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Trenton, NJ --- For the first time in her life, Barn Bella will experience the thrill of crossing a state border. And her connections hope she continues to give them thrills while mixing with harness racing “open” company. After tearing through the competition for two years on her home turf of New York, the 4-year-old mare will compete in her first race outside the Empire State when she makes her season's debut Monday (May 7) in the $81,600 Miami Valley Distaff for female trotters ages 4 and up. The Distaff, part of a Miami Valley Raceway card that also features the $102,200 Sam “Chip” Noble III Memorial for older female pacers, attracted a field that includes defending champion and millionaire Charmed Life, multiple O’Brien Award-winner Caprice Hill, last year’s Kentucky Filly Futurity winner Ice Attraction, Ohio Sire Stakes champ Rose Run Sydney, and Indiana Sire Stakes champ Churita. “You’re excited about it,” Barn Bella’s co-owner/trainer Steven Pratt said. “I would have liked to have a couple starts to have an idea of where she’s at instead of going in blind. There’s a bunch of good ones in this race, that’s for sure. But she’s a good mare.” Good does not really cover it. In 24 career races, most against only New York-bred horses, Barn Bella has won 18 (with all her losses coming in races in which she went off stride) and earned $688,725. She was the New York Sire Stakes champion for filly trotters at ages 2 and 3. The horse has been so outstanding, Pratt is abandoning his usual practice of racing a horse at ages 2 and 3 and then selling it. As part-owner with wife Nancy and Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stables, the trainer will take a horse out of state for the first time since he began working with young ones 12 years ago. “Wanda was going to have to make a decision whether to sell or buy me out to race her,” Pratt said. “We talked about it. For her, she enjoys watching the race, so I’m good with that.” So, Barn Bella will take on the Grand Circuit against some of the best female competition in the land. She came close to going out of state last year when Pratt wrote a $62,500 check to supplement to the Breeders Crown before ultimately deciding not to go to the event. “You had to be third to break even, or even lose about $10,000 if you were third,” he said. “We decided enough’s enough. And rather than breed her this year we would give her a chance to race against the Grand Circuit horses and see what happens.” This year, she is staked to nearly a dozen races, including the Miami Valley Distaff, Graduate Series, Miss Versatility Series, Armbro Flight, Hambletonian Maturity, Dr. John R. Steele Memorial, Joie De Vie, Allerage Farms for mares, Breeders Crown and TVG championship. Pratt feels his horse is ready to meet the challenge. “She went last year in (1):51(.3) pretty handy,” he said. “She’s never been beat that she hasn’t made a break. With all the rest we’ve won. “She’s matured this year. She’s heavier; I hope she’s not too fat. But she’s matured a lot. She has a very nice temperament. She’s a nice horse to race; Jeff (Gregory) and Claude (Huckabone Jr.) have done a great job driving her.” A daughter of Conway Hall out of Bravissima, Barn Bella was purchased for $32,000 at the 2015 SUNY Morrisville Sale. Barn Bella has lived up to Pratt’s expectations, and has turned a tidy profit despite staying local. “It’s just limiting her starts and if they’re good enough, they’re going to win the Empire Breeders and the (NYSS) finals,” Pratt said. “Half a million’s enough without leaving the state. “I’m just small, I buy and race two or three of them. The simpler the better. I’m getting near the end of the tunnel. I’ve maintained that if they’re good enough, if they’re the best in New York, you’ll make enough. You don’t have to run around. A lot of times you’re just giving it back between stakes fees and shipping, stuff like that.” Pratt’s biggest concern with this season is time constraints due to travel, but that cannot offset his anticipation to see what his mare can do on the big stages. “The most exciting thing is that she won’t see a half-mile track except for Delaware,” he said. “She’ll be on the big track and that’s where she belongs, away from the half-mile. So we’ll give her a couple starts and we’ll see where she’s at. "She’s been a good one for us. They had some real nice fillies last year at 3 but she just was dominant. She can race on the front or she can race from behind. She’s just a nice horse. It’s always nice to be lucky enough to have a real nice one. It really is. We’ll see if she’s a real nice horse against the good competition.” Racing begins at 2:05 p.m. (EDT) Monday at Miami Valley. The Distaff is race eight and the Noble, which honors the late Ohio Hall of Fame horseman Chip Noble, is race 10. For the complete Miami Valley Distaff field, click here. For the complete Sam “Chip” Noble III Memorial field, click here. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Trenton, NJ --- McGwire Sowers showed at an early age that he knew how to make something out of nothing on a racetrack. Driving his first harness racing matinee at Cornish Trotting Park in Maine, Sowers was 12 years old and drew the two-hole in a five-horse field. “It didn’t go very good,” he recalled. “I got behind the gate and the horse got quite rammy, and it was kind of overwhelming for me; I didn’t know how to handle it. I was kind of scared. Before that I had never been behind a starting car.” So, a wild guess here. It was a fifth-place finish? “Oh yeah,” Sowers said with a laugh. But instead of falling apart and just mailing it in, the pre-teen decided to take a positive from it. “I took him back and just got a feel for it,” he said. “Just to see how it felt to drive in a race.” It is that sort of wherewithal that has launched the now 18-year-old Sowers to a solid rookie campaign in his first pari-mutuel season. His first win at a pari-mutuel track came March 11 at Maryland’s Rosecroft Raceway, but it was opening day at Scarborough Downs on March 31 that was downright amazing. Sowers won not just one race, but five, including four in a row starting in the third race. Gwire, as his friends call him -- except for Jason Bartlett, who tagged him Big Mac -- drove Falcon’s Luke to a winning time of 1:57.1 to get the big day started. “I had the five hole and I looked over behind the gate, nobody was getting after their horse to leave, so I lucked out and went right to the lead,” Sowers said. “I rated him a good mile and stepped on the gas down the backside and it was game on.” That was followed by victories behind Jus’ Like A Virgin, Keystone Camaro, and Bliss And Luck. He capped the day by taking Northern Ideal first across the line in the finale. On the 10-race card, Sowers owned half the wins. All five came behind horses trained by his dad, Bo, who runs Bo Sowers Stable in Windsor, Maine. “I was a little worried at the start of Scarborough, putting him in a spot of driving our whole barn of 30 horses,” Bo said. “We talked about it and he said, ‘Let me do it the first weekend and I will prove to you dad.’ Which he did.” Once again, Gwire showed his maturity. Just as he didn’t get too low in his first fair start, he never got too high on his big day. “I was really surprised; I was doing a lot better than I thought I would,” Gwire said. “After I won the third one, I kept turning the page, race after race. I kept looking for the next one. I didn’t keep dwelling on the last win. “It was real emotional. The biggest thing was my family was there from Canada. I wanted to be able to put on a show for them and it turned out to be a great day.” It did not stop there. He has won five more races since then, and continues to make pop smile. “I am very proud of him and his accomplishments so far,” Bo said. “I really did not put much thought to his talent until last year when Heath Campbell, another very good driver and trainer, said to me, ‘The kid has a good set of hands.’ “Winning five on opening day was a surprise. I thought he had a couple of chances but not five. He held his composure well as the first two drives were a bust. It couldn’t have happened on a better day with his top supporters, uncle Rich, his aunt Atheline and uncle Larry showing up from Canada.” Sowers grew up in Woodstock, New Brunswick, but found his love of Standardbreds in Maine. When he was 7, his father had a decision to make. “My father used to be a truck driver, and in 2007 it was either be a trucker or go fulltime into racing,” Sowers said. “He made the right choice.” Gwire began making summer trips to his dad’s barn around age 8. “I would always go sit in there on my dad’s lap and he’d say, ‘We’ll see what we can do,’” Gwire recalled. “I jogged a few horses with him at first, on his lap. Finally I had a horse easy enough to jog myself. He waited for everyone else to jog theirs; he helped me off and that’s the way it went. I fell in love with it. Just sitting behind the horse, moving along. I just loved it.” Bo could immediately see potential. “When we started training together he was competitive from the start and could create speed from a very young age,” he said. Sowers remained in Canada to finish his schooling, but soon began spending summers in Maine to be around the horses. In his first training trip he went 2:15 at age 11. After getting his Q/F license (for matinees, fairs and qualifiers) he won eight of 60 races in 2016 and 25 of 163 last year. Interestingly, Sowers got his first Q/F win with Terem Up Louie (Aug. 20, 2016 at Skowhegan) and got his first pari-mutuel win with the same horse at Rosecroft in March. The past two years were not easy at the start and finish of seasons, as Sowers had to make six-hour round trips each weekend. “It was three hours to where the stables were in Maine,” he said. “I would leave school early on a Friday afternoon, at lunch time; and try to be there 10 minutes before the race. I would race Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then make the trip back Sunday night to get back to school.” Needless to say, it was a grind. “I loved the racing part, but the traveling part, it got a little tiring,” he said. “It burned you out pretty quick. At one point I actually thought about going to school in Maine. Then I thought, nah, I want to finish with my friends and the people I went to school with all my life.” His work ethic isn’t too shabby either. Prior to getting his P license, Sowers would work in a tire shop before heading over to the stables, saying “I got to know all the ins and outs of changing a tire.” While still in school, he played ice hockey from grades 5 through 11, but gave it up as a senior in order to focus on racing. “I was a defenseman; I had a lot of sore parts on the body from taking that puck off of me,” he said. “I was a hundred times more sore after a hockey game than I am after a night of racing.” In order to save himself from another weekend commute this spring, Sowers took a bunch of courses that enabled him to earn his high school degree in December, which has freed him to completely focus on his driving career. Gwire is obviously encouraged by his start and hopes to make it his career. He is not, however, going after it at all costs. “I never went through the thought process of going to college,” he said. “I’m doing good right now, I’m not thinking about it. But if I can’t start driving at some of the bigger tracks, if I don’t start driving places like Yonkers and the Meadowlands, I’m going to think about college. I would take online courses; I wouldn’t be into the whole going to classes. “I’m thinking I’ll do it for maybe a year or two just to see how it’s going. You always have to have a Plan B, so college would be my Plan B if the driving thing doesn’t work out. I may try to do both at the same time, but I would have to see.” At the moment, however, things are working out just fine. “I’m more than happy,” Gwire said. “I didn’t expect it to go this way right at first. I thought I would have to work my way up to do as well as I’ve been doing.” And he is impressing the folks who count the most. “My owners are all standing behind him especially Irwin Kaplan with Mo Coo Inc.,” Bo noted. “I really don’t know what else I can say other than I’m very happy and proud of him.” That sounds like the perfect thing to say. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Trenton, NJ --- The sound of a 2006 Chevy Malibu can be heard roaring along the drive and, suddenly, a bevy of cats emerge from seemingly everywhere to greet the driver. It’s meal time for the felines at harness racing's training center Gaitway Farm in New Jersey. The vehicle’s passengers are Marion Sumpf and Liz Horvath, both known for their work as caretakers, who have been guardian angels for feral cats at the farm for the past eight years, as well as the now defunct Showplace Farms. Marion has retired recently and Liz is on disability. The two are currently feeding 28 cats that have either been dumped off or just appeared at the farm. Rather than take them to a shelter, where they would perish if not adopted, they look out for them. Since ferals do not get along with humans, most of the cats hide in the trees and brush at the end of the back barn. But they wait for the humming of that specific engine.   USTA/Ken Weingartner photo Marion Sumpf and Liz Horvath have been guardian angels for feral cats at Gaitway Farm for the past eight years. “It’s amazing, they know the sound of my car and they all come running like a herd of elephants,” Sumpf said. “It’s pretty cool. “They learn to know who feeds them. It’s not me that they like. There’s a few I can pick up and pet, but the majority are pretty scared. They’ll come when the food is down but as soon as you try to pet them or something, they’re gone. They come right back when I back off. They’re associated with the sound of this car. ‘Oh, here comes the food person, it’s time to eat, let’s rock.’ They come from every corner.” But as much as they like the food, most don’t care to show thanks. “You’re not going to grab them and play with them,” said Sumpf, who worked as a groom at Ron Burke’s stable before retiring. “We may have a few like that, but the majority you can’t pet them and carry on or you’re liable to have cut marks.” Sumpf and Horvath don’t do it to be loved. They do it because they feel it’s the right thing to keep these animals alive and healthy. Part of that is to make sure they don’t multiply and, over the years, have paid out of their own pockets to have them neutered and spayed. Fortunately, they have had help. A few years ago Gaitway paid to have a dozen fixed. Trainers and grooms at the farm have supplied food; remnants of grocery store rotisserie chickens are a favorite with the feline set. Several grooms and trainers on the farm have donated money; Dr. Patty Hogan ran a youth clinic at her clinic and in lieu of tuition, each attendee was asked to bring cat food that was donated to the cause; and an equine veterinarian who requests anonymity helps out by neutering male cats free of charge. But with so many animals, ranging from kittens on up, a big financial burden still falls on Sumpf and Horvath, who refuse to let the cats suffer or perish. “We’ve been doing it just because somebody needs to do it,” Sumpf said. “There’s always the people that say, ‘Phooey on them, just drown them or whatever.’ That’s just normal, sadly. But they don’t go a day without getting fed. They get canned food and dry cat food every day.” While at Showplace, the farm manager kept tabs on the cats and would let the women know whenever a new one came along. At Gaitway it has been more of a team effort, which it needed, as the farm was over-run with cats when Sumpf and Horvath arrived. They managed to track them and get them fixed to put a hold on reproduction; but cats still show up out of nowhere. “A lot of the grooms and some of the trainers will let us know if there’s a cat we don’t recognize that has appeared,” said Sumpf, who has four of the cats from Showplace living with her. While traps are their preferred method of capture, both Horvath and Sumpf have had to resort to netting cats that refuse to come out of barn rafters. “We’ll round them up and get them fixed,” she says. “Sometimes they’ll help us pay for it. What happens is, if you don’t get a handle on it, you can have one female have four or five litters a year. If you multiply that and they have five kittens, that’s a lot of cats. “A lot of it has been our money. Gaitway did help us fix a bunch, and different clinics have helped us. But we still have to take them to people, pay the gas and tolls, pay for the food.” One would think Sumpf would wish to find homes for all the cats to defer her costs; and she has indeed given some away to folks who want them for their farms. But Marion would rather a person’s first choice be to adopt from a shelter, which euthanizes animals if they do not find homes for them after a certain amount of time. “We ourselves will not take any to be euthanized,” Sumpf said. “There are so many in shelters that are so inexpensive, I would almost rather them go there if they want to adopt one. It’s not that I’m against them adopting from us, but I feel so bad when I look online how many get killed at shelters every year. It drives me nuts.” Sumpf noted there are several groups in the Millstone, N.J. area -- where she lives -- that do this sort of thing. “We’re not trying to make an occupation out of this,” she said. “There are just so many of them, it’s just sad. People should just do the right thing; they’d really put a kink in it. At least try to keep them from having more, that’s the whole thing. “I just think it’s a necessity. If we don’t do it, who’s going to? We’ll keep doing it for as long as we’re around here.” Anyone wishing to donate funding for spaying and neutering as needed, cat food or gift cards to Tractor Supply, Petco, or any store selling cat food, to this worthy cause can do so by emailing Sumpf and Horvath at amahmama@aol.com. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Trenton, NJ --- Of the gazillion different professions there are in life, Cecile and Kenneth Andersen encouraged son Bryan to explore pretty much all of them. Except one. “You have no idea how bad my parents tried to kick me away from harness racing,” Andersen said with a laugh. So, what did they want him to do? “Just about anything but,” he said. That wasn’t happening, however, as Bryan’s passion for harness racing was overwhelming. And it seems to be working out, as the 25-year-old took his first trip to heaven on Nov. 2. If Andersen hits the Power Ball and is set financially for life, it still won’t amount to the high he experienced at Freehold that day when he achieved something money can’t buy. Bryan earned his first career driving victory by taking Rock Star wire-to-wire. As he crossed the line, Andersen’s joy was worth more than $1 million a day. “I’d say (it felt like) winning the lottery, but if I won the lottery I don’t think it would be close to how this felt,” he said. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. My grandfather was in the business, my father was in the business. I basically took over for my father, I’ve been working for my license all year.” And the win came in his 16th career race. It’s about time he got some good fortune, as Bryan has had some tough breaks in his life. A resident of Columbus, N.J., Andersen was the equivalent of an equine gym rat. His grandfather, the late Robert Andersen, was a trainer and driver. “He really wasn’t all that great,” Bryan said. “He just loved the horses and did it for the love of it.” When Robert stopped training, he worked as a security guard at Pompano just to stay around it. Ken was in it his entire life as a trainer and driver working for others, and he had the leading pacer at Tioga several years ago. Ken’s brother, Ralph, is a trainer in Massachusetts and his other brother, Al, is a veterinarian. Cecile has been around race horses and riding horses for a lifetime, and Bryan’s sister, Amy Seuss, is the Head Western Pleasure teacher for Delaware Valley College. And they wanted to keep this kid away from horses? Good luck. Bryan grew up helping at his dad’s stable. He wrestled in middle school and gave that up after eighth grade to focus on the horses. But he got sidelined shortly after graduating from Northern Burlington County High School when a scar tissue build-up in his girder resulted in a swollen kidney three times its natural size. “They had to cut it and clip and everything else,” he said. “I was bed-ridden and couldn’t do anything (physical) for six months.” Andersen could not sit around that long, so he attended trade school for massage therapy. He and some partners started a franchise called Massage Delivery, in which they transformed a car trailer into a traveling massage studio and would go from home to home to give massages. Horses, however, were still in the equation. “I would schedule all my massages, then go right back to the stable,” he said. “I always had a project on the side, whether it was a riding horse, or whatever. I always had to be around the horses.” The table-to-stable practice did not last, however. A year after healing from his kidney issues, more misfortune struck Bryan when Massage Delivery went out of business. “I enjoyed doing it very much, but the whole entire franchise fell through, “Andersen said. “The name fell through, one of the partners backed out. It was just a. . . .” Mess? “Yeah, basically.” That just meant more time for the horses. Even if the massage business thrived, Andersen would have never left the barn, saying, “Going around that track, whether it be three minutes and 30 seconds breaking a baby or be it 1:50, that’s my happy place. That’s just where I find the most serenity. Everything else doesn’t matter but me and the animal.” And while Andersen assures that his days as a massage therapist are over, he feels the involvement will be forever invaluable. “It gave me experience a little more with the horses as well; now I can feel problems,” he said. “It becomes like a second set of eyes. Basically, it’s just following a muscle. It’s all muscular, I’ve been around the horses enough to know where they go, how they lead.” After the business folded, Andersen continued to help his dad at their New Egypt barn and, at the start of this year, Bryan took over for his dad and now runs Andersen Stable. He has grown it from two horses to seven. Bryan owns one, Ken owns a baby they just purchased at Harrisburg, and the rest are owned by Robert Zakian. Prior to getting his training and driving licenses this year, Andersen worked for the likes of Linda Toscano, Tony O’Sullivan and Robert Cleary. He spent the summer at Tioga and is currently doing all the training at his stable, although his dad is on hand to provide any necessary help. Four of the seven horses are racing, one is being healed up and the plan is to break two babies in Florida. It took some work to get Rock Star back on the track, as the pacer blew his right front suspensory a while ago. “It ended up being inflamed so we had to baby him back,” Andersen said. “We qualified him, dropped him in the box. I knew he was good and ready. He’s just a good overall horse.” The 7-year-old drew the rail at Freehold, and Bryan took it from there. “I figured if I went a nice and easy :28 in the first quarter, then came back and saw how far I could go with it I knew he could take me the rest of the way,” Andersen said. “He ended up going (1):53 and 4. I cut the mile and it was wire-to-wire.” It was his first win, but not his first time in the money. In 19 drives this year, Andersen has hit the board six times and 33 times as a trainer in 79 starts (with 10 wins). “I want to do both,” he said. “I want to be able to have a barn with a comfortable 30, with a few people working with me; and be able to drive my own but catch drive as well.” Needless to say, the family has changed its thinking on Bryan’s career choice. “They’re all happy for me,” he said. “As of right now, starting out, I’m absolutely happy with where I’m at. I’ve had a killer year as a trainer so far with me just starting out. I’m pretty sure my horses have cleared over $100,000 this year ($141,052 to be exact). It’s been awesome. It took a little longer to get my driver’s license and I still have a lot to learn, but I couldn’t honestly be happier.” by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

For Fourth Dimension, it was the classic case of addition by subtraction. Despite racing well enough in the preliminary legs to qualify for the New York Sire Stakes final at Yonkers, the harness racing freshman trotting colt was held out by trainer Marcus Melander. He felt Fourth Dimension had nothing left to prove in the Empire State and wanted to save him for the Breeders Crown. Removing the NYSS from the equation has paid off so far, as Fourth Dimension was a winner in last Saturday's Breeders Crown 2-year-old colt and gelding elimination races at Hoosier Park. He enters Saturday's final as the 5-2 favorite starting from the No. 4 post position. "He raced great in New York," Melander said. "He took a bad step there at Yonkers right before Lexington; maybe he didn't like the half(-mile track) as much. We decided to skip the New York Sire Stakes final. He showed (in his Breeders Crown elimination) he is one of the best ones in the country, so he is one of the best in New York as well. "It was $225,000 in purses, but we didn't want to go back to New York and race him and then come out here (to Indiana). It's not fair to the horse. We skipped it and I think it was the right move for sure." Fourth Dimension finished second in a Bluegrass Stakes division on Sept. 28 in Lexington, trotting in 1:53.1 and a week later won an International Stallion Stakes division in 1:52.4. In skipping the New York Sire Stakes final on Oct. 14, he got 15 days off and responded with a 2-year-old colt trotter track record of 1:54 in his Breeders Crown elimination. Driven by Brian Sears, the son of Chapter Seven-Corazon Blue Chip started from post seven and took the lead prior to the half. He trotted :28.1 in the final quarter to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Met's Hall. It was the sixth win in eight starts for Fourth Dimension, who also has a second-place finish. He has earned $139,700 for owner Courant Inc. Melander felt the horse's performances in Kentucky confirmed his talent. "Everyone that saw him in Lexington the first week when he was first up on Fashionwoodchopper, we went a big last half there," the trainer said. "The second week, he won so easy in (1):52.4. So I knew I had a good horse. But you never know. "(Our Breeders Crown elimination) was the best 2-year-old horses in North America, except for maybe Alarm Detector and Crystal Fashion, but we won pretty easy. I'm confident for the final." Fourth Dimension will see how he stacks up against Crystal Fashion in the final, as David Miller drove that gelding to a first-place win in 1:54.3 in the other elimination. Crystal Fashion battled Samo Different Day down the wire and held off Fiftydallarbill for a neck victory. "I was very happy with the way he raced," trainer Jim Campbell said. "He came first over and just kind of wore them down." The son of Cantab Hall-Window Willow has hit the board in 10 of 11 starts this year with four firsts, three seconds and three thirds, and has earned $155,292 for owner Fashion Farms. He goes off at 7-2 from the No. 1 post in the final. "We've been very happy with him all year long," Campbell said. "He's the type of horse, he's good gaited, and he always gives us a good effort finishing. The long stretch here definitely doesn't hurt him any." Following is the field for Saturday's $600,000 Breeders Crown 2-year-old colt trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Crystal Fashion-David Miller-Jim Campbell-7/2 2-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/1 3-Fiftydallarbill-Trace Tetrick-William Crone-8/1 4-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-5/2 5-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-9/2 6-Dawson Springs-Joe Bongiorno-Tony Alagna-30/1 7-Moosonee-Scott Zeron-Christopher Beaver-30/1 8-Missle Hill-Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna-30/1 9-Samo Different Day-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-20/1 10-Skyway Torpedo-Peter Wrenn-Alvin Miller-20/1 by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Trenton, NJ --- There could be numerous theories and reasons as to why harness racing trainer Ron Burke is racing trotting mare Hannelore Hanover against the boys in Saturday’s (Oct. 28) $526,250 Breeders Crown Open Trot final at Hoosier Park. But the answer is simple and logical. The trainer pointed out that one reason overrides all the rest. Sounding like the Jerry Maguire of harness racing, Burke is thinking in terms of “Show me the money” when he notes the Open Trot purse is twice the size of the Mare Trot, which Hannelore Hanover won last year. “For me, it’s very simple,” Burke said. “They go for 500, the other one goes for 250. I’m gonna take a chance going for 500.” It looks like sound thinking so far, as Hannelore Hanover won her elimination race last Saturday in 1:52.4. The daughter of Swan For All and High Sobriety stormed quickly from the gate and led throughout as Yannick Gingras brought her home in a final panel of :27.     Dean Gillette photo Hannelore Hanover won her elimination race last Saturday in 1:52.4. She drew the fourth pole position in the final. “We were very happy,” Burke said after the elimination race. “She did what she was supposed to. She got an easy half and she finished off strong with her ear plugs in.” It was an upgrade from the previous week, when Hannelore Hanover finished second behind Churita in the $70,000 Indiana Sires Stakes for older trotting mares. “Last week we were a little bit worried,” Burke said. “To take nothing away from Churita she wasn’t even a good second, she kind of gave it up a little bit. That’s not like her.” Nothing some new-old shoes couldn’t cure. “We went back to the drawing board again,” Burke said after the elim. “Last week I tried a different shoe on her for the first time in her life. Really, I think that was it, I don’t think she liked the shoe. I put her old shoes back on and she was better today.” Hannelore Hanover is not just the only mare in the final, she is the only horse to break 1:50 as her best time this season was a world record 1:49.2. She has hit the board in 13 of 15 races this season with eight wins and five places and her $689,754 in earnings is the second highest total in the field. The horse could be in line for some post-season honors, but that is the least of Burke’s worries. “Obviously you love the awards at the end of the year, but for me she doesn’t need to get any award to prove anything,” Burke said. “She’s the best trotting mare right now. That’s a tough call because Emoticon Hanover and Pasithea Face; these are good horses. I have all the confidence in her and I’m going to give her the chance to be the best.” Hannelore Hanover is trying to become the third mare to win the Open Trot and first since Moni Maker in 1998. CR Kay Suzie turned the trick in 1996.   Dean Gillette photo Crazy Wow was a wire-to-wire winner in 1:53 in the second elimination. Burke also trains Crazy Wow, who went wire-to-wire in the second elimination with Gingras bringing him around in 1:53 to pull off the sweep. The son of Crazed and No Pan No Gain will leave from the second post and try to improve on a season in which 15 starts have produced five firsts, four seconds, two thirds and $551,306 in earnings. “I’m very happy,” Burke said. “He’s had a few bad bumps, but he’s won a lot of major races. I think, right now, he’s right there for aged (male) Trotter of the Year.” Adding big-time name recognition to the final is Marion Marauder, the 2016 Triple Crown Winner who came from the back to finish second, 1-3/4 lengths behind Crazy Wow in the eliminations. He drew the five hole this Saturday. “We knew it was going to be one of those races with a short field, where it’s hard to get positioned and we were going to have to take what we get,” trainer Mike Keeling said. “Scott (Zeron, driver) said he was vicious down near the wire, so we’re very pleased with him.” Marion Marauder is having another big year as a 4-year-old. He leads all finalists with $712,347 in purse money, having won three of nine starts along with three seconds and a third. “Marauder raced exceptionally well at Yonkers (in finishing second in the $1 million International Trot) and followed that up with another great effort in the elims, coming from last,” Zeron said. “He has a nice post position Saturday and I look forward to facing other strong competitors.” Another horse also overcame a slow start in the second elimination, as Resolve used a late burst up the rail to take fifth and sneak into the final. He has four wins in 12 season's starts and earnings of $486,399. “He was good again,” said trainer Ake Svanstedt, who will drive Resolve from the rail on Saturday. “I went to the inside with him and I thought (Lookslikeachpndale) was going to take the passing lane, so I went outside, but then he went outside also. Then I went back over to start over. But he came home fast. “I’m happy with him. He raced with shoes and it was his best race with shoes. He had the power today. If he is normal, he is very strong and I can go with him earlier. He can go on the outside and is very strong.” Following is the field for Saturday’s $526,250 Breeders Crown Open Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Resolve-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-10/1  2-Crazy Wow-David Miller-Ron Burke-9/2  3-Homicide Hunter-Brett Miller-Chris Oakes-8/1  4-Hannelore Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-7/5  5-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1  6-Lookslikeachpndale-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais-20/1  7-Pinkman-Brian Sears-Jimmy Takter-30/1  8-Il Sogno Dream-Corey Callahan-Christopher Beaver-20/1  9-Gural Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15/1  10-Mambo Lindy-Tim Tetrick-Frank Antonacci-15/1 Hoosier Park, in conjunction with Roberts Communications, will offer live steaming and replays of the Breeders Crown races at www.hoosierpark.com/racing/2017breederscrown/. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Trenton, NJ --- After watching their 3-year-old male trotters win two of the three $25,000 Breeders Crown eliminations last weekend, harness racing trainers Frank M. Antonacci and Domenico Cecere will look to continue their success in Saturday’s (Oct. 28) $527,500 final at Hoosier Park. In the first elimination, Scott Zeron drove International Moni to victory by 2-1/4 lengths in a track record of 1:52.4 (which would be broken later in the night). Antonacci and Cecere train for the Moni Maker Stable, which bred and owns the colt. The group is comprised of members of the Antonacci family and David Reid. Lindy The Great won the second elimination by 4-1/4 lengths in 1:53 for the Antonaccis’ K R Breeding and Robert Rudolph. Tim Tetrick drives the homebred Lindy The Great. A son of the French stallion Love You and former Horse of the Year Moni Maker, International Moni brings eight wins in 13 season's starts into the final, and has earned $385,555. Cecere feels the only thing to beat him has been misfortune. “Moni is money,” Cecere said. “He’s shown all year, I think, that he is the best 3-year-old. He’s had very, very bad luck. Bad luck in the Hambletonian and bad luck in Lexington. In the Futurity, he got the one hole and it was all water and he put in a bad step and we lost him. But he came out of the race great and we decided to supplement him because he deserved to be in the big one.” International Moni, who drew the four post for the final, had to come from behind in his elimination. After three different horses took turns up front, Sears went on the outside to overtake the leaders and pull away. “He did it the hard way,” Cecere said. “He came first over, and (Friday) I was watching the races and it looked like it was hard to come first over. But it looks like he loved first over. He raced great.” As did Lindy The Great, who ripped off fractions of :27.3, :56 and 1:23.3 to lead wire-to-wire. According to Cecere, the horse lived up to the last part of his name. “He was great,” the trainer said. “He raced great, too, in Lexington. He’s been strong. He trained great, he warmed up great. Last year on this track he struggled a little bit in the last turn, but this time he raced with more confidence. His gait was more fluid.” In nine starts this year, Lindy The Great has three wins, a place and a show for $168,683 in earnings. He drew the five hole for the final. “I’m very happy with him,” Cecere said. “He wasn’t a hundred percent this year up in Canada and we made some changes and got him right. We always knew he was a great horse.” Speaking of greatness, What The Hill enters the final as the field’s top 2017 money winner with $495,026. The son of Muscle Hill-K T Cha Cha made sure International Moni’s track record did not last long, as he set a new standard of 1:52.1. Trained by Ron Burke and driven by David Miller, What The Hill took the lead at the :28 quarter in his elimination and stayed there for the rest of the race. He drew the third post in the final, and enters with seven wins, a second and two thirds in 14 season's starts. “I was thrilled with his effort and I’m thrilled with our post position,” Burke said. Another horse to watch is Guardian Angel As, who took third in his elimination behind What The Hill and Yes Mickey. “I think he raced good,” trainer Anette Lorentzon said. “He made a break at Yonkers (in his previous start) so it’s been almost three weeks since he had a real race. He was locked on a line and (Tim Tetrick) couldn’t really race him (in the elimination), so we’ve got a few things to work on this week. He’s not really a half-mile horse; he likes the bigger tracks better. This was the toughest division.” In 18 starts this year, Guardian Angel As has won eight times, to go along with three seconds and a third, good for $235,543 in earnings. Lorentzon feels those numbers could have been better without some bad fortune. “He’s been very unlucky,” she said. “He had terrible luck in the Hambletonian and in the Yonkers Trot I thought we had a good chance of winning it if we just made it around the track, and unfortunately we didn’t. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that we can get him better (for the final).” With Tetrick driving Lindy The Great, Yannick Gingras will be in the sulky for the final, where his horse has the No. 7 post. Following is the field for Saturday’s $527,500 Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Seven And Seven-Douglas McNair-Thomas Durand-12/1  2-Top Flight Angel-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1  3-What The Hill-David Miller-Ron Burke-3/1  4-International Moni-Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci-5/2  5-Lindy The Great-Tim Tetrick-Frank Antonacci-7/2  6-New Jersey Viking-Daniel Dube-Ake Svanstedt-30/1  7-Guardian Angel As-Yannick Gingras-Anette Lorentzon-12/1  8-Giveitgasandgo-Trace Tetrick-John Butenschoen-30/1  9-Yes Mickey-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-8/1  10-Dover Dan-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-12/1 by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

After letting a lead slip away in her elimination, Caviart Ally will try and be a little less zealous and a lot more powerful down the stretch in Friday's $500,000 Breeders Crown final for harness racing 3-year-old female pacers at Hoosier Park. Entering last Friday's elimination as one of the favorites, Caviart Ally left from the rail and led into the stretch before fading to fifth, behind upset winner Ella Christina, Idyllic Beach, Agent Q and Carol's Z Tam. "She got a little aggressive on me, so we might have to make a couple changes to get her quieted down," driver Andy McCarthy said. "It was her first time at the track and as soon as we went out there I could tell she was a little too aggressive. I would have liked to have raced her a little better, but I really didn't have any option." Trained by Noel Daley, Caviart Ally has hit the board in 15 of 18 starts, with seven wins, five places and three shows. Her biggest win was also the biggest ever for long-time owners Judy and Buck Chaffee, when she claimed the Jugette Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers. She leads all finalists in 2017 earnings with $556,145. "We'll get her settled down for next week," McCarthy said. "I'm sure she will be a lot better. She's had a great year. She's done a good job this year. (Her elimination) was a little uncharacteristic, with her getting hot like that." Speaking of getting hot, Ella Christina was on fire in a good way at the tail end of the elimination. She entered the race at 35-1 odds and entered the top of the stretch in sixth place. Ella Christina joined the large group of frontrunners late, and was angled out by driver Tim Tetrick before roaring down the center of the track to win it in a time of 1:51. Ella Christina, who has seven wins and two places in 17 season's starts, entered the Breeders Crown elimination off a sixth-place finish in the Courageous Lady. She led for most of the mile in that race before dropping back in the stretch, but managed to reverse her fortunes in this one. "We shipped five hours that morning to Cleveland and we ended up pulling her blood Monday morning after the race and she tied up," said trainer Nick Surick, whose horse has earned $120,311 this year. "Her muscle enzymes were pretty high and she just wasn't herself that day. "She got stuck on the lead and they pressed her (:26.4 opening quarter, :55 half); she really never got a breather. She's a smaller filly and they were at her throat the whole mile, and she just wasn't having it that night." Ella Christina got by Idyllic Beach (second) and Agent Q (third) in the Crown elimination while they were challenging Caviart Ally for the lead. "She was all right," Agent Q's trainer Aaron Lambert said. "We'll tune her up a little this week and look forward (to the final). We'll maybe give her a little more of a blowout this week." She will hope to make up for heartbreak after finishing second by a nose in last year's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers. Driven by David Miller, Agent Q is tied with Tequila Monday for the second most wins this season (eight) among the finalists, behind only Blazin Britches who has 10. She is also the second-highest earner at $509,066, having finished in the money in 12 of 14 starts. And her best time of 1:48.4 is tied with Blazin Britches for fastest in the field. "Her season has been great," Lambert said. "Except for getting sick one time and making a break the other time, you couldn't fault her. (Making the break) was just an off track, and one of those racing incidents. Apart from that she's been super." Despite Idyllic Beach not being able to close for an elimination victory, trainer Jimmy Takter was happy with the effort of last year's Dan Patch Award winner as best 2-year-old female pacer. "She raced really good," Takter said. "She was battling on and off several tie-ups (this year); I had a big problem with that. We missed a few starts because of that. It looks like she's coming back in the right form." With Yannick Gingras in the sulky, Idyllic Beach has won $376,671 this year thanks to four firsts, four seconds and three thirds in 15 starts. "She's a player," Takter said. "You can never rule her out. She's always on the board. She's made over a million dollars (lifetime); I'm proud of her. She could be right there." Two horses who received byes into the final were Mark Steacy's Obvious Blue Chip (six wins, $374,430), who has been in the money in 10 of 16 starts; and Chris Oakes' Tequila Monday (eight wins, $379,517), who has hit the board in 16 of 20 starts. Following is the field for Friday's $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old filly pace. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Blazin Britches by Rock N Roll Heaven - Trace Tetrick - Brian Brown - 6/1 2 - Caviart Ally by Bettor's Delight - Andrew McCarthy - Noel Daley - 3/1 3 - Ella Christina by Western Ideal  - Tim Tetrick - Nick Surick - 4/1 4 - Inverse Hanover by Somebeachsomewhere - Peter Wrenn - R. Nifty Norman - 20/1 5 - Agent Q by Western Terror - David Miller - Aaron Lambert - 7/2 6 - Carol's Z Tam by Always A Virgin - Ricky Macomber Jr .- Jamie Macomber - 15/1  7 - Idyllic Beach by Somebeachsomewhere - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 9/2 8 - Jaye's A Lady by McArdle - Andy Miller - Nancy Johansson - 30/1 9 - Tequila Monday by American Ideal - David Miller - Chris Oakes - 15/1 10 - Obvious Blue Chip by Roll With Joe - Scott Zeron - Mark Steacy - 12/1 by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Trenton, NJ --- Darlinonthebeach can end a lot of frustration and take care of some unfinished family business with a good trip this Friday (Oct. 27). Harness racing trainer Nancy Johansson’s horse is 3-1 on the morning line for the $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace at Hoosier Park. Darlinonthebeach won the first of two eliminations this past Friday in 1:49.3, while race favorite Nike Franco N (2-1) won the second elimination in 1:51.2. With four wins, a place and a show in 12 starts, it has been an inconsistent year for Darlinonthebeach for the most part. But Johansson is hoping her time could be arriving. “She’s coming into form,” the trainer said. “She’s one of the best mares, it’s just that her season got messed up (dealing with an infection during the summer). It’s probably been frustrating for her, too, because horses like her, good horses, know what it means to win and they know what it means to lose. It’s frustrating for them, too, when it doesn’t go their way. “But she’s tough. She bounces back. She’s got grit. She’s a tough girl.” She’s a lot like her mom, Darlin’s Delight, according to Johansson. “Her momma was tough too,” she said. “Her mom never won a Breeders Crown, so hopefully she can do it. She won a lot of races, but she never won a Breeders Crown.” Darlin's Delight raced in five Breeders Crown finals in her career, posting three second-place finishes, one third and one fifth. Sired by Somebeachsomewhere, the 4-year-old Darlinonthebeach has $61,205 in earnings this year and sprinted past Lady Shadow around the turn and into the stretch to win her Breeders Crown elimination with Brett Miller in the sulky. “Brett drove her perfectly, he drove her with confidence,” Johansson said. “He left with her and let her do her thing the last part of the race. He never pulled the earplugs on her so I think we’re in good shape. “She (had) been around this track once (prior to her elimination). I don’t know if that helped her, but she saw this long stretch once before." Darlinonthebeach hopes to challenge favorite Nike Franco N, who was driven to an easy elimination win in 1:51.2 by Tim Tetrick. “It was everything we expected,” trainer Jim King Jr. said after the victory. “She was much sharper tonight than she was even at Lexington. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t raining here. “She acts like she feels pretty good. As of today, we’re looking forward to (the final).” The 7-year-old has hit the board 12 times in 15 starts this year, including seven victories. Out of Nearea Franco and sired by McArdle, Nike Franco N has won $357,337 in 2017 for owner Richard Poillucci. “She’s had a really good year,” King said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of her. She really likes what she does. We’ve kind of got her figured out as far as what kind of schedule she likes to keep. She doesn’t need to get as many starts a year as a lot of horses. She just appreciates things getting done her way. We’re just really pleased with her.” Another horse to watch is Blue Moon Stride, who is 8-1 after finishing fifth in her elimination. “I think I’m initially disappointed (with the elimination),” trainer Mark Harder said. “But it’s probably not her game to go back to last and then sprint home. She’s a good, tough mare and she’s probably better off being involved a little bit. She can do a bit of work on both ends. She’s not one that’s going to sprint home in 25 seconds.” The 4-year-old has four wins, four places and two shows in 16 starts, having won $265,754. David Miller will drive her in the final. “The last couple of months have been really good,” Harder said. “The transition from (age) 3 to 4 is tough and her, Pure Country, Darlinonthebeach, they all struggled a little early. And it looks like they’re all getting a little bit better later.” Other horses of interest are Lady Shadow, who won last year’s Breeders Crown Mare Pace, and Pure Country, who won a Breeders Crown as a 2-year-old in 2015. Following is the field for Friday’s $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1- L A Delight by Bettor's Delight - Corey Callahan - Robert McIntosh - 20/1  2 - Pure Country by Somebeachsomewhere - Mark MacDonald - Jimmy Takter - 15/1  3 - Nike Franco N by McArdle - Tim Tetrick - Jim King Jr. - 2/1  4 - Darlinonthebeach by Somebeachsomewhere - Brett Miller - Nancy Johansson - 3/1  5 - Windsun Glory by Mach Three - Trace Tetrick - Ron Burke - 15/1  6 - Bedroomconfessions by American Ideal - Yannick Gingras - Tony Alagna - 10/1  7 - Sassa Hanover by Rock N Roll Heaven - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 30/1  8 - Lady Shadow by Shadow Play - Yannick Gingras - Ronald Adams - 7/2  9 - Seventimesavirgin by Always A Virgin  - John De Long - John De Long - 30/1  10 - Blue Moon Stride by Rocknroll Hanover - David Miller - Mark Harder - 8/1 by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Trenton, NJ --- Judy and Buck Chaffee have been parents and harness racing horse owners for more than three decades. But they never had the pleasure of both coming together so joyfully as they did during a four-day span last month. On Sept. 20, the Chaffees experienced the biggest racing triumph of their 33 years in the business when Caviart Ally won the $163,950 Jugette Stakes final for 3-year-old female pacers in Delaware, Ohio. While they could not witness the event in person, it was for a good reason as they were at their Vienna, Va., home with daughter Drew and her husband Kevin, awaiting the arrival of their grandson. “The baby was due at any moment,” Judy Chaffee said. “She was having contractions that day, which did stop.” They re-started and remained four days later, when Tyler Grayson Fahrendorff came into the world at 20 inches long; weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces. “It’s been quite an experience for us,” said Judy, who said she and Buck had not come off Cloud Nine more than a week later. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a more stressful day. Not only could the baby have come but we actually had two fillies racing in the Jugette that day and it was quite a rollercoaster of emotions. “Our filly, Jaye’s A Lady, raced first. We were hoping she would do well and make the final, and she broke stride right at the start. So, that was a low feeling at that moment. Then we went from Jaye to Ally. We went from one extreme to the other. It was quite a day. We’ve experienced it all over the years, but I think this is the highest we ever felt.” The Chaffees watched it all unfold on the Internet and were also getting phone updates from son Terry, who operates their Caviart Farms in Paris, Ky. They wanted to be at the race, but they knew they would not have enjoyed it had they left Drew and Kevin alone. “Their little girl was staying with us in case she had to go to the hospital,” Judy said. “As much as we would have loved to have been there, we opted to stay home for our daughter because we’d be taking care of their little girl while she was in the hospital. We had a choice to make, and like with everything else, I think family has to come first.” Especially when it comes to the Chaffees, as their current standing as breeders and owners has been handed down through the generations. Judy’s maternal grandfather, Lowell Chapman, was a Standardbred owner in Maine who raced on the New England and Canadian circuits. Judy met him a few times but was so young, that the two never really talked about racing. “But I think I inherited the love of horses from him,” Chaffee said. “My mother and father went to the races and I used to have to babysit my sister when they went. I got to go sometimes, but I never realized I would ever be part of it. My mother (who has passed away) would speak about that, and we both agreed my grandfather and I would have a ball together. We would be going to (the sales) together. It would have been quite a bonding experience and we would have loved experiencing it.” Photo courtesy of Judy Chaffee Judy Chaffee's love of horses has been handed down through the generations. In 1978, however, Judy saw herself as a career journalist. Working as a reporter for the Portland Press Herald, she met architect Clarence “Buck” Chaffee at a project meeting at the selectman’s office. Judy met him as “Buck”, which probably helped get the relationship started as opposed to the alternative of the given name. “He was named after his father, and they were looking for something to call him so they wouldn’t be called the same,” Judy said. “His aunt came up with the name Buck; I’m glad she did.” Their chemistry was immediate and the two began dating. Shortly thereafter, Buck was moving from Maine back to his home state of Virginia and Judy gave up her newspaper career to join him. When it came time to meet her future in-laws, Buck and Judy were greeted by a note on the door that said, “Meet us at Rosecroft.” It was then, that Judy discovered Buck’s parents raised and raced horses in the Mid-Atlantic area, most notably at Rosecroft and Freestate. “It’s funny, when Buck and I met each other we never even mentioned horses,” Judy said. “It turned out we both loved the horses and the racing.” The two married within the same year they met and the first of seven children came shortly thereafter. “I expected to work as a reporter, I guess, forever,” Judy said. “When Buck and I started to have a family, I became a stay at home mom and raised the family.” As the family grew, so did their love of racing. One day in 1984, Buck and Judy decided to attend the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pa., as spectators only. It would turn out to be a milestone day in their lives. “We were watching the sale progress; and Buck turned to me and said, ‘Which would you rather have, a house or a horse?’ and I said, ‘A horse,’” Judy recalled. “We bought our first horse, her name was Good Tal. So that was the beginning, and we’ve had horses ever since.” But not without some immediate trepidation. “When we bought her,” Judy said with a laugh, “Buck looked at me and said, ‘What do we do now?’” As luck would have it, an Ohio resident sitting behind them was eavesdropping. “He told us, ‘Send it to Joe Adamsky, he’s a good, honest horseman,’” Judy said.   Photo courtesy of Judy Chaffee Buck and Judy Chaffee with trainer Nancy Johansson. The Chaffees did just that, and Good Tal became a stakes champion in Ohio. The couple remained lifelong friends with Joe (who has since passed away) and his wife and had him train several other horses. After Good Tal, Buck and Judy began adding to their stable and raising them on Buck’s parents’ family farm in Fredericksburg, Va. “Every year we tried to buy a horse or two and we had some success,” Chaffee said. “Nothing that was like Ally or anything, but we enjoyed it. We’ve had horses with (Ohio trainer) Jim Arledge for quite a while.” Arledge worked with Caviart Sydney, whose biggest win came over My Little Dragon in the 2006 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers, and Sydney’s mother, Caviart Sierra. “Basically, Sydney was racing against My Little Dragon and Darlin’s Delight during those 2- and 3-year-old years,” Judy said. “She didn’t beat them except for this one race. But she was there all the time. Sierra won her first five races, which were all stakes races, but then she was injured and it basically ended her career and she became a broodmare for us.” In 2007, after several years of intense research, the Chaffees purchased their Kentucky farm on Winchester Road -- the famed Avenue of Champions. “We always wanted to have a breeding farm once we got in the business,” Judy said. “We used to go to Kentucky and we just looked for a farm there. Buck was busy working so Terry and I went and picked out a farm. It’s 225 acres and it works well for us, there’s room to expand. We have 18 broodmares, and the yearlings and the foals.” They named it Caviart Farms because of Judy’s penchant for the 1980s TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,” hosted by Robin Leach. “He would end the show and say, ‘Champagne wishes and caviar dreams,’” Judy said. “I liked the caviar dreams and we did have caviar dreams. Buck said, ‘I like it better with a T on the end,’ so that’s where Caviart came from.” So, it was a case of pretty much making up words? “Basically, yes,” Judy said with a laugh. Terry runs the farm and is on the phone with his mom constantly while Buck tends to his consulting business that he started 10 years ago. “This is my profession now,” Judy said. “I pick out the stallions, I keep track of the ovulation of the mares and tell Terry who to check each date and so forth. I handle the paperwork part of it and Terry runs the farm. He’s amazing and so good with the horses, I can’t speak highly enough of him. We couldn’t possibly have the business without him. “Terry is the only one who’s fulltime but all our kids take an interest. After we won the Jugette, I was on the phone with my daughter Drew and I was like, ‘We just won the Jugette!’ She texted all the other brothers and sisters and everyone was watching the replay. They’re all very interested in how we’re doing but they don’t actually work in the business.” Nigel Soult photo In her first start since the Jugette, Caviart Ally won the second of two divisions of the Bluegrass 3-year-old filly pace in 1:51 on Oct. 1 at Red Mile. Caviart’s main trainers are Arledge, Nancy Johansson and Noel Daley, who trains Caviart Ally. Daley recommended the purchase of Caviart Ally, as he worked with family member All Speed Hanover. The Chaffees were actually looking to upgrade by purchasing a filly broodmare at Harrisburg, but figured if the horse could race, they would do that as well. They got Caviart Ally for $35,000. “Noel looked at her and said she didn’t look like All Speed because he was taller, but he thought she was the right size and looked perfect for a Bettor's Delight (sired horse) so we bought her and she has become everything,” Chaffee said. “She’s become our best racing filly ever and will certainly be at the top of our list for broodmares once she gets there. We’ll race her at least another year, maybe two years before we look to breed her. “Ally certainly owns our hearts. It’s been a long time coming and it’s been a dream, and it finally happened.” After the win, Judy posted on her Facebook page, “The biggest and best day ever in racing!!! Thank you Caviart Ally -- and trainer Noel Daley, driver Andy McCarthy, son Terry Chaffee who is COO of our farm and represented us at Delaware -- and all of Team Daley. And thank you to my husband who allows me to fulfill my dreams with the horses!!!” Indeed, the happiest part of this story is that going into the horse business together only helped to strengthen Buck and Judy’s already solid marriage. “It’s been great,” Judy said. “We generally agree on everything and if we don’t, we work it out. So, we’ve never had any problems. We both love the horses, we love the racing. We both get excited together and we share the experience. So, if anything I think it’s a wonderful thing for a marriage.” A marriage that experienced four days in September that will certainly be one of its high points. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Trenton, NJ --- If there is one thing Evan Hoagland possesses, it’s discipline. He probably wouldn’t be embarking on a career as a harness racing driver without it. Or, he probably wouldn’t have a degree in business. But he has both, because he was able to grind it out to the max over the past few years. Known as either “Hoagy” or “Little Hog” (brother Connor is “Big Hog”), Evan would drive evening races at Saratoga, then make the 90-minute drive back to Castleton (VT) University. He would complete his homework before bed, then arise at 5 a.m. for practice with the Spartans Division III football team, for which he played running back. He was a man committed to getting a degree just as something to fall back on, and also dedicated to a Standardbred driving career. He had the wherewithal to get both, but is not sure what gave him such focus and continence. “I don’t really know, I guess I just did it,” the 21-year-old Hoagland said. “It was long and arduous. But it definitely gave me some discipline, that’s for sure. I’ve always been pretty good at being disciplined, I put that a lot on my father and brother; they made me the man I am today.” Evan said that Connor, who’s 4-1/2 years his senior, served as a mentor. His dad, John, set an example of a “work ethic that was second to none,” by running a successful insurance business. “He had a pretty nice job with Safeco and turned the rest of his career down because they wanted to move him to Seattle,” said Hoagland, who hails from Whitehall, N.Y. “He started out a business on his own in 2001 and built it up from nothing. I’ve taken a lot of pride in trying to follow the footsteps of my dad and my brother. That’s probably the biggest thing in terms of going back and forth (from Saratoga to Castleton) and trying to manage everything that was going on.” All the hard work is starting to pay off, as he earned his first pari-mutuel win on July 9 at Saratoga in the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series. Driving a mare that he owns and trains, Little Hog guided Tapit to a first-place time of 1:58.2 after starting as second choice from the four-hole in the eight-horse event. Hoagland found room along the pylons in third position before the field trotted by the first panel in a swift :27.4. “As soon as the gates opened, I knew I was going to have to do a first up,” he said. “There was a horse that did :27 and change off the gate and he doesn’t come home great if he does that. I knew I was going to be all right.” As the field headed to the halfway point, Hoagland moved his mare first-up and gained the lead at the three-quarter mark. “I had to get her out moving,” he said. “She likes to chase a horse more often than not. I knew when I was hitting third and coming first up, that hopefully the horse (on the lead) would come back to me and he did. And she went right on by and never stopped going. At the top of the stretch I knew we were going to get it done. I was opening up and when she gets her legs she keeps fighting and doesn’t let anybody pass her.” Hoagland was happy, not only to get the win, but to do it with that particular mare. “We’ve had her for probably three years now,” he said. “She’s my favorite horse I’ve ever had and probably ever will. She’s just a sweetheart, you can do whatever you want with her. I was hitting the board with her, getting second, third, second, third. Finally it all worked out. It felt pretty good, pretty validating. “And I can’t get rid of her,” he added with a laugh. “It’s my girlfriend’s daughter’s favorite horse, so I’d hear it from all sides if I didn’t keep her.” Hoagland has gotten a win at Plainridge since then and also hit the board on numerous occasions as he tries to make a name for himself while teaming up with his brother and father. John Hoagland was never a trainer as his business kept him too busy. But he and his brother Jason owned horses with fellow Whitehall resident Richard Smith. “My father always loved the horses,” Evan said. “Any free time we had when I was young, me, my dad, my brother; we’d be out at the barn. He never could do it fulltime but always loved the horses, taught me everything he could. I picked it up here and there.” Once Evan got to high school, however, sports took over as he played football, basketball and baseball. He was also pretty busy in the classroom. Upon graduating in 2014, Hoagland had already earned nearly two years of college credits from SUPA (Syracuse University Private Advance) courses -- discounted college courses that earn college credits. Thus, when torn ligaments in his foot marked the end of his football career as a junior, Hoagland graduated in 2017, after just three years, with his business degree. “I was never really a business type,” he said. “I just did it because you could always use a business degree. But I’m not suited for a desk, I’ve got to be moving around, use my hands. I talked to my father, I said I have a chance to do the horses, we had three or four at that time, why don’t we do that.” By then, he had already started driving. John had strayed from the stables for a while but the love was too strong and he returned while Evan was in college. That is what led to Hoagland’s breakneck schedule from driving races, to football, to the classroom and back. The father and two sons had opened Hoagland Racing LLC, which currently has four horses. “We’ll pick out horses and are always on the lookout for something cheap here and there,” Hoagland said. “We can’t pay too much money. Our best horse we paid a few grand for and she’s made umpteen times that.” The family began working with trainer Kyle Spagnola at a stable in Stillwater, N.Y., which is now a facility being used for the Saratoga Horse Show. Evan got invaluable experience working in Spagnola’s barn, as he took care of a few horses but mostly jogged and trained, which he enjoyed. Evan got his qualifying/fair license in 2015 and drove a large amount of fairs and qualifiers in 2016. He got his training license and provisional driving license this past year and is now on the lookout for any drives he can get. “I’ve been driving as many races as I can, but it’s tough,” he said. “In Saratoga they have a rule for P drivers, no nine-horse fields or the second tier. So it’s tough because a lot of these races are nine-horse fields, especially the ones I drive in that class. I take as many drives as I can. Any time I can get out there and learn for myself, it’s an excellent opportunity.” He also has no aversion to learning from others. “Any help I can get I love it and anybody that I’ve been around has usually been pretty good about helping me,” Hoagland said. “They’re giving me tips here and there and telling me anything I ask. But some things you’ve got to learn by yourself, especially the driving. That’s the fun part for me, just being out there. I can learn tons from the top drivers, and that’s great. But just getting out there, going behind the gate and going around, that’s a great learning tool.” And he feels that driving would be a great career if it works out. “I just enjoy it,” he said. “Our family loves it, they love seeing me drive so I figured ‘Well I have a really good opportunity to be around these horses the rest of my life and I love it.’ I think I’m going all right with what I’ve got now. I’m learning every day, that’s the greatest thing of all. The guys who have been around the business for 60 years and never stopped learning. I’ve been around it only a handful of years and only started driving the last two or three years.” Hoagland also competed in power lifting with his brother, and Evan actually set U.S. records in his weight class and division for squat, bench and dead lift. He feels his athletic prowess and strength come in handy in the bike. “The horses are all stronger than you are,” he said. “So it definitely helps being able to hold them and calm them down.” Hoagy enjoys working with the horses as much as he likes driving them, and feels that will never change no matter how his career advances. He has four wins to his credit as a trainer. “I love being with them and jogging them,” he said. “Just say I do get hundreds or thousands of drives a year, I would still try to be around it every morning. I like getting up, go walking around the barn and seeing the horses' heads pop in the shedrow.” by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Trenton, NJ --- It was a night to celebrate a milestone for Joe W. Putnam and -- so hoped an inquisitor – a night to celebrate Joe’s son following in his footsteps. The interviewer did not get the answer he sought, however, as Joe D. Putnam was a senior catcher for the Pendleton (Ind.) Heights High School baseball team who was also in his fifth year of running a successful mowing business for himself. “I always told people I wasn’t going to get involved in the horse business,” said Joe D., who goes by Joey. “When dad got his 3,000th win at Hoosier Park, they interviewed him and then asked me what my plans were and I said I was going to go to college.” The question came two years too early. “Look where I am now,” Joey added with a laugh. He’s in the sulky, in the stables, in the paddock and, on June 22, was in the winner’s circle for the first time. After gaining his qualifying/fair license early in the spring, the 19-year-old drove several races behind a 3-year-old trotting filly named Kidswillbesassy. “She was making breaks,” Putnam said. “She was a good learning horse but we weren’t having much luck. It’s funny; now I’m racing her and she’s doing pretty good.” But not as good as U’ll Learn did on Putnam’s memorable first win at the Harrison County Fair in Corydon, Ind. The 2-year-old pacing filly was making her first career start with a driver who raised her. U’ll Learn was homebred by Joe W. and his partners, Trent Stohler and Bill Reepmeyer. The Putnams own the filly now. “I wanted to get a baby so I could grow with it, and have something to drive since I’m just starting,” Putnam said. “You’ve got to work your way up. It’s not like you just want to hop on some horses for other owners.” As the months went on, the novice horseman began seeing good things in his filly. “I’ve been with her since Day One as far as breaking her,” he said. “I thought we had something to work with. She’s by Real Desire and out of Western Kit and they’re all known for having to mature their 2-year-old year, and not really racing. The first two we had didn’t race as 2-year-olds. But she trained down really well. I was excited to get to the race with her, this being my first year of driving as well.” U’ll Learn drew post three and got away second. She followed the leader until pulling even at the three-quarter pole. “We got into the last turn for home, and she just felt live,” Putnam said. “I chirped to her a couple times, she just went on, she won by about two or three lengths.” And the joy was twofold, since Joey not only got his first win, but did it with the first horse he could take credit for. “That one was huge, it meant a lot, because I broke her and she was mine, not somebody else’s,” he said. “So that was pretty awesome. If there was any horse I could have won with that would have been the one. I’ve had a few others when I was younger but this is the first year I’ve been all-in in the horse business.” Indeed it is. Despite the success of his dad, who has 3,015 driving wins and 1,007 training wins, Joey found the business too unpredictable for his taste. “I’ve seen how awesome it can be and before you know it you’re on the down,” he said. “There’s a lot of adversity.” Putnam was content to play football, basketball and baseball through sixth grade before settling on baseball in middle school. He played travel baseball and was in a different state four days a week, while also playing for the high school varsity team all four years. He would occasionally go out to the barns to jog a horse but there was no instant love affair. To his dad’s credit, he never pressured Joey into following in his footsteps. He and his wife actually encouraged their son to get a college education. “He liked when I came and helped at the farm,” Putnam said. “It was never anything serious. It was jog a few horses, sweep, water, it wasn’t like anything big. He never really pushed, we never really talked about it. He would ask if I wanted to drive. I just never really did. I’d go to the track and sit up in the clubhouse and grandstand, but never in the paddock, until last winter in Miami Valley, Ohio. That’s when it really started.” Upon graduating from high school in 2016 with baseball in his rearview mirror -- he turned down some small schools who recruited him in order to maintain the mowing business -- Putnam suddenly took a bigger interest in the horses. He was already enrolled at Ivy Tech, a community college in his hometown of Anderson, Ind., and is now in his sophomore year. But during that summer of ’16, something clicked while working with his dad. “The summers prior I always helped out but if I wanted to go with friends or go to baseball or go do things, he was pretty lenient,” Putnam said. “But that summer after senior year, I felt like it was a job and I took it pretty serious at the farm.” Once college started he continued in the stables, taking classes in the afternoons and evenings in order to work the mornings. During an annual family vacation in Florida during his freshman year, father and son talked about Joey possibly driving and the decision was made. Putnam got his qualifying/fair license in the spring and just earned his provisional license on Sept. 7. He is pursuing an associate’s degree in Business Management at Ivy Tech, but still has some racing to do as it has been a fairly successful rookie year. Putnam has driven in 49 fair races or qualifiers and he has teamed with a 6-year-old named Sum It Up to win four times. The two set the track record in 1:58 at a fair in Xenia, Ohio and will be in the final of the Signature Series Trot during Jug Week in Delaware, Ohio. Sum It Up was owned by Frank and Cheryl O’Mara. After Frank passed away earlier this year, Cheryl approached Joe W. about training the horse. “My dad used to drive him, and now I’m driving him,” Putnam said. “That’s going to be a fun day in Delaware.” Joey hasn’t forgotten about U’ll Learn, of course. The horse was named when Putnam got her, but he wouldn’t dare change it. “It’s such a good name, it goes pretty well with everything that is going on this year,” Joey said. “I’m learning about driving for sure. And I tell the employees ‘You’ll learn’ when certain situations arise in the barn. Before her first start I was telling everybody ‘You’ll learn’ (about how good she is). She proved what she was made of that day. That was pretty awesome.” Speaking of learning, Putnam had plans on transferring to Ball State after getting his associate’s degree, but that may be put on hold. “I want to give driving a shot,” he said. “It’s going to take a few years to get established and make a name for myself. But as long as that opportunity keeps coming I’m going to see what I can do for a driving career and training. I’d like to work my way up the next five years. My ultimate goal is to be a top driver. That’s where I see myself headed. But I’m not going to get away from working at the barn in the morning. It’s a lot of work but it’s very rewarding.” And he has the right guy to learn from in his father. “He’s a huge influence really, and even more over the last year,” Putnam said. “I always appreciated how hard he’s worked, but now I see it first hand, running the roads. He’s always wanted me to go to college, that way I have options. But now that I’ve gotten involved with this, we have fun going to the fairs together. Him and my mom both push my studies just to make sure, but I think he likes it a lot now that I’m involved.” More than likely, that’s what the Hoosier Park interviewer was hoping to hear two years ago; proving once again that some things just take time. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Trenton, NJ --- It’s one thing to celebrate your first harness racing driving win, it’s quite another to celebrate your first three when they come right in a row on the same afternoon. Or, in Bradley Ferguson’s case, not celebrate them. “Actually I had to finish out working the day,” Ferguson said of his unforgettable performance. “I didn’t really get much time to celebrate. We had about 19 (horses) in that day. Later on I did. But there wasn’t much celebrating time after the races, it was right back to work.” That won’t detract from what Ferguson accomplished on July 8 at the Newton County Pun’kin Vine Fair in Kentland, Ind. The 32-year-old could win the Hambletonian and it might only tie that day as his most memorable. Well, OK, maybe not. But it will definitely put a smile on his face whenever he thinks back on it. “Oh man it was amazing; I was on top of the world,” Ferguson said. “It was an amazing day.” All three victories came with Don Eash-trained horses, and the historic first came while driving Shelby’s Honor, who Ferguson drove to a fourth-place finish in his driving debut a couple of weeks earlier. Brad drew the rail in the four-horse, 2-year-old colt trot, and had a horse he was familiar with. “Don gives me some nice horses to drive; and I drove him about four starts and he had been sharp, each start he got a little better,” the Anderson, Ind. product said. “I knew the horses that were in there, and if I could get out in front of them, I could probably beat them. He was pretty good; he got a little rolly through the turns so I had to ease him through the turns.” At one point, a horse came up on the outside and Ferguson feared that if it got ahead of him, the victory would have been snatched away. “But I kept him rolling, got him through the turns,” he said. “Actually, there was a pylon that got knocked out in the middle, coming around the last turn. This colt is a super nice colt, he trotted right on through it. He did it pretty easy and we won by a length or two.” The horse won in 2:15.3 and Brad’s emotions coming across the line were as expected. “Oh man, that was great,” Ferguson said. “I had the biggest smile on my face; it was just an amazing feeling. I’d been doing this a long time and Don gave me the opportunity to start driving. To get a horse like that and be able to get the first win, it was great.” And it was only the beginning. Next up was the 3-year-old filly pace with Meadowbrook Sharla. Rather than have the mindset that he finally got his first win, and anything else would be gravy, Ferguson looked at it as another opportunity. “I thought she was a pretty nice horse too,” he said. “I figured if I could get to the front end, I didn’t think anybody would be able to catch me. I rolled her out of the gate, I got to the front. I just tried to rate the mile where I wasn’t using her too much. Coming out of that last turn I didn’t think they’d be able to get me. I let her go a little bit and she won that one by about five (in 2:04.4). She was good that day.” Little did Ferguson know another victory was yet to come. Driving 3-year-old gelding pacer E R Vincent, Brad won in 2:03.2. “I was actually thinking, ‘If I can get a good trip I should be able to do really well with that colt,’” he said. “I sat in the two hole with him through the three-quarter pole. I just got by in the stretch. It was pretty amazing to get three in a row. I didn’t think it was going to happen. “I wasn’t thinking about winning or whatever. I was just trying to concentrate on driving and getting around there and doing the best I could. To get three in a row, that was a pretty amazing experience. I’m a new driver, I’m first starting out and that was great. I didn’t see that coming at all.” Ferguson may be new to driving but he’s a veteran when it comes to Standardbreds. Just prior to his 19th birthday, a friend offered him a job with driver/trainer Roger Cullipher in 2004. He began by cleaning stalls and grooming five horses, and started to meet some influential harness racing folks along the way. “I had never been around horses before but I just took to it and I wanted to stick with it,” he said. “It’s just a good business to be in.” He stayed with Cullipher for a while and then began working for some other Indiana horsemen before meeting Eash through his contacts. He began working for Don full time in 2014. “I had been around the business for years and he needed some help and offered me a job,” Ferguson said. “He gave me the opportunity to drive for him.” Brad kept procrastinating but finally got his driving and training licenses this past spring. He had only driven a handful of races before hitting his July trifecta and, since then, got another win with Shelby’s Honor at the ISA Elite at Portland. He has also hit the board with three seconds and three thirds in his 19 career drives. Ferguson took to driving immediately as he tries not to let the thrill of being in the bike overwhelm him. “It’s more or less trying to stay as calm as you can and trying to do it the best you can; but it is a very big rush,” he said. “Especially when you get horses all stacked up around you, it’s an adrenaline rush. You’ve got to stay clear headed and calm.” Brad credited Eash for being his biggest influence, and hopes to advance his career in both driving and training. “I’ve groomed for a lot of people over the years, but Don’s actually put me in the position to move ahead by giving me the opportunity to start driving and letting me train a lot of horses,” Ferguson said. “I would like to own some and train and drive a little. I kind of like them both. I’ve been training for years and I just started driving, and I just like it all the way around.” Even if he can’t celebrate his good fortune immediately after it happens.   by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Trenton, NJ --- When does a person’s first harness racing driving win get overshadowed by the second? How about when their fingerprints are found on every aspect of the second. That was the case for Ohio’s Emily Hay, whose first victory in the sulky was great, but her second was elevated to downright awesome. In fact, it caused memory loss. “It was an emotional moment; I was so excited I passed the vet,” Hay said with a laugh. “They were like ‘Hey you have to turn around and come back!’ I was like ‘Whoops, sorry, my bad.’ We were like all hopping and skipping and ‘Yay!’ It was a really good night.” What made it so special was, unlike her first driving win when she was behind someone else’s horse, this was the first time she was in the winning bike with a horse she also owned and trained. She scored in 2:01.4 with the 12-year-old pacing gelding Touch And Go at the Wilmington, Ohio fair. “I don’t even know how to explain that one,” she said. “The kids were there (Colton, 4 and Gavin, 8); my friend said when I came across the finish line the kids knew that I won and just took off on the track yelling ‘We won! We won!’ “Somebody had to get them off the track on the golf cart. You weren’t stopping them. They were going to the winner’s circle. When they got there they hopped on the bike and somebody had given Colton a goldfish so he’s sitting on the bike with a goldfish. It was great.” As usual, Colton grabbed his mom’s whip when it was over. “There aren’t many who can say that their favorite fan is their son,” Hay noted. Her driving career began in 2012 and she was winless in 42 races entering this season. Ironically, just shy of age 42, she started winning. “Maybe that’s my lucky number, maybe I should play that,” she said. Hay entered the 2017 campaign with three wins as a trainer and she has equaled that mark with three wins this year. The first win this year came when Tyler Smith drove Touch And Go -- a horse Emily owned and trained -- to victory at Hoosier Park on April 6. “Everybody at Hoosier could probably hear me down in the winner’s circle hollering,” Hay said of the April 6 victory. “It’s a little more exciting as the trainer because that’s the hard work you put into that horse, you can see your hard work paying off.” She got another one on June 7 when Sam Widger drove Royal Delta to a victory at Hoosier Park. The first driving win came 13 days later. Hay went to an Ohio Ladies Pace event in Ottawa, Ohio and was looking for a horse to drive. She ran into her trainer friend, Tricia Shepard, who put Emily behind her horse, Mr I Am. Hay took it as a good omen that Shepard’s colors and her own were both purple. “It all kind of matched and they bring his own bike,” Hay said. Another irony is that a few years earlier Emily actually sat at the same banquet table with the horse’s owners when Mr I Am was honored as a 3-year-old fair circuit winner. “He’s just a fabulous horse,” Hay said. “He’s real easy going. He knows the track. They told me he’s good on the half-mile track. They said get him to the gate, he’ll come right out of the gate and that’s what I did.” Mr I Am took the early lead and never gave it up despite being challenged throughout the race. “A horse would come up and he would just go faster,” Hay said. “He kind of like graded his own mile. I just knew if I felt somebody coming at me, I could just ask him a little bit and he would go. We led the whole mile of the race. “It’s like one of those horses, they feel a horse coming up behind them and beside them and they speed up a little bit. He was very good. I was nervous because you’re on someone else’s horse and you don’t know it as well as you know your own. But he had it in his mind he was gone, and he was gone.” And it was Emily gone wild as she came across the finish line in 2:00 with the 8-year-old pacing gelding. “Oh my gosh, I started crying,” she said. “Even talking about it you still kind of get choked up. My little boy and our niece were there. A couple of other people were there, they didn’t know whether they should get in the winner’s circle. I’m like ‘Whenever I get in the winner’s circle everybody get in there!’ because I don’t get in there that often. And I worked hard for this one, so everybody was welcome. I was excited, I started crying a little bit, they let me have the blanket so we have it hanging up in the house. It was a really neat experience.” It got even better 20 days later. On July 10 in another Ladies Pace event at Wilmington, Hay was driving Touch And Go. Climbing in the bike she admitted to being nervous, but only because, “I always get nervous. I’m a nervous wreck sometimes. I guess it’s good, because they always say if it’s too much like a job it’s not fun.” It turned out those nerves were unnecessary. “I knew this horse was good on the half,” Emily said. “We were coming around, he was pulling a little bit, he wanted to go and I thought ‘I don’t know, we may be pulling too early.’ As soon as we pulled him, he got out and won by seven lengths. He was fired up and ready to go.” So was Hay and her family. “That was awesome, because that was my horse,” she said. “I own it, I train it. The kids were there so everybody got in the pictures. That was pretty awesome.” Hay is one of the more unlikely Standardbred participants one is likely to come across. Her fulltime job is at a hospital lab as a phlebotomist -- someone who takes blood and then studies the samples and logs them into medical records. She also owned saddle horses at her Celina, Ohio, home. So naturally, she came home one day to find a note on her door from a neighbor, who was giving Emily a Standardbred horse that the neighbor’s boss was trying to get rid of. “I find this note ‘Here’s this horse,’ and I had no clue, I was just like ‘Yeah, sure,’” she said. Hay called her friend Bobby Werner, who knew something about racing horses. The conversation never picked up much traction. “I said ‘Hey these people have a racehorse,’” she said. “And he said, ‘What is it?’ and I said, ‘It’s a racehorse?’ and he said, ‘Is it a pacer or a trotter?’ and I said, ‘It’s a racehorse.’ I didn’t know.” Werner looked at the horse -- named Aloha Kelly but called Joe by Emily -- and they decided he was wasn’t big enough for big tracks so they entered him in fairs. The 7-year-old pacing gelding gave Hay her first win as a trainer on June 12, 2013 at the Paulding Fair. That was Aloha Kelly’s last hurrah as he is now a pleasure horse, but Emily got the bug. She now owns two horses -- 5-year-old pacing mare Royal Delta and 7-year-old pacing gelding Tymal Torch, who is just getting back in racing shape. Touch And Go was sold back to the original owner earlier this month. Hay said that two horses are enough to deal with considering she also has a fulltime job. She now refuses to let one of her own horses race unless she’s driving it. “I don’t want them to win if I’m not there,” she said, while inventing a new word. “I’m superstitiousy that way.” Her future plans are to continue to drive in the Ladies Pace races although she finds it a little less painful driving against the men. “It’s a little bit easier racing with the guys than it is the girls because they’re a little bit nicer,” Hay said with a laugh. “The girls will pretty much park you every day. Racing in the Ladies Pace, people don’t realize how tough of a class that is. It’s a very tough class.” Off the track, it’s a different story. “It’s funny when you’re off the racetrack it’s like we’re friends, but on the racetrack we’re out here to race,” she said. “Off the racetrack, it’s ‘hey let’s go get some ice cream, I’m buying.’ It’s tough but it’s fun, and everyone gets along, that makes it even better.” by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Trenton, NJ --- Most people try to pick up some extra money in December in order to do holiday shopping. Jason Telfer had no idea it would lead to the start of a new career, harness racing. The 32-year-old Iowan had been around horses most of his life but never had an overwhelming urge to get in the sport. But at the end of last year, he had left his meat packing job and hooked up with the father-son tandem of Paul and Gary Liles. Six months later he began driving at fairs and, shortly after that, he notched his first two driving wins. He is now looking to make a go of it in the sulky. “I didn’t really think this was going to happen,” Telfer said. “It’s been in the family, but I didn’t figure it would be me doing it. I like to go watch and help out but I never figured I’d be behind a horse, racing.” Asked what gave him the impetus, Jason said, “I really don’t know. Some extra side work, some extra money I needed, so I got a job with Gary last December. That was the main reason.” Telfer was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, made famous in the TV show M*A*S*H as Radar O’Reilly’s hometown. Unlike Radar, he grew up in Eldon before moving to his current residence of Selma at age 13. Jason’s parents grew up in Humboldt, Iowa, where his great-grandfather used to race. “It’s in my mom and dad’s blood, but they quit doing it,” Telfer said. He became re-introduced to it when he began dating his girlfriend, Heidi Saner, 14 years ago. Heidi’s dad, John, was racing in Illinois, but moved to Selma after Heidi and Jason began dating. “He started racing over here for Paul Liles; so I just went out to the track to watch and I really enjoyed it,” Telfer said. “I was all around it growing up through my school years, I helped clean stalls and that kind of stuff, but never anything more than that.” It all changed in December when he began helping the Liles family. After getting more involved and jogging horses, Jason got the urge to drive one. He said his first time in the bike was not too excruciating after his jogging experiences. “I really enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s something different that I enjoyed. The first time I was jogging I was pretty scared because I was stuck in between horses but after that, the racing is nothing different than the jogging. I was used to it after the first week or so.” His first actual race came in June at the Wapello County Regional Fair in Eldon and was, “pretty good, I felt pretty relaxed out there.” He raced seven more times before getting his first win on July 5 with Hasty I D Claire at the Lee County Fair in Donnellson. It was a three-horse race in which Telfer was second through the first two trips around the track. There was a catch, however. “That track is short down there and you have to go three laps on that track to get a mile,” he said. “The leader thought we were done. He pulled up on the second lap and I passed him. I got a little break there.” He almost got a bad break at the end, but held on to win. “It started raining a little bit,” he said. “I didn’t have gloves on so I couldn’t hold on very much longer. She actually broke right at the wire. So I kept holding on and my hands were slipping. It just slipped right out of my hands pretty much as we came across.” The excitement of the loose reins sort of nullified the elation of winning; but only for a moment. “I was worried hanging on but I enjoyed the win afterward,” he said. “Pictures with my family, my girlfriend and father-in-law (John Saner) that got me started.” Two days later Jason won again at the Keokuk County Fair in What Cheer, when he drove Paul Liles' 2-year-old pacing filly The Real Prize to victory. “That one was a lot easier,” he said. “The horse turned out to be a real prize.” Telfer has not won since, but has hit the board a number of times. “Me and my father-in-law have two horses,” he said. “I got a colt (Perfect Popper) that we lease from a guy. I drove him 12 times and got six seconds. I just can’t win with him, only seconds.” Jason will continue to work for the Liles family and has a nice schedule through August. He is at Humboldt this weekend and will race in the Cyrus Stakes the following Saturday. “We have six more races every weekend,” he said. Telfer is already looking forward to next year. He has some horses with his parents and is getting a few with John Saner, who he refers to as his father-in-law considering how long he and Heidi have dated. “I’m hoping to get out on my own and train and drive on my own,” he said. “I feel pretty good about where I am right now. I feel really good. And I’ll be getting my own horses for next year and try to go against all the big wigs.” by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Trenton, NJ --- Marcus Melander has never won a Hambletonian but the 25-year-old harness racing trainer has the essence of Hambo greatness surrounding his entire being. And while the Swede does not have a favorite in Saturday’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-olds at the Meadowlands, he does have a Tim Tetrick-driven horse in each elimination getting pretty good odds. In the 10-horse division (race nine), Enterprise is 9/2, with only Devious Man (5/2) and What The Hill (3/1) being given better chances. Enterprise, who outgrew an immature streak after racing only once as a 2-year-old, won his first five career starts. A son of Chapter Seven out of the mare Shes Gone Again, Enterprise is a half-brother to New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Guess Whos Back and his family includes Dan Patch and O’Brien Award winner Poof She’s Gone. Enterprise was purchased for $100,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale. “Enterprise raced last week and was a little short,” said Melander, who began training the horse late last summer. “He got beat by a good horse, though (fellow Hambletonian starter International Moni). I was happy with him, but he needed that race for sure. I think that race will put him forward for the Hambletonian. He was a little sick up there in Canada (when he finished fourth in the Goodtimes final on June 17) so maybe he missed a little too much, had a race less (than hoped). But I still think he will be a hundred percent.” In the nine-horse division (race eight), Long Tom is at 3/1 odds, second best on the board behind favored International Moni (5/2). The colt, who came to Melander from Europe in April 2016, was this year’s New Jersey Sire Stakes champion at the Meadowlands. “Long Tom hasn’t raced since the Stanley Dancer (July 15), but he came out of that race very good,” Melander said. “I’m very happy with him. He’s been training great. There’s nothing to complain about there.” The trainer’s optimism should be taken seriously if exposure to Hambo success stories have any bearing on the matter. Marcus’ uncle, Stefan Melander, won the 2001 Hambletonian as trainer and driver with Scarlet Knight. Marcus worked with Stefan in Sweden and after moving to the U.S. from Stockholm with his family in 2014, Marcus began working for trainer Jimmy Takter, a four-time Hambletonian winner. His family purchased the farm in New Egypt that was previously owned by the late, legendary Stanley Dancer, who shares the record for Hambletonian training victories with five. And finally, the guy in the sulky is no Hambo Day slouch. The 35-year-old Tetrick won the 2012 Hambletonian with Market Share and drove to second-place finishes with Crazed in 2008 and Smilin Eli in 2013. In 2007 he won a single-season record 1,189 races, is a four-time U.S. Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year (most recently in 2013) and stands fifth all-time in earnings with $182 million. Melander knew of them all while growing up in Sweden, as he stayed up throughout the night to follow the results of United States harness racing while making a name for himself as a driver in Europe. At age 19, Marcus won Sweden’s equivalent to the USHWA’s Rising Star Award and had just over 100 wins before moving to America. Now, he is precariously close to realizing every Standardbred trainer’s dream in what he feels is anyone’s race. “The best horse (Walner) is not in, so it’s like a wide-open race now,” Melander said. “It’s 10 horses that can win it. It was Walner before, who was No. 1, and then numbers two to 10. All of them were as good as each other. It will be the horse with the best trip. You need to be lucky when they draw and everything like that. It’s wide open, really.” Melander feels the set-up, which requires the eliminations and the final to be contested the same day, could favor his horses. The top five finishers in each elimination reach the final. “I think that would be good for both of them because they’re both strong horses,” he said. “I think they are both a hundred percent. I’m very happy with both of them.” Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

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