Four $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots tests for three-year-old pacing fillies were held on Monday night (August 25) at Mohawk Racetrack, and Dana Dearest remained hot as she picked up her third consecutive Grassroots victory. Driven by Chris Christoforou, it looked like Dana Dearest was up against it inside the final sixteenth as Mea Lilley Mark (Mike Saftic) had cleared to the lead out of the pocket and opened up a clear advantage. However, Dana Dearest kicked it into another gear nearing the finish line, and she would get up to win by a head over Mea Lilley Mark in 1:52.1. Double Joy (Mario Baillargeon) finished third. Dana Dearest, a daughter of Jeremes Jet, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner/breeder Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, Ontario. Dana Dearest was winless in four starts last year, but she’s turned it around in her sophomore campaign, going seven-for-13. She has season’s earnings of $62,820 and a career bankroll of $67,048. Division points leader Her Own Land (James MacDonald) was also gunning for her third straight Grassroots triumph in the night’s third division, but she fell short. Her Own Land was in the lead through fractions of :27, :55, and 1:23.4, but in deep stretch Born To Dream (Doug McNair) forged her way by after a pocket trip, and it would be Born To Dream who won by a length a career-best 1:51.3. Her Own Land had to settle for second on this night and Shadows Wonder (Christoforou) bagged third. A winner in Grassroots competition on August 3 at Clinton Raceway, Born To Dream now has three total victories this season and four career triumphs. The daughter of Camluck, trained by Tony O’Sullivan for owner/breeder Lomangino Standardbreds of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, has banked $39,930 on the campaign and $49,726 lifetime. Monday night’s other two winners posted their first wins in Grassroots action this year. In the opener Artful Impulse (Randy Waples) took the lead past the :27.2 opening quarter and didn’t look back en route to a 1:52.3 score, and in the nightcap Regil Meg (Anthony MacDonald) worked out a three-hole trip and then paced by the leaders in the lane to prevail in 1:53. Artful Impulse is trained by Bob McIntosh, whose stable of Windsor, Ontario, bred and now co-owns the daughter of Artistic Fella with partners Dwight Stacey of Mitchell and James Walker of Port Perry, Ontario. This was win number three from 16 starts this year for Artful Impulse, and it was her fourth career victory. She has put away $73,480 in 2014 and $94,385 in her life. Carmen Auciello trains Regil Meg, another filly by Artistic Fella, for owners Denarben Stables of Thornhill and Rocco Auciello of Stouffville, Ontario. She now has a pair of triumphs from 15 attempts in 2014, and this was the third win of her career. She has pocketed $26,240 this season and $101,988 lifetime. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Elora, ON --- A total of seven $16,740 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers were featured on Monday night (July 21) at Grand River Raceway and they saved the fastest split for last as Single White Sock toured the half-mile oval in 1:56. With Scott Coulter at the lines, Single White Sock was in front through fractions of :27.4, :58, and 1:27.3. Single White Sock turned away a big three-wide bid by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon) past three-quarters, and he then kicked clear in the lane to prevail by 2-1/4 lengths. Twin B Scandal wound up second with Pan Street USA (Bob McClure) back in third. It was the second win in three starts for Single White Sock, a Badlands Hanovercolt trained by Barry Treen for owner Len Gamble. Tanya Prescott bred Single White Sock, who was purchased for $24,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale. Single White Sock, an earner of $17,281, is the fifth foal out of the Apaches Fame mare Love You Dear, making him a half-brother to millionaire and former Ontario Sires Stakes winner Ramegade Bruiser. Camluck, the long-time stalwart sire of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, had a pair of winners with Big Moment winning the second division in 1:56.1 with Alfie Carroll handling the driving assignment and Mike's Powerhouse picking up a 1:56.4 victory in the third section for driver Trevor Henry. Big Moment broke his maiden in his second attempt for trainer Bob McIntosh, who also bred the colt with CSX Stables. McIntosh and partner Max Newham own Big Moment, the fourth foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Breathtacular. Breathtacular is related to two six-figure earners in Breathdefying and Lucky Encounter. Mike's Powerhouse, who is out of the Artsplace mare Michelle's Jackpot, making him a full brother to the likes of 2012 Little Brown Jug champion and millionaire Michael's Power and millionaire Michelle's Power, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner-breeder Jeff Snyder. Mike's Powerhouse was victorious at first asking after finishing fourth and first in two qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack. Coleman was right back in the winner’s circle in the next race after Mike's Powerhouse’s victory as her Sportskeeper (Jody Jamieson) romped to a an 8-1/4 length decision in 1:56.3. Coleman also bred and co-owns Sportskeeper, a Sportswriter colt, with partner Merlin Howse. Sportskeeper, who was also making the initial start of his racing career, is the third foal out of the Nuclear Flash mare Keeper Flying, which means Sportskeeper is a half-brother to former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Keepers Destiny (Intrepid Seelster, $702,855). Sportswriter had another siring credit with Half A Billion, who was a 1:57.3 victor in the sixth Grassroots flight. Mike Saftic drove the colt for trainer Marcel Barrieau. Half A Billion is a homebred for the Hudson Standardbred Stable and he is a perfect two-for-two in his career and in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series competition. Half A Billion, the fifth foal out of the Western Hanover mare Racey Miss, is a half-brother to multiple OSS winner Racey Miss ($214,571) and Petite Courageuse ($195,733). Also picking up victories were: Bridge Of Stone, a Stonebridge Regal-Dreamlands Sachi (Western Hanover) gelding, who halted the clock in 1:57.3 for driver Scott Coulter, trainer Carmen Auciello, and owners Denarben Stables and Rocco Auciello. He has won both of his Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series tries The Fire Within, a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover. The half-brother to Illusionist ($893,246) picked up his second win from three attempts for driver Jody Jamieson and breeder/owner/trainer Fred Drouillard. The next time the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will be in action is August 15 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results of Monday’s night’s events, click here. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
After a stint in the breeding shed, 7-year-old trotter Wishing Stone is ready to make his 2014 harness racing debut in a conditioned handicap Friday at the Meadowlands. Wishing Stone received post 10 in the race and is 9-2 on the morning line. He enters the race off one qualifier, a 1:55.2 effort on June 20 with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. Undercover Strike is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Mistery Woman at 7-2 and Spider Blue Chip at 4-1. Wishing Stone stood as a stallion at Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. He fulfilled contracts for 331 doses of frozen semen overseas as well as being bred to some 30 mares in North America. Although it is common for trotters overseas to breed and race in the same season, that is not the case in North America. Some well-known successes abroad include Ready Cash, who is France's richest trotter in history in addition to being a popular sire, and Coktail Jet and Mack Lobell, who both won the prestigious Elitloppet after performing stud duties. "It's a fun experiment and I think it's going to work," said Mike Gulotta, the CEO of Deo Volente Farms and head of the Wishing Stone Syndicate ownership group. "Actually, the first part of it has worked. We're excited." Gulotta hopes to see Wishing Stone get a boost as a stallion thanks to a new bonus program at the Meadowlands for New Jersey-sired horses. "I think now that people see that things will be changing in New Jersey, there will be a lot more interest in him and other Jersey stallions next year," Gulotta said. "Sometimes people need to see that something is actually happening in order to commit." Wishing Stone is well known in Europe, having competed there at ages 4 and 5. In 2011, he won the French trotting race Grand Prix du Sud Ouest at 1-5/16 mile and also the King's Trophy in Sweden. He was second in the Gran Premio Continentale in Italy. A year later, he captured the Copenhagen Cup in Denmark at a distance of 1-1/4 mile. He finished his European campaign with a second-place finish in the Jubilee Trophy for 5-year-old trotters in Sweden. He returned to the U.S. in August 2012 to continue his career in North America. Lifetime, Wishing Stone has won 21 of 69 races and earned $2.23 million, making him the richest offspring of sire Conway Hall. He has won multiple stakes in the U.S., including the 2010 Kentucky Futurity in straight heats at Lexington's Red Mile. "We'll see now how he races," Gulotta said. "He looks good. I think he's gained weight and grown up a little, actually, which may be helpful to him. We're happy." To read a Hoof Beats magazine story about Wishing Stone's double duty, click here. * * * JK Endofanera, the No. 1-ranked horse on the Road to the Meadowlands Pace, is entered in Friday's qualifiers at the Meadowlands. The colt, which captured the North America Cup on June 21, has won eight of 12 career races and never finished worse than third. The Ron Burke-trainee has earned $913,517 for owner 3 Brothers Stable. He is not the only Meadowlands Pace eligible in the qualifier. He is joined by Jimmy Takter-trained Lyonssomewhere, who was fifth in the North America Cup, as well as Joe Holloway's Always B Miki, Tracy Brainard's Big Boy Dreams, and Ron Coyne Jr.'s National Debt. Lyonssomewhere is No. 4 and Always B Miki is No. 7 in the Meadowlands Pace rankings. Big Boy Dreams, who was second to He's Watching in last year's New York Sire Stakes championship, has not raced in 2014. Eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace will be held July 5 and the $650,000 final is July 12. Elsewhere, Boomboom Ballykeel, who won last year's Metro Pace, is in the first of three divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday. Boomboom Ballykeel has one win, which came in the sire stakes in May, in three starts this season. He is trained by Richard Moreau. The second division includes Meadowlands Pace eligibles Bugger Bruiser, trained by Carmen Auciello, and Erv Miller's Jet Airway while the third division has Ian Moore's Play It Again Sam. Three horses eligible to the Meadowlands Pace are competing in the same New York Sire Stakes division Friday at Buffalo Raceway - Patrick Lachance's Sir Sam's Z Tam, Mark Ford's Twin B Speedo, and P.J. Fraley's Ideal Cowboy. * * * In addition to the previously mentioned horses qualifying Friday at the Meadowlands, Bee A Magician, Royalty For Life, Shebestingin, and Cee Bee Yes will be among others in action. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is winless in three starts this season and coming off a ninth-place finish in the Armbro Flight Stakes on June 14 at Mohawk. Trainer Nifty Norman told Trot Insider the mare scoped sick following the Armbro Flight and would start next against her male counterparts in the $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters on July 5 at the Meadowlands. Last year, Bee A Magician's wins included the Hambletonian Oaks. Also being pointed to the Hambletonian Maturity is 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life. * * Levy Memorial Series champion P H Supercam will look to snap a four-race losing streak in Saturday's open handicap at Yonkers Raceway. The race also includes Heston Blue Chip and last week's winner Digital Z Tam. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications U.S. Trotting Association
The 2013 season was a record-setting season for trainer Carmen Auciello on a personal level, and by the looks of it he’s well on his way to smashing his personal records again this season. The Stouffville, Ontario-based horseman has already racked up 97 wins this year, with three of those victories taken during Saturday’s 11-race card at Mohawk Racetrack. Mr Big Head, who is now 3-for-3 since being claimed, got the ball rolling for Auciello thanks to his 1:51.3 score in Race 3. Anthony MacDonald mapped out the winning trip for the suddenly-streaking son of Real Desire. That trainer/driver tandem then clicked with Hopiesdragninthedo in Race 10. The Dragon Again homebred was a front-stepping winner in 1:52. To read the rest of the story click here.
Freehold, NJ --- Anndrovette is among a group of five female pacers to win the Roses Are Red Stakes in back-to-back years. With a third victory in the race on Saturday, she would stand alone. A 7-year-old mare, Anndrovette is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s C$330,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers at Mohawk Racetrack. She starts from post four with regular driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer P.J. Fraley. Anndrovette, who won last year’s Roses Are Red in a stakes-record 1:48, heads into this season’s final off a 1:49.3 triumph in her elimination on June 7. She defeated Summertime Lea by one-quarter length thanks to a :26 burst over the race’s last quarter-mile. It was Anndrovette’s second consecutive win after posting one victory in her first six starts. For the year, Anndrovette has won three of eight races, including the Betsy Ross Stakes on May 25, and earned $210,637 for owners Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino. She has 38 lifetime victories in 96 starts and $2.79 million. “She’s come back around,” Tetrick said. “She qualified good (on May 16) and raced super in the Betsy Ross. I don’t think she was sharp earlier in the year. She just didn’t have her usual attitude. They gave her a little break and something clicked. I could tell in the post parade (of the Betsy Ross) that she was ready to go.” Joining Anndrovette on the list of mares to win consecutive Roses Are Red Stakes are Armbro Feather (1988-89), Ellamony (1994-95), Eternal Camnation (2001-02), and Bunny Lake (2003-04). Anndrovette is trying for her record fourth straight Dan Patch Award for best older female pacer. She is one of three three-time honorees, along with Eternal Camnation and Shady Daisy. Somwherovrarainbow, who earlier this year became the fastest female pacer ever on a five-eighths-mile track (1:48 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs) and won the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers, is the 7-2 second choice in the Roses Are Red. In her Roses Are Red elim, Somwherovrarainbow finished second by a half-length to Yagonnakissmeornot in 1:50.1. Yagonnakissmeornot is the 4-1 third choice. “There are some very good mares in there,” Tetrick said. “But (Anndrovette) seems like she’s back and charging now. She likes the Canadian air.” Following is the Roses Are Red field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Yagonnakissmeornot, Ron Pierce, Carmen Auciello, 4-1; 2. Shelliscape, Corey Callahan, P.J. Fraley, 12-1; 3. Charisma Hanover, Sylvain Filion, Ron Burke, 10-1; 4. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, P.J. Fraley, 5-2; 5. Camille, Brett Miller, Ron Burke, 10-1; 6. Summertime Lea, Scott Zeron, Ron Burke, 8-1; 7. Krispy Apple, Doug McNair, P.J. Fraley, 12-1; 8. Shebestingin, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 8-1; 9. Somwherovrarainbow, Brian Sears, Joe Holloway, 7-2; 10. Rocklamation, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 15-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
The Roses Are Red Series at Mohawk Raceway Saturday saw two classy older pacing mares, Anndrovette and Yagonnakissmeornot win their $35,000 elimination divisions in photo finishes. The first division saw Jerseylicious and driver Ron Pierce leave and park out Shebestingin (David Miller) to the opening quarter mile in :26.2. Meanwhile, Anndrovette and Tim Tetrick got away in third place along the rail as they raced to the half mile in :55.2. It was then that Charisma Hanover (Yannick Gingras) came first-over over with Summertime Lea (Scott Zeron) following the outside flow as the field hit the three-quarters in 1:22.4. Starting down the stretch, Summertime Lea tipped out and looked to collar Shebestingin with Shelliscape (Brian Sears) coming into the picture. All the while weaving with Anndrovette around four horses, Tim Tetrick got the game mare into high gear and she came charging down to the wire to win by a head in 1:49.3 over Summertime Lea and Shelliscape. Shebestingin had faded and finished fourth with Charisma Hanover fifth and making it to the $325,000 final next week. For Anndrovette, the seven-year-old mare by Riverboat King and a three-time Dan Patch award winning older pacing mare of the year, she posted her second straight win and third victory on the year for trainer P J Fraley. She is owned by Bamond Racing of Brick, NJ and Joseph Devitto of Clarksburg, NJ. She paid $3.70 to win as the only favorite in all of the eliminations races to win. “I was following some good mares,” said driver Tim Tetrick, “Shebestingin and Jerseylicious and I figured they would carry me and I would have some room in the stretch. When I finally did get some room she really charged home. After her good mile last week she really responds after an effort like that. She likes the Canadian air. She always does well on this track and right now she is tough as nails. When the money is down she always seems to show up.” The second division saw an amazing “true grit” grind it out first-over effort from Yagonnakissmeornot and driver Ron Pierce as they were able to wear down pacesetter and race favorite Somwherovrarainbow and driver Brian Sears to win by a neck in 1:50.1. After taking the early lead away from Voelz Hanover (Randy Waples), Sears led the way with Somwherovrarainbow to the quarter in :27.3, the half in :56.3 as Pierce was already on the outside with Yagonnakissmeornot and starting to work their way up to the front. And they did by the three-quarters in 1:24. It was then a two-horse race to the finishing and Yagonnakissmeornot was super game and nipped Somwherovrarainbbow at the wire. Krispy Apple (Tim Tetrick) was third with Camille (Brett Miller) fourth and rounding out the field for the final was fifth place finisher Rocklamation (Yannick Gingras). “We got away badly,” Pierce said. “And I was concerned but I figured if I let her have some racetrack she would respond and she did. I raced her before when George Teague had her and I learned a lot about her. After one start I knew just how to race her. I knew this track would help her a lot and that she would just eat it up. She has the speed, everything is there, she’s the complete package.” A five-year-old mare by The Panderosa, Yagonnakissmeornot is trained by Carmen Auciello and is owned by Allard Racing, Inc. of Yves Sarrain, QC and Kapildeo Singh of NY. Her time of 1:50.1 was a lifetime mark. She paid 416.40 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
TORONTO, May 21 - WEG standardbred racing is set to return to Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville for the 51st season of live racing. The 102-day meet will kick off on Thursday, May 22 and live racing will be held five nights a week on Mondays, Tuesdays (except May 27 and October 7) , Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Each race night will have a 7:25 p.m. first race post time. "It's an exciting time of the year," noted driver Jonathan Drury. "Everyone looks forward to the return of Mohawk because that means it's summer time and a full schedule of great stakes events. Other drivers along with fans and customers are going to have a lot of fun this summer." The most anticipated event on the stakes calendar is the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, featuring the finest three-year-old pacers, set for Saturday, June 14. The evening will offer a special post time of 6:45 p.m. Stakes action begins immediately at Mohawk, with the SBOA Stakes eliminations for three-year-old filly pacer and trotters featured on the initial Saturday card, and continues almost non-stop until fall. Major stakes engagements include the Maple Leaf Trot (Saturday, July 19), the Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby and Shes A Great Lady Stakes (Saturday, August 30) and the Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage Stakes, Peaceful Way Stakes and William Wellwood Memorial (Saturday, September 13). Ribs will be prominent throughout Pepsi North America Cup weekend as Crabby's BBQ Shack and Silver Bullet BBQ will play host to fans.The popular 'Your First Bet Is On Us' promotion returns. Every customer can register on site for a free $2 bet. Fans can also visit Labatt's Beerville to play great games and win cool prizes. Mohawk Racetrack will also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the town of Campbellville. Mohawk will host fireworks on Friday, June 13 with a special post time of 7:05 p.m. Mohawk fans can also follow the action each night on Twitter. Hosts Mike Hamilton, along with track announcer Ken Middleton and Greg Gangle will offer 'tweets' during each live program aimed at giving customers more race related information. You can follow them on Twitter at the following: Hamilton_WOMoh, Middleton_WOMoh, GGangle_WOMoh. Fans should also be sure to check out Mohawks Trackside Bar for its nightly specials throughout the meet. The specials are listed below: Monday - 1/2 Price Wings Tuesday - Bud & Burger Thursday - Steak N Stella Friday - Thank Cod It's Friday Patrons are also encouraged to engage with Mohawk Racetrack through its Facebook page found by clicking the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mohawk-Racetrack/164889090219676 Also fans can go to www.Twitter.com to sign on to Twitter and then search for the following harness racing stars. Drivers: Aaron Byron - @ByronAaron Chris Christoforou - @CCAstreos Dan Clements - @DanielWClements Jonathan Drury - @JDruryRacing Billy Davis Jr. - @BillyDavisRacin Phil Hudon – @Whodon99 Jonathan Drury - @JDruryRacing Anthony Haughan - @AHaughan Jody Jamieson - @JodyJamRacing James MacDonald - @JamesOMac26 Anthony MacDonald – @HorseRacingAMac Doug McNair – @DMcNair12 Scott Young – @YoungieAnswers Scott Zeron - @ScottZeron Trainers: Carmen Auciello - @CarmenAuciello Nick Boyd - @Ralphie9 Blair Burgess - @Desibesi Casie Coleman - @FastLane111 Danny Girard - @DannyGirard1 Mark Horner - MarkHorner44 Corey Johnson – @SeaJay09 Blake MacIntosh - @BlakeMacRacing Robert McIntosh - @BobMcIntosh52 Jason McGinnis - @JasonMcGinnis21 Anthony Montini - @MontiniRacing Mike Sinclair - @Sinny51 Shawn Steacy - @S_Steacy by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, May 19 - As the 2014 Woodbine winter/spring meet came to a close on Monday evening at Woodbine Racetrack, driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Carmen Auciello proved they are a force to be reckoned with. Jamieson and Auciello took top honours on the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit, finishing atop the 2014 driver and trainer standings. Jamieson, a resident of Moffat, currently has 83 WEG victories this season, 20 more than his closest rival, Chris Christoforou. Jamieson also banked $1.2 million in purse earnings during the meet. Auciello has also separated himself from his rivals in the training standings. The Stouffville resident has 47 victories this season, 16 more than nearest rival, Corey Johnson. Auciello's barn earned over $720,000 during the meet. Racing will resume at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, beginning on Thursday, May 22. First race post is scheduled for 7:25. p.m. Greg Gangle
TORONTO, May 16 - The Jackpot Hi 5 wager has been the talk of the Ontario handicapping scene as of late and many horseplayers have been looking forward to the Saturday, May 17 card of racing. The Jackpot Hi-5, which became a part of Woodbine's Standardbred nightly betting menu in October, currently offers a carryover pool of $656,386.93. A mandatory payout of the carryover will take place on Saturday evening in the 11th race. An 11-horse has been carded as the finale with a 11:05 p.m. approximate post time. The Jackpot Hi-5 requires horseplayers to select the first five finishers in exact order on the last race of the program. The wager, which offers a 20-cent minimum, also has a takeout of 15 per cent, a continent-equalling low. Woodbine's final winter/spring card is Monday, May 19, before racing shifts to Mohawk Racetrack, beginning on Thursday, May 22. Jamieson & Auciello presented with Movado watches TORONTO, May 16 - Driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Carmen Auciello have substantial leads in the Woodbine driver and trainer standings, respectively, as the winter/spring meet comes to an end on Monday, May 19. In acknowledgement of their outstanding seasons, both Jamieson and Auciello received Movado watches from Woodbine Entertainment Group after the third race on Friday evening. Jamieson, a resident of Moffat, currently has 78 WEG victories this season, 18 more than his closest rival, Chris Christoforou. Auciello has also separated himself from his rivals in the training standings. The Stouffville resident has 43 victories this season, 12 more than nearest rival, Corey Johnson. Following the conclusion of the meet on Monday, May 19, racing will resume at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, beginning on Thursday, May 22. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
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