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MANALAPAN, NJ - July 17, 2015 - New Jersey's horsemen and TROTPac were the beneficiaries of a sunny day of golf for the competitors in the 20th Annual Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey's Golf Outing & Fundraiser on Monday, July 13, 2015 at Gambler Ridge Golf Course in Cream Ridge, NJ. A total of 121 golfers and banquet attendees feasted on a prime rib dinner, followed by cream puffs, cannolis and other desserts. A moment of silence was observed to remember SBOANJ directors Edward Razzetti and Robert Baggitt Sr., who co-chaired the golf outing for many years. Both passed away in the last several months. Numerous door prizes were distributed along with presentations for golfing prowess. For the second straight year, the best foursome honors went to the Kunz Equine Team of Symon Spicer, Mike Seddon, Shannon "Murph" Murphy and Johnny Pregman. Murphy was also the 50-50 winner, donating back a portion of the $793 prize. The "most honest" foursome award went to Chris Ryder, Patrick Ryder, Dean Bovino and Connor Bovino. Longest drive-prizes went to Ellie Sarama and Garrett Federico. Closest to the Pin was trainer Ross Croghan. Putting contest honors went to Mike Pasch from Team Meadowlands. Jake Hartline won the drawing for a Track Trainer jog cart, which was donated by Allen Eggert of Pennsbury Enterprises. Sponsorships, key to the fund raising effort which benefits New Jersey's standardbred horsemen in need and TROTPac, were provided at several levels. The tournament sponsors were Shay Cowan/Katz-Pierz Inc, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and La Ferla Group LLC. The dinner sponsor was Michael Parisi of White Birch Farm; the lunch sponsor was AJ Sabath of Advocacy & Management Group; the dessert sponsor was Berman, Gara & Rutsky Group; the drink cart sponsor was Green Acquisition Corporation; closest to the pin sponsor was the LaFerla Group LLC and the longest drive sponsors were [men] Bonnie Butler in memory of Pat and Bill Butler, and [women] Berman, Gara & Rutsky Group. Platinum Sponsors: Katz-Pierz Inc., La Ferla Group LLC, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and White Birch Farm. Gold Sponsor: Drucker, Math and Whitman PC Silver Sponsors: Aetna/Meridian Health; Baggitt Family; Berman, Gara & Rutsky Group; Ross Croghan; Emposimato Stables; Federico's Landscaping; Freehold Raceway; Marty Granoff/Val D'Or Farms; Tim Hundertpfund/Gaitway Farm; Hambletonian Society; Joie De Vie Farms; Dr. Celeste Kunz/ Kunz Equine LLC; Sam Landy; Nick Salenetri, BNS Exhibit Pros; Santoro & Santoro; Showplaces Farms and William Weaver/ Valley High Stables. Bronze Sponsors: Jeff Bamond, Mark Ford, New Jersey Community Bank, Anthony Perretti Farm & Bloodstock Inc., Chris Ryder, Nick Surick and Walnridge Farm. Other donors and sponsors: George and Ginny Whipple Berkner, John Campbell, Mark Mullen, Marc and Marcy Goldberg, Health Insurance Solutions Inc., Electric Battery Company LLC, Pantano Nursery & Landscape Supply, Chris Rahey/ Deep River Snacks. Prize donations were provided by Bluestone Farms, John Calabrese, Deo Volente Farm, Gambler Ridge Golf Club, Ellen Harvey, Northwood Bloodstock, Reynolds Hay & Straw/ Tribute Equine Nutrition, Rick's Saddle Shop/ Purina, Peter Roselle and SPHO-NJ. The hole sponsors were the Baggitt Family; Drucker, Math and Whitman PC; Freehold Raceway, The Horseman and Fair World; Katz-Pierz Inc.; Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment; Andy Miller Stable; Network Security Group; Razzetti Family; Maggi Romano in memory of Kash Cordial; Nick Salenetri; SPHO-NJ and Nick Surick. The Hole-In-One Prize, a 2015 Dodge pickup truck, was provided by Freehold Dodge. The 2015 SBOANJ golf outing was chaired by Dennis Lane, a member of the Board of Directors, and organized by office staffers Linda Goss, Maritsa Quijada-Dill and Polly Hartzell. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

Harness racing trainer Kelvin Harrison was in the right place at the right time when the opportunity to train Meadowlands Pace finalist In The Arsenal was presented to him. He was at the Harrisburg Sale with money enough to buy one yearling - this would be the filly Sweetwithoutsugar, who cost $20,000. "I happened to buy one of [the White Birch Farm] yearlings," recalled Harrison, who is stabled at the White Birch Farm Training Center in Allentown, NJ. "I talked to the farm manager, Steve Williams, and he thanked me for buying one of theirs". "We've been friends for many, many years. He asked me if I would be interested in taking one that they had bought back. I had actually looked at the colt. He was small but was a nice colt. Absolutely nothing [wrong with him]. He was very, very correct and just a beautiful looking colt with a smart head on him, great body, just small." That colt was In The Arsenal, whom White Birch's owner, Michael Parisi, bought back when the bidding stopped at $7,500. Coming into the $706,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Final on Saturday night at the Meadowlands, the son of American Ideal - LadyOTRA has banked $751,663. The Meadowlands Pace is the tenth race on the stakes-laden 14-event card. In The Arsenal, paired with driver Brian Sears, has been installed as the 3-1 second choice to 4-5 Wiggle It Jiggleit], leaving from post six. In The Arsenal might be small in size, but there has been little question that he has a big engine. "This colt was great from Day 1," said Harrison, who has 12 horses in training. "As soon as we put the hobbles on him, he was incredible." "He wasn't one of those you had to teach to go fast; he was one of those you had to throttle back his speed to keep him from going too fast." "He was a natural. He is a smart colt." Harrison, who was born in Methven, New Zealand and came to the United States in 1972, has had a long and successful career. For the last 10 years, he has been a member of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey's Board of Directors. "This is my 50th year in the business," said Harrison, a Bordentown NJ resident known by his friends as Red. "I got out of school when I was 15 years old, and I am now 65." "Fifth years I've been doing this," he repeated. "If I could win the Meadowlands Pace 50 years down the line, it would be amazing." "Training horses is not work for me. It's not a job; it's a life. You are all in, or you're not in at all. It's a full commitment." For many years, Harrison campaigned 30-horse stables, racing at the tracks in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. In 1989, he won the premier Meadowlands race for two-year-old pacers, the Woodrow Wilson Pace, with Sam Francisco Ben. A mare he trained, Frightening P, became the first female to break the 1:49 barrier with a 1:48.4 clocking at the Meadowlands. His stable star in 1992 was Direct Flight, who competed in the Meadowlands Pace, the showcase event for three-year-old pacers, and finished third. In The Arsenal will mark his return to the Meadowlands Pace for the first time in 23 years. "Hollywood [Meadowlands interviewer Bob "Hollywood" Heyden] asked me why it took me so long [to get back in the Meadowlands Pace]," Harrison mused. "Well maybe it's because I broke two yearlings last year, maybe it's because I broke two the year before and maybe the year before that I had none. "This game is still a matter of opportunity," he noted. "I had a good year this year - I broke three colts. The odds are just amazing. The odds are ridiculous. I had two in the Breeders Crown last year, Beach Story [who finished sixth] and In The Arsenal [who was second by half a length]. This weekend we have [four-year-old pacing mare] Beach Story in the $213,450 Golden Girls and In The Arsenal in the Meadowlands Pace." At two, In The Arsenal posted six wins, one second and one third from 11 starts, earning $396,318. His victories included the $125,000 Sheppard Stakes at Yonkers, a pair of stakes at Lexington's Red Mile and the $193,200 Matron at Dover Downs. In December, White Birch Farm sold a 40 percent interest in the bay to In The Arsenal Racing of Long Beach, NY which includes Edwin Gold, Lorraine Muscara, Mark Muscara, Robert Muscara, Cheryl Rondinelli, Howard Taylor, and Jerry and Teresa Silva's J&T Silva Stables. This year the colt [he was a ridgling at two], has five wins, one second and one third in eight starts, adding $255,345 to his bankroll. He won the $300,000 Rooney Final at Yonkers on May 30. After winning his North America Cup elimination, he was fourth in the $810,000 final. In the $500,000 Hempt on July 4 at Pocono Downs, he was third, behind Wiggle It Jiggleit and Artspeak. He paced a lifetime best of 1:49.1, taking his Meadowlands Pace elimination on July 11. "The only thing with him is that he's a little aggressive," said Harrison. "He's not the complete package yet. He has a tendency to over-race. He has a tendency to get fired up. When he's on the front end, he's nice and relaxed, and if he's first up, he's nice and relaxed. But when he's following cover, he doesn't relax like he should. He's vastly improved from what he was. Each week he gets better and better." After the Meadowlands Pace, In The Arsenal will get a few weeks off and return to the Meadowlands for the Cane Pace before traveling to Northfield Park for the Millstein, Pocono for the Battle of Brandywine, Yonkers for the Messenger and Delaware, OH for the Little Brown Jug. On Saturday night, as he has all year, Harrison will turn the lines over to Brian Sears to drive In The Arsenal. Victory would be a sweet way to celebrate 50 years in the industry for Harrison, who has no plans to retire. "That's what we're here for," he said. "It's great [to have a top horse]. I'm very appreciative." Carol Hodes

MANALAPAN, NJ - July 14, 2015 -- Boston Red Rocks, who won both of his preliminary legs, will seek to extend his unbeaten streak to three in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship for harness racing pacing colts, the first of four finals for two-year-olds on Friday, July 17, 2015 at the Meadowlands. The Steve Elliott trainee has been installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite with John Campbell driving from post two in the second race, which has six starters. “He’s a nice little colt, so far anyway,” Elliott said.  “We’ll find out.  He does everything right.  He’s good-gaited, he’s handy, he’s just a nice colt.  Peter Blood broke him, owns him, and sent him to me.  He said to see what I could do with him.  “He’s three-for-three with us – a qualifier and two races – and it’s hard not to like that kind,” Elliott added.  “He’s not flashy.  He’s a good-looking colt, but he just does what he needs to do.  He’s still a little green, but so far it’s not hard to like him because he’s done everything right.  He’s good in his stall.  He jumps around and plays, like most colts, but I told Peter after I qualified him that I think he’s better than Doo Wop (Hanover) was at this stage.  Peter said I was nuts. Only time will tell, but at this stage he is better than Doo Wop was.   He’s more manageable, he’s smarter; he just does everything right.” In the other divisions, Hollywood Hill, trained and driven by Jimmy Takter is the slight 3-1 morning line favorite from post eight in the filly trot, the fourth race; David Miller will handle Hollywood Hill for trainer Jonas Czernyson, the 2-1 pick from post four in the colt trot, the seventh race, and Blue Moon Stride at 6-5 and Rock My Girl at 8-5 are early choices in the filly pace, the 11th race. Blue Moon Stride is driven by Andrew McCarthy for Mark Harder from post six while John Campbell handles the Casie Coleman-trained Rock My Girl, post three. On the pacing side, all of the six colts are by the late Rocknroll Hanover and all but one of the seven fillies are his daughters. Two colts and two fillies are by Muscles Yankee while his son, Muscle Hill, sired the balance of the trotters in the 10-horse fields. Race 2 - $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final – 2yo c&g pace PP Horse Driver Trainer ML 1 Rock Power Jim Marohn Jr. Edward Hart 20-1 2 Boston Red Rocks John Campbell Steve Elliott 3-5 3 Rock N Roll Style Brian Sears Deleston Cote 30-1 4 Winning Linc Yannick Gingras Tony Alagna 12-1 5 Katies Rocker Tim Tetrick Jim Campbell 3-1 6 Ideal Rocky Corey Callahan Jjohn Butenschoen 7-2 All are by Rocknroll Hanover Race 4 -- $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final – 2yo filly trot PP Horse Driver Trainer ML 1 Silent Blessings Tim Tetrick Nancy Johansson 8-1 2 Southwind Adele Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt 15-1 3 Dream Child David Miller Jonas Czernyson 8-1 4 Silvia Brian Sears Ron Burke 5-1 5 All The Time Yannick Gingras Jimmy Takter 7-2 6 Energy Bar Corey Callahan Jonas Czernyson 15-1 7 Everything N More Marcus Johansson Nancy Johansson 15-1 8 Hollywood Hill Jimmy Takter Jimmy Takter 3-1 9 Gifted Lady John Campbell Jimmy Takter 4-1 10 Skara Brae Andrew McCarthy Jonas Czernyson 20-1 Silent Blessings and Energy Bar are by Muscles Yankee; All others by Muscle Hill Race 7 -- $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final – 2yo c&g trot PP Horse Driver Trainer ML 1 Southwind Flash Brian Sears Ron Burke 8-1 2 Fumata Blanca Steve Smith Karen Garland 30-1 3 Dominion Beach Marcus Johansson Nancy Johansson 8-1 4 Brooklyn Hill David Miller Jonas Czernyson 2-1 5 Bar Hopping Jimmy Takter Jimmy Takter 3-1 6 Sigmund Jim Marohn Jr. Don Swick 20-1 7 Waitlifter K Tim Tetrick Chuck Sylvester 12-1 8 Jack Vernon Corey Callahan Randy Beeckman 6-1 9 Southwind Frank Yannick GIngras Ron Burke 4-1 10 Marion Marauder John Campbell Paula Wellwood 20-1 Sigmund and Waitlifter K are by Muscles Yankee; All others by Muscle Hill Race 11 -- $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final – 2yo filly pace PP Horse Driver Trainer ML 1 JK Fannie Yannick Gingras Nancy Johansson 12-1 2 LL Jackpot Corey Callahan Ivan Llopez 20-1 3 Rock My Girl John Campbell Casie Coleman 8-5 4 Heatherjean Ray Schnittker Ray Schnittker 20-1 5 Show Time Hill Tim Tetrick Tony Alagna 7-2 6 Blue Moon Stride Andrew McCarthy Mark Harder 6-5 7 Sonoma Valley David Miller Jimmy Takter 15-1 LL Jackpot is by Philos Hanover; All others by Rocknroll Hanover By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

A pair of Jimmy Takter trained and driven trotters reached the harness racing winner's circle and the pacer Boston Red Rocks remained unbeaten as two-year-olds in six divisions of the New Jersey Sire Stakes were in the spotlight at the Meadowlands on Friday, July 10, 2015.   Silvia [$4.60] rallied in the final eighth of the mile to post her first career win in her second start, a $20,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes for trotting fillies, the first race.   The daughter of Muscle Hill- My Favorite Chip, driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Ron Burke, trotted the mile in 1:56.2, finishing a half-length ahead of Everything N More [Muscle Hill] and two and a half lengths up on Energy Bar [Muscles Yankee] in third.   A $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, Silvia races in the name of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver-Bruscemi, J&T Silva Stables and Joe DiScala Jr. She was bred by Steve Stewart and Junior Yutzy.   Brooklyn Hill [$2.20] delivered like a 1-9 favorite, coasting by the pacesetter Southwind Flash [Muscle Hill] for a two and a quarter length victory in the second race, a $20,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes for trotting colts and geldings. Sigmund [Muscles Yankee] was third by four and a half lengths.   David Miller guided Brooklyn Hill to the 1:56.4 clocking. He tipped the trotter out at the top of the stretch and hand drove him to victory.   The Muscle Hill - Brooklyn colt, trained by Jonas Czernyson, had finished second by a head in his first start in the opening round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes. Bred by the Order By Stable, he was a $390,000 Harrisburg Sale purchase for the SRF Stable of Boca Raton, FL.   All The Time [$5.00] had the lead at every call and expanded that advantage with driver-trainer Jimmy Takter at the controls. The Muscle Hill-Cantab It All filly won the third race, the second $20,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes division for trotting fillies.   All The Time finished a length and three-quarters ahead of Silent Blessings [Muscles Yankee], and it was two and three-quarters to Dream Child [Muscle Hill] in third.   Bred and owned by Marvin Katz and Al J. Libfeld, she now has a win in two starts.   Boston Red Rocks [$2.60] was tested a bit early and pressured on the turn for home and into the stretch but in the end, drew away like a 1-5 shot in the $25,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes division for pacing colts and geldings, the fourth race.   Unbeaten in two starts, Boston Red Rocks, a son of Rocknroll Hanover - McGibson, paced the mile in 1:52.2, with Hall of Famer John Campbell driving the Steve Elliott-trainee.   Katies Rocker, who made the last turn challenge, was three and a half lengths back in second at the wire. Winning Linc was third by seven lengths. Both are also sons of Rocknroll Hanover.   Bred by Andray Farm, Boston Red Rocks was a $50,000 Harrisburg Sale purchase by Floridians Peter Blood and Rick Berks.   Jimmy Takter was back in the winner's circle as the driver-trainer of Bar Hopping [$7.80], who passed 1-5 favorite Southwind Frank in the stretch and held off the challenge of Marion Marauder in the final strides of the sixth race, the $20,000 second New Jersey Sire Stakes division for trotting colts and geldings.   Bar Hopping, a son of Muscle Hill - Cocktail Hour, trotted the mile in 1:56.3, finishing a neck ahead of Marion Marauder [Muscle Hill]. It was a length back to Waitlifter K [Muscles Yankee] in third.   Southwind Frank broke stride in the final sixteenth, finished fourth across the wire but was placed sixth for failing to lose ground.   Bred by Douglass Hutchins, Bar Hopping was a $190,000 Harrisburg acquisition by Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz and Al J. Libfeld. The colt now has a win and a third in his two starts.   Blue Moon Stride [$8.40], driven by Andrew McCarthy and trained by Mark Harder, fired to the front and scored a gate-to-wire victory in the $25,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes for pacing fillies, the 11th race.   The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover - Classic Star paced the mile in 1:53.1, improving her record to a win and a second in two starts.   It was a length back to Show Time Hill [Rocknroll Hanover] in second while 2-5 favorite Rock My Girl [Rocknroll Hanover], who won the opening leg last week, was third by two and a half lengths.   Bred by Perretti Farms, Blue Moon Stride races for Australians Emilio and Maria Rosali   A quartet of $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals for two-year-olds takes place next Friday night at the Meadowlands.   Request For Parole took the featured event for older horses on Friday night, winning an upper-level condition pacing event for fillies and mares quite impressively.   Sent off as the 2-1 favorite, Request For Parole left for position, sitting the pocket behind the speedster, That Woman Hanover past the quarter in 27-seconds. From there, Matt Kakaley guided Request For Parole to lead as the field turned down the backstretch, but the lead was brief as Tim Tetrick steered Witch Dali to the front before the half-mile in 54-seconds. Kakaley kept his filly in the pocket around the far turn and was in a prime stalking spot past three-quarters in 1:22.1. Request For Parole moved off the pylons in the stretched and powered past to the lead and from there, the filly drew clear to win by two convincing lengths in 1:50. Longshot River Runs Thru It, who saved ground throughout the mile found room at the pylons and rallied well to finish second at 24-1 while Act Now rallied from far back to just nail Witch Dali on the wire to take the show spot.   Request For Parole is trained by Ron Burke who co-owns the mare with Weaver Bruscemi L.L.C.   The win was one of three on the program for Matt Kakaley.   The 13th race Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed. The carryover into the Saturday program is $180,059.80.   Racing resumes on Saturday, Meadowlands Pace elimination night, with a special 5:30 post time. The 14-race program includes a pair of $50,000 Meadowlands Pace Eliminations, a single $25,000 Mistletoe Shalee elimination, Reynolds trotting action for the three year old colt and filly trotters as well as the $250,000 Graduate Final that features a rematch of JL Cruze and Father Patrick.   Carol Hodes from SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - July 7, 2015 - Six divisions of the second round New Jersey Sire Stakes for harness racing two-year-olds will be contested on Friday night, July 10, 2015 at the Meadowlands. Thirteen trotting fillies are split into two $20,000 divisions, carded as the first and third races; 13 colts and geldings will face off in two $20,000 divisions, the second and sixth races while the pacers will meet in single $25,000 divisions with six colts entered in the fourth race and eight fillies in the eleventh race. Opening round winners who will be back in action include two-year-old pacing colt Boston Red Rocks [Rocknroll Hanover], trotting colt Southwind Frank [Muscle Hill] and pacing filly Rock My Girl [Rocknroll Hanover]. Both Gifted Lady and Hollywood Hill, trotting filly division winners, and Jack Vernon, who won a trotting colt heat last week, will skip Friday's New Jersey Sire Stakes. All three are by Muscle Hill. The finalists in each division will meet in $100,000 championships on July 17, 2015. This Saturday's card features eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace and Mistletoe Shalee. Post time on both Friday and Saturday this week will be 5:30 p.m. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - July 1, 2015 - The daughters of three harness racing trainers were named 2015 recipients of $2,500 scholarships from the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. The honorees are Caitlin McDermott of Allentown, NJ, daughter of Kevin and Sheri McDermott; Leah Mazer-Posner of Jackson, NJ, daughter of Colleen and Mike Posner, and Stephanie Lauer of Highstown, NJ, daughter of Bruce and Marie Lauer. Caitlin McDermott, 20, is preparing to combine her "knowledge of horses and human therapeutic techniques into an amazing career." McDermott expects to graduate from Florida Southern College in May of 2016 with a degree in biological sciences and athletic training. She was the recipient of an SBOANJ scholarship in 2012 and was a past Standardbred Equestrian of the Year. Posner "always knew I wanted to have a career that involved horses" and now has the goal to be an equine surgeon. The 18-year-old competitively shows horses and volunteers to foster rescue dogs. She is enrolled in Ocean County Community College where she took two courses while a senior in high school this past spring. Lauer, a four-year honor roll student in high school, spent her freshman year at Radford University and transferred to the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, in 2014. She is a competitive swimmer and owns a standardbred who raced in her father's stable and is now retired as her riding horse. "I am majoring in special education," Lauer said. "I plan on continuing my dream with a riding facility." She hopes to use standardbreds to teach riding "to mentally and physically challenged people...and work with wounded soldiers." McDermott, Posner and Lauer will be presented with their scholarship checks and plaques in the Meadowlands winner's circle on July 25, 2015, the night of the Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic and the Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ      

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 30, 2015 -- Harness racing two-year-old New Jersey-sired trotters and pacers step into the spotlight on Friday night, July 3, 2015 at the Meadowlands. Fifty are entered to go postward in six New Jersey Sire Stakes races on the card, most of them making their pari-mutuel debuts. Twelve trotting colts and geldings have been split into two $20,000 divisions, carded as the second and fourth races. Each features a trainee from the Ron Burke trainee: Southwind Frank in the second and Southwind Flash in the fourth. Both are coming off of victories in qualifiers at Gaitway Farms on June 22. Southwind Frank, a son of Muscle Hill out of the mare Flawless Lindy, won in 1:55.3 over a track labeled "good." "He was very good and he was very good in his first qualifier [finishing second]," Burke said. "He's funny. He was a horrible colt all the way until 2:30, but he's just gotten better and better. The faster you go, the better he gets. He couldn't trot in three minutes to save his life. He was horrible gaited and didn't have a great attitude. But every time we trained him he got a little better and then at like 2:30 it clicked. "He's been a completely different horse since then. Either we were doing a very bad job at first or we're doing a great job now," Burke told Harness Racing Communications. "Horses learn at their own rates. You can push them all you want; some of them are going to do it quick, some you're going to have to wait on." Southwind Frank was purchased as a yearling for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, which was to the colt's benefit. "He was a $100,000 baby so we didn't just cut him loose," Burke said. "I thought I had to give him a chance, and I kept making stakes payments, and worried I was throwing just good money after bad, but for once it worked out." Southwind Flash, a son of Muscle Hill-Friendly Amigo, won his qualifier in 1:58.4. "He's a real horse, too, I think," Burke said. "He's just got to mind his manners. Today [June 22], he was good. He let somebody go, he came back; he had multiple moves. He did everything you're looking for in a horse." A field of eight pacing fillies vying in the $25,000 first race while 10 pacing colts and geldings will face off for $25,000 in the fifth race. All are offspring of the late Rocknroll Hanover, except LL Jackpot who is by Philos Hanover The largest response came from trotting fillies with two 10-horse $20,000 divisions - the sixth and ninth races. All are daughters of Muscle Hill or his sire, Muscles Yankee. After two weeks of preliminary legs, the finalists will meet in $100,000 championships on July 17, 2015. --Quotes & Photos courtesy of Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ    

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 26, 2015 - New Jersey's annual salute to the horse moves to Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge this Sunday, June 28, 2015. Fair Winds will open its gates from 1 to 4 p.m. for the celebration of the Month of the Horse. Events are free and will take place rain or shine. Fair Winds is home to dozens of mares and foals, and to the Hogan Equine operated by Dr. Patricia Hogan. Dr. Hogan will show visitors the workings of the clinic, where hundreds of horses, mostly thoroughbreds and standardbreds, are treated each year. Her client list reads like a "Who's Who" of horse racing, and includes 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones. Farrier Tom Mulryne will demonstrate how horses' feet are kept healthy by regular trimming and shoeing when needed. There will also be a few friendly horses for visitors to pet and groom; selfies are welcome. Horse drawn wagon rides throughout the farm will be available. The Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of New Jersey will demonstrate all the ways standardbreds excel off the track. Trainer-driver Jacqueline Ingrassia will prepare a "well-dressed standardbred" with the equipment worn on the racetrack. The Rutgers Equine Science Center and racing's ambassador, Independent Act - Indy - will also be among the participants. Food concession stands will be available. Guests are asked to leave dogs at home and to wear sensible shoes for walking around the farm. Fair Winds, located at 74 Red Valley Road, Cream Ridge, is off of County Road 526 [Trenton Lakewood Road]. For directions click here By Carol Hodes for SBOANJ              

SHREWSBURY, NJ - June 24, 2015 - Two retired standardbreds, Ozzy [Osborne's Shy Cam] and Indy [Independent Act] made friends at the Monmouth County Library's Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury as part of the Month of the Horse festivities in New Jersey. More than 70 attended the event on Wednesday morning, June 24, 2015, with Indy, a 14-year-old trotter owned by Suzanne D'Ambrose, and Ozzy, a 24-year-old pacer owned by Terry Keynton, getting brushed, fed carrots and photographed during the one-hour meet-and-greet. Carol Hodes  

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 17, 2015 - Thomas Pontone, whose TLP Stables has owned more than 250 horses including Hambletonian winners Muscle Hill and Market Share, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. Pontone, who resides in Holmdel, NJ, is president of the Funeral Homes Products division of Matthews International. He has owned standardbred race horses since 1996 when he and his father, Lou, created the TLP Stables. "Tom Pontone will fill the vacancy in the owners' committee created by the passing of Eddie Razzetti," said SBOANJ President Tom Luchento. "Tom has many years of experience as an owner, racing some of the leading horses of the last two decades." Pontone, 53, plans to call on his "deep-rooted passion for harness racing in the great State of New Jersey" in his role on the SBOANJ Board of Directors. "I absolutely love harness racing and am very devoted to it," he said. "My wish is that the sport can continue to grow and prosper here, and there is no doubt in my mind that it can." In addition to his ownership interest in 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill, the St. Johns University graduate was also was a partner in 1998 Pacer of the Year Red Bow Tie, 2013 Trotting Horse of the Year Market Share and 2003 Pacing Horse of the Year Art Major among many others. His current stable is now 65 horses. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 17, 2015 - Veronica "Ronni" Dugan-Julien, of South Hackensack, NJ, passed away peacefully on Monday, June 15, 2015, at the age of 55 years. Beloved wife for 23 years of Meadowlands judge Lawrence M. Julien, she was the devoted mother of Eleanor Julien of South Hackensack, NJ. She worked as the licensing coordinator for the New Jersey State Racing Commission at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ. She was an NJRC employee since 1985. "She worked for the New Jersey Racing Commission for more than 25 years," said Larry Julien. "She tried to help the horsemen. As many of the horsemen know, she fought a long battle with cancer." The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Margaret of Cortona Church, 31 Chamberlain Avenue, Little Ferry, NJ. The family will receive friends at the G. Thomas Gentile Funeral Home, 397 Union Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601 on Thursday, June 18, 2015 from 2 - 4 and 7 - 9 p.m. She also leaves her sisters and brothers: Kathy McGuire and husband James of Port Monmouth, Michele DelFino and husband Anthony Jersey City, Margaret Dorobis and husband Joseph of Whiting, Patrick Dugan and wife Maryann of Parlin, and John Dugan and wife Sheila of Bayonne. In lieu of flowers, the family would suggest donations to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. For more information, visit By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 14, 2015 - New Jersey's celebration of the Month of the Horse features a personal appearance by two horses - including retired standardbred Indy -- and a presentation on equestrian fashion on Monday, June 15, 2015 at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan, NJ. Suzanne D'Ambrose's Independent Act [aka Indy] and the mustang DeFazio [aka Fez], will be available to meet and greet, starting at 6 p.m. Selfies and carrot feeding with these two friendly horses will be available. Tracy Brennan, who has 35 years of experience in training and riding horses, will speak about ladies' equestrian fashion from the Elizabethan Era to modern day. She has focused on riding aside [side-saddle] the last 10 years. The Equestrian Fashion Through the Ages presentation will take place at 7 p.m. The Monmouth County Library is at 125 Symmes Drive in Manalapan NJ. For more information call 732-431-7220 or visit monmouthcountylib.or. By Carol Hodes for SBOANJ      

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 4, 2015 - The deadline of June 15 is approaching for applications for the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and the Backstretch Community Assistance Program 2015 college scholarships. The scholarships are awarded to the sons and daughters of New Jersey horsemen. Scholarships, valued at a total distribution of $7,500, are for qualified students who plan to attend a two or four-year college or university, who are the son or daughter of a full-time participant in New Jersey harness racing or are themselves a full-time participant in New Jersey harness racing. Only one candidate per household will be considered, and there is a lifetime cap of $10,000 per individual. The applicant must have taken either the SAT or ACT test, be accepted to or attend a college or university and fill out the SBOANJ's Scholarship Award application. Financial need, student involvement in community work, extracurricular academic activities, evidence of strong character and leadership and interest in the equine industry will all be considered. Applications and requirements are available on the SBOANJ website - -- or at Freehold and the Meadowlands [see Horsemen's Rep Linda Goss], the Backstretch Community Assistance Program offices at the Meadowlands and Showplace Farms [see Dr. Chris Samaha] and the SBOANJ office at 64 Business Route 33, Manalapan, NJ 07726. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ        

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - June 3, 2015 - The plans for Hard Rock International to bring a casino to the Meadowlands Racetrack were unveiled at a well-attended media event on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 in the Victory Sports Bar at the Meadowlands. Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, and Jeff Gural, chairman of New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC, were joined by state legislators, chamber of commerce leaders and union leaders, all speaking on behalf of the plan, which calls for 5,000 slot machines and 200 gaming tables which could yield more than $400 million in new tax revenues annually for the State of New Jersey. "This was a positive step in the right direction," said Tom Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, who was among the SBOANJ contingent attending the event. "I see the action stirred up with a better than 50-50 chance to get this on the ballot this year. We have enough legislators to move it forward if Senate President Steve Sweeney will post the bill. "We understand Senator Sweeney's concerns about presenting a ballot question in an off-year election year [2015], but we'd get swallowed up in a Presidential election year [2016]," Luchento added. "And this is not only about bigger purses. This is funding for seniors, students, the Atlantic City casinos, farmers, inner city parks. So there is a lot to explain to people." "This is not a fight between North and South Jersey," Gural told journalists and other guests at the media event. "The reality is that the competition is already there [for Atlantic City] from New York and Pennsylvania. We're 15 minutes - when it isn't rush hour -- from Times Square. I'm even more optimistic. I think we can generate $500 million a year for the state." Gural proposes to give the state 55 percent of revenues, the same arrangement as Pennsylvania and its casinos. "We're the No. 1 harness track in the world, but we have a real struggle to get people to race here," Gural noted. "We need to help the purses here and at Monmouth Park. We run a very clean operation. The people running horses here are the cream of the crop. "Saving the horse racing industry is just as important as saving Atlantic City," he added. Among the legislators attending were State Senators Raymond J. Lesniak, Paul A. Sarlo, Robert Gordon and Loretta Weinberg as well as Assembly Members Ralph R. Caputo, Marlene Caride, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Vincent Prieto. "We have a lot to do with my colleagues," Sarlo said. "We'll get there as a group. We'll get to what we need to do to get this built. We can't wait two years. I'd like to get it up in six weeks if it was possible. But we'll work together. I promise to work with my colleagues to get this done." Two of the various issues are whether the referendum question for expanding casino wagering outside Atlantic City - public support is needed for a constitutional amendment - should be on this November's ballot or addressed in next year's; and whether there should be two or three licenses available in Bergen, Hudson and Essex Counties. As Hard Rock's Allen said, "This project [at the Meadowlands] as the ability to move ahead immediately. There are no financial contingencies." Hard Rock proposes a Phase 1 renovation, using areas of the existing Meadowlands grandstand, which opened two years ago. Phase 2 would entail additional casino construction. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - May 16, 2015 - Artspeak, the Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year in 2014, coasted to a three and a half-length harness racing victory in his season's debut, a $20,000 first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes, the fourth race on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the Meadowlands. Scott Zeron tipped the 3-2 favorite out and brushed to the lead before the half, hand driving the son of Western Ideal to a career best 1:49 flat. Gokudo Hanover [Cam's Card Shark] is second best with five and a half lengths to Dealt A Winner [Cam's Card Shark] in third. Artspeak, winner of the Governor's Cup and Metro Pace at two, lifted his bankroll to $752,185 with nine wins and two thirds in 11 career starts. The Tony Alagna trainee is owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The Gym Partners. Artspeak Hurrikane Ali, driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by John McDermott Jr., won the second of the two $20,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, the ninth race, in 1:50 flat on a surfaced rated good. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, Hurrikane Ali claimed the lead before the half and held off Rock N' Roll World by two lengths. Rock Of The Ages was third by seven and a quarter lengths. All three are sons of Rocknroll Hanover. Hurrikane Ali now has two wins in two starts in 2015 after going winless in five starts at two. He has earned $55,575 for the partnership of Kuhen Racing LLC, Jonathan Klee Racing, Dr. Kenneth Rucker and Robert Pucila. The card began with victories by daughters of Rocknroll Hanover in both of two $20,000 divisions of New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies. In the first race, 3-5 favorite Lindys Old Lady, unraced at two, posted her second straight victory, drawing away to a two and a half-length victory over Cheyenne Robin [Rocknroll Hanover] with three and three-quarter lengths to Wicked Little Minx [Rocknroll Hanover] in third. Lindys Old Lady, driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Frank Antonacci, paced the mile in 1:51 flat. Lindy Farms of Connecticut owns and bred the filly who has now earned $19,200. In the second race, 1-9 favorite Happiness by Rocknroll Hanover, controlled the pace and repelled the late challenge of Stacia Hanover [Western Ideal] to win by a length and a quarter. Hollyrocker [Rocknroll Hanover] was third by three lengths in the 1:50.4 mile. Yannick Gingras drove the Ron Burke-trained Happiness for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She won three of six starts at two and now has two wins and one third in three outings this year. Overall, she has banked $67,765. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

FREEHOLD, NJ - May 2, 2015 - EL Love went wire-to-wire winner and Northern Obsession tipped out three-wide in the stretch to win their respective $35,750 divisions of the Lady Suffolk for harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at Freehold Raceway. Riina Rekila, driver and trainer of EL Love, sent the Yankee Glide filly to the lead off the gate and repelled challenges throughout the mile to score a two and three-quarter length victory over 3-5 favorite Riley's Dream in the fifth race. It was four and a half back to Rules of the Road in third. EL Love [$8.20], who won both of her starts at two, is now two-for-two at three for a bankroll of $28,453. The mile in 1:58 flat was a career best for Finnish owner and breeder Erkki Laakkonen. Two races later, the seventh, 2-5 Jewels In Hock and 9-5 Blk Thai Optional broke stride in the first turn, leaving it to a trio of longshots to battle with 22-1 Northern Obsession [$46.20] who was a half-length winner over Southwind Cartier, the Muscle Hill filly who won the 2014 Marion Dancer Trot. Jewels In Hock recovered from her early break to finish third by a length and a quarter. Northern Obsession, driven to victory by Eric Abbatiello, picked up her second straight win for trainer Gilberto Garcia-Herrera of Columbus, NJ, who co-owns the daughter of Conway Hall with Barbara and Donald Arnstine of Sacramento, CA. Overall, the filly has two wins, three seconds and five third from 14 starts for career earnings of $50,813. By Carol Hodes for SBOANJ      

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