Harrington, DE --- Harrington Raceway’s 68th season of live harness racing will get underway Monday night (April 21) with a 15-race program scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. There will be a hat giveaway (while supplies last) at 5 p.m. on the lower level of the grandstand, as well as $1 hot dogs and $1 live racing programs throughout the evening. Most of the track regulars are back in action including 2013 leading trainer Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. and leading drivers Ross Wolfenden and George Dennis, who finished in a deadlock last season. There is also a new face on the opening day program, as one of the leading drivers on the Yonkers Raceway circuit, Eric Goodell, will be in town competing in nine races. The featured $17,000 Open is carded sixth on the program and will wrap up the Pick-4 wager (races three-six). Cataway Racing Stable’s Lollipop Kid (2-1, Victor Kirby), who was claimed on February 27 at Dover Downs for $25,000, was installed as the morning line favorite on the heels of a lifetime best win in 1:49.1 at Dover. The wagering format will appear similar in years past to the Harrington faithful, as superfecta wagering will be available in all races but race three, the first leg of the Pick-4. Harrington’s signature race, the Bobby Quillen Memorial, will be held on Sept. 8 (eliminations if necessary) and Sept. 15 (final). Last year‘s event featured a stirring stretch duel from Clear Vision and Foiled Again with the former prevailing in a track record 1:49.2. Harrington will race on a Sunday through Wednesday schedule with the exception of closing night for the spring/summer season on July 3. There will be a hiatus until the annual Governor’s Night at the Races program on July 25, before the meet resumes on a Monday through Thursday schedule on August 18. Customers wishing to make clubhouse reservations are encouraged to do so by calling 302.398.5920. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway
It was a tough week in Eskilstuna, where we picked four legs and two outright winners (should have had four but I got cute) and so turned a might have been profitable week into a sour one. We picked Claes Boko in the first at $2.54 and Maverick Man at $2.88 in the last but they were favourites and we only got $10.84 from our $14 single wager spend. If I’d gone with the other first pick runners that we had in Legs 4 and 5, who both got home at $4.08 and $6.58 we would have been $21.76 better off, which would have come in handy offsetting our two blanks in Paris. Anyhoo we pick ourselves up again and dust off with this week’s racing at Enghien, France and Romme Sweden. V75-1 Bronze division 2140m: From this draw BBS Sugarlight (3) looks an obvious anchor in this after starting off the year with four impressive wins on the trot in this company. Selection 3 V75-2 Klass II 2140m: I left this race until last to select because it was so open. Venkatash (8) is a good horse but I don’t like the draw, and so I think he can be beaten. Borga Effekt (5) with Bjorn Goop aboard is my win selection but I’m also going to throw in Chippen As (1) Rigatoni (2) and Peking Duck (11) on to my ticket. Selection 8-5-1-2-11 V75-3 Rommeheatet - Olympiatravet, (Gold) 2140m: Elitloppet winner Nahar (3) will be getting serious with the big races coming into view and will be ready for this, his second start back from a Winter break. World record holder Digital Ink (7) and reigning Swedish champion On Track Piraten (8) are two seriously good horses and will have a say in this, so this is a three-way for mine. Selection 3-7-8 V75-4 Coldbloods, 2640m: Manprinsen A.M. (10) and Stamping (12) are the two early favourites and these usually win in coldbloods and I’m going for the latter as my win pick. Selection 12 (10) V75-5 Elite mares 2140m: Caramella B.F (3). from the inside draw looks the one to beat but Hankypanky Pagan (7) and Blended Bellouet (8) from the outside and Xena Brick (14) from the second line look like they can get in the play here. Selection 3-7-8-14 V75-6 Silver division 1640m: The promising Prey Frontline (2) and the impressive last start winner Utility Bus (9) are the two that stand out in a strong field. Our two in that order. Selection 2 (9) V75-7 Klass I 2640m: We have to find an anchor somewhere with our system, and although this is no certainty, we will have to keep our fingers crossed that Asterix Hornline (1) keeps up his win streak. He’s got a great draw and three wins in a row although gate speed a worry. Selection 1 R: 7 Prix de l’Atlantique (UET Masters) Group I, 2150m: Super field here with the likes of the world’s best mare Roxane Griff, rising French stars Tiego d’Etang and Univers de Pan (the early favourite) , and the French trained European imports Pascia’ Lest (Italy) and Caballion (Sweden) fronting up at Paris’ second track. But Enghien is flat, and this is the realm of Timoko, who will have had an early morning exertion at stud prior to this race, although I’m sure he can handle it. Timoko it is at nice odds $5 and I’ll take that thanks. Selection: 2 TOTAL COMBINATIONS 60 – Cost $5, +1 alternate $10, + 2 alternate $20 SINGLE WAGERS $2 Saturday Enghien R7: Timoko (2) Sunday Romme Race 5 BBS Sugarlight (3) Race 6 Borga Effekt (5) Race 7 Nahar (3) Race 8 Stamping (12) Race 9 Caramella B.F (3). Race 10 Prey Frontline (2) Race 11 Asterix Hornline (1)
Last week the ring-around produced five winners including my each-way bet of the week Dream Gal, which bolted in at odds of $6 and $1.80. Others to tip out winners included Mark Jones, Steve Richardson (TAB), Todd Mitchell, Matt Williamson, and Tim Williams. Let’s see what good oil we can dig up this week. Cambridge - Thursday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for unbeaten juvenile trotter The Driving God - race five. Scott Phelan: Thinks Seven Blue Chips can make the most of his ace alley in race number six. Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Thomas McBride to prove very hard to beat in the seventh race on the card. Simon Lawson: Has opted for Ton Tine as his Harnesslink Bet of the Week – race nine. Forbury - Thursday Nathan Williamson: Thinks the very consistent Nickelson will get some money in race three. Ricky May: Is very bullish about the chances of Pay Me Sush in the sixth race on the card. John Dunn: Has opted for Graduate Under Fire, who has been in brilliant form of late. He looks well placed in race number seven. Gavin Smith: Thinks Vincennes looks well suited to the short 1200 metre sprint distance in race nine on the card. Terry Chmiel: Expects Moondyne Joe, who was in need of a run when third in a good field last start at Addington, to prove too good - race eleven. Blair Orange & Mark Jones: Have both opted for Strike On Command, who is unbeaten from two appearances at Forbury Park - race twelve. Jonny Cox: Rates Sara Holley, who has drawn well for Thursday’s assignment, as a very good each-way bet. She also competes in the last race on the card. Tim Williams: Has added to the puzzle by tipping Bobbie McArdle in race twelve. Trifecta perhaps? Addington - Saturday Josh Dickie: Was impressed with how Speeding Spur trialled on Monday and expects him to highly competitive in the Two-year-old Trotting Stakes - race four. Anthony Butt: Has opted for impressive two-year-old trialist Curlimore, who looks a great chance from a good alley in race number six. Matthew Williamson: Expects Zhenya to appreciate the drop back in class in race number seven. Craig Thornley: Thinks Given only needs to trot to be competitive - race eleven. Ken Barron: Was very pleased with Pacquiao last start and expects him to prove very hard to beat in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Snooki – Hawera (Saturday), race three. Each-way: Prince Fearless – Addington (Saturday), race four. Curlimore - Addington (Saturday), race five Value: Dark Side - Forbury Park (Thursday), race five.
TORONTO, April 14 - After failing to find the winner's circle in both preliminary legs, Reasonable Force found his best stride when it counted the most as he captured this year's edition of the $36,200 Youthful Series final Monday at Woodbine. In doing so, the Doug McNair-driven sophomore returned $33.00 to his backers. McNair and Reasonable Force were in no hurry off the gate as Account Rollover (Randy Waples) cleared to the lead past the opening station in :27.1. Account Rollover, who found the wire in the first leg of the series, continued to lead his nine rivals past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. McNair began the first-over attack around the final turn and was within striking distance of the tempo-setter turning for home. Down the stretch, McNair asked his charge for more pace and the three-time winner responded with a two length win. Post time favourite Andreios Kardia (Steve Byron) finished second, with Dragon Seelster (Paul Macdonell) finishing third. Trained by Tony Montini for owners Doug Dunbar and Steve LeBlanc, Reasonable Force lifted his career earnings to $44,840. The son of Shadow Play now has a 2-2-1 record from eight starts this season. Also on Monday's program, the second round of the Lifetime Dream series continued with two $18,000 divisions. Rose Run Oriana (Randy Waples) kicked-off the 10-race programme with a 1:54.2 score in the first division. The daughter of Trainforthefuture enjoyed a new career best in the debut for trainer Corey Johnson. Waples led gate-to-wire with the 15-time winner through panels of :28, :57 and 1:25.3, before fending off 3/5 favourite Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) in deep stretch to win by one and a half lengths. Samira Hanover (Paul Macdonell) finished third. Owned by Rolling Hills Racing Stables, Rose Run Oriana will look for the series sweep next week as her bankroll increased to $134,717. She paid $4.90 to win. One race later, Her Name Is Lola (Phil Hudon) enjoyed her fifth career score at odds of 3-1. The daughter of Majestic Son laid parked on the outside at the quarter in :28.2, before clearing to the lead before the half in :57.2. From there, the trotting miss led her five rivals past in 1:26.1 before fending off a late challenge from Frisky Magic (Randy Waples) to win by a nose. Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Trained by Russell Bax for Baxmar Holsteins Ltd, Her Name Is Lola increased her bankroll to $85,560. She paid $8.70 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Roland Beaulieu, best known for his 1970s stars Columbia George, Skipper Walt and Romalie Hanover, passed away Thursday, April 10, at his home in Orlando, Fla. At the age of 98. A native of Lewiston, Maine, with a large population of French Canadians, Beaulieu didn't learn English until his teenaged years and then employed himself by opening a bar and snack shop, although he was a teetotaler. In his mid 20s, when he developed health issues, a doctor advised him to get more fresh air and he started spending time with harness horses on the Maine fair circuit, and harness racing became his life's work. Early in his career he developed the stakes winner Eileen Eden and the raceway notables Regal Pick and Adam Eden. In 1969, training horses for Dr. George Smith of Byram, Conn., Beaulieu became a fixture on the Grand Circuit with the two-year-old pacing colt Columbia George. Beaulieu knew the colt had talent, but he also had a couple of bowed tendons. He made a special leg paint to treat the affliction and with the help of his wife, Blondie, the Good Time colt won 12 races as a two-year-old and set seasonal, track and world records. As a three-year-old Columbia George won the American-National, a Hanover-Hempt, a heat of the Adios, a heat of the Little Brown Jug, and a heat of the Tattersalls Pace, but his nemesis Most Happy Fella was a tough adversary. To read the rest of the story click here.
I realize that many believe ten-year-old Foiled Again is hands down the greatest harness racing greybeard pacer ever, but that simply isn’t true. Yes, Foiled Again has won more money than any Standardbred ever in North America, but another aging gelding, one who used to hold that title, was better—Cardigan Bay. Stanley Dancer leased him from Down Under for $100,000 in the winter of 1964, when he was eight. The horse had come close to being destroyed two years earlier when he sustained a serious hip injury. The Hal Tryax gelding had won more than thirty stakes races in his home country, often handicapped as much as 132 yards at the start. His earnings stood at $156,000. He made his first start at Yonkers Raceway in May of that year. It was a winning effort and the following week he faced the great Overtrick in the mile and a half International Pace, losing a neck. Two weeks later he was the 1/2 favorite in the mile and a quarter Good Time Pace and had no trouble beating the likes of Meadow Skipper, Henry T Adios, Rusty Range, Adora’s Dream, Irvin Paul and Country Don. There aren’t any fields of FFA pacers like that today. He then beat the same bunch in the two mile National Championship. Cardigan Bay and Overtrick then traded narrow wins in a pair of match races. In 1965, as a nine-year-old, Cardigan Bay popped splints in his front legs and had surgery on one of those legs. When he got back in early June he crushed a FFA field which included Fly Fly Byrd and Bengazi Hanover, from the outside post. He then won the $50,000 Dan Patch Pace at a mile and a half over Oreti, Cold Front and Fly Fly Byrd. In September he won the $50,000 Bye Bye Byrd at a mile and a half, paying 2.80. Cardigan Bay won three more at Yonkers before going to California where he beat giant slayer Adios Vic in three of four races, after which he returned to New York and won the NPD and the Nassau. Foiled Again has won an impressive 39% of his lifetime starts. Cardigan Bay won 52% of his in North America and Down Under. Each of them are credited with 20 stakes wins in North America, and Foiled Again is still racing. Again, Cardigan Bay also won more than thirty stakes before he was imported. At age ten Cardy started the season with a win at Liberty Bell, and then moved on to Yonkers where he won seven stakes races, including the $100,000 mile and a half International Pace, where he created the largest minus pool ever--$33,000. $143,435 of the $151,750 bet to show was on him. They then barred him from betting in the mile and a quarter Good Time, which he also won over Adora’s Dream and Orbiter N. Adios Vic was then favored in the $50,000 National Pace, only because there was no betting on Cardy. He made three moves and pulled away from Vic in the last quarter. Bret Hanover had never been beaten on a half when Cardy did it in the Pace of the Century at Yonkers. Bret returned the favor a week later at Roosevelt. Cardy capped that season with a win in the $50,000 Nassau Pace at a mile and a half . He paid $3.60. In 1967, when Cardigan Bay was eleven, he started the season by equaling the track record at Windsor in the Provincial Cup—this is in March. Fearing minus pools tracks refused to give him a race. Finally Roosevelt relented and the grizzled gelding crushed Orbiter and Tactile, paying 2.40. He’d been handicapped with the outside post, but the track insisted that from that point on he would also be handicapped by yardage, something that was unheard of in North America. Dancer balked and sat the next one out. Every year there was a new wave of stars graduating to the FFA ranks: Romeo Hanover, True Duane, Bret Hanover and Romulus Hanover. Cardy was showing his age, but was still a formidable opponent, with early season wins in the Valley Forge, provincial Cup and Clark. In May, when he beat True Duane in the Adios Butler at Roosevelt, he paid $10.60, which was the highest payoff on Cardigan Bay to that point in North America. Dancer’s goal was that he become the first ever million dollar winning Standardbred, which he did by winning a $15,000 Pace at Freehold in the fall over little Robin Dundee and Jerry Gauman. This put him in the company of the eight thoroughbreds who had become millionaires. He was retired at Yonkers Raceway on October 12. Cardigan Bay certainly gets extra points for dominating at all distances, from a mile to two-miles. On the other hand, Foiled Again doesn’t have that opportunity so you can’t hold that against him. Cardy was more of a consistent big time player than Foiled Again has been; yes, those were significant triumphs in the TVG and BC last year, but there are too many wins in the Quillen, Molson, IPD, Battle of Lake Erie and Levy, and not enough of the top tier FFA stakes. Cardy won the Good Time twice, the National Championship twice, the Nassau twice, the Provincial Cup twice, the International, the Pace of the Century, the Clark, Dan Patch ….And the fact that he had never paid off at higher than 4/1 during his first four years racing in North America is noteworthy. Foiled has gone off at double digits many times. Cardy was a preeminent force at ten and eleven. We’ll see if Foiled Again also rules in his old age. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/
We had a decent go last week as Apprentice Hanover finally came through at a decent price plus I had the exacta and trifecta cold and they paid better than expected. We broke even for the night which is also OK. This week I am not including any of the Levy Series divisions as they all feature 3/5 chalk that should not get beaten. This weekend we have a lot of action both Friday and Saturday night mainly between Yonkers and the Meadowlands plus a nice Preferred Pace at Woodbine. Good Luck! $40,000 Matchmaker Series Pace Yonkers 4th race FRIDAY – Despite being winless in all their starts this year, the Ron Burke Stable entry of Charisma Hanover/Bettor B Lucky may finally have landed in a division the Matchmaker Series they can dominate. Short field should enable either of them to find some live cover to score from. Use Monkey On My Wheel and Sheeliscape in exotic plays. $40,000 Matchmaker Series Pace Yonkers 5th race FRIDAY – Last week Angels Delight saw her five-race win streak come to an end but still put in a super game effort. I look for her to once again make the most of her inside post position and return to her winning ways. Use Anndrovette and the entry of Rocklamation/Camille in exotic plays. $22,500 Artistic Vision Series Pace Meadowlands 6th race FRIDAY – What a great matchup here. Full field of 11 fillies and mares headlined by return winners American in Paris and Road Bet. But the one I think will return to her winning ways is JK Letitgo. She cut all the fractions for American In Paris to score from last week and I think from the rail again she will lead the field but not give up the lead so easy. Use the entry of American In Paris/Art Deal and Road Bet in exotic plays. $25,000 Final Dash For The “C” Note Pace Meadowlands 7th race FRIDAY – Every starter in this field has been first, second or third in the series and makes for a well matched final. The Mark Capone entry of Abrokenart Hanover/Always On A Roll looms the overwhelming favorite and rightly so. They both won their last starts, each by a neck, and will be all out in here for a big purse. Use Nutmegs Cider and Its De Lovely in exotic plays. $38,000 Open Handicap Trot Yonkers 8th race FRIDAY – Tough call in this field and despite not having made a start in nearly a month I am going with DW’s NY Yank. Burke Stable would not have sent him back in if he was not ready for action. Has overcome outside post in the past and with strong gait speed he will be able to grab good position to score from. Use Super Manning and Coraggioso in exotic plays. $40,000 Matchmaker Pacing Series Yonkers 11th race FRIDAY – Ineey meany miney moe, you nearly need a dart board to help make a pick in this field. Short but powerpacked goup of mares will do battle here and all of them are super competitive. Going to go with Somwherovrarainbow as she is undefeated in the series so far and has been razor sharp from both on and off the pace. Use Summertime Lea and Yagonnakissmeornot in exotic plays. $30,000 A-2/A-1/FFA Handicap Pace Meadowlands 2nd race SATURDAY – It’s the four-year-old Dovuto Hanover against the veteran pacing champ Golden Receiver. Dovuto Hanover has been winning the battle as of late with two straight wins but I’m putting my money down on Golden Receiver, who after a week’s rest should be primed and ready to wire the field and let no one catch him this week. Use Dovuto Hanover and Allstar Ledgend in exotic plays. $25,000 Final Dash For The “C” Note Pace Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – Once again this series has produced some super competitive finals and this one is no different. Six return winners makes who ever can score in hear return a handsome payoff. I am going with Sky McFly, who has gotten perfect drives the last two weeks and rewarded backers with wins. Should be battling early in this race and he will find cover to work his way to the front once again. Use That’s Justice and Stallone Blue Chip in exotic plays. $22,500 Whata Baron Pacing Series Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – I am going for a second straight week with Prairie Jaguar in hopes the same horse that left Florida on a nine-race winning streak will return to winning form. Last week he as parked for his life and after that mile should be tight and ready to pop one. Use Wake Up Peter and Alexa’s Jackpot in exotic plays. $34,000 Preferred Pace Woodbine 8th race SATURDAY – I can never go against perfection, especially when I have picked this horse the last two weeks and he has rewarded me with wins. Cougar Hall once again heads the field and this week draws the rail for Jackie Mo. I think he will just motor up first-over, clear to the lead in the backstretch and make it three straight wins. Use Avatartist and Machal Jordan in exotic plays.
The Pinjarra Harness Racing Club is once again conducting a sponsorship raffle for Naming Rights to the $50,000 Pinjarra Pacing Cup. The annual Pinjarra Pacing Cup Raffle, now in its third year, has proven to be a great success for the Club as a unique promotion in WA harness racing. The Raffle Winner will receive Naming Rights to the 2014 $50,000 Pinjarra Pacing Cup – the richest event on the Pinjarra Paceway calendar. There are strictly limited 50 Raffle tickets available and all ticketholders win a prize. In addition to the Cup naming rights, the Club has added new component to the Raffle for 2014 – the 1st Prize winner will also receive a Track Sign (on the perimeter of the track fence) on-course for 12 months. Permanent track signage on-course is an excellent mechanism for sponsors to not only achieve visibility to the race day audience, but also gain exposure on Sky Racing television and to members of the public who attend private functions and community events at the Pinjarra Paceway throughout the year. Full details of the Naming Rights Raffle Prizes are: 1st Prize Exclusive Naming Rights to the 2014 $50,000 Pinjarra Pacing Cup. Naming rights to one supporting race on Cup Day. 15m x 1.2m Track Sign for 1 year. Company logo placement in all Cup Day advertising. Full Page, colour race book advertisement on Cup Day. Hospitality trackside for 20 guests – including a delicious lunch & beverages on Cup Day. On-course promotional opportunities. 2nd to 8th Prize Naming rights to one supporting race on Cup Day. Half page race book advertisement. Hospitality trackside for 4 guests on Cup Day. 9th to 50th Prize Hospitality trackside for 2 guests on Cup Day. The Pinjarra Pacing Cup race day is on the long weekend, Monday 2nd June 2014. All Raffle Ticketholders will be invited to a cocktail function for drawing of the Naming Rights Raffle, in early May. Last year popular Pinjarra local trainer and business owner, Dudley Parker, was the winner of naming rights to the 2013 Parker Family Pinjarra Pacing Cup. The Pinjarra Harness Racing Club sincerely thanks all those who have previously supported the Sponsorship Raffle and encourages them to be involved again this year. Not only does the Pinjarra Pacing Cup attract some of the best pacers WA has to offer, it’s a day filled with fun and entertainment for the entire family. There will be live music between races, a Punters Club, bouncy castle and activities for the kids. Three bars, a canteen and the Paceway Pavilion restaurant will be open with delicious dining options. For further information or to purchase a Pinjarra Pacing Cup Naming Rights Raffle Ticket please contact General Manager, Sian Hughes at the Pinjarra Paceway. Alan Parker
HARRISBURG, Pa., April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today released its seventh annual Racetrack Casino Benchmark Report. Since its first release in 2008, this annual report has concentrated on the impact of Pennsylvania casinos on the state's horse racing industry. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, approximately 11% of revenue generated from slot machine gaming was earmarked for the racing industry and agricultural initiatives in 2013. As a result, more than $252 million in slot machine tax revenue was generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund. Of this amount, approximately $209 million was used by both the thoroughbred and harness racing industries to enhance purses, assist breeding operations, and provide health and pension benefits for horsemen. Among the specific findings in this year's report are: The amount of tax revenue generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund decreased by approximately 7% in 2013 due to a decrease in gross terminal revenue generated by the casinos which host horse or harness racing. In addition to revenue generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund, racetrack casino operators invested over $6 million in 2013 (and approximately $52 million since casinos opened in 2006) to improve the stable and backside areas of their racetracks. Total dollars wagered on races held in Pennsylvania, referred to as the live racing handle, was approximately 4% higher in 2013 due to an increase in wagering on races held at Pennsylvania racetracks by patrons outside of the Commonwealth. While live racing handle increased, taxable handle decreased by approximately 8% in 2013 mainly due to a decrease in simulcast wagering which is offered at the racetracks, off-track wagering facilities, and through phone wagering services. The full report can be downloaded from the Reports link on the Gaming Control Board's web site, www.gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.
The Gary Hall trained Elegant Christian can give those who are fascinated with the breeding of Standardbreds a night to remember in the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby on Friday night. The gelding is bred on almost identical lines to the 2013 WA Derby winner Alta Christiano which gave trainer Gary Hall his first WA Derby win last year. Both horses are sons of Christian Cullen and both are out of mares by sons of Cam Fella (out of mares by Albatross) and both have a grand-dam by a son of Albatross. Victory to Elegant Christian would give Christian Cullen his third WA Derby success after the success of Alta Christiano in 2013 and In The Force in 2005. Three sires in Alfred Donald, Sheik and Classic Garry have each sired four winners of the WA Derby and Christian Cullen would join King Oro as a three time winning sire. King Oro’s three WA Derby winners were Jack Oro (1953), Bobbie Oro (1956) and King Aflame (1960). All three were out of different mares by Jack Potts that had been imported to Western Australia from New Zealand to improve bloodlines in this State. Alan Parker Assistant Manager - Harness Racing
Favourite Cougar Hall earned his second consecutive win over the game Machal Jordan in the featured $34,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Driven by Jack Moiseyev, Cougar Hall matched his 1:51.4 season's mark that he established while winning the top class by half a length over Machal Jordan last Saturday. In this evening's Preferred, J J Shark (Sylvain Filion) forced the leaving post eight starter Lucky Terror (Jonathan Drury) to settle for the pocket spot during a :26.3 first quarter battle. Dali (Luc Ouellette) got away third with 6-5 favourite Cougar Hall following in fourth. As the field headed into the backstretch, Dali moved underway from third and took over the lead before hitting the half-mile marker in :55.3. The stallion was then confronted by Cougar Hall, who cleared to command past the 1:23.4 third quarter station and began to open up multiple lengths on the field to secure the victory. The late-closing Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte) narrowed the winning margin to one and a quarter lengths. In Commando (Chris Christoforou), a half-length winner over Cougar Hall in his last outing two weeks ago, finished third. Cougar Hall now has four wins in six starts during his four-year-old campaign and a seasonal bankroll totalling $60,100. The grey son of Somebeachsomewhere is owned by trainer Jeff Gillis, Gerald Stay, Mac Nichol, Thomas Kyron and Carl Jamieson. Cougar Hall paid $4.40 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
For six decades respected horseman Jerry Silverman has been campaigning champions, but the 78-year-old has decided the time has come to hang up the harnesses and retire from training racehorses. Now living in Florida, the New Yorker made his decision to retire after qualifying back his two-horse stable consisting of stakes starters Another Transcript and Another Deposition. “You know, I had two beautiful three-year-old trotters and I just felt that I was ready,” Silverman told Trot Insider. “I didn’t want to go through the stress and I couldn’t do justice to them shipping them all over the country, etcetera, etcetera. That basically was it.” While Silverman has yet to determine his retirement plans, he is happy to share his wealth of harness racing knowledge. To read the rest of the story click here.
It was a case of oh so close last week at the V75 finals weekend at Solvalla. Archangel Am’s untimely gallop on the bend in the fourth leg certainly didn’t help our V75 picks, turning what would have been a six- correct ticket to a five-correct consolation -however a $37 outsider and another roughie in the sixth (the other leg we missed) meant we were able to pick up $5.80 for our ticket. If you spent $5 you made a wee profit. For our single wagers Sahara Fairytale (2.06) and Sanity (3.43) also picked up two win dividends for us, or just under $11 back for our $14 outlay. This week it is to Jagersro and Vincennes we turn our attention to, as the racing heats up along with the spring sunshine in Europe. Good luck. V75-1 Silver division 2140m: I’m going for an anchor in this, the first leg of the V75. Lutfi Kolgjini has a star in the making with beautifully bred Olympic Kronos (4), good enough win two races in Vincennes, France recently. He can be excused his fourth placing last start after a tough trip from an awkward draw. Drawn well here, he gets to the lead and dominates, so an anchor for mine. Selection 4 V75-2 Klass II 2140m: With the scratching of Sentosa, this looks like it is down to three horses, Angelo Am (5), Daytona (1) and Kandelaber (10), all last start winners. Sorted. Selection 5-1-10 V75-3 L.C. Peterson-Broddas Minne (Gold) 2140m: Our system unfortunately demands two stand alone anchors, and this week I can’t for the life of me see any of those in the lower ranks. So I’ve had to go for the gold and silver divisions and here I think Noras Bean (2) has been racing at another level to the others and, with a great draw, should carry that form on here. Selection 2 V75-4 4YO mares, 2140m: This 4YO mares race was the toughest on the card to get a line on. The ones with the form and good draws are Paduca Dream (3) and Ocean Dream (4), while Network Broline (8) and Alexandra Am (7) are last start winners but from wider on the gate. Fingers crossed in this one. Selection 3-4-8-7 V75-5 Diamantstoet Elite mares 2140m: Britt Palema (2) has the form and the draw to deserve a short price in this, while Beverley Boko (11) of the handicap looks the one to keep safe as an alternate. Selection 2 (11) V75-6 Klass I 2640m: Asterix Hornline (3) and Com Z (2) also have the form and the draw to make this race a two-horse one. I’m going for the latter, the drive of Johnny Takter, for my single wager. Selection 3 (2) V75-7 Bronze division 2140m: Twin’s Fairytale (3) with Johnny Takter on board will probably start favourite in this, but is no shoe-in with the likes of Viking America (4), Working on A Dream (7) and Mellby Amiral (8) in the field. Falcon Halyred (11) has also been working his way into form in lower division races and may be in the mix here too if he can overcome the draw. Selection 3-4-7-8-11 R6 Prix Paul Leguerney Gr2 2850m: Precocious age group star Avila (11) has seemingly been caught by some of the others in the A-generation recently, and is not helped with a 25m handicap. The favourite is Atlessima (10), a talented mare from the Ecurie Victoria Dreams stable but I like the look of Alesia d'Atout (9) in this. Selection 7 R8 Prix Phaeton Gr2 2850m: The big three in this field are Aldo des Champs(9), American Eagle (7) and Astor du Quenne (8) while Arlington Dream (1) and Adio Josselyn (5) are the two improvers. The Dubois family have a rich history in this event, and knowing that a win here is a big plus for a future stallion, I’m going for American Eagle to get his nose in front on the line for the savvy horseman Jean-Etienne Dubois. Selection 9 R9 Prix Theophile Lallouet Gr2 UET Masters 2700m: Roxane Griff (11) is still the best mare in France and under saddle she is just sensational. There are some very good horses in this field such as Quarry Bay (10) and Utoky (6), but Roxane Griff is great. Selection 11 TOTAL COMBINATIONS 60 – Cost $5, +1 alternate $10, + 2 alternate $20 SINGLE WAGERS $2 JAGERSRO Race 5 Olympic Kronos (4) Race 6 Angelo Am (5) Race 7 Noras Bean (2) Race 8 Paduca Dream (3) Race 9 Britt Palema (2) Race 10 Com Z (2) Race 11 Twin’s Fairytale (3) VINCENNES Race 6 American Eagle (7) Race 8 Alesia d'Atout (9) Race 9 Roxane Griff (11)
Harness driver Randy Waples is just one victory away from scoring his 6,000th career victory. Also of note is that Stephane Bouchard is just 15 wins away from his 8,000th career win. Driver Wins First Middle Last Name Suffix LTD Wins LTD Earnings Last Track Last Start Stephane L Bouchard 7,985 $70,837,095 Stga 3/30/2014 Randall W Waples 5,999 $104,309,052 Wdb 3/29/2014 Norman Chris Boring 3,979 $19,828,659 RP 7/6/2013 Gene G Vallandingham 2,987 $13,408,006 CalX 3/29/2014 Timothy W Curtin 2,985 $20,936,317 May 6/6/2013 David Floyd Carey 2,978 $2,438,403 Truro 12/8/2013 Lemoyne D Svendsen 2,974 $9,469,252 CalX 3/29/2014 Rodney J Bolon 1,995 $9,408,721 Mea 3/25/2014 Ron Paul Wrenn 1,995 $6,069,816 SpCk 10/2/2013 Todd G Trites 1,993 $2,824,943 EPR 12/8/2013 Jerry G E Landess 1,980 $2,037,837 Green 8/23/2013 Kelly R Sheppard 1,971 $9,409,954 FlmD 11/20/2013 DANIEL R OBRIAN 997 $2,165,944 Wdb 3/17/2014 Darren R Crowe 992 $1,477,417 Chrtn 2/7/2014 John J De Long 990 $5,155,722 BmlP 3/30/2014 RONALD I MATHESON 988 $1,054,352 Chrtn 2/7/2014 Stephen K O'Toole 986 $2,423,974 PRc 9/3/2012 GORDEN A MCKNIGHT 984 $2,907,989 FlmD 3/29/2014 Clayton Faurot Jr 981 $2,458,705 Mea 3/5/2014 Joseph Ricco Jr 978 $3,728,352 MR 10/31/2013 Trent P Stohler 976 $5,584,413 HoP 3/29/2014 John D Finn 975 $3,616,740 BmlP 2/19/2014 anthony P Haughan 974 $6,885,076 FlmD 3/29/2014 Rocky Joe Loney 973 $2,411,599 HoP 3/29/2014 Nick Royce Roland 972 $3,086,220 Whtn 9/22/2013 Yves Gauthier 972 $3,959,060 RidC 2/23/2014 Jeffrey A Smith 971 $2,731,809 MVR 3/12/2014 Steven B Norris 970 $2,548,332 RidC 9/19/2013 Driver earnings First Middle Last Name Suffix LTD Wins LTD Earnings Last Track Last Start Michel Lachance 10,387 $189,836,627 BmlP 11/9/2013 Luc R Ouellette 8,548 $129,687,731 Wdb 3/29/2014 David R Magee 11,736 $99,725,900 BmlP 3/30/2014 Raymond W Schnittker 2,643 $39,945,723 M 3/29/2014 PHILLIP Alan HUDON 3,794 $39,706,278 Wdb 3/29/2014 Trevor S Henry 5,210 $29,978,678 FlmD 3/29/2014 Michael A Forte 3,279 $19,998,367 MR 3/26/2014 Jonathan W Roberts 2,467 $19,955,492 DD 3/30/2014 Norman Chris Boring 3,979 $19,828,659 RP 7/6/2013 Thomas D Strauss 2,552 $19,687,609 Wdb 3/29/2014 Darrell L Coville 6,581 $19,635,066 RidC 3/27/2014 Randy T Tharps 4,643 $19,618,610 MVR 3/30/2014 Jay L Randall 3,696 $19,563,860 Stga 3/29/2014 Allan W Davis 1,036 $9,976,990 DD 3/30/2014 Richard Lee Farrington 1,250 $9,971,066 HoP 11/7/2013 Below that are trainers who may be approaching win milestones. USTA started tracking trainer statistics in 1991, so the trainers listed in green may have had training starts and wins prior to 1991, so the Life Wins column for those trainers may not be accurate. Trainers Milestones First Middle Last Name suffix Life Wins Life Earnings Last Track Last Start DOB Roger R Hammer 1980 $17,027,784 PcD 3/30/2014 2/18/1946 Edgar R Clarke 999 $5,418,525 PPk 3/30/2014 12/6/1955 Dirk Simpson 976 $10,688,518 May 2/7/2014 8/2/1957 Leo Tourigny 974 $8,178,091 RidC 11/28/2013 6/5/1939 Trond Smedshammer 971 $41,599,710 YR 3/28/2014 3/22/1967 Gabriel Boily 971 $2,628,603 RidC 3/27/2014 4/26/1949 Statistics from Anne Chunko at USTA
Columbus, OH --- The annual convocation of directors of the United States Trotting Association got underway Sunday afternoon (March 30) in Columbus, Ohio. With Chairman of the Board Ivan Axelrod presiding, the assembled directors heard from Robert Schmitz, chairman of the Ohio Racing Commission. Schmitz spoke on the importance of harness racing to the Ohio economy and the support of Governor John Kasich in recognizing racing’s roots in the farm community. In remarks video streamed live to members on www.ustrotting.com, President Phil Langley updated the group on the USTA’s efforts to work with the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium in developing model rules and medication guidelines without overlooking the differences in breeds. Usage patterns and racing patterns have highlighted some major differences between the less-frequently raced Thoroughbreds versus Standardbreds, who often race weekly. There were no challengers to the existing slate of USTA officers, which will remain: Phil Langley, president; Ivan Axelrod, chairman of the board; Russell Williams, vice chairman; Dick Brandt, treasurer and Barbara Brooks, secretary. Rob Key, CEO and founder of Converseon, updated the group on the social media platforms that have been developed, including a centralized harness racing website, www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com, which recently was unveiled with a “100 Greatest Moments in Harness Racing” interactive contest. He emphasized that it was a joint venture among the USTA, Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Harness Writers Association. The Harness Racing Fan Zone (@harnessracingFZ on Twitter) mirrors similar platforms offered by major league sports, like Major League Baseball, the National Football League and NASCAR. “The foundation is in place,” said Key. “We need to spend time on transparency and openness and create communities.” Key predicted the new website would, “give people a feel for what it's like to be in the sport.” He spoke about the social media ambassador’s platform that has been created for participants to share their experiences in the sport. Moving forward, tracks will be urged to partner with the Fan Zone in order to significantly expand awareness and interest in harness racing. A replay of the full board session may be viewed by clicking here or on the link at the top of the story. Committee meetings followed, with rule changes considered in the Fairs, Pari-Mutuel, Regulatory and Registration Committees. Further discussion of rule change proposals will take place Monday in the Rules Committee and the final vote will be rendered at the meeting of all directors Monday afternoon. by Ellen Harvey for Harness Racing Communications
Cam's Card Shark, one of the leading stallions of his generation, has just been retired from stud duty, but hopes are high in Ohio that one of his greatest progeny can carry on his dynamic legacy in the breeding shed. Shark Gesture, whose earnings in excess of $2.8 million are the most of the more than 1,700 racehorses that Cam's Card Shark sired and one of the fastest with a speed mark of 1:48.1s, will be represented by a crop of two-year-olds this season. Abby Stables in Sugarcreek, Ohio, is standing the big, dark brown stallion. "Shark Gesture is the total package," Abby Stables' Teresa Maddox told Harness Racing Update." Shark Gesture developed into a horse for the ages. A $110,000 yearling purchase by Norm Smiley, Shark Gesture raced from two to four, posting some impressive victories. He was retired to the breeding shed due to an injury and stood as a stallion in Ontario for the 2008 season. Later that year, when the injury had fully healed and he trained excellently, Shark Gesture returned to the races and started three times. But it was as a six- and seven-year-old that he excelled, earning over $1.8 million. He beat some of the best aged pacers, including the likes of Foiled Again, Mister Big, Art Official, Boulder Creek, Artistic Fella, Shadow Play and Won The West 12 times, including by more than 10 lengths in the Hoosier Cup. Maddox said because Shark Gesture disappeared from the breeding scene for three years people may be confused about his history. "He really hasn't gotten a fair shake as a stallion," Maddox said. "If you go back and look at some of his races, he was phenomenal. He's well-mannered, he's intelligent and was a bear on the racetrack. It's just a breath of fresh air to have him in Ohio. We welcomed him with open arms." Shark Gesture can be seen in action on his page at www.abbystables.com . His web page comes complete with race footage, photos, pedigree, articles and both a downloadable and digital breeding contract. "There is no reason because he had 44 foals that raced from his first and only crop as a stallion, standing in Ontario and bred to mostly Ontario-bred mares, that people should have forgotten about him because he went back to the races," said Smiley. "He is still a good horse. This year he has two-year-olds that are training and I've got good reports on them. Trainer Fred Grant has a colt by Shark Gesture out of Boca Babe. Fred owns the dam and owns a piece of the colt and said, 'he's very good-gaited, very sound, very willing and has lots of speed. I just love him.'" Trainer David Miller, currently training a two-year-old Shark Gesture filly named Hex, described her as a "big, strong, great-gaited, intelligent filly who is showing excellent speed." Another trainer, Jenny Melander, has a nice sturdy black filly named When Sharks Fly and echoed Miller's comments about Shark Gesture's offspring. "His foals are big and sturdy, with heart, speed, intelligence and strength," she said. Shark Gesture is truly an anomaly. How many horses return to the races two years after retiring and earn almost twice as much, facing battled-hardened competitors? In total, he posted 31 sub-1:50 miles, 16 of those 1:49 or better and four of those sub-1:49. As a 2-year-old, he won the Bluegrass Stakes (recording a freshman mark of 1:51.3), the Simpson Stakes and an elimination of the Breeders Crown. At three, he won the Breeders Crown, the Tattersalls Pace (with a sophomore speed mark of 1:49.1), the Bluegrass Stakes, the Simpson Stakes and the Progress Pace. In an abbreviated four-year-old season, he won the New Hampshire Sweepstakes. In his return to the races, he won the William R. Haughton Memorial two years in a row, the Canadian Pacing Derby Final (with a lifetime mark of 1:48.1), the Graduate Series twice, the Dan Patch Invitational Pace and the Bettor's Delight. He broke track records at Tioga Downs and Hoosier Park and tied the track record when he won the Canadian Pacing Derby. "He's won all the big races, beat all the good horses," Maddox said. "He beat Foiled Again (the top aged pacer last year) more than once. He beat Won The West. He's beat them all at one point or another. His owners believed in him so much, they told us the story (of why he retired and then returned to the races) and it was just a no-brainer for us." 2010 Graduate Final William R. Haughton Memorial Smiley recalled why he bought Shark Gesture. Even though he was big and growthy, Smiley liked him, viewing him six times. "There are certain horses you go to the auction and put a price on and you go to that price or a few bucks more," Smiley said. "With him I said I was buying him, period." Smiley subsequently offered shares to his brother, Gerald, and Thomas and Louis Pantone. Typical of a Cam's Card Shark offspring, Shark Gesture grew into his body from two to three. He stood about 17 hands high and had a long stride. Early in Shark Gesture's two-year-old season, he won the Bluegrass in 1:51 3/5, but he was still developing and growing. As a three-year-old, he did some amazing things, none more so than winning the Breeders Crown only a week after he fell down in a mishap in his elimination race for the final. He finished third and was moved up to second, but Norm Smiley and trainer Erv Miller feared the colt might not survive the accident. Once the bike and equipment were removed, Shark Gesture stood up and walked off as if nothing had happened, although he did have some cuts and abrasions. Driver Brian Sears, Miller, Smiley and the horse's vet shook their heads in disbelief. "If that's not a tough horse, I don't know what is," Smiley said. A week later, he won the Breeders Crown with George Brennan, who would become his principle driver, steering him in what was a clean trip, racing on or near the pace. "Nobody knew that horse like Georgie," Smiley said. "George was tremendous with that horse from the first time he drove him." Shark Gesture raced only eight times in an abbreviated four-year-old season and was retired, his notable victory in the New Hampshire. Some of the notable offspring from the 32 starters from his first crop as a sire include stakes winner Piston Broke, 1:49.2s ($291,131) and Best Ears, 1:49.4f, ($188,483). After Shark Gesture recovered from his injury and trained solidly, Norm Smiley made the decision to bring the horse back to the races. It would prove to be a shrewd decision. In 2009 at the age of six, Shark Gesture came into his own, racing 29 times and winning seven, including the Haughton Memorial and Canadian Pacing Derby and topping all pacers with more than $900,000 in earnings. At age seven, he raced 12 times and winning seven, notably the Graduate, Bettors Delight, Dan Patch (by a whopping 10½ lengths), and repeating in the Haughton. He finished second by a length in the Franklin. He was retired at the end of the season. "He was just amazing," Norm Smiley said. "This horse never got the respect he deserved. He was a tremendous racehorse." By Perry Lefko, for Harness Racing Update