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It was just over five months ago that the tragic barn fire took place at the South Florida Trotting Center in Lake Worth. Of the 23 Standardbred horses in Barn 9 that evening, only five have survived and now one of those harness racing horses that were rescued, a trotter named Celebrity Lover, has made it to the winner's circle. Sunday night at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania, Celebrity Lover, trained and driven by Sam Stathis, who owns the South Florida Trotting Center, won the seventh race trot by a neck in 1:59. The homebred stallion, owned and bred by Stathis's Celebrity Farms, was rescued from the barn fire that frightful night on March 15. The four-year-old son of Andover Hall from the Yankee Glide mare, Celebrity Feeling, suffered 3rd degree burns over his back from the burning roof above his stall. Within days of the fire, Stathis set up a special therapy barn at the South Florida Trotting Center to help aid the recovery for the surviving horses from the fire. "There is no doubt that our therapy barn aided in the recovery and return to racing for Celebrity Lover," Sam Stathis said. "And the outpouring of support and love from people all over the world were a big factor too. "We enclosed Barn 1 in fly netting," Stathis explained, "We brought in or were donated everything we could get to help these horses. The latest in laser equipment to promote healing, special nebulizing equipment to treat the horses burned lungs from the heat and smoke of the fire, an electro-equiscope, heart monitoring equipment, a theraplate unit, an equine weight scale, the best floor matting available to help prevent hoof problems and more to aid with their recovery." "FarmVet.com donated an entire pallet of burn cream that was used up within months and then donated another pallet." Stathis explained. "We had to hand walk these horses before dawn and after sundown as their burns could not be exposed to sunlight. "Each morning we bathed the burns, then reapplied the creams, did treatments and then repeated it all over again in the afternoon. I want to give credit to caretaker Lyne Morneau and trainer Alex Spano who worked day and night for months caring for them and to Dr. Michael Carinda and Dr. Paul Caputo for their work. We argued tooth and nail over how to treat these horse but in the long run it worked. Most veterinarians never had burn victims like this to treat." The results were shown on the racetrack Sunday as Celebrity Lover raced parked out first-over from the half mile and Stathis rated the mare perfectly, clearing to the lead in the stretch and holding off Coogan in the final strides to win in a photo finish. Unraced at age two, Celebrity Lover made just five starts at age 3 with a qualifying win in 2:05.4. He just qualified at Pocono Downs August 10, was third in a pari-mutuel race, timed in 1:58.3 on August 19 and is now a winner. "I literally cried with joy after "Lover" dug in and held off Ake Svanstedt with Coogan for the win," Stathis said. "It was just five months that he (Celebrity Lover) was fighting for his life from the smoke inhalation and burns." Celebrity Lover is the first of fire victims to return to the races and win. Stathis said that the other three of his horses that were in the fire, Celebrity Tsipras, Celebrity Lambo and Celebrity Artemis, are coming back strong. Celebrity Tsipras just qualified and raced for the first time August 14 and hopefully the other two will be racing before the end of the year. Celebrity Lover is a full brother to the mare Celebrity Artemis. It should be noted that the fifth horse that survived from Barn 9 fire, Grateful Pride, a two-year-old colt by Bettors Delight, has also been racing for trainer Linda Toscano since late June, but has yet to win. "God didn't want these horses yet for a reason," Stathis said. "The trainers and grooms that helped saved them from the fire and risked their lives for these animals are the real heroes. And what a feel good way to celebrate with having them not just recover from their burns and internal injuries but to race and win. You could not script a movie any better than this. "And we will be adding more therapy equipment this year to Barn 1 at the South Florida Trotting Center," Stathis added. "I'm still trying to get an equine hyperbaric chamber if possible. Whatever it takes to help care for the horses. This fall the therapy barn will be available for all horses of every breed that need help." For more information, visit www.southfloridatrottingcenter.com. By Steve Wolf for the South Florida Trotting Center    

WELLINGTON, FL - Stathis Enterprises and the World Chariot Racing Federation (WCRF) has announced that the WCRF will be conducting a pre-Olympic (VIP by invitation only) party on April 24th at the International Polo Grounds. The WCRF organization is dedicated to the resurrecting chariot racing in the Olympics while revitalization and reshaping the sport of harness racing. This is the second straight year that the WCRF is celebrating at the International Polo Club in Wellington during the US Polo Championship match. And the WCRF Olympic countries' dedicated exotic chariots will be on display at the event. The WCRF Olympic premier tour will be highlighted by exhibition events (including an exhibition race on May 3rd in Greece) as the sport that the ancient Olympics were founded on. The tour travels to Greece on Sunday, May 1st--the Christian-Greek Orthodox Easter--before heading to Italy, Sweden, Germany, France, Wales and concluding in Ireland in August. Stathis Enterprises and the WCRF is pushing for the return of exotic chariot racing to the Olympics sport roster. "During the Olympics, all countries would stop wars to promote world peace through camaraderie and sportsmanship," said Sam Stathis, of the WCRF. "That is what we would like to make happen once again. "How do we know the future of chariot racing in the Olympics?" Stathis explained, "Because we are creating the future! As chariot racing has gone into a dark age, it is being resurrected symbolically during the holiest of days, the Christian-Greek Orthodox Easter." Stathis said the pre-Olympic events is also raising funds for the Special Olympics and Horses Healing Hearts. Born Sotirios Stathopoulos in Analtsi, Greece, Sam Stathis is a seventh generation Stathopoulos and was raised just ten kilometers from where his ancestor's fought off King Phillip II, the father of Alexander the Great, in the battle of Thermopylae. He is looking forward to visiting the area during the WCRF tour, and to pay homage to the site. Already committed internationally to the WCRF are top equestrienne gold medalists and world renowned Standardbred horsemen and women. Along with his champion trotting stable, Celebrity Farms, Stathis is partners on two internationally recognized jumpers that are clones of two-time Olympic Gold Medalist champion Sapphire. Both clones are six-year-olds competing towards the road to the Olympics. On April 27th, the Christian-Greek Orthodox Ash Wednesday, the WCRF will be leaving for Greece from the ashes of Barn #9 at the South Florida Trotting Center. It is symbolic as Barn #9 was Sam Stathis's barn where 12 horses perished on March 16 in a tragic fire. A documentary of the devastating fire and a movie are already in production. The documentary, entitled Barn9, will detail the fire at Stathis's South Florida Trotting Center, following the events surrounding the fire, exploring new technology to not only prevent such disasters in the future, but also train fire rescue units in the handling of large animals during and after a fire. It will also feature extensive technology updates for veterinarians on treating large animal fire victims and new standards for barn and stable protocols for fire safety. The film, entitled Chariots On Fire, will cover the history of chariot racing from Egypt to the Olympics in Greece, the Coliseum in Rome to the modern day industry and the new technology that is reviving the sport today. Stathis is the owner of the South Florida Trotting Center in Lake Worth, Celebrity Farms in Goshen, NY, and the CEO and founder of Stathis Enterprises, which comprises Polo Electric, Celebrity Vision Marketing, Eventsy, Intelligent Job Sites, Celebrity Farms Racing Stable, Theometrics and Theometrics University. For more information about the WCRF, visit www.worldchariot.org. From Stathis Enterprises and World Chariot Racing Federation

Lake Worth, FL - Four of the horses rescued from the devastating barn fire at the South Florida Trotting Center have returned home. Celebrity Lover, Celebrity Tsipras, Celebrity Artemis and Celebrity Lambo were all released from Reid & Associates Equine Hospital late Friday afternoon. All four of the horses suffered burns on their backs and some on their necks and rumps. Seven of the injured horses remained at the Hospital in Loxahatchee and it was not clear when they would be released. As the returning horses were removed from their trailer, all had visible burn injuries. Each will need to be monitored over the next several weeks for upper respiratory and lung issues, and the horses may require hyperbaric oxygen treatments, said Sam Stathis, owner of the four horses and the owner of the South Florida Trotting Center. "They're not in extreme danger, but (there's) caution that they're not out of the woods with the respiratory issues," he said. "They need 24 hour a day care. We thought it better that they live on the farm and we hand walk them so they don't get psychological issues. They've been through enough." Stathis said veterinarians will come to the center each day, to tend to the recovering animals. Stathis lost one of his own horses, but had four survive. He said he's taking responsibility for all horses in the barn that burned. "I'm ecstatic that the first four horses have returned to the farm," Stathis said. "And we are doing everything possible to insure that the remaining seven will come home too. I can't wait for that day to come." By Steven Wolf for Stathis Enterprises    

Lake Worth, FL – Stathis Enterprises Unicorn Trust of New York City, NY, has announced that they have closed on the purchase of the South Florida Trotting Center late in May. The purchase price was over $10 million and includes the 102 acre facility with 14 barns. It is home to 300 harness racing horses located on route 441/SR 7 in Lake Worth and feature an equine swimming pool and numerous turnout paddocks. The new CEO of the South Florida Trotting Center is Sam Stathis, who already has his Celebrity Farms Stable at the South Florida Trotting Center. “I want to thank prior owner Eric Cherry for making this deal happen,” Stathis said. “First order of business will be fixing up the barn area, caretaker quarters and building a new training barn for my stable. Also we will be remaining open year-round henceforth. “We also want to rename the facility,” Stathis said. “And we will hold a world-wide “Name the equine center contest” this summer. “Our plans are to turn this facility into a real showplace with modern technology, eco-system friendly and also to expand the facility so that other breeds of horses will be able to train at the farm. While this facility has been predominately a premier trotting facility, we will now be attracting all equestrian disciplines including Hunter, Jumpers and even Polo. “We are both pleased with the closing and I am going to stay on the farm with my Let It Ride Stable,” former owner Eric Cherry said. “I look forward to working with Sam as he has great plans for the future of the farm and to turn it into a premier facility.” Stathis also said plans call for the facility to become a research and development center with an incubator for equine related technologies including a teaching facility for caretakers, holistic equine healing and more. Sam Stathis was born in Greece and immigrated to the USA with his family at age 7. He is a passionate entrepreneur, investor, developer, engineer, inventor and philanthropist with extensive experience in starting and operating multimillion dollar companies on a domestic and international basis. Stathis began owning Standardbred horses in 2000. He has since gotten his trainers license and is a provisional licensed professional harness racing driver. He also owns Celebrity Farms in Goshen, NY that is a breeding and training facility www.celebrityfarms.com and is the founder of the World Chariot Racing Federation www.worldchariot.org. By Steve Wolf, for Stathis Enterprises  

WELLINGTON, FL- This past Sunday, April 19, 2015, Stathis Enterprises (SE) and the World Chariot Racing Federation (WCRF) were sponsors of the 111th U.S Open Polo Championship - and wrapped up the 2015 polo season with the go-to VIP party of the season, where top Polo officials, players and fans gathered to celebrate this year's championship match. It was won in overtime by Valiente over Orchard Hill, 11-9. Guests were also treated to a sneak peak of the WCRF's collection of state-of-art harness racing chariots, which promise to revolutionize the Standardbred industry. It was a perfect blend of harness racing and polo. "The U.S. Open Polo Championship final is a great way to celebrate tradition, culture and of course, horses. For that reason, we're especially proud to connect our next generation with an equestrian sport that has withstood the test of time for more than 2,000 years - chariot racing," said SE and WCRF founder Sam Stathis. "The WCRF aims to raise major visibility for harness racing and exceed all previous expectations by attracting new fans and new owners to the sport that founded the Olympic games in antiquity," Stathis said. "While our new chariots may look futuristic they function much like their original counterparts during the Olympic Games of Ancient Greece." The exclusive after party held at the Palm Beach International Polo Club (IPC), was a veritable who's who of the polo industry, including IPC President John Wash, the Patron of the Coca-Cola Women's Polo Team, Gillian Johnston, the number one internationally ranked polo player, Adolfo Cambiaso, actor/rapper Vanilla Ice, polo star Nic Roldan and girlfriend/equestrian Jessica Springsteen, plus publisher Roxanna Cella and Jason Fenescey (Editor) of "Palm Beach Rox" and LIFE|STYLE Magazine. The event, organized by Eventsy, also featured a showcase and auction of the latest collection of luxury handbags from fashion designer Stefano Laviano - with 100% of the proceeds to be donated to Horses Healing Hearts, a 501c3 charitable organization that helps children raised with addiction in their home to begin recovery by working with horses. About WCRF Dedicated to revitalizing and re-branding harness racing as a "Sustainable Sport"â„¢ with as much thrill and excitement as auto racing, the World Chariot Racing Federation (WCRF) is creating heightened interest with events being scheduled around the world. With the WCRF bringing together breeders, owners, trainers, drivers, tracks, fans, media groups and corporate sponsors, the WCRF also champions the green revolution, spearheading the growth of ecological sustainability in both harness chariot racing and auto sports combined. About Stathis Enterprises Stathis Enterprises, (SE) led by Founder and CEO Sam Stathis, operates an extensive research and development program committed to continuous evolution and exploration by generating new and innovative technologies that deliver the highest quality products and services. Some of SE's products and services include Polo Electric Corporation, Celebrity Vision Marketing, Celebrity Farms Racing, Theometrics and Theometrics University. About Eventsy Eventsy is New York City's fastest growing social and business networking company that caters to elite professionals by filling their personal and professional lives with weekly opportunities to network, meet new people, and accelerate their career paths, while experiencing the city's best restaurants, lounges and "invite only" events. For more information, please visit: http://www.stathisenterprises.com http://www.worldchariot.org/about/ By Steve Wolf and Eventsy for Stathis Enterprises    

You can sign up now in case you have not received the most recent  Harnesslink newsletter called Insider Access, and here is your chance.  Just fill in the form below and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at http://stallionsphere.com. Sign up to "Insider Access" Full Name Email Subscribe This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: We need more Sam Stathis types in our sport - Recently harness racing in North America received a big positive boost and it did not come in the form of a long shot winning at a racetrack or someone setting a track record. It came from a real estate business transaction in south Florida. Where are the NZ two-year-olds? - A common complaint heard these days in New Zealand is where are all the two year olds? On trial day there is an abundance of two-year-olds in evidence but come race day a lot of clubs are struggling to get a field of even eight runners. Now a lot of trainers have one look at the nominations and see a couple from the All Star barn and keep their two year olds for another day and you can't really blame them. Stallion Review – MUSCLES YANKEE – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Muscles Yankee 1:52.2 ($1,424,938). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).  

LAKE WORTH, FL – It was announced today that the owners of the South Florida Trotting Center has reached an agreement to sell the harness racing training facility to Stathis Enterprises of New York and Vero Beach. The selling price was not disclosed. The 102 acre facility features 14 barns and is home to 300 harness racing horses located on route 441/SR 7 in Lake Worth. Stathis Enterprises is owned by Sam Stathis, who already has his Celebrity Farms Stable at the South Florida Trotting Center. “I think this is going to be a wonderful opportunity for Stathis Enterprises,” Sam Stathis said. “I am obsessed with horses and harness racing and we are going to expand the farm. We have a lot of plans to keep this facility a real showplace.” Eric Cherry, the original principle owner of the South Florida Trotting Center, is happy with the agreement. “We have come to an agreement that we are both pleased with and I am going to stay on the farm with my Let It Ride Stable,” Cherry said. “I look forward to working with Sam as he has great plans for the future of the farm and to turn it into a premier facility.” Sam Stathis was born in Greece and immigrated to the USA with his family at age 7. He is a passionate entrepreneur, investor, developer, engineer, inventor and philanthropist with extensive experience in starting and operating multimillion dollar companies on a domestic and international basis. He also owns Celebrity Farms in Goshen, NY where he has a stable of horse and breeds Standardbreds for racing. “This is going to be very exciting,” Stathis said. “I can’t wait to begin making improvements and moving forward. Now New York and Florida are my home and I can have the best of both worlds in winter and summer.” By Steve Wolf   

Experienced South Auckland horseman, Rob Saunders, has joined Harnesslink.com to assist with various harness racing projects. The first venture Rob will be involved with is working with studs and stallion owners so that they can take advantage of the huge fan base the site has.

When the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA holds its 51st Annual harness racing 'Awards Banquet' at Kutshers Country Club on Sunday evening October 25 Sam Stathis will be this years recipient of the Chapter's Most Happy Fella Award in recognition of the terrific year he has had with the filly trotters that he bred and raised on his Celebrity Farms in Middletown, NY..

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