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Charlie Ward isn’t sure if his two-year-old trotting colt, Secret Muscle, will be the hometown hero when he competes Saturday night at his home track of Hanover Raceway “but he’s my hero,” says Ward of Hanover, Ontario, who is quite pleased with his youngster's progress to date. Secret Muscle has post two in the fourth of six Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions with Steve Byron at the controls. The Muscle Mass colt sits with 29 Grassroots points currently and Ward is hoping that his charge will garner enough points to be eligible to compete in the Semi-Final events at Mohawk on September 19. “That’s the goal. If he doesn’t make it we’ll quit with him and wait for next year. He’s a nice colt, with a great attitude so I think he’ll make a good three-year-old,” notes Ward who also handles the gelding’s training. Ward purchased Secret Muscle, who is from the Sir Taurus mare No Secrets Hanover, from breeders Jeff and Dr. Terry Ruch at last year’s Forest City Sale for a mere $3,000. “He was small but he’s grown quite a bit. I tried to buy him privately before the sale but we couldn’t come to an agreement. “I had his full brother (Bonus Feature). I really liked him but he died last year at two from chronic pneumonia. I thought he was going to be a nice horse which is why I wanted to buy Secret Muscle. He was perfect to break, I broke him myself, I didn’t let him out of my sight because I didn’t want him to get sick. “The only issue we had with him was when I tried to school him he wanted to go right to the gate. I turned him around and called (veterinarian) Huw Llewellyn who castrated him two days later and he’s been a gentleman ever since. You’d hardly know he’s in the barn, he’s a smart colt,” praises Ward who trains at the Fritz stable just outside of Hanover. Secret Muscle has competed in all five of the previous Grassroots events for this group with two fifth place finishes and then two thirds. In his last outing, at Georgian Downs on August 16 he made a break for the first time in his career and ended up seventh. “We took three horses to Georgian that night. It was really stormy and the track wasn’t the best and all three horses made breaks. I don’t like to train when it’s muddy so I’m not sure if he stepped in a hole or got mud in his face, he’d never made a break on me before,” explains Ward who is retired from trucking and trains six horses in total. “I’ve had horses for 40 years and am training full time now that I’m retired.” Ward is quite hopeful for Secret Muscle’s potential which is why he’s turned down two offers on the colt. “He seems to be getting better, so we’ll see what happens.” Hanover’s card gets underway at 7:15 p.m. with the rookie trotting colts featured in races one, two, four, six, eight and nine. To view the full card, please click Hanover Entries - September 6. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Michelle Miller rode Kash Now to victory in Tuesday's New York State Monte Series event at Waterloo, NY. The ten-year-old El Paso Kash-Nowerlandmspauline-Sir Taurus mare, trained by Michael Miller, scored in 2:12h to defeat Striking Mystery and Jennifer Lowrey. The winner now has combined sulky/monte earnings of $42,728. Separately, the July 19 monte race scheduled for Georgian Downs has been cancelled based on RUS Ontario and Georgian Downs' Ian Fleming agreement to delay until more riders, trainers and horses can become qualified. More qualifiers are planned including Friday at Mohawk. www.monteamerica.com by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Sir Taurus, the now 30-year-old trotting stallion whose sons and daughters once dominated the New York Sire Stakes, will make a rare visit away from his home at Blue Chip Farm on Saturday, July 5, to Goshen (N.Y.) Historic Track during Grand Circuit racing, which starts at 1 p.m. that day. The bay stallion with a distinctive white blaze has sired nearly 700 foals, who earned $23.7 million combined. His best known performer is Approved Action, who won $715,676. Of his 546 starters, 145 won races in better than 2:00. Sir Taurus was born on March 20, 1984, at Lindy Farm in Somersville, Connecticut. He raced for two years, 1986 and 1987, winning $484,810 and stakes races such as the Hanover Stakes and multiple New York Sire Stakes. He was trained and driven by Jimmy Takter for the Antonacci family and the late Dan Gernatt. He celebrated his landmark birthday in March with a carrot cake featuring real carrots on top and a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday" from children at the Cornwall Presbyterian Church Sunday School. Throughout his life, Sir Taurus, in addition to his fatherhood duties, has greeted visiting school children and scout groups at the farm. His easygoing nature allowed him to be the first horse ever touched for perhaps thousands of children. At Goshen, he will spend some time in a stall behind the grandstand and come out to greet visitors at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30. In deference to his age and change in surroundings, Sir Taurus will be happy to be photographed on July 5, but no petting please. Sir Taurus is one of 43 horses featured in the new book, Standardbred Old Friends. The book features horses of distinction, most Hall of Fame members, some noted for long and productive blue collar careers, all now in the twilight of their lives. The book will be on sale to benefit Goshen Historic Track near Sir Taurus' stall. Author Ellen Harvey will be available to sign copies of the coffee table book that features the photos of acclaimed equine photographer Barbara Livingston. The track is located at 44 Park Place in Goshen. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

All the live  racing and harness racing history a person could want will be found in one place over the long Fourth of July weekend in Goshen, New York. With racing every day from July 3 to July 6 at Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame adjacent to the track at 240 Main Street, Goshen is a "one stop shop" for harness racing fans. Here's the comprehensive list of Goshen events: Thursday, July 3: 10 a.m. Museum open and free to all visitors. 1 p.m. Grand Circuit racing at Goshen Historic Track, 44 Park Place, New York-sired fair races and under saddle race. Admission is $5 for adults, includes a program. Friday, July 4: 10 a.m. Museum opens. At 11:30 a.m., Reading and book signing - Barbara Livingston and Ellen Harvey, Standardbred Old Friends. 10 a.m. Great American Weekend festivities, Village Square in Goshen. Craft, antique show, entertainment, children's rides. 1 p.m. Landmark Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds, Goshen Historic Track. Guest outriders are Dreamy Starlet and McKeever Hanover, horses featured in Standardbred Old Friends. They will do a meet and greet after race five. The book is on sale to benefit Historic Track throughout the race card. Saturday, July 5: 10 a.m. Museum opens. Meet cartoonist and artist Peb (Pierre Bellocq) in the Carriage Room where his unique and familiar artwork is on display. 10 a.m. Great American Weekend festivities, Village Square in Goshen. Craft, antique show, entertainment, children's rides. 1 p.m. Excelsior Series for New York-breds and amateur races at Goshen Historic Track. 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. 30-year-old Sir Taurus, a top New York sire and featured in Standardbred Old Friends book, greets the public from a stall behind the grandstand at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30. Photos welcome. Copies of Standardbred Old Friends on sale to benefit Historic Track. Sunday, July 6: 10 a.m. Museum opens. 11 a.m. Great American Weekend festivities, Village Square in Goshen. Craft, antique show, entertainment, children's rides. Noon to 1 p.m.: Ellen Harvey signs copies of Standardbred Old Friends. Museum Concourse. 1 p.m. Hall of Fame drivers race, under saddle and Excelsior Series racing at Goshen Historic Track. Drivers to sign autographs and greet the public after their race. From 1 p.m. to the Hall of Fame race, Ellen Harvey will sign Standardbred Old Friends to benefit Historic Track. 5 p.m. Grand opening of the Remember Roosevelt exhibit at Harness Racing Museum. 5:30 p.m. Hall of Fame induction festivities begin with the cocktail hour in Haughton Hall, for tickets call 845-294-6330. 6:30 p.m. Hall of Fame dinner and ceremony start on the Museum lawn. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

David Yarock swept the two divisions of the CKG Billings Amateur Trot at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Yarock, along with partners Joel Golub and David Glasser, claimed trotter CSI What's My Name (Tagliabue) a couple weeks back at Saratoga. As an eight-year-old last year, CSI What's My Name finished in a tie for Trotter of the Year at the Spa despite racing almost solely in claimers. Yarock piloted the gutsy trotter to a first-over victory in the Billings Trot on Sunday and stopped the timer in 1:58.1 as they bested front-running Mr Invincible and reinsman Tony Ciuffetelli. Coincidentally, it was Ciuffetelli who owned and trained CSI What's My Name in his award winning 2013 campaign. Yarock's other victory came behind his Nowerland Nathan (Sir Taurus) as they went wire-to-wire at odds of 10-1 in the $5,000 CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series. Nowerland Nathan's third victory of the year came in 2:00.2. Jim Doherty Jr. trains both CSI What's My Name and Nowerland Nathan for Yarock who enjoyed a driving double in the Billings Series. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Award winning equine photographer Barbara Livingston, whose popular books Old Friends and More Old Friends, painted a sentimental portrait of champion racehorses long gone from the spotlight, has completed a third edition of that series. While her first two books focused on Thoroughbred racehorses, the latest, Standardbred Old Friends, focuses on the distinctly American breed that evolved from a horse that carried the family to church, raced at the county fair and now competes world-wide at a trot and pace. The book, at $30, is ready for pre-order now at www.harnessmuseum.com. Standardbred Old Friends portrays 43 horses, from age 19 to 37, most of them multimillionaire world record holders with Hall of Fame membership, but some of more modest distinction, occupied as show horses, in law enforcement or hardworking, blue collar performers. With writer Ellen Harvey telling the rich tales of horses from Sweden to southern California, from Maine to Florida, Livingston has captured images of horses whose achievements are now decades past, but whose memories will last a lifetime. The collaboration, ready for shipment in June, grew from a 2008 Hoof Beats magazine article featuring ten champion Standardbreds over the age of 20. The article, with Livingston's photos and Harvey's stories, won top honors for journalism at the 2009 World Trotting Conference in Norway. In 2012, the two started a trek of nearly 10,000 miles to capture the lives of nearly four dozen horses whose commercial worth is long gone, but who are cherished ever still. The book's 153 photos and 43 stories were gleaned from thousands of photos and 150 interviews. Standardbred Old Friends looks at the lives of 43 horses like North American and European superstar Mack Lobell, now 30, at his home along the shores of Lake Malaren in southern Sweden, 2004 horse of the Year Cam's Card Shark at historic Hanover Shoe Farm in central Pennsylvania and mother-daughter Hall of Famers Country Kay Sue and CR Kay Suzie among the live oaks at their home in central Florida. The senior "old friend," 37-year-old Waco Hanover, was depicted against the deep snow of his home in the foothills of Vermont's Green Mountains. An autumn sunset in the tide pools of Maine's Popham Beach State Park was the setting for Dreamy Starlet and McKeever Hanover, a pair with 297 races over 13 years, with 4 foals between them, now in their 20s, but active in the show ring and hunt field. For a video sample of the photos in the book and a look at the making of Standardbred Old Friends, featuring 30-year-old champion Standardbred roadster Autobahn at Cane Run Farm in Kentucky, click here. Cover images are attached; Mack Lobell on the front, Dreamy Starlet and Elizabeth Tewksbury on the back. For more information on Barbara Livingston's work, as well as her earlier books, Saratoga, Four Seasons of Racing and Horses in Living Color, click here. Standardbred Old Friends can be purchased from the Harness Racing Museum or by calling 845-294-6330. To contact Ellen Harvey, email oldfriendsbook@hotmail or call 732-616-6092. The horses included in the book are: Armbro Feather Cam's Card Shark Country Kay Sue and CR Kay Suzie Dreamy Starlet and McKeever Hanover Dust Devil Flat Foot Fluzy Giant Victory Hattie Heatherjeankillean Hi IQ Hot Lead Incredible K Jate Lobell Jo Jo Geronimo/Jupiter Keystone Wallis Lady Ashlee Ann Larks Crown Lilting Laughter Mack Lobell Matt's Scooter Miss Easy Moni Maker Monterey Rebel and Saddle The Wind NL Loren Oriental Express Sir Taurus Stacey's Echo Staying Together Supergrit Tap In Tarport Mark Town Sweetheart Victory Tilly Waco Hanover Western Dreamer White Birch Mares: Three Mile Island, Town Pro, World Order Winky's Gill Winnies Guy/Autobahn by Ellen Harvey

A closer look at the eight New York Sire Stakes divisional leaders and their biggest threats in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway September 22nd (first of eight parts).

Veteran harness racing driver Dan Daley earned his 1,000th-career victory, while Hay Goodlooking achieved his initial local Open pacing triumph of the season during Saturday night's 12-race program at Vernon Downs.

It was a career night for young harness racing driver Brett Crawford on Wednesday (May 23) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

Financial Glider has returned to the harness racing track in good order after her first foal was sold last Fall. On the Wednesday evening, May 9 program at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, Mickey McNichol was in the bike to find the winning trip for the 8-year-old in 1:58 in a mid-level conditioned trotting event for a $5,500 purse.

FADC members performed in their ninth Amateur Trot harness racing event last night at Pompano Park and it produced the first fall-winter win for Joe Pennacchio, driving his own Mr. Taurus to a come from behind 2:01.4f score.

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