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A field of 14 will contest the September 22 Gr. I Derby Italiano del Trotto (purse 847,000€, 2100 meters autostart) at Napoili led by the August 31 elimination winners Axl Rose, Aramis Bar and Alex Mede SM. The elims were raced at Roma Capannelle each for a 22,000€ purse over the 2100 meter autostart course. Axl Rose (3m Love You-Linda di Casei) won the first batteria for Alessandro Gocciadoro clocked in 1.13.8kr, his ninth victory in 11 starts for 353,019€ earned. Anthony Leone (3m Libreccio Grif) and Ayrton Treb (3m Majestic Son) trailed this winner. Batteria two saw Aramis Bar (3m Napoleon Bar-Guendalina Bar) score in 1.13.3kr for Andrea Guzzinati. He bested Al Capone Steca (3m Napoleon Bar) and Alrajah One (3m Maharajah). Aramis Bar Batteria three went to Alex Mede SM (3m Ganymede-Non Plus SM) timed in 1.15kr with Roberto Vecchione the pilot for trainer Holger Ehlert. Argentovivo (3m Varenne) and Anthony Gar (3m Love You) chased this winner, and also qualified for the Finale. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

International trotters headlined today’s card at Les Sables d’Olonne with their Grand Prix for €50,000 going to Uhlan de Val reined by trainer Cedric Megissier. The six year-old son of Islero de Bellouet-Indiana Beautiful-Beautiful Somolli scored narrowly for his eighth career win, now for €815,390. The 1.7/1 favorite, a winner in 1.14.8kr over 2775 meters, held off veteran Roi du Lupin (9g Fleuron Perrine-Helia de Saint-Pol) with J-M Bazire at the lines for trainer/owner J-P Marmion. He’s a 27 time winner of almost €1.7 million. The day’s Quinte+ race of the day had a jackpot of €5.4 million. That race was the Gran Prix de Pontorson atHippodrome de la Mont-Saint Michel. 18 starters battled for the €35,000 purse over 2675 meters, and Sullighan scored in 1.14.4kr as the 1.7/1 favorite for Mme. C. Hallais-Dersoir. JLC Dersoir trains the winner for Ecurie Jeloca. He’s an eight year-old gelded son of Sancho Panca-Terre de Sauoreuil and he defeated the Damien Bonne teamed Samourai Purple. Good racing has also taken place at various European venues this week. Today at Skelleftea, Juliano Rags (6m Juliano Star-Julia Rags-Super Arnie) took the 3140 meters feature worth 100,000SEK to the winner. Noralf Braekken teamed this winner to his 13th career victory now for earnings of 1,833,026SEK. The Norwegian entrant was timed in 1.14kr over the extended distance as he defeated Mellby Vargtass and Bo Eklof, with third to Denmark’s Bradley reined by Robert Bergh. On the same card Valnes Chilly took the co-feature, also with 100,000SEK first prize, as the six year-old mare by Fill V-Chilly Creek-Giant Chill scored over 2140 meters (turning start) in a good 1.12.9kr, her third 2014 victory. Yesterday at Jagersro (SWE) the featured Elitserien Final (100,000SEK to the winner) over 2140 meters autostart went o favored From Dust To Dawn (3m From Above-Emotional Dust-Banker Hall) with Johnny Takter at the lines for Dusty Stables. He scored in 1.15kr for his fourth career win in just seven starts. His dam Emotional Dust was a good one (1:56, US$195,683) and is from Web Dust (Sugarcane Hanover-US Sushi). On that card the co-featured mile autostart event for older trotters went to I Won’t Dance (8g Angus Hall-Do Si Do Hanover-Valley Victory). He scored in 1.11.4kr for Joakim Lofgren to record his 23rd career win in 78 starts for earnings of 6,435,387SEK. Obi Wan was second for Flemming Jensen. Lofgren also scored with lightly raced Bella Bourbon (3f Ready Cash-Stella Pride-Love You) in 1.15.7kr over 2140 meters from the turning start. On July 14 at Beaumont de Lomagne (FR) trainer Vincent Martens won both of the top races. Ouch (7g Viking Kronos-Hot Enough-Malabar Man) took the €35,000 purse Gran Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duren in 1.14.8kr over 2550 meters. Christophe Martens reined the winner to his 13th career win as the 2.8/1 choice. The Menhammer Stuteri -bred winner defeated 61/1 longshot Renato Alstare. The monte Prix de Caen went to Martens conditioned United Face (6g Viking Kronos-Pretty I-Sharif di Jesolo) as the even-money choice with Damien Bonne aboard  in 1.15.2kr over 2550 meters for a purse of €25,000. On July 13 at Amiens (FR) the Prix Vismie for €35,000 drew 16 European starters. Sweden’s Head Line (7g Rite On Line-Farapoli IT-Napoletano) scored for Anthony Duperche, driving for trainer Antonio Ripoll-Rigo. This pair overcame a 25 meter handicap to win timed in 1.16kr. The same day grass-turf experts (16 starters) contested the Saint Jean de Monts for €25,000 over 2625 meters. Super Berry Chenou (8g Jardy-Finaline-Quel Soro) scored at 4.4/1 for J-P Monclin driving for trainer Jean Baudron and owner Ecurie Etoile NV  to earn his 11th win for €193,960 career earnings. Ulk Blue (6m Love You-Just Blue-Cygnus d’Odysse) ended second for Eric Raffin. At L’isle/Sorgue the Gran Pris de Trot de la Ville sur la Sorgue for €32,000, over 2650 meters, went to 3/1 odds Uppercut du Gui (6g Opus Viervil-Altesse du Maroif) reined by Stephane Cingland for Ecurie Franck Anne. He scored in 1.17.2kr for victory eight in his career. At Francheville (FR) J-P Dubois won with homebred Bella Flore (3f Sam Bourbon-Queen Flore-Vikings Way) in the Prix Vanika du Ruel over 2475 meters. Patrick Chevrier trains this one as she recorded the maiden win. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Kincsem Park's excellent Saturday card showcased the 2014 two year-old leaders, a marathon distance event for HU-bred five year-olds and the HU Derby Trial. The Derby is set for August 3rd. The two year-olds battled over 1800 meters for a purse of 1.1HUf million and the first HU crop of Ata Star L finished first and third. Trappolj!, an Ata Star L filly, took victory for Imre Dome in 1.22.1kr at 15/1 odds. Ata Star L is a son of Tibur-Ata Donna Y-Speedy Crown who stood in Sweden previously and is half-brother to Atlas Fighter L 1.56.4 ($1,193,038) by Quick Pay, Atlas Ace L1.55.1 ($650,718) by Napoletano and Atlas Rocket 1.58.3 ($305,675) by Pershing. Janos Szalay Memorial, two-year-olds, 1800 meters autostart, purse 1,100,000HUf, 1.22.1kr 1st Trappolj! (2f Ata Star L-Gyorsulj!-Witsends Speedy), Imre Dome trainer/driver, 15.3/1 2nd Tartalosz (2m Com Muscle-Hurricaine-Excel Hanover), Laszlo Kolozsi 3rd Topmodell (2f Ata Star L-Elegant Lady-Mill H), Balazs Juhasz Paperboy took the 3000 meter Otevesek Nagydija in 1.19.1kr to earn the winners share of the 3HUf million purse. The victory by the five year-old for Veljko Mazsity continued the HU success by originally Doug Ackerman trained Wall Street Banker, the brother to Valley Victory (bred by new US Hall of Fame breeder William Weaver). Otevesek Nagydija, 3000 meters autostart, five year-olds, purse 3,000,000HUf, 1.19.1kr 1st Paperboy (5m Wall Street Banker-Vas Lady-Endless Sands), Veljko Mazsity up, 5/1 odds 2nd Palko (5m Belami-Grace-Yankee Yankee), Dora Kovacs 3rd Philadelphia (5m Detroit-Gertrud-Rendfarok), Lajos Marton The Derby Trial for three year-olds over 1800 meters for 1.8HUf million, went to another Wall Street Banker son Szerelmes R and teamster Balazs Juhasz. The 14/1 outsider scored in 1.16.2kr to defeat Salihamidzic, another Wall Street Banker male. These two will certainly be worth watching at the August 3rd Derby. HU Derby Trial, 1800 meters autostart, three year-olds, purse 1,800,000HUf, 1.16.2kr 1st Szerelmes R (3m Wall Street Banker-Viragos-Surefire Lobell), Balazs Juhasz trainer/driver, owners Jodlis Kft and Mihaly Bacsa, 13.8/1 2nd Salihamidzic (3m Wall Street Banker-Helikon-Awesome Goal), Lajos Marton 3rd Szacharin (3f Vanito-Inzulin-Valley Guardian), Laszlo Kolozsi The weekly 500,000HUf open went to Nyires (by Tony Oaks) in 1.16.4kr over 1900 meters autostart. He defeated the Daguet Rapide mare Laluna Comtesse. Summary is shown below. Ugyvivo DIJ, 1900 meters autostart, purse 500,000HUf, 1.16.4kr 1st Nyires (7m Tony Oaks-Viragos-Surefire Lobell), Tibor Hajnal for Illetmeny Kft., 2.9/1 odds 2nd Laluna Comtesse (5f Daguet Rapide-La Comtessa-Super Arnie), Emese Vezer 3rd Ontario R (6m Wall Street Banker-Virginia-Endless Sands), A. Budai Other winners of interest in the Kincsem Park card of July 5 included Rosamundi (6f Chipmate-Kama Sutra) for Csaba Lakatos in 1.18.7kr over 2000 meters and Mellby Schwin (9f Supergill-Impish Hornline) for S. Turbucz in 1.17.1kr over 1800 meters. This weekend's open drew a competitive 10 horse field in the Landlord DIJ. Nick Nolte (by Tony Oaks) and Conway Boko (by Castleton Bass) are the likely favorites. July 12, 2014 Kincsem Park - Landlord DIJ, 1800 meters autostart, 500,000HUf purse, 10 starters Orinoco, A. Szucs Amazing Lobell, A. Lakatos Rozsakert, B. juhasz Conway Boko, T. Hajnal Nick Nolte, S. Varadi Numero Uno, Gy. Horvath Jegyzono, Kornelia Fejer Carpe Diem, G. Karolyi Reine Fille, L. Kolozsi Royal Flesh, L. Marton by Thomas H. Hicks

Defending Finlandia-Ajo champion Nesta Effe faces a stiff challenge to his crown from rising French star Univers de Pan and Swedish star Sanity at Vermo , Saturday night. The group one Finnish race is over the mile distance and Holger Ehlert will have his Italian-bred chestnut journeyman primed for a race in a country in which he has excelled. Neste Effe not only won this race last year,but he also won the Prix Etain Royal the first of the Scandinavian big spring races which was won this year by Warkentin mare Prussia in stunning fashion. She lines up again, but there is a feeling that on paper, last year's was a much stronger field, perhaps due to the untimely clash this season with the Copenhagen Cup. Mr Picolit, who ran third last year is defending his Copenhagen Crown, while Monster Drive who was fourth, chose a trip to Italy last weekend for the Lotteria where he made the final. Commander Crowe, who also appeared in both races last year, has not also reappeared for his 11th season. So this leaves the big three, really looking a class above the opposition in this race. Malin Lofgren's Sanity won four races in France over the lucrative winter period, and also finished second and third, and has a win and two second since he returned to Scandinavian racing. The son of Love You is just a super tough competitor and demands the ultimate respect here. Philippe Daugeard's Univers de Pan is one of the French elite ranks, and the fact that he is racing on the 1000m Scandinavian is something of a coup for the organizers of the race. A true French bred son of Kenya du Pont, the only American bloodlines in his pedigree ironically stem from his sireline, his great-great grandsire being Star's Pride. He is the only one of his fifth line 32 descendants who is American. Not one of the other five lines of pedigree is of US breeding. But that is of interest only to the breeding buff, he was second in the Prix de France and has no less than four group two victories. On a wide open track he'd street this field. The fact that he is putting his credentials on the line on a 1000m track, and an acknowledged hard track at that, speaks of a greater goal. A fast mile time, perhaps with the lucrative Swedish breeding market taking not of performance above such a "French" pedigree. This is a race which has been run since 1980, and is regarded as Finland's biggest trotting event. A few facts Horses with most wins 2 - Giesolo de Lou (1999, 2000) 2 - Napoletano (1988, 1989)[3] Drivers with most wins 3 - Jean-Michel Bazire (2005, 2008, 2009) 3 - Stig H. Johansson (1988, 1989, 2004) 3 - Jorma Kontio (1985, 1986, 2007) 2 - Olle Goop (1983, 1987) 2 - Joseph Verbeeck (1998, 2003) Trainers with most wins 3 - Fabrice Souloy (2003, 2008, 2009) 2 - Jean-Etienne Dubois (1999, 2000) 2 - Stig Engberg (1988, 1989) 2 - Olle Goop (1983, 1987) Sires with most winning offsprings 2 - Biesolo (Giesolo de Lou, Oiseau de Feux) 2 - Quick Pay (Atas Fighter L., Born Quick) 2 - Texas (Grades Singing, Copiad) 2 - Super Bowl (Davidia Hanover, Napoletano Countries, number of wins 10 - United States 9 - France 7 - Sweden 4 - Finland Fastest winners 1:10.6 (km rate) - Quarcio du Chene (2010) All winners of Finlandia-Ajo[edit] Year Horse Driver Trainer Winning horse's native country Winning time 2013 Nesta Effe Roberto Vecchione Holger Ehlert Italy 1:10.9 2012 Sebastian K Björn Goop Björn Goop Sweden 1:11.1 2011 Commander Crowe Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy Sweden 1:13.7 2010 Quarcio du Chene Björn Goop Björn Goop France 1:10.6 2009 Igor Font Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy France 1:11.8 2008 Oiseau de Feux Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy France 1:11.3 2007 Opal Viking Jorma Kontio Nils Enqvist Sweden 1:10.8 2006 Hot Shot Knick Thomas Uhrberg Kari Lähdekorpi Sweden 1:11.5 2005 Kart de Baudrairie Jean-Michel Bazire Franck Leblanc France 1:12.2 2004 Rotation Stig H. Johansson Stig H. Johansson United States 1:12.5 2003 Kiwi Joseph Verbeeck Fabrice Souloy France 1:12.0 2002 H.P. Paque Trond Smedshammer Trond Smedshammer United States 1:11.7 2001 B.W.T. Magic Ahti Antti-Roiko Matti Salmi Finland 1:11.2 2000 Giesolo de Lou Jean-Etienne Dubois Jean-Etienne Dubois France 1:11.2 1999 Giesolo de Lou Pierre Vercruysse Jean-Etienne Dubois France 1:11.6 1998 Dryade des Bois Joseph Verbeeck Jean-Baptiste Bossuet France 1:12.5 1997 Zoogin Åke Svanstedt Åke Svanstedt Sweden 1:12.1 1996 Isla J. Brave Aki Antti-Roiko Petri Klemola Finland 1:12.5 1995 SJ's Photo David Wade David Wade United States 1:13.3 1994 Copiad Erik Berglöf Erik Berglöf Sweden 1:12.5 1993 Born Quick Tommy Hanné Tommy Hanné Finland 1:12.1 1992 Otto-Mani Antti Teivainen Esa Aronen Finland 1:13.7 1991 Atas Fighter L. Torbjörn Jansson Torbjörn Jansson Sweden 1:13.5 1990 Florida Jewel William Fahy John Holloway United States 1:13.3 1989 Napoletano Stig H. Johansson Stig Engberg United States 1:12.9 1988 Napoletano Stig H. Johansson Stig Engberg United States 1:14.1 1987 Grades Singing Olle Goop Olle Goop United States 1:14.1 1986 Davidia Hanover Jorma Kontio Per Eriksson United States 1:14.7 1985 Keystone Patton Jorma Kontio Antti Savolainen United States 1:14.1 1984 Shane T. Hanover Per Henriksen Per Henriksen United States 1:14.9 1983 Speedy Magnus Olle Goop Olle Goop Sweden 1:13.2 1982 Dartster F. Olle Hedin Olle Hedin Sweden 1:13.9 1981 Ideal du Gazeau Eugene Lefevre Eugene Lefevre France 1:14.3 1980 Ejakval Jean-Claude David Jean-Claude David France 1:15.6 by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com

Holger Ehlert trained Nesta Effe returns to Vermo. Fineland on Saturday May 10 to defend last year's Finlandia AJO title. The Gr. I International UET Masters Series event will be contested over 1609 meters autostart for purse of 190,000 euros. Three career winners of over 1 million euros are in the lineup (Nesta Effe, Sanity and Univers de Pan).Ten quality performers will be at the start: Juliano Rags, Noralf Braekken, Norway Oasis Bi, Claes Svensson, Italy Nesta Effe, Roberto Vecchione, Italy Sanity, Johnny Takter, Sweden Quite An Avenger, Marrku Nieminen, Finland Univers de Pan, Philippe Daugeard, France Blue Porsche, Likka Nurmonen, USA Prussia, Pietro Gubellini, Italy Paladin Bleu, Joseph Verbeeck, France Air Gunner, Kari Rosimo, Finland Nesta Effe Replay of the 2013 event and post-race festivities are shown by link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuZih-ToflI#t=362 The 2014 field at Helsinki shapes up as wide-open affair. Oasis Bi has 12 career wins in 35 starts for 3,263,264SEK. The six year-old son of Toss Out-Up Front JM-Self Possessed has posted two wins in four starts this year against solid foes. Sanity (8g Love You-Flash Light-Mack Lobell) has also started 2014 effectively with a 3-2-0 slate in five starts including success in France. He now has 30 wins from 69 appearances for earnings of 9,723,176SEK. Local player Air Gunner (6g Ray Gun-Dame Gallant-Meadow Gallant) has also begun the season well with three wins, the last two in 1.11.7kr for driver Kari Rosimo. Winners of the Finlandia include legends of the trotting wars internationally (e.g., Commander Crowe, SJ's Photo, Copiad, Davidia Hanover, Napoletano, Grade's Singing and Ideal du Gazeau). The race record 1.10.6kr was set in 2010 by Quarcio du Chene reined by Bjorn Goop. Winners of Finlandia-Ajo Year Horse Driver Trainer Winning horse's native country Winning time 2013 Nesta Effe Roberto Vecchione Holger Ehlert  Italy 1:10.9 2012 Sebastian K Björn Goop Björn Goop  Sweden 1:11.1 2011 Commander Crowe Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy  Sweden 1:13.7 2010 Quarcio du Chene Björn Goop Björn Goop  France 1:10.6 2009 Igor Font Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy  France 1:11.8 2008 Oiseau de Feux Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy  France 1:11.3 2007 Opal Viking Jorma Kontio Nils Enqvist  Sweden 1:10.8 2006 Hot Shot Knick Thomas Uhrberg Kari Lähdekorpi  Sweden 1:11.5 2005 Kart de Baudrairie Jean-Michel Bazire Franck Leblanc  France 1:12.2 2004 Rotation Stig H. Johansson Stig H. Johansson  United States 1:12.5 2003 Kiwi Joseph Verbeeck Fabrice Souloy  France 1:12.0 2002 H.P. Paque Trond Smedshammer Trond Smedshammer  United States 1:11.7 2001 B.W.T. Magic Ahti Antti-Roiko Matti Salmi  Finland 1:11.2 2000 Giesolo de Lou Jean-Etienne Dubois Jean-Etienne Dubois  France 1:11.2 1999 Giesolo de Lou Pierre Vercruysse Jean-Etienne Dubois  France 1:11.6 1998 Dryade des Bois Joseph Verbeeck Jean-Baptiste Bossuet  France 1:12.5 1997 Zoogin Åke Svanstedt Åke Svanstedt  Sweden 1:12.1 1996 Isla J. Brave Aki Antti-Roiko Petri Klemola  Finland 1:12.5 1995 SJ's Photo David Wade David Wade  United States 1:13.3 1994 Copiad Erik Berglöf Erik Berglöf  Sweden 1:12.5 1993 Born Quick Tommy Hanné Tommy Hanné  Finland 1:12.1 1992 Otto-Mani Antti Teivainen Esa Aronen  Finland 1:13.7 1991 Atas Fighter L. Torbjörn Jansson Torbjörn Jansson  Sweden 1:13.5 1990 Florida Jewel William Fahy John Holloway  United States 1:13.3 1989 Napoletano Stig H. Johansson Stig Engberg  United States 1:12.9 1988 Napoletano Stig H. Johansson Stig Engberg  United States 1:14.1 1987 Grades Singing Olle Goop Olle Goop  United States 1:14.1 1986 Davidia Hanover Jorma Kontio Per Eriksson  United States 1:14.7 1985 Keystone Patton Jorma Kontio Antti Savolainen  United States 1:14.1 1984 Shane T. Hanover Per Henriksen Per Henriksen  United States 1:14.9 1983 Speedy Magnus Olle Goop Olle Goop  Sweden 1:13.2 1982 Dartster F. Olle Hedin Olle Hedin  Sweden 1:13.9 1981 Ideal du Gazeau Eugene Lefevre Eugene Lefevre  France 1:14.3 1980 Ejakval Jean-Claude David Jean-Claude David  France 1:15.6 by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Yesterday historic Pompano Park celebrated its 50th birthday. The harness racing dream of Frederick Van Lennep became reality in 1964, when it developed, opened, flourished and following his death in 1987, was managed by the late John A. Cashman, Jr. for the Van Lennep estate. They had many other assets including Lexington's famous Castleton Farm, Wolverine Raceway, the Red Mile in Lexington and multiple tracks in Italy, until sold in 1994 to Casino America, Inc. (now Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc.). The selling amount was subject to upward adjustment in the event a constitutional amendment was passed permitting casino gambling. The buyers agreed to continue standardbred racing at the facility. The sale followed failed negotiations to sell to the then owners of Hollywood Greyhound Track and Hazel Park near Detroit. The real story, however, takes place many years before, when in 1926, another racetrack was located on the site. It proved to have an interesting history with government intervention, not unlike today's equine industry. In that in 1926, the $1.25 million construction of the original Pompano Park, with grandstands that could seat 7,000 fans, was completed. The mile track, made of clay and sand, was 100 feet wide and many years later served as the hub of the famous training center at Atlantic Blvd and Powerline Road. The grand opening was celebrated on Christmas Day 1926 and huge crowds of spectators reportedly poured into Pompano on chartered buses from around Florida. The track might have been an immense success but there was a barrier (in Florida, at that time, pari-mutuel betting was illegal).  It said, racing was to start Christmas Day until Governor John Martin branded Pompano Park "a center of law breakers" and threatened to send the military to plow up the track and "plant it in cowpeas" unless racing ceased, and it did. The original Pompano Park was then used for automobile races, Polo and boxing matches, without lasting success. In 1928, two years after the track opened, a hurricane ravaged South Florida with 2,000 fatalities and many injuries. Pompano Park became a savior as it was used as a Red Cross station to aid more than 1,000 hurricane victims. Subsequently, the track became dormant until 1953, when Fred Van Lennep, then a prominent Kentucky horseman and former advertising executive, spotted the old track from an airplane. Van Lennep saw great potential for a future racetrack. He purchased the land and immediately began plans to construct a new facility. After lobbying for many years, Van Lennep was able to get pari-mutuel legislation on the ballot and in 1962 it was overwhelmingly voted into law. Van Lennep fulfilled his dream, and his promise, and built what was the well-designed state leader of horse racing tracks. The new Pompano Park opened on February 4, 1964 to a crowd of nearly 6,600 people. The track featured a "state of the art" grandstand, clubhouse and restaurant facility and for the many owners (who also had access to an owners' club), trainers, drivers and caretakers, three racetracks, two being one mile and half mile training tracks and a five-eighths mile main race track. Once completed, there were stalls for 2,000 horses, living quarters for more than 500 caretakers, a swimming pool for horses, a nine-hole golf course and driving range. The main facility featured one of the largest dining rooms in South Florida with seating for more than 800 people. Van Lennep's wife, the renowned horsewoman, Francis Dodge Van Lennep, loved pink flamingos and much of the track was painted in that color. Named the "Winter Capital of Harness Racing", Pompano Park grew in popularity among people in the sport, plus leading celebrities enjoyed their nights at the races. Notables Ed Sullivan, Minnie Pearl, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra, Walter Matthau, Sammy Davis Jr., Rodney Dangerfield, and many others came to Pompano Park regularly along with leading sports figures Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, George Steinbrenner, Arnold Palmer, Charlie Keller and Lee Elder. They were regulars during the season and Ford, Steinbrenner, Palmer and Keller became horse, farm and track owners. Years later, celebs still came out for a night at the races including Pulitzer prize-winning author and columnist Dave Barry, baseball's Dennis Martinez, Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler, UK and NBA basketball's Sam Bowie, also a prominent standardbred horse owner and breeder. During the 1980 and 90's Pompano Park bloomed at its 331 acre site (including the 180 acre training center that was sold years later for industrial development), hosting the prestigious Breeders Crown numerous times as the world's top Standardbreds, owners, trainers and drivers trained and raced during the winter for some of the sports' richest purses. Records fell annually with the sports' greatest reinsman, the "Gold Dust Twins" Stanley Dancer and Billy Haughton, calling Pompano Park their winter home. The tracks biggest night was on December 27, 1980 when the great pacer Niatross arrived at Pompano Park There were 18,451 fans on-site to see the remarkable pacer, barred from the betting, team with trainer and Hall of Famer Clint Galbraith to a 1.54.3f win by open lengths. Reportedly another 5,000 fans had to be turned away, as cars were parked on the median divider of Powerline Road and across the street in Palm Aire after all racetrack parking areas had been filled to capacity. Every mutuel pool record was rewritten by the fifth race that evening. Pompano continued to play a leading role in the Standardbred sport during the early Breeders' Crown years with its Van Lennep Trotting Series that attracted many of the best US aged performers and some Europeans. John Cashman was a great supporter of international racing and the Van Lennep was his and Pompano Park's trotting showcase during that era. One such event I remember best occurred in 1987. Re-live it below with Dave Joseph's memorable stories. European Flavor Adds Spice to Van Lennep Invitational By DAVE JOSEPH, Racing Writer, October 4, 1987 Pompano Harness Track`s $150,000 Frederick Van Lennep Invitational Trotting Series has lured five of the six European trotters that were extended invitations to compete in the two-race series. The Van Lennep, run over a mile track Oct. 24 and a 1 1/4-mile track Oct. 30, will have Germany`s Reado, Norway`s Scott Iran, Finland`s Black Laukko, France`s Quito du Couronne and Big Spender, who has campaigned throughout Europe. The only trotter who declined the invitation was Sweden`s Emile, second twice this year to two-time Breeders Crown winner Grades Singing. Van Lennep Trot Lures Three of the Best By DAVE JOSEPH, Racing Writer, October 18, 1987 POMPANO BEACH -- For the past four months they have crossed paths. First New Jersey, then New York, finally Illinois. In pursuit of being named Aged Trotter of the Year, Sugarcane Hanover, Tabor Lobell and Express Ride have battled on three tracks. But after the three meet tonight in a $10,000 invitational trot at Pompano Park, the trio will have only two more chances to lay claim to seasonal honors. World record holder Express Ride, two-time Breeders Crown winner Sugarcane Hanover, and Invitational Challenge Cup winner Tabor Lobell will use tonight`s invitational as a prep for Pompano`s upcoming $150,000 Frederick Van Lennep Invitational Trot. Express Ride Sets Pompano Mile Record By DAVE JOSEPH, Racing Writer, October 19, 1987 POMPANO BEACH -- It was supposed to be a leisurely prep race; a chance for some of the trotters racing in the upcoming Frederick Van Lennep Invitational to get a feel for Pompano Harness Track. Ah, but it was so much more. World record holder Express Ride, driven by Berndt Lindstedt, trotted the fastest mile in Pompano`s 24-year history Sunday night, clocking 1:56 2/5 in the sixth race, a $10,000 invitational trot. It broke Grade`s Singing`s record set in last year`s Van Lennep by 3/5 of a second. Hey, Big Spender Spent A Little Time with Malaise By DAVE JOSEPH, Racing Writer, October 24, 1987 POMPANO BEACH -- The travel plans, Berth Johansson thought, were firm. Big Spender, his 6-year-old horse, would trot in West Germany Oct. 11, then be shipped to Paris the next night and prepare for his trip to Pompano Park and the Frederick Van Lennep Trotting Series. How much easier could that be, Johansson thought. "We would race Sunday," the Swedish trainer-driver said. "Then he would sleep, wait 24 hours, and then go to Paris Monday night." Simple, right? But four hours after trotting two heats in West Germany, Big Spender was loaded on a train and spent the next 20 hours riding to Paris. Express Ride Gets Leg Up In Van Lennep By DAVE JOSEPH, Racing Writer, October 25, 1987 POMPANO BEACH -- The opposition put it this way: "He`s a monster," trainer Jim Gluhm said. "What else can you say?" Gluhm, trainer of Tabor Lobell, was speaking for all of the estimated 6,000 here who witnessed the performance of Express Ride. The 4-year-old world-record holder won his fifth consecutive race Saturday night when he led throughout the $50,000 Frederick Van Lennep International Challenge over a mile distance at Pompano Park in 1:56 4/5. Reado, an 80-1 long shot from West Germany, finished second by 1/2 lengths. Tabor Lobell`s Finale To Be In Van Lennep By DAVE JOSEPH, Racing Writer, October 29, 1987 POMPANO BEACH -- There was really nothing distinctive about that morning, trainer Jim Gluhm said. It was just like any other May morning at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. "It was cool," Gluhm said. "And there wasn`t much sunshine." That morning, in fact, probably would have slipped from Gluhm`s mind if it wasn`t for one of his workers running out to the track and saying, bluntly, `What the hell are you doing?` "I was starting to train Tabor Lobell to go a 1 1/4 miles and 1 1/2 miles when the horse`s groom came running out asking me that question," Gluhm said. Tabor could handle the distance as on August 30, 1987 he upset many of the best in the sport to win the 1-1/2 mile $100,000 Challenge Cup at Roosevelt. Tabor Lobell Wins Challenge Cup: Tabor Lobell, a 25-1 shot driven by Buddy Gilmour, held off Callit of Sweden last night to capture the $100,000 Challenge Cup, a mile-and-a-half invitational trot at Roosevelt Raceway. The 4-year-old son of Speedy Crown-The-Pro raced third over most of the event, but caught Callit, winner of the International Trot last week, at the head of the stretch. The two went neck and neck to the finish, and Tabor Lobell won by a head, covering the course in 3:03 3/5. Whip It Wood, driven by John Patterson Jr., took third. Tabor Lobell's victory, only his second in 12 races, was worth $50,000 and pushed his career earnings to $199,095. Tabor Lobell was third in the International Trot behind Sweden's Callit and Potin d'Amour from France. (NY Times archives) Record Falls in Van Lennep Sugarcane Hanover Upsets Express Ride By DAVE JOSEPH, Racing Writer, October 31, 1987 POMPANO BEACH -- There was silence on the other end of the line for several seconds before trainer Jim Simpson could express his feeling. "I`m ecstatic," said Simpson. He paused. "I got a tear in my eye." Simpson`s tear came courtesy of Sugarcane Hanover, who came out of hiding at Pompano Harness Track Friday night in world record fashion. After finishing second and ninth to Express Ride in his last two races across Pompano, John Simpson`s Sugarcane Hanover returned to form here when he trotted past 4-5 favorite Express Ride in the final yards to win the $100,000 Frederick Van Lennep International Championship by three-quarters of a length. Sugarcane Hanover with Gunnar Eggen up winning 1988 March of Dimes at Garden State over Ourasi, Mack Lobell and Napoletano by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com    

Noras Bean (9m Super Arnie-Easy Bean-Songcan) won today's Gold Division on the V75 card at Aby and may earn a Prix d'Amerique try once again. The veteran scored in 1.12.9kr over 1640 meters for driver Stefan Soderkvist and owner Stall Asunden AB to earn 150,000SEK first money. He recorded his 17th career win in 67 starts and increased career earnings to 9.65 million SEK. Noras Bean raced in the 2013 Prix d'Amerique ending unplaced timed in 1.13kr over the 2700 meters. He has made only five starts since including today's victory over BAHT Launcher (9g Tap In-Josephine Launcher-Turbo Thrust) handled by Bjorn Goop and Montgomery Hill (10g SJ's Photo-Funny Hall-Mr. Vic) with Johnny Takter aboard. US exports Solvato and I'm The Answer finished 10th and 11th. Noras Bean last won on June 29th last year before today's solid effort. Other winners at Aby today included Moonshine Muscles (5f Muscles Yankee-Daliance-Andover Hall) in 1.14.3kr over 1640 meters for Peter Ingves and Nelson di Quattro (7g Ganymede-Jade Groenhof-Napoletano) with Madelen Beras up in 1.15.6kr over 2140 meters in a monte event. Nougat As (6g Striking Sahbra-Noblesse As-Mack Lobell) won the Silver Division worth 125,000SEK to the winner. He scored in 1.13.8kr for Johnny Takter. Fortune Again (5f Andover Hall-Fortuna Dream-American Winner) also won at Aby to earn 100,000SEK. She scored in 1.16kr over 2140 meters for owner ACL Stuteri, trainer Roger Walmann and reinsman Torbjorn Jansson. Yesterday at Romme, Dance Photo (10f SJs Photo-Dancing Trout-Dancers Victory) won in 1.14.1kr over 2140 meters for Ulf Ohlsson. The 2007 US export is owned by Sisyfos Breeders AB. At Solvalla, Stirling Allstar (5f Credit Winner-Super Starlet-Muscles Yankee) won in 1.14.7kr over 2140 meters for Johan Untersteiner. This one was a late fall 2013 import from the US by Stall Keeper. She recorded her second 2014 victory and fifth of her career. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com               

Bill O’Donnell is one of harness racing’s most successful drivers and will be making his seventh straight appearance at the Central Huron oval’s biggest event of the racing season this Sunday, August 18. The native of Springhill, Nova Scotia formed one half of racing’s dynamic duo (the other being John Campbell) that terrorized race tracks across North America through the 1980's and is considered one of the sport’s first true ‘catch drivers’. "As a youngster growing up in the business I didn’t really think about becoming a driver," he recalls. "It was just something that evolved and I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time really with the opening of The Meadowlands in the late 70's. That really changed everything in harness racing and for me personally." O’Donnell remembers getting hooked on racing early, at the age of 8, while helping his uncle Art Porter at the former Maritime racing mecca of Sackville Downs near Halifax. From that point on he knew that there was nothing else he wanted to do. That path took him to Ontario at the age of 17 where he went to work for the late Ron Feagan before returning the next summer and working for the iconic Bill Wellwood. It wasn’t long before O’Donnell headed south of the border to Massachusetts where he landed a job working for fellow Maritimer Jim Doherty in the late 1970's. It was around that time that a new one-mile track was opening in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and little did he know at the time what an important role it would play in his career. "I remember Joe Defrank (Meadowlands’ Race Secretary at the time) coming to Rockingham and scouting some of the top local guys like Jim (Doherty) and Teddy Wing," he explains. "There was no one happier than me to see those guys go because I vaulted from about sixth in the driver’s colony to first that next season," he jokes. After honing his skills for the next couple of seasons at other venues like Rosecroft and Saratoga, O’Donnell finally made his first foray to The Meadowlands. By the time that second year rolled around, he was becoming more and more in demand and finally decided to try and make that his ew home. By 1984, he had become well established in the New York/New Jersey area and it was that year that fortune really smiled down on him. The legendary Billy Haughton was pointing a rookie phenom named Nihilator towards the $2 million Woodrow Wilson and made the fateful decision to pull himself off the colt in favour of the younger O’Donnell. "I couldn’t believe it and I actually said ‘Bill are you crazy’?" he remembers vividly. "He said candidly that his eyesight wasn’t as good then and that he felt he was just a step behind the younger guys at that point in his career. It was pivotal for me and was probably a catalyst for the catch-driving movement at that time." Nihilator obliterated the field in the Wilson and went on to a career record of 35 wins from 38 starts and more than $3.2 million in earnings while winning everything in the sport along the way. By then, O’Donnell was at the top of his game and in huge demand in all of the sport’s biggest races. He would have the chance to sit behind some of the greats including Genghis Khan, Staying Together, Prakas, Napoletano, Troublemaker and Camtastic. He is just a few dollars shy of $100 million in career purse winnings and has steered the winners of more than 5,700 winners during his distinguished career. These days he splits his time between the horses and serving as President of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA). On Sunday, he will get a chance to renew acquaintances with several old friends (and rivals on the racetrack) including Campbell, Doherty, Ray Remmen and Ron Waples. "Getting to see all those guys again is much fun for me as anything. We were all very competitive when we raced each other but great friends off the track," he says. "This sport has given me much more than I’ve given it, so I always like to make time for events like this. The enthusiasm of the fans on this day is always fantastic and I can’t wait for it." The $15,000 Legends Day Trot and Ontario Sires Stakes action for two-year-olds will be the highlight races of the afternoon. Fans will have an opportunity to meet this year’s legends and receive autographs starting at 2:30 p.m. There will also be live entertainment and pony rides and face painting for the kids. The Pineridge Barbecue Chicken dinner is scheduled from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. (tickets $15 each) and Legends T-shirts will be on sale for just $2. All roceeds, along with those from the silent auction that day, will go to the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation. For details on the days events visit www.clintonraceway.com by Jessica Carnochan  

Owen CR with harness racing driver Pietro Gubellini in the sulky easily won the featured Prix Giorgio Jegher today at Trieste.

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