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On Friday, the 13th, the biggest social night for Delaware harness racing people is on, when Delaware Standardbred Owners Association (DSOA) presents its Annual Meeting at `10:30 a.m. at Dover Holiday Inn and then shifts to nearby Modern Maturity Center for its popular Awards Dinner begins with the cocktail hour at 5:45 p.m. Following dinner at 7 p.m. Heather Vitale will host the awards ceremonies celebrating the horsemen and horses highlights of 2016 at Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway. The evening is completed when "Mike Hines and the Look" entertain with music and dancing starting at 9 p.m. ---------------------------------------------------- Coming up on Saturday, Jan. 28, Canada presets its Black Tie 2016 O'Brien Awards in Mississauga, Ont. The classy banquet theme this year is the 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada." -------------------------------------------------- Next month, the annual highlight of the Winter banquet season comes on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nevada with the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) Night of Champions honoring the 2016 Dan Patch Awards winners. For more information, check www.ushwa.org . ----------------------------------- George Teague will be honored with a number of prestigious awards for 2016 at several banquets in Las Vegas. Early in the week,Teague has been named Harness Horsemen International's (HHI) major award, "The Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year." In addition to conditioning 1,631 winners who earned $35-million to date, Teague will be honored for graciously allowing the public to meet and greet his great pacer, 2015 Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, several times during 2016 ,all to help promote harness racing. On Sunday, Feb. 26, the U.S.Harness Writers Association will honor Teague, who becomes the first person honored for a second time as its "Good Guy" award winner. Team Teague gets the sport's second highest honor, The Stan Bergstein Proximity Award or service to the sport. For ticket and hotel arrangements consult www.ushwa.org . ---------------------------------------- The hot horses in early January at Dover Downs are Ed Gannon and Yannick Gingras' Vintage Babe, a winner of her last five starts. Two of trainer Bryan Tuitt Stable's young horses are streaking. Enhance Your Mind has won 3 in-a-row and 6 of her last 7 races. Meanwhile, Sonny At the beach won his third in-a-row on Thursday. Ralbar, conditioned by Ron Davis won his second straight and 6th win in his last 7 starts. JL Wonder Woman, owned by Vic Kirby and Matt Ivory, has won 4 of his last 5. ---------------------------------------------------------- Starting with Monday's racing card, Dover Downs will display several new wagers on it daily program. For the first time , the track is changing the Pick 4 to a $.50 (50 cents) wager. In addition to changing the base price, an additional $.50 Pick 4 will be added and scheduled for Races 12,13,14 and15. Two Pick 3's will also be added - the first starting in Race 2 and later with Race 13. Finally, a Superfecta is being added to Race 14. As part of the changes, Dover Downs will be carding the 12th and 14th race with 9-horses.Beginning on Mondy, Jan. 16, all these changes will be offered Monday through Thursday racing programs. ----------------------------------------------------- On Tuesday, Jan.10 at Dover Downs, of the 15 races, 13 of the winning horses set new lifetime speed records. ------------------------------------------ Vic Kirby is back on top of the leading driver standings after emerging from a tie las week with Tim Tetrick. Kirby topped off a good week and now leads the win stats with 74 wins. Red-hot defending champion Corey Callahan has vaulted into second place with 65 winners. Yannick Gingras, is third with 58 wins. The vacationing Tim Tetrick is now fourth with 56 trips to the winner's circle. Tony Morgan completes the top 5 with 46 wins. -------------------------------------------------- Jim King continues atop the leading trainer stats with 44 winners. Josh Green and Joe Hundertpund are tied for second place , each with 23. Leigh Raymer and defending champ Dylan Davis are tied for fourth with 22 wins. Marv Bachrad

MANALAPAN, NJ -- December 29, 2016 -- Southwind Farm has been selected as the New Jersey Breeder of the year for 2016. The Breeders Committee of the SBOANJ made the announcement this December. This years Southwind standout was once again Southwind Frank, one of the top three year old trotting colts in 2016. Southwind Farms will receive the presentation on January 29, 2017 at the 60th Annual New Jersey Breeders Award Luncheon at 1 pm at O'Connors Restaurant in Eastampton, New Jersey. The Son of Muscle Hill, out of Flawless Lindy, Southwind Frank won 6 out of 14 starts in 2016, earning $1,164,468 for the Southwind Frank partners. A $100,000 purchase at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, he was trained by Ron Burke and driven by Yannick Gingras. Beginning with a New Jersey Sire Stakes win on May 20th he accumulated his 6 wins for the rest of the year, including the $500,000 Earl Beal at Pocono Downs, the $153,250 Stanley Dancer at the Meadowlands and the $500,000 Colonial Trot at Pocono Downs. He also lowered his lifetime mark to 1:52.1 at the Meadowlands with his win in the Reynolds Memorial. Southwind Farms is also home of the champion stallion Muscle Hill, who will be returning to New Jersey to stand stud in 2017. This years New Jersey Standardbred of the Year as well as Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder was sired by Muscle Hill. All of us at Southwind Farms are very proud to be named New Jersey Breeder of the Year for the second consecutive year, said Southwind Farms Syndicate Manager Mike Klau. We are committed to the New Jersey program and hope that it is able to grow in the coming years.” This is the third Breeders Award for the 235 acre farm near the Village of Pennington, NJ. Southwind Farms was founded by Connie & Allen Skolnick in 1986, both Skolnicks passed away in 2013, and the farm is currently owned by their son, Barry. Previous New Jersey Breeder of the Year winners include three-time winner White Birch Farm, two-time winner Perretti Farms, Deo Volente Farms, Valley High Stables, Kentuckiana Farms, Fair Winds Farm, Walnridge Farm and Heritage Hill Farms. Tickets for the luncheon cost $45 per person and may be purchased from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Markets & Development, Horse Industry, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625. For further information, call 609-984-4389 or email Lynn.Mathews@ag.state.nj.us Courtney Stafford  

HARRISBURG PA - Thomas H. Hicks, whose longtime experience in both the Standardbred sport and top financial circles gave the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) a chance to have a wealth of experience at the head of an effort to their stabilizing and growing the organization's finances, has done his Association jobs so well that he has been voted the Member of the Year Award by USHWA, the harness racing sport's leading organization for communicators. Hicks, a member of USHWA's Florida chapter and a National Director for the last four years, has bred national champions such as the million-dollar-winning racehorse turned coveted sire Crazed, and was the Executive Director of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) in 2011. He regularly writes about North American monte (saddled) racing and the European Grand Circuit, especially his beloved Vincennes racetrack in Paris and its world-class Prix d'Amerique Trot. The Florida Chapter of USHWA honored him with the Allen J. Finkelson Award for journalistic excellence in 2013. It is the business side of Hicks's "pedigree," though, replete with prestigious names such as the Harvard Business School, that has made him immensely valuable to USHWA. Hicks is founder and managing partner of Renaissance Partners LLC, a management and turnaround firm which, as its name suggests, specializes in developing and then helping to implement a rebirth and profit plan, both short- and long-term, for its clients. The Renaissance "touch" is evident in Tom's guidance and plans to both keeping a sharp eye on expenses while also growing the association's income through such varied venues as USHWA's annual award dinner and through the group's website, www.ushwa.org. In announcing Hicks as the recipient of the "USHWAn of the Year" award, as it is known within the Association, USHWA President Tim Bojarski stated, "A panel of recent recipients of this award selected Tom for his longtime dedication to the Florida Chapter, his work on USHWA's national tax and audits committees in recent years, and now his spearheading the new Budget Committee, which will ensure the long-term viability of the Association. Everyone in USHWA appreciates Tom's efforts on behalf of the group, and this award adds the exclamation point to these sentiments." Tom Hicks will be honored at the "Night Of Champions," the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will take place on Sunday, February 26 at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Information about the banquet and the entire weekend, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found on the communicators' website, www.ushwa.org - including links for making hotel reservations at special rates at Planet Hollywood; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake Souvenir Banquet Journal, annually one of the best chronicles of a year in North American harness racing. United States Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG PA -- Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, veteran harness racing breeders and racehorse owners who were responsible for the production of two of the top trotting fillies of 2016 - Ariana G and All The Time - were the unanimous choice for Breeders of the Year by the Breeders/Broodmares committee of USHWA. The committee was also undivided in naming the top broodmares of the year: for the trotters, Cantab It All - owned by Libfeld/Katz and the dam of Ariana G and All The Time, and for the pacers, Artstopper, the dam of Always B Miki, who lowered the sport's all-time speed record to 1:46.   The 25+ year partnership of Ontarians Katz and Libfeld certainly had one of its greatest seasons in 2016, owning both diamond gaited fillies and also sending out Breeders Crown champion Bar Hopping and the multiple-stakes winner Idyllic Beach, voted Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. "Idyllic" was joined as divisional champion on the trotting side by Ariana G, who dominated the baby trotting misses through the major portion of the stakes calendar. Ariana G's older sister by a year, All The Time, made a remarkable recovery from emergency colic surgery after her Hambletonian Oaks victory to return to the races and win a Breeders Crown elimination.   The dam of these two talented trotting distaffs is Cantab It All, a White Birch Farm-bred daughter of Cantab Hall-Better Odds-Pine Chip, who herself took a mark of 1:53 and earned over $280,000 on the racetrack. Her first two foals, both by top racehorse turned top sire Muscle Hill, are All The Time and Ariana G, and one can only imagine the potential of, and interest in, the next foals in the Cantab It All "production line."   Artstopper, who was unraced, has certainly made up for lost time in the broodmare shed for the Roll The Dice Stable of Delaware's Joe Hurley. Before "Miki" came along, she had produced Yagonnakissmeornot, a $1.45M-winning daughter of The Panderosa who has raced the best of her class for several seasons - and has given Artstopper the rare distinction of having both a son and daughter who have beaten 1:50.   But 2016 was the year of Always B Miki, Harness Horse of the Year, reducer of record speed with a 1:46 mile at the famed Red Mile in Lexington on October 9. A son of Always A Virgin who like his sister Yagonnakissmeornot can trace their topline pedigree back to the hugely-influential Western Hanover, Always B Miki clashed with 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit in an epic series of duels in the free-for-all pacing ranks, with Miki winning four, including the season-ending Breeders Crown, and Wiggle winning three. (These two pacing giants brought extra attention to Indiana, where they were both sired, and to Hurley's Delaware, where they are both owned.)   Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, along with Cantab It All, Artstopper and their connections, will all be feted at the "Night Of Champions," the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will take place on Sunday, February 26 at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Information about the banquet and the entire weekend, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found on the communicators' website, www.ushwa.org - including links for making hotel reservations at special rates at Planet Hollywood; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake Souvenir Banquet Journal, annually one of the best chronicles of a year in North American harness racing.   United States Harness Writers Association    

HARRISBURG PA - Allison Conte, riding on the leading curve of the "new wave" social media communications designed to bring the excitement and fun of harness racing to an ever-expanding audience, has "broken through" the communications clutter with such success in her job as Social Media Manager for the U.S. Trotting Association that the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading industry for communicators, has voted her the winner of the Breakthrough Award, which honors those in the sport 35 years or younger for outstanding early-career non-training/driving contributions to harness racing   Conte is overseer of the many platforms established within the USTA's Communications department: the acclaimed Harness Racing FanZone website; the Facebook page of both the FanZone and the USTA's own central organizational page; and the various means to cover three of harness racing's flagship events: the Hambletonian, the Little Brown Jug, and the Breeders Crown. In addition, she functions as host for the USTA's weekly online show Morning Line; edits for the USTA's website, the most widely-viewed website in the industry; and conducts advisory sessions in how to utilize social media effectively and how to bring more owners into the sport. And her vision into the sport and new ways to tell its story has led to many successful programs involving the new media, and certainly will lead to many more.   One striking feature running through the vast majority of Allison's work is the insight she gives into the people and horses involved in putting on "the show," devoting time and energy to the individuals and events "behind the scenes" that may surprise people and interest them further in the sport. The faculty that Conte has in this area is no accident: the daughter of horseman Carl Conte Jr., Allison has been a caretaker for fast horses, rich horses, and durable horses - all of those characteristics rolled up together in her most famous charge, Foiled Again, the sport's all-time leader in earnings with earnings nearing $7.5 million, an evergreen campaigner who is still racing at a high level as he turns 13 next week.   Allison does not oversee her "media empire" by viewing a bank of consoles at the USTA's Ohio office - she is one of the Association's most visible employees, having spent 73 days on the road this past year. She is helpful and patient with horseman, horse, manager, and fan alike - a person who honestly has the good of the sport in the forefront of her mind at all times.   Allison Conte will be honored at the "Night Of Champions," the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will take place on Sunday, February 26 at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Information about the banquet and the entire weekend, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found on the communicators' website, www.ushwa.org - including links for making hotel reservations at special rates at Planet Hollywood; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake Souvenir Banquet Journal, annually one of the best chronicles of a year in North American harness racing.    

HARRISBURG PA -- They were the pairing that seemed to be almost too good to be true - combining a proud family tradition, a love of the trotting horse, a woman pursuing the dream that her late husband never quite attained, and a young man, a college student, with sparkling "bloodlines" on both sides of his pedigree. But it was this perfect harness team - Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling - who owned Marion Marauder, winner of the Triple Crown of Trotting and Trotter of the Year honors during 2016. And they loved every minute of it. Now, they have been voted Owners of the Year for 2016 by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading trade group for communicators. "Jean," as she is generally known, is the wife of the late Canadian Hall of Famer Bill Wellwood, a "trottin' horse" man who trained many quality horses during his distinguished career, but never quite came up with "the big one". Devin is a college sophomore, Jean's grandson and the son of her daughter Paula and horseman Mike Keeling, who had been a caretaker for Bill Wellwood. This living of a dream started in Lexington in 2014, where Jean picked a royally-pedigreed horse (Muscle Hill-Spellbound Hanover) via a catalogue, with daughter Paula haltering the colt for a bargain $37,000. Then came patient development under the tutelage of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling (improving from start to start), perfect handling by driver Scott Zeron, and Marion Marauder realizing that he could be the type of colt that Bill Wellwood and those in his family always wanted, all resulting in a sensational sophomore campaign in 2016. He ended up the season with a record of 15-10-3-0, and he led all North American trotters with earnings of $1,484,532. Marion Marauder became only the ninth horse to win Trotting's Triple Crown, and the first since Glidemaster in 2006. The "Marauder" was certainly the right horse at the right place at the right time - winning the Hambletonian by a nose and the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity by a head each - and Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling, experience and youth, "trottin' people", part of an extended "happy family," climbed to the pinnacle of success as harness horse owners. Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling (along with Marion Marauder) will be honored at the "Night Of Champions," the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will take place on Sunday, February 26 at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Information about the banquet and the entire weekend, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found on the communicators' website, www.ushwa.org - including links for making hotel reservations at special rates at Planet Hollywood; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake Souvenir Banquet Journal, annually one of the best chronicles of a year in North American harness racing.  

HARRISBURG PA - One is a native of the heartland of U.S. harness racing, the Buckeye State of Ohio. One is a Swedish emigrant who is fiercely appreciative of the opportunities his adopted United States has given him. (Both do fine when they cross the border north to Canada, too.) Both are in their mid-50s. Both are members of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. David Miller and Jimmy Takter were the Driver and Trainer of the Year in 2015, respectively, their outstanding seasons cemented by quantity - six Breeders Crown wins for Takter, with Miller gaining five Crown sulky triumphs, including two for Takter. And in 2016, Takter and Miller are repeat winners in their respective categories as voted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA), both again having quality seasons up and down the board, but their highlight this time focused on quality - 2016 Harness Horse of the Year Always B Miki, author of the sport's fastest-ever mile, a 1:46 clocking at Lexington's famed Red Mile on October 9. "Miki" also had four victories in head-to-head matchups against 2015 Harness Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, who had three in a months-long series of contests that had fans - and even "seen-it-all" horsemen - buzzing throughout North America. Of course, to earn top yearly accolades over their talented peers, both men accomplished much more than their successful collaboration with Always B Miki. Takter collected year-end honors not only with Always B Miki (also the Pacer of the Year) but with a repeat champion, the 3-year-old pacing filly Pure Country, and two 2-year-old fillies, pacer Idyllic Beach and trotter Ariana G (Takter also guided Ariana G's successful sophomore sister All The Time, and the two fillies' combined exploits earned breeders/owners Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz honors as the season's Breeders of the Year). That's four divisional winners in all -- no other trainer had more than one. Add in Breeders Crown-winning Bar Hopping, often right in the mix with Trotter of the Year Marion Marauder, among others and you see a powerhouse of a stable that earned Takter Trainer of the Year plaudits for the third year in a row, and sixth overall (1996, 2000, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016). While Takter is forthright and outfront with his opinions, David Miller, while no less insightful, by temperament would rather just go about his job quietly yet effectively - both factors showing up when he became only the third driver, behind John Campbell and Ron Pierce, to go over $200 million in career sulky earnings, as the feat came in May at Harrah's Philly with an undistinguished pacer named Hickory Chumley, who paid $82.80 to win. In this, his best season ever for earnings with more than $12.6 million bankrolled, Miller also had a large hand in the racetrack guidance of two other divisional award-winners: 3-year-old trotting filly Broadway Donna, a repeat champion, and the multi-major stake-winning 3-year-old pacing colt Betting Line. This is Miller's third Driver of the Year title: he won the inaugural award in 2003, and of course now has two straight in the category. Jimmy Takter and David Miller (and the many horses for whom they were an integral part of the road to success in 2016) will be honored at the "Night Of Champions," the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will take place on Sunday, February 26 at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Information about the banquet and the entire weekend, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found on the communicators' website, www.ushwa.org - including links for making hotel reservations at special rates at Planet Hollywood; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake Souvenir Banquet Journal, annually one of the best chronicles of a year in North American harness racing. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association  

George Teague has been named winner of another prestigious award. Teague has been named Harness Horsemen International (HHI)'s "Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year." In addition to conditioning 1,631 winners of $35-million to date, Teague has been honored for graciously allowing the public to meet and greet his great pacer, 2015 Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, several times during 2016 to help promote harness racing. ---------------------------------------------------------- Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Caretaker of the Year Award, sponsored by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in conjunction with USHWA honoring the sport's unsung heroes, the caretakers. Dover Downs leads in the number of grooms at the track who have won this award in the past. To nominate for this award with a number of benefits, contact USHWA president Tim Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com with a minimum 200 words, stating the special qualities of the caretaker being nominated. ------------------------------------------ Thursday racing is now the top pacing day at Dover Downs. The highlight events, the $30,000 Preferred has been won the last two times by Ideal Cowboy while Little Ben recorded his fourth win in his last five winning the $27,500 Delaware Special. During the rest of the racing week, Monday is now a top claiming feature day, on Tuesday the top female pacers meet in the $20,000 Open Mares pace and Wednesday continues as top trot day highlighted by the $20,000 Open Trot. ------------------------------------------ With the end of 2016 at hand, First place in Dover Downs leading driver category has become a three-driver battle for top spot. Through November, Vic Kirby led the roster in winning drives. In December, Yannick Gingras had several five win days; Tim Tetrick added a number of four-win cards to also challenge Kirby for the lead, now in a virtual tie. Allan Davis holds on to fourth place while Ross Wolfenden is fifth. ----------------------------------------------------- Jim King remains as leader in trainers statistics in wins and money won by his stable. Josh Green is in second place. Joe Hundertfund and Leigh Raymer are tied for third place with Wayne Givens, fifth. ------------------------------------------------ Well know Delaware stallion Tune Town who stood at Rhonda Owens-Whitehouse's Safe Haven Farms in Ellendale died recently at age 24, The former USHWA Pacing Horse of the Year and Nova Award winning Older Pacer in 1997sired 120 Delaware-bred foals, Dina's Gamble p,1:50.1 ($521,507) and Fine-Tuner p,1:50.1 and Tuneariffic p,1,50.2 topped the list. ------------------------------------------- In 2017, the American Horse Council (AHC) offers three different internships available to both high school and college students. Visit the AHC website for details at info@horsecouncil.org ----------------------------------------------- Australia has announced it will ban the use of existing whips in training and racing beginning on Sept. 1, 2017. Australia becomes the first country to do so. ------------------------------------ Two Dover Downs regulars who raced at Rosecroft Raceway during the just ended Fall season tied for the 2016 Leading Driver title, Roger Plante Jr. and Russell Foster had 52 wins each. Marv Bachrad

Exclusive video highlights from the USTA of the six Dan Patch Award winning trotters announced today by the U.S. Harness Writers Association are now available to watch or download on Dropbox. The winning trotter videos for Marion Marauder, Broadway Donna, Hannelore Hanover, Obrigado, Walner and Ariana G are available by clicking here. For the first time, the U.S. Trotting Association is providing assorted video highlights that can be downloaded for each of the Dan Patch Award divisional winners in conjunction with the announcement of those winners this week. The video features exclusive footage captured by the USTA of major races won, winner's circle presentations and b-roll of each winner. Video courtesy for use of the footage should be -- U.S. Trotting Association. Some race replays are also included. Videos for the pacing award winners will be available on Friday (Dec. 16) at approximately 1 p.m. Links to the video files will be posted on www.ustrotting.com and sent out in a press release. The videos will remain available at the same links for the announcement of the Trotter, Pacer and Harness Horse of the Year awards on Monday (Dec. 19) at noon. According to USHWA, Monday's Trotter, Pacer and Harness Horse of the Year awards announcements will be streamed live starting at noon on the Facebook pages of USHWA, Hoosier Park and the Harness Racing FanZone hosted by Emily Gaskin, Hoosier's race marketing manager and the winner of USHWA's 2014 Breakthrough Award. Ken Weingartner

George Teague, Jr., has been awarded the Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year award by Harness Horseman International. Teague is best known for conditioning and owning such greats as Wiggle It Jiggleit and Rainbow Blue, among many. The 53-year-old Harrington, DE native has conditioned 1,631 winners to the tune of $35,161,481 in career earnings to date, and has graciously allowed the public to meet and greet Wiggle It Jiggleit on many occasions to help promote harness racing.   Chaplain Lee Alphen is honored with the HHI Appreciation Award. Since 2010, Alphen has led the non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization that serves the harness racing community. Prior to her current position, Alphen was the Chaplain at Rockingham Park in Salem, NH since 1975, ministering to both the harness and Thoroughbred racing industries, and also served as the Chaplain at Scarborough Downs and Suffolk Downs. Every fall, Chaplain Alphen comes to the Little Brown Jug for the week, administering a traditional, Wednesday morning prayer breakfast.   Tom Cassidy & Roger Huston are HHI's Clyde Hirt Media Award winners for this year. Huston is one of the most well-known voices in harness racing, serving as the announcer at The Meadows and as the voice of the Little Brown Jug. He has called well over 170,000 races in his career at 126 tracks in 17 states and seven countries. Tom Cassidy is an on-air horse racing analyst who has been with TVG since March 2012 and was also the former handicapper for Monmouth Park.   The HHI Lifetime Achievement Award winners are Mike O. Izzo of Pennsylvania and Leo McNamara of New Jersey (posthumously).   Izzo is the CFO of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, administering the health and pension programs and has also served as the Executive Administrator of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and as former Executive Director for both HHI and PHHA.   McNamara was a third generation horseman who worked at Two Gaits Farm and Hanover Shoe Farm, and was the longtime Executive Director of the SBOA of New Jersey who passed away earlier this year. His contributions to the well-being of the Garden State's harness racing industry are numerous.   All of these gentlemen will be feted with their HHI Awards during the U.S. Harness Writer's Association's Dan Patch Awards Night of Champions on February 26, 2017.   Harness Horsemen International 319 High St. Suite 2 Burlington, NJ 08016 (609) 747-1000

Latham, NY---On Sunday (Nov. 13), the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and the United States Trotting Association held their annual New York Sire Stakes and District 8 awards banquet in Haughton Hall at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. The biggest names in Empire State racing that gathered to fete the accomplishments of their stars began the evening with a cocktail party sponsored by the District 8 member tracks (including Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Monticello Casino & Raceway, Saratoga Casino & Hotel, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs) before being seated for dinner and the awards presentations. The big announcement of the night was that 2-year-old trotting colt Walner was named the District 8 Horse of the Year. Walner (Chapter Seven-Random Destiny 1:51.3, $484,037) is owned by Ken Jacobs, trained by Linda Toscano and driven in all of his starts by Tim Tetrick. Jacobs purchased Walner at the 2015 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $90,000 and placed under the tutelage of his longtime trainer Linda Toscano. Since then, the New York bred colt has developed into the top 2-year-old male trotter in North America. Having won seven of his eight starts in 2016, Walner was not shy to make headlines. After winning two NYSS events over the summer, Walner won the $280,000 International Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile in October, setting a world record of 1:51.3 for 2-year-old trotting colts, breaking the old standard of 1:52.2 set by Southwind Frank in 2015. Three weeks later, he won the $600,000 Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands in 1:53, trotting away from the field by 4-½ lengths. This performance was a track and stake record for 2-year-old trotting colts. Then, to put an exclamation mark on his season, Walner was victorious in the $200,600 Kindergarten Classic final at the Meadowlands in 1:53.2 by an overwhelming seven lengths.  Walner’s achievements during his freshman campaign were both dominant and record breaking and have firmly entrenched him as the early favorite in the 2017 Hambletonian. There were some outstanding seasons put together by those awarded for their performances in the New York Sire Stakes this year including some who impacted the Grand Circuit as well. Smalltownthrowdown (Cash Hall-Ann’s Promise) was named the NYSS 3-year-old trotting colt of the year. After winning five legs of the NYSS during the year, Smalltownthrowdown was crowned the division champion after taking the final at Yonkers Raceway. On Saturday (Sept. 3), Smalltownthrowdown competed in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot and was beaten only a head by Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder, who would go on to become the trotting Triple Crown winner. Smalltownthrowdown had seven wins in 16 starts and earned $446,263 in purses for his efforts. His seasonal (and lifetime) mark of 1:54.4 was taken at Saratoga Raceway. Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) was named the NYSS 3-year-old trotting filly of the year. After being crowned champion of the 2-year-old trotting filly division last year on the strength of an undefeated season, Non Stick repeated as 3-year-old champion this year after winning four NYSS events over the summer. The highlight of 2016 for her came at Vernon Downs on Sunday (June 19) when she won the $225,000 Empire Breeders Classic wire to wire from post eight in 1:54, which was a new lifetime mark. Non Stick won six starts in 12 attempts and banked $363,787 in those outings. Jim Morrill Jr. repeated as NYSS Driver of the Year after he posted a 28-26-26 record off of 144 starts, which equated to a .355 UDR. His drives earned his owners just under $1.65 million in purses. Ron Burke repeated as NYSS Trainer of the Year while campaigning 25 horses on the circuit. His students won 20 races and earned checks 70% of the time. Those added up to $1.26 in earnings for their owners. Winbak Farm was once again Breeder of the Year as 24 of their get started 84 times and earned just over $1 million, getting purse checks 73% of the time. Here is a complete list of all the award winners. 2016 USTA DISTRICT 8 CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Barn Bella Owners: Steven Pratt, Nancy Pratt & Purple Haze Stables LLC   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Planet Rock Owners: Kenneth Jacobs   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Fad Finance Owners: Purple Haze Stables LLC, Marc Goldberg & Rojan Stables   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER No Clouds Bluechip Owners: Richard Carney, Farrell Carney & Barbara Berger   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER Walner Owner: Kenneth Jacobs   2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Funknwaffles Owners: Crawford Farms Racing & Susan Oakes   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER Smalltownthrowdown Owners: Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV, Donald Brenner & Richard Lombardo   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Missile J Owners: KJ Stables LLC & Purple Haze Stable LLC   COUNTY FAIR DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Mark Whitcroft RISING STAR AWARD: Joseph Chindano Jr. PARI-MUTUEL DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Jim Morrill Jr. TRAINER OF THE YEAR: Linda Toscano   2016 NEW YORK SIRE STAKES CHAMPIONS   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Barn Bella Conway Hall — Bravissima Owners: Steven Pratt, Nancy Pratt & Purple Haze Stables LLC Breeder: Morrisville Col Fdn Inc. Trainer: Steven Pratt Driver: Jeff Gregory NYSS Earnings: $200,287   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Tequila Monday American Ideal — Margarita Monday Owners: Susan Oakes & Chuck Pompey Breeder: Winbak Farm Trainer: Chris Oakes Driver: Brian Sears NYSS Earnings: $176,206   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Non Stick Lucky Chucky — Meucci Madness Owners: Ake Svanstedt Inc. & Little E LLC Breeders: Michael Andrew & Steve Stewart Trainer: Ake Svanstedt Driver: Ake Svanstedt NYSS Earnings: $231,907   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Wishy Washy Girl Roll With Joe — Wish All You Want Owners: Michael Cimaglio & Stephen Demeter Breeders: Scott Dillon & Thomas Dillon Trainer: Tracy Brainard Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $172,329   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Devious Man Credit Winner — Miss Garland Owner: Stroy Inc Breeder: Winbak Farm Trainer: Julie Miller Driver: Andy Miller NYSS Earnings: $264,647   2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Funknwaffles American Ideal — Hatsoff Hanover Owners: Crawford Farms Racing & Susan Oakes Breeder: David McDuffee Trainer: John Butenschoen Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $234,785   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Smalltownthrowdown Cash Hall — Ann’s Promise Owners: Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV, Donald Brenner & Richard Lombardo Breeder: David Firmstone Trainer: Dan Daley Driver: Dan Daley NYSS Earnings: $304,447   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Roll Away Joe Roll With Joe — Chatelaine Owners: Howard Taylor, Stephen Demeter & Thomas Lazzaro Breeder: Twinbrook Limited Trainer: Tracy Brainard Driver: Jason Bartlett NYSS Earnings: $312,382   BREEDER OF THE YEAR: Winbak Farm TRAINER OF THE YEAR: Ron Burke DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Jim Morrill Jr.   2016 NYSS CONSOLATION WINNERS   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Teasin N Pleasin CR Excalibur – Brontease Owners: Edward Reich, Thomas Corelli & Fred Corelli Breeder: Winbak Farm Trainer: Thomas Corelli Driver: Jeff Gregory NYSS Earnings: $63,296   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Zette Starlet Credit Winner – Scottish Starlet Owner: Cozette McAvoy Breeder: William Donovan Trainer: Cozette McAvoy Driver: Charlie Norris NYSS Earnings: $54,280   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Major Millie Art Major – Gravity Owner: SSG Stables Breeder: Flintlock Farm Inc Trainer: Steve Elliott Driver: John MacDonald NYSS Earnings: $58,650   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Top Flight Angel Archangel – Top Photo Owner: Legendary Standardbred Farm Breeder: Alan Hainsworth Trainer: Megan Wilson Driver: John Cummings Jr NYSS Earnings: $28,756   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Royal Bachelor RC Royalty – Becca J Owners: Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV & Michael White Breeder: Kenneth Jacobs Trainer: Dan Daley Driver: Dan Daley NYSS Earnings: $50,800   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE JK Heaven Sent Rock N Roll Heaven – JK Owhatanite Owners: Michi Abday, Barbara & Donald Arnstine Breeder: 3 Brothers Stables Trainer: Gilbert Garcia-Herrera Driver: John MacDonald NYSS Earnings: $41,850   2016 NEW YORK-BRED EXCELSIOR CHAMPIONS   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Royal Oaks RC Royalty — Mystical Oaks Owners: Jessica Okusko & Ronald LaClair Breeder: Dunroven Stud LLC Trainer: Jessica Okusko Driver: Stephane Bouchard NYSS Earnings: $41,250   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Pirinea’s Princess Roll With Joe — Chant-A-Nuka Owner: Latz A Luck Stable Breeder: Joseph Pirinea Trainer: Dennis Laterza Driver: Stephane Bouchard NYSS Earnings: $49,100   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Wendy’s Girl Lucky Chucky — East Creek Wendy Owners: Howard Taylor & Edwin Gold Breeder: East Creek Stable Trainer: Tracy Brainard Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $64,950   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Ghost Runner Art Major — Spirit Of The West Owners: Dr. Scott Leaf, Deborah Mackenzie, Gerald Fielding & Tom Jackson Breeder: Stonegate Standardbred Farms Trainer: Erv Miller Driver: Marcus Miller NYSS Earnings: $43,050   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Barn Winner Credit Winner — Hallmarker T Owners: Steven Pratt, Nancy Pratt & Out In The Country Stable Breeders: Moni Market Breeders & Jeffery Ruch Trainer: Steven Pratt Driver: Jeff Gregory NYSS Earnings: $45,000   2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Percy’s Z Tam American Ideal — Mintjulep Bluechip Owners: Pat Lachance, Z Tam Stbs LLC, M&M Harness Rcg LLC & Royal Flush Stb LLC Breeder: Michael Parisi Trainer/ Driver: Pat Lachance NYSS Earnings: $58,650   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Just For Today Credit Winner — Brandnewgirlfriend Owners: Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco & Hatfield Stables Breeder: Valley High Stable Trainer: Paul Kelley Driver: Matt Kakaley NYSS Earnings: $46,800   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Endeavor American Ideal — Jett Diamond Owner: Helene Fillion Breeder: Barbara Muschera Trainer: Pat Lachance Driver: John MacDonald NYSS Earnings: $41,850   BREEDER OF THE YEAR: Winbak Farm TRAINER OF THE YEAR: Erv Miller DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Jim Morrill Jr.   2016 NEW YORK COUNTY FAIR CHAMPIONS   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Too Cool To Fool Conway Hall—Travelin Deal Owner: Angela Jackson Breeders: Matthew Gartland & Beryl Taylor Trainer: David Dewhurst Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $9,550   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Bonita Island Artiscape — Malita Island Owner: Robert Gale Breeder: White Birch Farm Trainer: Robert Gale Driver: Truman Gale NYSS Earnings: $7,943   3 -YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT KZ Crazee Crazed — Lindy’s Almond Joy Owner: Beth Smith Breeder: Lindy Farms Of Conn Trainer: Cheryl Whitcroft Driver: Mark Whitcroft NYSS Earnings: $10,527   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Niche Blue Chip Art Major — PW Spare Owners: Elizabeth & Dyce Spalluto, Veronica Dylo & David Widzinski Breeder: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Trainer: Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. Driver: Drew Monti NYSS Earnings: $10,365   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT DW’s Revenge Archangel — Princess Maddie Owner: Sally Cartier Breeder: WD LaPage Stable Trainer: Sally Cartier Driver: Mark Whitcroft NYSS Earnings: $11,520   2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Napper Tandy Art Major — Cammara Owner: Donald Cosgrove Breeder: Donald Cosgrove Trainer: Angus MacDonald Driver: Chris Lems NYSS Earnings: $11,025   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Trooper Jim Conway Hall — Alpine Goal Owners: Heather & Barry White Breeder: Barry White Trainer: Barry White Driver: Truman Gale NYSS Earnings: $12,617   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Midnite Pass Kenneth J — The Company Store Owner: Gary Cartier Breeders: Michelle & Albert Crawford Trainer: Sally Cartier Driver: Mark Whitcroft NYSS Earnings: $17,367   BREEDER OF THE YEAR: Steuben Farms TRAINER OF THE YEAR: David Dewhurst DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Mark Whitcroft   RACING UNDER SADDLE   CHAMPION Vanessa Karlewicz riding Admirable Hanover   HIGH POINT HORSE Jeanie Marie Rider: Heather Reese Trainer: Jennifer Sansone Owner: Mo Choo Inc. & Jonathan Klee Racing   TRAINER OF THE YEAR Michael Miller   By Tim Bojarski 

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica is proud to announce the harness racing nominees for the 2nd annual Post Time Awards to take place on Thursday, December 8, 2016 Each category listed below features nominees which were decided by the fans of harness racing. Voting has begun and will conclude on Wednesday, December 7 at 11:59 PM. Please note there is only one vote per person and the award ballet can be found here. Foiled Again Iron Horse of the Year Nadia B Fella has been racing on the New York and New Jersey circuit for most of her 14 year old life. She has a mark of 1:58 which she set at Freehold during the 2016 season and has 22 wins in 381 career starts. While she doesn't win a ton of races, she loves to hit the board doing so 34% of the time. She was bred in Somerville, NJ by Gary Ihling, is owned by Colleen Posner and is trained by Michael Posner. Walton Shaw A has been racing on the Delaware and Maryland circuit through most of his 14 year old life. He set a mark at age 10 of 1:53 1/5 at Harrington Raceway and has 44 wins in 292 starts. Towards the beginning of his career he had some success in Australia before coming to the United States. He currently has just over $300,000 in career earnings. He was bred in New Zealand by B J Shaw and G L Shaw, is owned by Kevin Fitzgerald and Leonard Jones III, and is trained by Jay Shores. Haste is a 14 year old who has raced from Ohio to Yonkers and back, but for the better part of 2015 and 2016 he has spent his racing time at Northfield Park in Ohio. He set his career mark at age 14 at Northfield Park with a time of 1:57.1. During the beginning of his career he raced on the Ohio Sire Stakes and Ohio Fair Circuit where he had some success. Haste has made just under $650,000 in his career, winning 52 times in 388 starts. He was bred in Ohio by Success Acres Inc, owned by Garry Martin, and is trained by Sue Stockwell. Wynnfield Scamp is a 14 year old stud racing on the Maryland circuit. Early in his career he raced in Canada as a horse staked to the Ontario Sire Stakes where he had a little bit of success. Wynnfield Scamp has made just over $337,000 in his career, winning 44 times in 277 starts and set a mark of 1:51.1 at Colonial Downs as a four year old. He was bred in Ontario by Karry Howard and is owned and trained by Pamela Polk. Armbro Casino is a 14 year old gelding who was a $25,000 purchase at the KY Standardbred sale in 2003. He has raced all over the east coast and started his career in the Kentucky Sire Stakes. Armbro Casino has a mark of 1:53.3 set during his 12 year old season at Harrah's Philadelphia and has just over $600,000 made in his career. He was bred by Armstrong Bros, owned by Anthony Gruppo of Hamburg, NY and USHWA President Tim Bojarski of Akron, and trained by Priscilla Mooney. Ted Barcus Race Fan of the Year Brandon Valvo helps to run and write for Harness Racing America. Brandon is very active on social media and is very apt on his international racing. When Bold Eagle attempted his triple crown in France in 2015, he helped to lead Post Time with Mike and Mike on knowing the horses, how to pronounce names, and helped the duo understand the differences in racing in France versus the United States. He writes for the Saratoga Special during the Saratoga thoroughbred meets. Raymond Lance is a freelance photographer and groom in Ohio. Raymond has a big social media presence, specifically on Twitter where he helps to congratulate some of the stakes winners by sharing photos he has taken of them. He most recently attended the Little Brown Jug where he shot some photos for Harness Link. Louie Sorella is a Canadian harness racing fan who follows the Western Fair Meet in London, Ontario. His selections and insight can be found on Twitter, but his selections are also used on the Western Fair feed. He is more commonly known by the folks at Western Fair as #LouKnows. Louie promotes the sport of harness racing and tries to help new fans grasp the gambling aspect of the game. Sydney Weaver, from Canada, is the owner of Sydney Seelster who raced in Canada. She currently writes for Harness Link with her On The Rail series, chronicling her travels and experiences to different race tracks and harness racing events. Her horse Sydney Seelster is currently in foal to Rock N Roll Heaven. Sydney helps to market the sport by showing up at racetracks with her family, cheering horses and horse people on, and helping to create a positive attitude towards the sport on social media. Russ Adams runs a harness racing handicapping group on Facebook and helps to promote the Western Fair and Rosecroft product specifically. He has his selections highlighted on the Western Fair feed and promotes racing by highlighting big events in his Facebook group and visiting different racetracks to participate in handicapping contests. Steve Roth is the track photographer at Buffalo Raceway in Hamburg, New York. Roth started as the photographer full-time in 2014 and has a big social media following in Western New York where he shares some of his professional work. Roth attends the races in the off-season at Batavia Downs Gaming in New York and has learned a lot about the sport of harness racing. Chris Van Hattern has a big twitter following and helps to promote the sport of harness racing by posting videos of a majority of the stakes races around the world on YouTube. Chris is from New Zealand and has worked with Post Time with Mike and Mike before by helping to post a video of the American race call provided for Bold Eagle's triple crown attempt in France. Tom Dubrick has an extensive Facebook following and is a two-time Post Time award nominee. Tom brings a positive presence to the industry through his numerous Facebook posts regarding the racing action at Hoosier Park. Race Call of the Year Sam McKee is the announcer at the Meadowlands Racetrack and the Red Mile in Kentucky. Sam called Always B Miki in his world record performance of 1:46. Joe Zambito is the announcer at Batavia Downs Gaming in New York. Joe called Foiled Again in the 2016 Kane Memorial where he closed from off the pace to win against a stacked field. Barry Vicroy is the announcer at Scioto Downs, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, and Miami Valley Gaming. Barry got to call one of the historic stretch battles between Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki in the 2016 Jim Ewart Memorial. James Witherite is the announcer at Vernon and Tioga Downs in Central New York. He posted a video on Facebook of him calling the closing race of the 2016 at Vernon Downs and it was nominated by several harness racing fans. Shannon "Sugar" Doyle is the announcer at Western Fair Raceway in Ontario. Sugar called the exciting upset of Evenin of Pleasure in the 2016 Molson Pace. Ayers Ratliff is the announcer at Northfield Park in Ohio. Ayers got to announce the 2016 Carl Milstein Memorial where Betting Line dominated the field after throwing a few steps in around the far turn. Horsewoman of the Year Hannah Miller is a one of four two-time Post Time with Mike and Mike nominees. She has participated in a bunch of amateur events in 2016 and has won 30 starts in just over 100 this year. Casie Coleman won the 2016 Little Brown Jug with Betting Line who had a career season in 2016 which ended after a spider bite just before the Breeders' Crown at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Casie races a majority of her starts in Canada and in 2016 she has won 54 times in 194 starts. Devan Miller is an Ohio based trainer and is the daughter of Hall of Fame driver David Miller. Devan has trained horses around the country throughout her career. In 2016 she has won 29 races in 224 starts. Emily Gaskin is the media analyst and a representative at Hoosier Park in Anderson, Indiana. Emily owns her share of horses and helps to actively promote the sport of harness racing on Twitter and Facebook. She has worked very hard to help promote the Hoosier Park brand and also helps the interns that work at the track to learn to be professionals. Emily is a two-time Post Time award nominee. Trainer Linda Toscano has had another spectacular training season including training one of the fastest two year old trotters in history with Walner. Linda has raced all over in 2016 including sporting her champion horse market Share at venues such as Harrah's Philadelphia, The Meadowlands, and Mohawk Racetrack. In 2016, Linda has just under 700 training starts and has won 132 races. Larry Rheinheimer Small Stable of the Year Trainer/driver Marc Campbell is a Canadian based horseman who is from Prince Edward Island. He won the Gold Cup and Saucer with Take It Back Terry in 2015 and had multiple nominations for the small stable award. Marc only has 186 training starts this year, but has shown his stable success by winning 58 times and has a UTRS of .430. Jeff Gregory is a trainer/driver on the New York Sire Stakes circuit. Jeff trains sensation Barn Doll who has been racing against some of the top horses in 2016 and won the Miss Versatility on September 22 at the Delaware Ohio County Fair. Jeff was second this year with Spicedbourbongirl in the Kentucky Filly Futurity which is one of many stakes races he has participated in this season. In just two years training full-time after many injuries he has won stakes races in 3 different states. When Marion Marauder came to the stable of Paula Wellwood, there is no way she could have known what he would do for her stable. In 2016, Paula led Marion Marauder to a triple crown season capped by a win in the Kentucky Futurity in Lexington, KY. Paula is a Canadian based trainer from Cambridge and in 15 starts has won 8 this season. Maria Rice is a Western New York based trainer and is a two-time Post Time Award nominee. Maria has won 84 starts in 399 starts as of the time of this writing. Maria conditions horses at Batavia Downs Gaming and Buffalo Raceway. One of her favorite horses is a trotter named Keystone Bernard who she calls Bernie who she shows sleeping on Facebook leading up to races. She has a UTRS of .364 in 2016 and has just over $500,000 in purses. Jim and Joanne Looney-King have become fan favorites and are also a two time Post Time Award nominee. Joanne is the mother of Heather Vitale, and is the trainer of Wakizashi Hanover. She led Newborn Sassy to the Breeders' Crown final at the Meadowlands in October. Joanne currently has just over $1 million dollars in the bank and has won 52 times in 223 starts. Upset of the Year Throughout 2016 the main battle has been between Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki, but in August another horse showed that he could be dominate with a shocking victory in the US Pacing Championship. Shamballa trained by Rick Zeron showed that he belonged with this group by winning easily. Mark MacDonald has been trying to win the Molson Pace at Western Fair for a long time, 2016 looked like his year, except Sylvain Fillion and Evenin Of Pleasure had other plans. Late in the stretch Sylvain went by at astronomical odds to prove he was the best that night. Imacrazynewyorker shocked trotters in New York at Saratoga Casino, winning at odds of 102-1 for trainer John Hallett and driver Mark Beckwith. In 2016, Bold Eagle attempted to become the first horse to winning the French Triple Crown. He won the first two legs easily, but the final leg the Prix de Paris wasn't as easy as the first two. Bold Eagle rode a 1st over journey and turning for home took the lead, but Lionel had other plans springing a monumental upset in the shadow of the wire. The Jackpot Hi-5 wager is a wager that has taken form at some racetracks in North America. At Pompano Park Diamonds Princess upset at a 44-1 causing one patron to win just over $182,000. By Michael Carter, for Post. Time with Mike and Mike

Tabcorp Park Melton hosted the eighth annual Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Hall of Fame gala presentation dinner last night. In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees and the elevation of Popular Alm to ‘Legend status’, the night featured the Harness Racing Australia Media Awards, the VRHMA Certificates of Merit and the Trainers and Drivers Association Certificates of Merit. Presented by the VHRMA in conjunction with Tabcorp Park, the Trainers and Drivers Association, SEW Eurodrive and Harness Racing Victoria,  six inductees to the Hall of Fame were honoured plus one legend of the sport. Hall of Fame inductees: Don Dove Jack (JP) McKay Ben Coram Jack & John Campbell Adaptor Carlotta’s Pride Legend status Popular Alm Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association Meritorious Awards Graeme Prosser Jim Matthews (Posthumous) VHRMA Certificates of Merit Ron Anderson (Former HRV Board member) Stan Rutland (Former Bendigo HRC President) Neil Keamy (Long time press photographer) Dr Peter Ellis (Kilmore Veterinary Surgeon) Neil Richmond (Former HRV Board member) Kyle Galley (Long Time Media Participant) Len Baker

Scripts from 2016 Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Hall of Fame Night, courtesy of legendary trots scribe MAX AGNEW CARLOTTAS PRIDE – Hall of Fame inductee Clearly the finest trotter of her day in Australia during the 1950s, Carlottas Pride was bred by Victoria’s top breeder of that era, Eric Cochran, who leased the filly to trainer George Gath where she raced in the name of his wife Gladys throughout her wonderful career of 45 victories that included 16 classics and the major races of the day. In late December of 1955, she easily beat her own track record at the Melbourne Showgrounds, then at her next start when taken up to Sydney’s Harold Park, she set a new track record there.  A month later when floated by stablehand Ron Peace to Adelaide to defend her title in that State’s major trot, the South Australian Trotting Cup, she overcame her 96 yards handicap to win, setting yet another track record for the small Wayville circuit when driven by Norm Gath, younger brother of the trainer.    Another memorable achievement for Carlottas Pride was her taking on the top pacers in a Sydney Spring Cup, easily winning this major pacing event with second place to the outstanding pacer Maestro’s Melody, a placegetter in an Inter Dominion Pacing Final. The morning after one of the mare’s wins at Harold Park when driven by Neville Gath, elder son of George, early the next morning Neville was floating Carlottas Pride back to Melbourne and diverted across to Leeton where a cousin was to be married that day, planning to stable the mare for a few hours at the trotting track. He was surprised to discover there was a race meeting that afternoon, and when the club realised who it was coming in the gate, they invited Neville to put on an exhibition trot with the mare. To then, Leeton had never included a trotting race at any meeting.  After her trial, Neville was delighted to learn Carlottas Pride had easily beaten the track record for pacers there. A wonderful trotter that set track records wherever she went, we welcome Carlottas Pride into our Hall Of Fame for 2016, with Neville Gath to accept this honour on behalf of connections.   BEN CORAM – Hall of Fame inductee When Ben Coram attended a horse sale in 1933 near Dandenong, he knew little about trotting, though handling horses every day that pulled the milk carts he operated. He took an interest in an untried young pacer when it was led into the sale ring. Urged on by a mate to put in a bid and save a horse from the knackery, it was knocked down to Ben for 11 guineas, about 22 dollars. Sending the horse to a trotting trainer, the horseman soon after declared it was useless trying to get this one to the races, so Ben decided to train it himself, enabling them both to learn about harness racing. With Ben in the sulky, its first win was at Ascot, opposite the Melbourne Showgrounds. Obviously it did not impress greatly as when it later saluted for its third victory there, it returned a record 71 pounds with the on-course tote, equal to 142 dollars. Dan’s Son, with Ben in the sulky, went on improving until culminating its racing career by winning the 1938 Adelaide Inter Dominion on the small Wayville track. Flushed with this success, Coram came to enjoy further victories with other horses including the smart Miraculous. After the Melbourne Showgrounds opened in November of 1947, Ben, along with his sons Bruce and Lloyd, each drove with success there. More recently a grand-daughter of Ben, Georgie Coram, purchased a trotter at the Tabcorp Park Yearling sales, where among its wins has been one this past season at this very track.   Ben Coram – the man who saved an untried pacer from becoming dogs’ meat, and rewarded when later it became an Inter Dominion Champion – a worthy inductee into the Hall Of Fame – with Georgie Coram to accept on behalf of the Coram family.   ADAPTOR – Hall of Fame inductee A 1963 colt by Dick Adios, Adaptor was raced by Steve Touhey of Serpentine, and trained and driven by Jack Hargreaves from Korong Vale. The colt’s training track had been created in a large wheat paddock where Jack had also trained several well-known pacers including the darling of country harness, Faye Marie. From this background, Adaptor had 45 starts for 27 victories, a record that would surely have been improved upon had he not been such an unreliable horse away from a standing start. The strapper of the horse was the owner’s son, Brian, who played football in the Bendigo League for Golden Square, and the colours worn in Adaptor’s wins were the same as this footy team. Though winning several classics as a youngster, the season 1969 would be this stallion’s big year. He started it off by winning the Apollo Mile at the Melbourne Showgrounds setting a new world record for a three-furlong track of 2:00.4.  He then captured the Bendigo Cup from 24 yards behind after being slowly away.  Then, on March 10 at Sydney’s Harold Park behind the mobile, he won the third running of the Miracle Mile in 1:59.1, beating the Kiwi Twinkle Hanover. The champion staying mare Richmond Lass finished fifth in that event. Within three days of that victory, American interests purchased the five-year-old Adaptor for $120,000, plus a contingency of a further $75,000. This was the highest price an Aussie pacer had to then been sold to North America. He won several races in the USA going smart times. In one of these wins he lowered his best time to 1:58.2.  When retired to stud there, he was given few opportunities, but did leave a handful of winners. Accepting the induction of Adaptor into the Hall Of Fame is the horse’s one-time strapper Brian, the son of the late Steve Touhey.   JACK McKAY – Hall of Fame inductee With the induction of Jack McKay into the Harness Racing Hall Of Fame, it is the second time we have two brothers involved – the first being Neville and Brian Gath, and now the late Jack McKay following in the footsteps of his older brother Bill who was inducted in 2010.   Both brothers trained at the Melbourne Showgrounds at one time, where they dominated the classics for two and three-year-olds, often with Bill driving the winners trained by brother Jack. Among the major clients Jack trained for in this era were three notable breeders – the Abrahams family of Meadowbrook Stud; Jack Campbell of Loddon Valley Stud, and the man they called ‘Minyip Jack’. Few trainers of any era have been able to match the number of classic winners Jack McKay trained, as they included such stars as the great Argent, inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2009.  She later produced the outstanding colt Gyro for Jack. Other classic performers he trained as youngsters included Dale Spring, Chrome Gift, Explicit, Sheffield Globe, Pacing Gift, Alternative, Charltonian, and Receiver. Then there were Edict, Cute Bono, Harold Dillon, Kowtow, Clan Mactavish, and Geeteevee.  There are many who believe his best was either the filly Argent, or her son Gyro, while he also trained their close relatives Gyration and Sperry. Many might not remember that it was Jack who also trained Field Battery before it later sired Inter Dominion champion Minuteman. Jack was a man who was quietly spoken – though he did on one occasion speak up knowing it would get him into a spot of trouble with certain stewards when he told them they were getting it all wrong. Speaking his mind like that cost him a little holiday, but he believed it only right to point out why they were so wrong. He worked his horses hard, but no one turned them out fitter than J.P. McKay, and we welcome this fine horseman into the Hall Of Fame for 2016, with his daughter Jo Noonan representing the family tonight.   DON DOVE – Hall of Fame inductee A highly successful trainer-driver, Don Dove had something that most colleagues never had – his own sire. After making his mark early on as a driver, Don began training and driving the progeny of Dignus, a grand-son of Light Brigade he had purchased. Many of its 57 winners he trained and drove himself.      The most memorable of these of course was his best-ever pacer, a 1966 colt he named Monara. It won successive A. G. Hunter Cups in 1973 and 74, and many other races – so often with this brilliant beginner going to the lead and then Don playing cat-and-mouse tactics out in front before dashing this son of Dignus away and holding off all comers. Those who may remember the 1972 Inter Dominion Final when Don was having a little holiday, will agree Monara was something beaten into second place that night. Don won many races on his brother Eric’s trotter Just Money, along with Nelson’s Report, Lauries Legacy and Kara Miss, and filled in well when winning the 1965 Warragul Cup driving the great little Macaree, and the 1967 Victoria Derby driving Kelly Kid. When the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association formed in 1968, he was elected to its first committee. Don is also the father of Trevor and Stephen, both well known horsemen of a few seasons back. In retirement, Don Dove moved to Queensland in 1998 and it was there he passed away in 2014 at the age of 86. Wife Betty Dove accepted on behalf of the family.   JACK & JOHN CAMPBELL – Hall of Fame inductees A year or so after night trotting opened in Melbourne in November, 1947, Jack Campbell, then a farmer near Charlton, recognised the urgent need to breed pacers to fill these ranks in town. In turning his farm into a trotting stud, he was told the best broodmares on either side of the Tasman were from the Pride Of Lincoln family in New Zealand, but the Lancaster family rarely ever sold these to rival breeders. Jack went to work on Mr Lancaster, and the seven mares that arrived by boat in Sydney from New Zealand for him included four from this famous family, creating a wonderful foundation for his band of mares. Jack himself raced three pacers back then that won the minimum of seven races in one season needed to go through the classes at the Melbourne Showgrounds in a season – these were Lassie Mactavish, Charltonian and Pacing Gift.  Jack Campbell was named ‘Victorian Owner of the Year’, back when you only got a letter from the Board to say you had won such an honour! Among the numerous classic winners Jack bred was Sheffield Globe, later to win two A.G. Hunter Cups, finishing second in another after dragging a flat tyre for most of the event. That great pacer Dales Gift was a son of Pacing Gift. He also bred Juniors Image, first past the post in a New Zealand Inter Dominion only to lose it in the stewards’ room. The best sire he stood was Noble Scott, six times No.1 sire in Australia. He enjoyed leasing out mares to battlers to get them started. One of these mares foaled the outstanding Achamar Chief. In 1972 his only son John married Kay, and his father elevated him to be the new studmaster, with the couple moving into the home on the family property then near Boort named Loddon Valley Stud.  Until then, his father had often sent out a mare or two to an outside stallion to secure new blood, but with young John now in charge, he began breeding their mares to their own stallions. Among the best pacers John has bred was the much travelled Flashing Red, winner of two New Zealand Cups and an Auckland Cup. Rip Van Winkle was a star in Australia in its day, while Exotic Strike won the APG 2YO Final, and Turbo Tyson was a multiple classic winner in Tasmania.     Jack and John Campbell – breeders of hundreds of winners in Australian harness racing, and worthy inductees to our Hall Of Fame.  We invite John Campbell to accept their award.   ELEVATED TO LEGEND STATUS – POPULAR ALM Since the Victorian Harness Racing Hall Of Fame began in 2009, only two horses have been elevated to Legend’s status – Maori’s Idol and Globe Derby, both standouts in the history of the sport. Tonight, a third great horse will achieve this rare honour, when we salute the brilliant Popular Alm. In-bred to Adios, this magnificent looking colt with a soft and silky bay coat, was bred at Bendigo by Arthur Pearce and his wife Gwen, and driven to its early victories by son-in-law John Mamouney. The horse they call ‘Poppy’ was then sold to clients of the Knight stable at Kilmore.  Popular Alm was surely the fastest and most brilliant pacer of them all, setting a world record for a one-mile trial at Moonee Valley in 1983 when stopping the clock at 1:53.2. Many to attend the gallops on a Saturday afternoon at the ‘Valley’ would stay around to watch this horse perform, and he never let them down, often winning by wide margins. One can only wonder what a horse like ‘Poppy’ could pace on a track like today’s Tabcorp Park. On two occasions, sickness and injury, upset plans for Inter Dominion campaigns.   His racing career also looked over when he broke a leg on the training track.  After having screws inserted in the leg, there were many well-wishers during his months of recovery, including many get-well cards posted to the Knights from children. Like a true champion, Popular Alm did return to the racetrack for two further events – winning them both for reinsman/trainer Vin Knight, with hardly a dry eye in the crowd at Moonee Valley.   Popular Alm retired having won 49 races and pocketing $710,883 for his happy owners. At stud he could not match his racing record, though three of his offspring did win in fast times. To represent the owners of this remarkable pacer is John Green, one of the original syndicate members when the horse was sold to the Knight stable. VIDEO: Re-live Popular Alm's 1983 Winfield Cup win at Moonee Valley (2/12/1983)

November 16, 2016, Louisville, Kentucky---The University of Louisville Equine Industry Program announced today that Jeffrey Gural, a long-time New York real estate magnate, Standardbred breeder and owner, and, more recently, harness racing track owner and operator in New Jersey and New York, has been selected at the recipient of the John W. Galbreath Award, given each year since 1990 to a person or persons who have led successful equine enterprises. "The Galbreath Award recognizes people who have built successful enterprises that serve the industry and act in a positive way to build marketing initiatives that encourage participation in the horse industry by others," said Tim Capps, the director of the Equine Industry Program. "Jeff Gural's love of horses and of the game of harness racing has driven his desire to sustain the sport and make it a better place, first for fans, then for participants. He's a believer in the sport, and has invested a lot of his money and time into making it more vibrant and more deserving of peoples' attention." Gural became part of New York's complex and challenging real estate industry as a birth-right, growing up in the home of Aaron Gural, who made the commercial real estate business in New York his passion from the late 1930's onward. Aaron Gural would build a large real estate management company which would become, arguably, the city's largest in terms of square footage under management, running more than eight million square feet of real estate. His son, Jeff, found his way into the same business with his father, but not before earning a degree in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic University, a private school located in Troy, New York, known as an incubator of promising engineers but not horse racing enthusiasts or participants. "I got interested in harness racing as a young guy, going to the New York tracks, in particular Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island. We would gather a bunch of guys and go out and bet and drink beer and have a great time," says Gural, who admits he fell in love with horses along the way, without recognizing at the time that they, and the industry, would become one of his chief passions. Gural began his real estate career in 1966 when he went to work for the Morse-Diesel Construction Company, joining his father's firm in 1972. "Of the things I'm grateful for, one is being born in a real estate family and another is the things I learned from my father, one of which is that to be successful in commercial real estate you need to have a long-term perspective, be in it for the long haul. Gural would become the head of Newmark Frank in the late '70's, then lead it through both national expansions and international efforts that would result in a strategic partnership with Knight Frank, a London-based company in 2006. That would bring them into the international real estate business in a major way, and would lead to their acquisition by BGC Partners, a public company traded on NASDAQ. While at age 74, Gural still manages the buildings the company owns and operates on a daily basis, he is the practical and spiritual leader of American Racing and Entertainment LLC, which operates "racinos" at Vernon Downs and Tioga Raceway in western New York, and perhaps harness racing's most glamorous facility at the Meadowlands in northern New Jersey. "I have two Standardbred farms in New York, and a lot of horses, which I love being around and watching them," says Gural. "They have a calming effect on me!" Not so calming are the operations of the three tracks, which have been upgraded and are marketed more than their competitors. While the "Great Recession" was damaging to the horse industry in general, its impacts on the racing industry were particularly visible through sharp declines in foal crops, drops in wagering at virtually all tracks, and cuts in race days across the country. Gural stepped in as the owner of the two New York tracks---one senior manager at a New York track in their area credits Gural with making a bad situation tolerable. "He saved New York harness racing upstate without question. He was the indispensable guy, the person who made the difference." As notable were his efforts at the Meadowlands, where he decided to lease the operation from the state, then leave the old plant behind and build a new facility, smaller but more promotable and usable than the prior facility. Had he done just that he would have satisfied many concerned harness industry participants who were looking for ports in the storm. However, .................. Gural has been a strong advocate for cleaning up the sport, "making it something people can believe in again," as he puts it, and that has rubbed a number of people the wrong way. Gural has suspended trainers and owners for repeated drug use and other bad habits that he feels are not appropriate at a time when horsemen need to put on a quality show that emphasizes the best in horse care and management, and a good show, besides. "We spend real money on marketing, on telling people why this is a good game to participate in, so we need to make sure that what we tell them is fair and accurate," says Gural, whose tone can be charming (he's a major philanthropist in New York) or blunt, but rarely both. As a self-acknowledged liberal Democrat, he knows and has known leading Democratic politicians for years, but acknowledges that the current political climate is mixed for gaming efforts, having backed a visible effort to bring a casino to the Meadowlands only to see it fall in popularity to the point he and fellow supporter Paul Fireman announced in late summer that they were backing away from the idea for the moment. It is taking a longer time than he would like to get the stars aligned in his harness world, but he's been going down this road for awhile, so attempts to be philosophical: "We have to change in order to survive; having said that I continue to believe that change---positive change---is a possibility, and a necessity," says Gural. The Galbreath Award will be presented at the Speed Art Museum, adjacent to the College of Business, on Thursday evening, November 17th. Tim Capps Director, Equine Industry Program University of Louisville

The horse who has captivated a nation attracted the audience’s applause one more time when Lennytheshark was crowned harness racing 'Victorian Horse of the Year'. The David Aiken trained, Chris Alford driven, Martin and Kevin Riesley owned seven-year-old was awarded the major equine honour at Sunday night’s 2016 Gordon Rothacker Medal celebration at the Crown Palladium. The award was reward for Lennytheshark’s outstanding 2015-16, in which his successes included winning the Perth Inter Dominion and Good Form Victoria Cup, in addition to second placings in the Miracle Mile and Len Smith Mile. “It’s quite humbling to be up here,” part-owner Martin Riesley said. “The horse has done a fantastic job. “After the season, you have a look at the horses who have gone before and won these awards and it really puts it into context how special it is.” Gammalite, Popular Alm, Shakamaker and Sokyola are but some of the superstars of the trots whose company Lennytheshark rightly shares, having on the night also officially received the Harness Racing Australia Horse of the Year award. “It’s an absolute credit to the whole team that goes behind Lenny,” Mr Riesley said. “The way that David (Aiken) and the whole Aiken team manage him from the time he spends in the water walker to our vet Simon Robinson, Patrick Ryan when the horse was coming back – he spent I don’t know how many kms just walking – and the whole team has just put in an awesome effort.” And it’s also a family affair, not only for the owning father-and-son, but for many who have been adopted into the wider Lennytheshark family. “It’s not only our immediate family, staff at our work, cousins, distant cousins who you don’t even know come out of the woodwork. I went to Flemington races yesterday, I was on the bus and someone wanted to come up and talk about Lenny with me who I didn’t even know. It’s just fantastic and we all enjoy it.” Lennytheshark, who will soon head to Perth to defend his crown, won the honour ahead of fellow Victorian Horse of the Year nominees Ideal For Real, Rocknroll Magic and Keystone Del. The winners of the horse of the year categories were as follows: Two-year-old pacing filly: Petacular (trained by Michael Stanley) Two-year-old pacing colt and gelding: The Storm Inside (Emma Stewart) Two-year-old trotting filly: Kyvalley Kyrie (Brent Lilley) Two-year-old trotting colt and gelding: Illawong Byron (Jodi Quinlan) Three-year-old pacing filly: Rocknroll Magic (Emma Stewart) Three-year-old pacing colt and gelding: Dont Hold Back (Mario Attard) Three-year-old trotting filly: High Gait (Nicole Molander) Three-year-old trotting colt and gelding: Cruisin Around (Michael Hughes) Four-year-old pacing filly: Delight Me (Emma Stewart) Four-year-old pacing colt and gelding: Ideal For Real (Emma Stewart) Four-year-old trotting filly: Endsino (Andy Gath) Four-year-old trotting entire and gelding: Sparkling Success (John Meade) Aged pacing filly: Nike Franco (Dean Braun) Aged pacing colt and gelding: Lennytheshark (David Aiken) Aged trotting filly: Maori Time (Brent Lilley) Aged trotting entire and gelding: Keystone Del (Brent Lilley) Victorian Horse of the Year: Lennytheshark (David Aiken) Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

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