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East Rutherford, NJ - Robert McMasters, 44, of Milford, Ohio captured the $16,600 grand prize in the 2014 World Harness Handicapping Championship on Saturday, April 19 at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. McMasters finished the tournament with a $2,968 bankroll to top the field of 83 players from across North America who competed for $41,500 in prize money. McMasters was an $800 tournament buy-in with two of his friends from Ohio. The WHHC contest format required contestants to bet 10 races: seven Meadowlands races of their choice, plus one mandatory race each from Pompano, Buffalo and Meadowlands racetracks. Bets had to meet a $30 minimum, $100 maximum per race. Contestants could only bet one horse per race and wagers could either be win, place or a combination of the two. McMasters cashed on seven of his ten bets and took an early lead with a $2,403 score coming in the Meadowlands' Race 2 with $40 to Win & $50 to Place on #1 (Rockin Wizard). His final two plays of the night helped McMasters grab the grand prize with $60 to Win and $40 to place on #1 Verdad in the 12th from the Meadowlands putting him $68 out of first place. His final wager of $30 to win on #4 Ok Fame in the Meadowlands' 13th catapulted McMasters into the top spot by just $65. He finished with a final bankroll of $2,968, taking home the $16,600 prize. In addition to the Meadowlands, the following partner outlets sent players to compete in the 2014 WHHC: USTA, Buffalo Raceway, Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, The Meadowlands Racetrack & Casino, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Western OTB/Batavia Downs, Twinspires.com, and Standardbred Canada. Top Ten Finishers: First Last Bankroll Prize $ Robert McMasters $2,968.00 $16,600.00 Gary Machiz $2,903.00 $8,300.00 Mike Rip $1,986.00 $6,225.00 Jeffrey Arnold $1,920.00 $4,150.00 Andy Berg $1,705.50 $2,075.00 Marino Scianlepore $1,560.00 $830.00 Ed Cevetello $916.00 $830.00 Walter Andrasi $768.00 $830.00 Vince Sitoski $663.00 $830.00 Gregg Christopher $632.50 $830.00  by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

Pompano Beach, FL...April 19, 2014...Panocchio kept his perfect seasonal record in tact by scoring his third straight win in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night.   The four year-old son of No Pan Intended, owned by trained Jim Mattison along with Emile Johnson, was driven by Bruce Ranger and stopped the timer in 1:53, scoring by a head over the late charging Freeneasy Hanover (Wally Hennessey). Cartoonist (Kevin Wallis), finished third, 2 3/4 lengths away, while Rick's Sign finished fourth. Yankees In Six completed the quintet.   Panocchio flashed his usual early speed from his outside--but advantageous--five post and quickly took command from Freeneasy Hanover with his stablemate, Cartoonist, next through opening panel of :27.1. With the half in a tepid :56.1, positions remained stagnant with Yankees In Six the only one out and driving, moving from the back of the pack to third during a :28 third quarter but still three lengths away.   Turning for home, Panocchio, with a strong headwind in his face, stayed true to the wire, holding off the pocket-sitting Freeneasy Hanover in a photo to keep his record perfect.   In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger said, "This horse is just a solid campaigner--a little lazy but, nonetheless, a horse that gives all he's got when he's on the racetrack. Wally's horse (Freeneasy Hanover) was great, too, but Panocchio has that habit of digging in when it counts most. And, again, I have to give credit to Jim (trainer Mattison) who has been such a great trainer for so long."   Trainer Mattison gave all the praise to his wife, Vicki, by saying, "She's the one who gives the horse such tender loving care. Heck, the horse only jogs lightly when he's racing...and I can't get him to go faster than (2):14 or (2):15 when he does train. Vicki loves this horse and, I think, he races so well because he's so happy around her. Believe me, it makes a difference!"   For Panocchio, the win was his 11th lifetime in just 28 starts, good for career earnings of $62,625--$13,750 of that this year in his three starts.   Off at 1 to 10, Panocchio paid $2.20 to win.   The co-feature $8,000 Open went, in an upset, to the 23 to 1 outsider Shamderock, driven by Stephane Lareau in 1:53.4.. This six year-old son of Hi Ho Silverheels, trained by Mike Hardy for owners Mark and Phyllis Liebowitz, roared down the lane to score by a half length over Hyperion Hanover (Bruce Ranger). Hurricane Howard (Tom Sells) finished third but was "dq'd" after an incident just past the opening quarter allowing the 2 to 5 favorite, Canadian Touch (Kevin Wallis) to be moved up a notch to third after scorching an opener in :25.4 before carding subsequent panels of :56.1 and 1:25.1, leaving little defense from the closers in the late stages. Dojea Maidscaptor finished fourth.   Shamderock earned his third win of the year in 15 starts--28th win lifetime-to send his 2014 earnings to $15,141. Lifetime he's banked $190,596.   Shamderock paid $48.60 to win.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL...April 16, 2014...Lugar, the ultra-consistent Florida bred son of Famously, scored a brave win at Pompano Park on Wednesday night, stopping the timer in a lifetime best 1:54.3 for Bruce Ranger in the $10,000 Open Trot. Trained by Mark Friedman for the Polo Stables, Lugar was a gate-to-wire winner, pinning a defeat measuring 1 1/2 lengths on My Revenuer (Bryce Fenn) with Blushing Hanover (Mickey McNichol) third. HP Forte, making his first start back after a two month vacation, rallied late to finish fourth while Adenium picked up the nickel in the field of six. Not only did Lugar picked up win number four this season in start number 14, he sent his lifetime scorecard to 22-22-22 in 106 starts, sending his career bankroll to $173,519--$24,776 of that this year. In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger expressed his satisfaction with the performance saying, "I've gotten to know this horse pretty well over the past month and a half. He's such a relaxed horse--he was actually sleeping before the race tonight--and, even though he was pushed to that punishing opening quarter, it was his own will, and not my urging, that got him there that quickly. We managed to get a little bit of a breather in the second quarter but Bryce's horse (My Revenuer) applied some heat around that final bend and that's when Lugar--again, on his own--reached down for more. When he swished his tail at me a sixteenth out, he told me we had it. And I have got to give credit to Mark (trainer Friedman) who does an incredible job with him. No wonder he's batting .460." As the 6 to 5 public choice on the tote-board, Lugar paid $4.60 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...April 13, 2014...Panocchio, confidently handled by Bruce Ranger, took top honors in Pompano Park's "Saturday Night Special," scoring a handy win in 1:51.4.   The four year-old son of No Pan Intended, pinned a defeat measuring 1 1/2 lengths over Premier (Rick Plano) with Freeneasy Hanover (Wally Hennessey) third. Rick's Sign crossed the wire fourth but was placed sixth and last after an incident halfway through the mile allowing Cartoonist to moved up a notch to fourth and Yankees In Six to earn the nickel.   Panocchio, owned by Emile Johnson, Jr. along with trainer Jim Mattison, came out firing as the wings opened and engaged Premier in a "guns blazing" duel through an opening panel in :26.2.   Panocchio then yielded--for all of two strides--with Ranger firing a second set of bullets to reclaim the lead and taking the field halfway home in :55.   On the backside, Cartoonist and Yankees In Six both pulled from the back of the pack forcing the hand of Rick's Sign, who bullied his way out in front of these two to pull within a length of Panocchio at the third station in 1:24.   In the lane, Panocchio edged clear by a length and a half with Premier giving futile chase and Freeneasy Hanover taking the short way home on the inside to garner the show honors.   In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger said, "This horse has come back just perfectly. Last week, he was great in his 2014 debut. This week, he might have been even a little better. He was very sharp leaving and very strong in the lane. He's fresh and eager and I can't say enough great things about Jimmy (trainer Mattison) on how he's brought this horse back this year."   For Panocchio, the win, of course, kept his seasonal scorecard unblemished--two for two--and pushed his lifetime bankroll to $57,625 on the strength of 10 win in only 27 lifetime starts.   As the 6 to 5 tote-board favorite, Panocchio paid $4.60 to win.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park          

Pompano Beach, FL...April 9, 2014...Jolene's Pinehonker, who made an untimely miscue turning for home last week, redeemed himself on Wednesday night with a sharp 1:56.1 win for Mark O'Mara in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Trot. The five year-old son of Pinetucky, owned by Lester Raber, edged passed a game Lugar, driven by Bruce Ranger, in mid-stretch to score by a length. My Revenuer, handled by Bryce Fenn, closed fastest of all to finish third, followed by Spring Goal and Permanent Joy, who picked up the final awards in the field of eight. With the well regarded Count Speed making a costly bobble at the start from the outside eight post, Jolene's Pinehonker "kind of half left" from the seven slot looking for--and securing--a mid-pack spot around the first turn as Lugar forged to the lead and clocked panels of :28, and :56.1. As that mid-mile time went up on the board, O'Mara sent Jolene's Pinehonker from fourth and On The Attack, charging alongside Lugar past the third station in 1:26.4 and, finally, wearing that one down once they straightened away for home. In a post race interview, driver Mark O'Mara said, "I was surprised that Wally's horse (Count Speed) made that break so I kind of half left to look for a closer spot to the leaders and, fortunately, I found a real nice spot in fourth. Around that second turn, I thought I'd better get going and the 'Pinehonker' responded with some solid trot on the backstretch. He felt real strong turning for home--much more solid than last week--and he was good to the wire. He gave me a very good effort." For Jolene's Pinehonker, it was his fifth win of the year in 13 starts, pushing his seasonal bankroll to $36,600. The win--his 19th lifetime--also pushed his career earnings to $351,445. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association presented its Caretaker of the Month award to Steve Toth for March and John Hanning for February at Pompano Park Sunday. Toth and trainer/owner Irwin Lubar handled the turnaround of Canadian Touch (5gp Camotion-Little Wild Thing-Apaches Fame) as he recorded three wins, a second and third in March as he moved from the $4k claiming level to $15k and lowered his lifetime record to 1:51f. The Canadian bred pacing speedster has a 2014 slate of 5-3-1 in 12 starts for $17,758, most under the professional care of Steve Toth. Etruscan Hanover (4gt Donato Hanover-Exotic Destination-Dream Vacation) earned three wins in February for veteran caretaker John Hanning and trainer/driver Jim McDonald. Under their patient management (Etruscan is reportedly a head-case of sorts that the reserved caretaker's patience matches effectively, according to trainer McDonald) the lightly raced trotter recorded a career win of 1:55.4f. Etruscan Hanover is owned by the Estate of Angelo Fresetto, Kenneth Klein, Old Block Stables, and Team S Racing. Both caretakers received a plaque and a check for $100 from the Florida USHWA Chapter. by Thomas H. Hicks, president of the Florida Chapter of USHWA

The racing season is fast approaching and stables based at Sunshine Meadows have and are readying excellent older (three year-olds and up) players for stakes and northern track overnights. Several that have caught our attention are profiled below. Spider Blue Chip (4gt, Andover Hall-Southwind Catlin-Muscles Yankee) - Charles Sylvester 3, 1:51.3, $1,178,099, 12 time winner in 28 starts. Owned by David Mc Duffee and Melvin Hartmanand bred by McLain L. Ward, Brewster, NY. Hambletonian elimination winner in 2013 along with Breeders Crown and world record win in the Colonial. Acapulco Hall (3ft Deweycheatmnhowe-Ali's Cat-Meadow Road) - Fred Grant Unraced in 2013. Classy filly owned and by Walnut Hall Limited, Lexington, KY. Dam has produced Amigo Hall (3, 1:54, $928,183), Ally Hall (2, 1:57.1s, $384,595) and Great Challenger (3,q1:55.3, $182,471) and four other sub-2:00 record performers. Sorrento Hall (3gt, Groton Hall-SB's Fuscia Image-Balanced Image) - Fred Grant 2, 1:58, $134,090. Bred and owned by Walnut Hall Limited, Lexington, KY. Kentucky Sires Stakes Final winner in 2013. Starfall Winner (3ft Credit Winner-Myth-Lindy Lane) - Robert Bencal Stable. Sixth foal of Myth, dam of Mythical Lindy (3, 1:53.2, $629,104), Mythical Hall (5, 1:55f, $345,283) and Valbruna (3, 1:56.1s, $116,142). Sunshine Meadows trainees are rapidly gearing up for the 2013 racing campaign. On Saturday, Jonas Czernyson's band of female trotters qualified at the new Meadowlands in fine fashion- Maven, 1.56.1; D'orsay, 1:56.3; Ma Chere Hall, 1:56.4; Coffeecake Hanover, 1:57.3 and Mistery Woman, 1:57.4. At Pompano Park, Bob Bencal's Sina (4mt Cantab Hall-Third Reef-Conway Hall) was a qualifying winner in 1:57.3f for reinsman Michael Marx, Jr. Fred Grant piloted his trainee Somenicebeach (3mp Somebeachsomewhere-Up Front Gal-Dragon Again) to a 1:56.1f win and followed that with a 1:56.2f victory behind Shamballa (4hp Somebachsomewhere-Bolero Takara-Life Sign). Two other Sunshine trainees won "for money" events at Pompano. Dewayne Minor scored with Mitey Savage in 2:00.2f and Francisco de Cid reined Broadway's Fortune to a 1:58.1f victory. Others yet to start for money, but worth watching, include Master of Law and Lindy's Tru Grit from the Lindy Farms barn trained by Domenico Cecere, Ken Oscarsson's Scacco Matto (a Kentucky eligible three year-old colt), and Jarold Hawks' Jack Litten (a Muscle Mass colt that qualified at Pompano). by Thomas H. Hicks

Pompano Beach, FL...April 5, 2014...Panocchio, making his 2014 debut here at Pompano Park on Saturday night, scored a gate to wire victory in 1:52 for Bruce Ranger. The four year-old son of No Pan Intended, trained by Jim Mattison, who co-owns with Emile Johnson, put up panels of :27, :56.3 and 1:23.4 en route to the win, which measured a half length over Freeneasy Hanover (Wally Hennessey) with Yankees In Six (Matt Romano) third. Cartoonist, last turning for home, paced the fastest final quarter in the race--:27.3--to finish fourth while Rick's Sign, who made a threatening move around the final turn to pull along side the leader, picked up the nickel in the sextet, 2 1/2 lengths back. In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger said, "I drove him last year when he took his mark here at Pompano (1:50.4), so I knew he was a very nice horse and I had had driven him in a couple of qualifiers for Jim (Mattison) the past couple of weeks and he seemed very strong, especially the last one when he paced in (1):54 and a piece with a last quarter in :27 and change. Jim said, 'I don't have to tell you how to drive him...you know what he likes,' so it looked like he was anxious to get the show on the road so I sent him. On the backside, when he heard the other horse coming, he grabbed on and got down to business. He performed great, especially for his first start." Panocchio, who was lightly raced at two--winless in six starts--won eight times in 19 starts last year and earned $37,516. The win on Saturday night pushed his lifetime bounty over the $50,000 mark, now at $53,125. As a slight 9 to 5 favorite, Panocchio paid $5.60 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...April 2, 2014...Count Speed, returning to the Open trotting ranks after a pair of victories in conditioned events, easily handled his competition on Wednesday night at Pompano Park for Wally Hennessey to extend his winning streak to three. The five-year-old altered son of Majestic Son, trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, took command in the sextet shortly after the wings folded and, given superb rating, wired together panels of :28.4, :58 and 1:26.1 to stop the tele-timer in 1:55, his winning margin 1 ¾ lengths over Permanent Joy (Bruce Ranger) with My Revenuer (Bryce Fenn) third and 5 ½ lengths away. Go Jesse Jo was placed fourth ahead of the 7 to 5 favorite, Jolene's Pinehonker, who was disqualified after an extended miscue through the stretch. The win was Count Speed's third of the year in five starts and 15th lifetime, sending his career bankroll to $144,398. In a post-race interview, both trainer and driver gave credit to the other for the Count Speed's recent successes. Said trainer Dan Hennessey, "This is a very difficult horse to drive. He's fast, yes, but he has a mind of his own and is hard to handle. He sure doesn't like to train and it takes a very delicate set of hands--like Wally's--to get him around the racetrack without incident. Driver Wally Hennessey put all of the praise on his brother, trainer Dan. "It's hard to keep this horse comfortable. Every little thing bothers him. If it's not this, it's that. If it's not that, it's this. Dan made a few changes over the past few weeks and it's his wisdom as a trainer that has led to Count Speed's success. It is Dan that has made this horse as good as he is right now." As second choice in the wagering, Count Speed paid $5.20 to win. by John Berry, for the Isle Pompano Park    

Trainer Mike Deters is uncertain of Prairie Jaguar's future, in part because he didn't expect the present. Prairie Jaguar, a 6-year-old gelding pacer, has won five of six races this season - and nine of his last 10 dating back to December - as he prepares for Saturday's start of the Whata Baron Series at Meadowlands Racetrack. Prairie Jaguar is in the second of two $22,500 divisions, with Jim Morrill Jr. listed to drive. A son of the stallion Spy Hard, Prairie Jaguar raced a total of only four times at ages 2 and 3 because of sickness and physical maturity issues. When he reached the races on a full-time basis as 4-year-old, he was green but flashed speed in a 1:51.2 triumph at Pompano Park. Deters sent the horse to race in Canada because he better fit the conditions there than at Pompano. Prairie Jaguar apparently didn't care for the move, winning only twice in 43 starts north of the border. When he returned to Florida in December, he got hot. "It's a who-knew type of deal," Deters said. "We thought he was a pretty nice horse when he won in (1):51.2 here, but he had no luck in Canada. I don't know what it was, but it just didn't work out. He came back and got back on our program and the next thing you know, here he comes. "Some of it is probably maturity. You just never know. I just try to make the horses happy." Prairie Jaguar had a nine-race win streak snapped last Saturday by a fifth-place finish at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Prairie Jaguar, driven by George Napolitano Jr., was beaten by 2-3/4 lengths by Sparky Mark in 1:51.2 over a sloppy track. "He raced OK," Deters said. "He went from very nice weather to very poor weather and the (race) bike was a little too small for him. George said it was long enough, but it was a little too tight and he couldn't really drive the horse. But he still paced (1):52 on a bad night." Deters, who since October has shared ownership of Prairie Jaguar with original owner Laurie Lee Poulin, is hopeful his horse will bounce back in the Whata Baron Series. Prairie Jaguar, who earlier this year became the first horse in Pompano Park history to win at least four races in 1:50 or less, will start from post two in his division. Joining Prairie Jaguar in the second division are K-lees Shakenbake, Scott Rocks, Mindset, Summer Smackdown, Captive Audience, Kg Dragonator, He Rocks The Moon, Burkentine Hanover, and Jeremes General. The first division is Wake Up Peter, Sky Is The Limit, Fateful Choice, Ima Giggity Fool, Santanna One, Dew N Doughnuts, River Run For Ryan, Alexa's Jackpot, and Americhi. The second leg of the Whata Baron Series is April 12 and the $75,000 estimated final is April 19. "My fingers are crossed," Deters said. "I hope he shows up. I think he will. There are some nice horses in there, but I think he's a nice horse too. I think he's got a chance to be very competitive." As for the future beyond the Whata Baron Series, nothing is set. "He's not penciled in for anything," Deters said. "We'll race him around and if he turns out to be good we'll find some things for him. "He's just been a pleasure," the trainer added. "He's a big, strong horse, but he's a gentle giant. A child could take care of him. But when you turn to the (starting) gate, he knows it's time for business." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Pompano Beach, FL...March 29, 2014...With the track condition deteriorating quickly due to a deluge of rain just after the start, Northern Companion squeaked by a stubborn Ideal Choice (Brooke Nickells) in the final stride or two to capture Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap on Saturday night in 1:53. Cruizin K C (Mark O'Mara) was third, a length away, while Rick's Sign finished fourth. Cartoonist, who took the field to an opening quarter in :27.1, made an untimely miscue just short of the :58.1 half and finished fifth in the quintette. Indeed, it was Cartoonist on the engine as the gate opened, out-sprinting Ideal Choice through the opener before becoming unglued--make that "un-gooed"--midway around turn two. With Ideal Choice now on an inherited lead, it was Northern Companion who pulled first and engaged the leader through an official third panel in :27.1--his :26.4--to stick a nose in front at the third station clocked in 1:25.2. In the lane, Ideal Choice sprinted clear once again but Northern Companion used the grit for which he has become so well known at Pompano Park to eke out the victory by a neck. In a post race interview, driver Dave Ingraham said, "I don't know where this Northern Companion gets his determination, but he sure can grind away with the best of 'em. I kind of sensed that the pace was slowing during that second quarter so I decided I'd better start trudging forward around that second turn before the half. It took a big final half (:54.2) to nail it down but this horse just has that great attitude. Howard (trainer Klohr) does a great job with him...and, of course, that helps." For Northern Companion, owned by Dorothy Zarza, it was his fourth win of the year in 11 starts, sending his seasonal bankroll to $31,800. Career-wise, the six year-old son of Cambest has won 36 times, good for $218,632. As the 4 to 5 tote-board choice, Northern Companion paid $3.60 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2014 ballot. A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Standardbred racing candidates and 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates have been selected to appear on this year’s ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will declare the winners in their respective categories.  Results will be announced Tuesday, April 8.   On the Standardbred ballots representing this year’s six voting categories are as follows: Male horse category, Blissfull Hall, J M Vangogh and Rocknroll Hanover In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown.  Owned by Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, QC, this champion was trained by Ben Wallace with Ron Pierce as regular driver.   A 31 race career over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before embarking on a successful career as a stallion. J M Vangogh, purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by Paul Chambers of Harrington, Delaware, made a remarkable recovery from an accident in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final as a two year old to earn $2.28 million in 206 starts over 8 seasons and the nickname “The Comeback Kid”.  Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his race career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, ON; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC.  Career highlights include victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup.  He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. Female horse category: B Cor Tamara, Dreamfair Eternal and J Cs Nathalie Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000.  Bred and owned by Peter Core of Dresden, ON, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall.  Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.7 million. Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a career spanning seven years, 56 victories, including every stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earning over $2.5 million and being named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010.  The daughter of Camluck was bred, raised and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON with Patrick Fletcher receiving training credit. As a broodmare, J Cs Nathalie has produced two millionaires for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON -- pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal.  Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3.  Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and over $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010. The trainer-driver category: Yves Filion, William Gale, and Wally Hennessey. Yves Filion, 67 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.5 million in earnings.   Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.4 million.   Pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama each became millionaires with Filion responsible for both training and driving. William Gale, 65 of Woodstock, Ontario, was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons.  During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million. Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his name and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million.  In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown.  In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Candidates in the builders’ category: Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and Robert Murphy. Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry.  Highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth.  Before Grand River, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC.  In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management.  He was hired by Blue Bonnets in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway.  He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, BC, one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, was known by his popular Red Star moniker.  First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners.   He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009.  In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Outstanding Standardbreds: Albatross, Artsplace, and Happy Lady Albatross was voted US Harness Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972.  He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million.  As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million. Artsplace was the1992 O’Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season.  He was a two-year-old world record holder winning the Breeders Crown in a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing.  He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada before becoming a world class sire. Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, ON and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville.  Though her race career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2.  Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races.  As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts. Communicators category selections: Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Frank Salive. The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario.  As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press.  Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was “three or four years old”, sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy.  He was inducted into Western Fair’s Wall of Fame in 1980. As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin, a native of Arnprior, ON made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing.  He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans.  He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the health of horse racing during his career. Leamington, ON native Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as “The Voice” of Canadian harness racing.  During his career it is estimated he called over 100,000 races, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable and informative calls and silky voice.  Frank’s career as a track announcer began at Sudbury Downs in the late 70’s and continued at tracks throughout Ontario,  includin  fourteen years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks and concluding at Pompano Park, Florida.  Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman for several years. From the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Pompano Beach, FL...March 22, 2014...Cruizin K C, deftly handled by Mark O'Mara, edged by a stubborn Northern Companion (Dave Ingraham) turning for home and then held off the late surging Cartoonist (Bruce Ranger) to eke out a narrow win over the latter in 1:51.4 in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night. Northern Companion was a clear third at the end of the mile, while Premier, pacing the fastest final quarter of the group--:27.1--finished fourth. Ideal Choice picked up the remaining minor prize in the septet.   Cruizin K C, a six year-old altered son of Mach Three, owned by Lester Raber, came from sixth mid-way through the mile and paced his final 1/2 in :54.1 to earn a neck decision for his second win of the year in six starts, sending his seasonal bankroll to $15,400 and $123,743 lifetime.   With Northern Companion using uncharacteristic strategy and on the engine from the get-go clocking opening panels of :26.2 and :56.1, Cruizin K C was forced to pace in his third quarter in :26.3 just to get into the hunt around the final turn and these two arch rivals went stride for stride past the third station in 1:24 and until mid-stretch when "K C" edged to the front, only to get a scare from the 28 to 1 outsider Cartoonist coming to the line.   In a post race interview, driver Mark O'Mara said, "It was tight all the way around...I mean at the wire and in the deep stretch...We rubbed iron a little bit with Bruce's horse (Cartoonist)--just incidental stuff. His horse (Cartoonist) proved he belongs. He went a big mile...but so did Cruizin. K C. When I give him racetrack, he can really gather up some steam...and he needed all of it tonight!"   As the even money favorite on the tote-board--but actually 11 to 10--Cruizin K C paid $4.20 to win.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...March 19, 2014...Jolene's Pinehonker, using a somewhat uncharacteristic racing strategy, took top honors in Wednesday night's $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Pompano Park in 1:55.1.   The five-year-old son of Pinetucky, driven by trainer Mark O'Mara for owner Lester Raber, has been known for his rousing stretch rallies, especially in his winning performances, but, on this night, he was on the bit from the get-go, taking the lead right at the initial marker timed in :28.3 before yielding to arch-rival Pure Barre, handled by Mickey McNichol, who took the field half way through the mile in :57.2. Midway on the backside, "Pinehonker" brushed right back to the front and led the rest of the way, reaching the third station in 1:26.2 and then holding off Pure Barre with a :28.4 finale--his margin a half length on the line.   Photo King, with Joe Pavia, Jr. in the bike, was third, followed by Mr. Joe Sixpack and Thekeptman, who picked up the nickel. Last week's winner, My Revenuer, made a miscue at the beginning and finished sixth in the sextet.   For Jolene's Pinehonker, it was his fourth win in 10 starts this year, good for $31,100 in bounty so far this young season. He's banked $345,945 lifetime.   In a post race interview, driver Mark O'Mara said, "He's such a handy horse and you can do anything you want with him...leave...not leave...it just doesn't matter to him. He still seems to have something in reserve when it counts. I thought that, in this short of a field, that the mare (Pure Barre) would leave and get a cheap half again with no chance to make up ground on her...she's such a tough mare on the front. So, we kind of turned the tables on her game tonight."   As second choice in the betting at 9 to 5--Purse Barre was 9 to 5, too, but with a few more dollars on her nose--Jolene's Pinehonker paid $5.80 to win.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

DOVER, Del.---- Spunky Jack wired the $15,500 Winners-Over trot, Ideal Revenue, the $14,500 sub-feature while Boffin stepped up for a second win in his last three outings to win the $12,000 trot over 'an off track,' Wednesday, March 19 at Dover Downs. Roger Plante, Jr. took Walt Callam's Spunky Jack to the front and stayed there in a 1:56 mile to win for the third time in 2014 with four second-place finishes. An altered son of Super Punk-My Embrace, Spunky Jack lifts his seasonal bankroll to $46,825 and $176,371 lifetime. Guiltywithanexcuse (Daryl Bier), trained and driven by Daryl Bier, in his first local appearance since arriving from Pompano Park, finished second. Enrico AS (Ron Pierce) was locked in before escaping along the passing lane for third. I'm So Striking was scratched. Ideal Revenue has been no worse than third in his last six outings. The Revenue S-New Ideal gelding conditioned by trainer Jim Atkinson posted his third win to go with three seconds and a third in eight 2014 starts for owners Jim and Carol Atkinson. It was one of two wins for George Dennis. Picard (Frank Milby) finished second with Kodak Lindy (Montrell Teague) the third horse. Boffin continued his ascent with George Dennis driving. The four-year-old Donato Hanover-Trance Anthem horse quickly went into the lead and was never headed in a 1:54.3 conquest in a $12,000 conditioned trot. It was his second win in three races and third in four starts this year for Angela Coombs and trainer Kevin Lare. Veteran Green Day (Allan Davis) was next with Mandabra (Frank Milby) third. Five drivers registered two wins each: Ross Wolfenden, Jim Morand, Ron Pierce, George Dennis and Allan Davis. Nova Artist starts from the outside in the $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap on Thursday at Dover Downs. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs

Columbus, OH --- Michael Chosky from Pittsburgh, Pa. and David Pankenier of Maricopa, Ariz., became the final two qualifiers in the USTA World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifying Series with wins in the contests involving Maywood Park on Friday (March 14) and Balmoral Park on Saturday (March 15), respectively. Each of the 10 winners earned entry ($800 value) to the finals of the $60,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship at The Meadowlands on Saturday (April 19). The USTA free, online contests conducted on www.HorseTourneys.com involved racing from 10 different USTA member racetracks from Jan. 30 through March 15. First prize in this year's WHHC final is $24,000 with payouts to the top 10 finishers. For more information, click here or visit the Meadowlands website at www.meadowlandsracetrack.com. Last year's winner of the WHHC final was USTA qualifier Jeff Klahr from Erie, Pa. Free TrackMaster Platinum Plus past performances were provided to all contestants for the 10 contests. Following are the 10 winners from the 2014 USTA World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifying Series: Thursday (Jan. 30)--Northfield Park--Gerry Tuzzolino (Shoreview, Minn.) Friday (Jan. 31)--The Meadows--Jeffrey Arnold (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) Friday (Feb. 7)--Meadowlands--Arthur Nigro (Tuckahoe, N.Y.) Saturday (Feb. 8)--Yonkers--Rick Arbiter (Kingston, N.Y.) Thursday (Feb. 13)--Dover Downs--Matt Minger (New Lenox, Ill.) Saturday (Feb. 15)--Cal Expo--Chris Revington (London, Ontario, Canada) Saturday (Feb. 22)--Pompano Park--Walter Andrasi (Middleburg, Ohio) Friday (March 7)--Buffalo Raceway--Ron Rippey (Wayne, N.J.) Friday (March 14)--Maywood Park--Michael Chosky (Pittsburgh, Pa.) Saturday (March 15)--Balmoral Park--David Pankenier (Maricopa, Ariz.) by Dan Leary, USTA Director of Marketing and Communications

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