Harness racing exports to North America from New Zealand had really dried up over the last few years and what was once a lucrative market for Kiwi owners had become a mere trickle of exports. A big part of that decline was due to the value of the New Zealand dollar which has sat around the high eighty cent mark for quite a few years. The recent large drop in the value of the New Zealand dollar against its American counterpart has seen a rekindling of interest from North American owners and trainers and quite a few have winged their way north recently. Three horses that went up to North America recently in Freespin, Backup and Eyre Hostess have all settled in brilliantly and are already plying their trade in their adopted homeland. The horses land in New York these days and the days of horses getting sick on arrival in Los Angeles seem like a thing of the past with the change of entry location. The Real Desire gelding Freespin ran third first up at Yonkers from the outside of the gate but then followed that up with a super front running effort to score in a sharp 1:53.4 on the half mile oval. The Lis Mara mare Eyre Hostess also ran third first up at Harrahs Philadelphia and then not to be outdone by Freespin put up a great run at her second start at the same track to score in 1:51.4 The Art Major gelding Backup was thrown in the deepend in the $25,000 open at Yonkers but performed with distinction, finishing second in 1:52.2 to the very well performed Lucan Hanover 1:48 ($698,533) Those kind of results in conjunction with the drop in the dollar have helped to drive a resurgence in the market and another planeload left for North America yesterday. On board were horses such as Mr Franklin, Kippenberger and Playaway amongst others and the next planeload is three quarters full already. While no one can predict where the dollar will end up as it continues to fall, Kiwi owners and trainers are taking advantage of having another outlet for horses that are on their mark here. Harnesslink Media
JUNE 21, 2015 - Ontario's talented three-year-old pacing colts put on an impressive show for Clinton Raceway harness racing fans on Sunday afternoon, kicked off by a 1:54.4 mile from Maracasso in his second straight Grassroots win. In rein to Phil Hudon, Maracasso fired to the front from Post 3 and sprinted through sharp early fractions of :28.2 and :55.1 that put him seven lengths in front of the field. In spite of cooling the tempo through the 1:24.2 three-quarters, Maracasso still hit the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Bob Ben And John. Fan favourite The Fire Within was 10 more lengths back in third. "He was actually hitting the bike; he was wound up," said Guelph, ON resident Hudon after the race. "So I just let him do what he wanted to, I would have took a lot out of him fighting him. And then up the backside I just tried to get as much real estate as I could, and it worked. "He raced good, he raced super - it was a great mile. Made my day anyways; I was happy," added the reinsman, who drove Maracasso to the win for trainer John Williamson of Waterdown, ON and his co-owner Daniel Haist of Ridgeville, ON. The victory puts Maracasso at the top of the three-year-old pacing colt and gelding Grassroots standings with 100 points, earned through his wins at Clinton on Sunday and at Mohawk Racetrack on June 2. The Lis Mara son has tallied $19,120 through five starts this season. Eight races later Hudon's mood was further elevated when he teamed Jeb to a 1:56.1 victory for trainer James "Friday" Dean of Guelph, ON and owners Wilma and James MacKenzie of Ennismore, ON. "He raced good. I just ended up cutting it out, got good fractions and let him kick home," said Hudon of Jeb's victory. "He's a nice little horse. He's a trip horse, but I figured on the small tracks you want to be on the front if you can get there." Starting from Post 1 in the ninth race, Jeb rang up fractions of :28.1, :58 and 1:27.1 on his way to the half-length victory over Deseronto and Charlottes Colony. The Camluck colt benefitted from an early speed duel that saw Deseronto and driver Trevor Henry thwart Naturescape and driver Doug McNair in their efforts to reach the front end. "If Trevor can't keep Dougie out in the turn, I would have been sitting third probably, so it worked out good. Just one of those days when everything works," said Hudon. Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson gave his father Carl a fitting Father's Day gift when he piloted Make Some Luck to a 1:56.1 victory in the fourth Grassroots division. Make Some Luck prevailed by one and one-quarter lengths in spite of a tough trip that saw him sit in the outer lane through much of the mile. "He wasn't well driven, but he was well prepared by my Dad on Father's Day," quipped the younger Jamieson, who owns the Camluck gelding and was joined in the winner's circle by his own son Jett. The win, over Pace Seelster and pacesetter Alexas Prayer, boosted Make Some Luck's 2015 Grassroots record to one win and one third for a total of 62 points. Driver Doug McNair of Guelph, ON also teamed his father Gregg's horse to a win in the second Grassroots division. The younger McNair sent Mac Raider straight to the front from Post 5 and the Mach Three gelding cruised home a four and three-quarter length winner in 1:56.4. The fan favourites bested Draft Seelster and Mister Big Top. Guelph, ON resident Gregg McNair shares ownership of Mac Raider with Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, ON, Don MacDonald and David Kryway of Amherstburg, ON. Jeremes Jet son Win One Soon captured the third Grassroots division, reeling in pacesetter Camvicted and Myhoneytellsall in the stretch. Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON engineered the1:57 victory for trainer Patrick Fletcher of Hagersville, ON and owner Ronald Ash of Desboro, ON. After starting his season at the Gold Series level, Southwind Indy found the Grassroots competition more to his liking, sailing around the Clinton half-mile to a 1:56.3 win for driver Chris Christoforou of Campbellville, ON, trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, ON and owners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, ON, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON and Southwind Farms LLC of Pennington, NJ. The Sportswriter son reached the finish two lengths ahead of Regal Sight and Mach Code. Sylvain Filion made his second trip to the Grassroots winner's circle in the final division, steering Western Bayama to a come-from-behind victory in 1:57.2. Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON trains the Lis Mara colt for owner-breeders Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. Sports Lightning and Halton Hurricane completed the triactor in the final division. Through the seven Grassroots contests and three overnight races, Clinton Raceway fans wagered a grand total of $38,000. Fans also donated generously to the Seaforth Public School playground equipment fundraiser, pushing the school $4,500 closer to their goal. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Clinton on Sunday, July 19 with the second Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The third Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings goes postward at Georgian Downs on July 4. Ontario Horse Racing
Charlottetown, PE - The game plan was go to the front. Harness racing driver Kenny Arsenault put Waterside Light in the three-high path around the first turn, marched to the lead on the route to the opening quarter and never looked back as they claimed the Saturday night feature at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The time of the mile was 1:59.3 over a track rated as "good" with a two second variant. The four-year-old pacer, owned by Larry Chappell, Marshfield, PE and former NHL player Hilliard Graves, Charlottetown, PE, held off Oh To Be Me (Gary Chappell) and First Art Down (Ken Murphy) in a wild scramble to the finish line. The son of Lis Mara notched his first win of the 2015 campaign after coming off the Ontario circuit. It was Arsenault's second winner on the program. Mark Bradley had a big night at the office with a driving triple. Bradley, who is teaming up with KKP in the Drive for Charity to raise money for Easter Seals, began his campaign aboard Soul Sacrifice for the Ultimate Stable, NB and then pulled off an upset with Whim Roader for owner Brooks Clarey and trainer John Clarey of Montague. The Charlottetown pilot also hit the line first with A Fiesty X Ample for the Racing 4 Island Charities stable. Representatives with Festival of Small Halls were trackside to greet Bradley on the win. Jason Hughes also recorded a driving double on the 12 dash event. The wager for the $42,153. By Lee Drake
SUMMERSIDE, PE - A topnotch harness racing field of five will go bridle to bridle Sunday afternoon at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway. First race post time is 1 pm for the 10-dash card. Big Surf is the heavy favourite in the race 9 feature event for a $2,200 purse. Regular pilot Marc Campbell is in Nova Scotia for stakes action so Steven Shepherd will take the lines this week for trainer Trevor Hicken and owners Perry Burke of Quebec and Burkie By The Bay Stables of Ten Mile House. The four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere was an impressive winner last week in Charlottetown in 1:53.2 and will have post 4 to work with this week as stablemate All Turain (Gary Chappell) has drawn post 5. Race analyst Jared Stretch will place his faith in Big Surf to land in the winner's circle. "The only interruption on that string of wins on his race lines is a very close second," Stretch said. "To say this guy is on fire would be an understatement." Outside The Wire (Jason Hughes) has post 1, while Machinthesand (Walter Cheverie) has post 2, with Motorino (Terry Gallant) defending his three race win streak from post 3. The backup pace lines up in race 6 with a field of half-a-dozen including morning line favourite Windemere Eric with owner-trainer Chappell doing the driving. Last year's leading trainer and driver Jason Hughes will sit behind the newcomer Kayas Sweetheart from post 6 for trainer Ralph Sweet and owners David, John and Kenneth Sweet. The aptly named race mare has made just one start on red soil since coming from the U.S. Also in the field is J Rs Hurricane (Ken Murphy), Pictonian Press (Mark Bradley), Camcun (Dale Spence) and Bowyer Hanover (Cheverie). First Art Down favoured in Red Shores Charlottetown feature CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - A group of seven will go for top honours Saturday night in the featured pace at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. First race post time is 6 pm for the 12-dash card. The Gary Chappell trained, driven and owned Oh To Be Me has post 2 in the race 11 $1,800 top event and the gets the nod from race analyst Les MacIsaac. "He gets home consistently in 28 seconds and from this favourable post he should be spotted close enough to the front to exploit that burst," MacIsaac said. "We'll give him a slight edge." First Art Down is the classifier's choice from post 3, fresh off a 1:57.1 victory last week in Charlottetown for driver Ken Murphy, trainer Clifford Murphy and owner Bruce Wood of Marshfield. Waterside Light makes his return to Island racing with post 4 for trainer-driver Kenny Arsenault and owners Larry Chappell of Marshfield and Hilliard Graves of Charlottetown. The four-year-old son of Lis Mara had been racing in Ontario in the Richard Moreau stable. The field also includes PC Shockwave (Wade Sorrie), Cambest Kisser (Jason Hughes), The Big Bite (Corey MacPherson) and Leading Camdidate (Walter Cheverie). Sinners In Heaven is the morning line choice in the race 9 $1,600 back-up class with Gary Chappell in the bike for trainer Earl Watts and owners Lana Murphy and River Valley Management of New Brunswick and Windemere Farms of Hampshire. The five-year-old son of Articulator will face off with five rivals including Oakrock Almighty (Ron Matheson), Unstoppable Speed (Mark McKinnon), Astor Shark (Hughes), Rash B Havior (Mike Peters) and Mcjestic (MacPherson). Race 8 will see Arnold Dick continue his three-year-old season fresh off his 1:56.3 second place finish to Dixieland Band Sunday at the Summerside Raceway in the Bob Dewar stake. The Coastocoast Yankee colt has post 6 in the field of eight for trainer-driver and co-owner Terry Gallant and co-owners Michael Gallant and P.E.I. track announcer Vance Cameron, all of Summerside. By Nicholas Oakes for Red Shores
JUNE 2, 2015 – Everything came together for three-year-old pacing gelding Maracasso at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening as the John Williamson trainee earned his first ever harness racing victory in an $18,000 Grassroots division. After sitting third through fractions of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:23.2, Maracasso burst out of the pack in the stretch and reeled in pacesetter Mac Raider to earn the nose victory in 1:53. “The horse needed a trip and he got lucky enough to get one,” said driver Jody Jamieson after the race. “If you’re going to break your maiden, it’s better to be in a stake race than anywhere else.” Trainer Williamson of Waterdown and Daniel Haist of Ridgeville share ownership of Maracasso and Jamieson was pleased to engineer the win for the longtime partners. “They’ve both been in the business, both partners, for a long, long time. They’ve had moderate success, but maybe this horse is their OSS horse for the year,” said the driver. Maracasso made two starts in the Grassroots program last season, finishing third and sixth, and the Lis Mara son had two sophomore starts under his belt heading into Tuesday’s contest. “I actually raced him last year, and he was really immature,” noted Moffat resident Jamieson. “He’s still fairly immature, but he definitely got the right division and he raced well.” Maracasso bested fan favourite Mac Raider, owned by Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph and Don MacDonald and David Kryway of Amherstburg, and Regal Sight in the fourth of seven Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The first division was captured by Mr Carrotts and driver Phil Hudon of Guelph, who circled the Mohawk Racetrack oval in 1:52.2 for trainer Murray Brethour and owner-breeder Melvyn Varcoe of Thornton. The win was the first of the season for the Mach Three gelding, but his fifth straight top three result. Sportswriter son Windsong Lightning stepped to the quickest victory of the seven Grassroots divisions, halting the Mohawk teletimer at 1:51.3. Guelph resident James MacDonald engineered the win for trainer David Menary of Cambridge and owners Terry De Matteo of Stoney Creek, and Mark Searles and 648885 Ontario Limited of Caledonia. Milton resident Randy Waples piloted Artful Way to a 1:51.4 score in the third split for trainer, owner and breeder Bob McIntosh of Windsor. The Artistic Fella son edged out favourite Naturescape to score his second straight victory. Mach Code earned his first win of the season in the seventh race, cruising home a five length winner in rein to Guelph resident Doug McNair. The leading Ontario Sires Stakes reinsman in 2014, McNair steered Mach Code to the 1:52.2 win for trainer Jeffrey Thomson, who shares ownership of the Mach Three – Early Dismissal homebred with Lori Thomson of Chesley. Driver Mario Baillargeon of Acton captured the last two divisions, guiding Tell All son Myhoneytellsall to a 1:53 win for trainer Rene Bourassa of Fergus and owner-breeders M & S Racing Stable Inc. of Rockwood, and then returning to the winner’s circle with HP Bushido Dragjet. Owned by breeder Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff, QC, HP Bushido Dragjet is trained by Benoit Baillargeon of Rockwood. The Jeremes Jet son earned the head victory over favourite York Seelster in a clocking of 1:53.3. The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings make their second Grassroots start at Clinton Raceway on June 21, while Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack this week with six Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts on Thursday and two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday evening. Post time for both events is 7:25 pm.
Last Sunday saw the first two heats of the harness racing NZ Amateur Drivers Championships of 2015 held at the Rangiora Raceway with full fields of 12 runners in each heat. Thankfully, giving the Aucklanders taking part in the races no cause to moan about the cold, the day dawned a glorious example of Canterbury Autumn weather, and the scene was set for some competitive racing. And that is just what we saw. The first heat, over 2000 metres was a very even betting affair, with no horse standing out on the tote and some good value to be had. One of those slightly over the odds was Mark McNamara’s horse up from the Tony Barron barn, Heretic Franco. It seems that many thought that the big mares’ ‘scorched earth’ tactics that resulted in her recent Forbury win wouldn’t be repeated, but driven perfectly to instructions, Richard Sissons let the daughter of Lis Mara roll, and at the 400 metre mark, she looked home. However, Little Lion Man, under the guidance of Danny Blakemore slowly ate into her lead up the passing lane and actually hit the front short of the post. Not to be denied though, Richard extracted another ounce of energy from his charge and she fought back bravely to take the decision in an exciting finish. The second heat also provided a stirring finish with the two favourites fighting out a nose finish, well clear of the opposition. Daniel Reardon and Gavin Cook kept their favoured charges back off the pace while there was a spirited contest for the lead over the first 1000 metres, and then they swept up together and took over. Turning for home Daniel on Bandana led Gavin Cook on Take After Me, and after another exciting battle up the straight, just clung on for a narrow victory. All in all, two contests worthy of their Championship status. Thanks to the generosity of the Rangiora HRC, drivers and connections of the horses involved we were then treated to a superb lunch and refreshments in a private area to renew friendships, relive their experiences, and look forward to the second round of the Championships, to be staged at Alexandra Park on Sunday 3 May. The current standings on the New Zealand Championships Points Table is as follows: Daniel Reardon 20 Gavin Cook 19 Steve Phillips 18 John McDermott 16 Alan Edge 15 Danny Blakemore 15 Richard Sissons 15 Jeff Darby 13 Gerry Cronin 12 Sue Blake 8 John Kriechbaumer 5 James Brownlee 2 Pete Cook
MANALAPAN, NJ - April 13, 2015 - Rebates are not only for new cars. The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, acting on a recommendation of its Breeders Committee, has announced a rebate program of up to $100,000 for 2015 breeding fees for pacing stallions standing in the State of New Jersey. The New Jersey Pacing Stallion Breeding Incentive offers a rebate of the full advertised stallion fee [up to $2,500 maximum] for New Jersey resident mares and 50 percent of the stallion fee [up to a $1,250 maximum] for non-resident mares. "Essentially, this will result in a heavily subsidized breeding with the strong likelihood that when the resulting foals reach the races, New Jersey will have a much improved purse structure," said Michael Gulotta, chairman of the SBOANJ Breeders Committee. "With expectations growing for a positive environment for racing in the next couple of years, these foals could very well be highly valuable assets." The rebate will coincide with the stud fee payment. A requirement for participation includes the nomination of the resulting foals as well as two-year-old sustaining payments for the New Jersey Sire Stakes program. The New Jersey Sire Stakes payments will be deducted from the rebate. Additionally, to be eligible, stallions must be enrolled in the USTA's STARS program. "We want to incentivize breeders who have not as yet bred their broodmares this year to consider New Jersey's pacing stallions," said SBOANJ President Tom Luchento. "With the number of pacing mares booked so far in 2015, we foresee a limited number of two-year-old pacers competing in the New Jersey Sire Stakes in 2018. This is a pilot program for 2015, but if it proves successful, our Breeders Committee will review the possibility of renewing it." Eligible stallions are Great Vintage and Hurrikane King Cole, who are standing at Walnridge Farm; If I Can Dream and Lis Mara, who are at Deo Volente Farm, and Philos Hanover at Last Cance Farm. For further information, contact the SBOANJ.
TORONTO, March 28 - Sophomore pacing colts took centre-stage Saturday night at Woodbine for the first leg of the Youthful series. A solid harness racing group of 21 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $15,000 divisions for the opening round of the three-week series event. Fresh off his win in the WEGZ series last Saturday, Dialamara kept the momentum rolling with a 1:52.3 victory in the first division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Dialamara got away early in fifth and would jump into the outer flow down the backstretch. American Rock, the 9/5 favourite, took control of the lead in the second-quarter. Around the final turn, Dialamara got right up along side the favourite to set up a stretch battle. In the lane, Dialamara was able to forge past American Rock in deep stretch to win by a head. Team Captain finished third, while Vegas Rocks took fourth. A three-year-old son of Lis Mara, Dialamara now has four wins from seven starts this season for trainer Patrick Fletcher. The first leg triumph increases the sophomore's career bankroll to over $92,000 for owner John Lamers. The 1:52.3 clocking lowers Dialamara's career-mark by more than a second. He returned $8.40 to win. In the second division, Legion Of Boom dug deep in the stretch to hold off his rivals and score a 1:55.1 victory. Driven and co-owned by Doug McNair, Legion Of Boom was put right on the front immediately by McNair. After cutting out fractions of :28.1 and :57.1, Legion Of Boom was confronted first up by Pantheon Hanover. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3, Legion Of Boom squared off with Pantheon Hanover in the stretch and would show plenty of grit to hold off his rival and get the job done. Giovanni took the place spot, while fourth went to Nobettorplacetobe. A three-year-old son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is trained by Gregg McNair for his son Doug, who co-owns with Equus Standardbreds Inc. The sophomore pacer now has three wins from six starts in his first season of racing. The winner's share of the purse increases his bankroll to over $41,000. Legion Of Boom's victory was one of four winning steers for driver Doug McNair on the card. The McNair trainee returned $4.80 to win. In order to be eligible to the Youthful, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $15,000 in 2014. The second round of the Youthful series will take place next Saturday (April 4). For full results from tonight's card click here. Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, March 21 - A field of nine three-year-old pacing colts and geldings squared off in the WEGZ final including first leg winner Dialamara and J Js Delivery who impressed in the second leg while making his seasonal debut. Dialamara, trained by Pat Fletcher for owner John Lamers, spoiled his two-hole trip a week ago by making a break at the three-quarter pole. This week, however, the Lis Mara colt made no mistakes tracking the early pace of J Js Delivery from third position through a half in :57, advancing confidently into second position through the turn. James Macdonald allowed Dialamara a quick breather at the top of the lane before digging in with a powerful closing kick to reel in J Js Delivery in the final stride. Dialamara stopped the clock in 1:54.1. Dialamara The WEGZ Series is for Ontario-sired three-year-olds that were non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Maplelea completed a sweep of the Horseplayer Interactive series on Saturday night capturing the $39,400 Final with ease as the harness racing 1-9 mutuel favourite in 1:55.3. Maplelea, owned and trained by Andrew Moore, now has five wins from seven starts in 2015. The Sportswriter filly won the opening leg of the HorsePlayer Interactive series by five lengths on March 6 and nearly doubled that margin of victory a week later to take the second leg by 9 1/4-lengths. Rick Zeron steered Maplelea into third position in the HPI final as Mega Machsy notched the opening quarter in :28.2 with Missy Tap Tina chasing her early pace. Maplelea took command down the backstretch marking the half in :57.3 and three-quarters in 1:25.2. War Filly, runner-up in the second leg, advanced through the turn to take a run at Maplelea but had to settle for place. Wake N Bake closed to complete the triactor. Maplelea paid $2.10 to win. Maplelea In order to be eligible to the Horseplayer Interactive, the Ontario sired sophomore pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Dialamara arrived in the nick of time to collar favoured J Js Delivery and win the $42,400 WEGZ Final on Saturday night at Woodbine. Woodbine Communications Office
Harness racing breeders are never slow to pick up the trends about new sires and these days are pretty quick to abandon any stallion who they think is not delivering on the track. The numbers of mares served by some of our newer sires this year are way down on what they served just twelve months ago and are due no doubt to the lack of winners these stallions are producing. The first one we are going to review is Art Official who dropped this season to just 17 mares after covering 72 last season. His oldest crop are three year olds and numbers 49 horses of which nineteen have qualified but just five have won a race. His second crop are two year olds this year and that crop numbers 80 horses and have produced one smart horse in Salty Robyn 1:53.9 ($ 44,600) who has been burning up Menagle in the last two months. His Australian offspring are doing a good job with small numbers which makes the New Zealand situation harder to understand. Overall Art Official has been a little disappointing and unless his stock have a big next six months it is hard to see him coming back to Australasia next season. Tintin In America is another sire whose numbers fell away this year even though his oldest crop are only two year olds. That first crop numbers only 32 horses but to date has only had three qualifiers which is disappointing. It is way to early to make any decision about him as a sire but he only served 13 mares this year which means the breeders have taken a wait and see approach. Tintin In America badly needs four or five of those two year olds to salute the judge and create some momentum before the next breeding season or his days as a sire might be numbered. The former champion pacer Elsu is another stallion to get the cold shoulder from breeders. This is a stallion who has produced over 250 winners of over $12,733,000 to date in Australasia alone yet breeders have deserted him. This year he served just six mares in New Zealand and his future may lie in Australia where his stock have won over $8,424,000 and where he has left most of his winners. Gotta Go Cullect is another stallion to get the cold shoulder from breeders after being given every chance in his initial seasons at stud. In his first four years he served over 100 mares every year but this fell away bigtime this season with him attracting just 18 mares. At present he has 222 three year olds and older in New Zealand and to date he has sired just 30 winners so his days may be numbered in New Zealand. Lis Mara was an interesting one for us in that his numbers are not that bad overall. He has 175 horses three year old or older and so far has produced 49 winners and a further 37 that have qualified. Their main problem is like their sire they are better with a bit of age and people are not prepared to wait these days. From a high of 90 mares, Lis Mara dropped to just 7 mares this season and there would have to be real doubts that he would shuttle next year. Finally the trotting sire The Pres is another stallion to suffer a big drop off in demand from breeders after a slow start to his siring career. His oldest crop are just three year olds and number 38 horses and to date he has had just two winners as well as a further four qualifiers. From a high of 80 mares bred in 2013, The Pres slipped to just 13 mares this season and like all the others here badly needs a few flagbearers. It is very early for a trotting sire to be condemned but the breeders patience these days seems to wear out very quickly with any sire not performing immediately. What the above list shows is how hard it is to get a foot on the stallion ladder and once there how difficult it is to stay there. Harnesslink Media
TORONTO, February 6 - A pair of winter harness racing series got underway Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The Count B Series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings saw two $17,000 divisions contested, while the Ontario Girls Series for four-year-old pacing mares needed just one $18,000 division for the first leg of the three-week event. A field of seven battled in an eventful first division to get Count B action underway. Conversation Boy, the 4/5 favourite, got away early in fifth, but made a break as the field turned into the backstretch. The miscue was quickly resolved and driver Sylvain Filion elected to roll the favourite to the front, eventually clearing in front of the leader Newbie just after the midway point. Conversation Boy would lead the field around the final turn, but was confronted first up by Dialamara and driver Trevor Henry. Meanwhile, Legion Of Boom, the 5/2 second choice, was pacing along fourth, but made a break just before the three-quarter pole taking himself out of contention. In the stretch, Conversation Boy and Dialamara would slug it out, while Newbie came off the rail to the outside to make it a close three-horse finish. At the wire, Dialamara came away with a three-quarters of a length victory over Conversation Boy in 1:54.3. Newbie finished third. Legion Of Boom recovered from the final turn break to finish fourth, but was placed back to sixth for interference while on a break. A three-year-old son of Lis Mara, Dialamara was making his first start of 2015. The sophomore now has three career wins from nine starts for trainer Patrick Fletcher and owner John Lamers. Friday night's victory pushes his bankroll over $40,000 and the clocking of 1:54.1 lowers his lifetime mark by more than three-seconds. Dialamara returned $10.70 to win. In the second division, Camvicted went gate-to-wire to remain undefeated in three starts. Driven by Trevor Henry, Camvicted sprinted out to the lead ahead of his five other rivals and was able to call the shots without any challengers through the first three-quarters of the mile. Camvicted posted fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:26.4 and faced his first challenge when His Boy Elroy came first up from fourth around the final turn to draw within half a length of the leader as they turned into the stretch. In the stretch, Camvicted and Henry were able to fight off His Boy Elroy and Shippen Out on the far outside, while also keeping Nobettorplacetobe locked in the pocket to win in 1:56. Shippen Out finished second by a length, while Nobettorplacetobe finished third just ahead of His Boy Elroy. A three-year-old son of Camluck, Camvicted has now won the first three starts of his career in 2015 for owners Doug & Dennis Belan and Brian Fitzgerald. The sophomore pacer is trained by Richard Moreau and now has a bankroll of $22,500. A $2 win ticket on Camvicted returned $3.20. In order to be eligible to The Count B Series, the three-year-old pacers had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Artistic Fusion carried the momentum from her Blizzard Series sweep into round one of the Ontario Girls. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Artistic Fusion left from post nine and was parked past the opening-quarter before eventually clearing to the front in the first turn. Filion was able to tap the breaks in the second-quarter and reach the half in :58. Around the final turn, Mea Lilley Mark came first up to challenge the leader and the mares past the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion put away Mea Lilley Mark, but had to deal with Performing Art, who got a two-hole trip, coming at her on the inside. Artistic Fusion was able to hold off Performing Art to reach the wire first and win by a head in 1:56.1. Jakardez got up for third, while Bet Ya finished fourth. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino and has now won four consecutive starts to remain undefeated in 2015. Friday night's win was the tenth of her career and pushes her career earnings over $115,000 for owner Mike Foote. Artistic Fusion returned $3.90 to win, In order to be eligible to the Ontario Girls, the four-year-old pacing mares had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime or $50,000 last year as of October 31, 2014. The second leg of both The Count B and the Ontario Girls will take place next Friday (February 13). Mark McKelvie
Lightly raced two year old Regal Nightshade will make his first trip to Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night when he competes in the Gr. 3 NSW Sapling Stakes. Prepared by Leeton harness racing trainer Bill Trembath, the two year old son of Lis Mara has only raced three times and is already a winner, taking out a heat of the Leeton Breeders Plate on December 26. "Regal Nightshade was purchased by John and Leslie O'Sullivan at the Bathurst Gold Crown sale last year and I took him home to break him in," Bill Trembath said. "I had Enjoythegoodtimes for the O'Sullivan family a few years ago, he won a heat of the Breeders Plate as well but Regal Nightshade always showed ability from the first day and when he started trialling around the two minute mark at Leeton I knew he had some talent." Regal Nightshade has drawn barrier nine on Saturday night and will start directly outside Bettermatch, the two year old that beat him in the Breeders Plate final. "The draw hasn't helped much, Bettermatch is a very nice horse and he looks hard to beat and so does Shane Tritton's horse Salty Robyn. He won at Goulburn impressively and ran a good time too." "Regal Nightshade has good gate speed but I will just wait and see what happens early." Trembath has confirmed he plans on returning to Sydney for the Rod Fitzpatrick Memorial on Saturday February 21. "Yeah the prize money is so strong, when there is $50,000 up for grabs you have to be competing in these types of events, after that I plan on taking him to Bathurst for the Gold Crown and then I think I will probably turn him out and give him a blow." The NSW Sapling Stakes is Race 5 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night and will begin at 8:20pm. By Greg Hayes
Toronto, ON --- The stage is set for the first two stakes finals of 2015 this Friday (Jan. 23) at Woodbine Racetrack. The $45,000 Snowshoe Series and the $40,000 Blizzard Series finals have been carded as races six and nine on Friday’s 11-race harness racing card. The Snowshoe for 3- and 4-year-old pacers featured seven divisions over the opening two legs and saw seven different winners prevail. All seven winners will return to make up a wide-open ten-horse series finale. Four of the seven winners, Ramblingamblinman (post one, Rick Zeron), Kindofabigdeal (post four, Sylvain Filion), A Boy Named Suuzzz (post five, Jonathan Drury) and P L Heavenly (post 10, Anthony MacDonald), also had a second place finish in a separate leg. The other three division winners were Vegas Rich (post two, Paul MacDonell), Decisive Destiny (post three, Trevor Henry) and Whistle Jimmy K (post eight, Doug McNair). The Richard Moreau trainee Kindofabigdeal has been a top performer on the stakes series scene over the last few months. The 4-year-old son of No Pan Intended won a leg and finished second in the final of the Ontario Sired Autumn Series. The gelding followed that up by capturing the first two legs of the Valedictory, but finished third in the final on Boxing Day. The connections of Kindofabigdeal will hope the third time is the charm to capture a series title, but they will have their hands full with a stack of challengers, including the speedy Ramblingamblinman. Trained by Rick Zeron, Ramblingamblinman joined the Zeron barn in late November and turned in an eye-catching career best performance of 1:51.4 in a non-winners of two event on Dec. 15. The 4-year-old son of Lis Mara finished second in the opening Snowshoe leg and followed that up with a 5-1/4 length victory in round two. The second leg victory was the largest margin of victory in the first two rounds of the series. The Snowshoe Series was first staged in 1978 and has been a launching pad for successful older horses, including Modern Legend, last year’s Canadian Pacing Derby champion, who won the series back in 2012. Unlike the Snowshoe, the Blizzard Series for 3- and 4-year-old pacing fillies and mares has been dominated by one horse. Artistic Fusion (post five, Sylvain Filion) has stamped herself as the horse to beat in the ten-horse final, after winning in both of the first two legs, including a more than seven length victory in round one. The Joe Agostino trainee won the Ontario Sired Autumn Series final on Nov. 28 and finished second to Witch Dali in the Niagara Series final on Boxing Day. A 4-year-old daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion won five of 19 starts last year and will look to improve to three for three in 2015 by sweeping the Blizzard Series for owner Mike Foote. Mappos Moenhay (post three, Mike Saftic), A Fearless Affair (post eight, Simon Allard) and Deuces For Charity (post nine, Paul MacDonell) were all division winners that also finished second in another leg and will be looking to block the broom of Artistic Fusion. The Blizzard Series was first raced in 1980 and has been won by several mares that went on to be Open class competitors, including Art's Secret (1998) and Numeric Hanover (2003). In order to be eligible to both the Snowshoe and Blizzard Series, the 3- and 4-year-olds had to be non-winners of two races or C$30,000 lifetime as of Oct. 31, 2014. Post time for Friday night’s card is 7:25 p.m. Here are the complete fields for Friday’s stakes finals. Race 6: Snowshoe Series Final–Purse: C$45,000 Post-Horse-Driver 1. Ramblingamblinman–Rick Zeron 2. Vegas Rich–Paul MacDonell 3. Decisive Destiny–Trevor Henry 4. Kindofabigdeal–Sylvain Filion 5. A Boy Named Suuzz–Jonathan Drury 6. Bad Bug–James MacDonald 7. American Island–Trevor Henry 8. Whistle Jimmy K–Doug McNair 9. Ys Lotus–Simon Allard 10. P L Heavenly–Anthony MacDonald AE: Newbie–Randy Waples Race 9: Blizzard Series Final–Purse: C$40,000 Post-Horse-Driver 1. P L Hurricane–Chris Christoforou 2. Onyourmarknatava–Rick Zeron 3. Mappos Moenhay–Mike Saftic 4. Badlands Love–Sylvain Filion 5. Artistic Fusion–Sylvain Filion 6. Doc's Hollywood–Phil Hudon 7. Bettim Jenny–Roger Mayotte 8. A Fearless Affair–Simon Allard 9. Deuces For Charity–Paul MacDonell 10. All The Ladies–James MacDonald Woodbine Entertainment Group
Mohawk Racetrack had four $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series contests for rookie pacing fillies on their Thursday (September 11) harness racing program, and Sassafras Girl took the fastest time as she won the third flight in 1:53.3. With Phil Hudon handling the driving chores, Sassafras Girl shot to the lead from her post three starting position, and she would click off fractions of :27, :56, and 1:25. The fillies sprinted for home off that 59 second middle half, and Sassafras Girl kicked out a :28.3 final panel to seal the win by two and a quarter lengths over Twin B Honour (Trevor Henry). Little Miss Artist (Doug McNair) was third. Murray Brethour trains Sassafras Girl, a Badlands Hanover filly, for owner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Sassafras Girl, who is now four-for-eight overall and has banked $31,280, was bred by Winbak Farm. She’s out of the Die Laughing mare Tug River Della ($219,395) and a half-sister to the likes of Rub N Tug ($433,999). This was Sassafras Girl’s third Grassroots success of the season, joining her wins on July 10 and August 11 at Mohawk. Back in the Grassroots opener public choice Southwind Luna (Billy Davis Jr.) carved out fractions of :27.2, :56.4, and 1:26.2, and at the eighth pole she was clear by over three lengths. However, she began to falter inside the final sixteenth, and pocket-sitter Marachere (Jonathan Drury) took advantage, getting up in the shadow of the wire to prevail by half a length in 1:54.4. Southwind Luna had to settle for second and OK Hallelujah (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Marachere, a filly by Lis Mara, broke her maiden in her third try and pushed her earnings to $15,660. Trainer Carmen Auciello of Stouffville, Ontario, also co-owns Marachere with partners Robert Watson of London, Armando Cappuccitti of Maple and Mike Bartram of Ingersoll, Ontario. Marachere, who was bred by Ervin Miller Stable Inc., is the second foal out of the Cole Muffler mare Cherry Tree Coco, a full sister to Home Bed Advantage ($574,535). Race favourite Ride Away Shark (Jody Jamieson) had her backers smiling after a 1:54.4 triumph in the second Grassroots flight. She was in the lead at the 27 second opening quarter, the :55.3 half, and the 1:24.4 three-quarters on her way to a three-quarter length decision over Dublin Rose (Paul MacDonell). Amazing Control (Mike Saftic) checked in third. Ride Away Shark, another Winbak Farm-bred filly, has a trio of victories from eight attempts and has put away $28,480 for trainer Scott McNiven and owners Kim McNiven of Putnam and Thomas Brodhurst of London, Ontario. Those connections took Ride Away Shark, a daughter of Classic Card Shark, out of last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale for $7,000. She’s the first foal out of the Dream Away mare Freedom Away. This was Ride Away Shark’s second Grassroots win of the year as she was also victorious on August 11 at Mohawk. The Grassroots nightcap was brought to you by the number three as Ms Mac N Cheese (Sylvain Filion) posted her third consecutive Grassroots win and breeder Winbak Farm won for the third time. Ms Mac N Cheese worked her way around Machin Marley (Billy Davis Jr.) for the lead at the :27.1 opening quarter, and she would go on to post a :56.2 half and a 1:25.4 three-quarters. Ms Mac N Cheese padded her advantage through the stretch and then coasted home late to win by two and a half lengths in 1:54 flat. She was followed across the finish line by Evas Girl (Peter Core) and OK Heavenly (Doug McNair). Richard Moreau trains the victorious Badlands Hanover filly for owner L. David Ratchford of North Sydney, Nova Scotia. She has five wins from seven attempts this season, and she has earned $33,467. The second foal out of the Artiscape mare Mr Delis Filly, Ms Mac N Cheese was sold for $10,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. Tonight’s races concluded the Grassroots regular season for two-year-old pacing fillies. They will return to Mohawk on September 19 for their Semifinal events. For full results and charts of Thursday night’s events at Mohawk from the Ontario Sire Stakes
On a beautiful autumn Sunday afternoon, the Hippodrome 3R hosted its richest harness racing program of the 2014 harness racing season with the $425,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. There were seven championship finals on the wagering card. It did not take long for the first track record to be rewritten on the racing card as Meganou got the job done in the very first race, the $55,000 final for two-year-old trotters. Driven by Jocelyn Gendron, Meganou left from three and never looked back. The daughter of Kadabra held the field at bay the entire one mile race, leading by four to five lengths at all times. She cut fractions of :30, 1:00.2, 1:31 and coasted home to win by three and one-half lengths in 2:01.1. Intouchable (Simon Allard) was second with Notrouble Dechafra (Stehane Brosseau) third. It was the third straight win and third straight track record performance for Meganou. Only this week Meganou became the fastest two-year-old trotter regardless of gender in the history of the Hippodrome 3R with her 2:01.1 clocking. The mile rewrote her record for fillies that she set last week of 2:02 and surpassed the trotting colt record of 2:01.3 set by Jobie Tempest more than 21 years ago in 1993. Trained by Daniel Martin and owned by Jean Picard of Orford, QC, it was the fourth win this year for Meganou, who paid $3.00 to win. In the second race $65,000 final for three-year-old trotting fillies, track record holder Viva Bayama and trainer/driver Yves Filion waited patiently in fourth place as Kim Sorel (Martin Gingras) cut early fractions of :28.4 and :58.3. Once the field entered the backstretch the second time, Filion made his move first-over with Viva Bayama and the Muscle Mass filly blew past the leaders by the three-quarters in 1:29.1 and won with ease by five open lengths in 2:00.3. Bambie Benjo (Rheo Filion) was second with Lucyll Bro (Stephane Gendron) third. Owned and bred by Filion’s Bayama Farms, Inc. of Saint-Andre D’Argenteul, QC, Viva Bayama scored her fourth win this year and paid $3.10 to win. Yves Filion did not waste any time coming back to the winner’s circle as he won the very next race, the $55,000 final for two-year-old pacing colts with Western Bayama in a lifetime best clocking of 1:58. Mr Sunshine Boy (Pascal Berube) was first on the lead with Half A Billion (Stephane Gendron) sitting on their backs to the opening quarter mile in a speedy :27.4. Gendron then came right out and took over the lead by the half mile in :58.1 as the action really heated up with Clinton Panic (Gilles Gendron) coming first-over and race favorite, track record holder Sugarsam (Denis St Pierre) second-over. Pierre then came three-wide around Clinton Panic) and by the three-quarters in 1:28 had closed the gap on Half A Billion but that was when Yves Filion and Western Bayama came into the picture and was three-wide around the final turn. Coming down the stretch, Filion was able to urge Western Bayama on to victory by one and one-half lengths with Half A Billion third and Sugarsam third. Also owned and bred by Bayama Farms, it was just the second win in five lifetime starts for Western Bayama, a son of Lis Mara who paid $6.50 to win. The only two-time Quebec-Bred Series was crowded at 3R today as Maximuscle had little trouble for driver Mario Charron in beating six rivals in the fourth race $65,000 final for three-year-old trotting colts. Clearing to the lead before the opening quarter mile in :29, Charron and Maximuscle were in easy command until after the half mile and then Charron asked for a little more from Maximuscle and the son of Angus Hall responded by kicking in another gear and leaving the rest of the field behind. By the time they reached the top of the stretch Maximuscle was up by five lengths and went on to win in a romp by nine and one-half lengths in 1:59.2. Andovers Touch (Stephane Brosseau) was second with Somoli E (Jerome Lombart) third. Trained by Eric Valiquette, Maximuscle was bred and is owned by Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC and posted his seventh win in ten starts this year, paying $2.80 to win. Native son Daniel Dube, of the top driver in all of harness racing, came back to 3R to compete in the championship program and he did not go home empty handed in the $55,000 final for two-year-old trotting fillies. Driving the 1/5 favorite My Fleet Three from post two, Dube sent the daughter of Mach Three right to the lead and never looked back, cutting fractions of :28.1, :58.1 and 1:28 and then cruising home to win by two and one-half lengths in 1:57.1. The pocket sitting First Girl (Stephane Gendron) was second with Voodoo Charm (Yves Filion) third. The time of the race was a new track record for filly pacers as My Fleet Three erased her own mark set last week of 1:57.4. Trained by Richard Moreau for breeder/owner Gestion Mario Audet, Inc. of Yves Sarrazin, QC, it was the second win in five lifetime starts for My Fleet Three. She paid $2.60 to win. The 1/5 wagering favorite, Champagne Shower (Denis St Pierre) were unable to maintain their lead at the top of the stretch as Chaleurs Fantasy and driver Stephane Gendron were able to sneak up along the rail and post a 9-1 upset victory in the $65,000 final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Thrill Chaser (Marie Auger), who followed pacesetter Champagne Shower but elected to go to the outside in the stretch, was second with Champagne Shower fading to third place. For Chaleurs Fantasy, a daughter of Omar Khayam, the time of the race, 1:58, was a lifetime mark and the sixth win this year for the Carl Duguay trainee. She won by one and one-quarter lengths for breeder/owner Elevage Baie Des Chaleurs of Port-Daniel, QC. She paid $21.60 to win. The Hippodrome 3R scheduled the fastest division as the last one as the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings battled it out for $65,000. It was not so much as a battle as it looked to be as Atomic Million AM was made the 2/5 favorite and raced just like it for driver Sylvain Lacalle. The gelded son of Million Dollar Cam took the early lead away from rival Hall Bro (Stephane Brosseau) by the opening quarter mile in :27 and then cut fractions of :56 and 1:25.2 before hold off Hall Bro in the stretch to win by one length in 1:54. Bali (Marie Auger) finished third. It was the 9th win in 15 starts this year for Atomic Million AM. He is trained, bred and owned by Alan Martin of Gatineau, QC and paid $2.80 to win. The Hippodrome 3R has completed its Tuesday night race schedule this season and is now open just on Sunday’s. There will be one special Saturday night program on September 20, the eve of the Prix D’Ete Sunday with a 7:30 pm post time that Saturday night. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Harness racing can be really frustrating at times when you know horses have ability to burn but they are having problems translating that into performances on the racetrack. New Deal fits into that category bigtime but he is finally starting to repay his supporters with displays more in keeping with his ability. Before New Deal ever had his first start, he gave a glimpse of how talented he was at a trials meeting at Rangiora. In a maiden 2000 meters trial, New Deal led early, steadied and then brushed home in 54.6 and 26.9 without being driven out. It was a display of raw talent that was not missed by punters but what New Deal didn't have in those early days was ringcraft. New Deal was prone to every mistake in the book and raced accordingly with just one win in his first ten starts. He started to turn the corner late in his last campaign, winning two of his last three starts and resumed recently with an emphatic win at Rangiora. Sent straight to the front by regular driver Colin DeFilippi, New Deal toyed with his rivals in the 2000 meters mobile, winning in a 1:59.6 mile rate with smart closing sectionals of 55.8 and 27.3. Tonight at Addington, New Deal has drawn two at the barrier over his pet distance of 1950 meters and if he brings his "A" game to the table he will be very hard to beat. However the strength of the field means New deal will need to be at his best as there are several promising horses drawn handily in the 1950 mobile for C3 - C5 pacers. The Tim Butt trained Franco Harrington has drawn barrier one and the son of Lis Mara is coming off a great second to Dalton Bromac at his last start. Weather 1950 meters is really his go is debatable but the draw and ability means he is a big chance. Lewy Risk from barrier four has Ricky May in the bike tonight and he looms as another winning chance with four of his five wins coming at 1950 meters. His last start third to Dalton Bromac was also full of merit and given a run to suit will be very competitive. The last of the main chances is Lumos form the Robert Dunn barn who has drawn barrier six and he comes into the race with a great last start third to Christen Me and Lochaburn. It is an enormous drop back in class here but the 1950 meters has not been kind to Lumos in the past with just one win from 13 attempts. Class will take him a long way but we would prefer him over more ground. So for us, New Deal to continue his progression through the grades with Franco Harrington, Lewy Risk and Lumos the main dangers. Throw in Hi Jinx and Florin for trifecta and first four players. Harnesslink Media