The field for the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship scheduled for Friday, May 9 at The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont. has been confirmed. The participating drivers are: • Alfie Carroll • Scott Coulter • Billy Davis Jr. • Trevor Henry • Jody Jamieson • James MacDonald • Doug McNair • J.R. Plante The top two drivers from the eight-race competition will join six other drivers at the 2014 National Driving Championship scheduled for Tuesday, August 26 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. Several drivers declined invitations to take part due to other commitments, including Sylvain Filion, Canada’s Driver of the Year for 2013, Randy Waples and Scott Zeron. To read the rest of the story click here.
TORONTO, April 14 - After failing to find the winner's circle in both preliminary legs, Reasonable Force found his best stride when it counted the most as he captured this year's edition of the $36,200 Youthful Series final Monday at Woodbine. In doing so, the Doug McNair-driven sophomore returned $33.00 to his backers. McNair and Reasonable Force were in no hurry off the gate as Account Rollover (Randy Waples) cleared to the lead past the opening station in :27.1. Account Rollover, who found the wire in the first leg of the series, continued to lead his nine rivals past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. McNair began the first-over attack around the final turn and was within striking distance of the tempo-setter turning for home. Down the stretch, McNair asked his charge for more pace and the three-time winner responded with a two length win. Post time favourite Andreios Kardia (Steve Byron) finished second, with Dragon Seelster (Paul Macdonell) finishing third. Trained by Tony Montini for owners Doug Dunbar and Steve LeBlanc, Reasonable Force lifted his career earnings to $44,840. The son of Shadow Play now has a 2-2-1 record from eight starts this season. Also on Monday's program, the second round of the Lifetime Dream series continued with two $18,000 divisions. Rose Run Oriana (Randy Waples) kicked-off the 10-race programme with a 1:54.2 score in the first division. The daughter of Trainforthefuture enjoyed a new career best in the debut for trainer Corey Johnson. Waples led gate-to-wire with the 15-time winner through panels of :28, :57 and 1:25.3, before fending off 3/5 favourite Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) in deep stretch to win by one and a half lengths. Samira Hanover (Paul Macdonell) finished third. Owned by Rolling Hills Racing Stables, Rose Run Oriana will look for the series sweep next week as her bankroll increased to $134,717. She paid $4.90 to win. One race later, Her Name Is Lola (Phil Hudon) enjoyed her fifth career score at odds of 3-1. The daughter of Majestic Son laid parked on the outside at the quarter in :28.2, before clearing to the lead before the half in :57.2. From there, the trotting miss led her five rivals past in 1:26.1 before fending off a late challenge from Frisky Magic (Randy Waples) to win by a nose. Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Trained by Russell Bax for Baxmar Holsteins Ltd, Her Name Is Lola increased her bankroll to $85,560. She paid $8.70 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, April 11 - Rock N Roll Xample didn't disappoint the betting public on Friday evening at Woodbine as the heavily-favoured filly completed the Blossom Series sweep. After capturing both preliminary legs, Rock N Roll Xample and Randy Waples scored an open-length victory to take the rich $36,000 final in 1:53. Waples and the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-R Xample sat in the two-hole for most of the mile as Violet Bayama (Sylvain Filion) controlled the pace through fractions of :26.3, :56 and 1:25.1. As the field of six turned for home, Waples angled his charge off the pylons and the nine-time winner did the rest as she exploded past the tempo-setter en route to victory. Wildcat Magic (Chris Christoforou) came on to finish second over Violet Bayama. Trained by Shawn Robinson for owner/breeder Robert Hamather, Rock N Roll Xample increased her bankroll to $84,090. She paid $2.40 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO , April 7 - Thirteen trotting mares made their way to Woodbine Racetrack Monday evening to kick off the opening round of the Lifetime Dream Series. Rockin With Dewey looked every bit the part of a 1/5 favourite as she captured the first $18,000 division in 1:56.1. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Rockin With Dewey scored by a commanding five and a quarter lengths to celebrate her tenth career tally. Baillargeon was first to the front in the early stages, but allowed Justasmalltowngirl (Paul Macdonell) to the lead at the opening quarter in :26.4. Rockin With Dewey quickly regained the front and led her six rivals past the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:27.1, before dashing away from her rivals en route to victory. Frisky Magic (Randy Waples) came on for second, over Bop Too The Top (James MacDonald). Trained and co-owned by Ben Baillargeon along with breeder Diane Ingham, Rockin With Dewey increased her bankroll to $219,300. She paid $2.50 to win. In the other split, 3/5 favourite Rose Run Oriana and James MacDonald got under the wire first in 1:57.2. Over a track rated as 'Good,' MacDonald elected to sit in the two-hole behind Be Winnin (Jody Jamieson) before the opening quarter in :26.3. Marabou (Jonathan Drury) angled out of third and was quickly on the move as they took over command before the :57.1 half. Rose Run Oriana quickly engaged the tempo-setter and was the new leader heading toward the three-quarter pole. MacDonald and Rose Run Oriana led their six rivals past three-quarters in 1:27.2 and fended off all comers down the lane en route to the victory. Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) finished second, with Her Name Is Lola (Phil Hudon) third. Trained by Joe Cirasuola for owner Shirley Halas, Rose Run Oriana enjoyed her 14th career victory as her bankroll now sits at $125,717. She paid $3.40 to win. The Lifetime Dream series is for four and five-year-old trotting mares, who are non-winners of $200,000 lifetime as of December 31, 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO , April 7 - Sophomore pacing colts and geldings were showcased Monday evening at Woodbine in the second round of the Youthful Series. Andreios Kardia, driven by Steve Byron, captured the first of two divisions in 1:55.4 over a 'Good' track. Byron was in no hurry at the start as Regal Son (Randy Waples) made his way to the front to lead the field of six past the first quarter in :27.2. As the talented pacers headed towards the half, Paul Macdonell elected to send second-choice Dragon Seelster to the front before the half in :58. Kuchar (Jody Jamieson) began the first-over attack around the final turn, giving live cover to 4-5 favourite Andreios Kardia. Kuchar and Dragon Seelster matched strides past three-quarters in 1:27.3, but down the lane Byron showed Andreios Kardia open racetrack and the son of Badlands Hanover exploded in deep stretch to capture his third career victory. Trained by James Madill for owner Ina Madill, Andreios Kardia increased his bankroll to $28,480. With the track down-graded to 'Sloppy,' Highland Tartan and James MacDonald captured the second division as the favourite in 1:56.2. MacDonald elected to sit in the two-hole in the early going as Reasonable Force (Jody Jamieson) made their way to the front past the opening quarter in :27.1. Highland Tartan was then angled to the outside and crossed over to command to lead past the middle-half in :59.1 and 1:29.1. As the field turned for home, Reasonable Force angled out of the pocket, but could only reach the leaders saddle pad as Highland Tartan prevailed in deep stretch to score the narrow win. Little Ben (Luc Ouellette) enjoyed a ground saving trip to finish third. Trained and co-owned by Marty Fine along with Mary Clark, Highland Tartan enjoyed his second career victory as his lifetime earnings now sits at $15,200. The son of Major In Art paid $4.90 to win. The Youthful Series is for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers, who are non-winners of three races of $15,000 in 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, March 31 - It was a memorable night for Milton resident Randy Waples as the veteran driver notched his 6,000th career win. Waples guided Account Rollover to a 1:52.3 victory in the second of two Youthful series divisions for Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh to capture the milestone. "It's such a special feeling to reach any milestone let alone 6000," Waples said following the win. "It was even extra special because it was one of Bob's (McIntosh) horses. We've had a lot of success together, won a lot of major races and been friends for years. That was really the icing on the cake." Waples, who began his driving career in 1984 has over $114 million in purse earnings. Dragon Seelster (Paul Macdonell) was the first leader past the opening station in :27.3. As the field settled and headed towards the half, American Island (Doug McNair) made their way to the front and led past the half in :56.3. Waples and Account Rollover came first-over and cleared to the front before three-quarters in 1:24.2. From there, the son of Rocknroll Hanover fended off a late challenge from Dragon Seelster to capture the win. Kuchar (Jody Jamieson) finished third. Account Rollover increased his bankroll to $41,810 for McIntosh along with co-owners Al MacIntosh Holdings Inc, and CSX Stables. Unraced as a rookie, the bay gelding has a 5-2-1 record from eight starts this season. Twomickeytrip and Paul Macdonell teamed up to win the other $15,000 division as the pair got under the wire first in 1:56.3. Reasonable Force (Jody Jamieson) was hard-used to earn the front past the opening quarter in a quick :26.4. As the sophomores headed towards the half, Glory Beach (Sylvain Filion) angled out of third and took over command to lead past the mid-way point in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:25.3. Regal Son (Randy Waples) began the first-over attack around the final turn, giving live cover to Twomickeytrip. Turning for home, GloryBeach was still in command, but the backfield began to close on the tempo-setter. MacDonell showed Twomickeytrip open racetrack and the four-time winner responded as he wore down the tempo-setter in deep stretch en route to victory. GloryBeach stayed for second, over Royal Reception (Chris Christoforou). Trained and co-owned by Richard Fife along with Grace George, Twomickeytrip increased his bankroll to $50,080. The bay gelding has a 3-1-1 record from nine starts this season. He paid $9.20 to win. The Youthful Series is for three-year-old colts and geldings, who are non winners for three races or $15,000 in 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Harness driver Randy Waples is just one victory away from scoring his 6,000th career victory. Also of note is that Stephane Bouchard is just 15 wins away from his 8,000th career win. Driver Wins First Middle Last Name Suffix LTD Wins LTD Earnings Last Track Last Start Stephane L Bouchard 7,985 $70,837,095 Stga 3/30/2014 Randall W Waples 5,999 $104,309,052 Wdb 3/29/2014 Norman Chris Boring 3,979 $19,828,659 RP 7/6/2013 Gene G Vallandingham 2,987 $13,408,006 CalX 3/29/2014 Timothy W Curtin 2,985 $20,936,317 May 6/6/2013 David Floyd Carey 2,978 $2,438,403 Truro 12/8/2013 Lemoyne D Svendsen 2,974 $9,469,252 CalX 3/29/2014 Rodney J Bolon 1,995 $9,408,721 Mea 3/25/2014 Ron Paul Wrenn 1,995 $6,069,816 SpCk 10/2/2013 Todd G Trites 1,993 $2,824,943 EPR 12/8/2013 Jerry G E Landess 1,980 $2,037,837 Green 8/23/2013 Kelly R Sheppard 1,971 $9,409,954 FlmD 11/20/2013 DANIEL R OBRIAN 997 $2,165,944 Wdb 3/17/2014 Darren R Crowe 992 $1,477,417 Chrtn 2/7/2014 John J De Long 990 $5,155,722 BmlP 3/30/2014 RONALD I MATHESON 988 $1,054,352 Chrtn 2/7/2014 Stephen K O'Toole 986 $2,423,974 PRc 9/3/2012 GORDEN A MCKNIGHT 984 $2,907,989 FlmD 3/29/2014 Clayton Faurot Jr 981 $2,458,705 Mea 3/5/2014 Joseph Ricco Jr 978 $3,728,352 MR 10/31/2013 Trent P Stohler 976 $5,584,413 HoP 3/29/2014 John D Finn 975 $3,616,740 BmlP 2/19/2014 anthony P Haughan 974 $6,885,076 FlmD 3/29/2014 Rocky Joe Loney 973 $2,411,599 HoP 3/29/2014 Nick Royce Roland 972 $3,086,220 Whtn 9/22/2013 Yves Gauthier 972 $3,959,060 RidC 2/23/2014 Jeffrey A Smith 971 $2,731,809 MVR 3/12/2014 Steven B Norris 970 $2,548,332 RidC 9/19/2013 Driver earnings First Middle Last Name Suffix LTD Wins LTD Earnings Last Track Last Start Michel Lachance 10,387 $189,836,627 BmlP 11/9/2013 Luc R Ouellette 8,548 $129,687,731 Wdb 3/29/2014 David R Magee 11,736 $99,725,900 BmlP 3/30/2014 Raymond W Schnittker 2,643 $39,945,723 M 3/29/2014 PHILLIP Alan HUDON 3,794 $39,706,278 Wdb 3/29/2014 Trevor S Henry 5,210 $29,978,678 FlmD 3/29/2014 Michael A Forte 3,279 $19,998,367 MR 3/26/2014 Jonathan W Roberts 2,467 $19,955,492 DD 3/30/2014 Norman Chris Boring 3,979 $19,828,659 RP 7/6/2013 Thomas D Strauss 2,552 $19,687,609 Wdb 3/29/2014 Darrell L Coville 6,581 $19,635,066 RidC 3/27/2014 Randy T Tharps 4,643 $19,618,610 MVR 3/30/2014 Jay L Randall 3,696 $19,563,860 Stga 3/29/2014 Allan W Davis 1,036 $9,976,990 DD 3/30/2014 Richard Lee Farrington 1,250 $9,971,066 HoP 11/7/2013 Below that are trainers who may be approaching win milestones. USTA started tracking trainer statistics in 1991, so the trainers listed in green may have had training starts and wins prior to 1991, so the Life Wins column for those trainers may not be accurate. Trainers Milestones First Middle Last Name suffix Life Wins Life Earnings Last Track Last Start DOB Roger R Hammer 1980 $17,027,784 PcD 3/30/2014 2/18/1946 Edgar R Clarke 999 $5,418,525 PPk 3/30/2014 12/6/1955 Dirk Simpson 976 $10,688,518 May 2/7/2014 8/2/1957 Leo Tourigny 974 $8,178,091 RidC 11/28/2013 6/5/1939 Trond Smedshammer 971 $41,599,710 YR 3/28/2014 3/22/1967 Gabriel Boily 971 $2,628,603 RidC 3/27/2014 4/26/1949 Statistics from Anne Chunko at USTA
TORONTO, March 28 - Thirteen sophomore pacing fillies made their way to Woodbine Racetrack on Friday evening to contest in the opening round of the harness racing Blossom Series. Heavily-favoured Rock N Roll Xample and Violet Bayama captured there respective $15,000 splits in races one and two. Sent off at 1/5, Rock N Roll Xample and Randy Waples was much the best in 1:54.1. Waples elected to sit in the pocket past the first quarter as Noble Jilly (Jody Jamieson) led through the :27.4 opening split. Rock N Roll Xample was then quickly on the move and took over command to lead her six rivals past the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:26.2. Turning for home, Rock N Roll Xample and Noble Jilly separated themselves from their rivals and battled through the stretch, but Noble Jilly couldn't match strides of the Rock N Roll Xample, who won by three-quarters of a length. Deuces For Charity (Paul Macdonell) finished third. Trained by Shawn Robinson for owner/breeder Robert Hamather, Rock N Roll Xample enjoyed her fifth win from 10 starts in 2014. The daughter of Rocknroll <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /> Hanover now has 58,590 in career earnings. She paid $2.50 to win. One race later, Violet Bayama fended off a late challenge from 1/5 favourite Missevil to win in 1:55.3. The talented daughter of Somebeachsomewhere went gate-to-wire through panels of :28.2, :58.1 and 1:27.1, before putting away Missevil in deep stretch en route to victory. Wildcat Magic (Chris Christoforou) finished third. Trained by Stephane Laroque for owner/breeder Bayama Farms and Jacques Damours, Violet Bayama celebrated her third career victory as her bankroll now sits at $40.280. She paid $7.30 to win as the 5/2 second choice. The Blossom Series is for sophomore pacing fillies, who are non-winners of three races or $15,000 in 2014. Greg Gangle Rock N Roll Xample Violet Bayama
Chris Christoforou is one of the premier names in harness racing, and if a fan does not recognize his name it's most likely they are new to the sport. Chris has quite the extensive resume from winning the Little Brown Jug in 2000 with Astreos, to winning the Breeders Crown in 1993 aboard Earl. Chris won the Breeders Crown two more times, in 1999 and 2002. Chris has won pretty much every major stake race between Woodbine Racetrack, (Toronto, ON) and Mohawk Racetrack, (Campbellvile, ON). This includes the Canadian Breeders (twice), the Don Mills (twice), the Oakville Stakes (twice), the Burlington, the Fan Hanover and both the Champlain Pace and Trot which combining both Champlain series wins gives him a lucky seven victories (4 times in the Pace and 3 times in the Trot). Acknowledging these major wins is the tip of the iceberg and there's at least two dozen more stake wins. That's a pretty big iceberg that could take down the Titanic once again. What is left for Chris to win? Pretty much every race where he's driving and despite the success, Chris maintains a strong and focused drive to continuously reach the Winner's Circle. "The Hambletonian..." says Chris, "...is one I would love to win given the opportunity." With the future uncertainty that looms for harness racing in Ontario, (with the Ontario Government cancelling the slot revenue agreement), Chris remains passionate about wanting to stay close to home. "It depends on the future here in Ontario," Chris says, "but I have no plans to leave. I'd really like to stay here, it's my home, it's my family... and hopefully I can. "I enjoy my life, I enjoy my career and we make a living." Chris explained, "It's tough at times but I would never discourage anyone from wanting to get into the (racing) business." Chris is fine with the thought of his children following in his footsteps as well as his father's. Chris won his first race in 1990 at Flamboro Downs driving Delias Star to the Winner's Circle. In all this time, Chris continually keeps it fresh by maintaining a positive attitude and keeping things light whenever possible. "I find if you are enjoying what you are doing, people catch that vibe from you and it rubs off on them." Chris explains, "The guys I drive with, we all get along and it's a good group of guys here (at Woodbine Racetrack). It's not easy when you are competing with guys night in and night out, but I thing we do a really good job of (having fun)." Asking Chris if he had a memory of a special time where the drivers meshed cohesively and were quite successful, he says "It was strong in the WEG circuit (Woodbine Entertainment Group), in the 80's and up til now it's been very strong." "The top 5 or 6 guys here can drive with anyone in the world as far as I'm concerned. From Campbell to Sears to Lachance, just because we drive here (at Woodbine/Mohawk), it doesn't mean we are any less skilled. Put up Jody Jamieson, Randy Waples or Paul MacDonnell and they can drive with anyone and they have proven that in the past." Talking with Chris is quite fulfilling, and not in terms of generic terms or metaphors, but the open honesty of how good his fellow drivers are, no matter where they race. A perfect example is Chris paying respect to Dave Palone who drives predominantly at the Meadows (located in Washington, PA). Yes, it is a different size track than others, it's a 5/8th mile oval but according to Chris regardless of the type of track, Dave Palone can drive with the best no matter where. Chris is quick to point the good and talent in others. With Chris you get the sense that there is always a silver lining. "Take the top 50 drivers in North America and it's a very slim margin as to who is better." Chris looks to the horses that make up the difference, "Give the 50th guy the best horse and the top guy the fifth best horse and I am pretty sure, 90% of the time the guy with the best horse wins. To that point, it's all horse power." When driving any horse, Chris looks at past performance to see how to best deal with the horse during the race. However "...tactics can switch in a split second. If the horse is moving from a low percentage barn to a higher percentage barn, you are more likely to be more aggressive." "An extreme chess match" Chris says, "very very fast chess game." Horse racing has its strains like any other career, and Chris is grateful to his wife, Camilla, for being so supportive. "It's tough when the kids are off for two months in the summer and I'm busy racing." Chris says. How does Chris balance the intensity of work with family, "every now and then in the summer if I'm in a slump, we'll jump in the car for two days and go to Niagara Falls, ON, change things up and get a refresher." It's all about quality time. In any job, business and career one thing that's constant is communication. Flat out, it's a requirement. During a race when fans are standing at the fence, the sound of the horses charging to the wire is intoxicating. Along with the ground vibrating you can hear faint sounds coming from drivers, but not all the discernable. At the start of the race, Chris explains very little, if any is being said. "You hear drivers hollering down the stretch for sure but the only thing a driver hears, and I don't think drivers even realize it, you can hear if a horse is getting rough, or if his gait is changing." Chris explains, "The sound pattern the horses make when their gait is changing, short stepping. A lot does get blocked out, you're in the zone." "At Woodbine, if a driver's horse is getting rough, he starts screaming and it's usually a sound of panic so everybody knows what's coming and tries to avoid that guy. We all know what each other's voice sounds like, so even if you can't see him and he's three or four horses ahead of you, you know who it is." When it comes to pacers or trotters, Chris would have taken the pacer over the trotter in his early days. Now with his experience, Chris will opt for racing a trotter, not only for the strategy but for the technique involved. When it comes to any game outside of horse racing, Chris' favorite sport is soccer and he loves the English Premier League. His team is Manchester United aka the Red Devils. "We're having a tough year, with a new manager and the team wasn't left in the best shape. There's some older players that need to retire, it's been a slow process." Chris thinks Manchester United will give team manager David Moyes a couple of years to figure things out. "Ferguson (Sir Alex Ferguson was the previous manager) has his back and picked him as his replacement. So they will give Moyes time to work things out." If you're planning to come over to his place to watch the Derby where rivals Manchester United and Manchester City square off, you better be wearing the right colors. No City fans allowed. Ok well, Chris being the nice guy he is may let you in but I think that's just the Canadian politeness poking through. Let's just say United fans only. With a laugh Chris says there's a driver/trainer at Flamboro Downs, Anthony Haughan, who gives Chris a hard time as Anthony is a supporter of another Manchester United rival, Liverpool. "He sent me about 5 messages yesterday about how bad my team is. We have a lot of fun with it." Chris says. Being the soccer fan he is Chris is cheering for England in the 2014 World Cup taking place in Brazil. "My mother is English... so I got to cheer for them. I think Germany has the best team this year and are probably the favorites and Brazil to." What's the one sporting event Chris has on his bucket list that he definitely wants to cross off? It's the World Cup. It's tough for him to go, because June is part of the peak season for horse racing, but when he retires, that's one of his first trips. So long as it's taking place somewhere warm! By Roderick Balgobin, www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova
Harness racing driver Andy Miller is just four wins away from scoring his 8,000th career victory. Provided Mother Nature cooperates, he had a great shot at reaching this milestone event at the Meadowlands this week. It was just last season that he surpassed $100,000 million in purse earnings. Also on the cusp of reaching special milestone victories include George Napolitano, Jr. who has 5,993 wins and Randy Waples, who is at 5,983 wins. Drivers approaching milestone wins from the USTA First Middle Last Name Suffix LTD Wins LTD Earnings Last Track Andy Ray Miller 7,996 $100,248,909 M Tim A Tetrick 7,972 $140,851,834 DD George Napolitano Jr 5,993 $48,564,242 PPk Randall W Waples 5,983 $104,046,384 Wdb Norman Chris Boring 3,979 $19,828,659 RP Timothy W Curtin 2,985 $20,936,317 May Gene G Vallandingham 2,983 $13,395,055 CalX David Floyd Carey 2,978 $2,438,403 Truro Rodney J Bolon 1,995 $9,403,415 Mea Ron Paul Wrenn 1,995 $6,069,816 SpCk Todd G Trites 1,993 $2,824,943 EPR Jerry G E Landess 1,980 $2,037,837 Green Kelly R Sheppard 1,973 $9,414,915 FlmD Allan W Davis 997 $9,588,764 DD James R Mc Donald 997 $2,952,835 PPk Kody Ray Massey 997 $3,048,872 SpCk DANIEL R OBRIAN 996 $2,154,133 Lon Darren R Crowe 992 $1,477,417 Chrtn RONALD I MATHESON 988 $1,054,352 Chrtn Stephen K O'Toole 986 $2,423,974 PRc John J De Long 982 $5,083,079 BmlP Clayton Faurot Jr 981 $2,456,655 Mea GORDEN A MCKNIGHT 981 $2,900,180 Lon Joseph Ricco Jr 978 $3,728,352 MR Trent P Stohler 976 $5,581,230 HoP John D Finn 975 $3,616,740 BmlP Rocky Joe Loney 973 $2,411,599 Leb Nick Royce Roland 972 $3,086,220 Whtn Yves Gauthier 972 $3,957,968 RidC Jeffrey A Smith 971 $2,731,609 Leb Steven B Norris 970 $2,548,332 RidC Drivers nearing milestone earnings from the USTA First Middle Last Name Suffix LTD Wins LTD Earnings Last Track Michel Lachance 10,387 $189,836,627 BmlP Luc R Ouellette 8,546 $129,645,909 Wdb Paul J MacDonell 5,132 $99,895,721 Wdb David R Magee 11,730 $99,692,391 BmlP Brett A Miller 6,419 $49,781,436 Mea Raymond W Schnittker 2,642 $39,934,643 YR Trevor S Henry 5,147 $29,734,509 FlmD Michael A Forte by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
TORONTO, February 6 - The always entertaining Randy Waples, a three-time O'Brien Award winner as the nation's outstanding driver, will be the guest on Woodbine Racing Live's pre-game show this Saturday, February 8, beginning at 6:45 p.m. Waples, 49, is quickly closing in on 6,000 career wins and currently has over $113 million earned as a driver. Some of his biggest triumphs include Thinking Out Loud's $1.5 million North America Cup victory in 2010 and guiding San Pail to three Maple Leaf Trot victories along with a Breeders Crown title. The Milton resident will join WEG's Greg Gangle and offer his thoughts on the 11-race program and much more. First race post time is slated for 7:25 p.m. by Greg Gangle for WEG
Apprentice Hanover continued his winter win streak on Saturday evening, earning his sixth straight in the featured $34,000 Preferred Pace at Woodbine Racetrack for driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Ben Wallace. Thepaninsulahotel (Randy Waples) was the first to the front through a :27-second opening panel, but his lead was short-lived as the pocket-pulling Casimir Jitterbug (Doug McNair) swept by with Apprentice Hanover hot on his heels after getting away third. Apprentice Hanover took over command at the half in :56.3 and proceeded to lead his six rivals past the third quarter station in 1:24. He cruised into the stretch while building up a six length lead to make his 1:51.2 victory look effortless. Sent postward as the heavy 2-5 favourite, Apprentice Hanover paid $2.90 to win. Mckinney (Sylvain Filion), the longest shot on the board at odds of 28-1, closed off cover in :26.4 for the runner-up honours over two lengths behind while early leader Thepaninsulahotel edged out first over Mystician (Billy Davis Jr.) and Frankies Dragon (Chris Christoforou) for third. Apprentice Hanover's win streak began at the end of November at Woodbine and includes a victory in the $126,000 Cleveland Classic at Northfield Park in mid-December. The four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere now boasts 13 wins in 31 career starts with earnings climbing to $546,474 for owner Brad Grant of Milton, Ont. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
TORONTO, January 31 - Trainer Murray Brethour had much to be thankful for on Friday night at Woodbine as his stable stars finished first and second in the $34,000 final of the Blizzard Series. After finishing second in both preliminary legs, Miss Poppycock scored the 10-1 upset for Brethour with stablemate Murrayfield finishing second in 1:54.1. Rock N Roll Xample (Billy Davis, Jr.) was the quickest to the front before the opening station in a quick :26.4. Heading towards the half, Lyonsaura (Randy Waples) angled out of third to take over command to lead past the mid-way point in :55.3. Shutthefrontdoor (Mike Saftic) began the first-over attack heading to three-quarters, giving live cover to post time favourite - and the undefeated - Sayitall BB (Jody Jamieson). Brethour's entries were also coming from off the pace with Murrayfield sitting third-over and Miss Poppycock fourth-over. Lyonsaura led her nine rivals past three-quarters in 1:24.1 and into the stretch, but her strides began to shorten as Sayitall BB, Murrayfield and Miss Poppycock were coming from the backfield. Miss Poppycock had the most momentum in deep stretch and was able to convert the winning effort over stablemate Murrayfield by half a length, with Winbak Ella (Sylvain Filion) finishing third. Miss Poppycock, a four-year-old daughter of Mach Three, is owned by Scarff Legacy Stables. The pacing miss celebrated her biggest victory in her career as her bankroll now sits at $86,085. She has amassed a 2-2-0 record from four starts this season. She paid $22.50 to win. by Greg Gangle for WEG
Sent postward at odds of 12-1, the class-climbing Lucky Terror upset the popular millionaire, Mystician, in a final quarter sprint to take the top conditioned class at Woodbine Racetrack on a cold Saturday night. With Jack Moiseyev catch-driving, Lucky Terror prevailed by a nose in the 10th race for non-winners of $28,000 in the last five starts (also eligible non-winners of $175,000 lifetime). Mckinney (Sylvain Filion) set up shop on the front-end after leaving from post three and led the field of seven through fractions of :27.1, :55.3 and 1:24.2. Meanwhile, Lucky Terror moved underway from fifth at the half with 3-5 favourite Mystician (Scott Zeron) following his cover. Lucky Terror battled the leader around the final turn, eventually edging by, while Jeff Gillis trainee Mystician launched his late attack to make it into the win photo in a 1:52.3 mile. Lucky Terror paid $26.40 to win. Third-place honours went to Mckinney, who held off Frankies Dragon (Chris Christoforou) and Grande Seelster (Randy Waples) over a length and a half behind. Lucky Terror is trained by Shaun McDonald and owned by Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. and Leonard Christopher of Acton, Ont. The win was the seven-year-old Western Terror gelding's 28th lifetime and the lion's share of the $28,000 purse lifted his career bankroll to $254,683. Lucky Terror pulled off the biggest upset on the 12-race card, which only saw three post-time favourites make it to the winner's circle. The fastest mile of the -10 degree night was 1:51.4, posted by post 10 starter Alexas Jackpot ($18.10) and Jonathan Drury in the fourth race for conditioner Marty Fine. The winner upset another popular Gillis-trained and Zeron-driven starter, Speed Again, who cut fractions of :26.2, :55, and 1:23 from post nine. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Videos of all races are attached. Printed with permission of Standardbred Canada
TORONTO, January 24 - A pair of $15,000 divisions of the second round of the Blizzard Series highlighted the Friday evening programme at Woodbine. Rock N Roll Xample and Murrayfield provided victories in their respective divisions. In the first split, Rock N Roll Xample and Randy Waples got under the wire first in 1:56.2. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover laid parked on the outside at the opening quarter in :28.1, before clearing to the front and allowing post time favourite Miss Poppycock (Chris Christoforou) to brush to command in the second quarter. Miss Poppycock would continue to lead past the half in :58 with Stonebridge Classy (Phil Hudon) parked on the outside. Rock N Roll Xample would continue to enjoy a pocket trip through three-quarters in 1:26.3, before making her move down the stretch. Miss Poppycock was still in command turning for home, but in deep stretch the talented mare began to drift off the rail allowing Rock N Roll Xample a clear passing lane. Rock N Roll Xample continued her ground-saving trip and edged by her rival to win by one and three quarter lengths. My Victorino (Roger Mayotte) came from off-the-pace to finish third. Trained by Shawn Robinson for owner/breeder Robert Hamather, Rock N Roll Xample enjoyed her third career victory and a new lifetime best. Her career earnings now sit at $16,340. She paid $10.10 to win. After finishing second by a neck in last week's first leg of the series, even-money favourite Murrayfield and Keith Oliver went gate-to wire in 1:55.1 to take the second division. The daughter of Jeremes Jet led through panels of :28.4, :57.4 and 1:26.2, before fending off a challenge from pocket sitter Lyonsaura (Randy Waples) to win by one and a quarter lengths. Lyonsaura finished second, with Winbak Ella (Sylvain Filion) third. Trained by Murray Brethour for owner/breeder Dr. Huw Llewellyn, Murrayfield enjoyed her fifth career victory as her bankroll climbed to $50,860. She paid $4.10 to win. The Blizzard Series is for three- and four-year-old fillies and mares, who are non winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime as of November 30, 2013. The $30,000 (added) final is scheduled for Friday, January 31. Videos of all races are attached. Greg Gangle - WEG Communications
OK…we made up for prior losses last week picking four of seven winners and hitting three cold exactas. Now that we are back on a roll it is time to rally with some long shots. Weather could be a big factor so make sure to take that into account before wagering. This weekend we have seven races spanning the East with three at Woodbine, three at Yonkers and one at Pompano. No Meadowlands until after the Super Bowl. Good luck! $10,000 Pace Open Handicap Pompano Park 3rd race Saturday – With Prairie Jaguar not in the race it becomes much more competitive. I think Northern Companion, despite being handicapped with the outside post eight is the horse to beat in here. Even being 0 for 3 in 2014 is not a factor as this one is rarely ever out of the money. He has great closing speed, can go first-over and with any live cover will be flying at the end of the mile. Use Thebestofjoel and Electric Lad in exotic plays. $20,000 Trot F/M NW/$150,000 Life Woodbine 3rd race Saturday – Two races in a row I am trying my luck with horses in the eight-hole. Samira Hanover came up short with not much trot last week which was totally uncharacteristic of her. Gets Scott Zeron in the sulky and should be able to return to her winning ways. Use Magic Will Work and Standing My Ground in exotic plays. $33,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 6th race Saturday - Both Bettor’s Edge and Money Twitch A were sharp winners in their last start but because they have drawn posts 8 and 7 respectively I am going with another return winner in Lumberjack Willie. Won in this class last out off perfect two-hole trip. May not have good inside post like last week but prior starts show he has a knack for working out trips and winning. Use Bettor’s Edge and Money Twitch A in exotic plays. $22,000 Pace NW/$18,000 Last 5 Starts Woodbine 6th race Saturday – I like his name, I really like his morning line odds and I like that fact that he is moving up in class again after two straight wins. Bold Decision has the rail in a very tough field but last two starts in tough conditions he just goes to the front and wins for fun. Will be high in odds but either cuts the mile again or gets great cover to win off of. Use Thorn In Your Side and Wazzup Wazzup in exotic plays. $22,000 Pace NW/$32,000 Last 6 Starts Yonkers Raceway 8th race Saturday – I really like it that Yonkers puts on extra distance races as it mixes it up and makes for tougher handicapping. Tonight we have two return winners from 1 1/16 mile races that I think shows they could be a touch better than the morning line says. I like Life Up Front who has won his last two starts at extra distances and can win from either on or off the pace and shows he can win at a mile too. Use Escape The News and Nob Hill High in exotic plays. $28,000 Pace NW/$28,000 Last 5 Starts Woodbine 10th race Saturday – After decent try in Preferred class last week, Grande Seelster drops and will hopefully pop as he did two starts back. He won then on the front end from post seven with ease. Gets Randy Waples in the bike as Sylvain Filion has his own horse in the race who is also a contender. Use Mystician and McKinney in exotic plays. $20,000 Pace N/W $25,000 Last 6 Starts Yonkers Raceway 11th race Saturday – Returning from a brief layoff, Glass Prince was solid in his qualifying race. He is leaving the claiming ranks to go into this Conditional event, which is actually moving up in class but I think from an inside post he shows he can get the job done even if he has to grind it out. Use Shortstacked and Hypnotist in exotic plays.