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
WASHINGTON, PA, July 27, 2013 — How sweet is it when a colt purchased as a yearling a few hundred yards from the finish line wins a division of an Arden Downs stake the very next year? According to Dave Palone, it was sweet, indeed, when he piloted Invictus Hanover to victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Gov. David Lawrence at The Meadows. The Grand Circuit event for freshman colt and gelding pacers was contested Adios Day over five divisions, with Allstar Partner, Limelight Beach, Kingofthejungle and Goldin Parachute also taking $20,000 splits. A son of Yankee Cruiser-I Sparkle, Invictus Hanover was gaveled down for $16,000 at last year’s Hanover Adios Yearing Sale to Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Keith Pippi and Michelle Yanek and turned over to Ron Burke to train. Although he finished fifth in his most recent outing, a Pennsylvania Sires Stake, he rebounded Saturday by exploiting a cover trip and scoring in a stakes-fastest 1:52.3. A OK Hanover was second, a length back, with Avalanche Hanover third. “I’d like to pick up one like him every year,” Palone said. “He came out of his last race and scoped a little sick. I knew his performance had nothing to do with his attitude or ability. He’s a good-gaited colt. As big and strong as he is, he’ll make quite a nice horse down the road.” $76,350 Arden Downs Stake, 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers Also part of the Adios Day card was the inaugural Mary Lib Miller, a Grand Circuit event for 2-year-old filly pacers renamed this year to honor the contributions of the late Mary Lib Miller, wife of The Meadows founder Delvin Miller who served as a director of the Harness Hall of Fame. Lucy’s Pearl, Sister Stroll and Rusty’s Bliss each took a Mary Lib Miller split. Lucy’s Pearl had two Hall of Famers in her corner — Palone and trainer Ron Gurfein — and that couldn’t have hurt. She worked out a pocket trip from post 9 and triumphed in 1:53.1 for her Third Straight victory. Stucklikeglue was second, 1-3/4 lengths in arrears, while Boots N Saddle earned show. Both Lucy’s Pearl and Stucklikeglue survived inquiries to maintain their positions. “I really like her,” Palone said. “Gurf is making a pacing comeback. Honestly, that’s a helluva mile for a 2-year-old out of the 9 hole, to be used twice like that. I was tickled to death with her.” Gurfein and Elizabeth Novak own the daughter of Well Said-Remember When. Sister Stroll exploded to the lead past the three-quarters for Chris Page and drew off to score in 1:54.1 despite a final quarter in 31.3. Temptation Hanover and Fiyonce were promoted to second and third, respectively, following the disqualification of second-place finisher Cinamony. “They got tired at the end, but when you’re down there in 1:22.3, these 2-year-olds will get a little tired,” said Brian Brown, who trains the daughter of Art Official-So Western, a $40,000 yearling acquisition, for Jennifer Brown, Strollin Stable and King McNamara. “She’s a half sister to Dancinwiththestarz, who made almost $1 million. She has a lot of racing left this year.” Evan Pattak EDITORS: Attached are jpgs of Invictus Hanover, Lucy’s Pearl and Sister Stroll winning their Arden Downs divisions. Also attached is a file photo of Mary Lib Miller; please credit to USTA.
WASHINGTON, PA, July 27, 2013 — Spotting the leader 6-1/2 lengths at the half, Upfrontluckycarol launched a relentless uncovered bid that carried her to victory — and a stake record — in Friday’s $64,078 Arden Downs event at The Meadows. UF Tadys Donato took the other division of the stake, known as the Ned McCarr, for 3-year-old filly trotters. When winning driver Eric Ledford saw the distance he would have to make up on the loose leader, True Day Dream with Aaron Merriman, he figured he was racing for a check. “I really didn't think I would catch Aaron,” Ledford said. “I thought his filly would keep on going. I ducked back inside for a few steps, but I had her momentum going, so I popped right back out. The game plan was to go out there and see how everything unfolded.” The daughter of Andover Hall-Batbreaker prevailed in 1:55, downing the rallying Antsy Dancey by 1/2 length. True Day Dream saved show. The time knocked two ticks off the stake record established last year by Delicious. Kelly O’Donnell trains Upfrontluckycarol, who extended her career bankroll to $225,391, for Up Front Racing and Murray Brown. UF Tadys Donato had been experiencing breaking problems, but Dave Palone didn’t hesitate to rush her to the lead from the rail before settling in the pocket. “We’ve been expecting a lot out of this filly,” Palone said. “She has tons of ability. It was just a matter of getting her squared away. I never took her plugs out. She sat in there nice and quiet and sprinted home good.” UF Tadys Donato kicked by the favorite, Promisemethis, to defeat her by 3/4 lengths in 1:56.1, with Won Ton Hanover third. Virgil Morgan, Jr. trains the daughter of Donato Hanover-Tady’s Comer, for Up Front Racing, which enjoyed a Ned McCarr sweep. It was one of four wins on the 15-race card for Palone. $66,098 Arden Down, 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters The companion Grand Circuit stake on Friday’s card, known as the James Manderino, was a showcase for Brett Miller, who swept the event with Maxamillus and Vibe Blue Chip. Vibe Blue Chip hadn’t been away better than fourth in his last six starts, but Miller took a different approach, gunning him to the lead from post 8 and enabling him to sit second behind Its Complicated. “Having the 8 hole, I felt there was no shot of winning the race if we got away eighth,” Miller said. “So I just rolled the dice and left with him. Once I got about10 steps out of the gate, he felt comfortable, so I really stepped on the gas.” Vibe Blue Chip blew by in the lane to down Its Complicated by a nose in 1:55 while Show Ticket earned a show ticket. Ron Burke trains the Andover Hall-Winning Jonlin gelding for Joseph DiScala, Jr. and Cynthia Massari. Maxamillus also worked out a cozy pocket trip behind Major Athens and scored in1:56 for trainer Kris Hite and owner/breeder Tom Svrcek. Ruddy Rusty shot the Lightning Lane for second, a neck back, while Major Athens held show. “He’s very honest, very consistent,” Hite said. “I think that’s one of his strong points. He has a great gait and gives you 100 percent every time.” On Saturday’s Adios Day card, The Meadows, in cooperation with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Initiative, is offering three special Adios Day wagers: a $7,500-guaranteed Pick 4 (Races 4-7); a $15,000-guaranteed Late Pick 4 (Races 9-12), and a $25,000-guaranteed Superfecta on Race 12, the Adios final. In addition, The Meadows and HorseTourneys.com are offering a “Pick & Pray” handicapping contest on Adios Day, with the winner earning a free berth in the 2014 World Harness Handicapping Contest. Free past performances are available at Track Master. To register and for a complete list of contest rules, please visit www.horsetourneys.com/rules Evan Pattak
WASHINGTON, PA, July 25, 2013 — In his first 25 years or so in the Standardbred business, Fran Azur figures he owned 285 horses — not one of them a yearling. That changed in 2011 when he bought a son of The Panderosa-Ladyking at auction. On Saturday, that yearling, now a top 3-year-old named Lonewolf Currier, is poised to win the $450,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios at The Meadows and give Azur the blanket of orchids in his first try. The Adios Day card begins at 12:20, with a projected 4:05 post time for the Adios final, which goes as Race 12. Lonewolf Currier, with John Campbell, is the 7-2 second pick in the morning line. Azur, a veteran entrepreneur who lives in Beaver County not far from The Meadows, has campaigned such elite performers as Hypnotic Blue Chip, who earned more than $1.53 million. But Azur was committed to older stock long before the success of Hypnotic Blue Chip. “I enjoyed the racing part of it rather than seeing how yearlings might develop,” Azur says. “I never wanted yearlings. I never liked them.” That changed when Hanover Shoe Farms’ Murray Brown persuaded him to inspect Lonewolf Currier, probably because he’s a full brother to Lookout Hanover, a horse Azur campaigned before selling to Argentine interests. Azur and trainer Kevin McDermott liked what they saw and gave $110,000 for the youngster. He won three of four starts at 2 but was turned out early with a leg injury. This year, he’s come back swift and resolute, qualities he showed in his 1:48.4 Adios elimination victory. If this were a fairy book story, Lonewolf Currier would be a sweetheart as well. Alas, he is not. “Having him in the Adios is the nicest thing ever,” Azur says. “I’ve been watching the Adios forever, and I’m happy as hell just to be in it. But he has a very bad attitude. He’s nasty. He tries to go over stalls to get at other horses. Kevin tries to keep him happy by varying his routine. Sometimes he’ll swim, sometimes he’s out in the pasture. Kevin knows how to take care of him. Azur also knows something about caring. He received the sport’s 2010 Unsung Hero Award for his community support and outreach, which extends all the way to Uganda. There, he and his wife Melanie purchased and donated 30,000 mosquito nets for residents of Hoima and financed development of a bee factory. All their Uganda efforts coalesced in the construction of Azur Christian Health Centre in Hoima. Closer to home, Azur donates 2 percent of each of his horse’s earnings to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, a revenue stream that would be hard to replace. Lonewolf Currier likely won’t be Azur’s last yearling. He’s bringing many of his retired mares to his farm, where he once raised Pasa Finos and Icelandic horses. There will be babies in Azur’s future, and each success will mean better lives for Standarbreds in need of new homes and careers. “You can’t help with everything,” Azur says, “so what you want to help with is a personal decision. Horses are great animals, so we want to take care of them to the extent we can.” The Meadows, in cooperation with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Initiative, is offering three special Adios Day wagers: a $7,500-guaranteed Pick 4 (Races 4-7); a $15,000-guaranteed Late Pick 4 (Races 9-12), and a $25,000-guaranteed Superfecta on Race 12, the Adios final. In addition, The Meadows and HorseTourneys.com are offering a “Pick & Pray” handicapping contest on Adios Day, with the winner earning a free berth in the 2014 World Harness Handicapping Contest. Free past performances will be available at Track Master. To register and for a complete list of contest rules, please visit www.horsetourneys.com/rules Evan Pattak
WASHINGTON, PA, July 25, 2013 — The Meadows presented the inaugural Edward M. Ryan Trot on Wednesday as part of Adios Week, and harness racing driver Andy Miller embraced the newly rechristened event by winning two of its three divisions with Sumatra and Exodus Hanover. The $60,000 Arden Downs stake for freshman colt and gelding trotters, formerly known as the Henry Oliver, honors the memory of Ed Ryan, a Hall of Famer who was a successful entrepreneur, a skilled horseman, a philanthropist and an owner of The Meadows during a key period in the track’s development. Miller scored impressively with Sumatra, the 1-9 favorite who barreled to the lead and cruised home in 1:56.4, 2 lengths better than Il Sogno Dream. Overwhat rallied for show. “He doesn’t have any real big stakes this year, but everything we’ve asked of him he’s done,” Miller said. “He keeps maturing, and I think there’s a big upside there.” Julie Miller trains the son of Muscles Yankee-Lola Seelster for Andy Miller Stable and Black Horse Racing. Miller also scored an easy front-end win with Exodus Hanover, a Steve Elliott trainee who triumphed in 1:59. Monkey Man was 3-1/4 lengths back in second, with Journey third. “Steve’s really liked him all year,” said Toni Rose, Elliott’s assistant trainer. “He got a little messed up his first race, but other than that, he’s been solid. I think Steve will keep him in PA Sires Stakes. You can get plenty of money there.” Elliott owns Exodus Hanover with the Angelo Frassetto Estate, Kenneth Klein and Old Block Stables. Muscle On In, who was winless in his first three outings, notched the final Ryan split in front-end fashion in 1:58.3. Dave Palone drove for trainer Chris Ryder, who owns the son of Muscle Hill-Viking’s Goddess with Robert Mondillo and Max Wernick. It was one of six wins on the 15-race card for Palone. “Having the early lead really wasn’t part of my game plan,” Palone said. “But everywhere I looked, horses were on a break, and I thought I’d get him out of there and let him see how he felt. He felt good and square, so I just let him trot on.” $63,750 Arden Downs, 2-Year-old Filly Trotters Broadway Socks was the star of this stake, known as the Joe McGraw, which was Wednesday’s co-feature. The daughter of Broadway Hall-I Gotta Feelin matched the stake mark of 1:56.1 established by Maven in 2011. It wasn’t a jiggy-jog, though, as driver Dan Rawlings got after her once she had cleared to the lead. “With any young horse, you definitely want her to respond when you pull that right line,” Rawlings said. “When you ask her to go, you want her to go, and she seems to do that real well. Everything’s working out real well.” David Wade trains Broadway Socks and owns with Gerald Brittingham and William F. Peel III. Miller collected a McGraw victory with Royal Tabs, who spurted to an early lead and had enough to hold off the pocket-sitting Anonyme Hanover by 3/4 lengths in 1:57.3. “She’s pretty manageable, she’s pretty smart, and she doesn’t have any issues right now,” said Buzzy Sholty, who trains the daughter of Cantab Hall-Royal Vic for Claude Gendreau Stable. “I’m just trying to keep her a happy girl.” Juniata Hanover grabbed the third McGraw split by two-holing A Perfect Gem and Miller and blowing by late to down them by a neck for Palone in 1:58.1. Champagne Dreams raced well, albeit erratically, to complete the ticket. “I wasn’t sure that I had Andy until maybe just inside the 16th pole,” Palone said. “My filly showed me tonight that she may be even better out of a hole than she is on the lead. She really liked chasing Andy down.” Ron Burke conditions the daughter of Cantab Hall-Justgotafeeling, now undefeated in four starts, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Michelle Yanek and Keith Pippi. Grand Circuit action at The Meadows resumes Friday with a pair of Arden Downs stakes for 3-year-old trotters. First post is 6:55 PM. Evan Pattak
July 22, 2013 – Just last week the headlines indicated a log jam formed in the top four positions in HANA Harness’ 2013 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, Chicago Harness, IHHA, Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. What a difference a week makes. With Richard Scott gaining $1,023.40 over the last four contest days, he has built a $755 lead over Rusty Nash who also had a productive week gaining $472 over the same period. Earl Paulson had a more modest gain of $114 over the weekend. Many of the other handicappers also had some impressive hits. Scott managed to build his lead with a combination of wagers, be they such as his $30 win wager Thursday on Love Detective in the Tompkins at Tioga which paid $438, and a $602 return on a $15 Win, Place wager Friday on Aneqada in the Geers at Tioga Downs. On Sunday, Scott even pulled of a $172 mutuel boxing the entire field in a $1 exacta for a total cost of $30. There was little Scott touched that didn’t pay dividends. Standings as of July 21, 2013 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind Last Pos Days Missed 1st Richard Scott $1,023.40 $778.09 2nd 3 2nd Rusty Nash $472.50 $22.85 ($755.24) 6th 0 3rd Dennis O'Hara ($53.60) ($317.35) ($1,095.44) 3rd 2 4th Mark McKelvie ($136.80) ($350.84) ($1,128.93) 1st 0 5th Ann Stepien ($206.00) ($469.85) ($1,247.94) 4th 0 6th Ray Garnett ($49.00) ($722.55) ($1,500.64) 8th 1 7th Sally Hinckley ($421.55) ($817.70) ($1,595.79) 5th 0 8th Earl Paulson $114.00 ($924.35) ($1,702.44) 9th 1 9th Gordon Waterstone ($281.50) ($946.45) ($1,724.54) 7th 3 10th Garnet Barnsdale ($360.00) ($1,522.50) ($2,300.59) 10th 6 Ten grace days permitted. After ten days, there is a penalty of $30 per race. Key Hits (Unless specified, at Tioga Downs): Rusty Nash (Thurs) - $15 Win, Place on Winning Pursuit paid $160.50, (Fri) - $10 Pick-3 paid $151.20, $1 Trifecta Wheel ($30) on El Bloombito paid $99.00, (Sat) –$15 Pine Credit-Crazy About Pat Exacta paid $355.50, $30 Win on Forty Five Red paid $114.00 in the Lawrence B. Sheppard (Yonkers Raceway); Anne Stepien (Thurs) - $10 Win, Place, Show on Winning Pursuit paid $125.00; Richard Scott (Thurs) - $30 Win on Love Detective paid $438.00, (Fri) - $15 Win, Place on Anegada paid $602.25; (Sun) - $1 Exacta Box (All/All) on Bet The Moon-Troon paid $172.00; Ray Garnett (Fri) - $10 Win, Place on Anegada paid $401.50; Sally Hinckley (Sat) - $6 Show on Clear Vision in the Battle of Lake Erie (Northfield Park) paid $104.40; Dennis O’Hara (Sat) $5 Exacta on Forty Five Red-Thereisapaceforus paid $126.25 in the Lawrence B. Sheppard (Yonkers Raceway), $1 Trifecta Box ($24) in the Tompkins paid $99.75 Contest Schedule This Week Wednesday, July 24, 2013 – The Meadows - $60,000 (Est., Div) Arden Downs (2yo C>), $85,000 (Est., Div) Arden Downs (2yo FT). Friday, July 26, 2013 – The Meadows - $73,000 (Est., Div) Arden Downs (3yo C>), $66,000 (Est., Div) Arden Downs (3yo FT) Saturday, July 27, 2013 – The Meadows - $140,000 (Est.) Adioo Volo (3yoFP), $500,000 (Est.) Adios (3yoC&GP), $90,000 (Est., Div) Arden Downs (2yoFP), $100,000 (Est., Div) Arden Downs (2yo C&GP); $450,000 (Gtd.) Yonkers Trot (3yo Open Trot) by Allan Schott