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In this series sponsored by Southern Bred Southern Reared, Bruce Stewart looks back on some of the great harness racing stock that’s come out of the Southern region. Whilst last year he profiled horses from the south that have become millionaires, this series is about other pacers and trotters that that were bred, reared and raced for part of career in Southland, and made an impact in the Harness Racing industry. Robin Dundee Age: 1957 bay mare Sire: Hal Tryax Dam: Cherry Blossom (Dillion Hall) Breeder: JW Hewitt Owner: JW Hewitt Trainer: Jack Walsh At just 14.2 hands Robin Dundee was a diminutive bay filly and was Southland owner/breeder Jack Hewitt’s first venture into harness racing. He borrowed Dillon Hall mare Cherry Blossom from his brother-in-law and mated her with the imported American sire Hal Tryax. Hal Tryax stood at stud in NZ for 8 seasons before becoming infertile in 1963 at the age of 16. Robin Dundee’s early education and training was entrusted to Jack Walsh who’d also raced and won with Fashion Queen. She is the third dam of Robin Dundee. Unraced at two, Robin Dundee began her racing career at Invercargill in October 1961, winning the Southern Stakes for non-win three year olds by sixteen lengths. She was driven by Charlie Franks who also drove her to victory in the 1961 New Zealand Oaks at New Brighton. Later that season she won at Roxburgh in the hands of Robert Cameron. Interestingly both Robin Dundee and Cardigan Bay won at that Roxburgh meeting in 1961. Cardigan Bay by four and a half lengths in the Roxburgh Handicap, and Robin Dundee in the Central Otago Stakes by a length and a half. The TAB double paid forty two pounds, eight shillings and six pence. As a four-year-old Robin Dundee recorded two wins, five seconds, a third and fourth from twenty one starts. She won two of her twenty four starts as a five year old, recording six seconds, a third and fourth. At six she won two races and had her first start in the New Zealand Cup finishing second behind the great Cardigan Bay. In her final New Zealand start at Addington, in the hands of Doody Townley she started off 12 yards to beat Tactile, Jay Ar and Cardigan Bay. In the 1964 Interdominion Grand Final Robin Dundee finished a gallant fifth, breaking down during the race and subsequent x-rays revealed a fractured pedal bone and crack in the navicular bone of her near foreleg. There were grave fears that Robin Dundee would never race again and she returned home to the Southland.  However she made a spectacular recovery from the injury to race 12 times in New Zealand during the 1964/65 season recording five wins, four seconds and a third. As a seven year old she was involved in the controversial dead heat with Jay Ar in the 1965 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Forbury Park where she stormed down the outside in the hands of Doody Townley. The judge announced Jay Ar as the winner and called for a photo shortly after. Club officials ignored Townley’s insistence that the presentation was premature. Jay Ar’s driver George Noble also thought he may have been pipped at the post. However the presentation went ahead and Jay Ar was decorated while a dejected Walsh took Robin Dundee back to the stables. Well into the presentation an announcement was made over the PA to the 15,000 crowd declaring a dead heat.  Officials hastily recalled Robin Dundee to the presentation, transferred the sash to the mare and both horses did a victory lap together. Jack Hewitt, Mrs Hewitt and Roy McKenzie with the Interdominion trophies they had to share As an eight year old, there was no stopping Robin Dundee. She raced 25 times in New Zealand during 1965-1966 season for eight wins, nine seconds, and one third for 14,855 pounds, making her New Zealand’s leading stakes earner for that season. As a nine year old she started in New Zealand nine times for two wins, one second and one third. She was then leased to an American syndicate which included famous New York trainer Eddie Cobb. She arrived in America with a New Zealand career record of 25 wins, 32 seconds and 10 thirds and New Zealand stakes earnings of $79,248. Her first American target was the 1967 International Series at Yonkers but she contracted a virus on the eve of the series, finished fifth and was then withdrawn. In January 1968 Robin Dundee went under the knife again to remove bothersome splint bones. The operation was successful and she was put back into light work. As an 11 year old she won her first race at Roosevelt Raceway, finishing the season with 5 wins, 8 seconds and 6 thirds for earnings $59,275 from 35 starts. As a twelve year old she raced 5 times for only one third and was retired after finishing last in May 1969. Her lifetime earnings were $292,272. Robin Dundee will be remembered as the first pacer to beat the two-minute mark in a race when she won the Craven Filer Miracle Mile at Harold Park in 1967 in a time of 1-59.0. “You can’t forget the Miracle Mile because she was the first mare in Australasia to break two minutes,” said driver Robert Cameron. Cameron ended up winning eight races in New Zealand driving Robin Dundee, so he knew her pretty well. “She got a bit crabby at times like a lot of those good fillies. But she was a terrific mare that would never stop trying. You had to be a bit careful from a stand because if you touched her mouth she was inclined to lose it. She got better as the years went on.” Robin Dundee also carried a bridesmaids tag throughout her career. She ran second in the 1966 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Harold Park to Chamfer’s Star, was runner up three times to Cardigan Bay, Garry Dillon and Lordship in the New Zealand Cup, and in Freehold New Jersey in 1968 she chased Cardigan Bay home when he became the first pacer to win a million dollars. Robin Dundee’s record New Zealand: At Three (1960-1961): 15-4-4-1 At Four (1961-1962): 21-2-5-3 At Five (1962-1963): 24-2-6-1 At Six (1963-1964): 13-2-3-2 At Seven (1964-1965): 12-5-4-1 At Eight (1965-1966): 25-8-8-1 At Nine (1966-1967): 9-2-1-1 New Zealand Total: 119-25-31-10 First New Zealand win: Southern Stakes at Ascot Park Invercargill Saturday 29th October 1960 Driven by Charlie Franks. Winning margin sixteen and a half lengths. Last New Zealand win: Saturday 19th November 1966 – Olliver Handicap at Addington when she beat Lordship off 54 year handicap – Driven by Robert Cameron. Notable New Zealand wins: Interdominion Final, dead heating with Jay Ar at Forbury Park. 1960 New Zealand Oaks Flying Mile at Addington running 1-59. Alan Matson Stakes 1965 Hannon Memorial 1965 New Zealand Free For All 1965 Auckland Cup Olliver Handicap GJ Barton Memorial at Forbury Park Successful drivers of Robin Dundee in New Zealand: Robert Cameron 8, Maurice Holmes 8, Doody Townley 5, Charlie Franks 2, Bob Young 1 and Kevin Murray 1 Other known facts: She won $229,270 in stakes by racing in New Zealand, Australia and America. Was the first horse to better two minutes in a race in Australia. Won 1967 Miracle Mile pacing the journey in 1-59. The winning stake was $12,500. Was runner up three times in the New Zealand Trotting Cup (Cardigan Bay 1963), (Garry Dillion 1965) and (Lordship 1966). Ran four times in the Interdominion Final. As a broodmare Robin Dundee had a lot of bad luck. Her best race horse was Genghis Khan which paced 1-51.8 in America. She also left Dundee Adios which stood at Roddy McFarlane’s stud near Winton. Truly one of the great race mares to represent Southland across three countries.   Bruce Stewart

He has driven the New Zealand greats Cardigan Bay and Robin Dundee and in his prime was regarded as one of the best big money harness racing drivers in the business. These days Kevin (K D) Murray spends his time lending a hand at the Avenel stables of David Aiken on most mornings. He’s been doing it for the past 15 years since retiring from race driving. Mucking out the stalls, gearing up horses for a training session and washing those down who have been worked is a far cry from some heady times in the industry he experienced in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Still a fit 81, Kevin Murray will probably never let go completely of the industry he has been part of for the last 70 years. But he did confess it wouldn’t have been that way until the death of wife Pamela four years ago. ‘‘We intended to do some travelling overseas and enjoy life a bit. Now I just do this (help out at the Aiken stable) to keep myself occupied,’’ he says. Kevin Murray came to Australia in the mid 1960s to campaign a trotter called Grand Charge, who had run third to Popette in the Inter Dominion final in 1964 in Dunedin. That was after he has driven the great Cardigan Bay in track work and had two wins on the mighty pint-sized mare, Robin Dundee, two of the New Zealand’s greatest and best known and loved harness racing horses. When arriving in Australia Kevin set up stables at Wallan with the help if his good friend from their New Zealand days Noel Evans and immediately made his mark as an accomplished reinsman and trainer. His driving skills and ability to win when the big money was on in particular were in demand and he drove for notable trainers and owners such as Jack Moore, Bob Knight and Kevin and Patsy Abrahams. One of the Abrahams breed, Gyro, is one of his favourites. ‘‘He was a real speedster and they said he couldn’t stick but I won the Italian Cup on him over 2700 meters,’’ he reflects with a large smile. But Murray also made his mark with some of the horses he trained and drove such as the outstanding trotters Silken, Reteps Pride and Skipper Don the pacers Freedom Day and The Warrior, the last horse he trained.   ‘‘I actually beat the great Scotch Notch in a race at Moonee Valley one night with Skipper Don which was a big thrill,’’ Kevin reflected proudly. Murray declares Cardigan Bay as the best pacer he has ever seen and in Australia Popular Alm the best pacer and Maoris Idol the best trotter. ‘‘They were all true champions in every sense of the word.’’ by Gus Underwood

Cardigan Bay was harness racing’s first superstar pacer to come to North American from New Zealand, where he was beloved in the early 1960s. Among his major victories 'Down Under' are the 1963 New Zealand Cup when he started 54 yards behind the field and the Auckland Cup where he was given a 78 yard handicap. The same year he also captured Australia’s Inter Dominion Pacing Championship. One of the gelding's most memorable wins was in a major race at Addington Raceway in Christchurch, New Zealand while the grandstand as on fire. A photo of that race is considered to be one of the great iconic images of horse racing. Cardigan Bay came to the United States at the advanced age of eight on a "racing lease" and joined the stable of National Hall of Famer Stanley Dancer for a payment of $125,000, despite the fact he had only $US137,000 in earnings. Cardigan Bay was also "down on the hip" from a severe injury he suffered earlier in New Zealand. Cardigan Bay would be dominant in the U.S.A. for three years, beating the absolute best pacers in the country on a regular basis. He became the only horse to have defeated the three future Hall of Fame horses of that era— Bret Hanover, Overtrick and Meadow Skipper. In 1964, Overtick and Cardigan Bay tangled in the Dan Patch Pace and the Dan Patch Encore. Cardigan Bay prevailed by the shortest of noses in the Dan Patch, but Overtrick got his revenge in the Encore. Cardy’s most famous victory in the US came in the Pace of the Century against the great Bret Hanover in 1966. Cardigan Bay and Dancer proved best before a jammed-pack Yonkers crowd of 45,000. Bret Hanover would avenge that setback when the two great pacers met again in the "Revenge Pace."  In 1968 at the age of 12, Cardy, near the end of his career, needed about $85,000 in his quest to become the first Standardbred to win $1million - a feat he accomplished at Freehold in his last start. A month after he had reached the million dollar mark, the horse was honored at Yonkers on Cardigan Bay Day. The next evening he walked a long red carpet with Dancer and made his appearance on the old popular Ed Sullivan TV show. Dancer then retired possibly the most well-known racehorse ever to come from New Zealand. Cardigan Bay finished his racing career with 80 victories, 25 seconds and 22 thirds from 154 starts and was named the U.S. Pacer of the Year in 1965 and 1968. He was then returned to New Zealand with great fanfare and lived his retirement in luxury for nearly 20 years until his death at age 32. When Cardy passed away Dancer reflected on the horse’s final year of racing and said: “At the end he was going on heart alone . . . what a mighty heart in must have been.” In 1970 the New Zealand Post Office issued a postage stamp to recognize the achievements of Cardinal Bay. 1968 Provincial Cup _ Windsor Raceway It's two straight for Dancer and Cardigan Bay, harness racing's first $1 million earning horse. The victory allows Cardigan Bay to break Bret Hanover's record for career earnings. Jesta Hill is second, the highest finish in Cup history by a mare and Dancing David, original winner of the Cup, is third. By Mike Paradise

Pompano Beach, FL --- The history of one of the world’s most majestic sports, harness racing, is well over 200-years-old in the United States and, one of the most iconic facilities encompassing harness racing’s grand tradition, Roosevelt Raceway, is brought to life in a most succinct manner by authors Victoria M. Howard, Billy Haughton and Freddie Hudson. Now closed for more than a quarter century, Roosevelt Raceway is where night time harness racing began and flourished for some four plus decades. The authors have unlocked a vault of memories, not only reliving history under the lights as many of today’s “old-timers” witnessed, but unearthing occurrences that, heretofore, were kept “hushed up”--only known by a few raceway executives--now erased from this earth, either naturally or otherwise--and a few underworld cronies, also no longer in this world, again, either naturally or otherwise. The initial chapters deal with George Morton Levy, the founding father of racing under the stars, and his connections with the underworld and politicians, some of whom were as crooked as many of the numbers on the Roosevelt Raceway infield tote-board. The book also covers the introduction of the “savior” of the sport--the mobile starting gate--as well as the celebrities, fatal occurrences, riots and characters that made Roosevelt Raceway the subject matter in, literally, millions of conversations over the years. Great horses, like the artichoke eating French-bred trotter Jamin and the grand Su Mac Lad, who, literally, wore out three sets of “free-for-all” trotters over his career, are brought back to life in this book...as well as greats like Bye Bye Byrd, Adios Butler, Cardigan Bay and Bret Hanover. And, of course, the book completes its task with a tribute to many of the sport’s great drivers who competed at Roosevelt Raceway--Billy, Stanley, Buddy, “Loosh,” “The Red Man,” Herve, Benny “The Whip” and “Toothpick Del,” to name a few. One of my favorite chapters is the one entitled “Stories Remembered,” a hilarious recollection of anecdotes both on and off the track. This book is a “must” for racing fans. It will bring back great memories and lighten every day it is in your hands. An official launch date for the book has not been released but it is due to be on shelves before November 1. by John Berry, - John Berry is a long time harness racing publictist, an inductee of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicators, a past president of the US Harness Writers Association and a prior Hervey Writing Award winner.

Next Wednesday (August 27th) will see the launch of the book "Against All Odds"  which is an historical account of the life and times of the Manawatu Harness Racing Club. The brainchild of Duncan and Denise Neilson, the book chronicles the establishment of the club in June 1893 and takes you through all its trials and tribulations through to 2014. Having read the book , we can honestly say it is one of those books that once you have picked it up it is hard to put down. It gives you an insight into a different world that most of the readers will have little idea of and even less understanding of. The club was in existence for nearly seventy years before it had its own track and facilities at its present site and the problems associated with racing prior to that at Awapuni and Ashhurst are well covered. Champions of today may have never raced at Manawatu Raceway but between 1940 and 1990 the club hosted most of the stars of the time from Johnny Globe through to Cardigan Bay to Blossom Lady. The constant battle to stay afloat in the early days through to a crowd of 6500 people on the establishment of night trotting in November 1962 is well covered and give readers an insight into how lucky we are to have had such committed people involved in the club's development.  What also becomes apparent is how much things have changed within the trotting industry especially in the last 30 years. Unfortunately Duncan Neilson passed away in April 2014 and didn't get to see this labour of love come to fruition but Denise should be very proud of the book she and Duncan have produced. Copies can be purchased from the M.H.R.C. at  manawatu.hrc@inspire.net.nz or phone  (64) 6 355 1674. Harnesslink Media  

I realize that many believe ten-year-old Foiled Again is hands down the greatest harness racing greybeard pacer ever, but that simply isn’t true. Yes, Foiled Again has won more money than any Standardbred ever in North America, but another aging gelding, one who used to hold that title, was better—Cardigan  Bay. Stanley Dancer leased him from Down Under for $100,000 in the winter of 1964, when he was eight. The horse had come close to being destroyed two years earlier when he sustained a serious hip injury. The Hal Tryax gelding had won more than thirty stakes races in his home country, often handicapped as much as 132 yards at the start. His earnings stood at $156,000. He made his first start at Yonkers Raceway in May of that year. It was a winning effort and the following week he faced the great Overtrick in the mile and a half International Pace, losing a neck. Two weeks later he was the 1/2 favorite in the mile and a quarter Good Time Pace and had no trouble beating the likes of Meadow Skipper, Henry T Adios, Rusty Range, Adora’s Dream, Irvin Paul and Country Don. There aren’t any fields of FFA pacers like that today. He then beat the same bunch in the two mile National Championship. Cardigan Bay and Overtrick then traded narrow wins in a pair of match races. In 1965, as a nine-year-old, Cardigan Bay popped splints in his front legs and had surgery on one of those legs. When he got back in early June he crushed a FFA field which included Fly Fly Byrd and Bengazi Hanover, from the outside post. He then won the $50,000 Dan Patch Pace at a mile and a half over Oreti, Cold Front and Fly Fly Byrd. In September he won the $50,000 Bye Bye Byrd at a mile and a half, paying 2.80. Cardigan Bay won three more at Yonkers before going to California where he beat giant slayer Adios Vic in three of four races, after which he returned to New York and won the NPD and the Nassau. Foiled Again has won an impressive 39% of his lifetime starts. Cardigan Bay won 52% of his in North America and Down Under. Each of them are credited with 20 stakes wins in North America, and Foiled Again is still racing. Again, Cardigan Bay also won more than thirty stakes before he was imported. At age ten Cardy started the season with a win at Liberty Bell, and then moved on to Yonkers where he won seven stakes races, including the $100,000 mile and a half International Pace, where he created the largest minus pool ever--$33,000. $143,435 of the $151,750 bet to show was on him. They then barred him from betting in the mile and a quarter Good Time, which he also won over Adora’s Dream and Orbiter N. Adios Vic was then favored in the $50,000 National Pace, only because there was no betting on Cardy. He made three moves and pulled away from Vic in the last quarter. Bret Hanover had never been beaten on a half when Cardy did it in the Pace of the Century at Yonkers. Bret returned the favor a week later at Roosevelt. Cardy capped that season with a win in the $50,000 Nassau Pace at a mile and a half . He paid $3.60. In 1967, when Cardigan Bay was eleven, he started the season by equaling the track record at Windsor in the Provincial Cup—this is in March. Fearing minus pools tracks refused to give him a race. Finally Roosevelt relented and the grizzled gelding crushed Orbiter and Tactile, paying 2.40. He’d been handicapped with the outside post, but the track insisted that from that point on he would also be handicapped by yardage, something that was unheard of in North America. Dancer balked and sat the next one out. Every year there was a new wave of stars graduating to the FFA ranks: Romeo Hanover, True Duane, Bret Hanover and Romulus Hanover. Cardy was showing his age, but was still a formidable opponent, with early season wins in the Valley Forge, provincial Cup and Clark. In May, when he beat True Duane in the Adios Butler at Roosevelt, he paid $10.60, which was the highest payoff on Cardigan Bay to that point in North America. Dancer’s goal was that he become the first ever million dollar winning Standardbred, which he did by winning a $15,000 Pace at Freehold in the fall over little Robin Dundee and Jerry Gauman. This put him in the company of the eight thoroughbreds who had become millionaires. He was retired at Yonkers Raceway on October 12. Cardigan Bay certainly gets extra points for dominating at all distances, from a mile to two-miles. On the other hand, Foiled Again doesn’t have that opportunity so you can’t hold that against him. Cardy was more of a consistent big time player than Foiled Again has been; yes, those were significant triumphs in the TVG and BC last year, but there are too many wins in the Quillen, Molson, IPD, Battle of Lake Erie and Levy, and not enough of the top tier FFA stakes. Cardy won the Good Time twice, the National Championship twice, the Nassau twice, the Provincial Cup twice, the International, the Pace of the Century, the Clark, Dan Patch ….And the fact that he had never paid off at higher than 4/1 during his first four years racing in North America is noteworthy. Foiled has gone off at double digits many times. Cardy was a preeminent force at ten and eleven. We’ll see if Foiled Again also rules in his old age. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

Star two-year-old Follow The Stars, who completed a hatrick of wins when taking out the Cardigan Bay $100,000 Young Guns Final at Alexandra Park on March 7, will now eye the rich Australian Pacing Gold Series. His dominant victory in the Young Guns Final followed a breathtaking 1-53.8 win in the Sapling Stakes. For Follow The Stars owners, Phil & Glenys Kennard, Neil Pilcher, Phil & Margaret Creighton, and Gavin Douglas, it was remarkably their third win in the great race over the past four years. The syndicate first took the race out with Major Mark before making it a race-to-race double with Fly Like An Eagle the year after. The Art Major colt, who is arguably New Zealand’s top two-year-old, will compete in heats of the APG series in April before hopefully competing in the $322,000 on the 2nd of May. Meanwhile, Purdon and Rasmussen’s other two-year-olds, highlighted by Itz Bettor To Win, will head towards the Welcome Stakes on the 11th of April. By Mitchell Robertson

A Bettor’s Delight colt with ‘Rockstar looks’ out of Christian Cullen mare Galleons Supreme  has topped the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale, fetching $130,000 for his Woodlands Stud vendors. Bettor Cheer, who is out of a half-sister to star Bettor’s Delight mare Cheer The Lady ($314,625), was purchased by prolific Australian owners Emilio and Maria Rosati and is likely to be trained in New Zealand by Tony Herlihy The bay colt, who was lot 57, hails from the family of top producer No Regrets, who herself was a half sister to Cup winner Globe Bay and a relative of the immortal Cardigan Bay. Galleon’s Cheer, Galleon’s Treasure, No Equal, Nevermore, Chancellor Cullen, Franco Nester, and Franco Nelson are just some of the names printed in black on Bettor Cheer’s pedigree page. John Street of Lincoln Farms was another who was prepared to fork out big dollars at the sale. His most expensive purchase was a Mach Three colt out of top mare Angelina Jane called Like A Hurricane who set him back $96,000, while he also secured a full-brother to Besotted for $32,500, and a Real Desire half-brother to Tintin In America for 84,000. Purdon brothers, Mark and Barry, both purchased yearlings from families they have had great success with in the past, with Barry securing a brother to Bettor Offer for $46,000 and a sister to Five Card Draw and (half) Ideal Belle for $75,000. Mark on the other hand, purchased a Mach Three half-brother to his Oaks winning filly O Baby for $48,000. His other buys included Conversion (Christian Cullen – Coburg), $45,000, and Sophisticated Lady (Mach Three – Gentle Anvil) $70,000, while his large band of owners were also very active. The other top lots were lot 45 - Alta Las Vegas, Bettor's Delight - Alta Camilla ($77,500 - Robert Dunn), lot 75 – Derringer, Bettor’s Delight – Bury My Heart ($75,000 – Mark Jones), lot 76 – Zadaka, Mach Three – Copper Beach ($115, 000 – Geoff Small), and lot 108 – Mavros, Bettor’s Delight – Its Showtime ($75,000 – Rosslands Stud) The overseas contingent once again played a strong part in the sale with many yearlings now Australian bound and two possibly even heading for the USA.   Those two particular yearlings are Cyclone Charlie (Rock N Roll Heaven – Eyre To The Throne) and Maia Maguire (Bettor’s Delight – Mystic Gold) who were purchased by G L Banks & M J Hanover of the USA for $74,000 and $31,000 respectively. Meanwhile, the top trotting lot of the day was lot 47, Gunners Coin, a stunning Muscle Hill colt out of Galleons Dream. He reached $100,000 but that fell well short of  his $200,000 reserve. To view full results for the Australasian Classic Yearling Sales click here. By Mitchell Robertson

A “brute” usually brings to mind a bully, a scuffler, a fighter – and one who is quite boisterous, outspoken, while going about what he or she perceives as his or her business. Never, then, was a harness racing horse less-aptly-named than the Credit Winner trotter Calchips Brute. He is a harness racing millionaire, but his steady march to seven-figure status has been among the quietest-such ascendancies in recent times. And both trainer Trond Smedshammer and Jerry Giuliani, handling the stud arrangements for the horse as he now tries a stallion/racehorse double career for the 2014 racing season, say that while he is all business on the racetrack, he is a very nice horse to be around, well-mannered. Credit Winner’s success story need not be retold; however, it can also be noted that his second dam, Grassbred, also produced Me Maggie, a $700,000+ winner. Where Calchips Brute gets his versatility, tractability, and tenacity, though, may find its key in his second dam – Petite Evander. Petite Evander’s story is a lot like Cardigan Bay’s – a star in her native New Zealand, brought over to the United States, and able to go with the best of her peers, male or female, for several years. Where “Petite” goes “Cardy” one better, though, was that she was also invited to race in Europe, where she won the Elitlopp Consolation in 1978, a year where she also was second in Cold Comfort’s Roosevelt International win – at the age of eight. She raced until she was 11, and earned $800,000+ worldwide. The quietest million-dollar winner may have been the quietest half-million dollar season winner too, when in 2009 Calchips Brute finished 3-3 in the Empire Breeders Classic (despite post 9 in the elim and 6 in the final), 3-3 in the Hambletonian (5 of 7 in the elim and 6 in the final), and 2-3 in the Yonkers Trot (7 in the elim and 6 in the final over the half-mile track; and the writer must defer credit to Mr. Giuliani for remembering/reliving-with-a-sigh that post rundown). With his $182,438 check for his third in the Hambo (the two in front of him that day you may have heard of: Muscle Hill and Explosive Matter) and other high stakes finishes (including a second in the Matron Final), plus six on the board (2w-2p-2s) finishes in NYSS competition, his sophomore bankroll was $552,573. Calchips Brute has not been fazed by anything thrown at him: bouncing back from time off; outside posts over the half-mile track, which were often his starting vantage in Open handicaps at Yonkers; or track size: he took his seasonal mark at The Meadowlands twice, Yonkers twice, and Tioga once. “He’s a good-looking, athletic horse,” states Smedshammer. “He is good-gaited, 100% safe, and has never made a break in his life. His trotting technique is very good. “Giuliani also noted that the horse has never lapsed from gait, then added, “He gives his best race 100% of the time. “We’re going to try racing him every other week and also do some stud duty this year,” Giuliani said, “I think he’ll be an outstanding sire. I have broodmares with other partners, and some of them have commitments to other stallions this year, but every trotting broodmare I own outright I’m breeding to Calchips Brute.” If you want to follow Jerry Giuliani’s lead and “get back in on the new ground floor of the New Jersey Sire Stakes,” Calchips Brute is standing for $3,500 ($3,000 for multiple mares) at Walnridge Farm, and Giuliani can be reached at 215-837-4629. Aside from his abilities at the post pill shake, it seems like Calchips Brute has a good chance as a stallion (a Brute as a lover – interesting), while also adding further to that $1,000,000+ bankroll. By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com

When Ross Wolfenden was growing up in New Zealand he dreamed of driving in the United States. His father Peter Wolfenden was a hero there through the deeds of New Zealand’s greatest pacer – Cardigan Bay. It was something he wanted to do – and now more than four decades later Wolfenden has been the leading driver in Delaware for several years. “I came here (USA) with Dad when I was a kid and realised everything was much bigger and faster in the States. I thought to myself I want to do that one day. That dream always stayed with me, and now I’m married to an American lady, and living the dream,” the 50-year-old Felton (Delaware) resident said. Wolfenden relocated to the United States in 1993 and had a good look around the country before taking up driving seriously a couple of seasons later. He scoffed at being told he was New Zealand’s most winningest driver. “You can’t compare me to Tony Herlihy and Maurice McKendry who have won 3,000 races. I race five days a week and could race seven if I didn’t have a family. “In New Zealand they race one and two times a week if they are lucky. There’s a lot more racing opportunities here. If I was back in New Zealand I would be nowhere near 3,000,” Wolfenden said. As at Sunday January 26, Wolfenden had driven 5,746 winners from 41,327 drives. He’s also ran second 5,746 times and placed third on 5,933 occasions. His career earnings stand at a whopping $52,097,215. His best year since taking up driving in the United States in 1993 came in 2010 when he reined home 405 winners. Stake-wise 2007 was his best season when he cracked $4.2 million in purses. As for his training stats, Wolfenden has only trained 15 seasons since 1994, winning 98 races from 361 starters. His career earnings there stand at $561,911. His legendary father, Pukekohe based Peter won 1,762 races throughout his New Zealand career. Wolfenden junior never ever thought he would surpass his number of race wins and still believes he hasn’t. “What Dad did was amazing because he could have driven a lot more, but didn’t. You can’t compare the two countries. I’m very proud of what my father did in the sulky. Yes he was and still is a legend down there. “And many people up here still remember him from those Cardigan Bay days. That’s an honour,” Wolfenden told HRNZ from his Delaware home. The USA ‘Wolfie’ has won just over twenty $100,000 races, and has driven six winners at a meeting eight times. In May 2012 he astonishingly won eight of the 13 races on offer at Harrington Raceway – the last being the best horse he has trained, the now 10-year-old Camotion – Run With The Tiger (Albatross) mare, Keystone Rhythm. “She’s a lovely mare and won the Mares Invitational several times. She’s gone a bit lame at present. I want to keep racing her, but if she doesn’t come back I’ll breed from her. “She’s from the Albatross line so I think she will leave some nice foals,” said Wolfenden. ‘Wolfie’ has won the last four Harrington driving titles and been in the top three reinsmen at Dover Downs for several years. His biggest win came in 1998 behind Soul Of The Matter in the $150,000 Battle Of Freehold Pace. “I’ve never really driven at the big tracks. I did however drive at the Lexington Red Mile one day and won behind the Mark Harder trained Pleasure Chest. That was 2001 and we went 1:50.5. “I came to Delaware in 2003 simply because they were the first state to implement the slots. I live just eight minutes from Harrington and 20 from Dover Downs. “It suits me nicely here. Sometimes when I was driving in New Jersey it would take me three hours in peak hour traffic to get home. When Riley was born I soon wised up to that. I’m now getting much more sleep,” Wolfenden said. Riley (13) is his only child. He met his Pennsylvanian-born wife Ingrid while driving in California in 1994. Asked if he had any ambitions left in the sport, Wolfenden replied: “I want to keep driving and win 6,000 races. I’d also like to own a good horse because that way there’s not so much work and the money is easier to make,” he said. In New Zealand Wolfenden drove from 1986-1992, winning 50 races from 725 starters and amassing $444,250 in stakes. “If I had my life over again I think I would have probably settled in Australia, simply because it’s a lot closer to home. “Racing never stops over here and sadly because of that it’s been seven years since I last seen my parents. I would give anything to get back there and see my family and do some fishing. “I’d love to catch a big snapper and get someone to show me how to smoke it,” Wolfenden added. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)  

One of the great names in New Zealand harness racing was back in the winner’s circle after a season’s absence at Alexandra Park on Tuesday (Dec 10). The surname Wolfenden appeared on the winner’s sheet when Flanyattice scored in the seventh race – the $5,000 Kumeu/Manukau Graduation Pace. It was 78-year-old Peter and Glen’s (51) first training win since the 2011-2012 season. It was also the father and son’s first victory since relocating from Drury to Pukekohe last year. They had been at their Bremner Road farm in Drury for 30 years. When the property sold Glen Wolfenden did something he had always wanted to do – travel. “It was time for a break. I’d been driving since the mid-1980s and training since 2006. My partner and I went to a lot of places in Europe and Dubai. We went all around Italy. That was enjoyable,” Wolfenden said. The Wolfendens had just one starter to races last year for a second. Flanyattice provided them with their first win in three starters this year. “Although I needed the break, it actually feels good to be back. It was especially good to be back winning again. We are working about four or five and we have a few promising young ones,” Wolfenden said. “Yes, I still would like to win a Group race,” he said. Peter Wolfenden (MBE), is the man who drove champion pacer and New Zealand great, Cardigan Bay. He won 14 driving premierships, including eight consecutive titles from 1974, and twice won the Australasian Drivers Championship. ‘Wolfie’ represented New Zealand seven times in the World Drivers Championship, placing second in 1977 and third in 1971. He won 1,762 races in the sulky and has trained more than 800 winners. These days Wolfenden senior operates in a largely advisory role. “Dad seldom gets down to the stable these days but he’s still very interested. We all live in Pukekohe. We’ve invested a bit of money into the game. I’ve got a bit of time for two young trotters in particular,” said Wolfenden. “Three-year-old Cheval Rapide (Love You – Natural Pearl) is a promising colt. I also like Ashton Hall, a 2-year-old Angus Hall – Natural Glow colt,” he added. Wolfenden was delighted that Flanyattice had finally triumphed for his loyal owners – Wayne Flanagan, R.D. Price, and P.C. Wyatt. “Wayne has been a client of ours for 25 years and has had some good horses over the years like Arawa Jack. I’m pleased for him because it was him who wanted me to persevere with the horse after he was off the scene for 12 months with a bad virus. “The way he went on Tuesday I’d say he’s a chance again in next Tuesday’s final. Flanyattice, a 5-year-old Julius Caesar – Delightful Jaccka entire, has now raced 20 times since July 2011 for one win and four seconds. He was driven by Wolfenden and was the fourth favourite of 11, paying $7.60 to win. Footnote: For the record Wolfenden’s brother Ross is New Zealand’s most successful reinsman having won 5,713 races and more than $51.7 million in purses in the United States. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

The final drivers have been announced for the 68th Little Brown Jug. In the second elimination David Miller has selected Lucan Hanover (post #4). Beach Memories (post #5) will have the services of Yannick Gingras. Urbanite Hanover (post #7) will be driven by Ron Pierce. In the final $58,939 elimination, Andy Miller will stay with Johny Rock (post #4) allowing Corey Callahan to pick up the drive with Resistance Futile (post #2). Jug Undercard Filled with Millionares Six millionares are scheduled to compete in the LBJ undercard on Thursday, September 19. A Rocknroll Dance with career earnings of $2.411,629 is the richest of the millionares. He will take on Pet Rock ($1,632, 397) in the $51,250 Winbak Farm Pace. Pet Rock established a new world record of 1:47 2/5 in his last start in the $125,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs. The win snaped A Rocknroll Dance's three race win streak, all in 1:47 4/5 or better. The $125,000 Ms. Versitility Trot Final will be a showdown between Maven ($1,148,219), Cedar Dove ($1,101,080) and Beatgoeson Hanover ($1,123,580). Fred And Ginger is the lone millionare in the $10,000 Won The West Open pace. A Look Back 50 years at Overtrick, winner of the 1963 LBJ In 1963, Overtrick won the Little Brown Jug against arch rivals Meadow Skipper and Country Don setting seven World Records. Now, 50 years later, Overtrick was enshrined as an Immortal in Harness Racing’s Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY. The bay son of Solicator was bred and owned by Helen R. and Leonard J. Buck of Far Hills, NJ. Foaled in 1960, he was trained and driven by John Patterson, Sr. Overtrick raced from 1962 through 1964 and had a lifetime record of 50-34-10-0 including 15 two-minute miles and career earnings of $407,483. He was also voted "Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year" in 1962 and "Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year" in 1963. In 1962, no two-year-old Standardbred had a faster race time on a mile track than Overtrick’s 1:59.4 (tied with Meadow Skipper) and he was sole owner of the fastest two-year-old mile on a half-mile track (2:01.3). Winning efforts that year included the Little Pat Stake, McMahon Memorial and Ohio Standardbred Futurity at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. He finished his freshman season with a 16-10-3-0 record and $40,129 in earnings. In 1963, Overtrick became the fastest Standardbred to ever race on a half-mile track. His 1:57.1 mark in the first heat of the Little Brown Jug would help set seven World Records including the combined two-heat World Record of 3:54.4h. Other wins during his sophomore season included the Liberty Bell, Battle of Saratoga, Hanover-Hempt, Geers and Messenger Stakes. Overtrick finished his sophomore campaign with a 23-16-4-0 record and earnings of $208,833, the most ever for a 3-year-old pacer in a single season. Overtrick finished second to trotting triple crown winner, Speedy Scot in the voting for "Horse of The Year" in 1963. In 1964, Overtrick garnered season’s records for four-year-old horse on both a mile track (1:57.2) and half-mile track (1:59.1). Victories that year included the Realization Pace, International Pace (defeating the Immortal Cardigan Bay at 1 ½ miles) and the 1 ¼ mile Empire Pace. Despite being plagued by various injuries, he finished the season with an 11-8-3-0 record and $158,521 in the bank. Overtrick retired from the track as the ninth-leading money-winning Standardbred of all time. With each season, Overtrick’s winning and in-the-money percentages increased. As a two-year-old his winning percentage was 63 per cent and was in-the-money 81 per cent. As a three-year-old, 70 per cent and 87 per cent, and as a four-year-old, in spite of injuries which led to his premature retirement, his winning percentage was 73 per cent and was first or second in all 11 starts. Overtrick’s lifetime winning percentage of 68 percent compares topped several of his Immortal contemporaries, such as Meadow Skipper (44 per cent), Cardigan Bay (54 per cent in U.S.), and Bye Bye Byrd (52 per cent). Overtrick retired to stud at Lana Lobell Farm in Pennsylvania. He sired winners of over $22 million with one in 1:55—Shadydale Trixie, p,6, 1:54.3 $255,223—and 81 in 2:00. But his legacy was through his daughters. He was a top broodmare sire with over 600 two-minute credits. His daughters have produced winners of over $68 million, including Falcon Seelster p,3,1:51h ($1,121,045) and trotter Sandy Bowl 4,T1:54.1 ($1,299,199). Overtrick is the sire of Gidget Lobell, dam of No Nukes p,3,T1:52.1. In 1975, Overtrick was exported to Australia where he died in 1982 at the age of 22. Tom White, Publicity Director Emeritus

Veteran Sunbury reinsman Peter Wells landed a unique driving double at Bray Raceway Ballarat on Saturday August 24, when stablemates Dell Boy and Donkiri both from the Safely Kept mare Belle Kiri, scored in their respective races. Dell Boy a gelded son of Armbro Invasion coming from the 10 metre mark in the Lofra 2-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 2200 metres, peeled wide off a three wide trail on the back of Coimadai Lodge on the final bend, proving too strong at the finish for Coimadai Lodge by 1.5 metres in a rate of 2-06.9 and in doing so, eclipsed .3 of a second of Blitzthemcalder's juvenile track and class record. Waikare Aviator (one/two) finished third. Five year old Sundon mare Donkiri a former smart juvenile herself, returned to form with a tough victory in the Rinnai Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class also over 2200 metres. Despite doing it tough in the open for the last lap, Donkiri made a late lunge at Action Kosmos which led from the bell to register a last stride head decision in 2-04, with Paris Rose third after following the winner throughout. Peter could easily go into the Guiness Book Of Records for this (age) achievement. It was a week to remember for little known Diggers Rest trainer Carlo Corso who prepares the pair, as he was also successful at Horsham the previous Thursday with Just Call Me Mac in the Get Well Tony Logan 2-Y-0 Pace over 1700 metres. It was also a great week for owner/breeder John McHugh who has a share in all three winners. Peter Wells rising 80 years of age, first came to Australia from New Zealand to compete with a mare named Super Royal in the 1959 (Melbourne) Inter Dominions prior to making Melbourne home and has been involved with a number of smart horses including the great Cardigan Bay, Waitaki Hanover, Koranui and Super Scope Len Baker  

International column by Jerry Connors

On Saturday, August 3 at the Meadowlands could well be the “Pace of he Century” as the best pacers in perhaps the world will go head and head in the $250,000 final of the US Pacing Championship. Household names in harness racing, Sweet Lou, Warrawee Needy, Foiled Again, Golden Receiver, Bolt The Duer, A Rocknroll Dance, Modern Legend, Hurrikane Kingcole, Pet Rock and Thinking Out Loud will all battle it out in the big race. In 2013 these and other superb older pacers have brought back to those who can remember and to those who have studied harness racing history, memories of what use to be a weekly occurrence in harness racing, great match-ups that you looked forward to seeing and reading about. Week in and week out these top pacers do battle and each week it seems that another “star” emerges in the limelight and will they be able to repeat their herculean efforts from the prior week. But this is nothing new for harness racing. It happened every week across the nation in the 1960’s and I for one am glad that history is repeating itself. After last night’s classic battles in the eliminations for the US Pacing Championship I pulled out my treasured scrap books from two of the greatest years in harness racing history for older pacers, 1965 and 1966. And low and behold this is what I found. The exact same scenarios we are witnessing today. The best pacers in the world battling weekly across the nation, only back then there was no simulcasting, no viewing races online or from your cell phone, no National Raceline allowing you to hear the all of the race within minutes of it happening. There were no fax machines, only teletype, telephone and the radio! Television was barely in existence. On May 20, 1966, Yonkers Raceway boasted that they had the “Pace of the Century” and at the time they were right. They had the first of many battles between what was deemed the two best harness horses in the sport meeting for the first time. It was the ten-year-old Cardigan Bay taking on the four-year-old Bret Hanover against three other rivals in a win betting only race for a purse of $65,000! Cardigan Bay had been racing every week against the best older pacers in racing. Bret Hanover had but two starts that year and won them both and was on a seven race winning streak at the time. And what a race it was! Sweet Luck and driver/trainer Joe Cardana were the speed demons and they cut the mile with Firesweep (Lucien Fontaine) getting the two-hole spot. They led to the half mile until Stanley Dancer came first-over with Cardigan Bay and Frank Ervin followed their outside flow with Bret Hanover and Adios Marches (Charles King) could see them all. As they came down the stretch Cardigan Bay had the lead with Ervin and Bret Hanover hot on their heels but to no avail as Cardigan Bay and Dancer won by two lengths in 2:00 with Bret Hanover second and Adios Marches closing well for third place. And if you don’t think the drivers back then had fun with each other than just look at the photo finish of the race (yes, I got lots of them from the 1960’s) and you will see Stanley Dancer turning and smiling back at Frank Ervin as Cardigan Bay won the race. Every newspaper in North America and around the world covered these races. The sports pages had cartoonists with images of the top horses, taunting who would win the following week. Harness racing was the king of sports during this era. Bret Hanover won the next meeting, the purse was $50,000. Rex Pick was second and Cardigan Bay third. Bret won the next matchup, then Cardigan Bay won two straight. They raced at Brandywine and Liberty Bell and then off to Hollywood Park in California where True Duane beat them both. The greatest horses were going every week, Romulus Hanover, Overcall, Glad Rags, Adios Vic, Rivaltime, Smokeover N, Poconomoonshine, Harry’s Bride and the great Romeo Hanover, who had won 18 of 19 starts at age 3 joined the group and beat them all in his first try for trainer Jerry Silverman and driver George Sholty. Even the great mare, Meadow Elva, tried her luck against the boys. Also remember that back then at Yonker’s dining room in 1968, a shrimp cocktail was $2.00, the prime rib Empire Cut was $4.95, a filet mignon or sirloin steak was $7.50 and a slice of cheesecake was $0.85 cents! But yet these war horses could race every week or two for $25,000 to $50,000 purses and higher. Lucien Fontaine remembers those days very well. “I remembered Jerry Silverman would get so nervous before his horse (Romeo Hanover) would race he would turn his back and not watch,” Fontaine recalled. “It was so great to have these world champion race every week, just like they are doing today. It’s an incredible bunch of horses going today. They are racing like you use a car. They go first over and don’t quit.  “I don’t think back in the 1960’s that those horses could race first-over like they do today.” Fontaine said. “Adios Butler in 1961 once paced an eighth of a mile in :11.2 in the last quarter at Hollywood Park and that was faster than the Thoroughbreds could run!” “I chased those good horses with Poconomoonshine,” Fontaine said, “But was never able to beat them. We finished second a few times. I always hoped the pace was slow up front and that way we had a chance to come on late and get a good check. “What impressed me most during that era was the crowds and fan support,” Fontaine said. “The crowds would follow harness racing as much as a football and baseball. The stands every Friday and Saturday night at Yonkers or Roosevelt were packed and people would yell and cheer for their favorites and it was great. Every day the newspapers had stories and photographs on the races to keep everyone informed on what was going on. “But today we are seeing the same with the older pacers,” Fontaine said. “I know the crowds are not so great and the coverage in the newspaper is never enough, but with the internet and simulcasting race fans get to see everything. Back in the day you heard about big races from others and never got to see them. Now you can see video replays, read stories an hour after the race is over, hear interviews live after the race. It is all so great.” So it may not be Cardigan Bay, Bret Hanover, Adios Vic and Romeo Hanover going head and head this Saturday at the Meadowlands, but today’s speedsters, most of who are million dollar plus winners, will put on quite a show in the US Pacing Championship Final. Whether it be Foiled Again or Warrawee Needy or Sweet Lou or whomever of the top horses in the field, it is great to see that history does repeat itself. This Saturday could truly be the “Pace of the Century" or at least the dedcade. By Steve Wolf

The late Dr Lawrence Slobody was not only a brilliant American doctor and director of pediatrics but he was also a harness racing visionary. His son and standardbred enthusiast Roger, said that when New Zealand's millionaire pacer Cardigan Bay came to the United States in 1964 his father took an eighth share in the brilliant son of Hal Tryax.

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