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A large crowd blanketed the apron for the activities and exciting race card on hand for the Back To The Track event. Carol's Comet and Aaron Merriman prevailed in the Saturday Night feature in 1:50.3. The John Pawlak $25,000 Open Pace was race seven on the eleven race card. John Pawlak is an Ohio native recently inducted in to the Harness Racing Hall Of Fame. He has worked at The USTA for many years in the communications department and has also been a track announcer. Scioto Downs held the race in his honor for his outstanding achievements and attributes to harness racing. Carol's Comet is a five-year-old gelding by Yankee Cruiser out of the mare, Modern Medicine. He's conditioned by Ron Potter for the connections, Whiskey Tango Stable, Martin Presser, Bill and Matthew Moore. He started from post eight in the field of nine, but that didn't stop Aaron Merriman from leaving for an up close spot. They pair found a nice spot, right on the front end and paced an opening quarter in 26.1. They had early company from Randy Tharps and Ardyne Ace, who cleared before the half in a quick 53.3. The pace didn't slow down much. A parked and pressing That'll Be The Rei applied the pressure to the three quarters and left Carol's Comet in a perfect pocket spot, again. The battling duo paced to the three quarters in 1:21.3 and Merriman waited patiently for the super stretch. Carol's Comet sprinted up the super stretch when given his command and just caught Ardyne Ace by a nose and a late rally from Special Forces and Greg Grismore rounded out the trifecta. Only three and a half lengths covered the entire field. From Scioto Downs Racino

Friday night (July 11) the 13-race card will feature a $25,000 Open Trot and a $25,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. A full field of nine trotters will go to post in race three. The outstanding group is highlighted with a track record holder, JJ Hall and the Ohio Colt Champion, Final Breath. Additionally, Victory Is Coming is the lone mare in the group and Its Complicated, who has won three out of his last five starts, will start from post two. Its Complicated is the 3-1 morning line favorite for trainer Brent Davis and driver Josh Sutton.  The $25,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace is race five and is The Harness Racing Hall Of Fame Inductee Carol Cramer Pace. The impressive field of seven include money leader, Continual Velocity, an Ohio Champion, Igottafeelingfran and Tt’s Little Lass, who has won the Filly and Mare Open Pace the past two weeks. Also, every Friday in July, Scioto Downs is collecting items for The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center. If you bring in three items for donation you will receive a Scioto Downs t-shirt. The last Friday of the month, July 25th, The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center will be on hand to answer questions and pick up the donations. Saturday (July 12) is Back To The Track night at Scioto Downs. The 11-race program will feature a $25,000 Open Pace in honor of Harness Racing Hall Of Fame Inductee, John Pawlak. The activities for the evening will include, Driver Autographs, a Face Painter, Balloon Artists, starting gate rides, paddock tours, t-shirt giveaways and a cornhole tournament to benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Along with Back To The Track, it’s Ohio Lottery Night at Scioto and we will be giving away hats, courtesy of the Ohio Lottery. The night will kick off with a live performance of the National Anthem by 14-year old, Alexis Young. The Ohio Harness Horseman Association, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption and Ohio Standardbreds and Friends will also be set up in the grandstands for questions and comments.  From Scioto Downs Racino

Goshen, NY --- Owner-breeder William Weaver and driver David Miller, along with communicators John Pawlak and Carol Cramer, were the human guests of honor as 2014 inductees into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame at ceremonies on the Museum lawn in Goshen, N.Y., on Sunday (July 6). The annual induction dinner followed a full day of activities that included racing at the neighboring Historic Track, including the annual Hall of Fame race, the grand opening of the Roosevelt Raceway exhibit and a cocktail reception in the William R. Haughton Memorial Hall. he Meadows and Little Brown Jug track announcer Roger Huston, who served as emcee, called fellow Hall of Famer Bill O’Donnell to introduce the night’s first inductee. The former driver thanked Weaver for allowing him to drive Valley Victory and applauded him for his dedication to his horses. “Some of the old horses he raced, he still boards those horses and lets them live out their lives,” said O’Donnell. “He should be commended for that.” Weaver, who has enjoyed success with his Valley High Stable, said he didn’t expect this honor. “I’m humbled, happy and surprised to be here today,” said Weaver. “The last two years of my life, there have been some setbacks. I figured this was just someone throwing the screws in.” He thanked the Dancer and Duer families for training his horses over the years and acknowledged the big horse who got him to the Hall of Fame. “One of the main reasons that I’m here tonight is because I was the breeder of Valley Victory,” added Weaver. Huston’s superlative introduction of the next inductee highlighted a couple of his nicknames. “At the Meadowlands they call him Buckeye, but in Ohio he’s known as Purple Jesus,” said Huston before cueing the crowd to a resounding response of “Miller time” when he asked, “What time is it?” Miller can be a man of few words, but he was emotional as he talked about how important this honor is to him and the people who supported him along the way. “I think Roger said everything that I was going to say,” said Miller to open his acceptance speech. “I love horses and I love what I do. It’s more than I ever dreamed of.” He thanked his family for their support. “I definitely didn’t get here by myself,” added Miller. “I have the best family. I have to thank my wife Misty who does everything but drive the races.” The first communicator to be recognized spurred even greater emotion from everyone in attendance. John Pawlak, the USTA’s director of marketing known for his writing, broadcasting, announcing and editing of theTrotting and Pacing Guide, made his first industry, public appearance in a wheelchair since undergoing four surgeries for a brain tumor discovered last October. Well known for his humor, Pawlak used that talent to help his industry colleagues feel more at ease about his tribulations. “It was about the size of John Manzi’s head,” said Pawlak, referring to Monticello’s public relations man in describing his tumor. “The doctors told me it also had a moustache and toupee.” To conclude, Pawlak thanked many of the colleagues that he has assisted in his various roles at the USTA. “It is humbling and I have to thank all of the writers from USHWA for this honor,” said Pawlak. Former USTA employee Carol Cramer, known for her work as a long-time Grand Circuit steward and secretary as well as her involvement in the publishing of integral industry publications, especially the annual stakes guide, joined Pawlak in the Communicators Hall of Fame. “I love this industry with a passion,” said Cramer. “It was the joy of my life when I got to go work for the USTA and when I met Jim Harrison. We did the first Care and Training book.” She thanked the numerous race secretaries who attended to be a part of her induction. Also inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday were broodmare Hattie, 2007 Horse of the Year Donato Hanover and 1991 Horse of the Year Precious Bunny. The horses Green Speed and Windsong's Legacy were inducted as Immortals of the Hall of Fame. by Dan Leary, for the USTA

Goshen, NY --- It was a nearly perfect day for harness racing trainer driver Ray Schnittker. Schnittker drove in seven Landmark Stakes events at Historic Track on Friday afternoon and came away with six victories. Among the winners was 3-year-old male pacer Stevensville, who could be heading to the $450,000 Delvin Miller Adios at the end of the month. Other winners for Schnittker, who is based at Historic Track, were 2-year-old male trotter Gabe The Bear Dean, 2-year-old female pacer Shes Ready To Rock, 3-year-old female trotter Suegrabbitnrun, 3-year-old male trotter Derby, and 2-year-old female trotter Kaliska. Gary Messenger trained two Landmark winners, 2-year-old male pacer K J Ben and 2-year-old female trotter She's So Into Me, and Angus MacDonald sent out a winner in 3-year-old female pacer Misty Major. Stevensville, who was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Max C. Hempt Memorial on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, won the $19,340 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old pacers in 1:58.1 over a sloppy track. Rain fell throughout the afternoon on an unseasonably cool 66-degree Fourth of July. Owned by Schnittker, Paul Bordogna, and Ryan Miller, Stevensville has won seven of 21 career races and $185,079. He finished second in last year's Matron Stakes. "He's been real good," Schnittker said. "He raced real good last week and I think if he'd gotten through a little sooner he would have been maybe third. "We're going to go to the Adios, I think. I skipped the Meadowlands Pace. I think he's fifth to 10th best [horse in the division] and there's so much money later in the year, hopefully I can grab some." Derby, who finished second in the Dexter Cup in May, won the $20,640 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old trotters in 2:03.3. The gelding is owned by Schnittker, Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, and Ted Gewertz. He has won three consecutive starts after starting the season with six setbacks. "He's come around a little bit," Schnittker said. "He actually raced pretty good for Danny Cappello at Saratoga the last two starts. He had sort of an attitude problem, but it looks like he's starting to get it figured out now. Hopefully he'll end up having a good year." Schnittker also was pleased with Kaliska, who won in 2:05.2, and Gabe The Bear Dean, who won in 2:03. Kaliska (Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian) is owned by Schnittker, Thomas Spatorico, Pepin Stable, and Fam Alber Horse Racing. She is a full sister to stakes-winner Frank The Hands. Gabe The Bear Dean (Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch) is owned by Schnittker and Minix Stable. "[Kaliska] kind of doesn't know what she's doing," Schittker said. "She figured out to go by [other horses] finally; usually she's a little bit late that way. "Gabe The Bear Dean, I think he could be a real nice New York Sire [Stakes horse]. He's going next Wednesday at Buffalo. I think he's one of the better Lucky Chucky colts, so hopefully he'll be alright." Suegrabbitnrun won in 2:01.4 for Schnittker and Charlie Iannazzo, who also bred the filly, and Shes Ready To Rock (Rocknroll Hanover-She's My Belle) won in 2:04.1 for owners Schnittker, Frank Baldassare, and Mary Kinsey. K J Ben (Riggins-Winsmith Karen), driven by Jason Bartlett, won in 2:04 for breeder/owner Scott Woogen. In the next race, She's So Into Me (Conway Hall-In To Me) and driver Jim Taggart Jr. won in 2:07 for owners Woogen and Brenda Messenger. Misty Major, also driven by Taggart, won in 2:03.3 for owner E.J. Treadway. Friday's nine-race Landmark Stakes card was part of the Grand Circuit visit to Historic Track. Saturday features the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series and Billings Amateur Drivers Series. Sunday is Hall of Fame Day, which includes a race featuring drivers in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame along with 2014 inductee David Miller. Post time each day is 1 p.m. for the first race. Story and photos by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

East Rutherford, NJ - Saturday night brings one of the most anticipated Grand Circuit cards of the season to The Meadowlands. The racing centers around a pair of $50,000 eliminations for The Meadowlands Pace and the inaugural $484,500 Hambletonian Maturity four year old trot. The Pace elims are carded as races six and seven with the top five finishers from each to return for the $776,000 final next Saturday. North America Cup winner JK Endofanera is the 6/5 choice in the first elim for Meadowlands leading trainer Ron Burke for owners the 3 Brothers Stable. NA Cup second place finisher Tellitlikeitis, trained by Jimmy Takter for the Lothlorien stable, and He's Watching, third in the 'Cup, lead the charge in the seventh. He's Watching was last year's divisional Dan Patch champ and is looking for his best form for trainer David Menary who owns him in partnership with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust. The Hambletonian Maturity, raced at a mile and one eighth, is a new concept designed to provide a stake restricted to four year olds as they transition into the aged ranks. The race has attracted both 2013 Hambletonian and Oaks winners Royalty For Life and Bee A Magician. It will be the first foray for 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician against males, a task made more difficult by the fact that she drew post 13 in the bulky fourteen horse field. Brian Sears, who drove both last season, has opted for "Queen Bee", conditioned by Nifty Norman for Hartman, Liverman and Mc Duffee. Royalty For Life races out of the George Ducharme barn and will be making his first seasonal start from post six with new driver David Miller (who will be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday). His ownership consists of New Englanders Alfred Ross, Ray Campbell, Jr and Paul Fontaine. Rounding out the stakes is a single $25,000 elimination for the $212,000 Mistletoe Shalee three year old filly pace where ten fillies race to eliminate three. Those seven will meet the three fillies (Rock N Roll Xample Uffizi Hanover and Weeper) that were granted a bye into next Saturday's final. The WR Haughton Memorial FFA pace required no eliminations and the ten high powered pacers entered will go right through to next Saturday's $463,000 final. Also on the program is the second leg of the two year New Jersey Sires Stakes with the pacing fillies going as a single ten and the colt pacers split into a pair of eights. There is a special post time of 6:30pm on Saturday with a stunning fireworks display set to thrill onlookers after the races are completed. Reservations may be made for both this Saturday and next week's star studded extravaganza by calling 201-THE-BIGM. Further information is available by visiting The Meadowlands website. From Meadowlands Media Relations  

Scott Woogen's path to sitting behind racehorses began on a New York City basketball court, in a scene reminiscent of a Damon Runyon tale. Woogen, who will have two horses he bred and owns competing in Landmark Stakes at Goshen Historic Track in New York on Friday and will be driving there in amateur races on Saturday, was introduced to harness racing as a teenager in the Bronx when he was offered a job selling handicapping sheets outside Yonkers Raceway. The offer came from a police officer who spotted Woogen and his friends playing basketball in the school yard. "I was probably the youngest and smallest kid, but fairly aggressive, and I told him I could do whatever he wanted," Woogen said. "His moonlighting job was printing his own handicap sheet called the Top Trotter. I sold them for 25 cents and also sold programs for 75 cents. I got $5 a night. "I started reading the programs and taking an occasional bus up there to Yonkers Raceway and watched the races. I really liked it. When I was old enough, I got working papers and worked a little bit in the stable area on the weekends. If I hadn't been playing basketball that day, I wouldn't know anything about horses. It was kind of a quirk of fate." That quirk of fate has led Woogen, who now is a gastroenterologist living in Virginia, around the world. He began driving in races, even winning a collegiate event held at Roosevelt Raceway while representing Columbia University as a sophomore. He gave up driving to pursue his medical career, but returned to the track 17 years ago to compete as an amateur, often in the Billings Series, where he is known as the "Driving Doctor." He has won 127 races as an amateur and competed in Germany, Finland, Italy, Spain, Russia, Estonia, and New Zealand. "It's been a really nice hobby," Woogen said. "It's been a lot of fun; I really enjoy it." On Friday, Woogen will send out KJ Brenda in the $11,547 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters and K J Ben in the $12,520 Landmark Stakes for 2-year-old pacers. Both horses are trained by Gary Messenger. Last year, KJ Brenda - the "K J" is for Woogen's fiancée Kathy Jean and Brenda is Messenger's wife - finished second in the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. She has won two of 10 career races, hit the board a total of eight times, and earned $80,821. "She came back this year and her first couple starts she bled and we had to put her on Lasix and she's been getting better," Woogen said. "We're excited about her chances to go down to Kentucky and get some of that sire stakes money." K J Ben, named in honor of Kathy Jean's first grandson, Benjamin, is making his debut after winning a qualifier at Ocean Downs in 2:00.1. "We're excited about his prospects," Woogen said. Jim Taggart Jr. is listed to drive KJ Brenda and Jason Bartlett is listed on K J Ben. So why doesn't Woogen drive those horses in the stakes? "There's a reason why I'm in the amateur races," Woogen said, laughing. "It's a lot of fun and I think I can hold my own against the amateurs, but it's a little tougher to drive against the professionals. I'll leave that up to the professionals. I'm just excited that we have some horses that might do a little bit of good this year." Friday's nine-race Landmark Stakes card is part of the Grand Circuit visit to Historic Track. Saturday features the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series and Billings Amateur Drivers Series. Sunday is Hall of Fame Day, which includes a race featuring drivers in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame along with 2014 inductee David Miller. Post time each day is 1 p.m. for the first race. Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

When harness racing driver David Miller headed from Ohio to the East Coast more than a decade ago, he thought it would be temporary. He was wrong. And it resulted in a permanent place among the sport's all-time greats. On Sunday, the 49-year-old Miller will be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. Miller has won more than 11,000 races in his ongoing career, ranking eighth among all North American drivers in history, and earned $180 million in purses, which is No. 4 all time. Also being inducted on Sunday is William Weaver, who bred influential trotting sire Valley Victory as well as several division champions. In addition, longtime U.S. Trotting Association Publicity Director John Pawlak and retired USTA Stakes Director Carol Cramer will be enshrined in the Communicators Hall of Fame. Horses being honored are Donato Hanover, Precious Bunny, Hattie, Green Speed, and Windsong's Legacy. "It means a lot to me," Miller said. "The biggest honor you can receive in your profession, I think, is for people to think of you that way. To be put in the Hall of Fame with people that I looked up to, it's very special. I feel privileged. I'm sure it will hit me more once I'm there. I haven't been too focused on it yet." Miller was voted Driver of the Year in 2003 when he led North America in purses and guided No Pan Intended to the Pacing Triple Crown. He has won a total of 11 Triple Crown races (combined pacing and trotting) and 14 Breeders Crown trophies. He is a three-time winner of the Little Brown Jug and one of only two drivers to capture the Little Brown Jug and its filly companion race, the Jugette, in the same year. He has won at least $10 million in purses 12 times, the most of any driver in history, and trails only Hall of Famers John Campbell, Ron Pierce and Mike Lachance in career earnings. Miller was already a star in his native Ohio when he headed to the East Coast in the late 1990s. He captured multiple driving titles at the Meadowlands Racetrack in the early 2000s and has been a force on the Grand Circuit ever since he made the move. "I came out at a time when things kind of clicked for me," Miller said. "I was driving a lot of good horses. I didn't plan on it. You can't. I was very fortunate to hook up with as many good trainers that I have over the years. "Hopefully it's not over yet." Miller, who was enshrined in the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2010, shows no signs of slowing down. Last weekend, he won the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial with McWicked in a world-record performance and two weeks earlier captured the $420,900 Fan Hanover Stakes with Uffizi Hanover. "I've gotten to drive a lot of great horses," Miller said. "It's more than I thought I would do. The sport has been good to me, that's for sure." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Last season amateur driver Steve Oldford reined 19 winners in 81 starts and finished with a lofty .355 UDR. He not only was named the 2013 National Amateur Driver of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association but, for the third time, he was awarded amateur driver of the year honors by the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Oldford won 11 races last season in the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series considered by many to be the Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing, and as a member of four other Amateur Driving Clubs he won at least one race in each of them. This year, from a limited amount of drives, he has already won four races and currently has 87 career wins. Soon the Michigan businessman will be winging his way to Finland to compete as the United States representative in the prestigious World Cup of Amateur Racing which will be contested at three different racetracks there. As a member of the North American Amateur Drivers Association-the American affiliate of FEGAT, the organization which produces the World Cup-- Oldford is eyeing the competitions. "I'm really looking forward to competing," Oldford said. "This will be the first time that I have the honor of representing the United States in the World Cup although I have driven abroad in the past in Italy and New Zealand. "I'll be accompanied by my wife Gale and we'll be leaving on June 27th to stop first in Sweden and visit some training centers there. Prior to the World Cup getting underway I will be driving in the preliminaries on July 3rd and 4th. The World Cup festivities begin on Sunday, July 6 and continue through July 9th. Twelve countries will be represented in the international World Cup. Besides the USA they include Finland, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Hungary, Spain and New Zealand. For three consecutive days beginning on Monday, July 7th there will be races at three different racetracks on each day; on Monday at small Riihimaki, a summertrack; on Tuesday at Tampereen Ravirata, the second biggest track in Finland, and on Wednesday at Vermon Ravirata, the main track in Finland. Along the way there will be many amenities for the competitors, including sightseeing and shopping. "I'm thrilled just to be able to compete against some of the best amateur drivers in the world," Oldford added. Steve Oldford is President and owner of Oldford and Associates, providing sales and engineering services to companies supplying the automotive industry. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He has been involved in the industry for more than 40 years as a breeder, owner, trainer and driver, although he didn't earnestly start driving until 2008. He is very active as an amateur driver, winning the CKG Billings point championship four times since 2008 and the Gold Cup final in 2010. Oldford is also president of the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Association, vice president of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Club, and a trustee and a vice president of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and Museum. by John Manzi, for the NAADA

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 11, 2014 - The famous blue and gold colors of Hall of Fame driver-trainer Stanley Dancer will be back on the track Friday night, June 13, 2014 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Dancer's son, Ronald, a former driver-trainer, will don his late father's colors in an exhibition race, the 2014 Legislators Pace, facing off against three other legislators. Assemblyman Ron Dancer [R-12th District] will take on Senator Richard Codey [D-27th District], Assemblyman Ralph Caputo [D-28th District] and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande [R-11th District] in a race for charity. The winner's charity will receive $1,000 while the charities for the other three competitors will receive $500 each. The one-mile competition will take place between the first and second races. The legislators will compete in two-seater jog carts with Codey, Caputo and Casagrande each teamed with one of the Meadowlands' top drivers. Dancer will race solo. "I am coming out of retirement for this race and will be wearing my dad's silks, which I am borrowing from the New Egypt Historical Museum, where there is a wing in honor of my dad," Dancer said. "When I was racing, I always wore dad's silks, and I am really looking forward to placing Stanley Dancer's blue and gold silks back on the racetrack." Ron Dancer posted more than 400 career driving victories in the 1970s and 1980s before switching careers. He has been a member of the New Jersey legislature since 2002 and was mayor of Plumsted Township from 1990 to 2011. Dancer noted that there were a lot of similarities to his current life as a legislator compared to his life as a horseman, especially in terms of long hours. "As a state legislator in New Jersey, you represent about 220,000 constituents residing in your district that want to meet and speak with you during the day, and you have to be at the State House Capitol for voting sessions," he explained. "In the evenings, legislators have events and speaking engagements to attend. Also, just as in horse racing, both professions are seven days and nights a week. The weekends are prime time days and evenings to be at your job. "Political races are so expensive and, like it is in horse racing, it costs thousands to prepare and compete in the race with no guarantees on the results," he added. The Dancer family farm, Egyptian Acres, was located in the Plumsted community of New Egypt. Stanley Dancer campaigned many of the top horses of the 1960s through 1990s. As a driver, he posted 3,781 career victories for more than $28 million in purses. Stanley Dancer, voted into the harness racing Hall of Fame in 1969, passed away on September 8, 2005 and was buried in his racing silks in a cemetery that overlooks Freehold Raceway. "Dad will be looking down with such a smile to see his still familiar blue and gold colors back on the racetrack and on his son," Dancer mused. Dancer is racing for the Hornerstown Baptist Church in Upper Freehold Township, NJ. by Carol Hodes, for SBOANJ

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 5 - One of the few trophies missing from trainer Jimmy Takter's extensive collection is a Pepsi North America Cup. This week, the Hall of Fame trainer said, "I want to win this one bad." It partly explains why he's racing a horse in each of the three $50,000 Pepsi North America Cup eliminations Saturday at Mohawk. Takter will send out Lyonssomewhere in the first elimination (race three, post six, driver Corey Callahan), Capital Account in the second elimination (race five, post eight, Ron Pierce) and Tellitlikeitis (race nine, post three, Brett Miller). The New Jersey-based conditioner, who was inducted into the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, came close to winning the NA Cup in 2012 when Tellitlikeitis' older half-brother Time To Roll finished second to Bob McIntosh's Thinking Out Loud by a half-length. In that same NA Cup race, Takter-trained Simply Business finished ninth less than a year after winning the $1 million Metro Pace at Mohawk. The Pepsi North America is in a much more exclusive club of harness racing stakes races carrying a seven-figure purse. "We have two million-dollar races. It's all we have left. (The NA Cup) is one of them," Takter said. It serves as a further motivation for the trainer to win it. Of his three entries, Takter said "both 'Tellit' and 'Lyon' have the ability to win it if they make the final. Otherwise, I wouldn't even put them in, of course. I really think both of those horses, if they have a good day, are two contenders in that race." Takter said this year's field is wide open. "So far, at least, there's not a Captaintreacherous in the field," he said. "It could be won by any one of those 23 horses that are in it." Canadian-owned Tellitlikeitis comes into the race with the best credentials and a stellar pedigree. The homebred owned by Sue Grange's Lothlorien Stables of Cheltenham is a son of Lothlorien-owned 2009 Pepsi North America Cup champion Well Said out of stakes star Kikikatie. Takter has trained all four of Tellitlikeitis' brothers. All four - Rockin Amadeus ($700,000), Time To Roll ($735,000), Grams Legacy ($165,000) and Rockin Image ($900,000) - are sons of Lothlorien's 2005 Pepsi North America Cup champion Rocknroll Hanover, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Aug. 6 in Mississauga. Lothlorien also won the Pepsi North America Cup in 2002 with Red River Hanover. All three of Lothlorien's NA Cup winners were owned, in part, by Jeffrey Snyder of New York City. Takter said Tellitlikeitis is "a little smaller than his brothers, but they all can go fast... He's a good horse, but he had a lot of problems when he was a two-year-old. We had problems with his front ankles. "He's a tough horse. He's as fast as Hes Watching, that's for sure. He has quick speed. Does he have stamina like Hes Watching has? I don't know, yet." Tellitlikeitis comes into the NA Cup elims off a victory May 17 in his 2014 pari-mutuel debut in a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes event at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. As a two-year-old, Tellitlikeitis earned nearly $125,000 with two wins in eight starts. Lyonssomewhere is also Canadian owned. The son of beloved 2008 NA Cup champion Somebeachsomewhere is owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Burford. The colt sports a perfect four-for-four career record, though has yet to test stakes company. "Lyonssomewhere hasn't raced against this calibre of horses. It will be exciting to see how he is. The horse is undefeated and loves to race," Takter said. "I love that horse. I really like him He raced his last two starts (at the Meadowlands) and he really was super. I know he hasn't gone one of those :49 miles, but they are there. Capital Account is a homebred owned by Brittany Farms of Kentucky. The son of American Ideal out of Copywriter has won half of his eight career starts and was sixth in his Somebeachsomewhere division on May 31 at Mohawk. "He raced okay... He's a good horse. He's not bad. Unfortunately, he got a (poor) post again," Takter said of drawing the eight-hole. "It's going to be tough with that starting point." First race post time for the Saturday card is 7:25 p.m. by John Siscos, for WEG

Do you have a son or daughter who enjoys harness racing as much as you do? Or perhaps you have the horse racing bug and would love to consider a career in the industry? Then look no further than the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program (RTIP). Established in 1974, this Bachelor of Science degree program offers two different paths of study.  One prepares students for the business side of the industry, which includes careers in track management, regulation and pari-mutuel operations.  The other path is designed for students interested in working more directly with the horses and prepares them for careers in racing, training and bloodstock enterprises. The RTIP focuses both paths on quality education, emphasizing integrity and professionalism; the program offers personal mentoring and professional development opportunities and utilizes its deep ties to alumni working in the industry. While at the program, students gain invaluable hands-on experience through internships and create a network of industry professionals through their interaction with speakers brought to campus during each semester to lecture in the classroom. The most recent “guest professor” was Rachel Ryan, the Meadowlands’ head of public relations. The “who’s who” of the racing business who gather in Tucson each December for the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming (hosted by the RTIP) are also a great resource for the students. One of the most important industry gatherings in the racing industry, the Symposium attracts experts and officials from throughout the world, bringing them right to the student’s doorstep. What is most impressive is the list of graduates who have gone on to great positions working in the harness racing industry including Peter Koch, race secretary at the Meadowlands; Barry Brown, director of racing operations at Harrah’s Philadelphia and Heather Belmonte, executive assistant at the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. And on faculty at the RTIP is none other than Hall of Famer Dean Hoffman, former head of Hoof Beats at the USTA! Graduates from the Thoroughbred side of the roster include top trainers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher; Martin Panza, senior VP of racing operations at New York Racing Association; Thomas Ventura, president, Ocala Breeders' Sales Company; Peter Rotondo, VP – television, Breeders' Cup Limited and Jim Kostas, president, Daily Racing Form. The school’s rate for job placement within the industry is nearly flawless. This reporter can vouch for that having hired a graduate during my racetrack management days and working with numerous graduates over the years. Check out their website as it is full of information about the program, alumni, special services, grants, scholarships and more. The site is at http://ua-rtip.org/. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Ray Hall aims to complete a sweep in the five-week Bobby Weiss Series for 3- and 4-year-old male trotters when he faces eight rivals in Tuesday's $30,000 final at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. A 4-year-old gelding, Ray Hall has won six of 11 races this year, with four of the victories coming in the Weiss. He starts the final from post four with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer/co-owner Mark Harder. Tuesday's card also features the $30,000 Weiss Series final for 3- and 4-year-old female pacers. "He's just a nice little horse, doing everything right," said Harder, who began training Ray Hall in December and got a share in ownership earlier this month. "He's just hit a nice little groove. He came to me with a couple series in mind out here and it's just worked out. He got happy and a nice little schedule and he's racing good." Ray Hall, who also is owned by Ohio's Bruce and Patricia Soulsby, has won 12 of 28 lifetime starts and earned $91,144. He is a son of stallion Justice Hall out of the mare Comebyrail and his family includes standout female trotter Elaine Rodney, who won the 1960 Kentucky Futurity and later found success abroad. Last weekend, Ray Hall won his Weiss division by a neck over Time To Quit in a career-best 1:53.3. Time To Quit won the Super Bowl Series final in January, with Ray Hall finishing fourth. Ray Hall also finished fourth in the Charles Singer Memorial final in March, which was won by Perfect Alliance. "He raced good against some better horses, Perfect Alliance and a couple of those other ones," Harder said. "I think he's definitely improved since then with racing. He's got a lot of nervous energy, he's a little bit hot, and just with racing he's settled down and become more manageable, more drivable. That's made him a better horse." Sixteen Mikes, who won his first three divisions in the Weiss but was third behind Ray Hall and Time To Quit last weekend, starts the final from post five for driver Mike Simons and trainer Gail Wrubel. Time To Quit, who has one win in the series, leaves from post six with driver Matt Kakaley for trainer Ron Burke. Ray Hall is not staked to any major races, but Harder hopes the trotter can still keep adding to his bankroll. "He's got nothing really, just overnights," Harder said. "We'll probably hang around Yonkers, wherever we can race him. He's not a top, top horse, but he's a nice little horse that can make money knocking around some conditions. A trotter that can trot a small track and tries and stays at it, they can make a lot of money." HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK: THE RETURN OF ARCH MADNESS Renowned pacer Foiled Again is a perfect 10 this season - as in an undefeated 10-year-old - and now trotting star Arch Madness is getting ready to try to join him. The 10-year-old Arch Madness won a qualifier last weekend at the Meadowlands in 1:54.3 and will return to the Big M on Saturday for another prep for the upcoming campaign. Last year, Arch Madness won three of 18 races and earned $425,427 for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and owners Willow Pond LLC and Marc Goldberg, who also were among the trotter's breeders. He won the Allerage Farms Open Trot at The Red Mile in Lexington, finished second overseas in Sweden's prestigious Elitlopp, and was third in the Breeders Crown. Arch Madness has won 34 of 107 starts and became the ninth trotter in history to surpass $4 million in career earnings when he won the Allerage. A week earlier, he won the Allerage elimination race with a 1:50.2 mile, a time that equaled his own world record for the fastest ever by a male trotter older than age 4. "He's going to qualify again, but I was happy with the first qualifier," Smedshammer said. "We'll go again on Saturday and then we'll start racing. He's a year older, but it doesn't seem like he's changed at all." Arch Madness' first stakes race is slated to be the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands. Eliminations are scheduled for May 10 and the $180,000 estimated final is May 17. Another trip to the Elitlopp, where Arch Madness has twice been the runner-up, is not in the works. "He's going to need a start before the Cutler, a couple starts maybe, somewhere around here," Smedshammer said. "We have no plans at all (to go to Sweden). But he seems fine." * * * Two other trotting standouts are expected to head to qualifiers in the near future. Market Share, who was voted the sport's top 3-year-old male trotter in 2012 and the best older male trotter in 2013, is anticipated to qualify on April 26 and 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician is targeted for the first weekend in May. Bee A Magician was unbeaten in 17 races last season at age 3 and earned a divisional record $1.54 million. She became the first 3-year-old filly trotter to receive the Horse of the Year Award since Continentalvictory in 1996. 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. "She's in good shape," Norman said. "I'm very happy with her." Bee A Magician is expected to qualify twice and then head to Canada for the first round of the Miss Versatility Series in Ontario on May 19. * * * As mentioned earlier, Foiled Again remains unbeaten this year. Last week, he improved to 4-for-4 this season by winning for the fourth time in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. The 10-year-old pacer, who has won 80 of 202 career races, had never before started a season with four consecutive wins. Since last fall, Foiled Again has been the richest horse in North American harness racing history, and his $100,000 in purses in 2014 have pushed his career earnings to $6.13 million for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and JJK Stables. Foiled Again leads the Levy series standings, but he will be back in action Saturday night for the last of the five preliminary rounds. He drew post seven in a seven-horse field and is the 3-5 morning line favorite for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke. "He's just really getting his legs," Gingras told Yonkers Publicity Director Frank Drucker after his 1:51 win last weekend. "Give the other horses credit, but they're going to have to do better to beat Foiled Again." On Wednesday, co-owner Mark Weaver added, "He's the exception. He really hasn't been pushed that hard yet." Burke's stable has five of the top six horses in the Levy standings and all will be racing Saturday. Mach It So, from the barn of trainer P.J. Fraley, is second in the standings followed by Burke's Bettor's Edge, Itrustyou, Clear Vision, and Easy Again. Hillbilly Hanover, who is No. 11 in the standings, Special Forces (12) and Aracache Hanover (14) also will be competing for Burke in Saturday's three Levy divisions. The conditions for the eight-horse $567,000 final and eight-horse $100,000 consolation, both on April 26, limit Burke to two starters in each. For the full Levy standings, click here. * * * The last preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for older female pacers is Friday at Yonkers. Series leader Yagonnakissmeornot, who has three wins and a second in the event, is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first of two divisions. She will be driven by Daniel Dube for trainer Rene Allard. Somwherovrarainbow is the 8-5 choice in the second division for driver Brian Sears and trainer Joe Holloway. She skipped the third round of the series, but has two wins and a second in her Matchmaker starts. She is No. 5 in the standings, behind Angels Delight, Summertime Lea, and Rocklamation. Anndrovette, the three-time pick for harness racing's best older female pacer, is sixth in the standings, with Shelliscape and defending Matchmaker champion Feeling You rounding out the top eight. For the complete series standings, click here. The $371,400 Matchmaker final is April 26, along with the $75,000 Matchmaker consolation. * * * David Miller, who will be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in July, needs 23 wins to reach 11,000 victories for his career. Miller ranks No. 8 in wins among all drivers in North American history and was the sport's Driver of the Year in 2003. He has won at least $10 million in purses in a season a record 12 times and his $178 million in lifetime purses trail only Hall of Famers John Campbell, Ron Pierce and Mike Lachance. Miller, a 49-year-old native of Ohio, has finished among the top seven drivers in seasonal purses each of the last 15 years. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

In 1962, a young man named Jim Moran ventured from his home in Springfield, Massachusetts to central New York at the suggestion of his uncle Bud Hebert. Hebert, the Vernon Downs racecaller, would see his nephew assume the Clerk of Course position for that first season there. Moran then took on the role of assistant race secretary the subsequent season, and in 1964 would become the full-time announcer. Fifty years and 73,000 races later, Jim Moran will call his last race this Friday (April 11), as Vernon Downs opens for the 2014 season. In a half-century atop the Vernon Downs grandstand, Moran has seen some of the greatest horses, trainers, and drivers in the history of American harness racing through his binoculars. "We got to see Bret Hanover, who was probably my all-time favorite horse," Moran reminisced. "I didn't get to call Bret Hanover as a two-year-old, but the following year (1965) I did get to call his race. We drew 14,000 people, which was the biggest racing crowd ever at Vernon. He won the race, continued his winning ways, and came back as a four-year-old. He also had a world record time trial at Vernon." Fourteen years later, another young pacer graced the Vernon backstretch, and eventually proved himself as one of the few worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Bret Hanover. His name was Niatross. Moran continued about seeing Niatross develop as a two-year-old: "Then Niatross came along, and Clint Galbraith developed him on the Vernon backstretch. I crossed the paddock one night, saw Clint after Niatross had won a couple baby races, and said 'That's kind of a nice colt you've got there,' and he said 'Jim, he's gonna be something special.' Sure enough, he became Horse of the Year two times." Moran has seen many developments in harness racing through his time documenting the sport, namely in terms of safety and speed. "By taking out the hub rail and putting the plastic wheel discs on the racebikes, the sport became a lot safer, and in turn, faster through improvement of the breed and equipment," Moran explained. "In the first season at Vernon Downs there were only four 2:00 miles. Last year, 1,100 of the races were 2:00 miles, including two of the fastest miles ever here." In addition to calling a "Who's Who" of harness racing athletes, both human and equine, Moran has been feted for his efforts as a harness racing publicist and historian on numerous occasions. He received the North America Harness Publicists Association's Golden Pen Award in 1990, was elected to the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, and was inducted into the Communicators' Corner of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2009. While Moran looks forward to more time with his wife of 49 years Suzanne, their three children, and three grandchildren, he has every plan on capping his career at Vernon on a very high note. "There are things I'm going to miss about the sport, I'm sure, and as far as calling the last race goes, I hope I can still do the job like I used to. I've told people in recent years that I may not be as good as I once was, but I can be good once as I ever was, and hopefully I'll be as good once on Opening Night." by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

Vernon, NY - Vernon Downs has named Michael Chamberlain their lead racecaller, as legendary announcer Jim Moran will retire after a half century in the broadcast box. Announcer Emeritus Moran, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame's Communicators' Corner, will call his final race at Vernon Downs to kick off the Opening Night program on Friday, April 11. The evening, capping a 50-year legacy of Moran's describing the races at Vernon, will be a celebration of what Moran brought to the Central New York track, with a poster giveaway, tributes, and a meet-and-greet throughout the card. Moran's successor, Michael Chamberlain, is a 43-year-old New Jersey native who has established himself well as a sports broadcaster-in horse racing and otherwise-since earning a degree in broadcasting from Arizona State University in 1994. After a stint as the color commentator for the IHL Phoenix Roadrunners, Chamberlain served as the track announcer at Sam Houston Race Park for twelve years before assuming a similar role at Turf Paradise in Phoenix in 2009. He has also called races at Lincoln Race Course in Nebraska and Fair Meadows in Oklahoma. "I am incredibly excited to be coming to Vernon Downs," said Chamberlain, who will assume the microphone in early May after Turf Paradise concludes their season. "Succeeding a legend like Jim Moran will be difficult, but it will be an honor for me to follow in his footsteps."   With Chamberlain maintaining his winter base in the Valley of the Sun and returning to Turf Paradise for their fall opening, Tioga racecaller James Witherite and Vernon director of racing Scott Warren will describe the beginning and end of the Vernon meet in his stead. While he may be new to calling harness racing, Chamberlain has long been a fan of the trotters and pacers, and looks forward to bellowing his signature "They Are Off!" sendoff at the central New York oval.   "Coming to Vernon will bring me back to my eastern roots," continued Chamberlain. "As a Northern New Jersey native, I have always enjoyed harness racing and look forward to being part of it from now on."   Post time for the first of 90 cards at Vernon Downs is slated for 6:45 p.m. (Eastern time).   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs  

DOVER DE - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's principal organization for media workers, held its annual meetings this past Saturday and Sunday at the Dover Downs complex, with the weekend culminating in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet held Sunday (Feb. 23) night, attended by almost 400 people and streamed worldwide for live viewing. During the Saturday meeting, the Directors of the Association voted for Bob Marks and Kathy Parker to be on the Communicators Hall of Fame voting ballot this summer. Marks has been a leading force in many harness dimensions over his 50 years in the sport, most recently as Marketing Director for Perretti Farms, while Parker, from a prominent harness family, worked her way through the ranks at the Horseman and Fair World weekly magazine until becoming editor in 1995 and later general manager of the Horseman Publishing Company, positions she maintains to this day. At the conclusion of the meetings, the membership voted in their slate of association Officials for 2014-15. Chris Tully, an MBA marketing specialist and writer whose digital literacy and social media acumen has helped bring USHWA to the cutting edge of communications technology, was elected President of the association, succeeding Steve Wolf of Harnesslink.com; Tully's "first official act" was to present Wolf, who now becomes the Chairman of the Board, with a gold Lifetime Membership pin. Tim Bojarski, writer/blogger for the USTA, moved up a chair to 1st Vice President, with the 2VP position going to Shawn Wiles, Monticello Raceway chief racing officer and a longtime USTA and USHWA director. Judy Davis-Wilson, who is based in Dover and worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the weekend, especially the banquet, was returned as Treasurer; Alan Prince, who attended his 48th consecutive USHWA meetings weekend, remains as Executive Treasurer. Also elected was Jerry Connors as USHWA secretary. Much of the discussion during the two days of meetings focused on the sport's Halls of Fame in Goshen NY, where plans for renovation and modernization are starting to advance rapidly, and where USHWA makes a significant contribution. In addition to the physical reconfiguration of the Halls of Fame area, the directors and membership discussed several by-law and rules change relating to the Halls, especially the re-establishment of a Seniors category for both. Debate was plentiful, lively, and well-reasoned on all sides, and some of these matters were tabled until a Committee, soon to be appointed, can focus on the merits - and the eventual wording -- of the varied proposed changes. The attendees heard reports from the many committees that keep USHWA functioning throughout the year, and were glad to hear from Davis-Wilson, voted the organization's member of the year, that the treasury was in a very good shape, pointing to future success in USHWA's upcoming progressive efforts. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner was as always the highlight of the gathering, with superstar sophomore trotting filly Bee A Magician "finishing her unbeaten season" by being elected Trotter of the Year and then Harness Horse of the Year; her contemporary, the pacing colt Captaintreacherous, took down overall honors for that gait after a brilliant campaign showing speed and courage in equal amounts. Also honored were the quartet to be inducted into the Halls of Fame Sunday, July 6 in Goshen: Harness Racing Hall of Famers David Miller and William Weaver, and Communicators Hall inductees Carol Cramer and John Pawlak. by Jerry Connors for USHWA

Monticello, NY - Tickets are going fast --- don't be shut out --- place your banquet reservations now!   The highly anticipated winner of harness racing's E. Roland Harriman Harness Horse of the Year trophy will be announced live by the United States Harness Writers Association on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at Dover Downs, Dover, Delaware.   Tickets for this gala event, the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Night of Champions, will only be available until this Tuesday, February 18.   In addition to the twelve equine divisional honors, including Bee A Magician, Foiled Again, Captaintreacherous and I Luv The Nitelife, a full field of the industry's biggest and brightest will be feted at the annual awards ceremony.   This year's inductees to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, David Miller and Bill Weaver; and Communicators Hall of Fame, Carol Cramer and John Pawlak will also be honored.   In addition, the U. S. Harness Writers list of human awards also includes the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award winner, Joe Thomson, as well as the Owner, Trainer, Driver, and Breeder of the Year, Rising Star, Breakthrough, Good Guy and a host of others, a list of which are available on the USHWA.org website.   Tickets cost $125 for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet and include a one-hour open bar, as well as a main course of Lobster & Filet Mignon "Surf & Turf."   Tickets can be reserved via telephone or Email by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson (302.359.3630), zoe8874@aol.com or Scott Warren (302.222.1222), voiceofrcr@aol.com by Chris Tully for USHWA  

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