TORONTO, April 19 - Mego Moss, driven by James MacDonald, enjoyed a beautiful trip en route to a career-best clocking of 1:52.4 in Saturday's lone $18,000 division of the Don Mills Series at Woodbine. Mego Moss quickly made his way to the front from post three well before the opening quarter in :27.3 with Its Payday Friday (Mario Baillargeon) and even-money favourite Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury) still parked on the outside. MacDonald elected to allow Its Payday Friday to command well before the half in :56.1, but Hldontghttoyurdrms was still parked on the outside. The pair would match strides past three-quarters in 1:24.1 with Mego Moss enjoying a ground-saving trip through speedy fractions. Down the stretch, MacDonald angled his charge three-wide and the 11-time winner gobbled up racetrack to win by one length. Crosbys Clam Bake (Paul Macdonell) came from behind to finish second, with Flight Of The Kiwi (Chris Christoforou) third. Its Payday Friday settled for fourth, with Hldontghttoyurdrms fifth. Trained by Carmen Auciello for owners Robert Watson, Mike Bartram and Armando Cappuccitti, Mego Moss increased his lifetime earnings to $128,845. The five-year-old gelded son of Amigo Hall has amassed a 4-1-2 record from 12 starts this season. He paid $7.20 to win. Last week's winner, West Side Story, elected to skip this week's second leg in order to prepare for the $43,000 final which goes Saturday, April 26. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
If anyone knows Jonathan Dury, aside from always being busy, they know he is truly a student of harness racing. From his time working with his father, Barry Drury, at Mohawk Racetrack, (Campbellville, ON), during the summer to picking up on slight nuisances' at all possible moments is what has driven Jonathan to the level of achievement he is currently earning as one of the top drivers at Woodbine Racetrack. Jonathan would help his dad anytime he was not in school. When Jonathan was very young, his ideal dream job would have been to drive big trucks. Moving several years down the line, when Jonathan was in high school, he contemplated having a career in architecture but due to his on-track success, that venture has been put on hold. If what we have seen of Jonathan the past few years is any indication of what lies ahead, there's a strong feeling he may put a permanent hold on entering the field of architectural design. Jonathan's dad still trains horses and Jonathan noted his dad used to work for harness racing legend Ron Waples back at the old Meadowlands as an assistant trainer. Jonathan started out at Woodstock Raceway and the first horse he drove was "a trotter for Chris Christoforou Sr. "It was my first time start and it was with a trotter" says Jonathan. "I like driving both pacers and trotters and I have had success driving trotters. A lot of trotters are trickier to drive than pacers but I still love driving trotters a lot." Away from the track earlier in his career, Jonathan enjoyed playing golf in the summer and hockey during the winter. "I was playing hockey for a few years for fun, then I broke my arm and called it quits for that..." says Jonathan with a laugh. Jonathan worked for several high caliber stables, such as Anthony Macdonald who had a lot of trotters. "I really learned a lot about how to handle a trotter" says Jonathan. Anthony Montini and Casie Coleman are two other elite trainers Jonathan worked for. "You see different ways of doing things." Jonathan explains. "Anthony Montini is a really nice guy; he even let me drive Primetime Bobcat in one of his last career starts. I can't say I learned one thing from anybody, its things you pick up and expand on when you work for someone else." It's about growing and learning while remaining humble and approachable that can you a long way in every aspect of life. As he progressed Jonathan moved on to drive at Kawartha Downs, (located in Fraserville, ON), "I really dug Kawartha Downs, I love driving on the 5/8th mile track. I spent time last summer driving at one at Pocono Downs. Kawartha was a great experience because I got to drive a lot of the better horses that went down there." Jonathan explains. "I was driving all of Corey Johnson's horses at one point and I was driving a lot of Tommy Riley's horses plus I was driving whatever Casie (Coleman) brought down there." Jonathan notes he learned a lot from driving horses for top notch trainers. How did Jonathan get to the point of driving all of Corey Johnson's horses? Well, Jonathan says he didn't know Corey at first but kept seeing his name listed to drive Corey's horses. "I was having a lot of luck down there and I was one of the top guys there driving for Tommy Riley... then the entries came out one day and I was listed to drive on three of Corey's horses and it was all trotters and I won with all three of them." Take off indeed, what was set in motion at Kawartha Downs truly snowballed for Jonathan, to the point that he was able to make a seamless transition to Canada's biggest racetracks, Woodbine and Mohawk. Winning with Vegas Vacation was special to Jonathan. "I actually spent a lot of time training him when I was working for Casie. I got to qualify him and I won with him on his first lifetime start." It holds a special spot in Jonathan's heart, especially given what Vegas Vacation has accomplished. "Vegas is a wicked horse with a ton of potential, I think he is going to get bigger, stronger and better" according to Jonathan and it is safe to say everyone would agree with his opinion. I certainly do! Jonathan admits it can difficult to get good drives and yes, if it was that easy everyone would be number one on the leader board. "I just try to work hard to get me to where I am" says Jonathan. "Carmen Auciello gave me the opportunity to go down to the Poconos to drive his horses down there and it was a great experience. I think it really helped me to be to where I am at today. It's a different style of racing down (at the Poconos), it taught me a lot and I am able to use that to my advantage now." "I love the Poconos and the track; it's a beautiful facility and a fast track that also gets a lot of good horses down there." I hear the architecture aficionado in Jonathan's voice when he's describing the facility at Pocono Downs. Jonathan was at the Meadowlands for the past three weekends driving Corey Johnson's trotter Hldontghttoyurdrms in the Horse and Groom series and expresses how much the new facility at the Meadowlands has improved. Jonathan's focus is to keep driving and learning more and more so he can better not only himself, but also better the results for the trainers and owners. His approach is to zone in on a team goal, not as an individual. "That's the best thing you can do is know as much as you can" Jonathan says when it comes to learning about other horses. "Knowing your horse, and knowing the rest of the horses, you can find ways to beat them with what you know about them." Jonathan enjoys watching elite drivers like Tim Tetrick and Brian Sears, "they can get so much out of their horse, put them in all the right places." Jonathan says. "I try to learn things from everybody to better myself." "I am very content racing horses; it's something I love doing so how can I complain about something I love?" Jonathan admits. "Horse racing has been a big part of my life, and now it is my life." "I like aggressive horses racing wise, I feel I can keep them calm" says Jonathan. When he's not driving, Jonathan will go out to his dad's barn to give him a hand or in the summers past he would help with Casie Coleman's stable. "If I have time off, I take it easy for the most part; maybe play some golf in the summer. Really I try to get some rest so I am ready to go." Jonathan explains. "I haven't raced since I was at the Meadowlands on Saturday. I had Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off and I was bored out of my mind having so many days off." In his time off, what keeps Jonathan mentally busy is music. "I'm a huge country music fan and also a huge Eminem fan. My favorite country group is Florida Georgia Line. I like all kinds of music depending on the mood I am in, but generally I listen to country." Jonathan says. As any avid music listener, Jonathan has his list of favorite concerts he has attended. The Jay Z and Eminem Home and Home tour concert, which took place in Detroit, is at the top of the list. A close second would be the concert he saw earlier this year that featured Jason Alden and Florida Georgia Line. This August, Jonathan will be rocking out to Linkin Park at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. A group he's been wanting to see live for quite some time. I posed the question to Jonathan, that if he could record a song with anyone or any group, he chose Florida Georgia Line. "Only because they look like they have a wicked time in their music videos." Jonathan says. A twist to his music curiosity is if Jonathan had the opportunity to sit down and talk with any music artist about their career, hands down it would be famed rapper, Eminem. "I've actually sat down and read through the meanings of all the lyrics to a bunch of his songs." Jonathan explains. "He's lived a very different life and gives you the courage not to give up.... He's come from a pretty rough family and battled against everything to get to where he is today. I read a documentary on him and he has boxes of papers with little groups of words scribbled on them that he just randomly has pop in his head." "And (Eminem) kept them in case he could ever use them in a song. It's really amazing what he can do with words and how each song has a meaning deep down inside the lyrics that you may not understand just listening to it." When it comes to interacting with fans, Jonathan truly enjoys the experience He's more than willing to sign autographs or give his whip away. One time at the Meadowlands, Jonathan was set to drive a couple of races and ended up giving away his whip to a fan without realizing he didn't have any more whips, as he only brought one with him to the track. Luckily Scott Zeron was there to help him out. So if you see Jonathan, don't be afraid to ask for an autograph as he is more than willing to oblige. "I wasn't expecting anyone to ask for my whip because at Woodbine the fans are so far away, you don't see them. It was shocking to see the fans up so close at different tracks. Once over a three night period at the Meadowlands, I won one race each night and gave away my whip after each race I won." How many sports can you account where the athletes and players involved give away game used items? Maybe baseball if you catch a foul ball, once in a blue moon an NFL football or a hockey puck, but in no other sport is this possible, only in harness racing where a fan can meet the people they cheer on and get an autograph on a nightly basis. by, Roderick Balgobin, www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova
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.
After a number of ‘close, but no cigar’ performances in recent weeks at Woodbine Racetrack, Amigo De Grande broke through for a memorable victory at the Rexdale, Ontario oval. What made it special was the fact he did it in the $34,000 Preferred Trot – a solid accomplishment for the former claimer who recently joined forces with trainer Carmen Auciello. Anthony MacDonald worked out a pretty trip in the two-hole for Amigo De Grande, who stalked Cool Guy through fractions of :26.4, :56.3 and 1:25.3 before going after that tempo-setting foe. MacDonald tipped and rolled with Amigo De Grande, who then used a :27.4 closing quarter to win by 3-1/4 lengths over the hard-charging Slip Into Glide in 1:53.3. Nowucit Nowudont rallied to finish third in the seven-horse skirmish. To read the rest of the story click here.
March 13 - Carmen Auciello, who currently sits in second with 19 wins as a conditioner this season on the WEG Circuit, will be the guest on Woodbine Racing Live's pre-game show this Saturday, March 15, beginning at 6:45 p.m. Auciello celebrated a career year last season with 120 victories and over $2 million in earnings. The Stouffville resident will send out a combined eight starters on Saturdays programme. Auciello will join WEG's Jeff Bratt and offer his thoughts on his starters and much more. First race post time is slated for 7:25 p.m. Greg Gangle
After earning a diploma in Marketing and Sales from Humber College, Carmen Auciello could have walked through many different doors. Despite the good possibilities, the door closest to his heart was the door that led back home and after spending a short time away in the business world, that is what Carmen did. Carmen has never had to look back and he may not want to. "I was bored with my job and about a year after I finished college, I decided 'if I'm ever going to try this I am going to do so now when I am 21 years old instead of later in life and regretting why I didn't try this sooner'. And it's been great!" Carmen says. "My father and I have been partners and we started at the bottom and worked our way to a bigger and 70 horse stable and now we are one of the top (stables) in Canada." It's a touching thought knowing Carmen could just of easily chosen another career path but he trusted his gut, his intuition and the hard work has paid off for him and his family. Carmen credits his dad for all of his inspiration. "He's been supporting 4 kids and a wife for many years now. He had his ups and downs and there were years we struggled financially. I saw the heart and soul he put into it, year after year after year to try and support myself and my sisters and the family. I felt I owed it to him to get involved and continue the family business. Definitely owe everything to him." "Hard work has a lot to do with (the success) but there is more to it. I think with me, I went and got an education and learned how to run a business. I learned how to sell myself and sell my services and I learned how to deal with owners and clients. Without them, the owners, we are nothing. I can't afford to own all these horses by myself." Carmen continues his beliefs that without his owners providing him quality horses, no matter how good he is, Carmen could only go so far. "Aside from working with the horses, there is a lot more to being successful than just training horses." Carmen explains he's "put more of a business oriented aspect into my job, my career and my business... there is having the right people, you have to have them doing it right and you need to trust them. You need to become affiliated with people who believe in you and want to invest in you. That is what I've worked on the last few years and I am proud of that." Carmen offers wonderful advice for anyone wanting to get into the horse racing industry. Passion is vital, yet more is needed to ensure security let alone success. "I would ask them to what capacity do they want to be involved? There are a lot of people who are happy to jog horses and do the more hands on approach for a living. You're not going to get rich, but you can have a very fulfilling career. Do they want to train? Do they want to drive? Do they want to own their own business and grow it to where they're one of the biggest stables in North America?" "Learning to have an eye for a horse, spotting a good horse when you see one....You got to put the time in and everyone is not cut out for it. There are a lot of people that can train a horse better than me, but they cannot run a business." Carmen emphasizes that working with top quality stables is the best way to learn, whether you want to drive or train. At the end of the day, any chance of success is based on having a plan and knowing how to execute that plan to fruition. With the cuts in racing within Ontario, Carmen still manages to employ ten workers, three in the USA and the rest at his stable in Port Perry, Ontario. Why has Carmen been able to employ close to a dozen employees? "Why? My rates are fairly reasonable, we are a family orientated business but at the same time we are trying to grow it the best we can. I didn't settle, when 25 horses was at my max I didn't say 'I'm full'. If somebody offered me a horse I found a way to accommodate them." "We expanded to the States and we had upwards of 20-25 horses at one time. We are making expansions to our facility here to accommodate ten more horses. When people are willing to invest in you and bring you horses, you have to accommodate them." Carmen also acknowledges the scary part to any business; "There will be times when things aren't as good and you need to be prepared for that as well." Something unique Carmen offers to all of his owners is a flat fee rate, ensuring there is no end of the month surprises baring any extreme circumstances such as veterinary emergencies. "What you see is what you get" explains Carmen. "Not only are my rates very reasonable compared to other guys, it is also flat rate and owners know what their bill is going to be at the end of the month. It's all inclusive." "There are so many costs in training a horse and running a stable" Carmen acknowledges. "Owners think $45 a day? Oh this is cheap. But when trainers need to add in the additional costs for shoeing, vitamins and anything extra that comes up, which always happens, it adds up and then owners think they are getting ripped off. It's all about perception." Carmen emphasizes managing costs and looking for ways to save. Such as buying in bulk does help him keep his prices low. "If I feel the horses don't need it, they don't get it. It is not cutting corners; it is keeping the costs down. If I keep my cost down, then that saves money for the owner and we all have a chance to make money." In terms of which races and where Carmen likes to place his horses, he prefers to stick with Woodbine Racetrack (and Mohawk in the summer months). Whether the horse races for a $4,000 purse or a $16,000 purse, it will eat the same and need the exact amount of care and attention regardless. So for Carmen, he steers clear of the 'B' tracks since it is not as easy to make money. Sure if the horse wins three or four races at a 'B' track, it may cover costs and provide a little profit but in reality it is not feasible for growth in the long term. If owners are not making money, they are most likely to pull out of the game and that is one less horse immediately and that experience may sour the owner for a lifetime ensuring they will not buy anymore horses. Carmen's stable has the most starts at Woodbine this year and his stable has the second most starts in North America. How did he get to this point? "You have to invest money, but you also have to sell yourself and find others to invest. I consider myself a salesman because that is what I am doing, selling my services.... Anybody can do it, I would suggest you put something together where you can claim one horse, race it at Woodbine. Start with one and hopefully have it snowball from there. As for Carmen's stable in the USA, he is based in Pine Bush, NY and mainly has his horses race at Yonkers and the Meadowlands for the time being. Once more racetracks open up in Pennsylvania such as Pocono Downs and Harris Philadelphia; he will expand to racing at all four. Right now his stable in the USA has 15 horses, but Carmen hopes to have that number grow to 25 maybe even 30. For 2014, Carmen considers his best horse to be Bugger Bruiser who he bought for $40,000 last year, and then went on to win all four races after he joined Carmen's barn bringing in over $200,000. "He hasn't raced yet this year but I have him entered into all the big races, the North America Cup, the Meadowlands Pace" confirms Carmen. "He's the nicest horse we've ever had and we are going to give him a shot and hopefully he will dance the big dance with all the other good horses. He's definitely my number one contender this year." Away from the track, Carmen enjoys playing hockey and golf with his buddies, though he admits he doesn't have the time to get out as much as he used to. Carmen has a 3 year old daughter named Leah and a 7 month old son named Hudson. Carmen also gives a lot of credit to his wife Ashley, who he says has been so amazing, supportive and strong. "She's allowed me to chase my dream" Carmen says. "There are a lot of nights where I am out at the track, I'm not at home and she's at home taking care of the house and the kids.... She's been supportive since day one." As Carmen's stable grows and with more owners joining the ranks, one thing Carmen ensures is that he wants his owners to have a say. For instance, for a long while Carmen was loyal to driver Anthony Macdonald and vice versa, and not to say there is no loyalty but Carmen does his best to respect an owner's choice for who is driving their horse. Which is understandable as this is a team endeavor. "90 percent of the time it's up to me, but at times owners may request a driver change". In the midst of all the racing going on, Carmen is currently building his man cave in his basement! At the time of the interview, Carmen was headed out to buy an 80 inch TV for the cave. Yes I said 80 inch TV, well done sir! Aside from the TV, Carmen will add a booming stereo as well has his racing trophies and the blanket from the Super Final last year and a blown up picture of the Super Final Win. Carmen's goal is "to add as many trophies and pictures as I can." At the rate Carmen is going, he may need to expand the man cave shortly, or build a second man cave. Maybe have one in Canada and the other at his stable south of the border. by Roderick Balgobin of Supernova Sports Club www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova
TORONTO, February 26 - If you take a close look at the Woodbine drivers standings this season, there is a noticeable change near the top of the leader board. Twenty four-year-old Jonathan Drury is currently in second place, three wins behind three-time O'Brien Award winner Jody Jamieson. Drury, a resident of Rockwood, has certainly made the most of his drives this season accumulating 23 trips to the winners circle and $335,471 in purse earnings. Drury is also the regular pilot behind Hldontghttoyurdrms, who has captured the $34,000 Preferred Trot for a fourth week in a row for trainer Corey Johnson. "It's definitely horse power," Drury said explaining his stellar start in 2014. "When you get that kind of power to sit behind every night and get results, obviously your confidence goes up. So far this season, everything couldn't be better and I'm very fortunate." Drury was born into the harness racing business. His father, Barry, has operated a small stable for many years. Drury, who appears poised in his yellow and blue silks, a nod to his father's colours, is thankful for the valuable lessons he learned at a young age. "All the fundamentals of this sport came from my parents," Drury said. "My dad was stabled along the Mohawk backstretch for many years and my mother (Patricia) was in the barn too. When I wasn't in school I was in the barn or on the track." Drury also ventured out to other trainers before and after getting his trainer's license and he gained valuable experience while working with such trainers as O'Brien Award winner Casie Coleman, Tracey Brainard and Tony Montini. "That was a great learning curve for me," Drury said. "I got to see other methods of training and see the way they do it and run their operation. I've worked for Casie off-and-on for the past three years and got the opportunity to drive for her, which was amazing." After gaining his license in 2008, Drury began driving at Flamboro and Georgian Downs, but the move to Kawartha Downs a few years later and teaming up with top trainers in Corey Johnson and Carmen Auciello yielded great dividends for the young reinsman. "I was a regular driver there (Kawartha Downs) and they started using me and we developed a relationship and it just snowballed from there," said Drury. "Now they both have powerful stables at Woodbine and I'm just thankful to get the work." Perhaps the most valuable experience Drury gained was a summer spent at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania where he drove regularly for Ontario-based trainer Carmen Auciello, who sent a team of roughly 12 head. "Driving with a different bunch of guys at Pocono was a lot of fun," he said. "It's a little different style of driving and I learned so much in a short period of time. That was the most valuable experience I got, especially when I came back to Ontario." Drury was also a key player in the development of O'Brien Award winner Vegas Vacation. Drury "baby-raced" the son of Bettors Delight, before guiding the colt to victory in his first lifetime start at Mohawk Racetrack. "I was working for Casie at the time and would sit behind her two-year-olds on a regular basis," Drury said. "She asked me to baby-race him and teach him in his early stages and that was a lot of fun to sit behind that type of animal." Needless to say, Drury certainly has gained a lot of experience north and south of the border at a young age, and with a little patience and a lot of talent, it appears to be paying off nicely for the man they call JD. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
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
Apprentic Hanover made a triumphant four-year-old seasonal debut Saturday at Woodbine, posting his fifth straight victory, this time after a three-week layoff in winning the $34,000 Preferred Pace. After ending his three-year-old season with four consecutive wins, including victories in Northfield Park's Cleveland Classic and a Preferred pace on December 28 at Woodbine, Apprentice Hanover made it five in a row with a 1:52 effort. Driven by Jody Jamieson, the heavy 4-5 favourite left from post one and settled away third as Casimir Jitterbug (Doug McNair) and then outsider Modern Legend (Jack Moiseyev) sprinted by into a :27.1 opening quarter. Modern Legend continued to control the pace past the half in :56.1 and three-quarters in 1:24 while Mystician (Billy Davis Jr.) moved underway from the backfield and up to apply pressure around the final turn and into the stretch. However, Jamieson tipped Apprentice Hanover wide down the stretch and soared by to steal the spotlight. Mystician edged out Modern Legend for the runner-up honours two lengths behind. The son of Somebeachsomewhere, who was named United States Trotting Association's Horse of the Month in December 2013, is trained by Ben Wallace and owned by Brad Grant of Milton, Ont. The win was his 12th in 30 career starts and boosted his bankroll to $529,474. Apprentice Hanover paid $3.80 to win. Trainers Carmen Auciello and Corey Johnson and driver Randy Waples led all winners on Saturday's 13-race card with three wins each. From WEG publicity department
TORONTO, January 13 â€“ Woodbine Racetrack played host to a trio of Snowshoe Series divisions as the opening round got underway for three and four-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Monday evening. Hopiesdragninthedo kicked off the 12-race programme with a 1:55 score in the first $15,000 division. Driven by Anthony Macdonald, the son of Dragon Again sat In The Pocket before the opening station in :26.4, set by Lucky Nadotremblay (James MacDonald), before taking over command. Hopiesdragninthedo continued to lead his seven rivals past the half in :56.2. Post time favourite, Brother John (Jody Jamieson), angled out from fourth to begin the first-over attack around the final turn and was stalking on the outside of Hopiesdragninthedo past three-quarters in 1:25.1. Down the stretch, the pair separated themselves from the field, but it was Hopiesdragninthedo getting the edge over Brother John in deep stretch to win by three quarters of a length. Greystone Moe (Sylvain Filion) came from off-the-pace to finish third. Trained by Carmen Auciello for owners Carolyn Jarrell and Arlene MacIntyre, Hopiesdragninthedo earned his second career tally and increased his bankroll to $28,975. The gelding has started off his 2014 season in fine form with a 1-1-0 record from two starts. He paid $5.90 to win as the second choice. Even-money favourite Ontario Success started off the Pick 4 in the second division with a 1:56 victory. Driven by Chris Christoforou, Ontario Success was in no hurry at the start as Machin Money (Jonathan Drury) was quickest to the front past the opening station in :27.3. With the field well strung out, Machin Money continued to set the pace past the half in :57. Ontario Success found himself sitting well back in sixth, 13 and a half lengths off the pace, with second-choice KG Dragonator (Phil Hudon) on his helmet. Ontario Success began a first-over attack heading towards three-quarters, while Zark (Doug McNair) angled out of the two-hole attacking Machin Money before three-quarters in 1:26.1. Turning for home, Machin Money began to tire as the backfield was quickly closing in. Ontario Success was able to split between horses and fended off challenger KG Dragonator on the outside to win by one and three quarter lengths. Meetyouatmidnight (Billy Davis, Jr.) came on for third. Trained by Tony Oâ€™Sullivan for owner/breeder Emerald Highlands Farm, Ontario Success earned his third career victory as his lifetime earnings now sits at $37,384. The four-year-old son of Lis Mara paid $4.10 to win. In the final division, heavily favoured Littlebitaclass and Jody Jamieson clicked in 1:54.4. Jamieson and the son of Santanna Blue Chip settled away in third as Tex (Roger Mayotte) quickly gained control before the opening quarter in :27.3. Heading towards the half, Littlebitaclass was pulled to the outside and marched to the front at the half in :56.4. From there, the six-time winner led his eight rivals past three-quarters in 1:25.3 and fended off a late challenge from Tex to win by half a length. Dreydl Hanover (Keith Oliver) finished third. Trained by David Menary for owner Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Howard Taylor, Littlebitaclass increased his bankroll to $25,925. He paid $4.40 to win. The Snowshoe series is for three and four-year-old colt and gelding pacers, who are non winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime as of November 30, 2013. The second $15,000 leg of the series will take place on Monday, January 20 with the $30,000 (added) final on Monday, January 27. Videos of all races are attached Greg Gangle WEG Communications
TORONTO, December 28 - Sylvain Filion and Richard Moreau retained their titles as Woodbine Entertainment Group's (WEG) leading harness racing driver and trainer, respectively, after the 2013 Standardbred racing season came to a close Saturday night at Woodbine. Filion finished with 248 wins at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks, five in front of Scott Zeron, who had 243 victories, while Jody Jamieson was third with 213, including a pair on the final night. Moreau collected his third WEG training title after winning 126 races. Jeff Gillis had 81 wins, while Carmen Auciello wound up third with 76 victories. Filion, who lives in Milton, had to share his first WEG driver championship with Jody Jamieson in 2012, each with 284 wins. But this year he stands alone. "This past year has been a memorable one for me both on and off the track," said Filion. "I drove many terrific horses and am very thankful for the opportunity. Winning with Boomboom Ballykeel (in the $683,000 Metro Pace for trainer Richard Moreau) was certainly unexpected and that was a great thrill. Off the track, my wife and I adopted a baby and that's something very special." The 44-year-old Filion, who also led all drivers in purse earnings on the WEG circuit with over $5.3 million, is seeking a second consecutive O'Brien Award as Canada's Top Driver, an honour he earned for the first time for his accomplishments last year. The 49-year-old Moreau, who captured his first WEG title in 2010, also led all trainers in purse earnings with over $2.5 million. The Puslinch, Ontario resident is an O'Brien Award finalist for Canada's Trainer of the Year. Live racing returns to Woodbine on Monday, January 6 and continues on a three-day-a-week schedule (Monday, Friday and Saturday). First race post time is 7:25 p.m. Videos of all Saturday night races are attached.
Yannick Gingras hits $100,000,000 in stakes with the first race winner Time To Quit, driving for master trainer Ron Burke. More on this amazing feat tomorrow. Sweet Justice might just be the next star for trainer Bruce Saunders and he didn't break the bank. The three year old gelded son of Justice Hall went through the sales ring at The Harrisburg Mixed Sale as Hip No. 2011. He left a $25,000 purchase by Bruce Saunders for M&M Harness Racing Since the sale, Sweet Justice has done nothing but win, literally. He has made three starts at The Meadowlands, all of them wins, each time moving up the class ladder. Tonight, he defeated older horses for the first time in an incredibly fast 1:52 with Dave Miller in the bike. Since the sale, Sweet Justice has earned $23,000 in 3 starts. It is safe to say he is well on his way to being a bargain. The human star of the night was Ron Pierce, who grabbed four wins on his way to a vacation in Montana, including the nightcap, scoring at 15-1 with Lexus Artist for trainer Jim Clouser. Scott Zeron's arrow continues to be pointed upward as he scored another driving double, including a 40-1 shocker with Kilted Pride for trainer Carmen Auciello, the second time that tandem has scored this meet. It was also the second time Zeron didn't know he won, as he headed back to the paddock, but had to turn around and get his picture taken. Andy Miller was a two-race winner as well. Handle was up again over the last time The Meadowlands raced on this date in 2010. The total handle showed an increase of 34-percent which is comparable to the increases being realized all season. In addition, the live handle was up 29-percent over that same race day in 2010. Racing is scheduled to return Saturday at 7:15 P.M., but we will keep our customers updated based on the weather. Rachel Ryan
TORONTO, November 29 â€“ Woodbine Racetrack was the host of four Autumn Series finals on Friday evening, featuring sophomores of both gaits and sexes. In the $34,700 glamour boy final, Thorn In Your Side and Anthony Macdonald got the jump on their rivals down the stretch to score in a career-best clocking of 1:51. MacDonald and Thorn In Your Side were the first leaders, but allowed Grantor Hanover (Randy Waples) to command at the quarter in a quick :26. The lead wouldnâ€™t last long as Thorn In Your Side quickly retook command and laid down middle-half speed of :55 and 1:22. Turning for home, MacDonald and Thorn In Your Side appeared to get the jump on co-favourite Alexas Jackpot (Jody Jamieson), who had stalled cover from the half on. Down the stretch, MacDonald was in an all-out drive on Thorn In Your Side as he got the jump on his rivals to win for the tenth time on the year. Alexas Jackpot closed well to finish second, with Sea Harrier (James MacDonald) finishing third. Trained by Carmen Auciello for owner High Stakes Stable Inc, Thorn In Your Side earned his sixth win in seven starts as he increased his lifetime earnings to $98,327. Thorn In Your Side finished first and second in both preliminary rounds. The son of Mach Three paid $4.60 to win. Be Winnin, driven by Chris Christoforou, posted the 35-1 upset as she defeated heavily-favoured Samira Hanover in the final strides to take the $33,600 final for sophomore trotting fillies. The daughter of Angus Hall sat In The Pocket throughout the mile as Samira Hanover laid down panels of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:27.3, before Be Winnin angled out to wear down the tempo-setter to score in 1:55.4 - a new stakes record. Fathers Amiga (Mike Saftic) finished third. Trained by Glenn Lalonde for owner/breeder Bob Key, Be Winnin increased her bankroll to $55,448 as she celebrated her fourth career tally. The trotting lass enjoyed a new career best in the process before returning $61.80 to her backers. In the $33,600 trotting colts and geldings division, Popeda and Sylvain Filion provided the 5-1 minor upset in 1:55.3. Popeda was in no hurry off the start as heavily-favoured Doubledown Gass (Reg Gassien) was the first leader through the opening quarter in a quick :26.4. Doubledown Gass continued to lead past the mid-way point in :56.4, before Popeda angled out of fourth and began the first over attack around the final turn. Doubledown Gass continued to lead past three-quarters in 1:27, but Popeda quickly surged to command down the stretch and held off a late challenge from Lets Leavem (Chris Christoforou), who enjoyed a pocket trip throughout the mile. Doubledown Gass stayed for third. Owned by Overseas Farms Ltd and trained by Richard Moreau, Popeda enjoyed his fourth career victory as his lifetime earning now sit at $58,676. The son of Ken Warkentin celebrated a new lifetime best as he returned $13.60. Machnbyrd Princess and Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren clicked in the $35,300 pacing filly final in 1:53.1. Putmeintogo (Roger Mayotte) was the leader throughout most of the mile as she laid down panels of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:25.2. Condren used first-over tactics with Machnbyrd Princess around the final turn and was within striking range of the tempo-setter turning for home. Down the stretch, Machnbyrd Princess, Putmeintogo and Lyonssweetie (Randy Waples), who enjoyed a pocket trip, were all heads apart with Machnbyrd Princess getting the upper hand on her rivals in the final strides. Post time favourite Lyonssweetie finished second, with Putmeintogo completing the triactor. Shawn Robinson trains the six-time winner for owner Canamerica Capital Corp and Hyatt Holdings. The daughter of Mach Three increased her bankroll to $91,360. She paid $9.50 to win as the third choice. Videos of all races are attached. Greg Gangle WEG Communications
TORONTO, November 22 - The final four preliminary divisions of the Autumn Series for three-year-olds were featured on the 12-race programme Friday evening at Woodbine. Three-year-old colt and gelding trotters and sophomore pacing colts and geldings each clashed in a set of $15,000 divisions. After finishing second in the opening round, post time favourite Doubledown Gass (Reg Gassien) redeemed himself with a 1:56.3 victory. Gassien and Doubledown Gass led from start-to-finish through panels of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:25.3, before using a :30-second final quarter to seal the win. Lets Leavem (Chris Christoforou) finished second, with Popeda (Sylvain Filion) third. Gassien also trains, owns and bred the youngster, who enjoyed his fifth career tally. His bankroll now sits at $61,863. He paid $6.40 to win. One race later, Sir William celebrated his fifth career tally due to disqualification of Rock Of Cashel. Random Dynasty, driven by James MacDonald, was the quickest to the to lead past the opening quarter in :28.4 and the half in :59.3. Around the final turn, heavily-favoured Ozzy Ozzy (Jody Jamieson) began the first-over attack, but Rock Of Cashel angled out of the pocket before three-quarters in 1:29.1. Turning for home, Rock Of Cashel had command while Ozzy Ozzy appeared to be trotting by, but make a break in stride due to interference. Rock Of Cashel quickly regained the lead en route to the victory in 1:59. Following the win, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) judges ruled that Rock Of Cashel interfered with Ozzy Ozzy. As a result, Rock Of Cashel was placed from first-to-fifth. That allowed, Sir William to be second-placed first for driver Sylvain Filion. The son of Muscle Mass increased his bankroll to $38,439 for trainer Gerard Demers and owner Robert Montgomery. He paid a handsome $58.60 to win. Later on the card, Ja El Pocketrocket (Doug McNair) won the first of the two pacing divisions. The son of Santanna Blue Chip came from off-the-pace through panels of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.1, before wearing down tempo-setter Lyonsparkhavenlake (Sylvain Filion) in deep stretch to score in 1:55.2. Tauranga (Chris Christoforou) finished second, with Lyonsparkhavenlake third. Trained by Barry Treen for owner Leonard Gamble, Ja El Pocketrocket enjoyed his seventh career victory as his bankroll now sits at $77,510. He paid $6.10 to win as the second choice. In the other split, Thorn In Your Side went gate-to-wire in 1:52.1. Driven by Anthony Macdonald, the son of Mach Three led through panels of :27, :55.3 and 1:23.1, before getting the jump on post time favourite Alexas Jackpot (Jody Jamieson) en route to the victory. Alexas Jackpot came from off the pace to finish second, with Sea Harrier (James MacDonald) third. Trained by Carmen Auciello for owner High Stakes Inc, Thorn In Your Side earned his ninth career victory as his bankroll grew to $80,977. He paid $6.70 as the second choice. All four Autumn Series finals for three-year-olds of both gaits and sexes will take place next Friday, November 29. Greg Gangle
TORONTO, November 21 - Since arriving in the Carmen Auciello barn, Thorn In Your Side has found a new stride and the conditioner hopes that continues when he begins in the second leg of the Autumn Series, Friday at Woodbine. The talented sophomore has posted a 4-1-0 record from five starts since arriving in the Stouffville trainer's stable. Auciello, who has enjoyed a career year with over $1.8 million in purse earnings, recalls his first glance at the sophomore. "My first impression of him was 'wow this horse is fast,'" he said. "He's big and strong and he's built like a machine." Auciello admits not many changes were made to the eight-time winner until he lined up behind the gate. "I thought maybe a different driving strategy might work out against the lower non-winners conditions," Auciello said. "I love sending them right to the front and so far it's worked out well for him." Auciello admires many qualities in his youngster, but one particular admiration stands out. "It's definitely his gate speed," he said. "Anthony (driver Anthony Macdonald) says he's the fastest horse off the gate that he's driven in a long time. That's a very important quality to have, especially when you're racing at Woodbine." Auciello says he has high hopes in the Autumn Series for Thorn In Your Side. "Going into the series I thought he was the horse to beat, and I think he still is," he said. "He got out-sprinted last week, but I've made a request to keep the fractions honest this week and not turn the race into a sprint. "I'm confident he can bounce back and win this week and have a good shot in the final," he continued. The end of the calendar year is near and Auciello has bigger things in mind for Thorn In Your Side. "I think he's going to get stronger and mature into a real nice animal," he said. "He's still fairly green and lightly raced and that sets him up well for next year and beyond." The son of Mach Three has banked $73,477 in his career for owner High Stakes Stable Inc of Farmington Hills, Michigan. Auciello is also on the verge of a career milestone. His talented stable has earned 105 victories this season, one shy of his career high set last season. When Thorn In Your Side begins in race 10 in his division of the Autumn Series, he will look to match his trainers record from last year and provide a record-setting victory in the rich $34,700 final next Friday, November 29. Race 10 1. Sea Harrier 2. Stonebridge Adam 3. Alexas Jackpot 4. D Gs Camme 5. Trys Little Prince 6. Southwind Amazon 7. Thorn In Your Side 8. State Of Euphoria by Greg Gangle for WEG
St Lads Moxie (Camotion) scored a nose victory in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga on Sunday afternoon. The six year old mare was making her local debut and though things looked dicey for her early on, St Lads Moxie toughed it out in the outer flow to secure a 1:55 victory while overcoming a first over trip. Aaron Byron piloted the invading mare for trainer Carmen Auciello. Paints Hall (Stephane Bouchard) finished second while Unred Hanover (Billy Dobson) held on for third. For St Lads Moxie, the victory in the $15,000 Open was her tenth win in seventeen seasonal tries. Live racing resumes on Wednesday night with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway