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MANALAPAN, NJ -- June 13, 2016 -- Leo C. McNamara III, a third generation harness racing horseman and executive administrator of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) for the past 15 years, died early Sunday morning, June 12. Mr. McNamara died of complications following a hard fought battle with cancer, just two weeks short of his 61st birthday. Born June 30, 1955, in Carmel, Ind., Mr. McNamara was the son of Leo McNamara Jr., whose father, Leo, founded Two Gaits Farm in Indiana, where Adios was foaled and the pacing stallion Hal Dale stood at stud. Leo C. McNamara was also a founder of the U.S. Trotting Association, the Hall of Fame of the Trotter in Goshen, N.Y., and at one time an owner of The Red Mile. The McNamara family moved east in the late 1950s and Mr. McNamara III spent some time as a youngster at Hanover Shoe Farms, where his father served as farm superintendent. The McNamara family returned to Carmel before selling the family farm and moving east again when Leo McNamara Jr. joined Pine Hollow Stud Farm in New York. While living in Pine Bush, N.Y., Mr. McNamara III began working on the Pine Hollow Stud Farm. After graduating from high school in 1973, he continued on at Pine Hollow Stud Farm, becoming an assistant manager. Mr. McNamara III moved to Kentucky's Bluegrass horse country and worked at Dan Hollibaugh's Holly Lane Stud in Lexington, serving as manager there from 1981-1985. Mr. McNamara's next stop was Almahurst, where he served as farm superintendent of the breeding nursery's flagship farm outside of Lexington during the era when it was one of the sport's showcase operations. Mr. McNamara III left Almahurst in 1988 to run the new Dreamaire Farm nursery in New Jersey founded by Bob Boni and partners. Boni knew Mr. McNamara III from their days together at Pine Hollow Farm. Leo's family moved to New York in 1973 when I was the yearling manager at Pine Hollow Stud Farm and as a high school senior he became my weekend and then summer help, said Boni. We forged a great friendship over the next 40-something years, regardless of where our travels took us, and he will forever be one of the most special people I have ever known. Leo was a great advocate for the horsemen and horsewomen of New Jersey in so many ways and always with the fairness and decency that characterized his personality. He loved and adored his wife Cathy and his daughter Celeste and he will be missed by anyone fortunate to have known him. After Dreamaire closed its operations, Mr. McNamara III re-established Two Gaits Farm in New Jersey and bred and boarded horses. In 2001 Mr. McNamara III began working for the SBOANJ, becoming executive administrator in 2006. During his years with the SBOANJ, Mr. McNamara III worked with racetracks in the Garden State to keep tabs on the purse accounts, becoming an astute expert of analyzing handle from various sources with various percentages going to purses. I've been a director of the SBOA for 10 years, and Leo was invaluable, said Mark Ford, president of the SBOANJ. I don't think the horsepeople in New Jersey can realize how invaluable he was advocating for horsemen and horsewomen and protecting our interests. He always brought knowledge and commonsense to the table and could always come up with a commonsense approach or solution. Because of Mr. McNamara's knowledge of the purse account and percentages of handle earned, he played a significant role in Jeff Gural's acquisition of the Meadowlands from the state of New Jersey. Leo was a straight shooter and a great guy to work with, said Jason Settlemoir, CEO and general manager of the Meadowlands Racetrack. He's going to be missed from both an industry standpoint and as a friend. Mr. McNamara III is survived by his wife, Cathy; a daughter, Celeste, assistant professor of history at University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom; two stepchildren, Dr. Daniel J. Dooley and Katie Pidge Decker; his mother, Irene; one brother, Joe (Meg Booth); eight sisters, Anne Slosky, Coleen (Frank) Benedett, Bridget (Jeffrey) Fenessy, Kate (David) Smith, Mary Coleman, Kelly (Patrick) Kennedy, Celeste (Brian) O'Neill and Jane (Glenn) Taylor; 14 nieces and nephews; and more than 100 cousins. Visitation will be held Thursday, June 16, from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. at Peppler Funeral Home, 122 Crosswicks St, Bordentown, N.J., 08505. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Mary's Church, 45 Crosswicks St., in Bordentown. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, 16575 Carey Rd., Westfield, IN 46074. By Kathy Parker, The Horsemen and Fair World

It is with our deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of Leo McNamara this morning Sunday June 12, 2016. Leo died of complications following a hard fought battle with cancer, just two weeks short of his 61st birthday. Leo was the SBOANJ's Executive Administrator for 15 years, this is a tragic blow to the racing industry as a whole. We not only grieve at the passing of a tremendous individual but also for the loss his family suffers. Service announcements will be posted when available. Courtney Stafford  

MANALAPAN, NJ -- June 9, 2016 -- It's that time of year again. The SBOANJ will be hosting its annual golf outing to benefit the harness racing Horsemen's Benevolent Fund and TrotPAC, on Monday July 11, 2016 at Gambler Ridge Golf Club. Come on out and enjoy a fun filled day of food, drinks, golf and prizes. The event starts with a round of golf, and is followed by a lovely dinner with a chance to win great prizes. There is a wide range of sponsorship opportunities available. Golf packages include the Gold, Silver or Bronze packages. Not really a golfer? Well we have something for everyone. You can sponsor Dinner, Lunch, a Drink Cart or even one of the golf contests. The contests include Hole-in-One, Closet-to-the-Pin, Longest Drive or Putting. Still not for you? How about sponsoring a hole or placing a business card ad. All proceeds go to TrotPAC and the SBOANJ's Horsemen's Benevolent Fund. For more information, contact Polly Hartzell at the SBOANJ office 732-462-2357 Courtney Stafford Publicity Consultant SBOANJ 

MANALAPAN, NJ -- June 3, 2016 -- The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, along with the Backstretch Community Assistance Program, will once again offer harness racing college scholarships in 2016. The scholarships are valued at a total distribution of $7,500 and are available for qualified students who are the son or daughter of a full time participant in New Jersey harness racing or are themselves a full time participant in New Jersey harness racing. Students must have completed the SAT or ACT and be accepted to or currently attending a college or university. Only one candidate per household will be considered, and there is a lifetime cap of $10,000 per individual. Financial need, student involvement in community volunteering, extracurricular academic activities, evidence of strong character and leadership and interest in equine industry will all be considered for each applicant. Applications and requirements are available on the SBOANJ website or contact Linda Goss at Freehold and the Meadowlands. Courtney Stafford

For the past several years, the Meadowlands racetrack has been made available for training on Thursdays in May and June at a cost of $50 per horse or $1,000 per trainer for unlimited use that was used to defray the expense. Effective, immediately, the SBOA of N.J. will be covering that cost for the harness racing horsemen.   SBOA of NJ President Mark Ford had this to say on the topic, "Getting the two-year-olds some work over that surface and accustomed to all that goes at a racetrack is important. If we have the funds, it helps our horsemen and covers the track's cost then it seemed like a good idea. Whatever we as a horseman's organization can do to encourage participation at The Meadowlands, we are happy to do."   The Meadowlands will refund to trainers the money that has already been collected toward the training costs. These training sessions will continue to be offered through the month of June. Trainers must still contact the racing office by noon on Tuesdays with the number of horses they will be bringing to train each Thursday.   Meadowlands Media Relations

On behalf of the trustees at TrotPAC, I am seeking your financial support to aid in TrotPAC’s efforts to revitalize (standardbred) harness racing in New Jersey. TrotPAC works in conjunction with the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and is the official political action committee for New Jersey’s harness racing industry.  In the wake of recent changes at the SBOANJ, there has been some confusion over just where donations to the political action committee should be sent. Make no mistake, TrotPAC is the political action arm of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and is duly sanctioned to raise and distribute revenues for the specific purpose of the betterment of the New Jersey standardbred breeding and racing industry.  This is done with the aid of our industry’s official lobbyists at Advocacy & Management Group, Inc., a firm active at the State Capitol in Trenton. As you may be aware, the state legislature recently approved a referendum that will be on the ballot in November which will address the approval of casinos in north Jersey.  The harness racing industry will directly benefit by the establishment of gaming outside of Atlantic City, allowing our industry in New Jersey to finally have the opportunity to resurrect itself to a competitive level on par with our neighboring states. If we do not get the voters’ approval in November, our state’s standardbred programs, as we know them now and in the future, may not be sustainable. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to meet with legislators and gain their support.  With our help, they will be able to develop enabling legislation that will ensure the proper level of financial support for our industry here in New Jersey. The TrotPAC trustees will be reaching out to all of you in the near future to ask for your support. If you have questions regarding the upcoming election, the proposed casino operations, or the impact of the casinos on  harness racing in New Jersey, please contact me directly or contact the SBOANJ office. Thank you for your support, Anthony Perretti TrotPAC 64 Business Route 33 Manalapan, NJ 07726 Office: 732-462-2357 Cell: 609-273-5742

MANALANPAN, NJ -- January 2, 2016 -- William "Bill" Perretti 36, close nephew of SBOANJ Board Director Anthony Perretti, passed away on December 26, 2015. Mr. Perretti was a passionate surfer, skateboarder and sport bike rider. Visitation for Mr. Perretti will be on Sunday January 3, 2016, between 1-2 p.m. at the Lohman Funeral Home Ormond, 733 W. Granada Blvd. Ormond, Beach FL 32174. Funeral service to immediately follow at 2 p.m. He was survived by his parents, William and Joan Peretti Jr., and his younger brother Ben. He is also the grandson of William Perretti Senior. The SBOANJ board is very sad to learn of the loss of director Anthony Perretti's nephew and offers their deepest condolences. Courtney Stafford

MANALAPAN, NJ - December 21, 2015 - Harness racing's trotting filly Mission Brief has been named the winner of the Secretary of Agriculture's Trophy as New Jersey Standardbred of the Year for 2015. Also selected New Jersey Sire Stakes Horse of the Year, Mission Brief will be honored on January 24, 2016 at the 59th Annual New Jersey Breeders Awards Luncheon at 1 p.m. at O'Connor's Restaurant [formerly Charley's Other Brother] in Eastampton, NJ. Voted the nation's Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year in 2014, she also won the Dan Patch Award as Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year in 2015. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena wrapped up her three-year-old campaign with 10 wins and three seconds in 14 starts, banking more than $1 million toward a career total of $1,599,587 for the ownership of the Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The Ron Burke trainee was regularly driven by Yannick Gingras. Undefeated in her New Jersey Sires Stakes competition, including the $100,000 final at the Meadowlands, she also won the $307,040 ElegantImage at Mohawk Raceway, the $185,000 Zweig at Vernon Downs, the $187,400 Matron at Dover Downs, the $144,000 Continentalvictory at the Meadowlands and the $174,000 Money Maker at The Meadows. She made a bid to best the boys in the $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands, winning her elimination, but finishing second to Pinkman in the $1 million final on August 8. Bred by Steve H. Stewart, Black Creek Farm and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc., she sold for $150,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. At two, she won both the Merrie Annabelle and Breeders Crown, for nine wins in 13 starts and earnings just shy of $600,000. She collected 150 of 156 votes for freshman honors in 2014, and 118 of 136 votes for 2015 divisional honors. Her 1:50.3 mark still stands as the fastest mile by a two-year-old trotter, male or female, and she lowered her personal best to 1:50.2 on November 12, 2015 on the five-eighths mile track at Dover Downs in the Matron Final. Her sire, Muscle Hill was the 2009 New Jersey Standardbred of the Year. Tickets for the luncheon cost $40 per person and may be purchased from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Markets & Development, Horse Industry, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625. For further information, call 609-984-4389 or email By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - December 19, 2015 - December is open enrollment month for the health insurance program provided by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, with changes which ease the rules for qualification and a cut rates for harness racing caretakers. "We are trying to be more inclusive," said SBOANJ President Mark Ford. "We are trying to encourage qualified individuals to apply." The cost for premiums for caretakers/grooms have been cut in half for single enrollees and nearly so for families. The monthly rate for singles has been reduced from $100 to $50 for 2016. To be eligible, the caretaker must be a full-time employee for a trainer qualified for the New Jersey program. Paycheck stubs must be provided as proof. Requirements for eligibility for the insurance program have been adjusted for trainers and drivers in 2016. The minimum number of starts in New Jersey has been reduced from 36 to 24. Additionally, the percentage of starters raced in New Jersey has been lowered from 51 percent to 33.3 percent, as long as the trainer-driver does not qualify for an insurance program in another jurisdiction. Applications are available on the SBOANJ website, from the Horsemen's Representative at Freehold and the Meadowlands, and in the SBOANJ office in Manalapan. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - December 11, 2015 - Southwind Farms in Pennington has been selected as the New Jersey Breeder of the Year for 2015, it was announced by the harness racing Breeders Committee of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey on December 11, 2015. Among the Southwind standouts of 2015 was Southwind Frank, the likely divisional champion among the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Southwind Farms will receive the presentation on January 24, 2016 at the 59th Annual New Jersey Breeders Awards Luncheon at 1 p.m. at O'Connor's Restaurant [formerly Charley's Other Brother] in Eastampton, NJ. Southwind Frank, a son of Muscle Hill - Flawless Lindy, won 11 of 12 starts in 2015, earning $786,419 for the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables and J&T Silva Stables LLC. A $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, he was trained by Ron Burke and driven in most of his starts by Yannick Gingras. Beginning with the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final on July 17 at the Meadowlands, he strung together 10 straight victories, including the $349,850 Peter Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands, the $283,480 William Wellwood Final at Mohawk and the $600,000 Breeders Crown Final at Woodbine. His record of 1:52.2 was taken on October 8, winning an International Stallion Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile. "Receiving this award is bittersweet," said Laura Young, Southwind's general manager. "It is wonderful we are being recognized as the top breeder in New Jersey, but on the other hand there are not many of us left. At Southwind Farms, we choose to fly under the radar. Sometimes being silent is louder than loud. We have always produced top quality racehorses from our facility. We average 75 percent two-year-old starter and 85 percent three-year-old starter stats, which is pretty impressive for any breeding farm. This does not go unrecognized by owners and trainers. "There are many things that sets Southwind Farms apart from other breeding facilities in New Jersey" she added "Many of these things have assured our survival through tough times. We continue to keep everything we possibly can in-house. We make our own hay and straw, and we outsource very little on the facility. Southwind has also found many other ways to ensure revenue flow to keep us going, such as managing stallions [Muscle Hill, Sportswriter and El Titan] from afar. "Our clients want security," Young noted. "We offer that at every level here at Southwind. From our yearlings to the stallions we manage, our clients feel very secure when they do business with us. That's a rare incentive to offer in today's world. We work tirelessly to make Southwind Farms the best it can be, and we will continue to do so for many years to come." This is the second Breeders Award for Southwind Farms. Founded by Connie & Allen Skolnick in 1986, the farm features 235 acres near the Village of Pennington, NJ. Both Skolnicks passed away in 2013, and the farm is currently owned by their son, Barry. Previous New Jersey Breeder of the Year winners include three-time winner White Birch Farm, two-time winner Perretti Farms, Deo Volente Farms, Valley High Stables, Kentuckiana Farms, Fair Winds Farm, Walnridge Farm and Heritage Hill Farms. Tickets for the luncheon cost $40 per person and may be purchased from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Markets & Development, Horse Industry, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625. For further information, call 609-984-4389 or email By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ – December 3, 2015 – The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association is seeking candidates to immediately fill the position of publicity consultant. The SBOANJ’s publicist may work off-site.  The consultant fee will depend on experience.  The responsibilities of the position include writing and designing the Association’s newsletter, Pacesetter, every other month; writing and distributing press releases; writing speeches, position papers, op-eds; writing, aggregating and posting material to the Association’s website,; coordinating with the Association’s webmaster, and preparing ads for trade publications and events.  The candidate should have a knowledge of harness racing, and photography skills are an asset. Applicants should send their resumes to the attention of Leo McNamara, Executive Administrator, Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, 64 Business Route 33, Manalapan, NJ 07726 or  The position is a part-time consultancy.  No benefits are available.  

MANALAPAN, NJ - November 19, 2015 - New Jersey's two harness tracks - the Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway - have been awarded a combined 200 racing dates for 2016. The dates were approved at the New Jersey Racing Commission, meeting on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 in Trenton, NJ. Mark Ford, attending his first Commission meeting as president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, advised the Commission that the SBOANJ was reluctantly accepting the Meadowlands dates as an experiment for 2016. "We are concerned about losing dates in January and February and replacing them with September and October dates," Ford said. The Meadowlands requested 90 dates, Fridays and Saturdays only [plus Sunday, May 8], from January 2 through August 6 and from September 9 through December 31 [dark on Saturday, December 24]. Post time is 7 p.m. Freehold received 110 dates, racing January 1 through May 21 plus August 26 and 27, and September 2 through December 10. Racing days will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays plus three holiday Mondays - January 18, February 15 and September 5. Dark days are September 1 and November 24. Post time is 12:30 p.m. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - November 17, 2015 - The Board of Directors of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey elected Mark Ford as its president at a reorganization meeting held on Monday, November 16, 2015 at the Association's offices in Manalapan, NJ. Ford, one of the leading trainers in Meadowlands history, owns and operates the Mark Ford Training Center. He fills the position occupied for more than a dozen years by Thomas Luchento. "We made tremendous gains while Tom was president," said Ford. "And we will redouble our efforts to expand racing opportunities in New Jersey, pushing ahead with plans for an expanded gaming referendum in 2016. We thank Tom Luchento for his leadership and know he will continue to contribute as a member of the Board of Directors." In the election of other officers, Mark Mullen was named first vice president, Robert Boni as second vice president, Chris Ryder as third vice president, Alfred Ochsner Jr. as treasurer and Anthony Romano as secretary. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ      

MANALAPAN, NJ - November 3, 2015 - It is rewarding to breed in the Garden State thanks to the newly approved Renaissance Incentive issued by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. Effective with the 2016 breeding season, breeders will be incentivized to stand stallions and foal their mares in New Jersey with reimbursements and bonuses. "We are enhancing the mare residency program and adding trotting stallions along with pacing stallions to the successful program we introduced last year," said SBOANJ President Tom Luchento. "These programs will help to bridge the gap until we start to see the potential revenue from expanded gaming. We have every expectation that racetrack-based casinos will be a referendum question in November of 2016." The mare residency program requires that the mare reside in New Jersey for 150 days, be veterinarian-certified as fit for breeding and the foal be made eligible for the New Jersey Sire Stakes or New Jersey Standardbred Development Fund. Payments of up to $500 per mare will be issued to the registered owner after verification of breeding and residency, but not prior to August 1, 2016. The maximum pool for payments is $150,000. The foals of mares bred to New Jersey-based pacing and trotting stallions will be eligible to a 25 percent refund of the paid stud fee, up to a maximum of $1,500, for breedings in 2016. The incentive rebate will be issued on or about August 1, 2017, and the stud fee must be paid by the registered owner prior to that date. It is required that the participating stallions be enrolled in the USTA's STARS Program and the resulting foals be nominated to the New Jersey Sire Stakes. A maximum of $100,000 per gait will be paid out. Among the participating stallions are the trio of Trixton, Rock N Roll Heaven and Lis Mara, all of whom stand at Deo Volente Farms in Flemington, NJ, and Philos Hanover, a son of Cam's Card Shark, who stands at Last Cance Farm in Chesterfield, NJ. The program is also available to any other New Jersey stallions that meet the eligibility requirements. "The Breeders Committee and the SBOANJ has approved what I believe to be a truly forward looking and innovative program to create excitement around the breeding and racing industry in New jersey, said Michael Gulotta, chairman of the Breeders Committee and president of Deo Volente Farms. "The cash breeding incentives will make standing stallions in New Jersey even more attractive. As the odds of a November 2016 referendum for casino gaming in Northern New Jersey are improving by the day, it is highly likely that we will see larger purses in the future for New Jersey-sired horses. Given the circumstances it is both logical and advantageous to be breeding to a New Jersey sire now." Trixton, the 2014 Hambletonian winner, was bred to 140 mares in North America and 120 in Europe during his first season, 2015. The son of Muscle Hill stands for a fee of $12,000 Rock N Roll Heaven, the 2010 Horse of the Year and a son of the late Rocknroll Hanover, has been relocated to New Jersey for a fee of $6,500 and will join Breeders Crown winner Lis Mara, a son of Cambest, who stands for $2,500, as the pacing stallions at Deo Volente. Philos Hanover, the foundation horse of the farm and racing operations of John and Tom Cancelliere, competed from 2006 to 2011, finishing in-the-money in 64 of 110 starts for earnings of $523,246. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - October 24, 2015 - In a battle to the wire, 2-1 Katies Rocker slipped up the harness racing pylons to nip 1-2 Ideal Rocky in the $30,000 New Jersey Futurity for two-year-old pacers, the featured sixth race at Freehold on Saturday, October 24, 2015. Ideal Rocky, winner of the Lou Babic at Freehold and a division of the International Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile, took the lead from Katies Rocker before the half and was leading well into the stretch. But then Jim Marohn Jr. moved the pocket-sitting Katies Rocker up the pylons to win the tight photo finish by a nose. It was a length and a quarter back to Don'tcallmefrancis in third. The time of the race was 1:55.3. The top three finishers are all sons of the late Rocknroll Hanover. Katies Rocker [$6.80], trained by Jim Campbell, posted his fifth win with two seconds in 10 starts. A winner of divisions of the Reynolds and Bluegrass, he is owned by his breeder, Fashion Farms LLC of New Hope, PA. The victory lifted his earnings to $134,348. The New Jersey Futurity is sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - October 23, 2015 - Demons N Diamonds held off SS Poseidon to win the $25,000 New Jersey Futurity for harness racing three-year-old trotters on Friday, October 23, 2015 at Freehold Raceway. One of two fillies in the field of five in the non-wagering race, Demons N Diamonds [Muscle Hill] was a three-quarter length winner over the colt SS Poseidon [Muscle Hill], trotting the mile in 1:58.2. Switchblade Hall [Muscles Yankee] was 18¼ lengths back in third. Daniel Dube was the winning driver for trainer John McDermott Jr. Demons N Diamonds races in the name of Jonathan Klee Racing of Mineola, NY; Domenic Costanzo of Westbury, NY and Kuhen Racing LLC of Yardley, PA. She was bred by the TLP Stable of Kearny, NJ This year, the filly has six wins, two seconds and two thirds from 20 starts for earnings of $60,080. Lifetime, she has finished in-the-money in 17 of 34 starts, banking $112,619. At two, she won the New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres Final and was second in the NJ Futurity. The New Jersey Futurity is sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

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