For the first time since April 4, 2009 (other than Meadowlands Pace or Hambletonian Day cards), when a near seven-figure Pick 6 pool spurned a massive night, total handle at The Meadowlands eclipsed $4 Million on Saturday night. The total handle on the night was $4,106,609 which was a 14-percent increase over the same program in 2013. This was the third highest handled program in the last 16 months along with the 14-race Meadowlands Pace card in 2013 handled which $4,311,545 and of course, Hambletonian Day 2013. The Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands came early in the program as Racing Secretary Peter Koch chose race two to showcase the fastest pacers he's got to work with in the $30,000 A-1/Free For All Handicap. Dovuto Hanover scored a mild upset employing a first over grind to wear down the favored Golden Receiver to in 1:49-. The race attracted just six horses, a result most likely of the imposing presence of Golden Receiver, who returned to the wars last week in fine fashion. He would go postward as the public choice from the outside post which became the five with the late defection of Abelard Hanover. Despite the short field the action was hot right from the word "go" as Panesthetic and Easy Again left hard for the pocket behind the fave with Easy Again emerging as the leader when the quarter time flashed up 26-. Golden Receiver found himself in the unusual position of not making the front until well past the three eighths pole and cleared just before the half in a demanding 53.3. Corey Callahan tried to steal a breather around the bend and was able to rate a 28.3 third panel but Tim Tetrick used that tactic to the advantage of his mount and had Dovuto Hanover geared up and rolled alongside to engage the leader as they entered the stretch. Dovuto Hanover eyeballed the veteran through the early stretch drive then edged clear late, widening to a two and a quarter length victory. Golden Receiver was his usual dead-game self and held the place with Easy Again third. The winner is trained by Darran Cassar for owner Martin Scharf and returned a $15.40 win mutual. In the second leg of the Buddy Gilmour series for three year old pacing males the heavily favored Dinner At The Met had his way with eight overmatched foes. With both of last Saturday's leg one winners, Capital Account and National Debt, given the week off in anticipation of next week's $60,000 final, a single division was all that was required to accommodate a mere nine entrants. Unraced at two, Dinner At The Met has quickly picked up the game and was winning for the fourth time in five outings. Corey Callahan picked up the drive for the listed Andy Miller who was absent for the card due to travel complications and the assignment was a simple one. Sent out for the lead from post six Dinner At The Met faced no opposition through very kind fractions then jetted hoe in 27.2 to close out the mile in 1:53-. Recharge took the place and Rock Fame held third. Trained and owned in part by Erv Miller along with Bert Hochsprung, the Metropolitan gelding will surely have to be dealt with next week in what shapes up to be an interesting contest. Next week, Dinner At The Met will square off with round one winners National Debt and Capital Account in a series finale with Meadowlands Pace implications. Racing will resume on Thursday evening, with first post time of 7:15 P.M. Thursday features an 11-race program, including the first round of The Winter Survivor Series. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is proud to offer a breeding to Guccio as part of our stallion breeding auction. This is a unique opportunity as his book is sure to be full and closed very shortly. The world champion and million-dollar winning trotter Guccio 4,1:51.1f ($1,021,809) begins stud duty at Victory Hill Farm, one of the leading farms in Indiana. He will stand for a fee of $5,000 for the 2014 breeding season. Trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, Guccio is a son of Yankee Glide and the $181,000 winner Southern Senorita. He showed talent early as a 2-year-old, taking a mark of 1:55.4 as a freshman and winning the Champlain. He became one of the top contenders of his generation as a 3-year-old and missed winning the $1.5 million Hambletonian by a neck. His 3-year-old record of 1:52.1 was earned via a victory in a Bluegrass division at The Red Mile and then as a 4-year-old in 2013 he trotted to his personal best of 1:51.1f, establishing a world record for 4-year-old trotters. “Guccio is a very classy and beautiful horse and one of my personal favorites,” said Takter. “He is a world champion and a perfect racehorse in every way. It was our plan to race in Europe in 2014 had this opportunity for him to enter the stud not developed. Indiana clearly has one of the most attractive regional programs and we do plan to breed to Guccio as I believe he has every quality to become an outstanding trotting sire.” Income raised by the stallion auction, nearly $540,000 over the past 15 years, supports the Museum's General Operating Fund. It helps to ensure quality services, special exhibitions, traveling exhibits, promotional support and educational programming for children and adults. Our efforts also help to encourage new owners and fans! For additional information on the auction, to donate breedings, or to receive a complete list of stallions and conditions for bidding, please contact Joanne Young at 845.294.6330, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.harnessmuseum.com, where updates will also be posted. The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is located at 240 Main Street in Goshen, N.Y. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour 4 p.m.). Thanks to USTA support, the Museum is currently offering free admission for walk-in visitors and group docent-guided tours at a minimal charge per person. For additional information about the Museum, its membership program, special events and educational programs please call 845.294.6330 or visit www.harnessmuseum.com. From the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
A confident Anthony Butt drive saw talented three-year-old Thebestlove prove far too strong for his 12 rivals in tonight’s $100,000 PGG Wrightson Trotters Final at Addington. After negotiating Thebestlove away from the inside from his tricky one on the second-line barrier draw, driver Anthony Butt quickly had Love You three-year-old up vying for the lead, before taking over with a lap to run. Butt then let the free-running type roll along in front, taking the sting out of his rivals down the back straight, before kicking on strongly in the home stretch to hold K D Muscles, who enjoyed a nice run in the trail after leading early, at bay by ¾ of a length. Hot Pants finished a further 3 & ¼ lengths away in third, while Rocky Six rounded out the first four. “He got going again when he saw Murray Edmond’s horse (K D Muscles) coming through, and actually won quite easily in the end,” said driver Anthony Butt. “He still has a bit to learn, but he has a lot of scope and he simply ran them into the deck down the back straight,” he added. Thebestlove was an emphatic winner of his first two starts, before disappointing slightly when third in the Hambletonian Classic. However, Butt was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt on that occasion. “I think he is a better horse when rolling along at this stage of career,” he advised. Thebestlove trotted the 1950 metre journey in 2-25.4, which is just 0.3 of a second outside of Royal Aspirations New Zealand record for a three-year-old male trotter. “I’m looking forward to the Derbies with him as I think the longer trips will really suit him,” said Butt. Thebestlove, who is trained by Anthony’s brother Tim, is owned by Graham Beirne of Small Car Word, along with Mrs V G Duncum, R W Davison, Mrs R E Davison, N P Bent, and Mrs P F Bent. “It is good to win a big race for a great group of owners,” said Butt. “It should keep Graham Beirne off my back for a few weeks anyway,” he joked. Meanwhile, Butt is expecting big runs from both Mah Sish and Elusive Chick at Menangle on Sunday. “Elusive Chick is absolutely flying at the moment, and Mah Sish’s form is a lot better than it looks.” “If he can lead he will be awfully hard to run down,” said Butt. By Mitchell Robertson
Dover, DE --- It was the perfect ending to a perfect season for Bee A Magician. The female trotter on Sunday night was named 2013 Horse of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association at the Dan Patch Awards banquet at Dover Downs. Bee A Magician, who was unbeaten in 17 races last season at age 3 and earned a divisional record $1.54 million, bested pacers Foiled Again and Captaintreacherous for the honor. Bee A Magician became the first 3-year-old filly trotter to receive the Horse of the Year Award since Continentalvictory in 1996. She got 94 votes, followed by Foiled Again with 19 and Captaintreacherous with 16. In addition, Bee A Magician was named Trotter of the Year by a 120-vote margin over both Market Share and Royalty For Life, who received three votes apiece. Although Foiled Again received more support for Horse of the Year, Captaintreacherous got the nod for Pacer of the Year, 68-57. Captaintreacherous, who won 13 of 16 races and $2.05 million last season as a 3-year-old, became the first horse to win back-to-back Pacer of the Year honors since Jenna's Beach Boy in 1995-96. He joined Niatross as the only horses to accomplish the feat at ages 2 and 3. Winners of divisional honors also were recognized at the banquet: Father Patrick (2-year-old male trotter), Shake It Cerry (2-year-old female trotter), He's Watching (2-year-old male pacer), Precocious Beauty (2-year-old female pacer), Royalty For Life (3-year-old male trotter), Bee A Magician (3-year-old female trotter), Captaintreacherous (3-year-old male pacer), I Luv The Nitelife (3-year-old female pacer), Market Share (older male trotter), Maven (older female trotter), Foiled Again (older male pacer) and Anndrovette (older female pacer). Bee A Magician, Father Patrick and Maven were unanimous picks for divisional titles. Captaintreacherous, Foiled Again, Market Share, and Anndrovette were repeat winners. Trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman and driven by Brian Sears for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee, Bee A Magician's wins included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters, Hambletonian Oaks, Elegantimage Stakes, and Delvin Miller Memorial. Her $1.54 million in purses were the most ever for a 3-year-old filly trotter, breaking the record of $1.17 million set by Continentalvictory in 1996, and her winning time of 1:51 in the Miller Memorial at Meadowlands Racetrack is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old filly trotter. Bee A Magician joined Muscle Hill and Syrinx Hanover as the only trotters to go unbeaten at age 3 and receive divisional honors dating back to 1975. Captaintreacherous' wins last year included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers, North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Max Hempt Memorial, Cane Pace and American-National Stakes. Trained by Tony Alagna and driven by Tim Tetrick for the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group, he joined Rocknroll Hanover and Gallo Blue Chip as the only horses to win the Breeders Crown, North America Cup, and Meadowlands Pace in the same season. Father Patrick, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group, won 10 of 11 races and $744,057. His victories included the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters, the William Wellwood Memorial, and the Peter Haughton Memorial. He finished the campaign with a nine-race winning streak and was unbeaten in stakes competition. He set the world record of 1:52.1 for a 2-year-old male trotter on a five-eighths-mile track in winning his Breeders Crown elimination at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Shake It Cerry, trained by Takter and driven by Ron Pierce for the Solveig's Racing Partners ownership group, captured eight of 11 starts and earned $827,769. Her triumphs included the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, Goldsmith Maid, and Merrie Annabelle. He's Watching was undefeated in eight starts last year, including the New York Sire Stakes championship, and equaled the world record of 1:52.2 for 2-year-old colt pacers on a half-mile track. He is owned by trainer David Menary, Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero and was driven primarily by Jim Morrill Jr. Precocious Beauty won seven of 11 races, including the She's A Great Lady Stakes, and $446,692 for trainer Gregg McNair, driver Doug McNair and owner Jim Avritt Sr. Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life won seven of 14 starts and $1.27 million for trainer George Ducharme, driver Brian Sears, and owners Al Ross, Ray "Chip" Campbell Jr. and Paul Fontaine. He also won the Canadian Trotting Classic. I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races and $1.25 million for trainer Chris Ryder, driver Tetrick and owners Richard and Joanne Young. Her victories included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly pacers, Fan Hanover Stakes and Valley Forge (in a world-record 1:48.4 mile). Market Share, who was a 4-year-old in 2013, also took divisional honors at age 3. Last year, he won six of 14 races and earned $1.07 million for trainer Linda Toscano, driver Tetrick and owners Richard Gutnick, TLP Stables, and William Augustine. He finished the season by winning the Breeders Crown Open Trot, American-National Stakes, and TVG Free For All Series Championship. Maven won 10 of 14 races and earned $509,220 for trainer Jonas Czernyson, driver Gingras and owner Bill Donovan. Her wins included the Breeders Crown for older female trotters, Armbro Flight Stakes, and Miss Versatility Series championship. She trotted the fastest race mile ever on a half-mile track in winning the Miss Versatility in 1:51.4 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. Foiled Again, who last season at age 9 became the oldest horse to ever win a Breeders Crown and the richest North American harness racing horse in history, was named the sport's best older male pacer for the third consecutive year. He joined Rambling Willie (1975-77) as the only horses to win the division's top honor three straight seasons. Trained by Ron Burke and driven primarily by Gingras for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and JJK Stables, Foiled Again won 11 of 29 races in 2013 and earned $1.40 million. He is the oldest horse to ever have a million-dollar season. Anndrovette also became a three-time divisional champion. She joined Eternal Camnation (2001-03) and Shady Daisy (1992-94) as the only older female pacers to accomplish the feat. Anndrovette won seven of 21 races and $558,201 for trainer P.J. Fraley, driver Tetrick and owners Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino. Her victories included the Roses Are Red Stakes. For complete vote totals, click here. DAN PATCH AWARD WINNERS HORSE OF THE YEAR TROTTER OF THE YEAR 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Bee A Magician Kadabra – Beehive – Balanced Image Breeder: White Birch Farm. Owners: Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, David McDuffee. Trainer: Richard “Nifty” Norman. Drivers: Rick Zeron, Brian Sears. Races: 17-17-0-0. Purses: $1.54 million. Mark: 1:51 at Meadowlands (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks; $500,000 Breeders Crown; $356,981 Elegantimage. PACER OF THE YEAR 3-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Captaintreacherous Somebeachsomewhere – Worldly Treasure – Artsplace Breeder: White Birch Farm. Owner: Captaintreacherous Racing. Trainer: Tony Alagna. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 16-13-2-0. Purses: $2.05 million. Mark: 1:47.1 at Red Mile. Top wins: $980,000 North America Cup; $635,750 Meadowlands Pace; $500,000 Breeders Crown. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Father Patrick Cantab Hall – Gala Dream – Enjoy Lavec Breeder: Brittany Farms. Owner: Father Patrick Stable. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 11-10-1-0. Purses: $744,057. Mark: 1:52.1 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $354,050 Wellwood Memorial; $280,500 Haughton Memorial. 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Shake It Cerry Donato Hanover – Solveig – Yankee Glide Breeder: Solveig’s Breeders. Owner: Solveig’s Racing Partners. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 11-8-2-0. Purses: $827,769. Mark: 1:53.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $456,150 Goldsmith Maid; $321,700 Merrie Annabelle. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER He’s Watching American Ideal – Baberhood – Real Desire Breeders: Brittany Farms, Robert Burgess, Karin Olsson Burgess. Owners: David Menary, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero. Trainer: David Menary. Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. Races: 8-8-0-0. Purses: $291,722. Mark: 1:50 at Tioga Downs. Top win: $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final. 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Precocious Beauty Art Major – Precious Beauty – Jate Lobell Breeder: James Avritt Sr. Owner: James Avritt Sr. Trainer: Gregg McNair. Driver: Doug McNair. Races: 11-7-3-0. Purses: $446,692. Mark: 1:50.1 at Red Mile (world record). Top win: $428,450 She’s A Great Lady. 3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Royalty For Life RC Royalty – Bourbon ’N Grits – Donerail Breeder: Al Ross. Owners: Al Ross, Ray “Chip” Campbell Jr., Paul Fontaine. Trainer: George Ducharme. Driver: Brian Sears. Races: 14-7-2-0. Purses: $1.27 million. Mark: Q1:51.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $1 million Hambletonian; $665,420 Canadian Trotting Classic; $294,000 Dancer Memorial. 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER I Luv The Nitelife Rocknroll Hanover – Lisjune – Camluck Breeders: MJG Racing Stables, Louis “Andy” Willinger. Owners: Richard and Joanne Young. Trainer: Chris Ryder. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 15-13-1-1. Purses: $1.25 million. Mark: 1:48.4 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $384,044 Fan Hanover; $350,000 Valley Forge. OLDER MALE TROTTER Market Share Revenue S – Classical Flirt – Yankee Glide Breeder: Hayley Moore. Owners: Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable, William Augustine. Trainer: Linda Toscano. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 14-6-1-5. Purses: $1.07 million. Mark: Q1:50.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $526,710 Maple Leaf; $500,000 TVG Free For All Championship. OLDER FEMALE TROTTER Maven Glidemaster – M Stewart – American Winner Breeder: All La Nuova Sbarra S.r.l. Owner: Bill Donovan. Trainer: Jonas Czernyson. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 14-10-2-0. Purses: $509,220. Mark: 1:51.4 at Delaware County Fairgrounds (world record). Top wins: $266,041 Armbro Flight; $250,000 Breeders Crown. OLDER MALE PACER Foiled Again Dragon Again – In A Safe Place – Artsplace Breeder: Barbara Matthews. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JJK Stables. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 29-11-6-7. Purses: $1.40 million. Mark: 1:48 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $512,000 TVG Free For All Championship; $500,000 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Ben Franklin. OLDER FEMALE PACER Anndrovette Riverboat King – Easy Miss – Big Towner Breeder: Golden Touch Stable. Owner: Bamond Racing, Joseph Davino. Trainer: P.J. Fraley. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 21-7-7-4. Purses: $558,201. Mark: 1:48 at Mohawk. Top win: $313,795 Roses Are Red. By Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications U.S. Trotting Association
Coral Springs, FL - Would you like to own Yannick Gingras's helmet and colors, personally autographed to you? Or perhaps Bill Haughton's trainer trophy clock from winning the $2 million Woodrow Wilson Pace with Nihilator? Maybe a Mary Lou Dondarski original painting of the trotter Bee A Magician or the pacer Captaintreacherous? These items and many more are all up for grabs in the United States Harness Writers Association silent and live auction at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards dinner at Dover Downs, Delaware this Sunday, February 23. But you don't have to be there to be a winner! You can call in your bids now for all of the items in the auction. And best of all is that all proceeds go directly to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and USHWA. All you have to do is call any of these numbers for detailed information; 954.654.3757; 732-306-6713; 317.908.0029 or 732.547.9459. and place your bid order on any or all of the auction items. You will be able to bid via telephone up until 7 p.m. on Sunday (February 23) so please don't delay and miss out on these great items. Most of the items can be seen on the internet at www.ushwa.org. Here are all the items that are in the live and silent auction: Yannick Gingras colors and helmet (personalized by Yannick) Original Mary Lou Dondarski acrylic painting Bee A Magician Bill Haughton's engraved clock trophy as winning trainer of Nihilator in world's richest race, $2 million Woodrow Wilson Pace Original Mary Lou Dondarski acrylic painting Captaintreacherous Original Michele Hogan painting "Racing under the Moon" Horse Motive Quilt Throw Collectable silver coin with horse engraved Large "Colts Frolic" Bronze Statue Bow River Bracelets LV Harkness etched clock Complete bobble head collection (23 items) in showcase Breeding to Dream Away (Winbak Farm - Delaware) Rock N Roll Heaven halter with Breeders Crown Casino Chips (Display case) Hambletonian whiskey decanter (empty), Bank Barn collector's plate and horseshoe wall hanging Hand-painted Round Barn fruit bowl (13 inches) By Steve Wolf, president of USHWA
The World Champion and million-dollar winning trotter Guccio 4, 1:51.1f ($1,021,809) has been retired to study duty at Victory Hill Farm, one of the leading farms in Indiana. He will stand for a fee of $5,000 for the 2014 breeding season and a limited number of shares in the stallion are available for purchase. Trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, Guccio is a son of Yankee Glide and the $181,000 winner Southern Senorita. He showed talent early as a 2 year old, taking a mark of 1:55.4 as a freshman and winning the Champlain. He became one of the top contenders of his generation as a 3 year old and missed winning the $1.5 million Hambletonian by a mere neck. His 3-year-old record of 1:52.1 was earned via a victory in a Bluegrass division at The Red Mile and then as a 4 year old in 2013 he trotted to his personal best of 1:51.1f, establishing a new World Record for 4-year-old trotters. "Guccio is a very classy and beautiful horse and one of my personal favorites," said Takter. "He was an exceptional individual when we purchased him as a yearling and he proved to be everything we hoped for and more and we went back and bought his full brother last fall for over $100,000...he is a World Champion and a perfect racehorse in every way. It was our plan to race in Europe in 2014 had this opportunity for him to enter the stud not developed. Indiana clearly has one of the most attractive regional programs and we do plan to breed to Guccio as I believe he has every quality to become an outstanding trotting sire." For more information about purchasing shares, please contact Jeff Fought of Cornerstone Stock Farm at 260-463-1649 or Bob Boni of Northwood Bloodstock Agency at 201-863-2082. For booking information, contact Victory Hill Farm at 260-463-2442.
When I was first elected as a United States Trotting Association (USTA) membership director in 1998, I thought that it was important to advance the interests of harness racing horsemen in every way possible. Electronic Eligibility was just the first of many helpful programs we were able to achieve. Yet, believe it or not, something as obviously essential as going paperless was met with much criticism and resistance. From that initial experience, I learned that very little USTA. business gets accomplished quickly; and rarely in unanimous fashion. As with any large, industry-wide association, there are competing interests. 2/3s of our Board is made up of membership, or horsemen, directors, and 1/3 are track directors. Even within these groupings, on many issues there are smaller factions that see things differently than others. Of course, the voicing of varied opinions is a good thing. When a different viewpoint on a subject is expressed, it allows for directors to pause and think about a matter in a light that they might not have previously considered. Unfortunately though, much never gets to the pause and think stage with 61 directors, because many decisions affecting members are being made at an executive level. Rather than the product of full and open deliberation, these pronouncements are decided behind closed doors by a handful of individuals who often look at things in lockstep fashion. Worse still, their edicts are often completely inconsistent, and smack of an attitude of pure track bias. For those of you who may not be aware, your Association executives in Columbus, Ohio have recently denied the membership application of a veteran horseman who maintains racing licenses in multiple U.S. jurisdictions, as well as in Canada. The reason for the denial? Well, you’ll just have to guess, because his refusal notice doesn’t even state why he was refused. Strangely for me, if numerous Racing Commissions deem him to have the requisite character and fitness to compete in pari-mutuel harness racing, why would our USTA exclude him? One could only guess that he violated some rule of our Association. Or is it really our Association? And what was the rule violation? Compare this to the longstanding state of affairs with a track member, Saratoga Raceway, who was in open and notorious violation of USTA rules. Those rules that we voted on and passed mandate that tracks maintain minimum medical insurance for drivers equal to the average daily purse account raced for during the previous calendar year. At Saratoga, the minimum medical coverage should have been in the six-figure range. Yet, for several years, Saratoga had maintained only a paltry $5,000 coverage for its drivers; a blatant violation of the U.S.T.A own rules. Despite being out of compliance for several years, the USTA. would not revoke the track’s membership. Because the USTA refused to act against the track member who was in violation of the USTA rule, the horsemen were forced to make concessions to the track to up that insurance Nice deal for a track, but a lousy one for horsemen members who found themselves left in the lurch because the USTA would not enforce a rule against a track member. Some directors rightly call the USTA the United States Track Association. So, while denying membership to horsemen for no explicit reason, the executives in Columbus flatly refused to revoke the track membership of Saratoga Raceway, despite its clear and undeniable violation of an important Association rule. This type of prejudice towards horsemen and favoritism towards racetracks is not simply unjust; it’s downright dangerous. Think about the tragic incident involving Anthony Coletta last November. Think about the drivers injured as a result of the starting gate skid at Freehold Raceway in January. Medical insurance isn’t important until, of course, you desperately need it. I am damn mad about the dual treatment of a clearly wrongdoing track member of the USTA and the risk to horsemen racing there, while the USTA turned its back on such violation for years but continues to penalize horsemen who have licenses in many states. Is the USTA carrying water for track operators who want the industry to think that they have integrity at their place and no one else does, while their "proof”, or the lack of it, is not sufficient for a state to suspend a horsemen's credential in that state? What additional exposure does the USTA have when, God forbid, a horrible accident befalls a horseman at a track with less than the minimum insurance because the USTA has not enforced its own rule? It may be an increase in your dues that pays for this failure when their lawyers come seeking recourse. This ‘tale of two cities’ has to stop. As a horsemen’s director, along with others, our top priority right now is to change how the decision making process at the U.S.T.A. works. When a state licenses a member, unless the state suspends him he/ she should have full membership in the USTA. When he violates a state rule he should suffer a loss of our USTA credential. The USTA is wasting a lot of time, effort and money in an area that clearly belongs to state licensing agencies. Enough is enough. Let's stop having track operators use their influence at the USTA to make villains out of licensed horsemen. Respectfully, JOHN BRENNAN John Brennan is chairman of USTA District 12. A native of Rockaway Beach, N.Y., Brennan finished school in 1968 and worked as a steamfitter for four years before he began his career in harness racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He has been training horses for more than 30 years, racing stables in New York and New Jersey. He won the 1995 Merrie Annabelle with Missy Will Do It. Was previously part-owner and trainer of Sugar Trader, winner of the 2003 Yonkers Trot and runner-up in the 2003 Hambletonian. He has been on the board of the SBOA of NY for more than 20 years, an HHI delegate for more than 15 years, and a USTA director for 13 years. He is currently the horsemen's representative at Yonkers Raceway. To discuss further go to harnessracingforum or leave a comment below. Editor's Note: HARNESSLINK website is pleased to present appropriate viewpoints and opinions from around the Harness Racing industry. The views contained in these “op-ed” pieces are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of HARNESSLINK.
Cranbury, NJ...With the February 15 payment deadline approaching for many stake events, the Breeders Crown, which is administered by the Hambletonian Society has important changes. Because of the federal holiday on Monday, payments for all Hambletonian-Society serviced stakes must be postmarked by midnight on Tuesday, February 18, per USTA rule 12, section 4. The $5 million Breeders Crown series will celebrate its 30-year anniversary over two nights - Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. The $500,000 Breeders Crown Trot and Pace for 3-year-old fillies, and a pair of $250,000 Crowns for Mare pacers and trotters will be raced on Friday night. All four $500,000 Two-Year-Old events, the $500,000 sophomore colt pace and trot and the $400,000 Crown Pace and $500,000 Crown Trot will be raced on Saturday night. Breeders Crown purses are derived from stallion nominations, yearling nomination fees, eligibility and sustaining payments and supplemental fees. For multiple reasons, including across the board reduction of stud fees, the contraction important breeding markets like Ontario and New Jersey, a restriction on 4-year-olds going to stud and generally fewer mares being bred, the Breeders Crown stallion fund has dropped drastically over the past two years. Though contributory fees from breeding farms that stand stallions with stud fees of $10,000 or more were raised for the breeding season of 2014, payment schedule and purses for some of the 12 traditional Breeders Crown divisions of age, gender and gait had to be altered as well. The four two-year-old races will continue to race for $500,000 and will have no payment increase except in the two-year-old future eligibility fee to remain eligible to race at three, which was raised from $350 to $500 and is due March 15. No changes were made to the three-year-old purse schedule or payment fees and no changes were made to the payment schedule for mares to remain eligible to the open mare trot and pace. Eligible horses to the Breeders Crown open races for horses and geldings now require a $1,500 payment on April 15 in addition to the February and March 15 payments of the same amount. The starting fee was lowered to $8,000 in line with the purse. Stallion nomination remains the key to eligibility for all Crown races, but in the rare case that horses by nominated stallions have not been kept eligible by yearling or supplemental payments along the way, those horses will now pay a supplemental fee of $500 on February 15 to access eligibility to the program. Mares can pay a $250 supplemental fee. Lastly, the yearling nomination fee due May 15, 2014 was increased from $100 to $150. "The Breeders Crown committee of the Hambletonian Society looked long and hard at how to make these changes equitable for breeders and owners, " said Tom Charters, the Society president. "We are very sensitive to the cost of breeding and staking horses. The Breeders Crown 30-year brand remains one of the richest and most prestigious in harness racing and we felt it important to maintain the series in the ever-shifting landscape that is current day stakes racing. Our purses remain among the highest in all divisions, but winning a Breeder Crown is about much more than money," continued Charters. The Hambletonian Society services 137 stakes and complete race conditions, payment forms and much more information is available online at www.Hambletonian.org. For more information call the Society offices at 609-371-2211. by Moira Fanning for the Breeders Crown
Cranbury, NJ... The initial payment deadline for eligibility to more than 137 stake events at 16 different tracks, headlined by the $1 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands on August 2 and the $5 million Breeders Crown events at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ, on November 21 and 22, is fast approaching. Because of the federal holiday on Monday, payments for all Hambletonian-Society serviced Stakes must be postmarked by midnight on Tuesday, February 18, per USTA rule 12, section 4. A host of new stakes in Ohio will be administered by the Hambletonian Society, including the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park for three-year-old colt pacers, and a pair of open events for both gaits at Miami Valley Gaming & Racing and Hollywood at Dayton Raceway. The inaugural $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity for four-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands is new on the stakes calendar this year and the four Historic races for sophomores are moving to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Yonkers Raceway has guaranteed purses of $500,000 each for their Triple Crown events of the Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and the Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old colt trotters. The Hambletonian Society services 137 of harness racing's richest and most prestigious events and provides one-stop shopping for your staking needs. The web site, Hambletonian.org, contains all the tools and information necessary to stake your horse yourself. Race conditions, payment forms and much more information is now available online. For more information call the Society offices at 609-371-2211. Races with February 15 payments due: • Delvin Miller Adios and Adioo Volo Filly • Arden Downs • Ben Franklin Free For All • Breeders Crown • Cane Pace and Shady Daisy • Carl Erskine for 3-year-old trotters (was Oliver Trot) • Centaur Trotting Classic FFA (was Pride in Progress) • Circle City 3-year-olds • Cleveland Classic and Courageous Lady • Currier & Ives Trot and Filly Trot • Dexter Cup and Lady Suffolk Trot • Earl Beal Jr Memorial Trot • Hambletonian & Hambletonian Oaks • Hambletonian Maturity • Max Hempt Memorial & James M. Lynch Filly Division • Historic Series • Hoosier Park Pacing Derby (was Indiana Pacing Derby) • The Horseman • Kentuckiana Stallion Management Pace for 2YO Fillies • Kentuckiana Stallion Management Trot for 2YO Fillies • Keystone Classics 3-year-olds • Landmark Stakes • Matron Series 3-year-olds • Messenger Stake & Lady Maud • Miami Valley Distaff Pace for Mares • Miami Valley Distaff Trot for Mares • Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers • Monument Circle 3-year-olds • PA All Stars 3-year-olds • Progress Pace • W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes • Art Rooney Pace & Lismore Filly Pace • John Simpson Memorial Colt & Filly Stakes • Tompkins Memorial & Geers Stake • Yonkers Trot & Lady Suffolk Filly Trot by Moira Fanning for Hambletonian Society
Portland, ME --- The Maine Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association will be holding their annual awards banquet on Saturday (Feb. 15) at the Italian Heritage Center located at 40 Westland Avenue in Portland. The day starts off at 2:30 p.m. with the business meeting where old and new business is discussed and the election of officers will take place. The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. with a social hour that will run in unison with the silent stallion auction. Many top breeders in the state donate the services of their stallions with the proceeds of the silent stallion auction benefitting the MSBOA Scholarship Fund. There will also be an additional auction of harness racing related items that will take place shortly before the awards banquet kicks off at 6 p.m. The awards banquet will recognize those who have excelled in the state’s sire stakes racing program in 2013. There are various awards based on age, gait, sire and broodmare that will receive acknowledgement for success in their respective categories. Awards will also be presented to the people of the sport who have contributed and succeeded in the Maine breeders program that represents many jobs and open land opportunities in the Pine Tree State. One such recipient is Mike Andrews of Gorham who will be receiving the top breeder in the trotting category as his 3-year-old trotting colt Obrigado went undefeated in his 2013 racing campaign as he notched 13 victories with earnings of more than $100,000. MSBOA president James Kelly will speak and introduce a trio of owners who have found success in harness racing’s ultimate trotting prize. Chip Campbell, Al Ross and Paul Fontaine co-own the 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life. This 3-year-old colt is trained by George Ducharme, who has been voted the Good Guy Award by the United States Harness Writers' Association. Ducharme, along with Campbell, Ross and Fontaine are New England residents with strong ties in Massachusetts harness racing as well as racing on the national scene. The story of Royalty For Life is one where Chip Campbell owned the stallion (RC Royalty) and Al Ross owned the mare (Bourbon N Grits). The connection of the two brought about a trotter that to date has earned more than $1.6 million in just two years of racing. The night will also raffles and door prizes. More information may be obtained from the following: www.mainehha.com and www.meharness.com. by Bill Ellis, for the MSBOA
Mike Ward won the Group One New Zealand Messenger Championship in 1996, but Saturday’s victory by Majestic Time in the Group Three $25,000 Neumann’s Hambletonian Classic at Ashburton was his career highlight. Ward owned and bred Decision Time but Mark Purdon trained him for 10 days before that Messenger triumph. “I think this win is even sweeter because even although we also bred this filly, and our family also owns her, I did the training this time round,” the West Melton horseman said. Majestic Time was the fourth favourite in Saturday’s 1609 metre mobile trot and paid $9 to win. She and driver Ken Barron had 1-1/2 lengths and a length to spare over place-getters, Any Old way (Paul Nairn) and Thebestlove (Anthony Butt). Winner’s time: 1:58.6. Last 800m: 58.4. 27.8. Majestic Time is owned by Ward, his wife Pauline, daughter Susan, and son Craig. “I’ve always had a bit of time for her. That’s why I gave my kids a share in her. I didn’t want to give them a dud,” Ward said. The bay filly is by Majestic Son out of the Ward owned and trained five-win ($54,939) Sundon mare, Time To Shine. She left four foals but died last year while foaling to a Muscles Yankee filly. “It’s a real honour to win a big race like the Hambletonian. It’s a prestigious race, especially here in Canterbury. She will make a good broodmare one day,” 63-year-old Ward said. He said there was still one win he would now dearly love to win – the Group Three New Zealand Trotting Oaks at Addington on April 4. “It’s the only major race on the calendar where she will get to take on her on sex. She beat the boys and girls on Saturday and should be tough to roll against the fillies. “But this is racing and you can never take anything for granted because you just don’t know who is going to come out of the woodwork, especially from the North Island,” said Ward who is a builder by trade and works three horses at West Melton. Mark Purdon won the last three Hambletonian Classics with Paramount Queen (2013 in 1:59.7), Escapee (2012 in 1:59.5), and Kylie Ree (2011 in 1:59.9). Purdon might not have won yesterday’s big trot but he and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen did claim their own Group Three prize on Saturday when he drove Follow The Stars to win the $25,000 Teltrack Sapling Stakes for 2-year-old pacers. Isaiah also won the same race from him in 1:57.2 last year, but Follow The Stars beat that time recording a blistering a 1:53.2. The Geoff Dunn trained Venus Serena was again brilliant in the third heat of the $15,000 Nevele R Fillies heat, recording the fastest mile of the day in a lightning 1:52.2. Driver John Dunn late last month told HRNZ the 3-year-old Mach Three filly was the best horse he had driven. She further endorsed that reputation on Saturday with her quickest career mile win, and 10th in 15 starts. Venus Serena has now banked $434,152 in stakes. Ashburton again proved to be one of the fastest tracks in New Zealand on Saturday when the 10 races carded all produced sub two-win miles. In fact Majestic Time’s 1:58.6 triumph was the slowest of the day. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
Standardbred Canada has announced the winners of the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the event, the annual Black Tie Gala was held in Charlottetown, PEI, at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel and PEI Convention Centre. The awards are named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. O’Brien was born in Alberton, PEI. Bee A Magician who was perfect in her 2013 season, was the unanimous choice in the Three-Year -Old Trotting Filly division and was also voted Canada’s Horse of The Year. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her races last season and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore campaign. The daughter of Hall of Fame sire Kadabra took a mark of 1:51 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The invincible filly’s stakes victories included the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Sylvain Filion successfully defended his Driver of The Year title. In 2013 he led all reinsmen in the nation in terms of purse earnings, as his mounts banked $6,111,736. Filion finished as the leading money-winning driver on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk Racetrack and Woodbine Racetrack. The resident of Milton, Ont. earned the Lampman Cup for the second straight year, as he topped the Ontario Sires Stakes standings for drivers. Filion celebrated his richest win of the season while steering Boomboom Ballykeel to a 10-1 upset victory in the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Richard Moreau was voted Trainer of The Year following an impressive season that saw his stable win 279 races and earn $3,623,805 in purses. The resident of Puslinch, Ont. earned training titles across Ontario at Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Mohawk Racetrack, The Raceway at Western Fair District and Woodbine Racetrack. Moreau topped the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. The 2013 season marked the 14th consecutive year that his stable has surpassed the $1-million mark in purse earnings. Alberta’s Kelly Hoerdt won the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship. Hoerdt is a successful driver/trainer who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. The 2013 season was another productive year for Hoerdt, as he trained 82 winners and horses to $623,000, and drove 66 winners and horses that earned over $490,000. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in terms of earnings at Alberta Downs. His stable was led by sophomore pacing colt Premium Attaction, a multiple stakes winner that rattled off six wins in 11 races and over $111,000 Precocious Beauty was honoured as Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year. Precocious Beauty won seven of 11 races, $462,912 in purses and took a mark of 1:50.1 which tied a world record for a one-mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. The two-year-old pacing colt title went to Arthur Blue Chip, who scored six wins in 11 starts and bankrolled $400,120 for his connections. The son of Shadow Play took a mark of 1:51.2 in his Metro Pace elimination at Mohawk before being scratched ‘sick’ from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore in 2013 and added another O’Brien (Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year) to her trophy case. The talented filly boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner up finish in the American National. Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation took the hardware home as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of The Year. Vegas Vacation gave his connections the ride of a lifetime in 2013. Conditioned by Casie Coleman, the son of Bettors Delight put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 from 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses. He wheeled off victories in his first four races which included the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup. On September 19 he captured the Little Brown Jug in straight heats – both timed in 1:50. ‘Vegas’ finished his sophomore season with a win in the Matron Stakes to put his bankroll at just over $976,000. Anndrovette continued to dominate the pacing mare ranks in 2013, and, for the third consecutive year, was crowned Canada’s Older Pacing Mare of The Year. The daughter of Riverboat King was on the board in all but three of her 21 races. Some of her major wins included three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway along with the Roses Are Red and Breeders Crown eliminations. On July 20 at Mohawk Racetrack she captured the Roses Are Red final in a career best 1:48. The talented mare now has 35 lifetime wins and a career bankroll of almost $2.6 million. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again was voted Canada’s Older Pacing Horse of The Year. Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season, as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final, as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final for his third straight million-dollar campaign. He entered the year within reach of the all-time earnings record for pacers, and he managed to obliterate that mark by adding $1.4 million to his bank account while visiting 11 different racetracks along the way. He closed the season by sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at the Meadowlands. Riveting Rosie was the winner in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Riveting Rosie closed out her rookie campaign with six wins in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Her major victories included the Peaceful Way Final, her Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain Stakes. In the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division, it was Father Patrick who took the O’Brien trophy. He topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Series. Flanagan Memory was voted Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year after a productive season which saw him win seven of 11 races and $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning his Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Maven was voted Canada’s Older Trotting Mare of The Year. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She added wins in the Miss Versatility Trotting Series, an elimination and final of the Armbro Flight, and the Allerage. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her bankroll. For the second consecutive year, Mister Herbie captured the title as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse of The Year. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in stakes competition, including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067 in purses. Seelster Farms, of Lucan, Ont. was honoured as the Armstrong Breeder of The Year. In 2013, Seelster-bred horses scored 248 wins and $2.1 million in earnings. In the Future Star category, the winner of this first-time award was trainer/driver Travis Cullen. The 21-year-old Alberta-based horseman closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the final card of the meet while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. The complete list of winners follows. 2013 O’BRIEN AWARD WINNERS PACERS Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer - Precocious Beauty owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Arthur Blue Chip owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer - I Luv The Nitelife owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Vegas Vacation owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON Older Pacing Mare - Anndrovette owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Older Pacing Horse - Foiled Again owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL TROTTERS Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Riveting Rosie owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Father Patrick owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Bee A Magician owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Flanagan Memory owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Older Trotting Mare - Maven owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL Older Trotting Horse - Mister Herbie owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY PEOPLE AWARDS O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Armstrong Breeder of The Year Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON Driver of The Year Sylvain Filion, Milton, ON Trainer of The Year Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB STANDARDBRED CANADA MEDIA EXCELLENCE AWARDS The Media Excellence Awards program, established by Standardbred Canada in 2008, is aimed at honouring exceptional work that covers Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal. Outstanding Written Work Paul Delean ’Reaching Improbable Heights’ 'Reaching Improbable Heights', written by Paul Delean, was published in the December, 2012 issue of Trot Magazine. It tells the story of trotter Intimidate’s incredible journey from obscurity to harness racing’s biggest stage and the ride of a lifetime that two smalltime owners from Quebec are still pinching themselves over. Outstanding Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group North America Cup HD Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group’s North America Cup broadcast aired across Canada on The Score television network on Saturday, June 26, 2013. The one-hour special of the $1-million North America Cup was the first live high definition broadcast of a standardbred race in Canada. The show featured live race coverage of the main event, a feature on Marvin Katz (co-owner of eventual winner Captaintreacherous) and a profile of a very special racing fan – Sydney Weaver. The broadcast was a production of WEG’s broadcast department, produced by Rob Platts and directed by Kris Platts. Outstanding Photography Clive Cohen Clive Cohen captured the sunset behind trainer Rene Dion warming up Ocean Mist Beauty on September 19, 2013 at Mohawk Racetrack. The image was published on WEG’s Facebook page later that night. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
When it comes to juvenile racing - It pays to follow the stars, the All Stars that is. The potent team were once again to the fore in the Sapling Stakes at Ashburton yesterday, with Mark Purdon and co-owners Phil & Glenys Kennard going back to back in the prestigious two-year-old event after having won the race with Isaiah, who is also by Art Major, last season. “Last year was our first win in the race, so to go back-to-back is a huge thrill,” said co- owner Glenys Kennard. Follow The Stars sat back off the hot speed, before coming with an explosive finish to win nicely over Mighty Flying Major, Say My Name, and Pulp Fiction, all of which are sired by Art Major. Co-owner Phil Kennard was astonished by his colts performance. “We were told he was only about 85% going into today and he has just run 1-53.8 for a mile. “If that’s the case I’d hate to see him screwed down.” “He had a bit of a blow after the race, so I do think there is still improvement in him,” said co-trainer-driver Purdon. “He will now head north for a heat of the Young Guns next week, before setting his sights on the final, which he has already qualified for through his debut win.” The Purdon camp was also very pleased with the run of Alta Ronaldo in finishing fifth. “He and Jay Dubb are both targeting the Kindergarten Stakes,” advised Purdon. Follow The Stars continues the unbelievable success that Purdon, Rasmussen and the Kennards have had through buying out of the APG Sale in Australia. “We have just bought a few more from the APG Sale at Melbourne last week, so hopefully they can also do a job.” If the success of Smolda, Border Control, and Fly Like An Eagle is anything to go by, I’m sure they will. The other Ashburton feature, the Hambletonian Classic for three-year-old trotters, was taken out in impressive style by Majestic Time, who came with a whirlwind finish to down Any Old Way, who was game in defeat. Meanwhile, Venus Serena set a New Zealand record for three-year-old fillies when winning a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series in a staggering time of 1-52.2, which shaved 0.2 of a second off the previous record, held by none other than Adore Me. “She is just freakish,” said trainer Geoff Dunn. “She never ceases to surprise me.” “Most horses would be on their hands and knees after a run like she had in the Sales Series race the other week, but she thrived on it and came home and ate all of her tea followed by two breakfasts the next morning.” By Mitchell Robertson
A “brute” usually brings to mind a bully, a scuffler, a fighter – and one who is quite boisterous, outspoken, while going about what he or she perceives as his or her business. Never, then, was a harness racing horse less-aptly-named than the Credit Winner trotter Calchips Brute. He is a harness racing millionaire, but his steady march to seven-figure status has been among the quietest-such ascendancies in recent times. And both trainer Trond Smedshammer and Jerry Giuliani, handling the stud arrangements for the horse as he now tries a stallion/racehorse double career for the 2014 racing season, say that while he is all business on the racetrack, he is a very nice horse to be around, well-mannered. Credit Winner’s success story need not be retold; however, it can also be noted that his second dam, Grassbred, also produced Me Maggie, a $700,000+ winner. Where Calchips Brute gets his versatility, tractability, and tenacity, though, may find its key in his second dam – Petite Evander. Petite Evander’s story is a lot like Cardigan Bay’s – a star in her native New Zealand, brought over to the United States, and able to go with the best of her peers, male or female, for several years. Where “Petite” goes “Cardy” one better, though, was that she was also invited to race in Europe, where she won the Elitlopp Consolation in 1978, a year where she also was second in Cold Comfort’s Roosevelt International win – at the age of eight. She raced until she was 11, and earned $800,000+ worldwide. The quietest million-dollar winner may have been the quietest half-million dollar season winner too, when in 2009 Calchips Brute finished 3-3 in the Empire Breeders Classic (despite post 9 in the elim and 6 in the final), 3-3 in the Hambletonian (5 of 7 in the elim and 6 in the final), and 2-3 in the Yonkers Trot (7 in the elim and 6 in the final over the half-mile track; and the writer must defer credit to Mr. Giuliani for remembering/reliving-with-a-sigh that post rundown). With his $182,438 check for his third in the Hambo (the two in front of him that day you may have heard of: Muscle Hill and Explosive Matter) and other high stakes finishes (including a second in the Matron Final), plus six on the board (2w-2p-2s) finishes in NYSS competition, his sophomore bankroll was $552,573. Calchips Brute has not been fazed by anything thrown at him: bouncing back from time off; outside posts over the half-mile track, which were often his starting vantage in Open handicaps at Yonkers; or track size: he took his seasonal mark at The Meadowlands twice, Yonkers twice, and Tioga once. “He’s a good-looking, athletic horse,” states Smedshammer. “He is good-gaited, 100% safe, and has never made a break in his life. His trotting technique is very good. “Giuliani also noted that the horse has never lapsed from gait, then added, “He gives his best race 100% of the time. “We’re going to try racing him every other week and also do some stud duty this year,” Giuliani said, “I think he’ll be an outstanding sire. I have broodmares with other partners, and some of them have commitments to other stallions this year, but every trotting broodmare I own outright I’m breeding to Calchips Brute.” If you want to follow Jerry Giuliani’s lead and “get back in on the new ground floor of the New Jersey Sire Stakes,” Calchips Brute is standing for $3,500 ($3,000 for multiple mares) at Walnridge Farm, and Giuliani can be reached at 215-837-4629. Aside from his abilities at the post pill shake, it seems like Calchips Brute has a good chance as a stallion (a Brute as a lover – interesting), while also adding further to that $1,000,000+ bankroll. By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com
Smart three-year-old trotter Trouble Rieu is the latest to emerge on to the scene in time for Saturday’s $30,000 Group Three Hambletonian Classic at Ashburton, which is shaping up to be a stellar field. After disappointing when fifth at Addington on January 17, the Brent White trained son of Great Success looked right back to his best at Geraldine on Saturday where he easily accounted for his 14 rivals after looping the field to sit parked. “Brent (White) has had a few minor issues with him, but he seems right back on top of his game now,” said driver Stephen McNally. “At his best he is definitely capable of matching it with the best of them,” warned McNally. “He proved that last season and I always thought he would be better at three,” he added. Trainer Brent White was quick to agree. “He is a lovely horse, who has derby type written all over him,” said White. “He generally has good manners too, which could be a big assist in a race like the Hambletonian.” Others who will more than likely compete in Saturday’s trotting feature include Thebestlove and Majestic Time, who were both super impressive when winning at Rangiora last Tuesday. In fact, Thebestlove set a new 2000 metre New Zealand record for three-year-trotters when downing Lothario, who will also stake a claim on Saturday. “And of course One Over Da Moon will be there, and we all saw how good he was last season,” added White. Meanwhile, Thorn In My Side, who was the winner of the ninth race on the Geraldine card has been retired on a winning note in foal to super sire Bettor’s Delight. “She is actually a really nice mare, but she has been plagued with soreness issues and bad luck her whole career,” said trainer Peter Robertson. “She is by Falcon Seelster from a sister to multiple Group One winner Lanercost, so she should make a lovely broodmare,” he added. In other news from Geraldine, junior driver Nathan Purdon continued his good association with Uncle Grant Payne when guiding Little Miss Sunshine to victory at odds of $27.90. Purdon has now driven for Payne on six occasions, resulting in three wins and a placing. Little Miss Sunshine was having just her second start for Payne after being transferred from the barn of Robbie Holmes. “She was in need of the run her first start for Grant and she ended up having a tough trip, so we were actually quietly confident of a bold run today.” By Mitchell Robertson
In part one of the story on Trevor Henry, the winningest driver based in Canada in 2013 with 529 victories, we noted that he had won at ten different Ontario racetracks, and that over half his winners circle pictures came at London, a 200-mile (322km) round-trip from his base in Arthur, Ontario. That’s a lot of time trucking up and down Route 6 and then either Route 7 or down to the 401 and over to London (assuming missing possibly-treacherous back roads, especially in winter). So it seemed a natural question to ask Trevor what kind of music he likes, what accompanies him on these long sojourns to keep him from “white line fever.” “Oh, I like all kinds of music,” he replied. What type of music does he listen to most traveling to and from the tracks? The answer was like a thunderbolt from this down-to-earth workaday horseman. “I listen to Howard Stern all the time,” Trevor Henry replied. Shannon Henry verifies this fact, “You and I may never understand it, but in that truck Trevor listens to the Howard Stern channel 24/7.” Sirius-ly! Henry says he sees parallels between himself and the celebrated “shock-jock”: “You know, you come down to it, he’s just a guy like me, trying to do a job, trying to do it the best he can.” While threading through a thin hole to get a horse clearance is somewhat “less” than the Wallenda act of balancing good taste into the funny/absurd/obscene (depending on your view of Mr. Stern), there is a certain resemblance there, a man out in the public eye, doing not the easiest of jobs but trying to do it the best he can. Those long rides with Howard also helped Trevor name a 2012 foal who is being pointed for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. A frequent Sternism is “Hey now,” a synonym for “hello” (which Stern actually borrowed from Jeffrey Tambor’s character on the Larry Sanders [television] Show), and when the name was brought up by Trevor, it seemed natural (to Shannon) to change the name of a horse one letter in the first name to HAY NOW – which is how you’ll know him if he has Keystone State success in 2014. (The “him” in that sentence bothers Henry: “We were hoping for a filly so we could breed her on, but we got a colt, and now we’ll hope he’s a good racehorse.”) Hay Now himself is the result of a “breeding philosophy” not often seen these days, starting with the-then 15-year-old mare whose name is French for “maple taffy.” “We have a mare named Tire Derable, and we had been bred her for ten years in Ontario. She’s had some very good foals, including TJ’s Mr Lavec, who won close to $600,000 for us and is probably the best homebred I’ve driven. “I know trainer Paul Taylor, and Paul always seemed to have a couple of colts in the Ontario stakes for owner Bob Key,” a well-known breeder/owner from Pennsylvania. “It was through Paul that I had the connection to Mr. Key, and we decided to breed Tire Derable to his stallion American Winner,” the 1993 Hambletonian winner (and thus 21 when bred to the mare). It’s a little late in reproductive lifetimes for both father and mother, but they cross well – Super Bowl (American Winner’s sire) and Speedy Crown both make more than one appearance fairly “up close” on both sides of the pedigree – and so far the colt has shown good ability: in fact, Henry was moved to call the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes office just before the end of the year to make sure that Hay Now had been paid in as a yearling. “The next six months can produce almost anything,” Trevor notes, but he seems quietly confident that the baby is doing things right and could be almost any kind of horse. Especially if he was a Teddy Be Ready. “That’s the toughest horse I ever drove, as tough as nails,” Henry said of the former track record at Orangeville, 1:58.2h – which may not sound like much now, but at the time in 1985 only one HMT track record in Canada was faster, Sudbury’s 1:57.2h produced by the free-for-all millionaire Perfect Out. “He’d always dig in and do his best.” Whether Hay Now belongs in the Teddy Be Ready altitude, proves himself a good or competent Sire Stakes horse, or whatever, he seems likely to bring Henry “over the border” for a couple of trips, so that Americans can rightly see and know of this brown-and-gold-clad star who has shined almost exclusively in Ontario for many years. And should he reach a Pennsylvania winners circle? And a certain tall, curly-haired gentleman in shades is waiting to great the winner? “HAY NOW!”…. By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com