We all need, no matter what your religious affiliation is, to say a little prayer. It was reported today by the United States Trotting Association (USTA) that John Pawlak of the publicity department, underwent surgery Friday evening at Mt. Carmel East Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, to have a brain tumor removed. While subsequent testing found that the tumor was benign, post-operative swelling required Pawlak to have additional surgery on Monday, October 21. According to his wife, Kris, Pawlak has been sedated and is resting comfortably but has a long recovery ahead of him. Pawlak, along with co-USTA employee, Carol Cramer, were both recently voted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicators Corner by the United States Harness Writers Association. Pawlak has been a long-time employee at the USTA and before that was the track announcer and publicity man at Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio. He has done outstanding work over his career not only as journalist but also as a radio announcer and television broadcaster covering racing throughout the world. This season he reported from along with assisting in organizing the World Trotting Council Meetings in France, which he has helped run for many years. Since John is unable to receive gifts and cards in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, it is suggested that they be sent to the USTA offices at 750 Michigan Ave., Columbus, OH 43215 and they will be forwarded to the Pawlak’s. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Delaware, OH --- CSX Stables both presented and received the trophy for the $52,544 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt pacers, when their On Golden Ponder(Ponder-In Trepid Water, by Intrepid Seelster) won in a 1:52.2 world record, withJohn Campbell in the sulky, on Thursday (Sept. 19) at the Delaware County Fair. The winner made a bold move from fourth after the half and drew away from Totally Kissed (Montrell Teague) and He’s Got It (David Miller) in the late stages. On Golden Ponder has won four of seven as a freshman and is trained by Bob McIntosh. The trainer also bred him, along with CSX Stables. That duo shares ownership with Michael Kohler. The clocking of 1:52.2 was a new stakes and track record, as well as a world record for a freshman pacing colt on a half-mile track. by John Pawlak, the U.S. Trotting Association Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom
Delaware, OH --- Joseph Di Scala, Jr. and Cynthia Lynn Massari's Vibe Blue Chip (Yannick Gingras) popped out of the three hole going to the three-quarters and captured the $65,750 first division of the Old Oaken Bucket for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Thursday (Sept. 19) at the Delaware County Fair. From the first call to the top of the stretch they all chased Bluto (Andy Miller), who couldn’t withstand the charge of Vibe Blue Chip. Bluto held second and Sailer Eddie (Ron Pierced) earned third money. Vibe Blue Chip (Andover Hall-Winning Jonlin, by Muscles Yankee) won in 1:54.3, a national season’s record for a sophomore trotting gelding on a half-mile track. He has now won five of 14 and $128,787 this year under the direction of trainer Ron Burke. "I only put trotting hobbles on him to give him confidence," said Burke. "He gets a little shaky, but it's not a gait issue. He's cleanly gaited. "Actually I saw he had a little trouble on the turn but Yannick did a great job holding him together around the turn, then pulling out the plugs coming into the stretch. I knew if he could do that he would trot right by them. "We are taking him to Lexington and after that it will be day-to-day with him." The favored Spider Blue Chip (Ron Pierce) made two breaks, which helped High Bridge (Yannick Gingras) win the $65,750 second division of the Old Oaken Bucket. The mile was covered in 1:55.1, equaling the national season’s record for a 3-year-old trotting colt on a half-mile track. Boffin (Charlie Norris) and Theatrical Session (David Miller) were next to the wire, finishing second and third, respectively. High Bridge (Cantab Hall-Madame Volo, byYankee Glide) is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Jim Fielding and is trained by Jimmy Takter. He has won five of 18 this year, with $249,348 in the bank. He finished seventh, beaten only four lengths, in this year’s Hambletonian. "He might not be right up with the top horses but he is very consistent and a good horse to have in the barn," said Jimmy Takter. "If he could have gotten out in the Hambo, as he got blocked in behind some horses, he could have finished second. "There are still a lot of races left this year and he is a very sound horse. I've never had a problem with him. Look how well he raced just six days ago (a strong second in the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final). "We have the Breeders Crown at Pocono (in October) and he really likes it there." -- Kimberly French also contributed to this report by John Pawlak, the U.S. Trotting Association Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association web newsroom
Delaware, OH --- A torrential, mid-morning downpour did nothing to dull what had been a speed-favoring track on Wednesday at the Delaware County Fair, and that showed in Thursday’s first stakes, the $51,944 Standardbred for 2-year-old trotting colts. Andy Miller Stable and Black Horse Racing's Sumatra brushed to the lead past the opening quarter and went on to a 1:58.3 victory on Thursday morning (Sept. 19) at the Delaware County Fair. Andy Miller was in the bike for trainer Julie Miller as the son of Muscles Yankee-Lola Seelster won for the fifth time in nine season's starts, lifting his earnings to $89,734. Sumatra got away second from the two hole, but pulled the pocket and brushed to the lead past the opening quarter in :29. He was never headed through subsequent fractions of :59, 1:29 and 1:58.3. Epic Ranger (Corey Callahan) was second and Gangio (Yannick Gingras) finished third. Sumatra has enjoyed a fine freshman campaign, with Grand Circuit wins in the Arden Downs, Historic Series and Kindergarten Series. by John Pawlak, the U.S. Trotting Association Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association web newsroom
Delaware, OH --- Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, J&T Silva Stables and Matt Tudisco’s Frau Blucher and driver Ron Pierce set a world record of 1:53.1 in the $52,194 second division of the Buckette for 3-year-old filly trotters on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 18) at the Delaware County Fair. The mile, raced in take-no-prisoners fashion, gave Frau Blucher (Broadway Hall-My Angel, by Muscles Yankee) her sixth sophomore win in 11 tries, and the Lisa McNerney-bred filly has now won $759,617 lifetime. Frau Blucher left from post position two and went right to the front, cutting out fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:24.1. Coffeecake Hanover (Yannick Gingras) and Bethel Hanover (Brian Sears), who sat behind the winner the entire mile, finished second and third, respectively. "At the end of the day a world record is certainly a great thing and it means a lot to have her put her name in the history books," said co-owner Timothy Hauser. "I've always had a great amount of faith in her. "We struggled with her earlier in the year and the Hambletonian Oaks was a setback (sixth placed tenth after a break) because we expected to run one or two, but now we will gear her up for the Breeders Crown and see what we have for Bee A Magician." Miller’s Stable’s Silver Credit, in rein to Corey Callahan, used the number one post to its greatest advantage in the $52,194 first division of the Buckette. The Randy Beekman-trained miss by Muscles Yankee and out of Credit Review (by Credit Winner) went wire-to-wire through splits of :27, :55.2 and 1:24 on the way to a 1:54.4 win -- a new mark and (at the time) a national season’s record for a 3-year-old trotting filly on a half-mile track. Silver Credit has now won four of 13 this year and has won three straight -- all on half-mile tracks. UF Tadys Donato (Brian Sears) finished second, 6-1/4 lengths behind the winner, and Andie Sophia (Tim Tetrick) came from off the pace to earn third money. "We were very glad to get the one (post)," said winning trainer Randy Beeckman. "She has been very consistent the whole year and it was nice to have things go her way a little bit. "She really enjoys racing and likes what she does. "I'm hoping her next start, which will be down in Lexington, she won't have to do it on the front end again. She's been out there a lot. After Lexington, if all goes well we will go to the Breeders Crown." -- Kimberly French also contributed to this report by John Pawlak Courtesy of the United States News Room
Delaware, OH ---- Joe Putnam and Novi Trot’s Simply Class, driven by John Campbell, exited the two hole on the final turn, and out-kicked Petticoat Affair (Brad Hanners) and the fast-closing Dress For Success (Corey Callahan) to win the $46,744 Standardbred for 2–year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday (Sept. 18) at the Delaware County Fair. The time of the mile was 1:59, a national season’s mark for a freshman trotting filly on a half-mile track. Simply Class (Chocolatier-Minnesota Karen), also trained by Putnam, won for the second time in four outings and shaved two and four-fifths seconds off her life mark. She got the first call when leaving, but Campbell let Hanners and Petticoat Affair go on in the first turn and cut fractions of :29.1, :59.3 an 1:29.2. Dress For Success made a bold move from fourth to second after the three-quarters and seemed to block the winner’s path to the wire, but Campbell took the winner three-wide and on to a narrow victory by a neck. by John Pawlak, the U.S. Trotting Association Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom
David Miller, who has won more than 10,800 races and ranks fourth in lifetime earnings among all drivers in harness racing history, will be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame next summer, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Monday. William Weaver, who bred influential trotting sire Valley Victory as well as several division champions, also will be inducted during the ceremonies on July 6 at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. In addition, longtime U.S. Trotting Association Publicity Director John Pawlak and retired USTA Stakes Director Carol Cramer will be enshrined in the Communicators Hall of Fame. Miller, a 48-year-old native of Ohio, was voted Driver of the Year in 2003, when he led North America in purses and guided No Pan Intended to the Pacing Triple Crown. He has won a total of 11 Triple Crown races (combined pacing and trotting) and 12 Breeders Crown trophies. He ranks No. 5 in career Breeders Crown purses with $8.5 million. He is a three-time winner of the Little Brown Jug and one of only two drivers to capture the Little Brown Jug and its filly companion race, the Jugette, in the same year. Victories in other top stakes include the Adios, Canadian Pacing Derby, Canadian Trotting Classic, Cane Pace, Hambletonian Oaks, Kentucky Futurity, Maple Leaf Trot, Nat Ray and Yonkers Trot. In 2011, Miller became the 10th driver in North American history to reach 10,000 wins. He has won at least $10 million in purses 11 times, the most of any driver in history, and trails only Hall of Famers John Campbell, Ron Pierce and Mike Lachance in career earnings. Weaver, 77, from New Jersey, has enjoyed success as a breeder despite breeding a small number of horses each year. Valley Victory was the sport's top 2-year-old colt trotter in 1988 and won 11 of 14 lifetime races before being retired at age 3 because of illness. His offspring include Hambletonian winning colts Victory Dream and Muscles Yankee as well as filly Continentalvictory. Victory Dream and Muscles Yankee also produced Hambletonian winners, with Muscles Yankee sons Deweycheatumnhowe, Muscle Hill and Muscle Massive winning the sport's top trotting race in consecutive years (2008-10). Other notable horses bred by Weaver include U.S. and/or Canadian division champions Chocolatier, Laddie, To Dream On, Was It A Dream and Wheeling N Dealin plus millionaire trotting mare Elusive Desire. The multiple award-winning Pawlak joined the USTA in 1985 after serving as an announcer and marketing executive at Raceway Park in Ohio. His work with the USTA has ranged from writing to broadcasting, in addition to compiling and editing the annually harness racing fact book "The Trotting & Pacing Guide." He also is known for his work coordinating the biennial World Driving Championship and the World Trotting Conference. When time permits, he continues to announce races on the Ohio fair circuit. Cramer retired as a fulltime employee of the USTA in 2007, but remains active as editor of the annual "Stakes Guide," a job she has handled for 45 years. She joined the organization in 1965 as project assistant to James Harrison in the publication of the first "Care & Training of the Trotter and Pacer." In addition, she was advertising manager for "Hoof Beats" magazine and a longtime Grand Circuit steward and secretary. Veteran writers on a screening committee, after discussion with an advisory committee of Hall of Famers, take nominations sent in by USHWA chapters and select nominees to go before the voters. Nominees must receive 75 percent approval from the voters, which are qualified members of USHWA and Living Hall of Fame members, to be elected to the Hall of Fame. The inductees will be honored twice; first at the annual USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet, Feb. 23 at Dover Downs, and for enshrinement July 6 at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association
TOLEDO, OH -- Although simulcasting action will continue, Sunday (Sept. 15) marked the final night of live harness racing action at Toledo’s Raceway Park. Approximately 3,500 patrons came to watch the last of the live racing that the historic track will offer since opening the doors in 1959. The evening’s weather was not good, but the rain did not dampen the life that was felt within the grandstands. The stands were crowded and the evening’s handle ($221,749) was in excess of 50% over last year’s closing day’s handle ($147,482). Among various events throughout the evening, fans enjoyed special guest announcers who had previously called the action at Raceway Park. Hall of Fame announcer Sam McKee was joined by fellow announcers Steve Cross, John Pawlak, Ayers Ratliff and Ron Sobczack. Reminiscent conversations were heard throughout the facility. Names such as Charlie Brown, Mel Chupp, Jay Cross, Jeff Fout, Mark and Greg Grismore, Bev Haywood, Jimmy Landess and Mike Rosengarten, as well as Candy Super Star, Grandpa’s Liquor, Grain Dealer and Scotch Baker were often heard as people discussed their favorite Raceway Park horses and drivers. Raceway Park thanks their loyal fans, horsemen and employees for their efforts and decades of dedication, loyalty and support. Although it is emotional to close a chapter in history, it is exciting to start writing another. Two brand new harness tracks are being built in Ohio and will offer much larger purses and increased opportunities to the Ohio horse industry. Ohio’s harness racing scene is on a fast track to increased popularity and prosperity. The 2014 racing season will be held at a brand new facility, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. Ayers Ratliff for Raceway Park
A rousing victory by Captaintreacherous in the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial final this past Saturday was the exclamation point on a perfect month and clinched harness racing honors as U.S. Trotting Association Horse of the Month for June.
The next-to-last session of the 2013 World Trotting Conference was given over to roundtable discussions of medication and animal health and genetics and breeding, featuring some of Europe and the world's top researchers and regulators.
Discussion of television and technology's positions in racing and the promotion of racing and racetracks shared the spotlight on the third day of the World Trotting Conference.
Racing's role with government and a crystal ball gaze into the year 2020 were the topics presented in a pair of panel discussions at the second session of the 2013 World Trotting Conference on Wednesday (June 12).
Older male trotter Wishing Stone increased his lead in the weekly Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll despite not racing, but is facing a new challenger for the No. 1 spot.
Problems facing the Standardbred industry, seen by many to be opportunities to change and grow, are among the topics that will be discussed at the biennial World Trotting Conference, which opened here Tuesday morning (June 11).
Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett has been studying and seeking advice from others as he prepares to carry the red, white and blue of the USA into the 2013 World Driving Championship, which will open in Reims, France this coming Sunday (June 9).
Cowboyland Aalborg, TLP Stable, J&T Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms’ Wishing Stone has been touring Europe for much of the past two years, and as a result the winner of the 2010 Kentucky Futurity has been “off the radar” and seeming off form for quite some time.