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In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: Trailers on a half mile 3yo stake? It shouldn't be! - On Little Brown Jug and Jugette Days, there were stakes races for three-year-old trotters, the Oaken Bucket and the Buckette. Both had ten horses going on a half mile track. Two trailers. Kudos to Sam, Dave, Wendy and Roger at the Jug - The broadcast team of Sam Mckee, Dave Bianconi, Wendy Ross and when available, Roger Huston, were superb in last week’s coverage of the Delaware County Fairgrounds and Jug and Jugette Days. Rules are rules, or weak excuse? - Opinions are divided over Gaita Pullicino’s latest clash with Harness Racing Victoria stewards. Stallion Review – Ponder - Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Ponder, 1:49h, 1:48.1 ($1,686,134). Open the gates - Is it time for every race track in Australasia to drop their admission fee? After all, race courses are the only ‘casinos’ in the world where patrons have to pay to gamble! 2015 Inter-Dominions - The announcement last week that Perth is the new home of the Inter-Dominions from 2015 has been greeted with a lot of positive comment and why not. NZ Election Not What We Need - Last weekend in New Zealand the 2014 general election took place and unfortunately for harness racing nothing much is going to change. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

The Little Brown Jug and CBS Sports Network have finalized plans for the 69th edition of the pacing classic. The Little Brown Jug brought to you by Fazolis telecast will air live from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network on Thursday, September 18th. The last Jug elimination heat will be shown live at approximately 5:11 p.m. The remaining eliminations will be covered on a tape delay basis. The 2nd heat of the Jug will be shown live at approximately 6:15 p.m. The LBJ conditions require the champion to win two heats, if a race off is necessary, CBS Sports Network will cut into its regularly scheduled program at 7:00 p.m. to show the race-off live. Post time of the race-off would be approximately 7:02 p.m. The Winbak Farm Pace is also expected to air live during the 90 minute broadcast. We are extremely excited about the live coverage of the Little Brown Jug, said production coordinator Sam McKee. Thanks to great support from our main sponsor Fazolis, plus the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund, the USTA and the Jack Darling Pledge Fund, were able to showcase one of harness racings greatest events to a national television audience. The willingness of CBS to cut back in for live coverage of a race off if necessary allows the Delaware County Fair to schedule and structure the races to maximize both mutuel handle and the on-track experience for everyone. This years LBJ is shaping up to be one of the finest, added Phil Terry, LBJ Marketing Manager. We are expected the best three-year-old colt pacers to enter and we are looking forward to a great day of racing. Bruce Casella is the Executive Producer of the telecast. Veteran racing personalities Gary Seibel and Dave Brower will host the show along with Justin Horowitz and Heather Vitale. The Voice of the Jug, Hall Of Fame announcer Roger Huston will call the races. To find the CBS Sports Network channel in your area, please visit by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

A total of sixteen 2-year-old baby races were contested at the Meadowlands Saturday morning under plenty of sunshine with mild temperatures and a fast track. As usual, Team Takter dominated with seven winners on the card. Tony Alagna sent out five winners while Jimmy Takter's daughter Nancy Johansson had three winners from her stable. Among the trotting fillies, Hot Start from the first crop of Lucky Chucky looked good for trainer Jonas Czernyson and Corey Callahan winning gate to wire in 2:00.1 with a 28.3 final quarter holding off Takter's Flirting Filly by a neck with both finishing well in hand. Hot Start, a $52,000 Lexington sale buy, is owned by the Green Acquisition Corporation. Takter trained 2-year-old trotting colts looked sharp including The Bank, Donato Hanover form millionaire mare Lantern Kronos, who went coast to coast in 1:58.4 with a 28.2 final quarter for breeder/owner Goran Falk. Two races later, French Laundry and Yannick Gingras used the pocket trip slingshot move to beat stable mate Uncle Lasse in 1:57.3 for Christina Takter, the Fielding brothers, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. The pair trotted their last three-quarters in 1:27 with a 28.2 final split. French Laundry was a $115,000 Lexington purchase. The freshman pacing filly winners included She's Some Treasure, a full-sister to Captaintreacherous who won in hand at first asking for Tony Alagna and Tim Tetrick in 1:59.2 with a 28 final quarter. She's owned by breeder White Birch Farm. Zip Code Envy, a $27,000 Lexington sale buy, is now 2 for 2 in baby races for Takter and driver Yannick Gingras scoring in 1:57. She's from the first crop of Rock N Roll Heaven and is owned by Christina Takter, the Fielding's, and Brixton Medical. The Tony Alagna trained Bedroomconfessions split rivals late to win a four horse photo in 1:58.2 with a 27.3 final quarter. She's an American Ideal home-bred for the Bell's Riverview Farm and Alagna. Scott Zeron drove. The same combination won right back in the next race with She's a Hot Mess, another American Ideal home-bred, in 1:56. John Fodera is a co-breeder and co-owner. Perry Soderberg's Western Pioneer looked good again winning handily in 1:56.2 for trainer Nancy Johansson and driver Yannick Gingras. The $15,000 Harrisburg bargain buy by Western Ideal is a perfect two for two. The biggest move of the morning came from Trading Up, a Somebeachsomewhere colt, who rallied from last to win in 1:57.3 for Alagna and driver Scott Zeron. Alagna, Alan Alber and Aaron Waxman co-own the $80,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase who paced his last half in 56 seconds flat. Team Takter also won with Blood Brother, a Somebeachsomewhere colt who is a home-bred for Diamond Creek and the Silva's and the Art Major youngster Azorean Art, a $135,000 Harrisburg yearling who is owned by Christina Takter, Brixton Medical, Bud Hatfield, and Sue Grange's Lothlorien. Both freshmen scored in 1:56. by Sam McKee, for the Meadowlands  

Canadian Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh celebrated his 4,000th training win on an electric Saturday night at Meadowlands Racetrack as his millionaire homebred pacer Thinking Out Loud slipped up the pylons to take the $30,000 Free For All Handicap Pace in the final strides. Driven by another Hall of Famer, John Campbell, even-money favourite Thinking Out Loud left from the outside post six and settled into a pocket spot behind All Star Legend (Yannick Gingras) through a :26.1 opening panel. All Star Legend led the way to the half in a rated :55.3 with Wake Up Peter (Mike Lachance) moving first over and up to pressure at the 1:23.1 third quarter mark. That left Thinking Out Loud boxed in and searching for room at the pylons down the lane. He eventually squeezed through in deep stretch and prevailed in a three-way photo finish over the quick-closing Ultimate Beachboy (Brett Miller) and All Star Legend. The five-year-old gelding is by the sire Ponder and Camluck mare Los Angeles, all of which McIntosh campaigned. Thinking Out Loud, who was a 1:47.2 winner in The Meadowlands' U.S. Pacing Championship last year, previously provided the Windsor, Ont. conditioner with another major career accomplishment in winning his first Pepsi North America Cup title in 2012. The pacer is owned by the Robert McIntosh Stables along with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont., and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. McIntosh's milestone win came in front of a large crowd estimated to be in excess of 14,000 in attendance as Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment played host to JerseyFest. This year the event included a competition between 17 food trucks competing for prizes and recognition, as well as vendors and artisans from all over the Garden State on-site sampling and selling their wares. The weather finally cooperated with a pleasant, dry evening. The festival began around 5 p.m. Saturday evening and the track apron and outfield park filled quickly. A portion of the crowd crept into the grandstand as the evening wore on with many drawn to the racing by the visual displayed on the high definition infield video screen. The design of the new grandstand nicely integrates the racing with events held outside with the track and horses in close proximity to the fans. An added attraction was the appearance by Victor Espinoza, the jockey set to ride California Chrome in his date with destiny next week in the Belmont Stakes as he tries to be the first winner of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing since 1978. Espinoza greeted fans and signed autographs, joined in a winner's circle ceremony that included WNBC sportscaster Bruce Beck and spoke with Sam McKee about the upcoming race. by Darin Zocalli, for the Meadowlands

This time of year is always exciting, not only because warmer weather is upon us, but we have the opportunity to get our first glance at the stars of tomorrow with "Breakfast with the Babies" at The Meadowlands. The first baby-race session will take place Saturday, May 31st with post time at 9:30 A.M. and will be combined with older qualifying races as well. Thanks to our new facility, we have a new location to offer breakfast each Saturday morning. That location is the elegant Trotters, located on the second floor on the west side of the building. Trotters members can enjoy complimentary breakfast each Saturday morning while watching the two-year-olds take to the track, but also any New Jersey licensed owner that is not a member of Trotters can enjoy breakfast for just $7. 95 per person. The qualifier and baby race proofs will be made available at the Players Club desk and Trotters hostess stand. In addition, Sam Mckee will be calling the baby-race action and each of the two-year-olds yearling sales price will be provided in the racing proof. We look forward to seeing you Saturday morning. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

Over a hundred runners, walkers and striders hit the Meadowlands Racetrack under partly sunny and breezy skies this afternoon in the 5th annual Stride For A Cure at the E. Rutherford oval.   The winning time of 19:39 was set by Mike Favocci of Hawthorne, NJ. The 24-year-old medical supply distributor broke from the start and never looked back to complete 3.1 mile course faster than the rest.   Several prominent people from inside the harness industry participated in the event, as well as several people with close ties to the Meadowlands. Director of Television/Announcer Sam McKee entered the event as did both his daughters, Lindsey and Melissa, who finished 1-2 respectively, in the women's group. Lindsey a former M1 publicity department employee, finished the race 2nd overall in just over 20 minutes.   Along the race route, Rudy Maag, long-time M1 stall man could be seen keeping pace with stakes administrator Andrea Caswell. Carrie Davies-Gooch from the Hambletonian Society made her second appearance in the event. Bob Boni, well-known horse sales agent and owner of Northwood Bloodstock was also keeping the pace.   Kids as young as four-years-old participated in the event, as well as adults in their 60s.   The event was founded by Meadowlands track photographer Michael Lisa and his wife, Annette, a breast cancer survivor. Runners and walkers, who paid a $25 entry fee which benefits the American Cancer Society, enjoyed their chance to trot around the racetrack before the horses take the stage for tonight's big card featuring the $175,000 Cutler Memorial. Billed as a 'Clash of the Titans' the race features a match-up between local hero Market Share and Swedish star Sebastian K.   by Chris Tully, for Harnesslink  

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced Friday that they have reached agreement with the Little Brown Jug to assist financially in funding the broadcast of the race on Sept. 18. The USTA has agreed to contribute substantial funding to help offset the costs of production and air time. "Since the initial proposal made by the Meadowlands and Little Brown Jug, the Little Brown Jug came back with some revisions and suggestions that address many of the concerns that the USTA Executive Committee had with the original funding request," said USTA President Phil Langley. "Mike Tanner, Rob Key and Dan Leary have worked diligently with Sam McKee and Phil Terry during this past week and I think we now have a proposal worthy of our support." The Little Brown Jug principals have clarified the role of the race's main sponsor and their intent to cross promote the race and harness racing through their retail and social media outlets to complement the social media capabilities of the USTA that were a key component in the sponsor's interest in this proposal. "We appreciate this opportunity to be involved with the Little Brown Jug," said Fazoli's Director of Marketing Jon Quinn. "It's a nice match and excellent for the Fazoli's brand." "It appears that this is all coming together," said Little Brown Jug Director of Marketing Phil Terry. "We are pleased that everyone is working together to permit the Jug to be broadcast this fall and excited about the promotions, social media aspect and contest that will support it. In addition, the Little Brown Jug has also secured additional funding. "We appreciate this funding from the USTA to go along with the support from our primary sponsor and the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association as well as all of the work from Sam McKee in coordinating this effort," added Terry. With the additional clarification from the Little Brown Jug representatives that demonstrated this is the more comprehensive approach that the Executive Committee sought, the members now enthusiastically endorse this commitment to the Little Brown Jug. "I'd like to thank all of the members of the Executive Committee whose response has been so overwhelmingly positive," said Langley. "With just under five months left before the Jug takes place, these cooperative efforts have a chance to do many of the things the Executive Committee suggested last week." The final details of the contract for the broadcast and the possible acquisition of additional sponsors and advertisers are still pending. "Our contribution will give them the wherewithal to finalize their plans," added Langley. Final details will be announced when they become available. by Dan Leary, for the USTA

We have an opportunity in harness racing right now. As most of you know, Jeff Gural has made arrangements so that it is possible to have The Meadowlands Pace and The Little Brown Jug televised on national TV via CBS Sports network. The cost for us is $75,000.00. Sam McKee is looking after all the details of the project.This is a great opportunity to promote our sport to a wider audience and at a very reasonable price. We can showcase our sport at our new state of the art racetrack at The Meadowlands, and our greatest spectacle in harness racing at The Little Brown Jug. Who benefits from showing these races on national TV? It's us, the participants in harness racing -- the owners, drivers, trainers, breeders, racetracks and everyone else involved in harness racing. Showcasing these two races on national TV throughout the US and Canada has got to help us. It sure can't do any harm. I think this is a good investment for us and our future. Standardbred Canada has provided this excellent forum and I would like to take advantage of it to reach out to everyone in our industry. I am proposing that anyone who agrees with and wants to support this initiative can pledge $500 to the project on this site. Of course any amount would be wonderful as a show of support. I am hoping we can raise this $75,000.00 in a hurry but you never know. We will keep track of the pledges on this page as they come in so that everyone can follow how things are going. You can make your pledges in the comment section here and if you have any questions contact or Instructions on where to send cheques and any other information will be made available later on this site. I made a few calls last night just to get the list started and the response was very encouraging. Here are what people are saying and donating! Dr. John Hennessey - Jack Darling SAID... Dr. John Hennessey - $500 Tony Alagna - $500 Marv Chantler - $500 pril 25, 2014 - 12:53 pmEllen Taylor - $100 John Bax Jack Darling SAID... Ellen Taylor - $100 John Bax - $500 Nick Gallucci - $500 April 25, 2014 - 12:10 pmHarness Racing Update is in Bill Finley SAID... Harness Racing Update is in for $500. Great idea. Keep it going April 25, 2014 - 7:15 amJonas and Christine Czernyson Christine Czernyson SAID... Jonas and Christine Czernyson are in for $500, as are our owner Tom Dillon $500 and Scott Dillon $500...we can do this! April 24, 2014 - 7:13 pmI'm in for $500, and I'll tony o'sullivan SAID... I'm in for $500, and I'll also put $500 in on behalf of my staff. Tony O'Sullivan pril 24, 2014 - 6:55 pmSteven Head: $500 Steve Head SAID... Steven Head: $500 April 24, 2014 - 6:43 pmEd Lohmeyer & Dr Patty Hogan Ed Lohmeyer SAID... Ed Lohmeyer & Dr Patty Hogan are in for $1,000 April 24, 2014 - 6:01 pmKevin Harvey $500 The most Kevin Harvey SAID... Kevin Harvey $500 The most powerful weapon on Earth is the Human Soul on Fire, Great Idea! April 24, 2014 - 5:45 pmI'm putting my money where my Sharon Cameron SAID... I'm putting my money where my mouth is: On behalf of the horses, Knightstalker Stable will donate: Battle Call $100 In A Craze $100 Urgently $100 Wu Long $100 (In memory of) Cimeronmachden $100 April 25, 2014 - 10:09 amcount me and my partner Jeff Jordan Farkas SAID... count me and my partner Jeff Rabinowitz in for $250 I wish we could do something like vote for a 1/4 of 1% fee on all purses, claims and auction sales to go towards advertising and televising our great sport we need to all step it up and do something and the status quo is not an option anymore April 24, 2014 - 3:20 pmMark Weaver Family: Mark - Jack Darling SAID... Mark Weaver Family: Mark - $500 Dee (wife) - $500 Sydney (son) - $500 Jordan (son) - $500 $2000 total April 24, 2014 - 2:38 pmJason Settlemoir - $500 Jack Darling SAID... Jason Settlemoir - $500 April 24, 2014 - 2:37 pm$500.00 from M and L of Rosalind Paul SAID... $500.00 from M and L of Delaware LLC. April 24, 2014 - 2:22 pmI'm in for $500 as well and gerald stay SAID... I'm in for $500 as well and I'm proud to be part of this group. Thanks Jack! April 24, 2014 - 2:16 pmDave and Mary Lemon will Mary Lemon SAID... Dave and Mary Lemon will gladly pledge $500.00. April 24, 2014 - 1:34 pmTwinbrook Farms will also Tammy McNiven SAID... Twinbrook Farms will also donate $500!!! Great job Jack!! Rob & Tammy April 24, 2014 - 1:10 pmMark Horner - $500 James Jack Darling SAID... Mark Horner - $500 James Witherite - $75 Steve Calhoun -$500 Larry Todd - $1000 Bert Smith - $500 April 24, 2014 - 12:52 pmMark me down for $500 Dustin Dustin Jones SAID... Mark me down for $500 Dustin Jones April 24, 2014 - 12:33 pmWell done Jack. $500 from me mike wilson SAID... Well done Jack. $500 from me . Mike Wilson Warrawee Farm April 24, 2014 - 12:11 pmJerry Glantz, in for Jerry Glantz SAID... Jerry Glantz, in for $500. Gastrotec [Tri-Star Equine} also in for $500. Great idea Jack!! April 24, 2014 - 11:43 amMac Nichol - $500 Yannick Jack Darling SAID... Mac Nichol - $500 Yannick Gingas - $500 April 24, 2014 - 11:11 amIts time we try to help murray brown SAID... Its time we try to help ourselves and maybe stop begging others to help us. Of course it would be great if we could gain carte blanche to have tracks and governing agencies come up with all the money. Unfortunately many are unwilling or unable to do so. To many $500 won't make a big difference to their lives or lifestyles. To others it might be a great deal. If you think it will help the industry which supports you or to which you have a great affinity, then give what you can. I think a good starting point would be to get pledges from the top ten trainers and drivers or more at all operating racetracks. How about the veterinarians to who I and others pay substantial bills every month. Its time for everybody who can to help out. April 24, 2014 - 10:33 amKendra & Al Casselman are in Allan Casselman SAID... Kendra & Al Casselman are in for $500 April 24, 2014 - 9:18 amAll American is in. Rob Tribbett SAID... All American is in. April 24, 2014 - 9:10 amKelly Hoerdt, I'm in for 500. Kelly Hoerdt SAID... Kelly Hoerdt, I'm in for 500. Let's help ourselves! By Jack Darling

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  

"My theory on that is it's not really kicking. Like you said, it's nudging or urging -- one way or the other." During Friday's In The Sulky pre-race card show from the Meadowlands Racetrack, driver Tim Tetrick was asked about "kicking" a horse by The Meadowlands' Sam McKee. Tetrick was one of two drivers fined for using his foot to urge a horse last year at The Red Mile -- the other being Brian Sears while driving Vegas Vacation -- during Grand Circuit racing. Tetrick clarifies that the action is not a kick but merely a brush of the foot to the horse's hock and "it definitely does not hurt the animal." "At the time, everybody's trying to urge them and make a great race...instead of everybody talking about the 'kicking' in that race I think we should have seen how two great champion three-year-olds were fighting it out down the lane. 'Captain' was passed at the seven-eighths, he fought back and fought that other horse off. Was it the 'kicking' or not, or the nudging? He just fought in and did what he had to do." Tetrick also talks about his second hip replacement, going to the Elitlopp with Market Share, the configuration of the New Meadowlands race surface and the renovations to the track's amenities.

Dave Briggs, writing for the Guelph Mercury newspaper, and M. Kelly Young, writing for Hoof Beats magazine, were named the winners in the 52nd annual John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing journalism, the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) announced Monday. Meadowlands Racetrack photographer Michael Lisa and Dave Witten of Horseman and Fair World magazine were the winners in the 14th annual George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography. Woodbine Entertainment won the 30th edition of the John Hervey Award for excellence in broadcasting for a feature on Sydney Weaver, a 13-year-old with cerebral palsy who is a licensed groom, horse owner, award-winning writer and public speaker. Briggs won the news/commentary category for his story titled “Horse barns at Mohawk ‘silent as a grave,’” which examined the shutting of the backstretch stables at Mohawk, and appeared in the Jan. 9, 2013 edition of the Guelph Mercury newspaper. Briggs has been awarded a record six Hervey honors. Melissa Keith received honorable mention in the news/commentary division for her story, “What Women Want; Can Racing Attract the Female Horseplayer?” It appeared in the April issue of Trot magazine. In the feature category, Young won for her story, “Win One for Ryan; Pacer races for stricken youngster,” which appeared in the November issue of Hoof Beats. The story recounted the chance meeting between Marc Reynolds and Marie Hunt and Reynolds naming a horse, River Run For Ryan, in honor of Hunt’s son, who has a rare genetic disease called Hunter Syndrome. Susan Higgins and Lauren Lee received honorable mention in the feature category. Higgins was recognized for her story, “‘Make Sure Things Go Right;’ Maine Cast fulfills a dying wish with sire stakes championship,” which appeared on the U.S. Trotting Association website on Nov. 21 and in the December issue of Hoof Beats. Lee was recognized for her story, “The Cornerstones,” about Meadowlands media duo Bob Heyden and Sam McKee entering the Communicators Corner of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, which appeared in June 20 issue of The Canadian Sportsman. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of longtime horseracing writer Neil Milbert, Dorf Feature Service newsroom assistant/writer Lou Monaco and Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. In the photography categories, Lisa won in the race feature division for a photograph of driver David Miller heading onto the track on a snowy night at the Meadowlands. The photo appeared in the March 13 issue of Horseman and Fair World as well as the March 14 issue of The Canadian Sportsman. Witten won in the race action category for a photograph of the first turn of the Hambletonian. The photo appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of Horseman and Fair World. Claus Andersen and Mark Hall received honorable mention in the race action category; Andersen for a photo of Bee A Magician winning the Hambletonian Oaks that appeared on the Oct. 17 cover of The Canadian Sportsman and Hall for a photo of Pet Rock winning the Winbak Pace that appeared on the USTA website on Sept. 19. Dave Landry and Barbara Livingston received honorable mention in the race feature category; Landry for a photo of John Campbell driving with his great nephew Tyler McLinchey that appeared on the Sept. 12 cover of The Canadian Sportsman and Livingston for a photo of retired star Staying Together and Kentucky Horse Park Equine Operations Director Wes Lanter that appeared on the USTA website on Oct. 1. The photography categories were judged by Bill Denver, the track photographer at Monmouth Park and Parx Racing as well as a regular contributor to the New York Daily News and Wall Street Journal, and Phil McAuliffe, a longtime newspaper and magazine photographer who worked as a harness racing groom while a teenager. In the broadcast category, Woodbine’s feature on Sydney Weaver was written, voiced and produced by Paul Salvalaggio. It originally aired on June 26 as part of the one-hour North America Cup presentation on The Score television network. To watch the video, click here. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of award-winning longtime horseracing writer Neil Milbert, Daily Racing Form Programming Manager Lou Monaco and Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. Hervey Award winners will be honored as part of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 23 at Dover Downs. For more information about the banquet, visit by Ken Weingartner for USHWA

East Rutherford, NJ – Harness fans, eager to check out the new Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment complex, stormed into the facility Saturday night (Nov. 23) by the thousands.  Shortly after the opening ceremonies, a series of snow squalls also stormed into the East Rutherford Sports Complex.    Despite the high winds, the spirit of the estimated 15,000 fans would never be diminished as the new facility was as exciting as the racing product.  Five of the thirteen races were determined by winning margins of less than a length and ten were won by 2 lengths or less.  Possibly the most exciting was the neck victory by Foiled Again over Warrawee Needy in the final leg of the TVG FFA in 1:49.3.   Interestingly, just three hours before his race, Foiled Again joined Gallo Blue Chip for a ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony by the two richest pacers of all time.  With combined earnings over $10 million dollars, the two harness heroes posed for throngs of photographers in the new “Blue Chip Farms Winners Circle.”   Previous to the ribbon cutting, Miss Rodeo New Jersey delivered a poignant national anthem, followed by opening remarks by Sam McKee, Chairman Jeff Gural, SBOA/NJ President Tom Luchento, and CEO Jason Settlemoir.  Fans were reminded that three years ago the SBOA/NJ and Gural met with the NJ Governor’s administration and helped rescue the Meadowlands Racetrack from governmental extinction.   “Three years later, we are here in a magnificent new building, at the premier track in North America, looking forward to showcasing the best harness racing presented anywhere in the world,” Luchento said.   Patrons on the apron for the race two-TVG trot found themselves in a mini white-out due to a rapid burst of wind and snow.  Some of the best trotters in the world went behind the gate, where five out of the six starters were Hambletonian finalists.  Wishing Stone was victorious, and paid his supporters handsomely at odds of 9-1.   One big fan of racing, USTA Executive Director Mike Tanner found himself caught in the whirlwind.  He proclaimed, “This place is great,” as he tweeted ‘Not Pompano’ in response to the sudden blast of arctic air.   Fans and horsepeople alike were ecstatic about the new building.  Janet Terhune, director of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, exclaimed, “The New Meadowlands is absolutely fantastic.  Trotters (Owners club) is a great experience—it is very ‘clubby.’  The whole facility is filled with people and everybody loves racing.”   Enjoying the atmosphere in Trotters was the breeder of Deweycheatumnhowe, Steve Jones.  Clearly enjoying his well appointed surroundings, “Jonesy” stated, “The facility is fantastic.  Gural and his partners have done a great job.  There is a lot of enthusiasm here.  I like the night club, and all the gambling areas, the bars and everything!  I really think this is going to be a great place to be.”   Hall of Famer Jimmy Doherty, who is one of the few drivers to win a race every year that the Meadowlands has been open, noted that, “I think it is tremendous.  Everyone is very excited about the future.  This place was built for a new generation.”    Ray Remmen, who won the first race on the 1976 opening night with Quick Baron, presented the trophy to the first race winner Alexie Matosie and David Miller.  Another guy who was active on the original opening night on Sept. 1, 1976 was Ted Wing.  He was back as the trainer of a horse in the new opening’s twelfth race.   When reminiscing about historical races, one need not venture any further than the statistician to the stars, Bob “Hollywood” Heyden.  From his TV studio he reminded fans that on the ’76 opener, eight Hall of Famers drove on the card—and only ONE found the winners circle:  Robert Farrington with Rambling Willie.   When quizzed about his observations of this opening night Holly opined that, “Three things stand out.  An unmistakable buzz in the building.  A steady stream of patrons entering from 4 pm through 9 pm, reminiscent of Niatross winning the Meadowlands Pace or a heavy-weight title fight.  And, the sense of anticipation for the overall future of the facility.”   As fans poured into the main entrance, they were eager to enter the Million Dollar Pick 13 challenge.  Many a punter stopped to ogle over the suitcase full of cash, prominently on display in the center of the ground floor betting area.  Alas, the promotion turned elusive as the new racing configuration created a new and distinct track bias.   Perhaps it was a night for underdogs, as only four betting favorites found the winners circle.  Ironically, horses named after 1976 movie icon, Rocky, had a big night: Salevster Stallion (Race 1, fin. 2nd), Stallone Blue Chip (R3,1st) & Yo Cheyenne Rocky (R9, 1st).  Nonetheless, Team Gural showed the world that they were up for the task! by Chris Tully for  

Jeff Gural, the man credited with saving the Meadowlands, is poised to ring the opening bell on a new era of racing at his premier harness racing facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The owner of three harness tracks and two casinos has accomplished great things in a relatively short period of time.    Tonight, the eyes on an entire industry will be fixed upon the new Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment complex.   By all accounts, the facility will not disappoint.  At over 180,000 square feet, which is large by “new” industry standards, the new grandstand is about one-third the size of the original grandstand that still stands watch on the new backstretch.   In addition to the large simulcast areas that opened Monday, the preview on Thursday night allowed horsemen to sample the new fare at Pink, the 300-seat tiered clubhouse area.  The main bar area known as Lounge, doubles as a nightclub.  Trotters, a high-end owners club sold out for the season at $2,500 per four top.   Asked about watching his dream come to fruition, Gural was proud, but pragmatic.  “It feels good.  We will see how it goes on Saturday.  Hopefully we will have a good crowd and things won’t get too crazy.  I am really excited and I think that the place is beautiful.  Hopefully we will get the people to turn out the way they used to.”   For all of Gural and his staff’s efforts, Thursday’s preview went smoothly, and his generosity was rewarded by a full clubhouse.  Pink was packed with horsemen that were invited to a complimentary meal while watching the qualifying races.  “The Boss,” as Gural is sometimes referred to in program promotions, meandered around the tables, greeting guests and industry leaders like the maître d’ at a fine restaurant.  Director of Racing Darin Zocalli tweeted and showed well-wishers pictures of his young son on his iPhone.   Indeed it is a new era, and the facility and its interaction with the public is ready for the digital age.  There are hi-def TV’s everywhere and the requisite cell signal and WiFi coverage is excellent.  While touring the facility, it is clear that everything has been thought of.  Nonetheless, it is also evident that “the Boss” does not sail this ship alone.   Team Gural, is an assembly of young, vibrant and savvy harness racing experts and marketing gurus.  For their part, not only have they helped spend over $90,000,000 of Gural and equity partners’  investment capital, but these folks have also helped shape what harness racing will look like in the near, and perhaps, distant future.   CEO and General Manager Jason Settlemoir, who never seems to get tired, stated “We have been working at a very hectic pace over the last year in an effort to be ready.  Our soft openings have been successful, especially with the qualifier preview and the food and beverage services.  Now that we are coming down to the wire, I expect it will be just like a horse race—fast and furious!”   Long-time announcer Ken Warkentin, who has called the last fourteen Hambletonians, exclaimed, “It’s like working at a new track, like a new job.  It’s a new era!”  Seated at the new TV studio with his witty side-kick, Bob “Hollywood” Heyden, the pair could not be more at home.  “I live for nights like this,” recent Hall of Famer Heyden noted.  “You are witnessing something very special.”   Director of simulcasting, Hall of Famer Sam McKee was equally optimistic. “It’s very exciting.  I think it will be a lot like when the Meadowlands first opened, just on a smaller scale.  The old building seated 35,000.  I have read stories where 45,000 tried to get in.  Now, we might seat 5,000.  But, we could have 8 or 10 thousand and it would be the same thing!”   When asked about the most fulfilling part of his job, CEO Settlemoir was quick to answer, “To work with a group of people who are as dedicated as the employees here at Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment.  Past that, it has been refreshing to not only work with these dedicated people, but also to see their passion, and how much they have put their time and energy in to this facility.  They have made sure everything has been thought of, and that no stone has been left unturned.  The horsemen have been great too, they stepped up and filled the box the other day when we needed them.  I am very grateful.”   Post time is 7:15 pm and a free program is available by clicking HERE:   by Chris Tully for

All sessions of the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sales Company Annual Sale in Harrisburg will be webcast  live on our website at: A direct link will be posted on the Home page of the Black Book website at    The world’s most renowned Standardbred Sale begins at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 4.    All subsequent sessions will start 10:00 a.m. The Select Yearling Sale continues daily through Thursday, November 7. The Mixed Sale begins on Friday, November 8 and continues through Saturday, November 9.    New features will make the webcast even more enjoyable in 2013. Viewers will be able to access individual pages from the Black Book catalog, recent sale results including prices and buyer information, and lists of OUTs and vet reports. A higher definition video feed will enhance the viewing experience, and make you feel part of the action!    Be sure to check out our daily “Black Book Today” videos as they are posted online, featuring interviews by Bob Heyden and Sam McKee of the world’s leading owners, trainers, and drivers as they search for their next champions. 2013 marks our 75th and reminiscences of sales past. A link to 2013 “Black Book Today” videos will be posted on the Home page, or can be found by following this link: Archived “Black Book Today” videos dating yearly from 2005 are also available in our Archives.   If you can’t come to Harrisburg, you can still be part of the experience with our live webcast!    

The 30th Breeders Crown took place on Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, and it was everything a racing fan could have possibly hoped for and more. Events as hyped as this rarely live up to their billing, but, if anything, at the end of the night it seemed like no amount of build-up could have prepared the folks who were at Pocono and the thousands all over the world who watched at simulcast sites and on television for what they saw. Each one of the twelve races deserves an article of their own, so I’ll inevitably have to leave out some of the champions, both of the equine and human variety, that graced our stage. Since those details have been well-reported elsewhere, I thought I’d just give some of my final impressions on the finest single night of racing I’ve ever witnessed. I had the opportunity to watch all the action from the announcer’s booth, where I called the races in tandem with my buddy Sam McKee of The Meadowlands. It was a good thing there were two of us in the booth, because I don’t think either one of us alone could have handled all that craziness. It seemed that after every race, we would stare at each other mouths agape in either shock or awe at what had just transpired on the track. With such big money on the line, it made sense that the sport’s finest drivers were entrusted with the reins. Only five different drivers captured victories on the night: Tim Tetrick had three, David Miller, Ron Pierce, and Yannick Gingras had two each, and Brian Sears picked up one. One could say that those are the top five drivers in the sport right now and it would be hard to argue against it. Their choices were almost universally fine on Saturday night, especially Tetrick’s brilliant weaving drive aboard Market Share in the Open Trot. For all of the brilliance that quintet of drivers displayed throughout, this night was about the horses. The night was marketed on the backs of several superstar horses. For the most part, they all came through, with the exception of  Anndrovette, whose bid for a third straight win in the Open Mares pace came up short in 3rd behind David Miller and Shelliscape. While most of these big names delivered on their promise, what differed about them was how they accomplished this. Some were simply too good for the rest, like 2-year-old trotter Father Patrick, who dominated his group on the front end, and the sublime Bee A Magician, who stayed unbeaten after 15 starts in her 3-year-old season by beating the sophomore trotting fillies without seeming to break a sweat. I Luv The Nitelife, a 3-year-old pacing filly who lost just once this year in 14 races despite a brutally tough schedule, trailed for much of her race, only to explode in the stretch and leave everybody in the dust. Yet maybe the two most impressive command performances on the night were two that produced unbearably narrow margins of victory. Captaintreacherous is one of the most celebrated 3-year-old pacers in the history of the sport, but he was out to avenge his only loss this season, a heartbreaking photo finish defeat to Sunshine Beach at Pocono in August. The two hooked up to battle once again in the 3-year-old Colts and Geldings Pace, and for several moments it appeared that Sunshine Beach had the favorite’s number. But what makes the Captain special, as Sam McKee pointed out on race night, is his heart, and he showed every bit of it by digging in to win by a neck. In the final race of the night, Foiled Again presented a worthy encore to the Captain’s showstopper in the Open Pace. Considering that he’d earned more money that any pacer in North American history coming into the race, anything that the 9-year-old warrior from the Ron Burke barn could give in the final was pure gravy. But one thing that had eluded Foiled Again was the Breeders Crown, so he was all-in for this one. Driver Yannick Gingras sent Foiled Again to the front past the half-mile marker, but the fractions seemed too steep for him to carry, especially on a sloppy track. Foiled Again gave everything he had to stay on top, only to have a rallying Pet Rock pull up alongside at the line for a photo finish. For a tantalizing minute or so the photo sign stayed up until it disappeared to reveal that Foiled Again was the winner. The normally reserved Gingras gave a euphoric fist pump as the horse returned to the winner’s circle for the perfect exclamation point to the evening. The Breeders Crown was a simply spectacular event, one that not even the windy and rainy weather could dampen. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the opportunity to call another one, but, as far as I’m concerned, I was just part of the best one ever, so it would be pretty hard to top anyway. That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at by Jim Beviglia for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs  

“That ladies and gentleman may have been the tightest photo finish in Grand Circuit history,” Said Lexington’s Red Mile track announcer Sam McKee. And McKee was not “whistling Dixie” as the photo finish camera was put to good use in the fifth race $74,300 International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old pacing fillies. Coming down the stretch, A La Notte Hanover, driven by Yannick Gingras, was in the lead with Rosie De View (Ron Pierce) on the outside and My Lady Day (Andy Miller) trapped in third place along the rail. Angedada (Corey Callahan) had tipped three-wide on the final turn and Instant Respect was also in the hunt for driver Tim Tetrick. Coming to the wire, Andy Miller barely found clearance with My Lady Day and squeezed between A La Notte Hanover and Rosie De View as five of the seven starters in the race all crossed the wire noses apart. When the photo finish was official it was My Lady Day and Andy Miller winning by a nose over Instant Respect by a nose over Anegada by a nose over Rosie De View by a nose and poor A La Notte Hanover ended up finishing fifth by a head. The time of the one mile race was 1:52.1 and it was an extra special win for My Lady Day as it was her maiden victory. The daughter of Western Ideal posted her first win in eight starts for trainer Joe Holloway and the Val D’Or Farms of Millstone, NJ. Sent off at odds of 8-1, My Lady Day paid $19.80 to win. “It was very close,” Andy Miller said, “I barely had room for the wheels of my bike to get through.” By Steve Wolf for  

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