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It’s beginning to look like Ake Svanstedt’s trotter Sebastian is so superior to the competition that he’s racing only against the clock. There was a time when time was privileged over purse money in the pursuit of assessing a stallion or mare’s suitability for the breeding ranks, but those days are long gone. Bob Marks never had much use for them, although he says he did “use them occasionally to get marks on horses that could never accomplish much in actual races.” Flip through the latest edition of the Breeder’s Book and you’ll find a couple of pacers with time trial marks—Jereme’s Jet and 26-year-old Cambest—and the Indiana stallion Jailhouse Jesse on the diagonal side. How sweet it would be to see Sebastian take to the track during the Red Mile meet with a pair of t-breds or pacers behind him and a jacked-up crowd cheering him home. He’d surely rid us of the 1:50 burden as well as Enough Said and his Colonial Downs asterisk. Fifty years ago just about every premium stallion and mare was measured against the clock at some point. Rodney, Fancy Crown, Most Happy Fella, Scotland, Yankee Lass, Bullet Hanover, Bye Bye Byrd, Dancer Hanover, Cheer Honey, Dayan, Hickory Pride, Elma, Isle Of Wight, Steady Beau and Sampson Direct all carry time trial marks. Some drivers specialized in handling the time trialing horses, while others were good with the prompters. When Adios Butler knocked two ticks off Billy Direct’s 22-year-old mark, which was set the day before Greyhound’s at The Red Mile on October 4, 1960, owner Paige West drove the 4-year-old while Del Miller and trainer/driver Eddie Cobb drove the t-bred prompters. When the 4-year-old Cash Hall went after Pine Chip’s 1:54 world record at Delaware in 2006, John Campbell drove the son of Self Possessed while Dave Palone chased after him with the Real Artist mare, Valentine. Cash Hall annihilated the mark with a 1:51.1 mile. On the trotting side, Greyhound’s TT1:55 ¼ mark, set on September 29, 1938 for Sep Palin, held fast for 31 years, until Nevele Pride dropped it to TT1:54.4 for Stanley Dancer at Indianapolis on Sunday August 31, 1969. Twelve thousand enthusiastic fans were in attendance that day. Coincidentally enough, a longstanding pacing mark of 1:55 was also set at that same Lexington meet in 1938: Billy Direct time trialed free-legged in 1:55 for Vic Fleming on September 28, 1938. That mark remained untouched during the 1940s. Frank Ervin put a 1:57.1 mark on 5-year-old Adios in a time trial when he was offered $500 to break the track record, and four years later another great progenitor, Gene Abbe, time trialed in 2:00.3, also at age five. But it took a race mark of 1:55 from Adios Harry in the American Pacing Derby at Vernon Downs on July 16, 1955, with the owner’s son Luther Lyons in the bike, to match Billy Direct’s mark. Adios Butler undercut the 1:55 standard five years later in the time trial referenced above. That 1:55 barrier was finally shattered. The great Speedy Crown didn’t break any records when he time trialed in 2:01.2 as a freshman in 1970, but after winning just four of eight starts and earning a paltry $2,000, he did prove that good things were on the way. Actually the first significant time trial for trotters in the 1970s came from Arnie Almahurst, a crazy fast son of Speedy Scot, who pretty much won every start he didn’t break stride in. He had little in common with his paternal brother, Speedy Crown, who never broke stride—not ever. Arnie time trialed in 1:57.2 at The Red Mile for Joe O’Brien and became the sixth fastest trotter behind Super Bowl, Nevele Pride, Ayres, Speedy Scot and Speedy Crown. Nine years later his 3-year-old son Arndon trotted the fastest mile ever by a trotter when he hit the wire in TT1:54 for Del Miller at The Red Mile. And twelve years after that Arndon’s 4-year-old son Pine Chip became the world record holder when he time trialed in 1:51 for John Campbell at Lexington. Arndon and his dad both retired as the fastest ever. Another important trotting time trial in the ‘70s was ABC Freight’s TT1:57.1 as a 2-year-old for Joe O’Brien at Hollywood Park in 1976. The sire of Garland Lobell topped Nevele Pride’s 1:58.2 freshman mark and became the fastest 2-year-old trotter ever. ABC set his lifetime mark of 1:56.3 the following year in a time trial. The market for blockbuster trotting time trials pretty much dried up after that, although Cash Hall did crush the half-mile mark with that 1:51.1 mile for John Campbell at Delaware in 2006 that was referenced above. The time trials involving Standardbred trotters under saddle has been less prevalent, nonetheless, it has played a prominent role due to the horses and people involved. In 1940 Greyhound ended his racing career under saddle at Lexington. Frances Dodge rode him to a world record of 2:01 ¾. That mark stood for 54-years, until Preferential and Brooke Nickells broke it in 1994 with a 1:58.2 mile. And six years later the mighty Moni Maker, like Greyhound, ended her career under saddle at The Red Mile. Jockey Julie Krone, with Jimmy Takter and Wally Hennessey following with prompters, trotted in an incredible 1:54.1. In the pacing camp it was up to Bret Hanover to continue the assault on the longstanding 1:55 standard that his paternal brother, Adios Butler, had begun. In early September of 1966, 4-year-old Bret, who was within a few months of being retired, time trialed in 1:54 at Vernon Downs for Frank Ervin with a single prompter chasing him. Five weeks later in Lexington Ervin put the TT1:53.3 mark on the big guy that would serve as his lifetime mark. Dancer preferred to put race marks on Albatross so there are no flashy time trials on Super Bird’s resume. He did become the fastest ever in a race when he won both heats of the Tattersalls Pace at The Red Mile in 1:54.4, topping Adios Harry’s race mark, which Bret had matched. He also won in 1:55.3 at Delaware, matching Adios Butler’s time trial mark and eclipsing Bret’s 1:57 half-mile track race mark. Steady Star, a free-legged son of Steady Beau,  who was a year older than Albatross, cornered the time trial market in that era. At three he circled The Red Mile in 1:54 for Joe O’Brien and the following year, on October 1, 1971, he time trialed in a head turning 1:52. Later on, in 1976, 4-year-old Nero time trialed in 1:55.1 and the following year Warm Breeze was race timed in 1:53.1 at Golden Bear in Sacramento. Two years later Meadow Skipper’s son Falcon Almahurst became the fastest 3-year-old pacer ever with a 1:52.2 time trial at Lexington for Bill Haughton. Only Steady Star had gone faster. Then came the game changer: 3-year-old Niatross’s TT1:49.1 at The Red Mile on Oct 1, 1980. It was the sport’s first sub-1:50 mile and, while it parallels Adios Butler’s breach of the 1:50 point, it was so much more. The closest thing to it was Steady Star going 1:52, but the sleek son of Steady Beau didn’t win a single open stakes race during his career—not so for Niatross. His son Nihilator was later positioned to outdo dad in a time trial at Springfield but the weather didn’t cooperate and he was unable to lower his 1:49.3 race mark in a time trial at DuQuoin.  Matt’s Scooter went after the 1:49.1 mark at The Red Mile in 1988 and knocked four ticks off of it. His 1:48.2 time trial for Mike Lachance established a new world record. Matt’s Scooter beat Niatross’s mark but 5-year-old Cambest blew it out of the water with his 1:46.1 time trial at Springfield. The problem was that he wasn’t tested afterwards and not long after that his 1:52.1 win in the Senior Jug was disqualified due to elevated bicarbonate levels. Cambest was slated to stand at Hanover Shoe Farms but in light of the controversial final chapter of his career they passed. So stick Jimmy Takter and Bernie Noren behind a couple of fast pacers and let’s see if Ake can wheel Sebastian around The Red Mile in a time that will cause the crowd to gasp the way they did for Steady Star’s 1:52 mile and Niatross’s 1:49.1. Speed has always sold in this game; time to pump it up via the time trial. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

All Speed Hanover 3, 1:49.4 ($819,712), one of Cam's Card Shark's most outstanding juvenile performers and winner of the USA 2YO Breeders Crown in 2009, is to do stud duty at Graham and Janine Taylor's Stonegate Farm at Nathalia, 45 kilometres north of Shepparton, Australia. He is at present doing quarantine in Kentucky and is expected to arrive in Australia in mid-August. His service fee for his first season will be $2,500 including GST with discounts for multiple mares and generous breeding packages. All Speed Hanover was unquestionably one of the best two-year-olds of his crop. From seven starts at that age he posted five wins and a placing, amassing $486,950 in stakes. Undoubtedly the highlight of his freshman campaign was his success in the $700,000 Breeders Crown at Woodbine, in which he edged out 2YO of the Year Sportswriter after a titanic stretch duel in 1:52. All Speed Hanover also won a $139,800 division of the Bluegrass Stake and a  $119,350 division of the International Stallion Stake, both in 1:50.6 at Lexington's mile track. He took his record of 1:49.4 at three years, winning an elimination of the North America Cup at Mohawk, while he also captured a heat of the New Jersey Classic before finishing a nose second in the $500,000 Final in 1:49.2. All Speed Hanover added over $160,000 to his bankroll as an aged performer, retiring with $819,712 in career earnings and being race-timed in sub 1:50 on nine occasions. Noel Daley, who trained All Speed Hanover most of his career, said: "At this stage he's the most exciting young pacer I've trained. He had versatility and a great gait. I will certainly be breeding to him 'Down Under'". Meanwhile, Luke McCarthy, who drove on several occasions when based in America, said: "He's the most gifted two-year-old I have driven." An upstanding bay, All Speed Hanover has the breeding background to compliment his obvious racetrack ability. Cam's Card Shark, champion sire in America, where he has sired winners of almost $133 million and has 58 in the 1:50 list, has also made an impact through his sons as sires in Australia and New Zealand. Not only is All Speed Hanover a youthful son of Cam's Card Shark - he was foaled in 2007 - but on his distaff side he can claim equal distinctions. Allamerican Cool (1:54.8), the Stakes-winning dam of All Speed Hanover, has a 100 percent record at stud with nine foals for nine winners including five in 1:55 and three $100,000 winners. They have amassed more than $1.3million in progeny earnings. Furthermore, Allamerican Cool ranks as a half-sister to one of the greatest racemares of all-time in Eternal Camnation 1:49.4, the winner of 47 races, a record $3,748,574 in stakes and a member of the Canadian Hall of Fame. Trilogy Lobell, the third dam of All Speed Hanover, was a half-sister to the Little Brown Jug winner and champion sire Life Sign 1:50.6 ($1.9million) and to the dam of leading sire American Ideal (1:47.8), their dam being Three Diamonds (1:53.2), the USA 2YO and 3YO Filly of the Year and a Hall of Fame immortal. All Speed Hanover is a Most Happy Fella line horse - that which produced Bettor's Delight - from one of the top maternal families in the world, and boasts six strong crosses of the blood of Meadow Skipper. He should prove an ideal outcross to mares boasting Abercrombie, Western Hanover and Direct Scooter blood. By Peter Wharton

South Australian pin up boy Come On Frank returned from a harness racing stint in Victoria to take the main event at Melton on Friday night. The horse with his own Facebook page sat one out and one back and proved too classy for main rival Mark Dennis. Come On Frank has now won twice in eight starts since returning from injury which saw him off the scene for some 14 months after finishing third to Smoken Up in the 2013 SA Cup. Friday nights race, trainer driver Darren Billinger eased the local hero off the gate after drawing the outside of the front and ended up  in the one one behind Mark Dennis, who charged out of the gate but was caught outside former WA pacer Adda Paternal Suit who faced to finish last. A slow pace, which did not suite Come On Frank, but  the son of Blissfull Hall in the end his lass prevailed and on the line pulled away from Mark Dennis to win by 3 meters with a further 6 meters to Livin It Lovin It back in third spot. Come on Frank was bred by Ian Goddard, who shares ownership in the gelding with Julie and Jodie Billinger, he was got by Blissfull Hall from Whatacorka, a SA bred mare by the Most Happy Fella horse What’s Next. Whatacorka, was a handy racemare by What’s Next, a world record holder for 1-1/2 miles from the Miss Duvall family, and who proved a champion sire of two and three-year-olds. Whatacorka, who won three races, was out of a top racemare in Uncork, who took a record of 1:59.9, won 18 races including the SA Sapling Stakes and $68,136 in stakes and became the dam of nine winners. Besides Whatacorka, Uncork is also the dam of Hes A Corka 1:57.4, a winner of 45 races including the Southern Cross 2YO and 3YO Finals, Breeders Plate and Italian Cup, Saved A Corka 1:59.1 (24 wins including the SA Oaks and Southern Cross 3YO), Maybe A Corka 1:57.1, Seel A Corka and Arm A Corka. Come On Frank looks set to dominate fast class races in South Australia in the coming months. By Gary Newton

Roland Beaulieu, best known for his 1970s stars Columbia George, Skipper Walt and Romalie Hanover, passed away Thursday, April 10, at his home in Orlando, Fla. At the age of 98. A native of Lewiston, Maine, with a large population of French Canadians, Beaulieu didn't learn English until his teenaged years and then employed himself by opening a bar and snack shop, although he was a teetotaler. In his mid 20s, when he developed health issues, a doctor advised him to get more fresh air and he started spending time with harness horses on the Maine fair circuit, and harness racing became his life's work. Early in his career he developed the stakes winner Eileen Eden and the raceway notables Regal Pick and Adam Eden. In 1969, training horses for Dr. George Smith of Byram, Conn., Beaulieu became a fixture on the Grand Circuit with the two-year-old pacing colt Columbia George. Beaulieu knew the colt had talent, but he also had a couple of bowed tendons. He made a special leg paint to treat the affliction and with the help of his wife, Blondie, the Good Time colt won 12 races as a two-year-old and set seasonal, track and world records. As a three-year-old Columbia George won the American-National, a Hanover-Hempt, a heat of the Adios, a heat of the Little Brown Jug, and a heat of the Tattersalls Pace, but his nemesis Most Happy Fella was a tough adversary. To read the rest of the story click here.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2014 ballot. A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Standardbred racing candidates and 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates have been selected to appear on this year’s ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will declare the winners in their respective categories.  Results will be announced Tuesday, April 8.   On the Standardbred ballots representing this year’s six voting categories are as follows: Male horse category, Blissfull Hall, J M Vangogh and Rocknroll Hanover In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown.  Owned by Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, QC, this champion was trained by Ben Wallace with Ron Pierce as regular driver.   A 31 race career over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before embarking on a successful career as a stallion. J M Vangogh, purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by Paul Chambers of Harrington, Delaware, made a remarkable recovery from an accident in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final as a two year old to earn $2.28 million in 206 starts over 8 seasons and the nickname “The Comeback Kid”.  Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his race career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, ON; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC.  Career highlights include victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup.  He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. Female horse category: B Cor Tamara, Dreamfair Eternal and J Cs Nathalie Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000.  Bred and owned by Peter Core of Dresden, ON, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall.  Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.7 million. Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a career spanning seven years, 56 victories, including every stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earning over $2.5 million and being named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010.  The daughter of Camluck was bred, raised and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON with Patrick Fletcher receiving training credit. As a broodmare, J Cs Nathalie has produced two millionaires for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON -- pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal.  Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3.  Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and over $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010. The trainer-driver category: Yves Filion, William Gale, and Wally Hennessey. Yves Filion, 67 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.5 million in earnings.   Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.4 million.   Pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama each became millionaires with Filion responsible for both training and driving. William Gale, 65 of Woodstock, Ontario, was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons.  During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million. Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his name and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million.  In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown.  In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Candidates in the builders’ category: Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and Robert Murphy. Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry.  Highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth.  Before Grand River, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC.  In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management.  He was hired by Blue Bonnets in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway.  He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, BC, one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, was known by his popular Red Star moniker.  First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners.   He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009.  In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Outstanding Standardbreds: Albatross, Artsplace, and Happy Lady Albatross was voted US Harness Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972.  He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million.  As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million. Artsplace was the1992 O’Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season.  He was a two-year-old world record holder winning the Breeders Crown in a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing.  He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada before becoming a world class sire. Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, ON and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville.  Though her race career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2.  Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races.  As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts. Communicators category selections: Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Frank Salive. The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario.  As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press.  Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was “three or four years old”, sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy.  He was inducted into Western Fair’s Wall of Fame in 1980. As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin, a native of Arnprior, ON made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing.  He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans.  He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the health of horse racing during his career. Leamington, ON native Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as “The Voice” of Canadian harness racing.  During his career it is estimated he called over 100,000 races, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable and informative calls and silky voice.  Frank’s career as a track announcer began at Sudbury Downs in the late 70’s and continued at tracks throughout Ontario,  includin  fourteen years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks and concluding at Pompano Park, Florida.  Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman for several years. From the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

After joint consultation Jim Simpson, President of Hanover Shoe Farms and majority owner Jeff Snyder have decided to retire Cam's Card Shark from active stallion duty at Hanover. "The horse has been good to everybody associated with him from the day he was foaled" Simpson said. "He has now reached the stage in life where it is both difficult and dangerous for him and those around him to mount the phantom mare or even to be collected using a live mare". Cam's Card Shark is a foal of 1991. As a two year old he was lightly campaigned under the guidance of trainer Micky McGivern. His wins at two included the Lou Babic Memorial and two New Jersey Sires Stakes. At 3, he was transferred to the Bill Robinson Stable. He was voted "Horse of the Year 1994". In addition he garnered both O'Brien and Nova awards for Horse of the Year. His wins at three include the $1,000,000 Meadowlands Pace, The North America Cup,  the Art Rooney Memorial, the Adios, the Messenger, the New Jersey Classic and the Miller Memorial. He was syndicated at the end of 1994 and retired with two and three year old earnings of $2,498,204.. He entered the stallion ranks at Hanover's New Jersey Farm in 1995. His stallion accomplishments are many and varied He has sired ten millionaires including five who have earned in excess of two million dollars. He is credited with three Little Brown Jug winners and two winners of The Meadowlands Pace.His most renowned performers have been Shark Gesture, Bettors Delight, Four Starzzz Shark, Royalflush Hanover, Holborn Hanover, Roll With Joe, Village Jolt and Million Dollar Cam. Of special note is that his son Bettors Delight is the fifth great stallion from a paternal line that follows from Meadow Skipper, through Most Happy Fella, to Cam Fella, to Cams Card Shark and now Bettors Delight. This is a feat unprecedented in both Standardbred and Thoroughbred breeding. Its quite possible that the line will be extended through his grandson Betterthancheddar. Snyder said that Cams Card Shark will live out his remaining days "which I hope will be many" at Hanover Shoe Farms. From Hanover Shoe Farms        

Rene Sheward is still buzzing from creating her own slice of Little Brown Jug harness racing history at the Delaware County Fairgrounds last Thursday (September 20). That's the day the Indiana native became the first woman in the 67-year history of the coveted Ohio race to become an associate judge.

Their rivalry preceded Affirmed and Alydar's by two years. Silk Stockings, linked forever to autistic children, and Tarport Hap, who had a tragic ending for a legendary horseman , were two of the greatest harness racing pacing mares of the last 40 years. They went head-to-head 20 times in the mid-'70s, and, frequently, their traveling battlefield was the New York Sire Stakes.

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