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Trenton, NJ --- For most of her life, the extent of Shelley Johnson’s photography featured holiday and vacation photos, much like the rest of the world. About 10 years ago, her husband Jeff surprised Shelley with a point-and-shoot camera for Christmas, in hopes that nine months later she would be able to take sharp action photographs at the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. “I’m not sure what Jeff was thinking,” said Johnson, who lives 35 miles east of Columbus, Ohio. “I had never taken action shots. I took it as a challenge.” Jeff must have known something no one else did, because the challenge has been well met. A decade later, most of the cover photos on Scioto Downs programs are taken by Shelley, who has developed an eye for action and just this week enjoyed shooting another Little Brown Jug. But her efforts in photography go beyond the racetrack. She also shoots photographs for the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, which has Standardbred facilities in Ohio and Michigan. “I find great joy shooting photos of Standardbred horses retiring from the track and moving on to other careers,” she said. “New Vocations retrains Standardbred racehorses for various occupations under saddle and places them in new, caring homes. Each month I photograph these great horses going up for adoption. This is my way of promoting harness racing and helping the Standardbred horse adoption program.” While Jeff is the big horseman in the family, he did provide Shelley with a birthday present when he bought her a horse for her birthday named Master Chip in 2005. But it wasn’t like she just had to unwrap the horse at the stable. “I had to do all of my own bidding at the (Ohio Selected Jug) sale,” she said. “I had never been to an auction, let alone bid on anything. It was quite stressful. He didn't do much on the track, but I sure loved him. He has a good home now and enjoys life.” The Johnsons have also partnered with other owners on trotting fillies She’s Not Red and ML Cupcake, who are both broodmares now. They still have ML Cupcake, who was Ohio’s 2-year-old filly Trotter of the Year in 2010. “I can't wait until next spring to see her baby,” Shelley said. They also have a 2-year-old filly trotter, Carolina Charm, who has won four of six starts this season. “The racing was always Jeff's thing,” Shelley noted. “He knows horses, stallions, etc. I only enjoyed watching the races if it was a horse I knew. That's when I started taking pictures. It gave me something to do, and he was able to stay for the entire card without me wanting to go home!” It has led to a long, steady climb for the Ohio retiree who is technically a professional photographer by virtue of her sales, but still considers it a hobby. After receiving that first camera, she experimented on her feathered friends before horses, taking photos of birds at the feeder outside the dining room window. When she and Jeff bought their first horse, Shelley would try to capture him in action at the track. When she shot the Jug, it became a bit tougher as horses trying to win races traveled a lot faster than those being jogged and trained. “I took pictures, but they didn’t really turn out,” she said. Johnson kept plugging away. She took online classes for nature photography and equine photography. Neither dealt with shooting actual race action, but did help in the process. “I learned a lot about headshots and conformation shots in the equine class,” she said. “Also the proper distance to avoid distortion in the photos.” She also put in countless hours practicing at the farm of her friend Doris, who jogged and trained her own horses and taught Shelley a lot about the animals. But all the practice and all the talent in the world can only get a photographer so far without the right equipment. As her interest increased, so too did the quality of Shelley’s cameras. The big turnaround in her photos came several years ago when Jeff bought his wife a professional grade lens. “That’s made a huge difference,” Johnson said. “He even said if he had known the lens would make that much difference, he would have gotten it for me sooner.” She knew she arrived as a photographer when Scioto Downs made her a cover girl two years ago. “At that point,” she said, “I guess I thought, hey, I got this!” The monumental first cover came on June 21, 2012, with a photo of the entire field of a race on the starting gate, and an Ohio Lottery billboard behind them proclaiming “Winners Are Everywhere.” “It felt amazing to see it,” Johnson said. Aside from the program covers, she has had several photos in magazines by virtue of New Vocations using them. A week ago, Johnson was thrilled to see that one of her photos was used on the Scioto Downs billboard out front. She has discovered that she gets her finest results when not focusing on anything in particular. “I do my best when I just shoot random, with no pressure,” she said. “If I get it, OK. If I don't, OK. I will try to focus on a certain horse in a race if someone wants me to get a picture of their horse. That's hard though. The horse isn't always in view.” And as good as she has become, Johnson still feels the biggest key to her success “is probably just good luck.” “Most of the time I single-shoot the pictures,” she explained. “My camera doesn't shoot enough frames per second to use continuous mode. If I try to shoot in continuous mode and the horse has its foot planted on the track, it usually ends up planted in all of the shots. I like to try for shots with all four off the ground.” As for attempting to choose her favorite photo, Shelley said it’s like trying to pick a favorite child. She notes that when so many photos do not come out, “whenever I get one that I think looks good, I’m happy.” Judging by her success in recent years, Shelley Johnson has had quite a bit of happiness lately. To view Shelly Johnson’s work, check out her website at www.sfjohnsonphotos.com by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent  Courtesy of the US Trotting Association Web Newsroom    

The annual charity auction to benefit New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and the Delaware Co Fair will be held Wednesday September 17th in conjunction with the Pre-Jug Party immediately following the Jugette. Vacations to be offered include a South African Photo Safari, a Louisiana Swamp Adventure, an Ocean View week in Antigua, and a family vacation at a Florida resort. Spyder has donated its new Ghost race bike and Nitro a set of Euro wheels. Tim Tetrick, Ronnie Wrenn, Peter Wrenn, and Trace Tetrick have each donated autographed colors, and there is an embroidered cooler worn by Greyhound. In addition there are dozens of pieces of original art and signed prints, sports memorabilia, unique home accessories, jewelry, tack, and a colorful live Miniature Horse. Want to come to the party or just support these two great organizations? Table sponsors and item donations are still being sought! All major contributors receive invitations. FMI contact Dot Morgan (937) 947-4020 dot@horseadoption.com or Winnie Nemeth (734) 320-7918 winnie@horseadoption.com. by Dot Morgan for New Vocations  

NICHOLS, NY - When nine of North America's top harness racing drivers compete at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs later this month in the 8th Annual All-Star Drivers Championship, they'll be racing for more than just prize money and bragging rights. They'll also be raising money for the charity of their choice. All nine drivers will donate their 5% driving commission to charity. The amount will be matched by Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs plus the tracks' owner, Jeffrey Gural. Last year, more than $9,000 was donated. "This event is the premier driving tournament in the country with a first place prize of $25,000," said Jason Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing and Simulcast at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. "Anytime we can use this big stage to raise awareness and money for some great organizations, we're happy to do it." Defending champion Jimmy Marohn, Jr. will be donating his earnings to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. Two-time champion Yannick Gingras and first-time participant Matt Kakaley will also support the SRF. Tim Tetrick and Scott Zeron will be competing on behalf of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Corey Callahan has selected the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Canadian representative Jody Jamieson will be donating to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. Vernon Downs representative Chris Lems will be competing for locally based Sunshine Horses and David Miller has chosen to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Round 1 of the All-Star Drivers Championship takes place on August 29 at Vernon Downs and the final round moves to Tioga Downs on September 1. Both days will also feature a Jimmy Marohn, Jr. bobblehead giveaway, commemorative t-shirt giveaway and other fan-friendly promotions and contests. by Justin Horowitz, for Tioga & Vernon Downs  

Laura, OH --- Items, services, and table sponsors are needed for the annual pre-Jug party and fundraising auction held Wednesday (Sept. 17) at the Delaware County Fair. Proceeds go toward the retraining and placement of retired racehorses and the Delaware County Fair. “We seriously need owners, breeders, trainers, drivers, racetracks, and those that benefit from racing, to help with this fundraiser,” said New Vocations Executive Director Dot Morgan. “Vacation packages, equine services, entertainment tickets, jewelry, memorabilia, tack, and gift items are needed to make this event a success.” Table sponsors are also needed and a good option in lieu of merchandise or services. Show your support by sponsoring a table in your name, your stable, your farm, or the name of a favorite horse. Attendance is not necessary. Seating is open. Signs on the table recognize each sponsor for their support. It’s $400 to sponsor a table or $200 to co-sponsor. “New Vocations is totally dependent on donations to rehabilitate, retrain, and rehome hundreds of retired racehorses each year,” said Morgan. “Participating in this event is a fun and easy way to give back to the horses we all love. I can’t emphasize enough, how much we need everyone’s help.” For more details contact Dot Morgan at 937.947.4020, dot@horseadoption.com or Winnie Nemeth at 734.320.7918, winnie@horseadoption.com. Table sponsorships can be paid online at www.horseadoption.com, under events. By Dot Morgan, for the New Vocations

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association hosted a well-received Back To The Track Night at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino on July 11. In addition to great racing action featuring seven Pennsylvania Sire Stake races on a 15-race card, there were plenty of activities for everyone. For the kids, there was a bounce house, slide and obstacle course, a balloon and airbrush artist, a juggler on stilts and a petting zoo. Free racing programs were available courtesy of the MSOA, along with free hot dogs, ice cream and more giveaways with the MSOA's "Spin To Win" wheel. After each race, the winning driver tossed USTA Back To The Track t-shirts to fans along the apron level. The USTA's Harness Racing Bingo was a big hit among race fans, as were jog cart rides, paddock tours and starting gate rides. New Vocations Horse Adoption was on hand as well, showing fans what retired Standardbreds can do as pleasure horses. New horse owners were given a unique chance to get an inside view of the sport thanks to a special promotion that left one lucky fan the honorary owner of pacer Sam Hill for the next few weeks. Trained by John Sullivan for owner Don Tiger, Sam Hill has been one of the top horses at The Meadows for the past two seasons, winning multiple Preferred events and setting a track record. The new "owner" will get to visit the horse in the barn, get weekly updates from trainer Sullivan, and have special "owners only" access on Adios Day, July 26. The night was a total success for both the MSOA and the track, resulting in one of the highest on-track handles of the season. by Jeff Zidek, for MSOA

Friday night (July 11) the 13-race card will feature a $25,000 Open Trot and a $25,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. A full field of nine trotters will go to post in race three. The outstanding group is highlighted with a track record holder, JJ Hall and the Ohio Colt Champion, Final Breath. Additionally, Victory Is Coming is the lone mare in the group and Its Complicated, who has won three out of his last five starts, will start from post two. Its Complicated is the 3-1 morning line favorite for trainer Brent Davis and driver Josh Sutton.  The $25,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace is race five and is The Harness Racing Hall Of Fame Inductee Carol Cramer Pace. The impressive field of seven include money leader, Continual Velocity, an Ohio Champion, Igottafeelingfran and Tt’s Little Lass, who has won the Filly and Mare Open Pace the past two weeks. Also, every Friday in July, Scioto Downs is collecting items for The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center. If you bring in three items for donation you will receive a Scioto Downs t-shirt. The last Friday of the month, July 25th, The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center will be on hand to answer questions and pick up the donations. Saturday (July 12) is Back To The Track night at Scioto Downs. The 11-race program will feature a $25,000 Open Pace in honor of Harness Racing Hall Of Fame Inductee, John Pawlak. The activities for the evening will include, Driver Autographs, a Face Painter, Balloon Artists, starting gate rides, paddock tours, t-shirt giveaways and a cornhole tournament to benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Along with Back To The Track, it’s Ohio Lottery Night at Scioto and we will be giving away hats, courtesy of the Ohio Lottery. The night will kick off with a live performance of the National Anthem by 14-year old, Alexis Young. The Ohio Harness Horseman Association, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption and Ohio Standardbreds and Friends will also be set up in the grandstands for questions and comments.  From Scioto Downs Racino

Harness racing trainer Tony Alagna manages a stable of close to 100 horses and with those large numbers there are many clients wanting daily updates. One struggle that top trainers have is managing that many owners, so with the help of a friend who is in web design, a one of a kind website for Alagna was developed where owners can log in and check on their horse's progress whenever they like. However, this nice feature is just a small part of what Alagna Racing has to offer. Fans can view daily postings of upcoming races, race replays and results on easy to browse pages. Alagna's milestones, services, 2014 stable roster and causes are creatively designed and displayed in the stable colors of navy and green. Live tweets from Twitter and Facebook offer up to the minute postings allowing the public to be very involved with Alagna Racing. With the success Alagna has had with 2013 Pacer of the Year, Captaintreacherous, the site allows the fans to continue to be involved and connected with the champion through the "Captain Cam" offering a 24 hour live stream of the horse in his stall. The hashtag "GoCaptain2014" is ever present and is currently in use on Twitter and Instagram for fans to easily tag the famous pacer. Another way they promote the website and presence on social media is by offering weekly promotions and contests to keep people coming back and staying involved with the sport. One specific contest announced last week offers the chance to win a pair of shoes worn by Captaintreacherous. By teaming up with the New Vocations, a leading aftercare program for retired Standardbreds and one of the feature charities on Alagna's new website, participants can make a $5.00 donation, per entry, for a chance to win the shoes. The proceeds will benefit the mission of promoting racehorses in second careers. The contest will end on Friday, June 13th, at midnight. "I am thrilled with the end result of our website and I hope it will provide convenience for owners as well as a way to keep fans connected to the horses we have racing and the causes we support." stated Alagna. To view the new website as well as details on entering the Captaintreacherous horseshoe contest visit: www.AlagnaRacing.com. by Winnie Morgan Nemeth, for New Vocations

Delaware, OH --- It is no secret that leading driver Tim Tetrick has an impressive resume of accomplishments, including most recently setting two world records on May 25. Recently, Tetrick embarked into social media by launching a brand new website allowing fans a closer look into the day-to-day life of a leading catch driver. TetrickRacing.com offers a place for viewers to see his daily racing roster, including horses and tracks he will be competing at, as well as videos and photos of career defining moments. Within the past eight months, the harness racing industry set an initiative to promote the sport through social media, so having a well done website made sense to Tetrick. “I love harness racing and want to promote it the best way I can, to as many people as possible, and this is a great way to do it,” Tetrick said. The well thought out design, colorful photos capturing races won and history made paint a beautiful background and content to the interactive site. In addition, Tetrick’s biography, family, milestones, upcoming races, and causes are creatively laid out. Visit www.TetrickRacing.com to view the new website and stay connected with Tetrick Racing on Facebook and Twitter for the most up to date news. “My hope is that both old and new fans can learn more about what I do, the sport, horses I drive, and can gain more insight as the Grand Circuit racing season approaches,” Tetrick said. by Winnie Morgan Nemeth, for New Vocations

May 30, 2014 – Laura, OH- New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program announced today the generous donation from Horse Gold, Inc of its GastroMax3 (ulcer preventative) product to cover the needs of the 400 retired racehorses that will go through the adoption program this year. The aftercare program depends heavily upon donated goods and services to fulfill its mission. New Vocations with six facilities and 100 horses in various stages of rehabilitation and retraining needs donations of all kinds as the horses are prepared for new careers and homes.  “Evidence suggests that 75-85% of the horses at the track have ulcers,” Executive Director Dot Morgan said.  “Most of the horses that come to New Vocations have been under a lot of stress and benefit greatly from the soothing properties of GastroMax3.  Until now, we could only justify the cost for the worst cases. This generous donation will benefit all the horses as they transition to new careers and homes.” “These horses ran their hearts out for our enjoyment,” said Horse Gold, Inc CEO Scott Robinson. “I wanted to provide enough GastroMax3 for all the adoption horses.  In fact, anyone adopting a horse and wishing to continue with GastroMax3 can call or email us at Horse Gold, and we will give them a huge discount on the product.  We don't want the cost to be a factor in maintaining the health of the retired horses. Dr. Mangini and I hope with this donation and partnership we can continue to help those horses that need it.” To learn more about GastroMax3 or contact Horse Gold about their generous offer to adopters of retired racehorses, visit www.horsegold.com New Vocations first opened their barn doors in 1992 to retired racehorses looking for new careers. Starting with a single farm in Dayton, Ohio the program has grown to six facilities in: Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  Serving over 40 Standardbred and Thoroughbred racetracks, New Vocations works directly with owners and trainers in need of an aftercare program for their retiring horses. The program has a sound adoption system in place that is proven to move a large number of horses in a rather short period of time. Their focus is on adoption verses retirement, believing that each horse benefits from an individual home and a purpose. For more information visit www.newvocations.org. From New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program

The winningest pacer of 2013, Anvil Raider N, was donated by his owner, Will Johnson of Monroe, MI this past February to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Anvil Raider N won 23 of 40 races last year before mandatory retirement at age 15. The gelding's regular driver, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., also the winningest driver in 2013, suggested that Johnson send the horse to New Vocations. Anvil Raider N arrived at the Laurelville, OH Standardbred training facility on February 14th and began his under saddle training with New Vocations trainer, Jennifer Daniels. The classy New Zealand bred took to riding with no problems. Standing just under 15.2 hands, most people are surprised that this little horse was the same horse that was quite a handful on the track. There are no winner's circle photos of any of his record 23 wins last year because Anvil Raider was notorious for not standing for win photos. "Fortunately, that extreme adrenalin rush following a race isn't a factor in the next chapter of their lives," said Standardbred Program Director Winnie Nemeth. "Once these horses relax and learn to carry a rider, all that tension usually melts away. Within six weeks my ten year old daughter was riding and driving him!" Anvil Raider N was able to show off his new skills and promote the breed and harness racing at Equine Affaire in Columbus, OH this past April. He performed in the Standardbred breed demonstrations under saddle and greeted the thousands of people who attend the event from the USTA petting stall. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. even came in to drive Anvil Raider in the harness racing demo. "To those of us that knew Anvil's reputation on the track, it was really exciting to see how calm and relaxed he was, both under saddle and in harness," Nemeth said. "I know Ronnie was amazed that the competitive racing star had transformed into a calm pleasure horse." With a solid resume of pleasure riding and driving skills, Anvil Raider N is now available for adoption. Founded in 1992 New Vocations is a 501c3 charity that has retrained and rehomed over 5,000 retired racehorses. The Program accepts horses from tracks across the country that are suitably sound for retraining as pleasure mounts. After a regiment of ring work and trail riding the horses are placed in carefully screened homes. Adoptions are closely monitored for a year to assure that the horse has successfully transitioned to its new career. "Horses stay with us for as long as it takes to find the right home and our door is always open to horses that have been through our program," stated Nemeth. For more information on adopting Anvil Raider N or learning more about New Vocations, visit: wwww.NewVocations.org. by Winnie Morgan Nemeth, for New Vocations

Six teams and nearly than 50 college students were on hand at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino on Friday night as the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association hosted its first-ever College Games for Charity. In the end, Phi Sigma Cappa from Robert Morris University took top honors and earned $500 for Special Olympics. The teams competed in several events, including Handicapping the Pick-4, bowling, an egg and spoon race and more. Each team had a chance to go to the winners circle for an interview on the Meadows Live! television broadcast and get a photo taken with a winning horse. Several members of each team were also given a paddock tour. A team from Washington & Jefferson College finished in second place, earning $250 for the Washington City Mission. A "home" team featuring a group of The Meadows' own young horsemen and women finished third, earning $100 for New Vocations Horse Adoption. Also participating were the California University of Pennsylvania Equestrian Club, Wheeling Jesuit University, and Robert Morris University's Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.   All that participated seemed to have a great time, and many vowed to return to the track. The MSOA expects to host another College Games in the future. by Jeff Zidek, for MSOA

March 23, 2014 - HANA Harness is pleased to announce the initial Gold Sponsors of this year's handicapping contest along with the handicappers and rescues they are representing in this year's event. This year's Grand Circuit 'Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest is being sponsored by prior year sponsors, The Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. New this year to the Gold Level Sponsorship level is DRF Harness and Northfield Park. Thanks to the sponsors which have already committed, at least $3,000 will be distributed to Standardbred rescues as a result of this year's contest. Additional sponsorships, primarily at the Silver and Bronze levels. are still available. Whether a racetrack, horsemen's group, or a provider of services related to harness racing, HANA Harness welcomes your sponsorship of this contest. 100% of all funds are directed to approved standardbred rescues. For further information regarding sponsorship opportunities, you may send an email to allan@hanaweb.org. In addition to the initial gold level sponsors, the contestants for the 2014 HANA Harness Grand Circuit 'Shoot-Out' Handicapping Contest presented by The Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs have been named. This year we have a mix of handicappers of all age groups, from teens and up; some returning and first time contestants. Along with the names of the handicappers is their primary relationship to racing, how they finished in their last HANA Harness Contest (if competed before), and the standardbred equine rescue they are playing for in this year's contest. For complete biographies of the handicappers, you may visit the contest website for additional information. Garnet Barnsdale - Harness Racing Writer; Finished 6th in 2013, Rescue: TROTR; Therapeutic Riding and Off-Track Rehabilitation) Ray Cotolo - Internet Harness Racing Analyst and Writer; Did Not Compete, Rescue: Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals Ray Garnett -Handicapper; Finished 10th in 2013, Rescue: Rockin T Equine Rescue Derick Giwner - Editor, DRF Harness; Did Not Compete, Rescue: New Vocations Sally Hinckley - On-air Handicapping Personality; Finished 9th in 2013, Rescue: Sunshine Horse Rescue. Mark McKelvie - Handicapper; Finished 8th in 2013, Rescue: Rainhill Sanctuary. Rusty Nash - Trackmaster Handicapper; Finished 2nd in 2013, Rescue: Central Virginia Horse Rescue Dennis O'Hara - Handicapper, Former Asst Race Secretary; Finished 5th in 2013, Rescue: Standardbred Retirement Foundation Earl Paulson - Handicapper, Yahoo Harness Racing Forum Director; Finished 3rd in 2013, Rescue: Heading for Home Anne Stepien - Handicapper, Former Trainer; Finished 4th in 2013, Rescue: Heart of Phoenix Gordon Waterstone - Associate Editor, Horseman and Fair World; Finished 7th in 2013, Rescue: Racer Placers Brandon Valvo - Handicapper, Writer; Did Not Compete, Rescue: Changing Fates Equine Rescue Josi Verlingieri - Handicapper; Did Not Compete, Rescue: Helping Hearts Equine Rescue. Bob Zanakis - Ocean Downs Handicapper; Finished 3rd in 2012, Rescue: Horse Lovers United. The first leg of the 2014 Grand Circuit 'Shoot-Out' is scheduled for April 26, 2014 when the finals of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pace and the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series will be contested at Yonkers Raceway. A complete list of bcontest days may be found here. by Allan Schott, for HANA

East Rutherford, NJ - Golden Receiver is a gift that keeps on giving, and the pacer's charitable contributions now include the Hairy Angel Foundation. "The Golden One" has brought life-changing fortune to his breeder and co-owner Nina Simmonds, and she continues to give back and pass on the good karma she's been blessed with through her charity work. Golden Receiver is a nine-year-old pacer by Village Jove, who is one of those rare birds that has simply gotten better later in life, and has risen to be a star and fan favorite at the top level of harness racing for the past few years. In 2013, he made it back-to-back Presidential Series sweeps at the Meadowlands, won the Allerage Farms Final at The Red Mile and finished second by a nose in the TVG FFA Final at the Big M. With Corey Callahan driving for trainer Mark Harder, Golden Receiver won his 2014 debut at the New Meadowlands on February 22, his 26th tally in 62 starts at the Big M. He now has 59 wins in 147 career starts and has earned $2,107,636 for Simmonds of Binghamton, NY, and Our Horse Cents Stable of Clifton Park, NY. Golden Receiver will go for career win number 60 from post six [program number five] in Saturday's $30,000 feature, carded as race two on a 13-race program. Simmonds' Cinderella story began back in the early eighties when she decided to quit her job and pursued her dream of working with horses. Simmonds and her late husband purchased Windy Hill Farms, a 60-acre property in Binghampton, NY. After 25 years, Simmonds' operation fell on hard times, and she was ready to sell the farm, as well as Golden Receiver for a few thousand dollars. Fortunately, Golden Receiver got good, real good. Simmonds sold a share of the horse, sent him to trainer Mark Harder, and the rest, as they say, is history. Not only did Golden Receiver pay off the bills and save the ranch, the pacer has also afforded Simmonds the opportunity to use his earnings to fund several charitable organizations. To top it off, it was eventually discovered the farm was sitting on the Marcella Shale natural gas source. Simmonds continues to support Equitarian Initiative, a group that unites veterinarians, blacksmiths and animal caregivers who go on missions in Costa Rica and Mexico. Simmonds has also assisted New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, which retrains racehorses and gives them a new life. Her latest venture is getting involved with the Hairy Angel Foundation, a charity based in Sedona, Arizona and Dallas, Texas that provides Service Golden Retrievers to special needs children. The dog raising and training is done by volunteers and professionals before they provide an assistance to and a magical bond with the autistic and challenged. Their website is www.hairyangelfoundation.org. "This year I was looking for some sort of little guy charity, and I've known the director, Fran Elliott since the early eighties," said Simmonds. "We met in New Jersey and she's been my best friend. She fell in love with my dog, a Golden Retriever, and saw the potential. The breed loves children. Fran moved out to Sedona and started breeding and raising them for autistic children. She's been in business for 18 years and placed over 100 dogs all over the country. We're trying to fill the backlog of requests. "They'll take the puppies when they're eight weeks old, and train them to become service dogs in public places," she continued. "It's just a miracle when you see these kids who have never smiled or spoken get one of these dogs. Then, they're suddenly smiling and chattering. It changes their lives. Their parents can't believe the transformation made by this animal that is totally devoted to them. I went along when we placed a dog last week, and it was such a moving experience. We introduced the puppy to this boy, and his mother has called everyday in tears thanking us." Simmonds admits to being a nervous wreck whenever Golden Receiver is in training. "All his races are the same to me," she noted. "It doesn't matter what the purse is. I want him to look good, and of course, I want him to win. I'm just so proud he's still out there plugging away at his age. "Last season, he actually wasn't as good as he could've been because he had a serious hoof abscess or infection. That plagued him through the whole middle of the year. They packed it and tried every kind of shoe. Those things just don't heal overnight. But it's done and it's gone. I'm just hoping for another good year. "He's always had a big knee and he can't go on a half mile track. I'm glad the Meadowlands has a bank on the turns so he can clear that knee. He does wear these big felt boots and the tough guy just keeps on going. He has zip in vet bills. He's so happy because he's with the same trainer, Mark Harder and groom, Billy Mandrell. He knows exactly what's expected of him. "We keep forgetting he's not just a nine-year-old that's racing. He's facing the best horses in the world. He's just a dream. Nobody expected this from some backyard bred by some girl who raced cheap claimers. "I bred both of Golden Receiver's sisters to Rocknroll Heaven last year, and they've got two gorgeous foals I'm going to sell at Harrisburg next Fall. "One day I was jogging a horse on my farm track, looked around and saw my Golden Retriever. I thought his name had to be Golden something because the dam is Royal Gold, so I came up with Golden Receiver. It's just amazing he turned out to be the best one she had." by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands    

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program’s 16th annual stallion auction is currently in progress and ends at 2:00 pm Friday February 14.  The auction is taking place online at www.ongait.com.  Breedings to Donato Hanover, Deweycheatumnhowe, Conway Hall, Camluck, and A Rocknroll Dance are among the 85 breedings offered.  All proceeds go to rehab, retrain, and rehome Standardbreds that are leaving the track. Click here to view the auction in progress http://www.ongait.com/stallionbreedingsandsharessale.asp For more information call (937) 947-4020 or email dot@horseadoption.com Submitted by New Vocations

Breedings to Donato Hanover, Deweycheatumnhowe, Conway Hall, Camluck, A Rocknroll Dance, and Dragon Again are among the 85 seasons donated to New Vocations 16th Annual Stallion. The auction starts Monday February 10th and runs through 2:00 pm Friday Feb 14 at www.ongait.com.  The auction is conducted in an Open Ended format that allows for bidding slightly beyond the 2:00 p.m. deadline if less than five minutes have elapsed since the last bid on a particular breeding.  Participants are asked to be considerate and not bid for mares over 20, ones that have been barren two or more consecutive years, any that are due after May 21, and those that are already booked.  To view the list of stallions visit www.horseadoption.com or email dot@horseadoption.com.  Breedings are still being sought and can be added until the auction begins. New Vocations is the largest racehorse adoption program in North America accepting over 400 retired racehorses each year. Proceeds from the stallion auction go toward the care, retraining, and placement of retired racehorses. “We would like to thank all the stallion donors for their generous support,” said Executive Director Dot Morgan.  “They enable us to equip these horses with useful skills and get them into loving homes that will give them a life beyond the track. Every horse we adopt becomes an ambassador for the breed.” From New Vocations Horse Adoption

Breedings to Donato Hanover, Deweycheatumnhowe, Conway Hall, Camluck, A Rocknroll Dance, and Dragon Again are among the 85 seasons donated to New Vocations 16th Annual Stallion. The auction starts Monday February 10th and runs through 2:00 pm Friday Feb 14 at www.ongait.com.   View Breedings Here   The auction is conducted in an Open Ended format that allows for bidding slightly beyond the 2:00 p.m. deadline if less than five minutes have elapsed since the last bid on a particular breeding.  Participants are asked to be considerate and not bid for mares over 20, ones that have been barren two or more consecutive years, any that are due after May 21, and those that are already booked.  To view the list of stallions visit http://www.horseadoption.com/assets/Available-Breedings1.pdf  or email dot@horseadoption.com.  Breedings are still being accepted until the auction begins Feb 10th.  For more information call (937) 947-4020.  New Vocations is the largest racehorse adoption program in North America accepting over 400 retired racehorses each year. Proceeds from the stallion auction go toward the care, retraining, and placement of retired racehorses. “We would like to thank all the stallion donors for their generous support,” said Executive Director Dot Morgan.  “They enable us to equip these horses with useful skills and get them into loving homes that will give them a life beyond the track. Every horse we adopt becomes an ambassador for the breed.” From New Vocations

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