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Standardbred Trainer surpasses Todd Pletcher's all-time single season earnings record East Rutherford, NJ (December 12th) - Entering the Friday night program at The Meadowlands, Ron Burke's earnings in 2014 stood right at $28.1 Million, just a few thousand dollars short of Todd Pletcher's mark from 2007 of $28,116,097. When Appomattox crossed the wire first in the Free For All Handicap Trot, Burke's season earnings moved to $28,118,465, surpassing the mark set by Pletcher seven years ago. Of course, Burke was far from done. After a third place finish by Cut A Deal, a second place finish by Hot Type and a win by Set Me Up Burke began to build the lead over Pletcher. When factoring in earnings earned elsewhere Friday, Burke's earnings by the end of Friday night totaled $28,145,885. At the end of the night, Ron Burke stated simply he was "very happy and proud" to achieve this historic accomplishment. It was Appomattox, somewhat ironically making his first start for the Burke stable, who put Burke over the top, winning the Free For All Handicap Trot in 1:53. The new acquisition for the Burke-Brigade was sent straight to the lead by Yannick Gingras, reeling off fractions of 27.4, 56.2 and 1:24.3 before turning for home with Melady's Monet, riding a three race win streak pressing him first over. However, Appomattox was able to fend off the 9/5 favorite, and denied the four-peat. Mistery Woman checked in third. Appomattox returned $6.20 or owner Reima Kuisla Stable. Burke also took hop top honors in the top-class mare pace with Set Me Up. Coming off an impressive win at the B-1/A-2 level last week, Set Me Up took control early through fractions of 27.3, 56.1 and 1:24 and dug-in all the way to the wire winning in 1:52.2 as the 1/2 favorite. Set Me Up held off a late charge from Coffee Addict and Momma Rock was a locked in third. The winner is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. On a big night for Ron Burke, it should come as no surprise that leading driver Yannick Gingras also had a big night, capturing three races. Scott Zeron had a big night after missing last Saturday with a nasty cold, winning three races as well. The Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed tonight thanks to a parade of longshots that resulted in a dime superfecta returning over $15,000. The carryover in the Super Hi-5 for Saturday stands at $6,818. Overall, the total handle for the Friday program of $2,309,728 marked a six-percent increase over the same date last year. Racing returns to The Meadowlands Saturday, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, October 2, 2014--Yonkers Raceway is again simulcasting one of the world's premier thoroughbred races, Sunday's Qatar Prix l'Arc de Triomphe from Longchamp Racecourse in Paris. Post time for "the Arc" is scheduled for 10:30 AM ET, with Yonkers offering fourth-floor simulcasting only for this event beginning at 10 AM ET. Of course, the usual Sunday slate of harness and thoroughbred simulcasting--plus the NFL--is also available throughout the day. Please note there is no Saturday advance wagering for any of Sunday's Longchamp races. Frank Drucker

A lot of harness racing traditionalists will have been smiling with the announcement earlier this week that the Inter Dominion to be held in Perth in late 2015 will be staged under the old style format of three heats and a final over a two week period. The series will run over three heats in the first week  and then a gap of a week to the final which is  scheluded for December 11th 2015 for the huge stake of A$1,300,000. It is an optimum time of year for harness racing in Perth with just about all their major races for the better class horses held in the December/January window. The change in timing of the series fits in with the other changes to major races in Australia such as the Miracle Mile which has been moved to February. The historic dates have been discarded as the major Australian players have restructured the timing of the major races as we knew them to better suit their needs in 2015. You can't fault the bodies involved trying to find date structures that work better for the industry but there are some potential pitfalls. One thing they havn't taken into account  in all the changes is the dates structure of harness racing in New Zealand. New Zealands premier race every year is the New Zealand Cup meeting in November which is staged  on the second Tuesday of November every year. There is a whole week of elite level thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing based around that week and it is the biggest annual carnival in New Zealand by far. There is absolutely no chance of the date being changed so a clash with the Inter Dominion seems inevitable. The $600,000 difference in prize money would seem to be a pretty significant carrot  for Kiwis on the surface but as any Kiwi trainer who has taken horses to Perth knows its not quite as simple as that. Perth in December can be extremely hot and then some and a lot of Kiwis arriving in Perth take time to acclimatise to the local conditions. Some horses just don't cop it and it can affect a horses performance for the rest of that campaign  With the gap between New Zealand Cup week and the first round of heats being so small, the potential for problems is obvious. Last year Fly Like An Eagle had several runs leading into the New Zealand Cup week, two hard runs during Cup week and then tried to line up straight afterwards in the preludes to the Miracle Mile. The runs so close together flattened Fly Like An Eagle and he was very disappointing the rest of the season. And that is without considering the affect of the heat. Gold Ace went frrom Auckland to Perth and the heat didn't affect him one bit and he won the Golden Nugget. A Bit Of A Legend went for the Golden Nugget as well and raced poorly the whole time he was there due in the words of his caretaker trainer Brent Mangos,to the heat. So some Kiwi horses can handle the heat and some can't.  It is going to be hard enough for a lot of the Kiwis with the heat but the close proximity of the series to New Zealand Cup week makes it just about mission impossible. The West Australians are to be conglatulated for returning the Inter Dominion to its original format and for the huge stake money to be offered. It would be a shame if due to the timing issues involved it becomes light on New Zealand repersentation. Harnesslink Media

The Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) has today charged Jockey David Walker with two breaches of the Rules of Racing following his ride on “Watch Your Man” in Race 3 at Awapuni on Saturday 16th August. It is the RIU’s contention that Mr Walker placed bets on another horse “St Ransom” and deliberately rode his horse to ensure his bets were successful. Following an investigation the RIU has charged Mr Walker for breaching - Rule 801 (1) (m) – A person commits a Serious Racing Offence within the meaning of these Rules who commits a dishonest or fraudulent act connected with racing or betting associated with racing And Rule 707 (1) – A Rider may only bet on a race and/or sports event (including but not limited to a Race) in New Zealand or in any other jurisdiction, provided that where he is betting on a race and he is riding a horse in that race he may only bet on the horse he is riding. RIU General Manager Mike Godber says in view of the evidence collected to date and the seriousness of the charges, the RIU has recommended to New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing that Mr Walker’s licence be suspended pending the hearing of the charges. “The allegations before Mr Walker are serious and threaten the very fabric of thoroughbred racing. “We therefore consider the continued participation of Mr Walker  in racing prior to the JCA hearing would pose an unacceptable risk to the image, interests and integrity of racing,” says Mr Godber. As this matter is subject to an investigation and full hearing no further comment will be provided from the RIU at this time. Courtesy Of Racing Integrity Unit

The New Zealand Racing Board has become a despot, says leading Thoroughbred trainer John Wheeler, spending money willy nilly that the industry cannot afford. Wheeler is incensed about revelations the board has had to revise the over ambitious forecasts of its recently departed chief executive Chris Bayliss, leaving the codes facing more lean years. "They spend money hand over foot and we get the left-overs," Wheeler said of NZRB. "I've been saying for 10 years that the funding model is wrong. How much longer do we have to tolerate it? "We shouldn't be getting the crumbs. The codes should be getting what they need to make racing flourish and the board should be cutting its cloth to suit." While Bayliss was talking a 50% rise in returns to owners within five years, Wheeler said he gave up believing anything the board said years ago after a succession of ineffectual highly-paid CEOs had come and gone. "The board has been dysfunctional for a decade and it's time the Racing Minister did something. "Costs have doubled in the last decade, they've hired more and more staff, it's out of control." Wheeler said the industry was now paying for the grand spending spree that its just departed CEO Chris Bayliss went on, millions spent on moving to flash new offices in Parnell, a $10 million state-of-the-art Trackside studio and a failed Triple Trio campaign. Wheeler said he understood the cost of the failed Typhoon betting system was also a lot higher than the $11.1 million the board wrote off in 2012. "Thoroughbred Racing needs only another $3 million or $4 million to make a go of it." Courtesy of Barry Lichter and the Sunday Star Times

7 August 2014: OVERVIEW. Statutory Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) $129.9 million, up 2.6% on the prior corresponding period (pcp). This includes: NPAT from continuing operations before significant items $149.4 million, up 7.4%. Loss after tax from discontinued operations $19.5 million[1]. Statutory Earnings Per Share (EPS) 17.2 cents per share, in line with pcp. EPS from continuing operations before significant items 19.8 cents per share, up 4.8%. Full year dividend [16] cents per share, fully franked (FY13, 19 cents per share).  EBITDA from continuing operations before significant items $486.1 million, up 4.8%. Revenues $2,039.8 million, up 1.8%. Variable contribution $919.5 million, up 3.8%. Operating expenses $433.4 million, up 2.8%. Portfolio of long-dated licences strengthened with extension of Queensland Keno licence (to 2047) and NSW retail wagering exclusivity (to 2033). Agreement to acquire ACTTAB. Refinancing of bond maturities completed 1 May 2014, resulting in interest savings of approximately $10 million per annum. New senior executive leadership structure in place, with the creation of new roles: COO Wagering and COO Gaming Services & Keno.   MANAGING DIRECTOR AND CEO COMMENTARY “The Group’s performance in FY14 demonstrates the benefits of a model that is diversified across four businesses. This result is testament to our market-leading brands and unique multi-product, multi-channel distribution model,” said Managing Director and CEO, David Attenborough. “The strong performance of our Wagering business was driven by excellent growth in Fixed Odds and Digital wagering. Media and International again delivered a positive earnings result, despite incurring one-off restructuring charges. “Our Gaming Services business, TGS, has built on the solid foundation laid in its first year in Victoria by successfully entering NSW. TGS is now well placed for further expansion.  Although it was disappointing not to see revenue growth in our Keno business in FY14, it is well positioned to grow in FY15, with new products set for launch.” Business Results – Continuing Operations Before Significant Items  Wagering  Total Wagering business revenues (including the Victorian Racing Industry’s interest) grew 1.8% in FY14{C}{C}{C}[2]{C}{C}{C}. Wagering revenue growth of 2.4% in the second half improved relative to first half growth of 1.3%.    Operating expenses were $284.0 million, up 0.6%. EBITDA was $282.2 million, up 6.5%.  By product, Fixed Odds growth was again the highlight with revenues up 26.5% to $511.5 million. This was made up of: {C}{C}{C}{C}·         {C}{C}{C}Fixed Odds racing revenues of $322.9 million, up 37.0%, primarily driven by an expansion in the number of markets offered and ongoing shifts in customer preferences towards Fixed Odds products. {C}{C}{C}{C}·         {C}{C}{C}Fixed Odds sports revenues of $188.6 million, up 12.7%.   Totalisator revenues were $1,262.9 million, down 6.3%, partly impacted by lower premium customer volumes and the shift to Fixed Odds. Luxbet revenues were up 22.5% to $47.9 million and Trackside revenues were $89.3 million, up 1.1%.  The Soccer World Cup produced revenues across TAB and Luxbet in FY14 of $14.9 million and in FY15 of $10.3 million. TAB’s successful marketing initiatives were driven by the ‘Back Gold’ campaign led by former Socceroos goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer.    Tabcorp’s diverse distribution channels allow customers to connect with TAB in multiple ways, differentiating Tabcorp from online-only wagering operators.  The Digital channel was a driver of Tabcorp’s Wagering growth, with turnover up 18.2% to $2,900.0 million.  Mobile devices made up 54% of Tabcorp’s Digital turnover, up from 35% in FY13. NSW retail turnover was $3,819.1 million, down 1.2%, and Victorian retail turnover was $2,762.2 million, down 4.9%. Performance in the NSW and Victorian retail wagering channels improved in 2H14 relative to 1H14, despite continued soft retail conditions. Media and International  Tabcorp’s Media and International business continued to benefit from the expanded export of vision and co-mingling.  Revenues grew 6.2% to $220.4 million. Operating expenses were $123.9 million, up 5.0%, with expense growth partly attributable to the acquisition of Sky’s US vision agent, now rebranded Sky Racing World US, and one-off restructure charges.  EBITDA was $68.5 million, up 2.2%.  Broadcast rights and racing industry contributions from Tabcorp’s International business were $73.5 million, up 15.6%.  Tabcorp continues to work towards concluding media rights negotiations for NSW and Victorian thoroughbred racing content and achieving a fair commercial outcome for all parties.  Gaming Services  The results of the Gaming Services business reflect a full year contribution compared to the prior year during which TGS was operational for 10.5 months.  TGS revenues were $98.1 million, up 13.7%. Operating expenses were $31.1 million, up 11.1%, resulting in EBITDA of $67.0 million, up 14.9%.    TGS made a successful entry into the NSW market during the year, signing up two NSW venues, Kogarah RSL and Auburn Tennis Club. TGS has now established capability to grow the business in NSW in FY15.  A second half highlight in Victoria, where TGS covers approximately 8,500 electronic gaming machines (EGMs), was the commencement of the in-EGM loyalty scheme.  Keno  Keno revenues were $203.9 million, down 0.7%, with Queensland and NSW revenues flat and Victorian revenues up 3.6%. Operating expenses were $41.2 million, up 1.0%.  EBITDA was $72.2 million, down 4.4%.    An operational highlight was the roll out of Keno Racing to more than 450 Queensland venues.  Improving the performance of the Keno business is a priority for Tabcorp in FY15. New initiatives planned for delivery include the commencement of jackpot pooling between NSW and Victoria in 1H15, with Queensland to follow. CAPITAL EXPENDITURE AND INVESTMENTS Capital expenditure was $133 million, with the major projects being digital and systems enhancements for Wagering and the TGS expansion. Expected capital expenditure in FY15 is $130 million, before the expansion of TGS in NSW and Victorian in-EGM loyalty. The depreciation and amortisation (D&A) expense for FY15 is expected to be approximately $170 million. Capital expenditure and D&A guidance is before the impact of the ACTTAB acquisition. RACE FIELDS FEES New Race Fields fee structures have been put in place by the Victorian, Queensland and South Australian racing industries, effective from 1 July 2014.  If these changes had applied to Tabcorp in FY14, and in the absence of any mitigating strategies, the estimated impact would be approximately $12 million before tax.   SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA PROCEEDINGS   Tabcorp has lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria against a judgment of the Supreme Court of Victoria handed down on 26 June 2014. The appeal is listed to be heard in October. The judgment relates to Tabcorp’s claim for a payment of $686.8 million from the State of Victoria, which found in favour of the State. Separately, Tabcorp has applied for special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia in respect of the Health Benefit Levy judgment of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria, which was handed down on 1 July 2014.  The Court of Appeal judgment impacted Tabcorp’s FY14 earnings by $19.5 million after tax, which has been disclosed as Discontinued Operations in Tabcorp’s financial statements. DIVIDEND The Board has announced a final dividend of [8] cents per share, fully franked and payable on 24 September 2014 to shareholders registered at 14 August 2014.  The full year dividend of [16] cents per share represents [81%] of NPAT from continuing operations before significant items. The Board today announced that its FY15 target dividend payout ratio will increase to 90% of NPAT.    STAKEHOLDER BENEFITS Taxes on gambling paid                                             $439.3 million Income generated for racing industry                        $735.0 million VIC                                                                         $342.0 million[1] NSW                                                                       $246.2 million Race fields fees                                                     $73.3 million Broadcast rights and international business           $73.5 million Income taxes paid and payable          $66.7 million   [1] Excludes the impact of the VRI’s share of HBL of $8.9 million. FY15 PRIORITIES Mr Attenborough said: “Tabcorp is well placed to drive profitable growth through our diversified portfolio of businesses. This portfolio has been strengthened with the recent agreement to acquire ACTTAB, subject to necessary approvals.  ACTTAB will give Tabcorp new and attractive long-term licences. “In Wagering, we will continue to integrate our retail and digital offerings, noting our distribution channels work together for overall growth.  Other priorities in Wagering are product expansion and successfully completing the ACTTAB transaction. “The priority for the Media and International business is to conclude media rights negotiations and expand co-mingling and the export of Australasian racing. “Now that TGS has entered the NSW market, the business is well placed to demonstrate the value it can generate for licensed venues and increase sign-ups. “Finally, our Keno business has a clear agenda to improve its performance.  Product expansion and the pooling of jackpots between NSW and Victoria are among the initiatives that will help create a more compelling offer for customers. “We are well positioned to drive future performance, maintain expense discipline and deliver Return on Invested Capital of 14% by FY16.” For more information: Media: Nicholas Tzaferis, GM Corporate Affairs, 03 9868 2529 Financial analysts: Lachlan Fitt, GM Investor Relations and Strategy, 02 9218 1414

While some prominent trainers called for phasing out use of race-day furosemide in a press release Aug. 1, top horsemen's groups throughout the country said this week they have not changed their stance in supporting use of the diuretic. The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Aug. 6 issued an open letter declaring its continued support for race-day furosemide (Salix, also commonly called Lasix) to prevent or reduce the severity of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. The opinion in the letter, which was signed by the THA's six state association presidents, is matched by other prominent horsemen's groups throughout the country. On Friday, 25 prominent trainers, including multiple Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher and seven members of the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame, signed a letter proposing race-day Lasix be prohibited in 2-year-old races in 2015 and in all races in 2016. Because trainers have been the industry's biggest supporters of race-day Lasix, the letter, signed by four of the current top 10 trainers by earnings in North America, offered a rare public display of division on the issue among trainers. Despite that division, prominent horsemen's groups said they have no plans to change their current support of race-day Lasix. To Read the full story on BloodHorse.com.

Cheating on your spouse is not very nice; and is still a crime in many places. While prosecutions for Adultery are admittedly rare, the Scarlet Letter crime is still on the books. In fact, at last count it's a criminal offense in 21 states. While liberalized divorce laws in all 50 states have eliminated the need to plead and prove civil grounds for divorce, such as Adultery, some spouses try to encourage prosecution of their wayward betrothed to extract an advantage with issues such as child custody and visitation. Public Intoxication is also a criminal offense in several states, and, unlike adultery, arrests and prosecutions occur with regularity. A related crime, Public Lewdness, occurs when too much beer leads to the need to relieve oneself in an open place. How prevalent are the types of activities described above?  You don’t need to have a degree in the social sciences to conclude that everybody has, and everybody will, do regrettable things during their lifetimes. While not everyone sleeps around or drinks to excess in public, there are those who have shoplifted a candy bar; made graffiti; sold a bootleg recording; hosted a poker game; walked across railroad tracks when the gates were down; passed a joint to a friend (constitutes a drug sale); cheated on their taxes and committed hundreds of other criminal offenses. Imagine someone being permanently banned from participating in pari-mutuel harness racing because his spouse caught him carousing around her back, or because he screamed obscenities in a park at midnight in an inebriated state. Not nice; and possibly criminal activity… but do these actions truly speak to the appropriateness of participation in our industry? Moreover, if the activity occurred away from a racetrack, what possible business would a racetrack management, much less a racing commission, have in using it to judge the character and fitness of an individual who always acts as a professional while in the paddock? Finally, all other things considered, would the penalty of perpetual banishment truly fit the crimes referenced? The stakeholders in our industry have varied opinions when it comes to horse slaughter. Irrespective of my opinion or that of anyone else, the present legal status of horse slaughter in this country is what it is; like it or not.  Against this backdrop, consider the lawsuit presently pending in a Federal District Court in Ohio entitled, Mumaw v. Ohio State Racing Commission. The plaintiffs are longstanding owners and trainers of Thoroughbreds at Thistledown Racetrack. They contend that in 2012 they retired one of their horses by giving it to a woman seeking a riding horse for her children. The plaintiffs did not transfer the Jockey Club registration papers, explaining that they didn’t want the horse to end up racing ever again. They allege that it wasn’t until 2013 that the Jockey Club permitted a “Sold as Retired from Racing” designation on registration papers. Thus, they remained the paper owners of the horse. Shortly thereafter, plaintiffs were contacted by somebody they describe as an animal rights’ advocate who indicated that the horse was purchased at a livestock auction house known as a conduit for horses destined for slaughter. It is alleged that this individual demanded money in exchange for her silence. Plaintiffs state that they balked at what they describe as blackmail, and the advocate then contacted both the stewards and track management. Purportedly based upon a racetrack boarding agreement provision prohibiting any horse from being transported from the track for the purpose of slaughter or to an auction house who sells horses for slaughter, the stewards and racetrack management permanently banned plaintiffs and their horses from participation in racing at the track. The question as to whether plaintiffs received a full, fair, constitutional hearing before the stewards is an open question in the litigation; as is the question of whether plaintiffs knew or should have known that the horse was going to a slaughter auction. The answers to these questions and many others are dependent upon what the court ultimately elicits as the true facts in the case. There are, however, questions that can be addressed without the need for much fact finding.      The truth is that there is no jurisdiction, including Ohio, which makes it a crime to either buy or sell a horse for the purpose of eventual slaughter. In other words, while some may think selling a horse in a grade sale is horribly wrong, nobody has made it criminal. Yes, slaughter is illegal in certain states, but selling a horse with even nefarious intent doesn’t constitute slaughter. Moreover, not every horse at a grade sale necessarily goes to slaughter. In Ohio, some are purchased by Old Order Amish community members for transport or farm work. In fact, it appears from the complaint in the matter that the horse in question was actually purchased by a horse rescuer and never sent to slaughter. Plaintiffs deny that they transported a horse from the track for the purpose of slaughter. Even if they were found to have done so, what was violated was a track rule embodied in a stall application, not a state statute or regulation. While Thistledown management might be allowed to exclude plaintiffs’ from participation at their premises, what authority did the state’s stewards have to enforce a “house” rule? The question is important, because there are other Thoroughbred venues in Ohio where the actions of the stewards could have wide-ranging implications. What’s more, the very validly of house rules have always been a shaky issue. Decades ago, New York’s highest court voided a “policy” which was never promulgated according to state-mandated procedures that required jockeys suspended by the state during the Saratoga race meet to take their days at Saratoga. Years later, a federal judge refused to dismiss a complaint by New York jockey agents which challenged the legitimacy of a house rule limiting them from representing more than one journeyman jockey. In essence, if a house rule adversely affects a licensee, it impinges upon the vested property right granted to him or her via their state-issued occupational license. It’s for this reason that New York’s highest court also invalidated the state’s attempt to delegate licensing authority to the private, non-governmental Jockey Club. In sum, you could commit a crime and not serve a day’s suspension. You could also violate a racetrack’s house rule, not be in violation of a single law or regulation, and be banned for life not only by racetrack management, by the stewards in their official capacity as state commission agents. Don’t think slaughter is good? I don’t either, but that’s not the point. If Ohio doesn’t have a rule on the books, their officials shouldn’t be enforcing the rules of private organizations. Judges should fine and suspend the state licenses of individuals for regulatory violations, not because a private organization doesn’t like something. After all, aren’t the judges beholden to state law and regulation? When track managements persuade the judges to enforce track rules, it gives those non-governmental rules the impermissible imprimatur of the state. That’s just wrong, because while today the issue is slaughter, tomorrow it might be about free speech, driving style or perceived disloyalty.  Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network. Chris E. Wittstruck Courtesy of The USTA Web Newsroon

Beaudiene Boaz's performance in his Australian debut highlighted Friday's harness racing at Gloucester Park with the highly touted two year old proving too good in the $125,000 Premier Suzuki Golden Slipper. Wes Cameron caught up with Clinton Hall just after the race. Also on GPTV this week: Tom Buchanan: Tom previews his drives at Pinjarra this Monday. Dylan Egerton-Green: Dylan talks about his upcoming drives in Pinjarra and Northam. Nathan Turvey: Nathan previews his Monday drives at Pinjarra and talks about what's coming up for his stable. Aldo Cortopassi: Aldo on his drives at Pinjarra, his venture into thoroughbred racing and the status of Pacing Cup winner Hokonui Ben   For the full list of videos visit www.gloucesterpark.com.au  

This is the third in a series of articles we are running with regards to the racing policies of the major political parties in New Zealand. This time it is the LABOUR PARTY: Our vision    Racing is a skilled, vibrant industry with a high profile in New Zealand. It contributes  significantly to the domestic economy in terms of primary production, as a gaming sport and  in entertainment. It has an extremely high value in the export of bloodstock, particularly in  new markets such as Hong Kong.    Racing offers employment directly and indirectly to many people across a wide spectrum of  society. Labour is committed to working in partnership with the industry to achieve better  outcomes in all areas of the racing industry.    When in government, we worked hard to build a good environment for the industry. The  income tax liability was removed on offshore stake money, and the GST liability due on  horses sold for export was addressed.    The Racing Act 2003 better equipped the industry to address the challenges it faces. Labour  delivered a reduction in taxation to align with other forms of gambling, enabling the industry  to have increased funds for stakes, assets and other activities.    Labour recognises the need for the industry to achieve sustainable growth through  maximising strengths and opportunities, and will continue to work closely with the sector to  facilitate this.    Value to economy    The racing industry makes a significant contribution to New Zealand‟s GDP, and creates  employment and export opportunities. A study by the Melbourne-based economic  consultancy IER Pty Ltd (IER) found that in 2008/09 the industry had a significant economic  impact on New Zealand‟s GDP, employment and exports.   They reported that, in 2008/09:    1) Racing made a direct contribution of $464 million to GDP, and generated more than  $1,635 million (0.9 per cent of GDP) if the indirect impact of expenditure in the racing  industry is taken into account.    2) Racing directly sustained 8,877 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, and when the indirect  impact of racing is taken into account, the total employment increased to 16,934 FTE  jobs. More than 52,000 people participated in the racing industry (this figure included  volunteers and owners).    3) The racing industry generated more than $167 million in export sales of thoroughbred  and standard bred horses.    A prosperous and dynamic sector with huge potential  The racing industry is currently in decline, primarily through having to compete with many  other forms of gambling. So changes are needed. When in Government, Labour will be  instrumental in allowing all parts of the industry to be involved in reviewing the current status  of the industry, and to establish what is the best way forward.    Labour is committed to building on the good partnership we had developed with the racing  industry, and will continue to work closely with the industry to strengthen racing‟s  contribution to economic growth. Labour will ensure that all additional funding to racing  contributes to real economic growth to be enjoyed by all stakeholders, through appropriate  industry strategies.    Recognising that change must come from within, Labour will convene a round-table  discussion of major stakeholders in the industry with a view to strengthening and  enhancing the economic viability of racing in New Zealand. We will ensure that a  strategic direction is developed and implemented.    Labour is concerned that some racing clubs might use revenue from pokie machines for  purposes other than for the social good. There are also proposals to establish pokie  machines on racing club premises, and we are concerned this may be done without  sufficiently-wide consultation. Labour will bring together industry stakeholders to develop  policy on these issues.    Labour will ensure the robustness of the Integrity Unit, meaning that those appointed to it are  of the highest calibre, in order to maintain the integrity of the unit and the industry.    Labour in government will assist in establishing a Code of Practice for the racing industry,  which will be drawn up and agreed upon by all major stakeholders and will link with the  current set-up of the Integrity Unit.    We will also uphold the position of the New Zealand Racing Board to hold the exclusive  rights to racing and sports betting in New Zealand, and for the net proceeds to be returned to  sustain New Zealand racing.    Labour will work with the New Zealand Racing Board, the racing code bodies, the Governments and International racing bodies to ensure that New Zealand is well placed to respond to any threats to racing's revenue and integrity.   Racing is inherently a dangerous occupation. But with the right tools, the risks can be  managed and mitigated. Labour is committed to working with the sector to ensure that  jockeys ride in the safest environment possible. A reduction of injuries and safer practices  will result in a reduction in ACC levies.   Labour will work with the industry to reduce injuries, promote safe practices and provide safe amenities.    Our thoroughbred stock is a precious resource, and in New Zealand we are lucky our  industry is free from diseases such as Equine Influenza. But the scare in Australia reinforces the need for vigilance in biosecurity measures to protect the industry. Labour will ensure the  racing sector and the government have the necessary measures and tools in place to  identify and manage biosecurity risks to protect the industry.    Labour will support appropriate biosecurity measures to protect the racing industry in  all its activities.    Skills development and training is as important in the racing sector as any other sector. We  want to see the industry continue to move towards being a high-technology, high-skilled  driver of growth. Labour will continue to work with the sector to identify areas for  improvement in industry training and education.    Labour will work with the racing sector to further its industry training and education  goals.    Labour recognises the difficulties faced by the racing industry in modernising itself for the  21st century. We will work with all major stakeholders to ensure the revitalisation of a strong  economic performer which can do even better.    The Labour Party            

New Zealand Standardbred Breeders' Association (NZSBA) received some welcomed news this week when their application to the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) as an Affiliated Breed Society was accepted. This has been a goal of the Association since standardbred classes were excluded from the prestigious Horse of the Year Show in 2013. The affiliation to RAS now means that standardbreds can hold their own breed specific classes at A & P shows, ultimately leading to classes at Horse of the Year (HOY), the Group racing of equestrian circles. Kiely Buttell, NZSBA Executive Manager, was delighted at the news. "I have been an advocate of Life After Racing since joining the Harness Industry back in 2007. When I was alerted to the news that standardbreds were unable to compete in 'breed specific' classes at HOY, I contacted the RAS to see what could be done. "To their credit the RAS have been fantastic to deal with and confirmed yesterday that our application has been accepted. We now start the journey to get standardbred classes back at HOY in 2015." To affiliate with RAS, NZSBA set up a 'pleasure horse membership' aimed at participants who re-home standardbreds after they have retired from racing. NZSBA has members from all over the country who are willing to make the trip to Hastings to compete at HOY. The standardbred as an equestrian prospect is growing in popularity. Previously much ridiculed for being 'jug heads' or 'wobblers', the modern standardbred has developed into a stunning breed in temperament and looks. They can easily hold their own against their thoroughbred cousins and many are enjoying successful careers in a variety of disciplines. Kiely Buttell | Executive Manager  

Harness Racing New Zealand has made a proposal to increase the threshold level for TCO2 under the Prohibited Substance Regulations. The remit, which will be put in front of clubs and kindred bodies at next month’s annual conference, if successful, would see the level raised from its current mark of 35.0 to 36.0 mmol (millimoles per litre). If raised, the threshold would come into line with both Australia, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and other major racing jurisdictions around the world. The risks associated with false positives are proven to decrease with the raised threshold, with statistical analysis showing that with the higher level, risks would increase from 1 in 15,973 to 1 in 2,021,729. As a result, Harness Racing New Zealand is also proposing that the increase in the threshold level should also be accompanied by a stronger penalties regime to act as a significant deterrent. HRNZ Chairman, Gary Allen said “The higher level will mean that any positive will in almost all certainty be the result of an administration of prohibited substances. In simple terms this is cheating, we must retain a level playing field for all participants and trainers who are caught under the new regime should be firmly penalised”. Following the example of Harness Racing New South Wales – the proposal would see first offence trainers disqualified for a minimum of 2 years. Second offenders would face a minimum of 5 years disqualification and three-time offenders disqualified for a minimum of 10 years. Harness Racing New Zealand

A couple of years ago Mark Purdon while visiting Natalie's family in Queensland was called upon to sort out a couple of yearlings Vic and Cheryl Rasmussen might be interested in. The first one was Aldo Rossi a $6000 purchase which won $50,000 in his first 10 starts from Rolleston before returning to Queensland where he had to be put aside after developing a problem. The second one, believe it or not, cost a lot less than Aldo and was named Horace Greeley-but things didn't go so well for him. "He was just ready to come over and get ready for some nice races here when he suffered a freak injury. He was out for over eight months so his three year old career was on hold. He only got over here a couple of months ago but he had been trained up and it is just good to get him to the races." Horace claims a place in the Timaru fields on Sunday but it is unlikely he will be asked to back up. He had to work quite hard to get to the front and was challenged early in the run home in a 28 and change quarter so it rated as a bold debut. Horace Greeley is a son of former Burwood Stud stallion Western Edition a combined thoroughbred and standardbred breeding and agistment operation based near Toowoomba on the Darling Downs by the Denning family. The stud has five standardbred stallions (more than any other Queensland stud) and two thoroughbred horses. By David McCarthy (ALL STARS RACING STABLE) *The All Stars team were also successful with Petite One, Go-Harness Syndication trotter Saratoga, and Change Stride, who headed an All Stars quinella when downing stablemate Have Faith In Me in the fourth event. However, it is evident neither of them came as cheap as Horace Greeley. Change Stride is a Rocknroll Hanover half-brother to New Zealand Cup champion Changeover while, Have Faith In Me, is a Bettor's Delight full-brother to superstar mare Adore Me. Purdon was understandably impressed with both juveniles. "Change Stide burned the gate and still won with something in reserve, while Have Faith In Me produced a big run after being left out three-wide for the last lap," said Purdon. Tonight's earning took All Stars total stake earning for the season above the $3 million mark for the first time since 2010.

Champion harness racing reinsman Dexter Dunn may be home and hosed in the National Drivers’ Premiership, but the battle among the juniors is still on in earnest. And although Samantha Ottley’s recent link up with the powerful Dunn stable has made her a warm favourite to take this year’s junior drivers’ title, a double from Sailesh Abernethy at Cambridge last night has brought him right back into contention. Abernethy, who is now on 41 wins, just one win behind Ottley, guided Hudey Haxwell to an all of the way victory in the first race on the card, before doubling the dose in the fourth event when adopting similar tactics aboard the Andrew Grant trained Heart Of Jessie. Abernethy has three drives at Alexandra Park tonight, while Ottley, who has already set a record for the most wins by a junior female reinswoman in a season, has numbers on her side, with five drives at Forbury Park tonight and six drives at Rangiora on Sunday. Meanwhile, Amatuer driver Michelle Northcott nearly pulled off a remarkable double when finishing second aboard Easy For Cullen in the last race on the card.  The dual-coded Northcott, who is employeed by Graeme Rogerson, had earlier in the day flown down to Otago’s Wingatui Thoroughbred meeting, where she was victorious in an amatuer riders’ event aboard a galloper she owns herself in Mr Nobody. By Mitchell Robertson  

A belief in the direction that the Auckland Trotting Club is taking; and the future of the Franklin Training track; were two major reasons why John Street is relocating Lincoln Farm’s harness racing business from Kumeu to Pukekohe. Street recently bought the National Bloodstock property on Golding Road right adjacent to the Franklin track. He is currently spending another $500,000 upgrading the property into a racing stable. “It’s going to take a couple of months before we can move in because hardly anything has been done on the place for 20 years,'' Street said. “But I’ve got six contractors working on site now. The place has up to 60 horse boxes, so we are able to relocate all 30 of our harness horses. "This also includes 21 rising 2-year-olds. "It took a bit of time planning and negotiating but we are pleased with the purchase.'' Street said the Lincoln Farms in Kumeu would continue to house broodmares and stallions. “The property hasn’t sold yet but we are in no hurry, it is serving a very good purpose now." Street said his team could now just walk through to the Franklin track rather than the current situation where they had to be transported into Kumeu or Alexandra Park to work. “The Franklin track is in a much better state and is regularly maintained, the boys do a good job out there and I believe it will be improved even more to make it the Auckland Trotting Club’s major training centre. “The Auckland Club is doing a good job and I want to support them as much as possible. "We both see Pukekohe as the training centre of the future and personally for us the best place to further our success. “Ray (Green - trainer) and all the staff will relocate, it will be the same team with Simon Lawson, Maurice McKendry, and Zac Butcher being used as our drivers." The 69-year-old Auckland businessman who sold his Pak Save Supermarket last year, said he was now spending his retirement developing his thoroughbred and standardbred enterprises. “We are looking to have 10 per cent of our gallopers race with our trainer Lisa Latta in Singapore, and we will continue to promote our popular harness racing syndicates as well. “We have virtually sold Beaudiene Boaz to Gary Hall in Perth and the boys in that syndicate invested about $10,000 and made $40,000 each on him.” “Ian Middleton is overseeing 10 syndicates for us now, and we have got lots of people, especially South Islanders keen to get in. "I think people are realising now that we don’t keep the horse unless we make money." Street said he enjoyed syndicating standardbreds – simply because they were not difficult to sell on. “They are also easy to sell to Australia for a good price if they have or have not met their grade here,” he added. Meanwhile, Street said it was unlikely he would be relocating to Pukekohe. “I am very happy here in Half Moon Bay. Lincoln Farms was the brainchild of Street and his late great mate Graham Blackburn. The company has been in operation for more than three decades having commenced modestly with two horses in 1985 and has now won well in excess of than 300 races and millions in stakes money. Their greatest victory came via Sir Lincoln in the 2012 Auckland Cup. Their most tightly assessed horse is 14-win recent Taylor Mile winner, Besotted. Lincoln Farms has won numerous age races, the most recent of them being Group $150,000 Emerald 2yo Colts and geldings Jewels winner, Beaudiene Boaz. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Even before the two year old filly Jewels race is run Jim and Ann Gibbs can feel good about the favour they have done Lyn Tucker. Though some Tuckers might have wondered Jim and Ann of course are well known for their successful transition to harness facing after years of fame in thoroughbred racing. But the Tucker family was once even more famous. Ivan Tucker, Lyn's father in law, was one of the most famous of trainers preparing the great Rising Fast. winner of the Melbourne Cup. Lyn's late husband, also Ivan, was also a successful trainer. The Gibbs's were friends of both and when Jim and Ann took shares in Fight For Glory, Jim decided to present his share to Lyn. "Lyn had lost a husband and had a bit of bad luck and I thought she would get more out of it. I was doing all right and I wanted her to share in it" "It wasn't a lot of money ($5000) and she is getting a thrill out of it" With luck at Cambridge on Saturday it might be a lot bigger and that will be mixed news for Jim. The withdrawal of his other horse Hug The Wind leaves only Ann with a runner on Saturday. But perhaps a good deed will still bring the right result. For frequent updates on all of the All Stars team as we near harness racing's glamour day visit the Harness Jewels 14 sections of the All Stars Website. By David McCarthy (Courtesy of ALL STARS STABLES)  

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