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Essex, UK – There will be two full fields of Trotter Francais LeTrot races at the Betfred owned all weather Thoroughbred track, Chelmsford City Racecourse, on Thursday, November 10. TROTBritain is the organizers of this first-ever event being staged under the floodlights on the same racing card with the thoroughbreds. The race meeting will be attended by dignitaries from LeTrot, the French trotting governing body. “This has become a super inaugural event for both the Thoroughbreds and Trotter Francais racing fans.” Said TROTBritain organizer George Button of Kent. “The officials at Chelmsford City are truly excited about having our LeTrot races as part of their racing program.” Both LeTrot races will be held over a distance of one mile one furlong on the Polytrack surface. The opening "Fleet Hire LeTrot” race is a 10-horse affair, and on paper is a very open race with any of the ten horses having a shot at winning. The Fleet Hire LeTrot race will have an International feel with the French based, Swedish woman driver, Theresa 'Titti' Fontaeus, driving the Pimlott Stables six-year-old mare, Alma des Sablettes, and they have #1 on the gate. She has had winners in five European countries, including France, Sweden, Belgium, Great Britain and Norway, where she won the Nordic Championship in 2007. Most recently in Great Britain in 2016, Fontaeus had ridden the current "TROTBritain Horse of the Year" Sulky du Bleguin to victory in the first-ever Monte Trotting race at Tir Prince Raceway in Wales. The second LeTrot race and the last race of the meeting is the "George Button Senior Trotteur Francais Cup" which is for the top French trotters in Great Britain and a stellar field has been assembled. Feature will be the Irish invader, Twist du Layon, who is the 1 1/4-mile record holder in Ireland in 2.33.3. He takes on Sire Pazenais, who happens to be the 1 1/2-mile record holder in Great Britian. Other top contenders include the 2015 Horse of the Year, Show Business, the 2016 Horse of the Year, Sulky du Bleguin and Tenor Meslois, the 2016 Grass Champion. There are 11 starters in the race “These two races fittingly close out the 2016 LeTrot season,” Button added. “and should be a real cracker. It is our hopes at TROTBritain that these two races will have great exposure in all of the Betfred owned bookmaking shops and that SIS will transmit to other bookmaking outlets. With the culmination of the meeting, TROTBritain hopes that they and the Betfred owned track will be able to continue their agreement and work together in have additional LeTrot races staged in the future at Chelmsford City Racecourse. “This historic event could not have happened without the enthusiasm and determination of the management of Chelmsford City Racecourse,” Button said, “and the support of LeTrot, the French Trotting governing body. It has taken a lot of work and we hope that everyone considers coming out for the races or have a wager or two via Betfred and help show your support for this special inaugural night at Chelmsford City.” For more information about Chelmsford City Racecouse, visit http://www.chelmsfordcityracecourse.com/. By Steve Wolf, for TROTBritain

Dublin, Ireland - It was a proud day for harness racing in Ireland as Trotter Francaise, Vichy de Moem, and driver Alan Richard put in a last half mile in :57.7 to rewrite the world record on a half mile track for two-miles at 4:05.7 Sunday at Portmarnock Raceway. The race was for the Barney Richardson Memorial Cup with five of the best trotter in Ireland going for the world record that was held by Ake Svanstedt's Clear Sign at 4:06.8 in Sweden in 2013. It was closing day at Portmarnock for the 2016 season and the world record attempt was the fifth race feature on the program. A huge crowd was in attendance to see if Ireland could own its first world record. It was Silvano Bello and driver Donal Murphy who took early commend and led the field for the first three laps, unofficially going to the first quarter in :31 as they raced Indian style to the half mile in 1:05, the three-quarters in 1:33.4. Then at the one mile marker in 2:35.7, the thought was that the record was out of reach, but once they passed the teletimer at the 1.5 mile mark in 3:08, Alan Richardson came charging to the front with Vichy De Moem for the final lap. Looking strong on the lead, Vichy De Moem was then challenged in the backstretch the final time by Twist Du Layon and driver Patrick Kane, Jr. of Miraculous fame, who came after the race leaders up on the outside. Those two made it a race to the finish as Vichy De Moem kicked in another gear coming down the stretch to win by one and one-half lengths. Twist Du Layon was second with Scoop's Team and driver Brenda Hudson grabbing third place. Driver Alan Richardson was beside himself as he brought Vichy De Moem back to the winner's enclosure amidst a roaring crowd cheering the world record holders on. There were nearly 100 family members, friends and well-wishers crowding the track. "What an amazing day." Richardson said as he got off the race bike. "He (Vichy De Moem) is a super horse and what a huge day this is for Ireland. We finally own a world record." A seven-year-old gelding by Viraldi De Chanu, Vichy De Moem has been one of the top Trotter Francaise in the LeTrot Series in Ireland and the UK this year. By Steven Wolf for Portmarnock Raceway  

WALES, UK - The annual Brightwells Mixed Standardbred Sale set records on Monday with a total of £254,940. This was significantly more than the £164,700 spent in 2015, with the top 10 yearlings on Monday averaging £17,900. The sale topper and rightly so was the dark bay colt, Matticulous. This son of Hasty Hall topped the sale at Brightwells with a winning bid of £32,000. Matticulous is the full brother of champion pacer Titanium and a half-brother to champion Miraculous. He was purchased by the BKB Racing Syndicate of Wales, UK. It was Derek and James Delaney's Oakwood Stud's Oakwood Playboy who created a great deal of interest and was the second highest priced yearling at £30,000.. This yearling by McArdle was snapped up by Joel Richard's Wye Stud Farm in Herefordshire. "I think that the sale was of a very high standard across the board." Said Oakwood Stud's Derek Delaney. "The quality of yearlings was the best I have seen for sale in the UK. The market for well-bred yearlings is on the up. I will definitely be bringing some fantastic prospects to Brightwells in 2017". Oakwood Stud's four yearlings was the best average of the breeding farms this year at £13,475. Rhyds Farm was second with seven selling for and average of £11,385 while the average total yearling price this year at Brightwells was £7,541. The Rhyds Farm yearlings, as ever, were very popular and Rhyds Shoofly was the top sell filly at £19,000. She is sired by Hasty Hall and is a half-sister to last year's sales topper and champion two-year-old this season, Rhyds Ideal. Rhyds Shoofly was purchased by William Flanagan from the Meadowbranch Stud Farm in Ireland. To view the sales results go to http://www.brightwells.com/equine/horse-pony-sales/standardbred-sales-2017/past-results/standardbred-past-results-2016/ By Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

Tina Sugarman, author of the explosive new thriller novel, Horse Flesh, is offering a free personally autographed copy of her breakthrough novel to anyone who can correctly pick the official trifecta order of finish and time of the race in any of the 12 Breeders Crown races at the Meadowlands this Friday and Saturday. The rules for the contest are simple. Correctly select the official trifecta (1st, 2nd, 3rd place) finishers in any one race of the 12 Breeders Crown finals this weekend. You must also predict the winning time of that race (within two fifths of a second). To enter the contest email horsefleshcontest@gmail.com with the date of the race, race number and your three selections (by post position/name) in order, plus the official time that that race will go in. Submission must also include mailing (snail mail) address and name of contestant. Only one entry per email address may be submitted. Entry must be submitted no later than 12:00 noon Friday, October 28, 2016 to be eligible. In the event of a late scratch the wagering favorite or next wagering favorite in line will be substituted in the same position as scratched horse. Tina Sugarman, Author, has the right to refuse any entry submitted under false pretenses or is incorrect. Horse Flesh enters the highly competitive world of Standardbred horse racing, in an exhilarating debut from an insider. A brilliant harness racing driver whose drug habit risks costing him everything, his cousin, a trainer who refuses to compromise her integrity, a mysterious individual known only as the Scorpion, lurking in the shadows, pulling the strings, the Director of Racing trying desperately to clean up the industry, his mentor and best friend who has his own agenda, a low life groom who knows too much for his own good, the Canadian Mountie who inadvertently gets involved, with unforeseen consequences, a veterinarian caught between two worlds, and young horses unaware of what's in store for them. These are just some of the players in a story where passions run high and where the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is always blurred. A fascinating, fast paced read with shocking twists and turns until the very last, Horse Flesh is set to entertain not only horse and racing enthusiasts, but fiction fans looking for a fresh read. Horse Flesh is currently the #1 top selling equine novel on amazon.com.ca, is #15 in Australia and #99 in the United States. The novel is available through all major booksellers and in ebook versions too. About the author: Tina Sugarman's debut novel, HORSE FLESH, was born out of her personal experiences and portrays a faithful and compelling insight into the world of harness racing. She has been involved with Standardbred horse racing in Ontario for nearly two decades, spending summers on a horse farm a few miles from Mohawk Raceway, the premier harness racing track in Canada. She lives in Poole, Dorset, UK with her husband and their Maine Coon cat, Juliette, and enjoys driving their hackney mare, Mango, in the New Forest. She still takes a keen interest in the sport. By Steve Wolf, for Tina Sugarman, Author    

Québécois harness racing driver Louis-Philippe Roy has announced that he will be leaving the province of Quebec within a month to take on the best drivers in the world at the Meadowlands and Yonkers Racing. Roy hopes to follow in the footsteps of world-renowned drivers Yannick Gingras and Daniel Dube and make the big move from Quebec to the New York-New Jersey area. Roy, 28, hails from Mont-Joli, Quebec and is having a breakout career season. He is the current leading driver at two tracks in Canada, Rideau Carlton Raceway with 117 wins and also at the Hippodrome 3R with 57 wins. "Drivers Simon Allard and Yannick Gingras made me a pressing invitation in recent weeks to come and drive in the USA," Roy said. "So I will try my luck. I will try at the Meadowlands, specifically where there will be races on Fridays and Saturdays in the coming months and hopefully at Yonkers Raceway too. There are a lot of tracks in the area. "Yannick assured me that I would have horses to drive," Roy said, "and there is no one more connected that Yannick, that's for sure. It is not a blind leap of faith I am taking. "I do not know when I can start," Roy explained. "It will depend on the ease more or less of when I can get a temporary work permit. It is not so simple. It could come soon, maybe within a month or so, I am not sure, but I know it will come. I even told my current employer that this week would be my last, so you know I am taking this move seriously." Roy started driving harness horses professionally in 2008 on the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit. After seven years of learning the ropes he had a good season in 2015, winning 58 races and $166,000(US) in purses with the horses he drove. Many local owners, trainers and fans saw that Roy had exceptional talent driving and that has continued in 2016. Roy currently has 191 wins in 2016 and purses won at $656,000 (US), but most impressive is his Universal Driving Rating or batting average, which is at .424. Talented young harness racing drivers from the province of Quebec that have gone on to become world renowned drivers in the sport has been taking place for many years. The great driver Herve Filion, his brothers Yves and Henri Filion, Yves's son, Sylvain Filion, Michel Lachance, Yannick Gingras, Daniel Dube, Luc Ouellette, Gilles Gendron, Lucien Fontaine, Jimmy Larente, Gilles Lachance, Stephane Brouchard, Simon Allard and many more from Quebec have made their mark in harness racing in the USA. According to the world's top harness driver, Yannick Gingras, "I got to meet him (LPR) a little at 3R." Gingras said. "And he seems like a very nice guy with great hands. He sits "right" in the bike and he seems to have all the tools including a good head on his shoulders. "I talked to a few friends of mine at home about him," Gringras explained, "and everyone had nothing but good things to say about him. We have been in communication since the summer and I'm very happy he's making the move now. There's definitely a need for a new driver around here and I will do my best to help him achieve his goals the same way I was helped when I moved here." Roy was also influenced in his decision when he traveled to Prince Edward Island in August and won the prestigious Gold Cup and Saucer Final at Charlottetown Driving Park and recently was second with Yagonnakissmeornot in the $311,000 (CA) final of the Milton Stake for older pacing mares at Mohawk Raceway in Ontario. "Winning for Rene Allard in the Gold Cup and Saucer and being second for him in the Milton Stake helped me to get great visibility," Roy said, "and from there I told myself that it might be the right time to try it, but I thought about it before as how I want to spend my life in the future. "If I want to be a harness racing driver full time," Roy explained, "I got to go somewhere else because racing in Quebec and Ottawa makes it hard to earn a living without having another job then just driving. With Simon Allard and Yannick Gingras telling me that I should try it in the USA this winter, it convinced me to go for it." Daniel Delisle has been the track handicapper at the Hippodrome 3R for many years and had this to say about Louis-Philippe Roy. "I have had the privilege of witnessing the ascent in the world of harness racing of both Daniel Dube and Yannick Gingras," Delisle said, "who as Louis-Philippe Roy, made their professional debut at 3R and I must say that the progress of Louis-Philippe is equally phenomenal. It can only be successful in the USA and that's what all the world wants for him in Quebec. "One advantage is that he has is that he is a young man, simple and articulate," Delisle said. "and he has such natural ability which to succeed in this industry is a necessary asset. He will be missed by many in Quebec, but his future looks very bright in harness racing." By Steven Wolf, for the Hippodrome 3R

Derek and James Delaney’s Oakwood Stud is ready for next week’s Brightwells Mixed Sale at Royal Welsh Showground in Builth, Wales with five top yearlings going into the auction ring.The sale takes place Monday, October 24 at 11:00 am. “This is just the beginning for us at Oakwood Stud,” said Derek Delaney. “We have five well-bred and great looking yearlings ready for the sale and by next year we will have maybe a dozen or so, many sired by our own Foreclosure N. It’s been a few years in developing but James and I are very proud of where Oakwood Stud is going.” The first Oakwood Stud yearling to head to the ring is Lot 50, Oakwood Playboy, a brown colt by McArdle from The Panderosa mare, Only Gossip. Oakwood Playboy is a full brother to McCedes p, 1:49.3 ($1.3 million); McCito p,1:52 ($125,000) and a full sister to the fastest mare in all of North America last year, Hot List p,1:48.2 ($405,000). Here is video of Oakwood Playboy https://youtu.be/4o2RL7a5pug. Next up is Lot 51, Oakwood Writeontime, a brown colt by Sportwriter from The Panderosa mare, Abbey Won. This mare has already produced nearly $2 million in winning foals including Bettors Glass, p,1:48.4 ($489,000); On The Glass p,1:49 ($757,000); Art Glass p,1:51.4 ($257,000) and Glass In The Sand p,1:53.4 ($54,000).  Abbey Won is also a full or half-sister to pacing greats Mystical Mike p,1:51.2; Manvers Short Cut p,1:51.3; Cut Throat p,1:51.3, Artistry p,1:53.1 and Major Glass p,1:53.4. Here is video on Oakwood Writeontime https://youtu.be/2CATrEAj5NY. Next up for Oakwood Stud in the sale is Lot 65, Oakwood Ideal, a bay colt by Western Ideal from the Jenna’s Beach Boy mare, Dreamlands Hardie. Oakwood Ideal is a full or half-brother to top performers Livestrong p,1:50.4 ($572,000); Mylivmylife p,1:50.4 ($450,000); Dreamlands Latte p,1:52.3 ($226,000). Of Dreamlands Hardie’s last 11 foals, 8 have all been winners at age 2. Here is video on Oakwood Ideal https://youtu.be/jWxvQKMhflE. Lot 66 features Oakwood Spur, who is a bay colt sired by Share The Delight from the Life Sign mare, Olympic Sign, whose dam was none other than the great world champion mare, Nadia Lobell p3,1:53.4 and over $1 million in earnings. Oakwood Spur is a brother to Brooklyn’s Best p,1:52.4 ($150,000) and Signs of Terror p,1:57.3. Here is video on Oakwood Spur https://youtu.be/4s8ylm-sNRs. The last of the Oakwood Stud consignment is Lot 67 and the lone filly of the group, Oakwood Delight. This bay filly is sired by Share The Delight from the Four Starzzz Shark mare Oakwood Alanah. This is only the second foal from Oakwood Alanah, whose damn, Eternal Prophecy is a full sister to Immortality p,1:51.2 ($1.6 million) and the dam of top foals Captain Mo p,1:51.2 ($500,000) and McGwire p,1:53.2 ($250,000). Here is video of Oakwood Delight https://youtu.be/v50SmjrvK8w. It should be noted that all Oakwood yearlings bred by USA stallions have been staked well in North America. Just a reminder for those of you that cannot be at the sale that you can bid by telephone or by leaving a commission. For more information email to welsh@brightwells.comhttp://www.brightwells.com/media/2395/commission-form.pdf “After the great results at the York Raceway Sale two weeks ago,” Delaney said, “We feel that Brightwells will be very strong. And with so many additional racing opportunities and raised purses for young horses next year, we think the yearlings this season could break all the sales records.” By Steve Wolf, for Oakwood Stud

The two major Standardbred Yearling Sales in the UK and Ireland will take place in October and buyers will be pleased to know that their purchases will be racing for the richest stakes purses ever in 2017. Depending on what stakes races each yearling has been nominated to or will be eligible for nomination, racing opportunities for two-year-old’s next season will be on the rise. The first sale takes place at York Harness Raceway on Saturday, October 8 and the Camden Stud Sale will feature mainly yearlings and some older horses going under the hammer starting at 11:00 am. There will also be a race meet at York that afternoon. The sale includes yearlings by notable sires which include Bettors Delight, Mypanmar, Hasty Hall, and the first crop from the exciting prospect Art Professor.  A number of Trotteur Francais are also available, eligible for both the British and Irish Le Trot Series’. Sale catalogues can be purchased from Sarah Thomas in person at Tir Prince Raceway (Saturday 24th September), Corbiewood Stadium (Sunday 25th September), York Harness Raceway (Saturday 1st October), or from Sue Young at Almeley (Sunday 25th September).  Alternatively, catalogues can be posted to residents within the UK and also Ireland. The second sale is the Brightwells Standardbred Sale taking place on Monday, October 24. This sale will feature not just yearlings, but also broodmares and horses in and out of training. There is still time for late entries (October 19) to be made. The Brightwells Sale has featured the highest priced yearlings in the history of Ireland and the UK the last two years. This year’s sale is headed by yearlings sired by world champion stallions Art Major, Bettors Delight, McArdle, Share The Delight, Rock N Roll Heaven, Hasty Hall, Sportswriter, Western Ideal, Roll With Joe and many more. For more information click here.   All yearlings would be eligible to the Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM), which is the richest stakes event in all of Ireland and the UK. This past year was the first time that the VDM featured both a colt and filly division. With new sponsor Hanover Shoe Farms for the colts and Diamond Creek Farm sponsoring the filly division for the second straight year, those two finals will each go for €20,000 in 2017 and each elimination division will race for €2,000. Also the Alabar-Oakwood 3YO Derby has also increased and for the first time, with sponsorship from Alabar Stud down under, will now feature separate finals for both colts and filly’s. Foals will also be eligible for the Irish Sire Stakes, which is being sponsored again by Brian Doyle Air Cargo for the third straight year, the Breeders Crown UK & Ireland, which president David Wilson said will also see increased purses in 2017 in all divisions, the British Harness Racing Club Sire Stakes and other special stakes events throughout the UK. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Harness racing's latest edition of Harnesslink's email feature 'Insider Access' is out. In this edition, we look at: Bettor’s Delight, top stallion in North America and Down Under Bettor's Delight has bred 29 millionaires to date world-wide. Four of those have earnings of over $2 million. He has bred nearly 7,000 mares and the results of his progeny are outstanding. Three Cheers to Gordon Banks on his letter This letter to the editor was submitted by prominent owner and breeder, Gordon Banks, and the staff at Harnesslink agrees 100% with what he says. We applaud Mr. Banks for taking the time to “tell it like it is” and we encourage everyone to please read his letter and act on it before it is too late. Harnesslink’s Steve Wolf elected to Hall of Fame The staff and management at Harnesslink are pleased to no end that our Director of Operations for North America and Europe, Steve Wolf, has been elected to harness racing’s Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. To read the latest edition of INSIDER ACCESS click here to sign up!   Sign up to "Insider Access" Full Name Email Subscribe  

HARRISBURG PA - Brian Sears, a "youthful veteran" of the sport of harness racing who stands fifth on the all-time list of moneywinning drivers and has driven some of the sport's greatest horses of the last 15 years to victories in championship races, has been elected to the sport's highest honor, the Hall of Fame, in balloting conducted by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the trade organization of harness journalists. In addition, Gordon Waterstone and Steve Wolf, two veteran harness publicists and writers whose careers share many similar highlights and awards though they never worked together directly, have been elected to the sport's Communicators Hall of Fame. Sears was named USHWA's Rising Star of the Year in 1991 and hasn't looked back. Sears, a 48-year-old native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who now resides in Secaucus, N.J., was at the top rungs of the driving colony of Vernon Downs, Pompano, Pocono, and The Meadows before moving eastward to the metro New York area a dozen years ago. He has continued to dominate on the toughest circuits in harness racing, winning multiple driving championships at the Meadowlands and also topping the charts at Yonkers Raceway. Sears entered Monday with 9,670 career wins, good for 14th place among all drivers in North American history. Among the horses that have helped boost his career driving earnings to $174 million all-time are three winners of the Horse of the Year title: Rocknroll Hanover in 2005, Muscle Hill in 2009, and Bee A Magician in 2013. Sears is the only driver to twice win the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks on the same day, accomplishing the feat with Muscle Hill and Broadway Schooner in 2009 and again with Royalty For Life and Bee A Magician in 2013. He also won the Hambletonian in 2015 with Pinkman in his only drive behind the horse that season. The sport's Driver of the Year in 2009, Sears has won 26 Breeders Crown titles, good for No. 4 on the all-time wins list in the series. Horses driven by Sears have earned more than $10 million in the series, which is among the top five in history. Waterstone was for many years the publicist for Hazel Park in Detroit, also working at other area racetracks, before becoming associate editor of The Horseman And Fair World, which was a magazine when Waterstone started and for whom he wrote two John Hervey Award-winning stories, before becoming a multimedia enterprise in recent years. Wolf was a publicist for several tracks in the immediate area of his native New Jersey (Freehold Raceway 13 years, Brandywine Raceway and Liberty Bell Park) and for the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey before "shipping south" to Pompano Park in Florida, rising through the ranks to become senior director of racing operations, until starting his own consulting agency. He also served on the Board, including as president, of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. The parallels in the careers of Wolf and Waterstone are striking. Both first entered the communications end of the industry in 1979. Both have been president of USHWA and both have won that organization's Member of the Year (Wolf twice, the first to earn that distinction); both currently serve as their USHWA chapter's president. Both have won the Harness Publicists Association's Allen J. Finkelson Golden Pen Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in promoting harness racing, and both have won the Clyde Hirt Media Award from Harness Horsemen's International. Both have chaired several important USHWA committees, and are teaming again for the 2017 USHWA annual convention and Dan Patch Award Banquet: Waterstone on the Location Committee and on-site planner/negotiator, and Wolf on the Dinner Committee, which he has chaired 15 times. That USHWA event, to be held at the Planet Hollywood casino in Las Vegas on February 25-26 of next year, will be the first introduction of Sears, Waterstone, and Wolf as the newest members of the Halls of Fame. The formal induction ceremony will be held at the Hall of Fame dinner at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., on Sunday, July 2, 2017. Hall of Fame voting is conducted among eligible USHWAns and members of the Hall of Fame; Communicators Hall of Famers are voted on by all members of the Harness Writers Association. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

It was just over five months ago that the tragic barn fire took place at the South Florida Trotting Center in Lake Worth. Of the 23 Standardbred horses in Barn 9 that evening, only five have survived and now one of those harness racing horses that were rescued, a trotter named Celebrity Lover, has made it to the winner's circle. Sunday night at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania, Celebrity Lover, trained and driven by Sam Stathis, who owns the South Florida Trotting Center, won the seventh race trot by a neck in 1:59. The homebred stallion, owned and bred by Stathis's Celebrity Farms, was rescued from the barn fire that frightful night on March 15. The four-year-old son of Andover Hall from the Yankee Glide mare, Celebrity Feeling, suffered 3rd degree burns over his back from the burning roof above his stall. Within days of the fire, Stathis set up a special therapy barn at the South Florida Trotting Center to help aid the recovery for the surviving horses from the fire. "There is no doubt that our therapy barn aided in the recovery and return to racing for Celebrity Lover," Sam Stathis said. "And the outpouring of support and love from people all over the world were a big factor too. "We enclosed Barn 1 in fly netting," Stathis explained, "We brought in or were donated everything we could get to help these horses. The latest in laser equipment to promote healing, special nebulizing equipment to treat the horses burned lungs from the heat and smoke of the fire, an electro-equiscope, heart monitoring equipment, a theraplate unit, an equine weight scale, the best floor matting available to help prevent hoof problems and more to aid with their recovery." "FarmVet.com donated an entire pallet of burn cream that was used up within months and then donated another pallet." Stathis explained. "We had to hand walk these horses before dawn and after sundown as their burns could not be exposed to sunlight. "Each morning we bathed the burns, then reapplied the creams, did treatments and then repeated it all over again in the afternoon. I want to give credit to caretaker Lyne Morneau and trainer Alex Spano who worked day and night for months caring for them and to Dr. Michael Carinda and Dr. Paul Caputo for their work. We argued tooth and nail over how to treat these horse but in the long run it worked. Most veterinarians never had burn victims like this to treat." The results were shown on the racetrack Sunday as Celebrity Lover raced parked out first-over from the half mile and Stathis rated the mare perfectly, clearing to the lead in the stretch and holding off Coogan in the final strides to win in a photo finish. Unraced at age two, Celebrity Lover made just five starts at age 3 with a qualifying win in 2:05.4. He just qualified at Pocono Downs August 10, was third in a pari-mutuel race, timed in 1:58.3 on August 19 and is now a winner. "I literally cried with joy after "Lover" dug in and held off Ake Svanstedt with Coogan for the win," Stathis said. "It was just five months that he (Celebrity Lover) was fighting for his life from the smoke inhalation and burns." Celebrity Lover is the first of fire victims to return to the races and win. Stathis said that the other three of his horses that were in the fire, Celebrity Tsipras, Celebrity Lambo and Celebrity Artemis, are coming back strong. Celebrity Tsipras just qualified and raced for the first time August 14 and hopefully the other two will be racing before the end of the year. Celebrity Lover is a full brother to the mare Celebrity Artemis. It should be noted that the fifth horse that survived from Barn 9 fire, Grateful Pride, a two-year-old colt by Bettors Delight, has also been racing for trainer Linda Toscano since late June, but has yet to win. "God didn't want these horses yet for a reason," Stathis said. "The trainers and grooms that helped saved them from the fire and risked their lives for these animals are the real heroes. And what a feel good way to celebrate with having them not just recover from their burns and internal injuries but to race and win. You could not script a movie any better than this. "And we will be adding more therapy equipment this year to Barn 1 at the South Florida Trotting Center," Stathis added. "I'm still trying to get an equine hyperbaric chamber if possible. Whatever it takes to help care for the horses. This fall the therapy barn will be available for all horses of every breed that need help." For more information, visit www.southfloridatrottingcenter.com. By Steve Wolf for the South Florida Trotting Center    

Two of the sports biggest breeding operations in all of harness racing, Hanover Shoe Farms in North America and Alabar Stud in Australia/New Zealand, have both signed on as new sponsors for the 6th annual Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend (VDM) in Ireland for 2017. In addition, Diamond Creek Farm and Joe Bellino Racing Stable in the USA, PJI Engineering and Oakwood Stud in Ireland, have all “re-upped” their race sponsorships for the big race weekend. The Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend is the creation of Derek and James Delaney of Offlay, Ireland, who is 2012, a year after the tragic death of their younger brother Vincent, decided to have a memorial race in his honor. Little did they know that their weekend honoring their lost brother would develop into the richest harness racing stakes event in all of Ireland and the UK. “My brother James and I look back at what we’ve done with our brothers race in just four years,” said Derek Delaney. “And it blows us away. We have a VDM Committee who is the backbone of our big weekend and now we hire some outside agency’s to help us. It’s amazing. We know that Vincent is very proud of what we have done in his memory.” Hanover Shoe Farms is the leading money earning breeding farm in racing and they are now the title sponsor of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Colt Pace for two-year-olds. The icing on the cake for Hanover Shoe Farms management may have been after Tyrion Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere, won the VDM colt division on August 14. He was purchased at Hanover’s Harrisburg Sale at a yearling and flown back to the UK. “Murray (Brown) came back with great enthusiasm about the weekend in Ireland.” Jim Simpson, president of Hanover Shoe Farms. “He told me how they are in it for the love of Horse Racing...not the money. The sponsorship was available so we took it. We sponsor races in Lexington, Meadowlands, The Hambletonian, The Little Brown Jug, Chester, The Meadows, Pocono Downs, UK and Germany.  So why not Ireland?” Simpson said that he is already planning on coming to Ireland next year for the VDM Weekend. The Diamond Creek Farm VDM filly division is being sponsored for the second straight year by Diamond Creek Farm and the Adam Bowden Family. “It was an easy decision.” Bowden said. “After going to Ireland for the 2016 edition of the VDM Memorial we were blown away by the hospitality of the Irish people as well as the Delaney family. “Joining a grassroots movement is addicting, Bowden explained, “and being part of something great is what we are all about. Diamond Creek Farm wants to be involved in events that showcase the greatness of Standardbred racing both at home in the US as well as abroad. Derek Delaney, single-handedly has energized the sport in that region and we could not be more excited about the what the future will bring. “How could you not be entirely blown away over there?” Bowden said. “You can see the event in pictures or follow Heather Vitale's live Facebook posts, but being there in person is an out of this world experience. My wife and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity and the generosity shown by everyone we came in contact with. “I grew up going to the races in Maine (especially the Cumberland Fair in my hometown),” Bowden added, “and being at Portmarnock Raceway was like being transported back in time to 1985 when I was a little kid and reliving my first harness racing experiences where everything was novel and new. It was grassroots racing at its finest.” The VDM is the world’s most rugged race for two-year-olds, requiring the young horses to race Saturday in elimination divisions and then return Sunday for their respective finals in the one-mile race. “We even have sponsors now for the VDM elimination races,” Derek Delaney added. “Clive and Anne Dalton from Australia have signed on and are guaranteeing that each elimination division for both the colts and fillies will race for €2,000 each.”    Alabar Stud, the largest breeding operation down under with 28 stallions in Australia and New Zealand, is now co-sponsoring the Alabar-Oakwood Derby for three-year-old pacers. This race calls for the same format as the VDM, eliminations Saturday (if necessary) and the finals on Sunday. The race is also at a one-mile distance.   And, with the Alabar sponsorship, there will also be a filly division for the 3YO Derby in 2017. Alan Galloway, owner and director of Alabar Stud, was in Ireland for the VDM Weekend this past August and was infatuated with everything he saw. “It was my first time in Ireland for the VDM,” said Galloway, “And what a show they put on. Just a fantastic race weekend. So much excitement. So much passion for the sport that I knew Alabar had to get involved again. “We actually were sponsors when the first Breeders Crown UK & Ireland came about over ten years ago.” Galloway said. “We were invited to come over and help them and the Ireland improve racing. I met and worked with its president, David Wilson, when he first developed the Breeders Crown series. We bred over 100 mares back then,” Galloway said. “We sent over Village Jasper, Armbro Operative and Safely Kept. It was very difficult getting all the approvals from the government but we got it done. Many of the horses racing there now are from their offspring’s. “I was really taken back this year,” Galloway said. “The Irish are such lovely people. Everything that Derek Delaney and his brother have done to promote this weekend is fantastic. Their story is very moving, so emotional, it’s what we at Alabar want to be part of.” Another major sponsor, smitten by coming to the VDM this year, was Joe Bellino and his family, all eight of them. The Bellino Racing Stable in the USA had agreed to sponsor the Rocknroll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace this year and was so enthralled with the entire Ireland experience, Joe re-upped for 2017 even before he came home. “It was the way the people in racing there embraced my family,” Joe Bellino said. “And their deep love for the sport that convinced me to want to sponsor the race again. The way they celebrated a win with cheering and excitement. It’s just the same way I am whether racing for $100 purse or $500,000. It was also great to see and feel it firsthand. “In some way in North America we have lost our way with that sort of enthusiasm.” Bellino explained. “It’s almost like the people who win are used to winning and have come to expect it. That’s why I really appreciated the Hambo this year as it was great to see and feel the passion for our sport just as they do in Ireland.” PJI Engineering of England, one of the largest metal fabricators in all of the UK and Ireland, has come back on board as the sponsor of the Junior FFA Pace. “I first met Derek and James in 2015,” explained Paul Johnson, owner of PJI Engineering in England, “and he was telling me the story on Vincent and the passion the two of them have for the sport is unbelievable. “These two are trying there utmost to take this sport to the next level,” Johnson said, “and the VDM has done so. This is an event that everyone looks forward to every year now, and it gets better every year. Let's not forget the charity's they give to as well. We look forward to be a part of the VDM for many years to come!” With new and renewed sponsorship support coming from around the world, Derek and James Delaney are putting the money right back into their big race weekend. “Because of the great growth of sponsors for the VDM Weekend,” Derek Delaney said, “we will be able in 2017 to also expand the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds to both a horse and mare divisions with Yirribee Stud in Australia taking on as sponsor of the mare division and there will be an increase in purse for the Elvin-Delaney Invitation Le Trot race. This is all so grand! “We now have many of the world’s leading harness racing breeders, owners, trainer, drivers, announcers and journalists coming to Ireland for the VDM.” Delaney added, “It’s hard to imagine that just five years ago we raced for €20,000 ($25,000US) in total purses that first year and now in 2017 the weekend will feature more than €100,000 ($127,000US) in purses. “The VDM has become a major success story to have the biggest breeding farms in the world sponsoring our brothers memorial weekend” Delaney added, “and it's also a major step in the right direction for our breeders, owners, trainers and drivers that they can now breed and sell, train or own horses that has real earning potential in juvenile racing and more! “When you have Alan Galloway and Alabar Farms, Joe Bellino and his Bellino Racing Stables, Jim Simpson & Murray Brown of Hanover shoe Farms, Adam Bowden and Diamond Creek Farms, Rod Woodhouse of Yirribee Stud Australia, all willing to advise and sponsor us and help improve the breeding in Ireland and the UK.” Said Delaney. “We all know this can only mean a very strong future for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend and a very bright future for our Oakwood Stud.” Delaney added, “We have been a major factor in the racing and breeding in Ireland and the UK and I believe our Standardbreds will become world class in the future. Ireland has a history for producing the best gallopers in the world, so why can't we in Ireland and UK not be the best producers of Standardbreds in the world or at least one of the best! “We are also working with Sire Stakes Ireland and the Breeders Crown UK and Ireland, bricking and building stronger with devoted people like my brother James Delaney, Bernie Kelly, Dave Wilson, Jackie Mann, Thomas Bennett and others. It's all going to complement our events and others stakes. It’s going to be something special how our racing will be growing in the next two to three years’ time, getting stronger year on year. “Maybe most important about all of this,” Delaney said, “is the great new friends we have made over the years that will last a lifetime.” For more information, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. The dates for the 2017 Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend are Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend   

DUBLIN, Ireland - Two track records, one major upset and a grand time for the thousands of people in attendance headlined the final day of the 5th annual Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend at Portmarnock Raceway Sunday. By the end of the weekend if they had had a key to the racetrack at Portmarnock they would have given it to the World Driving Champion, New Zealand's Dexter Dunn, as he stole the show over the two-day meet. Dunn, who wowed the crowds last year in his debut at the VDM, showed the fans his universal driving abilities, scoring four winners during the meeting, capping it off with a stunning upset in the very last race of the day Sunday. It was the final of the inaugural VDM Final for two-year-old filly pacers, sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm and the Adam Bowden Family of Kentucky. Dunn, who had qualified two horses for the final on Saturday, made the right choice in selecting IB Coyote to drive in the final. The 13th race saw the overwhelming favorite, Rhyds Mystique and driver Vicky Gill, who has won two of the last three VDM finals, find early clearance starting from the second tier in post eight, and work their way to the lead before the opening quarter in :29.3. Rhyds Mystique, who had rattled off five straight wins, including a 2:02.1 triumph Saturday in her elimination race, had Jennifer Camden (Aaron Merriman) right on their backs and then was faced with Dexter Dunn coming first-over with IB Coyote. They went to the half mile marker in :59.6 and then Gill backed off the pace to the three-quarters in 1:31.5, preparing for a sprint home to the finish. But that was not in the cards for them today. With Dunn's IB Coyote looking to begin to fade on the final turn, driver Mick Lord sent Greenhill Debatable three-wide to nearly loop the race leaders and that move seemed to wake IB Coyote up as Dunn kept her alive despite being parked out for most of the one-mile race. Then in a dramatic stretch drive, IB Coyote dug down deep and Dunn kept her going through the finish to win by a half-length in 2:02.8 over Greenhill Debatable with Jennifer Camden a close third. Rhyds Mystique faded to sixth place. "I wanted to give chase early," Dunn explained, "and get her up close to the action but it didn't work out that way and we ended up getting parked. But boy was she handy today. By the final turn I did not think she would make do, but she came back super strong to win it." Sent off at odds of 5-1, it was the second straight win, a lifetime mark and the third victory on the season for IB Coyote. The daughter of Share The Delight is trained by Tadhg Murphy and co-owned by Bill Donocan and the IB Stables. In the VDM Final for the colts, it was the American-bred son of Somebeachsomewhere, Tyrion Hanover, who went off as the wagering favorite and did not disappoint the fans but gave them a bit of a scare in winning the 11th race. Dragons Den (John Richardson) started off the show and then gave way to Rhyds Rival (Billy Roche) to the opening quarter mile in :29.4. Benny Camden (Alan Richardson) was first-over and pressured the leader to a half mile in a quick :57.6 with Tyrion Hanover and driver Richard Haythornthwaite coming up into second-over position. With momentum at their advantage, Haythornthwaite allowed Tyroin Hanover to keep going and sent him three-wide by the three-quarters in 1:29.5 and despite being parked out, Tyroin Hanover kept eating up ground and once they started down the stretch he not only collared the leaders but passed them by to win with ease by one and one-half lengths in 2:01.5. Dragons Den was able to come back for second place with Harrison Camden (Martin Loughran) closing for third place. "I didn't want to rush him too much," Haythornthwaite said, "but I had to make sure I kept him on the move. He was making up ground with that big move on the final turn and he still had a little left for the finish." "He's pretty good to train and easy tempered to work with," said trainer Samboy Howard of Tyroin Hanover. "I guess we're partying tonight for sure." A $14,000 yearling purchase last year at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania by John James Howard, Sr. (Samboy's father), it was the second straight win and a lifetime mark for Tyroin Hanover. The track records at Portmarnock began to fall starting in the eighth race as driver Alan Wallace and Coalford Tetrick were able to wire the field in the 1.5 mile Paul Murtagh, Sr. 4YO Derby Pace in 2:58.5, winning with ease by three lengths. The pocket-sitting JMS Hallstar (Gavin Murdoch) was second with Evenwood Sonofagun (William Laidler) third. Sired by Rouge Hall, Coalford Tetrick is owned and trained by Stephan Jones. Then in the Oakwood Stud 3YO Derby Pace, the sensation son of Arts Conquest, Miraculous, winner of the 2015 VMD, set the track record for colts at 1.5 miles, also wiring the field by two lengths for driver Patrick Kane, Jr. in 2:59.7. Rival Newtown Rock (Dexter Dunn) was second with Arts Pace Hill (Andrew Cairns) third. It was the sixth straight win for Miraculous, who is trained by Sally Teeboon for owner S. Arnie Flower. The sixth race, the Rocknroll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American Cup FFA Pace, sponsored by the Bellino Racing Stable with Joe Bellino and his family, eight in all, coming over for the big race weekend saw Porterstown Road and driver Aaron Merriman first on the lead. They could have stopped the race right then as Merriman and Porterstown Road never looked back, strolling to the wire to win by four open lengths in 1:57 over Bath Lane (John Richardson) with Deans Alibi (Dexter Dunn) third. "What a super weekend this has been," said Derek Delaney, head of the VDM Committee that organizes the entire weekend. "Each year this race weekend gets bigger and bigger with racing fans, owners, breeders, trainers and drivers from around the world coming here to Ireland. It is just fantastic." Derek and his brother, James Delaney, developed the race weekend in 2012 in memory of their young brother Vincent, who tragically died in 2011. It has become the biggest and richest race weekend in all of Ireland and the UK. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend      

DUBLIN, Ireland – A record number of 180 horses have entered the weekend race card for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend at Portmarnock Raceway just outside of Dublin. “My brother James and I cannot believe how everyone wants to race this weekend,” said Derek Delaney, head of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee. “For the fourth straight year we keep growing and growing.” A total of 188 horses have been entered for the Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14 two-day meet. That is up 11.12% over prior year. The big race of the weekend is the 5th annual Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM) for two-year-old pacers. This is first year that there are both a colt and filly division with 14 youngsters entered in both events. The VDM is a rugged event that requires horses to compete in elimination divisions on Saturday and then come back again Sunday to race in the finals. The inaugural filly division is being sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm of Kentucky, USA. Each of the finals race for a purse of $16,000 euros.  Vincent Delaney was Derek and James younger brother who tragically died in 2011 at the age of 27. The brothers then developed the memorial race series in his honor and it has since grown to become the richest stakes event and weekend in the history of harness racing in Ireland the UK. Additional major stakes events over the weekend include the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds at 1.5 miles, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds, the RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace, the Lee Edwards/PJI Engineering Junior FFA Pace and the Elvin-Delaney French FFA Trot. There is a gala kickoff dinner Friday evening at the Airport Hilton Hotel that is already sold out and Sunday’s VIP Marquee Tent is also sold out with over 300 to attend. Every year the VDM Committee selects a local charity to benefit from the VDM Weekend, especially at the Friday night gala dinner auctions. This year’s charity is the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) of Dublin. The organization, which is comprised 100% of all volunteers, operates a seven-day outreach service across the city, coinciding with their mobile outreach unit. ICHH’s outreach support service operates nightly providing access to beds, sleeping bags, food or case management referrals. ICHH works a 16-hour mobile outreach service, responding to rough sleeper reports within 15 minutes of getting a call. The service also operates seven days a week. The website is at http://www.innercityhelpinghomeless.ie/. It is just grand how all of this has come together,” Derek Delaney said. “And this year we have so many great horsemen and women coming over for Vincent’s weekend. Dexter Dunn from New Zealand, Aaron Merriman from the USA are the special guest drivers, Diamond Creek Farms Adam Bowden, Joe Bellino and his entire crew, Roger Huston, Heather Vitale, Heather Wilder, Murray Brown, John McDermott, Alan Galloway, Sydney Weaver, Joann Looney-King, Susan Looney and a huge group from Australia on tour. "What a great time we will show them all!” Delaney said. "Most everyone is arriving today and tomorrow and we are looking forward to meeting everyone." The guests begin their VIP weekend with carriage ride tours of downtown Dublin plus lunch at the world famous Temple Bar, a bus trip to Oakwood Stud training and breeding facility, the gala kick-off dinner Friday and then the two big VDM race days Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend

On Tuesday, August 2 at Tir Prince Raceway in Wales, UK, the fastest dirt track in all the UK & Ireland will play host to the Breeders Crown UK & Ireland. Featured on the race card will be many of the best two, three and four-year-old pacing fillies, mares and horses bred in both the UK and Ireland and it will also be the tenth anniversary of the Breeders Crown UK & Ireland. Tir Prince is one of the premier half mile, night time hard tracks in all of the UK and Ireland. But who is the man behind the organization that has setup and run the Breeders Crown UK & Ireland since its inception? That honor goes to none other than Dave Wilson of West Linton, Scotland. Wilson, who has been involved in harness racing for more than 60 years, owns www.davewilsonharness.com,  which is the premier on-line harness and horse supply tack shop throughout the UK and Ireland and also sells worldwide. Before venturing into the tack shop business in 1979, Dave Wilson got his training in harness racing as a youngster. “I first got into it when I was a child around 1952.” Wilson explained, “Mucked out stalls, groomed and walked and jogged horses for a year at a local track called Stenhouse Stadium in Edinburgh, before I was allowed to drive in a race. I think I was about 11 or 12 when I first drove in a race and went on to win a lot of races up until 1965. “My father, a self-made man,” Wilson explained. “started out as a horse dealer and later ended up with three quarries, a transport business and a fleet of vehicles. His grandfather was a horse dealer and my grandfather on my mother’s side were horse dealers, so it was inevitable I would end up doing something with horses. I learned a lot at Stenhouse Stadium by watching the old professionals like Jim Young whose brother Rab Young was a famous driver in New Zealand. “My grandmothers brother was the top trainer of trotting and pacing horses,” Wilson said. “He also raced horses guideless (tacked up with overcheck and turned and let loose to race against other horses round the track) and his name was Baker Waldie, this would be in the mid-1800s. So when did Dave Wilson end up with Dave Wilson Harness/Tack business?” “Around 1979, after I first got back in to harness racing after a long break.” Wilson said. “I quit racing horses in 1965 after winning a heat and the final of the famous Musselburgh Trot on an imported German stallion called Calif by Scotland’s Comet (USA). I had quit to concentrate on the family business. Over the years Dave Wilson has owned, bred and raced a goodly amount of horses. “You can say I've owned a lot, bred a lot, and raced a lot.” Wilson explained. “When I got back into it in 1979, I bought three yearlings in the USA which were bred in Pennsylvania by the Amish man Levi Stoltzfus at Conestoga Farms right next to Hanover Shoe Farm. “They were sent to Hawkensville to get broken in.” Wilson said. “We brought the three back to Scotland but only one made it to the races. He was called Battle Cry by Battleground (Meadow Skipper oo Belle Acton). Out of a very consistent mare who raced until she was 12. The filly was Conestoga Starlite (changed to Meadow Starlite) and she was big and beautiful but her legs let her down. She did breed some good winners for us including Meadow Reba, who won a heat and final of the Dave Finlayson Memorial at Musselburgh as a 3-year-old. “This was in 1986,” Wilson added, “and we still have her here, she is now 33 and looking good! I've also had a few stallions here, namely Skippers Subject, who is bred by Meadow Skipper oo Timely Subject, and he produced some good offspring in USA and here, also Fame (Albatross oo Passing Glance), who won half million as a 2-year-old but flipped a palate in the Woodrow Wilson or would have won over a million at age 2. He too bred some good ones and we still have a few retired here who won some great races for us.” How did Dave Wilson get from racing horses to harness and tack shop owner, to president of the Breeders Crown UK & Ireland? “After coming back from this long absence from racing I felt a bit ashamed knowing I could have made a better effort in promoting, breeding and racing the sport in the UK,” Wilson said. “Noel Simpson made a big impression on me in the early '60s when he opened Prestayn Raceway with the help of Roosevelt Raceway’s George Morton Levy, along with some other New Zealand and Australian investors. “Apart from the raceway, Simpson used Prestayne as a quarantine country for stallions coming from the USA and going to AU and NZ.” Wilson explained. “These were all stallions with records which were used in the UK while in quarantine and they had a big impact on breeding of Standardbreds in UK. The progeny of these stallions in later years were exported to Canada and the USA. “That was an industry created overnight.” Wilson said. “Years later after the quarantine regulations were eased, the UK went back into breeding unraced imported stallions, although reasonably well-bred, they produced very little, with the odd minor stallion proving himself worthwhile. It was then in 1980 at a BHRC meeting, I suggested horses of better quality should be bred and proven stallions should be used. “This fell upon deaf ears, Wilson explained, “and only one committee member acknowledged the merit in it. I later drew up papers for a proposed Sire Stakes and Arthur Slack a well-known breeder of Standardbreds, submitted on my behalf, which initiated the British Harness Racing Club’s Sire Stakes program. For various reasons this was never the success I wanted it to be. After drawing up the papers I had no further input into the Sire Stakes other than entering horses. “Now fast forward to 26 years later,” Wilson said, “and I had some mares I hadn't bred for years as the stallions here were not attractive enough to me. Then low and behold out of the blue along came Alabar Stud with frozen semen from some top stallions. I took the opportunity to breed three mares using the frozen semen from Safely Kept, and Village Jasper. “I wanted to enter them in the Sire Stakes program, but was refused,” Wilson added, “and that is how the Breeders Crown UK and Ireland came about. I looked at the Sire Stakes program and could see why it was on the wane and not flourishing like it should have. “I took this refusal as a negative view for breeding going forward,” Wilson said, “and consequently got in touch with Alabar, who got me started by entering all of their stallions so the foals would be eligible to race in the BC, which moved from track to track and got people and breeders interested who had not really raced 2-year-olds before. The BC has never looked back since and gets more popular each year with prize money increasing along with numbers of horses entering. The Breeders Crown UK & Ireland’s motto is to promote, to support and to improve the quality of breeding and harness racing throughout Great Britain and Ireland. “We strive to encourage and expand the positive image of harness racing through media and marketing.” Wilson added. “We support current owners and those interested in harness racing by providing comprehensive information about our series and how people can get involved in breeding, owning and racing horses. And we strongly advocate the use of only proven stallions and mares in our breeding in order to continually improve the quality of our horses.” Wilson is supported by a lot of suppliers who either give products to raise funds or sponsor us, or from people who also believe in what I am doing. Without them the Breeders Crown UK & Ireland would not exist. "I also have to say," Wilson added, "that I have a right hand man (woman), who has been with me for many years and is a superb help in both departments and keeps me on the straight and narrow. Jacqui Mann is the General Manager of Dave Wilson Harness and she is secretary for the Breeders Crown and she is a major help in making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible." Just a year ago Wilson commissioned a professional graphic artists and a webmaster to re-create and polish off their website, www.breederscrownuk&ireland.com with great success. “We are very proud of our website,” Wilson said. “It’s top notch, easy to navigate, super photos and all the information and contacts everyone needs to stay abreast of what is happening.” “David Wilson is a pleasure to work with his experience in harness racing is second to none,” said Eric Witherspoon, Director of Racing at Tir Prince. “He is committed to taking the sport forward in the UK. The Breeders Crown is a truly top juvenile event and we are delighted to be holding it at Tir Prince for the next three years.” So what is Dave Wilson excited the most about for this year’s Breeders Crown night? “I would say getting the news that New Zealand driving star, Dexter Dunn, will be driving at Tir Prince on Breeders Crown night.” Wilson beamed. “Having Dexter coming to drive is just fabulous. He showed everyone at Portmarnock (Ireland) last year of his great ability to drive a horse and I know his services will be in much demand from trainers and owners alike. “I’m also excited that we are able to add the inaugural All American-bred Filly Pace for two-year-olds this year,” Wilson added, “plus a bumper crop of horses eligible for the Breeders Crown. And we have a large tour group from Australia, Harness Racing TravelWorld, engineered by a long term friend of mine, Bill Hutchison, which will not only take in the Breeders Crown in Wales but also the Edinburgh Festival and the Vincent Delaney Memorial in Dublin Ireland. “It’s all top notch great news,” Wilson smiled. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec – HP Sissy and driver Mario Baillargeon set a Breeders Cup Series stakes record for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies with a 1:56.1 triumph at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday. There were four opening round divisions of the $450,000 Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old colt and filly pacers. In the eleventh race second division for pacing fillies, the overwhelming 1/9 entry of HP Sissy and HP Pandora did not disappoint the racing fans. Mario Baillargeon sent HP Sissy to the lead before the opening quarter mile in a speedy :27.4. Then they backed it down to the half mile in :59.1 as stablemate HP Pandora (Louis-Philippe Roy) came first-over to challenge and then settle in second place. By the three-quarters in 1:27.2, HP Sissy was in complete control and then pulled away from everyone in the field, strolling down the stretch for a nine and one-half length romp. Stablemate HP Pandora was a distance second with Star Speed (Stephane Gendron) third. It was the second win this season for HP Sissy, a daughter of Up The Credit, trained by Jean Tourigny and co-owned by the breeder, Claude Hamel with Michael Damphousse of Louisville, QC and paid just $2.30 to win. Her time of 1:56.1 surpassed the prior stakes record for her age and gait of 1:56.4 that was set by Racey Miss in 2013. There are four weeks of preliminary round action in the Breeders Cup with the top eight point earners returning on Sunday, September 4 for the $65,000 finals in each division. Establishing himself early on as the “horse to beat” in the series was HP Patriote and driver Guy Gagnon in the third race first division for pacing colts. Starting from post six, Gagnon and HP Patriote had road trouble at the start and was forced to take back to last after the start of race. Sagawi (Jocelyn Gendron) had the early lead but had to give way to last year’s series champion, Mr Mach Jimmy and driver Pascal Berube by the opening quarter mile in :28. Then by the half mile marker in :57.4, Mr Mach Jimmy was still in control with D G’s Ninja (Jonathan Lachance) coming first-over and HP Patriote second-over after catching up with the field. Then in the backstretch, Gagnon moved HP Patriote three-wide and with an amazing brush of speed, shot right by Mr Mach Jimmy before the three-quarters in 1:27.2. From there HP Patriote cruised home, pulling away from the field for a five and one-half length triumph in 1:56. Mr Mach Jimmy held for second place with D G’s Ninja third. It was the fifth win in six starts this year for HP Patriote. The son of Vintage Master is trained by Gerald Demers and co-owned by Les Ecuries GLD, Inc. of St-Andre-Avelin with breeder Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff, QC. He paid $3.20 to win. It was the second win on the day for Hamel, who also co-owns HP Sissy. The sixth race second colt division saw lots of early action as Power Fun (Stephane Brosseau) took the early lead, then gave way to Shanghai Warrior (Sylvain Lacaille) in a slow :30.1 first quarter. All the while the race favorite, Sports Authority (Mario Charron) was in last place. Dance With Joe (Mario Baillargeon) was quick on the move to try and take the lead, but Lacaille played a little hardball to the half mile marker in :59 before giving way. Then Charron came charging up with Sports Authority and was able to get a tuck in second place at the three-quarters in 1:27.4. On the final turn, Baillargeon asked Dance With Joe for more and the colt scooted away from the field in the stretch to win with ease by four and one-half lengths in a mild clocking of 1:58.2. Power Fun nosed out Sports Authority for second place. Sired by Roll With Joe, it was the first win in seven starts this year for Dance With Joe. He is trained by Jacque Dupont for owners Gestion Levesque and Les Ecuries Dorleans of QC. He paid $6.60 to win. The fillies got underway in the eighth race with last year’s return champion, Miss Babe Delight and Pascal Berube, toying with the field. Sent off as the 2/5 wagering favorite, Berube sent Miss Babe Delight to the front from post six, overtaking Clodam Bayama (Yves Filion) before the opening quarter mile in :29.3. Berube then backed off to the half mile in 1:00.2 before flushing Imagine Speed (Stephane Gendron) to come first-over. Then past the three-quarters in 1:29.1, the race was all but over as Miss Babe Delight held the field at bay, winning by one and one-half lengths over Wild River Swan (Louis-Philippe Roy) with Clodam Bayama third in 1:58.2. It was the first win in six starts this year for Miss Babe Delight. The daughter of Bettor's Delight is trained by Dany Fontaine for Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, QC and paid $2.80 to win. Track Notes: The three-year-old pacing filly, Jimbelina ($2.10), remained unbeaten with her fourth straight victory at 3R this season, winning the fourth race in 1:58.2. She is the winningest horse at 3R this meet. Live racing resumes Tuesday night at 3R with the opening round of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotting colts and fillies. Post time is 7:00 pm. For a free race program and video feed of the live racing go to www.quebecjockeyclub.com.  Steven Wolf

In a first-of-its-kind agreement, the United States Harness Writers Association announced Monday (June 27) that Centaur Gaming-owned Hoosier Park will be the lead title sponsor of next year's Dan Patch Awards banquet in Las Vegas. The event, to be held at Planet Hollywood on Feb. 26, will be named "The 2017 Dan Patch Awards presented by Hoosier Park." The Dan Patch Awards are for top equine and human performers, Harness Horse of the Year honors, as well as the first introduction of the newest member(s) to the Hall of Fame. The spotlight will shine on Hoosier Park in the fall of 2017 when the Breeders Crown makes its first visit to the Indiana racetrack. But several months prior to that big event, Hoosier Park will help direct the limelight toward harness racing's equine and human stars thanks to a new partnership with another of the sport's premier festivities. The awards, first presented in 1947, are named in honor of one of the great stars of the early 20th century --- in any sport --- the Indiana-born pacer Dan Patch. Born in 1896 in Oxford, Ind., Dan Patch attracted huge crowds wherever he traveled and set numerous world records. His mark of1:55-1/4 set at age 9 in 1905 stood for more than three decades and his name and image endorsed products from breakfast cereals to washing machines. Indiana-sired horses have also garnered national attention more recently, with the most notable examples including 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit and Breeders Crown champions Always B Miki, Color's A Virgin, and Freaky Feet Pete, all hailing from the Hoosier State. "Hoosier Park and Centaur could not be more honored to serve as the first title sponsor for these prestigious awards," said Jim Brown, president and COO of Centaur Gaming. "Considering Dan Patch was an Indiana-bred made the opportunity feel even more appropriate. "Indiana harness racing is being recognized nationally, with some of the top horses and racing in the country, and sponsoring the 2017 USHWA awards and hosting the 2017 Breeders Crown races should both contribute to making this a year to remember for Indiana racing." The 2017 Dan Patch Awards will honor this season's top performers, including divisional champions plus Trotter, Pacer, and Horse of the Year. "This is a great opportunity for USHWA to team up with an outstanding racing organization like Hoosier Park to present our 2017 Dan Patch Awards banquet," said Tim Bojarski, president of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. "We believe the synergy of this partnership will better enhance the promotion of harness racing and its stars throughout the upcoming year and hope it will lead the way for other entities of the sport to work together for the same reason. "I can promise everyone a night to remember at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Feb. 26, 2017." For more information on the Dan Patch Awards presented by Hoosier Park, log onto www.ushwa.org, where all the latest news and announcements will be available throughout the year. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

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