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Two opening-heat divisions of The Maritimer for three-year-old pacing fillies have been drawn for this Saturday’s (August 29) program of live racing at Exhibition Park Raceway. Each of the five-filly divisions will be raced for a purse of $6,501, and the top four fillies from each division will advance to the $8,668 second heat, which will be contested later on the program. The opening-heat divisions have been carded as Race 4 and Race 5, while the second-heat finale has been carded as the last dash on the program (Race 8). The card will kick off with a 1 p.m. first-race post time. Woodmere Dancenart has drawn Post 3 for the first of the opening-heat divisions and has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favourite. She is owned by Morah Kerr of Greenfield, Nova Scotia and Phonsie MacEachern of Port Hood, Nova Scotia. The brown Articulator filly is trained and driven by Clare MacDonald. Woodmere Dancenart heads into The Maritimer on a two-race win streak that includes victories in a $12,980 Atlantic Sires Stakes event and the $12,000 Lady Slipper, both of which took place at Red Shores’ Charlottetown Driving Park. Jann Down (PP4, Gilles Barrieau, 3-1) and Miss Oromocto (PP1, Mark Haig, 7-2) are the other two fillies in the first opening-heat division that have caught the eye of the morning line oddsmaker. Party Rockin has drawn the outside Post 5 in the second of the opening-leg divisions for trainer/driver Danny Romo, although the Ameripan Gigolo filly has still secured the status of morning line favourite (5-2) for the dash. The filly has yet to visit the winner’s circle this season and has tasted victory in just one of her 14 career starts. Owners Ian Banks of Truro, Nova Scotia and Susan Karrel of Great Village, Nova Scotia hope that their filly upends the rest of the field on Saturday. The morning line oddsmaker has also established Invader M (PP4, Gilles Barrieau, 3-1) and Casa Miasa (PP1, Bernard McCallum, 7-2) as the other top selections in the early odds. Opening Heat Division 1 Post – Horse – Driver – Morning Line 1 – Miss Oromocto – M. Haig – 7-2 2 – The Good Wife – T. Trites – 6-1 3 – Woodmere Dancenart – M. Macdonald – 5-2 4 – Jann Down – G. Barrieau – 3-1 5 – Woodmere Articblue – D. Romo – 4-1 Opening Heat Division 2 Post – Horse – Driver – Morning Line 1 – Casa Miasa – B. Mccallum – 7-2 2 – J J Dazzler – T. Trites – 4-1 3 – Imastandout – S. Hubbard – 6-1 4 – Invader M – G. Barrieau – 3-1 5 – Party Rockin – D. Romo – 5-2 Scott Waddell

Two of New Brunswick's best known names in harness racing circles are both on the verge of milestones in their careers.   Mark Haig, last year's leading driver in Saint John is six-wins shy of his 500th career victory heading into Saturday's card at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Haig, winner of 494 races lifetime, added wins this past week in Prince Edward Island to inch closer to his personal milestone.   Meanwhile, Gilles Barrieau who will drive at both Summerside and Prince Edward Island on Wednesday and Thursday is six-wins shy of his 4000th career win.   Coming off a huge Old Home Week in P.E.I, the Dieppe, N.B native is also expected to drive Saturday in Saint John.   Scott Waddell

Lost but not forgotten in all the storylines from Old Week on Prince Edward Island is that rookie harness racing driver Luke Armstrong of New Brunswick scored his first-ever career victory.   Armstrong, a fifth generation horseman scored his milestone win with veteran pacer Coral Snake after leading the entire mile.   His race actually ended in a dead-heat but Luke still gets full credit for the win.   After completing his necessary qualifying drives, he made his debut on Gold Cup and Saucer night.   Leaving from post-one, the confident youngster took the veteran pacer Coral Snake to the front to cut out his own destiny.   Coral Snake crossed the wire in 1:57.2 with Blue Star Outlaw in a dead-heat effort. It was the pacers eighteenth win in his career and third of the season.   Luke won for co-owner along with Rick Armstrong.   They have deep roots in the harness racing industry in N.B.   Racing in New Brunswick returns in a big way this Saturday ( August 29th ) at Exhibition Park Raceway featuring the lucrative Maritimer stake for three-year-old fillies and the Aged Mares series as part of the program.   Scott Waddell        

New Brunswick award winning harness racing trainer/driver Gilles Barrieau leads all of Canada in this week's statistics for driving percentage with a sparkling .473 average.   Barrieau who has won multiple Maritime awards and recognized nationally for his horsemanship, is just twenty-eight wins shy of hitting the milestone of four-thousand in his illustrious career.   In ten straight years the Moncton native has recorded a seasonal driving average of over .400. He also sports over $ 7.5 million in career earnings and is closing in on $ 200,000 in earnings this season.   Scott Waddell        

Fair harness racing at it's very best takes place this Friday night at 7:00 P.M at picturesque Connell Park in Woodstock, N.B.   Seven dashes will be on center stage during the Old Home Week festivities at the half-mile oval.   Woodstock Driving Club will play host to a live card of racing on Friday with partnership of Horse Racing New Brunswick presenting a solid field in the prestigious Kelti Burnett Memorial Pace   Connell Park is one of the most exciting race tracks to visit with the support of local horsemen, fans and businesses.   It is grassroots harness racing at its finest.   This year the Kelti Burnett Memorial Pace has attracted a sold field of seven pacers that will compete in the final seventh race on the live card.   This years premier event at the N.B track will carry a purse of $ 3000. Sponsored this season by Corey Ford and McCain Foods.   American Terror and trainer/ driver Ed Harvey will put his win streak on the line on Friday as he has drawn post five in the premier event.   Winner of four in a row, the pacer will have his hands full with his competition.   He comes off an impressive 1:57.2 this past Monday's New Brunswick day program.   Walter Dale Memorial winner Skippy will be looking to get back on track for his owner Harold DeFazio of Saint John.   Mark Haig, eight wins shy of five-hundred in his career, will drive the handsome son of Camluck.   It's an impressive group for the invitational pace. D J Power has drawn the coveted rail position from Quebec and comes in with some solid credentials.   He has been victorious over the half mile track in Quebec in 1:57.   Iron Phil is another solid campaigner from Quebec who sports a 1:57 win on his lines and will look for Louis Roy to make some waves on the Maritime racing circuit.   P.E.I invader Lyndale Royal has won three straight and includes a 1:56.3 clocking at Red Shores.    Meter Leader and Rocknroll Band look to be longshots in the race but both have been on fire as of late with a role of being the spoiler.   Scott Waddell

Trainer/ driver Ed Harvey was at it again on Monday's New Brunswick day program at the harness racing meeting at Fredericton Raceway as he scored in the $ 1000 top-class with American Terror in 1:57.2, fastest performance of the day.   For Harvey, it was his second driving win of the afternoon.   He came first up with American Terror and engaged in a feisty battle with Kass Hall before driving clear in the homestretch.   After the dust had settled, it was American Terror and Harvey prevailing with a margin of victory over five lengths.   Kass Hall held on for second with Meter Leader rounding out the top trio.   It was the pacers fourth straight win as he closes in on seasonal earnings of $ 30,000.   Harvey's other win came with Darth Bader in an impressive mile of 1:58.   Other impressive winners on the day included Kdmakeaway as he was a winner in his first-ever start in 2:02.2 for the red hot Stephen Mason and the Downey Stables.   He's a son of Largo who was purchased in 2013 as a yearling for $ 6500.   Trotter Jusplainshea was on his game on Monday with a 2:03.1 win for owner/ trainer John Stewart.   He survived a first over early drive and held on for a length and a quarter victory.   Racing in the province of New Brunswick returns on Friday evening at 7:00 P.M at Connell Park in Woodstock, N.B.   Horse Racing New Brunswick will present a card that will feature the prestigious Kelti Burnett Memorial pace.   Scott Waddell

Harness racing trainer/ driver Ed Harvey continued his winning ways at Fredericton Raceway on Thursday as he piloted three winners to victory.   Harvey notched three straight wins on the program and started in race three with the pacing mare Couleur Magnifique in a gate to wire win for owner Eric Lakes in 2:02.1   He was back in victory lane in race four as Star Collector earned a hard fought victory in 2:02.2. Harvey co-owns the horse with Kevin Legge of Onslow, Nova Scotia.   Darth Bader went the trip of the night as he survived a break in stride to come back to win in deep stretch for Harvey in the fifth race of the night. Time of the mile was 2:03.3. Even more impressive, the horse was last at the half-mile after a pedestrian like half by Grimsby.   Top class of the evening went to Todd Trites and Meter Leader as the pacer led at every point of the mile in the 1:59 victory. That win snapped Fall Bliss' win streak at four races.   Racing resumes in Fredericton on the traditional holiday Monday card on New Brunswick day with a post time of 1:00 P.M.   Scott Waddell

Make it four in a row for Fall Bliss as he quick stepped to a 1:58.3 win for owner/ trainer and driver Dr. Mitchell Downey on a beautiful Thursday night at New Brunswick's capital city at the harness racing meeting at Fredericton Raceway.   Downey was aggressive with the son of Blissful Hall early as he was fired off the gate and led at every marker to preserve the win.    He flashed a final half-mile of :58.3 as he toiled with his rivals en route to a six-length triumph.   Also on the seven-dash program American Terror came from off the pace to win for driver Ed Harvey in an equal effort of 1:58.3.   This may set up a clash of the titans of sorts this coming Thursday should the duo meet up in the top-class.   Harvey's pacer has won three straight in the weekly top-class.   Racing will continue on Thursday evening as Horse Racing New Brunswick hosts live racing on July 30th at 6:30 P.M.   Scott Waddell

Fresh off a win in last Thursday's top-class at the harness racing meeting at Fredericton Raceway, American Terror and red-hot trainer/ driver Ed Harvey will look to duplicate those results this Thursday night at the capital city oval.   American Terror is closing in on $ 30,000 in seasonal earnings and seeks his fifth triumph of the 2015 racing season.   Listed as the morning line favorite, the pacer will leave from post-three in the five horse main event for a purse of $ 1000.   Woodmere Sandman will leave from post-one for Stephen Trites.   He will be looking to knock off the favorite who was second to American Terror in last week's race, five and a half lengths back.   Contact Jones, Hyperion Blue Chip and Cecils Express round out the featured race.   In all, seven races will be contested and slated to start at 7:00 P.M.   Also on the program, new driver Dr. Mitchell Downey will look to continue his winning ways with pacer Fall Bliss, winner of his first two starts at Fredericton Raceway.   Scott Waddell

Fresh off a fourth place effort on Canada Day at Fredericton Raceway, American Terror gets a big break in competition Thursday night at the Capital City harness racing oval.   Leaving from post-three in the $ 1000 main event, Ed Harvey owns and drives the five-year-old son of American Ideal. He is enjoying a tremendous season and has accumulated over $ 27,000 in seasonal earnings.   He will square off with five rivals in the sixth race of the night that commences at 7:00 P.M. Contact Jones has drawn the coveted rail position with Mark Haig at the controls.   Other starters include Woodmere Sandman ( Stephen Trites ), Ace On The River ( Todd Trites ), ROF Samurai ( Sam Hodgin ) and Cecils Express ( Scott Hubbard ).   Thursday nights card also is the home of the yearly national promotion " Bring a Friend " to the track event in partnership with Standardbred Canada. There will be lots of activities for all ages and a chance to win some great prizes just for bringing a friend and signing them up.   Once again, post-time is slated for 7:00 P.M.   Scott Waddell    

Harness racing returned with a flurry on Canada Day at Fredericton Raceway as the prestigious Walter Dale Memorial was held as the main attraction.   Carded as the final race of the afternoon, it was a New Brunswick owned, trained and driven pacer who came out on top.   Skippy, a nine-year-old fan favorite horse in the province made a thrilling late move in the final quarter of the mile to win the coveted pace for owner Harold DeFazio of Saint John and driver Mark Haig.   Gilles Barrieau had Prince Edward Island invader Forever Paradise on top for most of the mile before being overtaken in the lane by Skippy who is known for his late brush in the later stages of the race.   Time of the mile was 1:58.1 in a race that say all six horses within three lengths of each other at the top of the stretch.   Racing will return this Thursday night as Fredericton Raceway will play host to traditional night racing at 7:00 P.M.   Scott Waddell

FREDERICTON, NB, June 26, 2015 - Horse Racing New Brunswick (HRNB) is pleased to announce the start of the live harness racing season in New Brunswick. Kicking things off on Canada Day in Fredericton is the first race card of the season that includes the popular, historical Walter Dale Memorial sponsored this year by Moosehead Breweries.   The history of Walter Dale goes back to 1937 when the legendary horse set a record that many tried to beat for over forty-two years. Every year horses and drivers attempt to break the current track record, most recently set in 2012 by McApulco at 1:54.2 and matched in 2014 by Modern Xhibit. This year the Walter Dale Memorial is set as an invitational that will focus primarily on a very competitive field of New Brunswick horses.   The day's program will of course include other races of various classes. There will be a Raffle, Food Vendors on site, Winner's patio will be open, 50/50 Draw, and more. Most important is the excitement in the air as the twenty-one day race season gets underway. Admission to Fredericton Raceway is free so bring the family for some fun and entertainment. Enjoy a walk by the barns to see the horses up close, cheer on the horses and Drivers as they race for the finish, celebrate part of your national holiday amid the excitement of a sport that has been part of our national fabric since the 1800s.   This year Fredericton Raceway will host ten race days, the Saint John track at Exhibition Park is scheduled for ten race days, and Woodstock will have a race day during Old Home Week. "We are focused on the harness racing sport thriving and growing in New Brunswick. To achieve that growth, providing more jobs and thrilling race days, the best road forward is a grass-roots approach", stated new Executive Director, Roberta Nixon. HRNB and the New Brunswick Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association have established twenty-one days of racing this year will make it possible to expand that next year.   Roberta Nixon   Horse Racing New Brunswick

Harness racing is thriving on P.E.I. but is struggling on the Mainland. There seems to be a shortage of top-class horses early in the Maritime harness racing season. Only five were entered in last weekend's Cecil Ladner race in Charlottetown, which in past years featured eliminations, a final and was a kickoff to the region’s top races. The Governor’s Plate in Summerside is three weeks away, and time will tell if there are enough horses for eliminations. The 2015 season is off to a great start on P.E.I. There have been healthy wagers, including almost $49,000 in Charlottetown on June 13 and Summerside wagered over $22,000 the last two Sundays. Pretty good numbers that will only get better with the summer tourist season. The same cannot be said about tracks in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. New Brunswick only starts Wednesday in Fredericton, and the industry is all but dead in that province. The Saint John, Fredericton and Woodstock tracks have 15 cards on tap over July and August, which is very little to get excited about if you are a horse owner in that province. Truro had its curtain-raiser Thursday, but only $4,000 was wagered on eight races. If you have the money to get a good horse, the bleak-looking picture in two of the three Maritime provinces is a good reason to keep your money. Those around the sport on P.E.I. have reason to be thankful for what we have here. by Joe MacIntyre  

In the hopes of demonstrating the extent of the economic and real world impact of a successful, and conversely unsuccessful, harness racing industry the New Brunswick Standardbred Breeder and Owners Association are organizing an Agricultural Fair this Saturday in Saint John. On Saturday, June 27th from 10am - 4pm we ask that you join us in an effort to show the public, and our current government just what is involved in preparing and supporting a horse in harness racing. We hope that you will participate and play a part in showing just what it is you do and how you and the Standardbred community are linked. The event will take place on the track at Exhibition Park Raceway (*weather permitting) - we envision a set-up that walks all visitors through the continuum of the industry from breeding all the way to race day!   This will be a great opportunity to educate everyone on your role in this continuum and also, potentially, to reach out to a new customer base that may not have otherwise been aware of what you have to offer.   We hope that you will contribute to this day by setting up a display and having representatives on hand to answer questions and inform everyone who attends as to the extent to which the racing industry impacts the economy - both large and small business - in New Brunswick.   If you would like to take part in this event, please contact N.B.S.B.O.A President Sam Hodgin at the contact information below.   RSVP/Questions: Sam Hodgin (NBSBOA President) - farrierhodgin@gmail.com or 506-647-1888

There will be a couple of new drivers on the scene in New Brunswick this season as harness racing is set to resume at Fredericton Raceway on July 1st.   One is a first-timer in 2015 with a couple of qualifying tilts under his belt. Luke Armstrong, youngest son of trainer/ driver Rick Armstrong will be looking to get his rookie start in New Brunswick.   Another driver, Doug Folkins Jr is revitalizing his career after some time away from the sport. He started driving back in the year 2000 and has over 600 career drives and fifty ( 50 ) lifetime wins.   He too has a qualifier under his belt but with the situation in New Brunswick with horse population in Saint John, he has found it tough to get drives to accumulate his points.   Talking with Doug today he says that he is willing to travel to pick up qualifying drives to attain his goal of having his license renewed for the start of the racing season. " I am willing to travel and will also be in Ontario soon for a visit". He continues, " I would love the opportunity to get some qualifying action so I can drive this season. It's just so tough in New Brunswick right now."   Both young drivers are looking for opportunities and we need more people involved in the sport in New Brunswick and the Maritimes. Anyone who could lend a helping hand in giving these find gentlemen a hand in getting their licenses, it would be great.   Doug Folkins can be reached by cell phone at 506-721-2133. He will be in Ontario from June 17th- 25th.   Scott Waddell

NORTH SYDNEY — Dave Ratchford owned his first horse at the age of 16. The 71-year-old hasn’t stopped since. Ratchford purchased Mighty Eddie and followed in the footsteps of his father, Lorne, and others in his family who had a love of the sport. What followed was a harness racing career that included over 1,600 wins to his credit. “I was pretty well always at the track when I was kid. I started jogging horses when I was 13 or 14,” said the North Sydney resident. “When I was in school, I purchased my first horse in 1960 and it went from there.” Ratchford is one of five athletes along with a team being inducted into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame on June 6 at Centre 200. “It is quite an honour, that’s for sure, for my wife, my family and myself.” Early in his career, Ratchford raced Opal Creed in the Gold Cup and Saucer in Charlottetown back in 1970, and won the Governor’s Plate in Summerside that same year. Of his numerous victories, Ratchford said none was bigger than the $37,000 purse he captured in 1990 with Charlotte’s Buddy at the Maritime Breeders Stake in Moncton. He posted the highest earnings of all Maritime horses that year. “I was lucky enough to win there,” he said. “It was one of the more memorable, better drives that I ever drove. I thought it was going to be worse. I was parked the whole mile on the outside, but I took control of the race just by being cool.” Eat Me Up, a horse Ratchford trains, pulled off a couple of big wins in Ontario in 2011. The filly claimed The Battle of the Belles in Grand River, Ont., and the Ontario Sires Two-year-old Championship in Toronto. He also races Ms. Mac N Cheese in Toronto, a three-year-old filly that continues to earn success. Ratchford was also involved in the sport away from the track. The Cape Breton Horseman’s Association hall of famer has served three terms as director of the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association. As for how long he’ll keep driving, Ratchford is showing no signs of slowing down. He’ll be in the bike with Stonebridge Focus and Silver Dragon on Saturday as Northside Downs opens the 2015 racing season. Post time is 1 p.m. Written by T J Colello Reprinted with permission of  the Cape Breton Post

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