There are few, if any, issues facing the harness racing industry where all segments are in complete agreement. Just mention of words like whipping, takeout or Lasix® evokes countless vocal opinions across a broad spectrum. If ever there was a matter on which the entire horseracing community could stand uniformly positioned, it is the obstinate insistence by the Internal Revenue Service to treat horseplayers differently from all other types of investors with regard to withholding of portions of their winning wagers. On June 6, the United States Trotting Association joined a chorus of prominent industry groups, publications and federal officeholders in calling on the I.R.S. to stop harming racing by failing to either understand or appreciate the unique nature of 21st century pari-mutuel betting. This lack of knowledge or concern results in the unfair calculation of the amount of tax withholdings assessed against handicappers who successfully prevail when playing super-exotics. Fortunately, much has recently been written about the withholding problem in industry publications. This article will identify the problem; summarize how the industry is attempting to formulate a solution, and how you can play a part in getting the solution implemented. In our grandfathers’ day, tracks offered only win, place and show wagering, later adding a revolutionary bet called the daily double. In essence, it was difficult to make an outrageous score on a $2 wager. Very few horses go off at 99-1 or better, and only an infinitesimal amount of them actually win. Only the rare daily double pays in the hundreds of dollars. Today, the superfecta, pick-six and other combination and parlay offerings constitute the lion’s share of wagers made on horse races. These dominant betting opportunities often produce payoffs in the tens of thousands of dollars for a single $2 wager. Of course, winning the big one is usually not simply an exercise of pure luck; professional players often invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in an attempt to cover as many potential outcomes as possible. By anticipating the probable value of a payoff, the bettor assesses the risk and intensively wagers accordingly. These plays constitute what is aptly called gambling, but arguably the gamble is little different than, for example, those involved in oil wildcatting or opening of a high-end restaurant. Of course, it’s the province and duty of the I.R.S. to assess and collect taxes. If a bettor hits a score over $600 and the odds are 299-1 or more, the track is required to report the winnings on I.R.S. Form W-2G. In applying this law, consider a bettor who cashes a $50 win ticket on a horse at 50-1 odds and receives $2,550. Since the odds were less than 299-1, there is no reporting requirement. Conversely, if a neophyte bets a single, straight $2 superfecta on his 4-digit street number and hits for $1,000, the lucky first-timer would go home with lots of cash, as well as a copy of Form W-2G which the track uses to report his gain to the I.R.S. While the reporting rules might appear to produce conflicting results, the true concern involves the area of mandatory withholding on certain winning wagers. Although the I.R.S. recognizes that legitimate expenses are to be subtracted from gross revenue in calculating taxable profit for a business venture, the problem is that the assessment of tax withholding from supposed “profit” in the racing realm is skewed, to say the least. The applicable section of the Internal Revenue Code requires racetracks to withhold 25% of purported profit when the bettor wins more than $5,000 from a wagering transaction in a pari-mutuel pool with respect to horse races, provided the amount of such proceeds is at least 300 times as large as the amount wagered. From the statutory language, it plainly appears that Congress intended that the total amount wagered into a particular pool be treated as the handicapper’s investment capital. Like in any other business, that capital investment should serve to reduce by equal amount his gross winnings when calculating his profit for withholding purposes. Unfortunately, congressional intent in the tax realm is solely determined by the I.R.S. In a 1976 private letter ruling, a vehicle by which the I.R.S. gives its guidance to taxpayers under a set of submitted facts, the Service determined that only the investment on the actual winning combination counts as the “wagering transaction in a pari-mutuel pool” for tax reporting and withholding purposes. How does the present application of this archaic Service interpretation of the Code create the problem? Assume a gambler invests $800 to cover 400 possible pick-six combinations at $2 a pop. He hits the parlay, and it pays $5,600. While the payout is over $5,000, the fortunate bettor really only received odds of about 6-1 in relation to his investment: or did he? The I.R.S. takes the position that only the wager on the winning combination, and not the other 399, constitutes the specific “wagering transaction” referenced in the Code. In other words, rather than credit his entire $800 outlay in the pick-six pool as congress unmistakably envisioned, the Service credits only the $2 spent on the cashed winning combo. Thus, while only receiving 6-1 on his total investment, his I.R.S. imputed odds are about 2,800-1. This triggers not just Form W-2G reporting, but also a 25% tax withholding on winnings. The racehorse gambler actually walks away from the mutual window with $1,399.50 less of the payoff. The overwhelming majority of horseplayers don’t invest thousands of dollars into super-exotic pools on a regular basis. Should we cry for the successful, high-end handicapping aficionados? Maybe not; but the concern is that some of these folks might place their investment capital elsewhere. Undoubtedly, some already have. This simply drains the already well-parched pari-mutuel pools. Moreover, by taking 25% of earnings out of the hands of the career players who are still around, the industry loses churn; meaning that instead of being able to wager this money again and again, the sum literally sits on account with the Service unless and until the big gambler can recoup it months later via her federal tax return filing. This decrease in handle, especially in racing states with no alternative gaming, is devastating. Racetrack managements, horsemen, breeders and the state all miss out on countless sums of takeout dollars. Luckily, it doesn’t take an act of congress to reverse this situation. While previous attempts at congressional clarification have failed, the problem isn’t really with the language of the law, but rather with how the I.R.S. inexcusably construes it against horseplayers. Consider a medium-sized retailer who embarks on a $1,000,000 marketing campaign. The endeavor actually yields a 6% increase in gross sales. Would the I.R.S. limit the deduction for the marketing expenditure to $60,000? Hardly. Yet, the I.R.S. withholds pari-mutuel earnings as if only that tiny fraction of the total investment made by the horseplayer allocated to the single winning combo was his cost of doing business. You can help change this surreal circumstance by adding your name to an online petition already supported by thousands of individuals and groups. The petition simply mirrors what at least 17 members of congress have already demanded: That the I.R.S change course and consider the total amount invested by a taxpayer in a pari-mutuel pool when determining whether tax withholding on winnings is warranted. A link to the Petition is here: Apparently, the Washington-based tax lawyers working for the Service don’t frequent Rosecroft Raceway or Laurel Park. If they did, they’d understand the business of pari-mutuel wagering from the big bettors’ prospective. We can only hope that they amend their tax guidance in this matter soon, while there are still some whales around that can benefit. Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network. Chris E. Wittstruck Courtesy of the USTA web newsroom
SILVER SPRING, Md. --- Sidney A. Alpert, a master innovator of raceway video and sound systems at a number of racetracks and a holder of a number of patents during the last half of the 20th century passed away at age 87. Born in Washington, DC, Alpert passed away after a short illness in Silver Spring, Md. On June 30. Alpert served in the U.S. Army during World War II as an x-ray technician, and early in his career was a successful photographer at The Washington Times Herald with Jacqueline Bouvier (later wife of President John F. Kennedy) as one of his protÃ©gÃ©s. He also was team photographer of the Washington Capitals of the Basketball Association of America (forerunner to the NBA). Mr. Alpert became interested in harness racing and seeing a need for improved filming of races, formed his company, Electronic Race Patrol (ERP). Mr. Alpert began his career in racing by filming races in the 1950's at Maryland tracks, Rosecroft Raceway, Laurel Racecourse, and Baltimore Raceway, among others. He teamed with the DuPont Chemical Company to develop a special film for use at night and was the first to film night-time races. Alpert was the first to introduce live closed circuit race-monitors at the tracks he serviced. He was first to show fans live races and replays on a split-screen. Next, he introduced color to showcase races on television. In the 1960's he was the first to bring live video broadcasting to racetracks in the mid-west, at Maywood Park and Aurora Downs in Chicago, IL. With high-quality equipment, Maywood was the first racetrack to broadcast nightly feature races on a live television newscast, at station WGN in Chicago. Alpert was the first to utilize in-house video production editing facilities, one of the many of Alpert's major racing industry advances. At Brandywine Raceway, more than 400 professionally-produced TV vignettes featuring horsemen, farriers and track personnel were among the videos presented during nightly racing programs. He was the first to install television monitors at every racetrack dining room table, where fans could watch live racing during dinner, or change the channel to view other live sporting events. Alpert's ERP Company also made noted television broadcast advancements at the ill-fated, burned-down Garden State Park thoroughbred track in Cherry Hill, N.J. In 1977, with the racetrtack burning, Alpert was high atop the blazing facility video-taping the disastrous fire directly beneath him. He was saved from the fire when a press box regular showed him a seldom used stairway on the far end of the roof, from which he escaped. In addition to television, Alpert was a master of sound at the track. At Brandywine, one standing outside the entrance could not hear the public address sound, but once the door opened, sound was loud and clear. There was state-of-the-art sound in Brandywine's famed track-side dining room from hundreds of speakers in the ceiling. At Brandywine, he wrote new bugle calls recorded by a team of professional trumpeters, with a different musical arrangement for each of the night's races. Following the demise of Brandywine, in 1989, Alpert fostered a remarkable project under his new company, 'Stars and Stripes' Stable, which proved too early and ahead of its time. He visualized making full-card racing a staple on cable TV. His concept was to race entire programs at a track in Chester County, Pa., and without any patrons in attendance. The races would be shown on an all-racing channel with wagering. Alpert envisioned having a daily early evening harness racing TV program in the fashion of the popular late night shows (ala Johnny Carson etc.) featuring owners, trainers, drivers and fans as participants. Alpert's concept included transmitting wagering information to fans at home via fax machine. Unfortunately, after coming close to fruition, he had to abandon the project and then retired. During the 1980s, Sid and wife Lenore (who passed away in 2012), owned several successful stakes winners horses. Two of his favorites were pacers Stargell Lobell and Commander Bond, the horse on which Herve Filion won his 10,000th race - the most in the sport at the time. Alpert was an avid collector of fine arts and manuscripts. He accumulated the world's largest collection of Currier and Ives prints, which is featured in the Time-Life Series of books, Antiques and Collectables. His Currier and Ives collection of horse racing prints can now be seen at the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, N.Y. Other parts of his collections are on display in museums, including the Springfield Museum in Springfield, MA. Alpert is survived by a brother, Larry Alpert (Eleanor), a sister Delores Diamond, a son Mark (Sharon) and grandchildren Julie and Jennifer Alpert, and grandchildren, Adam and Stacey Rosenthal. Graveside funeral services were set on July 2, at Judean Memorial Gardens, Olney, Md. Memorial contributions may be made to Ohev Shalom-The National Synagogue, Washington, DC. by Marv Bachrad, for Delaware Valley Chapter of USHWA
HARRINGTON, Del. - Jim Morand entered the record books Tuesday at Harrington Raceway becoming just the 15th driver in North American harness racing history to reach 9,000 wins. Morand, who drove three winners on the program, achieved the milestone win aboard Brenda Teague's Remus Blue Chip ($17.80) in the 13th race. Morand, a native of Windsor, Ontario, learned harness racing under the tutelage of his step father Gerry Bookmyer after moving to Ohio at a young age. He's driven such top horses as Little Brown Jug elimination winner Kiev Hanover, Nuclear Breeze, 2004 Horse of the Year Rainbow Blue, Stampede Hanover, among many others through the course of his career. "I've been lucky to drive a lot of good horses over the years for a lot of great people," said Morand humbly in the winner's circle. "We moved to Delaware shortly after the slots came and it's a nice place to live." Before making the move to Delaware, Morand spent most of his career at Rosecroft Raceway where he dominated the Maryland circuit for many years. His wife Melanie, and three children, sons Kyle and James and daughter Olivia were on hand to see their father reach hallowed ground. Prior to Morand, Ron Pierce was the last to reach 9,000 wins in 2013. Another driving milestone was reached on the Harrington program as Bret Brittingham drove his 2,000th winner aboard Fleeting Flirt N ($5.80) in the ninth race. Brittingham has been a regular on the Delaware circuit for years along with his father, trainer Don Brittingham. The Brittingham stable has trained three recent Horse of the Meet winners at Harrington, including As Bad As Thunder, Raritan Bay and Artciano. Driver George Dennis also had a driving triple on the program. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway
A new Maryland Sire Stakes program for 4 & 5 year olds got off to a great start. This program is an Open stake with a provision to divide by sex if there are enough entries. Three non-wagering pacing events were contested at Rosecroft Raceway with some old rivalries continuing. In the first division for mares, Brite Jet took the lead from the word go, just as she did in her 2 and 3 yr old races holding off old foes Romantic Escape and Rockin Roxanne stopping the clock in 1:55.2 last quarter in 28.2. Brite Jet is owned by and trained by Jim and Carol Atkinson and Frank Milby was in the bike. The boys were up next with a short field when Hot Speed was scratched with an injury. Firecracker Freddy who was dominant at both 2 and 3 made his first start of 2014 a winning effort against tough challenger Evergreen Power. Firecracker Freddy cut the mile in 1:52.3, holding off the pocket sitting Evergreen Power with both horses pacing a last quarter in 28 sceonds. Roger Hans is the owner, trainer and breeder of Firecracker Freddy, with driver Frank Milby making this his second trip to the winner circle. In the second division of mares, Like A Rocket found the perfect trip sitting third behind Evergreen Jill and a parked out Bonnie Ben Jamin. Bonnie never got to the front till the head of the stretch, that's when driver Art Stafford Jr. tipped Like A Rocket out from third to sweep by a tiring Bonnie Ben Jamin in 1:54.1. Like A Rocket is owned by William and Tonya Sharpnack and trained by Eddie Moore. The 4 and 5 yr old trotters will go to the gate on Saturday May 10th at Rosecroft. Please go to www.msrfonline.com for all your Maryland Staking information and stallion pedigrees or call the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund at 410-775-0152 or 240-285-0326. By Cheri Stambaugh, for MSRF
Finally had a decent week picking some winners. We had Sly McFly pay $10.40 to win in the Dash for the “C” Note final plus a nice $34.40 exacta and then Abrokenart Hanover came through and returned $8.40 in winning his “C” note final. This is the final week of preliminary rounds for both the Matchmaker and Levy Series at Yonkers plus the final of the Whata Baron and Artistic Vision Series at the Meadowlands and the return of San Pail at Woodbine. Plenty of top flight racing action to watch and wager on. Good Luck! $40,000 Pace Matchmaker Series Yonkers Raceway 4th race FRIDAY – Tried to find a way that Yagonnakissmeornot could get beaten in this final leg of the Matchmatcher Series. But I could not. Despite outside post this mare has been super sharp for trainer Rene Allard and can overcome post seven to take another leg before next weeks’ rich final. Use Krispy Apple and Ideal In Vegas in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Matchmaker Series Yonkers Raceway 11th race FRIDAY – This is a great matchup of some real powerhouse mares who will again battle it out next week in the final. I am taking a shot with the P J Fraley Stable entry of Anndrovette/Shelliscape. They both need to be first or second to get into the final and thus need to race their hearts out and off recent weeks they have ability to surprise in here going against some of the best in the series. Use Somwherovrarainbow and Angels Delight in exotic plays. $25,000 Trot Preferred Handicap Pocono Downs 3rd race SATURDAY – Right now Modern Family is perhaps one of the best Open trotters in the country. Came back from a brief rest with an amazing 1:53.1 qualifying romp at Rosecroft Raceway and has been super sharp for trainer/driver Daryl Bier. Use Daylon Magician and Wind Of The North in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace Bobby Weiss Final 3 & 4YOs Pocono Downs 8th race SATURDAY – Series saw the best effort of the year for A Stitch In Time last start with an amazing lifetime mark of 1:49.2. Should be able to repeat provided he can overcome having to start from the far outside in post nine. Use Trys Little Prince and UF Rockin Dragon in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Preferred Handicap Pocono Downs 10th race SATURDAY – After having his head handed to him in last two tries in the Levy Series, A J Corbelli smartly left Yonkers and comes to Pocono Downs where he drops and should pop from the rail. He was razor sharp before the series, even finished second in the opening round, but now should be able to handle this group and earn his keep. Use Abelard Hanover and Annieswesterncard in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace Levy Series Yonkers Raceway 4th race SATURDAY – With a week’s rest after winning a series leg, Apprentice Hanover draws into a tough but beatable division as he needs the points to insure a spot in the final next week so watch for him to be racing at his best. Use the Burke Stable entry of Clear Vision/Hillbilly Hanover and P H Supercam in exotic plays. $63,000 Pace Whata Baron Series Final Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – Most will side with Captive Audience here and perhaps should as he has been perfect in the series, undefeated in three starts and fresh as a daisy for the upcoming long season. But I am going with Wake Up Peter. Despite outside post he showed last week he can leave well enough to take command and hold on to the lead. In this case he may leave hard and get a two-hole trip where he can also score from. Use Captive Audience and Ontario Success in exotic plays. $34,000 Preferred Trot Woodbine 9th race SATURDAY – It’s the 2014 debut of world class performer San Pail. $3.1 million career winner returns once again and looks to be back in shape. After two decent qualifying wins under his belt he should be ready for action and show his back class and his heels to his much younger rivals. Use Slip Into Glide and Zeus Lightning in exotic plays. $55,500 Final Artistic Vision Pacing Series Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – With a perfect season underway and 6 for 6, American In Paris should be at her best once again seeking to sweep the series in the final. Teamed with stablemate Art Ideal they look to be unbeatable in here. Use JK Letitgo and Road Bet in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace Levy Series Yonkers Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – It’s the final preliminary division for the long series and Yonkers always saves the best for last. It’s Team Burke against four other poor souls. It’s the three-horse entry of Foiled Again/Special Forces/Easy Again. Win wagering and exacta only, no trifectas. With the way he has comeback this season Foiled Again should have little trouble remaining unbeaten in five starts. Use Mach It So and Word Power in exotic plays or sit this one out and just watch one of harness racing’s great performers do his thing.
The “Friends of Maryland Standardbreds” is more than just a Facebook page helping promote the harness racing industry in Maryland as they are hosting a special “Evening at the Races” on Saturday, April 12 at Rosecroft Raceway. The special evening will not just feature a buffet meal and a great night of live racing action but also guest speakers and networking opportunity to help promote the industry. The “Friends of Maryland Standardbreds” is led by Clarissa Coughlin and along with the Maryland Horse Council and Rosecroft Raceway, are coordinating this special evening at the track. “This was such a successful event last year that we wanted to do it again once Rosecroft Raceway reopened,” said Coughlin. “Our special guests that will be attending and some will be speaking include Ted Black, sports reporter for the Gazette and president of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and he will handicap the first four races on the card for everyone in attendance; Helene Gregory and Jennifer Conner from RUS (Racing Under Saddle); Karen Craft from the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and Director of Facilities for Harrington Raceway; Julia Jesu from Close-Up Show Stables and Tom Cooke from the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association.” The event starts on Saturday, April 12 at 5:00 pm and the price of a ticket includes the buffet dinner. Ticket cost is $50 per person and the ticket price includes a one-year membership in MHC. If you are already a member of the MHC, tickets are just $35 each. Tickets can be ordered online at www.eventbrite.com/e/mhc-evening-at-the-races-tickets-10924919729. The “Friends of Maryland Standardbreds” will be hosting the upcoming Harness Horse Youth Foundation (HHYF) Day Camp and a fundraiser for HHYF that evening during live racing at the track at Ocean Downs on Friday, June 27. Racing Under Saddle (RUS) will also be at Ocean Downs on Sunday, July 13. FOMS is currently requesting sponsors for the RUS event. There will be no pari-mutuel racing but through sponsorships will be able to offer a purse for RUS. “We want to encourage anyone who loves harness racing to please support us and come to our “Evening at the Races,” Coughlin said. “It will be a fun night, a chance to meet some great people in the industry and you will be helping to promote harness racing in Maryland.” For more information, please contact Clarissa Coughlin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 410.703.1316. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Fort Washington, MD --- The first qualifying session for the 2014 Winter-Spring meet at Rosecroft will take place this Saturday (Feb. 22) at 11 a.m. Entries will be accepted starting at 8 a.m. the Friday before qualifers (Feb. 21 and Feb. 28) by the Rosecroft racing office at 301.567.4435 or 301.564.4401. A second qualifying day will be held Saturday (March 1) at 11 a.m. The opening night of the 2014 season will be Saturday (March 8). Live racing will be conducted every Tuesday and Saturday evening through June 7 with a post time of 6:40 p.m. Following each of the pre-meet qualifying days Rosecroft will allow horsemen to train on the five-eighths-mile oval up to 3 p.m. Horsemen must call the Rosecroft racing office on Friday (Feb. 21) and Friday (Feb. 28) by 12 noon to indicate if they plan to train horses and provide the names of the horses to be shipped in for training. Depending on demand the number of horses per trainer may be limited at the discretion of the racing secretary. All normal Rosecroft ship-in requirements will be in effect for these training sessions. “We know this has been a severe winter for everyone, especially horsemen attempting to get their horses in proper racing shape for the upcoming meet,” said racing secretary Peter Hanley. “Cloverleaf SOA was instrumental in working with us to help accommodate the local horsemen.” Any horse that last started at Rosecroft in December 2013 will not be subject to the 45-day qualifying rule for their first start in 2014 (or through March 29), as long as they were not put on the qualifying list in their last pari-mutuel start. For all other horses a 45-day qualifying standard will be in effect up through March 29, when it will go to a 30-day qualifying rule. Horsemen are also reminded to submit their 2014 racing application to the race office as soon as possible. Race entries will not be accepted on any horses who have not been previously submitted for approval by the racing office. Racing applications are available at www.rosecroft.com under the Horsemen section. From Rosecroft Raceway Publicity Department
Fort Washington, MD --- A continued increase in purses, a new bonus system for Maryland horses and a new post time will be on tap for Rosecroft’s 27-night Winter-Spring meet which opens Saturday (March 8). “We expect a minimum 10 percent increase in purses when we start back this meet and could be looking at additional increases during the meet,” said Peter Hanley, returning to his second meet as Racing Secretary at Rosecroft. Average daily purses at Rosecroft were approximately $67,000 at the conclusion of the 2013 Fall-Winter meet. In addition, a new bonus program will be in effect for horses and horsemen meeting the Maryland preferred criteria. All Maryland owned horses, horses bred or sired in Maryland or Maryland resident trainers will earn an additional 15 percent bonus on top of any purse earnings. “We ended up last meet with over 80 percent of our horses meeting the Maryland preference,” said Hanley, “and this change should give even more inventive for Maryland horses and horsemen to compete at Rosecroft.” “The Maryland horsemen are very excited about the upcoming Spring meet at Rosecroft, said Thomas Cooke, President of the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association. “We are grateful for Penn National’s commitment to the Maryland Standardbred industry and the new Maryland preferred bonus system added with the 100 percent Maryland preferred entry preference is of significant benefit as we rebuild the Maryland Standardbred industry.” Dan Myer, President of the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association, added, “The key to building a strong breeding industry in Maryland is the continued operation of Rosecroft Raceway. This year we have seen a tremendous growth in breeders and owners wishing to participate in our Maryland Sires Stakes program. We appreciate our partner, Penn National, helping us add value to breeding in Maryland.” Racing applications for the new meet are now posted online at www.rosecroft.com. Draws will be held Wednesdays (for Saturdays) and Thursdays (for Tuesdays) with the box opening at 8 a.m. each day. Two qualifying dates have been set: Saturday (Feb. 22) and Saturday (March 1) at 11 a.m. each day. “Given the tough winter these two qualifying dates should help get our available horse population ready for the upcoming meet,” said Hanley. A new 6:40 p.m. post time will be in place for the new meet. Live racing will be conducted every Tuesday and Saturday night through June 7. Harness and Thoroughbred simulcasts are available day and night, seven days a week. Admission and parking are always free. Submitted by Rosecroft Raceway
Hamburg, NY: Buffalo Raceway, located on the Fairgrounds, in Hamburg, NY is pleased to announce that Michael Carter will be the harness racing race caller for the 2014 season. Carter, a Hattiesburg, Mississippi resident has called races as a fill in announcer at many tracks including Colonial Downs in Virginia and Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland. "The race meet at Buffalo is fantastic, especially during the winter months with great drivers participating from the eastern part of the country, and I am looking forward to an exciting season." said Carter. "This is Michael's first full time job in the announcer's booth. He is very passionate about harness racing, has a distinctive voice, and we are pleased to have him join our team." said COO Jim Mango. The 72nd year of racing at Buffalo Raceway is scheduled to begin in January 8, 2014 pending New York Gaming Commission approval. In addition to live racing, simulcast wagering from across North America is available year round. Jonathan Cramer --------------------------------------- Jon Cramer Buffalo Raceway O: 716-649-1280 x 6200 C: 716-583-4248 F: 716-649-0033 REWARDS ARE RACING YOUR WAY!! Sign up today for Buffalo Raceway Rewards Live Racing January - July Simulcast Year Round Download the All New Fairgrounds App! Free for Apple and Android OS www.buffaloraceway.com www.the-fairgrounds.com
NL Loren (1:57.4, $59,512), the 1986 seasons leader for four-year-old trotting geldings, died this morning at Craftwell Farm in West River, Maryland, his home for the past 21 years, and now his place of burial. NL Loren was a pacing-bred trotter, owned by Jane and Doug Murray and trained by Doug. He won 22 races in 97 starts over 8 years of competition, including a year missed completely while recovering from an injury. He was featured in a 1986 Hoof Beats story titled, "The Twelve Least Likely 2:00 Trotters." NL Loren's mark that year was accomplished in an open trot at the Springfield (Illinois) State Fair. His time was more than four seconds, 20 lengths, faster than he'd ever trotted. He was purchased in 1986 with tax refund money, as a birthday gift from Doug to Jane. "Jane wanted to use it for something else, but I thought it would be better spent on a horse," said Doug Murray. NL Loren's career was marked by brilliant performances at unlikely times, mixed with a feline-like propensity for disasters that never quite caused his demise. He beat the stakes-winning two-year-old trotter BJ's Superstar by a nose in a Breeders Crown prep race at Pompano Park at a time when the younger horse had $150,000 more on his card than did NL Loren. Alternating between Pompano in the winter and his "home" track of Quad City Downs in the summer, NL Loren came back from a lacerated tendon sustained in a race in 1987 when he was winning regularly and attracting potential buyers. The tendon healed and NL Loren was on his way back to the races when he colicked in his trailer, somewhere in Georgia, in the pre-cell phone, pre-GPS era. "We were at a truck stop in Georgia," said Doug Murray. "I got a vet's name from a phone book, got directions to his farm. I unloaded the other horses and we worked on Loren the rest of the night. He came through and we got back on the road the next morning." Three straight wins followed and it looked like the Murrays had a Meadowlands horse on their hands. They sent him to race at the New Jersey flagship track. "We watched at a sports bar in Florida," Murray said. "He looked like he was going to win for fun, but as he came out of the hole, he caught his right front leg between the wheel and the sulky of the horse in front of him." Surgery for a bone chip and 18 months of recuperation followed and like Lazarus, he rose again, to race at Rosecroft Raceway, where he competed for the last time in 1992. The Murrays have boarded NL Loren since 1992 at Craftwell Farm, where Jane Murray took him for the occasional trail ride. He also served as babysitter for yearling Thoroughbreds until arthritis in an ankle progressed to the point where he could no longer be kept comfortable. "He opened a lot of doors for us," said Doug Murray. "He didn't make a lot of money or anything like that, but he provided a little bit of name recognition. He doesn't owe me a dime, it's just payback." by Ellen Harvey
Temple Hills, MD --- Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association and Rosecroft Raceway will be holding a fundraiser for Anthony Coletta on Saturday (Dec. 7) at Rosecroft Raceway. This tragedy is a reminder to all of us, that while we are competitors we are also a community. And as a community we must all do what we can. We know that many of our drivers and trainers have already given, but we wanted to show that the State of Maryland’s harness racing industry is behind Anthony Coletta. Drivers, trainers and owners that would like to donate a portion of their earnings from this Saturday night are asked to please contact Sharon Roberts, or Gina Maybee, at 301.567.9636. by Gina Maybee for Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association
Temple Hill, MD --- Rosecroft Raceway’s Paddock Judge, Larry Alan Ward, passed on Sunday, November 10, 2013. Larry was born December 19, 1944 in Wisconsin. After graduating from High School, Larry enlisted in the Air Force and served a tour in Vietnam. Larry spent most of his adult life in the harness racing business as a successful harness racing driver, trainer and owner. He spent much of his career as a driver and trainer competing at Northfield Park, Windsor and Balmoral Park. Larry had 4,319 starts as a driver with 890 wins and almost $2 million in purses. His family owned Arion Acres and Larry drove most of their horses, including Vonda Kay, Full of Arion, Sissy Arion, and Terrion. He had spent the last 20 years as the paddock judge and worked in other positions in security for Rosecroft Raceway Larry is survived by his beloved wife Patricia, children Vonda Ward and Michael Lepak, grandchildren Cameron Rose, Shannon, and Michael, Jr., siblings Donna Johans and Terri Dudek. He also spent years serving Naylor Road School in Washington, D.C. Friends may call at the Lee Funeral Home, Inc. 6633 Old Alexandria Ferry Rd, Clinton MD 20735 on Friday, November 15, 2013 from 2-3 p.m. Service will follow at 3 p.m. Family requests memorial contributions to the ASPCA in memory of Larry Ward. by Gina Maybee for the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners' Association
Fort Washington, MD --- Since reemerging from bankruptcy in 2011 under the direction of Penn National Gaming, Rosecroft Raceway has provided an economic kick start to Prince George’s County and the Maryland Standardbred industry. Since reopening in the fall of 2011 the focus at Rosecroft has been on directing racing opportunities and increasing purses towards Maryland horses and horsemen. Penn National Gaming has established a preference system benefitting Maryland horsemen racing at Rosecroft that provides for maximum opportunity for Maryland connected horses. Horses with a Maryland connection now enjoy a 100 percent entry preference at Rosecroft Raceway -- a first in the industry. This current race meet more than 80 percent of the purses earned have been directed to horses and horsemen under this Maryland preference system. Based on that success, Penn National, Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association, and the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association have agreed to a contract extension that will guarantee live racing at Rosecroft through 2014 with extension options through 2016. All parties agreed that this was a very positive development for the Maryland Standardbred industry. All parties also agreed that it is critical for the long term survival of Rosecroft that a casino be authorized for Rosecroft Raceway. The decision by the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission on the location of the casino for Prince George’s County is expected in December. Penn National Gaming has pledged that 100 percent of its profits will be directed to both the new Prince George’s County Hospital satellite neighborhood health care system and a new supplemental retirement plan for Prince George’s County educators. “The hardworking horsemen are very grateful to Penn National for their ongoing commitment to the Maryland Standardbred industry and for their innovative plan to help the residents of Prince George’s County. Rosecroft is the cornerstone of our industry and we are pleased that Penn National understands our importance to Maryland and has worked with us to save an industry that spans generations of families in the state,” said Thomas Cooke, President of the CSOA. “The continued operation of Rosecroft and Penn National’s commitment to Maryland are evidenced by the preferences and this contract extension to insure live racing continues. Penn National has been a very good partner in its relationship with the horsemen and women and we enthusiastically support a casino at Rosecroft. I hope the Selection Commission will keep the families who earn their living from harness racing in mind when they make their decision.” The Standardbred industry supports more than 1,600 direct jobs, has more than $66 million in assets committed in Maryland and protects more than 18,000 acres of green space in Maryland. MSBA President Dan Myer commented, “Successful overnight racing is the key to establishing a revitalized breeding industry in Maryland. Our horsemen need a place to race their horses and we appreciate Penn National’s commitment to Maryland Standardbred racing as a whole. This contract extension to preserve live racing and new contract for the MSBA is greatly appreciated. “As happy as we are about both contracts we all recognize the importance of a casino being based at Rosecroft. The long term survival of the Standardbred industry rests with the decision of the Commission and I hope the Commission members will consider the economic value of our industry as they consider the proposals before them. Only one proposal will save existing jobs and the harness racing industry in this state for the long term.” ”Penn National has enjoyed a good collaborative working relationship with CSOA and MSBA and these extensions will help us continue to rebuild the racing program at Rosecroft to benefit the industry and the state. Penn National Gaming has put forth the best casino plan to benefit Prince George’s County, the state of Maryland and the horse racing industry,” said Chris McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, Inc. Submitted by Penn National Gaming
Laurel, DE --- “It was amazing.” That’s all 20-year-old driver Brandon Henley could say about winning five races on one card at Ocean Downs. “Races were just working out for me,” the Bridgeville, Del. resident said. The five-win night at Ocean Downs on Sept. 2 is so far the highlight of what has already been an exciting season for Henley, who has nearly tripled last year’s earnings already with $190,114 in money won as a driver in 2013. In his third year driving, Henley, with a 2013 UDR of .265, has won 59 races lifetime and amassed earnings of $268,720 in 525 starts. Not bad considering he spends his days as an electrician. “Eventually I’d like to have my own stable and just race horses,” he said. In the meantime, he spends the first part of his day doing electrical work and heads to the barn in the afternoons. With the help of his family, including grandfather Melvin Cannon, Henley maintains a stable of five horses that he races in Maryland and Delaware. They include Scootin Cammie and Lady Gamelton, the horse Henley won his first race with. While that Rosecroft Raceway win is one he’ll never forget, when asked what his most memorable win was Henley couldn’t decide. “I like all my wins!” he said. Henley said it was through helping his grandfather as a child that he became interested in harness racing. After learning to jog and train he was hooked. What is it about sitting in the bike that he likes? “How a horse grabs on,” he said. “How they feel when you move them off the rail. A lot of things go on when you’re on the track.” He earned his driver’s license primarily through qualifying Cannon’s horses. Although he knew he wanted to drive, Henley said he always told himself he wouldn’t go out and ask for drives. “I figured if people liked the way I drove I’d get catch drives,” he said. Sure enough, over time Henley has managed to pick up some catch drives. He stayed quite busy at Ocean Downs this summer and was excited to be listed in every race at the half-mile track on Labor Day. He says he’s thankful to all of the trainers who have given him drives, particularly Garey Jump, who puts him up on all of his horses. Maryland trainer James Wilkins is another trainer who has taken to using Henley. “He’s done a good job for me,” Wilkins said, adding that Henley had steered pacer Pilgrims Easel to three wins at Ocean Downs. Henley, who admittedly got his start driving cheap horses, does not dwell on how good or bad a horse is when he’s on the track. “I just try to get a horse in the best position I can,” he said. “I started off driving bad horses. I was always driving the ones that had problems and just had to learn to drive them through it and make the best out of the race.” He believes that has helped him pick up more mounts. “I just try to drive the best I can and give them the most honest drive I can,” he said. by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom
Penn National Gaming Inc. (PNGI) has submitted a formal proposal to build a $700 million casino and resort on the grounds of Rosecroft Raceway, a harness racing track located just south of Washington, D.C., in Prince George's County, Md.
This past Saturday (April 6), harness racing driver Frank Milby scored his 1,500th career win with Climate Hanover in the third race at Rosecroft Raceway.