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Goshen (NY) Historic Track will feature a power-packed field of drivers, all members of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, in the annual $10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry Memorial Trot, to be held July 5. Post time is 1 p.m. The slate for that race brings together a "Who's Who" of harness racing talent. John Campbell, David Miller, Bill O'Donnell, Dick Stillings, Jimmy Takter and Wally Hennessey will all compete that day. Ron Pierce, recovering from neck and back surgery this spring, is a possibility as he is nearing the end of his rehabilitation. His participation, and the addition of one other driver, will be confirmed as the date draws closer. Collectively, the confirmed participants have won 11 Little Brown Jugs and 10 Hambletonians as trainers or drivers, along with nearly 45,000 races and $800 million in purse earnings. The race honors the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry; their sons Elbridge and Peter will be on hand to present the trophy. After the race, the drivers will meet fans and autograph photos. Goshen Historic Track is located at 44 Park Place in Goshen; admission is $5 for adults (includes program) and children are free. For more information, go to www.goshenhistorictrack.com or call 845-294-5333. Ken Weingartner

The London region is home to four of this year’s harness racing inductees to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.   The hall was established in 1976 and has a ceremony each year to honour those who have made a substantial contribution to harness racing and thoroughbred horse racing.   The late London writer Harry  Eisen is an honouree this year, along with the late St. Thomas thoroughbred breeder and owner Bob Anderson, Woodstock standardbred driver and trainer Bill Gale and broodmare J Cs Nathalie, owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll.   The induction ceremony will take place in Mississauga on August 5.   Harry Eisen Eisen loved the sport and was a pioneer of horse racing journalism in Ontario, spending most of his career at The London Free Press.   His column, Mostly About Horses was widely read.   The tales about Eisen were legendary as he was also a handicapper of extraordinary ability.   He was well known at the tracks across Ontario.   Eisen once said he went to his first horse race when he was only three or four years old. He sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a youngster.   He was inducted to the Western Fair Raceway Hall of Fame in 1980, the first non-horseperson to be inducted.   Bob Anderson He was a longtime owner of Anderson Farms in St. Thomas and was involved with breeding, racing and selling both thoroughbred and standardbred horses for more than 40 years.   He bred and matured over 1,400 horses including champions Pinafore Park, Larkwhistle, and Prince Avatar. Some of the sires he bred included Ascot Knight, National Assembly and Alydeed.   Anderson once told me the secret to success is to pay for quality. "I very seldom regretted buying quality. Sometimes it's worth reaching a little bit."   Bill Gale He was a leading driver in Canada for a three-decade period, beginning in the 1970s.   He had 16 consecutive seasons earning more than $1 million.   Gale won many big races including a pair of Breeders Crown championships. He drove King Conch to a World Record 1:56.2 in the two-year-old trotting colt category.   In 1991, Gale won an O’Brien Award as Canada’s top driver.   J Cs Nathalie Owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, this mare produced two million-dollar earners - Dreamfair Vogel and Dreamfair Eternal.   J Cs Nathalie will join her daughter, Dreamfair Eternal, in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.   Dreamfair  Eternal won an O’Brien as Canada’s horse of the year in 2010 and received her induction to the hall last year.   J Cs Nathalie has produced 13 horses and 11 of them together have banked more than $4.5 million in purse earnings.   Courtesy of CTV News - London

Adios Butler was a super-star of the sport in the early 1960s and left his mark on the Chicago circuit before going on to be named Harness Racing Horse of the Year twice. The much heralded pacer came to Sportsman’s Park in 1960 for the second running of the American National Maturity Pace. National Hall of Famer Bye Bye Byrd captured the inaugural edition of the stake for open company pacers, ages 4 and up in 1959. A Saturday July 16 crowd of 12,759 hammered “The Butler” down to 1 to 5 odds and they didn’t come away disappointed. With Eddie Cobb in his sulky, Adios Butler toyed with the field of nine for the first 3/4’s of a mile before drawing off to a 2:01.1 victory. Adios Butler’s co-owner Del Miller had this to say to the Chicago media after the race: “The colt can do anything. It isn’t so much what he has done but how he’s done it. Last week at Yonkers he met the best pacers including the 1959 Horse of the Year Bye Bye Byrd and Widower Creed and he beat the field hands down. He came home the last half :57.4, and he did it almost casually.” A son of the great Adios, “The Butler: was a 1980 induction into the Illinois Hall of Fame and entered the National Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY 10 years later. The horse was trained early-on by Paige West, a Maryland native in his middle 20’s. West turned the lines over in 1959 to Canadian Clint Hodgins, a future Hall of Famer, and Adios Butler went on to stardom. That season the 3-year-old became the first pacer to win the sport’s “Triple Crown”, initially taking the Cane Pace at Yonkers, then the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio where he became the first horse to win on a half-mile track with a sub 2:00 mile, and finally the Messenger at Roosevelt in a record time of 2:00.1. As a 4-year-old, Adios Butler won 13 of his 17 starts and was named 1960 Horse of the Year. That fall he paced to his record 1:54.3 time trial at Lexington with West, the first harness horse to break the 1:55 barrier. After becoming the fastest horse in history, Adios Butler was shipped to California, sharing a plane with the 1960 Jug champion Bullet Hanover. The plane in which both horses were traveling caught fire while in the air, but fortunately the pilot was able to land safely at Chicago’s Midway Airport. West drove Adios Butler in his final starts in California, including the memorable 1-1/8 leg of the American Pacing Classic at Hollywood Park. Setting all the fractions “The Butler” passed the mile marker in a respectable 1:59.4. Then, when the others began to challenge, Adios Butler turned on the afterburners and paced his final eighth in a quick 11.2 seconds. The two-time Harness Horse of the Year (1960 and 1961) ended his career with 37 wins in 50 starts and earnings of $509,844. Adios Butler left the track as the richest and fastest horse in harness racing history. Adios Butler in the Little Brown Jug By Mike Paradise

Without a doubt, when harness aficionados think of the hardest working, most dedicated and creative publicity hound in the business, without a doubt they think of John Manzi. Known for his affable demeanor, wacky promotions, and as Master of Ceremonies of some of the Catskill region's most memorable awards banquets, JM in the PM has never disappointed. This list of individuals that Manzi and his Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA have honored over the last several decades reads like a "who's who" of harness racing. Whether he was racing camels versus elephants, or crowning the King of the Matzos, Monticello Raceway's man of the hour has always been John Manzi. But alas, all good things must come to an end. And after 40 years of bright lights and big laughs, Hall of Famer Manzi is going to take a well-deserved curtain call. Friends of John Manzi would like to invite you to a fun-filled retirement party for the beloved harness racing writer and publicist on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY. Tickets are just $75 each and will include a catered buffet, refreshments and a very special keepsake to commemorate the event. Plan on joining your friends at 4pm that afternoon in the William Haughton Hall for a great time with lots of belly laughs, a slide show of memorable Manzi moments, and much, much more. This is sure to be one of the most fun-filled, talked-about events of the summer...interested parties are urged to get your tickets early to avoid missing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Sponsorships are available in a variety of denominations, and will go a long way to ensuring that this is a very special affair. To purchase tickets or provide a sponsorship, please call Janet Terhune at 740-815-4343 or Email: janet.terhune@gmail.com. by Chris Tully for the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame            

Chicago's leading harness driver for the past 30-plus years, Dave Magee, is retiring after his drives this Saturday night (Feb. 28) at Balmoral Park. Magee is a Hall of Famer and has been one of the classiest individuals the sport of harness racing has ever known. He has almost 12,000 career victories and more than $101 million in career earnings during his illustrious career. He is one of only 18 drivers in the history of the sport to eclipse that $100 million mark in earnings and is the only Illinois based driver to go over $100 million in earnings. Magee has had 10 seasons with $2 million-plus in earnings, 13 more seasons with $3 million in earnings and a trio of $4 million seasons. He won a whopping 630 races in 1994, which led all drivers in North America. Dave also proved victorious in the 1995 World Driving Championship, defeating drivers from Canada, Australia, France, Sweden, Germany, Italy and other European stops. He was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2001. On the local scene Dave has been dominant throughout his career, winning driving titles at every Illinois racetrack. His 12 Maywood Park driving titles and 11 Sportsman's Park titles are both records. He is also the leader in Super Night victories among drivers. He has also posted an amazing 36 straight seasons with more than $1 million in earnings and 38 straight seasons of 100 wins or more. The 61-year-old Magee is a resident of Big Rock, Ill. He will be moving on to a new career as a State Steward (Judge) at Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind. "I'm happy that Dave has found a new challenge for his life," said Balmoral Park racing director and USTA President Phil Langley. "With his experience, integrity and plain old smarts he might well become the best judge ever. The Illinois laws prevented us from hiring him two years ago so Indiana gains him. "On the other hand it was almost with much sadness that I received an e-mail from him telling me of his decision. I was so choked up telling my wife that she thought something bad had happened. We will always be great friends and I wish the best to Dave and Cathy." by Tom Kelley

Jupiter, Florida – Harness racing Hall of Famer, Louis P. Guida, passed away on Friday according to family members. He was 81 and had been ill for a number of months. He had owned all or part of 21 harness horses that have each won a million dollars, not bad for a kid from Jersey City who first worked shining shoes in his father's barber shop, and wound up a vice president of Merrill Lynch, the first broker ever elevated to that executive position. Not bad either for an executive who did not earn an MBA at Harvard or a doctorate at Princeton, but instead dropped out of high school and worked days as a laborer and nights learning television repair.   That was 1952, and Guida, then 19, soon opened a TV repair shop with $800 he earned working the day shift. He soon expanded into multiple shops, and invested the profits into a state-of-the-art car wash. Both businesses flourished, and Guida sold them and founded Fidelity Finance, which ultimately employed a staff of more than 100. He sold Fidelity in 1966, after a customer whose Cadillac was damaged when another car jumped the track at his car wash and  injured Guida, told him he didn't need that kind of hassle and persuaded him to sell the wash and join Merrill's Trenton office. That was 1967, and Guida began in mergers and acquisitions. In 1970, his fourth year in that job, he got a $250,000 finder's fee for his work on the $90 million merger of Caesars Palace and Lum's Restaurants, and he began looking for a tax shelter. "I found the perfect one," he told Sports Marketing News years later. "I tried harness racing, and it was the greatest tax shelter in the world. I lost everything I owned." But not for long. Instead of buying cheap claimers or using 90-second decisions to buy yearlings costing hundreds of thousands, Guida formed Louis P. Guida Enterprises, applied sound business practices, and interested new investors. “I’m selling all my 5’s and 6’s,” Guida once said, “and I am only buying 9’s and 10’s from now on.” Then 35 years ago, with his stable dominating both the trotting and pacing gait in North America, Guida owned, partnered and syndicated horses that won 14 major divisional championships and most of the sport's major stakes races.  In 1979 Guida purchased half of the undefeated two-year-old pacing colt, Niatross, from trainer Clint Galbraith and co-owner Elsie Berger for an unheard of price of $1 million. At age three Niatross won the Pacing Triple Crown and Guida then stamped the term “syndication” in harness racing as the colt went on to breed numberous world champions. Guida and his associates won the Pacing Triple Crown with Niatross and then went on to become world renowned with champions Mack Lobell,  Chairmanoftheboard, Nihilator, Pershing Square and a host of other great horses. Over the years Guida was honored by the industry with the United States Harness Writers Association Good Guy Award, the USHWA President's Award, and the 1991 Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award. He was then inducted in the sport’s Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY in 2008. He had been involved with various sports since childhood. As a young baseball player, he was scouted by the NY Giants and asked to join their farm team in Jersey City, NJ; however, due to his mother's disapproval he declined the offer. He claimed that the smartest move he ever made in sports was to purchase the Philadelphia Eagles football team, and his dumbest move was selling it. Guida also dabbled in in the Thoroughbred business in the US in partnership with Dr. Philip McCarthy, a prominent veterinarian. He also formed a group called the Laurel Guida Group, and purchased 50% interest in Laurel Racetrack and a percentage of ownership in Pimlico Racetrack, where the Preakness, part of the Thoroughbred Triple Crown, is raced. The group later sold their interest to Magna Entertainment; however, they retained rights to future gambling outlets. But Guida did not stop there, moving to Italy and taking young trainer Jerry Riordan with him, he began breeding and racing harness horses in Europe and his success continued. He owned Lisa America, who won 22 times, including the European Grand Circuit series and retired from racing with $1.9 million in earnings. Lou Guida is survived by his wife Rose, and three children; Mark (Sharon), Jayme (David Marad), and Cindy (Mark Deleo) and there are four granddaughters. Service arrangements will be posted when finalized. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Joe Thomson, owner of Maryland-based Standardbred breeding operation Winbak Farm, has been elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) announced Tuesday. Thomson and his wife JoAnn started Winbak Farm in 1991. The operation has ranked No. 2 among all breeders in purses earned each of the last 12 years, totaling more than $205 million since the start of 2002, and produced three Horse of the Year Award winners. In addition, Bob Marks, the longtime marketing guru of Perretti Farms and a noted writer and handicapper, and Kathy Parker, the editor and general manager of the Horseman and Fair World publishing company, were elected to the Communicators Hall of Fame. The three honorees will be inducted during ceremonies at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., on July 5. Winbak Farm - which stands stallions in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario - bred consecutive Horse of the Year Award winners in pacing colt No Pan Intended, in 2003, and pacing filly Rainbow Blue, in 2004, and later saw trotting colt Muscle Hill claim the honor in 2009. No Pan Intended is the last pacer to win the Triple Crown. Rainbow Blue is one of only three filly pacers to be named Horse of the Year. Muscle Hill is one of two Hambletonian winning trotters bred by Winbak, joining 2005 winner Vivid Photo. Thomson, who lives in Phoenixville, Pa., is the president of the Pennsylvania Harness Breeders Association. He also is co-owner of The Red Mile, the historic harness racing track in Lexington, Ky., and serves as a director of the Hambletonian Society. In 2013, Thomson received the Stanley F. Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award from USHWA, an honor bestowed by the organization that is second only to election to the Hall of Fame. Other honors for Thomson include being named to the Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame in 2009. Marks' work in harness racing spans 50 years, starting as a contributor to Trotter Magazine and later as a writer and editor for Trotter Weekly. He handicapped for Top Trotter's daily letter from 1966 to 1978 and was among the original chart commentators for Sports Eye, starting in 1968. Over the years, Marks was a contributor to Hub Rail, Times Standard, Hoof Beats, and Sports Eye. He also was host of "Accent on Racing," on Meadowlands Cablevision, from 1980 to 1985, and host and analyst for "Racing from Roosevelt" in 1982. In 1988, he began working as pedigree analyst and marketing director at Perretti Farms. He wrote more than 500 "Trotlines" for the farm's website and 1,000 advertisements, in addition to naming more than 2,000 horses. Parker started her employment at Horseman and Fair World, a Lexington, Ky.-based trade magazine, in 1980 while still attending the University of Kentucky, and rose through the ranks until arriving at the top by being named editor and general manager in 1995. During Parker's tenure, Horseman and Fair World has expanded its efforts to provide news and information, starting with the launch of a website in 1998, and then the introduction of an e-newsletter, "Harness Racing Weekend Preview," in 2009. As a writer, Parker has traveled the world to report on the sport's top events, including all major stakes races in North America, plus the Elitlopp in Sweden, Prix d'Amerique in Paris, and Inter-Dominion in Sydney. Among Parker's honors are a Hervey Award for excellence in writing, the Harness Horsemen's International Media Award, and the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Media Award. In 2010, Parker's Horseman and Fair World received the Proximity Award from USHWA. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Pompano Beach, FL --- The history of one of the world’s most majestic sports, harness racing, is well over 200-years-old in the United States and, one of the most iconic facilities encompassing harness racing’s grand tradition, Roosevelt Raceway, is brought to life in a most succinct manner by authors Victoria M. Howard, Billy Haughton and Freddie Hudson. Now closed for more than a quarter century, Roosevelt Raceway is where night time harness racing began and flourished for some four plus decades. The authors have unlocked a vault of memories, not only reliving history under the lights as many of today’s “old-timers” witnessed, but unearthing occurrences that, heretofore, were kept “hushed up”--only known by a few raceway executives--now erased from this earth, either naturally or otherwise--and a few underworld cronies, also no longer in this world, again, either naturally or otherwise. The initial chapters deal with George Morton Levy, the founding father of racing under the stars, and his connections with the underworld and politicians, some of whom were as crooked as many of the numbers on the Roosevelt Raceway infield tote-board. The book also covers the introduction of the “savior” of the sport--the mobile starting gate--as well as the celebrities, fatal occurrences, riots and characters that made Roosevelt Raceway the subject matter in, literally, millions of conversations over the years. Great horses, like the artichoke eating French-bred trotter Jamin and the grand Su Mac Lad, who, literally, wore out three sets of “free-for-all” trotters over his career, are brought back to life in this book...as well as greats like Bye Bye Byrd, Adios Butler, Cardigan Bay and Bret Hanover. And, of course, the book completes its task with a tribute to many of the sport’s great drivers who competed at Roosevelt Raceway--Billy, Stanley, Buddy, “Loosh,” “The Red Man,” Herve, Benny “The Whip” and “Toothpick Del,” to name a few. One of my favorite chapters is the one entitled “Stories Remembered,” a hilarious recollection of anecdotes both on and off the track. This book is a “must” for racing fans. It will bring back great memories and lighten every day it is in your hands. An official launch date for the book has not been released but it is due to be on shelves before November 1. by John Berry, - John Berry is a long time harness racing publictist, an inductee of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicators, a past president of the US Harness Writers Association and a prior Hervey Writing Award winner.

Roger Huston, the iconic voice of harness racing, will call the action Thursday (August 28) at Northfield Park. The 15-race program will add to the tally of races he has announced, which currently stands at 167,200. Huston has been the voice of The Meadows since 1976 and will be calling his 47th Little Brown Jug on September 18. In addition, he has announced at 127 other venues. These include locations all over the United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Wales and Australia. Huston, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, has enjoyed an amazing career in the sport -- and it is a career that will continue -- as he has no plans on retiring from the job he still immensely enjoys. First race post time on Thursday is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Westfield, IN- The Harness Horse Youth Foundation has named five worthy students as its 2014 scholarship recipients. The $2500 Curt Greene Memorial Scholarship went to Maja Bown of West Orange, New Jersey. She is a freshman at the University of New Hampshire where she is studying Nutrition and Dietetics. Maja graduated high school with a 3.7 GPA. The scholarship honors the late Curt Greene, who is a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicator's Corner. Krista Burkhart and Olivia Kimelman each received $750 stipends as co-winners of the Sweet Karen Alumni Scholarship, for students who have participated in HHYF summer programs. Both remain active as HHYF volunteers/representatives at HHYF activities across the country. Burkhart is a sophomore at SUNY Morrisville, where she is part of the Equine Racing and Management bachelor's program. She is a native of Rome, New York. Kimelman calls Wallkill, New York home but is a freshman at the University of Kentucky, where she studies Animal Science with an eye toward becoming a veterinarian. Lyndhurst, New Jersey's John McDermott was named a $15,000 Gallo Blue Chip Scholarship recipient, and Guadalupe Diaz earned a $5,000 Gallo Blue Chip award. McDermott is a freshman in Business Administration at the University of Florida. Diaz, from Middletown, New York, is a junior at Stony Brook University, studying Chemical and Molecular Engineering. The Gallo Blue Chip Scholarship is sponsored by Martin Scharf to honor his pacer, who retired as the richest sidewheeler in harness racing history. The Harness Horse Youth Foundation sponsors and administers several scholarships and also offers a clearing house of equine-related scholarships. For more information, or to have your organization's scholarship listed, contact Executive Director Ellen Taylor, ellen@hhyf.org, or go www.hhyf.org/hhyf-scholarships. HHYF is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org. For more information on this release contact HHYF Project Manager Keith Gisser, keiith@hhyf.org or 216-374-1392. From HHYF      

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  

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