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Columbus, OH — The Daily Racing Form reported on Thursday (Jan. 9) that “Bullet” Bob Meyer, longtime announcer at Yonkers Raceway, has died. He was 80. Meyer, who served as the principal race caller at Yonkers through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, concluded his career with a six-year stint at Saratoga before retiring in 2005. He called his final race on Dec. 2, 2018. Derick Giwner, editor of DRF Harness, offers a remembrance of Meyer here.

HARRISBURG, PA - Derick Giwner, a director of the New York City Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), who will in 2020 celebrate his 25th year with the highly-regarded racing publication starting life as Sports Eye and now part of the mammoth Daily Racing Form empire, has been selected as the Member of the Year in USHWA (also known as USHWAn of the Year) by a blue-ribbon committee headed by the association's president Shawn Wiles. In announcing Giwner's selection, Wiles said, "Derick's passion and hard work over the years has not gone unnoticed by his fellow USHWA members. His unique and interesting articles are refreshing, and often tailored to the blood of the industry, the handicappers of the sport." Born in Brooklyn and now a resident of Massapequa Park NY, Giwner, a Hofstra graduate, noted his family "worked in the automobile trade, which is kind of ironic," but the change in horsepower to the kind in the sulky sport began with attendance at Yonkers Raceway as a teen. Later, he would answer a newspaper ad for an editorial position with Sports Eye, and with the showing of his abilities came enlarged responsibilities, resulting in his present position of Editor of DRF Harness for the Daily Racing Form. Giwner was a major spearhead behind this fall's innovative cooperative effort between the DRF and the U.S. Trotting Association in creating educative handicapping materials, both print and video, around the time of the Breeders Crown events at Woodbine Mohawk Park, efforts that tried to both make thoroughbred players take a chance on harness gambling (often by pointing out the sports' commonalities) and also give non-racing fans a deeper understanding of what goes into reading the program and picking a winner. In USHWA, Giwner has been a Director of the New York City Chapter for four years. He serves on the Association's important Integrity and Budget Committees, and is also on committees for planning of the annual Dan Patch Banquet and its Journal, and for gathering new USHWA members. As is virtually everybody who worked for Sports Eye, Giwner is a top-level handicapper and chartcaller. He also announces, and he recorded driving victories in three purse races and several others in events for amateurs. Derick Giwner will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2019 will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. The Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be revealed for the first time at the Banquet. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 23 are cocktails at 5:30 p.m., with dinner to follow. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.net; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com or 708 557 2790 (the 2019 journal is online at the writers' website). From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (Oct. 16) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Chad Rozema, Derick Giwner, and Brandon Bates. Woodbine Mohawk Park TV analyst Chad Rozema joins the broadcast to discuss the upcoming eliminations this weekend at Woodbine Mohawk Park. He will discuss wagering and handicapping angles for the weekend, leading up to championship weekend next Friday and Saturday. Daily Racing Form's Derick Giwner will discuss the Saturday evening eliminations with the pair. Saturday eliminations feature the 3-year-old and Open divisions of the Breeders Crown. They will go over each elimination and how the finals could shape up next week. Trainer/driver Brandon Bates brings in Priceless to the 2019 Crown, his pacer has won six of nine starts in his young career including the Indiana Super Final on Friday (Oct. 11). He will talk about what it has been like bringing up this special mare, and what his thoughts are heading into the Crown. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. by Michael Carter, for Post Time  

Columbus, OH - With the upcoming Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday (Oct. 25) and Saturday (Oct. 26), the U.S. Trotting Association is partnering with Daily Racing Form to present a wagering educational program called "Learn to Bet Harness." "We are pleased to expand our partnership with Daily Racing Form with this program that will promote our championship day in harness racing and be beneficial to both new fans as well as players who want to improve their handicapping skills," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. On Breeders Crown Saturday, the national print edition of the DRF will feature a special "Learn to Bet Harness" section that will examine all aspects of handicapping harness races with best practices from industry experts and tips from some of the best handicappers in the country. The special section will be seen by horse players across North America. "People often say horse racing is too difficult for new people to learn by themselves. That's nonsense. People simply need the tools," said DRF Harness Editor Derick Giwner. "If I can Google how to change an electrical outlet or build an extension to my house, I should be able to find meaningful information on how to handicap harness racing. "The 'Learn to Bet Harness' insert coupled with the video series will go a long way toward furthering the mission of increasing our sport's exposure to a wider audience," added Giwner. "With the reach of DRF and USTA through digital, print and social media, this could truly move the needle in terms of education for the general public as well as Thoroughbred players who may have been hesitant to cross over." The special section will include Giwner's step-by-step guide on betting harness racing, Breeders Crown content and some general handicapping tips. It will also provide an analysis of the similarities and differences between harness racing and Thoroughbred racing past performances and handicapping in order to help promote crossover play by Thoroughbred bettors and educate players with the potential to increase their level of wagering to include the Breeders Crown races and on harness racing in general. In addition, the "Learn to Bet Harness" program will feature a series of five videos hosted by Giwner with expert DRF handicappers Matt Rose and Dan Illman as well as the USTA's Michael Carter. The video series will provide basic harness handicapping tips that will be hosted on both www.DRF.com and www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com. Some of those strategies will include considerations of drivers, trainers, track size and trip handicapping in determining how to bet harness races. The "Learn to Bet Harness" program will be promoted on social media leading up to the Breeders Crown on both DRF and USTA social media platforms. From the USTA Communications Department

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs is pleased to announce they are partnering with the Daily Racing Form (DRF) to enhance and expand their coverage of the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions (NOC) that will be held at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 14). "We are very excited to be working with DRF on this biggest night of racing in the state," said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "I think this is a great opportunity for our track to partner with a world class name in horse racing and given the extent of their outreach and fan base, will be beneficial for Batavia Downs beyond the NOC." DRF will broadcast the entire night of racing live on their website, provide video analysis of races prior to the night and also provide content in their newsletters and on their website. "I think it's really important to provide the live video of the races for owners and breeders that can't get out to Batavia that night to see their horses in person. Some might not have an ADW or subscribe to some kind of service and this will give them the chance to watch all the action live," said Derick Giwner of DRF. "We will be producing a video analysis of some of the featured betting races or guaranteed pools, depending on what the card offers that night. The video will be available on the DRF Harness website starting the Thursday afternoon before the big night." DRF will also provide a Spotlight Newsletter that will be sent out to all their core subscribers, be promoting the NOC on their website, social media and in their newsletters, provide a dedicated landing page at DRF.com on both the Thoroughbred and Harness sites, free downloadable Past Performances for the night and will also be tweeting out comments and results live the entire night of the races. "The idea is to get more eyes on these races. The people in the industry know when the NYSS NOC is and that it's at Batavia, but the general gambler out there who might never play Batavia may have no idea. We want to drive this traffic to Batavia that night," said Giwner. "The New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions is the pinnacle of racing in New York each year and DRF is excited to work together with Batavia Downs to make it a success." Haight had similar views on the importance of a quality, information-filled program that night. "We always have the desire to draw new customers to Batavia's racing product and everything DRF brings to the table in this partnership is going to help accomplish that. And the ability to get free past performances in the hands of the vast base of subscribers that DRF has could be potentially a big handle driver for us," Haight said. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

November 3, 2015 - The 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, Hambletonian Society, Isle of Capri Pompano Park, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs had a relatively quiet week after all the excitement on Breeders Crown night. There were eight races on Friday evening at Hoosier Park and two on Saturday at Vernon Downs. Just as one of our contest sponsors, Vernon Downs, turned back the clock on Saturday evening, we will take a look at Saturday's results before moving back to Friday. With only two races you would think there might not be a lot of points to be made but it could have been a huge night. Could have when the favored Takter entry failed to hit the board in one of the Kindergarten divisions it was won by Wildflower and Ake Svenstedt at $185! Unfortunately none of our handicappers were able to land the biggest win price of the HANA contest this season. Two of our handicappers did not pick a winner but topped the night chart. Both had Sweet Ashley T and received 52 points for the show price! Those two very smart souls were Garnet Barnsdale and Jay Hochstetler. Garnet won the evening's tie breaker with Mavens Way to show. In the other Kindergarten event six handicappers finished tied for third winning with Dog Gone Lucky for 10 HANA contest points. They were Ray Cotolo, Mark Dezii, Sally Hinckley, Rusty Nash, Earl Paulson and Anne Stepien. Friday evening saw quite a bit more action and one clear winner. Accepting the accolades of all involved was Derick Giwner who selected six of eight winners. That was two more winners than his closest competitor. For his excellence Derick earned 374 HANA contest points. Three other players were able to select a different set of four winners each. Jonijosi Verlingieri (203) out pointed both Bryan Owen (166) and Jay Hochstetler (161). Ms. Verlingieri's key was Foiled Again who had the best return win price among the quad winners. There were no major moves in the standings given the difficult and short prices on Friday evening at Hoosier Park. The top five remain the same as last week, Sally Hinckley, Mark McKelvie, Anne Stepien, Dennis O'Hara and Gordon Waterstone. Sally was able to pad her lead over Mark to 308 points. However the field continued to tighten up behind Mark. There are now ten handicappers separated by less than 1,000 points. Standings as of October 31, 2015 - Leg 56 Pos Handicapper Total Points Prior Week Points Earned This Week Overall Total Points Position Last Week Points Back 1st Sally Hinckley 4,374.60 42.60 4,417.20 1st             -   2nd Mark McKelvie 4,108.50 0.00 4,108.50 2nd       308.70 3rd Anne Stepien 4,008.60 62.70 4,071.30 3rd       345.90 4th Dennis O'Hara  3,967.80 61.80 4,029.60 7th       387.60 5th Gordon Waterstone 3,873.40 30.00 3,903.40 4th       513.80 6th Rusty Nash 3,518.70 46.60 3,565.30 5th       851.90 7th Bob Zanakis 3,466.60 38.90 3,505.50 6th       911.70 8th Josi Verlingieri 3,271.40 203.20 3,474.60 9th       942.60 9th Derick Giwner 3,079.80 374.30 3,454.10 11th       963.10 10th Bryan Owen 3,279.30 166.30 3,445.60 8th       971.60 11th Earl Paulson 3,245.10 54.70 3,299.80 10th    1,117.40 12th Ray Garnett 2,909.20 107.30 3,016.50 12th    1,400.70 13th Jay Hochstetler  2,763.50 213.60 2,977.10 13th    1,440.10 14th Garnet Barnsdale 2,557.90 129.40 2,687.30 15th    1,729.90 15th Michael Carter  2,676.90 0.00 2,676.90 14th    1,740.30 16th Mark Dezii 2,462.50 75.60 2,538.10 16th    1,879.10 17th Ray Cotolo 1,977.80 55.90 2,033.70 17th    2,383.50 18th Brandon Valvo 1,783.80 50.60 1,834.40 18th    2,582.80 19th Mark Deutsch 1,174.40 22.70 1,197.10 19th    3,220.10 We have a very busy two days on tap this week.  We kick things off with six races Thursday evening at Dover with the Matron for 2 year olds.  Saturday we shift north and west to Balmoral Park for the American National where we will have at least eight more puzzles to try and solve.   by Rusty Nash for HANA Harness

Derick Giwner of DRF Harness will join the Cal Expo broadcast team with nightly analysis of the Pick-5. The meet, run under the Watch and Wager LLC banner, kicks off on Saturday, October 24 and will also feature a complete simulcast of the Breeders Crown program from Woodbine. Giwner will provide Cal Expo fans nightly insight and suggested Pick-5 strategies, while the nightly Pick-4 analysis featuring Gary Siebel and Dave Brower will remain intact. The Cal Expo nightly Pick-5 is conducted on the first five Cal Expo races nightly. The popular wager features a 16% takeout a $0.50 minimum wager. The bet also features a 25% minor pool payout this season. "We are really excited to have Derick joining our nightly broadcast, said General Manager Chris Schick. He is without doubt one of the sharpest harness handicappers in the game and we expect his analysis to be a popular nightly segment" The Cal Expo nightly Pick-5 is conducted on the first five Cal Expo races nightly. The popular wager features a 16% takeout a $0.50 minimum wager. The bet also features a 25% minor pool payout this season. Derick became a harness racing fan in the early 1990s with trips to Yonkers Raceway, while seeing such top performers as Scenic Regal and Dr Trotta. He continued on to get a BBA in Marketing before officially joining the industry in 1996 as an editor at Sports Eye, a daily harness news publication and printing company. Im thrilled that DRF Harness and Cal Expo are working together on this project to provide handicappers with another tool to utilize in their quest to profit at the track, said Giwner. These multi-race wagers have been a big hit with bettors and some of my favorite wagers as well. By Mark Ratzky, publicity Cal Expo Harness

Jeff Gural is perhaps the most criticized individual in harness racing. The head of the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon is equally deserving and undeserving of the public ire.  Most will agree that Gural swooped in at the eleventh hour and saved the Meadowlands from disaster, but those same people have grown tired of hearing about it over and over. They applauded him a few years back and have since washed their hands and want to move on. Is that fair to Gural considering his efforts? Therein lies one of the public disagreements between the industry and the often outspoken head honcho.  Having just completed another impromptu sit-down with Gural, I came away once again seeing that he is equal parts sugar and salt. Joining a crowded club, he is not a perfect man, but at least on the surface desires to see the sport prosper. By Derick Giwner for DRF.com. To view the rest of this story click here.

The second week of the Grand Circuit at The Red Mile was a frustrating one for the handicappers, yet by the time the last race for the year at the Red Mile concluded, Derick Giwner was the last man standing as he clawed out weekly honors in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest  with a net profit of $258. How tough a week was it? The only other player with a positive return on investment was Brian McEvoy who managed a net profit of $67.50. Overall leader Bob Zanakis, who despite his net loss of $246.50 for the week, managed with his contest to date net profit of $1,839.65 to lengthen his lead to $1,179.65 over second place Mark McKelvie with Josi Verlingieri and Brandon Valvo right behind in third and fourth place respectively. On Thursday (October 2), it became clear this was not going to be a breakout week as the day ended with Anne Stepien ($90 net profit), Rusty Nash ($83), and Brian McEvoy ($30) showing modest profits with the majority of handicappers losing most, if not all of their daily bankrolls. Stepien came out ahead on the first day thanks to her $20 WPS ticket ($60 total) on first division winner, Flirty Filly, in the International Stallion Stakes (ISS) for 2yo filly trotters which returned $266 while Nash made his net profit with a $20 win/place ticket ($40) on Flirty Filly returning $222.00. On Friday, Verilingieri and Giwner showed signs of coming to life with respective daily net profits of $215 and $164. In the third division of the ISS for 2yo trotting colts, Verilingieri's $85 win ticket on race winner Pinkman paid $425 while Giwner coupled the race winner with Billy Flynn to form a winning $40 exacta ticket which returned $384. Saturday belonged to Earl Paulson ($150) and Bob Zanakis ($125). Paulson's profit was made on a single wager on the second division of The Tattersalls when his $250 win play on Jk Endofanera returned $400. Zanakis earned a $125 profit on the second division of the ISS for 2yo colt pacers by playing a $250 win ticket on Lost For Words. Sunday's finale was a case of recovery for handicappers Ray Garnett ($628) and Gordon Waerstone ($295) and sealing victory by Giwner ($391). Garnett's profit came on a single wager, a $20 Exacta box of four horses in the Allerage Farms Open which turned a $240 investment into a $868 return thanks to State Treasurer finishing ahead of Foiled Again. Giwner's daily profit came from a $5 Trifecta Key ($100 total) on the first division of the Allerage F&M Open returning $641. Waterstone's was heard from in the second division of the Allerage F&M stake when his $150 win, $100 place wagers on Yagonnakissmeornot returning $545. The current standings after the completion of the weekend's activity are:   As of October 5, 2014 - Leg 42 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis ($246.50) $1,839.65   2nd Mark McKelvie ($690.00) $660.00 $1,179.65 3rd Josi Verlingieri ($388.20) $544.85 $1,294.80 4th Brandon Valvo ($700.00) $45.00 $1,794.65 5th Garnet Barnsdale ($726.00) ($14.70) $1,854.35 6th Brian McEvoy $67.50 ($391.50) $2,231.15 7th Gordon Waterstone ($198.00) ($821.30) $2,660.95 8th Rusty Nash ($580.60) ($1,015.36) $2,855.01 9th Derick Giwner $258.00 ($2,048.23) $3,887.88 10th Earl Paulson ($600.00) ($2,518.00) $4,357.65 11th Ray Garnett ($92.00) ($3,123.10) $4,962.75 12th Anne Stepien ($359.52) ($3,549.23) $5,388.88 13th Sally Hinckley ($1,000.00) ($4,084.90) $5,924.55 14th Dennis O'Hara ($854.00) ($4,203.90) $6,043.55 15th Ray Cotolo ($1,000.00) ($7,598.40) $9,438.05                                                                                  This week the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out heads to Illinois for American-National Saturday.   As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.     by Allan Schott, for HANA                                                     

September 29, 2014 - The first stanza of the Grand Circuit at The Red Mile is in the books and for the week, it was the Garnet Barnsdale Show in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest.  Barnsdale was hot this week, earning a weekly net profit of $3,254 to bring his overall net profit to $711.30, leapfrogging from 11th place to 5th place in the thick of things as he is now only $1,356.85 behind overall leader Bob Zanakis whose overall net profit is $2,086.15, just $718.15 ahead of 2nd place Mark McKelvie. Josi Verlingieri sits in 3rd place with Brandon Valvo and the aforementioned Barnsdale within $250 of her. Day 1 of The Red Mile meet was a tough challenge for all the handicappers with Verlingieri being the only handicapper to score a significant profit of $155 thanks to a $150 win ticket on the winner of the 4th division of the Bluegrass stakes for 2yo filly trotters as Bee The Queen returned a $405 dividend. Day 2 and 3 of the meet was all Barnsdale. On the 2nd day of the meet, Barnsdale earned a net profit of $1,405 thanks to his wagers in the 1st division of the Bluegrass stakes for 2yo filly pacers. A $200 exacta of Better Be Steppin and Hillary's Style returned him $720 while a $50 trifecta including Rock Her World for third return $935. Dennis O'Hara had a daily profit of $175 while Gordon Waterstone earned $100. On the 3rd day of the meet, Barnsdale increased his net profit by $2,349 in the 3rd division of the Bluegrass Stakes for 2yo colt pacers. A $40 superfecta partial wheel ($240 total ticket) of Art Speak-Sicily-Traceur Hanover-Blood Brother returned a dividend of $2,252 while a straight $10 trifecta paid $347. Also rans on day 3 were Verlingieri with a $250 net profit and Rusty Nash with a $178.50 net thanks to winning exactas in the 1st division of the Bluegrass for 3yo colt pacers and the FFA pacers at Scioto Downs in the Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational Pace. Derick Giwner earned $112 for the day. The final day of the 1st stanza of The Red Mile meet was a tough day for all and the only winner of note was Rusty Nash whose $119 net profit was fueled by a $15 trifecta key ($90) in the 1st division of the Bluegrass for 3yo colt trotters which paid $369. The current standings after the completion of the weekend's activity are:   As of September 28, 2014 - Leg 38 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis ($863.20) $2,086.15   2nd Mark McKelvie ($560.00) $1,350.00 $718.15 3rd Josi Verlingieri ($95.00) $933.05 $1,135.10 4th Brandon Valvo ($970.00) $745.00 $1,323.15 5th Garnet Barnsdale $3,254.00 $711.30 $1,356.85 6th Rusty Nash $8.00 ($434.76) $2,502.91 7th Brian McEvoy $100.00 ($459.00) $2,527.15 8th Gordon Waterstone $77.00 ($623.30) $2,691.45 9th Earl Paulson ($727.50) ($1,918.00) $3,986.15 10th Derick Giwner ($282.00) ($2,306.23) $4,374.38 11th Ray Garnett ($448.00) ($3,031.10) $5,099.25 12th Sally Hinckley ($643.00) ($3,084.90) $5,153.05 13th Ann Stepien ($590.80) ($3,189.71) $5,257.86 14th Dennis O'Hara ($555.00) ($3,349.90) $5,418.05 15th Ray Cotolo ($750.00) ($6,598.40) $8,666.55                                                                                  This week, the second stanza of the Red Mile meet is the focus of the handicapping challenge with Thursday racing featuring the International Stallion Stakes (ISS) for 2yo filly trotters.  Friday’ contests include the ISS for 2yo colt trotters and filly pacers.  Saturday’s tilts include the ISS for 2yo colt pacers and the Garnsey Memorial for 3yo filly pacers in addition to the Tatersalls for 3yo open pacers.  Closing day in Lexington features a quartet of races, the first heat of the Kentucky Futurity and Kentucky Filly Futurity plus older horses in the Allerage for 3yo open trotters and pacers as well as their corresponding filly and mare stakes.   As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.       by Allan Schott, for HANA   

September 22, 2014 - With Ray Cotolo's $1,250 profit on Little Brown Jug Day, it looked very much like he would cruise home to victory this week in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. However, by the end the week's handicapping action In Quebec, Cotolo was indeed the weekly winner, but his lead had shrunk from $588 to only $105.20 over Dennis O'Hara as these two handicappers were the only ones to finish the week in the black. While the finish for weekly honors was tight, Bob Zanakis retains a comfortable lead of $1,039.35 to maintain the overall lead ($2,949.35) over second place Mark McKelvie ($1,910.00) through 34 legs of the contest. Brandon Valvo ($1,715.00) trails closely behind in third which rounds out the top three positions where donations are to be made to standardbred horse rescues on the victors' behalf. Jugette Day (Wednesday, September 17) at the Delaware County Fair had Dennis O'Hara lead the handicappers with his daily net profit of $589.80 thanks to his $6 base Superfecta ($240 total) on the Buckette coming in, paying $829.90 which was his sole wager for the day. Second best on Thursday was Josi Verlingieri, whose $410 profit was attributable to a $100 Win ticket on the American-National for 2yo colt trotters at Balmoral Park which paid a $660 dividend. Jug Day (Thursday, September 18) saw Cotolo collect the previously mentioned $1,250 return which was earned on a do-or-die $250 win ticket on the 2nd division of the Jug paying a generous $1,500. Sally Hinckley was the only other player with a positive return Thursday ($632) thanks to her $4 trifecta box ($24 total) in the Old Oaken Bucket which returned $882. With a day off, the contest resumed Saturday night with a septet of races at Hoosier Park plus the Milton Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. Needless to say, the defeat of Sebastian K took most of the handicappers down but at the end of day, a lone handicapper had a positive return. Dennis O'Hara led the group with a net profit of $135 for Friday thanks to his $300 investment in $25 Superfectas in the 2nd division of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management stake for 2yo pacing fillies which paid $507.50. To conclude the weekend's activity, the team of handicappers did battle with the return of the Prix d'Ete at Hippodrome 3r. By the time the curtain came down on Sunday's action, only two handicappers had a positive return, led by Derick Giwner who had a positive return of $225 thanks to his $150 win wager on Sunfire Blue Chip who returned $375. The other handicapper with a positive return was Verlingieri, whose $125 profit was attributable to her own $150 win ticket. The current standings after the completion of the weekend’s activity are:   As of September 21, 2014 - Leg 34 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis ($789.50) $2,949.35   2nd Mark McKelvie ($462.00) $1,910.00 $1,039.35 3rd Brandon Valvo ($860.00) $1,715.00 $1,234.35 4th Josi Verlingieri ($111.00) $1,028.05 $1,921.30 5th Rusty Nash ($640.00) ($442.76) $3,392.11 6th Brian McEvoy ($337.50) ($559.00) $3,508.35 7th Gordon Waterstone ($361.00) ($700.30) $3,649.65 8th Earl Paulson ($1,095.00) ($1,190.50) $4,139.85 9th Derick Giwner ($675.00) ($2,024.23) $4,973.58 10th Sally Hinckley ($200.00) ($2,441.90) $5,391.25 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($1,148.00) ($2,542.70) $5,492.05 12th Ray Garnett ($956.00) ($2,583.10) $5,532.45 13th Ann Stepien ($466.20) ($2,598.91) $5,548.26 14th Dennis O'Hara $244.80 ($2,794.90) $5,744.25 15th Ray Cotolo $350.00 ($5,848.40) $8,797.75                                                                                    This week, the racing action is concentrated at The Red Mile with various divisions of the Bluegrass being contested Thursday thru Sunday.  The only deviation from an all-Lexington weekend comes Saturday with the $200,000 Jim Ert Memorial Invitational at Scioto Downs for pacers four year old and up..  As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.       Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org      

September 16, 2014 - While most contest handicappers found this a weekend to forget, Rusty Nash will remember this week as he leapfrogged from 11th to 5th place in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs thanks to his hit in the Canadian Trotting Classic which netted him $2,912 for the night. At the end of the weekend's action, which included the Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway, Nash netted a profit of $2,816 for the week and took weekly honors. The only other handicapper who showed a positive result for the weekend was Mark McKelvie who netted $237.50 for the period. Despite having a poor showing for the weekend, Bob Zanakis maintains a comfortable overall lead in the contest with al net profit of $3,738.85, $1,163.85 ahead of second place handicapper Brandon Valvo. Close behind Valvo with a difference of less than $200 is Mark McKelvie. The big hit of the weekend was the aforementioned hit by Nash where a $40 trifecta partial wheel (out of a total of $230 wagered on the trifecta) paid $3,162. The only other significant hit of the weekend belonged to McKelvie whose $50 win ticket on the Peaceful Way paid $487.50. The current standings after the completion of the weekend's activity are: As of September 15, 2014 - Leg 30 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis ($452.60) $3,738.85   2nd Brandon Valvo ($250.00) $2,575.00 $1,163.85 3rd Mark McKelvie $237.50 $2,372.00 $1,366.85 4th Josi Verlingieri ($349.00) $1,139.05 $2,599.80 5th Rusty Nash $2,816.00 $197.24 $3,541.61 6th Earl Paulson ($364.00) ($95.50) $3,834.35 7th Brian McEvoy ($19.00) ($221.50) $3,960.35 8th Gordon Waterstone ($382.00) ($339.30) $4,078.15 9th Derick Giwner ($340.00) ($1,349.23) $5,088.08 10th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($1,394.70) $5,133.55 11th Ray Garnett ($488.00) ($1,627.10) $5,365.95 12th Ann Stepien ($248.40) ($2,132.71) $5,871.56 13th Sally Hinckley ($198.00) ($2,241.90) $5,980.75 14th Dennis O'Hara ($210.00) ($3,039.70) $6,778.55 15th Ray Cotolo ($500.00) ($6,198.40) $9,937.25                                                                                   This week, the action comes fast and furious with the American-Nationals for 2yo trotters at Balmoral Park and at Delaware, the Buckette, Old Oaken Bucket, and the eliminations of the Jugette and Little Brown Jug on Wednesday and Thursday.  The week’s action concludes with a quartet of stakes at Hoosier Park plus the Milton at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday evening.  As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.     by Alan Schott, for HANA

September 2, 2014 - The week off in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs gave the handicappers the opportunity to think over their handicapping strategy and by doing so, they came out guns a blazing with five instances of handicappers scoring net profits of over $1,000 on any given day. When the dust settled, Mark McKelvie was the big winner for the week showing a net profit of $2,586, leapfrogging from 8th to 3rd place. While McKelvie won the week, Bob Zanakis regained the lead over Brandon Valvo with a swing a $2,919.25 thanks to his weekly net profit of $2,094.75. Gordon Waterstone's weekly net profit of $2,103 moved him from 12th place to 6th. On Thursday, August 28, Bob Zanakis started the hit parade, playing a $6 price part wheel trifecta ($144 total) in the first division of the Champlain and it paid off handsomely as he received a dividend of $2,408.40. Other key hits on Thursday were Sally Hinckley's $10 trifecta key ($120l) in the third division of the Champlain which paid $301, Dennis O'Hara's $50 cold exacta in the same race which returned $260, and Ann Stepien's $2 four-horse trifecta box ($48) earned $143.60. On a typical day, Gordon Waterstone's $20 trifecta key ($120) in the third division would normally have been the talk of the town with its $602 return but alas, Zanakis' play overshadowed this accomplishment. On Friday, August 2, the handicappers gathered their collective breaths with no particular breakouts. While the day's action was sedate, there were some individual bets worth noting. Derick Giwner's $150 exacta in the Zweig Memorial returned $405 while in the same race, Hinckley's $25 trifecta key ($150) paid $307.50. Saturday saw three players with big nights. Mark McKelvie led the trio with a net profit of $3,226 thanks to a $20 trifecta part-wheel ($60) in the She's A Great Lady. Waterstone earned $1,403 as a result of a $10 trifecta part wheel ($200) in the same race and O'Hara's $1,097 evening was attributable to a $30 trifecta key ($360) in the Metro which grossed $1,497. Other solid plays were Ray Garnett's $14 trifecta key ($280) in the Metro paid a $698.60 dividend as was Hinckley's $10 trifecta key play, returning $499. In the first division of the Simcoe, Josi Verlingieri had two winning tickets, a $25 exacta box ($150) paid $317.50 and a $125 win, place wager which returned $943.75. With a one day break, the handicappers returned for a Labor Day stanza which belonged to Garnet Barnsdale with his hit in the Shady Daisy. While Barnsdale had listed a $1 superfecta part wheel ($42), his ticket was reduced to a $.30 ticket ($12.60) which paid $2,561.90, reflecting the size of the superfecta pool. Waterstone was the only other player who won on Sunday as his $30 exacta box ($180) paid $438. The current standings after the completion of four legs are: As of September 1, 2014 - Leg 27 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $2,094.75 $4,303.45   2nd Brandon Valvo ($824.50) $2,780.00 $1,523.45 3rd Mark McKelvie $2,586.00 $1,962.00 $2,341.45 4th Josi Verlingieri $937.40 $1,551.55 $2,751.90 5th Earl Paulson ($504.00) $240.90 $4,062.55 6th Gordon Waterstone $2,103.00 $202.70 $4,100.75 7th Brian McEvoy $67.50 ($110.00) $4,413.45 8th Derick Giwner ($715.00) ($759.23) $5,062.68 9th Garnet Barnsdale $1,331.30 ($894.70) $5,198.15 10th Ray Garnett ($480.40) ($1,102.55) $5,406.00 11th Sally Hinckley ($122.00) ($1,793.90) $6,097.35 12th Ann Stepien ($406.95) ($2,156.06) $6,459.51 13th Rusty Nash ($745.65) ($2,369.76) $6,673.21 14th Dennis O'Hara $467.00 ($2,579.70) $6,883.15 15th Ray Cotolo ($1,150.00) ($5,698.40) $10,001.85 This week, one leg of the contest will be held on Saturday, September 6 at Mohawk Racetrack with a trio of races scheduled, the Simcoe for 3yo open pacers and the Champlain for 2yo open pacers and 2yo filly pacers will be contested. As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott for HANA

August 24, 2014 - In the final two legs before the mid-season break of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Josi Verlingieri dominated her fellow competitors with a net profit of $1,886.25, more than $1,000 ahead of the rest of the pack. While Verlingieri leapfrogged from 8th to 4th place with her performance, Brandon Valvo remains on top at the mid-season break, leading his fellow handicappers with a net profit of $3,604.50, $1,395.80 ahead of his closest competitor, Bob Zanakis Other handicappers had less profitable, though significant weekends. Overall leader Brandon Valvo ended the final weekend of the summer portion of the competition with a weekly net profit of $830 edging out Earl Paulson who had a net profit of $800. As for key wagers for the weekend, after starting off with a $70 loss in Leg 22 (August 15), Verlingieri reversed her fortunes dramatically with a profit of $1,956.25 in Leg 23 (August 16) by going all in with a $125 Win and Place wager on Solar Sister ($27.50, $7.80) in the 3rd leg of the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk Racetrack. For Leg 22, the inaugural Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park, Earl Paulson netted a profit of $662.50 thanks primarily to a $25 Exacta box of three horses ($155 total) which returned $835. Valvo managed a $609 profit in Leg 22 with a $50 Win, Place wager on Milstein Memorial Consolation winner National Debt which returned $475 plus a $10 Trifecta part-wheel ($60) on the Milstein Memorial with its $294 dividend while scoring a $221 profit in Leg 23 primarily with his $10 Trifecta box ($60) in the Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway which returned $206. Paulson scored a $600 profit in the Friday night leg of the competition primarily with a $25 Exacta three-horse box ($150) which returned a gross of $835 and a $137.50 profit on Saturday evening with a $5 Exacta box ($30) in the 3rd division of the Eternal Camnation which returned $252.50. Other performances worth noting were Sally Hinckley's $386.50 profit in the Saturday evening stanza with a $20 Trifecta key ($240) in the 3rd division of the Nassagaweya which returned $600 while Rusty Nash scored a $230 profit thanks to a $353 return on a $20 Win, Place wager on the 3rd division of the Eternal Camnation. The current standings at the break are: As of August 16, 2014 - Leg 23 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $830.00 $3,604.50   2nd Bob Zanakis ($500.00) $2,208.70 $1,395.80 3rd Earl Paulson $800.00 $744.90 $2,859.60 4th Josi Verlingieri $1,886.25 $614.15 $2,990.35 5th Derick Giwner ($143.00) ($44.23) $3,648.73 6th Brian McEvoy ($12.50) ($177.50) $3,782.00 7th Ray Garnett $0.00 ($622.15) $4,226.65 8th Mark McKelvie ($500.00) ($624.00) $4,228.50 9th Rusty Nash $18.52 ($1,624.11) $5,228.61 10th Sally Hinckley $216.10 ($1,671.90) $5,276.40 11th Ann Stepien ($240.00) ($1,749.11) $5,353.61 12th Gordon Waterstone ($500.00) ($1,900.30) $5,504.80 13th Garnet Barnsdale ($498.00) ($2,226.00) $5,830.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($463.00) ($3,046.70) $6,651.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($500.00) ($4,548.40) $8,152.90 by Allan Schott, for HANA

August 10, 2014 - Perhaps with the Hambletonian in the rear view mirror the general opinion was it was time to swing for the fences in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, but whatever the reason, the Dan Patch Invitational leg of the handicapping contest turned into a survivor round. While Sweet Lou was an obvious key horse in the race, the handicappers for the most part were unable to construct a ticket which used both Bettor's Edge and streaking Carol's Comet in their exotic plays. As a result, the successful handicapper this past Friday was the handicapper who managed to get their head over the waterline. Three handicappers were successful in the effort with Brandon Valvo winning the week with a $50 net profit and regaining the overall lead ($2,774.50) from Bob Zanakis with a tenuous lead of $65.80. Other handicappers who managed to show positive results for the week were Earl Paulson ($30) and Brian McEvoy ($20). Obviously, the number of key wagers this week were minimal but Rusty Nash greatly reduced his potential deficit by wheeling Sweet Lou in the Superfecta for a dime investment ($33.60 total) and managed to collect $116.65. Earl Paulson managed his $30 profit with a $150 Win ticket on the race winner which paid $180 while weekly winner Brandon Valvo employed similar strategy by earning $50 with a $250 win ticket on the FFA pacer. Brian McEvoy managed his $20 profit with a combination of Win and Show wagers on the race winner. Bob Zanakis managed to stay close and within reach of the top spot by playing a $15 exacta partial wheel ($75) which grossed $193.50. The current standings are:   As of August 8, 2014 - Leg 21 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,774.50   2nd Bob Zanakis ($56.50) $2,708.70 $65.80 3rd Derick Giwner ($237.00) $98.77 $2,675.73 4th Earl Paulson $30.00 ($55.10) $2,829.60 5th Mark McKelvie ($240.00) ($124.00) $2,898.50 6th Brian McEvoy $20.00 ($165.00) $2,939.50 7th Ray Garnett ($248.00) ($622.15) $3,396.65 8th Josi Verlingieri ($235.00) ($1,272.10) $4,046.60 9th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,400.30) $4,174.80 10th Ann Stepien ($238.00) ($1,509.11) $4,283.61 11th Rusty Nash ($45.35) ($1,642.63) $4,417.13 12th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($1,728.00) $4,502.50 13th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($1,888.00) $4,662.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($2,583.70) $5,358.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($4,048.40) $6,822.90                                                                                 This coming weekend, the Challenge picks up the tempo with races at several tracks.  Friday evening the contest stops at Northfield Park for the inaugural $400,000(Est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3yo pacing colts.  The contest then moves north Saturday with the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway before heading to the Canadian Maritimes for the popular $75,000 Gold Cup and Saucer at Red Shores Charlottetown.  Two year olds get their time in the spot light as well with Mohawk Raceway hosting the $215,000(Div.) Eternal Cammation for 2yo pacing fillies and the $245,000(Div.) Nassagaweya for 2yo pacers.  As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.    Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator

July 27, 2014 – The Meadow’s Adios Card is in the books and at the end of the day Handicapper Ray Cotolo reigned supreme for the week in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest with a weekly net profit of $305, nearly $100 ahead of his closest opponent.     While Cotolo is a newcomer to the list of weekly winners, Bob Zanakis continues his run as overall leader with a combined net profit of $3,000.70 ($140 for the week), leading second place Brandon Valvo by $607.20. This week, the adage it only takes one hit to make you a winner applies as Cotolo’s victory came thanks to a single wager, a $150 win wager on Allstar Rating in the Adioo Volo which returned a $705 dividend.  Other handicappers had winners, but due to the short-priced nature of the card, significant winners were at a premium, amongst them were: Derick Giwner’s $150 Win ticket on Too Darn Hot in the second division of the Adren Downs 2yo C&G pace paid $480; Mark McKelvie’s $50 Win ticket on Rich Wisdom in the first division of the Arden Downs for 2yo C& G pacers paid $195; Rusty Nash’s $100 wager on the same horse paid $390; Dennis O’Hara ‘s $10 Exacta part wheel ($30 total) in the first division of the Arden Downs for 3yo Filly trotters returned $125; Josie Verlingierli $40 straight wager on the second division of the Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace, earned $156; Gordon Waterstone’s $50 Exacta in the third division of Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace which returned $115. As the Hambletonian marks the unofficial mid-point in the stakes season, the standings for the Handicapper Shoot-Out at the mid-point are: As of July 26, 2014 - Leg 19 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $140.00 $3,000.70   2nd Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,393.50 $607.20 3rd Derick Giwner $206.00 $623.17 $2,377.53 4th Ray Garnett ($218.00) $15.85 $2,984.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($119.50) ($91.50) $3,092.20 6th Brian McEvoy $7.50 ($185.00) $3,185.70 7th Earl Paulson ($71.00) ($437.00) $3,437.70 8th Josi Verlingieri ($126.00) ($956.40) $3,957.10 9th Gordon Waterstone $108.60 ($989.30) $3,990.00 10th Ann Stepien ($189.00) ($1,020.11) $4,020.81 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($280.00) ($1,078.00) $4,078.70 12th Sally Hinckley ($400.00) ($1,325.00) $4,325.70 13th Rusty Nash $160.00 ($1,712.40) $4,713.10 14th Dennis O'Hara $30.50 ($2,097.70) $5,098.40 15th Ray Cotolo $305.00 ($3,398.40) $6,399.10 This week, the Grand Circuit Handicapper Shoot-Out visits Meadowlands Racing & Gaming for the Hambletonian Day card amongst which are the $1.2 million Hambletonian, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $352,050 Merrie Annabelle, $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial, $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship, $177,750 Lady Liberty, and $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial.  For more information regarding the handicapping contest, please visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.   by Allan Schott, for HANA                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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