If there is one thing you can be sure of heading into this years round of yearling sales in New Zealand, it is that the usual handful of stallions will dominate proceedings. Bettor's Delight just continues to raise the bar every year with his progeny dominating Australasian harness racing like no stallion in living memory and will deservedly be the most sought after sire. Hot in pursuit will be his biggest challengers in Art Major, Mach Three and Somebeachsomewhere but after that, the pacing stallion picture becomes a lot less clear. Rocknroll Hanover and Rock N Roll Heaven have had their moments at past sales and do have particularly strong offerings this year which may lift their results up to the top level above The averages for all of the other stallions at last years round of sales suggested buyers were a lot less forgiving of issues or faults with progeny of what we called the "second tier stallions". Some made reasonable money but a lot would have struggled to break even which in the context of what a lot of these sires have produced would seem an unfair result. In our view there is a lot of value for money to be had in the progeny of the second tier stallions at New Zealand sales and this year is no exception. Most of these stallions have shown they can leave that classic winning youngster but just not at the same frequency as the Bettor's Delights of this world. A good example for us is Lot 117 at the Australasian Classic Yearling sale. Named Lacey's Lad, he is a son of Lis Mara from the race winning Christian Cullen mare in Van Seraa. Van Seraa has three foals that are three years or older on the ground and to date she is batting at 100% winners to foals * Raesawinner - 1: 56.7 ($ 92,821) - By Elsu * Georgia's Jury 1:57.3 ($59,871) - By Lis Mara * Van Mara - 1:58.2 ($15,150) - By Lis Mara Georgia's Jury was a classic filly at three, running second to Adore Me in the three year old filly Sires Stakes final while Van Mara is a three year old who won recently at Alexandra Park. So this years offering is a full brother to two smart winners and the individual himself is a strong athletic looking colt so he ticks a lot of boxes for prospective buyers. To us he is typical of the value for money yearlings available at the sales by second tier stallions and deserves more than a passing glance from prospective buyers. Harnesslink Media
In December 2015 both the New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey Assembly passed bills to put casino gaming on the ballot in November 2016. Despite the fact that those bills had some minor differences that could not be worked out by the end of 2015, it is clear that there was wide spread agreement to place the question of Northern New Jersey Casinos on the ballot in 2016. When the Legislature reconvenes in early 2016, there will be renewed efforts to reconcile those minor differences as reported by the State’s largest Newspaper, The Newark Star Ledger. We are confident that reconciliation will occur because it is in the political best interests of the legislators in both political parties to effect that reconciliation. Assuming we are correct, it will be a decision to be made by the voters in New Jersey in November of 2016 regarding the expansion of casino gaming to the populous Northern part of the state. If that ballot question passes, then Rock N Roll Heaven and Lis Mara will be the only pacing stallions whose offspring will have eligibility for entry in what should be a much more lucrative Sire Stakes in 2019. Thus it will be a boon to those breeders who had the foresight to breed to one of these two stallions in 2016. One look at how the few Kentucky sired horses fared at the yearling sales can attest to this. In addition to the referendum for casino gaming in Northern Jersey, many key legislators (including the prominent state senator who has already announced his intentions to run for Governor in 2017) have firmly committed to supporting the horse racing industry in New Jersey. This has been reiterated in several releases this month This will add yet additional revenues for horsemen and probably will be in advance of revenues realized by casino gaming – another boon to the breeder with foresight to support New Jersey stallions. There is also the prospect for Fantasy Gaming, and this is not just “pie in the sky”. In all likelihood, a fantasy gaming provider with ties to Las Vegas that will manage fantasy gaming in New Jersey. Again, this will generate significant additional revenues for the horsemen in New Jersey and again, the winners among winners will be those select few who bred to New Jersey stallions in 2016. Moreover, one look at how historical racing fared at The Red Mile with but limited population within a 30 minute drive, can only whet the appetite for how fantasy gaming would fare at say The Meadowlands with mega millions of people within a short drive in the Tri State area. Of course whenever and wherever breeders choose to breed, they are always hoping hit the grand slam and that grand slam can come after being bred to any stallion. Why not increase the chances of a major home run by breeding to a select few New Jersey stallions? Bob Marks
Burnham trainer Bruce Negus knew Quick As A Trick was in for a bold showing on Sunday. His confidence came from the gigantic pacer going close to breaking Negus' track record set by his flagship pacer Courage Under Fire during the week. "He ran home in 27.6 and he was jogging at my place," Negus said of the Lis Mara 5-year-old who caused an upset when beating hot favourite Mossdale Conner to win the Pacers Green Mile at Methven. Quick As A Trick was working so good in the lead up to the race that Negus did not tell promising young driver Jessica Young as he did not want to put pressure on her. Young and Negus devised a plan to get off the gate from their handy draw and then hand up to either Mossdale Conner or Brilliant Strike. But when Quick As A Trick got keen and Mossdale Conner switched off, Young had no option but to lead and ironically Negus believes holding the front, was the winning of the race. "When he thinks he can win, he's very brave," Negus said of the determined win. The win which returned punters $17.90, was a special one for Negus who has always had a high opinion of him. He was late scratched at Orari last Saturday when he swung sideways from the standing start but Negus believes he would have won if he stepped away with the field. Young, a former employee of Negus, flourished her whip in air when crossing the line with delight at her second double in as many weeks. She rated the win in the Green Mile as one of her biggest wins alongside the Darren DeFilippi memorial. Earlier in the day at Methven she drove Franco Texas to victory for Dean Taylor. Young thought she was no chance on either Franco Texas or Quick As A Trick has they both pulled so hard in the running but they were equally as strong at the line. Quick As A Trick paced the mile in 1-57.0 with closing sectionals of 58.3 and 28.4 on the grass track. Ricky May said Mossdale Conner could have crossed Quick As A Trick but seemed to switch off when he got ahead of him. Given he worked at the start and then sat parked, May was happy to give the second placing, two and a half lengths behind Quick As A Trick a pass mark. Negus will now look at the Omakau and Invercargill Cup's for the Greg Brodie owned pacers next assignments. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here
Well known Queensland harness racing owner Greg Brodie has had a lot of top horses over the years and most of them have started their racing careers from the Bruce Negus stable. As is normal in such circumstances some turn out better than others but one who has promised much but failed to deliver more often than not is the Lis Mara gelding Music. Starting out with Bruce when he was based at Waikouaiti, Music showed a lot of promise at three but really struggled at four. When it looked like Music was going to carry on in the same vein at five Bruce recommended that the horse be transferred to the Robert Dunn stable at Woodend to take advantage of the beach training. Bruce convinced John Dunn that Music was far from a spent force. "Bruce was confident that the horse had plenty more wins in him but since he had moved back to Burnham from the beach at Waikouaiti the horse had not performed as well as he had at three." " Since he has been here he has really thrived and I think he is a long way from being finished yet," John said. A winner at big odds first up for the stable at Methven, Music was sent out at odds of 11 to 1 at Addington Raceway tonight due to the presence of the hot favourite Cable Beach. Last of the seven horse field for most of the journey on a hot pace, Music swooped late down the outside for John Dunn to make it two wins from two starts from the Dunn barn. " The race was run to suit him down to the ground but he has still come from last so it was a good effort." " I don't think we will line him up during Cup week as that might be a bit rich for him but there are plenty of opportunities for a horse like him." " I don't think tonights win will be his last," John said. The way that Music has won his last two from the Robert Dunn barn at Woodend Beach, he looks to have a few more wins in him yet. Harnesslink Media
The following is a review of the Robert Dunn Racing Stables runners over the three meetings last weekend. Auckland - Friday night While there was only a small team engaged at Auckland Friday, they still produced a winner from the three starters, in Culinary Delight. In what appeared to be a handy line-up, the daughter of Lis Mara and Culinary Affair dominated from the start for driver Tony Herlihy. After having them all of the bit at the 400m the 5yr old ran out a convincing winner by 4 lengths in 2.43 for the 2200m, coming home in 800m 56.8 and 400m 28.5 for owners the Forrests. This was her third win from 31 starts and she has now banked $28,390 in stakes. Based on Friday's performance this won't be the last winning run. Later in the night it was the turn of the trotters, with Whitney and All Royal Gal lining up. Unfortunately All Royal Gal did as she did last week, blowing it at the start. Whitney however stepped like a toff for driver Jack MacKinnon and enjoyed a perfect run three back before being asked for her best effort from the 400m. After looming up on the turn and then hitting the lead at the 200m she was run down over the last 100m by a very impressive One Ova Da Moon in what turned out to be a sprint home. Whitney is racing in top form and is another stable runner set to deliver at short notice. Addington - Friday night The first runner for the night was Art Critic for Matt in the boys' race. Having drawn poorly, she was obliged to race back in the field. While she made some real ground with purpose in the straight, she was never going to figure on the back of a run home in 800m 54.3 and 400m 26.2. She will certainly keep for another week and looks in for a good campaign. Cullect A Guinness always looked the best chance for the night and did his best to justify the strong support. From his inside barrier he had the pace to hold the lead, but did have to work hard over the first 200m. Once in front he was able to dictate the pace, running some strong sectionals to have most of the opposition battling turning for home. He appeared to have the race in the bag at the 150m, but succumbed over the past 50m to the finish of 165-1 outsider Northview Gambler and Stevie Golding. He is certainly "Mr Consistency" this guy and surely his turn will come. Uncas was at long odds in the feature trot and after adding to his handicap with an early break was obliged to do a lot of chasing to catch the pack. He eventually worked home well to finish about nine lengths off winner Quite A Moment. Sires Stakes hopeful Alta Las Vegas stepped out for the first time this season in what was a very handy field of 3yr olds. From his bad draw he raced back in the field early before working to the breeze from the 1300m outside He Can Fly. After eyeballing that runner from the 400m he was able to take a shotlived lead at the 200m. However, favourite Wannabet had enjoyed a perfect trailling run throughout and once able to take the passing lane went on to a convincing victory. Alta Las Vegas battled hard for his second placing and will be a lot better for the run going into next week. The final hope of a win on the night rested with Littke Rascal and Living Legend in the last. Living Legend had a dig for the lead at the 1300m and nearly crossed. However, pacemaker Webb Ellis was able to kick back underneath leaving Living Legend breezing and then one-one. Little Rascal however, was well back from his awkward second line draw. At the 400m Living Legend began to lose contact while Little Rascal was gambling on inside runs. After finally finding some room at the 150m he stormed home for the most unlucky of 4th placings beaten just over one length. He was certainly the most unlucky of all stable runners on the night. Methven - Sunday Afternoon There were just the two stable runners that headed to Methven today and both delivered very creditable placings. Bourbon And Dry contested the maiden trot, a trot that is picked to deliver many maiden winners over the next few weeks. Today Bourbon And Dry never put a foot wrong, stepping well and running to the lead, before handing up and trailling eventual winner Majestic Ali. He travelled well throughout and coming to the passing lane momentarily looked a real winning hope. However, he just battled over the last 100m, sticking on strongly for a very good third placing. No Doctor Needed was backed in strongly on the day and went out as third favourite in the day's feature the Methven Cup. He began well from his 10m handicap and drove to the lead after 500m before trailling Mach Gladiator which would lead throughout. Coming to the turn No Doctor Needed looked to be travelling well behind a hard driven Mach Gladiator. However, once in the straight it was the sweeper out wide in favouirte Messini that came with an undeniable claim to run out a convincing winner by a half length from strong finisher Quick As A Trick that outfinished No Doctor Needed for second. John and Robert will no doubt look at their plans for the next couple of weeks, but it is most likely that we will see No Doctor Needed at Ashburton for the Flying Stakes in 8 days time. The other performnace of note from a stable point of view was Music in the boys' race. Given a chance at a "change of scenery" by trainer Bruce Negus, Music had been with the Woodend stable for just two weeks. While the formline made grim reading and he appeared unwanted on the tote, going out at 40-1 odds, driver Matt Purvis said he was, "very bullish" on the Lis Mara 5yr old's chances today. After getting a nice trip throughout he loomed up to challenge on the turn before cruising to the lead at the 200m. From there it was a all plain sailing as Purvis and Music bolted in by nearly three lengths. "Nice horse and jogged it," was the after race summation. Today's win was Music's 4th from 41 starts, while for driver Matt, it was his second win for the season from just 24 drives. Courtesy of Robert Dunn Racing Stables - Check site here
Batavia, NY---Since coming to Batavia Downs three starts ago, Button Fly had yet to taste harness racing victory after three narrow decisions. But class relief and post one worked wonders for him this week as he captured the $8,400 Open II pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 17). After yielding the lead to Gold Star Spike (Drew Monti) at the eighth pole, Button Fly (Shawn McDonough) pulled and retook the lead by the quarter and never looked back. After putting the field to sleep in a stodgy :58 half, Button Fly paired :28.1 and :28.2 final panels en route to an easy two-length win in 1:54.3. Sent off as the prohibitive 1-5 favorite, Button Fly ($2.40) captured his fifth win of the year and boosted his 2015 earnings to $40,285 for owners David Ball and Jerry Reinhart. Winning driver, Shawn McDonough, also conditions the 5-year-old Lis Mara gelding. Shawn McDonough had a very productive night, winning four races as a driver as well as two as a trainer. His driving wins included Red Clay ($2.70), Kruella ($3.80), Button Fly ($2.40) and Enzo Seelster ($17.00); the last two he also trains. Kevin Cummings scored a driving double as did Dave McNeight III. Trainer Dave McNeight Jr. conditioned two that visited the winner's enclosure. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 21) at a new, earlier post time of 6:15 p.m. This will be the post time for all evening cards for the remainder of the 2015 meet. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations
Enjoying a pocket trip behind Ideal Fashion until mid-stretch, Some or Lis ($38.20) prevailed narrowly, scoring an 18-1 upset in Sunday (August 2) afternoon's featured $7000 upper-level conditioned pace at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs. Andy Gardner kept the 6-year-old Lis Mara gelding close to favored pacesetter Ideal Fashion (Chris Lems) through a :26 initial quarter, tracking intently through a :57.4 middle half before commencing his bid with clear sailing off the turn. The two dueled past mid-stretch, and Some or Lis was able to just wear down Ideal Fashion for a 1:53.2 score. Fiftyshadesdarker (John MacDonald) kicked cover at head-stretch, rallying to take third while three lengths in arrears of the top pair. Richard Dow owns and trains Some or Lis. Chris Lems and Fern Paquet, Jr. led all drivers on the 10-race card, each recording three victories. Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 7) evening, with post time set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern. James Witherite
Jody Jamieson had the winning touch at the harness racing meeting at Georgian Downs on Saturday evening, piloting four sophomore pacing colts to Grassroots victory. Jamieson kicked off his successful evening in the first $18,000 Grassroots division, guiding Dialamara to a three and one-quarter length triumph over Feeling Cam Lucky and Naturescape. The 1:51.1 clocking was the quickest of the seven Grassroots divisions and was a new personal best for Dialamara. "Dialamara was really good," said Moffat, ON resident Jamieson. "He stepped around the leader there in two strides and was strong right to the wire." The Lisa Mara son started his Ontario Sires Stakes season with a third-place result in the Gold Series opener, but trainer Patrick Fletcher of Hagersville, ON moved him down to the Grassroots for the June 21 event at Clinton Raceway and Dialamara finished fifth. Saturday's victory was Dialamara's first on the provincial stakes circuit, although he was the winner of the WEGZ Final at Woodbine Racetrack on March 21, and the runner-up in both the Count B and Youthful Finals at the Toronto oval this spring. John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON owns the winner of $129,032. Jamieson made his second trip to the winner's circle with his own gelding, Make Some Luck, in the third Grassroots division. The pair circled out three-wide at the three-quarters and powered down the stretch to a half-length victory over favourite His Boy Elroy and Legion Of Boom. The 1:52.3 clocking was a personal best for the Camluck gelding. "I have yet to give him a decent drive, but he has overcome it almost every time," said Jamieson, who was forced to regroup at the start when Make Some Luck went off-stride briefly after making contact with the gate. "We couldn't be happier with his effort." Jamieson's father Carl conditions Make Some Luck, who now boasts two wins and one third in Grassroots action and is currently tied for second spot in the three-year-old pacing colt standings with 112 points . Three regular season events remain on the three-year-old pacing colt and gelding calendar. The reinsman's third win came in the fifth division with Antar Phil, who cruised home a five and one-half length victor in 1:53.2. Windsong Lord and fan favourite Artful Way settled for second and third. "He started from a tough spot in the nine-hole but the trip worked out perfect, there was lots of movement," noted Jamieson. "We ended up being second over up the backside and I swung him over and he just sprinted home from there. He was really good." The win was Antar Phil's second straight, but his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. The Sportswriter son is trained by Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON for owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. Jamieson completed his driving quartet in the final Grassroots division with his father's horse Sporting The Look. The fan favourites tipped out of the outer lane and sprinted home to a 1:52.1 victory, two and one-quarter lengths ahead of The Fire Within and Bob Ben And John. The fifth-ranked horse in the province last season, Sporting The Look had failed to find the winner's circle in his first four starts this season, so Jamieson was pleased to see the Sportswriter son's luck change. "He's been run into, or I've run into somebody else, in every start this year with him. He's hooked wheels twice, got run into once, that's three starts, so he was due," Jamieson said. "He got a perfect trip too and paced hard to the wire, so it was real good." Rockwood, ON resident Carl Jamieson shares ownership of Sporting The Look with 30 Plus Stable of Trenton, ON and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. In addition to his wins, Jamieson's other two Grassroots mounts, Sports Lightning and Win One Soon, finished second and third. "I had some horses that were favoured and it worked out," reflected the driver. "Lots of times it doesn't work out, and tonight it did." The other three divisions went to Mach Code, Western Bayama and Deetzy. Mach Code and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON were one length winners over Sports Lightning and Regal Sight, stopping the Georgian Downs teletimer at 1:52.4. Jeff and Lori Thomson bred, own and train the Mach Three gelding, who sits tied for second in the division standings with Make Some Luck. Western Bayama battled to a head victory over Sports Bettor and Lancaster Park in the fourth division. The Lis Mara son hit the wire in a personal best 1:53.4 for driver Anthony MacDonald of Guelph, ON, trainer Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON and owner-breeders Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. Deetzy also won a nail-biter, getting a neck in front of Southwind Indy and Win One Soon at the 1:53.2 finish. Thornton, ON resident Stephen Byron engineered the Jeremes Jet son's first lifetime victory for trainer Ken Sucee of Bowmanville, ON and Shelby Novick of Delray Beach, FL. The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings make their fourth Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 31. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Georgian Downs on Tuesday, July 7 with the Grassroots debut of the two-year-old trotting fillies. Five divisions of novice trotters will be featured, going postward as Races 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8 on the 7:15 pm program. Ontario Horse Racing
Charlottetown, PE - Waterside Light and harness racing driver Kenny Arsenault made a three-high charge down the backstretch on route to the three-quarter pole and went on to claim the Thursday feature at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The time of the mile was 1:56.1. The four-year-old Lis Mara gelding is owned by Larry Chappell, Marshfield and Hilliard Graves, Charlottetown, PE. Tempo Seelster (Vince Poulton) was second with Cabo Pan Lucas (Danny MacDonald) closing hard to complete the triactor. The 5-4-6 combination returned $113.20. C L La Rousse (Lincoln Parke), with Jason Hughes in the bike, earned his fourth victory in a row taking the seventh race for trainer Reg Ferguson and his co-owner Paula MacPhee, Charlottetown, PE. Majian Chester and Jim Ripley won the trot division in 2:01.3. Hughes had a driving triple while Mark Bradley connected for a driving double on the night. Racing returns Saturday in Charlottetown at 6pm and Sunday afternoon at 1pm in Summerside. By Lee Drake
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.