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Well-known harness racing driver Ricky May has suffered a "medical event" and been transported by air to Dunedin Hospital, the chairman of the stewards in the New Zealand Racing Integrity Unit has confirmed. May was driving the race favourite A G's White Socks in the Central Otago Cup at 4.11pm before about 5000 people. Racing journalist Michael Guerin says May appears to have collapsed in the sulky while leading the main race at Omakau this afternoon. Guerin says that a helicopter landed on the track to take May to hospital. The chairman of the stewards in the Racing Integrity Unit, Vinny Munro, has confirmed May suffered a medical event. He said all races at Omakau have been abandoned. Munro said he is not able to confirm any further information at this stage. Racegoers at the meet say that there was an announcement that May was in a critical but stable condition. Witnesses say he appeared to fall back in the sulky while the horse continued to race, then fall onto the track. A witness at the track said race officials rushed to his aid. Afterwards, many people who went to cash in their tickets stayed to donate the money to St John's Ambulance or May's family. May has driven almost 3000 race winners in New Zealand - making him the third most successful driver in New Zealand trotting history. He is a seven-time winner of the NZ Trotting Cup, New Zealand's biggest annual harness race. Radio New Zealand

Harness racing has lost one of its most energetic and passionate leaders, with the death of Danny Frawley in a single car crash at Bungaree, near Ballarat, on Monday. Frawley was among a new seven-person board appointed to Harness Racing Victoria in 2016 and, as well as his administrative role, he was an avid owner who promoted the sport at every opportunity. The former AFL great - ex St Kilda champion player and Richmond coach - died at the scene when his car hit a tree at Millbrook, 20 kilometres east of Ballarat, about 1.30 pm. He was the only occupant of the vehicle. Frawley had a long history in harness racing, growing up in the industry at Bungaree. His late father Brian was a breeder, owner and trainer, who raced champion pacer Vanderport. Brian Frawley, who died three years ago, was a life member of the Ballarat and District Trotting Club, where he had served as president. Danny Frawley was passionately committed to the future of harness racing, and, as with everything he took on, he worked tirelessly and invested of himself. He formed a high-profile ownership group of media and sports luminaries which purchased top performers including a share late last year in superstar pacer Shadow Sax, with the goal of promoting the Victoria Cup. The Stable of Stars group was managed by Frawley and included AFL Women's champion and rising star boxer Tayla Harris, Essendon key defender Michael Hurley, Channel 7's Hamish McLachlan, SEN radio's Garry Lyon and Tim Watson, former champion trainer Peter Tonkin and Sky Racing's Brittany Graham, as well as Garry's father Peter Lyon, who has strong family links to harness racing. Shadow Sax went amiss in the Victoria Cup, but went on to take out the Sokyola Sprint and the Poplar Alm Free For All in November. Harnesslink sends its condolences to the Frawley family. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and the wider Victorian harness racing community are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Board Member Danny Frawley. Mr Frawley was appointed to the HRV Board in March of 2016. HRV Chairman Dale Monteith said: “Our thoughts in this very difficult time are with Danny’s family, especially his wife Anita and their children Chelsea, Keeley and Danielle. Danny was a committed member of the HRV Board and a friend. He will be missed.”   Harness Racing Victoria

Lexington, KY — Jacqueline Ingrassia, 72, one of the harness racing sport’s all-time leading female drivers and a USTA director, is recovering from injuries suffered in a training accident Thursday morning (June 13) at White Birch Farm in New Jersey. According to friend Lella Montgomery, Ingrassia got hurt when the horse she was jogging shook the bridle off and took off, throwing her into the barn. While the horse was not hurt, Ingrassia suffered several injuries, including two broken wrists, a broken finger and stitches on her face. She also incurred laceration on her liver and brain bleeding. Montgomery said Ingrassia is expected to undergo surgery shortly to repair the damage. Ingrassia’s 1,151 career victories is the third most by a female driver, behind only Bea Farber, who posted 1,801 wins, and Mary MacDonald, who has 1,445 victories. Ingrassia’s career purse earnings stand at $6.39 million. In 2000 she became the first and still only woman to win the Yonkers Trot, the milestone coming in the Triple Crown race with Goalfish. from

A member of the famous Turnbull harness racing clan has been hospitalized after a nasty accident at his Tatura property. Craig Turnbull, who has been enjoying recent success with his team on country Victorian tracks, was seriously hurt after being kicked several times by a young horse. It is believed he had just finished working one of his stable team and was coming off the track toward a youngster that was tied up at a rail. After getting out of the sulky, the nearby horse started bucking and kicking out. Turnbull was rushed to Shepparton Hospital before being transferred to Melbourne where he remains in intensive care with a ruptured spleen, broken ribs and several fractures. His recovery is expected to include several weeks of treatment and rehab in hospital, before several months of rest and ongoing medical care. Turnbull, his wife Rebecca Cartwright and daughter Abbey have been enjoying a successful season. Black gelding La Player (Shadow Play USA - La Pucelle (Village Jasper USA) has had a purple patch in recent months with four wins and two runner-up prizes in his past six starts. His victories were at Gunbower, Boort, Cobram and Echuca. Concession junior driver Abbey, who landed her first winner at Shepparton in September 2017, has shown fine touch this season with 11 wins so far. All harness racing participants wish Craig well in his recovery process, while thoughts are with Rebecca, Abbey and other family members. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

A tactical rescue dive team was needed to locate the body of the horse that drowned Monday during harness racing at Miami Valley Gaming. The Warren County Tactical Rescue Team arrived at the racino on Ohio 63 on Monday night after racing had concluded, according to Mike Jameson, assistant fire chief in Turtlecreek Twp. “We were called primarily to recover the horse,” Jameson said. No additional official reports were available Wednesday about the unusual drowning of He’s a Perfect Ten, which followed an accident involving four horses and drivers during the 12th race. But independent reports continued to provide additional information about the animal’s death, which happened despite efforts by Ashley Holliday, the “outrider” working Monday, to save the horse. Holliday, on the track to parade the entrants beforehand and to assist with problems during the race, caught the errant trotter after driver Kayne Kauffman was knocked from the sulky cart, horse owner Jeff Deems said Wednesday. But He’s a Perfect Ten broke free and ran into the retention pond in the infield, still pulling the cart, and drowned despite Holliday’s attempt at a water rescue. “When the horse first went in, it stopped at the shallow part of the water,” said Deems, whose horse was also involved in accident. Holliday then jumped in. “She had the horse’s head above water for a little bit. She was doing her best, but then as the horse started to struggle and fight, it worked its way toward the middle of the pond,” Deems said. “If it would have worked it’s way the other way or stayed shallow, she could have maybe helped it or something could have went a little bit different.” It remained unclear if Kauffman was transported to a hospital for treatment. Deems said Kauffman had back and knee injuries. “Thoughts and prayers with Kayne and everyone involved,” Deems said. There was no 911 call or ambulance dispatched, according to county and township officials. Jameson said the dive team spent more than an hour searching the retention pond for the horse. Starting about 8 p.m., four divers rotated in two-person teams due to the cold water and difficulty of navigating underwater in the darkness. “You might as well close your eyes, you can’t see anything,” Jameson said. Although racino staff told the divers where the horse went down, locating “something even as large a horse” was difficult, Jameson said. About 9:15 p.m., staff used a winch to pull the body, strapped by the divers, from the lake, Jameson said. On Wednesday, Jameson was wrapping up the cleaning and reorganization of the dive gear. Jameson, a township firefighter for more than two decades, said this was his first time with the dive team recovering a dead horse. He said the team had rescued live horses, cows and dogs after they fell through ice and had recovered human bodies, but this was the first dead horse. “It’s an unfortunate incident,” he said. “We’re there to help out the community any way we can.” On Tuesday, Bill Crawford, executive director of the Ohio State Racing Commission, said, “Maybe it’s never happened before in Ohio.” Crawford, who has worked for 23 years for the commission, could not be reached Wednesday for an update on his agency’s review of the incident. Four horses were involved in the accident, as they headed for the finish line, caused when the horse Medoland Brutus broke stride, causing three others to collide in a chain reaction, according to multiple reports. Tracks typically have unfenced retention ponds, like the one in which the horse drowned, where water running off the banked racing surface collects, according to Crawford. Jerry Abner, director of marketing at the racino, issued a statement Tuesday. “An unfortunate accident occurred during the day’s live harness racing meet that resulted in the death of a horse. The horse became spooked and ran into a pond at the track where it drowned despite efforts by MVG staff to save the animal.” Abner declined to respond to further questions Tuesday and could not be reached Wednesday. “The safety of our staff, harness racing drivers and the horses is always of utmost concern at Miami Valley Gaming. We regularly review safety procedures and protocol and will continue to do so,” Monday’s statement continued. Joining the rescue team divers were fire and rescue staff from Turtlecreek, Salem, Harlan and Deerfield townships and the city of Lebanon, according to Jameson. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office was also on the scene. Xenia driver Dan Noble said he was guiding another horse ahead of the accident. He described the harness racing community as a competitive family. “Things do happen, unfortunately,” Noble, a fourth-generation horseman, said. News Center 7 reporter John Bedell contributed to this report. By Lawrence Budd and John Bedell Reprinted with permission of The Dayton Daily News

Star Victorian harness racing reinswoman and trainer Jodi Quinlan is learning to be patient, as she continues on the road to recovery from a freak accident at Tabcorp Park Melton on Christmas Eve. Quinlan, based at Parwan with partner Craig Demmler, was kicked in the side by a horse that took fright in the float parking area. She suffered a lacerated kidney and three fractures to her spine, as well as other minor injuries. “I thought I was doing just fine a while ago, so I got out there and helped with the feeds, then spent the next two days recovering in bed as a result,” Quinlan said. “It just gets so frustrating at times, but I’m fully aware now that you can’t rush rehabilitation! “Probably the most important thing is the doctors are happy with my progress.” Quinlan said there was a great deal of scarring on her kidney which was “split” by the impact. “That was the part that really scared the hell out of me and also caused substantial bleeding,” she said. “The concern now is that if I happened to get a knock to the back or kidney, I’d be in big trouble. So that means nothing to do with horses at all at the moment.” On a positive note, Quinlan said her doctors were surprised with how quickly her injuries were healing. “I spent time in hospital recently where I had numerous tests and x-rays and they were thrilled with my recovery, especially the bad breaks in my back,” she said. “The pain has improved heaps and I can slowly walk again – I love it that I can get up and just potter around.” Quinlan said during the first few weeks of being home and under strict orders to rest she had an electric wheel chair to get about the property. “I’ve been a bit of a handful for Craig and my mum (Cheryl), but without their care I probably wouldn’t be progressing much at all,” she said. “Mum has had to be stern a few times and put the handbrake on with me.” Quinlan said she had received overwhelming support from family, friends, industry participants and others. “I was only speaking with (Ballarat trainer) Anton Golino recently and he stressed the importance of listening to the medical experts. Anton hurt his back very badly and knows first-hand all about rehab,” she said. Although Quinlan is going through a tough patch, she’s certainly experienced some of the sport’s highs, with more than 2300 winners in a sparkling career over 28 years, including the 2004 Miracle Mile on Sokyola. Jodi Quinlan driving Sokyola to victory She’s obviously anxious to get back to helping around the stables and, ultimately, back to training, but said it was up to the doctors to make that call. “I feel for Craig because I had over 20 in work when I got hurt, and he got lobbed with all of those on top of his own team,” she said. “To be honest I haven’t thought much about when I might be okay to get back race driving.  I haven’t ventured that far ahead, but I do know that it’s a fair way off. “I’m not that stressed.  I was finding it harder to get in the car and hit the road to drive to meetings anyway. “I really believe that traveling for drives is behind me now. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it, but I think I’ll be sticking to meetings close to home. “It’s thankfully only the first time I’ve been badly hurt off the racetrack, although I’ve been smashed up plenty of times in races.” Quinlan said her talented trotter Illawong Armstrong, who went to the spelling paddock virtually “the same time I did when I got hurt”, was back in training. “I’m looking forward to seeing him back after a well-earned rest. He’s such a talented horse, who could be anything if he wasn’t so rattle-headed!” Illawong Armstrong has won 18 races from 67 starts for over $214,000 in stakes. “It could well be much more if he just behaved,” Jodi said. “His owners Dr Martin Hartnett and wife Kaye are lovely people and they enjoy seeing him go around. “They are such fantastic stable clients and Martin has been terrific if ever I want to know something about my health problems.” And while Quinlan, like most in the industry, is hoping there’s another good one just around the corner, she joked her next big decision was when to go on holidays to New Zealand. “Natalie Rasmussen is a good friend and she’s been at me to take a break over there.  I reckon it sounds just about ideal for the next step in my rehab!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Los Angeles – This morning, PETA called on the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office to launch an immediate investigation into the deaths of 19 Thoroughbred horses used for racing in just the first eight weeks of the Santa Anita racetrack’s current season. The horses sustained broken bones while racing or training, and PETA believes that they likely had undisclosed injuries that were masked by medications given to keep lame and unfit horses competing—and that while the drugs may be legal, racing injured horses likely violates state anti-cruelty laws. PETA is also calling on the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to investigate the trainers of all the horses who died in the last two months and review all veterinary records. In California, every horse who dies on the track is necropsied—and the results of thousands of these procedures show that the breaks usually occurred where there was already an injury. According to PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, these horses “were invariably doped up and literally run to death.” In a presentation to The Jockey Club, CHRB Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur stated that “90 percent of all horses suffering fatal musculoskeletal injuries racing or training have pre-existing pathology—a prior injury—at the site of their fatal injury.” “If 19 football players died during one season, there would be hell to pay—and it would be an understatement to say that the NFL would be under scrutiny,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “If trainers know that horses are sore or injured, and they’re giving them painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and sedatives to keep them running when they should be resting, the trainers are culpable in these deaths and should be charged with cruelty to animals.” One ugly fact is that most horses are injected with the powerful anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone (aka “bute”) 24 hours before racing—supposedly to prevent swelling. But the drug also masks pain and keeps a lame horse running to his or her detriment. For this reason, injuries that can cause a horse’s leg bones to snap or shatter on the track are missed during pre-race examinations because the horse isn’t feeling or showing the pain of an injury and the track veterinarian doesn’t examine trainers’ records. A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey in March 2018 by a harness racing fan who lost a bet only to find out later that the winning horse had been illegally drugged is pending. Local residents will protest at Santa Anita on Sunday. PETA’s appeal for an investigation is available upon request. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a belief in human supremacy that allows animals to be exploited for human gain. For more information, please visit

A suspect is facing charges after releasing more than a dozen harness racing horses from the Stark County Fairgrounds. More than a dozen racehorses roamed the city’s west side early Monday morning after a man let the animals out of a barn at the Stark County Fairgrounds, police said. One of the horses later died after falling into the icy water at Meyers Lake. Canton Township firefighters tried to rescue the animal, but it drowned before it could be reached. Police and firefighters from several area departments, assisted by volunteers, managed to round up 14 other horses that were released and wandering area streets. Horses let loose from Stark County Fairgrounds, roam through Canton Dale Klick, president of the Stark County Agricultural Society, which operates the fairgrounds, said the 14 horses were returned to the barn and were seen by a veterinarian. Area trainers and owners board horses at the fairgrounds and use the track for training. The animals released Monday morning are harness racing horses that run at Northfield Park. Police arrested Jonathan D. Ford, 28, who formerly lived in Canton and now has a Mansfield address, on charges of breaking and entering, disrupting public service, inducing panic and possession of drugs. Police said Ford had two different types of marijuana when he was apprehended. He was taken to the Stark County Jail. Canton police haven’t determined why Ford released the horses, said Lt. Dennis Garren, public information officer. Police were called to the fairgrounds just before 5:30 p.m. and told the horses had been released. Ford was still on the property. Responding officers said Ford told them the horses wanted or needed to be freed. The horses ran through the neighborhood, police said. Officers and firefighters worked to keep the animals away from main streets, according to police reports. Perry Township police and firefighters and Canton Township firefighters helped with the effort. According to police, it took nearly two hours to get back to the barn. ShaneandRachel Taylor I took this video about 6am heading east on 12th to 13th St.. Just past Myers Lake. Did not want to turn light on camera. They already seemed pretty spooked. Facebook. Commented on The Canton Repository /'s public post Canton Township Fire Department’s water rescue team was called around 7:30 a.m. when a resident reported seeing an animal struggling in Meyers Lake. Firefighters arrived to find the horse swimming about 100 yards off shore. Assistant Chief Rick Morabito said thick ice near the shore made it difficult for the rescue team to get into the water quickly. The horse was treading and moving farther from shore as the rescue team reached open water. Morabito said the team was about 20 yards away when the animal went under. By Edd Pritchard  Reprinted with permission of the GateHouse Media Ohio  Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or On Twitter: @epritchardREP

A Putnam Township harness racing family lost all their horses in a barn fire Sunday morning. Putnam Township Fire Chief Greg Amburgey tells WHMI that his department was called out at about 6:15am to the barn located on property at Hinchey and Burgess Roads. Upon arrival, Amburgey says they found the structure fully engulfed in flames. They immediately began pouring water onto the barn, but it was a complete loss, including the seven horses inside. Amburgey says firefighters had to wake up horse’s owners and that the call was made by a neighbor after they heard an explosion, which was likely a propane tank kept inside the barn. The structure was a complete loss. He says a cause is unknown at this point, but it doesn’t appear to involve foul play. There were no other injuries. The Hamburg, Unadilla and Howell fire departments assisted at the scene of the fire, while Dexter firefighters covered the Putnam Township station. (JK) Reprinted with permission of According to longtime Michigan horsewoman Ann Russell and her daughter, Erin Spychala, lost their entire stable in the early-morning barn fire on Sunday morning (Jan. 13) in Pinckney, Mich. The fire was reported around 5 a.m. and killed all seven horses in the barn, including five Standardbred racehorses, one broodmare and a riding pony. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Russell and Spychala. To go to the GoFundMe page and donate please click here.    

A 70-year-old woman died after she was hit by her own car as she prepared to go to a harness racing event to watch her grandson compete. Mary Brady died in an accident that involved her car near the National Equestrian Centre in Devonshire just before her 18-year-old grandson, Kiwon Waldron, raced in the traditional Boxing Day event. Mr Waldron rushed to the scene of the tragedy on Vesey Street and the organisers were on the verge of cancelling the event when they were told the news. But grief-stricken Mr Waldron insisted the races went ahead and that he would compete as scheduled. Charles Whited Jr, president of the Driving Horse and Pony Club, said Mr Waldron told him: “I want to race. Ineed to do it.” Mr Whited added: “We decided to support him and went ahead.” The incident, which left Mrs Brady trapped under her car, happened about 12.30pm. She was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital but was later pronounced dead by doctors. Police have launched an investigation into the accident. Mr Whited told The Royal Gazette: “We were certainly prepared to call the event off. “But it provided Kiwon the opportunity to be in his element and gave him time to think about everything.” He said that Mrs Brady and her daughter Liz Waldron, along with Mr Waldron’s brother, Kentwan, were strong supporters of harness racing. Mr Whited said: “Mrs Brady has been coming to the races for ever, rain or shine — to hear that it was her, everybody was in disbelief, just devastated. “It’s a huge shock. She was part of the family. We are all walking around with very heavy hearts. “Their family plays a huge part in harness racing in Bermuda, and everybody is just having to deal with it.” The Boxing Day races, which said were “Bermuda’s Kentucky Derby”, has weathered tragedy before. David Mello, a competitor, died of a heart attack in 1996 just after a race. Mr Whited said: “As a result of that, Boxing Day is always tough. To have Mrs Brady pass away on that day certainly compounds that. It is a very close-knit family.” He added that “everybody came running saying to keep an eye on Kiwon, there’s been a very serious accident”. “I ran to see exactly what had happened and the rest is history. It’s a tragedy, based on the information I received, I kind of knew that the outcome was not going to be good.” Mr Whited said: “When something happens within our organisation, it affects all of us. I called the committee together and it was very emotional for us all.” He said that he had spoken to the Waldron family yesterday. Mr Whited added: “It’s starting to sink in and the boys are just coming to grips with it. “Unfortunately, that’s just part of life — we never plan on it. But under these circumstances, it was such a shock. But we have to stick together and be strong for family when they need you. That what we do.” Mr Whited said that a memorial for Mrs Brady would be held. He added: “We will definitely be doing something in memory of Mary Brady. We will take time to recognise her support and her family’s support over all these years.” By Jonathan Bell Reprinted with permission of The Royal Gazette

Many harness racing horseman are currently unhappy with the surface of the Alexandra Park track at the moment, with several going as far as to declare it unsafe in patches and not up to standard. Richard Brosnan the president of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Owners Association is adamant an accident is going to cause serious harm to horse or driver if the state of the Auckland track is not fixed in the near future. Richard says “the track is very inconsistent in some areas and it varies in depth especially on the bends. It needs a good overhaul to bring back to the condition it was in several years ago”, he said. >Harnesslink contacted the following Drivers and here are their comments; David Butcher For me I think they could do a far better job of preparing it for race day. The staff are just going through the motions the same way they have done for the last 30 years. They might need a trip to Australia and see what they do. Brent Mangos The surface is very inconsistent. Soft in places and hard in other places. It was very soft the other night. After race three I told them that they needed to put water on the track which they did and it was much better. Maurice McKendry The surface is not as good as it has been. Philip Butcher For a Metropolitan track the surface is a disgrace. Steven Reid The surface is deep in places and not that good although I only drive occasionally. Todd Mitchell The track is the worst it's ever been, just a disgrace for a leading track. The surface is deep in places and its a shame they didn't take notice of Dan Coon when he developed the track, they did not listen to him about the ongoing maintanence. Peter Ferguson The surface is like concrete underneath and marbles on top. The track is in bad shape for a top track. The Manawatu track is the same. They have a great club like Auckland and doing all the right things in the public arena but not looking after the track is probably the most important thing to have right to protect the horses from breakdown and to protect the drivers from accidents. Scott Phelan Went to a meeting and voiced my concerns once but nothing gets done. Jay Abernethy The track is very inconsistent, loose in places, hard in others. Not good. Todd MacFarlane - Drivers Association Representative The trainers and drivers association have been trying to sort it out. The Auckland Club has already had John Denton up from Christchurch and he is about to come back to help fix the track shortly. This all brings to mind the case in North America about the Anthony Coletta accident at Harrahs Chester Track.  Anthony Coletta was left paralyzed and permanently brain damaged after he was thrown from his sulky and trampled by a horse in a chain-reaction wreck his attorney blamed on poor track conditions. Horse trainers, harness drivers, and the president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association had complained for years — before Coletta’s Nov. 17, 2013, crash — that the track was unsafe, said attorney Bob Mongeluzzi, who represents Coletta’s parents in a 2014 negligence lawsuit they filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. “The complaints included that it was like going from a hard surface, hard pack, to actually like being on the beach, and being in deep sand, and that the horses would lose their footing,” Mongeluzzi said. “These complaints came from many, many drivers over a period of years. These complaints were documented in emails [and] letters. And the tragic fact is that Harrah’s — rather than making the track safer, rather than taking the complaints seriously — ignored them and didn’t do anything about it.” Coletta, now 35, who was engaged to be married at the time of the crash, instead has been declared incapacitated and lives with his parents, Alfred and Rosemary Coletta, in Hammonton, New Jersey. “He’s in a wheelchair. He needs round-the-clock care. He will never be able to care for himself again,” Mongeluzzi said. “He has virtually no memory, very little comprehension of anything you would say to him … Unfortunately, I think where Anthony is [now] is where he will be for the rest of his life — in a wheelchair, brain damage.   Here is the Presidents report to the members of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Owners Association; Firstly I’d like to thank everyone here today. You are here because you care about our industry. This has been a very interesting year for the NZ Owners Association. We in Auckland are only one of three branches still actively operating. The National Body seems in free fall and is not getting up and running. This branch needs to keep up with what’s going on with the National Body. It needs a person with the time and the name who can go around NZ and sell the idea of the importance of Owner Issues and Representation. At last year’s AGM our HRNZ owners rep Trevor Beaton came up and spoke to the members. Unfortunately the promised communication has not eventuated and we don’t get a lot of information. Jess Smith has just taken up a new post with HRNZ on Owners Issues and we must be hopeful that her appointment will make a difference. She has our support. The present good financial position this branch is in can be initially attributed to Rosena Pyers because as our secretary she started operating the cafe at the workouts which we ran here on Saturdays. This has continued on with members of our committee who have run raffles, trophy days and collected our share of workout monies. This association had nothing when I started so we must thank our committees for all the work that has resulted in our healthy position today. Now that the ATC no longer runs Saturday workouts at the Park in favour of Franklin Park we rely mainly on the money that is allocated to us through the North Island Harness Awards. The Ladies running the awards have done an amazing job and we are very grateful to them. I’d like to thank our Secretary and members of our committee for their efforts throughout the year. It is only their dedication that keeps us going and we need to grow stronger with more interest from other owners. Our Owners website is still up and running and any contributions to it are very welcome. We have had a few articles written for us by Barry Lichter which created a lot of interest so we are looking to continue that . Many thanks to Gayleen Mackinnon for her time in uploading the material onto our website. While the ATC is doing many good things for harness racing in Auckland  there needs to be more done for the people who support them. The Board need to improve their PR skills and make themselves known within the industry here. At the moment the Alexandra Park racing surface is not up to standard and needs regular attention to make it fair to all horses. It is too deep on the bends and varies in depth all around. If not fixed it will cause a serious problem sooner or later. Thank you to everyone for all your help and support. May this branch grow stronger and make sure that the National Body gets up and running. If you think HRNZ are going to look after you then look back on the last 12 months and think again. A strong Owners Body and lobby group is imperative. Again thank you for attending and come back next year to a stronger and healthier and more enthusiastic Auckland Trotting Owners branch. Richard Brosnan.

The trial starts this week in a negligence lawsuit filed by the family of a South Jersey harness racing driver who nearly died in a 2013 crash at Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester. Anthony Coletta was left paralyzed and permanently brain damaged after he was thrown from his sulky — the two-wheeled vehicle harnessed to a horse — and trampled by a horse in a chain-reaction wreck his attorney blamed on poor track conditions. Horse trainers, harness drivers, and the president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association had complained for years — before Coletta’s Nov. 17, 2013, crash — that the track was dangerously unsafe, said attorney Bob Mongeluzzi, who represents Coletta’s parents in a 2014 negligence lawsuit they filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. “The complaints included that it was like going from a hard surface, hard pack, to actually like being on the beach, and being in deep sand, and that the horses would lose their footing,” Mongeluzzi said. “These complaints came from many, many drivers over a period of years. These complaints were documented in emails [and] letters. And the tragic fact is that Harrah’s — rather than making the track safer, rather than taking the complaints seriously — ignored them and didn’t do anything about it.” The track hadn’t been resurfaced since it opened in 2006, Mongeluzzi alleged in the lawsuit. Ten months before Coletta’s crash, harness drivers warned Harrah’s management that the track had deteriorated so much that a tragedy could happen, according to a recent court filing. “I would really like you to please do something about the track conditions here at Harrah’s,” trainer and harness driver Anthony DeFrancesco III wrote to Harrah’s security director Charles O’Hala after a December 2012 race. “I would hate to see a driver or horse get really hurt [due] to poor track conditions.” Harness driver Yannick Gingras emailed O’Hala the next day: “The surface yesterday was in very poor condition. It was very hard to see and really dangerous. I am not an expert in track maintenance, but I’ve raced at a large amount of racetracks, and yesterday’s condition [was] one of the worst I have ever seen.” Harrah’s managers responded to such pleas by trading interoffice emails in which they belittled Mike Izzo, who as president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association loudly advocated for track repairs, as “a garbage can,” “a POS” (piece of shit), and “a weak man,” court documents show. “I’ll be diplomatic, but will F with him [Izzo] every chance I get (without putting us in jeopardy of course),” O’Hala wrote in December 2012 to Harrah’s racing director Barry Brown. Harrah’s and its parent company, Caesars Entertainment Corp. of Las Vegas, did not respond to requests for comment. Coletta, now 35, who was engaged to be married at the time of the crash, instead has been declared incapacitated and lives with his parents, Alfred and Rosemary Coletta, in Hammonton, New Jersey. “He’s in a wheelchair. He needs round-the-clock care. He will never be able to care for himself again,” Mongeluzzi said. “He has virtually no memory, very little comprehension of anything you would say to him … Unfortunately, I think where Anthony is [now] is where he will be for the rest of his life — in a wheelchair, brain damage. By â€‹Dana DiFilippo   Reprinted with permission of the WHYY site

Grand Circuit pacing harness racing superstar Hectorjayjay is likely to be ruled out of the Allied Express Victoria Cup and Perth Inter Dominion after a lesion was discovered. Part-owner Mick Harvey said the syndicate was shattered their David Aiken-trained superstar would likely be sidelined for an extended period, having suffered what they believed was a small tear in his front off-side leg. "Everyone involved with the horse is devastated," Mr Harvey said. "I am also sad for the public, because in my eyes he is the most exciting pacer in Australia and had it all in front of him. "This hurts big time, but we just hope the further scans come up pretty good early next week and he comes through." Winner of July's $200,540 2017 Ubet Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship, the son of Dream Away, Hectorjayjay has amassed more than $1.1 million in stakes and owners hoped the six-year-old would go one better in December's Inter Dominion, having placed second last year. "He's never looked better or been better and was working toward the Victoria Cup," Mr Harvey said. "But in the third phase of his trackwork he didn't pull up well and scans revealed a lesion." Yesterday's grim discovery will be verified with further scans likely to take place early next week. "He will have a more detailed scan when the swelling goes down. The early prognosis is he will be out for six to 12 months. It's one of those things that takes time for it to rehab." Harness Racing Victoria

Seaford, DE --- A fire that started around 7 a.m. Monday (Aug. 7) in the main barn at Trotter Farm, known to many as Dillards, in Seaford, Del., (Seaford is a city located along the Nanticoke River in Sussex County, Delaware) killed five harness racing racehorses trained by Mike and Brittany Bounds. They were 8-year-old pacing gelding In Front Charlie p,1:53f ($158,523), 2-year-old pacing filly My Lil Tater Tot, 2-year-old pacing filly Gangster Granny, 3-year-old pacing filly Standtuecemewin and 2-year-old pacing colt Ezekiel Kandu. Seven horses were rescued from the barn, which had housed horses for a handful of local trainers. by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent       

Laurel, DE --- Maryland harness racing driver Ricky Still was injured while driving at Ocean Downs in July. With a broken kneecap and femur, Still is facing significant medical bills and won't be able to work for some time. His brother has launched a Go Fund Me page on his behalf, which can be reached at this link.

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