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(March 26, 2017) –  Matt Rose swept Friday night’s (March 26) three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series to take a solid lead early on in the 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge by opening up a 50.5 point lead over Ray Garnett who managed to muscle into second place by 1 point over Rusty Nash by winning Saturday’s leg of the challenge by winning two of the four races.  Rose has now won two of the four legs contested thus far.     Clearly, Rose is taking advantage of the early legs at Yonkers, his home track, by winning all three races on Friday’s slate including Empress Deo ($25), Mackenzie A ($4.60), and Bedroomconfessions ($2.90) which allowed him to net $41.70 for the evening.  However, even a home track can be cruel as Saturday night was a different story, resulting in him having to settle for a couple of show placings. Garnett and Russ Adams both had two winners on Saturday evening, but the difference was Garnett’s tabbing of Keystone Velocity ($13.20) in the first division of the Levy which allowed him to eke out a net profit of $12.60.  Also selecting Keystone Velocity was Anne Stepien. In the overall net-profit competition, Nash ($62.10) remains on top, leading Rose ($58.80) by $3.30. Ray Garnett moves into third this week with a net profit of $36.80 as Ray Cotolo fills out the top quartet with a net profit of $22.60. The standings thus far after four legs are:   Pos Handicapper Total Points Earned Legs Won 1st Matt Rose 143.5 2 2nd Ray Garnett 92.0 1 3rd Rusty Nash 91.0 1 4th Dennis O’Hara 50.0 0 5th Russ Adams 50.0 0 6th Ray Cotolo 46.0 0 7th Gordon Waterstone 45.0 0 8th Sally Hinckley 44.5 0 9th Steve Horoky 44.5 0 10th Anne Stepien 41.0 0 11th Adam Friedland 37.5 0 12th Bryan Owen 33.0 0 13th Jay Hochstetler 28.0 0 14th Michael Carter 23.0 0 15th Megan Maccario 19.0 0 16th Terry Wilson 18.0 0   Next Up:  The Challenge returns to Yonkers Raceway on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 for the third legs of the Matchmaker and Levy Memorial Series.  The Challenge remains at Yonkers Raceway until the conclusion of the two series on April 22. 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  

The opening two legs of the 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge are in the books with Matt Rose and Rusty Nash sprinting to the early lead, each winning a leg. However, with more winners for the weekend, Rose takes a 76.5-67point lead over Nash as the total prize pool reaches a record $8,000 thanks to the added Gold Sponsorship of WEG Entertainment and the Silver Sponsorship of Aquaflow, LLC. While the Levy tends to be the home of favorites, several of handicappers were undeterred in going against the anticipated chalk and they were successful. Hitting 2nd division winner Long Live Rock ($38.60) were Ray Cotolo, Ray Garnett, and Nash. Taking down 4th division winner Soto ($14.00) were Cotolo, Adam Friedland, Jay Hochstetler, Steve Horoky, Nash, Bryan Owen, and Rose. In the near-miss category, Rose just missed a big price in the 3rd division of the Matchmaker on Friday evening when Hidden Land was bested by Regil Elektra in a photo. While denied the winning mutual, Rose picked up the place and show mutuels of $15 and $13 respectively, helping his net profit in the early going. In the net-profit competition, Nash ($58.90) leads Cotolo ($42.40) and Rose ($35.40). Standings as of March 27, 2017 - Leg #4 Pos Handicapper Total Points Earned Legs Won Overall Net Profit 1st Matt Rose 76.5 1 35.40 2nd Rusty Nash 67.0 1 58.90 3rd Ray Cotolo 37.0 0 42.40 4th Steve Horoky 35.5 0 8.70 5th Dennis O’Hara 35.5 0 (1.20) 6th Adam Friedland 28.5 0 12.40 7th Bryan Owen 24.0 0 2.20 8th Ray Garnett 19.0 0 18.20 9th Jay Hochstetler- 19.0 0 9.80 10th Michael Carter 19.0 0 (4.80) 11th Russ Adams 17.0 0 (14.00) 12th Megan Maccario 15.0 0 (6.00) 13th Sally Hinckley 9.0 0 (8.00) 14th Anne Stepien 9.0 0 (19.40) 15th Gordon Waterstone 9.0 0 (29.10) 16th Terry Wilson 9.0 0 (34.40) Next Up: The Challenge returns to Yonkers Raceway on Friday, March 24 for the second leg of the Matchmaker series while Saturday (5/25) is the second leg of the Levy Memorial. 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. by Allan Schott, for HANA  

(March 8, 2017) - With a little over a week to go before the first leg of the 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge, this year's harness racing handicappers have made their selections of rescues to represent, attempting to win needed funds for their deserving groups. With former participants 'retiring' from the handicapping challenge, three new handicappers join the fray. Steve Horoky has been a fan for long time, getting actively involved by claiming his first horse at Hiawatha Park in Sarnia before concluding his active career in the sport as an owner/trainer at the old Windsor Raceway. Megan Maccario was born into the industry as her family has been long time owners racing in New York and New Jersey. Megan is currently the lead harness and New York thoroughbred racing correspondent for Pick Insider. Lastly, Terry Wilson, a former owner of standardbreds for 30 years on the Ontario circuit is now pleased to be 'just a fan'. All three are hoping to make a big splash in their debuts. With additional Canadian sponsorship, each handicapper has selected an American Standardbred rescue in addition to a Canadian adoption society to represent as Canadian sponsorship fees will now be distributed in the same manner as American funds; donations going to the rescues of the top three handicappers. The Canadian adoption societies Galahad, Greener Acres, Morningstar Acres, Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, Performance Standardbreds, and Sadies Place span Canada from New Brunswick to British Columbia. A new American rescue, Future for Standardbreds makes its debut this year, joining the returning American rescues. Some rescues handle more than standardbreds; all donations are marked for Standardbred rescue use only. The following is a list of handicappers along with their respective rescues. Fans are encouraged to learn more about these rescues and to consider making a donation to one or more of them. The following is a list of handicappers along with their respective rescues.  Fans are encouraged to learn more about these rescues and to consider making a donation to one or more of them. Handicapper American Rescue Canadian Rescue Russ Adams Changing Fates Equine Rescue Performance Standardbreds Michael Carter New Vocations Morningstar Acres Ray Cotolo Racer Placers Galahad Adam Friedland Future for Standardbreds Sadies Place Ray Garnett Rockin T Equine Rescue Greener Acres Sally Hinckley Helping Hearts Equine Rescue. Morningstar Acres Jay Hochstetler Starting Gaits Standardbred Transition Program Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society Steve Horoky Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals  Greener Acres Megan Maccario Rainhill Sanctuary. Sadies Place Rusty Nash Heart of Phoenix Greener Acres Dennis O'Hara Sunshine Horse Rescue. Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society Bryan Owen Standardbred Retirement Foundation Galahad Matt Rose Heading for Home Morningstar Acres Anne Stepien Central Virginia Horse Rescue Performance Standardbreds Gordon Waterstone Horse Lovers United Galahad Terry Wilson TROTR; Therapeutic Riding and Off-Track Rehabilitation) Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society Last Call for Sponsors:  Time is running out on becoming a sponsor.  Sponsorship opportunities levels are available for as low as $100.  Those still considering to become a sponsor are encouraged to do so quickly. Information about sponsorship may be found at http://tinyurl.com/hskso6k. Next Up:  The 2017 challenge opens up on Friday, March 17 with the opening leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway.  The action continues Saturday evening with the opening leg of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at the Hilltop oval. 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, and Wellbourne Farms.  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

(March 2, 2017) - HANA Harness is pleased to welcome the latest tracks and horsemen associations which have joined The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by 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, and Wellbourne Farms. The latest sponsors to sign-up at the Gold Sponsor level are the Ontario Harness Horse Association and Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside (returning). Joining as Silver Sponsors are Eldorado Gaming/Scioto Downs (returning), Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, and the Raceway at Western Fair District (returning). With the addition of these sponsors, the prize pool for the handicapping contest has swelled to $7,500; 100% of which will be distributed to winning Standardbred rescues in Canada and the United States. With the contest beginning on March 17, time is running out to become a sponsor. HANA Harness and the current sponsors invite other tracks, horsemen associations, and breeders to become a sponsor at the Gold, Silver, or Bronze levels. For further information concerning sponsorship opportunities, contact allan@hanweb.com. Allan Schott  

(February 21, 2017) - HANA Harness is pleased to announce the return of its handicapping challenge to benefit standardbred rescue for its sixth running. The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and Vernon Downs kicks off on Friday, March 17 with the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series at Yonkers Raceway, concluding on November 30 with the Progress Stakes at Dover Downs. Wellbourne Farms joins our roster of gold sponsors with this edition of the contest. New to our handicapping roster are Steve Horoky, Megan Maccario, and Terry Wilson who will join the panel of handicappers in battling for handicapping supremacy and their share of the prize pool which now stands at $5,000. Through the prior five iterations, approximately $25,000 has been awarded to deserving rescues. The rules have been changed this year to emphasize a handicapper's overall performance on a daily basis with points being awarded based on their placing each contest day. In addition to awarding prize funds to the rescues of the top three handicappers, a prize will be awarded to the rescue of the handicapper who has the highest net profit in the contest. Rescue assignments will be drawn prior to the contest kick-off. Sponsorship opportunities remain at the Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels. Racetracks, horsemen associations, and other businesses involved in harness racing are welcome to join the current sponsors in doing their part supporting standardbred rescue. For further information concerning sponsorship opportunities, contact allan@hanweb.com. by Allan Schott, for HANA Harness Racing

(November 29, 2016) - Jay Hochstetler has been crowned the champion of the 2016 harness racing Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs after crossing the wire first in a dominating victory; his total of 3,631.13 points being 635.31 more than runner-up Matt Rose who finished with 2,995.83. Sally Hinckley finished third with a tally of 2,900.88. The second-half champion, Rose by virtue of his second half total of 1,893.78 points over Hochstetler's second half tally of 1,789.10 earned an additional $250 for his winning rescue, Starting Gaits Standardbred Transition Program. By virtue of his first place finish, Hochstetler's rescue of choice, Central Virginia Horse Rescue earns the bulk of the prize fund with a donation of $2,500. Rose's rescue, Starting Gaits will be a recipient of an additional $1,400 (excluding the $250 second half donation) while Rainhill Sanctuary, Hinckley's rescue picks up the third place prize of $600. $1,000 will be donated to Canadian rescues on behalf of Hochstetler. HANA Harness which has been providing scoring for the contest would like to thank in addition to our Gold Sponsors, our Silver Sponsors, Dr. Adam Friedland and Eldorado Gaming - Scioto Downs for their sponsorship of this year's contest which allowed us to have a record prize fund of $6,000 to benefit Standardbred Horse Rescue Plans are underway for next year’s edition of the Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge.  Any North American handicapper who would like to be considered as a contestant next year are welcome to inquire by contacting allan@hanaweb.org.     HANA Harness is looking for sponsors of next year’s event as well.  Those interested in participating in this worthwhile effort to support American Standardbred Rescues via sponsorship should contact HANA Harness at allan@hanaweb.org.    FINAL - 2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Matt Rose 10.90  1,893.78  - 2nd 2,995.83 635.31  2nd Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 11.90  1,842.03  51.74 1st 3,631.13 - 3rd Sally Hinckley 19.60  1,731.01  162.77 3rd 2,900.88 730.25  4th Gordon Waterstone 0.00  1,581.41  312.37 5th 2,749.89 881.25  5th Ray Garnett 10.90  1,505.93  387.85 12th 2,294.70 1,336.43  6th Dennis O'Hara  8.30  1,478.08  415.70 7th 2,654.98 976.16  7th Adam Friedland 0.00  1,477.08  416.70 6th 2,723.23 907.91  8th Russ Adams 0.00  1,470.25  423.53 8th 2,651.18 979.96  9th Anne Stepien 29.90  1,466.43  427.35 10th 2,402.93 1,228.21  10th Rusty Nash 5.70  1,463.26  430.52 4th 2,759.41 871.73  11th Mark Deutsch 37.20  1,348.13  545.65 11th 2,326.33 1,304.81  12th Michael Carter  35.50  1,322.73  571.05 9th 2,415.28 1,215.86  13th Bryan Owen 0.00  1,167.60  726.18 13th 2,144.88 1,486.26  14th Ray Cotolo 6.20  1,154.35  739.43 14th 1,949.88 1,681.26  15th Joe Bengston 13.90  818.08  1075.70 15th 1,733.43 1,897.71    Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge      

(November 20, 2016) - After seventy-nine legs, the 2016 harness racing Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs is coming down to the wire. While for the most part payoff positions have been wrapped up, there is still a race on for second half champion as Matt Rose (1,882.88 points) is seeking to hold off first half champion Jay Hochstetler (1,830.13 pts.) with two contest dates remaining and 52.74 points separating the two handicappers. Hochstetler will be the overall champion while Rose leads Sally Hinckley by 103.64 points for the runner-up position which should hold up barring shockers in the final two legs. However, this past weekend was Final Four weekend at Woodbine Racetrack and when the points were tallied, Ray Garnett came out on top, earning 46.2 points for two winners, besting Russ Adams with 45.58 points and Hochstetler with 38.7 points also with two winners, the difference attributable to Garnett's selection of Thats The Ticket ($13.70) in the Three Diamonds Final. This year’s edition of the Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge comes to a conclusion with The Courageous Lady, Saturday (November 26) at Northfield Park and the Progress Stake at Dover Downs on Monday (November 28).    Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information such as the complete standings from HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. 2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Matt Rose 22.20  1,882.88  0.00 2nd 2984.93 634.31  2nd Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 38.70  1,830.13  52.74 1st 3619.23 0.00  3rd Sally Hinckley 11.20  1,711.41  171.47 3rd 2881.28 737.95  4th Gordon Waterstone 12.50  1,581.41  301.47 5th 2749.89 869.35  5th Ray Garnett 46.20  1,495.03  387.85 12th 2283.80 1,335.43  6th Adam Friedland 14.50  1,477.08  405.80 6th 2723.23 896.01  7th Russ Adams 45.58  1,470.25  412.63 7th 2651.18 968.06  8th Dennis O'Hara  18.80  1,469.78  413.10 8th 2646.68 972.56  9th Rusty Nash 12.60  1,457.56  425.32 4th 2753.71 865.53  10th Anne Stepien 18.80  1,436.53  446.35 10th 2373.03 1,246.21  11th Mark Deutsch 21.50  1,310.93  571.95 11th 2289.13 1,330.11  12th Michael Carter  24.50  1,287.23  595.65 9th 2379.78 1,239.46  13th Bryan Owen 0.00  1,167.60  715.28 13th 2144.88 1,474.36  14th Ray Cotolo 14.60  1,148.15  734.73 14th 1943.68 1,675.56  15th Joe Bengston 0.00  804.18  1078.70 15th 1719.53 1,899.71  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

(Fort Washington, MD) - What a difference two days makes. When the entry box opened for the planned November 15 race, only two horses were in the box so the race was postponed, to be contested in the Spring. However, the harness racing riders were not to be denied so the race was carried over to November 17 and lo and behold, the number of entries doubled to four. Not a full field, but a quartet of horses, of which three look able to challenge for the winner's share of the $5,000 purse in this non-wagering event. The field for the RUS America Trot sponsored by the CSOA, MSBA, and MJC at Rosecroft are (in post position order): P L Incoming - The outsider in this race, has a lone third at Afton, NY to show in his abbreviated career of four starts. Prior to his last start at Tioga Downs, where he was race timed in 2:03.3, he was plagued with breaking issues. Sasha Moczulski, his regular rider, returns to race this four year old altered son of Kadabra. Hyway Marcus - One half of the Patti Harmon entry, Hyway Marcus, who made a break in his last start but managed to finish third before being disqualified at the Meadowlands, was full of himself in his last race. Prior to that race, he was a 1:59.1 winner at Tioga Downs and was second in the RUS America Trot at Ocean Downs in July. His lifetime record is 4-2-1-0. Maria Buchanan once again gets the riding assignment. In Nomine Patri - A newcomer to the RUS America series, this eight year old altered son of Credit Winner enters this race with an impressive resume of 3-2-0-0. Prior to this year, he was a victor during the Grand Circuit meet in Lexington with a 2:00.3 mile under saddle. This year, he has a win at Saratoga in 2:02 out of two starts. Emma Wahlberg picks up the mount from Ashley Eldred. Funny Photo - The other half of the Harmon entry, this son of Classic Photo sports a record of 10-4-2-2 this year. Funny Photo has done most of his racing on the RUS New York fair circuit though he does have a 1:59.1 victory at Vernon Downs. He has a pair of seconds since entering the Harmon Stable, including finishing a far back second at the Meadowlands to Modest Prince who set the North American RUS Race record. Sophie Engerran, a veteran of French monté racing prior to moving to the United States, is the rider-owner. The RUS America Trot will be contested after the first wagering event on the evening program. First race post time is 6:40 PM. Allan Schott by RUS America

(November 13, 2016) - Mark Deutsch is the top harness racing handicapper for the week of November 6, besting Gordon Waterstone (58.65 vs. 54.95) in the 2016 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs as the handicappers took their shot at the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs and the TVG Finals at the Meadowlands. With only three more contest dates remaining on the slate, Jay Hochstetler continues on his victory lap as he is the top overall handicapper in the competition, leading the rest of the handicappers by over 617 points. While the champion is a foregone conclusion, there is still a race for second half honors and the $250 prize for the leader's standardbred rescue as Matt Rose leads Hochstetler by 69.24 points. Although Hochstetler will win the championship, the race for second and third is still being contested as those who finish in those positions earn prize funds for their rescues. At the present time, Rose has a comfortable lead in the place spot while Sally Hinckley has a 130-point lead over the rest of the field in third place. While it would require an extraordinary effort coupled with Hinckley faltering, Gordon Waterstone and Adam Friedland do remain in range of the third spot. The contest moves on to Woodbine Racetrack for the Final Four stakes for two year olds (Governor's Cup, Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory) on Saturday, November 19. Afterwards, the contest returns stateside for the final two stakes of the season, the Courageous Lady at Northfield Park (Nov. 26), and the Progress Stake at Dover Downs (Nov. 28). Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information such as the complete standings from HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. 2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Matt Rose 14.50  1,860.68  0.00 2nd 2962.73 617.81  2nd Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 28.58  1,791.43  69.24 1st 3580.53 0.00  3rd Sally Hinckley 37.75  1,700.21  160.47 3rd 2870.08 710.45  4th Gordon Waterstone 54.95  1,568.91  291.77 5th 2737.39 843.15  5th Adam Friedland 44.58  1,462.58  398.10 6th 2708.73 871.81  6th Dennis O'Hara  38.95  1,450.98  409.70 7th 2627.88 952.66  7th Ray Garnett 39.35  1,448.83  411.85 12th 2237.60 1,342.93  8th Rusty Nash 15.60  1,444.96  415.72 4th 2741.11 839.43  9th Russ Adams 30.18  1,424.68  436.00 8th 2605.60 974.93  10th Anne Stepien 37.20  1,417.73  442.95 10th 2354.23 1,226.31  11th Mark Deutsch 58.65  1,289.43  571.25 11th 2267.63 1,312.91  12th Michael Carter  4.20  1,262.73  597.95 9th 2355.28 1,225.26  13th Bryan Owen 22.40  1,167.60  693.08 13th 2144.88 1,435.66  14th Ray Cotolo 28.80  1,133.55  727.13 14th 1929.08 1,651.46  15th Joe Bengston 51.80  804.18  1056.50 15th 1719.53 1,861.01  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge  

(Fort Washington, MD) - Due to the lack of sufficient harness racing entries, the RUS America Trot scheduled for November 15, 2016 at MJC at Rosecroft will not be contested. Plans are for the race to be rescheduled for the Spring of 2017. "With only six horses competing at the Meadowlands, we suspected it would be difficult getting a sufficient field at Rosecroft", said RUS America Board Member Allan Schott, "However, we felt we owed it to our members to attempt to race at Rosecroft as we had planned. Obviously, getting enough horses to race this late in the year was more problematic than we thought it would be". Board Member Clarissa Coughlin added, "We would like to thank MJC at Rosecroft for have given us the opportunity to race on November 15. While it was prudent to cancel the race due the lack of entries, we look forward to working with the Maryland Jockey Club in bring racing under saddle to Rosecroft in the spring of 2017". Allan Schott by RUS America      

(November 2, 2016) - RUS returns to Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment on Saturday (November 5) evening when six trotters go to the starting gate in a late season contest. The $6,500 RUS America Trot presented by Back on Track and Knutsson Trotting will be contested as a non-wagering event immediately after the first race on the harness racing wagering card. Following the race, a meet and greet will be held near the winners circle where fans will be able to meet riders who will be signing autographs and answering questions about racing under saddle. The RUS America Trot features a first time starter, Modest Prince who figures to be one of the main contenders in the one-mile contest based on his 1:58.2 qualifier this past Friday at the Meadowlands over a sloppy track. Looking to be the main challenger is Hyway Marcus, who came home a 1:59.1 winner at Tioga Downs in his last RUS start back on August 7. Here is a rundown of the field for Saturday evening's race: 1. Bosak - A winner of his only start at Goshen's Historic Track last year during the Grand Circuit meet, the five year old gelding by Crazed comes into this race off of a qualifier last week at the Meadowlands. With a tightner under his belt, he should be competitive here. Boask is ridden by Vanessa Karlewicz who has compiled a record of three wins, a place, and a show out of eight starts this year. 2. My Friend Charlie - Winless this year but always a threat on the RUS-NY fair circuit with four seconds out of eight starts this year, My Friend Charlie moves up to compete against tougher stock. The five year old altered son of RC Royalty will be ridden by his owner Andrea Pratt who has a .296 URR. 3. Funny Photo - This seven year old son of Classic Photo, who makes up one half of the Patti Harmon trained entry, has been one of the stars of the New York fair circuit with a record of 8-4-1-1. With a 1:59.1 mark at Vernon Downs, he should benefit from the mile oval. Sophie Engerran, the leading rider in North America in wins this year, once again has the ride here. 4. Hyway Marcus - The other half of the Harmon trained entry, Hyway Marcus finished second in the RUS America Trot conduced at Ocean Downs this past summer, finishing less than a length behind the winner Mr. Protab who is the king of RUS at the Berlin, Maryland oval. The five year old gelding last raced in a RUS event at Tioga Downs, scoring an easy victory in 1:59.1. Maria Buchanan, who has a win and a second place finish this year from two starts once again gets the ride. 5. One True Friend - The only mare in the race makes was defeated soundly at Saratoga in October. No doubt her connections are hoping for a better performance over the mile oval. Hillary Hartnett comes into this race with a URR of .333. 6. Modest Prince - The Linda Toscano trainee, made his first qualifying start in two years, an eye-opening one with a 1:58.2 qualifier over a sloppy Meadowlands oval with a two second allowance. If he comes back with a similar race this week, he will be hard to beat. While having only one ride thus far this year, veteran Helene Gregory is a rider who must be feared. With the Breeders Cup being simulcast to the Meadowlands, RUS America look forward to showing thoroughbred fans on-track the versatility of the standardbred and a form of standardbred racing which may be more familiar to them. RUS Riders look forward to meeting with fans of all forms of horseracing after the race. RUS America concludes its season ten days later on November 15 at Rosecroft Raceway. Allan Schott

(October 23, 2016) - With eighteen races over the past two days of harness racing , this past weekend may have been one of the last two opportunities to make a run at overall leader Jay Hochstetler in the 2016 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. While, barring a miracle such as the 1969 New York Mets, it appears Hochstetler is home free as the overall leader, there are ten more contest dates remaining; providing handicappers a chance of breaking into the top three allowing them to earn dividends for their standardbred rescues. While not likely finishing in the top three, Gordon Waterstone put in an effort this past weekend worthy of the best handicappers, commanding top honors for this past weekend scoring 256.4 points, 35 points ahead of Michael Carter (222.98 pts.). Landing third best for the weekend was Sally Hinckley (203 pts.). While Waterstone was shut out Friday evening, he bounced back Saturday at the Meadowlands, selecting eight of fourteen winners on the evening card including Sutton ($15.40) in a Breeders Crown elimination for 3yo trotting colts and geldings and Tori Hanover ($24.00) in an elimination for 2yo pacing fillies. Carter and Hinckley also tabbed eight winners, alas without a longshot. In the race for the second half award, Matt Rose (1,631.58 pts.) clings to a 13.05 point lead over overall leader Hochstetler who has 1,618.53 points. Hinckley is in third with 1,445.7 points, leaving the others far behind. For the season-long title, Hochstetler has a commanding lead with 3,407.63 points with Rose far behind with 2,733.63 points. Following the top two, Hinckley is in third with 2,615.58 points with the next contender roughly 580 points further back. This coming weekend, contest action remains centered at the Meadowlands with the finals of the Breeders Crown and the fifth leg of the Kindergarten Classic being contested, affording handicappers with another chance to make up ground though it will require the cooperation of the racing gods to provide a few bombs for the handicapper to select. Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information such as the complete standings from HANA Harness’ contest website http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.   2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Matt Rose 89.75 1,631.58 0.00 2nd 2733.63 674.00 2nd Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 168.55 1,618.53 13.05 1st 3407.63 0.00 3rd Sally Hinckley 203.00 1,445.70 185.88 3rd 2615.58 792.05 4th Ray Garnett 121.80 1,283.28 348.30 11th 2072.05 1,335.58 5th Adam Friedland 195.65 1,245.63 385.95 4th 2491.78 915.85 6th Dennis O'Hara 147.40 1,230.63 400.95 6th 2407.53 1,000.10 7th Gordon Waterstone 256.40 1,218.95 412.63 7th 2387.43 1,020.20 8th Russ Adams 131.48 1,205.70 425.88 8th 2386.63 1,021.00 9th Mark Deutsch 135.70 1,161.68 469.90 10th 2139.88 1,267.75 10th Rusty Nash 193.00 1,156.13 475.45 5th 2452.28 955.35 11th Michael Carter 222.98 1,144.80 486.78 9th 2237.35 1,170.28 12th Bryan Owen 87.80 1,091.75 539.83 12th 2069.03 1,338.60 13th Anne Stepien 188.20 1,062.40 569.18 13th 1998.90 1,408.73 14th Ray Cotolo 75.65 1,025.55 606.03 14th 1821.08 1,586.55 15th Joe Bengston 117.30 718.98 912.60 15th 1634.33 1,773.30   Allan Schott Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge  

(October 16, 2016) - Ray Garnett was the top harness racing handicapper this weekend in the 2016 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, selecting two of the three races to earn 24.05 points on the Yonkers Raceway card. While only winning one race, Jay Hochstetler was not far behind in second earning 22.2 points with Matt Rose landing the show spot, edging out two other handicappers with a tally of 13.8. Rose still leads the handicappers seeking the second half award for his rescue with a total of 1,541.83 points, 91.85 points ahead of overall leader Jay Hochstetler's 1,449.98. Taking the show spot is Sally Hinckley with 1,242.7. For the overall race, the three second half leaders dominate the standings, with the order slightly different as the top two second half leaders swap positions. Hochstetler continues to be leading in cruise control with 3,239.08 points, almost 600 points ahead of Rose who sits with a total of 2,643.88. In the meanwhile, Hinckley holds the final cashing position with 2,412.58 points with Adam Friedland lurking behind with 2,296.13. This week, the handicapping contestants begin two weeks of racing at the Meadowlands, with the Breeders Crown eliminations on Friday (10/21) and Saturday (10/22) followed by the Finals the following weekend along with the fifth leg of the Kindergarten Classic series for late-blooming juveniles. After the Breeders Crown Finals, there are only nine more legs to this season's contest. Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers' selections and other contest-related information such as the complete standings from HANA Harness' contest website http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.   2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Matt Rose 13.80 1,541.83 0.00 2nd 2643.88 595.20 2nd Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 22.20 1,449.98 91.85 1st 3239.08 0.00 3rd Sally Hinckley 7.10 1,242.70 299.13 3rd 2412.58 826.50 4th Ray Garnett 24.05 1,161.48 380.35 12th 1950.25 1,288.83 5th Dennis O'Hara 4.30 1,083.23 458.60 5th 2260.13 978.95 6th Russ Adams 13.50 1,074.23 467.60 7th 2255.15 983.93 7th Adam Friedland 6.70 1,049.98 491.85 4th 2296.13 942.95 8th Mark Deutsch 13.20 1,025.98 515.85 10th 2004.18 1,234.90 9th Bryan Owen 3.00 1,003.95 537.88 11th 1981.23 1,257.85 10th Rusty Nash 3.00 963.13 578.70 6th 2259.28 979.80 11th Gordon Waterstone 6.80 962.55 579.28 8th 2131.03 1,108.05 12th Ray Cotolo 6.40 949.90 591.93 14th 1745.43 1,493.65 13th Michael Carter 0.00 921.83 620.00 9th 2014.38 1,224.70 14th Anne Stepien 3.00 874.20 667.63 13th 1810.70 1,428.38 15th Joe Bengston 7.10 601.68 940.15 15th 1517.03 1,722.05   Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge      

(October 13, 2016) - RUS America and Friends of Maryland Standardbreds (FOMS) is pleased to announce Racing Under Saddle (RUS) will be coming to Rosecroft Raceway on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 as a non-wagering event conducted between races on the evening harness racing program. Over the past three years, RUS has been contested at Ocean Downs and the race will be the first RUS event at Rosecroft during this period. "RUS events have been very popular at Ocean Downs and RUS America is pleased to bring racing under saddle to Rosecroft", said Clarissa Coughlin, a Director of FOMS and Board member of RUS America. "We thank the Stronach Group in allowing RUS to compete over the legendary Rosecroft oval and based on the response we received at Ocean Downs this past July, Rosecroft fans will be in for quite a treat'. "Horsemen with trotters able to compete under saddle have a rare opportunity to compete in two RUS events over a period of ten days. Rosecroft's race is a perfect follow-up to the November 5 race at the Meadowlands and we invite them to come down to compete afterwards", Coughlin continued, "For fans, not only will they be able to watch standardbreds race under saddle, they will have an opportunity to meet RUS riders at a meet and greet'. The purse is expected to go for an estimated $5,000. The exact conditions of the race remain to be determined. Conditions will be posted on the RUS America website under the horsemen's section as soon as they become available and will be available on the Rosecroft condition sheet at the appropriate time. Any questions regarding the Rosecroft Race should be directed to Clarissa Coughlin at clarissa@rusamerica.info . Sponsorship opportunities remain. Anyone interested in sponsoring the race is invited to contact Clarissa Coughlin. Allan Schott

(October 10, 2016) - RUS America is pleased to announce it has released a position paper regarding the proposed rule changes regarding harness racing under saddle (RUS) which will be discussed at USTA District Meetings and considered at the 2017 USTA Annual Meeting. The position paper discusses in further detail the reasoning behind the proposals RUS America has put forth and with regards to RUS proposals submitted by others; discusses them and makes recommendations and in one case, proposes an amendment to the proposal. Being RUS is still relatively new in the United States, RUS America has released this position to provide further background regarding the rationale for the proposals impacting RUS. USTA members may appreciate the additional discussion regarding horses being able to compete in RUS without jeopardizing their ability to race 'in sulky', when weigh-ins/outs will be mandatory and optional in other situations, and the tightening of licensing requirements for riders. USTA members are invited to become familiar with the proposed rules prior to their district meetings to facilitate any discussion which may take place, especially with thirty-two proposals (RUS and non-RUS) overall for consideration. For those interested in reviewing the position paper, they may go to the Horsemen section of the RUS America website. RUS America is an advocacy group whose mission is to promote racing under saddle for trotters and by doing so, aims to strengthen harness racing by increasing the fan and ownership base of the standardbred sport. RUS America's vision is for RUS to complement traditional harness racing, not supplant it. Further information regarding RUS and RUS America may be found on RUS America's website. Allan Schott

(October 10, 2016) - It was a week of favorites with a decent smattering of large mutual prices across the board so when week two of The Red Mile harness racing meet concluded, Sally Hinckley came out on top for the week in the 2016 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Hinckley's 275.05 points, nosed out Michael Carter's 256.93 tally while overall leader Jay Hochstetler took show honors with a score of 250.63. Hinckley managed to score consistently throughout the week, but managed to load up on points by selecting five winners both on Saturday and Sunday for a total of 160.35. On Friday, she had only two winners but one of them was Temple Ruins ($30.60) in the International Stallion Stakes which was good for 57.25 points. Matt Rose continues to lead the second half of the season with a total of 1,528.03 points with Jay Hochstetler inching forward in second place, 100.25 points behind. In the overall season race, Hochstetler is continuing to enjoy a comfortable lead of 586.8 pts. with his overall total of 3,216.88. Matt Rose is in second with 2,630.08 with Hinckley residing in the final cashing spot with her total of 2,405.48. After a busy month, the handicappers have only one night of competition this week on Saturday with the Yonkers International and the two Invitational at the Hilltop track. Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information such as the complete standings from HANA Harness’ contest website http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. 2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Matt Rose 231.55 1,528.03 0.00 2nd 2630.08 586.80 2nd Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 250.63 1,427.78 100.25 1st 3216.88 0.00 3rd Sally Hinckley 275.05 1,235.60 292.43 3rd 2405.48 811.40 4th Ray Garnett 157.88 1,137.43 390.60 12th 1926.20 1,290.68 5th Dennis O'Hara 218.20 1,078.93 449.10 6th 2255.83 961.05 6th Russ Adams 138.10 1,060.73 467.30 7th 2241.65 975.23 7th Adam Friedland 136.98 1,043.28 484.75 4th 2289.43 927.45 8th Mark Deutsch 248.80 1,012.78 515.25 10th 1990.98 1,225.90 9th Bryan Owen 170.18 1,000.95 527.08 11th 1978.23 1,238.65 10th Rusty Nash 139.68 960.13 567.90 5th 2256.28 960.60 11th Gordon Waterstone 132.20 955.75 572.28 8th 2124.23 1,092.65 12th Ray Cotolo 135.20 943.50 584.53 14th 1739.03 1,477.85 13th Michael Carter 256.93 921.83 606.20 9th 2014.38 1,202.50 14th Anne Stepien 196.53 871.20 656.83 13th 1807.70 1,409.18 15th Joe Bengston 80.20 594.58 933.45 15th 1509.93 1,706.95   Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge      

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