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Pompano Beach, FL - Screaming and shouting, cries of joy echoing throughout the grandstand. These echoes travel across the racetrack to where drivers, trainers, owners, and grooms can hear. Anyone within an ears distance can hear these chants and cheers. The atmosphere of the racetrack brings a variety of emotions whether it be tears of joy or sadness, screams of happiness or anger, the crowd is never silent. The noise doesn't fall short of the horsemen and women that work behind the scenes and stand near the paddock gate watching their horse race on any given night. However, there is one voice that overpowers them all, draining out all of the noise. Rather than putting the name to the face, people put the name to the voice for one track announcer, John Berry. John Berry is a man of many talents and wears many hats as most would say. “He is the Picasso of Harness Racing. Journalistic knowledge and professionalism second to none,” Wally Hennessey, Hall of Fame Driver and leading trainer at Pompano Park, recounts. Aside from a race announcer, John Berry has played a vital role in harness racing as anything from a race office assistant to a publicity man to a live broadcaster. It's no doubt that John Berry is one of many that form the base of the horse racing business. In the February 5, 1964 edition of The Horseman and Fair World, the week Pompano Park opened, there was a letter to the editor concerning time trials by John Berry. And here we are, 53 years later, and Berry is still at it---writing brilliant, informative stories, announcing on occasion, co-hosting the Pompano Park pre-race show, writing a handicapping column, and serving the horsemen and our sport with the same enthusiasm that was evident back more than a half century ago. Inducted into the Hall of Fame as a communicator several years ago, he has participated in school career days, countless charitable events, seminars, and many promotions to enhance the image of harness racing. He was even highlighted on a CBS (Chicago) news segment entitled “Someone You Should Know.” The feeling all horsemen know or come to know at some point in their careers is the moment when your horse is pacing or trotting lengths ahead of the pack at the three-quarter pole. Down the stretch and the win is a guarantee. That moment in time is brief but the memory of the feeling lasts a lifetime. At this point in John Berry’s life, it was like he had experienced this brief moment forever. “That was amazing, I must admit,” Berry smiled. “It was a surreal moment. “I used to get films from Sportsman’s Park---16 millimeter films---and I went to different nursing homes and rehab facilities lugging my 50-pound projector to put racing programs on for the patients there. “I went to the administrators of these facilities to see who needed a morale boost, so to speak.” Berry explained. “Then, I made programs up and put patients down as drivers of the horses. On this one occasion, the ‘winning’ driver was a lady that had a stroke several months prior and could not speak. “Well, after the race,” Berry said. “I went right up to her with her daughter alongside and congratulated her on her win. I asked her to tell me how she won the race (as the doctors and nurses were cautioning me that she couldn't speak) and she grabbed the ‘mike’ and, after struggling a bit, said, “I tried hard’. “To say that the doctors and nurses were amazed is an understatement,” Berry recalled. “Their jaws literally dropped. The administrators got ahold of CBS news about this miracle of sorts and, a few weeks later, when another show at the facility was arranged, CBS was there with a crew and it became a segment on a newscast in Chicago. “It wasn't necessary,” John said, “but they said this story must be told. “It merely propelled me to keep trying and looking for yet another miracle.” John Berry, a man with a long history that keeps growing. Aside from racing, he holds his own titles himself - for bowling. Interestingly enough, the 16-year-old's career in bowling led him to harness racing. In Chicago of 1959, Berry won a match that began his new and long lived career. “It was a match,” Berry recalled, “where four of us put up five dollars apiece with the winner taking $15, second place getting his money back and the lowest two scorers paying for the highest two bowler’s lines (games). “I bowled a 248, 268, and 258 and I took the money.” Berry said with a smile. “A gentleman by the name of Luke Schroer approached me after that match to give me a “tip” of sorts,” Berry added, “as he won some money betting on the match.” Although John refused the offer, they ended up going out for a bite to eat. On that August in 1959, Schroer had taken John Berry to the racetrack, up to a box at Sportsman's Park---”41-A” Berry recalls. From that night on, Berry had an ever-growing interest in the sport. The gentleman who arranged for Berry to get Sportsman's Park films, Don Stevens, introduced him to Stan Bergstein. Bergstein, who later would become harness racing’s only double Hall of Famer, being inducted to both the Living Hall of Fame and as a Communicator, helped John to get his very first position in the harness racing world, as an Associate Editor of the ‘The Illinois Sulky News,’ working for the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association. His first position led to other doors opening. These ‘doors’ included jobs in publicity and public relations at Balmoral Park. At Balmoral, he wrote press releases and worked on handicapping and interviews. “It was demanding since it turned out to be a seven day a week grind from early morning to late at night.” John said. Developing a passion as well as a talent for writing, John Berry won a few regional awards for journalistic evidence. In 1979, Berry accepted a position with the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey. His new agenda included handling publicity and public relations; and hosting the long running series of television shows featuring Stakes races from The Meadowlands, Freehold Raceway and Garden State Park. He also created and designed New Jersey's Stallion Directory and hosted several Miss Equine New Jersey contests. “The Board of the SBOANJ was extremely active in partnering with the racetracks to publicize the sport,” Berry said. “Tony Abbatiello and Ronnie Dancer led the brigade back then and one couldn't have asked for a more dedicated Board of Directors looking to move the sport in the right direction. “I worked with John Higgins, then the Executive Director, a very knowledgeable horseman.” Berry added. “I also worked with an extremely talented gentleman by the name of Leon Zimmerman, who know every nook and cranny in Trenton, New Jersey, where the political stuff went on. “Leon and I got elected to the Hall of Fame the same year,” Berry said. “and it was an honor to work with him and gain a bit of insight into the world of politics.” During that time, Berry won the prestigious National John Hervey Award for an article he wrote in 1979 for Hub Rail Magazine about the Little Brown Jug. “I have written many, many articles,” he said, “but this is, absolutely, one of my favorites because, when I put it in the typewriter---yes, we still used typewriters back then---the words just kept flowing and I, literally, didn't make any changes once the article was finished. “It included a Roger Huston race call and I have been told on many occasions that the reader could ‘hear’ Roger’s voice while reading it.” After three years with the SBOANJ, he accepted a position with the USTA as Public Relations Manager, working from an office, in Freehold, New Jersey, to cover the New York-New Jersey and eastern racing scene, which was blossoming at the time. When they asked him to move to Columbus, Ohio, he parted ways with the USTA and accepted a position with Sports Information Database (SIDB) as a Senior Editor for harness racing with the objective of putting the entire history of harness racing on computer. “I was honored to work with many of the great minds in sport, including Bill Shannon, the famed official scorer for baseball; Logan Hobson and Bob Canobbio, the inventors of ‘punch-stat’ for boxing matches; and one of harness racing’s great geniuses, Phil Sporn.” A consolidation deal fell through and SIDB went out of business. Berry was asked if he was interested in moving to South Florida to be Public Relations Director at Pompano Park. The track enjoyed its finest two seasons in history benefitting from promotions like a car giveaway, cruise nights, where 10,000 cruise passes were distributed to guests, and mall promotions. John Berry has always worked to make the name of harness racing go viral across the world. He gained more exposure to the track when he became the host of his own radio show, featuring big bands and jazz from the 1920’s and 1930’s. “The show featured music from many of the great bands that were left somewhat obscure to the vast majority,” Berry explained. “I guess you would call them ‘territory bands.’ While modern and pop music was taking over the radio stations, Berry’s interests in the ‘throwback’ tunes caught on in the public ‘ear’, so to say, and he had a lot of loyal listeners. Around this time, Berry was elected President of the United States Harness Writers Association and served that organization for a two-year term. In the 1980’s, he was lured into taking a position with a newly formed company--brainchild of well-known owner and breeder Eric Cherry. The start-up company, National Raceline, had a goal to provide results and race calls from tracks coast-to-coast. Within the company, Berry secured many racetracks that sent in results by fax for the information to be disseminated over a “900” network of telephone lines. In short order, the “Raceline” became the nation's leader in providing information on racing results with nightly calls growing by “leaps and bounds”. Later, he was approached by Allen Greenberg to see if he would be interested in conducting auctions aboard cruise ships. “I agreed to ‘try it for a couple of weeks’ to see if I liked it enough to continue.” Not only did Berry like the position, he was “auctioneer of the year” the first two years the award was given and broke several records along the way. During one of the auctions at sea, a representative of WPBT-Channel 2 Public Television approached John with an offer to go on the air during the station’s membership drives. Accepting the offer, John became one of the hosts of the show and eventually served the station during their on-air auctions. Conducting over 1,800 auctions within his career and raising money for many charitable organizations, libraries, and his beloved Harness Writers Association; the most expensive item sold at one of his auctions was an internet domain name --Sex.net--for $450,000. Serving as an auctioneer, Berry was absent from the sport for a few years. However, like any true horseman who cannot stray too far from the track, he returned after an offer from Isle of Capri’s director, Jim Patton, and Director of Publicity and Marketing, Steve Wolf, in 2004. Both directors persuaded Berry to return to the track, to work in publicity, serving as a “point man” for the upcoming referendum on allowing casinos to be built in Broward County. “Steve (Wolf) came up with an ingenious plan to canvas the area to try and secure support for the casino referendum,” Berry said. “which had failed in two previous attempts. “Well, we got it done and it was quite a scene as we broke ground and, here we are, with a now well established casino that has a 10-year history and racing is still flourishing in South Florida.” Today, Berry, now approaching his mid-70’s, continues to perform several duties at the track---a “three-of-all-trades” ---as he says. He particularly enjoys handicapping for his many followers and looks for “value” in his selections. “Hardly a man in now alive,” he says, “who paid his mortgage at 3 to 5!” One of his most memorable recollections from the handicapping floor comes from the time he predicted a dead-heat during a seminar at The Meadowlands in 1980. Other moments being earning his PHD--Professional Handicapping Degree-- from Tele-Track in 1983 after a six-for-six night there, selecting a “cold” pentafecta at Pompano Park this season, and a string of recent longshot winners in his nightly Pickin’ Berrys handicapping column, one as high as 50 to 1. “The prediction of a dead-heat was as much luck and handicapping skill---something like Babe Ruth predicting his home run at Wrigley Field. “I couldn't separate numbers six and seven and just happened to blurt out, ‘to tell you the truth, I cannot separate these two horses, so I think it'll wind up to be a dead-heat and it was!” Aside from picking his most memorable handicapping memory, John claims the most memorable race he has ever seen was on March 17, 1962 at Maywood Park in Chicago. “I've seen a lot, yes, from Su Mac Lad to Bret Hanover to Albatross to Niatross to Nihalator, to the stars of today but [this] was my most memorable race.” John describes the temperatures to have been wavering in the 30’s mixed with snow, sleet, and rain. “The track had turned into a quagmire,” John explained. “There was a horse named Scotsman, driven by Ken Lighthill, who won in 3:38 ⅗… yes, 3:38 ⅗, which was the slowest winning pari-mutuel mile in history. “It's a record that will ever be broken and it, indeed, is the most memorable race I have ever seen.” John has gotten some well-deserved accolades when in the announcer's booth, too, subbing for Gabe Prewitt when called upon. Racing fan Rich Stern from Chicago lamented, “I love his race calls. They are clear and concise and he's added some nice terms like ‘double-bubbled’ when a horse is three wide. “He gives those behind the scenes nice credit, too. I like that!” His meticulous morning lines have also drawn praise and he was the first and only Morning Line maker to make all horses the same odds--7 to 2--in a six-horse field last season at Pompano Park. The horses had all been around the same time, been beaten about the same number of lengths and were so evenly matched that they all deserved consideration. “I decided to make them all the same in the morning line and that race got huge attention from the media because of it!” Clearly, John Berry has a knack for talent as well as talent himself, in the harness racing world. As a publicity man, fill-in announcer, and writer among many other hats that Berry wears, he covers all bases of harness racing. “He is the equivalent of an encyclopedia of harness racing, a true gentleman,” Standardbred owner and trainer, John Hallett, conveys. Outside of racing, as mentioned before, John was a champion bowler, including capturing the Illinois State Bowling Singles in 1970 by averaging 246 for the tournament. And he is one of few who have ever bowled a perfect 300 game. He lives with his “bride of many years,” Abby and their Quaker Parrot, Pistachio, who, as he says, “brings us joy beyond belief.” Berry has had a lot of “firsts” during his career and plans on helping the sport he loves and its participants as long as possible. Today, John splits his time helping publicize the sport for the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association in the am and doing the late shift in Pompano Park's racing operations office in the afternoon and night. Many horsemen know and recognize John Berry for his talent as a writer and his character as a horseman. “I've known John for many years. He's a nice guy and fun to be around. Working with him sure makes the day go by faster,” iterates Rosie Huff, who works with Berry at the FSBOA office. Berry related, “at the FSBOA, I am lucky enough to work with Rosie Huff, one of the most dedicated individuals with whom I have ever worked. At Pompano, I am honored to work alongside someone as great as Gabe Prewitt, who has an enthusiasm for the sport like no other. “We enjoy and respect each other's talent and company. “You could call it a ‘pari-mutuel’ admiration society!” If there is anyone that the sport of harness racing needs to clone to help promote the industry, they should look no further than John Berry. By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink   Jessica Hallett is a new correspondent for Harnesslink. Jessica, 17, lives in Margate, Florida and is currently a senior at Deerfield Beach High School. She is the daughter of Pompano Park owner/trainers John and Michelle Hallett.

Argentina's top harness racing pacer, Chucaro Arts Surco, has completed his quarantine and arrived Monday at his new home with trainer Angela Porfilio at the Meadows Racetrack in Pennsylvania. As a two-year-old, Chucaro Arts Surco won an astounding 20 races in just 24 starts last year under the tutelage of trainer Sebastian Gonzalez. He is owned by the Bencardin Family of Argentina. Chucaro Art Surco closed out his 2016 season with a very impressive 1:57 track record triumph (1609 meters race) in the Argentina Breeders Crown Championship final. “He is feeling good,” Said trainer Angela Porfilio. “I already took him to jog a few laps and he is happy and very well behaved.” Porfilio has had success with other imports from Argentina, including Albionkinginfinito, who earlier this season won three straight races at the Meadows, including a lifetime mark of 1:52.4. Porfilio hopes that Chucaro Arts Surco, once adjusted to his new surroundings, will be the best Argentinian import ever to the USA. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Pompano Beach, FL --- Steven Wolf, president of the Florida chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association (USHWA), has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2017 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. Preference for these scholarship awards will be given to a student majoring in journalism, communications or veterinarian related studies. On average, there have been up to $3,000 awarded annually in scholarship money. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Applicants must have demonstrated scholastic ability with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.8 and show evidence of community service and leadership through certificates, awards and/or letters of commendation. Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than May 29, 2017, for consideration of a June 2017 award. Recipients may reapply annually for a maximum of four years. Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, 3508 Sahara Springs Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33068. For more information or to receive an application on the internet, contact via e-mail to Thomas H. Hicks at renparlc@gate.net or Steven Wolf at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA  

When we first started the harness racing newsletter feature "Insider Access" we aimed to release new issues every two weeks, however the workload to produce the Stallion reviews, combined with the day to day management of the Harnesslink website has been making this difficult. So henceforth we will release these issues within a longer, more sporadic timeframe. We appreciate your support and continued readership. Starting in this months Insider Access, author Tina Sugarman, whose debut novel, Horse Flesh, has been a number one top selling equine novel on Amazon.com, is going to share special excerpts from her superb novel only to Harnesslink.com followers! Then every week on Harnesslink, racing fans will get to read part of Horse Flesh. The novel is a page-turning thriller based around harness racing in Ontario, Canada. Harnesslink thanks author Tina Sugarman for sharing her great novel with the harness racing world! Also this month we bring you the most prolific analysis of the equal fastest three-year-old on the Planet, world champion racehorse and stallion, He's Watching. We also review the New Zealand Yearling Sales and salute our own operations director Steve Wolf on his Hall of Fame introduction at the Dan Patch Awards! It's FREE to sign up for Insider Access, just fill out the box below. If you are already a member you got our newsletter already!   Sign up to "Insider Access" Full Name Email Subscribe

The organizers of TROTBritain along with management at Chelmsford City Racecourse (CCR), have agreed to host dates for the running of LeTrot races in 2017. Two LeTrot races will take place on the Chelmsford City’s all-weather track on Tuesday, August 15, Saturday, September 30 and Thursday, October 12. All dates are subject to British Horseracing Authority and British Harness Racing Club approval. “Last season we experimented with our inaugural TROTBritain LeTrot races at Chelmsford City Racecourse and it was a smashing success.” Said TrotBritain’s George Button. “Both organizations were pleased to increase the racing for 2017 and now we have three race dates this season.” The races will again be shown in all the Betfred shops and as before some of the other big bookmakers will also feature the races. With the continued growth of LeTrot races, and the influx of horses due to the success of the new LeTrot three-year-old stakes initiative, TROTBritain hopes by 2018, to have full meetings at the South East of England All Weather Track. “CCR has recently received planning permission for a racino and a turf track to be built inside the existing all-weather track.” Said Button. “These are exciting developments for CCR. The ambitious commitment CCR management have made for the future, to develop their track, is great for horse racing in Great Britain, and also for TROTbritain and LeTrot. TROTbritain will endeavor to continually take trotting forward,” Button added. “to enable all the owners, trainers and drivers who have prepared to buy into what we are trying to achieve, the opportunity to race on the bigger stage for increasingly bigger prize money.” By Steve Wolf, for TROTBritain

The family of renowned horsemen, Aime J. Choquette, have finalized funeral arrangements that will take place this Saturday, February 4 in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Choquette, passed away January 24 at the CHSLD St-Vincent Hospital in Sherbrooke. He was 102 years old. He spent nearly all of his life working and training horses, starting with jumping and show horses early in his career in Quebec and then 30 plus years as a Standardbred harness racing trainer, working for the late Hall of Famer Delvin Miller. The family will be present at the Immaculate Conception Church, 1085 Adélard-Colette Street, Sherbrooke, in the presence of the ashes, starting at 10:00 am on Saturday, February 4, 2017, in order to receive sympathies from relatives and friends. A religious service will follow at 11:00 am. The ashes will be placed at the cemetery of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley at a later date. Aime Choquette was the brother of Suzanne, the late Gertrude, the late Beatrice, the late Robert, the late Gilles, the late Simonne, and the late Guy. He left his nephews, nieces: Yvan, Raymonde, the late Raymond, Louise, Claude, Pamela, Jocelyn Ann, Martha, the late Peter, Danielle, Peter Smith and many other nieces and nephews and many cousins in Quebec, the United States of America, and around the world. His relatives would like to sincerely thank Dr. Anne-Marie Boire-Lavigne and all the staff of the CHSLD St-Vincent (3-A) in Sherbrooke for the good care and good services received and thanks to all the staff of Résidences du Carrefour of Sherbrooke for their good services. In lieu of flowers, your remarks of sympathy can be translated into a donation to the VITAE Foundation and forms will be available on their website at http://www.coopfuneraireestrie.com/avis-de-deces/aime-choquette-138837/, or donations can be made to the Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund that assists horsemen and women in need. Checks can be made payable to "Florida Chapter USHWA" and posted to P.O. Box 669273, Pompano Beach, FL. USA, 33066. By Steven Wolf      

Harness racing's newest inductees to the Hall of Fame, driver Brian Sears and communicator Steve Wolf, will be the special guests on the top Thoroughbred radio show in south Florida Wednesday afternoon, It's Post Time With JJ Gracie. The program gets underway on the internet at 3:00 pm at www.wdbfradio.com. It's Post Time With JJ Graci takes place seven days a week, live on Thursday from the studio and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday they are on location at Gulfstream Park. The show features sessions about the horse racing industry, including harness racing, handicapping, live race calls, trivia with prizes, and great guests! Sears, a south Florida native and graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School, won his first race at age 16 at Pompano Park and hails from three generations of harness horsemen. Both his grandfather, Gene, and father, Jay, are inducted in the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Currently, Sears has amassed 9,714 driving wins, purse earnings of more than $176,000,000 and has a very impressive career UDR of .329. Wolf has been living for 17 years in south Florida. Starting out as an owner/breeder in 1977 with his father, Manny, and their Leo Wolf & Son Stable, he was the Director of Racing Operations at the Isle Pompano Park for nine years and is now a horse racing consultant. "I really like and appreciate harness racing," said JJ Graci, "and it will be great to have two of the sports newest inductees to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on our show Wednesday." You can follow It's Post Time With JJ Graci on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Its-Post-Time-with-JJ-Graci-227868714000411/?fref=ts. From It's Post Time With JJ Graci      

OFFALY, Ireland - It has been announced by Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud in Ireland, that they will be standing the French trotter, Rachmaninov Seven, for the 2017 breeding season. It will be the first time a French trotter has ever stood in Ireland. Acquired in a lease arrangement from his owner in Belgium, Rachmaninov Seven is a 12-year-old stallion sired by Korean from the Pelican Du Pont mare, Indiana Of The Bridge. Korean is also the sire of world champion racehorse Sebastian K. "We hope to have Rachmaninov Seven at Oakwood Stud by mid-March," said Derek Delaney. "It's great news for Oakwood to get involved in the breeding of French trotting horses here and to bring a horse of his calibre to the quality broodmares that have been bought in France for Ireland and the UK." The resulting foals from the 2017 season at Oakwood Stud will be eligible to all of the LeTrot Series in both Ireland and the UK plus they will be eligible to race not only in France, but throughout Europe. Rachmaninov Seven made 55 career starts with 12 wins, six second and four third place finishes with earnings of €418,975 and a record of 1.11.9 at 2175 meters. He was victorious in the Prix D'Angouleme, Prix Joseph Aveline, Prix De Clermont-Ferrand, Prix Magimnus and the Prix Bernard Le Quellec, all raced at Vincennes, Paris. He is owned by Lieven de Groot and is being leased from Star Breeding Company. 2017 will be the fourth season standing stud for Rachmaninov Seven. "His oldest foals are now three," Delaney said. "And the trainers are all talking good things about the ones they have training in Belgium. Delaney said they have not yet set a stud fee price for Rachmaninov Seven. "This is a win win situation for all of us." Delaney added. "The revitalization of the trotter here in Ireland and the UK over the last year thanks to the arrangements made with LeTrot in France is outstanding and growing by leaps and bounds." By Steven Wolf, for Oakwood Stud    

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  

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