Hall of Fame Driver David Miller becomes only the third harness racing driver ever to eclipse $200 million dollars in career earnings. He accomplished the milestone on Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia behind 40-1 shot Hickory Chumley, who crossed the line first and paid $82.80 to win. The other drivers to have eclipsed the $200 million dollar mark are John Campbell and Ron Pierce.
These are a few of the significant events, performances and trends that occurred in the sport of harness racing during 2015. Ron Pierce, the 59-year-old Hall of Fame driver who was third on the money list last year, with almost $11 million and 448 wins, has been absent for most of the season. He drove in 503 races in January, February and the first week of March before shutting it down for neck and back surgery. The problem with his neck was corrected, but his back has never come around, to the point where he raised retirement as a real possibility when interviewed in August. Pierce has won 9,569 races and earned $215 million during his career. But beyond that measurable success, in the straight and narrow public world of harness racing Pierce is one of the few genuine characters; there’s nothing better than a post-race interview with Rockin Ron. He is sorely missed. Let’s hope his health improves to the point where he’s back driving in 2016. Restricted races for four-year-olds early in the season has been a hot topic of late, and with the advent of the Graduate series we’re seeing it come to fruition. However, it’s noteworthy that JL Cruze, who earned only $25,000 at three, won the Graduate final as well as the Hambletonian Maturity, while Doo Wop Hanover, who had some success but was not a major figure as a colt, won the Graduate Pace final. Contributions from the high profile four-year-olds that folks were anxious to keep on the track, on the other hand, have been lacking. Father Patrick started off with a win in the Maxie Lee, but he lost two legs of the Graduate and was sixth behind JL Cruze in the final. And he finished last in the Hambletonian Maturity. His stablemate Nuncio had a very good year—in Europe. Horse of the Year JK She’salady suffered her first loss in her Fan Hanover elimination, and dropped the final to 0 for 4 Wrangler Magic. Dan Patch winner Color’s A Virgin didn’t get going until the fall; Dan Patch winner McWicked never really got going; Pace winner He’s Watching retired in July; Shake It Cerry fell short of expectations…. After a five year run, Harness Racing Update ceased publication with the October 11 issue. The online newsletter which appeared in one’s email box from two to four times a week, depending on the season, had become the primary source of unfiltered information on the sport for many. However, advertisers never came through in sufficient numbers to sustain the operation for publisher Bill Finley and his staff. They didn’t run the formulaic puff pieces that prevail in the sport’s media wing. Shortly before HRU closed shop trainer Ron Burke told Finley that, “HRU was the worst thing that ever happened to harness racing.” Perhaps “If you don’t have something positive to say, don’t say anything at all” should have been their motto? Two years ago this month we lost The Canadian Sportsman after a 143 year run. This is not an encouraging trend. At a USTA Summit in July forty movers and shakers from various sectors of the sport put their heads together and came up with strategic moves that will hopefully expand and improve the sport. The USTA has lost 7,588 members over the past decade, while during that same stretch 7,395 fewer foals were born. It was decided that dedicating a larger slice of the purse pie to younger horses would help address the latter concern. And a series of initiatives, some involving social media, will take flight in 2016, with the aim of adding new owners. Strategies for using some of the slots dollars for marketing purposes were proposed. The need for gamblers, not fans, was raised. Are elimination races, which cause friction between horsemen and bettors, necessary was another topic up for discussion. USTA reps promised to carry the feedback from every sector to those in a position to address those issues. The elevated prices being paid for decent older stock at the sales is one manifestation of the horse shortage in North America. On the pacing side, this situation is being dealt with in part by importing more horses from Down Under. It costs $12,900 to ship a horse here from Australia and $15,600 to bring one from New Zealand. Back in the 70s plane loads of expatriated pacers arrived regularly in Los Angeles and at JFK in New York. The abbreviated program lines that accompanied them confused bettors and fostered some dicey situations for regulators. And nothing has changed in that regard. Joe Bellino and his trainer Tony O’Sullivan and trainer Darran Cassar have been volume players in this market. On the trotting side, we seem to be supplying the Europeans with ready-made high end stock, which is creating the sort of situation we had this year where the NA based aged male trotting class was as soft as whipped butter. Last year Nuncio, Maven and Creatine campaigned all, or most, in Creatine’s case, of the year in Europe. And just this month Oaks winner Wild Honey, Uncle Lasse and French Laundry have been sold to Swedish interests. Cobalt was in the news last year, but interest in its effect on Standardbred race horses has increased in 2015. Kentucky regulators decided to issue a warning for levels 25 ppb and up and a more severe sanction for anything above 50 ppb. The Ohio Racing Commission is conducting a study involving five Standardbreds, while the USTA is funding a study centered on eight healthy, trained Standardbreds. The Ontario Racing Commission approved adding a cobalt test to those performed on any horse routinely targeted for testing. Trainer Aaron Lambert, who was bounced from The Meadowlands due to s cobalt positive in 2014, had another with Dynamic Youth at Pocono Downs in June. And hall of famer Chuck Sylvester was suspended for 15 days and fined $500 at the same track for a positive with the filly Murderer’s Row in June. Much of the controversy over what does and doesn’t constitute an acceptable cobalt level should be stripped away after the data from these studies is reported. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.
Scarborough, Maine (May 23, 2015) - Making his very first state of Maine start on Saturday (5/23), Only The Lonely with harness racing driver Eddie Davis, Jr., just missed equaling one of the oldest Track Records on the Scarborough Downs books when they stopped the tele-timer in 1:54.1. The effort came within whiskers of matching Prince Ebony's standard for aged stallions set during the 1990 edition of The Presidents Pace, Scarborough's then marquee invitational, with driver Ron Pierce getting the entry home in 1:54 flat. The mile was the fastest recorded yet in 2015 at the Downs. Only The Lonely is the latest addition to the roster of Scarborough's 2014 Trainer of the Year, Bo Sowers and is owned by David MacDonald of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The five-year-old son of Western Ideal was insistently driven to an early lead through a contentious 28 second opening panel and maintained that front-seat advantage throughout, coasting to a 6-1/4 length margin at the wire, pretty much under wraps. We've got a feeling that Prince Ebony's ancient standard which has stood the test of time for nearly 25 years, may be in jeopardy soon with this new fleet stallion setting up shop at the Downs. Live harness racing is featured weekly at Scarborough Downs with the Friday and Saturday cards going to post at 4:00 p.m. (EDT) while the popular Sunday matinee gets underway at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs
DOVER, Del.--- Wednesday is trot day at the track. Ron Pierce, who had six winners, dominated the festivities on March 4 winning five of the top trotting events headed by newcomer Tag Up And Go, a 1:53.2 winner of the $18,000 Open ending a two-race win streak by Tough Mac. Pierce drove Ragzzo Dolce to victory in 1:54.4 to win a $14,500 event, after Fitness Craze won a sub-feature in 1:54.4. He concluded his big day guiding Joyeux Dream, the 'king of the claimers' to a seventh win of the meet. --------------------------------------------------------- Ron Pierce will be among the missing for the rest of the meet. He is scheduled for back surgery. The Hall of Famer is off to an excellent start in 2015. He is listed in the top 4 for races won and money-won in the year's standings. At Dover Downs he has driven 90 winners since opening day, good for sixth place in the standings only two win behind fifth-place Ross Wolfenden, who is scheduled to return to the races later this month after a family vacation to New Zealand. ----------------------------------------------------------- Joyeux Dream, a dominant $20,000 claimer, is the winningest horses at the track this meet with seven wins, one more than tough Open winner Tough Mac with six. Ragazzo Dolce has now won four-in-a-row. Delaware Hanover heads the pacing division with five straight. Movie Idol, winner of the Delaware Special (2/26) has won four in-a-row. ------------------------------------------------------------- Spin Vision, a Delaware-sired homebred, made it four straight trips to the winner's circle in the $14,500 3,4&5 Year-Old Mares Winners-Over Monday, March 2. Bred, owned and trained by Virginia Louthan, Spin Vision, only a three-year-old, was driven by Ron Pierce, setting a record 1:53.4 in the day's feature. --------------------------------------------------- Aaron Merriman leads all drivers in the sport in 2015. He leads Corey Callahan by five wins 139-134, through 2/27, Defending champion Ronnie Wrenn Jr. is third with 132 wins. Ron Pierce ranks fourth, 87, in winning drives. Ron Burke, is again, the leading trainer, in wins, 88, and money won $1.1-million. Dylan Davis have moved up to fourth among the top 5 trainers in North America with 32 wins. ----------------------------------------------------- Seemingly perennial leader, Corey Callahan, has upped his outstanding driving credentials to 222 winning drives this meet, which began Nov. 2, 214. Allan Davis is runner-up with 119. Vic Kirby is now in third-place with 100 winners. Ross Wolfenden is fourth, with 92 wins. Ron Pierce, is fifth with 90. ---------------------------------------------- Callahan has the highest UDRS batting at .419. Pierce is second at .393. Vic Kirby is third with .283, Ross Wolfenden, fourth, '269. Allan Davis and Ben Stafford Jr. are tied for fith place in the standings with a .262 rating. -------------------------------------------------------- Dylan Davis, last season's Leading Trainer, is making a late meet surge and has forged into first place with 48 wins. Doug Lewis has trained 45 winners. Wayne Givens, who has started the most horses,.211 and has won 44 races. Jim King is in fourth place among trainers with 41 victories. Nick Surick completes the top 5 with 35 wins. --------------------------------------------- In trainer statistics, Amanda Payson has the highest 'batting average.' She has started 36 horses this meet with 15 winners for a tremendous .515 percentage. Eric Ell is next with a .439 UTRS winning 31 races form 110 starts. Vic Kirby has haltered 15 wins from 57 starters, good for a .419 rating, Dylan Davis is the only other conditioned over .400. He has won 48 races, the most so far, in 178 starts for a .410 percentage. -------------------------------------------------- Harness Horse International (HHI) annual meeting and awards presentation took place in Deerfield Beach, Fla. March 1-March 5 with Sal DeMario, executive director of Delaware Standardbred Owners Association (DSOA) representing local horsemen. The HHI awards went to: past president Gene Oldfield winning the Dominic Frini Person of the Year. The HHI Appreciation Award winner was Jerry Knappenberger, recent Ohio Hall of Fame inductee, a former Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association GM. Thr harness editor of the Daily Racing Form, Derek Giwner, received the Clyde Hirt Media award. Marv Bachrad
DOVER, Del.--- Newcomer Tag Up And Go enjoyed a perfect trip sitting second with Ron Pierce then used the passing lane en route to a 1:53.2 victory in the $18,000 Open trot on a misty Wednesday, March 4 at Dover Downs. Pierce went on to win five races. Tough Mac left smartly from the outside to get the early lead with a :26.3 opening panel with Tag Up And Go sitting right behind. Corey Callahan cut out the fractions with Tough Mac, a six-time feature trot winning this meet. Wind Of The North (Daryl Bier) made a big move on the backstretch from fifth to offer a challenge but shortened strides after turning for home and had to settle for fourth place. In the stretch Pierce hustled Tag Up And Go along the passing lane to get up in 1:53.2 for the Angus Hall - Tagapine gelding's third win this year. Bob Bresnahan trains the winner for J.L. Sadowsky. Tough Mac held on for second with fast finishing Baximum and Allan Davis, the show horse. The win was the 12th line time for Tag Up And Go, a winner of $202,465. Pierce and Ragazzo Dolce also teamed to win one of two $14,500 4&5-Year-Old Winners-Over secondary co-features. Pierce again took advantage of racing behind leader Classic Belisima (Corey Callahan) until mid -stretch before pulling out and breezing to a 1:54.4 triumph. The win was the fourth in-a-row for the Muscles Yankee-Bella Dolce gelding since arriving from Woodbine for new owners Mike Casalino and trainer Dylan Davis. Derby (Daryl Bier) finished third. Ragazzo Dolce won for the sixth time in his career. The four-year-old has banded $69,115 lifetime. Earlier Pierce, drove another Bresnahan-conditioned trotter Fitness Craze, a Crazed-Aerobics gelding owned by Howard Taylor and Rich Lombardo to a 1:54.4 victory in a $13,000 co-feature. Enrico AS (Davis) was second with Apparition (Carlo Poliseno) taking third. Tony Morgan rang up two win and now stands at 14,965 victories. Corey Callahan, Vic Kirby and trainer Tim Crissman also had doubles. The $25,000 Delaware Special is the Thursday feature race. MUSTANG ART AMONG FOUR PREVIOUS WINNERS IN DEL. SPECIAL Mustang Art, Jebswesternshake, Papa Ray and Believe This Bob, all previous winners of $25,000 Delaware Special/Handicap paces are among the eight starters this week on Thursday, March 5 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. After two straight 'surprise' wins, Jebswesternshake, who had stepped up from the claiming ranks, raced well but had to settle for a third-place finish for driver George Dennis and owner Frank Chick. Mustang Art, owned by Max Walton and Greg Papaleo, is fresh from a win last time with Hall of Famer Ron Pierce in the bike. Mary Ann Larrimore's Believe This Bob has won this event twice. Trace Tetrick will drive. Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing's Papa Ray with Eddie Davis Jr. driving was the class of the race in late December and early January but did not fare well in late February. Among other starters, Janet Hudson's Just A Jolt, piloted by Vic Kirby, has been a major factor in all Del. Special's this meet, but ironically, though a favorite in most, has not won. He has been second four-times, and finished fourth twice. In the same category is Eddie and Kathy Davis' Nova Artist. Voted Horse of the Meet the last two seasons, the strong finishing eight-year-old has been inconsistent this meet. The other starters, Doug Lewis' Mojo Terror handled by Ron Pierce made his first local start last week and leaves from post 1. Brit Evans and Foulk Stable's Full Of Sand and driver Jonathan Roberts has been racing well and finished fourth last Thursday. An $18,000 and three $15,500 Opens and three $14,500 male paces for 4&5-year-old are featured on the strong undercard. Monday through Thursday racing starts at 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday are "dark" days. Sunday post time is 5:30 p.m. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. There is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad
DOVER, Del.--- Spin Vision, a Delaware-sired homebred, made it four straight trips to the winner's circle in the $14,500 4&5 Year-Old Mares Winners-Over Monday, March 2 feature at Dover Downs. Bred, owned and trained by Virginia Louthan, Spin Vision rolled down the passing lane with Ron Pierce to record a 1:53.4 career best victory in the day's headliner. Ms. Louthan owns the No Spin Zone - David's Art brown filly, the only three-year-old in the nine-horse lineup. Velocity Sonja, as usual, cut out the early fraction with McArma (Vic Kirby) pressing hard on the outside from mid-backstretch until deep in the stretch. Pierce, enjoying a 2-hole trip exploded upon reaching the passing lane and darted to victory. McArma was a game second with Hidden Land (Roger Plante) coming on to finish third. Spin Vision is now a perfect four-for-four this year with seven lifetime wins and four seconds in 15 races good for $65,480 earnings. In a $13.000 distaff pace, Bay Pod Racing's Hearts N Flowers, over looked at 8-1, won for the third time in her last five starts with two seconds, as Allan Davis guided the Artiscape - Hasty Dewar mare to victory in 1:53.3. Twin B Heartland (Corey Callahan) was runner-up. Valerya (Jonathan Roberts) recovered from locking wheels with Jeremes Sweetheart (Kirby) on the backstretch, to close well for third. The win was the 14th lifetime for Hearts N Flowers extending her earnings to $186,361. Allan Davis, Ron Pierce and Tony Morgan had two wins, including a 29-1 shot for Morgan driving Yanklet Hanover in a $12,500 mares pace. BETTOR AND BOLD ONE-TO-BEAT IN $20,000-$25,000 CLAIMER TUESDAY Just Bettor, fresh from victory last week, is the one-to-beat in the $20,000-$25,000 4&5-Year-Old Claiming Handicap pace, the Tuesday March 3 feature race at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Ken Wood, Bill Ditmar and Steve Iaquinta’ Just Bettor has thrived in his eight starts in 2015 finishing either first or second, with one exception, a third. Vic Kirby has driven the gelding conditioned by Eric Ell in all of his local starts. Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing’s UF Dragons Cruiser, driven by Allan Davis, led for the early part of action last Tuesday but relented to Just Bettor and took second money. Wade Wyatt’s good closer Swift As A Shadow with George Dennis, was third last time, and drew the rail this week. Not to be overlooked in his first local appearance is Black Magic Racing’s PL Hoofhearted, piloted by Corey Callahan. Tim Tetrick and CC Racing’s Better And Bold made an untimely break last time for driver, Trace Tetrick, is among other contenders. Toby Lynch will drive Jim Jacobs’ Button Fly, while Tony Morgan will be behind Wayne King’s LA Camcharger. Marv Bachrad
DOVER, Del.--- Ultra-consistent Cash Cab scored a 1:56.2 victory in the $15,000 Male Claiming pace feature over a ‘sloppy’ track at Dover Downs on scratch-filled Sunday, March 1. Harness racing driver Ron Pierce had a four-bagger. Cash Cab notched his second win to go with four seconds in his last seven starts for owner-trainer Jason Skinner. Allan Davis was in the sulky for the 1:56.2 triumph, a race in which Cash Cab was claimed by trainer Doug Lewis. The Western Ideal-Tricky Tooshie 10-year-old registered his 41st lifetime win raising earnings to $559,994. Sir Globalop Z Tam closed strongly for Eddie Davis Jr. to secure second. Wilbur Z Tam (Trace Tetrick) took third. Bossa Nova Baby was scratched. In a $10,700 4&5-Year-Old Male pace, Ron Pierce picked up his fourth win of the day steering Dawn Webb and trainer Buddy Bright’s Keystone Ryder to victory. There were only three starters in the 15th race with nine horses being scratched early in the program. Eddie Davis Jr. took 6-5 Ed and Mike Reepucci’s Western Hanover-Sun N Moon gelding, trained by Anastasius Papadolpoulos, right to the front and cut all the fractions in a 1:57 victory. Lyons Meandragon (Roger Plante) and Tom And Stan (Montrell Teague) were second and third. Mike Rossi guided the longshot on the card, winner-trainer Pamela Polk’s Wynnfield Noelle to a 31-1 wire-to-wire victory in 2:01.3. The Life Sizzles-Ladyshooter filly was chased home by Koko Chanel (Art Stafford Jr.) and Sugar Pin (Ron Pierce). Pierce drove four wins, Eddie Davis Jr. had three and Allan Davis had two winners. FOUR MARES SEEK TO EXTEND WINS IN MONDAY DISTAFF Valerya, Taylor Rei, Springford and Jeremes Sweetheart, all winners last start, meet head on in $13,000 Mares Winners-Over pace on Monday, March 2 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Valerya was the fastest winner last week as Jonathan Roberts guided the Foulk Stable's seven-year-old to a 1:52 wire-to-wire triumph with a three-seconds allowance. The win was the fourth in her last five outings. MoCoo Inc. and Jonathan Klee Racing's Taylor Rei boasts an impressive record of four wins, three seconds, and a third in eight races on the program. George Dennis drives Springford for owner-trainer Jeff Clark. It was her second win of the campaign. Jeremes Sweetheart and Vic Kirby is another with strong performances all meet. Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta own the five-year-old, who won in her last start to go with four seconds, two thirds and a fourth in her last outings. A couple of the opponents were strong second-place performers last time. Bay Pond Stable's Hearts N Flowers, with Allan Davis driving, has been second twice and a winner in her previous two races while Harvey Eisman, Bert Hochsprung and Erv Miller Stable's Twin B Heartland has posted three wins this meet with a strong second last Monday. Corey Callahan will be in the bike. Erika Paradee's Lady's Delight will start from the rail with George Dennis driving. In a pair of $14,500 Mares 4&5-Year-Old Winners-Over divisions, breeder, owner-trainer Virginia Louthan's Spin Vision (Ron Pierce) brings a three-race win streak into one section. Mary Harvey's Elizabeth Blue Chip (Sean Bier) has won two in-a-row, Mason Shaw's La Fiesta (Tony Morgan) and Lindysbathinbeauty (Callahan), owned by Tina and Joe Clark, is another winner last week, leaves from post 9 in the second tier. Ms. Louthan's homebred Megginspin (Pierce) is the sole winner in her last start in the other $14,500 section for young females. Jenny Bier's Skinnydip Hanover (Daryl Bier), Fred Hertrich and Bob Tribbett's Rachelle's Beat (Callahan) and Tim Mumford's Romanascape (Jim Morand) lead the opposition. Monday through Thursday racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Each week, there is no racing on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday post time is 5:30 p.m. At Dover Downs, there is no charge for parking and admission. Harness and thoroughbred simulcasts is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad
A trio of Winter Series FInals that were a part of the Saturday card that had to be cancelled due to weather last week, went postward tonight at The Meadowlands. The Sonsam, Burning Point and Charles Singer Memorial Finals were the feature events on the 13-race program. Rockeyed Optimist entered the $59,000 Sonsam Final off a powerhouse performance that included a 25.4 final quarter. Tonight, he had to work a little bit harder to earn the victory, but earn the victory, he did. Sent off as the 4/5 favorite, Rockeyed Optimist was away in the back-half of the field through fractions of 27 and 55.2. It was at that point, that the 8/5 second-choice, Major Uptrend moved first over to challenge for the lead. Rockeyed Optimist set himself up third over, just off the helmet of Rediscovery, through three-quarters of 1:23. Turning for home, Major Uptrend grabbed the lead and reached for the wire, but Rockeyed Optimist was lurking in the wings as he fanned out off cover and powered home to score in 1:50, equaling his lifetime mark. The win was the fourth from five starts in 2015 for trainer Steve Elliot. He was driven to victory by Brett Miller for owners Anthony Perretti, Berkner, A&B Stable and Battaglia. Miller was very impressed with his gelding. "He really impressed me (last week)," said Miller, referring to his monstrous final quarter. "He just powers home. Tonight I was a little worried in the first turn, we were pretty far back. But, he raced giant. He dug-in in the stretch. This is real horse." On the trotting side, JL Cruze made it back to back series' wins with his wire to wire victory in the $49,000 Charles Singer Memorial on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Sent off as the 3/5 favorite, JL Cruze would dictate terms from the start, seating Opulent Yankee in the pocket through fractions of 27.4, 56.2 and 1:25.2. From there, the race was on and the top pair sprinted away from the field, but Opulent Yankee had all to do just to keep up, as JL Cruze ripped through a 26.4 final quarter, reaching for the wire in 1:52.1, a lifetime mark. Opulent Yankee never got closer than one length. Blocking The Way checked in third. Trainer Eric Ell indicated that last week's weather cancellation helped his trotter. "I was able to get a good mile into him over a decent track at Harrington," said Ell. "The track at my place I couldn't train on because the weather has been so terrible." A $32,000 Harrisburg purchase, JL Cruze has exceeded his trainer's expectations. "No, I didn't expect he would be this good," added Ell. "We made a lot of changes when we got him and he just keeps getting better. He tries hard every week. JL Cruze was driven by his usual pilot John Campbell for owners William Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar Jr and Stephen Iaquinta. Ell confirmed the Shiaway St Pat trotting series, a more difficult late closer series based on its conditions was next for his prized trotter. That series begins on Friday, March 13th. The mares went to the post in the $50,600 Burning Point Final in a highly-competitive and select field. Empress Deo was looking for a series sweep and was sent off as the 3/2 betting choice. The Ron Burke entry of Southwind Serenity and Donttellruss were the 8/5 second choice, while Worldly Beauty winner Witch Dali was sent off at 3-1. Southwind Serenity established the early pace, gliding through fractions of 27.2 and 56-seconds. Heading to the half-mile pole, her stable-mate Donttellruss committed first over, but made little headway, forcing Empress Deo three-wide in the middle of the far turn. In the meantime, Somenicebeach and Ron Pierce were riding a perfect pocket trip behind the lone speed through three-quarters of 1:23.4. In the stretch, Empress Deo was finding just even pace while Somenicebeach was ripping out of the pocket and pacing right past Southwind Serenity nearing the wire. Witch Dali was left with too much ground to make up and had to settle for the runner-up spot while Empress Deo could manage only to be third tonight. Trainer Mark Capone gave credit to his mare who "overcame a rough foot bruise, but has kept racing well despite that, noting that she has earned some time off after this win." He also praised his driver Ron Pierce, citing "Ronnie has put her in a great spot all series and tonight it worked out great." Somenicebeach earned her third victory of the season for Susan Oakes, pacing the mile in a lifetime best 1:51.1. The Buddy Gilmour series began with a pair of $17,500 divisions for three year old pacers on Saturday night at The Meadowlands as well. The first division featured National Seelster, unbeaten in both lifetime starts entering the Gilmour. Sent off as the 1/5 favorite, National Seelster sat third early in the mile, while Fast Movin Train established fractions of 27.2, 56.3 and 1:24.4. The field began to string out at the five-eighths pole and that is when National Seelster made his move for the lead. He engaged Fast Movin Train into the stretch and was able to grind that foe down to score in 1:52. National Seelster was driven by Andy Miller for Chris Ryder and is owned by Robert Mondillo and Oompa's Farm Inc. The star of the entire Meadowlands program may have been the winner of the second division of The Buddy Gilmour Series, Wiggle It JiggleIt. Entering his fourth lifetime start with an unblemished record, Wiggle It Jiggle It quickly asserted his supremacy, establishing the lead at once from post position eight. The gelding would coast through fractions of 27.3, 56.3 and 1:24.3 before turning for home with an ever-expanding lead. Under no urging whatsoever, with his pilot Montrell Teague visibly looking around for competition mid-stretch and effectively slowing his horse down nearing the wire, Wiggle It Jiggleit paced home in 26.4 to win emphatically in 1:51.2. In a pre-race interview Montrell Teague noted the connections have high hopes for the son of Mr. Wiggles. "We'll race him in the Gilmour series and then shut him down until May," said Teague. "He's staked so we'll look to some races in New Jersey and focus on The Meadowlands Pace and a couple of other big ones." Without question, Wiggle It Jiggleit is the most exciting early season prospect of 2015. The Meadowlands Pace eligible gelding is trained by Clyde Francis for George Teague Jr. Inc. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers carried over. The fifth-race carryover into the Friday, March 6th program is $41,316.79, while the last race carryover has swelled to $148,525.71. Post time for the Friday card is 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
Tim Tetrick has long been one of North America's top harness racing drivers. Now he is ready to take on the world. A native of Illinois who now lives in southern New Jersey, Tetrick will represent the U.S. in the World Driving Championship in Australia. The competition, which brings together 10 drivers from around the world for a 20-race series at six different tracks, begins Saturday at Tabcorp Park Menangle in New South Wales. The 33-year-old Tetrick, a four-time U.S. Driver of the Year who has led North America in purses seven of the last eight years, is making his first appearance in the World Driving Championship. "It's a great honor to be able to represent the United States and hopefully I can win it and make America proud," Tetrick said. "I love competing at a very high level and this is on the international scene. I'm just going to go into it and try to have a good time and enjoy myself and do what I love to do, which is race horses." The World Driving Championship, introduced in 1970, is now conducted every two years. France's Pierre Vercruysse won the 2013 edition, held in his home country, and will defend his title in Australia. Also part of this year's field is Canada's Jody Jamieson, a two-time WDC champion. Past U.S. champs are Joe Marsh Jr. (1974), Ron Pierce (1989) and Dave Magee (1995). "Timmy, good luck over there," Pierce said in a video message to Tetrick. "I hope you get on the right horses and put it on them boys. You know you're better than them. "You're driving for all of us, so we're all rooting for you." Drivers already have received their post positions for the World Driving Championship's 20 races and will drive whichever horse randomly draws the matching starting spot. Tetrick will drive the post No. 10 horse in the opening heat. All drivers will start twice from each of the 10 posts. "Hopefully they give me the best horses," Tetrick said with a laugh. "I'm going to study it the best I can, work with what horses they give me to drive, and hopefully I don't embarrass myself too badly. There are a lot of different (driving) styles. We're all kind of in the same boat, but hopefully I get some good luck with the draws." Learning to compete against various driving styles will be among Tetrick's most difficult challenges. "It was a completely different style of racing than what I was used to," said David Miller, who represented the U.S. in 1999 and finished fifth. "It took me a while (to adjust). We raced at five or six different racetracks and they were action packed. "I think (Tim) could probably watch tapes of races, maybe study the horses. I would just tell him to have fun. Go over there, go all out, and try to win the whole thing. He's a great driver, but you've got to get the horses and you've got to have luck." Andy Miller, who represented the U.S. in 2005 and 2007, with a best finish of fourth, said having a good time is important. "The camaraderie and meeting new people are great memories," Miller said. "I would tell him to have a great time and meet everybody you can and take everything in that you can. It's something you don't get to do very often, so enjoy it. If you're having fun, the wins will come and you'll do better." Tetrick, who in his career has won more than 8,500 races - including the Hambletonian Stakes and 14 Breeders Crowns, is one of five drivers making his first trip to the World Driving Championship. The others are Spain's Guillermo Adrover, Denmark's Knud Monster, France's Tony LeBeller, and Norway's Vidar Hop. Rounding out the field are Australia's Chris Alford, New Zealand's Dexter Dunn, and Finland's Mika Forss. "I definitely want to win," Tetrick said. "But I'm looking forward to visiting the country and seeing what it's like. I'm familiar with a few of (the other drivers). I'm looking forward to hanging out with them and getting to know them, and hopefully coming out with more friends." Ken Weingartner / Harness Racing Communications
DOVER, Del.---, Tough Mac made up for a neck loss last week to win his fifth feature feature trot this meet and Razor Ramone won his fifth straight on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at Dover Downs. Two other win streaks came to an end during the 15-race card. Corey Callahan and Tough Mac quick stepped away from the starting gate and then kept his seven rivals at bay on the way to a 1:54 victory in the week's top trot, the $18,000 Open/Handicap. Tirade Hanover , driven by Vic Kirby, made him work hard battling alongside the winner for much of the last half but could fare no better than second. I'm So Striking with Eddie Dennis closed well to finish third. The victory boosted Tough Mac's seasonal earnings to $35,000. Dylan Davis conditions the Lockkeeper - Traditional Lady black gelding for owner Mike Casalino. The eight-year-old won for the 14th time in his career with a $160,944 lifetime bankroll. One race later, Razor Ramone and Ron Pierce continued their winning ways notching their fifth consecutive triumph in a $14,000 4&5-Year-Old Winners-Over trot. Trained by Eric Ell for Steve Iaquinta and Dittmar, Razor Ramone cut out a 1:56 success holding off fast finishing Derby (Allan Davis) by a neck with Deacons Valley (Callahan) coming on for third. Razor Ramone, a four-year-old by Kadabra - Oaklea Rae, is a perfect four-for-four in 2015. He has eight career wins and $85,129 earnings lifetime. Derby (Allan Davis) captured second-place honors with Deacons Valley (Roger Plante) third. Eric Ell lifted his UTRS "batting average" to around .450 this season with his third training win of the meet, Enrico AS, who fashioned a near-wire-to-wire victory in an $8,500 Non-Winners trot. The win was the third for owners Dittmar, Iaquinta and second for partner Ken Wood, the same ownership of Go Go Red Marty, a 1:54.3 winner of a $15,000 Claiming trot. Trish Foulk - trained Prayer Session registered his third win of the meet scoring a 1:54.4 front-end performance in a $12,000 Conditioned trot with Corey Callahan at the controls for Brit Evan and Foulk Stables. Power Charger (Trace Tetrick) came on for second. I Like My Boss (Jonathan Roberts) was the show horse. Payson Racing's Joyeux Dream (Ron Pierce) from post 8, won for the fifth consecutive time in a 1:55.1 victory in a $15,000-$20,000 Claiming Handicap trot while several streaks came to an end including Ringside Muscle (Jonathan Roberts, finishing third. When Payson Racing's JS McFlash, with Pierce driving, won his third in succession, the meet's longest win streak ended after seven straight for Jingle Bell Rocker. Other streaks that came to an end included Hey Pancho, who had won four-in-a-row, and two straight by Captain Fairfax, who finished second in another trot. Owners Dittmar and Iaquinta, drivers Callahan and Pierce, joined trainer Ell with three wins while Wolfenden, Roger Plante, Eddie Davis Jr., Allan Davis and owner Ken Wood had two wins apiece. Trainer Amanda Payson and Payson Racing also won twice. MUSTANG ART IS FAVORITE IN $25,000 DELAWARE SPECIAL THURSDAY Four of the eight starters, led by Mustang Art, tangle in the $25,000 Lincoln Day Delaware Special, Thursday, Feb 12 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Ron Pierce put Mustang Art on the lead in last week’s $27,500 Preferred pace and never looked back in a 1:51.3 victory over an ‘off’ track for owners Max Walton and Greg Papaleo. Eddie Davis Jr. and Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing’s Papa Ray raced outside for most of the mile and was a length back at the wire. Meet leading driver, Corey Callahan will be behind, Joan Dalphon and Elanor Laws’ Don’t Ya Know, who closed smartly to pick up third money last time. Razor sharp Believe This Bob with Ross Wolfenden, won the last Del. Special, two weeks ago, for the second time in four weeks. The ultra-consistent Just A Jolt, racing for Janet Hudson, returns following a two-week respite and drew the rail. Kovach Stables’ Feel Like A Fool, and Trace Tetrick, has an advantageous post 2 start. Jebswestershake, with George Dennis piloting, steps up from the claiming ranks, sporting three consecutive wins while Nova Artist, winner of the last two Horse of the Meet honors, took last week off, and is driven by Allan Davis for his parent’s Eddie and Kathy Davis. Tom Lazzaro’s Contraband Hanover (Pierce), Tina Clark and Kovach Stable’s Artistic Director (Tetrick) and Howard Taylor’s Delaware Hanover (Callahan) lead one of two $15,500 Open pace sub-feature on the tough undercard. Monday through Thursday racing starts at 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday are "dark" days. Sunday post time is 5:30 p.m. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. There is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad
DOVER, Del. ---- Star Recruit and Shopping With Art meet start from the outside in the $15,000-$20,000 male Claiming Handicap at Dover Downs on Sunday, Feb. 8. Post time is 5:30 p.m. Both horses drew posts 7 and 8 respectively in the claiming handicap. Black Magic Racing's Star Recruit, handled by Jonathan Roberts has two wins, three seconds, a third in his last seven starts. Bob Shahan's Shopping With Art was second last time with Allan Davis piloting. The program favorite is Howard Taylor's Bossa Nova Baby with Ron Pierce driving. For the second straight start, Bob Breasure and Nanticoke Racing's KR's Power Surge drew the rail with Jim Morand in the bike. Z Tam Stable's Wilbur's Z Tam, piloted by Tony Morgan, is alongside. Drunk On You is a factor with Eddie Davis Jr. driving for Sharon White and Legacy Racing. The rest of the starters are Jim King and Paton Racing's Sea Harrier with Vic Kirby and William Moffett's Laramars Soul and Ross Wolfenden. Dover Downs races Sundays at 5:30 p.m. and weekdays, Monday through Thursday beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday are 'dark days.' It is suggested that those who would enjoy watching races from the Winners Circle restaurant should call for reservations, phone 302-674-4600. There is no charge for parking or admission at Dover Downs. Daily simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing daily begins 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. For those planning to watch racing and dine in the Winner's Circle Restaurant, reservations are suggested. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad
DOVER, Del. ---Harness racing driver Sean Bier piloted Fox Valley Hermia to victory in the rain over a "sloppy' track Monday, Jan. 26 at Dover Downs. Ron Pierce drove four winners. Catch-driving for Marcus Miller, Bier, sent Fox Valley Hermia past front-pacing Jeremes Sweetheart (Jonathan Roberts) in mid-backstretch then opened up a quick lead. The five-year-old then survived a strong closing effort from Mach A Wish (Corey Callahan) to notch a 1:53.1 triumph. Nick Surick conditions the five-year-old chestnut mare for Ervin Miller. The win was the first of the year in four starts for the daughter of Yankee Skyscraper-Hidden Princess. She has 22 lifetime successes and earnings of $176,214. Jeremes Swetheart held on for third. Handsoffmycookie was scratched. Trainer Surick began a three-win night when Vic Kirby guided Twin B Heartland to a 1:54.1win in a $14,500 4&5-Year-Old Mares pace for her second win in a row. Owned by Harvey Eisman, Bert Hochsprung and Ervin Miller Stables, the Bettor's Delight-Twin B Inmate four-year-old won for the third time in six starts this meet. McArma (Ross Wolfenden) came on fast to finish second with Get Real Rusty (Eddie Davis Jr.) third. Megan Deering's Velocity Sonja gave Allan Davis his second winning drive on the card in a $12,500 4&5-Year-Old-Mares pace. It was her fourth win in five starts for the Art's Chip-Trelise Hanover four-year-old trained by Dylan Davis. Hidden Land (Roger Plante) was runner-up. Seawind Ginger (Wolfenden) was the show horse. Next, after Pierce's four winning drives, trainer Surick with three wins, owner Erv Miller and drivers Allan Davis and Tony Morgan posted doubles. Sir Globalop Z Tam and Four Starz Q, both winners last time out, lead the $20,000 Male Claiming pace, Tuesday's feature. There is no live racing on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday post time is 5;30 p.m. Monday through Thursday starting time is 4:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant, call 302-674-4600. There is no charge for parking or for admission at Dover Downs. Simulcasting of leading harness and thoroughbred racing from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight in the Dover Downs Racing and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad
DOVER, Del. --- Lounge Act was a 1:55 success in a $14,000 Mares 4&5-Year-Old Winners-Over pace over a 'sloppy' track on a damp Monday, Jan.12 at Dover Down. Corey Callahan continued his multiple-win barrage with five wins while Ron Pierce had four. After a threesome of 7-post position, Lounge Act drew the rail and responded with 1:55 victory, hid fourth in his seven starts this meet for trainer-driver Vic Kirby and owner Keith Pippi. The Cam's Card Shark-Hay Macarena four-year-old was chased down the lane by Waitingforapplause (Ross Wolfenden) and Flick A Fly (Ron Perce), second and third respectively. A 9-1 shot Tim Mumford's Romanascape score a 1:57 victory in another $14,000 Mares division. Jim Morand drove the Shane Long conditioned the daughter of Artiscape-Romanticize to her second consecutive triumph and third win in her last five outings. Sophia Seelster (Callahan) was second best. Rachelle's Beat (Pierce) was the show finisher. Harry von Knoblauch's Scootin For Joy made it two-in-a-row romping to a 1:53.4 score in a $13,000 Mares Winners-Over. Ron Pierce was at the controls as the Western Paradise-Scooting Annie five-year-old cut out the mil closing with a :27.2 panel. Jeremes Sweetheart (Kirby) and Paradise Lost (Jonathan Roberts) raced second and third the entire route. In another $13,000 female pace, Lindysbathinbeauty with Corey Callahan, driving the Somebeachsomewhere-Sunshine Sister four-year-old, notched a 1:54.3 decision for J&M Racing and CTC Stable. Velocity Sonja (Allan Davis) was runner-up. Seawind Ginger (Wolfenden) took third. Callahan's five and four by Pierce were followed by two wins for trainer Johnny Waite and two for owner Chris White. Swift As A Shadow and Middle Aged Crazy are fresh from wins last time out among eight starters in Tuesday’s $20,000-$25,000 4&5-Year-Old Claiming Handicap pace on Jan. 13 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. After racing much of the mile on the outside, Allan Davis and Wade Wyatt’s Swift As A Shadow took the lead in the stretch on the way to a 1:54.2 victory over a track rated as “good.” Middle Aged Crazy, owned by O’Toole, the Somones and trainer Dave McCaffrey, steps up after a wire-to-wire 1:54.1score by a nose in a $15,000 claimer. Moving to a middle post start should aid Harvey Eisman’s Touchdown Mindale and driver Corey Callahan. Bill Emmons’ Alittleaintenough also, gets an inside post position after consecutive outside posts. George Dennis will drive. Tim Tetrick and CC Racing’s Better And Bold, handled by Trace Tetrick, is a major factor. Wayne King’s L A Charger drops back into the claiming ranks but driver Vic Kirby must leave from outside post eight. Montrell Teague will pilot Frank Chick’s Quincy while Jason Lynch will be behind Jim Jacob’s Button Fly. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs
Given her pedigree, pacing mare Lotsa Matzah has the potential to be a successful broodmare. But before she gives motherhood a try, trainer Ed Hart is hopeful the lightly raced 4-year-old can still be a successful racehorse. Lotsa Matzah, a full sister to stakes-winners Heston Blue Chip and Sunfire Blue Chip, has won two of 13 career starts as she heads into Friday's opening round of the Worldly Beauty series at the Meadowlands. One of those victories came at the Big M last week following a six-month layoff. "She got a little sore in the middle of last summer and we decided to quit with her," Hart said. "She just needed some time off. We turned her out and she's seemed to come back pretty good. "We had pretty high expectations for her. I thought she was an awful nice filly. Between being a little bit sore and a little immature (at ages 2 and 3) it just didn't work out. But it seems to be coming together now. We're hoping that she keeps going forward." Lotsa Matzah competes in the second of two $15,000 divisions in the first round of the Worldly Beauty series. She starts from post seven with driver Ron Pierce and is part of a 3-1 common-ownership entry with Impatience. Ron Burke's Donttellruss, who has won three of 26 lifetime starts and has hit the board 14 times, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the race. The second leg of the Worldly Beauty series is Jan. 16 and the $65,000 (est.) final Jan. 24 at the Meadowlands. Lotsa Matzah was purchased for $57,000 under the name Tacumwah Blue Chip in the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale. A daughter of American Ideal out of the mare Shot Togo Bluechip, her family includes Dan Patch Award winners Heston Blue Chip and Kikikatie as well as millionaire Camluck. As a 2-year-old, Lotsa Matzah was winless in six starts but finished second on three occasions, all in the New York Excelsior Series. Last season she raced six times, winning a maiden race at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in 1:52.4, before being sidelined. Lotsa Matzah has earned $26,191 for owners Blue Chip Bloodstock, Daniel Zucker, Christine Sallee, and Stephen Demeter. "She's really well bred; she's going to be a good broodmare at some point," Hart said. "But I've always liked this filly. She's always had a good attitude and showed good speed, she just couldn't put it all together. She was a little hard on herself and kind of had to find herself. "This year, she's come back and seemed to have matured a lot. She's come along pretty good. She's got a couple series coming up now, the Worldly Beauty and Burning Point, and we'll have to see where we go from there." Witch Dali, who went 4-for-4 in December after missing a year of action, is the 6-5 favorite in the first division of the Worldly Beauty. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications
DOVER, Del. --- After two setbacks as favorite, Ron Pierce piloted For The Ladies N to an impressive 1:52.3 triumph in the $18,000 Mares Open Handicap on Jan. 5, at Dover Downs. Pierce and Allan Davis each drove four winners. Pierce, not only guided For The Ladies N to her first win of 2015 in the female feature, he also drove Scootin For Joy to victory in the secondary-feature $13,500 Mares Winners Over pace, both owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton. For The Ladies N got away next to last next in the six-distaff field. Pierce worked his way up on the outside to with a length of pace setting race favorite Kiss Dont Bite and Vic Kirby. By mid-stretch For The Ladies N, a daughter of Jeremes Jet-For The Don, was rolling and picked up her 14th career victory upping her lifetime earnings to $90,809. Mach A Wish was a game second for Corey Callahan while Kiss Dont Bite edged Handsoffmycookie (Trace Tetrick) for third. The same owner, trainer, driver combination of von Knoblauch, Tritton and Pierce, struck in the previous race when Pierce scooted down the passing lane Scootin For Joy, a Western Paradise-Scooting Annie five-year-old, to overtake leader Jeremes Sweetheart (Kirby) for a 1:54 score. Paradise Lost (Jonathan Roberts) closed strongly to finish third, While Pierce and Allan Davis had four wins, Trace Tetrick had two winners Meet leader Corey Callahan won one race, his 101st of the meet, to bring his career win total to 3998. King Royalty makes his Dover Downs debut , one of three starters fresh from victory last time out, in the Tuesday, Jan. 6 in the $20,000-$25,000 4&5-Year-Old Claiming pace feature. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Owned by Ed Maas, Arlene Parsley and Nanticoke Racing, King Royalty makes his first start of the New Year after a win last month at Chester. Jim Morand will drive. Bill Emmons’ This Deuceiswild with Corey Callahan in the bike won at the Meadowlands last start and leaves from the rail while Just Bettor, owned by Ken Wood and Minisink Farms won last week and has had a check in each of his last seven starts drew outside post 8 with Vic Kirby at the controls. Tim Tetrick and CC Racing’s Bettor And Bold with Trace Tetrick, Harvey Eisman’s Touchdown Mindale has handled stepping up the claiming ranks and head the opposition which includes Troy and Todd Tribbett’s Ziggy Sky and Ross Wolfenden, Frank Chick’s Quincy handled by George Dennis and Jim Jacob’s Button Fly reined by Jason Lynch. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs
Columnist Joe Fitzgerald took a look at how the drivers in this year’s top ten (money earned) fared compared with what they did last year. The figures for 2014 run through Saturday December 27, so they’re not perfect year-end numbers, but close enough. A few end-of-year drives by Corey Callahan at Dover Downs are all that’s missing. Nine drivers repeat from 2013, in a different order, of course. Andy Miller, who missed six months after breaking his back in an accident ay Yonkers Raceway in mid-April is out, replaced by Brett Miller, who had an excellent year, moving up nine spots. Six members of the top ten earned less this year than they did last, and eight of them made fewer starts during 2014. Jason Bartlett, who supplanted Sears as the top dog at Yonkers Raceway, and Brett Miller, who was a poor man’s Yannick Gingras with the Burke and Takter stock, were the only two who won more races this year than last. Yannick Gingras, the unanimous choice for USHWA’s Driver of the Year, had 18 fewer wins through Saturday but his earnings were up 18%, which amounts to more than $3 million. All of this with about 100 fewer starts than he made during 2013. The time spent in Sweden with Maven earlier in the year and the current trip to France with that same mare, would account for some of that. Burke and Takter both had spectacular years and Gingras, having first call for both, benefited greatly. Father Patrick, JK Endofanera, Mission Brief, Sassa Hanover, Limelight Beach, Pinkman, Foiled Again, Cartoon Daddy, Gural Hanover, Band Of Angels, Lifetime Pursuit and Maven were a few of his money makers. Tim Tetrick, who will drop down to second, missed the first five weeks of the year recuperating from hip surgery. He made 266 fewer starts through Saturday and won 63 fewer races. His earnings are down a whopping 26%, or $4.2 million. Captaintreacherous’s earnings dropped from $2 million to $175,000 and Market Share saw his 2014 bankroll cut in half. I Luv The Nitelife failed to rebound from an injury and was retired. He’s Watching won the Pace in record time in mid-July, but only won the EBC after that. Classic Martine was very good and Anndrovette was solid. He won some money with Clear Vision and Sayitall BB, and Horse of the Year JK She’salady fell in his lap late in the year. Still, for the most part, the stock wasn’t competitive with the lightning bolts Yannick was steering around the track. Ron Pierce, who turns 59 in June, jumped up from the fifth spot to number three on the earnings list. He made 442 fewer starts and won 89 fewer races, however, his earnings only dropped by 5%, or $581,000. Gingras’ success took some dough from the pockets of all the top guys, but Pierce, crafty dog that he is, managed to sidle in behind $1.2 million dollar earner Shake It Cerry from the Takter barn and $1.3 million dollar earner Sweet Lou from the Burke Barn. He also drove Uncle Lasse, Wild Honey, Yagonnakissmeornot, Lyons Levi Lewis and E L Titan. David Miller has maintained his hold on the four spot on the 2014 list, however, he took a 20% haircut, earning $2.5 million less than last year on 441 fewer starts. His win total dropped by 41. McWicked was second only to Father Patrick in overall earnings with $1.4 million. And even there Miller chose Always B Miki over that one for the Breeders Crown, which didn’t work out when Miki was injured prior to the race. He did get McWicked back for the Progress though. The Buckeye drove Holloway’s pair Shebestingin and Somwherovrarainbow, but neither one of them lived up to expectations. Jolene Jolene was good, but like Tetrick, Miller didn’t have the stock to compete with Gingras. Brian Sears, who straddled Yonkers Raceway and the Grand Circuit again, dropped from number three to number five this year. He had 66 fewer wins in 83 fewer starts and finished more than $4 million short of last year’s total—that’s 30% less. In 2013 he had the richest pair of trotters in the sport, Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, who earned $1.5 million, and Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life, who earned $1.2 million. The latter retired early while BAM disappointed; she earned $421,000 this year. Sears drove freshman hotshot In The Arsenal, and he lucked into the drive behind McWicked in the BC when David Miller only had eyes for Miki. As was the case with Tetrick and David Miller, the stock wasn’t there to compete on the Grand Circuit. Additionally, Jason Bartlett rose up at Yonkers. Corey Callahan, who missed time to the Great Southern Star Trotting Series and the Drivers Invitational in Australia in March, found the six spot again this year. He won last year’s USHWA Rising Star Award and hasn’t looked back. Like Ron Pierce, Corey kept his losses to a minimum. He had 40 fewer winners in 189 fewer starts but only backtracked 7%, or $693,000 in purse money. This constitutes an excellent year for any driver not sitting forward on the Burke-Takter Gravy Train. He picked away at it, winning a sixth consecutive driving title at Dover Downs and soaking up that Delaware sire stakes money; he took a $100,000 final with the filly pacer Totally Rusty three weeks ago. Callahan made 28% of his starts at Dover Downs and earned $2 million there. Smexi, D’Orsay, Harley Momma, Resolve, Drop The Ball and Tomy Terror were a few of his drives this year. Jason Bartlett stayed close to home, racking up 94% of his more than $8 million in earnings at Yonkers Raceway, where he won a fourth driving title. Busting this year’s pattern, Bartlett made 194 more starts and won 174 more races this year. He earned almost a million dollars more than he did in 2013—that’s a 12% increase over last year. He won 485 times at his Westchester base, that’s 83 and 82 more races than Sears and Brennan won. Matt Kakaley, the only under 30 driver on the list, who handles the Burke horses Yannick passes over, drove in 193 fewer races and won 78 fewer times, but he upped his earnings 7% from 2013, banking an extra $560,000. All Bets Off gave him the biggest win of his career when he took the Messenger. And he won with Cartoon Daddy on the Night of Champions at Yonkers and also drove Bettor’s Edge, Handover Belle, Wishing Stone, Quick Deal, Gatka Hanover and Camille. Brett Miller, who is number nine on the list, had a breakout year in 2014. Like most of the drivers who did well, he was a regular behind Takter and Burke horses. He drove French Laundry, Clear Vision, Donatella Hanover and Krispy Apple, among others. He won eight in a row with Sandbetweenurtoes for Larry Remmen. Wake Up Peter has earned $250,000 this year with Brett driving him. Miller won only 15 more races from almost 400 more drives, but his earnings jumped 35%. He took in $2.7 million more than he did last year. George Brennan has been a regular at Yonkers Raceway since the fall of 2010. In 2011 he won the Hambletonian with Broad Bahn and the Oaks with Bold And Fresh, but over the course of the last three years he has become less inclined to venture out on the Grand Circuit. He gets quite a few drives on Burke’s stock at Yonkers and won the Sheppard with Cartoon Daddy. This year he dropped from number seven to ten. He drove in 44 fewer races, winning 10 fewer times and earning more than $2 million less than he did in 2013—that’s 20% of what he took in last year. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/