December 8, 2013 – With one race remaining in HANA Harness’ 2013 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, Chicago Harness, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, handicapper Richard Scott, who has led a majority of the way in the contest, remains in front with a seemingly comfortable lead of $736.45 with a net loss of $134.40. With only the Cleveland Classic remaining on the docket, it will take some Hail Mary handicapping for anyone to wrest the top spot from Scott. With donations being made to the designated horse rescue charities of the top three, the real race is for the place and show spots which are currently held by Earl Paulson and Rusty Nash. Hoping to crack into the top three are handicappers Anne Stepien and Dennis O’Hara with Garnet Barnsdale having a slight chance to make the top three. In this week’s action, with the Reynolds 3yo filly pace being cancelled, the Reynolds 3yo colt pace was the sole contest. Rusty Nash was top dog for the week with a profit of $6.80. Here are the contest standings at the conclusion of action on December 8, 2013 with one week to go. Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind Last Pos Days Missed 1st Richard Scott ($7.00) ($134.40) 1st 6 2nd Earl Paulson ($30.00) ($870.85) ($736.45) 2nd 7 3rd Rusty Nash $6.80 ($929.07) ($794.67) 3rd 4 4th Ann Stepien ($25.40) ($1,062.35) ($927.95) 4th 1 5th Dennis O'Hara $2.10 ($1,226.35) ($1,091.95) 5th 2 6th Garnet Barnsdale ($30.00) ($1,457.74) ($1,323.34) 6th 10 7th Gordon Waterstone ($30.00) ($2,070.60) ($1,936.20) 7th 4 8th Mark McKelvie ($30.00) ($2,379.79) ($2,245.39) 8th 9 9th Sally Hinckley ($30.00) ($2,700.50) ($2,566.10) 9th 0 10th Ray Garnett ($30.00) ($3,210.43) ($3,076.03) 10th 3 Ten grace days permitted. After ten days, there is a penalty of $30 per race. This Week’s Contest Schedule Saturday, December 14, 2013 – Northfield Park; $130,000(Est.) Cleveland Classic - Open by Allan Schott for HANA
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, December 7, 2013--Double-millionaire Sweet Lou (George Brennan) made a successful local debut Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $37,000 Open Handicap Pace. Ordered outside his seven rivals (though inside one notch after a defection), 3-5 choice "Lou" worked around Sapphire City (Eric Carlson), making the before a quick :26.3 opening quarter. It was a rated 30-second quarter (:56.3) with Ardyne Ace (Larry Stalbaum) moving from fifth. That one offered minimal grief in and out of a 1:24.3 three-quarters, with Sweet Lou taking a couple of lengths into the lane, The people's preference then held the gang at bay, whipping Sapphire City by a length in 1:52...snappy :27.2 final quarter. Third went to a three-hole Lumberjack Willie (catch-driver Jordan Stratton), with Pan from Nantucket (Eric Goodell) and Ardyne Ace rounded out the payees. For Sweet Lou, a 4-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr and Philip Collura, he returned $3.30 for his fourth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $10.60, with the triple returning $49. It should be noted that Sweet Lou's only half-mile experience prior to Saturday was the 2012 Little Brown Jug, when he won his heat before finishing second in the final. It is surmised he's going to join the Burke contingent in next season's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon Frank Drucker
Pompano Beach, FL...December 7, 2013...Thebestofjoel, handled by owner-trainer Ed Hensley, proved his wire-to-wire debut victory at Pompano Park in his last start was no fluke as the pair teamed up and used similar tactics for a repeat score in the $10,000 Open 1 Pace on Saturday night. The five year-old son of Cammibest, starting from the outside post in the septet, took the lead just a couple of strides out of the gate and clocked panels of :27.3, :55.1 and 1:23.1 en route to a victory measuring three parts of a length in 1:50.4. Northern Companion, driven by Rob Hoffman, paced his final half in :55 to finish second while Lyon's Johnny, with Wally Hennessey in the bike, finished third, just a length away. Cruizin K C was fourth while Next Flight In picked up the final award. In a post race interview, Hensley said, "You know, this horse has good gate speed--he showed that last week--and, when the gate opened, I didn't see that much early speed inside so I gunned him a bit right after the start to, at least, find a spot close up early. Well, he got to the front pretty easily. You know, when a horse shows you he's got 1:50 speed, you get a lot of confidence in him and, after he reached the top pretty easily and in a manageable time, I felt confident that he could do a repeat performance. He's got those :27 and a piece final quarters in him and, when you're on top, the others have to maybe go :26.4 or :27 to catch you. That's not easy when you're playing catch up! So, we were lucky again. And this is a VERY good bunch of Open horses here, so I'm proud of this guy's performance." For Thebestofjoel, it was his fifth win of the year in 22 starts and sent his seasonal earnings to $62,262. He's banked $211,107 lifetime to go along with a Meadowlands mark of 1:49.4. John Berry
It was six months ago when Twilight Bonfire burst on the scene with a runner-up performance in The Pepsi North America Cup. Since then, it has been a year of ups and downs. In fact, he entered Saturday's Reynolds Stake at the Meadowlands with just 1 win from his last 13 starts. On this night, he asserted his class, making a long move to the lead under pilot Tim Tetrick and scored in a sharp 1:51.4. Twilight Bonfire was joined by a Breeders Crown winner in the field, in Rockin Amadeus, who has re-found his form in his last few starts and was a solid second at the finish. The buzz of the night took place in race 7, where Bolder came from far back at the top of the stretch and rallied to a shocking 92-1 victory to kick off the Late Pick 4 sequence. That resulted in a Late Pick 4 that returned $11,968 for a $1 bet. Yannick Gingras was the star of the driving colony as he won four races on the card, while Ron Pierce, who recently won his 9,000th race bagged three. Compared to the last time the Meadowlands raced on this Saturday in December, which took place in 2010, the total handle reflected an increase of 25-percent. Victory Night Club opened at the conclusion of the live racing card and saw a packed house enjoying the brand-new, state of the art venue. Racing returns on Friday with first post time at 7:15 P.M. For all information regarding Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, head to www.playmeadowlands.com.
Balmoral Park will offer a guaranteed Pick 5 pool of $35,000 on Sunday, Dec.8th. Because the 50 cent minimum wager was not hit on Saturday night, a carryover of $5,728 will be added to Sunday's wagering pool. The 50 cent bet is offered on races two through six on Sunday's card. In addition to the Pick 5 guarantee, fans will have a chance to add to their bankrolls later in the in the night as Balmoral will also offer a $25,000 guaranteed pool on their $1 Pick 4 wager. The Pick 4, which is on races seven through 10 on Sunday night features a low takeout of 15%. Handicappers across North America can get a head start on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pools courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Post time for Sunday's opener at Balmoral is 7:10 pm (central). Don't miss your chance to take home a big jackpot for a minimal investment as Balmoral Park continues to provide horse players with plenty of chances to grab some holiday "cheer".
Keith Kash Jr. drove five winners on Saturday (December 7) at Northfield Park. Kash's winners included Hazel Eyes ($15.20) in race two, Girls' Getaway ($13.60) in race three, Sporty Callie ($5.80) in race four, Matt's Jack ($7.60) in race 10 and Columbia Art ($4.60) in race 12. Three of the five winners were also trained by Kash. Kash, 34, began driving in 1997 and has since garnered 2,090 career victories and is in excess of $8,000,000 in purse earnings. Ayers Ratliff
Scarborough, Maine (Saturday, December 07, 2013) Driver Shawn Thayer mastered the mud at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (12/7) to become the latest member of the Mr. 1,000 Club. A native of Hermon, Maine, Thayer has been a regular participant along the Pine Tree Circuit for two decades now and was the driving champion at Scarborough Downs during the 2012 meeting. The benchmark win came with a member of Thayer's own stable roster, ITSALLABOUTMIKE. The six-year-old son of Dragon Again was a prolific winner this year, and secured his 16th win of the season. The pacer is owned by Marc Reynolds of Hermon, Maine. As is the tradition at Scarborough Downs, Thayer was joined in the trackside winner's circle by his fellow drivers and fans who offered a hearty congratulations to their compatriot. Thayer will help close out the meeting at Scarborough Downs as we enter the last two weekends of the season, racing Saturdays and Sundays with a 12:05 pm post time. Closing day is Sunday, December 22, and will feature our annual Standardbred retirement ceremony for 14-year olds. by Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs
(Scarborough, Maine) Scarborough Downs Harness Race Track will be selling Stay Strong stickers next weekend, December 14 & 15, to raise money for the Stay Strong A. Coletta Fund. Cost is $5 each 100% of the proceeds will go to the Coletta family. The stickers can be worn on race bikes, helmets, or used as bumper stickers. Members of the Maine harness racing community have just mailed a donation to the fund in the amount of $403, representing funds raised from The Maine Amateur Driving Club's purse commissions earned on 11/23/13, customer and horsemen cash donations, and driver Steve Nason's purse commissions from 11/29/13. All of us here in Maine were shocked and saddened by news of the accident and we continue to pray and send our positive, healing thoughts to Anthony for a speedy recovery. We send our very best wishes to the Coletta family for the holidays. They are in our thoughts and prayers every day. by Susan Higgins for Scarborough Downs
Goshen, NY -- Looking for something different for your business, corporate giving or a friend or relative who loves horses? The answer is in the Harness Racing Museum's latest gift shop catalog. It's brimming with great gift ideas for the holiday season, as well as a host of brand new items in their apparel and jewelry lines. Prices are reasonable and most important of all, orders made within the next week will arrive in time for Christmas. The full color catalogs are at the printer and will be mailed next week, however, digital versions are available now. Just Email a request to: email@example.com. Catalogs can also be obtained by calling the museum's gift shop at (845) 294-6330. Merchandise can be ordered online by clicking here. All proceeds from sales support the museum's mission, to protect the great history of the Standardbred horse and encourage interest in the sport of harness racing. Born in America, trotting was the nation's first pastime. Celebrated by Currier & Ives (nearly one out of 10 of their famous lithographs were of trotting horses), they were a popular icon in the mid-19th century. Today interior decorators continue to include the well known trotting horse image in their designs. Merchandise both online and in the hardcopy catalog include: books for all ages, jewelry, ladies and mens clothing (all sporting the great harness racing motif), children's toys and clothing, games, and housewares. Global shipments are welcomed. The museum is just 60 minutes north of Manhattan in the colonial village of Goshen, New York. Open seven days a week, its three theaters, numerous hands-on exhibits and computerized presentations, a talking horse, a children's activity area, and other innovative experiences, including the world's only 3-D harness racing simulator and bountiful gift shop, make it a worthwhile place to visit; especially now that admission is free! The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, located at 240 Main Street in Goshen, NY, is open daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. There is no charge for regular admission, thanks to the members of the U.S. Trotting Association. For further information on The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, its services to the sport and the local community, please call (845) 294-6330 or visit www.HarnessMuseum.com December 7, 2013 - by the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
Leg two of the SHHA Claiming Series for trotters took place on Friday night at Saratoga as horses competed for points towards next weekend's marathon final. Donttellmywife (Malabar Man) jogged for the second consecutive week in the series as Bruce Aldrich Jr.put the 1-9 favorite on the lead in the early stages of the mile and a quarter long trot. Donttellmywife cruised to a win of almost ten lengths in 2:30.2 for the longer distance. Claimed out of leg one of the series by conditioner Andy Sardella, Donttellmywife won for the eleventh time in nineteen seasonal tries. The series' favorite was claimed back on Friday night by trainer Melissa Beckwith who will send him out in next weekend's $10,000+ Final to be contested at a distance of a mile and a half. Psyched (Jay Randall) won the other division of the second leg of the series after outclosing the favorite Stormont O My (Shawn Gray) in the stretch to prevail for his new connections. Trainer Jody Weidman will bring Psyched into next weekend's series final as one of only four horses to record wins in the SHHA Claiming Series legs. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella
It was old hat for Dave Miller, as he found his way to the winners circle three times Friday night at the Meadowlands. But for Scott Zeron, it was a different story. After being shut out in his first three nights driving at the Meadowlands, Zeron broke through in a big way as he scored a driving double. Zeron put a perfect drive on Janie Bay in the second race, parlaying a second over trip into a dominant victory. "I guess a lot of people thought I would just pick up here where I left off in Canada," said Zeron in a post-race interview. "These guys are the best in the world and I am not going to get the best horses right away, but I am learning and I knew I had a big shot in this race, this is a nice mare." Zeron came back in the featured $20,000 Trot in race 7 as he steered the classy Appomattox to an off the pace win in a very competitive field. Zeron is starting to catch on at the Meadowlands, as he has 23 drives in the 26 races this weekend in East Rutherford. Zeron was joined by Trace Tetrick, who out-dueled older brother Tim in race 1, to earn his first Meadowlands victory with Acadia As. Tim Tetrick and Yannick Gingras added driving doubles as well. All three featured guaranteed pools at the Meadowlands required a signature as the Pick Five and both Pick Four's paid large dividends. The Pick 5 returned $1,580.65 for the $.50 minimum, the Early Pick 4 yielded a $3,632.80 return for a $1 ticket, while the Late Pick 4 returned $2,638.40 for the $1 minimum play. Compared to the last time this Friday was raced in 2010, total handle reflected a 32-percent increase, which remained in-line with the gains the Meadowlands has been realizing all season. Racing returns to the Meadowlands Saturday night with a 13-race card getting underway at 7:15 P.M.