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(August 28, 2017) - After three days of competition (8/25-8/27), a familiar name is on top of the harness racing standings for the week and year to date in the Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge as Megan Maccario came out in top for the week with 75 points, just 5 points ahead of Ray Cotolo whose 70 points came in one day; having missed the first two days of the week's competition. For the fourth week in a row, Maccario sits on top of the standings with 779.23 points, 54 points ahead of Rusty Nash's 745.20. Despite not winning a race on Friday night, Maccario came out on top thanks to her selection of Dream Together in the second division of the Casual Breeze as the horse paid $8.60 for second place (no show wagering). While several handicappers selected the winner of the first division, On A Sunny Day, the payoff was not enough to beat Maccario's tally. Saturday there was a three-way dead heat for first place for the day's races at Mohawk as Russ Adams, Ray Garnett, and Terry Wilson hit the trifecta selecting all three winners for the night's races; Shadow Moon ($7.90), Percy Bluechip ($2.90), and Pedro Hanover ($5.00) were the winning horses. Sunday at Tioga Downs, nine stakes races were on the contest sate and a trio of handicappers, Sally Hinckley, Rusty Nash, and Bryan Owen each tabbed five winners but it was Ray Cotolo with four winners who managed to come out ahead as he earned a net profit of $40.10. While Cotolo had a quartet of winners, it was two second place finishers Frost Damage Blues ($21.60 for place and show) In the Artiscape and Cufflink Hanover ($18.60 place and show) in the Crawford Farms which made the difference. Standings as of Sunday, August 27, 2017 - Leg #44   Pos   Handicapper   Total Points Earned   Legs Won   Last Week   Streak   1st   Megan Maccario   779.23   8   1st   4   2nd   Rusty Nash   745.20   6   2nd       3rd   Matt Rose   701.38   7   3rd       4th   Russ Adams   693.62   7   4th       5th   Ray Garnett   630.11   4   8th       6th   Sally Hinckley   629.73   6   7th       7th   Dennis O’Hara   627.93   6   6th       8th   Anne Stepien   618.65   5   5th       9th   Gordon Waterstone   584.00   5   9th       10th   Bryan Owen   558.23   5   11th       11th   Steve Horoky   557.16   3   10th       12th   Terry Wilson   465.72   5   13th       13th   Jay Hochstetler   455.00   3   12th       14th   Ray Cotolo   420.33   3   16th       15th   Michael Carter   405.53   3   15th       16th   Adam Friedland   370.30   2   15th         Next Up: Thursday night (8/31) Mohawk Racetrack hosts the Champlain Stake for 2yo filly trotters.  On Friday (9/1), Mohawk hosts the Champlain Stakes for 2yo colt and gelding trotters, the Simcoe Stake for 3yo filly trotter.  Saturday (9/2), Mohawk hosts the Simcoe for 3yo colt and gelding trotters, the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Champlain stake for 2yo pacers of both sexes while Yonkers Raceway features the Yonkers Trot, Messenger Pace, Lady Maud, and the Hudson Filly Trot.  The following week has stakes racing from the Meadowlands, Mohawk Racetrack, and Scioto Downs.  The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.    Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org   Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

(August 21, 2017) - The victories have been far and few for Ray Cotolo this year in the harness racing Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge, but he made up for it big time this past weekend as he earned a net profit of $116.80, over a $100 more than his closest competitor. Megan Maccario remains on top for the third week in a row in the overall chase, 20 points ahead of the pack. The contest week kicked off on Friday evening (8/18) at Vernon Downs and while the first two races of the evening were won by favorites, the Zweig Filly and Open races were upsets and Anne Stepien was the only handicapper able to tab one of the victors, Zweig Filly Stakes winner Evelyn ($16.00) which enabled her to be the only handicapper to show a net profit for the evening of $18.10. Saturday night there was only one race on the contest card, the Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer at Red Shores-Charlottetown Driving Park and once again only one handicapper came out in the black, Adam Friedland. Friedland managed to select the winner Shadow Place ($22.00) netting $29.80 for the evening. Sunday's races at Tioga Downs and Hippodrome 3R saw Cotolo come to the table firing on all cylinders by managing to sweep all four tilts. Repentence ($4.20) in the Tompkins and Pasithea Face S ($3.40) in the Ms. Versatility were easy selections but reeling in Dealt A Winner ($72.40) in the Roll With Joe and Western Fame ($14.80) in the Prix d'Ete required spot-on handicapping. By sweeping the card, Cotolo netted $122.80 for the day. The overall race remains tight with less than 30 points separating Maccario (704.23) from second place Rusty Nash (684.20) and third place Matt Rose (675.38).    Standings as of Sunday, August 20, 2017 - Leg #41   Pos   Handicapper   Total Points Earned   Legs Won   Last Week   Streak   1st   Megan Maccario   704.23   7   1st   3   2nd   Rusty Nash   684.20   6   3rd       3rd   Matt Rose   675.38   7   2nd       4th   Russ Adams   625.62   6   4th       5th   Anne Stepien   602.65   5   9th       6th   Dennis O’Hara   591.43   6   8th       7th   Sally Hinckley   570.23   6   5th       8th   Ray Garnett   567.11   3   7th       9th   Gordon Waterstone   558.00   5   8th       10th   Steve Horoky   525.66   3   10th       11th   Bryan Owen   494.23   5   11th       12th   Jay Hochstetler   414.00   3   12th       13th   Terry Wilson   407.72   4   13th       14th   Michael Carter   387.03   3   14th       15th   Adam Friedland   370.30   2   15th       16th   Ray Cotolo   350.33   2   16th           Next Up: This weekend, Mohawk Racetrack will be hosting the Nassagaweya (two year old pacers) and the Eternal Camnation (two year old filly pacers) on Saturday night while Tioga Downs hosts on Sunday the Crawford Farm Trot (open trotters) and Joie De Vie (filly and mare trotters) as well as the Artiscape for (filly and mare pacers). The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge  

Plainville, MA---Ten prominent national harness racing analysts and handicappers have weighed in on who they believe will win the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts trot to be held at Plainridge Park on Friday (July 28). Post time for the first race Friday is 4 p.m. Post time for the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot is estimated at 6:40 p.m. Please note that coverage and live streaming of the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot will be available Friday at DRF Harness (http://www.drf.com/harness) and at the Plainridge Park website (www.plainridgeparkcasino.com). Bob "Hollywood" Heyden, Hall of Fame Meadowlands statistician and handicapper 1-Hannelore Hanover was my vote for 2016 "Trotter of the Year" and is a touch better than last year and that is saying a ton. Remember, Moni Maker in 1998 was a 5-year-old and would win the first of two straight HOY titles, which has not been done since. This mare is very reminiscent of her and I think the boys will be in for a long afternoon. 8-Obrigado has the speed to negate the bad draw and is the most unheralded of the division winners of 2016 who raced at the Meadowlands on Pace night. The second richest gelding in the sport last year (WIJI), he's getting his sea legs and is the one to fear up front. 2-Crazy Wow joined the Burke Brigade after a strong 2-year-old season with Dan O'Mara which included a NYSS final win. He's the rare 3-year-old trotter to bank a MILLION without being Hambo eligible. He is a major threat. Ken Warkentin, Track Announcer at the Meadowlands 1-Hannelore Hanover is the current Queen of Trotting and has beaten the boys with regularity. She is fresh off a short-lived track record at the Big M and heads a formidable Burke duo from the rail. 2-Crazy Wow is the model of consistency this season. This versatile Burke trainee nailed Resolve in the Cleveland Classic, then freshened by equaling his mark of 1:51.1. He draws inside to stalk his stablemate. 6-Resolve was the decisive winner of the Cutler and just missed to Crazy Wow in the Cleveland Classic. This classy 6-year-old draws a demanding post off a tough trip from post eight at Yonkers. James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia Handicapper 6 - Resolve may have been defeated in four of his six races this year, but it's worth noting that two of those losses were to Bold Eagle and Timoko. In his narrow defeat to Crazy Wow at Northfield, this 6-year-old endured a first-over trip while Crazy Wow enjoyed a cozy pocket ride throughout. Despite last week's failed effort from post 8 at Yonkers, this one has impressed me most. 8 - Obrigado held his ground well under the pressure of Resolve over ten furlongs at Yonkers last week, only beaten by a neck in the end by a pair of late-emerging challengers. In their previous meeting, Resolve was just better despite a first-over push up the far side at Northfield. Given an abundance of pace in the race, this one has every chance to stay strong from the end with a more insulated journey. 1 - Hannelore Hanover has not only lost four of her last 25 races, but she's also won four straight, including the Armbro Flight at Mohawk and a scintillating 1:50.3 performance in her Miss Versatility preliminary at the Meadowlands nearly a fortnight ago. While she proved she can beat the boys at Hoosier last fall, this is her first such task of her 5-year-old season. That said, despite Crazy Wow's banner season thus far, I feel the mare is the stronger half of the Burke entry. Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications/USTA 1-Hannelore Hanover - After trainer Ron Burke said she wasn't as sharp as last year, Hannelore Hanover went a track-record 1:50.3 with a hand drive to win Miss Versatility division at Meadowlands. 6- Resolve - Got stuck leading the outside flow for nearly the entirety of 1-1/4 mile event last time out at Yonkers and should be a prime contender here. 5- Cufflink Hanover - Trying for some value here with a horse that was buried on the pylons in the stretch before fanning four wide and charging home to finish second to Marion Marauder in Hambletonian Maturity. Michael Carter, Co-Host of Post Time with Mike and Mike 1- Hannelore Hanover- Has been the dominate mare trotter and is back to take on the boys who she last defeated in the Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park. Her effort at The Meadowlands in the Ms. Versatility was a dominate one and I expect a fantastic trip from the rail for her. 8- Obrigado- He has done some fantastic things for trainer Paul Kelley in his career and I expect that to continue tonight. He draws a little tough towards the outside, but tends to grind away at the early pace and has been known to show a good amount of early speed from the outside. Expect him to be a part of the action. 2- Crazy Wow- Won his last pari-mutuel start at Northfield Park in the Cleveland Trotting Classic in World Record time. He draws well this week just to the outside of Hannelore Hanover. He can be a horse that can trip out and wait for the right moment to strike and that kind of trip could bode well for him here. Garnet Barnsdale, Woodbine/Mohawk Public Handicapper for DRF Harness 1- Hannelore Hanover has never been better, coming off a lifetime-best score to extend her winning streak to four. And while she faces all males here, Gingras will use the inside post to his advantage. She gets the nod. 6- Resolve is classy and consistent and he was victimized by a brutal trip last time at Yonkers. He should bounce back here. 2- Crazy Wow is having a sensational season so far and he is another strong contender that you must consider in this excellent field of aged trotters. Gabe Prewitt - Meadowlands/Red Mile TV Department 1-Hannelore Hanover would have been tough to tackle from any post, but the inside advantage is key. The lone mare is the one to beat! Lenny Calderone, Track Announcer at Plainridge Park 1-Hannelore Hanover has 30 wins in 46 career starts and $1.5 million in lifetime purse earnings and this trotting diva has done just about everything asked of her. Fresh off a dominating performance in a personal best 1:50.3 at The Meadowlands, Hannelore Hanover draws the rail and should be able to control her own destiny and beat the boys in the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot. 2-Crazy Wow turned in a giant winning qualifier six days ago at The Meadowlands following three week rest period and figures to be in the thick of it all from post two. 6-Resolve is as classy as they come. This 6-year-old son of Muscle Hill will depart from post six and may opt to come from off the pace and outkick rivals in the late going. Dave Brower, Meadowlands Race Analyst and Handicapper 1-Hannelore Hanover is the clear class of this bunch after her almost invincible looking efforts so far this year. From the rail, she'll have to push off strongly and allow only one horse by, if need be. 2-Crazy Wow is coming off a sensational qualifier which clearly shows he's back to top form. Given the right journey, he might even have a chance of upsetting the big mare! 3-J L Cruze hasn't had the best of seasons yet, but he plots for a good journey in here no matter what happens. He races just as well on the smaller tracks as the bigger ones and he can grind all day. He's hard to leave out. Gordon Waterston, Hall of Fame Associate Editor of the Horseman and Fair World 6-Resolve: There will be bunch busting out of there but when it settles down I look for Resolve to be the one in the best position and get the victory. 1-Hannelore Hanover: I have a hunch that Gingras will get away fourth or fifth but then will be able to put his mare in second-over position and get a nice trip 8-Obrigado: His gate speed will force the issue early and if MacDonald can work out the journey, he could be tough here.   By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park

WASHINGTON, PA, July 24, 2017 — Prompted by a three-day carryover of $24,374.31, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino has established a $75,000 total-pool guarantee — largest in track history — for its harness racing Pick 5 wager on Tuesday, July 25. The guarantee is offered as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. In addition, Tuesday’s card includes a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4, a regular feature of each program at The Meadows. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 10-14) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Tuesday’s program is 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

(July 23, 2017) –   Steve Horoky was the top harness racing handicapper for the weekend of July 21-22 in the Hambletonian Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge by earning 67 points, besting Anne Stepien by 5 points with her 62 points.  Rusty Nash finished third for the week with 50 which allowed him to retake the overall lead by the largest margin of the season.  Horoky owes his victory thanks to a trio of winners (Seven Iron, $6; Grand Teton, $6.20; Kissin In The Sand $3.20) and a couple of second place finishes in the Kindergarten Classic series at the Meadowlands Friday evening which gave him first place for the evening with an $18.00 net profit.  Also with three winners were Nash who finished second with a profit of $11.60 while Russ Adams landed in third with his $8.00 profit. Saturday evening, the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace from Saratoga Raceway was the sole race on the card and the victory of Bit Of Legend N ($32.20) was a surprise to all but handicapper Anne Stepien who took down the longshot for first place honors for the night.  A quintet of handicappers dead-heated for second as Boston Red Socks took show honors to salvage the card for them.  Nash’s overall performance the weekend places him in first with 591.95 points, approximately 40 points ahead of Matt Rose’s 552,13 pts.  Megan Maccario remains in third place with 525.48 points while Russ Adams completes the superfecta with 499.12.  Standings as of Saturday, July 22, 2017 - Leg #32 Pos Handicapper Total Points Earned Legs Won Last Week Streak 1st Rusty Nash 591.95 6 2nd 1 2nd Matt Rose 552.13 6 1st   3rd Megan Maccario 525.48 5 3rd   4th Russ Adams 499.12 5 4th   5th Gordon Waterstone 469.75 5 5th   6th Sally Hinckley 452.98 5 6th   7th Ray Garnett 436.86 3 7th   8th Dennis O’Hara 435.68 5 8th   9th Steve Horoky 402.41 2 9th   10th Anne Stepien 356.15 4 12th   11th Jay Hochstetler 322.75 3 10th   12th Terry Wilson 319.47 3 11th   13th Michael Carter 298.03 3 13th   14th Bryan Owen 270.23 2 14th   15th Adam Friedland 262.80 1 15th   16th Ray Cotolo 196.33 1 16th   Next Up:  The Handicapping Challenge heads to Western Pennsylvania with Friday’s slate of Arden Downs races for 2yo trotters.  In addition, the Grand Circuit Challenge visits Plainridge Park for their inaugural Spirit of Massachusetts for Open Trotters.  Saturday afternoon, the series returns to the Meadows for the Adios and Adioo Volo for 3yo trotters plus the Arden Downs for 2yo pacers while the Meadowlands takes center stage in the evening, hosting the Reynolds for 3yo trotters plus the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations.  The following week, the Meadowlands Hambletonian Day card takes center stage. The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

Ernest Bohn used to raise harness-racing horses and drive them in races in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He's been married to his wife Pamela for 46 years, and they have two children. Ernest Bohn came into Event #40: $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better, his fourth World Series of Poker tournament, with nary a recorded live cash to his name. He left it a WSOP champion with a gold bracelet and $173,228 in prize money after getting through a field of 595 players. The long, grueling days of tournament poker can be a grind on anyone. But, a 68-year-old relative tournament novice playing a 13-hour slog on Day 3, when tournament decisions are most pressure-packed and taxing on the mind? One could be forgiven for expecting such a situation to take its toll, but Bohn said he felt right at home. "I'm not a good sleeper anyways," he said. "If I get two hours of sleep, three hours of sleep, that's enough. So, I was wide awake." Indeed, Bohn appeared to be the man with the advantage against Bill Kohler as the night wound deeper, with the two battling short-handed and then heads up for several hours. Sipping the occasional Scotch, Kohler kept things lively throughout much of the day with a relatively constant stream of chatter. However, by the night's end, even when he had surges into the lead during heads-up play, Kohler's table talk died down, as it took all of his energy just to get the proper betting amounts out. The man from Cincinnati had come second in this very event in 2009. "He was starting to play a little loose," Bohn said. "I said, 'This is my tournament.' I picked up on it right away." However, Bohn didn't deviate much at all from his initial game plan. He came into Day 3 looking to play a solid game, and it was a plan he executed to perfection. He didn't seem inclined to do much stealing and seemed to have it almost every time he bet strongly, with his weakest holdings at showdown being mostly strong one-pair hands and one-way low hands. "I made up my mind," he said of his approach to Day 3. "I'm gonna play cautious, I'm not gonna chase, and I'm going to play the best hands possible. It worked." Most of Bohn's poker experience, he said, comes from playing in a $0.50/1 home game that runs every other Friday, with much of the action coming in stud and split-pot games. He also used to put in some hours at the tables in Atlantic City, once a haven for stud players, in years past. It turned out to be enough to conquer a final table that included multiple-bracelet winners Ted Forrest and Max Pescatori, as well as high stakes expert Justin Bonomo. While they battled and took each other out one by one, Bohn sat quietly, grinding and listening to his "good old rock 'n roll and country" to keep himself occupied and in line. He took the lead into heads-up play, but despite the stacks being short, Bohn and Kohler sparred for two hours until the 68-year-old took command with a series of pots in the final level before they'd have bagged to come back for an unscheduled Day 4. When it was all over, Bohn let out an excited shout after showing hardly an ounce of emotion over the course of 13 hours. "We're both retired now, my wife and I," said the former harness racing trainer. "We've been together 46 years, and we like to travel. We're going to do a little sightseeing. I'm happy as all hell." 1. Ernest Bohn, U.S. - $173,228 2. William Kohler, U.S. - $107,063 3. Hal Rotholz, U.S. - $74,200 4. Tim Finne, U.S. - $52,272 5. Justin Bonomo, U.S. - $37,441 6. Max Pescatori, Italy - $27,275 7. Shannon Petluck, U.S. - $20,214 8. Ted Forrest, U.S. - $15,245 (Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

Malta, 24 May, 2017 – Win Systems, a leading technology supplier for the gaming and entertainment industry, will showcase its premium gaming machine range at Juegos Miami, 2017. Win Systems’ senior personnel will be in-attendance at the three-day event held at The Biltmore Hotel, in order to network with potential partners and showcase its product range, which will be exhibited on stand 16. The stand will host its S2 Plus and S3 gaming machines, built with highquality design, immersive graphics and sound, as well as wide range of premium gaming content.  The executive team will be on-hand to speak with event delegates on how Win Systems’ casino solutions can benefit all types of operation, having already established a strong, successful footprint within Latin America. After recent successful shows at ICE Totally Gaming, Feria Internacional del Juego and FADJA, Win Systems is set for a strong second half of 2017 with new business partnerships set to be announced in the next few months.  Eric Benchimol, CEO of Win Systems, said: “We are looking to build on the momentum generated at various successful gaming events over the past few months, and Juegos Miami provides us with the ideal platform to do so.  “We look forward to networking with various potential partners and showcasing our gaming products to this year’s delegates, as we continue to expand our business operations within Latin America. “We encourage all visitors to The Biltmore to come to our stand and discuss with our senior team how our casino solutions can cater for all operator needs.  Win Systems are on stand 16 at Juegos Miami 2017, from 31st May to 2nd June. To organise a meeting please send an email to sales@winsystemsintl.com or call +34 935 308 049.           

Next Saturday, April 29, 2017 the top harness racing horseplayers in North America will compete for $50,000 in prize money in the 2017 BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Championship, at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ. The BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Championship is a one-day tournament, with a welcome reception the evening prior. 49 players qualified via BetAmerica online tournaments and on-site track tournaments held at the Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs, Northville Downs, Monticello, Standardbred Canada, Buffalo, Plainridge, Scioto Downs and Hoosier Park. Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $800. The BetAmerica WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of six Meadowlands races, plus four designated mandatory races from Buffalo, Hoosier Park, Mohawk, and the Meadowlands. Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings. Prize payouts are to the Top 10, with a guaranteed prize pool of $50,000. Walk-up registrations will be accepted for the BetAmerica WHHC Final until 7 pm on Saturday, April 29. For the contest entry form and complete rules visit PlayMeadowlands.com Rachel Ryan

(April 9, 2017) - In a quiet week of the Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge, Matt Rose and Rusty Nash each once won a leg of the harness racing challenge at Yonkers Raceway this week (4/7 and 8), leaving the top of the standings virtually unchanged. Rose remains in front with 228.63 points, 18.63 points ahead of Nash's 210 points. The race for the show spot remains tight with Ray Garnett ahead of Bryan Owen by a mere 1.13 points. In the overall net-profit competition, Rose's $60.20 profit is a mere $1.90 ahead of Nash's $58.30. Ray Garnett sits in the show spot with a net profit of $23.60, $0.60 ahead of Ray Cotolo's $23.00. The standings through the first eight legs are;   Pos Handicapper Total Points Earned Legs Won 1st Matt Rose 228.63 3 2nd Rusty Nash 210.00 3 3rd Ray Garnett 121.13 1 4th Bryan Owen 120.00 1 5th Russ Adams 119.00 0 6th Steve Horoky 111.63 0 7th Megan Maccario 83.00 0 8th Ray Cotolo 74.00 0 9th Gordon Waterstone 69.13 0 10th Dennis O’Hara 68.00 0 11th Sally Hinckley 67.50 0 12th Anne Stepien 64.00 0 13th Adam Friedland 61.63 0 14th Jay Hochstetler 47.13 0 15th Terry Wilson 47.13 0 16th Michael Carter 47.13 0   Next Up:  The Challenge continues this week at Yonkers Raceway on Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15 for the final preliminary legs of the Matchmaker and Levy Memorial Series.  The following week, the Challenge takes a detour to Fraser Downs for the Kenny Linton Memorial (4/21) and the Penny Bath Memorial (4/22), the only two non-restricted stakes races for three year old pacers in British Columbia as well as the Matchmaker and Levy Series finales at Yonkers. The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org   Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

Harness Racing fans headed to the windows in full force on Wednesday (March 8) at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, attempting to take home a share of a Pick-5 pool that had grown for several days.   The Meadows, in partnership with the USTA's Strategic Wagering program, had guaranteed the pool to $50,000. The end result was one of the track's largest single-wager payouts in recent memory.   Ms Mullen (3-1) and Broadway Hot Stuff (4-5) won the first two legs, keeping many players alive with their tickets. Southwind Warsaw (5-2) won the third leg and plenty of tickets were still intact going into the fourth leg.   However, Pro Side (11-1) and Rail Kat (5-1) won the final two legs, and the resulting payout was $63,580 for a $2 Pick-5 ticket. The Meadows thanks for their support of the Pick-5, and encourages all horseplayers to try their luck again when racing resumes tomorrow (March 11) at 1PM. The Pick-5 will start over again, in the final five races of the day. From the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association        

TORONTO, March 8 - Harness racing horseplayers can start studying immediately, as the draw is out for this Saturday's (March 11) Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout race at Woodbine Racetrack. A carryover of $578,231.58 is being brought into the Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout, which is offered on Race 10 this Saturday. A 12 horse field has been put together for the Jackpot Hi-5 race. Overnight pacers meeting the conditions of Non-Winners of $10,500 last five or $18,000 last 10 will battle for an increased purse of $25,000. All starters in Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5 race will receive money. The winner of the race will receive 50 per cent of the purse, while horses finishing sixth through 12th will receive one per cent. The remainder of the purse will be split up as usual to the horses finishing second through fifth. The current Jackpot Hi-5 carryover has been growing since the last mandatory payout on December 23rd. On that evening, a carryover of $548,396 was brought into the mandatory payout and horseplayers wagered $2,081,441 of new money into the Jackpot Hi-5 pool. Gregg McNair trainee The Rev won the Jackpot Hi-5 race on December 23rd and once again will be competing in Saturday's mandatory payout race, starting from post position nine. Dialamara (PP6) and Half A Billion (PP7) join The Rev as the only three horses from the most recent mandatory payout race to compete in Saturday's event. A $0.20 winning ticket on the December 23rd mandatory payout returned $4,842.70. If previous mandatory payouts are any indication, a total pool well over $2 million is very likely on Saturday's mandatory payout. This Saturday will be the seventh major mandatory payout on WEG Standardbred racing since the Jackpot Hi-5 was introduced to the wagering menu in the fall of 2013. An average of $1.7 million in new money has been wagered on each of the previous six major mandatory payouts. The Jackpot Hi-5 requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order. The minimum wager is $0.20, while the takeout is 15 per cent. To view early program pages for Saturday's card, click here. Post time for Saturday's card at Woodbine is 7:30 p.m. Below is the field for Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout race. Race 10 - Saturday, March 11 - Purse: $25,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer 1. Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte - Kenneth Switzer) 2. Casimir Overdrive (Doug McNair - Carmen Auciello) 3. Panedictine (Colin Kelly - Laurie Bako) 4. Single White Sock (James MacDonald - Ted MacDonnell) 5. Erle Dale N (Doug McNair - Ron Adams) 6. Dialamara (James MacDonald - Pat Fletcher) 7. Half A Billion (Louis Philippe Roy - Corey Giles) 8. Champagne Phil (Paul MacDonell - Dean Nixon) 9. The Rev (Doug McNair - Gregg McNair) 10. Mach On The Beach (Louis Philippe Roy - Richard Moreau) 11. Darcee N (Travis Cullen - Travis Cullen) 12. Bank Shot Hanover (Trevor Henry - Victor Puddy) Mark McKelvie

Pompano Beach, FL...March 6, 2017...With nobody able to solve Pompano Park's Pick-5 on Saturday night, a $1,606 carryover has spawned a harness racing $10,000 guaranteed pool for Sunday night's Pick-5 beginning with the first race.   The south Florida oval will also offer a $20,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool, as well. The Pick-4 covers races 6 through 9.   Gabe Prewitt, Director of Racing, said "It was pretty amazing that one 18 to 1 long-shot sandwiched in between an even money winner, a 4 to 5 favorite, a 3 to 5 favorite and a 5 to 2 chance resulted in this guarantee.   "It definitely belongs in our 'better for the bettor' department for Sunday night."   There is also a carryover in the Pick-6 for Sunday night as it took only 4 of 6 to cash in our Saturday's Pick-6.   Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale sports a carryover of $29,065 for the Sunday night program.   Post time for the 11 race program is set for 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park

Rob Krausz, of Bronx, NY, captured the February 25 BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Championship Super Qualifier at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Super Qualifier required contestants to place exactly ten $20 minimum win, place, show or any combination WPS wagers on Meadowlands races. Krausz built his $200 bankroll into $1,400 earning him the $2,800 top cash prize and an $800 seat in the BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Championship on April 29 at Meadowlands Racetrack. Krausz's hit on six of ten wagers with two early night scores the key to his Qualifier win. Rob hit for $510 on #7 B Fast Eddie in Race 3 and for $1,440 on #7 One More Miracle in Race 4. Also earning berths into the BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Champion Final were Patrick O'Malley of Westbury, NY, Mark Acerra of Staten Island, NY and the 2016 WHHC champion Stan Koper, of Chicago Ridge, IL. The official Qualifier Top 10 is below:   Prize $ Bankroll First Last $2,800.00 $1,400.00 Rob Krausz $1,400.00 $868.00 Patrick O'Malley $1,050.00 $830.40 Mark Acerra $700.00 $796.00 Stan Koper $350.00 $647.00 Joe Barre $140.00 $567.00 James Bohnarczyk $140.00 $500.00 Arthur Suckow $140.00 $454.00 Guy Gerber $140.00 $392.00 Greg Capece $140.00 $374.00 Frank Palmer The BetAmerica WHHC is a one-day tournament [April 29, 2017], with a welcome reception the evening prior.  Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $800.  The BetAmerica WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of six Meadowlands races, plus four designated mandatory races from partner tracks.  Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings.  Prize payouts are to the Top 10, with an guaranteed prize pool of $50,000. BetAmerica.com is currently hosting regular online Qualifiers for the BetAmerica WHHC Entries for the first online Qualifier are now open, with an entry fee of $35. New accounts to BetAmerica are eligible for a $300 Sign Up Bonus. Cal Expo, Hoosier Park, Monticello Raceway, Northville Downs, Plainridge Racecourse, Scioto Downs, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and Buffalo Raceway have signed up to host BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifiers.  Registration deadline is 10 p.m., Friday April 28.   For the contest entry form and complete rules visit PlayMeadowlands.com Rachel Ryan

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 17, 2017 -- On Saturday, Feb. 18, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $20,000 total-pool guarantee for its Pick 5 harness racing wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the "instant" guarantee after Wednesday's Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a two-day carryover of $7,212.32. In addition, Saturday's card includes a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4, a regular feature of each program at The Meadows. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 8-12) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Saturday's program is 1 PM.   The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

ALBANY -- In 2003, New York's racetracks were paying out among the lowest prizes in the nation, and many of the tracks, particularly upstate harness racing facilities, were nearly set to be put out to pasture. Then the racetracks started adding video-lottery terminals. Now, the purses -- the amount paid out to winners in the races -- are among the highest in the nation, and the revenue at the so-called racinos has also soared. With three new upstate casinos opening in recent months, the state's existing gaming halls face new competition after enjoying years of rising revenue for their casino-like facilities and horse-racing operations, a review of records by the USA Today Network's Albany Bureau found. Purses at New York's seven harness tracks have tripled over the past 14 years, creating an unprecedented dynamic: There's nearly no one in the stands, but the prize money is at levels not seen in decades. "I’ve said to many people that if you want to make money in (harness) racing, this is the best opportunity you’ve had in many, many years," said Bob Galterio, the COO at Yonkers Raceway, the state's largest harness track. ►NY just had a record year for its lottery ►With three new NY casinos open, can they succeed? ►House wins big with casino tax breaks Ninety-two percent of the money from gamblers at the state's racetracks with the video-lottery terminals goes to pay the players as prizes. The key figure is the 8 percent that's left: It is split among the tracks, the horsemen and the state. Without the piece that goes to purses and breeders, horse racing in New York would be nearly non-existent, track officials and experts said. The industry is a major one in New York's agricultural sector: It employs 32,000 people, according to its trade organizations. "If the VLTs didn’t come in 2004, I really doubt racing would be here," said Chris Riegle, the president of Finger Lakes Gaming and Racing, the only upstate thoroughbred track outside of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course. Also, "I don’t think there would be very many harness tracks in New York." Avoiding closures Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then-Gov. George Pataki and state lawmakers sought to help the state's economy by allowing the horse tracks to add video-lottery terminals -- the slot-machine-like devices controlled by a central computer system in Schenectady. The move was a way to boost the state's coffers by designating about half of that coveted 8 percent to fund schools. It also was a way to keep horse racing alive after decades of decline in the sport, which was once a major local draw. Batavia Downs in western New York is the oldest nighttime harness track in the nation. Yonkers drew 40,000 people on weekend nights in the 1960s. In 2004, the first VLT facilities opened. It has been a boon to all sides. "It definitely saved racing; it saved the jobs," said Jeff Gural, the owner of Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier and Vernon Downs in central New York. Of the net win -- the money left in the machines after payouts to winners -- 8.75 percent goes to the horsemen and 1.25 percent to the breeders. The rest is split between the state and racinos. The tracks also get 10 percent for marketing and 4 percent for facility improvements -- including hotels that some are building. The money has helped the state's coffers: The racinos contributed nearly $1 billion in 2015 to the state designated for education -- or 48 percent of the nearly $2 billion in net win. Anthony Palermo, of Rochester, plays a slot machine on opening day of del Lago Casino.  (Photo: Jamie Germano/@jgermano1/Staff Photographer)   Soaring purses The purses at the state's eight racetracks and the three tracks run by the New York Racing Association hit $301 million in 2015 -- up 87 percent since 2003. For just the seven harness tracks, purses went from $35 million to $118 million, records from the state Gaming Commission showed. So the average purse per race went from about $4,000 to $11,000 over the 14 years -- putting New York among the top five in the nation. The figures have been extraordinary at some tracks: Batavia Downs' purses grew from $1.8 million to $5.5 million; from $4 million to $18 million at Saratoga harness; and from $20 million to nearly $63 million to Yonkers. Some tracks said they are dealing with a shortage of horses. "If you and four friends had $20,000. The best thing to do is to get together, each kick in $4,000 and buy a $20,000 claimer and race it at Yonkers Racetrack," Galterio said. "The purses are so good. You race every week." Rising racinos While the gambling money has throw life preserver to racing, it also boosted the tracks' owners. The money going to the racinos has skyrocketed since they opened. The tracks, after a sluggish start, negotiated lower payments to the state in 2007. At Finger Lakes, the so-called agent commission -- the tracks' main revenue stream -- doubled to $40 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year that ended March 31. At Yonkers, it was up 50 percent to $177 million since 2008, while Tioga Downs' commission grew 59 percent since 2007 to $22 million. So while the purses are up, so too are the tracks' fortunes, said Joe Faraldo, president of the state's Standardbred Owners Association, which represents the harness horsemen. "The horsemen, their purses have gone up dramatically -- the same way track revenue has gone up with these VLTs," Faraldo said. Live harness racing at Batavia Downs. (Photo: Annette Lein)   Subsidizing racing So the situation has created a scenario where purses are up despite fewer people betting on the races. Yonkers stopped publishing its attendance figures in the late 1980s. VLT revenue provides an increasing percentage of the purses: In 2004, 50 percent of the purses came from the VLT revenue; in 2011, it was 71 percent, state records show. At the same time, total handle at the harness tracks -- the amount bet on the races -- dropped 21 percent between 2003 and 2015, hurt in part by the closure of New York City Off-Track Betting in 2010. The on-track betting on the races also fell: It was down 56 percent at Yonkers over that stretch and down from $3.4 million to $1.5 million at Batavia. Most of the betting comes from simulcasting of races around the state, country and internationally, which is a growing business at Yonkers, in particular. "I don’t want to say it’s become a television studio, but it more important to produce a good-looking television signal than to have tasty hot dogs in the stands," Galterio said. Growing competition The reliance on VLT revenue has raised concerns within the racing industry, which fears the tracks will one day seek to drop racing or cut the amount that goes to it. "A lot of these racinos kind of make it difficult to go to the track, because they would rather be a straight casino and not do racing at all," Assembly Racing Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, said. Those fears have grown after the casinos opened in recent months in the Finger Lakes and Schenectady, with one set to open next year in the Catskills. At Finger Lakes, it received a lower tax rate last year because of the competition from del Lago, which opened earlier this month in Tyre, Seneca County, 28 miles away. Even with the competition, though, the horsemen will be held harmless. The 2013 law that allowed for four upstate casinos included a provision that requires the new casinos to keep purses at the same level as 2013 -- if the new casinos cut into the racinos' bottom line.  (Photo: File photo)   Negotiating at Finger Lakes That's a current fight: The horsemen at Finger Lakes face a cut in purses if the racino's revenue drops because of del Lago, which is not required to make the track whole. The casinos have to help the racetracks in the zones established by the state: Finger Lakes, though, is outside the del Lago zone. The sides -- Finger Lakes, del Lago and the state -- are now trying to find a solution to help the horsemen. "I’m hopeful we’ll come to a conclusion very quickly," Riegle said. Pretlow said the Legislature has no plans to revisit the split of revenue between the tracks and the racing industry: "Part of this whole thing is to help racing." The tracks said they continue to invest in their racing, saying it is still a viable portion of their business. Yonkers points to expansion in recent years of hosting major stakes races, including the $1 million International Trot each fall; tracks said they have upgraded their racing facilities. But the tracks often seek fewer racing dates each year, despite protests from the industry, and Finger Lakes won't disclose how many dates it wants this year as it negotiates a new contract with its horsemen. "It really boils down to how much purse money you have to hand out and how many horses you have," Riegle at Finger Lakes said. "If you have a respectable amount of both, you can run more." Gaming the future Dave Brown, president of the Finger Lakes horsemen association, charged that the tracks would just as soon drop racing if they could, but they are bound by the state law. "There is no question they’d love to not run. And they make it difficult for us," he said. Riegle rejected that idea, saying it is still "a pretty significant piece" of the business. Gural, a horse owner who also owns the Meadowlands track in northern New Jersey, said he's concerned about the future of racing in New York. The tracks are not required to market the sport to new customers, and its fan base is dwindling. In December, Tioga Downs received a gaming license to turn from a VLT facility to a full-scale casino. "Without the slots or the VLTs, there would be no harness racing. It’s totally dependent on the revenue we receive from the slots," Gural said. He added, "The problem is that most of our customers are older and we have not successfully created an industry for the younger generation. So what happens when all those people die off?" Joseph Spector , Albany Bureau Chief Reprinted with permission of The Democrat and Chronicle

Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $25,000 Pick-5 total pool guarantee on Wednesday (February 8th). Beginning in Race 3, the $25,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $5,304.95. This wager is being offered as part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association. Northfield's Pick 5, Pick 4 and the Pick 3's offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent. Wednesday's post time is 6:00 p.m.

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