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LONDON, ON - The Raceway at Western Fair District is pleased to welcome Hall of Famer Roger Huston to the London oval on Friday evening. The famous harness racing announcer has called races over 60+ years, including 180,000 races at 145 different racetracks. He's also been the voice of the Little Brown Jug for the past 52 years. Roger will call the first three races on the card before making his way into the lobby to meet and greet customers. He will be promoting his new book titled 'The Voice: The Unparalleled Life of Roger Huston'. The book-signing session will begin following Race 4. Autographs and pictures with Roger are also encouraged. Following his journey to the half-mile oval, Huston will then make his way to Leamington Raceway on Sunday. The Raceway will also host the third annual Veterans' Classic Night this Friday - a special night of horse racing and celebration which honours the Canadian military. The event, which has continued to grow, will this year feature over 30 military displays as well as a barbecue from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Free 'Lest We Forget' bracelets will be given out to the first 200 people to visit the military displays which will be set up in the east annex of the grandstand. The evening will also include a military opening ceremony, the 1st Hussars Calvary skill at arms demo, and a Red Knight flyover. These events will be followed by the closing ceremonies and the start of live racing where the track will be honouring the military between races. Pipe bands will be on hand throughout the evening to entertain everyone. For more information, please visit www.WesternFairDistrict.com by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway

The long anticipated book titled THE VOICE: THE UNPARALLELED LIFE OF ROGER HUSTON has just been released. Written by Victoria M. Howard, the book on Harness Racing's #1 race announcer and Hall of Famer, Roger Huston, is available for purchase now. Huston has called more than 178,000 races, covering at least 144 tracks in nineteen states and eight countries. Known as 'The Voice' because of his booming vocal crescendo, when one hears that sound you instantly know a trotting or pacing race is imminent. THE VOICE: THE UNPARALLELED LIFE OF ROGER HUSTON contains priceless life stories of Huston's 60-year career as a race announcer. There are also 80 original photos of the sport's champion horses and top drivers as it takes you back to each and every Little Brown Jug and Adios. Through these pages you will experience the classic races in Harness Racing's history. Huston will be signing copies of the book Saturday, July 6 at The Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York from 10am -12 noon. BE THERE! For more information, contact: Roger Huston@Roger.Huston@meadowsgaming.com Now available @ at Amazon.com or AuthorHouse.com  

Plainville, MA --- Monday (Oct. 8) will be a big day at Plainridge Park as Harness Racing Hall of Famer Roger Huston will be making a stop in the announcer's booth to call races for the first time in the state of Massachusetts. Huston, who is known as "The Voice" of the Little Brown Jug since 1967, is the regular race caller at the Meadows and has been for the last 42 years. During his career, Huston has called 177,700 races at 143 different tracks and he is looking forward to adding Plainridge Park to that list. "I am proud of going to so many different places all over the world and am excited to call races at Plainridge. A number of horsemen who race there are friends of mine and I'm looking forward to seeing them again. I am also looking forward to working with (Plainridge's regular announcer) Lenny Calderone as we worked together at Dover Downs many years ago" said Huston. Huston picked a good day for his visit to Plainridge as he will be calling all the action of the second leg of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS), which will reconvene on Monday with five divisions of 2-year-olds competing for a total of $159,736 in purse money. There is a non-betting MASS race before the regular card that will start at 1:45 p.m. Post time for the first race of the betting card is 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts    

Columbus, OH --- Post Time with Mike and Mike, presented by BetAmerica in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association, will broadcast a special edition of the harness racing show on Sunday night (July 1) from the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. The Hall of Fame dinner on Sunday from 7-10 p.m. will be broadcast live via the Post Time website, www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com. In addition, listeners can tune into the show by clicking on the Post Time/Hall of Fame banner on the home page of www.ustrotting.com starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Roger Huston will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event that will highlight the inductions of Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg into the Living Hall of Fame; Carl Becker and Dave Briggs into the Communicators Hall of Fame; Cantab Hall, Western Ideal, Gala Dream, and Sweet Future into the Living Horse Hall of Fame; and Hakan Wallner into the Hall of Immortals. Amateur driving champion Hannah Miller will also be honored. During the dinner hour, Mike and Mike will talk about each of the inductees and their contributions to the sport of harness racing. For more information about the Hall of Fame dinner visit www.harnessmuseum.com. Post Time with Mike and Mike, presented by BetAmerica, can also be heard live each Thursday at 10:30 a.m. or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

On Saturday 3rd February 2018, members of BHRC and STAGBI met for the Annual Awards Event to celebrate the successes from the breeding of Standardbreds and the sport of Harness Racing. After an enthusiastic welcome from non other than Roger “The Voice” Huston, and a hearty three course meal, the awards ceremony commenced. Hosted by the respected Thoroughbred and Harness racing commentator, Darren Owen, the attendees were directed through the past season and regaled of each individuals achievements. Every review was complimented with screen compilations courtesy of co-host Sarah Thomas and individual congratulations from Roger Huston. The pinnacle of the event is the announcement of Horse of the Year – the top accolade afforded to Standardbreds competing in Great Britain under the governance of the British Harness Racing Club. The names in the hat are the award winners from throughout the season which are voted for by the members of the sport. These are – Pacer of the Year, Mare of the Year, Trotter of the Year, 3YO Colt of the Year, 3YO Filly of the Year, 2YO Colt of the Year, 2YO Filly of the Year and Overseas Horse of the Year. Although many attending were sure there was a far away winner within the room who was always destined to be crowned, all connections present still awaited the announcement with bated breath. This duty fell to Sarah Thomas and as she opened the golden envelope to declare the victor as Evenwood Sonofagun, the room erupted into rapturous applause and congratulations. What a season the connections of this fantastic equine experienced – winning multiple races, breaking track records, setting new track, BHRC and WORLD records. Horse, Owner, Trainer, Driver – they are all record breakers. The horse himself – Evenwood Sonofagun A now six year old son of The Firepan, out of Im The Last finished his 2017 campaign with THREE Grade 1 races on his profile, unbeaten during the season with 11 wins and a streak of 15 in a row, Track Records and a WORLD Record plus whispers of exportation to race abroad. Earlier in the evening he had already scooped awards for his breeders, the Nicholson family of County Durham, in the Breeders Premium for England, The British Breeders Bonus for victory at Musselburgh and two in the Group 1 British Breeders Bonus. The high point of his season came at the York Major 3YO fixture in late June 2017, where Evenwood Sonofagun (‘Gunner’) was aimed at a saddle pace. He had claimed victory just four weeks previously under saddle by an impressive 11 lengths on the grass surface of Appleby. With this June venue a half mile hard track, the event was prepped to challenge the World Record for pacers under saddle. Gunner was again partnered by Alexis Laidler and in a blistering pace they completed the mile in 1.57.3 – a new World Record. The previous World Record was held by Darla Frakes (nee Conklin) who clocked 2.00 in July 1998 at Northfield Park, USA with the gelding Highly Rated. Thanks to the race organisers, Alexis Laidler and her charge, Evenwood Sonofagun, entered the Harness Racing history books. The seasons climax was one of the mostly hotly anticipated Free For All races the British Isles have ever seen – The Crock of Gold Final staged at Tir Prince in North Wales. As the horses were called in by the starter there was lots of jostling in the crowds for the best views, but there was also a stillness. As the horses raced down the home straight the atmosphere changed and the din of the crowd cheering on the competitors was so much that it concealed the commentary. A photo finish was called – after a spectacular race and an agonisingly tense judging of the photo, a Dead Heat of the Crock of Gold Final was declared between Evenwood Sonofagun and Miraculous. A fantastic end to his season. The owner – Raymond Huschka Already presented with the 2017 Leading Owner earlier in the evening, Raymond’s charges amassed 70 top three finishes during the previous season. The 43 victories surpassed any other owners achievements in the last decade of the award, the closest rival being John J Howard Snr who scored 39 wins back in 2009. As well as ‘Gunner’, some other Standardbreds that recorded triumphs for Mr Huschka in 2017 include: Happy Hands (Yankee Lariat x Silvertail) – Appleby Monday Grade 1 Final Winner Jack Swagger (Soulofthematter x Lyons Kellie Ann) – Tregaron Welsh Classic Heat Winner Merrington Movinup (The Preacher Pan x What A Commotion) – Junior Welsh Dragon 2YO Winner Mikey Camden (Camluck x Electrical Art) – Bells Field Heat & Final Winner Valseur Du Cygne (Kaiser Soze x Oxana de Chanterne) – Castell Howard Foods Le Trot Grass Championship Winner The driver – William ‘Rocker’ Laidler Top BHRC Driver by number of wins an astonishing nine times, only halted from a consecutive ten years in 2016 by a shoulder injury sustained whilst preparing horses for racing. In 2013 ‘Rocker’ recorded 97 driving victories, which equated to more than 10% of the total number of races staged that year. It also set the record for number of wins recorded by an individual driver – a record which ‘Rocker’ has stated in the past he wishes to surpass with a century of conquests within a season. The trainer – Alexis Laidler The wife of William ‘Rocker’ Laidler, this team have been the at the top of the Leading Trainer list for eleven consecutive years. Boasting 600+ race wins during this period – 68 recorded during 2017 and a record breaking 101 training wins in 2013. With these statistics it comes as no surprise that almost all of Great Britain’s prestigious races appear on their CV: Appleby Spring Handicap (Grade 1) – Rhyds Ponder in 2013 and Happy Hands in 2017 York 3YO Championship – with Camden Daniel in 2012 and Stamp Hill in 2013 Ceredigion Handicap (Grade 1) – Evenwood Sonofagun in 2017 Famous Musselburgh Pace (Grade 1) – Laneside Lexus 2009, Mahogany Jasper 2011, Springhill Alibi 2013 and Evenwood Sonofagun 2017 Breeders Crown – 2YO division with Matticulous in 2017, 3YO division Merrington Missile in 2012 and 4YO division with Duggans Pride also in 2012 Vincent Delaney Memorial 2YO – Matticulous 2017 Welsh Dragon Series – multiple winners but most impressively the 2YO, 3YO and 4YO divisions all with the same charge, Stamp Hill Crock of Gold (Group 1) – a remarkable three finals with Laneside Lexus in 2011 (who was exported to Canada shortly afterwards), Stoneriggs Mystery in 2012 and Evenwood Sonofagun in 2017 Alexis was as usual modest and unassuming (and extraordinarily glamorous) when receiving the award expressing how proud she is of how far herself and her husband and their team have come in the sport of Harness Racing and extending humble thanks to Mr Huschka for his unwavering support. All in all, the team scooped six of the sixteen BHRC awards presented on the night. And just to finish on a high, confirmed that ‘Gunner’ (Evenwood Sonofagun) is back in training and preparing for the 2018 season! Congratulations Raymond, Rocker, Alexis and team! CLICK to VIEW Horse of the Year Video Presentation Other award winners recognised on the night were: Battle of the Big Guns Champion – Miraculous (Arnie Flower) 2YO Filly of the Year – Greenhill Hanover (Marina Thomas) 2YO Colt of the Year – Matticulous (BKB & Morgans) 3YO Filly of the Year – Rhyds Mystique (Victoria Elvin) 3YO Colt of the Year – Rhyds Rock Star (Claire Fletcher) Mare of the Year – Rhyds Passion (Sally Teeboon) Trotter of the Year – T’es Trop Foot (Millstream Stud) Overseas Horse of the Year – Robyn Camden (All Out Syndicate) Tim Tetrick Drive of the Year – James Haythornthwaite From the British Harness Racing Club

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 3 - Legendary harness racing announcer Roger Huston will be making a special appearance at Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday evening (August 5). Best known for calling the Little Brown Jug, Huston will be calling Races 2, 3 and 4, before heading downstairs for a meet and greet with fans on the main level of the Grandstand. A special commemorative T-Shirt will be for sale. Huston, who started his storied career in 1960, has called over 175,000 races at 138 different tracks, covering 17 states and seven countries. Huston will start his evening at Mohawk by appearing on the track's simuclast pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. Fans are encouraged to submit their questions for "The Voice" either through Twitter or by e-mailing them to Ken Middleton (kzm@woodbineentertainment.com). Saturday's evening's card features 10-races, including a $34,000 Preferred Pace. Post time is 7:30 p.m.   Mark McKelvie

Seaford, DE --- One of the first people Roger Huston met when he arrived at the new harness racing Shenandoah Downs last week was 8-year-old Morgan Marston. “She looked up at me and said ‘I want to be an announcer too,’” he said. Little did she know Huston would make it happen -- the very next day. On Saturday (Oct. 1), Marston, with Huston’s help, announced her very first race, a qualifier at Shenandoah Downs. “For a first effort from an 8-year-old I thought it was unbelievable,” Huston said this week. Huston, who was a guest announcer at Shenandoah Downs this past weekend, was introduced to Marston by longtime trainer Betsy Brown. For roughly 20 years Brown has been training horses for owner Terry Kibler, who has a farm in Woodstock. Young Marston is Kibler’s cousin and has shown a strong interest in horses for years. “Morgan comes after school every day to help with the horses,” Brown said. “She is very hands-on. She jogs and trains on my lap.” Marston was eager to meet the legendary Huston and jumped at the chance to call a qualifier under his guidance. She showed up at the track Saturday with the qualifying list in hand. Huston gave her some initial pointers, advising her to say “they’re off and racing” because it was a mixed field of trotters and pacers, and handed her the microphone. Marston was nervous, and Huston fed her the horses’ names throughout the race. She announced the entire mile, however, even throwing in some phrases of her own toward the end. What impressed Huston the most was the fact that the echo of the P.A. system didn’t faze Marston. “I’ve never met anybody that didn’t have problems hearing themselves on the P.A. system,” he said. “They get that echo effect. Most people will hear themselves and stop talking. She went right on.” Huston says Marston is probably the world’s youngest race caller. Prior to her, the youngest person he helped was 14. And that person went on to become announcer at The Meadowlands. “Sam McKee started writing me letters when he was nine,” Huston said. He met him in 1976 and helped him call some qualifiers at The Meadows before connecting him with an announcing job at a fair. “The rest of his career is history,” Huston said. He strongly believes that adults should encourage and support young people who want their help. “You never do anything to put a road block up for them,” he said. “You help them as much as you can. You never know who you’re talking to -- it could be the next John Campbell or Tony Alagna.” As for Marston, Huston says she could have a bright future as an announcer. He’s looking forward to seeing her progress when racing returns to Shenandoah Downs next fall. “There’s no question in my mind she could be an announcer,” he said. by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

The year was 1967, Lyndon B. Johnson was President, the Beach Boys were having Good Vibrations and a 26- year-old native of Xenia, Ohio started calling harness racing at the Delaware County Fair. To celebrate Roger Huston's 50 years at the Delaware County Fair, Little Brown Jug officials have created a limited edition t-shirt that will be available for sale at the three souvenir stands on the fairgrounds for only $15. In 2017, Huston will call his 50th Little Brown Jug. "The Delaware County Fair and the Little Brown Jug have been an important part of my life," noted Huston. "The Jug is like no other race in the world and the fans have given me so much joy over the years." To give back to the fans, Huston will be available for several "meet and greet" sessions at the following dates, times and locations: Sunday, September 18 from 12:45 - 1:15 PM (Grandstand) Sunday, September 18 after the races (next to the Log Cabin) Monday, September 19 from 2:45 - 3:15 PM (Grandstand) Monday, September 19 after the races (next to the Log Cabin) Tuesday, September 20 from 1:00 - 1:30 PM (Grandstand) Tuesday, September 20 after the races (next to the Log Cabin) Wednesday, September 21 after the races (next to the Log Cabin) Thursday, September 22 from 11:00 - 11:30 AM (Grandstand) Thursday, September 22 after the races (next to the Log Cabin)   Jay Wolf  

The Hands on Horses Program has toured South Western Ontario over the past two weekends. This past Sunday many young harness rascing fans appeared at Clinton Raceway for Kids Day and lined up for their chance to sit behind a racehorse. The previous weekend saw the program make stops at Grand River Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park and Leamington Raceway. At all events patrons were offered the opportunity to take a ride around the racetrack between races. As an added bonus fans at Hiawatha Horse Park had the opportunity to pose and take a picture in between races with our long time program horse Hollywood Ham. Fans lined up for the unique opportunity for a picture with a racehorse. Large crowds were in attendance as legendary race announcer Roger Huston was in the house to announce the evening's races. Driver Mark Williams was thrilled to capture his 5,000th win on the card and have it announced by Roger. After the win Mark took the lines of one of the program horses and gave some happy fans a trip around the track. The following afternoon Roger met up with Mark for a congratulatory photo at Leamington Raceway where he was announcing that tracks card of racing. Roger indicated that Leamington was the 139th racetrack that he has now announced at in his illustrious career. As a special bonus Roger hopped in the jogger and gave Essex Mayor Ron McDermott a thrill as they toured the Leamington Oval together. The weekend finished off with a hockey players challenge race between the Wheatley Omstead Sharks and the Leamington Flyers. The Wannadrive team assisted with outfitting the participants and providing the two seater joggers. Special thanks to all of the trainers that provided the horse power for the event which was won by the Flyers Cale Phibbs in an exciting finish. We look forward to offering this interactive experience to racing fans across the province. For your chance to participate check out the schedule at the website handsonhorsesprogram.com Our next event will be August 27th at Georgian Downs. To see photos of all of the events visit our facebook page here. By Stacey Reinsma

DUBLIN, Ireland – A record number of 180 horses have entered the weekend race card for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend at Portmarnock Raceway just outside of Dublin. “My brother James and I cannot believe how everyone wants to race this weekend,” said Derek Delaney, head of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee. “For the fourth straight year we keep growing and growing.” A total of 188 horses have been entered for the Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14 two-day meet. That is up 11.12% over prior year. The big race of the weekend is the 5th annual Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM) for two-year-old pacers. This is first year that there are both a colt and filly division with 14 youngsters entered in both events. The VDM is a rugged event that requires horses to compete in elimination divisions on Saturday and then come back again Sunday to race in the finals. The inaugural filly division is being sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm of Kentucky, USA. Each of the finals race for a purse of $16,000 euros.  Vincent Delaney was Derek and James younger brother who tragically died in 2011 at the age of 27. The brothers then developed the memorial race series in his honor and it has since grown to become the richest stakes event and weekend in the history of harness racing in Ireland the UK. Additional major stakes events over the weekend include the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds at 1.5 miles, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds, the RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace, the Lee Edwards/PJI Engineering Junior FFA Pace and the Elvin-Delaney French FFA Trot. There is a gala kickoff dinner Friday evening at the Airport Hilton Hotel that is already sold out and Sunday’s VIP Marquee Tent is also sold out with over 300 to attend. Every year the VDM Committee selects a local charity to benefit from the VDM Weekend, especially at the Friday night gala dinner auctions. This year’s charity is the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) of Dublin. The organization, which is comprised 100% of all volunteers, operates a seven-day outreach service across the city, coinciding with their mobile outreach unit. ICHH’s outreach support service operates nightly providing access to beds, sleeping bags, food or case management referrals. ICHH works a 16-hour mobile outreach service, responding to rough sleeper reports within 15 minutes of getting a call. The service also operates seven days a week. The website is at http://www.innercityhelpinghomeless.ie/. It is just grand how all of this has come together,” Derek Delaney said. “And this year we have so many great horsemen and women coming over for Vincent’s weekend. Dexter Dunn from New Zealand, Aaron Merriman from the USA are the special guest drivers, Diamond Creek Farms Adam Bowden, Joe Bellino and his entire crew, Roger Huston, Heather Vitale, Heather Wilder, Murray Brown, John McDermott, Alan Galloway, Sydney Weaver, Joann Looney-King, Susan Looney and a huge group from Australia on tour. "What a great time we will show them all!” Delaney said. "Most everyone is arriving today and tomorrow and we are looking forward to meeting everyone." The guests begin their VIP weekend with carriage ride tours of downtown Dublin plus lunch at the world famous Temple Bar, a bus trip to Oakwood Stud training and breeding facility, the gala kick-off dinner Friday and then the two big VDM race days Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend

Hall of Fame announcer, Roger Huston, known in the harness racing circles as “the voice” is taking a vacation day from the Meadows to call the matinee races this Saturday (April 9th) at the historic McGhee's Mile Training Center located in Aiken, South Carolina.   Roger will be track-side to call the six scheduled races at the famed training center, that at one time housed some of harness racing's champion horses, including Greyhound, Adios, and Knight Dream.   The event is being hosted by McGhee's Mile owners, Bruce and Janis McGhee, who along with their children, Jessica, Ashley, Bruce, and Matt, manage the 250 stall training center. McGhee's Mile includes three tracks, which are a mile red clay track, a half mile red clay track, and a 7/8 mile sand track.   There will be plenty of food, beer, and entertainment at this year's races. Prior to the start of the races, spectators are invited to talk with the horsemen to learn more about the great sport of harness racing.   Gates Open 9:00AM Carriage Parade will begin at 11AM Post Time 12:00 PM   General Admission $10.00 per person in advance $12.00 at the gate Children 10 & under are free Parking $5.00   Rail Sides tickets are $50. per person   Rain Date: April 10, 2016   For any information and ticket sales, please visit the tracks website at http://www.mcgheesmile.com or contact Janis McGhee at (803)617-8511.   By Fred Hudson

Dublin, Ireland - The Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee is proud to announce today that North America's leading dash winning driver in 2015, Aaron Merriman, is committed to coming to Ireland for the Delaney Memorial Weekend, August 13 and 14, 2016. "I was shocked when I got the invite," Merriman said. "I have read about the race, knew that George Brennan went last year and had a great time and now I am getting to come over this year, what a great honor this is." The 37-year-old Ohio native is coming off a career-best harness racing season in 2015, capturing his first North American driving title and earning a personal-high $7.40 million in purses. His 873 victories last year were the most for a dash-winning champion since Tony Morgan's 959 triumphs in 2008. Merriman is one of only three drivers --- joining Morgan and Tim Tetrick --- to win at least 800 races in back to back years. In 2014, Merriman won 841 times, but finished six victories behind Ronnie Wrenn Jr. for the No. 1 spot. Over the past 10 years, Merriman has won an average of 618 races per season. "Our committee board was ecstatic that Aaron agreed without even flinching to come over for the VDM this year." Said Derek Delaney, who along with his brother James, developed the Vincent Delaney Memorial in honor of their younger brother who tragically passed away in 2011. "Aaron is a world-class driver," Delaney added, "And we are sure to show him a great time here both on and off the track. He will be sure to have some good drives at Portmarnock Raceway both on Saturday and Sunday." The Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial is for two-year-old pacers with elimination divisions on Saturday and the finals on Sunday. For the first time this season there will be a separate filly division, sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm in the USA. Also on the program that weekend is the Oakwood Stud Derby, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial, The RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA sponsored by Joe Bellino and the Bellino Stable plus other big stakes events. When it comes to his heritage, Aaron says he will fit in just fine. "My father's family is British and my mother is Swedish and Irish," Aaron said. "I think I will fit in perfectly. "I'm VERY eager to experience another continent with harness racing," Aaron said. "I've never left North America before. I've checked out some of the history of this race and have read about the great enthusiasm and real love for our sport that they have and it is so heartwarming. "Harness racing is definitely a sport where people are joined together all around the world," Aaron said. "To be offered this opportunity to represent America and show my patronage to Ireland and the UK horsemen and fans is once in a lifetime and I was not going to pass it by. I'll thoroughly embrace my days there." Merriman is already on a roll in 2016. He has a commanding lead in the driving standings in North America with 214 wins, 54 ahead of his nearest rival, Jason Bartlett. And Merriman has $1.5 million in purses won already with a Universal Driving Rating at an impressive .356, second only to Bartlett. "Missing a week of racing back home is nothing compared to the adventure that awaits me in Ireland," Aaron said. "I can't wait for the second week of August to come. And I will not be homesick because Roger Huston will be there calling the races!" For more information visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial  

Like many people during this election year, Phil Dott has a sign in his front yard. However, his doesn't display the name of his favorite candidate. Instead, Dott's sign proudly announces the arrival of the latest member of his family...a four-legged Standardbred member named Clavius.   Dott, 61, is a Standardbred owner and breeder from McMurray, Pennsylvania that first got hooked on harness racing in the 1970s. "I came to The Meadows and heard Roger Huston calling a race. That was it, I was hooked," he says. "There was no turning back from there."   He spent most of his life as just a fan, but five years ago decided to take the next step and become an owner. He met trainer Tim Twaddle and claimed a Real Artist mare named Hard Shoe Hannah. A lifetime winner of more than $280,000, Hard Shoe Hannah was a good racehorse, and Dott hoped that she would make a great broodmare prospect as well. "We turned her into a pet," he says. "She didn't race as well as we wanted to, so we sent her to Dennis and Gina Hoffman at Lindwood Farms to start a new career."   Hard Shoe Hannah's first foal was a Shark Gesture filly that was given an unusual name, Jeffrey Hard Shark. "My wife Adele and I named her after my nephew, who died at 12 of a brain tumor. I had told my brother that I would name the horse after his son. We wanted a colt, but it was a filly, and I still kept the name."   Jeffrey Hard Shark, co-owned by Dott and his friend John Valdisera, made a handful of appearances on the track last season before spending the winter in Pinehurst, North Carolina. "Gordon Corey trained her down there this winter. He's a very good trainer. I always liked Pinehurst. I used to play golf there and wanted my horse down there. We just brought her back and Tim (Twaddle) is getting her ready for her three-year-old season. Tim's a good guy and a good trainer."   The second foal, Pjonmyshoulder, by Hypnotic Blue Chip, is a two-year-old this season, and the latest arrival is Clavius, by Western Ideal, foaled this month at Lindwood, as the sign in his yard proudly notes. "Everybody stops by my house and sees the sign out there," he says. "Lindwood Farm also promotes it, and I've had nothing but positive comments. I love racing and The Meadows." That love is evident to anyone following Dott on the highway as well, where stickers with the names of his horses cover the back windows, just like the stick-family decorations on many minivans on the road.   Dott's goal in the sport is the same as most other owners, "Hopefully I can make some money and have really good, winning horses." But for now, he is just happy seeing his Standardbred family grow, and sharing that news with his family and friends. "I've tried not to spoil the horses, but I love them all. They're my babies."   by Jeff Zidek for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association    

LEBANON, OH. - With a whopping total of $188,200 in purses offered on a stellar 14-race harness racing program at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday (January 30), Hall Of Fame announcer Roger Huston, subbing for the regular voice of Miami Valley Barry Vicroy, had plenty to get excited about. In addition to a $20,000 Open Pace, a pair of lucrative Claim To Fame Series championships went postward for $12,500 claiming pacers of each sex. The 'boys' chased a $29,500 bounty; while the 'girls' competed for a $18,700 purse. In a mild upset, Astreo's Love (LeWayne Miller) topped Mykindachip (Kayne Kauffman), Fancy Creek Elusiv (Chris Page) and favored Thisjetsabookin (Josh Sutton), who was moving up to the top open class after establishing a new track record of 1:50 in a harness racing conditioned event a week earlier. Miller left alertly with Astreo's Love to wrestle the lead away from Thisjetsabookin just before the :26.1 quarter mile marker. Sutton quickly "quarter-moved" back to the front with the notorious front-stepping track record holder. It looked like the winning move when the half was reached in :54.4 and Thisjetsabookin still looked comfortable with an approximate two-length lead at the 1:22 third station. Astreo's Love was bravening up in the pocket throughout and a host of others were intent on closing strong as the thundering herd swung off the final bend, however. Astreo's Love is owned and trained by Don Eash. The six-year-old Make My Day gelding now has 30 career triumphs and just shy of $300,000 in lifetime earnings. The powerful Virgil Morgan Jr. Stable flexed its muscles in the $29,500 championship race for male $12,500 claimers. Entrymates Ally-Con (Josh Sutton) and Wilcox (Dan Noble) finished one-two in a hotly-contested race. Morgan co-owns the winner with Carl Howard, while Howard owns all of the runnerup. They finished a nose apart in the 1:53.4 mile. Sand Summerfield (John DeLong) finished third. Sutton enjoyed an advantageous second-over trip before managing the narrow victory when asked to dig down deep through the stretch. The top four finishers were all within a length and a half at the wire. Ally-Con won two of 24 starts in 2015, but has now copped three out of four in 2016, including two of three since joining the Morgan Jr. Stable through the claim box on opening night of the Miami Valley meet. Ginger Spice N (Randy Tharps) was victorious by a nose in the tandem female event, beating Love Of Liberty (Josh Sutton) in a close photo finish. Allthatjazz De Vie (Tyler Smith) garnered the show dough in the race which had the top six finishers all within two lengths. The winner is owned by Michael Annunziata, who shipped a trailer full of his horses to southwest Ohio for the popular Claim To Fame series events. He entrusted the training once they arrived to A. J. Carlo, who has made the most of the opportunity. For driver Randy Tharps, it was career victory 4991 as he approaches the coveted 5,000 lifetime wins plateau. He followed up by visiting the win circle in the very next race, a $10,000 conditioned event, with He's Got It. Gregg Keidel  

Dublin, Ireland – New Zealander Dexter Dunn made his presence known in Ireland and the UK as the visiting harness racing reinsman won three races at Portmarnock Raceway Saturday. In addition, there were two track records set at Portmarnock Saturday. One in an elimination division of the Vincent Delaney Memorial for two-year-old pacers and the other in an elimination division of the Oakwood Stud 3YO Derby. It didn’t take Dexter Dunn long to find the winner’s circle at Portmarnock, it came in the second race on the program, a one and half mile handicap trot with the six-year-old French mare, Valse De Fourches. “She was on the bit,” Dunn said, “and she did all the work.” Getting right to the front, Valse De Fourches led every step of the way, scoring by two lengths in 3:09.5. Sired by Ipson De Mormal, Valse De Fourches is trained and owned by Sean Kane. “It’s so great to be here,” Dunn said. “This first race was so easy as she is a good mare.” New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety put it best. “He has silk hands,” Dalgety said of Dexter Dunn. “Dexter is use to these extra distance races. It looked like he just held the mare together and Dexter put a little extra polish on her.” Dunn then added his second straight win with Carmel Camden in the first of two elimination divisions of the Oakwood Stud eliminations The filly division, going one and one-half miles, saw Dunn and Carmel Camden wire the field with ease in 3:06.7, romping by six open lengths. The daughter of No Pan Intended is trained and co-owned by James Delaney with his brother Derek. “This was the first time that she (Carmel Camden) ever went an extra distance race and Dexter did great with her.” James Delaney said. “If she races like that tomorrow in the final for Dexter we will be in the hunt for sure.” The third win on the day for Dexter Dunn came in the last race, the Fletcher Metals FFA Pace. Dunn once again sent the top pacer Dean’s Alibi to the front and never looked back, wiring the field in 1:56.8. Sitting on his back the entire mile was the grey, Oakwood Outlaw with USA’s George Brennan in the bike but they could not keep up in the stretch as Dean’s Alibi won with ease by four lengths. One of the top three-year-old pacers in Great Britain, Rewrite History, rewrote another track record as he won his division of the Oakwood Stud for colts at one and one-half miles in 3:03.8. Driven by Gordon Gilvear, Rewrite History also wired the field. The son of Sportswriter is trained by John Gilvear and is owned by Steven Gilvear. John and Steven are brothers and Gordon is John's son. The first track record on the day was in the first of three eliminations divisions of the Vincent Delaney Memorial. The colt division saw Miraculous and driver Patrick Kane, Jr. sit patiently in third place as Meadowbranch Titus (John Richardson) cut the mile and Party At The Spa (Alan Haythornthwaite) was in second place. The action picked up at the three-quarter mile marker as Haythornthwaite came first-over with Party At The Spa and Miraculous followed the outside flow, then tipped three-wide on the turn and then was able to collar both horses in the stretch to win by a half-length in 2:00.9. That clocking rewrote the track and stakes record of 2:01.7 set last year by the top colt, Titanium. Miraculous is sired by Arts Conquest and is trained by Sally Teebook and owned by Amie Flower. The second colt division saw the impressive Newtown Rock and driver Alan Wallace, Jr. wire the field by a half-length in 2:01. The filly elimination division was a hotly contested battle between race favorite Gabriela Camden (Hugh Menzies) and Meadowbranch Queen (John Richardson). Gabriella Camden cut most of the mile but in the backstretch the second time, Meadowbranch Queen moved to the lead but broke stride on the final turn for home. Alertly driver John Richardson was able to get his filly back on stride and she went on to win by a half-length in 2:04.9. Meadowbranch Queen is sired by Kikikolt and is trained by Wiliam Flanagan for the Meadowbranch Stable. Track Notes: On a sad note it was reported this afternoon that the top three-year-old pacer, Titanium, was put down this morning. The 2014 winner of the Vincent Delaney Memorial and the all-time fastest three-year-old in the UK, had an emergency colic operation and did not survive.  Saturday attendance was the best in track history with a reported crowd of over 1,500 in attendance. Sunday’s post time for the 12 race program is 2:00 pm and featured will not only be the finals of both the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial and the Oakwood Stud 3YO Derby, but the final Inter-Dominion heat to decide who will represent the UK/Ireland in Australia. Visiting guest announcer, Hall of Famer Roger Huston of the USA, will call his 170,000th career race Sunday at Portmarnock. By Steven Wolf

Dublin, Ireland – Tickets are nearly sold out for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial gala dinner on Friday, August 7 at the Hilton Dublin Airport Hotel. This is the kickoff dinner before the big harness racing weekend at Portmarnock Raceway Saturday and Sunday, August 8 & 9. There are only 20 tickets left before the dinner is sold out. Everyone that attends the dinner will get to hear from and meet the USA and New Zealand racing stars who have come over for the weekend. They are USA top reinsman George Brennan, renowned trainer John McDermott and Hall of Fame announcer Roger Huston. New Zealander Dexter Dunn, who this year won the World Driving Championship in Australia, New Zealand’s leading trainer Cran Dalgety and USA racing journalists Steve Wolf (Harnesslink) and Heather Vitale (Post Time TV). There is room for just 220 people at this special affair that begins at 7:30 pm. The cost of a ticket is just €40.00 each and it will be a cash bar. “I can’t believe how these tickets are flying out the door,” said race developer and founder, Derek Delaney. “After we announced that George Brennan was coming over from the USA to drive in Vincent’s race, we are nearly sold out. “I may have to talk with the hotel manager and see if we can get a couple of tables in the lobby!” Delaney joked. “If anyone wants to get a ticket they better hurry up.” In order to get tickets to the dinner go to www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com.  By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend

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