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With the North American harness racing season well underway we continue with 'A Stallion Review' series. Today we have produced an in depth review for the outstanding racehorse Shark Gesture and what impact he might have as a young sire. All statistics shown are as at the 7th of April 2014. Enjoy the read. BREEDING Shark Gesture is by Cams Card Shark, one of the all time greats to have stood at stud in the history of the standardbred breed. His figures are mind blowing and a testament to his siring ability and longevity in a very fashion conscious industry. Not only is he a great sire but he is now firmly established as a sire of sires with the great sire Bettors Delight leading the way. Others by Cams Card Shark  to have made an impact to date are Four Starzzz Shark, Riverboat King, Million Dollar Cam and Aces N Sevens while Roll With Joe and Shadyshark Hanover are young sons now at stud. Total stakes earned to date is $135,345,825. Numbers in 1:50 or better is 58. He has ten million dollar plus earners. Number in 1:53 is 346 and average earnings per starter is $103,555. Simple Gesture is the dam of Shark Gesture and she is an un-raced daughter of Western Hanover who has had six foals of racing age to date for three winners. Apart from Shark Gesture she has produced Shark Ingested 1:49.2f ($277,970) and The Village Rusty 1:51.1f ($145,541). Shark Gesture's second dam is Empty Feeling. She was a very talented mare on the racetrack taking a mark of 1:53.1 on her way to winning $354,657. She carried that into the breeding barn having left five winners from seven foals to date including the high class son of The Panderosa in Ponder 1:48.1m ($1,686,134) and Gotta Feeling 1:52.4f ($235,109). RACE RECORD As a 2yr old he had ten starts for three wins and four placings for $118,971 in stakes. His best win was in the $113,000 Bluegrass Stakes at Lexington in 1;51.3m. He also won a heat of the Breeders Crown and was second in the $156,000 International Stallion Pace. As a 3yr old he had sixteen starts for eight wins and two placings for $677,427 in stakes. His best win was undoubtedly in the final of the $695,000 Breeders Crown. Horses he beat that day included Mister Big,  Artistic Fella,  Jeremes Jet and Total Truth. Other notable wins during the season included the $288,000 Tattersalls Final in 1:49.1 (his record for his 3yr old season) and the $126,000 Bluegrass Final in 1:51 As a 4yr old he had eight starts for two wins and three places for $206,791 in stakes. His best win was in the $120,000 NH Sweepstake in 1:49.2m while he ran second in both the $200,000 Dan Patch final and the $285,000 Graduate Final. At this point he was retired to stud and didn't return to the track for over sixteen months. As a 5yr old he had three starts late in the year in which he ran a third in the last start. As a 6yr old he came back with a vengeance and had 29 starts for seven wins and eight placings for a super $963,890 in stakes, his biggest earnings for a season on the track. He was a constant in all the big races. His best win was arguably in the $685,000 Canadian Pacing Derby in 1:48.1 although his win in the $688,000 W R Haughton Memorial in 1:48.2 was just as impressive. Another stellar win that season was in the $210,000 Graduate Final in 1:49. 2009 $688,000 W R Haughton Memorial As a 7yr old he had another great year on the track with just twelve starts for seven wins and three placings for $918,875 in stakes. He had arguably his best year on the track at seven with his wins in several major races being quite dominant. His best win was in the $702,000 W R Haughton Memorial in 1:48.2 at The Meadowlands. This win was especially significant as this field was full of great horses that have won between them a massive total of $21,435,937 in stakes to date. It included the great Foiled Again ($6,139,210), Won The West ($3,977,956), Bettor Sweet ($2,816,687), Vintage Master ($2,162,979), Hypnotic Blue Chip ($1,794,793) and Mr Wiggles ($1,195,099). 2010 $702,000 W R Haughton Memorial As can be seen Shark Gesture started from the far outside post 9 and was parked out wide at the quarter in 25.4 before getting cover at the half in 52.3 then he was out to attack at the three quarters in 1:20.4 before winning in hand in 1:48.2. An outstanding mile against the very best. Shark Gesture also won the $200,000 Graduate Final in 1:48.4, The $228,000 Bettors Delight Final in 1:48.3, The $200,000 Dan Patch Final in 1:48.1 and was a close second in the $500,000 Franklin Final in 1:49.1. He was timed under 1:50 in ten of his twelve starts that season.  Shark Gesture was timed in 1:47.4 (2nd), 1:47.4 (2nd), 1:47.2 (2nd) and 1:47.3 (5th) during his career. Twice in his career he posted very fast last quarters of 25.4 and 25.3 NORTH AMERICAN STUD RECORD He stood at stud for one season in Canada as a five year old. He bred 73 mares but  there were only 43 foals from mares that were of raceway standard at best. Of that 43 foals he had 33 colts born and just 10 fillies. Twenty four of those won but stakes won have only amounted to $1,261,212 with his best performers being Piston Broke 1:49.2s ($295,330) and Best Ears 1:49.4f ($191,657). He was then moved to Pennsylvania where he bred 87 mares to produce 56 foals that are two year olds in North America in 2014. He has two more crops of 39 and 30 still to come in Pennsylvania. He now stands at Abby Stables in Ohio for the 2014 season. AUSTRALIAN STUD RECORD Again he has only one crop old enough to race which are now five year olds. They number just 18 and there have been twelve starters for four winners for stakes of $90,842. His two best winners have both been fillies with Gesturestar having won 8 and She’s A Killer 10. He has a crop of 24 yearlings in Australia. NEW ZEALAND STUD CAREER He only has one crop on the ground in NZ and that is the crop of 42 yearlings which are due to hit the track next year. POSITIVES The first string to his bow is that he is the biggest stake winning son of the great sire Cams Card Shark with $2,890,594 in stakes.. His soundness over several seasons at the top and the longevity of his performance at the elite level should appeal to Southern Hemisphere breeders where most of the bigger stakes are aimed at the older free for all horses. He only has one crop in NZ which are presently yearlings and they were well received at the NZ yearling sales this year with the likes of  the well respected horseman Jim Dalgety, Tony Herlihy and Nigel McGrath amongst the high profile horsemen to have purchased one. NEGATIVES Management issues coupled with poor promotion have meant he has yet to serve a meaningful book of mares at stud, either in his initial stint at stud or since his retirement in 2010. In todays market very small crops make it impossible to make an impact and can very quickly ruin a stallions career if changes are not made. OVERVIEW A smart racehorse at two and three who matured into a genuine star as an older horse. Retired to stud initially without the necessary runs on the board to attract either the quantity or the quality of mares to make it as a sire in today's marketplace. On his return to the track he matured into a super star and this time he has a much bettor shot at making it. His recent move to Ohio can only help his future prospects and give him the opportunity to achieve as a sire to the level his race record suggests he should be achieving.  OVERALL RATING 4 out of 10 JC    

TORONTO, April 17 - More harness racing stakes action took place Thursday evening at Woodbine Racetrack as sophomore trotting fillies were showcased in a pair of Celias Counsel Trotting Series divisions. Tosca and Just Call Me Lady kicked off the series opener with victories in their respective $15,000 divisions. With heavily-favoured Flexible Woman (Steve Byron) making a miscue in the first division, Tosca and driver/trainer Per Henriksen made the most of her first start of the season. K D Bella (Mike Saftic) was the tempo-setter for most of the mile through panels of :27, :57 and 1:27.4. Around the final turn, Serendipitous (Jody Jamieson) began the first-over attack giving cover to Tosca. Henriksen angled his charge three-wide at three-quarters and wore down K D Bella in deep stretch to win by three quarters of a length in 1:56.4. Wings Of Ballykeel (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Tosca, a daughter of Muscle Mass, is owned by Asa Farm and Steve Organ. The trotting lass increased her bankroll to $35,400 with the win. She paid $16.50 to win. One race later, Just Call Me Lady posted the minor upset in 1:57.2 at odds of 3-1. In doing so, driver Trevor Ritchie enjoyed his first win of the season since arriving back in Ontario after wintering in Florida. Do The Wheelhouse (Jody Jamieson) was the first leader past the opening station in :27.1. As the field of 10 marched towards the half, Chippentail (Paul Macdonell) pulled out from third and marched to the front past the mid-way point in :58.2. Fashion Goddess (Jonathan Drury) was next to pull on the right line heading towards three-quarters with Just Call Me Lady following the speed. As the field trotted past three-quarters in 1:28.1, Just Call Me Lady was well spotted sitting second-over and the talented filly marched past her rivals down the stretch en route to victory. Post time favourite Miss Everything (Sylvain Filion) came from behind to finish second, with Do The Wheelhouse claiming third prize. Trainer Blake Macintosh co-owns the youngster with Anne Campbell and Stephen Waldman. Just Call Me Lady increased her lifetime earnings to $35,549 with the victory The daughter of Angus Hall paid $8.10 to win. Greg Gangle

The field for the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship scheduled for Friday, May 9 at The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont. has been confirmed. The participating drivers are: • Alfie Carroll • Scott Coulter • Billy Davis Jr. • Trevor Henry • Jody Jamieson • James MacDonald • Doug McNair • J.R. Plante The top two drivers from the eight-race competition will join six other drivers at the 2014 National Driving Championship scheduled for Tuesday, August 26 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. Several drivers declined invitations to take part due to other commitments, including Sylvain Filion, Canada’s Driver of the Year for 2013, Randy Waples and Scott Zeron. To read the rest of the story click here.

Twin B Wrangler went to the front and didn’t look back en route to a narrow triumph in Monday’s $11,000 Preferred 2 for pacers at The Raceway at Western Fair District. Alfie Carroll hustled Twin B Wrangler through fractions of :27.4, :57 and 1:25.3 before using a :30.2 closing quarter to prevail by a neck over race favourite Leafs And Wings in 1:56. Ja El Pocketrocket was third. Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Ontario owns and Victor Puddy trains the five-year-old son of Mach Three-Stryper. To date, the pacer has managed to stash away career earnings of $120,290. Monday’s card also featured a set of Preferred-3 events – one for trotters and one for pacers. To read the rest of the story click here.

TORONTO, April 14 - After failing to find the winner's circle in both preliminary legs, Reasonable Force found his best stride when it counted the most as he captured this year's edition of the $36,200 Youthful Series final Monday at Woodbine. In doing so, the Doug McNair-driven sophomore returned $33.00 to his backers. McNair and Reasonable Force were in no hurry off the gate as Account Rollover (Randy Waples) cleared to the lead past the opening station in :27.1. Account Rollover, who found the wire in the first leg of the series, continued to lead his nine rivals past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. McNair began the first-over attack around the final turn and was within striking distance of the tempo-setter turning for home. Down the stretch, McNair asked his charge for more pace and the three-time winner responded with a two length win. Post time favourite Andreios Kardia (Steve Byron) finished second, with Dragon Seelster (Paul Macdonell) finishing third. Trained by Tony Montini for owners Doug Dunbar and Steve LeBlanc, Reasonable Force lifted his career earnings to $44,840. The son of Shadow Play now has a 2-2-1 record from eight starts this season. Also on Monday's program, the second round of the Lifetime Dream series continued with two $18,000 divisions. Rose Run Oriana (Randy Waples) kicked-off the 10-race programme with a 1:54.2 score in the first division. The daughter of Trainforthefuture enjoyed a new career best in the debut for trainer Corey Johnson. Waples led gate-to-wire with the 15-time winner through panels of :28, :57 and 1:25.3, before fending off 3/5 favourite Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) in deep stretch to win by one and a half lengths. Samira Hanover (Paul Macdonell) finished third. Owned by Rolling Hills Racing Stables, Rose Run Oriana will look for the series sweep next week as her bankroll increased to $134,717. She paid $4.90 to win. One race later, Her Name Is Lola (Phil Hudon) enjoyed her fifth career score at odds of 3-1. The daughter of Majestic Son laid parked on the outside at the quarter in :28.2, before clearing to the lead before the half in :57.2. From there, the trotting miss led her five rivals past in 1:26.1 before fending off a late challenge from Frisky Magic (Randy Waples) to win by a nose. Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Trained by Russell Bax for Baxmar Holsteins Ltd, Her Name Is Lola increased her bankroll to $85,560. She paid $8.70 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

The drivers for the 2014 Western Regional Driving Championship have been solidified with John Chappell securing the last spot in the competition after this weekend's harness racing cards at Fraser Downs. Heading into the weekend, just two wins separated Chappell, Scott Knight and David Hudon for the third spot in the local win standings. Scoring a pair of victories on Sunday's card and pushing his meet total to 50, Chappell managed to maintain the slight edge over his rivals. With two wins of his own over the weekend, Knight pushed his total to 49. Hudon had one victory on Friday putting his total at 47. Chappell steered Soft Spoken out of traffic down the stretch to a maiden-breaking victory in Sunday's second race for trainer/owner Allan Dawn. The four-year-old gelding won by just a neck over favourite Hosisahos in 1:59.1. To read the rest of the story click here.

My Man Charley scored a wire-to-wire victory in Sunday's featured Preferred 3 Pace at Flamboro Downs for Canada's current 2014 win leaders, Alfie Carroll and Victor Puddy. Carroll and Puddy teamed up to take the evening's eighth race as favourite My Man Charley ($3.20) kept first over challenger Hoboken Hanover at bay to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.3. Astute finished two and three-quarter lengths behind off a pocket trip. To read the rest of the story click here.

Rose Valley, last year’s three-year-old pacing filly sensation trained by Mike Campbell, was named the 2013 Fredericton Raceway Horse of the Year in ceremonies held Saturday evening at the Fredericton Horsemen’s Association annual awards banquet. Rose Valley, who is owned by Dawn and Ted Bremner of Jemseg, N.B., was also given the award for top sophomore filly after completing one of the best seasons ever by a Fredericton-based mare. The daughter of Brandons Cowboy was a multiple stakes winner last year, winning seven races and earning over $40,000 on the circuit, the highlight being a record-setting 1:56 mile in Charlottetown during their Old Home Week. Rose Valley won both of her starts in Fredericton, including a division of the Bill Quigg Memorial Stake during FREX 2013. Rose Valley, being named Horse of the Year, capped off a phenomenal evening for Campbell, who also took home training honours for American Captain, who was recognized as the top four-year-old. Campbell was also inducted into the Fredericton Raceway Wall of Fame, celebrating a 45-year horse racing career that began at the downtown oval in 1969. He joined Mike Downey, Fredericton Raceway’s all-time dash winning and money earning driver, owner Ashley Sloat and distinguished equines Knightly Glib and Northern Raucous, on the Wall. Other award winners during the evening included Queens Or Better (Aged Mare), Flying Cowboy (Three-Year-Old Colt), Lanny (Most Improved), Manraysonjo (Aged Horse) and Seven Signs (Unsung Hero). Chantall Basson was named Groom of the Year and veteran horseman Chester Eatmon Jr. was given the Pioneer Award for his many years in horse racing at Fredericton. Brian Embleton was the top trainer and Gilles Barrieau was the top driver. From the Federicton Horsemen's Association

‪TORONTO, April 12 - West Side Story, driven by Chris Christoforou, provided the 6-1 upset in the lone $18,000 division in the opening round of the Don Mills Series, Saturday at Woodbine.‬ ‪The talented son of Conway Hall got under the wire in 1:54, one length ahead of 1/9 favourite Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury).‬ ‪Christoforou elected to use off-the-pace tactics with West Side Story as he landed fourth in the early stages as Hldontghttoyurdrms was the leader at the opening station in :27.2.‬ ‪Hldontghttoyurdrms continued to lead his 10 rivals past the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:25.3.‬ ‪Around the final turn, Christoforou angled West Side Story off the pylons and was within striking distance of the tempo-setter at the top of the stretch.‬ ‪West Side Story continued to gain on the publics choice and marched past Hldontghttoyurdrms in deep stretch en route to his tenth career score. Mego Moss (Jody Jamieson) finished third..‬ ‪Trained by Per Henriksen for Asa Farm and Steve Organ, West Side Story increased his bankroll to $118,657. The son of Conway Hall has crafted a 3-3-0 record from seven starts this season.‬ ‪He paid $15.30 to win.‬ by Greg Gangle, for WEG

TORONTO , April 7 - Sophomore pacing colts and geldings were showcased Monday evening at Woodbine in the second round of the Youthful Series. Andreios Kardia, driven by Steve Byron, captured the first of two divisions in 1:55.4 over a 'Good' track. Byron was in no hurry at the start as Regal Son (Randy Waples) made his way to the front to lead the field of six past the first quarter in :27.2. As the talented pacers headed towards the half, Paul Macdonell elected to send second-choice Dragon Seelster to the front before the half in :58. Kuchar (Jody Jamieson) began the first-over attack around the final turn, giving live cover to 4-5 favourite Andreios Kardia. Kuchar and Dragon Seelster matched strides past three-quarters in 1:27.3, but down the lane Byron showed Andreios Kardia open racetrack and the son of Badlands Hanover exploded in deep stretch to capture his third career victory. Trained by James Madill for owner Ina Madill, Andreios Kardia increased his bankroll to $28,480. With the track down-graded to 'Sloppy,' Highland Tartan and James MacDonald captured the second division as the favourite in 1:56.2. MacDonald elected to sit in the two-hole in the early going as Reasonable Force (Jody Jamieson) made their way to the front past the opening quarter in :27.1. Highland Tartan was then angled to the outside and crossed over to command to lead past the middle-half in :59.1 and 1:29.1. As the field turned for home, Reasonable Force angled out of the pocket, but could only reach the leaders saddle pad as Highland Tartan prevailed in deep stretch to score the narrow win. Little Ben (Luc Ouellette) enjoyed a ground saving trip to finish third. Trained and co-owned by Marty Fine along with Mary Clark, Highland Tartan enjoyed his second career victory as his lifetime earnings now sits at $15,200. The son of Major In Art paid $4.90 to win. The Youthful Series is for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers, who are non-winners of three races of $15,000 in 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

North America's 2014 win leader Rockin Rambaran continued his current streak on Sunday night at Rideau Carleton Raceway for trainer and owner Luc Loyer. Rockin Rambaran ($2.60) front-stepped his way to a 1:57.4 victory -- his seventh in a row -- in the evening's ninth race with Guy Gagnon in the sulky. With his ninth of the year, the four-year-old Rambaran gelding emerged from a five-way tie to take sole ownership of the top spot in the North American win standings. To read the rest of the story click here.

Undefeated pacing filly Kayla Grace made her sophomore debut on Saturday night at Michigan's Northville Downs and earned her 13th consecutive victory. Kayla Grace ($2.80) opened the evening's harness racing card with an eight and three-quarter length triumph in 1:57.4. Brad Kramer sent the Hes All That-A Maze Of Grace filly wire-to-wire for trainer Marie St. Charles. She is owned by Ed and Cheryl Sayfie's E C S Racing LLC and Kevin St. Charles. To read the rest of the story click here.

Favourite Cougar Hall earned his second consecutive win over the game Machal Jordan in the featured $34,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Driven by Jack Moiseyev, Cougar Hall matched his 1:51.4 season's mark that he established while winning the top class by half a length over Machal Jordan last Saturday. In this evening's Preferred, J J Shark (Sylvain Filion) forced the leaving post eight starter Lucky Terror (Jonathan Drury) to settle for the pocket spot during a :26.3 first quarter battle. Dali (Luc Ouellette) got away third with 6-5 favourite Cougar Hall following in fourth. As the field headed into the backstretch, Dali moved underway from third and took over the lead before hitting the half-mile marker in :55.3. The stallion was then confronted by Cougar Hall, who cleared to command past the 1:23.4 third quarter station and began to open up multiple lengths on the field to secure the victory. The late-closing Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte) narrowed the winning margin to one and a quarter lengths. In Commando (Chris Christoforou), a half-length winner over Cougar Hall in his last outing two weeks ago, finished third.   Cougar Hall now has four wins in six starts during his four-year-old campaign and a seasonal bankroll totalling $60,100. The grey son of Somebeachsomewhere is owned by trainer Jeff Gillis, Gerald Stay, Mac Nichol, Thomas Kyron and Carl Jamieson. Cougar Hall paid $4.40 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

The betting public didn`t have a lot of faith in Amigo De Grande going into Thursday`s $34,000 Preferred Trot at Woodbine Racetrack, but that didn`t stop the Carmen Auciello pupil from racking up his third straight win versus some of the nation`s top trotters. The majority of the money landed on Hldontghytoyurdrms, who was six days removed from his dazzling win in the final of the Horse & Groom Series at The Meadowlands. He was parked past the quarter pole in :25.4 by Cool Guy, who eventually gave way to the 4-5 favourite. Hldontghytoyurdrms led the way past the half-mile marker in :55.3 before coming under attack from Amigo De Grande around the final turn. Amigo De Grande and Anthony MacDonald took over command at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.2 before using a :29-second closing panel to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Hldontghytoyurdrms. Cool Guy tagged along to finish third. To read the rest of the story click here.

For six decades respected horseman Jerry Silverman has been campaigning champions, but the 78-year-old has decided the time has come to hang up the harnesses and retire from training racehorses. Now living in Florida, the New Yorker made his decision to retire after qualifying back his two-horse stable consisting of stakes starters Another Transcript and Another Deposition. “You know, I had two beautiful three-year-old trotters and I just felt that I was ready,” Silverman told Trot Insider. “I didn’t want to go through the stress and I couldn’t do justice to them shipping them all over the country, etcetera, etcetera. That basically was it.” While Silverman has yet to determine his retirement plans, he is happy to share his wealth of harness racing knowledge. To read the rest of the story click here.

Early Bird Registration extended to April 7th A Guided Tour of Equine Anatomy is a dissection workshop offered to horse enthusiasts and professionals alike to help them understand equine anatomy first hand. Led by Ontario Veterinary College researcher and anatomy instructor, Dr. Jeff Thomason, this unique educational workshop is offered at the Ontario Veterinary College. Early bird sign up has been extended to April 7th for workshops offered on April 26 and 27, 2014. Well known for his ability to bring anatomy to life, Thomason guides participants through plenty of hands-on exploration of the anatomy of a horse in a way most do not get to experience. An overview of the large muscle groups of the neck, trunk and legs is followed by an exploration of the abdomen and chest. The latter part of the laboratory is designed to allow individual students to explore their areas of interest in further detail. This one day workshop can be followed by a second day of advanced exploration which would allow the participants to get even more specific in learning how different systems function. Some of the second day topics have included looking at the mechanics of the leg or the complexities of the respiratory system. Students leave with a much broader understanding of how form and function intertwine. Dr. Thomason, is not only an internationally recognized researcher but he also teaches anatomy to veterinary students at the OVC and is excellent at explaining basic to advanced anatomy topics. Registration is online at: http://tinyurl.com/anatomyworkshop. For more information about this workshop: http://www.equineguelph.ca/pdf/workshop/Equine%20Anatomy%20Workshop%20Flyer%20-%202014.pdf or contact Equine Guelph. 519-824-4120 ext 54205 email: horses@uoguelph.ca  

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