The year 1981 was in the hey-days of harness racing at Sportsman’s Park, the center-piece track of the Chicago circuit. There were a number of “firsts” taking place during that summer at the five-eighths mile track in Cicero, Illinois, The first $2 million handle on a single Illinois harness racing card was recorded on July 11 when 20,047 patrons, the largest crowd of the 1981 Chicago harness racing season, wagered $2,069,079 on track on a 10-race program. That evening was also the first time that all 10 races on a Chicago circuit card were timed in 2:00 or faster highlighted by Osborne’s First and Doug Hamilton teaming up for a world record mile of 1:55.2 for an aged pacer on a five-eighths track in that night’s Free For All.. The first Sunday program in Sportsman’s Park history was held on May 17 with Artie’s Dream (Shelly Goudreau) taking the $70,000 American National 3-Year-Old Pace in 1:58. Opening Night, eight days earlier, saw Burgomeister (see photo) and his National Hall of Fame trainer-driver Billy Haughton, follow his victory in the prestigious Hambletonian, with a one and ½ length triumph in the $61,510 American National Maturity Trot with a 2:03.3 mile. Also in the summer of 1981 Banker Barker (Mike Zeller) would come on with a mighty rush to take the American National 3-Year-Old Trot in 2:00.3. The $100,450 American National Maturity Pace was annexed by Bandelier and driver Walter Paisley in 1:56.3. Eugene Waszak’s Madame Butterfilly, the second longest shot on the board, won that season’s $56,750 Violet Stakes. The Roger Davino Stable’s Whizzer R White, driven by Dave Magee, set a track record for a 2-year-old pacer with a 1:59.1 clocking in the July 21 Poplar Byrd stake, The 3-year-old ICF star that summer was the Dan Shetler Stable’s Coffee Dan, a son of Egyptian Dancer who went unraced as a freshman. Coffee Dan went 9-for-12 in his first season of racing for his then Illinois owners George Barounes, Robert Parrish, 809 Corporation and Shetler. Coffee Dan captured the $77,500 Cardinal Final and later the $120,800 Langley on July 3 (see picture) where he defeated Foolish Eyes (Jim Curran) with in 1:58 flat. Coffee Dan would earn $158,349 that year. Shetler also drove the winner of the $60,000 Midwest Derby Final when Tarport Boss uncorked a big move in the stretch. Meanwhile Royce lived up to his billing by winning the $60,000 U.S. Pacing Championship Final in mid-August. Wieker’s Del, driven by Delvin Insko, took advantage of a great trip and notched the $200,000 Orange and Blue Stake, at that time the richest race for 2-year-old ICF pacers. Sportsman’s on-track attendance and handle figures for the summer of 1981were extraordinary, to say the least. The average nightly attendance was 13,196 while the handle nightly averaged a robust $1,627,058. Sadly those glory days of Illinois harness racing are long-gone. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association
Market Share, the 2013 Hambletonian winner and victor in the $235,000 American National for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters, returns to Balmoral Park on Saturday night in Race 9 to defend his harness racing crown in the $166,300 American National Aged Trot. The son of Revenue S-Classical Flirt-Yankee Glide was clocked in 1:53.3 with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for the Linda Toscano-trained, then-sophomore. Owned by Richard S. Gutnick of Pennsylvania, TLP Stable and J Augustine of New Jersey, Market Share will leave from post five in the field of eight trotters. "Never, never in a million years did we dream that Market Share could be this kind of horse," Toscano offered. "He's just one of those horses that enjoys his work and tries real hard. It's surprising, but that's a good thing." Bred by Hayley Moore of Paris, Kentucky, Market Share, a $16,000 yearling purchase from the 2010 Lexington Selected Sale, won all five of his 2-year-old starts over Freehold Raceway's half-mile oval. Toscano and principal owner Richard Gutnick were uncertain if he could excel at the bigger tracks, such as the Meadowlands. So it was up to Market Share to show them. In 2012, at age 3, Market Share won the $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the $1 million Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk en route to earnings of $2 million. He also trotted the fastest mile in the history of Maywood Park when he captured the $108,000 Galt in 1:54.4, erasing Green Day's previous track record of 1:55.1, set in 2007. As a result, he was named the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. Last season, his wins included the Breeders Crown Open Trot, Maple Leaf Trot, TVG Free For All Series Championship and American-National Stakes. He led all older trotters with $1.07 million in purses and received the Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. "It's a treat to be able to bring one back like that as a 5-year-old," Toscano said. "By bringing back the older horses, people recognize the names and the horses become the stars again. I think that's what is missing in our industry. I think it's a real good thing." This year Market Share has added another $357,296 to his bank account, pushing his career earnings to $3,471,308 via a $37,200 Maple Leaf elimination at Mohawk, the $250,000 Maxi Lee at Harrah's Chester--when he set a new world record and career best clocking of 1:50.2 for an aged gelding trotter on a five-eighths mile oval--and a victory in a $40,000 Cutler elimination in 1:50.3. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Market Share surpassed the previous world mark of 1:50.3 that was co-held by Uncle Peter and Sevruga, both set in 2013 when he scored that record clocking in the Maxi Lee. Market Share now has 24 wins, seven seconds and 12 thirds in 53 career starts. On Oct. 5, he was race-timed in 1:52, finishing fifth by three lengths in the $173,000 Allerage Trot at Lexington's Red Mile. Market Share is the fourth of six foals out of his unraced dam Classical Flirt, and is a half-brother to Photogenic Legs (by Classic Photo) 3, 1:57.2h ($102,892) and to Broadway Legs (by Broadway Hall) 3, 1:55 ($57,225). By Kimberly Rinker
Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Columbus, OH --- Harness Racing Update is reporting that Hambletonian champion Trixton has been retired. Trainer/driver Jimmy Takter confirmed to HRU that the son of Muscle Hill-Emilie Cas El, who last raced in the Canadian Trotting Classic, where he broke stride, has had some nagging problems that finally caught up with the colt. To read the full story, click here. Trixton - Hambletonian from the USTA Communications Department
September 22, 2014 - With Ray Cotolo's $1,250 profit on Little Brown Jug Day, it looked very much like he would cruise home to victory this week in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. However, by the end the week's handicapping action In Quebec, Cotolo was indeed the weekly winner, but his lead had shrunk from $588 to only $105.20 over Dennis O'Hara as these two handicappers were the only ones to finish the week in the black. While the finish for weekly honors was tight, Bob Zanakis retains a comfortable lead of $1,039.35 to maintain the overall lead ($2,949.35) over second place Mark McKelvie ($1,910.00) through 34 legs of the contest. Brandon Valvo ($1,715.00) trails closely behind in third which rounds out the top three positions where donations are to be made to standardbred horse rescues on the victors' behalf. Jugette Day (Wednesday, September 17) at the Delaware County Fair had Dennis O'Hara lead the handicappers with his daily net profit of $589.80 thanks to his $6 base Superfecta ($240 total) on the Buckette coming in, paying $829.90 which was his sole wager for the day. Second best on Thursday was Josi Verlingieri, whose $410 profit was attributable to a $100 Win ticket on the American-National for 2yo colt trotters at Balmoral Park which paid a $660 dividend. Jug Day (Thursday, September 18) saw Cotolo collect the previously mentioned $1,250 return which was earned on a do-or-die $250 win ticket on the 2nd division of the Jug paying a generous $1,500. Sally Hinckley was the only other player with a positive return Thursday ($632) thanks to her $4 trifecta box ($24 total) in the Old Oaken Bucket which returned $882. With a day off, the contest resumed Saturday night with a septet of races at Hoosier Park plus the Milton Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. Needless to say, the defeat of Sebastian K took most of the handicappers down but at the end of day, a lone handicapper had a positive return. Dennis O'Hara led the group with a net profit of $135 for Friday thanks to his $300 investment in $25 Superfectas in the 2nd division of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management stake for 2yo pacing fillies which paid $507.50. To conclude the weekend's activity, the team of handicappers did battle with the return of the Prix d'Ete at Hippodrome 3r. By the time the curtain came down on Sunday's action, only two handicappers had a positive return, led by Derick Giwner who had a positive return of $225 thanks to his $150 win wager on Sunfire Blue Chip who returned $375. The other handicapper with a positive return was Verlingieri, whose $125 profit was attributable to her own $150 win ticket. The current standings after the completion of the weekend’s activity are: As of September 21, 2014 - Leg 34 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis ($789.50) $2,949.35 2nd Mark McKelvie ($462.00) $1,910.00 $1,039.35 3rd Brandon Valvo ($860.00) $1,715.00 $1,234.35 4th Josi Verlingieri ($111.00) $1,028.05 $1,921.30 5th Rusty Nash ($640.00) ($442.76) $3,392.11 6th Brian McEvoy ($337.50) ($559.00) $3,508.35 7th Gordon Waterstone ($361.00) ($700.30) $3,649.65 8th Earl Paulson ($1,095.00) ($1,190.50) $4,139.85 9th Derick Giwner ($675.00) ($2,024.23) $4,973.58 10th Sally Hinckley ($200.00) ($2,441.90) $5,391.25 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($1,148.00) ($2,542.70) $5,492.05 12th Ray Garnett ($956.00) ($2,583.10) $5,532.45 13th Ann Stepien ($466.20) ($2,598.91) $5,548.26 14th Dennis O'Hara $244.80 ($2,794.90) $5,744.25 15th Ray Cotolo $350.00 ($5,848.40) $8,797.75 This week, the racing action is concentrated at The Red Mile with various divisions of the Bluegrass being contested Thursday thru Sunday. The only deviation from an all-Lexington weekend comes Saturday with the $200,000 Jim Ert Memorial Invitational at Scioto Downs for pacers four year old and up.. As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
East Rutherford - Despite a relentless winter that seemed to never want to end and an interruption in racing due to the Super Bowl being held at MetLife Stadium, the early returns on the 2014 Meadowlands season, the first in the new state of the art facility are promising. Through 67 live racing dates, the on-track handle stands at $19,231,729, an average of $287,040 per card. That figure will increase through the final 14 dates of the season which include The Breeders Crown and TVG Free For All Championships. All-sources export handle through the same 67 live racing dates is $168,020,021, an average of $2,507,761 per-card. With 14 racing dates remaining, export is trending toward surpassing $200 Million for the entire season. Hambletonian Day was a tremendous success. While some international figures continue to trickle in, the current handle of $8,693,869 is an increase of over $1 Million from 2013 and is the third highest handle in Hambletonian history, behind only 2002 ($8.8 Million) and 2005 ($9 Million). "I am very pleased with the first year in our new facility," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "First and foremost, the new racetrack is absolutely stunning and I don't believe there is a racetrack like it in the country. The most common comments I hear from our guests speak to how beautiful the racetrack is. "I think the summertime and better weather allowed people to spread out more" Gural added, "enjoying all the outside amenities and as Hambletonian Day proved, any concerns that the new racetrack would not be able to handle the crowds on our biggest days were put to rest. The outside decks and the rooftop terrace offer some of the best views in racing and those locations are in very high demand in the warmer months. They seem to be attracting new and younger people to our facility which is critical to not only our future, but the future of this industry." Meadowlands General Manger and C.E.O. Jason Settlemoir looks back at the 2014 season with a great deal of pride and optimism. "I want to thank our horsemen for supporting us in this pivotal year at The Meadowlands and we look forward to continuing our excellent relationship with the SBOANJ going forward," said Settlemoir. I also want to thank The Meadowlands employees. It took a herculean effort by each of them to put together the season we had and I couldn't be prouder of the team at The Meadowlands. Last but certainly not least, a great many thanks to our customers who have embraced the changes at The Meadowlands. Without them, none of this would have been possible." Looking forward to the Fall and 2015, The Meadowlands will continue its event-marketing strategy and providing its customers with events like Jerseyfest and Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night that proved to be a huge success. On the wagering front, beginning in the fall, there will be an exciting new low-takeout wager that The Meadowlands is confident when at its zenith will provide the largest pool in harness racing history. More details on the wager will come shortly. Harness racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday November 14th. That first weekend features the eliminations for The Breeders Crown, with the 12 Championship Finals to be contested on Friday, November 21st and Saturday, November 22nd. Prior to the return of harness racing, thoroughbred racing will return to The Meadowlands on Thursday September 18th and will run through Saturday, November 1st. For the first time in several years, thoroughbred racing will be conducted at night, with a post time of 7:00 P.M. "I hope people come out to see the thoroughbreds," Gural added. "This is a great facility for a night-time thoroughbred event and I look forward to seeing how it is received. I think it will expose the facility to an entirely new group of people and hopefully they will come back for the harness racing as well." There will be six races each night during the thoroughbred meet, with all races conducted on the turf course. The racing dates for the Thoroughbred meet can be found at http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/calendardates.aspx. The 2015 Standardbred dates will be announced in the coming weeks. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
Freehold, NJ --- Winky’s Gill, winner of a heat of the 1983 Hambletonian, dam of 1993 Hambletonian Oaks winner Winky’s Goal (1:54.4, $844,924) and 1987 Peter Haughton Memorial winner, Supergill (1:53.3, $664,194) died at the age of 34 on August 8 at Perretti Farm, her home of 14 years. She was buried in the farm’s equine cemetery. The daughter of Bonefish and Lassie Blue Chip was bred by Ulf Moberg and was born January 31, 1980 in Lexington, Kentucky. Her stakes wins include the 1982 Merrie Annabelle, Acorn, Review, Hayes and Lexington Filly Stakes. In addition to a heat of the 1983 Hambletonian against colts in which she was third overall, she won the Coaching Club Oaks, Breeders Filly Stakes, Review and the Bluegrass Stake. Her 15 wins in 27 starts got her purse earnings of $472,154 and a mark of 1:55.2. In her later years, Winky’s Gill served as babysitter for yearling fillies at Perretti Farm, a job at which she excelled, but only after two tries. “We tried her back when she was a young girl in her mid-twenties,” said Breeding Operations Manager Lindsay Taylor in the book Standardbred Old Friends, in which Winky’s Gill is one of 43 horses featured. “Winky decided she really didn’t want to come in to the barn any more. It became a problem. She figured out that every time we were coming out, she was coming in the barn and would be separated from her charges. “She decided she was the matriarchal mare and she was going to round up her herd and take off for the foothills. She regarded it as her responsibility to round up the babies and take them to a safe place. It was actually pretty funny if you weren’t the one out there trying to catch them.” Given another chance a few years later, Winky’s Gill got the hang of the job and made life easier for farm staff by leading fillies in to the barn for farrier and veterinary care. “It’s like the Pied Piper,” said Taylor. “Where ever she goes, they follow her in a little line. She usually selects one or two favorites, or they select her, I’m not sure which way it goes. “She’ll have a couple; we call them her lieutenants, who have a special affinity for her or she for them. She keeps them within 20 or 30 feet. They form a kind of bond. When she moves, they go with her. If not, she usually goes back and round them up and takes them with her.” Taylor said that Winky’s Gill liked those she knew well, but had a definite opinion about one particular profession. “She’s been around enough veterinarians that she’s a little leery of them.” Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications Courtesy of the US Trotting Association Web Newsroom
When World Champion and Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill retired from racing at the end of the 2009 harness racing season, Southwind Farms and Muscle Hill Syndicate Manager, Mike Klau, had a plan. That plan was to turn the champion racehorse into an International Stallion. Shareholders in the Syndicate hail from six different countries in Europe and Frozen Semen was made available to both Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. Now, five years after implementation, that plan has come into fruition. This weekend Muscle Hill progeny will compete in major events all over the world. Glenferrie Burn, a two year Muscle Hill filly, will race in the Australian Breeders Crown Final at Melton on Sunday, after winning her elimination. Three year old colts Emmett Brown and Sloopy Joe race in the E3 colt final in Sweden on Saturday and Sparkling Kronos, a three year old filly competes in the E3 filly final on the same day. In North America, his numerous stakes winners are headed by Hambletonian winner Trixton and World Champion and Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief. He has sired a leading 14 three year olds with records of 1:55 or faster. Total earnings this year for his crop of two and three year olds have topped the $2 million mark. At the end of the recently concluded breeding season, Muscle Hill, who again bred a full book of 140 mares, and had 127 of those mares declared in foal. “He has always been a fertile horse and that has enabled us to freeze his semen and ship it around the world.” Said Klau. For the upcoming season (2015) his semen will again be available worldwide, with the Southern Hemisphere being handled by Stallions Australasia (Peter O’Rourke – David Shammall) and Europe being handled by Offspring AB (Anders Lindfors). 2014 saw the stallion moved to Marion Farms in New Hope, Pa. to take advantage of the rich Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program. Foals of 2015 will be eligible for that program. Booking Applications for the 2015 season will be available shortly on the Southwind Farms website www.southwindfarms.net
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 21 - Homen Dry had the Define The World series title fall into his lap Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A field of nine lined up Thursday night to contest the $46,600 series finale for two-year-old trotters. Jetpedia, the leg one winner, sprinted off the gate to grab the lead, while Homen Dry, the leg two winner, got away in third. Jetpedia and driver Mike Saftic trotted by the quarter pole in :29.2 and then slowed the tempo down considerably to reach the half way point in 1:00.4. In the third quarter, Homen Dry and driver Chris Christoforou advanced from third into second, while Saftic picked up the speed with Jetpedia to reach the three-quarter pole in 1:29.4. As the field entered the stretch, it appeared Homen Dry was in for a sprint to get by Jetpedia, but Jetpedia made a costly break a few strides into the stretch allowing Homen Dry to inherit the lead and cruise to a 1:58.2 victory. Trained by Brad Maxwell, Homen Dry won by three quarters of a length over stablemate Southwind Stryker, while Lookslikeachpndale took the show spot. Following the race, Christoforou said the trip didn't exactly work out as planned. "It really wasn't where I wanted to be, but because of his habits he will tend to pull up on the front and I didn't really want to be there even though the fractions were slow" said Christoforou. "I had to sit back, but I didn't want to be too far back because the fractions were slow, so I was close as I could be without being on the front." The series finale victory for the son of Credit Winner - Beyond Blue Chip was the second win in a row after finishing second in his first two career starts. "He (Homen Dry) has done quite well," said Christoforou. "He's a bit of tricky little guy to drive at times, but he's got lots of speed." Owned by Paul Van Camp, Ben Mudry and Tim Murray, Homen Dry was a $19,000 yearling purchase at last November's Harrisburg Sale. The winner's share of the purse increases Homen Dry's career earnings to over $35,000. He paid $4.40 to win. Stakes action continues tomorrow night at Mohawk as the three-year-old trotting fillies will be on display in two $101,296 Casual Breeze Stakes divisions. Headlining the second division is Lifetime Pursuit, the winner of this year's Hambletonian Oaks. She will start from post seven with regular driver Yannick Gingras. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
A Scandinavian quartet have teamed up and bought Broadway Hall. Hans Nelén (Global Farm), John Bootsman (Boko Stables), Mats Gabrielsson (Oxalis) and the couple Siv and Nils Otto Bergslien (The breeders of ”Thai”-horses) are the quartet behind the deal. Broadway Hall will stay in Pennsylvania and will service American breeding during 2015. In the fall, he will be collecting semen for freezing to the European market. Broadway Hall debuted as 2-year-old with making nine starts and he remained undefeated. Among his victories excels elimination and final of the Breeders Crown, Kentucky Sire Stakes and Lexington Breeders Championship. He received the Dan Patch Award as the "2-year-old-trotting-colt-of-the-year” in the United States. Broadway Hall is the father of five world record holders, including the filly Cooler Schooner who last year won at 1: 51.3 at Pocono Downs 5/8-mile-track, which is still the fastest time for a two year old in the world - any track length. He has left two millionaires, Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn and the mare Action-Broadway. He has nearly 700 offspring in North America, which together have earned over 30 million dollars. In Sweden, he has 50 registered offspring where the mare Mermaid Ås (E3-winner and 2nd in Grand Prix de l’UET) is most winning with nearly four million SEK in her bank roll. In Norway Broadway Hall has left Thai Broadway (2nd in Grand Prix de l’UET and Breeders Crown), which earned almost 3.5 million NOK. Facts Age: 14 years (foaled 2000) Pedigree: Conway Hall - B Cor Tamgo Record: 1:56.4 Purse: $436,790 - Won the Dan Patch Award as the ”2YO-trotting-colt-of-the-year” in the United States in 2002. - Undefeated after nine starts as a 2-year old. - Breeders Crown winner. World Champion foals Frau Blucher, 1:53.1 • 3YO fillies at half-mile-track Cooler Schooner, 1:51.3 • 2YO fillies at 5/8-mile-track Pilgrims Chuckie, 1:53 • 3YO colts and geldings at 5/8-mile-track Stage Show, 1:53.1 • 4YO fillies at 5/8-mile-track Sherman Mountain, 1:53.3 • 3YO geldings at 5/8-mile-track To earning foals USA: Broad Bahn (1.53 • $ 1,547,988), Action-Broadway (1:52.3 • $ 1,071,122), Pilgrims Taj (1:53.3 • $ 996,748), Frau Blucher (1:52.3 • $ 914,367), Broadway Scooner (1:53.3 • $ 885,933) and Opening Night (1:52.2 • $ 749,374). Sweden: Mermaid Ås (1:53.2 • 3,944,747 SEK) and the US-imports - Production (1:54.3 • 1,447,870 SEK), Cool Keeper (1:56 • 1,426,500 SEK) and Dicey Spicey (1:56.4 • 848,494 SEK). Norway: Thai Broadway (1:52.4 • 3,489,856 NOK). Finland: Vincent Van Kemp (1:56.2 • € 78,953). For more information contact either Truls Heslien, Global Farm, +47,328,767 97 +47906596 31 or John Bootsman, Boko Stables, +46 70-582 07 19. by Håkan Persson, for Global Farm
The day of the Hambletonian was a remarkable one for those using Razer shoes and Propads, by Razerhorse. Lifetime Pursuit, winner of the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks has been shod with Razer shoes for over a year to aid in a healthy well developed hoof for race day. Trixton, winner of the Hambletonian was prepped for the race wearing Razer shoes. Other standout horses that use Razer shoes and Propads include Father Patrick, Nuncio, Tellitlikeitis, Shake It Cerry, and Uncle Peter. Jimmy Takter, Harness Racing Hall of Famer is a regular user of Razer shoes and Propads. "Razer and Propad play a big part in my stable,” said Takter. Conny Svensson, renowned Standardbred blacksmith has shod many world champions using Razer shoes, and has been the farrier for the Takter stable for the past twenty years. "With the help of Razer Shoes and Propads in the training and preparation, I felt we went into the Hambletonian in the best possible way with all five of our horses," said Svensson. Razer shoes are unique in that they are a flexible, tempered, tool steel horseshoe. A traditional horseshoe locks the hoof in place, however, Razer shoes allow the hoof to move and flex naturally while providing the support and protection of a steel shoe. The Razer shoe is a low profile shoe, which cuts its weight in half and makes it nearly as light as aluminum. In harness racing, lighter is better. Additionally, the shape and design of the shoe offers excellent traction while allowing the hoof to also glide on the surface of the ground. Propads, manufactured with the highest quality polyurethane material, are the only pads on the market with an independent frog support. This accordion-shaped feature allows the frog to contact the ground, which aids in load sharing while increasing blood flow and circulation. The Propad can be used with any open heel shoe and does not have to be used with the Razer shoe. It is available in three styles: Basic Support, Support Soft and Support X-tra Soft. The Support Soft and Support X-tra Soft are a dual-density polyurethane with the iconic black and orange Razerhorse colors. Razerhorse products, including Razer shoes and Propads, are currently available at sixty-eight dealers and locations in thirty-one states, including five locations in Canada and one in Australia. To find a dealer near you, go to www.razerhorse.com. If you want to get your horses into the winning circle, Razer shoes and Propads will help you get there more often. by Brian McEvoy, for Harnesslink.com
Three-year-old trotter Father Patrick is ready to get back to action Sunday in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes at Tioga Downs in New York, looking to return to his winning ways after going off stride in the Hambletonian, snapping a 15-race unbeaten streak. His driver, Yannick Gingras, is ready too. "Win or lose, I'd always be looking forward to getting back on the track with him," Gingras said. "He's a great horse. He's provided me with great thrills so far, and I'm sure there are plenty more to come. "I'm looking forward to showing everybody what a great horse he is." Father Patrick's return is part of a card that features 10 Tompkins-Geers divisions for trotters and pacers. Among the horses competing Sunday are 3-year-old male pacer JK Endofanera, who earlier this year won the North America Cup, and multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old female pacers Precocious Beauty and Uffizi Hanover. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Father Patrick has won 16 of 18 career races and $1.26 million. He was the Hambletonian favorite, but drew post No. 10 - the outermost spot on the gate at the Meadowlands Racetrack - and went off stride at the start. The million-dollar race was won by Trixton, another colt from the Takter Stable, with Takter himself in the sulky. "I scored (Father Patrick) down pretty hard because I've never left with him before," Gingras said after the race. "I wanted him to pay attention and be ready for (the start). The gate opened and I touched him on the tail with the whip and he took off running. It's so unfortunate. Knock on wood, I'll have another chance. But he never will." Gingras, who leads all harness racing drivers in purses with $7.23 million this year, won five stakes races on Hambletonian Day. But he still had difficulty feeling upbeat. "It was a great day, but I still went home and was very disappointed," Gingras said. "When you focus on a race for so long, that's what makes it such a disappointment. There are only a couple million-dollar races and I haven't won one yet. That day had it all - the million dollars, the Hambletonian, Father Patrick and everything he's accomplished. It was such a downer. Even though I had a great day, I didn't feel like celebrating. "I do still think about it. It's a race I'll always want to take back, but you've got to live with it now at this point." Father Patrick races Sunday in the second of two Tompkins-Geers divisions for 3-year-old male trotters. His split also includes Datsyuk, who finished sixth in the Hambletonian. "They said he came out of the (Hambletonian) fine and he trained back good," Gingras said about Father Patrick. "That was to be expected. There's nothing wrong with him, so I'm sure he'll be ready to go on Sunday." The first of the Tompkins-Geers divisions for 3-year-old male trotters includes Dexter Cup winner Sumatra and Hambletonian fifth-place-finisher Resolve, a colt trained by Takter's daughter, Nancy Johansson. Precocious Beauty, who was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer, and Uffizi Hanover meet in the sole Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old female pacers. Precocious Beauty is coming off a win in the Empire Breeders Classic on Sunday at Tioga. The Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old male pacers includes not only JK Endofanera, but Sweet Rock, who won the New Jersey Classic at odds of 92-1 on Hambletonian Day, and New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Doo Wop Hanover. Among the 2-year-old female trotters in action is Jolene Jolene, who finished second in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes. "There are a lot of nice horses racing there, that's for sure," Gingras said. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great new newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance. Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. This week’s newsletter contains the following feature stories: Boxing matches at the Hambletonian?- We can understand how people can get so overwhelmed with passion for harness racing. It is very exciting. It has the drama of who will win, can my horse beat your horse, and we have the ability to make legal wagers on the outcome of nearly every event to back up our verbal claims of who is the best. But some people seem to take it a bit over the top and punches begin to fly. The Irish, Scots, Welsh and Brits have true passion for racing -The harness racing people in Ireland and the United Kingdom know an awful lot about harness racing in North America. We wish we could just bottle it up and feed it to everyone else. New Zealand “Horse of the Year” Awards - It is never easy every year to take the New Zealand racing awards seriously when they have such an outdated and archaic way of determining who should be awarded the title of being the best in each respective age group. Stallion Review – Rock N Roll Heaven - Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the very good racehorse and stallion Rock N Roll Heaven, p,3,1:47.3m ($2,774,478). Clubs – The need for change - It has been immensely satisfying to us here at Harnesslink to have received so much positive support from so many quarters from all over New Zealand on the publication of our recent opinion piece. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).
The young hipsters dressed to the nines sipping cocktails while lounging on rooftop patio furniture was the first indication this was not your granddaddy's Hambletonian. That it was a surprisingly pleasant overcast August afternoon, and not a sauna, was another. In the end, the track belonged to imported Swedes -- Jimmy Takter and Ake Svanstedt, especially -- along with Ron Burke, of course. But the day? That belonged to the gleaming new $88 million grandstand that thrummed with youthful energy and passed its first big test with aplomb. Track owner Jeff Gural was pleased and, naturally, couldn't resist an "I told you so" dig at his critics. "I think if you go back to the weekend we opened, I think if you look at some of the blogs, they were all critical, 'Gural's an idiot. The place is much too small. What's he going to do for theMeadowlands Pace and Hambletonian?' We saw the place is just perfect. It was designed exactly right," he said of a building about a third the size of the behemoth across the pond. Give the man his due. On this Hambletonian, he wasn't wrong. The crowd, estimated at 20,700,was thick -- particularly in the new version of Paddock Pack now called The Backyard -- but not impenetrable. The queues -- for pari-mutuel or more ordinary refreshment -- moved withimpressive speed given the volume. The on-track wagering wasn't as strong as the Nouveau Big M folks would have liked to have seen, mind you, but then the young kids don't bet like their granddaddies, either. It's the cost of trying to introduce the business to a generation to which harness racing is as foreign as rumble seats. But out there in our hyper-connected world, from Hackensack to Helsinki to Sydney the bets poured in. With a few countries still to be heard from, the expectation is that the haul will be about $1 million higher than last year. The total handle of more than $8.7 million is already the third best Hambletonian Day in history and foreign wagering could still push this year's number to the top spot, exceeding some $9 million bet in 2005. "That's impressive in this day and age," Gural said. "That's a tribute to the card. We had full fields, a couple of big fields, almost all the major stars were there with the exception of the three-year-old (pacing) colts. But on the trotting side, we got a little lucky with Father Patrick drawing the 10-hole. It wasn't a walkover, as it turned out." The Ãber trotter, bet down to 2-5 despite starting from parking lot, was part of Takter's Terrific Trio instrumental in scaring off challengers in the main event and leaving the Hambletonian heatless just one year after returning to its old format. That Father Patrick made a jump at the gate immediately made for some interesting drama whether you watched on the huge high-definition infield screen from one of the outdoor grandstand seats or in the hinterland via the spectacular show on the CBS Sports Network that employed 13 cameras to great effect, including a wide-angle mounted on the starting gate. Takter's intact duo of Trixton and Nuncio got the job done, of course, with a neck-and-neck stretch battle to boot. When the stone dust finally settled, Takter celebrated his first Hambletonian victory in the bike (and third lifetime), nipping John Campbell for what would have been his seventh triumph in harness racing's premier race. You needed a cab ride to reach the rest of the field scattered by three breakers, which was particularly disheartening to driver Yannick Gingras and the rest of Father Patrick's connections. That it was likely Gingras' greatest day at the track was little consolation for the Quebec native who won four stakes -- including the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit -- and just shy of $600,000 in purses in all, but was crest fallen about losing the big one. "It's probably the best day I've had racing horses but it's also the most disappointing day. I scored (Father Patrick) down pretty hard because I've never left with him before, and I wanted him to pay attention and be ready for it. The gate opened, I just touched him on his tail with the whip and he took off running. It's so unfortunate. Knock on wood, I'll have another chance, but you never know," Gingras told the ubiquitous Bob Heyden, one of the few things about the new place that thankfully was not traded in for a newer model on Hambletonian Day. That Kevin Jonas of Jonas Brothers fame was tabbed to present harness racing's Stanley Cup to Takter and Co. speaks to that youth movement again -- unless you're referring to that glorious silver bowl that now has 90 of the sport's greatest trotters inscribed in silver discs on its wedding cake base. Dear Lord, let's hope no one ever entertains trading that in for a newer model, because newer isn't always better. Progress isn't always positive. Sorely missed in the new digs is the old front paddock that radiated with equine and human stars and served as the annual meeting place for the sport's far-flung powerbrokers on Hambletonian Day. The signs that once hung above the stalls on the facade of the old place honouring each of the Hambletonian winners since the race moved to New Jersey in 1981 seem out of place now lining the infield. Try as they might, even the Copacabana rum girls sporting huge feather headdresses and littleelse other than smiles, didn't make up for the loss. Though, they were a nice touch along with the fathead driver cutouts seen throughout the day, the appearance by Captain Bill Wichrowski from the Discovery Channel's show Deadliest Catch and old style pennants each bearing the name of a Hambletonian finalist. The bridge from old to new was the free Hambletonian hats, The Nerds bashing out loud, enthusiastic covers in the park and the track itself, of course, which yielded three more world record performances. "I've been coming to the Hambletonian since 1960's when it was staged in DuQuoin [IL], and appreciated its growth and renewed pageantry when it moved to New Jersey in the old grandstand setting. We're working to build on that great tradition.," said Tom Charters president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. "In a way it was similar to the first Hambletonian here in 1981 - a new experience entirely. This is a new venue and a wonderful new facility, a new era. We will work with the Meadowlands to establish some new traditions that underscore the Hambletonian's place as America's trotting classic and the most important harness race in the world." Classic Martine got things started in the first race, equaling the world mark for trotting mares with a 1:51.1 score in the $52,000 Ima Lulu Final. Five races later, Mission Brief equaled the global mark for two-year-old trotting fillies with a 1:52.2 score in the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle. Barefoot speedster Sebastian K capped the record-setting parade in race 11 when he equaled the 1:50 record for older trotters while winning the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial the same day Cashman's 14-year-old granddaughter, Grace Cashman, sang the national anthem. None of which -- even the Hambletonian winner -- topped spectacular sightlines from multiple decks, a Hollywood-style sign on the roof that spells out Meadowlands in huge letters and a massive sports bar that transforms into a dance club at night -- all designed to lure the next generation critical for the sport's survival. "Everybody loved it. Everybody thought it was spectacular," said Gural, who is fond of wandering his plant to make himself available to his patrons. "The biggest compliments were from the people that had never been there. If you've never been there, you're really shocked when you pull up to the door." As the start of a new era for harness racing greatest day drew to a close, even the sky brightened and the Manhattan skyline materialized like a mirage out of the haze. The hipsters on the roof barely noticed, what with their iPhones, friends and cocktails to attend to, but the rest of us noticed them all right. They were completely foreign to the old place and a most welcome addition to the club. by Dave Briggs for the Hambletonian Society
East Rutherford, New Jersey - While the featured race at The Meadowlands Saturday, August 2 was the million-dollar Hambletonian, the first race of day was one of the best, resulting in a photo finish. That race, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation final, saw three teens driving Trottingbreds at their standard half-mile distance. Sophie Norton, 13, driving Royal Attire and assisted by Ron Pierce, got up at the wire to collar pacesetter Little Hicktown, who was driven by 14-year-old Lauren Permenter, assisted by HHYF Trustee Corey Callahan. Norton, of New Hartford, NY represented the HHYF Vernon Downs camp. Permenter, of Chesapeake City, MD represented the Harrington Raceway camp. Third place finisher Jennifer Mehlig, 14, represented the camp at Pocono Downs. She was assisted on the lines of LR Trixie by Tim Tetrick. Time for the half mile dash was 1:19.1 after an opening 38.1 first quarter. The race was the culmination of HHYF’s summer camp season, which covered eight states. A video of the HHYF race is posted on the HHYF website at www.hhyf.org/News.aspx. The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people’s lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org.
It has been very hard lately to take the smile off the faces of Peter O'Rourke and David Shammall as the sires associated with their harness racing venture Stallions Australasia have been having such a golden run in North America. Muscle Hill and Lucky Chucky have both had big years so far and their new addition Wishing Stone only adds to the quality available to trotting breeders down under this season. Set up by David and Peter in 2013, Stallions Australasia was formed to fill a gap they saw in the sires market in Australasia for quality trotting stallions. Most of the top North American pacing sires shuttle to Australasia every season but few of the elite trotting sires were available to breeders. Deciding to target the elite horses just starting out in the siring ranks, Stallions Australasia quickly acquired the semen rights to both Muscle Hill and Lucky Chucky. This year they have added another champion going to stud in Wishing Stone. So we thought it was an appropriate time to do a bit of homework on the three sires that they are making available to breeders this season. Muscle Hill 1:50.1 ($3,273,342) This son of Muscles Yankee is rated by many pundits as the greatest age group trotter to have ever raced in North America and his record supports that. He faced the starter 21 times for 20 wins and a second in a stellar career. Beaten on debut at two, Muscle Hill won his next 20 races before his retirement to stud. Amongst those wins were the $700,000 Breeders Crown at two in 1:53.3 while at three he won the $1,520,000 Hambletonian by six lengths in 1:50.2 - $1,000,000 Canadian Trotting Classic in 1:53.1 - $617,000 Breeders Crown in 1:54 - $540,000 World Trotting Derby in 1:52.3 and the $384,000 Kentucky Futurity in 1:51.1. All up at three, Muscle Hill earned $2,456,041 which is a record for money won in a season by either a pacer or a trotter. Now his stud record is starting to resemble his racing record with his first crop half way through their three year old season. He currently sits third on the North American 3 year old sires list and has already sired a Hambletonian winner from this first crop with the brilliant Trixton1:50.3 $(852,838) taking out the time honoured classic last weekend. Other notable winners from this first crop include Southwind Spirit 1:54.1 ($370,295) and Muscle Network 1:53.2 ($314,350) to name just two. The second crop are two year olds this season and have started in great fashion with the outstanding filly Mission Brief 1:52.2 ($255,775) winning the $352,000 Merrie Annibeelle on Hambletonian day while another Muscle Hill filly in Jolene Jolene 1:54 pl ($94,812) finished second. Muscle Hill is presently first on the two year old sires list in North America. Lucky Chucky 1:50.4 ($2,099,973) This son of Windsongs Legacy was an outstanding two and three year old on the track, being crowned horse of the year at both two and three. His sire Windsong's Legacy, a son of Conway Hall only stood for four seasons before his untimely demise. Apart from Lucky Chucky the other one of his sons to really make his mark is world record holder Chapter Seven 1:50.1 ($1,954,966) Lucky Chucky won the $450,000 Valley Victory at two in 1:56 in his nine wins at that age but that was only a pipe opener to a great three year old year. Lucky Chucky won the $1,000,000 Canadian Classic in 1:52.2 - $500,000 Colonial Final in 1:53 and was an unlucky second in the $1,500,000 Hambletonian Final won by Massive Muscle 1:51 ($1,239,138) in 1:51 When retired to stud Lucky Chucky had faced the starter 23 times for 14 wins and 7 ploacings for $2,099,973 in stakes. His first crop hit the track this season in North America and though it is early in the season, Lucky Chucky has made a fine start as a sire. With the season just getting into full swing he is already the sire of such promising trotters as Gabe The Bear Dean 1:58.3 (H) ($56,186) Lock Down Lindy 1:55 ($63,076) and Mambo Blue Chip 1:57.2 ($50,236). Lucky Chucky currently sits seventh on the North American Sires list for two year olds, ahead of such talented sires as Cantab Hall and Kadabra. Wishing Stone 1:51.2 ($2,255,603) The richest and fastest son of the great Conway Hall is available to breeders for the first time this season. His best wins at two were in the $84,600 Bluegraass Stakes in 1:55 and the $71,200 International Stallion Stakes in 1:55.3. At three Wishing Stone won the $237,000 Matron Final in 1:53.2 and the $200,00 Kentucky Futurity over Lucky Chucky in 1:51.2. Notable placings were his second in the $500,000 Breeders Crown in 1:52.4 and his third in the $1,500,000 Hambletonian behind Muscle Massive and Lucky Chucky in 1:51.4 Racing in Europe at four and five, his best wins were in the $250,000 Copenhagen Cup 2000 meters in a 1:54.4 mile rate and the $200,000 Grand Prix Du Sud Quest over 2600 meters. Back to North America last season, the Wishing Stone's best win was in the $250,000 Maxi Lee in 1:52, defeating Uncle Peter 1:50.3 ($1,250,515) Wishing Stone goes to stud with a record of 75 starts for 22 wins and 17 placings for $2,255,603 in stakes with a best time of 1:51.1 He should appeal to down under breeders with his winning performances over 2000 and 2600 meters. Everything considered, Stallions Australasia have a great line up of sires who are making the headlines now, not last year like some sires. Harnesslink media