The flagships of the Division are the Australasian Classic and New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales held in Auckland Monday 17th February and Christchurch Tuesday and Wednesday 18th and 19th of February. Billed as the “Sale of the Stars” their graduates include seven modern day New Zealand Cup winners, thirty two Harness Jewels winners and thirty one Australasian Breeders Crown winners. Unity under the PGG Wrightson organisation has been a major benefit to the sales. Especially in producing a top quality catalogue, funding a very successful inward buyer scheme and the $1 million Sales Race Series now in its 24th year. Harnesslink is running a short series on some of the yearlings on offer. Lot 6 Premier sale - NERVE OF STEEL SIRE - ART OFFICIAL- His first crop raced in North America last year and made a very encouraging start in the Pennsylvania Sires stakes program against the likes of Somebeachsomewhere and the leading first season sire in Well Said. His son Let's Drink On It 1:51.2 created a big impression as did Xtra Desire 1:52.8. His first crop in Australasia are two year olds in the 2013/2014 season and several have shown up at the early workouts and trials with Taj Bromac the early standout. DAM - OUR FIRST LADY - She was a $50,000 yearling sale purchase who showed enormous promise before being sidelined with wind issues. Her first foal at stud was the Presidential Ball filly in Presidential Rose who qualified at two and had two starts at three for a win and a second before being sold to Australia for a reported $50,000. Her second foal by Mach Three is Wings Of Hope who also qualified at two but suffered a setback which has meant an enforced break. She is due back into work in three months and is held in good regard by trainer Steven Reid. The third foal and first colt is Nerve Of Steel. Our First Lady is a full sister to Line Of Fire (1:50.3. $240,077) and a half sister to Heres Rommel (1:55.3). Her dam is the very smart race mare Borowan who won 15 races in NSW and Victoria on her way to being voted four year old mare of the year in NSW. The third dam is the race winning mare in Smooth Rowan who left seven winners and is a half sister to Summertime Girl who left the champion pacer, The Falcon Strike ($1.303,000) . OVERVIEW - This great looking horse is the first colt of his dam who had blinding speed but whose wind issues blighted her race career. Her first two filly foals have both qualified at two and the colt is the best type by far that the mare has produced to date. Coupled with his great maternal family, this colt has a lot to recommend him to potential buyers. Lot 32 Premier sale - OFFICIAL EXCUSE SIRE - ART OFFICIAL - The biggest stake earning son of super sire Art Major had his first crop race in North America as two year olds in 2013 . They competed in the very strong Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program against the great Somebeachsomewhere and the leading first season sire in Well Said. One of his daughters in Sister Stroll (1:54.1. $102,619) created a big impression in her debut season. His first crop in Australasia are two year olds in the 2013/2014 season and while it is very early both "Coaster " Howe and Gavin Smith have had promising types at recent trials in Canterbury. DAM - PRECIOUS EXCUSE-- she is an unraced Acquisitor (Albatross / Ambiguity) daughter of the broodmare gem Excuse me. This filly is the fifth foal of her dam who is developing a great record at stud. Her first was the smart colt in Precious Lord (p3,1:59.5) and he was quickly followed by the filly I Cee U (1:58) and her full sister Crazy Mach (1:58.6). The fourth foal was Machs Excuse who looked to be the best of them all, being un-beaten at trials and workouts before suffering a career ending pedal bone injury. She is now at stud. The grand-dam Excuse Me is one of the best broodmares of the last 30 years. Not only did she leave eight winners including the very smart Mighty Hurricane (15 wins) and No Excuse (19 wins) but her daughters and grand-daughters have produced a string of elite racehorses headed by the dual New Zealand Cup winner in Just An Excuse ($944,068), DB Bopper (1:50. $690,000), Second Wind (1;49.8. $341,000), Franco Sequel (1:51. $356,121) and Smooth Performer ($184,355). OVERVIEW - A lovely long barreled filly from a mare who has yet to miss at stud. With the incredible number of elite horses close up in her pedigree she would appear a great prospect on both the track and at stud. Her residual value when she goes to stud will be significant. JC
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Dont Say Goodby said 'hello' to the winner's circle once again after registering a three-quarters of a length victory over Stonebridge Rocket in the $10,500 Open Pace at a blustery Buffalo Raceway Saturday night (Jan. 25) in 1:59.1 over the good track. The victory was the fourth straight in Open competition in Western New York for Dont Say Goodby ($3.30) since arriving from Indiana in late November. The start was delayed by nearly 45 minutes after a power failure occurred during the stretch run of the seventh race. The wait didn't have any affect on Dont Say Goodby (Peter Wrenn) as he had plenty of energy in the passing lane to run down Stonebridge Rocket (Shawn McDonough). Sand Summerfield (Dan Rawlings), who went on a brief break around the opening turn, regrouped and had the lead at one point, but had to settle for third place. The win was the second in as many starts in 2014 for the 6-year-old Dont Say Goodby (Dontgetinmyway-Good By Albatross). It was his 15th career win and jacked his career earnings to $172,077. Saturday night's card completed a stellar week in the handle department at Buffalo Raceway. The track took in well over $900,000 during the four-day race week. Chief Operating Officer Jim Mango said, "We haven't seen a handle like this week in Western New York in over 10 years. There were three reasons for the big handles I believe. There were some cancellations during the week at other tracks, we have some good drivers here competing and we've had some well-balanced and wide open fields which leads to increased handles." Buffalo Raceway will continue racing on Wednesday night with a 12-race program set to get underway at 5 p.m. For more information including the latest news, promotions, race replays and statistics, go to www.buffaloraceway.com by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
TROIS-RIVIERES, January 16, 2014 – The Quebec Jockey Club (QJC) is pleased to announce the revival of the Prix d’Ete as a race for 4-year-old pacers, to be contested Sunday September 21st at Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivieres. With a guaranteed purse of $200,000, the race marks the return of a great tradition and reflects the intention of the Quebec Jockey Club to have the province’s harness racing industry return, progressively, to a prominent place within the North American scene. Initially known as the Prix d’Automne and won by older horses such as the three-time Horse of the Year Bret Hanover, the marquee event at Blue Bonnets racetrack in Montreal was converted into a race for 3-year-old pacers in 1970 and remained one of the major North American stakes in the division until its last running in 1992. Past winners included Cam Fella, Niatross, Albatross, Strike Out, Abercrombie, Matts Scooter and Beach Towel. To encourage a recent industry trend to have the top 3-year-olds of 2013 remain in competition at age 4, the QJC will offer them a quality race on a quality half-mile venue on the 2014 calendar. “We invite participants to enjoy the warmth of a Quebecois welcome with the excitement and delights of our culture and our long tradition of quality harness racing,” said QJC chairman Tony Infilise. “This special event will be a weekend celebration of harness racing in collaboration with the city of Trois-Rivières, about 1.5 hours from Montreal. Harness racing is deeply rooted in Quebec as demonstrated by the Grand Circuit success of drivers, trainers, and owners from our province. It is an industry which has refused to die in this province despite the brutal years since 2008.” $200,000 will be the highest purse in North America for 4-year-old pacers exclusively. “Accordingly, we hope and expect to attract most of, if not all, the best 4-year-olds,” Infilise said. The format calls for the top 8 purse earners of 2014 who declare into the event to race in the final and the next 8 who declare to go in a consolation for $50,000. “It should be an event not to be missed and a gathering of those who love our sport,” Infilise said. “The Quebec Jockey Club is pleased to respond to a need for such races for 4 year olds. We will endeavor to find the funding to conduct an equivalent trotting race in the future.” The QJC is a not-for-profit entity, led by seven (7) passionate businessmen who serve the industry as volunteer directors, dedicated to re-launching a professional harness racing and breeding industry in Quebec. It began operations in March, 2010, after the bankruptcy of private racetrack operator Attractions Hippiques, and in 2012 purchased Hippodrome 3R. It also supports a regional circuit of 12 fair tracks throughout the province and oversees a network of 10 teletheatres. Submitted by the Quebec Jockey Club
The Living Horse Hall of Fame nominating committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame has announced the results of recent balloting to determine the 2014 inductees into the Harness Racing Living Horse Hall of Fame. Annual members (in good standing) voted for the two horses they felt best exemplified greatness. Their choices are racehorses Donato Hanover and Precious Bunny. The other nominees were Fool's Goal, Real Desire and S J's Photo. Also entering the Living Horse Hall of Fame in 2014 will be broodmare Hattie, having met the required criteria for induction (see below). Donato Hanover, Precious Bunny and Hattie will be inducted on Hall of Fame Day, Sunday, July 6th, 2014. The ceremonies honoring these extraordinary Standardbred horses will take place during the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame's annual dinner. For information on the Hall of Fame weekend and other festivities surrounding this important occasion visit www.harnessmuseum.com from April 2014 onward or call or write the Museum at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. Phone: 845-294-6330. Standardbreds are only eligible for nomination to harness racing's highest accolade if they comply with the following strict criteria: They must be retired from racing for five years and had a drug-free career. In addition, racehorses must have won 75% of their lifetime starts, or gone undefeated in a single season campaign of 12 or more races, or been the winner of $3 million lifetime or named Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada). Stallions must rank among the 10 all-time leading money-winning sires at their gait or have sired at least 100 $200,000 winners or been a leading money-winning sire at his gait in three or more seasons. BROODMARES are automatically elected if they have produced a $1 million winner and two other winners of $500,000 OR produced a Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada) and another $500,000 winner. The 2014 LIVING HORSE HALL OF FAME INDUCTEEs Donato Hanover (Nominated as Racehorse) 3,1:50.1 ($2,998,777) Bay Horse, 2004 (Andover Hall - D Train - Donerail) 2007 Hambletonian Stake winner and Horse of the Year Donato Hanover was the first trotter in history to earn more than $2 million in a single season. Foaled on May 3, 2004, he raced in 2006-2007 and never finished off the board, compiling a career record of 22-19-1-2. He is currently the fourth-leading single-season moneywinning Standardbred of all time. In 2006, two-year-old Donato Hanover finished third in his career debut, but would win his remaining 8 starts. The freshman earned $662,587 and was voted Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Major victories included the Peter Haughton Memorial (in a stakes record 1:55) and Breeders Crown. As a three-year-old in 2007, Donato Hanover would extend his winning streak to 19, remaining undefeated until his last 2 races in November. Major victories that year included the Stanley Dancer Memorial, Hambletonian Stake, World Trotting Derby, Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity. Donato Hanover earned $2,336,190 that year, and became the first trotter in the history of the sport to surpass career earnings of $2.5 million during his three-year-old season. He broke the single-season moneywinning record for a trotter by well over $400,000 and was voted 2007 Horse of the Year. At the time of his retirement, Donato Hanover held the record for the fastest trotting mile on a mile track (1:50.1) and co-owned the record for fastest two-heat trotting race on a mile track (3:41.2). As a sire, Donato Hanover has produced winners of over $12.6 million, including 2011 Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year and Breeders Crown winner Check Me Out 3,1:51.2 ($1,903,795). Precious Bunny (Nominated as Racehorse) p,3,1:49.4 ($2,281,142) Bay Horse, 1988 (Cam Fella - Bunny's Wish - B.G's Bunny) 1991 Horse of the Year Precious Bunny was foaled on May 6, 1988. At the time of his retirement, he ranked as the number one single-season moneywinning Standardbred of all time (currently ranked ninth) and the fifth-leading moneywinning pacer of all time. Precious Bunny raced from 1990-1991 and had a lifetime record of 39-21-5-4. As a two-year-old in 1990, Precious Bunny had 14 starts, winning a New Jersey Sire Stakes event and finishing the season with a record of 1:57.2 and $63,920 in earnings. In 1991, three-year-old Precious Bunny won 20 of 25 starts, including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace (setting the stakes record in the second fastest race mile in harness racing history and fastest mile ever under the lights), Art Rooney Pace (stakes record), Adios (tying the stakes record and the world record for fastest mile by a Standardbred on a 5/8-mile track, and setting the world record for a second heat by a Standardbred on a 5/8-mile track - 1:50.4), Little Brown Jug (in straight heats with an electrifying start in the first), Cleveland Classic (stakes record), NJSS final and Windy City Pace. With his Cleveland Classic victory, Precious Bunny became only the second Standardbred to earn over $2 million in a single season (Immortal Beach Towel 1990). He was the first to win two $1 million races in one season (North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace). Precious Bunny was voted Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt and Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada. As a sire, Precious Bunny has sired North American winners of over $50 million, with 181 in 1:55, 141 $100,000 winners and three millionaires, including 2001 Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Bunny Lake. Precious Bunny was elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004. HATTIE (Broodmare) p,2,1:55.3 ($266,623) Bay Mare, 1992 (Abercrombie - Albaquel - Albatross) Sired by 1978 Horse of the Year Abercrombie, pacer Hattie was bred by Richard Staley and was foaled on February 9, 1992 in Wallkill, New York. Hattie raced from 1994-1996 and compiled a record of 57-8-13-17 with earnings of $266,623. Her major career victories included a division of the 1994 International Stallion Stakes at Lexington, and a second-place finish in the 1994 Breeders Crown. The progeny that qualified Hattie for the Hall of Fame are 2004 Meadowlands Pace winner Holborn Hanover p,5,1:46.4 ($2,070,648); 2006 Western Canada Pacing Derby winner Hyperion Hanover p,6,1:49.1s ($1,156,789) and Hillbilly Hanover p,4,1:49.3 ($592,218). To date, Hattie has produced six fillies and seven colts, with thirteen starters and earnings of over $5,313,000. She is currently performing her broodmare duties for Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, Pennsylvania. (USTA statistics as of January 2014) Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
BATAVIA, N.Y. --- It looked like things weren't going to go well for Dont Say Goodby at the top of the stretch, but by the time he reached the wire, he was saying "hello there" in posting a surprising $29.00 victory. Dont Say Goodby (Shawn McDonough) rallied from fifth place in the passing lane and stunned the pace-setting OK Braveheart by three-quarters of a length in the $8,500 Open Pace at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Nov. 30). Ok Braveheart (Kevin Cummings) as expected set the fractions with times of 29.1, 57.3, 1:25.4. It appeared that OK Braveheart was ready for a battle with a stubborn Unicorn Hanover down the stretch for the victory. But sitting fifth and 4-1/4 lengths off the lead, Dont Say Goodby found plenty of room in the passing lane and roared past the front runners to notch the upset win in 1:55.3. OK Braveheart finished second while Unicorn Hanover (Ron Beback Jr.) finished in third. It was the sixth win of the season for Dont Say Goodby (Dontgetinmyway-Good By Albatross) who is owned by Derek Menchhofer and trained by Charles Stewart. The 5-year-old gelding has now earned $62,577 in 2013 and $161,137 lifetime. Reinsman Shawn McDonough and Ray Fisher Jr. had triples on the night while Ron Beback Jr. scored a double. The final week of racing for 2013 starts on Wednesday night with a 12-race card beginning at 6:30 p.m. The feature is the seventh race with the $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace to take center stage. For more information including upcoming promotions, latest news, statistics and race replays, go to http://bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs
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
On Friday, September 6 Myron Bell, the managing partner of the Captaintreacherous Stable, notified the officials of the Little Brown Jug that their colt would not be competing in the 68th edition of the $550,000 (est) Little Brown Jug citing "the long-term interest" of the colt. "The officials, staff, volunteers of the Little Brown Jug have been preparing to put on a great week of racing and we are going to fulfill that promise," noted Tom Wright the Director of Racing and the President of the Little Brown Jug Society. "Almost all of the greatest three-year-old pacers have won or competed in the Little Brown Jug.Good Time, Albatross, Bret Hanover, Niatross, Nihilator, Rock N Roll Heaven. We will be very proud to put the name of another champion on the Little Brown Jug." Wright added, "While we are disappointed in their decision, we are more disappointed for the fans. In a sport that could use positive press, we had a tremendous opportunity to showcase a great horse in front of 40,000 plus fans." In August the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, with unanimous approval from the Ohio State Racing Commission, allocated $50,000 of the revenue from the horsemen's video lottery terminal proceeds to the Delaware County Fair for the Little Brown Jug. With 16 starters and the allocation the 2013 Little Brown Jug purse is expected to be in excess of $550,000. The Delaware County Fair's Grand Circuit week begins on Sunday, September 15 and continues on Tuesday, September 17 through Thursday, September 19. For more information on the Little Brown Jug, please visit www.littlebrownjug.com by Jay Wolf
The year was 1971 when, shown in the photo below, driver-trainer Bruce Nickells was all smiles in the Maywood Park winner’s circle after guiding his star pacer Kentucky to a record-breaking mile of 1:58.4 in a second round division of the $120,000 Maywood Pacing Series. Joining Nickells in the winner’s that Friday night was (left) Arthur Galt Jr., president of Maywood Park and (right) executive vice-president Sid Anton. That same year Kentucky won an $20,800 elimination of the American National Maturity Pace at old Sportsman’s Park in 1:59.2 and then came back that same night to capture the $62,400 Final with Nickells in 2:00.3. Kentucky will always be remembered by veteran Chicago circuit racing fans as the horse who pushed Albatross to his world record 1:54.2 mile a year later on the old five-eighths mile track when he finished second behind the horse that paced “the fastest harness race of all-time” on July 2, 1972. Kentucky ended his racing career with $497,270 in purse earnings for his owners Quaker City Stable of Salem, Ohio. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association.
Winbak Farm is currently in the prime of the 2013 harness racing breeding season, with 3 months left - breeder's have plenty of time to breed their mares but they should be booked soon.
Racing greats Secretariat and Niatross figure prominently on the 2013 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame election ballot which reflects the changes announced earlier this year. Eligibility now includes those people and horses who brought honour to Canadian horse racing.
To say that Monticello Raceway's $5,000 harness racing 'Au Revoir' on Thursday afternoon December 27th is a unique race would be a gross understatement.
When Director of Harness Racing Eric Warner, opened the entry box for next Thursday's Au Revoir he unexpectedly found that seven 14 year olds had entered.
Since Monticello Raceway instituted its Au Revoir back in 1991 only five times has the race been presented. Although the raceway had tried to fill it every year since the inaugural the fact remains that there is usually is a shortage of harness racing 14 year olds still racing in December of the final year of eligibility.
Ontario native Jim Morand can never see himself back working in his home province again - simply because he wants his children to have a stable education base without being relocated. 'I'm happy here in Delaware. I'm from Windsor and they recently closed down the track there so there's no point going back there and my wife's from Montreal and the racing is struggling in Quebec too.
In mid summer of 2011, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) received footage and pictures taken at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation (LPN) slaughterhouse in St-Andre-Avellin, Quebec. The subsequent report was compiled by the CHDC in a video/slideshow/report entitled Pasture to Plate: The True Cost of Canada's Horsemeat Industry.
It was a buyers market today (Thursday October 6) on Day Four of the of the five-day 2011 Lexington Yearling Sale being held at harness racing's Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Kentucky from Monday October 3-7.