Another Bulls Eye If anyone can remember as far back as 2010, discussion was raging among Clubs and trainers over the situation where, on a number of occasions, there were more horses on the second row of a mobile start than on the front. This scenario was unacceptable for a number of reasons, not the least safety, and the National Council voted for a change to what was known as either the Scratching Substitute System, or Bulls-Eye System. Basically the idea was that emergencies in a race were not allocated a barrier draw, and if they gained a start, they took the draw of the horse that they replaced, similar to the way the greyhounds do it. Unfortunately the powers that be didn't share our enthusiasm for the idea, apparently because the Racing Board (TAB) ‘boffins' reckoned the punters would be confused. Apparently greyhound punters are more clued up than harness ones! Anyway, following the introduction of the scratching penalty, emergencies rarely regained entry, so the idea went into recess....until this week, when the following appeared on a press release announcing the Interdominion Grand Final field: ‘Note that the Emergencies are not drawn into the field and take the place vacated by a scratching.' For a while now, the Racing Board has been telling us that we need to change certain ways of doing things to accommodate and appease overseas punters. It's a well-known fact that Australian punters tend to place far more importance on barrier draws that their Kiwi equivalents, however with far more emphasis on fixed-odds betting here, the landscape is changing somewhat, particularly where major events are concerned and the fixed-odds markets open days, or even weeks before the race itself. Under the current scenario what this means is that, if you place a bet on, say a horse drawn two on the second row because it is supposed to follow out a fast beginner and that front rower is scratched, you can find that your chances are reduced by having now drawn behind the slowest beginner in the race. Thus one of the main reasons that you backed your horse has been taken away and you have no recourse. On the other hand, if you ignore a horse that is drawn too wide off the front and back another, only to find on race-day that, due to scratchings, that ignored horse is drawn one or even two places further in, once again you have no recourse. The ideal place to trial this idea is the Harness Jewels, where it is almost unknown for a horse to be scratched, and hopefully will attract the interest of Australian punters. Imagine the introduction to the meeting where it is announced that number 14 (the emergency) is scratched from every event. How simple is that? Surely, even if there are one or two withdrawals there is ample opportunity to advise where the emergencies will draw. The Association will be pushing for this to be trialled at the Jewels, so that everyone on either side of the Tasman can see the advantages and accept the concept for future events. The Big Question Promising signs from the first couple of programmes in the new series of The Box Seat, which is basically harness racings' one and only purpose-built television outlet. One section that will hopefully become a talking point is the "Big Question" where a topical subject is discussed in depth. This basically replaces "Keeping up with the Jones'" which became too personal, causing some backlash for both Mark Jones and the Trainers & Drivers Assn. The signs are promising, and it is to be hoped that the presenters will canvas the opinions of industry participants as well as pushing their own ‘barrows'. This weeks' topic was the mile start at Addington, and there are a couple of items that need comment and clarification. First of all, at a meeting with Addington CEO late last year, the Greater Canterbury Branch were unanimous in requesting that the New Zealand Free-for-All not be run over a mile in future seasons. A couple of apparent arguments that were put forward on the Box Seat by Club representative Brian Rabbitt seemed a little questionable, to say the least. Firstly, he maintained that the last race the other night, when Vice Chairman led all the way and went a phenomenal time, was a far more interesting spectacle, and drew more comment than the Interdominion heat won by Terror To Love. First of all, I'm not sure how interesting it is that one horse led all the way, and once the draw came out in the ID heat and the two best horses drew 1 & 2, it became virtually irrelevant. Perhaps that says more about the failure of the new Interdominion concept than the success of the mile race. I wonder if Addington officials enquired how many disgruntled punters there were after the mile, when, because of their draw, the favourites were unable to be put into the race at any point? Another argument for the retention of the mile start was that the turnover on the Free-for-All has risen since the change. That's great, but I wonder how the turnover would have looked if the best horse in the race (and subsequent good thing beaten) Christen Me, had drawn 1 or 2 on the gate? I would suggest he would have been a $1.50 shot and betting would have gone through the floor! As for the idea that mile racing would help with shorter times between races, I have grave doubts that the extra 350 metres difference between the two distances (about 20 seconds) is going to have a huge effect on that! The main issue with the mile start is not the distance, it is the fact that the race starts on a bend. I was never any good at physics or the like, but anyone with eyes can see that there is a massive advantage to be gained by drawing an inside alley over a short distance. Has anyone not seen an athletics short distance race involving a bend? They have staggered starting points, scientifically measured so that every contestant covers the same distance. Why should that not apply to horses? Please Addington, it was worth a try, but listen to your supporters and customers, and go back to a realistic starting point. Innovations Isn't it great that there are always people in our Industry who are able to think outside the square, and have the enthusiasm and energy to make their ideas happen. In the past (and currently) we've had Interprovincial Drivers Championships, various Invited Drivers series, lady drivers events, Brothers In Arms, and now the Waikouaiti Club have come up with a "Youth versus Experience" series to be staged at their upcoming meeting on Tuesday 18 March. This involves reinspersons aged over 50 pitted against a team of under 25's, with invitations issued not only to drivers in the North Island, but also a couple from across the ‘deetch'. Congratulations to Bruce Negus and the Waikouaiti team for making what would have been just another mundane Tuesday meeting into something special and unique. I presume they've covered the concept off with the Human Rights Commission! With names such as Herlihy, McKendry, Ferguson, May and Beck for the ‘wrinklies', and Dunn, Ottley, Butcher and Williamson for the ‘babies' looking likely to front up for five penalty-free races, it promises to be a fascinating event which can only benefit both the drivers and owners involved. Hopefully the public will get behind the concept and make it an annual celebration. What such a series does highlight is the enormous progress that has been made by our younger industry participants in the past couple of decades. Can you imagine a series like this going ahead say, twenty years ago? Back then, a Junior Driver (or was it Probationary) would be very lucky to get five drives a month, let alone that many in one day. Fifty years ago, it was probably more like five drives in a season! Say what you like about HRNZ (and we often do), but a huge amount of credit has to go to that bodies' foresight in nurturing our younger generation and giving the opportunities to compete (and sometimes beat) their older, more experienced peers. After all, our code doesn't have the advantages that galloping can offer its' youngsters like weight allowances. It is good to see that, under the current guidance of people such as Natalie Gameson and Trevor Beaton, there is no resting on laurels either. Another pleasing move, even though it seems it was forced on them, is the decision to move the Hororata Clubs' meeting next Friday to the Mt Harding racecourse. Arguably one of the most picturesque tracks on the World, the Methven track, which is solely harness racing, is sadly under-utilised and provides a superb surface (weather permitting of course) for horses to perform on. A country Club returning to the country - what a novel idea! I note, with some astonishment, criticism of grass track racing in the NZ Harness Weekly, and a suggestion that it is on the way out. Obviously no-one has informed the connections of the hundreds of horses that are entered for these meetings, or the public, who turn up to such venues in their droves! By Peter T Cook (Courtesy of the NZ Harness Racing Trainers & Drivers Association)
DOVER, Del. --- Dover Downs live racing returns on Tuesday, March 4 after the effects of the most recent Winter Storm when sharp pacers Partner and Doubletrouble lead separate divisions in $20,000 Male Claiming Allowances. . Post time is 4:30 p.m. In the first section, a $20,000 4&5-Year-Old Claiming Allowance, a nine-horse field, Bobby Glassmeyer's Partner, driven by Jonathan Roberts, is fresh from victory last start as he takes on Here Is The Future with Montrell Teague, who makes his first excursion in the claiming ranks, after two wins in his last four races, for trainer George Teague and K&R Racing. Another newcomer in claiming ranks, Brad McNinch's Eres Tu and Trace Tetrick has a win in his last two outings. Allan Davis drives Legacy Racing and Reg Hazzrd's Shiftin To Cruz, who has been shackled with post position 3, for the Third Straight time. Wild Shot Hanover drew post 1 with Corey Callahan in the bike. Ilikethemtrashy leaves from alongside. The other contestants are Freddy Darby's Terror On My Side handled by George Dennis. Tina Clark's Little Man Joe with Eddie Davis Jr. has the outside post while McPort In A Storm and George Dennis has post 9 in the second tier. In the $20,000 Male Claiming pace, trainer Leigh Raymer's Doubletrouble (Vic Kirby), fresh from consecutive victories step up in price but must overcome starting from post 8 while Josh Parker and Nanticoke Racing's Sir Globalalop Z Tam (Davis Jr.) has the rail .Jeff Bartels' Last Shot Leeton (Kirby), Russ Foster's Hi Sir (A.Davis), and Polaris N (Ross Wolfenden) racing for Bill Ethier and LeBlanc Racing are among strong rivals. Bill Emmons' Grab The Fortune (Jonathan Roberts) Bill and Barbara Kinsey's Idealist (Jim Morand) and Restless Native (Roger Plante), owned by Bill Sartin and Kevin Donahue, have upset credentials. Monday through Thursday racing starts at 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday are "dark days." Sunday racing begins at 5:30 p.m. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. There is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs
The rules of harness racing are dictated by the state where the racing activity occurs. All racing ovals are situated within the boundaries of a certain state. By virtue of inherent police power to protect the health, safety and morals of its citizens, each sovereign state independently determines how our sport is conducted. On this score, consider that medication regulations are solely within the purview of the individual state governments. When regulations are deemed to be "uniform," that identity happens only because each of the participating states adopt mirror image rules. Even if they appear to be the same or substantially similar from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the rules are, in fact, unique to each state. Licensing is a function of the state as well and, as everyone in our industry is aware, being licensed in one state in no way guarantees that a license will issue in others. Federal law was created by the states. The promulgation of the U.S. Constitution was accomplished only because the independent colonies agreed to abdicate a very limited amount of their respective powers to a federal government for the greater good of all. As powerful as the federal government may at times seem, it can only act if a constitutional provision allows it to do so. In the racing realm, the sparse instances of federal regulation occur based upon the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. That provision reserves solely to Congress the regulation of commerce across state lines. It makes perfect sense. Imagine if each state developed their own regulations for the size and shape of mud guards on the rear of tractor trailers. Truck drivers would be required to carry scores of different flaps, and to stop and change the flaps at the border of each state. In fact, 55 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court struck down just such state regulations as unconstitutional burdens on interstate commerce. Thus, the Interstate Commerce Clause permits the federal government to regulate things such as interstate simulcasting and the transportation of horses across state lines. So, what about a state law or regulation that prohibits the interstate movement of racehorses for periods of time? Can such rules pass constitutional muster, or should they be struck down as being in conflict with the Interstate Commerce Clause as unnecessarily impeding the free flow of business among the states? These questions are not hypothetical. Several states have regulations geared towards ensuring that there are always enough horses to fill race cards at meets. Both the Pennsylvania Code and New York regulations dictate that a harness horse may not race at a track other than the track where claimed for 30 days or the balance of the current racing meeting, whichever comes first, unless released by the racing secretary. In Maryland, the rules bar a claimed harness horse from racing outside the state for 60 days if the claim was at Rosecroft, or for 30 days if the claim was at Ocean Downs, unless the respective meet ends sooner. Delaware regulations contain a blanket 60 day prohibition on racing a claimed horse out of the state without approval of the track where the horse was claimed. May a state prohibit an owner from immediately racing a claimed horse in another state? That was exactly the question decided by the Kentucky Court of Appeals last month. The case, Jamgotchian v. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, was brought by a Thoroughbred owner who claimed a horse at Churchill Downs in Kentucky in May of 2011. Under Kentucky Thoroughbred rules, the horse was not permitted to race outside the state until the Churchill meet ended on July 4, 2011. In June, the owner entered the horse at Penn National Race Course in Pennsylvania. The racing secretary, in consultation with Churchill officials, rejected the entry based upon the Kentucky regulation. The owner claimed that the Kentucky prohibition violated the Federal Interstate Commerce Clause. In its ruling, the court stated that the test to be employed was whether, a) the challenged law is protectionist in measure, or; b) whether it can fairly be viewed as a law directed to legitimate local concerns, with effects upon interstate commerce that are only incidental. In other words, the court initially indicated that not every state regulation affecting interstate commerce is unconstitutional. In applying the test to the regulation in question, the court first reasoned that the general regulation of horse racing is both a traditional and legitimate state function, and is thus a valid exercise of Kentucky’s police power. In its analysis, the court pointed out that out of the thirty-eight states that permit wagering on horse racing, twenty-seven states have a claiming law similar to Kentucky's regulation. In sum, state regulation of claiming is pervasive across the United States. As to whether the regulation is protectionist or discriminatory, the court pointed out that the regulation applied evenly to both in-state and out-of-state licensees. Also, it determined that the effect on interstate commerce is incidental, inasmuch as the prohibition was strictly limited to horses acquired in the claiming realm. The court reasoned that the aggrieved owner could have purchased a horse privately or at an auction sale, and could have freely and immediately raced that purchase elsewhere. Finally, the court concluded that the regulation was limited in duration and scope, inasmuch as it banned transport out of state for racing for only the duration of the meet, which at the outside was just three months. To read the full text of the case, click here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=505383974654814112&q=jamgotchian&hl=en&as_sdt=6,33&as_ylo=2014 While Kentucky upheld the regulation, it is unclear whether a federal court would agree with the reasoning of the Court of Appeals. That just might be Mr. Jamgotchian’s next move. By Chris E. Wittstruck, who is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network.
North Island reinsman Andre Poutama claimed the title of Australasian Young Drivers Champion after the final heat was held at Tabcorp Park Menangle in New South Wales yesterday. The Championships were held over six days, with ten heats run over that period. Ten drivers from across Australasia competed in the Championships. Poutama took the lead in the second day of competition and maintained a comfortable lead throughout. From the ten heats, Poutama picked up one win, two seconds, four thirds and a fourth. The two other representatives from New Zealand, Samantha Ottley and Simon McMullan, also drove well The two other representatives from New Zealand, Samantha Ottley and Simon McMullan, also drove well throughout the Championship. Ottley was the only driver that could have beaten Poutama heading into the final heat, but after an unlucky run she finished in third place overall. Dylan Ford from Tasmania finished into second, after winning the last heat. The three representatives from New Zealand are made up of the best North Island driver, the best South Island driver and the driver with the best UDR (Universal Driver Rating), these drivers are all junior drivers as they must be under 25 to qualify for the event. The 2015 Australasian Young Drivers Championship is set to be held in New Zealand. Harness Racing New Zealand
Last night heats 6 and 7 of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship were held at Young. Andre Poutama continued his great run, picking up two more third placings. In the first heat of the night, Andre’s runner had to work hard early, but managed to hold on for third place. Sam Ottley and Simon McMullan struck some bad luck when the horse in front of them paced roughly and carried them back to finish 8th and 9th respectively. The second heat saw Narissa McMullen from Queensland pick up her second win of the Championships after a confident drive. Sam tried to chase down the leader but came short and ran 2nd; Andre wasn’t far off Sam and finished in 3rd position. Simon’s horse held on for 6th after doing some work during the running. Dylan Egerton-Green from Western Australia closed the gap at the top of the leader board, but Andre still sits in front with a lead of 7 points. Andre has now had seven drives in the Championship for one win and five placings, only being out of the top three in one heat. The current leader board after the first seven heats is as follows: Position Driver Points 1st Andre Poutama (NZ North) 66 2nd Dylan Egerton-Green (WA) 59 3rd Narissa McMullen (QLD) 54 4th Samantha Ottley (NZ Sth) 46 5th Amanda Turnbull (NSW) 42 5th Aiden De Campo (WA) 42 7th Aaron Bain (SA) 41 8th Dylan Ford (TAS) 40 9th Joshua Duggan (VIC) 33 10th Simon McMullan (NZ) 29 Heats continue at Bankstown tonight with Heat 8 (5:14pm NZT) & Heat 9 (5:53pm NZT), with the final heat being the first race on Inter Dominion Grand Final day on Sunday afternoon (2:30pm NZT).
In an exciting announcement for the Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star, it has been revealed that star US reinsman Corey Callahan will be in Australia for the International extravaganza on March 22. In just its second year, the $400,000 Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star trotting series held across one sensational night at Tabcorp Park Melton has attracted some massive names and it continues with Callahan adding his name to the list of visitors for the richest squaregaiting event in the southern hemisphere. Having only started his career at the age of 27, eight years later he has quickly become one of the leading drivers in North America. Growing up under the tutelage of his father Nick, Corey decided to turn his hand to college ambitions before returning to harness racing where he has driven thousands of winners. In fact since 2010 he has never driven less than 500 winners in a season, an extraordinary statistic that proves just how prolific the talented driver has been. He is also currently leads the United States Trotting Association Drivers' Premiership, 29 ahead of Ron Pierce . And it's not just his consistency that has him on top, he has also mixed it at the top level, taking out the $500,000 Hoosier Cup with Mr Wiggles in 2009 and competed in the World Driving Championship, representing the US. But it was 2013 which was the year that put the 35-year-old on the world stage as he raked in over $9.7 million in stakes earnings, placing him in the upper-Echelon in North America. He drove standout winners like Golden Receiver, D'Orsay and Drop The Ball. But, Australian trots fans will know him for his association with Ma Chere Hall, owned by Australian interests, however his win with Allstar Partner in the $260,000 PA Sires Stakes Championship was the highlight of his season. Callahan has been a fixture of some of the best tracks in America, racking up over 100 wins at The Meadowlands last season. Callahan will be involved during the week of the Great Southern Star and will compete in the Drivers Invitational on the all-squaregaiting night. Callahan arrives in Australia on March 18 and is available for drives. Interested trainers should call the Racing Office on (03) 8378 0200. For media enquiries contact Brett Boyd on (03) 8378 0250. BLAKE REDDEN COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER [Harness Racing Victoria]
DOVER DE - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's principal organization for media workers, held its annual meetings this past Saturday and Sunday at the Dover Downs complex, with the weekend culminating in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet held Sunday (Feb. 23) night, attended by almost 400 people and streamed worldwide for live viewing. During the Saturday meeting, the Directors of the Association voted for Bob Marks and Kathy Parker to be on the Communicators Hall of Fame voting ballot this summer. Marks has been a leading force in many harness dimensions over his 50 years in the sport, most recently as Marketing Director for Perretti Farms, while Parker, from a prominent harness family, worked her way through the ranks at the Horseman and Fair World weekly magazine until becoming editor in 1995 and later general manager of the Horseman Publishing Company, positions she maintains to this day. At the conclusion of the meetings, the membership voted in their slate of association Officials for 2014-15. Chris Tully, an MBA marketing specialist and writer whose digital literacy and social media acumen has helped bring USHWA to the cutting edge of communications technology, was elected President of the association, succeeding Steve Wolf of Harnesslink.com; Tully's "first official act" was to present Wolf, who now becomes the Chairman of the Board, with a gold Lifetime Membership pin. Tim Bojarski, writer/blogger for the USTA, moved up a chair to 1st Vice President, with the 2VP position going to Shawn Wiles, Monticello Raceway chief racing officer and a longtime USTA and USHWA director. Judy Davis-Wilson, who is based in Dover and worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the weekend, especially the banquet, was returned as Treasurer; Alan Prince, who attended his 48th consecutive USHWA meetings weekend, remains as Executive Treasurer. Also elected was Jerry Connors as USHWA secretary. Much of the discussion during the two days of meetings focused on the sport's Halls of Fame in Goshen NY, where plans for renovation and modernization are starting to advance rapidly, and where USHWA makes a significant contribution. In addition to the physical reconfiguration of the Halls of Fame area, the directors and membership discussed several by-law and rules change relating to the Halls, especially the re-establishment of a Seniors category for both. Debate was plentiful, lively, and well-reasoned on all sides, and some of these matters were tabled until a Committee, soon to be appointed, can focus on the merits - and the eventual wording -- of the varied proposed changes. The attendees heard reports from the many committees that keep USHWA functioning throughout the year, and were glad to hear from Davis-Wilson, voted the organization's member of the year, that the treasury was in a very good shape, pointing to future success in USHWA's upcoming progressive efforts. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner was as always the highlight of the gathering, with superstar sophomore trotting filly Bee A Magician "finishing her unbeaten season" by being elected Trotter of the Year and then Harness Horse of the Year; her contemporary, the pacing colt Captaintreacherous, took down overall honors for that gait after a brilliant campaign showing speed and courage in equal amounts. Also honored were the quartet to be inducted into the Halls of Fame Sunday, July 6 in Goshen: Harness Racing Hall of Famers David Miller and William Weaver, and Communicators Hall inductees Carol Cramer and John Pawlak. by Jerry Connors for USHWA
Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce that Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park, on Prince Edward Island, will be the host track for the 2014 edition of the National Driving Championship. The event is being hosted with the support of the PEI 2014 Fund as part of the 150th Anniversary celebration of the historic 1864 Charlottetown Conference that led to the creation of our Nation. The NDC will take place on Tuesday, August 26 in conjunction with a meeting of all of the province’s Premiers who will be on hand for the event. “It will be an honour to host the National Driving Championship in conjunction with the Council of the Federation," said Wes Sheridan, Minister Responsible for Harness Racing. “Events like this, as well as the recent success of the O’Brien Awards here on Prince Edward Island, provide an opportunity for us to showcase our vibrant harness racing industry and the partnerships that make it so strong.” John Gallinger, SC President and CEO, said that the hosting of this year's NDC will provide a unique opportunity to showcase harness racing to all of our provincial leaders. The top two drivers from four regional championships will make up the field of eight finalists for the National Driving Championship. The winner will represent Canada in the World Driving Championship, to be hosted in concert with the World Trotting Conference in Australia in March, 2015. Host tracks for the Regional Driving Championships have yet to be confirmed. “We are very excited to host the National Driving Championship and it will be one of the marquis events on our racing calendar,” said Red Shores Race Experience Manager Adam Walsh. “This format and the events have been very well received across the country and in the past each regional event was a major event of the racing season for the host track. The participation and co- operation of the racetracks and horsemen’s groups were a critical element to the success of all of the past Regional and National Driving Championship events,” commented Standardbred Canada’s Industry Marketing Manager Kathy Wade Vlaar. The National Driving Championship is one of hundreds of events that the Island's year-long celebration in 2014 will host. Standardbred Canada
DOVER DE—Bob Marks, the longtime marketing guru of Perretti Farms and a noted writer and handicapper, and Kathy Parker, the editor and general manager of the Horseman and Fair World publishing company, have been selected by the Directors of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) during their annual meetings here this weekend to be the ballot candidates for election into the Communicators Hall of Fame this summer. Chapters of USHWA nominate men and women of exceptional communicating abilities to their Board of Directors, and the Directors draw upon information in provided biographies and their own experiences with the nominees to select two outstanding individuals that will go before the general membership of USHWA this summer. Candidates garnering 75% of the yes-no votes submitted are inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame. Marks has been a vital and active part of the racing game for over 50 years, first establishing himself as a handicapper of renown during the Golden Years of the Roosevelt-Yonkers circuit, then contributing a steady stream of informed and reasoned articles to the top trade publications. In 1988 Marks took the job as pedigree analyst and marketing director at the noted Perretti Farms in New Jersey. During a quarter century of work at Perretti’s farm, Marks developed pioneering techniques in presenting stallions on video and assembled eye-catching print and electronic ads that drove home the main assets of the Perretti stock. Bob also named more than 2,000 horses, most of the monikers featuring some offshoot of their sire’s name to not only make the yearlings distinctive, but also to keep the stallions and their achievements in the public eye. Parker spent her formative years in Ohio and then western Pennsylvania as part of an extensive and talented racing family, which today includes her husband Dan Coon, son of Hall of Fame trackman Charlie Coon and himself a noted track worker. Parker started her employment at the Horseman and Fair World, a Lexington KY-based weekly trade magazine, while still attending the University of Kentucky, and her talent saw her rise through the ranks until arriving at the top by being named editor and general manager in 1995. As communications changed and evolved in harness racing, Parker had the Horsemen at the forefront of emerging innovative news dissemination techniques. The Horseman’s website, www.harnessracing.com, started in 1998, and in 2009 the acclaimed weekly originated a “Harness Racing Weekend Preview,” giving an insightful oversight on the upcoming big races. Parker has traveled extensively worldwide covering the races, and in 1992 she won a John Hervey award for harness writing excellence from USHWA. The ballot for the candidacy of Marks and Parker will be distributed during the summer, after this year’s candidates for the Living Hall of Fame are determined during the Fourth of July Weekend in Goshen, the home of harness racing’s Halls of Fame. by Jerry Connors, USHWA National Secretary
Dover Downs is capital of the sport this Sunday (Feb. 23). The U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) Night of Champions comes to Dover Downs for its 67th annual awards-dinner in the Rollins Center. The highlight of the evening will be announcement of the 2013 Horse of the Year. Among champion division winning horses and individuals being honored are three local horsepersons, Corey Callahan receives the "Rising Star Award," Judy Davis -Wilson is USHWAn of the Year while Janet Davis receives the Harness Horse Youth Foundations 'Service to Youth' award for her charitable voluntary work to make the Christmas season a happy time for hundreds of youngster in Delaware. Complete information on the awards-dinner visit the USHWA website: www.ushwa.org. ----------------------------------- For those not at the USHWA 'Night of Champions' at Dover Downs, check the USTA website: ustrotting.com for video streaming of the sports biggest night of the year starting at approximately 6 p.m. ---------------------------------------- Also on Sunday, a Dan Patch dinner auction will take place with items such as: Yannick Gingras colors and helmet, personally autographed; an original Mary Lou Dondarski acrylic painting of Bee A Magician and another acrylic painting of Captaintreacherous; Bill Haught's winning engraved clock trophy training Nihilator in the $2-million Woodrow Wilson Pace.; Now River bracelets, LV Harkness-etched clock; a breeding to Dream Away amony many more items. Those not at the banquet can bid on any or all of the items by calling 954-654-3757 or 732-306-6713 or 732-547-9459 until 7 p.m. ------------------------------------------ Statistics for the early 2014 season show Dover Downs regulars Corey Callahan and Ron Piece off to fast starts. Currently, Callahan leads all drivers in the sport with more than 100 wins. Ron Pierce is now second in the standing some 25 behind. Ross Wolfenden is 11th with 48 wins, ------------------------------------------------------------- Corey Callahan is alone at the top of the track leading driver category in quest of a fifth consecutive track title. This meet, Callahan has won 178 races. Ross Wolfenden has moved into second place with 887 wins. Allan Davis is third with 61 winners. Ron Pierce has moved into third with 75 wins and Vic Kirby, fifth, with 74 wins. ------------------------------------ Callahan's second win on Thursday (2/20), came with #8 Chrusher Man in the 5th race. The 8-1 official odds turned out 55-1 and Callahan drove the four-year-old pacer to one of his four wins that night, a lifetime mark of 153. By the way, the horse went off at 55-1 and paid $113.40 for a $2-dollar win ticket ------------------------------------------ Dylan Davis has extended his first place lead in the trainer standings with 50 wins. Wayne Givens is second with 39 winners. Trish Foulk is third with 37 wins. Joe Hundertpfund is fourth, 36 wins and Les Givens, 33, is fifth in the standings. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs
A field of 15 has been set for Sunday's Grand Prix de Paris, the final leg of the France Triple Crown of Trotting. The 400,000â‚¬ marathon will be led by resurgent Roxane Griff along with Yarrah Boko, Up And Quick and Royal Dream. Grand Prix de Paris, Gr. I International UET Masters Series, 400,000 4150 meters, 15 starters Horse, Age/Sex, Driver, Trainer, Earnings in euro Titi Quick 7m Alexandre Abrivard, C, Casseron, 225350 Taormina d'Em 7f Tony LeBeller, J-P Alix, 307190 Son Alezan 8m Dominik Locqueneux, Franck Leblanc, 538520 Utoky 6m Yohan Lebourgeois, Franck Leblanc, 549250 Soleil du Fosse 8m Mathieu Abrivard, Thierry Duvaldestin, 663180 Uhlan du Val 6m Cedric Megissier also trainer, 693890 Santa Rosa France 8f Wm. Bigeon, J-L Bigeon, 705950 Roxana de Barbray 9f David Thomain for R. Donati, 869828 Severino 8m Damien Bonne, R. Coueffin, 895500 Quinoa du Gers 10m Franck Nivard, F. Souloy, 990343 Up And Quick 6m J-M Bazire, F. Leblanc, 1078060 Tiego d'Etang 7m Ch. Bigeon driver/trainer, 1159980 Yarrah Boko 9m Pierre Vercruysse, Trond Anderssen, 1221577 Royal Dream 9m Jean-Philippe Dubois, Ph. Moulin, 1583310 Roxanne Griff 9f Eric Raffin, S. Guarato, 2193118 Thomas H. Hicks
DOVER, Del.----. Feel Like A Fool closed strongly for a 1:51 victory in the $27,500 Delaware Special on Thursday, Feb. 19 at Dover Downs. George Dennis piloted Kovach Stables' Feel Like A Fool to his first win of 2014 coming from off-the-pace to score a 1:51 triumph in this week's feature pace. Mustang Art (Ron Pierce) rolled away to take a fast early lead in :26 and continued to lead until deep stretch when the Bobby Clark-trainee, Feel Like A Fool, an Art Major-Fool That I am gelding, came on to edged People Are Crazy (Vic Kirby) for the win. Mustang Art held on for third. The $17,500 4&5-Year-Old Open went even faster Lindwood Player and Corey Callahan streaked home in a lifetime best 1:50.4 for Mike Casalino and meet-leading trainer Dylan Davis. The win was the third in-a-row for The Panderosa-Direct Player five-year-old who now has banked $224,799 in his career. Mr Dennis (Pierce) finished second nosing out Jeremes General (Allan Davis), third. Owner-trainer Ed Gannon's Artists Rally with Trace Tetrick finished even faster posting a 1:50.3 lifetime best. The Real Artist-Spunky Gal gelding nipped Dirty Devil (Callahan), who had won two straight. Bad Man Sam (Kirby) was third in the $15,000 Male Winners-Over pace. In the first of three $14,500 paces, Just A Jolt, a Village Jolt-Just Wait Kate gelding, driven by Trace Tetrick, trained by Jim King for owner John Dayton recorded a lifetime record 1:52.1 in a $&5-year-old pace. Chesapeake Bay (Pierce) was runner-up. Shark On Board (Frank Milby) was the show finisher. Crissman Inc.'s Fancy Colt, reined by Tony Morgan, made it three in-a-row and five in his last seven, notching a 1:52.2, for trainer Tim Crissman, in another winners-over pace. Encoding Z Tam (Callahan) took second with Coopers Beach (Jonathan Roberts) third. Fancy Colt is an Always A Virgin from Fanciful Hanover gelding. Howard Taylor's Spinfiniti was the first of four Corey Callahan wins. The No Spin Zone-Hurricane Jenny four-year-old trained by Josh Green won his fifth in six starts taking a $12,000 4&5-Year-Old Male pace. Two races later Callahan steered Crusher Man at 55-1 to a 1:53 win in another $12,000 pace. Trainer Trish Foulk co-owns the gelding with Nanticoke Racing. Corey Callahan won his fourth race of the day, another $14,000 pace, driving Z Tam Stables' Wilbur's Z Tam, trained by Dave McCaffrey, to a personal record equaling 1:52 win. The Charley Barley-Artha Ray gelding won by a nostril beating race favorite Sea Harrier (Tetrick) who had a three-race win streak ended. Teresa's Beach (Bret Brittingham) was the show horse. Jonathan Roberts and trainer Dylan Davis had two wins apiece. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs
TROIS-RIVIERES , February 20, 2014 - Daniel Dube, a native son of Trois-Rivieres and now competing in the New York area as a professional harness racing driver, can't wait to come to his hometown and Hippodrome 3R this summer. "It is a pleasure for me each time I return to the Hippodrome 3R to race," Dube said. "This is where I started my career. I never missed the opportunity to go there when we visit my family and my wife's family. And the revival of Prix d'Ete will surely be another opportunity to return. " In the racing world, Dube needs no introduction In both Canada and the United States, he won multiple championship's and many of the most prestigious races in the sport such as the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug. Last summer, he paid a visit to the Trois-Rivieres racetrack and he won in 1:52.4 with the horse Duc Dorleans , the fastest mile in the history of Hippodrome 3R. "The track at Trois-Rivieres is fast, there is no doubt," Dube said. "It compares favorably with the best tracks in North America. The Prix d'Ete should draw the attention of the best four-year-old pacers in America, because it will be a great event. Several trainers, including the accomplished Ron Burke, who has raced some horses in Charlottetown in the Gold Cup & Saucer, will be interested by a purse of $200,000 in the new Prix d'Dete. If I get an opportunity to have a drive, I will certainly be there. " A reminder that Sunday, September 21, 2014 is a date to put on the agenda for all harness racing fans who want to see the best drivers and the best four-year-old pacers in North America at the Hippodrome 3R. Horsemen are reminded that nominations for the $200,000 Prix D'Ete and the $50,000 consolation race, must be postmarked by Saturday, March 15, 2014. For more information about the race, nomination forms and conditions please go to www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Hippodrome 3R
This weekends three series finales at Cal Expo honor the memory and contributions of Alan Kirschenbaum, Richard Staley and Marvin Shapiro. The Alan Kirschenbaum Series is named for the longtime owner and breeder and past president of the California Harness Horsemens Association, who died in October 2012. Kirschenbaum was a major factor in California as an owner, breeder and amateur driver for many years. With his stallions Little Steven and British Sterling standing at Cherry Tree Farm in Wilton, he helped support the industry in California. In the past, he had even waived his stallion fees to help the California horsemen breed their mares to help the horse population survive in the Golden State. He was also a huge supporter of the California Sire Stakes and amateur races. Richard Staley, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 66, was one of the top owners to ever campaign trotters and pacers in California. He was involved in the sport for more than 25 years and during that entire period had only one trainer, Hall of Famer Doug Ackerman. Over the years Staley and Ackerman would regularly go to the major sales to select and purchase the regally-bred years that became the bulwark of the Staley Stable and provided California harness racing with many of his classiest performers. Marvin Shapiro was the son of L.K. Shapiro, who owned the Hall of Fame thoroughbred and California-bred champion Native Diver. He was the president of Western Harness Racing Inc. in the 1960s and spearheaded legislation that sanctioned night racing in California. He died in 2003 at the age of 83. Marvin Shapiro Finale, Open Pace in spotlight A contentious $7,350 finale of the Marvin Shapiro Pacing Series and an Open Pace headed by One And Only are the main events on Saturday nights Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo. Itsabouttonight and Plum Crazy Baby captured the two divisions of the first leg of the Shapiro, while last week saw one division and it was Majestic Lass who come rolling late to post a $47 upset. An 8-year-old daughter of Art Major, Majestic Lass is owned by Kimberly Andres, is conditioned by Salvador Wenceslao and will have Mooney Svendsen in the sulky. No threat in the first leg of the Shapiro, she came back last week to be up by a head over another longshot in Pips Jenny G., with the $1 exacta returning a cool $515 in that affair. Itsabouttonight will represent owner/trainer Gretchen Smith with Tim Maier at the helm. The Illinois-bred mare dominated her division of the opening leg over a sloppy track, then was a close third last weekend after opening up a large lead at the head of the stretch that evening. Plum Crazy Baby is a 6-year-old Relentless Yankee mare who carries the banner of Derick Takahashi with Dario Solares training and Dave Siegel doing the honors. She was a very convincing victress in the first leg, then was first over in her most recent appearance and had to settle for the fourth as the 8-5 favorite behind Majestic Lass. Completing the field are Red Star Gilda with Williams Hernandez; No Mo Parking for Mike Jarvis; Curvacious with Luke Plano in the sulky; Pips Jeeny G, Patrick Galbraith; and Little Schoolgirl, who leaves from the outside slot with James Kennedy at the helm. One And Only gets top billing in the Open Pace for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, trainer Lino Pacheco and driver Luke Plano. The son of Bettors Delight rattled off five straight wins between December 21 and February 1 before having the streak broken at most recent asking after doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post position. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness
There is a “grass roots” movement currently going on in harness racing, which is being led by two prominent horse owners, Richard and Joanne Young of South Florida. They have been owners in the Standardbred industry for 20 plus years. Joanne has been riding and showing Arabian horses for 30 years. Over the years they have had the pleasure of owning not one, but two world champion performers, Put On A Show (31 wins in 50 starts with earnings of $2.4 million) and I Luv The Nitelife (17 wins in 25 stars with earnings of $1.9 million) in addition to other stakes winners over the years. I Luv The Nitelife was recently announced as the Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year for 2013. They travel throughout the country to watch their horse’s race and are big supporters of the industry. Now the Young’s are on a different mission, one that has been involved in a series of hotly debated discussions for years but solutions have been far from being solved. The Young’s want every track and state racing commission that has harness racing to put a stop to drivers who over use the whip in races and take their feet and touch or kick their horse during a race. This all came about because someone did a blog on the internet last Fall, regarding the non compliance with the rules regarding kicking and whipping that woke Joanne Young up. The Young’s took the initiative and started asking and inquiring about the rules and regulations of various states. They sent letters and emails to major race and industry officials throughout the country and learned quite a bit. “I couldn’t tell you how many emails, letters and calls we made,” Joanne said. “ We got back some calls and about a half dozen emails and some of them were so encouraging. Most states have rules but track management and the judges need to enforce them and in some cases increase the fines and suspensions significantly so drivers will not abuse the horses as many do.” “Tracks and judges make their own rules and maybe give a fine after a couple of offenses.” Young said. “It’s like a slap on the wrist and some drivers may say it’s worth the fine to win the race because of the purse. Personally I don’t see why either method is used. These horses are bred to race and I don’t believe that a whip or a “kick” does anything to make the horse perform better. To those people that say the “kick” is nothing and does not hurt the horse, I say all you have to do is watch what happens to the driver’s leg when he comes into contact with the hock. The leg is forcefully pushed back and looks like kicking. So whatever you want to call it, it looks horrible and the public perceives it as abuse. For that reason alone it needs to be banned.” According The United States Trotting Association’s penalties that are suggestions as guidelines to pari-mutuel state gaming commission and racetracks are: “The penalty for kicking as defined herein shall not be less than 9 days suspension.” For excessive whipping the suggestion is, “The mandatory minimum penalty for a whipping violation shall be a fine in the amount of $100 and a 3 day suspension from driving for the first offense and for each subsequent violation the mandatory minimum penalty shall increase in the amount of $100 and 3 days (e.g. $200 and 6 days for the 2nd offense, $300 and 9 days for the 3rd offense, etc.)” “These rules are a joke and everyone in the harness racing business knows it, because either they are not enforced or the penalty is too lenient.” Joanne Young said. “ We want to see a cohesive rule that states that the right hand remain on the right line and the left hand remain on the left line during the race and that the feet must have no contact with the horse. “The penalty for not following these rules will be suspension for 2 months and a $5,000 fine,” Young continued, “or placement of the horse. We need to make the punishment harsh enough to stop the actions. Of course an easier fix is just to ban both practices immediately. Other countries have rules in place and no kicking or one handing whipping is allowed or tolerated. If the owners/drivers/trainers lose money you can bet that the drivers will stop immediately. We need to bring some credibility back to this sport.” Jeff Gural, the prominent owner and CEO of three racetracks, the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, wrote back and also talked with the Young’s about their quest and encouraged them with this scenario. “I met with the drivers before the start of the meet,” Gural said, “and told them anyone kicking a horse would not be allowed to drive at our tracks, period. No one complained. The whipping is tricky because to change the rule in NJ you need public hearings, etc. The drivers are opposed to this but we have implemented a temporary rule which has cut it way down, but I will back any effort to make the rules stricter.” Joanne has been in touch with the Ohio and Kentucky Racing Commission in regards to their recent rule changes. She is also in the midst of trying to get a rule change on the agenda with the New Jersey Racing Commission. The Young’s also have had encouraging conversations with prominent owners, drivers and trainers who are on board with rule changes and harsher penalties. Not everyone though wants to publicly share his or her personal views. According to Joanne, this is due to the fact that the “old school” of racing sees nothing wrong with the status quo and some fear repercussions. “We had one judge,” Richard Young said, “Who actually said he had no problem with a driver touching the hock or flank of a horse when racing and that as long as a driver did not slash a horse with a whip, it was okay. He said horses are tough and can take it. That just infuriated us to no end. How can anyone, especially, a racing judge, say something like that? “We want this movement to be in a positive light,” Joanne Young explained. “There is a public perception of abuse and we can and should stop it. It is an easy fix for the harness racing commissions to all agree to a cohesive and enforceable rule. I also believe the drivers would like the same rule for all the harness tracks making their job easier. The USTA is going to be meeting this March. If you a proponent of banning the kicking and one handed whipping please voice your opinion with them or contact me. All we need is for the racing commissions to agree, and we can finally put this controversial subject to rest.” By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Fourth in a series of stories about 2013’s leading drivers, the vehicles they drive in pursuit of victory, and other current relevant facts. 2013 North American dashwinning champion Ronnie Wrenn Jr. owes a good deal of thanks for his learning the skills that helped win him that title to his father, Michigan Hall of Famer Ron Wrenn Sr. – and he also is appreciative of his dad for providing another kind of “horsepower.” “I did most of the driving in my truck, a 2011 Ford F-150, between racetracks during last summer,” said the 27-year-old recently, “but when I decided to race at Northfield during the week and take advantage of the fact that Colonial Downs (near Richmond VA, 450 miles away) raced on weekends last fall, my dad, along with a Northfield regular named “Road Dog,’ got behind the wheel of the truck most of the time so I could get some sleep between the Friday night Northfield card and the Saturday afternoon racing at Colonial.” The truck had 160,000 miles on it by year’s end – “probably 60,000 or 70,000 miles just last year,” Ron Jr., also known as "Ronnie," adds – but also at year’s end Ron had 714 wins, clear by 69 victories for the North American crown. Among the top ten drivers, only he and another Ron (Pierce) had 50 or more wins at four different tracks, and no one but Wrenn had 20+ wins at seven different ovals. One of those tracks, Raceway Park in Toledo, isn’t back in 2014, which Ron Jr. laments (you would too if you had a .532 UDR at a track that was closing). But he’s trying his hand at the new Miami Valley oval presently, and he’s only four wins behind leader Tony Hall while driving a limited schedule as he continues to make Northfield, the track where he won 388 races last year, his base. In fact, it’s remarkable that Wrenn has climbed back to third in the Northfield 2014 standings already – considering he underwent surgery at the start of the season and didn’t race at the Cleveland oval until January 29. “I had to get my right wrist, which I broke playing football when I was younger, operated on. I had been dealing with the situation for a while – I had been going to therapy for three years for it – but it was just time to get the situation fixed properly. I’ve recovered well, and I’m feeling awesome right now.” Which is bad news for those trying to keep Wrenn from defending his dash title. Despite driving on only 17 cards this year, Ronnie has 40 victories at press time, good for 21st in North America in “half the season” the others have had available to them. (One win higher in the standings – his uncle Peter, at 9,200+ career wins.) Ron Wrenn Jr. says he tries to keep up with sports news when he is driving his truck – “My favorite is ESPN Sports, and I can usually find a station with it wherever I drive.” If he keeps up his winning rate since coming back from his injury, Ronnie may hear his name over the airwaves in ten months or so -- the national media will have to sit up and take note if a 28-year-old already has two national win titles to his career credit. Driver Total Wins Tracks Wins Ron Wrenn Jr. 714 Northfield 388 Northville 96 Scioto 88 Raceway Park 52 Buffalo 29 Colonial 27 Batavia 21 Hazel Park 7 Monticello 4 Wooster 2 By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com