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A stakes-filled harness racing card will take place at Northside Downs on Saturday afternoon, as a total of six Atlantic Sires Stakes divisions will be hosted by the North Sydney oval. The Atlantic Sires Stakes three-year-old pacing colts will go in two $10,380 'A' division events and one $2500 'B' event. Meanwhile the three-year-old pacing fillies will have their chance to shine in two $10,520 'A' division events and one 'B' event. Points earned in each 'A' division pace event and all trot events go towards earning a spot in the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. This in the 50th Anniversary year of the Atlantic Sires Stakes program. The program was formed back in 1966 with the purpose of promoting the Standardbred horse industry in Atlantic Canada. Today the program showcases the best young horses in the region. First race post time on Saturday at Northside Downs is 12:30 pm. Lynne MacLennan

After a busy week of Old Home Week racing on Prince Edward Island, harness racing makes its triumphant return to Saint John's Exhibition Park on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 P.M.   Horse Racing New Brunswick will showcase a five dash card that will include the $1350 featured event of the day to be carded as race five.   Haunto, owned by Jeff DeFazio and Gordon White will look for post-one to give them the edge in the field with driver Mark Haig,. They will be asked to take on one of the hottest stables from the region. Dr. Mitchell Downey and his father Mike will send out two starters, Stare Down and City Of The Year.   Magical Alex and Cecils Express will round out the top-class of the afternoon.   Horse Racing New Brunswick and it's partners will host the prestigious Maritimer stake as part of the Exhibition Week of racing at the Saint John half-mile track.

It was an emotional day at Exhibition Park Raceway on Saturday as a three-horse spill in the fourth event of the afternoon sent two harness racing drivers to hospital.   Going into the first turn, driver Ed Harvey and his pacer Allstar Seelster had obtained a lead from post two and suddenly fell causing Dr. Mitchell Downey to become unseated from his horse Stare Down and also falling hard to track.   Unable to clear the mishap, driver Stephen Trites and Ideal Ticket became involved and Trites was dragged in the sulky until the horse came to a stop at the fence.   Driver Ed Harvey is reported to have a possible broken hand and ribs in the accident and Stephen Trites, a hyper-extended knee injury. Dr. Mitchell Downey walked away from the ordeal and came back to win the final race on the program will Fall Bliss.   Also on the card, pacer Upstairswithron won his first race in over two-years for driver Scott Hubbard and owner/ trainer Bob MacNeil. Horse Racing New Brunswick will provide updates this weekend as the drivers are evaluated further.   All three horses involved walked away from the accident with cuts and bruises and H.R.N.B will report on their condition as soon as news becomes available.   Best wishes from Horse Racing New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Standardbred Owners Association on a speedy recovery to those involved.     Scott Waddell

Harness racing returns this Saturday at Exhibition Park Raceway with a six-dash card at the Saint John half-mile oval starting at 1:00 P.M.    Dr. Mitch Downey will drive the veteran pacer Fall Bliss from post-five in the final race of the afternoon carrying a purse of $ 1350. Winner of his last three races, the pacer has been assigned the number five post versus his four rivals.    City Of The Year, runner-up in the Walter Dale Memorial will test his stable mate from post-four. Mike Downey will pilot the four-year-old son of Royal Mattjesty. Momara, driven by New Brunswick's top driver of 2015, Ed Harvey draws the coveted rail position. Other starters include Magical Alex and Coral Snake.    Post time on Saturday goes at 1:00 P.M. As always, free parking, free admission and simulcast on live racing available at all betting locations in New Brunswick.               

There were smiles and tears of joy for the connections of the harness racing three-year-old pacing filly Sassyandiknowit as the aptly named filly broke her maiden on Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Park Raceway.   With Todd Trites at the helm, the spunky daughter of Force Of Life, owned by Debbie Mahar of Saint John led from start to finish en route to a 2:04.2 victory. Like many small stable operations, the filly is a family affair as Deb's husband Wayne trains the filly.   She has some experienced some issues so far in her career as we see with so many horsemen, her connections brought her a long and invested both the time and passion to accomplish the feat this afternoon.   In other action, Fall Bliss continued to roll for owner Mike Downey and trainer/ driver Dr. Mitchell Downey. After winning the Walter Dale Memorial last week the pacer was the easiest of winners in 2:00.2. He is now six of nine in the 2016 campaign.   Racing will resume on Saturday, July 16th at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Scott Waddell

Fall Bliss, driven by last year's Rookie of the Year harness racing driver, Dr. Mitchell Downey reigned supreme on Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Leaving from post-two, Downey sent the eight-year-old son of Blissful Hall to the lead after a scorching :27.2 opening quarter. Downey handed driver Todd Trites and Magical Alex the parking ticket after battling early in the mile.   He was never to be denied after that as he cruised to an easy 2:00 victory over City Of The Year with Magical Alex holding on for third.   Exhibition Park also saw it's first two-year-old winner of the season as first-time starter Puthecherryontop scored a maiden voyage. Tommy & Cindy Gunn bred the filly from the tough race mare Wylde Cherry. She now sports a 2:06.4 win race record.   Racing in New Brunswick will continue on Friday, July 1st at Fredericton Raceway with the prestigious Walter Dale Memorial as the headlining event.            

The ongoing battle between Fredericton Exhibition Limited (FREX) and Horse Racing New Brunswick (HRNB) is directly affecting more than the two warring sides — harness racing stable users are feeling helpless over the developing situation. “The horsemen have been somewhat caught in the middle,” said Sam Hodgin, President of the NB Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association. The battle really turned sour last month when FREX decided property taxes for the year must paid up front, rather than monthly in previous years. When HRNB didn’t pay, FREX took action, locking HRNB out of their offices. The move was quickly taken back due to not providing 30 days notice. “We were able to get them to get their taxes in line,” FREX Executive Director Mike Vokey said. “This is the first year that that’s happened since I’ve been here.” “The organization is three years behind in their financial so we can’t look at it and really understand what the costs are and where the revenues are going,” Vokey said. “We know there’s a cost to running races but we provide the facility … for only a dollar. The only obligations they have really come down to running a full season of racing, paying the property taxes and looking after the property.” On Tuesday one of the Exhibition’s eleven water meters was shut off temporarily, taking HRNB by surprise. The metres used for track maintenance and not consumption by the horses. FREX says they were shut off for a routine check, and that a a lack of communication is to blame for the confusion, as they needed to check the meters to ensure all water bills were being paid, but weren’t able to meet with HRNB’s President. “We could’ve sped up the process if we would’ve met in person,” Vokey said. While Vokey and HRNB work out their differences, horse owners say they’re caught in the crossfire. “They’re both working hard to try to run their own business,” Hodgin said. “But the horsemen are the ones right now that are kind of — we really don’t have any say in it, but we’re the ones being affected by losing our race dates.” The originally planned HRNB scheduled would have seen 10 races in Fredericton, the same amount as last year. Saint John would be bumped from a single race to 10, with three more taking place in Woodstock. However, according to the posted schedule, HRNB is now only hosting three races in Fredericton this year — a drop that isn’t welcome for those looking to race in the New Brunswick capital. “I’m just hoping that the two sides, Fredericton Exhibition and Horse Racing New Brunswick realize that the only way that we’re going to go forward is to work together,” Hodgin said. “Not try to take from one another.” HRNB didn’t respond to Global News’ request to comment on the situation. By Jeremy Keefe Reprinted with permission of the Globalnews.ca site

Harness racing in the province of New Brunswick will officially kick off on Saturday, June 18th at 12:30 P.M at Saint John's Exhibition Park Raceway.   Five races will kick-off the 2016 racing season at the port city half-mile oval that will include a $ 1350 featured race as the fifth of the afternoon.   Veteran pacer Magical Alex has drawn the coveted rail position for catch-driver Todd Trites and owner Bob MacNeil of Saint John.   Known for his quick gate speed, Magical Alex will look to put away four other rivals in the finale on Saturday. Last year's Rookie of the at Fredericton Raceway, driver Dr. Mitch Downey will pilot Stare Down for post-two.   Skippy, a son of the great sire Camluck will leave post-three for driver Mark Haig and his connections. Rounding out the top-class is Only The Lonely with Rick Armstrong and Haunto with trainer/ driver Ed Harvey the king of last year's race meet at Fredericton Raceway.   Post time Saturday is slated for 12:30 P.M and many horsemen, including Steve Mason will be headed to Prince Edward Island after the racing with stake stars Jackson K Down and K D Overdrive competing in the Maritime Breeders final at Red Shores.   Also on the grounds of Exhibition Park on Saturday will be the popular Rib Fest with some of the best B.B.Q specialists in all of North America taking part. There will also be live music and other activities available throughout the day.   Scott Waddell    

The locks on Winners Lounge and the offices of Horse Racing New Brunswick were changed overnight by Fredericton Exhibition Ltd. Roberta Nixon said after Winners closed around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, the bar's manager was contacted by its alarm company and told alarms were sounding. The bar manager returned to Winners to find Fredericton police, security, Mike Vokey, the Fredericton Exhibition's executive director, and a locksmith. "They've locked us out," said Nixon. who is the executive director of Horse Racing New Brunswick. "We cannot access our bar, our simulcast, our Coasters, or our head office and all of our business operations." Lease breaches Vokey said the exhibition's board of directors voted to take the action after numerous lease breaches by Horse Racing New Brunswick. Nixon said as of Sunday, her organization "didn't owe them a penny." Nixon said property taxes of about $36,000 were due on Sunday and when a cheque for that amount was delivered to Vokey on Monday, he refused to accept it without opening it. Vokey said the attempted late payment of property taxes is one of the lease breaches involved. "It was due on the 15th and they were told to have it in on the Friday to make sure it was in by the 15th and that didn't take place," Vokey said. Vokey said by the time the attempted cheque delivery was made on Monday afternoon, the exhibition's board of directors had already decided to take the action that unfolded early Tuesday morning. VLTs shut down Winners is a popular Coasters lounge with 25 video lottery terminals owned by the Atlantic Lottery Corp. In a good two-week period, Nixon said, the VLTs provide Horse Racing New Brunswick with about $15,000 as its share of the revenue from the machines. It is not clear when Winners Lounge will reopen. Vokey said the plan will "kind of develop on its own" in the near future. "I think the Exhibition's hope would be it continues and the VLTs remain there and the property continues under some new management," he said. "It is possible HRNB could come to the table and negotiate a new lease for it, but it would be a lease that is different and more substantial and protected the interests of the Exhibition." Fredericton Exhibition Ltd. "is prepared to" take over operating Winners Lounge, said Vokey. "It was certainly not a goal that we've ever talked about," he said. Atlantic Lottery spokeswoman Christine Manore said the corporation is aware of the situation. "This is between the retailer and the landlord," said Manore. "At this time, Atlantic Lottery is evaluating the situation." Only 3 race dates Vokey said the lease agreement also states there is to be a "full schedule" of harness racing at Fredericton Raceway, but this year only three race dates are scheduled for Fredericton. "That's an important term because we provide that space for harness racing," said Vokey. "It's provided for $1 a year. "In exchange for getting it for a dollar, they have certain conditions they are expected to meet." Nixon said "because of money" the number of harness racing dates in the province this year was reduced to 16 from 21, with Fredericton getting three of those dates.  Nixon said Horse Racing New Brunswick has about $150,000 in operational costs on the Fredericton Exhibition grounds, including the $36,000 in property taxes. "We pay all of the power, the water, sewer, all of the maintenance and repair, all the groundskeeping, all the snowplowing." By Alan White, CBC News Reprinted with permission of the cbc.ca/news site

Clare MacDonald had a driving double in Atlantic Sires Stakes harness racing action at Northside Downs on Saturday afternoon, securing first place in divisional standings for two of her trainees. MacDonald and Heart and Soul crossed the finish line in 1:58.3 for owners Earith and George Riley of Kensington, PE. This was the fifth straight win for the two-year-old pacing gelding, moving him into first place in his Atlantic Sires Stakes division. MacDonald also took first place honours with the two-year-old pacing filly West River Ambyr, taking home the winner's share of the $17,900 purse. MacDonald of Antigonish, NS, co-owns the home-bred filly with daughter Haley MacDonald. This win also moves the filly into first place in her divisional standings. Dilans Mustang captured the only other Atlantic Sires Stakes event on the afternoon race card. The two-year-old pacing colt was under the command of Mike McGuigan, winning their $9760 event in 2:00.4 for owner Marc Gallant of Summerside, PE. Saturday's events wrapped up the Atlantic Sires Stakes regular season. The point leaders in each division will now move on to the Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. The Weekend of Champions will be hosted by Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park on October 10 and 11. Lynne MacLennan

The largest regular season Atlantic Sires Stakes purse in recent years will be up for grabs at Northside Downs on Saturday afternoon. Eight two-year-old pacing fillies will line up behind the starting gate at the North Sydney track in an attempt to capture a portion of the $17,900 purse. The entries include Atlantic Sires Strakes divisional leaders Scarlet Safari and West River Ambyr. The two-year-old pacing colts will also meet for some serious competition on Saturday. The colts will go in two 'A' division events, each going for a purse pool of $9760. Heart and Soul, under the command of trainer-driver Clare MacDonald, will attempt to continue his winning ways. The two year-old pacing colt recently set new track records at both Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park and Summerside Raceway. Saturday's events will be the last Atlantic Sires Stakes races of the regular season. The point leaders in each division will then move on to the season ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. The Weekend of Champions will be hosted by Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park on October 10 and 11. First race post time at Northside Downs on Saturday is 1 pm. Lynne MacLennan

Canada's oldest racetrack- Fredericton Raceway- will wrap-up it's final live card of the 2015 racing season with a matinee program that kicks off at 1:00 P.M on Saturday afternoon.   Going into the final card of the meet, Todd Trites and Ed Harvey are deadlocked for the top driving honours with twelve wins each. Trites will have the advantage on Saturday as he suits up for five drives to Harvey's three.   Also, Mark Haig remains just one win shy of his 500th career victory and will have five chances to get one victory and reach the career milestone.   Included in the six-dash program will be the $ 1000 featured event of the day with Darth Bader looking for his second consecutive victory.   Ed Harvey, the track's leading conditioner with fourteen wins on the season, will drive the pacer from post-two. Newcomer C L Royal Star will leave post-one for the father/ son duo of Rick and Luke Armstrong.   Magical Alex ( Todd Trites ) and Skippy ( Mark Haig ) round out the four starters that will do battle in the top-class which is scheduled as race five. Live racing is scheduled to commence in Saint John at Exhibition Park on October 3rd.     Scott Waddell

Fredericton Raceway's top trainer, Ed Harvey took Saturday afternoon's top-class at the capital city oval with a 1:58.3 triumph.   Leaving from post-two, Harvey pointed the big strapping pacer to the lead and led at every marker. Saturday's top event was reduced to three starters and the pacer went unchallenged for the entire mile.   Mark Haig scored one driving win on the afternoon and stands one shy of winning his 500th career race. Fredericton Raceway will wrap up its 2015 harness racing season on Saturday, September 26th with post time scheduled for 1:00 P.M.   In other New Brunswick related news, Downey Stables and their two outstanding two-year-old colts both won on Saturday afternoon at Red Shores in Charlottetown. Both pacers will driven to victory by Gilles Barrieau in divisions of the P.E.I colt stakes.   Scott Waddell    

Fredericton Raceway will be the host of traditional Monday Labour Day harness racing card on Monday presented by Horse Racing New Brunswick.   Post-time is set for 1:00 P.M and the afternoons feature is the prestigious Williamson stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and fillies.   Among the starters will be K D Overdrive and Jackson K Down from the powerful Downey Stables of Quispamsis, N.B.   K D Overdrive is coming off a win at Red Shores in the Joe O'Brien stakes while Jackson K Down tasted his first lifetime defeat in another division and will be looking for redemption.   Both pacers will be under the guidance of Gilles Barrieau.   Monday also features a $ 1000 top-class that will include the Milton Downey Memorial winner, American Terror.   As always, wagering is available on-line through Horse Player Interactive and streamed live on Horse Racing New Brunswick's official website.   Scott Waddell        

The Host Committee of the 2015 Atlantic Breeders Crown will again recognize Atlantic harness racing families for their long-term contribution to the industry. One family meeting the criteria will be selected from each of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Awards sponsored by the Province of Prince Edward Island will be presented as part of the Host Banquet on Saturday, October 10 at the Rodd Royalty Inn, 14 Capital Drive, Charlottetown, PEI. The harness racing industry and general public are invited to submit nominations to the Evaluation Committees in each province for consideration for recognition. Nominations should be in written form, and detail how the nominated family meet the suggested criteria: Fifty years of family involvement in Atlantic Harness Racing At least one family member still active in the industry in some capacity Achievements on an Atlantic /Canadian scale as a breeder, owner, trainer, driver or builder Public recognition for outstanding contribution to Atlantic Harness Racing - i.e. National or Provincial Halls of Fame) Success in major Atlantic Canadian races - i.e. track records, stakes or invitational wins, significant milestones,(i.e wins) etc. or prolific success of several family members Longevity of success of family member(s) The Evaluation Committees reserve the right to submit nominations as well. Nominations are due by September 10. The evaluation committees, which have been established in each province, will select one family per Atlantic province to be honoured. Since its initiation in 2001, the following families have been recognized: From New Brunswick The Alexander, Armstrong, Barrieau, Breau, Bishop, Doherty, Downey, Goguen, Goodine, Irving, Nicholson, Queen, Stevenson and Trites families From Nova Scotia The Daniels, Davis, Gillis, Haley, MacLeod, MacDonnell, MacKinnon, MacQuarrie, Pinkney, Rankin, Ratchford, Smith, and Whebby families From Prince Edward Island The Andrew, Annear, Bernard, Chappell, Hennessey, Kelly, MacGregor, MacPhee, O'Brien, Poulton, Smallwood, Smith, Whelan and Willis families From Newfoundland The Cliff Garland, Dennis Gallway, and the Deering, Dillon, Forward, McDonald, Oliver, and Pack families. Please forward nominations to: Prince Edward Island Jerry McCabe, Host Committee Phone: 902-892-7510 Email: j_dodger74@yahoo.ca Nova Scotia Robyn Crowe, Nova Scotia Harness Racing Industry Association Phone: 902-956-4385 Fax: 902-483-9060 Email: robyncrowenshria@gmail.com New Brunswick New Brunswick Harness Racing Industry Association Phone: 506-459-3204 or 506-636-6927 Fax: 506-206-2403 or 506-636-6959 Email: kimallaby@hrnb.ca Newfoundland Brett Whelan, St Johns Racetrack and Entertainment Centre Phone: 709-699-3298 Email: bwhelan@stjre.com Lee Drake

It's been a wonderful harness racing story in New Brunswick this season, one of many but a standout performance by filly Miss Oromocto in the classic Maritimer stake was one for the ages on Saturday at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Purchased at the Atlantic Classic P.E.I sale in 2013, hip # 95 garnered a final bid of $ 2000. Mel Land of Cookies Lighting fame and Sharon Burchill who owned stakes winner Camco Kyle, purchased the filly.   As a two-year-old she showed tremendous potential in winning three of five races and bankrolled close to $7500. Not a bad year for her connections who decided to lightly race the daughter of former P.E.I track record holder, Driven To Win.   Land, a well known and respected trainer in the region was busy prepping the promising filly this spring and she made her 2015 debut in Summerside with Mark Haig in the drivers seat and notched a new lifetime mark of 1:59.4.   She continued to improve and has gone on to win five stake races this season including the one and only Maritimer stake. This unique event in the Maritimes tests the endurance of young fillies by having them win both the elimination and the final to claim the overall title in one afternoon.   Miss Oromocto did just that for her driver Mark Haig and owners Land and Burchill. She captured her elimination heat and advanced to the final to take on seven other quality fillies for the showdown.   Stage was set and because of her elimination win, she had the chance at either post one or two in the draw. As luck would have it, she drew the rail for last year's driver of the year in Saint John, Mark Haig.   Haig went into the final confident and poised as they set up behind the starting gate. When the wings flew open it was a surprise to many to see a filly from the far outside, post position eight go for the lead as they sped to the opening eighth.   This is where things got really scary not only for her cheering owners and fans, but every driver in the race. Woodmere Arcticblue, in line to Stephen Trites made a horrible misstep while going for the lead as they battled past the first turn. Luckily, no horses or drivers were hurt but the incident left a couple horses breaking stride including Haig and Miss Oromocto.   Haig, who has developed into one of the most underrated drivers in the region did an outstanding job getting the filly back on track and she then inherited the lead. It was up to her after that as she controlled her own destiny.   After the rock dust had settled the small but mighty filly was not to be beat on this afternoon and stopped the clock in 1:59.4. She is Maritimer champion and now has earned over $44,000 lifetime. Not bad at all for a $2000 yearling purchase named Miss Oromocto who caught the eye of the sharp conditioner Mel Land.   As history will write, Miss Oromocto was champion of the 2015 Maritimer stake in Saint John for her elated connections and talented teamster, Mark Haig. With the industry struggling in the province, this is one of the feel good stories of 2015 and it looks like she may not be done yet.   Scott Waddell

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