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Meredith Noble had attended harness racing at the Greene County Fairgrounds in her hometown of Xenia, Ohio, for years, but can never recall a sound at the racetrack there like she heard on Aug. 5, 2015. It was the roar of the crowd. And it was loud. And it was for her. The 28-year-old Noble, driving in the third race of her newly-started career, was on her way to a 4-1/4 length win with Reckoning Day in an Ohio Ladies Pace Series event at the fairgrounds. The race was contested over a track named after her late father, Sam "Chip" Noble III, a member of the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame who had passed away in January 2014, and Meredith was wearing her father's helmet and colors. In addition, Reckoning Day was trained by her older brother, Dan, for local owner Christi Pokornowski. "When I'm on the track I'm so zoned into what I'm doing and what's going on in that moment I don't hear anybody else," Meredith said. "But when I came down that stretch and I got right before the grandstand, I could hear that entire crowd cheering. I've never heard a crowd cheer like that. I don't know if it was because it was a ladies race or if it was because it was my dad's home track and I was wearing his colors, but I can't even begin to describe how good of a feeling that was. It was just absolutely amazing. "That was also very emotional; definitely bittersweet. But it was a wonderful win. Coming here and being at my home track where I spent so much time, whether I was just watching dad or helping out, I can't explain how much that meant to me." Noble finished last year with four wins in eight drives, all in the Ohio Ladies Pace Series. She got her first career driving triumph three days prior to her win at Xenia, guiding April Roach's Monibags Bluegrass to victory at the Preble County Fair in Eaton. Then a week ago she added to her resume by getting her first win as a trainer, as brother Dan drove Addys Way to victory in the Fillies & Mares Open at Miami Valley Raceway. "I do it for the love of it, honestly," said Noble, who works as a dental assistant Mondays through Thursdays and spends much of her remaining free time working with her brother and a stable of 18 horses. "It's a little bit of a transition since dad only messed with 2- and 3-year-olds. Dan's given me the chance to mess with some of the older horses as well. I do like seeing the horses develop, and then once they're developed I like helping them reach their potential, make them the best they can be. Even with some of the older horses there are still things inside of them that you can bring out that maybe somebody else hasn't yet." Noble was always around harness racing growing up, helping out here and there, but her focus through her teenage years was on riding and show horses. About four years ago, she began helping her father more and more and soon she was helping train horses with her father and brother. "I did that before we found out dad had cancer," Noble said. "I had a lot of fun. I decided I wanted to give this a try. I always wanted to have a race with him and Dan, but we weren't fortunate enough for that. I did training miles with the two of them. I will always have that memory. I will always have the memory of just the smile on my dad's face of pure joy with the three of us being out there together on the track. I carry that with me." Following the passing of her father, Noble received encouraging words from Dan --- who himself has driven more than 4,200 winners and was the national dash champion in 2011 --- about continuing on a path to becoming a licensed driver and trainer. "Dan came to me and said I'd worked really hard and I needed to do this," Noble said. "He said that he saw it and dad saw it, that I had the talent to do this. He said he would keep working with me. "I've been working with him on my days off. He keeps reminding me of things. It's nice to have that relationship and we can reminisce and keep dad alive. He can teach me things that I didn't get to learn from dad that he got to learn. I'm just really glad that I have him. It's given us the opportunity to get closer as brother and sister." Noble has two horses racing Friday night at Miami Valley, Addys Way in the Fillies & Mares Open Handicap and E Ticket Ride in a condition/claimer. Dan Noble, who is fifth in wins at Miami Valley but only three victories behind co-leaders Trace Tetrick and Tyler Smith, will drive both horses and owns E Ticket Ride. Addys Way is owned by Perkins Racing Stable. Although Noble is fully enjoying her time with the horses, she is not ready to make training and driving a fulltime career. She plans to continue working as a dental assistant for the foreseeable future. "I work with some great people and for some great people," Noble said. "It's truly a team effort. I get to see something different every day. It's kind of like coming in and working with the horses. I definitely have a passion for both. "I'm pleased with how the horses are doing. I have no complaints. As long as they stay sound and everybody stays safe, I'm happy. I love the business, I love the horses, and I loved having that opportunity to learn from my dad." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications A division of the U.S. Trotting Association

Mustang Art doesn't do sick days. OK, that is a slight exaggeration. Mustang Art has missed a race here or there because of sickness. But what Mustang Art has never missed since beginning his harness racing career in January 2010 is a month without racing. That's right. The 9-year-old male pacer has started at least one race in 74 consecutive months. "It's like I always say," trainer Jim McGuire said with a laugh, "he kind of likes his job I guess." Mustang Art has won 42 of 238 career races, hit the board a total of 123 times, and earned $697,522. The gelding was claimed by his current connections --- owners Max Walton and Gregory Papaleo, both from Delaware, and Pennsylvania-based trainer McGuire --- for $15,000 in August 2011. So far this year, Mustang Art has won three of five Delaware Special Handicap starts at Dover Downs and earned $43,950. On Monday, he faces seven rivals in the $30,000 Open Preferred Handicap. Sean Bier will drive Mustang Art, leaving from post five. "I've been in the business for quite some time and I've never had a horse that's so tough," the 72-year-old Walton said. "He's unbelievable. He's a rare horse. I never dreamed I'd have a horse like him. "He's given me a lot of great memories. He's meant a lot to me." Mustang Art is a son of stallion Artiscape out of the mare Paula Seelster, who earned nearly 90 percent of her lifetime $583,613 in purses after the age of 4. She retired following her 8-year-old season in 2002. Mustang Art's half-brother Wazzup Wazzup, an 8-year-old gelding, has earned $403,437 in his career and is 1-for-1 this season in Canada. Unraced at age 2, Mustang Art won his career debut on Jan. 24, 2010 at Woodbine Racetrack. He continued racing in Canada until July 2011. A month after his arrival in the U.S., he was claimed by McGuire at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "There were two claims on him the night I got him," McGuire said. "I got lucky there. "I was looking for something and he caught my eye. I looked him over and decided to take a shot. When he turned 5, he started getting better and better. But he showed high speed before then. His mother was a pretty good mare and (Mustang Art) had a couple brothers that were decent racehorses also. I like to look at the dams and what they produce." Mustang Art has made at least 41 starts in each of the past four years, competing primarily at Dover Downs and Pocono, and set his career mark of 1:48.3 in 2013 at Pocono. According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Information and Research Department, tens of thousands of horses have raced in the past 25 years but only 222 have made 40-plus starts in at least four consecutive years. "He's quite an athlete; he's very light on his feet," McGuire said. "He takes pretty good care of himself. He doesn't require a lot of work. Of course with 40-some starts every year he keeps himself pretty tight. He likes to go out in the paddock for a couple hours every day and he jogs a little bit. He seems to be happy doing that. "He's real nice to be around. He doesn't do anything wrong. A kid could take care of him." Mustang Art's three wins this season have come at odds of 33-1, 13-1 and 16-1. "That's been amazing," McGuire said, laughing. "Everybody is talking about that now. And he had three different drivers (Brett Miller, Marcus Miller, and Bier) in those three wins. It seems like he knows what he's doing on his own." The plan for this year is for Mustang Art to continue his workmanlike routine through the meets at Dover and Pocono, with perhaps occasional trips to Harrah's Philadelphia. "He may get a short break in between (Dover and Pocono) but he usually stays pretty good," McGuire said. "I've had some decent horses over the years, but he's been the best one I've ever had. He's been a pleasure." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Clive Cohen and Frances Lund were named winners of the 2015 George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography while the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley was named the recipient of the 2015 John Hervey Award for excellence in broadcasting, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Friday. Winners in the John Hervey Awards categories for excellence in writing will be announced Monday. Cohen's photograph, "Racing Into the Fog," won the Smallsreed Award in the racing/action category. The photograph was taken on April 9, 2015 at Mohawk Racetrack and appeared on the WEG Photo's Facebook page. Lund's photograph, "Downpour," won the Smallsreed Award in the feature category. The photograph was taken Aug. 22, 2015 during the post parade for the Gold Cup and Saucer at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park on Prince Edward Island. The race was postponed for a day because of the heavy rain. Lund's photograph appeared in Atlantic Post Calls on Sept. 11, 2015. Receiving honorable mention in the racing/action category were Mark Hall and Nadina Ironia. Hall's photograph of action at the Hancock County Fair in Ohio appeared on the August 2015 cover of "Hoof Beats" magazine. Ironia's photograph of harness racing on the turf in Musselburgh, Scotland, appeared in the December 2015 issue of "Hoof Beats." Honorable mention in the feature category was awarded to Michael Lisa and Ann MacNeill. Lisa's photograph, a close-up of a harnessed horse in the rain at the Meadowlands, appeared on Harnesslink.com on Jan. 6, 2015. MacNeill's photograph of a horse jogging on a beach on Prince Edward Island appeared in the Oct. 23, 2015 issue of Harness Racing Weekend Preview. Judges for the photography categories were racetrack and newspaper photographer Bill Denver, multiple Eclipse Award-winning photographer Barbara Livingston, and former harness racing groom and longtime newspaper/magazine photographer Phil McAuliffe. The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley won the Hervey Award for broadcasting with its "On the Road with Steve Hartman" segment "Underdog Horse," which aired Oct. 23, 2015. The story featured 11-year-old Breana Carsey and her 2-year-old Ohio Sire Stakes champion MJB Got Faith. Working on the segment were Steve Capus, executive producer; Steve Hartman, correspondent; Kim Godwin, senior broadcast producer; Megan Kelty, producer; and Bob Caccamise, camera. Receiving honorable mention in the broadcasting division was the CBS Sports Network's Hambletonian Day feature on filly trotter Mission Brief and trainer Ron Burke. The segment aired on Aug. 8 during CBS Sports Network's coverage of the Hambletonian. Mike Trager was executive producer and Eric M. Talent was producer. The broadcasting category was judged by Amy J. Zimmerman, the director of broadcasting at Santa Anita Park and a multiple Eclipse and Emmy winning producer. To watch the CBS Evening News feature, click here or watch below. View More: On The Road News|Live News|More News Videos .cbs-link {color:#4B5054;text-decoration:none; font: normal 12px Arial;}.cbs-link:hover {color:#A7COFF;text-decoration:none; font: normal 12px Arial;}.cbs-pipe {color:#303435;padding: 0 2px;}.cbs-resources {height:24px; background-color:#000; padding: 0 0 0 8px; width: 612px;}.cbs-more {font: normal 12px Arial; color: #4B5054; padding-right:2px;}   Award winners will be recognized during the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet at Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on March 6. Information on tickets and accommodations for the event can be found at www.ushwa.org. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications

After taking last winter off, harness racing driver Anthony Napolitano decided to spend this winter racing at Yonkers and the Meadowlands. He is more than happy with the decision, and hopes it leads to more opportunities. Napolitano is the leading driver at the Meadowlands so far this year, with 11 wins in 64 starts. He also has raced three Thursdays at Yonkers, where he has picked up three victories in 12 starts. His combined winning percentage at the two ovals is a solid 18.4 percent. "Last winter I took off and it was so boring," Napolitano said. "I thought I would really like it, but after a couple months having off you can't wait to get back to work. I appreciate it a lot more. Everything seems to be working out." In previous years, the 34-year-old Napolitano spent winters competing at Pompano Park in Florida. Napolitano now lives in northeast Pennsylvania and drives regularly at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, which is closed for live racing until March 19. Shuttering his farm and heading to Florida for the winter was no longer a practical option. "Yonkers and the Meadowlands are close enough to me for me to race over the winter instead of going back to Florida," Napolitano said. "I like to go to visit family (in Florida) but for work it's tough because you have to move everything down there. I knew after buying my farm that over the years I would look to the Meadowlands and Yonkers in the winter. I'm not a fan of the cold, but I knew I had to make something happen." Last year Napolitano ranked third in wins at Pocono, behind older brother George Napolitano Jr. and Simon Allard. For the season, Anthony Napolitano won a total of 188 races and $2.44 million in purses, his best totals since 2009 when he won 295 times (with more than half the victories coming at Pompano Park) and $2.52 million. "I had a good year at Pocono and guys were asking me if I was going (to the Meadowlands)," Napolitano said. "I decided to go opening night and I ended up doing OK. I'm just going to enjoy it now." Napolitano followed his father and brother into harness racing, although he also has a passion for racing cars and still can be sometimes found at a dragstrip located near his farm. Napolitano's brother, George, won a track-record 407 races at Pocono in 2015 and captured his ninth title for wins at the oval. George has won 7,506 races in his career and was the national leader in victories in 2010. He finished second to Aaron Merriman last year, with 832, but established a personal best with $8.56 million in purses. "We're very close off the track, but very competitive on the track," Anthony Napolitano said of his relationship with George. "He's really competitive. Sometimes we hurt each other's feelings on the track, but off the track it's like nothing ever happened. We keep it a business. We respect each other. We're blood brothers for life so you've got to leave it on the track. "That goes for any of the drivers. We try to do as good as we can. Things happen out there and you can't take it personally." Anthony Napolitano has won 2,021 races in his career, notching triumph No. 2,000 on Dec. 12 at the Meadowlands. "It's not great in a lot of people's eyes --- a lot of drivers have a lot of career wins --- but I started at Pompano and it was very tough there because there were two or three guys that won all the races so I had to dig deep. At the tracks I've been at, I've had very tough (driver) colonies to deal with. I'm happy to have 2,000 wins and I'm looking for many more. I feel that I'm getting better with age and I learn something new every night." Napolitano's maturation as a driver includes being more patient on the racetrack. "Experience really shows," Napolitano said. "I had lots of times where I thought I should pull first over and it was no good. I've been in those situations so many times over the years that now instead of taking that chance and over-driving, I'm more patient and I sit in. Most times it is the best move, especially on a big track like the Meadowlands. Sometimes I've gotten myself beaten by over-driving because that stretch is very long. I've had luck with not being too aggressive and slipping through late. "It's very hard out there; people don't understand. One split second a guy is on top of you making a move and you've missed your chance. There's a lot going on in each and every race. I know you're only as good as your last drive, but I've learned to keep my composure and keep grinding away. I know every night isn't going to be a good night. I used to take it home with me, but now I leave it on the track and keep my focus; just take a step back and regroup." Napolitano hopes a strong winter will help him gain the faith of more trainers and owners in the future. "I just want to show people that if I have a little power I can compete too," Napolitano said. "I'm just happy that people are seeing that I'm a late-bloomer and I am getting better at what I do as I mature. Hopefully people will see I can drive a young horse and I'll get lucky and get a decent horse to drive in some of the stakes races. "But I just feel blessed to have a career like this. I'm very thankful. I couldn't be happier." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- There might be some debate about the origin of his name, but there is no arguing that Viewlander enjoys the brisk days of winter. An 8-year-old male trotter --- who didn’t make his harness racing career debut until November of his 4-year-old season --- Viewlander is 3-for-3 this year at Ohio’s Northfield Park and approaching $100,000 in lifetime purses. Bred and owned by Michael Patalan and trained by Patalan’s son, Eric, the gelded Viewlander has won 21 of 90 career races, but enjoyed much of his success during the months of December, January, and February. Going back to December 2014, Viewlander has raced 15 times during those months and produced 10 victories. Viewlander’s most recent win came on Jan. 18 by two lengths in the Open Handicap at Northfield’s half-mile oval. His next start is Monday in the Open Handicap at Northfield, where he will leave from post eight with driver Aaron Merriman and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line behind S J Better Days, at 7-2. “If you look at his races, almost everybody is on Lasix but him,” Michael Patalan said. “That to me is a real special horse. You would think in the wintertime he wouldn’t be breathing as good, but he seems to thrive in the winter months. Last year he got hot about this time. We gave him the summer months off and he just enjoyed the sun and the grass and then we brought him back and he seems to be getting better with every start. “And I think he kind of likes the fact he can push horses around on the small tracks (like Northfield). I told my son after last week that Viewlander probably thinks he’s the best horse in the world right now.” Viewlander was unraced at ages 2 and 3, but Patalan liked the trotter from the beginning. “Eric doesn’t push them as 2-year-olds,” Patalan said. “If he can get them racing and sell them as 3- and 4-year-olds, we’re sort of happy to do that. But Viewlander was spectacular from birth. He’s just a nice horse. He eats well, loads well, ships well, and doesn’t need a veterinarian. What more could you ask for. “He gets turned out all the time. He’s got a couple of girlfriends in the field that he loves to yell at, even though he’s a gelding. We’re having a good time with him. When he retires, we’ll keep him as a fun horse in the field for the grandkids to play with. When you make this kind of money with a horse, we’re not a big stable or big breeders, that’s a lot of money for a breeder like us to make and it keeps the farm going for a while. So when he’s finished we’ll let the kids enjoy him.” Patalan got his start in harness racing in 1969 while living in the suburbs of Cleveland. He was an engineer for Ford and would go to the races with co-workers, but ventured into ownership after becoming friends with Burton “Bud” Jenne, who had a farm nearby. “I drove by his farm for like five months and all of a sudden one day my car turned in the driveway,” Patalan said with a laugh. “Six months later, we had a yearling.” Patalan now lives in Michigan, where he and his wife Christine have a farm and have bred more than 100 horses over the years. Patalan also has driven and trained horses during his career in harness racing. Viewlander, by the stallion Coventry, is the only offspring of Patalan’s Tagliabue mare Tagliaview --- at least for now. The 73-year-old Patalan has bred fewer horses in recent years as opportunities in Michigan diminished. But Viewlander’s success led Patalan to breed Tagliaview in 2015 to stallion Cash Hall, who is the fastest trotter in harness racing on a half-mile racetrack, with a time-trial mark of 1:51.1. “I thought that was really kind of cool,” Patalan said. “Viewlander has got a great conformation. He’s a big horse who gets around a half-mile track extremely well. With Cash Hall’s record, I just thought this was really something special. “Everybody always asks where Viewlander’s brothers and sisters are, and now I tell them one is coming.” As for the trotter’s name, Patalan recalls it being a combination of Tagliaview and Verlander --- the star pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Others disagree, saying it was a combination of Tagliaview and the movie Zoolander. The Patalans have often named horses with references to movies or characters from movies. “We probably had a bottle of wine when we named him, one of those things,” Patalan said, laughing. “I don’t think we’re ever going to resolve it.” Patalan said Eric, who is assisted by his wife Cathy in running the training stable, has received calls inquiring whether Viewlander is for sale. Patalan said no. “We couldn’t get enough money for him to replace the fun we’re having with him,” Patalan said. “As good a care that Eric takes of horses, I think he’s got a career that’ll go a long time.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Harness racing driver Lucas Wallin was prepared to do a little traveling, but instead of heading off on a vacation, as planned, he ended up fulfilling a dream. Wallin was set for a two-week holiday in Spain when he received an offer to work in the U.S. as an assistant to trainer Ake Svanstedt, who had recently moved his harness racing stable from Sweden to the States. Wallin, who is also from Sweden, did not require convincing to change his itinerary. "I had a ticket to Spain, but I had to cancel it because they wanted me over here so fast," Wallin said, adding with a laugh, "My mother wasn't so happy, but now she is happy. "When you have a chance to work for Ake, it was easy," he continued. "I don't think people over here know how big he was over in Sweden. He was dominating the sport. And I think the American harness racing is the best in the world, so when I got the chance to come over, it was an easy decision." That was a year and a half ago. The now 23-year-old Wallin, who grew up following his uncle, trainer Joakim Wallin, to tracks in Sweden and watching racing from the Meadowlands, still cannot believe his good fortune. "Sometimes I have to pinch myself," he said. "It's the dream." Part of the dream includes driving. Wallin made his U.S. debut last season, winning 18 of 78 races and $192,826 in purses. He got his first victory in April with Oh My Darlin at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and on Dec. 18 he picked up his first triumph at the Meadowlands, with Madhatter Bluechip. All totaled, he drove winners at seven different racetracks on the East Coast. "It was very nice to win the first race in America, but the win (at the Meadowlands) was something really, really special," Wallin said. "When I was younger I always watched the races from the Meadowlands. That's pretty cool. It was a lot of feelings inside me." Wallin was 8 years old when he started driving ponies in Sweden. Several years later, he began helping with his uncle's stable of racehorses. "He is a very good trainer," Wallin said. "He is a good horseman. I learned very much from him." Wallin was alerted to the opportunity in the U.S. with Svanstedt by childhood friend Oskar Florhed, who had already moved to the States. Soon thereafter, Wallin was contacted by Svanstedt assistant Bjorn "Bernie" Noren about working for the stable. During the winter, Noren and Wallin are responsible for Svanstedt's horses in New Jersey, which total 30, while the remainder of the stable's horses are in Florida to prepare for this season. Wallin prefers to stay north so he can get more opportunities to drive. And although he enjoys driving, he has no plans to become a catch-driver. "My goal is to be a trainer and driver," Wallin said. "And I think it is important to drive now so people see my name. The most important thing in this business is to have contacts and owners that trust you. People have to see me on the racetrack and see my name. "I'm very happy for all the races I can drive because you feel you learn so much more and more. It's just a dream to drive races against all these great drivers." Drives he enjoys thanks to a detour. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Freehold, NJ --- Scott Blackler had a pretty good day on the golf course one recent fall afternoon and it had nothing to do with the way he played. Blackler, a harness racing trainer based in Middletown, N.Y., went out to shoot a round with a friend and ended up with a horse. That horse --- the now 4-year-old pacer Unix Hanover --- has won five of eight races since joining Blackler’s stable and is being pointed toward March’s Sagamore Hill Series at Yonkers Raceway. It all started with a phone call from Blackler’s friend Marc Reynolds, a horse agent from Maine, as Blackler was getting ready to tee off. Reynolds told Blackler, a Maine native, that a horse in Ontario named Unix Hanover was available, but Reynolds needed to know whether Blackler wanted the horse within an hour. Blackler quickly contacted owner Bill Ethier and told him about the opportunity. Ethier watched a replay of one of the horse’s races and liked the breeding and gave the go ahead for the purchase. “I’ve always liked horses that can work their way up the (conditions) ladder at Yonkers,” Blackler said, referring to Unix Hanover having only two wins and $10,572 on his card at the time of the Oct. 9 sale. “It’s hard to find those horses. I trust (Reynolds) quite a bit. He told me he was a clean-legged horse; there was nothing wrong with him. Murray Brethour had the horse in Canada and he likes to turn over anything turning (age) 4. It worked out for us.” Unix Hanover is a son of stallion Yankee Cruiser out of the Western Hanover mare Up Front Rose. Unix Hanover sold for $40,000 as a yearling and is a half-brother to Union Man Hanover, who won the 2011 New York Sire Stakes Fall Harvest championship at Yonkers. “(Ethier) always wanted a Yankee Cruiser (offspring) and he loves Western Hanover,” Blackler said. “He decided to jump right in on it. “The first time I jogged the horse I couldn’t believe it. He’s a good-looking horse and he’s a pleasure on the track. He always feels good, in fact he acts like a colt still. He’s not that difficult to take care of, really. He jogs, he trains, and we go to the races.” Unix Hanover has made all eight of his starts for his new connections at Yonkers’ half-mile oval. He finished seventh from post eight in his debut for his new barn, but has finished worse than second only once since then. “We didn’t really change much on him,” Blackler said. “He’s drawn good and everything has just worked out. He gets around a half so well, which is why we haven’t taken him to the Meadowlands. We have him lined up for the Sagamore. We’ll see what happens.” Blackler, who has 12 horses at Mark Ford’s training center in upstate New York, hopes to also send Secret Delight and another recent acquisition, Santanna Star, to the Sagamore Hill Series. Of that group, Unix Hanover is the only one to have raced so far this season --- winning in 1:57 on Jan. 12. “He’s talented,” Blackler said. “Wherever it takes him, it takes him. I don’t know what he could be. Could he be a 4-year-old open horse, could he be the Sagamore champion, I don’t know. But he’s tough when he gets to the front. He doesn’t let horses go by him when he gets to the front.” The 77-year-old Ethier, who lives in Delaware and owns Unix Hanover with his wife Barbara, has turned down several offers for the pacer. “He says he’s never had a horse like him, so he’s not for sale,” Blackler said. “They enjoy it. They travel to the races. They drove five hours to Yonkers to watch him race. They love to watch their horses.” And so far Unix Hanover has made those trips --- not to mention taking phone calls on the golf course --- more than worthwhile. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Marv Chantler has enjoyed his share of success during nearly five decades in harness racing, but equally rewarding is the satisfaction he receives from helping others. Chantler is the past president and current vice president of the Board of Directors of Matthews House Hospice in Alliston, Ontario, and assists the charity organization with fundraising and strategic planning. Matthews House Hospice is dedicated to helping its clients live life fully everyday by offering free volunteer-based services in home, in the residential hospice and throughout the community. Matthews House Hospice, which assisted approximately 600 people last year, has an annual operating budget of roughly $850,000, but receives minimal government financial aid. The community hospice provides a variety of services including bereavement counseling, caring seminars, care-giver support, and wellness programs. The residential hospice, which has four beds, provides 24/7 end of life nursing care. "We work hard all our life and there comes a time when it's time to give back," the soon-to-be 68-year-old Chantler said. "My basic job is fundraising or politicking or lobbying the provincial government for support, and doing long-term planning for building a permanent 10-bed hospice on property that has been donated to us in downtown Alliston. "Probably what makes me feel best is helping people who need help at a time in their lives when the stress level is high. We have about 200 volunteers who work for us, giving about 18,000 hours a year of free service to our community and to our health system." For his efforts, Chantler has been named the 2015 recipient of the January Davies Humanitarian Award presented by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. The award was created in 2008 by U.S. Harness Writers Association member Callie Davies-Gooch in memory of her daughter to recognize contributions beyond harness racing. "Marv has given so much to the harness racing industry over the years and has always been willing to do anything to help anyone," Davies-Gooch said. "But his compassion extends far beyond racing. He is a great example of humanitarianism and when his name came before our board we felt he was the perfect choice for this award." Chantler followed his father, Dewitt "Dee" Chantler, into harness racing. The Chantlers were neighbors with the Hon. W. Earl Rowe, who was Ontario's lieutenant governor at the time but also a well-known and respected horseman, which provided their impetus to get into racing. After a brief stint as a trainer and driver, Marv Chantler turned to the administrative side of the sport and served as the race secretary at Barrie Raceway, which was built by the Rowe family. After several years, Chantler returned to selling heavy construction equipment and owning harness racing horses. In 1981, Chantler started Mardon Stables in Loretto, Ontario. Since then, he has enjoyed relationships with many notable trainers, including Ben Wallace, Paul Doherty and Ray Schnittker, Bruce MacDonald, and Bob McIntosh. Among Chantler's best horses have been 1997 O'Brien Award winning filly pacer Armbro Rosebud, world champion Card Trick Hanover, and Armbro Acquire. He also is among the owners of 2015 Ontario Sire Stakes champion Tony Soprano, who is a finalist for the O'Brien Award for 2-year-old male trotters. In addition to owning horses, Chantler was among the founders of Georgian Downs and is a minor stakeholder in the New Meadowlands Racetrack. He also has served on several boards for the Ontario Racing Commission. Chantler served three years as president of the board of Matthews House Hospice and was named vice president when his term expired. He devotes approximately 140 hours of his time per month to Matthews House Hospice. "I think everybody is sick and tired of me being on the website or Facebook asking for people to send money," said a laughing Chantler. "We bust our butts (to get funding). We have a very, very caring community, thank goodness, and both individuals and corporations are quite good to us. Otherwise I think MHH wouldn't be able to get it done." Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver David Miller has no plans to slow down on the racetrack, even if he slows down a little before returning to the racetrack. Miller --- who is set to spend the winter in Florida before returning to action at the Meadowlands in April --- enjoyed a record-setting season in 2015. He won an unprecedented five Breeders Crown races, established a career high with $12.36 million in purses, and was honored with his second Driver of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association. He enters 2016 needing less than $700,000 to join John Campbell and Ron Pierce as the only drivers in harness racing history with more than $200 million in purses. He has ranked among the top five in purses in 16 of the last 17 years and holds the record for most seasons with at least $10 million in purses, with 13. “I still feel good,” said Miller, who turned 51 last month. “I can’t see any reason why I can’t keep going like I’ve been going the last few years. But I don’t set goals because you never know what’s going to happen. I’ve done that in the past, looked forward to racing certain horses, and sometimes they don’t make it back or they use somebody else. I’ll just show up to work like I always do and hopefully it works out.” Miller won’t be completely idle while in Florida. He will train two of his own horses with his wife Misty and also plans to sit behind horses for other trainers. He also has committed to drive a horse at Pompano Park for trainer Ian Moore. “So far I’ve not gotten tired of it yet,” Miller joked about his first week in Florida. “I’ve come down here the last few winters and sat behind horses for Dr. Ian Moore. I’m sure I’ll get behind some horses. It won’t be like I’m not doing anything. I just took a shot with this. I’m going to see how I like it.” Miller, who was voted to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2013, has won 11,633 races in his 35-year career, a victory total that is sixth best in history. His first Driver of the Year honor came in 2003, when he was the regular driver of Pacing Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year No Pan Intended and led all drivers in purses with $11.49 million. He won a record 10 races at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on Little Brown Jug Day that year, including the feature event with No Pan Intended, and also enjoyed successes during the season with the likes of Kikikatie, Kadabra, Modern Art, and Forever Starlet. Last year, Miller’s record five Breeders Crown victories came with trotting mare D’One, older male pacer Always B Miki, 3-year-old female pacer Divine Caroline, 3-year-old male trotter The Bank, and pacing mare Color’s A Virgin. Divine Caroline was voted the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old female pacer and Miller also was the regular driver behind Dan Patch Award winning 2-year-old female trotter Broadway Donna. In addition, he scored stakes wins with Dan Patch Award honorees State Treasurer and Bee A Magician. “Those two years were pretty much equal,” Miller said, comparing his two Driver of the Year campaigns. “That year with No Pan Intended, I won 10 races that day at Delaware. People still will bring that up from time to time. I’m sure down the road people will bring (the Breeders Crown) up. “It was quite an accomplishment to have that big a night on a night that is that big. It’s a little luck, and good horses, and everything kind of clicked. Nights like that I’ll cherish forever.” He also will cherish another Driver of the Year Award. “It’s nice to get recognized for your work,” Miller said. “It’s quite an honor and I appreciate it. That was quite nice.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman focuses on one day at a time, which has led to some pretty good years. The 37-year-old Ohio native is coming off a career-best harness racing season in 2015, capturing his first North American driving title and earning a personal-high $7.40 million in purses. His 873 victories last year were the most for a dash-winning champion since Tony Morgan's 959 triumphs in 2008. Merriman is one of only three drivers --- joining Morgan and Tim Tetrick --- to win at least 800 races in back to back years. In 2014, Merriman won 841 times, but finished six victories behind Ronnie Wrenn Jr. for the No. 1 spot. Over the past 10 years, Merriman has won an average of 618 races per season. "I really take everything as a day-to-day thing," Merriman said as he reflected on his 2015 campaign. "I take pride in what I do each day and try to do the best for who I drive for. (Winning the dash title) just shows the overall body of work for what you've done during the year." Merriman was the leading driver in North America in June 2010 when he broke both wrists and his left elbow in a racing accident that sidelined him for much of the remainder of the year. In addition to finishing second in wins in 2014, he was sixth in 2013, with 568, and fifth in 2012, with 605. "It feels good to win the title because I've been close so many times," Merriman said. "There are a lot of guys who can win a lot of races. They're tough. If you go through just an average spell, or even if you're doing above average and other people are doing excellent, that's the way it goes. "I'm proud of the year I had and being able to participate in many of the Grand Circuit races. People maybe see I can win some races. It feels good. Working as hard as I have the last few years, it's something that you can say you did it for. I definitely appreciate it." Merriman, who frequently competes twice a day --- afternoons at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania and evenings at Northfield Park in northern Ohio, saw his Grand Circuit appearances in 2015 include the Breeders Crown, Hambletonian Oaks, Kentucky Filly Futurity, Tattersalls Pace, Hambletonian Maturity, Milstein Memorial, Elegantimage, Monument Circle, Carl Erskine Trot, and Allerage Open Pace. "I'd like to continue to pick up Grand Circuit drives," Merriman said. "Before, sometimes I wouldn't take those chances. If I had one (Grand Circuit drive), I'd rather drive 16 (races elsewhere). That was my mentality. But last year I took those one or two drives just to get my name out there and to participate in our sport's best events. "If I have a goal, it's to continue to compete on the Grand Circuit and hopefully do well. I really enjoyed traveling and going to those places. Just being around those kinds of events, with the owners and trainers, is special. I'm a people-person, so I like meeting new people and being around different people at times. I'm grateful for those opportunities." Merriman drove in 4,204 races in 2015, which was nearly 800 more than Corey Callahan, who was No. 2 on the list for driver starts. He drove in 4,646 races in 2014. He hopes to scale back a little bit this year, in part to enjoy more time with his family and travel. But he says this much will remain the same --- when he is committed to drive, he will be there. "Something has to happen for me not to show up," Merriman said. "I think that helps me. Maybe I'm not the best, maybe I'm not this or that, but people know I'm going to be there. I'm not a guy who is going to say that if it's inconvenient I'm not going to be there. I show up and I pride myself in that. "It's impossible for me to pick the highlight to any year. It's just having the opportunity each day to do something I love to do. I'm just as happy, it sounds nuts, winning any race. I'm just happy to win the next one. There's always a purse difference, I know, but winning never gets old. I'm happy just with the opportunity people give me to drive horses." He also is thankful for the support of his family and friends, particularly his father Lanny and longtime girlfriend Tessa. "They are instrumental in my everyday life," Merriman said. "My dad calls every day. I'm just like everyone else; I get down if I have a bad day or a few bad days. When you have people there to pick you up every single time, and knowing it's sincere, you can't beat it." Ken Weingartner

Columbus, OH --- The total wagering on harness racing at U.S. tracks in 2015 surpassed $1.5 billion, a 1.02 percent increase compared to 2014 according to statistics announced by the U.S. Trotting Association on Wednesday. During the past year, the $1,512,300,328 wagered on pari-mutuel harness racing nationwide was $15,295,745 more than the 2014 total of $1,497,004,583. In addition, there was an increase of $15,464,369 (3.79 percent) in total purses awarded nationally with $423,599,755 distributed in 2015 versus $408,135,386 in 2014. Race days grew year-over-year from 3,695 in 2014 to 3,748 this year, an increase of 53 days (1.43 percent). The only decline in harness racing's economic indicators across the U.S. was a 3.86 percent drop in average wagering per race from $39,306 last year to $37,789 in 2015, a difference of $1,517 per race. Following are the comparative economic indicators for U.S. harness racing from 2015 and 2014. Economic indicators on U.S. harness races   2015 2014 % Change Total Wagered $1,512,300,328 $1,497,004,583 +1.02% Per Race avg. $37,789 $39,306 -3.86% Purses $423,599,755 $408,135,386 +3.79% Race Days 3,748 3,695 +1.43% Please note: Includes U.S. and Canadian common and separate pool wagers on races contested in the U.S. Data source: United Tote. The United States Trotting Association, located in Columbus, Ohio, is a not-for-profit association of Standardbred owners, breeders, drivers, trainers, and officials, organized to provide administrative, rulemaking, licensing and breed registry services to its members. For more information on the USTA, please visit www.ustrotting.com. Ken Weingartner

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced Wednesday that it will make a $5,000 contribution to the official fund set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association to assist all of those affected by the tragic barn fire at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch, Ontario on Monday evening. "One of the saddest things to happen in the world of horses is a tragic barn fire that kills horses," said USTA President Phil Langley in making the announcement. "It is something we all fear and many have experienced. "My first experiences were in the 1960s when a fire at Maywood Park took the lives of several horses owned by Billy Johnston and trained by my father, then, not too long after, another fire at Washington Park that wiped out Bobby Williams' stable. "The sadness is never forgotten but it is heartening to see that in those cases and now, the industry draws closer to help some of its own with monetary donations and encouragement that will hopefully help everyone affected through a long recovery process." In that spirit, the USTA encourages everyone in the industry and racing fans everywhere to consider making a donation via an official GoFundMe page that has been set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association. For more on the COSA initiative, or to contact COSA, click here. Donations, with checks made payable to "Classy Lane Barn Fire," can also be mailed to: Central Ontario Standardbred Association, P.O. Box 297, Campbellville, ON L0P 1B0. A barn fire at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch, Ontario started at approximately 11 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 4) and claimed the lives of more than 40 Standardbred racehorses. Firefighters, who responded to the blaze from five departments -- including Hamilton, Guelph and Cambridge -- have not determined the cause of the fire that destroyed the barn that housed horses trained by Ben Wallace, Roger Mayotte, Chantal Mitchell, Kris Di Cenzo, Dan Lagace and Floyd Amos. The preliminary cost of the damage has been estimated to be between $4 and $6 million. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver Mark Beckwith thought Blazin Benny’s career was finished. Recurring ligament issues forced the trotter to the sidelines and Beckwith was prepared to retire the horse, even to the point of tentatively finding another home for the gelding. But then one day Beckwith saw Blazin Benny trotting across a field, appearing sound. And then Beckwith received a phone call from the person who was going to take Blazin Benny, with the caller telling Beckwith he had no room for the horse at the current time. So Blazin Benny returned to training. And racing. And winning. Blazin Benny leads all harness racing horses in North America in victories this year, with 23 triumphs. The 7-year-old trotter is owned by Irwin and Ellen Kaplan’s Mo Coo Inc. and Jonathan Klee Racing, who first bought the horse in May 2014. Beckwith drives Blazin Benny and the horse is trained by Beckwith’s wife, Melissa. Beckwith and Irwin Kaplan purchased Blazin Benny privately last year. The horse had a tendency to go off stride in races, but Beckwith liked the trotter’s speed. Blazin Benny won five times the remainder of 2014, but made breaks in four starts. A subsequent change in trotting hobbles suggested by Beckwith’s friend, driver Jim Marshall III, made a big difference this season. “Since I’ve put them on he’s only made one break,” Beckwith said. “That was a major difference. I have to give Jim the credit there.” Blazin Benny, who earned $95,711 this year while competing predominately in the claiming ranks, completed this season by winning his final three starts of the year. He capped his campaign with 1:57.3 score on Dec. 6 at Saratoga Casino and Raceway, a triumph that put him one victory ahead of 3-year-old pacer Wiggle It Jiggleit for the top spot in wins in North America. Third on the list, with 20 wins, is 14-year-old gelding pacer Albert Chief A. Wiggle It Jiggleit also is finished racing this season. “I knew he was tied with Wiggle It Jiggleit for the most wins and I was hoping that it would work out that (Blazin Benny) would get one more,” Beckwith said, adding with a laugh, “So now unless they bring back Wiggle It Jiggleit, I think I’m safe. I’m going to give him a month off and then I’m going to New Jersey and I’ll take him with me and race him at either Yonkers or Freehold.” Blazin Benny twice this year was claimed from the Beckwith Stable, but each time he was claimed back in short order. “I’m a claiming horse guy,” Beckwith said. “We like to win, so we generally have our horses (entered) a notch below where they should be and take the risk of getting claimed. He’s one of those horses that almost anybody could win with him, so he’s attractive that way. All trainers want trotters that don’t make breaks and can leave the gate, so he meets the criteria. It’s a business. “You have to look out for the horse’s well-being and try to race him where he can win and not be too hard on himself at the same time. When you put a horse in a claiming race you can’t expect people not to claim. That’s not fair. “Would it be sad to lose him, yeah, but we have to run this as a business even though he has a lot of sentimental value to us. He’s super around the barn; my kids love him and my wife loves him. But if you’re not careful you end up with a barn full of pets and that’s not going to work.” Kaplan, who has enjoyed success as an owner of claimers, agreed. He said Blazin Benny’s accomplishments were in large part a reflection of the group’s management plan. “It’s an achievement,” Kaplan said. “Most of the credit would go to Mark and Melissa and the management of the horse. He’s Melissa’s favorite horse. That’s her baby. He’s tough and he’s able to win and perform. We’re not afraid to do what we’ve got to do with him. That’s this business. If you put a horse in a claimer, you have to be prepared to lose them. Jon and I make money claiming horses, so I can’t complain if someone claims mine.” Blazin Benny, who started 40 times this year, spends little time training between starts, but does a lot of swimming. A son of Angus Hall-Benn’s Riverdance, he has won 42 of 119 career races and earned $248,398. “The more we can keep him off the racetrack, the better it is for him,” Beckwith said. “We might have trained him once this year. He doesn’t require much work that way. He’s racing almost every seven days. He’s stayed sound. He’s come out of his races very, very well. Even when he doesn’t win, he’s right there at the wire; I don’t think he’s raced bad. “Everything fell into place. The Good Lord shined on us with this one, that’s for sure. He’s been a blessing for all of us. He’s made money and we’ve had a ton of fun with him.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner has been awarded the Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year award by Harness Horseman International. Tanner, 49, has been the helm of the USTA since late 2008, the youngest person at the time to fill that position.   The New Jersey native was first introduced to racing when visiting Liberty Bell Park in the mid-1970s, and spent time as a groom and hot walker at Philadelphia Park and Garden State Park. After graduating from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1988 and Bowling Green University in 1991, Tanner began his professional career as a Ladbroke's Detroit Race Course publicist in 1992.   Tanner has also served as director of marketing, media, and simulcasting, as assistant to the president, and as director of communications at Gulfstream Park from 1993-2005, and also worked for the Breeders' Cup, from 2001 through 2003.   In 2002, Tanner was a member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Technology Group's Communications Task Force and in 2005 was director of racing operations at Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, in Chester, Pa. He and his wife Gail have two sons.   Ron Battoni, who recently retired as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, is honored with the HHI Appreciation Award. Battoni managed the PHHA's day-to-day operations including contract negotiations, government relations, interfacing with the state commission and track officials and overseeing the PHHA staff. The former horseman has been active in racing for more than four decades, and will continue to assist the PHHA in a reduced capacity for three to five years. During his tenure as a driver-trainer, from 1977 to 1987, he scored 394 wins and $760,738 in purse monies. Battoni joined the PHHA in 1987 and helped lead it through a number of positive changes in including full-card simulcasting of out-of-state racetracks in the 1990s. .He also worked to implement the passage of the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act in 2004 which brought slot machines to Pennsylvania tracks and oversaw the development and opening of Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack in 2007.   Writer Ken Weingartner is HHI's Clyde Hirt Media Award winner for this year. As the USTA's Media Relations Manager, Weingartner has already earned numerous journalistic accolades, including the Phil Pines Award recently bestowed upon him from the Monticello-Goshen chapter of the US Harness Writer's Association on Nov. 16, 2015. He also has awards from the New Jersey Press Association and the College Sports Information Directors of America.   Weingartner, who is in his 13th year with the USTA, is a central New Jersey native who got interested in harness racing via his father, who took him to Freehold Raceway as a child. After stints at the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and Allentown Messenger-Press, Weingartner joined the USTA in 2002. He won the Golden Pen Award from the Standardbred Marketing and Media Association in 2007.   All three gentlemen will be feted at the HHI Annual Awards Banquet at the Embassy Suites Resort, Deerfield Beach, Florida on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.   Harness Horsemen International 319 High St. Suite 2 Burlington, NJ 08016 (609) 747-1000    

Freehold, NJ --- Sassy Sarah will always be amazing in the eyes of Lisa Saindon. A 14-year-old female pacer, Sassy Sarah won on Nov. 22 at Scarborough Downs to notch her first victory of the year. It was the 64th triumph of the mare’s lengthy harness racing career, and it also was her final one. With mandatory retirement at age 15 looming for Sassy Sarah, Saindon --- who owns and trains the horse --- decided there was no need to go to the track again. “I was thinking about racing her, but I decided I wanted her to go out as a winner,” Saindon said. “She’s not what she used to be, but she gave it her all and raced awesome that day. That’s what I want her to remember.” Saindon has owned Sassy Sarah since October 2012. From the moment the mare stepped into Saindon’s barn, the two created a relationship that goes beyond racing. “We’ve bonded like you wouldn’t believe,” Saindon said. “She’s like a friend. She’s just been amazing. I’ve been doing this since I was 15 or 16. I’ve loved all my horses, but there are a few that just truly touch your heart. She’s one of them. She makes me smile.” Sassy Sarah is a daughter of stallion Village Jiffy out of the mare Intwine. For much of her career prior to the age of 10, she was owned by Ralph Kennedy and trained and driven by Wallace Watson. An ownership change saw her land in the stable of trainer Kevin Switzer for the period of time prior to Saindon buying Sassy Sarah. In 2011, with Switzer, Sassy Sarah set the track record of 1:56.1 for a female pacer at the half-mile oval at the Topsham Fair. In 2013, she was her division’s “Claimer of the Year” at Scarborough Downs. “She was just a tough mare, and that’s what I liked,” Saindon said about purchasing Sassy Sarah. “She’s never done anything wrong. She’s easy to handle. I have nothing negative to say about her.” For her career, she won 64 of 321 races and earned $204,199. Her win on Nov. 22 was her first victory since Oct. 26, 2014 --- which happened to be Saindon’s birthday. Although she went 30 races in between wins, she hit the board 12 times. “She’s always tried for me,” said Saindon, who lives in Bridgton, Maine, and trains a small stable of horses. “There have been a lot of amazing races. Just being with her is the highlight. It’s just been a great experience. “Horses sometimes come to me and they don’t seem to have any personality, but all horses have a personality. It’s there. You just have to bring it out. All the (horses) I’ve got here are all individuals. I’ve never had kids, but these are my kids.” Saindon, who recently discovered Sassy Sarah has a penchant for Dunkin Donuts munchkins, is considering turning the mare into a riding horse. “She’s feeling good and I’m thinking of having a friend help me to see how she would take to it,” Saindon said. “I’m going to keep her here and I’ve got a lot of thinking to do about her future. But she will always be safe.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Freehold, NJ ---Harness racing owner Richard Gutnick is happy to see this year coming to an end, at least as it relates to his racehorses. But Gutnick, the sport’s Owner of the Year in 2012 when his Chapter Seven was Horse of the Year and Market Share was Hambletonian champion, is looking optimistically for a better 2016. And Chapter Seven and Market Share figure as prominently in this future as they do in Gutnick’s past. Market Share, who was turned out in September after winning one of nine races in 2015, is being pointed toward a return to action next season and the first foals of Chapter Seven will begin racing next year. Gutnick shares ownership in six Chapter Seven-sired colts and owns one homebred filly by the stallion. “This could be a very interesting year,” Gutnick said. “We’re hoping Market Share will be back to his old self and of course I’m looking forward to the summer with the Chapter Seven (2-year-olds). “I’m hoping Market Share can get back to the way he was in 2013 and 2014, as opposed to this year. This is the year when anything that could go wrong did go wrong. I can’t complain because I had a year, 2012, where anything that could go right did go right.” Market Share --- owned by Gutnick, T L P Stable, and Bill Augustine --- has won 26 of 66 career races and earned $3.72 million. He is a two-time Dan Patch Award winner, receiving the trophy for best 3-year-old male trotter in 2012 and best older male trotter in 2013. In addition to capturing the Hambletonian, Market Share’s victories include the 2012 Canadian Trotting Classic and the 2013 Breeders Crown and Maple Leaf Trot. He is a two-time American-National Stakes winner and has 11 lifetime triumphs in races worth at least $100,000. Market Share is expected to start preparing for next season in mid-January. Gutnick said trainer Linda Toscano will take her time in bringing the soon-to-be 7-year-old back to action. “Hopefully with the four months off any little aches and pains should be gone and he can get back in the appropriate frame of mind,” Gutnick said. “I don’t care about the early races. It’s a long season and it’s difficult to be ready early and late. “Unfortunately, the way they write the races now, there’s a big gap of time since the Maple Leaf Trot was moved from July to September. If you go to the early ones, then you have a month off. To me it’s poor planning by the powers that be. It’s a shame they can’t all work together and get a good program. But we’ll go from there.” Gutnick said if Market Share is unable to be competitive at the sport’s top level, he will retire the stallion. “That horse doesn’t owe me anything,” Gutnick said. “I owe him a lot, just like I owe Chapter Seven a lot. All you can do is the best you can by them. “I just consider myself very fortunate to have owned the horses like I have had.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

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