Day At The Track

Pen versus Chip Challenge hits high gear

11:43 AM 21 May 2012 NZST
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Horseplayers Association of North America

After a week off, HANA Harness' The Pen vs. The Chip Handicapping Challenge, sponsored by The Hambletonian Society, The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs kicks into high gear with three legs of the competition occurring over the upcoming weekend as the contest heads to Canada for Friday's (5/25) $300,000 Molson Pace card at The Raceway at Western Fair District, Saturday's (5/26) $600,000 Upper Canada Cup card at Georgian Downs, before returning south of the border for Sunday's (5/27) $100,000 Betsy Ross Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia.

As a reminder to racing fans, the handicapping selections for the respective racing cards will be available the morning of each day’s racing action at

For Molson Pace night, Pen Handicapper Mark McKelvie, the winner of Leg 4, will be appearing at The Raceway to share his insight with racing fans. In addition, there is the Molson Post Time Party with a couple local bands appearing before the Molson Pace with feature artist Dallas Smith performing after the big race.

The concert will be occurring in the Progress Building with big screen televisions and a wagering area available so concertgoers won’t have to miss any of the racing action. In addition to the concert, there will be a tribute to legendary driver Dave Wall who was recently elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

There will be a Drivers Meet and Greet as race fans arrive at the track as well as a drawing for one fan to receive a $500 win wager on the horse of their choice in the Molson Pace. On the racing side, in addition to the Molson Pace, other races of note on the card are an Invitational, Four City of London Series Finals, an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final for 3yo colt trotters, and Preferred races for Fillies and Mares as well as Horses and Geldings. Gamblers may look forward to a $15,000 guaranteed Pick 4 with a 15% takeout.

As a reminder to American handicappers, the $.20 minimum on Superfectas and the Pick 4 are now available.

At Georgian Downs, a special night of racing will take place on Upper Canada Cup night as the $100,000 Honorable Earl Rowe Memorial Cup, which is named for the former Lieutenant Governor and founder of Barrie Raceway, will also be contested. A great night of racing has been promised.

In addition to the night’s activity on the track, spectators will be shuttled from the parking lot to the main entrance by a landau carriage driven by a team of Clydesdales and upon arrival, fans will be welcomed by Mountie greeters. Between races, there will be numerous promotions including Money Machine Madness, where $1,000 will be up for grabs, plus Georgian Down’s version of trackside Deal-No-Deal.

There will be a drawing for a Great Canadian Backyard Barbeque with the winner receiving a premium barbeque and a stylish patio set. At Harrah’s Philadelphia, the action will be on the track as the $100,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for pacing mares is on the docket along with an Open pace and upper level conditioned classes. As part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, a $5,000 guaranteed Pick 4 on races 7-10 is scheduled.

The Pen vs. The Chip Handicapping Challenge standings through four legs are:

Position Name $ Won ROI
1st Earl Paulson (C) $95.10 0.95
2nd Mark McKelvie (P) $92.90 0.93
3rd TM Chatsworth Consortium (C) $84.60 0.85
4th Mr. Trifecta (P) $81.80 0.82
5th Ray’s Robot (C) $76.20 0.76
6th Bobby Z (P) $73.80 0.74
7th Scott Alberg (P) $70.30 0.7
8th Pandy (C) $61.50 0.62

dditional statistical information and contest dates are available at the contest website (

Rescue Spotlight – This week, we put the spotlight on Horse Rescue United, selected by (Pen) Mark McKelvie to be the standardbred horse rescue he is representing in The Pen vs. The Chip Handicapping Challenge. Horse Rescue United, Inc. (HRU) saves horses of all breeds from abandonment, abuse, neglect, and slaughter.

We specialize in retraining and re-homing Standardbred horses. Whenever possible, HRU purchases slaughter-bound horses from auction and finds them homes, and also helps owner surrenders find placement before they end up in the wrong hands. HRU is a registered New Jersey not-for-profit business, but has not yet obtained 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

As of right now, donations to HRU are not tax-deductible. Visit for more information.

by Allan SCHOTT

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