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.
Ruth Aldridge Hansen, for 67 years, wife of Hap Hansen former Brandywine Raceway CEO and track president and Harness Tracks of America officer, passed away surrounded by her husband and family, at her residence at Plantation Estates, Matthews, N.C. on April 9, 2013.
Prominent Florida sire Arapa Victory, whose harness racing sons and daughters have made a solid impact in the Florida Stakes program, has died at age 13, according to owner Laurie Lee Poulin.
The funeral of one of New Zealand's most loyal harness racing owners and breeders - Graeme Blackburn - will be held in Auckland on Saturday (March 23). Mr Blackburn of Lincoln Farms fame, will have a Rosary and sharing of memories in his honour at St Patrick's Cathedral in Wyndham Street (Auckland central) at 7.30pm on Friday night.