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CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - With a perfect two-hole ride, Winter Blast narrowly got his nose on the line first in the $3,000 preferred harness racing pace Saturday afternoon at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Hes Marvalous (Driven by Myles Heffernan Sr.) was first to the lead in the cold conditions with a three-second variant and laid down splits of 30.1, 1:00.4 and 1:30.2. The pacesetter battled off a first-over advance by the Jennifer Doyle trained Midnight Matt (Kenny Arsenault) but it was the other Doyle trainee, Winter Blast and driver Jason Hughes, in the two-hole that reached up for the glory in a 2:00.1 victory. Pictonian Storm (Corey MacPherson) rallied for second while Hes Marvalous had to settle for third. Danny Birt of Vernon Bridge holds the ownership papers of the winning eight-year-old son of Sand Shooter. The Chris Davies stable had a pair of wins on the day both with Adam Merner in the sulky. Runnindownadream opened up the action with a 2:04.3 score then Miss Sangria was an open-length winner in 2:03.1 in race 3. Dustylane Zambucca remains undefeated in her career as the three-year-old daughter of Camystic scored in 2:06.3 in a $1,750 non-winners two races class. MacPherson was in the bike for trainer Stephen Gass of Cornwall. Live racing continues Saturday, Jan. 25 at Red Shores Charlottetown. For more information go to Redshores.ca. by Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores  

An usual suspect at Exhibition Park Raceway will look to win his third straight event as racing continues this Saturday at the port city oval in harness racing action. Six races will be presented by Horse Racing New Brunswick with race one scheduled for 1:00 P.M. There was a large contingent of fans and supporters in last Saturday's winning circle presentation for Upstairswithron as he paced to a gate to wire effort en route to a 2:02.3 victory. Bob MacNeil owns the five-year-old son of Quick Comeback who is making himself a solid pick for most improved horse in 2016 in New Brunswick. Last year, the big strapping pacer went without a win all season. He owned a modest 2:06.2 pacing record taken back in 2014. So far this year, he sports a new record of 2:01.2 taken over Fredericton Raceway. Popular catch-driver Chris Davies gets the call this Saturday in the afternoon's final race. Saturday's top-class will feature a battle of Mike Downey entries as Fall Bliss, last week's top-class winner will take on City Of The Year in the day's premier event for a purse of $ 1350. Scott Waddell  

He's been a fan favourite horse for the last couple of years at Exhibition Park Raceway and Fredericton Raceway and he will race for the last time in his career on Tuesday afternoon.   Dusty Lane Oscar, winner of fifty-three races lifetime, over $50,000 in career earnings and a mark of 1:57 taken over Fredericton Raceway makes one last start for owner/driver Chris Davies.   Known for his antics in the winners circle literally bowing at fans as he is being cheered on, Oscar will race in the eighth race of the afternoon and has drawn post position two.   He has hit the board on three occasions this season in just six outings. Owner Chris Davies says that Oscar holds a special place in his heart. "This is the last horse that Dad and I owned together".   John Davies still comes out to watch the horse race and always has good advice for his son.   After acquiring the pacer from Moncton's Rob Tait, Davies quickly found out that he is a creature of habit. "He has a couple habits on the track. Turning before he goes to the gate you have to turn him inside out or he will stand up straight on his hind legs and in the winners circle he loves to stand up and bow to the fans".   Davies also says he knew it was time to give the horse a well deserved retirement and he will come full circle going to Rob Tait once again to enjoy the rest after a storied racing career.   Chris also say that Oscar helped him make a name for himself when he decided to give the Maine circuit a try. "Oscar traveled all through Maine with me and helped me make a name down there. Hes a real pleasure to drive and gives his heart everytime he swings."   To say that Oscar has a few fans is really an understatement. Chris along with his sister Joanne and their Dad make up Team Davies but many friends and family have joined in as they follow one of their favourite horses. Davies and company wear the colour orange and Oscar will be decked out in his colours on Tuesday afternoon.   When horses retire it can be a sad day for his owners and fans but over the years Oscar has given people many thrills and one thing is for sure, every time he gets behind the wings he knows its time to go to work and gives his all.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB    

Saint John Harness Horsemen Association honoured its top harness racing horsemen and equine performers on Saturday night with the coveted Horse of the Year award handed out among all other categories for 2013.   Starting with the aged categories two-year-old filly was Absolootly Hot, owned by the Dooley Boys Racing stable and Scott Hubbard taking top prize. She is a daughter of Coastocoast Yankee and she earned over $17,000 on the season and took a record of 1:59.4.   Two-year-old colt and gelding winner was Settlement Request, owned by Alfred Barrieau of Dieppe, N.B and Mike Clinton of Saint John. Gilles Barrieau trained and drove the gelding to over $34,000 in earnings and a record of 1:58. He too is by Coastocoast Yankee.   In the three-year-old colt and gelding category it was the sensational Untouchable One, owned by Dooley Boys Racing stable. He captured both the Maritime Breeders final and the Atlantic Sires Championship. He took a record in the Maritimes of 1:55.2 and has since eclipsed that record in the U.S with a sparking 1:50.4 win.   Three-year-old filly of the year was no surprise as Ramblinglily took top honours for the connections of Norm Leger and Allan Jones. She captured the prestigious Maritimer in Saint John and scored numerous stakes wins. She won ten of fifteen in 2013 and just shy of $ 60,000 in earnings. Her fastest win of the year was a 1:56.1 win in P.E.I.   Dance Hanover captured the Aged Horse of the Year trophy for the Ultimate Stables of Greater Lakeburn, N.B. He had a very consistent 2013 with twenty-three top three efforts in twenty-nine starts. His best winning time was 1:57.3 for the son of Astreos. He should surpass $ 100,000 in earnings in 2014 as he is less than five-thousand short.   Ultimate Stables ended up sweeping the aged category as the mare Ultimate Spirit was named top distaff pacer. She took a life's mark in Saint John of 1:57.2 and recorded nine wins. In 2009, she was a $1000 yearling purchase and has banked over $ 51,000 lifetime. Sifroi Melanson is the owner/ trainer of the Ultimate Stables who continue to develop solid horses year after year.   Most improved horse on the grounds this season was O K Elegant. Owned by Dr. Mitchell Downey, the five-year-old Dragon Again mare took a new speed badge over Saint John of 2:00.2 and scored twenty-eight top three finishes on the year. Mike Downey drives and trains the mare.   Claimer of the year was awarded to Dusty Lane Oscar after a tremendous 2013 for young horsemen Chris Davies and the rest of Team Davies. At nine years old, he took a new mark of 1:57 in 2013 and registered ten wins. He also went past the fifty-win plateau lifetime and earned just shy of $ 8500.   "Oscar" also captured a special award as he was recognized as the fan favorite in 2013. Visits to victory lane was also a packed place to be and had a stretch last year where he won seven of eight starts. Chris also reached a huge milestone recently as he become a father for the first time.   Oldtime Robbi award was presented to the consistent Magical Alex for owner/ trainer Bob MacNeil of Saint John, N.B. He showed his toughness starting thirty-eight times in 2013, He won ten of those starts and now has over $ 36,000 in earnings. He was an $ 1100 yearling purchase in 2010 and has proven to be a solid campaigner as he enters his seven-year-old campaign.   Overall Horse of the Year seemed like a battle of the three year old winners and it was Ramblinglily who came out on top as the top horse after her noted sensational season.   In the horsemen categories, Gilles Barrieau was named top driver while Andrew Ward captured top training honours.   Mike Downey was named Horseperson of the year while his son Mitch was named Owner of the Year. Both awards were voted on by their peers.   Congratulations to all the winners and nominees from the Saint John Harness Horsemen.      

Standardbred Canada are once again looking for regional qualifying rounds for the National Driving Championship in Canada and I will take a look at the local region here in New Brunswick. Who ultimately will get the chance to compete? Let's take a look. We have a number of talented and capable drivers in our province so to narrow it down is harder than one might think. I will give it a whirl and welcome comments. If there are eight challengers, here are the top-four I think will be quite easy in selecting. Gilles Barrieau, who will race out of P.E.I but is still a resident of New Brunswick is the first logical choice. Gilles has represented Canada at the worlds previously and is a automatic selection. Next, Todd Trites would be the second selection. He continues to post impressive numbers in Saint John and Fredericton, and is a popular catch-driver right through the Maritime driving circuit. My third choice is Mark Haig. Year after year the quiet and talented teamster who makes harness racing driving a weekend job, is always in the top five in standings at both tracks in N.B. For the fourth spot, I will say Stephen Trites, the elder brother of Todd and a more than capable driver. In fifth spot, I will put in Gordon Hennessey, the Moncton native and brother to Wally and Jody Hennessey and a very good option for catch-driving assignments in the province. For positions six through eight, its gets a little tougher. There are a number of capable drivers that could fill the last three spots and its a tough call. In no particular order, my picks for the final three regional competitors are Lonny Stokes, Dale Spence and Chris Davies. Like I said, a tough call and there are a few more who could easily make the grade but these are my picks for the eight representatives who will compete to represent N.B in the Atlantic Regional Final later this year in P.E.I. by Scott Waddell, for Horse Racing New Brunswick. Contact Scott at swaddell12@gmail.com

North America's top percentage harness racing driver in 2013 has been named the inaugural winner of the Earl Avery Award. Gilles Barrieau, the perennial New Brunswick driving champion and leading UDRS driver in North America last year with a phenomenal .420 average, edged out Woodstock, N.B. native Ivan Davies in voting for the award by industry leaders in New Brunswick. Janet Stevenson Davis, Dale Spence, Chris Davies and his horse, Dusty Lane Oscar, and Philip 'Bo' Sowers were also nominated. "I'm really honoured to win this award," said Barrieau, who maintains a large stable at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B. "Earl Avery was an outstanding horseman and just to hear that I was nominated had already been a special moment for me. My father [Alfred] actually worked for him when he was racing in the United States so I thought that was interesting connection. "This award is a fitting tribute to Earl Avery himself and a great addition for the harness racing industry in New Brunswick." Earl Avery was a native of Knowlesville, N.B. who later moved to Woodstock to begin a legendary career in the sport back in the early 1920’s. He was the first member of the harness racing fraternity to be inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1976; the normal five-year waiting period after retirement being waived for the much-respected Avery. Avery is the only horseman from New Brunswick to ever be elected to Horse Racing Hall of Fames in both Canada and the United States. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1977 and later the same year became the 25th person to be elected to the Living Hall of Fame of the Trotters in Goshen, New York. It was a fitting culmination of a career that saw him win more than 4,000 races and $3.5 million in career earnings and establishing nine world records. During his career, Avery became associated with arguably the greatest pacing horse in the history of harness racing when he convinced owner Norman Woolworth to purchase Meadow Skipper 50 years ago. Meadow Skipper went on to become a world champion race horse for Avery, pacing Lexington, Kentucky’s famed Red Mile in 1:55.1 in October 1963. He later developed into one of the most prolific stallions of the 20th century and his influences on breeding continue to be felt today. “This new award creates an opportunity to bring recognition to outstanding harness racing achievements in New Brunswick while also honouring an industry pioneer,” said Brent Briggs, administrator of the Earl Avery Award. “Besides being an outstanding horseman, Earl Avery was also a great ambassador of the New Brunswick industry for over 50 years. "I think the voting panel made an excellent choice in Gilles Barrieau as he has always been an outstanding representative of New Brunswick harness racing, not just this year but throughout his career. He is widely recognized for his training and driving talents; a complete horseman and gentleman, much like Earl Avery was himself." Barrieau will receive a cheque for $1,000 in the name of a recognized charity that he has chosen and will have an opportunity to present it to that charity on behalf of all horse people in the province during the upcoming horse racing season. The creation of the Earl Avery Award and the prize is a collaboration between Horse Racing New Brunswick and the Horseman’s Associations in Woodstock, Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. Submitted from Earl Avery Awards

The finalists for the Earl Avery Award, an honour given to a horse, horse person or personality, or horse racing event that best represents the New Brunswick harness racing industry over the past season, were announced on Saturday, February 1. This is the first year for the Earl Avery Award, which recognizes successes within the province or could also honour a distinguished horse or horse person and their accomplishments outside New Brunswick that brings recognition to the industry, both of which Avery himself did with distinction. The winner will be announced on Monday, February 17. The presentation will be made at the Fredericton Horseman’s Association Annual Awards Banquet and Wall of Fame ceremonies later this spring. The recipient of the Earl Avery Award will also receive a cheque for $1,000 in the name of a recognized charity that they have chosen. They will have an opportunity to present it to the charity on behalf of all horse people in New Brunswick. The creation of the Earl Avery Award and the prize is a collaboration between Horse Racing New Brunswick and the Horseman’s Associations in Woodstock, Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. The six finalists are: Bo Sowers - The Fredericton native was the 14th top-ranked trainer in North America in 2013. He had a .330 training average (640 starts - 129 wins - 99 seconds - 99 thirds). Sowers was also the top trainer in the State of Maine in all categories - wins, money and percentage. He returned home on July 1 and won the oldest running Free-For-All in Canada, the prestigious Walter Dale Memorial, with Malek Hanover. Chris Davies and Dusty Lane Oscar - The horse and his trainer became fan favourites in New Brunswick this past summer, winning 10 races in Fredericton and Saint John during a shortened harness racing season. Davies and his ever present smile and 'Hey bud, how’s it going?' attitude, along with his nine-year-old race horse Oscar, kept on winning this past summer and paced to a lifetime best of 1:57 over Fredericton, his 50th lifetime win. Dale Spence - He became a media sensation in New Brunswick in August after blazing Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John in a track record performance of 1:53.4 with Big League. The 1:53.4 mile was the fastest mile ever over a half-mile track in the province while breaking the longstanding track record. Making it more special was the fact that Big League was a New Brunswick homebred, who had his early beginnings in Saint John. Gilles Barrieau - He was the leading UDRS driver in North America in 2013 with a phenomenal .419 average (507 starts - 138 wins - 96 seconds - 64 thirds) finishing three percentage points ahead of another New Brunswick native, Drew Campbell (.416), who races primarily in Maine. Barrieau was the leading driver at both race tracks in New Brunswick and he also campaigned the top Maritime-bred two-year-old Tobins Fusion. Ivan Davies - Woodstock native Ivan Davies capped an undefeated season with the three-year-old trotting colt sensation Obrigado at Scarborough Downs in the $77,415 Maine Sires Stakes Championship Finals. Obrigado was undefeated in 13 starts in 2013 and earned over $100,000. Davies ended with the top two trotting colts in their division including Wakefield Fire, owned by his brother Owen and mother Donna. He has raced for a number of years in the New England States and has amassed 1,885 career driving wins and his horses have earned over $4.6 million. Janet Stevenson Davis - She was the winner of the 2013 Harness Horse Youth Foundation’s Service to Youth Award. The Service To Youth Award is given annually to an individual, farm, or organization who exemplify outstanding effort in facilitating youth participation in harness racing. Recipients show exceptional assistance to existing HHYF programs or in their own successful efforts. The native of Fredericton, who now resides in Delaware, also co-owns and trained the three-year-old trotting colt Good Skies, who won the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund Stake at Harrington in July in a record time of 2:00.2. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcananda.ca

It was the slimmest of margins but red-hot Dusty Lane Oscar prevailed on Saturday at Exhibition Park in the afternoons top-class. Leaving from post seven, the favorite on the tote board exploded to the lead and held on for a head victory. Ace On The River nearly got there for driver Todd Trites. He now has nine victories on the season from just twelve outings. Time of the mile was 1:59.1 for driver Wayne Watson and owner Chris Davies. Harness racing is now dark in the province until Saturday, August 24th back at E.P.R. by Scott Waddell  

Dusty Lane Oscar, the nine-year-old Pans To Reason pacer looks to add to his storybook season this Saturday at Exhibition Park Raceway. Horse Racing New Brunswick will host the seven-dash card and the feature goes as race seven. Dusty Lane Oscar sports a summary of 11 starts, eight wins, two-seconds and a third. He has earned $ 5963 dollars to date for owner/ trainer Chris Davies. He has drawn the outside post-seven for catch-driver Wayne Watson. Ace On The River has the luck of the draw and leaves post one for Todd Trites. Other starters in order of post position are Mr Shankopotamus, Ideal Ticket, Choco Du Ruisseau and After Lunch Larry. We also would like to wish best of luck to all New Brunswick horsemen who will be partaking in the annual Old Home Week racing at Red Shores in Charlottetown. Post time Saturday is 1:00 P.M. by Scott Waddell  

Another hot, humid day in the port city of Saint John on Saturday and racing was fast and furious at Exhibition Park Raceway. Three-year-old ROF Samurai was the first winner of the day for owner Zoran Petrovich in 2:04 for driver Sam Hodgin. A son of Force of Life, the gelding held off Pinch Of Nutmeg in the lane for a three-quarter length win. Tommy Gunn's March Past did just that in the stretch to earn an easy win for catch-driver Mark Haig in 2:02 as she caught pace setter Yankee Dancer. Flying Cowboy was impressive for Stephen Trites as the three-year-old Brandons Cowboy gelding earned a new speed badge of 1:59.4. This horse seems to be getting better with each passing week for owners Ralph and Charlie Miles. Last years claiming star Forever Finesse added another lifetime win to his repertoire as he stepped to a six-length romp for driver Mike Downey and owner Dr. Mitchell Downey. Time of the mile was 2:00.2. Phil Reid sat straight up on Goldin Opportunity and won an early speed duel with Lanny and went all the way in 2:00.2. Reid handed driver Todd Trites a parking ticket in quick opening splits of :28.2 and :58.4. Young Dale Spence guided Hot Shot Mindale to a wire-to-wire triumph in 2:01.2 for owner Carl Hartley. He held off M Ds Hardly Success to preserve the one and a quarter-length win. Front end winners were the theme of the day and After Lunch Larry and pilot Gord Hennessey turned the trick in 1:59 off the front. Choco Du Rousseau and Stephen Trites paired up for an impressive 1:59 win for owner Tina Dunphy of Fredericton. He is a son of Million Dollar Cam and he too won in gate to wire order. Make it seven wins now for Dusty Lane Oscar as he continues his seasons dominance in N.B. Chris Davies owns the papers on the nine-year-old Pans To Reason gelding. This race turned out to be the thriller of the day with the first four finishers only separated by one-length. Time of the mile was 1:59.1. Ultimate Stables' Ultimate Spirit got up in deep stretch to win by a head over Eloquent Desire for driver Mark Haig. Time of the trip was yet another sub two-minute time of 1:59.4. For more info on racing in New Brunswick, please visit http://www.hrnb.ca Scott Waddell  

It's all about the quantity on Saturday at Exhibition Park Raceway in the afternoon's top-class as six-horses, with whom are extremely competitive face-off in the $1,500 top-class. Only five will start in the days feature but it's wide open. Post time for the July 20th card goes at 1:00 P.M. Race nine has been selected as the top-class with Busters Brother and young gun Dale Spence getting the rail post to work with. Dusty Lane Oscar, a winner of six of eight starts after being scratched last week, will look to come off last week strong for owner/ trainer/driver Chris Davies. Other starters in the dash include Magical Alex, Manraysonjo and Dance Hanover. One to watch on Saturday is KD Just Hold On who hails from the Steve Mason stable who was a stakes winner this past week in Summerside. For all the information you need click here   by Scott Waddell  

He is the hottest horse in New Brunswick after winning six of eight starts for harness racing owner-trainer-driver Chris Davies.

Young teamster Chris Davies, the multi-talented youngster from Saint John drove his claiming pacer Dusty Lane Oscar to victory in the afternoons top-class at Fredericton Raceway.

All Chris Davies has ever wanted to do was train standardbreds. It's been a life-time obsession for as long as he can remember. And now aged 22-year-old the Saint John (New Brunswick) native is really starting to put his harness racing dream into action.

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