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I recently penned a piece in the Atlantic Post Calls, the premier Maritime racing paper on looking ahead to the 2014 and looking for positives for racing in New Brunswick. While it was a challenge in compiling positive information without a one thing to focus on, one thing became clear. New Brunswick horse racing, and some involved, feel the only hope is a change in government in 2014. This fall, the New Brunswick electorate will have the chance to choose four more years of the Alward Tories, or take a change on a new young politician in Brian Gallant to lead the province. While there are three other options in N.B when it comes to official parties, I would be shocked to see anything but a Red/ Blue party again leading the province. So where does that leave harness racing? From everyone I have contacted, it seems to be a growing agreement that a change to a Liberal government is the only hope. As many are aware, the gov't opted out of the five-year deadline to support racing any further. It was the Shawn Graham led Liberals, who then had Mike Murphy in cabinet who is a horse owner and breeder that struck the deal when in power. Graham was turfed out after only one term and then it was up to the industry to keep things flowing with the Tories led by Alward and Finance Minister Blaine Higgs, a rookie cabinet choice with experience with the Irving Empire. It was no secret when the Tories took over that the province was in a dismal state of finance and it was up to Higgs and the new caucus to reign in spending, and horse racing was one area that was cut. There was even talk of a lawsuit by Horse Racing New Brunswick against the gov't for a breach of contract and a feasibility study was done, reportedly just to pacify the industry. Many insiders say the study was never going to amount to anything and was nothing more than a stall tactic. Also, there has been talk that gov't is not interested in dealing with H.R.N.B the way it is set-up now. So, it appears that the industry leaders in the province will do all they can to keep racing going this spring with approx. 23-24 dates in total. They will wait and see how the election of 2014 turns out and take it from there. Politics- they play a part in just about everything, including harness racing. Let's hope something can be done to keep the tradition of N.B racing alive but it may rest, as I mentioned, all up to politics. Scary. By Scott Waddell, for New Brunswick Horse Racing. Contact Scott at swaddell12@gmail.com

North America's top percentage harness racing driver in 2013 has been named the inaugural winner of the Earl Avery Award. Gilles Barrieau, the perennial New Brunswick driving champion and leading UDRS driver in North America last year with a phenomenal .420 average, edged out Woodstock, N.B. native Ivan Davies in voting for the award by industry leaders in New Brunswick. Janet Stevenson Davis, Dale Spence, Chris Davies and his horse, Dusty Lane Oscar, and Philip 'Bo' Sowers were also nominated. "I'm really honoured to win this award," said Barrieau, who maintains a large stable at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B. "Earl Avery was an outstanding horseman and just to hear that I was nominated had already been a special moment for me. My father [Alfred] actually worked for him when he was racing in the United States so I thought that was interesting connection. "This award is a fitting tribute to Earl Avery himself and a great addition for the harness racing industry in New Brunswick." Earl Avery was a native of Knowlesville, N.B. who later moved to Woodstock to begin a legendary career in the sport back in the early 1920’s. He was the first member of the harness racing fraternity to be inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1976; the normal five-year waiting period after retirement being waived for the much-respected Avery. Avery is the only horseman from New Brunswick to ever be elected to Horse Racing Hall of Fames in both Canada and the United States. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1977 and later the same year became the 25th person to be elected to the Living Hall of Fame of the Trotters in Goshen, New York. It was a fitting culmination of a career that saw him win more than 4,000 races and $3.5 million in career earnings and establishing nine world records. During his career, Avery became associated with arguably the greatest pacing horse in the history of harness racing when he convinced owner Norman Woolworth to purchase Meadow Skipper 50 years ago. Meadow Skipper went on to become a world champion race horse for Avery, pacing Lexington, Kentucky’s famed Red Mile in 1:55.1 in October 1963. He later developed into one of the most prolific stallions of the 20th century and his influences on breeding continue to be felt today. “This new award creates an opportunity to bring recognition to outstanding harness racing achievements in New Brunswick while also honouring an industry pioneer,” said Brent Briggs, administrator of the Earl Avery Award. “Besides being an outstanding horseman, Earl Avery was also a great ambassador of the New Brunswick industry for over 50 years. "I think the voting panel made an excellent choice in Gilles Barrieau as he has always been an outstanding representative of New Brunswick harness racing, not just this year but throughout his career. He is widely recognized for his training and driving talents; a complete horseman and gentleman, much like Earl Avery was himself." Barrieau will receive a cheque for $1,000 in the name of a recognized charity that he has chosen and will have an opportunity to present it to that charity on behalf of all horse people in the province during the upcoming horse racing season. The creation of the Earl Avery Award and the prize is a collaboration between Horse Racing New Brunswick and the Horseman’s Associations in Woodstock, Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. Submitted from Earl Avery Awards

The finalists for the Earl Avery Award, an honour given to a horse, horse person or personality, or horse racing event that best represents the New Brunswick harness racing industry over the past season, were announced on Saturday, February 1. This is the first year for the Earl Avery Award, which recognizes successes within the province or could also honour a distinguished horse or horse person and their accomplishments outside New Brunswick that brings recognition to the industry, both of which Avery himself did with distinction. The winner will be announced on Monday, February 17. The presentation will be made at the Fredericton Horseman’s Association Annual Awards Banquet and Wall of Fame ceremonies later this spring. The recipient of the Earl Avery Award will also receive a cheque for $1,000 in the name of a recognized charity that they have chosen. They will have an opportunity to present it to the charity on behalf of all horse people in New Brunswick. The creation of the Earl Avery Award and the prize is a collaboration between Horse Racing New Brunswick and the Horseman’s Associations in Woodstock, Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. The six finalists are: Bo Sowers - The Fredericton native was the 14th top-ranked trainer in North America in 2013. He had a .330 training average (640 starts - 129 wins - 99 seconds - 99 thirds). Sowers was also the top trainer in the State of Maine in all categories - wins, money and percentage. He returned home on July 1 and won the oldest running Free-For-All in Canada, the prestigious Walter Dale Memorial, with Malek Hanover. Chris Davies and Dusty Lane Oscar - The horse and his trainer became fan favourites in New Brunswick this past summer, winning 10 races in Fredericton and Saint John during a shortened harness racing season. Davies and his ever present smile and 'Hey bud, how’s it going?' attitude, along with his nine-year-old race horse Oscar, kept on winning this past summer and paced to a lifetime best of 1:57 over Fredericton, his 50th lifetime win. Dale Spence - He became a media sensation in New Brunswick in August after blazing Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John in a track record performance of 1:53.4 with Big League. The 1:53.4 mile was the fastest mile ever over a half-mile track in the province while breaking the longstanding track record. Making it more special was the fact that Big League was a New Brunswick homebred, who had his early beginnings in Saint John. Gilles Barrieau - He was the leading UDRS driver in North America in 2013 with a phenomenal .419 average (507 starts - 138 wins - 96 seconds - 64 thirds) finishing three percentage points ahead of another New Brunswick native, Drew Campbell (.416), who races primarily in Maine. Barrieau was the leading driver at both race tracks in New Brunswick and he also campaigned the top Maritime-bred two-year-old Tobins Fusion. Ivan Davies - Woodstock native Ivan Davies capped an undefeated season with the three-year-old trotting colt sensation Obrigado at Scarborough Downs in the $77,415 Maine Sires Stakes Championship Finals. Obrigado was undefeated in 13 starts in 2013 and earned over $100,000. Davies ended with the top two trotting colts in their division including Wakefield Fire, owned by his brother Owen and mother Donna. He has raced for a number of years in the New England States and has amassed 1,885 career driving wins and his horses have earned over $4.6 million. Janet Stevenson Davis - She was the winner of the 2013 Harness Horse Youth Foundation’s Service to Youth Award. The Service To Youth Award is given annually to an individual, farm, or organization who exemplify outstanding effort in facilitating youth participation in harness racing. Recipients show exceptional assistance to existing HHYF programs or in their own successful efforts. The native of Fredericton, who now resides in Delaware, also co-owns and trained the three-year-old trotting colt Good Skies, who won the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund Stake at Harrington in July in a record time of 2:00.2. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcananda.ca

Harness Racing New Brunswick would like to let horsemen and fans know that this Saturday's final card of the 2013 racing season has been cancelled.   H.R.N.B would like to thank all horsemen and fans of racing for supporting the 2013 racing season and watch for updates throughout the year on the official website of H.R.N.B at http://www.hrnb.ca      

It was a battle right down to wire at Exhibition Park Raceway this past Saturday as Horse Racing New Brunswick hosted the finale of the November handicapping championship.   After points were tabulated after the final leg, H.R.N.B would like to congratulate the overall winner, Ray MacDonald of Prince Edward Island. He finished with a total of 152 points for the month, good enough for a four-point win.   Saint John's Dale Spence Sr. would up in second place with 148 points for the contest which ran over a total of five race cards. In third was Saint John's Geraldine Hubbard who garnered 146 points to round out the top three.   Rounding out the top-five were Kevin Warner ( 140 points ) and Joe Moore ( 134 points ). Prizes are awarded to the top-three overall, and winners will be contacted this week by H.R.N.B.   Final standings will be posted in Saturday's program upcoming, and the tracks website. Thanks to all those who participated in the contest and congrats to Ray and the top-three winners from H.R.N.B.   by Scott Waddell for HRNB  

What a wild finish we will have in this weekends final leg of Horse Racing New Brunswick's handicapping championship.   It will be an exciting day with Ray & Lila MacDonald of P.E.I clinging to a four point lead with 124-points. Three competitors are tied for second going into the final on Saturday, November 30th.   Early leader Geraldine Hubbard has came storming back and shares second with 120-points after the first-four weeks. Joe Moore has been one of the hottest people the last two-weeks and also finds himself with 120-points.   Completing the dead-heat for third is Kevin Warner also accumulating 120-points.   Rounding out the top ten going into the finale are:   5th- Dale Spence Sr.- 116 Points 6th- Kayden Buchanan- 110 Points 7th- Ray Coholan, David Mitchell 102 Points 9th- Brent Briggs 98 Points 10th- Nancy Johnston 96 Points   We will post the rest of the standings on our website this week and at the Sulky Room Lounge. Best of luck to the competitors in the final, its been a great race!   by Scott Waddell for HRNB  

Week four proved to be another tough week of selecting winners in the November handicapping challenge presented by Horse Racing New Brunswick.   With one week left to go this Saturday, some of the leaders are starting to struggle and we have some late bloomers.   Wednesday, H.R.N.B will provide a total of all competitors with our weekly preview but for now, here are the leaders of this past Saturday's card.   Ray Coholan, an avid and loyal fan in Saint John topped all handicappers in week four as he registered 36-points. Geraldine Hubbard, after an off week last week bounced back to finish second with 34-points.   We had three individuals tie for third place with 32-points each and they are Roy Flowers, Joe Moore, and Kevin Warner.   Horse Racing New Brunswick would like to thank all on-track participants and those who have entered each week on-line. It's going to be an exciting finish this Saturday, and be sure to watch for Wednesday's Saturday race preview that will also include a list of the overall leaders. by Scott Waddell for HRNB  

Bo Sowers was a force to be reckoned with on Saturday winning both the top-class and supporting class of the day at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Terem Up Louie captured the main event of the afternoon in 1:58.1 as the four-year-old son of Rambaran won for the second straight time. Tammy Sowers owns the pacer who turned aside Dance Hanover and Dirt Track Momma.   Mr Oxford took the back-up class in 1:58.2 with Sowers aboard as he bested the heavy favorite Joseph Michael by three-quarters of a length.   Racing will continue on Saturday. November 30th featuring the final of the Horse Racing New Brunswick November handicapping championship. H.R.NB will release the week four winners on Monday.   by Scott Waddell for HRNB  

Officials from Horse Racing New Brunswick have announced the resignation of Jeff Malloy as Manager of Operations. Malloy has been with HRNB since its inception in 2008. “My position with Horse Racing New Brunswick has been more than just a job to me, I have been very passionate about the industry and the organization since Day 1. It was an honour and privilege to have been part of the organization and leadership team for the industry in the province.” stated Malloy. “It was a very difficult decision for my family and myself, I have two young children and a very supportive wife who have supported me over the past five years. This job is a lifestyle, it is not a 40-hour-a-week type of job. An opportunity came up that I had to consider.” HRNB President Dr. Mitchell Downey is disappointed, but understands Malloy’s decision. “I understand the pressure Jeff’s type of position puts on a young family first hand,” said Dr. Downey. “This was a personal decision Jeff had to make. He has a young family and has to put them first. He has indicated that he is committed to continue to assist and help the industry and organization going forward. We appreciate the dedication and effort Jeff contributed to the betterment of the industry both in New Brunswick and the Maritimes.” Horse Racing New Brunswick received some positive news from the Provincial Government in October when they engaged the Atlantic Lottery Corporation to study the feasibility of an entertainment facility at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John. The industry is anxiously awaiting news of the study. “We are continuing to work towards a model that will allow the industry to prosper,” stated Dr. Downey, who expects that more information will be available in the upcoming weeks. From Horse Racing New Brunswick

As part of this weekend's preview for Horse Racing New Brunswick, we have completed a complete standings list for the handicapping challenge that runs over five-weeks. Leg four is coming up on Saturday, November 23rd. Top Ten List overall is as follows with a complete look at all the standings. 1. Ray & Lila MacDonald 106 2. Dale Spence Sr. 94 3. Kevin Warner, Joe Moore 88 5. Geraldine Hubbard 86 6. Kayden Buchanan 84 7. David Mitchell 82 8. Abel Arsenault, Brent Briggs 78 10. Clint MacDougall 76 11. Fred Bradley, Nancy Johnston, Bill Kerr 74 14. Steve Murray, Melissa Keith, Dot Kerr 70 17. Ken Paley, Janet Shanks 68 19. Ray Coholan 66 20. Shane Baglole, Luke Armstrong 64 22. Bruce Smith, Brenda Ross 62 24. Roy Flowers, Will Chatwin 60 26. Steve Murray Jr. 58 27. Dean Bosfet 56 28. Mary MacDougall 54 29. Blaine Baglole, Charlene Murray 52 31. Don Kerr 50 32. Tina Dunphey 48 33. Don Acheson- 42 34. Ron Yeomans- 40 35. Harold DeFazio- 38 34. Dan Smith - 32 35- Timmy Gunn, Zoran Petrovich- 30 36. Jean Acheson, Margo McCluskey 28 38. Mel Blanchard- 22 39. Joe Morgan- 18 40. Bob Fitzgerald- 16 41. Kevin Ross- 0 Best of luck to this week's competitors and congrats to Steve Murray, the winner of leg three of the contest and is climbing the rankings. Week three looked to be a real challenge to the handicappers, and hopefully week four will involve as much competition. Saturday at E.P.R will be missing the tracks top driver as Gilles Barrieautakes part in a drivers challenge in P.E.I. There is a great top-class on Saturday with Grimsby looking for his second straight win. We will feature as part of the main event, the fastest mare ever at E.P.R, Dirt Track Momma. 1 Ace On The River M Haig H Hathaway 6-1 2 Sparky Bayama T Trites J Belliveau 8-1 3 Grimsby S Hubbard S Cormier 3-1 4 Terem Up Louie Bo Sowers Bo Sowers 7-2 5 Dance Hanover S Trites S Melanson 4-1 6 Dirt Track Momma D Spence J Moase Post time for Saturday is slated at 1:00 P.M. by Scott Waddell for HRNB

Week three proved to be a challenge for many of the competitors and as week four is next on Saturday at E.P.R, Horse Racing New Brunswick has released the top-ten overall leaders. This Saturday will feature the fourth leg with the finale scheduled on November 30th. Best of luck to this week's competitors and congratulations to the leaders. . 1. Ray & Lila MacDonald 106 2. Dale Spence Sr. 94 3. Kevin Warner, Joe Moore 88 5. Geraldine Hubbard 86 6. Kayden Buchanan 84 7. David Mitchell 82 8. Abel Arsenault, Brent Briggs 78 10. Clint MacDougall 76 by Scott Waddell for HRNB

Horse Racing New Brunswick are pleased to release the entire standings after two-weeks of the November Handicapping Championship. We have 41-entries after the two-weeks with the third coming up on Saturday.   Best of luck to all week three participants!   # 1 - Ray & Lila MacDonald  84 Points # 2 - Geraldine Hubbard 70 Points # 3- Dale Spence Sr. 66 Points # 4- Clint MacDougall  64 Points # 5- David Mitchell, Kevin Warner, and Joe Moore ( TIE ) 62 Points 8- Brent Briggs, Fred Bradley, Bill Kerr and Kayden Buchanan TIE 58 Points 12- Will Chatwin 56 Points 13- Ken Paley, Dot Kerr 54 Points 15- Brenda Ross 52 Points 16- Mary MacDougall, Tina Dunphey- 48 Points 18- Melissa Keith, Abel Arsenault, Bruce Smith, Janet Shanks 46 22- Ray Coholan, Dean Bosfet, Roy Flowers 44 25- Nancy Johnston, Blaine Baglole 42 27- Luke Armstrong 38 28- Ron Yeomans, Steve Murray Jr 36 30- Steve Murray 34 31- Charlene Murray, Shane Baglole, Dan Smith 32 34- Don Kerr, Timmy Gunn, Zoran Petrovich 30 37- Margo McCluskey 28 38- Jean Acheson, Don Acheson 24 40- Mel Blanchard- 22 41- Joe Morgan- 18 42- Harold DeFazio- 16 by Scott Waddell for HRNB

Bo Sowers, a well-known trainer who originates from Fredericton, returns in a big way to New Brunswick on Saturday in Saint John, N.B. at E.P.R. Sowers, who spends most of his campaigning south of the border this season, provides a boost to the horse population on the nine-dash card presented by Horse Racing New Brunswick. In the top-class of the afternoon, Sowers will harness two of the five starters. Slated as race-nine, Malek Hanover returns to the racing wars in N.B and will start from post-five for Todd Trites. Bo will handle the driving chores on the number four entry, Roy Orbisong. He has earned close to $ 30,000 and sports twelve wins on the year. Malek Hanover shows nearly $ 20,000 on his card for 2013. Other starters in Saturday's $ 1300 top-class include Ace On The River, Dance Hanover and Grimsby. Horse Racing New Brunswick would like to welcome back Sowers and the addition of his seven starters provides a spark for racing and fans. Belinda Gray also returned last week with a number of starters and came away with two-wins. Post-time for Saturday's card is at 1:00 P.M. by Scott Waddell for HRNB  

After week two of Horse Racing New Brunswick's handicapping challenge, the following is a list of the top-ten going in to week three. Total list will be posted at the track and on our website. # 1 - Ray & Lila MacDonald 84 Points # 2 - Geraldine Hubbard 70 Points # 3- Dale Spence Sr. 66 Points # 4- Clint MacDougall 64 Points # 5- David Mitchell, Kevin Warner, and Joe Moore ( TIE ) 62 Points # 8- Brent Briggs, Fred Bradley, Bill Kerr and Kayden Buchanan TIE 58 Points Thanks to all who have played along the first two-weeks and best of luck in this Saturday's leg three of the contest. by Scott Waddell for HRNB  

In a show of salute for all war veterans, Horse Racing New Brunswick will feature a Remembrance Day Pace with a special guest of honour. Robert G. Kyle, a 91-year-old Second World War Veteran and Maritime horsemen from Memramcook N.B, will be on hand to drape the winning cooler to the victorious horse on Monday afternoons card. Monday's special program will get underway at 1:00 P.M. Horse Racing New Brunswick recognizes and salutes our war veterans.   Scott Waddell

Horse Racing New Brunswick has announced that they will have their next live card on the holiday Monday, November 11th, previously scheduled for Saturday, November 9th. Please note that the draw will take place on Wednesday, October 6th and a reminder leg two of the November handicapping contest will take place now on Monday. For all the latest news on N.B racing, please visit http://www.hrnb.ca By Scott Waddell for HRNB  

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