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Berlin, MD - NHyway Marcus leads a field of five trotters competing Sunday evening (August 25) at Ocean Downs as part of the Downs' salute to 'Women in Harness Racing'. The trotters will be competing after the fourth race with an estimated post time of 8:10pm. The sixth race on the wagering card is the Powder Puff Trot where nine women drivers will be competing in a 1 1/16 mile contest. Unlike previous RUS MidAtlantic events, Sunday night's tilt will be an exhibition race which will allow newcomers to RUS, both human and equine, to compete. "This race is different in the matter of we are bringing some new faces and horses into the race", said RUS MidAtlantic President Stephanie Jacobs, "We are always excited to bring in fresh riders and mounts. This exhibition race is different than most. With no purse, riders and horses with the support of owners and trainers are coming down with no other intent other than to show their passion for the sport. It is a true testament of the support we have". For riders Sofia Zingale and Molly Gara, the race provides a reunion of sorts, having both come from the show jumping world and the same college equestrian team. When asked about the race, Zingale stated, "I'm really excited for this exhibition race. I think it is fantastic Ocean Downs is supporting women in harness racing with both our RUS race and the powder puff drivers race on the same night. I love the fact that we have new horses and riders in this race. Seabuddy is a full brother to my usual mount "Egosnattitudes" and Rebel Soul has gate speed like you can't believe. It will be very interesting to see". On making her debut appearance, Gara claimed, "I've jumped horses my whole life and just recently got into harness racing. Now I'm so excited to try RUS and I think it's just the beginning"! The other newcomer in the saddle, Nicky Ratledge stated, : "[I] Can't wait to try out RUS. It's something I've always wanted to try with all the Standardbreds that I have ridden over my years of working in harness racing! I'll be conquering another goal!". While it will take a top effort to defeat Hyway Marcus who is in the middle of a five-race win streak (sulky and under saddle), newcomer Pembroke Bada Bing may present a challenge as he has been racing well in sulky at Pocono Downs and Harrah's Philadelphia; finishing a head behind Marcus after cutting the mile from post position seven. "Marcus continually gives me some of the best moments of my life", explains Sasha Moczulski, "so hopefully by opening this race up to new riders and having them experience the thrill of getting behind the gate, we can expand our sport. Having a unique horse that can race both in harness and under saddle just helps make our profession all the more exciting." The field for the exhibition race are:  1. Hyway Marcus (Sasha Moczulski) 2. Rebel Soul (Sofia Zingale) 3. Pembroke Bada Bing (Stephanie Jacobs) 4. Seabuddy (Nicole Ratlledge) 5. Puddin N Pie (Molly Gara) by Allan Schott, for RUS MidAtlantic

East Rutherford, NJ - The curtain rose on the 2019 RUS MidAtlantic harness racing season at the Meadowlands Friday evening, May 3, and it was a familiar face who earned opening night accolades. Hyway Marcus, ridden by Sasha Moczulski, held off No Recess (Sietske Dijhkof) in a thrilling stretch run, hitting the wire in a lifetime mark of 1:58.4, a neck ahead of the second-place finisher. When the wings of the gate folded, it was French-bred Akhenaton (Hillary Hartnett) taking advantage of the rail position by leaving quickly. RCs Ready (Vanessa Karlewicz) was parked in second while the race winner was three-wide in third. Egosnattitudes (Sofia Zingale) was fourth with No Recess parked fifth. Tightly bunched, the quintet hit the quarter in :28.4, only three lengths separating the first and fifth place horses. By the time the field hit the half mile marker, Hyway Marcus brushed up to take the lead while No Recess moved into second, parked out a quarter of a length behind the eventual winner. Akhenaton dropped back to third, four lengths off the top two. The half was reached in :57.3. Hyway Marcus and No Recess continued their spirited duel with No Recess only a head behind the leader as they passed the three-quarter maker in 1:27.3. The duel continued down the stretch with the margin of victory stretched to a neck. The victory was the seventh lifetime RUS triumph out of twelve starts for the eight-year-old altered son of Gut Instinct - Highway Angel, taking top honors away from No Recess who won the last year's RUS race at the Meadowlands. Including his sulky starts, Hyway Marcus now has a three-race winning streak. The 2019 RUS MidAtlantic series continues with stops at Ocean Downs, Rosecroft, and the Great Frederick Fair. Allan Schott  

East Rutherford, NJ - RUS Mid-Atlantic's trotting series makes its 2019 debut at Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment on Friday, May 3, as a compact field of five will face the starter in the Renee Eck Memorial, a non-wagering harness racing event taking place after the first race on the evening's program. The $3,000 race kicks off this year's Trotting 4 Charity event as three riders are participating in the charity event which will take place over a period of ten days. The Renee Eck Memorial is named after "Renee from PA", who was one of the world's most beloved horse lovers who had several positions in the equine field. Since Renee was an animal lover her family, since her passing in 2013, has supported animal and equine causes in her name. Renee was a strong proponent of women in the equine industry so sponsoring the RUS Mid-Atlantic Trot at the Meadowlands was a perfect fit. Through this race, RUS Mid-Atlantic honors the life of "Renee from PA". As part of the Trotting 4 Charity event, fans can win special jerseys worn by their favorite participating riders in the May 3 event. Riders participating this week are Vanessa Karlewicz (American Cancer Society), Sofia Zingale (#PaisleeStrong), and Sietske Dijhkof (Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame). Fans wishing the chance to own a rider's specially designed T4C jersey worn in this race needs to make a $20 donation to the rider's charity of choice and send a copy of the receipt to T4cRaffle@gmail.com, specifying which rider's jersey they are trying to win. Drawings will be held May 13 and 14. Fans can enter multiple times and/or for multiple rider's jerseys by making additional donations. For further information about Trotting 4 Charity, visit www.trotting4charity.com. Here are the horses and riders in the first leg of the RUS MidAtlantic Trotting Series:   1st Non-Wagering - $3,000 RUS Trot - Renee Eck Memorial (Post Time 7:25) 1 Akhenation Vanessa Karlewicz Sofia Zingale 2 RCs Ready Hillary Hartnett Sofia Zingale 3 Hyway Marcus Sasha Moczulski Sasha Moczulski 4 Egosnattitudes Sofia Zingale Sofia Zingale 5 No Recess Sietske Dijhkof Kyle Spagnola   Allan Schott RUS MidAtlantic, Inc. Promoting Racing Under Saddle in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia

(Upper Marlboro, MD) RUS Mid-Atlantic is pleased to announce the schedule for the 2019 Racing Under Saddle season. At the present time, three races and one exhibition are being contested with the possibility of additional races being added. The schedule is as follows: Friday, May 3 - Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment (A Trotting 4 Charity event) Sunday, May 12 - MJC at Rosecroft Sunday, July 14 - Ocean Downs Saturday, September 21 - The Great Frederick Fair (Exhibition) Conditions for the races will be posted on the RUS Mid-Atlantic website, www.rus-midatlantic.org. Sponsorship opportunities for the series are available. Sponsorship information may be found on the website or by contacting Stephanie Jacobs via e-mail at stephaniej@rus-midatlantic.org. Do you have a horse you are interested in racing under saddle but aren't sure how to go about it? If you have a trotter which you are willing to race in our series (even if you need help with training and/or need a rider), contact Sofia Zingale by e-mail at sofiaz@rus-midatlantic.org. RUS MidAtlantic, Inc., is a 501(c)6 advocacy organization whose mission is to promote racing under saddle (RUS) for trotting standardbred in the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia by presenting RUS races and exhibitions to grow interest and demand for additional races under saddle. Allan Schott

Followers of standardbred racing in the MidAtlantic region have come to know Sofia Zingale as an upcoming star in RUS as a trainer and jockey. She has signified her arrival with the victory of Egosnattitudes over Hyway Marcus in the RUS MidAtlantic Trot at Rosecroft on November 4. A young trainer of dressage and show jumping horses, Zingale made a relatively smooth transition to the harness sport, exhibiting that with a first year USTR rating of .322. Prior to moving to Delaware, Zingale wasn't even aware harness racing existed. After fourteen years of involvement in non-racing equestrian activities, she came to Delaware to ride for the Delaware State Equestrian team as well as get her college degree in biomechanics/kinesiology. Soon after moving, Zingale met Leigh and Tyler Raymer who hired her. Once the Raymers left the sport, Sofia moved on to work for Joe Columbo and the George Dennis Stable. Saving money, Zingale purchased her first race horse Hybrid Heidi, she continues to campaign this mare. The purchase of Heidi encouraged Zingale to get her trainers license and go out on her own this past May. Since starting her standardbred training career, Zingale has acquired seven horses (in addition to still training four show horses). It was a problem horse, however, which had Zingale put her toes into the RUS pool and fittingly, this horse was Egosnattitudes. "I love problem horses. I enjoy the ones that make you think hard and try out of the box, new ideas", explained Zingale. "One day I was talking to Jonathan Roberts, he mentioned a trotter named "Egosnattitudes" who was definitely a problem horse. Jonathan thought RUS might be exactly what this horse needed mentally. He introduced me to Ego's owner, Adam Ainspan, and we decided to give Ego a try under saddle". The first day of training was tough but after, Egosnattitudes began to enjoy himself with the new racing discipline. After a few months, Zingale realized what a good horse he was. No doubt being involved in riding horses for so many years made it easy for her to pick up RUS. Training horses under saddle is not just for RUS in Zingale's barn. Of the seven horses in her racing stable, four are regularly trained under saddle. As Sofia says, "With my riding horse background, it's easy for me to pick out problem areas from on their back. I think training under saddle is great for pullers and horses that get sour to racing as well". You may think getting a horse to race under saddle is difficult, especially when they have been racing exclusively in sulky. Apparently, you would be mistaken. When asked about this Zingale responded, "Easy! Standardbreds take to riding so well. They are such an intelligent breed. This year, I broke six standardbreds to ride. Two of those horses, Puddin n Pie and Credit Blues, I only sat on once before we qualified them under saddle". She is amazed at how well they handle someone on their back for the first time. Ironically, the only horse which gave her a problem the first time under saddle was Egosnattitudes. Some may question if there is an advantage to racing horses both ways and in her response, Zingale's experience in biomechanics/kinesiology is obvious. "I think mentally it is great for the horses to race both under saddle and sulky. I also think it helps to tighten them up". Zingale continues, "Although RUS races tend to go slower, I think it's harder on the horses. Race bikes are designed to be light, aerodynamic and put a lifting pressure on the horse, whereas under saddle the horses have to carry 130+ pounds of direct weight on their back. RUS also causes horses to strengthen different muscles they wouldn't normally use in order to support the weight of their rider". Returning to Egosnattitudes, having had two wins on his card 'in sulky' this year, one may wonder why the decision was made to race him under saddle. Besides Jonathan Robert's recommendation, the decision to commit to RUS was made the moment the horse came into her stable with his large 'ego' and plenty of 'attitude,' as his name implied; a true problem horse which has been passed around from trainer to trainer for a few years. Having missed the Ocean Downs race due to an attempt to qualify bare foot after losing a shoe, the horse qualified a week too late and had a long time until the Meadowlands' leg of the series took place. Hence, the decision was made to qualify him back to the bike and return to the racing wars. Ego was racing so well in sulky that Zingale decided to leave him out of the Meadowland RUS race. Out of five sulky races, he picked up a fifth, forth, second, and a win for Zingale. Egosnattitudes may not have raced under saddle at all actually; that is until a driver didn't hear Zingale mention to avoid the outrider. Of course, Egosnattitudes was a little fired up in the post parade, so the driver took the horse over to the outrider, and you can guess what happened; he never made it to the gate and galloped the entire mile. Luckily for Zingale, the Rosecroft RUS race was scheduled for the following weekend and that was just what the doctor ordered. "The Rosecroft race could not have come at a better time". Sofia continued, "Ego needed a change as he was not going to mentally bounce back from his galloping extravaganza easily." A positive change with a resultant victory. Was Zingale surprised with the 2:00.0 mile and victory over Hyway Marcus, especially after qualifying in 2:07.3? Zingale says no. "Being honest, I wasn't the least bit surprised with his performance. He is an amazing horse. He has so much talent, speed, and stamina", she said, "I actually didn't even have a whip in my hand for the race. I knew if I could get him to stay flat he would have no problem beating Sasha [Moczulski] and Marcus. "A good rider/driver does their homework. Ego does best under saddle when he can sit to the outside of a horse," Zingale said. "it keeps him focused. Sasha and Marcus usually go a faster first half in comparison to their second half. I knew Ego would have more stamina then Marcus in the stretch. All I had to do was stay close. "The race work out exactly as I was hoping it would". Sofia explained that Ego did not like her monte saddle and therefore she used her riding saddle in the race as well. She joked stating, "He [Ego] wanted to show off by having the heaviest saddle and taking the parked trip with a nail-biting win at the wire." Zingale also had a reclamation project by the name of Atout De Fontaine in the Meadowlands and Rosecroft legs of the series; a French-bred horse who had a successful career in France's monté racing, having a lifetime mark in 1:56 (mile rate). He did start a few times in the bike in France but with under saddle being a popular style of racing, there was little need to make him do something he didn't want to. The horse came to the United States to race in the France-America Trot Series at Yonkers Raceway when he was randomly assigned to, trainer/driver, Pat Berry. This is when the nightmare started as "Frenchie" made it known he wanted nothing to do with racing in the bike; destroying race bikes, jog carts, and being a danger in the barn. Shortly afterwards, Frenchie found a new home with the Amish. Zingale was contacted by John Wagner who asked her if she would train the French trotter under saddle if he purchased him. Zingale admits that she knew nothing about Frenchie but having a soft spot for problem horses she could not turn him away. Soon after his arrival, research found the 1:56 mile rate and earnings in excess of 200,000€ under saddle, and Zingale became excited with the new project. "When Frenchie first arrived, he was very nervous. You could not move too fast around him". Sofia explained, "I let him detox for a few days before trying him out. His whole demeanor changed after the first day I rode him. He became happy and relaxed." Sofia hopes RUS can expand as she was saddened to see a horse earning 200,000€+ become so useless in a short period of time. While he may be tried again in sulky, the hope is to find the French-bred trotter an owner who will race him exclusively under saddle. Horses like Frechie really need RUS to grow and develop in America. As for the future of RUS, Sofia hopes wagering comes to the sport as it is needed to get purses to grow and attract more interest by other trainers and owners. Nothing motivates participation more than purse money. While Zingale is a big proponent of RUS, she realizes purse levels must be competitive with current overnight events. What about allowing pacers to participate in RUS? Zingale would like to see it come to fruition. She definitely will participate if it is allowed so horses of both gaits will have the opportunity to freshen up doing something new. Trotting or pacing, problem horse or not, Zingale is ready for next year and looks forward to expanding her reputation as a dual-discipline trainer as well as RUS rider. By Allan Schott, for RUS MidAtlantic            

Fort Washington, MD - With the absence of No Recess, the $2,500 Rosecroft leg of the RUS MidAtlantic series looked like a two-horse race between Atout De Fontaine and perennial favorite Hyway Marcus. Well, a two-horse race it was but it was another Sofia Zingale-trained horse, Egosnattitudes, who crashed the party to win a thrilling duel in his maiden RUS start with a mile in 2:00. The field was reduced to four with the defection of One True Friend who was scratched Saturday. When the gate opened, Hyway Marcus (Sasha Moczulski) quickly left to get the first call while Egosnattitudes (Sofia Zingales) raced two-wide around the first turn. By the time Hyway Marcus reached the first quarter, he had a four-length lead over Egosnattitudes in a :28.3 split. As the duo hit the stretch for the first time, Ego quickly closed on the race leader, racing on the outside to be only a head behind Marcus as the tandem reached the half in :58.3. Determined to protect his rail advantage, Hyway Marcus continued to park his opponent. At one point, Egosnattitudes got the lead but by the time the two horses reached the third station in 1:28.1, Hyway Marcus still had a nose advantage. Marcus attempted to put some more distance between the two, managing a lead of a head over Ego as the duo reached the top of the stretch. As much as Marcus dug in, Egosnattitudes was not to be denied and by the time the pair reached the wire, it was Egosnattitudes out-grinding Hyway Marcus to score a three-quarter length victory over the RUS veteran. The other Zingale-trained horse, French trotter Atout De Fontaine (Maria Buchanan) was three lengths further back in third. Puddin N Pie (Stephanie Jacobs) finished fourth. This concludes the 2018 RUS MidAtlantic series. Plans are already being made for next year's series. Any new tracks (fair or pari-mutuel) wishing to be part of the 2019 RUS MidAtlantic series may contact RUS MidAtlantic at info@rus-midatlantic.org. Allan Schott, for RUS MidAtlantic  

Fort Washington, MD - A field of five harness racing under saddle trotters will descend upon Rosecroft Sunday evening, November 4, 2018, in the third and final leg of the RUS MidAtlantic Trotting Series. The non-wagering race has an anticipated post time of 7:30pm, to be contested between the third and fourth races on the wagering program. All-time favorite Hyway Marcus (Sasha Moczulski, pp 4) returns looking to repeat his victory in last year's event. Finishing second in his last start to No Recess who is bypassing this race, Hyway Marcus is coming into the race with a rare two race losing streak.  Atout De Fontaine (pp 1) appears to be the main challenger, having finished third in his first North American start and picks up rider Maria Buchanan for trainer Sofia Zingale who will be riding his stablemate Egosnattitudes (pp 3) who will be making his first start. Other starters in the race will be Puddin N Pie (Stephanie Jacobs, pp 2) who finished fifth in his first start and the lone mare, My True Friend (Hillary Hartnett, pp 5). There will be a meet and greet before and after the race. Race fans will be able to talk to the riders and ask any questions they may have about racing under saddle. Post time for the first race is 6:40pm. by Allan Schott, for RUS MidAltantic  

Fans of racing under saddle (RUS) have taken notice of 'new' rider Sietske Dijkhof and her horse No Recess which has raced on the RUS MidAtlantic and RUS New York circuits this past season as the team went a perfect three for three this year including a sparkling 1:59 mark at Meadowlands Racing and Gaming. What also drew the attention of fans was the two victories No Recess had 'in sulky' during the period the horse was racing under saddle, earning two of the three sulky victories for the year as of the time this article was written. We talked to Sietske and her boyfriend, trainer Kyle Spagnola about No Recess and the improvement seen in No Recess while doing double duty. First, Dijkhof is no new rider. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Sietske has been around Standardbreds from birth as her parents used to be trainers. When her parents left the game, she continued working in the industry. Loving riding, the connection with the horse, as well as the speed involved in monte (the European term for RUS) racing she became a rider back home. So, while it may appear a new rider has appeared in the RUS universe, it is really a reconnection of old friends. How did Dijkhof and Spagnola make the decision to use No Recess? After Spagnola Racing LLC acquired the trotter, it was noticed the nine-year-old altered son of Rich Boy-Riann Photo (SJ's Photo) had raced back in 2016 under saddle, learning his lessons from rider Michelle Crawford and finishing third in his only purse start at Ocean Downs behind RUS favorites Mr Protab and Highway Marcus. After a couple of rides, it was decided to give No Recess another go under saddle, especially since he is not a horse inclined to make breaks. After two RUS qualifiers between pari-mutuel starts, it was time to make their first purse start at Batavia Downs Gaming where No Recess won by a length. Subsequent victories at Saratoga (four lengths) and the Meadowlands (ten lengths) proved their faith in the horse well deserved. "Yes, I do believe it helps him mentally", says Dijkhof when asked if racing No Recess under saddle has helped his sulky career," he seems to enjoy the races under saddle and doing something else makes the nine-year-old gelding happier". As for training the horse to race under saddle, surprisingly the trotter doesn't train for the races. Being a veteran, No Recess knows the game. Racing every week, one way of another, keeps the horse sharp. Skipping the Rosecroft race due to the distance the horse would have to travel, Sietske wished there were more RUS races available either in a circuit or as overnight events. "I wish there were more races right now, so he could do both and keep his mind 'fresh'. There has been some discussion as to whether RUS should be expanded to allow pacers to race under saddle. As of now, there has been no movement on the contentious issue but as far as this rider is concerned, she takes the attitude of 'bring it on', the more races under saddle the better. Of course, racing in non-betting races is one thing, but what about having RUS on the wagering card. We asked Kyle Spagnola whether he would race horses in his stable in RUS events if there was wagering and he has no problem with entering horses in under saddle races, but he indicated it would be hard to persuade owners to enter horses in non-wagering events at the current purse levels. "Owners want to make money and win races. At the level [purses] it is right now, people are not going to invest in horses for RUS when they can race for much more money in the bike", Spagnola said. Getting trainers to enter horses in RUS with the current purse structure is difficult as there are more profitable races to compete in. But if purses increase he feels trainers will support RUS. No doubt the caliber of horses entering would be higher. So, what is more difficult, racing in the bike or under a rider? Kyle's take? "I think it's easier if they are gaited well enough to do it [RUS] because they don't have to pull the bike and they don't have to ride as wide". Since racing under saddle appears to be easier, participating in RUS is a great way to extend a horse's career, possibly helping with future horse shortages. Yes, groups like RUS MidAtlantic have challenges to move on to the next level to get wagering on RUS races and promote interest in standardbreds and harness racing. Perhaps it is best said by Spagnola. "Overseas there are a lot of racing under saddle events and it seems like people are excited about it". By Allan Schott, for RUS MidAtlantic

(Upper Marlboro, MD) - RUS MidAtlantic is pleased to release the schedule for 2018. The RUS MidAtlantic Trotting Series consists of four races this year. The schedule, subject to change, is as follows: Saturday, June 23 - Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment; Sunday, July 15 - Ocean Downs; Sunday, September 16 - Rosecroft; Sunday, October 14 - Shenandoah Downs. All races will be non-wagering events with an estimated purse of $5,000 per leg. Race conditions and qualifying standards are yet to be finalized; they will be posted on the RUS MidAtlantic website (https://www.rus-midatlantic.org ) and will be released in a future press release. With July 15 being National Horse Day, the RUS contest will be the centerpiece of Ocean Downs' special events to commemorate the day. Other activities planned are face painting, sketch artist, pony rides, and giving away stuffed horses. Along with Ocean Downs' racing program, the day promises to be a great time for fans of all ages. The October 14 race at Shenandoah Downs marks RUS MidAtlantic's first foray into Virginia. The race will be contested on the same day as the Virginia Breeder's Fund Finals are contested. The entire day's races will be non-wagering. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2018 RUS MidAtlantic Trotting Series are available at various levels. All sponsorship fees are used to fund purses. If interested in becoming a sponsor, you may reach out to RUS MidAtlantic President Stephanie Jacobs at stephaniej@rus-midatlantic.org or at fundraising@rus-midatlantic.org. RUS MidAtlantic is a 501(c)6 business organization dedicated to the promotion and presenting of racing under saddle events the Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia region. As a business organization, contributions or gifts to RUS MidAtlantic are not tax deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes, they may be tax deductible under other provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Allan Schott

(Upper Marlboro, MD) - RUS MidAtlantic is proud to announce they will be offering a demonstration of racing under saddle at the Spring Equine Festival being hosted by Courageous Hearts Horsemanship (CHH) on April 21. CHH is a non-profit therapeutic riding and horsemanship program geared towards local children and adults with special abilities, needs, and gifts, as well as individuals and families that are battling or have survived cancer. Admission is $5 per person (children 5 and under are admitted free) with all proceeds benefiting CHH. The festival runs from 10am to 3pm and is located at 8230 Detour Rd, Denton, MD 21629. In addition, RUS MidAtlantic has two popular paint events scheduled in the coming weeks to benefit RUS MidAtlantic. On Wednesday, April 18, in conjunction with Village Arts, RUS MidAtlantic will be hosting a paint fundraiser starting at 7pm at Rudy's Café & Restaurant (at Knob Hill Country Lanes), 363 Route 33 East, Manalapan, NJ. The cost is $35 per person with food and full bar available for purchase. By the end of the evening, you will be going home with a 16"X20" masterpiece with all supplies being provided. To sign-up, go to www.VillageArtsNJ.com (call 609-502-1674 for further information). Our Paint & Sip program will be held on Sunday, April 29, starting at 3pm, making a return engagement to Main Street Café at 29 Commerce St., Harrington, DE where last year's event was well received. Post Time Show Host Heather Vitale will be at the afternoon's program. Main Street Café is a popular establishment operated by Beth Camac whose husband and daughter are local horsemen. The cost for the event will be $40 with an optional buffet available for an additional $16 (BYOB). For further information or to RSVP, contact Clarissa Coughlin at clarissac@rus-midatlantic.org. RUS MidAtlantic is also conducting a Yankee Spring Candle Fundraiser. Those wishing to purchase Yankee Candles and other products are encouraged to click here. RUS MidAtlantic is a 501(c)6 business organization dedicated to the promotion and presenting of racing under saddle events the Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia region. As a business organization, contributions or gifts to RUS MidAtlantic are not tax deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes, they may be tax deductible under other provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Allan Schott

(December 1, 2017) - With the victory of Downbytheseaside in Dover Down's Hap Hansen Progress Stakes on November 30, Rusty Nash was crowned the winner of the 2017 Edition of the harness racing Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge. With seven handicappers sharing the 100 points for selecting the race winner, there was no opportunity for Gordon Waterstone, Sally Hinckley or the others to move up and challenge Nash for the checkered flag. By winning the Handicapping Challenge, Rusty Nash earned $3,225 for Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue in the United States and $925 for Greener Pastures - BC Standardbred Horse Adoption Society in Canada. Second place finisher Gordon Waterstone earned $1,650 for Horse Lovers United (US) and $450 for Galahad Refuge (CA). For finishing third, Sally Hinckley earned $825 for Helping Hearts Equine Rescue (US) and $225 for Morningstar Acres (CA). For having the best net profit for the contest, Ray Cotolo earned $550 for Racer Placers (US) and $150 for Galahad Refuge (CA). HANA Harness would like to thank our Gold Sponsors Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment; our Silver Sponsors Aquaflow LLC, Eldorado/Scioto Downs, The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, and the Raceway at Western Fair District for their contributions which make this contest possible.  With the $8,000 being distributed to standardbred horse rescues this cycle, the HANA Harness contest will have facilitated in the distribution of over $33,000 over the past six years. FINAL STANDINGS (79 Legs)       Pos   Handicapper   Total Points Earned   Legs Won   Points Back   Last Week   Streak   1st   Rusty Nash   1,503.99   8       1st   8   2nd   Gordon Waterstone   1,467.29   11   36.70   2nd       3rd   Sally Hinckley   1,426.77   11   77.22   3rd       4th   Anne Stepien   1,386.11   10   117.88   5th       5th   Megan Maccario   1,381.90   9   122.09   4th       6th   Dennis O’Hara   1,356.14   11   147.85   7th       7th   Matt Rose   1,339.88   10   164.11   6th       8th   Steve Horoky   1,272.83   5   231.16   8th       9th   Russ Adams   1,218.54   8   285.45   9th       10th   Ray Garnett   1,121.90   7   382.09   10th       11th   Jay Hochstetler   1,063.50   5   440.49   12th       12th   Bryan Owen   1,051.90   9   452.09   11th       13th   Michael Carter   900.03   3   603.96   13th       14th   Terry Wilson   839.76   3   664.23   14th       15th   Ray Cotolo   834.33   5   669.66   15th       16th   Rich Mattei   644.30   2   859.69   16th       This contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

(November 26, 2017) - In the harness racing penultimate leg of the 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge on Saturday evening (11/25) at the Meadowlands, Sally Hinckley came out on top for the week to move into third place. While still in the lead overall, Rusty Nash's fifth place finish leaves the door open to the possibility of Gordon Waterstone grabbing the brass ring in seventy-ninth and final leg of the contest. Hinckley took the weekly title easily with six winners out of eight races, including What The Hill ($12.80) in the TVG Final for open trotters who was victorious in a minor upset. In a card comprising of the Final Four stakes and the TVG Finals, the only race where she didn't cash in was the Goldsmith Maid; her selection in the Governor's Cup finished second. By the time all eight races were contested, Hinckley had a net profit of $35.30 for the evening. Finishing second with a net profit of $.90 for the evening was Megan Maccario who had four winners for the evening which was good enough to keep her in the race for third place, the final cashing position next week. Also with four winners on Saturday evening card was Jay Hochstetler whose net loss of $5.30 was good enough for the show position. With only the Hap Hansen Progress Stake remaining the sole race to be contested in the contest, five handicappers remain in contention to earn a check for their respective rescues.  While the race for first place comes down to Nash and Waterstone, it is possible for Hinckley to land in second place, knocking Waterstone down to the show position in a worst-case situation (Nash can finish no worse than second place).  Should Hinckley have a bad week, Maccario and Anne Stepien remain in the race mathematically for the show position.   Standings thru Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Leg #78       Pos   Handicapper   Total Points Earned   Legs Won   Points Back   Last Week   Streak   1st   Rusty Nash   1,484.70   7       1st   7   2nd   Gordon Waterstone   1,448.00   11   36.70   2nd       3rd   Sally Hinckley   1,407.48   10   77.22   5th       4th   Megan Maccario   1,379.90   9   104.80   4th       5th   Anne Stepien   1,366.82   9   117.88   3rd       6th   Matt Rose   1,337.88   10   146.82   6th       7th   Dennis O’Hara   1,336.85   10   147.85   7th       8th   Steve Horoky   1,270.83   5   213.87   8th       9th   Russ Adams   1,218.54   8   266.16   9th       10th   Ray Garnett   1,102.61   6   382.09   10th       11th   Jay Hochstetler   1,061.50   5   423.20   12th       12th   Bryan Owen   1,049.90   9   434.80   11th       13th   Michael Carter   898.03   3   586.67   13th       14th   Ray Cotolo   834.33   5   650.37   14th       15th   Terry Wilson   820.47   5   664.23   15th       16th   Rich Mattei   644.30   2   840.40   16th       Next Up:  The final leg of the contest concludes with the Progress Stakes at Dover Downs on Thursday, November 30.   The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

(November 5, 2017) - As the Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge enters the deep stretch, Rusty Nash and Gordon Waterstone each had four winners on Saturday night's (11/4) eight race slate with races at Hoosier Park and the Meadowlands. However, with Nash having two second place finishers to Waterstone's one, Nash edged out Waterstone to take top harness racing honors for the week by $3.00. Steve Horoky took the show spot for the week. With four contest dates remaining, Nash remains in the top spot for the fourth straight week with 1,46.20 points. Just 76.7 points behind, Waterstone has moved into second place with 1,369.50 points while Anne Stepien drops one peg into third with 1,336.82 points. Not out of contention are Sally Hinckley (1,313.48 pts.), Megan Maccario (1,310.90 pts.), and Dennis O'Hara (1,295.85 pts.); all within 150 points of the leader.   Standings thru Saturday, November 4, 2017 - Leg #75       Pos   Handicapper   Total Points Earned   Legs Won   Points Back   Last Week   Streak   1st   Rusty Nash   1,446.20   7       1st   4   2nd   Gordon Waterstone   1,369.50   10   76.70   3rd       3rd   Anne Stepien   1,335.82   9   110.38   2nd       4th   Sally Hinckley   1,313.48   9   132.72   5th       5th   Megan Maccario   1,310.90   9   135.30   4th       6th   Dennis O’Hara   1,295.85   10   150.35   7th       7th   Matt Rose   1,278.88   10   167.32   6th       8th   Steve Horoky   1,244.83   5   201.37   8th       9th   Russ Adams   1,200.54   8   245.66   9th       10th   Ray Garnett   1,081.61   6   364.59   10th       11th   Bryan Owen   1,043.90   9   402.30   11th       12th   Jay Hochstetler   924.50   4   521.70   12th       13th   Michael Carter   880.03   3   566.17   13th       14th   Ray Cotolo   834.33   5   611.87   14th       15th   Terry Wilson   809.47   5   636.73   15th       16th   Rich Mattei   644.30   2   801.90   16th         Next Up: This week freshmen trotters and pacers of both sexes head to Dover Downs for the Matron stakes on November 9 The following week, the contest returns to Dover Downs as sophomores compete in the Matron stakes on November 16.  November 25 is the final Saturday night of the handicapping challenge with the Final Four and TVG series finals being contested at the Meadowlands.  On November 30, the contest concludes with the Progress Stakes at Dover Downs.   The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge  

(October 29, 2017) - In perhaps the busiest three-day (10/26-10/28) week in the Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge, twenty-one races were contested; the Breeders Crown Finals at Hoosier Park plus the final preliminary leg of the Kindergarten Classic at Vernon Downs as a warm up. When the harness racing results were tabulated, Sally Hinckley nosed out Steve Horoky by three points, 115.0 to 112.0. Horoky drew first blood on Thursday night with his selection of Points North ($14.80) in the 2yo pacing colt division of the Kindergarten Classic. The selection of Points North and four others allowed Horoky to earn 70 points for the day. Dennis O'Hara had the same longshot but only a total of three winners which was good for second place for the evening. Friday night was Hinckley's turn to draw blood and she blew the other handicappers away for the evening with her selection of Pure Country ($31.00) in the Breeders Crown Final for pacing mares which with four additional winners earned her 75 points. While two other handicappers had five winners, Hinckley's net profit of $43.50 was far ahead of her closest competitor. With a seven-point lead going into the final night of the week's racing, Horoky was looking to put the week away on Saturday but it was not to be as Ray Cotolo took the checkered flag with a net profit of $57.80 thanks to selecting a trio of longshots; Stay Hungry ($11.00), Breeders Crown 2yo Colt and Gelding pace; Beckhams Z Tam ($11.20), Breeders Crown 3yo Colts and Gelding pace; Split The House ($18.40), Breeders Crown Open pace. Hinckley managed to pull out the victory for the week with her four winners for Saturday versus Horoky's double. For the third week in a row, Rusty Nash leads in the overall standings, just under 48 points ahead of Anne Stepien. Gordon Waterstone is roughly 4 points further behind in third. Megan Maccario is in fourth while Sally Hinckley moved up from seventh to fifth place, still in contention with five legs remaining in the contest.   Standings thru Saturday, October 28, 2017 - Leg #74       Pos   Handicapper   Total Points Earned   Legs Won   Points Back   Last Week   Streak   1st   Rusty Nash   1,376.20   6       1st   3   2nd   Anne Stepien   1,328.82   9   47.38   2nd       3rd   Gordon Waterstone   1,324.50   10   51.70   3rd       4th   Megan Maccario   1,310.90   9   65.30   4th       5th   Sally Hinckley   1,295.98   9   80.22   7th       6th   Matt Rose   1,278.88   10   97.32   5th       7th   Dennis O’Hara   1,278.85   10   97.35   6th       8th   Steve Horoky   1,222.83   5   153.37   9th       9th   Russ Adams   1,182.54   8   193.66   8th       10th   Ray Garnett   1,074.11   6   302.09   10th       11th   Bryan Owen   1,041.90   9   334.30   11th       12th   Jay Hochstetler   924.50   4   451.70   12th       13th   Michael Carter   868.03   3   508.17   14h       14th   Ray Cotolo   834.33   5   541.87   15th       15th   Terry Wilson   807.47   5   568.73   13th       16th   Rich Mattei   644.30   2   731.90   16th         Next Up: This week ten stakes races will comprise Saturday’s leg, made up from the finals of the Kindergarten Classic from the Meadowlands and the Carl Erskine, Crossroads of America, USS Indianapolis, and Monument Circle finals at Hoosier Park. The following week, Dover Downs hosts the Matron Stakes for 2yo and 3yo trotters and pacers of both sexes. The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge  

(October 22, 2017) - The old axiom is "It only takes one race", and it was evident this weekend in the Hambletonian Society harness racing Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge. What made it strange was this was proven twice this weekend by one handicapper as Bryan Owen was the top handicapper this week. For the second week in the row, Rusty Nash sits on top of the overall contest with a shuffling of the standings below him. While Rusty Nash had five winners selected on Friday (10/20) night at Hoosier Park, it was good only for second place as Owen selected Ella Christina ($72.00) in the Breeders Crown elimination for three year old pacing fillies as his lone winner for the evening. With his selection of the daughter of Western Ideal, Owen picked up a net profit of $98.40 for the evening the dividend for win, place, and show on Ella Christina was $123.60. On Saturday (10/21) night, the axiom was even more evident as Sally Hinckley pick seven winners on the Breeders Crown Elimination night card yet ended up with a net loss of $4.90. However, completing the double was Owen with a net profit of $58.40 despite having no winners for the evening. This was accomplished thanks to Beckhams Z Tam finishing third which was good for a $92.80 show mutuel, the beneficiary of a failed bridge jumper gambit. For the second week in a row, Nash topped the season-long standings, 37.38 points ahead of his nearest competitor Anne Stepien who moved into second place. Gordon Waterstone moved up one spot into third place while Megan Maccario slipped from second to fourth place. A total of 50.30 points separates first from fourth place meaning the contest may come down to the last day of the contest.   Standings thru Saturday, October 21, 2017 - Leg #71       Pos   Handicapper   Total Points Earned   Legs Won   Points Back   Last Week   Streak   1st   Rusty Nash   1,325.20   6       1st   2   2nd   Anne Stepien   1,287.82   9   37.38   3rd       3rd   Gordon Waterstone   1,275.50   10   49.70   4th       4th   Megan Maccario   1,274.90   9   50.30   2nd       5th   Matt Rose   1,198.88   10   126.32   6th       6th   Dennis O’Hara   1,183.85   10   141.35   5th       7th   Sally Hinckley   1,180.98   8   144.22   7th       8th   Russ Adams   1,143.54   8   181.66   8th       9th   Steve Horoky   1,110.83   4   214.37   9th       10th   Ray Garnett   1,055.11   6   270.09   10th       11th   Bryan Owen   1,025.90   9   299.30   11th       12th   Jay Hochstetler   858.50   4   466.70   12th       13th   Terry Wilson   796.47   5   528.73   15th       14th   Michael Carter   794.03   3   531.17   14th       15th   Ray Cotolo   762.33   4   562.87   13th       16th   Rich Mattei   618.30   2   706.90   16th         Next Up: While the focus will be on the Breeders Crown races on Friday and Saturday (10/27-28), the contest week begins on Thursday (10/26) as the Kindergarten Classic’s fifth and final preliminary leg will be contested for late blooming juveniles on Thursday (10/26) at Vernon Downs.  Hoosier Park will host in addition to the Crown finals The Pegasus for three year old fillies of both gaits on Friday; three year old colts and geldings on Saturday.  The following week, Saturday (11/4) has an overflow of stakes from the Meadowlands and Hoosier Park of which the ten races will the highest purses will be used for the contest. The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge  

(October 15, 2017) - With the Red Mile harness racing meet in the books, the Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge moved on to Hoosier Park for the start of a three-week residency which culminates with the 2017 Breeders Crown. Week one had two nights (10/12 &10/14) of Circle City and Madison County stakes contested and once the races concluded, Anne Stepien was the winner while Rusty Nash returned to the perch as the overall leader for the contest with roughly six weeks remaining on the schedule. Stepien was the top handicapper for the week with 72 points vs. the 57 points for Dennis O'Hara in what could be called a tale of two nights. Thursday night, O'Hara was victorious without having a single winner thanks to his selection of Danceinthepines in the Circle City for 3yo trotting fillies; the longshot paying $14.80 and $6.40 for coming in second. The longshot provided him the winning margin despite four handicappers each having two winning picks. Saturday evening was a new day with Stepien tabbing four winners for the night, including the Courageous Lady Stake added on from Northfield Park, where her selection of Rosemary Rose ($20.60) made her one of two handicappers to have a positive ROI for the day. In what seems to be a pattern late in the contest, Nash and Maccario once again swapped spots with Nash coming out on top with a margin of 4.3 points. While the two handicappers have been locked in battle for the top spot, Stepien and Gordon Waterstone are lurking behind the duo, less than 22 points behind the leader and are clearly contenders to watch.   Standings thru Saturday, October 14, 2017 - Leg #69       Pos   Handicapper   Total Points Earned   Legs Won   Points Back   Last Week   Streak   1st   Rusty Nash   1,245.20   6       2nd   1   2nd   Megan Maccario   1,240.90   9   4.30   1st       3rd   Anne Stepien   1,230.82   9   14.38   4th       4th   Gordon Waterstone   1,223.50   10   21.70   3rd       5th   Dennis O’Hara   1,154.85   10   90.35   6th       6th   Matt Rose   1,148.88   10   96.32   5th       7th   Sally Hinckley   1,121.98   8   123.22   8th       8th   Russ Adams   1,099.54   8   145.66   7th       9th   Steve Horoky   1,066.83   4   178.37   9th       10th   Ray Garnett   1,025.11   6   220.09   10th       11th   Bryan Owen   920.90   7   324.30   11th       12th   Jay Hochstetler   841.50   4   403.70   12th       13th   Ray Cotolo   762.33   4   482.87   13th       14th   Michael Carter   750.03   3   495.17   15tg       15th   Terry Wilson   747.47   5   497.73   14th       16th   Rich Mattei   569.30   2   675.90   16th   v      Next Up: Week two at Hoosier Park has a weekend of Breeders Crown eliminations with the distaff tilts being contested on Friday (10/20) and open elms contested Saturday (10/21). The third and concluding week of the Hoosier Park residency begins with the final preliminary leg of the Kindergarten Classic being raced at Vernon Downs while the weekend features the Breeders Crown finals and Pegasus stakes. The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge  

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