Pompano Beach, FL - Screaming and shouting, cries of joy echoing throughout the grandstand. These echoes travel across the racetrack to where drivers, trainers, owners, and grooms can hear. Anyone within an ears distance can hear these chants and cheers. The atmosphere of the racetrack brings a variety of emotions whether it be tears of joy or sadness, screams of happiness or anger, the crowd is never silent. The noise doesn't fall short of the horsemen and women that work behind the scenes and stand near the paddock gate watching their horse race on any given night. However, there is one voice that overpowers them all, draining out all of the noise. Rather than putting the name to the face, people put the name to the voice for one track announcer, John Berry. John Berry is a man of many talents and wears many hats as most would say. “He is the Picasso of Harness Racing. Journalistic knowledge and professionalism second to none,” Wally Hennessey, Hall of Fame Driver and leading trainer at Pompano Park, recounts. Aside from a race announcer, John Berry has played a vital role in harness racing as anything from a race office assistant to a publicity man to a live broadcaster. It's no doubt that John Berry is one of many that form the base of the horse racing business. In the February 5, 1964 edition of The Horseman and Fair World, the week Pompano Park opened, there was a letter to the editor concerning time trials by John Berry. And here we are, 53 years later, and Berry is still at it---writing brilliant, informative stories, announcing on occasion, co-hosting the Pompano Park pre-race show, writing a handicapping column, and serving the horsemen and our sport with the same enthusiasm that was evident back more than a half century ago. Inducted into the Hall of Fame as a communicator several years ago, he has participated in school career days, countless charitable events, seminars, and many promotions to enhance the image of harness racing. He was even highlighted on a CBS (Chicago) news segment entitled “Someone You Should Know.” The feeling all horsemen know or come to know at some point in their careers is the moment when your horse is pacing or trotting lengths ahead of the pack at the three-quarter pole. Down the stretch and the win is a guarantee. That moment in time is brief but the memory of the feeling lasts a lifetime. At this point in John Berry’s life, it was like he had experienced this brief moment forever. “That was amazing, I must admit,” Berry smiled. “It was a surreal moment. “I used to get films from Sportsman’s Park---16 millimeter films---and I went to different nursing homes and rehab facilities lugging my 50-pound projector to put racing programs on for the patients there. “I went to the administrators of these facilities to see who needed a morale boost, so to speak.” Berry explained. “Then, I made programs up and put patients down as drivers of the horses. On this one occasion, the ‘winning’ driver was a lady that had a stroke several months prior and could not speak. “Well, after the race,” Berry said. “I went right up to her with her daughter alongside and congratulated her on her win. I asked her to tell me how she won the race (as the doctors and nurses were cautioning me that she couldn't speak) and she grabbed the ‘mike’ and, after struggling a bit, said, “I tried hard’. “To say that the doctors and nurses were amazed is an understatement,” Berry recalled. “Their jaws literally dropped. The administrators got ahold of CBS news about this miracle of sorts and, a few weeks later, when another show at the facility was arranged, CBS was there with a crew and it became a segment on a newscast in Chicago. “It wasn't necessary,” John said, “but they said this story must be told. “It merely propelled me to keep trying and looking for yet another miracle.” John Berry, a man with a long history that keeps growing. Aside from racing, he holds his own titles himself - for bowling. Interestingly enough, the 16-year-old's career in bowling led him to harness racing. In Chicago of 1959, Berry won a match that began his new and long lived career. “It was a match,” Berry recalled, “where four of us put up five dollars apiece with the winner taking $15, second place getting his money back and the lowest two scorers paying for the highest two bowler’s lines (games). “I bowled a 248, 268, and 258 and I took the money.” Berry said with a smile. “A gentleman by the name of Luke Schroer approached me after that match to give me a “tip” of sorts,” Berry added, “as he won some money betting on the match.” Although John refused the offer, they ended up going out for a bite to eat. On that August in 1959, Schroer had taken John Berry to the racetrack, up to a box at Sportsman's Park---”41-A” Berry recalls. From that night on, Berry had an ever-growing interest in the sport. The gentleman who arranged for Berry to get Sportsman's Park films, Don Stevens, introduced him to Stan Bergstein. Bergstein, who later would become harness racing’s only double Hall of Famer, being inducted to both the Living Hall of Fame and as a Communicator, helped John to get his very first position in the harness racing world, as an Associate Editor of the ‘The Illinois Sulky News,’ working for the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association. His first position led to other doors opening. These ‘doors’ included jobs in publicity and public relations at Balmoral Park. At Balmoral, he wrote press releases and worked on handicapping and interviews. “It was demanding since it turned out to be a seven day a week grind from early morning to late at night.” John said. Developing a passion as well as a talent for writing, John Berry won a few regional awards for journalistic evidence. In 1979, Berry accepted a position with the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey. His new agenda included handling publicity and public relations; and hosting the long running series of television shows featuring Stakes races from The Meadowlands, Freehold Raceway and Garden State Park. He also created and designed New Jersey's Stallion Directory and hosted several Miss Equine New Jersey contests. “The Board of the SBOANJ was extremely active in partnering with the racetracks to publicize the sport,” Berry said. “Tony Abbatiello and Ronnie Dancer led the brigade back then and one couldn't have asked for a more dedicated Board of Directors looking to move the sport in the right direction. “I worked with John Higgins, then the Executive Director, a very knowledgeable horseman.” Berry added. “I also worked with an extremely talented gentleman by the name of Leon Zimmerman, who know every nook and cranny in Trenton, New Jersey, where the political stuff went on. “Leon and I got elected to the Hall of Fame the same year,” Berry said. “and it was an honor to work with him and gain a bit of insight into the world of politics.” During that time, Berry won the prestigious National John Hervey Award for an article he wrote in 1979 for Hub Rail Magazine about the Little Brown Jug. “I have written many, many articles,” he said, “but this is, absolutely, one of my favorites because, when I put it in the typewriter---yes, we still used typewriters back then---the words just kept flowing and I, literally, didn't make any changes once the article was finished. “It included a Roger Huston race call and I have been told on many occasions that the reader could ‘hear’ Roger’s voice while reading it.” After three years with the SBOANJ, he accepted a position with the USTA as Public Relations Manager, working from an office, in Freehold, New Jersey, to cover the New York-New Jersey and eastern racing scene, which was blossoming at the time. When they asked him to move to Columbus, Ohio, he parted ways with the USTA and accepted a position with Sports Information Database (SIDB) as a Senior Editor for harness racing with the objective of putting the entire history of harness racing on computer. “I was honored to work with many of the great minds in sport, including Bill Shannon, the famed official scorer for baseball; Logan Hobson and Bob Canobbio, the inventors of ‘punch-stat’ for boxing matches; and one of harness racing’s great geniuses, Phil Sporn.” A consolidation deal fell through and SIDB went out of business. Berry was asked if he was interested in moving to South Florida to be Public Relations Director at Pompano Park. The track enjoyed its finest two seasons in history benefitting from promotions like a car giveaway, cruise nights, where 10,000 cruise passes were distributed to guests, and mall promotions. John Berry has always worked to make the name of harness racing go viral across the world. He gained more exposure to the track when he became the host of his own radio show, featuring big bands and jazz from the 1920’s and 1930’s. “The show featured music from many of the great bands that were left somewhat obscure to the vast majority,” Berry explained. “I guess you would call them ‘territory bands.’ While modern and pop music was taking over the radio stations, Berry’s interests in the ‘throwback’ tunes caught on in the public ‘ear’, so to say, and he had a lot of loyal listeners. Around this time, Berry was elected President of the United States Harness Writers Association and served that organization for a two-year term. In the 1980’s, he was lured into taking a position with a newly formed company--brainchild of well-known owner and breeder Eric Cherry. The start-up company, National Raceline, had a goal to provide results and race calls from tracks coast-to-coast. Within the company, Berry secured many racetracks that sent in results by fax for the information to be disseminated over a “900” network of telephone lines. In short order, the “Raceline” became the nation's leader in providing information on racing results with nightly calls growing by “leaps and bounds”. Later, he was approached by Allen Greenberg to see if he would be interested in conducting auctions aboard cruise ships. “I agreed to ‘try it for a couple of weeks’ to see if I liked it enough to continue.” Not only did Berry like the position, he was “auctioneer of the year” the first two years the award was given and broke several records along the way. During one of the auctions at sea, a representative of WPBT-Channel 2 Public Television approached John with an offer to go on the air during the station’s membership drives. Accepting the offer, John became one of the hosts of the show and eventually served the station during their on-air auctions. Conducting over 1,800 auctions within his career and raising money for many charitable organizations, libraries, and his beloved Harness Writers Association; the most expensive item sold at one of his auctions was an internet domain name --Sex.net--for $450,000. Serving as an auctioneer, Berry was absent from the sport for a few years. However, like any true horseman who cannot stray too far from the track, he returned after an offer from Isle of Capri’s director, Jim Patton, and Director of Publicity and Marketing, Steve Wolf, in 2004. Both directors persuaded Berry to return to the track, to work in publicity, serving as a “point man” for the upcoming referendum on allowing casinos to be built in Broward County. “Steve (Wolf) came up with an ingenious plan to canvas the area to try and secure support for the casino referendum,” Berry said. “which had failed in two previous attempts. “Well, we got it done and it was quite a scene as we broke ground and, here we are, with a now well established casino that has a 10-year history and racing is still flourishing in South Florida.” Today, Berry, now approaching his mid-70’s, continues to perform several duties at the track---a “three-of-all-trades” ---as he says. He particularly enjoys handicapping for his many followers and looks for “value” in his selections. “Hardly a man in now alive,” he says, “who paid his mortgage at 3 to 5!” One of his most memorable recollections from the handicapping floor comes from the time he predicted a dead-heat during a seminar at The Meadowlands in 1980. Other moments being earning his PHD--Professional Handicapping Degree-- from Tele-Track in 1983 after a six-for-six night there, selecting a “cold” pentafecta at Pompano Park this season, and a string of recent longshot winners in his nightly Pickin’ Berrys handicapping column, one as high as 50 to 1. “The prediction of a dead-heat was as much luck and handicapping skill---something like Babe Ruth predicting his home run at Wrigley Field. “I couldn't separate numbers six and seven and just happened to blurt out, ‘to tell you the truth, I cannot separate these two horses, so I think it'll wind up to be a dead-heat and it was!” Aside from picking his most memorable handicapping memory, John claims the most memorable race he has ever seen was on March 17, 1962 at Maywood Park in Chicago. “I've seen a lot, yes, from Su Mac Lad to Bret Hanover to Albatross to Niatross to Nihalator, to the stars of today but [this] was my most memorable race.” John describes the temperatures to have been wavering in the 30’s mixed with snow, sleet, and rain. “The track had turned into a quagmire,” John explained. “There was a horse named Scotsman, driven by Ken Lighthill, who won in 3:38 ⅗… yes, 3:38 ⅗, which was the slowest winning pari-mutuel mile in history. “It's a record that will ever be broken and it, indeed, is the most memorable race I have ever seen.” John has gotten some well-deserved accolades when in the announcer's booth, too, subbing for Gabe Prewitt when called upon. Racing fan Rich Stern from Chicago lamented, “I love his race calls. They are clear and concise and he's added some nice terms like ‘double-bubbled’ when a horse is three wide. “He gives those behind the scenes nice credit, too. I like that!” His meticulous morning lines have also drawn praise and he was the first and only Morning Line maker to make all horses the same odds--7 to 2--in a six-horse field last season at Pompano Park. The horses had all been around the same time, been beaten about the same number of lengths and were so evenly matched that they all deserved consideration. “I decided to make them all the same in the morning line and that race got huge attention from the media because of it!” Clearly, John Berry has a knack for talent as well as talent himself, in the harness racing world. As a publicity man, fill-in announcer, and writer among many other hats that Berry wears, he covers all bases of harness racing. “He is the equivalent of an encyclopedia of harness racing, a true gentleman,” Standardbred owner and trainer, John Hallett, conveys. Outside of racing, as mentioned before, John was a champion bowler, including capturing the Illinois State Bowling Singles in 1970 by averaging 246 for the tournament. And he is one of few who have ever bowled a perfect 300 game. He lives with his “bride of many years,” Abby and their Quaker Parrot, Pistachio, who, as he says, “brings us joy beyond belief.” Berry has had a lot of “firsts” during his career and plans on helping the sport he loves and its participants as long as possible. Today, John splits his time helping publicize the sport for the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association in the am and doing the late shift in Pompano Park's racing operations office in the afternoon and night. Many horsemen know and recognize John Berry for his talent as a writer and his character as a horseman. “I've known John for many years. He's a nice guy and fun to be around. Working with him sure makes the day go by faster,” iterates Rosie Huff, who works with Berry at the FSBOA office. Berry related, “at the FSBOA, I am lucky enough to work with Rosie Huff, one of the most dedicated individuals with whom I have ever worked. At Pompano, I am honored to work alongside someone as great as Gabe Prewitt, who has an enthusiasm for the sport like no other. “We enjoy and respect each other's talent and company. “You could call it a ‘pari-mutuel’ admiration society!” If there is anyone that the sport of harness racing needs to clone to help promote the industry, they should look no further than John Berry. By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink Jessica Hallett is a new correspondent for Harnesslink. Jessica, 17, lives in Margate, Florida and is currently a senior at Deerfield Beach High School. She is the daughter of Pompano Park owner/trainers John and Michelle Hallett.
Pompano Beach, FL - Harness racing gets its name from the fast-paced beating of hooves and crowds cheering as the thundering hooves pound towards the finish line. Although the talented horses steal the spotlight, accentuated by the roar of the fans, the real action is orchestrated behind the scenes, beginning in the early hours of the morning before the first beam of sunlight and often ending in the deepest and darkest of the night. At the center of it all, the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) holds the key that unlocks the magic that hits the racetrack every race night. They represent and assist the horsemen and women who work at the track including owners, breeders, trainers, drivers and grooms. And currently running the office at Pompano Park is a New York bred woman raised into the harness racing sport, Rosie Huff. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Rosie was one of four children in the Villante family. At the age of 10, her father, Vincenzo Villante, moved to Englishtown, New Jersey in hopes of finding more work as a bricklayer. Buying seven acres of land, Vincenzo built a home next door to his brother, Joe Villante, who, of course, was Rosie’s uncle. At that time, Joe owned riding horses; however, he later transitioned into owning Standardbreds. Pete Villante, another uncle, had owned and been racing Standardbreds. Already riding horses for most of her time in New Jersey, Rosie would begin to learn the basics of the Standardbred racing industry from her uncles. Her teenage years marked the era she would begin training and jogging horses, signifying the years of her first arrival into the business. Raised in New Jersey, Rosie migrated south to Florida in the summer of 1982 and worked as a caretaker for her uncle Pete at the South Florida Trotting Center and, on occasion, traveling up to the Meadowlands Racetrack on occasion until August, 1983. At this time, Rosie moved to Freehold Raceway to work for her uncle Joe before subsequently becoming a “free-lance” caretaker for many top Stables, including the Caraluzzi-McNichol Stable and Ray Vaughn-Thomas. From 1991 to 1994, Rosie worked for the legendary Stanley Dancer, working with many world class stakes horses, including Lifelong Victory, At The Top and Donerail. While working for Stanley Dancer, Rosie found a new love while on her way to the track for a jogging session—and it was not a horse! From the seat of the jog cart, Rosie spotted a fresh face on the racetrack and, as she said, “it was love at first site” The mystery man was identified as Jake Huff, who shipped in the night before and worked for Gordon Norris. Day after day, Rosie worked in the barn stabled close to Jake, but she didn’t have the nerve to strike up a conversation. One night, though, March 7, 1993, she worked up the courage to have a talk with him. That initial talk turned into a love affair which blossomed over the years as Rosie and Jake moved to Michigan, taking positions in the Gordon Norris Stable. Three years from that first March 7 encounter, Rosie and Jake were married in Maui, Hawaii in 1996. Soon after, the Huff family began to grow with first-born, Ronnie, entering the world on February 1, 2000 and brother Ryan joining the family on July 11, 2001. After working for Gordon Norris for two years, Rosie had to stop working with the horses due to her health. “It practically killed me to stop working with the horses, but it was a necessity for health reasons,” she lamented. But, finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel as Rosie discovered a position available at the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) in 1997. Rosie approached Jay Sears, the president of the association, to conduct a plan of action to work part time in the FSBOA on a trial basis. With the help of Jim Ripoll showing her the ropes, she was able to continue the job full time. She then worked full time until 2000, when she took a leave of absence to assume her new role as a mother. In 2004, Rosie resumed working for the FSBOA under Jane Murray and, to this very day, she is seen as a critical part of the success of that organization. When asked about her daily routine at the office, Rosie related that it's anything but a “routine.” “Every day is different for me,” Rosie said. “The only thing that is constant is the time the alarm clock goes off -- 5:15 a.m. “After getting the kids (Ronnie and Ryan) off to start their day, I am usually at the office by 7:30. “There is never a day when there aren't challenges, whether it be helping our horsemen and women with the insurance programs the FSBOA administers or helping with the draw, if necessary, or taking care of the stakes program and our breeding program or making sure that all Florida Bred horses are eligible to our stakes program. “If there is a special race going on, I have to be at the races to present blankets and make presentations---it's never ending, but it's a great never ending!” “It can be very challenging at times, however, it's a challenge that I love.” Of course, that is only a fraction of Rosie's daily routine. “Sometimes, it seems like there is not enough hours in the day when it comes to balancing work and the family. “My kids are very active in sports---a lot of sports---from wrestling and football to bowling and baseball. “There is practice to take care of, games to attend and, of course, mouths to feed and, as a parent, making sure that homework is done. “I'm lucky to get four or five hours of rest a day.” Rosie has been honored along the way for her great service to the horsemen and women in Florida. In 2008 she was awarded the Frances Dodge Van Lennap award and in 2016 was made an honorary member (only the second one ever in 26 years) of the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. Rosie and Jake Huff continue to be prominent players in harness racing with Jake one of the most respected trainers in the sport and Rosie participating in the training of the Florida youngsters when not administering the FSBOA’s Stakes programs and insurance coverage for the horsemen and women in Florida. As Hall of Fame journalist John Berry says, “Rosie is one of those rare individuals that can play ‘every instrument in the orchestra’ when it comes to the sport of harness racing. She is indeed, irreplaceable!” By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink This is Jessica Hallett's first professional story as she is a new correspondent for Harnesslink. Jessica, 17, lives in Margate, Florida and is currently a senior at Deerfield Beach High School. She is the daughter of Pompano Park owner/trainers John and Michelle Hallett.
Pompano Beach, FL - More than 125 horsemen and women were in attendance Friday night at the 26th annual Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Dinner held at the Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort & Spa in Pompano Beach. The highlight of the evening was the inductions into the Florida Hall of Fame. Entering were horsemen Mark Friedman and Dan Hennessey and horse's Rock On and Royel Millennium. Hosted by the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, there were also special human awards given out for the 2016 season and presentations were also made to the Horse of the Year by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and the Florida Amateur Driving Club. Hall of Fame inductee Mark Friedman has been in harness racing for more than five decades as an owner, breeder, trainer and driver. His Polo Stables has had many top Florida-bred champions, none better than the top pacing mare, Bling, p,1:51, a career winner of more than $610,000. "To have worked most of my life in harness racing and now receiving this award is a highlight of my career and I thank everyone who has helped me along the way," Friedman said. Hall of Fame inductee Dan Hennessey, who is nearing his 1,000th career training win and $6 million in earnings, closed out 2016 with a UDRS of .420 despite nearly going blind two years ago. His brother, Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey, summed it up well in his introduction. "I don't think we ever could have had our stable going steady for forty plus years if not for Dan," Hennessey said. He is the one who always held the fort down between Pompano and Saratoga year after year. Many of you don't know that he holds a world record as the only trainer ever to use same driver on nearly every single horse he ever trained, and that was me!" Taking home the most hardware on the evening and it was a good thing she came to the dinner with her pickup truck, was Owner-Breeder Laurie Poulin. In addition to her horse, Royel Millennium, being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Laurie was named Breeder of the Year for the second straight time and also received the Dana Irving Award for the second straight year. Poulin also received four Horse of the Year Crystal Awards for her stables Prairie Panther, Prairie Sweetheart, Prairie Jaguar and Prairie Fortune. All of the horses were bred by Poulin and co-owned and trained by Mike Deters. FLORIDA USHWA AWARD WINNERS Hall of Fame - Mark Friedman Hall of Fame - Dan Hennessey Hall of Fame - Rock On Hall of Fame - Royel Millennium Delvin Miller Award - Fred Morosini Dana Iriving Award - Laurie Poulin R.D. Ricketts Award - Kevin Kelly Stanley Dancer Award - Sergio Corona Lifetime Achievement - Leon Cable Dan Gawlas Award - John Berry Bill Popfinger Award - Mike Deters & Maggie Audley France Dodge Van Lennep Award - Marianne Audley Allen J. Finkelson Award - Gabe Prewitt Caretaker of the Year - Gary McQuaid FSBOA CRYSTAL AWARD WINNERS 2YO Pacing Filly - Gold Star Aurora 2YO Pacing Colt - Prairie Panther 2YO Trotting Filly - Atlantic Crest 2YO Trotting Colt - I'm Done 3YO Pacing Filly - Prairie Sweetheart 3YO Pacing Colt - R Chism 3YO Trotting Filly - Gold Star Briana 3YO Trotting Colt - Rexamillion Older Pacing Mare - Goldstar Rockette Older Pacing Horse - Prairie Jaguar Older Trotting Mare - Selena Older Trotting Horse - Prairie Fortune 2016 Breeder of the Year - Laurie Poulin 2016 Florida Amateur Driver of the Year - Tony Dinges From the Florida Chapter of USHWA
Pompano Beach, FL (February 18, 2017) - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association is pleased to announce its annual Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Awards Banquet. Scheduled for March 10, 2017 at the Ft. Lauderdale Marriott Resort and Spa (1200 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33062), this event honors the Standardbred horsemen and horses that created memorable performances in 2016 and during their careers. Hall of Fame inductees includes trainers Dan Hennessey and Mark Friedman, and the stalwart Florida-based pacing stallions Royel Millennium and Rock On. The event also includes presentation of the FADC Amateur Driver of the Year and the FSBOA Crystal Awards. Proceeds provide for continuation of the promotion of harness racing, plus funding of the annual Allen J. Finkelson scholarship awards and the Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund. Join us for the celebration and networking on March 10 at 6:00 pm. Tickets are $80.00 each and tables of ten are available. Price includes dinner, one hour open bar and cocktail hour. To purchase tickets and to place congratulatory advertisements in the Hall of Fame Awards Program, contact Rosie Huff at the FSBOA office (954-972-5400) or Steven Wolf (954-654-3757). Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. by Thomas H. Hicks, for the Florida Chapter USHWA
Pompano Beach, FL. - On Sunday night, November 27, Pompano Park will play host to the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (F.S.B.O.A.) Super Night, featuring over $430,000 in purse money for Florida bred harness racing two and three year-olds. This annual extravaganza features the best State bred Standardbreds and, this year, features two horses that have unblemished racing careers ”Prairie Sweetheart and Gold Star Briana. Prairie Sweetheart, now undefeated in 13 career starts, looks for her second Super Night championship in the $55,400 Breeders Stake, as she waltzed to victory as a two year-old last season. She recently returned to Pompano Park after defeating grand circuit stock at Lexington's Red Mile in 1:49.1, a lifetime best performance, and then trounced her rivals in South Florida by 12½ lengths. In that event, Prairie Sweetheart went off at a nickel-to-a-dollar in the betting with every other rival over 100 to 1. This daughter of Royal Millennium was recently purchased by the Let It Ride Stables but remains in the care of trainer Mike Deters, who trained the filly in last year's championship season. Gold Star Briana took top honors in her class of two year-old trotting fillies in 2015, capping her season with a Breeders Stake win on Super Night. She now looks for a repeat performance in this year''s $54,150 event. This year, the daughter of Basil is a perfect eight-for-eight with five of those wins taken here at Pompano Park in F.S.B.O.A. stakes events. Last Monday night, Gold Star Briana faced some male counterparts in an overnight event to keep "tight" for Sunday's Super Night event and annihilated her foes by 6½ lengths in 1:56.2. a lifetime best performance. After that event, driver Wally Hennessey remarked, "she really turned on the afterburners around that final turn and we just hope she can do the same on Sunday night. But you cannot take anything for granted in this sport. Over confidence will kill you every time." Briana is trained by Dan Hennessey for owner Kevin Kelly. Her main competition is expected to come from Trotting Missmissy, owned and trained by Donald Dupont. This daughter of Trotting Intruder has been a bridesmaid to Gold Star Brianna on four occasions this fall season. The $56,650 Breeders Stake final for three year-old trotting colts and geldings features Rexamillion, Thundercrest and Proud Joe T, all winners during the fall stakes season in South Florida. Proud Joe T drew "first blood" with wins at Sunshine Meadows and Pompano Park while Thundercrest roared to the head of the class shortly thereafter. Finally, last year's champion, Rexamillion, found his best stride and earned his first two wins of the year in his last two starts. Waiting to take advantage of any miscues are Fifty Fifty Ninety and Savin Rock, both stakes placed during this season. The $55,100 Breeders Stake for sophomore pacing colts and geldings seemed to feature a budding rivalry between last year's champion, Gleneagles, and Conman's Dream, victorious in his last two starts against the reigning champ in stakes action. Conman's Dream, owned and trained by Jason Mac Dougall, chased Gleneagles all of last season but, recently, Conman's Dream has turned the tables on his arch-rival with a pair of wins. But on Monday night, in a "tune-up" for Super Night, up popped R Chism to join the fray with a 21 to 1 upset win in a lifetime best performance timed in 1:53.1. Owned by Jay Sears along with trainer Kim Sears, R Chism destroyed his former best winning mile by almost two seconds. The two year-old divisions, with the exception of one, appear to be wide open. In the colt/gelding trot, a budding rivalry has developed as both Azzaro and I'm Done both sport records of 4-4-0 in their respective eight lifetime starts. In their most recent meeting in the Melvyn Aylor Memorial, I'm Done was victorious but almost let a 10 length lead slip away as he held on for dear life late to win by a neck over the late charging Azzaro, who rallied bravely after a miscue around the opening turn. Each will be seeking the major share of a $50,750 purse. The $53,250 Breeders Stake for two year-old trotting fillies features last week's Melvyn Aylor Memorial winner, Famous C, recovering after a miscue early in that event and spotting the field several lengths. But that field of youngsters did not include Atlantic Crest, a filly that has put a substantial amount of daylight between she and her foes during this Florida stakes season. This daughter of Crest, owned, trained and driven by Sergio Corona, has a winning race mark of 1:57.4, almost three seconds faster than her main rival, Famous C. These two will be joined by a trio of other fillies, including Bonnie Blue Banker, the only other stakes winner in the group having won a Sunshine State Stake at 64 to 1 odds to kick off the racing season at Pompano Park last October 2. The $54,100 Breeders Stake for two year-old pacing fillies features Gold Star Aurora, a winner of six of seven career starts, blemished only by a miscue early in her fourth start. This daughter of Rock On is trained by "rookie" trainer Maggie Audley, who sports a "batting average" of .532 coming into Super Night. Owned by Marianne Audley, Gold Star Aurora won the Aylor Memorial for her class, repelling challenges from both sides in the final stages to prevail. In the $54,270 Breeders Stake for juvenile pacing colts and geldings, Prairie Panther will attempt to extend his winning streak to seven. This son of Royal Millennium, owned by Laurie Poulin along with trainer Mike Deters, has enjoyed plenty of "daylight" between he and his foes during his winning streak and, most recently, took top honors in the Melvyn Aylor Memorial, hitting the wire in 1:55.1, a new lifetime best. Also on the Sunday program is the Open Handicap Pace with Pinocchio, undefeated in his four fall starts at Pompano Park, assigned the outside eight post in a $2,000,000 field. Sing For Me George is also in to go, as is Blue Hour Power, making his initial fall debut at Pompano Park. Finally, Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 Jackpot finale has a carryover awaiting of $14,638.61 on Sunday, as well as Pick-6 carryover. Post time for the pari-mutuel program is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park and the F.S.B.O.A.
Led by a $10,000 donation from Meadowbranch Farm, the Meadowlands will be sending a check for $18,440.95 to the Florida Standardbred Owners & Breeders Association to benefit the harness racing victims of a deadly barn fire that killed 12 horses and injured 11 more. The money was raised through a combination of drivers and trainers pledging a percentage of their earnings the past two weekends plus donations from other members of the industry including the Meadowlands, which is contributing $5,000. The Meadowlands would like to extend its appreciation to the following people who contributed to the relief effort: Ivan Axelrod Ginny & George Berkner Jason & Lori Settlemoir Joe Bongiorno John Calabrese Meadowlands Farm Patti & Rob Harmon Andrew Harris David McDuffee Andy & Julie Miller Al & Tim Nash Chris Ryder Kyle Spagnola For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz
I am one of 14 board members that make up the Florida Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA). We are in a desperate battle to stop the decoupling of our industry which in effect would destroy the sport of Harness racing in Florida and will eventually spread to the other states where Harness Racing has partnered with casinos. The legislative session in Florida has until March 11th to pass the proposed "Seminole Pact" that would eliminate racing almost immediately. We, the FSBOA, believe along with our lawyers that this is blatantly unconstitutional. However, as with all long legal battles we need money to fight the corruption within the political system. The casinos have too much money at their disposal for us to battle without our nationwide industry support. Remember, Florida is the first battleground and first line of defense in stopping decoupling. If decoupling is not stopped in Florida then you can count on your state being next, it is inevitable. Please lets unite in this fight and stop the destruction of our sport. This is a cause that every horseperson, owner, trainer, driver, breeder and vendor must get behind to win. This money will be used for lawyers in our constitutional fight and for our lobbyists in Tallahassee to make sure this doesn't happen again. We are also in talks with a top PR Firm with the intent to take our fight to the people. And don't forget "You will be next" if we don't win in Florida. Thank you for your support, the fate of Harness Racing in the United States lies in our hands. If you can donate, please go to gofundme.com/mqq4kwnw. From Jerry Glantz, for the FSBOA
Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association held their 25th annual Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame awards dinner Friday. Inducted into the Hall of Fame were former race secretary Kenny Marshall, trainer/drivers Wally Ross, Jr. and Tom Sells, and on the equine side, the trotting stallion, Basil. The association also presented its annual horsemen/women awards. In addition, the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) presented their 2015 Crystal Awards to the top state-bred horses this past season and the Florida Amateur Driving Club (FADC) presented their "driver of the year" award. The silver anniversary event took place at the Ft. Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa with more than 150 people in attendance. Wally Ross, Jr.’s induction was only the second time in the history of the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame that a father and son has been inducted. Wally Ross, Sr. was inducted in 2011. The other father-son combo were William Haughton (1990) and Tommy Haughton (1998). It was also the first time in 25 years that the same trainer won both the William Popfinger Award and the Stanley Dancer Award as the top trainer of pacers and trotters. That award went to Mike Deters. In attendance were Hall of Famers William Popfinger (1991), Ron Waples (1994), Wally Hennessey (1996), Joe Pavia, Jr. (1996), Jake Huff (2004), Fred Segal (2005), Dr. Mark Phillips (2008), Mike Deters (2009), Dr. Paul Caputo (2010), David Ingraham (2010), Jim McDonald (2011), Walter Ross, Sr. (2011), Marc Aubin (2012), Christine Garrity & Anthony Amante (2014) and Lou Rapone (2014). 2015 Florida UWHWA Awards Delvin Miller Award (Goodwill) - Victoria Howard Dana Irving Award (Breeder) - Laurie Poulin R.D. Ricketts Award (Contributions) - Richard Dunmire Stanley Dancer Award (trotting trainer) - Mike Deters William Popfinger Award (pacing trainer) - Mike Deters Lifetime Achievement Award - Gerald Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award - Allen Saul Dan Gawlas Award (Good Guy) - Dein Spriggs Peter Haughton Award (Newcomer) - John Cummings, Jr. Peter Haughton Award (Newcomer) - John MacDonald Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award (Outstanding woman) Ann-Mari Daley Allen Finkelson Award (Promotions) - Thomas H. Hicks Caretaker of the Year Award - Tracey O'Leary FSBOA Crystal Award Winners 2yo Pacing Filly - Prairie Sweetheart 2yo Pacing Colt - Gleneagles 2yo Trotting Filly - Gold Star Briana 2yo Trotting Colt - Rexamillion 3yo Pacing Filly - Davita 3yo Pacing Colt - Owosso Flash 3yo Trotting Filly - Livy M 3-yo Trotting Colt - Prairie Fortune Older Pacing Mare - Limelight Older Pacing Horse - Hillybilly Older Trotting Horse - Lugar 2015 Breeder of the Year - Laurie Poulin FADC Driver of the Year - Dein Spriggs From the Florida Chapter of USHWA
Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the States Harness Writers Associations president, Steven Wolf, has announced that one additional award will be presented at the association's 25th annual Silver Anniversary Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on Friday, February 19, 2016 at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa in Pompano Beach. In addition to Allen Saul, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to trainer Gerald "Jerry" Nelson. Nelson, 83, who now resides in Coconut Creek, was born in Truro, Nova Scotia, and started working with Standardbreds as a young boy and then when to California with the great Joe O'Brien, rising to the ranks of second trainer. Nelson also was first trainer with Archie McNeil, Ron Waples, Joe Pavia, Jr. and Wally Hennessey, working much of his career at Pompano Park. "Jerry has been around horses all his life," said Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey, "He was always reliable, super with the horses, he was the whole package and to this day, grooms at Pompano Park always ask how he is doing. Everyone has nothing but the upmost respect for him." Elected to the chapter's Hall of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years and who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry, are veteran trainer/drivers Wally Ross, Jr. of Coral Springs and Tom Sells of Margate, former Pompano Park race secretary Ken Marshall of Livonia, Michigan, and the top trotting sire, Basil, who is retired at James Gluhm's farm in Trenton. In addition to the Florida USHWA chapter's awards, presentations will also be made by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association to the owners of the top 2 and 3-year-old state-bred trotters and pacers from the 2015 season and the annual Breeder of the Year Award. The Florida Amateur Driving Club will also present their year-end awards. Tickets are $80 per person for the full course dinner that begins at 6:00 pm with a one-hour open bar with appetizers. Tables of ten are available. For more information, to purchase tickets, or place a congratulatory ad in the program book, please contact Rosie Huff at the Florida Standardbred Breeders Office at 954-972.5400, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757, email@example.com. From the Florida Chapter USHWA
Pompano Beach, FL...Nov. 29, 2015...The Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association presented their annual Super Night Stakes program for Florida bred Standardbreds with over $430,000 in purses on the line for the eight classes of harness racing two and three year-olds at Pompano Park. Here is a recap of those events: Gold Star Briana Wins $53,800 Two Year-Old Filly Trot Gold Star Briana kept her juvenile record unblemished with her seventh consecutive victory--this one in 2:00.3. The daughter of Basil, trained by Dan Hennessey for owner Kevin Kelly, was driven by Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey and scored by 2¼ lengths over the pacesetting Trotting Missmissy (Donald Dupont) that cut fractions of :29.4, :59.4 and 1:30.1 before submitting to the winner turning for home. All Star Fame (Dan Clements) finished third while Trottime Fool was fourth. Mitzie picked up the nickel in the quintet. The win sent Gold Star Briana's earnings to $61,538 to go along with her mark of 1:58.2. Rexamillion Destroys Foes in $53,300 Two Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot Rexamillion led every step of his journey in scoring a scintillating win measuring 13¾ lengths. The altered son of Proud Bushy, owned by Richard Dunmire, along with Jay and trainer Kim Sears, sprinted away from his foes past the opening quarter of :29.2 and continued to stretch his lead throughout the rest of the journey, clocking subsequent fractions of :58.2 and 1:28.2 before stopping the timer in 1:59.2, a new lifetime mark. Bob Roberts was in the sulky for the win--Rexamillion's fifth straight. Trottime Splendor (Wally Hennessey) was second while Savin Rock (John Campagnuolo) finished third, 19½ lengths away. Fifty Fifty Ninety was next with Proud Joe T fifth, his chances foiled by miscues throughout the mile. Rexamillion now sports a 5-1-1 scorecard in seven lifetime starts, good for earnings of $58,481. Gleneagles Stretches Winning Streak to Six in $53,600 Juvenile Colt Pace Gleneagles, the splendid two year-old Mysticism colt, got picture perfect rating from Wally Hennessey to capture the $53,600 Florida Breeders Stake for pacing colts and geldings in 1:55. Trained by Jim Mc Donald for the Pinhook Stable, Gleneagles was on the engine from the get-go from his outside six post to force main rival Conman's Dream (Jason Mac Dougall) in the "garden spot" and carded fractions of :28.2, :58.1 and 1:27.2 before sprinting home in 27.3 to score a handy win measuring 1¼ lengths over Conman's Dream, the latter now a "bridesmaid" to Gleneagles in their last five meetings. R Chism (Mike Micallef) finished third, 4½ lengths back while ICU Diamond T and Danza picked up the minors. In garnering his sixth consecutive victory at Pompano Park, Gleneagles, with sweeps of the Sunshine State Stake Final, the Stallion Stake and the Aylor Memorial to go along with this Breeders Stake win, now has a bankroll of $71,848. As the 1 to 5 favorite kicking off the pari-mutuel program, Gleneagles paid $2.40 to his multitude of backers. Prairie Fortune Toys With Foes in $56,100 Sophomore Colt/Gelding Trot Prairie Fortune, off at 1 to 20 in his last four pari-mutuel starts, justified the confidence of his followers this night by scoring a decisive win in the $56,100 Breeders Stakes Final for three year-old colts and geldings. Owned by Laurie Poulin along with trainer-driver Mike Deters, Prairie Fortune, an outstanding gelded son of Arapa Victory, lolly-gagged out of the gate from his rail post position before tilting to the outside from last three-eighths into the mile and surging into the lead three-eighths from home and on to a victory measuring 5¼ lengths over Railee Workable (Mickey Mc Nichol). Harrison (Wally Hennessey) was third--25 lengths away--with Victory Park and RJ's Iron Man fourth and fifth, respectively, after being doomed by miscues during the mile. The mile was timed in 1:57.1, far off his record of 1:53.4, but excellent enough to add $28,050 to his coffers, bringing his seasonal bounty to $98,833 and $111,280 lifetime. Prairie Sweetheart Cruises to Victory in $54,600 Two Year-Old Filly Pace Prairie Sweetheart, an undefeated six-for-six coming into this Super Night Breeders Stake Final, left the winner's circle seven-for-seven with a handy nine length win in the $54,600 two year-old filly pace. Owned by John "The Owosso Flash" Spindler along with Laurie Poulin and trainer Mike Deters, Mike was in the bike as this daughter of Royal Millennium led every step of her journey, carving panels of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:26.3 before drawing away late on the strength of her :28.3 finale. Caitlin's Romance (Rick Plano), suffering from a bobble before the start, rallied courageously from last to finish a clear second while Diamond Lily (Mike Micallef), in the garden spot much of the way, finished third. Gold Star Lovebug was fourth while Gold Star Mysti finished fifth in the field of six. Prairie Sweetheart now has earnings of $63,274 as her career blossoms forward to go along with a track record tying 1:53.3 mark for juvenile pacing fillies. The overwhelming favorite 1 to 20 odds, Prairie Sweetheart paid $2.10 to win. Zendaya Pulls Off the Upset in $54,700 Three Year-Old Filly Trot Zendaya picked the perfect night to break her maiden as this three year-old daughter of Proud Bushy pulled off the mild 6 to 1 upset in the $54,700 Breeders Stake for three year-old trotting fillies. Owned by Jay Sears along with trainer Kim Sears, Zendaya was driven to victory by Bob Roberts, giving him his second Super Night victory. Run Around Sue S (Kevin Wallis) was second at 27 to 1, a head back of the winner after taking a narrow lead right before the wire with Livy M (Wally Hennessey) third as the 1 to 10 favorite. Run Around Sue showed the best gate speed and took command early as Zendaya left alertly, as well, with Livy M away third but on the move from that cozy spot early to take command at the :30.1 opener. Livy M continued to cut mile--1:00.1 and 1:31--and led by 1½ lengths turning for home but was unable to withstand the closing kicks of the top pair, with Zendaya closing quickest of all to nail the win in the final stride in 2:01.1. In breaking her maiden, Zendaya sent her earnings for the season to $37,186 on the strength of this, her biggest payday career-wise. Second choice in the betting, Zendaya rewarded her faithful with a $15.00 mutuel. Owosso Flash Gives Deters Third Stake Win With New Mark of 1:52.2 Owosso Flash gave trainer-driver Mike Deters his third Super Night win in the $54,200 Breeders Stake for sophomore pacing colts and geldings, covering the mile in a lifetime best 1:52.2. This son of Royal Millennium made a brilliant move just short of the opening quarter--:28.1--and went on to post subsequent fractions of :56.3 and 1:24.2 before his :28 finale left no doubt late--the margin 2½ lengths over Caesar's Forum and six lengths over Drake. Gold Star Roger and Stutz completed the quintet. In garnering his sixth win of the year, Owosso Flash, sent his seasonal bounty to $59,844 and $113,394 lifetime to go along with his new mark. Owosso Flash is owned by Laurie Poulin along with trainer driver Deters. Off at 2 to 5 on the tote-board, Owosso Flash paid $2.80 to win. The victory, incidentally, was not only a "hat trick" for Deters in the bike, it sent his UDRS over the .900 mark with a 16-4-0 scorecard in 20 starts in the sulky this meeting. Davita Pulls Off Minor Upset in $55,550 Three Year-Old Filly Pace Davita, a "bridesmaid" to Gold Star Dynasty in her last three starts, finally got the job done on Super Night by taking top honors in the $55,550 Breeders Stake for three year-old pacing fillies. This daughter of Six Of Diamonds, owned by Richard Dunmire along with Jay and (trainer) Kim Sears, was handled by Corey Braden and stalked the favorite, Gold Star Dynasty (Aaron Byron), after relinquishing an early lead to her foe at the opening panel in a hot :27.4. With Gold Star Dynasty hitting subsequent markers in :57 and 1:27, Davita left her cozy pocket and wore down Gold Star Dynasty at the sixteenth pole and then held off the late surging Paxxie (Kevin Wallis) to win by a length. Gold Star Dynasty did finish third, two lengths away, while Gold Star Sonata finished fourth. Gold Star Charming picked up the final award in the sextet of fillies. For Davita, it was her third win of the year in eight starts and sent her yearly bounty soaring from $17,922 to $45,697. She's banked $59,221 lifetime. She paid $9.20 as third choice in the betting. Racing continues of Monday night with a pentafecta carryover from Super Night guaranteeing a pool of $7,500. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL…Saturday night is shaping up to be a “Super Night” at Pompano Park with the $422,000 FSBOA sponsored Breeders Stakes on tap along with a strong supporting card featuring some of the best pacers ever to grace the south Florida oval. The marquee’ event could very well feature one of the most dominant Florida bred horses in history—Markie—who is undefeated in five starts this year in her class of sophomore trotting fillies. Owned by Jay Sears, Markie has annihilated her foes this semester, winning by margins ranging from 3¾ lengths to 23 lengths with four of her five wins measured in double digits. Markie will be attempting to stretch her winning streak to nine, going back to last season when she was the champion of her two year-old division, sealing the issue on Super Night 2013 at Pompano. Trainer Kim Sears has taken nothing for granted saying, “so far, things have gone her way but she is very high spirited…maybe you could even say she’s a brat. But once she gets going, she REALLY gets going. We just hope she behaves on her big night.” Waiting in the wings “just in case” will be Trotting JC Poss, second to Markie on four occasions this season. Owned and trained by Steve Stabile, Trotting JC Poss was also the “bridesmaid” to Markie on Super Night last year. So overwhelming has been Markie that her Super night event with a purse of $53,000 has drawn only four other challengers and has been scheduled as the third of three non-wagering events kicking off the card. Vying for supremacy in the division for two year-old pacing colts and geldings is Owosso Flash, owned by Laurie Poulin along with trainer Mike Deters. Owosso Flash, named in honor of longtime owner John Spindler of Owosso, Michigan, has an unblemished record at Pompano Park, having won two Sunshine State Stakes then complimenting that with a victory in the Stallion Stakes and coming into Super night off of a spectacular 1:54.4 performance in the Melvyn Aylor Memorial, this despite fierce winds and a blinding rainstorm. Two starts ago, the “green” youngster took a right hand turn towards the paddock just after the start but driver Mike Deters was able to get the colt composed and, once settled down, this son of Royel Millennium gobbled up a 15 length deficit and went on to score a victory in 1:58.1—last half :57. Gold Star Roger and Caesar’s Forum appear to have made the best case to upset “Flash” should he prove to be a “flash in the pan.” But trainer Mike Deters doesn’t think Owosso Flash is a “flash in the pan,” saying, “He’s a very fast horse that is just learning his trade. I really think highly of him and hope he lives up to my expectations.” The race for supremacy in the division for sophomore pacing colts and geldings has been a toss-up for the past two seasons between Tough Issue, Gold Star Kenny P and Warlock. Last season, Tough Issue and Warlock fought bravely to the “wire” with Tough Issue emerging the Super Night champ. This semester, Gold Star Kenny P has joined the fray and even rose to the top of the class after three straight Sunshine State Stakes victories over Tough Issue. But, when the lucrative Sunshine final came along, Tough Issue rose to the occasion, pinning a five length defeat on Kenny. In the Stallion Stakes, Tough Issue, again, took top honors. Warlock has been third in all of these encounters and looks to rebound on Super Night. In the race for honors in the sophomore pacing division for fillies, the “limelight” currently belongs to “Limelight,” whose record remains unscathed in her five FSBOA stakes events. Owned by Beauty in the Bridle Racing, trainer Rosie Huff has high praise for Limelight saying, “She has been very good against her class, yes, but this group has loads of talent, so I just hope her good fortune continues.” Marion, Voluminous and J D Eleven Bells are just a few just waiting in the wings should opportunity present itself but Limelight is the 5 to 2 morning favorite. In the juvenile class for trotting colts and geldings, the highly spirited Prairie Fortune—6 to 5 on the morning line—appears to have the upper hoof, having scored a remarkable 2:00 win in the Aylor Stake a week ago despite the difficult weather conditions. Trainer-driver Mike Deters recently said, “He does have a high turn of speed but, having said that, it’s a challenge for him to keep his mind on business. When he’s good, no doubt he’s VERY good.” Railee Workable and Victory Park are among those that have chased Prairie Fortune home—though several lengths away. In the race for the Super Night crown in the pacing filly division for two year-olds, Gold Star Dynasty and Paxxie have proven to be at the top of the class with “Dynasty” having the slightest edge based on her game 1:56 victory for Peter Wrenn last Saturday night in the Aylor Memorial. Three other Breeders Stakes events complete the FSBOA festivities with the supporting card featuring Hippomania III—the $12,000 Open Handicap Pace—carded as the nine race on the program. With the recent 1:49 winner Duc Dorleans out this week, Prairie Jaguar, second last week, and Panocchio, third in that same outing, renewing a spirited rivalry along with a quintet of others, including new arrivals Lyons Johnny, E Z Noah and Red Scooter. That’ll Be The Rei and Audreys Dream complete the talented million dollar field in which five of the participants own marks of 1:50 or faster with the other two just a tick or two away. Pari-mutuel post time is 7:30 p.m. with the trio of FSBOA Super Night non-betting events beginning at 6:35 p.m. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...November 5, 2014...With two classes of the FSBOA Stallion Stakes highlighting the midweek card at Pompano Park, Gold Star Dynasty was in the "limelight" after a lifetime best 1:56.3 performance in the two year-old filly pace while the filly Limelight was creating a "dynasty" of her own in winning the distaff event for pacing sophomores. Gold Star Dynasty, the splendid Six Of Diamonds filly owned and trained by Tom Audley (and family), pushed her lifetime earnings to $22,262 in just five starts with a very sharp wire-to-wire win in the $26,000 Stallion Stakes for Wally Ross, Jr. for her third lifetime win. Taking the lead at the outset from her outside post six, Ross rated the filly to perfection, clocking fractions of :29.1, :59 and 1:29 before sending the lass sprinting home in :27.4, stopping the tele-timer in the aforementioned 1:56.3, annihilating her previous mark by three full seconds. The highly regarded Paxxie, handled by Bruce Ranger, was second, 6 Â½ lengths away, while Davita and Bob Roberts teamed up for show honors. Arties Diamond Gal was fourth with Creamsicle picking up the nickel. After the race, driver Wally Ross, Jr. said, "this filly likes to be in the thick of things from the get-go...not necessarily on top, but close. Tonight, I thought it best to get her into it early from the outside. She really seemed to relish being on the lead the entire route tonight. I was just a passenger." Even money on the tote-board, Gold Star Dynasty was second choice in the betting--Paxxie was 4 to 5--and paid $4.20 to her faithful. In the $28,500 Stallion Stakes for the three year-old fillies, Beauty In The Bridle Stable's Limelight, deftly handled by Tom Sells, made a quarter move to the top and, after a :28.3 opener, clocked subsequent panels of :58 and 1:27 before turning on her after-burners with the filly striding home in :28.3 to stop the timer in 1:55.3, her margin of victory 1 Â¼ lengths over Marion, driven by Matt Romano. Limelight has created somewhat of a "dynasty" in her own right, having swept her four legs of the FSBOA sponsored Sunshine State Stakes to go along with her victory on this night. Voluminous, handled by Bruce Ranger, was next. ICU Charlie T was fourth in the mile while Gold Star Jessica picked up the final award in the field of nine. After the race, driver Tom Sells related, "she's a very nice filly...very handy. She is very well mannered and proved that tonight when there was a recall that kept all of 'em on the track for several extra minutes. I made that quarter move to stay out of trouble and she did the rest...all on her own." Trained by Rosie Huff, Limelight won for the seventh time in 11 starts this year, good for $41,145. She's banked $56,274 lifetime. Favored at 1 to 2 on the board, Limelight paid $3.00 to win. Finally, Andover America, the still splendid nine year-old son of Andover Hall, won for the fourth consecutive time in Pompano Park's $10,000 top Open trotting event for Bruce Ranger. Owned by McTrade Enterprises, Andover America led at every marker clocking panels of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:26.4 before sprinting home in :28.3 to score a rather handy victory measuring 1 Â¾ lengths in 1:55.2. Count Speed, in the garden spot for Wally Hennessey the entire route, finished second with Baby Boy Grin third for Kevin Wallis. The Kept Man and Majestic Won picked up the final two awards in the septet. In a post-race interview, Ranger said, "you know, I keep saying that Andover may be a step slower than when he was last season--age does that, you know--but he sprinted out of the gate like a youngster tonight...and all on his own. I thought a quick opening quarter like that (:27.4) might leave him a little wanting at the end but he really felt like he wanted to go on and on." For Andover America, it was his seventh triumph of the year, sending his seasonal earnings to $45,650. He has now banked $785,890 in his career on the strength of a 57-32-18 scorecard in 152 lifetime starts. Despite coming into the action with the winning streak, Andover America was allowed to go off at 3 to 1 and returned $8.20 to win as the second choice. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL....Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park and the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) have signed a letter of intent outlining terms of a three-year deal, pending execution by both parties of a final definitive agreement. Pursuant to the letter of intent, the agreement would be effective immediately and extend through the 2016-2017 racing season. The definitive agreement would also extend Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park's current season of 126 racing days through June 27, 2015. According to Brett Revington, Isle's director of racing, "Under the terms outlined in the letter of intent, projections indicate that purses should average $75,000 per racing program during the peak of the season--January through March--with total purses estimated at $8.5 million representing a nearly 20% increase over purses from last season." Revington added, "We expect TVG to begin racing coverage at the Isle on Mondays beginning November 3, with additional coverage at three days per week during the peak season. The proposed new agreement gives both Isle and FSBOA the opportunity to make harness racing the best it can be here in South Florida," Additionally as part of the proposed new agreement, a new marketing committee consisting of parties from both the Isle and FSBOA will be formed to attract new racing patrons and enhance the racing experience for guests. To view the Isle racing schedule please visit our website at www.theislepompanopark.com and click on the racing tab or call the Isle direct at 954.972.2000. From the Isle Casino & Racing at Pompano Park
With Mother Nature cooperating and no rain for the second straight week, the Sunshine Stakes for Florida sired Standardbreds went off without a hitch Saturday at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village in Delray Beach, Florida. There were eight stakes races for two and and three-year-old trotters and pacers with purses totaling more than $25,000. The race are sponsored by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association. The track was rated good with a one-second allowance because of rain during the early morning hours. The thriller of the day happened in the $3,500 seven race pace for three-year-old fillies as Limelight stole the spotlight for driver Tom Sells with a 1:57.1 victory. That mile was the fastest of the two days of fair racing. Heather and driver Bob Roberts were caught three-wide to the opening quarter mile in :28.3 as Lightlight also had to go on the outside when Voluminous (Bruce Ranger) made a break. Heather then led the field to the half in :57.2 and the three-quarters in 1:27. It was then that Sells came after the lead with Limelight and they tore aware from the rest of the field to win by four open lengths. It was the fourth win this year for the Cracking Light daughter, who trained by Rosie Huff for the Beauty Bridle Racing Stable of South Amboy, NJ. Markie made it an impressive two for two in 2014 with her second straight win in the $3,300 three-year-old filly trot. Driven by Bob Roberts, Markie was parked to the early lead and just like last week, she pulled away from everyone and went on to win by 23 lengths in 2:00.1. It was the daughter of Proud Bushy’s fifth straight win for Kim and Jay Sears of Osteen, FL, who also bred the filly. Other winners on the program were Railee Workable (Mickey McNichol) in the $3,450 2yo colt trot in 2:03.3; Livy M (Tom Sells) captured the $3,150 2yo filly trot in 2:07.3 and Gold Star Dynasty (Walter Ross, Jr.) took the $3,200 2yo filly pace in 2:01.1. The $2,500 pace for 2yo colts was captured by Caesar’s Forum (Bruce Ranger) in 2:00.3; the $2,900 3yo colt trot was won by Showing Off (Bob Roberts) in 2:01 and the second fastest mile on the card saw Gold Star Kenny P (Mickey McNichol) win the $2,800 3yo colt pace in 1:59.3. The Sunshine Stakes now move on to the third leg at the Isle Pompano Park on their opening night, Saturday, October 4. From Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village
The second leg of the Florida Sunshine Stakes with more than $25,000 in purses, will take place Saturday at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village in Delray Beach. There is free admission and parking. First race post time is 11:00 am for the eight race program for Florida-sired two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. There is one division for each gait and gender. The series is hosted by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association to spotlight the top Florida-sired Standardbreds. Victory Park, who won his maiden start last week, drew the rail in the first race for two-year-old colt trotters. He will once again be driven by Bruce Ranger. The first race had a full field of nine colts going behind the Hummer starting gate. Markie, who is on a four-race winning streak for trainer Kim Sears, heads the fifth race trot for three-year-old fillies and drew post five. The daughter of Proud Bushy romped last week at Sunshine Meadows, winning by 20 open lengths in 2:02.1, which was the fastest mile on the race program. She will again be driven by Bob Roberts, who had a driving triple last week. There will be vendors and food trucks at the event. The Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village is located on the west side of 441/SR 7 between Atlantic Avenue and Clint Moore Road. For more information call 561-281-7659. From Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Center
Harness racing is coming to Delray Beach, Florida this Saturday with the $25,000 Sunshine Stakes for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. The races will be held at the Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village on Route 7/441 beginning at 11:00 am. There is free admission and parking, arts and crafts and equine product vendors, food trucks, pony rides and other activities for children. There is also a special celebrity harness race featuring Florida State senators Maria Sachs, Joseph Abruzzo, Mazda professional car racing sensation Tristan Nunez and TV12 Sports Director Matt Lincoln. They will compete in a one mile race in double-seating jogging carts with a trainer. On the one mile racetrack there will be eight Sunshine Stakes events. Featured will be the 2014 debut of Markie, a three-year-old trotting filly who last year won seven of her eleven starts for owner/breeders Kim and Jay Sears of Osteen. Markie is sired by Proud Bushy and last season earned $57,700 while dominating her class and closed out the 2013 season with three straight wins. Other standouts include Tom Audley’s Gold Star Jessica, a $46,000 winner who heads the three-year-old pacing filly ranks and Tough Issue, a three-year-old pacing gelding that has won $64,000 for trainer Mike Deters of Coconut Creek. All four of the two-year-old races for trotters and pacers feature first time starters. The last time there was racing at Sunshine Meadows was back in 1998. Everyone is reminded to bring their lawn chairs as there is no seating at Sunshine Meadows. In the event of a rain cancellation the races will be moved to Sunday. The second leg of the series will also be held at Sunshine Meadows on Saturday, September 20. The Sunshine Stakes are sponsored by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association. For more information call 561-414-3512 or 954-654-3757. From Sunshine Beach Equestrian Center