Day At The Track
Nikita Ross and Donna Castles,Harness racing

Cobram Pink Day has a personal touch for Donna

When the surrounds of the Cobram harness racing track are a sea of pink this Sunday, no one will be happier than one of the dynamos driving the success of this now-iconic day. She doesn't look for accolades or pats on the back - as with all things she tackles, Donna Castles just jumps in and gets things done! But the annual Cobram Pink Day has now raised more than $110,000 for the Jane McGrath Foundation and you have to wonder where Donna gets her passion and energy. "I originally jumped on board as a driver in 2016 and I also gave the Cobram guys a bit of a hand with things - but it was actually while we were working on that race day that I was diagnosed with breast cancer myself," Donna said. "I was lucky to be diagnosed when I was, but like everyone when it happens, I really didn't have time for it. I had a 13-year-old daughter, I had 20 horses in work. It wasn't that convenient!" she remembers. "I didn't tell too many people and I just got on with getting the chemotherapy and radiation treatment and doing my best. "I got pretty sick at times, but I couldn't let myself just sit around, so as much as I could, I kept things together, going to the trots - wearing hats!" Donna Castles     - HRV photo Now in its ninth year, Donna's experience was one of the catalysts that's pushed the Cobram Pink Day to the next level. It raised $12,000 in 2016, $18,000 in 2017 and, last year, $27,000 for the McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurses. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life, and McGrath Foundation nurses help individuals and their families with free physical, psychological and emotional support. The energetic Cobram Harness Racing Club administrators Marg and Bob Watson are the backbone of the Pink Day success, along with the enthusiasm of the invited drivers and Nikita Ross at HRV. Donna said as difficult as the diagnosis and treatment were, it gave her a new perspective on life - and on the Pink Day. "The thing is, it happens, you can't do anything about it, you just have to soldier on. But when it happens, it does change you and I don't think a lot of people realise how precious life is until that moment," she said. "I think it's really just one of those things that, in some way, breast cancer seems to touch everyone. If you're lucky enough not to have had to deal with it yourself, you know someone close to you who has. It's just amazing how much support people are prepared to give for that reason." Coming up to three years cancer-free, Donna is more energised than ever about Cobram Pink Day. Invited reinswomen (Ellen Bartley, Rebecca Bartley, Juanita Breen, Monique Burnett, Rita Burnett, Donna Castles, Laura Crossland, Kima Frenning, Lisa Miles, Ellen Tormey, Abbey Turnbull and Tania Ward) will contest the $10,000 Paul Roberts Jewellers Jane McGrath Foundation Invitational on Sunday. Monique Burnett and Ellen Tormey have been two of the invited drivers wearing the pink pants throughout May --photo courtesy Cobram HRC   With the support of HRV, they've been wearing the eye-catching pink pants throughout the month of May to promote the fundraiser. "It creates a bit of interest, a bit of discussion about why they're wearing pink, and the girls have been amazing in selling raffle tickets and promoting the cause," Donna said. This year the raffle prize is a $3000 holiday voucher plus luggage for first (2nd a $1000 Visa voucher, 3rd $500 Visa voucher, 4th-7th $100 Visa vouchers), but the club has previously raffled a car, a sulky and a "roomful" of donated items. Each year the energetic team draws new supporters into the fold and this year has assembled a massive list of more than 20 major sponsors. "We decided to go with something this year that everyone could use - a travel voucher is fantastic because it doesn't matter whether you want to go to Queensland or overseas, it's a great prize," Donna said. The festival atmosphere of the Cobram Pink Day (this year with a mechanical bull, kids entertainment and a lucky gate prize of a five-day holiday at Ashmore Village in Queensland) has established the event as a favorite with trainers, owners and the community. "The thing with harness racing is that when something goes wrong for someone in the sport, and we've seen it time and time again, people embrace it and offer support them and give a hand when they need it," Donna said. "It's the same with this - we've barely had anyone turn us down for support because everyone feels that connection. "In harness racing, we're all in the same house but we live in different rooms. We're competitors, but harness racing people pull together and that's the fabulous thing about Pink Day and being involved with it. I love it." Six trainers in every race at Cobram on Sunday will receive Carbine Chemicals Products or Hygain products and in the ladies' invitational every trainer will receive Carbine Chemical product and a Hygain showbag. A lucky trainer's draw with a set of Hyland colors is also on offer, along with a trainers' encouragement award for 14 days at Harkaway horse water walker.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Mach Doro A,Harness racing

Mach Doro A asserted his dominance

Plainville, MA --- On Monday afternoon (May 20) Mach Doro A asserted his dominance for the second week in a row and overpowered a full field of nine top pacers as he took the $16,000 Open Handicap pace at Plainridge Park. Avatartist (Mark Eaton) left from post nine and seated the whole harness racing field as he sped to the quarter in :25.4 over the sloppy track. As the race passed in front of the stands, J JS Delivery (Shawn Gray) pulled first-over and brought Bet You (Heath Campbell) and Mach Doro A (Ron Cushing) with him in the outer flow. The race hit the half in :55 and J JS Delivery was drawing closer to Avatartist, but he wasn't doing it fast enough for Mach Doro A as Cushing tipped that one three-deep up the backside and blew past the field. By the three-quarter pole Mach Doro A had cleared in 1:23.1 and that marked the beginning of the end of the race. As he rounded the turn he started pulling away with the rest of the field double-decked behind him. Cushing looked over his shoulder at the top of the stretch and saw he was home free and Mach Doro A strode-out to an unprompted seven-length lead at the wire where he won in 1:52. The time was the second consecutive lifetime mark for Mach Doro A. Now a winner of 33 out of 83 races and $296,246 lifetime, the 8-year-old Mach Doro A is also two-for-two at Plainridge Park this year for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs is the trainer. In the co-featured $14,000 conditioned pace, Passport To Art (Shawn Gray) got a perfect pocket trip behind Pokerface Bluechip (Mitchell Cushing) before tipping in the last turn to launch a strong stretch drive that wore down the leader at the wire where he won in 1:51.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Passport To Art ($12.20) is owned by Elizabeth and Dyce Spaluto and is trained by Alicia Gray. Passport To Art                     -Tom Melanson photo Shawn Gray had a huge day at Plainridge on Monday, winning five races on the card. Besides the already mentioned Passport To Art, Gray also scored with Queen For Life (1:59.2, $5.00), Jake G's Champion (1:57.3, $19.00), Chip Walther (1:52.3, $9.40) and Sir Pugsley (1:51.4, $3.00). With that performance Gray now has a commanding lead in the dash win race for the meet topping Mitchel Cushing by 12; 42-30. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (May 23) at 4 p.m. With now winner in the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta in race six or nine on Monday, there is a carryover pool of $1,995.95 for that same bet in race six on Thursday.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusett  

Emoticon Hanover,Harness racing

Emoticon Hanover takes Miss Versatility opener

MILTON, May 20, 2019 - Emoticon Hanover scored a comfortable 1:54 victory in Monday evening's $52,800 opening leg of the Miss Versatility Series for trotting mares at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The two-time Breeders Crown champion and driver Daniel Dube got away second in a compact field of five and made a second-quarter circle to the lead from the two-hole. The Luc Blais trainee proceeded to post a :28.4 third-quarter followed by a :27.4 final-quarter to secure a 2 ¼ lengths victory over early-leader The Erm. Emoticon Hanover's stablemate Dream Together finished third. Pat Matters and Sorceress Seelster rounded out the field, with both making breaks early in the mile. A daughter of Kadabra, Emoticon Hanover picked up her 24th career victory Monday to bring her season record to two for two. The six-year-old is looking to duplicate or surpass last year's totals of six wins and $397,208 earned in 15 starts. Monday's victory pushes Emoticon Hanover over $1.7 million in career earnings. She paid $2.50 to win.   The next leg of the Miss Versatility will take place on July 13 at The Meadowlands. The series features four preliminary legs followed by the final at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on Little Brown Jug day. Live racing resumes Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m.   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park

Elitloppet Day,Harness racing

Elitloppet and Sweden Cup 2019 entrants

The 2019 Elitloppet harness racing field is now set as shown below for May 26 th at Solvalla.   The Jean-Michel Bazire trainees Looking Superb and Aubrion du Gers will be driven by Ake Svanstedt and Jos. Verbeeck respectively.   This pair are among the favorites along with Readly Express and Propulsion that drew in separate eliminations.   Elim 1 Elitloppet   Makethemark, Ulf Ohlsson Disco Volante, Jorma Kontio Double Exposure, Erik Adielsson Next Direction, Ilkka Nurmonen Looking Superb, Ake Svanstedt (JM Bazire trainer) Uza Josselyn, Gabriele Gelormini Readly Express, Bjorn Goop Sorbet, Carl Johan Jepson   Elim 2 Elitloppet   Aubrion du Gers, Jos. Verbeeck (JM Bazire trainer) Milligan’s School, Ulf Eriksson Bahia Quesnot, Junior Guelpa Day Or Night In, Johan Untersteiner Propulsion, Orjan Kihlstrom Milliondollarrhyme, Fredrik B. Larsson Heavy Sound, Kenneth Haugstad Dijon, Romain Derieux   The Sweden Cup lineup is set for May25 at Solvalla, with three eliminations. Cyber Lane. Arazi Boko, Dante Boko and Pastore Bob are among the likely favored starters.      

YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 20, 2019--Air Force Hanover, who won the faster of last weekend's two harness racing elimination races, finds himself stuck behind the eight-ball for Yonkers Raceway's 29th Art Rooney Pace. The $300,000 event, for 3-year-old colts and geldings, goes as Saturday night's (May 25th) 10th race, with the dozen-race card offering its usual first post of 6:50 PM. Air Force Hanover, despite going the distance this past Saturday (1:52.4), did not overly impress his trainer. "He wasn't as good as I wanted him to be," Brian Brown said. "He did the same thing (2017 Rooney and Messenger winner) Downbytheseaside did when he was here (Yonkers). "He'd open up a lead and start waiting for someone, and (Air Force Hanover) did it, too. "I'm not saying he's going open up a lead from an eight-hole, because they are some good horses inside of him, but we're going to use an eye hood with some holes in it this time around. Hopefully, it makes him more aggressive without being out of control," Brown said. Air Force Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by County Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo & W. J. Donovan, has a pair of wins in three seasonal starts. Dave Miller again has the assignment. Last week's other $40,000 elim winner Bettor's Wish, landed post position No. 6, with Dexter Dunn driving for co-owner/trainer Chris Ryder. The son of Bettor's Delight went down the road in 1:53.2. The field for the Rooney is as such...1-Captain Malicious (Mark MacDonald), 2-Rollwithpapajoe (Joe Bongiorno), 3-Branquinho (Tyler Buter), 4-Buddy Hill (Brian Sears), 5-Price Hanover (Dan Dube), 6-Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), 7-Blood Money (Scott Zeron), 8-Air Force Hanover (Dave Miller), The companion event, the 15th Lismore for soph pacing fillies, goes for $109,234 as the ninth race. It drew out this way...1-Mi Nina Bonita (Brent Holland), 2-Rock N McRoll (Dube), 3-Queen of the Pride (Jordan Stratton), 4-As Time Goes By (George Brennan), 5-Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett), 6-Privacy Hanover (Bartlett also listed), 7-Rockn' Philly (Tim Tetrick), 8-Annie Hill (Sears). This story shall be updated.   Frank Drucker  Director of Publicity

WASHINGTON, PA, May 20, 2019 -- Tony Hall collected six wins on the 13-race card while Party At The Banks captured the $20,000 Open Handicap Trot against the boys in Monday's harness racing action at The Meadows. Hall's victories came for six different trainers: Randy Bendis, William Daugherty, Jr., Rich Gillock, Cory Kreiser, Marcus Marashian and Dirk Simpson. Party At The Banks endured a rough start, as she was parked the opening three-eighths before reaching the point. But the 5-year-old daughter of Break The Bank K-Beach Party As made it look easy from there, downing the pocket-sitting Classic Banker by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:54 for Dave Palone. Final Breath finished third. Ron Burke trains Party At The Banks, who lifted her career bankroll to $180,423, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. It was her second straight win and fifth in the last seven starts.   By Evan Pattak for the MSOA

London, May 20, 2019 -- Less than 24 hours after capturing the 41st edition of the Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs, trainer Ron Burke has confirmed that Done Well will participate in this year's Camluck Classic on closing night, May 31st at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The son of Well Said has now posted back-to-back harness racing wins following a 1:50.2 lifetime best over Flamboro and is sure to be a major threat in this year's $157,000 contest. The gelding has more than $583,000 earned in his career and has started off his four-year-old campaign with a record of 2-1-0 from a trio of starts. The Raceway is also proud to announce that the connections of Trump Nation and The Wall have accepted invitations to the Camluck Classic. Trump Nation, who captured the 2018 edition of the Art Rooney, is fresh off a sizzling 1:49.3 winning effort at The Meadowlands. He will line up in the Camluck Classic for trainer Andrew Harris, himself a native of Ontario who now operates a large stable in New Jersey. The pacer's sire, Betterthancheddar, competed in what was then the Molson Pace at Western Fair in 2013 finishing a strong second behind State Treasurer. Trump Nation has a 10-3-3 record from 22 starts in his career with $322,000 in the bank. The Wall, trained by Nick Surick, is also confirmed for this year's Camluck Classic. The son of Somebeachsomewhere captured two legs of this year's George Morton Levy Series at Yonkers Raceway and has nearly $340,000 banked in his young career. The five-year-old boasts a record of 1:51.2 taken earlier this year at Yonkers Raceway and will be handled by his regular pilot Joe Bongiorno on May 31st. The other big news is that harness racing's winningest driver Dave Palone will make the trip to Ontario to drive Southwind Amazon in the Camluck Classic. Palone has put up amazing numbers during his career including more than 18,800 trips to the winner's circle. Perhaps the most impressive statistic is 29 consecutive seasons of at least 400 wins or more. Below are the six confirmed starters at this point in alphabetical order. The other two starters will be confirmed this week. Done Well Ideal Jimmy Sintra Southwind Amazon The Wall Trump Nation   Camluck Classic night will also offer a powerful undercard that will include the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, a quartet of City Of London Series finals and several Preferred races. Visitors will once again have a chance to enjoy the action from the confines of the giant Infield Tent, which was a hit with guests last year. It offers a unique vantage point and entertainment experience with fantastic food and beverage offerings for just $50 plus tax. Tickets to the Infield Event are currently on sale with limited tickets available. The Party on the Patio will be back this year bigger and better than ever. Along with the delicious food and beverage offerings that will be available, popular local entertainers Sarina Haggarty and Connor Morand will be on hand performing their unique mix of new material and cover songs throughout the evening. There will be many other contests and giveaways that night with more details to come. To stay up to date on the Camluck Classic and everything happening at The Raceway, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com.   Western Fair District

Matthew Williamson allowed himself the moment most young New Zealand representatives surely take on Sunday night. He unpacked his flash new driving colours, the black ones with the silver fern, tried them on and checked out how he looked in the mirror. "It was a bit surreal to be honest, it definitely made me puff the chest out," says Williamson. On Friday, the Oamaru horseman will wear those colours for real but on the other side of the globe in harness racing's World Driver's Championships in Sweden. Harness racing drivers' championships are a curious beast because the best driver could draw the worst horses in the ballot and finish last. And vice versa. But New Zealand drivers have a disproportionately high success rate, with six individual champions in the 29 series that have been contested: Dexter Dunn, Mark Jones, Maurice McKendry, Tony Herlihy, Robert Cameron and the late Kevin Holmes. The Kiwi success rate can, at least partially, be put down to our drivers being among the most versatile in the world. After all, they drive horses on left and right-handed tracks, in stand and mobile starts, on grass, grit and clay tracks, over a wide range of distances. And of course, they drive both trotters and pacers. That would sum up 28-year-old Williamson, having cut his teeth in the sometimes rustic scene of the deep south before becoming a regular near the top of the national premiership. He leaves tomorrow for the champs which begin on Friday and continue for a week, even driving on the first day of the famous Elitlopp meeting in Stockholm on Saturday. "It is getting real now, it was after I put the colours on Sunday night," says Williamson. "I think a lot of kids grow up hoping they get to wear the silver fern so that is pretty amazing." Williamson made a sacrifice for that privilege, giving up driving at the Jewels at Addington on June 1. "It probably means missing three Jewels drives but I am thrilled to be going." And Williamson is the man for the job because Swedish harness racing is all trotting, with no pacers, and Williamson is from trotting royalty. His father Phil holds the record for the most trotting winners trained in a season in New Zealand and his brothers Nathan and Brad are also top drivers. Remarkably, the quartet drove the first four home in a trotting race at Gore on Saturday. Of Matthew's 780 career successes in New Zealand, 280 have been in trotting races, an extremely high percentage for a leading driver. So while Williamson is going to Sweden to try to win, he is also going there to learn. "It sounds like we will be going to some of the stables over there ... I can't wait to see how they do things with the trotters," he admits. "So while the driving comes first I will be asking their trainers plenty of questions to learn as much as I can and see what I can bring home." Even if he can wear the silver fern to WDC glory, Williamson has an even more important moment waiting for him upon his return. His fiancee, talented reinswoman Charlotte Purvis, is expecting the couple's first child on June 10. "So I am hoping the baby can hold on till I get back."   Michael Guerin

Popular Mildura harness racing trainer Allan "Pud" Macdonald is a firm believer there was influence from above in his stable's long shot home-track win on Friday. And no-one is begrudging the breakthrough by She Said Yes (Well Said USA-Our Pocket Princes NZ (In The Pocket), with Macdonald having just seven days earlier lost his mother (and biggest supporter), 87-year-old Pat. "You really have to think someone was looking down on us because you just don't get 100/1 winners very often. But it was a nice little pick-me-up, just what we needed," Macdonald said. "Mum always gave me $5 to put on my horses - what a pity she missed this one." Pat Macdonald was a much-loved figure in Sunraysia sporting circles, including harness racing, netball, basketball and football, as well as a respected teacher. She Said Yes defeated her stablemate Pretty Pud ($13.80 chance) to make it a memorable quinella for the Macdonald stable, with Frank Cavallaro-trained We Will Sound ($4) back in third spot. And while She Said Yes was at long odds, the all-the-way win in the C0 Tenderprint Pace didn't completely surprise Macdonald and his part-owner Gavin Peters. "We decided we had to try something different and added more galloping to her routine. It didn't take long to see her fitness levels go up and she was as keen as ever. We thought she was a place chance," Macdonald said. Race replay To View the race replay click here! Macdonald said his mum was not only a big supporter of his stable but had also been an owner-breeder over the years. "She'd always make sure the harness was clean and the gear was packed and she'd be the first to get into the car when we were racing at Nyah and Charlton, and more recently Swan Hill," he said. "Then if we were away we could always rely on her to check waters and feeds, and anything else that needed doing." The late Pat Macdonald Macdonald said he could remember many years ago when his mum would lend a hand and jog some of the horses. "Another trainer who was at our place, Sandra O'Connor, would lift mum in and out of the jog cart because mum had plastic knees and she was a bit restricted," he said. "So one day mum had just finished training and walked past another horse that kicked out and broke her leg. "Mum told Sandra to go and get a wheelbarrow and take her up to the house so she could call someone to take her to hospital. Sandra grabbed a green towel to put in the wheelbarrow before she loaded mum in - but mum told her to put that one back because it was for racedays only, and to grab the blue one!" Macdonald, who has enjoyed a fair share of success over the years, said he got into the sport after talking about it with his brother Murray and close friend Craig Hartley. "I guess it was probably in my blood looking back on it as my grandfather (mum's dad) was a farrier and mucked around with a few horses," he said. "So we started buying a few between us and then later my other brother Brendan conducted a small stud for a while." Macdonald said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time in the sport, having made a lot of friends along the way. And for any more coming longshot winners? Macdonald chose to keep his cards close to his chest but did say She Said Yes had trained on well after her recent victory.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The 2019 West Cork harness Racing season opened at the "Blue Flag" Inchadoney Beach on Sunday at it was veteran pacer Meadowbranch Demon who stole the headlines at this most beautiful of venues.   Rhyds Dilemma and Coalford Bruce led out the gate with Coalford Bruce leading after the first quarter .Sunnyside Kildare led at halfway and held that lead to the final turn .All the while Meadowbranch Demon was moving nearer and took up the running in the final eighth of a mile to lead home the fast finishing Rhyds Panache by four lengths,   " He might be 13 years young but is loving his racing and has been a great servant " commented winning driver Luke Kelleher .   Empereur Souverain drew pole position in the trot and was never headed .This five year old had been one of the leading four year old trotters last year and was unlucky in defeat last week in Portmarnock but Denis O Reilly had an armchair drive and his length and a half winning margin could have been more and plenty more winning days are in store.   IB Notorious who broke his maiden in Tir Prince at the end of last season took the low grade pace. This three year old son of Hasty Hall came home 12 lengths clear of Brywins One Off . winning driver Donal Murphy is part owner of the colt with Bill Donovan from Florida who is the main sponsor of the Red John Memorial Festival which takes place in Lyre On June 15th & 16th    "He will head for the Three Year Grass Championship in Lyre and is staked up for all the major three year old races both at home in the UK" said Murphy .   Oisin Quill has struck up a good partnership with Vallanzana and the pair were seen to good effect in the high grade trot .   Since his stable move to the Quills in Kenmare he had "paid The Bills" .Sixteen year old Oisin is one of the future stars of the sport .   Brywins Starship according to owner MiKe Healy"Takes time to come into form" but driver Richard Kingston a nephew of the owner had him in top shape coming of the back to win the Mid grade Pace.   "He is staked up  in the Red John and he suprised me today"    A large team of volunteers were on hand to erect and dismantle the track on the beach which drivers described as the best ever.   Next Sunday the action moves to The Cornfield Oval in Manch.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS    RACE ONE   IB NOTORIOUS D Murphy  BRYWINS ONE OFF M Goggin Jnr  JUST A PROMISE P McInerney  TIME 2.18.6 DIST 12L 4L RACE TWO  EMPEREUR SOURVERAIN D O Reilly  BRASSILA MATCH S Kane SILVANO BELLO D Murphy TIME 3.42.2 DIST 1 1/2L 3 1/2L RACE THREE  BRYWINS STARSHIP R Kingston  SPRINGHILL DOYLE C O Reilly WESTERN DREAMER S KANE TIME 2.16.1 4 1/2L 4L  RACE FOUR    VALLANZANNA O Quill  ANTIGO D Murphy  DESTINE DE LARRE S Quill TIME 3.25 1L 3/4L RACE FIVE  MEADOWBRANCH DEMON L Kelleher RHYDS PANACHE C O Reilly COALFORD BRUCE T O Leary TIME 2.15.4 DIST 4L 1/2L  

MAY 19, 2019 - A few raindrops did not put a damper on the 2019 Ontario Sires Stakes season opener Sunday, as the province's top three-year-old colts impressed harness racing fans gathered at Flamboro Downs for the Dundas oval's signature Confederation Cup program. Both the trotting and pacing colts opened their sophomore season Sunday, with the trotters competing in a trio of Gold Series divisions and the pacers duelling in five Grassroots races. Only For Justice set the tempo for the evening in the first race, cruising along on the front end to a 1:56.3 Gold Series victory. Fan favourite, and last year's division champion, Forbidden Trade was three lengths back in second and Archway was well back in third. "That's a big mile here tonight, a real fast back half," said driver Chris Christoforou. "He's very good gaited and good on the turns, he's a nice horse." Campbellville, ON resident Christoforou piloted Only For Justice to the win for trainer Dany Fontaine and owner-breeder Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC. The win came in the Justice Hall son's first start of the season and was his second lifetime victory in Gold Series action. The gelding also captured a Gold event on the half-mile track at Grand River Raceway as a two-year-old. "Last year, I'm not sure, but I think he might have had the season record on a half-mile track for a two-year-old gelding," said Christoforou, referring to Only For Justice's 1:57.3 score at Grand River Raceway. "I'd like to see him progress through the year, see what happens. He's got a good gait and he's very easy to manoeuver, he does what you want... so far, so good." The second $72,267 Gold division went to Magical Journey and driver Stephen Byron, who hit the wire one-half length ahead of Northern Cavalier and driver Michiel Vanderkemp, matching Only For Justice's 1:56.3 clocking. Jumpshot and driver Daniel Dube rounded out the top three, all of whom took advantage of an early break by favourite Dream Nation. "He raced great," said Matt Bax, who shares ownership of Magical Journey with his father, trainer John Bax, Gaelic Stable of Sharon, ON and Gordon Wright of Charlotte, MI. "We knew that he was really good in the turns, and he's good off the wings, so Steve was going to probably try to get him closer to the front - half-mile racing, if you have that ability you're going to go for it - and Steve gave him a great drive." The win was the second of the season and the first in Ontario Sires Stakes action for Kadabra son Magical Journey, who made three Gold Series starts and three Grassroots starts at two. "At the end of the year he was really starting to figure it out, when we put him away he was strong, so that's translated into this year," said Campbellville resident Bax. "He's a little taller, a little stronger, a little smarter, a little bit of everything." The third Gold division went to Southwind Avenger, who battled to a one length victory over pacesetter Cool Clifford, hitting the wire in 1:55.4. JMR Pinarello was well behind the leaders in third. Trevor Henry crafted the win, from the outside Post 8, for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. The E L Titan son also won a division of the season opener at two and never finished worse than third in six Gold Series starts during his freshman campaign. Henry also captured the first $22,800 Grassroots division, guiding sophomore pacing colt Sportsline to his fourth straight victory for trainer Jim Watt of Clinton and Harry Parrott of Goderich, ON. The fan favourites cruised along on the front end to a 1:51.4 victory, four lengths ahead of Moonshine Kisses. Gambling Terror was third. The other Grassroots divisions went to Priceless Beach in 1:54.3, Sugartown in 1:52.2, Missile Seelster in 1:55.4 and Better Than Cash in 1:55.2. The Ontario Sires Stakes colts served as the opening act for the $188,500 Confederation Cup Final, featuring nine of the best four-year-old pacers in North America. In the main event, Done Well and driver Dexter Dunn reprised their successful front-end trip from the elimination and claimed the historic Cup with a 1:50.2 clocking for trainer Ron Burke of Fredericktown, PA, Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA, Jandt Silva Purnel and Libb of Delray Beach, FL and Wingfield Brothers LLC of Kenton, OH. Last season's OSS champion Jimmy Freight finished second and the other elimination winner, and Done Well's stablemate, Dorsoduro Hanover was third. The sophomore trotting colts will continue their Ontario Sires Stakes Gold season on June 24 and the pacing colts will compete in their second Grassroots event on June 27, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The provincial program makes two more stops at Flamboro Downs in the fall, with the three-year-old pacing fillies and the two-year-old trotting fillies wrapping up their Gold season on Sept. 22 and Oct. 2, respectively. Complete results for Flamboro Downs' May 19 Confederation Cup program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0519flmdn.dat.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing

WILKES-BARRE PA - Captain Crunch, last year's two-year-old champion, had people asking "What's he going to do when he gets tighter?" after taking his 2019 debut by an effortless 1¾ lengths in a harness racing division of the second preliminary of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts Sunday at Mohegan Sun Pocono, negotiating a sloppy track in an amazing 1:49.1, last quarter :26. 2018 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Proof left hard from an outer post to clear to the lead just after the :27 quarter, with Scott Zeron already having given the word to Captain Crunch and the Captaintreacherous colt powering right to the lead before reaching the half in :55.2. Southwind Ozzi, a first-round PaSS winner, made a bold move from fifth to challenge the leader towards the 1:23.1 three-quarters, but then, without a race in 145 days, over off going, Captain Crunch charged home with the powerhouse :26 blitz, with Zeron mostly an interested passenger. Southwind Ozzi, the second choice, held extremely well in second, a length in front of third choice Proof, who also stayed on nicely after the early usage. Though some people have been known to complain about soggy cereal, Captain Crunch has no apparent aversion to moisture, having won the Breeders Crown (here) and the Governor's Cup on sloppy ovals, and now posting this off-track victory, which equaled his lifetime mark and is the fastest mile of the young season by a three-year-old on any size of oval. Nancy Johansson trains the divisional favorite and winner of $645,322 for 3 Brothers Stable, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. The major challenger to Captain Crunch may emerge to be Workin Ona Mystery, another Captaintreacherous colt who won his first five starts at two, then ended his season after having a horrible trip in his Breeders Crown elimination and not advancing. A 1:50.1 PaSS winner in his 2019 bow, Workin Ona Mystery traveled the sloppy Pocono oval in 1:49.3 to match his lifetime best. Tim Tetrick reserved his colt in fourth as Love Me Some Lou needed most of the :26.4 quarter to make the top. Workin Ona Mystery quickly moved and worked his way to command, but then got a very hard challenge from 40-1 Volley Ball Beach, who recovered from an early miscue to race as a team with the winner to a :54.2 half and got a short backstretch lead before his bid ended just past the 1:21.4 three-quarters. Despite the hard middle half, nobody could get near Workin Ona Mystery late, with Love Me Some Lou 4 3/4 lengths back at the wire. The Brian Brown trainee seems to have recovered well from his one hiccup for owners Diamond Creek Racing, Stambaugh Leeman Stable, Alan Keith, and Wingfield Brothers LLC. The third division of Sire Stakes produced the only non-favorite in the Sires and Stallion Series events, as 6-5 "longshot" Wild Wild Western, a Western Ideal colt who was unraced at two but now has posted a 10-6-4-0 scorecard at three after equaling his mark of 1:52. Driver Mike Wilder used the popular frontstretch brush tactic with the Norm Parker trainee after the :26.3 opener, put up middle fractions of :56.1 and 1:24, then had to hold off two late threats to his left, 26-1 Caviart Stetson in second and Semi Tough in third, both a neck back; even money favorite Major Deception was another half-length behind the top trio. Wild Wild Western is owned by Jacobs Creek Racing LLC, Andrew Altobelli, and John Deters. Fastest of the four Stallion Series winners was the Sweet Lou gelding Warrawee Unique, who got the evening off to a fast start by posting a lifetime best of 1:50.2 while doubling his lifetime win total and equaling his division's North American season's record. Warrawee Unique made two moves to control the pace for driver Yannick Gingras, then used identical :27.2 back quarters to win by 2¾ lengths for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. The Captaintreacherous colt Odds On Boca Raton had the biggest win margin in the Stallion Series competition, coming home first by four lengths in 1:51.1 for driver Andrew McCarthy while like the first winner lowering his mark and doubling his career win total. The Tony Alagna trainee looks to be seriously on the improve for Odds On Racing. The only one of the seven stakes winners who did not beat or lower his mark was U S Captain, but since the Captaintreacherous colt won his first start of the year in 1:50.4 and was racing in sloppy going here, the 1:51.1 final clocking, including :55 - :27.2 back fractions, was quite acceptable. Andrew McCarthy and Tony Alagna combined again with a developing colt, as U S Captain was winless last year but here showed his mettle by withstanding a tough Stienams Beach by ¾ of a length for Brittany Farms LLC, Brad Grant, Joseph Barbera, and U S Captain Racing. The first three Stallion Series winners were all six-figure yearlings with glittering maternal sides; the final StS winner, the Sweet Lou gelding Skip To My Lou, is the only one of the four to have two Stallion Series victories to his 2019 credit. Like every other stakes winner tonight, Skip To My Lou moved to the lead in quarter two, and driver Eric Goodell had things under control through the stretch, with Rockme Rollme good late but not really threatening the half-length winner, who reduced his mark as second to 1:51. Robert Cleary, he of the 40% victory rate, trains the sophomore who has four wins in his last six starts for Royal Wire Products Inc. ATTRIBUTION - PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Columbus, MN -The first Sunday card of the 2019 Harness Racing season featured a $15,000 Open Trot event, with a strong field of contenders. Silverlode was making her Running Aces return after a stellar campaign in northern California at Cal Expo over the winter and spring. Banker Volo was making his Running Aces return and just second start of the year, after a winter campaign in western Pennsylvania at The Meadows. Those two were the talk of the tote-board and rightfully so, as they also dominated the action on the track. Banker Volo (Nick Roland) struck the front first, with a burst right off the wings of the gate to challenge the inside entry Doug's Hobby Horse (Rick Bertrand) and take the lead at the quarter in 29.2, while Silverlode (Steve Wiseman) floated away third from her outside eight post, and advanced to challenge and take over the front near the 3/8 marker. The fractions were tepid for the top class trotters as they hit the half in just 1 minute flat and also completed a middle half of one minute flat (1:30). Silverlode faced mild pressure near the 5/8 when Al Mar Reba Babe was advancing first-over on the outside, but was never in jeopardy. Turning for home Silverlode had taken a clear two-length margin and had full benefit of the soft fractions, kicking home in 29.1 to check in 3 ¾ lengths ahead of Banker Volo, with Bringoverthemoney (Tim Maier) picking up the pieces for third. Silverlode ($3.20) is a 10 year old mare by British Sterling and is trained by Kathleen Plested, who co-owns with Medinah Racing. She now has 6 wins in a row and 7 victories in just 10 starts in 2019, and She recently surpassed the quarter-million mark in career earnings and now sport's a tally of $258,072. Four year old pacer Just B Talking ($84.40) became the biggest priced winner of the meet so far in Race seven on the card for Owner-Trainer-Driver Gerald Longo, with an impressive tally on the front end in 1:58.2 to light up the board at more than 41-1, triggering a carryover in the Hi-5 wager. And when 6 year old pacer Buzz Light (Nick Roland) turned in a sharp looking win at 11-1 ($24.20) in the finale in 1:58, that helped to trigger a double-carryover of $8,049.09 for the High Five Wager on Tuesday Night (5/21). Drivers Nick Roland, and Dean Magee both picked up driving doubles on the Sunday program. Post time on Tuesday night (5/21) is 7:00 pm CT.   By Darin Gagne For Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack

Vicbred horses raced for $9.13million more stakemoney than other horses in Victoria during season 2017-18. Last season, Vicbred horses picked up $4.6m in Vicbred win bonuses, while a further $4.5m of stakemoney was paid out on Vicbred-only races. This week Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) launched its 2019 Vicbred Super Series campaign, with the key message “Why wouldn’t you be Vicbred”? HRV CEO David Martin said it was important for a fresh approach to the Vicbred Super Series, one which focuses on the breeders and industry participants. “A vibrant local breeding industry is crucial to the overall wellbeing of our industry as a whole and the Vicbred program is a critical component,” Mr Martin said. “Vicbred eligible horses race for extra stakemoney through races and bonuses, so it certainly makes sense to think locally and think Vicbred during breeding season. “HRV and Harness Breeders Victoria are working hard and in regular consultation to look at ways to stimulate the breeding industry and the Vicbred program as we confront the historical challenge of a worldwide downturn in harness foal numbers.” Imamenace, who caused a boilover winning the 2014 Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotting Final   --Stuart McCormick photo A new naming rights partner has been signed for the pacing Vicbred Super Series this year, Alabar coming on board to join Aldebaran Park which sponsors the trotting races. “Alabar and Aldebaran Park have a deep appreciation and understanding of the breeding industry and the Vicbred program and we’re rapt they’re both on board with HRV to support this important race series,” HRV General Manager – Marketing Andrew English said. HRV today announced it will for the first time attach a $1500 breeding voucher to all 12 of this year’s Group 1 Vicbred Super Series finals. “When we announced the $1500 breeding vouchers for all fillies and mares’ races in May and June we said there would be more announcements on the way and this was one of those,” HRV General Manager – Racing Stephen Bell said. “Today’s announcement means a further $18,000 worth of breeding vouchers will be made available for Vicbred Super Series winning owners and breeders to reinvest in the local industry. “These vouchers are in addition to the $115,500 we committed to be reinvested to the industry through the May/June fillies and mares’ races.” This year’s VSS marketing campaign is centred on the Vicbred horse’s journey from foaling to racehorse to Vicbred champion. Explaining the concept, Mr English said: “Winning a Group 1 race is the dream and over the years the Vicbred Super Series has allowed stables big and small to taste top-level success. These are inspirational stories to tell; stories like Betty Hall and Immanence in recent years. This is what Vicbred is all about.” Flojos Gold, from Mildura, who won the 2015 2YO Vicbred Super Series Final   -Stuart McCormick photo July 5 and 6 will see two enormous nights of Vicbred Super Series action at Tabcorp Park Melton.  The Friday night will be all about the trotter as the finalists in the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series battle it out for supremacy.  The following Saturday night is all about the pacers as the Alabar Vicbred Super Series draws to an exciting climax with a cocktail function in the Legends Room on-course. Importantly, connections (including breeders) of Vicbred finalists will be treated to an evening of entertainment unlike any other as the “corporate” function becomes a colourful Vicbred celebration in the Legends Dining Room.   HRV Trots Media Cody Winnell

Sorbet (8m Super Photo Kosmos-Altar Bound-Supergill) impressively won Saturday’s H.K.H. Prins Daniels at Gavle (500,000SEK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart, 10 starters) reined by Orjan Kihlstrom for Stall Zet and trainer Daniel Reden.   Sorbet won for the 14 th time in 48 career harness racing starts now for life earnings of 5,551,026SEK. MIndyourvalue WF (6g Hovding Lavec) rallied for second handled by trainer Robert Bergh.   Ringostarr Treb (9m Classic Photo) raced throughout in the pocket and was blocked from emerging in the lane.   Wim Paal teamed Ringo, the 2018 Elitloppet winner, for trainer Jerry Riordan and he looked fit and full of trot. The winner, Sorbet (pictured), earned an Elitloppet start with this victory.     Thomas H. Hicks  

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Plainville, MA --- On Monday afternoon (May 20) Mach Doro A asserted his dominance for the second week in a row and overpowered a full field of nine top pacers as he took the $16,000 Open Handicap pace at Plainridge Park. Avatartist (Mark Eaton) left from post nine and seated the whole harness racing field as he sped to the quarter in :25.4 over the sloppy track. As the race passed in front of the stands, J JS Delivery (Shawn Gray) pulled first-over and brought Bet You (Heath Campbell) and Mach Doro A (Ron Cushing) with him in the outer flow. The race hit the half in :55 and J JS Delivery was drawing closer to Avatartist, but he wasn't doing it fast enough for Mach Doro A as Cushing tipped that one three-deep up the backside and blew past the field. By the three-quarter pole Mach Doro A had cleared in 1:23.1 and that marked the beginning of the end of the race. As he rounded the turn he started pulling away with the rest of the field double-decked behind him. Cushing looked over his shoulder at the top of the stretch and saw he was home free and Mach Doro A strode-out to an unprompted seven-length lead at the wire where he won in 1:52. The time was the second consecutive lifetime mark for Mach Doro A. Now a winner of 33 out of 83 races and $296,246 lifetime, the 8-year-old Mach Doro A is also two-for-two at Plainridge Park this year for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs is the trainer. In the co-featured $14,000 conditioned pace, Passport To Art (Shawn Gray) got a perfect pocket trip behind Pokerface Bluechip (Mitchell Cushing) before tipping in the last turn to launch a strong stretch drive that wore down the leader at the wire where he won in 1:51.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Passport To Art ($12.20) is owned by Elizabeth and Dyce Spaluto and is trained by Alicia Gray. Passport To Art                     -Tom Melanson photo Shawn Gray had a huge day at Plainridge on Monday, winning five races on the card. Besides the already mentioned Passport To Art, Gray also scored with Queen For Life (1:59.2, $5.00), Jake G's Champion (1:57.3, $19.00), Chip Walther (1:52.3, $9.40) and Sir Pugsley (1:51.4, $3.00). With that performance Gray now has a commanding lead in the dash win race for the meet topping Mitchel Cushing by 12; 42-30. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (May 23) at 4 p.m. With now winner in the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta in race six or nine on Monday, there is a carryover pool of $1,995.95 for that same bet in race six on Thursday.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusett  
HARRINGTON, Del. - George Leager's Slick Tony ($6.80, Russell Foster) was a repeat harness racing winner Monday in the featured $16,000 Open at Harrington Raceway in 1:51.4. The win looked like an instant replay from his win on May 13 as he once again battled first-over against leader Blazing Bobby Sox and used a steady and sustained charge to clear the lead and draw away from his rivals late for owner/trainer Leager. Q's Cruise closed well late to be second, while Blazing Bobby Sox was third. It was the 24th career win for Slick Tony, a 4-year-old No Spin Zone stallion, who has banked more than $80,000 this year and nearly $500,000 in his career.   Matthew Sparacino  
YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 20, 2019--Air Force Hanover, who won the faster of last weekend's two harness racing elimination races, finds himself stuck behind the eight-ball for Yonkers Raceway's 29th Art Rooney Pace. The $300,000 event, for 3-year-old colts and geldings, goes as Saturday night's (May 25th) 10th race, with the dozen-race card offering its usual first post of 6:50 PM. Air Force Hanover, despite going the distance this past Saturday (1:52.4), did not overly impress his trainer. "He wasn't as good as I wanted him to be," Brian Brown said. "He did the same thing (2017 Rooney and Messenger winner) Downbytheseaside did when he was here (Yonkers). "He'd open up a lead and start waiting for someone, and (Air Force Hanover) did it, too. "I'm not saying he's going open up a lead from an eight-hole, because they are some good horses inside of him, but we're going to use an eye hood with some holes in it this time around. Hopefully, it makes him more aggressive without being out of control," Brown said. Air Force Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by County Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo & W. J. Donovan, has a pair of wins in three seasonal starts. Dave Miller again has the assignment. Last week's other $40,000 elim winner Bettor's Wish, landed post position No. 6, with Dexter Dunn driving for co-owner/trainer Chris Ryder. The son of Bettor's Delight went down the road in 1:53.2. The field for the Rooney is as such...1-Captain Malicious (Mark MacDonald), 2-Rollwithpapajoe (Joe Bongiorno), 3-Branquinho (Tyler Buter), 4-Buddy Hill (Brian Sears), 5-Price Hanover (Dan Dube), 6-Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), 7-Blood Money (Scott Zeron), 8-Air Force Hanover (Dave Miller), The companion event, the 15th Lismore for soph pacing fillies, goes for $109,234 as the ninth race. It drew out this way...1-Mi Nina Bonita (Brent Holland), 2-Rock N McRoll (Dube), 3-Queen of the Pride (Jordan Stratton), 4-As Time Goes By (George Brennan), 5-Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett), 6-Privacy Hanover (Bartlett also listed), 7-Rockn' Philly (Tim Tetrick), 8-Annie Hill (Sears). This story shall be updated.   Frank Drucker  Director of Publicity
WASHINGTON, PA, May 20, 2019 -- Tony Hall collected six wins on the 13-race card while Party At The Banks captured the $20,000 Open Handicap Trot against the boys in Monday's harness racing action at The Meadows. Hall's victories came for six different trainers: Randy Bendis, William Daugherty, Jr., Rich Gillock, Cory Kreiser, Marcus Marashian and Dirk Simpson. Party At The Banks endured a rough start, as she was parked the opening three-eighths before reaching the point. But the 5-year-old daughter of Break The Bank K-Beach Party As made it look easy from there, downing the pocket-sitting Classic Banker by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:54 for Dave Palone. Final Breath finished third. Ron Burke trains Party At The Banks, who lifted her career bankroll to $180,423, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. It was her second straight win and fifth in the last seven starts.   By Evan Pattak for the MSOA
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