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Kettering, OH --- As the 2015 early Red Mile meet drew to a close on Sept. 19, Tyler Shehan, the 32-year-old Hopkinsville, Ky., native could feel the excitement building in his bones. He went into the night with a four win lead over his nearest competitor in the driving standings and added a win with Ronald Best’s trainee Become Legendary, extending his lead in the driver standings to five while sewing up his first Red Mile driving title. Shehan began driving in 2000, with his first drive coming behind his father’s (Tom Shehan) trotting colt Semper in a Kentucky Fair Stakes at the Lebanon fair on July 21, 2000. Semper got away in the pocket and took a run at the leader in the lane, but came up just a neck short. To date, Shehan has passed the $1 million mark in purse earnings as a driver with 2015 being his best year yet in his fairly young career. With 3,108 trips in the sulky in his career, he has 406 wins, 416 seconds, and 439 thirds and purse earnings of $1,104,765. In addition to being a driver, he has 1,105 starts as a trainer, with 176 wins, 183 seconds, 172 thirds and $578,961 in training purse earnings. Aided by his wife, Marna Van Zyl Shehan, who also drives and trains, and his sulky riding German Shepherd Zoey, Tyler is riding high on life. To top off his success on-track, Shehan was recently appointed to the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association Board of Directors the same week he earned top honors in Lexington. When asked what he would like to achieve while serving his first term on the Board, he replied, “I want to protect the Kentucky horsemen and women and rejuvenate Kentucky harness racing. The crowd at The Red Mile cheered after I left the winner’s circle each and every time. It's time for the sport’s trainers and drivers to become one with the fans. We need a smile or wave to the stands and acknowledge our fans and supporters and make it more personal for them.” When asked his thoughts on how 2015 has treated him, he replied, “It has been a great year! I want to thank my parents Tom and Karen Shehan and my wife Marna for all of their help and support.” The Red Mile’s Grand Circuit meet begins Wednesday (Sept. 30) with post time at 7 p.m.   by Kenneth W. Terpenning, USTA Internet Correspondent

I went to the Red Mile last week to check out what the 140-year-old harness racing track calls "The Evolution of Horse Racing." It was sunny and mild, the kind of afternoon I hope for each April and October so I can slip away to Keeneland for a few hours. I love to watch the horses run, place a few bets and soak up the atmosphere. This afternoon, the weather didn't matter. Horse racing had evolved indoors. I found a cavernous hall filled with 902 machines that flashed and chimed amid pulsing background music. The man at the front desk said this $42 million facility had been busy since it opened Sept. 12. I must have caught a lull. There were only a couple of dozen patrons, an even mix of men and women, blacks and whites. Most were older than me. A few had canes; at least two used walkers. The next thing I noticed was there were no horses. Amazing! Horse racing had evolved to the point that horses were no longer necessary. When I walked in, the man at the front desk issued me a "rewards" card on a red lanyard, an instruction sheet and a $5 voucher. I chose a machine with a comfy seat near the bar and got started. That's when I saw horses, or at least grainy images of them. They were in videos that flashed briefly on the machine's tiny screen after I placed a bet and pushed a few buttons. The machines looked like slots. The hall looked like a casino. I had to remind myself that this joint venture of the Red Mile and Keeneland was really The Evolution of Horse Racing, presumably "as it was meant to be." What distinguishes these machines from slots, proponents say, is that they are forms of pari-mutuel wagering, and winners are chosen by the outcome of thousands of previously run horse races rather than by random number generators. I placed a bet on the machine and chose my numbers — the order of finish for three horses that once raced against one another. To help me choose, I could look at charts indicating past performances of the horse, jockey and trainer. I lost my first couple of free voucher dollars trying to figure out how the machine worked. On my third bet, lights flashed and bells clanged and the machine told me I was a winner. I printed a voucher and discovered I had won $84, although I'm not sure how. I tried a couple more machines before deciding it was a good time to cash my voucher and call it a day. The Family Foundation, a conservative activist group, has gone to court to challenge the legality of these "historical racing" machines. The case before Franklin Circuit Court is complex, and it likely will take a couple of years to decide. The legal question comes down to whether these machines are pari-mutuel wagering, which is legal in Kentucky, or slots, which are not. Can something that looks and quacks like a duck actually be an evolved horse? If the tracks lose in court, they may have recovered their investment by then. The General Assembly also could change the law. Legislators may not want to give up this new source of tax revenue, not to mention the 200 new jobs at the Red Mile and more at facilities near Henderson and Franklin. I have nothing against gambling, when it is enjoyed responsibly by people who can afford it. But from a public policy standpoint, gambling encourages a "something for nothing" mentality among politicians and voters that a modern, progressive state can be created without raising anyone's taxes. Many horse people argue that expanded gambling revenue is essential to the survival of their industry. I understand their concern. Without the promise of this new facility, the Red Mile probably would have been redeveloped years ago. Neither harness nor Thoroughbred racing are as popular as they once were. However, the experiences of other states show that when expanded-gambling revenue starts flowing, politicians lose interest in subsidizing the horse industry. There are no easy answers to preserving Kentucky's signature horse industry. But horsemen could take pointers from the once-struggling and now-thriving bourbon whiskey industry: Improve your product and do a better job of marketing to make it more popular. Otherwise, it can be a fine line between evolution and devolution. Tom Eblen: Email: teblen@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @tomeblen. Blog: tomeblen.bloginky.com Reprinted with permission of the www.kentucky.com site  

Undefeated in eight starts this season, Jim Doherty Memorial-winner Broadway Donna tops the 16 freshmen filly trotters divided into two divisions of the $259,000 Bluegrass Stakes, scheduled for the eight-race card on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at the harness racing meeting at The Red Mile.   Entering off a 2-length win in the $351,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes final, the Jim Campbell-trained Broadway Donna will start from the rail in the opening division of the Bluegrass.   She will line up with seven other fillies, including Kindergarten Series-contender Southwind Pearl, trained by Jonas Czernyson, who will be trying for her maiden victory.   Broadway Donna has earned $466,536 in her eight outings, which is more than the rest of the field's earnings combined.   The filly by Donato Hanover out of Hambletonian Oaks champion Broadway Schooner is owned and bred by Fashion Farms and will be guided by regular driver David Miller.   Jimmy Takter sends a pair of fillies in the first Bluegrass division, them being Twice Is Right and I'm Outstanding, both of whom are shipping from Mohawk off of breaks in the Peaceful Way eliminations.   The daughters of Donato Hanover were also runner up to Peaceful Way-champion Caprice Hill in a $66,850 division of the Champlain Stakes.   The duo will start from posts 5 and 8 respectively. Twice Is Right races for the interests of Brittany Farms, while I'm Outstanding is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, and Herb Liverman.   Celebrity Eventsy, from the first crop of Manofmanymissions, leads the second division.   The Staffan Lind trainee has banked $102,462 this season and comes into this event off a second-place finish to Caprice Hill in the $311,600 Peaceful Way.   She has won two races in seven attempts, including an elimination for the Peaceful Way. Brett Miller will steer the Celebrity Farms filly.   Takter has another pair of fillies on the Grand Circuit card, with the second-division entrants All The Time and Miss Tezsla.   All The Time, a homebred owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, approaches this race off a break in the Peaceful Way Final.   A winner of four in seven starts, the daughter of Muscle Hill has earned $99,865 this season.   Her stable mate Miss Tezsla ships in from Delaware, Ohio, where she finished third in a $37,200 division of the Standardbred Stakes.   Before that, she won the $40,000 Stallion Series championship at Pocono Downs, a race restricted to Pennsylvania-sired horses.   The $45,000 Lexington Select yearling has won four out of eight starts for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical Ab, and Herb Liverman.   She has earned $63,374 this season.   The opening card of the Grand Circuit meeting kicks off at 7:00 p.m.   A sextet of late-closing events will be contested on the undercard of the two Bluegrass Stakes.   Ray Cotolo

It was no secret that Always B Miki would be qualifying today (Friday, September 25) at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. Now everyone will know exactly what the Always A Virgin horse did over the famed clay course. Here’s a three-word hint: world record speed. A compact seven-dash card comprised the qualifying session. When it comes to Always B Miki’s mile, if you blinked you may have missed it. Trainer Jimmy Takter was in the race bike for Always B Miki's mile. The duo started in Post 5 and made every pole a winning one. The margin of victory was 10 and a half lengths. The win time was a scintillating 1:48.2. To read the full article click on this link    

Lexington, KY - The Kindergarten Trotting series continued on Thursday evening at The Red Mile.   The colt divisions began the evening with Mavens Way scoring a $37.20 upset for young Oskar Florhed taking a nice record of 1:55.3 in the process. The son of Muscle Hill from Doris Deo sat close up early then wore down Dominion Beach in the shadow of the wire for the win. He is trained by Ake Svanstedt for his own interests along with partners al & Janet Burroughs and TLP Stable.   Charlie Norris worked out a perfect pocket trip for Cloud Nine Hanover in the next division for a huge $54.40 upset after favored Southwind Flash broke on the final bend. Charlie trains the son of Muscle Massive who was winning for the first time on behalf of his wife Carrie, Acadia Farms and G&B Racing. Celebrity Express rallied from well back for the place.   Hollywood Highway struck a blow for favoritism winning right back for Dave Palone in a new record of 1:55.2 in the third and last colt split. He's another by Muscle Massive who has found his best form here on the clay for trainer Staffan Lind. Marvin Katz and Al Goldband share the ownership.   Palone won the very next race with Haughty, who has clearly been the class of the Kindergarten filly races in Lexington. Jimmy Takter conditions the winner and had the second place finisher as well in Hollywood Hill. Haughty was well within herself tonight in a measured 1:55.4 tally. She races for the ownership group of Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband.   Howie Okusko, Jr steered Sweet Ashley T to yet another upset in the last of the Kindergarten races returning $38.60 to her small legion of backers. The Conway Hall filly took a 1:56 record in the process for trainer Homer Hochstetler who owns her with South Of The Tracks Racing.   The Kindergarten goes on hiatus until leg five set for October 23 at Vernon Downs with the finals the next week.   Red Mile racing resumes on Saturday before going dark for week. The Grand Circuit kicks off on Wednesday, September 30 racing at 7pm through Saturday, October 3 then matinee racing the following Wednesday through Saturday.   Find all the info you'll need on all things Red Mile on the website.   Nick Salvi

The Kindergarten Classic series came to to the harness racing meeting at The Red Mile in Kentucky on Thursday night with a mixed bag results-wise.   Fillies began the stakes with Jimmy Takter steering the unbeaten Donato Hanover lass Haughty to an as easy as can be 1:54.1 win.   Takter moved Haughty to the front on the backstretch and widened at will in a very impressive outing. Southwind Adele was second and Sweet Ashley T third.   The winner is owned by Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband who paid $80,000 at the Lexington Select sale last fall.   Jan Johnson steered I'm Volo to a 1:58 win for owner and breeder Jorgen Jahre at 17-1 in the second division.   Johnson put the Yankee Glide filly in play early, accepted cover then angled out late to rally past Earn Your Wings and Coco Truffles late.   The tote board exploded in the first of two colt divisions when Dave Palone and Hollywood Highway closed from well back to win in 1:56.1 at odds of 43-1.   With 1-9 favorite Jack Vernon eliminated by a break in the final turn, Palone found clear sailing wide from last and guided the Muscle Massive colt to his first victory for trainer Staffan Lind and owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, who have $50,000 for this fella at the Lexington yearling sale and had a pretty good night.   Sigmund came second and Mavens Way third.   Palone completed a driving triple on the night with a front end score aboard Southwind Flash in 1:55.2 for trainer Ronnie Burke.   The striking Muscle Hill colt took to the clay beautifully for his first win in six outings.   Honor Above All went beautifully in his very first career start tracking the winner and actually gaining late for driver Nicolas Roussel with Brownie Hanover third.   The winner is another Lexington Select sale grad costing Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Phil Collura and Jack Piatt lll $85,000 last fall.   Racing returns to The Red Mile on Saturday and the Kindergarten returns for leg four next Thursday.   Nick Salvi

Lexington, KY - The harness racing Grand Circuit rolls into Lexington, Kentucky with the third leg of the Kindergarten series for two-year-old trotters at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 10.   Two $10,000 divisions for both fillies and colts are on the bill with the girls splitting neatly into a pair of eights in races five and seven.   The Takter stable houses likely favorites in each, with Haughty coming into the first division off a 1:56 win in leg two at Tioga Downs ten days ago. Trainer Jimmy Takter is listed to drive the filly for owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband.   Jimmy may well be driving the favorite in the seventh too, as Hollywood Hill brings impressive credentials into her split having won three of her five career outings for owners Goran Falk and Christina Takter.   The colts compete in races six and nine with Tioga track record holder Jack Vernon a clear choice in the sixth for owners The Miller Stable, trainer Randy Beeckman and driver Corey Callahan.   The ninth race is more of a puzzle with several lightly raced prospects developing into contenders as the second half of stakes season gets underway.   Racing begins at seven o'clock at The Red Mile on Thursday. Live racing continues through September 19, breaks for Jug week then returns with the fortnight of Grand Circuit racing with a Wednesday through Saturday schedule beginning on September 30.   The first week is a 7:00 post time and week two is a 1:00 matinee each day. The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale begins on the evening of Monday, October 5 and continues through Friday night. Catalogues are available.   Also of note, nominations to the Grand Circuit Late Closers must be postmarked by September 15. The form is available here.   Nick Salvi  

The Bluegrass State crowned its champion 2 and 3 year olds of both gaits and sexes on Sunday night at The Red Mile, with the eight $175,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) finals dominated by favorites. Cinnabar Hall won the KYSS final for 3-year-old male trotters, earning the distinction of being the only reigning champion to successfully defend his title. Tom Jackson drove Cinnabar Hall to the wire-to-wire 1:56.2 victory for trainer Pete Foley and owner All Star Racing of Towaco, N.J. Sent off the 1-9 favorite, Cinnabar Hall swept the three-leg KYSS series this year, increasing his career earnings to $222,840. A son of Groton Hall, Cinnabar Hall was bred by Walnut Hall Ltd. of Lexington, Ky., which had three winners to its credit on Sunday night. Tail Gunner Hall, bred and owned by Walnut Hall Ltd., won the KYSS final for 3-year-old male pacers. Starting from the outside post 9 as the 9-5 second favorite, Tail Gunner Hall crossed the wire in 1:52, two lengths better than runner-up and even-money favorite McEnroe Hall. A son of Third Straight, Tail Gunner Hall now has seven wins and four seconds in 11 starts this year after going unraced last year at two. His career earnings now stand at $109,083. The 3-year-old filly pace final went to Twilight Princess, who made just one start at two but has now scored nine wins in 12 starts this year. Aaron Merriman, the leading dash-winning driver in North America in 2014, directed the daughter of Prince Chablis to the 1:54 victory as the 1-5 betting favorite. Kentuckian Robert Mullet bred Twilight Princess, who now has earnings of $113,070 for trainer-owner Donna Gilfson-Eferstein. Jane Eyre led wire to wire to win the 3-year-old filly trot final in 1:55.1 with Tom Jackson driving for trainer Fred Grant, who also shares ownership with Steve Katz and Janice Rubin. A strong second choice on the toteboard, Jane Eyre defeated favorite (and defending champion) Armatrading by one length. Just the second win of the year for the daughter of Groton Hall bred by Mary Katz and Berto Stable, it boosted her earnings to $164,770. Barryscourt rallied from six lengths back at the half to win the 2-year-old male trot final by 7 1/4 lengths in 1:58.4. Josh Sutton drove the Peninsula Farm-bred son of Northern Kid for trainer Bobby Brower, who shares ownership with Mystical Marker Farms, Ben Graber and Victory Hill Farm. A 14-1 winner in the opening KYSS leg on Aug. 9, Barryscourt was the 4-5 betting favorite in the final as he won for the second time in three starts. Lakeisha Hall won the 2-year-old filly pace final in 1:54, with the 1-9 favorite scoring by 3 1/2 lengths. Dave Palone guided the Walnut Hall Ltd.-bred daughter of Third Straight to her fourth win in five starts. Ron Burke trains Lakeisha Hall or owners Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Burke Racing Stable. The complexion of the 2-year-old filly trot final changed dramatically when odds-on favorite Kentucky Hall made a break while on the lead near the half-mile point. That paved the way for second-choice Erica America to rally for a 4 3/4-length win in 1:59.4 for driver Chris Page. Kevin Thomas trains the daughter of Northern Kid and shares ownership with Jim McLaughlin, Fortunate One and Red Mile announcer Gabe Prewitt. Erica America was bred by Dunroven Stud of Kentucky. The lone upset on the night came in the finale in the 2-year-old male pace when the 8-1 Dragallthemoni rushed past favorite Cracker Cam in deep stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:53.2. Chris Page drove the Thomas Cave-bred son of Third Straight for trainer Steve Carter and owners Peggy Carter, Sheila Hummel, Ron Reid and Chuck Grubbs. Gordon Waterstone -  Horseman And Fair World

The catalog for the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale is now available on the sales company website, www.lexingtonselected.com, and on the Equineline sales catalog app for the iPad. Those on the mailing list should receive print catalogs by late next week. The catalog posted on the company website may be downloaded in its entirety or by individual session. The sortable sale roster will include yearling videos as they become available. The sale starts a day earlier than in previous years. It now begins on Monday, Oct. 5 and runs through Friday, Oct. 9, with a 7:00 p.m. start time for each session. The sale is held at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion. Co-managers Randy Manges and David Reid agree that this years edition of the select sale is one of the best ever, in terms of overall pedigree strength and conformation. Thats saying a lot for the sale that annually achieves the industrys highest average and has produced three of the last four winners of the sports greatest race, the Hambletonian. The auction coincides with the second week of Grand Circuit racing at the newly remodeled Red Mile. As it has for many years, the winning daily double of the yearling sale and championship racing makes Lexington a destination for everyone in harness racing. Those not on the mailing list who would like to order a print catalog can fill out the request catalog form on the website or call (859) 255-8431. Lexington Selected Sales Company

The annual Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) Championship Night, featuring eight $175,000 finals for 2 -and 3-year-old pacers and trotters, is set for Sunday, Aug. 30, at The Red Mile. The night is a great opportunity for fans in the Bluegrass State to see the "new" Red Mile, which has been undergoing renovations that includes a newly-remodeled simulcasting area and a soon-to-open area for 906 Historical Racing machines. All four KYSS 2-year-old champions will be on the track in their respective finals on Sunday night in hopes of repeating. Although the 2014 Two-Year-Old Colt Trot champ Cinnabar Hall was winless in 10 starts heading into this year's KYSS action, the son of Groton Hall has swept his two preliminaries as he is the odds-on favorite to repeat. Reigning filly trot champ Armatrading scored a career-best 1:55.4 victory in round two of the KYSS as she hopes to defend her title. Cielle, who won last year's 2-Year-Old Filly Pace final, is still searching for her first win in 2015, but the daughter of Third Straight has a second and third in the KYSS prelims. The one to beat in the final for 3-year-old filly pacers is Twilight Princess, who has swept her way into the final and has the continent's leading dash-winning driver Aaron Merriman in the sulky. Merriman will also drive defending colt champion Bestbestraight in the final for 3-year-old pacers, with the son of Third Straight posting a win and fourth in the opening two legs. Formidable competition should come the way of Tail Gunner Hall, who has six wins and four seconds in 10 starts this year. Also a son of Third Straight, Tail Gunner Hall scored a career-best 1:52 win in a Kentucky Fair contest earlier this month at The Red Mile, and he comes into the KYSS final off a 1:53.2 win in the second KYSS round. In the 2-year-old finals, prelim winners Cavalcade Hall and Barryscourt will meet up in the colt trot, as will Kentucky Hall and Abbieville in the filly trot. Filly pace prelim winners Lakeisha Hall and Bellatricks will square off in the filly pace, while Cracker Cam, who swept his way in the opening rounds for freshman male pacers, is heavily favored in the final. Nearly 200 televisions have been added to the renovated wagering and simulcasting area, with harness, Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred signals available. The area includes added wagering windows and self-serve units. Also, new, appetizing food service options are available. Two guaranteed Pick 4 pools will be available for wagering. There will be a $10,000 guaranteed Pick 4 on races 7-10, with a $7,500 guaranteed Pick 4 on races 11-15. If there are no winning tickets on the first Pick 4, there will be a carryover into the second Pick 4. Post time for the first race is 7 p.m. Admission and parking is free. The Red Mile  

Trenton, NJ --- As a senior at Chrisman (Ill.) High School in 2014, Wyatt Avenatti finished second in the state in the 800 meters and also earned The Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette’s Athlete of the Week for winning the Danville Open Indoor Invitational. In his interview with the N-G, Avenatti said that in five years he will “hopefully be an assistant basketball coach in college.” A year later, those dreams have been slightly altered. “I’d like to be,” he said, “one of the top drivers in the nation.” The 19-year-old isn’t being boastful when he says that. He is, in fact, quite humble. He didn’t even reveal his impressive success in the 800 during an interview, prompting his dad, David, to take the phone and say ‘He’s way too modest to ever tell you this, but he was second in the state of Illinois in the 800 meters.” What Wyatt did note about his track background, which included running cross country, is that it has helped him working with horses. “It’s so crazy how similar they are -- running cross country and track, and training and driving horses,” Avenatti said. “With a lot of the training, what you want to do with the horse is the same thing as when you’re running yourself.” Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. Avenatti got his provisional license in the early spring and gained his first career driving win on June 14, piloting 8-year-old trotting mare Fox Valley Sienna to victory at Kentucky’s Players Bluegrass Downs. Wyatt had 11 drives before hitting the winner’s circle, which included a trio of third-place finishes. “It was a little frustrating,” he said. “I’ve always been an athlete and been pretty decent, so, taking (12) races to get my first win was frustrating but it taught me a lot on how to drive and how to race a horse.” Wyatt upheld a family tradition when he won with Fox Valley Sienna. The horse was trained by David, who also won a number of races behind her. Two years ago, older brother Matthew (now 22) got his first win driving the mare. “That was a pretty special experience, getting it with the mare that my dad and older brother both won with,” Avenatti said. “The fact my brother and I both got our first win on her really made it special. She’s been doing a great job for us. My dad won an Illinois stakes elimination a few times, he’s had some good success with her.” In his win at Bluegrass Downs, Wyatt went to the front at the half-mile marker and never looked back. “I knew my mare had a little more gate speed,” he said. “So I just leaped off the gate, got out front, and timed it out to just outspin everybody.” The Avenattis own a stable in Chrisman with more than 10 horses. It was a family business that started with Wyatt’s grandfather, Tony. “When he was a little kid he went to a county fair and decided he would race horses,” Wyatt said. “He waited until he was out of college, got a job, bought some horses and had some good success with them. He quit his job and started training.” David followed suit, as he graduated from the University of Illinois and then decided to work with horses full time in order to spend time with his four children. Needless to say, they got caught up in it. “It would definitely be odd not to have horses in my life,” Avenatti said. “No matter what, I always had a horse in the barn. My dad and brother and older sister would spend time out in the barn together, it’s always been a special place for us.” Wyatt began helping train horses at age 13 and even then he loved the excitement of being in the sulky. “I think I always wanted to be a driver,” he said. “I love breaking babies and training horses. But I really love driving.” He got his fair license two years ago and started driving fairs frequently the following year. Since getting his provisional license, he has won two more times since that first victory, all with Fox Valley Sienna. He has driven several other family horses, including one that his little brother, Lane, helps train. While he has mostly driven Avenatti horses, Wyatt is looking to expand. “I’m always hoping to drive horses,” he said. “I’m waiting for an opportunity to catch a break, get a couple good drives. Until then, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.” David Avenatti noted that both Wyatt and Matthew shoe their own horses and “do a real good job. They shoe them, train them, drive them. He’s a pretty complete horseman.” Which is a big reason why Wyatt, who also played high school basketball, has given up dreams of being the next Rick Pitino. “It would have been cool,” he said. “But I would rather drive horses!” by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent   

The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) is in the process of analyzing the full impact of the Barr/Tonko proposal announced today. In response to media requests for an immediate reaction, ARCI President Ed Martin issued the following statement: "The ARCI is unanimous in its opposition to shielding racing regulatory authority from public accountability by putting it in the hands of a private organization. "We also note that the proposal provides absolutely no federal resources and not one cent of existing federal anti-doping monies to assist in chasing those who would dope horses. "We find it ironic that many of the featured speakers at The Jockey Club's recent Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit who have been instrumental in the development and implementation of regulatory policy - racing commission experts like Dr. Mary Scollay, Dr. Rick Arthur, and Dr. Scott Palmer - would all be shut out or severely diminished under this proposal. "Equine welfare and medication policy should not be put in the hands of an entity with no experience with such matters and no veterinarian involvement. We strongly oppose the politicization of racing medication policies and are concerned that equine welfare policies will be trampled should this be enacted." ARCI

Kentucky Futurity Day showcased North America’s monte racing as six harness racing entrants contested the $10,000 exhibition event Sunday. Therese Lindgren piloted In Nomine Patri to victory with a rallying 2:00.3 win, last quarter in a sharp :27.2. The winner, a six year-old gelded son of Credit Winner-Blue Skies Hanover-Donerail, is trained by Liisa Vatanen, co-owner with American Dream Racing Stable. Pacesetter Chinese Cuisine was a solid second for Tina Duer with Flowing James home third for Tara Hynes. In Nomine Patri Ontario monte action also continued with Western Fair’s pari-mutuel test on October 3rd. The $3,000 purse event went to Lexus Hawkeye (5g Amigo Hall-Lexus Lulu-Angus Hall) and N. Elliott. Radical Dreamer (Marit Valstad)  and Twin B Excalibur (E. Harms) trailed the 2:04.3h winner. Next up in Ontario monte action is October 12 at Leamington. monteamerica.com Thomas H. Hicks

Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

The first session (September 30th) of this years Lexington Select Sale of harness racing yearlings was out of control from the time the auctioneer opened the bidding on lot one. Encore Deo, a filly by Rocknroll Hanover made $100,000 which was the first time that had ever happened in the sales history. Shortly afterwards Lot 5, a colt by Cantab Hall from a full sister to Dream Vacation entered the ring and bidding was fierce from the start for the aptly named Prince De Vie. Opening with a bid of $200,000 , it quickly moved to $400,000 and was knocked down to the bid of Myron Bell That price was equalled later in the session when Bene Bene also made $400,000 after a spirited bidding duel. A Kadabra filly, she is a full sister to Miss Paris 1: 54.2 $865,160 and Bella Dolce 1:54.2 $730,384 and was knocked down to the bid of Melvin Hartman, Marvin Katz and David McDuffee of Ottawa, Canada.  Bene Bene Three other yearlings topped the $300,000 mark during the first session. Dante is an upstanding colt by Credit Winner from Michelle's Angel which makes him a full brother to the millionaire world champion Archangel. He was knocked down to Bjorn Noren for $355,000 The Europeans were active throughout the session with the highest priced lot going to Europe being another son of Credit Winner in The Perfect Lindy. His dam Highscore Kem won $100,000 and is a 3/4 sister to this years Hambeltonian winner, Trixton. He went to the bid of Robert Lindstrom for $320,000 The only pacer to break through the $300,000 barrier was Sonoma Valley. A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, she is a half sister to the $2,000,000+ winner Vintage Master and was sold to the bid of well known owner George Segal. By the time the dust had settled, records had been broken left right and centre. The average of $104,959 for the 97 yearlings sold was the first time ever that the $100,000 barrier  had been beaten in the 10 year history of the sale. It was a 21.6% increase over the previous record of $89,847 which was set in 2008. A total of 39 yearlings made $100,000 which tied the record set for a session in 2007. Pacing Colts Sold - 21       Average Price - $77,714 Highest Price - $130,000   Pacing Fillies Sold - 27 Average Price - $106,333 Highest Price - $325,000   Trotting Colts Sold - 31 Average Price - $121,197 Highest Price - $400,000   Trotting Fillies Sold - 18 Average Price - $106,722 Highest Price - $400,000 A total of 156 yearlings were sold during the Wednesday night second session for a total of $8,833,000, producing an average of  about $56,500. Last year's average price for the second session was $52,734. The sale continues on Thursday night at 7 p.m. and runs though Saturday, October 4. Links; Sortable Sale Roster Sale Results Sale Streaming Video active during Sale Harnesslink Media      

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