By Bill Liblick, re-printed with permission by www.sullivancountypost.com As EPR Properties and Empire Resorts prepares to present their resort destination plans next Thursday evening at a private presentation at Bethel Woods, and not at Empire’s operational facility, the harness racing horsemen at Monticello Raceway have declared war. The horsemen feel they have been betrayed and used as a pawn by Empire Resorts, the owner of Monticello Raceway, and are fearful that the Standardbred racetrack and the industry that has employed thousands of residents over the years in Sullivan County will be gone if the company receives a license to operate a full-fledged gaming hall. When racino’s were permitted in New York State it saved the horse racing industry from dying. The introduction of video slot terminals has seen racetracks such as Monticello, Tioga Downs, Saratoga, and Yonkers flourish thanks to a percentage of the take going into racing purses. Although attendance and actual pool totals from Monticello Raceway attendees is minimal, the racetrack has become a cash cow for Empire Resorts thanks to simulcasting and off-track betting wagering. Monticello Raceway has in essence become a huge television studio. Under proposals from EPR and Empire Resorts they say they are going to construct a new harness track at the Concord no matter what happens – with or without table games – but will they? Horsemen claim Empire Resorts is capping purses at 2013 levels and if they are granted a table gaming license there will be no increases. They also say there are no guarantees the harness track will even remain open. The Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association has declared a war against Empire Resorts. They argue track owners slammed the door on them once the resort destination amendment was approved in November and that they refuse to negotiate. Things are so bad, the horsemen have exercised their right to stop Monticello’s simulcast signal from being broadcast, preventing Empire Resorts and New York State from receiving millions in revenue. Empire has since slashed purses and cut back the number of races in a card. They have even shut down the horsemen’s lunch room. According to Alan Schwartz, President of Monticello’s Harness Association The dispute between management and the horsemen at Monticello Raceway is very easy to understand. “The parent company of the racetrack seeks to obtain a lucrative license to construct a Las Vegas style casino, complete with slot machines and table games. They would be one of just two, and possibly the only casino permitted in the Catskills. Despite the tremendous windfall such a license would bring to the parent company, it flatly refuses to allow the horsemen or breeders to share in any portion of the huge anticipated profits.” Schwartz claims that “in order to get the casino amendment passed, management both figuratively and literally called the horsemen their “partners.” The logo of their lobbying group prominently contains a horse. Their radio commercials ballyhooed their support for racing. Of course, once the amendment passed, management’s idea of “partnership” quickly degenerated.” Under the present video lottery gaming law, horsemen and breeders get a fixed percentage of the track’s net win. When a racino underperforms, the purse money generated is less, even though it isn’t the horsemen’s fault. When the racino does well, purses go up modestly – In essence a true economic partnership. Schwartz maintains Empire Resorts wants a firm cap on purses and breeding contributions at 2013 levels. He says if that happens, harness racing will become a near-zero or zero growth industry. “Nobody is going to buy or breed horses in this state when places like Ohio, Massachusetts, Delaware and Pennsylvania offer significantly more industry support.” Schwartz acknowledges that harness racing won’t die in the next several years, but “consider, however, that the price of feed, diesel fuel, veterinary services; literally anything you can think of, will be significantly higher in just a few years. Once you can’t pay to maintain racehorses, the sport will evaporate from sheer economics – And that’s exactly what our racetrack management “partners” would love to see happen.” Although Empire Resorts blames Albany for the horsemen’s plight, Schwartz asserts the law speaks only about minimum contributions. “No government can interfere with the private right of contract. Racetrack management hides behind Albany when, in reality, their own lobbyists pushed for and signed off on the legislation.” Schwartz says “The horsemen and breeders at Monticello and elsewhere refuse to be “silent” former partners. If management wishes to embrace us as economic partners, as mandated under the video lottery gaming law, gaming can move forward in a meaningful way in the Catskills, and the renaissance created by Albany through the VLT program can continue to flourish, for not only the six harness tracks owners but also for the state, education and the agriculture and racing industries. If that doesn’t occur, we really have nothing else to lose.” Schwartz professes he is trying to negotiate in good faith, but Empire Resorts is not, so with “few weapons in this fight” they had to pull the simulcasting signal. “We are also acutely aware of the loss of revenue to the track, the horsemen and the industry. Yet, we have pondered just how much money these track operators strive for while they jeopardize an entire industry for their own profit; a racing industry that worked hard to spawn the birth of VLTs at tracks in this and other states. We cannot just sit by and watch an industry get swallowed up by a handful of track operators professing to be concerned about our sport, whose ultimate goal is to kill it.” The right to withhold the export of signal from Monticello is a right granted to horsemen by Federal law. Schwartz explained, “That 1978 law very wisely recognizes that the horsemen at a host track are the real guardians of this sport. It armed the horsemen with the important tool to use only when they perceived a crisis threatening the very existence of the game. It has been used very sparingly and with the utmost of caution.” A mediator has been appointed by the New York State Gaming Commission in an attempt to resolve the situation. Charles Degliomini, executive vice president of Empire Resorts/Monticello Raceway issued the following statement in response the suspension of simulcasting. “Monticello Casino & Raceway (“MC&R”) continues to support the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act (“Gaming Act”). When they authored the Gaming Act, the Senate, Assembly and the Executive protected the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association (“MHHA”), and the entire racing industry. As New York State moves toward approving four casinos in upstate New York, future revenue for the horsemen is governed by the Gaming Act, and current revenue is governed by the New York State Lottery for Education Law. Degliomini added, “It is sad and unfortunate that we are being attacked for legislation that actually protects harness horsemen’s interests. While MC&R continues in good faith, through negotiation and mediation, to attempt to secure an agreement with MHHA, the MHHA is now attempting to amend a law that they don’t like by unfairly punishing our business, our employees, our loyal customers and even their own members. We are simply track owners, not elected officials. The MHHA should stop this destructive behavior and turn the simulcasting signal back on.” With all the new resort destination proposals coming out of the woodwork this dispute is something Sullivan County does not need. Schwartz does raise many valid concerns that must be addressed if a racino operator is granted a full gaming license, Monticello Raceway, the horsemen, and the industry must be protected.
The rules of harness racing are dictated by the state where the racing activity occurs. All racing ovals are situated within the boundaries of a certain state. By virtue of inherent police power to protect the health, safety and morals of its citizens, each sovereign state independently determines how our sport is conducted. On this score, consider that medication regulations are solely within the purview of the individual state governments. When regulations are deemed to be "uniform," that identity happens only because each of the participating states adopt mirror image rules. Even if they appear to be the same or substantially similar from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the rules are, in fact, unique to each state. Licensing is a function of the state as well and, as everyone in our industry is aware, being licensed in one state in no way guarantees that a license will issue in others. Federal law was created by the states. The promulgation of the U.S. Constitution was accomplished only because the independent colonies agreed to abdicate a very limited amount of their respective powers to a federal government for the greater good of all. As powerful as the federal government may at times seem, it can only act if a constitutional provision allows it to do so. In the racing realm, the sparse instances of federal regulation occur based upon the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. That provision reserves solely to Congress the regulation of commerce across state lines. It makes perfect sense. Imagine if each state developed their own regulations for the size and shape of mud guards on the rear of tractor trailers. Truck drivers would be required to carry scores of different flaps, and to stop and change the flaps at the border of each state. In fact, 55 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court struck down just such state regulations as unconstitutional burdens on interstate commerce. Thus, the Interstate Commerce Clause permits the federal government to regulate things such as interstate simulcasting and the transportation of horses across state lines. So, what about a state law or regulation that prohibits the interstate movement of racehorses for periods of time? Can such rules pass constitutional muster, or should they be struck down as being in conflict with the Interstate Commerce Clause as unnecessarily impeding the free flow of business among the states? These questions are not hypothetical. Several states have regulations geared towards ensuring that there are always enough horses to fill race cards at meets. Both the Pennsylvania Code and New York regulations dictate that a harness horse may not race at a track other than the track where claimed for 30 days or the balance of the current racing meeting, whichever comes first, unless released by the racing secretary. In Maryland, the rules bar a claimed harness horse from racing outside the state for 60 days if the claim was at Rosecroft, or for 30 days if the claim was at Ocean Downs, unless the respective meet ends sooner. Delaware regulations contain a blanket 60 day prohibition on racing a claimed horse out of the state without approval of the track where the horse was claimed. May a state prohibit an owner from immediately racing a claimed horse in another state? That was exactly the question decided by the Kentucky Court of Appeals last month. The case, Jamgotchian v. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, was brought by a Thoroughbred owner who claimed a horse at Churchill Downs in Kentucky in May of 2011. Under Kentucky Thoroughbred rules, the horse was not permitted to race outside the state until the Churchill meet ended on July 4, 2011. In June, the owner entered the horse at Penn National Race Course in Pennsylvania. The racing secretary, in consultation with Churchill officials, rejected the entry based upon the Kentucky regulation. The owner claimed that the Kentucky prohibition violated the Federal Interstate Commerce Clause. In its ruling, the court stated that the test to be employed was whether, a) the challenged law is protectionist in measure, or; b) whether it can fairly be viewed as a law directed to legitimate local concerns, with effects upon interstate commerce that are only incidental. In other words, the court initially indicated that not every state regulation affecting interstate commerce is unconstitutional. In applying the test to the regulation in question, the court first reasoned that the general regulation of horse racing is both a traditional and legitimate state function, and is thus a valid exercise of Kentucky’s police power. In its analysis, the court pointed out that out of the thirty-eight states that permit wagering on horse racing, twenty-seven states have a claiming law similar to Kentucky's regulation. In sum, state regulation of claiming is pervasive across the United States. As to whether the regulation is protectionist or discriminatory, the court pointed out that the regulation applied evenly to both in-state and out-of-state licensees. Also, it determined that the effect on interstate commerce is incidental, inasmuch as the prohibition was strictly limited to horses acquired in the claiming realm. The court reasoned that the aggrieved owner could have purchased a horse privately or at an auction sale, and could have freely and immediately raced that purchase elsewhere. Finally, the court concluded that the regulation was limited in duration and scope, inasmuch as it banned transport out of state for racing for only the duration of the meet, which at the outside was just three months. To read the full text of the case, click here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=505383974654814112&q=jamgotchian&hl=en&as_sdt=6,33&as_ylo=2014 While Kentucky upheld the regulation, it is unclear whether a federal court would agree with the reasoning of the Court of Appeals. That just might be Mr. Jamgotchian’s next move. By Chris E. Wittstruck, who is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network.
DOVER DE - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's principal organization for media workers, held its annual meetings this past Saturday and Sunday at the Dover Downs complex, with the weekend culminating in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet held Sunday (Feb. 23) night, attended by almost 400 people and streamed worldwide for live viewing. During the Saturday meeting, the Directors of the Association voted for Bob Marks and Kathy Parker to be on the Communicators Hall of Fame voting ballot this summer. Marks has been a leading force in many harness dimensions over his 50 years in the sport, most recently as Marketing Director for Perretti Farms, while Parker, from a prominent harness family, worked her way through the ranks at the Horseman and Fair World weekly magazine until becoming editor in 1995 and later general manager of the Horseman Publishing Company, positions she maintains to this day. At the conclusion of the meetings, the membership voted in their slate of association Officials for 2014-15. Chris Tully, an MBA marketing specialist and writer whose digital literacy and social media acumen has helped bring USHWA to the cutting edge of communications technology, was elected President of the association, succeeding Steve Wolf of Harnesslink.com; Tully's "first official act" was to present Wolf, who now becomes the Chairman of the Board, with a gold Lifetime Membership pin. Tim Bojarski, writer/blogger for the USTA, moved up a chair to 1st Vice President, with the 2VP position going to Shawn Wiles, Monticello Raceway chief racing officer and a longtime USTA and USHWA director. Judy Davis-Wilson, who is based in Dover and worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the weekend, especially the banquet, was returned as Treasurer; Alan Prince, who attended his 48th consecutive USHWA meetings weekend, remains as Executive Treasurer. Also elected was Jerry Connors as USHWA secretary. Much of the discussion during the two days of meetings focused on the sport's Halls of Fame in Goshen NY, where plans for renovation and modernization are starting to advance rapidly, and where USHWA makes a significant contribution. In addition to the physical reconfiguration of the Halls of Fame area, the directors and membership discussed several by-law and rules change relating to the Halls, especially the re-establishment of a Seniors category for both. Debate was plentiful, lively, and well-reasoned on all sides, and some of these matters were tabled until a Committee, soon to be appointed, can focus on the merits - and the eventual wording -- of the varied proposed changes. The attendees heard reports from the many committees that keep USHWA functioning throughout the year, and were glad to hear from Davis-Wilson, voted the organization's member of the year, that the treasury was in a very good shape, pointing to future success in USHWA's upcoming progressive efforts. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner was as always the highlight of the gathering, with superstar sophomore trotting filly Bee A Magician "finishing her unbeaten season" by being elected Trotter of the Year and then Harness Horse of the Year; her contemporary, the pacing colt Captaintreacherous, took down overall honors for that gait after a brilliant campaign showing speed and courage in equal amounts. Also honored were the quartet to be inducted into the Halls of Fame Sunday, July 6 in Goshen: Harness Racing Hall of Famers David Miller and William Weaver, and Communicators Hall inductees Carol Cramer and John Pawlak. by Jerry Connors for USHWA
Coral Springs, FL - Would you like to own Yannick Gingras's helmet and colors, personally autographed to you? Or perhaps Bill Haughton's trainer trophy clock from winning the $2 million Woodrow Wilson Pace with Nihilator? Maybe a Mary Lou Dondarski original painting of the trotter Bee A Magician or the pacer Captaintreacherous? These items and many more are all up for grabs in the United States Harness Writers Association silent and live auction at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards dinner at Dover Downs, Delaware this Sunday, February 23. But you don't have to be there to be a winner! You can call in your bids now for all of the items in the auction. And best of all is that all proceeds go directly to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and USHWA. All you have to do is call any of these numbers for detailed information; 954.654.3757; 732-306-6713; 317.908.0029 or 732.547.9459. and place your bid order on any or all of the auction items. You will be able to bid via telephone up until 7 p.m. on Sunday (February 23) so please don't delay and miss out on these great items. Most of the items can be seen on the internet at www.ushwa.org. Here are all the items that are in the live and silent auction: Yannick Gingras colors and helmet (personalized by Yannick) Original Mary Lou Dondarski acrylic painting Bee A Magician Bill Haughton's engraved clock trophy as winning trainer of Nihilator in world's richest race, $2 million Woodrow Wilson Pace Original Mary Lou Dondarski acrylic painting Captaintreacherous Original Michele Hogan painting "Racing under the Moon" Horse Motive Quilt Throw Collectable silver coin with horse engraved Large "Colts Frolic" Bronze Statue Bow River Bracelets LV Harkness etched clock Complete bobble head collection (23 items) in showcase Breeding to Dream Away (Winbak Farm - Delaware) Rock N Roll Heaven halter with Breeders Crown Casino Chips (Display case) Hambletonian whiskey decanter (empty), Bank Barn collector's plate and horseshoe wall hanging Hand-painted Round Barn fruit bowl (13 inches) By Steve Wolf, president of USHWA
Following six-inches of snowfall overnight, Dover Downs horsemen on Thursday (2/13) had high praise for Track Superintendent Jerry Clifton for his preparation of the track for racing.. On the program, Dancin Yankee and All Stienam, both trained by Josh Green, won the $30,000 Preferred pace and $27,500 Delaware Special for the second straight week. The feat is unprecedented in track history. ------------------------------------ The longest win streak currently at the track belongs to Mach Lady, who scored her sixth-straight win of the meet on Monday (2/10) posting a 1:54.1 victory in a Delaware $10,000 Mares Claiming pace. ------------------------------------------------- The big-winning drivers during the week were Corey Callahan and Ron Pierce. Callahan won 15 races while Pierce made the winner's circle 10 times. Ross Wolfenden won nine races. Allan Davis is on the threshold of becoming a 1,000 race winner. When racing resumes on Sunday, Davis is just two wins away at 998 career wins. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Corey Callahan and Ron Piece are off to great starts in 2014. At present, Callahan leads all drivers in the sport with 90 wins. Ron Pierce is now second in the standing with 73 winners. Ross Wolfenden is 11th with 46 wins, ------------------------------------------------------------- The U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) Night of Champions comes to Dover Downs, next week. The 67th annual event takes place on Sunday, Feb. 23 in the Rollins Center. Among the champion horses and individuals being honored are three local horsepersons, Corey Callahan, Judy Davis-Wilson and Janet Davis will be honored. Callahan receives the "Rising Star Award," Wilson is USHWAn of the Year while Davis gets the Harness Horse Youth Foundations for her charitable voluntary work to make the Christmas season a happy time for hundreds of youngster in Delaware. The USHWA banquet features the top horse and human awards for the recently completed 2013 season plus the naming of the Horse of the Year. For complete information on the awards-dinner visit the USHWA website: www.ushwa.org. ----------------------------------- Corey Callahan has built an overwhelming lead in quest of his fifth consecutive track leading driver title. This meet, Callahan has won 163 races. Ross Wolfenden has moved into second place with 83 wins. Allan Davis is third with 77 winners. Vic Kirby and. Ron Pierce are tied for fourth with 69 wins. ------------------------------------------ Dylan Davis has extended his first place lead in the trainer standings with 47 wins. Wayne Givens is second with 38 winners. Trish Foulk is third with 36 wins. Joe Hundertpfund is fourth, 34 wins and Les Givens, 30, is fifth in the standings. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs
Breedings to Donato Hanover, Deweycheatumnhowe, Conway Hall, Camluck, A Rocknroll Dance, and Dragon Again are among the 85 seasons donated to New Vocations 16th Annual Stallion. The auction starts Monday February 10th and runs through 2:00 pm Friday Feb 14 at www.ongait.com. The auction is conducted in an Open Ended format that allows for bidding slightly beyond the 2:00 p.m. deadline if less than five minutes have elapsed since the last bid on a particular breeding. Participants are asked to be considerate and not bid for mares over 20, ones that have been barren two or more consecutive years, any that are due after May 21, and those that are already booked. To view the list of stallions visit www.horseadoption.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Breedings are still being sought and can be added until the auction begins. New Vocations is the largest racehorse adoption program in North America accepting over 400 retired racehorses each year. Proceeds from the stallion auction go toward the care, retraining, and placement of retired racehorses. “We would like to thank all the stallion donors for their generous support,” said Executive Director Dot Morgan. “They enable us to equip these horses with useful skills and get them into loving homes that will give them a life beyond the track. Every horse we adopt becomes an ambassador for the breed.” From New Vocations Horse Adoption
This Sunday, the 2014 Super Bowl security detail will include horses that found their new careers through the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. The Newark Mounted Police Department has nine of SRF’s horses, and the force is in the saddle protecting the public. Coincidentally, many of these horses have been around the oval at the adjacent Meadowlands Racetrack during their racing careers. The photo accompanying this story features Officer Camacho riding 11-year-old Allentown (aka ‘Chief’) and Officer Schroeder with 16-year-old Cunning Liar (aka ‘Commander’) pictured in the middle. At pre-game events and on game-day, additional Newark Mounted Patrol SRF horses may include, 18-year-old Blue Hoodlum, eight-year-old Shark Chaser, five-year-old Uthinkithinkurkidn, 11-year-old Prince Juniper, seven-year-old Echo of Thunder, 15-year-old Miracle Man, and 11-year-old YF Avenger. They serve many notable events throughout the city like the Super Bowl. The SRF is in its 25th year giving dignity and life to racehorses in need of a stable future. Nearly 2,600 adoptions have been made to loving homes for pleasure, and competitive riding, and driving disciplines. Every horse adopted out by SRF is followed-up for life. One hundred and ninety horses are currently in the SRF’s care, of which 110 are unadoptable and will remain in SRF’s full-care for life. To adopt, help by making a tax-deductible contribution, or to sponsor a horse in need, contact SRF at email@example.com, 732-446-4422, or visit this award-winning organization at adoptahorse.org and be sure to ‘like us’ on Facebook. From the Standardbred Retirement Foundation
Breedings to Donato Hanover, Deweycheatumnhowe, Conway Hall, Camluck, A Rocknroll Dance, and Dragon Again are among the 85 seasons donated to New Vocations 16th Annual Stallion. The auction starts Monday February 10th and runs through 2:00 pm Friday Feb 14 at www.ongait.com. View Breedings Here The auction is conducted in an Open Ended format that allows for bidding slightly beyond the 2:00 p.m. deadline if less than five minutes have elapsed since the last bid on a particular breeding. Participants are asked to be considerate and not bid for mares over 20, ones that have been barren two or more consecutive years, any that are due after May 21, and those that are already booked. To view the list of stallions visit http://www.horseadoption.com/assets/Available-Breedings1.pdf or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Breedings are still being accepted until the auction begins Feb 10th. For more information call (937) 947-4020. New Vocations is the largest racehorse adoption program in North America accepting over 400 retired racehorses each year. Proceeds from the stallion auction go toward the care, retraining, and placement of retired racehorses. “We would like to thank all the stallion donors for their generous support,” said Executive Director Dot Morgan. “They enable us to equip these horses with useful skills and get them into loving homes that will give them a life beyond the track. Every horse we adopt becomes an ambassador for the breed.” From New Vocations
Schenectady, NY – Harness Racing’s top guns descended upon the New York State Gaming Commission public hearing to advance concerns over proposed drug levels for racehorses. U. S. Trotting Association President, Phil Langley, and Standardbred Owners Association of New York President, Joe Faraldo, led a group of distinguished veterinarians and research experts to counter the “one size fits all” approach being forwarded by the Thoroughbred-based Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) proposals. The appearance of the Standardbred leaders at the public hearing, called by the agency formerly known as the NYS Racing and Wagering board, was to hear “testimony about adoption of per se regulatory thresholds for 24 approved equine medications and amending pre-race restricted time periods for various drugs.” One particular therapeutic substance, respiratory aid Clenbuterol, has been at the forefront of a debate over uniform medication rules approved by the RMTC. Although there is widespread Thoroughbred support for the measures, the Standardbred industry has argued that the two breeds have very distinct differences and therefore should be treated differently. The proposed rule would prohibit the bronchial dilator from being administered within 14 days of racing, effectively eliminating its potential benefit to Standardbreds that generally race every week. Langley noted that, “Our horses are so durable, they do not even look [like Thoroughbreds.] Many of our horses race 30 to 40 times each year. In fact, the leading money-winning horse of all time started 198 times. We are not trying to get the standards lowered. We just want to conduct [racing] the way we are.” Dr. Kanter, an expert in equine medicine and pharmacology, with over 40 years of experience as the track vet at Buffalo and Batavia. “This measure could be denying horses the benefit of years of research of these useful therapeutic drugs, while the efficacy of known substitutes is yet unproven.” Dr. Janet Durso of Goshen, NY, reiterated those concerns. “Clenbuterol is one of the best drugs for treating blood and discharge from a horse’s lungs. Remedies would be problematic without it!” One of the contributing factors toward this proposal is the concern that some Thoroughbred trainers are abusing Clenbuterol by overdosing in order to achieve a repartitioning effect, or to build muscle mass. That appears to be a non-issue in Standardbreds as they race too often for long-term dosages to be administered effectively. Dr. Tobin, a renowned expert from the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center, stated, “Clenbuterol did have a repartitioning effect and increased muscle mass, but this did not translate into an increase in performance. In fact, it decreased performance.” Although the prospect of catastrophic injury of racehorses was discussed, Dr. Tobin noted that “Harness Racing was one of the safest sports in North America. Only 1 in 15,000 fatal injuries occurred in Standardbreds, where 1 in 2,000 occurred in Thoroughbreds over the same time period.” Several other items were addressed, such as the list of 24 drugs that would provide for the basis of drugs that would have established levels for testing. All others would be considered “off-limits” for use and result in positive tests if found in race-day blood or urine testing. In addition, the proposal of special corticosteroid regulations sparked added debate. Of the nine speakers, eight of the experts gave convincing testimony toward the need for separate rules for each breed. Dr. Dionne Benson, the executive director of the RMTC (Racing Medication and Testing Consortium), was the last speaker and lone dissenter. She noted that the ad hoc committee for all breeds felt that the thresholds are appropriate, and that the state of Pennsylvania was “on-board” with her groups recommendations. Nonetheless, Joe Faraldo is not convinced that the RMTC proposals are suitable for Harness Racing. “We heard today that not all of the scientific bases have been covered. I believe that the [NYS Gaming Board] is cognizant of that fact. Because this board took the time to listen to all of these points of view, and the science behind them, it is a good indication that Harness Racing will be treated fairly.” by Chris Tully for Harnesslink.com
No Birthday present can beat the excitement that Josh Kennett felt when he Quinellaed a race at his local Waimate meeting yesterday. Kennett, who turns 21 tomorrow, currently has three racehorses in work, all of which competed at Waimate’s annual meeting yesterday. But, while Valmagne’s fifth had plenty of merit, it was the Quinella of Cullen’s Finest and Here’s Shifty in the Amatuer Drivers event that that took centre stage. “It was a huge thrill to Quinella a race on my home soil,” enthused Kennett,” who stables and works his horses at the track. Kennett was expecting a big run from Here’s Shifty and an improved effort from Cullen’s Finest, but even he didn’t expect to get the Quinella. “I favoured Here’s Shifty, but in saying that I was expecting an improved performance from Cullen’s Finest. “He had got away on us, and I think we just had him looking a bit pretty, so we have piled the work into him lately.” “It clearly helped him as it was a good effort to beat the other horse,” he added. Kennett works on a Dairy Farm in the morning and trains his horses in the afternoon as a hobby. He is also working up a couple of young horses. “It is something I have always wanted to do, but I didn’t expect to get a trainers’ licence this early,” said Kennett. “I have a trials licence as well, but I am not sure if I will drive raceday yet or not,” he added. “I will just see how I go at the trials and go from there. Training is my priority at the moment,” he confirmed. The Kennett pair were assisted by two of the best amateur drivers in the country in Paul ‘King’ Wallace (Cullen’s Finest) and Adam ‘The Adman’ White (Here’s Shifty). Kennett also paid a big thank you to his father Craig Kennet, who is a trainer, driver, owner, and former farrier. “He has taught me a lot and helps me with all the horses,” said Kennett. “At least the shoeing bills are cheap,” he quipped. Kennet has now trained three winners. His first winner was Here’s Shifty at Forbury Park on the 24th of May. By Mitchell Robertson
Monday trotting was held at Hamilton in the South West of the state on Monday December 16 and what a day it was for Ararat based Emma Hamblin who registered her first win as a trainer, when seven year old Keystone Salute/Downsouth Soon gelding Trappers Puzzle greeted the judge in the Bendigo Bank Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2160 metres. Also driven by Emma originally from NSW, Trappers Puzzle started from a daunting 70 metre backmark, but as there were no front markers, actually gave the leaders 60. Naturally settling at the tail of the field with the red-hot favourite Weregonnarock (10 metres) taking over from old timer Master Kiesey shortly after the start, Trappers Puzzle gained a lovely one/one trail in the final circuit when Idle Suntime came away from four back the markers ahead of him. Looming large on straightening, Trappers Puzzle raced clear in the shadows of the post to score by 10.1 metres in advance of Weregonnarock which gave nothing, with Idle Suntime third after making a break in the last lap. In winning, Trappers Puzzle bred and raced by squaregaiting devotee Gary Bailey returned a new track record mile rate of 2-02.3. Hawkesdale trainer Graham Gee's four year old BlissfulHall/Weena Rena entire Bliss Man continued his rapid rise through the classes when successful in the Taylor Motors Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1660 metres. Again taking a concession for Jason Lee, Bliss Man led throughout from the pole to street his rivals by 25.6 metres in a new track record of 1-54.1 over Alta Antonio which raced in the open for the last lap. Mosquito Flyer finished third 5.8 metres away. Bungaree's Julian Jobe combined with Greg Sugars to land the Alexandra House Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres with Cobargo Jack, a six year old gelded son of Village Jasper and Jewell Of Cobargo raced by wife Alison. Beginning swiftly from gate two, Cobargo Jack coasted at the head of affairs to record a comfortable 7.3 metre margin in advance of Ruby Heart which faced the breeze, with Latoya Lass (one/one) third. The mile rate 1-58.6. Mount Gambier (Glencoe) father and son - Barry & Jayson Finnis snared the Hunt's Auto Spares Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with last start Globe Derby Park winner Paris To Berlin, a beautifully bred four year old gelding by Falcon Seelster from the good producer Roses In Paris a smart racemare herself. Despite racing in the open from gate three outside the heavily backed Jilliby Mac inside him, Paris To Berlin after dropping to trail the leader into the straight, finished strongly to score by 1.4 metres in a rate of 1-59.2 over The Jiggler (one/four - three wide last lap) and Jilliby Mac which got very tired over the concluding stages. The Finnis' were to make it two for the day when four year old Courage Under Fire/Surfing Queen gelding Flaming Hero scored in the Mountain View Stud Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres. Starting from the extreme draw, Flaming Hero possied near last in the running line, with the favourite Beau Ciel beginning fast from gate four to lead. Latching to the back of Tres Hombre ahead of him at the bell for a ride home, Flaming Hero when taken wide on turning, finished all over the top of his rivals to defeat a game Mayorofshinetown to give Mount Gambier the quinella, with Beau Ciel a disappointing third. The mile rate 2-00.4. Blacks A Fake's seven year old half brother The Avoca Flyer (Presidential Ball/Colada Hanover), trained by Peter Manning and taking a lift for Jason Lee, ran his rivals ragged from outside the front row in the Logical Property Services Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres. Always travelling under a tight rein, The Avoca Flyer scored by 1.4metres from the fast finishing Magical Bazz off a three wide trail from mid-field in the last lap. Mister Huxtable although very wide on the home turn, finished third. The mile rate 1-56.2. Jason Lee was to chalk up three for the afternoon after guiding border hopper Dagati Image to victory for Yahi trainer David Phillips in the Choice Hotels Pace Final for R0 class over 1660 metres which qualified in the heats held at Mount Gambier on December 8. Burning away from gate five, Dagati Image a 4-Y-0 gelding by Tinted Cloud from Cassels Atom led throughout to win in a breeze from Just Like Elle which trailed and Wings Of Delight (one/one) in a mile rate of 1-58.5. By Len Baker
The ownership group of world record setter Dali p,2,1:50.2; 3,1:48.2f ($1,436,363) has announced that he will be returning to Ontario to stand stud in 2014. Dali's oldest foals were two-year-olds in 2013, from a test crop of mares he serviced while still racing. This is the first time the gorgeous speedster will be available in Ontario for commercial breeding. Dali possesses all the attributes to produce top racehorses and attractive yearlings for the commercial market. Dali's magnificent early speed at two, including being the fastest two-year-old first-start winner in the history of the sport, and his dominant wins in the Niatross and Woodrow Wilson stakes, says he has the right genetic tools to get his offspring to the races early. Dali's great conformation, toughness, and soundness, were highlighted by the fact that in spite of his precocious early start, he remained competitive at the highest level of the sport late into his three-year-old campaign, including his vicious world record setting Matron win in 1:48.2f in December. From a very small test crop, Dali proved that his pedigree and performance would convert into him being a high percentage sire of offspring that can make it to the races and compete in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold program. Thirteen of 14 of his offspring raced this year at two (the only one that did not was untrained), and included the brilliantly quick Witch Dali p,2,1:52.3s as well as competitive Gold performers Blacktree and Weatherly (both race timed in 1:52). Dali returns to Ontario to stand at the very economical rate of $2,000 to give breeders the opportunity to get commercially attractive foals while keeping their costs in line given the state of our industry. All collection will be done at Emerald Ridge Farm in Rockwood, Ontario and 10 per cent of all proceeds from stud fees collected will be donated to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS). Please contact Aaron Waxman of Velocity Stallions at 905-517-7997 for more information. Video & bookingapplication are available at www.velocitystallions.com. Submitted by Velocity Stallions
Word Power picked up his first stakes win of the season last time out and hopes to make it two in a row to finish the campaign when he faces five foes in Saturday's $126,000 Cleveland Classic for 3-year-old pacers at Northfield Park in Ohio. Trained by Larry Remmen for owner Bradley Grant, Word Power won the $176,000 Windy City Pace on Nov. 15 at Maywood Park. The colt, second by a neck to Captaintreacherous in the Cane Pace and third in the Adios, has won seven of 17 starts and earned $372,284 this year. "He deserves it," Remmen said. "He's missed a few by a small part, but that happens. I thought he was going to go by in the Cane, but it wasn't meant to be. But at Maywood he was very good. He seems like he's in good form right now." Word Power will start the Cleveland Classic from post four with driver Scott Zeron, who was in the sulky for the Windy City Pace score, and is 4-1 on the morning line. Word Power prepped for the Cleveland Classic by winning a qualifier in 1:53.4 on Dec. 6 at the Meadowlands. The remainder of the Cleveland Classic field includes stakes-winners Dedi's Dragon and Twilight Bonfire along with Apprentice Hanover, Good Day Mate and Only The Lonely. Twilight Bonfire, who won the Reynolds Stakes and was second in the North America Cup and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, will start from post two with driver Tony Hall and is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Dedi's Dragon, who won the Monument Circle and will start from post three with driver Dave Palone, is the 3-1 second choice. Apprentice Hanover also is owned by Grant. "It's pretty competitive for a six-horse field," Remmen said. "It's sure not going to be a walk in the park. Anyone with the right luck can win that race." Word Power, a son of stallion Western Ideal out of the mare Lush Limbaugh, sold for $13,000 at the 2011 Lexington Selected Sale. He is a three-quarter brother to stakes-winner Yankee Lariat and his dam is a three-quarter sister to $2-million-earner Camtastic. Unraced at age 2 because of health issues, Word Power has earned a check in all but three races this year. He was seventh in the New Jersey Classic and eighth in the Messenger Stakes. (His other miss came when he made an interference break in his elimination of the Little Brown Jug.) "I was disappointed with the New Jersey Classic and Messenger, but every other race he showed up," Remmen said. "After this race we'll give him some time off and decide on the plans for next year." A $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 has been added to Saturday's card. The Pick-4 begins in the eighth race and will conclude with the Cleveland Classic. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the night's first race. Following is the Cleveland Classic field with listed drivers and trainers (and morning line odds): 1. Only The Lonely, Aaron Merriman, Nick Surick (10-1); 2. Twilight Bonfire, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock (5-2); 3. Dedi's Dragon, Dave Palone, Ron Burke (3-1); 4. Word Power, Scott Zeron, Larry Remmen (4-1); 5. Apprentice Hanover, Jody Jamieson, Ben Wallace (6-1); 6. Good Day Mate, Brett Miller, Burke (12-1). by Ken Weingardner for Harness Racing Communications
It was an easy decision for the Executive of the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders’ Association and sponsor PGG Wrightsons’ to make, awarding Scuse Me bred and owned by Charles Roberts with the Prestigious Broodmare of Excellence award. Scuse Me’s progeny reads like a ‘who’s who’ of racehorses and the mares are going on to breed champions of their own. She was chosen due to her overall lifetime contribution to the breed. This award ranks her as one of New Zealand’s top broodmares of all time and took into account her successful racing career, that of her progeny and descendants following. Scuse Me who is nearing old age at 20 years old, is by B G’s Bunny out of Super Smooth. During her race career, Scuse Me won the Group 1 Great Northern Oaks and recorder her fastest recorded mile rate, 1.53.3, set at Alexandra Park when winning the Group 2 Noel Taylor 4YO Mile. Retired after the 1998 season all of Scuse Me’s progeny that went on to race have won, with superstar mares Imagine Me and Adore Me being the pick of the bunch. Below is a summary of her progeny, outlining their achievements on the track and as broodmares: Megabucks by Life Sign born 1999, winner of 5 races before being exported to the United States where he went on to record a mile rate of 1.49.6. Splendid Dreams by Dream Away born 2001, winner of 2 races. Dam of multiple Group race winners Hands Christian and Christen Me both by Christian Cullen. La Filou by In The Pocket born 2002, winner of 1 race. Dam of winners Fagan by Dream Away and The Dip by Bettor’s Delight. Coca Vicola by Il Vicolo born 2003, winner of 1 race. Dam of winner Makah Warrior by Sands A Flyin. Pardin Me by In The Pocket born 2004, winner of 1 race in New Zealand. Exported to Australia where he won a further 10 races. Imagine Me by Dream Away born 2005, winner of 9 races including Group 3 North Island Breeders Stakes. Dam of one foal yet to race. Toledo by Christian Cullen born 2006, winner of 7 races. Exported to Australia in 2012. Abide With Me by Christian Cullen born 2007, winner of 4 races. Idolise Me by American Ideal born 2008, winner of 3 races. Exported to Australia in 2013. Adore Me by Bettor’s Delight born 2009, winner of 12 races including five at Group One: HarnessJewels 3YO Diamond, Canterbury Breeders NZ Oaks, Nevele R Fillies Series Final, Northern Oaks andSires Stakes Fillies Championship. Congratulations Charles on breeding a wonderful mare and we wish you continuing success in the seasons to come. Kiely Buttell Executive Manager, NZSBA
YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 29, 2013--Yonkers Raceway's Black Friday night $37,000 co-featured Open Handicaps--Pace for the ladies and Trot for anyone duly deputized--were won by a perfectly-pocketed Handsoffmycookie (Dan Dube, $6.70) and a second-up Super Manning (Matt Kakaley, $4.40). Leaving from post position No. 4, "Cookie" was in play early, making the first lead. She then gave it up to 8-5 choice Feeling You (Jason Bartlett), who worked her way from an eight-hole impost right at the :26.4 opening quarter-mile. Moving toward the :56.3 intermission, some unwanted company arrived in the form of Hot List (George Brennan). That one had body--but not bike--in front as Feeling You maintained her slim lead through a cut-throat 1:25.1 three-quarters. It was Marty Party (Eric Carlson) second-over, while "Cookie" was all dressed up and waiting for someplace to go. She found that place in the presence of the passing lane, edging clear by a length-and-a-half in 1:54.3. Second went to Marty Party, with Hot List, Royal Cee Cee N (Brian Sears) and Feeling You rounding out the payees. For second choice Handsoffmycookie, a 4-year-old millionairess daughter of Art Major owned by JFE Enterprises and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was her eighth win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $76, with the triple returning $362.50. The week's marquee trot saw 6-5 favorite Super Manning--like "Cookie" a four-hole beginner--patiently waiting his turn. Brando's Muscle Man (Eric Goodell) and Lorenzo Dream (Brent Holland) were the early newsmakers through intervals of :28.1 and 59 seconds flat. Melady's Monet (Dube) then started the train, with Super Manning towed in behind. The night was just about over for "Brando" before a 1:27.1 three-quarters, with "Melady" opening a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn. However, Super Manning was about to get the memo. He had the leader in his sights at mid-stretch, drawing away late to win by a length in 1:55.3. A shuffled Lorenzo Dream rallied for third, with Brando's Muscle Man and Calchip's Brute (Bartlett) settling for the remainder. For Super Manning, a homebred 5-year-old Diamond Goal gelding owned by Joseph Pennacchio and trained by Kevin Carr, he's now 6-for-27 this season. The exacta paid $53, the triple returned $282.50 and the superfecta paid $783. Yonkers welcomed Cat Manzi back in the bike Friday night, as he finished sixth with his lone drive. Friday's Pick 5 wager was not hit, meaning Saturday night's wager--complete with a $2,688.93 carryover-now offers a $10,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager on races 5 though 9 offered every racing night. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting now available daily. Frank Drucker
Whether you are a devoted harness racing fan, a purist of the Standardbred sport, a gambler or just someone who likes to watch a great event, then look no further than the Meadowlands Racetrack this Saturday, November 30. It’s a once in a lifetime match-up as Captaintreacherous, the three-year-old pacing machine, looks to close out his 2013 race season going against nine of the best older pacers in harness racing in the $512,000 final of the TVG Series. Voted the 2012 Pacer of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), Captaintreacherous has lived up to those standards again in 2013. He has competed in 15 races this season, won 13 of them and lost the other two in photo finishes. He has a record at a mile of 1:47.1 and earnings this year of $2,055,033. Trained by Tony Alagna and owned by the Captaintreacherous Racing Stable out of Versailles, KY, the son of Somebeachsomewhere was a yearling purchase for $250,000 and worth every penny and then some as he now sports career earnings of $2,973,286. Now on Saturday he will be all out to prove once again he is the best pacer in the world for the second straight year. But it will not be an easy task as he faces nine opponents, many of whom have years of experience and tons of speed. Leading the way is Foiled Again, the richest pacer in the history of harness racing with more than $5.7 million in earnings. With a victory he will be challenging Captaintreacherous for the votes in the Pacer of the Year balloting in December by the membership of USHWA and the race secretaries. For three straight years world champion Foiled Again has earned over $1 million for trainer and co-owner Ron Burke. The nine-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again never seems to know where the finish line is. He continues races first-up on the outside and if he can’t get to the lead he just grinds it out against opponents with great success. Also in the race is Pet Rock, whose displays of raw unbridled speed saw him score world records on two different sized tracks in 2013, the fastest a dazzling 1:47 mile. Other standouts in the race include the 2011 Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year, Sweet Lou, Warrawee Needy, Golden Receiver, Bolt The Duer, Modern Legend, Dynamic Youth and Bettor’s Edge. “Of course we would be happier with post four than post eight,” said Myron Bell, spokesman for Captaintreacherous Racing. “But the racing gods of the post position draw did not hear me. I promise everyone that Captaintreacherous will be heard from in this race. Our goals this year were to win the Meadowlands Pace, win the North America Cup and win the Breeders Crown so we could get an invitation to race in the TVG Final. Now it is up to Captaintreacherous and our driver Tim Tetrick to put the icing on the cake with a win this Saturday. “I am looking to have a great night on Saturday, win or lose,” Bell said. “He’s (Captaintreacherous) record speaks for himself. Of course I think he can beat these horses and I know he could lose too. But I am also happy because this race is for the fans. Anyone who loves a good horse race has to come to the Meadowlands on Saturday.” In addition to the TVG Pace Final, the 13-race program also features the $500,000 TVG Final for trotters headlined by Market Share, Arch Madness and Wishing Stone. There is the $534,500 final of the Governors Cup for two-year-old pacing colts, the $494,750 final of the Valley Victory for two-year-old trotters, the $465,150 final of the Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies, $394,950 Final of the Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies and the $167,700 Nadia Lobell Pace for three-year-old fillies. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com