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Despite his last start defeat, harness racing star Beautide is the early favourite for Victoria’s two Grand Circuit events with TAB Fixed Odds. Nominations for the Victoria and A G Hunter Cups were released, with the reigning Inter Dominion champion heading the market. Second behind Christen Me in last month’s Miracle Mile, Beautide is favoured to beat the Kiwi beginning with the Victoria Cup on January 31 and again the following week. The James Rattray-trained gelding is $4 for the state’s premier mobile event and $5 in Australia’s most prestigious handicap. Rattray has yet to commit to a Hunter Cup start. Christen Me is on the third line of betting at $7 in both Cups despite being the defending Hunter Cup champion. Last season’s Victoria Cup hero, For A Reason, is $14 in his title defence, with boom local, Guaranteed, the best of the locals at $6. Guaranteed is also the second elect for the Hunter Cup at $6, equal with New Zealand Cup winner, Adore Me. PAUL COURTS VICTORIA CUP $4 Beautide $6 Guaranteed $7 Christen Me, Terror To Love $9 Adore Me $10 Philadelphia Man $14 For A Reason, Keayang Cullen $18 Im Corzin Terror $21 Restrepo $26 David Hercules $31 or better others   HUNTER CUP $5 Beautide $6 Adore Me, Guaranteed $7 Christen Me, Terror To Love $11 Philadelphia Man $14 For A Reason, Im Corzin Terror $21 Arden Rooney, Keayang Cullen, Restrepo, The Gold Ace $26 David Hercules $31 or better others

Roxane Griff (9f Tenor de Baune-Julia Mesloise-Sancho Panca) rallied stoutly from fourth around the final bend to decisively score in today’s Gr. II UET Masters Series Monte Prix Jules Lemonnier (€120,000 purse, 2175 meters, 8 starters) in a sharp 1.11.8kr. Eric Raffin rated the gallant mare perfectly for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner/breeder Ecurie Griff. Roxane Griff won for the 20th time in her career, now for earnings of €2,567,218, today at 3/5 odds. In her last seven outings she has a 1-3-2 slate with three mounted starts and four to sulky. Earlier this year she won the prestigious Prix de Cournulier (monte), the world’s richest monte race, a week before the the Prix d’Amerique . She then finished a solid fourth in that sulky classic. Germany’s Armando Kievitshof raced well today and held second for Philippe Masschaele and trainer Carine de Soete, in what was only his second monte start since April, at 25/1 odds. Torre Crepin (7g Capriccio-Ianaka) was third at 9/1. Well regarded veteran Singalo contested the event near the leading pack and eventually went offstride in late stretch. Today’s Gr. II Prix Une de Mai (€120,000, 2175 meters, 12 starters, two year-old females) went to front-striding Classica du Ruel (2f Scipion du Goutier-Romance du Ruel-Jam Pridem) with trainer Franck Anne up for breeder/owner Annick Bazin. The victory was the second of her brief career now for €127,480 earned. She was timed in a sharp 1.13.7kr, at 4.3/1 odds, in defeating Couleur Citron (2f Coktail Jet-L’aunou du Fier) and teamster Yohan Lebourgeois for Philippe Allaire who trains for Ecurie J-P Barjon. Conception (2f Ready Cash-Soeur Winner) was third for Joseph Verbeeck, trainer Allaire and owner Ecurie Val de Moulin. The Prix de Strasbourg (€88,000 purse, 2850 meters, 12 starters) also graced the card with that win to 4/5 favorite Trophee de Jaba (7g Kesaco Phedo-Otika Vita-Gal d’Hautmoniere) trained and reined by J-M Bazire. He was up in the final stride to score in 1.14.2kr to record career victory 17 for €447,900 earned. He posted his third straight win. The de Chene (7g Blue Eyes America-Heparine) was second for J.L.Cl. Dersoir, also trainer, with third to Tornado de l’Ocean (7g Look de Star-Talvina) with Pierre Levesque teaming for trained Mike Lenders and owner Ecurie J-P Barjon. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Friday Group action at Paris-Vincennes began what will be a super-charged racing weekend, illustrative of the winter-meet class of racing. The Gr. II Prix Emmanuel Margouty (€120,000, 2175 meters, 11 two year-old colt starters) went to the Thierry Duvaldestin trained and reined Cristal Money (2m Coktail Jet-Making Money-Himo Josselyn) in 1.14kr. The Richard Cohen owned colt rallied in mid-stretch and as 4.5/1 second choice held off Celebrissime (2m Password-Invre de Victorire) and Yohan Lebourgeois. That one was off as 1.6.1 favorite for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Frederic Sauque. Franck Leblanc’s Coquin Bene (2m Rancho Gede-Noble Nanette) closed well for third with J-M Bazire aboard at 11/1. Winning Cristal Money has four victories in seven starts for €108.650 in this his initial campaign, Vittel de Brevol (5m Jag de Bellouet-Lady de Brevol-Capriccio) captured the Gr. III Prix Sans Dire Qui (€105,000, monte, 2700 meters) with David Thomain in the irons for trainer Sebastien Ernault. This 9/10 favorite easily dispatched Veloce du Banney (5g Quaro-Jiva du Banney) with Yohan Lebourgeois up for trainer/owner Franck Leblanc at 10/1. Italian registered invader Palomar LB (5m Varenne-Gilly LB) was third for Elisabeth Allaire and trainer Harri Rantanen at 9/1. The winner scored in 1.13.1kr for his 14th lifetime win now for €371,100 earned. In ten 2014 starts the winner has six victories. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Broodmare gem Monaloo completed a rare harness racing feat last night. Boasting a perfect strike rate as a matron, Monaloo produced a pair of winners in the space of a couple of hours. Even more impressive is the fact the dam’s progeny were successful in two states. Promising pacer Freds A Safari kicked started proceedings when triumphant at Globe Derby for trainer-driver Darren Billinger. Rating 1:59.6 for the 1800 metres, the four-year-old continued his unbeaten run from three outings this season. By Safari, the feature race winner extended his record to 10 wins and eight placings from 25 starts. Lord Monaloo then matched his half-brother’s feat when victorious at Shepparton for astute horsewoman Kylie Sugars. Driven by Sugars’ brother, Greg, Lord Monaloo enjoyed a three-wide trail during the latter stages before scoring in 1:56.8 over 2190 metres. Racing in consistent fashion this term, the son of It Is I has notched three wins and three placings from six starts for an overall tally of 22 wins and 24 placings from 59 starts. Monaloo next foals is an unraced two-year-old daughter by It Is I. PAUL COURTS

Three hundred Catholics converged on Addington Metropolitan Raceway in Christchurch in November for an evening of harness racing celebrities, dining, and the inaugural John Paul II Centre for Life, “Parish Priest Punter of the Year”. Sponsored races such as the J. Butler & Co & Mairehau Catholic Parish Pace, and John Paul II Centre for Life Handicap Trot, created an evangelistic atmosphere for the meeting. The evening brought parishioners together, and raised awareness of and funds for the John Paul II Centre for Life. Fairy money of $100 a race was allocated for each priest’s betting. As competition intensified, Fr Paulo Filoali-i hurried down the stairs, past the birdcage, and onto the track. He was seen racing down the course in the mobile barrier starter truck, no doubt to gain a closer assessment of racing form, tinged with a taste for speed. This same ploy was used by Fr Anthony Prendergast, from St Theresa’s parish, Riccarton. Race six saw Fr Bill Middleton’s horse, Donaldson, cheered on with great fervour. Faces pushed up to the glass window of the Silks Lounge. All eyes were on Donaldson as the horses raced for the finish line. Well, almost all. It is said Fr Dan Doyle, parish priest of Ferrymead-Lyttelton, had his fairy money on Dr Hook, who won by a nose. Fr Doyle’s smile grew with every race and by race 10 the evidence was clear. He became the first John Paul II Centre for Life “Parish Priest Punter of the Year”, receiving the trophy, a beautiful bronze harness horse in a glass case. The initiator of the evening, diocese programme director Phil Gourdie, has had more than 40 winners in harness racing. MC Jack O’Donnell spent 30 years as race commentator in the Wairarapa, Nelson-Marlborough area and on the West Coast. He was president of the Greymouth Jockey Club and the New Zealand Racing Conference. He raced gallopers and harness horses. Bishop Barry Jones spoke of the centre’s work as being close to his heart, supporting the Gospel of Life so powerfully preached by St John Paul II, who knew the culture of death threatens society in many ways. The centre, which is available to the whole community, he said, puts time, effort and resources into honouring the dignity of persons when they are under threat. Bishop Jones, who is patron of the centre, established a trust in 2011. In one year the centre fielded 1217 phone calls, 75 pregnancy consultations and 59 after hours calls. It distributed 95 packets of nappies, 11 high chairs, 12 bassinets, 25 cots and 14 prams. One hundred and fifty five donations of baby clothes were given out, and 127 layettes. The centre facilitated the Catholic family camp, with a theme of raising kids Catholic, giving them roots and wings. by Jenny McPhee Reprinted with permission of the NZ Catholic

Defending champions For A Reason and Christen Me are among the record nominations for Victorian harness racing’s two Grand Circuit events. Scheduled to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 31, the Victoria Cup has attracted 58 nominations, headed by New South Wales competitor For A Reason. A member of the powerful Belinda McCarthy stable, For A Reason captured last season’s edition when driven by the trainer’s reinsman-husband, Luke. Miracle Mile placegetter, Guaranteed, heads the locals prospects, with the list including reigning Inter Dominion title holder Beautide, last week’s Ballarat Cup winner, Im Corzin Terror, and recent Cranbourne Cup winner, Terror To Love. Christen Me will also contest the mobile event before backing-up for his A G Hunter Cup defence a week later. A member of the Cran Dalgerty stable, Christen Me fifth pacer to successfully defend his crown in Australia’s premier handicap. Springfield Globe was the ground breaker in 1961 and ’62, followed by Monara in ’73 and ’74, Pure Steel in ’77 and ’78 and Blossom Lady in ’94 and ’95. Pure Steel was also triumphant in 1980 to be the only triple champion. Minuteman is the only other dual winner, having captured the time-honoured event in 1964 and ’66. Thanks to his Kilmore Cup victory last October, Guaranteed is exempt from ballot, with the remainder of the 70 nominations via for a place in the elite field. PAUL COURTS TAB.COM.AU VICTORIA CUP NOMINATIONS Falco Peregrinus Macha Artoc Bit Of A Legend Lets Elope Our Jimmy Johnstone Comply Or Die Flaming Flutter Hilltop Hustler It Is Billy Our Major Mark Philadelphia Man Steam Washed Bellas Delight Blazin N Cullen Fearless Leader Franco Nelson Keayang Steamer Lennytheshark Mark Dennis Monifieth Pub Blitz Savesomtimetodream Uncle Wingnut Adore Me Chilli Palmer Cold Major Come On Frank Guaranteed Laterron Magical Telf Restrepo Wartime Sweetheart Chancellor Cullen Maximan Chariot King Gumdrops Mach Alert Mach Beauty Bettors Fire For A Reason Abettorpunt Easy On The Eye Im Corzin Terror Motu Crusader The Gold Ace Avonnova Seel N Print Keayang Cullen Beautide Bitobliss Christen Me Suave Stuey Lombo Forever Gold David Hercules Terror To Love Arden Rooney Franco Ledger DEL-RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP HUNTER CUP NOMINATIONS Bushrod Falco Peregrinus Macha Macho Comacho Rule Like A King Star Chamber Yayas Hot Spot Artoc Bio Marinus Bit Of A Legend Classy Western Lets Elope Our Jimmy Johnstone Washmepockets Comply Or Die Dynamite Dude Flaming Flutter Hilltop Hustler It Is Billy Marty Monkhouser Our Major Mark Philadelphia Man Steam Washed Bellas Delight Blazin N Cullen Fearless Leader Franco Nelson Keayang Steamer Lennytheshark Mark Dennis Monifieth Pub Blitz Savesomtimetodream Uncle Wingnut Adore Me Chilli Palmer Guaranteed Kotare Roland Laterron Magical Telf Restrepo Wartime Sweetheart Chancellor Cullen Maximan Blucolla Tigerpie Chariot King Gumdrops Mach Alert Mach Beauty Smudge Bromac Bettors Fire For A Reason Abettorpunt Easy On The Eye Im Corzin Terror Motu Crusader The Gold Ace Avonnova Jaccka Clive Saucy Legend Seel N Print Keayang Cullen Beautide Bitobliss Christen Me Suave Stuey Lombo Forever Gold David Hercules Terror To Love Arden Rooney Franco Ledger Tiger Tara

ALBANY, NY - The state of New York has the authority to order the random off-track testing of harness horses, the state's high court ruled Thursday. New York enacted the so-called out-of-competition testing rules in 2009 as another way to keep horse racing clean. Aimed at catching performance-enhancing drugs that might elude detection on race day, the regulations allow for the testing of harness horses up to six months ahead of a race. Harness horse owners and trainers and their trade group, the Standardbred Owners Association Inc., challenged the rules as exceeding the authority of the agency overseeing horse racing in the state. Those opponents also invoked the privacy rights of farm owners that stable horses miles from the tracks. Though the Albany County Supreme Court sided with the opponents in 2011, the Appellate Division reversed last year, finding the rules valid.   This past August, amendments to the rules - partly in response to industry objections - mooted some of the opponents' arguments. New York's high court thus narrowed its review on appeal, looking only at "whether there are legal grounds for respondent's promulgation of any rule mandating out-of-competition race horse testing, and whether a testing regimen of the sort proposed would of necessity involve constitutionally unreasonable intrusions by respondent's agents. "To the former inquiry, we answer 'yes,' and to the latter, 'no,'" Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman wrote for the unanimous court Thursday.       He noted that the overseers of pari-mutuel horse racing in the state "have for decades" worked to police the sport, including testing horse blood and urine on race day for banned substances.       The 2009 rules adopted by the state Racing and Wagering Board, now the New York State Gaming Commission, came as "a new generation of doping agents" surfaced, particularly protein-based drugs used to enhance speed, Lippman said.       In an affidavit, a longtime state veterinarian said the new drugs could turn a lame horse into a competitor but remain undetected when administered ahead of race day. In addition to threatening the integrity of racing, jockey and horse are also at risk, the vet said.       Although the horse owners and trainers argued that new race-day tests are capable of detecting the latest drugs, the Court of Appeals dismissed such measures as costly and unreliable in finding banned substance given months earlier.      "The existence of tests of such uncertain general utility does not stand in the way of concluding that the relevant requirement of a rational basis for respondent's determination to mandate out-of-competition testing was met," Lippman wrote.       New York is not alone in turning to out-of-competition rules, according to the ruling. Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey and New Mexico have similar regulations.       New York's out-of-competition rules apply to thoroughbred horses as well, but the owners did not challenge them in court.       Lippman described the gaming commission's legislatively outlined authority over horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering as "well nigh plenary," dating back 40 years.       The enabling legislation specified oversight of activities "both on and off-track," he said.       "Respondent's power effectively to reach off-track activity, such as horse doping, bearing directly on the safety and integrity of pari-mutuel racing, seems to us unarguable," the opinion states.       As for the horsemen's claim that off-track testing amounts to an unreasonable search of farms stabling horses, the court described this argument as "unavailing."       When farm owners sign such commercial agreements, "they may reasonably be deemed to have relinquished a privacy-based objection to the very closely circumscribed property intrusion that will foreseeably occur incident to an appropriately focused out-of-competition testing regimen," Lippman wrote.       The rules envision state veterinarians taking blood and urine samples from specifically identified harness horses. No residential or private space would be affected, and no attempt would be made to uncover criminal activity.       "We do not think that such a visit, particularly when conducted in accordance within a duly constrained regulatory framework, will generally implicate a privacy interest triggering the requirement of a warrant or prior consent by the stable owner," according to the ruling.       Judges Susan Read, Robert Smith, Eugene Pigott, Jenny Rivera and Sheila Abdus-Salaam concurred. The term of former judge Victoria Graffeo ended last month, leaving the court with an open seat. by Marlene Kennedy, reprinted with permission by http://www.courthousenews.com

East Rutherford, NJ --- The ‘Lady’ is the champ. JK She’salady, who was undefeated in 12 races for breeder/owner 3 Brothers Stables and trainer Nancy Johansson, became the first 2-year-old female pacer in harness racing history to be named Horse of the Year, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Thursday during a Dan Patch Awards presentation at Meadowlands Racetrack. The filly won by five votes, 57-52, over fellow pacer Sweet Lou in the tightest Horse of the Year finish since 7-year-old trotting gelding Savoir beat 3-year-old filly pacer Silk Stockings, 52-49, in 1975. Five-year-old Sweet Lou, however, was named Pacer of the Year after besting JK She’salady by one vote, 74-73, in that category. It is the first time a Pacer of the Year or Trotter of the Year – categories introduced in 1970 – failed to receive Horse of the Year. Voters, who are members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and American Harness Racing Secretaries, must choose their Horse of the Year from either their Pacer of the Year or Trotter of the Year selection. A total of 157 ballots were returned. The anomaly occurred because a greater number of voters that selected JK She’salady for Pacer of the Year on their ballot also voted her their Horse of the Year. Only 16 people that voted JK She’salady as the best pacer gave their Horse of the Year vote to their Trotter of the Year selection, compared to 22 for Sweet Lou. Three-year-old filly Shake It Cerry was named Trotter of the Year, finishing 22 votes ahead of runner-up Sebastian K, 59-37. Shake It Cerry, owned by Solveig’s Racing Partners and trained by Jimmy Takter, received 14 votes for Horse of the Year. A total of nine horses received at least one vote for Horse of the Year. JK She’salady is the fourth 2-year-old to receive Horse of the Year, joining pacer Niatross (1979), trotter Nevele Pride (1967) and pacer Bret Hanover (1964). The three previous 2-year-old winners were colts. She is the first female pacer to be voted Horse of the Year since Rainbow Blue in 2004 and the fourth female pacer overall to receive the honor. The others were Bunny Lake in 2001 and Fan Hanover in 1981. “It’s unbelievable,” Johansson said. “I don’t know if it’s completely sunk in. The hard work paid off. She’s just such a special horse. “She’s as perfect as they come now, and I guess finishing off with Horse of the Year exemplifies how perfect she is.” JK She’salady, who on Wednesday was named the sport’s best 2-year-old filly pacer, won her final nine starts by a minimum of one length and closed her campaign with a stakes-record victory in the Breeders Crown. She equaled the world record of 1:50.1 for a 2-year-old female pacer in winning the She’s A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk and also captured the Three Diamonds Stakes. For the year, the homebred filly earned $883,330. She was driven by Tim Tetrick in the Breeders Crown and by Yannick Gingras in her previous starts. It is the first Horse of the Year honor for the 33-year-old Johansson, who is Takter’s daughter and previously worked as a caretaker in her father’s stable. Takter has won three Horse of the Year awards, two with Moni Maker (1998-99) and one with Malabar Man (1997). Sweet Lou, who was driven by Ron Pierce and set a record with six consecutive wins in faster than 1:48, captured 11 of 19 races for the season and earned $1.36 million for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. He won the Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono Downs in 1:47, the fastest-ever mile on a five-eighths track, and won the Dan Patch Invitational in 1:47.2, the fastest-ever mile at Hoosier Park. Other victories for Sweet Lou included the TVG Free For All Series championship, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and the Roll With Joe. Sweet Lou, who was the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer in 2011 and added the award for best older male pacer this season, is Burke’s second Pacer of the Year winner. Burke also won with Foiled Again in 2011. “We got Pacer of the Year, I’m OK with that,” co-owner Collura said. “We’ll have some fun with that. “It was a little disappointing (not to receive Horse of the Year), but I’m still happy. Pacer of the Year is a great achievement for Lou. It’s a nice way to end the year regardless.” Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 races this year, earning $1.23 million for the Solveig’s Racing Partners ownership group and driver Pierce. Most of the members of the ownership group are also members of Solveig’s Breeders, which bred the filly. The Takter-trained filly, who on Tuesday was named the best 3-year-old filly trotter, finished her season by winning the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record 1:52.2. She also won the Matron Stakes in a stakes- and track-record 1:52.4 over a “good” surface at Dover Downs, the American-National in a stakes-record 1:52.2 and equaled the stakes record of 1:52.1 in capturing the Elegantimage. “This filly, she really deserved Trotter of the Year,” Takter said. “Besides the Hambletonian (Oaks), what a season she had, and she finished up in style. She’s just a fantastic horse.” Both of Shake It Cerry’s parents were Dan Patch Award winners. Donato Hanover was Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2007 and Solveig was voted best 2-year-old female trotter in 2004. Solveig also was trained by Takter, who named the filly in honor of his mother. It is Takter’s sixth Trotter of the Year Award. He won three with Moni Maker (1998-2000) as well as Malabar Man (1997) and Kadabra (2002). Complete vote totals for all Dan Patch Award categories can be found here. For the announcements of division honors, for pacers click here and for trotters click here. HORSE OF THE YEAR 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER OF THE YEAR JK SHE’SALADY Art Major – Presidential Lady – Presidential Ball Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeders: 3 Brothers Stables. Owners: 3 Brothers Stables. Trainer: Nancy Johansson. Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick. Races: 12-12-0-0. Purses: $883,330. Mark: 1:50.1 at Mohawk (equals world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $441,600 She’s A Great Lady; $377,360 Three Diamonds. PACER OF THE YEAR OLDER MALE PACER OF THE YEAR SWEET LOU Yankee Cruiser – Sweet Future – Falcons Future Yearling Price: $38,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Birnam Wood Farms. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, Phil Collura. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 19-11-3-1. Purses: $1.36 million. Mark: 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 TVG Final; $500,000 Ben Franklin; $463,300 William Haughton Memorial. TROTTER OF THE YEAR 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR SHAKE IT CERRY Donato Hanover – Solveig – Yankee Glide Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Solveig’s Breeders. Owner: Solveig’s Racing Partners. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 17-15-0-1. Purses: $1.23 million. Mark: 1:51.2 at The Red Mile. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $368,100 Elegantimage; $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity. From the United States Harness Writers Assoiation

Anyone tuning in to the first race at Alexandra Park to see the emerging harness racing star Dalton Bromac would have been a touch puzzled to see leading reinsman Dexter Dunn in the bike instead of regular pilot Ricky May. Ricky had transport issues this afternoon and never made it to Auckland in time and trainer Benny Hill had the luxury of replacing one champion reinsman with another on his budding star. Allowed to ease off the gate by Dexter from barrier seven, Dalton Bromac settled last early while Te Kawau and No Doctor Needed went to war early with a lead time of under 40 seconds for the opening 600 metres for only the second time ever at Alexandra Park. As soon as Te Kawau went to ease the hectic pace, Dexter was off with Dalton Bromac looping the field to lead with 1100 metres to run. From there Dexter hardly moved as Dalton Bromac had them all gasping on the corner before strolling home for an effortless win by 2 3/4 lengths over a fast finishing The Bucket List. What grabbed everybody's attention was the time that Dalton Bromac ran for the 2200 metres which demolished the previous record set in 1999 by Bogan Fella of 2:38.2 by 2.1 seconds. The son of Major In Art paced the 2200 metres in 2:36.1, a mile rate of 1:54.2 with closing sectionals of 56.4 and 28. Dexter was quick to express a bit of sympathy for Ricky missing the drive. " I feel a bit sorry for Ricky missing the drive, it was a bit unfortunate,"  " They went really hard early and I got around them when they eased." "He was always travelling well after that and won pretty easily in the end" Dexter said. When asked how he rated Dalton Bromac Dexter was very positive in his comments. " He is still really green and has a bit to learn" "When he puts it all together its scary what he could be able to do" "He has a big future," Dexter said. Dalton Bromac now heads to Cambridge next Wednesday for the $50,000 Waikato Futurity against a small but quality lineup. If he can win that Dalton Bromac gets automatic entry to the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle which should really wet the appetite of all harness racing enthusiasts on both sides of the Tasman about what time this big impressive son of Major In Art could run on the super quick Menangle track. Harnesslink Media  

Despite promising harness racing mare My Bella Starr’s triumphant return to racing at Cranbourne last night, connections will “play it cool for now”. Sent for a spell following her Vicbred Super Series success last July, My Bella Starr outclassed her rivals over 2080 metres. Pleased with the pacer’s performance, trainer Adam Kelly stated My Bella Starr will be eased through the grades as she works towards her title defence. Should the daughter of Art Major exceed early expectations, Kelly will alter his plans to include the Ladyship Mile at Menangle in March. “She has come back well, but we are play it cool for now,” Kelly said. “You can’t get excited on one run back from a spell. “She’s comeback in great shape and shouldn’t have any trouble getting through the grades. “Whether she measures up to the top mares only time will tell, but realistically that was only her first run as a four-year-old and she’s got a long way to go yet. “At this stage the Sires’ later in the season will be her main aim.” As for her latest triumph, My Bella Starr trailed the leader, Discrimination, before finishing along the sprint lane to account for Machin Out and Whata Avenue. Driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang, My Bella Starr rated 1:58.8, with the final 800 meters covered in 57 seconds. PAUL COURTS

Nominations closed on Wednesday 17 December with the Met for the running of the 2015 Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby at Addington on Friday 27 March.   At the time of closing, 44 three year old pacers had been nominated for the prestigious event, that this year carries a total stake of $200,000, an increase of $25,000 from 2014.   Nominations included 12 from leading Canterbury trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.    Addington’s Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt was happy with the number of nominations. “It is very pleasing to receive such a high level of nominations for this time honoured event. Our three year old crop this year is of extremely high quality and we’ll be looking forward to hopefully carding a full field on 27 March.”   Any horse not nominated, may upon making the first late entry fee of $1,000 plus GST per horse become eligible. This fee is due no later than 3pm NZ time on Wednesday 14 January.   A fixed odds book on the nominations will be released by the TAB at noon on Monday 22 December..   Nominations   1 Art Union 2 Better Scoot 3 Bettor Spirits 4 Bracken Ridge 5 Brilliant Strike 6 Chachingchaching 7 Change Stride 8 Classical Art 9 Costa Del Magnifico 10 Cullect The Gold 11 Downunder Stride 12 Duke Of Albany 13 Express Stride 14 Field Marshal 15 Fight For Glory 16 Follow The Stars 17 Have Faith In Me 18 Highview Freddy 19 Hughie Green 20 Hug The Wind 21 Itz Bettor To Win 22 Jay Dub 23 Jonny B Good 24 Kept Under Wraps 25 Kiwi Legend 26 Linda Lovegrace 27 Major Stare 28 Major Stride 29 McArdle Star 30 Mighty Flying Major 31 My Kiwi Mate 32 Nero Star 33 Prince Of Pops 34 Pulp Fiction 35 Rakarolla 36 Robbie Burns 37 Say My Name 38 Sluggem 39 Smithy 40 Strike The Gold 41 Supersonic Miss 42 The Lion's Roar 43 Titan Banner 44 Zin Zan   Ged Mooar

Yesterday’s announcement about the three winning bids for casino resorts in upper New York State has had positive and negative impacts on harness racing in the Empire State. The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board announced Wednesday the selection of the one winning bid for a casino in each of three defined regions of the State:  Catskills/Hudson Valley (Region One, Zone Two), Capital (Region Two, Zone Two) and Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes (Region Five, Zone Two). In the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region, The Montreign Resort Casino in Thompson, N.Y. whose developer Empire Resorts operates through a subsidiary, the nearby Monticello Casino & Raceway, was selected over eight other applicants. What this means is that Monticello Raceway will hopefully be able to survive. The new resort will be built just a couple of miles away from the track and because the parent company is already running the racing, it should remain a viable attraction to compliment the resort. No word yet on whether the casino already at Monticello Raceway will remain open once the new resorts gets finished, which is now years away. In the Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region, the Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, N.Y. was selected over the other two applicants in the region, Tioga Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment in Nichols, N.Y. and Traditions Resort & Casino in Union, N.Y. This move will have major devastating effects at Vernon Downs according to owner Jeff Gural, who stated after the meeting, "they probably put Vernon Down out of business." Gural's casino bid for Tioga Downs in the Eastern Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region was not chosen and he suggested to the Capital New York that the future of Vernon Downs could be in trouble with a casino license being considered about 80 miles away at Lago Resort and Casino. “It will hurt me at Vernon. But, I don't give a sh*t about me, I’m wealthy,” Gural was quoted as saying in the Capital New York article. “But it certainly screwed the people who live in the Southern Tier. There are five casinos where Lago is and now there are no casinos in the Southern Tier. That's—that’s shocking! “I think the Southern Tier just got wiped out economically," he continued. "Poor people, they’re going to have no jobs. Take a ride around the Southern Tier and see what it looks like. It’s about as depressed an area as there is and when you had a chance to help these people, with the fracking and the casino, they give them a doubleheader. It’s just sickening. I feel bad for the people. Don’t worry about Jeff Gural, I’m fine.” To read Gural's comments in the Capital New York, click here. Along with The Montreign Resort Casino and Lago Resort & Casino, the Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, NY from the Capital Region was the third entity that will be entitled to apply to the New York State Gaming Commission for a gaming facility license. To read the complete report, click here. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

JK She’salady and Sweet Lou were landslide winners in Dan Patch Award voting announced Wednesday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, but one of the six pacing divisions resulted in a rare dead heat. Anndrovette and Rocklamation will share the Dan Patch Award for best older female pacer after each received 51 of 157 votes. The only previous tie for a Dan Patch Award came in 1965 when Cardigan Bay and Race Time finished in a dead heat for best older pacer. JK She’salady, who was undefeated in 12 starts, came within one vote of being the unanimous selection for best 2-year-old female pacer. Sweet Lou, who set a record with six consecutive wins in faster than 1:48, was three votes from being the undisputed top older male pacer. Completing the list of division champions were 2-year-old male pacer Artspeak, 3-year-old male pacer McWicked, and 3-year-old female pacer Color’s A Virgin. Artspeak received 90 percent of the vote in his group while McWicked had 82 percent and Color’s A Virgin had 68 percent. Seven-year-old Anndrovette and 5-year-old Sweet Lou are repeat winners. Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year will be announced at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack’s Victory Sports Bar. Thursday’s announcements will be streamed live on the racetrack’s website, www.playmeadowlands.com. Anndrovette now has received a record four Dan Patch honors in the pacing mare division, and is tied with Eternal Camnation for the most honors for any pacer in history.  Rocklamation’s trophy is the first in the division for trainer Ron Burke, who has conditioned the six most recent winners among older male pacers. This season, Anndrovette won six of 22 races and earned a division-leading $520,352 for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer P.J. Fraley, and owners Bamond Racing and Joe Davino. Her victories included the Roses Are Red Stakes and Betsy Ross Invitational. Rocklamation, a 6-year-old, won four of 18 races and banked $517,364. Her triumphs for driver Yannick Gingras and owners Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, and J&T Silva Stables included the Golden Girls, Artiscape, and Lady Liberty. Artspeak won eight of 10 races and earned $742,185, with top wins coming in the Metro Pace and Governor’s Cup. He is owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners. He is trained by Tony Alagna, who also captured this division in 2012 with Captaintreacherous, and was driven by Scott Zeron. After losing her first three starts of the year, Color’s A Virgin rebounded to win all but one of her next 14 races, with her victories including the Jugette and Nadia Lobell. She finished the campaign with 13 wins in 18 starts and earnings of $532,622 for driver Trace Tetrick, trainer Brian Brown and owner Emerald Highlands Farm. JK She’salady won her final nine starts by a minimum of one length and closed her campaign with a stakes-record victory in the Breeders Crown. She equaled the world record of 1:50.1 for a 2-year-old female pacer in winning the She’s A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk and also captured the Three Diamonds Stakes. Owned by 3 Brothers Stables, JK She’salady is trained by Nancy Johansson. The filly was driven by Tim Tetrick in the Breeders Crown and by Gingras in her previous starts. McWicked was the richest pacer of the year, with $1.47 million in purses for owner SSG Stables and trainer Casie Coleman. The colt won 12 of 23 races and hit the board a total of 21 times. He finished the season on a three-race win streak, which included the Breeders Crown and a stakes-record triumph in the Progress Pace. Other victories for McWicked included the Delvin Miller Adios and Max C. Hempt Memorial.  His time of 1:47.3 in the Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. He was driven primarily by David Miller, with Brian Sears in the sulky for the Breeders Crown. A Dan Patch Award winner in 2011 at the age of 2, Sweet Lou added a second trophy this year for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. He won 11 of 19 races for the season and earned $1.36 million. Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, won the Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono Downs in 1:47, the fastest-ever mile on a five-eighths track, and won the Dan Patch Invitational in 1:47.2, the fastest-ever mile at Hoosier Park. Other victories for Sweet Lou included the TVG Free For All Series championship, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and the Roll With Joe. Complete vote totals for all awards will be released Thursday with the Horse of the Year announcement. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Artspeak (141 of 157 votes) Western Ideal – The Art Museum – Artsplace Yearling Price: $100,000 at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeders: Brittany Farms, Melvin Hartman. Owners: Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners. Trainer: Tony Alagna. Driver: Scott Zeron. Races: 10-8-0-2. Purses: $742,185. Mark: 1:50.2 at Mohawk. Top wins: $613,640 Metro Pace; $502,850 Governor’s Cup. 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER JK She’salady (155 votes; one abstention) Art Major – Presidential Lady – Presidential Ball Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeders: 3 Brothers Stables. Owners: 3 Brothers Stables. Trainer: Nancy Johansson. Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick. Races: 12-12-0-0. Purses: $883,330. Mark: 1:50.1 at Mohawk (equals world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $441,600 She’s A Great Lady; $377,360 Three Diamonds. 3-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER McWicked (128 votes) McArdle – Western Sahara – Western Ideal Yearling Price: $35,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Andray Farm. Owner: S S G Stables. Trainer: Casie Coleman. Drivers: David Miller, Brian Sears. Races: 23-12-5-4. Purses: $1.47 million. Mark: 1:47.3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $531,250 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Hempt Memorial; $400,000 Adios. 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER Color’s A Virgin (106 votes) Always A Virgin – Full Color – Allamerican Ingot Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Emerald Highlands Farm. Owner: Emerald Highlands Farm. Trainer: Brian Brown. Driver: Trace Tetrick. Races: 18-13-2-0. Purses: $532,622. Mark: 1:51 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $298,100 Jugette; $176,500 Nadia Lobell. OLDER MALE PACER Sweet Lou (154 votes) Yankee Cruiser – Sweet Future – Falcons Future Yearling Price: $38,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Birnam Wood Farms. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, Phil Collura. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 19-11-3-1. Purses: $1.36 million. Mark: 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 TVG Final; $500,000 Ben Franklin; $463,300 William Haughton Memorial. OLDER FEMALE PACER (tie) Anndrovette (51 votes) Riverboat King – Easy Miss – Big Towner Yearling Price: Private sale. Breeder: Golden Touch Stable. Owners: Bamond Racing, Joseph Davino. Trainer: P.J. Fraley. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 22-6-4-4. Purses: $520,352. Mark: 1:49.1 at Mohawk. Top wins: $303,600 Roses Are Red; $250,000 Betsy Ross. Rocklamation (51 votes) Rocknroll Hanover – Art Sale – Artsplace Yearling Price: $50,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Perretti Farms. Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J&T Silva Stables. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 18-4-5-2. Purses: $517,364. Mark: 1:48.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $183,450 Golden Girls; $178,000 Artiscape; $177,750 Lady Liberty. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Final lineup and post positions are set for Sunday’s prestigious Criterium Continental for €240,000 and contested over 2100 meters autostart. The French leading four year-olds drew very well. Tomas Malmqvist’s entry of Backfire and Tumble Dust drew posts eight-nine and J-P Dubois’ Tast of Bourbon (by Donato Hanover-Qualita Bourbon) will start from the inside of the second tier. The winner of the event earns an invitation to the Prix d’Amerique. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

No decisions on the immediate racing programme of New Zealand Cup winner Adore Me have been made yet as she heads into the $100,000 Queen Of Hearts at Alexandra Park tomorrow night. At this stage once the  Auckland Xmas carnival is safely over, champion mare Adore Me is likely to head to the Waikato Flying Mile on January 9. As former stable star Auckland Reactor has done in the past, Adore Me will take on the best on the 1000 metres Cambridge track but this year it will be a race with a difference. It will probably be the main guide that Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen will use when they decide the racing programme for Adore Me for the remainder of the season. Just what races Adore Me will be set for is up in the air and the programme set for her may yet include some Australian features. Mark was non committal when asked where Adore Me may race next. "She is nominated for both the Victoria Cup (January 31 2240m) and the A G Hunter Cup ($400,000-February 7-3280m) but we will reassess her programme after the Flying Mile" Mark said Wednesday. "She is not at this stage any certainty to compete in the Inter Dominions Series (the final is on March 1) although the Ladyship Mile on grand final day is on the radar" Mark said. Mark's has more immediate concerns in light of  Adore Me's tricky draw in the Queen of Hearts on Friday night at Alexandra Park. "It is going to be an interesting race." "It is a bad draw for us although we are behind Helena Jet whom I rate the hardest to beat from the draw." "If I stay behind her Ricky will put us three pegs at some stage but he will be wanting to only give the lead to the right horse so it might not work out too badly." "So that is probably what we will do." "The only other way to drop out and wait for a run into the race is an option but following Helena Jet is probably the way to go." "I can't decide too much in advance," Mark said Harnesslink Media  

Columbus, OH --- The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board announced Wednesday the selection of the one winning bid for a casino in each of three defined regions of the State:  Catskills/Hudson Valley (Region One, Zone Two), Capital (Region Two, Zone Two) and Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes (Region Five, Zone Two). In the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region, The Montreign Resort Casino in Thompson, N.Y. whose developer Empire Resorts operates through a subsidiary, the nearby Monticello Casino & Raceway, was selected over eight other applicants. In the Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region, the Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, N.Y. was selected over the other two applicants in the region, Tioga Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment in Nichols, N.Y. and Traditions Resort & Casino in Union, N.Y. Along with The Montreign Resort Casino and Lago Resort & Casino, the Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, N.Y.  from the Capital Region was the third entity that will be entitled to apply to the New York State Gaming Commission for a gaming facility license. To read the complete report, click here. From the USTA Media Department

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