frustration. I will get you what you are wanting, that is fine and hopefully we can get a result soon”. 24. Next, within a week, on 16 November 2020, the Respondent sent an email to the “owners”, in which he said: “Hi guys. I will call you both today to discuss the future of this boy but he is not shaping up at all and I don’t think he is going to make the grade. He has really failed to progress like he should have and I expected, his attitude has certainly slipped and his work on Saturday morning was very ordinary and he is failing to impress me. Enough is enough he either goes for a break and try again next year, give him away as a hack or I will try and sell him to someone else for you guys (this will be hard but I’ll do my best and is the best option I feel). There’s not enough money in the game at the moment for a horse like him … Anyway will call you both today …” 25. The deception and pretence continues. Mr Beverley is not to be fobbed off. Within 8 minutes on 16 November 2020, he sent an email to the Respondent. He said: “I am very disappointed in your email reply you have not answered one of my requests Theirfor (sic) you give me no option but to take legal action. You have continually avoided sending any photos or ownership documents this is why you give us no other option but to take this action”. 26. The fat is now well in the fire. But the Respondent continues the pretence. He emailed back the next day on 17 November 2020, and said: “For God sake!!! I sent an email yesterday outlining my thoughts around the horse and ask for you to get back to me. A: What you wanted to do and B: if you still wanted me to register him now that you had my views and that it would be a waste of money. Now that clearly is all you want is this. I will get this organised, give me a couple of days and it will be done. …. However, I will get an email away to the old owner and get that side sorted hopefully today. I’m really upset that you both think you don’t have a horse, this is insane! I agree paperwork is not a strong point but gee whiz I’m certainly not like that! …. Now please hold off on whatever your thinking as you are way off the mark. Leave it with me.” 27. The stance of a professional Trainer is breath-taking. He endeavours to demean those who he has cheated by saying how upset they have made him by the “insane” belief they did not have a horse. It reflects a continued betrayal. 28. The Respondent is now desperate. The evidence is clear that: a) He immediately sought to acquire a 4yo Bettor’s Delight gelding that a Senior and highly respected Canterbury Trainer had (or he thought he had). He desperately wished to buy this horse but was honestly and responsibly told by the Trainer that “he was no good and I’ve sacked him”. His evidence was “the horse was simply not good enough and I could not recommend him”. His evidence was that the Respondent was “insistent that he wanted to buy” the horse. So he referred him to the owner so as to ask if it could be leased. “No, (said the Respondent) I want to buy him”. b) Two days later the Trainer was told by that Owner that she had “the most bizarre call ever from Mitchell Kerr … he had offered her $20,000 to buy (the horse) but she wouldn’t sell as it was not worth that.” c) The Senior Trainer’s evidence was that he was really surprised “how Mitch was so desperate to buy him after I told him he was no good”. 29. It is obvious, now that the full facts are known, why there was such desperation to find a horse so as to perpetuate his deception. 30. Undeterred, the Respondent, then approached the Spreydon Lodge training operation on 19 November 2020. The evidence of Mr McRae, which we accept, was: • The Respondent, by phone, asked if Mr McRae had an unraced Bettor’s Delight for some owners of his. • He was told there was an unraced 4 year old (Franco Lebanon) spelling in a paddock (nearby). • The Respondent said he would go out and have a look at it that day. • Later that day the Respondent rang back to say he “had just looked at the horse, and he’d take it.” • Price was discussed and he agreed to pay $25,000. • The whole thing was “really unusual and he was in a real hurry. Buying and selling horses is never done like this and it’s just not normal”. 31. The $25,000 was never paid so the horse never left the property. 32. But, the Respondent had something of what he wanted; a photograph of a Bettor’s Delight horse. He immediately sent to the Australian clients the photo of Franco Lebanon, which he obviously took, with the message: “Hopefully it works this time, if it doesn’t I’ll try a different method. If you cannot read the brand – Breeding Bettor’s Delight/Lucca Bromac. Ring today with what you decide with, regarding me training for free and scraping (sic) the bills and taking a share. We’ve come this far so now I’m invested as well and want a result for us all”. 33. Mr Varcoe’s further inquiries revealed that he was certain the Respondent had “deceived, defrauded and lied to me about this horse for over a year.” The partners had paid out $66,175.75 for a horse that did not exist. The Respondent further has not said how they might be repaid and restitution has not occurred. 34. The evidence was overwhelming. There had been not only one act of deceit in securing the purchase price of $40,000 but 9 further and separate frauds on the clients in obtaining monthly payments for expenses that did not, and could not, exist. There had been multiple acts of dreadful betrayal. The serious Racing offence, and corruption, involved multiple dishonesty. Information A11696 – Between 2017 and 2020 dishonestly syndicated ownership in the horses “A Taste of Honey” and “Come Together” for the purpose of his own financial gain. 35. Mr Don Bates was a retired mature person who owns a standardbred horse breeding business. He has spent all his life involved in the Harness Racing profession/industry. He bred a filly by Art Major out of the mare from a family that he had developed and loved over many years. It was named “Taste of Honey”. He was a friend and client of the Respondent. 36. In 2017, when the filly was a yearling, she was offered to the Respondent on a “50/50 deal”. This is a common arrangement in the Racing Industry – where the owner pays no training fees, and 50% of incidental expenses are shared, as is any stake money earned split 50/50. But Mr Bates’ evidence, which we accept, was that he explicitly told the Respondent he was not to sell his share as he did not want to have anyone else in the racing of the horse. 37. Despite those clear directions, the Respondent proceeded to try to syndicate his “share” in the horse. It came as a complete surprise to Mr Bates, about 6 months later, when he was told by a stranger that he had a 10% share in the filly. He went to see the Respondent to tell him, again, that he had given him a half share to train, not to sell. The Respondent said that there were no other owners. 38. The next development was about 2 days prior to the horse’s first race on 12 April 2019, when the Respondent presented Mr Bates with change of ownership papers which showed that 40% of the 50% share of the Respondent had been sold, the Respondent retaining 10%. Mr Bates, a compliant and kindly man, thought it was a fait accompli and did not want the horse prevented from racing because of an ownership dispute. 39. It was later on 2 July 2020 that the Respondent told Mr Bates that he “had a real problem that I’m like the only one that can help him out, he said he had sold 60% of Taste of Honey and he only had a 50% share” … he said it was a genuine mistake. He said he had sold 6 shares for $10,000 each, having valued her at $100,000. Mr Bates said the Respondent should have to pay him the $10,000 he had received for his 10% he had sold. The Respondent said he did not have the money but if Mr Bates would agree to be shown as having only 40% of his filly, he would make up the deficit from any stakes thereafter won. Mr Bates was very unhappy about this yet felt he had to reluctantly agree so that this promising filly could continue to race. There was never any such payment made by the Respondent to Mr Bates. 40. There were other matters of concern to Mr Bates including the non-payment of insurance premiums (although paid by him to the Respondent) for the filly, and this is dealt with under Information A11699. 41. Mr Bates also bred a filly by Art Major named “Come Together”. It was given to the Respondent to train, on the same 50/50 deal and he had no agreement or consent to dispose of his share. Within 10 days, on 10 December 2019 the Respondent had, unbeknown to Mr Bates, emailed his other clients as follows: “Hi …. Here is an awesome opportunity to get involved in a beautiful 2yo filly called “Come Together”. “She is an Art Major out of Blackbird Fly I’ve done everything with her from day dot and she is very nice! She will be all set to race in February. There is a 25% share available for $12,500 10% $5,000 I own 25% Don Bates 40% [this was false] Mark … 10% Really nice guys…” 42. Mr Bates confronted the Respondent and told him that he did not have to honour any sales, but he was told that “he had to”. On 26 November 2020 the Respondent told Mr Bates that he had sold shares to 5 persons for percentages of 25%, 25%, 10%, 12%,25%, and it was not difficult for Mr Bates to conclude that with his 50%, the total ownership shares was 147%. So, whoever was to be the loser, the Respondent was obtaining 97% on his half share. Mr Bates was adamant that he would not agree to any change of ownership and has advised those persons from whom the Respondent has obtained funds to seek refund from the Respondent. 43. The evidence, which we accept, overwhelmingly establishes Information 11696 that the Respondent dishonestly over syndicated (and indeed oversold), for his own financial gain, ownership in the 2 horses, and seriously breached his duty of good faith to his owner and friend. Information A11698 -Between 2019 and 2020 fraudulently syndicated ownership in the horse “California Dreaming” for the purpose of his own financial gain. 44. California Dreaming was a $20,000 purchase at the 2019 sales and owned by a Nelson client of the Respondent. He gave the horse to the Respondent on the usual 50/50 deal. Mr Bates was offered and took a 15% share for $8,000, but later found out that the Respondent had “oversold” his 50% share to 14 persons. He had obtained $92,300 payment for what represented 152.5%, without the knowledge or permission of the original 50% owner. Exhibit “6”, a message from a financial advisor to those who “invested”, confirms that figure. It appears that there were actually 29 “shareholders” who became victims, as some smaller shares were secured on behalf of groups. The Advisor says: “As for the debt Mitch has with us ….. It may be a good idea that we issue a request for payment of the $92,300 he has taken off us before we consider setting up any syndicate with the proper owner so that he has the chance to pay or face the consequences. Does anyone not wish to chase him for their share?”. 45. As with his actions under Information A11696, the evidence clearly establishes that the Respondent for his own financial gain corruptly obtained funds from others by selling that to which he had no entitlement. His modus operandi as used with Mr Bates’ horses was repeated. He has offered no explanation or information to illustrate that he has any answer to what on its face is apparent. Information A11799 – obtaining funds from several owners for insurance premiums for hoses he trained when he did not obtain policies and pay those premiums 46. This was a representative charge. The evidence before us was that, at the very least, despite invoicing clients and receiving payments, for insurance premiums the Respondent did not take out any insurance policies and pay premiums on the following: Taste of Honey The Major William Wallace Come Together California Dreaming Manhatten Absolute Dynamite The “Dummy” horse 47. This has been confirmed by NZB Insurance and Crombie Lockwood. And the Respondent has provided no answer. There are likely to have been other horses not insured and premiums unpaid, although paid by owners to him. There is ample evidence to prove the representative charge. Amounts in excess of $20,000 have been obtained. And, seriously, some of the horses had calculated insurance values, (upon which premium were invoiced) at levels as high as $150,000, $100,000, $120,000. So, the owners were, unbeknown to them, having to carry the uninsured risk. 48. This charge was proved. 49. The Committee received expert evidence which may have relevance to each of the 4 charges as it relates to possible financial issues of the Respondent. It is evidence of B D Payn, an expert Betting Analyst employed by the RIU. The essence of his evidence was (a) Between 2009 and 2016 the Respondent had opened and closed a number of accounts with the New Zealand TAB (b) In November 2020 information had been received that the Respondent had been betting with accounts with the Australian based corporate bookmaker Ladbrokes. On 27 November 2020 Ladbrokes was (under its formal agreement with the New Zealand TAB) requested to provide betting details for the Respondent’s account for 2019 and 2020, (c) The account was opened on 9 November 2016 and spreadsheet detailing all activity encompasses over 60 pages and was produced to the Committee. (d) expert analysis of the spreadsheet data is that the Respondent’s account showed betting on New Zealand and Australian harness, thoroughbred, and greyhound racing and; in the 2019 year it lost approximately $320,000 in the year 2020 it lost approximately $630,000 50. That evidence naturally does not prove any of the allegations but might be seen to provide a background to the fact that the Respondent, a horse Trainer, needed access to some source of funds to accommodate, in 2020, a net deficit of about $50,000 per month. PENALTY OUTCOME 51. The various considerations that ought to be taken into account in the exercise of the sentencing/sanctioning exercise are well known. We have been referred to the comments made by an Appeal Tribunal in RIU v Lawson (13 May 2019) (in particular in paras [26] – [33] as to the general purpose of disciplinary sanctions . We need not repeat all that was then said. Suffice if we say that factors may include: • punitive outcomes on a transgressor • the professional body marking its condemnation and disapproval of the offending conduct • the gravity of any transgressing conduct • the need to protect the public and profession and those who participate in it • the need to maintain or restore public confidence in the profession • the upholding of proper standards of conduct and behaviour • protection of the reputation of the profession and Trainers • deterrence both personal, but also crucially in a case such as this, general deterrence. That is that others who might be tempted to offend in similar ways will know the sanction that they will face if they offend. Other offending is to be deterred so as to protect others and the Industry/profession. 52. We have been referred to comments by the Supreme Court in Z v Complaints Assessment Committee [2009] 1 NZLR 1 as to the purpose of professional disciplinary proceedings which essentially marry with remarks made in Lawson. 53. The Respondent’s conduct as illustrated over the 4 Informations, reaches in its cumulative sense the highest level of serious misconduct. We find it to be seriously corrupt as mentioned in Rule 1001 (1). The interests of Harness Racing requires that the Respondent be subject to an order for disqualification, he has by his repetitive actions forfeited any right (which there is none in that sense, as rather it is a privilege) to be involved in the Harness Racing profession or enjoy any of the benefits of horse racing. 54. As mentioned, the need to deter others who might choose to deceive owners or others in the misguided view that they are entitled to operate in similar ways is crucial. The confidence of owners and others in the absolute integrity of Trainers in whom total trust is vested, is vital. The Sport cannot endure if owners cannot trust Trainers. We heard somewhat poignant evidence from Mr Bates when he said that he found it hard now to trust other Trainers any more having felt cheated and defrauded. He has spent 50 years in the Code that was part of his life. Disturbingly, he said that he has been subject to adverse comments from some sections of the Canterbury Harness Racing community, in a sense ostracising him, and blaming him, he feels, for daring to make his complaints about the Respondent. If that is correct, it is lamentable. So as a consequence he has had to remove his horses to race in Southland and no longer in Canterbury. The significance of that is, if there should be any Trainers or others who might breach these Rules, the general deterrence following from this sanction may prevent similar abuse and deceit of, helpless, owners. It is that general deterrence principle to which we give special weight, in the sentencing balancing exercise so that any Trainer who might tend to forget to whom their duty lies, are aware of possible sanctions they might face if they transgress in similar ways to their owners’ detriment. 55. The confidence of owners in Australia who invest in the New Zealand Harness Racing Industry, must have taken a serious impact, with significant harm to the Code. 56. The Respondent must be disqualified. The only question is for what period. The aggravating features of his offending are many. They include: • dishonest betrayal of many clients over a lengthy period • multiple separate deliberate deceptions of the Australian clients over a year with the reputational harm to New Zealand Harness Racing that must follow • the amounts of funds in excess of $60,00 extracted from the Australians • his blatant actions and attempts to hide his actions and continued self-entitled demeaning of their legitimate concerns • the degree of harm, financial and otherwise, he has caused to those who paid him large sums for shares in horses that could not be supported • his leaving the owners of valuable horses uninsured without their awareness, but took the premium payments for which he rendered invoices • the cumulative impact of the four Informations with the estimated loss to others is in the region of $250,000 which might be greater if smaller syndicate members and owners, and close associates of the Respondent are included • The multiple individual victims – as many as 50 – although precise number are to ascertain • The emotional impact, apart from financial, on many who have been betrayed by the professional they believed they could trust. • Mr Bates’ emotional harm and loss of many thousands of dollars, after 50 years in the sport he has loved is immeasurable • the Respondent has a previous historical offence in 2015 for betting in a race, on a horse which he was driving, for which he was fined $650 57. There are no mitigating factors. All the Respondent has said was that: he has “mental health issues”, but provides nothing in support. It may be that, as a result of the proceedings and disclosure of his grievous wrongdoing, he has developed anxiety, worry, depression and the like (who would not in the circumstances). But there is nothing to suggest intellectual incapacity or compromise over the lengthy period of his offending he says that he has no financial means to meet any financial or costs orders. 58. He cannot call in aid an early, or any guilty pleas. He has continually declined to cooperate and as recent as the day of hearing maintained a denial. Sadly, he has never expressed any remorse or contrition to his victims or the RIU or the JCA. This attitude of self-entitlement illustrates no genuine remorse or sorrow for his victims or the serious harm that has been done to the Harness Racing Code to erode the trust all persons must have in Trainers. We allow the possibility that he has been so embarrassed and traumatised by the discovery of his actions that he cannot “face the music”. But he cannot call in aid as mitigation on sentence any claim of remorse, contrition, apologies (of which there have been none), guilty pleas. 59. The seriousness of the totality of the Respondent’s actions over an extended period, affecting multiple owners/clients, involving very substantial amounts of money, with egregious, appalling breaches of duties of faith and fiduciary obligations, (the ghost horse, the taking of insurance premiums, and the deliberate overselling of syndicate shares), require disqualification for life. Where there is egregious corrupt practice, over an extended period, life disqualification should follow. No other sanction can meet the need to uphold the objectives to which we have already referred in para (51). He is unfit to be involved in any way in the Racing Industry or profession. He can access the provisions of the Rules (Rule 1303,1205) to see the effect of a disqualification order. OUTCOME 60. The Respondent is disqualified for life commencing, in terms of Rule 1301 immediately today the 13th day of April 2021. 61. Somewhat benevolently, the RIU did not seek an order for costs, despite what we gather had to involve vast expenses incurred in investigating and prosecuting the charges. 62. So too, the costs incurred by the JCA have increased expotentially only because of the actions, or inaction, of the Respondent. They now amount to very significant amounts and have arisen only because of the Respondent’s actions. He is ordered to pay a small contribution towards those expenses. We fix that sum as $3,000. It may be that he will not meet that order but under Rules 1401 – 1410 the JCA requests the Board of Harness Racing NZ to direct that Mr Kerr be put on the Unpaid Forfeit List. 63. Likewise, those many victims who have sustained financial loss, are entitled to act under Rule 1403 and request the HRNZ Board to direct that the debts (arrears) owing to them by Mr Kerr be recorded on his Unpaid Forfeit List. By the Judicial Committee. Dated this 13th day of April 2021. Hon J W Gendall QC Chair Ms F Guy Kidd QC Member

Ron Burke, Harness racing

Draw complete for $514,000 Borgata Final

On Tuesday afternoon (April 13), the harness racing draws were held for the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, both of which will take place on Monday, April 19 at Yonkers Raceway. In addition to the finals, there will also be consolation races in both events. Leonidas A finished with the most points in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, but the draw for the final was not kind to him, as he will start from post seven in the eight-horse field. Austin Siegelman will be in the bike behind the Sheena Mcelhiney-trained and Jesmeral Stable-owned 6-year-old Mach Three gelding. Trainer Ron Burke has a powerful trio in the MGM Borgata final, as he will send out Rockapelo, Backstreet Shadow, and This Is The Plan. Rockapelo drew the coveted pole position for driver George Brennan, while his stablemates Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) and This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) weren't as fortunate in the draw, as Backstreet Shadow has post six and This Is The Plan the eight. Western Joe, driven by Dexter Dunn for trainer Chris Choate, and Hesa Kingslayer N, piloted by Jim Marohn Jr. for trainer Mike Deters, both scored multiple victories in the prelims, and they will start from posts five and two, respectively. Rounding out the group are Mach N Cheese (post three, Joe Bongiorno/Edwin Quevedo) and Lyons Steel (post four, Corey Callahan/Dennis Watson). Mach N Cheese secured a spot in the final by winning in the final round of the event, while Lyons Steel picked up his lone victory back in the opening leg. In the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, Alexa Skye, who went four-for-four in the preliminary rounds she entered, got post six for driver Todd McCarthy, trainer/co-owner Jeff Cullipher, and co-owner Pollack Racing LLC. Her main rival, Blue Ivy, who raced in all five legs, scoring three victories and two second-place finishes, will leave from post three for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Todd Buter, and owner Renee Bercury. Trainer Nick Devita has a pair of finalists in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final in Siesta Beach (post two, Matt Kakaley) and Caviart Cherie (post seven, Austin Siegelman). Siesta Beach picked up one victory in the preliminaries, while Caviart Cherie checked in second three times. Ron Burke will also be represented in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final as he has Snobbytown in the race. Snobbytown, who had one win, one second, and one third-place result in four starts, will depart from post five with George Brennan at the lines. Machnhope, who will be driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley, started the Blue Chip Matchmaker two-for-two before finishing second and third in her last two appearances. She had the best luck in the draw for the final, as she will start from post one. Completing the entrants in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final are Monica Gallagher (post four, Jason Bartlett/Chris Height) and My Ruebe Star N (post eight, Jordan Stratton/Shane Tritton). Neither mare was able to get a win during the preliminary rounds, but they did score points in each leg they entered. Monday's card gets underway at 7:15 p.m., with the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final going as race seven and the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final following it in race eight. The $60,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series consolation is the fifth dash on the ten-race card, and the $100,000 MGM Borgata Series consolation comes up after that in race six. From Yonkers Raceway

The art of being a harness racing trainer is undoubtedly a test of patience, and Victorian horseman John McGillivray passes that test with flying colors on any measure! The distinctive McGillivray silks of green, yellow strips and orange sleeves bobbed up on Warragul Cup Day behind the only horse the 71-year-old trains, that being nine-year-old Lotakevi (Stonebridge Regal – Lotasilkari (Iraklis). And while the 100-1 shot winner caught punters off guard, it was no great surprise to McGillivray, and provided a happy reunion for a winning combination. Watch the race replay click here! “Dasha (reinsman Daryl Douglas) hasn’t driven for us for 11 or 12 years, and the last horse he won on for us was Lotakevi’s mother, Lotasilkari,” McGillivray said. “When I saw he was down to drive a couple at Warragul, and I needed a driver, my wife Rhonda and I were rapt to have him on – and he got the job done!  Dash’s our pinup boy alright!” he joked. “Dasha” Douglas and John McGillivray renewed acquaintances in the best possible way at Warragul McGilivray has been in the sport for 30 years, and in that time has raced only eight horses as a trainer. “Actually, in addition to Lotakevi and Lotasilkari, we raced Lotakevi’s grandmother, too, Lotaliberty,” he said. “My 60th birthday present was a service for Lotasilkari, and I was a bit keen to go to Diggers Idol.  Rhonda had picked up a picture at the Ballarat trots one night of Stonebridge Regal though and she loved the look of him. So while I was still thinking about it, Rhonda just booked ‘Emily” in to Stonebridge Regal!” he said. “We lost her first foal, but exactly 12 months later to the day, on November 14, 2011, along came Kevi.” That was only the beginning, however. “Kevi was all ready to go to the races when he did a suspensory, and he did a good job of it, too.  The vet Hugh Cathels described it as a ‘horrible suspensory’ and he used pretty strong language, which he doesn’t normally do, but it is a terrible looking leg,” McGillivray said. “We did all the right things, gave him the time he needed and put in the TLC and we finally got him to the races (in July 2018). Since then he’s won three for us, which doesn’t sound brain snapping, but he’s run 21 placings as well from his 85 starts. It’s around 25 percent, which isn’t too bad. “We’ve had a great time with him – both Rhonda and I love being in the sport, and Kevi’s won $35,000 and half a VicBred bonus, which we never thought we’d see.  He’s part of the family, dead set!” Stewards queried the improved performance of Lotakevi after the Warragul win, but McGillivray said although the victory was a little unexpected, he wasn’t totally surprised. “They (stewards) have got to and that’s fair enough, but it’s the old story – he’s actually been racing all right. I have been training him a little differently though, and I think that’s made a difference with his issues,” McGillivray said. “Since we bought a jogger in November, Kevi hasn’t been trained in the cart at all – he goes on the jogger every day, and really his only fastwork is at the races.  I think it’s agreeing with him because since November he’s had a personal best time, and second personal best time, and at Warragul, everything just fell into place.” McGillivray is based at the Croydon Light Harness Club, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. “It’s a fantastic little setup with a few hobby trainers – they tried to close us down a few years back, but we survived.  There’s around eight horses here that are currently racing and everyone is a hobby trainer, so we all work in together and help each other out,” he said. “Just being in the sport is great for both of us.  Rhonda had to have a stay in hospital just before Easter, so she couldn’t get to Warragul, but the win has given her a huge lift.  We always buy a photo, and every time you walk past that, you smile again. “For both of us, it’s probably just the people, here at the track, and in the sport in general. When we got the win, it was the last race and there still would have been 30 people who came up and congratulated me and the phone ran hot! “It keeps you active and it keeps you thinking, and you never stop learning. I very rarely sit in the cart these days, but just sitting behind your horse, and contemplating life, it’s magic.”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When it comes to learning a new trick, Manchego might be able to provide lessons to old dogs. Already the fastest female harness racing trotter in history, the mare adapted quickly to a change in racing tactics toward the end of last season that rejuvenated her campaign and ultimately extended her career. Manchego was mired in a five-race slump last October when trainer Nancy Takter made several equipment changes in the hopes of getting the then 5-year-old mare to relax on the track. Manchego had raced on the front for more than a year — she led at the half-mile point 15 times in a 17-race span — and Takter said, “We decided that going down the road wasn’t working for us anymore.” Among the changes were the addition of an ear hood and the removal of blinkers in favor of an open bridle. The result was, Takter said, “a whole new Manchego.” In her first start following the alterations, Manchego came from sixth at the half to finish second to Gimpanzee in a prep for the Breeders Crown. She trotted her final quarter-mile in :25.1. Then came wins in the Breeders Crown Mare Trot and TVG Series Open Trot championship to close the season. Manchego was fourth at the half in both races. “She’s become multi-dimensional,” Takter said. “It makes her a different horse. It’s hard to do all the work in all the races all the time. If you’re getting pushed to the half every week, eventually you are going to get tired. It’s nice to finish the miles strong and not always be teetering on ‘E’ all the time. “I think she liked having a target because it was different for her. It was probably fun for her to pass horses rather than have all the pressure on her all the time.” Manchego’s turnaround helped propel her to the Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, the second divisional trophy of her career. She also was a Dan Patch Award honoree at the age of 2 in 2017, when she went undefeated in 12 races. Her renaissance also resulted in owner Barry Guariglia deciding to postpone Manchego’s retirement, which had been announced in November just prior to the TVG Series championship. Takter revealed in early January that Manchego would be back. Manchego made her first racetrack appearance of 2021 this past Saturday in a qualifier at The Meadowlands, where she finished third behind Back Of The Neck and Lindy The Great. Manchego, with regular driver Dexter Dunn, was timed in 1:52.3. She was fifth until the stretch and trotted a :25.3 final quarter-mile. None of the 49 other horses to qualify that day came home faster. “Watching her, I was euphoric,” Takter said. “She was so relaxed and so quiet. She just let Dexter do what he needed to do, and when he asked her to go — and he didn’t really super ask her to go — she just sprinted home. “She looked absolutely amazing. She’s always had a good gait, but she really looked like she was stretching out nice. I was really happy with her qualifier.” Takter plans to qualify Manchego one more time ahead of her season opener in the first round of the Miss Versatility Series on May 8 at The Meadowlands. Manchego, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic, has won 33 of 56 career races and earned $2.72 million. Her victories include the 2018 Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown titles at ages 2, 4, and 5. She is the fastest female trotter ever thanks to her 1:49 victory in the 2019 Allerage Farms Mare Trot at Red Mile and also the fastest female trotter in history on a five-eighths-mile track, with a time of 1:49.3 in last year’s Spirit of Massachusetts at Plainridge Park. Manchego is the only female trotter to win with a sub-1:50 mile in multiple years. She has been the sport’s fastest trotter in 2019 and 2020. “If there are horses that have one season like her season, we’re like, oh what a great horse,” Takter said. “But she’s done it so many years now it’s just amazing. She’s one of the greatest that’s ever lived, that’s for sure. “She genuinely loves to be a racehorse. She’s miserable when she’s off. She likes to be out on the track and do her work.” Work she will continue to do, thanks to adapting to change. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Hearts are full with optimism and hope that future stars and potentially sires are in new hands and ready to embark on harness racing careers following the weekend’s first Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale. More than $6.3 million passed hands across 203 lot sales at Oaklands Junction, of which 77 per cent were pacers and 23 per cent trotters, achieving a 75.46 per cent clearance rate and a $31,355 sales average. It was a satisfying result for Nutrien Equine’s Mark Barton, who caught up with Gareth Hall and Adam Hamilton for a post sale analysis (video below). “A lot of money changed hands, it’s a busy couple of days, but we’re really pleased with the way we’ve been received by the market and the industry as a whole,” Barton said. “Some really good highlights and a solid day.” The headlines belonged to lot 107, which was offered by Benstud Standardbreds, Peter and Zillla O’Shea and John McGeechan, who earlier purchased Our Golden Goddess off Merv Butterworth at the end of a brilliant racing career that produced 17 wins from 29 starts and almost $450,000 in stakes. Their investment quickly paid off, with her first colt – by Bettors Delight – fetching a sales topping $180,000, having been snapped up by renowned Melbourne owner Jean Feiss. The colt will race for Hayden Cullen, now the trainer of what was previously Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s All Star Stables, who had long raced Feiss’ talented brood. “When I got the book he was a lovely pedigree. Yesterday was the first time I had seen him and I liked him,” Feiss said. She said a big draw was that the colt was also eligible for New Zealand’s sires stakes. Leigh and Alison Miles produced the top priced filly, with their lot by Captain Treacherous out of You Ask Ally attracting a bid of $115,000. You Ask Ally is an unraced Sportswriter mare whose dam was Amarillen, making her a half-sister to Villagem ($626,585), Miss Graceland ($244,658), Nostra Beach ($266,190) and the brilliant broodmare Pixel Perfect, who in turn has produced the likes Soho Tribeca ($1,103,854) and Carlas Pixel ($480,128). While the pacing sales topper looks set to head across the Tasman, the trotting sales topper may well be enjoyed for generations to come in Victoria, with plans for not only a racing but sire career. Alabar shelled out $170,000 for lot 177, who was a Father Patrick colt out of Une Belle Allure. Raced and bred from by Pat Driscoll’s Yabby Dam Farms, Une Belle Allure amassed $176,810 across her 25-start career, including a dynamic three-year-old season that captured four Group 1s. Alabar General Manager Brett Coffey said the colt cost “a lot of money, but we loved him”. Coffey said he viewed the yearling with Andy Gath, who will train him, “and he was a standout to us”. “Looked over him a couple of times since, a few times here, and (Alabar owner) Alan (Galloway) looked at him yesterday, and he’s just got a lot of presence about him. His looks match his page and that was important to us. “Not many fillies win Derbies and (Une Belle Allure) won a Derby, she won numerous other races, (she's) by Angus Hall out of a French family – a lot of nice things there, a lot of boxes being ticked. “All credit to Pat and his team. They’ve done a terrific job with their horses. This guy we thought was the best, so we went pretty hard on him and ended up getting him. “Hopefully Andy can win some Group 1s with him and then he can retire to Alabar and stand at stud. That’s the plan anyway.” CLICK HERE FOR THE SALES RESULTS CLICK BELOW TO WATCH NUTRIEN EQUINE'S SALES WRAP   Harness Racing Victoria

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to name three people and three horses to be inducted as the Hall’s Class of 2021.  As previously announced, the Board of Directors agreed to reduce the number of inductees for the Class of 2021 to three per breed. This will allow for the 2020 and 2021 inductees to be properly recognized together, once a gala event may be hosted. The Hall determined additional inductees will be added in 2022 and 2023 to offset the smaller class of 2021. The Standardbred Election Committee inductee selections for 2021 include Builder Jim Bullock, Driver Randy Waples, and Female horse Great Memories.   Erin, Ontario resident Jim Bullock has made immense contributions to the Canadian harness racing industry over the past 30 plus years as an owner, breeder, stallion syndicator, race track administrator and organization leader.  Following his purchase of Glengate Farms in 1992, he stood three stallions that are now members of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame -- Balanced Image, Angus Hall and Apaches Fame, and each stallion has had immeasurable impact on the Canadian harness racing landscape. While Bullock has suspended the stallion division of Glengate, he continues to be active as a breeder with a broodmare band of approximately 30 top quality, trotting-bred mares, built largely by retiring some of his most successful race horses including Gramola, Juanitas Fury, Pepi Lavec and Oaklea Odessa.  Bullock’s Glengate Farms can also lay claim to being co-breeder of double millionaire Art Official, world champion JL Cruze who went on to make over $1.6 million and CHRHF inductee Odies Fame.  It also seems rather fitting that Glengate Farms-bred Great Memories is also included in the CHRHF Class of 2021.  Jim has worked with leading organizations in the industry such as the Woodbine Entertainment Group as a director and the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association where he served as the organization’s president for more than nine years. Jim also played a significant role in the SBOA New Owner Mentoring program, created to introduce and educate new owners to the industry.   In 2013 he was recognized by the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association with the Van Bussel Award for exemplary service and the Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award for meritorious service.  Although 2021 Driver Inductee Randy Waples was born with harness racing in his blood, he still needed to earn what he accomplished as a driver.  After spending close to 10 years honing his craft at tracks throughout Ontario, the trajectory of his career changed in 1996 when he won 150 races in 1,197 starts in what would be the first of 22 consecutive years as a driver with earnings reaching into the millions.  The three-time O’Brien Award as Canada’s Driver of the Year, Waples also has a long list of stakes victories on his resume including the 2012 North America Cup with Thinking Out Loud, three Maple Leaf Trot wins with San Pail (CHRHF Class of 2016), as well as Breeders Crown Championship wins with San Pail and Dreamfair Eternal (CHRHF Class of 2014) and two wins in the Canadian Pacing Derby with Strong Clan (1997) and State Treasurer (2016). Other notable accomplishments include four Battle of Waterloo wins and leading driver in Ontario Sires Stakes earnings in 2001, 2002 and 2010.   In April 2018 when harness racing moved from Woodbine to permanently reside at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Waples was declared the all-time leader in wins at the Toronto facility with 2,605 victories.  Nationally Waples is the all-time leading money-winning driver of races held in Canada, sporting more than 6,600 wins and $131 million in purse earnings. While the majority of Waples career has been spent on Canadian soil, his name was also added to U.S. record books when he won the Kentucky Sire Stakes Final at The Red Mile in 2000 with Real Desire, for trainer Blair Burgess (CHRHF Class of 2017), in a time of 1:50.4, a world record at the time for two-year-old pacing colts.  The 2021 Standardbred Female Horse Inductee Great Memories is a daughter of CHRHF 2000 Inductee Apaches Fame and out of Armbro Emerson daughter Save The Memories.  Purchased as a yearling by Kenneth Fraser and Duane Marfisi, who also trained the filly, Great Memories’ race career was cut short due to an injury at age three..  Bred by fellow CHRHF Class of 2021 inductee Jim Bullock at his Glengate Farm in Campbellville, she now resides a few kilometres up the road in Rockwood and is owned by Ontario Standardbred nursery Warrawee Farm.   Among Great Memories’ offspring are two world champions:  Warrawee Needy and Warrawee Ubeaut. A winner of 29 races and more than $1.25 million, Warrawee Needy was freakishly fast at two (1:49.4s),  faster still at three (1:48.4s) and the fastest in the world at four (1:46.4) for trainer and CHRHF Inductee Carl Jamieson.  Named the 2011 O'Brien Award winner for two-year-old pacing colts/geldings, Warrawee Needy was virtually unstoppable as a freshman, ending his nine-win rookie season by capturing the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack.  At age three, Warrawee Needy duplicated his stakes-winning and record-setting ways. After setting an OSS speed record of 1:49.4 at two, he also set the record for three-year-olds with a 1:48.4 performance as a sophomore.  At four, he won an Aquarius Series leg, his US Pacing Championship elimination and his William Haughton Memorial elimination at the Meadowlands Racetrack in world record time. In her first season on the racetrack in 2018, Warrawee Ubeaut won seven of 12 races and earned a division-leading $646,995 en route to divisional honours in the U.S.  Her wins included the $600,000 Breeders Crown and $207,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes.  In addition, her 1:48.3 victory in a $61,250 division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile made her the fastest two-year-old pacer (regardless of sex) in harness racing history.  At age three Warrawee Ubeaut continued to impress matching her lifetime mark, again at Lexington, and winning 12 of 19 starts for earnings of $1,066,415, including an eight-race win streak. Notable wins included the Breeders Crown, the Jugette elimination and final and in doing so equalled the world record for a three-year-old pacing filly over a half-mile track.  Her 2019 efforts were rewarded with a Dan Patch Award for her age category. As a four-year-old, Warrawee Ubeaut added the Roses Are Red title to her resume and lifted her earnings to nearly $2 million by season’s end. Great Memories’ 10 racing age progeny have earned more than $4.2 million with four horses, Warrawee Needy, Warrawee Ubeaut, Warrawee Vital and Big Bay Point --breaking the 1:50 barrier and two surpassing the $1 million earnings mark. The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame congratulates all of this year’s inductees and their connections.   For more information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, please visit www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com.  From the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame  

Preliminary round action in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series concluded on Monday night (April 12) at Yonkers Raceway with a trio of $40,000 divisions that were won by Backstreet Shadow, Mach N Cheese, and Leonidas A. It was also another well-received program on the wagering front, as the handle on the ten-race card checked in at $951,089. Backstreet Shadow (Yannick Gingras) took full advantage of the pole position in the first split, going to the lead and putting up fractions of 27.3, 56.1, and 1:24.1 over a surface that was rated "good" and a second off. Western Joe (Dexter Dunn) took up the chase by going first-over out of third in the backstretch, but he couldn't make any headway on the outside, allowing Backstreet Shadow to turn into the lane with a clear advantage. Once they hit the stretch, Western Joe suddenly hit top gear and began to gain on Backstreet Shadow, but Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire half a length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) came in third. BACKSTREET SHADOW REPLAY   A 6-year-old gelding by Shadow Play, Backstreet Shadow is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., Larry Karr, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Backstreet Shadow, who won twice in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, now has a record of 26-12-6 from 64 starts, and he has earned $910,162. The 3-5 favorite, Backstreet Shadow paid $3.40 to win and was atop an $8.90 exacta and a $107.50 trifecta. In the second grouping Semi Tough (George Brennan) cut out panels of 27.3, 57, and 1:25.1, but Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno), who had come first-over from fourth before the half, made steady progress on the rim into second on the far turn. In the lane Mach N Cheese forged his way by Semi Tough, then held off a three-wide bid from pocket-sitter Western Fame (Dan Dube) to score by three-quarters of a length in 1:54 flat. Semi Tough held third over Mac's Jackpot (Dunn). MACH N CHEESE REPLAY   Mach N Cheese, who picked up his first triumph in the series, is trained by Edwin Quevedo for owner Save The Day Stable. A 6-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar, Mach N Cheese is now a 16-time winner in his career, and he has put away $283,512. Sent off at 9-2, Mach N Cheese returned $11.20 to win and keyed a $56.50 exacta and a $138.00 trifecta. Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman) left from post one and lined up the field in post position order right out of the gate in the last section, then led through an easy tempo of 28.4, 57.4, and 1:25.2. Leonidas A's two main rivals in the field, Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn Jr.) and This Is The Plan (Gingras) were in fifth and sixth, respectively, until beginning to advance first-over and second-over in the third turn. Though they made gains after pulling, Leonidas A had the jump on them and stayed in front, prevailing by a length and a quarter in 1:53.3. This Is The Plan kicked home widest in the stretch to get up for second over Hesa Kingslayer N. LEONIDAS A REPLAY   Finishing four-for-four in the preliminary rounds of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, Leonidas A is a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Sheena Mcelhiney for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A now has 29 career wins, and he has banked $311,848. He was the 3-5 favorite and paid $3.20 to win. The exacta kicked back $6.10, and the trifecta was worth $11.80. Unofficially, the eight horses that advanced to the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final were: Leonidas A (300 points), Western Joe (283), This Is The Plan (275), Hesa Kingslayer N (262), Backstreet Shadow (250), Rockapelo (230), Mach N Cheese (220), and Lyons Steel (192). Both the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and the $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final will take place next Monday (April 19), and the draws for those two races will occur on Tuesday afternoon (April 13). Stakes action continues this week at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday (April 14), as three $20,000 splits of the final leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series will go behind the gate in races six, seven, and eight. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Officials at harness racing circuit Flamboro Downs today (Apr. 12) announced the cancellation of the 2021 Confederation Cup due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The race for four-year-old pacers was scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 23. This will mark the second consecutive year the Confederation Cup has been cancelled due to COVID-19.    All nomination fees and sustaining payments submitted for this year’s Confederation Cup will be refunded.    Live harness racing is currently suspended at Flamboro Downs and all tracks across Ontario due to the provincewide stay-at-home order.  Officials with Flamboro indicated that they are currently in discussions to add an invitational for four-year-olds at Georgian Downs during its summer meet. From Standardbred Canada

One of Australia's youngest full time race commentators, 20 year old Luke Humphreys, lives, eats and breathes harness racing - and still has to pinch himself that he's making a career from his obsession with horses and racing. "I got my big break when I was 18, in a full-time role with Harness Racing Victoria - but I'd been practising race calling since I was 10 or 11," Humphreys said. "Dad always had horses, standardbreds, and I never really wanted to do anything else," he said. "I was a singer in a band at school and was pretty serious about that at one stage, and I also thought about camera work. I even thought about being a trotting driver, but I could see that would be very hard. The passion for calling came first, and it was definitely the thing, so I just kept at it." Humphreys, who is based at Gisborne, near Melbourne, became the trials commentator at local greyhound, trotting and racing clubs from the age of 15 - around the same time he became co-host on a community radio harness racing program at Melton. He began as a part-time caller at RSN (Racing Sports Network) radio when he was 16 and spent two years there before working his way into the full-time role at HRV. He clearly remembers one of the "biggest thrills" in his life was climbing the stairs to the commentator's box at Mildura trots on a warm day in 2019. He'd received the call up for his first "real" race calling gig, at Mildura trots. "Mildura always had a bit of an aura about it, and Craig Rail (Humphreys' predecessor) had really made the place his own," Humphreys said. "It's a bit of a unique set up, because of the isolation and the number of meetings held there, and just the following the sport has. That first day I remember as 40 plus degrees, there was a decent crowd, and I was just rapt to be there. "I was just so proud to be able to say that I'd called the Mildura trots! Little did I know that a couple of months later, I'd be lucky enough to get the gig when Craig left, and Harness Racing Victoria offered me a full time job." Commentator Luke Humphreys, Mildura Harness Racing Carnival CEO Michelle McGinty and Luke’s dad Paul Humphreys enjoying the party that is the Mildura Pacing Cup carnival Humphreys is now the permanent Mildura caller and works on roster at other regional tracks. He said he had learned a lot from the support of mentors such as Dan Mielecki, Rob Auber, Matt Hill and Greg Miles. "You never stop learning, I don't think. You take little bits of everyone and then develop your own style," he said. "I generally prefer to call off the screen because with binoculars you can sometimes only see a small section of the field and miss something important. "I always have in my mind that you've got to save yourself that little bit extra, in case something unexpected occurs right up until they cross the line." Humphreys signature parlance "true Mildura style" is now a catch cry for the circuit's tight, unpredictable and competitive racing but due to COVID-19 he had to wait two years to roll out the phrase for the three-day Mildura Carnival party last week "It's humbling how much that phrase has taken off. I never wanted it to or thought it would as much as it has," Humphreys said. "I don't like overdoing it but it definitely deserved to get a few mentions during Mildura Cup week!"   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Trenton, NJ — In any profession that takes place in the public arena, an offspring trying to follow in their famous parents’ footsteps usually has advantages and disadvantages, such as the pressure of living up to their predecessors’ accomplishments. Harness racing driver Tyler Miller, however, feels it’s a one-way street void of potholes. “I really only think it helps me,” Miller said. “I guess the pressure of my mom and dad being my mom and my dad just fuels my fire even more and makes me try to be as good as them, if not better.” That in itself is a lofty goal as Tyler’s dad is Andy Miller, who ranks 20th in North American harness racing history with 9,663 wins. And then there is his mom, Julie Miller, who has 2,020 training victories, and his uncle Erv Miller, with 5,654 training triumphs. Julie ranks 19th in lifetime purses for a trainer ($45,718,446) and Erv is third ($89,904,892). With that kind of pedigree, it’s no surprise Miller climbed into the sulky after earning a business administration degree from Rider University. “It’s always been in my life from when I was born,” the 23-year-old said. “I’ve always lived my life at the racetrack and didn’t really see a different career path for me.” He was not forced into it, but just the opposite. While his parents gave Tyler free reign on his career path, Julie firmly insisted he get a college degree to have something to fall back on. Miller had no problem with that, although he began to sense his future while attending New Jersey’s Allentown High School, which is nestled in a cradle of outstanding harness racing personalities. Tyler had always helped around the barn on weekends and in the summer. But around age 14, when he would attend a Hambletonian or Meadowlands Pace, is when Miller started to realize his dad was a cut above in his profession. “When they had the autograph sessions at The Meadowlands, you’d just see these huge lines of people waiting to get autographs from all the drivers racing that day, and you’re like ‘Well one of the people they’re waiting to get an autograph from is my dad,’” Tyler recalled. “That was pretty cool to see and realize what was actually going on.” Around that same time, Julie was interviewed by WorkingMother.com and quipped that “I overlap how I treat horses and kids.” Asked if his mom ever inadvertently served him hay for dinner, Tyler laughed and said, “Yeah, maybe we ended up with a bowl of grain at the dinner table and the horse got the steak dinner, but that only happened once.” Julie’s desire for Tyler to graduate college was no joke, of course, and for four years he put horses on hold except for when he came home in the summer. “I would come back if they needed help, the ride was only 30 minutes away,” Miller said. “But if I went to school, I wanted to make sure I got the full experience of college and live those four years to the fullest. Then I would come back and go to work. “When I got my degree, I realized that horses were what I wanted to do and I dove right in. My parents gave me a lot of freedom and let me decide what I wanted to do with my career and how I wanted to pursue my life. I chose harness racing and that’s what I’m sticking to.” Miller feels his infatuation with driving began to take hold toward the final two years of high school. “It’s so much fun to be around these horses, they all have their own personalities,” he said. “Once I started training more at the barn, helping my parents out — going faster on race bike trips and just feeling the horses wanting to race, just the speed and endurance and mainly the adrenaline rush you get from driving — once I got the bug, I couldn’t get rid of it. I really started working at the barn a lot more in the summers and did a lot more around here.” Tyler’s first drives came while still in college, when he had two wins and two places in seven starts. He made 21 starts with seven wins the following year and went at it full time in 2020, getting 12 wins and hitting the board 57 times in 165 starts while earning $101,300. After 181 starts this season, he has 17 wins, 12 seconds, 19 thirds and $112,066 in earnings. Miller drives predominantly at Freehold but has also raced at The Meadowlands and Yonkers. “I’m happy so far,” he said. “It’s always nice to win and stuff, but I’m just trying to take away something from every drive; make each one a learning experience and just take as much away as I can from everything.” There is no specific victory that stands out so far, but some that are special. “Mainly just racing and winning some races at The Meadowlands,” Miller said. “Just because that track has such history around it from the number of horses and horsemen and women that have traveled over that track and been around that track. It’s almost surreal to be able to say you’re racing at The Meadowlands.” Tyler admits that maybe his last name “helps a little” in making his way, but Andy and Julie are letting him do it on his own. Miller refuses to use their names to help himself get drives. “I’ve kind of been earning my own way,” he said. “I guess it helps because they are my parents and they’ve been around the business forever but for the most part I’m just trying to earn my own way and make my own name for myself.” He is not averse to asking Andy for tips but is quick to point out his dad would never force advice on him. “He kind of lets me do my own thing and learn as I go, but he’s always there if I have a question of whether I should have done this or should have done that,” Tyler said. “But he doesn’t tell me how to drive, he kind of just lets me learn how to drive my own way. But he’s always there if I need advice, or tips on how to get the most out of a horse.” Tyler hasn’t ruled out training in the future but for now is totally focused on making it as a driver. He has no problem going to others beside his dad for help. “I try to learn something from anybody I can,” he said. “Driving at The Meadowlands is one of the best colony of drivers there is. I try to take something from them, and everywhere else I drive at.” Sounds like a guy who truly is making his own way. by Rich Fisher, for the USTA

The top lot of Australia’s inaugural Nutrien Yearling Sale is heading to NZ. The Victorian-based Jean Feiss broke her recent trend to buy exclusively at the NZ yearling sales when she splurged $180,000 on a Bettors Delight colt out of former star Kiwi filly Our Golden Goddess yesterday (Sunday). “He’s the first yearling I’ve bought in Australia since Sicario five years ago,” Feiss said. “He’s already booked to fly across to NZ to Hayden (Cullen). “I really liked this colt and the clincher was the fact he’d been paid-up for the NZ Sires Stakes. I’d urge everyone to pay-up for as many of those futurity races as possible.” The now Victorian-based Nathan Purdon took home four yearlings, including the $90,000 Bettors Delight-Miss Hazel colt. Former Kiwi, now Victorian-based Tim Butt, splurged on six yearlings, including $90,000 for a trotting colt by Quaker Jet out of Glenferrie Burn offered by Yabby Dams. The trotting flavour at the sale was very strong and headlined by Alabar Farms paying $170,000 for a colt by Father Patrick out of Victoria Trotting Oaks and Derby winning mare Une Belle Allure. “We’ve had a long association with Andy Gath and we think he’s the best trainer of trotters in Australia, so that’s where he’s headed,” Alabar’s Brett Coffey said. Another to turn heads was trainer Matty Craven paying $110,000 for an Art Major colt out of former brilliant Kiwi-bred mare Arms Of An Angel (by Elsu). Across the two days of the Nutrien sale, 269 lots were offered, 205 for a clearance rate of 77.07 per cent. Sales totalled $6,400,000 at an average of $31,219.   by Adam Hamilton

Those were the words of race caller Fred Hastings after Anntonia had displayed brilliant speed in annihilating her rivals in the harness racing Group One Bathurst Gold Bracelet on 27th March. To watch this race click here Anntonia is now one of the most exciting 3 year old fillies to have graced racetracks in NSW over the past ten years at least. The winning mile rate for the 1,730 metre trip of 1.52.1 was not only a new Track Record for 3 year old fillies but a Track Record for a horse of any age or sex. The daughter of Bettors Delight shares a birth date [19th November] with another flying filly - in this case a two legged one by the name of Gail Devers. The American flyer with the flashy fingernails won Gold Medals for the 100 metres at both the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. So maybe that birth date of 19th November will be an omen for buying any Fillies at future Sales. Anntonia was a $90,000 purchase at the 2019 APG Sydney Yearling Sale. Although the price was pretty steep at the time it is now looking like a bargain as she has banked over $230,000 in just twelve lifetime starts. Those twelve starts have resulted in 7 wins and 5 second placings. She is bred on that highly successful cross of Bettors Delight over a Christian Cullen mare - the cross that has produced the likes of Lazarus, Chicago Bull, Highview Tommy, Amazing Dream and many more Group winners. “My owners Charlie and Ann Sammut really like the Bettors Delight progeny and so we picked out Lot 396 at the Sydney Sale that year. We did go and look at some other fillies but kept coming back to Lot 396 and although a bit on the small side we knew we just had to buy her. “ said Anntonia’s trainer David Thorn recently. Anntonia is actually the full name of Charlie Sammut’s wife and despite being involved as an owner in Harness Racing for many years this Filly is their first Group One winner. Maybe Charlie, you should have named a horse after your wife many years ago. Bred at Goulburn by Matt Day Anntonia was bred and sold by Goulburn, NSW breeder Matt Day and is the third foal and third filly produced by the Christian Cullen mare Perfect Penny. Perfect Penny certainly didn’t light up the racetrack - her eight starts produced just one win and two placings and the bankroll of $7,073 didn’t indicate what lay ahead in her new career as a Broodmare. Even her first foal by Art Major didn’t leave a clue as to Perfect Penny’s future stardom. Canberra owner and trainer Michael Hawke moved the filly, named Riccarton Lass, on after five unplaced starts. Queensland based breeder Adam Cahill is now the benefactor of that move with her first foal selling for $30,000 at the recent APG Melbourne Sale. But then along came an American Ideal filly in 2015 which Cawdor, NSW trainer Paul Fitzpatrick took a liking to at the 2017 Sydney APG Sale. Now named Miss Halfpenny she has put a big smile on the face of her owners as well as some $235,400 into their Bank account, plus now another tidy sum after being sold recently as a Broodmare. Anntonia is the third foal whilst the first colt from Perfect Penny was sold to Paul Fitzpatrick at the 2020 Sydney Sales for $31,000. Named Rocknpenny, the son of A Rocknroll Dance has made a perfect start to his race career having won on debut at Menangle on 23rd March. A full brother to Miss Halfpenny was knocked down for $70,000 at this years Sydney APG Sale, whilst a full sister is being aimed at the 2022 Sales. Perfect Penny has provided Matt Day with a perfect return on the original investment of the mare with an Art Major filly at foot that he acquired from the late Brian Hardy. Being just 12 years old there is likely to be plenty more “ pennies “ pour into the Matt Day bank account. John Coffey Bloodstock Consultant

WILKES-BARRE PA - The impressive Top Me Off is now 2-for-2 in the Bobby Weiss Trotting Series for sophomore trotting males after winning in 1:57.1 over a "good" track Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Hoolie N Hector joining him with two Weiss wins after a 1:57.4 clocking in his division, all four of which carried a purse of $17,500. The Bar Hopping ridgling Top Me Off showed his maneuverability in this week's Weiss event, for after racing in front in his previous two 2021 starts trainer/driver Todd Schadel raced him in the pocket behind his fair circuit foe of last year, Killer Instinct. Come the stretch, though, Schadel right-lined his three-year-old, and he went right on by for his ninth win in 19 lifetime starts. Todd's wife Christine owns the swift youngster along with Rick and Regina Beinhauer. TOP ME OFF REPLAY   The Muscles Yankee gelding Hoolie N Hector was let go at 19-1 when he won last week, but this time the crowd sent him off as the favorite, and the trotter rewarded their insight, sweeping wide on the final turn for Anthony Napolitano to win going away over the off going for trainer Andrew Adamczyk and owner Joseph Meaney.   HOOLIE N HECTOR REPLAY   Fastest Weiss winner on the card was the Credit Winner gelding Credit Con, and technically you could say that he too is undefeated in the series - and the season - since his 1:57 victory came in his first start in seven months minus a day. Tyler Buter coaxed enough out of the 11-1 shot to record the triumph and a new mark for trainer Todd Buter and owner Lee Sitto.   CREDIT CON REPLAY   Ceffyl Dwr got a big second quarter breather on the lead, and then scooted home in successive quarters of :29 to win his Weiss section in 1:57.1. Named after a "water horse" in Welsh folklore, Ceffyl Dwr may have had an "advantage" over the wet going as he posted a lifetime best for driver Jackie Ingrassia and trainer/husband Frank Ingrassia; Jackie also shares in the ownership of the Andover Hall colt with Donna Franchetti and Thomas Doran.   CEFFYL DWR REPLAY   George Napolitano Jr. followed up a five-bagger on the Saturday card with four more victories on Sunday. Weiss Series competition carries on during the Monday afternoon card at Pocono, with three sections carded for the second prelim for pacing fillies, and the middle contest matching first-week winners So Irresistible and Milieu Hanover is perhaps the most competitive. Post time for the Monday card at the Downs is 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From PHHA/Pocono  

« Article Archive
USA
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Europe
Vernon Downs in New York opens its 2021 harness racing season this Saturday, but with no spectators in the stands. Click here for the television report that appeared Tuesday evening. From Harnesslink Media
Freehold, NJ --- One of the east coast's top harness racing trotters makes his return to Freehold Raceway on Friday (April 16), as Melady's Monet looks for his third win at Freehold this year.   He was assigned the outside post position in the eight-horse Preferred Handicap trot, but nevertheless looms as a serious contender. In his 12-year-old season, this Hermann Heitmann-trained gelding continues in fine form, with five wins from ten starts on the year. He enters this race on a two-race winning streak at Yonkers Raceway. He's won twice at Freehold this year, taking the Preferred Handicap on January 15 and January 22.   Eric Abbatiello, who drove him to victory in those two starts, will once again be in the sulky.   The top five finishers in last week's Preferred Handicap trot will return to face Melady's Monet. Levitation, last week's winner, was assigned post position seven, for trainer Franz Wolf and driver Austin Siegelman. This 6-year-old gelding has been in fine form lately, with three wins in his last four starts at Freehold.    Winneress led most of the way last week before getting caught and finishing second. He will leave from post position five, for trainer Symon Spicer and driver Jim Marohn Jr. Mugshot Jess, a veteran of Freehold, was a strong third in his first start off the layoff. This 14-year-old and trainer/driver Taylor Gower will leave from post position four.   Allindotime, last week's fourth-place finisher, has post position three. Bill MacKenzie is the trainer, Steve Smith will drive. Doc's Swan Song, for trainer Mike Terpolilli, was fifth last week after recovering from a break, and has post position two with driver Luke Hanners.   Casino Cutie It, who won the Preferred Handicap on March 12 for trainer Tom Fanning, and Major Impact, a Pocono Downs shipper for trainer Robert Baggitt Jr, complete the field.   The race is scheduled as the sixth race on Friday, with a post time of about 2:10 PM.   The first of nine races at Freehold on Friday will go at about 12:30 PM.   From Freehold Raceway
On Tuesday afternoon (April 13), the harness racing draws were held for the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, both of which will take place on Monday, April 19 at Yonkers Raceway. In addition to the finals, there will also be consolation races in both events. Leonidas A finished with the most points in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, but the draw for the final was not kind to him, as he will start from post seven in the eight-horse field. Austin Siegelman will be in the bike behind the Sheena Mcelhiney-trained and Jesmeral Stable-owned 6-year-old Mach Three gelding. Trainer Ron Burke has a powerful trio in the MGM Borgata final, as he will send out Rockapelo, Backstreet Shadow, and This Is The Plan. Rockapelo drew the coveted pole position for driver George Brennan, while his stablemates Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) and This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) weren't as fortunate in the draw, as Backstreet Shadow has post six and This Is The Plan the eight. Western Joe, driven by Dexter Dunn for trainer Chris Choate, and Hesa Kingslayer N, piloted by Jim Marohn Jr. for trainer Mike Deters, both scored multiple victories in the prelims, and they will start from posts five and two, respectively. Rounding out the group are Mach N Cheese (post three, Joe Bongiorno/Edwin Quevedo) and Lyons Steel (post four, Corey Callahan/Dennis Watson). Mach N Cheese secured a spot in the final by winning in the final round of the event, while Lyons Steel picked up his lone victory back in the opening leg. In the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, Alexa Skye, who went four-for-four in the preliminary rounds she entered, got post six for driver Todd McCarthy, trainer/co-owner Jeff Cullipher, and co-owner Pollack Racing LLC. Her main rival, Blue Ivy, who raced in all five legs, scoring three victories and two second-place finishes, will leave from post three for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Todd Buter, and owner Renee Bercury. Trainer Nick Devita has a pair of finalists in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final in Siesta Beach (post two, Matt Kakaley) and Caviart Cherie (post seven, Austin Siegelman). Siesta Beach picked up one victory in the preliminaries, while Caviart Cherie checked in second three times. Ron Burke will also be represented in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final as he has Snobbytown in the race. Snobbytown, who had one win, one second, and one third-place result in four starts, will depart from post five with George Brennan at the lines. Machnhope, who will be driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley, started the Blue Chip Matchmaker two-for-two before finishing second and third in her last two appearances. She had the best luck in the draw for the final, as she will start from post one. Completing the entrants in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final are Monica Gallagher (post four, Jason Bartlett/Chris Height) and My Ruebe Star N (post eight, Jordan Stratton/Shane Tritton). Neither mare was able to get a win during the preliminary rounds, but they did score points in each leg they entered. Monday's card gets underway at 7:15 p.m., with the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final going as race seven and the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final following it in race eight. The $60,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series consolation is the fifth dash on the ten-race card, and the $100,000 MGM Borgata Series consolation comes up after that in race six. From Yonkers Raceway
CUMBERLAND, ME - With the 153rd season of harness racing at the iconic Cumberland Fairgrounds kicking off Saturday, May 8th the Cumberland, Maine harness track has launched a new website and social media page on Facebook. First Tracks Cumberland has secured 56 racing dates for 2021 with the Spring/Summer cards set for a post time of 4:15 pm (EDT). A full calendar can be found at https://firsttrackscumberland.com/racing-info/ Live harness racing will be held Tuesdays and Saturdays through July 31. First Tracks Cumberland collaborated with Bangor in the North and Plainridge in the South to ensure that horsemen had seamless racing opportunities with no overlap. Racing starts back in November for the Winter Festival, post time 11 a.m. for three, and sometimes four days per week, through December 31. Be sure to follow First Tracks Cumberland on Facebook @FirstTracksCumberland for all the racing previews, staff profiles and updated information. by Chris Tully, for First Tracks Cumberland  
Loader
Loader
Loader
Loader

Additional Articles