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Beach Memories, P H Supercam, and Polak A will try to remain unbeaten in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series on Saturday at Yonkers Raceway, but Beach Memories will do it from a new barn. The 5-year-old pacer has moved from the harness racing stable of trainer Ron Burke to trainer Scott DiDomenico. Saturday's third round of the Levy Series features four divisions, with P H Supercam competing in the first division, Polak A in the third and Beach Memories in the fourth. All three horses are 2-for-2 in the series and tied for the top spot in the series standings. A trainer can enter only one horse per preliminary-round division, and later only two in each of the series final and consolation, and Burke co-owns four Levy participants - Bettor's Edge, Clear Vision, Foiled Again, and Take It Back Terry - in addition to training Beach Memories for owners Strollin Stable, AWS Stables, King McNamara, and Country Club Acres Inc. Country Club Acres' Jim Koehler said Burke suggested the barn change for Beach Memories and recommended DiDomenico. Burke trained previous Strollin Stable and Country Club Acres standout Won The West. "I'm sure if the (series) conditions were different, he'd keep the horse," Koehler said. "But he was getting concerned about being able to race all the horses if there were fewer divisions. He owns all those other horses (in the series). I don't blame him for that. He's always treated us very fairly. He's an amazing guy." Beach Memories has won two of five races this year and earned $65,300. For his career, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Allamerican Memoir has won 16 of 61 starts and $600,404. The gelding, who captured the 2013 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, was trained by Brian Brown until last November. "I don't think he's a Won The West, you don't find two or three of them, but I know he's got potential," Koehler said. "If he gets the lead, he's tough to pass. "I think the (Levy) is one of the most interesting series in harness racing," he added. "It's a lot of fun. We just hope we race well." Beach Memories won both his Levy prelims by a neck; the first in 1:52.2 and last week in 1:53. He drew post five in Saturday's third round. "It's pretty neat to get a horse like this," DiDomenico said. "The owners called me the other day and I thought they were pulling my leg. People don't usually call you with one like this. Fortunately Ronnie has a lot of quality horses and fortunately I was the one to get the call." P H Supercam drew post two in his third-round division, which includes no other horse in the Levy's top 10. He is trained by Jeff Bamond Jr. and driven by Jason Bartlett. Polak A, with Brian Sears listed to drive for trainer Tony O'Sullivan, got post three in his split, which also includes Michael's Power and Foiled Again. Michael's Power is fourth in the series standings and Foiled Again is tied for seventh with Dancin Yankee, Sapphire City, and Windsong Jack. Bettor's Edge, who is tied with Warrawee Needy for fifth in the series, headlines the remaining division, which also includes Sapphire City and Windsong Jack. Dancin Yankee and Warrawee Needy are among the horses who will attempt to beat Beach Memories in the fourth division. They drew posts one and seven, respectively. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Star Tasmanian-owned and bred pacer Beautide delivered an early message to his likely harness racing opponents in the upcoming Len Smith Mile when he powered his way to an impressive trial win over 1609 metres at Menangle yesterday. Beautide was having his first hit-out since winning his second Inter Dominion Championship at Menangle last month. With his trainer James Rattray in the sulky, Beautide began well from the outside gate (8) and settled second behind the leader. When Rattray eased his stable star off the fence to challenge he quickly drew alongside the leader and went on to easily win the trial by a metre. Beautide stopped the clock at 1.54.7 and ran home his last half mile (800m) in 55.3 seconds without being fully extended. He is likely to have another trial before trying to make it successive Len Smith Miles with that Group 1 race over 1609m to be run at Menangle on April 26. Watch trial: courtesy of TrotsTV Peter Staples

The connections of 63 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings have made the first sustaining payment to remain eligible to this year's Pepsi North America Cup. The $1 million showcase, to be contested on Saturday, June 20 at Mohawk Racetrack, is Canada's richest harness race. Headlining the top-notch group of sophomore pacers is O'Brien and Dan Patch Award winner Artspeak. The Tony Alagna-trainee put together a fantastic rookie campaign last season, that saw the son of Western Ideal capture the Metro Pace and Governors Cup Artspeak is only the third horse (Artsplace and Jeremes Jet) to win the Metro Pace and Governors Cup in the same season, however he could become the first to go on and win the Pepsi North America Cup the following season. O'Brien Award finalist Go Daddy Go, multiple stakes-winner In The Arsenal and winter-series standout Wiggle It Jiggleit are just a few of the notables that remain eligible to this year's 'Cup.' As excitement builds towards the 31st edition of Canada's richest harness race, the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) has unveiled the official event logo for the 2015 edition of the Pepsi North America Cup. All members of the WEG creative team had an opportunity to create a logo with a committee making the final selection of this year's event logo. The selected logo pays homage to both sides of the border by incorporating a pattern of the maple leaf and stars along with the colours of Canada, the United States and the title sponsor, Pepsi. "The symbols of the star and leaf helps support the rivalries theme of the Pepsi North America Cup," said Ken McConnachie, Creative Director for WEG "The chosen logo is bold with a sports-team type feel. The new logo can work in all sizes and applications, from print to broadcasting." The 31st edition logo will be used on merchandise, advertising and in other material leading up to the big race on June 20. A full list of the 63 horses that remain eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup can be viewed below. ALLBEEF N NOBULL AMERICANPRIMETIME AMORA BEACH ARQUE HANOVER ARTSPEAK ASAP HANOVER AZOREAN ART BERKLEY BETTING EXCHANGE BRING ON THE BEACH CAMTURO ROCK CORSICA HALL DEALT A WINNER DERBY DALE DRACHAN HANOVER DUDES THE MAN EDWARD TEACH FIRST CLASS HORSE FREEDOMFORMYSOUL GALLIC BEACH GO DADDY GO GOOD FRIDAY THREE HARFO HANOVER HURRIKANE ALI IF YOU WANT FIRE IN THE ARSENAL JO PAS WELL SAID JOE HILL LYONS AGAIN LYONS GEOFFJNR LYONS LEVI LEWIS MAXDADDY BLUE CHIP MIKES POWERHOUSE MITT JAGGER MOHEGAN BLUE CHIP MULLET BLUE CHIP ONEISALONELYNUMBER PAPARAZZI HANOVER PENJI HANOVER PHYSICALLYINCLINED PIERCE HANOVER RANDYS PLAN REVENGE SHARK REVEREND HANOVER RICH WISDOM ROCK N ROLL WORLD ROCK THE NITE ROCKIN IN HEAVEN ROCKNTOUCH SICILY SOMWHEREONTHEBEACH SPLIT THE HOUSE SPORTS BETTOR SPORTS IMAGE STOVER THE SPY THE WAYFARING MAN TRACEUR HANOVER TRADING UP WAKIZASHI HANOVER WELL WELL WELL WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT YANKEE BOUNTY   ​Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - (Tuesday, March 31, 2015) Jimmy Marohn Jr. has been one of harness racing's best kept secrets over the past few years and in case you've missed it, Jimmy Marohn Jr. has officially arrived at The Meadowlands. That may sound foolish given that Marohn is now 33 and nearing 3,000 wins in his career. But Marohn is clearly in the midst of what must be described as his breakout season. Since it's opening in 2006, Marohn has been one of the leading drivers at Tioga Downs. In fact, he is the three-time defending leading driver at the track, winning 235 races at Tioga since 2012 for earnings of over $1.6 Million. Tioga Downs opening day is slated for May 2nd, and Marohn had to decide, will he continue to drive at The Meadowlands each weekend, or will he venture to Tioga where he typically drives the best horses on the grounds and aim for a fourth consecutive driving title over the Nichols, New York oval? Faced with the most difficult decision of his young career, Marohn has decided to remain at The Meadowlands on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the championship meet. For Marohn, the time is now to strike while the iron is hot. He is planning to drive at Tioga Downs on Sundays, but he will call The Meadowlands home for the rest of the season. In addition, Marohn will continue to drive at Monticello and Freehold during the week. "It's been a difficult decision to choose whether to go back to Tioga or take a new route in my career and continue with the meet at the Meadowlands," said Marohn. "Tioga has always been good to me, which I am extremely grateful for. It wasn't an easy decision, but in life you have to take risks in order to be successful and this is one of those moments. So I'm going to stay the summer at the Meadowlands." Meadowlands C.E.O/General Manager Jason Settlemoir, has known Marohn for a long time and is optimistic about his future. "It has been a privilege to have had Jimmy at Tioga all these years, and we look forward to seeing him on Sundays. But I am also filled with excitement for him as he takes on this new venture in his career. The way he has been driving, now is the time for him to take on this challenge. Simply put, he is the consummate professional and I wish him the best of luck during our Championship Meet at The Meadowlands." Through Monday, Marohn is sitting on 108 wins, good for eighth (8th) in the country. With the first quarter of the racing calendar concluding, Marohn is on pace for over 430 wins and earnings beyond $2.1 Million. Both would surpass his career best season of 390 wins and $1.76 Million in earnings. But beyond the numbers, it is what Marohn has done at The Meadowlands this winter that has people talking. Amazingly, it has been more than 10 years since Marohn earned his first driving victory at The Meadowlands with SJ's Tostitos in a $20,000 Claiming Handicap Trot in December of 2004. But over the last decade, Marohn's wins have been rather sporadic, never winning more than three races in a meet at The Big M until last season, when Marohn won 10 races. But this meet, Marohn has elevated his game to a new level, winning 25 races. That number is more wins than Marohn has earned at the East Rutherford oval in the last 10 years combined. One of Marohn's best qualities is his humble nature, which was evident in this statement. "It feels really good to matter there," referring to The Meadowlands. Marohn has hooked up with trainer Daniel Gill, whom he has won many races for in New York over the past several years and trainer Rob Harmon, who's stable has been very live to start the season. "Both trainers have been an important part in my success at the Meadowlands," referring to Gill and Harmon , "and I am grateful to have the opportunity to drive for them consistently. In this game you need trainers with good horses that will give you a shot and will stick with you. I have been fortunate to be able to drive for both trainers." At present, Marohn sits tenth (10th) in the driver standings at The Meadowlands. The most impressive aspect of his season thus far is that he has made it into the top 10 in The Meadowlands drivers colony, while driving in less races than all nine drivers in front him. In fact, Marohn's 203 drives is 70 less than Ron Pierce who is the next closest competitor in both starts and wins and Marohn has only one less win than the Hall of Famer. By comparison, he has only seven less wins than Andy Miller, who has driven in 168 more races than Marohn. With Ron Pierce sidelined with an injury and the next closest driver (Trace Tetrick) having nine wins for the meet, Marohn appears to be locked in as a top-10 driver at The Meadowlands for the duration of 2015. Marohn's 13-percent (13%) win-rate is tied for fourth this meet, with John Campbell. His 15 wins since February 1st is the sixth highest total of The Meadowlands drivers and his nine wins in the month of March is the fifth highest total of the driving colony, only one less than leading driver Yannick Gingras despite having 20 less drives than anyone in the top-10. "It's a surreal moment in my career being in the spot that I'm in and competing with the top drivers in the country. It goes to show you that with hard work and dedication you can get far and achieve success. You just have to keep at it and prove to trainers and owners that you can get the job done. Hopefully with the solid winter meet that I have had at the Meadowlands it will open the doors for more opportunities." The bettors are enjoying Marohn's efforts as well, as he is the only driver in the top-10 to show a positive return on investment at this point of the season. Director of Racing Operations Darin Zoccali was thrilled when Marohn notified him of his decision. "Jimmy has had a sensational meet. Being the oddsmaker and track handicapper is a part of my job description and I have watched Jimmy closely this meet. He is driving like he is in the zone. All you can ask a driver to do is give their horse a chance to win, and he has consistently put horses in spots where they can win. The time is now to take a chance at the Championship Meet and I sincerely hope he is rewarded and given opportunities to shine in our stakes program. He deserves it." Marohn recently turned 33 years old. That is significant as it is the same age Corey Callahan began driving at The Meadowlands on a regular basis. Since making the move to The Big M, Callahan has become one of the stars of the sport, winning the Rising Star Award for his 2013 driving campaign, amassing over 1,200 wins over the last two seasons and nearly $19 Million earnings. This year, Callahan finds himself second in the country with 196 wins and leads all drivers with nearly $1.7 Million in earnings. While choosing to stay at The Meadowlands doesn't guarantee the success Callahan has had, it could be the decision that launches the career of Jimmy Marohn Jr. into another stratosphere. Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment | 1 Racetrack Drive | East Rutherford, NJ 07073            

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - Yonkers Raceway Tuesday afternoon offered its richest race of the season to date, the $62,200 final of the Sagamore Hill for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers. Newly-purchased Rediscovery (George Brennan, $6.70) won the big prize-$31,100 and a date with Teddy Roosevelt-off a textbook pocket trip beneath the wet snow. Winning the draw in the finale (all 4-year-olds), Rediscovery yielded to 6-5 favorite Bettorever (Jason Bartlett), who gained the lead before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. Rediscovery, as the second choice, then locked up the box, leaving Vance Bayama (Mark MacDonald) hung out. After a :57.2 intermission, and using "Vance" as a parked-out pick, Bettorever found a 1:25.4 three-quarters. It was Vance Bayama's entrymate, YS Lotus (Dan Dube), going wide down the backside as Bettorever owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Meanwhile, Rediscovery had his sights set on the passing lane, where he edged away late. The final margin was a length-and-a-quarter in a season's-best 1:54. Bettorever easily held second, with JK Patriot (Tim Tetrick) third. YS Lotus and Roger Mach Em (Brian Sears) completed the cashers, while Fort Knox (Eric Carlson), Khan Blue Chip (Scott Zeron) and Vance Bayama rounded out the order of finish. "I had to close the hole," Brennan said. "First time I've driven him and no way I wanted to get away third. He's handy and has a good turn of foot. He was a good buy." The "good buy" is a 4-year-old son of Tell All now co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Phillip Collura, who is 2-for-7 this season. The exacta paid $11.80, with the triple returning $76. Rediscovery, racing for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. in the three series prelims, had a win and a pair of seconds. A $25,000 series consolation was won by Ideal Willie (MacDonald, $16.80 [part of entry]) in a life-best 1:54. Series action continues Friday night with the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (two, five-horse, $40,000 divisions), while Saturday offers the third round of George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (30 entrants in four, $50,000 divisions). Frank Drucker

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. – John Kenneth Galbraith The majority of race tracks are not populated by horses with the qualifications of Dortmund or California Chrome, or by trainers with the name recognition of Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert or Steve Asmussen. The base of the racing pyramid is built with horses named Grant or Get a Notion, animals that are kept in racing condition by trainers who toil in relative anonymity at tracks often ignored by the people who often forget racing occurs at places other than the cathedrals of the sport like Saratoga or Churchill Downs or Santa Anita. The base of the pyramid is built on the blue collar efforts of guys like Bill Brashears, conditioners keeping $3,500 claimers healthy enough to run and plying their trade in the minor leagues of racing at tracks like Turf Paradise, Arapahoe Park, Farmington, Rilito, and Albuquerque. Brashears comes across exactly like what he is. A  guy who shoots straight and understands that you treat people with unambiguous honesty and fairness, expecting the same in return. He is guileless and smart and hard-working, a trainer’s trainer. Success in his business is based on relationships, knowing who the good guys and not so good guys are. Who can be trusted and who needs to be taken with a few grains of salt. In Bill’s world you give the good guys the benefit of the doubt until they give you a reason not to. The bad guys – better to just not deal with them. He treats his horses with the kind of care you only see from someone with a love for the thoroughbred and a passion for watching them run. He is not the guy described by a cynical racing executive as being willing to do anything that will allow him to win. It is simply not in his nature to do anything less than treat his horses as if they were family, the core of Brashears Racing. You can see him metamorphose around his horses, the hardscrabble exterior melting away into a doting grandfather, feeding them peppermints and affectionately scratching at their muzzle. He admits that when he climbed over a fence at 13 so he could see horses run, he was hooked. He trains not simply because it is a job, but because it is so much a part of who he is. He’ll never amass a fortune running at the smaller tracks, but that was never his goal. If Bill Brashears is remembered as a trainer who worked his butt off and played by the rules and was an example to any trainer hoping to make a mark in racing  the right way, he will be satisfied. What a lot of trainers, including Bill Brashears, are having trouble with is believing they could do everything what they thought was the right way, but have still been hit with medication positives. In Brashears case the offending drug was Banamine, a medication that has been used for years to help control inflammation. Horses are athletes and they suffer from the same affflictions common to all athletes. It is nothing less than humane to treat horses with therapeutic medications, drugs that will provide comfort to the animals while they recuperate. What a therapeutic like Banamine doesn’t do is mask pain in a way that will allow a horse to run as if nothing is wrong. Ask any veterinarian – if you are trying to mask an injury, you would have to use a fairly strong narcotic not the equine equivalent of ibuprofen. Again ask any veterinarian – inflammation is a natural process and it is critical for survival. It is defined as “a protective immunovascular response that involves immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The purpose of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and to initiate tissue repair.” The problem is that often this process becomes excessive, creating a vicious cycle and causing more tissue damage and pain than the injury itself might. Inflammation can produce different products, including prostaglandins and other inflammatory “mediators” that help bring about these effects. According to Thal Equine Hospital in Santa Fe, NM, “This is where anti-inflammatory drugs are helpful. Their role is to dampen inflammation by reducing the formation of these mediators, and thus reducing the signs of disease (swelling, pain and fever, for example) while still allowing healing to take place.” In other words, anti-inflammatory drugs are precisely what are indicated for certain conditions. One might even argue it is cruel not to give a horse with inflammation a medication. Banamine belongs to a class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (“NSAIDS”), which includes familiar human drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. They are drugs that have been used safely and effectively for decades. It is generally the veterinarian’s drug of choice for soft tissue inflammatory conditions (sore muscles) and is considered kinder to a horse’s stomach than phenylbutazone (bute) for treating joint swelling. Banamine is also a good choice for horses that have a tendency to tie-up. The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has stated, “Class 4 or 5 therapeutic medications (mostly NSAID-type medications such as Phyenylbutazone) are used to ease the aches and pains of training – akin to a person taking an Advil before or after a competition. It will not make that individual run any faster or jump any higher than his or her natural ability to do so.” For those concerned about the welfare of the horse, NSAIDs, when used as prescribed, do not put a horse at substantially elevated risk of catastrophic injury. So if you are a racing commissioner and you believe it is necessary to set a standard for Banamine, the question you should ask is straightforward: at what level is the analgesic benefit of Banamine essentially negligible? Whether or not Banamine might have some residual benefit to inflammation should be irrelevant, since good veterinary practice has already established that reductions in inflammation often speed healing. If a horse is not receiving an analgesic effect, it would be hard to argue the drug is performance enhancing. THAT is the level at which we should set the standard. Most vets and pharmacologists agree that any post-race level below 50ng/ml and a withdrawal time of 24-hours from administration will completely ensure elimination of the analgesic effect Racing is governed for the most part by politically appointed boards and commissions. The commissions are not normally filled with experts on pharmacology, and they are often at the mercy of long-time administrators, people like Rick Arthur in California, Joe Gorajec in Indiana, and Dan Hartman in Colorado. These are the people who populate the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), a group on the record as calling for “the racing industry and member regulators to embrace a strategy to phase out drugs and medication in horse racing.” (ARCI Press Release March 28, 2011) The chairman of the ARCI at the time of that press release? Dan Hartman, Executive Director of the Colorado Racing Commission. He becomes an integral part of Bill Brashears story. In that press release Hartman is quoted as saying that “a five-year phase out [of Lasix] is reasonable to bring North American racing policies in line with what is going on in other parts of the world like Europe and Hong Kong.” Hartman’s successor, William Koester, Chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission, added, “Today over 99% of Thoroughbred racehorses and 70% of Standardbred racehorses have a needle stuck in them four hours before a race. That just does not pass the smell test with the public or anyone else except horse trainers who think it necessary to win a race. I’m sure the decision makers at the time meant well when these drugs were permitted, however this decision has forced our jurisdictions to juggle threshold levels as horseman become more desperate to win races and has given horse racing a black eye.” Koester’s statement is meant to inflame (no pun intended) by referencing needles stuck in horses, as if it was some willy-nilly attempt to torture helpless animals. When I was shadowing Doug O’Neill I watched his vet, Dr Ryan Patterson, administer a Lasix shot and if you had blinked you would have missed it. The horse had no negative reaction at all. Koester further pounds home the point that trainers are medicating their horses only to gain an advantage and win races, seemingly arguing they are not doing it to ensure the horse’s health is being managed so that it can race without distress. Not passing the smell test and black eye for racing are the justifications for trying to make all racing drug free. It reminds me of a quote from Arnold Glasow. “The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.” As long as administrators with the power to make the rules for racing insist the seamy underbelly of racing is legal therapeutic medication, it can become the facts. The press release states that ARCI intends to move toward “enacting a policy of zero-tolerance.” (Note: Once Koester took over as chair, he quickly backed off that statement, stating the ARCI does not subscribe to a policy of zero-tolerance, but bear in mind it was Hartman who approved the press release.) Hartman concludes, “We regulators are the only voice in racing for the animals and betting public. It’s time we raise the bar in service to both.” To reference the famous Pogo line, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” I have already written about why we cannot be Hong Kong ( Basically, North America  runs more races in a week in August than Hong Kong’s entire racing year. To populate those races we need ten times the number of horses in training than Hong Kong does. How does North America compare with Dubai and its 23 racing days a year? I’ll go out on a limb and say if we were racing at a couple of tracks the equivalent of three weeks a year we could have Dubai’s drug policies too. Look at the standards for Europe or Australia. Other than Lasix, there is often not a significant difference between those jurisdictions and North America for therapeutics, and some threshold levels for therapeutic medications are even higher than the ARCI standards. The upshot of the zero-tolerance Dan Hartman favors is almost certainly the demise of small tracks and reduced field size at the tracks that survive, incredibly ironic when one considers one of the small tracks that would suffer is Colorado’s own Arapahoe Park. ARCI has relied on studies commissioned by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) to establish post-race residual levels and recommended withdrawal times. In the case of Banamine (flunixin), a study done by Heather Kynch, Rick Sams, Rick Arthur, and Scott Stanley on how quickly flunixin was cleared in exercised horses provided the initial recommendation on which the flunixin standard was based.  They tested one model (called the sedentarymodel) in which four non-exercised horses were tested and it was determined a probable threshold level of 20 ng/mL with a withdrawal time of 24 hours. For those not familiar with the nanogram (ng) it is a billionth of a gram. However, subsequent testing using a racehorse model took 20 horses in training and determined exact plasma concentrations of Banamine, concluding that 99% of horses would have less than 50 ng/mL, and thus recommended a threshold value of 50 ng/mL 24 hours after administration of the recommended dose. If 20 sounds like a small number for testing animals to set a standard, according to the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products study on the Evaluation of Medicines for Veterinary Use (2000), 19 is the minimum number of animals that need to be tested to conclude a 95% confdence level that 95% of the population will be below a respective standard. Think about this for a minute. Like a lot of ARCI standards, the testing is not to determine at what level a medication stops being performance enhancing (or retarding) but at a level at which almost all horses would have cleared all but a residual amount of the medication by some time in the future. Remember, the ARCI objective as plainly stated by Dan Hartman in 2011 was to eventually rid thoroughbred racing of the scourge of “drugs and medication.” It also points out something else that is critical when looking at new standards – the availability of new mass spectrometers that can measure ridiculously small amounts, even less than nanograms down to picograms – trillionths of a gram. As Dr. Steven Barker said to me once, “show me a lab measuring amounts in picograms and I’ll show you a lab with an expensive new machine they need to justify.” Despite the RMTC study recommendation, the ARCI in April 2013 adopted the 20 ng/mL (with a recommended 24-hour withdrawal time) standard. It is critical to note that even at the time ARCI adopted the standard it was cast as a  “95/95 standard.” As noted above, this means there is a 95% level of confidence that 95% of the horses tested would fall below the standard. In plain terms, one in 20 horses would still be expected to fail a post-race test. By that measure, if a track tested the first and second place finishers of a ten race program, and they all had been given 10 cc’s of Banamine, at least one of them had a probability to come back over the standard. Think about this. ARCI had a chance to adopt a standard (50 ng/mL) that would have all but guaranteed no undeserved positives and no performance enhancement, and instead picked a standard where non-pharmacologically merited violations would abound. Dr. Steven Barker at LSU didn’t equivocate on the adoption of the original ARCI standard. “The Banamine standard is too high, and it is because ARCI didn’t pay any attention to pharmacologists. With the recommended dose, there is no analgesic effect 24 hours after administering Banamine.” So with Dan Hartman at the helm, Colorado adopted the ARCI therapeutic medication schedule of 20 ng/mL for Banamine and in March 2014 the Colorado Racing Commission staff and the track stewards had a meeting with the veterinarians who worked on track at Arapahoe Park. Dr. James Dysart, Bill Brashears’ veterinarian in Colorado, and a vet who has been practicing about as long as Bill Brashears has been training horses, was in attendance at that meeting and asked specifically about what treatment changes would be indicated in 2014. According to Dr. Dysart, he was clearly told, if you practice as you did last year there should be no problems. With regard to Banamine, in March Dr. Dysart was told 10 cc’s with a 24 hour withdrawal time would prevent positives. So when it came to Banamine Dr. Dysart did exactly as he did the year before and by July Bill Brashears had three Banamine positives. There were six positives in all in Colorado and half belonged to Brashears. I asked Dr. Dysart why there were not more positives, and based on his practice, he indicated many trainers had thrown in the towel and switched to bute. Whether the reason was the change in flunixin standard, cost or efficacy, trainers made the switch. After Brashears was hit with the first Banamine positive, he and Dr. Dysart huddled and decided to drop the dosage by 20% to 8 cc’s and increase the withdrawal time closer to 25 hours. Amounts and times for all horses are documented on the medication sheets maintained by Dr. Dysart, and there is no disagreement that the  dose that was administered had sufficient withdrawal time based on the information Dr. Dysart was given in March. After Brashears had five horses test clean after the first positive, he figured they had found the right formula. Unfortunately, this turned out not to be the case. Brashears was informed that two horses that raced about 10 days apart in July came back positive (both under 30 ng/mL), even after receiving the 8 cc dosage. Brashears had no way of adjusting dosage or withdrawal time for the third horse since the results of the testing for the second horse had not yet been given to him. In fact, Brashears was informed of the last two violations at the same time, well after he could have made a further adjustment. Based on that Brashears expected the second and third violations to be combined into one. Until he was given notice of the last two positives, Brashears sensibly was given a warning after the first violation, made a documented adjustment in an effort to comply, and as far as he could see had success with the new protocol, so he stuck with it, not realizing at 20 ng/mL he was still in danger of a violation. Meanwhile something interesting happened at the RMTC. The high number of Banamine positives in different jurisdictions in 2013 caused them to reexamine the 20 ng/mL standard ARCI had adopted. Remember, the initial RMTC testing suggested 50 ng/ml would ensure 99% of the horses treated appropriately would test negative, and at best with the 20 ng/mL standard ARCI adopted we would still expect 5% positives. It turned out the reality was alarmingly beyond 5% positives. RMTC then did another study that included 16 horses (less than the 19 required for statistical validity) that were exercised under laboratory conditions, and four (25%) of the 16 showed residual levels over 20 ng/mL after 24 hours. But, given the umbilical tie between ARCI and the RMTC, rather than suggest the standard was wrong, it was determined the withdrawal time was too short. In fact, the subsequent RMTC study concluded at least 32 hours was required to maintain 95/95 compliance with a 20 ng/mL. In April 2014 ARCI revised the recommended withdrawal time for flunixin a mere year after originally adopting it, but left the 20 ng/mL in place. This was a critical conclusion because changing the withdrawal time instead of the residual standard ultimately would have the effect of eliminating the therapeutic value of Banamine. At 24 hours the analgesic effect is essentially gone, and approaching 32 hours really limits the anti-inflammatory effect. In other words, this could be seen as an indirect way to ban Banamine consistent with the ARCI stated goal. This was also critical because the ARCI standard was not actually either 20 ng/mL or 32 hours, it was simply 20 ng/mL. Regardless of when Banamine is administered, 24 hours or 32 hours, if the level is over 20 ng/mL the horse is in violation. According to Dr. Dysart, veterinarians in Colorado were not told the recommended withdrawal time had changed to 32 hours until July. Since the 32 hours was nothing more than a recommendation, there was no need to provide notification of rulemaking. That would only be necessary if the standard was proposed for revision. The new recommendation came too late for Brashears though. He had to hope the Colorado Racing Commission saw that he and his vet had done everything the Commission assured them would maintain compliance and be lenient with their punishment. Brashears asked for split samples to be tested for the second and third violations, and both confirmed he was over the 20 ng/mL standard (but well below 50 ng/mL). Brashears appealed, resting his case on the fact that his veterinarian did exactly what he had done hundreds of times and was assured he could continue doing it before the season without risking a violation. In front of a hearing officer he lost and on he went to his final appeal to the Colorado Racing Commission. Brashears’ attorney made the relevant arguments, and once the testimony and final arguments were completed the Commission voted on a motion to saddle Brashears with both the second and third violations as separate events. One of the five commissioners was absent from the hearing, and the vote on the motion was 2-2, which normally would have been a win for Brashears. In a rare occurrence, the Commission moved to go into executive session where they got the missing commissioner on the phone, and re-voted on the motion. When they came back Brashears had lost his appeal 5-0. I asked Dan Hartman if this was a regular practice. He said no, but the Assistant Attorney General was consulted and opined it was a perfectly legal procedure. It was never clear exactly what happened to go from 2-2 to 5-0, but Brashears was ultimately assessed a $1,500 fine and 15 days. One of the people privy to the discussions in the executive session suggested that the Commissioners were advised that letting Brashears off the hook could leave them vulnerable to a subsequent action by Brashears. The concern was that it would essentially be an admission that Colorado had committed an error by leading the veterinarians to believe either historical protocols were sufficient for compliance or that a 24-hour withdrawal time indicated compliance. Brashears is not new to the game, and he understood a violation, even if it is for a bad standard, is a violation. Despite believing he had done nothing wrong, he was willing to bargain with the Commission, offering to pay a fine (less than the $1,500) if the days were waived. It appeared the Commission wanted nothing less than what Brashears was ultimately given. Bill Brashears has paid an even higher price than the fine, the loss of purse money and the cost of an attorney. He’s lost clients. After all, owners don’t want to be associated with someone with a medication positive, regardless of the circumstances. He’s lost the ability to even make a living during his suspension. Most of all he’s lost some of his belief that if you do right by racing, racing will do right by you. For Brashears part, he has sworn off racing again in Colorado. He is firm in his belief he didn’t cheat, and that he was the pawn in a bigger battle over medication in racing. In the end, Colorado not only will lose a long term trainer, but a guy who cares about his horses and about training them the right way. It’s hard to imagine this was a success for anyone. I asked Bill Brashears what bothered him the most. He said, “What makes me the most upset is [Arapahoe Park General Manager] Bruce Seymore telling me at the first Commission meeting that he knew I was innocent but that they were going to hang me anyway. I believe Hartman knows I’m innocent but their grand plan of Colorado being medication free would go down the tank if their first experiment went so wrong. Spending thousands of dollars in attorney fees for their screw-up and I’m still doing 15 days and being fined $1,500 and the division [the Colorado Division of Racing] calling it trainer responsibility. Where’s their responsibility?”

Columbus, OH --- USTA President Phil Langley, accompanied by Executive Vice President Mike Tanner, presented the USTA’s position on a number of medication issues to the Ohio State Racing Commission at their monthly meeting on Monday afternoon (March 30) at the Riffe Center in Columbus, Ohio. At the previous commission meeting on Feb. 21, Chairman Robert K. Schmitz invited representatives of the U.S. Trotting Association, national and state branches of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association to address the commission. Langley focused on the need for uniform but separate medication rules for the different breeds, the use of therapeutic medications and USTA research on cobalt. He emphasized that in harness racing, the horses race much more often than Thoroughbreds and that harness racing doesn’t have the same problems with breakdowns. “The USTA strongly believes in uniform medication rules,” said Langley. “But we believe in uniform rules for harness racing and uniform rules for Thoroughbreds, but different rules. The way we race is not compatible with the way they race. We would like the rules to reflect the harness use, not the Thoroughbred use. “Recently, Ed Martin from RCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International) has indicated that they have no problem with separate rules.” Langley discussed a USTA-funded research study on cobalt conducted by Dr. George Maylin from the New York Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College with assistance from Director Dr. Karyn Malinowski and Associate Director Dr. Ken McKeever from the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University. He informed the commissioners that the USTA is planning a new study with that team of equine experts. “Now we going to commission a new study with Drs. Maylin, Malinowski and McKeever to see exactly what cobalt does to horses,” said Langley. “One of the challenges is that the scientists have to figure out how to test horses that are racing.” When asked by Chairman Schmitz for the reason that the USTA resigned from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium in September 2013, Langley cited the USTA’s $100,000 annual contribution being made to an organization that refused to consider harness racing’s issues. “Our money could be used better for studies on harness racing than for funding the RMTC who were not considering harness racing,” explained Langley. The Ohio State Racing Commission is collecting information prior to consideration of model medication rules proposed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. The commissioners heard presentations by RCI President Edward J. Martin and Dr. Dionne Benson, executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, at their February meeting. According to Chairman Schmitz, the commission will invite veterinarians and scientists to present in the next two months. USTA Communications Department 

East Rutherford, NJ - As a result of discussions with horsemen on what types of races they are seeking, The Meadowlands is pleased to announce a new short series' for three-year-old trotters and pacers with separate divisions for fillies scheduled for the last two weekends of April.   The "Spring Preview" is designed to offer races to green horses preparing for their sophomore stakes season. The classes available will be Non-Winners of 1 Pari-Mutuel race or $10,000 Lifetime and Non-Winners of 2 Pari-Mutuel races or $20,000 Lifetime as the base conditions. Eliminations (purse $12,500 for NW 1 / $15,000 for NW 2) will be scheduled for April 17/18 a with the final for each (NW 1 purse $30,000E / NW 2 purse $35,000E) right back the next weekend. There will be an entry fee of $500 due when entering the eliminations with no fee due for the finals.   These races will be listed on the April 17 & 18 condition sheet. There is no nomination required other than entering for the races on the day of the draw. Conditions for the races are listed below. Further information is available by calling the Racing Office at 877-782-2537.   "Spring Preview"   For 3 years old trotters and pacers with a filly division for each. Single eliminations on April 17/18 and finals on April 24/25 that are:   Non-Winners of 1 Pari-Mutuel race or $10,000 Lifetime (Winners of over $30,000 Lifetime are ineligible) up to and including April 11, 2015. Elimination purse of $12,500 / Final purse of $20,000 added estimated at $30,000. One time entry fee $500.   Non-Winners of 2 Pari-Mutuel races or $20,000 Lifetime (Winners of over $60,000 Lifetime are ineligible) up to and including April 11, 2015. Elimination purse of $15,000 / Final purse of $25,000 added estimated at $35,000. One time entry fee $500.   No nomination is required other than entering on the day of the draw for these races. These races may require a minimum of 18 entries to fill. If the minimum isn't met in any division, that division may be raced as an overnight for a purse of $15,000 both weeks.   Meadowlands Media Relations

TORONTO, March 30 - Maplelea and Cast No Shadow scored first leg victories in the harness racing Blossom Series Monday night at Woodbine. A group of 15 three-year-old pacing fillies were split into two $15,000 divisions for the first round of the Blossom Series. The first division saw a familiar horse to series action continue her recent run of dominance. Fresh off a sweep of the HPI Series, Maplelea and driver Rick Zeron picked up right where they left off with a 1:57 victory. Sent off as the 3/5 favourite, Zeron elected to take Maplelea to the back of the pack and paced along seventh around the first turn. Down the backstretch, Maplelea moved off the pylons and would pick up cover to be perfectly placed second-over as the field turned for home. In the stretch, Maplelea cruised by her rivals and paced home in :27.2 to win by two-lengths. Doctor Terror finished up well to take second, while Much Adoo finished third. A three-year-old daughter of Sportswriter, Maplelea has now won four-consecutive starts for owner/trainer Andrew Moore. Her 2015 record now sits at an impressive six wins from eight starts for earnings of over $73,000. Maplelea paid $3.20 to win. In the second division, Cast No Shadow and Chris Christoforou scored an impressive open-length victory at 5/1. Beyonces Rockn, the 3/5 favourite, took control of the lead in the second-quarter, while Cast No Shadow paced along in fourth. Christoforou would get his charge out in moving and came first up around the final turn to challenge the favourite at the three-quarter pole in 1:27.1. In the stretch, Cast No Shadow blew by Beyonces Rockn and stormed home strongly in :27 to win by 5 ¾ lengths. Moonlit Dance just got up for second, while Beyonces Rockn had to settle for third. A three-year-old daughter of Shadow Play, Cast No Shadow is trained by Des Tackoor for owner Millard Adams. After failing to win a race in four starts last season, Cast No Shadow is a now a perfect four-for-four in 2015 and has banked $31,500. Her clocking of 1:54.1 knocked almost two-seconds off her previous career-mark. Cast No Shadow returned $12.90 to win. In order to be eligible to the Blossom Series, the sophomore pacing fillies had to be non-winners of three-races or $15,000 in 2014. The second leg of the Blossom will take place next Monday (April 6). Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 30, 2015 - So far in 2015, Yonkers Raceway has had four legal-bare-minimum $2.10 win payoffs. Three of time have been by Witch Dali (Tim Tetrick), who again fooled no one Monday night, winning the $54,800 final of the Petticoat Pacing Series for harness racing 3 and 4-year-old fillies and mares. Leaving alertly from post position No. 3, Witch Dali was stung early on a cold, windy Westchester evening. She paid a :26.4 first-quarter price to get around pole-sitting Cheyenne Robin (Dan Dube) before the lone soph in the field relented for the pocket. Cruisinwithmybaby (Tyler Buter) found a three-hole, with Hay Stacked (Eric Carlson) away fourth. Witch Dali then rated a 30-second next interval (:56.4 half) and was sailing toward a 1:25.2 three-quarters when Cruisinwithmybaby made her second move. However, Witch Dali remained unflustered by such an intrusion, taking a 2½ length lead in the lane. She completed her four-race series sweep, winning by a couple of lengths in 1:55. Hay Stacked rallied inside for second, with Cruisinwithmybaby, Royal Mama (Matt Kakaley) and Inside the Glass (Jordan Stratton) settling for the remainder. Cheyenne Robin, Anti Entity (George Brennan) and Always Sunday (Jason Bartlett) rounded out the order. "She went a big first quarter and just held tough," Tetrick said. "Hasn't given me a bad race yet." For Witch Dali, a 4-year-old daughter of Dali co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Brad Grant, it was her sixth win in 10 seasonal starts (13-for-24 lifetime, career earnings a buck under $164,000). The exacta paid $8.70, the triple returned $37.20 and the superfecta paid $144. Series action continues Tuesday afternoon with Yonkers' richest race of the season to date, the $62,200 final of the Sagamore Hill for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers. Friday, it's the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (two, five-horse $40,000 divisions), while Saturday offers the second round of George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (to be drawn Tuesday). Frank Drucker

Spudvegas is the 13th foal from broodmare Colada Hanover to race, but when he won on debut at Goulburn yesterday, he did something most of his siblings have been unable to do.  Of his 12, only two have won at their first race start. Left Stranded scored at Gloucester Park in 2006, while the first horse in the family to achieve the feat was the quadruple Inter Dominion winner Blacks A Fake. Blackie, as he was affectnionately-known, debuted at the Gold Coast on August 6, 2003. Spudvegas is owned by Wayne and Ann Lamb and was bred by popular breeder Eric Basham.  Basham enjoyed the victory and watched the races on the television from his home in Young. “My wife Rosemary and I watch all of the horses race that we breed,” Basham said. “Rosemary even gets the trials off the internet so we can watch them too, they are still our babies. “There are only two more foals after Spudvegas, the next filly is named Goinsenial and she was purchased by the Rattray family, while I have leased out the last filly out of Colada Hanover.” Colada Hanover died within 24 hours of giving birth to Colada Hanover, and while Basham could not have saved the mare, he still questions himself. “She had the foal just before sundown and she was fine, my son got up to check on her at 1am the next morning and she was ok, but when I went to check on her at dawn, she was dead,” Basham explained. “The vets told me there was nothing I could have done and she most likely suffered an internal bleed after giving birth, but it was still very traumatic at the time.” Since then Basham has had some issues of his own including a broken back. “In August last year I had two young horses in a yard and I was trying to put a headstall on one of them, and while I was doing that, the other horses bit the one I was working with on the bum and I was thrown to the ground, the sound my back made was like that of a whip being cracked,” Basham said. “I managed to get up, but it has been a long recovery. There was a lot of pain, and while it has now healed, I find it difficult to stand or sit in the one position for long periods of time.” Basham confirmed he decided to lease the final foal from Colada Hanover to a vet from Young after she provided him and Rosemary with a lot of help. “The filly was a poddy foal and she was a bit backward, I had her running with the colts as a weanling and Jantien Saltet my vet said to me I’m going to take that filly and feed her up,” Basham said. “She did that and it has made a great difference to the filly, so I offered to lease her to Jantien for all of her help. It was the least I could do.” By Art Major, Spudvegas is trained by leading horsewoman Belinda McCarthy. HRNSW Media

Freehold, NJ --- John DeLong was 19 years old when he won the driving title at Running Aces in its inaugural season in 2008. Now at the age of 26, the Wisconsin native has 1,282 victories to his credit and is No. 2 in the standings at Balmoral Park, one win behind leader Casey Leonard, and tied for fifth at Maywood Park. Last year DeLong set a career high with $1.94 million in purses and won a number of Chicago-area stakes, including the American-National for 2-year-old male pacers with Roland N Rock. He established his career high of 283 victories in 2013. His most lucrative triumph came in the $130,000 Lorna Propes Championship with Let’s Go Higher -- and he teamed with the pacing mare for a repeat score in the event in 2014. In January, DeLong received the James Laird Memorial Award for Excellence from the Wisconsin Harness Horse Association. DeLong’s family, which operates a worldwide agricultural-distribution business based in Clinton, Wis., has been involved in harness racing for decades and is one of only two families enshrined in the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame. DeLong’s father Jesse (better known as Jay) is a trainer and occasional driver and DeLong got his first-ever win in 2005 with a horse trained by his uncle William (aka Bo). In addition to driving, DeLong works with the family’s stable of 25 horses in Clinton. He recently took time to talk with Ken Weingartner of the USTA’s Harness Racing Communications division. KW: Your career got off to a great start with being the leading driver at Running Aces. What was that like? JD: Running Aces has been good to me. We’ve won a lot of races up there with our horses that we own. That’s the biggest thing, winning races for dad. KW: Is he a good person to drive for? JD: (Laughing) He has his comments here and there, but he usually leaves the driving to me. If I mess up, he’ll let me know. But I try not to let that happen. He understands that I have a certain style and I take into consideration that we have a lot of young horses and I want to bring them along and teach them. KW: To win the driving title at 19, did that give you a lot of confidence or add pressure? How did that affect you going forward? JD: I’m sure it gave me some confidence. I still hadn’t made the decision whether I was going to do this fulltime. That was a summer job for me, going up to Running Aces and racing horses for my dad. He gave me a stable of 12 horses and I brought them up there. I was going to go to college or race horses. I ended up choosing race horses. KW: Did you take any (college) classes? JD: I went for a winter semester and I decided not to go back. I took an agricultural industry course. I wanted to do something with agriculture in case I wanted to work with the feed business. KW: Was it a difficult decision? JD: For me? No. To convince my parents? Yes. At first they were a little worried about it. I think now they’re happy with what I’ve done. KW: You got your 1,000th win last year. What did that accomplishment mean to you? JD: It meant a lot. I’m pretty sure I’m the first one in my family to win 1,000 races. That was a pretty big thing for me. I’m one of the only ones who does this fulltime as a career. That means a lot to me. KW: Considering your family is in the (Wisconsin) Hall of Fame, I guess that’s even more of a big deal for you. JD: We work hard at it and take a lot of pride in it, that’s for sure. KW: What’s it been like racing in Chicago? JD: Last year I had a really good year. I improved from the year before. The last two years I’ve been able to win 250 or 280 races each year. It’s been good. The money’s not great, but when you’re winning races, that’s the biggest thing. Everybody is hoping we get some relief here sometime. KW: What was it like to settle into Chicago? JD: Compared to the fairs and Running Aces and other places like that, it was tough. I live an hour and a half from Maywood and a little over two hours from Balmoral. It’s a lot of long nights and a lot of driving. I have to make it count. It’s tough. There are very good drivers down there. I would tell you if it was easy, but it’s tough. It’s a tough place to win races. KW: You’ve been able to win your share. What’s been the highlights? JD: I’d say No. 1 is dad’s mare Let’s Go Higher. She’s won back-to-back Super Night championships. She’s probably the biggest one. She spent most of her time out East racing at Saratoga and Yonkers and other tracks, but has come back here and won on Super Night. For dad to own her, that’s the biggest thing for me anyway. We had a horse called Party Hangover. She won my first Super Night (in 2012). Last year I won my first American-National with a horse that came off the Iowa fair circuit, Roland N Rock. KW: You picked up an award in January. What did that mean to you? JD: It’s nice to be recognized for all your hard work. I really appreciate it. It means you’re doing things right as far as I’m concerned. When you’re winning awards, you’re doing things right. KW: What do you do with all that time in the car? JD: Most of it is spent in traffic. (Laughs.) I talk on the phone and listen to music. A lot of music. If I have someone that drives for me, I do a lot of entering and looking horses up. I worry about stuff for the barn. KW: It’s a shame you can’t take college courses… JD: Yeah, while driving the car. There you go. That would be good. KW: What type of music do you like to listen to? JD: Country, mostly. A little bit of everything. KW: What is the most challenging part of being a young driver? JD: When you first start driving all you want to do is win, win, win. Sometimes that’s a lot harder than it seems. When I first started driving dad always told me that first you’ve got to drive for checks and the wins will eventually come. When I first started driving I always tried to keep that in the back of my head. I think things have turned my way, hopefully. It’s also getting respect from the other drivers. A lot of times when you’re 19, 20, 22 years old, you’re driving with people that are twice your age. It’s important to gain their trust and know you’re not out there driving like an idiot. KW: How do you think you’ve improved over the years? JD: I would think patience and doing better with trotters. I really like driving trotters and over the last year or so it seems like I’ve done really well with trotters. Probably even more than with pacers. A lot of times if you can get one good trotter you can make a lot of money. KW: Is there a reason you’ve become better with trotters? JD: I think training my own horses has helped me a lot with that. I think that’s made me a better driver, training my own horses and learning patience that way. In the races I’ve learned a lot too. When you get to the stage where you’re driving 10 or 12 a night, you’re learning on the fly and that teaches you a lot. The more opportunities you get, the better you’re going to be. KW: Tony Morgan said something like that too, and he just got his 15,000th win. So you’re on your way. JD: (Laughs.) That’s a lot of races. I thought 1,000 was a lot. It seemed pretty far away when I first started. Now I’m eager to get on to the next 1,000. I’m on my way pretty good to the next 1,000. KW: Do you have any goals for this year? JD: I have a lot of horses that I own myself. I have seven New York-breds; I’m pretty excited about those horses and would like to see them do well. One of my other goals would be to try to get into Hoosier Park more. This summer, my plan is to try to. I’ve got horses with a few guys I drive for and they want to race there. I went last year and I drove a few horses. I drove one stakes trotter (Homicide Hunter) that made almost $100,000 there for Curt Grummel. I’d like to get into Hoosier more and pick up more drives there, but it’s tough. I don’t know a whole lot of people there. KW: What do you most enjoy about driving and working with the horses? JD: The biggest thing I enjoy is driving babies and stakes horses. Seeing a horse come along. Even if they’re not the best horse at the beginning of the summer, bringing them along and hoping to see them the best later in the year. In Illinois, that’s the time when you want to be the best, on Super Night. KW: Have you ever wanted to do anything else? JD: Not really. When I was a little kid, we would send our horses to Chicago (to race) and two towns over there was a dog track that had an off-track betting parlor. We would go over there and watch the races at night. Ever since then, I was hooked and this is what I wanted to do. KW: How old were you then? JD: I was in fourth or fifth grade, probably 8 or 9 years old. I watched Dave Magee and those guys drive horses when I was little and I thought it was awesome. I just hoped one day I would get the opportunity to have people watch me on TV driving horses. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. KW: Now maybe some kid is watching you and thinking the same thing. JD: Yeah, that would be cool. KW: Well, thanks for all your time and good luck with everything. JD: Thank you. Any time. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Recently a trio of speed demons who are shoo-ins for the Big Tease Hall of Fame retired from racing. Six-year-old Hurrikane Kingcole is shopping himself as a stallion prospect, while five-year-old Shebestingin has accepted an exalted position in the broodmare band of Captaintreacherous. And another blue chip candidate, the little Ponder lightning bolt, Bandolito, has also been grabbing headlines with his season’s best wire to wire win in 1:48.1 at Dover Downs for owner-trainer-driver Daryl Bier. What is it that sets this trio, and several others, apart from the rest? Many horses fool us, but the Big Tease Hall of Famers take it to another level. Bandolito didn’t race at two, and the following year he knocked around the lower condition ranks in Pennsylvania, winning six times, and foreshadowing better things to come. In August he headed for The Red Mile and took a big bite out of the lucrative, but lightly subscribed to, Kentucky Sire Stakes account. Daryl Bier steered him to wins for 15 and $30,000, followed by an October 1st $250,000 final for Tim Tetrick. His nine wins in 11 starts were good for almost $190,000. The following April Bandolito set a season’s record when he won at Dover Downs in 1:48; just as he has the fastest mile of the year in 2015. The problem is that all that speed hasn’t translated into a successful move up the class ladder. He did win an open-preferred HC at Dover, as well as a preferred pace at Pocono, after that fast mile, but he failed to convert in the Van Rose and Molson and subsequently missed four months. Since then Bandolito has pretty much stayed in Delaware. The five-year-old has converted in 17 of 40 starts and earned almost $320,000, but he leaves us wanting more. The same can be said of the Bettor’s Delight mare, Shebestingin. Sting went the fastest mile ever by a filly or mare when she won the Glen Garnsey at The Red Mile in 1:47 as a sophomore. She takes a back seat to only SBSW and He’s Watching in that age group. She also equaled the 1:49 world record for a three-year-old pacing filly when she won the EBC by 10 lengths at Tioga. And she set an all-performer track record at Miami Valley when she won the inaugural Chip Noble in 1:50.4 for David Miller. While Bandolito has never bolstered his speed resume with an open stakes win, Shebestingin won the Nadia, Bluegrass and Matron. Still, it’s disappointing that she only took three of 14 starts at four and five, earning about $71,000. Master Of Law, the fastest son of Deweycheatumnhowe, is another Big Tease. MOL didn’t race at two, and in the two and a quarter years since he’s only started 28 times, winning 11 of them and earning about $367,000. Like Bandolito, he won a $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes final in 2013. He raced under the tutelage of Frank Antonacci through the Hambletonian Maturity in early July of last year, where he broke stride and finished back. He’s not quite in the break or win mold of an Arndon or Arnie Almahurst, but in the same neighborhood. Trot whiz Jimmy Takter took charge, and after shaky performances in the Vincennes and Crawford, he beat 1-9 Sebastian K, Creatine and Natural Herbie in the Centaur at Hoosier Park, over an off track at odds of 21-1 with Takter driving. As is customary with the Big Tease nominees, after his big win he was supported by the bettors in the Allerage Open and the American-National, and he broke in both. Since that time he has a couple of wins against lesser stock in five 2015 starts. In full stride the son of millionaire Breeders Crown winner, Possess The Magic, is a sight to behold, but maintaining his composure is an issue. Archangel, the black Credit Winner speedball, wowed us when he won his Cashman elimination in a world record 1:50 in July. Driver Yannick Gingras wasn’t surprised, stating after the race that if the trotter hadn’t broken stride while following Sebastian K home in that one’s world record 1:49 mile at Pocono, he was sure Archangel would have been there at the wire. Archangel also set a world record when he beat Market Share and Googoo Gaagaa in the Yonkers Trot. He broke Earl’s 19-year-old track record at Batavia in a split of the NYSS at three. He set a Vernon Downs track record of 1:53.4 in a division of the Empire Breeders Classic. Setting records was no problem. And despite sitting out his four-year-old season to get a jump start on his breeding career, Archangel earned more than a million dollars. The hole in his game was that, aside from the Tompkins Geers, the Yonkers Trot was his only open stakes win. When he came back under Ron Burke’s direction for the 2014 season, he won only two of 17 starts, an open at Yonkers in late May and that record setting Cashman elimination. As is the case with all the rest, there was an impasse between speed and production. The good news is that while Archangel had a problem attracting mares the first time around in New York, his book filled right up in trot stallion starved Ontario. Last but not least is the double-time Cam’s Card Shark pacer Hurrikane Kingcole. The recently retired six-year-old has routinely pricked our attention with his mid-race sweeps to the top, but like his tease-mates a split of the Nassagaweya is all he has to show for that world class speed. He opened that race in :26.4 and finished the mile in a very fast 1:51.4, but that was way back in 2011, when he was a freshman. He won the Pace consolation in 1:47.3 and made the mile for Panther Hanover—another prime candidate—in his 1:47.2 win in the New Jersey Classic. Kingcole hit the ¾ mark in 1:18.2 in that one. But in the end, the long striding pacer Yannick Gingras says is the fastest he ever sat behind, only won at a 29% clip—14 for 49—and earned less than $600,000. Nothing wrong with those numbers, but they don’t live up to his fleetness of foot. All of the above have exceptional speed, issues that keep them off the track more than their contemporaries, and a paucity of open stakes wins. Every one of them has thrilled us at one time or another and all have eaten more than their share of out betting dollars. Those are a few of the reason’s they’ve been nominated to the Big Tease Hall of Fame. (Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink)

For quite a period now, the future of harness racing in North America has been closely aligned with the Casino Industry. To overcome restrictions on setting up stand alone Casinos, a lot of operators have set up Casinos at thoroughbred and harness racing venues. State governments have required the Casino Operators to support and promote the racing product due to the racing industry being so job intensive which affects everybody's bottom line if they were to fold due to the competition from the Casinos. To get around these restrictions, some Casino Operators have come up with some clever race programming to kill off the racing side of their business. Devise a program schedule that is light on money and very prescriptive as to the race conditions and you make it impossible for racing to survive long term. It is an outcome that some casino operators are trying to achieve. The video below summed up the overall position very nicely. Harnesslink Media  

We are all aware of the term Gentleman Jim. While few may know its original, the moniker has no more deserving place than serving as a prefix for harness racing’s legend Jim Hurley. A true Gentleman Jim in every sense, Hurley was a star, which has sadly been lost to the industry with his passing at the age of 90. In a career spanning more than five decades, Hurley won more than 1000 races, including being associated with 1964 Inter Dominion winner, Minuteman. Trained and driven by Eric Hurley, Minuteman was part-owned by Jim, his brother and their sister, Phyllis. Just last January, Hurley trained Heza Presidente to compete in the South Australia Cup…a race Minuteman captured in 1966. Harnesslink and the entire Australian harness racing community extends its sympathy to Hurley’s family and friends. PAUL COURTS

Harness racing is a worldwide industry which is getting more and more international as time goes on. Stallions move between hemispheres and bloodlines are getting to look the same no matter where in the world you are. The World Trotting Conference brings together all the administrators from around the world to try to smooth some of problems with horses moving between countries and different systems. One issue which they seem to ignore repeatedly is the one with regards to money won in different countries and how it is counted in the overall scheme of things. In Canada and Australia, a dollar won anywhere in the world is counted as a dollar won when assessing a horse's lifetime earnings. In America and New Zealand, every dollar earned outside of the country is converted back to the local currency equivalent in dollar terms. With so many horses moving back and forth between Canada and America and also between Australia and New Zealand it can either inflate or deflate a horses earnings which to us here at Harnesslink is just absolutely ridiculous. It can also alter siring charts as we saw last year in the two year old ranks in North America. In Canada where they count every dollar won as one dollar, Sportswriter topped the charts for two year olds with a lead of $125,000 over his nearest rival Art Major. In America where they convert money won outside America to American dollars at the exchange rate on the day the money is won, Art Major finished $26,000 dollars in front of Sportswriter. We are of no doubt that Sportswriter was the leading money earning two year sire in North America in 2014 and we recognize him as such in all our articles. When we quote any money won either by a sire or individual in a story, the figures we use are always sourced via Trackit from the Canadian Harness Racing Site as Trackit is the only database with a true money won system in our opinion In our view the American system is an absolute joke and is done primarily to protect the stallion owners based in America from those upstarts across the border whose stallions just happen to earn more money in a season. The same anomaly occurs between Australia and New Zealand. Harness Racing Australia to its credit counts every dollar won anywhere in the world as one dollar earned for all its lifetime records for horses. New Zealand on the other hand converts all money won overseas back to New Zealand dollars on the day the money is won overseas. That results in inflated lifetime earnings for a lot of New Zealand horses who spend big parts of their racing careers in Australia. In some cases it has turned horses into millionaires when in reality they are still a fair way off the magical seven figure mark in actual earnings. We will highlight a couple here just to show the difference it can make. Take our latest millionaire in Stent who according to Harness Racing New Zealand has earned $1,010,053 to date where in actual dollars earned the figure is $984,460. Another horse to have his earnings inflated was Vulcan who was lucky in that when he raced in Australia the New Zealand dollars was worth in the high seventy cents range in relation to the Australian dollar. So why Harness Racing New Zealand records Vulcan as having earned $1,006,002, in actual dollars won, his earnings stand at $898,855. Now these are two absolute champions and should be respected as such but the system has let them down badly in our view. Let us have a look at a horse that raced extensively in both hemispheres in Tupelo Rose. Tupelo Rose's earnings as recorded on the four countries data bases we have mentioned in this article. * Harness Racing New Zealand  -  $1,146,603 * Harness Racing Australia  -  $879,867 * Standardbred Canada  -  $586,785 * United States Trotting Association  -  $578,671  As you can see the current system has left us with four different figures. Which one is the correct one is a hard question to answer but we would lean towards the Australian as probably being closest to the truth in this instance. As the above example shows the current system between these four countries is open to ridicule and rightly so in our opinion. We need some commonality on these important statistics and all four countries on the same page. A dollar earned anywhere in these four countries should be treated as a dollar earned by the governing bodies by each of the four countries. Until that happens you should treat all claims with regards to money won and sires stakes earnings coming out of America and New Zealand with a high degree of skepticism. JC  

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