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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, where all the latest news and announcements will be available throughout the year. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

Dublin, Ireland - Through the generous support and sponsorship of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee in Ireland and SSG Gloves in Canada, Sydney Weaver and her parents, Lisa and Don, will be going to Ireland in early August for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend. "We have invited Sydney to be our special guest speaker at our gala kickoff dinner Friday, August 12," said Derek Delaney, head of the VDM Committee. "I have been friends with her on Facebook and she is just wonderful. Her writing on harness racing and what she has achieved and done for our industry for a young woman is fantastic and she and her parents will be our honored guests at the races that weekend." The VDM weekend is the biggest harness racing weekend in all of Ireland and the UK. The VDM is named after Derek and James Delaney's younger brother Vincent, who worked with the horses at their Oakwood Stud training and breeding center. Vincent tragically died of a massive heart attack in 2011 at the age of 27 and the brothers came up with the VDM weekend as a tribute to their lost brother. The race weekend now features elimination races Saturday, August 13 for the VDM, which is for two-year-old pacers. A record number have entered and with the sponsorship support of Diamond Creek Farm and Adam Bowden, for the first time there will be a separate filly division too. The finals take place Sunday, August 14. Other top stakes that weekend include the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds, the RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA that is sponsored by Joe Bellino and the Bellino Racing Stable, LeTrot races plus other stakes events. Other sponsors from down under include Yirribee Stud and Pro-Dosa Boost feed suppliments.  "The VDM committee agreed to sponsor Sydney and her family for their hotel stay, dinner tickets and racetrack VIP access," Delaney added, "And they will be part of our tours to Oakwood Stud and carriage ride through downtown Dublin and have lunch in Temple Bar. They are going to have a super time in Ireland." Then steps in Ed James, owner of SSG Gloves. Ed is a big Sydney Weaver fan and when he heard about her being invited to come to Ireland, he set up SSG Gloves to sponsor the airfare for Sydney and her parents to go to Ireland. "I called up and talked to Sydney and told her the news." Ed James said. "And she was so excited. I also have sent her a few pairs of gloves to use when she goes jogging and to bring with her to Ireland. I know she will have a fantastic time." And what did Sydney have to say about all of this? "Unbelievable news, so fantastic and I can't believe this is all happening." Sydney said. "This is a dream trip come true. What great stories I am going to write about the people I meet, the places I see, the big dinner and the bigger race weekend. I have a lot of Facebook friends from Ireland and the UK and I hope to get to meet them in person now. "When I phoned and thanked Mr. James for the sponsorship," Sydney added, "I said I would proudly display an SSG Gloves patch on my racing colors that I will bring over, and Derek Delaney is getting me a Vincent Delaney Memorial patch too that will go on my colors once I get there. "I also got a very nice check from Hall of Famer and dear friend Bill Galvin, Sydney said. I still have to pinch myself that this is all for real." Sydney Weaver and her mom and dad are not the only ones who will be traveling to Ireland for the VDM weekend. Joining the Weavers will be Heather Vitale and her mom (JoAnn Looney-King) and sister (Susan Looney), the 2015 Dan Patch Driver of the Year, Aaron Merriman, New Zealand's top driver Dexter Dunn is returning along with Hall of Fame announcer, Roger Huston, who will be calling the races at Portmarnock Raceway for his third straight year. Michael Gallenti and Bill Hutchison of Harness Racing Travel is bringing a group of 40 from New Zealand and Australia, making the total nearly 70 that are coming to Ireland from down under. Their website is Dublin, Ireland will be the place to be August 12 to 14 for the VDM and more announcements of top Standardbred visitors from the USA will be made soon. For more information, visit By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee

Pompano Beach, FL --- Steven Wolf, president of the Florida chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association, has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2016 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of 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 equine 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 July 29, 2016, for consideration of a September 2016 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 or Steven Wolf at From the Florida Chapter of USHWA Allen J. Finkelson photo by Dan Gawlas   Steven Wolf Steven Wolf Consulting (954) 654-3757        

Amidst the current controversy concerning the use of the word “God” in a race horse’s name, I have taken pen in hand to explain the mistake I have made concerning the Harnesslink “Name Pinky’s Foal Contest” of the past few days. I was the one who came up with the idea for the contest, procured the prizes and set up the promotion. It was never intended to have this outcome. I should have called Standardbred Canada and checked with Registrar Linda Bedard on the eligibility of the names of the six finalists before Sunday’s announcement at Flamboro Downs. I did not do that and I am wrong for not doing so. It might have saved all this commotion from happening. Then again, it may not have. That being said, I still feel adamant that both organizations, whom have stated that not permitting the use of the word “God” or a religious statement in a horse’s name has been “unofficially” instrumented for years, is still wrong. The USTA posted a story yesterday saying I was irresponsible and misleading and that was not the case. I was told by SC to check the names with the USTA and I did that. We did talk a lot and there was confusion as per the horse being bred by a USA stallion but foaled in Canada. The issues here are not as much where the foal must be registered and whom can approve names and whom cannot, but the fact that both organizations stated that they do not want the word God used in a horse’s name and that they do not state that in their official rules. A simple one-line statement in the rules of both organizations explaining this should have been placed in the official rules once the respective boards came up with this concept. It may well happen in the very near future. If not for this occurrence, I would never have known in a thousand years that the word God cannot be used in a horse’s name, as have many other people. It was explained to me that in prior years the word God was allowed and even through both organizations try their best, some improper names still slip by. Improper names, I consider, include Domedomedome, Porno Queen and Nickel Bag as these are totally either sexually explicit or are a pure illegal drug reference. There are many other cases like this in pretty much all breeds of horses that have official registered names. It happens. Many get a good laugh out of them, many are offended by them and have issues when they bring their children to the races and have to hear the announcer shout them out. But when I can look up and see a foal of 2016 (USTA) officially registered with the name, Bythegraceofgod, then I think to myself, what did Sydney Weaver do that is so wrong to not have her Only God Knows Why name rejected? Heck, there is even a very popular stable registered in Canada called "The Stable That God Loves". I apologized to Sydney Weaver and her mom and dad for not doing my due diligence in calling Standardbred Canada or the USTA to get the six finalist names approved before the announcement. While the Weaver’s say I did not do anything wrong, and are still dumfounded that both Standardbred Canada and the USTA would not accept the name because it has the word “God” in it, I still did not do right by them in insuring that the contest would run smoothly as possible. That being said, and with Standardbred Canada saying that God cannot be used in a horse’s name, then can someone explain to me how they could support and have this article/video produced for Standardbred Canada that was up for a major award in 2015? There are two petitions online currently asking Standardbred Canada to allow the name to be used. I have signed both of them, even though one of them incorrectly states the USTA instead of Standardbred Canada. The Weavers have stated they will not end this battle for the name of the foal. I can’t blame them. I just wish people and organizations could get over this problem of being so “politically” correct in trying not to offend everyone that they forget common sense. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Below this article is the harness racing story about the naming of Sydney Weaver’s foal that took place at Flamboro Downs Sunday night. The story had been held up due to the refusal by Standardbred Canada (SC) to allow the name that Sydney Weaver chose to be used. The United States Trotting Association (USTA) also supports Standardbred Canada’s decision. This is because the winning name has the word God in it. Live on the air Sunday, the name Only God Knows Why was announced as the winner of the contest run by Harnesslink. Standardbred Canada’s Manager & Registrar, Linda Bedard, wrote to Harnesslink Monday morning and stated, “It has been brought to my attention that the winning name for "name Pinky's foal contest" is Only God Knows Why. The word "GOD" is not to be used in a horse name. Names for any contest should always be verified by the USTA or SC prior to releasing the winner.” The Weaver’s and Harnesslink gleaned through the rules and regulations and saw nowhere does it mention that God or religious names cannot be used. “There have been names of horses both in Canada and the USTA and in other countries that have God in it.” Said Lisa Weaver, Sydney’s mom. “There is God Only Knows, God Bless America, God Bless The USA, Goddess, Godspeed, Jesus Loves Me and many more God names. This is not right. “I understand that SC and the USTA have a job to do,” Weaver add, “they have to sort through so many names but why isn’t it listed in the rules that the word God or any religious references are not allowed or may be not accepted? We read these rules from top to bottom and it never mentions this. “Yes, they said they have final approval on all names and that we should have called them to check on the finalist’s names,” Weaver said, “but we never dreamed they stopped allowing the word God to be used and they have never updated it in the rules.” Harnesslink went back to SC and the USTA to try again and ask that the name be allowed. The answer from Linda Bedard was, “The rules states "...cannot be obscene or offensive, or endorse any form of hate or hate group". The word GOD can be offensive for some people, personally, I would be offended if a horse would be named "Only Allah Knows Why".  Words or references excluded in name are not listed as the list could be very long and can also change from time to time. There is a 39 year old horse named Terrorist, I remember in late September 2001 someone wanted to call their foal Terrorist and because of the timing the name was rejected. Nowadays, we do have to be very careful regarding religious references and for this reason the name Only God Knows Why will not be approved. While Standardbred Canada continues to work in co-operation with the United States Trotting Association to reserve horse names and reject those names that may be considered offensive or vulgar, the system is not foolproof and from time-to-time certain names do get passed us that are not within the guidelines of our rules, once found and the horse has not yet raced, the name is recalled and the horse is not allowed to race or breed until a new name is submitted. Most of USTA and SC members who are applying for horse names are familiar with the rules of naming horses which are published on both the USTA and SC websites and still hundreds of names are refused every year. Part of the process of naming a foal is to have the name verified and approved, which was not done in your case.” “I see names of horses racing that are offensive to myself and many others,” Lisa Weaver responded, “Names including Domedomedome, Nickle Bag and Porno Queen. Do you think we should allow our children to hear track announcers promoting those types of names at the races? You want to compare those names to using the word God? “When something wonderful happens to Sydney,” said Lisa Weaver, “and there has been times wonderful people cross our paths and we wonder why, and we believe everything happens for a reason -  Only God Knows Why is in the Cambridge Dictionary - and states:  used to emphasize that you do not understand something at all or have no knowledge of something at all.” “Why is this name so special to Sydney and our family,” Lisa Weaver said, “Is because Sydney has Cerebral Palsy, and all her life when she should ask why did I get this disease, the majority of time the answer she would get was “Only God Knows Why” and that is why this name is so special to her. “You can say that myself and Don are the most upset about all of this,” Weaver said. “Sydney is so great, she never complains, but she was very disappointed when they said she can’t have that name for her foal. I am not looking for anything special because this is Sydney. It’s just not right to not have the word God or any religious names or meanings in a horse’s name listed in the rules.” The Weaver’s said they will now wait and see what other courses of action they may take. Harnesslink has officially named the winner and second place finisher in the contest and will award them their prizes accordingly, regardless of what Sydney Weaver’s foal is named in the future.   Sydney Weaver’s foal now has a name After months of anticipation, owner Sydney Weaver of Acton, Ontario, now has a name for her special mare’s foal, and its Only God Knows Why. Sydney “Pinky” Seelster gave birth to a beautiful filly by Pet Rock on April 11 and Weaver teamed up with Harnesslink to have a contest to allow race fans to name the filly. Top prize for the winning name was a free breeding to two-time world champion pacer, He’s Watching, and the second place finisher would win $500 in free wagers on Flamboro Downs management graciously agreed to host the naming ceremony Sunday night and track announcer Gary Guy cleverly took Weaver’s top six choices for the filly and wove it into a race call.   The six finalist names were Just Pink It, Only God Knows Why, Pinky Promise, Seeled With A Kiss, Tickle Me Pink and When Dreams Are Real. Guy weaved all of the horses into the race and as they came down the stretch in the fictious race, it was Only God Knows Why winning with Seeled With A Kiss second and Tickle Me Pink third. “Tonight was an amazing night,” Sydney Weaver said. “There were so many great names that were submitted and I had a lot of fun going through them all. It was tough to pick just one name. Only God Knows Why was the name I kept coming back to every time I went over the list.” And the winner of the breeding to world champion He’s Watching is John Turnbull of Nova Scotia, Canada. He was the only one who entered the name God Only Knows Why. Turnbull works for Boilermaker Local 73 in Turo and has a small stable of horses with his father. “I knew about the announcement taking place Sunday night at Flamboro,” said John Turnbull, “But I was sound asleep after having just arrived back home after working for days in Fort McMurray in Alberta with the fires. “When I woke up the next morning there was a message from a friend of mine who was watching the races at Flamboro and he sent me a photo showing my name had won. Then there were all these emails and Facebook messages congratulating me. “I first saw the story about the contest to name Sydney’s foal,” Turnbull said. “And I started thinking of different names and remembered that was one of the names for a filly we had foaled last year but did not use it. So I figured I would enter that one. “Wow, it just blew me away that my name was selected by Sydney.” Turnbull added, “Then Sydney called me and congratulated me. That was great to speak with her.” John Turnbull has been involved in harness racing all his life. His father, Frazer Turnbull, has owned, bred and trained and drove horses since the late 1960’s. “I do the training and dad does the driving,” Turnbull said. Can John and his father make good use of the first place He’s Watching free breeding. “Oh yes,” Turnbull said. “My father and I had a decent race mare that we bred, Carol’s June Bug and her first foal is Junebugs Baby, who has made over $85,000 and has a record of 1:55.1. Dad was tickled pink when I told him we won the breeding to He’s Watching. It is perfect timing for the mare too!” The second place prize of $500 in wagering credit from went to Brenda Doherty of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Brenda was a former groom and owner who helped break Nononsensewoman as a yearling. She was also an under saddle jockey with Standardbreds. “This is so great,” Doherty said. “I was hoping that Sydney liked the name and I am so pleased even finishing second. I have not been working in harness racing for the last 17 years but still follow the sport and love it. I most certainly will have some fun with the $500 in free bets and thank you Harnesslink and WatchandWager!” “Thank you John Turnbull for submitting the name.” Sydney Weaver added, “Congratulations and hopefully you can come by and see her one of these days, or better yet, come in the winner’s circle when she wins her first race!” The breeding was generously donated by Muscara Racing Trust, Menary Racing, Inc., Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero. I want to thank everyone who submitted a name for the contest,” Weaver said. “You are all so wonderful. And I must thank Steve Wolf and Harnesslink for doing the contest, and Muscara Racing, Dave Menary, Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero for donating the breeding to He’s Watch. Also thank you Flamboro Downs for hosting the name drawing and to WatchandWager for putting up the $500 second place prize. Everyone made this such a special night and fun contest.” Sydney Weaver is 15 years old and resides in Acton, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom’s horses, jogs them on the track, owns the Standardbred Sydney Seelster, a Thoroughbred racehorse, has already won major youth writing awards and does public speaking. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals. By Steve Wolf, for

DUNDAS, ONT - This Sunday night, Mother's Day at Flamboro Downs, is when Sydney "Pinky" Seelster's newborn foal, a filly, will be officially named after a month long contest held by Pinky's owner, 15-year-old Sydney Weaver of Acton, has narrowed the list of nearly 500 names submitted from around the world to just six finalists and after the eighth race on Sunday at Flamboro Downs, the official name will be announced. The top prize winner will receive a breeding to two-time world champion pacer, He's Watching, who stands at both Tara Hills Farm in Port Perry and at Alabar Bloodstock in New Zealand. He's Watching's stud fee for the 2016 season is at $5,000. The breeding was generously donated by Muscara Racing Trust, Menary Racing, Inc., Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero. There is also a second place prize of $500 in free wagers on That prize winner will also be announced after the eighth race. "This was so hard and also so much fun," said Sydney Weaver. "There were too many great names that people came up with. I feel sad that only one of the names will be used. "I want to thank everyone that took the time to enter a name," Weaver added, "and especially say thank you to my friend and editor, Steve Wolf at Harnesslink, who set up the whole contest. Now I just have to be patient until Sunday night and then my little filly will have a name." Of the names submitted, 44.7% came from Canada, 39.9% from the USA, 7.8% from Australia and New Zealand and the remaining 7.6% from Ireland, UK and Europe. After the eighth race Sunday, Flamboro Downs track announcer Gary Guy will be joined in the Grandstand by Sydney Weaver and her parents, Lisa and Don, for the special live and unique naming ceremony. "I also must say thank you again to Joe Bellino, who donated the breeding to Pet Rock for Pinky," Sydney Weaver said, "and to the owners of He's Watching for their generosity in offering the first place prize and to WatchandWager for the second place prize and to Flamboro Downs for allowing the naming to take place at the track on Sunday. Everyone has been so super throughout the contest." Sydney Weaver is 15 years old and resides in Acton, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, owns the Standardbred Sydney "Pinky" Seelster, a Thoroughbred racehorse, has already won major youth writing awards and does public speaking. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink    

Dublin, Ireland - They may only be a little crazy by name, but the Looney Family from Delaware, USA, Jo Ann Looney-King, Susan Looney and Heather Looney Vitale, are all set to invade Ireland come this August for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend at Portmarnock Raceway. The baby of the Looney family, Heather, has spearheaded this adventure and in her third straight year of going to Ireland for the Vincent Delaney (August 13th and 14th), is bringing her mom and her sister to share the adventure. "When I tell people how incredible the Delaney Memorial weekend is," explained Heather Vitale, "I just have a hard time explaining it. I tell everyone about how much fun the atmosphere is and how friendly and enthusiastic the Irish are, but words don't give it justice. "You have to be there to really be able to understand how truly special it is!" Vitale said, "I talked about the weekend so much and how much fun it was and my mom and sister knew they had to experience it for themselves." Over the past four years, brothers Derek and James Delaney have developed the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend (named after their younger brother who tragically died of a massive heart attack in 2011), the biggest racing weekend in all of Ireland and the UK. The Delaney Memorial is for two-year-old pacers and is the richest stakes race in Ireland and the UK. This year, for the first time, there is a filly division sponsored by Adam Bowden and Diamond Creek Farm. Eliminations take place Saturday and the final is on Sunday. In addition to the Delaney Memorial, there are other major stakes events including the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial Championship for four-year-olds, the Rocknroll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace, sponsored by the Bellino Stable and LeTrot Series events. "I'm so happy we are taking this girls road trip," Vitale said. "The last time the three of us went on a trip together, it was 15 years ago! We are long overdue for some quality time like this and this race weekend is perfect. The Delaney brothers are so welcoming and the horsemen and women are so passionate and the fans are so much fun." "We love having Heather here the past two years," Derek Delaney said with a grin and a smile. "But I don't know if Ireland is ready for the whole family. It will be our pleasure to have Heather's mom and sister with us too. They are great horse people and we will show them a super time." Jo Ann Looney-King is no stranger to harness racing. She was the first woman driver ever to win a race at the Meadowlands and this past year was the 2015 Billy Haughton Good Guy Award winner at the USHWA Dan Patch Dinner. This past year she trained the top three-year-old pacer, Wakizashi Hanover and currently has the undefeated trotter Maestro Blue Chip in perfect form. "After hearing Heather talk about her trips to Ireland," Looney-King said, "I knew I had to get over there and see it for myself. I've never been to Ireland before so this is going to be fantastic. I'm really looking forward to the racing over there and meeting the horsemen and women who love this sport. The entire adventure should be wonderful from the trip to Oakwood Farm to walking around Dublin. "I'll be 70 this month (May 14)," Looney-King admits, "and I can't think of a better way to celebrate a milestone year than enjoying Ireland with my daughters." And older daughter Susan Looney, is no stranger to harness racing. She was the youngster driver ever to win a race at the Meadowlands at age 16 in 1983 and then went on to become the first woman driver ever to win at Garden State Park. She now has her Doctorate in law and education and is presently the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the Reading Area Community College. "I am so excited about joining my sister and my mother in Ireland." Susan Looney said. "After watching the videos my sister took while she was there the past two years, I couldn't resist joining her this summer. I am so looking forward to seeing the beautiful country and the inspiring harness racing in Ireland." It will not be all play and little work for Heather Looney Vitale while in Ireland. She will be doing live Facebook broadcasts from Portmarnock Raceway during the week along with added features from her trip for her show, Post Time, in the USA. Vitale, in addition to producing her Post Time show in the USA, also has co-hosted the CBS Sports Net Little Brown Jug broadcast in 2014 and 2015. For more information about the Labrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend visit By Steve Wolf for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee  

Final weekend to enter Name “Pinky’s” Foal Contest


Acton, Ontario - In the wee hours of the early morning Monday, Sydney "Pinky" Seelster had a filly, and nobody in the harness racing industry could not be happier than their owner, Sydney Weaver. Her first Facebook post was at  3:42 am along with a photo of the newborn daughter of Pet Rock. The text from Sydney Weaver said, "Baby Joe has arrived! For all of you who read my story on Harnesslink about  The Anticipation of Waiting for a foal, Sydney Seelster had Baby Joe on a wintry night. We will be going to the Juggette instead of the Jug." Of course Sydney Weaver was on hand for the blessed event along with her parents, Lisa and Don Weaver. Not knowing if it was to be a filly or a colt, Sydney affectionately named the unborn foal, Baby Joe, after Pet Rock's owner, Joe Bellino, who donated the breeding to Sydney Seelster for Pet Rock. And what will the name be for this pretty little filly? That will be announced later this week in a special Harnesslink exclusive press release. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

Lake Worth, FL - All eleven of the horses rescued from the devastating barn fire last Wednesday at the South Florida Trotting Center will now be getting daily therapeutic laser treatments. Dr. Bruce Coren, DVM, MS and CEO of Technological Medical Advancements, LLC of West Palm Beach, was informed about the fire and the surviving horses and immediately "stepped up" and donated the use of one of his high power, high dose Diowave IV Therapeutic lasers. Dr. Coren came out to the South Florida Trotting Center Monday afternoon to demonstrate to the staff how to use the laser. "I want owner Sam Stathis, trainers Tom Haughton and Roman Lopez, and their staff to have this laser unit as long as it takes to help heal these horses," Dr. Coren said. "As soon as I heard what had happened I knew I had to help out. "Our laser therapy is the fastest way that the burn wounds on these horses can be healed," Dr. Coren explained, "and this laser will also help heal the horse's lungs from the smoke and heat that have seared them inside. This is the strongest laser I have ever developed and is 60 watts of power. Most other lasers are just 15 and 30 watts." Dr. Coren co-invented the first class IV laser back in 2002 and his company received FDA clearance for the first class IV laser in 2003. "These laser treatments will also help stimulate hair growth," Coren added. "There is a very good chance that the burned patches on many of these horses will grow their hair back." Joining Dr. Coren on Monday in instructing the staff on procedures to help the injured horses was Janus Marquis, who is the official physiotherapist for the U.S. Showjumping Team. "Lasers work at reducing inflammation and increasing circulation," Explained Marquis. "The light is absorbed by the tissue, it makes tissue healthier on a cellular level." "Words cannot express how grateful I am to Dr. Coren and Janus Marquis for coming to our aid with this great technology," said Stathis, owner of the South Florida Trotting Center and also owner of the first four horses that were released from the equine hospital this past weekend. "This is a miracle come true having Dr. Coren and Janus Marquis assisting us," Stathis said. "God didn't want to take these horses. So many in our industry have been coming forward to help them both physically and with their well-wishes, sympathy and prayers. It's overwhelming how wonderful everyone has been during these trying times. Every day more people are coming forward and offering their help." The fire on Wednesday, March 16 killed 12 of the 23 horses in the barn. Two of the horses are still in critical condition at the Reid & Associates Equine Hospital in Loxahatchee. The remaining four horses at the hospital are improving. A horse racing online radio program, Post Time with Mike and Mike, has set up a GoFund Me account to help the horsemen and the training center. The group will split all funds raised through the site between trainers Roman Lopez and Thomas Haughton to help offset the cost of damages because of the fire. Anyone wishing to donate to the fund can go to or by visiting By Steve Wolf for Stathis Enterprises  

Lake Worth, FL - Four of the horses rescued from the devastating barn fire at the South Florida Trotting Center have returned home. Celebrity Lover, Celebrity Tsipras, Celebrity Artemis and Celebrity Lambo were all released from Reid & Associates Equine Hospital late Friday afternoon. All four of the horses suffered burns on their backs and some on their necks and rumps. Seven of the injured horses remained at the Hospital in Loxahatchee and it was not clear when they would be released. As the returning horses were removed from their trailer, all had visible burn injuries. Each will need to be monitored over the next several weeks for upper respiratory and lung issues, and the horses may require hyperbaric oxygen treatments, said Sam Stathis, owner of the four horses and the owner of the South Florida Trotting Center. "They're not in extreme danger, but (there's) caution that they're not out of the woods with the respiratory issues," he said. "They need 24 hour a day care. We thought it better that they live on the farm and we hand walk them so they don't get psychological issues. They've been through enough." Stathis said veterinarians will come to the center each day, to tend to the recovering animals. Stathis lost one of his own horses, but had four survive. He said he's taking responsibility for all horses in the barn that burned. "I'm ecstatic that the first four horses have returned to the farm," Stathis said. "And we are doing everything possible to insure that the remaining seven will come home too. I can't wait for that day to come." By Steven Wolf for Stathis Enterprises    

Lake Worth, FL (March 16, 2016) - A barn fire has claimed the lives of approximately 12 horses at the South Florida Training Center early Wednesday morning. It has been reported that 23 horses were housed in the single barn that was engulfed in flames and that 11 has been rescued. Two have been taken to a local equine hospital in critical condition. "This is just devastating," said farm owner Sam Stathis. It was his barn that caught fire. Horses were also stabled in the barn for trainers Roman Lopez and Thomas Haughton. "I am sick with grief over the horses that have lost their lives," Stathis said. "The Palm Beach Fire Department did all they could and saved many of the horses." Two firefighters were taken to an area hospital to be treated for injuries. The fire was first reported around midnight and the The Fire Department will be conducting a full investigation into the cause of the fire. Located on 441/SR 7, the South Florida Training Center is a Standardbred harness racing facility and home to nearly 500 horses. The single barn was the only one affected by the fire. Stathis, owner of the South Florida Training Center, also owns Stathis Enterprises and is the founder of the World Chariot Racing Federation. A horse racing online radio program, Post Time with Mike and Mike, has already set up a GoFund Me account to help the horsemen and the training center. The group will split all funds raised through the site between trainers Roman Lopez and Thomas Haughton to help offset the cost of damages because of the fire. Anyone wishing to donate to the fund can go to or by visiting "The early outpouring of concern from so many people this morning is tremendous," Stathis said. "I am financially fine, but hope that everyone could support this fundraising for Roman and Tommy. They have lost everything." By Steve Wolf, for Stathis Enterprises    

Manchester, England - It would most certainly be an understatement that harness racing has been a lifelong passion for over 65 years for one family from Manchester. The Mather family. Trainer/driver Paul Mather (age 62) and his brothers Peter and George were introduced at a young age to the trotters and pacers by their late father, Frederick Ephraim Mather. Frederick was a harness racing enthusiast who owned and trained many horses and also brought his sons into the sports. At the age of 16, Paul was racing and training pacers, but there came a turning point for Paul that would see him turn away from pacers to trotters. A special horse he had named 'Star Trade', was very successful and won many races as a pacer, but Star Trade would often trot when jogging so Paul decided to convert him to a trotter and it turned out very well as he went on to win 13 trot races, including the two classics, the Prakas and the Roosevelt. Paul has never owned a pacing horse since, although pacers are still in the stable as Paul's brother Peter, continues to train and race them. Paul has imported many trotters from France and Belgium over the years and also owns British bred trotters to specifically compete in the 'Prakas' which is for British bred horses only, and that he won most recently in 2015 with Wildcat Supreme. Paul is a committee member of the TROTBritain group formed 20 years ago to enable trotting in Britain to begin to grow. TROTBritain is dedicated to the progression of trotting in Great Britain. Since 2014 and the beginnings of The 'Le Trot' agreement, Paul, his son Paul, Jr. and his brother, Peter, now own and train four French trotting horses, one of which is named Show Business, who was drawn in the 2015 March sale. Show Business has shown to become above the rest racing 16 times, winning six times with three second place and one third place finish. He was awarded Trotter of the Year in 2015 and Paul won the Driver of the Year honors and was invited to Vincennes, France to receive his award and take part in the 'Prix de Internationals' race which saw drivers from 18 European countries take part. Paul lived his dream that day of driving at Vincennes. He may have finished 8th out of the 18 drivers in the field, but just being in the race was an honor to him. "I would have given good money for a drive on that track," Mather's said of Vincennes," and I was lucky enough to do it for free, a lifelong dream come true!" Show Business is 10 years old and is sired by Game Jet from the mare Ketty D'Epinay, who had a race record 1:14 over 2400m At Beaumont De Lomangne France. His first start in 2016 will be in May at Tir Prince. He races in the Gold Division, which is the same as an Invitational or Open Class in North America. "Show Business has been a real easy horse to work with," Mather explained. "He does exactly what is asked of him and puts in 110% from behind the gate. It is a pleasure to drive. I've thoroughly enjoyed the 2015 season with him and am counting the days for the 2016 season to begin. The horse makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and that's a result because I'm bald!" Currently the Mather Stable has seven horses in training. Other stars include Staz Hazelhaar, who broke the English record over one mile in 2:00, erasing a ten-year-old record. Wildcat Supreme currently holds the mile and one quarter 3yr old record for an English bred trotter while Sheila B'Devotion and Piece of Sleipner are both top performers. The future is looking very prosperous with the Le Trot deal as this is the third year of the special program. More than 15 horses are being selected from various parts of France commencing Monday 14th March and arriving in the UK hopefully the following week. All together in the first two years, 45+ horses/mares have been brought over from France with another 15 coming over soon. And for those looking to reap some of the purse money from the special LeTrot Series events, just remember, Show Business is once again eligible to the series and Paul Mather is ready to guide him to another Trotter of the Year season. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

WALES, UK – Track management at Tir Prince Raceway has announced that an agreement has been reached with Oakwood Stud in Ireland to become the lead sponsor of the British Harness Racing Club’s(BHRC) Derby in 2016. Now to be called the Oakwood Stud BHRC Derby, the renamed classic will be held on Saturday, September 3, 2016. First nomination payments are due on March 1. The Derby is for three-year-old pacers whose owners must make all four nomination payments. The distance for the race is one and one-half miles. With the support of Oakwood Stud, there will be both colt and filly separate division. “We at Tir Prince Raceway are delighted and honored that Oakwood Stud is sponsoring the BHRC Derby which is being held at our raceway on Saturday 3rd September,” said Racing Director Eric Witherspoon. “Derek and James Delaney are two of the most innovative, hardworking and professional people in harness racing in the UK and Ireland and we are proud to be associated with Oakwood Stud.” The first nomination fee of £100 is due payable by 1st March 2016. The first sustaining fee £50 payable by 1st April 2016; then £50 payable by 1st May 2016, 1st June £50, 1st July £50 and the final sustaining fee of 1st August £50.00. The estimated prize fund is £5,000. Horses can be supplemented into the race for £750 up to the 19th August 2016. “My brother James and I are dedicated to helping harness racing grow,” said Oakwood Stud’s Derek Delaney. We are proud in sponsoring the BHRC Derby. I think this will be the year that the track record for the Derby, 3.04.4 held by the great Cams Best, will be broken after twelve years. Wouldn’t that be grand?” For additional information contact Eric Witherspoon at By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Tuesday, February 16, 2016) - J L Benson Stable owner, Joel Benson, announced today that his free online horse racing game, 10wins10, will be extended to March 31. The unique online game developed to attract new millennial players to horse racing, offers a $10,000 prize that Benson has put up himself. The free game at, calls for players to correctly select 10 straight pari-mutuel race winners. It features one horse race daily from Thoroughbred and Standardbred tracks in North America to select the winner in. The game includes a race program, tutorial instructions and professional handicapper tips to help beginners. "The game has been so popular," Benson said, "and with thousands of players competing I decided to extend it a few more weeks until March 31." The game came about from Benson's 40 years of consumer brand marketing as founder/CEO of EventNetUSA and his love for horse racing. "Horse racing needs to educate a new, younger crowd, making them aware of the entertainment, social excitement, and wagering opportunities in horse racing," stated Benson. "We have put up the $10,000 cash prize (and a $500 consolation prize if no-one reaches 10) to attract these people to racing, and get them to join us in coming out to the track. Now just two and a half weeks into the launch, we have two players with four win streaks going into today's race. Registration is at and players have until midnight prior to the day of the race to make their winner selection. "It is so heartfelt the countless number of emails and Facebook messages we have received." Benson said. "Players from all over the world saying thank you for developing the game, and they are having fun playing. It's a feel good situation and I want to keep it going. "As I have said before," Benson added, "We need to encourage new fans to learn about horse racing and this game has worked so far. No gimmicks, no credit card, just be age 18 or over and sign up for the game." For more information about or to set up an interview with creator Joel Benson, contact Steve Wolf at 954-654-3757 or From

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