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Want to walk the Red Carpet at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards dinner at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday night, Feb. 24? An expected crowd of more than 300 will have the chance, but so too do those who can't make the trip. For the second year in row, well-known harness racing personalities Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder will be walking the Red Carpet, sponsored by Southwind Frank Partners, and broadcasting live on their Facebook pages. The Facebook Live shows will begin at 6 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m., when the awards dinner will commence. "If you can't make the banquet we are going to bring the party to you!" said Wilder. "And it's going to be some party!" Heather Vitale's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/PacinHeather. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/heather.k.wilder. Vitale has hosted two popular television shows: Post Time and PA Harness Week. In addition to her local weekly productions, the charismatic personality has covered the sport nationally on espn2, CBSSN and MAV-TV. Vitale loves communicating with Standardbred enthusiasts around the world via social media and her unconventional interviews with a "when in doubt, add glitter" attitude has brought a unique sparkle to the sport and grabbed the attention of new fans. Wilder is currently known for her handling talent management for the Delaware County Fair during the live TV broadcast of the Little Brown Jug. While working as public relations and marketing director for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association she became a pioneer of reporting on racing on Facebook Live and coordinated the promotion of countless on-track events. She was the 2013 recipient of USHWA's Lew Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award. Sponsored by Crawford Farms and Crazy Wow, the entire awards dinner, hosted by Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir, will be broadcast live on the USHWA Facebook page and available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day, Monday, Feb. 25. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

HARRISBURG PA -- Heather Vitale, secretary of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), international harness racing video journalist, self-proclaimed "Harness Racing's Firework," two-time Sam McKee Broadcasters Award winner, and probably the only person in harness racing who both holds Madonna as a role model and also has her own Wikipedia page, has been announced by USHWA President Shawn Wiles as the organization's Member of the Year. "Make no mistake about it, there is only one Heather Vitale!" USHWA president Wiles said. "Her colorful and lively persona always adds excitement to any event. We look forward to seeing Heather again at this year's Dan Patch Awards Dinner, on the Red Carpet, as we have for many years. She has been a great voice and face for Harness Racing in her region and for USHWA." Heather comes from a multi-generational harness family in Delaware. Her mother, Jo Ann Looney King, was the first woman to drive a winner at The Meadowlands, and she is the co-owner of 2018's outstanding pacing mare Shartin N, trained by husband Jim King Jr. Heather is a graduate of Monmouth (NJ) University, with a focus on public relations/journalism, and she chose to follow that career path rather than working with the horses. Her show "Post Time" has aired on the CBS affiliate in the Delmarva region for some twenty years, and she also co-hosts the weekly show "Pennsylvania Harness Week," a position in which she has served for nearly a decade. She has worked for ESPN and for the Little Brown Jug network. But a person of Heather's ambition, flamboyance, and talent cannot of course be confined to any one country. Her journalistic travels have taken her not only to Canada, a logical extension because of the fluency of the U.S./Canada harness crossing, but also to Ireland and Australia, where she appeared as an on-air reporter during a major stakes day. (And speaking of international recognizability, Heather was also a driving force behind getting the richest harness horse world-wide, Foiled Again, into the famous "stable" of Breyer collectible horse models.) Heather is a prolific user of social media since its inception, with many followers of her frequent postings on the various platforms. "I'm not a bettor," she says, "so I focus my stories on the horses and the people in the sport, trying to tell their interesting stories, and trying to appeal to people to come out to the track and watch the races. I want to expose the sport outside of the fans we already have." Her presentation is tirelessly upbeat and positive in the service of harness racing. Perhaps the best summation of Heather Vitale was offered by Joe Thomson of Winbak Farms, who once told her, "The best business I could be in is to bottle your attitude and sell it." The Harness Writers Association has benefited a great deal from her attitude and her talents, and that's why she has been named USHWAn of the Year. Heather Vitale (and her family in their connections to Shartin N) will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 24 are cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers' website). Jerry Connors      

American harness racing TV and media personality Heather Vitale has officially landed in Christchurch for Cup week. Heather has already had a good introduction to New Zealand harness racing and a first hand look at several stables since arriving in the garden city last week. "I went to All stars to cover their four horses and also have a video of A G's White Socks training on the beach when I went out to the Greg and Nina Hope stable," she told Harnesslink today. "In addition to NZ Trotting Cup Day, I'm taking in the action for the Thoroughbreds and Greyhounds during the week," "I will be doing Facebook lives from NZ Cup day tomorrow and I already have lots of FB lives on my page already about the cup since being in NZ. "Seriously, get some sleep tonight...tomorrow is going to be an incredibly spectacular Facebook live kinda day!!!! Make sure you keep updated with all the Facebook live videos from Heather tomorrow at the New Zealand Cup and you can view all the Facebook live videos already produced on her trip in New Zealand so far at: https://www.facebook.com/PacinHeather     http://www.heathervitale.com/home.html   Harnesslink Media

American harness racing TV and media personality Heather Vitale is ready for a huge trip Down Under for New Zealand Cup week in Christchurch.   Vitale is a third-generation in the harness racing business, who presently lives on her family’s horse farm/Standardbred training facility in Harrington, Delaware. Although she grew up enjoying the hands-on experience of working with horses, the licensed Standardbred horse trainer found her forte in the sport to be through the avenue of publicity. With an army of social media fans she's using social media to report on harness racing to a global audience. She not only brings a behind-the-scenes and fresh look at horse racing to the fans, but also a candid look at her life in racing. Her fun and easy-going attitude has made her Facebook Live broadcasts incredibly popular.  On her trip to New Zealand, Heather can not wait to get here, I'M GOING TO NEW ZEALAND NEXT WEEK! How am I feeling? Well, I only said the word "excited" about 1,329 times during my phone interview with Jess Smith....so, yeah, we'll go with I'M REALLY EXCITED!  Heather told Harnesslink today she has quite a few stops planned when making her way down the country. "I leave America on November 4th and I'll be in Auckland for a couple days to visit Alabar Farm Stud and Woodlands, as well as the Herlihy stable.   "Then, when I get to Christchurch I'm visiting Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen All Stars Stable as well as Grant Crabbe (Breeder of Shartin) and former Cup winners Monkey King and Christian Cullen at Dancingonmoonlight Farm.   "In addition to NZ Trotting Cup Day, I'm taking in the action for the Thoroughbreds and Greyhounds during the week," she said.   http://www.heathervitale.com/home.html   Harnesslink Media

The television show Post Time is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this month.   Post Time focuses on the harness racing industry at Harrington Raceway, Dover Downs and Ocean Downs. Since 1998 Post Time has consistently aired a half-hour show every week, resulting in over 1000 shows and counting. Post Time showcases a variety of content from fun interviews to behind-the-scenes action to harness races.   Host and third-generation horsewoman, Heather Vitale has been with the show since its inception.   "I'm so proud of this show," said Vitale. "I never imagined it would be airing after 20 years but I'm also not surprised. This sport is full of wonderful stories about the horses and the people. It's been a perfect way to educate the public about harness racing, introduce them to the athletes and bring awareness to a sport that is so important to our economy and local agriculture."   Sponsored by The Delaware Standardbred Owners Association (DSOA), and shot and edited by Faust Video Production, Post Time airs at 11:30 AM on Sundays on WBOC and is a CBS affiliate on the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) peninsula. WBOC is the #1 rated station on the Delmarva peninsula.   DSOA Executive Director, Sal DiMario, said "Congratulations to Post Time on its 20th year. It is the longest continuous harness racing program in the country. We couldn't have done it without Heather, she writes, she produces, she's the on-air personality, she does it all."   Post Time has consistently put out a show each week for 20 years, resulting in over 1000 shows and counting. The engaging content and enthusiastic energy of Heather Vitale and the Delaware harness racing community has made the show the most watched show during this time slot locally.   Throughout the years Post Time has won several United States Harness Writers Association's John Hervey Broadcast in Excellence Awards. Vitale, herself, was awarded the Harness Horsemen International's Clyde Hirt Media Award in 2004.   Although the television show concentrates on the local Standardbred sport, it has showcased big races and human interest stories from around the country and even the world.   The show airs every Sunday at 11:30 AM on WBOC. To see clips of Post Time Show like The Delaware Standardbred Owners Association on Facebook or subscribe to PostTimeShow on YouTube.   Everyone involved in the production of Post Time would like to give a special thanks to the DSOA board of directors who supported the idea of putting the show on the air 20 years ago. With the continued support of the DSOA board of directors, Harrington Raceway, Ocean Downs, Dover Downs and our advertisers the show continues to bring awareness of our harness racing sport to homes all over Delmarva.    by Claire Armann, for Post Time  

Let's Go Racing LLC's feature, "Always B Miki's Miraculous Return," which aired during the Breeders Crown telecast on SNY (SportsNet New York) on Oct. 28, was named the winner of the 2016 John Hervey Award for excellence in harness racing broadcasting, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Wednesday. Winners in the Hervey writing categories and Smallsreed Award photography divisions were announced last week. Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeffrey Gural is continuing his longstanding sponsorship of the Hervey and Smallsreed awards by providing USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet tickets for the winners. The broadcasting division was judged by Kurt Becker, track announcer at Keeneland and an Eclipse Award-winning broadcaster. "Always B Miki's Miraculous Return" chronicled the pacer's comeback from two leg surgeries to become a Breeders Crown champion and the fastest horse in harness racing history. The piece was produced by Bruce Casella and narrated by Heather Vitale. Becker said the production was "well-edited, with a keen sense of what was pertinent to the storyline" and "told the story in an efficient and powerful manner." Honorable mention was presented to WISH-TV's "Indiana Born" feature that focused on the career of pacer Freaky Feet Pete and his owners/trainers the Rheinheimer family. It appeared on Indianapolis' WISH-TV on Oct. 16. It was produced by Peggy McClelland. Winners will be recognized at USHWA's Dan Patch Awards dinner presented by Hoosier Park at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Feb. 26. For more information, visit www.ushwa.org. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

DUBLIN, Ireland – A record number of 180 horses have entered the weekend race card for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend at Portmarnock Raceway just outside of Dublin. “My brother James and I cannot believe how everyone wants to race this weekend,” said Derek Delaney, head of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee. “For the fourth straight year we keep growing and growing.” A total of 188 horses have been entered for the Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14 two-day meet. That is up 11.12% over prior year. The big race of the weekend is the 5th annual Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM) for two-year-old pacers. This is first year that there are both a colt and filly division with 14 youngsters entered in both events. The VDM is a rugged event that requires horses to compete in elimination divisions on Saturday and then come back again Sunday to race in the finals. The inaugural filly division is being sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm of Kentucky, USA. Each of the finals race for a purse of $16,000 euros.  Vincent Delaney was Derek and James younger brother who tragically died in 2011 at the age of 27. The brothers then developed the memorial race series in his honor and it has since grown to become the richest stakes event and weekend in the history of harness racing in Ireland the UK. Additional major stakes events over the weekend include the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds at 1.5 miles, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds, the RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace, the Lee Edwards/PJI Engineering Junior FFA Pace and the Elvin-Delaney French FFA Trot. There is a gala kickoff dinner Friday evening at the Airport Hilton Hotel that is already sold out and Sunday’s VIP Marquee Tent is also sold out with over 300 to attend. Every year the VDM Committee selects a local charity to benefit from the VDM Weekend, especially at the Friday night gala dinner auctions. This year’s charity is the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) of Dublin. The organization, which is comprised 100% of all volunteers, operates a seven-day outreach service across the city, coinciding with their mobile outreach unit. ICHH’s outreach support service operates nightly providing access to beds, sleeping bags, food or case management referrals. ICHH works a 16-hour mobile outreach service, responding to rough sleeper reports within 15 minutes of getting a call. The service also operates seven days a week. The website is at http://www.innercityhelpinghomeless.ie/. It is just grand how all of this has come together,” Derek Delaney said. “And this year we have so many great horsemen and women coming over for Vincent’s weekend. Dexter Dunn from New Zealand, Aaron Merriman from the USA are the special guest drivers, Diamond Creek Farms Adam Bowden, Joe Bellino and his entire crew, Roger Huston, Heather Vitale, Heather Wilder, Murray Brown, John McDermott, Alan Galloway, Sydney Weaver, Joann Looney-King, Susan Looney and a huge group from Australia on tour. "What a great time we will show them all!” Delaney said. "Most everyone is arriving today and tomorrow and we are looking forward to meeting everyone." The guests begin their VIP weekend with carriage ride tours of downtown Dublin plus lunch at the world famous Temple Bar, a bus trip to Oakwood Stud training and breeding facility, the gala kick-off dinner Friday and then the two big VDM race days Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend

Dublin, Ireland - They may only be a little crazy by name, but the Looney Family from Delaware, USA, Jo Ann Looney-King, Susan Looney and Heather Looney Vitale, are all set to invade Ireland come this August for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend at Portmarnock Raceway. The baby of the Looney family, Heather, has spearheaded this adventure and in her third straight year of going to Ireland for the Vincent Delaney (August 13th and 14th), is bringing her mom and her sister to share the adventure. "When I tell people how incredible the Delaney Memorial weekend is," explained Heather Vitale, "I just have a hard time explaining it. I tell everyone about how much fun the atmosphere is and how friendly and enthusiastic the Irish are, but words don't give it justice. "You have to be there to really be able to understand how truly special it is!" Vitale said, "I talked about the weekend so much and how much fun it was and my mom and sister knew they had to experience it for themselves." Over the past four years, brothers Derek and James Delaney have developed the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend (named after their younger brother who tragically died of a massive heart attack in 2011), the biggest racing weekend in all of Ireland and the UK. The Delaney Memorial is for two-year-old pacers and is the richest stakes race in Ireland and the UK. This year, for the first time, there is a filly division sponsored by Adam Bowden and Diamond Creek Farm. Eliminations take place Saturday and the final is on Sunday. In addition to the Delaney Memorial, there are other major stakes events including the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial Championship for four-year-olds, the Rocknroll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace, sponsored by the Bellino Stable and LeTrot Series events. "I'm so happy we are taking this girls road trip," Vitale said. "The last time the three of us went on a trip together, it was 15 years ago! We are long overdue for some quality time like this and this race weekend is perfect. The Delaney brothers are so welcoming and the horsemen and women are so passionate and the fans are so much fun." "We love having Heather here the past two years," Derek Delaney said with a grin and a smile. "But I don't know if Ireland is ready for the whole family. It will be our pleasure to have Heather's mom and sister with us too. They are great horse people and we will show them a super time." Jo Ann Looney-King is no stranger to harness racing. She was the first woman driver ever to win a race at the Meadowlands and this past year was the 2015 Billy Haughton Good Guy Award winner at the USHWA Dan Patch Dinner. This past year she trained the top three-year-old pacer, Wakizashi Hanover and currently has the undefeated trotter Maestro Blue Chip in perfect form. "After hearing Heather talk about her trips to Ireland," Looney-King said, "I knew I had to get over there and see it for myself. I've never been to Ireland before so this is going to be fantastic. I'm really looking forward to the racing over there and meeting the horsemen and women who love this sport. The entire adventure should be wonderful from the trip to Oakwood Farm to walking around Dublin. "I'll be 70 this month (May 14)," Looney-King admits, "and I can't think of a better way to celebrate a milestone year than enjoying Ireland with my daughters." And older daughter Susan Looney, is no stranger to harness racing. She was the youngster driver ever to win a race at the Meadowlands at age 16 in 1983 and then went on to become the first woman driver ever to win at Garden State Park. She now has her Doctorate in law and education and is presently the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the Reading Area Community College. "I am so excited about joining my sister and my mother in Ireland." Susan Looney said. "After watching the videos my sister took while she was there the past two years, I couldn't resist joining her this summer. I am so looking forward to seeing the beautiful country and the inspiring harness racing in Ireland." It will not be all play and little work for Heather Looney Vitale while in Ireland. She will be doing live Facebook broadcasts from Portmarnock Raceway during the week along with added features from her trip for her show, Post Time, in the USA. Vitale, in addition to producing her Post Time show in the USA, also has co-hosted the CBS Sports Net Little Brown Jug broadcast in 2014 and 2015. For more information about the Labrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. By Steve Wolf for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee  

Post Time host and world traveler, Heather Vitale, has released a documentary on the 2015 Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend at Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin, Ireland back in early August. The documentary features highlights and interviews with visiting horsemen Cran Dalgety, the leading trainer in all of New Zealand and America's best, driver George Brennan. Other interviews along the way include USA Hall of Fame announcer, Roger Huston and the winning trainer of the 2015 Vincent Delaney Memorial. Well worth the time to view.

CHESTER, PA (March 20, 2015) -- Pocono's yearlong 50th anniversary celebration and new harness racing stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia are just some of the exciting events viewers can expect to see during the eighth season of "PA HarnessWeek." One of the most recognizable broadcast teams in harness racing is back for new episodes jam-packed with news, features and behind-the-scenes coverage from Pennsylvania and across the globe. Horseracing's firework Heather Vitale returns alongside industry and broadcast veteran Steve Ross as co-hosts. Sportscaster Sharla McBride is the show's reporter and guest host. Behind the scenes, two-time Emmy® award winner Bruce Casella continues as producer/director. New episodes start Saturday, March 21 at 10:30 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. Viewers outside the area can catch the show in high definition at HarnessWeek.com, which also links to a YouTube archive of episodes dating back to season one. In addition to HarnessWeek.com, fans can connect and share via Facebook (facebook.com/harnessweek) and Twitter (Twitter.com/paharnessweek).   Ed Kobesky Director of Media & Marketing Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association

DOVER, Del. ---- Two longtime contributors to the Delaware Standardbred industry passed away recently. Ruth Bower Davis, 89, wife of the late reknown horseman Olin Davis, formerly of Harrington, Del., died peacefully in her sleep (1/17). A University of Delaware graduate, she drove horses as a hobby and was one of the early women to secure a USTA driver’s license. She was renown during the mid 20th century for helping to develop the famed stakes winner Quick Lady. Mrs. Davis served as Clerk of Course and Program Director at Harrington, Georgetown, Brandywine, Rosecroft and Laurel on-and-off for 40 years and was a Director of the Delaware Standardbred Development Fund until it ended. She was a runner at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg for many years. In addition, she was a substitute teacher in the Harrington (later Lake Forest) school district, well into her 70s and had perfect attendance volunteering at Milford Hospital for many years. ----------------------------------------------------- Harold Snyder, 91, founder of International Sound Co., headquartered in Pikesville, Md. a leading provider of video and sound at many racetrack in America and a company which enjoyed an enviable reputation for integrity, died (1/ 26).For nearly 60 years, he providing video and audio at a large number of harness and Thoroughbred racetracks in America, In addition to Delaware tracks (Dover Downs, Harrington and Delaware Park), the International Sound product was featured at all three Triple Crown tracks, Churchill Downs, Pimlico Race Course and Belmont Park plus more than 75 others including  the Meadowlands. Last fall, Mr. Snyder received the Humphrey S. Finney Award for "lifetime achievement” from the Maryland Racing Media Association. ---------------------------- Heather Vitale is a 2014-season double winner at the upcoming U.S.Harness Writers Association’s (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards-Dinner, Sunday, Feb. 22 in Orlando, Fla. On Feb. 22 where the top honors are passed out to top horses and individuals. I n the broadcasting category, Ms. Vitale’s feature on top trainer Casey Coleman on CBS Sports Network and the other, a feature on harness racing in Ireland shown on her Post Time show on WBOC-TV were winners.   . --------------------------------------------------- Tickets for the USHWA Night of Champions gala are now available. Contact Judy Davis-Wilson by phone 302-359-3630 or e-mail:zoe8874@aol.com. Next week, Canada’s best will be honored at the black tie O’Brien Awards-Dinner, Feb. 7. ---------------------------------------------- Al “Rusty” Carter, who has bred, owned and raced harness horzses for the past two decades, also doubles as a race car driver. A cancer survivor from Greenville, Del., Carter became a Rolex 24 at Daytona champion. It took Carter only four Rolex 24 at Daytona participations to win the greatest endurance race in North America when Carter's No. 93 SRT Viper race car started last in the GTD class field of the Daytona race Saturday afternoon (Jan. 25).  In harness racing, Carter has owned around 100 horses including Totally Rusty p,2,1:52.f ($129,250), a homebred filly he bred from his stallion Rusty’s For Real and his mare Rusty’s Joy. Most of Carter’s horses have his nickname “Rusty” in their names. ------------------------------------- Corey Callahan and Aaron Merriman continue to battle for leading drivers during 2015 in North America with Merriman holding an eight-win lead as of Thursday (1/22). Ron Pierce is presently third in winning drives. Listed in the top 50 list are  Trace Tetrick, Ross Wolfenden, Allan Davis, Vic Kirby and Jonathan Roberts. Callahan with $575,000 and Pierce $440,000 are first and second in the sport among money-winning drivers in the New Year. Ron Burke, is again, far and away the leading trainer, in wins and money won. Wayne Givens and Dylan Davis, have moved up to the top 5 trainers in North America.  ----------------------------------------------------- At Dover Downs, this meet, Corey Callahan has driven winners of 150 races. Allan Davis is second with 89 wins. Ross Wolfenden, third, with 78 wins. Vic Kirby is fourth with 73 in fourth place. Tony Morgan completes the top 5 with 59 wins.  ----------------------------------------------  Wayne Givens leads Doug Lewis by three wins, 38- 35. Jim King is third with 29 winners. Defending champion Dylan Davis  is fourth with 29. Nick Surick is in fifth- place with 27 wins. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Christmas is long gone but Jingle Bell Rocker continues in a holiday spirit adding another victory to his current longest winning streak at the track. The claiming pacer won his sixth straight race, last week and puts the streak on the line on Tuesday. Among trotters, trainer John Cabot has two trotters with four-race win streaks, Classic Belisima and Hey Pancho. Razor Ramone and Mr. Truth have three-win streaks.    Marv Bachrad

DOVER, Del. ---- The upcoming U.S.Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards-Dinner in Orlando, Fla. On Feb. 22 annually passed out the top horses and individual trophies. Heather Vitale is a 2014-season double winner in the broadcasting category. Her feature on top trainer Casey Coleman on CBS Sports Network and a feature on harness racing in Ireland shown on her Post Time show on WBOC-TV were winners. --------------------------------------------------- Tickets for the USHWA Night of Champions gala are available by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson by phone 302-359-3630 or e-mail: zoe8874@aol.com. Substantial savings on hotel rooms, at $115 can be reserved. Call 407-352-1100 before Jan. 25 and mention code. Dan Patch. Canada's O'Brien Awards=Dinner is set for Feb. 7. ---------------------------------------------- Corey Callahan and Aaron Merriman continue to battle for leading drivers during 2015 in North America with Merriman holding an eight-win lead as of Thursday (1/22). Ron Pierce is presently third in winning drives. Listed in the top 20 are both Trace Tetrick, Ross Wolfenden, Allan Davis, Vic Kirby and Jonathan Roberts are listed in the top 50 standings. Callahan and Pierce are first and second among money-winning drivers in the New Year. Ron Burke, is again, far and away the leading trainer, in wins and money won. Wayne Givens and Dylan Davis, in the top 10 trainer. ----------------------------------------------------- At Dover Downs, this meet, Corey Callahan has driven winners of 139 races. Allan Davis is second with 80 wins. Ross Wolfenden, third, with 76 wins. Vic Kirby is fourth with 68 in fourth place. Tony Morgan completes the top 5 with 56 wins. ---------------------------------------------- Wayne Givens leads Doug Lewis by two wins, 34- 32. Jim King is third with 27 winners. Defending champion Dylan Davis and Nick Surick at tied for fourth- place with 25 wins. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Jingle Bell Rocker continues in a Christmas spirit adding another victory to his current longest winning streak at the track. The claiming pacer won his sixth straight race, but it was a bad week for other horses with win streaks. Charleysandjimmy's streak ended after four victories. Those who had three wins in-a-row tasted defeat during the week; pacers Fleeting Flirt N, Fashion Showdown N, Hey Pancho and trotters Fitness Craze, Blueridge Empire, Joyeux Dream and Classis Belisima. Mr. Truth became a three-race winner Thursday. Marv Bachrad

The Little Brown Jug and CBS Sports Network have finalized plans for the 69th edition of the pacing classic. The Little Brown Jug brought to you by Fazolis telecast will air live from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network on Thursday, September 18th. The last Jug elimination heat will be shown live at approximately 5:11 p.m. The remaining eliminations will be covered on a tape delay basis. The 2nd heat of the Jug will be shown live at approximately 6:15 p.m. The LBJ conditions require the champion to win two heats, if a race off is necessary, CBS Sports Network will cut into its regularly scheduled program at 7:00 p.m. to show the race-off live. Post time of the race-off would be approximately 7:02 p.m. The Winbak Farm Pace is also expected to air live during the 90 minute broadcast. We are extremely excited about the live coverage of the Little Brown Jug, said production coordinator Sam McKee. Thanks to great support from our main sponsor Fazolis, plus the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund, the USTA and the Jack Darling Pledge Fund, were able to showcase one of harness racings greatest events to a national television audience. The willingness of CBS to cut back in for live coverage of a race off if necessary allows the Delaware County Fair to schedule and structure the races to maximize both mutuel handle and the on-track experience for everyone. This years LBJ is shaping up to be one of the finest, added Phil Terry, LBJ Marketing Manager. We are expected the best three-year-old colt pacers to enter and we are looking forward to a great day of racing. Bruce Casella is the Executive Producer of the telecast. Veteran racing personalities Gary Seibel and Dave Brower will host the show along with Justin Horowitz and Heather Vitale. The Voice of the Jug, Hall Of Fame announcer Roger Huston will call the races. To find the CBS Sports Network channel in your area, please visit http://www.cbssportsnetwork.com/channel-finder. by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

If the weather forecasters were paid by their accuracy most would be pretty much broke as we awoke Sunday morning to sunny skies and a strong breeze when the forecast was for rain all day. It was shaping up to be a picture perfect day for the big races at Portmarnock Trotting Track. After a hearty Irish breakfast we all prepared for the big day of racing and piled into the shuttle for the track. Our gracious host, Derek Delaney and his family were dressed to impress for their special memorial day to their late brother Vincent. Derek took head counts to make sure everyone was accounted for and off we went. And everyone had to have a good look at my specially designed Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial pith helmet hat that my wife Stephanie helped me make for the occasion. It was unique, the only one in the world, and it featured the flags of all the nations that were racing that day, the band around the brim was the logo for the race and atop the hat was a racehorse. Throughout the day everyone had to comment and check out my special hat. I must have taken two dozen photos with people and the children all laughed and wanted to try it on. It was a big hit. As we drove to the track we saw plenty of horse trailers of all shapes and sizes entering the grounds and everyone had great big smiles as it was a special racing day. The race paddock area was jammed with trailers and horsemen and women preparing for the races. There are no “race paddock” like they have in North America for harness racing. Here at Portmarnock, just like most tracks in Ireland and the United Kingdom as many fairs do back home, your trailer is your paddock area. You tie your horse up on the side and harness them, bath them between warmups and throw a “rug” over them and walk them around to cool out. Everyone is prepared and they bring coolers with sandwiches and drinks and make a day of it. After your horse races and is put away then you head over to the main track for the festivities. The bounce house and tenting for the children’s area was already filled with tyke’s ripping off their shoes to have a go and allow their parents a little time to check out their race programs. The bookies were setting up their stands, the bar was already open and I was offered my first Guinness of the day, which I had to refuse…too early and too long an afternoon with work to do for a late breakfast stout to start off the afternoon. But there was plenty of people already in the bar getting prepped for the day’s events. As the crowds come in you get your racetrack fixtures of people just like every track around the world. You have your hard core punters, your average fans, your die hard regulars who immediately head to their favorite spot to lay claim for the day. But today was extra special and with that came the ladies dressed for the Royal Ascot or perhaps the Kentucky Derby of harness racing in Ireland. There was a contest of the best dressed man and women at the races. And there were many women dressed up beautifully along with many of the younger daughters of the horsemen. There was also a special exhibition by world champion Irish Dancers and music throughout the afternoon between the race announcements. The bookies had a field day at the track. Everyone wanted to get a bet in. Here at Portmarnock there is win wagering only, no exactas or trifectas or any gimmick bets, no place or show, just the win bets. But the action was feverish before the start of the first race. It was amazing as the “punters” were known by every “bookie” by first name or a nickname. They would place their wager, the bookie would shout it out to his teller, who wrote it done and then the punter was given a special card with a number on to verify the wager. I placed my bets with Dan Carlin of Belfast, Ireland. He was the main bookie who set the early wagering odds on the races last Monday once the fields were drawn. But what is so unique with bookie wagering at a track like this in Ireland and the UK is that as the wagers are made the odds can change. You can bet way ahead of time on fixed odds but as post time draws near and more wagers are made, the bookies change the odds to reflect the wagering. Sometimes they will shave a fraction of a point just to draw more attention. On Saturday in the second elimination heat of the Delaney Memorial, Carmel Camden had received so many wagers that most of the bookies stopped taking bets on her with two minutes to post. Dan Carlin called me out as “Steve the Yank” when I made my bets, never said how much someone wagered except after he counted the wagered cash and dropped into the cash holder he would say it in some sort of code to his teller to keep the record of it. The bookies would shout out new odds to encourage punters to wager a few more euros and it all added up to a lot of excitement. I figured just from watching a few races that the average bookie at the track, with 1,000 people at Portmarnock this Sunday, handled at least 40 or more wagers per race x 7 bookies x 10 races would be near 200,000 euros ($267,000) in total wagering going back and forth between winners and losers for the day. Dan Carlin would not say how things were going except that everyone was having a good time. Mother Nature cooperated as best it could and it seemed that when the rain clouds came over the skies would open up and it would pour for five minutes and then the sun would come back out and dry everything up. It was raining hard for a few minutes before the start of the feature race and then as if Vincent Delaney himself made it stop before the finish of his memorial race. After the racing was over the track pub was filled to the brim with race fans, owners, trainers, drivers and everyone’s children, all have a grand time. And the Guinness stout and Irish whiskey, mainly Jamieson’s as both are produced right in Dublin, were enjoyed quite a lot, even by this reporter, for the two nights in a row. Between the superb hospitality of everyone I met for my five day venture to Dublin and their deep rooted passion for the sport of harness racing, I can honestly encourage anyone and everyone to make their plans well in advance to come to Portmarnock Trotting Track next year for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series. The Delaney brothers, Derek and James, who were the best of hosts to the visiting guests, Roger Huston, Wally Hennessey, Anthony Butt, Heather Vitale, myself and my wife Stephanie, have already promised that the race weekend will be bigger and better with richer purses for next season and more special events. It’s the Irish version of the Little Brown Jug and they have already gotten a commitment from Roger Huston who said he will be back to call the races once again. It’s a weekend of “grass roots” fair racing that will keep you smiling and having a great time in a country that thrives on friendliness and first-class hospitality from the minute you arrive. Only there is no Little Brown Jug waiting at the finish line at Portmarnock, but there will be a glass of good strong Guinness stout! By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Dublin, Ireland – You could call it the “Little Brown Jug” of Ireland and most everyone at the track would know what you were talking about. There were horsemen, women and children from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and they all have great passion for harness racing. Portmarnock Trotting Track is just fifteen minutes from the center of Dublin. The passenger train runs past the backstretch every 20 minutes or so, day and night. We started off the afternoon with a meet and greet featuring Hall of Famers Wally Hennessey (USA/Canada), Roger Huston (USA) Anthony Butt (New Zealand) Heather Vitale and myself. The tented area immediately became packed with nearly 200 race fans both young and old in attendance. After the introductions were made Roger Huston took charge and told some great stories that got the crowd in motion and questions to the guest started to fly. People wanted to know why they still used the Australian jog-cart styled long shafted race bikes down under instead of the American version. Fans wanted to know what it was like for Wally Hennessey to drive Moni Maker all over the racing world and which Roger Huston’s favorite Little Brown Jug races was. Then there was a great live auction with the proceeds going to the Pieta House that is country-wide suicide prevention organization with 15 locations throughout Ireland. I was most proud that horsemen from the USA and Canada donated great items, driving colors autographed from Tim Tetrick, Corey Callahan, George Brennan, David Miller, Jody Jamieson and, of course, Wally Hennessey. Anthony Butt brought over a set of his colors and a special Inter dominion jacket were all bid for feverishly. Bobble heads too (Roger Huston, Jody Jamieson and Corey Callahan) and the Meadowlands sent over Hambletonian caps from last week’s race. The biggest item of all was a used UFO race bike used by Foiled Again from the Ron Burke Stable and that alone brought 3,000 euros ($4,000 US). The auction continues Sunday but I overheard that proceeds just for Saturday may have tipped the scales at over 6,000 euros and could surpass 10,000 after Sunday. Then the racing began and the crowds piled in more and more despite on and off rain showers throughout the day. Portmarnock is not that big a track. The infield is used during the day as a golf driving range so racing did not start until 5 pm. Up until 4 pm a tractor was in the centerfield scooping up golf balls. They race four on the gate and four trailers. Roger Huston called the races from the infield on the second floor of glass trailers. He was sitting on a swivel chair so he could swing around the see horses at the raced down the backstretch. But despite the rain the fans came out, maybe 1,000 strong for the races. And what I found to be the most interesting was the wagering on the races. There are no betting windows and pari-mutuel machines, no self-service bill accepting units. They have actual live bookies. Men taking bets, writing down first names and handing back a business card type voucher, shouting out the odds and parlays, checking their competition and if they were willing, raising their odds a fraction to entice others to come wager with them. A fistful of cash in hand to make quick change before the field lined up behind the starting gate. Some bookies had an LCD board and could change odds in a split second typing away on their keyboard. Others had dry erase boards that would smear in the rain so they had to wipe them with their sleeves in order to post the new odds. Some were dressed in nice suits with loud ties, one had a top hat. It just made the races more interesting than I had seen before. It was wagering at its grass roots. Legalized bookies encourage punters to come forward and try their luck. And everyone loved Roger Huston’s race calls. He had them cheering for the field at the half mile and the finish of each race. And the fans applauded the winners and losers after every event. And then once the races were over, the party did not stop. The bar at the track was packed from the start of the first race and was still going strong when I left to come back to the hotel at near midnight. Everyone was having a great time. I just hope some of them remembered to get a little rest because everyone was looking forward to the Sunday card and hoping for Mother Nature to provide them with a sunny, dry afternoon, especially for the final of the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Pace Final. We started out Day 2 in Dublin, Ireland sorta on the wrong foot, perhaps even the wrong side of the bed. As some of us (me) overslept because of our 36-hour first day, I missed the trip to the Guiness Factory, so Stephanie (my wife) and I talked with the lobby desk people and they turned us on to a pleasant surprise. The Village of Malahide. We took a taxi and within 20 minutes was at the entrance to the Malahide Castle and its lavish 1,000 acres grounds. We walked up what seemed to be a half mile tree-laden drive, stopped to watch youngsters playing cricket, just like kids in America playing organized baseball, on the beautifully manicured lawns of the palatial estate. Then we reached the castle and its stunning four-acre walled gardens, all first built in the 12th century. The Talbot Family owned and lived there for almost 800 years. The castle is full furnished and magnificent. We then took a quick walking tour into the Malahide Village with its picturesque streets decorated with flower displays, lovely store fronts and boat marina. Then back to the hotel and to get ready for the harness racing at Portmarnock. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

When we first arrived this morning in Dublin, Ireland, it was cloudy and overcast with a misty rain about, but customs was a breeze off we went to drop off our bags at the hotel. That would all change for the better! There would be no rest for the weary on this trip, it was a harness racing trip of a lifetime and we were already going in an extra distance race after an opening quarter mile of :26.1. We (Wally Hennessey, my wife, Stephanie Wolf, and myself) had just finished flying in from Toronto, Canada on the red-eye, leaving at 11 pm Thursday and getting into Dublin Friday morning at 10:30 am. We headed to the hotel and met the rest of the crew. Anthony Butt from New Zealand had arrived Wednesday and had a leg up on us already, Roger Huston and Heather Vitale came in at 8 am Friday, and we got to meet our host, Derek Delaney and his lovey wife Lilian and their cute daughter Lexie. Other special guests that would join us on the trip were David Wilson of Scotland, Bernie (Bernadette) Kelly and the superb equine artist/photographer, Nadina Ironia. Then it was off to Derek and James Delaney’s Oakwood Stud Farm and Training Center in Greenhill Rhode in County Offaly. A beautiful facility that can be best described by the photos in this story. Lunch was at a splendid Irish pub nearby called Killeen and then we were able to head back to the hotel and pass out for a few hours. We capped off the 36-hour day by being part of a special kick-off dinner for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series weekend with a tribute dinner at the hotel with another 50 new friends. Words cannot describe the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and great time we had so please enjoy these photographs! By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

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