Summerside, PE- It was June 11, 2008 at Summerside Raceway, Outlawpositivcharg was making his first start on Maritime soil. The lower-end claimer had shipped in from Edmonton to the Terry Gallant Stable. He picked up a going away victory in his first start, and what he would do over the next six years would grab the heart of every Maritime racing fan around. The 'Outlaw' would go on to win his next five races including the biggest win of Gallant's driving and training career. His first ever Governor's Plate. "There were memorable moments all the way around," as Gallant recalled his first plate win. "From my mother, to the first time winning my hometown race and it was the first time owner Fred Lamont had a horse in the Governor's Plate." That night was the last night Gallant's mother ever walked. Outlawpositivcharg landed on P.E.I. after Gallant made a call to the former Island native Lamont. Gallant was curious to see if he may have an open mare out in Alberta that would do in P.E.I, Lamont did and her name was K G Affair. "I had no idea this horse was coming when Fred put him on the truck in Edmonton, he called me two days later and said, ' I hope you have two stalls, because I sent you another horse (with K G Affair)." Gallant made some shoeing adjustments and it was straight forward from there. "In his first start I had K G Affair's hopples on him and the wrong set of harness on him, because I didn't know which harness was whose. Fred came home the next week and told me I had the wrong rigging on him." It was after his very first start Gallant knew he had a special horse on his hands. "After his first start I told Fred that I have a real horse here," he said. "The next day Dr. Ian Moore came up and he was working on another horse for me. Ian had Astronomical at the time, and I pointed at Outlaw and said, 'I'm coming for you with that horse." Four starts later, Gallant was right, Outlawpositivcharg beat Astronomical on the way to his first Governor's Plate. "Without a doubt that was my biggest win with him. There's nothing that will ever compare to that win for me, not even winning the Little Brown Jug." When Lamont purchased the horse as a three-year-old he didn't know what he had on his hands. "It never ever crossed my mind that he was that type of horse, before that race," Lamont said. The 10-year-old gelded son of Blissfull Hall - Electromagnetic is owned by Lamont of Calgary, AB. He finished his career with 155 starts, returning back to the winner circle 47 times, a lifetime mark of 1:54 over Charlottetown and banked $ 168, 818 in earnings. Although he grabbed the heart of people around the Maritime scene, it was in the winter of 2008 when he grabbed the heart of his long time groom Ashley Gamester. "I knew right from the start that he was a special horse, he had already done a lot in the Maritimes when I started to look after him," she said. "I fall in love pretty easy, but after he won his first few races in 2009, I fell for him pretty hard." Gamester said 'Outlaw' was always the boss of the barn and he knew it. "He was always first in line, whether it be the first to be fed, or the first to get out in the paddock. He loved to bunt people with his head." Outlaw was the type of horse that you couldn't take your eyes off of, she explained. "He would always have his back feet going, pretending he was going to kick you, although he never would. He always loved to chew the cords off of my radios too, I think he chewed four or five cords off the first summer I looked after him." Gamester said she didn't mind having to go buy a new radio every so often. "Being as good of a horse as he was, he got away with pretty much everything. He may have been a little spoiled." Gamester's work with Outlawpositvcharg didn't go unnoticed. "You're only as good as your help. Everyone that took care of him always done what was asked, some of them went out on a limb and done a lot more, especially Ashley," said Gallant. " She was the one that knew him the best, she'd let him do whatever he wanted." The 22-year-old Gamester credits Outlaw for teaching her some valuable lessons, not only in life but the game of harness racing too. "It was pretty special to be able to look after a horse like Outlaw. I learned so much from looking after him," she said. "I'm very thankful to Terry and Fred for giving me the opportunity to look after him. It was just an awesome feeling to walk him out of the paddock knowing he was going to give you all he had every time he went behind the gate." Gallant is proud of what Outlaw has done for six consecutive seasons, but he is very thankful that Lamont allowed him to be part of such a special horse. Lamont said the ride was one filled with many thrills. "Six years of major, major thrills. Every time you went and watched him he tried his best, most times he was the best, which made life so much more enjoyable being in the horse business." Dubbed the "East Coast Warrior" by track announcer Vance Cameron, Outlawpositivcharg's numbers while in the Maritimes, speak for themselves. He will retire as one of the toughest horses to ever race in the free-for-all ranks. While racing under the care of Gallant in the Maritimes, he picked up 42 of his 47 lifetime victories. He had over 10 invitational victories including the Exhibition Cup, Breeders Crown Invitational, Cecil Ladner and the JA Ferguson Memorial in North Sydney where he set a new track record of 1:55. He competed in the Gold Cup and Saucer in 2008 finishing fifth, the next year he was third in the James 'Roach' MacGregor, Gold Cup consolation. His last victory came on May 16, 2013 at Charlottetown in 1:56.2. "The day that horse retired, I haven't been the same horseman since the horse left the barn," said Gallant. The "East Coast Warrior" has been the driving force behind many of Cameron's 'Boom Just Like That!' race calls and he is also the only horse to ever win back-to-back Governor's Plates. "It was big because he made history, becoming the first horse to win it two years in a row. It doesn't compare to the first one. We were happy to win it don't get me wrong, we were happy to win any race with him." He tried his luck at the Plate six times and made an appearance in the final of the Governor's Plate an incredible four times, after his back-to-back victories he picked up a 3rd in 2010 and a 2nd in 2011. On Saturday July 19, 2014 the Outlaw will take one last tour around the Summerside oval that he called home. He will parade the consolation for the Governor's Plate. Outlaw will then enjoy retirement on P.E.I., which is more than deserving for the horse that grabbed every Maritime race fans heart over his six years of racing under the duo of Lamont and Gallant. Just how much did he mean to Gallant, who seen Outlaw for the first time since last August on Thursday. "When I went to pick him up there were tears in my eyes, that's what kind of a ride I was on," he said. "I don't have a son, but I'll tell you, If I had one I wish it'd be just like him." by Bo Ford, for Red Shores
This beautiful 400 acre standardbred nursery on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River has long been recognised as one of Australia's premier harness racing stud farms. Established in 1985 by Rod Woodhouse and the late Ian Walsh, Yirribee has earned its reputation for excellence over the last thirty years through hard work and professional management. The 400 acres are fully irrigated and the paddocks, fencing and stables have all been purpose built to ensure the safety and well-being of the horses on the stud. Yirribee Pacing Stud bred their own mares with an eye to the yearling sales where they have built up a reputation as genuine sellers of quality yearlings, having sold numerous classic winners over the last 30 years. Yirribee Pacing Stud is looking forward to the coming season with real confidence. Not only is the stud environment in outstanding condition but the stallion roster is exciting to say the least. Still run on a day to day basis by its co-founder Rod Woodhouse with help from Dianne Sutherland, Yirribee's success is in no small part due to the longevity of most of the staff employed at the stud. The well regarded stud master Roger Strong has been at Yirribee since 1998 and with Rod and Dianne gives the stud that vital experience needed to run such a large operation. The on farm pregnancy rate of 94% is testament to their knowledge and experience. With the stud being in such close proximity to the airport, Yirribee is able to send semen anywhere in Australia and know that it will reach its destination the same day. In 2011 Yirribee established a new quarantine area to allow for the exportation of semen to New Zealand in recognition that Australia and New Zealand now operate as a single market in the Southern Hemisphere breeding season. So the infrastructure and the staff at Yirribee are first class and this season they have the stallions to match. One stallion that has them really excited with the new breeding season approaching is Million Dollar Cam. Million Dollar Cam 1:50.4 ($969,792) who stood in North America for several years, has been having a stellar season in both hemispheres this year. That shouldn't come as any surprise to Australian breeders as Million Dollar Cam was a two and three year old of the highest class, winning the famous Little Brown Jug in 1:50.2 on the half mile oval, defeating both Art Major and Mach Three. The horse that started the ball rolling this year was PH Supercam 1:51.1h ($717,222) who won the $567,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Series Final at Yonkers in a very quick 1:52.3 on the half mile oval. PH Supercam is the latest in a long line of quality horses sired by Million Dollar Cam in North America joining the likes of PH Jackpot 1:49.4f ($745,643) Mr Saratoga 1:49.4s ($705,017), Deuces And Jacks 1:51.2f ($626,084) and Play It Wynn 1:50.4s ($588,715) to name just a few of the horses that have helped Million Dollar Cam to accrue $21,816,457 in stakes to date. Million Dollar Cam is also having a great season in Australia with his first crop of two year olds. With a crop numbering just 60, his juveniles have been making Australian breeders sit up and take notice as they have been prominent in all the major stakes races. The headline act amongst them so far has been Its Only Rocknroll 1:55.5 ($96,910) who won the $125,000 New South Wales Breeders Challenge Final for colts and geldings. Throw in the smart filly Ameretto 1:56.9 ($49,675) Milliondollar Wave 1:57.6 ($35,743) and Karalta Impulse 2:03.4 ($23,165) and Million Dollar Cam is chalking up some pretty impressive numbers. Million Dollar Cam has had 21 two year old starters to date for 6 winners of $240,008 which is a great launching pad for his stud career in Australia. Million Dollar Cam - Little Brown Jug But Million Dollar Cam is not the only stallion that Yirribee has high hopes for this breeding season. Pet Rock 1:47 ($1,985,820) will be standing his first season in Australia this year and this brilliant son of Rocknroll Hanover has so much to offer Southern Hemisphere breeders. His world records of 1:48.1 on an half mile track and 1:47.2 on a five eights track establish one thing beyond any doubt. You don’t run such incredibly quick times on small tracks unless you have a flawless gait. Pet Rock raced and beat the best colts of his year on his way to earning $1,985,820. Not only does he have the performance on the board, but he is bred in the purple as well. He is the fastest son of the great sire, Rocknroll Hanover 1:48.3m ($3,069,093) whose stock have won in excess of $65,665,136 to date and is from a daughter of Artsplace in Casual Beauty 1:54 who has left four in 1:55 at stud. The Rocknroll Hanover over an Artsplace mare cross has been sensational in North America with six of his eight millionaires being bred on that cross. It all adds up to Pet Rock having all the credentials to make it as a sire which is obviously how the North Americans see him as he served 140 mares at Midland Stud in Ohio in his first season. Pet Rock - World record on a five-eights track Backing these two sires up are a string of proven sires which include; VILLAGE JASPER - Has already sired 658 winners who have won $30,921,212. There is not much more needs to be said really. He is a top sire of both fillies and colts who continues to leave high class horses. LOMBO POCKET WATCH - Really only has the one crop of four year olds to represent him on the track as he went back to the racetrack after that season. So far that crop has had 25 winners for stakes of $570,084 including such smart types as Big Ben Lombo 1:57 ($53,374), Clancys Fobwatch 1:56 ($59,768), Magic Moment Lombo 1:57.4 ($51,320) and Lombo Keepa Secret 1:57.6 ($43,663) so Lombo Pocket Watch has made an encouraging start as a sire. JOHN STREET NORTH - Has proven to be a great bread and butter sire with 181 winners to date for stakes totalling $6,305,319. He has sired 14 $100,000 winners including such smart types as Fourmore 1:56 ($273,348), Flite Dynasty 1:55.8 ($183,840), Go Go Bop 1:57.5 ($183,490) and No More Drink 1:56.1 ($163,529). Looks great value at $1,000 (gst inclusive) RIVER KHAN - Another sire who has done a good job with 147 winners to date for stakes totalling $4,375,906. What he can do is leave that real top liner such as About To Rock 1:58.5 ($553,395,) Mighty River ($425,560) and Muddy River 1:59.4 ($207,313). MR FEELGOOD - Only available via frozen semen from Queensland this season after standing at Yirribee last season. Off to a great start in Queensland and has all the credentials to make a top sire. Yirribee Pacing Stud should be very proud of the outstanding siring group it has assembled for the 2014/2015 breeding season. There is something there for everyone and every budget. Going by the depth of the stallions available, one would expect that Rod, Dianne and Roger are going to be very busy this breeding season. Harnesslink media
Kevin Lare has experienced being on top of the harness racing world and then on the bottom. He is on his way back again. In 2007 horses trained by Kevin won over $2,500,000 . In 2010 horses trained by Kevin won only $12,000. It has been an up and down career for Kevin. Already this year horses trained by Kevin have won $390.115, sporting an impressive UTRS training record of 0.387. At the present time, his stable contains about twenty horses. Kevin's stable of quality stakes horses once included Snow White, the Dan Patch 2007 two-year-old filly trotter of the year, Southwind Tempo, and Fred and Ginger. Now he is back with his first stake winning horse in five years with Yankee Bounty. Yankee Bounty has proved the be one of best two year pacing colts in the early start of this yeawr's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. Yankee Bounty sports a two race unblemished winning record in two stakes races this year. His most recent win was at the Meadows scoring impressively in 1:53 over a very deep rain soaked track. Yankee Bounty looks to keep his undefeated record intact Wednesday at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes racing as the 3-1 favorite in the seventh race. "Yankee Bounty was really impressive in his last race," said Lare. "I was thrilled when the timer showed 1:53. It was a deep and sloppy track. I would like to think he could have gone at least a second faster over a fast track. He will have to go a lot faster very soon. "Corey (Callahan) called on him when they came out of the turn," said Lare. "Somebody came right up on his back This horse is so professional and relaxed. He can go one quarter in twenty seven seconds and go the next quarter in thirty five seconds. He can go from. zero to one hundred and then from one hundred to zero. He is just so talented. It makes him stand out from the others in how you can control him. Yankee Bounty is the best youngster I have ever had. We will not be shocked to see how fast he paces at Pocono this week. "He was purchased by Frank Chick because of his brother," added Lare. "Frank had his full brother who was a midget of a horse. He was the smallest standardbred I have ever seen. This small horse paced in fifty-five as a two-year-old. Frank went to the sale and bought Yankee Bounty, figuring if the tiny horse can go that fast the much bigger one will do much better. "I have another twelve to fifteen horses in my barn for Frank right now," said Lare. "Frank has been unbelievable with helping me in my comeback. I can't thank him enough for what he has done for me. We have become not only business partners but great friends. We are mainly playing the claiming game at Pocono, and it has been successful. I have a couple of Maryland Babies with him who will race in the Maryland Sire Stakes this year. The rest are all overnight horses. "I have some other horses with Mike Coombs," said Lare. "We have a nice trotter in the name of Boffin. He was one of the first to give me a chance again and I am very grateful. "I have two Maryland Sire Stake Horses and one Delaware," said Lare. "The one two-year-old filly looks to be outstanding for the Maryland Sire Stakes. She is faster than the rest of them. Her name is Helaine's Firebird. She will have her first race next Sunday." Kevin Lare went thru a nightmarish 2009 when horse after horse came down with a devastating injury. His great trotter Snow White had to be euthananized following colic surgery. His life went into a downward spiral. His wife divorced him, he lost all his money, and he got caught up in drugs. With the help of his friend, Fern Panquet Jr., he moved to Florida and got his life back on track. "I took a bad turn in life," added Lare. "I got caught up in the drug activity of life. I had seventy horses in my stable at one time. If you mess with the devil, it does not take long for the devil to take it from you. I lost it all. I went to Florida to live with a friend, Fran Panquet Jr. I didn't even have enough money for a airplane ticket. He bought me the ticket. He told me I could come down there to get away. I went to Florida and worked for Fran. I got my head screwed back on straight and came back here. "I had an eight day period in 2009 where everything went wrong," said Lare. "During this period, Snow White died, Fred and Ginger could not pick up her feet, and Southwind Tempo pulled a suspensory when she got run into on the racetrack. My phone was ringing off the hook with questions about the horses. I just went into the corner and hid. I did not want to talk to anyone. "I am hoping when the sales come in September/October that some owners will see what I am doing and pick up the phone and ask if I want to train some babies for them," stated Lare." Frank Chick has been a mainstay and stalwart supporter of harness racing for years. He has a saddle shop and hosts a horse sale three times a year at the Harrington Racetrack Fairgrounds. He currently owns over a dozen horses in the care of Kevin Lare. "When Kevin was having his success he would always go out of his way to help me with some of my horses," said Chick. "He never asked for anything and was just happy to do it. There came a time when I was in a position to help him. "I think Yankee Bounty is the real deal," said Chick. "He has done everything we have asked him to do. When Corey has asked him to pace he has put it into another gear. I think he is an exceptional colt. "Outside of the Pennsylvania Sire Stake Races, he is staked to Arden Downs, the Matron,and Keystone Classic," added Chick. "Next year he is staked to everything including the Breeders Crown and Little Brown Jug. "We were cutting a bunch of horses after the Harrisburg Sale," said Chick. "The colts I had from the sale were not very well bred. I got a deal on the fifth one and it was Yankee Bounty. They ended up cutting him for twenty bucks. I really didn't know if I wanted to cut him or not. He's not a fancy bred horse. "Every horse I have is for up for sale for at the right price," said Chick. "I will sell anything if the right offer comes along. I have had some tire kickers." Corey Callahan has been the driver on Yankee Bounty for both of his victories this year. His maiden win was an easy several lengths victory at Pocono Downs in the Pennsylvania Allstars on June 29th. The second victory was at the Meadows in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in 1:53 over a deep sloppy track. Yankee Bounty has almost doubled his sale price of $21,000 with bankrolling $39,931 on his card. "Yankee Bounty has done everything right so far," said Callahan. " I have had several people call me about the horse who want to buy him. I had a really nice colt ( Tomy Terror ) come after him on the backside in the last race. I had just been with that colt last time in 1:53 at Pocono Downs. We went pretty good up the backside in 27:1. I asked him to go a little more at the wire but he still had plenty of horse left. "He hasn't really been tested yet," added Callahan. "He can go four quarters. He is really good horse. He is in again on Wednesday at Pocono Downs. The Burke's have a nice horse ( Lyons Levi Lewis ) in there that they just bought. I think we have the best horse in there. "Kevin is the best," said Callahan. "We have been friends going back many years. I am proud and amazed he got himself back so fast. He has been a great trainer all his life. It does not surprise he is all the way back. He is a great guy to work for. He is cut and dry. He tells you if they will be good or if they will not be good." Yankee Bounty has brought Kevin Lare back into the harness racing world spotlight again. Thanks to the support of owners Frank Chick and Mike Coombs, he has been able to build a foundation for his comeback. Will he be able to attain the greatness he had once before when his stable included Snow White, Fred and Ginger, and Southwind Tempo? That remains to be seen. He has battled his demons and is on his way back. by Brian McEvoy for Harnesslink.com
Bettor's Edge is not the highest profile pacer in the Ron Burke Stable, but he is holding his own against the best in the sport. It's something he has done pretty much throughout his million-dollar-earning career. The 5-year-old gelding heads into Saturday's $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers at the Meadowlands off a second-place finish in the Ben Franklin Pace on June 28. He finished between stablemates Sweet Lou, who edged him by a neck, and Foiled Again. Sweet Lou and Foiled Again also are entered in the Haughton, as well as Burke-trained Clear Vision. Sweet Lou, who has a five-race win streak, is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Bettor's Edge is fourth choice at 6-1, behind Captaintreacherous (3-1) and State Treasurer (9-2). Foiled Again, who with $6.31 million in career purses is the richest harness racing horse in North American history, starts from the outside in post No. 10 and is 12-1. The Haughton and $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers will be shown live starting at 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Saturday's card also includes the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial, $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial, $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee, $178,450 Golden Girls, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series. Bettor's Edge, who joined the Burke Brigade in November 2013 after a successful stint with trainer Linda Toscano, has won six of 17 races this year, including three divisions of the spring Levy Series, and earned $285,340. "We're high on him," said Mark Weaver, who owns Bettor's Edge with Burke Racing, Mike Bruscemi, and M1 Stable. "In the Franklin, it looked like he was going to get by [Sweet] Lou and beat the best horses around. He's solid. A lot of people that follow him really like him. His lines are better than they look. He's been in against tough horses in tough spots." As a 3-year-old, Bettor's Edge won six of 25 races, including the Monument Circle, and had on-the-board finishes in the Breeders Crown, Tattersalls Pace, Little Brown Jug, Cane Pace, and Progress Pace on his way to $573,797 in season's earnings. "We always liked the horse," Weaver said, adding about Bettor's Edge's foaling year of 2009, "That year, [Sweet] Lou's crop, I love those horses. I don't think people realized how good they were. I think last year they started to realize, with Pet Rock and A Rocknroll Dance and some of the others and the way they raced in the aged pacing division. "We're trying to look at the immediate future as well as down the road. Foiled [Again] can't last forever; [Sweet] Lou eventually will be in the breeding shed. We like to buy horses we think can help fill voids when they happen. We thought he could do that. So far it's worked out. I wouldn't be surprised if he does some bigger and better things." If nothing else, Bettor's Edge has proved to be a durable money-earner. When he starts in the Haughton it will give him at least one race in 14 of the last 15 months. "A lot of these horses, you map out every start," Weaver said. "With him, we've been kind of winging it. He's had 38 starts since he's had a real break. Believe me, he's not getting one soon as well as he's racing. At some point he'll get the break he deserves and maybe he'll come back even better next year." Following is the Haughton field in post order with listed drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 8-1; 2. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 3-1; 3. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 8-5; 4. State Treasurer, David Miller, Ian Moore, 9-2; 5. Captive Audience, David Miller, Corey Johnson, 30-1; 6. Bettor's Edge, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 7. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Pete Foley, 12-1; 8. Sunshine Beach, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 20-1; 9. Clear Vision, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 15-1; 10. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 12-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
This Saturday’s Meadowlands Pace will kick off the “30 out of 30” Grand Circuit Challenge, which provides fans the opportunity to win a $1 million prize if they can pick the winners of 30 designated top races during this year’s racing season. Contestants can enter immediately at www.harnessracingambassadors.com/million_dollar_challenge where they will find specific details of the contest, rules and access information about each race. Participants will be provided with Track Master Platinum Plus Past Performances, as well as ‘pro-picks’ and race analysis from featured handicappers. Aside from the grand prize for a ‘perfect 30,’ there are also prizes for the top four contestants who picked most correctly. Sign-up generally takes less than five minutes and all that is required is a valid email address. The contest features key Grand Circuit races, including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown at leading tracks in North America, including Mohawk, The Meadows, The Meadowlands, Hoosier Park, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Northfield Park, Saratoga, Delaware (OH), The Red Mile, Scioto Downs, Balmoral Park, Dover Downs, Yonkers and Maywood Park. The Harness Racing FanZone is brought to you by the USTA and our partners at Converseon as part of the ongoing social media initiative to build awareness and promote the great sport of harness racing. To find out more visit http://www.harnessracingfanzone.com/ or join the Ambassadors at http://www.harnessracingambassadors.com/. GET IN THE ZONE The Harness Racing Fan Zone is for you…the fans. It’s the place to be for seeing, sharing, and connecting with harness racing fans around the world. So get in on the action and get in the zone. Want to help promote harness racing? Earn exciting rewards and access offers by helping to spread the word about your passion for harness racing through social media by joining the Harness Racing Ambassador Program. You can join here, it takes less than five minutes.
ANDERSON, Ind.-July 8, 2014 - Hoosier Park Racing & Casino has recently partnered with The Harness Racing Fan Zone, an industry wide social media initiative, and is excited to announce a new "30 out of 30" Grand Circuit Challenge, which provides fans the opportunity to win a $1 million prize if they can pick the winners of 30 designated top races during this year's racing season. The first of its' kind in the sport of harness racing, this unique handicapping contest is sponsored by the United States Trotting Association and will highlight the biggest harness races across North America. Hoosier Park's signature event, the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational, will be included in the "30 out of 30" contest and will highlight the 2014 racing season on Friday, August 8. Now in its' 21st edition, the Dan Patch Invitational pace attracts the top rated horses in North America to Hoosier Park's seven-eighths mile oval seeking the lucrative $200,000 purse and a spot in Hoosier Park's history. The contest also features key Grand Circuit races, including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown at leading tracks in North America, including Mohawk, The Meadows, The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Northfield Park, Saratoga, Delaware (OH), The Red Mile, Scioto Downs, Balmoral Park, Dover Downs, Yonkers and Maywood Park. "This contest is designed in the spirit of one of harness racing's most treasured traditions, the Grand Circuit," said John Campbell, president of the Grand Circuit. "The Grand Circuit has always been a traveling roadshow to success and riches for horsemen and horses alike," added Campbell. "This contest now allows fans to come along and participate, while having the chance to become a millionaire in the process." For those who miss a race and don't qualify for the $1 million grand prize, there are $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 second, third and fourth prizes available for those who choose the most correctly. Each week, entries will be posted online to give fans the opportunity to pick the winners in advance of each race. A leaderboard will help all entrants track their progress so that they can play along throughout the racing season. Fans can also participate in the optional Harness Racing Ambassador program, to connect with other fans, earn rewards and share their experiences through social media. All sign-ups for the $1 million prize must be received before noon on July 12, 2014 and are limited to one per person. Contestants can enter immediately at www.harnessracingambassadors.com/million_dollar_challenge where they will find specific details of the contest, rules and access information about each race. Participants will be provided with Track Master Platinum Plus Past Performances, as well as 'pro-picks' and race analysis from featured handicappers. The Harness Racing FanZone is brought to you by the USTA and their partners at Converseon as part of the ongoing social media initiative to build awareness and promote the great sport of harness racing. To find out more about this initiative please visit www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com or join the Ambassadors at www.HarnessRacingAmbassadors.com. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park
Goshen, NY --- Owner-breeder William Weaver and driver David Miller, along with communicators John Pawlak and Carol Cramer, were the human guests of honor as 2014 inductees into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame at ceremonies on the Museum lawn in Goshen, N.Y., on Sunday (July 6). The annual induction dinner followed a full day of activities that included racing at the neighboring Historic Track, including the annual Hall of Fame race, the grand opening of the Roosevelt Raceway exhibit and a cocktail reception in the William R. Haughton Memorial Hall. he Meadows and Little Brown Jug track announcer Roger Huston, who served as emcee, called fellow Hall of Famer Bill O’Donnell to introduce the night’s first inductee. The former driver thanked Weaver for allowing him to drive Valley Victory and applauded him for his dedication to his horses. “Some of the old horses he raced, he still boards those horses and lets them live out their lives,” said O’Donnell. “He should be commended for that.” Weaver, who has enjoyed success with his Valley High Stable, said he didn’t expect this honor. “I’m humbled, happy and surprised to be here today,” said Weaver. “The last two years of my life, there have been some setbacks. I figured this was just someone throwing the screws in.” He thanked the Dancer and Duer families for training his horses over the years and acknowledged the big horse who got him to the Hall of Fame. “One of the main reasons that I’m here tonight is because I was the breeder of Valley Victory,” added Weaver. Huston’s superlative introduction of the next inductee highlighted a couple of his nicknames. “At the Meadowlands they call him Buckeye, but in Ohio he’s known as Purple Jesus,” said Huston before cueing the crowd to a resounding response of “Miller time” when he asked, “What time is it?” Miller can be a man of few words, but he was emotional as he talked about how important this honor is to him and the people who supported him along the way. “I think Roger said everything that I was going to say,” said Miller to open his acceptance speech. “I love horses and I love what I do. It’s more than I ever dreamed of.” He thanked his family for their support. “I definitely didn’t get here by myself,” added Miller. “I have the best family. I have to thank my wife Misty who does everything but drive the races.” The first communicator to be recognized spurred even greater emotion from everyone in attendance. John Pawlak, the USTA’s director of marketing known for his writing, broadcasting, announcing and editing of theTrotting and Pacing Guide, made his first industry, public appearance in a wheelchair since undergoing four surgeries for a brain tumor discovered last October. Well known for his humor, Pawlak used that talent to help his industry colleagues feel more at ease about his tribulations. “It was about the size of John Manzi’s head,” said Pawlak, referring to Monticello’s public relations man in describing his tumor. “The doctors told me it also had a moustache and toupee.” To conclude, Pawlak thanked many of the colleagues that he has assisted in his various roles at the USTA. “It is humbling and I have to thank all of the writers from USHWA for this honor,” said Pawlak. Former USTA employee Carol Cramer, known for her work as a long-time Grand Circuit steward and secretary as well as her involvement in the publishing of integral industry publications, especially the annual stakes guide, joined Pawlak in the Communicators Hall of Fame. “I love this industry with a passion,” said Cramer. “It was the joy of my life when I got to go work for the USTA and when I met Jim Harrison. We did the first Care and Training book.” She thanked the numerous race secretaries who attended to be a part of her induction. Also inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday were broodmare Hattie, 2007 Horse of the Year Donato Hanover and 1991 Horse of the Year Precious Bunny. The horses Green Speed and Windsong's Legacy were inducted as Immortals of the Hall of Fame. by Dan Leary, for the USTA
When harness racing driver David Miller headed from Ohio to the East Coast more than a decade ago, he thought it would be temporary. He was wrong. And it resulted in a permanent place among the sport's all-time greats. On Sunday, the 49-year-old Miller will be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. Miller has won more than 11,000 races in his ongoing career, ranking eighth among all North American drivers in history, and earned $180 million in purses, which is No. 4 all time. Also being inducted on Sunday is William Weaver, who bred influential trotting sire Valley Victory as well as several division champions. In addition, longtime U.S. Trotting Association Publicity Director John Pawlak and retired USTA Stakes Director Carol Cramer will be enshrined in the Communicators Hall of Fame. Horses being honored are Donato Hanover, Precious Bunny, Hattie, Green Speed, and Windsong's Legacy. "It means a lot to me," Miller said. "The biggest honor you can receive in your profession, I think, is for people to think of you that way. To be put in the Hall of Fame with people that I looked up to, it's very special. I feel privileged. I'm sure it will hit me more once I'm there. I haven't been too focused on it yet." Miller was voted Driver of the Year in 2003 when he led North America in purses and guided No Pan Intended to the Pacing Triple Crown. He has won a total of 11 Triple Crown races (combined pacing and trotting) and 14 Breeders Crown trophies. He is a three-time winner of the Little Brown Jug and one of only two drivers to capture the Little Brown Jug and its filly companion race, the Jugette, in the same year. He has won at least $10 million in purses 12 times, the most of any driver in history, and trails only Hall of Famers John Campbell, Ron Pierce and Mike Lachance in career earnings. Miller was already a star in his native Ohio when he headed to the East Coast in the late 1990s. He captured multiple driving titles at the Meadowlands Racetrack in the early 2000s and has been a force on the Grand Circuit ever since he made the move. "I came out at a time when things kind of clicked for me," Miller said. "I was driving a lot of good horses. I didn't plan on it. You can't. I was very fortunate to hook up with as many good trainers that I have over the years. "Hopefully it's not over yet." Miller, who was enshrined in the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2010, shows no signs of slowing down. Last weekend, he won the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial with McWicked in a world-record performance and two weeks earlier captured the $420,900 Fan Hanover Stakes with Uffizi Hanover. "I've gotten to drive a lot of great horses," Miller said. "It's more than I thought I would do. The sport has been good to me, that's for sure." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Columbus, OH --- Champion racehorse and stallion Matt's Scooter, 29, was euthanized on Monday (June 30) at Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic in Ringoes, N.J. He had been residing at Perretti Farms in New Jersey, where he had stood at stud virtually his entire career. During his three-year campaign as a racehorse for trainer Harry Poulton and owners Gordon and Illa Rumpel and Charles Juravinski, Matt's Scooter won 37 times in 61 trips behind the gate, with earnings of $2,944,591. He was voted Horse of the Year in the United States in 1989 and was Canada’s Horse of the Year in both 1988 and 1989. The son of Direct Scooter-Ellens Glory also earned the 3-year-old colt and overall Pacer of the Year award in 1988 in the USA. Lightly raced at two, and ineligible for the Little Brown Jug and Cane Pace at three, Matt's Scooter still managed to earn $1.78 million in 1988, winning 11 races and finishing out of the money only twice in 22 starts. He became the fastest pacer in the history of the sport that fall when he time-trialed in 1:48.2 at The Red Mile for his regular driver Mike Lachance. Coming back to the races as a 4-year-old, Matt's Scooter won 23 times in 30 starts in 1989, adding another $1.14 million to his bank account. His career stakes wins included the Meadowlands Pace, Messenger, Breeders Crown Open Pace, American-National, New Jersey Classic, Prix d’Ete, Nat Christie Memorial, Confederation Cup, Driscoll, Mohawk Gold Cup, Stewart Fraser Memorial, Cornell Memorial and U.S. Pacing Championship. During his 20-year career at stud Matt's Scooter was just as spectacular at Perretti Farms. His sons and daughters include numerous divisional and world champions. Mach Three ($2.17 million) was his richest performer and Royal Mattjesty (1:48.4) his fastest. His offspring earned $74.39 million and 210 were $100,000 winners. He also sired 358 1:55 performers and 792 with 2:00 marks. Matt's Scooter was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Living Horse Hall of Fame in Goshen in 2006. From the USTA Communications Department
The Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, with unanimous approval from the Ohio State Racing Commission and Chairman Robert Schmitz, has allocated revenue from the horsemen's video lottery terminal proceeds to the Delaware County Fair for the eight Ohio Breeder's Championship races and The Little Brown Jug. A total of $240,000 will be divided equally among the eight divisions of the Ohio Breeder's Championships and should bring each OBC event to over $50,000. With the added money the 2014 Little Brown Jug presented by Fazolis purse is expected to be in excess of $650,000. The Delaware County Fair and the Little Brown Jug are an important part of the Ohio racing landscape and the board is pleased to support the Ohio Breeders Championship and the race meet at the Delaware County Fair, noted Jerry Knappenberger, general manager of the OHHA. We are very grateful to receive the support of the OHHA and the Ohio State Racing Commission, noted Phil Terry, director of marketing for the Little Brown Jug. We look forward to working with these groups to return Ohio as an industry leader. The OHHA and the OSRC need to be commended for their commitment to the future of Ohio harness racing, added Tom Wright, president of the Little Brown Jug Society. I appreciate that they see the importance of the Delaware County Fair and the Little Brown Jug, now and in the years to come. The Delaware County Fair will host harness racing on Sunday, September 14, Tuesday, September 16, Wednesday, September 17 (Jugette Day) and Thursday, September 18 (Little Brown Jug Day). For more information on the Delaware County Fair or the Little Brown Jug, please visit www.littlebrownjug.com. by Jay Wolf, for the Delaware County Fair
Columbus, OH --- The state’s Thoroughbred and harness horsemen gained Ohio State Racing Commission approval to spend a portion of their Video Lottery Terminal proceeds to augment stakes programs and purses at a meeting held Thursday (June 26). Each Commission-endorsed transfer of funds must now go before the Ohio Controlling Board. This is expected to happen in August. The Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association sought to move $1,364,327 from the purse pool at Thistledown to benefit the Ohio Thoroughbred Race Fund. The money will support purses and be used for breeders’ awards. Only Ohio-bred or Ohio-foaled Thoroughbreds are eligible to participate in the program. Three members of the OTRF Board will meet in the near future to consider expenditure options. There are no budget shortfalls to address. Chairman Robert K. Schmitz suggested the consideration of an increase in purses for the Best of Ohio series of races. Each purse is currently $150,000. The harness contribution, offered by the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association, will increase purses for Ohio State Fair Stakes by $240,000, Ohio Breeders’ Championship purses by the same amount, and the Little Brown Jug purse by $150,000. There are eight different state fair races and eight breeders’ championships for Ohio-bred 2- and 3-year-olds. Purses for each of the 16 races will go up by $30,000. The Little Brown Jug purse, the state’s highest, is estimated at $600,000 in 2014. The total amount -- $630,000 -- will be taken from purse pools at Scioto Downs ($377,067), Miami Valley Gaming and Racing ($141,126) and Northfield Park ($111,807). Statewide, Thoroughbred and harness racing purses at commercial racetracks will amount to approximately $23.7 million for the first half of 2014. Last year’s purse total after six months was $15.1 million. While the following did not require commission approval, Miami Valley General Manager Jim Simms and OHHA President Steve McCoy announced they have signed an agreement on the amount of revenue horsemen will receive from VLT proceeds at the racetrack. However, McCoy and track president Tom Aldrich both said a similar agreement has not been reached for Northfield Park. According to each, negotiations will continue. “This is unacceptable,” said Schmitz. He reminded the parties the commission has the authority to set the percentages by administrative rule. by Marty Evans, for the Ohio State Racing Commission
Batavia, NY -- Batavia Downs is pleased to announce that national harness writer Tim Bojarski has joined their staff as a media correspondent of racing information. Bojarski is a 36 year veteran of harness racing and has actively participated in all aspects of the sport during that time. He currently writes a monthly column and periodic feature articles for the award winning Hoof Beats magazine, is a content contributor for the United States Trotting Association website and serves as the national vice-president of the United States Harness Writers Association. He has also reported as a live blogger covering every major stake including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown. Todd Haight, General Manager of live racing at Batavia Downs said "I received numerous e-mails about the job opening from some amazing talents in this business for which I am greatly appreciative. But in the end my choice was relatively easy." "Tim's knowledge of harness racing, Batavia Downs and his tremendous writing skills made him the right person for the position. Batavia Downs has worked closely with Tim in the past and we look forward to taking that relationship to the next level this season." Tim Bojarski will start his position immediately, preparing for the upcoming racing season which begins on July 23. Batavia Downs Media Relations Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:15:45 -0400 Subject: Press release From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Obviously, make any changes you like. Thanks -- Tim Bojarski Hoof Beats Magazine Columnist National Vice-President United States Harness Writers Assn President-Upstate NY Chapter www.ushwa.org, www.upstatenyushwa.com 716-572-1801 "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is try to do as much as you can in the time that you have."
Goshen, NY -- His nickname was 'Ace.' Many didn't know him as Jack. But after 38 years operating the television camera system at the Little Brown Jug, millions have enjoyed Jack Elliott's work. Although an Ohio legend now, Jack Elliott's first experience with communication equipment is different than you might think. Infantryman Elliott served in WWII active combat duty in the European theater as a forward observer radio operator. "I was 18 and turned 19 on the Rhine River before crossing on pontoon bridges into the main part of Germany," Elliott recalls. "I froze my feet in the Battle of the Bulge. Had to rub them with snow, to get them numb to be able to slide into the sleeping bag." After the war with Germany ended Jack was being sent home to another infantry division, the 8th, to head for Japan to fight. Fortunately half way home the war with Japan ended. Born in 1926 in Buffalo, New York, Elliott grew up in nearby Gowanda. After fighting in the Battle of the Bulge with the 79th Infantry as a teenager, Elliott came home and attended broadcasting school in Kansas City. He began his career with WBEN-TV in Buffalo and then with NBC's WNBK affiliate in Cleveland as that station's technical director. Jack remembers his learning curve with some of the equipment. "My first camera job was a disaster. In December 1947 I was assigned to run a camera at a professional wrestling match. It was in Buffalo and the place was packed. I had never seen a pro match before and thought it was for real. The crowd was very loud. There was a switch on the camera, that no one had mentioned to me, that could cut off the microphone, so I could hear the truck's control room better. "Well, I had a close-up of the two wrestlers in the middle of the ring, and as they rolled over to the side of the ring, I moved my head around the camera and did not pan with the wrestlers. I was really digging the match. The truck could not get me since the crowd noise was overpowering their signal. They sent a man up from the truck and he tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the viewfinder, which was showing nothing but an empty screen." That was simply a bump in the road as Jack tells it. "Back in the 50's I was the number one cameraman at the TV station owned by NBC. I was flown around the country doing football games and if a big star came to town, I was removed from my technical director's job and moved over to the number one camera. Bob Hope was just one of the stars I filmed." Neither fame nor technical glitches could get in the way of Jack's love for camera work and television. Ultimately, Elliott got into sales and made the deal with Northfield Park for its first TV system in 1967, and installed the first color cameras at Scioto Downs in 1974. While at Northfield in 1967, Jack recalls some of the earliest equipment he had to work with. "Back in those days there were no computers. Instead we had a room called the Calculating Room with about 32 men in it. Each had a Monroe Calculator which was a super adding machine. It could also subtract and divide, and had a big crank handle on the side. "The Mutuel department placed two men on each price. Their figures had to match for it to be an official payoff. They had runners who would take the results to the "propper" so the winning ticket holders could get paid. This took about 10 minutes after the race. My company installed about eight cameras in that room and we televised the price payoffs and sent them via cable to the proper area." Elliott continues, "We also installed the first race camera for the judges. I had a cable that went from my video playback room to the judges office on the backstretch. They could hold hearings and I would playback the video of the race in question. The General Manager hated to lose those calculating room guys when the computers came. The computers didn't bet on the races and these guys bet big time." In 1975 Elliott realized that the sport of harness racing was lacking celluloid history. He started gleaning footage from USTA films of historic races such as the Hambletonian and Little Brown Jug. This built the foundation for the groundbreaking series Great American Trotters and Little Brown Jug Greats through Elliott's company, Colorigination. Eventually, these premier works encouraged Elliott to produce four annual Year End Review collections for the best trotters and pacers, the Breeders Crown and Canada's Best, beginning in 1993. After nearly four decades filming the Jug, and 32 years as Scioto's director of televised production, Jack retired in 2007. The immortal Stan Bergstein noted in a 1997 issue of Times: In Harness that, "If video historian Jack Elliott of Circleville, Ohio had not started collecting and organizing the films and videotapes of the modern era's great races, the sport would have no visual record of its equine stars." The impressive collection of harness racing videos assembled by Elliott constitutes a catalog of greatness, invaluable to the history of the sport. A decade later in Hoof Beats, Bergstein reiterates, "the sport owes Jack Elliott a debt of gratitude." Museum director Janet Terhune agrees. "Back in the 90s the Sulky Sweeties of Scioto Downs awarded Jack their "Good Guy" award. But Elliott's efforts mean so much more to the sport than his pleasant demeanor. He has single-handedly ensured that the motion picture history of the Standardbred has been preserved and protected for generations to come." In addition to the videos Jack Elliott has contributed to the Harness Racing Museum's collections over the years, it is his intention to entrust his life's work to the Museum's care. That is only one of the many reasons that at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on July 6 in Goshen, Elliott shall be honored with the Museum's Pinnacle Award, which recognizes and provides appreciation for exemplary efforts put forth by members of the press and public relations professionals, in the promotion of the sport in general and The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in particular. By Chris Tully
Tiz A Masterpiece (3, 1:49), a well-bred well performed son of Western Hanover and a sire of classic winners from his first racing crop, will join the stallion strength at Ian and Judi Slater's Goodtime Lodge, Elliminiyt, near Colac this season. His service fee is $1,540 including GST. He is a quality individual standing 15.3 hands, possesses excellent conformation and manners; in fact his constitution is faultless. Tiz A Masterpiece's oldest stock are three-year-olds and they are outstanding types of young horses, clean gaited and are early goers.They include Lady Elaine, winner of the Tasmanian Yearling Sale Classic, Weona Masterpiece (Tas. Belmont), Tiz A Smokey, a two-year-old winner at Menangle in 1:55.1, and Isundula Artist (Tas. Sweepstakes heat). Tiz A Masterpiece qualified as a late two-year-old at The Red Mile but did not race at 2. His racing career commenced in May as a three-year-old with his defining win coming at The Meadowlands in the $210,000 Oliver Wendell Holmes in which he took his record of 1:49. Tiz A Masterpiece had only 17 starts at 3, winning five times and running up a stake score of $224,209 - an excellent total in a brief career. A 2005 foal, Tiz A Masterpiece is bred on a classic cross of blood - that of Western Hanover his sire and Artsplace his maternal sire. Western Hanover, sire of Tiz A Masterpiece, is the leading equine sire of all breeds with progeny earnings exceeding $175 million. A champion pacer himself, with a record of 1:50.8, Western Hanover won 27 of his 42 starts, was voted 2YO and 3YO Pacing Colt of the Year, ran up a record tally of $2.5million and was the leading USA stakemoney sire on four occasions. Western Hanover has matched his greatness as a racehorse in the siring field, and now his sons are achieving distinctions of the same order. Trulyawork Of Art (1:54.2), the dam of Tiz A Masterpiece, was one of the many grand producing daughters of a champion sire in Artsplace (1:49.4), being out of a Canadian Broodmare of the Year in Town Sweetheart (1:57.6), by Big Towner from Savilla Lobell (1:56.4), by Albatross. Besides Tiz A Masterpiece, Trulyawork Of Art is the dam of the 2011 Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John 1:49 ($1,000,559) - a full brother to Tiz A Masterpiece - and others in Western Artwork 1:51 ($279,521) and I'm Not Gunna Lie 1:52.2 ($254,795). The grand-dam, Town Sweetheart, has been one of the gems of the American stud book. She is the dam of 15 individual winners, three $500,000 winners, three in 1:50, 10 in 1:55 and three successful sires. Northern Luck (1:49.2), a leading sire at Gloucester Park for many years, is one of the offspring of Town Sweetheart. By Peter Wharton
Columbus, OH --- The Harness Racing Social Media Initiative, sponsored by the United States Trotting Association and key partners, today announced a new “30 out of 30” Grand Circuit Challenge, which provides fans the opportunity to win a $1 million prize if they can pick the winners of 30 designated top races during this year’s racing season. Entrants can enter the contest immediately at www.harnessracingambassadors.com where they will find specific details of the contest, rules and access information about each race. Sign-up generally takes less than five minutes. The first race will be the Meadowlands Pace on July 12. The contest features key Grand Circuit races, including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown at leading tracks in North America, including Mohawk, The Meadows, The Meadowlands, Hoosier Park, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Northfield Park, Saratoga, Delaware (OH), The Red Mile, Scioto Downs, Balmoral Park, Dover Downs, Yonkers and Maywood Park. A full list and schedule is available at www.harnessracingambassadors.com/million_dollar_challenge. The hashtag, #Harnessracing1m, has been created for sharing. “This contest is designed in the spirit of one of harness racing’s most treasured traditions, the Grand Circuit,” said John Campbell, president of the Grand Circuit. “The Grand Circuit has always been a traveling roadshow to success and riches for horsemen and horses alike,” added Campbell. “This contest now allows fans to come along and participate, while having the chance to become a millionaire in the process.” For those who miss a race and don't qualify for the $1 million grand prize, there are $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 second, third and fourth prizes available for those who choose the most correctly. Each week, entries will be posted online to give fans the opportunity to pick the winners in advance of each race. A leaderboard will help all entrants track their progress so that they can play along throughout the racing season. Fans can also participate in the optional Harness Racing Ambassador program, to connect with other fans, earn rewards and share their experiences through social media. All sign-ups for the $1 million prize must be received before noon on July 12, 2014 and are limited to one per person. About the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative Launched in September 2013, the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative is a partnership among the U. S. Trotting Association, the social media consultancy, Converseon, and key industry groups to help drive marketing innovation and engagement with current and new fans for the sport. The initiative’s mission is to help support key racetracks, industry groups and help provide foundational support and a common, “best practice” framework by leveraging social technologies and platforms and strategies to positively brand the sport of harness racing and generate greater awareness, visibility and engagement with a new generation of fans. Other active promotions include the 100 Top Moments in Harness Racing Contest (http://harnessracingfanzone.com/promotions/top100moments). Key foundational elements of the initiative to date include the Harness Racing Ambassador Program and the www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com. Dan Leary Director of Marketing and Communications USTA
Columbus, OH --- The Harness Racing Social Media Initiative, sponsored by the United States Trotting Association and key partners, today announced a new "30 out of 30" Grand Circuit Challenge, which provides fans the opportunity to win a $1 million prize if they can pick the winners of 30 designated top races during this year's racing season. Entrants can enter the contest immediately at www.harnessracingambassadors.com where they will find specific details of the contest, rules and access information about each race. Sign-up generally takes less than five minutes. The first race will be the Meadowlands Pace on July 12. The contest features key Grand Circuit races, including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown at leading tracks in North America, including Mohawk, The Meadows, The Meadowlands, Hoosier Park, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Northfield Park, Saratoga, Delaware (OH), The Red Mile, Scioto Downs, Balmoral Park, Dover Downs, Yonkers and Maywood Park. A full list and schedule is available at www.harnessracingambassadors.com/million_dollar_challenge. The hashtag, #Harnessracing1m, has been created for sharing. "This contest is designed in the spirit of one of harness racing's most treasured traditions, the Grand Circuit," said John Campbell, president of the Grand Circuit. "The Grand Circuit has always been a traveling roadshow to success and riches for horsemen and horses alike," added Campbell. "This contest now allows fans to come along and participate, while having the chance to become a millionaire in the process." For those who miss a race and don't qualify for the $1 million grand prize, there are $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 second, third and fourth prizes available for those who choose the most correctly. Each week, entries will be posted online to give fans the opportunity to pick the winners in advance of each race. A leaderboard will help all entrants track their progress so that they can play along throughout the racing season. Fans can also participate in the optional Harness Racing Ambassador program, to connect with other fans, earn rewards and share their experiences through social media. All sign-ups for the $1 million prize must be received before noon on July 12, 2014 and are limited to one per person. About the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative Launched in September 2013, the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative is a partnership among the U. S. Trotting Association, the social media consultancy, Converseon, and key industry groups to help drive marketing innovation and engagement with current and new fans for the sport. The initiative's mission is to help support key racetracks, industry groups and help provide foundational support and a common, "best practice" framework by leveraging social technologies and platforms and strategies to positively brand the sport of harness racing and generate greater awareness, visibility and engagement with a new generation of fans. Other active promotions include the 100 Top Moments in Harness Racing Contest (http://harnessracingfanzone.com/promotions/top100moments). Key foundational elements of the initiative to date include the Harness Racing Ambassador Program and the www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com. from USTA Communications Department