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Freehold, NJ --- Owner Frank Bellino believes Pet Rock is fast enough to do what has never been done before. Whether he is lucky enough will be determined Sunday. Pet Rock will try to become the first harness racing horse in history to establish world records on three different sized tracks in as many starts when he faces nine rivals in the $175,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace at Lexington’s Red Mile on Sunday. In his most recent start on Sept. 19, Pet Rock won the Winbak Pace in 1:48.1 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. The time was the fastest ever on a half-mile track, shaving four-fifths of a second off the previous record. In his prior start on Sept. 7, he won the Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational in 1:47.2 at Scioto Downs. The time was the fastest ever on a five-eighths-mile oval, breaking the record by two-fifths of a second. Now Pet Rock takes aim at 1:46.4, which is the time of the fastest race in history on a mile track. That mark is shared by Holborn Hanover, Somebeachsomewhere and Warrawee Needy. The time for the fastest mile ever, 1:46.1, was established by Cambest in a time trial in 1993. Trained by Virgil Morgan, Jr. and driven by David Miller, the 4-year-old Pet Rock will start Sunday’s Allerage from post six. “I don’t think there is any question he can do it,” Bellino said. “It’s just a matter of whether everything falls into place. The most important thing is to race well, but I hope we can do something special this weekend.” The trotter Mack Lobell, who was Horse of the Year in 1987 and 1988, is the only horse to hold the records for the fastest miles on all three sized tracks simultaneously. Another trotter, CR Kay Suzie, set world records for her division (2-year-old filly) on all three sized tracks in a span of four races in 1994. Pet Rock, though, will try for the unprecedented. He has won four of 13 races this year, finished in the money a total of eight times, and earned $644,070. He won the $471,800 William R. Haughton Memorial in a lifetime-best 1:47 on July 13 at the Meadowlands. “It seems as the year goes on he’s getting better and better,” Bellino said. “It’s a tribute to Virgil and the way he trains. He’s been racing unbelievable. What he did at Scioto was eye-opening and what he did at Delaware -- I never thought I’d be alive to see that kind of time on a half-mile track.” Pet Rock, who received a bye into the Allerage final, will face a tough field Sunday. A Rocknroll Dance, who won the Allerage elimination in 1:48.4, will start from post three with regular driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer Jim Mulinix. A Rocknroll Dance finished second to Pet Rock in both his world-record performances. Bolt The Duer, who previously shared the record for pacing on five-eighths and half-mile tracks, starts from post one with Mark MacDonald driving for trainer Pete Foley. The remainder of the field is Sweet Lou, Up The Credit, Golden Receiver, Our Lucky Chip, Escape The News, Clear Vision and Aracache Hanover. Bellino owned 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven, but he is enjoying the ride with Pet Rock even more. “It was more nerve-wracking with Rock N Roll Heaven,” Bellino said. “That was the first time we ever went through anything like that and everything was magnified. This is a lot easier. I’m really enjoying this one.” Morgan, who has won more races -- 5,019 -- than any trainer in history, guided Mister Big to honors as the sport’s best older male pacer in 2007 and 2008. He wanted to bring Pet Rock along slowly this year as he transitioned to facing older rivals, in the process bypassing the lucrative Levy Memorial Pacing Series during the spring at Bellino’s home track of Yonkers Raceway. “I was taken aback at first because he’s so good on a half-mile track,” Bellino said. “But Virgil was right. That’s why you listen to the people that do it. He knows better and his plan has come together.” Bellino said it was unlikely that Pet Rock will continue racing next year. “Virgil is a big believer in keeping them racing, but even he said how much more can this horse do?” Bellino said. “How much faster can he go?” Sunday might provide the answer. by Ken Weingartner for USTA

Lexington, KY --- The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale continued with its second session on Wednesday (Oct. 2), posting healthy increases of 10 percent in total sales and 7.6 percent in average prices over the comparable session a year ago. Through two sessions, the average sale price is running four percent ahead of the value in 2012. Cantab Hall continued his tremendous showing as his yearlings claimed the top three spots for the session. Leading the way at $175,000 was the colt Higher Ground, out of $146,000 winning mare Domestic Diva. That makes him a full brother to Modern Family, a winner in 1:51 this year and more than $265,000 lifetime. Bjorn Noren signed as agent for this colt coming from the Kentuckiana Farms consignment. Following closely behind in price at $170,000 was Gifted Way, out of Rare Gift, a three-quarter sister to 1996 Horse of the Year Continentalvictory. Tony Alagna cast the winning bid for this colt from Brittany Farms. The Cantab Hall filly Flyangelfly De Vie moved into the third spot when she sold for $160,000. The always-active Jimmy Takter made this one of his 10 purchases on the night, to accompany the nine he acquired in the previous evening’s sale session. The filly is a daughter of Dream Angel, who is both a winner of more than $229,000 and a half-sister to Dream Vacation. Preferred Equine Marketing, Inc. consigned the filly as agent for breeder Joie De Vie Farm. Takter was the most active buyer for the night, but just barely, as Ake Svanstedt signed for eight elite yearlings on Wednesday. Svanstedt, Sweden’s leading trainer, is making the move to the U.S. this year and will be looking to compete with Takter on the track as well as the sales ring. First crop pacing sire Rock N Roll Heaven continues to impress, and contributed the highest-priced pacer for the session, the filly Kisses From Heaven, selling for $150,000. Her dam, Kissing Bandit, a stakes winner of more than $230,000, is a half sister to millionaire Pacific Fella and the $764,000 winning Pacific Renegade. Alan Katz bought the filly out of the Preferred Equine marketing consignment. The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale continues each evening at 7 p.m. through Saturday at the Fasig-Tipton Sale Arena. Here are the summary statistics by gait and sex, from both the second session and overall, plus the leading horses by price from the second session: Session 2       Group -  No. Sold - Total Price - Average Price - Top Price - Median - $100,000+ Pacing Colts     -33  -$1,915,000 -$58,030-$120,000-$50,000-4 Pacing Fillies    -43  -$2,135,000 -$49,651-$150,000-$42,000-4 Trotting Colts     -37 -$2,296,000  -$61,514-$175,000-$50,000-6 Trotting Fillies    -45 -$1,986,000  -$44,067-$160,000-$40,000-2 Total-158-$8,332,000-$52,734 -$175,000-$50,000-16 Sale through two sessions       Group-No. Sold-Total Price-Average Price-Top Price-Median-$100,000+ Pacing Colts   -61-$4,377,000-$71,754-$150,000-$75,000-17 Pacing Fillies  -65-$3,740,000-$57,538-$180,000-$50,000-10 Trotting Colts  -68-$5,527,000-$81,279-$475,000-$60,000-17 Trotting Fillies -69-$3,752,000-$54,377-$260,000-$45,000-8 Total-263-$17,396,000-$66,144-$475,000-$50,000-52 Yearling-Sire-Dam-Sex-Gait-Price-Buyer Holy Ground-Cantab Hall-Domestic Diva-C-T-$175,000-Bjorn Noren, Agent Giifted Way-Cantab Hall-Rare Gift-C-T-$170,000-Tony Alagna Flyangelfly De Vie-Cantab Hall-Dream Angel-F-T-$160,000-Jimmy Takter, Agent Kisses From Heaven-Rock N Roll Heaven-Kissing Bandit-F-P-$150,000-Alan Katz Jake Blue Chip-Art Major-Sprig Hanover-C-P-$120,000-Dan W. Smith Give Me The Credit-Credit Winner-Vivica Hall-F-T-$120,000-Lars Palm, Agent Billy Flynn-Cantab Hall-Zeta Jones-C-T-$120,000-Staffan Lind by David Carr for USTA

Lexington, KY --- Champions of tomorrow are coming to the fore at the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet, which concludes this Sunday (Oct. 6). But just ten miles away from the track live some champions of yesterday who work full time to make friends for Standardbreds. The Kentucky Horse Park (www.kyhorsepark.com) hosts nearly a million visitors a year and many of them come to see the horses who live and work in the Park’s Hall of Champions, greeting tourists and educating them about horse racing. Wes Lanter, director of equine operations at the Horse Park, says the Standardbreds in residence (in order of seniority), Staying Together, Western Dreamer, Mr Muscleman and Won The West, have a life much more relaxed than when they were racing and winning. “It’s pretty simple,” says Lanter. “They come in at night and in the mornings they go in their paddocks. Right now we have more horses than paddocks, so they have to share a little bit. Dreamer and Stanley (Staying Together’s nickname) are both very good sports. Dreamer shares a paddock with Da Hoss, a very talented Thoroughbred, and Stanley shares a paddock with Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide. When he comes in, Stanley goes out. “Mr Muscleman and Be A Bono (a Quarter horse) are in the same paddock, they’ve become very attached. When one leaves, there’s usually a little nickering going on, like, ‘Hey, where are you going?’ Won The West has his own paddock. He shares a single fence line with Mr Muscleman and Be A Bono, so those three have buddied up. They meet and talk over the fence, they’re good neighbors.” At least one Standardbred is included in every public show at the Hall of Champions (daily at 10:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.). Only Staying Together, Horse of the Year in both the United States and Canada in 1993, is exempt from the show schedule, as he is now blind, but otherwise healthy, says Lanter. “It’s been a seven year process, it (uveitis, an inflammatory condition that can lead to blindness) started showing itself when he was 17,” he said. “Up until last year, everything seemed manageable, but then the left eye started becoming painful. Dr. (Claire) Latimer (of Rood and Riddle Clinic) was treating him and it got to the point where the best thing we could do to make Stanley comfortable was to have that removed. “He’s been more comfortable ever since. We are happy with how he is now.” Lanter says “Stanley” functions well in his world with some adjustments. “Going through a gate that is wide, like a paddock, you can walk him right through it,” he says. “Going into a stall where the opening is narrower, he appreciates it if you back him in; he seems to be a lot more comfortable with that. There are days when I’m daydreaming and start walking him in a stall. He’ll get halfway in and then he throws it in reverse, so I think he still sees some light or shadows or forms -- he can spook. “I’m looking at him right now, out in his paddock, just grazing. When we turn him out, we take him to the middle of the paddock to give him room and he will, many days, jog off for three or four or five strides. He knows his limitations. “We just moved him into this paddock. He was aware, because when he went to his old paddock he turned left out of the barn and now he turns the other way. In the new paddock, for the first couple days, he was taking stock of where he was. “He walked in circles and we wondered what he was doing, but we figured out he was checking his boundaries. He’s aware of his limitations and lives within them and he’s very trusting of people he knows. He’s a real trooper; I have so much admiration for him and how he handles his situation.” While “Stanley” no longer does shows, he is accepting visitors, Lanter says. “We mention him during the shows because they are turned out while we’re doing the shows and they’re next to the pavilion. We mention that to your left is Western Dreamer, a Triple Crown winner and give a rundown on him. We tell them on the right is Staying Together and give a synopsis and mention his situation of being blind and we have signage that gives a rundown of their race record.” Lanter says all four have adapted well to new careers as goodwill ambassadors. “I think they like their jobs,” he says. “Mr Muscleman is a pleasure to be around; we call him the Gentle Giant. He’s about 17 hands tall and you couldn’t ask for a more pleasant horse to be around and certainly a great competitor and a great racehorse. It’s an honor to be around greatness. “Won The West, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet the Koehlers and some of the other folks who owned him. I love that horse. When it became apparent he was going to come here to the Park, I did my research and learned about him. He was such a competitor, with his off-the-pace style and closing the way he was capable of.” While Lanter has spent much of his career as stallion manager for such high profile Thoroughbreds as Seattle Slew, Storm Cat and Affirmed, he has now visited the Little Brown Jug twice as a representative of the Horse Park and become a fan. “Whether I was bringing a horse there or not, I will always try to go to the Little Brown Jug,” said Lanter. “It’s just such a great experience and slice of America and the race is just amazing. It’s a great day and I would encourage everyone to take a trip to the Little Brown Jug. This year was different because I brought two horses up, Won The West and Western Dreamer. “Mr. Koehler wanted to honor Won The West with a race and have him lead the post parade. It was Mr. Kohler’s idea to have Western Dreamer join us since he was a past winner of the Jug and went on to win the Triple Crown (in 1997). We agreed it would be nice for him to get some appreciation in Delaware. “They had stalls beside each other and signs that showed their accomplishments and video of the boys that showed their careers. The fans appreciated it and loved seeing the stars. It was a pleasant experience to see how happy the fans were to see those past stars.” Western Dreamer, accustomed to the placid environment at the Horse Park, did notice he was not in Kentucky anymore. “It had been a while since he’d been off the park, so he was a bit apprehensive,” says Lanter. “But I stayed close by and took him out for walks, grazed him, anything I could do to make him happy. He was fine, but he didn’t want me to go far away.” Lanter used a diversion of some tasty Ohio hay for Western Dreamer so he could sample the fair’s culinary delights. “I was able to locate some beautiful hay and that allowed me to go get one of those great fish sandwiches and a soda,” he said. Back at his regular job and ready for visitors, Lanter says the Triple Crown winner excels at his job. “Western Dreamer really enjoys the up close adoration. He loves it when kids come up to him when we’re walking him back to the Big Barn. Kids stop and ask about him; he puts his head down so they can pat him on the head. He’s a real star.” Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications Courtesy of The United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

19 September 2013 - Just 10 days ago, prolific Bendigo standardbred broodmare Classic Kate died peacefully at the grand old age of 32 years, surrounded by her 20 year-old son Sports Dancer and 10 year-old grandson Real Impact.  Classic Kate was a Batman mare out of Gay Debutante and was purchased as a yearling by Bendigo trainer and breeder Garry Graham and long time friend, Eddie Jenkins. She won six races including the 3yo Sires Stakes Semi Final at Moonee Valley and in excess of $21,000 (30 years ago). In the breeding barn, Classic Kate superseded her racing performances. She had her first foal in 1988, New York Dancer, and her last foal in 2005, Leica Dancer. In total, she had 14 foals (two of which died young), 9 of them were fillies, and she managed to outlive her two eldest daughters. The Graham's are still breeding out of four of her daughters and now also two of her granddaughters.  She is the only mare to have five of her descendants as finalists in the Group 1 Australian Pacing Gold Series including: 1993 - 4th place - Whata Dancer (out of Classic Kate) 1996 - 4th place - Sports Dancer (out of Classic Kate) 1998 - 3rd place - Sister Dancer (out of Classic Kate) 2009 - 2nd place - Modern Girl (out of Sister Dancer) 2010 - 1st place Colts & Gelding Champion - Royal Verdict (out of Sister Dancer) Classic Kate is also the grandmother of top race horses Hexham Heartbeat, Whata Impact, Real Impact, Earls Court, Black Legacy, Otaktay, Sidney Shaw, as well as the top juveniles of 2009 and 2010, Modern Girl and 2010 Horse of the Year Royal Verdict, which won three Group 1, 2yo races that season. The combined earnings of all named descendants from Classic Kate is in excess of $1.5million. This includes a $500,000 + earner in her grandson Royal Verdict ($531,187) and three $100,000 + earners including Classic Kate's son Sports Dancer ($162,018), granddaughter Modern Girl ($122,135) and her great grandson, West Australian, Sir Jasper ($100,101). Another soon likely to join the $100,000 + club is granddaughter, Victorian mare Hexham Heartbeat, which is on the cusp of the $100,000 earnings. Classic Kate's descendants boast several Group winners between them including;  Royal Verdict (2yo APG Final, 2yo Sires Stakes Final and 2yo Australasian  Breeders Crown Final, each a Group 1 victory. Hexham Heartbeat  (3yo Sires Stakes Final - Gr 1) Whata Impact (3yo Sires Stakes Semi Final  - Gr 3) Classic Kate's great grandson Kenandi Illusion won a 2yo race in the last week of the 2012/13 season and the mare had another of her progeny, a grandson born just four days after her death. The Grahams are expecting five more descendants of this broodmare gem to be born in Bendigo in the next couple of months, so the Classic Kate dynasty is set to continue for many years to come. -Researched by Kirsten Graham

Owned by the A La Carte Racing Stable of California and trained by the late-great Jim Dennis, Mr. Dalrae was one of the most popular and successful pacers to race on the Chicago circuit in the early and mi-1980s. Mr. Dalrae was named the 1984 Aged Pacer of the Year as a 5-year-old when he pulled down $474,525 while winning 18 of 30 starts, mostly against the elite older pacers in the nation and in Canada. (He’s showed in the photo winning one of his many races at Sportsman’s Park with his young, bearded, up-and-coming star driver Dave Magee) Among his victories in the 1984 was the American National at Sportsman’s and the U.S. Pacing Championship, a tri-city stake raced on three different size ovals. Mr. Dalrae that year came from fifth at the top of the stretch and shop up the inside to take the mile leg at the Meadowlands in 1:52.2. He followed with a victory in the half-mile leg at New York’s Roosevelt Raceway in 1:56.2. The horse also captured the Canadian Classic, all with Dave Magee. In 1985 Mr. Dalrae repeated as winner of the U.S. Pace Championship, based by points earned, by capturing the five-eighths leg at Sportsman’s Park. The son of Meadow Skipper out of the dam Queen’s Crown repeated as the American National Aged Pace titleholder that year with Dale Hiteman at his lines. In his final year as a racehorse Mr. Dalrae won another eight races earned $322,800. His dam Queen Crown also produced Sir Dalrae, the 1973 Horse of the Year for owner/trainer Jim Dennis. Videos attached of Mr Dalrae winning the 1984 US Paing Championship at the Meadowlands and the second video is of Mr Dalrae running second to On The Road Again in the 1985 US Pacing Championship. Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

STAR three-year-old pacer Pachacuti was last night named Tasmanian Horse of the Year. Pachacuti was deemed Tasmania’s best by a panel of judges and his achievements were applauded by a packed house at the Tasmanian Harness Racing Awards night at Wrest Point Hotel Casino. The three-year-old also was a clear winner of the 3YO colts and geldings category, much to the delight of his owner Lyndon Dakin and trainer Barrie Rattray. Pachacuti capped his season in Tasmania with a brilliant victory in the $30,000 Globe Derby Strakes in Launceston before heading to Victoria where he made it to the 3YO colts and geldings final of the Breeders Crown by winning his heat and then finished a courageous second to star NZ colt Bit of a Legend in the Group 1 final. Pachacuti won the Horse of the Year crown ahead of his stablemate Beautide that was voted Tasmania’s best in the four-year-old and over category. Nola Mayhem was voted Tasmania’s best three-year-old filly with her two feature wins enough to give her the nod over an even bunch of fillies. Unbeaten juvenile Resurgent Spirit that won nine from nine was unrivaled to take out the top 2YO colt or gelding title while smart filly Sweet Pea Jasper was named 2YO filly of the year courtesy of her Sweepstakes triumph. Another of the Rattray stable Benediction was named Tasmania’s best race mare and The Fred and Pauline Barker-bred Amarillen was named Tasmania’s top broodmare just ahead of the Rattray-owned Gorse Bush Star Tasmanian reinsman Gareth Rattray won his eighth consecutive driver’s premiership while his father Barrie celebrated his 15th Tasmanian trainer’s title. The pair also battled it out for the honour of being named the 2013 winner of the Halwes Medal with Gareth emerging triumphant by a narrow margin. Gareth won the inaugural Halwes Medal last year. Talented young reinsman Dylan Ford won the Tasmanian Junior Driver title and he also received the Young Achiever Award as the highest polling junior driver in the Halwes Medal count. To cap the night, North-West Coast harness identity Rod Burgess was announced as the 2013 recipient of the Edgar Tatlow Medal. Burgess has been involved in the industry for over five decades as a trainer-driver, administrator and breeder. He has devoted a lifetime to the industry and the Edgar Tatlow Medal was just reward for his efforts. The participant awards also were presented at the function: The state's leading trainer was Barrie Rattray; Gareth Rattray leading driver; Kate McLeod leading female driver and Juanita McKenzie was the best female trainer in the state for season 2012-13. Dylan Ford won the junior driver title. Peter Staples

Andy Gath-trained Victorian Horse of the Year Caribbean Blaster returns to racing this Friday night at Tabcorp Park but there is every chance the stable’s best trotter could upstage his pacing stablemate if Gath’s confidence is anything to go by. Elegant Image has always been one of the best squaregaiters of his generation but he has evolved  to become one of the most consistent on the open class scene this year. A runner-up in Australia’s flagship event the Great Southern Star, he was also placed in the Bill Collins Mile and Dullard Cup. Despite those outstanding efforts however the Long Forrest conditioner explained this week that even when the horse was performing so admirably he wasn’t at his best. “Last time in he was never quite right, he didn’t trot 100% even though he was placed in the Great Southern Star and about three other Group 1 races,” Gath said. “He was always just on half-power, he had a few issues with his back and his knees that were holding him back a little bit but now he’s trotting really smoothly and you can see what he can do when he puts it all together.” Right now, Elegant Image is on fire, stringing two dominant wins together on resumption, something that looks set to continue Friday night as he arguably drops in grade. If he continues in his current vein of form and Caribbean Blaster returns to his best form, they will both be off to the Shaky Isles towards the end of October. “It’s pretty simple: either both go or none go. For Caribbean Blaster to perform well he needs Elegant Image to go because they’ve become really good friends,” Gath said. “He didn’t settle into New Zealand that well last time but if his mate is with him (Elegant Image) I think he will be a lot better.” First however, Caribbean Blaster must take on the Preux Chevalier Free For All on Friday night and his rivals are lining up to snatch back the title of Victoria’s best pacer. Smoken Up, who was crowned last year’s Horse of the Year, and Melpark Major lead the charge but Motu Crusader will also be looking to stake his claim. Gath has faith in the Blaster though, notoriously known as a lazy trackworker, there have been some signs of improvement this time in. “He probably has a little bit (improved at home) but if Renaissance Man goes bad we are in trouble because he’s been beating him,” he said. “It’s probably not an ideal draw but being first-up atleast we’re not forced to go forward. If we had have drawn five and Smoken Up was in seven then our hand would have been forced a little bit. “He doesn’t have to burn early and then we’ve got options, he can make his own luck from back there. “He is very fit and very well, he’s going into the race pretty close to the mark so we expect him to race close to his best.” To read Andy Gath’s thoughts on each of the stables five runners, including the return of star juvenile Renaissance Man, just hit up the Good Form blog on Friday afternoon and check out Trainer Talk. by Blake Redden (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

Finishing last of five in a trial may hardly sound like a perfect step toward New Zealand Cup glory trainer Cran Dalgety says it is exactly what Christen Me needed. Dalgety was pleased with the NZ Cup favourite even though the five-year-old trailed his opponents home at yesterday’s Ashburton trial. Christen Me settled last in the 2400m standing start trial and was never asked for anything like a serious effort, being allowed to hit the line still in behind his rivals. They included two-time Cup defending champion Terror To Love, who finished fourth after being asked for only slightly more effort behind winner Pass Them By. The latter, now trained by Tim Butt after being purchased for big money after his Jewels placing in June, sped over the last 800m in 55.3 seconds, the final 400 in 26 to nose out Jimmy Johnstone and Fly Like An Eagle. Christen Me has been heavily backed to win the Cup after his sensational form last season and yesterday’s performance could be seen as a positive rather than a negative. Dalgety was thrilled with the five-year-old’s performance when stepping cleanly from a stand at the workouts at Rangiora on Saturday and said he is so advanced he didn’t need a searching run yesterday. “He is pretty much right where we want him at the moment,” said Dalgety. “He just needs to be kept ticking over now and he will go back to the workouts at Addington next Monday and then race on Friday week.” Dalgety says Christen Me has developed considerably in the off-season and he is certain he will be a better pacer this season. And even though he has all but been confirmed for a Miracle Mile invite on November 30, Dalgety says the New Zealand Cup remains Christen Me’s main aim. “He is handling the standing starts as good as we could hope for and that was the only thing that would have put us off the Cup.” While sub-55 second 800m sectionals are proving the norm in open class pacing so far this season, Dalgety is not letting that worry him as he counts down to Christen Me’s return in nine days. “The level has risen for everybody, with tracks getting better and the new sulkies faster,” said Dalgety. “But the bottom line is we still race each other, not the stopwatch and he has paced a 1:50.5 mile after all.” Meanwhile, New Zealand trotters Vulcan and Habibti have been winners in the Australian harness horse of the year awards. Vulcan, who won five group one races in March including four in Melbourne, was voted aged trotter of the year as well as overall trotter of the year. And Habibti, who won the NSW Oaks, Victoria Oaks and NSW Derby was voted three-year-old trotting filly of the year. Auckland Cup winner I’m Themightyquinn won Horse of the Year for the third time. By Michael Guerin (Harness Racing New Zealand)

The final drivers have been announced for the 68th Little Brown Jug. In the second elimination David Miller has selected Lucan Hanover (post #4). Beach Memories (post #5) will have the services of Yannick Gingras. Urbanite Hanover (post #7) will be driven by Ron Pierce. In the final $58,939 elimination, Andy Miller will stay with Johny Rock (post #4) allowing Corey Callahan to pick up the drive with Resistance Futile (post #2). Jug Undercard Filled with Millionares Six millionares are scheduled to compete in the LBJ undercard on Thursday, September 19. A Rocknroll Dance with career earnings of $2.411,629 is the richest of the millionares. He will take on Pet Rock ($1,632, 397) in the $51,250 Winbak Farm Pace. Pet Rock established a new world record of 1:47 2/5 in his last start in the $125,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs. The win snaped A Rocknroll Dance's three race win streak, all in 1:47 4/5 or better. The $125,000 Ms. Versitility Trot Final will be a showdown between Maven ($1,148,219), Cedar Dove ($1,101,080) and Beatgoeson Hanover ($1,123,580). Fred And Ginger is the lone millionare in the $10,000 Won The West Open pace. A Look Back 50 years at Overtrick, winner of the 1963 LBJ In 1963, Overtrick won the Little Brown Jug against arch rivals Meadow Skipper and Country Don setting seven World Records. Now, 50 years later, Overtrick was enshrined as an Immortal in Harness Racing’s Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY. The bay son of Solicator was bred and owned by Helen R. and Leonard J. Buck of Far Hills, NJ. Foaled in 1960, he was trained and driven by John Patterson, Sr. Overtrick raced from 1962 through 1964 and had a lifetime record of 50-34-10-0 including 15 two-minute miles and career earnings of $407,483. He was also voted "Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year" in 1962 and "Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year" in 1963. In 1962, no two-year-old Standardbred had a faster race time on a mile track than Overtrick’s 1:59.4 (tied with Meadow Skipper) and he was sole owner of the fastest two-year-old mile on a half-mile track (2:01.3). Winning efforts that year included the Little Pat Stake, McMahon Memorial and Ohio Standardbred Futurity at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. He finished his freshman season with a 16-10-3-0 record and $40,129 in earnings. In 1963, Overtrick became the fastest Standardbred to ever race on a half-mile track. His 1:57.1 mark in the first heat of the Little Brown Jug would help set seven World Records including the combined two-heat World Record of 3:54.4h. Other wins during his sophomore season included the Liberty Bell, Battle of Saratoga, Hanover-Hempt, Geers and Messenger Stakes. Overtrick finished his sophomore campaign with a 23-16-4-0 record and earnings of $208,833, the most ever for a 3-year-old pacer in a single season. Overtrick finished second to trotting triple crown winner, Speedy Scot in the voting for "Horse of The Year" in 1963. In 1964, Overtrick garnered season’s records for four-year-old horse on both a mile track (1:57.2) and half-mile track (1:59.1). Victories that year included the Realization Pace, International Pace (defeating the Immortal Cardigan Bay at 1 ½ miles) and the 1 ¼ mile Empire Pace. Despite being plagued by various injuries, he finished the season with an 11-8-3-0 record and $158,521 in the bank. Overtrick retired from the track as the ninth-leading money-winning Standardbred of all time. With each season, Overtrick’s winning and in-the-money percentages increased. As a two-year-old his winning percentage was 63 per cent and was in-the-money 81 per cent. As a three-year-old, 70 per cent and 87 per cent, and as a four-year-old, in spite of injuries which led to his premature retirement, his winning percentage was 73 per cent and was first or second in all 11 starts. Overtrick’s lifetime winning percentage of 68 percent compares topped several of his Immortal contemporaries, such as Meadow Skipper (44 per cent), Cardigan Bay (54 per cent in U.S.), and Bye Bye Byrd (52 per cent). Overtrick retired to stud at Lana Lobell Farm in Pennsylvania. He sired winners of over $22 million with one in 1:55—Shadydale Trixie, p,6, 1:54.3 $255,223—and 81 in 2:00. But his legacy was through his daughters. He was a top broodmare sire with over 600 two-minute credits. His daughters have produced winners of over $68 million, including Falcon Seelster p,3,1:51h ($1,121,045) and trotter Sandy Bowl 4,T1:54.1 ($1,299,199). Overtrick is the sire of Gidget Lobell, dam of No Nukes p,3,T1:52.1. In 1975, Overtrick was exported to Australia where he died in 1982 at the age of 22. Tom White, Publicity Director Emeritus

Following up from his stellar year in 2012, Im Themightyquinn NZ (Washington VC USA - Love Sign (NZ)), was today announced the 2013 Australian Harness Horse of the Year.   This is the third time he has won this coveted award. The gelding raced just 17 times during the 2012/13 season, saluting 12 times. Group level successes included the Mount Eden Sprint, Parliamentarians Cup, Western Australian Cup, Inter Dominion Heat and Inter Dominion Grand Final - amassing $1,077,610 in stakemoney along the way.   He also made a trip across the Tasman to win the Auckland Cup in March. Trained by Gary Hall Snr., driven by Gary Hall Jnr., and owned by Beth Richardson, Glen Moore, Gary Ralston, Mark Congerton, Joe Barber, Henry McManus and Karen Hall, Im Themightyquinn's lifetime statistics now reflect his greatness with 101 starts for 51 wins, 31 placings and stakes of $4,370,716. The HRA Australian Horse of the Year Awards are voted upon by over 60 judges including media and administrators spread across the country. The full list of Australian Horse of the Year winners and their performances across all categories is attached:             Lawn Derby Awards - Pacers             Vancleve Awards - Trotters

Sunraysia based harness racing trainer Shayne Cramp in all probability set a record that will never be broken, by winning the Victorian trainers premiership for season 2012/13 with a total of 155 winners, including 112 at the Mildura circuit. The reason being that a Mildura District trainer has NEVER ever won the title before. With Mildura being some 330 miles away from Melbourne, Shayne did a lot of travelling throughout the year, however the majority of wins were at his home track and Swan Hill in close proximity, with multiple victories becoming a regular occurrence. A young and enthusiastic trainer at 29 years of age, Shayne and his staff are a dedicated team looking after a large stable of around 16-20 horses at any given time. An added bonus for the season was that five members of the Cramp team – Jaccka Lauchie, Ima Grumpy Jasper, Jamies Boy, Shelby Cruzin and Real Magic finished in the first five order of the “Horse Of The Year” Award at Mildura. Even though the year had its ups and downs, Shayne is again looking forward to a successful season ahead.  by Len Baker

The Industry celebrated the 2012/13 season at the Victorian Industry Awards Night at Tabcorp Park on Thursday (September 12).  Congratulations to the connections of Caribbean Blaster, the Victorian Horse of the Year and Im Stately, Victorian Trotter of the Year. For the full list of winners click here.   The Year That Was The Industry Awards night was a very successful night.  Thank you to all the staff involved in the preparation for the night. In particular we thank Premier Denis Napthine for attending and delivering a stirring address. During the evening an excellent presentation was shown on the big screens entitled “The Year That Was” - voiced by Andrew Bensley and produced by Rob Gild.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to view the video by clicking here. Chris Alford What a year for Chris Alford.  Below are several stats/facts that illustrate the 2012/13 season achievements of Victoria’s superstar driver: Leading Victorian Driver with 287 wins; Leading Australian Driver with 295 wins; Drove 53 winners in the month of August, the most ever by a driver in a month, surpassing Kerryn Manning’s 48 in May 2002; Was the first person to drive the winners of the three heats of the Victoria Derby in February – Guaranteed, Lennytheshark and Macha; Has taken his overall winning tally to 4,971, closing in on being only the second driver to achieve 5,000 wins.  Gavin Lang was the first to achieve this outstanding feat. Chris is 9 years Gavin’s junior! It has been an unbelievable ride for Chris Alford since his first win on a horse called Spring Vance, trained by father Barry and part owned by yours truly, which beat favourite Victory Banner at Wangaratta back in 1984. 2012/13 Season Now that the 2012/13 season is behind us, here are some of the Victorian statistics that don’t make the headlines: 4,055 horses races; On average each horse raced 9.1 times; 823 horses earned in excess of $10,000; 20 horses earned in excess of $ 100,000; 15 drivers drove their first ever winner in a race; Top Victorian stakes earner – Caribbean Blaster - $450,000; Leading sire wins – Art Major (245 winners); Leading sire stakes – Bettors Delight ($2.25 million) Leading trotting sire – Sundon (90 wins); Second on the trotting sire list – Earl (54) who sadly passed away recently. Milestones/First Wins Rodney Petroff drove his 500th winner on Walky Talky at Ballarat on Saturday September 7; Josh Aiken drove his first winner (Chevals Racer) at Shepparton on September 11.  His father David trained a treble at the same meeting; Peter Wells became the oldest person to register a driving double.  Now in his 80th year Peter drove Dell Boy and Donkiri to victory at Ballarat on August 24.   Mildura Congratulations to the Mildura Club for increasing their contribution to stakes this season by 27% - up $30,000 to $140,000. It is a fantastic decision, which complements the recent HRV announcement.  Mildura will bring forward the HRV March rises to January.  And with the support of Mark Gurry and Associates and Seelite Windows and Doors, several features also get a rise in stakes. Well done to Barry Bottams, Mark Kemp and the Mildura Committee. Audio Visual Services For the past 16 years, Provideo has been producing the harness racing pictures which flow through to television screens and mobile devices around the world. Following an extensive tender process HRV recently announced that internationally renowned media distribution company Mediatec was successful in its bid and will commence as HRV’s contractor on November 1, 2013 for a five year period. While we look forward to a new era in broadcast services, I would like to pay tribute to Frank Verstrepen and his staff for the outstanding service HRV has received from Provideo over a long period of time. HRV’s announcement of the change can be seen by clicking here. Race Field Policy HRV charges a ‘Race Field Fee’ to wagering operators who bet on our product, such as interstate totes, corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges. While the Joint Venture with Tabcorp remains our principal funding source, Race Field Fees have become an important funding vehicle. HRV’s previous policy was to charge 1.5% on all turnover.  However from September 1 the HRV Board has approved a revised policy, which in summary is: Up to a threshold of $100,000 turnover per month the fee is 1% of turnover; For turnover in excess of $100,000 in a month the fee is 2% of turnover. Community Awards Two prominent harness racing identities have received awards from Corrections Victoria – recognising excellence and commitment in supervising offenders or prisoners performing community work: Les Chapman (Maryborough) has worked alongside offenders for over six years providing support and work opportunities.  George Crane (Hamilton) similarly provides supervision for offenders in his local area. Congratulations to both gentlemen on a great community service. Yarra Valley Congratulations are also extended to the Yarra Valley Club on the 10 year anniversary of the amalgamation of the two racing Clubs. Formerly comprising a separate thoroughbred club and harness club, the Yarra Valley model is a wonderful advertisement for co-operation between the trots and the gallops since the Club formed a single entity a decade ago. The milestone was celebrated at a gala function at the venue on August 31. Vale Harness racing has lost two of its elder statesmen recently: Jack Shelley, a prominent trainer for many years passed away in late August.  Jack maintained his A Grade trainers licence until 2008 – in his 91st year.  His son Brian continues the family tradition having been a licensed trainer/driver since the early 1990’s. I did not know Jack, however everyone speaks highly of his skill and he was certainly well regarded by industry participants; and   Long serving Ararat Committeeman Milton McKinnis passed away this week.  Milton was involved with the Ararat Club for over 50 years and served as both President and Vice President during that time.  Milton volunteered for many tasks at the Club and will be sadly missed. HRV’s condolences go out to the families of both these great servants of the trots industry.  

Caribbean Blaster has been named the 2012/13 Victorian Horse of the Year. In a unanimous decision, the horse from Andy and Kate Gath's Long Forrest stable enjoyed a breakout season on the Grand Circuit which saw a string of Group 1 performances. His win in the Victoria Cup will long be remembered as a triumph against adversity; starting from the extreme gate he was sent out a 30/1 chance but blew his rivals apart in the Tabcorp Park Melton straight. Leaving champions Im Themightyquinn and Smoken Up in his wake, he continued his brilliant early season form which saw him unplaced only three times in 14 starts. His Inter Dominion heat win was followed by an unlucky fifth in the Grand Final at Menangle. Many might have thought that would see him out for the season, but that wasn't the case. He returned to Melton in the Hot To Trot Stampede and produced a breathtaking performance to defeat his rivals by over 10 metres in the 1200-metre dash. Caribbean Blaster's season throughout 2012/13 demonstrated he has transformed into one of Australia's leading pacers. With a racetrack return not far off, the son of Bettors Delight is sure to be mixing it in each of the Grand Circuit races he contests in the next 12 months. Andy Gath spoke glowingly the morning after his superstar pacer received the honour. "It's not something you train horses to do, win awards, but it's a massive thrill when it comes up," Gath said. "We didn't really think about it until the nominations came out and then we thought we actually might win Horse Of The Year. "He'll come back this season and we all know how good he is, make no mistake there are some top horses out there like Bitobliss and Im Themightyquinn, it's just exciting to have our guy back next Friday." For the second year running a two-year-old has taken the Trotter of the Year award. Im Stately thoroughly dominated his juvenile squaregaiting rivals through the Vicbred Super Series and Breeders Crown. His flawless gait and high cruising speed made him a joy for punters and participants to watch as he crushed his competition in the season's biggest races. Last term's Trotter of the Year, Blitzthemcalder, took out the Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt or Gelding of the Year to make it consecutive wins in his age and gender category. A winner of the Great Northern Derby in New Zealand, he continued to carve out brilliant times and made it clear that when he is on song, there aren't many better squaregaiters in the land. The Industry Awards were also distributed for the participants who work tirelessly all year round and there weren't too many shocks. Based on premiership results, the Victorian State Trainer of the Year was taken by the Sunraysia's leading light, Shayne Cramp. Cramp took domination to a new level last season, training 155 winners at a strike-rate of over 30%. He was joined by Lance Justice who took the award for the Leading Metropolitan Trainer, one win clear of Geoff Webster. Chris Alford (Leading State Driver), Gavin Lang (Leading Metropolitan Driver) and Ellen Tormey (Leading Concession Driver) shared the honours driving honours for the past 12 months. The full list of award winners on the night has been compiled below. COMPLETE WINNERS LIST Victorian Horse of the Year - Caribbean Blaster Victorian Trotter of the Year - Im Stately Aged Pacer of the Year - Caribbean Blaster Aged Trotter of the Year - I Didnt Do It Mare of the Year - Blucolla Tigerpie 2YO Colt or Gelding of the Year (Pacing) - Major Secret 2YO Filly of the Year (Pacing) - Mindarie Priddy 2YO Colt or Gelding of the Year (Trotting) - Im Stately 2YO Filly of the Year (Trotting) - Claudys Princess 3YO Colt or Gelding of the Year (Pacing) - Guaranteed 3YO Filly of the Year (Pacing) - Itz Nosurprisesthere 3YO Colt or Gelding of the Year (Trotting) - Blitzthemcalder 3YO Filly of the Year (Trotting) - Spidergirl Victorian Trainer of the Year - Shayne Cramp Metropolitan Trainer of the Year - Lance Justice Victorian Driver of the Year - Chris Alford Metropolitan Driver of the Year - Gavin Lang Victorian Concession Driver of the Year - Ellen Tormey Harness Racing Victoria

Muscle Hill and Lucky Chucky, two of the greatest trotters raced in America in the last decade, will be available to breeders in New Zealand and Australia via frozen semen this season.   The deal has been secured by Stallions Australasia Ltd, a new company conducted by well known Christchurch harness identity Peter O’Rourke and Adelaide breeder-owner David Shammall.   “We are delighted to bring to ‘Down Under’ breeders the semen of these brilliant, young trotting stallions. They represent the future of the breeding of square-gaiters on a worldwide scale,” O’Rourke said.   Muscle Hill (3, 1:50.2), the fastest son of thrice premier sire Muscles Yankee, is the greatest stake winning trotter ever offered to Australasian breeders. He won a total of $3,273,342.    Beaten at his debut, Muscle Hill won the last 20 of the 21 races in which he competed, setting two world records and a string of stakes and track records.   As a two-year-old he won eight of his nine starts for $817,301 including the $700,000 Breeders Crown in a world record 1:53.6, $500,000 Peter Haughton Memorial, New Jersey Sire Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes, International Stallion Stakes and the Simpson Memorial and was named USA 2YO Trotter of the Year.   He took his record of 1:50.2 at three years, winning the $1.5-million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands by six lengths. He also captured the $617,000 Breeders Crown at Woodbine, $540,000 World Trotting Derby, $1-million Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity, netting $2,456,041 – a season’s record for a trotter or pacer.   Undefeated in 12 starts at 3, Muscle Hill was the unaminous choice for Horse of the Year and 3YO Trotter of the Year in both USA and Canada.   His first crop as two-year-olds this year is a splendid advertisement for him and they are making a real impact on the USA racing scene. In his first season he left 84 foals, and of these he had 48 to the races half way through their two-year-old season, and 27 are winners with 21 in 2:00. They have earned $540,574.   His progeny include Hill I Am (1:55.8), winner of the $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final in a stakes record, Pacific Winds K 1:55.4 (NJ Sires Stakes heat), Resolve 1:55.4, winner of the Kindergarten Classic in track record time, Chivaree Hanover 1:58.4 (Reynolds Memorial) Southwind Spirit 1:56.2 (Haughton elim. and Kindergarten Classic), Muscle On In 1:58.6 (Arden Downs) and the Historic Cup winner Cherry Hill Park (1:59).   Muscle Hill served full books in his first season at the prestige Southwind Farms, New Jersey. His service fee in Australia will be $11,000 including GST.   A son of the Hambletonian winner Windsong’s Legacy 1:53 ($1.7-million), and one of his last crop, Lucky Chucky dominated the juvenile trotting ranks in North America in 2009 and 2010.   As a two-year-old he posted nine wins, two seconds and a third from 12 starts for earnings of $667,649 and was named USA 2YO Trotter of the Year. Lucky Chucky numbered among his successes the $450,000 Valley Victory, the $166,800 Matron Final, divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes and an elimination of the Breeders Crown.   He also finished second in the $600,000 Breeders Crown Final at Woodbine and third in the $523,600 Peter Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands.   Lucky Chucky took his mark of 1:50.8 when he won a Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile.    His three-year-old season also included victories in the $1-million Canadian Trotting Classic and the $500,000 Colonial Trot – both in stakes and track records – as well as a gritty runner-up performance in the $1.5-million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands.   In all, Lucky Chucky won 14 of his 23 starts for $2,099,973, of which $1,432,324 was earned at 3 years. He was subsequently named 3YO Trotter of the Year and Trotter of the Year.   Lucky Chucky served 138 mares in his initial season at the stud in New Jersey. His first crop of yearlings will go to the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale in October. They show all the quality of his sire and give every impression of being likely to develop early speed.   He will be available in Australia for a fee of $5,500 including GST.   For bookings and further information contact Peter O’Rourke on 0011 64 21 346 401, Greg Ryan 0419 791 434 or Gayle Garrard 0427 033 094.   By Peter Wharton

Investigators from the Humane Society of Greater Rochester have been keeping a close watch on Rodney Farms in Wheatland. The Humane Society has received numerous calls over a few years from citizens concerned about the welfare of the horses there. “We have a stable owner who has been well respected in the community for years come under troubled times,” said Reno DiDomenico, director of the department of law enforcement at the Humane Society. “The Humane Society’s position has always been to help and educate, not always just enforce. We’ve been trying to work with Mrs. Galbraith and Rodney Farms for a number of years,” DiDomenico said. But conditions reached a turning point in the past several days and DiDomenico felt compelled to act. Investigators executed search warrants on Thursday and seized five of Barbara Galbraith’s horses that she had moved away from Rodney Farms after Aug. 28, when she was charged with three counts of failure to provide sustenance, a misdemeanor. “When we arrived at her property on Aug. 28, we found water troughs that were completely dry, and they didn’t have access to other water,” said Adrienne McHargue, director of communications and outreach at Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester. Each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Galbraith is scheduled to appear in Wheatland Town Court on Sept. 16. Galbraith, 64, of442 Scottsville-West Henrietta Road, could not be reached for comment. Nobody answered the door at her home Friday. After a February Democrat and Chronicle report detailed the situation at the farm, investigators started to monitor the situation more closely. Horses were not in immediate danger when investigators arrived in August, McHargue said. Galbraith was issued an appearance ticket and the horses were fed and given water. Galbraith still has about 25 more horses. Shortly after that, Lollypop officials got tips telling them Galbraith was moving the horses off the property to several locations. Concerned citizens, McHargue said, told investigators where the horses had been taken. Five of Galbraith’s horses, all underweight, were brought to Lollypop on Thursday. The investigation is continuing, said DiDomenico. DiDomenico said investigators have checked on the horses, often by looking in from the edge of the road, dozens of times over the past few years. The seized animals include three stallions and two mares. One stallion is about 25 years old. The other horses are all about 2 or 3 years old. Galbraith permanently signed the oldest horse over to the Humane Society, DiDomenico said. The condition of the horses are ranked on a scale ranging from one through nine. Five is an ideal score. A lower score signifies an underweight horse. A higher score is an overweight horse. The oldest horse seized was scored one. The others were scored two. Those who took in the horses for Galbraith won’t be charged — moving the horses wasn’t against the law. But any in need of care will be taken to Lollypop, McHargue said. Rodney Farms has a proud history: Two-time Horse of the Year Niatross trained there under Galbraith’s husband, harness racing Hall of Fame reinsman and trainer Clint Galbriath. Niatross’ success elevated Clint and the farm to the top of the racing game, and helped the farm expand to more than 120 racing horses, Barbara said. The racing horses and brood mares nearly filled the 208-stall main barn and 20-stall receiving barn. Each 12-by-12 stall was equipped with automatic waterers and individual infrared heaters. But the farm has struggled for years, and Clint Galbraith’s serious head injury a few years ago made the already shaky two-person operation untenable. The cost and workload of running a working horse farm and breeding operation has been overwhelming, Barbara Galbraith said earlier this year. Massive holes in the roof of the once beautiful main barn let in the snow and wind. Most of the 200 stalls have broken doors and bent bars; only about 30 are usable. by Bennett J. Loudon (reprinted with permission by (www.democratandchroniclel.com)

Winning three feature races on the Launceston circuit was enough for talented free-for-aller Greysteel to win the Launceston Club’s Horse of the Year award. Greysteel emerged triumphant in the $20,000 City of Launceston Cup, $10,000 Golden Mile and the $10,000 Launceston Mile. The Zeke Slater-trained grey gelding had eight starts on the Mowbray track for three wins and two minor placings. The award, which is for performances on the Mowbray track only, is decided upon by an independent panel of judges. The Launceston Pacing Club’s other awards were decided by points accumulated throughout the season. Riverboat Jasper was named 3YO of the year courtesy of him winning six of his nine starts at The TOTE Racing Centre while Tessanzo was mare of the year winning four of her 16 starts. All of the above mentioned winners are likely to poll well in the statewide horse of the year awards that will be announced at the Tasmanian harness Racing Awards dinner at Wrest Point casino in Hobart on September 21. by Peter Staples

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