A horse trainer has told how he was at a harness-racing meeting on Friday night when his mother was fatally struck by a hit-run driver only a short distance away. Earlier, Betty McArthur, 84, had watched her son Mick Darling’s horses in two races on the program at Phoenix Park in Port Pirie. She was walking back to her car parked in its usual spot outside a friend’s house, in Grey Terrace, when she was hit by the vehicle about 9.30pm. This is only about 100 metres from the entrance to the trotting park – and Mr Darling was still at the track when he got the news that someone had been hit. “It was straight after race five,” a shocked Mr Darling told The Recorder Editor Greg Mayfield on Saturday afternoon at his home at Bungama on the outskirts of Port Pirie. He spoke just after police released the news that a suspected offender was being interviewed over the hit-run. Mr Darling said he had ”mind-boggling” support from the community after the tragedy. “You don’t know how many friends you have got,” he said. He said it would be difficult on Christmas Day with an empty seat being there for Mrs McArthur. “All Christmases are special,” he said. Mrs McArthur is a former president with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital auxiliary and used to make dinners for drivers and trainers at the trotting track until a few years ago. She was a regular supplier of delicious nut rolls to a local delicatessen. Mr Darling agreed his mother was proud of him and always watched his horses go round the track. “I drove one horse in one race and another driver drove one of my other horses in the other race. They were the fourth and sixth races on the program and she watched them both,” he said. Mr Darling is president of the Port Pirie Harness Racing Club and president of the South Australian Country Harness Racing Clubs. “Mum and Dad had horses when we were kids. I originally raced her horses,” he said. “We went to school at Snowtown and Lochiel and shifted to Port Pirie for the last year of high school. “Mum didn’t work – looking after six kids was a big enough job.” It is not the first time that tragedy has truck the family. Mr Darling’s brother Robin died 17 years ago from an asthma attack. Later, Mr Darling’s mother remarried and became Mrs McArthur. “When she remarried there were 13 of us,” he said. “It was a big Christmas and a big day at tea-time. “Everyone knows her. She worked so hard for the trotting club. “She had been president of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital auxiliary for eight or nine years. “She was inspired to do this by her two disabled grandchildren. One of them can’t speak, but recently had a long “conversation” on the phone with Mum’ and was laughing and smiling. “Because my wife and I are shifting to Moonta, Christmas celebrations were going to be at Moonta. “I asked my mother when she wanted to be picked up to travel to Moonta and she said she was going to drive down - at the age of 84 - but we would have driven her anyway.” He said his mother always attended the trotting meetings. “She was actually a life member of the harness racing club,” he said. “I suppose that indicates how much work she did for the club. “She always made nut roll for the delicatessen – one of her loves was cooking. “She was proud of all of us.” A 40-year-old Port Pirie man was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop and render assistance at a collision, and leaving the scene of a collision. He will be granted bail to appear in court at a later date. by Greg Mayfield Reprinted with permission of the http://www.busseltonmail.com.au/ Major Crash investigators continue to examine the circumstances surrounding the collision, and ask anyone that may have seen a dark-coloured Ford station wagon in the area to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au
Freehold, NJ --- Winky’s Gill, winner of a heat of the 1983 Hambletonian, dam of 1993 Hambletonian Oaks winner Winky’s Goal (1:54.4, $844,924) and 1987 Peter Haughton Memorial winner, Supergill (1:53.3, $664,194) died at the age of 34 on August 8 at Perretti Farm, her home of 14 years. She was buried in the farm’s equine cemetery. The daughter of Bonefish and Lassie Blue Chip was bred by Ulf Moberg and was born January 31, 1980 in Lexington, Kentucky. Her stakes wins include the 1982 Merrie Annabelle, Acorn, Review, Hayes and Lexington Filly Stakes. In addition to a heat of the 1983 Hambletonian against colts in which she was third overall, she won the Coaching Club Oaks, Breeders Filly Stakes, Review and the Bluegrass Stake. Her 15 wins in 27 starts got her purse earnings of $472,154 and a mark of 1:55.2. In her later years, Winky’s Gill served as babysitter for yearling fillies at Perretti Farm, a job at which she excelled, but only after two tries. “We tried her back when she was a young girl in her mid-twenties,” said Breeding Operations Manager Lindsay Taylor in the book Standardbred Old Friends, in which Winky’s Gill is one of 43 horses featured. “Winky decided she really didn’t want to come in to the barn any more. It became a problem. She figured out that every time we were coming out, she was coming in the barn and would be separated from her charges. “She decided she was the matriarchal mare and she was going to round up her herd and take off for the foothills. She regarded it as her responsibility to round up the babies and take them to a safe place. It was actually pretty funny if you weren’t the one out there trying to catch them.” Given another chance a few years later, Winky’s Gill got the hang of the job and made life easier for farm staff by leading fillies in to the barn for farrier and veterinary care. “It’s like the Pied Piper,” said Taylor. “Where ever she goes, they follow her in a little line. She usually selects one or two favorites, or they select her, I’m not sure which way it goes. “She’ll have a couple; we call them her lieutenants, who have a special affinity for her or she for them. She keeps them within 20 or 30 feet. They form a kind of bond. When she moves, they go with her. If not, she usually goes back and round them up and takes them with her.” Taylor said that Winky’s Gill liked those she knew well, but had a definite opinion about one particular profession. “She’s been around enough veterinarians that she’s a little leery of them.” Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications Courtesy of the US Trotting Association Web Newsroom
To Our Friends in the Harness Racing Industry, Trying to say thank you to everyone who called, texted, posted on the internet, sent flowers or prayed for us at the time of our son, Ryder Steck's death, seems impossible. The love and compassion we have felt from our entire industry has been so very overwhelming and amazing. It is true that when something tragic happens you find out who your friends are and we are honored to have so many in this business that we can call our friends. While not all of you may have personally known Ryder, you reached out to our family with such care and compassion, at a time when we needed it most. We do not have answers as to why Ryder didn’t make it, his Doctors are still unsure. All we do know is that we had 18 years, one month, and 14 days with an incredible young man that we were blessed to call our son. Our pain is unimaginable and something we will carry with us forever but please believe us when we say that we have felt your prayers, text messages, and facebook post from the beginning of this tragedy. The pictures Rob Pennington posted on Hambo day truly touched our hearts and brought smiles to our faces during such a tragic time. We have said numerous times that trying to say thank you for something like this seems so small, we can only hope that each of you will feel our heartfelt thanks and truly realize how much we appreciate all the love and support. Although we know the days ahead are sure to be harder than the days behind us, we know that it is your prayers and the love our industry has shown us that has moved us forward this far. We will continue to move forward with your love and support with every passing day because that is what Ryder would want us to do. From the bottom of our hearts, Thank you again. Ron, Kila, Parker and Ranger Steck and the entire family of Ryder Wilson Steck
A fluke is defined as “an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck”. So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much. Kept Under Wraps is no longer the hunter in his mini-rivalry against Birdy Mach – he has to be hunted by virtue of his two-from-two record against the highly rated New South Welsh colt. The colt by Bettors Delight in the care of Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took out the 11th heat of the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for two-year-old colts and geldings at Shepparton last night with a blistering fourth quarter of 26.8 seconds. Birdy Mach ($1.50) and reinsman Luke McCarthy pinged off the arm to find the lead early from the 2190-metre start with Kept Under Wraps ($2.70) straight on to his back for in-form Greg Sugars. Kate Gath took the third favourite Burnaholeinmypocket ($13.60) to the breeze from gate seven, the trio jogtrotting through the middle stages of the race to make it near impossible for the backmarkers to make late ground. With a third quarter of 30.5 seconds after earlier splits of 31.4 and 32.1 it was always going to be hard to topple Birdy Mach in the straight, but once Kept Under Wraps gained the sprint lane in the home stretch his withering burst of speed carried him over the line first. The final margin of a half-head was closer than when Kept Under Wraps defeated Birdy Mach in the Tatlow Stakes (1.1m) the start prior. Burnaholeinmypocket battled on gamely for third. Lilley admitted Birdy Mach might still be a little bit green and said that horse lacked nothing in the ability stakes before heaping praise on his fella. “Last night to come home with a really quick last quarter like that was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “He’s really come along nicely in the time I’ve had him down here.” Lilley said leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon was likely to take Kept Under Wraps and Messini, who Lilley has also enjoyed immense success with of late, back for the Breeders Crown semi-finals and finals next month. “I’ve definitely enjoyed having them here, that’s for sure,” Lilley said. Lilley used to work for Purdon in New Zealand before starting his own training operation at Kaiapoi, near Christchurch. “The relationship with Mark goes back a long way,” Lilley said. “I worked for him when he started out about 15 years ago, then I went out on my own and I’d work a fair few horses on the beach. “Mark would send some down to me that were suited to beach work and he actually sent me a really good horse in Cool Hand Luke (16 wins from 36 starts).” Lilley puts the polish on Messini tomorrow night at Bendigo in heat nine of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown three-year-old colts geldings series. Messini has won four races on the trot – including an 8.8m success in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final two starts back. Meanwhile, Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Its Just Kenny made it two wins from two starts with a 3.4m win in the 10th heat of the two-year-old males’ Breeders Crown series last night, the Kenneth J gelding going 1:59.8 to defeat Mojo Major by 3.4m. The other heat winner was Show Me The Bling, who defeated Mach Doro by 1.4m in a fast rate of 1:58.4 (last half 56.9). Show Me The Bling is trained by David Aiken and was steered by Nathan Jack. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria
Harness Racing Victoria was saddened to hear overnight of the passing of Don Dove at age 86. Dove was a masterful trainer over many years, posting regular victories at the Showgrounds and then later at Moonee Valley, including winning many feature races. Dove’s horses were always perfectly educated, his runners – donning the famous yellow and green crossed sashes silks – regularly standing confidently behind the tapes in the stand-start races at the Showgrounds before commencing quickly. Dove’s best horse was Monara, which was named Victorian Horse of the Year in 1973-74. Monara’s feature race victories included the A.G. Hunter Cup in 1973 and 1974, the Ballarat Cup in 1972 and the Bendigo Cup the same year. Other notable feature-race winners with which Dove was associated included Macaree (winner of the 1965 Warragul Cup), Kelly Kid (1967 Victoria Derby), Lauries Legacy (1996 Chris Howe Trotters Cup and 1996 Victoria Sires Stakes 4YO Trotters Final), Nelson’s Report (1965 Victoria Trotters Derby), Flecks (1994 Central Victorian Pacing Championship Final), Kara Mia (1995 Ladyship Cup) and Missing Charm (1998 Angelique Club Cup). He also trained noted metropolitan performers Jay Ar Ewing, Tis A Miss, Ebony Chick, Monara’s Image and Personality Pete. Dove competed in a non-betting legends’ handicap race at Moonee Valley on November 15, 1997, winning the race aboard Hazzas Hope (magazine excerpt picture below - Dove is pictured driving Hazzas Hope). Dove moved to Queensland in 1998. Dove’s last winner as trainer came with Laylite at Albion Park in 2003 and his last winner as a driver was at the Gold Coast aboard Waltzing in 2000. Sons Trevor and Stephen have each been highly credentialed reinsmen. HRV will advise funeral details when known. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria
Former TAB Chief Executive Allen Windross AM passed away after losing his battle with illness on Boxing Day. Windross held the position of Chief Executive at the TAB from 1987 to his retirement in 1999. He was regarded as a mathematical genius and world leader in totalisator betting. One of his many achievements include the thesis he wrote following his retirement, "Betting by the Book - A Study of Systems Adopted by Punters" which was a wide collaboration of research into punter behaviour and information on betting systems. Windross was made a member of the Order of Australia - AM, in recognition of his services to the Australian community and more recently served as a trustee of the Racing NSW's Jockey's Benefit Fund and was the elected Chairman of the Trust at the time of his passing. HRNSW Board Member Graham Kelly - the former Chairman of TAB Limited, Sky Channel Limited and Centrebet International Ltd - said: "Allen was a great mentor of mine when I was appointed to the TAB Board. Even after his retirement, he continued to give generously of friendly helpful advice. "Without Allen's great leadership the NSW TAB would never have reached its potential. The NSW racing codes have benefitted enormously from Allen's contribution to the profitable 'Jolly Green Giant'." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |
Freehold, NJ --- Giant Victory, winner of the 1991 Hambletonian, died overnight between Sept. 3 and 4 in his paddock at Hanover Shoe Farms, in Hanover, Pa. He was 25. The son of Super Bowl-Pink Cheeks showed no signs of illness when last checked on the evening of Sept. 3 and appears to have died of natural causes. He will be buried in the Hanover Shoe Farms cemetery. Bred by Stoner Creek Stud, Giant Victory was born in Paris, Ky. and owned by Ted Gewertz and Hanover Shoe Farms. Giant Victory also won the Breeders Crown as a 3-year-old and was named Trotter of the Year. He served stallion duties at Hanover Shoe Farms starting in 1992 and was exported to Marco Folli’s stallion station in Italy in 1997. After 12 seasons in Italy, Folli offered transit back to the US and Gewertz and Hanover Shoe Farms forged an agreement for him to live out his life at Hanover. Giant Victory, then 21, got the chance to return to the site of his shining moment in racing to lead the post parade for the 2009 Hambletonian. He carried out his task, trotting down the track and posing for photos, after a quick sideways duck away from a bouncy ride in the track’s Paddock Park. From 285 foals registered in the US, he had 200 starters, 83 2:00 winners and five winners in 1:55 or faster. His progeny collectively won $9,975,225. His top performer was Victory Margin (1:53.4, $623,329). “After all his years racing and living on two continents, he was as nice an old stallion as you’d ever want to meet, kind in every way,” said Russell Williams, chairman of Hanover Shoe Farms. “His special talent has been to bring out the best in every human being he’s ever been associated with. If there were a world record for that category, not many horses could compete with him.” by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications
Super Arnie, Sweden's leading sire in 2006-09, has been put down at the age of 26. Super Arnie was sired by Super Bowl and out of Arnies Likeness, she by Arnie Almahurst.
Peace Corps 3,1:52.4 ($4,137,737), the five-time (1988-1992) divisional trotting champion, died in Mallorca, Spain, in November 2012 at the age of 26, it was learned today from her harness racing owner, John Bootsman.
Charlton harness racing legend Ian McCallum passed away peacefully at the age of 82 on Friday June 7 at his residence of the last few years - the Inglewood Nursing Home.
Longtime standardbred horse owner and breeder Angelo Frassetto, 72, passed away on June 2, 2013, several hours after his horse, Ms Caila J Fra, won the $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing fillies at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Rachel L. Dancer, one of harness racing's leading standardbred owners of champion horses during her marriage to the late Harness Racing Hall of Famer Stanley Dancer, died May 16 in Pompano Beach, Fla., at the age of 83.
A memorial service has been announced for Ralph P. Jones, Jr., 87, who died May 15, 2013.
Ralph P. Jones Jr., a proud son of Delaware County OH and longtime racing official, primarily at his beloved county fairs, passed away this morning (Wednesday May 15) at the age of 87.
The sudden death of his close friend Graeme Blackburn on March 18 has given John Street a new perspective on life.
Today at Hyeres Jean-Pierre Dubois won his FR comeback after European rules were changed to permit harness racing drivers to compete after age 70.