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Dave Briggs, writing for the Guelph Mercury newspaper, and M. Kelly Young, writing for Hoof Beats magazine, were named the winners in the 52nd annual John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing journalism, the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) announced Monday. Meadowlands Racetrack photographer Michael Lisa and Dave Witten of Horseman and Fair World magazine were the winners in the 14th annual George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography. Woodbine Entertainment won the 30th edition of the John Hervey Award for excellence in broadcasting for a feature on Sydney Weaver, a 13-year-old with cerebral palsy who is a licensed groom, horse owner, award-winning writer and public speaker. Briggs won the news/commentary category for his story titled “Horse barns at Mohawk ‘silent as a grave,’” which examined the shutting of the backstretch stables at Mohawk, and appeared in the Jan. 9, 2013 edition of the Guelph Mercury newspaper. Briggs has been awarded a record six Hervey honors. Melissa Keith received honorable mention in the news/commentary division for her story, “What Women Want; Can Racing Attract the Female Horseplayer?” It appeared in the April issue of Trot magazine. In the feature category, Young won for her story, “Win One for Ryan; Pacer races for stricken youngster,” which appeared in the November issue of Hoof Beats. The story recounted the chance meeting between Marc Reynolds and Marie Hunt and Reynolds naming a horse, River Run For Ryan, in honor of Hunt’s son, who has a rare genetic disease called Hunter Syndrome. Susan Higgins and Lauren Lee received honorable mention in the feature category. Higgins was recognized for her story, “‘Make Sure Things Go Right;’ Maine Cast fulfills a dying wish with sire stakes championship,” which appeared on the U.S. Trotting Association website on Nov. 21 and in the December issue of Hoof Beats. Lee was recognized for her story, “The Cornerstones,” about Meadowlands media duo Bob Heyden and Sam McKee entering the Communicators Corner of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, which appeared in June 20 issue of The Canadian Sportsman. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of longtime horseracing writer Neil Milbert, Dorf Feature Service newsroom assistant/writer Lou Monaco and Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. In the photography categories, Lisa won in the race feature division for a photograph of driver David Miller heading onto the track on a snowy night at the Meadowlands. The photo appeared in the March 13 issue of Horseman and Fair World as well as the March 14 issue of The Canadian Sportsman. Witten won in the race action category for a photograph of the first turn of the Hambletonian. The photo appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of Horseman and Fair World. Claus Andersen and Mark Hall received honorable mention in the race action category; Andersen for a photo of Bee A Magician winning the Hambletonian Oaks that appeared on the Oct. 17 cover of The Canadian Sportsman and Hall for a photo of Pet Rock winning the Winbak Pace that appeared on the USTA website on Sept. 19. Dave Landry and Barbara Livingston received honorable mention in the race feature category; Landry for a photo of John Campbell driving with his great nephew Tyler McLinchey that appeared on the Sept. 12 cover of The Canadian Sportsman and Livingston for a photo of retired star Staying Together and Kentucky Horse Park Equine Operations Director Wes Lanter that appeared on the USTA website on Oct. 1. The photography categories were judged by Bill Denver, the track photographer at Monmouth Park and Parx Racing as well as a regular contributor to the New York Daily News and Wall Street Journal, and Phil McAuliffe, a longtime newspaper and magazine photographer who worked as a harness racing groom while a teenager. In the broadcast category, Woodbine’s feature on Sydney Weaver was written, voiced and produced by Paul Salvalaggio. It originally aired on June 26 as part of the one-hour North America Cup presentation on The Score television network. To watch the video, click here. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of award-winning longtime horseracing writer Neil Milbert, Daily Racing Form Programming Manager Lou Monaco and Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. Hervey Award winners will be honored as part of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 23 at Dover Downs. For more information about the banquet, visit www.ushwa.org. by Ken Weingartner for USHWA

The Canadian Sportsman is seeking contributions from the harness racing industry to celebrate the life of Canada’s oldest magazine. In 300 words or less, please email your thoughts, memories, stories, comments — just about anything you want to say about the magazine — to editor Dave Briggs (dbriggs@canadiansportsman.ca) before noon (eastern time) on Thursday, Dec. 5. We will publish as many comments as possible. On Nov. 18, The Sportsman announced it was publishing its farewell issue in December after 143 years of continuous service (see www.canadiansportsman.ca for details). For more information contact: Dave Briggs Publisher & Editor, The Canadian Sportsman 519-866-5558 ext. 22 dbriggs@canadiansportsman.ca

This week's celebrity sections come from a Dave Briggs. Briggs is the publisher and editor for the Canadian Sportsman magazine. He was presented the Harness Tracks of America's Dan Patch Award for exceptional media, publicity and public relations contributions to the sport of harness racing earlier this year. Little Brown Jug Top 10 Contenders By Dave Briggs - Canadian Sportsman 1. Vegas Vacation inherits top spot after winning the Simcoe and the connections of Captaintreacherous elected not to race in Delaware. Can trainer Casie Coleman win back-to-back Jugs? 2. Sunshine Beach was a solid second to Vegas Vacation for trainer Mark Steacy and has a 1:47.4 mark set a month ago beating Captaintreacherous in the Battle of Brandywine. 3. Sunfire Blue Chip has been a consistent money-maker all year for trainer Jimmy Takter and topped Vegas Vacation in the Adios on July 27. 4. Lucan Hanover, Casie Coleman's other horse, won the New Jersey Classic on Hambletonian Day and has been a solid producer all year. 5. Word Power was just a neck behind Captaintreacherous in the Cane Pace and the Larry Remmen trainee has cashed a check in all but one start this year. 6. Twilight Bonfire was second to Captaintreacherous in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup in June and the Danny Collins pupil has cashed a cheque in six of the seven starts since. 7. Johny Rock has been a solid performer his last five starts for trainer John Butenschoen. 8. Wake Up Peter is, perhaps, the best winless sophomore pacing colt on the continent. Though a little on the inconsistent side, when he is on, he's near the front-runners. 9. Emeritus Maximus is a sizable longshot, yet the Alagna trainee has been on the board nine times this year in 14 starts against stakes competition and sports a 1:48.4 mile at Pocono. 10. Lonewolf Currier has won a third of his starts, but has been either on or out of it too much to be a serious Jug threat. 1. Vegas Vacation (Last Week #2) Owners: West Wins Stable (ONT), Adriano Sorella (ONT), Anthony Beaton (ONT) & Phyllis Saunders (ONT) Trainer: Casie Coleman Driver: Brian Sears & Scott Zeron Career Earnings: $646,516 Career Mark: 1:48.3 TgDn He won the $114,948 Simcoe Stakes (9/7) at Mohawk Raceway in 1:48.3, equaling his lifetime best. 2. Sunfire Blue Chip (Last Week #5) Owners: Christina Talker (NJ), John & Jim Fielding (ONT), Brixton Medical AB (SWE) and RAW Equine Inc. (ONT) Trainer: Jimmy Takter Driver: Yannick Gingras Career Earnings: $476,819 Career Mark: 1:48.3 Mea The son of American Ideal was third in the Simcoe Stakes on September 7. 3. Sunshine Beach (Last Week #6) Owners: Hudson Standardbred Stable (QUE), Conrad Leber (QUE) and Diane Bertrand (ALB) Trainer: Mark Steacy Driver: Chris Christoforou, Jr./George Brennan Career Earnings: $531,565 Career Mark: 1:47.4 PcD He was second to Vegas Vacation in the Simcoe at Mohawk Raceway (9/7). 4. Johny Rock (Last Week #8) Owners: William C. Wiswell (WI), Jean A. Goehlen (IL) and Eugene W. Schick (IL) Trainer: John Butenschoen Driver: Andy Miller Career Earnings: $387,498 Career Mark: 1:48.0 PcD He set a new lifetime mark with a 1:48 win at Pocono Downs (9/7) in a conditioned event. 5. Lucan Hanover (Last Week #NR) Owners: West Win Stable (ONT) and Christine Calhoun (ONT) Trainer: Casie Coleman Driver: David Miller Career Earnings: $232,284 Career Mark: 1:48.3 M Finished third in a $114,948 division of the Simcoe Stakes (9/7). 6. Twilight Bonfire (Last Week #7) Owners: Robert J. Key (PA) Trainer: Danny Collins Driver: David Miller Career Earnings: $681,489 Career Mark: 1:50.1 Mea Took the fifth spot in the Cane Pace Final at Tioga Downs (9/2). 7. Wake Up Peter (Last Week #3) Owners: Wake Up Peter Partners (IL), Brittany Farms (KY), Louis Willinger (KY) and Eagles Soar Partners (NY) Trainer: Tony Alagna Driver: Ron Pierce Career Earnings: $532,680 Career Mark: Q1:50.0 M The son of Rocknroll Hanover has yet to win in 2013. He could set Jug history with a win. 8. Word Power (Last Week #9) Owner: Bradley Grant (ONT) Trainer: Larry Remmen Driver: Jody Jamieson Career Earnings: $225,802 Career Mark: 1:49.4 M He was just a nose short of an upset of Captaintreacherous in the Cane Pace Final. 9. Odds On Equuleus (Last Week #NR) Owners: Odds On Racing (IL) Trainer: Tony Alagna Driver: John Campbell Career Earnings: $622,801 Career Mark: 1:50.0 M Recently moved to the Tony Alagna Barn. He only has a couple of weeks to straighten him out. 10. Lonewolf Currier (Last Week #10) Owners: Francis Azur (PA) Trainer: Kevin McDermott Driver: John Campbell/Jason Bartlett Career Earnings: $274,495 Career Mark: 1:48.4 Mea Did not race last week. By Jay Wolf – Little Brown Jug Publicity Director  

When the draft plan for a sustainable horse-racing industry in Ontario recommended harness racing no longer be held at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, few people were more surprised than the man running the track. Nick Eaves, the president and chief executive officer of the Woodbine Entertainment Group, which operates Woodbine and Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, said Monday he was caught off guard when the three-member bipartisan Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel recommended in its June 28 report that harness racing use Mohawk as its lead track and leave Woodbine solely to the thoroughbreds. To read the full article written by David Briggs click on this link

The Canadian Sportsman Magazine and Woodbine Entertainment Group have teamed up to produce a superb harness racing handicapping section for this year's 30th annual North American Pepsi Cup racing stakes races this Saturday night at Mohawk Raceway.

I've spoken to a lot of people in the harness racing industry in Ohio in recent weeks and they all have expressed deep sadness and sympathy for their colleagues in Ontario. They all say it's such a shame about the end of the successful Slots at Racetracks Program.

Dave Briggs, who since 1995 has been the editor of and writer for The Canadian Sportsman, Canada's oldest magazine, has won Harness Tracks of America's Dan Patch Award for exceptional media, publicity and public relations contributions to the sport of harness racing.

Joe Thomson, the largest breeder of harness racing horses in North America - and likely the world - said the cancellation of Ontario's slots-at-racetracks program is like being halfway to your destination when the engineer purposely derails the train.

As part of the April 19 harness racing issue of The Canadian Sportsman we put together a special 24-page pullout section called 'Fight For Our Future' documenting the stories of real people impacted by the cancellation of Ontario's slots-at-racetracks program.

As the Ontario Liberals continue to ramp up the rhetorical assault on the revenue the harnesse racing industry receives from the slots-at-racetracks program, what is conspicuous is how taxpayers would be better off without the initiative that provides countless jobs in the Guelph region.

Effective immediately, Dave Briggs has been named publisher of The Canadian Sportsman, the oldest harness racing magazine in North America and Canada's oldest magazine of any kind.

With the $1 million Canadian Trotting Classic set for Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack, WEG's harness racing communications department got the inside scoop from some of the industry experts.

Harness racing in Ontario continues to buck the betting trend if recent statistics released by Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville are anything to go by. According to today's (Wednesday July 6) Guelph Mercury report by Dave Brigg's - $37.8 million has been wagered since the track opened May 19 compared to $35.8 million in 2010 over the same number of 30 race dates.

The Canadian Sportsman was named the best magazine in virtually every editorial category at the American Horse Publication (AHP) awards June 18 in San Diego. Harness racing's 'The Sportsman magazine' won 7 of the 8 divisions for which it was a finalist, including General Excellence for a self-supported magazine with a circulation under 15,000.

With the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup set for Saturday, June 18 at Mohawk Racetrack, WEG's media department got the inside scoop from some of North America's top harness racing handicappers, as they provided their NA Cup picks along with some insight for tonight's featured race.

If anyone understands the nuts and bolts of harness racing in Canada it's one of the country's leading standardbred journalists, Dave Briggs. For 16 years he has been editor of the one of North America's leading and oldest publications - The Canadian Sportsman.

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