Solar Sister and driver Doug McNair

Mach Three fillies strike Gold at Mohawk

 JULY 2, 2015 - Solar Sister took command of the three-year-old pacing filly division with a 1:50.3 victory in her harness racing Ontario Sire Stakes Gold division at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. Starting from Post 2 in the second $105,000 Gold split, fan favourite Solar Sister landed on the rail behind number two choice Ms Mac N Cheese and watched contentedly from the pocket as the pacesetter zipped to fractions of :26.1 and :54.4. Rolling toward the 1:23.2 three-quarters, driver Doug McNair tipped Solar Sister into the outer lane and the filly reeled in her Ontario Sires Stakes rival, earning a half-length victory in a personal best 1:50.3. Ms Mac N Cheese and driver Sylvain Filion settled for a hard fought second, with Capela and driver James MacDonald well behind the duelling leaders in third. "I figured Sylvain (Filion) would be pointing her (Ms Mac N Cheese) out of there and trying to either cut it out or sit on my back," said McNair after the race. "We went out of there pretty fast; his filly was rolling right along to the half. I could have come back around, but I was pretty content to where I was at. It looked to me like a two horse race when the draw came out, so I was happy to be following her. I knew she'd get me to where we had to go." Guelph resident McNair engineered Solar Sister's second Gold Series victory for his father, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, and owner-breeders David Willmot of King City and Clay Harland Horner of Toronto. The win bumped the daughter of Mach Three and $1.4 million winner Cabrini Hanover to lifetime earnings of $485,690 and gives her a sophomore record of five wins, one third and one fourth in seven starts. "She's just getting to be a really nice mare. You can race her any way, on the front or from the back or in the middle," added the reinsman. "Them type of mares are horses that make it a lot easier for me, you can kind of judge the speed and make up your mind as you go, and she's happy to race any way. "She's a big filly, good gaited, a nice bred filly, I'm glad we got her." Solar Sister With wins in the first two Gold Legs, Solar Sister sits alone atop the three-year-old pacing filly division standings with 100 points. Ms Mac N Cheese, also a winner in the June 6 season opener at Mohawk Racetrack, falls to second spot which she shares with the winner of the first division, Wrangler Magic. Fan Hanover champions Wrangler Magic and Sylvain Filion went off as the heavy favourites from Post 4 in the first Gold Series contest and, as he would later do with Ms Mac N Cheese, the Milton reinsman opted to take command of the race. Wrangler Magic rolled easily to a :27 quarter, fended off a challenge from Delightful Hill heading by the :55.1 half, and was comfortably in charge at the 1:23.1 three-quarters. Turning for home, however, things got decidedly less comfortable for the pacesetter. Facing pressure from all sides, Wrangler Magic had to battle all the way to the wire, securing a 1:51 victory by a scant nose over Cast No Shadow. Delightful Hill sprinted into third, three-quarters of a length behind the leaders. Owners Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON, Dr. Maurice Stewart of Leduc, AB, Brian Paquet of Quebec, QC and Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC now have a Gold Series trophy to display alongside the Fan Hanover trophy Wrangler Magic earned at Mohawk on June 20. Through six sophomore starts the Mach Three daughter has tallied two wins, two seconds and two thirds and Thursday's win boosted her lifetime earnings to $513,894. Stephane Larocque conditions the talented young pacer, who was also a Gold Series winner at two. Wrangler Magic Solar Sister, Wrangler Magic and their peers will now enjoy a brief break in their provincial stakes schedule before it resumes at Grand River Raceway on August 3. Mohawk Racetrack fans have a much shorter interlude before the next Ontario Sires Stakes event at the Campbellville oval. On Monday, July 6 the two-year-old stakes season gets under way with three Gold Series divisions for the freshman pacing fillies. The fillies will be featured in Races 3, 6 and 9 on the 7:25 pm program. Ontario Horse Racing

Lauren Panella

No surgery for Panella but out indefinitely

It has been nearly two weeks since harness racing driver Lauren Panella was badly injured as a result of a race fall at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The severe swelling in her left hand has meant specialists have been unable to confirm the severity of the injury however with a reduction in the bruising recently doctors have confirmed a total of eight broken bones. Panella has broken her wrist, fractured three fingers, three knuckles and broken a bone in her hand and has been given no indication by medical staff on how long it will take to make a full recovery. "The specialist refuses to give me a date on when I can make a comeback because he has known me for a while and believes I will want to return on the date he gives me whether I am ready to or not," Panella said. "All I am being told is that it will be a long recovery and I am going to need a lot of physio but there is some good news because I won't need any surgery." Doctors are concerned with Panella's fingers and how they will heal. "My fingers are bent over and I will need a special splint at some stage because my fingers need help to straighten but I still have very little feeling in my index finger. "My wrist and hand will heal themselves but there is some concern with my fingers and I can't even make a fist yet but the physio will definitely help the healing process." Western Australia's Inter Dominion will begin in November and Panella is hoping to be a part of the series. "Without a date it is hard to know whether I will be ready but I hope so, there are some very nice horses in the (Shane Tritton) stable and a number have been earmarked for a trip across to Gloucester Park. "I want to be working with the best physiotherapist I can, hopefully I can complete my physio on the Gold Coast while Shane is racing a team in Queensland but if I have to remain in Sydney then I will do that." Panella confirmed she is struggling to keep herself busy. "When I go out to the stables I just want to get in and do some work but that's not what I should be doing." Greg Hayes  

Boundtobemad

Ready2Run Stakes set to attract quality field

The Gr. 3 Ready2Run Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle on August 15 is already shaping as an exciting contest.  The $30,000 harness racing event over 2300 metres is restricted to horses sold at last’s year Ready2Run Sale at Menangle and with talented pacers such as Zee Dana, Boundtobemad, Redbank Lenny, Kleened Out, Alesha Maguire and Milias Ideal eligible, the race should be a strong one. Zee Dana is unbeaten after two starts and scored an effortless victory at Shepparton on Thursday night with regular driver Nathan Jack impressed by the son of Tintin In America. “I like him, he is doing a good job now but I think he is going to be an even better three-year old,” Jack said. “At Shepparton he got a comfortable time of it in front but ran home very well and I still haven’t had to pull the plugs on him yet.” Jack confirmed connections will be forced to make a decision on the gelding’s short term future soon. “He is eligible for the Breeders Crown and the Ready2Run Stakes at Menangle, he won’t be able to go in both so Amanda (Turnbull trainer) will have to make a decision either way but we’re leaning towards going to Sydney at this stage. “His next start will be the Tatlow Stakes, he is a big horse, a real good type but I think he will be even better once he has had a spell.” Zee Dana is part owned by Manly fullback Brett Stewart and he is enjoying his first foray into harness racing.  If Zee Dana does compete in the Ready2Run Stakes at Menangle, Stewart was hoping to be trackside to watch the two year old compete but will need clearance from coach Geoff Toovey with Manly set to play the Raiders in Canberra the following day. Another quality youngster being aimed towards the Gr. 3 event is the Steve Harris trained Boundtobemad.  Harris got the opportunity to train the filly after original trainer Dean Cernovskis made his annual journey north to campaign a team of horses in Queensland during the winter carnival. “She was a nice filly and understandably her owners wanted her to be aimed towards the Breeders Challenge and the Ready2Run race at Menangle, her part owner Troy Saddler lives in Wagga so I suggested he send her to Steve Harris,” Cernovskis said. “Dave Reichstein took her down to Wagga for me for her first start and we weren’t expecting her to do too much but she ran a really good race, she was very green and was still learning so Steve has done a great job with her.” Harris took over the filly’s preparation after her debut effort and the daughter of Sportswriter has blossomed culminating in a Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge placing. “Since I’ve had Boundtobemad she has just continued to improve, I was very proud of her at Menangle in the Breeders Challenge,” Harris said. While the Ready2Run Stakes will be a target for Harris he is looking forward to seeing the filly win her first race. “I’d be happy to win an ordinary two year old race with her, we’ll definitely have a look at the Ready2Run Stakes though and the longer distance will be right up her alley. “She is a very tall filly but racy with it, I think she is going to improve with a bit of time and especially once she fills out into her frame.” Harris prepared youngsters for last year’s Ready2Run Sale and will be looking to have more horses in the sale later this year. “I only have a small team of racehorses at the moment but there are a lot of young ones here and I will be having a few for the Ready2Run Sale for sure.”    The Ready2Run Sale this year will be conducted on Sunday 6th December at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Greg Hayes

Father Patrick, harness racing

Many from 2014 "missing in action" in 2015

Doesn’t it seem like a disproportionate number of last year’s better horses are either missing in action or performing at a level far below that of 2014? I took a look at the top 25 on last year’s All-Horse earnings list, and wasn’t surprised at what I found: Just about every one of them is either not racing at all, for one reason or another, or they’re failing to meet expectations. Father Patrick topped the list in 2014 with more than $1.6 million on his card. He won 12 of his 17 starts, including the Breeders Crown and the CTC, and set a 1:50.2 world record for a sophomore trotter on a 5/8 track at Pocono Downs. This year he’s one and two, having dropped his last two starts to J L Cruze in legs of the Graduate Series. Division winner McWicked, who set a world record of 1:47.3 at Pocono and won the BC, Hempt and Adios, was second on the list, and he hasn’t started yet. Nuncio, who won the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot, is racing in Europe. Sweet Lou, the only pacer ever to win his division at two and five, has been retired to stud in Pennsylvania. Trotting mare Shake It Cerry, a division winner at two and three, who took the KY Filly Futurity and the Elegantimage last year, has lost four times in 7 tries. The Armbro Flight, Meadows Maturity and Miami Valley Distaff are a few of her high profile losses. Bee A Magician, who didn’t have the sort of four-year-old season many expected, is dominating that division in a big way. That’s the top five from last year; it’s not a pretty picture. North America Cup winner JK Endofanera has had a problem handling late bloomers Doo Wop Hanover and Rockeyed Optimist in the Graduate Series. He’s one and two on the season. Ron Burke’s All Bets Off, who took the Messenger, Milstein and Rooney in 2014, won the Confederation Cup and his elimination for that one, but he lost his other five starts, including the Van Rose and the Molson. Hambletonian winner Trixton has been retired to stud. The 2014 Horse of the Year, JK She’salady, has fallen off the earth. She kicked her season off with a win in the NYSS at Tioga, but subsequently lost her Fan Hanover elimination, and the final, as well as her Lynch elimination. She finished a washed out fifth in the latter and won’t be a part of Saturday’s final. And number ten from last year’s money list is the venerable aged pacer, Foiled Again. In 2014 He earned $863,000 on six wins and lots of board finishes. This year Foiled has one win—the Battle of Lake Erie—in seven starts. He was shut out in the Levy, which he owned for a few years. Obviously numbers six through ten are no better in 2015 than numbers one through five. He’s Watching occupies slot number eleven. The diminutive son of American Ideal achieved a share of the all-age record for the fastest race mile ever on a mile track—1:46.4—in the Pace. He hasn’t started yet. Oaks winner Lifetime Pursuit is also a no show. The speedy Always A Virgin pacer, Always B Miki, who won the Tattersalls Pace, Bluegrass and Monument Circle, in addition to cleaning up in the ISS, had a setback and is expected back by fall. Two-year-old division winner Artspeak won his elimination and final for the NJSS, as well as last week’s Hempt elimination. However, he finished second in his Cup elimination and fifth in the final. Burke’s FFA mainstay Bettor’s Edge, who banked $674,000 last year, winning the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, has one win in nine starts. He was eighth in his Franklin elimination. Number 16 Sebastian K, who set his 1:49 world record this time last year at Pocono, opens his season there on Saturday against new kid, J L Cruze. Harper Blue Chip? Intimidate looks awful. Last year’s MLT and TVG final winner is 0 for 3 in the Mohawk preferred. Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach has been no factor in the Confederation Cup and the Graduate series. P H Supercam, the only millionaire by Million Dollar Cam, didn’t win the Levy like he did last year, but he took four preliminary legs, and is in sync with last year’s numbers. So numbers 11 through 20 give us P H Supercam in line with what he did in 2014, while the rest either haven’t started or are disappointments. Mission Brief, number 21, took her elimination and final in the NJSS, but has been a project in qualifiers ever since. Market Share is 0 for 3—no factor in the Cutler or the Maxie Lee. Clear Vision is 0 for 12, while Commander Crowe, who won the Yonkers International preview, and took the BC in his last start, has been retired. No wonder the racing seems soft this year; one would expect that there would be a mix of horses that improve their performance, and some that stay the same and others that show a decline. Eight haven’t started at all while Nuncio is in Europe. Trixton and Sweet Lou have been retired; Miki and He’s Watching are dealing with physical issues; McWicked, Lifetime Pursuit and Harper Blue Chip are mysteries to me; Sebastian will get it on this week. The faltering superstars from 2014, Father Patrick, JK She’salady, Mission Brief and Shake It Cerry, create the most apprehension. We need them back on track. And the old reliable types like Foiled, Bettor’s Edge and Clear Vision are making way for new blood, but where is it. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

Jordan Stratton won six races in six starts as Goshen Historic Track kicked-off its 177th season of harness racing on Thursday, July 2 at the Cradle of the Trotter. Featured on the afternoon card were the NYS Fair Stakes for 2 and 3 year-old trotters and pacers  Stratton won with sophomores; Saint Misbehavin (2:04:4), For Kevin’s Sake (2:03:3) and Everywhere Fast (2:06.1); and he won 2 year old races with; Second Turn (2:05); Bullvillebingo (2:09) and Cash Not Credit (2:09). Asked if this was his best day in the sulky he replied; “I won six races twice at Monticello (Raceway) but not consecutively. I guess six wins in six drives has to be my best day.” Stratton,a Middletown NY resident currently with 2569 career winners, honed his craft at Monticello Raceway where he was the youngest driver, at age 21, to win the track’s driving title in 2009. For the past five seasons he’s been among the driving leaders at Yonkers Raceway. Stratton is slated to drive in six of the seven races on which will comprise  Historic Track’s Friday, July 3rd program. John Manzi

Duane and Connie Roland hope to rock the Meadowlands Pace later this month, but first they will prep their 3-year-old pacer for the big harness racing event by competing in one of the 10 Landmark Stakes on Saturday at Historic Track in Goshen. The Rolands' horse, Roland N Rock, is undefeated in 17 career races, with most of his victories coming on the Iowa fair circuit. It is an unlikely starting point for a Meadowlands Pace hopeful, but one the Rolands decided was worth following after watching the gelding dominate his competition to date. "It's very exciting," said Duane Roland, a corn and soybean farmer from Grinnell, Iowa, who trains and usually drives Roland N Rock. "Whatever happens, this is like an experience no one that I know ever gets to do. Who gets to train their own horse and go to New Jersey and race in the Meadowlands Pace? "Back home almost everybody sells their horse when it gets good. Most of the horses that are really good get sold between $50,000 and $75,000. My wife Connie and I are in the position that we don't have to sell him. We figured, let's just keep him and go have fun." Roland N Rock will face four rivals in Saturday's $17,470 Landmark Stakes at Historic Track, which also is an unlikely place to find a Meadowlands Pace hopeful. The only other horse since 1992 to prep for the Meadowlands Pace eliminations by racing at Historic Track was Exporter, who in 2001 won a New York Sire Stakes division in Goshen six days prior to finishing ninth in his Pace elim. Since 1992, four Meadowlands Pace finalists competed at Historic Track the year prior to racing in the Pace, most notably 2000 Pace winner and Horse of the Year Gallo Blue Chip. John Campbell is listed to drive Roland N Rock on Saturday at Historic Track. Post time is 1 p.m. for the first race on the card, which also includes three divisions of the Billings amateur drivers' series. The Grand Circuit weekend at Historic Track concludes Sunday with Hall of Fame Day. The Rolands decided to stake Roland N Rock to several of this year's top races after the horse won the $86,000 American-National Stakes by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2 at Balmoral Park in October. The American-National was one of only two stakes engagements for Roland N Rock last year; the other was the $21,450 Review Stakes at Springfield, Ill., where the gelding romped by 13-1/4 lengths in 1:51.2. "He's never been tested in any of his races," Roland said. "We thought we would test him last year when we went to Springfield and he just took off and won in (1):51.2. Then at Balmoral he was an easy winner too. We decided this was our opportunity, so we took all the money from the American-National and staked him to a bunch of races. We figured we'd just go for it." This year, Roland N Rock is 3-for-3, with his most recent victory coming in 1:55.4 at Wapello County Regional Fair in Eldon, Iowa on June 18. The time shattered the previous track record by 2-2/5 seconds. "It's a car racing track, so the turns are banked pretty good," Roland said. "We talked about it and thought he needed to go in 1:56 there for us to make the decision to come out here. And he did that. He still had more left, so that was good. "I'm still trying to get him to peak. He just needs one more good workout and he should be ready to go. Almost everybody else was ready to race in May and was prepping for the North America Cup (in June). They're going to have raced four to six weeks as hard as they can go leading up to this, so I'm thinking I have a fresh horse, at least that's in my favor." Roland N Rock is a son of the mare Hank's Chip, who the Rolands purchased in foal to stallion Rocknroll Hanover for $6,000 at the 2011 Standardbred Horse Sale's Mixed Sale, when Perretti Farms dispersed its broodmare band. The resulting foal was Roland N Rock. And what did Duane Roland like about Hank's Chip? "The price," he said with a laugh. "We'd gotten about $15,000 in breeders awards and I said let's go spend that and try to buy two mares in foal to Rocknroll Hanover. We had $15,000 to spend. We bought two. This happened to be the good one." The Rolands soon will find out how good. In addition to the Meadowlands Pace, Roland N Rock's stake schedule includes the Carl Milstein Memorial, Battle of the Brandywine, Circle City, Jenna's Beach Boy, Messenger, Matron, and Progress Pace. "We've got to give it a shot," said Roland, who has never raced a horse at the Meadowlands. "We paid him in to all these races, so we're just like let's go do it. If we're eliminated (in the Meadowlands Pace eliminations) and we're in the consolation, we're still happy because we got to go." Roland said the emergence of his horse continues the feel-good storylines surrounding the top 3-year-old pacers so far this season: Wakizashi Hanover ($23,000 yearling with three newcomers in ownership group), In The Arsenal ($7,500 buy back) and Wiggle It Jiggleit (privately purchased as a weanling). "Now you've got this farmer from Iowa bringing this Rocknroll Hanover to the Meadowlands," Roland said. "It's all good for harness racing just to say that anybody can get the good horse. You've got four different stories there all going against the great horse Artspeak. So you never know how it's going to turn out. "We just hope that (Roland N Rock) does well, makes some money, and we have some fun." by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Three months after moving to Campbellville after nearly 40 years in Peterborough, the veteran Ontario trainer’s Ontario-sired trotter Hemi Seelster pulled off a stunning 76-1 upset in the Goodtimes Stakes on the Pepsi North America Cup harness racing undercard.   Pepsi North America Cup Night was surreal for John Bax of Campbellville on a number of fronts. Not only did his Ontario-sired pupil Hemi Seelster pull off a stunning 76-1 upset in the $233,000 final of the Goodtimes Stakes against top Grand Circuit horses, the veteran Ontario trainer then presented the trophy to himself. The Goodtimes, for sophomore trotting males, is named for Bax’s former trotting great, a longtime warrior in the open trot at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks who was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004 after earning more than $2 million on the track. Bax, 60, said he was numb as he headed for the winner’s circle on June 20 after the Goodtimes. “I just handed (the trophy) to my wife, Vicky. I was there to give it, so I certainly had no trouble standing on the other side and taking it,” Bax said, laughing. Adding to the surreal nature of the night, it took just five minutes for Bax to make the trip home after the races, rather than the usual two- or three-hour trek. In April, Bax moved to the site of the famed standardbred breeding outfit Glengate Farms in Campbellville that ceased breeding operations in 2005. Until April, Bax had been based in Peterborough for his entire 38-year training career — a stint in which he trained the winners of well more than $17 million (trainer records weren’t kept for the first 16 years of his career) and earned a berth in the Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. “I drove a lot down the road, wore out a lot of trucks,” Bax said. “There were nights when I was heading home at midnight and they’ve got the 401 shut down in the middle of Toronto and you’re sitting there until 1:30 or 2 in the morning trying to get through and back home.” Needing to be up at the crack of dawn to train his stable compounded the wear and tear on the trainer. “I figured it out that if I was coming (to Mohawk) five days a week in the summer, that’s 20 hours plus (on the road),” Bax said. Bax said the move to the west side of Toronto, and closer to Ontario’s most lucrative tracks, only made sense because his 25-year-old son, Matt, is also a trainer. John also credits Matt for Hemi Seelster being in the Goodtimes in the first place. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t even realize at first that (Hemi Seelster) was in the Goodtimes. Matt slipped one by me. He was always high on him,” John said. “It’s his baby and he sometimes, in his youth, gets a little over-stimulated or high on a horse, whereas I’ve been down that road before.” Hemi Seelster, a son of Holiday Road out of Hollywood Beauty bred by Seelster Farms in Lucan, ON, was a $19,000 yearling purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale in London — the exact same price John paid for Goodtimes as a yearling in 1992. Hemi Seelster is owned by John, Matt, John Houston of Cobourg, ON and the Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough. John Bax pegged the gelding as more of an Ontario Sires Stakes horse than a top stakes horses. In against 1-5 favourite Canepa Hanover and 3-1 second choice French Laundry — both from the powerful Jimmy Takter stable — John said he was hoping for a fifth-place cheque with Hemi Seelster in the Goodtimes. But when Canepa Hanover and later French Laundry broke stride, John said he began counting horses in front of Hemi Seelster. “I really wasn’t paying so much attention to who was in front of us so much as the number there were… I don’t know if I breathed down the stretch,” John said. It was the first victory for Hemi Seelster in seven starts this year. All of this comes on the heels of one of John’s best years in the business. In 2014, John trained the winners of some $1.6 million. Two of John’s trainees — two-year-old trotting filly Stubborn Belle and three-year-old trotting filly Riveting Rosie — earned O’Brien Awards as the top horses in their division in Canada. Only 2001, when John earned some $1.85 million, won a Breeders Crown with Duke Of York at Woodbine and earned the O’Brien Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year, was better, statistically, than last year. Beyond Goodtimes and Duke Of York ($900,000 lifetime), John has trained a long string of Ontario-sired trotting stars over his career, including: Define The World ($1.65 million), Charmed Life ($830,000), Northern Bailey ($775,000), Pepi Lavec ($650,000), Summer Indian ($435,000), Oaklea Odessa ($410,000), Oaklea Omega ($400,000), Elegant Supreme ($380,000) and Aimees Image ($230,000) Though Hemi Seelster is bound mostly for the Ontario Sires Stakes program this summer — of which John Bax is both a huge proponent and, historically, one of its most successful trainers — he said he might take a shot at the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Ontario-sired Stubborn Belle (Taurus Dream—Musetta Hanover) in August at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. He said he hopes Ontario-sired Riveting Rosie (Muscle Mass—Rose De Vie Stena) can overcome allergy issues in time to race in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine in October. For now, the trainer is happy to enjoy an easier commute, easy access to Mohawk Racetrack to train horses and Hemi Seelster’s surprising Goodtimes victory. “I suppose at the end of the day it makes that $1,000 or $2,000 entry fee a little more bearable. It gives you a little hope,” he said. Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing standardbrednews@ontariohorseracing.ca (519) 782-7178   Please visit: www.ontariohorseracing.ca

West Wales, United Kingdom - As the weekend draws nearer the British and Irish harness racing fraternity prepares for the eagerly anticipated Ceredigion 2 day meeting held just outside Aberystwyth, West Wales. The highly popular event has yet again attracted some of the best horses around with a grand total of 272 horses entered to compete in the 32 races held over the weekend. The Haythornthwaite's bring the largest team of horses with 12 entered. Some of their best chances are likely to come in the two and three-year-old races particularly for owner Claire Fletcher who runs 2 year old Porcelain Seelster and 3 year olds Lady Claire's Best and Sportstrick, all three have been in the places this year and will be looking to score some of the top prizemoney. Local trainer Rhys Evans has 11 entrants including his two stable stars Fool Around and Saunders Mach 3 who will go head to head in the Free For All. This feature event also has recent Wolverhampton winners Stamp Hill and No Regrets, Cilmeri Free For All winner Ideal Gift, the speedy Meadowbranch Josh, Stoneriggs Mystery who looked back on top form on his last run as Tir Prince clocking 1.56.5 and not forgetting Welsh Classic hero Infinately who makes his return to the track after a 23 month layoff. A number of Scottish trainers make the long trip this year, the most notable being 3 year old colt Rewrite History. Up until York Championship day last weekend the Gilvear family's son of Sportwriter had an impressive unbeaten record from 7 starts. Without his conqueror from last weekend Titanium in the race it looks as though he could be back to winning ways. As always a number of Irish contenders will make the journey and the Saturday handicap could well be their just rewards. Talavary Jewel was an impressive winner last time out at Portmarnock and looks to be the one to beat in heat one. The Porterstown stables have an impressive strike rate at the meeting and they have Porterstown Chris as a top contender in heat 2. If both these horses make it into the final it could make a very interesting race from their front line draws. Last year's winner Wellfield Ghost returns to try and retain his crown in the Sunday handicap. Owner/trainer Roy Sheedy has been having a successful season so far with his homebred stock and winning again here would be an impressive training achievement. One things for sure the racing will be a highly competitive affair and a credit to the hard working committee. With under 48 hours ago to go until the first race gets underway and the horses are blazing round the sea side track the excitements building and we're all set for a fabulous Aberystwyth! by Kayleigh Evans    

"The Making Of A Champion" Before they break records, before they stun the world with their speed and grace, and before they even know the game; all foals share the same destiny. All foals are born to become champions, all foals are born to become the best. People spend hours sifting through online pedigree research or perhaps even sire and dam books, trying to find the perfect match to create the next great champion. Eleven months and one week later when that foal is born, everyone is filled with hope, and wonder if this will be the next great champion, if this will be the next record breaker. From the moment a foal first stands up, even if a little wobbly at first, a future star has been born. For the next two years and far beyond that, many people and countless hours of hard work filled with patience and practice will go into making hopeful youngsters into racehorses filled with heart and the will to win. These may be the people who first put the foal’s halters on, the first ones to show them how to walk with a lead, the first ones to pick up their feet, the people who helped wean, or who help break the foal to the harness when they are a yearling. Whatever role they may play, they have just begun the training of a champion and they will forever be a part of who that horse is. I had the opportunity to go and visit two major breeding farms in Ontario, Seelster Farms and Winbak Farms.   When I was at Seelster Farms, I got to see Sydney Seelster’s (Pinky) sire Camluck! I noticed similarities between Pinky and Camluck right away. Camluck has a big appetite; he too loves carrots and apples, and hay and so does Pinky.  His personality and Pinky’s were a lot alike too, both of them are gentle and playful. She looked like him as well! Camluck had white socks on both of his back feet and a little bit on his front right. Pinky got his white on her back right foot. She also got his white star on her forehead. I also got to see the foals up close. The foals all had their own personalities. Some just lay in a pile of straw having a nice nap, and there were some were running around their stalls, pestering their moms and getting in their way. The foals were all so cute, they made my heart melt, even them being mischievous was cute.  After seeing these sweet, cute buddle's of joy each with their own personality I wondered what Pinky was like as a foal.  She was born here, in one of these stalls, I guess I never thought of Pinky once being a wobbly foal and at one point spending a lot of time learning how to become the great racehorse she is.                                                                                                                                                                 Some mares were wearing collars. I inquired as to what they were to Ann; the lady giving us the tour. She explained that the mares wearing the collars belonged to Bob McIntosh.  I had just seen Bob McIntosh’s band of future stars. I got to meet Big Jim at Seelster Farms too! He too was handsome. I was interested to learn that he had just returned to Canada after standing stud in Australia. He is one busy boy when it comes to breeding. I was happy I got see and spend some time with Big Jim, because when Jim Carr was alive he always wanted me to see Big Jim and even though he was not there that day, he was in my heart. The other sires I saw at Seelster Farms were; Sunshine Beach, Justice Hall, Windsong Espoir, and Holiday Road. All of them were amazing to see up close and better looking than I imagined. It was nice to see Sunshine Beach again. I remember him being at First Line Training Centre, and going over and seeing him. I remember sitting at the rail and cheering him on as well. We discovered Pinky has a full brother who races at Grand River and The Raceway at Western Fair, his name is Savage Seelster. I could see Camluck both in Pinky and in Savage. Camluck, Pinky, and Savage all have a nice disposition. I know this because I have been able to watch Savage race and see him in the paddock. Whenever I go and see him the paddock on race night he always snuggles into me and gives me kisses, as did Pinky. It was remarkable to see such striking similarities in brothers and sisters of the same sire or dam. When I visited Winbak Farms I got to see something very unique! I got to see how they collect the semen, the first process of creating a foal. I got to look through the microscope, and see the semen swimming. That was something I never thought I would see!  Seeing that did not compare to anything I had seen in science class! They also showed me all the mathematics that went into breeding. There were lots of numbers, ratios and percentages. I never knew there was so much math involved in breeding. When the studs entered the rectangular room to give their gift, some were excited; others were very professional and calm when they came in, they knew they had a job to do! Some didn’t even have to go near the tease mare! There were a couple of studs who just had to smell the mare’s urine on a sponge, others just walked into the room and were ready to do their job. I watched as the studs mounted a fake mare and as they collected the semen. I watched in curiosity.  In a way I felt like I was invading their privacy but it was too interesting and I could not look away, it was just so intriguing to me. I got to meet Badlands Hanover, Betterthancheddar, Bettor’s Delight, Classic Card Shark, Royal Mattjesty, Shadow Play, Vintage Master, Angus Hall, Archangel, and Glidemaster. They all looked outstanding and they all had nice shiny coats. There were boxes being labeled, packed with semen, and getting ready to be shipped all over. Some were staying local, some going a different part of Canada, and there were others that needed to get to the airport to go somewhere else. This put a new perspective on the breeding industry for me. I never realized how a small amount of semen could bring so much hope to so many people. It would be a lot of work to have a breeding farm, to clean out those stalls that have twice the mess because they are two horses to clean up after in some stalls. But I think it would be a special job, being there when the mares have their foals, seeing the foals running and playing with each other in the afternoon sun, this would make all the late nights when night foaling all worth it. I am now more interested in breeding then I ever was before. We made the decision to breed Pinky! I am looking so forward to having my own foal to watch grow up and race! I am counting down the months until that very special day when Pinky’s foal is born, when Camluck will have another grandchild, Savage will become an uncle. And I too can dream of having the next champion! Sydney Weaver is 15 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, owns a racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

Columbus, OH --- While in Plainville, Mass., for the grand opening of the racino at Plainridge Park, the USTA crew had the opportunity to get to know some of the amazing horsemen and women involved in harness racing there. What was supposed to be a few short clips to add into the weekly edition of Morning Line quickly turned into a piece of its own because, quite frankly, it was just too good to cut. Here are the hardworking folks from Plainridge Park, whose stories we simply had to tell. USTA Communications Department 

Harness racing reinsman Blair Orange has done what a lot of industry people thought might be out of reach this season and chalked up 100 driving wins. Last season Blair notched up 100 driving wins for the first time in his career but that was when he was working for the all conquering All Star barn. For this season Blair moved camps and took up a position as the stable foreman for the Ken Barron barn. While Ken always has a very strong team around him, it is not on the same scale as the All Star barn and many thought Blair would battle to hit the hundred mark this season. However right from the beginning of the season Blair has been driving in dynamic form and has chalked up some notable milestones this year. Blair joined the 1000 wins club when successful with Change Time at Addington at the end of January and it is no coincidence that the Ken Barron stable has had its most successful season since Ken went solo in 2005 and just needs one more winner to crack the fifty wins for the season for the first time. Blair went to Forbury Park tonight with ninety eight driving wins in the bag  for the season and while he had a useful book, it was hard to label one as a likely winner. That all changed pretty quickly with a couple of Blair Orange " specials" that saw him reach the 100 mark by race 4. The first of the two winners was Cerato who Blair took straight to the front and  then rated  to perfection to get him home for a comfortable victory at odds of twelve to one. Blair followed that up in the very next race with another lovely front running drive on Nova Time who lead all the way and held on gamely at odds of seven to one. To hit the 100 mark this season, Blair has had to travel and it has not been uncommon to see him at Ascot Park, Addington and Alexandra Park in the space of three days. Forbury Park is another track that has seen a lot of Blair this season and it is good to see all the hard work pay off for one of the industry's star reinsman. Harnesslink Media      

Harness Racing Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Chris Alford under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Stormed Out was presented to race at Geelong on 8 April 2015 by Mr Alford whilst not free of the prohibited substance phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone. HRV Stewards have issued a further charge under ARHR 190B(1)(b) which requires trainers to keep and maintain a log book recording all treatment administered to horses in their care. The charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.                                                        AND HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed NSW trainer Mr Michael Day (Jnr) under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. It is alleged that the horse Fake Art was presented to race at Cobram on 7 May 2015 whilst not free of alkalinizing agents, a prohibited substance when evidenced by the presence of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) at a concentration in excess of 36 millimoles per litre in plasma. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Harness Racing Victoria

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – Harness racing driver Denis St Pierre wasted no time in scoring his 4,000th career victory at the Hippodrome 3R Wednesday evening. He started off the night needed just two wins so he won both ends of the daily double to reach the milestone victory. “I really wanted to achieve this goal tonight,” Denis St Pierre said. “Because my sister Caroline is here visiting me from New Zealand and it has made for a very special achievement to share with her. I wanted her to go back home with something special.” St Pierre, 54, hails from Montreal. He has been driving professionally since 1981. His milestone victory came in the second race with D G’s Laurie ($4.50) as they led from start to finish, winning by three-quarters of a length over Thebestofme (Mario Charron) in 1:58.1 over a sloppy, rain soaked track with a three second variant. “After I won the first race I knew I had to do it in the second,” St Pierre said. “These were my two best drives of the night. You can say I was very determined to win the second race. The first race was very easy. “I am so happy to have achieved this special mark here in Quebec and at the Hippodrome 3R,” St Pierre said. “I wanted to do it here in front of my family and friends. This is home to me.” Win number 3,999 for Denis St Pierre came in the first race, an opening round division of the $200,000 Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-old trotting colts and fillies. Driving National Trace, St. Pierre sent the daughter of Taurus Dream right to the lead from post five and never looked back. They held the field at bay until after the three-quarters, opening up by three lengths by the top of the stretch and then pulling away for a seven and one-quarter length romp in 2:03.2. The pocket-sitting SOS hardrive (Francis Morressette) was second with Double Chance (Sylvain LaCaille) third. It was the first win in six starts this year for National Trace, who paid $4.50 to win. She is trained by Dany Fontaine and is owned and was bred by Ecurie Gaeton Bono, Inc. of Montreal, QC. In the third race second division of the Quebec-Bred Series it was Intouchable and driver Mario Charron’s turn to lead from start to finish. Intouchable is a full brother to Quebec-Bred champion, Maximuscle, and despite being winless as a two-year-old, Intouchable is making up for lost time at age three, wiring the field in 2:02.2. Overtaking the lead from Notrouble Dechafra (Stephane Brosseau) before the opening quarter mile, Intouchable was challenged in the backstretch by a determined Seeyou Men and driver Robert Shepherd. But they could not collar the race leader, but did make Intouchable kick in another gear as he came home in :29.1 over the sloppy track to win by one and three-quarter lengths. Seeyou Men was second with Notrouble Dechafra third. Unbeaten in two starts this year, Intouchable is trained by Maxme Velaye for owner/breeder Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC. He paid $3.30 to win. Driver Denis St Pierre was not finished after the first two races. He also won the sixth race with Imjustalittleguy ($4.10) and the tenth race with Our Star ($3.00) in 2:03.1 for his fifth driving quadruple this season. Live racing resumes Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. First race post time is 1:30 pm and featured will be the $200,000 opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

The top 3-year-old male pacers in North America meet Saturday in the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but with harness racing trainer Tony Alagna expecting the group to "trade punches all year," the event might as well be called "Round Two." Wakizashi Hanover won Round One, capturing the North America Cup on June 20 at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. The sport's leading money-winner this season, Wakizashi Hanover will start from post seven in the Hempt, entering the final off a 1:50.4 elimination victory over a sloppy track last weekend. He is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Joann Looney-King. North America Cup runner-up Wiggle It Jiggleit is the 5-2 morning line favorite after winning his Hempt elimination by four lengths in 1:50.1. Wiggle It Jiggleit, the winner of 12 of 13 lifetime races, will start from post five with Montrell Teague at the lines for trainer Clyde Francis. Artspeak, who was the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, won the remaining elimination by a head over In The Arsenal, stopping the clock in 1:50 for Alagna and driver Scott Zeron. He drew post No. 4 and is 4-1 on the morning line. In The Arsenal, who earlier this season won the Art Rooney Pace, is 5-1and will start from post six with Brian Sears driving for Kelvin Harrison. Those four horses have combined to win 24 of 30 starts this season while finishing on the board a total of 28 times. "I think those are the top four contenders right now and they're going to trade punches all year, I believe," Alagna said. "But I think that our horse is definitely going to get his fair share." Joining the four top morning line picks in the Hempt final are Lost For Words, who has won four of five races this year and finished second to Wakizashi Hanover in his elimination, as well as North America Cup third-place finisher Betting Exchange, Pierce Hanover, A Bettor Hat, and National Seelster. The top three finishers from each of last week's three eliminations advanced to the Hempt final. All of the finalists were in the top three entering the last quarter-mile of their respective elims and only two of the finalists - National Seelster and A Bettor Hat - were worse than third at the halfway point. They were fourth and on the move. "It's going to be a cavalry charge into the first turn," said Alagna, who won the 2013 Hempt with Captaintreacherous. "Everybody is going to be leaving. Nobody wants to come from off the pace and going for $500,000 everybody is going to be forwardly placed. We just have to hope we land in a good spot and get a decent trip and get a shot at it in the stretch." In his elimination, Artspeak got the lead heading out of the first turn and then rebuffed challenges from Pierce Hanover (outside) and In The Arsenal (inside) to post the win. It was only the second time in his seven most recent starts that Artspeak was in front at the half. "People thought he would have trouble with the five-eighths (of a mile track) and he whipped right around there," said Alagna, who trains Artspeak for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners. "He did it on the front end and that's not normally his style. He's a much better horse off a helmet, but we took a shot and Scott did a great job. "He showed a lot of grit. He's won a lot of races on talent, but the other night he showed true grit and what kind of horse he really is. They collared him at the head of the lane and he fought all the way to the wire to win. I was very impressed with his effort." Saturday's card at Pocono also includes the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers, and $75,000 Sun Invitational for older trotters. Following is the Hempt Memorial field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. Pierce Hanover by Cams Card Shark -  Brett Miller, Ken Sucee, 10-1 2. Betting Exchange by Bettor's Delight -  Jim Morrill Jr., Tom Fanning, 12-1 3. Lost For Words by Well Said -  David Miller, Brian Brown, 6-1 4. Artspeak by Western Ideal -  Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 4-1 5. Wiggle It Jiggleit by Mr Wiggles -  Montrell Teague, Clyde Francis, 5-2 6. In The Arsenal by American Ideal -  Brian Sears, Kelvin Harrison, 5-1 7. Wakizashi Hanover by Dragon Again -  Tim Tetrick, Joann Looney-King, 3-1 8. A Bettor Hat by Bettor's Delight -  Yannick Gingras, Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, 20-1 9. National Seelster by Bettor's Delight -  Andy Miller, Chris Ryder, 15-1 Notes: George Teague Jr. owns the homebred Wiggle It Jiggleit. He trained 2011 Hempt winner Custard The Dragon, who scored with Montrell Teague in the sulky. George Teague Jr. also won the race in 2009 with Johnny Z and 2008 with Badlands Nitro. Chris Ryder won the 1999 edition of the race, then known as the Joseph Banks Memorial, with Artistic Freedom. McWicked holds the Hempt Memorial stakes record of 1:47.3, set last year. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA          

Nearly 10,000 partygoers came out to the Life in Color Concert on Sunday, June 28th at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. The event was both well-coordinated and well-received by the paint-happy concert goers. An event that included a wide array of music presented by different disc jockeys as well as an artistic spin with those partaking in the festivities running and dancing through paint, the Life in Color event was certainly the first of its kind at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. The success of the event carries a great deal of significance for the venue. "To say we tried something new with this event, would be an understatement," said Meadowlands General Manager/C.E.O. Jason Settlemoir. "Not only did the event take place without a hitch, but it was successful in terms of the enjoyment of those who came out for the event. Those two items are of the utmost importance to us moving forward as we continue to expand what Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment can accomplish. I would especially like to thank our Assistant General Manager, Marianne Rotella for putting together a plan for this event and executing it flawlessly." Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural spoke to what the success of this event means to the future of The Meadowlands. "This was another big step for us," said Gural. "Of course, we are fully committed to the success of our racing product, but this event signifies what building this new facility was all about. Not only is The New Meadowlands a gorgeous facility, but it enables us to put forth events that would never have been possible had we continued to operate out of the original facility. It just its first 18 months of operation, we have hosted a huge party for 10,000 people as well hosting the Super Bowl V.I.P. party, which included a performance by John Legend. It is extremely important to The Meadowlands that we can be successful hosting events like Life in Color and execute the operational aspects of the event as if we have been in the business of hosting these events for years. Life in Color proved that we can do that and it creates avenues for our hosting events like this in the future. I am hopeful that we will only expand on this aspect of our business moving forward, especially in June of 2016, when our racing schedule becomes challenged to do a difficulty to find an adequate amount of horses to race. I am optimistic we can continue to maximize the potential of the entertainment aspects of this beautiful facility." With Life in Color a success, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will continue to grow its presence in the entertainment world and will attract increased attention from those looking to host major events in the tri-state area. Visit playmeadowlands.com for all upcoming events and details.   Darin Zoccali

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Doesn’t it seem like a disproportionate number of last year’s better horses are either missing in action or performing at a level far below that of 2014? I took a look at the top 25 on last year’s All-Horse earnings list, and wasn’t surprised at what I found: Just about every one of them is either not racing at all, for one reason or another, or they’re failing to meet expectations. Father Patrick topped the list in 2014 with more than $1.6 million on his card. He won 12 of his 17 starts, including the Breeders Crown and the CTC, and set a 1:50.2 world record for a sophomore trotter on a 5/8 track at Pocono Downs. This year he’s one and two, having dropped his last two starts to J L Cruze in legs of the Graduate Series. Division winner McWicked, who set a world record of 1:47.3 at Pocono and won the BC, Hempt and Adios, was second on the list, and he hasn’t started yet. Nuncio, who won the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot, is racing in Europe. Sweet Lou, the only pacer ever to win his division at two and five, has been retired to stud in Pennsylvania. Trotting mare Shake It Cerry, a division winner at two and three, who took the KY Filly Futurity and the Elegantimage last year, has lost four times in 7 tries. The Armbro Flight, Meadows Maturity and Miami Valley Distaff are a few of her high profile losses. Bee A Magician, who didn’t have the sort of four-year-old season many expected, is dominating that division in a big way. That’s the top five from last year; it’s not a pretty picture. North America Cup winner JK Endofanera has had a problem handling late bloomers Doo Wop Hanover and Rockeyed Optimist in the Graduate Series. He’s one and two on the season. Ron Burke’s All Bets Off, who took the Messenger, Milstein and Rooney in 2014, won the Confederation Cup and his elimination for that one, but he lost his other five starts, including the Van Rose and the Molson. Hambletonian winner Trixton has been retired to stud. The 2014 Horse of the Year, JK She’salady, has fallen off the earth. She kicked her season off with a win in the NYSS at Tioga, but subsequently lost her Fan Hanover elimination, and the final, as well as her Lynch elimination. She finished a washed out fifth in the latter and won’t be a part of Saturday’s final. And number ten from last year’s money list is the venerable aged pacer, Foiled Again. In 2014 He earned $863,000 on six wins and lots of board finishes. This year Foiled has one win—the Battle of Lake Erie—in seven starts. He was shut out in the Levy, which he owned for a few years. Obviously numbers six through ten are no better in 2015 than numbers one through five. He’s Watching occupies slot number eleven. The diminutive son of American Ideal achieved a share of the all-age record for the fastest race mile ever on a mile track—1:46.4—in the Pace. He hasn’t started yet. Oaks winner Lifetime Pursuit is also a no show. The speedy Always A Virgin pacer, Always B Miki, who won the Tattersalls Pace, Bluegrass and Monument Circle, in addition to cleaning up in the ISS, had a setback and is expected back by fall. Two-year-old division winner Artspeak won his elimination and final for the NJSS, as well as last week’s Hempt elimination. However, he finished second in his Cup elimination and fifth in the final. Burke’s FFA mainstay Bettor’s Edge, who banked $674,000 last year, winning the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, has one win in nine starts. He was eighth in his Franklin elimination. Number 16 Sebastian K, who set his 1:49 world record this time last year at Pocono, opens his season there on Saturday against new kid, J L Cruze. Harper Blue Chip? Intimidate looks awful. Last year’s MLT and TVG final winner is 0 for 3 in the Mohawk preferred. Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach has been no factor in the Confederation Cup and the Graduate series. P H Supercam, the only millionaire by Million Dollar Cam, didn’t win the Levy like he did last year, but he took four preliminary legs, and is in sync with last year’s numbers. So numbers 11 through 20 give us P H Supercam in line with what he did in 2014, while the rest either haven’t started or are disappointments. Mission Brief, number 21, took her elimination and final in the NJSS, but has been a project in qualifiers ever since. Market Share is 0 for 3—no factor in the Cutler or the Maxie Lee. Clear Vision is 0 for 12, while Commander Crowe, who won the Yonkers International preview, and took the BC in his last start, has been retired. No wonder the racing seems soft this year; one would expect that there would be a mix of horses that improve their performance, and some that stay the same and others that show a decline. Eight haven’t started at all while Nuncio is in Europe. Trixton and Sweet Lou have been retired; Miki and He’s Watching are dealing with physical issues; McWicked, Lifetime Pursuit and Harper Blue Chip are mysteries to me; Sebastian will get it on this week. The faltering superstars from 2014, Father Patrick, JK She’salady, Mission Brief and Shake It Cerry, create the most apprehension. We need them back on track. And the old reliable types like Foiled, Bettor’s Edge and Clear Vision are making way for new blood, but where is it. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.
Hannah Miller has taken amateur harness racing by storm. The 24 year old miss scored her 19th victory in 58 seasonal starts when she guided Rise Above It to a 1:57.3 victory in their division of the Catskill Amateur Club's spring pacing series at Monticello Raceway on July 2. And that "Hurricane Hannah" is carrying a lofty .485 UDR one can easily understand the betting public's faith in her abilities. Sent off as odds-on favorite in her race Miller left softly with Rise Above It and when the field settled she moved first-up as the field headed to the half. "He's not a horse that can leave real hard and I knew Matt (Zuccerello with Minnesota Hanover) would be pushing off from the rail so I let everyone settle and then moved first over," Miller explained. Up the backside Rise Above it charged to the front and on the final turn he had five lengths on the field. From there he cruised home an easy winner over CC's Lover and Alan Schwartz. Third place went to Logan's Dragon driven by Dr. Jennifer Lowrey. "He raced real well and was looking for company at the wire," Miller added." Owned by Melvin Fink and Clifford Grundy Rise Above it paid $2.70 for win. He's trained by Nick Surick who had thanks for the owners when he said; "I just want to thank my owners Mel and Cliff for letting Hannah use their horse in series and supporting her and it paid off for them today with a win in the series finale." In the NAADA Series driver Joe Pennacchio made it two in- a -row in with Sir Winston when he guided the veteran gelding to a 2:01 victory over Superiorcourt and driver Bob Krivelin. Third place went to Alan Schwartz with Chuckie B. After a 2:00.1 victory last week while racing on the front end Pennacchio Sir Winston duplicated that effort and once again raced on the lead. "I said last week if he doesn't bleed he'd win and he didn't and we won," Pennacchio said. "He didn't bleed and this week either and he won again." When two horses broke at the start Pennacchio and Sir Winston raced unhurriedly on the lead and got away with easy fractions for the classy old veteran. After a soft half Pennacchio parked all comers and Sir Winston finished strong for a 1-1/2 length triumph. Despite a victory last week and starting from the pole position today the betting crowd didn't have much faith and sent Sir Winston off at odds of over 7-1. Owned by Joe P Racing and trained by Dan Altman he paid $16.40. By John Manzi for NAADA and the Catskill Club
ANDERSON, Ind.-July 2, 2015 - Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, in its' 22nd season of harness racing, will kick start the Independence Day weekend with a mix of 'family fun' promotions, free fireworks presentations, entertainment, and live harness racing on Friday, July 3. The 2015 harness racing season will be highlighted on Friday as Indiana's finest trotters and pacers convene on Hoosier Park's seven-eighths mile oval for Hoosier Champions Night, a round of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals. A total of 14 races have been carded and the evening will feature eight $75,000 finals for the two and three-year-old competitors. Friday's 14-race card is set to get underway at 5:15 p.m. Revamped last season, the Indiana Sires Stakes program features five legs throughout the season, and from each leg, the top 20 horses return to compete in a final and consolation. The 2015 stakes season will culminate with the top ten horses from each of the previous $75,000 finals returning to compete in a $200,000 Super Final on October 10 at Hoosier Park. The $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for the three-year-old competitors will be headlined by Indiana Sires Stakes champions Freaky Feet Pete and Churita. Trained by Larry Rheinheimer, Freaky Feet Pete has been enlisted as the 1-5 morning line choice in the $75,000 final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings and will look to score his third win of the season from the rail in race 13. Churita will look to keep her four-race win streak in-tact and remain undefeated this season from post nine in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old trotting fillies. Trained by Matt Rheinheimer, the daughter of Airzoom Lindy-Stonebridge Volare has been installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite with driver Trace Tetrick. In addition to the racing program that boasts lofty purses for the Indiana stakes program, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will offer racing fans a four-day celebration starting Thursday that will include a carnival, nightly fireworks shows, a beer garden and live entertainment as part of the Hoosierfest Carnival. "We always talk about Hoosier Park Racing & Casino being the place to be for racing, gaming, dining and entertainment. That statement will never hold truer than this coming weekend," Hoosier Park's Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. "Hoosier Park will indeed be the place to be as we get ready to celebrate the 4th of July Weekend in grandiose fashion with outstanding racing, the best in fireworks display, and a carnival for the entire family to enjoy." The carnival features main-attraction midway rides, fair food, a $5,000 Cash Cakewalk and fireworks every night, all outdoors at Hoosier Park. The carnival hours will be 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the carnival is free and unlimited ride tickets start at $25. Chairs and picnic tables will be available throughout the venue for convenience. Guests are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets for the fireworks presentations for additional comfort. Family-friendly entrances are available through the racetrack main entrances as well as multiple dining options. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. Emily Gaskin
Harness racing two year old trotting colts and geldings were featured on Thursday at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the New York Sire Stakes were in town. There were four divisions of the $36,000+ per division stakes for freshman trotters and there were some impressive performances. George Ducharme's Reve Royale (RC Royalty) was the fastest among stakes winners on the card drawing off late to win in a strong 1:59.4. Chris Lems piloted the two year old trotter to back to back commanding victories in qualifiers at Vernon Downs before guiding him to victory in his lifetime debut on Thursday. Dayson (Conway Hall) was another convincing winner in his $37,556 division of the NYSS as driver Jimmy Whittemore moved the Howard Okusko trainee to the early lead and they never looked back. Highlighted by a final half in 58 seconds flat, Dayson scored in 2:00.1 as the race's 8-5 favorite. John Campbell was in town and went two-for-two piloting the Anette Lorentzon-trained freshman Master Class (Credit Winner) to an upset win at odds of 35-1 and Chuck Sylvester's Dog Gone Lucky (Lucky Chucky) to victory as his race's even money favorite. The Hall of Famer Campbell is now three-for-three this season driving at Saratoga. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella      
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