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The highly successful young sire He’s Watching has bounded to the forefront of this year’s rich Ontario Sires Stakes program. The American Ideal horse is in fourth position on the stakemoney list with $280,636, due mainly to the deeds of his brilliant three-year-old son Tattoo Artist, who captured his second $104,800 OSS Gold series win at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:49.2 last Saturday, and his outstanding daughter Rose Run Victoria, an OSS Gold champion. Tattoo Artist, the winner of his last four straight and a genuine candidate for the $1 million North America Cup in August, is on top of OSS leaderboards for both prizemoney and points, while Rose Run Victoria is second in her division. Tattoo Artist                                   --New Image Media Meanwhile, Watch My Beverage, a two-year-old gelding by He’s Watching, won a heat of the OSS Grassroots series in 1:54 at Woodbine Mohawk. Other North American three-year-old winners by He’s Watching last week included Ozzie Young (1:54), Retour Au Jeu (1:56), Lil Screamer (1:56.2), Kendall’s Cousin (1:56.4), Watch Me Boogie (1:57.8) and Up To Spec. Overall, He’s Watching’s first crop of three-year-olds have earned $358,709 this year from a foal crop of 77. He’s Watching is standing this season at Tipperary Equine stud, Young, of leading NSW studmaster Luke Primmer and has already attracted plenty of interest from broodmare owners.     Peter Wharton

MILTON, JULY 25, 2020 - Tattoo Artist collected his second Gold Series and fourth straight victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, July 25 as the harness racing three-year-old pacing colts met for the second time in their Ontario Sires Stakes season. Lining up at Post 1 with Bob McClure in the race bike, Tattoo Artist took a brief spin in the pocket as Aneto led the field of six to a :26.4 opening quarter, but was soon heading for the front where he rang up a :54.2 half and 1:21.1 three-quarters. Down the stretch the fan favourite had to contend with a hard closing Beach Blanket Book, hanging on for a neck victory in 1:49.1. Indictable Hanover finished two lengths back in third. "I think that three weeks hurt him a bit," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore, noting that Tattoo Artist had not raced since the Gold Series season opener on July 4. "I think that good horses have got to be trained or raced pretty well right to where they're going to go, or else if you don't and they have too big a gap there, they may struggle a little bit. And he certainly got a little tired on the end there tonight, which is uncharacteristic of him." Tattoo Artist and his peers face the same three week gap before the next Gold Series event, at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Aug. 16, and the North America Cup eliminations are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 22. The North America Cup has been circled in red on Tattoo Artist's calendar for months, so Moore is a bit undecided about how the coming weeks will play out for the Hes Watching son. His preference would be to race the colt at Woodbine Mohawk Park in preparation for the North America Cup, but he also does not fancy putting the sophomore in against more experienced competition, which may see him make the trip to Rideau Carleton and head into the elimination on short rest. "I'll have to start looking somewhere and see what we come up with. I'm not taking him across the border anywhere, so we'll see if we can find something here for him," said the Cambridge, ON resident, who conditions Tattoo Artist for Frank Cannon of Sanford and Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL. "They don't want to train this time of year, they want to race now. Earlier on they're gung ho to train, and then once the racing starts they look forward to that, any competitive horse does, and he's a good competitive horse and he looks forward to it, so it's difficult. You want to keep their mind fresh and their body in good shape and ready to roll when it's time." Tattoo Artist The second $104,800 Gold division saw heavy favourite Beaumond Hanover and driver Jody Jamieson land in fourth from Post 2 as Rhythm In Motion rolled out to a :26.3 quarter. Jamieson sent Beaumond Hanover to the front heading by the :54.2 half and the colt cruised through a 1:22.4 three-quarters and one to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:49.2. Rhythm In Motion stayed game for second and Springbridge Jim sprinted into third. "He caught the softer division, so I thought if everything goes right he should win it," said owner-trainer Jack Darling. "It all worked out good. He (Jamieson) was just kind of sitting there chilly through the lane." The win was also Beaumond Hanover's second Gold Series win and fourth of the season. The Sportswriter son prepped for Saturday's test with a 1:49.4 win in a July 18 overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but, like Moore, Darling is also considering his options heading toward the North America Cup. "It's just turned out, because of the situation this year, that the schedule isn't good, because you've got, like for my horse I've got a Gold at Rideau, which you hate to miss that, and then you've got the NA Cup, the elims and the final, then the week after is the Somebeachsomewhere, the week after that is the Simcoe, both good races, and then the week after that is another Gold, so it's just going to be tough to map out," said the Cambridge, ON resident. "If you're going to skip the NA Cup, then the schedule is just fine, but it's hard to skip the million dollar race." While Darling considers his options, Beaumond Hanover will maintain his usual routine, which Darling says has not varied much even as the racing season heats up. Beaumond Hanover "I try to train him light, but he's such a good trainer he seems to have to go a certain speed, or it's like he's done nothing," Darling explained. "I train him faster than I would another horse, but it's actually easier on him, he just needs to roll along. He just always feels good, always trains great. He's just a real pleasure to have around." Beaumond Hanover Complete results from Saturday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. Video: Race 1 - Tattoo Artist; Race 8 - Beaumond Hanover OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

TIPPERARY Equine studmaster and principle Luke Primmer has experienced a roller coaster of emotions over the last 48 hours. Firstly, the tingles of excitement and anticipation. This season Primmer will stand former USTA two year old of the year and Meadowlands Pace winner Hes Watching at his Young, New South Wales, stud. In a coup for Australian breeders, Hes Watching will stand his debut season at a heavily reduced service fee of just $2500. Hes Watching, who retired the equal fastest horse in history, has two crops of racing age and since his announcement as Tipperary’s flagship stallion, his results have been nothing short of mind blowing. And this is where Primmer’s roller coaster roll started. Hes Watching showed he has what it takes to be elite when his star son Tattoo Artist took the mantle as Canada's best with a 1.48.2 seasons record at Mowhawk in a $107,000 divison of the sires stakes. He is on his way to the $1m North America Cup eliminations on Aug 22 before the rich final a week later. Then today at Mowhawk, Saratoga Blue Chip, a 2yo from Hes Watching's 2nd crop made a winning 1.53.3 debut in a heat of the OSS. The same race Tattoo Artist made a winning debut 12 months earlier.  “It is amazing to watch the progeny of Hes Watching racing in Australia, New Zealand and also in North America,” Primmer said. “His first crop did a good job last season as two year olds but they have really came of age this time around.” “Tattoo Artist is a beast. He has won his last three and he just keeps getting better.” “He went 1.50 winning three starts back, 1.49.3 two back and then on Sunday he went 1.48.2... he is the fastest horse in Canada and he is yet to be challenged.” “Really does make the hair stand up on the back of my neck knowing that Hes Watching is on his way here!” Hes Watching goes into quarantine on Thursday for two weeks before making Tipperary Equine his home for the southern hemisphere breeding season. “The support he has received from breeders all over the country has been amazing with over 100 confirmed bookings,” Primmer said. “And it’s not hard to see why.” “He has the best 3yo in Canada, he is one of the leading sires of three year olds in both Australia and New Zealand and his two year olds are off and running and racking up the wins worldwide.” “New South Wales has been crying out for a stallion of the calibre of this guy.” “He was a champion racehorse and is now proving himself as sire of elite level performers.” “Given his unique breeding it has been a real eye opener to see the pedigrees of his best performers.” “He is a near perfect match for most Australian mares and this shows in how well booked he has been without even getting into quarantine!” Primmer said. While the impending arrival is filling Primmer with excitement, it is with a heavy heart. Tipperary Equine made its debut last season with Alta Christiano as the flagship stallion. Alta Christiano (Monte) was exceptionally well received by breeders and covered 160 mares but tragedy struck in March when he suffered a colic attack and was unable to be saved. “There is a lot of pain and sorrow,  but also amazing pride in watching the performances of Alta Christiano's progeny,” Primmer said. “Yesterday was one of those days.” “Ronaldo started the day with a solid front running display digging deep for a 1.53.5 Menangle win.” “Monte then reminded everyone why he was on his way to being on of the best stallions in the country when Alta Engen and Alta Blues went to war at Bunbury. What a race.” “On not only a personal level, but also as a harness racing fan, Monte's loss was tragic.” Thankfully for the industry, he has one more crop of foals on their way to remind us of his greatness for years to come.  Hes Watching has some giant shoes to fill, but his record to date is proof he may just be one capable of filling them.  

MILTON, JULY 4, 2020 – A fluke accident cost Beaumond Hanover a shot at Ontario Sires Stakes glory last season, but harness racing trainer Jack Darling was always confident the pacing colt was Gold Series calibre and that faith was rewarded at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday. Starting from Post 7, driver Jody Jamieson had Beaumond Hanover on the move early and the fan favourite took command from Denali Seelster as the colts reached the :26.4 quarter. From there Beaumond Hanover cruised to a :54.4 half, and when Mayhem Hanover mounted a challenge heading for the 1:22.2 three-quarters Jamieson shifted the strapping youngster into a bigger gear. Powering down the stretch Beaumond Hanover opened up a three and three-quarter length margin on his peers and stopped the teletimer in a Canadian season’s best 1:49.1. Examiner Hanover finished second and Denali Seelster was third. “He’s just a really nice horse. It’s kind of an honour to have a horse like that, he just seems perfect in every way,” said owner-trainer Jack Darling. “He was always our best colt. We had high hopes for him. We were pretty sure he was going to be a good Gold colt last year, but he has come back strong this year. You’re always hoping for it, but you never expect them to be this good.” The son of Sportswriter trained down in impressive fashion and had one qualifier under his belt last June when he kicked the fence in the paddock and suffered a bone bruise that would take two months to heal. Beaumond Hanover returned to action in September and won four of five starts, including two legs and the final of the Harvest Series, before Darling opted to wrap up his freshman campaign. This season Beaumond Hanover opened the season with a five length win in 1:49.4 and then finished third and second in his next two starts. As a result, Darling made a couple of small changes to the colt’s equipment for Saturday’s Gold Series test. Beaumond Hanover “I changed his shoes, I put aluminum shoes on him to get a little lighter shoe, and a little more grab, a little more reach. I let his hopples out a little bit. It seemed to help. He’s a big horse so he can go with a big hopple,” said the Cambridge, ON resident. “He’s just a massive horse, tall, but he’s athletic, he’s got that big shoulder and big hind end that you like. He’s a horse that really stands out on the track. When you’re out jogging him or training him he kind of catches everybody’s eye.” In addition to the Ontario Sires Stakes, Beaumond Hanover is eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup (eliminations August 22, final August 29), Simcoe Stakes (Sept. 5) and the Somebeachsomewhere (Sept. 12). Darling said the colt is easy to train and, as long as he stays happy and healthy, should not need many overnight starts to remain sharp for his stakes engagements. “You can train him all you want, he’s good that way. Easy on himself, a fairly mild-mannered stud, never really acts up,” said the trainer. “He spends an hour out in the paddock every morning from 6 to 7 am. He just loves that. You turn him out and he just trots down to the end of the paddock and starts eating grass for an hour, doesn’t worry about anything. He’s a classy horse.” Unfortunately, Beaumond Hanover’s Canadian season’s mark would stand for just 90 minutes as the He's Watching colt Tattoo Artist roared around the Milton oval in 1:48.2 in the second $107,200 Gold division. Driver Louis-Philippe Roy sent Tattoo Artist straight to the front from Post 8, ringing up a sizzling :25.3 quarter. Keeping an eye peeled for the advance of fan favourite Indictable Hanover, Roy took his foot off the gas heading for the :54.1 and then let Tattoo Artist start to roll again when he caught sight of his rival heading for the 1:21.3 three-quarters. In spite of the sharp early pace, Tattoo Artist had something in reserve and pulled away to a three length victory in a Canadian season’s record 1:48.2. Indictable Hanover settled for second and pocket-sitter Rhythm In Motion was third. “He certainly stepped up tonight. I knew he was a fast little boy when we trained him down this spring, but that’s pretty good to go that fast this time of year,” said Dr. Ian Moore, who trains Tattoo Artist for Frank Cannon of Sanford, FL and Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL. “So I guess we’re going to have to try to baby him along and save him for August, the big one I guess. He should do in there anyways.” Like Beaumond Hanover, Tattoo Artist is eligible for the North America Cup in August, and Moore said he will spend the coming days mapping out a schedule that aims to have the Hes Watching colt in peak form for Woodbine Mohawk Park’s marquee event. Saturday’s outing was the colt’s fourth of his sophomore campaign and his third win. Tattoo Artist “I gave him five days off after his last race (June 20), started back jogging him on Friday of last week, and then he had Sunday off as well, and then I trained him on Tuesday a mile and a half and he went the last half in the jog cart faster than I’ve ever been in my life, :56 and a bit,” said the Cambridge resident. “That was the first time he had the ear plugs in. So he seemed very good going into this and hopefully we can keep him that way for a few more months anyway.” Tattoo Artist and Beaumond Hanover will return to Gold Series action on Saturday, July 25 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Complete results for Saturday’s program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. Ontario Racing

MILTON, June 20, 2020 - Pepsi North America Cup eligible Tattoo Artist delivered another harness racing statement victory on Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park, stopping the clock in a career-best 1:49.3 The Dr. Ian Moore trainee followed up his six-length, 1:50 score from a week ago with another successful front-end mission for driver Bob McClure in Saturday's eighth-race, a Non-Winners of 7 or $125,000 event. Tattoo Artist blasted out from post-five to post a :26.3 opening-quarter, while Legion Seelster was caught on his outside. Tattoo Artist and McClure weren't releasing Legion Seelster and kept the foot on the gas to post a wild :53.1 half. After putting away his rival, Tattoo Artist stormed by three-quarters in 1:21.2 and stretched out his lead in the lane to win by 3 lengths in 1:49.3. A son of Hes Watching, Tattoo Artist was last year's Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final champion. The Moore trainee is now two for three this season and seven for 11 overall. His latest victory brings him to $266,325 in career earnings for owners Frank Cannon and Let It Ride Stables Inc. Another notable Cup eligible to race was Beaumond Hanover. The Jack Darling trainee finished third in a Non-Winners of 3 or $50,000 event, finishing just within a length of a 1:50.4 winner. A son of Sportswriter, Beaumond Hanover turned heads with a 1:49.4 victory in his season debut on June 8. His third-place finish was just his second loss in seven career starts. The first Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg of the season will take place on July 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Saturday night was originally scheduled to be the Pepsi North America Cup card. This year's event has been pushed back to Saturday, August 29. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7 p.m. Mark McKelvie

He’s Watching 3, 1:46.8 ($1, 129,215), who stood his first five seasons as a shuttle sire in Canada and New Zealand, is a young sire – he was foaled in 2011 – already well on the way to proving a success with his first two racing crops. He is now standing in NSW at the Tipperary Equine stud, Young, of Luke Primmer. Actually He’s Watching has an excellent winning score with his stock in Australia, NZ and North America. In his first season in Australia he left 57 foals, and of these he had 29 to the races half way through their three-year-old season, and 16 were winners and three have been placed.  From his first Australian crop he sired six Stake or Group placed performers including the unbeaten Private Eye (1:54.6), winner of the George Croxford Tribute, Blockjorg (1:55.5), runner-up in the WA Diamond Stakes and a recent Gloucester Park winner, Star Hunter (1:57.7), who was placed in the Victoria Youthful and Tatlow Stakes, Magnifico To Watch (1:56), runner-up in APG 2YO Championship, and Topzavski (1:57.4), second in the Tasmanian Golden Slipper. The Menangle winner Sight To See (1:55.7), the undefeated Born To Be Watched 1:54.6 (Melton), So Am I, Rambunctious, Watching You Dream (1:56.4), Belladonna Girl, Paidinfull (1:57.2) and Watchmylips have been other Australian winners by He’s Watching from his initial crop. In NZ, He’s Watching has left 14 individual winners from his first crop, several of whom have been successful in Australia. They include Raksjameson (1:58.2), who is undefeated in two starts in Perth, the Menangle winner Experia (1:54.4), Watch Me Now (1:53.3), who has won three of his five starts so far in NZ, the $90,000 Young Guns Final placegetter Eagle Watch (2:00.8) and Pocket Watch (1:58.4). He’s Watching was the leading first crop sire in Canada in 2019 and the second leading sire in the rich Ontario Sires Stake program with 25 winners and placegetters from 40 starts. From a foal crop of 77, he was represented by 47 starters, 22 winners – including eight in 1:55 - and they amassed $US606,009 in stakes. Undoubtedly his headline performer was Tattoo Artist 1:52 ($240,405), the runaway winner of the $225,000 Ontario Sires Stake 2YO Super Final and the $108,000 OSS Gold Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and the winner of five of his eight starts at two years. Other smart performers from He’s Watching’s first Canadian crop have been Examiner Hanover (1:52.4), winner of the$108,000 OSS Gold 2YO Final and runner-up in the Super Final, One For Julius (1:52.8), a finalist in the OSS Super Final, and Kat (1:54), a placegetter in the OSS Grassroots Final, and Night Watchman (1:52).   by Peter Wharton

There is no doubt covid-19 has left an indelible mark on the entire world. Firstly its shattering infection and death rate sent tremors through every country, no matter how big or powerful. Then came something equally as shattering... the economical trail of destruction. Like most businesses, harness racing was always going to wear financial implications. Already West Australia and New South Wales have applied 20% cuts to stake money and it is logical  to think other states will not be spared a similar fate in the not too distant future. Given everyone is or will be taking a financial hit at some stage, it is refreshing to see instances where people are willing to forgo for the long term health of an industry set to struggle through the foreseeable future. Last season Tipperary Equine was established by Luke Primmer at Young, with Alta Christiano the stallion tasked with the headline act. What an act he proved to be, serving over 160 mares as his progeny Australia wide racked up win after win. However, tragedy struck and Alta Christiano lost his battle with colic at the Wagga University in late March. Whilst Alta Christiano may be gone, his siring feats will be heralded in years to come with his 2020/2021 foals sure to dominate the headlines when they hit the track. Tipperary Equine's establishment was a breath of fresh air, especially for breeders in New South Wales, and it appears once again it is the stud that will be on most people’s minds this coming season. He’s Watching, who retired as the equal fastest three year old of all time, is the studs new headline act. This horse brings everything to the table. He was undefeated in eight two year old starts with a season’s best 1.50 to be named USTA 2yo of the year. He set his world record lifetime mark of 1.46.4 winning the million dollar Meadowlands Pace for three year olds, leaving horses of the llke of Always Be Miki in his rear view mirror. World record lifetime mark of 1.46.4 in The Meadowlands Pace He is a son of the great American Ideal and has bloodlines to dream of, he carries no fewer than four strains of the outstanding mare K Nora. He has the score on the board already as a sire, 15 winners in New Zealand and 16 in Australia this season alone. His first crop in Canada raced in 2019 and He's Watching sired the quinella in the Two-Year-Old $225,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Super Final with just the two starters in the race. The very good Tattoo Artist with Dexter Diunn driving for the first time, won from Examiner Hanover in a time of 1:52. Tattoo Artist has had 8 starts for 5 wins and a third for $240,405 in earnings. Here is that race. With his oldest progeny just three years of age, He’s Watching has plenty of upside. And he makes his New South Wales debut with a hugely reduced fee of $2500 inc gst.  “Obviously it was devastating to lose Alta Christiano, and to be honest, I couldn’t see us standing a stallion for some time,” Primmer said. “Horses like him don’t come along very often, he was well on his way to establishing himself as one of the best stallions in the country and I just couldn’t see how I would want to have a stallion that wasn’t in the same class as him”. “Then it became apparent the connections of He's Watching were interested in standing him at Tipperary and with a few conditions met a deal was done”. One of the “few conditions" was that He’s Watching would be made affordable to every breeder. “Coronavirus was destroying the world economy and given the amazing support breeders showed us last season it was essential we were able to offer those people a quality horse at a fee that was inline with what was happening around the world” Primmer said. “His northern hemisphere connections were very understanding, which was an amazing gesture by them to agree to setting his fee so low given he had over 130 foals standing at $6000 and then $5000 for his first four seasons down under.” “They are leaving a lot of money on the table to stand him in New South Wales this season, and I know the breeders will appreciate that.” “One of the things I have always been mindful of as a breeder is the discounts available to stallions for multiple mare bookings and the like.” “Not everyone has multiple mares to send to stud, and obviously we expect everyone is going to be doing it tougher this breeding season so we decided that everyone would be equal.” “The biggest breeder or the little one mare man, no one would be better off than the other with He's Watching.” “We cut his fee in half.” “He is discounted for everyone.” So whilst covid-19 is playing havoc around the globe, it has also given something back. The opportunity for breeders, big and small alike, to access a horse of the calibre of He's Watching, at an unheard of service fee and an equal footing for all breeders. Alta Christiano may be gone, but his replacement is just arriving.  

MILTON, SEPT. 16, 2019 - For both Night Watchman and Mayhem Hanover, Monday night's harness racing Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park was a must win situation. Both two-year-old pacing colts sat below the cut off for a berth in the post season and to ensure their Ontario Sires Stakes campaign lasted another week they needed to grab the lion's share of the points in their respective divisions. Night Watchman kicked things off in the first $23,500 division and got away sixth from Post 3 as Delightful Terror led the field to a :27.3 opening quarter. Heading for the :56.1 half driver Trevor Henry tipped Night Watchman into the outer lane behind fan favourite National Sport and Wilsons Vinner. By the 1:24.2 three-quarters National Sport was leading the way and Night Watchman was circling out three-wide and shifting into high gear. One-half length ahead turning for home, Night Watchman opened up a two and one-half length lead on his peers by the 1:52 finish. Early leader Delightful Terror closed hard to be second, leaving National Sport to settle for third. "We had high hopes for him, but he qualified really well and then he got sick on me so I missed the first two Sires Stakes," said trainer Craig Barss. "And then he had a couple little gait issues, he was putting in steps and we couldn't figure it out, but now he's finally put it all together." Monday's win was the He's Watching son's first in six lifetime starts. Combined with a second and third from his other two Grassroots starts Night Watchman finished the season with 87 points, boosting him from twenty-fourth in the standings into a tie for sixth. Cobourg resident Barss and his partner Nurko Sokolovic of Waterloo, ON bred and own Night Watchman. The colt is the first foal from their former race mare Midnight Jet, whose siblings include $778,474 winner Stolen Car and $502,290 winner Ideal Jet. "His mother we raced and raised her, his grandmother I raced and she's been very good to me, so we decided to breed one of the daughters that wasn't that successful as a racehorse and got him," said Barss. "He's a very good size. He's very relaxed, super easy to get along with, he really doesn't do anything wrong." Night Watchman All four of Monday's winners made at least one start in the Gold Series this summer, but Mayhem Hanover spent an extended stretch battling the top colts in the province. After a runner-up effort in the Grassroots season opener the Sportswriter colt made three appearances in the Gold Series, finishing sixth twice and fifth once. Facing the prospect of not advancing to the Gold Series post season, trainer Gregg McNair opted to return the Sportswriter son to the Grassroots level for the regular season finale. Lining up at Post 2 in the last division Mayhem Hanover tucked into third as Better B Swift and Day Delight battled to a :27.1 opening quarter, but was soon aiming at the lead. On top by one and three-quarter lengths at the :55.1 half, Mayhem Hanover and driver Doug McNair maintained a comfortable advantage through the 1:24.2 three-quarters and then shifted into a bigger gear as Day Delight revved up on the outside. Mayhem Hanover refused to yield, pacing under the wire one-half length ahead of Day Delight in a personal best 1:52. Better B Swift was two lengths back in third. "He's been a nice colt all along. I just didn't want to beat him up too much when I raced him in the Golds," said Guelph, ON resident Doug McNair of the fan favourite. "He keeps getting better every start. I hope he continues it next year." Scott and Clay Horner of Toronto, ON own Mayhem Hanover, who moved from thirty-second in the standings into a tie for ninth with 75 points. The colt has tallied three wins and one second in seven lifetime starts for earnings of $36,905. Mayhem Hanover The other two divisions saw point leaders Quick Tour and My Land cruise to their third Grassroots victories. In spite of starting from the outside Post 10, Quick Tour and driver Louis-Philippe Roy carved all the fractions in the second division, ringing up a :26.4 quarter, :56 half and 1:25.2 three-quarter on their way to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:53.3. Mission Bay finished second and Better Take It rounded out the top three. "He's super gaited, just wears a pair of shin boots, and he's real smart, and mental maturity for a two-year-old is a big thing," said trainer Mark Horner. "To go race he's like an old racehorse. Some two-year-olds, it holds a lot of them back, they're not mentally mature enough to handle it." St. Mary's resident Horner conditions the homebred son of Mach Three for his partner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON. In four Grassroots starts the gelding delivered three wins and one second for a division leading 175 points. Quick Tour My Land took command of the $23,850 third division from the start and led the field through fractions of :27, :55.1 and 1:23.4 on his way to a 1:52.3 victory. Tabloid Writer finished three lengths back in second, just ahead of Bettorbuckleup. Phil Hudon piloted the fan favourite to the win for trainer Gerard Demers and owner La Ferme Tag Inc. of Papineauville, QC. With three wins and one fourth in Grassroots action, Badlands Hanover son My Land finished second in the standings with 158 points. The top 20 point earners will now battle in Semi-Final action at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 27, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final returning to the Campbellville oval for the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championship. The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their Grassroots regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday evening, competing in Races 2, 6 and 8 on the 7:10 pm program. Complete results from Monday's program are available here OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

MILTON, ON - AUG. 16, 2019 - Tall Dark Stranger made his harness racing debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening and padded his growing resume with a seemingly effortless three length victory in 1:51.2. Lining up at Post 8 in the second $108,000 Gold Series division, driver Yannick Gingras eased Tall Dark Stranger away from the starting gate and settled in fifth as Bettor At Hightide rolled out to a :26.3 opening quarter. Heavy favourites Gingras and Tall Dark Stranger started their advance up the outer lane heading for the :56 half and at the 1:24 three-quarters they matched strides briefly with Bettor At Hightide before taking command and sailing home to a comfortable victory. Pocket-sitter Sports Obsession finished second and YS Mathis closed well to claim third-place honours. "He's been pretty easy to train and he's always kind of done what he's supposed to do, for the most part, so it makes my job a little bit easier for sure," said trainer Nancy Johansson of the colt, who is now perfect through two qualifiers and three races, with all three races clocked in 1:51.3 or faster. Tall Dark Stranger The son of Bettors Delight and $869,920 winner Precocious Beauty was a $330,000 purchase from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and Friday's win boosted his early career earnings to $68,000 for owners Marvin Katz of Toronto, ON, Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, NY, Caviart Farms of Vienna, VA and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. Tall Dark Stranger started his career at The Meadowlands, near Johansson's Allentown, NJ base, but he has taken up residence at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch in preparation for the next Gold event and the Sept. 14 Metro Pace eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I have nine horses at Classy Lane, so I have a few up here and some of my staff stays up here with them. And I've been spending essentially Tuesday through Saturday in Canada," said Johansson. "I think we might race him in the Gold on the 31st, we'll race him that Gold and then he'll go to the Metro from there, most likely. Obviously he needs to stay healthy and sound and everything." Gingras, who also calls Allentown, NJ home, has been in the race bike for all of Tall Dark Stranger's appearances and Johansson does not expect the reinsman to miss any of the colt's starts, which she expects will number 12 or 13 by the end of the season. "We got lucky there were no conflicts tonight, so that he was able to come up, but I do really like to keep the same driver on a two-year-old, so that they get comfortable with each other and confidence in each other," said Johansson. "And obviously Yannick is one of the top drivers in our sport, so if he wants to come and drive him, I'm not going to fight him not to do it. "I think it will probably be in his best interest too, to keep showing up," she added with a chuckle. While Tall Dark Stranger has been straightforward to train and a gentleman to work with, that was not the case for the winner of the other Gold Series division. In the weeks after Examiner Hanover arrived at Casie Coleman's winter base in Florida last November the trainer was so unimpressed with the $80,000 yearling she suggested owners Brad Grant of Milton and Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo, ON should either send him back to breeder Hanover Shoe Farms or give him to another trainer. The son of Hes Watching was extremely difficult to work with and seemed physically unable to learn his early lessons. "He was so bad that I actually tried to give him back to Hanover Shoe Farms, saying this horse can't even, like I can't do anything with him, he can't function. I even told Brad Grant, 'If they won't take him back just try him with one of your other trainers or something, because I can't figure this horse out'," Coleman recalled. "He ended up having a lot of chiropractic issues basically, so I don't know if something happened on the ship or what, but they got fixed up and then he was training down like a beast. He couldn't have trained any better all winter once we figured that part out." Examiner Hanover continued to train well when Coleman returned to Ontario in the spring and delivered two sharp qualifiers at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 14 and 22, but things went off the rails for a second time in July 6 Gold Series opener when the gelding's knee boots slid down his legs. "He went the entire mile with two knee boots down, and he got all hot and rattled up because of that," said Cambridge resident Coleman. "He qualified great, I was thrilled with him, then his first few starts weren't so good at all." After a fourth-place result in the second Gold Leg, Examiner Hanover rebounded with an overnight win at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 26 and then finished fourth to Tall Dark Stranger in the Dream Maker Series on Aug. 5. In Friday's Gold Series test driver Bob McClure settled Examiner Hanover in fifth through the :28.1 opening quarter and then sent the gelding up the outside heading for the :57 half. The pair was able to follow Wind Blown to the 1:24.4 three-quarters and then sprint home for a neck victory over Rhythm In Motion and Aneto in 1:52.3. Examiner Hanover "He went from a disaster, to awesome, to a little bit of a disaster again, to good again now," said Coleman with a chuckle. "Hopefully he's on the track right now." Complete results from Friday's program are available by clicking on this link. Next up on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are four Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts on Saturday, Aug. 17. Post time for Saturday's program is 7:10 pm and the colts will compete in Races 3, 5, 7 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, JULY 5, 2019 - It was the two-year-old pacing colts' turn to shine at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening and the novices impressed harness racing fans in five $23,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions. The two quickest miles came in the first and last splits as Hes Watching sons Tattoo Artist and One For Julius delivered 1:54 and 1:52.4 victories for their connections. With Milton resident Sylvain Filion in the race bike, Tattoo Artist left sharply from Post 2 and took command of the tempo before the :57.2 half. Without seeing a challenge, Tattoo Artist sailed by the three-quarters in 1:26 and down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:54. Quick Tour closed well to be second, getting by pocket-sitter Day Delight, who settled for third. "It's always very gratifying and satisfying to take a baby from scratch and go out and win the first race There's no other feeling in harness racing I don't think," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore. "Especially this guy, because when we got him we couldn't catch him in the stall, we couldn't get a halter on him, he was half wild. And I didn't see him until December the tenth, he was late, and he had a pretty dramatic injury there about mid-May." While training, Tattoo Artist spooked and stepped on his left front ankle, slicing it up enough to require several staples. Fortunately, the injury was largely superficial and the colt was soon back training. After a June 28 qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park, where Tattoo Artist was a two length winner in 1:56.3, Moore and owners Frank Cannon of Sanford, FL and Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL briefly considered starting the colt at the Gold Series level before deciding on Friday's Grassroots event. "We opted to start him in the Grassroots, no harm doing that, and we'll just see how much they go tomorrow (in the Gold Series)," said Moore. "I think the track was off a little bit tonight. It rained hard about an hour or so before we got there and it certainly wasn't fast, that's for sure. So it was a pretty good mile." Tattoo Artist By the time One For Julius paraded onto the racetrack for the last division in Race 8, the track was a bit drier and the tempo of the race was faster from the start. Morneau led the field to a :27.2 opening quarter and then handed off to Journalistic before the :55.4 half. Driver Chris Christoforou had watched the early lead changes from third, where he and One For Julius landed after getting off the gate well from Post 3, and heading toward the 1:25.1 three-quarters he sent the colt after the pacesetters. Once One For Julius got rolling he quickly pulled away from his peers, hitting the top of the stretch with a three and one-half length lead. After sailing down the lane he stopped the teletimer at 1:52.4, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of hard-closing favourite Mayhem Seelster. Dontblvmejustwatch was two more lengths back in third. Campbellville resident Christoforou crafted the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown and owner-breeder Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. One For Julius Christoforou also guided Sirjamesthegreat to victory in the third Grassroots division. From Post 2, the Big Jim colt went straight to the front and never relinquished control, cruising home a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:56. Gentry Seelster and Century Gigalo rounded out the top three. Guelph resident Dagfin Henriksen trains Sirjamesthegreat for his co-owner Gary Volpe of St. Thomas. Sirjamesthegreat Bettor Focus captured the second division in 1:56 for driver Bob McClure of Elora, trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge and her partners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Brad Grant of Milton, McKinlay & Fielding of Toronto and Teresa Davidson of Milton. Twin B Frenchtoast and Usurper did their best to catch Bettor Focus, but the winner fought back in the stretch to secure a neck victory. "I was very happy with him. He's still green and learning," said Coleman of the Bettors Delight son. "It's not often one gets passed and comes back on to win. He showed some guts and grit tonight." Bettor Focus The other division went to Captivate Hanover and driver James MacDonald who used a late sprint to secure the 1:56.2 victory, one-half length ahead of Social Theories. Giddy Up Max was another length back in third. All three colts are by sire Bettors Delight. "That was a pleasant surprise," said Guelph resident Shawn Steacy, who conditions Captivate Hanover for Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC, Stephen Klunowski of North York, ON and James Feeley of Pine Bush, NY. "We always knew he was quick, but didn't know how moving up to the big track for the first time, and a race situation, would work out." Captivate Hanover The two-year-old pacing colts will make their second Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 16. Their Gold Series peers take centre stage on the Campbellville oval Saturday night, squaring off in a pair of $108,000 divisions, slated as Races 5 and 8 on the 7:10 pm program. Complete results from Friday's program can be found here. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

He’s Watching has begun his stud career in fine fashion by siring the first two-year-old qualifier of the harness racing season in New Zealand! Eagle Watch (He’s Watching – Eagletons Girl) looked mighty impressive when finishing a close second to his three-year-old stablemate About Turn at Cambridge yesterday. The mile rate was a good 2:02.5 (well inside qualifying time), with the last half cut out in a slick 58.6. Trainer Mike Berger has always had a very good opinion of Eagle Watch and the plan now is to press on with him, hopefully towards the Young Guns Series. Eagle Watch comes from He’s Watching’s debut crop and he is displaying the same traits that made his sire a great horse. An undefeated US Two-Year-Old of the Year, He’s Watching showed incredible gait, speed and attitude to not only win all eight of his starts in his debut season but also set multiple world and track records. We continue to hear tremendous reports on the progeny of He’s Watching from trainers across New Zealand and Australia which gives us great confidence that he will make an immediate impact. Eagle Watch is just the beginning. He’s Watching stands at Alabar NZ.

East Rutherford, NJ --- She's Watching raced only twice last year, but it was enough to get harness racing trainer Tony Alagna, as well as others, to want to keep watching. A three-quarter sister to Dan Patch Award-winner and world champion He's Watching, She's Watching was 2-for-2 before a hairline fracture in her left hind ankle sidelined her the rest of the season. She's Watching is back now and preparing for her 3-year-old campaign and Alagna is looking forward to her return. The filly pacer qualified on Friday at the Meadowlands, winning in 1:54.1 with a :26.1 final quarter-mile, with Scott Zeron in the sulky. It was the second qualifier of the year for She's Watching, who was second in 1:54.2 (last quarter in :26.2) on May 6 at the Big M. "I was very happy," Alagna said about She's Watching, who is a daughter of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Baberhood. "We were very high on her last year and she got hurt. It was nothing major, she just needed some time. We thought it was in her best interest to put her away and let her heal up. So far this year she's been great." She's Watching, a $200,000 purchase at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale, is owned by Brittany Farms and Marvin Katz. She won her career debut in 1:53.3 last July and then won the opening leg of the Kindergarten Classic Series in 1:52.1 at the Meadowlands. "I thought she was as good as anything out there before she got hurt," Alagna said. "She won in (1):52.1 in her second lifetime start and you don't see many 2-year-old pacing fillies that do it as impressively as she did it that early. "We're very happy with how she's coming back. Someday, hopefully in the long-distance future, she'll be heading to (be bred to) Captaintreacherous. She was bought with Captaintreacherous in mind and that's the ultimate plan for her when it's all said and done." She's Watching   She's Watching was one of 13 horses in the Alagna Armada at Friday's qualifiers. Other winners were 3-year-old male trotter Signal Hill and 3-year-old male pacer Art Scene. Signal Hill (Muscle Hill-Special Appeal) captured his qualifier in 1:55.4 with Brett Miller driving for owners Brittany Farms, David McDuffee, Marvin Katz, and Adriano Sorella. A $250,000 yearling buy whose family includes 2006 Horse of the Year Glidemaster, Signal Hill won twice last season, with one of his victories coming in a division of the Champlain Stakes. "He was better today," Alagna said. "I've got a couple more adjustments to make on him, but I was happy with the way he did it today." Signal Hill   Art Scene (American Ideal-Lover Of Art) won his qualifier in 1:54 with Zeron driving. The colt is owned by Brittany Farms, Alagna Racing, In The Gym Partners, and Americam Art Stable. Art Scene   Other notables from the Alagna Stable were 4-year-old male trotter Winter Harbor (Muscle Hill-Spectacular Bay) and 3-year-old male pacer Odds On Delray (Somebeachsomewhere-My Little Dragon). "Overall I was happy with the whole bunch," Alagna said. "Winter Harbor, first time back, no trotting hobbles this year, was very good. Odds On Delray was a little foot sore getting out of Florida, but he's getting better. I think we're close to getting him to where we need him to be." Three-year-old filly trotter Hillarmbro (Muscle Hill-Armbro Emma) got the morning's first win, with trainer Trond Smedshammer driving. She won in 1:54.4 for owner Purple Haze Stables as she prepped for the first round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes on May 19 at the Meadowlands. Chezatter (Explosive Matter-Chez Lucie), another Purple Haze-owned 3-year-old filly trotter in Smedshammer's barn, finished fifth in her first qualifier of the season, timed in 1:57.3. She won her elimination for the Doherty Memorial last year and finished second to Ariana G in the final. She also won her elimination for the Breeders Crown and finished fourth in the final. "I was a little bit concerned about (Chezatter)," Smedshammer said. "She's been very nervous. I've been up here a couple times to train and she's been very nervous both times and she was nervous today. She must have tied up because (driver David Miller) said she let go of him and got on the right line really hard and had no trot, which is not like her. Hopefully we'll get her straightened out. "Hillarmbo was good today. A little bit too aggressive, but she was good." Cufflink Hanover (Andover Hall-CR Savoire Faire) prepped for the first round of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters by winning in 1:54.4 for driver David Miller and trainer John Butenschoen. Cufflink Hanover, owned by Crawford Farms Racing, went off stride in a qualifier two tries back, but has won back-to-back qualifiers since an equipment adjustment to raise the gelding's head. "I'm very happy with him here today," assistant trainer Tyler Butenschoen said about last year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, who joined the family's stable this year. "He's been real good the last two. "We raced against him quite a bit last year and I thought he had a very good year. He seems strong. He seems like a horse that isn't the best on the front, so going on the front last week we were real happy with him. He was on the front a long way again today and he just seems to get a little bit lost out there. But he was good so I was really happy with him. David was real happy with him too." Other winners today were 3-year-old female pacer Planet Rock (Rock N Roll Heaven-Villa Hanover) in 1:53.3 for driver John Campbell, trainer Linda Toscano, and owner Ken Jacobs; 3-year-old male pacer Summer Side (Well Said-Beachy Lady) in 1:52 for driver/trainer Ray Schnittker and owners Schnittker and Howard Taylor; and 8-year-old male pacer Mel Mara (Lis Mara-M L Revrac) in 1:50.3 for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Dylan Davis, and owners Robert Cooper Stables and J&T Silva Stables. Click here for the complete charts. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications

We have been eagerly awaiting the debut crop of harness racing's world champion He's Watching 1:46.4 ($1,129,215) and we have not been disappointed with what we have seen so far! The foals we have seen have been both correct and strong, and the majority have been quite leggy. To say we have been impressed is a bit of an understatement. He's Watching is a wonderfully powerful horse who was a sensation on the racetrack taking out the Dan Patch Award for Pacing Two-Year-Old Colt or Gelding of the Year, before returning at three and becoming the equal fastest horse of all time when winning the Meadowlands Pace. Alabar is running a He’s Watching foal photo competition so if you have a He’s Watching foal then please send a photo to brett@alabar.com.au to enter. He’s Watching The Meadowlands Pace

Final weekend to enter Name “Pinky’s” Foal Contest

This writer is not a religious person by any means but I am a bit lost for an explanation for what happened to 53 harness racing horses over the weekend in at Durham Park Standardbreds. Situated on 400 acres of rolling countryside thirty minutes south east of Ballarat, Durham Park was established by Bruce Edwards in 2006 and has quickly become one of the pre-eminent standardbred nurseries in Victoria. Bruce had built up an outstanding band of North American, New Zealand and Australian mares and everything was on track for this years round of yearling sales when the fire struck late last week. The staff had to leave in such a hurry there was no time to grab any clothes or possessions and there was just no time to even think about moving the horses. When Bruce was let back in on Saturday afternoon, he was immediately confronted by evidence of the ferocity of the fire. What he saw left Bruce numb. " There was no fences, no sheds, no house, no water in the dams – just nothing." " There wasn't one blade of grass you could see on the property." " Unbelievably I came across the horses who seemed to have somehow survived the carnage." " However before we could do anything, we were kicked out again due to the danger from the fire," Bruce explained when talking to Harnesslink today. The next morning Bruce was allowed to go back onto his farm by authorities but he was quite nervous about what he might find. " The noise and smoke from the fire was huge and with the helicopters adding to that, I thought the horses would be spread far and wide over the property as we had no fences at all and I wasn't sure how many may have survived the inferno." " To my amazement they were still where they had been the day before." " I thought getting halters on them and loading them on to the floats would be fraught with problems but they stood there like lambs and walked straight on." "We had sixteen unbroken yearlings there but we caught them all with no problems and unbelievably they loaded onto Clayton Tonkin's truck as though they had been doing it all their life." "We moved the whole lot in four hours over to Clayton and Emma's property and after we did a headcount we found we hadn't  lost a single horse." " I didn't know some of the float people who turned up to help but I can't thank them enough." "Special thanks must go to Clayton and Emma who were just brilliant," Bruce said. Since the fire Bruce has been humbled by the offers of help from all over Australia. " I have had over 100 calls from all over Australia offering feed, agistment and help which is really quite humbling." " One call was from Alan Galloway and I was just gobsmacked by the offer he made to me"  " Alan offered to graze the whole 53 horses we took off Durham Park on Sunday for six months free of charge. "On top of that he gave us access to his barn complex so we now have somewhere to prepare our yearlings for the sales and there is accommodation included for my staff as well." " I grabbed the offer as my staff lost everything in the fire and this will help them get back on their feet." " The horses are being treated for smoke inhalation at the moment but will be moved to Alabar as soon as that has been completed." "I can't thank Alan Galloway enough, he has been a life saver," Bruce said Alan Galloway was also behind another initiative to help Bruce get back on his feet. "Bruce has been a great client of ours for many years and we were only to happy to step up and help out." " On top of the grazing and use of our facilities, Alabar Bloodstock has got together with Blue Chip Farms in New York, Pepper Tree Farm and Muscara Standardbreds to offer services to Art Major, He's Watching and Auckland Reactor. " We hope that Courage Under Fire will join the offer in the next few hours." All the money raised from the sale of the services will be forwarded to Bruce," Alan said. At the end of the day, we should be really thankful that no human or horse loss their life in this fire. Post fire we have been able to witness that great camaraderie that exists in the harness racing industry where industry participants will always reach out to those in need As to how to explain 53 horses going through a firestorm and coming out the other end unscathed, that one I can't answer Harnesslink Media

Port Perry, ON --- Tara Hills Stud Farm and Muscara Racing Trust have announced that multiple world champion He's Watching p,3,1:46.4 ($1,116,450) will stand stud at Tara Hills’ Port Perry, Ontario, farm starting in 2016. He's Watching electrified the harness racing industry during his 2-year-old season as he went undefeated in eight starts, all New York Sire Stakes, set five track records and two world records. He was crowned the Dan Patch 2-year-old colt Pacer of the Year at the conclusion of that season. His career defining performance came as a three-year-old in the 2014 Meadowlands Pace where he cruised home in :25.3 in the hands of Tim Tetrick to win by 2½ lengths in a sensational 1:46.4. The time equaled the world record. He earned a total of $824,728 that season, with other stakes wins in the Somebeachsomewhere and the Empire Breeders Classic. Trained by David Menary, He's Watching was raced by Menary Racing Inc, Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero of Ontario along with the Muscara Racing Trust of Pennsylvania. A son of American Ideal, He's Watching hails from one of the most storied pacing families in racing as his fourth dam is Leah Almahurst, a winner of more than $1 million almost three decades ago, and the dam of $1.4 million winner Western Ideal. He's Watching is presently standing at Alabar in New Zealand and his book is getting an excellent response. The He's Watching Stallion Group look forward to being a sponsor of the Breeders Crown championship on Saturday (Oct. 24) at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. The stallion's stud fee will be announced at a later time. He's Watching seen here setting a new world record for a 2-year-old pacer (second lifetime start) on a 5/8 mile track with a 1:50 win in the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs on August 9 2013.

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