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Columbus, OH --- The annual convocation of directors of the United States Trotting Association got underway Sunday afternoon (March 30) in Columbus, Ohio. With Chairman of the Board Ivan Axelrod presiding, the assembled directors heard from Robert Schmitz, chairman of the Ohio Racing Commission. Schmitz spoke on the importance of harness racing to the Ohio economy and the support of Governor John Kasich in recognizing racing’s roots in the farm community.       In remarks video streamed live to members on, President Phil Langley updated the group on the USTA’s efforts to work with the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium in developing model rules and medication guidelines without overlooking the differences in breeds. Usage patterns and racing patterns have highlighted some major differences between the less-frequently raced Thoroughbreds versus Standardbreds, who often race weekly. There were no challengers to the existing slate of USTA officers, which will remain: Phil Langley, president; Ivan Axelrod, chairman of the board; Russell Williams, vice chairman; Dick Brandt, treasurer and Barbara Brooks, secretary. Rob Key, CEO and founder of Converseon, updated the group on the social media platforms that have been developed, including a centralized harness racing website,, which recently was unveiled with a “100 Greatest Moments in Harness Racing” interactive contest. He emphasized that it was a joint venture among the USTA, Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Harness Writers Association. The Harness Racing Fan Zone (@harnessracingFZ on Twitter) mirrors similar platforms offered by major league sports, like Major League Baseball, the National Football League and NASCAR. “The foundation is in place,” said Key. “We need to spend time on transparency and openness and create communities.” Key predicted the new website would, “give people a feel for what it's like to be in the sport.” He spoke about the social media ambassador’s platform that has been created for participants to share their experiences in the sport. Moving forward, tracks will be urged to partner with the Fan Zone in order to significantly expand awareness and interest in harness racing. A replay of the full board session may be viewed by clicking here or on the link at the top of the story. Committee meetings followed, with rule changes considered in the Fairs, Pari-Mutuel, Regulatory and Registration Committees. Further discussion of rule change proposals will take place Monday in the Rules Committee and the final vote will be rendered at the meeting of all directors Monday afternoon. by Ellen Harvey for Harness Racing Communications

Platteville, WI --- The Wisconsin Harness Horse Association has announced the recipients of their biggest awards: Horseperson of the Year and the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Recipients will receive their awards at the year-end banquet this Saturday (Jan. 25) at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Madison, Wis. WHHA President Gabe Wand has chosen long time horseman Jay Garrels of Clinton as the recipient of the 2013 Horseperson of the Year Award. Garrels is currently ranked third in top ten driver appearances (16), trailing Gary Magee and Robert Yohn by seven. However, it’s his seven Driver of the Year titles that currently make Garrels Wisconsin’s all-time leading driver. He has shown his longevity by capturing his first title in 1990 and his most recent in 2007. Throughout the years, Garrels has spent much of his time south of the Wisconsin border racing on the competitive Illinois stakes circuit. Most recently, he garnered driving awards from the Northern Illinois Colt Association. Lifetime, Garrels has more than 650 wins and has driven the winners of more than $1.2 million. In 2013, he returned to the Wisconsin scene with Marie’s Jate, a seasoned veteran pacer he trained who ended the season as Wisconsin’s runner-up Pacer of the Year. Marie’s Jate was groomed exclusively by his daughter, Susan, showing that Garrels is passing his horsemanship down to his daughter. We all look forward to many more competitive years out of this rare father/daughter combo. The Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame is set to induct Miss Pluto Scott in to the horse category. This 1934 foal is being inducted as a broodmare. Owned by J. Howard Young of Elkhorn, Miss Pluto Scott had eight foals between 1947 and 1954. Among her top earners were Plutocrat 3,1:59.2 ($51,204); Fred Scott 3,2:00.2 ($38,371); Ludene Scott 3,2:05.4h ($41,078) and current Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame member Golden Miss 4,2:02.1h ($64,471). Miss Pluto Scott’s daughter Golden Miss has a traveling trophy named after her which is awarded to the horse pacing the fastest mile in the state of Wisconsin each year. The husband and wife team of Gary and Donna Magee will be inducted into the Living Category of the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Both have been Wisconsin racing’s biggest ambassadors spanning several decades. They always take the time to educate fans despite their busy racing schedules. This duo has had great success on the Wisconsin circuit -- especially with trotters. Together they have had three WHHA Trotters of the Year (Fox Valley Bunns -- twice; Get Physical), two runner-up Trotters of the Year (Fox Valley Bunns; Get Physical), and 14 other top ten trotting finishes (Fox Valley Bunns, Speedy Alber, Miles Mirage, Just Fuz, Rozzie Kay, Scream N Arsenal, Nikola Tesla). Most recently, their trotter Speedy Alber has been a two-time winner at Balmoral Park. Gary Magee, a former Driver of the Year in Wisconsin, is tied for the most years in the Top Ten Driving Club (23) and has the most runner-up finishes of anyone (five). Donna and Gary Magee have given much of their time to the WHHA and have done so without expecting anything in return. She has been running the WHHA annual picnic after the Waupaca County Fair in Weyauwega which is an event the entire state looks forward to attending. He spent 18 consecutive years on the WHHA Board of Directors (second only to last year’s Hall of Fame inductee Susan Schroeder), and spent six of those year’s as the Association’s president. At the conclusion of the awards banquet, the WHHA will hold its annual fund raising auction. With attendance scheduled to be the highest it’s been since 1995, it’s proving to be a fun and competitive fund raiser for the fair racing organization. Key items have been donated by Xtreme Harness, Omega Alpha, Dr. Kapraun, Dr. Petrowitz, Midwest Horse Shoers Reed Remely & Don Nolan, Todd Hill, Sam Lily of Mid-America Harness News, Horseman & Fair World, Running Aces, Ellen Harvey, Phil Langley, Kate Williams, Gretchen Springer, and Overture Center For The Arts in Madison who donated four tickets to the Tony Award winning production of War Horse. Specific items can be referenced on our Facebook page (Wi Harness Racing) or our website ( Parties interested in bidding on a particular item by phone can contact Gabe Wand at or call/text: 608.574.5468 for further details. Submitted by the Wisconsin Harness Horse Association

Augusta, ME---United States Trotting Association (USTA) members in district 9 met on Saturday (Jan. 18) at Le Club Calumet in Augusta, Maine.  The meeting was led by district Chairman Don Marean, with directors Paul Fontaine, Dr. Timothy Powers and Fred Nichols also attending.  Major USTA activities over the past year were reviewed and rule change proposals were discussed and voted on by the 60 members in attendance. The USTA meeting was followed by the Maine Harness Horseman’s Association annual meeting.  The evening hours brought a visit from Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, who greeted horsemen and also spoke of Maine’s rich agricultural economy, citing the “fabric of our state,”  which comprises, “farming, forestry and fishing.”  LePage spoke of his efforts to more closely mesh governmental agencies dealing with agricultural issues to ensure closer cooperation toward mutual goals.   Dinner and awards for the best and brightest people and horses in the state followed, as well as presentation of scholarship awards to 15 students and a live auction to help support future scholarship winners.  by Ellen Harvey for USTA

Westfield, IN- For the second consecutive year, a Delaware resident has won the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's Service to Youth Award. The 2013 award goes to 2nd-generation horsewoman, Janet Stevenson Davis, who follows the University of Delaware's Susan Truehart Garey as the winner of HHYF's most prestigious honor. The Service To Youth Award is given annually to individuals, farms, or organizations who exemplify outstanding effort in facilitating youth participation in harness racing. Recipients show exceptional assistance (either financially or educationally as a catalyst) to existing HHYF programs or in their own successful efforts. Davis joins a distinguished list of Service To Youth honorees that includes the Hanover Shoe Farms Foundation, Noel Daley, John Campbell, Martin Scharf, Brittany Farms, Odds On Racing, Steve Wolf and Ellen Harvey. (A complete list of winners in posted at "I'm speechless," said Davis." I'm so honored to be recognized by HHYF. It's such a great organization and that they think I deserve an award, that's great. I don't do this for awards, I do it to help. That's just me." Announcing the award, HHYF Executive Director Ellen Taylor had high praise for Davis. "Janet epitomizes the best of harness racing with her indefatigable positive attitude. She has never hesitated to assist HHYF in whatever way we requested and even in ways we haven't. Her enthusiasm for helping the industry and young people, makes her most deserving of this year's Service To Youth Award." The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to Submitted by Harness Horse Youth Foundation  

MONTICELLO, NY - It's not like it was totally unexpected but Monticello Raceway's Au Revoir, the race exclusively for 14 year olds who will be forced into retirement on January 1, 2014, failed to attract enough entries. "When we opened the (entry) box this morning we only had three entries," noted Eric Warner, the tracks Director of Racing." Actually I was somewhat surprised because we worked hard on filling the race and there seemed to be quite a lot of interest." However, Warner shouldn't be too surprised since after the Mighty M first staged the race for the retiring crew back in 1991 only four other times in the 22 following years did the Au Revoir fill. Although the race was presented three times in the last four years, still getting enough entries is never a given. "We are asked from time to time why don't you include 12 and 13 year olds but it wouldn't be the same race. That it doesn't always fill (get enough entries) every year makes the AuRevoir that much more special," Warner explained. Of all five of the Au Revoir's that were raced the most exceptional 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. To say that the 2012 Au Revoir was much hyped 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 their sports section sports page in the New York Times and there was a follow-up story the next day, 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." A race exclusively for 14 year olds near the end of the year is unique in that not only is it hard to find enough 14 year old standardbreds still competing in late December but it is the final race in the careers of the entrants because every January 1 all horses become one year older, no matter when they were foaled, and at 15 years old all Standardbreds have to hang up their racing shoes. "Although we are discouraged by not being able to fill the Au Revoir this year we'll definitely try again next season," Warner promised. By John Manzi for Monticello Raceway  

NL Loren (1:57.4, $59,512), the 1986 seasons leader for four-year-old trotting geldings, died this morning at Craftwell Farm in West River, Maryland, his home for the past 21 years, and now his place of burial. NL Loren was a pacing-bred trotter, owned by Jane and Doug Murray and trained by Doug. He won 22 races in 97 starts over 8 years of competition, including a year missed completely while recovering from an injury. He was featured in a 1986 Hoof Beats story titled, "The Twelve Least Likely 2:00 Trotters." NL Loren's mark that year was accomplished in an open trot at the Springfield (Illinois) State Fair. His time was more than four seconds, 20 lengths, faster than he'd ever trotted. He was purchased in 1986 with tax refund money, as a birthday gift from Doug to Jane. "Jane wanted to use it for something else, but I thought it would be better spent on a horse," said Doug Murray. NL Loren's career was marked by brilliant performances at unlikely times, mixed with a feline-like propensity for disasters that never quite caused his demise. He beat the stakes-winning two-year-old trotter BJ's Superstar by a nose in a Breeders Crown prep race at Pompano Park at a time when the younger horse had $150,000 more on his card than did NL Loren. Alternating between Pompano in the winter and his "home" track of Quad City Downs in the summer, NL Loren came back from a lacerated tendon sustained in a race in 1987 when he was winning regularly and attracting potential buyers. The tendon healed and NL Loren was on his way back to the races when he colicked in his trailer, somewhere in Georgia, in the pre-cell phone, pre-GPS era. "We were at a truck stop in Georgia," said Doug Murray. "I got a vet's name from a phone book, got directions to his farm. I unloaded the other horses and we worked on Loren the rest of the night. He came through and we got back on the road the next morning." Three straight wins followed and it looked like the Murrays had a Meadowlands horse on their hands. They sent him to race at the New Jersey flagship track. "We watched at a sports bar in Florida," Murray said. "He looked like he was going to win for fun, but as he came out of the hole, he caught his right front leg between the wheel and the sulky of the horse in front of him." Surgery for a bone chip and 18 months of recuperation followed and like Lazarus, he rose again, to race at Rosecroft Raceway, where he competed for the last time in 1992. The Murrays have boarded NL Loren since 1992 at Craftwell Farm, where Jane Murray took him for the occasional trail ride. He also served as babysitter for yearling Thoroughbreds until arthritis in an ankle progressed to the point where he could no longer be kept comfortable. "He opened a lot of doors for us," said Doug Murray. "He didn't make a lot of money or anything like that, but he provided a little bit of name recognition. He doesn't owe me a dime, it's just payback." by Ellen Harvey  

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 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 ( 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 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

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