Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $25,000 Super High Five total pool guarantee to the Tuesday's (September 16) program. The Super High Five is offered in Race 13 and includes a carryover of $5,622.56. Tuesday's post time is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
Northfield Park reminds horsemen of the Little Brown Jug Week draw schedule: DRAW DATE RACE DATE Monday (9/15) Friday (9/19) Tuesday (9/16) Monday (9/22) Friday (9/19) Tuesday (9/23) Please note that qualifiers will be on Friday (9/19) and will be drawn on Thursday (9/18). Box closes each day at 9:00 a.m. For more information, please contact the race office at 330/467-4101 ext. 2300. Northfield Park has announced the dates of three Fall Late Closing series. All of the newly added Late Closers carry a condition of: Non-winners of Two Pari-Mutuel Races (Ohio Breads N/W Three) or Non-Winners of $15,000 Lifetime (Through 8/31/2014). Tuesdays (October 7, October 14, October 21 and October 28) will host The Election Night Series for trotters. Each of the four legs will carry purses of $5,000. The $15,000 final (all purses guaranteed) will go to post on Tuesday (November 4). Thursdays (October 9, October 16, October 23 and October 30) will offer The Halloween Series for horse and gelding pacers. Each leg will be raced for a $5,000 purse. The final will be Thursday (November 6) for a purse of $15,000. Fridays (October 10, October 17 and October 24) and Thursday (October 30) highlight The Friday Night Lights Series for filly and mare pacers. Each of these legs will also carry a $5,000 purse. The $15,000 final will be Friday (November 7). A one-time $300 payment will be required of each entrant to be eligible. Payments are due by September 26. Conditions for the series can be found at www.northfieldpark.com. The link is near the bottom of Northfield’s homepage. Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $5,000 Pick-5 total pool guarantee to Monday’s (September 15) program. Beginning in Race 3, the $5,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $1,117.03. Northfield’s Pick 5, Pick 4 and the Pick 3’s offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent. Monday’s post time is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
September 2, 2014 - The week off in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs gave the handicappers the opportunity to think over their handicapping strategy and by doing so, they came out guns a blazing with five instances of handicappers scoring net profits of over $1,000 on any given day. When the dust settled, Mark McKelvie was the big winner for the week showing a net profit of $2,586, leapfrogging from 8th to 3rd place. While McKelvie won the week, Bob Zanakis regained the lead over Brandon Valvo with a swing a $2,919.25 thanks to his weekly net profit of $2,094.75. Gordon Waterstone's weekly net profit of $2,103 moved him from 12th place to 6th. On Thursday, August 28, Bob Zanakis started the hit parade, playing a $6 price part wheel trifecta ($144 total) in the first division of the Champlain and it paid off handsomely as he received a dividend of $2,408.40. Other key hits on Thursday were Sally Hinckley's $10 trifecta key ($120l) in the third division of the Champlain which paid $301, Dennis O'Hara's $50 cold exacta in the same race which returned $260, and Ann Stepien's $2 four-horse trifecta box ($48) earned $143.60. On a typical day, Gordon Waterstone's $20 trifecta key ($120) in the third division would normally have been the talk of the town with its $602 return but alas, Zanakis' play overshadowed this accomplishment. On Friday, August 2, the handicappers gathered their collective breaths with no particular breakouts. While the day's action was sedate, there were some individual bets worth noting. Derick Giwner's $150 exacta in the Zweig Memorial returned $405 while in the same race, Hinckley's $25 trifecta key ($150) paid $307.50. Saturday saw three players with big nights. Mark McKelvie led the trio with a net profit of $3,226 thanks to a $20 trifecta part-wheel ($60) in the She's A Great Lady. Waterstone earned $1,403 as a result of a $10 trifecta part wheel ($200) in the same race and O'Hara's $1,097 evening was attributable to a $30 trifecta key ($360) in the Metro which grossed $1,497. Other solid plays were Ray Garnett's $14 trifecta key ($280) in the Metro paid a $698.60 dividend as was Hinckley's $10 trifecta key play, returning $499. In the first division of the Simcoe, Josi Verlingieri had two winning tickets, a $25 exacta box ($150) paid $317.50 and a $125 win, place wager which returned $943.75. With a one day break, the handicappers returned for a Labor Day stanza which belonged to Garnet Barnsdale with his hit in the Shady Daisy. While Barnsdale had listed a $1 superfecta part wheel ($42), his ticket was reduced to a $.30 ticket ($12.60) which paid $2,561.90, reflecting the size of the superfecta pool. Waterstone was the only other player who won on Sunday as his $30 exacta box ($180) paid $438. The current standings after the completion of four legs are: As of September 1, 2014 - Leg 27 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $2,094.75 $4,303.45 2nd Brandon Valvo ($824.50) $2,780.00 $1,523.45 3rd Mark McKelvie $2,586.00 $1,962.00 $2,341.45 4th Josi Verlingieri $937.40 $1,551.55 $2,751.90 5th Earl Paulson ($504.00) $240.90 $4,062.55 6th Gordon Waterstone $2,103.00 $202.70 $4,100.75 7th Brian McEvoy $67.50 ($110.00) $4,413.45 8th Derick Giwner ($715.00) ($759.23) $5,062.68 9th Garnet Barnsdale $1,331.30 ($894.70) $5,198.15 10th Ray Garnett ($480.40) ($1,102.55) $5,406.00 11th Sally Hinckley ($122.00) ($1,793.90) $6,097.35 12th Ann Stepien ($406.95) ($2,156.06) $6,459.51 13th Rusty Nash ($745.65) ($2,369.76) $6,673.21 14th Dennis O'Hara $467.00 ($2,579.70) $6,883.15 15th Ray Cotolo ($1,150.00) ($5,698.40) $10,001.85 This week, one leg of the contest will be held on Saturday, September 6 at Mohawk Racetrack with a trio of races scheduled, the Simcoe for 3yo open pacers and the Champlain for 2yo open pacers and 2yo filly pacers will be contested. As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott for HANA
Roger Huston, the iconic voice of harness racing, will call the action Thursday (August 28) at Northfield Park. The 15-race program will add to the tally of races he has announced, which currently stands at 167,200. Huston has been the voice of The Meadows since 1976 and will be calling his 47th Little Brown Jug on September 18. In addition, he has announced at 127 other venues. These include locations all over the United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Wales and Australia. Huston, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, has enjoyed an amazing career in the sport -- and it is a career that will continue -- as he has no plans on retiring from the job he still immensely enjoys. First race post time on Thursday is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
Ardyne Ace and Randy Tharps grind out a win in the $25,000 Open Pace in 1:50.4. Ardyne Ace is an 8-year old gelded son of Ace's N Sevens. He's trained by Jim Pollock Jr.for David Ehrenberg II and Daniel Fawcett of Ohio. Ardyne Ace started from assigned post five in the scratched down field of eight and Randy Tharps had the lines. Tharps was content to take off the gate and race from off the pace when a slew of leavers left hard for command. Santa Fe Beachboy and Josh Sutton landed on the front after the opening quarter that was paced in :26.4. The Indiana invader, Paco Labrook and Brad Hanners got the pocket ride behind the betting second choice. Before the half that was paced in :54.2, Ardyne Ace and Tharps were underway in their first over bid. The pressed the pace down the backside and hit three quarters in 1:22.2. Even after the :27.3 parked third quarter Ardyne Ace was far from tired. He have a game effort to win by a 1-length over a late charging Lucky Lime and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. J's Six Pak Attack and Dan Noble completed the trifecta. A mere 5-lengths covered the entire field of talented pacers. Scioto Downs continues the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge General Manager of Racing Operations,Stacy Cahill was joined by drivers, Aaron Merriman, Kayne Kauffman,Zach Mogan, Tyler Smith and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. who were challenged by Friday nights supporters of ALS. The Ice Bucket Challenge was carried out prior to first race post time. The group made donations and challenged drivers and executives at Northfield Park. Racing continues on Wednesday (August 20) First race post time is 6:30. From Scioto Downs Racino
Sorry that I had to skip a week due to my trip to Canada and Ireland but we are back in action once again. Hambletonian Day was my third straight winning weekend so as I am on a roll we will lay it all on the line for this weekend. Plenty of top flight racing around the country starting Friday with the Milstein Memorial and consolation Friday at Northfield Park, then Saturday’s action is mainly at Mohawk Raceway for their two-year-old stakes plus some top Preferred events. Saratoga has their Gerrity Memorial and to cap it all off is the Gold Cup & Saucer at Charlottetown Driving Park. Good Luck! $100,000 Pace Carl Milstein 3YO Consolation Northfield Park 8th race FRIDAY – National Debt was an undefeated early season sensation who seems to be coming back to life again. Off his last two starts he shows game finishes and should be able to take advantage of inside position to win in here. Use Limelight Beach and Western Vintage in exotic plays. $400,000 Pace Carl Milstein Memorial 3YO Northfield Park 11th race FRIDAY – With his five-race winning streak on the line, McWicked is in prime form and has beaten most of this field in the past. He is super sharp for trainer Casie Coleman, draws the rail on a half mile and should wire the field once again. Use All Bets Off and Tellitlikeitis in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 2nd race SATURDAY – Undefeated in her early career with four straight wins Happy Becky should have things her own way against this field. She has yet to be defeated on the front end and last start she romped by more than six lengths with ease. Use Bedroomconfessions and The Show Returns in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 3rd race SATURDAY – Super well-bred JK Shesalady is undefeated in three starts and two back saw her win with ease in 1:52. She has drawn an outside post but that should hinder her ability to win once again. Use Cashaway and Wicked Little Minx in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 5th race SATURDAY - This is the weakest of the three divisions but A Plus should be able to take full advantage of that fact despite making only her second pari-mutuel start. She has already shown she can win from on and off the pace and will be tested well in here. Use Ideal Nuggets and Moonlit Dance in exotic plays. $89,924 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – The Wayfaring Man nearly made it a clean sweep in the Dream Maker series, winning last leg and the final. Logical choice in here provided he can continue to improve as they will be flying in here. Use ASAP Hanover and Edison in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Mohawk Raceway 8th race SATURDAY – Here we have the top two three-year-olds of last year going head and head. Both have had it rough going against seasoned stars but now face each other one again. I am giving the slight edge to Sunshine Beach over Captaintreacherous mainly because Sunshine Beach finally won a couple of starts and that should game him up for big mile. Use Captaintreacherous and Bestofbest Hanover in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial Saratoga Harness 9th race SATURDAY – A great slugfest here with top horses going to post. While the Burke Stable has their big guns in Foiled Again and Clear Vision, I am going with Dancin Yankee. He suffered his first loss in six starts last out against Sweet Lou but should be able to come right back with good inside post to beginning winning streak again. Use entry of Foiled Again/Clear Vision and entry of Fat Man’s Alley and P H Supercam in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 9th race pace SATURDAY – Despite having finished second in his last four starts Amora Beach still looms as the betting favorite in here and rightly so. He is a game performer and should be able to take this division either from on or off the pace. Use Traceur Hanover and American Legend in exotic plays. $34,000 Trot Preferred Mohawk Raceway 10th race SATURDAY – If anyone can wire the field in this race it will be Daylon Magician. He did it in his last start with a sharp 1:52.1 triumph, last quarter mile in :27.2. He is facing some tough local foes but can get the job done again. Use Mister Herbie and Wheeling N Dealin in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Even drawing the outside post eight should not stop Artspeak from remaining undefeated. Talented son of Western Ideal has been perfect in his first three starts and last time out scorched the track at the Meadowlands in 1:50.4 for trainer Tony Alagna. Use Pierce Hanover and Lyons Again in exotic plays. $75,000 Pace Gold Cup & Saucer Charlottetown Driving Park 14th race SATURDAY – This is really the place to be in North America. It’s the Little Brown Jug of Canada and after last year it looks like the Ron Burke Stable wants to win it again. Aracache Hanover was super strong on the front end in his elim win last week and with post two I see him wiring the field and not looking back. Use Wazzup Hanover and Bigtown Hero in exotic plays.
All Bets Off benefited from a perfect trip to score in the inaugural harness racing $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial on Friday, August 15, 2014. The event was in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. It was the richest horse race ever conducted in Northeast Ohio. All Bets Off (Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope-Dexter Nukes) is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, Frank Baldachino of Clarksburg, New Jersey, Panhellenic Stable of Oyster Bay, New York and Rosemary Shelswell of Cookstown, Ontario, Canada. He is trained by Ron Burke, who called upon Matt Kakaley to drive. All Bets Off started from post two and led the field early before yielding to heavily favored McWicked just past the :26.1 opening quarter. He remained in the pocket through middle fractions of :54.1 and 1:22.1, before diving into the passing lane in the stretch and besting his competition by Â¾-length in 1:50.3. "I got the trip I wanted -- everything worked out perfect," said Matt Kakaley. "I needed room around the last turn and once I got it, he just exploded." All Bets Off is relatively lightly staked this year. "This is his [All Bets Off] biggest race of the year -- he really came through tonight," stated an elated Ron Burke. The win pushes All Bets Off's earnings to $697,842. Following in succession after All Bets Off were Luck Be Withyou and McWicked (dead heat), Stevensville, Let's Drink On It, Seventh Street and Boomboom Ballykeel. Tellitlikeitis did not finish. All Bets Off returned $16.60 to win. All Bets Off's Earlier in the evening, National Debt and Ron Pierce broke Northfield's track record for three year-old colt pacers in the $100,000 Carl Milstein Memorial Consolation in 1:49.4. The clocking was only the fifth ever sub-1:50 mile in the history of the half-mile oval. National Debt was the benefactor of sizzling :25.1, :53.2, and 1:21.2 fractions before winning by a neck in the record performance. Completing the field for the Milstein Consolation were Limelight Beach, Three Of Clubs, Western Vintage, Wicked Business, Bondi Hanover and Allstar Partner. Always At My Place was scratched.
McWicked is not the most energetic harness racing horse when enjoying an uncontested lead, but his lackadaisical manner can change in a hurry when necessary. The colt's determination is one of the attributes that impresses trainer Casie Coleman as she prepares McWicked for Friday's inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at Northfield Park. McWicked was not eligible to the Milstein, but the colt's connections paid $34,000 to get into the race. McWicked, who brings a five-race win streak to the Milstein, will start from post No. 1 with driver David Miller. For the year, McWicked has won seven of 10 races, including the Max C. Hempt Memorial and the Delvin Miller Adios, and earned $654,271 for owner Ed James' SSG Stables. During his string of victories, McWicked has not once lost ground in the stretch. In fact, he has won by no less than a length during that span and increased his advantage in the lane by a total of 8-1/2 lengths. "It's just his desire to win, how much guts he has," Coleman said. "Because he's a lazy colt, sometimes I look at him at the three-quarters pole and I'm a little worried that he's getting tired. As soon as Dave hits the head of the lane and a horse comes up to look at him, boom he's just gone. "There's hardly been a race that Dave's had him where he's been all out. He's been quite in hand coming to the finish in most of his races. I've been real happy with that." McWicked, a son of McArdle-Western Sahara, heads to the Milstein off a 4-1/4 length win over Let's Drink On It in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on Aug. 7 at Harrah's Philadelphia. The final preliminary leg of the series is Aug. 29 at The Meadows and the $260,000 championship is Sept. 7 at Philly. The three-week gap between McWicked's previous start and the next round of the sire stakes is the reason Coleman was searching for a race for McWicked. Following the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, the colt is expected to head to the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. "This race came up and it's a one-shot go for $400,000," Coleman said. "I talked it over with Ed James and we decided that it fits in pretty nicely, so we decided to go this route. I don't see why he wouldn't be good on a half(-mile track), but it's also a good test on a half before we go to the Jug. "Win, lose or draw it still gives me a couple weeks to freshen him up and get him ready for the sire stakes after this." For his career, McWicked has won 10 of 20 races and earned $833,888. He has finished worse than third only twice, most recently in the North America Cup on June 14 at Mohawk. He was fourth in that start, behind JK Endofanera, Tellitlikeitis, and He's Watching. It was the last time he lost a race. "He's been just superb every time he races," Coleman said. "Usually you'd think they'd start to get a little tired at this time of year with all the big miles they've been going, but this horse just seems to be thriving off it. "Every time I race him, I like him more and more. He seems to get stronger and stronger every time I put him behind the gate. I've been just thrilled with him." Following is the field in post order with drivers and trainers: 1. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman; 2. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 3. Stevensville, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter; 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 6. Let's Drink On It, Tyler Smith, Joe Seekman; 7. Boomboom Ballykeel, Aaron Merriman, Virgil Morgan Jr.; 8. Seventh Secret, Mike Wilder, Dan Altmeyer. By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA
This Week: Review Stakes, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Ill.; Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes, Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, Ind.; Carl Milstein Memorial, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Gold Cup and Saucer final, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI; Joe Gerrity final, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ont.; and Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: An extremely busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off on Monday (Aug. 11) at the Illinois State Fair with the $35,900 Review Stake for 2-year-old trotters, the $21,450 Review Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $18,800 Review Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Tuesday (Aug. 12) program features the $30,500 Review Stake for 3-year-old pacers and the $28,600 Review Stake for 3-year-old trotters. The Indiana State Fair will host one day of Grand Circuit racing on Wednesday (Aug. 13) with the feature being the $55,462 Fox Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers. The co-featured event is the $36,080 Ralph Wilfong for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-olds will see two divisions each in the $26,920 2-year-old colt pace, the $26,632 2-year-old filly pace, the $25,928 2-year-old filly trot and the $22,404 2-year-old colt trot. The Horseman Stakes for 3-year-olds features single divisions in the $36,028 3-year-old colt pace, the $33,664 3-year-old filly pace, the $32,728 3-year-old filly trot and the $32,156 3-year-old colt trot. Then on Friday (Aug. 15), Northfield Park will host the $400,000 (est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers and a $100,000 (est.) consolation in the same event. Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host the C$60,000 (est.) Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers on Saturday (Aug. 16) and a C$20,000 (est.) consolation on Friday (Aug. 15). Also on Saturday, Saratoga Casino and Raceway will feature the $260,000 Joe Gerrity for open pacers and Mohawk Racetrack will contest the C$245,000 (est.) Nassagaweya for 2-year-old colt pacers and the C$215,000 (est.) Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Tioga Downs with Tompkins-Geers stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, as well as the 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. These events carry purses estimated from $53,000 for the 3-year-old filly pacers to $85,000 for the freshman colt trotters. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian tracks are available at this link. Last time: Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, paced the fastest mile in Hoosier Park history with a 1:47.2 score in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational on Friday (Aug. 8). Sweet Lou defeated stablemate Bettor's Edge in 1:47.2 in the Dan Patch. In a talented group of nine, Pierce sent Sweet Lou away from the gate firing, but stablemate Bettor's Edge and Ricky Macomber Jr. were quickest off the car and reached the opening panel in a speedy :25. Carol's Comet and Aaron Merriman were well-placed In The Pocket second with the 1-5 favorite, Sweet Lou, next in line in third. Pierce, sensing the outer flow starting to form, gave Sweet Lou the green light and he easily reached the front at the second station in a blazing :52.4. Heston Blue Chip and Corey Callahan had the daunting task of beginning the first-over charge down the backside and had reached the leader's wheel at the three-quarter mark in 1:20.1. With the torrid pace taking its toll, Bettor's Edge and Sweet Lou settled into a match race and paced away from the rest of the field. Using a :27.1 final panel, Sweet Lou was able to hold off his stablemate by a half-length to score his ninth win of the season and first Dan Patch Invitational win. Bettor's Edge was a game second while Carol's Comet finished third as the longest shot on the board at 53-1. Sweet Lou returned $2.40 to his backers at the window. Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou won for the 31st time in 67 lifetime starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The victory pushed his career earnings over $3 million to $3,033,961. The 5-year-old has now paced a record six consecutive winning miles under 1:48. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 646; 2. Tim Tetrick - 502; 3. Ron Pierce - 369; 4. David Miller - 290; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,016.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 233.05; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 211.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. Mohawk Racetrack with contest eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Metro for 2-year-old colt pacers and the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old filly pacers on Saturday (Aug. 23). The Sunday (Aug. 24) card at Tioga Downs will offer eliminations for the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds and the second leg of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director
August 10, 2014 - Perhaps with the Hambletonian in the rear view mirror the general opinion was it was time to swing for the fences in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, but whatever the reason, the Dan Patch Invitational leg of the handicapping contest turned into a survivor round. While Sweet Lou was an obvious key horse in the race, the handicappers for the most part were unable to construct a ticket which used both Bettor's Edge and streaking Carol's Comet in their exotic plays. As a result, the successful handicapper this past Friday was the handicapper who managed to get their head over the waterline. Three handicappers were successful in the effort with Brandon Valvo winning the week with a $50 net profit and regaining the overall lead ($2,774.50) from Bob Zanakis with a tenuous lead of $65.80. Other handicappers who managed to show positive results for the week were Earl Paulson ($30) and Brian McEvoy ($20). Obviously, the number of key wagers this week were minimal but Rusty Nash greatly reduced his potential deficit by wheeling Sweet Lou in the Superfecta for a dime investment ($33.60 total) and managed to collect $116.65. Earl Paulson managed his $30 profit with a $150 Win ticket on the race winner which paid $180 while weekly winner Brandon Valvo employed similar strategy by earning $50 with a $250 win ticket on the FFA pacer. Brian McEvoy managed his $20 profit with a combination of Win and Show wagers on the race winner. Bob Zanakis managed to stay close and within reach of the top spot by playing a $15 exacta partial wheel ($75) which grossed $193.50. The current standings are: As of August 8, 2014 - Leg 21 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,774.50 2nd Bob Zanakis ($56.50) $2,708.70 $65.80 3rd Derick Giwner ($237.00) $98.77 $2,675.73 4th Earl Paulson $30.00 ($55.10) $2,829.60 5th Mark McKelvie ($240.00) ($124.00) $2,898.50 6th Brian McEvoy $20.00 ($165.00) $2,939.50 7th Ray Garnett ($248.00) ($622.15) $3,396.65 8th Josi Verlingieri ($235.00) ($1,272.10) $4,046.60 9th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,400.30) $4,174.80 10th Ann Stepien ($238.00) ($1,509.11) $4,283.61 11th Rusty Nash ($45.35) ($1,642.63) $4,417.13 12th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($1,728.00) $4,502.50 13th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($1,888.00) $4,662.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($2,583.70) $5,358.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($4,048.40) $6,822.90 This coming weekend, the Challenge picks up the tempo with races at several tracks. Friday evening the contest stops at Northfield Park for the inaugural $400,000(Est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3yo pacing colts. The contest then moves north Saturday with the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway before heading to the Canadian Maritimes for the popular $75,000 Gold Cup and Saucer at Red Shores Charlottetown. Two year olds get their time in the spot light as well with Mohawk Raceway hosting the $215,000(Div.) Eternal Cammation for 2yo pacing fillies and the $245,000(Div.) Nassagaweya for 2yo pacers. As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator
Eight local legends will do battle in a race that will turn back the clock for many harness racing fans at Northfield Park on Friday night, August 15. The "Legends Driver Challenge" will pit Northfield leading drivers of days gone by in a trotting event that will serve as a warm-up for the inaugural $400,000 (est.) Carl Milstein Memorial, a Grand Circuit event for three-year-old colt pacers later in the card. Gerry Bookmyer, Doug Hamilton, Don Irvine, Jr., William Irvine, Keith Kash, Dan Ross, Don McKirgan and Bill Zendt will battle in a conditioned trot that will be part of the Milstein undercard. The eight veteran reinsmen have combined to win driving titles at Northfield from a span that covered the 70's, 80's and 90's. Also on Milstein night, freshman Ohio Sires Stakes pacers and trotters will square off for purses of $40,000 per division. Northfield's V.P. of Racing and Simulcasting Dave Bianconi is also attempting to fill an Open Pace, a Filiies and Mares Open Pace and and Open Trot, each with an improved purse of $20,000, on Milstein Memorial Night. Entries for all of the races to be contested on Friday night, August 15 at Northfield are due by 9 AM (Eastern) on Tuesday morning, August 12. Ayers Ratliff
This Week: Dan Patch Invitational, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind., Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. and Gold Cup and Saucer trials, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off this Friday (Aug. 8) at Hoosier Park with the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational for older pacers. On that same evening, The Meadows will host two $60,000 divisions in the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old open trotters. Then on the weekend, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host two days of trials for the Gold Cup and Saucer for older pacers. Twelve horses have been nominated, thus setting the stage for trials on Saturday (Aug. 9) and Monday (Aug. 11). The top finishers in the trials will advance to the final on Saturday (Aug. 16). Complete entries for the Hoosier Park and Meadows races are available at this link. Entries for the Red Shores Racetrack & Casino races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack closed out their Championship Meet this past Saturday with several lucrative Grand Circuit races led by the $1,006,125 Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Trixton edged stablemate Nuncio to win the Hambletonian. Trixton and trainer/driver Jimmy Takter bested a stubborn stablemate Nuncio (John Campbell) in a stretch drive down the lane to win the Hambletonian in 1:50.3. The time was the second fastest in the history of the race, behind his sire Muscle Hill, who won the 2009 Hambletonian in 1:50.1. With three horses making breaks at the gate, including the favorite at 3-5, Father Patrick, the picture changed abruptly as the field turned in to the :26.3 first quarter with Nuncio (John Campbell) in the lead, with Royal Ice (Ron Pierce) behind him. Those two led the field to the :54 half when Royal Ice and Pierce tipped out alongside Nuncio past the half-mile mark. Royal Ice could not get by and when the field entered the turn, following the 1:23 three-quarter clocking, Trixton was three wide around a tiring Royal Ice and was up to engage Nuncio and Campbell. Those two went stride for stride down the stretch, with Nuncio not giving ground until the final strides, when Trixton got a half-length in front for the win. Trixton is owned by Brixton Medical Ab of Sweden and Christina Takter. The Muscle Hill-Emilie Cas El colt won for the seventh time in nine starts this year and increased his season's bankroll to $786,917. The $360,000 yearling has now banked $840,604 lifetime. A Jimmy Takter-trained filly won the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, but not as expected. Lifetime Pursuit, sent off at odds of 10-1 with driver Yannick Gingras, won the Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters by 2-1/2 lengths over favorite Designed To Be in a world-record 1:50.4. Take The Money finished third, followed by Lifetime Pursuit's better-known stablemate Shake It Cerry, who was the second choice in the betting. Lifetime Pursuit, leaving from post seven, got the early lead and led the field to the first quarter in :26.3. Shake It Cerry, who started from the second tier in post 11, took the top spot on the backstretch as the group reached the halfway point in :55.1. Coming off the final turn, Shake It Cerry led, with Lifetime Pursuit sitting behind her and Heaven's Door on the outside. Lifetime Pursuit powered to the front and pulled away, with Gingras punching the air triumphantly well before the finish line. The time broke the world record for a 3-year-old filly trotter, which was 1:51, set in 2013 by Bee A Magician. Takter became the second trainer to win the Oaks and Hambletonian in the same year. Armbro Goal and Nan's Catch were trained by Jan Johnson in 1988. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 626; 2. Tim Tetrick - 502; 3. Ron Pierce - 349; 4. David Miller - 270; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 961.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 220.55; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 201.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield with the Review Stakes; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes; at Northfield Park with the Carl Milstein Memorial; at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino with the Gold Cup and Saucer final; at Saratoga Raceway with the Joe Gerrity final; at Mohawk Racetrack with the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation; and at Tioga Downs with the Tompkins-Geers. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director
Northfield Park has announced that Aaron Merriman, Bill Pocza, Dunkster, Myopia's Mop and Natural Ability will be the newest members of the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. Their formal inductions will highlight the Wall of Fame ceremonies at Northfield Park on Sunday, August 10. The banquet festivities begin at 5 p.m. Aaron Merriman, 36, is the youngest Wall of Fame inductee since the awards were inaugurated in 1990. His perseverance, work ethic, talent and success have been on display at Northfield Park for over a decade. He captured the local dash title in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. He has 6,577 career victories to his credit. 4,042 of those wins have come over the Flying Turns, the most by any driver in Northfield's 57-year history. He has won multiple stake races at Northfield, including the 2008 Cleveland Classic with Upfront Hannahsboy and the 2010 Courageous Lady with Sand Windsor. At a young age, Aaron has already stood the test of time. He is one of the most popular horsemen ever to reach the elite status of Wall membership. Bill Pocza was a top trainer/driver at Northfield Park for many years, beginning with the track's opening year in 1957. His .416 UDRS led all local drivers at the 1965 Painesville meet, and he was famous in that decade for campaigning crack pacers Royal Black and Hope Time, as well as the standout trotter Guy Garrett. Although he drove until 1985, winning a total of 824 races, his reputation as a consummate horseman was established in the 60's and 70's when he presided over a powerful stable that competed not only in Ohio, but at top tracks in the mid-Atlantic and East Coast regions. For many years Pocza's main patron was noted Youngstown owner, Armour Lloyd. Dunkster retired in 2011 as one of the greatest Ohio-bred trotters of all time. He won 89 times, including 35 victories at Northfield Park, and captured 45 Open/Invitational trots throughout his career. Dunkster bankrolled $894,320, ranking him as the fourth highest earner among all Ohio-bred trotters. He became a world champion on May 10, 2004 when he sizzled Northfield Park's Flying Turns in 1:54.2. At that time, it was the fastest mile ever trotted by a five year-old and up gelded trotter on a half-mile track. By virtue of that world record performance, Dunkster held Northfield's overall track record on the trot for over 10 years. The handsome chestnut also holds the trotting record at the Wayne County Fair (1:57.3) and Lebanon Raceway (1:57). Myopia's Mop will be the first broodmare to join the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. Seven of her foals made it to training, six have raced, and five have been prominent names at Northfield Park. Her six starters -- Osborne's Trick, Cleaning Lady, Osborne's Bullet, Osborne's Gypsy, Osborne's Yankee and Shez Good Osborne -- have won purses totaling $1,422,341. None have earned less than $100,000, and their cumulative win tally is 159 races, with 92 of those paced over Northfield's Â½-mile oval. Her offspring have five Ohio Sires Stakes Finals to their credit. Three of those championships were captured at Northfield Park, plus two Scarlet and Gray victories. Natural Ability was an Open and Invitational pacing star from the mid-1970's to 1980. He won 28 of 92 races at Northfield Park, earning $141,657. Even though he never started in a stakes race, Natural Ability accumulated 80 wins and $322,446 in his career. He took his 1:58.4 lifetime mark at Northfield Park at the age of five. He competed against Rambling Willie several times and defeated top performers Nero, Momentum and Jilley, as well as previous Wall inductees Missouri Time, Osborne's Bret and Pickwick Baron. Natural Ability was a model of soundness and consistency for the Wilbur and Bill Zendt Stable throughout his racing days, scoring a career-high 19 wins in 30 starts at age 14. Northfield Park's Wall of Fame Banquet is a triennial event. Other presentations on August 10 will be made to Dean Davis for the Distinguished Owner Award, Dr. Dan Wilson for the John Lee Good Fellowship Award, Nadine Hadbe for the Willie C. Banks Ideal Employee Award, Deb Sweney and Monica Drago for Outstanding Caretaker Awards, and Dan Noble and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. for Outstanding Achievement Awards. Ayers Ratliff
Dean Davis, Monica Drago, Nadine Habke, Deb Sweney and Dr. Dan Wilson will be recognized as part of the Wall of Fame ceremonies at Northfield Park on Sunday, August 10, 2014. The banquet festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. Dean Davis is the newest recipient of Northfield Park's Distinguished Owner Award. Davis has had success in harness racing on and off the racetrack. He has made tremendous contributions to the sport, earning respect as a loyal and encouraging owner with a keen eye for young racing prospects. His racing stock has been extremely successful. Davis has owned such prominent horses as Lisa Mac, Blastaway Sahbra, Gramma Gordie and his pride and joy, Dunkster. Davis convinced Northwestern Ohio trainer Ivan Sugg's son, Kurt, to go out on his own and helped the younger Sugg throughout his career launch. The two have been an owner/trainer team since 1995. "He's treated me like a son," described Kurt of their relationship. Monica Drago and Deb Sweney will be recognized with the Outstanding Caretaker Awards. They are very important to their stables' operations, and both exude passion and dedication toward their craft. Drago, a native of Stockholm Sweden, works for 2004 Wall of Fame Inductee Clair Umholtz. At the barn each morning by 5:15 a.m., she is responsible for the same five horses every day. Monica can be found in the Umholtz barn seven days a week, usually leaving by 2:00 p.m. She often returns at night to groom one of her horses or catch-paddock. Her cooperative nature and knowledge of horses makes her an asset to Umholtz and to the entire horse scene at Northfield Park. "Everyone on the backstretch knows that Monica is the best," Clair Umholtz flatly stated. Outstanding Caretaker Deb Sweney has been a groom at Northfield for 22 years. She has worked for Kathy Shermak, John Lee, Don McKirgan, Ray Crawford, Mike Weller, Mark Deaton and, since 2007, Tye Loy, a 2010 Wall of Fame Inductee. Deb is at the Loy barn by 7:00 a.m., usually six days a week, and stated she is done by 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. She gets Sundays off. Sweney, consistent with her quiet and unassuming nature, is known as a caring groom with a soft touch. She goes the extra mile and truly loves horses. "She can work anybody under the table," stated Loy, echoing the sentiments of co-workers and former employers who extol her work ethic. Nadine Habke will be the recipient of the Willie C. Banks Ideal Employee Award. Loyalty, dedication, ability and desire are sought-after qualities in an ideal employee, and Nadine embodies them all. Her ability is unquestioned, and when one talks to Nadine, it becomes very clear how much she likes outriding and how strong her dedication is to the sport of racing and to Northfield Park. The outrider at Northfield since 2001, Habke's proven competence has earned the respect and confidence of the driver-trainer colony. Summed up Aaron Merriman, the nation's leading dash driver: "She is completely awesome. I cannot say enough good things about her." Dr. Dan Wilson will receive the John Lee Good Fellowship Award. He has been a fixture on the Northfield backstretch for nearly 40 years. Wilson is known as an extremely honest and skilled veterinarian who cares deeply about horses and horsemen. "There is no nicer person than Doc. He comes to the barns every day with a smile on his face, always asking how he can help," said Amy Hollar, Northfield Park Track Representative for the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association. "In the 14 years he has been our vet, I have never seen him have a bad day." Northfield Park's Wall of Fame Banquet is a triennial event. Candidates are nominated and considered by the Wall of Fame Trustees. Once a consensus is reached among the trustees, additional input and final approval is sought from the track's Wall of Fame Advisory Committee. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. and Dan Noble also will be recognized for their National Dash Driving Championships at the August 10th banquet. The highlight of the evening will be the induction of five new members into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
"Marvelous Marvin" Raber emerged victorious at Northfield Park with John Schlabach's good trotting mare, Catching Katie winning a Midwest Region Billings Trot there on Saturday evening, July 26 in a time of 2:00.3. Sent off as the even money favorite from the six-hole in the eight- horse field Raber left softly and ducked in the three hole as the field headed to the quarter which was trotted :29.3 . Second at the half in 1:00.3 when the field headed up the backside Raber moved his mare out to challenge Nordic Venture, and Gary "Soups" Campbell who was cutting the fractions, and by the third stanza Catching Katie had command and she trotted home an easy two-length winner for Raber. Larry "Overhand Serve" Steenbergen, who shadowed Raber's backside move, ended up overtaking Nordic Venture to finish second and "Trader Bud" Hatfield picked up the show dough with Really Really Sweet. Nordic Venture finished fourth. With her victory Catching Katie notched her fifth seasonal triumph and increased her yearly bankroll to over $23,000. She paid an even $4.00 for win. "Marvelous Marvin" hasn't competed earnestly in amateur races until 2008 but in recent years he's become a force to be reckoned with in the Billings Midwest Region. For Raber it was his third seasonal triumph and 25th of his amateur driving career The Billings trot at Northfield Park was the last prior to the Midwest Region #1 Series Final which will be contested at The Meadows on Friday, August 8. Despite finishing back in the Northfield Park Billings trot on Saturday, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford still copped the points championship during the recently completed series and with that he earned berth in the Gold Cup Final on November 23rd at Harrah's Chester. However, set to join Oldford in the Midwest Region #1 Series Final on August 8 are the top point earners in the Midwest region. Included are Raber, Steenbergen, Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II, "Soups" Campbell, Kelly "Sky" Walker, Ned "Nationwide" Hodkinson, "Lawbook Larry" Farley, and Victor "Blue White and " Gray. Nevertheless, should any of the aforementioned drivers fail to enter the finale those next highest in points can, and should, do so. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series
July 27, 2014 – The Meadow’s Adios Card is in the books and at the end of the day Handicapper Ray Cotolo reigned supreme for the week in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest with a weekly net profit of $305, nearly $100 ahead of his closest opponent. While Cotolo is a newcomer to the list of weekly winners, Bob Zanakis continues his run as overall leader with a combined net profit of $3,000.70 ($140 for the week), leading second place Brandon Valvo by $607.20. This week, the adage it only takes one hit to make you a winner applies as Cotolo’s victory came thanks to a single wager, a $150 win wager on Allstar Rating in the Adioo Volo which returned a $705 dividend. Other handicappers had winners, but due to the short-priced nature of the card, significant winners were at a premium, amongst them were: Derick Giwner’s $150 Win ticket on Too Darn Hot in the second division of the Adren Downs 2yo C&G pace paid $480; Mark McKelvie’s $50 Win ticket on Rich Wisdom in the first division of the Arden Downs for 2yo C& G pacers paid $195; Rusty Nash’s $100 wager on the same horse paid $390; Dennis O’Hara ‘s $10 Exacta part wheel ($30 total) in the first division of the Arden Downs for 3yo Filly trotters returned $125; Josie Verlingierli $40 straight wager on the second division of the Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace, earned $156; Gordon Waterstone’s $50 Exacta in the third division of Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace which returned $115. As the Hambletonian marks the unofficial mid-point in the stakes season, the standings for the Handicapper Shoot-Out at the mid-point are: As of July 26, 2014 - Leg 19 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $140.00 $3,000.70 2nd Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,393.50 $607.20 3rd Derick Giwner $206.00 $623.17 $2,377.53 4th Ray Garnett ($218.00) $15.85 $2,984.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($119.50) ($91.50) $3,092.20 6th Brian McEvoy $7.50 ($185.00) $3,185.70 7th Earl Paulson ($71.00) ($437.00) $3,437.70 8th Josi Verlingieri ($126.00) ($956.40) $3,957.10 9th Gordon Waterstone $108.60 ($989.30) $3,990.00 10th Ann Stepien ($189.00) ($1,020.11) $4,020.81 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($280.00) ($1,078.00) $4,078.70 12th Sally Hinckley ($400.00) ($1,325.00) $4,325.70 13th Rusty Nash $160.00 ($1,712.40) $4,713.10 14th Dennis O'Hara $30.50 ($2,097.70) $5,098.40 15th Ray Cotolo $305.00 ($3,398.40) $6,399.10 This week, the Grand Circuit Handicapper Shoot-Out visits Meadowlands Racing & Gaming for the Hambletonian Day card amongst which are the $1.2 million Hambletonian, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $352,050 Merrie Annabelle, $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial, $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship, $177,750 Lady Liberty, and $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial. For more information regarding the handicapping contest, please visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott, for HANA