At its monthly meeting held in Harrisburg on Thursday (Feb. 27), the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission reinstated the 2014 race dates for Harrah's Philadelphia. On Jan. 23 the commission suspended the track's race dates for 2014 due to the track's failure to provide the commission with information regarding how it would address issues with the track's racing surface. Harrah's Philadelphia's dates call for a March 14 opening, but because of the harsh winter weather, work on the track is expected to delay the opening for 10-14 days. Ted Malloy, who has done work at The Meadows but now primarily serves as a consultant for Thoroughbred tracks, is reportedly going to oversee the work to get the Harrah's Philadelphia track ready for the opening. There was no mention at the meeting of the lawsuit brought by the family of Anthony Coletta, who was injured in an accident at the track last December. To read more click here.
When I was first elected as a United States Trotting Association (USTA) membership director in 1998, I thought that it was important to advance the interests of harness racing horsemen in every way possible. Electronic Eligibility was just the first of many helpful programs we were able to achieve. Yet, believe it or not, something as obviously essential as going paperless was met with much criticism and resistance. From that initial experience, I learned that very little USTA. business gets accomplished quickly; and rarely in unanimous fashion. As with any large, industry-wide association, there are competing interests. 2/3s of our Board is made up of membership, or horsemen, directors, and 1/3 are track directors. Even within these groupings, on many issues there are smaller factions that see things differently than others. Of course, the voicing of varied opinions is a good thing. When a different viewpoint on a subject is expressed, it allows for directors to pause and think about a matter in a light that they might not have previously considered. Unfortunately though, much never gets to the pause and think stage with 61 directors, because many decisions affecting members are being made at an executive level. Rather than the product of full and open deliberation, these pronouncements are decided behind closed doors by a handful of individuals who often look at things in lockstep fashion. Worse still, their edicts are often completely inconsistent, and smack of an attitude of pure track bias. For those of you who may not be aware, your Association executives in Columbus, Ohio have recently denied the membership application of a veteran horseman who maintains racing licenses in multiple U.S. jurisdictions, as well as in Canada. The reason for the denial? Well, you’ll just have to guess, because his refusal notice doesn’t even state why he was refused. Strangely for me, if numerous Racing Commissions deem him to have the requisite character and fitness to compete in pari-mutuel harness racing, why would our USTA exclude him? One could only guess that he violated some rule of our Association. Or is it really our Association? And what was the rule violation? Compare this to the longstanding state of affairs with a track member, Saratoga Raceway, who was in open and notorious violation of USTA rules. Those rules that we voted on and passed mandate that tracks maintain minimum medical insurance for drivers equal to the average daily purse account raced for during the previous calendar year. At Saratoga, the minimum medical coverage should have been in the six-figure range. Yet, for several years, Saratoga had maintained only a paltry $5,000 coverage for its drivers; a blatant violation of the U.S.T.A own rules. Despite being out of compliance for several years, the USTA. would not revoke the track’s membership. Because the USTA refused to act against the track member who was in violation of the USTA rule, the horsemen were forced to make concessions to the track to up that insurance Nice deal for a track, but a lousy one for horsemen members who found themselves left in the lurch because the USTA would not enforce a rule against a track member. Some directors rightly call the USTA the United States Track Association. So, while denying membership to horsemen for no explicit reason, the executives in Columbus flatly refused to revoke the track membership of Saratoga Raceway, despite its clear and undeniable violation of an important Association rule. This type of prejudice towards horsemen and favoritism towards racetracks is not simply unjust; it’s downright dangerous. Think about the tragic incident involving Anthony Coletta last November. Think about the drivers injured as a result of the starting gate skid at Freehold Raceway in January. Medical insurance isn’t important until, of course, you desperately need it. I am damn mad about the dual treatment of a clearly wrongdoing track member of the USTA and the risk to horsemen racing there, while the USTA turned its back on such violation for years but continues to penalize horsemen who have licenses in many states. Is the USTA carrying water for track operators who want the industry to think that they have integrity at their place and no one else does, while their "proof”, or the lack of it, is not sufficient for a state to suspend a horsemen's credential in that state? What additional exposure does the USTA have when, God forbid, a horrible accident befalls a horseman at a track with less than the minimum insurance because the USTA has not enforced its own rule? It may be an increase in your dues that pays for this failure when their lawyers come seeking recourse. This ‘tale of two cities’ has to stop. As a horsemen’s director, along with others, our top priority right now is to change how the decision making process at the U.S.T.A. works. When a state licenses a member, unless the state suspends him he/ she should have full membership in the USTA. When he violates a state rule he should suffer a loss of our USTA credential. The USTA is wasting a lot of time, effort and money in an area that clearly belongs to state licensing agencies. Enough is enough. Let's stop having track operators use their influence at the USTA to make villains out of licensed horsemen. Respectfully, JOHN BRENNAN John Brennan is chairman of USTA District 12. A native of Rockaway Beach, N.Y., Brennan finished school in 1968 and worked as a steamfitter for four years before he began his career in harness racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He has been training horses for more than 30 years, racing stables in New York and New Jersey. He won the 1995 Merrie Annabelle with Missy Will Do It. Was previously part-owner and trainer of Sugar Trader, winner of the 2003 Yonkers Trot and runner-up in the 2003 Hambletonian. He has been on the board of the SBOA of NY for more than 20 years, an HHI delegate for more than 15 years, and a USTA director for 13 years. He is currently the horsemen's representative at Yonkers Raceway. To discuss further go to harnessracingforum or leave a comment below. Editor's Note: HARNESSLINK website is pleased to present appropriate viewpoints and opinions from around the Harness Racing industry. The views contained in these “op-ed” pieces are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of HARNESSLINK.
CBS Philly News has reported that Anthony Coletta's Family lawyer, Michael Barrett, says a judge Thursday gave his firm until February 21, 2014 to inspect the track. He says Harrah’s Philadelphia did not object to the motion. PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorneys from Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett, & Bendesky, P.C., representing critically injured harness racing driver Anthony Coletta, are seeking a court order to force the owners of Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack to permit a forensic investigation of the controversial track surface which has been linked to the horrific November 17, 2013 accident that nearly claimed the life of Mr. Coletta. Mr. Coletta's parents-guardians, Alfred and Rosemary Coletta, of Hammonton, New Jersey, turned to the Firm on behalf of their son to use all legal means necessary to determine what caused the accident, hold those responsible fully accountable for their actions, and ensure that no other drivers and their horses are put at risk. The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission last week temporarily suspended racing at the track due to concerns over the track surface – including its composition and maintenance - and Harrah's alleged failure to cooperate with the state's investigation. Attorneys Robert Mongeluzzi, Michael Barrett, and Joseph DeAngelo, of SMBB, are asking a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge to order Harrah's to permit their requested investigation of the track surface to proceed. A hearing on their request is scheduled for today, January 30, in City Hall. Harrah's lawyers have denied the inspection request to date. In addition, the filed Motion to Compel (January Term : 002714) seeks to compel Harrah's (actual defendants named in the Motion and Writ of Summons are: Chester Downs and Marina, LLC D/B/A Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack Inc., and Harrah's Chester Downs Management Co, LLC) to preserve all documents and physical evidence that could prove critical in their investigation on behalf of Mr. Coletta. The 31-year-old driver, engaged to be married later this year, suffered numerous fractures, brain and skull injuries as a direct result of being thrown from his sulky and then trampled. He remains hospitalized following several operations and is fully dependent on others for all forms of life care. He had been living in Hudson City, New Jersey. "Based on our preliminary investigation, including the Commonwealth's actions against the racetrack, we are very concerned about the potential destruction of evidence and, therefore, ask the Court to order our team of experts to conduct a complete on-site investigation by no later than February 7th," said Mr. Mongeluzzi. "If Harrah's is truly concerned about the welfare of the drivers and horses, and wishes to regain its suspended racing license, it should have no issues with our request." The track's racing season is scheduled to begin March 8th and the attorneys contend that economic motives on the part of the track operator are in conflict with the need to conduct a thorough investigation. Harrah's is a subsidiary of Las Vegas-headquartered Caesars Entertainment Corporation. "We need to know if the track was being maintained following best industry practices, because its troubled history would indicate otherwise," said Mr. Barrett. "If this was an accident waiting to happen, then Mr. Coletta, his family, and every other driver deserve to know why they've been put in harms way." Mr. DeAngelo noted that the Motion is supported by public statements of "several veteran harness drivers" to the effect that "the racetrack was defective in the area where the horse (in front of Mr. Coletta's) fell, and that Defendants were aware of the racetrack's condition and failed to remedy the condition despite requests from the harness drivers and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
Following Monday (Dec. 16) afternoon's fifth race at Harrah's Philadelphia, trainers, drivers, grooms, staff, and management gathered in the winner's enclosure in a show of support for Anthony Coletta. The thoughts of the entire Harrah's Philadelphia racing community are with Anthony for a full and speedy recovery. Consequently, the "Stay Strong Anthony Coletta" race was won by Sir Michigan Z Tam and trainer-driver Patrick Lachance in 1:54.3. From Harrah's Philadelphia publicity department
Saturday (Dec. 14), the "Fourth Annual Horsemen's Christmas Drive" will be at the Dover Mall from 7 a.m. until closing for a fund raiser. People are urged to shop for those in need of items to enable local families and children to have a Merry Christmas. Last year, under the direction of trainer Jane Davis, 77 local families and more than 220 children were able to have a Christmas to remember. Already, $1,000.00 has been given to the Food Bank of Delaware. All donations are Tax Deductible. Make checks out to 'Horsemen's Welfare Trust Fund,' and present at the DSOA Paddock Office or DSOA Office, 830 Walker Square, Dover DE 19904 or contact Janet Davis at 302-632-7915. ------------------------------------------ Last Thursday (Dec. 5) Dover Downs horsemen contributed around $7,500, "In Support of Anthony Coletta." After a horrendous racing accident at Harrah's Philadelphia on Nov. 10, Colette has been in Hospital University of Pennsylvania where he is still in a coma but breathing on his own. Local horsemen are among the many throughout the country supporting Coletta, A "Stay Strong A. Coletta,"fund set up by his close friend, trainer Anthony DeFrancesco will aid Coletta and his family. To contribute, donations can be sent to: 'Stay Strong A. Coletta', c/o TD Bank, 2653 S. 5th St., Phila. PA 19148. Trainers Janet Davis and Crissy Bier are selling wrist bands and ribbons in the Dover Downs paddock to support the Co0letta fund. ------------------------------ The traditional Delaware Horsemen's Christmas Break begins on Friday, Dec. 20 and continues the holiday week through Dec. 28. Live racing will return on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 5:30 p.m. Dover Downs will also be dark on Tuesday, Dec. 31, New Year's Eve. There will be racing on Jan. 1, New Year's Day. ------------------------------------------ Corey Callahan has already come up with several 'big win' days with seven and six wins cards. On Wednesday (Dec. 11), Callahan won five races to bring his current meet-leading total to 70 wins. He now has 71 winning drives. Allan Davis is runner-up with 37. Ross Wolfenden ha 33 wins, Vic Kirby has 32 and George Dennis has 27 wins, completing the top five winning drivers standings. ------------------------------------ Wayne Givens holds the top spot in the trainer standings with 22 wins. Dylan Davis is now second with 18 wins. Eric Ell is third with 14, Joe Hundertpfund and Les Givens are tied for fourth with 14 winners.. ----------------------------------- Time is running out for nominations for 2013 'Groom of the Year' award, sponsored by Harness Tracks of America (HTA) and Hanover Shoe Farms. Caretakers at Dover Downs have been the last three Grooms of the Year; Tom Cugel in 2010, Greg Haverstick in 2011 and last year, Florzell 'Georgie Boy' Daniels. Dec. 31 is deadline to nominate a groom. Send a nomination to HTA, 12025 E. Dry Gulch Pl., Tucson AZ 85749; by fax to 520-529-3235; or by email to email@example.com. Information must contain name, address, telephone number and jacket size (S, M, L, XL, XXL) for the nominated groom, along with name and address of the nominator. --------------------------------------- Heather Vitale will again MC the annual DSOA Awards-Dinner. The big night for Delaware men and women horsemen will be held at Modern Maturity, on Route 8, in Dover on Friday, Jan. 10. Tickets are now available. Contact Sal DiMario, DSOA executive director. Already, Friday (Dec. 5) was a banner night for Delaware harness horsemen and families attending the 17th annual Delaware Standard bred Owners Association (DSOA) Christmas Party by Marv Bachrad for Dover Downs
BATAVIA, NY --- Considering the magnitude of the highlights from the 2013 racing season, what exactly does Batavia Downs Gaming do for an encore in 2014? Meet the challenge, says Todd Haight, Batavia Downs’ General Manager of Live Racing. But for now, in the wake of closing night 2013, they’ll savor the triumphs of the recently concluded live season at America’s oldest lighted harness track: ** The world’s richest pacer, Foiled Again, paid a visit on Oct. 5 and won the 11th annual Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. Two weeks later, Foiled Again won the Breeders’ Crown Open Pace at Pocono Downs. This year’s Kane night handle was the largest since 2005. ** Export handle took another big jump. ** A state-of-the-art gaming floor opened in October. ** Five new track records were established while two others were tied. ** Shawn McDonough became the first provisional driver ever to win a track driving championship, and he did it in style, outdistancing Ray Fisher Jr. 103-88. The final total mutuel handle on Batavia races increased again, climbing by over $660,000, or 9% over last year. Export handle, coming off a 50 percent increase in 2012, was up another 19 percent this season, though the on-track handle dipped 15 percent. "We knew it was going to be a tough year on-track with construction of the new gaming floor taking place as our live season was starting,” Haight said. “In fact, we had two days in early October that we raced with no on-track wagering at all. The on-track numbers improved significantly once the gaming floor moved downstairs on October 4.” “So we’re extremely pleased that we continue to grow our export business and I'm confident we can turn around our on-track numbers next season.” Haight noted that the ITW (Inter-Track Wagering facility) will be moving back to the racetrack before the live season gets underway, so the Downs will once again be able to conduct some of their most popular promotions that they weren't able to do this year. There were many highlights away from the betting windows, too: The Western New York harness racing community showed it is truly caring as $12,885 was raised for the “Stay Strong Anthony Coletta” fund in early December. Coletta was seriously injured in a racing mishap in mid-November at Harrah's Philadelphia, so Batavia Downs drivers, owners, trainers, staff and fans donated to help out the 31-year-old driver in his recovery. Of the new records, two were set by pacers. Xenia Hanover posted a 1:53 time to set the aged mares record and Barefoot Beauty went 1:54.4 to set the 2-year-old filly pacing mark, while 2-year-old colt sensation He's Watching went 1:54.2 to tie the record. Fireyourguns was named the Pacer of the Year. Mystical Escapade, the Batavia Downs' Trotter of the Year, set the aged mare mark with a 1:56.3, while Lutetium set the aged gelding mark with a 1:56.3. JS Trotting Bob, a 2-year-old colt, got his name into the record book with a 1:58.2 clocking and Bouncing Bax tied the 3-year-old filly trotting time with a 1:57.2. While McDonough won the driver’s title, Ron Beback Jr. was victorious 84 times and won the comeback award. John Mungillo, the Western New York Trainer of the Year, won his first Downs training title. He totaled 66 victories, nine more than J.D. Perrin. Carl Smith finished third with 37 wins. Extreme Balance, with driver Jack Flanigen, pulled one of the biggest upsets in Batavia history when he scored at odds 168-1. The Jim Graham trainee returned $338 to win. Post-time favorites won at a 40 percent clip. The 2014 racing season is tentatively scheduled to being on Wednesday, July 23, pending approval of the New York Gaming Commission. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs
(Scarborough, Maine) Scarborough Downs Harness Race Track will be selling Stay Strong stickers next weekend, December 14 & 15, to raise money for the Stay Strong A. Coletta Fund. Cost is $5 each 100% of the proceeds will go to the Coletta family. The stickers can be worn on race bikes, helmets, or used as bumper stickers. Members of the Maine harness racing community have just mailed a donation to the fund in the amount of $403, representing funds raised from The Maine Amateur Driving Club's purse commissions earned on 11/23/13, customer and horsemen cash donations, and driver Steve Nason's purse commissions from 11/29/13. All of us here in Maine were shocked and saddened by news of the accident and we continue to pray and send our positive, healing thoughts to Anthony for a speedy recovery. We send our very best wishes to the Coletta family for the holidays. They are in our thoughts and prayers every day. by Susan Higgins for Scarborough Downs
Dover, Del--- Adventure Bound won the $30,000 Preferred/Open Handicap in 1:49.2, the fastest of four miles just over 1:50 clockings on a fast Wednesday card at Dover Downs on a balmy, Dec 5. The day's biggest feature race was named, "In Support of Anthony Coletta." The driver now hospitalized following a horrendous racing accident three weeks ago. Ron Pierce barreled away from post 6 to take the lead and then fought off several challenges before reaching the winner's circle in a lifetime fastest 1:49.2. It was his second win in last four outings; the preceding two were seconds by a nose. Race favorite Nova Artist closed strongly for Allan Davis after being locked in until the passing lane. Sunshine Superman and Jason Lynch picked up third money. Following the race, the Dover Downs horsemen fraternity came to the winner's circle to salute Anthony Coletta. The banner will be sent to Coletta at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania where the horseman is a patient. Rage N Ryan, driven by track leading driver Corey Callahan chalked up a personal best 1:50.3 success in a $17,500 3&4-Year-Old Open pace. Mark Weaver-Mike Bruscemi and Burke Racing own the four-year-old altered son of Allamerican Native-Southwind Wesley. Lindwood Player (Trace Tetrick) was a close-up second with Framed Art (Art Stafford Jr.) the show horse. JLRL's Rock On Moe got up in 1:50.4, one Allan Davis' three wins, to take the $15,500 Male Winners-Over pace. The Rocknroll Hanover-Armbro Maureen gelding was followed by Feel Like A Fool (George Dennis). Beavercreek Artist (Ron Pierce) was third. Ron Pierce driving Max Walton and Greg Papaleo's Mustang Art, an Artsplace-Paula Seelster gelding, had little trouble romping home in 1:50.3 to take a $12,000 Male pace. Veteran Three Of Spades (Jonathan Roberts) came home quickly for second in front of Dreamfair Kovu (Jim Morand), third. Jeremes General gave Allan Davis win #3 winning a $15,000 3,4&5-Year-Old Male Winners-Over pace. It also marked a double for trainer Eric Ell and owners Steve Iaquinta and Bill Dittmar. Bret McFarvelous (Montrell Teague) and SB Mikes Hot Beach (Mike Rossi) were second and third repectively. Allan Davis had a four win "grand slam, while two drivers - Ron Pierce and Corey Callahan - had triples and Shawn Bier had a double as did trainers Eric Ell and Wayne Givens and owners Legacy Racing Of DE, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta. by Marv Bachrad for Dover Downs
BATAVIA, N.Y. --- 'Blondes' do have more fun, at least they did at Batavia Downs Wednesday night (Dec. 4). Regally Blonde ($34.80), the co-longest shot on the board, used a strong drive in the stretch and won the $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open in 1:57.1 over a fast track. She took the 'crown' by beating the front-running Red Star Fiona (Ray Fisher Jr.) by two lengths while Athleticlyinclined (Jack Flanigen) took third. Sitting sixth on the inside at the half, Batavia Downs' leading driver Shawn McDonough managed to shake free with Regally Blonde at the three-quarter pole and fanned out three-wide down the stretch to overtake Red Star Fiona. She put up a 29-second last quarter to surge to the victory. Trained by Jim Graham, the 4-year-old mare Regally Blonde (Stonebridge Regal-Highly Charged) has now won five times this season in 26 starts, improving her bankroll to $23,081 and $97,192 lifetime. Wednesday night also saw a $5,000 donation from Todd and Lon Frocione and a $3,500 donation from Michael and Howard Ouriel to the 'Stay Strong Anthony Coletta' fund which pushed the total to $12,885 from the Batavia Downs' staff, employees, trainers, owners, drivers and fans. The final weekend of action kicks off on Friday night with a 12-race program. The highlight of the card will be the $8,500 Open Trot where Lutetium will score from the four post as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Jack Flanigen is scheduled to drive. For more information on the final weekend activities including promotions, race replays and the latest news, go to http://bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY --- The 'Stay Strong Anthony Coletta' fund drive will conclude Wednesday night at Batavia Downs and the event will be capped off by two tremendous and generous donations. Coletta is a 31-year-old harness racing driver who was seriously injured in an on-track accident at Harrah's Philadelphia in mid-November and remains in a Philadelphia hospital in serious condition. Lon Frocione, a long-time horseman based in Vernon, N.Y., will be on hand Wednesday night along with his son Todd to make a $5,000 donation to the 'Stay Strong Anthony Coletta' fund and that will be followed by a $3,500 gift from Rochester-based owners Howard and Michael Ouriel with driver Drew Monti doing the honors. The presentations will be made to local fund organizer Jami Chatt who serves as Assistant Parade Marshall at Batavia Downs. Chatt spearheaded the drive which included wrist band sales, silent auction, purse donations from drivers, trainers and owners, along with cash given by fans attending the races and Batavia Downs staff. The grand total of the event is $12,835, which will all go to Anthony Coletta and his family as he recovers from his injuries. Bruce Tubin, President of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, was extremely proud of the generosity shown by the incredible number of trainers, drivers, grooms and owners who donated a portion of their earnings to the Anthony Coletta Fund. "Horsemen will always come through to help others in time of need," said Tubin. The final Wednesday night of the 2013 season will begin at 6:30 p.m. with 12 races on tap. For more information, including closing week activities and promotions, go to bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs
SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (December 3, 2013) – The drivers at Saratoga Casino and Raceway will donate 5% of their drivers fee on Wednesday, December 4 to fellow horsemen Anthony Coletta. Coletta, 31, from Jersey City, NJ, was critically injured in a four-horse accident at Harrah’s Philadelphia Racetrack on Sunday, November 17 when he was thrown from his sulky and then trampled by a trailing horse. In addition to the estimated $3,000 driver’s donation, The Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association (SHHA) will contribute $500. The money will benefit "Stay Strong A. Coletta", a fund set up by Coletta’s parents to help pay for medical expenses and other bills. Coletta sustained trauma to his brain and has been in a coma since the accident. He also has multiple fractures. “Anthony is in our thoughts and prayers and we’re all hoping for a speedy recovery for him.” said SHHA President Barry Segel. “The horsemen and drivers at Saratoga Casino and Raceway are happy to help. We’re also selling Stay Strong Coletta bracelets to show our support and raise additional funds for the cause.” Friends and family have set up a Facebook page, Thoughts And Prayers For Anthony Coletta / FACEBOOK for updates on Coletta’s condition and to show support for him and his family. Saratoga Casino and Raceway, located on Crescent Avenue in Saratoga Springs, NY, features over 1,700 slots, electronic table games, Vapor Night Club, two full-service restaurants with buffets, a casual dining restaurant, three full-service bars, deli and a variety of guest services including valet parking and coat check. Operating hours for the gaming facility are 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. every day. Simulcast races can be viewed seven days a week and live harness racing runs March through mid-December. From Saratoga Raceway and SHHA
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Temple Hills, MD --- Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association and Rosecroft Raceway will be holding a fundraiser for Anthony Coletta on Saturday (Dec. 7) at Rosecroft Raceway. This tragedy is a reminder to all of us, that while we are competitors we are also a community. And as a community we must all do what we can. We know that many of our drivers and trainers have already given, but we wanted to show that the State of Maryland’s harness racing industry is behind Anthony Coletta. Drivers, trainers and owners that would like to donate a portion of their earnings from this Saturday night are asked to please contact Sharon Roberts, or Gina Maybee, at 301.567.9636. by Gina Maybee for Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association
MANALAPAN, NJ - November 29, 2013 - With his fifth drive of the day, Cat Manzi reached the winner's circle at Freehold Raceway on Friday, November 29, 2013. It marked the return of the Hall of Fame driver who was sidelined since September 6 when he suffered multiple pelvic fractures in a racing accident at Freehold. For Manzi, the victory was 14,790th of his career. He is third highest all time winningest driver in harness racing history. The 63-year-old Freehold resident was a three and three-quarter length winner with Scoots West in the tenth race. He also finished second twice among his seven drives on the program. Manzi donated his Friday earnings to benefit another injured driver, Anthony Coletta, who was in a racing accident on November 17, 2013 at Harrah's Philadelphia. by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ
This Sunday, the 15-race card offers three major events with total purses of more than $500,000. The biggest race is the track's signature event, the $284,160 Progress Pace featuring eight of the fastest three-year-olds now in training. Also on the final stakes card of the season is a pair of $100,000 finals for Delaware-sired freshman pacers. One, for colts & geldings, the other, for fillies. In each of the events, the top eight in the three events return for their lucrative finals. In addition, each of the DSBF events has a $20,000 consolation. Vegas out of Progress Pace Among the missing in the Progress Pace Final is Vegas Vacation, winner of the $160,388 Matron, the week before with a near track record 1:48.3 victory. Vegas Vacation was scratched by trainer Casie Coleman when he came out of the Matron, "not 100 percent." In the $35,000 Progress Pace elimination, 20-1 longshot Twilight Bonfire edged race favorite Sunshine Beach for the win. $100,000 DSBF Finals Kelsey's Commando, driven by Vic Kirby won the first of four $100,000 Delaware Standarbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) finals on Monday (Nov. 25). On Tuesday (Nov.26), I Love The Boss, longtime Delaware horseman, trainer and part-owner Bob Shahan's biggest win, won the $100,000 DSBF freshman male trot. Seven striaght for Up Front Ben Nine-year-old trotter Up Front Ben won his seventh consecutive win and 11th in 12 races this season when Tony Morgan guided the Eric Ell trainee to victory. In other news, owner Ken Wood announced that his outstanding trotter, Anders Bluestone, has been retired and will stand stallion duty at Linda MacDonald's Merrie Medo Farm in 2014. Cahallan going for 5th driving title Track defending driver champion, Corey Callahan, seeking his fifth straight track leading driver title, came up with his biggest night of the meet driving seven winners on Tuesday (Nov.26). Now, through Wednesday, Nov. 27, Callahan has made the winner's circle 50 times. Allan Davis, currently enjoying his finest season, is second in the standings with 22 wins. Vic Kirby is third with 19 wins; George Dennis has 18 winners for fourth place. Tony Morgan has 17 wins to complete the top five. Dylan Davis leads all trainers Dylan Davis has moved into first place among trainers with 11 wins. Wayne Givens and Eric Ell are deadlocked second with 10 winners. Les Givens has haltered nine winners and Don Brittingham is fifth with eight, Supporting Anthony Coletta Fund Dover Downs horsemen are among the many throughout the country supporting driver Anthony Coletta, critically injured in a racing accident at Harrah's Philadelphia on Nov. 10. A "Stay Strong A. Coletta,"fund has been set up by his close friend, trainer Anthony DeFrancesco to aid Coletta and his family. To contribute, donations can be sent to: Stay Strong A Coletta, c/o TD Bank, 2653 S. 5th St., Phila. PA 19148. Janet Davis is selling bands in the Dover Downs paddock priced at $5.00 to support the Coletta fund. Christmas Drive Fund Christmas is right around the corner, and again this season, Janet Davis has already begun her "Fourth Annual Horsemen's Christmas Drive." All proceeds go to enable local families and children to have a Merry Christmas. Last year, 77 families and more than 220 children I Kent County, Del. had a Christmas to remember. by Marv Bachrad for Dover Downs
MANALAPAN, NJ – November 27, 2013 – Word got out of Cat Manzi’s return to the races in time for Wednesday morning driver changes, resulting in his being named on seven horses on the 12-race program on Friday afternoon at Freehold Raceway. The Hall of Famer, who suffered multiple pelvic fractures in a racing accident at Freehold Raceway on September 6, 2013, makes his first return to competition on Friday, November 29, 2013. And Manzi is donating his Friday earnings to benefit another injured driver, Anthony Coletta. Coletta suffered severe injuries in a racing accident on November 17, 2013 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Manzi, 63, is the third highest all-time winningest driver in harness racing history with 14,789 career victories. Manzi’s Friday afternoon drives include the aptly named Now The Fun Starts in the eleventh race. His other assignments include: Wicked Persuasion [fourth], Bond Blue Chip [sixth], Big Sky Angelina [seventh], Muscleslikeaparty [ninth], Scoots West [tenth] and Beauxarts Hanover [twelfth]. by Carol Hodes for SBOA/NJ