Turning for home, it was a two horse breakaway in the 55th running of the $75,000 Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer with Bigtown Hero and driver Brad Forward battling past Wazzup Wazzup in a track and Canadian record equalling performance to close out Old Home Week at Charlottetown Driving Park on Saturday night. Scott Rocks (Jonathan Drury) fired to the lead, but trial winner and even-money favourite Aracache Hanover (Marc Campbell) was on the move early, sweeping around that foe during a :26.4 opening quarter. Take It Back Terry (Gilles Barrieau) began to advance from mid-pack with Forward rolling Bigtown Hero out three-wide as they passed the midway mark in :55.2. Meanwhile, Wazzup Wazzup (James MacDonald) swept up from third to take over the lead from Aracache Hanover. Wazzup Wazzup raced past three-quarters in 1:23.3 with the wide rallying Bigtown Hero advancing into second and those two took off turning for home. Bigtown Hero kept on rolling and edged by Wazzup Wazzup in deep stretch for the 1:50.4 victory. The winner's stablemate, Island Jet (Robert Shepherd), came on from the back of the pack to finish third, over seven lengths behind. To read the rest of the story click here.
Charlottetown, PE - Only four tickets remain to the big dance at Red Shores Charlottetown on Saturday night. Those tickets will be punched Monday night when Trial 2 for the Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer lines up behind the gate in the race 12 finale. Harness racing post time is 7 pm. Trainer Ron Burke will look to sweep both trials with Take It Back Terry from the rail. Aracache Hanover picked up the victory in Trial 1 for Burke and driver Marc Campbell in 1:51.4. The Burke Brigade will turn to Gilles Barrieau to do the driving on Monday night. Take It Back Terry was a winner two starts back at Yonkers (half-mile) in 1:51.2. Trainer Corey Johnson makes his first start on Red Soil in Trial 2 with the 5-2 morning line favourite Wazzup Wazzup. Already a fan favourite on P.E.I. for his name, he has drawn into post 5. Islander James MacDonald will return home from Ontario to try and punch his ticket into the 55th running of the Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer. Wazzup Wazzup picked up a new lifetime mark in his last start winning at Mohawk (seven-eights) in 1:49. Rene Allard will lock down a third spot in the Gold Cup. He finished second and fourth in Trial 1 with Bigtown Hero and Island Jet, while Mickey Hanover will take his shot from Post 4 in Trial 2. Allard will turn the lines over to Saturday nights winning driver 'King Campbell', Anthony Macdonald was scheduled to drive but has commitments in Ontario. Mickey Hanover finished sixth in his last start but had a three race win streak prior to that outing, with a 1:49.2 score just two starts back. Scott Rocks will look to rock the field from the outside Post 6. Another trainer looking to land a second horse in the $75,000 final, Chris Oakes will turn to Ontario based driver Jonathan Drury. Owned by Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey of Pennsylvania, 'Scott' was seventh in his last start off of a scratch but prior too those two he knocked off four straight with a lifetime best 1:48.3 score. A pair of brothers will look to make dreams come true when they team up from Post 2 with Duke Did It. Trainer Patrick and driver Robert Shepherd are hoping to punch their ticket with the Ivan Petersheim freshly purchased winner of four-in-a-row. Duke Did It torched the Truro Raceway in his last start winning in 1:53.2 and tying the track record. He hash't missed a top two finish in his last eight and during that streak he has won six times. Island native Paul Mackenzie is the only driver other than Campbell to win the Gold Cup and Saucer he will turn to the 3-entry Mach Wheel to land him in the prestigious race one more time. The Shane Arsenault trainee was a winner in his last start at Grand River (half-mile) in 1:54.2for National Driving Championship finalist Jody Jamieson in the bike. The top four finishers will join Aracache Hanover, Bigtown Hero, Shock It To Em and Island Jet on Tuesday night for the live post position draw. The undercard is highlighted by the 9 top class. Say It Again Sam will look to extend his win streak to double digits on Maritime soil from Post 4. The three-year-old son of Well Said has yet to be collared since relocating to the Maritimes for Foxyhall Racing. The 'Blue Knight' Jason Hughes handles the training and driving. Im Drinkin Doubles is listed as the 5-2 morning line favourite. Coming in off of a 1:55.3 victory at Truro in his last Owners R G Mcgoup LTD and trainer Wayne Whebby will look to snap the streak at nine. Marc Whebby will drive the three-year-old Shadow Play gelding. Bonnys Mac, Salute and Junebugs Baby round out the compact field of six. By Bo Ford
Driver Phil Hudon completed a sweep of the final three races on Sunday night's card at Georgian Downs aboard 10-1 shot Viper Select in the featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Pace. Viper Select fought off Clic K (Anthony Haughan) through opening fractions of :26.4 and :54.3 before opening up three lengths en route to the third quarter station in 1:22.1. The Dauntless Bunny gelding then sauntered home to win by more than four lengths in 1:51.1. Mach Of Ballykeel (Jonathan Drury) rallied wide around the fading Clic K and came on for second, darting towards the pylons down the stretch to avoid the breaking pocket-sitter, Czar Seelster (Tyler Moore). Pouvoir Duharas (Paul MacKenzie) also had to change paths and inherited third-place as Czar Seelster was set back for causing interference while off-stride. To view the rest of this story click here.
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 12 - A quintet of Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old pacers were contested Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Lady Shadow turned in the performance of the evening with a sizzling 1:49.2 victory in the third and final $17,477 elimination for the pacing fillies. The Gregg McNair trainee was sent hard to the front by driver Rick Zeron and never looked back. Off a three-quarter time of 1:22.1, Lady Shadow paced home in :27.1 for a 8 ¾ length victory. The 1:49.2 clocking was a new lifetime best for the daughter of Shadow Play - Lady Camella and her third win in six starts this season. Nefertiti Bluechip finished in the place spot, while Justabit Mean was third. The elimination victory boosts Lady Shadow's career earnings to over $320,000 for owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin. She paid $4.40 to win. My Secret Belle and owner/trainer/driver Joe Hudon converted off a pocket trip in the first elimination. The daughter of Mach Three - Kindly Jenna grabbed the lead early and was able to take a seat in the two-hole when Brookedale Shadow cleared to the front as the field hit the backstretch. At the top of the lane, Hudon pulled the pocket and My Secret Belle paced by Brookedale Shadow for a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:51.1. Brookedale Shadow held on for second over Artful Impulse. The win was the fifth in 17 starts this year for My Secret Belle and it pushes her career earnings to more than $110,000. She paid $3.80 to win. In the second split, Sudoku and driver Jody Jamieson turned in a 2 ½ length victory in 1:51.1. The daughter of Badlands Hanover - Mind Boggling was situated third over on the final turn and unleashed a :26.4 last quarter. Performing Art, who was second over in front of Sudoku, finished second, while Badlyinclined rallied for third. The 1:51.1 clocking was a new lifetime best for Sudoku, who is now undefeated in two starts this season for trainer Tony O'Sullivan.The victory boosts her career earnings to over $225,000 for the ownership group of Let It Ride Stable Inc, Mentally Stable Inc, Dana Parham and Howard Taylor. Sudoku returned $3.70 to win. The first $26,149 elimination for the colts and geldings went to 2013 Metro Pace winner Boomboom Ballykeel and driver Jonathan Drury in 1:50.3. The son of Mach Three - Teig N Riley took the lead approaching the half and dug in through the stretch to hold off a late charging Hunch Man by half a length. Victor Bayama finished third. The victory was the third in five starts this season for Boomboom Ballykeel and it equaled his career mark. He is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Ballykeel Racing Inc. Shadowbriand and Roger Mach Em finished fourth and fifth to secure the last two spots for next week's final. Boomboom Ballykeel now has careers earning exceeding $478,000 and he paid $7.80 to win. The second and final elimination went to the Dr. Ian Moore trained Silverhill Shadow and driver Chris Christoforou. The son of Shadow Play - Ruthie Jane made a brush to the lead down the backstretch and paced away from the field in the stretch to Prince Clyde finished second, while Speckled Door was third. The elimination victory was the second win in ten starts this season for Silverhill Shadow and increased his career earnings to over $85,000 for owner Silverhill. Lucky King and Titus Seelster clinched the last two spots in the final with fourth and fifth place finishes. Silverhill Shadow returned $4.30 to win. The finals for both divisions will be held next Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk as part of the Maple Leaf Trot card. Following the eliminations, the post positions for both finals were drawn in the paddock. Elimination winners were able to select their own post position. Here is how they will lineup for next week's finals. Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Filles - Purse: $122,343 1. Performing Art - Billy Davis Jr. 2. Sudoku - Jody Jamieson 3. My Secret Belle - Joe Hudon Jr. 4. Lady Shadow - Rick Zeron 5. Badlyinclined - Jack Moiseyev 6. Justabit Mean - Jonathan Drury 7. Brookedale Shadow - Chris Christoforou 8. Brescia Seelster - Sylvain Filion 9. Nefertiti Bluechip - Jody Jamieson 10. Artful Impulse - Steve Condren AE: Mea Lilley Mark - Mike Saftic Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Colts and Geldings - Purse: $122,028 1. Shadowbriand - Paul Macdonell 2. Speckled Door - Phil Hudon 3. Silverhill Shadow - Chris Christoforou 4. Boomboom Ballykeel - Jonathan Drury 5. Roger Mach Em - Jack Moiseyev 6. Lucky King - Billy Davis Jr. 7. Prince Clyde - James MacDonald 8. Hunch Man - Mike Saftic 9. Titus Seelster - Sylvain Filion 10. Victor Bayama - Sylvain Filion AE: High Flier - Billy Davis Jr. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Mopey Corey prevailed in a three-across finish in Sunday's featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Handicap Trot at Georgian Downs. Driver Bob McClure moved 8-1 shot Mopey Copey from the pocket and collared pacesetter Justasmalltowngirl (Scott Young) at the wire in 1:56.1 with Money Maven (Daniel O'Brian) sprinting into the win photo. The eight-year-old Southwind Lustre gelding earned his 30th career win (and sixth this year). Sent postward as the second longest shot on the board, he returned $19.60 to his backers at the betting windows. Thomas Riley trains the winner for Amanda Riley of Roseneath, Ont. Fantastic Flirt, one of two mares in the field and the longest shot in the race, pulled off a 25-1 upset in the $7,000 Preferred 3 as she rallied home from the backfield to win in a new lifetime mark of 1:57.1 for driver Jonathan Drury and trainer Brenda Lane. The six-year-old CR Excalibur mare paid $53.50 to win.
Undefeated in four starts this year, Decret Justiciale made it a clean sweep of the Quebec-bred Series for older trotters at the Hippodrome 3R, winning all three preliminary rounds and then capturing the $35,000 final on Sunday. Trained and driven to victory by Denis Filion, Decret Justiciale did not have it as easy as his record shows, especially in the final. The fifth race finae for older trotters started off with Decret Justiciale and Filion getting parked out past the opening quarter mile in :28 by Sucre A La Crème and driver Danka Veilleux. Once Filion had Decret Justiciale on the lead, Veilleux came right back to challenge with Sucre A La Crème and they battled through the half mile in :57.4 and through the three-quarters in 1:29.1 before Sure A La Crème began to fade after being parked out. Then in the stretch, Filion and Decret Justiciale were still able to hold off all contenders in winning by one length in 1:58.2 over Domino Cybele (Guy Gagnon) and third place finisher Ken P V (Sylvain Fontaine). A five-year-old gelded son of Justice Hall, Decret Justiciale is owned by Danielle Levac of St. Augustin-Mirabel, QC and paid $2.80 to win. The fastest and most competitive of the four finals took place in the sixth race older horse pace as the action started from the start and never faltered until the finish. Out of the starting gate came The Real One and driver Rheo Filion, who made it to the lead but was pressured immediately by Primeride and driver Guy Gagnon, who was determined to get to the front. Those two thus got into a dogfight past the opening quarter mile in a blazing :26.2. Primeride was in the lead but The Real One would not let him pass them by and they continued to battle through the half mile in :55.2. Meanwhile, McKinney and driver Denis St. Pierre was following second-over behind Primeride and third-over was the race favorite and all-age track record holder, Duc Dorleans, who was being driven by Stephane Brosseau. Once the field entered the backstretch the final time, Brosseau moved three-wide with Duc Dorleans and looped the field only they was unable to get past The Real One at the three-quarters in 1:25.2. As the field started down the stretch, The Real One finally began to fade, Duc Dorleans had the lead but could not hold off the late charge by McKinney, who went on to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:55. Duc Dorleans was second and The Real One held game for third place. Trained by Corey Johnson and owned by G. Arthur Slack of Rockwood, Ontario, it was the second straight win and third victory this year for McKinney, a four-year-old gelding by Santana Blue Chip. He paid $7.40 to win. Another slugfest took place in the tenth race final for older pacing mares as Racey Miss and driver Stephane Gendron, despite being parked out first-over from the half mile, still was able to grind it out against pacesetter My Tallia Ideal to win in 1:55. Her time was just two fifths of a second off of the track record for older pacing mares. Lady Valentine (Jonathan Drury) was the first on the lead and they parked My Tallia Ideal to the opening quarter mile in a speedy :26.3. Once settled in, My Tallia Ideal and driver Denis St Pierre were pressured on the outside immediately by Racey Miss and Gendron and they pushed the race to the half in :56.2 and then to the three-quarters in 1:25.2. Coming down the stretch, Racey Miss would not be denied despite the overland journey and went on to win by a half length over My Tallia Ideal with Lady Valentine third. Trained by Marcel Barreau for the Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson, QC, it was first win in seven starts this year for Racey Miss. The four-year-old mare by Shanghai Phil paid $8.80 to win. Ocean Mist Beauty continued her dominance in the older mares trotting ranks, posting her third straight win in the third race $35,000 series final. Driven by Stephane Brosseau, the four-old daughter of Kadabra went after early leader Canbec Kangourou (Jocelyn Gendron) and took command away after the opening quarter mile in :28.4. Then leading the field to the half mile in :58.2, Ocean Mist Beauty was challenged first-over by Uliane Bayama (Denis St. Pierre) but that effort was in vain they could not collar the leader by the three-quarters in 1:28.4. In the stretch drive Ocean Mist Beauty held the field at bay, winning by two open lengths in 1:59.3. Canbec Kangourou was second with La Neuvilloise (Stephane Gendron) third. Trained by Richard Moreau, bred and owned by Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, it was the fourth win this year for Ocean Mist Beauty, who paid just $3.10 to win as the betting favorite. From the Quebec Jockey Club
TORONTO, May 21 - WEG standardbred racing is set to return to Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville for the 51st season of live racing. The 102-day meet will kick off on Thursday, May 22 and live racing will be held five nights a week on Mondays, Tuesdays (except May 27 and October 7) , Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Each race night will have a 7:25 p.m. first race post time. "It's an exciting time of the year," noted driver Jonathan Drury. "Everyone looks forward to the return of Mohawk because that means it's summer time and a full schedule of great stakes events. Other drivers along with fans and customers are going to have a lot of fun this summer." The most anticipated event on the stakes calendar is the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, featuring the finest three-year-old pacers, set for Saturday, June 14. The evening will offer a special post time of 6:45 p.m. Stakes action begins immediately at Mohawk, with the SBOA Stakes eliminations for three-year-old filly pacer and trotters featured on the initial Saturday card, and continues almost non-stop until fall. Major stakes engagements include the Maple Leaf Trot (Saturday, July 19), the Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby and Shes A Great Lady Stakes (Saturday, August 30) and the Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage Stakes, Peaceful Way Stakes and William Wellwood Memorial (Saturday, September 13). Ribs will be prominent throughout Pepsi North America Cup weekend as Crabby's BBQ Shack and Silver Bullet BBQ will play host to fans.The popular 'Your First Bet Is On Us' promotion returns. Every customer can register on site for a free $2 bet. Fans can also visit Labatt's Beerville to play great games and win cool prizes. Mohawk Racetrack will also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the town of Campbellville. Mohawk will host fireworks on Friday, June 13 with a special post time of 7:05 p.m. Mohawk fans can also follow the action each night on Twitter. Hosts Mike Hamilton, along with track announcer Ken Middleton and Greg Gangle will offer 'tweets' during each live program aimed at giving customers more race related information. You can follow them on Twitter at the following: Hamilton_WOMoh, Middleton_WOMoh, GGangle_WOMoh. Fans should also be sure to check out Mohawks Trackside Bar for its nightly specials throughout the meet. The specials are listed below: Monday - 1/2 Price Wings Tuesday - Bud & Burger Thursday - Steak N Stella Friday - Thank Cod It's Friday Patrons are also encouraged to engage with Mohawk Racetrack through its Facebook page found by clicking the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mohawk-Racetrack/164889090219676 Also fans can go to www.Twitter.com to sign on to Twitter and then search for the following harness racing stars. Drivers: Aaron Byron - @ByronAaron Chris Christoforou - @CCAstreos Dan Clements - @DanielWClements Jonathan Drury - @JDruryRacing Billy Davis Jr. - @BillyDavisRacin Phil Hudon – @Whodon99 Jonathan Drury - @JDruryRacing Anthony Haughan - @AHaughan Jody Jamieson - @JodyJamRacing James MacDonald - @JamesOMac26 Anthony MacDonald – @HorseRacingAMac Doug McNair – @DMcNair12 Scott Young – @YoungieAnswers Scott Zeron - @ScottZeron Trainers: Carmen Auciello - @CarmenAuciello Nick Boyd - @Ralphie9 Blair Burgess - @Desibesi Casie Coleman - @FastLane111 Danny Girard - @DannyGirard1 Mark Horner - MarkHorner44 Corey Johnson – @SeaJay09 Blake MacIntosh - @BlakeMacRacing Robert McIntosh - @BobMcIntosh52 Jason McGinnis - @JasonMcGinnis21 Anthony Montini - @MontiniRacing Mike Sinclair - @Sinny51 Shawn Steacy - @S_Steacy by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, May 10 - Woodbine Racetrack played host to a pair of stakes events on Saturday evening featuring sophomore pacers. After handing National Debt his first career loss last week, Somewhere In L A proved that effort was no fluke as he captured Saturday's $59,800 final of The Diplomat Series. A pair of Hall of Famers, Steve Condren and Bob McIntosh, teamed up with the pacer to capture the event in 1:51.4. Condren guided the son of Somebeachsomewhere to command before the opening station in :26.1 with Silverhill Shadow (Jody Jamieson) In The Pocket. Heading towards the half, Silverhill Shadow pocket-pulled and cleared to lead past the half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23. Heavily-favoured National Debt, who was rough-gaited and made a break in the early stages, was the first-over attacker around the final turn. Turning for home, Silverhill Shadow put away National Debt, but couldn't fend off a late rally from pocket-sitter Somewhere In L A. Big Surf (Jonathan Drury) finished third. National Debt faded to seventh. Trained and co-owned by McIntosh along with C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings, Somewhere In L A celebrated his biggest payday as his bankroll now sits at $115,792. The bay has crafted a 2-0-1 record from three starts this season.He paid $8.60 as the third choice. The Diplomat Series was for three-year-olds, who were non-winners of $100,000 in 2013. Rock N Roll Xample, driven by James MacDonald, redeemed herself after faltering last week with a 1:51.4 performance to take the $59,200 Princess Series final. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover sat In The Pocket throughout the mile as Bahama Blue (Jody Jamieson) laid down panels of :26.2, :55.3 and 1:24. Turning for home, Rock N Roll Xample angled to the outside and marched past the tempo-setter en route to victory. Take That Hanover (Mike Saftic) came on for second, over Bahama Blue. Trained by Shawn Robinson for owner/breeder Robert Hamather, Rock N Roll Xample celebrated her ninth win of the season as her lifetime earnings increased to $128,690. The talented lass has amassed a 9-3-1 record from 15 starts this season. She paid $5.00 to win. The Princess Series was for three-year-old fillies, who were non-winners of $100,000 in 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Making her 2014 debut, millionairess Voelz Hanover established a new Canadian season's record for distaffers with a 1:50.3 victory in a $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred on Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Leaving from post two as the heavy 1-2 favourite, the Randy Waples-driven Voelz Hanover ($3) led her five foes through fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:23.3. Meanwhile, last year's New York Sire Stakes champion Social Scene (Jonathan Drury) advanced first over from fourth in her own season's debut, but leveled off in the stretch. Voelz Hanover then held off a pocket-pulling D Gs Pesquero and Sylvain Filion by a half-length as they sprinted to the wire. Its No Secret and Phil Hudon finished over four lengths behind in third. To read the rest of the story click here.
TORONTO, May 2 - Undefeated world champion and Dan Patch Award winner, He's Watching, a top contender for this year's $1 million North America Cup on June 14 at Mohawk, made his harness racing seasonal debut Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack in a qualifying session. With regular pilot Jim Morrill, Jr. in the bike, He's Watching was a wrapped-up winner in 1:53.2. Morrill Jr, and the speedy pacer laid parked on the outside at the opening quarter in :29.1, before reaching for command. He's Watching then paced past the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:25, before kicking home in :27.2 to seal the win. "I was very happy with him this morning," trainer and co-owner David Menary said following the qualifier. "That's right about where we wanted to go. I'm going to give him a week off, qualify him once more then make a decision to race in either the (Art) Rooney or Somebeachsomewhere as his first race." The son of American Ideal went undefeated last season in eight starts and set two world records and six track records along with $291,722 in earnings. Just a mere $3,000 yearling purchase, He's Watching is also owned by Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing Trust. He recorded his 1:50 speed badge last season at Vernon Downs. Two more Cup eligibles showcased their talents on Friday morning as Major Trick and Melmerby Beach qualified in race three. Major Trick finished second, timed in 1:54.3, while Melmerby Beach finished fourth, timed in 1:55. Last year's O'Brien Award winner Flanagan Memory returned this morning at the helm of driver Chris Christoforou. The four-year-old son of Kadabra picked up right where he left off last season with an impressive winning effort in 1:57.3. The winner of $447,998 lifetime is owned by trainer Rene Dion and Liette Flanagan. O'Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie made her second qualifying attempt this morning at the Campbellville oval. After making a miscue last week, driver Paul Macdonell had Riveting Rosie on her game this morning as she stopped the timer in 1:59.1 for trainer John Bax. The winner of $468,613 last season is owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Don Allensen, J And T Stable and John Hayes. Casie Coleman sent Lucan Hanover postcard for the first time this season as the winner of over $500,000 last season was a wrapped-up winner in 1:53.2 for driver Jonathan Drury. The son of Western Ideal is owned by West Wins Stable and Christine Calhoun. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, April 26 - West Side Story, driven by Chris Christoforou, stormed home to win the $43,000 final of the Don Mills Series on Saturday evening at Woodbine. After capturing his division in the opening round of the series, the Per Henriksen trainee scored back-to-back wins and his fifth tally of the year. Mego Moss (James MacDonald) was quickly marched to the front well before the opening quarter in a quick :26.4 with post time favourite Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury) sitting In The Pocket. As the talented trotters headed towards the half, Crosbys Clam Bake (Paul Macdonell) was still parked on the outside, but would cross over to the position of command before the half in :55.4. West Side Story was on the outside in the backfield and was able to catch live cover as Hldontghttoyurdrms heading to the outside before three-quarters. Crosbys Clam Bake opened up on his rivals at three-quarters in 1:24, but West Side Story angled off cover at the top of the stretch and used his patented closing kick to wear down Crosbys Clam Bake to win by two and a half lengths. Hldontghttoyurdrms stayed for third. Owned by Steve Organ and Asa Farm, West Side Story celebrated his biggest payday of his career as his bankroll now sits at $140,157. The four-year-old son of Conway Hall enjoyed his 11th career tally and now has a 5-2-0 record from eight starts this season. He paid $8.30 to win. Henriksen confirmed that West Side Story and stablemate Frisky Magic will head to France to compete overseas. Earlier on the card, the undefeated National Debt extended his win streak to seven as he cruised to victory in the lone $20,000 division of The Diplomat Series. Driven by Sylvain Filion, the heavily-favoured son of Allamerican Native led from start-to-finish through panels of :27, :55.4 and 1:24.3, before coasting to victory in 1:52.2 Roget Mach Em (Jack Moiseyev) finished second, with Somewhere In L A (Steve Condren) third. National Debt, who recently entered the Bob Young stable from previous trainer Ron Coyne, is owned by Kelly Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil and J and T Silva Stables LLC. "That's exactly what we wanted to see tonight," Young said following the race. "He went to the lead, got a nice second quarter breather and brushed home strong. He looked well within himself at the wire and we couldn't ask for more." The bay increased his bankroll to $70,750, while returning $3 to his backers. National Debt remains eligible to the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup scheduled for June 14 at Mohawk Racetrack. The Diplomat series is for three-year-olds, who are non-winners of $100,000 in 2013. The second $20,000 leg of the series will take place on Saturday, May 3, with the $50,000 (added) final on Saturday, May 10. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Anthony Macdonald is ready to race, not just in harness racing, but in the political arena as well. With all of the uncertainty that has shadowed the horse racing industry, Anthony is taking this cloud of uncertainty head on in what he hopes can be a wire to wire trip into Queen's Park. Where as a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for Guelph in the Ontario legislative he can stand up for what is needed in the Guelph region. "For me it's all about perception and how we market the product and tell the story of the product" says Anthony on what should be the focal point to earn back public trust. "We don't do any of that right now and until we change our own perceptions of the industry how can we possibly change the perception of the general public. "People are in a bad place right now in Ontario racing... we are being given is a superficial fix." Anthony explains, "We do not have a business plan in place for the horse racing industry in Ontario. We all learned the hard way. Two years ago, one day before the (Liberal Government) pulled the plug on the Slots program you wouldn't have heard me talking about this. I was an average horsemen that thought that if we were getting 'x' amount of dollars from the Government we should race for 'x' amount of dollars. There shouldn't be any sharing of the expenses with the race track operator, there shouldn't be any infrastructure put in place for marketing and that is where we all lost sight of what was going on." Anthony is upfront in admitting he didn't realize what he had in horse racing until the Government pulled the rug from under the horsemen's feet. "Until you lose it, it's hard to realize what potential speed bumps will be along the way. I think we learned a hard lesson. "If you can't put forth a business plan for yourself, you certainly can't put forth a business plan for the Government." Anthony says. The biggest take away is the horse racing industry and any future Government involvement must ensure both sides are working together with open communication. From the horse racing industry that includes both track operators and the horsemen themselves. "There are no politicians that are horse-people. I look around Queen's Park and there's nobody I can walk up to and have a lot in common with." Anthony says. "Yes there are intense people there and others who take their job very seriously but at the end of the day I feel like an outsider and that can be a good or bad thing. A lot of people respect that I don't have a political background and I have no wants to be a career politician. I am doing this because I feel I was put in a position to be able to help and I don't think I would respect myself if I didn't help." There's no doubt the horsemen want to continue doing what they love while earning a decent living and the same goes for the track operators. The fundamental question is where the initial investment comes from and how do future earnings be put to work to ensure longevity for the horse racing industry. "The horsemen need to have a business plan as do the race track operators need a business plan; you're not going to get anybody to invest in anything if you do not have a business plan." Anthony goes on to say, "If I am going to convince you to buy a horse, I have to explain to you why the horse is worth the money, where we are going to race, how we are going to make money and worst case scenario, what is the exit plan. How are we going to get your money back if things go bad?" "We (the horsemen) were supposed to have a plan for the slot money and if we did, we didn't follow it. I am where I am right now and in all honesty I will die a happy man if my last breath was drawn the same day I raced horses. Everybody in this industry loves what they do." It's all about the future and how money generated will continue to be reinvested for the next generation of horsemen to be successful and so forth. Anthony makes it clear if an action plan isn't put into place soon, there will not be another generation of horsemen and it's for this primary purpose Anthony wants to get involved and ensure there will be more guys like Scott Zeron, Jody Jamieson and Paul Macdonell. In a way without even knowing it, that is what Anthony has been doing all along before entering the political arena. Many drivers and trainers can attest to working for Anthony and learning so much when it comes to handling horses which has contributed to their current success. Young top drivers like Jonathan Drury, Scott Zeron and James MacDonald have worked with Anthony and his stable. "It wasn't my barn it was all of us, it was our barn. Scott Zeron came around and he was starting to train horses and had fun going with the babies and us on Saturday mornings. A lot of James shaping didn't come from me, it came from a guy who helped me run the stable, Jamie Smith. We worked hard but we had fun doing it" Anthony says. As much as Anthony wants to help is fellow horsemen, he would prefer to help out everyone in the province of Ontario. Why make one industry strong when there is the possibility to strengthen them all? "It doesn't matter if you're a farmer, if you race horses or you're in manufacturing or an electrician, the fact is the (current) Government has crushed everyone." Anthony says in frustration. "I am just like everyone else, sick and tired of the Government losing our money and no one is being held accountable." "I really had my eyes open being around Tim Hudak, (who is the leader of the provincial PC party and opposition at Queen's Park) and listening to him talk and understanding exactly the different financial roles different sectors play in this province and in this country." Anthony continues, "The PC party wants what is best for everybody but they understand that people have to work for it and it's not just given to you." Anthony reached his level of success in harness racing due to hard work and strong motivation. As Anthony put it, he came into the sport "broke" and had to clean stalls to earn his keep. He didn't have anyone hand him anything and it's due to his appreciation for hard work that Anthony feels he would be a great voice for anyone who started at the bottom. "Some people expect a lot out of nothing and that's not how I was brought up." Anthony states. "When you make some money it's important to put it away and it's important to understand that... that's what we did in this industry, we got this money and watched it disappear. I remember my grandfather (James MacDonald) telling me it doesn't matter what you make, it's what you keep." Anthony believes the plan moving forward for the horse industry must include revenue sharing. "You can't justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars of public money on racing horses when there is children sick and dying in the province. It's just not going to work and it's a band aid the Liberals are going to put on this industry because they were once again too stubborn and ignorant to go back on what they knew that the slots at the racetracks program was the proper program. All they had to do was fix the inadequacies in it. The fact was that there wasn't enough transparency and the fact there wasn't enough accountability." Given the current provincial deficit is around $11,000,000,000 Anthony suggests instead of the horsemen getting ten percent of the slot revenue, they take a lower but fair and reasonable percentage.. "The Liberals wanted to ruin the program so they could put up 29 casinos in Ontario and they didn't want competition from a bunch of farmers and that's how they saw it." Anthony adds "that's how the casino operators saw us as, an unnecessary distraction." "Do you think if the people of this industry were unionized, like the auto workers were that you would ever see cuts like this? No not at all. All they did was make us look bad over one week.... It was either going to be horse racing or healthcare. Right there that phrase doomed us." Anthony says. It was an easy sell and an easy kill according to Anthony and with the current offer the Liberals have proposed to the horse racing industry, Anthony believes the Liberals are naive if they think it is going to work. "The Liberal party is doomed for a number of reasons. When the Auditor General's OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) report comes out on Monday it will be the final nail in their coffin for Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal party." What the details of the Auditor General's special report on the OLG's Modernization Plan will entail one can only imagine, but expect Anthony to be on top of it and how any details released will further impact the horse racing industry. The Auditor General's special report on the OLG's Modernization Plan will be tabled in the Legislature at approximately 1 p.m. on Monday, April 28, 2014. Office of the Auditor General of Ontario - Welcome www.auditor.on.ca/en/default.htm By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova
TORONTO, April 19 - Mego Moss, driven by James MacDonald, enjoyed a beautiful trip en route to a career-best clocking of 1:52.4 in Saturday's lone $18,000 division of the Don Mills Series at Woodbine. Mego Moss quickly made his way to the front from post three well before the opening quarter in :27.3 with Its Payday Friday (Mario Baillargeon) and even-money favourite Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury) still parked on the outside. MacDonald elected to allow Its Payday Friday to command well before the half in :56.1, but Hldontghttoyurdrms was still parked on the outside. The pair would match strides past three-quarters in 1:24.1 with Mego Moss enjoying a ground-saving trip through speedy fractions. Down the stretch, MacDonald angled his charge three-wide and the 11-time winner gobbled up racetrack to win by one length. Crosbys Clam Bake (Paul Macdonell) came from behind to finish second, with Flight Of The Kiwi (Chris Christoforou) third. Its Payday Friday settled for fourth, with Hldontghttoyurdrms fifth. Trained by Carmen Auciello for owners Robert Watson, Mike Bartram and Armando Cappuccitti, Mego Moss increased his lifetime earnings to $128,845. The five-year-old gelded son of Amigo Hall has amassed a 4-1-2 record from 12 starts this season. He paid $7.20 to win. Last week's winner, West Side Story, elected to skip this week's second leg in order to prepare for the $43,000 final which goes Saturday, April 26. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, April 17 - More harness racing stakes action took place Thursday evening at Woodbine Racetrack as sophomore trotting fillies were showcased in a pair of Celias Counsel Trotting Series divisions. Tosca and Just Call Me Lady kicked off the series opener with victories in their respective $15,000 divisions. With heavily-favoured Flexible Woman (Steve Byron) making a miscue in the first division, Tosca and driver/trainer Per Henriksen made the most of her first start of the season. K D Bella (Mike Saftic) was the tempo-setter for most of the mile through panels of :27, :57 and 1:27.4. Around the final turn, Serendipitous (Jody Jamieson) began the first-over attack giving cover to Tosca. Henriksen angled his charge three-wide at three-quarters and wore down K D Bella in deep stretch to win by three quarters of a length in 1:56.4. Wings Of Ballykeel (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Tosca, a daughter of Muscle Mass, is owned by Asa Farm and Steve Organ. The trotting lass increased her bankroll to $35,400 with the win. She paid $16.50 to win. One race later, Just Call Me Lady posted the minor upset in 1:57.2 at odds of 3-1. In doing so, driver Trevor Ritchie enjoyed his first win of the season since arriving back in Ontario after wintering in Florida. Do The Wheelhouse (Jody Jamieson) was the first leader past the opening station in :27.1. As the field of 10 marched towards the half, Chippentail (Paul Macdonell) pulled out from third and marched to the front past the mid-way point in :58.2. Fashion Goddess (Jonathan Drury) was next to pull on the right line heading towards three-quarters with Just Call Me Lady following the speed. As the field trotted past three-quarters in 1:28.1, Just Call Me Lady was well spotted sitting second-over and the talented filly marched past her rivals down the stretch en route to victory. Post time favourite Miss Everything (Sylvain Filion) came from behind to finish second, with Do The Wheelhouse claiming third prize. Trainer Blake Macintosh co-owns the youngster with Anne Campbell and Stephen Waldman. Just Call Me Lady increased her lifetime earnings to $35,549 with the victory The daughter of Angus Hall paid $8.10 to win. Greg Gangle
TORONTO, April 12 - West Side Story, driven by Chris Christoforou, provided the 6-1 upset in the lone $18,000 division in the opening round of the Don Mills Series, Saturday at Woodbine. The talented son of Conway Hall got under the wire in 1:54, one length ahead of 1/9 favourite Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury). Christoforou elected to use off-the-pace tactics with West Side Story as he landed fourth in the early stages as Hldontghttoyurdrms was the leader at the opening station in :27.2. Hldontghttoyurdrms continued to lead his 10 rivals past the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:25.3. Around the final turn, Christoforou angled West Side Story off the pylons and was within striking distance of the tempo-setter at the top of the stretch. West Side Story continued to gain on the publics choice and marched past Hldontghttoyurdrms in deep stretch en route to his tenth career score. Mego Moss (Jody Jamieson) finished third.. Trained by Per Henriksen for Asa Farm and Steve Organ, West Side Story increased his bankroll to $118,657. The son of Conway Hall has crafted a 3-3-0 record from seven starts this season. He paid $15.30 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, April 12 - Hldontghttoyurdrms, who recently captured the Horse And Groom final at The Meadowlands late last month, will headline the opening round of the Don Mills Series Saturday evening at Woodbine Racetrack. The talented son of Muscles Yankee will begin from post six in the lone division in race nine for driver Jonathan Drury and trainer Corey Johnson. A 15-time winner in his career, Hldontghttoyurdrms has certainly made his mark on the WEG Circuit this season as the five-year-old has amassed a 5-2-0 record from nine starts, including four straight wins at the Preferred level. "He definitely looks like one of the better ones in the series," said Drury. "He's had a terrific season so far and is coming into the race in top form. I can't say enough good things about him. He makes my job look easy." After finishing fourth and second in the preliminary legs of the Horse And Groom Series, Hldontghttoyurdrms showed his true colours as he led gate-to-wire to capture the rich $60,600 final by five lengths in 1:53.4. "He wasn't himself in the first leg and wasn't trotting the best in the second round, but in the final he was on his game," Drury said. "Corey did a great job getting him right and I knew at the quarter he was back to his old self. He grabbed a hold of me like he usually does and was all business." Hldontghttoyurdrms then shipped home following the final and was entered to race at Woodbine the following Thursday in the $34,000 Preferred Trot event. Drury elected to use the same tactics with Hldontghttoyurdrms, but the result was different as the bay finished second, behind Amigo De Grande. "You can't take anything away from his effort the other night," said the young reinsman. "He was parked out past the three-eights, cleared, faced pressure right away and was still around at the wire. He also shipped home from The Meadowlands on Sunday and raced Thursday, so I'm sure that took a little out of him as well." Drury was quick to mention the attributes of the career winner of $233,015, who is owned by Frank and Saverio Spagnolo along with Frank Schimizzi. "He's such a handy horse to drive," said Drury, a resident of Rockwood. "He's got terrific gate-speed and then he'll come right back to you in the second quarter. I'm not sure where his bottom is, but he's going to go a big trip one day. I think he's better off a helmet and if solid fractions are put up, I'm not sure how fast he can go." Drury is also on pace for a career year with 61 victories to his credit along with over $600,000 in purse earnings. "It's certainly been a lot of fun this season," noted the 25-year-old pilot. "Anytime you get power it certainly helps your confidence and driving horses like Hldontghttoyurdrms and for Corey (Johnson), good things usually happen. Hopefully it continues." The Don Mills is for four and five-year-olds who are non-winners of $150,000 as of December 31, 2013. The lone $18,000 division of the Don Mills will line up as follows: 1. Its Payday Friday 2. West Side Story 3. Tough Mac 4. Mego Moss 5. Photo Mass 6. Hldontghttoyurdrms 7. Enough About You 8. Crosbys Clam Bake 9. Sixth Man 10. Our Mojo 11. Quit Smoking Now by Greg Gangle, for WEG