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(September 18, 2016) –  If the first three days of the current nine-day consecutive streak of harness racing 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 is any indication, there may be some more bold made during the week.  For evidence of this, one only needs to look at Matt Rose, who is the top handicapper for the week with 433.4 points (871.18 pts total second half), who moved from fifth to first in the second half of the contest and from eighth to second place overall with a total of 1,942.35 points, behind overall leader Jay Hochstetler by 480.8 pts. Taking the place position for the week is Russ Adams whose 254.83 points for the week (713.65 – second half; 1,894.58 overall) which lands him in third place overall while Bryan Owen picked up show honors with 146.65 points. Rose can attribute his success this week primarily to his selection of Royal Charm in the final of the Elegantimage as the horse paid $67.50 to win and an eye-opening $122.20 place dividend on his way to earning a total of 379.93 points for his four bagger on Saturday (9/17) evening. Adam’s big evening was Friday (9/16) night as he nailed four winners and a second place finisher in five races including Kindergarten Classic division winner Limerence ($37.80) on his way to a total of 167.28 points for the evening.  2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Matt Rose 433.40 871.18 - 2nd 1973.23 460.33 2nd Russ Adams 254.83 713.65 157.53 3rd 1894.58 538.98 3rd Ray Garnett 82.05 669.25 201.93 11th 1458.03 975.53 4th Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 103.88 644.45 226.73 1st 2433.55 - 5th Sally Hinckley 96.33 608.30 262.88 4th 1778.18 655.38 6th Bryan Owen 146.65 579.68 291.50 9th 1556.95 876.60 7th Dennis O'Hara 112.75 503.20 367.98 7th 1680.10 753.45 8th Adam Friedland 63.50 482.78 388.40 5th 1728.93 704.63 9th Gordon Waterstone 56.83 463.80 407.38 8th 1632.28 801.28 10th Mark Deutsch 32.00 436.98 434.20 12th 1415.18 1,018.38 11th Michael Carter 76.20 427.65 443.53 10th 1520.20 913.35 12th Rusty Nash 81.50 419.58 451.60 6th 1715.73 717.83 13th Joe Bengston 69.30 378.60 492.58 14th 1293.95 1,139.60 14th Anne Stepien 44.80 363.03 508.15 13th 1299.53 1,134.03 15th Ray Cotolo 11.90 351.95 519.23 15th 1147.48 1,286.08 The handicappers will be busy this week as every day is contest day starting on Monday (9/19) with the Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway.  The contest then returns to the Delaware County Fair for three more days of racing; Tuesday - The Standardbred (2yo filly trotters); Wednesday - The Standardbred (2yo filly pacers), The Buckette (3yo filly trotters), The Jugette (3yo filly pacers); Thursday - Little Brown Jug (3yo pacers), The Standardbred (2yo colt trotters), Ms. Versatility (mare trotters), and Old Oaken Bucket (3yo trotters).  Friday and Saturday brings the contest to Hoosier Park for the Kentuckiana Stallion Stakes for 2yo filly trotters on Friday, continuing on Saturday with the Kentuckiana for 2yo filly pacers, Centaur (open Trotters), Jennas Beach Boy (3yo colt pacers), The Elevation (2yo colt pacers), and the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby (3yo colt pacers).  The contest closes out Saturday evening with the Milton (filly and mare pacers) at Mohawk Racetrack.  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. Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

(September 5, 2016) - While there were four harness racing contest dates this 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, Bryan Owen needed only Friday night to vault to a commanding victory this week. While Jay Hochstetler remains entrenched with his overall lead, Sally Hinckley has steadily inched up from fourteenth place to second place in the season-long contest. Owen swept the four races on Friday evening at Mohawk, including Signal Hill ($55.60) in the Champlain which earned him 127.58 points out of his 271.48 points for the week. Owen point total is over 140 points ahead of Sally Hinckley's 129.93 points. Dennis O'Hara landed the show spot with 123.28 points. Unlike the first half of the contest, Hochstetler is engaged in a real battle for second half honors as his total of 410.08 points is only 17.6 points ahead of the surging Hinckley. Ray Garnett is 49.48 points behind the leader. Thanks to his first half dominance, Hochstetler’s 2,199.18 points overall are 636.83 points ahead of the previously mentioned Hinckley.  Russ Adams is in third, 667.28 points behind. 2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 102.55 410.08 - 1st 2199.18 - 2nd Sally Hinckley 129.93 392.48 17.60 2nd 1562.35 636.83 3rd Ray Garnett 147.25 360.60 49.48 14th 1149.38 1,049.80 4th Michael Carter 91.60 351.45 58.62 8th 1444.00 755.18 5th Russ Adams 86.93 350.98 59.10 3rd 1531.90 667.28 6th Mark Deutsch 108.00 349.78 60.30 9th 1327.98 871.20 7th Bryan Owen 271.48 345.53 64.55 10th 1322.80 876.38 8th Dennis O'Hara 123.28 323.40 86.68 5th 1500.30 698.88 9th Gordon Waterstone 77.00 304.58 105.50 7th 1473.05 726.13 10th Anne Stepien 74.23 249.43 160.65 12th 1185.93 1,013.25 11th Joe Bengston 74.40 249.10 160.98 13th 1164.45 1,034.73 12th Adam Friedland 46.58 246.28 163.80 6th 1492.43 706.75 13th Rusty Nash 82.35 228.48 181.60 4th 1524.63 674.55 14th Ray Cotolo 75.60 184.15 225.93 15th 979.68 1,219.50 15th Matt Rose 64.95 174.38 235.70 11th 1276.43 922.75   With the Meadowlands resuming action with a two-week mini-meet, the Grand Circuit contest continues with Kindergarten action on Friday and Saturday along with a leg of the Ms. Versatility.   In addition, Scioto Downs closing night features are the Jim Ewart and Chip Noble Memorials. 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. Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge      

(August 30, 2016) - RUS America is pleased to announce Racing Under Saddle (RUS) will be returning to Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment on Saturday, November 5, 2016 as a non-wagering event to be conducted between races on the evening harness racing program. The race will be carded as an 'open' event with the Race Office determining the field from those entered. If enough horses are entered, a second race will be carded to be run the same evening. Entries will be accepted by the racing office according to the schedule posted on the condition sheet. In order to qualify for RUS racing, a horse must show a clean, charted RUS line within 90 days of the race date (November 5) with a time requirement of 2:08 or better over a half mile track, 2:06 or better over a five-eighths oval; 2:04 or better over a seven-eighths mile or larger oval. Qualifying races for RUS horses will be offered for those horses intending to race in the Meadowlands event after regular qualifiers starting October 14. A minimum of three horses will be required for a qualifier to be scheduled. Trainers who intend to start a horse in a RUS event but have not started a horse at the Meadowlands this year are advised they must complete and submit a racing application to the Director and Race Secretary of Standardbred Racing Peter Koch prior to October 21, 2016 (or prior to October 14 if planning to qualify on the first day of qualifiers). Additional information will be forthcoming. At this time, any questions should be directed to Allan Schott at allan@rusamerica.info. For further information regarding the RUS event at the Meadowlands or anything else related to RUS in the United States, you are invited to visit www.rusamerica.info. Those interested in Racing Under Saddle are invited to become a member of RUS America. Membership is free. Allan Schott

(August 28, 2016) - Michael Carter (110.48 points) muscled past Adam Friedland (101.1) to win weekly honors 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. Finishing third for the week was Sally Hinckley with 99.45 points. Unlike the first half of the harness racing season, this half is much closer with the second half leader (and first half winner) Jay Hochstetler having three handicappers on his tail, less than 50 points separating the quartet. Overall, Hochstetler is cruising along on his quest for overall champion, still 650.78 points ahead of his nearest competitor, Adam Friedland with Russ Adams sitting in third, another 0.87 points back. Despite the dominating lead, the second half of the contest is only in its second week and there is much more handicapping to go, so there is time for other handicappers to get hot. On Friday night, Michael Carter and Sally Hinckley hit the Pick-4, sweeping the contest card earning 72.28 points with winners in the Muscle Hill and the Crawford Farms Trot at Vernon Downs as well as the two divisions of the Casual Breeze at Mohawk Raceway. While no one hit the Pick-3 on Saturday evening, Carter, Adam Friedland, Dennis O'Hara, Anne Stepien, and Gordon Waterstone had two out of three but Friedland's duo was more lucrative than the remainder of the quintet as he took down Wildflower ($31.00) in the Hudson Filly Trot earning 52.5 points to the other's 18.23 for the evening. Sunday was Friedland's day, the only handicapper to pick three out of four selections with his final selection finishing second, earning him 38.5 points. The condensed standings after this weekend's action follows. For the complete standings, visit the HANA Harness contest website. 2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 42.28 307.53 - 1st 2096.63 - 2nd Russ Adams 42.20 264.05 43.48 3rd 1444.98 651.65 3rd Sally Hinckley 99.45 262.55 44.98 5th 1432.43 664.20 4th Michael Carter 110.48 259.85 47.68 8th 1352.40 744.23 5th Mark Deutsch 46.68 241.78 65.75 9th 1219.98 876.65 6th Gordon Waterstone 49.93 227.58 79.95 6th 1396.05 700.58 7th Ray Garnett 26.10 213.35 94.18 14th 1002.13 1,094.50 8th Dennis O'Hara 61.93 200.13 107.40 7th 1377.03 719.60 9th Adam Friedland 101.10 199.70 107.83 2nd 1445.85 650.78 10th Anne Stepien 71.60 175.20 132.33 11th 1111.70 984.93 11th Joe Bengston 16.10 174.70 132.83 12th 1090.05 1,006.58 12th Rusty Nash 38.60 146.13 161.40 4th 1442.28 654.35 13th Matt Rose 42.88 109.43 198.10 10th 1211.48 885.15 14th Ray Cotolo 36.00 108.55 198.98 15th 904.08 1,192.55 15th Bryan Owen 30.38 74.05 233.48 13th 1051.33 1,045.30 The action begins early this week as Monday evening Tioga Down’s card wraps up the Tompkins Series for two-year old pacers of both gaits.  The first Thursday evening of the contest season has the handicappers taking on the Champlain Stakes for two-year old filly trotters at Mohawk, followed up by Friday’s Champlain Stakes for two-year old open trotters and Simcoe Stakes for three-year old filly trotters.  Saturday evening has races from Mohawk (Canadian Pacing Derby, Simcoe, She’s A Great Lady) and Yonkers Raceway where the Yonkers Trot and Messenger Stakes will be contested.   Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information from HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

(August 28, 2016) - RUS America and Friends of Maryland Standardbreds (FOMS) will be at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium, Maryland on Thursday, September 1, 2016 at a joint booth in My Maryland Horse Land from noon until 5pm when the Standardbred Makeover competition begins. Following the Makeover, a demo of Racing Under Saddle (RUS) begins starting at 6pm. Spectators visiting the RUS America/FOMS booth will have an opportunity to say hello to Meg, a star standardbred who will have her own stall under the Horse Land tent. Meg will be welcoming her guests along with her owner, Barbara Mandich. Learn more about standardbreds and their versatility in picking up second careers as well as RUS. Visitors will also have an opportunity to sign-up for a RUS Seminar to be conducted this fall (date/time TBD) in Maryland. Starting at 5pm, the action moves to the show ring where the Standardbred Makeover, presented by Horse Lovers United will have three trainers competing for $1,500 in prize money with the winner presenting their standardbred charge best in their new non-racing discipline. Upon the conclusion of the Makeover (approximately 6pm), a RUS demonstration conducted by racing under saddle riders Maria Buchanan and Stephanie Jacobs. Maria and Stephanie will demonstrate the technique for riding a standardbred in a race as well as the versatility of standardbreds, showing their ability to race under a rider in addition to racing using a sulky. So if you attend the Maryland State Fair, Horse Land is the place to be on September 1st. Allan Schott

(August 22, 2016) - The second half of the 2016 Hambletonian Society harness racing 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 starts off as the first half ended; Jay Hochstetler, albeit the smallest of leads, is in first place. Hochstetler, who is the overall leader as well by a substantial amount, kicks off the 2nd half of the contest season earning 214.63 points, 0.18 points ahead of Russ Adams who earned 214.45. In the show spot for the week is Mark Deutsch with 186.5 points. The condensed standings after this weekend’s action follows.  For the complete standings, visit the HANA Harness contest website.      2nd Half and Overall Standings Position Handicapper Points This Week Total Points Points Back Overall Position Overall Points Overall Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler (FHW) 214.63 214.63 - 1st 2003.73 - 2nd Russ Adams 214.45 214.45 0.18 2nd 1395.38 608.35 3rd Mark Deutsch 186.50 186.50 28.13 10th 1164.70 839.03 4th Gordon Waterstone 170.25 170.25 44.38 4th 1338.73 665.00 5th Ray Garnett 166.63 166.63 48.00 14th 955.40 1,048.33 6th Sally Hinckley 155.90 155.90 58.73 6th 1325.78 677.95 7th Joe Bengston 155.40 155.40 59.23 11th 1070.75 932.98 8th Michael Carter 140.78 140.78 73.85 8th 1233.33 770.40 9th Dennis O'Hara 129.60 129.60 85.03 7th 1306.50 697.23 10th Rusty Nash 98.93 98.93 115.70 3rd 1395.08 608.65 11th Adam Friedland 90.00 90.00 124.63 5th 1336.15 667.58 12th Anne Stepien 82.98 82.98 131.65 13th 1019.48 984.25 13th Ray Cotolo 68.35 68.35 146.28 15th 863.88 1,139.85 14th Matt Rose 63.75 63.75 150.88 9th 1165.80 837.93 15th Bryan Owen 43.68 43.68 170.95 12th 1020.95 982.78 This week is a busy week for contest handicappers as the action kicks-off Friday night at Vernon Downs for the Muscle Hill and Crawford Farms Trot for open trotters of both sexes.  Saturday’s action kicks off with the Nadia Lobell at The Meadows, followed by The Lady Maud and Yonkers Filly Trot at Yonkers Raceway.  Sunday begins a double header of action at Tioga Downs where the Artiscape and Reynolds for two year old trotters will be contested, and followed up with Monday’s two year old pacing divisions editions of the Reynolds.  Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information from HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

(August 18, 2016) - RUS America, an advocacy group for harness racing under saddle in the United States is announcing they are currently hosting a membership drive for standardbred owners, trainers, existing and potential riders (including drivers), and fans interested in supporting RUS and keeping abreast of the latest news regarding racing under in the United States and RUS America itself. Membership is Free. To become a member, visit the RUS America website to register. In addition to keeping abreast with the latest developments, your membership will allow RUS America to identify areas underserved by local organizations, introduce people to local RUS groups, have the ability to connect trainers with riders, and connect those interested in participating with those who could serve as mentors. Members have the ability to vote for officers each year. RUS America, is an advocacy group whose mission is to promote racing under saddle for trotters which aims to strengthen harness racing by increasing the fan and ownership base of the standardbred sport via RUS. RUS America's vision is for RUS to complement traditional harness racing, not supplant it with a long term goal of having wagering on RUS races wherever harness racing is conducted. To sign up or seek further information on racing under saddle and RUS America, please visit www.rusamerica.info. Allan Schott

(August 14, 2016) - With 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 having reached the midway point for this year's harness racing contest, Jay Hochstetler is named the winner of the first half with a grand total of 1,789.1 points, 492.95 points ahead of his nearest competitor. As a result of coming in first during the first half, a $250 donation will be made by The Hambletonian Society to the Central Virginia Horse Rescue in honor of Hochstetler's performance. Starting with this coming Friday's races at Vernon Downs, the second half of the season begins with everyone at zero points. The person with the highest combined first and second half totals will be crowned the overall winner with their rescue receiving the grand prize and the second and third place finishers also earning money for their rescues. But for this past weekend, Rusty Nash managed to edge by Dennis O'Hara with only 1.75 points separating the duo (149.5 vs. 147.75). Gordon Waterstone was third for the weekend, scoring 133.55. With this past Friday (August 12) being mostly favorites in the Tompkins-Gears at Toga Downs on Friday, it is no secret the previously named trio had five out of six winners, each earning 112.5 points for the evening, all missing Ocean Colony ($23.60) in the sixth race. While only having one winner on Saturday night's card, Nash was able to pull away thanks to his 16.5 points which was the result of selecting the winner of Carl Milstein Memorial and a second place finish in the Moni Maker, maintaining his lead by going two for two on Sunday, selecting the winner of the Open and Ms. Versatility leg at Tioga. The standings at the conclusion of the first half are:     Standings as of August 14, 2016 - Leg #39 Pos Handicapper Total Points Prior Week Points Earned This Week Overall Total Points Position Last Week Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler 1,726.93 62.18 1,789.10 1st - 2nd Rusty Nash 1,146.65 149.50 1,296.15 3rd       492.95 3rd Adam Friedland 1,173.90 72.25 1,246.15 2nd       542.95 4th Russ Adams 1,128.90 52.03 1,180.93 4th       608.18 5th Dennis O'Hara 1,029.15 147.75 1,176.90 9th       612.20 6th Sally Hinckley 1,064.63 105.25 1,169.88 5th       619.23 7th Gordon Waterstone 1,034.93 133.55 1,168.48 7th       620.63 8th Matt Rose 1,029.65 72.40 1,102.05 8th       687.05 9th Michael Carter 1,049.10 43.45 1,092.55 6th       696.55 10th Mark Deutsch 927.00 51.20 978.20 10th       810.90 11th Bryan Owen 875.23 102.05 977.28 12th       811.83 12th Anne Stepien 876.60 59.90 936.50 11th       852.60 13th Joe Bengston 846.65 68.70 915.35 13th       873.75 14th Ray Cotolo 754.63 40.90 795.53 14th       993.58 15th Ray Garnett 697.28 91.50 788.78 15th     1,000.33 The second half of the season commences Friday evening (August 18) with a leg of the Kindergarten at Tioga Downs for 2yo pacers with filly and colt divisions.  Saturday is another big evening of racing with the Battle of the Brandywine card from Pocono Downs which consists of the Battle of the Brandywine, Colonial, and Valley Forge and their respective consolations plus the Eternal Camnation and Nassagaweya from Mohawk Racetrack.  Sunday concludes with a visit to La Belle Province, Quebec for the Prix D’Ete at Hippodrome 3R. Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information from HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott

(August 7, 2016) - With eleven contest races on the Hambletonian Day card 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, the HANA Harness Handicappers made their best picks with hopes of making a bold move forward. When the dust settled, DRF Harness' Matt Rose came out on top with 147.4 points for the week on a card where favorites were prominent, moving from 10th to 8th place and besting Sally Hinckley's 113.2 weekly total. Nosing out others for third was Gordon Waterstone with 96.4 points. Seven handicappers, Hinckley, Jay Hochstetler, Rust Nash, Dennis O'Hara, Rose, Anne Stepien, and Waterstone all had five winners for the day but Rose muscled past them thanks to the selection of What The Hill ($18.60) in the Peter Haughton Memorial. Other winners which Rose tabbed were Hannelore Hanover ($2.20), Ariana G ($3.20), Resolve ($4.40), and Bar Hopping ($3.00). In addition to the five winners, four of his other selections managed to finish second; striking out in only two of the eleven races. As for the overall contest, Hochstetler remains comfortably in front with a total of 1,726.93 points, leading the rest of the field by over 550 points. Despite this lead, other handicappers, while acknowledging the first half prize is apparently Hochstetler's, are not conceding the contest to Hochstetler. This week the handicappers have the entire weekend to contest starting on Friday evening with the Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park and the Tompkins-Geers for 2yo pacers at Tioga Downs.  Saturday’s stakes are the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park and the Moni Maker at The Meadows.  Sunday will have the contest return to Tioga Downs for the fourth leg of the Ms. Versatility for distaff trotters.   Standings as of August 6, 2016 - Leg #36 Pos Handicapper Total Points Prior Week Points Earned This Week Overall Total Points Position Last Week Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler 1,636.53 90.40 1,726.93 1st - 2nd Adam Friedland 1,096.80 77.10 1,173.90 2nd        553.03 3rd Rusty Nash 1,053.45 93.20 1,146.65 4th        580.28 4th Russ Adams 1,061.60 67.30 1,128.90 3rd        598.03 5th Sally Hinckley 951.43 113.20 1,064.63 6th        662.30 6th Michael Carter 988.40 60.70 1,049.10 5th        677.83 7th Gordon Waterstone 938.53 96.40 1,034.93 8th        692.00 8th Matt Rose 882.25 147.40 1,029.65 10th        697.28 9th Dennis O'Hara 942.55 86.60 1,029.15 7th        697.78 10th Mark Deutsch 897.00 30.00 927.00 9th        799.93 11th Anne Stepien 780.80 95.80 876.60 13th        850.33 12th Bryan Owen 815.85 59.38 875.23 11th        851.70 13th Joe Bengston 787.28 59.38 846.65 12th        880.28 14th Ray Cotolo 673.78 80.85 754.63 15th        972.30 15th Ray Garnett 648.28 49.00 697.28 14th     1,029.65 Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information from HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge      

(July 31, 2016) - While Jay Hochstetler remains firmly ensconced in the lead of the harness racing 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, the 18 race smorgasbord known as Adios weekend at The Meadows scrambled the rest of the leaderboard with handicappers exchanging positions below the top spot. One of those handicappers, last year's champion Sally Hinckley moved from 13th to 6th place by virtue of her 318.65 points, to earn the title of 'best handicapper' for the week Other handicappers making big moves this weekend were Adam Friedland whose 312.63 points moved him up 2 slots from 4th to 2nd place and Michael Carter whose 255.3 points moved him from 8th to 5th. Of note are other handicappers who scored 200 plus points this weekend, Rusty Nash (203.4) and Matt Rose (213.73). Hinckley was prolific both days, scoring 170.2 points on Friday with 5 out of 6 winners including Youvegotwhatittakes ($15.60) and Muay Hanover ($17.40) following it up with 7 winners on Saturday good for 148.45 points. While Friedland's performance was unremarkable on Friday, Saturday was another story tabbing 8 out of 12 races for the day which earned him 276.9 points. At the conclusion of Adios week, here are the standings: July 30, 2016 - Leg #35 Pos Handicapper Total Points Prior Week Points Earned This Week Overall Total Points Position Last Week Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler 1,481.45 155.08 1,636.53 1st - 2nd Adam Friedland 784.18 312.63 1,096.80 4th                539.73 3rd Russ Adams 970.33 91.28 1,061.60 2nd                574.93 4th Rusty Nash 850.05 203.40 1,053.45 3rd                583.08 5th Michael Carter 733.10 255.30 988.40 8th                648.13 6th Sally Hinckley 632.78 318.65 951.43 13th                685.10 7th Dennis O'Hara 742.75 199.80 942.55 7th                693.98 8th Gordon Waterstone 770.13 168.40 938.53 6th                698.00 9th Mark Deutsch 783.95 113.05 897.00 5th                739.53 10th Matt Rose 668.53 213.73 882.25 11th                754.28 11th Bryan Owen 696.85 119.00 815.85 10th                820.68 12th Joe Bengston 661.65 125.63 787.28 12th                849.25 13th Anne Stepien 723.60 57.20 780.80 9th                855.73 14th Ray Cotolo 556.80 116.98 673.78 14th                962.75 15th Ray Garnett 537.98 110.30 648.28 15th                988.25 The Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge moves to the Meadowlands on Saturday afternoon for its Hambletonian Day extravaganza with the Hambletonian (3yo Open Trot), Hambletonian Oaks (3yo Filly Trot), Cane Pace (3yo C&G Pace), Shady Daisy (3yo Filly Pace), Jim Doherty Memorial (2yo Filly Trot), Peter Haughton Memorial (2yo C&G Trot), Fresh Yankee (Filly and Mare Trot), John Cashman Memorial (Open Trot), Lady Liberty (Filly & Mare Pace), and US Pacing Championship (Open Pace). Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information from HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator

(July 25, 2016) - Another week, another impressive performance by 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, as Hochstetler padded his overall lead with 310.23 points, good for a seasonal total of 1,481.45. With the weekend's harness racing action concluded, this leaves Hochstetler 511.13 points ahead of his nearest competitor, Russ Adams who sits in second place with a total of 970.33 points. While Hochstetler topped the field for weekly honors, second place honors for the weekend goes to Joe Bengston whose 248.75 points moved him from last to 12th place. Show honors belong to Russ Adams with 126.25, nosing out Anne Stepien's 121.2. The tone for the weekend was set Friday evening (July 22) when Bengston and Hochstetler both tabbed Kindergarten Winner Muscles Jared ($80.40). While Hochstetler had three winners on the evening's program to Bengtson's two, the latter added Sunshine Delight ($25.60) to his winning tally allowing him to win the evening 208.05 to 205.05. Continuing his hot streak, Hochstetler was a perfect four for four Saturday (7/23) evening allowing him to add another 72.8 to his tally while Adams responded Sunday night (7/24) nailing three of six at Vernon Downs, including Zweig Filly Stake Champion Flower N Songs ($18.40), adding another 87.75 points to his total. At the conclusion of the weekend’s racing action, here are the standings: July 24, 2016 - Leg #33 Pos Handicapper Total Points Prior Week Points Earned This Week Overall Total Points Position Last Week Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler 1,171.23 310.23 1,481.45 1st - 2nd Russ Adams 844.08 126.25 970.33 2nd          511.13 3rd Rusty Nash 769.40 80.65 850.05 3rd          631.40 4th Adam Friedland 722.30 61.88 784.18 5th          697.28 5th Mark Deutsch 725.35 58.60 783.95 4th          697.50 6th Gordon Waterstone 701.90 68.23 770.13 6th          711.33 7th Dennis O'Hara 664.20 78.55 742.75 7th          738.70 8th Michael Carter 637.60 95.50 733.10 8th          748.35 9th Anne Stepien 602.40 121.20 723.60 11th          757.85 10th Bryan Owen 613.73 83.13 696.85 9th          784.60 11th Matt Rose 606.63 61.90 668.53 10th          812.93 12th Joe Bengston 412.90 248.75 661.65 15th          819.80 13th Sally Hinckley 554.03 78.75 632.78 12th          848.68 14th Ray Cotolo 506.28 50.53 556.80 13th          924.65 15th Ray Garnett 469.38 68.60 537.98 14th          943.48   As the mid-way point of the contest approaches on August 14, it looks like Hochstetler will easily be the first half champion, earning his rescue a $250 award. Contest action resumes Friday (7/29) and Saturday (7/30) with Adios weekend at The Meadows with multiple tilts of the Arden Downs plus the Adioo Volo and The Adios in addition to Reynolds action for 3yo colt and gelding trotters at the Meadowlands.  The contest then moves on to August 6 for the Hambletonian Day card at the Meadowlands. Racing fans may continue getting the handicappers’ selections and other contest-related information from HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott  

July 14, 2016 - Race fans attending the races Sunday evening (July 17) at Ocean Downs will be witnesses to a Racing Under Saddle event featuring a competitive field of eight trotters going for a purse of $5,000 in a race sponsored by Back On Track, Friends of Maryland Standardbreds, RUS America, and Ocean Downs. The non-wagering event will take place after the evening's sixth race. Leading the field is Hyway Marcus, who won this event last year at Ocean Downs in a crisp 2:02 mile. Being ridden by Maria Buchanan, the five-year-old trainee of Ron Burke prepped for this race with a qualifying victory at Gaitway Farms in 2:01.3 and will start Sunday night from post seven. Hyway Marcus will be challenged by Iron Will starting from post position four who is victorious in three of four lifetime RUS contests. The ten-year-old gelded son by Credit Winner won July 8 at the Afton Fair in 2:11 after qualifying at Vernon Downs a week earlier in 2:02.1. Iron Will starts from post four. Another one to watch is Jeanie Marie being ridden by Emma Wahlberg who won her RUS debut at the Oswego Fair in 2:07 over a good track on July 5. Prior to her victory at Oswego, she won her qualifier at Vernon Downs in 2:02. Jeanie Marie starts from post position two. Making their debuts on the RUS circuit Sunday are Shanghai Jack, Mr Protab and No Recess. While Shanghai Jack finished second to Hyway Marcus in a Gaitway qualifier, Mr Protab and No Recess come into the race off of qualifying race victories. The complete field for the Ocean Downs RUS event are: $5,000 Trot - RUS PP Horse - Trainer - Jockey 1 Shanghai Jack - Nick Surick - Helene Gregory 2 Jeanie Marie - Jennifer Sansone - Emma Wahlberg 3 My Friend Charliie - Andrea Pratt - Andrea Pratt 4 Iron Will - Jennifer Sansone - Heather Reese 5 Mr Protab - Francisco Del Cio - Stephanie Jacobs 6 No Recess - Kyle Spagnola - Michelle Crawford 7 Hyway Marcus - Ron Burke - Maria Buchanan 8 P L Incoming - Josh Green - Sasha Moczulski After the race, there will be a meet and greet for fans to be able to meet the race riders. The estimated post time is 9:15. by Allan Schott, for RUS America  

July 11, 2016 - RUS America is pleased to announce its establishment as an organization to assist the promotion of Racing Under Saddle (RUS) in the United States. In coordination with the organizations establishment, RUS America has established its website www.rusamerica.info. RUS America, is an advocacy group whose mission is to promote racing under saddle for trotters, 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. RUS is a great opportunity to show off the versatility of the standardbred, in particular their trotting under saddle. Through exhibition and non-wagering events and working with local organizations, RUS America continues to entertain new and current harness racing fans and generate interest in ownership, helping to ensure the future of the sport. Our longer term goal of seeking wagering on RUS races wherever harness racing is conducted will generate interest in fans from all breeds of racing, thus strengthening the standardbred industry. Other than possibly suggesting rule changes to the USTA on behalf of state RUS organizations and their riders, RUS America will not be involved in licensing, record keeping, or regulation; its purpose being primarily for promotion and advocacy. The RUS America website reflects the mission statement of the organization by providing information regarding under saddle racing which would be of interest to fans and industry participants. A frequently asked questions section is being developed as is a photo and video gallery. Along with a news section and blog, the RUS America website is one you want to bookmark. Industry participants who are interested in being part of racing under saddle or want more information about RUS may contact RUS America by going to the website and visiting the Contact Us Page. by Allan Schott, for RUS America  

While the leader board shows Jay Hochstetler the overall leader in the 2016 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge with 1,093.33 points, honors for the week belong to Adam Friedland whose 63.88 points was 10.33 ahead of second place finisher Michael Carter (53.55 points). Bryan Owen took the show position with his 44.38 points for the week's efforts. Honorable mention goes to Rusty Nash and Matt Rose for earning 18.75 points by selecting both winners in the Tompkins-Geers stakes at Tioga Downs on Monday. While Friedland had only two winners, All The Time ($2.10) and Wiggle It Jiggleit ($3.00), he managed to earn 41 of his 57.88 points for the evening thanks to his selection of Centurion ATM in the Graduate Trot Final who finished second and paid $24.80 to place and $16.20 for show. Carter, earned all his points on Saturday night, adding Graduate Trot winner Musical Rhythm ($12.20) to Friedland's two winners to score the hat-trick and 53.55 points. Here are the standings after the week's racing: July 9, 2016 - Leg #29 Pos Handicapper Total Points Prior Week Points Earned This Week Overall Total Points Position Last Week Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler 1,070.45 22.88 1,093.33 1st - 2nd Russ Adams 661.33 34.90 696.23 2nd                397.10 3rd 0Rusty Nash 617.68 35.63 653.30 4th                440.03 4th Adam Friedland 575.83 63.88 639.70 6th                453.63 5th Mark Deutsch 632.55 4.60 637.15 3rd                456.18 6th Gordon Waterstone 600.18 27.28 627.45 5th                465.88 7th Dennis O'Hara 572.55 27.98 600.53 7th                492.80 8th Matt Rose 516.73 38.95 555.68 9th                537.65 9th Anne Stepien 539.70 15.60 555.30 8th                538.03 10th Bryan Owen 478.55 44.38 522.93 11th                570.40 11th Ray Cotolo 480.88 0.00 480.88 10th                612.45 12th Sally Hinckley 431.95 27.98 459.93 12th                633.40 13th Michael Carter 387.33 53.55 440.88 14th                652.45 14th Ray Garnett 399.33 18.100 417.43 13th                675.90 15th Joe Bengston 356.30 20.00 376.30 15th                717.03 While there is only one contest date this week, Saturday, is a big one eight contest races.  The Meadowlands Pace, Hambletonian Maturity, Mistletoe Shalee, Delvin Miller Memorial, William R Haughton Memorial, Golden Girls, and Ms. Versatility will be contested at the Meadowlands while Yonkers Raceway hosts the Lawrence B. Sheppard. For further information regarding the handicapping challenge, visit HANA Harness’ contest website http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com, where you will find the handicappers’ selections and results, updated standings, as well a schedule of upcoming contest races. by Allan Schott, for HANA

In an amazing display of handicapping prowess, Jay Hochstetler has opened up an over 400-point lead 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. Hochstetler earned 405.15 points for a grand total of 1,070.45. The nearest competitor is Russ Adams with 661.33 points with Mark Deutsch taking the show position with 632.55 points. Hochstetler's incredible weekend started Friday evening, selecting the winner of 4 out of 6 races topped with Dominion Beach ($80.00) in the Tompkins-Geers for 3yo trotting colts and geldings, earning him 172.03 of his 207.6 points for the evening. Adam Friedland also tabbed 4 winners, alas minus Dominion Beach, earning 61.98 points. Although lacking price, Hochstetler made up for it with volume as he nailed down 6 of the 8 contest races on Saturday. Topping the list was Earl Beal Memorial Jr. Consolation winner Milligan's School ($21.80) which gave the contest leader 81.9 of his 197.55 points for the evening. With the exception of the Beal Final and the Cleveland Trotting Classic, he won all the consolations and finals, namely Call Me Queen Be ($3.40), the aforementioned Milligan's School, Luck Be Withyou ($6.60), Pure Country ($4.80), Racing Hill ($3.20), and Always B Miki ($5.20). Also with 6 winners on the card was Gordon Waterstone, earning 94.35 points for his evening's work. Here are the standings after this weekend's racing action: July 2, 2016 - Leg #27 Pos Handicapper Total Points Prior Week Points Earned This Week Overall Total Points Position Last Week Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler 665.30 405.15 1,070.45 1st - 2nd Russ Adams 599.63 61.70 661.33 2nd                409.13 3rd Mark Deutsch 514.25 118.30 632.55 3rd                437.90 4th Rusty Nash 507.03 110.65 617.68 4th                452.78 5th Gordon Waterstone 467.98 132.20 600.18 7th                470.28 6th Adam Friedland 466.90 108.93 575.83 8th                494.63 7th Dennis O'Hara 500.05 72.50 572.55 5th                497.90 8th Anne Stepien 474.23 65.48 539.70 6th                530.75 9th Matt Rose 444.83 71.90 516.73 9th                553.73 10th Ray Cotolo 411.18 69.70 480.88 10th                589.58 11th Bryan Owen 401.10 77.45 478.55 11th                591.90 12th Sally Hinckley 355.10 76.85 431.95 13th                638.50 13th Ray Garnett 370.73 28.60 399.33 12th                671.13 14th Michael Carter 326.58 60.75 387.33 15th                683.13 15th Joe Bengston 336.30 20.00 356.30 14th                714.15 With more than half of the races remaining, there is plenty of contest remaining so all positions including the top spot remain up for grabs.  This week’s contest races will be contested on the 4th of the July with Tioga Downs hosting the Tompkins-Geers for three-year-old pacers of both sexes and on Saturday, July 9 at the Meadowlands where the Reynolds for 3yo Filly Trotters will be contested along with the finals of the Graduate Series for 4yo open pacers and trotters. For further information regarding the handicapping challenge, visit HANA Harness’ contest website http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com, where you will find the handicappers’ selections and results, updated standings, as well a schedule of upcoming contest races. by Allan Schott, for HANA

(June 26, 2016) - In an abbreviated set on Friday night, Rusty Nash came out the weekly winner 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 Nash was the weekly leader, it was the same old same old as Jay Hochstetler remains in front with a total of 665.3 points; 65.68 points over second place Russ Adams. With the AJ Cutler Memorial being the featured race for the week coupled with the supplemental F-M Open Handicap Pace each won by heavy favorites, there was no movement in the overall standings but Nash came out on top earning 21.75 points as he played a pair of sevens; tabbing Resolve ($4.20) in the Cutler and Medusa ($3.00) in the Open tilt. The only handicapper who came close to Nash for the week was Dennis O'Hara whose 17.4 points was good enough for second place for the week. Mark Deutsch edged out three other handicappers for the show position with 11 points. Here are the standings after this weekend’s racing action: June 24 2016 - Leg #25 Pos Handicapper Total Points Prior Week Points Earned This Week Overall Total Points Position Last Week Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler 655.90 9.40 665.30 1st - 2nd Russ Adams 589.23 10.40 599.63 2nd           65.68 3rd Mark Deutsch 503.25 11.00 514.25 3rd         151.05 4th Rusty Nash 485.28 21.75 507.03 4th         158.28 5th Dennis O'Hara 482.65 17.40 500.05 5th         165.25 6th Anne Stepien 468.23 6.00 474.23 6th         191.08 7th Gordon Waterstone 460.58 7.40 467.98 7th         197.33 8th Adam Friedland 457.50 9.40 466.90 8th         198.40 9th Matt Rose 434.43 10.40 444.83 9th         220.48 10th Ray Cotolo 407.58 3.60 411.18 10th         254.13 11th Bryan Owen 393.10 8.00 401.10 11th         264.20 12th Ray Garnett 363.33 7.40 370.73 12th         294.58 13th Sally Hinckley 344.70 10.40 355.10 13th         310.20 14th Joe Bengston 328.90 7.40 336.30 14th         329.00 15th Michael Carter 326.58 0.00 326.58 15th         338.73 With the holiday weekend almost upon us, there will be plenty of racing action for the handicappers to consider.  On Friday, July 1, the handicappers will be matching wits on the Tompkins-Geers for three-year-old trotters of both sexes at Tioga Downs while Mohawk Racetrack closes out the Friday night action with a leg of the Miss Versatility Trot.   Saturday night is a power-filled set of races with the Sun Stakes (Hempt, Lynch, and Beal Memorials; Ben Franklin) at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs with Northfield Park hosting the Cleveland Trotting Classic.  With a day off on Sunday, the action resumes on Independence Day as Tioga Downs hosts the Tompkins-Geers for three-year-old pacers of both sexes. For further information regarding the handicapping challenge, visit HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com, where you will find the handicappers’ selections and results, updated standings, as well a schedule of upcoming contest races.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org   Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

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