Investigators from the Humane Society of Greater Rochester have been keeping a close watch on Rodney Farms in Wheatland. The Humane Society has received numerous calls over a few years from citizens concerned about the welfare of the horses there. “We have a stable owner who has been well respected in the community for years come under troubled times,” said Reno DiDomenico, director of the department of law enforcement at the Humane Society. “The Humane Society’s position has always been to help and educate, not always just enforce. We’ve been trying to work with Mrs. Galbraith and Rodney Farms for a number of years,” DiDomenico said. But conditions reached a turning point in the past several days and DiDomenico felt compelled to act. Investigators executed search warrants on Thursday and seized five of Barbara Galbraith’s horses that she had moved away from Rodney Farms after Aug. 28, when she was charged with three counts of failure to provide sustenance, a misdemeanor. “When we arrived at her property on Aug. 28, we found water troughs that were completely dry, and they didn’t have access to other water,” said Adrienne McHargue, director of communications and outreach at Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester. Each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Galbraith is scheduled to appear in Wheatland Town Court on Sept. 16. Galbraith, 64, of442 Scottsville-West Henrietta Road, could not be reached for comment. Nobody answered the door at her home Friday. After a February Democrat and Chronicle report detailed the situation at the farm, investigators started to monitor the situation more closely. Horses were not in immediate danger when investigators arrived in August, McHargue said. Galbraith was issued an appearance ticket and the horses were fed and given water. Galbraith still has about 25 more horses. Shortly after that, Lollypop officials got tips telling them Galbraith was moving the horses off the property to several locations. Concerned citizens, McHargue said, told investigators where the horses had been taken. Five of Galbraith’s horses, all underweight, were brought to Lollypop on Thursday. The investigation is continuing, said DiDomenico. DiDomenico said investigators have checked on the horses, often by looking in from the edge of the road, dozens of times over the past few years. The seized animals include three stallions and two mares. One stallion is about 25 years old. The other horses are all about 2 or 3 years old. Galbraith permanently signed the oldest horse over to the Humane Society, DiDomenico said. The condition of the horses are ranked on a scale ranging from one through nine. Five is an ideal score. A lower score signifies an underweight horse. A higher score is an overweight horse. The oldest horse seized was scored one. The others were scored two. Those who took in the horses for Galbraith won’t be charged — moving the horses wasn’t against the law. But any in need of care will be taken to Lollypop, McHargue said. Rodney Farms has a proud history: Two-time Horse of the Year Niatross trained there under Galbraith’s husband, harness racing Hall of Fame reinsman and trainer Clint Galbriath. Niatross’ success elevated Clint and the farm to the top of the racing game, and helped the farm expand to more than 120 racing horses, Barbara said. The racing horses and brood mares nearly filled the 208-stall main barn and 20-stall receiving barn. Each 12-by-12 stall was equipped with automatic waterers and individual infrared heaters. But the farm has struggled for years, and Clint Galbraith’s serious head injury a few years ago made the already shaky two-person operation untenable. The cost and workload of running a working horse farm and breeding operation has been overwhelming, Barbara Galbraith said earlier this year. Massive holes in the roof of the once beautiful main barn let in the snow and wind. Most of the 200 stalls have broken doors and bent bars; only about 30 are usable. by Bennett J. Loudon (reprinted with permission by (www.democratandchroniclel.com)
BATAVIA, N.Y. --- Hour Lavec did most of the dirty work but it was Ziegfeld who cleaned up in the end and captured the $8,500 Open Trot at Batavia Downs Friday night (Sept. 6) in 1:58.0 over the fast track. Ziegfeld ($5.40) and driver Ray Fisher Jr. sat the garden spot throughout much of the race and watched Hour Lavec (John Cummings Jr.) post fractions of 29.2, 1:00.2 and 1:29.0. But in mid-stretch, the anxious Ziegfeld tipped and easily zipped past the pace-setting Hour Lavec and posted a 1-1/2 length victory. Haste (Jim McNeight) finished third. It was the ninth win in 25 starts in 2013 for Ziegfeld (Broadway Hall-Spicy Victoria) who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. It pushed the 5-year-old gelding's earnings to $58,990 this season and $166,672 lifetime. A tremendous card of racing is scheduled for Saturday night starting at 6:30 p.m. as unbeaten He's Watching comes to town for the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts. He's Watching will be in the seventh race and is the 2-5 morning line favorite scoring from the three post with Jim Morrill Jr. in the sulky. The Batavia Downs' track record for 2-year-old colt pacers is 1:54.2 set by Doctor Butch in 2012 is definitely in danger. It's just one of three $34,537 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes. There will also be three $12,600 Excelsior Series events for the freshmen pacing colts along with the weekly $8,500 Open Pace. Besides great racing, it's Hall of Fame Night where former Western New York driver/trainer Gaston Guindon will be inducted in the Upstate New York Hall of Fame, Batavia division. There's also an Old-Timers race to cap off the night's activities with Guindon, Fred Haslip, Gerry Sarama, Clint Galbraith and Dick Welch battling it out on the track once again in a non-betting affair. For more information including the latest news, race replays, statistics and upcoming promotions, go to http://bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs
BATAVIA, N.Y. --- Can He's Watching set his third track record in four weeks? That question will be answered Saturday night at Batavia Downs when harness racing's next superstar, He's Watching, highlights the three $34,537 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers in what should be one of the biggest nights of the year in Western New York. And along with the great Sire Stakes action, there will be three divisions of the $12,600 Excelsior Stakes for the 2-year-old colts and the $8,500 Open Pace. It will also Hall of Fame Night where former Western New York driver/trainer Gaston Guindon will be inducted in the Upstate New York Hall of Fame, Batavia division. There's also an Old-Timers race to cap off the night's activities with Guindon, Fred Haslip, Gerry Sarama, Clint Galbraith and Dick Welch battling it out on the track once again in a non-betting affair. But first, all eyes will be on He's Watching (American Ideal-Babberhood). He is a perfect five-for-five in his young career with a world record, two track marks and $122,640 in the bank thus far. He set the world record for two-year-old pacing colts on a 5/8-mile track and the Tioga Downs mark when he posted a 1:50.0 in a 6-1/4-length win on August 9 in Sire Stake competition. Less than two week later, it wasn't a record but He's Watching covered the Yonkers Raceway half-mile oval in 1:54.2 in romping to an easy 5-1/2-length victory. Then last Saturday night he got back in stride with another record with a 1:50.0 clocking on the 7/8-mile Vernon Downs track in scoring a 2-1/4 length victory also in Sire Stakes competition. Probably his most impressive victory, however, was his first career start at Saratoga Raceway on June 28. He's Watching broke stride at the start and spotted the field 14-1/4 lengths but rallied to win by 3/4 lengths in 1:55. He also broke at the start at Buffalo Raceway in his second start on July 10th but came back to win. He's been on his best behavior ever since and his record proves it. Co-owner and trainer David Menary said of He's Watching, "He's a guy with a big engine. He wants to go from second gear to fifth gear too fast. He's got to learn to not show off so much." The front-running He's Watching is the prohibitive 2-5 favorite in the seventh race with Jim Morrill Jr. scheduled to be aboard. The 2-year-old colt mark at Batavia Downs is 1:54.2 set in 2012 by Doctor Butch and is definitely in jeopardy. Menary added, "It's scary how fast this horse is." He was bought for $3,000 by Menary and Michael Guerriero in the 2012 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, a great purchase to say the least. While He's Watching will go in the seventh race, there's a possibility of the track record being broken before then as Forty Five Red (If I Can Dream-Sakura Hanover) leads the field of six in the first race, the opening division of the $34,594 Sire Stakes. Scoring from the three post, Forty Five Red has four wins in seven lifetime starts. He won the $111,250 Sheppard Final at Yonkers in 1:55.4 on July 20th and went gate-to-wire last weekend at Vernon Downs in 1:51.1. The Ron Burke-trained Forty Five Red already has earned $150,286 this season. Jim Morrill Jr. will get the driving assignment. The big night of racing with 13 races slated on Saturday gets underway at 6:30 p.m. For more information including race replays, statistics, schedule and promotions, go to http://bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing. by Brian J. Mazurek
This Saturday night (9-07) Batavia Downs will present a night of nostalgia when it celebrates the 25th anniversary of their hosting the 1988 Breeders Crown aged mare trot along with reuniting five of the most popular drivers ever circle their surface, to once again compete against each other in the first Legends of Batavia Downs race. The 1988 Breeders Crown was the richest purse ever offered at the Genesee County oval as well as the only leg of that prestigious series to be held there. The record purse of $268,756 saw top drivers Bill O’Donnell, Doug Brown and Ben Webster compete and a packed house was anxious to witness the sport’s top stars. Scenic Regal was coming off a second place finish to Mack Lobell at Yonkers and was the post time favorite. But the Armstrong Brothers entry of Armbro Fling and Armbro Flori were a formidable team to beat. In front of a roaring crowd, Larry Walker got Armbro Flori home by a head over the fast closing Scenic Regal in a time of 1:59.3. A pedestrian clocking by today’s standards, it was only 2/5th’s of a second off the all-time track trotting record when it happened. To commemorate the silver anniversary, there will be $25 betting vouchers given away starting after the fourth race, for five consecutive races. All the fans on hand will be eligible to win. Also that night will be the first ever Legends of Batavia Downs Pace. It will be 1970 all over again when the driving titans of a bygone era are brought back to the track to relive one of the most exciting times the track ever had. Hall of famer Clint Galbriath will be back in the bike to tangle with fellow western New York stars Gerry Sarama, Gaston Guindon, Dick Welch and Fred Haslip in a one mile race for the ages. Clint Galbraith has 3,062 wins and $19 million in earnings. He scored his first dash title at Batavia Downs in 1963 and will be forever synonymous with the legendary Niatross who won 37 of 39 starts and was named the horse of the year in 1979 and 1980. Another great Galbraith student was Call For Rain who won the Breeders Crown twice.The list of accomplishments attained by Galbraith is as impressive as any horseman ever to go behind a starting gate. Gerry Sarama has 2,630 wins and $11.5 million in earnings. He started driving at an early age and quickly found himself at the top of the driver colony at Batavia. Although he made a move to Roosevelt Raceway for a while to compete with the best in the nation, he eventually found his way back home and was always a highly sought after catch driver. Some of his most memorable horses were Jambo Bea, Free Chase, and his personal favorite, Cambiance. Sarama was known as “the man with the hands”. Gaston Guindon has 3,080 wins and $6.9 million in earnings. He moved to Batavia Downs in 1969 and it wasn’t long after that his career took off. The horses he drove were a who’s who for years and included names like the venerable Mr. Coal, Keystone Spectrum, Harbor Smoke, E C Oakie, Willow Hill Boy, Mucalee Bunt, Hot Shot Hamde, Skipper Frank and River Mouse. He is affectionately known by the locals as “The Gasser”. Dick Welch has 923 wins and $1.7 million in purses. He started driving at Batavia Downs in the late 1960’s and was the trainer for the powerful Marks Stable of Buffalo. Two of the most memorable pacers ever to race locally came from his barn; Pine Hill Time and Pine Hill Fred. Both were perennial Open class performers and shuttled between home and New York to race the best the east coast had to offer. His last pari-mutual start was in 1978 when he shifted gears to become a racing official. Welch was known for his trademark toothpick as you seldom saw him without one. Fred Haslip has 2,585 wins and has earned $5.9 million in purses. The lifelong resident of Basom, NY started driving at fairs in 1959 and scored his first pari mutual win in 1960. The list of horses that Haslip has teamed over the years is long and includes names like Diamond Sparkler, Happy Sparkler, Keystone Astro, Kay El, Jack the Baron, Coaltown Smoke, Flawless Sparkler and Princess Dee Dee. But Haslip is probably most noted for developing the former double gaited world record holder, Excalibur. Todd Haight is the General Manager of live racing at Batavia Downs. He remembers watching this group compete against each other in their prime and looks forward to “getting the band back together” to relive the good old days. Haight said “We are proud and excited to have these gentlemen come back and thrill our fans one more time. They were responsible for so many great races and memories that many of us still recall when we stand by the fence and reminisce. This is the first Legend’s race we’ve held and we look forward to doing it every year moving forward.” There will be a meet and greet with an autograph session on the apron from 5:30 to 6:25 and there will be a special picture insert in the program perfect for signing. The race itself will be held after the seventh event of the night. The whips used in the race by the five drivers will be autographed and given away to the fans in a random drawing. After the race, Gaston Guindon will be honored by the track and his colors will be hung in their track Hall of Fame where he will join other Batavia Downs immortals Jeff Gregory, John Schroeder, Ben Webster, Patsy Rapone and Bob Altizer. Post time is 6:30 for this action packed night of racing. by Tim Bojarski
It was another good night on the track for 2013 Johnston Cup leading trainer Gregg McNair when seven divisions of two-year old pacing fillies rolled into Hanover Raceway. The Guelph, Ontario resident formerly of Walkerton, scored two grassroots division victories with Momara and Can Art in races five and nine respectively. 2013 Battle of the Belles runner-up Momara wired the field as the overwhelming post-time favorite. The daughter of Lis Mara cruised to an easy victory in 1:57.3 with Stuart Sowerby in the race bike. Momara now has four wins in six lifetime starts for earnings nearing the $50,000 mark. Sowerby was steering once again when McNair sent out Can Art in race nine. The Artistic Fella filly was a gate-to-wire winner in 1:58.3, as she was able to fend off all challengers in the stretch. The win was her second in six races. McNair also had a second place finish from Regally Ready in race seven, while Sowerby scored an OSS hat trick by adding a win with Gram Rules for Blake McIntosh in race three. Hanover was lucky to have Hall of Famer Clint Galbraith formerly of Tara on hand, as he visited with Peter and Jean Thibideau before heading to Clinton to compete in their Legends Day of Racing program. Galbraith trained and drove arguably the best horse of the last century in Niatross who was just this past week, was enshrined in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Niatross was the first pacer to earn over 2 million dollars and was named the hosre of the year in 1979 and 1980. Niatross was named the Horse of the year in both Canada and the United States during 2 year old campaign where we won all 13 of his races and won 37 of his 39 career starts. Hanover Raceway returns with All-Trot Night on Saturday, August 24th. The eleventh edition of the track’s all trotting card will feature eliminations for the Balanced Image stakes for two-year olds, the 39th annual Walker Memorial, and a RUS Ontario exhibition race. Hanover Raceway is also participating in the Bring A Friend to the Races Challenge, as fans who bring someone new to the races, will both be entered in a draw for special behind the scenes prizing. Fans who come early will get a chance to meet the RUS riders and several regular drivers including Jay Harris and Stuart Sowerby in a meet and greet session under the grandstand at 6:30pm. Post time next Saturday for the 11th annual ALL TROT DAY is 7:30pm.
He has been an integral part of Clinton Raceway’s Legends Day since its inception back in 2001 and will be back again this year on Sunday, August 18. But Ron Waples still can’t get used to the thought of being considered a harness racing ‘living legend’. Those who have followed the incredible career of the double Hall Of Famer would say otherwise. Waples has driven just shy of 7,000 winners and has posted career purse winnings of more than $75 million in the process. Along the way, he has been blessed to sit behind some of the greatest horses ever to look through a bridle – horses like Ralph Hanover, Sugarcane Hanover, Peace Corps, No Sex Please, Dream Maker and Presidential Ball, just to name a few. He has won almost every major race in the sport along the way, including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug, North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace and nine Breeders Crown titles. “At the time, it’s all just another day at the office,” recalls Waples. “But now, when I reflect back on things, I realize just how fortunate I was to be associated with so many great horses and great people and to enjoy the success that I did.” Waples will be looking to capture his second Legends Day Trot this year after winning the 2003 edition with Carrland Buddy in a then track record of 1:58.2. This will be his seventh consecutive Legends Day appearance and he says it is an experience that never gets old. "I don’t really think of myself as a legend but it’s definitely very special to be asked to take part in something like this. I’m still a fan too and I’ve got to spend this day with some of the guys I’ve idolized myself like the late Buddy Gilmour for example. “It’s always a great day and I love the atmosphere,” he explains. “I am amazed at how many fans come out and they’ll stand in line for a couple of hours just to get autographs. The folks at Clinton go above and beyond on this day and they’ve raised a lot of money for local charities too over the years which makes it even more special.” In fact, the previous six Legends Day events have provided $132,000 that go directly to benefit local charities in the Clinton area. The Legends Day roster this year will include Waples along with Herve Filion, John Campbell, Bill O’Donnell, Ray Remmen, Keith Waples, Dave Wall, Clint Galbraith, Bud Fritz, Jim Doherty, Doug Brown and Steve Condren – a group with combined purse winnings of well over half a billion dollars. The $15,000 Legends Day Trot and Ontario Sires Stakes action for two-year-olds will be the highlight races for the afternoon. Fans will have an opportunity to meet this year’s legends and receive autographs starting at 2:30 p.m. There will also be live entertainment and pony rides in the park. The Pineridge Barbecue Chicken dinner is scheduled from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. (tickets $15 each) and Legends T-shirts will be on sale for just $2. All proceeds, along with those from the silent auction that day, will go to the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation. For complete details visit www.clintonraceway.com . by Jessica Carnochan
He has been a part of many battles on the racetrack over his outstanding 30-plus year driving career but the biggest battle of all for Steve Condren has come away from the track. The Milton resident was diagnosed with Colon cancer in 2011 and that very well could have meant the end to his storied career. But, with the steely determination and steady focus he has become known for, Condren has battled his way back into the race bike and back to prominence on the national stage. The man in green and gold is also getting set to take part in his first ever Legends Day at Clinton Raceway on Sunday, August 18, and says he is all systems go and looking forward to the experience. “The doctor gave me a clean bill of health the last time I saw him and I’m feeling good,” he explains following a recent golf outing where he shot a round of 75. “I’ve worked hard to get back driving and I certainly realize how fortunate I am to be able to be back doing what I love. I’m going to fully enjoy the day and the whole experience.” Condren’s other passion is golf which gives him much of the exercise he requires to stay healthy along with a regular workout routine. After three months of excruciating chemotherapy treatments in the Fall of 2011, the veteran reinsman was forced to slowly and methodically get himself healthy and back into good enough condition to return to the race bike. That patience, and attention to detail, are attributes that have helped him in the race bike too and made him one of the most respected drivers this country has produced. “I’d like to think that one of my strengths is looking at the big picture with young horses and trying to show them how to race the right way,” he admits. “Being versatile has also helped me and having a pretty good sense of how to react to situations that arise in a race. When I look back now, I have to be satisfied with my career to this point and what I’ve accomplished.” As a young driver starting out his career, Condren looked up to several prominent Ontario Jockey Club stars including the late Bill Wellwood and Ron Feagan. He also greatly admired another future Hall Of Famer named Ron Waples – a former Legends Day Trot winner who will be taking part as well this year for the seventh consecutive time. Some of the best horses Condren has driven in his career were ones that he partially owned including Canadian champions Pure Ivory and Elegantimage – the namesake of one of WEG’s premier trotting stakes. His biggest career victory came in 1989 when he guided Goalie Jeff to a dramatic upset win in the North America Cup at Greenwood. Condren has amassed impressive career totals of more than 6,600 victories and purse winnings in excess of $110 million but enjoys the opportunity to get back to the smaller tracks and personally interact with the fans. “I drove in Clinton last Spring for the first time in a long time and it’s a great atmosphere,” he says. “I think that the folks there have a true appreciation of the sport and it’s going to be fun to be a part of. To be asked to join a group of guys like this is a real honour.” The Legends Day roster this year will include Waples along with Herve Filion, John Campbell, Bill O’Donnell, Ray Remmen, Keith Waples, Dave Wall, Clint Galbraith, Bud Fritz, Jim Doherty, Doug Brown and Steve Condren – a group with combined purse winnings of well over half a billion dollars. The $15,000 Legends Day Trot and Ontario Sires Stakes action for two-year-olds will be the highlight races of the afternoon. Fans will have an opportunity to meet this year’s legends and receive autographs starting at 2:30 p.m. There will also be live entertainment, pony rides and face painting for the kids. The Pineridge Barbecue Chicken dinner is scheduled from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. (tickets $15 each) and Legends T-shirts will be on sale for just $2. All proceeds, along with those from the silent auction that day, will go to the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation. For complete details visit www.clintonraceway.com. Jessica Carnochan
CLINTON, Ontario . . . Clinton Raceway has added one of the most legendary Canadian drivers of all time, Herve Filion, to their Legends Day line up on Sunday, August 18. He will be driving for Dave Wall who injured his shoulder in a training accident last week. A member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame for more than three decades, Filion will come out of retirement to join other Hall of Famers: Steve Condren, Ray Remmen, Doug Brown, Bill O’Donnell, Ron Waples, John Campbell, Dave Wall, Clint Galbraith, Keith Waples, Bud Fritz and Jim Doherty at Clinton. For many years Filion held the record for the most races won by any driver in North America, a total of 15,180. That number was surpassed last year by Dave Palone, who idolized Filion in his youth. Filion was the youngest driver to ever be inducted into both the Canadian Hall of Fame (1976) and its US counterpart (1975). As the great Billy Haughton once said: “There are a lot of good harness drivers, a few great ones … and then there is Filion.” A recipient of numerous awards on both sides of the border, including the prestigious Lou Marsh as Canada’s Professional Athlete of the Year in 1971, Filion hung up his silks last year with a total of 15,183 wins to his credit. He has graciously agreed to dust them off to compete in the always popular Legends Day Trot. by Jessica Carnochan
Barbara Galbraith thought she had a guardian angel when she opened a mysterious FedEx envelope left on the front porch of her small Scottsville farmhouse last month and found a check for $2,431. Perhaps, she thought, someone learned of how badly she and her once world-class harness racing breeding operation were struggling.
Just over a year ago at Saratoga Raceway Brandon Loomis trained and drove his first winner. Now some 13 months later the 27-year-old New York native is experiencing more highs in harness racing. On November 23 Oneida born and educated Loomis bolstered his small stable to five by purchasing Magical Mike gelding, Ticker Tape.
Harness racing announcers Frank Salive and Ken Warkentin will be joining Roger Huston in the race calling line up during Legends Day at Clinton Raceway on Sunday September 4, 2011. Salive will be returning from Florida and his duties at Popano Park to be a part of the celebration, he hasn't missed a Legends Day yet.
Hall of Fame harness racing trainer/driver Clint Galbraith is in an upstate New York rehabilitation facility after a serious head injury on May 16. Galbraith had returned home from racing four horses at Tioga Downs when he was knocked over and fell to the ground, striking his head. He was admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester and placed in an induced coma for several days.
Kash N Credit and Corey Braden captured their third consecutive harness racing victory on Saturday night at Tioga Downs. Leading driver Corey Braden settled in third past the quarter in 28.3 and then moved Kash N Credit to the front and the duo easily cut through fractions of 57.3, 1:26.2, before opening up on pocket sitting Levity's Pride and strolling to victory in a new lifetime best of 1:56.
John Campbell led the way home in the $10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry Memorial Trot for drivers in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 6 at Historic Track. Campbell, driving Ironhorse led at every call to win by a length in 2:00.1. Donnegal (Ray Remmen) was second and Tsarina (Berndt Lindstedt) was third.
The field is set for the Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry Memorial Trot for Hall of Fame drivers on July 6 at Historic Track in Goshen, New York. John Campbell, Jim Doherty, Clint Galbraith, Mike Lachance, Berndt Lindstedt, Bob McIntosh, Ron Pierce and Ray Remmen will compete in the event.