East Rutherford, NJ - Golden Receiver is a gift that keeps on giving, and the pacer's charitable contributions now include the Hairy Angel Foundation. "The Golden One" has brought life-changing fortune to his breeder and co-owner Nina Simmonds, and she continues to give back and pass on the good karma she's been blessed with through her charity work. Golden Receiver is a nine-year-old pacer by Village Jove, who is one of those rare birds that has simply gotten better later in life, and has risen to be a star and fan favorite at the top level of harness racing for the past few years. In 2013, he made it back-to-back Presidential Series sweeps at the Meadowlands, won the Allerage Farms Final at The Red Mile and finished second by a nose in the TVG FFA Final at the Big M. With Corey Callahan driving for trainer Mark Harder, Golden Receiver won his 2014 debut at the New Meadowlands on February 22, his 26th tally in 62 starts at the Big M. He now has 59 wins in 147 career starts and has earned $2,107,636 for Simmonds of Binghamton, NY, and Our Horse Cents Stable of Clifton Park, NY. Golden Receiver will go for career win number 60 from post six [program number five] in Saturday's $30,000 feature, carded as race two on a 13-race program. Simmonds' Cinderella story began back in the early eighties when she decided to quit her job and pursued her dream of working with horses. Simmonds and her late husband purchased Windy Hill Farms, a 60-acre property in Binghampton, NY. After 25 years, Simmonds' operation fell on hard times, and she was ready to sell the farm, as well as Golden Receiver for a few thousand dollars. Fortunately, Golden Receiver got good, real good. Simmonds sold a share of the horse, sent him to trainer Mark Harder, and the rest, as they say, is history. Not only did Golden Receiver pay off the bills and save the ranch, the pacer has also afforded Simmonds the opportunity to use his earnings to fund several charitable organizations. To top it off, it was eventually discovered the farm was sitting on the Marcella Shale natural gas source. Simmonds continues to support Equitarian Initiative, a group that unites veterinarians, blacksmiths and animal caregivers who go on missions in Costa Rica and Mexico. Simmonds has also assisted New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, which retrains racehorses and gives them a new life. Her latest venture is getting involved with the Hairy Angel Foundation, a charity based in Sedona, Arizona and Dallas, Texas that provides Service Golden Retrievers to special needs children. The dog raising and training is done by volunteers and professionals before they provide an assistance to and a magical bond with the autistic and challenged. Their website is www.hairyangelfoundation.org. "This year I was looking for some sort of little guy charity, and I've known the director, Fran Elliott since the early eighties," said Simmonds. "We met in New Jersey and she's been my best friend. She fell in love with my dog, a Golden Retriever, and saw the potential. The breed loves children. Fran moved out to Sedona and started breeding and raising them for autistic children. She's been in business for 18 years and placed over 100 dogs all over the country. We're trying to fill the backlog of requests. "They'll take the puppies when they're eight weeks old, and train them to become service dogs in public places," she continued. "It's just a miracle when you see these kids who have never smiled or spoken get one of these dogs. Then, they're suddenly smiling and chattering. It changes their lives. Their parents can't believe the transformation made by this animal that is totally devoted to them. I went along when we placed a dog last week, and it was such a moving experience. We introduced the puppy to this boy, and his mother has called everyday in tears thanking us." Simmonds admits to being a nervous wreck whenever Golden Receiver is in training. "All his races are the same to me," she noted. "It doesn't matter what the purse is. I want him to look good, and of course, I want him to win. I'm just so proud he's still out there plugging away at his age. "Last season, he actually wasn't as good as he could've been because he had a serious hoof abscess or infection. That plagued him through the whole middle of the year. They packed it and tried every kind of shoe. Those things just don't heal overnight. But it's done and it's gone. I'm just hoping for another good year. "He's always had a big knee and he can't go on a half mile track. I'm glad the Meadowlands has a bank on the turns so he can clear that knee. He does wear these big felt boots and the tough guy just keeps on going. He has zip in vet bills. He's so happy because he's with the same trainer, Mark Harder and groom, Billy Mandrell. He knows exactly what's expected of him. "We keep forgetting he's not just a nine-year-old that's racing. He's facing the best horses in the world. He's just a dream. Nobody expected this from some backyard bred by some girl who raced cheap claimers. "I bred both of Golden Receiver's sisters to Rocknroll Heaven last year, and they've got two gorgeous foals I'm going to sell at Harrisburg next Fall. "One day I was jogging a horse on my farm track, looked around and saw my Golden Retriever. I thought his name had to be Golden something because the dam is Royal Gold, so I came up with Golden Receiver. It's just amazing he turned out to be the best one she had." by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands
Mark Harder's stable sends out a familiar face Saturday night at Meadowlands Racetrack along with a newcomer the trainer hopes becomes a well-known regular on harness racing's biggest stages. Nine-year-old pacer Golden Receiver, the winner of 58 lifetime races and $2.09 million, makes his seasonal debut in Saturday's $30,000 FFA handicap at the Meadowlands. He is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the six-horse field, which includes Road Untraveled, Dovuto Hanover, Live On, Alexie Mattosie and Easy Again. In Saturday's first race of the night - the first of two divisions of the opening leg of the Buddy Gilmour Memorial Series - fans will get to see the career debut of Well Said Stride. The now 3-year-old pacer was purchased for $380,000 under the name Churchill Hanover at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale. He is 20-1 on the morning line in an 11-horse field. Jimmy Takter's Capital Account, who has three wins and a second in four lifetime starts, is the 4-5 favorite. Golden Receiver was hampered by foot woes last year, but still won nine of 25 races and earned $497,878 for owners Our Horse Cents Stables and Nina Simmonds. His victories included the Allerage Open Pace and Presidential Series final. He finished second by a neck to Foiled Again in the season-ending TVG Championship at the Big M. "We had issues with a foot from mid-year on; we battled a little issue with it," Harder said. "He'd have his good days and bad days on it. That last race, that TVG, was really an exciting race. What a great horse (Foiled Again) is. We gave him a run there, but we were never getting past him. "(Golden Receiver) seems just as good. He's going to be a year older and I think older horses take a little more to get sharp, but he seems really good and healthy and happy and sound. We'll see what happens this year." Harder, who was prepping Golden Receiver for this year's Presidential only to see the event canceled because of a lack of entries, knows the gelding will need to be at his best to take on the sport's best older pacers again. The division saw nine different horses win major stakes last season. "We had that issue with the (right front) foot and there were weeks where he wasn't at his best and it showed on the track," Harder said. "This is like going to war every week because there are so many good horses and they race hard. They all had their little time, but there wasn't anybody that was good right through the year. It was just too tough of a class to dominate." Harder expects Golden Receiver to compete in most of the division's stakes events, but will bypass some races on smaller tracks. Golden Receiver hit the board 14 times last season, with 11 of those coming on one-mile ovals (10 at the Meadowlands). "We'll find his spots," Harder said. "We'll miss a few. We'll miss Tioga and a few other places that we went. I think we'll just do the Meadowlands and Woodbine and Mohawk." Golden Receiver has won 25 of his last 55 races, hitting the board 39 times, dating back to October 2011. He earned $1.48 milliCon during that span. "That's what you always look for, horses like him," Harder said. "It's nice to have him in the barn. He can never do anything to disappoint me, that horse. He really can't. Whatever happens going forward, I know he's getting older and he's going to get tired somewhere along the line, but he can't do anything to disappoint me." Meanwhile, Well Said Stride will try to find his stride in the Buddy Gilmour Memorial. Harder purchased the colt - a half-brother to stakes-winners Cathedra Dot Com, Cabrini Hanover, Western Shooter and The Preacher Pan - for Aussie's Emilio and Maria Rosati. The horse is a son of stallion Well Said out of the mare Cathedra. Well Said Stride qualified three times last year, but wasn't himself after making a break in his first attempt. "I liked him training down last year," Harder said. "We went to the Meadowlands for his first qualifier and he was going to pace (1):54-and-change and do it nicely and he made a little speed break. He kind of did something to himself behind and he was never the same after that. We tried to get him through it and it just didn't work, so we quit with him and gave him the time. Hopefully this is a better year." This year, Well Said Stride finished fourth in his first qualifier with driver Tim Tetrick and seventh in his second effort with driver Andy Miller. But Harder was happy with the preps and will have Tetrick in the bike Saturday. "We've just sat him in for both his qualifiers and he had good pace in both of them," Harder said. "He got shuffled out of the first out and was stuck behind some horses in the second one. Both drivers said he was good. "He's not a world-beater but I think he's still a very useful colt. We've got him staked to a lot. (But) he's got a lot to learn." The Gilmour Series is a good chance for Well Said Stride to get his feet wet. The series is for 3-year-old pacers that were non-winners of two pari-mutuel races or $30,000 lifetime through Dec. 15. "This is a good place to start because there are a lot of horses similar to him; a lot of them that went through last year and didn't do too well for one reason or another," Harder said. "When they didn't do anything at (age) 2 you're a bit behind the 8-ball going against those colts that had 10 or 12 starts and paced fast at 2. You've got to find a way to catch up to them without hurting them. These races, hopefully, will help. "You'll hear his name this year. He's a good happy horse. He enjoys himself. We hope we can go to the racetrack and it will carry over and he'll want to be doing that work out there. Mentally, he's just playful and not really into it yet. But I think in a few starts, as with any young horse, he'll hit his best stride. He'll be OK. He'll show up." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Avis Rent-A-Car was famous for 'trying harder,' and it seems as if Nina Simmonds and Our Horse Cents Stables' Golden Receiver, who finished second to Foiled Again in the 2012 Dan Patch Awards divisional voting, has taken to that philosophy.
Golden Receiver won his second consecutive Presidential series title at the Meadowlands Racetrack, grabbing this year's $103,500 harness racing final in a 1:49.3 clocking on Saturday night (Jan. 26).
Australian-born harness trainer Peter Tritton sends out a pair of down under imports in his quest to upset the mighty Golden Receiver in Saturday's $103,500 Presidential Final at the Meadowlands.
Golden Receiver won last year's Presidential series final at Meadowlands Racetrack, launching a career-best campaign for the pacer. Harness racing trainer Mark Harder thinks history could repeat itself in 2013.
On a cold and blustery night in East Rutherford, the wagering was hot and heavy. The Friday night all sources handle of $2,963,279 was the highest handle for a Friday harness racing card since closing night of the 2010 Championship meet.
David Drew grew up around horses on a farm, and he spent a lifetime racing standardbreds on the side, while working full-time at General Motors in Canada. Finally, ten years into retirement, Drew is realizing a dream to not only race at the Meadowlands Racetrack, but to do it at harness racing's top level, and with a homebred.
Harness racing trainer Peter Tritton thinks Malak Uswaad N is the best horse he's ever trained. He hopes the 5-year-old pacer, or one of his stablemates, can take him places he's never been.
The Presidential traditionally is the first major Free For All Stake of the harness racing season. Last year it was captured by Golden Receiver, who would go on to a near $1 Million campaign.
Golden Receiver led the field at every call and gamely hung on by a neck to capture the $110,500 Presidential final on a blustery harness racing Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Golden Receiver stamped himself the one to beat in next week's $110,500 Presidential final with another gate-to-wire score in the second leg of the harness racing series Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Meadowlands Racetrack will be open for live harness racing and simulcasting on Saturday, January 21.
Golden Receiver and River Shark, the opening-round winners in the Presidential Series, will meet in the second of two harness racing divisions in the second leg of the series this Saturday night (Jan. 21) at Meadowlands Racetrack.
The $40,000 opening round of the Presidential Series was a harness racing thriller Saturday night at the Meadowlands as both Golden Receiver and River Shark paced sub-1:49 miles.
When harness racing trainer Johnny Yoder bought Tuneariffic last summer, he had no idea they would be racing in Saturday's (Jan. 14) opening round of the Presidential Series at Meadowlands Racetrack. First, it might have been wishful thinking to imagine an unknown $2,200 purchase going up against the winter's top older pacers.