Day At The Track
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Laurel, DE --- “It was amazing.” That’s all 20-year-old driver Brandon Henley could say about winning five races on one card at Ocean Downs. “Races were just working out for me,” the Bridgeville, Del. resident said. The five-win night at Ocean Downs on Sept. 2 is so far the highlight of what has already been an exciting season for Henley, who has nearly tripled last year’s earnings already with $190,114 in money won as a driver in 2013. In his third year driving, Henley, with a 2013 UDR of .265, has won 59 races lifetime and amassed earnings of $268,720 in 525 starts. Not bad considering he spends his days as an electrician. “Eventually I’d like to have my own stable and just race horses,” he said. In the meantime, he spends the first part of his day doing electrical work and heads to the barn in the afternoons. With the help of his family, including grandfather Melvin Cannon, Henley maintains a stable of five horses that he races in Maryland and Delaware. They include Scootin Cammie and Lady Gamelton, the horse Henley won his first race with. While that Rosecroft Raceway win is one he’ll never forget, when asked what his most memorable win was Henley couldn’t decide. “I like all my wins!” he said. Henley said it was through helping his grandfather as a child that he became interested in harness racing. After learning to jog and train he was hooked. What is it about sitting in the bike that he likes? “How a horse grabs on,” he said. “How they feel when you move them off the rail. A lot of things go on when you’re on the track.” He earned his driver’s license primarily through qualifying Cannon’s horses. Although he knew he wanted to drive, Henley said he always told himself he wouldn’t go out and ask for drives. “I figured if people liked the way I drove I’d get catch drives,” he said. Sure enough, over time Henley has managed to pick up some catch drives. He stayed quite busy at Ocean Downs this summer and was excited to be listed in every race at the half-mile track on Labor Day. He says he’s thankful to all of the trainers who have given him drives, particularly Garey Jump, who puts him up on all of his horses. Maryland trainer James Wilkins is another trainer who has taken to using Henley. “He’s done a good job for me,” Wilkins said, adding that Henley had steered pacer Pilgrims Easel to three wins at Ocean Downs. Henley, who admittedly got his start driving cheap horses, does not dwell on how good or bad a horse is when he’s on the track. “I just try to get a horse in the best position I can,” he said. “I started off driving bad horses. I was always driving the ones that had problems and just had to learn to drive them through it and make the best out of the race.” He believes that has helped him pick up more mounts. “I just try to drive the best I can and give them the most honest drive I can,” he said. by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

A family of champion Standardbred racehorses and breeding stock, owned by Joe Thomson of Winbak Farm in Chesapeake City (Cecil County), will be presented with the Maryland Horse Industry Board’s (MHIB) August Touch of Class Award on Thursday, August 15, during the evening race card at the Casino at Ocean Downs in Berlin. In addition, two harness racing drivers, Corey Callahan and Frank Milby, both Maryland natives, will receive Secretary Citations, presented by Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, for their 3,000th and 1,500th career wins, respectively. The four Standardbred Touch of Class honorees are all owned by Winbak Farm and all related in some fashion. They are: • The broodmare Lady Ashlee Ann and the stallion Bettor’s Delight, who were installed in the Living Harness Horse Hall of Fame on July 7, in Goshen, NY. • Betterthancheddar, a son of Lady Ashlee Ann (another Winbak-owned horse) who was named Canadian Champion Pacer in 2013. • The late Classic Wish, another Winbak Hall of Fame honoree, who is the dam of Bettor’s Delight. This is the second Touch of Class Award for Winbak, one of the nation’s leading Standardbred farms, which was honored in March 2012 for their champion colt Roll With Joe. What: Presentation of the Maryland Horse Industry Board’s August Touch of Class Awards Who: Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, MHIB Chairman Jim Steele, Winbak Farm Owner Joe Thompson, and harness drivers Corey Callahan and Frank Milby When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15. Where: In the winner’s circle at The Casino at Ocean Downs in Berlin. MHIB established the Touch of Class Awards in 2011 to honor Maryland horses and people who achieve national and international recognition. For more information, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at 410-841-5798 or ross.peddicord@maryland.gov

It may only be Thursday but Ocean Downs in Maryland will be holding one of the richest harness racing programs in North America with the $117,700 Maryland Standardbred Race Fund Stakes. There will be six divisions for three-year-old trotters and pacers. The first two divisions are early, non-wagering races starting at 6:40 pm. The first division is for three-year-old pacing fillies for a purse of $17,100. Featured is Stylish Lady from post four for driver Tony Morgan. The daughter of By A Length is currently on a two-race winning streak for breeder, owner and trainer George Leager of Sudlersville, MD.  Stylish Lady has won three of her last four starts including a lifetime best 1:57.4 record at Harrington Raceway. The second non-wagering division has a purse of $16,250 and is for sophomore trotting fillies. Heading the field are recent winners Irish Sport (post 2) for driver Brett Brittingham and Glitter Galore (post 4) for driver Sean Bier. The pari-mutuel race card gets underway with MSRF stakes right in the very first race with the $16,400 second division for pacing fillies.  Starlit Eyes looks to be the overwhelming favorite as the daughter of CR Commando sports earnings this year of $128,000 with her big triumph coming on July 25 for driver Ross Wolfenden in winning the $100,000 DSBF Final at Harrington. The first $17,150 division for pacing colts is race 3 Rebel Soldier starts from post five for driver Steve Warrington. The gelded son of Quik Pulse Mindale, who is bred, owned and also trained by Warrington of Galena, Delaware, is on a two-race win streak and has won four of his last six starts, the fastest a lifetime mark of 1:55.4 right at Ocean Downs. The richest of the six division is the eight race for trotting colts and gelding for a purse of $32,550. The entry from trainer/driver Les Givens is listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite and rightly so. Solo Command, who will be driven by Jim Morand, starts from two and has won $69,000 this year with three wins. He was second in the $100,000 DSBF Final and has a record of 1:59.1 at Ocean Downs. The tenth race $17,250 final division is for pacing fillies and headlining the field is Art Frenzy from post four for driver Jonathan Roberts. The filly by Art Major is owned and trained by Bill Popfinger of Lighthouse Point, FL and was undefeated at age two going 7 for 7. Now three, Art Frenzy has six wins in 2013 and earnings of more than $55,000. She also has a record of 1:53.2 and has won three of her last four starts. By Steve Wolf  

With the end of breeding season rapidly approaching for 2013, Winbak Farm has a multitude of quality stallions available in 5 slots-enriched areas. Whether your plan is to race or sell, we have the right stallion at a reasonable price for your mare.

Penn National Gaming Inc. (PNGI) has submitted a formal proposal to build a $700 million casino and resort on the grounds of Rosecroft Raceway, a harness racing track located just south of Washington, D.C., in Prince George's County, Md.

This past Saturday (April 6), harness racing driver Frank Milby scored his 1,500th career win with Climate Hanover in the third race at Rosecroft Raceway.

Florzell "Georgie Boy" Daniels of Harrington, Del., has been named 2012 Groom of the Year in the annual harness racing competition sponsored by Hanover Shoe Farms and Harness Tracks of America.

The Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association is reminding all Maryland horsemen that Rosecroft opens for the spring meet on March 9 and that they should immediately submit their applications for racing privileges and their roster of horses.

Winbak Farm, a sprawling 3,000-acre harness racing farm located south of Chesapeake City, will be recognized by the World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore March 6 for its international business accomplishments.

The Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association is looking forward to the 2013 race meet at Rosecroft Raceway.

Live harness racing racing will return Saturday (March 9) to Rosecroft Raceway with several significant changes, most impressive of which is an average daily purse schedule that will be $50,000 per card, an increase of 33 percent from the last race meet which ended Dec. 22, 2012.

Harness racing's largest standarbred nursery Winbak Farm was founded in 1991 by Joe and JoAnn Thomson. The farm was originally Winfield Farms, home of the legendary Thoroughbred, Northern Dancer. The name Winbak is derived from the 'Win' in Winfield and B A K for each of Joe and JoAnn's children (Bradley, Ashlee and Kimberly).

Rosecroft Raceway's recently concluded 29-night fall-winter harness racing meeting showed significant gains in overall handle versus the 2011 comparable meet. Total wagering on Rosecroft's live races for the fall-winter meet increased 70 percent over the 2011 meet.

Saturday night Dec. 22 will be the final night of the fall 2012 harness racing meet and Rosecroft will close its successful meet with the biggest overnight card of the year in terms of purses and number of horses racing. One hundred and seventeen horses, of the 120 entered will square-off in 15 races, with total purses of more than $58,300.

Chris Tallman Fout loves horses so much she thinks she might have been one in a past life. Tallman Fout is the wife of top harness racing driver and Winbak Farm's Maryland-based trainer, Jeff Fout.

When harness racing trainer/driver Jonathan Nikodemski purchased Blue Time Frosty two years ago, the gray gelding was underweight, covered in fungus and had thrush in all four feet. As they say though, good things come to those who wait.

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