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BEDFORD PA - Following the afternoon annual meeting of USTA District 7 (Pennsylvania), the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in this southwestern Pennsylvania city hosted the annual harness racing Pennsylvania Fair Banquet, co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, the U.S. Trotting Association, and the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association. After a greeting from "host" (and Bedford native) Sam Beegle and an excellent buffet dinner, many awards were distributed under the microphone guidance of Harrah's Philadelphia announcer Mike Bozich, the first group getting a blanket in their stable colors as the connections of the leading pointwinners during the Pennsylvania Fair season. Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding : KEYSTONE BENTLEY, c, Cantab Hall - Armbro Blusher, trained by Todd Schadel, and co-owned by Todd and Christine Schadel. (blue and white) Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly: BUMPER HANOVER, Muscle Massive - By A Nose Hanover, trained by Todd Schadel, and co-owned by Todd and Christine Schadel. (blue and white) Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding: WAY TO CLOSE, g, Western Terror - Tootsie J, trained by Todd Schadel, and co-owned by Todd and Christine Schadel. (blue and white) Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly: CREW SOCK HANOVER, Well Said - Chantal Hall, trained by Dave Brickell, and co-owned by Dave Brickell and Mitchell York. (light blue and white) Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding: GRAPPLE HANOVER, g, Andover Hall - Girls' Getaway, trained by Wayne Long, and owned by Denton Barrett and William Kreutzer. (red and green with white) Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly: BLOW BACK, Explosive Matter - Greatest Desire, trained by Roger Hammer, and co-owned by Vicki Fair and Roger Hammer. (blue and red with yellow) Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding: CIRRUS DE VIE, g, Real Artist - Walk On The Beach, trained by Roger Hammer, and co-owned by Vicki Fair and Roger Hammer. (blue and red with yellow) Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly: GEISHA SEELSTER, Well Said- Goddess's Princess, trained by Roger Hammer, and co-owned by Vicki Fair and Roger Hammer. (blue and red with yellow) A moment of silence was then held to honor Sue Brickell, Pennsylvania fair stalwart and organizer, who passed away this past May. Then the folks behind the winner of their Fair Sire Stakes Championships at The Meadows in October received a warm jacket with their accomplishment stitched on in lettering: Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding: WATCH ME OVER, g, Muscle Massive - Wherley, trained by William Daugherty Jr., and owned by Susan Daugherty. Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly: RT GLORIA DE DIOS, Muscle Massive - RT Sun Poco, trained by Bob Rougeaux III, and owned by the Brocious Racing Stable Inc. Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding: AFLAME HANOVER, g, Russell Hanover - Applique Hanover, trained by Linda Schadel, and owned by Tony and Linda Schadel. Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly: SURE R LOOKIN GOOD, Well Said - Treat Me Good, trained by Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owned by Julie Krenitsky. Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding: WILLIE B WORTHY, g, Cantab Hall - Penn Worthy Lane, trained and owned by Lisa Dunn. Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly: WORLDLY HANOVER, Donato Hanover - Wherley, trained by Harold Brocklehurst, and owned by Double R Farms LLC, David Obley, and Richard Williams. Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding: LEGENDARY RON, g, A Rocknroll Dance - Safe From Harm, trained by Ron Burke, and owned by Matthew Dugan and Michelle Rosato. Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly: KEYSTONE DIAMOND, Somebeachsomewhere - Keystone Dawn, trained by Todd Schadel, and co-owned by Christine and Todd Schadel. The Schadel brothers, Todd and Tony, were invited back to the spotlight to honor special achievements they made this past season. Tony, along with wife Linda, were recognized for the outstanding Fair Championship-winning performance of their freshman pacing gelding Aflame Hanover, who won by open lengths in 1:51.4 - the fastest Fair Championship win ever, whether two- or three-year-olds. Todd received two further prizes: one for sweeping the 2018 Pennsylvania fair horsemen's championships with 71 driving victories and 78 training victories, and another for leading all of North America's drivers in the "300-499 start" category with a UDR of .378. The drawings for equipment and other prizes generously donated by a host of PA fair supporters again allowed the average $40 ticketbuyer to emerge with a profit on the evening, such were the value of the drawing prizes. Winning a Pennsbury jog cart was Mary Martin, and bringing home a Spyder sulky was Sophie Twaddle. Jerry Connors

BEDFORD PA -The annual meeting of District 7 (Pennsylvania) of the U.S. Trotting Association was held Saturday afternoon in this southwest Pennsylvania city. District 7 Chairman Sam Beegle presided; also in attendance were District 7 directors Russell Williams (who, as the USTA President, served as the organization's representative) and Rich Gillock, along with Tom Leasure, director of harness racing at The Meadows who recently joined the District 7 directors. Fred Strathmeyer, deputy secretary of the PA State Department of Agriculture, attended the meeting, and said that interviews for the vacant position of Director of the Bureau of Standardbred Racing within the State Horse Racing Commission should be starting shortly, and they hoped to have a person in place within a couple of months. He also promised to work on the selection of the 2-day Sire Stakes host sites, beginning with the annual Fair Meeting at Hershey this coming Thursday and the upcoming Horse Racing Commission meeting. Chris McErlean, Vice-President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, attended the meeting as his group recently purchased The Meadows, and spoke briefly. Russell Williams then guided the assembled through the proposed USTA Rule Changes, so that the Directors could speak the mind of their constituents when the USTA full board meets in March in Columbus. Below is how the District 7 members voted: 1. Extended break -- REJECTED 2. Media in paddock -- ACCEPTED 3. On track 5 min. before post time -- REJECTED 4. No diff. ext. and nonext. wins - REJECTED 5. Who can claim -- ACCEPTED 6. Number of trailers - ACCEPTED with the AMENDMENT that at non-ext. meets there should be a maximum of one trailer regardless of age. 7. Purses if DQ -- REJECTED 8. Secure entry process -- ACCEPTED 9. Electronic display of entries -- REJECTED 10. PP 1-4 / PP 5-8 -- REJECTED 11. Horses coming to gate -- ACCEPTED 12. Speed of gate -- ACCEPTED 13. Charging the gate -- ACCEPTED 14. Starting rules violations -- ACCEPTED 15. "Holding horses" before start -- REJECTED 16. Position of second-tier horses -- REJECTED 17. Amateur driver -- REJECTED 18. "AP" driving license -- REJECTED 19. Racedriving violations -- REJECTED 20. Whip color -- TABLED 21. Rules on breaking -- REJECTED 22. Mud aprons - ACCEPTED with the AMENDMENT at end " ... pari-mutuel tracks, at which time the track shall be rated 'sloppy'." 23. Number of mares bred -- ACCEPTED 24. Submission of "Mares Bred" list -- ACCEPTED 25. Reusage of horse names -- ACCEPTED 26. Licensed trainer - ACCEPTED. Jerry Connors

HARRISBURG, PA - John Polvinale, who started the Facebook page Harness Racing History to share his extensive collection of memorabilia and has curated it to grow into one of harness racing's most popular sites in the new technology, has been named the winner of a President's Award by U.S. Harness Writers Association head Shawn Wiles for its contribution to the knowledge and enjoyment of the sport by people both inside and outside of the sport. Polvinale first went to the races at Roosevelt Raceway when the track's age was still in single digits, then furthered his knowledge on the backstretch of Freehold Raceway, where trainer "Big Mike" Petito urged him to purchase a horse named Steady New Yorker in 1979. "In his first start for me, he went off at double digits, but he still won by eight lengths, with Jack Moiseyev driving. I thought this sport was going to be a piece of cake - which, of course, has not turned out to be the case." But the inevitable ups and downs of racing did nothing to deter Polvinale's enthusiasm for the game, with his love of history also leading him to assemble a large collection of harness-related materials, books, trophies - you name it. "I had started to watch race replays on the Internet and social media, and with the encouragement of friends who wanted me to share my collection, I decided to use these emerging media to start Harness Racing History." Extensive collection of memorabilia Polvinale soon found that his new site had struck resonantly with many harness racing fans - and also with people with only a passing or little knowledge of the sport. "It started with people that I knew," John remembered, "but then those people talked to people in their own 'circles,' including those not in racing," and a "ripple effect" was soon evident, with those outside the sulky community finding items and people that interested them. Harness Racing History just broke the 30,000 "member" plateau, and in a given month will have 100,000 "engagements" (posts, comments, likes, views). The site's viewership is 60-40 male-female, and 60% fall within the desired 25-54 age range demographic. It was Polvinale who started the Facebook page, doing most of the early postings, and he still checks the site "about once during most of my waking hours," watching for any signs of commercialism or incivility, both of which are quickly eradicated. However, he is very proud that now "it's mostly the members, the visitors to the site who have determined its 'shape,' and are the drivers of what appears on the website. We know of certain trends, say people who want to see the replays of certain races at certain times, but it's really our audience who are the content shapers with their postings and comments. "One of the things that gives me the greatest satisfaction is that the site has become a place where 'family reunites' - people who haven't heard from another party for 20 or 30 years will see some experience they had in common and make a comment, and old friendships are reborn." Polvinale's catchwords for operating the site are "pure" and "simple," and those feelings resonate so much that when USHWA president Wiles told John of his winning the award, Shawn used those very words in congratulating Polvinale - "and it was evident he had captured the spirit of the site exactly." John Polvinale will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 24 are cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers' website). From the United States Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG PA -- Heather Vitale, secretary of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), international harness racing video journalist, self-proclaimed "Harness Racing's Firework," two-time Sam McKee Broadcasters Award winner, and probably the only person in harness racing who both holds Madonna as a role model and also has her own Wikipedia page, has been announced by USHWA President Shawn Wiles as the organization's Member of the Year. "Make no mistake about it, there is only one Heather Vitale!" USHWA president Wiles said. "Her colorful and lively persona always adds excitement to any event. We look forward to seeing Heather again at this year's Dan Patch Awards Dinner, on the Red Carpet, as we have for many years. She has been a great voice and face for Harness Racing in her region and for USHWA." Heather comes from a multi-generational harness family in Delaware. Her mother, Jo Ann Looney King, was the first woman to drive a winner at The Meadowlands, and she is the co-owner of 2018's outstanding pacing mare Shartin N, trained by husband Jim King Jr. Heather is a graduate of Monmouth (NJ) University, with a focus on public relations/journalism, and she chose to follow that career path rather than working with the horses. Her show "Post Time" has aired on the CBS affiliate in the Delmarva region for some twenty years, and she also co-hosts the weekly show "Pennsylvania Harness Week," a position in which she has served for nearly a decade. She has worked for ESPN and for the Little Brown Jug network. But a person of Heather's ambition, flamboyance, and talent cannot of course be confined to any one country. Her journalistic travels have taken her not only to Canada, a logical extension because of the fluency of the U.S./Canada harness crossing, but also to Ireland and Australia, where she appeared as an on-air reporter during a major stakes day. (And speaking of international recognizability, Heather was also a driving force behind getting the richest harness horse world-wide, Foiled Again, into the famous "stable" of Breyer collectible horse models.) Heather is a prolific user of social media since its inception, with many followers of her frequent postings on the various platforms. "I'm not a bettor," she says, "so I focus my stories on the horses and the people in the sport, trying to tell their interesting stories, and trying to appeal to people to come out to the track and watch the races. I want to expose the sport outside of the fans we already have." Her presentation is tirelessly upbeat and positive in the service of harness racing. Perhaps the best summation of Heather Vitale was offered by Joe Thomson of Winbak Farms, who once told her, "The best business I could be in is to bottle your attitude and sell it." The Harness Writers Association has benefited a great deal from her attitude and her talents, and that's why she has been named USHWAn of the Year. Heather Vitale (and her family in their connections to Shartin N) will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 24 are cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers' website). Jerry Connors      

Horsemen are reminded that nominations should be postmarked by February 15 for the many and varied early and late closers that will highlight the 2019 racing season of The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The famed northeastern Pennsylvania oval will begin the 134-day race meet on Saturday, March 16. Starting off the season - right from opening night -- will be a new late closer, The Secretary's Series, with 6 different divisions, and no nomination fees. An initial group of three divisions will be programmed for four year old & older horse & gelding pacers, mare pacers, and trotters in general, with separate mare divisions if entries warrant for the trotters. These three events will be for non-winners of $50,000 in 2018 for those that have started 10 or more times in 2018. The 3 preliminary legs will go for a purse of $12,500, with a final of $25,000 (there will be consolations for those classes that fill such a race). The second group for the same type of horses will be for non-winners of $75,000 in 2018 for those that have started 10 or more times in 2018. Purses for these events will be $17,500 for the preliminaries and a $30,000 final (again, consolations are part of the plans). If a horse won less than $50,000 in 2018 with the required ten starts, he or she can also enter the parallel division of this second late-closing series, to be raced entirely after the completion of the first group. The Bobby Weiss Late Closing Series for 3- & 4-year-old horses will return this season in April with four events for non-winners of 2 extended pari-mutuel races or $30,000 lifetime as of & including February 1, 2019. The separate events will be for male pacers, female pacers, male trotters and female trotters. Each Weiss will consist of three $15,000 legs and a $30,000 final. This year there will be consolations for each event. Returning this year will be the Great Northeast Series for open class horses for pacers, mare pacers and trotters. Legs will be going for $30,000, which will alternate between The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia from May to September. (The June 29 card at Pocono, the Sun Stakes Saturday card, will also contain the mares pace and open trotters events normally raced on Sundays at Pocono.) The $100,000 finals will be held on Monday, September 9 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono going a distance of 1 ¼ miles. In these late closers, each horse that actually starts will receive 25 points along with any points they get from their official placings in each leg (on a 50-25-12-8-5-4-3-2-1 finish position basis). All of the late closers will have no nominating fees, including the Weiss Series for the first time. The Pennsylvania All Stars, an early closer for Pennsylvania Sired 3-year-olds, will make their will be raced in 2019 in May and June, with their counterpart 2-year-old races in July. Nominations for the 3-year-old events of the Pennsylvania All Stars are due on February 15; nominations for the 2-year-old events are not due until March 15. Sun Stakes Saturday will, once again, usher in the summer portion of the racing season. The Championships for the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr Memorial 3-year-old open trot, $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial 3-year-old open pace, $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial 3-year-old filly pace and $500,000 Ben Franklin FFA Pace will be on Saturday, June 29. The eliminations for these races will be one week earlier on June 22. If entries for the eliminations warrant, there will be a $75,000 consolation for the Beal, Hempt and Franklin races and a $50,000 consolation for the Lynch. Complete racing conditions and payment information for all these racing events are listed on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono's website, on the Horsemen page. Jerry Connors Jr

HARRISBURG PA – Marvin Bachrad, a member of harness racing’s Communicators Hall of Fame, a former president of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) with 35 years as a director of the association, and such an influence on generations of harness journalists that he won the Harness Horse Youth Foundation Service To Youth Award, passed away on Friday evening in Phoenix AZ at the age of 82. Born to the late Max and Freda (Lipow) Bachrad on December 28, 1935, Bachrad was already doing sports journalism while at Norristown (PA) High School, into whose Hall of Fame he was inducted in 2015 – he gained fame by entering sports trivia contests and acquiring a massive collection of sporting equipment. After graduation, he served his country as director of the Armed Forces Radio Services at a camp station in Fort Jackson SC. His burgeoning radio career started in Beckley WV then gravitated back to his native Philadelphia area, initially his hometown of Norristown, where he conducted the first sports call-in show. Two contacts proved important in Philadelphia: Tommy Roberts, owner of a radio station in Camden NJ (near Garden State Park) and a thoroughbred broadcaster who was an influence on Bachrad’s being knowledgeable about both breeds of racehorses (he had no family connections to racing); and the sports staff of Philadelphia’s KYW Newsradio, where he quickly made his talents evident and covered the city’s major sporting events for over 40 years, with a 1982 induction into the Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Bachrad worked as an announcer at Liberty Bell Park and as assistant publicist to the legendary “Colonel” Dave Herman at Brandywine, and upon Herman’s retirement after the 1979 season became the track’s director of publicity. Working with the Electronic Race Patrol of Sid Alpert and his son Mark, with whom he worked while doing thoroughbred publicity at Garden State Park, Bachrad was a pioneer of pre-race handicapping on tracks’ closed-circuit TV system, and an innovator in doing attractive and detailed video profiles of horses and horsemen competing at Brandywine. Marvin later worked at TIMES: in harness, the Harrisburg PA publication that was the first major entry into the electronic reporting of harness racing news. He then was summoned back to the outskirts of his Delaware Valley roots when the state of Delaware passed slot machine gaming. He became publicity director at Dover Downs, a track that so profited from the new gaming that its late 1995 Invitational purse in three successive weeks was $2000-$5000-$9000, and which rose from 55th of 57 harness tracks in terms of purses to second a couple of years later. Bachrad served as publicity director for over two decades at the capital city track, using the combination of innovation, hard work, and attention to the needs of the fans that had hallmarked his career. Bachrad also gave back to the sport on a national level. He was president of USHWA in 1992-1993, and at the time of his passing, his 35 years of being a director for the organization was tops among living directors of USHWA. He was a president of the Harness Publicists Association, winning that group’s Golden Pen Award. With such ability and success of course came many awards, with the crown his 1997 election to the Communicators Hall of Fame. His 1988 Service To Youth Award meant very much to him, being a mentor to many of harness racing’s “next generations” of media – three of which have followed him into the Communicators Hall of Fame. He was the winner of Harness Tracks of America’s Dan Patch Award for excellence in communications in 2005, and received a 2010 Special Appreciation Award from the Delaware Standardbred Owners Association, in addition to the other tributes mentioned above. Marv was also a harness horse owner for over 40 years, from the early days of Liberty Bell, where a newcomer named Herve Filion was the trainer/driver of his horses, right up to July of this year, when his sophomore trotting filly Star Sapphire won a $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Race Fund Championship at the State Fair in Harrington. He possessed a detailed knowledge of pedigrees. Bachrad leaves behind two brothers Allen (Marci) of Phoenix AZ and Ronald (Eileen) of Boca Raton FL; a bachelor, he also leaves behind four nieces/nephews and six grandnieces/grandnephews. His “extended” family, a lifetime of colleagues and friends, will also greatly miss his sagacity and kindness. There will be a graveside service at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Montefiore Cemetery, 600 Church Road, Jenkintown PA 19046. Donations in his honor may be made at your discretion or to the Mitzvah Circle, 1561 Gehman Road, Harleysville PA  19438. UPDATE Detail Update on Marv's Service on Tuesday -- Note new time and Luncheon Details   Tuesday December 4, at Montefiore Cemetary, 600 Church Rd, Jenkintown, PA 19046 at 11.30 am.    There will be luncheon at the Monte Carlo Restaurante, 8080 Old York Rd., Elkins Park, PA  19027 directly after the services.  All are welcome.   Also..... a religious service called Shiva will be observed at the Tiferet Bet Israel Synagogue,  1920 W Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422  at approximately 7.00 pm on Tuesday.  (I know this is very late for most people in DE and NJ.)    Don't forget to bring your GPS. Jerry Connors

Ormstown (QUE), just above the New York State northern border, held the last scheduled stop on the 2018 Quebec regional circuit on Saturday afternoon, with the track record for pacers first being tied, then broken, and then the new mark being tied again.   El Torero, owned, trained and driven by Denis Audet, won both heats of a two-heat race, in the second heat covering the mile in 2:01.4, which equaled the previous Ormstown standard shared by Trys Little Prince, Bali, and Camco Richie.   In the race after that, owner/trainer/driver Audet came back with Northern Juno to obliterate that mark, winning on the engine from the rail in 2:00.1.   In that race after that, Whitemountain Nemo, who had won in 1:54.4 at Rideau Carleton Thursday night, came right back on Saturday afternoon to equal that newly-minted 2:00.1 Ormstown mark. Owned by 9267 7327 Quebec Inc., Whitemountain Nemo was driven by Samuel Fillion for trainer Charles Gaudreault.   by Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Trainer Mike Deters and driver Anthony Napolitano combined successfully for the second time on a dank (55 degrees, "sloppy +1" surface) Sunday night card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when Prairie Fortune won the $17,500 featured trot in 1:53.4. "Ant'ny Nap" used the rail to advantage and worked out a good two-hole trip behind pacesetter Crazshana with the victorious altered son of Arapa Victory, then pulled away in the lane to be 3½ lengths clear of that rival at the finish, coming his own last half in 56.3. Trainer Deters co-owns the winner of $398,495 with Laurie Lee Poulin. Earlier, the backers in the crowd were few but were loud, as 99-1 shot College Hanover overcame a first-over trip for driver Drew Chellis to hold off 85-1 shot Takethemoneyandrun by a head in 1:55, returning $336.40 for a $2 ticket. That number was the biggest win mutuel at Pocono since November 17, 2015, when Lady Of The Lake and driver Joe Antonelli returned $400.60 to win after a nose victory. College Hanover, trainer by Richard Dunn for the MBC Stables LLC, did have some license in his pedigree - he is a Well Said out of the $590G winner Castanet Hall, and his ¾ brother Cashendash Hanover pushed his earnings over $575G when he won at Philly last Sunday. But the crowd was discouraged by College Hanover's 0-for-32 lifetime record - not knowing that the 33rd time would be the charm for the sophomore. Pocono is scheduled for a "dark night" tomorrow, as the scheduled annual local golfing tournament is as rabidly followed and enjoyed as much as a Super Bowl or a Wrestlemania card. The weather gods just may smile on the golfers, although rain is the 2-5 favorite at the moment (but if a horse can pay $336.60, ...).   Jerry Connors Jr.

The record books at the Quebec Regional Fair harness racing meet at Brome, about 65 miles southeast of Montreal, took a big pounding during a card of racing on Labor Day Monday.   The track trotting mark of 2:03.1 was equaled by Federal Strike, who came his last quarter in 28.4 to tie the mark for owner/driver Sylvain Fontaine.   The track pacing mark of 1:58, which dated back to 1993, fell in both heats of a two-heat race. Hawaiian Five Roll won the first heat in 1:57.1; in the second heat, My Lucky Bluejeans and driver Tyler Jones lowered that newly-minted mark to 1:57.   Jones then added himself to another line in the Brome track records. There was no listed record for 1 1/2 miles on the pace, so when Jones guided pacer Clever Thing home first in 2:59.4, he also claimed the track record for the extended distance.   by Jerry Connors    

HARRISBURG, PA -- Trainer Ron Burke, freshly over $200 million in career earnings, added another milestone to his huge collection when he trained the 9000th winner of his career on Tuesday night, winning with On The Virg at Northfield for the magic tally.   It helps to have the skills of a railroad conductor in trying to keep track of Burke and any national statistics he generates. Starting the day at 8994 career wins, he bagged three wins at The Meadows and one at Scioto during afternoon racing, running his tally to 8998. Victory #8999 came with Southwind Storm as she finished a sweep of her four prelims in the PA Stallion Series for 2TF with a Pocono victory.   That win came at 9:14 p.m. A check of the USTA stats exactly two hours later saw Burke still hovering at 8999, but then two late results were made "official" within the system, which is how the totals rise in PATHWAY. The milestone #9000 came at 9:41 at Northfield with On The Virg, who wasn't even favored in a "nw3500L4" class, but was 14 lengths clear of the field in 1:50 -- reaching the achievement in style.   And the night still wasn't over for Burke, as at 10:18 he won a New York Sire Stakes event at Saratoga with Bicorne Hanover, the first step on his undoubted way to 10,000 career training victories according to official records.   by Jerry Connors    

D J Power, who was one of the two harness racing horses to pace in 1:57.1 last time at St-Joseph-de-Lepage in Quebec, raced for the all-age track record, won the first of a two-heat race Sunday in 1:59.   He was scratched from the second heat, so the 10-year-old Washington Hanover, second to D J Power in the first heat, took advantage and won the second heat for driver Pascal Berube in 1:56.4, which is the new all-age track record. Also SOS Mach Xtreme won in 1:58.1. Those were the only sub-2:00 miles of the days races.   Brussebeach, the other horse who went into the day co-holding the 1:57.1 track record, won again Saturday, but he was in a series final at 1 1/2 miles: he won in 3:05.3, far off their track record of 3:01, but he did come his last three quarters in 1:29.1.   At Bedford QUE, probably the fastest of the regional circuit in Quebec, there were no records, although there were five miles under 2:00, including a 1:54.3 by Allstar Seelster.   by Jerry Connors

WASHINGTON, PA, July 28, 2018 -- Saturday's card at The Meadows, which featured the $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids and the $121,000 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo, also offered four additional Grand Circuit stakes. Here are the highlights of those Arden Downs events: $57,914 James Manderino -- 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters Scirocco Rob got some help when 3-5 favorite Joey broke stride at the start. But the Explosive Matter-Fun At Parties gelding might not have needed the assistance, as he rolled to his third straight victory, in 1:56, for Corey Callahan, trainer John Butenschoen and owners Lewis Whitaker and Kathleen Whitaker. Keystone Apache rallied for second, 2 lengths back, with Garnet third. "When that other horse ran behind the gate, he was the only horse that I was worried about," Callahan said. "So I was able to just kind of mosey around there. When you can go somewhat of a training mile, it's a lot easier than having to stretch him out." Scirocco Bob now boasts $199,603 in career earnings. In the other division, Im Your Captain also caught a break when the leader, Quality Kemp, jumped it off near the half. Im Your Captain inherited the front and scored in 1:55.3, 5-3/4 lengths better than the fast-closing What A Hunk. House Hubby completed the ticket. "I kind of had it down to Quality Kemp and my horse, so I didn't want to do anything too goofy," said winning driver Marcus Miller. "I thought he could either cut it or win out of the two hole. It worked out okay." Julie Miller, Marcus' aunt, trains the son of Muscle Hill-Frisky Strike for Andy Miller Stable and Black Horse Racing. When asked what he might recommend to Aunt Julie about the horse's next start, Marcus Miller took a diplomatic approach. "I just plan to tell her thank you," he said. $47,634 Gov. David L. Lawrence -- 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers Perhaps wiser and more determined after a frustrated first-over bid in his last outing, Volley Ball Beach converted a similar move to victory Saturday, prevailing in 1:52.4 -- his fastest -- for Tony Hall, trainer Norm Parker and owner/breeder Bob Key. Escapetothebeach was second, 1/2 length back, while No Mas Amor earned show. "It was different this week because he got to sit to the half," Parker said of the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Alladorable. "We've had some issues with him regarding when to make his move. We changed some equipment this week, and it seemed to help." In the other split, Pyro found late racing room in the center of the track and rallied for Matt Kakaley to score in 1:53, his second win in four career starts. Actor Hanover gave trainer Ron Burke the exacta sweep when he finished second, beaten 2-1/4 lengths, with early leader Aflame Hanover third. "I figured I'd be able to shake loose somewhere, but I wasn't going to move him first up," Kakaley said. "It was pretty easy for him today. He was really sharp." Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, Phillip Collura and Weaver Bruscemi LLC campaign Pyro, a son of Sweet Lou-Whetstone Hanover. $47,634 Mary Lib Miller - 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers Louphoria and Sylph Hanover are both members of the Burke stable (two of the 26 horses he entered on the Adios Day card, and a pair of the 48 he sent post-ward across the U.S. for the day), and both were sent off at 1-1 by The Meadows' punters. Both of them started "against the fence" -- Louphoria from the "inner fence," Sylph Hanover from the outermost post eight. And the pair were at each other during most of the 56.1 last half of their division in the freshman filly pace, Louphoria on the lead and Sylph Hanover attacking first-over. In the stretch it was Sylph Hanover who proved the stronger, powering off by 2¾ lengths late over her stablemate for Kakaley as the end horse of a Burke/Kakaley consecutive triple. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-She's A Fan, owned by Burke Racing Stable, William Switala, James Martin, and Joseph Critelli, took a maiden mark of 1:54.1; she had already won in a Philly qualifier just two ticks slower than today's mile. "We were always high on her, but she's been just okay, I guess," Kakaley said. "She wasn't that good on the front at Pocono, so we wanted to change tactics. She was super today." She's Allright remained undefeated after three starts by taking the other division in 1:53.1 and giving Burke his sixth training win of the afternoon, but Darn Tootn Hanover, in only her second lifetime start, made sure the winner knew she was in a tussle. She's Allright, a Sweet Lou-Atsallrite Hanover miss owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Michelle Yanek and Collura, was put on the lead by Yannick Gingras, rated the half, then sprinted home in 55.4, but first-over Darn Tootn Hanover gained inch by inch the last half and came up only a head shy. $56,440 Ned McCarr -- 3-Year-Old Filly Trotters Kenziesky Hanover sure made it interesting as the even-money favorite in the first section of the sophomore filly trot, but she emerged with a 1:57.1 victory for driver Brian Zendt, trainer Bill Zendt, and owners J. Patrick Huber and Glenn Congrove. Brian Zendt got the Cantab Hall filly a perfect two-hole trip, but as the pair awaited the Lightning Lane behind pacesetter Southwind Angelica and first-over Fish Is Fish, Kenziesky Hanover made a break. She was steered into the passing lane and never went inside the pylons while regaining composure; in the meantime Ms American Muscle came through inside the pacesetter and got the lead. But Zendt and his filly got back on stride and finished with a furious last 50 yards to win by 1/2 length after the improbable but impressive comeback. The Zendts completed a sweep of this Grand Circuit event as the Donato Hanover filly Donato's Jewel went coast-to-coast in 1:54.2, a new mark and a stakes record. Donato's Jewel had made miscues in four of her last six starts, but before the hometown crowd she was on her best behavior, setting a quick pace and maintaining her advantage despite the late rush of favored Pat Matters, with 3/4 of a length between the rivals at the finish. Gary Saul owns the winner. by Jerry Connors, for the PHHA  

ST-JOSEPH-DE-LEPAGE, QC – Going into the Saturday afternoon card of racing at the local harness track in this eastern Quebec municipality, north and east of Maine’s northern border, the all-time record for the fastest mile was 1:58.3, set by Articular last year. The all-time track mark would be broken four times on Saturday afternoon, three times by a local resident, before finally settling at 1:57.1, the mark finally co-held by D J Power and Brussebeach. Driver Maxim Gaudreault of St-Joseph-de-Lepage lowered the record to 1:57.2 in the second race of the day with Wild River Swan, who swept three-wide while gaining in the 58 last half for trainer Harold Duguay and owner Dr. John Bradbury. Then Maxim Gaudreault, who drove five winners on the day, came back in the very next race to tie the newly-minted mark with Code Word, still sprightly at age 11 for trainer Charles Gaudreault and the ownership of 9267 7327 Quebec Inc. Then, in race four, D J Power, guided by Samuel Fillion for owner/trainer Jean Marc Roy, put up fractions of 26.2, 56, and 1:25.2 before getting home in 1:57.1, knocking a tick off the “old mark” before it had a chance to dry in the track’s record books. And in the seventh race, Maxim Gaudreault recombined with Harold Duguay and Dr. John Bradbury to regain a share of the all-time St-Joseph-de-Lepage record with Brussebeach, leading at every call and stepping the last half in 58.1 to post the 1:57.1 clocking for trainer Duguay, who co-owns this horse with Dr. Bradbury. by Jerry Connors, for Harnesslink

Hey, did you notice Lazurus won in 1:55.1 at Pocono Saturday? For those of you who have been hearing about the coming of the “Wonder from Down Under” to North America, you may be thinking, “I didn’t even know he was ready to race!” Well, the pacer Lazarus N has not yet raced. And notice there are three differences between the initial sentence and the idea you had after reading the second one: 1) the Lazurus in the first paragraph is a trotter; 2) the trotter spells his name “Lazurus,” while the pacer has “Lazarus” as his birth name – note the difference in middle letters … And 3) the most important difference – because registry books do not “overlap” worldwide, you can have a Lazurus in this country, and then if you bring another horse over, he should be called Lazarus N, to reflect he is a New Zealander in origin. (Yes, these two horses’ names are spelled differently, but I still hope that the USTA requires Lazarus to carry an “N” after his name.) Publicists and announcers are going to dislike this recommendation, because nowadays they are in the habit of dropping “A”s, “N”s, “S”s (which the fastest trotter of all time carries in his North American incarnation), “IT”s, and so on. But it can make a difference in public perception. Earlier this year, there was an import named Waikiki Beach, a fine pacer who is now going in the 1:50 range. But rightfully he is here officially known as Waikiki Beach A, to distinguish him from the talented trotter of not-too-distant history. The using of this end letter I think is an important one. It IS their official name in the land in which they are racing, for the very purposes of avoiding registry (and fan) confusion. This point was driven home to me at Foxboro over 30 years ago, where a horse named Flamboyant A was racing in a “n/w $100 per start” class, and not doing well. The announcer was calling this horse “Flamboyant,” and I thought of Billy Haughton, who had just suffered his fatal racing accident, and the very good trotting filly named Flamboyant he had had, and thinking, “Geez, Haughton would cringe to hear this cheap pacer called the same name as that top trotting filly.” I don’t know why the letter designating country of origin has been largely dropped. Maybe it’s not “cool,” disharmonious in announcing or writing. But I think it is WRONG to drop it. The omission causes confusion, and could cause people doing research to be shaking their heads at the performance discrepancy records of horses similarly-named but not the imports. It’s their name in North America. Like the Biblical Lazarus, we need to bring back using the whole name, with end letter, from the dead pool of fashion it is now in. And it wouldn’t take a miracle to do it. by Jerry Connors, for Harnesslink

CHESTER PA - Windsun Glory, a mare looking to be on her way to better things, posted her second straight victory at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon, posting a clear victory in the $18,000 distaff pacing mares feature at the riverside oval. Driver Yannick Gingras moved the Mach Three mare to the lead in front of the stands and held sway from there, stepping home in 55.2 to equal her 1:51.3 winning clocking of last week. Princess Fabulosa, beset by almost every form of bad racing luck known to man and horse - a second-tier draw, early interference, a shuffling to last, a three-wide move most of the backstretch continuing to two-wide on the turn - still came on to be a very good second, 2¼ lengths behind the winner. Ron Burke, the leading trainer at the young meet, conditions the winner of $260,665 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva Stables LLC, and Lawrence Karr. Windsun Glory went over the quarter-million dollar plateau winning last week; the Camluck mare Cousin Mary did it today ($250,240) in the $14,500 distaff subfeature, and she went even faster than "Glory," taking a new mark of 1:51. Corey Callahan, who like Tim Tetrick had three sulky successes on the day, reserved Cousin Mary off a contested pace, made one decisive backstretch brush to the lead, and then left the field in her wake for trainer Andrew Harris and owner Jeffrey Williamson. A special Kentucky Derby Saturday card will be featured at Harrah's tomorrow at 12:40, with the inaugural events of the summerlong $1.8 million Great Northeast Open Series headlining - a $30,000 trot with the likes of Rock Of Cashel, Opulent Yankee, and Melady's Monet, and a $30,000 mares pace including Nike Franco N, Lispatty, and Darlinonthebeach.   Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - The Big Jim mare Stormtracker, second and third in Burning Point series legs at The Meadowlands and beaten only three lengths in the final, enjoyed the drop in company on Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, lowering her mark to 1:51.3 while winning the $17,000 featured conditioned pace for distaffs. Tim Tetrick, engaged in a hot battle with George Napoiltano Jr. for early meet supremacy among the drivers, made an early move to the lead with Stormtracker and continued in command from there, with identical halves of 55.4 leaving her a clear winner. Linda Toscano conditions the winner - and we do mean "winner," as she is now 8 for 15 lifetime - for Enviro Stable LTD, Camelot Stable Inc., The Bay's Stable LLC, and John Mehlenbacher. In a pair of $16,000 conditioned co-features, the pace was won by the Bettor's Delight gelding Commentariat, driven by Andrew McCarthy to a new mark of 1:51.4 for trainer Noel Daley and the Caviart Farms, while the trot saw Moonshiner Hanover, a winner of over $400,000 at 2 and 3, make his 2018 debut a triumphant one, the son of Andover Hall finishing in 1:53.4 for driver David Miller and trainer Christopher Beaver, the latter co-owner with Synerco Ventures Inc. and Bill Manes. The "Miller Gang" was again riding high at Philly on Wednesday, with nine wins among them - David four, Andy three, and Marcus two. Harrah's Philadelphia will be hosting a special Kentucky Derby Day card on Saturday at 12:40 p.m., with the features the inaugural events in the $1.8M Great Northeast Open Series, with $30,000 contests for trotters (Opulent Yankee, Melady's Monet, Rock Of Cashel) and pacing mares (Darlinonthebeach, Nike Franco N, Lispatty).   Jerry Connors

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