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By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    West Melton trainer Ken Ford is excited about the return of harness racing this week, but it’s the return of the sport to his living room that he is looking forward to the most. “It will be good to get back to the races, but what I have missed is sitting down and watching the races on TV. I love that,” Ford said. “In my stage in life, I am finding that more exciting than actually going to the races.” Ford said he wasn’t too affected by the COVID-19 enforced lockdown period as he was able to keep the majority of his team ticking over at his property. “It was good as gold,” he said. “We have got our own track, so we just kept jogging a few. We just brought them up quietly again. “We don’t work many. We usually work 10 and dropped it back to six and we have got them ready to race now.” Ford will have three stable representatives at Addington’s two meetings this week. Mordecai will kick off the stable’s season resumption in the Dunstan Remembering Lazarus Mobile Pace (1980m) on Thursday night. “He’s just a battler. He is Kerryn’s (Tomlinson, junior driver), my granddaughter, horse. He is a lovely old horse to have about the place and we use him as a pacemaker.” Ford has higher hopes on Friday when Justan’s Sister lines-up in the Dunstan Multi-Ultra Trot (2600m) and Zsa Zoe contests the Dunstan Feed Up handicap Trot (2600m). “Justan’s Sister was going along really well before lockdown,” Ford said. “She was coming along nicely for that Met Multiplier. She was the biggest disappointment over the lockup because we have lost that now. “She is going well. We gave her a good hit-out on Sunday at Kypros Kotzikas’ place. We took all the ones ready to race down there. She went really well. “She should hold her head up and look alright. She won’t disgrace herself.” Zsa Zoe will have her first start since December and is another whose preparation was cut short as a result of COVID-19. “She kicked out and hit a rail (in December) and she got a bit of swelling,” Ford said. “We got a little bit worried about that, so that’s why she had the break. “She was coming along really nice and then the lockdown came. “She went as good as any (on Sunday). I am really pleased with her. She has got Cracker Hill in that race so that’s going to be really tough. But she is going really well.” Meanwhile, Ford has welcomed the return of Group One-winning trotter Marcoola to his barn. “The last couple of weeks we have been putting him on the jogger and he looks a million dollars,” Ford said. “But there is nothing for him, so we will bring him up nice and quietly and see how we go.” A stud career beckons the seven-year-old entire, however, Ford said he and son Clint are having too much fun racing him. “I have got people ringing me wanting to put mares to him,” Ford said. “He is a lovely horse and is so easy to do things with. “I don’t want to be a stud farmer. I am absolutely loving going to the races and racing my horses, and he has given us some great thrills. “He is looking the best he has ever looked and If he can win us another race I would be happy.” Ford is also looking forward to the return of a couple of exciting rising three-year-olds. “A two-year-old by Love You out of Amaretto Son’s full-sister, he is a really nice horse,” Ford said. “He makes me get out of bed in the morning. “We would have raced him as a two-year-old but he was one that we dropped off because of the lockdown. “We have also got a two-year-old full-sister to Marcoola who we backed off when things closed down and we are about due to start with her again. She is a nice little horse.” 

26 May 2020 - The Elitloppet at Solvalla racecourse - the largest event on the Swedish harness racing calendar - is set to attract betting interest from a record 18 countries, former racing monopoly AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has said. In addition to Sweden, bets will be taken from Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, the UK, Malta, South Africa, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Bets from eleven of these countries will go towards the Swedish pari-mutuel pool, while the remaining countries’ bets will be part of their own racing pools. However, ATG did not say exactly which countries would be commingling, and which would be operating their own pools. “It is truly inspiring that the Elitloppet is attracting so much international interest,” Ylva Svensson, head of international at ATG, said. With sports and racing in many other countries suspended, ATG noted an increased level of international interest in Swedish harness racing, which has continued through the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. “We have taken our mission, to maintain interest in racing in Europe and the rest of the world during this crisis, as seriously as possible,” Svensson added. “The Elitloppet is one of the few sporting events that can be carried out this spring and so it’s receiving extra focus from many international gaming companies.” The race will take place on Sunday 31 May. Yesterday, Sweden’s Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi put forward an amended set of temporary restrictions on gambling in which he aims to make horse and sports betting exempt from an SEK5,000 (£401/€459/$495) weekly deposit limit. The exemption had previously been recommended by ATG in a consultation held on the original controls.

Ronald Henry (Ronnie) Bencal passed peacefully on Monday, May 25 at 77 years of age after a long battle with respiratory illness. Born in New York City to Henry and Pauline Bencal, Ronnie began his career in harness racing when he went to work for noted horseman Jim Grundy after he was discharged form the Army in 1965. He then moved to the WR Haughton barn where he transitioned from caretaker to assistant trainer. In 1972 he joined his brother Bob as an assistant trainer at Roosevelt Raceway where they would enjoy many successful years racing there and Yonkers, The Meadowlands and eventually the Grand Circuit. During the 1980's Ronnie tried the civilian life for a few years, operating a Baskin Robbins franchise in Florida, but Bob eventually convinced him to return to the stable where he would remain until his retirement in 2012. Bob and Ronnie had a bond beyond their fraternal one, they were also great friends and equal partners in the training of the stable. They trusted each others judgment when it came to evaluating a horse and would bounce ideas off one another regarding how each horse in the stable could be brought to reach their potential. Ronnie was especially good with a horse that required patience. The Bencal brothers had a long relationship with Jeff and Paula Gural, training horses for them since the early 1970's led by 1990 Jugette winner Lady Genius. Ronnie thought the world of them and considered Paula to be a kindred spirit. Ronnie was an engaging and gregarious man. In his Florida retirement he'd spend his evenings at Bill Popfinger's Rattlesnake Jakes restaurant with a group of his friends, listening to the Grateful Dead and rooting for his beloved NY Yankees. He is survived by brother Bob and Bob's wife Monica, younger brother Ken and sisters Barbara and Susan, daughter Jennifer (Cosgrove), granddaughters Stella and Mareena Cosgrove and stepson William Fleming.   No arrangement details are available at this time. In lieu of flowers a donation to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame or the Standardbred Retirement Foundation may be made in his memory.   Nick Salvi

New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred bosses are seeing the last-day flurry they expected as New Zealand’s largest ever online sale comes into the home straight.  NZB Standardbred’s All Age Sale finishes tomorrow on gavelhouse.com, the first time a major catalogue of standardbred horses has been sold on that platform in New Zealand. Will gavelhouse.com has been active in in the standardbred market for over a year, the migrating of the entire All Age Sale catalogue with it’s very strong weanling component came about because of COVID-19 and has enormously boosted the registrations to the site, with 205 new potential buyers registered in the last week. And there has been plenty of clicking in the last 24 hours as the Sale draws to it’s conclusion starting at 1pm tomorrow (Wednesday). “The Sale starts the countdown to closing off at 1pm on Wednesday,” says NZB Director James Jennings. “At 1pm the first lot starts its one-minute countdown to being sold but if anybody bids in the last 30 seconds that lot will auto extend for 30 more seconds. “That is to stop somebody waiting until the last second to bid and other potential buyers not having the chance to counter bid. “So once that lot is sold the next lot starts to countdown for its last minute and so on until the sale is complete.” Jennings and his team have been thrilled with the response to the Sale, with 52 horses already having met their reserve. “That is not only great for their vendors but also for the buyers because it shows that reserves have been realistic.” Jennings says the Sale has been typical of Trade Me-style auctions when buyers know they have a week to bid. “We saw a flurry of activity over the weekend when people have had more time to study the catalogue and bid. “And we have been helping some of the newly registered buyers through that process. “So the next 24 hours should be really exciting. But already we are thrilled the Sale has gone so well.” One of the key attractions of the Sale is any weanling purchased will be eligible for the Harness Million series. Pinhookers will also have the opportunity to re-enter their purchases for next February’s National Yearling Sale, at an unmoved entry fee of $950 plus GST for the Auckland Sale or $925 plus GST for the Christchurch Sale. Entries for those sales open in June and will be made through the new NZB Standardbred portal which enables online entry, so no more paper forms. View the catalogue on gavelhouse.com here.  The first Lot closes at 1PM (NZT) on Wednesday 27 May with all weanlings purchased eligible for the Harness Million Series.   Michael Guerin

Lather Up, the equal fastest harness racing horse of all-time and a member of the dominant Cam Fella sire line from a maternal family bereft of the blood of Western Hanover, Abercrombie and co, provides broodmare owners with a number of options for their matrons. The brilliant, young stallion – he was foaled in 2015 - is bred on the Bettor’s Delight over Christian Cullen / In The Pocket cross, one of the golden crosses of Australasian racing today. No fewer than five million dollar earners have emanated from this cross, as depicted in Table A. As an extension to this theory, Lather Up, though twice removed from Bettor’s Delight, should nick particularly well with the daughters of the numerous Direct Scooter line stallions in the southern hemisphere.  They include In The Pocket, Christian Cullen, Courage Under Fire, Mach Three, Somebeachsomewhere, Extreme Three, Royal Mattjesty, Changeover, Tinted Cloud, Rob Roy Mattgregor and others. However, as Table B shows, Bettor’s Delight is nicking even more successfully with mares from a wide variety of other sire lines. Bettor’s Delight has produced million dollar winners from daughters of Artsplace, Albatross, Cam Fella, Jate Lobell, Beach Towel and Most Happy Fella sons, grandsons and great grandsons. As Table B exemplifies, Lather Up should prove a suitable match for all mares by Artsplace, Western Hanover, Albatross, Cam Fella sire line stallions and others. These include daughters of Art Major, Perfect Art, Albert Albert, Grinfromeartoear, Sportswriter, Artiscape, Dream Away, Modern Art, Astreos, Badlands Hanover, Western Terror, American Ideal, Ponder, Jereme’s Jet, Holmes Hanover, Torado Hanover, Tompkins Hanover, Fake Left, Armbro Operative, Presidential Ball and Pacific Fella. Lather Up Table C is for your interest and shows the progeny of Bettor's Delight dam sires of the million dollar plus earners in North America.   TABLE A Leading Stakes winners by Bettor’s Delight from Direct Scooter line mares Horse                                      Stakes             Damsire                      Dam Grandsire Lazarus                                    $4,125,988      Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Chicago Bull                            $1,776,980      Christian Cullen          In The Pocket The Gold Ace                           $1,180,401      In The Pocket            Direct Scooter Ohoka Punter                          $1,177,323      Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Texican                                    $1,035,016      In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Dream Out Loud                     $998,243         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Highview Tommy                    $990,015         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Thefixer                                   $978,500         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Flaming Flutter                        $815,235         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Bettor’s Strike                         $789,864         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Spanish Armada                      $787,470         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket The More The Bettor               $745,729         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Mossdale Conner                    $589,134         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Let’s Chase The Dream           $587,701         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Belle Of Montana                     $574,305         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Galactic Star                            $529,722         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Katy Perry                                $517,733         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Maxim                                     $494,436         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Jesse Duke                            $451,356         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter None Bettor                            $445,233         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Im Anothermasterpiece          $444,980         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Pa’s Ultimate Delight              $424,185         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Lachie Maguire                       $420,767         In The Pocket            Direct Scooter Hurricane Harley                    $419,340         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Wrapper’s Delight                  $414,224         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Motu Premier                         $391,078         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Ohoka’s Bundy                      $388,148         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Better B Chevron                   $387,171         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Self Assured                          $362,241         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Bettorthanspecial                   $353,586         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket My Kiwi Mate                         $349,632         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Dancing Diamonds                $343,276         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Stormont Czar                        $333,840         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Gina Grace                            $318,951         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Our Bettor Spirits                    $310,633         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Willow                                     $304,416         In The Pocket              Direct Scooter Ana Malak                              $300,611         Tinted Cloud                In The Pocket God Send                               $293,077         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Ashley Locaz                          $275,934         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Express Stride                        $273,605         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Zach Maguire                         $266,255         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Burnaholeinmypocket             $262,188         Christian Cullen          In The Pocket Roman Stride                          $261,513         Direct Scooter           Sampson Direct Linda Lovegrace                     $257,618         In The Pocket             Direct Scooter Musical Delight                       $248,940         In The Pocket             Direct Scooter Dr Susan                                 $246,883         Mach Three               Matt’s Scooter Bettor's Delight TABLE B Leading Stakes winners by Bettor’s Delight from non-Direct Scooter line mares Horse                                      Stakes             Damsire                      Dam Grandsire Bit Of A Legend                       $2,667,957      Soky’s Atom                 Albatross Tiger Tara                                 $2,375,065      Dream Away               Artsplace Beautide                                  $2,183,132      Ticket To Heaven        No Nukes Have Faith In Me                    $1,693,187      B G’s Bunny                 Albatross Adore Me                                $1,667,029      B G’s Bunny                 Albatross Dream About Me                    $1,375,085      Dream Away                Artsplace Caribbean Blaster                   $1,113,677      Safely Kept                  Jate Lobell Spankem                                 $1,077,582      Holmes Hanover         Albatross Arden Rooney                         $1,070,230      Walton Hanover          Big Towner Bettor’s Fire                            $1,038,177      Sands A Flyin              Beach Towel Bettor Cover Lover                 $1,026,427      What’s Next                Most Happy Fella Ultimate Machete                      $823,896         Armbro Operative      Cam Fella Border Control                          $767,692         Artsplace                     Abercrombie Piccadilly Princess                    $733,842         Holmes Hanover         Albatross Carabella                                  $693,615         Artsplace                     Abercrombie Alberto Contador                      $674,458         Albert Albert               Abercrombie Five Card Draw                        $654,090         Butler B G                   Albatross Partyon                                    $638,261         Beach Towel               French Chef Suave Stuey Lombo               $587,032         Classic Garry               Garry Rowan Aussie Made Lombo               $578,456         Troublemaker              Most Happy Fella Bettor Joy                                $567,680         Road Machine            On The Road Again Malak Oswaad                         $566,058         The Big Dog                Dexter Nukes Betabcool                                $556,999         Sands A Flyin               Beach Towel Lover’s Delight                        $555,473         Butler B G                   Albatross Hug The Wind                         $548,660         Dream Away               Artsplace Northview Punter                    $535,466         On The Road Again     Happy Motoring Bettor Rock On                       $521,856         Caprock                       Jate Lobell Be Jack’s Legend                   $508,464         Falcon Seelster            Warm Breeze Delightful Memphis                $507,811         Badlands Hanover       Western Hanover Dodolicious                             $501,041         Troublemaker             Most Happy Fella Kept Under Wraps                  $493,070         Safely Kept                  Jate Lobell Devendra                                $483,544         Walton Hanover          Big Towner She’s Just A Delight               $467,358         Holmes Hanover         Albatross Im Gorgeous - The sire of Lather Up I'm Gorgeous taking his two-year-old record of 1:50.4 Multiple stakes-winning son of North America's leading stallion Bettors Delight. At two, Im Gorgeous won four of eight starts, including victories in the Tompkins Geers, New York Sire Stakes, and an elimination of the Woodrow Wilson, where he established a freshman record of 1:50.4. At three, victories included a $200,000 division of the Battle of Brandywine, as well as eliminations in two legs of Pacing's Triple Crown. In the 2010 Jug final he was race-timed in 1:49.4 when he finished second to Rock N Roll Heaven in a World Record clocking. Table C is for your interest and shows the progeny of Bettor's Delight dam sires of the million dollar plus earners in North America. All Bets Off                            $3,186,658           Dexter Nukes               Horton Hanover Darlins Delight                      $3,103,100           Big Towner                   Bret Hanover Bettor Sweet                         $2,816,687           Falcons Future             Nero Southwind Tempo                 $2,445,541           Artsplace                      Big Towner Betting Line                           $2,238,518          Western Hanover         Camtastic Bettors Edge                         $2,204,531           Life Sign                      Jate Lobell           Bettors Wish                         $2,095,808           Western Ideal               Artiscape Caviart Ally                           $1,971,238           No Nukes                     Nihilator L A Delight                            $1,782,999          Western Hanover        Camluck Betterthancheddar                 $1,636,086          Camstastic                 Adios Vic Kenneth J                              $1,592,755           Artsplace                    Nihilator See You At Peelers               $1,566,900           Western Ideal            Dragons Lair   Forensic Z Tam                     $1,352,406          Falcon Seelster          Governor Skipper Dynamic Youth                      $1,227,793         Western Hanover        Artsplace Venus Delight                        $1,203,590         Run The Table             On The Road Again Vegas Vacation                      $1,176,368        Grinfromeartoear         Jate Lobell Domethatagain                      $1,167,275         Life Sign                      No NUkes      Hulas Z Tam                          $1,076,610          Artsplace                    Big Towner Fashion Delight                     $1,074,448          Artsplace                     Big Towner   Symphony In Motion              $1,065,949         Albert Albert                Direct Scooter Bettors Up                              $1,028,481        Western Hanover         Abercrombie Up Front Kellie Jo                   $1,016,944        Life Sign                      Race Time   Peter Wharton                

RWWA Stewards have today concluded an inquiry into an allegation that prior to Race 3 at Gloucester Park on 24 January 2020, Trainer/Driver Mr Clinton Hall made an improper statement/s to Trainer/Driver Mr C. Saligari, who had a runner engaged in the race, with regard to the tactics and handling of that runner. As a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, the inquiry was conducted via teleconference. At a hearing conducted on 21 April 2020, Mr C. Hall had pleaded guilty to the following two charges under Harness racing Rule 238 and 187 (2), which state; 238. Failure to comply with orders A person shall not fail to comply with any order, direction or requirement of the Controlling Body or the stewards relating to harness racing or to the harness racing industry. The particulars of the charge being that on 31 January 2020, Mr Clinton Hall, being a registered person with RWWA, failed to comply with the direction of Steward, Mr Borovica, the RWWA General Manager of Racing Integrity, by not surrendering his mobile telephone, as directed in writing in a letter from Mr Borovica dated 28 January 2020. And; 187.2 Offences – inquiries A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of the charge being that during the course of an inquiry conducted on 4 March 2020, Mr Clinton Hall, being a registered person with RWWA, refused to answer questions in relation to the subject matter of the inquiry. At the same hearing, Mr C. Hall had pleaded not guilty to a charge under harness Racing Rule 227; 227. Offering money or other inducements A person shall not give or offer any money or other inducement improperly to anyone employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry. The particulars of the charge being that on 23 January 2020, Mr Clinton Hall, being a registered person with RWWA, during a telephone call, did improperly offer licensed trainer Mr Craig Saligari $2000.00 as an inducement to hand up the lead on CROCODILE KID engaged in Race 3 at Gloucester Park on 24 January 2020. After hearing submissions in respect to a defence to the above charge from Mr C. Hall, Stewards adjourned and after deliberation concluded that he had breached Rule 227. The inquiry resumed on 12 May 2020 in order to hear submissions on the question of penalty to all three charges where further evidence was advanced by Mr C. Hall. RWWA Stewards have now completed their deliberations and the following penalties have been imposed: Charge 1 – Harness racing Rule 238 – Failure to comply – penalty – 2 years disqualification. Charge 2 – Harness racing Rule 187 (2) – Failing to answer questions – penalty – 1 year disqualification. Charge 3 – Harness racing Rule 224 – Inducement – penalty – 5 years disqualification. Having regard to the principle of totality and whether or not the periods of disqualification imposed should be partially or wholly concurrent in accordance with Rule 257, Stewards determined that all 3 penalties of disqualification, in the circumstances, should be served cumulatively. In addition, Stewards have also directed that the total disqualification of 8 years will be backdated to when Mr C. Hall was first stood down on 31 January 2020. Therefore the total of 8 years disqualification will expire at midnight on 30 January 2028. In considering penalty, Stewards were mindful of the following: The seriousness of each individual offence. The circumstances surrounding the commission of all offences. Mr Hall’s guilty pleas to two charges. The strong need for both specific and general deterrence to deter similar conduct. The potential damage to the Harness Industry of WA due to Mr Hall’s deliberate actions. Mr Hall’s personal circumstances at the time. Previous similar penalties issued Australia wide. In relation to the same inquiry and as previously advised that once Mr C. Hall’s inquiry was concluded, Trainer/Driver Mr C. Saligari would be required to appear before the Stewards in order to continue with his involvement. A notice in connection with this matter will be issued in the near future.   RWWA

The Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) today (Tuesday, 26 May) confirmed changes it was taking in response to the impact of COVID-19, including a reduction of 230 roles, including 150 permanent staff, across all areas of the TAB. The decision follows consultation with staff on a range of proposed changes aimed at ensuring the business was sustainable for the future and best placed to meet the needs of New Zealand racing and sport. The changes, which impact 30 percent of all roles, are expected to deliver savings of more than $11million per annum in addition to further operational cost savings throughout the business.  RITA Executive Chair, Dean McKenzie said the decision was very difficult but the organisation was left with no alternative with TAB monthly revenue almost 50 percent below forecast and customer numbers down more than 35 percent. “There are incredibly talented, experienced and committed people at the TAB who have delivered so much to our customers and the wider racing industry over many years. We will be very sorry to see them go. “We have had to make some tough decisions as we focus on the essential parts of our business that generate the funding required to keep the racing industry and many National Sporting Organisations running.” Services impacted by the changes include: not resuming Trackside Radio programming following its suspension after the cancellation of all domestic racing in March no longer offering the Phonebet betting service (Touchtone remains) moving away from providing manual, oncourse, betting facilities and increasing the number of Self Service Terminals from the current level of 55% of all race meetings and increasing customer education of TAB’s online platforms changes to Trackside production and presentation with a reduced number of cameras and presenters continuing to operate from the studio and not be on course, with the exception of supporting marquee events  Trackside television programmes will feature fewer presenters and with no dedicated racing shows, with the exception of a no-frills betting show, previewing the weekend’s racing closure of four retail branches  An independent review of the structure of the Executive Leadership team is underway with consultation on any proposed changes expected to start next week. “The implication of COVID-19 has extended beyond the immediate impact to the TAB, with racing and sport continuing to look unpredictable over the next year. The reality is these changes will help the TAB to be a leaner, more efficient business and focused on driving our core wagering and gaming offering to our customers,” said Dean McKenzie.

MILTON, May 25, 2020 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced new dates for several harness racing stakes to be held this season at Woodbine Mohawk Park.   The stakes rescheduling only impacts events that were originally slated for May or June. All other races remain the same on the 2020 stakes calendar. As previously announced, the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacers has been rescheduled to Saturday, August 29. The Fan Hanover (3-Year-Old Filly Pace), Roses Are Red (Mare Pace) and Armbro Flight (Mare Trot) have all been rescheduled to join the Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday, August 29. Eliminations (if necessary) for all four events will take place on Saturday, August 22. The Goodtimes for three-year-old trotting colts has been rescheduled to Saturday, September 5. Eliminations (if necessary) will be held on Friday, August 28. The Somebeachsomewhere for three-year-old pacers has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 12. The final event to be rescheduled is the SBOA Stakes for Ontario sired three-year-old fillies. The SBOA will now take place on Saturday, November 14 with eliminations (if necessary) scheduled for Saturday, November 7. Woodbine Mohawk Park will no longer play host to a leg of The Meadowlands administrated Miss Versatility Series (originally scheduled May 29) or Graduate Series (originally scheduled June 6) in 2020. The Meadowlands has confirmed with Woodbine their intentions to reschedule the Mohawk Park leg of the Miss Versatility for later this season at the New Jersey track, while the Graduate Series leg has been cancelled due to scheduling constraints. Live Racing, without spectators, is scheduled to resume on Friday, June 5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The revised 2020 stakes schedule for Woodbine Mohawk Park. Stake Previous Date New Date SBOA 3FT Elims Saturday, May 9 Saturday, November 7 SBOA 3FP Elims Saturday, May 9 Saturday, November 7 SBOA 3FT Final Saturday, May 16 Saturday, November 14 SBOA 3FP Final Saturday, May 16 Saturday, November 14 North America Cup Elims Saturday, June 13 Saturday, August 22 Armbro Flight Elims Friday, June 12 Saturday, August 22 Fan Hanover Elims Saturday, June 13 Saturday, August 22 Roses Are Red Elims Saturday, June 13 Saturday, August 22 North America Cup Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, August 29 Armbro Flight Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, August 29 Fan Hanover Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, August 29 Roses Are Red Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, August 29 Goodtimes Elims Friday, June 12 Friday, August 28 Goodtimes Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, September 5 Somebeachsomewhere Saturday, June 6 Saturday, September 12 Mark McKelvie        

David Branch knew this week was going to be exciting, just not like this. The young Chief Executive of the Waikato-Bay Of Plenty Harness Club is looking forward to the return of harness racing, make that any form of horse racing, in the north at his Cambridge track on Sunday. But he can’t help but think of what might have been. Because in a cruel irony this was supposed to be the weekend the Cambridge track hosted the Jewels, their biggest moment of every second year and Branch admits it hurts to see the meeting canned, quite rightly, because of Covid-19. “We realise he couldn’t have gone ahead for so many reasons but it is still hard knowing it would have been this weekend,” says Branch. “Especially because there were so many things we were really happy about. We had more hospitality sales than two years ago and we learned so much ourselves back then which would have really helped this year. “The place is looking really good and we were obviously all excited about hosting it. “So that is a bitter pill to swallow but now we are just looking to racing coming back at all this weekend.” A minor meeting on a Sunday afternoon is definitely not the Jewels but Branch realises the significance of bringing the industry back to life in the north. “The most important thing is to get up and going and the numbers were looking good last night (Monday),” said Branch. “We had 45 noms already without all the ones that will come in on Tuesday morning so we are pretty confident we can get eight races, but the more the merrier.” Branch says while many local Waikato trainers had their main training tracks at Cambridge shut down he still expected a good representation on Sunday. “We had good numbers from local trainers and even a few from the Central Districts. “So it is looking really good.” A meeting with HRNZ and other club chief executives on Tuesday will confirm whether Cambridge can have their popular Clubhouse Cafe And Bar open to industry participants on Sunday. “We had the greyhounds here last week and it was able to be opened for them so I hope we can. “With the Government loosening up the numbers a bit by Friday we are even going to ask if there is any way the meeting could be open to owners, with the possibility that number could be below 100 and they could use the Clubhouse and be segregated from the horsepeople. “But that might be more difficult than it sounds so whether it can happen this week or not I don’t know.” The club have taken back the licence to run the Clubhouse establishment and Branch says it has been spruced up for the return to racing. “The whole place has been. We did plenty of work around the track in anticipation of holding the Jewels and at least now the place looks good.” Once through Sunday and their winter programme, Branch says the extra dates Cambridge has picked up for next season should be a blessing for local trainers. “It means most of our trainers here next season won’t need to travel if they don’t want to,” says Branch. “I know plenty will still want to go at Alexandra Park but horses that used to be trained here but raced a lot in the CD will be able to stay here all year around if their trainers want, and that cuts down on costs for the owners.”   Michael Guerin

Teenage Junee harness racing driver Miranda McLaughlin is making every post a winner before next weekend, when she will navigate a new path with the Royal Australian Navy. McLaughlin, 19, who says she has always wanted to do a gap year in the armed forces, will be away for at least 12 months. "I just made up my mind that if I don't do it now, I probably won't ever get around to it," she said. "It was a hard decision because I love the horses-but I get to travel around Australia while I'm looking at all the Naval bases. It's one good way to see the country." McLaughlin was seen at her best at the Wagga Cup meeting on Sunday with a winning double-the third time she's achieved the feat. "They are trained by my boss Trevor White and they looked well placed. We gave both of them good chances," she said. Three-year-old gelding Western Style (Western Terror-Takemybreathaway (Life Sign) scored in the opening event, the Maiden Pace. To watch the video replay of this race click here. Two races later, the White/McLaughlin combination struck with the veteran Norms Courage (Courage Under Fire-Rosie Rose (Peace Of Art) in the ITP Pace. To watch the video replay of this race click here. McLaughlin will be keen for further success when she drives at her final two meetings before taking on a new career. "I've got a book of five drives at Wagga on Tuesday and then I'll be back in action again on Friday. Then that's it for at least 12 months," she said. "I'm pretty sure I'll eventually be coming back home to the horses, but I suppose there's a chance I could thoroughly enjoy life in the Navy. I'll be keeping an eye on all the trots results that's for certain." McLaughlin completed her schooling and graduated Year 12, before taking up a full-time job at the stables of astute horseman Trevor White. "I got to know Trevor when we moved into the same street as him. I had a riding horse and used to go in the barrel races at gymkhanas," she said. "I was probably about 14 or 15 and went up to Trevor's place to see if I could get a part-time job. He put me on, and I mainly used to clean out stables and stuff like that. "Then one day he asked me had I ever thought about driving? So, with his encouragement I took it on and have now been driving for two years. He has been such an outstanding mentor and is definitely a person I look up too. "He's already told me there will be a job waiting if I want to come back." White has been a huge influence on many youngsters, who after their early days working with him, have gone on to bigger things. Talented Sydney brother and sister drivers- Cameron and Ashley Hart were taught the ropes by White, while others include Chris Judd and David White, the latter being based in New Zealand. And the latest addition to the stable is youngster Grace Fahy, who is the new inductee to the role of stablehand. Meanwhile McLaughlin is hoping that 3yo Western Style can make it back to back wins at Wagga tonight. "He's the first pacer that I've raced. I own a share in him, and it would be great if we could get the money again," she said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

May 23, 2020 - Trotting action returned on May 23 (Saturday) at Kincsem Park with a competitive 12 race harness racing program. The featured Lajos Matucza Memorial (600,000Huf purse, 1960 meters distance handicap) went to the 1.1/1 odds favorite Zeal di Girifalco (5m Igor Font-Inviata d’Italia-Varenne) clocked in 1.17.2kr for his pilot amd trainer Veljko Mazsity. This was his 17th career win in 20 starts and his first in 2020 following an eight for 10 slate last year. He overcame a 20-meter handicap as he rallied to victory over another 20 meter handicapped performer, Milady Amok (7f Scarlet Knight) with Csaba Lakatos up. Third to the line was Unika Vik (7f Cantab Hall) for Goran Zolnaji. Zeal di Girifalco Earlier in the program were two events for three-year olds each raced over 1800 meters autostart and each for a 400,000Huf purse. The first went to 3/2 favorite Bolide Lakamy (3m Conway Hall-Nina di Jesolo-Supergill) with trainer Veljko Mazsity at the lines, his first 2020 victory in two outings. Race time was 1.19.9kr with the Berill Lady (3f Maximus Lindy) and Bombay (3m Vanito) next home. The second division saw 5.9/1 Borutica (3f Illetmeny-Night Lady-Tony Oaks) score for Hico and trainer/driver Tibor Hajnal clocked in 1.20.9kr. This was her first career victory and results from a fine pedigree. Bonaparte Boss (3g Napoleon) and Beautiful Yankee BD (3f Yankee Mustang) trailed the winner. The schedule has been released for major races in June and July. June 13 will be the date for the Janos Brody Memorial and Laszlo Ferge Memorial, both usually high class races. Thomas H. Hicks    

This is the YouTube URL for the Zoom Roosevelt Raceway May 23rd, Harness Racing Broadcast.   www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVThhOzvjuM   Trot Talk - Remembering Roosevelt Raceway - May 23, 2020   In this nostalgic edition of Trot Talk, Matt and Charlie are joined by Freddie Hudson.   Freddie is a former drive...    

The gavelhouse.com weanling sale, featuring 55 weanlings from Alabar NZ, is well underway. The harnes racing sale is generating considerable interest as it builds to its conclusion on Wednesday. The first lot closes at 1pm (NZ time), Wednesday 27 May. A real feature of the Alabar consignment is the number of lots that are Vicbred eligible. The $9.1 million Vicbred series is the jewel in the crown of Victorian racing. Foals bred in New Zealand are Vicbred eligible if they are sired by a Victorian based stallion. This is a huge advantage as they are eligible for both the Vicbred and also the NZ Sires Stakes. The weanlings being sold in the current gavelhouse.com sale can sustain their Vicbred eligibility by payment of NZ$240 by 31 August 2020. The possibility of the pin-hooking of weanlings for resale in Australia as yearlings is a highlight of this year's sale. This has been opened up by the fact that the recently announced Nutrien Australian National Yearling Sale set down for next April will not require Australian brands for yearlings to be eligible for entry in the sale. Vicbred eligibility will be highly desirable for any weanlings being purchased with this aim in mind. Twenty nine of the Alabar consignment are Vicbred eligible: Two by Always B Miki - both quality colts, one from a mare that won eight in NZ and the other from a Christian Cullen grand-daughter of Armalight. Seven by the champion sire, Art Major - these incl a full-brother to Alta Maestro, a half-brother to Gotta Go Ya Hu, a colt from (Famous) Alchemist, a full-sister to Star Galleria and fillies closely related to Chase Auckland and One Dream. Three by Rock N Roll Heaven - incl a half-sister to Classie Brigade and a filly from a daughter of Alta Serena. Nine by exciting new sire Vincent - incl fillies from Alta Serena and Twist N Shout, half-sisters to Eamon Maguire and Dynamite Denn Nee and a filly from a full sister to Monkey King. There are also two by Betterthancheddar, two by Shadow Play and four by Sunshine Beach (incl a half-sister to Alta Orlando). The full consignment is online on gavelhouse.com. For further information contact Cam Bray at NZB Standardbred (cam.bray@nzb.co.nz, 021 737 199) or Graeme Henley at Alabar NZ (graeme@alabar.co.nz, 0274 870 901).

Rocky Creed’s victory in the TAB Riverina Championship Final was another all in the family affair replicating the team effort in the Western Region Final. The McPherson family who have wide ranging vocations of logging truck driver, nurse and Bunnings worker combined to cause an upset and deliver a dream come true with Rocky Creed at Wagga on Friday. Rocky Creed even starting in the $100,000 TAB Riverina Regional Final on Friday afternoon was the career highlight for trainer Chris McPherson and his brothers and fellow owners Shane and Scott McPherson. The fact he shocked harness racing punters by winning it is still sinking in for Chris McPherson. “We can’t believe it,” said Albury-based McPherson. “I had never even had a group one starter before let alone a winner. “With us drawing the second line and Whereyabinboppin (the $1.10 favourite) drawing the front we considered we were running for second or third.” But as racing can so often deliver the favourite was caught parked outside the leader and the 1:54.4 mile rate for the 2270m didn’t assist thus leaving it to Rocky Creed to deliver the knockout punch in the hands of driver Thomas Gilligan. Gilligan is also McPherson’s farrier and that connection sums up the Rocky Creed story. “We all chip in to help out here,” said trainer McPherson “I work him a lot of the time but I drive a logging truck for a job so my brother Scott helps out but he also has a full time job as a nurse. “And our nephew James, who works at Bunnings, also pitches in with the eight horses we have here and he usually drives Rocky at the races. “But he wasn’t licenced to drive in a group one race so Tom, our farrier, got the job of driving him.” The Riverina final was the second of the four $100,000 regional finals run across NSW and McPherson was inspired by fellow part-timer Malcolm Hutchings training Terryrama to win the Bathurst final on Wednesday night. “I was reading about Malcolm and their win on Wednesday at Bathurst and I thought, good on them, small time blokes getting a group one. “I even allowed myself to think, jeez, it would be great to be part of something like that. But I didn’t think it would actually happen. Now that it has wow what a feeling.” “So we got home after the races and stayed out at the stables celebrating till 2am, sitting around the fire laughing. I still can’t believe it happened. “But it is great these races were put on in the regions for people like us to at least have a chance and I must thank the TAB and Harness Racing New South Wales for continuing with the Championships.”   Harness Racing New South Wales

The relentless front-running display from Arden Voyager highlighted a stunning Saturday for reinswoman Kate Gath, who snared six winners across the double-header of meetings at Victorian harness racing headquarters. Prepared by Gath's trainer-husband Andy at their Long Forest base, the former New Zealand pacer produced a brilliant all-the-way victory in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m, NR 79-89). He ran quarters of 29, 28.9, 28.1 and 28.8 seconds and recorded a of 1:55:2 mile rate on a wet Tabcorp Park Melton track. It was a breathtaking performance from the four-year-old, who has now won three of his past four starts at the circuit. Gath could hardly believe her horse was able to fight off all challengers after working so hard during the early stages of the race. "I haven't had one pull that hard for a while and I just thought in the run that he is pulling himself into the ground," she told Trots Vision. "I was really concerned, but I didn't know he could do that. "It was a really good field and he just shouldn't have been able to hold on against those sort of horses." Watch the race here. Gath said the stable had really liked the son of Somebeachsomewhere when he was purchased as a three-year-old from overseas, but he had gone "off the boil" for a period of time until recapturing his best over the past couple of months. "Obviously now his last three or four runs he's finally showing us what we knew was always there," she said. Arden Voyager's success was one of four for Gath on the Melton night program and followed a double from the morning meeting. Gath's heroics in the sulky came soon after a four-peat at Ballarat last Tuesday night and included the successful return of Group 1-winning trotter McLovin - who took out the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 70-120) - and was another of Andy Gath's four winners for the day. An effortless triumph from Emma Stewart's star pacer Poster Boy was among the highlights on Saturday, as was the big victory by promising Jess Tubbs-trained trotter Overandout. Driver Greg Sugars was almost sent crashing through the outside fence when the four-year-old squargaiter veered abruptly over the concluding stages of the Beraldo Coffee Trot (1720m, 4YO and older) but still managed to prevail by close to 30m. Sugars said he thought the horse had taken exception to something flashing on the semaphore board located on the inside of the track near the winning post. "He is a keen watcher of Trots Vision when he is at home not racing and I think he just wanted to head over to here to where we are now to talk to you Rob," Sugars joked with host Rob Auber during a post-race interview. First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants Bendigo tonight Race 1: CPO Cafe Carisbrook 3YO Pace N8 Thump (3YO Village Jolt gelding out of Umi; trainer Paul Watson, driver Jordan Leedham): First foal out of five-time winning It Is I mare. Race 4: Schweppes Trot N5 Flick It (4YO Fling It mare out of Sli Trix, trainer Bill White, driver Ian White) Six-time winning Sundon mare's Great Great Granddam is Maori Miss, a dominant line in Victorian trotting.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

May 22, 2020 - Two Groupe level events graced the Vincennes at Mauquenchy harness racing program on Friday. The Prix du Crepuscule (Gr. III, purse 70,000€, 2150 meters autostart, European eligibles) saw Dorgos de Guez (7g Romcok de Guez-Landy Fromentro) score in 1.11.8kr with Alexandre Abrivard at the lines. Jean Michel Bazire trains this winner for Ecurie Vautors. Dorgos recorded his 22nd career victory now for 605,680€ earned. The classy mare Chica de Joudes (8f Jag de Bellouet-Queschua Love) was second for owner/trainer/driver Alain Laurent. Third went to Detroit Castelets (7m Neoh Jiel) handled by David Thomain for trainer J.L. Dersoir. Dorgos de Guez The Gr. II Prix Ozo (purse 85,000€, 2850 meters, 10 starters all three year olds) went to a game 5/10 favorite Havana d’Aurcy (3f Royal Dream-Avila) timed in 1.17.5kr with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer Jean Michel Bazire and breeder/owner Cyril Lelarge. 9/2 odds Havanaise (3f Ricimer-Version Philo) took second with F.P. Bossuet the trainer/driver. Third was 15/1 Hirondelle Sibey (3f Gazouillis) for Eric Raffin. Havana d’Aurcy The day before turf action for the trotteurs was at Avignon-Le Pontet at Nimes. There, the Prix de la Ville du Pontet (purse 11,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap, three-year olds on the turf) went to Hede Wood (3f Niky-Care Mia Wood) in her first career victory, with David Bekaert aboard. She was timed in 1.24.3kr for breeder/owner Jean Pierre Dubois. Stablemate and 25 meter handicapped Horchestro (3g Sam Bourbon-Alismada Corta) was second for trainer Kevin Vanderschelden and of course breeder/owner JPD. The 25-meter penalized High Machine (3f Goetmals Wood) was third for Y.A. Briand and breeder/owner Ecurie des Charmes. Hede Wood (inside) Thomas H. Hicks  

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