On Saturday evening in the winner’s circle at the Isle Pompano Park, the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association awarded Tracey O’Leary its December Caretaker of the Month Award. O’Leary, a longstanding successful member of the Mike Deters Stable, recently took over care of Prairie Jaguar (6g Spy Hard-Cat Lady-Arturo), the red hot Mel Hartman bred, Laurie Poulin raised, Florida bred. Deters and Poulin own Prairie Jaguar but he has blossomed under O’Leary’s care. Saying “he’s now a happy horse”, O’Leary stated, “it’s been just about solid horse care, and the results have been more than solid.” Since a qualifier at Pompano Park on November 23, 2013, Prairie Jaguar is six for six with $25,000 earned, the last four in Open competition timed between 1:49f – 1:50.2f with final quarters in :28 and change or better. Prior to O’Leary grooming Prairie Jaguar, he had only six wins (and 19 on the board finishes) in 62 starts for earnings of $42,222. Watching Prairie Jaguar warm up free-legged Saturday prior to his race caught the attention of members of the Florida USHWA chapter, and certainly signaled that he is in fact a happy horse under the care of Tracey O’Leary. The horse can leave, relax and turn it on when asked. In the winner’s circle, O’Leary was presented by the Florida USHWA Chapter with a plaque and a check for $100. By Thomas H. Hicks for the Florida USHWA Chapter Photo Caption: (Left to Right), Lucian Fontaine, Rosie Huff, Tracey O'Leary, "Big Bernie," Mike Deters, Laurie Poulin and Thomas Hicks. (Dee Leftwich photo)
Metrodisle paced home for her fourth straight win Friday (September 27) in Northfield Park’s thirteenth race. The five year-old is owned by Darren Tannyhill of Fenton, Michigan and is trained by Dean Eckley. Josh Sutton has driven the mare for the succession of the quadruplet victories. Metrodisle began from post seven and was sent hard right from the gate. She led the mile from start to finish, pacing fractions of :27.4, :56.1, 1:25.1 and 1:54.3. She maintained a 1 ½-length margin of victory over her closed competitor, LF Kilowatt Time (Keith Kash Jr.). The mile clocking represents a season’s mark for Metrodisle. Friday’s triumph increased Metrodisle’s (Metropolitan-Rondisle Hanover-Arturo) seasonal win tally to six and her career earnings to $45,257. Despite having three prior victories, she returned $24.80 to win. Driver Josh Sutton had another successful Friday. Metrodisle was one of four winners on the Friday program for Sutton. Ayres Ratclif
STONEBORO PA – Roger Hammer, in a traffic accident Wednesday and released from the hospital Thursday afternoon, added on six winners during the three-year-old action at the Great Stoneboro Fair Saturday to the triple he posted Friday, leaving him and his neck/body brace to drive back home to Bedford with nine wins during the two-day meet. But Hammer would be the first to agree that the biggest story Saturday was McAlvin, a McArdle pacing gelding who posted the fastest time ever at the Stoneboro half-miler when he won a division of the Sire Stakes in 1:57, knocking 2/5 off a second off the 11-year-old mark of J T Arturo (and no points for guessing who drove J T Arturo on his record day). McAlvin also equaled the fastest mile of the Keystone fair year (his own, at Gratz), and now has 4 magic miles (including the 1:58.2 all-age record at Meadville) in his undefeated five-race campaign at the fairs in 2013. McArdle and his connections – driver Chris Shaw, trainer Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky – now must focus on making the Fair Championship: with four stops on the circuit left, McAlvin is presently nine points short of the last qualifying spot, and 14 horses are ahead of him in the standings. The other two divisions of the sophomore colt pace were won by Roger Hammer-owned, -trained, and –driven horses: Camturo Beach (2:01) and Enjoy The Ride (2:02.2). Among the pacing fillies, early-season sensation She’salilfireball turned the tables from Wednesday’s 1-2 finish at Wattsburg when she defeated In A Better Place, the leading pointwinner among all fair campaigners, in 2:01. Both horses started along the inside, but In A Better Place did not live up to her name when she drew post five on the 4-wide track, and that might have factored in the victory for the “Fireball,” a daughter of Allamerican Native, driver Aaron Johnston, and owner-trainer Bob Grover. On the trotting side, Hammer and owner-trainer-breeder Boots Dunn won two of three divisions in the Sires events for both sexes. The SJ’s Caviar gelding Ruddy Rusty, now undefeated in eight fair starts, was the fastest of the quartet in 2:02.4; he was joined on the male side by Classicality (2:04.2). The filly winners for the “golden oldies” were Lindyofalifetime (2:03.3) and Boo’s Party Girl (2:04). FINISHING LINES – Stoneboro’s racing ended fair action in the western part of the state for the year (excepting the $200,000 Fair Championship Night at The Meadows on Saturday evening, October 5); they draw tomorrow for Tuesday twilight and Wednesday afternoon action at Port Royal, and will then visit York, Gratz, and Bloomsburg to conclude the twicearound year … At Port Royal on Tuesday, there will be a ceremony honoring the Zendt Family, including localite and patriarch Wilbur Zendt, before the 4:30 scheduled start … And for those keeping score, Hammer’s sulky tally for Stoneboro was 19-9-4-1-.608. by Jerry Connors
Harness racing driver Steve Schoeffel enjoyed one of his best days of the season at the Gratz Fairgrounds on Monday (September 19), winning five races, including the 1000th of his driving career.
Three-year-old pacers took to the track to complete the four-day race meet at the Clearfield County Fairgrounds in Clearfield, PA. Two Quaker Stakes started the card, and Metrodisle survived all challenges to win the first race in 2:05.3 for driver Timmy Offutt. Harness racing trainer Joe Offutt co-owns the Metropolitan filly with Samuel Stoltzfus.
Sophomores were featured at the Dayton, Pennsylvania Fairgrounds in PA Sire Stake harness racing action on Sunday (July 17). Bay Ridge scored for the first time this season in the first race, for filly trotters. The Jeff Indof-trainee, by Tom Ridge, trotted in 2:05.1 for catch-driver Steve Schoeffel.
Former Western New York harness racing drivers Gaston Guindon and Ed McNeight, Jr. were on hand here at Buffalo Raceway (July 16) to be inducted into the Upstate New York Harness Writers Association Hall Of Fame. Chapter president Tim Bojarski, along with delegate Sam Pendolino presented these deserving candidates with a beautiful keepsake trophy to honor the occasion.
Corleone Kosmos came first over at the three-quarter pole, grabbed the lead in the stretch, then went on to a 1-1/4 length victory in a time of 1:53 in the harness racing $70,000 Open Handicap Trot on Friday (June 17) at Harrah's Chester.
Dave Palone drove the 14,000th winner of his Hall of Fame career Friday when he guided Red Star Hottie to victory in the sixth race at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. With that victory, Palone became only the second driver in North American harness racing history to collect 14,000 wins.
The second day of harness racing action at the Gratz Fairgrounds featured 3-year-old Pennsylvania breds in Sire Stake competition. Three divisions of sophomore colt pacers kicked off the card, and Straight Character looked as though he was going to make a run at the all-time track record, cutting fractions of :28.1, :57 and 1:26 for driver David Brickell.
Misster Wilker made a decisive quarter-pole move and converted it to her second straight win in the Donna Dunn Memorial series for freshman filly pacers Thursday at The Meadows. The series' second leg was contested over four harness racing divisions, with Dovetail, Hello Great Mate and O Lucky Me capturing the other $12,000 splits.
Batalj Launcher (Jason Bartlett) and Night's Kreeation (Jordan Stratton) won their respective $40,000 Yonkers Raceway Friday night harness racing co-features. Batalj Launcher went the distance in the Open Handicap Trot.
In addition to Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings, seven divisions of the Stallion Series for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings went to post on Monday evening at Harrah's Chester.
When Lover Of Art won the $71,662 Debutante Stakes on July 1 at the Meadowlands, it put a spotlight on the late, great New Jersey-based pacing stallion Artsplace. Lover Of Art is from the 139 registered foals in the stallion's last crop. Artsplace, the Horse of the Year in 1992, died on October 30, 2006 at the age of 19.
Dave Palone drove the 13,000th winner of his distinguished career Monday at The Meadows when he guided Western Kissed to victory in the 11th race. Palone, 47, already was a member of harness racing's driving elite, but with the win, he joins an even more exclusive club. In North American harness racing history, only Herve Filion (15,174) and Cat Manzi (13,327) have surpassed 13,000 wins.
Buster Mee N, a 25-1 shot won the $17,000 feature, Enessee Ernie takes $16,500 trot while Rare Bunny set a new North American and World Record for a 5/8th mile distance winning one of four $10,000 "Go The Distance II" event on a longshot filled Saturday, March 21 at Dover Downs.