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HARRISBURG PA -- Anne Doolin, whose compassion for animals and people in peril has moved her to rescue and foster thousands of pets and provide meals and services for so many in need, has been named the 2017 January Davies Humanitarian Award winner presented by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). The award was created in 2008 by USHWA member Callie Davies-Gooch in memory of her daughter to recognize contributions beyond harness racing. Doolin, whose work in harness racing began as publicist at the Meadowlands in 1988, has always been a staunch advocate for animals, from racehorses to stray dogs and feral cats. In the last 10 years she has transitioned into an important cog in a large network of dog and cat fosters, rescues and shelters. A resident of Lexington, Ky., Doolin, who after leaving the Meadowlands later worked in publicity and marketing positions at Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio, and The Red Mile in Lexington, seemingly works 24 hours, seven days a week, making sure the homeless have food and shelter, and that dogs and cats can be placed in caring homes. Doolin was also a sought after member of the Breeders Crown and Hambletonian Special Event teams, and still works for the Breeders Cup, writing entrant bios. "With all the volunteer work with the homeless and animals that Anne does I believe January would very much approve of the award," said Davies-Gooch. "January would be very proud of what Anne has done over the years in ensuring people don't go hungry and animals are cared for. Anne's compassion is truly admirable and remarkable." Doolin said she felt overwhelmed when she learned from Davies-Gooch of the award. "This is amazing and I am floored," said Doolin. "I thought a lot of January and to win this award makes it even more special." Doolin has been a foster parent to more than 1,000 dogs and cats over the years. She also helps coordinate transfers of the animals from shelters to forever homes. Despite working tirelessly in that capacity, she still finds time to check on the elderly and the homeless in the Lexington area. To help in that capacity, Doolin is currently president of Downtown People Inc. "We are a group that feeds the homeless and under-served a home-cooked meal ever Sunday in downtown Lexington," said Doolin. "We average between 150-200 people a week, and we do this year-round. I also do some rescue work as I am transport coordinator for an average of 25 people a week out of shelters. "The animals are also year-round. Besides the fostering, I help coordinate the transfers of mainly dogs and some cats from shelters to homes." Doolin will be honored at the Night of Champions, the Dan Patch Awards banquet, which will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla. While most of the award winners have already been announced, the names of the 2017 Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be revealed at the banquet. Information about the banquet and the entire week, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found at www.ushwa.net, including links for making hotel reservations at special rates; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake souvenir journal. Jerry Connors

BEDFORD PA - The United States Trotting Association's District 7, encompassing Pennsylvania, was held on Saturday (January 13) at the Omni Bedford Springs Report in this southwdbriggsest Pennsylvania city. District Chairman Sam Beegle was joined by directors Russell Williams, Rich Gillock, Barry Brown, and Kevin Decker. Beegle asked Williams to guide the review of the USTA rule change proposals. Russell stated that the group would start with the series of proposals turned in by the Universal Rules Committee, chaired by John Campbell and including Pennsylvanians Williams, Brett Revington, and Anthony Clark; the other proposals were then discussed. Below are the recommendations of those attending the District 7 meeting for their Directors at the USTA national meetings in Columbus late this winter. The recommendations are presented as they were numbered; those marked with an asterisk (*) were the proposals of the Rules Committee. It was noted that at the beginning that the wording used in all of the proposals should indicated the rules should be applied only at "extended pari-mutuel tracks." 1. (uniform claiming allowance percentages) -- TABLED. 2. (head numbers) - APPROVED. 3. (define "length") - APPROVED. 4. (breath analyzer requirements)* -- APPROVED. 5. (vs. human illegal drugs)* -- APPROVED. 6. (officials at charted matinees) - TABLED. 7. (track condition, variant, wind indicator)* - TABLED. It was proposed that the "variant" should include both wind and weather factors, and that other track condition designations should be considered. 8. (identifier verifies males) - APPROVED. 9. (stable vs. corporation) - APPROVED. 10. (scratches due to date change) - TABLED. 11. ("fair start" pole)* -- APPROVED by a 14-4 vote. This proposal drew one of the most spirited participation, with the discussion basically dividing at the term "protecting the majority of the public" vs. the extra betting from "wagering whales" which often follows this triggering situation. 12. (driver in accident - medical clearance)* -- APPROVED. 13. (human disorderly conduct)* -- APPROVED. 14. (equality of substitute driver)* -- REJECTED, primarily because it was felt the decision should belong to the trainers, not the judges. 15. (whipping regulations #1) - REJECTED; several horsemen were concerned by "loose lining," especially in the stretch. 16. (whipping regulations #2) - REJECTED. 17. ("unnecessary" ontrack conversation)* - APRROVED WITH AMENDMENT limiting the objectionable conversation to range from "the start of the post parade to the finish." 18. ("change of sex" notification) - APPROVED. 19. (restricted trainers/"trainers")* - APPROVED by a 16-1 vote. 20. (pleasure horse registration) - APPROVED. 21. (correction of ownership transfer date) - APPROVED. 22. (non-reusable horse names) - APPROVED. 23. (embryo transfers) - APPROVED. 24. (dissolution of district meetings; by-law change) - REJECTED. There was also a discussion on the coming of chip implantation, with most favoring the move but some expressing a concern for hardship imposed on several groups, with the Amish particularly focused on, but the low cost of the scanners offset many of these concerns. Jerry Connors

HARRISBURG PA - Three entities who gained a large measure of harness racing success while connected to "Upstate New York," used here to refer to the part of the state not in the immediate neighborhood of New York City, have been named Dan Patch award winners in voting by the U. S. Harness Writers Association, the largest media organization in the sport. Two of them are still very much part of the upper New York scene - Betty Holt, winner of the Unsung Hero award, and the team of Pacing Broodmare of the Year Wild West Show and owner Ray Schnittker - while the other - Michael Carter, winner of the Breakthrough Award for an up-and-coming non-horseperson, has furthered his profile elsewhere after gaining valuable early training in his craft while in the area. Betty Holt is the executive director of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, an association based in Latham NY (just north of Albany), which, as one could expect from its name, furthers the cause of the breeders of Standardbreds in the Empire State. The tireless Holt monitors all New York-restricted harness activity in the state, from the Sire Stakes to sales to industry meetings, to promotion of the sport and ownership seminars. Holt is also the prime force behind a program that provides a "safety net" for at-risk New York-bred trotters and pacers, eventually hoping to land them on a restructuring and rehoming path, an activity funded by consignments to the Morrisville yearling sale. If there is an gathering, event, or movement that furthers the development of the breed and its shareholders in New York State, Betty Holt likely has a prominent role somewhere along the path to the winners circle. Wild West Show's victory was referred to as a "shootout" above because she was involved in the closest contest in the voting, beating out rival Western Montana by a single vote. But as is said in racing, you don't ask "how much?" - you just praise the winner, and the offspring of Wild West Show, who is owned by Ray Schnittker of Middletown/Goshen after his partner Charles Iannazzo passed away earlier this year, certainly had an outstanding 2017. Huntsville, the 2016 two-year-old pacing colt of the year, came back in 2017 for Schnittker and earned over a million dollars while engaging with his two Brian Brown-trained archrivals, Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon, in many an important stakes contest. His full brother Wild Bill scored in 1:52.3f in an abbreviated freshman campaign and offered promise for the coming year's big-money stakes. Michael Carter, a native of Virginia, worked at his home state's tracks of Colonial Downs and the Shenandoah County Fair, then got his big break by being named the primary track announcer at Buffalo Raceway in 2013, establishing himself as an accurate, interesting, and entertaining man behind the microphone while also assisting in mutuels and simulcasting. From there Carter went on to his current position at Northfield Park, where he is the deputy announcer, also working in mutuels and the Ohio track's social media efforts. Carter has extended his "footprint" to the national level of the sport by joining with Mike Bozich of Harrah's Philadelphia as half of the "Post Time With Mike And Mike" internet podcast. During its three years, the show has drawn a progressively-larger audience with its news reporting, extensive interviewing of the newsmaking horsemen and track executives, live remotes from the sites of big races, and the annual "Mike And Mike Awards." Betty Holt, Wild West Show and owner Ray Schnittker, and Michael Carter will all be honored at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 25 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL. Those wishing to take out a congratulatory ad in the Banquet's Awards Journal should contact Kim Rinker, Journal Committee chair, at trotrink@aol.com. Those wishing to attend the banquet can make room reservations online via a special "portal" on the USHWA website - but do so quickly to take advantage of the special room rates USHWA has obtained. Tickets for the banquet, priced at $175, can be obtained through Judy Davis-Wilson, Dinner Planning Committee chair, at zoe8874@aol.com. Jerry Connors

HARRISBURG PA - In a year when he drove the horses ranking 1-2-3 in the Final Top Ten polls and making a sweep of the female trotter divisional characters while contributing almost a quarter of his $12.9M seasonal sulky earnings, Yannick Gingras was selected harness racing 'Driver of the Year' in balloting conducted among the U.S. Harness Writers Association, the sport's leading media organization. One of this awesome distaff threesome benefiting from Gingras's driving talents was older trotting mare champion Hannelore Hanover, whose dam, High Sobriety, earned honors as Trotting Broodmare of the Year. And that mother-daughter connection certainly factored into Hanover Shoe Farms being picked as Breeder of the Year - they bred Hannelore, but perhaps just as importantly they set a single-season record for the earnings of the produce of one nursery, with $31.3M registered into the last days of the season. Yannick Gingras has earned the respect of the leading horsemen of this era to the extent that he is principal catch-driver for most of the top stakes performers trained by both Ron Burke and Jimmy Takter, the "friendly rivals" almost always battling for #1 bragging rights in the sport. For Burke, Gingras guided the above-mentioned Hannelore Hanover, and for Takter, he steered three-year-old Ariana G (a repeat divisional champion) and the undefeated two-year-old Manchego. The group won fifteen $100,000+ stakes among themselves, and each won her respective Breeders Crown division, with the three Crowns for Gingras putting him at the top of the 2017 table. But it wasn't all just going out there with the best horse and winning as expected for Gingras in 2017 - he drove Filibuster Hanover, who going into the Little Brown Jug Final was 2-for-13 on the season, and they combined to upset the "hometown favorite" 1-2 punch of Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon. In total, Gingras won 33 stakes races worth $100,000 or more in 2017. Before Hannelore Hanover made the spotlight, if someone had told you that High Sobriety would be in contention for the Trotting Broodmare of the Year award, you might have good reason to question that person's sobriety - she had won once in a two-year racing career, and her first three foals had earned a combined total of $65,000. But then along came Hannelore Hanover, who added 10 wins, over $1M in earnings, and the second-fastest trotting mile in history - a 1:49.2 win at Lexington - to her already sizable accomplishments, and the glory of her campaign, where she defeated "the boys" on several occasions, brought honors to High Sobriety. Hanover Shoe Farms is usually among the top names considered for Breeder of the Year honors - and that only makes sense, for they have led the list of money winning graduates for each of the 69 years that the USTA has been keeping that record. Along the way, there of course have been many, many champions bred by Hanover, with Hannelore Hanover joining the very highest of those ranks this year. But the signal accomplishment of Hanover's 2017 was the $31+M intake by graduates of the Farm. This broke the old record of $30.4 - which Hanover set in 2015 - with that one breaking the old record set by Hanover in 2014 ... Hanover aggressively replenishes and adds to its breeding stock year after year, and the results speak for themselves. Yannick Gingras and Hanover Shoe Farms (as Breeder of the Year and as owner of the Trotting Broodmare of the Year High Sobriety) will be honored at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 25 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL. Those wishing to take out a congratulatory ad in the Banquet's Awards Journal should contact Kim Rinker, Journal Committee chair, at trotrink@aol.com. Those wishing to attend the banquet can make room reservations online via a special "portal" on the USHWA website - but do so quickly to take advantage of the special room rates USHWA has obtained. Tickets for the banquet, priced at $175, can be obtained through Judy Davis-Wilson, Dinner Planning Committee chair, at zoe8874@aol.com. Jerry Connors

HARRISBURG PA - Brian Brown, who trains at the fairgrounds in the Little Brown Jug's hometown of Delaware OH and had been steadily making a bigger mark among North American harness racing conditioners over the last couple of years, had his breakthrough year in 2017, training two three-year-old colt pacers who were the leaders of their division much of the year and who were 1-2 in seasonal earnings, along with a star age/gait counterpart filly. These achievements earned Brown the Trainer of the Year Award as voted by the sport's leading media organization, the U.S. Harness Writers Association, and they contributed mightily to his also being named the organization's Good Guy Award winner for consistent, intelligent cooperation with the sport's media. The 53-year-old Brown saw his two top sophomore colts earn $2.95M between them - Downbytheseaside ($1,602,452), whose late-season heroics included a win in the Breeders Crown and being named divisional champion, and Fear The Dragon ($1,350,146), who had ranked #1 in the weekly pools for much of the summer into the fall after major stakes wins throughout North America. (Ironically, one of the few major events not taken by one or the other of the Brown sophomore powerhouses was the Little Brown Jug, although Fear The Dragon did win the first heat.) Joining Downbytheseaside as a Breeders Crown winner and divisional champion was three-year-old pacing filly Blazin Britches, an $800,000+ earner. And the rest of the Brown barn contributed earnings in the vicinity of $2 million, giving Brian a lifetime seasonal high bankroll of over $5.7M, despite starting fewer than 550 horses (he had a .402 UTR). There were many highs during the campaigns of these three top horses, but there were also the inevitable dips in form and bouts with minor illnesses that virtually all racehorses experience. Whether in the winners circle, puzzling over an off performance, or pondering his charges' upcoming races, Brown kept up an honest, informational stream of conversation (with consistent praise for the members of "Team Brown") to a media whose readers wanted to know more about these equine stars. If Brown was elated by a horse's top effort to win a big stake, there was no mistaking his enjoyment; similarly, if a horse's form was rollercoastering a bit, you felt like you were on the up-and-down ride with Brown, awaiting the next turn in the journey. His intelligent candor enabled Brown to be selected for the Good Guy award, along with his Trainer of the Year honors. Brown's adept handling of Fear The Dragon and Blazin Britches brought out one solid performance after another from those talented horses, with their biggest cheerleader - owner Bruce Trogdon of Emerald Highlands Farm - usually present to share in the glory. Trogdon was also the breeder of Blazin Britches, and he bought the dam of Fear The Dragon with him in utero (already carrying the embryo), so Trogdon has been there from the literal very beginning of their lives through their two seasons of racing, including the successes of 2017. Thus the former newspaperman celebrated the 25th year of existence of his Emerald Highlands operation in the most successful way imaginable, capped by his winning the Owner of the Year award. Trogdon's former "small operation," Emerald Highlands, now has 37 broodmares, and likely a future champion or two maturing as they traverse the farm's mid-Ohio fields. Brian Brown, as both Trainer of the Year and the Good Guy Award winner, and owner Bruce Trogdon's Emerald Highlands Farm, will be honored at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 25 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL. Those wishing to take out a congratulatory ad in the Banquet's Awards Journal should contact Kim Rinker, Journal Committee chair, at trotrink@aol.com. Those wishing to attend the banquet can make room reservations online via a special "portal" on the USHWA website - but do so quickly to take advantage of the special room rates USHWA has obtained. Tickets for the banquet, priced at $175, can be obtained through Judy Davis-Wilson, Dinner Planning Committee chair, at zoe8874@aol.com. Jerry Connors

HARRISBURG PA - The theme generated within Hoosier Park, host track for the 2017 Breeders Crowns, was "It's Indiana Time," and the track's embodiment of that philosophy in all quarters, resulting in a superior show for harness racing's year-end showcase, has earned it the Stan Bergstein/Proximity Award in year-end Dan Patch Awards voting by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading communications trade group. In addition, the Writers singled out two other "Hoosiers" for awards - Trace Tetrick, the track's leading driver and a double Breeders Crown winner at Hoosier, was voted the sport's Rising Star among the backstretch set; and Tim Konkle, the hardworking editor of the important monthly Midwest Harness Report and an equally tireless supporter of USHWA, has been named USHWA's Member of the Year. Hoosier Park, in the town of Andersonville northeast of Indianapolis, in its 24th season of racing during 2017, was chosen to host the $6M Breeders Crown Championship Series, a gathering of the best horses in North American harness racing. Although the weather was not at its best throughout the weekend of the Championships, the racing proved fair to all horses and excellently-competitive - and the Hoosier Park staff rolled out the red carpet to racing's elite horses and humans in a big way. No amount of effort was spared in making the Breeders Crown experience memorable to everyone connected to it, right down to the Hoosier Park faithful who turned out en masse to see the national-caliber racing. All who were at the 7/8-mile track that weekend came away raving about Hoosier Park and its first-rate job in showcasing the Breeders Crown (and it didn't hurt that a couple of Indiana-bred and Indiana-based horsemen showed up in Victory Lane, either). The leading driver at Hoosier Park over the last couple of years, Trace Tetrick, again led the sulkysitter's colony in 2017, but it was largely his work on his track's big weekend that drew the national attention to his developing abilities. Trace visited the Crown winners circle with three-year-old pacing filly Blazin Britches, last week voted champion in her division, and with the homegrown Indiana stakes competitor, two-year-old colt trotter Fiftydallarbill, among five winners on the weekend's two cards. Trace Tetrick, who was fourth in North America in wins at press time with 559 and who set a personal seasonal money record with $6.7M in horses driven, joins his brother Tim, who won the Rising Star Award exactly ten years ago, and who has since gone on to have "some success" in the sulky on the North American scene. Tim Konkle has been chronicling the Indiana scene for going on 20 years now, giving the racing at Hoosier, Indiana Downs when it raced Standardbreds, and the Indiana fairs and sales prominent attention in his magazine. Formerly best-known as the Hoosier Horse Review, Konkle expanded the purview of the publication when Ohio brought in gaming legislature, and under the name Midwest Harness Review Tim now keeps his readership posted on the major stories in the Hoosier state, the Buckeye state, and the surrounding harness racing area. For USHWA, Konkle has served as a Director of the At-Large membership group for two years. His preliminary spadework aided greatly with Hoosier Park being the title sponsor of the latest Dan Patch Awards Banquet, and he continues in his efforts to help the organization raise money and then use it wisely in its various activities. Hoosier Park, Trace Tetrick, and Tim Konkle will all be honored at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 25 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL. Those wishing to take out a congratulatory ad in the Banquet's Awards Journal should contact Kim Rinker, Journal Committee chair, at trotrink@aol.com. Those wishing to attend the banquet can make room reservations online via a special "portal" on the USHWA website - but do so quickly to take advantage of the special room rates USHWA has obtained. Tickets for the banquet, priced at $175, can be obtained through Judy Davis-Wilson, Dinner Planning Committee chair, at zoe8874@aol.com. (Full voting results for all categories will be sent along with Friday's release, the last in the sequence of four.) Jerry Connors  

HARRISBURG PA - Judy Davis-Wilson, the current Executive Administrator of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders' Fund and involved at the highest levels of the sport for over 40 years, has been appointed by U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) President Tim Bojarski to a six-year term on the Hall of Fame Screening Committee, which ultimately decides the ballot candidates for the sport's highest honor, the Hall of Fame, every summer. A daughter of two noted Delaware-based horsepeople (Olin and Ruth Davis), Judy has worked at tracks in her native state and nearby Pennsylvania, for the United States Trotting Association, and for the Hambletonian Society as stakes manager for ten years before assuming her current position. Davis-Wilson served as President of USHWA from 2006-2008 and as Treasurer for several years after that, and she has been voted the Alan Prince USHWA Member of the Year. "Judy Davis-Wilson has worked in the sport in many capacities since age 15, and has watched the careers of several generations of horsemen progress and produce statistics and performances that would make them Hall of Fame material," noted Bojarski. "The wealth of experience and exposure she has gained in harness racing, along with her integrity, makes her a desirable member of the Screening Committee." In a straight "Harrington-Harrington swap," as Davis-Wilson comes on the Screening Committee, her lifelong acquaintance from the midstate Delaware city, Randy Manges, concludes a twelve-year service on the Committee. Jerry Connors    

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has announced their annual awards for Horses of the Year. The horses will be honored in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner's Circle starting Saturday, November 11th and continuing through Saturday, November 18th.   PACER OF THE YEAR honors go to MAXDADDY BLUE CHIP, a five-year-old Sportsmaster gelding, who had an outstanding overall 2017 season, with 15 victories and $112,095 in earnings. Five of those wins came against quality horses at The Downs: he was 1-2 in his last five starts here, including a win at the top level in his last start here on November 4. He achieved his lifetime mark of 1:49.1 at Pocono on September 9. Maxdaddy Blue Chip was purchased after the death of his former owner Fred Monteleone on July 15, and is currently owned by Allard Racing Inc., Alycon Stable, How's That Stables Inc., and VIP Internet Stable LLC, with trainer Rene Allard most often tapping his brother Simon for sulky duties. He will be honored on Saturday, November 25th with his connections in attendance.   TROTTER OF THE YEAR for 2017 is UPFRONT BILLY, an eight-year-old Andover Hall gelding trained by Mark Ford, who is also co-owner with Up Front Racing LLC. Ford most often used Anthony Napolitano when the horse raced at Pocono. A six-time winner at The Downs this year against the higher levels of diamondgaiters, Upfront Billy took his six wins in three bursts of two consecutive wins over the track: May 6 and June 10; in back-to-back weeks on July 8 and 15; and then a two-month gap between August 12 and October 14. "Billy" won his July 8 start here in 1:52.4, his fastest win since setting his mark of 1:52 at The Meadowlands at age 4. With his connections attending, Upfront Billy will be honored on Saturday, November 11th.   The 2017 CLAIMER OF THE YEAR is POUNCE HANOVER, a six-year-old altered trotting son of Majestic Son. He won seven races at Pocono this season, including a spectacular streak of six in a row from June 15 to July 30 with three different stables having him during the streak, but he made his longest "stay," for four wins, for owner Susan Oakes, trainer Hunter Oakes, and driver George Napolitano Jr. He doubled in "value" during The Streak, going from a $10,000 pricetag to a $20,000 one, and is currently owned by Tee Wine and trained by Tyler Stillings. A Winner's Circle presentation will be made to the Wine family and to Hunter Oakes on Saturday, November 18th.   Can't forget those fabulous fillies...or mares! The 2017 MARE OF THE YEAR is CELEBRITY EVENTSY, a Manofmanymissions four-year-old trotting mare raced almost exclusively by the father/son team of Staffan and Christian Lind for the Celebrity Farms of well-known owner Sam Stathis. The mare posted three victories and three seconds in seven seasonal starts at the mountain oval, with the highlight undoubtedly coming on September 10, when she took her new lifetime mark of 1:52.2 against very select winners-over company. Celebrity Eventsy will be honored in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner's Circle on Sunday, November 12th with her proud connections in attendance.   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will also be honoring the 2017 Driver and Trainer of the Year during closing week, on November 22 and 25th, with information to follow.   Eight racing days remain in the 2017 racing season for the racetrack in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with the Breeders Crown coming in October, 2018.   By Jerry Connors for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono  

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has announced their annual harness racing awards for Horses of the Year. The horses will be honored in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner's Circle starting Saturday, November 11th and continuing through Saturday, November 18th. PACER OF THE YEAR honors go to Maxdaddy Blue Chip, a five-year-old Sportsmaster gelding, who had an outstanding overall 2017 season, with 15 victories and $112,095 in earnings. Five of those wins came against quality horses at The Downs: he was 1-2 in his last five starts here, including a win at the top level in his last start here on November 4. He achieved his lifetime mark of 1:49.1 at Pocono on September 9. Maxdaddy Blue Chip was purchased after the death of his former owner Fred Monteleone on July 15, and is currently owned by Allard Racing Inc., Alycon Stable, How's That Stables Inc., and VIP Internet Stable LLC, with trainer Rene Allard most often tapping his brother Simon for sulky duties. He will be honored on Saturday, November 18th, with his connections in attendance. TROTTER OF THE YEAR for 2017 is Upfront Billy, an eight-year-old Andover Hall gelding trained by Mark Ford, who is also co-owner with Up Front Racing LLC. Ford most often used Anthony Napolitano when the horse raced at Pocono. A six-time winner at The Downs this year against the higher levels of diamondgaiters, Upfront Billy took his six wins in three bursts of two consecutive wins over the track: May 6 and June 10; in back-to-back weeks on July 8 and 15; and then a two-month gap between August 12 and October 14. "Billy" won his July 8 start here in 1:52.4, his fastest win since setting his mark of 1:52 at The Meadowlands at age 4. With his connections attending, Upfront Billy will be honored on Saturday, November 11th. The 2017 CLAIMER OF THE YEAR is Tom Wine II, a six-year-old altered trotting son of Majestic Son. He won seven races at Pocono this season, including a spectacular streak of six in a row from June 15 to July 30 with three different stables having him during the streak, but he made his longest "stay," for four wins, for owner Susan Oakes, trainer Hunter Oakes, and driver George Napolitano Jr. He doubled in "value" during The Streak, going from a $10,000 pricetag to a $20,000 one, and is currently owned by Tee Wine and trained by Tyler Stillings. A Winner's Circle presentation will be made to the Wine family and to Hunter Oakes on Saturday, November 18th. Can't forget those fabulous fillies...or mares! The 2017 MARE OF THE YEAR is Celebrity Eventsy, a Manofmanymissions four-year-old trotting mare raced almost exclusively by the father/son team of Staffan and Christian Lind for the Celebrity Farms of well-known owner Sam Stathis. The mare posted three victories and three seconds in seven seasonal starts at the mountain oval, with the highlight undoubtedly coming on September 10, when she took her new lifetime mark of 1:52.2 against very select winners-over company. Celebrity Eventsy will be honored in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner's Circle on Sunday, November 12th with her proud connections in attendance. The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will also be honoring the 2017 Driver and Trainer of the Year during closing week, on November 22 and 25th, with information to follow. Eight racing days remain in the 2017 racing season for the racetrack in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with the Breeders Crown coming in October, 2018. By Jerry Connors for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

60 years ago, a farmer’s young son in Port Elgin ONT, about two hours north of London, decided “there wasn’t enough excitement” in a life of getting up early on cold mornings and milking cows – the old-fashioned way.  Fortunately, his father and grandfather shared a hobby. “My father Irwin and my grandfather Lambert raced at the fair tracks in Ontario,” Doug Hamilton recalls. “I liked the horses much better. By 11, I was jogging horses, even though my feet didn’t reach the stirrups,” he told Neil Milbert of the Chicago Tribune in mid-career. Flash-forward about 60 years from the young boy jogging, and Doug Hamilton has amassed 3675 driving wins, including championships at Northfield Park and Balmoral Park and other Chicago tracks, and driven the winners of over $20 million. The USTA only started counting training wins in 1992, but he’s had over 500 conditioning victories since then, with horses in his charge earning over $5 million. His long career has been filled with many highlights, and at Pocono, they get to share in the final one, as Doug, at age 70, has decided to retire from training.  On Tuesday, October 24th, Doug and his stable team will be honored in the Winner’s Circle after the third race.  All horsemen are welcome to join the presentation.  He was one of the best-known of the drivers in the Windy City, which was his base of operations for decades, and always his red-gold-and-white colors could frequently be found in Chicagoland winner’s circles. But in 2011, with the once-mighty Chicago circuit losing ground to states that had made a partnership with other forms of gaming, Hamilton – at age 64 – decided to strike out for new ground. He spent the second half of that year alternating between The Meadows in western Pennsylvania and Balmoral. In 2012, Hamilton arrived at Pocono for the start of the meet, and he has been based at Pocono since. He also races at Harrah’s Philadelphia, and when the two eastern tracks are closed in the winter, he has gone back over to The Meadows, an all-year track. The changeover has been good for him – in 2015, his best year “over East,” his trainees earned over $500,000 in a season for the first-time ever, and his number of winners was his highest in 21 years. It’s horsemanship, and his high standing among the horsemen’s communities, that have helped Doug Hamilton along to lofty career achievements for a future manual cow-milker, and everyone at Pocono wish Doug Hamilton nothing but the best as he retires and “turns for the next mile” of whatever he wants to do. Jerry Connors for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

CHESTER PA - This past Friday Harrah's Philadelphia Racetrack and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA), hosted the third of its "Summer Series of Racetrack Remembrances," this time featuring Brandywine Raceway - "Beautiful Brandywine" - located just over the state line in Delaware, exactly 12.1 miles from the Harrah's facility. The night was the best-attended of the three featured Friday nights, possibly because Brandywine was not only the closest track to Harrah's, but it also had the longest existence - some 37 years, from 1953 to 1989. It was the pioneer of pari-mutuel harness racing in the Delaware Valley, its summer scenic charms - the spectacular sunsets; the Canadian geese circling to land in the infield pond, and always before the second race; its retractable clubhouse windows - gave many area harness fans a memorable night at the races. Hall of Fame horsemen such as Billy Haughton and Stanley Dancer annually had divisions of their stable at "The Big B," and the greatest equines in the sport's history competed there, with all-time greats Rambling Willie and Direct Scooter setting world records there. Three and four generations of people associated with racing and management at the Delaware oval (a half-mile track until 1969, then converted to a 5/8-mile track) came out to Harrah's on Friday, to keep in touch with longtime friends and to greet people whom they had not seen in many years. "What a superb night it was," said former Brandywine publicity director, now Hall of Famer, Marv Bachrad. "I saw people I had not seen since Brandywine closed. It was so great to reminisce about the old days plus the videos of top races from Brandywine on the big screen TV and all the memorabilia that people brought to display made for a wonderful evening." Of the four drivers who participated in ten or more races Friday, half had family that were a part of the Brandywine tapestry - Allan Davis's father Eddie was the leading driver at Brandywine for several seasons, and before Eddie's success there was success for Mike Lachance, whose son Pat is a Philly regular; Victor Kirby's grandfather Vinal raced at Brandywine for most of the track's history; and Jon Roberts' father William, known as "Bib," often made jaunts over from his Maryland base. There was a memorabilia show and contest held, and appropriately the three top prizes went to people whose family had deep roots at Brandywine: first place was taken by Judy Davis-Wilson, herself program director at Brandywine and whose entire family, especially father Olin, raced there for years. "Everyone that worked or raced at Brandywine were like family," Said Judy Davis-Wilson. "We all looked forward every season to seeing everyone again as Brandywine was one of the first stops of the Grand Circuit. Tonight, it was just like old times with so many horse people and former employees coming out. It was just a great evening." Second place was taken by Michael Wirtschafter, Brandywine unofficial "official historian," whose great-grandfather, Nathan, founded the racetrack and whose grandfather, Howard, ran it for 30 years; and third place was taken by Bob Shahan, leading driver at Brandywine for its last few seasons, for - his collection of leading driver awards from Brandywine! The judging was done by Jody McDonald, popular sportscaster for local radio station WIP and a harness fan. The mixing of the state-of-the-art high-class racing at Harrah's Philadelphia and the nostalgia for the bygone days of "Beautiful Brandywine" made for an enjoyable mix on a pleasant late summer's evening, with many smiles seen among the patrons throughout the evening. In addition to the reunion night, Harrah's and the PHHA also had a live band, free mechanical bull rides and other games in addition to an outdoor grill, all on their outdoor grandstand patio overlooking the races. by Jerry Connors for the PHHA    

LEWISBURG WV - On Getaway Day of the four-day State Fair of West Virginia harness racing meet here, five of the six race winners had been victorious earlier in the week - and we'll forgive the sixth, because Bourbon St Hanover has now been a winner in the Mountaineer FFA Pace for five straight years! (Does anyone know of a horse, current or historical, who has won a specific feature race five years "running"?) Bourbon St Hanover, a nine-year-old gelded son of Western Hanover (as is, by the way, Keystone Velocity of the $600G+ earnings so far this year), traveled over the half-mile fairgrounds oval Thursday in 1:59.4 for driver Jeff Lieberman and trainer/driver Jamie Coffy (who herself owns several track trot records with Pathian). Bourbon has been entered in the Mountaineer six times, and after finishing second in his first SFOWV FFA appearance at four, he's been unstoppable, with four of his victories under 2:00 including a 1:57.3 at age seven. Trainer/driver Coffy swept the two divisions of the Mountaineer when the Camluck gelding Red Carpet Dude came back to win for the third straight day, here in 2:01.1. The veteran was handled by Ammon Hershberger, who took meet honors for wins driving (eight) and training (five). Ammon Hershberger is the breeder/owner/trainer/driver of another three-time SFOWV winner (Monday-Tuesday-Thursday) in the Royal Palm gelding War Chief, whose winning times lowered throughout the week: 2:05.4, 2:03.3, and on this card in the FFA trot, 2:01.4. The three-year-old Open pace was won by the Dream Away gelding Royal Red, who won on Monday and then came back on the last local card to post a 2:02.2 clocking for trainer/driver Jimmy Viars and owner Susan Viars. Repeat winners also featured in the two divisions of the claiming handicap pace: the Stand Forever gelding Stand Your Ground, triumphant on Tuesday and then Thursday in 2:00.2 for trainer/driver Darrell Moore and owner Katina Mauldin, and the Real Desire 13-year-old gelding Lightning Desire, who had exactly 20 hours rest between his first meet win and this one, a 2:02.4 triumph for driver Ryan Moore and trainer Wendell Malone, who are also the co-owners. Jerry Connors

LEWISBURG WV - The third day of the four-day State Fair of West Virginia harness racing meet at the fairgrounds in this city in the southeast part of the state saw a familiar name - Ammon Hershberger - and a new name for 2017 - Ryan Malone - both record driving doubles on the Wednesday card, including a feature win for each on the two gaits. The Victory Sam mare Bettys Sam was victorious in the day's $1600 featured trot after finishing third behind her stablemate under the Ammon Hershberger shedrow, War Chief, on Monday. She posted a 2:05 victory for her owner, trainer, and driver - the training win his fourth at the meet for the lead in that category, and the sulky success his sixth, also leading the local colony. Earlier, Hershberger had made it two victories in two days with the Camluck gelding Red Carpet Dude, Wednesday in 2:02.2 for owner/trainer Jamie Coffy. Ryan Malone has done well in previous campaigns at the Lewisburg oval, and Team Malone, consisting of Ryan and trainer Wendell, got on the scoreboard in their first start at this year's meet, winning in the fastest time of the day, 2:01.2, with the Real Desire gelding Lightning Desire, who has won in less than 2:00 in each of the 11 years he has raced. Ryan and Wendell share ownership of the veteran. Later, trainer Herman Hagerman tapped Ryan to catch-drive Springhouse Mojo in the $1600 featured pace, and the Panspacificflight gelding was victorious in 2:03.2 for owner Greg Malta. Driver Jeff Lieberman and trainer Jimmy Viars put themselves into second place with one day to go in the meet, combining with the freshman Badlands Hanover gelding Lemonaideshine, who made his career debut a winning one in 2:05.1 for owner Susan Viars. Lieberman and Viars now each have three wins at the meet. On the Thursday getaway card, the Mountaineer Free For All Pace for $3000, and $2000 events for three-year-old pacers and free for all trotters, should ensure fast miles, especially if the sun is shining when the first race takes to the track at 1 p.m. Jerry Connors

LEWISBURG WV - Ohio horseman Ammon Hershberger won three of the four heats on the Tuesday harness racing card held over the fairgrounds oval of this city in the southeastern part of the State, within the four-day meet conducted during the annual State Fair of West Virginia. Hershberger swept the two $1800 features of the day, one on each gait, including winning for the second straight day with the Royal Palm gelding War Chief, whom he also trains and owns. On Tuesday War Chief made the lead at the quarter and set an even pace en route to his 2:03.3 triumph. Hershberger's victory in the featured pace came with the Stand Forever gelding Stand Your Ground, who lived up to his name by setting the pace under pressure and still going on to a 2:02.3 victory for trainer Darrell Moore and owner Katina Mauldin. Hershberger also trains his third sulky success of the day, the Camluck gelding Red Carpet Dude, home first in 2:03.2 for owner Jamie Coffy of Pathian fame. Trainer Darrell Moore and owner Katina Mauldin also combined for the other winner of the day, the Artiscape gelding Carnoustie. Coming off a 1:55 qualifying victory at Lexington, Carnoustie opened a big lead and coasted home in 2:04. Communicators Hall of Fame announcer Roger Huston takes over the microphone for the final two days of the SFOWV meet, with five hears scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and then a getaway card Thursday, with free-for-alls on both gait, first going to post at 1 p.m. Jerry Connors

LEWISBURG WV - On the first day of the annual four-day harness racing meet at the State Fair of West Virginia in this city in the southeastern part of the state, War Chief won the featured $2000 Open trot, which honored the late George Aide, well-known throughout the middle Atlantic states for his top-notch racing stable (emphasizing trotters and "Red Oak's" horses) and a very good friend of a healthy racing program at his native state fair. The Royal Palm gelding War Chief raced in the pocket behind a very measured pace set by Net Revenue, then was moved to the outside off the third turn of the half-mile track by owner/trainer/driver Ammon Hershberger and challenged the leader, going by at the ¾ and then coming home in 29.2 to dash any hopes of a comeback from Net Revenue in the 2:05.4 mile. Driver Jeff Lieberman joined with trainer Jimmy Viars and owner Susan Viars for two victories on the card, with the fastest mile of the day coming from one of their horses, who at age 13 has more years on him than the three other winners on the card combined (they were six, three, and three). B Blissful proved the best in a $1500 pace in a snappy 2:00.2 over the fairgrounds oval, with the greybeard now sporting a bankroll of $303,585. Team Lieberman/Viars/Viars' other winner was Royal Red, a Dream Away sophomore gelding making his first start since winning his divisional Virginia-bred championship last September. Royal Red came home in 1:00.1 - 29.2 in showing no rust during his 2:05 mile. The second division of Royal Red's classification went to the Big Bad John filly Amazon Girl, breaking her maiden in her 14th start while showing good speed in a 2:02.2 win for driver Jamaal Denson, trainer Rico Johnson, and owner Mioshae Hughes. Racing will continue at the SFOWV with twilight cards on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and then a Thursday getaway card featuring free-for-all events on both gaits beginning at 1 p.m. Jerry Connors

WASHINGTON, PA, July 29, 2017 -- Saturday's harness racing card at The Meadows, headlined by the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids and the Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo, also featured four other Grand Circuit stakes. Here are the highlights of those Arden Downs events: $45,000 James Manderino -- 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters Snowstorm Hanover was a major player in his division last year, banking nearly $350,000 and taking a mark of 1:55.1. At three, however, he finished out of the money in his first eight starts, prompting trainer Ron Burke to add hopples and Lasix. The changes may have helped in the Manderino, as Snowstorm Hanover moved powerfully first over to score in 1:55 for Matt Kakaley. Andy M was second, beaten a neck, with Frankie Mullins third. "He's been a disappointment this year," Kakaley said. "I know I had high hopes for him; he finished the year so good last year. The combination of Lasix and hopples probably helped him out a lot. He has more confidence. Hopefully he's in the right direction now." Ron Burke trains the son of Muscle Massive-Snow Angel Hanover for Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, Phillip Collura and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Snowstorm Hanover $57,356 Ned McCarr -- 3-Year-Old Filly Trotters Broadway Concert's split figured to end on a sour note; she appeared to be tiring after a demanding trip, and rivals inside and out were threatening. But the daughter of Broadway Hall-Luscious Lindy dug in for Corey Callahan, trainer John Butenschoen and owner Bay Pond Racing Stable, holding off the rallying Mimosa Hanover by 1/2 length in 1:55.1, matching her life mark. Gin's Tonic completed the ticket. Broadway Concert was outside for the opening panel plus, but Callahan said that wasn't a big issue. "I kind of waited for everything to settle in the first eighth," he said. "I did get a tiny break up the backside. She kept fighting. I had to urge her a little bit, but she wanted to get her nose up." In her McCarr division, Crann Tara looked the best on paper, so Tim Tetrick drove her accordingly, moving first over at his leisure. The 1-5 favorite prevailed comfortably, defeating Itsgoodtobequeen by 2 lengths in 1:56.2, with Dangle Then Deke a distant third. "I thought she was the best," Tetrick said. "Her form's been good, and some of the others aren't at the top of their game. Coming first up doesn't bother her; she likes wearing them down." Linda Toscano conditions the daughter of Donato Hanover-Shan Riches for William Donovan. Broadway Concert $47,630 Mary Lib Miller -- 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers $57,350 Gov. David L. Lawrence -- 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers Each of these stakes for freshmen was conducted over two divisions, with the winners being three maidens and a $38.00 shot. The Emerald Highlands Farm of owner Bruce Trogdon and trainer Brian Brown might have unveiled their 2018 Little Brown Jug contender in the very first race, the first Gov. Lawrence division, as Whatstroublnurocky broke his maiden in fine style, a 1:53.2 victory over a "good" track after intermittent rain, sometimes quite hard, had buffeted the area during the previous 24 hours. The altered son of A Rocknroll Dance looked like he might be forced into first-over duty, but he got cover later in the backstretch, and the colt came his own back half in 55.1, three-wide on the turn, for a 3-length victory over Antagonist and Someboysomewhere with the guidance of David Miller. "He was really good last week but was behind a wall of horses," Brown said. "If you saw him at the top of the stretch today, he started running in, so you know he's having a little steering trouble. He's not taking to this bit very well. I'll have to make some more changes." Whatstroublnurocky Yannick Gingras and the Somebeachsomewhere colt Disorder made the lead nearing the quarter and held gamely in a blanket finish to notch his first win in 1:53.1, a race after the track was updated from "good" to "fast" as the sun broke through. Disorder withstood a late charge from the prospective pocket rocket, and Ron Burke stablemate, Aleppo Hanover by 3/4 of a length for Burke Racing Stable LLC; Silva, Purnel & Libby; Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Diamond Creek Racing. "He's been in horrible spots against real good horses, so he couldn't go forward," Burke said. "Today we were thinking, let's try to be aggressive and go forward, and he reacted to it. Not a great mile, but it's a better mile than he's been going." Disorder Reign On Me had to surmount the tough first-over trip from mid-backstretch, but the Well Said filly persevered, picked up pace-setting Yankee Will Dance in early stretch, and strode off by 3 1/2 lengths while taking a maiden mark of 1:53.2 in the first section of the Mary Lib Miller. The Nifty Norman trainee had shown good closing speed with a second and a third in Kindergarten Series action, and here she was able to take her late ability all the way to Victory Lane for the Jennifer Dalton Stable LLC while giving driver David Miller a win in the freshman stakes for each sex. "That's the first time she had to be first over that long, and she handled it pretty well," Miller noted. Reign On Me Unlike the three freshmen preceding her to stakes Victory Lane, the Bettor's Delight filly Cult Icon had tasted pari-mutuel success prior to her Grand Circuit contest, with two wins, including a PA Stallion Series victory in her last race. The bettors were undoubtedly worried about her outside starting spot in the field of nine and let her go at 18-1, but Cult Icon, under canny handling by Tyler Smith, slid a mid-pack tuck early, then tipped wide off a second-over trip and produced a length victory over favored Aim's Whisper in 1:54.2. "I loved her last week, but I didn't like our draw at all," Smith said. "I lucked out -- there was a spot for me (at the pylons) and we got a perfect second-over trip. She did the rest." Trent Stohler conditions the filly with a winning attitude, and his Trent Stohler Stable Inc. shares ownership with Tim Graber, Single G Stables, and Stately Gaits Stable. Cult Icon Jerry Connors for The Meadows  

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