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Exciting harness racing and a few extras

Trackside, an informative harness racing column by Diane Daniels, has appeared in the Truro Daily news for the past 13 years. Daniels, also race office supervisor at Truro Raceway, does a great job promoting harness racing and keeping fans updated on horses, drivers and race results. Quietly, behind the scenes, Daniels works positively with horsemen and she plays a key role in projects such as the annual standardbred sale. Reading Daniels’s column last Saturday, a headline 'Calendars' caught my attention. Daniels explained that Truro Raceway was once again offering The Heart of Harness Racing calendars at a cost of $5 with the proceeds being donated directly to Truro's Colchester Food Bank.dvertisement  Daniels pointed out that the month of March photo was a submission from Truro track photographer Kyle Burton. “At The Wire” is a breathtaking four-horse finish Burton captured earlier this summer at Truro Raceway. It was an easy decision – deciding to support a good cause Sunday afternoon and to watch some exciting harness racing. Arriving at Truro Raceway for the third race of a nine-dash card, following the race, I purchased a food bank supporting calendar at the race office. Great racing and interesting conversations followed. “It was a surprising photo to capture,” Burton said as we discussed his calendar photo. “I didn't expect the finish to be that close. It's really unique to get four horses that close together at the end of a mile. It was really exciting and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it.” The feature eighth race was for winners over $950 their last five starts; the purse was $1475. Surrealist, a 10-year-old gelding, won the race for driver Paul Langille in a time of 2:01 on a track rated off by three seconds. “Surrealist is owned by Dana Getto of New Waterford,” Burton said. “He is now trained by Paul Langille, that win makes him a 19-race-winner in 2016. He is tied with two other horses as the winningest horse this year in North America. Surrealist will race in Truro for the remainder of the season, which is good for local fans.” Burton has a vast knowledge of harness racing and when Surrealist was featured this month in the national Trot Magazine, Burton's photos helped tell his incredible story. Langille, who drove Surrealist to the win in the feature, commented. “I sat fifth early in the mile, I started to move my horse at the three-eighth marker. We came second over following Rawdon Gold Digger. He took us to the three-quarter pole where I moved to go three high – Surrealist and His Boy Elroy, with Bernard McCallum, battled it out the last quarter mile. This horse has 54 lifetime wins, he really knows how to dig in the last quarter of a mile." With two driving wins on the afternoon, Langille, the 2015 driving champion with 55 wins, brought his 2016 total to 23 wins to sit fourth among Truro's top drivers. Darren Crowe is closing in on the driving championship with 39 wins, Ryan Ellis is second with 28, Todd Trites has 27 for third and Ernie Laffin holds down fifth spot with 19 wins. Adding to the afternoon were comments from longtime handicappers Gary "Mouse" Fielding and Irving Mathews. Fielding and Mathews shared unique methods for picking winners. Scott Daniels It was good to talk to former driver Scott Daniels, Diane's husband, another very knowledgeable race follower. “The races are very competitive and they are fast,” Scott said. “Years of breeding the best to the best is now on the race track. There are no clunkers any more. We also have quite a number of good young drivers, I enjoy the game; I haven't missed a card this year. With me, it's close between watching harness racing and watching hockey, I love both sports." Scott began driving pacers and trotters in 1957. He drove his last horse at Truro Raceway in 2010. Scott's record shows 3,835 drives and he recorded 462 wins. There were some years along the way he could not drive because of his 30-year career as a correctional officer at Dorchester Penitentiary. A member of the famed Daniels harness racing family, Scott's father, Frank Daniels, had more than 1,700 career wins, while his brother Gary paraded back more than 1,500 winners. Lyle Carter's sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857. Reprinted with permission of The Truro Daily News

Vanesia EK

€187,000 Gran Criterium Finale at Milano

Vampire Dany (2m Conway Hall-Illusion Dany-Varenne) impressively won Wednesday’s harness racing Gran Criterium Finale at Milan’s 1050 meter track (purse €187,000, 1650 meters autostart), a six length score timed in 1.13.7kr for reinsman Roberto Andreghetti. Volturina Jet (2f Ken Warkentin-Eterea-Indro park) was a distant second for V.P. Dell’Annunziata and Vincero Gar was third for Pietro Gubellini. The winner now has six wins in seven career starts, and is one to watch in the future. The Gran Criterium Filly (purse €66,000, 1650 meters autostart) went to 1.14kr clocked Vanesia EK (2f Exploit Caf-Nike EK-Varenne) for reinsman Gubellini.  Vanatta (2f Pascia’Lest-Classic Toy-Malabar Man) took second for Roberto Vecchione, this one from the first crop of Pacia’Lest, and third went to Vale Capar (2f Conway Hall-Madame Capar-Supergill).   Thomas H. Hicks    

She'sjustadelight N

She'sjustadelight N whipped foes in Open

New England harness racing invader She'sjustadelight N (Ron Cushing, $11.20) picked off pace-setting Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) in a two-speed number Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. As the lead suggests, both ladies were put in play, from post position Nos. 5 and 6, respectively. There was some early daylight as Glenferie Bronte N (Mark MacDonald) gapped badly from the three-hole. After a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and :56.4 intermission, Frost Damage Blues (Dan Dube) moved from a distant fourth. That one never really was an issue in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters. 'Bedroom' owned a length-and-a-half entering the lane, but company was coming. She'sjustadelight N edged inside, while last week's victress, Mach it a Par (Jordan Stratton), offered her usual late arrival as this week's slight 2-1 choice. She'sjustadelight N whipped Bedroomconfessions by a neck in 1:53, with Mach it a Par, Frost Damage Blues and Motu Moonbeam N (Brent Holland) rounded out the payees. For fourth choice She'sjustadelight N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight co-owned by her driver & Kevin Sywyk and trained by Heidi Gibbs, it was her 13th win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $37.60, the triple returned $102 and the superfecta paid $367.50. Note that since no one took down Friday night's Pick 5, Saturday's gimmick begins with a carryover of $2,041.73 (50-cent base wager, now races 6 through 10). Frank Drucker

I C Caviar

Oh Boy! Buddy Hally upsets

Buddy Hally ($33.20) unleashed a vicious first-over push through the last three-eighths of a mile in Friday (December 9) evening's co-featured $13,000 fourth-level trotting event at The Meadowlands, putting away Opulent Yankee with ease and evading 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share for a 1:52.3 harness racing triumph. The 6-year-old Angus Hall gelding floated forward in the initial stages, securing a clear tracking spot behind the top pair of Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) and Waiting On a Woman (Joe Bongiorno) through initial splits of :27.2 and :56.2. With seven-sixteenths to go and a gradually advancing Market Share (Tim Tetrick) improving into the mid-division, Corey Callahan angled Buddy Hally first-over, and they accelerated to press immediately, dueling into a joint lead with Opulent Yankee a quarter from home. Buddy Hally edged clear upon cornering for home, easily powering past Opulent Yankee and holding clear of the chasing Market Share with similar facility, only receiving a few taps of the whip to stay on task for a two-length win. Fashion Creditor (Brett Miller) rallied belatedly down the grandstand side to take third, another 2-1/4 lengths detached. Dylan Davis trains Buddy Hally--now a 16-time winner--for Howard Taylor and NR Holdings, LLC. In the evening's other fourth-level trotting event, I C Caviar ($14.40) used similar tactics en route to a 1:53.3 score, angling first-over from just off the front flight up the far side and wearing down 3-2 favorite Wing Flash (Andy Miller) before edging away to evade the second-over Promise Delivered (David Miller) by 2-1/2 lengths. Brett Miller, who led all drivers with four wins on the evening's 12-race program, drove the 5-year-old Malabar Millennium gelding for trainer Joe Hanney. $39k Pick 4 carryover to Saturday Double-digit upsets from Blush Hanover (31-1) and Jacks to Open (25-1) stymied players in the evening's Late Pick 4 sequence which saw no favorites prevail. As a result, Saturday (December 10) evening's card will feature a Late Pick 4 carryover of $39,173.27, with the sequence beginning in race seven. The closing-race 20¢ Jackpot High Five sports a hefty carryover as well, now standing at $57,161.17. Players combined to wager $2,167,514 on the Friday card. Post time for the first of 13 Saturday events is set for 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

For those who can’t attend The Stable’s Open House this Saturday, December 10, the commentators on the live broadcast of the harness racing event will do their best to inform (and entertain) the video streaming audience.  Guest Commentators Bill O’Donnell and Fred MacDonald will guide viewers through the 44 horses slated to be showcased on the track at the Tomiko Training Centre, starting at 10:45 a.m. EST via on The Stable.ca Facebook page. Facebook Live (@thestablecanada). Mark McKelvie of the Woodbine Entertainment Group will conduct interviews following each set of yearlings. O’Donnell, known as The Magic Man is one of harness racing’s most prolific drivers with 5,743 winners and earnings of more than $99 million. He’s a member of both the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame and the U.S. Hall of Fame at Goshen, N.Y. Fred MacDonald is a PEI native and CBC host of Fiddler's Facts.   “We need hosts that can keep an audience’s attention over the entire three-hour broadcast,” explained The Stable’s Anthony MacDonald. “O’Donnell has more stories than Warner Bros. And Freddie, who is my father, talks more, faster and with more colour than anyone I know. So, dialogue shouldn't be an issue. Tune-in for the humor alone.” The Open House & Horse Sale will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (with the broadcast scheduled for 10:45 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.). The event is an opportunity to see the fractional ownership operation up-close and personal. “The message from The Stable is simple: if our industry is to grow in a substantial way, we have be serious about how we will do that,” said MacDonald. “Fractional ownership, done in this manner, will change the face of horse racing forever and you will get a real glimpse of how during Saturday’s Open House.” The event is free but an RSVP is required and a non-perishable food item for the Guelph Food Bank is appreciated. All ages are welcome. Complimentary hot drinks and food will be available. There are currently 61 horses and 164 active racehorse owners in The Stable. During the Open House & Horse Sale, guests are invited to meet the horses and chat with the Anthony & Amy MacDonald, and meet other racehorse owners in The Stable and industry professionals. The Stable.ca is inviting other trainers to participate in the event, at no cost. “It’s an opportunity for trainers to showcase a horse or two of their own that they’re selling shares of,” said Anthony MacDonald. “They’ll have a different audience than usual, and the chance to network with people who are looking to get into the game.”  Interested trainers must contact MacDonald no later than Dec. 8 to participate. A catalogue will be available on The Stable.ca website on Dec. 9/16, detailing all horses for which shares are available for purchase. The catalogue will include a schedule of when each horse will be showcased on the broadcast during the Open House & Horse Sale. Complete event details and the RSVP form are available here. For more information, contact Anthony at anthony@thestable.ca or (519) 400-4263. Begins 10:45am EST.

TORONTO, December 9 - Icthelight Hanover and Jimbelina made their sire Big Jim proud in the opening round of the harness racing Niagara Series Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A group of 16 sophomore pacing fillies battled over two $17,000 first leg divisions Friday evening. Icthelight Hanover kicked the series off by scoring a 13-1 upset for trainer/driver Rick Zeron. The daughter of Big Jim blasted to the front from the eight-hole and posted an opening-quarter of :28. The public's choice, Hot Spot Hanover, circled around from the two-hole to grab command heading towards the half and posted fractions of :57.2 and 1:26. In the stretch, Hot Spot Hanover could not live up to her 2/5 billing and gave way to Icthelight Hanover up the inside. The Zeron trainee was able to muscle by the favourite and reached the line a nose ahead of an outside charging Queenofthejungle for a 1:54.1 score. Hot Spot Hanover finished third. Icthelight Hanover now has five wins and over $49,000 earned this season in 25 starts. The sophomore pacing filly has now visited the winner's circle six-times in her career and banked $69,056 for owner Holland Racing Stable. The Zeron trainee paid $28.80 to win. Icthelight Hanover The second division saw another opening-quarter leader click off a two-hole trip, as Jimbelina won in a career-best 1:52.2. The Rene Bourassa trainee was fired out from post-seven by Sylvain Filion and posted a snappy opening-quarter of :26.2. Before the field could enter the backstretch, Docs Sausalito was out of the two-hole to circle around to command. Docs Sausalito kept the tempo honest, pacing by the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:24. In the stretch, Jimbelina was angled to the outside and immediately surged by Docs Sausalito to go on for a length and a half victory. Docs Sausalito finished second, while Art Angel Baby was third. A daughter of Big Jim, Jimbelina made just $360 in three starts as a rookie, but now is an eight-time winner with over $47,000 banked in 17 starts as a three-year-old. The Bourassa trainee is owned by Roland Trudel. Jimbelina paid $7.10 to win. Jimbelina Three-year-old pacing fillies, who were non-winners of $60,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2016, were eligible to the Niagara Series. Round two of the series will take place next Friday (December 16). Live racing continues Saturday evening at Woodbine Racetrack with the first leg of the Valedictory Series and a $34,000 Preferred Pace headlining an 11-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Australian harness racing is banning the abuse of whips in training and racing from 1 September 2017 in a world-leading animal welfare initiative that improves the industry’s image and enhances its sustainability. The decision sets the pace in animal welfare and for the long-term support and sustainability of the industry. It aligns with high expectations of the community, fans, and industry participants in harness racing. The announcement which followed the jewel event on the Australasian harness racing calendar yesterday – the Inter Dominion in Perth – makes Australia the first country in the world to voluntarily ban the whip. The whip ban broadens Harness Racing Australia’s (HRA) world leadership position in the industry, which is already established through a wide-ranging welfare agenda, including zero-tolerance to prohibited substances in racing. The Chairman of HRA, Mr Geoff Want, said today: “The whip ban decision was not taken lightly, but was made on our own initiative because we believe it is the right decision at the right time. We have been moving down this path for six years by limiting its use with a strong focus on health and welfare of horses. “We see the ban as a vital way of demonstrating our responsibility as an industry, and to earning and maintaining the social acceptance and sustainability of harness racing”. HRA Executive meeting yesterday unanimously agreed to the implementation details of the ban, following the proactive initiative of members at the Annual General Meeting of Harness Racing Australia last October. The Executive also gave detailed consideration to the likely effect of the ban on harness racing audiences and the punting public. “We are strongly of the belief that the improved image of our sport will add to the appeal of our racing product and be broadly welcomed by fans,” said Mr Want. “We are confident that wagering turnover will not be impacted and indeed a number of professional punters have indicated support for the ban”. The implementation of the ban from 1 September 2017, will allow for a program of awareness, education, and research and monitoring to be undertaken across the industry. The program will embrace the education of drivers and horses. It will also include a major research task to ensure safety is maintained when drivers do not have a whip to control unexpected horse movements. Mr Want said many drivers were concerned that control over a horse would be curtailed without a whip, especially when horses shy (leap sideways) or back up. He said HRA Executive accepted the challenges the ban presented for ensuring safety was maintained for drivers, people, horses, trainers, stablehands, and people nearby. “Between now and the implementation of the whip ban, we will consult widely in the industry, especially with drivers and trainers, and with animal welfare advocates, such as the RSPCA,” Mr Want said. “Whatever tool evolves from this process it will only be allowed to avoid or guide a horse out of a dangerous situation to itself, other horses, drivers or anyone nearby. “It will definitely be banned from use to urge a horse to better perform, and strict penalties will apply for any breaches of its use. “Undoubtedly, some people may resist change, or feel the decision limits competitiveness in harness racing. We are confident they will be proved wrong and will eventually see the merit of banning the whip,” he said. "We know some drivers are concerned about safety issues, but we feel the process of developing a tool to maintain safety will allay concerns. “There is ample evidence the whip is not needed in our industry and that its use to enhance racing performance is questionable,” he said. “If no driver uses a whip then no driver has a perceived advantage – each race will be conducted on a level playing field, have a fair winner and horse welfare will be enhanced”. Mr Want said animal welfare would continue to be addressed during the transition to banning the whip, and the industry would seek input from the RSPCA going forward. CEO of the RSPCA Australia, Ms Heather Neil, commended the HRA’s leadership, and said: “This is a powerful sign that the harness racing industry is both listening to its stakeholders, and acknowledging the concerns of the wider community. “As Harness Racing Australia has recognised, racing should celebrate quality horsemanship, breeding and training - whips shouldn’t come into it.” Mr Want said: “Our members have a considerate and ethical equine welfare agenda and rules, and we do a great deal to enforce rigorous animal welfare protocols. The whip ban is part of continued improvements. “For example, we have just appointed our inaugural Equine Health & Welfare Coordinator to benchmark states, review policy, manage disease and quarantine, and clear international horse movements”. Australia’s leading driver – and 11-times winner of the national drivers’ championship – Chris Alford said he supported the ban. “Drivers are very sensitive to their horses and appreciate and support moves to ensure high standards of animal welfare that are aligned with community expectations,” he said. “We also know that a shying horse is a danger to itself, drivers, people and other horses nearby. I fully support the decision to ban the whip, plus maintain safety for all involved”. For information or interviews contact: Alex Messina – 0413 316 478 Robert Masters – 0413 147 080

Despite 26 degree temperatures, snowy conditions and an 11-degree windchill, Noone To Depend On established a new track record of 1:51.4 for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies on Friday night (Dec. 9) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Recently purchased for $25,000 at the Harrisburg Mixed Sale by Stephen Herrick and Mark Bogen, the new track standard-bearer was making her third local start in a non-winners of 10 races with a $30,000 claiming tag (plus allowances, bringing Noone To Depend On's sale price to $51,000). Trainer-driver Kayne Kauffman, who picked the horse out for her new owners at Harrisburg, was impressed with her first two starts for him, including a 1:53.3 score in the same class a week ago. "She showed me enough last week to think we might have something special, so I decided to test her a little more tonight because we're going to have to move up in class now and I wanted to know if she'd be competitive. Despite the snow and cold, the track was in very good condition under the circumstances so I kept her rolling and she responded." Noone To Depend On is a daughter of Ontario sire Santanna Blue Chip. She now has 10 victories in her career and with her latest triumph moved within two thousand dollars of the $100,000 earnings plateau. Halle Shark (Josh Sutton) and Cas Art Apparel (Chris Page) deadheated for the place position with Allthatjazzde Vie (Peter Wrenn) another short nose back in fourth. The Fillies and Mares Open pacers stepped onto the track a race later with Aniston Seelster (Sutton) downing American Girl (Travis Seekman) and Albanian Era (Jeremy Smith) in 1:53. The 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three recently switched from the Ron Burke Stable to the Virgil Morgan Jr. Stable, making an impressive debut from her new surroundings following a four-week furlough. Kara Witt owns Aniston Seelster, whose bankroll swelled to over $175,000 with the tally. Racing resumes at Hollywood Dayton on Saturday, December 10, highlighted by the second annual six-race "Buckeyes vs. Hoosiers Driver's Challenge." Leading Indiana drivers Trace Tetrick, Sam Widger, Ricky Macomber, Tyler Smith and Andy Shetler will face Ohio reinsmen Josh Sutton, Kayne Kauffman, Jeremy Smith, Dan Noble and Peter Wrenn for regional bragging rights. In the 2015 inaugural event, it took the Buckeyes until the final race to secure the team title on their home turf. The real winners Saturday night, however, will be underpriviledged Dayton area children and a paramedic who manned the Dayton Raceway ambulance many of the nights during the track's first two seasons, but suffered an unfortunate fall from a ladder earlier this year and is paralyzed from the waist down. The ten drivers in the Buckeyes-Hoosiers contest have voted to donate their entire $2500 prize pool to paramedic Crystal Wilson to help with her mounting rehabilitation costs. Additionally, the drivers are urging fellow horsemen and patrons to bring new toys to the track for distribution before Christmas to need children in the Dayton Firefighters District 16, providers of the trackside ambulance on a nightly basis. The Ohio Harness Horsemens Association has chipped in with a $1000 donation to be split between the firefighters toy drive and Ms. Wilson; and leading Dayton driver Josh Sutton has pledged all of his Saturday night driver commissions to the toy drive. MIAMI VALLEY IS CALLING ALL TOP DRIVERS FOR $25,000 TOURNAMENT The deadline for driver applications to compete in the inaugural $25,000 North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway is less than two weeks away.  Interested drivers can download application forms at: www.miamivalleygaming.com by clicking on “Racing” and then “Horsemen Info”; or by emailing race secretary/tournament coordinator Gregg Keidel at greggkeidel@yahoo.com.  The tournament will be conducted over three matinee programs on January 8-10, but the field will be finalized shortly after the December 23 application deadline. Half of North America’s top ten dashwinners have already committed to participate and others are expected to sign on soon.  If more than 30 drivers apply, those with the most career victories (including a minimum of 100 in 2016) will be selected to compete for the title and the $10,000 first place cash prize. If you think you have what it takes to beat the best, review the driver application and join the fun.  Nationally acclaimed reinsmen Brett Miller, Aaron Merriman, Jody Jamieson, Trace Tetrick and Simon Allard have indicated they will be at Miami Valley for the tourney, plus current Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana standouts Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Josh Sutton, Chris Page, Tony Hall, Dan Noble, Mike Wilder, Kayne Kauffman,  Jim Pantaleano,  Randy Tharps, Peter Wrenn, Eric Goodell, Jason Brewer and many more. Leading drivers from throughout the United States and Canada are encouraged to submit tournament applications with a $300 entry fee, which is fully refundable if your career win total doesn’t get you in.  The entry fee includes the chance to be named North America Driving Champion and share in the $25,000 cash prize pool, plus includes up to three nights of nearby hotel accomodations, a banquet in Miami Valley’s acclaimed Cin City Steakhouse, and covers your required 2017 Ohio State Racing Commission licensing fee. Gregg Keidel  

Today’s featured Prix Hestia (purse €50,000, 2100 meters autostart) went to 1.13.6kr timed Borsalino (5g Goetmals Wood-Nath du Rib). Thomas Levesque teamed his trainee that Pierre Levesque owns, and today he earned harness racing career win 11. Bel Air (5g Ganymede-Kaldeira) was second for P-Y Verva and third went to Best des Vals (5g Quirky Jet-Nina des Vals) with trainer Ch.C. Degiorgio aboard. The Quinte+ Prix Vesta (purse €36,000, 2850 meters) went to Boheme du Juille (5f Ozio Royal-Gaminette). Trainer Franck Poirrier turned the lines over to Anthony Barrier for this 1.14.05 timed victory. Brise du Coudou (5f New des Landes-Perle du Coudou) was second for Damien Bonne and third went to the Franck Nivard reined Balzane Roudourou (5f Oakwood du Closet-Romane de Mael). A top flight racing weekend begins tomorrow at Vincennes with three groupe events, the Gr. III Prix Narquois (purse €95,000), Gr. II Prix Artiste Hemard (purse €120,000) and the Gr. II monte Prix Raoul Balliere (purse €120,000). Thomas H. Hicks

Harness racing driver and trainer Mark Purdon and his war horse the Courage Under Fire eight-year-old Smolda was outstanding in taking out the $1.1 million TabTouch Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park in front of a large crowd tonight Friday the 9th of December.. Smolda beat the favourite Hectorjayjay who ran a great race and Beaudiene Boaz finished third. The time of the final was a track record 3.31.3 for the 2936 meters which is a very fast 1:55.8 mile rate. Smolda takes his earnings over the $2 million mark with this win. Full article will follow soon. Here is the race; Here is the full article courtesy of Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) In a fantastic fight between two champions it was the New Zealand warhorse who held off the Victorian firebrand to win a barnstorming Perth Inter Dominion. Mark Purdon’s outstanding eight-year-old Smolda led Hectorjayjay into a briskly run race and then held out David Aiken’s superstar, a $2.20 favourite, to win by a half-neck. “It was just a case of fight to the death, to the wire,” a proud Purdon said, savouring further success for the All Stars stable that he shares with trainer Natalie Rasmussen. The crown is added to their Hunter Cup (Smolda), Miracle Mile (Have Faith In Me) and New Zealand Trotting Cup (Lazarus) wins in an incredible 2016 for the stable, which is Victorian bound for the Summer Of Glory at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 28 and February 4. For Aiken’s Avenel team, whose campaign was partly derailed when Lennytheshark was scratched owing to a foot abscess, Hectorjayjay and driver Josh Aiken departed the track knowing they had given all they had. Aiken elected to take Hectorjayjay to the back of the field from gate nine and it would prove wise, with Run Oneover setting an electric pace in finding the front, crafting a 1:35.4 lead time in the 2936m staying test. It seemed the key swoopers were well paced, with Bling It On leader’s back and Beaudiene Boaz one-out and one-back, but there was little respite in 29.8 and 29.3 first and second quarters. Then Purdon broke the race open when he stepped out three-wide from the back and charged around the field, carrying his main threat into the race. The scene appeared set for Hectorjayjay to let down with his scintillating sprint, but the pace had taken its toll and despite Aiken’s best effort it was the Courage Under Fire veteran who would outstay them all and win in a 1:55.8 mile rate, some 1.2 seconds under the previous track record. “A lap out here I wondered if I made the right move,” Purdon said afterwards. “Down the back I knew (Smolda) was enjoying his work, I knew the horse to beat was outside me. “(Hectorjayjay) was going better than me on the corner. I think when Josh (Aiken) went for him, he went for a little bit, but the time that they were going just took its toll.” And with that, Smolda was the 2016 Perth Inter Dominion champion, with Hectorjayjay finishing a half-neck second and Beaudiene Boaz a further 7.9m back in third. The victory would have also brought great joy to Victorian breeder Paul Blackshaw, with Smolda coming from a maternal line his family had been breeding for more than four decades. “He was a magnificent looking individual,” Blackshaw told harnessnews.com.au. “He was just so athletic and carried himself so well, even as a foal. He just had something about him from the start.” It was a point not lost on Purdon as the gelding out of Under The Mattress surpassed $2 million in career stakes. “We bought him the first year (at Australian sales),” he said. “He’s been a wonderful horse, holds a lot of special memories and just one of those horses who never lets you down on race night.” For the full results of the night click on this link.   Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Tina Sugarman's breakthrough debut novel, Horse Flesh, has soared back to #1 status among all equine book sales for the third time on amazon.com in Canada. The novel first debuted on September 1 and has rapidly grown in popularity in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Horse Flesh is a fictional thriller mystery novel that enters the highly competitive world of Standardbred harness horse racing. The novel is fast paced with shocking twists and turns through its dramatic ending. "It is so exciting that the novel's sales have climbed back to #1 in Canada." Said Tina Sugarman. "To have now been #1 in Canada more than three times is outstanding. "The reviews on the novel have also been fantastic," Sugarman said. "Many people are just finishing reading Horse Flesh and then telling their friends and family to read it too. And with the holidays rapidly approaching, I hope many will get Horse Flesh for their equine family members and friends. It would make the best present for any horse lover." Horse Flesh is currently the #2 equine read in Australia/New Zealand and is #96 world-wide in equine read sales on Amazon.com. Author Tina Sugarman's debut novel was born out of her personal experiences and portrays a faithful and compelling insight into the world of harness racing. She has been involved with Standardbred horse racing in Ontario for nearly two decades, spending summers on a horse farm a few miles from Mohawk Raceway, the premier harness racing track in Canada. Horse Flesh is available through all booksellers in paperback and all ereader formats. By Steve Wolf, for Tina Sugarman, Author  

The Quinte+ Prix des Blois (purse €95,000, 2100 meters autostart, 14 European starters) today went to 1.12.5kr timed and 3.1/1 odds Altesse du Mirel (6f Ready Cash-Ina de Mirel) racing barefoot. Pierre Vercruysse trains and drive the winner for harness racing owner Mme. Florence Allera and breeder Mlle Anette Holmgren. Altesse record her 12th career victory now for €543.990 earned, leading this one in quick fraction before yielding after the first 1000 meters. She then raced in the pocket until mid-stretch when she rallied between rivals to win. Fractions were as follows (1.10.1lr with 1500 to go; 1.11.4kr with 1000 meters remaining, 1.12.5kr with 500 to go). 4.4/1 Arazi Boko (9g Varenne-Laura Kemp_ was second for Franck Nivard, trainer Fabrice Souloy and Sweden’s Ecurie Piret. 2/1 Unice de Guez (8g Capriccio-Eau Blanche) held third on the pegs for trainer/driver J-M Bazire Replay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9RZo3yP5W0 The Prix de Murat (purse €54,000, 2850 meters, 18 European starters) went to 5.3/1 Beverly Boulevard (7f Quite Easy-Long Beach) for J-M Bazire, trainer Fabrice Souloy and Swedish owner Mme. Camilla Vikstrom, clocked in 1.15.2kr. 112/1 Cuba Cohiba (8f Scarlet Knight-Havannas Hanna) was second for P-Y Verva ahead of 30/1 Angelina BR (8f Angus Hall-Fiery Chip). The Prix de Saint-Aubin les Elbeuf (purse €85,000, 2850 meters, 10 starters) went to 1.15.2kr timed and 5.5/1 Bad Boy du Dollar (5m Magnificent Rodney-Nymphe du Dollar) with trainer Sylvain Roger up. 4/5 favorite Baladin Hongrois (5g Bon Conseil-Reludie Hongroise) took second for trainer/driver Arnaud Desmottes. 3.8/1 Bel Avis (5g Ganymede-Gloria Maris) was third for trainer/driver J-M Bazire and Wildenstein Stables Ltd. The Prix de Blangy (purse €36,000, 2850 meters, 15 starters) went to fast closing 8.4/1 Deepstack (3m Royal Dream-Missrev) with owner/trainer/driver Bjorn Goop aboard. Jean Philippe Izzo was his breeder. 1.1/1 Dream Cash (3g Ready Cash-Susy Love) was second for trainer/driver Jean-Michel Bazire and owner Ecurie Charmes. 30/1 Diplomate d’Em (3m Love You-Kalmie Melody) was third for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin and pilot Mathieu Abrivard. Race time was 1.15.2kr. Yesterday’s top level monte test was at Vincennes. The 8.7/1 odds Adelia Melodie (6f Lilium Madrik-Piccola Stella) took the Prix d’Honfleur (purse €78,000, 2175 meters, 17 monte entrants) clocked in a sharp 1.12.5kr for Mille Audrey Laroche and trainer Stephane Meunier. Even-money favorite Aventurier Cehere (6g Niky-Iloa de l’Orne was a distant second for Antoine Weils with third to 115/1 Viking de Tremahou (7g Flash de Cosse-Lea Fotuna) for A.Ph. Grimault. Yesterday’s top events in Sweden took place at Solvalla. The Gunnar Nordins (100,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) went to Globalsatisfaction (4g Kadabra-Glide path-Yankee Glide) for Ulf Ohlsson and trainer Timo Nurmos clocked in 1.14.3kr. Banthechocolate (4f Chocolatier-Bancroft Hall-Conway Hall) was second for Tomi Haapio ahead of Floyd Fortuna (4g Yankee Glide-Jane O’Donnell-SJ’s Photo) with Erik Adielsson driving. The Gosta Nordins (100,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) went to 1.15.2kr timed Attack Diablo (6g Blue YorkYankee-Chanson d’Inverne-SJ’s Photo) for Christoffer Eriksson driving for Peter Untersteiner. Charrua Forlan and Partout Simoni were next to the line. The card also included the Mehammer Stuteri (100,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart) for two year-olds. 27/1 Drizzle CC (2f Sam Bourbon-Tucson Yankee-Lindy Lane) scored for driver Pierre Nystrom timed in 1.16.4kr. Violet Bi (2f Equinox Bi) was second for Kenneth Haugstad and trainer Jim Oscarsson. Thomas H. Hicks  

Breeders Crown placed Muscle Diamond returns to harness racing action for the first time in 13 months on Saturday (December 10) evening, where the 4-year-old son of Muscle Hill will face eight others in the night's $18,000 featured trotting event at The Meadowlands, carded as the night's seventh of 13 races. The 6-time winner resurfaces after a stakes-laden sophomore campaign, which culminated in a third-place finish in the $500,000 Breeders Crown and a fourth-place effort in the $204,000 American National, both behind The Bank. Regular driver John Campbell is back aboard the Brett Bittle trainee after a sharp qualifier on November 18. Muscle Diamond, installed the 5-1 third choice in the morning line, will begin from post 4. Another contender making a return appearance in the field is Danish Durango, the 9-2 early second choice. The 4-year-old Andover Hall entire was last seen in August, when he posted a 1:52.1 mile to just miss Its Huw You Know in a similar event. David Miller is back in the bike behind the 12-time winner for trainer Kevin McDermott. A pair of stakes-proven distaffers in Classical Annie and Kelsey's Keepsake figure to be prominent in the highly competitive feature as well. Classical Annie, a 4-year-old daughter of Andover Hall, was narrowly outdone by B Yoyo in last week's top trotting event after a fourth-place finish behind Hannelore Hanover in the $200,000 TVG Final in November. Jim Marohn, Jr. steps in to handle the driving assignment of the 3-1 morning line favorite for Ron Burke. Kelsey's Keepsake returns from Yonkers after staying on for fourth in a Preferred event over a mile and a quarter last week. Like Classical Annie, the Yankee Glide mare worked forward belatedly in the TVG, gaining from last to save fifth. Joe Bongiorno retains the drive for trainer Richard Johnson. A pair of $13,000 fourth-level pacing events, carded as races four and six, serve as supporting events on the card and also comprise half of the night's early Pick 4 sequence. A combined $105,000 in guaranteed pools await players in the 50¢ Pick 5 and a pair of Pick 4 wagers spread across the program. First post is slated for 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

Australia’s Harness Racing Industry will tomorrow (Saturday) announce an historical change to its racing and training practices; specifically, to the use of whips. The announcement will put Australia at the forefront of international reforms in racing, with the safety of drivers, horses and people being maximised and new standards set for animal welfare. The significant changes are considered vital to the long-term sustainability of the industry, the generation of a new fan base and to achieving best practice. In Australia, Harness Racing generates $2.5 billion annually and employs more than 19,000 people (13,000 Full Time Equivalent). Who: - Mr Geoff Want, Chairman, Harness Racing Australia - Mr Andrew Kelly, CEO, Harness Racing Australia What:   Media Conference -- World-leading change in racing practices for harness racing in Australia Where:   - Gloucester Park, 3 Nelson Crescent, East Perth WA 6004  - JP’s Sports Bar, Ground Floor (drive into Nelson Crescent Main Entrance. Staff will direct you to the Media Conference Room) - Map at: http://www.gloucesterpark.com.au/about/map-of-gloucester-park/ When: 10am Perth time (1pm AEDT) Event Date: Saturday 10 December 2016 Media interviews:   - Mr Geoff Want, Chairman, HRA - Mr Chris Alford, Australian Champion Driver (TBC)  - Ms Heather Neil, National CEO, RSPCA Pictures and Overlay Video News Release Vision available showing historical progression of harness racing practices in Australia Media Contacts: Alex Messina -- 0413 316 478 Rob Masters -- 0413 147 080

For those who can’t attend The Stable’s Open House this Saturday, December 10, the commentators on the live broadcast of the harness racing event will do their best to inform (and entertain) the video streaming audience.  Guest Commentators Bill O’Donnell and Fred MacDonald will guide viewers through the 44 horses slated to be showcased on the track at the Tomiko Training Centre, starting at 10:45 a.m. EST via on The Stable.ca Facebook page. Facebook Live (@thestablecanada). Mark McKelvie of the Woodbine Entertainment Group will conduct interviews following each set of yearlings. O’Donnell, known as The Magic Man is one of harness racing’s most prolific drivers with 5,743 winners and earnings of more than $99 million. He’s a member of both the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame and the U.S. Hall of Fame at Goshen, N.Y. Fred MacDonald is a PEI native and CBC host of Fiddler's Facts.   “We need hosts that can keep an audience’s attention over the entire three-hour broadcast,” explained The Stable’s Anthony MacDonald. “O’Donnell has more stories than Warner Bros. And Freddie, who is my father, talks more, faster and with more colour than anyone I know. So, dialogue shouldn't be an issue. Tune-in for the humor alone.” The Open House & Horse Sale will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (with the broadcast scheduled for 10:45 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.). The event is an opportunity to see the fractional ownership operation up-close and personal. “The message from The Stable is simple: if our industry is to grow in a substantial way, we have be serious about how we will do that,” said MacDonald. “Fractional ownership, done in this manner, will change the face of horse racing forever and you will get a real glimpse of how during Saturday’s Open House.” The event is free but an RSVP is required and a non-perishable food item for the Guelph Food Bank is appreciated. All ages are welcome. Complimentary hot drinks and food will be available. There are currently 61 horses and 164 active racehorse owners in The Stable. During the Open House & Horse Sale, guests are invited to meet the horses and chat with the Anthony & Amy MacDonald, and meet other racehorse owners in The Stable and industry professionals. The Stable.ca is inviting other trainers to participate in the event, at no cost. “It’s an opportunity for trainers to showcase a horse or two of their own that they’re selling shares of,” said Anthony MacDonald. “They’ll have a different audience than usual, and the chance to network with people who are looking to get into the game.”  Interested trainers must contact MacDonald no later than Dec. 8 to participate. A catalogue will be available on The Stable.ca website on Dec. 9/16, detailing all horses for which shares are available for purchase. The catalogue will include a schedule of when each horse will be showcased on the broadcast during the Open House & Horse Sale. Complete event details and the RSVP form are available here. For more information, contact Anthony at anthony@thestable.ca or (519) 400-4263. Other media about The Stable.ca: • The Sun: Feb. 20/16 article and video • Prime Time Sports The Fan 590 interview, March 2016 Anthony MacDonald anthony@thestable.ca (519) 400-4263

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Batavia, NY---As squalls streamed off of Lake Ontario, it was like harness racing in a snow globe at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 9). But despite the inclement weather, Wanna Rock N Roll delivered like the mailman and won the featured $9,500 mares Open pace as a result. Wanna Rock N Roll (Drew Monti) took a quick early lead before releasing that spot to the charging Aritzia Hanover (Ben McNeil) at the quarter. The field remained in single-file style to the half when Susie's Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled first-over with Who Says That (Shawn Gray) on her tail. Racing up the backstretch, McNeil popped the plugs on Aritzia Hanover and accelerated the pace, causing the outer flow to stall as they passed three-quarters in 1:26.4. That uncovered the pocket-sitting Wanna Rock N Roll who was primed to strike at the top of the lane, and that's just what she did. Monti tugged the right line and began methodical urging and the mare responded in kind, pacing right by Aritzia Hanover in 1:55.4 while Monti tucked the whip. It was the second straight top distaff class victory for Wanna Rock N Roll ($5.20) and her ninth win overall in 2016 and it inflated her earnings for the year to $66,720. Rose Campbell owns the 5-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover who is trained by Steve Kiblin. In the co-featured $8,500 Open trot, Kahoku ($9.00) overcame the dreaded eight-hole to gain an easy coast to coast victory in 1:58.2 with Ron Beback Jr. in the bike. Kahoku now has 13 wins this year and $82,415 in earnings for owner Colleen Girdlestone and trainer Mark Laidlaw. Drew Monti had hot hands on the cold Friday night, winning three races on the card. After that, doubles were the norm. Shawn Gray and Ray Fisher Jr. both had two driving wins while Steve Kiblin and Jeff Amann each watched two of their students get pictures taken. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 10) with post time for the first race set at 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
New England harness racing invader She'sjustadelight N (Ron Cushing, $11.20) picked off pace-setting Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) in a two-speed number Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. As the lead suggests, both ladies were put in play, from post position Nos. 5 and 6, respectively. There was some early daylight as Glenferie Bronte N (Mark MacDonald) gapped badly from the three-hole. After a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and :56.4 intermission, Frost Damage Blues (Dan Dube) moved from a distant fourth. That one never really was an issue in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters. 'Bedroom' owned a length-and-a-half entering the lane, but company was coming. She'sjustadelight N edged inside, while last week's victress, Mach it a Par (Jordan Stratton), offered her usual late arrival as this week's slight 2-1 choice. She'sjustadelight N whipped Bedroomconfessions by a neck in 1:53, with Mach it a Par, Frost Damage Blues and Motu Moonbeam N (Brent Holland) rounded out the payees. For fourth choice She'sjustadelight N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight co-owned by her driver & Kevin Sywyk and trained by Heidi Gibbs, it was her 13th win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $37.60, the triple returned $102 and the superfecta paid $367.50. Note that since no one took down Friday night's Pick 5, Saturday's gimmick begins with a carryover of $2,041.73 (50-cent base wager, now races 6 through 10). Frank Drucker
Buddy Hally ($33.20) unleashed a vicious first-over push through the last three-eighths of a mile in Friday (December 9) evening's co-featured $13,000 fourth-level trotting event at The Meadowlands, putting away Opulent Yankee with ease and evading 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share for a 1:52.3 harness racing triumph. The 6-year-old Angus Hall gelding floated forward in the initial stages, securing a clear tracking spot behind the top pair of Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) and Waiting On a Woman (Joe Bongiorno) through initial splits of :27.2 and :56.2. With seven-sixteenths to go and a gradually advancing Market Share (Tim Tetrick) improving into the mid-division, Corey Callahan angled Buddy Hally first-over, and they accelerated to press immediately, dueling into a joint lead with Opulent Yankee a quarter from home. Buddy Hally edged clear upon cornering for home, easily powering past Opulent Yankee and holding clear of the chasing Market Share with similar facility, only receiving a few taps of the whip to stay on task for a two-length win. Fashion Creditor (Brett Miller) rallied belatedly down the grandstand side to take third, another 2-1/4 lengths detached. Dylan Davis trains Buddy Hally--now a 16-time winner--for Howard Taylor and NR Holdings, LLC. In the evening's other fourth-level trotting event, I C Caviar ($14.40) used similar tactics en route to a 1:53.3 score, angling first-over from just off the front flight up the far side and wearing down 3-2 favorite Wing Flash (Andy Miller) before edging away to evade the second-over Promise Delivered (David Miller) by 2-1/2 lengths. Brett Miller, who led all drivers with four wins on the evening's 12-race program, drove the 5-year-old Malabar Millennium gelding for trainer Joe Hanney. $39k Pick 4 carryover to Saturday Double-digit upsets from Blush Hanover (31-1) and Jacks to Open (25-1) stymied players in the evening's Late Pick 4 sequence which saw no favorites prevail. As a result, Saturday (December 10) evening's card will feature a Late Pick 4 carryover of $39,173.27, with the sequence beginning in race seven. The closing-race 20¢ Jackpot High Five sports a hefty carryover as well, now standing at $57,161.17. Players combined to wager $2,167,514 on the Friday card. Post time for the first of 13 Saturday events is set for 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands
Despite 26 degree temperatures, snowy conditions and an 11-degree windchill, Noone To Depend On established a new track record of 1:51.4 for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies on Friday night (Dec. 9) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Recently purchased for $25,000 at the Harrisburg Mixed Sale by Stephen Herrick and Mark Bogen, the new track standard-bearer was making her third local start in a non-winners of 10 races with a $30,000 claiming tag (plus allowances, bringing Noone To Depend On's sale price to $51,000). Trainer-driver Kayne Kauffman, who picked the horse out for her new owners at Harrisburg, was impressed with her first two starts for him, including a 1:53.3 score in the same class a week ago. "She showed me enough last week to think we might have something special, so I decided to test her a little more tonight because we're going to have to move up in class now and I wanted to know if she'd be competitive. Despite the snow and cold, the track was in very good condition under the circumstances so I kept her rolling and she responded." Noone To Depend On is a daughter of Ontario sire Santanna Blue Chip. She now has 10 victories in her career and with her latest triumph moved within two thousand dollars of the $100,000 earnings plateau. Halle Shark (Josh Sutton) and Cas Art Apparel (Chris Page) deadheated for the place position with Allthatjazzde Vie (Peter Wrenn) another short nose back in fourth. The Fillies and Mares Open pacers stepped onto the track a race later with Aniston Seelster (Sutton) downing American Girl (Travis Seekman) and Albanian Era (Jeremy Smith) in 1:53. The 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three recently switched from the Ron Burke Stable to the Virgil Morgan Jr. Stable, making an impressive debut from her new surroundings following a four-week furlough. Kara Witt owns Aniston Seelster, whose bankroll swelled to over $175,000 with the tally. Racing resumes at Hollywood Dayton on Saturday, December 10, highlighted by the second annual six-race "Buckeyes vs. Hoosiers Driver's Challenge." Leading Indiana drivers Trace Tetrick, Sam Widger, Ricky Macomber, Tyler Smith and Andy Shetler will face Ohio reinsmen Josh Sutton, Kayne Kauffman, Jeremy Smith, Dan Noble and Peter Wrenn for regional bragging rights. In the 2015 inaugural event, it took the Buckeyes until the final race to secure the team title on their home turf. The real winners Saturday night, however, will be underpriviledged Dayton area children and a paramedic who manned the Dayton Raceway ambulance many of the nights during the track's first two seasons, but suffered an unfortunate fall from a ladder earlier this year and is paralyzed from the waist down. The ten drivers in the Buckeyes-Hoosiers contest have voted to donate their entire $2500 prize pool to paramedic Crystal Wilson to help with her mounting rehabilitation costs. Additionally, the drivers are urging fellow horsemen and patrons to bring new toys to the track for distribution before Christmas to need children in the Dayton Firefighters District 16, providers of the trackside ambulance on a nightly basis. The Ohio Harness Horsemens Association has chipped in with a $1000 donation to be split between the firefighters toy drive and Ms. Wilson; and leading Dayton driver Josh Sutton has pledged all of his Saturday night driver commissions to the toy drive. MIAMI VALLEY IS CALLING ALL TOP DRIVERS FOR $25,000 TOURNAMENT The deadline for driver applications to compete in the inaugural $25,000 North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway is less than two weeks away.  Interested drivers can download application forms at: www.miamivalleygaming.com by clicking on “Racing” and then “Horsemen Info”; or by emailing race secretary/tournament coordinator Gregg Keidel at greggkeidel@yahoo.com.  The tournament will be conducted over three matinee programs on January 8-10, but the field will be finalized shortly after the December 23 application deadline. Half of North America’s top ten dashwinners have already committed to participate and others are expected to sign on soon.  If more than 30 drivers apply, those with the most career victories (including a minimum of 100 in 2016) will be selected to compete for the title and the $10,000 first place cash prize. If you think you have what it takes to beat the best, review the driver application and join the fun.  Nationally acclaimed reinsmen Brett Miller, Aaron Merriman, Jody Jamieson, Trace Tetrick and Simon Allard have indicated they will be at Miami Valley for the tourney, plus current Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana standouts Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Josh Sutton, Chris Page, Tony Hall, Dan Noble, Mike Wilder, Kayne Kauffman,  Jim Pantaleano,  Randy Tharps, Peter Wrenn, Eric Goodell, Jason Brewer and many more. Leading drivers from throughout the United States and Canada are encouraged to submit tournament applications with a $300 entry fee, which is fully refundable if your career win total doesn’t get you in.  The entry fee includes the chance to be named North America Driving Champion and share in the $25,000 cash prize pool, plus includes up to three nights of nearby hotel accomodations, a banquet in Miami Valley’s acclaimed Cin City Steakhouse, and covers your required 2017 Ohio State Racing Commission licensing fee. Gregg Keidel  
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