Monticello Raceway’s Au Revoir, for 14-year-olds only, has always been an interesting event especially since it is the last race of the entrants careers. However, not always does the Au Revoir get enough entries especially at the end of the racing season. It is rare that during the final year of eligibility that 14 year olds are still on the racetrack since on January 1 of each ensuing year a harness horse turns one year older and when a standardbred becomes 15 years of age, for all intents and purposes, its racing days are over. This year the Au Revoir, scheduled for Monday afternoon, December 30th, has a decent chance of filling which has not always been the case over the past few decades. According to Eric Warner, the tracks director of racing, he has already heard from three owners of the old-timers who would like their pacers to race in the career- ending event. “I’ve received correspondence from Dave Zuckerman, Mike Kessler and Tim Conkright, all extremely interested in racing their 14-year-olds in our Au Revoir which will bring us closer to having a race again this year,” Warner said. “Of course we’d like a full field but if we get six or seven we’ll go with it (on the betting card).” The inaugural Au Revoir went to post in 1991 and each year since the Mighty M has tried to fill the 14 year-old race but was not always successful. The hard part is, and always has been, being able to find enough old-timers who are still racing this late in season. Over the years only six Au Revoir’s were contested and one year (2004) a special 14 year old match race—with pari-mutuel wagering -- was presented instead, which was an extremely exciting race . Nevertheless, the most special of the Au Revoir races occurred last year when Whitlock N and driver Kevin Switzer, Jr. turned back the much hyped and race favorite, Tattler’s Jet, in a time of 2:01.3 over a muddy racetrack. The 2012 Au Revoir received more media coverage than most million dollar spectacles. That $5000 race drew full page story with a photo of the hyped favorite, Tattler’s Jet and his trainer Gene Miller, on the opening page of their sports section in the New York Times and there was a follow-up story the next day, also of huge proportions. The U.S. Trotting Association’s Ellen Harvey, whose unwavering assistance helped get the story published, said a few days after the event “Never did a $5000 race get so much coverage.” “Although we race on New Year’s Eve day, Tuesday, December 31 we scheduled our Au Revoir on December 30th because if we get horses that travel from long distances to compete, and we usually do, we prefer that they don’t have to travel home on New Year’s Eve,” Warner added. Anyone with a 14 year old standardbred who’d like to have their horse race one final time before it becomes ineligible is asked to please contact Warner in the racing office by calling 845-794-4100ext.557; or they can call the track’s publicity office at ext. 455. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway
Harrisburg, PA --- Monarch Blue Chip (hip #1003) topped Thursday’s edition of the Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg, selling for $90,000 to trainer Sam Schillaci for owner Ken Bencic. The colt, a son of Crazed out of the Revenue S mare Reven Crown, bears a bold white blaze. “He is a well-made colt, the three-quarter brother (Rolls Blue Chip) who we raced against this year and he was a good horse,” said Bencic. “Credit Winners cost too much money, although I have two down in Kentucky. We train outside Cleveland at Sahbra Farms, so he’s headed there.” Schillaci says this colt has been in his sights all along. “We targeted him from the beginning,” said Schillaci. “We were hoping he didn’t sell that high. He was right about to the limit of where we were going to go. We’re very pleased to have him and we hope he turns out to be the horse we think he is. Nowadays, people are paying a few extra dollars for a horse that just looks the part and he definitely looks the part.” Ed Lohmeyer and his wife, equine surgeon Dr. Patty Hogan, bred one of the higher priced horses on Thursday, hip #921, the RC Royalty colt Lunch With Jack. He sold for $55,000 to New York-based trainer Gates Brunet. “I’m looking for New York breds and I’m looking for trotters and I’m very short on trotters,” said Brunet. “I’m focused on trotting colts and he’s a very nice looking individual and I like the fact that there’s a very recent update on the horse. The brother, Crosbys Clam Bake, just won the Grassroots Final in 1:53 in Toronto. “The RC Royaltys, they do good, but there weren’t that many selling that I could see. There weren’t any in Lexington; there were a few at Morrisville. One of his horses won the Hambo (Royalty For Life) and he throws nice looking individuals. In New York, Credit Winners, I can’t touch them. But for that kind of money, $50,000, you get a nice looking individual. I love Conway Halls, but they’re hard to touch, too. “I’d like to win the Hambo, but I buy horses bred for the sire stakes. I bought this one for Ted Gewertz and Clare Chappell; there may be other partners coming in. The colt’s name comes from Dr. Hogan’s family. “Jack is Patty’s father’s nickname; he came over every Wednesday and had lunch with Patty,” said co-breeder Lohmeyer “He passed away about two months ago. John J. Hogan and they called him Jack. “Per Henriksen raced a half-brother to him for me in Canada this year, Crosbys Clam Bake, named after the first Pebble Beach (golf tournament). He raced real well. He made $90,000 and I sold him for $125,000.” Paul Kelley signed for hip #988, a $60,000 pacing filly by Art Major, named Mowet Blue Chip out of the Matt’s Scooter mare Armbro Savannah. “I saw him at the farm, but if you turn the clock back about 15 years, I actually had her mother, Armbro Savannah,” said Kelley. “I bought her as a yearling and I really liked her a lot. I ultimately ended up selling her to Perretti Farms as a broodmare. She went on to produce what she did (six stakes-winners; five $100,000 winners including millionaire Georgia Pacific) and she’s been a good producing dam. This particular filly I thought was one of her better looking foals. She stood very correct, a lot of the prior foals were a little bit toed-in and they were still able to overcome that kind of conformation fault and be good horses. “This is the first one I’ve had out of the mare. She’s a little but older now, but she (the yearling) is very correct, so I’m happy with her. There will be partners on her, New York people, players to be named later. There are some people very interested in getting in on her, so it shouldn’t be hard to split her up.” Through the first four days of the sale, 1,047 horses sold for a total of $35.9 million and an average of $34,345 against 2012 figures of 1,162 horses sold at an average of $28,889. This is an improvement of 13.7% over 2012. “It’s the same trend that’s been going on all week,” said Dr. Paul Spears, president of the Standardbred Sales Company. “Unofficial numbers show that we’re just short of $36 million gross, 1,047 horses sold for $39,950,500 with average prices $34,345. We’re up considerably over last year. New York had the highest average of $39,667 and New Jersey actually did quite well at $38,830. Pennsylvania is at $35,200 and Ontario’s at $23,354. “So overall, quite good and I don’t think there were any big surprises, to me. A few of the highest priced horses today were placed there on purpose by their consignors. Sometimes being a big fish in a little pond is a good thing. I thought it was very solid all the way through and again, we have to remember, there are there are more than 500 fewer commercial yearlings being sold in the Mid-Atlantic area at public sales over the last couple years. When supply goes down that far, the demand is there and so the prices have to go up.” 1,162 horses sold at an average of $28,889. by Ellen Harvey for HRC
MONTICELLO, NY - According to the rules and regulations set forth by the United States Trotting Association, the governing body of the Standardbred sport, less than two percent of all horses racing are 14 year olds and when they become 15 years of age on New Year's Day they can no longer compete regularly in pari-mutuel races. In what was believed to have been an industry first the race for 14 year olds on the last day of the year back on December 31, 1991, the final chance the senior citizens would have had to compete that year, Monticello Raceway presented a race called "the Au Revior", strictly for 14 year olds which turned out to be a great attraction. That contest was won by a pacer named Searights who was driven to a 2:04 victory by Kyle DiBenedetto. "Each year since 1991 we have tried to fill the 14 year old race but not always were we successful. The hard part is, and always has been, being able to find enough of those old-timers who are still racing this late in season,." said Eric Warner, Monticello Raceway's Director of Racing. "Although the Mighty M didn't get a field of 14 years olds together for a race in 2004, they did, however, have a match race between two outstanding 14-year-olds; $412,000 career winner, The Suleiman N; and Troy D, a winner of over $372,000. The two classy old veterans, who had to hang up their racing shoes the following day, produced a very enjoyable pari-mutuel match trace which nearly ended in a dead-heat. In that betting event, The Sulieman, driven by Zeke Parke, turned back Troy D, handled by Todd Frocione, by just a head in an exciting stretch duel in a mile that was timed in 2:02:4. On December 29, 2005 Monticello Raceway hosted another race strictly for 14 year old pacers in which the New Zealand- bred Try Kacy N emerged victorious for driver Jimmy Taggart, Jr. in a 2:03:4 clocked mile. The next Au Revoir was in 2009 when Satin Time N went out a winner in a 1:59.3 clocking. And on December 30, 2010 14 year old Sinbad and Jimmy Marohn, Jr. smoked to an easy 1:58.4 victory, which is the race's standard. But the most special of the Au Revoir races occurred last year when Whitlock N and driver Kevin Switzer, Jr. turned back the much hyped and race favorite, Tattler's Jet. To say that the 2012 Au Revoir got plenty of attention would be an understatement. That $5000 race drew a full page story with a photo of Tattler's Jet and his trainer Gene Miller, on the opening page of the New York Times sports section. And the following day there was a follow-up story, also of huge proportions. The USTA's Ellen Harvey, whose unwavering assistance helped get the story published, said a few days after the event "Never did a $5000 race get so much coverage." Again this season Monticello Raceway will try to present another race strictly for 14 years olds, which, if it fills, will be raced on Monday afternoon, December 30th . "Actually our last race card during 2013 is on Tuesday, December 31 but we'll pass on that date since very few participants would appreciate traveling any distances on New Year's Eve," Warner added. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway
Harrisburg, PA --- Day three of the Standardbred Horse Sale was topped by a trotting filly, hip #564, Arwa Hanover, a daughter of Andover Hall and the Balanced Image mare Always A Starlet. “She’s a beautiful filly, gorgeous,” said Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, manager of Hanover Shoe Farms, who bred and consigned the filly, purchased for $110,000 by Jeff Gural of New York. “Probably one of the nicest trotting fillies we had in the whole sale and she was placed right. Historically, the last two days, if you have a stand out horse, you get paid very well for it. I think it was a combination of her looks, her video and she has a great family and I think that all combined to make the price very, very good.” Millstream Farm in Kentucky raised and consigned the second highest priced horse of the day, Soul Shout, hip #570, a son of Conway Hall and the Lindy Lane mare Angelholm Hanover who sold for $105,000. “He is very, very solid and I would call him a typical Conway Hall,” said Claudean Cone, proprietor of Millstream Farm. “Conway throws great length and he’s got it. He had a beautiful gait -- typical Conway. So if you liked the Conway Halls, you’d have to like him. “His personality is all boy, but he’s well mannered. The name just popped in to my head. We try not to name then until we get to know their personalities. Sometimes the names are well received (by their new owners) and sometimes not, so we’ll see.” North America’s leading moneywinning driver ($14.48 million and 531 wins) Tim Tetrick was at the sale to buy two Pennsylvania-sired fillies. “I bought a The Panderosa filly (hip #660 Rumor Mill) and a McArdle filly (hip #698 McPlay Girl), both Pennsylvania-bred,” he said. “My family will train them back home (in Illinois) and if they’re any good, they’ll come out this way to Scott DiDomenico or Jimmy King in Delaware. I bought five last year and they did pretty good, they all made it, made about $200,000.” Dr. Paul Spears, president of the Standardbred Sales Company, has kept an eye on the Canadian market segment. “There have been 130 Ontario sired horses sold so far for a gross of just over $3.5 million and an average of $27,000,” he noted. “Last year it was a total of 224 horses were sold for $4,338,000 for an average of only $19,000. So the performance of Ontario horses is still better than it was last year, and a fair number of the Canadian buyers told me they were buying horses that were U.S. eligible to race down here. New York is a special favorite for them from what I’ve heard personally.” The middle market seems to remain strong, said Spears. “The middle market, I think what we saw is simply a continuation of what happened at Lexington and what happened the first two days,” he said. “Buyers don’t have that many more alternatives (to purchase horses). “The Canadian Sale (Forest City yet to come) is going to be attractive mainly to Canadians. U.S. buyers have the next couple days to get what they need and with the total number of yearlings at public sale in the U.S. being down so much the demand is going to be there because of decreased supply. “Part of the reason is that the lower market is gone, it just doesn’t exist anymore. The horses that used to be sold for the county fairs, for the smaller guy and that kind of thing, those sales are gone. Everyone is competing for the horses sold on Wednesday and Thursday and the prices, I think, are going up accordingly.” Through the first three days of yearling sales, the overall average is $39,807 for 782 horses sold. The average through Day 3 last year was $34,195 for 848 horses sold. This is an increase of 16.4 percent overall for three days. Trotters have averaged $42,033 this year and pacers $38,022. The sale resumes Thursday at 10 a.m. with the final day of yearling sales. For more information, or to see the live video stream, go to www.theblackbook.com. by Ellen Harvey for HRC
When you've already beaten odds of 200,000-1, nothing else seems all that daunting. The white Standardbred colt born May 6, 2012, and named White Bliss, is one of about 200,000 births among Standardbreds and a big surprise to all at Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge, N.J. He's the son of a bay stallion and a bay mare, with not a single white relative in the family tree. On Tuesday (Nov. 5), he will go up for sale at public auction at the Standardbred Horse Sale at the State Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg, Pa. As hip number 305, he will sell between roughly 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. To beat the next set of odds, White Bliss, the DNA-confirmed son of Art Major and the mare Coochie Mama, bred by Pete Congilose, will have to be among a few dozen top horses of the 9,000 Standardbreds registered each year in North America. "He actually looks really good," said Congilose. "He's not a real big colt, but his family doesn't throw really big horses, but conformation-wise he looks good. He has his own Facebook page (White Colt) and I posted his sales video and to date, it's got around 17,000 hits. A lot of people from all over the world have been looking at him." Congilose says a sales price for the colt, who he is selling reluctantly, has a large element of uncertainty because of his unusual color. Many horsemen are reluctant to buy a chestnut or heavily marked bay or brown horse, let alone one whose color, or lack thereof, is seen by few in a lifetime. In advance of the sale, White Bliss is going through a daily routine, which includes a lot of baths, at Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge. "He's going through the same prep classes that everyone else is," says Fair Winds owner Mark Mullen. "At the end of August, he was broke to lead, and he's been in an exercise machine every other day and in the paddock every other day. He's getting groomed every day and he's looking more and more white and spectacular. "If he was a brown or a bay, you'd say, 'That's a good looking Art Major colt.' He's got a nice head, he's the right size, he's got a good body. He's just a really good looking yearling. But he's white. It's going to be one of those things where people will love him or they'll say, 'That's just not for me.' "There's going to be somebody out there who is smitten and that's what I'm counting on. I had a person call from the United Kingdom and asked me what he would go for. I tell people he can go for $35,000 or $135,000, we can't know. "He wanted me to do a deal with him on the phone. I said, 'Listen, this is a nice horse. He's going to race in the New York Sires Stakes circuit for $50,000 or $100,000 so that is how he is going to get priced.'" For a closer look at the pedigree of White Bliss, including his two siblings who have earned more than $100,000, click here. by Ellen Harvey for HRC
Chairman Shawn Wiles wants to remind members that the USTA District 8 Membership Meetings along with the District 8 and New York Sires Stakes Awards Dinner will be held at Tioga Downs on Sunday, October 27. The informative programs are run under the aegis of the United States trotting Association and Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund. “During the membership meetings there will be a discussion of the proposed rules and suggested by-law changes and we’ll have a Q and A period ” Wiles said. Joining Wiles will be the USTA’s Ellen Harvey. “I’ll have the usual USTA list of activities and some of them I know more about than others, so I can give a summary of those with which I am most familiar and answer some questions,” Harvey added. Also present at the USTA Meetings will be District Directors, Jason Settlemoir, Mark Ford, Ray Schnittker, Mike Kane, Bruce Tubin and Kim Crawford. The General Membership Meetings will begin at 5:00PM. At 6:30PM there will be a Cocktail Party hosted by Tioga Downs, Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Raceway and Vernon Downs followed at 7:30PM with the Banquet Dinner and Awards Ceremonies. The membership meetings and discussions are free to all USTA District 8 members. However, tickets to the Banquet and award ceremonies are $30 per person. The top horses in the New York Sires Stakes program along with the best owned by USTA District 8 members will be awarded beautiful trophies. But the highlight of the awards presentations will be the Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal which will be awarded to Wanda Polisseni. Those who plan on attending the awards dinner must remember to make reservations (518-785-5858) prior to Wednesday October 23 and then make checks payable to HHBNYS and mail to: Harness Horse Breeders; 400 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110 by John Manzi for USTA/NYSS
Saturday is a big night for a little mare. The elimination for the $300,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace will be the very first foray into stakes company for 5-year-old Ooh Bad Shark, who starts from post four in race No. 7 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She’ll need to be no worse than seventh in the $25,000 elim to reach the final. Bill Wiggins of Holland, Pa., trains Ooh Bad Shark, a daughter of Cam’s Card Shark who he bred and co-owns with Donna Fedorak of Langhorne, Pa. This will be the first stakes start of any kind for Ooh Bad Shark, who never even raced in Pennsylvania’s sire stakes races. She has won 17 of 51 career starts and earned $248,465. “There are only 32 aged mares [eligible to the Breeders Crown] and probably half of them didn’t go, so I figured I’d give it a chance,” said Wiggins. “She is still very small and when she was a 2-year-old she just wasn’t big enough and strong enough. I never even raced her as a 2-year-old. I just stopped with her and gave her time off. “She didn’t start until the fall of her 3-year-old year,” said Wiggins. “She’s still 14.1, she’s not very big. She’s a pony [starting size for a horse is 14.3 hands]. “She’s a delightful mare, but I have to protect her a little bit. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t go after the big guys all the time. That, and probably not quite good enough, but she gives you all she’s got when she goes.” This year, Ooh Bad Shark has been racing against high level overnight competition at Pocono Downs and Harrah’s Philadelphia. She is coming off a win in a career-best-equaling 1:50.3 in a conditioned race at Pocono. “I’m basically one of the longshots or maybe the longest,” said Wiggins. “Her grandmother is Ooh’s ‘N Aah’s and I own her daughter Ooh Bad Girl. She (Ooh’s ‘N Aah’s) was a small mare but she beat some of the big ones and she made a million-some dollars ($1,139,429). That was the reason I paid $20,000 for (Ooh Bad Girl) at the Harrisburg sale, but she had problems with her knees and never panned out as well as I’d like. This is her first foal.” The Breeders Crown elimination features three horses to win at least one Breeders Crown trophy in the past. Anndrovette has won the Mare Pace the last two years and is trying to become the first horse to win an open division three consecutive years. Economy Terror and Monkey On My Wheel also have Crown titles to their credit. “I’m hoping for ridiculously crazy fractions and then we’ll try to pick them off at the end. I’m probably going to need a little help. Those kinds of mares, they just generally keep going and I know that, but she can sit on the outside, she’s a tough little mare. But in against these, I don’t know how she’ll fare. “I’m giving her a shot because I think she’s that close. She’s almost good enough for them.” Following is the elimination field in post position order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Economy Terror, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 2. Rocklamation, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 3. Swinging Beauty, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke; 4. Ooh Bad Shark, Howard Parker, William Wiggins; 5. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, P.J. Fraley; 6. Monkey On My Wheel, Brian Sears, Casie Coleman; 7. Krispy Apple, Tim Tetrick, P.J. Fraley; 8. Camille, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 9. Shelliscape, David Miller, P.J. Fraley. Byes: Drop The Ball, Feeling You. by Ellen Harvey for HRC
Lexington, KY --- Champions of tomorrow are coming to the fore at the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet, which concludes this Sunday (Oct. 6). But just ten miles away from the track live some champions of yesterday who work full time to make friends for Standardbreds. The Kentucky Horse Park (www.kyhorsepark.com) hosts nearly a million visitors a year and many of them come to see the horses who live and work in the Park’s Hall of Champions, greeting tourists and educating them about horse racing. Wes Lanter, director of equine operations at the Horse Park, says the Standardbreds in residence (in order of seniority), Staying Together, Western Dreamer, Mr Muscleman and Won The West, have a life much more relaxed than when they were racing and winning. “It’s pretty simple,” says Lanter. “They come in at night and in the mornings they go in their paddocks. Right now we have more horses than paddocks, so they have to share a little bit. Dreamer and Stanley (Staying Together’s nickname) are both very good sports. Dreamer shares a paddock with Da Hoss, a very talented Thoroughbred, and Stanley shares a paddock with Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide. When he comes in, Stanley goes out. “Mr Muscleman and Be A Bono (a Quarter horse) are in the same paddock, they’ve become very attached. When one leaves, there’s usually a little nickering going on, like, ‘Hey, where are you going?’ Won The West has his own paddock. He shares a single fence line with Mr Muscleman and Be A Bono, so those three have buddied up. They meet and talk over the fence, they’re good neighbors.” At least one Standardbred is included in every public show at the Hall of Champions (daily at 10:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.). Only Staying Together, Horse of the Year in both the United States and Canada in 1993, is exempt from the show schedule, as he is now blind, but otherwise healthy, says Lanter. “It’s been a seven year process, it (uveitis, an inflammatory condition that can lead to blindness) started showing itself when he was 17,” he said. “Up until last year, everything seemed manageable, but then the left eye started becoming painful. Dr. (Claire) Latimer (of Rood and Riddle Clinic) was treating him and it got to the point where the best thing we could do to make Stanley comfortable was to have that removed. “He’s been more comfortable ever since. We are happy with how he is now.” Lanter says “Stanley” functions well in his world with some adjustments. “Going through a gate that is wide, like a paddock, you can walk him right through it,” he says. “Going into a stall where the opening is narrower, he appreciates it if you back him in; he seems to be a lot more comfortable with that. There are days when I’m daydreaming and start walking him in a stall. He’ll get halfway in and then he throws it in reverse, so I think he still sees some light or shadows or forms -- he can spook. “I’m looking at him right now, out in his paddock, just grazing. When we turn him out, we take him to the middle of the paddock to give him room and he will, many days, jog off for three or four or five strides. He knows his limitations. “We just moved him into this paddock. He was aware, because when he went to his old paddock he turned left out of the barn and now he turns the other way. In the new paddock, for the first couple days, he was taking stock of where he was. “He walked in circles and we wondered what he was doing, but we figured out he was checking his boundaries. He’s aware of his limitations and lives within them and he’s very trusting of people he knows. He’s a real trooper; I have so much admiration for him and how he handles his situation.” While “Stanley” no longer does shows, he is accepting visitors, Lanter says. “We mention him during the shows because they are turned out while we’re doing the shows and they’re next to the pavilion. We mention that to your left is Western Dreamer, a Triple Crown winner and give a rundown on him. We tell them on the right is Staying Together and give a synopsis and mention his situation of being blind and we have signage that gives a rundown of their race record.” Lanter says all four have adapted well to new careers as goodwill ambassadors. “I think they like their jobs,” he says. “Mr Muscleman is a pleasure to be around; we call him the Gentle Giant. He’s about 17 hands tall and you couldn’t ask for a more pleasant horse to be around and certainly a great competitor and a great racehorse. It’s an honor to be around greatness. “Won The West, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet the Koehlers and some of the other folks who owned him. I love that horse. When it became apparent he was going to come here to the Park, I did my research and learned about him. He was such a competitor, with his off-the-pace style and closing the way he was capable of.” While Lanter has spent much of his career as stallion manager for such high profile Thoroughbreds as Seattle Slew, Storm Cat and Affirmed, he has now visited the Little Brown Jug twice as a representative of the Horse Park and become a fan. “Whether I was bringing a horse there or not, I will always try to go to the Little Brown Jug,” said Lanter. “It’s just such a great experience and slice of America and the race is just amazing. It’s a great day and I would encourage everyone to take a trip to the Little Brown Jug. This year was different because I brought two horses up, Won The West and Western Dreamer. “Mr. Koehler wanted to honor Won The West with a race and have him lead the post parade. It was Mr. Kohler’s idea to have Western Dreamer join us since he was a past winner of the Jug and went on to win the Triple Crown (in 1997). We agreed it would be nice for him to get some appreciation in Delaware. “They had stalls beside each other and signs that showed their accomplishments and video of the boys that showed their careers. The fans appreciated it and loved seeing the stars. It was a pleasant experience to see how happy the fans were to see those past stars.” Western Dreamer, accustomed to the placid environment at the Horse Park, did notice he was not in Kentucky anymore. “It had been a while since he’d been off the park, so he was a bit apprehensive,” says Lanter. “But I stayed close by and took him out for walks, grazed him, anything I could do to make him happy. He was fine, but he didn’t want me to go far away.” Lanter used a diversion of some tasty Ohio hay for Western Dreamer so he could sample the fair’s culinary delights. “I was able to locate some beautiful hay and that allowed me to go get one of those great fish sandwiches and a soda,” he said. Back at his regular job and ready for visitors, Lanter says the Triple Crown winner excels at his job. “Western Dreamer really enjoys the up close adoration. He loves it when kids come up to him when we’re walking him back to the Big Barn. Kids stop and ask about him; he puts his head down so they can pat him on the head. He’s a real star.” Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications Courtesy of The United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom
Freehold, NJ --- Trainer/driver Jacqueline Ingrassia, who is also a USTA director, broke her leg in a riding accident at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in New Jersey on Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 17). Ingrassia, a skilled and experienced rider, had surgery early this morning to stabilize the break with a rod and pins. "If I was a horse, they'd shoot me," she said. "They did the surgery at 5:30 this morning. I got back in my room at 9 a.m. It feels a whole lot better since they did it. It's stable now; before, it was moving around a little. The doctor is talking about starting to walk on it in a couple of weeks. I'll be back in no time." She was unseated while approaching a jump on the 8-year-old trotting gelding Standardbred Arcaro. "He stumbled and I went backside over tea kettle," she said. "He'd been a good boy all day long and this was the last jump." Ingrassia, who was riding with a helmet, had no other injuries. She was riding with her friend Lella Montgomery, who caught and loaded the loose horse and called Ingrassia's husband Frank, who brought her to CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, N.J. She expects to be discharged before the end of the week. Well wishes can be sent to Ingrassia at LadyJay23@aol.com. by Ellen Harvey for HRC
Freehold, NJ --- Trainer John Williamson is optimistic about his chances with his very first Little Brown Jug starter, Urbanite Hanover, who will race from post seven with Ron Pierce driving at odds of 12-1 in the third $58,939 Little Brown Jug elimination heat on Thursday. The colt, who has $96,674 in lifetime earnings to go with a 1:53 career-best time, is coming off a fourth-place finish in his division of the Simcoe Stakes, won by Vegas Vacation, on Sept. 7 at Mohawk Racetrack. Otherwise, he has raced primarily in overnight events this year, with two wins in 13 starts. “He raced very well in the Simcoe, but I’ve never lost confidence in this horse. He’s one of the best gaited horses, and just a fast, fast, little horse,” said Williamson. “If he gets out and gets on top, it could be good, but I’d rather see him get pulled up into it. He’s got a heart on his forehead; he’s just a real nice little horse, smart and easy to get along with. He’s well gaited so he should be able to get around here just fine.” Williamson says Urbanite Hanover is still a bit wary of the activity at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. “I took him for a walk a little while ago and he’s still a little nervous,” he said. “He didn’t want to settle down on his walk. He’s wondering what’s going on. I trained him this morning and he did good. He can see a lot with the bridle he has on.” The son of Western Ideal-Up Front Sassy represents 25 percent of Williamson’s four-horse stable. He co-owns the Jug starter with Daniel Haist of Ridgeville, Ontario. Williamson is a native of Caledonia, Ontario, but now lives in Waterdown. He bought Urbanite Hanover at the Standardbred Horse Sale for $11,000, but was prepared to go much more. “He was a gorgeous individual and he went for about $20,000 or $30,000 less than I thought he was going to go for,” he said. “We couldn’t figure why. Still can’t.” At age 2, the colt was plagued with issues getting enough oxygen and had no wins in 10 starts. “He had a breathing problem, nothing that would shut him down, but really kind of immature. But he’s outgrown that,” Williamson said. Urbanite Hanover rebounded late last year to put in a valiant effort in the Breeders Crown at 100-1 odds against the top 2-year-old of the year, Captaintreacherous. “If you look at the Breeders Crown, he was on top (after fractions of :26.3 and :55.2) and then (Captaintreacherous) re-moved, but I was on top at the half in :55 on a dirty night and we just got beat up,” Williamson said. “I finished sixth and he finished third.” His luck in Kentucky was no better last year. “This colt would have won in Lexington, I think, but he broke a front hopple hanger,” Williamson said. He finished second to Apprentice Hanover in a division of the International Stallion Stakes, timed in 1:50.4. “He’s been a tough luck little horse, if you look at his lines, he’s always there.” A bout of sickness early this year also set him back a bit. “I brought him home (from wintering at Spring Garden Ranch in Florida) and he won his first start and then he got sick on me,” Williamson said. “I don’t know what it was, it wasn’t really respiratory, but he shut down. John Campbell drove him (in a Somebeachsomewhere division) and he said, ‘Something is stringently wrong with this horse. I don’t know what is.’ I backed off on him twice but I never did figure it out.” Below is the full field for the Little Brown Jug, with the final driver changes: $58,939 First Elimination HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Eddie Sweat-Dan Noble-Edward Zubkoff, Jr.-20-1 2. Lonewolf Currier-Dave Palone-Kevin McDermott-4-1 3. Rockin Amadeus-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5-2 4. Right Touch-Ray Paver-Ray Paver-6-1 5. Vegas Vacation-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-2-1 6. Wake Up Peter-Ron Pierce-Tony Alagna-8-1 $58,939 Second Elimination HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Ilikeitrealhot-Matt Kakaley-Ron Potter-15-1 2. Mach It So-Scott Zeron-Nifty Norman-4-1 3. Emeritus Maximus-Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna-8-1 4. Lucan Hanover-David Miller-Casie Coleman-5-2 5. Beach Memories-Yannick Gingras-Brian Brown-6-1 6. Word Power-Jody Jamieson-Larry Remmen-5-1 7. Urbanite Hanover-Ron Pierce-John Williamson-12-1 $58,939 Third Elimination HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Twilight Bonfire-John Campbell-Danny Collins-5-2 2. Resistance Futile-Corey Callahan-Blair Burgess-10-1 3. Sunfire Blue Chip-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-2-1 4. Johny Rock-Andy Miller-John Butenschoen-4-1 5. Odds On Equuleus-Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna-8-1 6. Only The Lonely-Matt Kakaley-Nick Surick-15-1 by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom
Mach It So was a last-minute addition to the Little Brown Jug field, but trainer Nifty Norman thinks the gelding fits in nicely among the 19 horses entered in Thursday's pacing classic. Held at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio, the $552,551 Little Brown Jug is the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown and requires a horse to win twice to be declared the champion. The top three finishers from three elimination heats advance to the second heat. If a first-round winner also wins the second heat, he is declared the winner. If another horse wins, then a four-horse race-off is held to determine the winner. The last race-off was in 2000, when Astreos defeated Gallo Blue Chip, George Scooter and Profita. Mach It So, who has won eight of 12 races this year and earned $336,751 for owner Bamond Racing, is in the second of the three first-heat divisions. He will start from post two with driver Scott Zeron and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line, behind Lucan Hanover from the stable of trainer Casie Coleman. Incidentally, the 24-year-old Zeron last year became the youngest driver to win the Jug, with Coleman-trained Michael's Power. "He's a good little horse," Norman said about Mach It So. "He won't get embarrassed. I think he fits in there pretty good. It helps when you draw inside like that. He's not the best horse in there, but I think he's good enough to get in the final and good enough to get a check in the final. "You need a lot of luck in that race, it doesn't matter how good a horse you've got. The best horse doesn't always win." Jeffrey Bamond and his son Jeffrey Jr. purchased Mach It So in a private sale last September. Mach It So, a son of Mach Three-Beach Dancer, is a half-brother to 2009 Woodrow Wilson Pace winner Windfall Blue Chip. Originally, the connections were going to skip the Little Brown Jug, but reconsidered when it was announced that top contenders Captaintreacherous and Sunshine Beach would bypass the race. Captaintreacherous, the defending Pacer of the Year who has won seven of eight races this year, captured the first jewel in the Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, on Sept. 2. Mach It So is the leader in points in the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series for 3-year-old male pacers, where he is 4-for-4 this season, and Norman wanted the horse to race prior to the Sept. 28 Super Final. "We weren't intending on going, but then a couple (horses) dropped out - like Captaintreacherous and Sunshine Beach - and the owners like to go to the race, so I said let's go," Norman said. "We've got to race him somewhere, so we might as well race him for $500,000." In his most recent start, Sept. 7, Mach It So was fourth in a division of the Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. Mach It So was in last place on the final turn, more than nine lengths from the front, but came home in :26 to finish three lengths from winner Fool Me Once. "He was really good," Norman said. "He just got a little bit held up, his cover wasn't that great, but the horse himself was very good. He finished up really strong." Norman doesn't anticipate Mach It So having difficulty getting around Delaware's half-mile oval. On Aug. 28 in a sire stakes event, Mach It So won at half-mile Grand River Raceway in a track-record 1:51.4. "He can get away from the gate good when you want him to," Norman said. "I think he'll be fine." by Ken Weingartner for HRC RIGHT TOUCH HOPES TO FEEL RIGHT AT HOME Delaware, Ohio, is almost home for 3-year-old pacer Right Touch. The gelded son of Always A Virgin-Touch Of Bogart was born and raised just 45 minutes east of the track, in Mount Vernon, Ohio, at the farm of his breeder and co-owner, Carolyn Brechler, and the family's Knox Services Inc. Right Touch has post four in the first of three Little Brown preliminary heats at odds of 6-1. He's coming off two straight wins, including a career-best 1:50.1 in the $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes championship at Hoosier Park on Sept. 11, after four consecutive second-place efforts. He has five wins in 12 starts this year and career earnings of $448,404, made primarily in Indiana-bred company. Vegas Vacation, trained by Casie Coleman, is the 2-1 favorite in his Jug heat, followed by Jimmy Takter's Rockin Amadeus, who won last year's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers. "We'll find out Thursday if he's up to it, but we're all Buckeyes that own him so that's something you always look forward to - the Jug," said trainer Ray Paver, a Columbus native who is part of the ownership group, along with Circleville's John Rhoads Jr. "We don't know if we'll ever have another chance to get to it, so we might as well put him in." Paver says Right Touch's strengths include his diverse racing style. "You can really race him any way, but he's actually better coming off cover," Paver said. "He explodes coming out of a hole so I'm hoping he has one of those :25.4 quarters (his last quarter in a second-place finish at Hoosier on Aug. 21) on Thursday. "He races any way you can, it doesn't matter to him if he's on the front or coming from behind or first up. He likes looking at a horse, so I just play it by ear and see what happens when the gate folds." Paver will have to be on the lookout for what other horses do in the race, but beforehand, it's a different type of horse power he'll have to be alert for. "He doesn't like tractors," Paver said. "He goes to the outside fence and wants to buck and kick by them." $58,939 First Elimination HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Eddie Sweat-Dan Noble-Edward Zubkoff, Jr.-20-1 2. Lonewolf Currier-Dave Palone-Kevin McDermott-4-1 3. Rockin Amadeus-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5-2 4. Right Touch-Ray Paver-Ray Paver-6-1 5. Vegas Vacation-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-2-1 6. Wake Up Peter-Ron Pierce-Tony Alagna-8-1 $58,939 Second Elimination HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Ilikeitrealhot-Matt Kakaley-Ron Potter-15-1 2. Mach It So-Scott Zeron-Nifty Norman-4-1 3. Emeritus Maximus-Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna-8-1 4. Lucan Hanover-David Miller-Casie Coleman-5-2 5. Beach Memories-David Miller-Brian Brown-6-1 6. Word Power-Jody Jamieson-Larry Remmen-5-1 7. Urbanite Hanover-Tim Tetrick-John Williamson-12-1 $58,939 Third Elimination HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Twilight Bonfire-John Campbell-Danny Collins-5-2 2. Resistance Futile-Andy Miller-Blair Burgess-10-1 3. Sunfire Blue Chip-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-2-1 4. Johny Rock-Andy Miller-John Butenschoen-4-1 5. Odds On Equuleus-Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna-8-1 6. Only The Lonely-Matt Kakaley-Nick Surick-15-1 by Ellen Harvey for HRC
Freehold, NJ --- Giant Victory, winner of the 1991 Hambletonian, died overnight between Sept. 3 and 4 in his paddock at Hanover Shoe Farms, in Hanover, Pa. He was 25. The son of Super Bowl-Pink Cheeks showed no signs of illness when last checked on the evening of Sept. 3 and appears to have died of natural causes. He will be buried in the Hanover Shoe Farms cemetery. Bred by Stoner Creek Stud, Giant Victory was born in Paris, Ky. and owned by Ted Gewertz and Hanover Shoe Farms. Giant Victory also won the Breeders Crown as a 3-year-old and was named Trotter of the Year. He served stallion duties at Hanover Shoe Farms starting in 1992 and was exported to Marco Folli’s stallion station in Italy in 1997. After 12 seasons in Italy, Folli offered transit back to the US and Gewertz and Hanover Shoe Farms forged an agreement for him to live out his life at Hanover. Giant Victory, then 21, got the chance to return to the site of his shining moment in racing to lead the post parade for the 2009 Hambletonian. He carried out his task, trotting down the track and posing for photos, after a quick sideways duck away from a bouncy ride in the track’s Paddock Park. From 285 foals registered in the US, he had 200 starters, 83 2:00 winners and five winners in 1:55 or faster. His progeny collectively won $9,975,225. His top performer was Victory Margin (1:53.4, $623,329). “After all his years racing and living on two continents, he was as nice an old stallion as you’d ever want to meet, kind in every way,” said Russell Williams, chairman of Hanover Shoe Farms. “His special talent has been to bring out the best in every human being he’s ever been associated with. If there were a world record for that category, not many horses could compete with him.” by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications
Columbus, OH --- The United States Trotting Association's Support Our Standardbreds Program has helped its 100th horse, it was announced today. The 23-year-old trotting mare, Youngs Filly, who was seized by the St. Albans (West Virginia) Animal Control department on Aug. 2 and is being cared for by the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue in Shoals, W.Va., is the 100th horse helped by SOS. The mare, who raced three times as a 2-year-old, has allegedly been in the custody of the individuals from whom she was removed for approximately 19 years. Along with an Arabian gelding, the mare was in a field with, "No grass, a lot of mud," according to Tinia Creamer of Heart of Phoenix. "She's covered with open wounds, including a large one on her cheek." Creamer estimates her Body Condition Score at three (five is ideal) and also reported that the mare's feet and teeth are in poor condition, but not to the point of impeding her ability to eat. "She has a good appetite and seems tired and weary of life, really." According to Creamer, the owners of the mare will be prosecuted and the next hearing is set for September. The USTA's donation will help cover initial costs to bring the mare to full health, including farrier, dental and veterinary care. When recovered, Youngs Filly will be offered for adoption. She is reportedly broken to ride. The program, started in 2010, was developed to provide financial assistance to registered charitable programs and government agencies caring for registered Standardbreds whose care has fallen to a criminal level. Horses that have been legally seized, abandoned or surrendered in lieu of prosecution are eligible for assistance. Horses from 19 different states, from California to Maine and south to Florida, have been helped by SOS. For more information about SOS, click here or contact Ellen Harvey at 732.780.3700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. by Ellen Harvey
'You still got it, kid,' said John Campbell to Bill O'Donnell as the latter walked in to the winners circle after taking top spot (2:00.3) in the $10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry Memorial Trot for Hall of Fame harness racing drivers on Sunday at Goshen Historic Track.
Connor will be riding Admirable Hanover in the $5,000 under saddle race number seven at Goshen Historic Track this Sunday, July 7, but a few months ago that prospect looked doubtful.
The literary character Zorro punctuated his successes by slicing the air with three quick slashes of his rapier, marking the letter Z.