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Horse Racing New Brunswick will host a superb Saturday afternoon harness racing card at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B as the coveted Milton Downey stakes for two-year-olds take center stage.   Named in honour of Saint John businessman and racing pioneer, Milton Downey, the race will see a total of three divisions, two colt and one filly for a combined purse of close to $20,000.   First division in race three will see a colt part-owned by Saint John interests Gary Mott, and Robert Tilley. Steel Reefer, a two-time winner this season for Saint John Hall of Fame trainer/ driver Gilles Barrieau has drawn post one.   In six lifetime starts, the son of Steelhead Hanover has two-wins, three seconds and close to $ 17,000 in the bank. He has a record this season of 1:57.2 taken at Summerside Raceway. Wayne MacRae of Nova Scotia also owns a share of the colt.   He will be tested by the five entry Woodmere Alvin and the talented driver Redmond Doucet in the bike. He has shown consistency with five on the board finishes from seven starts, including a 1:59.1 victory.   Division two of the colts looks to be a battle of two more Steelhead Hanover colts and a colt by State Treasurer. Jason Hughes will pilot Justcallmedoc who has a charted line of 1:55.4 two starts back. Barrieau has post two with Dustylanegoliath who was second to sensational Woodmere Stealdeal in his last mile, charted in 1:56.4.   Rounding out the big three in division two is Saltwater Savage who has been a force to be reckoned with all season. He has four-wins from five starts, including a record of 1:56.4. Mark Bradley will pilot the top contender.   In the lone filly division, Need To Know from outside five and a red-hot Jason Hughes brings a solid resume to Saint John with three wins and three seconds in six starts. The daughter of Warawee Needy has a lifetime speed badge of 1:59.   Tobins Brownie is another one to watch for from the Jonah Moase stable who has a victory to her credit this year in 1:58.4. Woodmere Stella, from post one has the second highest earnings this season in the race and the Earl Smith pupil will have Gilles Barrieau in the sulky.   Saturday's big card also will see the Roddy Goguen Memorial Pace that is slated as the finale of the afternoon. Gold Cup and Saucer finalist and local entry Father Ofthe Year is the morning line favourite and has paced both of his last two miles in the 1:53 change.   Horse Racing New Brunswick would like to extend their gratitude to all of the horsemen and women who are shipping in for the afternoon of racing and welcome fans back to the track after a brief hiatus to allow local entries to take part in other cards in the Maritimes.   Post time is 1:00 P.M at the Saint John oval with wagering available in Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton and through HPIBet on-line.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB    

This Saturday, Horse Racing New Brunswick will host the Maritimes largest harness racing purse event in stake races this season as the Barrieau/McIsaac stake goes for $40,000 and has drawn a full field of starters.   Named in honor of Rufin Barrieau & Francis McIsaac, the race will go as race six on the seven dash program which gets underway at 1:00 P.M at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John.   Tobins Rebel has been listed as the morning line favourite and will be driven by Moncton native Gilles Barrieau, the nephew of Rufin Barrieau fow owner Dan Ross of Price Edward Island.   There are three New Brunswick pacers entered in the rich stake which include Little Manny, J J Austin and Bouttagetlucky. It's the largest purse of the season for stake horses and second only to the prestigious Gold Cup & Saucer in Prince Edward Island later this month.   by Scott Waddell, for Horse Racing New Brunswick    

This past Saturday, at a jam packed venue in Quispamsis, New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association doled out their best of 2017.   Here is a list of 2017 winners:   2 yr old colt Tobins Optimism   2 yr old filly Maybeitsmaybelline   3 yr old colt Colin N Down   3 yr old filly Kinda Like Her   Claimer of the Year Best Escape Route   Aged Horse Fall Bliss   Aged Mare Best Old Time Robbie Award K D Overdrive   Top Driver of the Year Todd Trites   Top Trainer of the Year Harold Defazio   Horse of the Year Kinda Like Her   Owner of the Year Harold Defazio   There was a packed house at the Royal Canadian Legion # 58 in Quispamsis, New Brunswick. Also on the evening, Sandra Defazio took home a grand prize of $ 1000 which was split with track announcer and racing director at Horse Racing New Brunswick.   by Scott Waddell, for Horse Racing New Brunswick

Horse Racing New Brunswick are very pleased to announce that effective today, they have launched a new website which replaces the old page.   Also included on the new page are race day picks provided by analyst Kurtis Johnston, a link to the updated URL that takes users to stream live racing cards, and up to date contact information.   Horse Racing New Brunswick apologizes for any inconvenience stemming from the technical difficulties on the old site, but they welcome everyone to check the new look at:   http://www.horseracingnb.com   Officials from Horse Racing New Brunswick will be adding additional information in the coming days and week's and welcome any feedback on the new page.   by Scott Waddell, for Horse Racing New Brunswick            

Horse Racing New Brunswick played host to the final harness racing card for 2016 on Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Todd Trites was crowned the tracks driving champion on Saturday. He is a former Maritime dash winning driver and one of the most popular catch drivers on the circuit.   Meanwhile, Saturdays fastest mile was turned in by the best pacer in New Brunswick this season. Dr. Mitchell Downey guided Fall Bliss to victory in the days top class in 1:59.1.   A son of Blissful Hall, Fall Bliss scored his 11th win of 2016 racing campaign. Three-year-old K D Overdrive was runner up in the days main event.   That wraps up the 2016 racing season that saw a total of fifteen race dates. Horse Racing New Brunswick would like to thank all horsemen for their support along with everyone who played a part in the success of this past season.    

Multiple award winning harness racing driver Gilles Barrieau will see action this Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Horse Racing New Brunswick will host the provinces last race card of the harness racing season after this past Monday's card was cancelled due to poor weather and track conditions.   Saturday's top-class on Saturday afternoon will include the provinces top overnight horse of 2016 in New Brunswick, Fall Bliss. Dr. Mitchell Downey will pilot the pacer from post-five in race five.   Meanwhile, three-year-old stakes winner K D Overdrive will have Gilles Barrieau in the bike from post-two in the afternoon's $ 1350 main event on the five-dash program.   Horse Racing New Brunswick would like to thank all horsemen, volunteers, staff and everyone who made racing in New Brunswick possible for the 2016 racing season.   Post time for race one at Exhibition Park Raceway is scheduled for a 1:00 P.M start.   Scott Waddell

Horse Racing New Brunswick officials have announced that this past weekends cancelled harness racing card will be made up this Saturday in Saint John.   Condition sheet now available on Standardbred Canada for the October 15th program scheduled for 1:00 P.M.   Draw will be held this week on Thursday so horsemen are asked to have entries in the box by 10:00 A.M.    

Horse Racing New Brunswick will close out the provinces harness racing schedule for 2016 on Monday, October 10th at 1:00 P.M at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Six races are scheduled with the track's driving title on the line. Todd Trites has one more win than Dr. Mitch Downey going into the afternoon's action.   Trites, a former Maritime driving champion has been hot of late coming off a three win performance last week. He will have the advantage as he is driving in all six races.   Downey meanwhile will drive two on the day including the top overnight pacer of 2016 in the province. Fall Bliss. He will see action in the final of the season in the top-class of the afternoon.   Horse Racing New Brunswick extends thanks and best wishes on this Thanksgiving weekend to fans, horsemen, volunteers, and everyone who made 2016 racing possible in New Brunswick.

Horse Racing New Brunswick will feature a five dash harness racing program on Saturday which includes a $ 1350 feature as part of the program.   Fall Bliss and Dr. Mitchell Downey will look to get back to his winning ways in the featured race from post-five. He was a fourth place finisher in his last outing in the Jennie and Joe Chippin Memorial at Fredericton pacing his mile in 1:55.4.   He will lock heads with four other rivals including his stable mate Father Of The Year who sports five victories in just eight starts this year including a 1:56 win south of the border at Bangor Raceway.   Other starters in Saturday's top-class include Wave That Banner ( Scott Hubbard ), Skippy ( Mark Haig ) and HP Bashido Dragjet ( Todd Trites ). Post time is slated for 1:00 P.M on Saturday with free admission and parking.   Meanwhile going into Saturday's live racing card, Todd Trites leads all drivers at the Saint John track with seven-wins this season. That's two ahead of both Scott Hubbard and Dr. Mitchell Downey.   Scott Waddell

This weekend will mark the end of a shortened season of harness racing at Fredericton Raceway. The big question that remains is whether it is the final card of racing ever in the long and storied history of Canada's Oldest Racetrack. On September 28, 1887 harness racing began in Fredericton at its current location, on site at the Fredericton Exhibition Grounds. In 2009 Horse Racing New Brunswick took over operations after Fredericton Exhibition Limited indicated that due to their dire financial situation they could not continue racing. HRNB was formed as the provincial governing body for the industry. President Kathy McLean hopes this isn't the end. "Hope is a word we use a lot of in harness racing in New Brunswick these days, although its becoming tough to keep that hope up" she says when asked about whether a long term lease arrangement will be completed between HRNB and the Fredericton Exhibition Ltd group or FEL. "We have asked and offered to meet to discuss a long term arrangement to provide stability to one of the cornerstones of New Brunswick racing however FEL has refused citing pending litigation". McLean is referring to a lawsuit HRNB has initiated against FEL for locking HRNB out of its VLT, simulcast and bar businesses at Winners Lounge located adjacent to Fredericton Raceway. On Monday, May 16, 2016 HRNB attempted to pay FEL for the property taxes to utilize the building housing Winners Lounge and the entire racetrack area. The lease arrangement stated the taxes were due Sunday, May 15, 2016 however HRNB had 30 days to be compliant. Property tax payment was refused by FEL's Mike Vokey and at approximately 3am on May 17, 2016 the locks were changed to Winners Lounge by FEL. A few days later, Justice Paulette Garnett granted an injunction allowing HRNB and its employees to return to work at Winners Lounge. McLean added that the amount of damages, revenues lost and legal fees is "north of $85,000". Something she says "is tough to lose given the state of the industry". "We really want our harness members and our stakeholders to know just how hard HRNB has been working to solve this difficult situation. FEL has cited the lawsuit as grounds not to meet to discuss a long term lease, however HRNB's lawyer contends that these lawsuits shouldn't stop the process. We actually proposed dropping both our lawsuit and their countersuit at the signing of a new long term lease." Under the current lease arrangements that are set to expire December 31, 2016, HRNB must meet certain financial criteria. First was payment of the property taxes for 2016, a total of $33,209.61 which have been paid in full. Second were monthly payments to a "capital fund" of $3,272.73. This fund now totals approximately $26,178.36. The designation for this fund was capital improvements to the buildings at Fredericton Raceway but the decisions are ultimately left up to the discretion of FEL. "The most worrisome part of this mess is our horse people. Come December 31, 2016 will they be evicted? Will they be allowed back to train in the spring? Its a stressful time for HRNB and for members of the NBSBOA," says McLean. "The next troubling part is the pending loss of our VLT business. If there isn't a long term lease signed very soon, ALC has indicated they will reassign the VLT's from Winners to more stable locations in the Fredericton area. This means the damages portion of our lawsuit skyrockets and lots of jobs lost". Although she wouldn't speculate on how high the lawsuit number could go if ALC pulls the VLT's from Winners Lounge and HRNB, McLean says she's "hopeful but not optimistic. Yeah, that would sum up how HRNB is feeling at this point. So, when the wings close on the Trius Truck Centre Starting Gate and track announcer Brock McEachern says "away they GO" in the Chippin Memorial, which is the feature and final race on Saturday's card, the horses really could be going away from Fredericton Raceway. For good. Mitchell Downey      

Horse Racing New Brunswick will host by far it's best program of the 2016 harness racing season Saturday at Fredericton Raceway, Saturday's jam packed, action filled program features two of the most prestigious events in the province, In total, eleven races will be held at the capital city racetrack with post-time for race one slated to go at 1:00 P.M. Three divisions of the classic Bill Quigg Memorial stake will take place with one filly division and two races for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. All three events will feature lucrative purses of $ 10,100 each. Race eight will feature three-year old New Brunswick home bred pacer Jackson K Down. Steve Mason will send out the son of Articulator for catch-driver Gilles Barrieau, He was born locally in Quispamsis, N.B by the well known Downey family carrying on Milton Downey's legacy of breeding and raising horses in the province. Jackson K Down has never been worse than second in twenty-three lifetime starts which includes sixteen trips to victory lane. He has earned over $ 85,000 for the Downey Stables of Quispamsis, N.B. Also featured on Saturday's mammoth program is the Jennie & Joe Chippin Memorial invitational. Prince Edward Island owned D Gs Camme will take on four other rivals in the $ 7000 event. Gilles Barrieau will guide the pacer post-two for the Jackie Matheson stable. He sports a seasons best performance at Truro Raceway winning in 1:53.2. He also appeared in the final of this year's Gold Cup and Saucer in P.E.I. This is just the second time his career that he has raced in the province of New Brunswick. Post one belongs to O K Galahad who is fresh off a win in Saint John's Milton Downey invitational pace. He also has won twice in P.E.I this year of 1:54.4. Other starters include Big Surf, Smiley Bayama and Fall Bliss, Another race to watch is the Albert Goodine Memorial pace for $ 3500 that honors the memory of the long time local businessman and horse owner. City Of The Year will look for his third straight win for Mike Downey. Once again, Horse Racing New Brunswick extends monumental thanks to the sponsors, horsemen, the many volunteers and of course, the fans for supporting yet another great week of exhibition week racing at Fredericton Raceway. Scott Waddell 

Horse Racing New Brunswick, in partnership with the Woodstock Driving Club and it's sponsors present a seven-dash harness racing program at Connell Park in Woodstock, New Brunswick on Friday evening starting at 7:00 P.M.   Racing is a long standing tradition at the half-mile oval and part of Old Home week celebrations at the New Brunswick track. Horse Racing New Brunswick and the Woodstock organizers are expecting a large and enthusiast fan base on Friday night.   Friday night's featured event will be the Kelti Burnett Memorial pace which carries with it an attractive purse of $ 6000 thanks to the sponsors of the prestigious race. Corey Ford, one of New Brunswick's leading dealerships, along with the McCain family are sponsoring the nights events.   Now to the field of pacers assembled for the premier event of the night. Representing the Downey Stables are two pacers who have been a sold combination the last few weeks in New Brunswick.   Fall Bliss, driven by Dr. Mitchell Downey leads the charge from the coveted rail position. He is the provinces top pacer this season and will face a fierce challenge not only from his stable mate City Of The Year for Mike Downey but invitees from Prince Edward Island.   Downey's charge Fall Bliss is coming off four consecutive wins. He will have his hands full with P.E.I pacers Forever Paradise and Jeb who ship in for the event chasing the lucrative purse along with Machinthesand with catch-driver Todd Trites,   Horse Racing New Brunswick, it's President Kathy McLean Harvey and organizers would like to thank everyone who made this week's racing at Connell Park in Woodstock a success, and helped to carry on another tradition in the provinces racing history.   Scott Waddell

Ramblinglily, one of Atlantic Canada's premier pacing mares came to Woodstock, New Brunswick on Monday afternoon and returned a harness racing winner for co-owner Allan Jones in the sulky.   Horse Racing New Brunswick in partnership with the Woodstock Jockey Club hosted a six-dash program on the civic holiday.   Leaving from post-five, the mare was on top early and never looked back as she turned away the first-up challenger, City Of The Year ( Dr. Mitchell Downey ) to score her 43rd career victory.   Norman Leger shares ownership in the mare who stopped the tele-timer in 1:59.2 for the victory. Momara rallied nicely for third in the $ 1350 top-class.   Racing will continue on Friday night with the Kelti Burnett Memorial invitational for $ 5000 and the Eagles Nest Jr. Invitational for $ 2000.   Scott Waddell    

The ongoing battle between Fredericton Exhibition Limited (FREX) and Horse Racing New Brunswick (HRNB) is directly affecting more than the two warring sides — harness racing stable users are feeling helpless over the developing situation. “The horsemen have been somewhat caught in the middle,” said Sam Hodgin, President of the NB Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association. The battle really turned sour last month when FREX decided property taxes for the year must paid up front, rather than monthly in previous years. When HRNB didn’t pay, FREX took action, locking HRNB out of their offices. The move was quickly taken back due to not providing 30 days notice. “We were able to get them to get their taxes in line,” FREX Executive Director Mike Vokey said. “This is the first year that that’s happened since I’ve been here.” “The organization is three years behind in their financial so we can’t look at it and really understand what the costs are and where the revenues are going,” Vokey said. “We know there’s a cost to running races but we provide the facility … for only a dollar. The only obligations they have really come down to running a full season of racing, paying the property taxes and looking after the property.” On Tuesday one of the Exhibition’s eleven water meters was shut off temporarily, taking HRNB by surprise. The metres used for track maintenance and not consumption by the horses. FREX says they were shut off for a routine check, and that a a lack of communication is to blame for the confusion, as they needed to check the meters to ensure all water bills were being paid, but weren’t able to meet with HRNB’s President. “We could’ve sped up the process if we would’ve met in person,” Vokey said. While Vokey and HRNB work out their differences, horse owners say they’re caught in the crossfire. “They’re both working hard to try to run their own business,” Hodgin said. “But the horsemen are the ones right now that are kind of — we really don’t have any say in it, but we’re the ones being affected by losing our race dates.” The originally planned HRNB scheduled would have seen 10 races in Fredericton, the same amount as last year. Saint John would be bumped from a single race to 10, with three more taking place in Woodstock. However, according to the posted schedule, HRNB is now only hosting three races in Fredericton this year — a drop that isn’t welcome for those looking to race in the New Brunswick capital. “I’m just hoping that the two sides, Fredericton Exhibition and Horse Racing New Brunswick realize that the only way that we’re going to go forward is to work together,” Hodgin said. “Not try to take from one another.” HRNB didn’t respond to Global News’ request to comment on the situation. By Jeremy Keefe Reprinted with permission of the Globalnews.ca site

The locks on Winners Lounge and the offices of Horse Racing New Brunswick were changed overnight by Fredericton Exhibition Ltd. Roberta Nixon said after Winners closed around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, the bar's manager was contacted by its alarm company and told alarms were sounding. The bar manager returned to Winners to find Fredericton police, security, Mike Vokey, the Fredericton Exhibition's executive director, and a locksmith. "They've locked us out," said Nixon. who is the executive director of Horse Racing New Brunswick. "We cannot access our bar, our simulcast, our Coasters, or our head office and all of our business operations." Lease breaches Vokey said the exhibition's board of directors voted to take the action after numerous lease breaches by Horse Racing New Brunswick. Nixon said as of Sunday, her organization "didn't owe them a penny." Nixon said property taxes of about $36,000 were due on Sunday and when a cheque for that amount was delivered to Vokey on Monday, he refused to accept it without opening it. Vokey said the attempted late payment of property taxes is one of the lease breaches involved. "It was due on the 15th and they were told to have it in on the Friday to make sure it was in by the 15th and that didn't take place," Vokey said. Vokey said by the time the attempted cheque delivery was made on Monday afternoon, the exhibition's board of directors had already decided to take the action that unfolded early Tuesday morning. VLTs shut down Winners is a popular Coasters lounge with 25 video lottery terminals owned by the Atlantic Lottery Corp. In a good two-week period, Nixon said, the VLTs provide Horse Racing New Brunswick with about $15,000 as its share of the revenue from the machines. It is not clear when Winners Lounge will reopen. Vokey said the plan will "kind of develop on its own" in the near future. "I think the Exhibition's hope would be it continues and the VLTs remain there and the property continues under some new management," he said. "It is possible HRNB could come to the table and negotiate a new lease for it, but it would be a lease that is different and more substantial and protected the interests of the Exhibition." Fredericton Exhibition Ltd. "is prepared to" take over operating Winners Lounge, said Vokey. "It was certainly not a goal that we've ever talked about," he said. Atlantic Lottery spokeswoman Christine Manore said the corporation is aware of the situation. "This is between the retailer and the landlord," said Manore. "At this time, Atlantic Lottery is evaluating the situation." Only 3 race dates Vokey said the lease agreement also states there is to be a "full schedule" of harness racing at Fredericton Raceway, but this year only three race dates are scheduled for Fredericton. "That's an important term because we provide that space for harness racing," said Vokey. "It's provided for $1 a year. "In exchange for getting it for a dollar, they have certain conditions they are expected to meet." Nixon said "because of money" the number of harness racing dates in the province this year was reduced to 16 from 21, with Fredericton getting three of those dates.  Nixon said Horse Racing New Brunswick has about $150,000 in operational costs on the Fredericton Exhibition grounds, including the $36,000 in property taxes. "We pay all of the power, the water, sewer, all of the maintenance and repair, all the groundskeeping, all the snowplowing." By Alan White, CBC News Reprinted with permission of the cbc.ca/news site

There's been a buzz recently around the racetracks in New Brunswick as another harness racing season is just around the corner in the picturesque province. Horsemen have been very fortunate this season with the co-operation by mother nature as we experienced a much less bolder winter than we had last season. With still no support from the provincial government, the horsemen remain focused and optimistic for the upcoming season. This means that not as many days were missed by both returning race horses as well as stake hopefuls prepping for the 2016 lucrative stakes season. Speaking to Debbie Mahar, she reports that Saint John has been a bee-hive of activity and also states that the track in Saint John is having maintenance done on it this weekend to improve the track for the coming spring training season and for racing preparations. Tentatively, the 2016 racing season in New Brunswick is set to begin on Monday, May 23rd with an annual holiday card at Canada's oldest racetrack, Fredericton Raceway. Qualifying dates are expected to be announced shortly by Horse Racing New Brunswick. by Scott Waddell, for the HRNB  

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