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Since the 1980s when the late Wayne Francis brought a large number of well bred/performed Australian mares for his breeding partnerships, the Australian influence on the New Zealand harness racing and breeding scene has been slowly growing. The biggest contribution initially was from the Overtrick mare in Pleasant Evening who is the grand-dam of the outstanding race horse and now champion sire, Christian Cullen. As well as the Australian mares at stud in New Zealand, several trainers with Mark Purdon being the most active, have been raiding the Australian yearling sales lately with outstanding success. Horses such as Fly Like An Eagle, Smolda, Border Control, Willow and Follow The Stars have all made Kiwi trainers and owners sit up and take notice and re-evaluate the worth of the Australian bred product. Another sign of that growing influence is the importation to New Zealand of some well bred high performing race fillies by some of New Zealand's leading commerical breeders. One of those fillies to quickly make her mark in New Zealand is the very smart Totally Western mare, La Joconde p2 1:59h (1730m) $153,285, whose seven two and three-year-old wins included the $100,000 West Australian Sales Classic for three-year-old fillies. Bought as a yearling by leading West Australian trainer Gary Hall for $7,000, she was given to his wife to be, Kiwi Karen Stephens, as an engagement present. On La Joconde's retirement from the track, the Halls decided the breeding side of the industry was not for them. At the same time, Karen Hall's brother-in-law, Tony Dickinson of Alta Breeding fame in New Zealand, was on the lookout in Australia for a quality filly for his commerical breeding broodmare band. They quickly joined forces on a foal for foal arrangement with La Joconde and she was then relocated to the Alta Breeding establishment at Waiau Pa in New Zealand. Sent to Courage Under Fire in her initial season at stud, the resultant colt foal named Alta Orlando was sold by Tony Dickinson through the 2013 Australasian Classic yearling sale for $35,000 to long time Mark Purdon client, Neil Pilcher. Raced by Pilcher  in partnership with thoroughbred hall of fame trainer Jim Gibbs and his wife Anne, Alta Orlando has taken the New Zealand two-year-old racing scene by storm in the last six weeks. What has made the last three wins so impressive is that Alta Orlando is far from the finished racing product, having none of the ringcraft normally associated with top two-year-olds. His win in last weekends $200,000 PGG Sales Series race had all those characteristics on display as he ran about at the start, settling back before looping the field a lap from home and holding the smart Say My Name at bay in the straight in 2:20.9, a mile rate of 1:56.2 for 1950 meters. His stake earnings already stand at $141,749 and he looks a horse to follow next season at three. The second foal from La Joconde is the Bettors Delight filly in Myeyesadoreya. She was also put through the 2014 Australasian Classic yearling sale on behalf of the Halls. Brought back for $21,000, she was sent to Brent Donnelly after the sales to be broken in and then spelled. The "for sale" sign for her is still up but given the performance of Alta Orlando lately it won't be much longer.   The third foal is a striking Santana Blue Chip weanling filly owned by Tony Dickinson who is entered in this months all aged sale on May 30th at Auckland. La Joconde is now back in foal to Mach Three for the Halls.   New Zealanders are very proud of their breeding industry and its record of achievement both in New Zealand and in Australia and have always considered the Australian bred horse in a lesser light.   What the results of the last few years have shown is the gap is no where near as big as some would like you to believe.   Harnesslink media

American In Paris has taken the Meadowlands by storm. A 4-year-old female pacer, American In Paris is 6-for-6 this season, with all her victories coming at the Big M. Her two most recent triumphs were in the preliminary rounds of the Artistic Vision Series, which concludes Saturday with a $55,800 final. American In Paris will start the final from post two with driver Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines for trainer/co-owner Ron Burke. Art Ideal, another Burke mare, leaves from post seven in the seven-horse field. She finished second in both her preliminary legs. Saturday's card also features the $63,000 Whata Baron Series final for male pacers. Captive Audience, who is unbeaten in three races this year, drew post three for trainer Corey Johnson. Wake Up Peter, who also won both his preliminary rounds, starts from post seven for trainer Larry Remmen. American In Paris won five of six races as a 2-year-old, then won five of 16 last season at age 3. She was winless in her final six starts last season, but turned the corner this year with the addition of Lasix. She won the second round of the Artistic Vision Series in a career-best 1:50. "She had a few issues last year," said co-owner Mark Weaver. "This year, I think the key is we added Lasix; maybe we should have had her on it sooner. "Earlier this year, she almost raced like a thoroughbred, with two or three weeks between starts. It's hard to be in top condition when you do that, so I thought we still hadn't seen the best of her. She's pretty good. I'm not saying she could beat the top horses, but I'm not saying she couldn't." American In Paris is a daughter of stallion American Ideal out of the mare Sendingforth. She was purchased originally for $4,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale by Iowa's Nolan Van Otterloo. She finished second in her first start and then won twice before being purchased by Burke, Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. "We've bought horses from (the Van Otterloos) before and it's been a good connection for us," Weaver said. "They have a pretty good knack at buying some underpriced horses and usually at least one of them hits." Although Weaver thinks American In Paris might be able to compete against the division's best, she probably will have few chances this year. "She's not staked, but she's only (age) 4, so that might not be a bad thing," Weaver said. "We usually don't stake the 4-year-olds too heavily. We'll probably pick our spots; there's enough money to be made, hopefully, in some of the invitationals and opens. "Depending how she does, we could shut her down a little early and may stake her up for her 5-year-old year." As for the immediate challenge of fending off six rivals in the Artistic Vision final, Weaver likes American In Paris' chances. Other contenders include Josh Parker's JK Letitgo, who has won seven of nine races this year, and Chris Ryder's Road Bet, who won a preliminary leg in the series. "She's in a good spot," Weaver said about American In Paris. "There are some pretty nice horses in there, but the way she's been racing, I think she'll be pretty tough to beat." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

I realize that many believe ten-year-old Foiled Again is hands down the greatest harness racing greybeard pacer ever, but that simply isn’t true. Yes, Foiled Again has won more money than any Standardbred ever in North America, but another aging gelding, one who used to hold that title, was better—Cardigan  Bay. Stanley Dancer leased him from Down Under for $100,000 in the winter of 1964, when he was eight. The horse had come close to being destroyed two years earlier when he sustained a serious hip injury. The Hal Tryax gelding had won more than thirty stakes races in his home country, often handicapped as much as 132 yards at the start. His earnings stood at $156,000. He made his first start at Yonkers Raceway in May of that year. It was a winning effort and the following week he faced the great Overtrick in the mile and a half International Pace, losing a neck. Two weeks later he was the 1/2 favorite in the mile and a quarter Good Time Pace and had no trouble beating the likes of Meadow Skipper, Henry T Adios, Rusty Range, Adora’s Dream, Irvin Paul and Country Don. There aren’t any fields of FFA pacers like that today. He then beat the same bunch in the two mile National Championship. Cardigan Bay and Overtrick then traded narrow wins in a pair of match races. In 1965, as a nine-year-old, Cardigan Bay popped splints in his front legs and had surgery on one of those legs. When he got back in early June he crushed a FFA field which included Fly Fly Byrd and Bengazi Hanover, from the outside post. He then won the $50,000 Dan Patch Pace at a mile and a half over Oreti, Cold Front and Fly Fly Byrd. In September he won the $50,000 Bye Bye Byrd at a mile and a half, paying 2.80. Cardigan Bay won three more at Yonkers before going to California where he beat giant slayer Adios Vic in three of four races, after which he returned to New York and won the NPD and the Nassau. Foiled Again has won an impressive 39% of his lifetime starts. Cardigan Bay won 52% of his in North America and Down Under. Each of them are credited with 20 stakes wins in North America, and Foiled Again is still racing. Again, Cardigan Bay also won more than thirty stakes before he was imported. At age ten Cardy started the season with a win at Liberty Bell, and then moved on to Yonkers where he won seven stakes races, including the $100,000 mile and a half International Pace, where he created the largest minus pool ever--$33,000. $143,435 of the $151,750 bet to show was on him. They then barred him from betting in the mile and a quarter Good Time, which he also won over Adora’s Dream and Orbiter N. Adios Vic was then favored in the $50,000 National Pace, only because there was no betting on Cardy. He made three moves and pulled away from Vic in the last quarter. Bret Hanover had never been beaten on a half when Cardy did it in the Pace of the Century at Yonkers. Bret returned the favor a week later at Roosevelt. Cardy capped that season with a win in the $50,000 Nassau Pace at a mile and a half . He paid $3.60. In 1967, when Cardigan Bay was eleven, he started the season by equaling the track record at Windsor in the Provincial Cup—this is in March. Fearing minus pools tracks refused to give him a race. Finally Roosevelt relented and the grizzled gelding crushed Orbiter and Tactile, paying 2.40. He’d been handicapped with the outside post, but the track insisted that from that point on he would also be handicapped by yardage, something that was unheard of in North America. Dancer balked and sat the next one out. Every year there was a new wave of stars graduating to the FFA ranks: Romeo Hanover, True Duane, Bret Hanover and Romulus Hanover. Cardy was showing his age, but was still a formidable opponent, with early season wins in the Valley Forge, provincial Cup and Clark. In May, when he beat True Duane in the Adios Butler at Roosevelt, he paid $10.60, which was the highest payoff on Cardigan Bay to that point in North America. Dancer’s goal was that he become the first ever million dollar winning Standardbred, which he did by winning a $15,000 Pace at Freehold in the fall over little Robin Dundee and Jerry Gauman. This put him in the company of the eight thoroughbreds who had become millionaires. He was retired at Yonkers Raceway on October 12. Cardigan Bay certainly gets extra points for dominating at all distances, from a mile to two-miles. On the other hand, Foiled Again doesn’t have that opportunity so you can’t hold that against him. Cardy was more of a consistent big time player than Foiled Again has been; yes, those were significant triumphs in the TVG and BC last year, but there are too many wins in the Quillen, Molson, IPD, Battle of Lake Erie and Levy, and not enough of the top tier FFA stakes. Cardy won the Good Time twice, the National Championship twice, the Nassau twice, the Provincial Cup twice, the International, the Pace of the Century, the Clark, Dan Patch ….And the fact that he had never paid off at higher than 4/1 during his first four years racing in North America is noteworthy. Foiled has gone off at double digits many times. Cardy was a preeminent force at ten and eleven. We’ll see if Foiled Again also rules in his old age. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

If Adore Me was racing the previous 2600 metre NZ mares record holder from a standing start, Kate’s First, she would have beaten her by an astonishing 14 lengths. That was the discovery that Canterbury commentator Mark McNamara made after Adore Me’s breathtaking win over Border Control in the C5 & faster discretionary pace at Addington tonight. After starting from the 40 metre back mark, co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon set Adore Me alight heading into the stables bend with a lap to go and quickly moved her up to the parked position. She then breezed on by in home stretch to win by 1 length over stablemate Border Control in a sensational time of 3-08.7, which set a mares record from both a stand and mobile. But it doesn’t stop there either, as Adore Me’s time also bettered the all-comers standing start record and was just 0.2 of a second outside of the all-comers mobile record, held jointly by Desperate Comment and Highview Tommy. The superstar mare will now contest next Saturday’s $100,000 Easter Cup where she will seek revenge on last month’s Auckland Cup winner, Terror To Love. Purdon also claimed victory in the Group One New Zealand Trotting Derby with King Denny, while training and life-partner, Natalie Rasmussen, steered Alta Orlando to success in the Group Two Welcome Stakes. Rasmussen was also victorious in the penultimate event aboard Raesawinner, giving the stable four winners on the card. “King Denny has really stepped up this time in and had impressed dad (Mark Purdon) immensely with his work during the week,” said Nathan Purdon. King Denny paid odds of $9.10, while Alta Orlando upset his more favoured stablemates when winning at a price of $16.20; however neither win surprised the All Stars camp. Alta Orlando gave Purdon and co-owner Neil Pilcher back-to-back wins in the Welcome Stakes, while Thoroughbred Hall of Famer Jim Gibbs MNZM, who also shares in the ownership of runner-up Hug The Wind, nailed the quinella. “We were expecting a big run from Alta Orlando last week but he botched up the start,” advised Purdon. “But he has always given us the impression of a very nice horse and has done everything ever asked of him,” he concluded. Meanwhile, in shades of his Dominion Handicap win, Master Lavros dived up the inside to claim victory in the Group One NZ Trotting Championship in a New Zealand record time of 3-13.1. By Mitchell Robertson  

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today released its seventh annual Racetrack Casino Benchmark Report. Since its first release in 2008, this annual report has concentrated on the impact of Pennsylvania casinos on the state's horse racing industry. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, approximately 11% of revenue generated from slot machine gaming was earmarked for the racing industry and agricultural initiatives in 2013. As a result, more than $252 million in slot machine tax revenue was generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund. Of this amount, approximately $209 million was used by both the thoroughbred and harness racing industries to enhance purses, assist breeding operations, and provide health and pension benefits for horsemen. Among the specific findings in this year's report are: The amount of tax revenue generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund decreased by approximately 7% in 2013 due to a decrease in gross terminal revenue generated by the casinos which host horse or harness racing. In addition to revenue generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund, racetrack casino operators invested over $6 million in 2013 (and approximately $52 million since casinos opened in 2006) to improve the stable and backside areas of their racetracks. Total dollars wagered on races held in Pennsylvania, referred to as the live racing handle, was approximately 4% higher in 2013 due to an increase in wagering on races held at Pennsylvania racetracks by patrons outside of the Commonwealth. While live racing handle increased, taxable handle decreased by approximately 8% in 2013 mainly due to a decrease in simulcast wagering which is offered at the racetracks, off-track wagering facilities, and through phone wagering services. The full report can be downloaded from the Reports link on the Gaming Control Board's web site, www.gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.

Standardbred horsemen Alvin Callahan and Marvin Callahan each were suspended five years and fined $5,000 by the New Jersey Racing Commission for their role in a March 1 Jersey Turnpike rest stop incident in which they admitted to injecting drugs into two horses scheduled to compete later that night at Meadowlands racetrack. A third individual involved, groom John Hollingsworth, was suspended one year and fined $1,000 for assisting in the prohibited activity. As detailed last month by the Paulick Report, the men, who were transporting three horses from a private training facility to the racetrack by horse van to race that night, were under surveillance by Brice Cote, head of security for Meadowlands. Cote observed the van pull off the Turnpike into a service area, enter the back of the van for a short time, and then discard a paper bag into a trash can. Cote retrieved the bag, which contained used syringes. To read the rest of the story click here.

A number of factors make the entire harness racing trotting sector particularly vulnerable to economic fluctuations. This story first appeared April 5 in the Helsinki Times by Minttu-Maaria Partanen; Aleksi Teivainen and Marianne Pykäläinen. Breeding numbers have already tumbled below the levels of the 1990s recession as the economic down-turn continues to pummel the Finnish trotting sector. The lingering economic uncertainty has also reduced betting on harness racing and the number of races organised in the country. In particular, the financial standing of regional trotting tracks has eroded. "Economic fluctuations affect the trotting sector. That has always been the case," reminds Pekka Soini, the managing director at the Finnish Trotting and Breeding Association (Hippos). Yet, since 2008 virtually every indicator of the trotting sector has taken a tumble due to the economic situation. The number of races organised has declined, as has the number of active racehorses and drivers. Similarly, the number of privately-owned racehorses has fallen by over 20 per cent over the said six-year period. "The trotting sector relies on private ownership. For most, however, owning a racehorse is a hobby. During tough times, they will cut back on it," explains Soini. Regardless, the managing director is not particularly concerned. "The changes are part of typical economic fluctuations. We must adapt to the situation." Meanwhile, the breeding of thoroughbred mares has fallen sharply – by over 35 per cent – and already threatens the sustainability of breeding activities in Finland. Last year, only 1,897 mares were bred – fewer than during the worst year of the 1990s recession."We are still in a remediable situation. If the breeding numbers continue to decline in the years to come, breeding activities in Finland will not recover without special support measures," underlines Minna Mäenpää, the director of breeding at Hippos. For the indigenous Finnhorse, the situation is even more precarious. Last year, the number of Finnhorse mares bred fell below the nadir reached in the depths of the 1990s recession. Roughly 80 per cent of the Finnhorse population are racehorses. "I'm extremely concerned about the situation of the Finnhorse. It is a breed that does not exist elsewhere. You cannot compensate for the decline by importing. Domestic breeding therefore determines the future of the breed," highlights Mäenpää. Betting on harness racing, however, has not fallen as steeply as the other indicators, only by roughly eight per cent from the peak year of 2008. Fintoto, the body responsible for developing horse betting operations, is nonetheless keeping a close watch on the entire sector, managing director Markku Breider says. "Without horses, there won't be a single trotting race. The footing of domestic betting operations will erode, if no horses take part in the races," he explains. "Last year was okay, but the start of this year has been below par. The sums used on betting have decreased," Breider adds. Studies show that 80 per cent of the people who bet on harness racing are middle or working class-men, who have been hit particularly by the recent belt-tightening efforts and structural changes. As a result, the financial standing of some regional trotting tracks has deteriorated rapidly. "As revenue from betting falls, the revenue of the tracks falls. With the tracks still forking out the same prizes, it's obvious that the situation has exacerbated," says Sanna Heino, the managing director of Hevostalous Oy, which manages the finances of the major trotting tracks in Finland. Fintoto decided in February to temporarily lift the minimum prize requirements of daily trotting races, allowing trotting tracks to determine their purses independently. "That was the fastest way to alleviate the financial situation of tracks in dire straits," Breider says. Hippos, in turn, is set to review the structures of the entire trotting sector this spring in a bid to identify possible savings targets. Soini promises that the association will do its utmost to avoid the closures of trotting tracks. "Do we need to have over 20 separate organisations responsible for the management of the trotting tracks? What tracks organise races in the winter, what in the summer?" he speculates.

Columbus, OH --- The annual convocation of directors of the United States Trotting Association got underway Sunday afternoon (March 30) in Columbus, Ohio. With Chairman of the Board Ivan Axelrod presiding, the assembled directors heard from Robert Schmitz, chairman of the Ohio Racing Commission. Schmitz spoke on the importance of harness racing to the Ohio economy and the support of Governor John Kasich in recognizing racing’s roots in the farm community.       In remarks video streamed live to members on www.ustrotting.com, President Phil Langley updated the group on the USTA’s efforts to work with the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium in developing model rules and medication guidelines without overlooking the differences in breeds. Usage patterns and racing patterns have highlighted some major differences between the less-frequently raced Thoroughbreds versus Standardbreds, who often race weekly. There were no challengers to the existing slate of USTA officers, which will remain: Phil Langley, president; Ivan Axelrod, chairman of the board; Russell Williams, vice chairman; Dick Brandt, treasurer and Barbara Brooks, secretary. Rob Key, CEO and founder of Converseon, updated the group on the social media platforms that have been developed, including a centralized harness racing website, www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com, which recently was unveiled with a “100 Greatest Moments in Harness Racing” interactive contest. He emphasized that it was a joint venture among the USTA, Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Harness Writers Association. The Harness Racing Fan Zone (@harnessracingFZ on Twitter) mirrors similar platforms offered by major league sports, like Major League Baseball, the National Football League and NASCAR. “The foundation is in place,” said Key. “We need to spend time on transparency and openness and create communities.” Key predicted the new website would, “give people a feel for what it's like to be in the sport.” He spoke about the social media ambassador’s platform that has been created for participants to share their experiences in the sport. Moving forward, tracks will be urged to partner with the Fan Zone in order to significantly expand awareness and interest in harness racing. A replay of the full board session may be viewed by clicking here or on the link at the top of the story. Committee meetings followed, with rule changes considered in the Fairs, Pari-Mutuel, Regulatory and Registration Committees. Further discussion of rule change proposals will take place Monday in the Rules Committee and the final vote will be rendered at the meeting of all directors Monday afternoon. by Ellen Harvey for Harness Racing Communications

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2014 ballot. A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Standardbred racing candidates and 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates have been selected to appear on this year’s ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will declare the winners in their respective categories.  Results will be announced Tuesday, April 8.   On the Standardbred ballots representing this year’s six voting categories are as follows: Male horse category, Blissfull Hall, J M Vangogh and Rocknroll Hanover In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown.  Owned by Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, QC, this champion was trained by Ben Wallace with Ron Pierce as regular driver.   A 31 race career over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before embarking on a successful career as a stallion. J M Vangogh, purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by Paul Chambers of Harrington, Delaware, made a remarkable recovery from an accident in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final as a two year old to earn $2.28 million in 206 starts over 8 seasons and the nickname “The Comeback Kid”.  Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his race career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, ON; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC.  Career highlights include victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup.  He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. Female horse category: B Cor Tamara, Dreamfair Eternal and J Cs Nathalie Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000.  Bred and owned by Peter Core of Dresden, ON, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall.  Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.7 million. Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a career spanning seven years, 56 victories, including every stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earning over $2.5 million and being named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010.  The daughter of Camluck was bred, raised and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON with Patrick Fletcher receiving training credit. As a broodmare, J Cs Nathalie has produced two millionaires for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON -- pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal.  Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3.  Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and over $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010. The trainer-driver category: Yves Filion, William Gale, and Wally Hennessey. Yves Filion, 67 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.5 million in earnings.   Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.4 million.   Pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama each became millionaires with Filion responsible for both training and driving. William Gale, 65 of Woodstock, Ontario, was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons.  During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million. Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his name and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million.  In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown.  In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Candidates in the builders’ category: Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and Robert Murphy. Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry.  Highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth.  Before Grand River, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC.  In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management.  He was hired by Blue Bonnets in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway.  He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, BC, one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, was known by his popular Red Star moniker.  First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners.   He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009.  In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Outstanding Standardbreds: Albatross, Artsplace, and Happy Lady Albatross was voted US Harness Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972.  He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million.  As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million. Artsplace was the1992 O’Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season.  He was a two-year-old world record holder winning the Breeders Crown in a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing.  He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada before becoming a world class sire. Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, ON and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville.  Though her race career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2.  Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races.  As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts. Communicators category selections: Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Frank Salive. The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario.  As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press.  Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was “three or four years old”, sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy.  He was inducted into Western Fair’s Wall of Fame in 1980. As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin, a native of Arnprior, ON made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing.  He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans.  He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the health of horse racing during his career. Leamington, ON native Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as “The Voice” of Canadian harness racing.  During his career it is estimated he called over 100,000 races, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable and informative calls and silky voice.  Frank’s career as a track announcer began at Sudbury Downs in the late 70’s and continued at tracks throughout Ontario,  includin  fourteen years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks and concluding at Pompano Park, Florida.  Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman for several years. From the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) announced that there has been a report of EHV-1 in a Thoroughbred that is residing in Barn 10 at Woodbine Racetrack, but that Standardbred racing is not affected by the situation. Today (March 18) ) the ORC issued the announcement on behalf of Dr. Adam Chambers, who is manager of Veterinary Services at the ORC. The contents of the release appear below. EQUINE HERPES CASE Restrictions in place. Training at Woodbine to continue; Standardbred racing not affected. There has been a report of EHV-1 in a five-year-old thoroughbred filly residing in Barn 10 at Woodbine Racetrack. The horse showed neurological signs on Thursday, March 13 but did not have a fever. The horse was removed from Woodbine to isolation on Saturday, March 15. The horse’s condition is stable. Results from tests available today showed non-neurotropic EHV-1 in blood but not nasal secretions. This is an unusual testing result and the horse has been retested. The risk of transmission to other horses may be low, as the infection is spread by nasal secretions. There have been no reports of any other sick horses in barn 10. Sporadic incidents of infection occur not infrequently and can be isolated incidents. The non-neurotropic form of EHV-1 identified from this horse differs from the neurotropic form identified from thoroughbreds at Woodbine in June of last year. Although the both types of EHV-1 can cause neurological disease the non-neurotropic strain is thought to be less likely to do so. EHV-1 has an incubation period of approximately 3 to 8 days, and may in some cases be as long as 14 days. Given these facts, the following measures will be in place, effective immediately: All horses must have their temperatures taken twice daily. Trainers with horses that have clinical signs consistent with EHV-1 infection (including fever (101.5 F/38.5 C or above), respiratory signs (cough, nasal discharge and/or neurological signs) must report these findings to their veterinarian immediately; Horses from Barn 10 will be allowed to train at the end of training hours; Only ponies housed in Barn 10 will be allowed to pony horses in Barn 10; Horsepeople are reminded to remain vigilant and institute appropriate biosecurity measures and should consult their veterinarians for advice. Standardbred horses are not stabled at Woodbine Racetrack. As well, the standardbred racing meet at Woodbine will not be impacted by these measures. To ensure best practices are in place to contain the disease, the ORC received input from experts from the University of Guelph and University of California at Davis, the office of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF). The ORC will also continue to work closely with Woodbine management, veterinarians and horse people. The ORC will monitor the situation and any further developments will be reported.

For the first time in the city’s history, Wagga’s three racing codes will come under the national spotlight on the same day this Friday. The Murrumbidgee Turf Club will commence racing in the afternoon, followed by the Wagga Greyhound Club in the afternoon before the Wagga Harness Racing Club runs that night. While two of the codes have previously raced on the same day or night, this is the first time all three have held TAB meetings. All meetings will be broadcast to a national and international audience through Sky Racing. The harness and greyhound clubs will have a gap between meetings with both to conduct ten race programs. Between the three meetings close to $200,000 prize money will be offered with a total of 28 races to be run. “The thoroughbred and greyhound meetings will run some races during the afternoon period before the harness racing meeting begins,” Wagga Harness Racing Club chief executive Graeme White said. “The main issue is with shared staff like broadcasters, clerks of the course, judges and TAB staff, but there are enough people to cover all meetings.” The three codes on the one day wasn’t a planned initiative and came about purely through a clash of race dates. Newcastle has previously run the three codes on the same day, while in Victoria Cranbourne has done likewise. Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia

DOVER, Del. ---- Bestofthebunch and Thetruthaboutdavid, both were beaten favorites last time out, head separate Delaware $9,500 3,4&5-Year-Old Male pace divisions on Sunday, March 16 at Dover Downs. After winning two of three 2014 starts, Bestofthebunch, who was beaten by a neck last week and in both of his recent starts, must overcome starting for post 8 in the nine-horse field of younger horses. Ron Pierce will drive for trainer Trish Foulk and owner Foulk Stables. Two of the gelding's rivals won last time out; Jeff Franklin and LeBlanc Racing's Reindance with Ross Wolfenden, the only other three-year-old in the lineup, and Brenda Teague's Sink The McBismark, handled by Montrell Teague. Trainer Lauren Allen's Public Enemy, reined by Vic Kirby, heads the opposition. In the other 3,4&5-year-old section, George Teague's Thetruthaboutdavid (M.Teague), a two-time winner this year and beaten favorite last start, drew the rail, with his expected stiffest opponents starting alongside; Louis Catana's Pantheon Seelster (Jonathan Roberts), Lauren Allen's On The Horizon (Wolfenden) and William Moffett Inc.'s Leyden (Allan Davis), from posts 2,3 and 4 respectively. Driver Jack Parker and Carol Parker's Suits and Arty Foster Jr.'s Champion's Club (Trace Tetrick) have upset credentials. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs

The New York Gaming Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a rule requiring horsemen to notify track personnel within 72 hours of a horse being gelded ontrack, during a meeting in which the commission also approved a rule allowing Standardbred horses to be administered clenbuterol up to 96 hours before a race. The rule requiring notification of a first-time gelding builds on an existing Jockey Club rule that requires horsemen to “promptly” report the information to the industry’s registry, which maintains records that are on file in racing offices. New York Gaming Commission officials said similar rules had been put in place in Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma, and that the rule would “protect New York horseplayers.” Although no specific penalties are attached to violations of the regulation, the New York rule would require trainers to notify the racing secretary at the track where the procedure is performed within 72 hours of the operation. If the procedure is performed offtrack, the rule requires the owner or trainer of the horse “to report the alteration at or before the time the horse is entered to race.” Many horses are gelded to improve performance. The commission approved the 96-hour rule for administration of the bronchodilator clenbuterol as a concession to Standardbred interests who had argued that a proposal to prohibit the administration of the drug within 14 days of a race would be a de facto ban. The commission had already approved the 14-day rule for Thoroughbreds as part of an overhaul of the state’s drug rules aligned with an effort by other states to adopt uniform regulations. Racing commissions in the United States have sought to tighten clenbuterol rules over the past several years because of the drug’s potential to build muscle mass when used regularly. Dr. Scott Palmer, the gambling commission’s equine medical director, said at th The New York Gaming Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a rule requiring horsemen to notify track personnel within 72 hours of a horse being gelded ontrack, during a meeting in which the commission also approved a rule allowing Standardbred horses to be administered clenbuterol up to 96 hours before a race. The rule requiring notification of a first-time gelding builds on an existing Jockey Club rule that requires horsemen to “promptly” report the information to the industry’s registry, which maintains records that are on file in racing offices. New York Gaming Commission officials said similar rules had been put in place in Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma, and that the rule would “protect New York horseplayers.” Although no specific penalties are attached to violations of the regulation, the New York rule would require trainers to notify the racing secretary at the track where the procedure is performed within 72 hours of the operation. If the procedure is performed offtrack, the rule requires the owner or trainer of the horse “to report the alteration at or before the time the horse is entered to race.” Many horses are gelded to improve performance. The commission approved the 96-hour rule for administration of the bronchodilator clenbuterol as a concession to Standardbred interests who had argued that a proposal to prohibit the administration of the drug within 14 days of a race would be a de facto ban. The commission had already approved the 14-day rule for Thoroughbreds as part of an overhaul of the state’s drug rules aligned with an effort by other states to adopt uniform regulations. Racing commissions in the United States have sought to tighten clenbuterol rules over the past several years because of the drug’s potential to build muscle mass when used regularly. Dr. Scott Palmer, the gambling commission’s equine medical director, said at the commission meeting that the 96-hour rule will still prevent Standardbred horsemen from using the drug for this so-called “repartitioning effect” because most harness horses run once per week, and because any Standardbred horse who has not raced for 30 days will be prohibited from being administered the drug within 14 days prior to its first race back. alled “repartitioning effect” because most harness horses run once per week, and because any Standardbred horse who has not raced for 30 days will be prohibited from being administered the drug within 14 days prior to its first race back. To read the rest of the story click here.

Buffalo Raceway has added Thursday March 27 to the racing schedule.  The race card will get started at 5:00 pm.  Racing at the Hamburg Oval continues throughout the month of March on Wednesday and Thursday with a first post of 5:00pm, Friday and Saturday 6:40 pm.  Racing in April will take place Wednesday at 5:00 pm, Friday and Saturday at 6:40 pm. Located on The Fairgrounds in Hamburg, NY, Buffalo Raceway hosts harness racing January through July.  Simulcast wagering is available Wednesday through Monday from the top harness and thoroughbred tracks year round. by Jon Cramer, for Buffalo Raceway

The rules of harness racing are dictated by the state where the racing activity occurs. All racing ovals are situated within the boundaries of a certain state. By virtue of inherent police power to protect the health, safety and morals of its citizens, each sovereign state independently determines how our sport is conducted. On this score, consider that medication regulations are solely within the purview of the individual state governments. When regulations are deemed to be "uniform," that identity happens only because each of the participating states adopt mirror image rules. Even if they appear to be the same or substantially similar from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the rules are, in fact, unique to each state. Licensing is a function of the state as well and, as everyone in our industry is aware, being licensed in one state in no way guarantees that a license will issue in others.  Federal law was created by the states. The promulgation of the U.S. Constitution was accomplished only because the independent colonies agreed to abdicate a very limited amount of their respective powers to a federal government for the greater good of all. As powerful as the federal government may at times seem, it can only act if a constitutional provision allows it to do so. In the racing realm, the sparse instances of federal regulation occur based upon the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. That provision reserves solely to Congress the regulation of commerce across state lines. It makes perfect sense. Imagine if each state developed their own regulations for the size and shape of mud guards on the rear of tractor trailers. Truck drivers would be required to carry scores of different flaps, and to stop and change the flaps at the border of each state. In fact, 55 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court struck down just such state regulations as unconstitutional burdens on interstate commerce. Thus, the Interstate Commerce Clause permits the federal government to regulate things such as interstate simulcasting and the transportation of horses across state lines. So, what about a state law or regulation that prohibits the interstate movement of racehorses for periods of time? Can such rules pass constitutional muster, or should they be struck down as being in conflict with the Interstate Commerce Clause as unnecessarily impeding the free flow of business among the states? These questions are not hypothetical. Several states have regulations geared towards ensuring that there are always enough horses to fill race cards at meets. Both the Pennsylvania Code and New York regulations dictate that a harness horse may not race at a track other than the track where claimed for 30 days or the balance of the current racing meeting, whichever comes first, unless released by the racing secretary. In Maryland, the rules bar a claimed harness horse from racing outside the state for 60 days if the claim was at Rosecroft, or for 30 days if the claim was at Ocean Downs, unless the respective meet ends sooner. Delaware regulations contain a blanket 60 day prohibition on racing a claimed horse out of the state without approval of the track where the horse was claimed. May a state prohibit an owner from immediately racing a claimed horse in another state? That was exactly the question decided by the Kentucky Court of Appeals last month. The case, Jamgotchian v. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, was brought by a Thoroughbred owner who claimed a horse at Churchill Downs in Kentucky in May of 2011. Under Kentucky Thoroughbred rules, the horse was not permitted to race outside the state until the Churchill meet ended on July 4, 2011. In June, the owner entered the horse at Penn National Race Course in Pennsylvania. The racing secretary, in consultation with Churchill officials, rejected the entry based upon the Kentucky regulation. The owner claimed that the Kentucky prohibition violated the Federal Interstate Commerce Clause. In its ruling, the court stated that the test to be employed was whether, a) the challenged law is protectionist in measure, or; b) whether it can fairly be viewed as a law directed to legitimate local concerns, with effects upon interstate commerce that are only incidental. In other words, the court initially indicated that not every state regulation affecting interstate commerce is unconstitutional. In applying the test to the regulation in question, the court first reasoned that the general regulation of horse racing is both a traditional and legitimate state function, and is thus a valid exercise of Kentucky’s police power. In its analysis, the court pointed out that out of the thirty-eight states that permit wagering on horse racing, twenty-seven states have a claiming law similar to Kentucky's regulation. In sum, state regulation of claiming is pervasive across the United States. As to whether the regulation is protectionist or discriminatory, the court pointed out that the regulation applied evenly to both in-state and out-of-state licensees. Also, it determined that the effect on interstate commerce is incidental, inasmuch as the prohibition was strictly limited to horses acquired in the claiming realm. The court reasoned that the aggrieved owner could have purchased a horse privately or at an auction sale, and could have freely and immediately raced that purchase elsewhere. Finally, the court concluded that the regulation was limited in duration and scope, inasmuch as it banned transport out of state for racing for only the duration of the meet, which at the outside was just three months. To read the full text of the case, click here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=505383974654814112&q=jamgotchian&hl=en&as_sdt=6,33&as_ylo=2014 While Kentucky upheld the regulation, it is unclear whether a federal court would agree with the reasoning of the Court of Appeals. That just might be Mr. Jamgotchian’s next move. By Chris E. Wittstruck, who 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.

At its monthly meeting held in Harrisburg on Thursday (Feb. 27), the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission reinstated the 2014 race dates for Harrah's Philadelphia. On Jan. 23 the commission suspended the track's race dates for 2014 due to the track's failure to provide the commission with information regarding how it would address issues with the track's racing surface.   Harrah's Philadelphia's dates call for a March 14 opening, but because of the harsh winter weather, work on the track is expected to delay the opening for 10-14 days. Ted Malloy, who has done work at The Meadows but now primarily serves as a consultant for Thoroughbred tracks, is reportedly going to oversee the work to get the Harrah's Philadelphia track ready for the opening. There was no mention at the meeting of the lawsuit brought by the family of Anthony Coletta, who was injured in an accident at the track last December.   To read more click here.

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