It was six months ago when Twilight Bonfire burst on the scene with a runner-up performance in The Pepsi North America Cup. Since then, it has been a year of ups and downs. In fact, he entered Saturday's Reynolds Stake at the Meadowlands with just 1 win from his last 13 starts. On this night, he asserted his class, making a long move to the lead under pilot Tim Tetrick and scored in a sharp 1:51.4. Twilight Bonfire was joined by a Breeders Crown winner in the field, in Rockin Amadeus, who has re-found his form in his last few starts and was a solid second at the finish. The buzz of the night took place in race 7, where Bolder came from far back at the top of the stretch and rallied to a shocking 92-1 victory to kick off the Late Pick 4 sequence. That resulted in a Late Pick 4 that returned $11,968 for a $1 bet. Yannick Gingras was the star of the driving colony as he won four races on the card, while Ron Pierce, who recently won his 9,000th race bagged three. Compared to the last time the Meadowlands raced on this Saturday in December, which took place in 2010, the total handle reflected an increase of 25-percent. Victory Night Club opened at the conclusion of the live racing card and saw a packed house enjoying the brand-new, state of the art venue. Racing returns on Friday with first post time at 7:15 P.M. For all information regarding Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, head to www.playmeadowlands.com.
Charisma Hanover has charmed driver Yannick Gingras with her recent form as he gets ready to race the 3-year-old filly pacer in Saturday’s $167,500 Nadia Lobell Stakes at Meadowlands Racetrack. Gingras and Charisma Hanover will leave from post seven in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, which also includes world-record-holder Shebestingin from the stable of trainer Joe Holloway. Charisma Hanover has won 13 of 19 races this season, including seven of her last eight starts. Saturday’s stakes-filled card at the Meadowlands also includes the $534,500 Governor’s Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, $494,750 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, $456,150 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, and $394,950 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Also in action is 3-year-old colt Captaintreacherous, who takes on older foes including Foiled Again and Pet Rock in the $512,000 TVG Free For All Series Championship for pacers, and 3-year-old filly trotter Bee A Magician, who looks to complete a perfect season in the $253,000 Moni Maker Stakes. There also is the $500,000 TVG Free For All Series Championship for older trotters. Charisma Hanover enters the Nadia Lobell off a 1:51.4 win in the 3-year-old open Nov. 23 at the Meadowlands. In her previous start, she beat I Luv The Nitelife by a head to capture the American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park. I Luv The Nitelife, the richest filly pacer in harness racing history, was expected to compete in the Nadia Lobell, but will miss the race because of a knee injury that will require surgery. “I think she’s gotten better as the season has gone on, but she’s raced really well all year,” Gingras said about Charisma Hanover, who is trained by Ron Burke and has earned $555,729 this season. “We’ve been racing her a little differently than early in the year. She would get a little too fired up early in the year.” Charisma Hanover got a little fired up in the Valley Forge Stakes at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in August, finishing seventh, but has been simply on fire in her eight starts since then. Her wins included the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, the Lady Maud and American-National in a stakes- and track-record 1:49. Her only loss during that span came when she suffered broken equipment and was pulled up in a Keystone Classic division at The Meadows in September. “She got the right trip behind I Luv The Nitelife in the American-National, but she never saw the rail either,” Gingras said. “She’s a very good horse herself, really a top horse in my mind.” Charisma Hanover, owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, is a daughter of stallion Dragon Again out of the mare Caught The Bouquet. She is a half-sister to 2004 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Runover Feeling, who finished third in the 2005 North America Cup and has earned nearly $900,000 in his career. The Nadia Lobell field, in addition to Charisma Hanover and Shebestingin, includes UF Dragon’s Queen, Mattie Terror Girl, Aunt Caroline, Jerseylicious, Somwherovrarainbow and Authorize. Shebestingin is the fastest female pacer in history thanks to her 1:47 win in a division of the Glen Garnsey at The Red Mile in October. “There are some good fillies in there that can go real fast as well,” Gingras said. “It should be a great race.” by Ken Weingartner for HRC
Trainer Casie Coleman announced this morning that she is turning Vegas Vacation out for the rest of the 2013 race season and that he will not compete today at Dover Downs in the Progress Pace elimination. “I want to say thank you to my newest millionaire winner Vegas Vacation,” Coleman reported on Facebook this morning. “Vegas didn't come out of the Matron 100 percent. He probably would be fine for the Progress but I've decided that it’s time for him to have some well deserved r and r time. If we didn't half to enter on Monday for Sunday again the day after the Matron I would not have entered him. But we decided to see if he got back to his usual self and he just didn't." For the season, Vegas Vacation posted ten wins in 20 starts with earnings of $971,632 and a lifetime mark of 1:48.3 at Dover Downs. The gelded son of Bettor’s Delight is owned by The West Wins Stable, Adriano Sorella, Anthony Beaton and Phyllis Saunders, all of Ontario. Throughout the season Vegas Vacation was a main rival to both Captaintreacherous and Sunshine Beach. His two-heat victory in the Little Brown Jug was his most impressive races for the season and he also captured the Matron Stakes Final, Simcoe Stake, Earl Beale Memorial, North America Cup and the Somebeachsomewhere Stake in 2013. “I want to thank Vegas for an awesome season,” Coleman added, “and enjoy your vacation! We will then prep for your 4-year-old season! Best of luck to everyone else in the Progress Pace.” The race office at Dover Downs could not verifty as of the writting of this release that Vegas Vacation had been officially scratched from the race. With Vegas Vacation out from the $35,000 Progress Pace elimination today at Dover Downs, the remaining eight horses in the race must still compete in order to advance to the final next week. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
In a recent interview about the Jug and the state of harness racing, John Campbell stressed increasing the purse of the Little Brown Jug, saying repeatedly that the most pressing issue is getting the Jug's purse over one million dollars. Essentially, other ideas, such as getting the Jug on TV, creating a triple crown bonus, and others, were shot down for being too expensive. In my opinion, this is completely backwards and will be detrimental to the sport in the long run. While I understand Campbell's points and I see why he said the things that he did, simply raising purses will not help harness racing. This is an absolute fact and is the main point I want to get across: raising purses from slot welfare did not help us in the past, it is not helping us now, and it will not help is in the future. We have been fueling purses with slot money for a decade, and we have absolutely nothing to show for it. Handle is dismal at best at most tracks, attendance is terrible, and the general public still has no idea what harness racing is. Why then do so many people think raising the purse of the Jug to one million dollars make it any better? Frankly, I think the slots money is better spent elsewhere for many reasons. First of all, if people are really keeping their horses out of the Jug for the welfare of the horse, why would we think raising the purse would attract those horses? Is that not like saying the horse's welfare is worth more than the current purse, but less than a future purse? What does this really say about us if we think a higher purse will encourage those to race who normally would not. If it is really in the horse's best interest not to race, then a ten million dollar purse should not change that. Another reason a one million dollar Jug purse will not help harness racing's problems is our failure to market effectively. We can raise our purse to ten million, but if no one knows about it, does it matter to anyone other than the horsemen? No, of course not. Outside of Ohio, how many people even know what the Little Brown Jug is? How many people know who Captaintreacherous is? Virtually no one. It will not make any difference if the best horses show up if no one knows who they are. The money to increase the purse would be much better spent developing a solid marketing campaign that focuses on exposing harness racing, specifically the Little Brown Jug, to new markets. This is currently being done on the thoroughbred side with the America's Best Racing tour. A small group of young horse racing enthusiasts has been traveling around the country in a specially designed RV to promote racing in locations where people may not know much about it. This tour is focused on educating people about horse racing and showing them how exciting and how much fun racing can be. It is embarrassing that harness racing does not have a similar program devoted to promoting our sport. Another alternative to simply raising the purse would be to offer a bonus for winning all three legs of the triple crown.* This is an idea that has been tried before, but died out due to lack of funding. Now, with slots money, I think it could be a viable way to increase participation and fan interest in the triple crown races more than a straight purse increase of the Jug. It would work like this. Instead of raising the Jug purse, that money (or a portion of that money) would be offered as a triple crown bonus. Any horse to successfully win all three legs would collect the bonus. In the event no horse swept all the races, the bonus could still be paid out based on a points system. In each triple crown race, the winner would earn 10 points, the second place finisher would earn 5 points, and the 3rd place finisher would earn 3 points, the 4th place finisher would earn 1 point, and the 5th place finisher would earn half a point. The bonus would be paid out to the top 3 point earners in the series, with the distribution being 60%-28%-12%. A similar system has been used in the thoroughbred world and could go a long way to increasing field sizes in key races and increasing the excitement factor for fans who follow their favorite horses in the series. *I am working on the theory of the "new" triple crown that was proposed recently: the North America Cup, the Meadowlands Pace, and the Little Brown Jug. Brandon Valvo The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of www.harnesslink.com
Apaches Fame, the pacer that many would consider to be the Standardbred that helped elevate the Ontario Sires Stakes program to a world-class producer of harness racing talent, has passed away at the age of 26. Bred by Robert Chapple of Chatham, Ont., the son of Apaches Circle - Dovers Skip turned heads from the moment he stepped onto the racetrack in 1989. In his first pari-mutuel start at Greenwood Raceway, Apaches Fame and trainer-driver Bud Fritz reeled off a win in 1:57.4 in the Kindergarten Series. He moved onto the OSS ranks and dominated his foes there, finishing his rookie season with 10 wins in 14 starts and a mark of 1:54.1 taken at Windsor Raceway. That mile was just one-fifth of a second off the world record at the time. Expectations were high for his three-year-old season as Apaches Fame stepped up to race against North America's best three-year-old pacers in Grand Circuit competition - a rarity for a horse from the OSS program. Against open opposition that year he tied the track record at Greenwood in winning the Burlington Stakes in 1:52.4, and also posted wins in the Motor City Pace, Confederation Cup, Little Brown Jug Preview, as well as and the Provincial Cup and Prix d’Ete eliminations. But his biggest win was a win for the province, if not the country. Facing divisional standout Beach Towel, Apaches Fame made harness racing history by becoming the first Ontario-bred and sired colt to win the prestigious $1 million North America Cup. Busloads of fans from Southwestern Ontario flocked to Greenwood that day to take in the race and witness history, and the winner's circle celebration harkened back to the days of the Cam Fella Express in popularity. Apaches Fame ended his season with 20 wins in 26 starts, which earned him the O'Brien Award as the best three-year-old colt in the country. Returning to the races at age four for Dovers Venture II Stable (Chapple, Dr. Jan Venclik, Ross Cushman, Tom Lightbody and Gary Nolte) Apaches Fame won the Grand Prix Quebec, Blue Bonnets Challenge, Des Smith Memorial and William Haughton Memorial Series at Yonkers before being retired in January 1992 at the age of five. After 67 career starts, Apaches Fame amassed a record of 39-11-9, a mark of 1:51.4 and earnings in excess of $1.76 million. Apaches Fame stood for stallion duty in Ontario and produced the winners of more than $38 million. With 777 foals, 612 made it to the races with 81 per cent of those horses taking race records. Among his most notable performers are the 1998 O'Brien Award winning Horse of the Year Odies Fame, 2000 O'Brien Award winner Legacy Of Fame as well as Twin B Champ, Stonebridge Galaxy and more recently, Twin B Warrior. In 2000, Apaches Fame was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame for his contributions to Canadian horse racing both as a standout racehorse and sire. In June 2013, Standardbred Canada honoured Apaches Fame with a special video tribute to commemorate his historic North America Cup victory by visiting the stallion at his Chatham, Ont. home, where he resided at the farm owned by breeder Robert Chapple's son Rob and his wife Becky. The Chapples were joined by Venclik and Doug Nash, who helped manage Apaches Fame through his stallion career at Glengate Farms. "Apaches Fame was the horse that legitimized the Ontario Sires Stakes program of being worthy of producing horse that were world class," said Nash. "When he won the North America Cup, it changed things around forever within the industry, where trainers and owners recognized the Ontario-breds as being capable of campaigning on the world stage." Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Freehold, NJ --- The Captain is still the king, but he faces another tough challenge in Saturday’s Tattersalls Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers at Lexington’s Red Mile. Fourteen horses entered the Tattersalls and the field was divided into two seven-horse divisions. Captaintreacherous, the defending Pacer of the Year and sport’s top-ranked pacer this season, will compete in the first of the two $215,500 splits -- along with the only horse to beat The Captain this year, Sunshine Beach, and Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation. Captaintreacherous, Vegas Vacation and Sunshine Beach are harness racing’s three richest 3-year-old male pacers this season. Vegas Vacation drew post one while Captaintreacherous got five and Sunshine Beach got seven. “They sure stacked them up,” said Mark Steacy, who trains Sunshine Beach. “It would have been nice to stay away from them until the Breeders Crown, but you can’t do anything about that. Plus we drew the outside post; I guess (driver) John Campbell will just have to work his magic.” Sunshine Beach handed Captaintreacherous his only loss in 10 races this year when he beat The Captain by a nose in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine on Aug. 17 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The time of 1:47.4 equaled the world record for 3-year-old pacers on a five-eighths-mile track. “Yeah, but he’s got about six (wins) up on us,” Steacy said with a laugh. “I’d like nothing more than to beat him again, but we want to win every time we race no matter what horses are in there.” Captaintreacherous won his three previous encounters with Sunshine Beach this year, including in the $980,000 North America Cup and $635,750 Meadowlands Pace. He also has four wins over Vegas Vacation, including the $360,211 Cane Pace. “It shapes up like a great race,” Captaintreacherous’ trainer Tony Alagna said. “I don’t look at it like we have to beat this horse or that horse; I just want my horse to go out there and race to his capabilities and he never lets me down.” Vegas Vacation, whose last three setbacks to Captaintreacherous have come by a combined total of less than a length, comes to the Tattersalls off his straight heats victory in the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 19 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. “I’m still the underdog,” Vegas Vacation’s trainer Casie Coleman said. “(Captaintreacherous) is still the king of the castle, but we’re going to try to take him off the throne. We’re going to give it our best shot.” Captaintreacherous and Sunshine Beach, who both skipped the Little Brown Jug, won Bluegrass Stakes divisions last weekend at The Red Mile. Captaintreacherous, who has earned $1.50 million this season, won by 1-1/2 lengths over Beach Memories in a career-best 1:47.1 with regular driver Tim Tetrick at the lines. “I was very happy with how he raced last week,” said Alagna, who trains the colt for the ownership group Captaintreacherous Racing. “And he’s trained back really well.” Sunshine Beach, who has won six of 13 races and $543,135 this season for owners Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand, captured his Bluegrass division by a neck over Resistance Futile in 1:48.2. It was his first start since a second-place finish to Vegas Vacation in a division of the Simcoe Stakes on Sept. 7. “For a horse that hadn’t raced in three weeks, I thought he was very courageous,” Steacy said. “Resistance Futile is a nice horse with a good kick and he was able to fight him off. I hope he’s a little bit better this week.” Vegas Vacation has won nine of 15 races this year and earned $806,287 for owners West Wins Stable, Adriano Sorella, Anthony Beaton and Phyllis Saunders. He has won three in a row and five of his last six starts. “(Captaintreacherous) won in (1):47.1 last week, so he’s obviously awesome,” Coleman said. “But I think my guy is awesome right now too.” The second Tattersalls division includes Adios winner Sunfire Blue Chip, New York Sire Stakes champion Fool Me Once, and North America Cup runner-up Twilight Bonfire. Saturday’s card also features two divisions of the Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers and four divisions of the International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. First race post time is 1 p.m. by Ken Weingartner for HRC
Saturday's Grand Circuit card at The Red Mile features the glamor boy division and "The Captain" is in to go. On a night when two and three year old pacing colt stakes dominate the ten race card for total purses in excess of $650,000, the weather man is predicting favorable conditions for a speed filled program. Captaintreacherous will face a solid group of six in the $95,500 Bluegress Stakes event titled for his sire Somebeachsomewhere. He will begin from post five in the third race with Tim Tetrick aboard the pride of Captaintreacherous Racing for trainer Tony Algna . "The Captain" had a few weeks away from racing after his Cane Pace win, then had a good tightener last week at Hoosier Park. The winner of the 2013 Meadowlands Pace, North America Cup and Max Hempt Memorial, he is harness racing's top seasonal money earner with just a hair less that $1.5 million and a career total of $2.374 million in the bank. A second division of the Somebeachsomewhere goes for $96,500 in the eighth race with Little Brown Jug heat winner Resistance Futile facing Battle of the Brandywine champ Sunshine Beach. Resistance Futile has long displayed high speed and seemed to put it all together winning the fastest "Jug' heat in 1:49.3, only eliminate himself from contention in the second heat by going off stride while gaining ground on the final bend. Corey Callahan retains the drive for trainer Blair Burgess, who owns the Real Desire colt in partnership with JH Walker and Deo Volente Farms. Sunshine Beach is the only horse to finish in front of Captaintreacherous this season when he hung a narrow defeat on that one in their memorable world record "Battle" of the Brandywine at Pocono Downs. This Somebeachsomewhere colt has been raced sparingly by trainer Mark Steacy and comes into this race three weeks stale after skipping the "Jug" due to a minor health issue. John Campbell gets the drive for owners Hudson Standardbred Stables, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand. Supporting the sophomore stars are four divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes for two year old pacing colts where the likes of recent Delaware star On Golden Ponder, NJSS champ and Metro runner-up Western Vintage and PASS stars Limelight Beach and Sometimes Said will try their luck over the red clay carpet. Three year old filly pacers will go in a single eleven filly division of the Bluegrass for $122,000 in the ninth race. The good Bettor's Delight filly Shebestingin is the likely choice in this one off a strong season that has seen her pick up over $300,000 on the strength of seven wins for Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz and L & L Devisser. Joe Holloway trains and David Miller will drive the speedy lass. Saturday post time is 7pm, the last of the night cards for 2013. Sunday racing has a 1pm post time and that will continue through the balance of the meet. Find more at http://www.theredmile.com./ by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit
Grand Circuit racing continues on Friday at The Red Mile with three divisions each of the Bluegrass Stakes for two year old colt trotters and filly pacers. Those freshmen will compete for total purses well in excess of a half million dollars and the "top of the crop" for each group are among the entrants. The colt trotters will compete in the Walnut Hall Limited Cup, carded as races five, seven and ten, each a seven colt field for a purse of $90,100. Father Patrick has been nothing short of sensational this season. The Cantab Hall colt has won the Peter Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands by ten lengths and more recently the William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk, where he established a new Canadian record for baby trotters of 1:53.4 in a five length romp. A winner of $436,507 this year, the only loss in Father Patrick's eight start career was a photo out in an overnight at The Meadowlands. Jimmy Takter trains the colt for the Father Patrick Stable and Yannick Gingras will steer him as he has in every start this season. On the distaff side, the fillies will race for just shy of $260,000 split three ways, race eight, nine and eleven. The "Belle of the Ball" thus far has been Jim Avritt's homebred Art Major filly Precocious Beauty. From his mare Precious Beauty, who produced North America Cup champ Sportswriter, Jim kept the filly he has described as "a perfect specimen" and she has lived up to his vision and then some. A winner of four straight in Ontario including the She's A Great Lady final and Eternal Camnation stakes, Precocious Beauty has amassed just shy of $360,000 on the strength of five wins and a pair of seconds from seven starts. Her 1:50.2 speed badge puts her just a fifth off the current world record for the division. Top Canadian conditioner Gregg Mc Nair developed the filly and sends her out on Friday with her regular pilot, one of racing's brightest young stars, his son Doug. Friday post time will be 7pm. The Red Mile is available at a simulcast venue near you or you may view the races by opening an account with their account wagering platform. by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 9 - Driver Jody Jamieson surpassed the coveted career earnings milestone of $100-million with a victory aboard Panpero Firpo in an $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots division for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings Friday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Jamieson and Panpero Firpo found the wire first in 1:51.1 for trainer David Menary. The momentous occasion came in race two on the program. Jamieson, a three-time O’Brien Award winner as Canada’s Driver of the Year, was honoured to surpass the milestone. "A 36-year-old with a $100 million career is just unbelievable to me," said Jamieson following the milestone. "I've had some great memories in races I've won on my own and with my dad (Carl). "I remember when John Campbell went to over the $100 million mark," said Jamieson. "He set the bar. We've all, as drivers, dreamed of somewhere, someday attaining something comparable to him. Obviously he's gone into the stratosphere with over $280 million made.” Jamieson has driven winners of more than $3.7 million in purses this year and is currently the leading money-earning driver in Canada. His largest victories came in the 2008 and 2011 North America Cup aboard Tell All and Up The Credit. The latter was trained by his father, Carl Jamieson. In 2009, Jamieson set a Canadian record for most driving wins in a single season, visiting the winner’s circle 796 times. The Moffat resident also captured the World Driving Championship in Finland and Sweden in 2001. He has 6,628 career victories. Greg Gangle
Marvin Katz has enjoyed a successful career as both a businessmen and harness racing owner, but one of his proudest moments came this past Saturday when Captaintreacherous captured the North America Cup at Mohawk.
Captaintreacherous, last year's champion two-year-old colt pacer, may be on his way to another divisional title after powering his way to a harness racing victory as the 7-5 choice in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, the world's richest pacing event, Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack.
Mohawk Raceway hosted Canada's richest night of harness racing for the 2013 season with the North Amercia Cup Night Saturday. Purses for the evening's program totaled more than $2 million with six major events headlined by the $1,000,000 30th annual North America Cup Final for three-year-old pacing colts.
The following note was on Premier Kathleen Wynne's Saturday itinerary distributed by the Office of the Premier:
Odds On Equuleus, who finished second in his Pepsi North America Cup elimination, will begin from post eight in the rich final.
Ok racing fans, after three weeks I have picked horses in 16 race with only 7 winners, but I picked three of the five race winners last week and broke dead even so we are still at a profit of $7.80 for this weekend.
Saturday night's Pepsi North America Cup is featured on this week's episode of 'Eye on Harness Racing,' the USTA's weekly online video magazine sponsored by TrackMaster.