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From a mile away, Allerage Farm’s magnificent harness racing barn can be seen amid rail fences, rolling pastures and red and white outbuildings on a hill rising some 1,500 feet from the Susquehanna River basin. Drawing near, the Bradford County, Pennsylvania postcard comes to life. Foals gambol near watchful mares. Staff, dressed smartly in black polo shirts, lead their equine charges to assigned stables and pastures. At the very top of the hill sits a gabled manor from which the farm’s owner — real estate and racetrack magnate Jeff Gural — can take it all in. Yet for all its beauty, Gural's horse-breeding farm holds a disturbing mystery health experts and the federal government are working hard to solve. For three years, the mares have been bearing foals with dysphagia — a rare, life-threatening condition preventing them from swallowing properly. Although researchers have yet to pinpoint a cause, a Cornell University veterinary team that saved 17 of Gural's standardbred foals has identified a primary suspect — a gas well drilled directly next to the farm by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC.  An investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection confirmed the farm’s water was contaminated. However, it concluded Chesapeake operations was not the cause. Big money, land rights and health hazards have been salient story lines in Pennsylvania’s shale gas bonanza. The mystery on Gural’s farm, however, represents a new twist in the power play between landowners, regulators and the gas industry. For years, farmers have been dealing with water contamination and illnesses that common sense tells them is caused by nearby shale gas operations. But they generally face a burden of proof requiring legal and scientific resources beyond their means. Regulators, industry and health officials, meanwhile, often explain problems like polluted water wells as resulting from natural and pre-existing phenomenon. But Allerage is not your average farm, and the foals are not your typical animals. Colts playing at Allerage Farm in Sayre, Pa Thomas La Barbera / Correspondent Photo (Photo: THOMAS LABARBERA)   With some horses potentially worth six figures, Gural wants answers. His lawyers have filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board demanding state regulators conduct a more thorough investigation of his farm’s water. “We are protecting our interests,” Gural said. “If you don’t respond now, it’s hard to come back a year later and say there was a problem.” The farm, which opened in Pennsylvania in 2007, is more than an investment for Gural. It’s a passion. The name, Allerage, is a combination of the names of his three children: Aileen, Eric and Roger. Gural’s veterinary team at Cornell has been conducting its own study funded by a $240,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the nation’s medical research agency. This study involves not only water chemistry, but a search for compounds in the soil, air and forage as well as in the blood and tissue of the horses themselves. Gural arguably could be one of the most influential part-time farmers in the Northeast. His breeding operations include more than 100 horses distributed between Sayre and a second farm in Dutchess County, N.Y. Jeff Grual questions why foals on his Bradford County, Pa. standardbred horse breeding farm are being born with a unique malady that requires immediate treatment at Cornell, (Photo: Jeff Platsky/Press & Sun-Bulletin)   Allerage Farm is a quick 6-mile drive south over the state border from his Tioga Downs Casino Racing & Entertainment complex in Nichols, N.Y. — a facility this year due to explode into a full-scale casino with table games. A big part of the current operation is the Tioga harness racetrack. In addition to real estate operations in New York and New Jersey, he also operates Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey and Vernon Downs in Oneida County. At the heart of the mystery of the foal's illnesses at Allerage is the proximity of gas wells. The foals on the Dutchess County farm, where there is no drilling, all have been healthy. But 17 foals on the farm in Bradford County near the Chesapeake well have been stricken at birth over the past three years. Although all the sick foals have been cured with treatment at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the problem has posed a life-and-death struggle during the first weeks of their lives. The most recent victim was Flash, a bay beauty with an impressive pedigree. His father, Yankee Glide, was a dominant trotting champion winning more than $500,000 in purses in two years of racing. His mother won more than $150,000. Flash seemed perfectly healthy when he dropped into the world in late March. But, within hours, as he stood on his spindly legs and began nursing, his handlers recognized the telltale signs. Milky froth bubbled out his nostrils. Later, a rattling noise developed in his chest. The hungry foal was aspirating his mother’s milk. Without emergency care, he would die of pneumonia. When treatment is required, the foals, accompanied by their anxious mothers' handlers, are guided into a trailer for the 50-mile back-road trip to Cornell. There, clinicians usher the team into a medically-equipped stable, insert a catheter to administer sedatives and antibiotics and a tube down the foal’s trachea for nourishment. Each foal has been cured after treatment, with the regimen lasting from a week to a month and costing between $5,000 and $10,000. “We’re lucky to have the resources,” said Ashleigh Bennett, the farm manager. “If it wasn’t for Jeff, these foals would be euthanized.” Gas drilling supporter Five of 10 foals born on Gural’s Pennsylvania farm were afflicted with dysphagia in 2014 and 10 of 11 in 2015. Although mares are sometimes moved between the New York and Pennsylvania farms, mothers of the sick foals share one obvious connection — they drank water at the Pennsylvania farm during their pregnancy. Some mares have also had problems with their reproductive cycles, a major concern on a breeding farm. With the water a prime suspect, Gural added a $40,000 upgrade to the Pennsylvania farm’s water filtration system in October. Meanwhile, farm staff awaited the birth this spring of three foals whose mothers had been exposed to the water prior to the upgrade. The foals arrived in March. Two of them — Flash and Oscar  — developed the telltale rattle in their chest within a day of their deliveries.   Allerage Farm's water filtration system Tom LaBarbera / Correspondent Video The babies will be given race names when they grow into competitors. Their “barn names” typically reflect the circumstances of their birth. Flash was a quick delivery that came a week early. Oscar was born during the Academy Awards, and Ester, a biblical name, was born over Easter weekend. Like puppies or kittens, foals have distinct personalities and a universal cuteness. When Flash gets riled, he bucks and kicks in jerky sideways movements to show his machismo — a display comical in a foal but intimidating in a colt. It’s a drill the colts on the farm are always practicing against each other while loose in the corrals. Gural and his team are counting on the new water filter to put an end to the problem, but with the equine gestation period lasting 11 to 12 months the results won’t be known until later this year and early next. Though wary, Gural is not rushing to judgment about the nearby gas well. He is on record as a supporter of shale gas development — a position he emphasized in a recent interview at the farm. Allerage Farm in Sayre, Pa owned by Jeff Gural, and owner of Tioga Downs has had more than a dozen foals born on the farm have been sick, afflicted with dysphagia, a problem swallowing that prevents them from nursing. Researchers suspect the problem is related to a shale gas well on adjacent property. Thomas La Barbera / Correspondent Photo (Photo: THOMAS LA BARBERA)   “It created jobs in Pennsylvania, and look what it’s done for the price of gas,” said Gural, noting oil and gas prices have dropped to the lowest levels in recent memory. “It’s been a boom for the economy.” Roughnecks and roustabouts, pioneers in developing northern Pennsylvania gas fields, were frequent and welcome customers at Tioga Downs, less than an hour’s drive for many of them. So were landowners receiving royalty payments who might have spent some of it at Gural's casino complex. Gural said he would entertain the idea of putting a shale gas well on his Tioga Downs property if fracking were approved in New York. But he does not unconditionally hold the industry blameless, making it clear he doesn't approve of some of Chesapeake's business practices. Mostly though, his support for shale gas development is tempered by skepticism about regulation in Pennsylvania and a lack of oversight. “The way they do this in Pennsylvania is loosey-goosey,” he said. “I believe they would do a better job in New York.” Gural, candid and approachable, was dressed in jeans, work shirt and a cap bearing the name of a feed company. With casual exchanges with his barn staff, he conveyed an impression more of a farmer than a real estate/casino tycoon. He walked toward a stall where Flash, recently returned from Cornell, lay resting in the hay near his mother. Gural reported his wife, Paula, feels strongly the dysphagia was unrelated to shale gas development. The conversation turned to a federal exemption — commonly known as the “Haliburton loophole” — allowing the fracking industry to withhold specifics about chemicals injected into the ground to stimulate gas production. Chesapeake's Struble Well sits near the south border of the farm. Thomas La Barbera / Correspondent Photo (Photo: THOMAS LABARBERA)   “That they don’t have to tell you what chemicals they are using is ridiculous,” Gural said. “I haven’t met a politician yet who thinks that’s a good idea. Yet it shows you what kind of lobby they [the gas and oil industry] have.” The complaint over secrecy is at the center of his appeal to the Pennsylvania hearing board reviewing his case against the state environmental agency. Testing has shown Allerage Farm's well water is contaminated with levels of manganese, iron, aluminum and turbidity exceeding state standards. Before installing the new filter system in October, the farm used a sediment filter, which was effective until problems began cropping up with increasing frequency in 2014. The nearby gas well in question, Struble 5H, was drilled in March, 2011 about 300 feet from the farm's southern property line. Production began after it was fracked in 2012. The Pennsylvania DEP, taking into consideration samples prior to drilling, reported water quality on the farm “does not appear to have changed appreciably from before the commencement of oil and gas activities.” Gural’s lawyer, Martin Siegel, says the scope of the tests — covering only two dozen fundamental compounds — was too narrow. According to the appeal, the DEP failed to request or even consider information from Chesapeake regarding hundreds of substances used or possibly spilled at the well pad, let alone test for them. “Substances used by Chesapeake but not sampled for could be … the cause of the health problems suffered by the foals,” states the appeal, filed with the hearing board in February. In other words, the DEP results won't show an offending chemical if it was never part of the test. “You have to know what you are looking for to figure out what’s causing it,” Bennett said. “You have to find the needle in the haystack, if it’s even in the haystack.” Ashleigh Bennett, right, farm manager with the horses, leads Oscar as Amber Pruchnik, left, leads the mom to the stable at Allerage Farm in Sayre, Pa Thomas La Barbera / Correspondent Photo (Photo: THOMAS LABARBERA)   Suspicion about the water represents “the needle in the haystack” for which Gural and his breeders are looking. If the source of the mystery isn't the water, a solution can be far more complicated. “Water, we can fix,” Bennett said. “If it’s in the ground or in the air, that’s a different problem.” On the farm Drilling has been known to compound existing water problems. Gas wells also produce air emissions from methane and other constituents rising from a mile below the ground. These impurities are bled off at wellheads and compressor stations or escape through leaks in the system. In addition to the gas well adjacent to Gural’s farm property, 10 other sites operate within 5 miles of the farm. Their emissions are invisible but potent. While the exact recipes for millions of gallons of solutions and fluids injected into and produced from the sites are proprietary, studies put the number of chemical compounds at 632. Of these, 353 cause illnesses to people or animals exposed to enough of them. Reprinted with permission of the pressconnects.com site Writen by Tom Wilber, twilber@gannett.com | @wilberwrites

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (January 13, 2014) - The New York State Gaming Commission and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine today announced the appointment of Scott E. Palmer, VMD as the state's Equine Medical Director after conducting an international search.   Dr. Palmer, a renowned veterinarian from New Jersey with more than three decades of experience in providing medical care for horses, will oversee the health and safety of horses at all New York State Thoroughbred and Standardbred racetracks. He was selected from an international pool of finalists by a blue-ribbon search committee of veterinarians and horse industry professionals.   Dr. Palmer will be responsible for all aspects of equine health, safety, and welfare at New York racetracks and will advise the Commission on equine medication policies as well as the safety and condition of racetrack facilities and surfaces. He will supervise all on-track regulatory veterinarians as well as the New York State Equine Drug Testing Program laboratory. He will oversee equine testing procedures, ensure compliance with regulatory veterinary protocols, investigate incidents and monitor the Commission's necropsy program.   As New York's Equine Medical Director, Dr. Palmer will also serve as an Adjunct Professor at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, where he will be responsible for developing and coordinating continuing education programs for veterinarians and trainers related to medication and equine injuries. He will coordinate research on equine sports medicine topics and collaborate with faculty on epidemiological studies to analyze equine safety issues.   Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said, "Dr. Palmer brings a wealth of experience and expertise that will benefit the entire horse racing community. His skills and knowledge are crucial to the safety and well-being of New York's world-class race horses and I am proud to welcome him to the Gaming Commission.   Robert Williams, Acting Executive Director of the Gaming Commission, said, "We are honored to have Dr. Palmer on the team. His decades of work creating critical health and safety improvements in horse racing are well recognized and make him the ideal candidate to bring important equine safety measures to life at all New York State tracks. Dr. Palmer is an outstanding veterinarian and a consummate professional and we look forward to working with him."   Michael I. Kotlikoff, Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, said, "I congratulate the Governor on his commitment to improving the health and safety, as well as the economic vitality, of New York racing. This appointment is an important step in a process that began with the Governor's mandate to reorganize the regulatory agency overseeing horse racing, restructure NYRA, and commission a task force to improve equine safety. The designation of a highly experienced veterinarian with broad authority to oversee all aspects of racing regulations, testing, and compliance, as well as research and education, will ensure the integrity of, and public confidence in, New York State's premier racing programs."   Dr. Palmer said, "I am honored to join the Commission and to help bolster New York's ongoing commitment to equine health and safety. Having a sole veterinary point of contact overseeing all New York race horses and having access to Cornell's array of resources is simply smart policy. I am eager to get to work, and I look forward to working with our partners to create as safe an environment as possible for our horses."   Since his graduation from the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine in 1976, Dr. Palmer has worked as a staff clinician at the New Jersey Equine Clinic, serving as the Hospital Director since 1997. He is a two-time recipient of the New Jersey Equine Practitioners Veterinarian of the Year award, as well as a recipient of the AAEP President's Award in 2009 and the AAEP Distinguished Service Award in 2010.   Dr. Palmer is board certified in equine practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. He has authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications and is a featured speaker at veterinary conferences world-wide. He is a member of several professional organizations and has held leadership positions in many, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, and the New Jersey Association of Equine Practitioners.   Dr. Palmer chaired the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety, which was formed at the request of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2012 in the wake of 21 equine fatalities during Aqueduct's 2011-12 Winter Meet. The New York State Equine Medical Director position was established last year as a key recommendation of that Task Force.   Dr. Palmer serves as a Board Member for the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance Advisory Board and the Thoroughbred Charities of America. He previously served on the ARCI Special Task Force on Medication and chaired the International Summit on Race Day Medication as well as the Ad-Hoc RMTC Committee on Race Day Security and served two terms as member of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Advisory Committee.   Jerry Bailey, a Hall of Fame jockey, television analyst for ESPN and NBC, and member of the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety, said, "Scott Palmer is an outstanding selection to lead New York's equine medical program. As he proved during his work on the Task Force, he has the knowledge and foresight to delve deep into complex issues surrounding equine health and come up with sound, effective solutions, as well an unparalleled work ethic. I am very happy for Scott and congratulate him as he embarks on this latest endeavor."   Alan Foreman, chairman and chief executive officer of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and a member of the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety, said, "I had the good fortune of seeing Scott's excellent work in person while on the Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety. He's the ideal candidate to serve as Equine Medical Director. His knowledge of the horse will be an absolute asset for New York State's robust horse racing industry. I congratulate Scott on the position and applaud Governor Cuomo for appointing such a seasoned professional."   James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, said, "The appointment of an Equine Medical Director clearly reinforces New York State's commitment to horse health and safety. Dr. Palmer is highly regarded throughout the Thoroughbred industry and we look forward to working with him, and with the New York State Gaming Commission, to further enhance the safety of our athletes."   Chris Kay, CEO and president of The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), said, "Scott brings outstanding credentials to this important new position, and he shares our steadfast commitment to equine safety. Our newly hired senior vice president of racing operations, Martin Panza, also brings a wealth of experience to his new role, and he and Scott will work very closely together on behalf of all thoroughbreds at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course."   Paul J. Estok, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Harness Tracks of America, said, "The appointment of Dr. Scott Palmer as New York racing's first Equine Medical Director is good news for racing. Dr. Palmer's impeccable credentials as a practitioner combined with his work as an advocate for better drug testing, as a leader dealing with retired and "unwanted" racehorses, and his understanding of racing's varied stakeholder interests make him the ideal candidate to lead New York's effort to lead North America in health, safety, and integrity initiatives for the equine athlete."   Lawrence R. Bramlage, DVM, partner and equine orthopedic surgeon at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital located in Lexington, Ky., said, "Dr. Palmer is a widely respected and talented veterinarian who has broad experience on the backside, as a surgeon, and as a member of numerous committees and task forces on racing. He will be a real champion for New York's racehorses. His record as a racing advocate and in equine practice speaks for itself and I congratulate him on his new position, as well as New York State for bringing him on board."   The Equine Medical Director Search Committee consisted of: · Michael I. Kotlikoff, VMD, PhD. (chair) - Dean, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine · Robert Williams - Acting Executive Director, Gaming Commission · Mary Scollay-Ward, DVM - Equine Medical Director, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission · Lisa A. Fortier, DVM, PhD. - Associate Professor, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine · Thomas J. Divers, DVM - Steffen Professor of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine · Jerry Bilinski, DVM - Proprietor, Waldorf Farms · Terry Finley - Founder and President, West Point Thoroughbreds · Kenny McPeek - Trainer, McPeek Racing · Bennett Liebman - Deputy Secretary for Gaming and Racing, NYS Executive Chamber · Anthony Bonomo - NYRA Reorganization Board member · C. Steven Duncker - NYRA Reorganization Board member   by Lee Park for New York State Gaming Commission    

Ithaca, NY — Cornell University must pay more than $200,000 to a New York horse-breeding firm after horse semen was accidentally destroyed by the school’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Monday a jury found Cornell University liable, after the horse owner sued for losing valuable breeding material. “What they destroyed was unique, valuable” and irreplaceable, Anthony J. Siano, attorney for Fox Run Farm LLC of Millbrook, NY, told the Poughkeepsie Journal Wednesday. In January, Lynn Reed, owner of the facility, sued Cornell University, its College of Veterinary Medicine and Cornell University Hospital for Animals. After storing 212 units of semen from a Holsteiner warmblood horse in 2004,  Reed found the destroyed samples in 2005 due to what the lawsuit described as a “defective cryogenic storage tank.” Cornell, once the loss was discovered, sent Reed a $2,045 check for the samples Monday’s jury valued at $212,841.83. A Cornell University spokesman would not comment on the ruling. The school has about two weeks to appeal the decision. By Ed Sutherland for Indy (reprinted with permission by www.ithacaindy.org)

Despite suffering a near life-ending injury as a freshman, the 4-year-old daughter of Cash Hall has amassed $441,078 in career earnings and, with a solid fourth-place finish in last week’s Breeders Crown elimination, earned a  berth in Saturday’s $250,000 Mare Trot. Owned by Ted Gewertz, NY, NY; Michael Rosenthal, Las Vegas, NV; Jean Brunet of Ontario and Debbie Brunet of Munsville, NY, Cowgirl Hall is a well-built, streamlined, yet anxious filly who has earned the majority of her dollars trotting around New York State raceways. “She’s been very good to us,” said her conditioner Debbie Brunet. “She’s got a lot of talent and it’s a bit of a miracle that she ever made it to the races.” Debbie purchased the filly out of the 2010 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg for $23,000. “We really liked the breeding and liked the looks of her once we saw her in the flesh,” she recalled. “Her dam—Centerfold Hall—is a well-bred mare who was a very nice 2-year-old.” Centerfold Hall, 2, 1:56.3M ($88,136) is a daughter of Garland Lobell who won multiple events at two, including a $82,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes Final and an Arden division at The Meadows. After training down well over the winter months of 2011, Cowgirl Hall appeared poised for a successful freshman campaign.  She won her pari-mutuel debut in a Saratoga overnight on June 29 by six lengths, trotting in 2:03.1 with Debbie’s husband Gates in the sulky.  After a third-place finish in a $25,439 New York Sire Stake, she finished a strong second to Check Me Out in a $16,810 Tompkins Geers at Tioga Downs on July 14, timed in 1:56.3. It was then that near-disaster struck. “She had just finished second to Check Me Out in the Geers and we were thrilled,” Debbie recalled. “After we brought her home that night, she somehow found a nail in her stall, and got hung up on it, literally.” Cowgirl Hall likely kicked a board that resulted in exposing a long nail that protruding out in her stall.  During the night she somehow impaled herself upon it.  The nail went straight into and through her shoulder joint.  It did not affect the muscle, flesh or cartilage surrounding the joint.  “It was just a freak thing,” Debbie stressed. “The nail was long and had gone all the way into her right shoulder—a near perfect straight puncture wound.  There wasn’t any blood but we hit her with antibiotics and cleaned up the wound and for two days she seemed okay. Then on the third day, she seized up and couldn’t walk.  Her shoulder was all blown up.” Debbie and Gates loaded the filly onto a trailer and headed for New York’s Cornell University Veterinary Clinic. “It was all we could do to get her on the trailer, that’s how bad she was,” Debbie remembered. “Gates drove her down to the university and when he took her off the truck, the veterinarians there told him that her chances were not good; that 90% of shoulder joint infections result in the horse having to be put down. The vets there were not optimistic about her chances at all, and in fact, told Gates straight out to just put her down, that there would be very little hope for her to ever walk normally, let alone race.  But Gates was determined and told them to do whatever they could to save her.” The operation cost a hefty $10,000, but Gates and Debbie’s faith in Cowgirl Hall paid off quicker than anyone thought possible. “After surgery, the attending veterinarian, Dr. Lisa Fortier, told us there was no debris in the wound, and that the fluid looked good,” Debbie offered. “Cowgirl was at the clinic for several weeks and when she came home, she appeared to be fine, like the injury hadn’t affected her at all.” Miraculously, Cowgirl Hall returned to work immediately, jogging and training, and scoring a winning 2:00.3 qualifier at Vernon Downs on Aug. 26.  One week later she won a $36,050 Historic division at Vernon, wire-to-wire, in a seasonal best of 1:57. “She was a tad ouchy for a few days, but after the swelling went down, the wound never really seemed to bother her, and it didn’t affect her stride,” Debbie acknowledged. “We were thrilled that she seemed to take it so well.” Cowgirl Hall went on to procure $52,385 in earnings her freshman season, scoring additional wins in a $16,355 Simpson at Vernon in 1:57.2 and a $12,200 New York-bred late closer at Yonkers in 2:01.4. At three, Cowgirl Hall came back stronger than ever, scoring a trio of wins in her first three trips postward that year.  She won a $10,900 New York Sire Stake Prep in 1:55.1, drawing off by 8¼ lengths in her customary, gate-to-wire fashion, then ten days later won a $59,346 NYSS at Saratoga in 1:57.4 in the same style.  She then won a $12,800 New York State Fair test in 1:56.4, and would go on that summer to win four more times, amassing $351,245. The high point of her sophomore season came when she captured the $225,000 NYSS Final at Yonkers in 1:57.1 on Sept. 22, 2012. Debbie is no stranger to harness racing, having been taught the ropes via her father, trainer Jack Sherren. “My dad was my mentor and he was a great teacher, and a kind, gentle soul,” Debbie stressed. “He taught me how to take care of a horse the right way.  He just loved horses and I used to go with him every day after school, when we lived in California and raced at Hollywood Park.  He was a very talented horseman who had a true love of the business.” Debbie met Gates Brunet while working in California for her father, and in 1976, married him and together the couple moved to New York, near Vernon Downs, where they have been based ever since.  Together Debbie and Gates train “about a dozen horses in the summer,” before heading to Pinehurst, South Carolina for the winter. “We usually have anywhere from 15 to 18 babies down there,” she stated. This year, Cowgirl Hall has added another five wins and four thirds to her tally in 17 seasonal starts. Lifetime she’s posted 16 wins, six seconds and nine thirds, and this summer recorded a career mark of 1:54.3s in a Vernon overnight with Gates in the sulky.  Debbie stressed that while the filly is a tough competitor on the racetrack, she’s also a demanding keeper. “She’s a real high maintenance filly who has to be turned out every day,” Debbie said.  “She needs to get out, she doesn’t like too much time in the stall, and frets if she doesn’t get her pasture time.  As soon as we turn the truck on, she knows she’s going to race and starts walking around her stall.  This routine has worked best for her, and it works for a lot of our horses. We continuously rotate horses in and out from Vernon.” Cowgirl Hall’s luck of the draw has been consistently poor when it comes to her Breeders Crown starts.  Last year at Woodbine she drew post ten, and after a first-up trip, finished sixth.  Now, she’s drawn post nine in this year’s final, but Debbie still has faith in her filly.  “We haven’t been lucky with the Breeders Crown draw, but at least we’re showing up,” she chuckled. “The filly is feeling good right now and came out of her elimination well, and we’re very happy to have the opportunity to be part of another Breeders Crown.” by Kim Rinker for the Breeders Crown  

LATHAM, N.Y.—The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine will present a seminar on advances in equine health practices and procedures for horse breeders, owners and trainers on Sunday, Aug. 25th, at Vernon Downs in Vernon, N.Y. The event is sponsored by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and hosted by Harness Horse Breeders of New York State The seminar will cover how to protect your horse from infectious diseases, platelets and Equine Herpes Virus Type-1 infection, Alternative sources of equine mesenchymal stem cells, Equine Hepatitis Virus discoveries and their importance to equine health and diagnosis of poor performance in racehorses. It begins at 2:00 p.m., with registration at 1:30 p.m., and includes a buffet dinner. Beverages will be available at registration. The seminar is free and includes learning materials. This equine seminar requires advance registration. For more information or to register, please call Harness Horse Breeders at 518-785-5858 or e-mail info@hhbnys.com. For anyone interested in staying for the races on Aug. 25th, the Zweig Memorial Trot Open and Filly division will take place on the evening card with a post time of 6:45pm. by Betty Holt  

LATHAM, N.Y.-The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine will present a seminar on advances in equine health practices and procedures for horse breeders, owners and trainers on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013 at Vernon Downs in Vernon, N.Y. The event is sponsored by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and hosted by Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. The seminar will cover infectious diseases at home and on the track, platelets and equine herpes virus type-1 infections, alternative sources of equine stem cells, diagnosis of poor performance in racehorses, and a hepatitis virus discover and its potential importance to equine health. There will be open question and answer opportunities available. The seminar begins at 2:00 p.m. with registration at 1:30 p.m. Beverages and snacks will be available at registration. The seminar is free and includes materials and a meal. This equine seminar requires advance registration. For more information or to register, please call Harness Horse Breeders of NYS at 518-785-5858 or e-mail info@hhbnys.com. For anyone interested in staying for the races on Aug. 25th, the Zweig Memorial Trot race will take place at the harness track with post time at 6:45 pm. by Betty Holt  

After a seventeen-month hiatus, Hellava Hush, one of North America’s finest trotters has returned to the races.

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