TORONTO, CA March 5 - An impressive group of 77 sophomore including rookie standouts Hes Watching, Arthur Blue Chip and Luck Be Withyou have been nominated to the 31st edition of the Pepsi North America Cup. One of harness racing's most prestigious events, the $1 million race is set for Saturday, June 14 at Mohawk Racetrack. Headlining this year's group of nominees is the Dan Patch Award winner and undefeated Hes Watching, who set two world records last season along with six track records for trainer and co-owner David Menary. The son of American Ideal boasts a 1:50 speed badge along with $291,722 in earnings. Arthur Blue Chip, who banked $400,120 last season along with an O'Brien Award, was the richest rookie-pacing colt of 2013. The son of first-crop sire Shadow Play amassed a 6-2-1 record from 11 starts last season. Luck Be Withyou, the 2013 Breeders Crown champion, is also on the list and one of the early favourites for the race. The Pepsi North America Cup eliminations are set for Saturday, June 7. Sustaining payments will be due on March 15, April 15 and May 15. The complete list of this year's Pepsi NA Cup eligibles are listed below: AGADIR HANOVER ALWAYS B MIKI ARI ALLSTAR ARTHUR BLUE CHIP AVALANCHE HANOVER BEAT THE DRUM BEST OF THE BUNCH BONDI HANOVER BOOM BOOM BALLYKEEL BRODYS SCRAPPER BUGGER BRUISER BUSHWACKER CABANA BOY HANOVER CAPITAL ACCOUNT CARRACCI HANOVER CRAFTY MASTER DANCIN HILL DEVIL'S ARCADE DOO WOP HANOVER EARTHSHAKER EWALD HANOVER FOR A BETTOR TIME FORT KNOX GOLD ROCKS HERE COMES WILLIAM HES WATCHING IDEAL COWBOY IDEAL MAGIC IDEAL SHADOW IDEALBEACH HANOVER IM DRINKIN DOUBLES JACKATTACK JET AIRWAY JK ENDOFANERA JIGGLE IT JOURNEYMAN LET'S DRINK ON IT LIMELIGHT BEACH LUCK BE WITH YOU LUCKY KING LYONS SOMEWHERE MAJOR DEAGAN MAJOR TRICK MARCO DE VIE MCWICKED MELMERBY BEACH MOLIERE HANOVER NAKED CITY NATIONAL DEBT ODDS ON RHODONITE ON GOLDEN Ponder PLAY IT AGAIN SAM P L HELLCAT PARNU HANOVER SHADIOS SILVERHILL SHADOW SMACK TALK SOME MAJOR BEACH SOMESTARSOMEWHERE SOMETIMES SAID SOMEWHERE FANCY SURPRISE HANOVER SWEET BEACH SWEET TALKIN CLYDE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT TELLITLIKEITIS THAT'S MY OPINION THREE OF CLUBS UNLOCKED WACO BRUISER WEATHER HANOVER WELL WRITTEN WESTERN VINTAGE WHISKEY N PIE WHISTLE JIMMY K WICKED BUSINESS WINDS OF CHANGE by Greg Gangle, for WEG
After joint consultation Jim Simpson, President of Hanover Shoe Farms and majority owner Jeff Snyder have decided to retire Cam's Card Shark from active stallion duty at Hanover. "The horse has been good to everybody associated with him from the day he was foaled" Simpson said. "He has now reached the stage in life where it is both difficult and dangerous for him and those around him to mount the phantom mare or even to be collected using a live mare". Cam's Card Shark is a foal of 1991. As a two year old he was lightly campaigned under the guidance of trainer Micky McGivern. His wins at two included the Lou Babic Memorial and two New Jersey Sires Stakes. At 3, he was transferred to the Bill Robinson Stable. He was voted "Horse of the Year 1994". In addition he garnered both O'Brien and Nova awards for Horse of the Year. His wins at three include the $1,000,000 Meadowlands Pace, The North America Cup, the Art Rooney Memorial, the Adios, the Messenger, the New Jersey Classic and the Miller Memorial. He was syndicated at the end of 1994 and retired with two and three year old earnings of $2,498,204.. He entered the stallion ranks at Hanover's New Jersey Farm in 1995. His stallion accomplishments are many and varied He has sired ten millionaires including five who have earned in excess of two million dollars. He is credited with three Little Brown Jug winners and two winners of The Meadowlands Pace.His most renowned performers have been Shark Gesture, Bettors Delight, Four Starzzz Shark, Royalflush Hanover, Holborn Hanover, Roll With Joe, Village Jolt and Million Dollar Cam. Of special note is that his son Bettors Delight is the fifth great stallion from a paternal line that follows from Meadow Skipper, through Most Happy Fella, to Cam Fella, to Cams Card Shark and now Bettors Delight. This is a feat unprecedented in both Standardbred and Thoroughbred breeding. Its quite possible that the line will be extended through his grandson Betterthancheddar. Snyder said that Cams Card Shark will live out his remaining days "which I hope will be many" at Hanover Shoe Farms. From Hanover Shoe Farms
Cranbury, NJ... The initial payment deadline for eligibility to more than 137 stake events at 16 different tracks, headlined by the $1 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands on August 2 and the $5 million Breeders Crown events at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ, on November 21 and 22, is fast approaching. Because of the federal holiday on Monday, payments for all Hambletonian-Society serviced Stakes must be postmarked by midnight on Tuesday, February 18, per USTA rule 12, section 4. A host of new stakes in Ohio will be administered by the Hambletonian Society, including the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park for three-year-old colt pacers, and a pair of open events for both gaits at Miami Valley Gaming & Racing and Hollywood at Dayton Raceway. The inaugural $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity for four-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands is new on the stakes calendar this year and the four Historic races for sophomores are moving to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Yonkers Raceway has guaranteed purses of $500,000 each for their Triple Crown events of the Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and the Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old colt trotters. The Hambletonian Society services 137 of harness racing's richest and most prestigious events and provides one-stop shopping for your staking needs. The web site, Hambletonian.org, contains all the tools and information necessary to stake your horse yourself. Race conditions, payment forms and much more information is now available online. For more information call the Society offices at 609-371-2211. Races with February 15 payments due: • Delvin Miller Adios and Adioo Volo Filly • Arden Downs • Ben Franklin Free For All • Breeders Crown • Cane Pace and Shady Daisy • Carl Erskine for 3-year-old trotters (was Oliver Trot) • Centaur Trotting Classic FFA (was Pride in Progress) • Circle City 3-year-olds • Cleveland Classic and Courageous Lady • Currier & Ives Trot and Filly Trot • Dexter Cup and Lady Suffolk Trot • Earl Beal Jr Memorial Trot • Hambletonian & Hambletonian Oaks • Hambletonian Maturity • Max Hempt Memorial & James M. Lynch Filly Division • Historic Series • Hoosier Park Pacing Derby (was Indiana Pacing Derby) • The Horseman • Kentuckiana Stallion Management Pace for 2YO Fillies • Kentuckiana Stallion Management Trot for 2YO Fillies • Keystone Classics 3-year-olds • Landmark Stakes • Matron Series 3-year-olds • Messenger Stake & Lady Maud • Miami Valley Distaff Pace for Mares • Miami Valley Distaff Trot for Mares • Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers • Monument Circle 3-year-olds • PA All Stars 3-year-olds • Progress Pace • W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes • Art Rooney Pace & Lismore Filly Pace • John Simpson Memorial Colt & Filly Stakes • Tompkins Memorial & Geers Stake • Yonkers Trot & Lady Suffolk Filly Trot by Moira Fanning for Hambletonian Society
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
On Wednesday, December 18, Standardbred Canada announced the finalists for the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. The winners will be announced at the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala on Saturday, February 8, 2014. This year marks the 25th edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Nine past O’Brien Award winners are looking to add to their trophy collections and are either defending titles or are nominated in a new division. These past winners include: Anndrovette, Bee A Magician, Foiled Again, I Luv The Nitelife, Intimidate, Mister Herbie, Sylvain Filion, Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms. Sylvain Filion will defend the Driver of the Year title against first-time nominee Doug McNair. Filion, 44, of Milton, ON, is currently the leading money winning driver on the WEG circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk and Woodbine. With 281 victories, he is closing in on Scott Zeron for the title as WEG’s top dash winning driver. He has a good shot of achieving that as Zeron has moved to The Meadowlands. A career winner of 7,477 races, Filion recently surpassed $6 million in earnings in 2013 in addition to going over $80 million in his career. He is also the regular driver for O’Brien finalist, Intimidate. Doug McNair, 24, of Guelph, ON, is enjoying a productive year as he’s driven 292 winners to go along with $5.6 million in purse earnings, his second best year on record ever for money. McNair was the regular driver for O’Brien finalists Precocious Beauty and Love Canal. There will be a new name beside the Trainer of the Year category as Gregg McNair and Richard Moreau are looking for their first National title. McNair, 52, of Guelph, ON, is en route to a career year and sits second in the Canadian trainer earnings standings. McNair conditions O’Brien finalist Precocious Beauty and to date has trained 109 winners and horses to $3.1 million in purse earnings. Moreau, 49, of Puslinch, ON, was a finalist in this category last year. The conditioner has been a mainstay on the WEG circuit for the last decade. He leads the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Kelly Hoerdt, 47, of Beaumont, AB, receives his third nomination for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship and he is up against first time nominee Paul MacKenzie. Kelly Hoerdt is a successful horsemen who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. He’s been training in Alberta on and off for 25 years. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in earnings at Alberta Downs this year. He’s currently in the top five trainers at Northlands for both wins and money and sits in sixth at Northlands in the driving charts. Hoerdt has 66 wins and $487,528 in earnings as a driver and 81 wins and $616,517 as a trainer. Paul MacKenzie, 52, of Puslinch, ON, has been driving and training for over 35 years and has managed to be one of the top B circuit drivers for decades. The Charlottetown native is the all time leader in driving wins at Flamboro Downs. In 2013 he was the third leading dash winner at Grand River and in the top 10 drivers at Flamboro. Paul drove 169 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $1 million in 2013. He didn’t focus much on training. Unfortunately MacKenzie suffered some injuries at Grand River in late October and has not driven since. Precocious Beauty and Shes Da Bomb, both sired by Art Major, are the finalists in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly category. Precocious Beauty won 7 of 11 races, $462,912 and took a mark of 1:50.1 which happened to tie a World Record for the mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the $451,000 Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. Shes Da Bomb had 5 wins in 8 starts and earnings of $216,056. She paced to her season’s record of 1:50.3 at The Red Mile. Both fillies captured divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes and Champlain at Mohawk. Arthur Blue Chip and Luck Be Withyou didn’t battle each other much on the racetrack but the two will vie for the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt title. Arthur Blue Chip scored 6 wins in 11 starts, bankrolled $400,120 and took a mark of 1:51.2 in an elimination of the Metro at Mohawk before being scratched from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya. Luck Be Withyou’s victory in the Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs was the highlight of a 40 year partnership between owner John Craig and trainer Bill Cass. Luck Be Withyou had 5 wins in 11 races and $363,402 in purse earnings. He took a mark of 1:50 in an elimination of the Breeders Crown, and also scored a victory in a division of the Champlain at Mohawk. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore and looks to add another O’Brien to her trophy case. She is up against Love Canal in the three-year-old pacing filly division. I Luv The Nitelife boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner-up finish in the American National. Love Canal put together a record of 4-3-1 in 13 races, earned $344,693 and took a mark of 1:50.1 at Mohawk in the Canadian Breeders Championship one week after her win in the elimination. She also had victories in the final of the SBOA Stake and an Ontario Sires Stakes event. Sunshine Beach and Vegas Vacation are finalists in the sophomore pacing colt category. Sunshine Beach hit for 16 top three finishes, including eight wins in 20 starts for earnings of $913,702. He defeated Captaintreacherous in the Battle of the Brandywine in a 1:47.4 world record mile at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in August and was a runner-up to the division leader in the Breeders Crown. He was also victorious in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and the Progress Pace. Vegas Vacation put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 in 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses with major wins in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Empire Breeders Classic, Simcoe Stakes, Little Brown Jug and the Matron Stakes. He was also a close runner-up in the Hempt Memorial, the Tattersalls Pace and the Adios. Anndrovette is looking to defend her crown as Canada’s Older Pacing Mare against the talented Rocklamation. Anndrovette is looking for her third consecutive trophy as the country’s top pacing mare following a season where she scored 7 wins and bankrolled $564,827. She took a mark of 1:48 at Mohawk in the Roses Are Red Final -- a Canadian record -- and also posted a win in the elimination. She won three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, an elimination of the Breeders Crown and finished third in the final. Rocklamation won 5 of 21 races and earned $546,217 on the season while posting a mark of 1:49.3 in the Golden Girls at The Meadowlands. She won two legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and captured the Milton Stakes at Mohawk. A Rocknroll Dance and Foiled Again are the Older Pacing Horse finalists. Multiple World Champion A Rocknroll Dance was the first horse in harness racing history to pace three consecutive sub-1:48 wins. Those scores came this year in an invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (1:47.4f) and in the elimination and final of the Canadian Pacing Derby (1:47.3-1:47.2). He established World Records as a four-year-old on both five-eighths and half-mile tracks. His 1:49.1 world mark on a half was taken winning the Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield over Foiled Again, and his 1:47.4 world mark on a five-eighths came in an invitational race at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He defeated the best older pacers of the year in winning the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk in track and Canadian record time. A Rocknroll Dance has been retired from racing and will begin his stud career in 2014 at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final, for his third straight million-dollar campaign. Following Foiled Again's final start of the year, trainer Ron Burke noted that the iron tough pacer has exceeded his expectations with all of his accomplishments. He earned $1.4 million on the year, while surpassing the $6 million career marker and closed the season sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at The Meadowlands. Miss Aultsville and Riveting Rosie are nominees in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Miss Aultsville established a stakes, track and Canadian record of 1:59.2 for two-year-old trotting fillies on a half-mile track in an Ontario Sires Stakes event, one of her two season wins. She earned just over $151,000 on the season. Riveting Rosie closed out her 2013 campaign with six wins, one second and one third in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Riveting Rosie’s major victories were the Peaceful Way Final, The Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain. Father Patrick and Muscle Matters will face off in the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division. Father Patrick topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Stakes. Muscle Matters was lightly raced but earned $218,800 in 6 starts, half of which he won. He took his mark of 1:55.4 in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. Bee A Magician, who was perfect in her 2013 season, is up against Motown Muscle in the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly division. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her 2013 races and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore season. The invincible filly took a mark of 1:51 at The Meadowlands and won the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Motown Muscle enjoyed a productive 2013 campaign, hitting for 6 wins in 14 races and $331,423 in purse money. She took a mark of 1:53.4 at Mohawk and racked up wins in a division of the Casual Breeze, Canadian Breeders Championship elimination and final, and several Ontario Sires Stakes events. Flanagan Memory and Your So Vain are the sophomore trotting colt nominees. Flanagan Memory won seven of 11 races for $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Your So Vain was a winner of 5 of 13 and $382,105. He posted a mark of 1:52.4 in winning an elimination of the Canadian Trotting Classic. He also added wins in the Simcoe Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes, and a heat of the Kentucky Futurity to his resume. Bax Of Life and Maven are the Older Trotting Mare finalists. Bax of Life won 4 of 23 races and earned just over $155,000. She took a mark of 1:52.2 at The Red Mile. She was a nose winner in a Breeders Crown elimination and second in the Miss Versatility. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She swept the Miss Versatility Trotting Series including a 1:51.4 World Record in the final at Delaware. She also added wins in an elimination and the final of the Armbro Flight and Allerage to her credentials. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her coffers. Intimidate and Mister Herbie are the Older Trotting Horse finalists. Both horses were O’Brien winners in 2012 – Intimidate as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year and Mister Herbie as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse. Intimidate stepped up to the Older Trotting Horse ranks to win 7 of 9 on the year and bank $176,000. He won several Preferred events and took a mark of 1:51 in the Credit Winner at Vernon Downs. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in races including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067. Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms are nominated in the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, and are both previous winners of this award. McIntosh’s 98 starters have accounted for 228 wins and just over $2 million in earnings in 2013, while Seelster-bred horses have posted 254 victories and $2.1 million in purse earnings. In the Future Star Category, the finalists for this first-time award are Travis Cullen and Patrick Shepherd. Horseman Travis Cullen, 21 of Edmonton, AB, closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the last day of racing while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year of over $366,000 in trainer earnings and over $577,000 in driving earnings, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. His 2013 total of 109 training wins in Canada places him fourth among all trainers while his .430 UTRS leads the nation. Patrick Shepherd, 21, of Lynden, ON, trained 112 winners and horses to $542,799 in earnings. His Canadian win total ranks as the third best among all conditioners, as does his .389 training average. One of the 24 horse nominees will be honoured as Canada’s Horse of the Year. The winners will be announced at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, February 8, 20114, at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown, PE. The complete list of finalists and owners is as follows. 2013 O’Brien Award Nominees Pacers Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer Precocious Beauty - owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Shes Da Bomb – owned by F. Bellino And Sons LLC, Bronxville, NY Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer Arthur Blue Chip – owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Luck Be Withyou – owned by John H. Craig, North York, ON Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer I Luv The Nitelife - owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Love Canal - owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc – Robert Cooper Stables LLC, Boca Raton, FL - J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer Sunshine Beach - owned by Hudson Standardbred Stb Inc., Hudson- Conrad Leber, Montreal QC – Diane Bertrand, Edmonton, AB Vegas Vacation – owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON Older Pacing Mare Anndrovette - owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Rocklamation - owned by J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY – Stable 45, Boynton Beach, FL- Our Horse Centre Stables, Clifton Park, NY Older Pacing Horse A Rocknroll Dance - owned by A Rocknroll Dance Stable, Wauseon, OH Foiled Again - owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL Trotters Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter Miss Aultsville - owned by Old Aultsville Stable, Mississauga, ON – Pealer Pen, Camp Hill, PA – John Kopas Stables Ltd. Milton, ON Riveting Rosie - owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter Father Patrick - owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Muscle Matters - owned by Nunzio Vena, Bolton – Santo Vena, Brampton – Benoit Baillargeon, Rockwood – Richard Thompson, London, ON Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter Bee A Magician – owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Motown Muscle - owned by Bet Max Stables Inc., Casco – Benenati Inc., Clinton Twp, MI Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter Flanagan Memory - owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Your So Vain – owned by P G Van Camp Stables, Port Perry, ON Older Trotting Mare Bax Of Life – owned by Jerry Duford – Joanne S Wray, Campbellville, ON Maven - owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL Older Trotting Horse Intimidate – owned by Judith Farrow, Hemmingford – Luc Blais, Lochaber Ouest, QC Mister Herbie – owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY People Awards O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Paul MacKenzie, Puslinch, ON Armstrong Breeder of the Year Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Windsor, ON Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion, Campbellville, ON Doug McNair, Guelph, ON Trainer of the Year Gregg McNair, Guelph, ON Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB Patrick Shepherd, Lynden, ON
WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 1, 2013 — On Nov. 1, 1983, The Meadows introduced The Meadows Racing Network, a bold new vehicle to bring live racing into the homes of viewers. When it debuted, the MRN likely was the most extensive live racing show in North America. Friday is the 30th anniversary of the historic launch, and a few things have changed. The Meadows has expanded into a full-service entertainment destination called The Meadows Racetrack & Casino while the MRN is now Meadows Live!. Instead of reaching cable and satellite subscribers only, Meadows Live! now is available at simulcast sites across the continent and can be streamed in real time by computer and phone. But the purposes of the venture — to promote harness racing and enable fans to enjoy the sport via platforms they choose — haven’t changed. Hall of Famer Roger Huston, who has hosted the network for all 30 years, notes its success in creating and retaining fans. “In those early days,” Huston recalls, “our signal wasn’t scrambled, so anyone with a satellite dish could pick us up. I remember getting a letter from a viewer in Alaska and hearing from a viewer in Germany who picked us up at a U.S. Air Force base. “Many tracks have shows now, but I don’t think anyone does it like we do. We’re constantly providing information and updates and not wasting time with music. I think we’re still the model.” Sophisticated as Meadows Live! is now, its first few shows had their awkward moments. Jerry Connors, today an executive with the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission, joined Huston as co-host for the first two shows. His memories of the experience, which first appeared in The Meadows’ Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal, are below. Snow, White Loafers & a Roast Beef Sandwich — the Birth of the MRN By Jerry Connors When I think of the beginnings of the Meadows Racing Network, three images pop into my mind: white snow, white loafers and a roast beef and cheddar sandwich. As you will read in the rest of this celebration of The Meadows’ first 50 years, the track has always been in the forefront of racing innovations and experiments, starting with the Tartan Brand Surface. One of the reasons The Meadows has achieved such a lofty reputation among the trotting set is that it has not been afraid to try new things. As is to be expected with inventions, not all have turned out perfectly, but certainly enough have been successful and a few spectacularly so. Among them is the Meadows Racing Network, now called Meadows Live!, which has had a dramatic, positive impact, not only on the local scene but throughout all racing as well. As The Meadows itself, the MRN this year is celebrating an anniversary, its 30th. Meadows Live! is a sharp, polished show, but during the first two MRN broadcasts, for which I was co-host, we were a little rough around the edges. In 1983, The Meadows was determined to maximize the capacity of its new phone-betting system and, as noted, The Meadows seldom did anything in a small way. So the track planned to simulcast the races every night — viewers would need a special decoder to pull the scrambled signal from the sky — on the theory that people would wager, and wager more, on races they saw, which proved to be correct. A dry run of the system was conducted on 1983 Adios Day (which included Ralph Hanover’s win and the famous Steeplejack/It’s Fritz contest), and finally the target date of Tuesday, Nov. 1 was picked. I had done some work with The Meadows in my capacity then with the USTA, so I had the honor of being alongside Roger Huston for the ship’s christening. Preparations were mostly complete when the first of November hit. The camera and production crew were well trained and capable; commercials had been sold for airing between traces (more on that later), and the co-hosts seemed to be in sync. One thing out of sync, however, was the construction of the booth from where the broadcasters would work. It wasn’t so bad that the booth had an open window in front of the broadcasters so they could see the racetrack — that had been planned. What was a little disconcerting, though, was sitting in the new work area at 5:45 PM, getting ready for the shiny debut, with the sounds of power saws and hammers surrounding you. Yes, it was literally that close in making the box inhabitable and workable for the maiden voyage of the Starship Meadows. The other thing out of sync was the snow. Remember, this was Nov. 1, and we were facing an open window for broadcasting. You’d watch the race, then turn back to your program on the counter in front of you – and you’d have to brush snow off the program before making your notes or marking times. Perhaps it was the pervasive cold that led to my most bizarre comment that first broadcast. As I said, the Meadows staff had sold spots to advertisers — all four of them. Which meant that the same set of four 15-second commercials ran, in the same order, after every race. (Bob Prince was a pitchman for one of them.) One of the advertisers, and the last of the four shown, was Arby’s, which was introducing the beef-and-cheddar-sandwich-on-an-onion-roll that is still popular 30 years later. Roger and I had eaten before the broadcast, but it was getting on towards 9:30-10:00, and I was watching that commercial and salivating after every race. Finally, when we came back from commercial after maybe the 10th race, the very first words the audience heard were those of the whiney co-host: “Roger, I’m hungry!” Never did get that beef-and-cheddar, but one appetite I learned to curb that night was being an amateur judge on air. There was an inquiry for bumping wheels in one of the races, and as we showed a replay of the incident, I saw what I thought was contact and blurted out, “And that’s where it happened.” Roger turned his mic off, turned mine off, and calmly noted, “You can’t say that while the inquiry is ongoing; it can reflect on the judges.” And he flipped the switches back and went on. Roger was absolutely right, of course. Having worked for racetracks, I should have thought of that myself. Even though I was right about the point of contact and the subsequent disqualification, I was wrong in the bigger sense, and I’ve become very, very cautious about opening my big trap when inappropriate. The track was dark Wednesday but was back racing the next day, and I stayed on to co-host the second night. The weather had turned much warmer, and Roger, ever the fashion plate (How many announcers had a track-financed clothing allowance in 1983?), had slipped into a pair of white loafers for that evening’s broadcast. It was a curious choice, since viewers wouldn't see Roger’s shoes . . . unless he stuck his feet out the open broadcast window and dangled them a good eight inches over the edge. That’s exactly what he did. I caught it at the last moment and alerted the crew, and the first picture back from commercial was surely one of the most unusual ever at a racetrack — a disembodied pair of socks and ankles, with unquestionably white loafers (tassels too, I believe) at the end, all in sharp focus with the background deliberately fuzzed out. Quite the memorable shot. I’ve had the good fortune to be on the MRN many times in the intervening years, although not as frequently recently, since my job at the PA Harness Racing Commission makes it unwise for me to offer public selections (possible perception of conflict). I’ve loved every minute of it and am grateful for the opportunity. And I think everyone in racing should be grateful that, from the first, the MRN was entrusted to the hands — and “Voice” — of Roger Huston. I can’t think of anyone else who could have had the stamina and quality to make the MRN the class operation that it has been for three decades. The show and Roger were tailor-made for each other, and both have profited enormously from the partnership. by Evan Pattak for The Meadows
HARRISBURG PA, October 15 , 2013 The Keystone Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association is pleased to announce the first inductees into the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Hall of Fame. They are: BOWMAN BROWN SR. ROGER HUSTON MAX C. HEMPT DELVIN MILLER DAVE PALONE ED RYAN LAWRENCE SHEPPARD JOHN SIMPSON SR. PAUL E. SPEARS MARY MC CUNE (veteran) All but Mary McCune were elected by the membership of the Keystone Chapter from a list of candidates prepared by the Chapters Hall of Fame Committee. This Committee also selected Ms. McCune as a Veteran honoree by the Hall for her achievements in the sulky sport before the modern pari-mutuel era. This format will be used for the first couple years of selecting inductees; after a large part of the sports modern pioneers have been honored, the intake each season will be smaller. A Keystone Chapter website, focusing on honoring this initial Pennsylvania Hall of Fame class, is currently under construction. There will be ceremonies at tracks and other important gatherings honoring Hall of Famers of a particular area in the next few months. A search for a place for a permanent display honoring the Pennsylvania Harness Hall of Famers would benefit from any and all suggestions. Here are brief biographies of the inaugural Pennsylvania Harness Hall of Famers (much longer bios, giving more idea of the depth and breadth these Hall of Famers had on Keystone harness racing, will appear on the shortly-following website): BOWMAN BROWN SR. President of the important trade publication The Harness Horse; vice-president of the sales company holding the huge annual autumn auction in Harrisburg PA; breeder of top sires Hickory Smoke (a Hambletonian winner) and Hickory Pride. ROGER HUSTON The Voice of Harness Racing; racecaller and TV host at The Meadows racetrack; announcer for the Little Brown Jug and Grand Circuit Week in Delaware OH; master statistician; probably the most-traveled and busiest racing announcer in the sports history. MAX C. HEMPT Founder and operator of Hempt Farms, the Home of the Keystones, with the likes of Horse of the Year Keystone Ore going on to be champions. Owned Hambletonian winner Stenographer. Influential and longtime member of the sports leading organizations. A 68 talented amateur driver, DELVIN MILLER Mr. Harness Racing, Harness Racings Good Will Ambassador. Master horsemen in eight different decades. Founded The Meadows. Stood Adios, arguably the sports most influential sire. Introduced many celebrities to the sport. Suggested Meadowlands be a mile track. Friend to all. DAVE PALONE - The leading dashwinning driver of all-time in North America, with over 16,000 visits to the winners circle, and fast closing in on the world record of the German Heinz Wewering, which will likely be about 17,000 when Dave goes even. Has led the Meadows driving ranks for over two decades. ED RYAN A leader in the home construction business, Ryan and business associate Joe Hardy purchased The Meadows in the 1970s, and under Ryans stewardship The Meadows helped usher in the eras of telephone wagering and television broadcasting. Also a noted amateur driver. LAWRENCE SHEPPARD The pioneer of the Hanover Shoe Farms dynasty, Simpson began with the 1926 purchase of the Cox disbursal to acquire the top broodmares and, later, stallions, to build the leading Standardbred nursery in the world. President (1950-1958) of the U.S. Trotting Association. JOHN SIMPSON SR. A top-level horseman when joining the Hanover team as trainer/driver, Simpson continued to produce champions, and then became Lawrence Sheppards personal choice to take on oversight of the entire Hanover dynasty. Sire of two national Hall of Famers, John Jr. and Jim. PAUL E. SPEARS Parlayed his entre to Hanover as an accountant into progressively-more responsible positions in Hanover administration, rising to the farms President and Chairman, and in the Sales Company management. The most successful high-level amateur driver of the last 50 years. MARY MC CUNE (Veteran) A driving force behind the promotion of amateur racing across the country for the first half of the 20th century. Set a world record to wagon for an amateur, the 2:05 with the trotter Mignola when Ms. McCune was only 17 years old. by Jerry Conners for the Keystone Chapter USHWA
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
Freehold, NJ --- The Captain is still the king, but he faces another tough challenge in Saturday’s Tattersalls Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers at Lexington’s Red Mile. Fourteen horses entered the Tattersalls and the field was divided into two seven-horse divisions. Captaintreacherous, the defending Pacer of the Year and sport’s top-ranked pacer this season, will compete in the first of the two $215,500 splits -- along with the only horse to beat The Captain this year, Sunshine Beach, and Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation. Captaintreacherous, Vegas Vacation and Sunshine Beach are harness racing’s three richest 3-year-old male pacers this season. Vegas Vacation drew post one while Captaintreacherous got five and Sunshine Beach got seven. “They sure stacked them up,” said Mark Steacy, who trains Sunshine Beach. “It would have been nice to stay away from them until the Breeders Crown, but you can’t do anything about that. Plus we drew the outside post; I guess (driver) John Campbell will just have to work his magic.” Sunshine Beach handed Captaintreacherous his only loss in 10 races this year when he beat The Captain by a nose in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine on Aug. 17 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The time of 1:47.4 equaled the world record for 3-year-old pacers on a five-eighths-mile track. “Yeah, but he’s got about six (wins) up on us,” Steacy said with a laugh. “I’d like nothing more than to beat him again, but we want to win every time we race no matter what horses are in there.” Captaintreacherous won his three previous encounters with Sunshine Beach this year, including in the $980,000 North America Cup and $635,750 Meadowlands Pace. He also has four wins over Vegas Vacation, including the $360,211 Cane Pace. “It shapes up like a great race,” Captaintreacherous’ trainer Tony Alagna said. “I don’t look at it like we have to beat this horse or that horse; I just want my horse to go out there and race to his capabilities and he never lets me down.” Vegas Vacation, whose last three setbacks to Captaintreacherous have come by a combined total of less than a length, comes to the Tattersalls off his straight heats victory in the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 19 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. “I’m still the underdog,” Vegas Vacation’s trainer Casie Coleman said. “(Captaintreacherous) is still the king of the castle, but we’re going to try to take him off the throne. We’re going to give it our best shot.” Captaintreacherous and Sunshine Beach, who both skipped the Little Brown Jug, won Bluegrass Stakes divisions last weekend at The Red Mile. Captaintreacherous, who has earned $1.50 million this season, won by 1-1/2 lengths over Beach Memories in a career-best 1:47.1 with regular driver Tim Tetrick at the lines. “I was very happy with how he raced last week,” said Alagna, who trains the colt for the ownership group Captaintreacherous Racing. “And he’s trained back really well.” Sunshine Beach, who has won six of 13 races and $543,135 this season for owners Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand, captured his Bluegrass division by a neck over Resistance Futile in 1:48.2. It was his first start since a second-place finish to Vegas Vacation in a division of the Simcoe Stakes on Sept. 7. “For a horse that hadn’t raced in three weeks, I thought he was very courageous,” Steacy said. “Resistance Futile is a nice horse with a good kick and he was able to fight him off. I hope he’s a little bit better this week.” Vegas Vacation has won nine of 15 races this year and earned $806,287 for owners West Wins Stable, Adriano Sorella, Anthony Beaton and Phyllis Saunders. He has won three in a row and five of his last six starts. “(Captaintreacherous) won in (1):47.1 last week, so he’s obviously awesome,” Coleman said. “But I think my guy is awesome right now too.” The second Tattersalls division includes Adios winner Sunfire Blue Chip, New York Sire Stakes champion Fool Me Once, and North America Cup runner-up Twilight Bonfire. Saturday’s card also features two divisions of the Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers and four divisions of the International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. First race post time is 1 p.m. by Ken Weingartner for HRC
CAMPBELLVILLE, September 16 – The 68th edition of the prestigious Little Brown Jug will be taking place this Thursday in Delaware, Ohio. Nineteen sophomore pacers will contest three eliminations with many Canadian connections taking part in the action. Vegas Vacation, the early favourite to win the ‘Jug,’ is trained by Casie Coleman of Cambridge and owned by West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Adriano Sorella of Milton, Phyllis Saunders of Hamilton and Anthony Beaten of Waterdown. Coleman will be looking for back-to-back Jug championships after capturing last year’s edition with Michaels Power, driven by Scott Zeron from Oakville. The star pacer has banked $554,310 this season along with a 7-3-1 record from 13 starts in 2013. The son of Bettors Delight is fresh off a victory in the Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk. The $32,000 yearling purchase also captured the Empire Breeders Championship and finished second in the Hempt and Adios this season. He will be driven by Brian Sears from post five in the first elimination. He has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favourite. Coleman’s other entry, Lucan Hanover, will begin from post four for driver David Miller. The son of Western Ideal took his 1:48.3 life’s best in the New Jersey Classic earlier this season at The Meadowlands. The swift pacer has a 6-1-2 record from 12 starts this season along with $216,908 in seasonal earnings. West Wins Stable also shares ownership with Christine Calhoun of Chatham. Last year’s Breeders Crown winner, Rockin Amadeus will look to give Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter his second Little Brown Jug triumph. Owned and bred by Lothlorien of Cheltenham, Rockin Amadeus boasts a 3-0-3 record from 11 starts this season. The talented pacer is fresh off a 1:53.1 victory at Yonkers Racetrack for regular pilot Yannick Gingras. Sired by the late Rocknroll Hanover, Rockin Amadeus has $615,107 in career earnings. Oakville resident and defending champion Scott Zeron will look for back-to-back Jug trophies when he begins with Mach It So in the second elimination. Trained by Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman, Mach It So has found the winners circle first in eight of 12 starts this season along with $347,575 in earnings. The son of Ontario-sired Mach Three will begin from post two in the second elimination. Also in that elim will be the Canadian-owned Word Power and Urbanite Hanover. Word Power is owned by Brad Grant of Milton, while Jody Jamieson of Moffat will be at the helm. The talented son of Western Ideal has a 4-2-2 record in 10 starts this season along with $225,802 in earnings. Word Power will start from post six. Urbanite Hanover, who will begin from the outside post seven, is trained by John Williamson of Waterdown. He also owns a piece of the horse with Daniel Haist of Ridgeville. Also a son of Western Ideal, Urbanite Hanover will look for his third victory this season. The final two Canadian starters in the third elim are Resistance Futile and Sunfire Blue Chip. Resistance Futile will begin from post two for trainer Blair Burgess of Campbellville. He has co-ownership with Champagne Stable of Toronto, James Walker of Port Perry and Deo Velente Farm of New Jersey. The speedy son of Real Desire has a 6-2-2- record from 17 starts this season and $174,991 in earnings. He took his 1:49.2 lifetime best earlier this year. Sunfire Blue Chip, who is installed as the 2-1 morning line favourite in his elimination, is co-owned by Toronto’s John Fielding, his brother, Jim, and R A W Equine Inc, of Burlington. The son of American Ideal has a terrific 6-1-2 record from 12 starts and $448,830 in earnings. Yannick Gingras will be at the helm from post three. The top three horses in each of the elimination races will advance to the $265,224 second heat. If an elimination winner scores in the second heat, he will be the Jug winner. Otherwise, the four heat-winners will return for a $110,510 race-off. The fields will line up as follows: $58,939 First Elimination HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Eddie Sweat - Dan Noble - Edward Zubkoff, Jr. - 20-1 2. Lonewolf Currier - Dave Palone - Kevin McDermott - 4-1 3. Rockin Amadeus - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 5-2 4. Right Touch - Ray Paver-Ray Paver - 6-1 5. Vegas Vacation - Brian Sears - Casie Coleman - 2-1 6. Wake Up Peter - Ron Pierce - Tony Alagna - 8-1 $58,939 Second Elimination HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Ilikeitrealhot - Matt Kakaley - Ron Potter - 15-1 2. Mach It So - Scott Zeron - Nifty Norman - 4-1 3. Emeritus Maximus - Tim Tetrick - Tony Alagna - 8-1 4. Lucan Hanover - David Miller - Casie Coleman - 5-2 5. Beach Memories - David Miller - Brian Brown - 6-1 6. Word Power - Jody Jamieson - Larry Remmen - 5-1 7. Urbanite Hanover - Tim Tetrick - John Williamson - 12-1 $58,939 Third Elimination HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Twilight Bonfire - John Campbell - Danny Collins - 5-2 2. Resistance Futile - Andy Miller - Blair Burgess - 10-1 3. Sunfire Blue Chip - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 2-1 4. Johny Rock - Andy Miller - John Butenschoen - 4-1 5. Odds On Equuleus - Tim Tetrick - Tony Alagna - 8-1 6. Only The Lonely - Matt Kakaley - Nick Surick - 15-1 by Greg Gangle
Delaware, OH – Sitting in the Log Cabin, waiting for the draw to be completed for Thursday’s Little Brown Jug program, is perhaps the one man whose voice alone reminds tens of thousands of people where they are and who he is. It’s none other than Roger Huston, the voice of the Little Brown Jug. It’s Monday, September 16, 2013 and it’s Roger’s 71St birthday. It’s ironic that the man who has called the Little Brown Jug race card for the past 46 years usually celebrates his birthday at the racetrack. “I actually started calling races at the Delaware State Fair the year before,” Huston recalled. “It was because Hank Thomas had left that season and they asked Stan Bergstein to call Jug Week but he said he could only do the Little Brown Jug Day so I got the call to come and do the first few days and got to call a few races on Jug Day. “I had been coming to the Jug since Adios Butler won it in 1958,” Huston said. “I was in high school and loved racing but never did I dream I become the Jug’s announcer.” Over the year’s Roger Huston has called and seen the greatest three-year-olds in the history of harness racing go in the Little Brown Jug. “I can’t tell you which one race was the best Jug I ever saw or called,” Huston said, “There have been so many races and everyone was dramatic and special to me. Even some of the other races on Jug Day were impressive to me. I remember when Tom Harmer had Falcon Seelster and he was not eligible to the Jug so he raced him on the program in an invitational race against older horses. “That was the race where he set the world record and I coined one of my best phrases as an announcer,” Huston explained, “I knew by the three-quarters he was going so fast that he had a great shot at the world mark so I said “If you have never been on your feet before…you better stand up now!” And sure enough Falcon Seelster went faster than any horse ever did on a half mile track and in 1:51. Later that day Nihilator won the Jug in 1:52.1.” There have been so many other great Jug Day events that Huston loves to talk about. “I’ve loved them all,” Huston said. “When Herve Filion won with Nansemond against Stanley Dancer and Albatross in 1971 was a classic. Stanley had told a reporter he thought all he would have to do is go around the track and Albatross would win the Jug. Well, some people make copies of the story and placed it all around the fair and come time for the post parade they booed Stanley and when Herve won the crowds were screaming and cheering for them. “In 1977 Governor Skipper was almost scratched,” Huston said, “He was chewing on the wood in his stall and got a big sliver in his gum. But they got him a big rubber bit and he raced and dominated the Jug. And there was Big Bad John in 2011. I called 11 of his starts and he never lost one of them including the Jug. His trainer said when he came back the next year that he would hear my voice on the loud speaker and pick his head up by the window and when another announcer called a race he wouldn't’t pick up his head. So when he won again that day his owner, Ed Telle, gave me a duplicate of the trophy. That was very special.” What does Roger do to prepare for Jug Week? “Nothing special,” Huston said. “It’s almost like a normal week of calling the races at The Meadows except for Jug Day. I make sure I have plenty of Halls eucalyptus cough drops and some of my special elixir in case my throat gets sore. But Jug Day is never normal, it’s very emotional to me.” Before allowing Huston to later head out to celebrate his birthday, the big question for Little Brown Jug Week had to be asked. Who would win this year? “Before the Adios,” Huston said, “I really liked Vegas Vacation so I’m sticking with him to win the Jug. But now I also have a long shot to consider in Lone Wolf Currier. Last week with Dave Palone driving him he was boxed in for his life in the $260,000 PASS final and nearly pulled it off late in the mile.” Happy Birthday Roger Huston! By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Tioga Downs held the Empire Breeders’ Classic eliminations for 3-year old pacing colts on Sunday afternoon. Vegas Vacation and Sunfire Blue Chip each captured their respective $12,500 divisions sent off by the betting public as the heavy favorites. In the first division, Vegas Vacation (Brian Sears) got away third as Odds On Equuleus (John Campbell) took the field by the opening quarter in 26.4. Campbell then got away with a second quarter breather of 28.4 to reach the half mile mark of the race in 55.3. At the half, Sears sent Vegas Vacation first over and at the three quarter mile mark he was head to head with Odds On Equuleus by three quarters in 1:22.2. Around the final turn, Vegas Vacation eased away from the leader to draw clear in the stretch and win by two and a half lengths on cruise control in 1:49.2. “We had sort of an eased first up trip today and he finished very strong on the end of the mile. He is a major contender in the division this year, and he will get one of the big ones this year” said winning driver Brian Sears following the victory. In the second division, Sunfire Blue Chip fresh off of his Adios victory, quickly left the gate from post position number four and was in control by the quarter in 27.3. The duo then put up fractions of 55 and 1:23.2 before easily pacing clear of the field to win by a length and a quarter in 1:50.2. Jimmy Takter trains the 3-year old son of American Ideal – Shot Togo Bluechip, who has won six of ten seasonal starts good for more than $370,000 in earnings. “He won real easy today and we saved a good bit for the final next week so I was really happy with him today” said winning driver Yannick Gingras following the victory. “He has been getting better all year long and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else going into the second half of the season, including Captaintreacherous” said Gingras. Qualifying for next week’s $257,250 Empire Breeders’ Classic final were: Vegas Vacation, Sir Cary’s Z Tam, Doctor Butch, Odds On Equuleus, Sunfire Blue Chip, Captive Audience, Bet The Moon, Olde Time Hockey, and drawing the last spot from the fifth place finishers was Source Of Pride, Swift As A Shadow will be AE1 for the final. Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Friday, August 9th with a post time of 6:50pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at www.tiogadowns.com . by Dustin Ross
CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Marcella Hall heads into Monday’s Mid-Summer Challenge at Mohawk Racetrack as the top ranked two-year-old trotting filly in Ontario, but six months ago she was at the bottom of trainer Jimmy Takter’s list of favourites. “I could go back to February when Mr. Takter said anybody with $5,000 can have her,” says Burlington resident Wayne Giles with a chuckle. “He has a scale of rating them from two to nine and in February she was a two.” Giles and his son Robert, who make up R A W Equine Inc., Takter’s wife Christina of East Windsor, NJ and brothers John and Jim Fielding of Toronto had purchased Marcella Hall out of last fall’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $30,000. And while the daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe and Margarita Hall was sorely trying Takter’s patience, Giles was unwilling to let him quit on the filly, whose full-sister Ma Chere Hall had earned $162,064 as a two-year-old in 2012. “He said maybe he could wait a bit,” recalls Giles. “A month or so later he said well, she might be a four, four and a half. Then she was a six or seven, and by then we were racing and she won her first two starts in the Golds.” After qualifying twice at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, in 1:59.4 on June 8 and 1:58.4 on June 22, Marcella Hall made the trip north for the July 5 Gold Series season opener at Mohawk Racetrack. Starting from Post 9 on the Campbellville oval the filly battled on the front end to a half-length victory in a sharp 1:58.1. In the second Gold Series event on July 23 Marcella Hall circled the Georgian Downs oval in 2:00.1, once again controlling the pace from start to finish. Takter has piloted Marcella Hall in all of her outings thus far and will be back in the race bike for Monday’s $150,000 Challenge. The duo will line up at Post 10 in the talent laden field and Giles is hoping she can find her way to a pay cheque. “She’s been a pleasant surprise, better than we expected at the start,” says the owner. “So whatever we get, she’s already ahead of the game.” Monday’s race caps off an action packed weekend of stakes racing for Giles and his partners. On Friday evening they will watch two-year-old pacing gelding Pierce compete in a division of The Stallion Series at Harrah’s Chester in Pennsylvania and sophomore trotting filly Drink The Wine battle in the Duenna at The Meadowlands in New Jersey. On Saturday afternoon two-year-old trotting filly Struck By Lindy will be at The Meadowlands for the Merrie Annabelle Final and on Sunday they will be hoping Adios winner Sunfire Blue Chip can make it three straight in eliminations for the three-year-old pacing colt Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs in New York. "We’ve had remarkable luck so far this year,” admits Giles. “So far we’re happy.” Should Marcella Hall extend her unexpected win streak from Post 10 in Monday’s Mid-Summer Challenge it will be another opportunity for the partners to feel grateful for their current racing luck. Post time for Mohawk Racetrack’s Monday evening program is 7:25 pm, with the two-year-old trotting fillies and colts competing in their $50,000 Mid-Summer Consolation events in Races 2 and 3 and $150,000 Mid-Summer Challenges in Races 5 and 7. For complete entries please click here.
On Saturday, August 3 at the Meadowlands could well be the “Pace of he Century” as the best pacers in perhaps the world will go head and head in the $250,000 final of the US Pacing Championship. Household names in harness racing, Sweet Lou, Warrawee Needy, Foiled Again, Golden Receiver, Bolt The Duer, A Rocknroll Dance, Modern Legend, Hurrikane Kingcole, Pet Rock and Thinking Out Loud will all battle it out in the big race. In 2013 these and other superb older pacers have brought back to those who can remember and to those who have studied harness racing history, memories of what use to be a weekly occurrence in harness racing, great match-ups that you looked forward to seeing and reading about. Week in and week out these top pacers do battle and each week it seems that another “star” emerges in the limelight and will they be able to repeat their herculean efforts from the prior week. But this is nothing new for harness racing. It happened every week across the nation in the 1960’s and I for one am glad that history is repeating itself. After last night’s classic battles in the eliminations for the US Pacing Championship I pulled out my treasured scrap books from two of the greatest years in harness racing history for older pacers, 1965 and 1966. And low and behold this is what I found. The exact same scenarios we are witnessing today. The best pacers in the world battling weekly across the nation, only back then there was no simulcasting, no viewing races online or from your cell phone, no National Raceline allowing you to hear the all of the race within minutes of it happening. There were no fax machines, only teletype, telephone and the radio! Television was barely in existence. On May 20, 1966, Yonkers Raceway boasted that they had the “Pace of the Century” and at the time they were right. They had the first of many battles between what was deemed the two best harness horses in the sport meeting for the first time. It was the ten-year-old Cardigan Bay taking on the four-year-old Bret Hanover against three other rivals in a win betting only race for a purse of $65,000! Cardigan Bay had been racing every week against the best older pacers in racing. Bret Hanover had but two starts that year and won them both and was on a seven race winning streak at the time. And what a race it was! Sweet Luck and driver/trainer Joe Cardana were the speed demons and they cut the mile with Firesweep (Lucien Fontaine) getting the two-hole spot. They led to the half mile until Stanley Dancer came first-over with Cardigan Bay and Frank Ervin followed their outside flow with Bret Hanover and Adios Marches (Charles King) could see them all. As they came down the stretch Cardigan Bay had the lead with Ervin and Bret Hanover hot on their heels but to no avail as Cardigan Bay and Dancer won by two lengths in 2:00 with Bret Hanover second and Adios Marches closing well for third place. And if you don’t think the drivers back then had fun with each other than just look at the photo finish of the race (yes, I got lots of them from the 1960’s) and you will see Stanley Dancer turning and smiling back at Frank Ervin as Cardigan Bay won the race. Every newspaper in North America and around the world covered these races. The sports pages had cartoonists with images of the top horses, taunting who would win the following week. Harness racing was the king of sports during this era. Bret Hanover won the next meeting, the purse was $50,000. Rex Pick was second and Cardigan Bay third. Bret won the next matchup, then Cardigan Bay won two straight. They raced at Brandywine and Liberty Bell and then off to Hollywood Park in California where True Duane beat them both. The greatest horses were going every week, Romulus Hanover, Overcall, Glad Rags, Adios Vic, Rivaltime, Smokeover N, Poconomoonshine, Harry’s Bride and the great Romeo Hanover, who had won 18 of 19 starts at age 3 joined the group and beat them all in his first try for trainer Jerry Silverman and driver George Sholty. Even the great mare, Meadow Elva, tried her luck against the boys. Also remember that back then at Yonker’s dining room in 1968, a shrimp cocktail was $2.00, the prime rib Empire Cut was $4.95, a filet mignon or sirloin steak was $7.50 and a slice of cheesecake was $0.85 cents! But yet these war horses could race every week or two for $25,000 to $50,000 purses and higher. Lucien Fontaine remembers those days very well. “I remembered Jerry Silverman would get so nervous before his horse (Romeo Hanover) would race he would turn his back and not watch,” Fontaine recalled. “It was so great to have these world champion race every week, just like they are doing today. It’s an incredible bunch of horses going today. They are racing like you use a car. They go first over and don’t quit. “I don’t think back in the 1960’s that those horses could race first-over like they do today.” Fontaine said. “Adios Butler in 1961 once paced an eighth of a mile in :11.2 in the last quarter at Hollywood Park and that was faster than the Thoroughbreds could run!” “I chased those good horses with Poconomoonshine,” Fontaine said, “But was never able to beat them. We finished second a few times. I always hoped the pace was slow up front and that way we had a chance to come on late and get a good check. “What impressed me most during that era was the crowds and fan support,” Fontaine said. “The crowds would follow harness racing as much as a football and baseball. The stands every Friday and Saturday night at Yonkers or Roosevelt were packed and people would yell and cheer for their favorites and it was great. Every day the newspapers had stories and photographs on the races to keep everyone informed on what was going on. “But today we are seeing the same with the older pacers,” Fontaine said. “I know the crowds are not so great and the coverage in the newspaper is never enough, but with the internet and simulcasting race fans get to see everything. Back in the day you heard about big races from others and never got to see them. Now you can see video replays, read stories an hour after the race is over, hear interviews live after the race. It is all so great.” So it may not be Cardigan Bay, Bret Hanover, Adios Vic and Romeo Hanover going head and head this Saturday at the Meadowlands, but today’s speedsters, most of who are million dollar plus winners, will put on quite a show in the US Pacing Championship Final. Whether it be Foiled Again or Warrawee Needy or Sweet Lou or whomever of the top horses in the field, it is great to see that history does repeat itself. This Saturday could truly be the “Pace of the Century" or at least the dedcade. By Steve Wolf
Wins with ease for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter.
WASHINGTON, PA, July 27,2013 — Somwherovrarainbow, last year’s divisional champion who has struggled through sickness at times in 2013, appeared back on track Saturday at The Meadows when she captured a division of the $136,920 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo. Nikki Beach took the other split in the event for 3-year-old filly pacers, which was part of the Delvin Miller Adios card. Montrell Teague piloted Somwherovrarainbow to her front-end victory in 1:51.1 for his father, trainer George Teague, Jr., and owners George Teague, Jr. Inc., K&R Racing and Ted Gewertz. Although she’s won four of eight starts this year, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Rainbow Blue disappointed in the Lynch, finishing fourth in her elimination and seventh in the final. On Adios Day, she fired to the front from post 5 and encountered no serious challenges until the stretch, where she held off the determined Mattwestern by a neck. Antigua Hanover rallied for show. “She’s been tying up and had a little bit of allergies, but we got it fixed now,” Montrell Teague said. “I think she can race a lot better. If she gets the right race and the right competition, she can go a bigger mile. I think Dad has it all figured out. He’s been watching over her pretty good.” With the victory, Somwherovrarainbow boasts $674,547 in career earnings. Nikki Beach powered to the front with a quick backside burst and rolled to victory in a career-best 1:51.2, a neck better than Novascotia Hanover, with Handsoffmycupcake third. Chris Paige drove the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Wisdom, who extended her lifetime bankroll to $390,109, for trainer Tony Alagna and owner Brittany Farms. Evan Pattak