TROIS-RIVIERES, January 16, 2014 – The Quebec Jockey Club (QJC) is pleased to announce the revival of the Prix d’Ete as a race for 4-year-old pacers, to be contested Sunday September 21st at Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivieres. With a guaranteed purse of $200,000, the race marks the return of a great tradition and reflects the intention of the Quebec Jockey Club to have the province’s harness racing industry return, progressively, to a prominent place within the North American scene. Initially known as the Prix d’Automne and won by older horses such as the three-time Horse of the Year Bret Hanover, the marquee event at Blue Bonnets racetrack in Montreal was converted into a race for 3-year-old pacers in 1970 and remained one of the major North American stakes in the division until its last running in 1992. Past winners included Cam Fella, Niatross, Albatross, Strike Out, Abercrombie, Matts Scooter and Beach Towel. To encourage a recent industry trend to have the top 3-year-olds of 2013 remain in competition at age 4, the QJC will offer them a quality race on a quality half-mile venue on the 2014 calendar. “We invite participants to enjoy the warmth of a Quebecois welcome with the excitement and delights of our culture and our long tradition of quality harness racing,” said QJC chairman Tony Infilise. “This special event will be a weekend celebration of harness racing in collaboration with the city of Trois-Rivières, about 1.5 hours from Montreal. Harness racing is deeply rooted in Quebec as demonstrated by the Grand Circuit success of drivers, trainers, and owners from our province. It is an industry which has refused to die in this province despite the brutal years since 2008.” $200,000 will be the highest purse in North America for 4-year-old pacers exclusively. “Accordingly, we hope and expect to attract most of, if not all, the best 4-year-olds,” Infilise said. The format calls for the top 8 purse earners of 2014 who declare into the event to race in the final and the next 8 who declare to go in a consolation for $50,000. “It should be an event not to be missed and a gathering of those who love our sport,” Infilise said. “The Quebec Jockey Club is pleased to respond to a need for such races for 4 year olds. We will endeavor to find the funding to conduct an equivalent trotting race in the future.” The QJC is a not-for-profit entity, led by seven (7) passionate businessmen who serve the industry as volunteer directors, dedicated to re-launching a professional harness racing and breeding industry in Quebec. It began operations in March, 2010, after the bankruptcy of private racetrack operator Attractions Hippiques, and in 2012 purchased Hippodrome 3R. It also supports a regional circuit of 12 fair tracks throughout the province and oversees a network of 10 teletheatres. Submitted by the Quebec Jockey Club
The Living Horse Hall of Fame nominating committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame has announced the results of recent balloting to determine the 2014 inductees into the Harness Racing Living Horse Hall of Fame. Annual members (in good standing) voted for the two horses they felt best exemplified greatness. Their choices are racehorses Donato Hanover and Precious Bunny. The other nominees were Fool's Goal, Real Desire and S J's Photo. Also entering the Living Horse Hall of Fame in 2014 will be broodmare Hattie, having met the required criteria for induction (see below). Donato Hanover, Precious Bunny and Hattie will be inducted on Hall of Fame Day, Sunday, July 6th, 2014. The ceremonies honoring these extraordinary Standardbred horses will take place during the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame's annual dinner. For information on the Hall of Fame weekend and other festivities surrounding this important occasion visit www.harnessmuseum.com from April 2014 onward or call or write the Museum at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. Phone: 845-294-6330. Standardbreds are only eligible for nomination to harness racing's highest accolade if they comply with the following strict criteria: They must be retired from racing for five years and had a drug-free career. In addition, racehorses must have won 75% of their lifetime starts, or gone undefeated in a single season campaign of 12 or more races, or been the winner of $3 million lifetime or named Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada). Stallions must rank among the 10 all-time leading money-winning sires at their gait or have sired at least 100 $200,000 winners or been a leading money-winning sire at his gait in three or more seasons. BROODMARES are automatically elected if they have produced a $1 million winner and two other winners of $500,000 OR produced a Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada) and another $500,000 winner. The 2014 LIVING HORSE HALL OF FAME INDUCTEEs Donato Hanover (Nominated as Racehorse) 3,1:50.1 ($2,998,777) Bay Horse, 2004 (Andover Hall - D Train - Donerail) 2007 Hambletonian Stake winner and Horse of the Year Donato Hanover was the first trotter in history to earn more than $2 million in a single season. Foaled on May 3, 2004, he raced in 2006-2007 and never finished off the board, compiling a career record of 22-19-1-2. He is currently the fourth-leading single-season moneywinning Standardbred of all time. In 2006, two-year-old Donato Hanover finished third in his career debut, but would win his remaining 8 starts. The freshman earned $662,587 and was voted Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Major victories included the Peter Haughton Memorial (in a stakes record 1:55) and Breeders Crown. As a three-year-old in 2007, Donato Hanover would extend his winning streak to 19, remaining undefeated until his last 2 races in November. Major victories that year included the Stanley Dancer Memorial, Hambletonian Stake, World Trotting Derby, Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity. Donato Hanover earned $2,336,190 that year, and became the first trotter in the history of the sport to surpass career earnings of $2.5 million during his three-year-old season. He broke the single-season moneywinning record for a trotter by well over $400,000 and was voted 2007 Horse of the Year. At the time of his retirement, Donato Hanover held the record for the fastest trotting mile on a mile track (1:50.1) and co-owned the record for fastest two-heat trotting race on a mile track (3:41.2). As a sire, Donato Hanover has produced winners of over $12.6 million, including 2011 Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year and Breeders Crown winner Check Me Out 3,1:51.2 ($1,903,795). Precious Bunny (Nominated as Racehorse) p,3,1:49.4 ($2,281,142) Bay Horse, 1988 (Cam Fella - Bunny's Wish - B.G's Bunny) 1991 Horse of the Year Precious Bunny was foaled on May 6, 1988. At the time of his retirement, he ranked as the number one single-season moneywinning Standardbred of all time (currently ranked ninth) and the fifth-leading moneywinning pacer of all time. Precious Bunny raced from 1990-1991 and had a lifetime record of 39-21-5-4. As a two-year-old in 1990, Precious Bunny had 14 starts, winning a New Jersey Sire Stakes event and finishing the season with a record of 1:57.2 and $63,920 in earnings. In 1991, three-year-old Precious Bunny won 20 of 25 starts, including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace (setting the stakes record in the second fastest race mile in harness racing history and fastest mile ever under the lights), Art Rooney Pace (stakes record), Adios (tying the stakes record and the world record for fastest mile by a Standardbred on a 5/8-mile track, and setting the world record for a second heat by a Standardbred on a 5/8-mile track - 1:50.4), Little Brown Jug (in straight heats with an electrifying start in the first), Cleveland Classic (stakes record), NJSS final and Windy City Pace. With his Cleveland Classic victory, Precious Bunny became only the second Standardbred to earn over $2 million in a single season (Immortal Beach Towel 1990). He was the first to win two $1 million races in one season (North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace). Precious Bunny was voted Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt and Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada. As a sire, Precious Bunny has sired North American winners of over $50 million, with 181 in 1:55, 141 $100,000 winners and three millionaires, including 2001 Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Bunny Lake. Precious Bunny was elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004. HATTIE (Broodmare) p,2,1:55.3 ($266,623) Bay Mare, 1992 (Abercrombie - Albaquel - Albatross) Sired by 1978 Horse of the Year Abercrombie, pacer Hattie was bred by Richard Staley and was foaled on February 9, 1992 in Wallkill, New York. Hattie raced from 1994-1996 and compiled a record of 57-8-13-17 with earnings of $266,623. Her major career victories included a division of the 1994 International Stallion Stakes at Lexington, and a second-place finish in the 1994 Breeders Crown. The progeny that qualified Hattie for the Hall of Fame are 2004 Meadowlands Pace winner Holborn Hanover p,5,1:46.4 ($2,070,648); 2006 Western Canada Pacing Derby winner Hyperion Hanover p,6,1:49.1s ($1,156,789) and Hillbilly Hanover p,4,1:49.3 ($592,218). To date, Hattie has produced six fillies and seven colts, with thirteen starters and earnings of over $5,313,000. She is currently performing her broodmare duties for Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, Pennsylvania. (USTA statistics as of January 2014) Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
Harnesslink.com has exclusively learned today from the connections that own the undefeated world champion Standardbred two-year-old pacing colt, He’s Watching, that a half interest in the son of American Ideal has been sold to the Muscara Racing Trust He’s Watching is trained and co-owned by David Menary with Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero, all from Ontario, Canada. Muscara Racing Trust of Ivyland, Pennsylvania is comprised of the Joe Muscara family whom currently own and stand the stallions Art Official, Mach Three and Mister Big in additional to numerous race horses. This season He’s Watching put the harness racing world on notice of his ability, setting world records at Tioga Downs (1:50) and Yonkers Raceway (1:52.2). He also set track records at Buffalo Raceway, Vernon Downs and tied the track record on a rainy night at Batavia Downs. He concluded his two-year-old season with earnings of $291,722. He’s Watching was purchased by Menary as a yearling for just $3,000. Complete details of the transaction including the price were not revealed but David Menary confirmed that the current owners would have controlling interest of He’s Watching as a racehorse for the next two seasons and that the Muscara Racing Trust would have controlling interest of He’s Watching as a breeding stallion. The entire arrangement is very similar to that of the great race horse and stallion, Niatross, who was also undefeated at age two in 1979 when half interest was sold for $2.5 million with the same racing/breeding agreements. “This is a good deal for everyone,” Said Dave Menary, “We are happy to have partners like Joe Muscara and his family on board. We had a great team when we started out with the colt and now the team is even better. “I am sorry that He’s Watching was not staked to the Breeders Crown this week and can’t be supplemented,” Menary added. “We turned him out but he was in perfect shape to keep on racing. He will be staked right for next year and we plan to be in all of the big dances. “When I first bought him at the sale he was a June foal and a little small,” Menary said. “He is still growing and I am sure will fill out more this winter. What he lacked in size he made up for in speed, heart and ability and he’s not done growing yet. I like to compare him to Foiled Again.” “We are very happy with this deal,” Said Robert Muscara of the Muscara Racing Trust. “He’s Watching has so much potential for the future. Two world records, eight for eight racing this year and we can’t wait to see what happens next year. We are also very happy with Dave Menary, Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero as partners. They were great to deal with on the sale. It’s going to be very exciting next season. “ On the breeding side, He’s Watching’s pedigree, despite his bargain basement yearling sale price, shows four strains of the great broodmare K Nora – through He’s Watching himself and Western Ideal via the champion mare Leah Almahurst, plus through American Ideal and Life Sign via the world champion mare Three Diamonds. Also in his breeding is that there are duplications of Leah Almahurst and Three Diamonds that are sex-balanced (i.e. appearing via both a son and a daughter). There are also sex-balanced duplications of Abercrombie, Adios, Good Time, Knight Dream, Meadow Skipper and No Nukes. He’s Watching also has 8 daughters of Tar Heel (6 of them unique) in his 6th generation. That makes He’s Watching’s pedigree one of a possible real champion for his future stallion duties. by Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
VERNON, NY—The quick-footed Let’s Go Higher topped four fast and fit female foes in Thursday night’s $10,000 featured Open pace at Vernon Downs. With Shawn Gray doing the driving for trainer Heidi Rohr in Thursday’s second race, the favorite Let’s Go Higher, the field’s top money-winner in her last five outings, went right to the front and prevailed by 2-1/2 lengths over the pocket-sitting, second choice, Don’t Blame Her, a winner in this event in her last two starts. The first-place finish was the third in succession and the 10th this season for the 5-year-old daughter of former track favorite Cole Muffler and out of the Abercrombie-mare Ten Speed, owned by Jesse J. De Long. The career-winner of more than $240,500 now sports 19 career victories, the fastest in 1:50.3 here on July 11. Roman Lopez, the track’s second-leading driver (86 victories) and trainer (31) this year, logged a double during the track’s 72nd program, while Fern Paquet, Jr. and Truman Gale also delivered twin tallies during Thursday’s 12-race card. DOWNS DOINGS Rick Plano, Vernon’s leading driver (130 wins) and conditioner (51) has departed the Downs to begin a fall-winter-spring campaign at Florida’s Pompano Park… Vernon will present an 11-race program on Friday night, including an $8,000 featured trot in race seven. First post will be at 6:45…Only 16 racing dates remain during the track’s 60th racing season that continues through Nov. 9… A revised 2013, 88-program racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran
Wet, sloppy conditions kept the crowd small but didn’t prevent very competitive racing at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting. Ash Siejka’s training double, and an exceptional debut by Think It Through, were the highlights. On debut in a 2YO Fillies class but a very short-priced favourite on the strength of a 2:00 trial win at Young, Think It Through managed the potentially tricky inside draw then sped away in front to open up a gap of at least 50 metres during the middle stages of the race. Halfway through the second lap, trainer-driver John Vautin started to shake her up as the huge gap narrowed somewhat, and many in the stand were beginning to wonder if this Vo Rogue-like performance would end in an upset. They needn’t have worried. Though getting very weary after highballing in front in very slushy conditions, she held on by a mere 19 metres to post the first of what will surely be numerous career victories. Our Lissome NZ and Most Admired gave Steve Turnbull the minor placings. The sectional times make interesting reading. After a slow lead time as she found her footing out of the gate, she dashed through the middle 1200 metres in 1:30.0 flat, leaving all her rivals off the bit and gasping for oxygen, before a telling 33.6 final quarter, for a mile rate of 2:03.2 . A strapping type very reminiscent of her sire Ponder, the half-sister to Ultimate Art was purchased by Lester and Linda Hewitt from the Micallef draft at the 2012 Gold Crown Sale for $8,000 , the day after that year’s Crown winner had easily defeated their runner in a Crown heat . To paraphrase a familiar expression, they reckoned “ if you can’t beat ‘em, get one of ‘em. “ John Vautin hasn’t seen much of Bathurst this season, since basing himself at Cowra. Lester Hewitt is an accomplished trainer in his own right, a clear leader of the UDR Trainers Premiership at Bathurst this season, but he’s supported his former stable driver with this filly, the undoubted star of Toby Vautin’s small team. For all of them, there’s much to look forward to. In My Life NZ, the first leg of Ashlee Siejka’s training double, set the pattern for the evening by making a fast move mid-race to the death, and then outstaying favourite Two Striking and the sweet-seating Im No Lady. The last half took 60.4, with the mile rate of 2:04.8 for the 2130 metres C O event. Recent Rising Stars placegetter Kylie Barnes handled the driving duties for Siejka’s second winner Nickys Passion NZ, in a C2-C3 sprint class, sitting outside the lead and proving too strong for Miners Lane, which had enjoyed the one-one trail, and stablemate Stirling William, which had led. The mile rate of 2:02 was very good in the conditions, and the last half was run in a minute flat. Abercrombie Alice (Graham Betts for Leon Bennetts) maintained her excellent recent form with another all-the-way win, in a 3CO-3C1 sprint event. Courtesy of a neat piece of driving, and some good fortune, she found the lead around the first bend after coming from barrier 9. Hallycould held on in the death seat for second, with the original occupant of that spot and then trailer, Master Macca, getting the minor placing. Twenty Three Penny’s winning effort , in a C1 sprint class, was more conventional, with John O’Shea spearing the short-priced favourite straight to the front and controlling the race throughout. She zipped up the back in 28.7 , the night’s fastest quarter, putting the result beyond doubt, and cruised home in 31.0 to defeat Positive Thinking and Runs On Love, which had followed her on the pegs throughout. The mile rate was 2:04. It was the seventh lifetime win for the Blissfull Hall mare, which will join the nice broodmare band put together by keen Carcoar-based breeders Ray and Peter Connolly. Long Cool Woman brought up win 191 and 189 respectively for her driver and trainer, Amanda and Steve Turnbull, in a 3C O sprint event. She worked to the death seat mid-race and outstayed Aunty Olive,which raced wide for the last lap, and favourite Gabrielle Solis NZ, three-back in the running line . The mile rate was only 2:04.6, but the last half of 59.8 was good on the night. Franco Talon NZ (Amy Day for Garrett Newton) made up for the pair’s second in the opening race by taking out an R2-R3 middle-distance class. Last early before coming three-wide from the bell, the favourite had a bit in hand to defeat the death-seater Rowan Royal and Ihitthegroundrunning NZ, from the one-one.The overall rate was just 2:05.8, with the last half in 60.1 . Western Burner found the by-now coveted spot outside the leader in the final race, an R0-R1 over 2130 metres, and naturally he won, for Scott Hewitt and trainer-father David. Happy Camper came three-wide from the bell for second, with Jerula’s Mate which had the one –one trail, holding on for third. The times were moderate but the winning margin of 17 metres suggests a repeat win can be expected.
Bigga harness racing trainer Dennis Picker is planning on more trips to Queensland in the future with a team of horses after an amazing run of success recently north of the border. Picker has won eight races during his time away and it has also allowed him a chance to sell some of his horses to Queensland clients which has made the trip even more profitable. "I had always spoken about making the trip to Queensland during the winter to race a few and sell a few on but I had never followed through with my plans until this year," Picker said. "I've been training out of the Tweed Heads showground and travelling up to the different tracks around Brisbane, I brought eight horses up with me and have sold three and am still looking to sell three more before I return home which might be in a fortnight, I will just wait and see what happens." Picker is a sheep shearer and admits to having to turn down some work while he has been away. "Normally I would be getting ready to start shearing so I've had to knock back a few jobs but that doesn't worry me too much because I've had some luck up here and I'm enjoying the break." "Dad brought my horses up here for me while I was preparing Condagen for the Breeders Challenge series and that also gave me a chance to concentrate on my yearlings before they were all sent out for a break, so it has all worked out pretty well." While Picker has been able to sell some horses he acknowledges that it hasn't been an easy task. "It has been tough to sell them but in the end we have taken a bit less for them because they have been competing up here and have been earning some money." "I had Abercrombie Zombie up for sale for $5,000, had no takers but he won the Rising Stars final on Saturday night and pocketed $12,000 so a few things have worked out nicely." PANELLA BACK IN SYDNEY THIS WEEK Talented driver Lauren Panella is looking forward to returning to Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night after travelling to Albion Park for the final two meetings of the Queensland Winter Carnival over the past fortnight. Panella drove Suave Stuey Lombo to victory in the Sunshine Sprint in track record time and she is hoping to return to Sydney on a winning note. “This season has just been awesome, I’m riding the wave at the moment but in harness racing you can come down as quick as you went up so I’m just concentrating on driving the best I can this weekend at Menangle,” Panella said. “I will be driving Saucy Legend and Essbee Doubleyou in the two Gr. 3 races on Saturday night, I get on with both of them and I think they both can perform really well.” Saucy Legend won last Saturday night and despite drawing barrier ten in the Winter Cup, Panella is expecting another big performance from the George Stamiris prepared gelding. “George has done a great job with Saucy Legend, he is a really happy horse and he enjoys being out there which he has proved with some really strong runs lately, his run in the Len Smith Mile behind Gaius Caesar was really good but I’m just hoping the poor barrier doesn’t bring him undone.” Essbee Doubleyou has drawn barrier 2 in the Bretsa’s 40th Birthday Final and Panella believes his chances increase when a female driver is booked to drive. “He’s a ladies’ man, it’s funny, he just seems to go better for the female drivers and he is a horse that you need to get to know before you get the best out of him, he has drawn well, possesses some very good early speed and looks a good chance in a very tough race.” Panella has a busy weekend planned because she will head to Goulburn on Sunday afternoon for the Regional Finals of the Breeders Challenge after Menangle on Saturday night. Courtesy of Harness Racing NSW
As of the 3rd of July Shadow Play is the Leading 2yo Sire in North America.
Posey Patch took the $6,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace for harness racing owner Gregory Gardner of Sheridan, Michigan in the opening race on Friday (May 24) at Northfield Park.
Victory Is Coming was first across the wire in the $5,000 Open Trot in Northfield Park’s opening on Monday, April 29, 2013.
Mcmerry Again paced home for her third straight win on Friday (April 26) in Northfield Park's ninth race. The eight-year old is owned by Antionette Mc Kenzie of Wellsville, Ohio. Harness racing trainer Sonia Vermilye called upon Brett Miller to pilot. Crist Hershberger was aboard for the first two wins.
Through the late 1990s and the early 2000s this son of Abercrombie was a very successful and popular horse on the Chicago harness racing circuit when he campaigned for the Brian Pinske Stable.
Robert E. O'Donnell, 88, a prominent harness racing breeder for many decades, died April 10, 2013, in Florida after a long illness.
She might not have entered Yonkers Raceway quite like former Iowa champion Beach Nut Brand did after capturing a $50,000 leg of the 2007 Su Mac Lad series at The Meadowlands and just missing in the $110,700 harness racing final, but Opticrombie has certainly held her own.
In a few weeks, the harness racing career of 14-year-old pacer Tattler's Jet will come to an end. And as the final chapter is written in the life of the fastest horse ever bred in Wisconsin, 71-year-old breeder/owner Dave Carter might have provided the most amusing summation of the tale, which also features 68-year-old trainer Gene Miller.
When Yankee Dream arrived at Perth airport on Friday she was effectively returning home as her dam Acropolis raced in this State more than a decade ago.
The McArdle Syndicate is pleased to announce that beginning with the 2013 breeding season, McArdle, p. 3, 149m ($2,455,609.00) (Falcon Seelster - Lilting Laughter-Nihilator), will stand stud in Ohio at harness racing's prestigious Hickory Lane Farm.