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The book "Roosevelt Raceway Where It All Began" by, Victoria Howard, Billy Haughton and Freddie Hudson is now available pre-release at the book's website -Roosevelt Raceway Where It All Began. The book tells the story of George Morton Levy the founder of Roosevelt Raceway a man who turned a dream into a reality. He created the number one harness track in the world. The bribery of politicians, the behind the scene gangsters, scandals, alleged race fixing, court room drama and some great racing are all part of the story of Long Island’s Roosevelt Raceway. A must read for all from start to finish. The authors are scheduled for book signings at the Book Revue in Huntington, New York on November 21, 2014 and at The Meadowlands the following night of November 22, 2014. For those who cannot attend either of the signings and would like autographed copies, they can be ordered directly through the Book Revue by emailing Lauren Vassallo atlaurenvbookrevue@gmail.com or calling (631) 271-1442 Signing a book at the Book Revue is an honor to the authors and the harness racing industry. Every author who ever wrote a book wishes for a signing at Long Islands Book Revue. Authors who have signed there include Presidents, Clinton, Carter and Ford and most recently Hillary Clinton, Cameron Diaz, Rachel Ray and the late Joan Rivers. On the evening of November 21, 2014 after the signing of the book at the Book Revue, realtor Otto Lugo is sponsoring a book signing party. Details will be posted as we get closer to the date.  by Fred Hudson

Tristan Sjoberg remembers listening to the International Trot on the radio while growing up as a teenager in Sweden.   He would be rooting for his favorites Callit and Legolas during the early 80s when the International Trot was held at the now defunct Roosevelt Raceway.   Now, Sjoberg is proud to be part of the return of the International Trot Preview to Yonkers when it returns to Yonkers Raceway on Oct. 25.   "To have a horse in this race means the world to my brother and I," said Sjoberg, who is part owner of Sebastian K., the world record holder for trotting a mile. "Our father would be proud."   The International Trot, with all its pageantry and worldwide participation will return in 2015 to Yonkers after last being run in 1995.   "As for the sport, I think the reinstatement of the race is very good for harness racing in the United States," Sjoberg said. "When the race was cancelled (in 1988) I think the sport in North America lost a bit of its soul and became more isolated. It is important to have overseas horses compete in the United States as it is brings fresh ideas and keeps the interest up when international marauders come to race in North America.   "One of the main problems in the last 10 years or so has been the focus on retiring successful horses too quickly and the lack of international races on American soil," Sjoberg said. "I hope with the reinstatement of the International Trot, or the World Championship as we call the race in Sweden, and the implementation of the "Gural rule" (keeping horses racing into their 4-year-old season) should revitalize the sport."   Sebastian K or "Sebbe" as he's known around the barn, has won eight of 10 starts since coming to the United States from Sweden and appears to be one of the top choices in the estimated $250,000 International Trot Preview.   On June 28 at Pocono Downs, Sebastian K, an 8-year-old trotter, set the world record for trotting the fastest mile in harness racing, when he stopped the clock in 1:49 in the $100,000 Sun Invitational. "He's an amazing horse," said Bjorn (Bernie) Noren, the assistant to trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. "He's a phenomenal animal."   In 2012, Sebastian K was named Sweden's Horse of the Year and having started his career in Sweden, Sebastian K, races barefoot, with no shoes unlike many of his American counterparts.   "Most horses over there race without shoes," Noren said. "I think it makes them go a little faster. You must have a good surface to race barefoot on or it could sting the horse's foot. Yonkers has a very good surface. We try to race him every time without shoes because he doesn't like to wear them."   In Sebastian K's last start, the $238,500 Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park on Sept. 20, the 8-year-old faded to seventh, finishing off the board for the first time since coming to North America.   "We put down his lackluster performance to dehydration and the thunderstorm that rolled in," said Sjoberg, who noted that Sebastian K scoped clean after the race. "He does not like high humidity." The International Trot Preview is also expected to attract Market Share, Bee a Magician and Archangel and is part of a strong evening of racing from the Old Hilltop featuring the Messenger Stakes and the Yonkers Trot.   Yonkers Raceway will keep the international flavor going on Sundays, beginning on Nov. 9 through Dec. 14, when it will host an all-trotting card that will be simulcast to Europe beginning at 11 a.m.   The track will offer fans many promotions for the special Sunday cards. More details about the promotions will be available as the time draws closer.   By Jerry Bossert

Pompano Beach, FL --- The history of one of the world’s most majestic sports, harness racing, is well over 200-years-old in the United States and, one of the most iconic facilities encompassing harness racing’s grand tradition, Roosevelt Raceway, is brought to life in a most succinct manner by authors Victoria M. Howard, Billy Haughton and Freddie Hudson. Now closed for more than a quarter century, Roosevelt Raceway is where night time harness racing began and flourished for some four plus decades. The authors have unlocked a vault of memories, not only reliving history under the lights as many of today’s “old-timers” witnessed, but unearthing occurrences that, heretofore, were kept “hushed up”--only known by a few raceway executives--now erased from this earth, either naturally or otherwise--and a few underworld cronies, also no longer in this world, again, either naturally or otherwise. The initial chapters deal with George Morton Levy, the founding father of racing under the stars, and his connections with the underworld and politicians, some of whom were as crooked as many of the numbers on the Roosevelt Raceway infield tote-board. The book also covers the introduction of the “savior” of the sport--the mobile starting gate--as well as the celebrities, fatal occurrences, riots and characters that made Roosevelt Raceway the subject matter in, literally, millions of conversations over the years. Great horses, like the artichoke eating French-bred trotter Jamin and the grand Su Mac Lad, who, literally, wore out three sets of “free-for-all” trotters over his career, are brought back to life in this book...as well as greats like Bye Bye Byrd, Adios Butler, Cardigan Bay and Bret Hanover. And, of course, the book completes its task with a tribute to many of the sport’s great drivers who competed at Roosevelt Raceway--Billy, Stanley, Buddy, “Loosh,” “The Red Man,” Herve, Benny “The Whip” and “Toothpick Del,” to name a few. One of my favorite chapters is the one entitled “Stories Remembered,” a hilarious recollection of anecdotes both on and off the track. This book is a “must” for racing fans. It will bring back great memories and lighten every day it is in your hands. An official launch date for the book has not been released but it is due to be on shelves before November 1. by John Berry, - John Berry is a long time harness racing publictist, an inductee of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicators, a past president of the US Harness Writers Association and a prior Hervey Writing Award winner.

His list of horses the he has either owned or been involved with racing, breeding or otherwise, reads just about like a Who’s Who of harness racing greats. There is Nihilator, World Champion, Horse of the Year and still the richest pacer of all time with $3.2 million...Camtastic—Pacer of the Year and winner of over $2 million...these horses are closely associated with Northwood Bloodstock owner and president Bob Boni, who selected the horses and managed the racing stables that campaigned these great superstars and many other prime-time players in the Standardbred industry. Bob manages his Northwood Bloodstock Agency, Inc. with a "hands-on" approach and experience gleaned from over 35 years in nearly all facets of the Standardbred industry. “The way the cycle is now in my business,” said Bob Boni, “there is no “down time” except maybe during Christmas week. We just finished working with the Standardbred Sales Company and their Meadowlands sale and now we move on to getting all the yearlings set for Harrisburg. Stall assignments, catalog has gone to press, videos being done and before you know it’s sale time and once that is over then there is the January sale at the Meadowlands coming right up. It keeps going and going. “Then between all the sales,” Bob explained, “There are stallion deals, broodmares and racehorses in private sales that also needs to be handled. It’s never ending.” Bob started out at Pine Hollow Stud Farm and continuing with management roles at Dreamaire Stud, the Wall Street Racing Stable and North American Sales Co., Bob has lent his expertise to both the breeding and racing industry on many fronts. He has also served as a consultant to the Tattersalls Sales Co. in inspecting yearlings for their annual Select Sale. Bob's strong background in the study and evaluation of both pedigrees and conformation, coupled with his marketing and promotional skills, has helped propel Northwood Bloodstock into its position as one of North America's largest and most respected bloodstock agencies. There are not many major or minor race events, sales, qualifiers or social gatherings that Bob is not in attendance at throughout North America. “I try not to miss many major events,” Boni explained, “But because of computers I can watch any race live or via replay so I don’t have to jump in my car and drive to Harrah’s or Pocono as much as I use to. “What I see now that has changed the way we do business over the past 15 to 20 years,” Bob explained, “is the way we can do business due to technology. We use to labor over the Sire and Dams books, looking up and researching horses. Now we can do it with the click of a mouse. We can watch any race replay and we do not have to wait for the mailman to bring us our horse magazines so we can catch up on events from the prior week or call the USTA’s hotline for race results every morning like the old days. “Now I think we have even a bigger workload due to advance technology,” Bob said. “Everyone thrives on information and now you have to make sure you have it ready at your fingertips if someone asks. If you are not electronically set up to get this information ASAP then you can’t do your job properly. It has created more of a workload but it is worth the effort. “If you are the first one to do something unique and give special access to your customers,” Bob explained, “You will always do well in this business. Back in 1976 I remember in that same year both Hanover Shoe Farm and myself, working for Pine Hollow, started shooting video tape of yearlings for the sales. “I went to a company called Edwar Video and gave them a $10,000 deposit,” Bob said, “Because they were worried if we broke their equipment. I also learned to really appreciate those news cameramen of the times because carrying that camera on your shoulder was like carrying a piece of furniture. And then you had a battery pack strapped around the waist. But boy did it make a difference at the sales. It revolutionized how we sell horses. “It was amazing that both I and Hanover came to Harrisburg with the first yearling videos,” Bob said. “We both had video of our yearlings and no one else had it. You would have had to go to the farms to these yearling and now you see them in action right at the sales. “Tony Leonard, the world class equine photographer,” Bob said, “Was the one who first suggested it. He would come to Pine Hollow to take photos for us and he told me how at a party for some Thoroughbred people he saw someone made up a video tape of their horses racing and that I should consider doing it for the yearlings in action. “We became the very first outfit to ever do it for the Standardbred Industry for races too. The very first horse was Destin Grade and he was bought by Vic Sobolewski of Vijo, Inc. We brought in a TV and the VCR and the horse had won the night before at Roosevelt Raceway. We showed that tape and turned up the sound and everyone came to see where the race call was coming from. We had lots of people watch this horse win the night before and he brought more money that I thought he was worth. “So today it is not uncommon for someone to come and have already watched ten yearlings on video online,” said Bob, “They may ask to take them out of the stall to see them close up and then watch the video again. Information plays such a big role in today’s market and you must be up on everything to stay ahead of the game.” If you are interested in purchasing any horse or seek information about a stallion or broodmare prospect, make sure to visit www.northwoodbloodstock.com or give Bob Boni a call anytime at (201) 863-2082. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 6, 2014-As a precursor to the return of Yonkers Raceway's International Trot next season, the harness racing track is planning to host an Invitational Trot this fall. The date is Saturday night, Oct. 25, the evening coinciding with the finals of both Yonkers Trot and Messenger Stakes (along with their companion filly events). The purse would be commensurate with the quality of the field, and the best trotters in North America are requested to RSVP. Please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627 for more information...or the race office may very well be getting in touch with you. "We are gauging the interest of bringing the best trotters on the continent here," Raceway Chief Operating Officer Bob Galterio said. "We feel the date is perfect, a few weeks after Lexington and a few weeks before the Breeders Crown. "Our race office is going to be reaching out in the near future to the connections of the elite trotters in both the United States and Canada," Galterio said. "This race would make an already tremendous night of racing even better." As for the International, first held at Roosevelt Raceway in 1959 and last contested here in 1995, its return has been in the works for some time...but before anyone asks, there is no tentative date for 2015 and updates shall be sent out when available. Frank Drucker

Premier Turf Club, a betting provider for both Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing proudly proclaims it is racing's 'Best Kept Secret' as part of its logo. Is it? It does seem that way as Premier Turf Club focuses more on customer service compared to off-shore betting sites, where their only focus is their bottom line. Premier Turf Club is an Oregon based pari-mutuel wagering provider operated and regulated in the state of Oregon by the Oregon Racing Commission. Rich Nilsen, the Director of Player Services, took time to break down why Premier Turf Club offers more to customers compared to faceless betting sites located, well, who knows where. "The vision was to create an account wagering service that benefited the players who supported the industry." Rich explains, "The idea was to give the players back real cash on their wagers, which would lead to more wagering and help keep players solvent. Unlike other sites at the time, we would not charge wagering fees or nickel-and-dime our players to death." Rich adds, "We also wanted to provide a customized and personal experience for the players. In general, horseplayers don't want bells and whistles. They want a solid, streamlined wagering platform that they can rely on." Unlike other sites, customers can genuinely get to know who operates Premier Turf Club. Rich joined the BetPTC group in 2011 and Rich is a graduate from the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. "I started a racing stable which I managed for 10 years." Rich explains, "I have been handicapping for about 30 years and am a regular on the tournament scene. I was introduced to the harness races as a youngster on Long Island and attended the old Roosevelt Raceway. But my love and expertise is in Thoroughbred racing." Knowing Rich has roots as a fan in horse racing, better allows Premier Turf Club to empathize with their customers when it comes to stringent measures put in place by the IRS. "When a customer places a wager with BetPTC from the comfort of their home or on the road, it's no different than wagering at their local track or OTB. All the wagers go directly into the pools and support the Thoroughbred, Greyhound and Standardbred racing industries." Rich says. "We are certainly hopefully that legislation in Washington will change regarding how 'winnings' are viewed by the IRS. It's ludicrous that a player has to report the cashing of a $605 ticket, for example, without taking into account what it cost to place that wager." BetPTC strives to reward their customers immediately, allowing customers to cash in their rewards almost instantly which are very unique. "BetPTC has actually been a pioneer in innovative horse racing applications and services" Rich notes. "We were the first site to offer conditional wagering, where a player could set minimum odds requirements for their bets." Rich adds, "We are now the first and only company to offer same-day instant cash rewards. Minutes after a race or wager is declared official, the rewards are immediately placed in the players' accounts. There are no points to figure out and no waiting." Premier Turf Club is always looking to expand and broaden what customers can access. Such as adding NYRA, Woodbine/Mohawk (Canada's elite tracks), as well as racing from Japan and Australia. "BetPTC also has one of the most experienced simulcast directors in the industry, Kay Webb, who negotiates with the racetracks and works to obtain new signals." Rich states. With the legislation the way it is right now, Premier Turf Club can only offer service to select customers in certain states. However, BetPTC General Manager Todd Bowker is continuously looking to expand coverage. Rich wants customers to know they are the #1 priority at all times. "We treat customers like the real people they are." Rich confirms. "BetPTC is a small company and we have one-on-one personal relationships with our client base. As a result we have one of the highest retention rates in the account wagering business. Secondly, we provide our players with the best cash-back rewards in the industry, based on their level of play." "We invite anyone who is new to 'Racing's Best Kept Secret' to come try out BetPTC.com this summer. We recently upped our new member bonus to $150, so it's a great time to join and experience the difference." by Roderick Balgobin, for Harnesslink.com

Goshen, NY --- Roosevelt Raceway, the most important harness racetrack and entertainment venue in New York between 1940 and 1988, is the subject of a new photographic essay and exhibit by the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. The exhibit “Remember Roosevelt!” is now open in the Museum’s main gallery and the book, Roosevelt Raceway, the Legacy & the Dream, Where it All Began, is available through the Museum’s gift shop. Visit the Museum’s Goshen, N.Y., store or shop online at www.harnessmuseum.com.  Despite its proximity to the urban populace of New York City, Roosevelt Raceway, in Westbury, Long Island, struggled during its early years dominated by World War II with fuel rationing, blackout rules and small crowds. But late in the decade the track, which was established on the site of the defunct Vanderbilt Cup auto racing track, began to turn a profit. At war's end Roosevelt Raceway was positioned to reap the benefits of a large population ready to celebrate. Soon capacity crowds were taxing the limits of the old wooden grandstand, prompting the $20 million trotting palace created by the track’s founder, George Morton Levy, in 1957. Considered harness racing’s lost jewel, night racing, the mobile starting gate, air conditioning and closed-circuit television were all innovations showcased by the “Dream Track.” Nightly crowds of 20,000 and more were standard fare for Roosevelt through the 1960s but in the 1970s with the introduction of Off-Track Betting and competition from other entertainment sites, attendance began to dwindle. By 1980 attendance averaged only 9,000 fans a night. The final race over the iconic oval took place on June 15, 1988, won by Majestic Andrew, driven by Rejean Daigneault. Although some among the Westbury and harness racing communities foresaw the end of the Roosevelt era, with the value of the property the track occupied outstripping racing revenue, the closing of the track so many fans and horsemen called home came as a great shock and a source of disappointment that continues to be felt by those who were lucky enough to have been a part of the “Dream.” The hum that once emanated from Roosevelt’s enormous crowds, however, has not been lost. Thousands of photographs created by the raceway’s press office document the great racing, celebrity sightings, and excitement that drew so many to the track. Twenty-six filing drawers of these priceless images were rescued from the raceway prior to its final demolition in 2000 by the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. With the aid of grant funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the generosity of individual donors to the Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Project, the meticulous work of preserving and documenting this photographic treasure trove is complete and the Museum has readied a beautiful exhibit and publication for everyone to enjoy. The closing of Roosevelt Raceway was a tremendous loss to the sport of harness racing; the loss of its history would have been devastating. The images published within this volume are just a small example of those preserved by the project. They bring to life the exuberant fans, elegant social events, superb racing and dynamic sporting drama that were the hallmarks of the track. Now, thanks to the dedicated support of the projects donors, Roosevelt Raceway will be remembered for generations to come at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. Visit the museum, just 60 miles north of New York City, at 240 Main Street in Goshen, N.Y. Open daily 10 a.m.-- 5 p.m., admission, thanks to the USTA, is without charge. Please call 845.294.6330 for more information or visitwww.harnessmuseum.com. From the Harness Racing Museum

Goshen, NY --- Owner-breeder William Weaver and driver David Miller, along with communicators John Pawlak and Carol Cramer, were the human guests of honor as 2014 inductees into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame at ceremonies on the Museum lawn in Goshen, N.Y., on Sunday (July 6). The annual induction dinner followed a full day of activities that included racing at the neighboring Historic Track, including the annual Hall of Fame race, the grand opening of the Roosevelt Raceway exhibit and a cocktail reception in the William R. Haughton Memorial Hall. he Meadows and Little Brown Jug track announcer Roger Huston, who served as emcee, called fellow Hall of Famer Bill O’Donnell to introduce the night’s first inductee. The former driver thanked Weaver for allowing him to drive Valley Victory and applauded him for his dedication to his horses. “Some of the old horses he raced, he still boards those horses and lets them live out their lives,” said O’Donnell. “He should be commended for that.” Weaver, who has enjoyed success with his Valley High Stable, said he didn’t expect this honor. “I’m humbled, happy and surprised to be here today,” said Weaver. “The last two years of my life, there have been some setbacks. I figured this was just someone throwing the screws in.” He thanked the Dancer and Duer families for training his horses over the years and acknowledged the big horse who got him to the Hall of Fame. “One of the main reasons that I’m here tonight is because I was the breeder of Valley Victory,” added Weaver. Huston’s superlative introduction of the next inductee highlighted a couple of his nicknames. “At the Meadowlands they call him Buckeye, but in Ohio he’s known as Purple Jesus,” said Huston before cueing the crowd to a resounding response of “Miller time” when he asked, “What time is it?” Miller can be a man of few words, but he was emotional as he talked about how important this honor is to him and the people who supported him along the way. “I think Roger said everything that I was going to say,” said Miller to open his acceptance speech. “I love horses and I love what I do. It’s more than I ever dreamed of.” He thanked his family for their support. “I definitely didn’t get here by myself,” added Miller. “I have the best family. I have to thank my wife Misty who does everything but drive the races.” The first communicator to be recognized spurred even greater emotion from everyone in attendance. John Pawlak, the USTA’s director of marketing known for his writing, broadcasting, announcing and editing of theTrotting and Pacing Guide, made his first industry, public appearance in a wheelchair since undergoing four surgeries for a brain tumor discovered last October. Well known for his humor, Pawlak used that talent to help his industry colleagues feel more at ease about his tribulations. “It was about the size of John Manzi’s head,” said Pawlak, referring to Monticello’s public relations man in describing his tumor. “The doctors told me it also had a moustache and toupee.” To conclude, Pawlak thanked many of the colleagues that he has assisted in his various roles at the USTA. “It is humbling and I have to thank all of the writers from USHWA for this honor,” said Pawlak. Former USTA employee Carol Cramer, known for her work as a long-time Grand Circuit steward and secretary as well as her involvement in the publishing of integral industry publications, especially the annual stakes guide, joined Pawlak in the Communicators Hall of Fame. “I love this industry with a passion,” said Cramer. “It was the joy of my life when I got to go work for the USTA and when I met Jim Harrison. We did the first Care and Training book.” She thanked the numerous race secretaries who attended to be a part of her induction. Also inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday were broodmare Hattie, 2007 Horse of the Year Donato Hanover and 1991 Horse of the Year Precious Bunny. The horses Green Speed and Windsong's Legacy were inducted as Immortals of the Hall of Fame. by Dan Leary, for the USTA

Scott Woogen's path to sitting behind racehorses began on a New York City basketball court, in a scene reminiscent of a Damon Runyon tale. Woogen, who will have two horses he bred and owns competing in Landmark Stakes at Goshen Historic Track in New York on Friday and will be driving there in amateur races on Saturday, was introduced to harness racing as a teenager in the Bronx when he was offered a job selling handicapping sheets outside Yonkers Raceway. The offer came from a police officer who spotted Woogen and his friends playing basketball in the school yard. "I was probably the youngest and smallest kid, but fairly aggressive, and I told him I could do whatever he wanted," Woogen said. "His moonlighting job was printing his own handicap sheet called the Top Trotter. I sold them for 25 cents and also sold programs for 75 cents. I got $5 a night. "I started reading the programs and taking an occasional bus up there to Yonkers Raceway and watched the races. I really liked it. When I was old enough, I got working papers and worked a little bit in the stable area on the weekends. If I hadn't been playing basketball that day, I wouldn't know anything about horses. It was kind of a quirk of fate." That quirk of fate has led Woogen, who now is a gastroenterologist living in Virginia, around the world. He began driving in races, even winning a collegiate event held at Roosevelt Raceway while representing Columbia University as a sophomore. He gave up driving to pursue his medical career, but returned to the track 17 years ago to compete as an amateur, often in the Billings Series, where he is known as the "Driving Doctor." He has won 127 races as an amateur and competed in Germany, Finland, Italy, Spain, Russia, Estonia, and New Zealand. "It's been a really nice hobby," Woogen said. "It's been a lot of fun; I really enjoy it." On Friday, Woogen will send out KJ Brenda in the $11,547 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters and K J Ben in the $12,520 Landmark Stakes for 2-year-old pacers. Both horses are trained by Gary Messenger. Last year, KJ Brenda - the "K J" is for Woogen's fiancée Kathy Jean and Brenda is Messenger's wife - finished second in the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. She has won two of 10 career races, hit the board a total of eight times, and earned $80,821. "She came back this year and her first couple starts she bled and we had to put her on Lasix and she's been getting better," Woogen said. "We're excited about her chances to go down to Kentucky and get some of that sire stakes money." K J Ben, named in honor of Kathy Jean's first grandson, Benjamin, is making his debut after winning a qualifier at Ocean Downs in 2:00.1. "We're excited about his prospects," Woogen said. Jim Taggart Jr. is listed to drive KJ Brenda and Jason Bartlett is listed on K J Ben. So why doesn't Woogen drive those horses in the stakes? "There's a reason why I'm in the amateur races," Woogen said, laughing. "It's a lot of fun and I think I can hold my own against the amateurs, but it's a little tougher to drive against the professionals. I'll leave that up to the professionals. I'm just excited that we have some horses that might do a little bit of good this year." Friday's nine-race Landmark Stakes card is part of the Grand Circuit visit to Historic Track. Saturday features the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series and Billings Amateur Drivers Series. Sunday is Hall of Fame Day, which includes a race featuring drivers in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame along with 2014 inductee David Miller. Post time each day is 1 p.m. for the first race. Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Erwin Grossman, a long time harness racing publicist in the New York metropolitan area, died Friday, June 20 at an assisted living facility in Boca Raton, FL after a long illness. He was 85. Grossman was a fixture for many years at Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceways covering Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing, handicapping horses for the New York Herald Tribune. He also traveled to numerous racetracks on the east coast to cover stakes races and special events. He reported on the grand openings at Liberty Bell Park, Monticello Raceway and Pompano Park. He attended Scioto Downs in its first year of operation, making the trip to report on the great horse Adios Butler. Annually, when the racing season was over, Grossman filed training articles from Aiken, SC and Winter Haven, FL. He was one of the first journalists that would travel extensively reporting on horse racing. Along with Hall of Famer Clyde Hirt, then with Roosevelt Raceway publicity, Grossman also secured advertising for the annual United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) annual awards journal. He served as president of the New York USHWA Chapter from 1965 to 1966.  He and Hall of Famer Lou Miller started a joint venture writing and publishing Trotting Times, a harness racing newspaper with entries, selections, workouts and features. He also had a stint with the NY Standardbred Owners Association writing and publishing their first house magazine, Voice. One day Grossman picked every winner at the old Jamaica race course. A $2 parlay that day would have netted a bettor $84,000. That feat earned Grossman an appearance on the “Tonight Show” when it was hosted by Steve Allen. His best long shot was when Hall of Famer Clint Hodgins drove Lite Direct to victory at Roosevelt Raceway and paid $112.80, the fifth largest win payoff in the track’s history at that time. After moving to Florida and becoming active in the Florida Chapter of USHWA, Erwin served as chapter vice-president in 2005-2006. He was inducted into the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicator’s Corner in 2011. He was also voted the Allen J. Finkelson Award by the Florida Chapter in 2009.  This award recognizes that individual who has contributed in the sport of harness racing to the promotion of the Standardbred Industry. The family has stated that at Erwin Grossman’s request there would be no burial ceremony planned. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA

What: On Preakness Day, Saturday, May 17th join Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment at the fifth annual Lisa Photo Stride For The Cure race and fundraiser, hosted by award-winning Meadowlands Racetrack photographer Michael Lisa and his wife, Annette. The festivities kick off at 3pm with a 5K around the racetrack for guests to participate in. The 5K is just $25 to enter including an event t-shirt, post-race party with live music by the Past Masters, prize drawings and other activities. The Stride For The Cure horse race will then take place during the live race card, featuring horses and drivers wearing pink equipment to raise awareness. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program. The 5K is a sanctioned event and prizes will be awarded for the top runners in each division. Registration can be done online athttp://www.active.com/east-rutherford-nj/running/distance-running-races/meadowlands-racing-and-entertainment-wplj-stride-for-the-cure-5k-2014 or on site at the Meadowlands beginning at 1 pm on Saturday. Following the 5k, guests are invited to stay for live harness racing beginning at 7:15pm. The festivities include the Allerage Farms Presents Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night honoring the historic New York City-area racetrack that closed in 1988. There will be an autograph session with many of the legendary Roosevelt horsemen, $1 food and drink specials, and the running of the $180,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Stakes. When: Preakness Day, Saturday, May 17, 2014 Where: Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment 1 Racetrack Drive East Rutherford, NJ 07073 by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

Goshen, NY - When Jerry Dahl bet on his first horse, he never thought that he would end up driving a winner at Roosevelt Raceway. But the modest fan loved the game so much that he started training and driving his own horses. Following the Roosevelt era, and several "regular jobs," Dahl traded in his driving colors for a palette of watercolors. "It is a different thrill but it's like being back at the barn, back in the bike, back in the winner's circle!"   The talented artist read the RR article on the USTA website and thought it would be fun to do a painting of a horse from that iconic era and share it with those who also have such great memories. The 18x24 rendition of Valiant Bret and Lucien Fontaine which will be raffled-off at The Meadowlands on Saturday (May 17) night during the Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night.   Of course, the affable "Loosh" agreed to autograph the piece, making the artwork all the more treasured. The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame shall receive the funds from the raffle.   Jerry Dahl was first introduced to Harness Racing back in his high school days when a friend offered to take him to Brandywine Raceway. Initially Dahl was apprehensive, but finally he agreed and was forever hooked.   While in college in West Chester, PA, he met a young Joe Holloway who let him jog his first horse. Then he went to work at Winterset Farm near Wilmington. Dahl got his matinee license a year later in 1973 and he was off to the races.   Despite a degree in business administration, Dahl stayed with the horses and was working for Walt Warrington at Roosevelt as a second trainer. "I loved Roosevelt," noted Dahl. "The biggest thrill of my harness career was winning my first drive there in 1983. To me it was like hitting a home run at Yankee Stadium."   Dahl continues, "I never thought driving horses was a possibility. Herve Filion was my idol when I was just a fan. My biggest thrill came was when I actually got to drive against him."   "I will never forget the day he beat me by a VERY short nose at Brandywine. I still have that picture in hanging in my kitchen!"   Dahl faired pretty well during his time at the track, amassing 99 wins and over $300,000 in purses.   "During the late 1980s I could see that things were changing. I was not interested in just training. When I saw Billy Haughton putting up Billy O'Donnell I knew the catch driving era had begun." Dahl raced mainly on the Liberty Bell - Brandywine - Dover circuit. A few years after that phase of his life ended he began painting water colors in 1988. After many land and seascapes he soon gravitated toward equine art. "Horses were a part of me and art was in my family. My father was a rare talent. Painting horses keeps me connected to the barn area and the horses that I have loved my entire life."   by Chris Tully      

Just a reminder...Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment is fast approaching on Saturday, May 17th. If you're a former driver/trainer/owner who competed at, or is connected with Roosevelt Raceway and are planning on attending, please call 201-460-4090 to confirm. Activities will include a Roosevelt driver autograph session with Herve Filion, Carmine Abbatiello, Ben Webster, Lucien Fontaine, Merritt Dokey and many other top Roosevelt drivers. Some great memorabilia will be on display compliments of the Harness Racing Museum, a race with current Meadowlands drivers wearing the silks of former Roosevelt regulars, special interviews, video clips of old races, trophy presentations, and much more. In addition, The Meadowlands will turn back the clock on some of its food and beverage offerings, with pricing from the days of Roosevelt Raceway. There will be $1 Budweiser and Bud Light Drafts, $1 Canned Sodas, $1 Hot Dogs and $1 Pretzels. On the racing front, the first major Free For All Trotting event of the season headlines the racing action as some of the best trotters in the world do battle in The Arthur J. Cutler Memorial. Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night is brought to you by the New Meadowlands and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall Of Fame. Jeff Gural's Allerage Farm is the event sponsor. For more information, log on to www.playmeadowlands.com by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The 2014 Championship Meet at The Meadowlands will offer over $9 Million in harness racing purses for its stakes races, headlined by the $1.2 Million Hambletonian on Saturday August 2nd. Carrying a $1.2 Million total purse, The Hambletonian is the richest Standardbred race in North America and will be the first jewel of the trotting triple crown in 2014. Hambletonian Day will also include a wide array of other stakes races, with total purses for the day being approximately $3.5 Million, the richest day of racing in the state of New Jersey. The Hambletonian program will also include The Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, Peter Haughton Memorial, Merrie Annabelle, Lady Liberty and more. "Hambletonian Day is always the greatest day of racing for our sport each year and we are thrilled to be the home of such a historic event," said Director of Racing Operations Darin Zoccali. "It is an event like the Super Bowl for us, where as soon as Hambletonian Day is over, we begin working on the next one." This year's Hambletonian will be the first in the new $100 Million Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment facility. "We are excited to give The Hambletonian a brand new, state of the art facility to call home," said General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The experience for our customers will be better than ever, with more activities and a wide array of options for our customers to enjoy the day how they want, from fine dining, a gorgeous sports bar, skyboxes, a rooftop terrace and The Backyard which will be an enhanced version of the old paddock park. In addition, the day is sure to have a more intimate connection to the racing than ever before, as we have been feeling that energy all season long here at The Meadowlands." Post time for The Hambletonian Day program is scheduled for 12:00 P.M. The Meadowlands signature event, The Meadowlands Pace will take place on Saturday July 12th. Thanks to proactive changes made to the payment structure of the race, The Meadowlands Pace is showing promising growth through the sustaining payments and will carry a purse of an estimated $750,000 for the 2014 edition. "We worked very hard on improving The Meadowlands Pace," said Zoccali. "We implemented an altered payment structure which will continue to evolve going forward and we are already seeing the results through the sustaining payments. This year's Meadowlands Pace is trending toward a substantial increase in the purse for the Final over 2013." The Meadowlands Pace program will also offer a huge card of racing, including such races as The Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Del Miller Memorial, William Haughton Memorial, The Golden Girls, The New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships for two year olds and more, producing a near $3 Million night of stakes action. Meadowlands Pace Night will feature a special start time of 6:30 P.M. New to the 2014 Stakes Calendar is The $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity for four year old trotters, to be contested at 1 1/8th Miles on Saturday July 5th which is Meadowlands Pace Elimination night. A maximum of 16 horses will be on the gate for the $400,000 event. "This is a unique event," added Zoccali. "It would be great to see upwards of 12 or 13 horses entered as the race would have a European-style feel to it and I think is something we will all enjoy. It also provides a major race for the four year old trotters to target as their stakes season kicks off." Other major events are the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, to take place on Saturday May 17th and will coincide with Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night. The New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships for three year olds will be on Saturday May 31st and The Meadowlands Maturity Pace on Friday June 13th, which is likely to mark the 2014 debut of Captaintreacherous, the 2013 Pacer of the Year. While not a part of the summer Championship Meet, The Breeders Crown makes its return to The Meadowlands in the fall, with the Finals taking place over two championship nights of racing, Friday November 21st and Saturday November 22nd. The standardbred stakes season will end the following Saturday night, November 29th, with the second annual $1 Million TVG Free For All Championships. The 2014 Meadowlands stakes program will offer an estimated $16 Million in purses and the full stakes schedule can be found at http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/uploadedfiles/2014_Meadowlands_Stakes_Schedule.pdf. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands  

Over the course of the last half-century there have been several aged trotting mares with North American roots whom were able to dominated their peer group, and in some cases their male counterparts as well, for an extended period. They are Moni Maker, Peace Corps, Delmonica Hanover, Fresh Yankee, Grades Singing, Scenic Regal and Buck I St Pat. Une de Mai and Roquepine were great mares, and both experienced success on this side of the Atlantic, but they were European. Fresh Yankee was the first of these mares to grace our presence, and she also lasted the longest, racing until age nine and winning 89 of 191 starts—an astonishing 47%. The story of Sanders Russell plucking Fresh Yankee from the 1964 Harrisburg yearling sale for $900 is familiar to most, but her journey from obscurity to stardom is less well known. She won four times, earning less than $8,000 at two; stepping up to eleven wins and earnings of almost $47,000 during her sophomore campaign, the highlight of which was a win over the Trotter of the Year and Hambletonian winner, Kerry Way, at the Red Mile. It was in her aged form that the Hickory Pride mare made her mark, but success didn’t come easily as she only beat the Metropolitan New York open trotters once at four, and for the only time in her career, speed was privileged over her ability to win races and money. A 1:57.1 time trial mark at Lexington for Ralph Baldwin established her as a world champion. It was during the next five years, from age five to nine, that the world class mare proved her greatness. Joe O’Brien had taken over the training and driving duties and at age five and six she won 23 races, including the Elitlopp, Challenge Match, American Trotting Classic, Pacific and Gotham—she was an Amazon from coast to coast. Fresh Yankee was awarded Canadian  Aged Trotter of the Year status in 1968 and was voted Horse of the Year in the USA in 1970, at age seven, accruing more than twice as many votes as Pacer of the Year, Most Happy Fella. She won 20 of 31 starts and finished second in the other nine. In the spring of that year O’Brien took Duncan MacDonald’s mare to Munich, Germany where she won the Grand Prix of Bavaria over expatriates Dart Hanover and Lindy’s Pride. And before returning to the states the mare took a heat of the Elitlopp. That summer she beat the formidable Euro Tidalium Pelo in the $125,000 Roosevelt International, and rocked his world again the following week in the $30,000 Roquepine Trot. The ten-year-old gelding Earl Laird was third for Jimmy Cruise. In September the mare was sent away as the 4/5 favorite in the $50,000 Gotham Trot at Yonkers but came up a half-length short to Dayan. Une de Mai was third. And in October Fresh Yankee beat the geriatric tandem Grandpa Jim and Earl Laird in the Galophone at Yonkers. It was her seventeenth win of the year and she had not finished back of second in 26 starts. The mare had won races in four different countries and was voted Horse of the Year. In 1971, as an eight-year-old, Fresh Yankee beat Dayan in the Star’s Pride at Yonkers in June, tying the track record in the process. At that point she had finished first or second in 51 consecutive races and trailed only Une de Mai, Roquepine, Cardigan Bay and Bret Hanover in earnings. Still, the brilliant but unpredictable Dayan was to Fresh Yankee what Adios Vic was to Bret Hanover or the Tar Heel brothers, Nansemond and Isle Of Wight, were to Albatross. He was the same sort of pest Songcan was to Super Bowl. The week after the Star’s Pride, Dayan scratched lame out of the Volomite and more than 25,000 watched the mare cruise to victory, paying a miserly $2.40. Dayan broke in the Speedy Rodney Trot at Yonkers a few weeks later and the mare won for the ninth time in thirteen starts, paying a generous $4.20. She was favored to repeat in the International but Une de Mai prevailed by a nose, after being parked the mile out of the eight post.  All was not lost, as runner up Fresh Yankee did pass the million dollar mark in career earnings. In the fall the mare set a world record for a mile and a quarter in Brandywine’s Star’s Pride Trot and went on to win a PASS race before losing to Cathy Lee—three years her junior—in the Trader Horn at Yonkers.  Fresh Yankee, who had won five in a row, was sent off at 2/5 from the eight post and dispatched almost $82,000 of the people’s money down a black hole. And the following week, when Dayan beat her in the Porterhouse, $86,000 was lost, as the eight-year-old was sent away at 2/5 once more. She finished the season by trading wins with Marlu Pride at Hollywood Park. He took the $50,000 Pacific Trot but the mare won the big one—the $100,000 American Trotting Classic. At age nine Fresh Yankee won 12 times. Her owner questioned Joe O’Brien’s driving tactics in the International and decided to drive her himself the following week in the $150,000 Challenge Match against Speedy Crown and Une de Mai. Howard Beissinger sat back and allowed MacDonald to do himself in as he took his mare to the mile much too fast, allowing Speedy Crown to blow by her in the last quarter. Fresh Yankee was retired at the end of October, second only to Une de Mai in earnings. She is a Hall of Fame Immortal and a member of the Canadian Hall of Fame.  Beissinger stated that Speedy Crown’s greatness was couched in the fact that he was unfailingly consistent at a very high level, and never made a break training or racing. One could say the same about Fresh Yankee. Peace Corps won more than forty stakes races and was Horse of the Year twice in Sweden in her aged form; Moni Maker earned well over five million dollars and was Horse of the Year twice in the U.S.; Delmonica Hanover won her division four times, was a two-time winner of the Roosevelt International and the first American owned winner of the Prix d’Amerique; but no US bred and North American based trotting mare of the last half-century has performed to the level of Fresh Yankee through age nine. Her 89 wins, most of them against the best of the boys, on all size tracks, don’t place her above the others but they do set her apart. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

Harness racing is in the midst of a new era at The Meadowlands, as the brand new $90 Million facility stands tall on what used to be the backstretch of The Meadowlands, home to many of the sport's biggest starts. Many of those same stars that left their hoof prints where the new state-of-the-art facility gleams in the night skies of East Rutherford, New Jersey, also wrote harness racing history with those same hoof prints just 30 miles away at Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, New York. On Saturday night, May 17th, The Meadowlands will turn back the clock and bring many of those stars to life with a night dedicated to the legacy of Roosevelt Raceway. "It is with surpassing pride that we at The Meadowlands announce this tribute to one of the most historic venues in all of horse racing," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "All of us involved in the sport of harness racing hold a place in our hearts for Roosevelt Raceway. It goes without saying that the ultimate destiny of Roosevelt was not of our own choosing. We did not expect, nor did we invite the closing of that magnificent facility that we all cherished. I know that I am not alone when I talk about the countless nights I spent enjoying what was then the home of the world's greatest harness racing and it is fitting to host this tribute at the present and future home of the world's greatest harness racing, The Meadowlands." The evening's festivities will coincide with one of The Meadowlands most historic events, the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, which is the race that kicks offs the Free For All trotting season in the sport. The highlight of the night will be a driver autograph session including many of the famed reigns-men that called Roosevelt Raceway their home for so many years. Drivers confirmed appearing include Carmine Abbatiello, Ben Webster, Frank Popfinger, Bill Popfinger, Merritt Dokey, Bobby Vitrano, Jim Marohn Sr., Mike Lachance, Herve Filion, Rejean Daigenault, Ted Wing, Gerry Sarama and more. If any other members of the Roosevelt Raceway racing colony would like to take part in this special event, please contact Sam Mckee at (201) 460-4090 at The Meadowlands. The current stars of The Meadowlands driving colony will pay tribute to the drivers of Roosevelt Raceway in a Meadowlands race by donning the colors of the historic drivers of Roosevelt. Famed broadcasters Dave Johnson and Spencer Ross will be appearing to add to the nostalgia of the evening. In addition, the racing program will feature a commemorative Roosevelt Raceway cover and beautiful Roosevelt Raceway memorabilia will be displayed in the grand foyer of The Meadowlands. The food and beverage choices will remind many of Roosevelt not only by the items offered, but by the pricing as well. "I have always talked about the eat-you-heart-out on a pretzel at the end of my nights at Roosevelt. Now, we get to bring that to The Meadowlands," added Gural. The festivities will commence shortly after the running of The Preakness Stakes, at approximately 6:30 P.M., and will continue throughout the live racing program which begins at 7:15 P.M. It is recommended that those patrons who wish to dine that evening in Pink, Trotters or Victory Sports Bar make their reservations early. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

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