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December 9, 2014 - With the Cleveland Classic not filling, the last leg of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs has been cancelled resulting in Garnet Barnsdale being named the top handicapper for this year's contest with a net profit of $4,553.40, over $3,000 ahead of second place Mark McKelvie who had a net profit of $1,276. In a last minute move, Harnesslink's Brian McEvoy managed to nail Bob Zanakis for the show position, thanks to his $250 win wager on McWicked on Sunday's Progress stake at Dover Downs. While not finishing in the money, the last leg's big winner was Earl Paulson who had a $250 play on the winning Trifecta which gave him a weekly net profit of $2,850, allowing him to move up from tenth to fifth place, putting him withiin striking distance of the third spot if he was successful in the Cleveland Classic but alas, it was not to be. By nature of Barnsdale's winning of the contest, a donation of $1,500 will be made to his selected standardbred rescue, TROTR (Therapeutic Riding and Off Track Rehabilitation) in addition, donations of $250 will be made by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) and Red Shores-Charlottetown to the Canadian rescues of their choice in honor of Garnet's victory. For his second place finish, a donation of $1,050 will be made to McKelvie's selected rescue, Rainhill Sanctuary. A donation of $450 will be made to Horse Rescue United, Brian McEvoy's selected rescue. Final Standings (53 Legs) Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Garnet Barnsdale ($204.00) $4,553.40   2nd Mark McKelvie ($250.00) $1,276.00 $3,277.40 3rd Brian McEvoy $175.00 $33.50 $4,519.90 4th Bob Zanakis ($250.00) ($53.05) $4,606.45 5th Earl Paulson $2,850.00 ($57.50) $4,610.90 6th Brandon Valvo $175.00 ($620.00) $5,173.40 7th Josi Verlingieri $175.00 ($1,005.40) $5,558.80 8th Derick Giwner ($250.00) ($1,073.23) $5,626.63 9th Rusty Nash $350.00 ($1,733.36) $6,286.76 10th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($2,131.30) $6,684.70 11th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($4,086.65) $8,640.05 12th Sally Hinckley $370.00 ($4,267.40) $8,820.80 13th Anne Stepien ($180.00) ($4,787.93) $9,341.33 14th Ray Garnett ($250.00) ($6,352.80) $10,906.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($10,048.40) $14,601.80 HANA Harness would like to once again thank its Gold Sponsors, the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowland Racing and Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs as well as COSA and Red Shores-Charlottetown for their sponsorship and the handicappers which allowed this contest to help standardbred rescues across North America. For further information on HANA, please visit our website http://www.horseplayersassociation.org/. by Allan Schott, for HANA

October 18, 2014 - Dennis O'Hara was able to battle his way through a tough evening at Maywood Park to come out ahead for the week with a net profit of $382 in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. How tough a week was it? The only other handicapper to come out ahead was Brian McEvoy who eked out a $7.50 net profit. O'Hara can attribute his victory this week on his 'all in' bet on The Galt Stake by investing $240 on $20 Superfecta combinations which returned a $622 dividend. Clearly, it was a week the vast majority of handicappers are happy to put behind them as they turn the page and look forward to the racing action at Dayton Raceway, Yonkers Raceway, and Woodbine Racetrack this weekend. Despite coming out on the negative side this week, Mark McKelvie remains the overall leader with a net profit of $1,922, leading second-place Bob Zanakis ($1,539.35) by $382.65. In the third position is Josi Verlingieri ($223.85).   As of October 17, 2014 - Leg 44 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Mark McKelvie ($150.00) $1,922.00   2nd Bob Zanakis ($184.50) $1,539.35 $382.65 3rd Josi Verlingieri ($50.00) $223.85 $1,698.15 4th Brian McEvoy $7.50 ($371.50) $2,293.50 5th Brandon Valvo ($250.00) ($455.00) $2,377.00 6th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($664.70) $2,586.70 7th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,071.30) $2,993.30 8th Rusty Nash ($250.00) ($1,077.86) $2,999.86 9th Derick Giwner ($65.00) ($2,027.23) $3,949.23 10th Earl Paulson ($250.00) ($3,168.00) $5,090.00 11th Ray Garnett ($96.00) ($3,601.30) $5,523.30 12th Anne Stepien ($242.80) ($3,952.43) $5,874.43 13th Dennis O'Hara $382.00 ($4,036.65) $5,958.65 14th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($4,202.40) $6,124.40 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($7,848.40) $9,770.40 This week the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out is in action both Friday with Dayton Raceway’s Pacing and Trotting Derbies and Saturday evening with the Final Four stakes at Woodbine and the Yonkers Trot and Messenger Stakes leading the Grand Circuit action at the Old Hilltop along with the International Prep which features the return match-up of Commander Crowe and Sebastian K on North American soil. The Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.                                                                                                                                                                     by Allan Schott, for HAHA 

The second week of the Grand Circuit at The Red Mile was a frustrating one for the handicappers, yet by the time the last race for the year at the Red Mile concluded, Derick Giwner was the last man standing as he clawed out weekly honors in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest  with a net profit of $258. How tough a week was it? The only other player with a positive return on investment was Brian McEvoy who managed a net profit of $67.50. Overall leader Bob Zanakis, who despite his net loss of $246.50 for the week, managed with his contest to date net profit of $1,839.65 to lengthen his lead to $1,179.65 over second place Mark McKelvie with Josi Verlingieri and Brandon Valvo right behind in third and fourth place respectively. On Thursday (October 2), it became clear this was not going to be a breakout week as the day ended with Anne Stepien ($90 net profit), Rusty Nash ($83), and Brian McEvoy ($30) showing modest profits with the majority of handicappers losing most, if not all of their daily bankrolls. Stepien came out ahead on the first day thanks to her $20 WPS ticket ($60 total) on first division winner, Flirty Filly, in the International Stallion Stakes (ISS) for 2yo filly trotters which returned $266 while Nash made his net profit with a $20 win/place ticket ($40) on Flirty Filly returning $222.00. On Friday, Verilingieri and Giwner showed signs of coming to life with respective daily net profits of $215 and $164. In the third division of the ISS for 2yo trotting colts, Verilingieri's $85 win ticket on race winner Pinkman paid $425 while Giwner coupled the race winner with Billy Flynn to form a winning $40 exacta ticket which returned $384. Saturday belonged to Earl Paulson ($150) and Bob Zanakis ($125). Paulson's profit was made on a single wager on the second division of The Tattersalls when his $250 win play on Jk Endofanera returned $400. Zanakis earned a $125 profit on the second division of the ISS for 2yo colt pacers by playing a $250 win ticket on Lost For Words. Sunday's finale was a case of recovery for handicappers Ray Garnett ($628) and Gordon Waerstone ($295) and sealing victory by Giwner ($391). Garnett's profit came on a single wager, a $20 Exacta box of four horses in the Allerage Farms Open which turned a $240 investment into a $868 return thanks to State Treasurer finishing ahead of Foiled Again. Giwner's daily profit came from a $5 Trifecta Key ($100 total) on the first division of the Allerage F&M Open returning $641. Waterstone's was heard from in the second division of the Allerage F&M stake when his $150 win, $100 place wagers on Yagonnakissmeornot returning $545. The current standings after the completion of the weekend's activity are:   As of October 5, 2014 - Leg 42 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis ($246.50) $1,839.65   2nd Mark McKelvie ($690.00) $660.00 $1,179.65 3rd Josi Verlingieri ($388.20) $544.85 $1,294.80 4th Brandon Valvo ($700.00) $45.00 $1,794.65 5th Garnet Barnsdale ($726.00) ($14.70) $1,854.35 6th Brian McEvoy $67.50 ($391.50) $2,231.15 7th Gordon Waterstone ($198.00) ($821.30) $2,660.95 8th Rusty Nash ($580.60) ($1,015.36) $2,855.01 9th Derick Giwner $258.00 ($2,048.23) $3,887.88 10th Earl Paulson ($600.00) ($2,518.00) $4,357.65 11th Ray Garnett ($92.00) ($3,123.10) $4,962.75 12th Anne Stepien ($359.52) ($3,549.23) $5,388.88 13th Sally Hinckley ($1,000.00) ($4,084.90) $5,924.55 14th Dennis O'Hara ($854.00) ($4,203.90) $6,043.55 15th Ray Cotolo ($1,000.00) ($7,598.40) $9,438.05                                                                                  This week the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out heads to Illinois for American-National Saturday.   As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.     by Allan Schott, for HANA                                                     

September 29, 2014 - The first stanza of the Grand Circuit at The Red Mile is in the books and for the week, it was the Garnet Barnsdale Show in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest.  Barnsdale was hot this week, earning a weekly net profit of $3,254 to bring his overall net profit to $711.30, leapfrogging from 11th place to 5th place in the thick of things as he is now only $1,356.85 behind overall leader Bob Zanakis whose overall net profit is $2,086.15, just $718.15 ahead of 2nd place Mark McKelvie. Josi Verlingieri sits in 3rd place with Brandon Valvo and the aforementioned Barnsdale within $250 of her. Day 1 of The Red Mile meet was a tough challenge for all the handicappers with Verlingieri being the only handicapper to score a significant profit of $155 thanks to a $150 win ticket on the winner of the 4th division of the Bluegrass stakes for 2yo filly trotters as Bee The Queen returned a $405 dividend. Day 2 and 3 of the meet was all Barnsdale. On the 2nd day of the meet, Barnsdale earned a net profit of $1,405 thanks to his wagers in the 1st division of the Bluegrass stakes for 2yo filly pacers. A $200 exacta of Better Be Steppin and Hillary's Style returned him $720 while a $50 trifecta including Rock Her World for third return $935. Dennis O'Hara had a daily profit of $175 while Gordon Waterstone earned $100. On the 3rd day of the meet, Barnsdale increased his net profit by $2,349 in the 3rd division of the Bluegrass Stakes for 2yo colt pacers. A $40 superfecta partial wheel ($240 total ticket) of Art Speak-Sicily-Traceur Hanover-Blood Brother returned a dividend of $2,252 while a straight $10 trifecta paid $347. Also rans on day 3 were Verlingieri with a $250 net profit and Rusty Nash with a $178.50 net thanks to winning exactas in the 1st division of the Bluegrass for 3yo colt pacers and the FFA pacers at Scioto Downs in the Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational Pace. Derick Giwner earned $112 for the day. The final day of the 1st stanza of The Red Mile meet was a tough day for all and the only winner of note was Rusty Nash whose $119 net profit was fueled by a $15 trifecta key ($90) in the 1st division of the Bluegrass for 3yo colt trotters which paid $369. The current standings after the completion of the weekend's activity are:   As of September 28, 2014 - Leg 38 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis ($863.20) $2,086.15   2nd Mark McKelvie ($560.00) $1,350.00 $718.15 3rd Josi Verlingieri ($95.00) $933.05 $1,135.10 4th Brandon Valvo ($970.00) $745.00 $1,323.15 5th Garnet Barnsdale $3,254.00 $711.30 $1,356.85 6th Rusty Nash $8.00 ($434.76) $2,502.91 7th Brian McEvoy $100.00 ($459.00) $2,527.15 8th Gordon Waterstone $77.00 ($623.30) $2,691.45 9th Earl Paulson ($727.50) ($1,918.00) $3,986.15 10th Derick Giwner ($282.00) ($2,306.23) $4,374.38 11th Ray Garnett ($448.00) ($3,031.10) $5,099.25 12th Sally Hinckley ($643.00) ($3,084.90) $5,153.05 13th Ann Stepien ($590.80) ($3,189.71) $5,257.86 14th Dennis O'Hara ($555.00) ($3,349.90) $5,418.05 15th Ray Cotolo ($750.00) ($6,598.40) $8,666.55                                                                                  This week, the second stanza of the Red Mile meet is the focus of the handicapping challenge with Thursday racing featuring the International Stallion Stakes (ISS) for 2yo filly trotters.  Friday’ contests include the ISS for 2yo colt trotters and filly pacers.  Saturday’s tilts include the ISS for 2yo colt pacers and the Garnsey Memorial for 3yo filly pacers in addition to the Tatersalls for 3yo open pacers.  Closing day in Lexington features a quartet of races, the first heat of the Kentucky Futurity and Kentucky Filly Futurity plus older horses in the Allerage for 3yo open trotters and pacers as well as their corresponding filly and mare stakes.   As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.       by Allan Schott, for HANA   

September 22, 2014 - With Ray Cotolo's $1,250 profit on Little Brown Jug Day, it looked very much like he would cruise home to victory this week in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. However, by the end the week's handicapping action In Quebec, Cotolo was indeed the weekly winner, but his lead had shrunk from $588 to only $105.20 over Dennis O'Hara as these two handicappers were the only ones to finish the week in the black. While the finish for weekly honors was tight, Bob Zanakis retains a comfortable lead of $1,039.35 to maintain the overall lead ($2,949.35) over second place Mark McKelvie ($1,910.00) through 34 legs of the contest. Brandon Valvo ($1,715.00) trails closely behind in third which rounds out the top three positions where donations are to be made to standardbred horse rescues on the victors' behalf. Jugette Day (Wednesday, September 17) at the Delaware County Fair had Dennis O'Hara lead the handicappers with his daily net profit of $589.80 thanks to his $6 base Superfecta ($240 total) on the Buckette coming in, paying $829.90 which was his sole wager for the day. Second best on Thursday was Josi Verlingieri, whose $410 profit was attributable to a $100 Win ticket on the American-National for 2yo colt trotters at Balmoral Park which paid a $660 dividend. Jug Day (Thursday, September 18) saw Cotolo collect the previously mentioned $1,250 return which was earned on a do-or-die $250 win ticket on the 2nd division of the Jug paying a generous $1,500. Sally Hinckley was the only other player with a positive return Thursday ($632) thanks to her $4 trifecta box ($24 total) in the Old Oaken Bucket which returned $882. With a day off, the contest resumed Saturday night with a septet of races at Hoosier Park plus the Milton Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. Needless to say, the defeat of Sebastian K took most of the handicappers down but at the end of day, a lone handicapper had a positive return. Dennis O'Hara led the group with a net profit of $135 for Friday thanks to his $300 investment in $25 Superfectas in the 2nd division of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management stake for 2yo pacing fillies which paid $507.50. To conclude the weekend's activity, the team of handicappers did battle with the return of the Prix d'Ete at Hippodrome 3r. By the time the curtain came down on Sunday's action, only two handicappers had a positive return, led by Derick Giwner who had a positive return of $225 thanks to his $150 win wager on Sunfire Blue Chip who returned $375. The other handicapper with a positive return was Verlingieri, whose $125 profit was attributable to her own $150 win ticket. The current standings after the completion of the weekend’s activity are:   As of September 21, 2014 - Leg 34 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis ($789.50) $2,949.35   2nd Mark McKelvie ($462.00) $1,910.00 $1,039.35 3rd Brandon Valvo ($860.00) $1,715.00 $1,234.35 4th Josi Verlingieri ($111.00) $1,028.05 $1,921.30 5th Rusty Nash ($640.00) ($442.76) $3,392.11 6th Brian McEvoy ($337.50) ($559.00) $3,508.35 7th Gordon Waterstone ($361.00) ($700.30) $3,649.65 8th Earl Paulson ($1,095.00) ($1,190.50) $4,139.85 9th Derick Giwner ($675.00) ($2,024.23) $4,973.58 10th Sally Hinckley ($200.00) ($2,441.90) $5,391.25 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($1,148.00) ($2,542.70) $5,492.05 12th Ray Garnett ($956.00) ($2,583.10) $5,532.45 13th Ann Stepien ($466.20) ($2,598.91) $5,548.26 14th Dennis O'Hara $244.80 ($2,794.90) $5,744.25 15th Ray Cotolo $350.00 ($5,848.40) $8,797.75                                                                                    This week, the racing action is concentrated at The Red Mile with various divisions of the Bluegrass being contested Thursday thru Sunday.  The only deviation from an all-Lexington weekend comes Saturday with the $200,000 Jim Ert Memorial Invitational at Scioto Downs for pacers four year old and up..  As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.       Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org      

September 16, 2014 - While most contest handicappers found this a weekend to forget, Rusty Nash will remember this week as he leapfrogged from 11th to 5th place in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs thanks to his hit in the Canadian Trotting Classic which netted him $2,912 for the night. At the end of the weekend's action, which included the Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway, Nash netted a profit of $2,816 for the week and took weekly honors. The only other handicapper who showed a positive result for the weekend was Mark McKelvie who netted $237.50 for the period. Despite having a poor showing for the weekend, Bob Zanakis maintains a comfortable overall lead in the contest with al net profit of $3,738.85, $1,163.85 ahead of second place handicapper Brandon Valvo. Close behind Valvo with a difference of less than $200 is Mark McKelvie. The big hit of the weekend was the aforementioned hit by Nash where a $40 trifecta partial wheel (out of a total of $230 wagered on the trifecta) paid $3,162. The only other significant hit of the weekend belonged to McKelvie whose $50 win ticket on the Peaceful Way paid $487.50. The current standings after the completion of the weekend's activity are: As of September 15, 2014 - Leg 30 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis ($452.60) $3,738.85   2nd Brandon Valvo ($250.00) $2,575.00 $1,163.85 3rd Mark McKelvie $237.50 $2,372.00 $1,366.85 4th Josi Verlingieri ($349.00) $1,139.05 $2,599.80 5th Rusty Nash $2,816.00 $197.24 $3,541.61 6th Earl Paulson ($364.00) ($95.50) $3,834.35 7th Brian McEvoy ($19.00) ($221.50) $3,960.35 8th Gordon Waterstone ($382.00) ($339.30) $4,078.15 9th Derick Giwner ($340.00) ($1,349.23) $5,088.08 10th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($1,394.70) $5,133.55 11th Ray Garnett ($488.00) ($1,627.10) $5,365.95 12th Ann Stepien ($248.40) ($2,132.71) $5,871.56 13th Sally Hinckley ($198.00) ($2,241.90) $5,980.75 14th Dennis O'Hara ($210.00) ($3,039.70) $6,778.55 15th Ray Cotolo ($500.00) ($6,198.40) $9,937.25                                                                                   This week, the action comes fast and furious with the American-Nationals for 2yo trotters at Balmoral Park and at Delaware, the Buckette, Old Oaken Bucket, and the eliminations of the Jugette and Little Brown Jug on Wednesday and Thursday.  The week’s action concludes with a quartet of stakes at Hoosier Park plus the Milton at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday evening.  As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.     by Alan Schott, for HANA

September 2, 2014 - The week off in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs gave the handicappers the opportunity to think over their handicapping strategy and by doing so, they came out guns a blazing with five instances of handicappers scoring net profits of over $1,000 on any given day. When the dust settled, Mark McKelvie was the big winner for the week showing a net profit of $2,586, leapfrogging from 8th to 3rd place. While McKelvie won the week, Bob Zanakis regained the lead over Brandon Valvo with a swing a $2,919.25 thanks to his weekly net profit of $2,094.75. Gordon Waterstone's weekly net profit of $2,103 moved him from 12th place to 6th. On Thursday, August 28, Bob Zanakis started the hit parade, playing a $6 price part wheel trifecta ($144 total) in the first division of the Champlain and it paid off handsomely as he received a dividend of $2,408.40. Other key hits on Thursday were Sally Hinckley's $10 trifecta key ($120l) in the third division of the Champlain which paid $301, Dennis O'Hara's $50 cold exacta in the same race which returned $260, and Ann Stepien's $2 four-horse trifecta box ($48) earned $143.60. On a typical day, Gordon Waterstone's $20 trifecta key ($120) in the third division would normally have been the talk of the town with its $602 return but alas, Zanakis' play overshadowed this accomplishment. On Friday, August 2, the handicappers gathered their collective breaths with no particular breakouts. While the day's action was sedate, there were some individual bets worth noting. Derick Giwner's $150 exacta in the Zweig Memorial returned $405 while in the same race, Hinckley's $25 trifecta key ($150) paid $307.50. Saturday saw three players with big nights. Mark McKelvie led the trio with a net profit of $3,226 thanks to a $20 trifecta part-wheel ($60) in the She's A Great Lady. Waterstone earned $1,403 as a result of a $10 trifecta part wheel ($200) in the same race and O'Hara's $1,097 evening was attributable to a $30 trifecta key ($360) in the Metro which grossed $1,497. Other solid plays were Ray Garnett's $14 trifecta key ($280) in the Metro paid a $698.60 dividend as was Hinckley's $10 trifecta key play, returning $499. In the first division of the Simcoe, Josi Verlingieri had two winning tickets, a $25 exacta box ($150) paid $317.50 and a $125 win, place wager which returned $943.75. With a one day break, the handicappers returned for a Labor Day stanza which belonged to Garnet Barnsdale with his hit in the Shady Daisy. While Barnsdale had listed a $1 superfecta part wheel ($42), his ticket was reduced to a $.30 ticket ($12.60) which paid $2,561.90, reflecting the size of the superfecta pool. Waterstone was the only other player who won on Sunday as his $30 exacta box ($180) paid $438. The current standings after the completion of four legs are: As of September 1, 2014 - Leg 27 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $2,094.75 $4,303.45   2nd Brandon Valvo ($824.50) $2,780.00 $1,523.45 3rd Mark McKelvie $2,586.00 $1,962.00 $2,341.45 4th Josi Verlingieri $937.40 $1,551.55 $2,751.90 5th Earl Paulson ($504.00) $240.90 $4,062.55 6th Gordon Waterstone $2,103.00 $202.70 $4,100.75 7th Brian McEvoy $67.50 ($110.00) $4,413.45 8th Derick Giwner ($715.00) ($759.23) $5,062.68 9th Garnet Barnsdale $1,331.30 ($894.70) $5,198.15 10th Ray Garnett ($480.40) ($1,102.55) $5,406.00 11th Sally Hinckley ($122.00) ($1,793.90) $6,097.35 12th Ann Stepien ($406.95) ($2,156.06) $6,459.51 13th Rusty Nash ($745.65) ($2,369.76) $6,673.21 14th Dennis O'Hara $467.00 ($2,579.70) $6,883.15 15th Ray Cotolo ($1,150.00) ($5,698.40) $10,001.85 This week, one leg of the contest will be held on Saturday, September 6 at Mohawk Racetrack with a trio of races scheduled, the Simcoe for 3yo open pacers and the Champlain for 2yo open pacers and 2yo filly pacers will be contested. As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott for HANA

August 24, 2014 - In the final two legs before the mid-season break of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Josi Verlingieri dominated her fellow competitors with a net profit of $1,886.25, more than $1,000 ahead of the rest of the pack. While Verlingieri leapfrogged from 8th to 4th place with her performance, Brandon Valvo remains on top at the mid-season break, leading his fellow handicappers with a net profit of $3,604.50, $1,395.80 ahead of his closest competitor, Bob Zanakis Other handicappers had less profitable, though significant weekends. Overall leader Brandon Valvo ended the final weekend of the summer portion of the competition with a weekly net profit of $830 edging out Earl Paulson who had a net profit of $800. As for key wagers for the weekend, after starting off with a $70 loss in Leg 22 (August 15), Verlingieri reversed her fortunes dramatically with a profit of $1,956.25 in Leg 23 (August 16) by going all in with a $125 Win and Place wager on Solar Sister ($27.50, $7.80) in the 3rd leg of the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk Racetrack. For Leg 22, the inaugural Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park, Earl Paulson netted a profit of $662.50 thanks primarily to a $25 Exacta box of three horses ($155 total) which returned $835. Valvo managed a $609 profit in Leg 22 with a $50 Win, Place wager on Milstein Memorial Consolation winner National Debt which returned $475 plus a $10 Trifecta part-wheel ($60) on the Milstein Memorial with its $294 dividend while scoring a $221 profit in Leg 23 primarily with his $10 Trifecta box ($60) in the Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway which returned $206. Paulson scored a $600 profit in the Friday night leg of the competition primarily with a $25 Exacta three-horse box ($150) which returned a gross of $835 and a $137.50 profit on Saturday evening with a $5 Exacta box ($30) in the 3rd division of the Eternal Camnation which returned $252.50. Other performances worth noting were Sally Hinckley's $386.50 profit in the Saturday evening stanza with a $20 Trifecta key ($240) in the 3rd division of the Nassagaweya which returned $600 while Rusty Nash scored a $230 profit thanks to a $353 return on a $20 Win, Place wager on the 3rd division of the Eternal Camnation. The current standings at the break are: As of August 16, 2014 - Leg 23 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $830.00 $3,604.50   2nd Bob Zanakis ($500.00) $2,208.70 $1,395.80 3rd Earl Paulson $800.00 $744.90 $2,859.60 4th Josi Verlingieri $1,886.25 $614.15 $2,990.35 5th Derick Giwner ($143.00) ($44.23) $3,648.73 6th Brian McEvoy ($12.50) ($177.50) $3,782.00 7th Ray Garnett $0.00 ($622.15) $4,226.65 8th Mark McKelvie ($500.00) ($624.00) $4,228.50 9th Rusty Nash $18.52 ($1,624.11) $5,228.61 10th Sally Hinckley $216.10 ($1,671.90) $5,276.40 11th Ann Stepien ($240.00) ($1,749.11) $5,353.61 12th Gordon Waterstone ($500.00) ($1,900.30) $5,504.80 13th Garnet Barnsdale ($498.00) ($2,226.00) $5,830.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($463.00) ($3,046.70) $6,651.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($500.00) ($4,548.40) $8,152.90 by Allan Schott, for HANA

The day of the Hambletonian was a remarkable one for those using Razer shoes and Propads, by Razerhorse. Lifetime Pursuit, winner of the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks has been shod with Razer shoes for over a year to aid in a healthy well developed hoof for race day. Trixton, winner of the Hambletonian was prepped for the race wearing Razer shoes. Other standout horses that use Razer shoes and Propads include Father Patrick, Nuncio, Tellitlikeitis, Shake It Cerry, and Uncle Peter. Jimmy Takter, Harness Racing Hall of Famer is a regular user of Razer shoes and Propads. "Razer and Propad play a big part in my stable,” said Takter. Conny Svensson, renowned Standardbred blacksmith has shod many world champions using Razer shoes, and has been the farrier for the Takter stable for the past twenty years. "With the help of Razer Shoes and Propads in the training and preparation, I felt we went into the Hambletonian in the best possible way with all five of our horses," said Svensson. Razer shoes are unique in that they are a flexible, tempered, tool steel horseshoe. A traditional horseshoe locks the hoof in place, however, Razer shoes allow the hoof to move and flex naturally while providing the support and protection of a steel shoe. The Razer shoe is a low profile shoe, which cuts its weight in half and makes it nearly as light as aluminum. In harness racing, lighter is better. Additionally, the shape and design of the shoe offers excellent traction while allowing the hoof to also glide on the surface of the ground. Propads, manufactured with the highest quality polyurethane material, are the only pads on the market with an independent frog support. This accordion-shaped feature allows the frog to contact the ground, which aids in load sharing while increasing blood flow and circulation. The Propad can be used with any open heel shoe and does not have to be used with the Razer shoe. It is available in three styles: Basic Support, Support Soft and Support X-tra Soft. The Support Soft and Support X-tra Soft are a dual-density polyurethane with the iconic black and orange Razerhorse colors. Razerhorse products, including Razer shoes and Propads, are currently available at sixty-eight dealers and locations in thirty-one states, including five locations in Canada and one in Australia. To find a dealer near you, go to www.razerhorse.com. If you want to get your horses into the winning circle, Razer shoes and Propads will help you get there more often. by Brian McEvoy, for Harnesslink.com

August 10, 2014 - Perhaps with the Hambletonian in the rear view mirror the general opinion was it was time to swing for the fences in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, but whatever the reason, the Dan Patch Invitational leg of the handicapping contest turned into a survivor round. While Sweet Lou was an obvious key horse in the race, the handicappers for the most part were unable to construct a ticket which used both Bettor's Edge and streaking Carol's Comet in their exotic plays. As a result, the successful handicapper this past Friday was the handicapper who managed to get their head over the waterline. Three handicappers were successful in the effort with Brandon Valvo winning the week with a $50 net profit and regaining the overall lead ($2,774.50) from Bob Zanakis with a tenuous lead of $65.80. Other handicappers who managed to show positive results for the week were Earl Paulson ($30) and Brian McEvoy ($20). Obviously, the number of key wagers this week were minimal but Rusty Nash greatly reduced his potential deficit by wheeling Sweet Lou in the Superfecta for a dime investment ($33.60 total) and managed to collect $116.65. Earl Paulson managed his $30 profit with a $150 Win ticket on the race winner which paid $180 while weekly winner Brandon Valvo employed similar strategy by earning $50 with a $250 win ticket on the FFA pacer. Brian McEvoy managed his $20 profit with a combination of Win and Show wagers on the race winner. Bob Zanakis managed to stay close and within reach of the top spot by playing a $15 exacta partial wheel ($75) which grossed $193.50. The current standings are:   As of August 8, 2014 - Leg 21 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,774.50   2nd Bob Zanakis ($56.50) $2,708.70 $65.80 3rd Derick Giwner ($237.00) $98.77 $2,675.73 4th Earl Paulson $30.00 ($55.10) $2,829.60 5th Mark McKelvie ($240.00) ($124.00) $2,898.50 6th Brian McEvoy $20.00 ($165.00) $2,939.50 7th Ray Garnett ($248.00) ($622.15) $3,396.65 8th Josi Verlingieri ($235.00) ($1,272.10) $4,046.60 9th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,400.30) $4,174.80 10th Ann Stepien ($238.00) ($1,509.11) $4,283.61 11th Rusty Nash ($45.35) ($1,642.63) $4,417.13 12th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($1,728.00) $4,502.50 13th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($1,888.00) $4,662.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($2,583.70) $5,358.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($4,048.40) $6,822.90                                                                                 This coming weekend, the Challenge picks up the tempo with races at several tracks.  Friday evening the contest stops at Northfield Park for the inaugural $400,000(Est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3yo pacing colts.  The contest then moves north Saturday with the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway before heading to the Canadian Maritimes for the popular $75,000 Gold Cup and Saucer at Red Shores Charlottetown.  Two year olds get their time in the spot light as well with Mohawk Raceway hosting the $215,000(Div.) Eternal Cammation for 2yo pacing fillies and the $245,000(Div.) Nassagaweya for 2yo pacers.  As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.    Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator

It was reveled today that the undefeated two-year-old pacer Yankee Bounty was sold to Burke Racing and Weaver-Bruscemi.   He will now race out of the Ron Burke Stable. Mark Weaver explained how it all came about.   "We had been aware that the horse has been for sale the last month and a half since his first qualifier," Mark Weaver said. "He raced well his first few starts but we really did not think we had to have him. Then this past week, when we saw him race live at the Meadows, he was super. He was so much better than any other two-year-old we had seen and then we began to pursue purchasing him."   Mark Weaver did admit they paid between $250,000 and $500,000 for Yankee Bounty.   Yankee Bounty, a gelded son of Yaness Cruiser from the Allamerican Native mare, Bootleg Yankee, is undefeated in four starts this year for earnings of $82,414. His most recent victory was a convincing 1:51:3 romp by seven lengths from the eight post in the Arden Downs on Adios Day at the Meadows.    "We have Sweet Lou," Mark Weaver explained, "and I personally love Yankee Cruisers. He never got the best mares. In my mind the best pacer in racing is Sweet Lou. Then you also have Dancin Yankee who is by Yankee Cruiser and currently the best two-year-old is Yankee Bounty and he is sired by Yankee Cruiser. I really like him and was happy that we got him. I am interested in any Yankee Cruisers, I like him that much."   Mark Weaver explained that most of their owners all wanted in on this purchase.   "Since the horse has been on the market so long," Weaver said, "A lot of our owners called and asked about Yankee Bounty, so you won't be able to see all the names of who has part of him on the race program. Usualy we just do quarters on a horse but we made an exception for Yankee Bounty."   The owners list reads like a "Who's Who" of Team Burke. Owners include Burke Racing Stable, Weaver-Bruscemi, Howard Taylor, Stable 45, Jerry Silva, Larry Carr, Phil Collura, Jim Koran and even Frank Chick stayed in on the horse with a sentimental piece.   Yankee Bounty had been trained by Kevin Lare and owned by Frank Chick. Kevin is no stranger to great horses having trained the top trotter Snow White and such standout pacers as Southwind Tempo and Fred And Ginger. Frank Chick had originally purchased Yankee Bounty for $21,000.  Frank is on record as saying that every horse he has is up for sale.   "You got to do what you got to do," said Lare. "This is a business. If Frank is happy, I am happy. It was a great ride while it lasted. I am sure that ride will continue for the new owners. You have not seen the end of Yankee Bounty. In my opinion he is the best two-year-old in the country until someone beats him."   "I sold Yankee Bounty to Ron Burke's Group," said Chick. "He is a very nice colt and I wish them all the luck in the world. He should go on and be everything they want him to be. He is the number one colt in the country.  I still have fifteen other horses with Kevin and I am sure there will be many more."   The future is burning very bright for Yankee Bounty. His four dominating wins so far this year has stamped him as the best around. With Ron Burke and company on board as the new owners and trainer, there will be many more impressive wins coming in the near future.   by Brian McEvoy and Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

July 27, 2014 – The Meadow’s Adios Card is in the books and at the end of the day Handicapper Ray Cotolo reigned supreme for the week in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest with a weekly net profit of $305, nearly $100 ahead of his closest opponent.     While Cotolo is a newcomer to the list of weekly winners, Bob Zanakis continues his run as overall leader with a combined net profit of $3,000.70 ($140 for the week), leading second place Brandon Valvo by $607.20. This week, the adage it only takes one hit to make you a winner applies as Cotolo’s victory came thanks to a single wager, a $150 win wager on Allstar Rating in the Adioo Volo which returned a $705 dividend.  Other handicappers had winners, but due to the short-priced nature of the card, significant winners were at a premium, amongst them were: Derick Giwner’s $150 Win ticket on Too Darn Hot in the second division of the Adren Downs 2yo C&G pace paid $480; Mark McKelvie’s $50 Win ticket on Rich Wisdom in the first division of the Arden Downs for 2yo C& G pacers paid $195; Rusty Nash’s $100 wager on the same horse paid $390; Dennis O’Hara ‘s $10 Exacta part wheel ($30 total) in the first division of the Arden Downs for 3yo Filly trotters returned $125; Josie Verlingierli $40 straight wager on the second division of the Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace, earned $156; Gordon Waterstone’s $50 Exacta in the third division of Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace which returned $115. As the Hambletonian marks the unofficial mid-point in the stakes season, the standings for the Handicapper Shoot-Out at the mid-point are: As of July 26, 2014 - Leg 19 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $140.00 $3,000.70   2nd Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,393.50 $607.20 3rd Derick Giwner $206.00 $623.17 $2,377.53 4th Ray Garnett ($218.00) $15.85 $2,984.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($119.50) ($91.50) $3,092.20 6th Brian McEvoy $7.50 ($185.00) $3,185.70 7th Earl Paulson ($71.00) ($437.00) $3,437.70 8th Josi Verlingieri ($126.00) ($956.40) $3,957.10 9th Gordon Waterstone $108.60 ($989.30) $3,990.00 10th Ann Stepien ($189.00) ($1,020.11) $4,020.81 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($280.00) ($1,078.00) $4,078.70 12th Sally Hinckley ($400.00) ($1,325.00) $4,325.70 13th Rusty Nash $160.00 ($1,712.40) $4,713.10 14th Dennis O'Hara $30.50 ($2,097.70) $5,098.40 15th Ray Cotolo $305.00 ($3,398.40) $6,399.10 This week, the Grand Circuit Handicapper Shoot-Out visits Meadowlands Racing & Gaming for the Hambletonian Day card amongst which are the $1.2 million Hambletonian, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $352,050 Merrie Annabelle, $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial, $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship, $177,750 Lady Liberty, and $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial.  For more information regarding the handicapping contest, please visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.   by Allan Schott, for HANA                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

July 20, 2014 – Sebastian K’s defeat in the Maple Leaf Trot broke many a handicappers’ heart but Anne Stepien managed to play the race right and as a result is the weekly champion in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. By having a net profit of $479.06 for the weekend, moving from 12th place to 10th.  Rusty Nash was second best with a net profit of $260 won in the Lawrence B. Sheppard ay Yonkers Raceway, moving up one slot to 13th place.  Although showing only a $5 profit for the week, Bob Zanakis remains in 1stplace with an overall net profit of $2,860.70, $517.20 ahead of 2nd place Brandon Valvo.   There were several key hits for the weekend.  Ray Garnett managed to break even for the weekend thanks to his three horse $10 Exacta Box ($60 total) in the Battle of Lake Erie, which paid $240.  Derick Giwner managed a symbolic $2 profit for the weekend thanks to his $80 Win wager in the Sheppard which paid $252.00.  Rusty Nash’s 2nd place finish came as a result of his $100 Win, Place ticket in the Sheppard which rewarded him with a $510 dividend.  The weekly champion, Ann Stepien managed to earn her victory wheeling Sebastian K in a $4 Key Exacta Box with 8 horses ($64), earning her $619.40.  Bob Zanakis made a $5 profit thanks to his $50 Win, Place ticket ($100) in the Yonkers stake which paid $255.00.  Here are the standings after Saturday night’s action. As of July 19, 2014 - Leg 18 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $5.00 $2,860.70   2nd Brandon Valvo ($210.00) $2,343.50 $517.20 3rd Derick Giwner $2.00 $417.17 $2,443.53 4th Ray Garnett $0.00 $233.85 $2,626.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($250.00) $28.00 $2,832.70 6th Brian McEvoy $12.50 ($192.50) $3,053.20 7th Earl Paulson ($250.00) ($366.00) $3,226.70 8th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($798.00) $3,658.70 9th Josi Verlingieri ($150.00) ($830.40) $3,691.10 10th Ann Stepien $479.06 ($831.11) $3,691.81 11th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($925.00) $3,785.70 12th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,097.90) $3,958.60 13th Rusty Nash $260.00 ($1,872.40) $4,733.10 14th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($2,128.20) $4,988.90 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($3,703.40) $6,564.10 The Grand Circuit Shoot-Out visits the Meadows this weekend on Saturday, July 26, for the $400,000 Adios, $150,000 Adioo Volo, and the Arden Downs for 2yo pacers and 3yo trotters of both sexes. Further contest details may be found at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott, for HANA

Kevin Lare has experienced being on top of the harness racing world and then on the bottom.   He is on his way back again. In 2007 horses trained by Kevin won over $2,500,000 . In 2010 horses trained by Kevin won only $12,000. It has been an up and down career for Kevin. Already this year horses trained by Kevin have won $390.115, sporting an impressive UTRS training record of 0.387. At the present time, his stable contains about twenty horses.   Kevin's stable of quality stakes horses once included Snow White, the Dan Patch 2007 two-year-old filly trotter of the year, Southwind Tempo, and Fred and Ginger. Now he is back with his first stake winning horse in five years with Yankee Bounty.   Yankee Bounty has proved the be one of best two year pacing colts in the early start of this yeawr's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. Yankee Bounty sports a two race unblemished winning record in two stakes races this year. His most recent win was at the Meadows scoring impressively in 1:53 over a very deep rain soaked track. Yankee Bounty looks to keep his undefeated record intact Wednesday at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes racing as the 3-1 favorite in the seventh race.   "Yankee Bounty was really impressive in his last race," said Lare. "I was thrilled when the timer showed 1:53. It was a deep and sloppy track. I would like to think he could have gone at least a second faster over a fast track. He will have to go a lot faster very soon.   "Corey (Callahan) called on him when they came out of the turn," said Lare. "Somebody came right up on his back This horse is so professional and relaxed. He can go one quarter in twenty seven seconds and go the next quarter in thirty five seconds. He can go from. zero to one hundred and then from one hundred to zero. He is just so talented. It makes him stand out from the others in how you can control him. Yankee Bounty is the best youngster I have ever had. We will not be shocked to see how fast he paces at Pocono this week.   "He was purchased by Frank Chick because of his brother," added Lare. "Frank had his full brother who was a midget of a horse. He was the smallest standardbred I have ever seen. This small horse paced in fifty-five as a two-year-old. Frank went to the sale and bought Yankee Bounty, figuring if the tiny horse can go that fast the much bigger one will do much better.   "I have another twelve to fifteen horses in my barn for Frank right now," said Lare. "Frank has been unbelievable with helping me in my comeback. I can't thank him enough for what he has done for me. We have become not only business partners but great friends. We are mainly playing the claiming game at Pocono, and it has been successful. I have a couple of Maryland Babies with him who will race in the Maryland Sire Stakes this year. The rest are all overnight horses.   "I have some other horses with Mike Coombs," said Lare. "We have a nice trotter in the name of Boffin. He was one of the first to give me a chance again and I am very grateful.   "I have two Maryland Sire Stake Horses and one Delaware," said Lare. "The one two-year-old filly looks to be outstanding for the Maryland Sire Stakes. She is faster than the rest of them. Her name is Helaine's Firebird. She will have her first race next Sunday."   Kevin Lare went thru a nightmarish 2009 when horse after horse came down with a devastating injury. His great trotter Snow White had to be euthananized following colic surgery. His life went into a downward spiral. His wife divorced him, he lost all his money, and he got caught up in drugs. With the help of his friend, Fern Panquet Jr., he moved to Florida and got his life back on track.   "I took a bad turn in life," added Lare. "I got caught up in the drug activity of life. I had seventy horses in my stable at one time. If you mess with the devil, it does not take long for the devil to take it from you. I lost it all. I went to Florida to live with a friend, Fran Panquet Jr. I didn't even have enough money for a airplane ticket. He bought me the ticket. He told me I could come down there to get away. I went to Florida and worked for Fran. I got my head screwed back on straight and came back here.   "I had an eight day period in 2009 where everything went wrong," said Lare. "During this period, Snow White died, Fred and Ginger could not pick up her feet, and Southwind Tempo pulled a suspensory when she got run into on the racetrack. My phone was ringing off the hook with questions about the horses. I just went into the corner and hid. I did not want to talk to anyone.   "I am hoping when the sales come in September/October that some owners will see what I am doing and pick up the phone and ask if I want to train some babies for them," stated Lare."   Frank Chick has been a mainstay and stalwart supporter of harness racing for years. He has a saddle shop and hosts a horse sale three times a year at the Harrington Racetrack Fairgrounds. He currently owns over a dozen horses in the care of Kevin Lare.   "When Kevin was having his success he would always go out of his way to help me with some of my horses," said Chick. "He never asked for anything and was just happy to do it. There came a time when I was in a position to help him.   "I think Yankee Bounty is the real deal," said Chick. "He has done everything we have asked him to do. When Corey has asked him to pace he has put it into another gear. I think he is an exceptional colt.   "Outside of the Pennsylvania Sire Stake Races, he is staked to Arden Downs, the Matron,and Keystone Classic," added Chick. "Next year he is staked to everything including the Breeders Crown and Little Brown Jug.   "We were cutting a bunch of horses after the Harrisburg Sale," said Chick. "The colts I had from the sale were not very well bred. I got a deal on the fifth one and it was Yankee Bounty. They ended up cutting him for twenty bucks. I really didn't know if I wanted to cut him or not. He's not a fancy bred horse.   "Every horse I have is for up for sale for at the right price," said Chick. "I will sell anything if the right offer comes along. I have had some tire kickers."   Corey Callahan has been the driver on Yankee Bounty for both of his victories this year. His maiden win was an easy several lengths victory at Pocono Downs in the Pennsylvania Allstars on June 29th. The second victory was at the Meadows in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in 1:53 over a deep sloppy track. Yankee Bounty has almost doubled his sale price of $21,000 with bankrolling $39,931 on his card.   "Yankee Bounty has done everything right so far," said Callahan. " I have had several people call me about the horse who want to buy him. I had a really nice colt ( Tomy Terror ) come after him on the backside in the last race. I had just been with that colt last time in 1:53 at Pocono Downs. We went pretty good up the backside in 27:1. I asked him to go a little more at the wire but he still had plenty of horse left.   "He hasn't really been tested yet," added Callahan. "He can go four quarters. He is really good horse. He is in again on Wednesday at Pocono Downs. The Burke's have a nice horse ( Lyons Levi Lewis ) in there that they just bought. I think we have the best horse in there.   "Kevin is the best," said Callahan. "We have been friends going back many years. I am proud and amazed he got himself back so fast. He has been a great trainer all his life. It does not surprise he is all the way back. He is a great guy to work for. He is cut and dry. He tells you if they will be good or if they will not be good."   Yankee Bounty has brought Kevin Lare back into the harness racing world spotlight again. Thanks to the support of owners Frank Chick and Mike Coombs, he has been able to build a foundation for his comeback. Will he be able to attain the greatness he had once before when his stable included Snow White, Fred and Ginger, and Southwind Tempo? That remains to be seen. He has battled his demons and is on his way back.   by Brian McEvoy for Harnesslink.com  

July 13, 2014 - Meadowlands Pace night provided six contest races for HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Most of the handicappers availed themselves of more than one race to play but Bob Zanakis had the patience to wait until the Meadowlands Pace while Garnet Barnsdale decided to play only the first contest race, the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Patience was the word as these two handicappers exploded last night with Zanakis using his weekly gain of $2,925.20 to jump from fifth place to first , while Barnsdale rung up a $1,040 profit to move from twelfth to eighth place. Six other handicappers showed positive results to a lesser degree for the weekend. With Zanakis' performance, he now shows a net profit for the contest of $2,855.70, leading previous leader Brandon Valvo by $302.20. Zanakis unloaded on the Meadowlands Pace by earning $1,053.20 on the Meadowlands Pace Superfecta by playing $144 in $1 Supefecta tickets. Zanakis earned $2,272 by playing $240 in $5 Trifecta tickets. As for Barnsdale, he earned $1,440 by playing $400 on a an exacta of Father Patrick and Nuncio straight. When the day was over, Barnsdale showed a contest net profit of -$548. Other notable plays for the evening were successful. Derick Giwner scored $180 by playing a $50 Exacta on the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Ann Stepien's $48 in $2 Trifecta tickets on the Meadowlands Pace paid a dividend of $454.40. Handicapper Brandon Valvo played in the Stanley Dancer Memorial a $10 Exacta ($60 total) which paid $154; a $90 win wager in the William R. Haughton Memorial pad $180; a $100 win ticket on the Meadowlands Pace paid $310. In the Del Miller Memorial, Josi Verlinigeri $100 place ticket paid $390 and her $.50 Superfecta ($60 total) paid $313.50. As a result of last night's performance, the standings have had some movement. Here are the standings after last night's action. As of July 12, 2014 - Leg 17 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $2,925.20 $2,855.70   2nd Brandon Valvo $244.00 $2,553.50 $302.20 3rd Derick Giwner $20.00 $415.17 $2,440.53 4th Mark McKelvie ($390.00) $278.00 $2,577.70 5th Ray Garnett ($275.50) $233.85 $2,621.85 6th Earl Paulson $2.50 ($116.00) $2,971.70 7th Brian McEvoy $12.50 ($205.00) $3,060.70 8th Garnet Barnsdale $1,040.00 ($548.00) $3,403.70 9th Sally Hinckley ($102.00) ($675.00) $3,530.70 10th Josi Verlingieri $303.35 ($680.40) $3,536.10 11th Gordon Waterstone ($292.00) ($847.90) $3,703.60 12th Ann Stepien $398.83 ($1,310.17) $4,165.87 13th Dennis O'Hara ($390.00) ($1,878.20) $4,733.90 14th Rusty Nash ($260.00) ($2,132.40) $4,988.10 15th Ray Cotolo ($352.00) ($3,453.40) $6,309.10 The Grand Circuit Shoot-Out visits three tracks this Saturday, July 19, starting at Northfield Park for the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie. The Shoot-Out then moves on to Yonkers Raceway for the $125,000 Lawrence B Sheppard for 2yos and Mohawk for the highly-anticipated $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Further contest details may be found at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott, for HANA  

Sebastian K has taken the harness racing world by storm. Sebastian K turned in the fastest mile in the history in harness racing with an awe inspiring 1:49 victory in the Mohegan Sun Invitational Trot. Previously, Sebastian K had already amazed the harness racing world by becoming the first horse to trot three consecutive sub 1:51 miles. Sebastian K will look to add to his unblemished North American record when he ventures north of the border to race in Maple Leaf Trot Eliminations on Friday at Mohawk.  Ake Svanstedt has established his new training operation by buying a new farm in Wrightstown, New Jersey. He has a stable of 53 horses at his new operation. We recently were able to see his latest star, Your So Vain, winning the first ever Hambletonian Maturity with an uncanny drive to victory over Bee A Magician. His unique training and driving skills has been exposed to the harness racing world Ake Svanstedt dominated harness racing in Sweden for 15 years. His acclaimed record includes four Trainer of the Year and three Driver of the Year Awards in Sweden. One-On-One is done exclusively for Harnesslink.com by Brian McEvoy HLINK: Congratulations on your world record performance at Pocono Downs. How did Sebastian K come out of the race? AS: He came out great. He is eating well, drinking well and feeling real good. HLINK: Did you decide to go for the world record at Pocono? AS: He warmed up really well. He was doing so well in the race, so I decided to go for it. I was pushing him at the end. HLINK: Is this the best that Sebastian K has ever been? AS: These last two races is the best he has ever been. HLINK: Can anybody beat Sebastian K? AS: He can come out of form or something can happen in a race.  Every race is a new race. HLINK: Your next race is the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk? When will you ship up for that? AS: Hopefully we get out of the elimination and can go right to the final. We will ship the day before. HLINK: What other races are on Sebastian K's schedule? AS: We have a race at Vernon Downs in August, Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park on September 20th and Allerage at Lexington on September 28th. HLINK: Did Sebastian K race without shoes on Saturday at Pocono? AS: Yes he raced without shoes HLINK: What did you think of the track surface at Pocono Downs AS: It is a very nice track. It is one of the fastest we have ever driven on. HLINK: In Sweden you had a stable of over two hundred horses. Your stable now has fifty-three horses. How many horses would you like to have in your stable? AS: We do not want many more. We are very happy with the amount of horses we have now. HLINK: You recently purchased a new horse farm in Wrightstown, New Jersey. Can you tell us about the place? AS: It is a perfect farm. It is a very nice area that is very quiet. It is a 140 acre farm. There is a round and a straight track for conditioning. There is a large paddock with plenty of room. It is a perfect training farm. HLINK: You now have Muscle Network ($324,350 earned last year) in your barn. How is he doing and when will we see him race. AS: He is in a qualifier Saturday. We are looking at the Stanley Dancer at the Meadowlands to race him. He is a really nice horse. He is getting better and better. HLINK: You have a large group of two-year-olds that you will have racing. What can you tell us about them and who is your next star? AS: We have one in Pocono on Friday. We have a couple in the New Jersey Sire Stakes on Friday. We don't go too fast in the qualifiers. We are going to have to see them in the races a few times. It's all about speed these days. You have to see who can keep up with the speed. You don't want to get too high on a horse and then get disappointed. HLINK: Ocean Love Potion was an impressive winner the other day in the Pennsylvania Sire stakes for three-year-old fillies. Please tell us about her progress. AS: She did not do too much as a two-year-old. She was doing very well over the winter. She really surprised us in the race. When she is training she doesn't seem like she is really training. She has a really good head for the races. HLINK: You have some other three-year-olds. AS: Heaven's Door won the Sire Stakes Final. She is a really nice filly that will be in the Hambletonian Oaks. She won her last race and is in next weekend. She is going to the Oaks after that. HLINK: We are all intrigued by your white horse, White Bliss. How is this horse progressing? AS: He is training down. He had some bad colic which put his training back a few weeks. We are in no hurry with him. He will probably start racing in September. HLINK: The other night, Stonebridge Force, and Yannick Gingra's horse Cenapa Hanover, got into a hardball battle on the lead. You parked out Cenapa Hanover and wouldn't let him pass. AS: Yannick horse was bearing out. We had to hold our speed. You don't want to give anything for free. HLINK: Your So Vain Made an impressive move to the top the other night. Tell us about that race? AS: They were going really slow. They were walking. I thought that I better make that move now before someone else does. I wanted to get to the lead and let them catch me. HLINK: Do you train your pacers any different than the trotters? AS: We train them the same as the trotters. HLINK: How is your training methods different than other trainers in America? AS: We train the horses to be really strong. If there are strong they can carry their speed a long way. That is the main thing. HLINK: Tell us about your owners? AS: We have a great bunch of owners. Most of our owners are from Sweden. We encouraged them to come to America and have some success with us. HLINK: You have a horse with Jeff Gural, Blue Muse. How is it to train for him? AS: He is easy to train for. He doesn't ask many questions. He wants to know some info once in a while. He is a great guy to train for. It was an honor to be asked to train horses for Jeff Gural. HLINK: You have been doing some catch driving. How much of that will you be doing? You drove for the Burkes, did they tell you anything? AS: We were driving to get to know the speed of the races and get to know the other drivers. The speed is a little different than Sweden. If we get to drive a good horse, of course we are going to drive him. The Burkes just asked us to drive the horse. HLINK: What do you think of Father Patrick? AS: He is a really nice horse. It is one of the best three-year-olds I have ever seen. HLINK: We have in America rivalries that develop. It is like in hockey when the Flyers play the Rangers. They don't like each other. Do you see a rivalry developing between Jimmy Takter and yourself? AS: No!!! no! no! It's not like that, of course we are competing on the track. It is friendly competition. HLINK: What can we do to make racing in America better and more popular? AS: (Laughter) I don't know. (Laughter). I think we need to get the people more connected with the great horses. We have to promote the sport. We should get the people more connected with the people behind the scene, the trainers and the drivers. HLINK: People are pronouncing your first name many different ways. Some say “Akee” and some say “Okee”…Can you please tell us the correct way? AS: The correct way to say it is “Okee,” but if someone wants to say it different I do not mind. It is difficult to get the proper translation from Swedish to American. We have already seen Ake Svanstedt dominate two divisions of the trotters with Sebastian K and Your So Vain. In the coming months, Ake will be unveiling his stable of acclaimed two-year-old trotters. It will not be a surprise to see Ake produce some more stars for the harness world. Nothing he does the rest of the year will come as a shock. He has already made harness racing history and will be adding to that resume. By Brian McEvoy for Harnesslink.com

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