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Art Major filly sets Aussie mile record upon debut

Just days after New Zealand wonder mare Adore Me became the fastest harness racing performer in the Southern Hemisphere with her 1:47.7 triumph, Hazels Girl has broken an Australian record. Making her racing debut for prominent trainer Robert Xerri, Hazels Girl lowered the national two-year-old fillies’ mark at Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday. Leading throughout from barrier three, Hazels Girl covered the mile in 1:54.5, with quarters of 28.6, 29.9, 28.2 and 27.8 seconds. The debutante’s time sliced a tenth of a second off the previous mark shared by Read About Lexy and Alabama Shakes. Read About Lexy stopped the clock in 1:54.6 at Menangle on July 12 2014, with Alabama Shakes matching the record at the same venue last month. Lettucerockthem is the quickest freshman thanks to his 1:52.1 at Menangle on April 28, 2013. Excited by the youngster’s prospect, Xerri described Hazels Girl as a “serious filly”. “There is a lot to like about this one,” Xerri declared. “She has so much speed and a bit of stamina to go with it. “I knew she was ready to run a big race, but you don’t go out there expecting to break records. “At this stage of her preparation she is actually better with a sit as she can be a bit touchy in the mouth, but she did well. “She’s a serious fill and once she learns how to race I’m tipping she will be a lot better.” By Art Major, Hazels Girl is from former Group One winning filly, Miss Hazel, which won 15 of her 29 starts, with eight placings also to her credit. Miss Hazel’s best time of 1:57 was registered at Moonee Valley in May 2008. Miss Hazel is from broodmare gem My Ami Lee, the dam of three Group One winners including Renaissance Man and Louvre. As for Miss Hazel, Xerri has aimed her at the Bathurst Tiara, followed by the Australian Pacing Gold, New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge and Australasian Breeders’ Crown. “Bathurst is next then we will look at the other major races,” Xerri said. “You can’t go in everything so she won’t do much between the various heats and Finals. “Even then that’s another 10 or so races before the end of the season. “I’ve got a big opinion of her, so I want to look after her, not cook her.” PAUL COURTS

World Driving Championships to be held in Canada in 2017

Canada to host the World in 2017

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce that it will host the 2017 World Trotting Conference and World Driving Championship. The event, which is held every two years, will coincide with the 250th Anniversary of horse racing in Canada. It will also mark the 25th edition of the World Trotting Conference, an event that was inaugurated in 1969 in the United States. Today, at the closing ceremonies of this year's World Trotting Conference, Australian officials formally passed the torch to Canada. "We are delighted and very excited about the opportunity to welcome the global Standardbred racing industry to our country in 2017," said John Gallinger, President and CEO of Standardbred Canada. "To tie this in with the 250th Anniversary of horse racing in Canada is really quite special. "Every year, the bar is set very high," said Gallinger. "We are inspired by the success of this year's World Trotting Conference and World Driving Championship, in Sydney, Australia, and we are going to be working very hard over the next two years to ensure that our event is world class." While locations and venues for 2017 will be confirmed in the coming months, one driver is already penciled in for the trip to Canada. Dexter Dunn, from New Zealand, by virtue of his victory in Australia, will be guaranteed a spot in the World Driving Championship. He will be one of 11 international drivers taking part in the event. "I've never been to Canada so I'm really looking forward to competing in 2017," said Dunn. Canada has previously hosted the World Trotting Conference and World Driving Championship in 1973, 1989 and 2003. Canada has won the World Driving Championship in 1970 (Herve Filion), 1999 (Sylvain Filion), 2001 (Jody Jamieson) and 2011 (Jody Jamieson), but has never won on home soil. Standardbred Canada will release more information about the 2017 World Trotting Conference and World Driving Championship as it becomes available. Darryl Kaplan

The Meadowlands

The toughest place to win races!

10 different drivers won a race last Saturday, February 28. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 3, 2015) - The names have changed from O'Donnell, Manzi, and Lachance to Gingras, Tetrick, and Miller, but one thing remains the same going back to the early days of the Big M - the driving colony at the Meadowlands is still the most competitive in harness racing. That fact was on full display again this past Saturday night when ten different drivers won on the 13-race program that included three stakes finals and two opening leg divisions of the Buddy Gilmour Series. The winning names of Callahan, Campbell, Gingras, McCarthy, Pierce, Andy Miller, Brett Miller, David Miller, Zeron, and Teague reads like a 'who's who' of the sport's leaders. That list doesn't even include Tim Tetrick, a fixture near the top of the Meadowlands standings, who has been absent the past two weeks while representing Team USA at the World Driving Championships in Australia. "The Meadowlands is, and always has been, the toughest place to win races," said Corey Callahan, North America's leading money-winning driver so far in 2015. "It's the equivalent of "the big leagues" in baseball. Every driver there has been a dominant force in their respective areas of the country and they've migrated to the Meadowlands to compete against the best North America has to offer." Four of the top five leading money-winning drivers of 2014 are Meadowlands regulars, including Gingras, who led North America in earnings with $17,295,456. "Anytime you win a race at the Meadowlands you know you have done something right," said Gingras. "In any 10-horse field everybody gets quality a driver." Gingras is one of four drivers in just the past 12 racing programs to have won at least four races on a single card. Further depth in the Meadowlands driver colony comes courtesy of newcomer Brett Miller, second in the standings in just his first full season competing at the Big M, and breakout star Jim Marohn, Jr, a perennial leading driver at Tioga Downs and Monticello, who is 10th in the Big M standings. Rachel Ryan The Meadowlands

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Vic Trot Sale has plenty to offer

An exceptionally strong line-up of race winning and winner producing mares augurs well for the Australasian Premier Trotting Sale to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday. Of the 46 lots to be presented, 23 are from winners, with 18 from successful broodmares, including a host of ‘black type’ performers. Heading the list are the dams are the Trotters’ Oaks winners Maori’s Dream (Vic) and Queen’s Rhapsody (NSW), The Redwood winner Elusive Charm, the NZ Jewels runner-up Gladys Emanuel and the HRI Gold Bracelet and Breeders’ Crown runner-up Aldebaran Maori. The Group race placegetters Flaming Action, Aldebaranfavourite, Countessa Hest, Arnika’s Pride and Redwood Consolation winner Aldebaran Breeze also have yearlings in the sale. While metropolitan winning racemares represented include Calder Fury, Speedy Naomi, Im Mumbo Jumbo, Mystic Jewel and Strapon. The catalogue comprises the dams of 31 winners, which have amassed more than 160 wins, including dual Oaks and Vicbred champion Claudys Princess, Calder Sensation, Aldebaran Maori, Pride Of Sundon, Val Gardena, Atego Lilly, Bohemian Queen and last Sunday’s Kapunda Cup winner Nico Serrano. There are yearlings closely-related to Inter Dominion champions Sumthingaboutmaori and Our Real Force, and other top trotters such as Kyvalley Road, Blitzthemcalder, Galleon’s Assassin, The Fiery Ginga, Sunny Elegant, Mister Castelton, Merinai and Noopy Kiosk to name a few. Interestingly, no less than 10 yearlings hail from the famous tribe founded by Maori Miss, while 15 are from the New Zealand-bred dams and two from American-bred mares. For a copy of the catalogue visit Harness Racing Victoria during office hours, Tabcorp Park Melton, your local country club or email ahavelberg@hrv.org.au Pedigrees are available at www.austrottingsale.com.au PETER WHARTON

She has long been the Queen of New Zealand harness racing, but given her performance at Tabcorp Park Menangle just moments ago, Adore Me may well be the best pacing mare in the world. Not only did the Mark Purdon - trained wonder embarrass a strong field in the prestigious Ladyship Mile, she did so in Australasian record time – after racing in the ‘death seat’. Driven by Natalie Rasmussen, Adore Me covered the 1609-metre sprint in a breathtaking 1:47.7. Becoming the first member of the ‘fairer sex’ to better the magical 1:50 mark, the daughter of Bettors Delight slashed eight-tenths of a second off Smoken Up’s Southern Hemisphere stance. Smoken Up became the first pacer on this side of the equator to break 1:50 when he stopped the clock at 1:48.5 at Menangle in April 2011. Before Adore Me’s record run, Baby Bling held the mares’ crown with her 1:50.5 performance in April 2013 when triumphant in the Miracle Mile…also at Menangle. Shebestingin – also a daughter of Bettors Delight – is the world's fastest pacing female thanks to her 1:47 effort at Lexington in 2013. Put On A Show, by Rocknroll Hanover, is the quickest mare after covering the mile in 1:47.6. As for Adore Me’s moment of glory, she covered the last half in a scintillating 53.7 seconds to score by 18-and-a-half metres from Beauty Secret, with Laterron four metres away third. Adore Me will return to the Shaky Isles this week, with Purdon is expected to decide on an Auckland Cup start within the next couple of days. The Auckland Cup is scheduled to be run on Friday. Adore Me’s success was the third leg of a treble for Rasmussen from the first four races on the program. Capturing a Drivers’ Invitational event with Ive Gottalife, Rasmussen and Purdon also combined to annex the New South Wales Oaks with Fight For Glory. PAUL COURTS

March 2, 2015 - Sunday’s Gr. I UET Masters Series Criterium de la Cote d’Azur headlines the March 8 harness racing card at Cagnes sur mer, worth a €200,000 purse over 1609 meters autostart. Timoko, Univers de Pan, Maven and Roxane Griff would appear to be the leading contenders in a field that also includes several invaders from Italy.  The winners of the last two editions, namely Pan Universe and Timoko should be part of the mile on the Riviera on Sunday.  The eldest, recent winner of the Grand Prix de France , will start with an advantage over the Black Prince, which is less sharp.  Easy winner for his return to Mons, champion Philippe Daugeard accused shot the famous second race since being dominated by Paladin Bleu , which is not boxing in the same category currently.  No doubt he will mount it and display a different face to defend his crown.  The US Maven faces its stated goal of winter, its favorite distance.  We can not ignore the application Roxane Griff, who wants to get through the course of the 3 million.   A Love Girl, author of the second part of winter beauty, will also sell its dearly skin for places. Watch for updates as the field narrows. Thomas H. Hicks

Attorneys who practice in the commercial law arena are all quite familiar with the laws governing the risk of loss for goods in transit. The Uniform Commercial Code, or “UCC” is a body of laws that have been adopted by the overwhelming majority of states. The UCC sets forth certain terms that dictate at what point the seller of goods is no longer responsible for their loss and the buyer bears the risk of losing them prior to receipt. Consider a seller who entrusts millions of dollars’ worth of goods to a shipping company. The merchant delivers the goods to the dock and leaves. Loaded with the merchandise, the vessel hits stormy weather, and the goods are damaged beyond repair. Neither seller nor buyer is at fault for such an unfortunate event. Does the seller take the loss; or does the buyer have to pay for the goods, notwithstanding that they no longer have commercial value? The answer dictates which party will need to pursue a claim against the shipping company, so as to be made whole. In claiming, the rules of racing in a jurisdiction establish the risk of loss as between the claimant and the horseman who enters the horse for the tag. Traditionally, state rules have provided that once a claim is filed, it is irrevocable and is at the risk of the claimant1.   In New York, for example, the applicable harness rule provides that every horse claimed races in the interest and for the account of the owner who declared it to such race, but that title to the claimed horse is vested in the successful claimant from the time the word “GO” is given by the starter. At that point, the successful claimant becomes the owner of the horse, whether it is alive or dead, sound or unsound, or injured either before, during or after the race2.  Exceptions to this rule occur when horse’s age or sex is misrepresented, a mare races with an unannounced pregnancy, or there is a drug positive. In these limited circumstances, the claim is not automatically void; it is “voidable” at the option of the claimant3. While Thoroughbred claiming rules typically followed suit, recent spates of equine injuries and deaths have led to the abandonment of tradition in some states. After a rash of catastrophic breakdowns at New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack in the winter of 2011/2012, both the track and the state’s gaming commission established emergency, later permanent, rule changes. In New York Thoroughbred racing, in the event that a horse dies during a race or is euthanized on the track following a race, any and all claims made for the horse are void4.  Additionally, a claim is voidable at the discretion of the new owner, for a period of one hour after the race is made official, for any horse that is vanned off the track after the race5. Further, based upon the questionable opinion of New York regulators that the VLT-enriched purses in claiming races caused horsemen to enter less than sound horses in such races, the Commission promulgated a rule setting the minimum price for which a horse may be entered in a claiming race to be at not be less than fifty percent of the value of the purse for the race6.  For example, if a race is carded for $20,000 claiming tags, the purse of the race cannot exceed $40,000. In California, claiming procedures have changed even more dramatically.  Prior to 2013, the Golden State’s applicable rule called for voiding a claim only if the horse suffered a fatality during the running of the race or before the horse returned to be unsaddled. On May 16, 2013, an amendment to the rule took effect, mandating the stewards to also void a claim if the racing or official veterinarian determines the horse will be placed on the Veterinarian’s List as unsound or lame before the horse is released to the successful claimant7. Concededly, lameness is a fairly objective veterinary diagnosis. What constitutes unsoundness obviously runs an entire gamut of potential maladies, not all of which can be readily or correctly diagnosed during the course of a cursory veterinary examination. Invariably, any horse suspected of unsoundness would have passed a pre-race veterinary examination, possibly conducted by the same professional now charged with the post-race examination, just hours before it raced. Of further concern is that fact that the successful claimant cannot accept the horse, even if he or she wants to take the halter despite the vet’s opinion. The rule renders the claim void, as opposed to voidable at the claimant’s option. On February 18 of this year, California decided to go even further. The Board approved for public notice a proposed regulatory amendment requiring that claims be voided for horses that are placed on the veterinarian’s list for having visibly bled8.  Epistaxis, the veterinary term for blood presenting in the nostrils, is somewhat rare. One can only surmise that eventually, in addition to serum collection, horses with a slip deposited in the box will be mandatorily scoped for blood and mucous, resulting in a voided claim for a positive result. The intentions that form the basis for all of these rules changes are laudable. Protection of the well-being of the animal and the finances of the prospective claimant are legitimate objectives. Still, amidst these Band-Aid approaches among various jurisdictions, there is a larger picture that is being overlooked. At base level, both handicappers and horsemen are asking the same question: When a horse is in for a claiming tag less than its previous start, is the steed being risked to get much needed purse money at a soft level, or is it being unloaded by its present connections? There are trainers of both breeds who are specialists at the “drop down” game. The horse is competitive at a higher claiming price, but the conditioner takes a plunge, often getting both a large slice of the purse and the horse back to his barn. Potential takers literally fear fear itself, passing on the horse based on the belief that because it was in for so low a tag there was necessarily something amiss with him. Conversely, there are horses that go down the claiming ladder simply because they are not presently, and may never again be competitive at their recent level. Euphemistically, the horse is now “slower,” or “she ain’t what she used to be.” Putting it bluntly, the horse has problems, the nature and extent of which may or may not render them correctable. The horse may or may not pass a swift, abbreviated post-race soundness exam. What is sure is that the claimant is putting a slip in on the horse because he or she thinks it’s a bargain. Unless the drop down is for a quick purse grab, the present connections are not going to want the horse back in the barn. Yet, governmental rules increasingly interfere with the business decisions of the prospective seller and purchaser. Purse ceilings on claiming races make the contests less attractive for the “drop down” conditioners. The likelihood that connections will be forced to take a less than perfect horse back anyway based upon a singular, subjective opinion of unsoundness, make claiming races less and less of an attractive place to sell the unwanted. In truth, horses die or are vanned off because of issues other than soundness. Less than optimum track conditions or on-track accidents involving quite healthy horses can lead to catastrophic results. If a sound horse, approved for racing by the state or track vet, enters the track but fails to leave under its own power, why should the selling connections be forced to retain the horse?   The solution might be to allow prospective claimants to examine a horse before a race, and at a time just prior to when a slip is due in the claim box. In the same way a hopeful bidder is permitted to have his vet examine a horse in a consignment barn before it goes through the sales ring, a claimant could make an informed decision about soundness issues without a state or track vet making a decision for him, post-race. This approach would allow the ancient principle of caveat emptor (‘let the buyer beware’) to retake its prominence in the claiming realm. It would also ensure that claimed horses are healthy ones. The recent hodge-podge of curative regulations which increasingly interferes with the horsemen’s right of contract would be rendered unnecessary, and the traditional, less government-intrusive rules of claiming will return. In sum, it’s time to look very carefully at the overregulation of claiming, before we lose claiming races altogether. Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network.  1 -  See, generally, New York, 9 NYCRR 4038.9; Delaware, Harness Racing Rule 6.3.3.9; Pennsylvania Harness Rule 183.151(u) 2  - 9 NYCRR 4109.3(i); see, also, Pennsylvania Harness Rule 183.151(g); U.S.T.A. Rule 11.03(d)(6) 3 -  9 NYCRR 4109.6; 4109.7 4 -  9 NYCRR 4038.5(a)(2) 5 -  9 NYCRR 4038.5(a)(3) 6 -  9 NYCRR 4038.2 7 -  CHRB Rule 1658 8  - Summary of California Horse Racing Board Actions and Discussions 2-18-15, last read online February 23, 2015 at: http://www.chrb.ca.gov/press_relea by Chris E. Wittstruck, Esq. 

Harness racing breeders in New Zealand have been quick in the last fifteen years to give our locally bred champions a real chance in the breeding shed with the likes of Christian Cullen and Courage Under Fire fueling that to a degree. One of the more recent stallions to be given his chance is the In The Pocket entire, Changeover. With Christen Cullen and Courage Under Fire also being sons of In The Pocket and with Changeover being the biggest stake winner of the three by some margin, breeders have given him every chance to establish himself against most of the leading sires in the world today who either shuttle to New Zealand or have frozen semen available to breeders. His first crop are currently three year olds in New Zealand and number 151 foals. The statistics around that crop make good reading half way through their three year old season as the graph below shows. Foals - 151,   Qualifiers - 81,  % Qualifiers to foals  - 53.6,  Winners - 25,  % Winners to foals - 16.5 A lot of the eighty one three year olds that have qualified have been placed already and that winners percentage will go up a lot in the next six months. So on the surface Changeover appears to be well on his way to becoming a successful sire but in our view he has one box that he has yet to tick. And that is the box of weather he can leave that elite level horse that can win an Oaks or a Derby. The Great Northern Oaks didn't have a Changeover in the field last week and this week there are no Changeover's in the Great Northern Derby. Head over the Tasman last weekend and it is the same story with Changeover having no runners in either the New South Wales Oaks or New South Wales Derby. He does have several runners in both countries who are not far away from that level but are struggling to make the step up. One Over and Prince Of Pops are both smart three year olds but just a notch below the best ones in New Zealand while Nuala is going great in Perth but the overall standard in the west is not what it is in the eastern seaboard of Australia or New Zealand. The second crop of Changeover numbers 99 live foals that are two year olds this season and he has already left a winner and several qualifiers. One of those qualifiers Linton Shard has looked to us like the horse that might make the breakthrough at classic level for Changeover. He has trialed super in Canterbury from the Cran Dalgety barn locking horns with most of the All Stars runners and has more than held his own. A big overgrown type, the half brother to Smiling Shard and Pemberton Shard looks just the type to develop into a classic winning three year old next season. If Changeover can produce a couple like him in the next twelve months then he will be well on the way to carving out a niche for himself in the fiercely competitive New Zealand sires market. Harnesslink Media 

Beautide remains the pride of Tasmanian harness racing following his brilliant win in yesterday's Group One $750,000 Inter Dominion over 3009 metres at Menangle. Beautide toyed with his rivals in Australasia's premier event for the second successive year to become part of an elite group which have won the race in consecutive years. It was only his third start this time in, and given he has had such a short preparation leading up to the series, trainer James Rattray expects the gelding to continue racing in the short term. Winning two Inter Dominions elevates Beautide to legend status and arguably the best Tasmanian-owned and bred pacer to have contested the time-honoured Championship. What he has achieved in the space of a year sets him apart from any other Tasmanian-bred standardbred. Yesterday's effortless win also delivered a message that the seven-year-old still has plenty to offer at Grand Circuit level. Beautide will be given the chance to become the fourth triple Inter Dominion winner in Perth later this year. PETER STAPLES

Reigning Great Southern Star champion Keystone Del is well-positioned to defend his harness racing title at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Back to his best following some minor setbacks, the Nicole Molander-trained trotter has drawn to lead throughout the opening heat. In what should prove little more than a training exercise for the son of Dr Ronerail, the gelding will begin from barrier three. Along with having an extra half-hour rest before the Final than those in the second heat, on paper Keystone Del’s qualifier also appears to be the weaker of the two. The extra rest and likely softer run make Keystone Del the one to beat in the series yet again. New Zealand raider Stent, which beat Keystone Del in the Grand Prix a fortnight ago, faces a tougher task in the second heat. The Colin De Filippi-trained squaregaiter will come out of barrier six, with handy types such as My High Expectations, Spidergirl and Neville Vaughan among those drawn on his inside. Unbeaten from three Aussie starts this campaign, Stent will need to be at his top against a solid assembly. Stent and Keystone Del dominated last season’s heats before the latter claimed the Group One decider in which the Kiwi visitor was runner-up. Although still in its infancy, the Great Southern Star has quickly developed into the nation’s premier trot, with the $300,000 Final scheduled for 10pm PAUL COURTS

World record holder Mission Brief is considered to be a shoo-in for super-stardom by many; few would be surprised to see her win the Hambletonian. When she cruised to a ridiculous 1:50.3 world record in the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile trainer Ron Burke didn’t seem in the least bit nonplussed: he characterized her as being “super freaky.” Unlike ‘Ms Perfection’, JK She’salady, the daughter of Muscle Hill did go down to defeat in four of her 13 starts—all on breaks. Reminds one of the scary fast colt Arnie Almahurst, who won 14 of his 26 starts at three, back in the early 1970s, and broke stride in 8 of his losses. His son Arndon and grandson Pine Chip both retired as the fastest trotter ever. But we all know success doesn’t always beget success in this game—stuff happens, even to horses that carry all-time great potential. In 2012 Dan Patch winner To Dream On won 8 of her 9 starts, including the Breeders Crown, Merrie Annabelle and Bluegrass. The Credit Winner filly took her split of the ISS in 1:53.2, considerably slower than Mission Brief. Still, she was described as a “super-filly” and Jimmy Takter rated her up there with the best of her age and class he had trained. But while O’Brien winner Bee A Magician did progress and win Horse of the Year honors at three, To Dream On only won 2 of 14 starts. She was retired soon after capturing the Kentucky Filly Futurity. To Dream On didn’t possess Mission Brief’s blinding speed, but she was more reliable and was held in high regard coming out of her freshman campaign. Still, for one reason or another, she didn’t go on. Wheeling N Dealin, from that same class, is another who failed miserably in making the transition from stardom at two to success at three. The Cantab Hall colt, who won all of his freshman starts, including the Breeders Crown, Wellwood and Champlain, was winless in ten starts at three. As was the case with To Dream On, his fall from grace was shocking. Snow White won 11 of 13 at two and set a world record of 1:52.4 for freshmen trotters, of either sex, in the ISS, as well as an all-time earnings record for two-year-old trotters. The Self Possessed miss was already a super star when she entered the sophomore ranks, but health issues got the best of her, and she was ultimately euthanized, the following summer. On the other hand, Continentalvictory and CR Kay Suzie both came back to win Horse of the Year honors at three. Florican, the dam sire of Speedy Crown, was a world record holder at two, winning 7 of 8 starts for the Arden Homestead Stable. However, he was chronically lame and suffered from bouts of sickness at three, as he won once in 12 tries, earning less than $10,000. He did redeem himself with a successful campaign in the aged ranks. Broadway Hall was a very good freshman, winning all nine starts, including the Breeders Crown, and banking more than $435,000. Suspensory issues got the best of him, however, and he wasn’t able to compete at three. The fifteen-year-old son of Conway Hall, and sire of Broad Bahn, Action Broadway and Cooler Schooner, recently moved to Ohio. Dancer’s Crown, two-year-old division champ and Peter Haughton winner, in 1982, impressed Castleton Farms so much that they paid $3.75 million for a three-quarter share in him. The Dickerson Cup was his only noteworthy win at three. After freshman Donerail won his tenth in a row at two, Stanley Dancer eschewed his pet retort that Nevele Pride was the best trotter he ever had; he said Donerail was better. The elegant and handsome son of Valley Victory won 13 of 15 starts that year, including the Haughton, and he was awarded a Dan Patch. Owner Robert Suslow and Hanover Shoe Farms put together a syndication deal. But after banking $637,000 at two, he earned only $66,000 at three, winning 3 of 6 starts, after which he was forced into early retirement by injury. Royalty For Life, Pampered Princess, Dejarmbro, D Train, Broad Bahn and Big Rigs are all out of Donerail mares. Super Bowl’s son Express Ride earned $840,000 at two, back in 1985, as he won 9 of 14 starts and never failed to make the board. The division champ took the Breeders Crown and the Haughton. The following year Express Ride only managed to win twice in five starts and his earnings plummeted to less than $50,000. He was remanded to Castleton Farms where he proved to be sterile, but like several others who suffered from the sophomore blues, he went on to have a productive career in the aged ranks and also resuscitated his stallion career in Europe. Cumin was another precocious son of Super Bowl. He won the 8 races where he didn’t break at two, and lost the other 4. The product of the Super Bowl-Speedy Crown cross was stopped short by injury at three and didn’t race. Starlark Hanover won 21 of 22 heats as a freshman; she beat the boys from the 13 post at Yonkers Raceway in the Harriman. But David Wade’s Hickory Smoke filly regressed to journeyman status at three. Wesgate Crown became the sport’s all-time fastest two-year-old when he time trialed in 1:55.1 He won 7 of his 8 starts and was valued at a million dollars when 25% of him was purchased for $250,000. But, alas, the winner of the Breeders Crown and Valley Victory only won 3 of 12 the following year, none of them noteworthy. The son of Royal Prestige went on to have a successful aged career in North America and Europe, banking $2.5 million. Jodevin, a son of the mercurial speedball Dayan, managed to win 19 of his 21 starts at two in Midwest races like the Hayes and the Hoosier, to the point where he captured his division. Lameness took its toll at three. Noble Gesture, a certified nut job blessed with extreme speed, overcame his personal demons and won 8 of his 10 starts at two. He became the second fastest freshman trotter ever by virtue of a 1:59 win. But the demons won out at three, as the sire of Balanced Image and grandsire of Mack Lobell won only 3 of 13 starts, with the Matron serving as his premier victory. In his case there was no mystery to unpack regarding the factors that sabotaged his sophomore campaign. The majority of trotters that fail to graduate to greatness are waylaid by obvious injuries, while in other cases the fall from grace remains wrapped in mystery. By all accounts Mission Brief is healthy. One assumes Burke has done what he can to correct her fractious ways, but from Dayan and Marlu Pride, back in the day, to Manofmanymissions in the modern era, the puzzle of fire breathing trotters that lose their composure has never leant itself to easy solutions. (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)

The Stable of Horses That God Loves is rapidly growing in size and in stature. The latest  headliner to join  John Fielding’s  2014 Dan Patch winner, Shake It Cerry  and 21 others, is  2014 Breeders Crown winner Luck Be Withyou, owned by Toronto horseman John Craig. The speedy 4-year-old son of Western Ideal from the Bill Cass stable,  who  has amassed $696.291 in his career,  will  be looking to push his lifetime earnings over the million dollar mark  this season competing in  major stakes events in the U.S. and Canada, including the Canadian Pacing Derby,  Confederation Cup and the Prix d’ete. Like all others in the Stable That God Loves, one per cent of  Luck Be Withyou’s 2015 purse  earnings will be returned to  Chaplain Ken Carter’s homeless  Standardbred Chaplaincy of Canada, dedicated to providing for the emotional, physical , spiritual, and human needs of the horse racing work  force in southwestern Ontario. “It’s gratifying to see so much support coming from industry participants from all over, and it is extra exciting  to know the list of participants in the program  includes  Grand Circuit stars like Shake It Cerry and Luck Be Withyou”  said WEG race announcer and Chaplaincy director Ken Middleton.  “ Having these horses on board  will create  huge exposure for the program and for the sport in general.  It is heart-warming  to  see  so many  people recognize  and support the work that the Chaplaincy is doing for the sport’s participants”. Stables large and small have named  their stable stars to the Stable That God Loves, and some horsemen have given their entire stable,  a gesture that speaks volumes for their huge  support of the program. “All owners should support the less fortunate in our industry.    Every horse that Canamerica Corp and Hyatt Holdings, Inc.,  races  in 2015 will be participants in the program.” said Milton, Ontario  horseman Mark Hyatt, whose late father, Doug, was a tireless worker for the  homeless Chaplaincy.  For additional information:   Bill Galvin      billgalvin2000@yahoo.ca   Ken Middleton:  k.middleton@rogers.com

Harness racing followers on both sides of the Tasman are never slow to claim the superiority of their racehorses when stock bred in their country have a big day on the Australasian harness racing scene. So it is no surprise today that Kiwi breeders and enthusiasts are feeling very smug after the huge day at Menangle yesterday by racehorses with the prefix NZ beside their name. Their were seven Group 1 races yesterday and Kiwi breds won four with Australian breds winning two and the Europeans one. And all that success on Australia's biggest harness racing day and in their  own backyard makes it all the more memorable for the Kiwis. There were a couple of constants throughout the day and that was the dominance of Bettor's Delight and Art Major in the Group 1 pacing races. Of the six pacing Group1 races that pair won four with the tally being two a piece. Fight For Glory in the New South Wales Oaks and Sky Major in the Chariots Of Fire did Art Major proud while Adore Me and Beautide made sure Bettor's Delight hogged the limelight as well. Both sires had multiple runners in most of the Group 1 races and Bettor's Delight ended up with five placed runners and Art Major two placed runners to reinforce their dominance. A lot of comment has been made in recent years from leading Australian breeders about how they were getting on top of their Kiwi counterparts. They put this down to the ever increasing number of well bred Kiwi mares who now call Australia home and that they saw a time in the not to distant future where the Australian bred horse would dominate racing in Australia. New Zealand breeders from the start of this industry in New Zealand have sold racemares and broodmares to Australia and will continue to do so in the future. It has never affected the ability of the New Zealand breeder to churn our those top horses year in year out. With Bettor's Delight serving 301 mares in New Zealand this year and Art Major over 170 there will be no shortage of horses by these two dominant sires in New Zealand in the next few years. Throw in the likes of Mach Three (130) and newcomers such as A Rocknroll Dance (161) and next year the recently announced Sweet Lou and there is a real confidence amongst New Zealand breeders that the glory days are far from coming to an end. Harnesslink Media

They said he was unlucky not to make it; they said he deserved to be a wildcard and the experts hollered he should just have been in the ‘Big One’ - the Inter Dominion. And former Kiwi pacer Franco Ledger proved all those ‘armchair experts’ were right, when he blew his rivals away in yesterday’s Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Geoff Webster-trained and driven son of Falcon Seelster strolled away from a quality field, rating 1:55.4 for the 2400 metres to beat outsider Lochinver and Bit Of A Legend. It completed a great day for Webster, who prepared the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion runner-up Flaming Flutter, beaten by the mighty Beautide earlier in the afternoon. While Webster handed the drive behind Flaming Flutter to Greg Sugars, he was happy to pilot Franco Ledger. Settled towards the tail of the field, Franco Ledger took off three-wide with 800 metres to travel as Webster slowly made his way towards the head of the field. Turning for home the stallion darted clear to register an impressive victory. Webster paid tribute to part-owner Hamish Hunter who sent him a “ready-made” racehorse from the South Island of New Zealand. “He’s just a terrific little horse and to win a race like this with the prestige attached to it is a real thrill,” Webster said. “I have to thank my staff, especially ‘Skinny’; who brought both my horses up here and has looked after them all week. “They’ve all done a great job.” HRNSW Media

This last day of the Paris-Vincennes Winter Meet was quite a card. The Gr. I Prix de Selection (€240,000 purse, 2200 meters) went to the outstanding Bold Eagle (4m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet-Love You) for Franck Nivard, trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski. The easy victory was his 10th straight and 13th victory in 15 career appearances. Lifetime earnings of the winner now total €522,800 as the 2/5 favorite scored in 1.11.4kr off solid fractions (1.10.4kr at 1500 and 1000, 1.12kr at 500). Guarato trainees took the next two spots with 3.8/1 Billie de Montfort (4f Jasmin de Flore-Quisnay de Montfort) second for Eric Raffin with third to Bocage d’Ortige (4m Mirage du Goutier-Providence d’Ortige) and teamster Mathieu Abrivard ay 66/1 odds. Bold Eagle The Prix de L’Union Europeenne (Gr. II, €160,000 purse, 12 starters, 3000 meters) went to 9/1 Akim de Cap Vert (5m First de Retz-Prima du Cap Vert-Cezio Joselyn) for owner, trainer, driver Franck Anne. The long-striding chestnut scored his eighth win for earnings of €822,380. Sweden took the next two sports with 16/1 Chelsea Boko (6m Chocolatier-Kelsea Boko) second for reinsman Jorma Kontio and trainer Timo Nurmos. Pacesetter and 2/1 favorite On Track Piraten (7g Kool du Caux-Monrovia) held on for third with Erik Adielsson up for H.R. Stromberg. Voltigeur de Myrt and Vabellino were next across the line. The winner was clocked in 1.14.1kr off modest fractions (1.16.2kr at 1500, 1.14.9kr at 100, 1.14.8kr at 500), closing stoutly. Akim de Cap Vert and Franck Anne The Gr. III Prix Henri Desmontils (€120,000 purse, 2850 meters, nine monte starters) went to 1.1/1 favorite Uppercut de Manche (7g Neutron du Cebe-Nuit du Manche-Coktail Jet) with Damien Bonne up for trainer Thierry Raffegeau) as the 21 time winner of €813,900) defeated 31/1 Texas de L’iton (8g Cygnus d’Odysse-Iliad de L’iton) and Yoann Lebourgeois up for trainer Hughes Levesque. Veteran Torre Crepin (8g Capriccio-Lanaka) was third in the event, with the winner clocked in 1.13.7kr.  The Gr. II Prix Louis le Bourg (€120,000, 2850 meters, 10  monte starters) ended in victory for the Anthony Dollion owned, trained and reined Bikini des Molands (4m Gai Brillant0Quiches des Molands) at 15/1 odds and clocked in 1.15.3kr. Favorite 1.1/1 odds Best of Jets (4m Magnificent Rodney-Plume Jets) ended second for Eric Raffin and Biscuit Delavara (4m Ludo de Castelle-Meva du Rosita) was third at 5/1 for Clement Fercella.Bikini des Molands Italian invader Nuage en Ciel (8m Daguet Rapide-Pretty Perle-Extreme Dream) took the €2.3 million jackpot Quinte+ Prix de Montsareau (€70,000 purse, European, 2100 meters autostart, 17 starters) clocked in 1.12kr for J-M Bazire. The 1.6/1 favorite is trained by Fabrice Souloy for Scuderia Fast Horse Srl. This 17 time winner of €284,865 earned was bred by J-P Dubois’ Scuderia Bolgheri Srl. Second went to 21/1 Uranie Lorraine (7f Goetmals Wood-Garonnaise) and Franck Nivard. 11/1 Ta Falko Sax (9g Nohilis Jet-Nafalko) was third for Franck Ouvrie and trainer J.L Dersoir.  The great card that concluded the Meeting d’Hivier also included the Prix d’Alencon (€85,000, European, 2700 meters, 14 starters) that resulted in victory for Vaisseau (6g Le Retour-Nansissa Santonne) with J.L. Cl. Dersoir up for trainer Jean Pierre Viel. The 1.4/1 favorite scored in 1.14.6kr to vanquish Italy’s Roxanne Bar (5f Expoloit Caf-Guendalenma Bar) trained by Cat Savaresse with Alexandre Abrivard aboard. That 18/1 outsider pushed 7/1 Varum Boy (6m Baccarat du Pont-Hawai Girl) to the third spot for Eric Raffin and trained Yves Dreux.  Racing at Paris-Vincennes resumes in two weeks with the start of night programs on Tuesday and Friday. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

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Due to an insufficient number of nominations, three harness racing events at the Meadowlands from the February 15 deadline have been cancelled and refunds will be issued. Two late-closers, the Artistic Vision for pacing mares and Giant Victory for trotters, scheduled to be raced throughout April came up short. Overnight races with similar conditions (Non-Winners of 4PM Races or $100,000 Lifetime) will be written for the same time period to offer those horses displaced a racing opportunity. Also cancelled and refunded is the Ima Lula early closer for 4 year-old trotting mares. Questions should be directed to Andrea in the Racing Office at (201) 460-4214. Also due to the impending storm, this week's qualifiers at The Meadowlands have been postponed from Friday to Saturday, March 7th post time 9:30 a.m.  
Goshen, NY - Before heading to the Mid-Hudson St. Patrick's Day Parade, join us for an open-house family workshop on Sunday, March 15, 2015 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame located at 240 Main Street, Goshen.   Children ages 3-11 will make a craft, play horsey-themed games and will take a ride on the Harness Racing 3D Simulator. Everyone is invited to enjoy cookies, tea & hot chocolate. All for only $3 per child; and adults are free.   This is an open-house event; no reservations are necessary; you may come and go as you please. After the workshop, stake out a spot for the parade, which begins at 2:00 pm. Children will begin by creating their own Lucky Pot of Gold noise maker that they can carry and shake while watching the parade pass by the Museum. When making their Lucky Pot of Gold, children will enjoy cutting, gluing, stamping and painting! Staff will then lead kids through a series of fun games throughout the museum. Seamus McGee, our Irish Standardbred mascot, will make an appearance, so bring your camera and take pictures of your kids with him. Cross the finish line with an exciting ride on the Harness Racing 3D Simulator. Cookies, tea and toasty hot chocolate will top off the fun. All paid participants may enter the drawing to win a fun prize. Before leaving, visit the museum gift shop for a wide selection of horse related items and take advantage of an added bonus with a reduction of 20% off of any green item in the shop. You may even find yourself something green to wear at the parade! For more information, please call (845) 294-6330. For further information about the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, the museum's educational workshops or children's birthday parties, please contact the Education Department at (845) 294-6330 or e-mail at education@harnessmuseum.com. For information on all the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame events, please visit our website at www.harnessmuseum.com. The museum is located at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY and is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. www.harnessmuseum.com          
10 different drivers won a race last Saturday, February 28. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 3, 2015) - The names have changed from O'Donnell, Manzi, and Lachance to Gingras, Tetrick, and Miller, but one thing remains the same going back to the early days of the Big M - the driving colony at the Meadowlands is still the most competitive in harness racing. That fact was on full display again this past Saturday night when ten different drivers won on the 13-race program that included three stakes finals and two opening leg divisions of the Buddy Gilmour Series. The winning names of Callahan, Campbell, Gingras, McCarthy, Pierce, Andy Miller, Brett Miller, David Miller, Zeron, and Teague reads like a 'who's who' of the sport's leaders. That list doesn't even include Tim Tetrick, a fixture near the top of the Meadowlands standings, who has been absent the past two weeks while representing Team USA at the World Driving Championships in Australia. "The Meadowlands is, and always has been, the toughest place to win races," said Corey Callahan, North America's leading money-winning driver so far in 2015. "It's the equivalent of "the big leagues" in baseball. Every driver there has been a dominant force in their respective areas of the country and they've migrated to the Meadowlands to compete against the best North America has to offer." Four of the top five leading money-winning drivers of 2014 are Meadowlands regulars, including Gingras, who led North America in earnings with $17,295,456. "Anytime you win a race at the Meadowlands you know you have done something right," said Gingras. "In any 10-horse field everybody gets quality a driver." Gingras is one of four drivers in just the past 12 racing programs to have won at least four races on a single card. Further depth in the Meadowlands driver colony comes courtesy of newcomer Brett Miller, second in the standings in just his first full season competing at the Big M, and breakout star Jim Marohn, Jr, a perennial leading driver at Tioga Downs and Monticello, who is 10th in the Big M standings. Rachel Ryan The Meadowlands
Recently Harnesslink editor Steve Wolf sat down with Larry Rosenblum, President of the Equine Tax Group and asked him what tips he could offer horsepersons for the upcoming tax season, Rosenblum had the following to say. “My belief as an experienced accountant in horse related business is that if you run a business properly and have competent counsel the tricks of the trade and opportunities for tax savings are things that are best discussed on a case by case basis between you and your accountant. There is no one size fits all answer.  I have no secret formula to pay little or no taxes, however I can provide your readers with some tips here to keep your business running more smoothly and with fewer tax related crises.” Tip #1 “Taxes are not a do it yourself project in my opinion. Selecting an accountant should be a careful process. It should never be based on the size of a refund or how fast you will get your money back. You should ask if they are a CPA (state licensed) or an enrolled agent (licensed by the IRS). If they are neither then Caveat Emptor.” Tip #2 “IRS Agents like to say if it isn’t in writing it never happened. Record keeping is a must for any business and it is no less important in the horse business. I suggest you pay for as many expenses as you can with a debit or credit card so you have some trail of where you spent your money, even if you lose receipts. Cash is the absolute worst way to pay for expenses.” Tip #3 “I encourage everyone to deposit 100% of your income and make sure income deposited equals income reported on the top line of your tax return.  Virtually every IRS fraud case involves unreported income. If you follow what I just stated above you will very likely never be investigated for tax fraud provided your expenses are reasonable for the type of business you are engaged in. Remember there is rarely a valid excuse for “forgetting” any appreciable amount of income.  By the way do not try using a check cashing service. They report every check they cash right to the IRS.” Tip #4 “In general ask your tax advisor about claiming the standard mileage rate for auto expenses unless you drive under 15,000 business miles a year or have a compelling need for a very expensive vehicle. I have found the convenience of the mileage rate method and the reduced record keeping that accompanies it saves my clients considerable time and money. The issue here is how much burden do you want in keeping gas receipts and other records related to auto maintenance.” Tip #5 “I recommend filing extensions on March 15th. This protects you in the event of sickness, injury, floods, fires, etc. Thus if you can’t file for some reason by the 15th of April.  You are thus allowed until October 15th to file. It takes 5 minutes and it’s free. You have to pay any tax due by April 15th, but you will save needless penalties for late filing by getting a preventative extension “just in case.” Larry Rosenblum added, “If people follow these simple steps they will avoid 80 percent of the problems people run into as far as taxes are concerned. All too often horse persons do not take taxes seriously and invariably it gets them in trouble.  They fail to realize that of each dollar they take in almost 40-45% if probably going to be needed to pay taxes. There is an illusion that drivers and trainers are making big money when in fact all but the very top competitors in the sport are earning middle class incomes.”  Owners on the other hand need to be cognizant of the “hobby loss rules” which we discuss thoroughly on our website at www.equinetaxgroup.com." On a final note, Larry wanted everyone to know that “The horse industry has long been a favorite target of the IRS so do not become a victim because of your failing to use due diligence!” Larry Rosenblum, E.A., MBA, is an enrolled agent and president of The Equine Tax Group a national tax firm specializing in representing the horseperson before the IRS and State tax departments. Rosenblum retired from the IRS after a 33-year career, which saw him involved in numerous cases involving the equine industry. He can be reached at 888-338-2999 or equinetaxgroup.com. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
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