September 22, 2015 - Mark McKelvie picked up some ground on Sally Hinckley this week in the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, Hambletonian Society, Isle of Capri Pompano Park, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. The week opened at The Meadows where the Nadia Lobell was won by Safe From Terror. Mark Deutsch was able to select the winner and he took the daily honors with 22.8 points. We needed the decimal point because Bryan Owen just missed with longshot The Show Returns. The place and show prices returned 22.6 points. One fifth of a point separated the early weekly leaders. Divine Caroline finished third and that caused a four way dead heat for the show spot between Sally Hinckley, Anne Stepien, Derick Giwner and Ray Cotolo. Saturday evening the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping team visited Mohawk for another big night of racing. On this evening we witnessed perfection! There is a good reason that Mark McKelvie has been positioned near the top of the standing for so long. He correctly selected all five winners! Mark scored with Southwind Frank, Caprice Hill, Bee A Magician, Mission Brief and Pinkman. The 5X multiplier earned Mark all 196 points that were available. Three other handicappers had four winners each. They each had a different combination of winners and earned different scores. The place honors went to Buffalo's own Michael "Horsy Boy" Carter with 122 points. Bee A Magician was the key to his second place finish. Josi Verlingieri took the show spot with 114 points and Earl Paulson was fourth with 109 points. The final accent on this racing week was the Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway where Foiled Again was the featured headliner. Mach It So edged by him at the top of the lane and while the old boy fought back with everything he had Mach It So held on for the short neck win. Mach It So, off at 8-1, returned 25 HANA contest points for a quartet of very sharp handicappers. Successfully beating the chalk were Ray Garnett, Jay Hochstetler, Earl Paulson and Anne Stepien. The rest of the HANA handicappers were grateful that there was no bonus multiplier available with the $18 winner! Mark McKelvie easily took the weekly honors with a total of 198 points. Earl Paulson was second best with 135 and Michael Carter was third with 124. Rounding out the super and the penta were Josi Verlingieri and Bryan Owen. There was one change to the overall contest pentafecta. With Mach It So winning the Quillen, Earl Paulson just edged out Gordon Waterstone for the fifth spot by a mere 8.5 points. Sally Hinckley continues to lead with Mark McKelvie slowly closing the gap. Ann Stepien remains in third and Bob Zanakis maintained his fourth place position. Things are sure to change next week with more than a dozen races lined up. Standings as of September 21, 2015 - Leg 41 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week Points Back 1st Sally Hinckley 2,982.80 36.30 3,019.10 1st 2nd Mark McKelvie 2,598.10 198.10 2,796.20 2nd 222.9 3rd Anne Stepien 2,440.90 88.20 2,529.10 3rd 490.0 4th Bob Zanakis 2,354.30 63.80 2,418.10 4th 601.0 5th Earl Paulson 2,158.70 135.00 2,293.70 6th 725.4 6th Gordon Waterstone 2,218.40 66.80 2,285.20 5th 733.9 7th Dennis O'Hara 2,068.30 61.70 2,130.00 7th 889.1 8th Bryan Owen 1,929.40 89.10 2,018.50 9th 1,000.6 9th Rusty Nash 1,938.60 58.80 1,997.40 8th 1,021.7 10th Josi Verlingieri 1,860.90 114.60 1,975.50 10th 1,043.6 11th Michael Carter 1,693.20 124.90 1,818.10 11th 1,201.0 12th Ray Garnett 1,644.90 33.40 1,678.30 13th 1,340.8 13th Derick Giwner 1,604.00 67.00 1,671.00 14th 1,348.1 14th Mark Dezii 1,597.60 67.80 1,665.40 15th 1,353.7 15th Garnet Barnsdale 1,651.60 5.70 1,657.30 12th 1,361.8 16th Jay Hochstetler 1,517.00 25.40 1,542.40 16th 1,476.7 17th Brandon Valvo 1,234.80 26.40 1,261.20 17th 1,757.9 18th Ray Cotolo 1,124.00 83.50 1,207.50 18th 1,811.6 19th Mark Deutsch 751.80 67.40 819.20 19th 2,199.9 Jug week is upon us and we will have plenty of HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping action starting on Wednesday from Delaware Ohio. The week kicks off with the Jugette, Buckette, Little Brown Jug, Old Oaken Bucket and the Miss Versatility. Saturday features the Milton from Mohawk and a nice set of stakes from Hoosier Park. For contest selections and further information, visit the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator Follow the HANA Harness Handicapping Contest
September 7, 2015 – It was a very long weekend for the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs as the field of handicappers had to work their way through five consecutive contest days at four different venues. The long weekend opened Thursday evening at Mohawk where two of the HANA All-Star handicappers were a perfect three for three. Derick Giwner and Earl Paulson both maxed out with a total of 82 points. The current contest leader and the evenings third place finisher was Sally Hinckley at 41 points. Friday evening saw another trio of races again from Mohawk. This time we saw seven handicappers tie for the nightly win. Sally Hinckley, Anne Stepien, Josi Verlingieri, Bob Zanakis, Dennis O’Hara, Gordon Waterstone and Mark Dezii all tabbed both Southwind Frank and Elegant Serenity for a total of 29 points. Saturday was the biggest day of the tour with nine events on tap. There were seven heats from Mohawk and then two from Yonkers. The night started out quite interesting as four handicappers came up with the 9-1 winner of the first race. They then saw their nice juicy payout halved when the judges posted the deadheat sign with another longshot. When the long evening was over, part time amateur scribe Rusty Nash topped out at 409 points after hitting the first six Mohawk races in a row. When added to his Thursday and Friday total Rusty had the same 409 points! Bob Zanakis nosed out Josi Verlingieri for the place spot by the score of 239 to 234. Longshot maven Ray Cotolo and the Canadian Harness Racing Idol Garnet Barnsdale both had the highest priced winner of the evening when they selected Revenge Shark to win the Messenger at Yonkers Raceway. Sunday saw the action shift to the mid-west and Balmoral Racetrack where two stakes were contested. Big scoring on nights with only two or three races requires each favorite to be beaten. The handicappers finally had an evening where both favorites went down to defeat. Unfortunately for everyone, no one had both of them. Two of our power hitters still connected with one longshot. Contest leader Sally Hinckley nailed Barrycourt for a $20 price and a total of 29 points. Derick Giwner outscored Sally by a dollar when he got Catch All home at $21. That gave him 36 points on the night and another win in the daily scoring. The long weekend of racing came to a close on Monday, Labor Day, at Tioga Downs. With only a single race on the contest program. It was a short field and it did not figure to make a big impact on the scoring. With no show wagering the favorite entry won and the total points for the day was 7. A few players took the day off and most of the rest picked up the 7 loose points that were available. For the weekly honors, Rusty Nash finished on top with 426 points. Derick Giwner completed the exacta with 326 points. Josi Verlingieri completed the weekly trifecta with 312 points. The top five in the overall Grand Circuit Tour remain the same with only some slight shuffling of positions. Sally Hinckley remains on top with 2,858 points. She was able to maintain her impressive 400 point lead. Mark McKelvie swapped places with Anne Stepien taking the place position. Bob Zanakis just got by Gordon Waterstone to take over fourth with Gordon completing the black type. Standings as of September 7, 2015 - Leg 36 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Sally Hinckley 2,605.30 253.00 2,858.30 1st 2nd Mark McKelvie 2,202.50 251.90 2,454.40 3rd 3rd Anne Stepien 2,268.50 140.90 2,409.40 2nd 4th Bob Zanakis 1,931.10 279.50 2,210.60 5th 5th Gordon Waterstone 1,951.90 196.30 2,148.20 4th 6th Dennis O'Hara 1,825.00 211.80 2,036.80 6th 7th Earl Paulson 1,811.30 181.20 1,992.50 7th 8th Bryan Owen 1,642.20 162.70 1,804.90 8th 9th Josi Verlingieri 1,486.30 312.30 1,798.60 10th 10th Rusty Nash 1,363.10 426.40 1,789.50 13th 11th Michael Carter 1,588.40 78.70 1,667.10 9th 12th Garnet Barnsdale 1,341.90 283.60 1,625.50 14th 13th Ray Garnett 1,419.30 192.40 1,611.70 11th 14th Mark Dezii 1,419.00 164.70 1,583.70 12th 15th Derick Giwner 1,230.30 326.70 1,557.00 16th 16th Jay Hochstetler 1,321.60 158.30 1,479.90 15th 17th Brandon Valvo 1,191.30 8.80 1,200.10 17th 18th Ray Cotolo 857.40 206.90 1,064.30 18th 19th Mark Deutsch 535.90 166.60 702.50 19th Next week we have the Jim Ewart from Scioto Downs in addition to divisions of the Champlain and Simcoe stakes from Mohawk. It should be an easier week for the handicappers and the scorekeepers! by Rusty Nash for HANA Harness
After the Hambletonian leg of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, Sally Hinckley has firmly placed her handicapping sulky back in front of Mark McKelvie. She did it by selecting five winners in the twelve race marathon and posted an impressive 1,966 total contest points. Mark McKelvie remains very close and is a mere 52 points behind. Gapped back in third is our early pace setter Bob Zanakis. The real action occurred back in the pack where thirteen positions changed. The biggest mover of the day was Earl Paulson and his super computer. The computer and its ace programmer led all handicappers on the day with seven wins and 554 points earned. Earl moved up seven positions from eleventh to fourth. Dennis O'Hara was a close second on the day amassing 537 points on six winners. He was the only other handicapper to correctly pick 50% winners on the day. His key was Flanagan Memory at $21 which earned him 231 of his points. He moved up the most positions from thirteenth to fifth. The best individual pick of the day went to Brandon Valvo who selected D'One at $31.40. The European invader won with a thrilling come from behind effort to upset Bee A Magician. It was that race, plus the Cane, where Wiggle It Jiggleit faded after a speed duel that tripped up most of the contestants. Next week the handicapping tour visits Northfield Park for the Carl Milstein Memorial. The handicappers will appreciate the short work week to rest up for the following weekend that sees us visiting seven tracks and puzzling through 18 scheduled events. Allan Schott Harness Racing Coordinator
August 3, 2015 - With the multiplier feature of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, the potential of the contest standings changing dramatically existed. At the conclusion of the weekend, those predictions came true. After missing Friday night's contest leg, Mark McKelvie responded with a roar, winning nine of the sixteen legs on Saturday, earning 1,075.9 points, which with his previous 717.6 points thus far has now propelled into first place with a total of 1,793.5, a lead of 126.6 points over Sally Hinckley's 1,666.9. Previous leader Bob Zanakis now sits third, with 1,372.3. Other big movers this week were Gordon Waterstone who moved from seventh to fourth place, Josi Verlingieri (ninth to fifth), Rusty Nash (thirteenth to eighth), Mark Dezii (sixteenth to tenth), and Dennis O'Hara (seventeenth to twelfth). While McKelvie already had eight winners at the end of the Meadow's card, his coupe de grace was the fourth race at the Meadowlands where his last and final winner of the day pick in the TVG Trot of Flanagan Memory ($26.40, $9.00, $7.20) earned him a total of 383.4 points. Standings as of August 1, 2015 - Leg 24 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Mark McKelvie 717.60 1,075.90 1,793.50 4th 2nd Sally Hinckley 1,014.30 652.60 1,666.90 2nd 3rd Bob Zanakis 1,059.50 312.80 1,372.30 1st 4th Gordon Waterstone 641.70 442.20 1,083.90 7th 5th Josi Verlingieri 631.90 450.10 1,082.00 9th 6th Michael Carter 749.50 275.40 1,024.90 3rd 7th Ann Stepien 703.00 303.50 1,006.50 5th 8th Rusty Nash 569.90 436.30 1,006.20 13th 9th Derick Giwner 618.60 374.30 992.90 10th 10th Mark Dezii 546.40 416.70 963.10 16th 11th Brandon Valvo 561.40 395.10 956.50 15th 12th Earl Paulson 614.20 334.20 948.40 11th 12th Dennis O'Hara 483.20 446.50 929.70 17th 14th Garnet Barnsdale 639.00 267.20 906.20 8th 15th Jay Hochstetler 566.90 322.50 889.40 14th 16th Bryan Owen 570.00 306.70 876.70 12th 17th Ray Garnett 693.90 154.70 848.60 6th 18th Ray Cotolo 362.70 351.70 714.40 18th 19th Mark Deutsch 203.70 230.30 434.00 19th This week the contest kicks off on Thursday, with the Whenuwishuponastar early closer final at Mohawk Racetrack and then finishes up on Saturday with the Hambletonian with its minimum of ten contest races. Handicapper selections, results and standings are available at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott
July 19, 2015 – It was a matter of time until someone in the back of the pack made a move in the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, so perhaps it was apropos such a move by two handicappers would occur on Meadowlands Pace night when eight contest races in addition to the Sheppard at Yonkers Raceway were contested. Thanks to four winners, Sally Hinckley leapfrogged from fourteenth to second place with 533.8 points for the week while Mark McKelvie moved from sixteen to fourth place thanks to his 316 points. Overall leader Bob Zanakis scored 190.6 points this week for a grand total of 1,018.9 but the race has tightened as his lead is down to 31.1 points. Hinckley and Zanakis both had four winners on the card but Hinckley greatly benefited from longshot Anndrovette whose victory in the Golden Girls FFA for mares earned Hinckley 432 of her 533.80 points. Hinckley’s other winners were favorites Pinkman, Wiggle It Jiggleit, and JL Cruze. Zanakis’ big winner of his quartet was Moonlight Dance who earned him 108.8 of his total 190.6 points in the Mistletoe Shalee for three year old filly pacers with his remaining winners being the same trio as Hinckley’s. Six handicappers had three winners on the card but while Mark McKelvie had only two winners, he made the best of it thanks to Spirit To Win being victorious in the Delvin Miller Memorial for three year old trotters which earned him 281.2 of his 316 points for the week (his other winner was the result of a scratch which gave him the post time favorite). Standings as of July 18, 2015 - Leg 20 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Bob Zanakis 828.30 190.60 1,018.90 1st 2nd Sally Hinckley 454.00 533.80 987.80 14th 3rd Michael Carter 701.80 40.60 742.40 2nd 4th Mark McKelvie 371.90 316.00 687.90 16h 5th Ray Garnett 657.90 18.20 676.10 3rd 6th Ann Stepien 555.20 74.10 629.30 6th 7th Garnet Barnsdale 566.00 47.50 613.50 5th 8th Gordon Waterstone 567.30 37.20 604.50 4th 9th Derick Giwner 517.70 77.70 595.40 9th 10th Josi Verlingieri 523.60 71.10 594.70 8th 11th Earl Paulson 499.10 60.80 559.90 11th 12th Brandon Valvo 529.00 23.20 552.20 7th 13th Mark Dezii 457.90 73.70 531.60 13th 14th Bryan Owen 508.80 19.10 527.90 10th 15th Jay Hochstetler 476.90 43.80 520.70 12th 16th Rusty Nash 428.10 87.50 515.60 15th 17th Dennis O'Hara 364.60 87.70 452.30 17th 18th Ray Cotolo 294.10 28.00 322.10 18th 19th Mark Deutsch 183.10 10.50 193.60 19th This week, Saratoga Raceway is Saturday’s contest track with the $260,000 guaranteed Joe Gerrity Memorial while Sunday features the Zweig Memorial Trot and Zweig Filly Trot as well as their corresponding consolation races at Vernon Downs. Handicapper selections, results and standing are available at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott
July 5, 2015 - Legs 16-18 are in the book for the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, and it finds Bob Zanakis remaining on top for the second week with a total of 797.1 points, 105.4 points ahead of his nearest competitor. However, the handicapper of note this week was Garnet Barnsdale who leaped from tenth to fifth over three of contest dates, earning 168.1 points for the two week period. Last week's (June 26) leg of the TVG Trotting Series at the Meadowlands was a challenge to the roster of handicappers as only one handicapper was able to correctly select the winner, Obrigado. Perhaps it was fitting Maine resident Sally Hinckley was the sole handicapper to pick the Maine trotting sensation who has gone on to the big leagues. Hinckley's loyalty was rewarded, earning 18 points in the single event evening. Friday (July 3) featured a trio of events, the inaugural Cleveland Trotting Classic, the Graduate Pacing Final, and the Ms. Versatility. A dead heat between Mark McKelvie and Bryan Owen was the result of each handicapper correctly selecting Daylon Magician to win the Northfield event and Doo Wop Hanover in the Graduate Final with their handicapping efforts arning them a score of 75.1 for the evening, contributing to McKevlie's 133.8 and Owen's 102.9 weekly total. Saturday (July 4) featured a combination of eight stakes and consolation races on Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs' Sun Stakes card and it turns out the magic number was three, the most winners any of the handicappers had selected which seven contestants can lay claim to. One of the septet, Bob Zanakis, scored 167.4 of his 186.2 points for the week, while Barnsdale earned 152.3 of his 165.3 weekly total with only two winners. Zanakis correctly selected Badiou Hanover (Max Hempt Memorial consolation), Habitat (Earl Beal Jr. Memorial consolation) , and Wiggle It Jiggleit (Max Hempt Memorial final) while Barnsdale correctly selected longshot Bettor Be Steppin (James M Lynch Memorial) in addition to Pinkman (Earl Beal Jr. Memorial). Other handicappers who broke the century mark for the weekend were Michael Carter (107.2), Gordon Waterstone (101.9), Josi Verlingieri (110.6), Bryan Owen (102.9), Rusty Nash (101), and Mark McKelvie (133.8). Standings as of July 4, 2015 - Leg 18 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Bob Zanakis 610.90 186.20 797.10 1st 2nd Michael Carter 584.50 107.20 691.70 3rd 3rd Ray Garnett 597.20 26.20 623.40 2nd 4th Gordon Waterstone 463.00 101.90 564.90 5th 5th Garnet Barnsdale 386.40 165.30 551.70 10th 6th Ann Stepien 449.20 74.80 524.00 6th 7th Josi Verlingieri 410.80 110.60 521.40 8th 8th Brandon Valvo 487.90 33.40 521.30 4th 9th Derick Giwner 437.60 70.00 507.60 7th 10th Jay Hochstetler 396.70 72.50 469.20 9th 11th Earl Paulson 366.00 99.70 465.70 11th 12th Bryan Owen 362.40 102.90 465.30 12th 13th Mark Dezii 363.70 81.90 445.60 13th 14th Sally Hinckley 355.90 88.00 443.90 14th 15th Rusty Nash 319.20 101.00 420.20 15th 16th Mark McKelvie 230.20 133.80 364.00 17th 17th Dennis O'Hara 315.20 41.50 356.70 16th 18th Ray Cotolo 160.60 83.70 244.30 19th 19th Mark Deutsch 167.20 15.90 183.10 18th This week, Saturday night features three events at the Meadowlands; the $250,000 Graduate Final for trotters, the $65,000 (est.) Reynolds for three year old colt and gelding trotters and the $60,000 (est.) Reynolds for three year old filly trotters. For further information on the contest, you are invited to visit the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott Harness Racing Coordinator Follow the HANA Harness Handicapping Contest
June 21, 2015 – After the three latest legs of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, another harness racing handicapper stakes his claim to the top slot as Bob Zanakis trades places with Ray Garnett, taking the lead with 610.9 points to Garnett’s 588.2. Leg 14 was pretty uneventful as the only race in the contest was the Battle of Lake Erie with two handicappers maximizing the opportunity provided by the veteran Foiled Again winning resulting in Earl Paulson and Gordon Waterstone earning 24.2 points for the leg. In leg 15, Mark McKelvie earned top honors, earning 51 points, the result of selecting JL Cruz and Doo Wop Hanover to win their respective legs of the Graduate series for four year olds. Several others correctly selected the winner of one leg of the Graduate. Leg 16 contained the stakes races of North America Cup Night and with a number of favorites going down to defeat, those who relied on the favorites to come through were disappointed. On the other hand, Sally Hinckley (75.8 points for the night) took advantage of the implosion of the top two favorites in the Goodtimes Trot, earning 54.5 points with her selection of The Bank who finished second in the race. Due to the failure of many of the favorites, the best some handicappers could accomplish was selecting two winners out of the six races, with Bob Zanakis, Garnet Barnsdale, and Dennis O’Hara earning between 66 - 64.8 points Standings as of June 20, 2015 - Leg 15 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Bob Zanakis 528.40 82.50 610.90 2nd 2nd Ray Garnett 539.70 48.50 588.20 1st 3rd Michael Carter 509.70 74.80 584.50 3rd 4th Brandon Valvo 453.80 34.10 487.90 4th 5th Gordon Waterstone 434.80 28.20 463.00 5th 6th Ann Stepien 409.10 37.30 446.40 6th 7th Derick Giwner 383.00 51.80 434.80 7th 8th Josi Verlingieri 365.80 36.00 401.80 9th 9th Jay Hochstetler 374.50 22.20 396.70 8th 10th Garnet Barnsdale 302.30 81.30 383.60 13th 11th Earl Paulson 321.00 45.00 366.00 12th 12th Bryan Owen 333.30 29.10 362.40 10th 13th Mark Dezii 329.80 24.90 354.70 11th 14th Sally Hinckley 242.70 95.20 337.90 15th 15th Dennis O'Hara 237.30 75.10 312.40 16th 16th Rusty Nash 257.20 53.00 310.20 14th 17th Mark McKelvie 170.20 51.00 221.20 17th 18th Ray Cotolo 152.80 7.80 160.60 18th 19th Mark Deutsch 152.10 6.10 158.20 19th This week, only one event is on the contest calendar with the Meadowlands hosting trotters for a leg of the TVG series on Friday evening. The Fourth of July weekend features seven races giving handicappers a chance of improving their position in the standings. For further information on the contest, you are invited to visit the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott Harness Racing Coordinator Follow the HANA Harness Handicapping Contest
June 11, 2015 - With stakes season now in high gear, Ray Garnett. Previously in 6th place, assumes the lead in the 2015 HANA Harness Racing Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, as the standings have been shaken up with plenty of movement. Garnett, with 539.7 points (268.2 for the week) finds himself in front by a slim 11.3 point lead over Bob Zanakis whose 528.4 (292.8 for the week) points leapfrogged him from 8th to 2nd place. Previous leader Michael Carter finds himself in 3rd place with 509.7 points, just 30 points from the top spot. Other handicappers who distinguished themselves during this past reporting period are Jay Hochstelter (214.2 pts for week) and Brandon Valvo (212.4 pts for week). In the 11th leg of the competition, Mark Dezii and Brandon Valvo were both 2 for 2, including the winner of the Lismore at Yonkers Raceway, Purrfect Bags $24.20, which resulted in each of them earning 70.2 points for the evening. Mark Dezii along with Josi Verlingieri and Gordon Waterstone went 3 for 3 in the 12th leg at The Meadows in the 3 divisions of the Currier & Ives stake for 3yo filly trotters which earned each handicapper 71.4 points. In leg 13, a total of 8 races were contested at the Meadowlands, The Meadows, Mohawk Raceway, and Scioto Downs and Ray Garnett and Bob Zanakis took advantage of the situation by exploding with 5 winners on the card earning 257.6 points taking down 3 of the 4 Graduate legs at the Meadowlands, the Currier & Ives for 3yo open trotters, and the Charles Hill Memorial Trot at Scioto Downs. Jay Hochstetler earned 205.4 points with 4 winners for the evening. The other 4 race winner for the evening was Brandon Valvo who scored 181.8 points. Standings as of Saturday, June 6, 2015 - Leg 13 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Ray Garnett 271.50 268.20 539.70 5th 2nd Bob Zanakis 235.60 292.80 528.40 9th 3rd Michael Carter 379.80 129.90 509.70 1st 4th Brandon Valvo 241.40 212.40 453.80 8th 5th Gordon Waterstone 268.50 142.10 410.60 6th 6th Ann Stepien 291.00 118.10 409.10 2nd 7th Jay Hochstetler 160.30 214.20 374.50 13th 8th Derick Giwner 256.20 114.60 370.80 7th 9th Josi Verlingieri 272.00 93.80 365.80 4th 10th Mark Dezii 235.50 94.30 329.80 10th 11th Bryan Owen 275.10 46.60 321.70 3rd 12th Garnet Barnsdale 160.50 141.80 302.30 12th 13th Earl Paulson 148.30 148.50 296.80 15th 14th Rusty Nash 138.80 106.20 245.00 16th 15th Sally Hinckley 188.30 54.40 242.70 11th 16th Dennis O'Hara 157.20 80.10 237.30 14th 17th Mark McKelvie 98.00 72.20 170.20 17th 18th Mark Deutsch 92.20 59.90 152.10 18th 19th Ray Cotolo 88.40 52.80 141.20 19th This week, the Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park is the only race on the contest calendar. The following week is another big week for the handicapping challenge as the third leg of the Graduate series for 4yo trotters and pacers is on tap at the Meadowlands (6/19) while Saturday night (6/20) has the North America Cup, Roses Are Red, Fan Hanover, Goodtimes, and Armbro Flight being contested at Mohawk while a leg of the TVG series for trotters takes place at the Meadowlands. For details on the specific races and other information regarding the contest, visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott Harness Racing Coordinator
May 26, 2015 - Nine legs into the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, finds Michael Carter holding on to his early lead with 319.7 points but as could be expected finds himself with company at the top. Two other harness racing handicappers find themselves within a hundred points of Carter; Anne Stepien, thirteenth place as of the last report now finds herself vaulted into second place with 283.6 points; Bryan Owen, third in the last report remains in the show spot with 268 points. In addition to these two handicappers, five others are laying in contention in the 200s. Prior to this week, with single race dates, movement has been slight but as stakes action has kicked into high gear, dates have multiple races and this is where the points start adding up fast and it showed this past weekend. On Sunday, three handicappers (Ray Garnett, Josi Verlingieri, and Bob Zanakis) went a perfect three-for-three earning 145.8 points thanks to victories by Great Vintage, Radar Contact, and Father Patrick in the trio of invitational races at Harrah's Philadelphia. Stepien and Brandon Valvo, going two for three earned 64.2 and 51.8 points respectively. On Monday DRF Harness' Derick Giwner and Stepien went four for four in the Graduate series races at Tioga Downs crediting each with 128.4 points as a result of selecting Shake It Cerry, Opulent Yankee, Doo Wop Hanover, and Rockeyed Optimist to win their respective divisions. After the first nine divisions, the standings show: Standings as of Monday, May 25, 2015 - Leg 9 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Michael Carter 331.70 45.60 377.30 1st 2nd Ann Stepien 91.00 192.60 283.60 8th 3rd Bryan Owen 173.30 94.70 268.00 2nd 4th Josi Verlingieri 87.60 179.80 267.40 9th 5th Gordon Waterstone 162.30 94.20 256.50 3rd 6th Ray Garnett 69.70 182.70 252.40 15th 7th Derick Giwner 111.20 137.90 249.10 5th 8th Bob Zanakis 50.80 175.30 226.10 17th 9th Sally Hinckley 129.80 53.60 183.40 4th 10th Brandon Valvo 100.10 66.20 166.30 6th 11th Mark Dezii 76.00 84.40 160.40 13th 12th Jay Hochstetler 85.20 68.00 153.20 11th 13th Dennis O'Hara 80.30 69.80 150.10 12th 14th Garnet Barnsdale 98.00 38.80 136.80 7th 15th Earl Paulson 86.30 50.00 136.30 10th 16th Rusty Nash 71.10 41.20 112.30 14th 17th Mark McKelvie 52.80 33.20 86.00 16th 18th Mark Deutsch 50.50 34.30 84.80 18th 19th Ray Cotolo 48.20 33.10 81.30 19th This week (May 29 and 30), the Grand Circuit challenge heads north to The Raceway at Western Fair District for the season closing Molson Pace on Friday then heads to Yonkers Raceway for the Art Rooney Pace and Lismore Pace on Saturday for three year olds of both sexes. The following week finds the contest at June 5 at the Meadows for the Currier & Ives for three year old filly trotters and June 6 at a quartet of tracks; The Meadows for the Currier & Ives (three year old open trotters); The Meadowlands for the Graduate Series (four year old open pacers and trotters); Scioto Downs for the Charlie Hill (four year old open trotter); Mohawk Raceway for the Somebeachsomewhere (three year old open pace). For details on the specific races and other information regarding the contest, visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott Harness Racing Coordinator
(May 4, 2015) - With four legs of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, Buffalo Raceway announcer Michael Carter has taken an early lead with 319.70 points. Carter managed to surge to the lead due in a large part to his performance on Saturday afternoon where he had three winners, including Lady Suffolk second division winner, Northern Obsession which paid $46.20 to win. Carter would have gone four for four on Saturday if not for his selection in the Dexter Cup, Divisionist finishing second. Other performers of note were Bryan Owen and Gordon Waterstone who went three for four, alas without selecting Northern Obsession. The current standings after four legs are: Standings as of Sunday, May 3 - Leg 4 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Michael Carter 11.60 308.10 319.70 13th (tie) 2nd Gordon Waterstone 43.50 105.20 148.70 2nd 3rd Bryan Owen 39.70 107.30 147.00 5th 4th Sally Hinckley 48.20 47.70 95.90 1st 5th Derick Giwner 33.90 58.20 92.10 8th 6th Brandon Valvo 40.90 51.00 91.90 4th 7th Earl Paulson 43.20 34.90 78.10 3rd 8th Ann Stepien 11.60 65.70 77.30 13th (tie) 9th Mark Dezii 37.00 34.60 71.60 6th 10th Josi Verlingieri 33.40 31.70 65.10 9th 11th Dennis O'Hara 18.10 45.20 63.30 11th 12th Jay Hochstetler 4.20 58.60 62.80 18th 13th Rusty Nash 35.70 21.20 56.90 7th 14th Garnet Barnsdale 8.00 46.90 54.90 15th (tie) 15th Mark McKelvie 5.90 46.90 52.80 17th 16th Mark Deutsch 11.90 38.60 50.50 12th 17th Ray Garnett 31.80 18.10 49.90 10th 18th Ray Cotolo 8.00 40.20 48.20 15th (tie) 19th Bob Zanakis 0.00 37.20 37.20 19th Three new handicappers join the fray, two replacing handicappers forced to scratch due to circumstances beyond their control, while one handicapper is a new addition. Coming off the also eligible list is Bob Zanakis who is a handicapper familiar to followers of this series and Jay Hochstetler, an intern at the Horsemen and Fair World and an assistant trainer. Added to the roster is Mark Deutsch, a former owner and trainer who now enjoys handicapping harness racing primarily on the WEG circuit. As substitutes, Hochstetler takes over representing Rainhill Sanctuary, while Zanakis assumes representing Helping Hearts Equine Rescue. Mark Deutsch chose New Vocations as his rescue of choice. Two new sponsors have joined the contest. HANA welcomes Red Shores Charlottetown as a Silver sponsor while an Anonymous donor has signed on as a double Bronze sponsor. Thanks to these additions, the contest handicappers are playing for a HANA Harness-record $5,700 in prize money to be distributed to the top three handicapper's selected standardbred rescues and Canadian rescues selected by the Canadian sponsors. This coming week, there are no events but the Handicapping Challenge returns the following week for events Saturday-Monday (5/16-5/18). For details on the specific races and other information regarding the contest, visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator Check out our contest site for the 2015 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge. Check out HANA Harness' Blog.
(April 20, 2015) - The sponsors have stepped up and the handicappers selected for the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. With the handicappers chomping on the bit, the contest finally gets underway with The Meadows Maturity on Friday afternoon, April 24, 2015, followed the next evening with racing action at Yonkers Raceway where the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Memorial series finals will be contested. This year the sponsors have allowed the handicapping challenge to secure a record $5,250 in prize funds to be divided between the standardbred rescues of the top three handicappers at the conclusion of the contest. In addition to the presenting sponsors, additional sponsors are Green Acquisition Corporation, Harness Racing Update, Isle of Capri Pompano Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, and Scioto Downs Racino. HANA thanks all the sponsors for stepping up to support the contest and standardbred rescue. Handicapper selections will be available on the contest website the morning of each day's events. Race fans and horseplayers may find those selections and additional contest information at the contest website http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com . In addition, fans may follow the contest on social media by searching for the hash tag #hanagc2015. Allan Schott
(April 12, 2015) - HANA Harness welcomes the Bellino Stable as a Gold Sponsor and The Raceway at Western Fair District as a Silver sponsor in the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, Bellino Stable, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Harness Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. With less than two weeks prior to the commencement of the contest on April 24, it is Last Call for becoming a sponsor. While naming rights for the handicapping contest have been sold out, affordable sponsorship opportunities remain, starting with our Bronze Level ($100), Silver Level ($250) and topping out at $500 for the Gold Level. If you are a racetrack, horsemen association, racing stable, or a vendor who does business in the harness racing industry, sponsorship is a perfect way to get your name out within the industry as supporters of standardbred rescue. The deadline for becoming a sponsor is Friday, April 17. To become a sponsor or for further information, you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information on the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge, visit the contest website here. Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator Check out our contest site for the 2015 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge. Check out HANA Harness' Blog.
(March 13, 2015) - The field has been set, the races picked, and the rescues selected for the 2015 HANA Harness Racing Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, all sponsors who have renewed their support for standardbred rescue with their sponsorship (additional sponsors are anticipated). As for handicappers, one old friend and two new faces join the returning roster of handicappers. Richard Scott returns to the contest after a one year hiatus. Scott was the winner of the 2013 handicapping contest and looks to attempt to reclaim his title. Scott is a former trainer who worked for the Bessinger, Silverman, and David Elliot stables in his career. Making their debut to the contest this year are Michael Carter, the current track announcer at Buffalo Raceway, and Mark Dezii, a racing fan who is a musician who hails from Philadelphia, PA. The complete roster, last year's placing, and selected rescues for the 2015 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is: Garnet Barnsdale - Harness Racing Writer, WEG Handicapper for DRF Harness; (1st); TROTR; Therapeutic Riding and Off-Track Rehabilitation) Michael Carter - Track Announcer at Buffalo Raceway; (Did Not Compete); Central Virginia Horse Rescue Ray Cotolo - Internet Harness Racing Analyst and Writer; (15th); Sunshine Horse Rescue. Mark Dezii - Race Fan and Musician; (DNC); Horse Lovers United Ray Garnett -Handicapper; (14th); Rockin T Equine Rescue Derick Giwner - Editor, DRF Harness; (8th); New Vocations Sally Hinckley - On-air Handicapping Personality; (12th); Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals Brian McEvoy - Works for Harnesslink, (3rd); Helping Hearts Equine Rescue Mark McKelvie - Communications Coordinator for WEG; (2nd); Horse Rescue United Rusty Nash - Trackmaster Handicapper; (9th); Rainhill Sanctuary. Bryan Owen - Former Owner and Handicapper;(DNC); Standardbred Retirement Foundation Dennis O'Hara - Handicapper, Former Asst Race Secretary; (11th); Standardbred Retirement Foundation Earl Paulson - Handicapper, Yahoo Harness Racing Forum Director; (5th); Racer Placers Richard Scott - Handicapper/Former Trainer, (DNC; 1st in 2013); Rainhill Sanctuary. Anne Stepien - Handicapper, Former Trainer; (13th); Heading for Home Brandon Valvo - Handicapper, Writer for Harness Racing America; (6th); Horse Lovers United Josi Verlingieri - Handicapper; (7th); Heart of Phoenix Gordon Waterstone - Associate Editor, Horseman and Fair World; (10th); Changing Fates Equine Rescue A new scoring system has been implemented for this year's contest with handicappers focusing on the horse who will win the race, bringing a mix of quantity and value to the handicappers' plans this year. For those who wish details on how the scoring will be done, the rules page explains. The competition begins on April 24 with the inaugural Meadows Futurity Trot and concludes on November 29 with the Progress Stake at Dover Downs. Handicappers and fans may follow the contest by visiting the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. HANA Harness is the Harness Racing division of Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA), a group which since 2008 represents over 3,000 horseplayers in dealings with the racing industry. Since HANA Harness began sponsoring handicapping contests, over $10,000 has been donated to standardbred recues. All horseplayers, regardless of breed are invited to join HANA for free. For further information regarding HANA, please visit the HANA website at http://horseplayersassociation.org/. For further information on joining the current sponsors by becoming a sponsor at the Gold, Silver, or Bronze level, click here.. Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator email@example.com Check out our contest site for the 2015 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge. Check out HANA Harness' Blog.
December 9, 2014 - With the Cleveland Classic not filling, the last leg of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs has been cancelled resulting in Garnet Barnsdale being named the top handicapper for this year's contest with a net profit of $4,553.40, over $3,000 ahead of second place Mark McKelvie who had a net profit of $1,276. In a last minute move, Harnesslink's Brian McEvoy managed to nail Bob Zanakis for the show position, thanks to his $250 win wager on McWicked on Sunday's Progress stake at Dover Downs. While not finishing in the money, the last leg's big winner was Earl Paulson who had a $250 play on the winning Trifecta which gave him a weekly net profit of $2,850, allowing him to move up from tenth to fifth place, putting him withiin striking distance of the third spot if he was successful in the Cleveland Classic but alas, it was not to be. By nature of Barnsdale's winning of the contest, a donation of $1,500 will be made to his selected standardbred rescue, TROTR (Therapeutic Riding and Off Track Rehabilitation) in addition, donations of $250 will be made by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) and Red Shores-Charlottetown to the Canadian rescues of their choice in honor of Garnet's victory. For his second place finish, a donation of $1,050 will be made to McKelvie's selected rescue, Rainhill Sanctuary. A donation of $450 will be made to Horse Rescue United, Brian McEvoy's selected rescue. Final Standings (53 Legs) Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Garnet Barnsdale ($204.00) $4,553.40 2nd Mark McKelvie ($250.00) $1,276.00 $3,277.40 3rd Brian McEvoy $175.00 $33.50 $4,519.90 4th Bob Zanakis ($250.00) ($53.05) $4,606.45 5th Earl Paulson $2,850.00 ($57.50) $4,610.90 6th Brandon Valvo $175.00 ($620.00) $5,173.40 7th Josi Verlingieri $175.00 ($1,005.40) $5,558.80 8th Derick Giwner ($250.00) ($1,073.23) $5,626.63 9th Rusty Nash $350.00 ($1,733.36) $6,286.76 10th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($2,131.30) $6,684.70 11th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($4,086.65) $8,640.05 12th Sally Hinckley $370.00 ($4,267.40) $8,820.80 13th Anne Stepien ($180.00) ($4,787.93) $9,341.33 14th Ray Garnett ($250.00) ($6,352.80) $10,906.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($10,048.40) $14,601.80 HANA Harness would like to once again thank its Gold Sponsors, the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowland Racing and Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs as well as COSA and Red Shores-Charlottetown for their sponsorship and the handicappers which allowed this contest to help standardbred rescues across North America. For further information on HANA, please visit our website http://www.horseplayersassociation.org/. by Allan Schott, for HANA
November 30, 2014 - How do you best describe Leg 52 of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs? A Romp. Admittedly, with only four races remaining going in to last night's action, many of the handicappers were looking for that hit to vault them into contention while others were thwarted by the upset in the TVG Trot which was won by Intimidate making their efforts for naught. However when the dust settled, Sally Hinckley remained true to form and was rewarded with the sole winning wager of the evening to show a weekly net profit of $1,625 to get top honors for the week. Hinckley's hit came in the TVG Pace Final where she played a $125 Exacta Box of Sweet Lou and Foiled Again which paid $1,875, cutting her overall loss to $4,637.40. Despite being shut out last night, Garnet Barnsdale continues cruising towards the contest finish line with an overall net profit of $4,757.40, leading his closest competitor by $3,231.40 with just two races remaining. The current standings with two legs remaining in the competition are: As of November 29, 2014 - Leg 52 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) $4,757.40 2nd Mark McKelvie ($250.00) $1,526.00 $3,231.40 3rd Bob Zanakis ($150.00) $196.95 $4,560.45 4th Brian McEvoy ($250.00) ($141.50) $4,898.90 5th Brandon Valvo ($250.00) ($795.00) $5,552.40 6th Derick Giwner ($248.20) ($823.23) $5,580.63 7th Josi Verlingieri ($250.00) ($1,180.40) $5,937.80 8th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,881.30) $6,638.70 9th Rusty Nash ($250.00) ($2,083.36) $6,840.76 10th Earl Paulson ($250.00) ($2,907.50) $7,664.90 11th Dennis O'Hara ($240.00) ($3,836.65) $8,594.05 12th Anne Stepien ($250.00) ($4,607.93) $9,365.33 13th Sally Hinckley $1,625.00 ($4,637.40) $9,394.80 14th Ray Garnett ($240.00) ($6,102.80) $10,860.20 15th Ray Cotolo $0.00 ($9,798.40) $14,555.80 The Handicapping Shoot-Out takes a week off before the final two legs are contested beginning with the Progress Stake at Dover Downs on December 7 before wrapping up on December 12 at Northfield Park for the Cleveland Classic. For more information, visit HANA Harness’ contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott, for HANA
November 23, 2014 - As with several Breeders Crown champions this past weekend, Garnet Barnsdale opened up a commanding lead in Legs 50 and 51 of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest thanks to his weekly net profit of $2,446.10. With his tally this week, Barnsdale's overall net profit is $5,007.40, giving him a lead of $3,231.40 over second place Mark McKelvie. With three legs (four races) remaining in this year's contest, it would seemingly take a monster hit by one of his opponents and a collapse on his part for someone to take the lead away from him. While first place appears safe, there is a real battle for second and third place as the finishers in those positions will also have donations made to their rescues of choice. Second place McKelvie has an overall net profit of $1,776, roughly $1,430 ahead of third place Bob Zanakis' $346.95. While not in a cashing position, Brian McEvoy is sitting in fourth place within stalking distance as he is less than $240 behind Zanakis, On Friday night, Derick Giwner came out $883.20 to the plus side thanks to his plays in the Breeders Crown 3yo filly pace as a $72 win ticket earned him a $756 payout. In addition to the win wager, Giwner had a $1 Trifecta partial wheel ticket (total of $42) which paid $505.20. In the same race, Barndsale earned $806.40 thanks to his $1010.40 payoff on a $2 Trifecta key ($168). Saturday evening, was all Barnsdale with a daily profit of $1,659.70, followed by Dennis O'Hara's $605 and Rusty Nash's $440. Barnsdale's profit came primarily thanks to a $1 Trifecta wheel ($72) in the Breeders Crown Open Mare Pace which returned $1,998. O'Hara managed to hit a $132 Trifecta partial wheel ($390) in the 2yo filly trot which paid $975 while in the Open Mare Pace, Nash's $200 Place wager (part of a Win, Place combo; $400) returned a $840 dividend. The current standings with three legs remaining in the competition are: by Allan Schott, for HANA