Foiled Again, harness racing

Final prelims for Matchmaker, Levy series

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features two $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 18) in the fifth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 19) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fifth round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: As has been the case throughout the 2014 edition of the George Morton Levy series, Foiled Again was once again at the top of the headlines this past weekend at Yonkers. The 10-year-old sauntered around the half-mile oval in 1:51 this past Saturday night. "That's what he's supposed to do," said driver Yannick Gingras after the gelding's fourth win in as many Levy series/season starts. Foiled Again was a narrow winner in his Levy division on April 12. Leaving from post position No. 3 as the stronger half of a 1-20 entry, Foiled Again had to work to get around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett). He did so before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile and found a :56.3 intermission with Bettor's Edge (George Brennan) away third and A J Corbelli (Tim Tetrick) fourth. It was Dancin Yankee (Ron Pierce) then moving from fifth, engaging Foiled Again toward a 1:24 three-quarters. Soon after, Bettor's Edge -- who, as with Foiled Again, was three-for-three in this series entering the evening -- slipped out to race second-over. However, Bettor's Edge became very rough very quickly, soon jumping it off. Foiled Again owned a half-length lead entering the lane. His pesky rival wouldn't go away, but wouldn't go by, either. Foiled Again won by a head in 1:51, the fastest local mile of the season. Third went to P H Supercam, beaten a half-length. Mach It So (1:52.1) and Clear Vision (1:52.1) won the other two Levy divisions. Last Friday night's fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker for Open mare pacers saw three $40,000 divisions go postward. The first event saw Breeders Crown champ Shelliscape (Tim Tetrick, $7.20) get her first series win with a handy, down-the-road effort (:27.3, :57, 1:24, 1:52). Ramalama (Matt Kakaley) was unable to sustain a first-up bid, while Monkey On My Wheel (Brian Sears) could only match strides from the pocket. Monkey On My Wheel did get second, beaten three-quarters of a length, with Ramalama third. Defending Matchmaker champion Feeling You was also flying under the radar until Friday evening. Leaving from post four with Tyler Buter doing the honors, Feeling You operated from second-over. That didn't seem so opportunistic when pole-sitting Rocklamation (Gingras) rated a cheap half (:28, :57.3). Rocklamation maintained her advantage in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters, taking a half-length lead into the lane. Feeling You, left to fend for herself, continued her assault on the leader. She outgamed Rocklamation by a head in 1:53.1. The third and final Matchmaker had Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube) throw down the gauntlet with the fastest mile of the series to date. Leaving from post five, Yagonnakissmeornot made the first lead before yielding to the 4-5 favorite in Somwherovrarainbow (Sears). After a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and :55.4 intermission, it was Krispy Apple (Tetrick) trying her luck first-up. That one couldn't sniff the leader before a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with Somwherovrarainbow owning a 1-1/2 length lead into the lane. However, she was powerless to deny Yagonnakissmeornot, who edged from the pocket and rolled away. That final margin for the second choice was 2-1/2 widening lengths in a season's-best 1:51.4. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 116; 2. George Brennan - 104.5; 3. Tim Tetrick - 80; 4. Brian Sears- 41; 5. Daniel Dube - 40. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 210.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 93; 3. Rene Allard - 40; 4. Joe Holloway - 25; 5. Kevin Carr - 20. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 78.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 53.8; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 53.8; 4. Brad Grant - 20.5; 5. Joe Pennacchio - 20. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Northfield Park, Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway. Northfield will host the Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers on Friday (April 25); Freehold has eliminations scheduled for the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old colt trotters on Saturday (April 26); also that day the Meadowlands will feature the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers; and action at Yonkers will continue that Saturday with the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy finals and consolations. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Phil Hudon and son Zachary, harness racing

Phil Hudon dividing time between family & racing

Phil Hudon comes from a big harness racing family, there is Jerry and Dave who are cousins, Jerry is in Alberta and Dave is located in British Columbia, (BC). Phil also has brothers John and Steve out in BC and in Ontario, Phil has his brother Pat and dad Joe. If anyone has had the pleasure of speaking with Phil, there is something about his laugh that seems so genuine. Phil comes across laid back and easy going and the laugh suggests he truly enjoys having a good time, regardless of who he's talking to. A touching moment right of the bat is Phil describing what his brother Pat had to overcome. Several years ago during a qualifier, Phil's brother Pat was driven into the track due to a horse accident. "He's lucky to be around" Phil says. "He's good now, but it was scary at the time." Thank God Pat is okay, it is tough to think of what the drivers have to contend with at times day after day. Yes drivers wear helmets, but all their limbs are exposed and it's a blessing and a testament to the skill drivers possess that accidents rarely occur. Big Jim by far, would be Phil's most exciting horse he's raced to date. "We won the Breeders Crown (at Pocono Downs) and the Governors' Cup (at Woodbine Racetrack) and we got to race against all the top horses for a couple of years and I've never experienced that before. It's pretty thrilling to drive a horse like that, a world class horse." Phil explains. "That's what it's all about right there" says Phil. "Drivers can get good horses... but great horses make you look so much better." Away from the rush of racing horses, if Phil isn't following hockey, you can catch him at a baseball game. "I used to like the Canucks, but I like the home teams so now it's the Leafs unfortunately" says Phil laughing. Oh Phil, I feel your pain and so does every Maple Leafs fan out there. "I like the Blue Jays, LA Dodgers and the Detroit Tigers in baseball." Phil notes. Life has been hectic for Phil who races seven days a week! "I go everywhere now. I go to Flamboro once a week and Western Fair on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and the rest of the week I'm at Mohawk/Woodbine." That sure is a lot of mileage and travel time, but it only goes to show how much Phil is dedicated to the sport he's passionate about as well as doing his very best to support his family. Phil has three kids, Madison 14, Zach 7 and Delaney who is 7 months old. "It's tough; you miss out on family time because it's work, work, work." Phil acknowledges. "There are nights they're going out for dinner and you miss out on all of that. On weekends, you just can't take off and go to the cottage unless you book the weekend off but then you lose your drives." It must be difficult trying to hold together two firm commitments. On one side you have your family in your heart and the other side, there's horse racing which you love and you need to be fully committed to driving and ensuring you're always showing up to the track to be able to provide for the family you love. It is reasons like these that I feel the horsemen and women within the horse racing industry do get enough praise for what they do with the sacrifices involved. Phil does admit it's tough on the family at times with all his travelling. "I'm hustling a bit more this year" explains Phil. "I got to get back rolling because I was slumping for a bit.... I find I am sharper when I am racing everywhere. Plus I am going for 4,000 wins so I'd like to get that. I am still a couple hundred away though." It would be awesome for Phil to win his 4,000th win at Woodbine or in a major stakes race. Talk about what an awesome win photo shot of that would be, nothing short of spectacular. North America Cup for number 4,000! "Wins are wins" says Phil. "You can win a five claimer and it picks you up.... I find racing all the time keeps you sharper." Phil came to Ontario from British Columbia at a very young age, Phil was only 16. "It was tough; I had no friends, nothing." Phil says. "It was just me, my dad and his girlfriend at the time and two dogs, we only had four horses." "I quit school at 16, but I wish I didn't though." Phil explains, "I thought about (finishing school) a bit... but I wanted to drive horses, that's what I really like doing." Phil explains how it can be tough in some races when the horse you're driving is really pulling, but there isn't one particular drive that sticks out to Phil that would he would consider his most intense drive. Phil unfortunately has been in a few accidents which resulted him popping out his shoulder a few times and cracking his wrist once. Phil considers himself lucky to date, which is remarkable and that must say a lot about his driving skills and his keen awareness for the horses and drivers around him each and every race. "There's been people badly hurt, you know with broken arms and legs. I've just been lucky, touch on wood." Phil says. Luck plays a role in many things in life, but for the time Phil has been driving, I strongly believe it's his driving aptitude combined with luck that has brought him this far. Phil does not give himself enough credit. During our conversation, Phil pays respect to his fellow horsemen, the horses, the owners, but not once did Phil give any credit to himself. Phil should give himself more credit; no one lasts long in any career without being skilled, decent, humble and respectful. Of which all of these attributes Phil possesses. Phil was a big wrestling fan back in the day; Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock were his two guys he would cheer on. "Back in the day, the Rock was awesome and with Stone Cold, they were playing a good role." Phil says UFC is another sport Phil really enjoys watching. One of his favorite fighters is BJ Penn. "I loved BJ Penn he was awesome, the Prodigy... I like watching good fights, there's a bunch for great athletes like St. Pierre, and he was awesome." Phil says. However, don't expect Phil to be entering the Octagon, he enjoys watching the fights, not being a part of the fights. Phil enjoys the brotherhood of the driver's colony at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks. "I don't really do grudges" says Phil. "You go about your business; if you end up in a grudge match you're only hurting the owner and the horse. You need to keep your head on right; you always need to use your head." Phil does consider himself a joker, one who can dish out the laughs and still be able to laugh at himself. To be a fly on the wall in the driver's room, one can only imagine how much fun the drivers have with one another. by Roderick Balgobin, www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova  

Andy Miller, harness racing

UPDATED: Miller injured in Yonkers Raceway accident

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, April 15, 2014--Here's an update regarding driver Andy Miller, who was injured in a Yonkers Raceway accident Tuesday night. According to Miller's wife, Julie, as well as trainer Scott DiDomenico, Andy Miller broke a pair of lumbar vertebrae in his back. As of this writing, he is awaiting transfer from Lawrence Hospital (Bronxville, NY) to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in northern Manhattan for further evaluation and treatment. Andy Miller has feeling in all his extremities, and is obviously in a lot of pain. Driving Marmara Denizi--a 3-year-old gelding co-owned and trained by his brother, Erv--Miller was in the back of the field and unseated during the $10,000, first race pace. Also unseated was George Brennan, who was driving 13-10 favorite In the Clear. In The Clear was a tight-pocket second down the backside the second time when he looked to slip out and appeared to step on the wheel of a first-up Fiftyshadesofhay (Dan Dube). In the Clear went down, as did Brennan, who did get up and resume his assignments for the evening. Miller did not lose consciousness, and none of the horses appeared to be injured. The race was won by Keystone Dalton (Jason Bartlett, $9.30) in a maiden-breaking 1:59. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway            

Im-Victorious-(2).jpg

Im Victorious closer to returning home

It is more than a month since Im Victorious suffered a serious tendon injury in the Inter Dominion Grand Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The healing process has been a slow one but trainer Michael Brennan is extremely happy with the progress his stable star has made since the incident and is looking forward to being reunited with him in the future. "Snoop (Im Victorious) is getting daily physio on the injury, he is being looked after over there in Sydney by a great team of people and they are trying to ensure they keep some mobility in his leg despite the excessive scar tissue," Brennan said. "He will continue the treatment in Sydney for another six weeks or so and after that he should be ready to make his way back home to Perth and live out his days in a paddock on my property, I think he deserves it." While there had been some speculation that Im Victorious could make a miraculous comeback and return to the racetrack, Brennan believes that it would be highly improbable. "More than likely he will never be able to race again but to be honest I'm just hoping that he will be 'paddock sound' so I can get him home and spend time with him again." "His injuries have healed to the point where the vets are no longer concerned with regards to infection in the tendon and now they are just making sure through the physio that too many adhesions don't form and create issues for us." It has been a tough time for everyone concerned with Im Victorious but Brennan admits he has come to the realisation that he has to move past the devastating loss of the Western Australian Derby winner. "I had arrived at the point where I just had to move on, there was no point in dwelling on it, the whole situation was very devastating for all of us and now I have to try and find my next star." Im Victorious won more than $750,000 in his 34 start career and won 22 races. By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing Harness Racing New South Wales                 Warning to recipients:   This email and any attachments are confidential and subject to copyright. If you are not the intended recipient any use, disclosure or copying is unauthorised. If you have received this email in error please advise us immediately by reply email and delete all copies. It is your responsibility to examine this email and any attachments for viruses. Any personal information in this email must be handled in accordance with privacy legislation.          

It has been such a downward spiral for the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs that this latest lowest of lows has harness racing driver Jody Jamieson contemplating switching allegiances to another NHL team. As for which team Jody might start cheering for, nothing has been decided but all of us Maple Leafs fans understand that at some point we must all move on or do we become the Chicago Cubs of the National Hockey League. "It's in my blood" says Jody, "I'm a diehard fan but this is getting out of hand." Jody's career in harness racing has been remarkable, with some comparing his success to the likes of hockey greats Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby. As flattered as Jody is by the comparison, in no way does he consider himself to be painted with the same brush as the hockey legends. "It's a lofty comparison, and it's not something I am not comfortable with" Jody notes. Admittedly, Jody feels he was able to jump start his career thanks to his father, legendary trainer Carl Jamieson. "My father is a hall of fame horseman and I had probably one of the best starts anybody could have in this business, by having him back me up." Jody says. A key piece of advice given to Jody by his dad is to always be respectful, regardless of whom that person is. It doesn't matter if it's a groom or a racing official, everyone matters. Jody Jamieson's name is up there with drivers such as Tim Tetrick, Mike Lachance, Chris Christoforou and Brian Sears and even after all the wins and accolades, Jody's focus hasn't changed. There's never a race he takes for granted and Jody admits he's human and makes mistakes, like everyone else. "I'm out to win every possible race I'm in... it's never lack of trying or being prepared but I make mistakes. Thank God there is another race right after that one where I can try and redeem myself." Jody says. With any sport, competition is extremely fierce and the guys who lead the standings are always battling between themselves and new comers. The saying goes, if you're going to win, you want to beat the best and Jody acknowledges everyone on the track wants to make a name for themselves. "That's what makes this game so fun, in one moment you're king of the castle but twenty minutes later you're knocked off." Jody adds, "It's very competitive, every twenty minutes, every night of the week." All drivers and trainers have been through dry spells, going through stretches of time without positive results. A piece of advice Jody was given is you need to learn to lose well before you learn to win well. "Don't get to high with the highs and don't get to low with the lows" is Jody's approach to keeping a level head to remain mentally grounded. "If you look at my record, I have way more losses than I do wins and I've learned to deal with it and keep it on the track as much as possible." With people having hard days or rough spells, it's amazing how well the horsemen are able to cope and still keep it classy amongst them. "I find in Canada and Ontario, it's the kind of people we are." Jody says. "We all try to get along off the track; there is no reason to be enemies off the track and not like each other. But when we go to the gate, it's on! I think that's taken for granted in other places, with people taking issue of being beat in a race." "Not only is life too short, our careers are too short to be hung up on every last thing, so you have to keep it light." Jody says. "I think I can relate to almost anybody, I enjoy busting (chops) and I can handle having my (chops) busted as well." Speaking with Jody, the biggest take away I got would be understanding how tough it is to mature in such a highly competitive sport. Yet in an odd way it can still be very easy. Yes I am aware there is a contradiction to what I have just written but the difficulties I perceive is being young with an ego. At this point I am not speaking for a driver, I am thinking of myself as a young one who is 18 or 20 and all I focus on is me and my success. If something were to come in between, I can honestly admit I would of taken issue from the get go. However, through it all in any sport, life hands you a constant wave of highs and lows and the earlier you notice these waves, the easier it is to 'ride it out' so to speak. Things can't always go your way, if they did, how would anyone learn? Over the last couple of years, Jody admits there have been some up and downs and this year he is more driven because of that. "Last year it took me until December to win a Classic race. It was the Cleveland Classic with Apprentice Hanover." Apprentice Hanover is trained by Benjamin Wallace and won the race in a time of 1:52.1 at Northfield Park. "There were big races where I came in second or third, but it wasn't the win." Jody admits. Jody is happily married to Stephanie and Jody has a daughter Hailey who is 11, a son Jett who is 2 and a baby girl on the way who is due in July. As much success as Jody's had over the years, he is now racing for his family, not just for him and this means ensuring his family can live happily. "I have a young family and I am recently married and I want to be a part of their lives to... I'm going to spend the best time with my family and I am not going to change anything. I'm going to be prepared as ever, more prepared than I've ever been to go on the race track every night." Jody says, "Before it was about wins and putting up big numbers, now it's about making a great living and being able to provide for my family down the road." "I had the one year where I broke the wins records in Canada. I drove right until the end of the year and then I quit for a month and just relaxed, it gets really stressful.... I had that one (great) year and I thought I want to treat myself a little bit." Jody adds, "I want to be the top guy and make enough money to enjoy life." Jody also missed some time away from the track to attend the O'Brien awards and Jody flew to Finland to be the ambassador of Canadian harness racing. To add to Jody's time away was the volcano eruption in Finland where the dust had to settle before Jody could fly back home. So at what point did Jody change his outlook? Or at what point did a light go off where Jody realized it was more than just about him? "When you're in it, running from track to track winning races and having some success, you don't think of anything until you're laying on a beach in Mexico... you don't think of it until then." Jody points out. Throughout his career, Jody has grown close to many people who have supported him and who always believe in his talents. "Mark MacDonald and I used to be thick as thieves and as best friends off the track and fierce enemies on the track." Jody continues, "We'd do anything to beat each other and Mark moved away and we haven't kept in touch as much, but definitely Mark was a huge influence in my career. He helped me learn my craft and have a better mindset on the race track for sure." Jody loves what the new Meadowlands racetrack is doing, "they're doing incredible work" he says and at one point in Jody's career, the idea to go to the big M did cross his mind, but home is where the heart is. "I'm from Moffat, Ontario, Canada and this is where my family is and this is where my family's family is. This is where I'll be unless something worse happens like what is happening with this Liberal government." "In 2011 the Standardbred industry received $176 million dollars to operate harness racing in Ontario. In 2014 harness racing will be lucky to have $70-$80 million." Jody points out. The money the racing industry received is from an agreement between the racetracks and the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation, (OLG) which is a Government entity, based on revenues brought in from the creation of the SLOTS programs at each racetrack. With the racetracks already established, the OLG agreed to give a percentage of all revenue to the racetracks so the OLG could put in slot machines and the money given to the tracks would go towards purse money to create a higher level of competition within the province. Anthony Macdonald, who is a horseman, is running as a PC provincial candidate hoping if an election takes place, the standardbred industry will have a stronger voice at Queen's Park, (the provincial legislator). Jody is a strong advocate and supporter of Anthony and his efforts to bring more awareness to the standardbred community and Jody is willing to help anywhere he can. "Anyone who knows Anthony, you can't tune him out and I am going to campaign hard to help get him elected." Jody states. "We have 3 or 4 candidates who are pro harness racing on the Conservative side." Jody feels strongly that the Liberal government has messed up several industries outside of harness racing, such as the gas industry, the powers sector and even the teachers union. "Horses don't speak" says Jody, "they are nice to look at and people love them but they don't speak. We need to do a better job speaking for them.... The OLG's revenue was around a billion dollars and we were only getting around 20 percent, maybe less. Now the OLG is taking in the full 100 percent in revenue. We are in trouble and this money, (the $500 million/5 year proposal from the Liberals), it has kept racing open but we are on a life line and we are bleeding badly." Away from the politics and the tracks, Jody is the type of guy who likes to help others where and when he can. Jody would love to help the Toronto Maple Leafs, maybe try and get them a Stanley Cup sometime soon! "I'm so aggravated with this season, I like Randy Carlyle. He's a horse guy who started in the horse racing business before he was drafted." As you can tell, Jody is a massive hockey fan and aside from the Leafs, his favorite team is the Jamieson Jets, an adult men's hockey team. One thing to point out is Jody's son Jett was not named after the hockey team, even though some people make that connection. However if the dad who named the son said it wasn't, there's nothing to discuss. If Jody had a man cave, it would be filled with Toronto Maple Leaf paraphernalia and his entire top win photos including the North America Cup pictures, the Battle of Waterloo and Breeders Crown pictures. To date, the second heat of the 2007 Little Brown Jug is Jody's most memorable race. In that race he was driving great horse Tell All. "I could remember my heart beating the whole time."Jody says. "The half was in 56.1... I kicked the ear plugs on him around the last turn and he dug in, but he really didn't dig in like I thought. Brian Sears slipped off of David Miller's back going three wide in the stretch and I didn't know half way down the stretch if I could hang on. So I hit the wire not knowing if you have a clear cut win. It was the best ever (feeling)... I'll never forget him." "I would love to win the Hambletonian. I've been fortunate to win big races and I'd love to win them all again. Just because I won them, doesn't mean they're off my bucket list." Jody adds, "It would mean a lot to me to win any of those races again, they're special, special races." Jody enjoys interacting with fans. "I love meeting fans...they message me of Facebook and Twitter. I think its wild and I thrive on it, I love meeting with the fans and doing whatever I can to meet fans." Jody says. A few summers ago, Woodbine asked Jody to go to a Jack Astor's opening in Toronto as the restaurant was doing simulcasting. "I went in my driver suit, not a soul knew who I was, not a soul and I had my suit on and they knew what I did at the end of the day they loved it. I loved it and meeting people who want to get to know me. Like I said, horses can't talk but I can and I want this industry I love to survive and prosper." By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova  

From Norway, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Italy, most every state and provience in the USA and Canada, Europe to South America, names for the harness racing Standardbred filly by Somebeachsomewhere from the mare, Put On A Show, are flying in from around the world. It is not too late for anyone who has yet to enter the contest to get their name choice submitted to try and win the $2,500 cash prize in Harnesslink’s “Name the Foal Contest.” So far nearly 600 names have been submitted for the foal. Her caretakers at Hanover Shoe Farms say, “She is a bold and brassy filly who has a mind of her own. She is very playful but never strays too far from her mother’s side.” There are new photos and also a video of the filly with this story so you can check her out while coming up with the prize winning name. The prize money has been sponsored by the owners of Put On A Show, Richard and Joanne Young of Florida, along with the Somebeachsomewhere Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, PA. There is no purchase necessary to enter the contest. You must be age 18 or older and a legal resident of the country you live in. All entries must be submitted in English. Just click on the link below and fill out all the required information. The name cannot be more than 18 letters and/or spaces combined per the rules of the United States Trotting Association (USTA). Any name that has been used in the past 15 years cannot be entered. You can check on your name suggestion to make sure it has not yet been used by going to the free service at the USTA by clicking this link http://pathway.ustrotting.com/search/. Just type in the name of the horse and click. You will then see if the name is already being used. Contestants have until midnight on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 to enter the contest. Contestants are allowed to enter only one name for the foal per email address and only one winner will be allowed per household. Within one week after the deadline date, owners Richard and Joanne Young will select up to five (5) approved names for the foal. They will draw by lot to declare the official name of the foal. If there is only one person that submitted the winning name, that contestant will be declared the official prize winner and receive the entire $2,500. If there are four (4) entries or less with the same name, there will be a drawing in descending order with those entrants dividing $1,000 evenly and the final name drawn being the ultimate winner and get $1,500. If there are more than 5 entries of the same name, all those entries will be placed in a drawing and the first four (4) names drawn will receive $250.each and the final name drawn will receive $1,500. To enter the “Name the Foal Contest” click on this link. The official rules for the competition (in detail) can be obtained by clicking on this link. Please take a moment and read the official rules so you are familiar with the regulations. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) today handed down its decision with regard to the penalty review hearings of Mr Eric Anderson and Mr Glenn Douglas against the decision of the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board to disqualify Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas for 6 months for offences against the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR) relating to an investigation concerning the horse Talk To The Hand. Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas, through their legal representative Mr Sandy Robertson, argued the penalties imposed upon them were excessive.   These review hearings were held in conjunction with review applications of the HRV Stewards who argued through their legal counsel, Mr Neill Murdoch SC, that the penalties applied by the HRV RAD Board were inadequate. His Honour Judge Nixon, in delivering his decision, announced that he considered the offence seriousness to be in the high category and that he considered the most critical principles requiring consideration in the case to be denunciation, general deterrence and the preservation of the integrity of the harness racing industry.  His Honour stated that public confidence in the harness racing industry is critical and that the giving of false evidence to Stewards could not be tolerated and must result in significant penalty being imposed. His Honour remarked that the lies told by Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas surrounding the death and disposal of the horse Talk To The Hand were maintained until the bitter end and that such lies were told to deceive the Stewards. His Honour indicated he gave consideration to the numerous references supplied in support of Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas which described their extensive involvement and success in the harness racing industry over a lengthy period of time, references which were not before the HRV RAD Board on 5 March 2014 when Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas appeared unrepresented. His Honour found that in all of the circumstances of the case, the penalty of 6 months disqualification imposed by the HRV RAD Board upon Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas for their respective conduct was a just and appropriate penalty.  His Honour confirmed the imposition of these penalties and taking into account time served (8 days), such periods of disqualification will expire as at 8 October 2014. In arriving at this decision, His Honour noted that it should not be assumed in the harness racing industry that a period of 6 months disqualification is the ‘ceiling’ for penalties that may be handed down in circumstances where false evidence is provided to the Stewards or where persons frustrate or endeavour to frustrate investigations of the Stewards.  His Honour also noted that in addition to the powerful references supplied, His Honour was also required to consider the evidence of Dr Sarah Jalim, as a result of the position of Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas that their conduct was in order to protect the interests of Dr Jalim.  His Honour indicated he considered the evidence of Dr Jalim, both before the HRV RAD Board and the VCAT, regarding her inactivity (in reporting matters to the HRV Stewards) at a relevant time on the evening of 21 August 2013 at the Bendigo harness racing meeting, which resulted in her pleading guilty to a charge before the HRV RAD Board on 5 March 2014. Glenn Douglas, Eric Anderson and Sarah Jalim The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to various charges issued by HRV Stewards under the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR) against licensed trainer/driver Mr Glenn Douglas, licensed stablehand/registered owner Mr Eric Anderson and veterinarian Dr Sarah Jalim. The charges were issued in connection to the conduct of the relevant parties concerning the Glenn Douglas trained horse ‘Talk To The Hand’ which was scheduled to compete at the Bendigo harness racing meeting conducted on 21 August 2013.  After arriving at the racecourse, the horse became unwell and its health quickly deteriorated resulting in the horse being assisted onto a float by Mr Anderson, Mr Douglas and Dr Jalim before the horse was euthanized by Dr Jalim.  The fact that the horse was euthanized was not brought to the attention of the attending HRV Stewards on the night by Mr Douglas, Mr Anderson or Dr Jalim. Mr Eric Anderson Mr Eric Anderson pleaded guilty to 6 charges issued by HRV Stewards. Charge 1 – ARHR 187(6)               A person shall not frustrate or endeavour to frustrate an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 1 were that Mr Anderson frustrated the investigation of the Stewards by not ensuring the immediate notification of the death of the horse ‘Talk To The Hand’ and by arranging and conducting the burial of the horse in Boundary Bend, Victoria, with asbestos piping, actions which inhibited the extent of the post-mortem autopsy conducted upon the horse. Charge 2 – ARHR 187(2)      A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 2 were that Mr Anderson, when interviewed by HRV Stewards on 22 August 2013 regarding the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of ‘Talk To The Hand’, falsely advised that the horse had been alive when it was removed from the Bendigo racecourse and also alive when it arrived at the stables of Mr Glenn Douglas after being transported by Mr Anderson in a float.   Charge 3 – ARHR 187(2) A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 3 were that Mr Anderson, when interviewed by HRV Stewards on 22 August 2013, falsely advised that Mr Glenn Douglas whilst checking on the welfare of ‘Talk To The Hand’ in the night of 21 August 2013 had found the horse to be alive and that Mr Anderson had only discovered the horse to be deceased at the stables of Mr Douglas on the morning of 22 August 2013. Charge 4 – ARHR 187(2) A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 4 were that Mr Anderson, in a secondary interview with HRV Stewards on 22 August 2013, gave false information by denying that ‘Talk To The Hand’ had been euthanized in the vicinity of the Bendigo racecourse on 21 August 2013. Charge 5 – ARHR 187(2) A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of Charge 5 were that Mr Anderson, in a secondary interview with HRV Stewards on 22 August 2013, gave false information by advising that the carcass of ‘Talk To The Hand’ had been burned at Boundary Bend, Victoria, when the horse had in fact been buried at this location. Charge 6 – ARHR 105(5) The owner or authorized agent or other person in charge of a horse whose death has been notified, or which should have been notified, under sub rule (1)(a) shall not dispose of the carcass without the permission of the Controlling Body or the Stewards The particulars of Charge 6 were that Mr Anderson disposed of the carcass of ‘Talk To The Hand’ without the permission of the HRV Stewards. After hearing submissions regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a 6 month disqualification upon Mr Anderson in relation to charges 1-6 and ordered such disqualification to commence immediately. Harness Racing Australia  

A quiet trial at Ashburton today should top pacing sensation Terror To Love off nicely as he heads into Saturday’s $100,000 Easter Cup at Addington. Given an easy time by Ricky May in the sedate two-horse trial, the bulky stallion was only pulled out very late in proceeding, dashing home for a narrow second behind 8-win pacer Smiling Star. “That is all he needed heading into Saturday,” said May, who was pleased with how the entire found the line. “I gave him a pretty stern warm-up and he is very forward so I’d say that the run was just perfect for him,” he added. “I know it was a very slowly run affair but he wouldn’t have blown a candle out afterwards. I was pretty happy with that to be honest,” concluded the champion reinsman. When asked what his confidence levels were like heading into Saturday, May admitted that he was very impressed with Adore Me last Friday. “She was just tremendous last week but I think ‘Terror’ only has to replicate his run in the Auckland Cup to beat her again. He has proven himself time and time again,” he enthused. “It’s obviously not going to be easy to give Adore Me 10 metres and beat her, especially if she goes like she did last week, but we all know how much he loves the two miles at Addington,” he concluded. The trial was run in a pedestrian 3-11.6, with quick sectionals of 55.5 and 26.7. As reported by Harnesslink last week, Adore Me will be driven by Blair Orange in Saturday’s Group One feature, with Purdon heading across the Tasman to drive Supersonic Miss in the APG semi-final. Orange will also steer the champion mare in the Taylor Mile 13 days later, with Purdon committing to star two-year-old Follow The Stars in the rich $A300,000 Australian Pacing Gold Colts & Gelding Final. “It is an absolute privilege to drive a horse like her,” said Orange, who is two from two on the champion mare. “It’s going to be a tactical affair with just the six horses in the field, so I will just see how the race unfolds, but I am confident she can win,” he added. The other four horses in the Easter Cup are: Arden Rooney, Jivin Cullen, Donegal’s Guest, and Pemberton Shard. By Mitchell Robertson

Four-year-old Alta Christiano, the youngest and least experienced runner in the Garrards Horse And Hound Easter Cup at Gloucester Park on Thursday night, is poised to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. his fourth victory in the $40,000 event and maintain his unbeaten record in Australia. Hall, who has won Easter Cups with The Falcon Strike (2003), Patches (who dead-heated with OK Windermere in 2006) and Rebel Scooter (last year) delights in setting challenges for himself and his pacers. And he is testing his skill by lining up Alta Christiano against several older and vastly experienced pacers with outstanding form in standing-start events and over marathon trips. Alta Christiano has had only 13 starts for nine wins and he has never contested a race over the Easter Cup journey of 2902m. Alta Christiano, to be driven by Clint Hall, has taken part in only one standing-start event, over 2200m at Forbury in October 2012, when he began safely off 10m before breaking into a fierce gallop 500m after the start and finishing tenth as favourite at 7/4 on, 66 metres behind the winner Alta Capone. Alta Christiano has not been extended in winning easily at his five starts in Western Australia, all in mobiles over 1684m to 2536m. He is a rising superstar who looks set to meet his latest challenge and emerge triumphant, despite the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line of six. Alta Christiano, a chunky stallion, has dashed to an early lead and coasted to victory in his first two starts in his four-year-old campaign. Hall sen. originally intended to take him to Sydney to contest the $100,000 group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on Sunday April 27. But he scrapped those plans a couple of weeks ago when he discovered that Beautide, brilliant winner of the interdominion championship at Menangle on March 2, was being set for the Len Smith Mile. He explained that he decided to keep Alta Christiano at home and to give him more experience before tackling champions of the calibre of Beautide. Clint Hall's priority will be to get Alta Christiano away to a safe beginning. Once that is achieved he will formulate his tactics, which most certainly will be to dash forward in an attempt to get to an early lead. Polemarker Hez Got the Nod (Shannon Suvaljko) is a renowned frontrunner and Pembrook Henry (Chris Lewis) also revels in the role of pacemaker, but their drivers would be ill advised to try to retain the lead if seriously challenged by Alta Christiano. In a touch of irony, the main dangers to Alta Christiano appear to be pacers formerly prepared by Hall sen. They are the 40m backmarker Hokonui Ben and This Time Dylan, who will start off the 20m mark. Hokonui Ben, now in the stables of Aldo Cortopassi, and This Time Dylan, now trained by Michael Brennan, meet Alta Christiano on favourable terms. If all Cup runners had to start off their automatic handicap marks, Hokonui ben would be starting off 120m, not 40m under the discretionary conditions of the race. And This Time Dylan would start off 80m. Hokonui Ben resumed after a month's break at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he set the pace and won from the fast-finishing This Time Dylan over 2130m. He will be improved by the outing and looks a strong each-way hope this week. Hokonui Ben is a grand stayer. Clint Hall drove him to a memorable all-the-way victory in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m in mid-January. Three starts ago, at his second run for Cortopassi, Hokonui Ben covered a good deal of extra ground before finishing powerfully to win the $50,000 RWWA Cup over 2536m from Northview Punter and David Hercules. It is worth noting that Hokonui Ben, winner of a 3200m stand in New Zealand in December 2011, has started in only two stands in WA, winning them both, the group 2 $50,000 Navy Cup at Gloucester Park in November 2012 and another 2503m event a fortnight later. Cortopassi has high hopes that Hokonui Ben will give him his second training and driving success in an Easter Cup. He drove Total Defiance when the New Zealand-bred four-year-old raced in sixth position before unwinding a spirited three-wide burst from the 1000m to get to the front at the 250m mark and win from Real Life and Badboy Nitro. Brennan, who trained Anvils Big Punt for his all-the-way win in the 2011 Easter Cup, will be looking for another strong finishing effort from This Time Dylan, who will again be driven by Chris Playle. This Time Dylan has started in seven standing-start events for four wins. The Justin Prentice-trained Braemoor is a standing-start specialist whose past eight wins have all been in stands. The seven-year-old will start from 10m and cannot be underestimated. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who has won the Easter Cup three times (Abmidas, 1997), OK Windermere (2006) and Arma Harris (2010), will be represented by three of the six front-line runners --- Pembrook Henry (Lewis), Compact Rocket (Stuart McDonald) and Finbar Abbey (Chris Voak). All are capable standing-start performers. Lewis will be aiming for his sixth Easter Cup after successes with Pallaton (1980), Gold Rowan (1984), Village Kid (1987), Abmidas (1997) and OK Windermere (2006). Hazelmere horseman Mike Reed, who trained and drove Just Packapunch for his win over Scanio in the 1995 Easter Cup, has five-year-old Polak primed for a strong effort. The gelding, who worked in dashing style in winning a Byford trial on Sunday morning, will start from 10m. He was the 7/4 favourite in last year's Easter Cup when he raced in the breeze in the middle stages and finished a sound fourth behind Rebel Scooter. LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW CAN OVERCOME UNFAVOURABLE DRAW Libertybelle Midfrew has been most impressive at her first two Australian starts and she should maintain her winning form by proving too strong for her rivals in the Garrards Horse And Hound On Course Now WA Oaks Prelude over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The daughter of Christian Cullen is unfavourably drawn at barrier four on the back line, but she has the ability to overcome that disadvantage and make it three wins from three starts for her new trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko in the space of 17 days. Libertybelle Midfrew covered a lot of extra ground before finishing powerfully to beat All About Pink by more than two lengths at her WA debut over 1730m at Gloucester Park and then she rated 1.57.8 when she dashed to the lead in the middle stages and defeated Cielito over 2185m at Pinjarra after sprinting over the final 400m in 27.1sec. Reed is also hopeful that his other runner My Samantha Jane will be prominent and will earn a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9. My Samantha Jane has had 13 starts for two wins and five placings. She followed an all-the-way win over 2190m at Northam with a close second to Jungle Jewel at Kellerberrin and a fighting third behind Libertybelle Midfrew at Pinjarra after leading early and then sitting behind the pacemaker. She will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line on Friday night with Stephen Reed in the sulky. Byford trainer David Thompson will be represented by smart fillies Harriet Elisabeth and Harper Grace. Harper Grace is ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier. She has led and won at two of her four starts --- over 2130m at Gloucester Park and 1684m at a 1.55.5 rate at Pinjarra. Harriet Elisabeth has won five times from 11 starts, but her prospects diminished when she drew the outside barrier on the back line. She revealed improved toughness at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from Highest Royalty and Lipizzaner. Lipizzaner, who will start from barrier two on the front line, will be driven by Matt White for Byford trainer Ryan Bell, who will handle stablemate All About Pink from barrier three on the back line. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has a high opinion of The Parade, who has won at six of her 14 starts. The Parade, a last-start Bunbury winner, is sure to be prominent after starting from the No. 4 barrier off the front. RED SALUTE GETS HIS CHANCE West Australian-bred five-year-old Red Salute has recovered from a hoof injury and he gets an ideal chance to return to the winning list when he contests the 2536m Garrards Horse And Hound Open Daily Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Ross Olivieri-trained gelding will appreciate a drop in class when he starts out wide at No. 5 on the front line. He has the ability to overcome that disadvantage. Red Salute, driven by Chris Voak, resumed after a three-week absence in a 2130m event last Friday night. He enjoyed a soft run when he raced on the pegs in fourth position before he finished strongly, out four wide, to be fourth, only two metres from the winner Hokonui Ben. Red Salute has won 15 times from 53 starts and Voak is confident the bay will develop into a contender for the major feature events at the next summer carnival. Thursday night's field is quite even and it is difficult to predict which horse will start favourite. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand with three of the eight runners, Whos Mistake (barrier two), Passion Stride (six) and Benjamin Banneker (the only runner on the back line). The Chris King-trained Lord Lombo is a versatile performer who will have many admirers after excellent seconds to Hokuri Handrail and Lovers Delight at two of his past four starts, following a victory over Uppy Son and Midnight Dylan. Copagrin, an M1-class performer, will be lining up against much better performed pacers, but cannot be discounted from the prized No. 1 barrier. SOHO VALENCIA LOOKS A STAR BET Soho Valencia is tough and versatile --- and these ingredients should guarantee him of victory in the 1730m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He has had three starts for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. after being off the scene for 17 months, and his form has been most impressive. He worked hard in the breeze at his first two outings for seconds to Northview Punter and Sensational Gabby and then he revealed great determination to charge home, out wide, from eighth at the bell to get up and snatch a nose victory over the pacemaker Franco Torres. He sped over the final 800m in 56.4sec. and rated a smart 1.56.4 over 2130m last Friday week. Clint Hall is likely to send him forward from barrier three on the front line in a bid to take up the role as pacemaker from the two nine-year-old veterans on his inside, Lombo Air Express and Talk It Up. The Bob Mellsop-trained Little Boy Blue could also make a bid for the early lead, starting from the No. 4 barrier. The five-year-old mustered plenty of early pace when a brilliant all-the-way winner over I Am Legend and Mighty Flying Thomas at a 1.55.8 rate over 2130m last Friday week. by Ken Casellas

Avonnova is classic rags to riches harness racing story. The former Sydney pacer was claimed for a modest $20,000 amount last October before being transferred to Queensland where his meteoric rise continues at a rapid rate. During his twelve starts for new trainer Ian Gurney, the Art Major gelding has won seven including his last four on the bounce prompting connections to look at bigger targets. And a return trip to Sydney is on the cards. The Gr.1 $100,000 Len Smith Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle on Sunday, April 27 will be his next start where he will tackle the likes of Inter Dominion/Miracle Mile hero Beautide, Victoria Cup winner For A Reason and Australasia’s fastest pacer Smoken Up among others. The steep rise in grade for Avonnova resembles more like The North Face of North Twin Peak in the Rocky Mountains. But the pacer who has quickly established himself as one of the best in the Sunshine State is worthy of an opportunity to box with the best. “When I first claimed this horse I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking him back to tackle the best pacers available but his form warrants an opportunity and we’re going to take it. His form is outstanding and the times back it up.” Gurney said. In his last two winning performances, Avonnova has created track record efforts at both Albion Park and Redcliffe. Last Saturday night, Avonnova started from the outside gate before racing wide in the early stages, eventually, he parked outside leader Destreos before sprinting clear over the concluding stages to win comfortably. The winning time of 1;54.4 eclipsed the previous Albion Park 2138m track record time of 1;54.5 set by Field Officer in last year’s Gold Coast Cup. “I don’t think I’m doing anything special with the horse but obviously he enjoys his new environment and routine. Maybe the warmer weather agrees with him up here. “I will say this about him; he’s the worst track worker I’ve ever had. I couldn’t believe how poorly he worked when he first arrived but eventually we worked each other out and we haven’t looked back. I like spacing his runs and he’s thriving under that routine and the Sydney feature fits in perfectly with his current system. “I’m not expecting to beat those top line pacers but I’d say if he drew well and secured a trouble free run, he could easily run a place on his current form. It’s a massive step-up in class but his wins have been full of authority lately and the times are on the board.” Gurney has confirmed that young gun Bart Cockburn will commute to Sydney to partner the gelding who races unhoppled. “Bart will be definitely taking the drive in Sydney, I’m sure he will be fighting them off with a big stick to retain the drive. “With the race being on a Sunday, it doesn’t interfere with his book of drives at Albion Park on the Saturday night. Obviously they get on well with each other so it would be crazy to change what we have going currently.” Another former Sydney pacer in Miysis will make the return trip with Avonnova early next week. by Chris Barsby (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

Columbus, OH -- Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is rising swiftly from its foundation and poised to become one of the most remarkable harness racing facilities in central Ohio.   Set to start its first race over the five-eighths mile track built under the supervision of Greg Coon on Friday, October 3, the new oval promises to be another shining star in a galaxy of world-class gaming destinations owned and operated by Penn National Gaming.   Long-time horseman and racetrack executive, Mark Loewe noted, "Penn National Gaming is excited to bring a first class gaming and racing facility to the Dayton market. Following the traditions that started in 1972 with the first Penn National racetrack, Red Carpet experiences are the standard at all our properties and Dayton will continue that tradition."   As the vice president of Ohio racing operations, Loewe (pronounced Low--'ee) certainly has his hands full in the Buckeye State. Not only has the hard-working native New Yorker been overseeing the transition from the transfer of Raceway Park in Toledo to the Dayton facility, but Loewe is also responsible for overseeing the transfer of racing from Beulah Park to the new Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, a new Thoroughbred track which is also under construction.   In addition to the racetracks, Penn National Gaming also owns and operates two stand alone casinos in the great state of Ohio. Hollywood Casino Columbus and Hollywood Casino Toledo are both up and running and a big part of the firm's success in the mid-west. Nonetheless, the highly anticipated grand opening of the harness track at Dayton remains high on the list of Loewe's priorities.   During a recent tour of the Montgomery County facilities, it was clear to our group what a strong commitment Loewe and Penn National have placed in the Dayton structure. In addition to the $125 million in construction costs, the firm also paid the state a $50 million casino license fee and a $75 million relocation fee to move Raceway Park. An identical investment has been made in the Austintown plant, bringing a half billion dollar outlay to Ohio horse racing.   Nationwide, Penn National owns and/or operates 18 casinos, 7 racetracks and 7 racinos. They have a large stake in the future of racing, and Mark Loewe shares that commitment. Having worked his way up through the ranks at Penn National over the last six years, first as General Manager of the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club and then as Vice President of Racing at Penn National Racecourse in Grantville, Pennsylvania, Loewe has proven himself a capable leader with horse sense.   With his boots on the ground and a sharp eye on the progress, Loewe has been actively involved in the planning and construction of the facility, especially the areas that effect horsemen. Loewe and company "are confident that the Ohio harness racing community will enthusiastically embrace the amenities and opportunities at Ohio's newest harness racetrack."   The race paddock houses 140 stalls, enough for a 14-race card. Each 10' x 12' stall has full drainage for bathing with floor mats. Every detail has been considered and implemented to ensure that horses and horse people have a first-class facility in which to race. The construction, staffing and ancillary jobs associated with project will employ around 1,000.   The five-eighths mile track, designed and installed under the supervision of the famed Coon brothers, sports twelve degree turns and an all-weather stone dust. By all accounts, Dayton promises to be a prominent and exciting new place to race harness horses.   by Chris Tully        

A New Zealand record run by top squaregaiter Master Lavros in the $80,000 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship at Addington on Friday, April 11, has earned him a Auckland Rowe Cup trip. Master Lavros adds to his Group One tally, wearing down Clover Don in the $80,000 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship at Addington. Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones was considering spelling the 5YO Sundon gelding but Friday’s performance has Master Lavros in the frame to attempt a Dominion-Rowe double. “I was rapt with him. At this stage, I will head to the Rowe Cup and look at the Greenlane Cup ($30,000) the week before the Rowe ($150,000, May 9), then the paddock,” Mark said. Master Lavros was a luckless fifth as a relatively raw 4YO in last year’s Rowe Cup, won by veteran Stig from Springbank Sam and Boizel. All honours were with Master Lavros in Friday’s Group One trot free-for-all. He trotted the mobile 2600m in 3:13.1 (1:59.4 mile rate), shaving 0.2 of a second off Ima Gold Digger’s mark set when winning the daytime 2010 NZ Trotting Free-For-All at the NZ Cup meeting. The Kypros Kotzikas-owned squaregaiter, who lost his unruly tag for mobiles after the record-breaking win, came from last of the 10 runners, being timed over his last mile in 1:56.2. After moving up parked over the final lap, Mark was able to drop the big bay down to the markers behind strong front-runner Clover Don when trailer Royal Aspirations couldn’t hold his ground at the 700m. This was probably the winning of the race. Master Lavros was able to renew his energy for a final sprint lane crack at Clover Don inside the final 200m. Master Lavros did the rest, showing his toughness to win going away by three-quarters of a length, with Mark allowing himself a salute in a rare show of emotion. The Overport Lodge trainer had considered missing the Trotting Championship after Master Lavros was defeated in the $25,000 Glenferrie Farm 4 & 5YO Trotters Championship a week earlier. A late decision was made to give the horse his chance, with Master Lavros showing his class, notching his fifth win from 12 starts this term and his 13th win from only 28 career starts for $268,428 in stakes. Mark Jones racked up his 55th training win for the season in the Trotters Championship (following a Forbury double last Thursday). He is third on this season’s premiership by runaway leaders, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen (112) and second-placed Robert Dunn (75). By Jeff Scott (Courtesy of Mark Jones Racing)  

Young Serpentine trainer Stephanie Smith boosted her reputation as a first-up specialist when she produced Dundee Three in superb condition at Gloucester Park on Friday night for a fighting victory in the 2503m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Handicap. Driven by her partner Morgan Woodley, Dundee Three, an 8/1 chance, galloped out from the 20m mark and was last with two laps to travel with noted frontrunner Hez Got The Nod bowling along in the lead. Woodley started a three-wide move with 1150m to travel and the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old sustained a spirited effort to get to the front 30m from the post and win by a metre from Hez Got The Nod after final quarters in 28.4sec. and 28.7sec. The $11,220 first prize was a wonderful reward for Smith, who has worked assiduously to get the injury-plagued Dundee Three fit enough to make a comeback. She was given Dundee Three as a gift from leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond after she, her father Stewart, Lee Bunney and Ian Sermon had outlaid $10,000 to claim Gate Bender (trained by the Bonds) last June. “Greg and Skye asked me if I wanted a chance to rehabilitate Dundee Three (who had a damaged off fore suspensory ligament) and they said I could have him for nothing,” Smith said. “So I thought I would have a go and now I want to say thanks to Greg and Skye.” Smith, in her second season as a trainer, is a qualified veterinary nurse and she has managed to get Dundee Three sound enough to resume racing. The Mach Three gelding was having his first start for 11 months on Friday night and if he retains his fitness looks sure to win more races. Smith gave Dundee Three six months off in the paddock and then she had to work hard to cure several other problems, apart from his suspensory damage. “He has got bad feet problems, contracted heels, front and back,” she said. “He also has funny knees and jars up after almost every run.” Dundee Three now races in egg bar shoes on top of silicon filling and Smith treats his knees almost daily. She also takes the small gelding to the beach at Kwinana about every second day and rush wades him (riding him as he trots in the water). He also wades and rolls in the sand. Woodley was thrilled at Dundee Three’s performance, saying: “All credit to Steph; she has done a fantastic job. I’m so proud of her and so proud of the horse as well. He is a tremendous competitor. He is just a little horse, but is so brave. He showed courage tonight, winning after a quick last half and out three wide. “He just clawed his way right to the post and never gave it away. I thought it was probably curtains down the back straight when I didn’t quite get past Copagrin (in the breeze) like I had anticipated. And I then thought that the leader was probably going to hold on and I thought if we could hang on for a place I would be delighted with his performance. “Steph does all the on per cent things that I think make a big difference. She down there (at the stables) from early morning until late at night, doing things like icing their feet, wrapping their legs and taking them out for a pick in the grass, just keeping them in a happy place. She deserves all the accolades she gets.” Dundee Three, a half-brother to Scruncher (69 starts for 20 wins, 18 placings and $137,002), has earned $205,378 from 20 wins and 22 placings from 75 starts. Smith also showed great skill in preparing Gate Bender and Big Town Drive for first-up victories and she has also been successful with Sovereign Grange and Bolshevic in the past 12 months. Gate Bender won at his first start for Smith when he beat Shardons Rocket in a stand at Gloucester Park in December. Big Town Drive then won first-up for Smith at Williams in February before winning again at his next three starts, at Pinjarra, Narrogin and Harvey. By Ken Casellas

Barry Howlett, who runs a tree lopping business in Busselton, and Dunedin-born Matt White, who immigrated to Western Australia in late 2009, combined to cause a significant upset when White drove the lowly-credentialled Three Blind Mice to a stirring all-the-way victory in the $200,000 Sky racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Three Blind Mice, a 17/1 chance on the tote, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier by setting the pace before revealing splendid fighting qualities to hold three geldings prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. at bay in the group 1 classic over 2536m. Three Blind Mice, prepared by 59-year-old hobby trainer Howlett, won by a metre from 11/1 chance Eyre Crusher (Morgan Woodley), with a neck to Machtu (13/4, Kim Prentice) and a further length to even-money favourite Elegant Christian (Clint Hall). All honours were with Three Blind Mice, a gelding by American stallion Santanna Blue Chip who was purchased as a yearling in New Zealand by Howlett. But there was a dramatic discovery after the event. The brilliant Elegant Christian, who went into the race with a record of six wins and a nose second from seven starts, had the major disadvantage of having to having to carry a flat tyre on the off side wheel of the sulky over the final 1800m. The tyre deflated mysteriously. It had not been struck by the hoof of another horse or any other object. Given this impediment, combined with the fact that Elegant Christian raced three wide early and then in the breeze, his effort was outstanding. Supporters of Elegant Christian were on good terms with themselves when the gelding levelled with the pacemaker 400m from home. But White kept his cool and Three Blind Mice resisted the challenge before drawing away to win in grand style at a 1.57.5 rate, which was just outside the track record for a three-year-old, the 1.57.2 shared by Robyns C C and Machtu. Eyre Crusher trailed the leader throughout and after getting into the clear in the late stages he rattled home to be second. Machtu raced in ninth position for the first two laps before Prentice sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell. Machtu sustained his effort to finish third, with each of the final two 400m sections being covered in 28.5sec. Three Blind Mice was afforded the luxury of coasting through the first 400m of the final mile in 30.8sec. before White increased the tempo. The stewards fined Clint Hall $400 for his incorrect use of the whip in the home straight. Three Blind Mice won once from six starts in New Zealand before Brent Mangos brought him to WA late last year when he drove him in races at Pinjarra and Harvey in November for a seventh and third placing. Three Blind Mice notched his first Australian victory three starts before the Derby, when he worked hard without cover before winning over 2150m at Harvey. Then followed a splendid strong-finishing second to Machtu over 25346m at Gloucester Park and an eighth behind Elegant Christian in the Western Gateway Pace when he was hampered for room in the final lap. Three Blind Mice went into the Derby with a modest record of two wins from 13 starts for $15,917 in prizemoney. His earnings after the Derby have been boosted to $147,917. The 29-year-old White started working for Howlett at his Busselton stables just over three months ago and he thanked Howlett and his wife Lyn for the opportunity. "This is a dream come true and Three Blind Mice is a nice horse who will be even better next year," he said. "He's got a good high cruising speed and will go a long way." The Derby victory gave Howlett and White their biggest success in harness racing. Howlett's previous biggest most important victory was as the owner, trainer and driver of Lights Above in the $75,000 State Sires Series final for two-year-old fillies in May 1994. Among his winners since then have been Lights Above's daughter Up Above, Eliza Grace, Lil Miss Hilarious and Cielito. White, who guided Vancelot Lady to victory at 10/1 at Bridgetown in December 2009 for his first WA success, was one of New Zealand's leading junior drivers from 2006 to 2008, drove Safin to victory in the Diamond for three-year-old fillies at Cambridge in May 2008. He drove Miss Bay Point to victory in the $100,000 group 1State Sires Series for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park in July 2010, and won group 2 and 3 feature events with Lombo Navigator --- the Nights of Thunder, Harvey Cup and August Cup in 2011 and the Pinjarra Cup in 2012. He also finished third with Lombo Navigator in the group 1 2012 interdominion championship final won by Im Themightyquinn. Three Blind Mice is bred to be a good winner. His dam Time Again Franco (by Holmes Hanover) is out of Tango Franco, the mother of This Time Franco (36 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and $249,151) and Franco Thunder (178 starts for 44 wins, 43 placings and $199,928). Tango Franco is a half-sister to former superstar Franco Tiger (116 starts for 43 wins, 36 placings and $991,387) and OK Tiger (52 starts for 12 wins, nine placings and $142,866) Franco Tiger's successes included the Miracle Mile at Harold Park in 1992, the Australian Pacing Championship at Bankstown in 1992, the Queensland Championship at Albion Park in 1992 and the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown in 1993. He also finished second to Sinbad Bay in the $275,000 Victoria Cup at Moonee Valley in 1991 and second to Westburn Grant in the interdominion championship at Moonee Valley in March 1992.   VOAK BRINGS UP HIS CENTURY AND GOES TO THE TOP Chris Voak maintained his grand form in the sulky when he brought 2/1 favourite Rocky Pop home with a determined burst to snatch a last-stride half-head victory over the pacemaker Fully Zapped (7/1) in the 2130m Sky Racing App Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This gave the 25-year-old Voak his 99th winner for the season --- and he kept up the good work with a double with Allazar and Ultimate Fighter at Harvey on Saturday night. The Harvey double placed Voak in unfamiliar territory --- on top of the Statewide reinsmen's premiership table with 101 winners from 741 drives. He has wrested the lead from champion reinsman Gary Hall jun., who is serving a term of suspension. Hall has driven 99 winners from 359 drives this season. Rocky Pop, a Jet Laag four-year-old trained in Bunbury by Murray Hansen, started from barrier two on the back line and was favourite at 2/1 after covering a lot of ground and winning at Bunbury the previous Saturday night. Polemarker Fully Zapped set the pace and he looked hard to beat after coasting through the first quarter of the final mile in 31.8sec. This prompted Voak to send Rocky Pop forward with a three-wide move 1300m from home. Rocky Pop quickly moved to third, out wide, at the bell and he sustained his effort to gain the verdict in the final stride after a final 800m in a slick 57.4sec. Rocky Pop, owned by Adam and Philip Sofoulis and Dianne Knowles, is a half-brother to Hansen's stable star Truckers Ruffnut, who has earned $249,770 from 20 wins and 14 placings from 53 starts. Rocky Pop now has raced 31 times for seven wins, 14 placings and $54,830. Rocky Pop's five-year-old half-brother Tuxedo Tour resumed racing after a spell at Harvey on Saturday night when he won for the ninth time from 34 starts and took his earnings to $108,456. HOKONUI BEN SURVIVES EARLY AND LATE CHALLENGES The ability of hot favourite Hokonui Ben to muster sufficient speed to hold out brilliant mare Sensational Gabby in the early stages of the 2130m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night paved the way for his narrow victory. Hokonui Ben, favourite at 6/4 on, began well from the No. 2 barrier, but was easily beaten out by Sensational Gabby, the 11/4 second fancy who began with a sparkling burst of speed from the No. 4 barrier. Sensational Gabby quickly charged to a one-length lead, but was unable to cross to the pegs. Chris Lewis then angled Sensational Gabby to the pegs to race in third position, with the polemarker Rocket Reign having gained the perfect sit behind the leader. After surviving the early challenge, Hokonui Ben was able to relax and Aldo Cortopassi sent her through the first 400m section of the final mile in a dawdling 31.8sec. before another comfortable quarter in 31.2sec. Lewis eased Sensational Gabby off the pegs with 1000m to travel to move to the breeze, a couple of lengths behind the pacemaker. The third quarter was covered in 28.5sec. and Sensational Gabby was beginning to show the pinch. Chris Playle, who was following Sensational Gabby with 22/1 chance This Time Dylan, switched the gelding three wide 250m from home. This Time Dylan sprinted home fast and just failed to overhaul Hokonui Ben, who scored in a photo by a half-head. Rocket Reign got clear in the final stages and flashed home to be a close third, just ahead of Red Salute, who finished strongly, out wide. The final 400m was covered in a fast 27.8sec. and the winner rated 1.57.7. "It's always a worry with a mare like Sensational Gabby, who can get off the gate as quick as she can," Cortopassi said. "It was lucky we got to a corner with our legs still inside her. And that helped us to keep the front. I was relatively confident after a 63sec. first half. "Hokonui Ben missed a bit of work when he got that bit of a bug. So I wanted to try to get a soft half and then run from there. It worked out pretty well, even though This Time Dylan gave us a bit of a scare on the line." Sensational Gabby faded to finish sixth in the field of seven, ahead of Dasher VC, who was at the rear throughout in his first appearance for almost three months. Hokonui Ben has amassed $596,339 in prizemoney from 19 wins and 15 placings from 55 starts. SUVALJKO DISCOVERS SECRET OF SUCCESS Byford trainer-reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has discovered the secret to winning races at Gloucester Park --- start a horse in the country the previous night. That was the formula which worked perfectly for the 45-year-old Suvaljko on Friday night when he took two horses, Love In The Dark and Celtic Crusader, to the course the night after they had competed at Narrogin, 198km south-east of Perth, on Thursday night. The long two-way float trip did not affect the pacers who scored decisive victories at Gloucester Park. They completed a driving treble for Suvaljko, who started the program by guiding the Mike Reed-trained Grand Cru to victory in the opening event. Love In The Dark failed at Narrogin when she was driven by Luke Edwards and galloped at the start before finishing sixth behind Jasper Freeway. Edwards also drove Celtic Crusader, who started at 25/1 and raced four back on the pegs before finishing solidly to be third behind Cuzin Judd. The stewards placed Love In The Dark on the outside of the back line in the 2130m In The Gig Mares Pace and the five-year-old Elsu mare was an outsider at 33/1. She raced in ninth position in the one-wide line and was eighth on the home turn before she flew home, six wide, to win by almost a length from 5/1 chance Korobeit Angel, who had set the pace after dashing to the front 550m after the start. This was Love In The Dark's third appearance in a race in Western Australia. She started favourite at 10/9 on at her first start in the State when she raced without cover and faded to eighth in a field of nine, more than ten lengths behind the winner Mississippi bell at Gloucester Park on March 28. "She's got the ability and the fast lead time (35.9sec.) and the slow last quarter (29.5sec.) probably helped her," said Suvaljko. "She raced at Narrogin the previous night --- and that might be something." Love In The Dark won once from 25 New Zealand starts and three times from 16 starts in Queensland. She now has earned $41,566 from five wins and 15 placings from 44 starts. Celtic Crusader started from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Sky Racing, No. 1 In Racing Pace and was a 6/1 chance who led for the first 150m before Suvaljko opted to take then sit behind 5/4 favourite Bettors Ace. Bettors Ace began to shorten stride in the home straight and Celtic Crusader ran on fast to burst to the front 20m from the post before defeating the pacemaker by just under a length at a 1.58.1 rate. Celtic Crusader, purchased for $10,000m by Gemma Davies and Klarry Andritsos a couple of years ago, is a hardy New South Wales-bred seven-year-old who has earned $143,751 from 19 wins and 33 placings from 140 starts. Suvaljko kept up the good work at Kellerberrin on Sunday when he drove Sir Ricky (5/2) and Laura Florence (11/8) to victory for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg, who was also successful with even-money favourite Xupan Three, who was driven by Edwards. GRAND CRU IS BRED TO BE A WINNER Four-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding Grand Cru gave a sample of his class with an easy victory in the 1730m Sky Racing TV Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is by Bettors Delight out of former champion mare Under Cover Lover, who earned $864,923 from 21 wins and 22 placings from 70 starts before being retired to the breeding barn. Tommy Smith, having his first start for just over four months for Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, was all the rage from the prized No. 1 barrier and was favourite at 7/4 on, with Grand Cru a 15/1 chance from barrier six on the front line. Shannon Suvaljko got Grand Cru away to a flying start and the gelding quickly moved to the breeze position, with Tommy Smith setting a moderate pace. Morgan Woodley attempted to shake off Tommy Smith's rivals with a sizzling third quarter in 27.3sec. But Grand Cru stuck with the flying pacemaker and got his head in front passing the 400m mark. Grand Cru then dashed away and won by 7m from Tommy Smith, rating a slick 1.56.2 rate and improving his record to seven wins and 17 placings from 41 starts. "He's racing well," said Suvaljko. "And we knew that we had to sit. So we sat up in the breeze and knew that Tommy Smith would be a bit underdone. We had to get it a bit easy so we could hold out Ohoka Kentucky (5/2 second fancy). So when he was coming, three wide, at the bell I said that we had done nothing and then had to get running. "Grand Cru got it very easy early with a first quarter of 31.1sec. and he was always on the bit. I'm sure he is capable of winning a couple more." EL MACHINE RESUMES IN FINE STYE Talented WA-bred five-year-old El Machine looks set for a successful campaign in feature events over the winter months when he resumed after a four-month absence in grand style at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Produced in splendid fettle by 26-year-old Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kade Howson (who owns the gelding in partnership with Michael George), El Machine was a well-supported 7/2 chance and he produced an excellent effort to win the 2130m Mini Owners Club of WA Club Pace by a length from the 9/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas. Polemarker I Am Legend set a solid pace, with Mighty Flying Thomas working hard in the breeze. Howson restrained El Machine from the outside of the front line back to last before sending the gelding forward, three wide, approaching the bell. El Machine got on to the back of Pride of Colorado, but when that pacer began to wilt turning into the back straight Howson switched El Machine four wide. Morgan Woodley sent Mighty Flying Thomas to the front 380m from home, but El Machine was carrying too many guns and he forged to the lead at the 250m mark. Mighty Flying Thomas fought ion grandly and finished two and a half lengths in front of the third placegetter Quick Reflection. El Machine, purchased by Howson and George for $5000 at the 2009 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale, has earned $143,514 from 17 wins and 13 placings from 43 starts. SHIRLZ SENSATION NOTCHES A HAT-TRICK West Australian-bred four-year-old Shirlz Sensation is one of the State's most improved pacers and he completed a winning hat-trick when Chris Lewis drove him to a stylish win in the second heat of the Riley Car Club Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at 11/8 from the outside of the front line, Shirlz Sensation was restrained to the rear by Chris Lewis while polemarker Ima Grumpy Jasper set the pace from 6/1 chance Vapour in the breeze. Shirlz Sensation improved to seventh at the bell, out three wide with cover, before Lewis switched him four wide with 700m to travel. He sustained his effort to hit the front 130m from the post and won by just under a length from 6/1 chance What The Blazes, who flew home from the rear. Vapour, who had got to the lead at the 450m mark, was a fighting third. Shirlz Sensation had won easily after racing without cover at his two previous starts, at Gloucester Park, and is sure to be a major fancy in the $25,000 final of the Johnson Pace next Friday week. Shirlz Sensation, raced by Margie Guy and Jandabup trainer Mike Beech, has earned $68,619 from eight wins and three placings from only 23 starts. by Ken Casellas  

Solvato and reinsman/trainer Veijo Heiskanen took today's Olympiatravet trial #3, the V75-3 Gold event on the Eskilstuna card in Sweden. The import from the USA scored in 1.11.3kr over 2140 meters autostart to defeat nine rivals and earn 150,000SEK. It was the seventh lifetime win in 33 starts for the five year-old son of Donato Hanover. Other USA imports Kash's Cantab and Formula One ended second and third. April 12, 2014 Eskilstuna, Olympiatravet test 3 (final April 26), 150,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.11.3kr 1st Solvato (5m Donato Hanover-Solveig-Yankee Glide), Veijo Heiskanen trainer/driver for owner Denco HB, USA. His first 2014 victory in four starts. 2nd Kash's Cantab, Bjorn Goop, USA 3rd Formula One, Orjan Kilhstrom, USA (recovered from early break) 4th Kaffir Face. Lutfi Kolgjini Solvato's victory set up the Olympiatravet field. Two horses qualified and one wildcard was handed out. "I'm very happy to be a part of Olympiatravet, especially at Aby as it by our home race track," said trainer/driver Veijo Heiskanen. The gold division and the Olympiatravet qualification race was the main event of Saturday's V75. The race included the biggest favorite of the day, Formula One, but he went off stride just in the beginning of the race. Instead we saw a fantastic performance by USA-born Solvato. He got to the lead 600 meters into the race and was unstoppable with a clar victory. Trainer Heiskanen said about the race: "This time I drove him with high speed directly from the start. He felt great and when he crossed the finishing line he could have had the same speed for a couple of hundred meters more. I hope he can perform like this many years to come." Behind Solvato, the Stig H Johansson trained and Bjorn Goop driven Kash's Cantab grabbed second and was invited to the Olympiatravet. Jon Walter Pedersen, sports director of Ãby and in charge of Olympiatravet, was at Eskilstuna and was pleased with the result. He gave away one more wildcard to Olympiatravet, saying "We have sent an invite to Brad de Veluwe and Tuomas Korvenoja has returned with a yes answer! We have one more wildcard to hand out and we're hoping to bring in a French horse." The line-up for Olympiatravet to-date is: Sanity and Harry Haythrow (from qualification race 1) Noras Bean and Mr Picolit (from qualification race 2) Solvato and Kash's Cantab (from qualification race 3) Yarrah Boko and Brad de Veluwe (wildcards) Olympiatravet final take place at Ãby on April 26. On the same Saturday card the six year-old Pine Chip son K.L.M. Buymethemoon won the Bronze Division in 1.12.1kr over 1640 meters autostart. Kenneth Haugstad was the pilot as they defeated the USA import Sandra Volo and Photoshop. April 12, 2014 Eskilstuna, Bronze Div. 110,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart, 12 starters, 1.12.1kr 1st K.L.M. Buymethemoon (6m Pine Chip-K.L.M. See Bye Fly-Nordin Hanover), Kenneth Haugstad up, 5/1, Norway, second win in three 2014 starts and now eight for 40 lifetime 2nd Sandra Volo (5f Cantab Hall-Sandra Victory-Valley Victory), Johan Untersteiner for trainer Roger Walman, 2.3/1, imported from USA in 2012 3rd Photoshop, Jennifer Tillman up, 5.7/1 by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

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This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features two $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 18) in the fifth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 19) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fifth round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: As has been the case throughout the 2014 edition of the George Morton Levy series, Foiled Again was once again at the top of the headlines this past weekend at Yonkers. The 10-year-old sauntered around the half-mile oval in 1:51 this past Saturday night. "That's what he's supposed to do," said driver Yannick Gingras after the gelding's fourth win in as many Levy series/season starts. Foiled Again was a narrow winner in his Levy division on April 12. Leaving from post position No. 3 as the stronger half of a 1-20 entry, Foiled Again had to work to get around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett). He did so before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile and found a :56.3 intermission with Bettor's Edge (George Brennan) away third and A J Corbelli (Tim Tetrick) fourth. It was Dancin Yankee (Ron Pierce) then moving from fifth, engaging Foiled Again toward a 1:24 three-quarters. Soon after, Bettor's Edge -- who, as with Foiled Again, was three-for-three in this series entering the evening -- slipped out to race second-over. However, Bettor's Edge became very rough very quickly, soon jumping it off. Foiled Again owned a half-length lead entering the lane. His pesky rival wouldn't go away, but wouldn't go by, either. Foiled Again won by a head in 1:51, the fastest local mile of the season. Third went to P H Supercam, beaten a half-length. Mach It So (1:52.1) and Clear Vision (1:52.1) won the other two Levy divisions. Last Friday night's fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker for Open mare pacers saw three $40,000 divisions go postward. The first event saw Breeders Crown champ Shelliscape (Tim Tetrick, $7.20) get her first series win with a handy, down-the-road effort (:27.3, :57, 1:24, 1:52). Ramalama (Matt Kakaley) was unable to sustain a first-up bid, while Monkey On My Wheel (Brian Sears) could only match strides from the pocket. Monkey On My Wheel did get second, beaten three-quarters of a length, with Ramalama third. Defending Matchmaker champion Feeling You was also flying under the radar until Friday evening. Leaving from post four with Tyler Buter doing the honors, Feeling You operated from second-over. That didn't seem so opportunistic when pole-sitting Rocklamation (Gingras) rated a cheap half (:28, :57.3). Rocklamation maintained her advantage in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters, taking a half-length lead into the lane. Feeling You, left to fend for herself, continued her assault on the leader. She outgamed Rocklamation by a head in 1:53.1. The third and final Matchmaker had Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube) throw down the gauntlet with the fastest mile of the series to date. Leaving from post five, Yagonnakissmeornot made the first lead before yielding to the 4-5 favorite in Somwherovrarainbow (Sears). After a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and :55.4 intermission, it was Krispy Apple (Tetrick) trying her luck first-up. That one couldn't sniff the leader before a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with Somwherovrarainbow owning a 1-1/2 length lead into the lane. However, she was powerless to deny Yagonnakissmeornot, who edged from the pocket and rolled away. That final margin for the second choice was 2-1/2 widening lengths in a season's-best 1:51.4. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 116; 2. George Brennan - 104.5; 3. Tim Tetrick - 80; 4. Brian Sears- 41; 5. Daniel Dube - 40. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 210.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 93; 3. Rene Allard - 40; 4. Joe Holloway - 25; 5. Kevin Carr - 20. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 78.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 53.8; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 53.8; 4. Brad Grant - 20.5; 5. Joe Pennacchio - 20. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Northfield Park, Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway. Northfield will host the Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers on Friday (April 25); Freehold has eliminations scheduled for the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old colt trotters on Saturday (April 26); also that day the Meadowlands will feature the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers; and action at Yonkers will continue that Saturday with the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy finals and consolations. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, April 15, 2014--Here's an update regarding driver Andy Miller, who was injured in a Yonkers Raceway accident Tuesday night. According to Miller's wife, Julie, as well as trainer Scott DiDomenico, Andy Miller broke a pair of lumbar vertebrae in his back. As of this writing, he is awaiting transfer from Lawrence Hospital (Bronxville, NY) to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in northern Manhattan for further evaluation and treatment. Andy Miller has feeling in all his extremities, and is obviously in a lot of pain. Driving Marmara Denizi--a 3-year-old gelding co-owned and trained by his brother, Erv--Miller was in the back of the field and unseated during the $10,000, first race pace. Also unseated was George Brennan, who was driving 13-10 favorite In the Clear. In The Clear was a tight-pocket second down the backside the second time when he looked to slip out and appeared to step on the wheel of a first-up Fiftyshadesofhay (Dan Dube). In the Clear went down, as did Brennan, who did get up and resume his assignments for the evening. Miller did not lose consciousness, and none of the horses appeared to be injured. The race was won by Keystone Dalton (Jason Bartlett, $9.30) in a maiden-breaking 1:59. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway            
LEXINGTON, KY - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) recently named Marc Laino, Executive Director of the Illinois Racing Board (IRB), the recipient of the 2014 RCI Len Foote Award.   The Len Foote Award is the highest honor bestowed on racing commission executive directors in North America. The award was presented at the annual awards luncheon held on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington, KY. Laino has been employed in various capacities since 1987, including Deputy Director, State Director of Mutuels, and Board Investigator. He has served as the Executive Director since 2003, and currently chairs the RCI Wagering Systems Security Committee. "Marc has been a tremendous asset to the Illinois Racing Board and to RCI, and there is a pleasure to honor him with the Len Foote Award," said RCI President Ed Martin. "Marc is not only an expert on flat and harness racing, but his knowledge of wagering security is rivaled by few." RCI also honored James P. Gowen, Vice President and Secretary for the Thoroughbred Racing and Protective Bureau (TRPB), with the 2014 William H. May Award. The award is presented annually to an individual or group who has shown "meritorious service" to the pari-mutuel racing industry. Past recipients include Stanley Bergstein, John Gaines, and Steve Barham, the 2013 recipient. Gowen, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, has been involved in racing investigation since joining the TRBP as a field investigator in 1973. Gowen has worked at numerous racetracks across the United States, and was promoted to the TRPB Vice President position in 1996. Longtime friend and colleague John Wayne, the Executive Director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, noted that "Racing is better on a day-to-day basis because of the countless hours that Mr. Gowen has dedicated to the industry". At the luncheon Martin also honored the following individuals with the RCI President's Award for Exemplary Service: David Loregnard, Executive Director, Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority Vince Mares, Executive Director, New Mexico Racing Commission Dr. Mary Scollay-Ward, Equine Medical Director, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission John Wayne, Executive Director, Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission by Steve May, for
WASHINGTON, PA, April 15, 2014 -- Cammikey powered to the lead at the quarter and romped through the slop to capture his second straight series victory in Tuesday's Visible Gold Pace at The Meadows. Somesizesomestyle took the other $17,500 division in the event for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The series final is set for Tuesday, April 22. Cammikey won his opening series split with a decisive quarter-pole move and followed the same script Tuesday, scoring for Brian Zendt in 1:54.3. Early leader Mattamerican was second, 3/4 lengths back, with Dealin Dan third. Bill Zendt trains Cammikey, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Always Cam, for owner/breeder Cam Land LLC. Somesizesomestyle enjoyed a fine freshman campaign, earning a pair of wins as well as a fourth-place finish in the final of the American National. Although idle since that stake, he retook for Dave Palone and thwarted the first-over challenge of Jackson Brady to defeat him by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:57.1. Time Running Out was third. Ron Burke conditions the some of Somebeachsomewhere-Honey Bunny for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver-Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino and Stable 45. It was one of four wins on the 15-race card for Palone. In the $22,500 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Trustworthy Kid converted a pocket trip to victory by shooting the Lightning Lane for Brian Zendt and downing the rallying Call To Post by 3/4 lengths in 1:57.1. Holy Halibut, who saw his three-race win streak snapped, finished third. Walter "Boots" Dunn conditions Trustworthy Kid, a 5-year-old SJ's Caviar-Penn Worthy Lane gelding who now boasts $191,036 in career earnings, for Dunn Stable. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
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