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Ron Waples will join the field for the Hall of Fame harness racing drivers race at Goshen Historic Track, the annual $10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry Memorial Trot, to be held Sunday (July 5). Post time is 1 p.m. Waples drove Park Avenue Joe in the 1989 Hambletonian dead heat race-off with Probe and driver Bill Fahy. He's also won nearly 7,000 races, including two Little Brown Jugs (Ralph Hanover-1983 and Fake Left-1992) along with $74.2 million in purse earnings. The slate for that race brings together a "Who's Who" of harness racing talent. John Campbell, David Miller, Bill O'Donnell, Dick Stillings, Jimmy Takter and Wally Hennessey will all compete that day. Ron Pierce, recovering from neck and back surgery this spring, is a possibility as he is nearing the end of his rehabilitation. His participation will be confirmed as the date draws closer. Collectively, the confirmed participants have won 13 Little Brown Jugs and 11 Hambletonians as trainers or drivers, along with nearly 52,000 races and $875 million in purse earnings. The race honors the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry; their sons Elbridge and Peter will be on hand to present the trophy. After the race, the drivers will meet fans and autograph photos. Goshen Historic Track is located at 44 Park Place in Goshen; admission is $5 for adults (includes program) and children are free. For more information, go to www.goshenhistorictrack.com or call 845.294.5333. The hashtag for this year's events is #harnessgoshen. By Ellen Harvey Harness Racing Communications USTA  

Cream Ridge, NJ --- After a day of unrelenting rain, skies cleared on Sunday afternoon (June 28) for the second annual open house at Fair Winds Farm, celebrating the month of the horse in New Jersey. About 350 guests, most of them with no connection or experience with horses, walked up the tree-lined lane, past fields of mares and foals, to the Cream Ridge farm for an afternoon of everything equine. Fair Wind's Mark Mullen invited several partners and exhibitors to open the doors to the farm and the horse world to the general public, with FFA members parking cars and exhibiting alongside Rutgers University Equine Science program, Harness Horse Youth Foundation, Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization, NJ Quarter Horse Association, NJ Farm Bureau and Monmouth County 4H, complete with real bunnies in baskets. Guests were treated to horse and wagon rides around the farm, a demonstration of what the well-dressed racehorse wears with Jacqueline Ingrassia and the very patient Cool Beans, who stood stock still, with ears up for photos and pats from children and adults getting their hands on a horse for the first time. Retired trotter Independent Act and owner Suzanne D'Ambrose walked throughout the crowd for hours, with "Indy" sampling grass and saying hello to curious children generous with scratches and pats. Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization members showed the crowd what Standardbreds can do off the track. Helene Gregory was there with Jambalayabar Man, Rob Pennington with Glissade and Worldclass Guy was ridden by Stephanie Jacobs. Nicole Bursac showed off the roan Styled N Misty, while Terry Keynton had Osborne's Shy Cam outfitted for trail riding. Farrier Tom Mulryne trimmed a horse with a crowd listening to his explanation of equine foot care. Dr. Patty Hogan opened up her clinic for the day, with three fully subscribed tours learning about diagnostic and surgical procedures, as well as seeing horses recovering from or preparing for orthopedic surgery. "It was a beautiful day and we had enthusiastic participation from many groups and a lot of non-horse people here, visiting Dr. Hogan's clinic, seeing all the demos," said Fair Winds' owner Mark Mullen. "People were very complimentary about the farm and all the horses and activities. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time." by Ellen Harvey Harness Racing Communications USTA

An iconic print of Greyhound setting his historic time trial mark of 1:59.3/4 on July 16, 1937, reproduced from an oil by Richard Stone Reeves, will be offered for live auction on July 5 at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. The print, numbered 34 of the original 1955 issue of 260, comes from the private collection of a Museum member, who has owned it since publication. A portion of auction proceeds will benefit the Museum's Restoration Fund. The image of Greyhound depicts him at Goshen Historic Track, driven by Sep Palin. The scene looks much the same now as it did in 1937, with the exception of a now-removed hub rail. The resulting time was the first under the 2:00 barrier on a half-mile track for a trotter. This rare print is in good condition with scattered foxing, and is matted and framed. The original oil by Reeves is in the Museum's collection and was presented as a gift to the founder, E. Roland Harriman, in July of 1955 by his friends Lawrence Sheppard, Elbridge T. Gerry Sr., Octave Blake, R.W. Hart, Walter Candler and Leo C. McNamara. Reeves, who painted more than 1,000 horses in his career, including most of the finest Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds of the latter half of the 20th century, was, in the words of the New York Times, "one of the premier equestrian artists in the world." His commissioned works were oil on canvas, "neo romantic in style" said the Times and reported, though never confirmed by Reeves, to start at $25,000. Reeves cites this image of Greyhound, trotting in an event that occurred in 1937, when he was a teenager, as the only horse of more than 1,000 he painted that he did not see in person. Reeves began painting top-flight race horses after his service in World War II. He died in 2005. Those who would like to bid, but cannot attend the July 5 Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, can arrange for proxy bid by contacting Historic Collections Manager Rebecca Howard at collections@harnessmuseum.com or calling 845-294-6330. The conservation of art and artifacts is one of the Museum's highest priorities. The Restoration Fund is a dedicated account established by to provide funding for the preservation of its collection. Funding sources include donations and artifact sponsorships, grants and the annual Restoration Raffle. Now in its 21st year, the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame's Restoration Raffle has provided more than $86,000 toward ensuring long-term preservation and accessibility of paintings, lithographs, vehicles, glass photographic negative and textiles from the Museum's historic collections. Winning tickets will be drawn for a fantastic list of prizes during the Hall of Fame induction dinner, Sunday July 5. Please contact Missy Gillespie for prize information and raffle ticket sales. By Ellen Harvey Harness Racing Communications USTA  

Goshen is home to Historic Track, a harness racing facility that opened in 1838 and is the country's oldest active horse racing track. There's been trotting horse racing on the streets of Goshen since the Revolutionary War era. True to history, there is no betting and stables are open to the public. The track, at 44 Park Place, is on the National Park Service's registry of historic landmarks. The Fourth of July celebration in Goshen, New York might be just 90 minutes from New York City, but it's 150 years back in time. The county seat of Orange County, Goshen is home to the 34th annual Great American Weekend celebration - two days of activities that celebrate the nation's independence on July 4 and 5, 2015. Activities for the whole family are centered in and around the town's tree-ringed nine acre green, surrounded by stone office buildings, churches, and Queen Anne-style homes dating to the late 1700s. There will be harness racing for prizes as large as $20,000 and the four day meet starts on July 2 at 1 p.m. as part of Goshen's Fourth of July celebration. Admission is free for children 12 and younger, adults are $5 and admission price includes a racing program. The stable area is open for visitors to see the racehorses up close as they prepare for competition. Great American Weekend events are either on or a short walk from the town green, running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 4 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 5. Events include continuous musical entertainment, a 150 vendor craft show, book sale at the library, walking tour and food tent with festive fare. Adjacent to the racetrack is the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, at 240 Main Street. Housed in a 1913 Tudor carriage house, the museum interprets the history of harness racing and is home art priceless collections and interactive exhibits. The museum has is what is believed to be the largest single collection of Currier & Ives equine prints. The museum's most popular exhibit is the racing simulator theater, where guests get a 3-D presentation of racing as if they're driving in a race, feeling the wind in their hair and jiggling along with every step of the speeding horse. Here's a day by day list of what's going on in Goshen this year: Great American Weekend events are either on or a short walk from the town green, running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 4 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 5. Events include continuous musical entertainment, a 150 vendor craft show, book sale at the library, walking tour and food tent with festive fare. Goshen Harness Racing Schedule - Museum and Historic Track - 2015 Thursday, July 2: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Harness Racing Museum at 240 Main Street, Goshen, open and free to all visitors. 1 p.m. Grand Circuit racing at Goshen Historic Track, 44 Park Place, New York-sired fair races. Free harness racing tote bag giveaway to the first 250 paid fans, plus 10 of the bags will contain $25, $50 and $75 gift cards for area businesses. General admission is $5 for adults, includes a program. Children 12 and under are free. Friday, July 3: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum open and free to all visitors. 1 p.m. Grand Circuit racing at Historic Track. Excelsior Series for New York-bred pacers. Saturday, July 4: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum open and free to all visitors. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Great American Weekend festivities, First Presbyterian Church Park in Goshen. 150 craft booths, antique show, entertainment, children's rides, road races. 1 p.m. Grand Circuit racing at Goshen Historic Track. Landmark Stakes and amateur driving races. Retired pacer Whiskey Pete will be on hand to stand politely for petting and selfies. Sunday, July 5: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum is open. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Great American Weekend festivities continue. 1 p.m. Grand Circuit racing at Goshen Historic Track. New York State Excelsior series, under saddle races for ridden Standardbreds, Hall of Fame drivers race. Drivers sign autographs and greet the public after their race. 5:30 p.m. Hall of Fame induction festivities begin with the cocktail hour in Haughton Hall at the Harness Racing Museum, for tickets call 845-294-6330. Hashtag for all Goshen harness racing events is #harnessgoshen. Goshen Historic Track - www.goshenhistorictrack.com 845-294-5333 Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame - www.harnessmuseum.com, 845-294-6330 Great American Weekend - goshennychamber.com, 845-294-7741 By Ellen Harvey Harness Racing Communications USTA  

Goshen, NY --- Nearly two dozen fans of Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Steeplechase racing checked off an item on their bucket lists Sunday (June 7) as they completed a class on race announcing taught by Tom Durkin, in a cooperative venture between the USTA, Harness Racing Museum and Goshen Historic Track. Durkin, who has called races for more than 40 years, including the Hambletonian, all the Thoroughbred Triple Crown races and the Breeders' Cup, taught the morning class before students called the 11 matinee races held at adjacent Historic Track in the afternoon. Durkin kept the class engaged with the story of his self-education in race announcing, incorporating his background performing in 17 plays, study of Latin and literature, as well as reading in how the brain works to help quickly memorize a large amount of information, forget it and then reload for another race. He showed the class his 30 page booklets prepared for the major classics he’s called, complete with an analysis of the expected pace, phrases to use in the event of wins by horses in fields that could be as large as 20, color coding the program and the mechanics of how you can watch a race, hold binoculars and keep a program within eyesight. “I designed this device (to which he clips his program) for myself using the three most common construction elements -- a coat hanger, the cardboard that comes with your shirts in the laundry and duct or masking tape,” he said to laughs from the class. “It works great.” Durkin emphasized the need to memorize and use repetition to ensure that the names of horses, drivers and trainers come easily and accurately. He also gave tips to avoid making mistakes, such as using the name of a horse in a race call first and then the position, a strategy that avoids the possibility of stating the position of a horse and then not being able to identify it (“In third place, it’s…uhhhhh.”) Durkin detailed his preparation for races large and small and the necessity of approaching each with the scrutiny of a handicapper. “It’s like Fred Astaire said when he was asked why his rehearsals were so hard,” Durkin said. “Because it makes the performance so much easier.” After a short lunch break, the class moved to adjacent Historic Track, for 11 non betting, non-purse races. Announcer Howard Oil, the voice of Monticello Raceway, was on hand to introduce the students and help them through each call. Only three of the 11 races had fields larger than three, but a regular parade of 2-year-olds making their sometimes unsteady first starts kept the students busy. Every one of them made it from beginning to end with an occasional delayed horse or driver misidentification quickly corrected. “The winning driver was Jason Bartlett, who bears a surprising resemblance to Jordan Stratton,” was the lighthearted correction from one student who called Bartlett by the name throughout the race. For some, it was not their first race call, but their first time seeing a harness race. Dr. Dean Springer, who came from Barbados for the class and has called several hundred races there, noted the slower pace and need to adjust the thought process accordingly, as the crowd adjusted to his British-inflected Caribbean accent. “It was different than what I’m used to, riders on their back, not drivers,” he said. “Getting used to the speed, a little slower, takes some getting used to.” For a New Jersey guy, it was perhaps a stepping stone to a career in harness racing. “It was fun and it will get more people out to the track if you give more opportunities like this to the fans,” said Richard Mattei, a regular Meadowlands racing fan, and a college student looking to transfer to Kentucky. “I did (call a race) at the Meadowlands once. I hit a contest and it got the attention of Darin Zoccali and I got to call a race. I would do anything (to call a race) because this is what I want to do with my life, call horse races.” Paul Kirnos, whose Thoroughbred handicapping skills have landed him spots in national championships several times, left the announcers booth with a wide smile. “I thought it was fantastic. It was a great experience, a lot more difficult than I thought it would be,” said Kirnos, who’s also a former hot walker and now a statistician. “It’s a beautiful track and Tom Durkin did an outstanding job. I’d definitely like to do it again; I think you can only improve as you do more.” Tuition from the class was designated by Tom Durkin for the Saratoga Harness Museum and Hall of Fame, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he is now a resident. by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications 

East Rutherford, NJ --- Hard Rock International, owner of one of the world’s most iconic and recognized brands, announced today its plan to build a casino at the Meadowlands in New Jersey the home of harness racing. The proposed entertainment destination would be ideally situated in northern New Jersey and is projected to generate $400 million of new tax revenues a year. “With its close proximity to an international airport, the new casino would be designed to attract visitors from not only the 14 million adults in northern New Jersey and New York City, but also international travelers, making it a premier entertainment destination,” said Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International. “The significant tax revenue brought into New Jersey could go directly to aid in the development and reconstruction of Atlantic City’s casino and hotel industry.” Reports show a casino in northern New Jersey would help draw visitors from other states, creating competition with New York and Pennsylvania, who have taken more than $13 billion in revenue from New Jersey in the past eight years since they’ve expanded their gaming options. “We’re thrilled to bring this great offering to the New Meadowlands Racetrack,” said Jeff Gural, Chairman of New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC. “With its expertise in gaming, hotels, restaurants, live events, entertainment, and retail offerings, Hard Rock International is the ideal partner for New Meadowlands Racetrack; bringing the globally recognized brand to the racetrack elevates excitement surrounding the project.” The Hard Rock Casino will feature 5,000 slot machines and 200 gaming tables. The project will also feature ten restaurants and four bars; a multi-purpose Hard Rock Live showroom; New Jersey Music Hall of Fame; and “The Vault,” a music memorabilia museum expertly curated by Hard Rock -- owners of the world’s largest music memorabilia collection. The entertainment destination will also offer retail shops and a six-story parking garage conveniently located just steps away from the casino grounds. Gural reiterated his continuing commitment to harness racing as part of the future Hard Rock plans. “I’m a horse guy and that’s what brought me here,” he said. “In my heart, this is good for the state of New Jersey. We are dedicated to making this work for the entire state of New Jersey, we certainly would offer jobs to people who lost their jobs in Atlantic City.” He also cited the importance of the 13,000 New Jersey citizens who make their living in the equine business, and specifically about half of those who make their living through horse racing. Gural expressed his optimism that the annual tax revenue to the state would exceed Hard Rock’s $400 million projections, especially in the first few years when other New Jersey competition may be limited initially. Attendance was heavy from dozens of state political leaders, business executives and union representatives, who support the proposed plan and the jobs and economic engine it would provide for the region. State Senator Paul Sarlo acknowledged the political challenges at hand and pledged to “balance competing interests with all our colleagues.” Central to the proposal, and delineated on a graphic presentation shown to attendees, is a “minimum $300 billion investment in Atlantic City (infrastructure) via tax exempt bonds.” Estimates call for creation of about 2,360 construction jobs and 5,000 ongoing jobs. In a question and answer session at the close of prepared presentations, the issue of overcoming the constitutional amendment that states that no casinos are allowed to operate outside Atlantic City was addressed. Current legislative action is focused on an enabling referendum that would amend the constitution to allow for casinos outside Atlantic City, which is located about 125 miles south of The Meadowlands. At present, there is no consensus among political leaders on whether the referendum should run this fall, when there will likely be lower turnout than expected in the presidential election in 2016, or to run it next fall, when turnout will be higher, but costs to reach voters to educate them about the issue will be more expensive. Both Allen and Gural favor a 2015 referendum and believe that with voter approval, they could have the first phase of the project ready in the summer or early fall of 2016. Gural said research on the possible referendum indicates the measure would be well received this fall and that costs to educate voters on the issue would be in the range of $10 to 20 million. Also at issue is the question of how many casinos will be allowed, with some lawmakers favoring one, and some up to three, with consideration also given to Monmouth Park, a Thoroughbred track along the New Jersey shore. by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications 

New Jersey celebrates the "Month of the Horse" in June and Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge is helping the celebration along by opening its gates from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 28. The farm is at 74 Red Valley Road in Cream Ridge. The events of the day are free and this is a rain or shine event. Visitors will get see some of the dozens of foals, baby horses just a few weeks old, born each year at Fair Winds and learn how they are raised and eventually trained to be harness race horses. Fair Winds is also home to Hogan Equine, a special clinic just for horses run by Dr. Patricia Hogan. Dr. Hogan will show visitors the workings of the clinic, where hundreds of horses, mostly Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, are treated each year. Her client list reads like a "Who's Who" of horse racing, and includes 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones. Farrier Tom Mulryne will demonstrate how horses' feet are kept healthy by regular trimming and shoeing when needed. There will also be a few friendly horses for visitors to pet and groom; selfies are welcome. Horse drawn wagon rides throughout the farm will be available. The Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of New Jersey will do a demonstration of all the ways Standardbreds excel off the track and trainer/driver Jacqueline Ingrassia will demonstrate the equipment the well-dressed Standardbred wears on the track. Finally, there will be food concessions and a variety of educational materials for all ages and levels of equine knowledge. Guests are asked to leave dogs at home and to wear sensible footwear as there are no paved surfaces on the farm. Fair Winds is one of New Jersey's largest and most successful farms, producing champion Standardbreds that compete at Freehold Raceway, the Meadowlands and all over the world. By Ellen Harvey Harness Racing Communications USTA

Editor's Note: Waco Hanover, a son of Tar Heel-Wanda Hanover, born May 4, 1977, will officially be 38 on Jan. 1. He’s among 43 horses of distinction featured in Standardbred Old Friends, available on Amazon, Ebay, and the Harness Racing Museum website. His long life has been one of quiet service. Here is an excerpt, with photos by Barbara Livingston, of his chapter in the book. Everett Kettler quickly spotted the new horse’s problem. “He had a real attitude problem,” he said. “Sour. He was very sour.” Waco Hanover, now 37, was six when Kettler bought him for $1,500 in 1983. The gelding had raced for four years, most recently for Nelson Haley, in $2,000 claimers at Saratoga Raceway. In 57 starts, he’d won only four races. Kettler had just what Waco Hanover needed, a farm in Woodbury, Vt. “I let him be a horse,” Kettler said. “He ate grass, ran around with mares.” Waco was more teacher than pet to Kettler, more accustomed to coaxing sound from strings than speed from a horse. Kettler was a luthier, a craftsman of stringed instruments. “He taught me how to drive,” Kettler said. “I didn’t know anything. He wouldn’t respond if you didn’t do the right thing. “I had a tiny track, not good for anything but jogging. Before that, I was driving on the road, going through horseshoes every two weeks.” Every spring, from 1983 to 1991, Kettler legged up Waco Hanover. They raced at places like the Tunbridge World’s Fair in Vermont, featuring maple ice cream, an oxen costume class and the world’s narrowest racetrack. It fits four horses across, but they’d better be narrow horses. “My God, it’s scary,” Kettler said. If you don’t get down to three (wide) by the turn, you’re going in the river.” Waco Hanover won at Tunbridge his first year for Kettler, a mile in 2:15.2, an impressive time if you’ve seen the track. In the late 1980s, Kettler integrated his hobby and business. He founded Rough Terrain Carts and started building horse-drawn carts for country roads -- or no roads. Waco tested prototype carts. “It had these big, wooden wheels,” said Kettler. “Waco looks over his shoulder and starts freaking. I put it over his rump, touched him with the shafts. It was like he said, ‘Oh, you want me to pull it.’ You could see the light bulb go off.” “I got into endurance driving events,” Kettler said. “I used that to put his legs under him in the spring, then I’d go off and race him.” “He cleaned up in a couple of them,” Kettler said. “I remember his first race. Well, it’s not a race, an event. I didn’t want two in the cart, but I was looking at five miles to go, and I thought this is nothing, absolutely nothing. My wife got in, and we must have passed 15 horses. They must have wondered what kind of monster is this?” The seasons turned with Waco resting in winter and legging up on country roads in spring. Kettler and Waco raced for a few hundred dollars from New York to Maine. Most years they won a race. That was nice but not essential, or, in Waco’s mind, perhaps, wholly unnecessary. “I think he’s the age he is and the shape he’s in because he knew he’d still get fed, no matter what,” Kettler said. In 1991 Waco Hanover turned 14. That season, his 11th, spanned three weeks; he earned $1,350. All that work for so little money would be worth it, Kettler thought, if they could win at Tunbridge. “The main goal was to get a couple of races under him and win the 14-year-old race at Tunbridge,” Kettler said. The purse was $210. The date was Sept. 13. “It was funny,” Kettler said. “Well, funny to me, anyway. We got there, and there were only two horses in it.” The other 14-year-old was Luke Hanover, owned and trained by Dale Allen. Luke and Waco Hanover were born and raised at Hanover Shoe Farms. Luke Hanover hadn’t raced in two years. “This guy’s kind of like me. He must keep pets around, because the horse hadn’t been trained at all,” Kettler said. “He just hitched him, made sure he could still go and put him in this race. “He told me, ‘This horse hasn’t trained at all. Don’t leave me too far behind.’ I said, ‘Yeah, right.’ I think he’s going to the front and never looking back. “Turns out it was the truth. I followed him a few feet and went to the front. I let Waco go at about the three-quarter-mile mark. I learned a long time ago not to look back. We won by the length of the stretch. Waco had a great cheering section.” The cheering stopped, but Waco stayed busy. In 1991, Kettler and Leslie Bancroft Haynes formed a personal and professional partnership. Their first order of business was buying a farm. Called Rough Terrain Farm, after Kettler’s cart business and Vermont’s topography, it accommodated Haynes’ pleasure horses and Kettler’s racehorses. “The farm had a track,” Kettler said. “It wasn’t exactly flat, parts of it were flat. I had a trotter and when I was breaking him, I used Waco to help, to have another horse out there to give him the idea.” Haynes trained carriage driving horses on her half of the farm. “I used Waco for that, too, to teach the young ones,” she said. “When you put the harness on him, he was like, ‘Yes, I get to go!’ I think if you put a harness and a jog cart on him now, he’d be the happiest guy in the world.” Haynes’ and Kettler’s relationship ended when Waco Hanover was 28, but their commitment to the horse endures. Kettler moved to Vermont’s Champlain Islands to build boats. Haynes and Waco remain at Rough Terrain. Kettler’s section of the farm is leased to the Vermont Technical College Equine Studies program. “The barn where he lives is the Co-op Barn. Kids who bring their horses to school board there,” Haynes said. “It’s called Waco’s Barn, because everybody knows that when Waco dies, Everett will sell his share of the farm. But as long as Waco is alive, he promised Waco he could live his days out here.” Donnie MacAdams, who sports a bushy white beard and a no-nonsense personality, lives above the barn and looks after Waco. “I’m an old dairy farmer and still believe horses are hay burners. But I’ve come around as far as Waco. We get along because we’re a couple of old, cranky, miserable bastards. We understand each other. “I get out of my truck and walk toward the barn, and he starts walking to me. If I don’t come right out and speak to him, he’ll start kicking.” There’s something in this relationship, too, for MacAdams, who mans a tourism information site. “There are rude kids, obnoxious teenagers, people who expect to be waited on,” MacAdams said. “He consoles me, calms me down. Waco loves to rub his face on my shoulder. He’s worn out two jackets.” Waco Hanover, it seems, has done as much for the people in his life as they for him, though not in money. The $2,600 won in seven years of racing for Kettler wouldn’t feed him through one Vermont winter. Waco always cooperated, even, Kettler admits, with his rookie training skills. “He’d see a hill, and the steeper it was, the more determined he was to get up it,” Kettler said. “There was something in his efforts that inspired tenacity in my life. Perhaps I appreciated Waco because of a common trait. Maybe he inspired tenacity that wouldn’t have been available without his life intermingling with mine. “You’ve got a certain relationship with a horse, like being married. They’re not perfect and you know it, but you put up with them, and they put up with you.” by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- A co-owner of Always B Miki, scratched “lame” just minutes before post time from the Breeders Crown on Saturday, has confirmed that the horse had orthopedic surgery Monday morning and a full recovery is expected.  Mitchel Skolnick of Bluewood Stable confirmed on Monday evening that the 3-year-old pacing colt had surgery on Monday morning performed by Dr. Patty Hogan at Hogan Equine in Cream Ridge, N.J. “She has no concerns (about a return to the races), very optimistic. She said it was a clean break of the P1 (long pastern bone), a sagittal fracture. She pulled it together and put in four screws, she said three screws might have been enough, but he is a very active horse, so she put in an extra one.” Skolnick said that Hogan had no doubt about a successful return to the races after a period of healing and recuperation. “He will come to the farm tomorrow (Bluestone Farm in Hopewell, N.J.) for 30 days of stall rest and then 30 days of walking on the Equicizer. Then maybe he can start jogging.” Skolnick said, “We just don’t know,” how Always B Miki sustained the injury. “I hate to speculate, because we just don’t know,” he said. “It’s repairable and we’re just thankful he didn’t go race (on the affected limb).”  Always B Miki is trained by Joe Holloway for breeders and co-owners Roll The Dice Stable, Val D’Or Farm and Bluewood Stable. He has won $926,866 in his career, including his most recent five races in a row, and has a mark of 1:47.4.  by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications

Richard Berthiaume’s Voelz Hanover won the Breeders Crown prep race on Saturday in 1:51.2 for driver Brian Sears and trainer Corey Johnson. The 9-year-old mare by Astreos paid $13.60. This will be her fourth Crown appearance, her best being runner-up to Dreamfair Eternal in 2010 at Pocono. Johnson raved about the consistency of his charge, who has won seven of 17 races this year and $255,266. “I’ve had her about two years but never raced her in the Breeders Crown,” Johnson said. “I’ve raced her in a few stakes and she just hasn’t been lucky, though she did win the Milton this year and she was awesome, I think that was her biggest score. She’s got over $1.5 million on her card and it’s mostly in overnights. She’s a wonderful mare, I love her. This is the first time I’ve taken her down here though. “She’s shows you everything. I’ve had drivers come back and say to me ‘She wasn’t on the bit tonight, or she wasn’t good – they can tell right away, especially her regular driver Randy (Waples), he knows her so well. When she’s really good, she lets you know.” Voelz Hanover was scratched from her last start and came into her Breeders Crown prep off a qualifying mile, albeit one in which she beat sophomore pacing star He’s Watching in 1:53.4. “We scratched her a couple of weeks ago (Oct. 18) because she seemed a little tied up and with the Breeders Crown coming up we didn’t want to risk anything,” Johnson said. “I gave her a couple of weeks off, trained her a few times and then qualified her, but those qualifying lines just don’t do her justice. To pick up Brian Sears is a huge plus. Brian’s a great driver; I can’t say enough about him. He’s committed to me for next week, too.” Anndrovette is bidding for an unprecedented fourth Dan Patch Award for best older female pacer. The 7-year-old mare has won 41 of 109 career races and $3.07 million. This season, she has won six of 21 starts, including the Betsy Ross Invitational and a record third consecutive Roses Are Red Stakes, and earned a division-leading $497,852. “She’s had a good year,” driver Tim Tetrick said. “She won the (Roses Are Red and Betsy Ross) and the races where she’s gotten beat, she’s raced well. She’s getting up in age, but I wouldn’t trade her. She’s been pretty special. She’s a hard-knocking old racehorse. If she wins, I’d say she is (division champion). It’s pretty cool.” Eternal Camnation and Shady Daisy are the only other pacing mares with three Dan Patch Award honors. Anndrovette’s lifetime earnings trail only Eternal Camnation’s $3.74 million among all female pacers in harness racing history. Anndrovette enters the Breeders Crown Mare Pace off a second-place finish behind Voelz Hanover in a prep on Saturday at the Meadowlands. “She was good, it was a good effort,” Tetrick said. “I was first up a long way and she never quit pacing. She paced home good to the wire. Hopefully the race helps her and she can be a little tighter for next week.” Trainer Ron Burke has three horses in the Mare Pace: Rocklamation, Camille, and Charisma Hanover. Rocklamation, a 6-year-old who has earned $2.18 million in her career, earlier this season captured the Golden Girls, Artiscape, and Lady Liberty and was second in the Betsy Ross. Six-year-old Camille, who won the 2013 Artiscape and has banked $1.17 million lifetime, finished third behind Voelz Hanover and Anndrovette in the final Breeders Crown prep. “She finished up good and raced really good,” driver Matt Kakaley said. “Once I angled her out, she paced home really good. I was really pleased. She kind of went through the summer where she was drawing really bad. We got the rail for the final, so that will obviously help us. Under the right circumstance, she’s upset these mares before. She’s definitely got it in her. She’s got a million-plus (dollars) made in her career; she’s a classy old girl. She’ll show up.” Yagonnakissmeornot, who has won 14 of 29 races this season and $493,718, won the Mares Open Handicap on Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, besting fellow Crown hopeful Krispy Apple by a head in 1:50.4, while Crown entrant Regil Elektra finished sixth. Complited by Ellen Harvey with Ken Weingartner and Moira Fanning

Jeffrey Bamond, who makes up half of Bamond Racing with his son Jeffrey Jr., along with their partner, nursery owner Joseph Davino, will own more than a third of the field in the $281,250 Breeders Crown Mare Pace. The ownership group of Bamond and Davino owns Anndrovette (Breeders Crown winner in 2012 and 2011) and Krispy Apple, who along with the Bamond-owned Shelliscape (2013 champion) and Venus Delight will take up four spots in the field of 11 mares for the Nov. 21 race. All four horses are trained by P.J. Fraley. The newest member of the quartet is 4-year-old Venus Delight, a purchase in late summer, who was supplemented to the Crown for $31,250. "She's been a great addition since she's come to the barn," said Jeffrey Bamond Sr., a retired automobile dealership manager from Brick, N.J. The chestnut daughter of Bettor's Delight-Venus Killean has won $106,220 and been first or second in six of eight starts since her purchase in late summer. "I think she deserves to see what she has, plus by writing that check this year, that makes her eligible (to the Breeders Crown) in future years," he said. "We have a 4-year-old (Venus Delight), a 5-year-old (Shelliscape), a 6-year-old (Krispy Apple) and a 7-year-old (Anndrovette). "My son has followed (Venus Delight) for a while and we pursued purchasing her. We always liked her and we were able to put the deal together. We thought she was very lightly raced (lately in the upper level ranks at Yonkers Raceway) and she had some talent." Though Bamond, his son, and Davino have the start of a very nice broodmare band, Bamond said that's not in their business plan. "We've never been in the breeding business," he said. "We're in the racehorse business and as long as they can continue to perform at a high level on the racetrack, we're going to continue to race them. "Anndrovette has been the flagship with two Breeders Crowns, three Dan Patch (Awards) and three O'Brien Awards. Obviously she's the star of the stable, but do I have a favorite? Not really. All my horses are my favorite." Bamond says they are careful to give those in the stable enough, but not too many starts. "If you look at the number of starts they have, we don't over-race them; we try to pick their spots throughout the year," Bamond said. "I think we've managed them very well in keeping their starts in check and, knock on wood, we've kept them fairly sound. I don't look to over start them. "One through 11 can win that race, like I've always said and I've been asked the question before, there's 11 in the race because there are 11 good horses in the race. I've been in this business too long, I don't go in to any race overconfident." Bamond is in his second decade of owning Standardbreds and got started as a fan at Freehold Raceway. "I got started in the early 1990s because I enjoyed going to the racetrack and watching them," he said. "I thought, 'Boy, wouldn't it be fun to actually own one and I could go watch my own.' I claimed one at Freehold and that started my interest. I built the stable up from a couple of horses and brought my son on board, probably six or seven years ago and he's basically taken over managing the stable." The field for the 2014 Breeders Crown Mare Pace at the Meadowlands is: 1. Camille, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 2. Charisma Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 3. Voelz Hanover, Brian Sears, Corey Johnson; 4. Somwherovrarainbow, David Miller, Joe Holloway; 5. Yagonnakissmeornot, Ron Pierce, Rene Allard; 6. Shelliscape, John Campbell, P.J. Fraley; 7. Krispy Apple, Scott Zeron, P.J. Fraley; 8. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, P.J. Fraley; 9. Rocklamation, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 10. Regil Elektra, Brett Miller, Monte Geldrod; 11. Venus Delight, Jason Bartlett, P.J. Fraley. (Yagonnakissmeornot and Venus Delight supplemental entries.) by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications

Harrisburg, PA---High-priced broodmares were the headliners of the first day of the mixed portion of the Standardbred Horse Sale, held Friday (Nov. 7).  Selling for $200,000 was 3-year-old filly Royalty Forever, the full sister to 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life.    In foal to Muscle Hill, the #1375 sales slip was signed by Robert Lindstrom of Sweden. She was sold by the same partnership group that owns Royalty For Life.  “She was very marketable; a beautiful filly in foal to the right stallion and everything seemed to fit,” said former co-owner, Paul Fontaine. “It was time to move her, given the fact that the stallion is just going in to stud service and the stallion line has been very hot. Yearlings are selling well. We had her in foal to Muscle Hill and all the stars were aligned to sell her. She’s absolutely beautiful, which is much of the reason she sold so well; stunning, stunning looking filly.”  Also selling with a $200,000 price tag was hip #1417, Fancy Filly, a daughter of Western Hanover carrying her second foal, by Somebeachsomewhere. The Dan Patch and O’Brien champion 2-year-old pacing filly champion is the sibling of eight winners out of her dam Fanciful Hanover, all of them in 1:55 or better. She’s headed to White Birch Farm in Allentown, N.J. The day’s offerings were a mixed bag of stallion shares, broodmares, weanlings and some yearlings. They collectively sold for $5,632,000. The day’s results can be found here. Selling resumes Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with racehorses. by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications

Harrisburg, PA --- Through the close of sales on Wednesday, the cumulative yearling average at the Standardbred Horse Sale made up some ground from losses against 2013 as the average of all horses sold is down about 5.1 percent. However, comparing Wednesday against Wednesday from last year to this, the day was up about 5.1 percent, which helped make up ground from the previous two days. Paul F. “Pete” Spears, CEO of the Sales company, has no clear indication of the soft spots in the market. “We picked up a little bit of ground today, not enough to make up for the first two days, but it was stronger today. We do have certain consigners that like to backload their consignments and obviously it’s not a usual thing to have a $200,000 filly sell on Wednesday (hip No. 751, High Fashion Model, Western Terror–Makes You Wonder, bought by John Como Jr. from the All American Harnessbred consignment) so it’s an example of that. “I’ve been walking around and asking people what they think of the sale and many people have said to me that they’re scratching their heads, too. Certain horses that were going to bring too much money for them -- so they didn’t bother to look at -- suddenly they’re bargains, but because they didn’t look at them, they didn’t bid. Other horses that they wanted to go after they suddenly found they couldn’t touch, so it’s been a very schizophrenic sale. “I think we kind of obsess a little too much about average some times and I think that’s part of the reason we are so focused on the average of each and every single day. When I talk to people, they’re still looking for horses and as I say some are still puzzled. Some of them have told me they’re going to intensely re-review tomorrow in more detail because of what has happened to them, so they don’t overlook a good horse tomorrow.” Wednesday’s yearlings averaged $20,156 overall against $19,170 last year. Trotting fillies dropped a bit from last year, averaging $17,220 against $19,663 in 2013, while the trotting colts moved a bit ahead with an average of $22,946 against $21,527 in ’13. On the pacing side, colts this year averaged $20,584 but last year were $21,336. Buoyed by the $200,000 High Fashion Model sale, the average for pacing fillies was $17,320 this year and $15,250 last year. Comparative Sales Stats–Day Three Year-Gait/Sex-No. Sold-Gross-Average 2014-Pacing Colts-59-$1,214,500-$20,584 2013-Pacing Colts-70-$1,493,500-$21,336 2014-Pacing Fillies-81-$1,403,000-$17,320 2013-Pacing Fillies-80-$1,220,000-$15,250 2014-Trotting Colts-75-$1,721,000-$22,946 2013-Trotting Colts-56-$1,205,500-$21,527 2014-Trotting Fillies-59-$1,1016,00-$17,220 2013-Trotting Fillies-62-$1,218,500-$19,663 2014 Totals-275-$5,541,500-$20,150 2013 Totals-268-$5,137,500-$19,170 Cumulative Totals Year-Gait/Sex-No. Sold-Gross-Average 2014-Pacing Colts-210-$9,045,000-$43,071 2013-Pacing Colts-222-$10,273,500-$46,277 2014-Pacing Fillies-217-$6,460,000-$29,770 2013-Pacing Fillies-215-$6,307,000-$29,335 2014-Trotting Colts-205-$8,933,000-$43,576 2013-Trotting Colts-187-$8,335,500-$44,575 2014-Trotting Fillies-177-$6,089,500-$34,404 2013-Trotting Fillies-161-$6,292,000-$39,081 2014 Totals-810-$30,551,500-$37,718 2013 Totals-785-$31,208,000-$39,753 DAY 3 – TOP 20 Hip-Sex-Gait-Name-Sire-Dam-Buyer-Price 751-F-P-High Fashion Model-Western Terror-Makes You Wonder-John Como Jr.-$200,000 739-C-T-All Time Lindy-Cantab Hall-Love To Lindy-Brixton Medical-$130,000 568-F-T-Pizza Queen-Credit Winner-Armbro Domino-Noel Daley-$100,000 832-C-P-McPhil-McArdle-Philadelphia-Ed James-$90,000 775-F-T-Alamos-Conway Hall-Misty Ridge-Steven Pratt-$75,000 622-F-T-Kindly Reminder-Kadabra-Friendly Persuader-Yves Filion-$67,000 724-C-T-Don Lindy-Crazed-Lindy’s Madonna-Marco Folli-$65,000 736-C-P-Love Tap Hanover-Big Bad John-Love Lace Mindale-Mark Harder-$60,000 651-C-T-Conway Cloud-Conway Hall-Headintheclouds-Chris Oakes-$57,000 657-F-T-Sylvia Express-Conway Hall-Hernameissylvia-David Spagnola, agent-$55,000 759-F-P-Megaball Hanover-Western Terror-Mary Mattgalane-Jerry Silva-$55,000 687-C-T-I Mean Business-Swan For All-Kalibrated-Denise Dennis-$50,000 731-C-T-Lean Hanover-Donato Hanover-Lives Like A Queen-PC Wellwood Ent.-$50,000 839-C-T-Password Hanover-Cantab Hall-Playwood-William Zendt-$50,000 794-C-P-Costume Cruiser-Yankee Cruiser-Native Costume-Ron Desyllas-$46,000 822-C-P-Orly Hanover-Somebeachsomewhere-Ozmopolitan-Geoff Lyons-$45,000 660-C-P-Numerouno Bluechip-Art Major-Ichiban Blue Chip-Linda Toscano, agent-$42,000 758-C-T-Millbrook Hanover-Muscle  Massive-Mary Ana Hanover-Ake Svanstedt-$42,000 786-F-T-Nookie Blue Chip-Explosive Matter-Up Front Hotsey-Reijo Liljendahl-$42,000 629-F-T-Night Watch-Credit Winner-Giulie Bi-Andy Miller, agent-$40,000 649-C-P-Nvestment Bluechip-Shadow Play-Haze’s Zure Bet-Dave Menary-$40,000 680-F-T-Jinx-Muscles Yankee-Jodi’s Jayme-Doug Hurhins-$40,000 761-C-T-Nahuel Blue Chip-Credit Winner-Mathers Ginger-Linda Schaefer-$40,000 783-C-T-Craziville-Crazed-Musclelini-Ted Gewertz-$40,000 811-C-T-Marty De Vie-Explosive Matter-On Broadway De Vie-Todd Buter-$40,000 Pizza Queen sells for $100,000 The pizza was timed just right, according to Carter Duer, proprietor of Peninsula Farm, whose consignment includes the  $100,000 Credit Winner–Armbro Domino filly, Pizza Queen, hip No. 568. The six figure sales price is an outlier for Wednesday, when yearlings are generally more modestly priced than Monday and Tuesday. Noel Daley signed the sales slip on the February 22 foal. Her mother hadn’t really done anything and she had one go to Russia (multiple European stakes winner Betterthancheckers). I guess that’s the reason she was there (Wednesday),” said Duer. “I’d just as soon have her there than somewhere else. She was better (priced) today than she would have been Monday. She had a great video and she’s very correct -- and just a great video -- that was it.” For Duer, age 75, the return to routine farm tasks like videotaping yearlings was not a foregone conclusion after a car accident in June. “We didn’t video until the Lexington sale and I was there then, but I was in the hospital for seven weeks in Virginia. I had surgery in Norfolk, Va., and I was there about 10 or 12 days then to rehab. I’m still doing rehab, but I got a week off this week. “I broke this (his right, still splinted) arm, I’ve got a plate from my elbow to my wrist. I broke this (right) hip and this (right) femur and I’ve got a rod going down my leg and I broke some ribs on this (left) side, but I’m doing OK. The ribs were OK after about two and a half weeks.” Shopping with Dave Menary -- what he doesn’t want watching him Two years ago, Dave Menary got the bargain of a lifetime at Harrisburg when he bought the eventual $1.1 million winner He’s Watching for a mere $3,000. He’s shopping again this year, but without the illusion that there’s another $3,000 millionaire to be found. “I just take it by the right situation,” he said. “I wouldn’t try to make a living buying $3,000 horses. You’re going to go broke pretty quick, but that one (He’s Watching) worked out.” Compromises have to be made when shopping in that price range and Menary said he made concessions for He’s Watching. “Size. He had a great foot and back end on him. He had a great pedigree. I didn’t think he was a $3,000 colt, he wasn’t on my short list, I pegged him at $25,000-$30,000. I wasn’t looking for a June (birthday), New York sired colt, but when I saw him in the ring, I thought they’d brought out the wrong horse. I actually had to make two bids, but I owned him at $3,000. “The only two things I won’t take are a horse that’s back at the knees and I don’t want to train any walleyed horses,” he added, referring to horses with white around their eye. “It doesn’t affect them, but it gives me a bad feeling every day. They don’t get a fair start from the beginning, so I try to just stay away. I think they’re always looking at me the wrong way.” by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications

With the stakes season waning, each remaining race takes on greater importance for end of the year Dan Patch award honors. One race that voters will watch carefully is the $200,350 Matron Stake for 3-year-old male trotters this Thursday evening (Nov. 6) at Dover Downs. The race, set to go as race 10 at about 7:30 p.m., features on the far inside at post one, Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras), and the far outside in post eight, Nuncio (John Campbell). Nuncio comes into the race with four straight stakes wins, including two legs of the Trotting Triple Crown, the Kentucky Futurity and the Yonkers Trot. His stablemate Father Patrick has a pair of wins in the American-National and Bluegrass Stakes and two second place finishes in his four most recent starts. The two share the air at their home in East Windsor, N.J. and a trainer in Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, but they'll be looking to separate themselves from each other in end of the year balloting. Here is a look at the numbers behind the 2014 season, with each horse putting in 15 starts. Data Point Nuncio 15-10-5-0 $1,297,896, 1:50.4m Father Patrick 15-11-3-0 $1,443,081, 1:50.2f Average margin of victory                   2.4 lengths                   3.82 lengths Fastest last quarter                   :27 – three times                   :27 – two times Races won for over $100,000                   2                   6 Average earnings per start                $86,526.40              $96,205.40 Race timed at 1:52 or better                   6                      4 Winning favorite                 88%                    73% Wins from post 8 or higher                 0 for 1                    3 for 4 Head-to-head                 33% - 2 for 6                    66% - 4 for 6 by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Town Pro p,3,1:51.4 ($1,229,582) died in her sleep at the age of 27 at her home at White Birch Farm, in Imlaystown, N.J., on Oct. 26, 2014. She was buried at the high point of the farm, overlooking the paddocks and adjacent training track. A headstone will be erected in her memory, according to Farm Manager Steve Williams, who reports that she was active and comfortable until the end. Town Pro (by Big Towner out of Programmed) was the 2- and 3-year old pacing filly of the year in both Canada and the US in 1989 and 1990. She was inducted to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004. She’s a two-time Breeders Crown winner, along with the American-National, Simcoe, Tarport Hap and Fan Hanover stakes. She is the dam of 17 foals, 12 starters who have collectively won $3,979,791, including her daughter, the $2.9 million winner Darlin’s Delight. The following story about Town Pro’s life after racing appears in the 208 page coffee table book, Standardbred Old Friends, with photos by Barbara Livingston and stories by Ellen Harvey.  Town Pro By Big Towner – Programmed by Bret Hanover April 12, 1987 St. George, Ontario, Canada Which came first, the horse or the name? Rarely has a name, typically chosen at less than a year of age, suited a horse so precisely as it fit Town Pro. Her name, derived from sire, Big Towner, and her dam, Programmed, could not have been a better fit. She never had a rookie phase. Her first two races, in June of 1989, were the last times she raced at less than the highest level of competition. Off a humble debut, at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ontario, she raced 63 more times, collecting 38 more wins. She rarely missed a paycheck for her owners, the Pro Group Stable. In the end, her bankroll added up to $1.2 million. “From the very start, she just had the whole package, everything you want,” said Doug Brown, who drove Town Pro through her entire racing career and didn’t see anything dainty about her. “I always said if you looked way down deep inside her, you’d find a set of testicles. She was like a stud in some ways; she had the big chest, a big back end. “She always had the speed, but from two to three, that’s when she changed physically,” says Brown. “She got the big chest and she just grew. She fit in perfectly with Stew (Firlotte, her late trainer), because he was one to train them hard between starts; that suited her just fine.” For all the success Town Pro had with Brown and Firlotte, she was never fond of either. In fact, she was downright hostile. “We just had to walk past the door and she was ears back and both feet firing,” said Brown. “I guess she figured out we were the ones that made her work.” She was bought at the close of her racing career by the late Joe Parisi as a broodmare for his White Birch Farm in New Jersey. White Birch Farm Manager Steve Williams has a love/hate relationship with Town Pro. He loves her. She hates him. “She is the toughest, smartest horse I’ve ever been around,” he says. Williams’s admiration stems from Town Pro’s life-threatening year, from 2006 to 2007. “Within a year’s period, she had three colics,” says Williams. “Probably would have killed a normal horse. She had a full 360 degree twist in all of them. She showed very little pain. In fact, the second and third time I took her to the hospital, if I hadn’t known her and seen how much pain tolerance she had, I wouldn’t have taken any other horse. She needed surgery all three times. Two of those times, she was in foal and she kept them.” Toughness may have saved Town Pro, but her memory nearly killed Williams. “This was in 2007, and until early 2012, I was not allowed near her,” he says. “She associated me with pain. Anyone else could walk in to her stall and catch her. She was always a little frisky and might turn her butt at you. But when I went in there, it was more than that. She was firing, aiming and meant to hit. She did not want me around. I told her, ‘Don’t you know I saved your life three times?’ She associated me with pain. That’s the only explanation.” After three surgeries, Town Pro has the luxury of conceiving, but not carrying her foals. When it’s time for a short trip to the veterinary clinic for the embryo transfer, she still gets surgery flashbacks. “It takes three men and a boy, a blindfold, please and thank you to get her on the trailer,” says Williams. “Coming home, all I have to do is open the door and tell her to get on.” Williams has to constantly out-think Town Pro, both to prevent colic and to deal with age-related Cushing’s Disease. “We think what may have caused the colic is that she gorges on grass,” he says. “She doesn’t lift her head. So now, she’s out all day, in a trimmed paddock, watching her friends in the fields. Then she comes in the penthouse, has her meal and stays the night.” Town Pro is also apparently able to distinguish color. “Her Cushing’s medication is a red paste,” says Williams. “She was fine with it in her feed tub or squirted in her mouth. Toward the end of the first batch, Dr. (Richard) Meirs brought more of the same medication, but it was white. “She absolutely refused, wouldn’t take it, and wouldn’t let the groom get close to her when he tried to give it to her. She walked away from her feed tub when it was in there. I told Richie, ‘I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but can we go back to the red medicine?’ The next day he brought the red medicine and don’t you know, it was like nothing ever happened. She’s the smartest animal I’ve ever been around.” by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- The cheering never really stopped for Monterey Rebel and Saddle The Wind. Now 25 and 21, respectively, and known as “Rebel” and “Saddles,” the two pacers left the track in the late 1990s, but every day they hear the cheers of thousands. The two work as a team, along with four other Standardbreds, at Santa Anita Park in southern California, where they’re part of the charm factor at the 80-year-old track. “They pull the starter in the carriage to the starting gate and the patrol judge to his tower,” said Paige Rickard, operations director at Santa Anita. “Before each race, they pick them both up at the winner's circle. One goes in one direction; one goes in the other, depending on the distance of the race. Then they pick them up after each race and take them back to the winner's circle.” Santa Anita, being in southern California and all, hosts the occasional celebrity to take for a ride. “We do give rides to VIPs every once in a while. They’ve given a ride to (Standardbred owner) George Foreman and Melissa Joan Hart from Bewitched.” The senior members of Santa Anita’s all-Standardbred carriage crew get high praise from Rickard. “They are the best team I have,” says Rickard. “They have great dispositions and are well behaved horses; very well behaved horses. They came that way.” Even at 25, Rickard sees the racehorse he once was in Monterey Rebel, who she bought for $2,000 from a movie-outfitter in Oregon. “He still gets out on the track and wants to go, he’s a tough one. He is a pistol, but he stands very well and lets the people get on and off.” In truth, while Monterey Rebel raced long and hard, 103 times over six years, he’s heard a lot more applause at Santa Anita than at the California harness tracks at Los Alamitos and Sacramento. He won but one race (out of eight lifetime) in the year Rick Cisco leased him, from June 1994 to July 1995. “He’s a big boy, and when he was in his racing career, he could grab on to you, let me tell you,” says Cisco. “He was a nice horse and he did the job. He was perfect around the barn. I enjoyed the horse, he was pretty easy to handle. He was a nice little horse, well, actually he was very big.” Monterey Rebel ultimately won more hearts than races. “He’s the one I bring out for third-graders,” said Rickard. “He’s the one who will put his head down for somebody in a wheelchair. Same thing with strollers. He puts his head all the way down in the stroller for the kids. He’s absolutely the best horse ever for that, the best. “You don’t have to worry. He doesn’t do anything, not anything. He’s in their hand looking for food. I get kids here who are severely handicapped and sometimes they get carried away and actually hit him in the head. He just takes it.” Monterey Rebel’s carriage-mate, Saddle The Wind, was the more accomplished racehorse, winning 14 of his 115 starts over five years, making $100,000 against some of the best horses in California. The selection process Rickard employed to buy him for $250 in Los Alamitos’ backstretch was a simple one. “I needed a bay, he was the right size and he would match Rebel,” she said. While Rickard picked out and purchased the horses for Santa Anita, it’s Francisco Sanchez, called Paco, who drives them at work and knows them best. “Rebel, I have known since 1996,” says Sanchez. “I started here when I was a kid and now look at us, we’re both old grandpas. But he doesn’t know that. When he hits the racetrack, man, you have to hold him because he’d be gone. With another horse he loves to compete. He wants to be the first, he wants to be the leader. “Rebel is a very, very smart horse. He always thinks way ahead of you. There were several occasions where we almost had an accident, but when I need the help, he’s always right there and he stops.” Sometimes, though, Montery Rebel’s inclination to stop is not so appreciated. “He hates to start the buggy (from a dead stop),” says Sanchez. “If we have people standing around the buggy to get a picture, Rebel is traumatized looking back at all the people and thinks that they’re all going to get in. Here comes my regular passenger and he won’t move. “I say, ‘C’mon Rebel,’ and he looks back at the buggy to make sure there’s only one person in the buggy, because if you have a buggy full of people, forget it, he won’t move.” Montery Rebel’s teammate, Saddle The Wind, brings a different demeanor to the pair, says Sanchez. “Saddles is a hard working horse, too. When we first got him, he was smaller and leaner from being on the track. When he was off the track, he got fat and too lazy and refused to pull. He wanted to lag behind the other horse. I had to work with him to say, ‘No, no, no, don’t be lazy, you have to pull the buggy, you’ve got to put up with other horses.’” Sanchez took Saddle The Wind back to the track to improve his outlook, this time with a saddle and a Thoroughbred in tow. When Sanchez worked as a lead pony rider, Saddle The Wind was his pony. “That’s how I got him fit for pulling the buggy,” he said. “He reminded me so much of an Arabian horse. I’m so used to the Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses warming up in the first half-mile. Saddles, he warms up by the third horse he ponies. He was a very comfortable horse, most of the time he preferred to pace or sometimes he’d gallop in front and pace in back (legs).” Sanchez is loyal to his equine partners, now in their second decade of work together. Monterey Rebel wins accolades for his work with the youngest of racing fans. “He is a really sweet horse you can trust with all your heart with kids. He takes care of them, he loves kids.” Of the occasionally reluctant Saddle The Wind, Sanchez sees only the best. “He’s not lazy, he’s smart, he wants the other horse to pull the buggy!” by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications

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