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There will be a couple of new drivers on the scene in New Brunswick this season as harness racing is set to resume at Fredericton Raceway on July 1st.   One is a first-timer in 2015 with a couple of qualifying tilts under his belt. Luke Armstrong, youngest son of trainer/ driver Rick Armstrong will be looking to get his rookie start in New Brunswick.   Another driver, Doug Folkins Jr is revitalizing his career after some time away from the sport. He started driving back in the year 2000 and has over 600 career drives and fifty ( 50 ) lifetime wins.   He too has a qualifier under his belt but with the situation in New Brunswick with horse population in Saint John, he has found it tough to get drives to accumulate his points.   Talking with Doug today he says that he is willing to travel to pick up qualifying drives to attain his goal of having his license renewed for the start of the racing season. " I am willing to travel and will also be in Ontario soon for a visit". He continues, " I would love the opportunity to get some qualifying action so I can drive this season. It's just so tough in New Brunswick right now."   Both young drivers are looking for opportunities and we need more people involved in the sport in New Brunswick and the Maritimes. Anyone who could lend a helping hand in giving these find gentlemen a hand in getting their licenses, it would be great.   Doug Folkins can be reached by cell phone at 506-721-2133. He will be in Ontario from June 17th- 25th.   Scott Waddell

New Brunswick's harness driver Gilles Barrieau, who leads the nation in driving percentage once again this week with a .408 driving average, takes part in a driver's competition this Saturday at Red Shores in Charlottetown, P.E.I.   Barrieau will be among the leading drivers from this season in the driving challenge. He will also be seeking his 100th driving win of the season as he goes into Saturday afternoon with ninety-seven wins.   He has over 3,900 career winners, $ 7.2-million in career earnings, and has won awards at a national level including the prestigious O'Brien award of horsemanship.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB    

Sam Hodgin finds himself in a familiar spot after a recent election of the Saint John Harness Horsemen. Hodgin, a local ferrier and trainer/ driver returns as President for 2015. He has held the post previously. He takes over for Dr. Mitch Downey who now will serve as a director. Mike Downey was voted in as Vice President while Traci Friars will assume the role of secretary. Young Luke Armstrong will serve for the first time in the association as treasurer. His father Rick also was elected as a director as was Wanda Foster. by Scott Waddell, for HRNB

On the strength of two wins at Exhibition Park Raceway, Mark Haig won his first-ever harness racing driving crown at his home track for 2014 on Saturday afternoon.   He had gone into the afternoon card with a lead of three wins on former driving champion Todd Trites.   After the six dash card, Haig ended up with two wins on the afternoon to Trites one and claimed the driving title.   Haig's wins came with Contact Jones and Ton Of Luck. Saturday's race card saw the end of the 2014 racing season and Horse Racing New Brunswick looks forward to a prosperous 2015 with the return of the Atlantic Sires Stakes to the region.   Horse Racing New Brunswick would like to extend gratitude to all who supported the industry in 2014. There is an optimistic attitude in the province for 2015 and look forward to returning to host racing spring.   Scott Waddell  

It seems unfair that when a horse reaches mandatory retirement age of fourteen, some still have some racing left in them.   This Saturday afternoon, the owners of Rakland Fine Line will officially retire the pacer from racing competition after a solid racing career in the Maritimes with just a few starts in Ontario.   By Gothic Dream out of the Cam Fella mare Cams Fine Line, he was purchased as a yearling by the Ultimate Stables for just $ 7000. In his career, he has earnings of over $ 104,000 and has recorded seventy-three wins going into his last race.   Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Park Raceway will be his 374th career start. He has averaged over $ 280.00 per start in his career, mostly in the Maritimes. He took his lifetime mark of 1:56.1 at age six at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Although he remains winless in 2014, he has four seconds into his final race this Saturday. He will enjoy a well deserved retirement after this at Ultimate Acres farm just outside Moncton.   We know it will be a sad day for Dawn Hubbard and Sifroi Melanson but we would like to thank them for this his retirement cooler and celebration of this little horses final race in the place he took his record.   Another interesting note from this Saturday's program at Exhibition Park Raceway is that two horses on the card share a unique story going into the program.   Only two horses in New Brunswick have entered and raced in all cards that have been held in the province in 2014.   One other commonality is that both horses have a huge fan following and loved by their owners.   Those two horses are Skippy and Magical Alex. Both pacers have raced in every race card in the province including starts in Saint John, Fredericton and Woodstock.   Skippy, owned by Harold DeFazio, a dedicated owner with his wife Sandra will make their 24th start in New Brunswick with the handsome son of Camluck. In those starts, he has only missed one cheque all season long.   He has averaged almost $ 225.00 per start this season and his fastest win came at Fredericton Raceway in 1:58 for Mark Haig in 2014. Special mention to caretaker Luke Armstrong who has done a great job looking after the pacer.   Magical Alex has also raced at every opportunity this season for owner Bob MacNeil of Saint John. He is in the same barn as Skippy and also has a huge fan following. MacNeil's children Kate & Alex can be heard every race day cheering the horse on the backstretch.   Purchased in 2008 for a bargain price of $ 1100, the pacer has gone on to win forty-one races going into Saturday's card and lifetime earnings of over $ 44,000. He sports a lifetime speed badge of 1:56.2 taken this past summer during Old Home Week in P.E.I.   Both horses are again entered to go at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John and kudos to the connections of both pacers for their support of racing in New Brunswick and best of luck on Saturday!   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB

After Saturday afternoon's race program at Exhibition Park Raceway, the lead for the top driver in wins has fallen to three.   Going into the seven-dash card, Mark Haig held a four-win advantage over second place driver Todd Trites. That margin is now down to three with one race card to go.   On Saturday, Todd Trites scored two winners as he captured the first and last race on the program. Twin B Macho, owned by John Breau of Moncton took the days first event for Trites in 2:05.3.   He then finished off the day with Contact Jones in the finale as he scored a come from behind victory for owner Tina Dunphy in 2:03.   Haig scored one winner on Saturday as he guided the veteran pacer Dance Hanover to victory in 2:00.4 for trainer and owner Sifroi Melanson. With one card remaining, Mark Haig has eighteen wins on the year with Trites next at fifteen.   If Haig can hold on to his lead, he will capture his first-ever driving crown at his home track of E.P.R. Last card of the year goes on Saturday, October 25th at 2:00 P.M.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB

Fresh off her win on Atlantic Breeders Crown weekend in P.E.I, four-year-old pacing mare Ramblinglily will take on four male rivals in Saturday's top-class at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Winning her last three, wins including a 1:57 win at Red Shores, the mare will have to overcome the outside post-five in Saturday's $ 1500 top-class. She will be looking to surpass $ 20,000 on the year.   Allan Jones will pilot the mare for co-owner Norm Leger. American Island will leave from post-one for Gilles Barrieau with Magical Alex lining up in the number three position.   Rounding out the feature are Wave That Banner and J Rs Hurricane. Post time is set for 2:00 P.M on Saturday with a total of seven races presented by Horse Racing New Brunswick.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB    

Going into the final two cards of the New Brunswick racing season, Mark Haig continues to lead Exhibition Park Raceway in dash wins.   Haig, who leads the track in drives with sixty-four, has seventeen trips back to the winners circle. That is good enough for a four win lead over second place driver, Todd Trites.   Heading into this Saturday's program, he also has a lofty driving average of .431 and over $ 14,000 in purse earnings. Trites leads the money category with his starters earning over $ 17,000 this year   Drivers with over thirty drives this season shows Todd Trites with the leading percentage among drivers at .502. Haig is second at .431 and Stephen Trites at .330.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB    

Joseph Michael dominated Monday afternoon's top-class at Exhibition Park Raceway with an easy 1:59.2 triumph and snapped J Rs Hurricane's win streak at three.   Leaving from post-four, Trites sent the seven-year-old Jennas Beach Boy to the lead making every post a winning one. American Captain was second with J Rs Hurricane third.   Monday's win put the pacers lifetime win total over $ 130,000 for owners Andrea D Dolan, Lower Cambridge and Valerie G Phelan, Geary,N.B and trainer Eric Wilson.   Magical Alex took the back-up class on Monday, giving Todd Trites a pair of winners on the holiday program.   Next card is scheduled for Saturday, October 18th at 2:00 P.M.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB

Lonny Stokes and J R's Hurricane scored a decisive victory in Saturday's top-class at Exhibition Park Raceway.   He was seeking his Third Straight win and Stokes was quick off the gate with the five-year-old son of Mach Three. He made every post a winning one including a final quarter of :27.3.   Time of the mile was 1:58.2 as he destroyed the field by twelve and three-quarter lengths. Wave That Banner and Dance Hanover made up the top trio. For J Rs Hurricane, it was his eleventh win on the season for owner Jean Charles Belliveau.   Also on Saturday, first time owner Michael Folkins won his first career race as an owner as Dale Spence Jr. guided Windemere Astro to victory in the afternoon's first race.   Mark Haig had two-wins on the program as he now has twenty-eight wins on the season at Exhibition Park Raceway. Next card will be contested on the holiday Monday, October 13th at 2:00 P.M.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB    

After an overpowering win last week in the afternoon's top-class, five-year-old J Rs Hurricane will be looking to repeat in this week's top conditioned harness racing event.   Lonny Stokes, no stranger to driving the son of Mach Three will be holding the lines of the pacer from post-four in the five horse top-class.   Man In Pink will once again have the advantage of the rail position for driver Mark Haig. Dance Hanover will have post-two for catch-driver Mike Barrieau for the Ultimate Stables of Moncton.   American Captain will leave from post-four for veteran driver and trainer Mike Campbell. Wave That Banner from the Eric Wilson stable will have the outside post-five. Starters will face-off for a purse of $ 1500.   This Saturday will also feature the final leg of Horse Racing New Brunswick's handicapping contest. Week twenty ( 20 ) will be contested and an overall winner announced next week.   Post time for Saturday's matinee card is slated for 2:00 P.M.   Scott Waddell

With the 2014 season in the books at Fredericton Raceway, Todd Trites walked away with another dash winning crown at the capital city oval.   Trites had an outstanding season with 13-wins on the circuit. That was three better than second place driver Mark Haig. He finished the campaign with 10-wins on the year.   Rounding out the top-three was veteran driver Mike Downey who won seven times on the 2014 racing season.   Top percentage driver at Fredericton with at least thirty drives was Todd Trites at .401. He also led the way in purse winnings with over $ 20,000 earned at his home base.   In the training category, there was a three-way tie in the standings. Mike Downey, Ed Harvey and Mike Campbell all finished up with six-wins each. Downey led all trainers at Fredericton in money will close to $ 6700 earned.   Mike Campbell led the way in training average with a superb .562 average for the season.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB

Mother nature provided a picture perfect autumn day on Saturday in Saint John as Horse Racing New Brunswick presented a seven dash program.   With the ideal conditions, one of New Brunswick's top overnight pacers toured the half-mile oval in a sizzling 1:58 mile for catch-driver Gilles Barriedau. J Rs Hurricane moved into double digit wins with his 10th of the season.   Barrieau set sail early on the lead for owner Jean Charles Belliveau, Scoudouc, N.B and carved out fractions of 29, 59.1, 1:28.3 with a final panel of :29.2 to score by an even ten-lengths.   It was the second win of the afternoon for Barrieau as he also drove veteran pacer Victory George to victory for owner Jeff Lewis.   Skippy and Rose Valley finished in a dead-heat for second. J Rs Hurricane is a handsome son of the great Mach Three. Another New Brunswick owned pacer also was sharp on Saturday as four-year-old Ramblinglily and Allan Jones connected for a 1:59.2 win.   Racing will return to the Port City of New Brunswick on Saturday, October 4th at 2:00 P.M.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB

Horse Racing New Brunswick presents a live card of harness racing at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John on Saturday with post time at 2:00 P.M.   Seven races will be contested including the afternoon's featured event for a purse of $1500. Race seven will have a small field but a competive group of pacers.   Man In Pink will have the benefit of post-one for New Brunswick's leading driver in 2014, Mark Haig. He was a winner a few starts back in a seasons best mile of 1:56.3.   Rick Armstrong, a member of this year's Atlantic Breeders Crown family recognition from the province of New Brunswick will guide Coral Snake from post-two. He is co-owned with his son Luke.   ROF Peruvian High will score from three for Gilles Barrieau who sits second in driving average in the country. Ramblinglily who took a new mark of 1:56 at Red Shores recently will bust the gate from post four. Rounding out the field is American Captain who will have Mike Campbell steering from post five.   Post time goes at 2:00 P.M.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB

Week seventeen is in the books after this past Saturday's race program at Exhibition Park Raceway for the season long handicapping challenge.   Leading the way is Adam Saunders who continues to lead the contest and has now totalled $ 284.90. Kayden Buchanan maintains his spot in second place with $ 236.00.   Rounding out the top trio is Rose Doyle who checks in this week with $ 232.70. Week eighteen will be featured this coming Saturday as Horse Racing New Brunswick will host the season finale at Fredericton on September 20th at 2:00 P.M.   Complete standings are listed below:   Adam Saunders 284.90 Kayden Buchanan 236.00 Rose Doyle 232.70 Brad MacPherson 226.40 Jenn Ritchie 180.50 Bruce Smith 114.85 Dale Spence Sr 94.80 Wayne Hubbard 45.30 Roy Flowers 31.00   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB

New Brunswick owned two-year-old harness racing filly Miss Oromocto won a division of the lucrative Williamson Stake at Fredericton Raceway on Monday afternoon.   Owned by Mel Land in partnership with Sharon Burchill, Mark Haig drove the pacer to victory in 2:01.4 in the $ 6000 stake.   In other action Monday, veteran Mike Downey enjoyed a banner day as he scored a trio of winners. City Of The Year, owned by Dr. Mitchell Downey was impressive as the two-year-old sailed to a 2:01 new record.   Downey's other wins came with Override and Night Talker. Dance Hanover took the top class of the afternoon in 1:58.2 while Skippy turned in an impressive 1:58.3 win for Mike Stevenson and owner Harold DeFazio.   Fredericton's afternoon card also saw the best wager of the season in New Brunswick as nearly $ 20,000 was registered. Next card at Fredericton Raceway is Saturday afternoon.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB    

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