It has been nearly a week since the call to help five Standardbreds at the brink of a trip to the Canadian slaughterhouses, was made to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF). Today, all have arrived safely to a farm in Millstone Twp., NJ. There were actually more than five horses in danger, two of the five initial horses have been rehomed while two new ones were pulled to safety. Six stepped off the trailer and each one was very well mannered. There was a great deal of outrage over the need for this rescue, but while people were voicing their anger they also stepped up generously to get them to safety. SRF was offered generous gifts to purchase, ship, and quarantine; new halters were received; a Meadowbrook cart to sell to raise funds; a Standardbred owner added a company match program; offers of foster homes, and even a retirement home for one in California. Most appeared in adequate weight, a few have heavy driving shoes on such as the one in the photo. His paperwork lists him as Keylarko Blue but this is not confirmed. If this proves to be the correct horse we will be puzzled by his lack of any racing lines, yet legs that have such massive battle scars from the oval. Mollie Muggins is the other lucky last minute addition; she is by Sealed N Delivered, a 10 year old with similar legs. We are giving them all a couple of days to settle in before we confirm tattoos when Dr. Bokman comes out to examine each as a gift to the horses and SRF. The plan will include quarantine (isolation), remove shoes, meet with Dr. Bokman to evaluate each one for soundness, any issues and needs, and then decide which ones might be suitable for some work under the saddle. They anticipate that a couple will need full retirement due to age or injuries. They are screening the very kind offer of a home on the west coast, and should that be an option we will determine if funds will permit us to give one a California dream. The greatest expense comes at this point, providing for all their care, work under saddle, finding good homes, following up once homes are found, and retiring those in need. Offers of homes, and tax-deductible gifts especially are still needed to retire the horses unable to be comfortable under saddle. One of our very special donors said, " We all need a second chance." SRF appreciates the kindness and generosity of those who have given these horses that chance. The barn door is open to visitors but a schedule is needed as not to disturb the farm owner. Updates will be posted on SRF's website www/ AdoptaHorse.org under the Rescues tab. Contact SRF at 732 446-4422, email@example.com. From the Standardbred Retrement Foundation
Memorial Day weekend is a time when most Americans reflect on the sacrifices made by those who protect the rights and freedoms so very important to the United States. So, it might have been the proper result when War Hero rallied to win the Saturday night $9,500 featured race at Vernon Downs. War Hero is owned by Howard "Doc" Gill of Pine Bush, NY. Gill is a respected horsemen and a veteran, who had gained a large measure of fame a few years ago by driving Sealed N Delivered to victory at Monticello at the age of 81. War Hero got the coveted pocket spot behind the betting favorite A Penny Earned through the early stages of the feature event. A Penny Earned carved out strong, but taxing, fractions of 26.2 for the quarter, 55.3 for the half, and 1:24.3 for three-quarters. Those times, however, did not earn A Penny Earned an easy lead moving to the far turn. Evil Urges fired past the competition from the back of the pack to race right alongside the leader as the field turned for home. In fact, Evil Urges assumed the lead midway through the lane before War Hero tipped out for a late surge. The resultant photo was indeed close as War Hero and Evil Urges hit the finish together, but the picture gave the victory to War Hero, driven to victory by Howard Okusko Jr. and trained by Jessica Okusko. War Hero won at odds of 9-1 and paid $20.40 for the win. The complete order of finish for the race was War Hero, Evil Urges, A Penny Earned, Mr Web Page, Sand Top Gun, and Michelangelo. The $8,000 co-feature race on Saturday night was far more cut and dry. The betting favorite, Ilovemymommy, went right to the lead from the outside post position and never was really challenged in a gate-to-wire score. Ilovemymommy, expertly driven by Jimmy Whittemore, finished the mile trot in 1:53.3. MC Tiny's Hope did try to make a race of it on the second turn, but was summarily turned away by Ilovemymommy. Long Island Tea was able to pass MC Tiny's Hope for second in the final strides. The remainder of the order was Painite fourth and Canadian Justice fifth. Driver Rick Plano continued his hot streak at Vernon Downs on Saturday night. He recorded his second straight night with four driving victories. Plano won three straight in the middle of the program with My Revenuer in the fifth, Naughty Not Nice in the sixth, and Spring Goal in the seventh. He then tacked on the fourth winner by taking the finale with Thekeptman. The seventh race did include an unfortunate incident on the far turn as Upfront Carol went down on the turn, but thankfully there were no injuries as a result of the incident. The drivers involved were able to continue driving on the Saturday evening program. In the 11th race second Rooney elimination division, All Bets Off and driver Matt Kakaley, the 1/9 wagering favorite, did not disappoint as they literally wired the field to win with ease in a speedy 1:52.3. Ideal Fashion and driver Brian Sears left from the rail but Kakaley also had All Bets Off on the move and they took command by the opening quarter mile in :27.1. Kakaley then backed it off with a :29 quarter breather to the half mile marker in :56.1. Then in the backstretch, Some Playa (George Brennan) came first over with Maxi Bon (Scott Zeron) following the outside flow in 1:25.1 but Maxi Bon became rough gaited and went off stride. Kakaley then pulled the ear plugs on All Bets Off and the colt took off down the stretch to win with ease by three open lengths. Some Playa come on for second with Ideal Fashion third and Thereisapaceforus (Jason Bartlett) fourth to make it to the final next week. “He got around it (half mile oval) very well tonight,” Kakaley said about All Bets Off. “I drove him last week at Pocono and he was fine. We had no problems here. I pulled the plugs at the top of the stretch and he took off. We have a green light for next week.” by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs
For the third consecutive week, Up Front Kellie Jo was up to the task in the $9,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace on Thursday (April 3) in Northfield Park's fifth race. She is trained by Rob Harmon for owners C. Ed Mullinax and Mark Ford. Josh Sutton has been in the bike for the trio of victories. Up Front Kellie Jo (Bettor's Delight-Life's Highway-Life Sign) was assigned the outside and let her competition set the :27.4 and :56 early fractions. Sutton tipped the mare four wide approaching the 1:25.3 three-quarters. Up Front Kellie Jo struck the front in the stretch and bested her competition by a full length in 1:55.3 over a sloppy surface. Completing the race were Power Everywhere, Sweetheart Dance, Y Mach Me, Canaco Star, It Must Be Magic and Special Lady D. Thursday's win was the 42 career victory for Up Front Kellie Jo and increased her lifetime earnings to $841,097. She was the race favorite and returned $3.60 to win. Earlier in the program, the evening's second race saw Riverdancer post her fourth straight win over Northfield's Flying Turns. The seven year-old mare is owned by Michael Yoder and Joseph Miller, who also trains. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was aboard for all of the consecutive victories. Riverdancer (Red River Hanover-Millenium Missle-Sealed N Delivered) now has five wins in 2014 and 23 career successes along with a bankroll of $141,375. She paid $8.40 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
VERNON, NY—Track record-holder JK Panache turned in a brilliant performance while posting a sizzling 1:49.4 win-clocking in Saturday night’s $10,000 featured second race at Vernon Downs. Former Vernon provisional driving champ Truman Gale did the teaming in Saturday’s second race as JK Panache blazed through mile-cutting splits of :25.2, :54-flat and 1:22.3 en route to a neck triumph over No Monkeys Allowed. It marked the sixth local win, the eighth season’s score and the 16th lifetime victory for the speedy son of Art Major-Paris Hanover, who is shared in ownership by former Vernon multiple training champ Dave Dewhurst and Philip K. Hale. It was the fourth time the career-winner of $158,386 has beaten the 1:50 speed-barrier this season, including a 1:49.1 track record performance for 4-year-old pacing geldings here on June 22. “He’s not a very big horse, but he’s got a huge heart,” explained trainer Dewhurst after the race. “I’ve had several chances to sell him, but my kids love him. They call him 'licky', because he likes to lick their faces when they’re around him. He’s just a nice, fast little horse.” Dewhurst earned his 31st conditioning credit after JK Panache’s win, and is presently tied with Roman Lopez, for second place on the 74-program meeting’s training chart. John Macdonald, a former driving champ at Canada’s Rideau Carlton Raceway, recorded three wins during Saturday’s 11-race program, while reinsmen Jimmy Whittemore, Chris Lems and trainer Ronald MacDonald each registered a pair of first-place finishes during the evening. DOWNS DOINGS Whittemore’s win behind the Wayne Hughes-trained pacer Speedy Valentine in race 11 was his 88th of the Vernon season, tying him with Lopez for second place on the track’s 2013 driving list… The double by Lems is his 20th of the meeting, one more than Rick Plano, the present Vernon leader in races won (130) and training tallies (51), who recently shipped his stable to Florida’s Pompano Park for that track’s fall, winter and early-spring campaign… Fans attending Saturday’s card saw full-brothers Four One One and The Grey Bullet (each by Sealed N Delivered and out of Jammin Jenna) not only compete against each other in the third race, but both earning purse checks. The 11-year-old grey gelding Four One One, owned by Utica’s Robert Siemski, won the contest in 1:55, while his 8-year-old kid brother finished fourth for owner and trainer Hughes… The Downs will offer live racing Thursday-Saturday next week, with first post at 6:45 p.m… Only 14 racing dates remain during the track’s 60th anniversary season that continues through Nov. 9… A revised 2013, 88-program racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran
Those betting on the Horsham meeting on Monday September 16 got their fingers burnt, when Bungaree (Ballarat) based trainer “Ash” Herbertson snared the first two races on the program at juicy odds. Four year old Blissful Hall/Princess Yum Yum mare Gelese brought up two wins in succession by taking the Get Well Gary Scott Pace for C0 class over 2200 metres paying Supertab odds of $11.90. Driven by Terang “young gun” Jason Lee, Gelese was given the run of the race from the pole following the pacemaker Confusion Reigns (gate three), one of two runners from the Kerryn Manning barn, with stablemate Willow Robyn going for a hat-trick as a short priced $1.60 favourite. When Willow Robyn rushed up three wide from last in the final circuit, he appeared to have the race well in his keeping after dashing clear on straightening, with Gelese being extricated into the clear. Finishing full of running, Gelese bloused Willow Robyn in the last bound to score by a nose in 2-00.7, with Armbro Speedster third after racing in the open. Nine year old Ultimate Falcon/Left Tycoon mare Ultimate Tycoon returned to the winners list after an absence of 25 months when greeting the judge in the Westvic Race Pix – Matt Craven Pace for C1 class over 2200 metres, with ironicly Matt Craven in the sulky. A winner of six races in 122 stars prior to the race, Ultimate Tycoon produced a career best performance after being driven forward from gate five to park outside the heavily supported pacemaker Mister Seelster (gate six) which had little difficulty in assuming control shortly after the start. Refusing to give in on straightening, Ultimate Tycoon ($5.10) showed previously unseen strength in proving too strong for Mister Seelster ($2.90), winning by a margin of 4.2 metres in a rate of 2-03.6. Vee Jay Jazz (four back the markers finished third). Terang’s Matt Craven who is driving in rare form at present can do nothing wrong of late and brought up a double when 4-Y-0 Sealed N Delivered/Lady Bullville gelding Ynobe Coby scored a big win in the Betta Electrical Horsham – Peter Manning Pace for C0 class over 1700 metres in a rate of 1-58.6. Trained at Elliminyt (Colac) by Courtney Slater, Ynobe Coby bred and raced by Ebony Slater settled in the moving line closer to last than first after starting from gate two on the second line, with the Mildura visitor Kilbirnie North View leading from the pole. Set alight at the bell to join the leader for the final circuit, Ynobe Coby went into overdrive on turning and raced away to register a 9.5 metre margin over Kilbirnie North View and Artois Stone which trailed the favourite. Jason Lee (cousin of Matt Craven) was also to chalk up a double after winning the Conway Pies – Jayson Finnis Pace for C1 class over 2200 metres aboard the Michelle Manning (Great Western) trained 5-Y-0 Elsu/Whatsonyamind gelding Pacquiao after taking a concession. Despite sitting in the open from gate five outside Bohemian Lombo (gate two), Pacquiao outstayed his rivals to win well by 3.9 metres in advance of Garabaldi Union which followed him all of the way, with Rising Power a stablemate of the winner third from near last. The mile rate 2-01.1. Astute Narracoorte (S-A) part-owner/trainer Greg Scholefield has made many successful raids on Victoria in the past and kept his record intact when smart 4-Y-0 gelding Glenferrie Rustler scored in the Grahan Eeles Saddlery – Cheap Tint Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2200 metres. Taking a concession for Mount Gambier’s Jayson Finnis, Glenferrie Rustler (Lis Mara/Exceptional Lass) led throughout from gate three in defeating a game Valentino Rustler which raced outside him, going down by 1.1 metres in 1-58.9, with Wipethesmile third after trailing the winner. It was Glenferrie Dreamer’s 12th victory in 19 outings, the majority being in restricted company in his home state. Local trainer Ken Exell would have received a tremendous thrill when his bargain priced 8-Y-0 Allawart Ray/Allawart Liz gelding Allawart Ugo scored in the Bunnings Horsham – Ken Exell Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2200 metres in a leisurely rate of 2-06.9. With Hamilton reinsman Rod Barker in the sulky, Allawart Ugo stepped cleanly from a 20 metre handicap, avoiding a couple of gallopers in the early stages to lob three back in the moving line with Peter Manning’s Sunnyandcher leading. Trailing Ollie Nova ahead of him three wide into the final bend, Allawart Ugo ran home strongly out wide on straightening to gain the day by 2.3 metres from Ollie Nova with the hot favourite Knapdale Girl a disappointing third 2.5 metres away after trailing the pair. by Len Baker
The swift-striding pacer A Fool For Mark turned a pocket-sitting trip into a breezy 1:51.4 harness racing victory that proved to be the fastest score on Saturday night at Vernon Downs.
Launceston harness racing trainer Michael Laugher is confident Tony Macarony can realise the potential he showed as a two and three-year-old. Tony Macarony seems to have come of age this season winning three of his five starts this time in with the latest one of his best.
Pint sized Sebastopol owner/trainer/driver Tina Ridis scored a terrific victory with 5-Y-0 Digger Almahurst/Keyfield mare Atego Lilly in the Bayswater Jayco Trotters Handicap for TR0 or better class over 2100 metres at the harness racing Charlton meeting on Monday December 10.
America's oldest lighted harness racing track, Batavia Downs Casino, concluded its 66th year of racing on Saturday night (Dec.8).
Princess Grenada kept her red hot fall harness racing season going on Wednesday night (November 14) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
The meet's leading harness racing trainer Melissa Beckwith added three wins to her already bulky total on Wednesday night (August 1) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Claiming trotter Silver Delivery made his return after a couple month layoff and showed no signs of rust on Wednesday, cruising to an open length victory in the evening's $5,000 claimer.
It looks the Kim and Jay Sears Stable has developed another harness racing standout in the Florida Standardbred Breeders And Owners Association (FSBOA) stakes series. In the 2012 debut for the State-bred 2 year old pacing colts and geldings in the $4,785 purse Sunshine Stakes, Diamond Master was flawless in capturing his first lifetime start.
The end of a wonderful era came recently with the passing of Horsham-Marong owned harness racing broodmare, Wide Glide.
Delivered From Zin returned to the Dover Downs harness racing winner's circle for the fourth time this year while Bondy N registered his fourth triumph since arriving in the United States. in the $36,000 and $27,500 respective feature races on March 4.
The Kilmore HRC conducted a restricted harness racing meeting on Wednesday January 25 which was well patronised.
Summer Camp won the $31,000 Preferred, Nova Artist the $30,000 Delaware Special and Delivered From Zen won his eighth straight on a powerful Monday, Jan. 9 harness racing program at Dover Downs amid a light snow shower.