September 28, 2015 – The Little Brown Jug Week results are now in for the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, Hambletonian Society, Isle of Capri Pompano Park, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. The week kicked off with two days of great fair racing from Delaware Ohio. Day one featured the Jugette and day two was the Little Brown Jug. Ray Cotolo jumped out to the early lead selecting two winners on Wednesday. He scored with Bettor N Better and Classical Anne for 87 HANA points. Ray was the only handicapper to select two winners on a day where the front end was collapsing for most of the day. Ray Garnett was a solid second when he landed Speak To Me for 43 HANA points. The $29 win price was the best of the day. Mark McKelvie earned third without a winner. That is certainly a rarity but the 19 HANA points earned when Bedroomconfessions and Smexi both finished second stood up to be third best on the day. On Little Brown Jug day we had four handicappers successfully select three winners. Gordon Waterstone and Earl “Super Computer” Paulson each won with French Laundry, Lost For Words and Wiggle It Jiggleit. They also ran second with Classic Martine to earn a top score of 76 HANA points. Dennis O’Hara clicked with the same three winners. Dennis had Rocking With Dewey in the fourth race to collect show money and earn 73 HANA points. Coming off a strong performance last week, the voice of Buffalo Raceway Michael Carter was a very close fourth with the same three winners but missed in the final tie breaker race. With eight races down and seven to go after a day off, Ray Cotolo had elbowed his way to the front in our weekly friendly competition. After a needed day off all the handicappers reassembled to battle it out in six races from Hoosier plus the Milton from Mohawk. Anne Stepien earned the win and the honors as the only one to select 4 winners. There were two races on the evening where only two handicappers came up with the winner. In both cases Anne was one of those two. First was Anne’s selecting Sunset Glider to win the Kentucky Stallion Management 2 year old filly trot with Sunset Glider. Anne followed that up with American Passport in The Elevation 2yoCG pace. Anne’s four winners earned her 219 HANA points on the evening and propelled her to the nightly win by more than 100 points! The top five handicappers were all able to hold onto their positions this week. Sally Hinckley still has her two hundred plus point lead over Mark McKelvie. Anne Stepien remains third but she is much closer now to both Mark and Sally. Bob Zanakis and Earl Paulson were not put under any pressure this week and retained their fourth and fifth place positions. Standings as of September 26, 2015 - Leg 43 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week Points Back 1st Sally Hinckley 3,019.10 139.30 3,158.40 1st 2nd Mark McKelvie 2,796.20 131.40 2,927.60 2nd 230.8 3rd Anne Stepien 2,529.10 256.10 2,785.20 3rd 373.2 4th Bob Zanakis 2,418.10 50.80 2,468.90 4th 689.5 5th Earl Paulson 2,293.70 119.80 2,413.50 5th 744.9 6th Gordon Waterstone 2,285.20 107.80 2,393.00 6th 765.4 7th Dennis O'Hara 2,130.00 134.20 2,264.20 7th 894.2 8th Josi Verlingieri 1,975.50 114.60 2,090.10 10th 1,068.3 9th Bryan Owen 2,018.50 64.90 2,083.40 8th 1,075.0 10th Rusty Nash 1,997.40 67.70 2,065.10 9th 1,093.3 11th Michael Carter 1,818.10 78.50 1,896.60 11th 1,261.8 12th Derick Giwner 1,671.00 152.10 1,823.10 13th 1,335.3 13th Ray Garnett 1,678.30 100.20 1,778.50 12th 1,379.9 14th Mark Dezii 1,665.40 109.40 1,774.80 14th 1,383.6 15th Garnet Barnsdale 1,657.30 51.80 1,709.10 15th 1,449.3 16th Jay Hochstetler 1,542.40 62.30 1,604.70 16th 1,553.7 17th Ray Cotolo 1,207.50 134.70 1,342.20 18th 1,816.2 18th Brandon Valvo 1,261.20 38.00 1,299.20 17th 1,859.2 19th Mark Deutsch 819.20 91.50 910.70 19th 2,247.7 With Jug week over we turn to the anticipated final two weeks of action from The Red Mile. Wednesday through Saturday will hold eight different sets of Bluegrass divisions. In addition we will also be making a rare but enjoyable visit to Dayton Raceway for the Dayton Pacing Derby and the Dayton Trotting Derby. by Rusty Nash for HANA Harness
September 22, 2015 - Mark McKelvie picked up some ground on Sally Hinckley this week in the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, Hambletonian Society, Isle of Capri Pompano Park, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. The week opened at The Meadows where the Nadia Lobell was won by Safe From Terror. Mark Deutsch was able to select the winner and he took the daily honors with 22.8 points. We needed the decimal point because Bryan Owen just missed with longshot The Show Returns. The place and show prices returned 22.6 points. One fifth of a point separated the early weekly leaders. Divine Caroline finished third and that caused a four way dead heat for the show spot between Sally Hinckley, Anne Stepien, Derick Giwner and Ray Cotolo. Saturday evening the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping team visited Mohawk for another big night of racing. On this evening we witnessed perfection! There is a good reason that Mark McKelvie has been positioned near the top of the standing for so long. He correctly selected all five winners! Mark scored with Southwind Frank, Caprice Hill, Bee A Magician, Mission Brief and Pinkman. The 5X multiplier earned Mark all 196 points that were available. Three other handicappers had four winners each. They each had a different combination of winners and earned different scores. The place honors went to Buffalo's own Michael "Horsy Boy" Carter with 122 points. Bee A Magician was the key to his second place finish. Josi Verlingieri took the show spot with 114 points and Earl Paulson was fourth with 109 points. The final accent on this racing week was the Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway where Foiled Again was the featured headliner. Mach It So edged by him at the top of the lane and while the old boy fought back with everything he had Mach It So held on for the short neck win. Mach It So, off at 8-1, returned 25 HANA contest points for a quartet of very sharp handicappers. Successfully beating the chalk were Ray Garnett, Jay Hochstetler, Earl Paulson and Anne Stepien. The rest of the HANA handicappers were grateful that there was no bonus multiplier available with the $18 winner! Mark McKelvie easily took the weekly honors with a total of 198 points. Earl Paulson was second best with 135 and Michael Carter was third with 124. Rounding out the super and the penta were Josi Verlingieri and Bryan Owen. There was one change to the overall contest pentafecta. With Mach It So winning the Quillen, Earl Paulson just edged out Gordon Waterstone for the fifth spot by a mere 8.5 points. Sally Hinckley continues to lead with Mark McKelvie slowly closing the gap. Ann Stepien remains in third and Bob Zanakis maintained his fourth place position. Things are sure to change next week with more than a dozen races lined up. Standings as of September 21, 2015 - Leg 41 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week Points Back 1st Sally Hinckley 2,982.80 36.30 3,019.10 1st 2nd Mark McKelvie 2,598.10 198.10 2,796.20 2nd 222.9 3rd Anne Stepien 2,440.90 88.20 2,529.10 3rd 490.0 4th Bob Zanakis 2,354.30 63.80 2,418.10 4th 601.0 5th Earl Paulson 2,158.70 135.00 2,293.70 6th 725.4 6th Gordon Waterstone 2,218.40 66.80 2,285.20 5th 733.9 7th Dennis O'Hara 2,068.30 61.70 2,130.00 7th 889.1 8th Bryan Owen 1,929.40 89.10 2,018.50 9th 1,000.6 9th Rusty Nash 1,938.60 58.80 1,997.40 8th 1,021.7 10th Josi Verlingieri 1,860.90 114.60 1,975.50 10th 1,043.6 11th Michael Carter 1,693.20 124.90 1,818.10 11th 1,201.0 12th Ray Garnett 1,644.90 33.40 1,678.30 13th 1,340.8 13th Derick Giwner 1,604.00 67.00 1,671.00 14th 1,348.1 14th Mark Dezii 1,597.60 67.80 1,665.40 15th 1,353.7 15th Garnet Barnsdale 1,651.60 5.70 1,657.30 12th 1,361.8 16th Jay Hochstetler 1,517.00 25.40 1,542.40 16th 1,476.7 17th Brandon Valvo 1,234.80 26.40 1,261.20 17th 1,757.9 18th Ray Cotolo 1,124.00 83.50 1,207.50 18th 1,811.6 19th Mark Deutsch 751.80 67.40 819.20 19th 2,199.9 Jug week is upon us and we will have plenty of HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping action starting on Wednesday from Delaware Ohio. The week kicks off with the Jugette, Buckette, Little Brown Jug, Old Oaken Bucket and the Miss Versatility. Saturday features the Milton from Mohawk and a nice set of stakes from Hoosier Park. For contest selections and further information, visit the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator Follow the HANA Harness Handicapping Contest
August 24, 2015 - It was a busy triple header for the field of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Friday night kicked off with four races. One from The Meadows and three from Vernon Downs (one of our contest sponsors). Four handicappers were able to select three of the four winners. Michael Carter took the early weekend lead with the better priced trio at 144 points. Anne Stepien, Sally Hinckley and Bryan Owen were close behind with 125 points. At the end of night one Sally easily remained the leader of the pack. Saturday was a marathon event with five from Mohawk and most of the Pocono Downs card on the playlist. It was close to a "no contest" as Anne Stepien simply crushed the field with an amazing performance of 892 points. With eight winners she scored almost double the next best handicapper. If Anne was Wiggle It Jiggleit she would have won by the length of the stretch in 1:46 with Montrell enjoying a soft drink and a good read. With seven winners each tour leader Sally Hinckley and Gordon Waterstone were both a very respectable "best of the rest" on what proved to be a very difficult Saturday evening for many of the players. Sally added 497 points to her contest leading total and Gordon added 473. The Saturday night rain out of the Cup and Saucer at Charlottetown's Red Shores Racetrack and Casino (one of our contest sponsors) saw that event added to the Sunday line up of the Prix D'Ete and the Roll With Joe. Dennis O'Hara and Gordon Waterstone both went a perfect three for three and earned the maximum possible 87 points. Big movers on the weekend, in addition to Anne, were Gordon Waterstone and Bryan Owen. Gordon moved up to fourth and Bryan brushed from fifteenth to eighth. The continued excellence of Sally Hinckley earned her runner up spot on the weekend to Anne Stepien. With a cushion of more than three hundred points Sally is still wearing the colors of our tour leader. Standings as of August 23, 2015 - Leg 30 Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Sally Hinckley 1,970.90 629.90 2,600.80 1st 2nd Anne Stepien 1,217.50 1,046.50 2,264.00 9th 3rd Mark McKelvie 1,929.70 268.30 2,198.00 2nd 4th Gordon Waterstone 1,378.90 568.90 1,947.80 6th 5th Bob Zanakis 1,595.80 295.30 1,891.10 3rd 6th Dennis O'Hara 1,462.00 358.50 1,820.50 5th 7th Earl Paulson 1,536.50 263.70 1,800.20 4th 8th Bryan Owen 1,054.40 547.80 1,602.20 15th 9th Michael Carter 1,248.50 324.40 1,572.90 8th 10th Josi Verlingieri 1,262.50 219.30 1,481.80 7th 11th Mark Dezii 1,135.60 283.40 1,419.00 13th 12th Ray Garnett 969.20 447.90 1,417.10 17th 13th Rusty Nash 1,171.40 185.10 1,356.50 12th 14th Garnet Barnsdale 1,043.80 282.60 1,326.40 16th 15th Jay Hochstetler 1,173.10 137.40 1,310.50 11th 16th Derick Giwner 1,079.00 144.60 1,223.60 14th 17th Brandon Valvo 1,176.20 15.10 1,191.30 10th 18th Ray Cotolo 757.30 93.50 850.80 18th 19th Mark Deutsch 531.40 0.00 531.40 19th Next week there are only two Grand Circuit events on tap and both are at Yonkers. In all likelihood the ladies will again be leading the pack at the conclusion of next week’s contests. Quite fittingly the two races are the Lady Maud and the Hudson Filly. By Rusty Nash for HANA Harness Follow the HANA Harness Handicapping Contest
As the Grand Circuit roars into The Big M, The Meadows and Balmoral on Saturday, the new month begins an extraordinary effort by the USTA and Strategic Wagering to entice new players into the game and veteran players back in the game. You could say there are a million reasons to wager on harness racing but the reality is that in the month of August, there will be two million reasons. Strategic Wagering began four years ago during a month long break at The Meadowlands. The idea was to provide players with solid wagering opportunities during the brief absence of the flagship track. Guaranteed pools of $400,000 were offered in April 2011 at Yonkers Raceway, Northfield Park and Balmoral Park kicking off the Strategic Wagering initiative. Fast forward four years to this coming Saturday August 1st. The USTA, Strategic Wagering will offer at least one guaranteed trifecta pool, Pick Four pool and High Five pool every night for 31 straight days. This is completely unprecedented in all of horse racing. With the addition of the trifecta pools, the month of August will see the USTA and Strategic Wagering offer guaranteed pools in excess of $2,000,000. We certainly hope that the guaranteed trifecta pools will have the same effect as the guaranteed High Five pools that began in July. The low ten or twenty cent Guaranteed High Five has proven to be more popular than the fifty cent or one dollar denomination wager that the major thoroughbred tracks now employ. The low minimum allows the small player to be a part of the game. It is incredible to note that Del Mar, with an opening day handle of $15,000,000, is the only thoroughbred track whose High Five pools average more than the Strategic Wagering guaranteed pools. With that lone exception, our guaranteed High Five pools dwarf the thoroughbred High Five pools that are currently offered The pilot program will kick off with three tracks, Balmoral Park, Northfield Park and Maywood Park. During the month of August, Balmoral will offer $70,000 in nightly guarantees comprised of a guaranteed Pick Four pool, a High Five pool and a Trifecta pool every Saturday and Sunday. Northfield Park will offer the same three guaranteed pools every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Maywood Park will follow with three guaranteed pools each Thursday and Friday. There is an enormous audience of potential players out there looking for pools that support $50 and $100 trifectas. The industry must create larger pools so that these valuable players are willing to invest hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars on a number of wagers that now offer value. The current model at many tracks offers an excessive amount of wagers each race, thus resulting in diluted pools, diminished returns and minimal participation. A good racing product cannot overcome a bad wagering product. In creating a better wagering product, the potential for former harness players that have since moved on to the larger thoroughbred pools, to come back home is possible. You will continue to see thoroughbred players cross over into our High Five pools as their popularity increases. Poker players, sports bettors and fantasy junkies will start playing because they like the fast paced action of three guaranteed pools in a little more than an hour. In conclusion, the Meadowlands will present their sensational Hambletonian program next week, featuring the greatest stars in our sport. Hambletonian day closes out the Meadowlands meet with six digit pools and the biggest harness handle of the year. One of the main objectives of the USTA and Strategic Wagering is to keep the serious Meadowlands players in the game. Free deluxe twelve line program pages for all guaranteed pools are available courtesy of Track Master at www.ustrotting.com. The entire August calendar will be available on the same USTA website Saturday. Michael Antoniades USTA Strategic Wagering Committee
Before he was a teenager Anthony Essex was considering a career in harness racing. He fondly recalls going to Albion Park trots as a ‘little tacker’, with his father Rob, now a greyhound trainer, sparking his interest further when he started racing standardbreds. When those horses had success Anthony confesses he was hooked on the sport of racing. Anthony is Racing Queensland’s newest operations employee, winning selection for the harness racing handicappers job after a national search for the position. Anthony started in his new role on Monday, replacing handicapper Darren Clayton who left RQ to travel overseas. The handicapping role is a new challenge for Anthony after working in casual roles at RQ in greyhound racing administration and integrity as well as formerly managing the Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club. The 42-year-old is well versed in procedures at the Deagon racing office and with the rules of racing. “My previous roles at RQ have been a great step towards my future within the racing industry and I’m now keen to expand my knowledge and skills within the harness racing industry,” Anthony said. “I’m sure the handicapping role will be a steep learning curve but I am certain I will enjoy the challenge and I’m eager to learn the craft from (chief handicapper) Brett Rail. I’m really looking forward to being a member of the team” Anthony believes that he has had a good foundation for the handicapper job and says his family history in the sport has given him a good insight. “Going to the trots was a normal thing for me to do when I was younger, I loved to watch the races and I reckon harness racing is the most exciting racing to watch,” Anthony said. “Rob (Dad) raced successful pacers Badge Of Honour; Dinnygone; Group 1 winner Maywyn Jasper and Maywyn Tonz, a dual Group 2 race winner so there is plenty of fond memories there as well,”. Multi-skilled, entrepreneurial, with an artistic flair Anthony had other options for his career path but he firmly believes that he has made the right choice and that there has never been a better time to be involved in harness racing. “Harness racing in Queensland has increased prizemoney and new industry initiatives, it’s pretty positive at the moment,” Anthony said “I am really looking forward to seeing and handicapping the quality races with our top locals taking on the might of the southern states and New Zealand during Queensland Winter Racing Carnival. Let’s hope there is fantastic racing with close finishes that can excite everyone on and off the track.” by David Aldred
(April 20, 2015) - The sponsors have stepped up and the handicappers selected for the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. With the handicappers chomping on the bit, the contest finally gets underway with The Meadows Maturity on Friday afternoon, April 24, 2015, followed the next evening with racing action at Yonkers Raceway where the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Memorial series finals will be contested. This year the sponsors have allowed the handicapping challenge to secure a record $5,250 in prize funds to be divided between the standardbred rescues of the top three handicappers at the conclusion of the contest. In addition to the presenting sponsors, additional sponsors are Green Acquisition Corporation, Harness Racing Update, Isle of Capri Pompano Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, and Scioto Downs Racino. HANA thanks all the sponsors for stepping up to support the contest and standardbred rescue. Handicapper selections will be available on the contest website the morning of each day's events. Race fans and horseplayers may find those selections and additional contest information at the contest website http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com . In addition, fans may follow the contest on social media by searching for the hash tag #hanagc2015. Allan Schott
(April 12, 2015) - HANA Harness welcomes the Bellino Stable as a Gold Sponsor and The Raceway at Western Fair District as a Silver sponsor in the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, Bellino Stable, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Harness Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. With less than two weeks prior to the commencement of the contest on April 24, it is Last Call for becoming a sponsor. While naming rights for the handicapping contest have been sold out, affordable sponsorship opportunities remain, starting with our Bronze Level ($100), Silver Level ($250) and topping out at $500 for the Gold Level. If you are a racetrack, horsemen association, racing stable, or a vendor who does business in the harness racing industry, sponsorship is a perfect way to get your name out within the industry as supporters of standardbred rescue. The deadline for becoming a sponsor is Friday, April 17. To become a sponsor or for further information, you may contact email@example.com. For further information on the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge, visit the contest website here. Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator Check out our contest site for the 2015 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge. Check out HANA Harness' Blog.
(March 13, 2015) - The field has been set, the races picked, and the rescues selected for the 2015 HANA Harness Racing Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, all sponsors who have renewed their support for standardbred rescue with their sponsorship (additional sponsors are anticipated). As for handicappers, one old friend and two new faces join the returning roster of handicappers. Richard Scott returns to the contest after a one year hiatus. Scott was the winner of the 2013 handicapping contest and looks to attempt to reclaim his title. Scott is a former trainer who worked for the Bessinger, Silverman, and David Elliot stables in his career. Making their debut to the contest this year are Michael Carter, the current track announcer at Buffalo Raceway, and Mark Dezii, a racing fan who is a musician who hails from Philadelphia, PA. The complete roster, last year's placing, and selected rescues for the 2015 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is: Garnet Barnsdale - Harness Racing Writer, WEG Handicapper for DRF Harness; (1st); TROTR; Therapeutic Riding and Off-Track Rehabilitation) Michael Carter - Track Announcer at Buffalo Raceway; (Did Not Compete); Central Virginia Horse Rescue Ray Cotolo - Internet Harness Racing Analyst and Writer; (15th); Sunshine Horse Rescue. Mark Dezii - Race Fan and Musician; (DNC); Horse Lovers United Ray Garnett -Handicapper; (14th); Rockin T Equine Rescue Derick Giwner - Editor, DRF Harness; (8th); New Vocations Sally Hinckley - On-air Handicapping Personality; (12th); Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals Brian McEvoy - Works for Harnesslink, (3rd); Helping Hearts Equine Rescue Mark McKelvie - Communications Coordinator for WEG; (2nd); Horse Rescue United Rusty Nash - Trackmaster Handicapper; (9th); Rainhill Sanctuary. Bryan Owen - Former Owner and Handicapper;(DNC); Standardbred Retirement Foundation Dennis O'Hara - Handicapper, Former Asst Race Secretary; (11th); Standardbred Retirement Foundation Earl Paulson - Handicapper, Yahoo Harness Racing Forum Director; (5th); Racer Placers Richard Scott - Handicapper/Former Trainer, (DNC; 1st in 2013); Rainhill Sanctuary. Anne Stepien - Handicapper, Former Trainer; (13th); Heading for Home Brandon Valvo - Handicapper, Writer for Harness Racing America; (6th); Horse Lovers United Josi Verlingieri - Handicapper; (7th); Heart of Phoenix Gordon Waterstone - Associate Editor, Horseman and Fair World; (10th); Changing Fates Equine Rescue A new scoring system has been implemented for this year's contest with handicappers focusing on the horse who will win the race, bringing a mix of quantity and value to the handicappers' plans this year. For those who wish details on how the scoring will be done, the rules page explains. The competition begins on April 24 with the inaugural Meadows Futurity Trot and concludes on November 29 with the Progress Stake at Dover Downs. Handicappers and fans may follow the contest by visiting the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. HANA Harness is the Harness Racing division of Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA), a group which since 2008 represents over 3,000 horseplayers in dealings with the racing industry. Since HANA Harness began sponsoring handicapping contests, over $10,000 has been donated to standardbred recues. All horseplayers, regardless of breed are invited to join HANA for free. For further information regarding HANA, please visit the HANA website at http://horseplayersassociation.org/. For further information on joining the current sponsors by becoming a sponsor at the Gold, Silver, or Bronze level, click here.. Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org Check out our contest site for the 2015 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge. Check out HANA Harness' Blog.
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The ever decreasing numbers of harness racing mares being bred makes it essential that we get the best use of those horses we do have racing and there can be little doubt that the drop back system is helping in that regard. Available to all horses 4 years + older who have not won in their last ten starts, the drop back provision has meant a new lease of life for a lot of horses and kept a lot of horses racing when otherwise they would have been retired or sold. One of the latest examples to take advantage of the system is Friday nights winner at Addington Raceway in Dixie Commando. A six win mare, Dixie Commando last raced before Friday night in May against the likes of Kincaslough, Jaccka Justy and Dr Hook and she finished a tidy fourth on that occasion. With the drop back to a nine rating Dixie Commando sneaked into the C2-C4 trot over 1950 metres and co - trainer and driver James Geddes thought she would be hard to beat. " It was a big drop back in class to what she had been racing and even though she drew barrier nine I thought she would be very hard to beat." " She has always gone good fresh in the past so she had a lot in her favour on Friday night," James told Harnesslink yesterday. James has always had a lot of time for the daughter of CR Commando. " She is such a beautifully gaited mare and lovely to do anything with." "High speed is her other biggest attribute so the mobile sprints suit her," James said. Badly injured as a 5 year old, Dixie Commando had a pastern screwed together but the injury has had no long term affects on the mare. " She doesn't do much at home at all to be honest" "She is quite an athletic type and we just keep her ticking over," James said. On Friday night James and Dixie Commando made a flyer from barrier 9 and were able to slip into the trail behind the tearaway early leader The Bog. With The Bog setting a quick tempo in front, James never had to leave the trail until 150 metres from the finish and quickly claimed The Bog for a comfortable victory with the best of the rest being Astrapi who was 2 3/4 lengths away in third. Dixie Commando trotted the 1950 metres in 2:25.7, a mile rate of 2:00.2 It was Dixie Commando's 7th career victory and along with 22 placings she has now earned $76,139. James said serious consideration was given to sending Dixie Commando to the breeding barn earlier in the season. " We did give it serious consideration but with the drop back system in play we thought their might be a win or two in her yet," James said. When Dixie Commando does retire to the breeding barn, she has plenty to recommend her for that role. Dixie Commando is a daughter of the Sundon mare Galleons Tribute who is a half sister to the outstanding broodmare Rob The Nest who has left such standouts as Galleons Assassin 1:55.4 ($327,286) and King Of Strathfield 1:56.8 ($253,950) amongst a plethora of talented trotters. The way Dixie Commando won on Friday night however means that may not happen any time soon. Harnesslink Media
123gaming, Inc. and Sportech Racing and Digital, a division of Sportech PLC, (LSE: SPO), announced recently that the handicapping contest-style 123racing wager, previously available only through racetracks and off-track-betting operators in the U.S., is now available for online distribution. On-trend with the growth in fantasy sports and horse racing handicapping contests, the 123racing wager is based on a Pick 6 format, but introduces additional elements of excitement and interactivity over traditional Pick 6 wagering. Payoffs on the 123racing wager are won by scoring points across the 6 races, with the wager that scores the highest total points claiming the pool. In 123racing, top scorers don't necessarily have to pick the winners or 'hit the board' in every race. Rob Earle, founder and CEO of the company that created 123racing, 123gaming, Inc., noted, "We have been operating a very successful version of 123racing as a free play handicapping contest for several racetracks for many years, and we eventually transitioned that to a live money wager available only on track. After several successful trials, and with 82% of survey respondents saying that they were likely or very likely to play the wager again, we knew it was time to expand online. 123racing is the first interactive social wager of its kind to be integrated across an entire tote racetrack, OTB and online network, pitting handicappers across the U.S. against one another on national leaderboards." Twenty five North American racetracks are already signed up to provide content for the 123racing wagering pools, including Parx Racing, Emerald Downs and Keeneland. 123bet.com will be the first online home to showcase the wager, and numerous major racetrack and OTB operators are also in the process of making the wager available online, recognizing the potential for 123racing to appeal to younger fans, and fantasy sports fans. Andrew Gaughan, President of Sportech Racing and Digital, commented, "The 123racing wager offers a great complimentary product to the classic Pick 6 and we expect it to help attract some of the 40 million Americans who are playing fantasy sports, but not wagering on horse racing. Because the 123racing wager is available on our Quantum System, which is deployed throughout North America as well as in Latin America and Europe, ultimately we see an opportunity for global commingled 123racing pools." From 123gaming, Inc.
ELORA, ON - On August 18, Grand River Raceway kicks off the first of 12 elimination legs in which players vie for a spot in the $50,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship (WHHC). The free on-track contest runs Monday and Wednesday race nights from August 18 through September 24. Each night, the top five finishers win cash prizes and the top 10 finishers advance to the Semifinals at Grand River Raceway on September 29. The winner of the Semifinals earns a spot in the $50,000 WHHC at The Meadowlands Racetrack in April 2015, plus $2,000 for travel and lodging. Contestants in each elimination leg must select the winners of races two through seven at Grand River Raceway. A hypothetical $2 win and $2 place wager is applied to each selection, and the highest bankrolls win. In all, the contest offers $3,600 in cash and prizes. Complete rules and regulations: Kelly Spencer
The harness racing handicapping system we have currently with the 2 and 3yrs olds should have been changed at the last handicapping meeting – why it wasn’t is beyond me. I would like them to tell me why it wasn’t done. I believe that my proposed system would work better than the current one as follows: 3yr olds – every 3rd win penalty free – this would free up the clogged 1 win grade which we have at present and would give better dividends to punters as the better 3yr old is now in the 2 win grade. The 3yr old still has the ability to drop back after 10 starts if not competitive in the 2 win grade. 2yr olds – when re-graded when they turn 3, their first win if under $15,000 would be deemed penalty free then they would drop into the same category as the current 3yr olds. If for example a current 2yr old has won 4 races under the stakes threshold above he would come back as a 2 win 3yr old. Any 2yr old who has won 2, 3 or 4 races is obviously a horse with ability and to drop it back into the maiden grade as at present is harming our industry and again clogging up the maiden & C1 grades. It was mention at our local Trainer’s & Driver’s meeting held recently in Invercargill that this system would mean that owner’s would sell their 3yr olds if my suggested system was in place. I disagree as owners choose to sell or not to sell their horses. I believe we are belittling racing by not having these nice horses up in the grades where they should be and competing against each other instead of beating up a C1 field. We need horses in higher grade races. We also need Australian racing strong, it is really the only market we have. Imagine if we couldn’t export our milk or meat, it would be worth next to nothing. I wouldn’t want the Australian system here because the Australian buyers need to see that they can get out of the horse under their system. If we had the same system why would they buy our horses? As an owner you still have the option of racing your horse over there or in partnership with someone there. With them buying our horses it generates income for our owners to then reinvest which most do whether it is by breeding or purchasing at sales. Australia are trying to rejuvenate their breeding system with the tax on our horses going towards it which hasn’t helped our lower grade of horses being sold – good luck to them with that. We are really a partnership with Australia – they need us as much as we need them. Anyone who has an opinion either for or against I would appreciate hearing from you as we are in this together for the future of our industry. Murray Swain.
What a difference a week has made in the Horse Racing New Brunswick year long harness racing handicapping contest. After week number twelve ( 12 ) there is a new leader who has leap-frogged into first place. Rose Doyle had an outstanding week, earning $ 30.70 for her wagers which puts her in first. Her new total after week twelve is $ 186.50. Adam Saunders has also made a bold move into the number two slot. He has now earned $ 178.00 while last week's leader, Brad MacPherson drops to third with a total of $ 174.90. Also of note, Kayden Buchanan is just eighty-cents behind Saunders in fourth place. Next leg will be hosted on Saturday, August 23rd at Exhibition Park Raceway. This week's co-winners of Horse Player Interactive prizes are Rose Doyle and Adam Saunders. Both had an identical week's total with $ 30.70 as they both selected the same horses. Horse Racing New Brunswick reminds patrons, there is no racing this coming Saturday. Rose Doyle 186.50 Adam Saunders 178.00 Brad MacPherson 174.90 Kayden Buchanan 174.10 Jenn Ritchie 126.70 Bruce Smith 93.50 Wayne Hubbard 45.30 Roy Flowers 31.00 Dale Spence Sr 18.60 Scott Waddell
Hanover Raceway wrapped up its summer handicapping harness racing contest on Saturday night. 30 handicappers qualified for the Country 93 sponsored contest, and all were hoping to win the first prize, a 51 inch High Definition TV. The contest started in Race 2 and 21 of the 30 competitors picked favorite Lucky Dunk driven by J Bradley Harris, but the 3 year old colt broke in the final turn knocking out all but 9 of the competitors. The contest was quickly down to the final four, and Susan Weatherall of Flesherton won the contest in Race 7 when the horse picked by runner-up Shelley Johnston of Chatsworth finished 4th. Susan picked her father Wil’s horse who won the race. Johnston won a prize package including a 250 dollar shopping voucher courtesy of the Hanover Chamber of Commerce. Joe Allison of Kincardine finished 3rd winning Golf for 2 at Cobble Beach, and Bill Fitzsimmons of Meaford was 4th winning a 100 dollar prize pack courtesy of Hanover Raceway. On the track, it was the Bruce Richardson and Garret Rooney show, as the 2 Arthur men won 6 of the 10 races on the night. Richardson kicked off the night winning the opener with Passion Delight in 2:00.3 for owners Glenview Livestock. Richardson also won 4th race with Quarter past Six in 2:03 for owners Dayle and Lynn Mcfadden of Barrie and the 8th race with Elle Machferson in 1:57.4 for owner Eugene Bauman of Drayton. Rooney meanwhile won Race 3 with favorite All Muscled Up in 2:02.4 for owner Jim Wilson of Melancthon, Ont, Race 6 with Prettyndangerous in 1:57 for owner Hutt Stables of Pennsylvania, and got the hatrick in Race 7 with Dervish Hanover in 1:59.1 for owner Doug Riley of Seaforth. Hanover Raceway resumes its 2014 season in 2 weeks, as they break for the 150th annual Hanover Bentinck and Brant Agricultural Fair starting on Friday August 15th. Event brochures are available at the Racetrack restaurant and slot bar, or details of all the activities can be found online at www.hanoverfair.ca Hanover Raceway
Horse Racing New Brunswick have released the latest standings in the year-long handicapping challenge. Winner will receive a trip for two to Toronto. After week eleven of the challenge, Brad MacPherson still leads the charge with a total of $170.10. Rose Doyle maintains here spot in second place, while Kayden Buchanan rounds out the top-three with $148.20. This week's top handicapper was Jenn Ritchie with $16.10. She will receive a prize from H.P.I of $25.00. Week twelve will be held on August 9th at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John. Brad MacPherson 170.10 Rose Doyle 155.80 Kayden Buchanan 148.20 Adam Saunders 147.30 Jenn Ritchie 115.40 Bruce Smith 78.00 Wayne Hubbard 45.30 Roy Flowers 31.00 Dale Spence Sr. 18.60 Scott Waddell