Deerfield Beach, FL – The American Harness Racing Secretaries (AHRS) concluded their three days of meetings on Saturday morning followed by an awards luncheon. The final session started off with last minute checking of hundreds of stakes events with some changes in dates, purses and names of events. Tracks and race organizations now have until early January to finalize and submit their race conditions for publication. None of the changes can be announced to the public until all final documents are submitted. There were roundtable discussions after the dates changes were finalized and the topic of high interest to most everyone was Friday’s presentation on electronic entries by USTA’s T C Lane. While everyone was on board that the presentation was excellent and that is will help speed up and create more accurate entry data into the USTA system there are concerns for those who do not have strong computer skills. It was also noted that the system is very easy to use and that trainers will adapt with time and that the system will be accepted and used by the majority of trainers in the industry. Talks also took place about electronic equipment cards and ID’s for horses to help make it easier on the paddock people doing their jobs. The biggest issues were that of computer hackers being able to enter the system and create havoc with the entries and if the USTA system will have proper safeguards to prevent hackers from gaining access. It was also noted that some people may try and look at entries for stakes races before the box closes to see if they really want to enter or not depending if they can see how many horses are entered and who they are. These issues will be brought up to the USTA for follow up discussions. Discussions also took place about possible universal consideration of the mandatory driver and trainer fees paid from purses. That in the “old” days owners were paid the entire purse and then they worked their own deals with trainers and drivers. Now most every track deducts 5% of the owners purse to both the trainer and driver and that consideration should be given to changing that percentage to 7% for trainers and 3% for drivers. It was also noted that some tracks paid a stipend to every driver competing in a race, up to $25 if they fail to finish in the top five. At the end of meeting luncheon a huge round of applause was given to both Carol Cramer and Sharon Hermann for their work in helping make the AHRS meeting run so smoothly. Carol Cramer is the one that imputes all the data for every stakes race in North America and works with all the race secretaries, stakes organizations and staking service companies and has done this service for many years with assistance from Sharon Hermann, who says she is retired but continues to assist AHRS. It was also noted during the meetings that Carol Cramer has been inducted into the Living Hall of Fame Communicators Corner for all of her hard work and devotion to the sport during her long career. The meetings concluded with Ken Marshall from Hazel Park presenting outgoing AHRS president, Connie Hochstetler from the Red Mile with a special plaque commemorating her outstanding service to the organization over the past two years as president. She will be replaced by Ian Fleming from Clinton Raceway as the new president. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
It may have been a wet and miserable day but Greg & Nina Hope left Mt Harding Racecourse with plenty to smile about. The Woodend couple were successful early in the card with smart mare Helena Jet before claiming dual Green Mile victories with Glencoe VC and stable newcomer Phil’s Gift. The former, who was driven by Gerard O’Reilly, was a comprehensive winner of the $20,000 Pacers Green Mile over Castellina Lover and stablemate Jason Rulz, despite racing parked for the majority of the journey. “He is a very good horse who just never gets tired,” said Greg Hope. “He is a great stayer, but he also has his fair share of speed, so I think he has a very big future,” he added. The lightly raced six-year-old son of Washington VC will now target the Ashburton Cup on Boxing Day before tackling the Northern Southland and Invercargill Cup. “The two mile standing starts should really suit him, so all of those races will be right up his alley,” he enthused. Hope was also happy enough with Jason Rulz performance in finishing third. “Being left three wide in the Cup really hurt him and he is just taking a while to come back to it. He looks like he is back on the up now though. There isn’t a lot between him and Glencoe VC.” Phil’s Gift then topped off a great day for the Hopes by winning the trotters version of the Green Mile. “We have only had him a week but he is a lovely horse with really high speed,” said Hope. “We took him home after the Geraldine races last week and he was in terrific order. He had a couple of runs on the beach during the week and I think that sharpened him up for today,” he added. “Murray Tapper who formerly trained the horse is cutting down so we were lucky enough to get our hands on him. Murray has done a superb job with him. He is probably the most sensible and well mannered Sundon I have ever had anything to do with,” he concluded. By Mitchell Robertson
I went four for nine last week, some of my favorite horses got beat, which is bound to happen every now and then. I lost -$3.40 (based on $2 win bet each race). We are still in the minus earning column at -$39.70 going into this weekend and we will try once again to bring that number down more. We start off the weekend at the Meadowlands Saturday with one of the final stakes races of the season, the Reynolds for three-year-old colt pacers. We also have some good feature events at both the Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway and taking shot at the Open Pace at Pompano Park too since that is in my backyard. $48,878 Reynolds Stake 3YO Colt Pace 2nd race Saturday, Meadowlands – While Twilight Bonfire is rightly the 6/5 favorite and class of the field with $608,000 in earnings in 2013, I am going with Rockin Amadeus from post six in this very short field. He has been in the money most every start as of late, hails from the Jimmy Takter Stable and has the speed to get out early and find great cover to score from. $37,000 Open Handicap Pace 6th race Saturday, Yonkers Raceway – Tough call here as Sweet Lou looms over this field on just about any size track but this one. Have never seen him race on a half mile oval but Burke Stable will have him fit and ready to go plus he gets George Brennan in the sulky. I’m banking that George can get him to leave a bit and secure good position to score from. $30,000 Winners Over Pace 8th race Saturday, Yonkers Raceway – Very competitive field here will make whomever wins pay a decent price. I am going with Real Special. He just missed by a head in his last start in this class at Yonkers. Driver switch to Matt Kakaley is not a problem as he is aggressive enough to keep him in the action all the way to the finish wire. $25,000 A-2/A-1 Handicap Pace 11th race Saturday, Meadowlands – While the Ron Burke Stable entry of Southwestern Dream and Meirs Hanover looms the favorite in here I am taking a shot with Great Vintage from post two. Hails from the Jimmy Takter Stable and they would not be messing around with a six-year-old overnight pacer if he was not worth. Has won $200,000 this year with eight wins and should be able to surprise this group from inside post position. $10,000 Open 1 Pace 7th race Saturday, Pompano Park – While Cruizin K C won this class last week and Next Flight In is on a three-race winning streak, I still think that Thebestofjoel can upset tonight. Despite having to start from post seven this newcomer gave notice in his first start at Pompano Park last week that he is for real, wiring the field in 1:50.3 with a last quarter mile in :27.2. He has shown the ability to get to the front from outside posts and should either be able to cut the mile again or get decent cover to strike from.
Deerfield Beach, FL – While most of North America is facing bitter winter weather, the American Harness Racing Secretaries (AHRA) kicked off their annual meetings Thursday morning at the Embassy Suites in Deerfield Beach and they were greeted with swaying palm trees, sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80’s with a slight ocean breeze. Current president, Connie Hochstetler from the Red Mile, started off the proceedings with introductions of the 30-plus race secretaries and invited guests from racetracks throughout North America. One special guest included Grand Circuit President, John Campbell, and he spoke about the success this past season of the Grand Circuit races. Then it was right down to the business of discussing and reviewing stakes dates for 2014, purse and race name changes and some new stakes events that will be taking place in the coming season. None of the race dates and some of the new events could not be released to the public until they become official which could take two to three weeks after the meetings are concluded. Tom Charters, president of the Breeders Crown, did speak about the new Hambletonian Matturity Stake for four-year-olds in 2014. While the date for the race is not official, the new stake will take place at the Meadowlands with an estimated purse of $400,000 and horses may be supplemented for fees totaling $7,000 that must be made in February. Outgoing president Hochstetler stated that she will be selecting a committee of three members who will decide the next incoming vice-president for the association. Current vice-president, Ian Fleming from Clinton Raceway, will take over the lines of the association at the conclusion of the meetings on Saturday. Friday’s morning session will feature a presentation from TC Lane of the USTA on the new program system for horsemen to be able to enter horses for races online followed by the annual business meeting and rules seminar. Then on Saturday there will be a final revision and changes session for the 2014 stakes schedule followed by round table discussions and then the AHRS awards luncheon. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Trainer Bruce Negus continued his fine run of form on Tuesday at Gore when he prepared two winners, including The Shakey Mistress who set a new track record for the 1700 metre journey when winning emphatically in a time of 2-03.9 (1-57.3). Driven by Nathan Williamson, The Shakey Mistress was sent straight to the front where she set a solid tempo before leaving her opposition standing down the back straight and careering away to win by 11 & ¾ lenghts over stablemate Highland Reign. “I’m not sure if she will still be sound in six months time so I told Nathan (Williamson) to have a crack at a good time, as the field didn’t look strong and it was such a nice day,” explained Negus. “She is a very nice filly and if we keep her sound I think she will be good enough to race in some of the classics later on in the season,” he added. The Shakey Mistress is one of few foals by talented but unfertile stallion Pay Me Christian who now serves a limited book naturally in Australia. “Atleast now if she does go a miss she will be a worthwhile broodmare seeing as she has such a good time next to her name,” said Negus. “She is a very tough filly who had no right to stick on for second last weekend at Geraldine,” he added. The Shakey Mistress is just one of a few more than handy types Negus is currently working. “Music is a nice horse who is shooting for three from three tomorrow and I think Quick As A Trick who won the Graduation race on Show Day is the real deal,” he enthused By Mitchell Robertson
The career of one of the all-time greats of Australasian harness racing is over. Champion trotter I Can Doosit has been retired after his troublesome joint problems flared up yesterday. Trainer Mark Purdon says the fetlock joints which forced I Can Doosit from the racetrack and on to the operating table last season are again showing signs of wear and tear. And when vet Bill Bishop confirmed that to owner Ken Breckon first thing this morning, on his birthday, the call to retire the great horse was made. “He is coming home now to retire at the farm,” said Breckon. “It is a real shame but he has been a hell of a horse and we have loved racing him.” The phone call this morning brought back memories of Breckon’s birthday two years ago when he was stunned to hear his best broodmare Sheezadoosie, I Can Doosit’s dam, had died in a paddock accident on their Waikato farm. But there was one light-hearted moment yesterday for Breckon. A cheque turned up at his Auckland office for the winning stake in last season’s Cochran Cup at Melton, which turned out to be I Can Doosit’s last race in which he finished second. “It turns out the winner I Didnt Do It got disqualified after a long drawn out case, which was only resolved recently. “So we actually got a winner’s cheque for the old boy yesterday after he was retired.” The fetlock problems had bothered I Can Doosit last summer and wasn’t helped by the fact he is a huge lump of a horse who has never had the best action, so he put his now eight-year-old body under enormous stress. But those difficulties never stopped him developing from an immature young horse into one of the best trotters to ever race in the Southern Hemisphere. He won the last two ever Inter Dominion Trotting Finals, as well as two Rowe Cups, a Dominion Handicap, NZ Trotting Free-For-All, National Trot and Harness Jewels. They were part of a 55-start career in which he won 36 times, with seven placings for $1,445,774 in stakes, the highest earnings ever for a trotter who raced solely in the Southern Hemisphere. His strike rate would have been higher but for his early immaturity and his problems later in life, although this time last year he had won 18 races in succession, all at the elite level. “He has been a remarkable horse but the problems with his fetlocks won’t get any better so he won’t be tried again,” says Purdon. Purdon revealed only late in I Can Doosit’s career how hard it was to develop him into the intimidating trotting machine he was, with his gait so flawed he would often bash his legs together at full speed, a problem known as “touching” in trotting. “It wasn’t ideal but he wanted to win so badly he kept going,” says Purdon. *Video of I Can Doosit winning last year's Dominion. By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)
Josh Dickie thinks Mille Sampson is destined for stardom. And she will need to be if she is to beat a quality field, including last season’s star 2YO filly Venus Serena, in Friday’s Group 2 Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park. “Obviously it is a step up for her but I think she will handle it,” says Dickie. “She gives me a feel that not many horses I have driven have,” he enthused. Dickie thinks Venus Serena is without a doubt the horse to beat in Friday’s $75,000 co-feature. “She has been there and done that and she can make her own luck if she has too,” said Dickie, of the three-time Group One winner. Millie Sampson has won all of her three raceday starts to date in emphatic style, but has led in all of them, something that she will not be able to do from her 10 draw on Friday. However, that does not concern her co-trainer – driver. “She is such a relaxed horse, so I don’t think it will matter where she is in the running,” said Dickie. “The only reason she has led in all of her starts to date is because she has such high gate speed,” he confirmed. Dickie recently drove Millie Sampson in behind at the workouts and clocked her to come last half in a tick under 55 seconds to win by two lengths. “I was super impressed with the way she went and that should have topped her off nicely for Friday.” Millie Sampson burst on to the racing scene on October 4, when she dragged a flat tyre for the last 1000 metres and still won in a time of 2-42.6. “We have always thought that she was pretty good, but that confirmed it,” said Dickie. “Not many horses do that on debut,” he added. Dickie will also steer the unbeaten Locharburn on Friday and, while he could very well keep his perfect record intact, Dickie warns punters not to take ridiculously short odds about the Christian Cullen three-year-old. “If he runs straight he should win, but he would want to handle the track a bit better than he did last week,” declared Dickie. “Originally Kevin (Chapman) was going to start him in the Northern 3YO Stakes but after the way he handled the track last week he has opted for this race, which I think is a good option.” “I think by the time his main target, the New Zealand Yearling Sales Series Final, comes around he will be fine and more than capable of matching it with the best of them but at this stage there are a couple of question marks over him,” Dickie concluded. Meanwhile, Blair Orange will look to make it two wins from two drives on superstar mare Adore Me when he pilots her in the Northern Breeders Stakes. “I was going up to drive a few others, and Mark (Purdon) is very busy at home, so he has given me the honour,” said Orange. “The $1.10 looks great value,” he laughed. The Ladyship Stakes and the Northern Breeders Stakes are just two of five group or listed races at Alexandra Park on Friday. The other three are: The Lyell Creek Stakes, the Franklin Cup, and the Northern 3YO Stakes. Selections: Rossland Lyell Creek Stakes (Gr2): Stent, Boizel, Dr Hook, Irish Whisper Ladyship Stakes (Gr2): Millie Sampson, Venus Serena, Rocknroll Arden, Lincolns Megastar Northern 3YO Stakes: Maxim, Sky Major, Someardensomewhere, Regulus Northern Breeders Stakes (Gr3): Adore Me, Spirit And Desire, River Polka, Splendour Franklin Cup (Gr2): Easy On The Eye, Pembrook Benny, Besotted, Jarcullembra By Mitchell Robertson
Trainer Paul Fitzpatrick is expecting a major form reversal from recent stable recruit Fly Like An Eagle after the New Zealand Cup runner-up drew barrier number one in Saturday night's Treuer Memorial. Fitzpatrick admitted he was disappointed with the performance of the horse at his first run for the stable in the Cordina Sprint at Menangle over a week ago but had always planned on targeting Bankstown's Gr. 1 event. "He went below par at his first run for me but he was one of two horses that came across from New Zealand after the Cup and the Free For All and neither horse produced their best in the Cordina Sprint," Fitzpatrick said. "I've got no doubt that he was a little bit tired when he arrived so I have just lightened up on him a bit and with the fortnight between runs he should be ready to go, his work last Friday tells me that he is feeling fresher." Fitzpatrick is expecting Fly Like An Eagle to lead Saturday night's event. "Mark Purdon has told me that he has pretty good gate speed and drawn barrier one I think he should hold the front, Washakie is obviously the main danger, he has a tremendous record in the Treuer Memorial having won the previous four." "I haven't spoken to the owners about whether he will head to the Victoria Cup should he perform up to expectations on Saturday night, they can make that decision after the race." Meanwhile Fitzpatrick confirmed Rohan Home has been back in work for twelve weeks and should be ready to trial in the next fortnight. "I retired him and put him in the middle of my track with all of the young ones but he looked so well that I decided to give him another go, he has been coming along very nicely and I plan on nominating him for the 2014 Inter Dominion." "He's doing everything I've asked of him and I'm looking forward to seeing him back, he is a great horse at his best." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |
WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 3, 2013 — Parked past the quarter in a wicked 26.3, Itrustyou still was much the best Tuesday at The Meadows, capturing the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace in a sharp 1:51.2 for his second straight victory and third in the last four. Sam Hill charged to the early lead and stung Itrustyou, but the 5-year-old Third Straight-Dynamic Lady gelding shrugged off the demanding panel, defeating Sam Hill by 2-1/2 lengths for Dave Palone. PL Dragon finished third. Ron Burke trains Itrustyou, who now boasts $552,196 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and RTC Stables. Palone drove five winners — three for Burke — on the 15-race card while Aaron Merriman and Brett Miller each fashioned a triple. by Evan Pattak for The Meadows
Champion New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety returned to Perth last week for the first time for 17 years and he has not given up hope of winning the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night with outstanding four-year-old Bit Of A Legend, even though the horse was unplaced in the Four-Year-Old Championship and McInerney Ford Classic at his past two starts. The 45-year-old Dalgety has fond memories of his first trip to Western Australia when he prepared Desperate Comment for the 1996 interdominion championship. Desperate Comment, who was driven by Peter Jones, qualified for the final as leading points scorer after a third, a second and a win in the heats. But he finished sixth in the final, won by Young Mister Charles. Bit Of A Legend, who has amassed $640,178 in prizemoney from 17 wins and 11 seconds from 36 starts, was trained and driven for his four starts at Gloucester Park in this campaign by New Zealander Brent Mangos. His best effort was an easy victory in a prelude of the Golden Nugget three starts ago when he defeated Galactic Galleon and Northview Punter. "Brent has done a fine job with him, but the horse faces a hard task in Friday night's race," Dalgety said. "Bit Of A Legend is only small and he's not stylish or elegant, but his assets are his great will to win and determination. "He has drawn barrier four and I'm pretty excited that just to be inside barrier five on the front row. Nowitzki and Condrieu are very fast beginners and I think that when we settle Bit Of A Legend will definitely be in the better half of the midfield --- and that will be a good start. In most of his wins he's come from behind. He just wants to be the winner." Bit Of A Legend, who will be driven by New Zealand's champion reinsman Dexter Dunn, and has the stable name of Carter, after Dalgety's ten-year-old son Carter, who insisted that his father buy the pacer at the New Zealand yearling sale. "Bit Of A Legend was very little, but Carter picked him out and said 'we've got to have this one,' Dalgety said. "So I bought him for $NZ50,000, probably from the heart than the head. I had had his half-brother London Legend, who was a good horse. "I bought Bit Of A Legend for myself, a good stable client in Darryl Brown, from Perth, Ross Stanbury, from Christchurch, and Pat Cabarlla, from Invercargill, and we have no regrets." London Legend, by In The Pocket and the first foal out of Soky's Legend, raced 101 times for Dalgety between 2008 and 2011 for 25 wins, 27 placings and stakes of $456,124. DEXTER DUNN OUT TO EQUAL HIS FATHER AT GLOUCESTER PARK Dexter Dunn, New Zealand harness racing's golden boy and a superstar at the age of 24, will make his first appearance in Western Australia when he drives Bit Of A Legend in the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And he would dearly love to emulate the performance of his father Robert, who landed a winner at his only trip to WA, in 1996 when he was successful with Master Musician in a second-round heat of the interdominion championship. Robert Dunn then was in the sulky when Master Musician, the 5/2 favourite, finished third behind Young Mister Charles and Sunshine Band in the final. Dunn, who will arrive in Perth on Thursday, will get the opportunity to experience driving on the 805m circuit when he handles three pacers trained by Matt Scott in early events on the program. Scott has nominated Dunn to drive Miss Tee Dawn in the 1730m V. and K. Congerton Memorial Mares Pace, Marooned in the 2130m Happy Birthday Ryan Berti Pace and Zurbaran in the first heat of the Livio (The Champ) Tolomeo The Coulson Pace. Miss Tee Dawn has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and has sound prospects of giving Dunn a winner at his first drive at Gloucester Park. This would equal his feat of landing a winner at his first drive in America --- when he was successful behind McClelland (1.50.1) over 1609m at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on June 25, 2011. Miss Tee Dawn started from the outside of the back ,line and did a good job to finish strongly from the rear to be fourth behind Arts Gangsta over 2190m at Northam on Tuesday of last week. She also unwound a powerful burst from the rear to win from Mount Richon over 2150m at Harvey the previous week. Marooned, who was claimed for $10,000 last week, has a losing sequence of 20 and faces a stern test from barrier four on the back line. He trailed the pacemaker Sanjaya when a sound third to that pacer last week, with the winner rating 1.55 over 1730m. Punters are likely to be keen to support the polemarker and smart frontrunner Taiaha against Marooned and the other ten runners in this week's event. Taiaha, who is prepared by Hazelmere trainer Mike Reed, caught the eye when racing first-up at Northam on Tuesday of last week when he raced three back on the pegs and was hampered for room before finishing solidly to be second to Celtic Crusader. Zurbaran, a winner six starts ago and placed second at two of his past four starts, will be at handsome odds from the outside of the front line in a race in which polemarker Cool Johnny (resuming after a let-up), What God Knows and Soho Highroller will be fancied. By Ken Casellas
When the barrier draw for Saturday night's Treuer Memorial at Bankstown was being conducted, trainer Darren Binskin asked his partner Kirsten Lamb and her daughter Grace to select the gates for his two runners, Gaius Caesar and Glengowan in the Gr. 1. After Gaius Caesar drew barrier nine and Glengowan eleven, Binskin could be excused for rueing the decision. "Kirsten was pretty disappointed with drawing barrier eleven for Glengowan but Gracey was pretty happy with gate nine for Gaius Caesar, although I'm not so sure I agree with her," Binskin joked. "It's a Gr. 1 event and normally there is plenty of moves anyway but in all seriousness Gaius Caesar doesn't have great speed and the draw isn't too bad for him while Glengowan has been specifically trained for the Treuer Memorial, so I'm expecting him to peak this Saturday night." Binskin has confirmed he will be driving Gaius Caesar this Saturday night and he will be forced to look for a driver for Glengowan. "Yeah I will drive Gaius Caesar, his run on Saturday night was very good, he didn't get a clear run, wanted to get rough at a crucial stage and looking at all of those factors with a clear shot at them, I don't know if he wins but he would have definitely gone close I have no doubt." "I will have to think about who drives Glengowan, I was considering Mat Rue but I'm unsure if he will be required to drive Baby Bling for the McCarthy stable, I will just wait and see." Glengowan finished third in last year's Treuer Memorial and had a few excuses for his defeat. "Glengowan's run last year was very good and everything he has done this time in has been aimed at this race." "My horses don't dominate in this class but they are very competitive and with the right run I think they can be right in the finish, Washakie is the one to beat after the draw and he is going for five wins in the race which is a tremendous feat in itself." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |
Leading Victorian trainer Dean Braun was ecstatic when his star four-year-old Chilli Palmer drew the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night and predicted that the gelding would lead and prove very hard to beat. Braun's optimism will certainly take the wind out of the sails of several rival trainers and reinsmen who were planning for their horses to charge forward in determined bids to take an early lead against Chilli Palmer, a pacer they believed did not possess the speed to take advantage of the inside barrier. The brilliant Chilli Palmer, to be handled by ace Victorian reinsman Chis Alford, has won at each of his past six starts and has a record of nine starts for seven wins, a second and a seventh. He has won most of his races by producing a sizzling finishing burst. He has never jumped straight to the lead in his brief but spectacular career. "Everyone is entitled to his opinion," Braun said from Melbourne after the barrier draw. "But we will be aiming to make full use of the inside barrier. Chilli Palmer has got great natural high speed and I haven't had a horse with more natural gate speed. So far we have never really used his gate speed. "I couldn't be happier with the way is working. He had a good blowout at Byford on Saturday when Shaun Kittel worked him over a mile and a half and he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.3sec. "Hopefully Chilli Palmer will be able to make amends for the defeats of my horses Mustang Mach and Chancellor Cullen in the past two Gold Nuggets. It should be a great race on Friday night and every horse in the field can win, with the right run, but I wouldn't swap my horse for any other runner." Mustang Mach (11/1) started from barrier four and raced without cover for most of the way when a fighting second to The Gold Ace in 2011 and Chancellor Cullen (5/4) raced in the breeze for the final 1550m when fourth behind Im Victorious a year ago. The No. 1 barrier has been a huge advantage in the recent Golden Nugget Championships, with the No. 1 horse leading and winning three of the past five Nuggets and the other two winners in this period coming from the No. 2 barrier. Schinzig Buller won from barrier two in 2008 and then Bonavista Bay (13/8), Dasher VC (6/4 on) and The Gold Ace (10/1 on) won in the following three years before Im Victorious (11/4) started from barrier two and thundered home from ninth at the bell to win from Bettor Reason (20/1) and 6/1 chance Reuben Brogden, who started from barrier one and set the pace until the final stages. Chilli Palmer could not have been more impressive than he was at his West Australian debut in the 2536m McInerney Ford Classic last Friday week when he charged home from last at the 600m to score a decisive victory over the pacemaker Condrieu, with My Hard Copy third and Rocky Marciano fourth. Condrieu began with devastating speed from barrier five to burst to the front after 120m and Greg Bond, who trains the gelding with his wife Skye, plans to instruct reinsman Colin Brown to charge forward from out wide at barrier six. "We'll go forward; there's no point in going backward," he said. "We decided to have a crack for the lead from barrier five in the McInerney Ford, and it worked for us. The element of surprise won't work for us again, but we'll still be going forward. "We don't know whether Chilli Palmer has the necessary gate speed. He may well be better sat up; that's how he has been driven in most of his races. I don't think they will want to be caught in the early hustle bustle. Condrieu has done well since his second in the McInerney Ford and we're really happy with him." Condrieu is at his best when he leads. He has set the pace at four of his seven wins in WA, two of them being over 2536m, the distance of the Golden Nugget. Victorian trainer-reinsman Daniel Jack was delighted to draw barrier two with the speedy Nowitzki, who led from the No. 1 barrier and won the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship three Fridays ago. "The draw goes a long way (to winning) and I'll be trying to get across to the lead," he said. "His three runs in WA have been below par, but I expect him to go better this week. If he races as well as he can, he's certainly the horse to beat." Leading WA trainer Gary Hall sen. was disappointed with the barriers drawn by his two runners, Northview Punter (No. 3 on the back line) and My Hard Copy (outside of the front line) and said that he would need plenty of luck to win. "It's going to be a great race and I reckon Nowitzki will come out hard and lead --- and Condrieu will also come out hard," he said. "So hopefully it will be on from start to finish. My best chance from the draw is Northview Punter. We might drive him a bit quiet and let him come home." DALGETY RETAINS FAITH IN BIT OF A LEGEND Champion New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety returned to Perth last week for the first time for 17 years and he has not given up hope of winning the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night with outstanding four-year-old Bit Of A Legend, even though the horse was unplaced in the Four-Year-Old Championship and McInerney Ford Classic at his past two starts. The 45-year-old Dalgety has fond memories of his first trip to Western Australia when he prepared Desperate Comment for the 1996 interdominion championship. Desperate Comment, who was driven by Peter Jones, qualified for the final as leading points scorer after a third, a second and a win in the heats. But he finished sixth in the final, won by Young Mister Charles. Bit Of A Legend, who has amassed $640,178 in prizemoney from 17 wins and 11 seconds from 36 starts, was trained and driven for his four starts at Gloucester Park in this campaign by New Zealander Brent Mangos. His best effort was an easy victory in a prelude of the Golden Nugget three starts ago when he defeated Galactic Galleon and Northview Punter. "Brent has done a fine job with him, but the horse faces a hard task in Friday night's race," Dalgety said. "Bit Of A Legend is only small and he's not stylish or elegant, but his assets are his great will to win and determination. "He has drawn barrier four and I'm pretty excited that just to be inside barrier five on the front row. Nowitzki and Condrieu are very fast beginners and I think that when we settle Bit Of A Legend will definitely be in the better half of the midfield --- and that will be a good start. In most of his wins he's come from behind. He just wants to be the winner." Bit Of A Legend, who will be driven by New Zealand's champion reinsman Dexter Dunn, and has the stable name of Carter, after Dalgety's ten-year-old son Carter, who insisted that his father buy the pacer at the New Zealand yearling sale. "Bit Of A Legend was very little, but Carter picked him out and said 'we've got to have this one,' Dalgety said. "So I bought him for $NZ50,000, probably from the heart than the head. I had had his half-brother London Legend, who was a good horse. "I bought Bit Of A Legend for myself, a good stable client in Darryl Brown, from Perth, Ross Stanbury, from Christchurch, and Pat Cabarlla, from Invercargill, and we have no regrets." London Legend, by In The Pocket and the first foal out of Soky's Legend, raced 101 times for Dalgety between 2008 and 2011 for 25 wins, 27 placings and stakes of $456,124. DEXTER DUNN OUT TO EQUAL HIS FATHER AT GLOUCESTER PARK Dexter Dunn, New Zealand harness racing's golden boy and a superstar at the age of 24, will make his first appearance in Western Australia when he drives Bit Of A Legend in the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And he would dearly love to emulate the performance of his father Robert, who landed a winner at his only trip to WA, in 1996 when he was successful with Master Musician in a second-round heat of the interdominion championship. Robert Dunn then was in the sulky when Master Musician, the 5/2 favourite, finished third behind Young Mister Charles and Sunshine Band in the final. Dunn, who will arrive in Perth on Thursday, will get the opportunity to experience driving on the 805m circuit when he handles three pacers trained by Matt Scott in early events on the program. Scott has nominated Dunn to drive Miss Tee Dawn in the 1730m V. and K. Congerton Memorial Mares Pace, Marooned in the 2130m Happy Birthday Ryan Berti Pace and Zurbaran in the first heat of the Livio (The Champ) Tolomeo The Coulson Pace. Miss Tee Dawn has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and has sound prospects of giving Dunn a winner at his first drive at Gloucester Park. This would equal his feat of landing a winner at his first drive in America --- when he was successful behind McClelland (1.50.1) over 1609m at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on June 25, 2011. Miss Tee Dawn started from the outside of the back ,line and did a good job to finish strongly from the rear to be fourth behind Arts Gangsta over 2190m at Northam on Tuesday of last week. She also unwound a powerful burst from the rear to win from Mount Richon over 2150m at Harvey the previous week. Marooned, who was claimed for $10,000 last week, has a losing sequence of 20 and faces a stern test from barrier four on the back line. He trailed the pacemaker Sanjaya when a sound third to that pacer last week, with the winner rating 1.55 over 1730m. Punters are likely to be keen to support the polemarker and smart frontrunner Taiaha against Marooned and the other ten runners in this week's event. Taiaha, who is prepared by Hazelmere trainer Mike Reed, caught the eye when racing first-up at Northam on Tuesday of last week when he raced three back on the pegs and was hampered for room before finishing solidly to be second to Celtic Crusader. Zurbaran, a winner six starts ago and placed second at two of his past four starts, will be at handsome odds from the outside of the front line in a race in which polemarker Cool Johnny (resuming after a let-up), What God Knows and Soho Highroller will be fancied. THE BEAU BRUMMELL RETURNS AFTER A SPELL IN FINE STYLE New Zealand-bred five-year-old The Beau Brummell looks one of the best bets on the program at Gloucester Park on Friday night after scoring an effortless first-up victory at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop produced The Beau Brummell in fine fettle for his first appearance for three months when he trotted faultlessly three back on the pegs in a race run in Indian file before he surged to the front 100m from home and scored by more than three lengths from All Over Red Rover at a 2.1.9 rate over 2185m. The Beau Brummell will start from barrier three on the front line in the 2130m mobile Kyle And Dozer Trot on Friday night in which he will clash with then highly-regarded Prince Eddie, smart frontrunner Heez Speedy Gonzalez, last-start winner Earl Harbour and Hot Holiday, who has won in good style at two of his past four starts. by Ken Casellas
Former Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling will chase another Gr. 1 victory in Saturday night's Treuer Memorial however her task was made all the more harder after she drew barrier ten. The Belinda McCarthy trained mare returned to form on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Menangle winning the Robin Dundee Stakes and owner Harvey Kaplan is hoping she can continue to hold her form. "I was very pleased with her performance on Saturday night, it was great to finally get some idea of where she was at and despite the draw this week I'm hoping she can produce another solid run," Kaplan said. "Baby Bling has been a little bit difficult to follow this campaign, she was outstanding first up, very disappointing at her next run and then her Queensland trip didn't give us any idea of where she was at for a couple of reasons, then when she got back to Sydney she ended up drawing barrier twelve in the Cordina Sprint." Kaplan confirmed the McCarthy stable had been giving glowing reports about the mare's condition and wasn't totally shocked by Saturday's win. "The stable had been reporting that she was back to the weight that she was at when she won the Miracle Mile and had been working extremely well but when she was drawn so wide I still had some concerns but to everyone's credit she was very good considering she was forced to cover extra ground." Baby Bling will be nominated for next year's Inter Dominion series and Kaplan believes that will give him and the rest of the ownership group options going forward. "She will be nominated for sure, we might even give her a run in the series and she how she goes but she has already qualified for the Ladyship Mile so we already have that option." "I don't know if the rest of the owners are as keen as I am, but I would still like to see her go to North America but nothing would happen before March next year." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |
SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (December 3, 2013) – The drivers at Saratoga Casino and Raceway will donate 5% of their drivers fee on Wednesday, December 4 to fellow horsemen Anthony Coletta. Coletta, 31, from Jersey City, NJ, was critically injured in a four-horse accident at Harrah’s Philadelphia Racetrack on Sunday, November 17 when he was thrown from his sulky and then trampled by a trailing horse. In addition to the estimated $3,000 driver’s donation, The Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association (SHHA) will contribute $500. The money will benefit "Stay Strong A. Coletta", a fund set up by Coletta’s parents to help pay for medical expenses and other bills. Coletta sustained trauma to his brain and has been in a coma since the accident. He also has multiple fractures. “Anthony is in our thoughts and prayers and we’re all hoping for a speedy recovery for him.” said SHHA President Barry Segel. “The horsemen and drivers at Saratoga Casino and Raceway are happy to help. We’re also selling Stay Strong Coletta bracelets to show our support and raise additional funds for the cause.” Friends and family have set up a Facebook page, Thoughts And Prayers For Anthony Coletta / FACEBOOK for updates on Coletta’s condition and to show support for him and his family. Saratoga Casino and Raceway, located on Crescent Avenue in Saratoga Springs, NY, features over 1,700 slots, electronic table games, Vapor Night Club, two full-service restaurants with buffets, a casual dining restaurant, three full-service bars, deli and a variety of guest services including valet parking and coat check. Operating hours for the gaming facility are 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. every day. Simulcast races can be viewed seven days a week and live harness racing runs March through mid-December. From Saratoga Raceway and SHHA
Moama breeder/owner/trainer/driver Mal Whiteford was successful at his home track Frank Ryan Raceway Echuca on Tuesday December 3, when more than handy four year old Artesian/Kamwood Toy mare Kamwood Dawn scored in the Christies Welding Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Settling mid-field in the moving line from gate four on the second line, Kamwood Dawn was set alight three wide approaching the bell and with a sharp turn of speed, crossed the pacemaker Billy Branach to lead for the final circuit. Holding a slender margin at the straight entrance, Kamwood Dawn defied all challengers to register a 1.2 metre victory over the heavily supported Final Flutter which moved outside her on the final bend after an easy time, with Billy Branach battling away gamely for third. The mile rate 1-59.4. It was Kamwood Girl's 3rd victory in 28 outings. Kilmore's Bruce Kennedy always sends his horses out looking a picture and four year old Four Starzzz Shark/Krisney mare Krisney Girl rewarded him by taking the Add Print Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres in a rate of 2-01.4 with Chris Alford in the sulky. Starting from gate two on the second line, Krisney Girl had most of the field ahead of her for the first lap, before gaining a lovely three wide trail home in the last lap on the back of the Riverina visitor Donated which was backed for plenty, with the pair joining the pacemaker Direct Art on the home turn. Given full rein on turning, Krisney Girl prevailed by 1.9 metres from Donated and Direct Art which led for the final circuit after racing outside Miss Wong Sue for the first half of the journey. Kyneton part-owner/trainer Tony Trimboli's Earl/Arnees Sensation six year old gelding Arctic Wolf snared his 6th victory in 89 race appearances, when successful in the Wandana Standardbreds Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2530 metres. With regular reinsman Tony Xiriha handling the ribbons, Arctic Wolf from the 10 metre mark was unable to cross Featherfoot Sun shortly after the start, being restrained for a perfect trail. Easing into the open approaching the bell, Xiriha put the foot to the floor to lead for the final circuit and in a punishing finish, just held on from Doctor Sam which failed by a nose and Featherfoot Sun in a mile rate of 2-07.8. Speedy Kilmore mare Modern Mary chalked up her 8th victory when greeting the judge in the $5,500 Echuca Moama Storage Moama Pacing Cup for C4 & C5 class over 2160 metres. Trained by Julie Mifsud and driven by sister-in-law Rita Burnett, Modern Mary a five year old daughter of Modern Art and Marys Girl first up since August, began like a rocket from outside the front line to lead running into the first turn and after being rated a treat, held too many guns at the finish for the hot favourite Gangster Boy which trailed, moving outside her on the final bend, with Fergus McCool (threeback the markers) third. The mile rate 1-59.4. Melton trainer "Honest" Robbie O'Connell combined with stable apprentice Zac Phillips to land the Moama Bowling Club Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with eight year old E Dees Cam/Universal Alice gelding Juke Kartel. Given a beaut passage three back along the markers from gate two on the second line, Juke Kartel was eased to be one/one approaching the final bend and when taken three wide on turning, ran home strongly to score by 6.3 metres in a rate of 2-00.7 from Brother Rabbit which trailed the weakening leader and third placed Transaction. Juke Kartel was also a winner at the previous Echuca meeting on October 1. Ever reliable nine year old Peace of Art/Bubblegum mare Bubble Art always races well at this time of year, bringing up her 13th victory by taking the Choicehotels.com.au Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1755 metres much to the delight of Wallaloo East (Stawell) trainer/driver Troy Raven and the Raven family. Using a mares concession, Bubble Art starting from the pole was given a sweet trip on the back of the leader and favourite Lookatime Philo next to her, which crossed after racing roughly at the start. Easing wide on straightening, Bubble Art despite shifting out, gained the day by a half neck over Goldiedomic along the sprint lane off her back, with Scottish Glamour (one/one - three wide last lap) third. The mile rate 1-59.9. Marong trainer Trevor Patching has been a regular competitor at Echuca over the years and snared the Bendigo Bank Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with lightly raced 8-Y-0 Safely Kept/Westmoor Elegance gelding Sherpa Star in a rate of 2-03.2. Given the run of the race from the pole following Foyer (gate five), Sherpa Star making his 11th race appearance was eased away from the markers by Nathan Jack on the home turn and finished best to gain the day by 2.5 metres in advance of Foyer and Thelove Child (three back the markers). Serpentine trainer Robert Rothacker joined forces with Daryl Douglas to capture the Echuca Cup 21 March Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with five year old Art Major/Rachelanne mare Policious. Having her 9th outing and second for the season, Policious from gate three on the second line settled well back in the field, making ground at the bell trailing the well backed Thankbonnie three wide. Dropping in for a breather in the final circuit as Thankbonnie applied pressure to the pacemaker Pascarma, striding clear approaching the home turn, Policious issued an immediate challenge on turning and raced clear over the concluding stages to score from Pascarma which came again, with Miss Tanami running on late to cut Thankbonnie out of third. The mile rate 2-02.6. Robert gained all the spoils as he is the breeder/owner/trainer. Benalla trainer Jason Ross combined with Nathan Jack aboard 4-Y-0 Blissful Hall/Flighty Lisa mare The Hen House to land the New Years Night Hot To Trot Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres, leading virtually throughout from gate four in defeating Brown Rice and Katie Lively in a rate of 2-01.7. By Len Baker
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