This is an excellent investigative report from Global TV's 16x9 team on tainted horsemeat from Canada. The majority of horses slaughtered in Canada are imported from the U.S., so this is an important American report as well. The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition hopes our American partners in our fight to end horse slaughter can use this in their efforts to bring the SAFE Act into law. Our Canadian partners are asked to also share this report far and wide. The CHDC will be sending out an Action Alert early this week, to request supporters to ask the CFIA to answer to the proof of the fraudulent and weak traceability system in place that is supposed to protect consumers from eating tainted horsemeat. Banned veterinary drugs found in horse meat Shelley Grainger
The Staff of Harnesslink is proud to announce that Canada’s darling of harness racing, Sydney Weaver, will be a regular columnist for the website starting today! Sydney, 13, from Acton, Ontario, has Cerebral Palsy, but that has not stopped her from already obtaining her grooms license (at age 10) and jogging horses. Due to the generosity of people in the industry, Sydney has her own special jog cart and is a co-owner of the pacing mare, Sydney Seelster, whom we have all read about their exploits as of late. She is no rookie when it comes to writing. Sydney, at age 11, was the winning entrant in the 2011 O’Brien awards VIP package for her entry on why she loves Canadian harness racing and in 2012 won the 12-and-under category in the USTA’s 2012 Marie Hill Youth Writing contest. Sydney will be writing her columns on her experiences in harness racing. Her first column is below and we welcome her to our staff! On The Rail with Sydney Weaver It’s a warm May night and the sun is getting ready to set. The sound of hooves thundering by, heading for home and the crowds are cheering! What a great night to be on the rail. As the trainer walks by I wish him congratulations on his win. The horse and driver meet their trainer in the Winner’s Circle. I glance over to see the steam blowing off the horse’s back, fading with the setting sun. On his way back to the paddock, it has become a tradition that I always congratulate the driver on his win, we have a quick chat, and I wish him the best of luck for the rest of the night. I take a look at the program for the next race and pick whom I will cheer for. I hear a song that I know playing in the background and I start dancing in my seat! After the song ends, the trumpets blare, signalling for the horses to come and parade. I look on in wonder and awe at their beauty and grace, and wonder how a creature could be so powerful yet elegant at the same time. As the horses take up their positions behind the gate, and the pace car begins to pick up speed, my heart begins to beat faster and faster, the race is on... I take a deep breath and think, what a great night to be on the rail... Sydney’s column will appear regularly on Harnesslink.
Top Gear front-stepped his way to a top class victory at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday night, winning a $28,000 event for conditioned pacers by a neck over a pair trained by meet leader Corey Johnson Driver Mike Saftic pulled Top Gear from the pocket after the :27-second opening quarter and he took over command from early leaver McKinney. He then led the way past middle splits of :56.2 and 1:24.3 before holding off a deep stretch challenge from McKinney for the 1:52.2 triumph. The runner-up's stablemate and odds-on favourite Wazzup Wazzup advanced first over to finish one length behind in third. Top Gear paid $5.80 to win as the slight second choice. He earned his second win of the year in seven starts. His first came in the same class (non-winners of $28,000 last five starts) on Feb. 8 prior to his last two races at the Preferred level. To read rest of story click here.
Sing Like An Angel racked up her sixth straight victory for Canada's 2013 Future Star Award winner, Travis Cullen, on Friday night at Northlands Park. Leaving from post four, 3-5 favourite Sing Like An Angel ($3.30) scored a 1:58 wire-to-wire victory in the seventh race. Longshot Crimson Promise challenged the race leader around the final turn, but couldn't get by and had to settle for a fourth-place finish with the late-closers, Kim Chee and Real Pretty, edging by. Now seven-for-nine this year, the four-year-old mare has doubled her career win total in just over two months. To read entire story click here.
It turned out to be a good night for One Badland Nite as the lightly raced sophomore filly held on to win the $20,000 Muriel Fornwald Memorial Stake in a career-best clocking of 1:55.4 at Fraser Downs on Friday. The Fornwald Memorial is for three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares that are B.C. owned, bred or sired and are non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of January 1, 2013. One Badland Nite and driver Steve Hudon led the field of nine through fractions of :27.4, :57.4 and 1:26.1 while Terrormissu and Bill Davis advanced into the pocket spot ahead of entrymate Two Timing and Jim Marino. Terrormissu tried to wear down the leader down the stretch, but One Badland Nite held on for the half-length victory. To read entire story click here.
"I just try to put the horses in the best spot and usually when you put them in the best spot they can do it from there.” A month into his return from hip surgery, driver Tim Tetrick is eyeing two big races Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack, not to mention another career milestone. Tetrick, who was last season’s Driver of the Year as voted upon by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, will take the lines behind National Debt in Saturday’s $60,500 Buddy Gilmour Memorial Series final for three-year-old male pacers and Ray Hall in the $53,200 Charles Singer Memorial final for trotters. In addition, the 32-year-old Illinois native is 10 wins from 8,000 lifetime victories. When he reaches that mark, he will become the youngest driver in harness racing history to do so. Walter Case, Jr. holds the record, having notched win No. 8,000 at the age of 37 in 1998. “That’s a huge number,” said Tetrick, who became the youngest driver to reach 7,000 wins in May 2012. “I’ve been very fortunate. I never dreamed something like that could happen when I started out, but I’m glad it did. The main thing is just trying to do the best I can for all the clients that trust me with their horses." Tetrick, who also was USHWA’s Driver of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2012, ranks No. 25 on the all-time list for wins. He has led the sport in purses for each of the past seven years and ranks No. 7 in career earnings, with $141 million. Only Billy Haughton won more consecutive purse titles, with eight straight from 1952-59. In December, Tetrick had surgery on his left hip, which sidelined him until Feb. 5. He has won 24 of 163 starts since his return and is getting more comfortable every day. “When I first came back I felt out of shape; it was like starting something all over again,” said Tetrick, who has suffered from a degenerative hip condition since childhood and had surgery on his right hip in 2008. “I can understand why horses don’t win right off the bat. “It took some time to get my legs back under me, but I feel good now. The muscles are getting stronger and I’m pretty much pain free.” Tetrick will drive for his biggest purses since his return when he races Saturday night at the Meadowlands. National Debt won his only start this season, drawing off for a three length win over Dinner At The Met in 1:50.3 in the first leg of the Gilmour Series on Feb. 22. The colt was unbeaten in four starts in Alberta last year, when he was trained and driven by co-owner Kelly Hoerdt. Hoerdt, who received the 2013 O’Brien Award of Horsemanship, sent the horse to trainer Ron Coyne, Jr. to race at the Meadowlands. The horse is staked to all the major races for three-year-old pacers. “He’s got a lot of pressure on him now,” Tetrick said about National Debt, “but he impressed me very much. When I qualified him I thought he was a nice colt, but I didn’t know he was going to go in 1:50. When he got out there under the lights, he turned it on and he did it real handy. I moved with him at the half and he brushed and crushed. He’s got a big motor.” National Debt, who starts from post one, will be challenged by eight rivals, including Dinner At The Met and Capital Account. The Erv Miller-trained Dinner At The Met has won four of five starts this year and the Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account has captured three of four races. Ray Hall, out of the stable of trainer Mark Harder, faces two horses that are unbeaten this year in the Singer. Time To Quit has gone five-for-five and Perfect Alliance is four-for-four. Ray Hall, who has won two of six races, finished second to Perfect Alliance in his two preliminary legs of the Singer. “My horse has done nothing wrong at this point, he just ran up against the standout of the series,” Tetrick said. “Perfect Alliance is definitely the one to beat, but I like (Ray Hall). Hopefully in the final he can be right there and get a good piece of it.” From Harness Racing Communications
On Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack, a racing rarity took place when a dead-heat for win happened. Even more rare is that both horses are homebreds, and owned by their trainers. In the evening's sixth race, a conditioned race for Ontario-sired three and four-year-olds, So Bad Im Good (Joe Hudon) tried to cut all the fractions but couldn't hold off the backfield heading into the stretch. Kuchar (Jody Jamieson) and Sanattle Slew (Billy Davis, Jr.) were both poised to pounce on the pacesetter from the outer flow and both powered past, hitting the wire simultaneously. To read entire story click here.
The Weather Network's Chris Mei paid a special visit to Flamboro Downs on a chilly -12 degree Sunday evening and took over the announcer's booth to share the nightly forecast and call the third race as part of the track's Announcer Idol competition. When the wings of the starting gate closed for the 'Idol' race, pacing mare Victoria established the lead from post six as Mei searched for his binoculars in the booth. "Boy, it's really hard to see that far away! Where's my binoculars?" laughed Mei as the horses headed down the backstretch for the first time. To read the rest of the story click here.
Trainer Gord McKnight's stable has been perfect for the month of February with Spartan Victory being his latest to turn in a winning performance in Wednesday's featured $7,000 Preferred 3 Trot at Flamboro Downs. McKnight drove the four-year-old trotting mare Cause I Can down the road to a dead-heat win (with Neils Golden Girl) in the ninth race and turned the reins over to James MacDonald in the 11th dash to complete his flawless evening at Flamboro. With MacDonald aboard, seven-year-old gelding Spartan Victory sat a pocket trip and prevailed up the passing lane by a quarter-length over the on-coming Cracker Zack in the Preferred. The winning time was 2:03.1 over the 'good' track, which was rated two seconds slow. Blazing Shot, the longest shot on the board at 81-1, came from last to show in the final quarter. To read more click here.
A harness racing trophy, passed on from generation to generation in a Nova Scotia family, recently gave its owners an unexpected surprise when it was discovered an Olympic medal from the 1900s was buried in the top portion of the relic. According to a CTV Atlantic feature story, the trophy, which was awarded to Allan Charles MacDonald after he won an ice racing event for trotters in Nova Scotia back in 1928, was passed on from a number of members of the MacDonald family before the medal was discovered. “They used to have plastic flowers in it, that’s what it was for – just plastic flowers,” said Gerard MacDonald, the great grandson of Allan Charles MacDonald, referring to what his parents used the trophy for. “She (Gerard’s mother) took the flowers out and it was all foil in the bottom of the cup, so she took the foil out to clean it and under the foil was the medal. We probably asked a few family members ‘What’s this? Do you know anything about it?’, and they didn’t, so I remember we just put it in the drawer.” To read the rest of the story click here.
Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce that Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park, on Prince Edward Island, will be the host track for the 2014 edition of the National Driving Championship. The event is being hosted with the support of the PEI 2014 Fund as part of the 150th Anniversary celebration of the historic 1864 Charlottetown Conference that led to the creation of our nation. The NDC will take place on Tuesday, August 26 in conjunction with a meeting of all of the province’s Premiers who will be on hand for the event. “It will be an honour to host the National Driving Championship in conjunction with the Council of the Federation," said Wes Sheridan, Minister Responsible for Harness Racing. “Events like this, as well as the recent success of the O’Brien Awards here on Prince Edward Island, provide an opportunity for us to showcase our vibrant harness racing industry and the partnerships that make it so strong.” To read more click here.
Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce that Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park, on Prince Edward Island, will be the host track for the 2014 edition of the National Driving Championship. The event is being hosted with the support of the PEI 2014 Fund as part of the 150th Anniversary celebration of the historic 1864 Charlottetown Conference that led to the creation of our Nation. The NDC will take place on Tuesday, August 26 in conjunction with a meeting of all of the province’s Premiers who will be on hand for the event. “It will be an honour to host the National Driving Championship in conjunction with the Council of the Federation," said Wes Sheridan, Minister Responsible for Harness Racing. “Events like this, as well as the recent success of the O’Brien Awards here on Prince Edward Island, provide an opportunity for us to showcase our vibrant harness racing industry and the partnerships that make it so strong.” John Gallinger, SC President and CEO, said that the hosting of this year's NDC will provide a unique opportunity to showcase harness racing to all of our provincial leaders. The top two drivers from four regional championships will make up the field of eight finalists for the National Driving Championship. The winner will represent Canada in the World Driving Championship, to be hosted in concert with the World Trotting Conference in Australia in March, 2015. Host tracks for the Regional Driving Championships have yet to be confirmed. “We are very excited to host the National Driving Championship and it will be one of the marquis events on our racing calendar,” said Red Shores Race Experience Manager Adam Walsh. “This format and the events have been very well received across the country and in the past each regional event was a major event of the racing season for the host track. The participation and co- operation of the racetracks and horsemen’s groups were a critical element to the success of all of the past Regional and National Driving Championship events,” commented Standardbred Canada’s Industry Marketing Manager Kathy Wade Vlaar. The National Driving Championship is one of hundreds of events that the Island's year-long celebration in 2014 will host. Standardbred Canada
North America's top percentage harness racing driver in 2013 has been named the inaugural winner of the Earl Avery Award. Gilles Barrieau, the perennial New Brunswick driving champion and leading UDRS driver in North America last year with a phenomenal .420 average, edged out Woodstock, N.B. native Ivan Davies in voting for the award by industry leaders in New Brunswick. Janet Stevenson Davis, Dale Spence, Chris Davies and his horse, Dusty Lane Oscar, and Philip 'Bo' Sowers were also nominated. "I'm really honoured to win this award," said Barrieau, who maintains a large stable at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B. "Earl Avery was an outstanding horseman and just to hear that I was nominated had already been a special moment for me. My father [Alfred] actually worked for him when he was racing in the United States so I thought that was interesting connection. "This award is a fitting tribute to Earl Avery himself and a great addition for the harness racing industry in New Brunswick." Earl Avery was a native of Knowlesville, N.B. who later moved to Woodstock to begin a legendary career in the sport back in the early 1920’s. He was the first member of the harness racing fraternity to be inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1976; the normal five-year waiting period after retirement being waived for the much-respected Avery. Avery is the only horseman from New Brunswick to ever be elected to Horse Racing Hall of Fames in both Canada and the United States. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1977 and later the same year became the 25th person to be elected to the Living Hall of Fame of the Trotters in Goshen, New York. It was a fitting culmination of a career that saw him win more than 4,000 races and $3.5 million in career earnings and establishing nine world records. During his career, Avery became associated with arguably the greatest pacing horse in the history of harness racing when he convinced owner Norman Woolworth to purchase Meadow Skipper 50 years ago. Meadow Skipper went on to become a world champion race horse for Avery, pacing Lexington, Kentucky’s famed Red Mile in 1:55.1 in October 1963. He later developed into one of the most prolific stallions of the 20th century and his influences on breeding continue to be felt today. “This new award creates an opportunity to bring recognition to outstanding harness racing achievements in New Brunswick while also honouring an industry pioneer,” said Brent Briggs, administrator of the Earl Avery Award. “Besides being an outstanding horseman, Earl Avery was also a great ambassador of the New Brunswick industry for over 50 years. "I think the voting panel made an excellent choice in Gilles Barrieau as he has always been an outstanding representative of New Brunswick harness racing, not just this year but throughout his career. He is widely recognized for his training and driving talents; a complete horseman and gentleman, much like Earl Avery was himself." Barrieau will receive a cheque for $1,000 in the name of a recognized charity that he has chosen and will have an opportunity to present it to that charity on behalf of all horse people in the province during the upcoming horse racing season. The creation of the Earl Avery Award and the prize is a collaboration between Horse Racing New Brunswick and the Horseman’s Associations in Woodstock, Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. Submitted from Earl Avery Awards
Woodbine Racetrack's current leading driver Jody Jamieson was in the hot seat on Saturday night as a guest host of the Woodbine Racing Live broadcast to offer up some insight on his drives for handicappers and discuss his 2013 racing season. During the pre-game show, Jamieson declared his 11th race mount, Carmen Auciello trainee Champagne Phil, as his "most probable winner" on the card and proved to be correct. "I really drove him bad [last week]," explained Jamieson. "He's been at Yonkers and they didn't like the trips he's been getting there. They weren't trying him as much as they wanted him to be tried so I gave him a shot and I actually over-drove him and I'm not planning on doing the same thing tonight. I believe there is some competition in there...but I really like Champagne Phil in there tonight. I think it's his race to win." In the evening's finale, Jamieson sent Champagne Phil first over from fourth down the backstretch and wore down early leader Roethblissberger to win by a head in 1:51.3. Icr Racing's four-year-old Shanghai Phil gelding was backed by the bettors and paid $5.40 to win as the 8-5 favourite. The victory was his first in five starts this year. During the interview, the three-time O'Brien Award winning driver also reflected on his 2013 campaign in which he ranked second nation-wide for earnings ($5,338,101) behind 2013 Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion and third for wins (337). "I had a great year," said Jamieson. "This biggest disappointment for me was I had a lot of seconds in major races and classic races. It took me until the middle of December to win the Cleveland Classic with a great horse, Apprentice Hanover, who you folks are well adhered to right here at Woodbine. He's got seven [wins] in a row now dating back to the Cleveland Classic or the week before. He's just a hell of a horse and he seems to be getting better as we go forward." While the Preferred class in which Apprentice Hanover has been dominating of late was not carded on Saturday, Jamieson catch-drove another "ultra consistent horse" to victory lane in a top conditioned event. "I think he was in over his head last week," Jamieson said of Lucky Terror, who finished sixth in the Preferred on Feb. 15. "He's not an Open horse, but he is, however, a very decent, middle of the road, conditioned horse and this is his class." The $22,000 ninth race was indeed Lucky Terror's class as he closed from second over and edged out a from-last Grin For Money to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.2. The win was his second in six starts this year and gives him a seasonal bankroll of $27,560. Trained by Shaun McDonald and owned by Glenview Livestock Ltd. and Leonard Christopher, the seven-year-old gelded son of Western Terror paid $9.10 to win. In Commando's 1:51.1 score in the 10th race co-feature was the fastest of the night and one of the biggest upsets as he rallied home from third over at odds of 10-1 for driver Chris Christoforou. The class-climbing Camluck gelding paid $22.80 for his second straight win. He prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Joshua My Boy, who closed from the back of the pack to place. Don Lindsey trains and co-owns the winning five-year-old pacer with Paul Kleinpaste, William Alempijevic and Dennis Mavrin. In Commando now has three wins and one second in five seasonal starts to add $31,000 to his career bankroll. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Favourite Who Doesn't converted off a perfect pocket trip to nail last week's Open Pace winner Smooth Criminal at the wire in Saturday's feature race at Northlands Park. Trained and driven by Canada's 2013 Future Star Award winner Travis Cullen, Who Doesn't established a new lifetime mark with his latest victory, clocked in 1:52.1, on a -17 degree afternoon in Edmonton. Who Doesn't followed Smooth Criminal and Bill Tainsh Jr. through fractions of :28, :56.1 and 1:23.3 in the $9,000 Open before kicking home in :28.2 to steal the spotlight. Despite drifting out in the stretch, Who Doesnt prevailed in a photo finish by a head over the pacesetter while Flak Jacket and Jamie Gray finished nearly seven lengths behind in third. Who Doesn't, who now has two wins and two seconds in six seasonal starts, paid $4.70 to win as the 6-5 bettors' choice. Cullen shares ownership of the five-year-old Mach Three gelding with his family -- Jeanne, Kenneth and Jodie Cullen. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Northlands Park. Repritned with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
There wasn’t a whole lot of pari-mutuel love given to Battle River Storm in Friday evening’s eighth race at Woodbine Racetrack, but that didn’t stop him from engineering the biggest upset on the Friday evening card. In rein to Mike Saftic, the six-year-old son of Freedoms Pass-Presidential Jenna dropped into an early five-hole and sat there through first-half fractions of :27.4 and :57.2. He was backed up to be sixth at the three-quarter pole, but Mike Saftic found him some clearance between rivals in deep stretch and Battle River Storm shot through and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:58. Beeeyouuuuuu was second, with Matts Delivery rounding out the top three finishers. The Rod Boyd pupil, who was sent off at odds of 54-1, returned $111.60 to his backers and added $3,500 his own bank account. Timothy McCoy of Edmonton, Alberta owns the pacer who won for the first time in six starts this season. The victory was one of three on the card for driver Mike Saftic. He and Jody Jamieson led the way with driving triples, while Phil Hudon notched a driving double on the 11-race card. To view results for Friday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Friday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca