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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:,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.

DOVER, Del.----. Feel Like A Fool closed strongly for a 1:51 victory in the $27,500 Delaware Special on Thursday, Feb. 19 at Dover Downs. George Dennis piloted Kovach Stables' Feel Like A Fool to his first win of 2014 coming from off-the-pace to score a 1:51 triumph in this week's feature pace. Mustang Art (Ron Pierce) rolled away to take a fast early lead in :26 and continued to lead until deep stretch when the Bobby Clark-trainee, Feel Like A Fool, an Art Major-Fool That I am gelding, came on to edged People Are Crazy (Vic Kirby) for the win. Mustang Art held on for third. The $17,500 4&5-Year-Old Open went even faster Lindwood Player and Corey Callahan streaked home in a lifetime best 1:50.4 for Mike Casalino and meet-leading trainer Dylan Davis. The win was the third in-a-row for The Panderosa-Direct Player five-year-old who now has banked $224,799 in his career. Mr Dennis (Pierce) finished second nosing out Jeremes General (Allan Davis), third. Owner-trainer Ed Gannon's Artists Rally with Trace Tetrick finished even faster posting a 1:50.3 lifetime best. The Real Artist-Spunky Gal gelding nipped Dirty Devil (Callahan), who had won two straight. Bad Man Sam (Kirby) was third in the $15,000 Male Winners-Over pace. In the first of three $14,500 paces, Just A Jolt, a Village Jolt-Just Wait Kate gelding, driven by Trace Tetrick, trained by Jim King for owner John Dayton recorded a lifetime record 1:52.1 in a $&5-year-old pace. Chesapeake Bay (Pierce) was runner-up. Shark On Board (Frank Milby) was the show finisher. Crissman Inc.'s Fancy Colt, reined by Tony Morgan, made it three in-a-row and five in his last seven, notching a 1:52.2, for trainer Tim Crissman, in another winners-over pace. Encoding Z Tam (Callahan) took second with Coopers Beach (Jonathan Roberts) third. Fancy Colt is an Always A Virgin from Fanciful Hanover gelding. Howard Taylor's Spinfiniti was the first of four Corey Callahan wins. The No Spin Zone-Hurricane Jenny four-year-old trained by Josh Green won his fifth in six starts taking a $12,000 4&5-Year-Old Male pace. Two races later Callahan steered Crusher Man at 55-1 to a 1:53 win in another $12,000 pace. Trainer Trish Foulk co-owns the gelding with Nanticoke Racing. Corey Callahan won his fourth race of the day, another $14,000 pace, driving Z Tam Stables' Wilbur's Z Tam, trained by Dave McCaffrey, to a personal record equaling 1:52 win. The Charley Barley-Artha Ray gelding won by a nostril beating race favorite Sea Harrier (Tetrick) who had a three-race win streak ended. Teresa's Beach (Bret Brittingham) was the show horse. Jonathan Roberts and trainer Dylan Davis had two wins apiece. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs  

This weekends three series finales at Cal Expo honor the memory and contributions of Alan Kirschenbaum, Richard Staley and Marvin Shapiro. The Alan Kirschenbaum Series is named for the longtime owner and breeder and past president of the California Harness Horsemens Association, who died in October 2012. Kirschenbaum was a major factor in California as an owner, breeder and amateur driver for many years. With his stallions Little Steven and British Sterling standing at Cherry Tree Farm in Wilton, he helped support the industry in California. In the past, he had even waived his stallion fees to help the California horsemen breed their mares to help the horse population survive in the Golden State. He was also a huge supporter of the California Sire Stakes and amateur races. Richard Staley, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 66, was one of the top owners to ever campaign trotters and pacers in California. He was involved in the sport for more than 25 years and during that entire period had only one trainer, Hall of Famer Doug Ackerman. Over the years Staley and Ackerman would regularly go to the major sales to select and purchase the regally-bred years that became the bulwark of the Staley Stable and provided California harness racing with many of his classiest performers. Marvin Shapiro was the son of L.K. Shapiro, who owned the Hall of Fame thoroughbred and California-bred champion Native Diver. He was the president of Western Harness Racing Inc. in the 1960s and spearheaded legislation that sanctioned night racing in California. He died in 2003 at the age of 83. Marvin Shapiro Finale, Open Pace in spotlight A contentious $7,350 finale of the Marvin Shapiro Pacing Series and an Open Pace headed by One And Only are the main events on Saturday nights Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo. Itsabouttonight and Plum Crazy Baby captured the two divisions of the first leg of the Shapiro, while last week saw one division and it was Majestic Lass who come rolling late to post a $47 upset. An 8-year-old daughter of Art Major, Majestic Lass is owned by Kimberly Andres, is conditioned by Salvador Wenceslao and will have Mooney Svendsen in the sulky. No threat in the first leg of the Shapiro, she came back last week to be up by a head over another longshot in Pips Jenny G., with the $1 exacta returning a cool $515 in that affair. Itsabouttonight will represent owner/trainer Gretchen Smith with Tim Maier at the helm. The Illinois-bred mare dominated her division of the opening leg over a sloppy track, then was a close third last weekend after opening up a large lead at the head of the stretch that evening. Plum Crazy Baby is a 6-year-old Relentless Yankee mare who carries the banner of Derick Takahashi with Dario Solares training and Dave Siegel doing the honors. She was a very convincing victress in the first leg, then was first over in her most recent appearance and had to settle for the fourth as the 8-5 favorite behind Majestic Lass. Completing the field are Red Star Gilda with Williams Hernandez; No Mo Parking for Mike Jarvis; Curvacious with Luke Plano in the sulky; Pips Jeeny G, Patrick Galbraith; and Little Schoolgirl, who leaves from the outside slot with James Kennedy at the helm. One And Only gets top billing in the Open Pace for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, trainer Lino Pacheco and driver Luke Plano. The son of Bettors Delight rattled off five straight wins between December 21 and February 1 before having the streak broken at most recent asking after doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post position. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness    

"He is the fastest and gutsiest horse I ever sat behind," Sylvain Filion stated. Panther Hanover established himself as one of the fastest pacers in the history of the sport. His career cut short by injury was brilliant. During his short career Panther Hanover won eight of fourteen starts and banked more than $365,000, while taking a mark of 1:47.2 at the Meadowlands. His three-year-old campaign was highlighted by victories in the Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic and the Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. Owned by Jim Carr, Panther Hanover will now stand stud at Win Place and Show Farm in New York State, just one mile from the Canadian/U.S. border. Stud fee for 2014 will be $3,000 with a multiple mare discount available. A two mare discount is available for $3,000 for the first live foal and $1,000 for the second live foal. Foals will be eligible to the lucrative New York State Sire Stakes Program. Sam and Carolyn Trombley own and manage the picturesque Win Place and Show Farm. "We have already has a lot of inquiries about him. He is easy to manage and handle and knows when it is time to perform. His personality and attitude is terrific." Sam Trombley said. James Dean trained Panther Hanover for his racing career. "He was wicked fast and if he had stayed sound there is no telling how fast he would have gone," James Dean said. "He went in 1:47.2 in the New Jersey Classic. It was the fourteenth race of the day. Had he raced earlier in the day he would have gone in 1:46 and change. By the time of our race a wind kicked up pretty good in the backstretch. Earlier in the day there was no wind at all. If he had stayed sound he could have been the fastest horse I ever trained.” Owner Jim Carr is looking at a book of over 75 mares. "He was an awesome looking horse who had the look of a thoroughbred," Carr said. "He had the gift of great gate speed and a tremendous brush. He could sit the pocket if needed. He had a great attitude and was well mannered. For Quebec mares we have a special opportunity. If you bring your mare to the farm nearby (50 miles), and the horse is bred at the farm, you can now race both in the enhanced Quebec Sire Stakes Program and the New York Sire Stakes Program. You can get in on the ground floor of the fifth fastest horse in harness racing history and the fastest son of Rocknroll Hanover. He was bred to be great and his paternal family shows it. Panther Hanover is a half brother to outstanding performers Pan Hanover, Philos Hanover, Platinum Hanover and Passmaster Hanover, who are the winners of over one million dollars in purses. Remember all of his foals are eligible for the rich New York Sire Stakes Program. To contact Sam and Carolyn Trembley call (518) 297-3506. The farm is Win, Place & Show Farm, 474 Hayford Road, Champlain, NY 12919 and their website is By Brian McEvoy, for

Fort Washington, MD --- A continued increase in purses, a new bonus system for Maryland horses and a new post time will be on tap for Rosecroft’s 27-night Winter-Spring meet which opens Saturday (March 8). “We expect a minimum 10 percent increase in purses when we start back this meet and could be looking at additional increases during the meet,” said Peter Hanley, returning to his second meet as Racing Secretary at Rosecroft. Average daily purses at Rosecroft were approximately $67,000 at the conclusion of the 2013 Fall-Winter meet. In addition, a new bonus program will be in effect for horses and horsemen meeting the Maryland preferred criteria. All Maryland owned horses, horses bred or sired in Maryland or Maryland resident trainers will earn an additional 15 percent bonus on top of any purse earnings. “We ended up last meet with over 80 percent of our horses meeting the Maryland preference,” said Hanley, “and this change should give even more inventive for Maryland horses and horsemen to compete at Rosecroft.” “The Maryland horsemen are very excited about the upcoming Spring meet at Rosecroft, said Thomas Cooke, President of the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association. “We are grateful for Penn National’s commitment to the Maryland Standardbred industry and the new Maryland preferred bonus system added with the 100 percent Maryland preferred entry preference is of significant benefit as we rebuild the Maryland Standardbred industry.” Dan Myer, President of the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association, added, “The key to building a strong breeding industry in Maryland is the continued operation of Rosecroft Raceway. This year we have seen a tremendous growth in breeders and owners wishing to participate in our Maryland Sires Stakes program. We appreciate our partner, Penn National, helping us add value to breeding in Maryland.” Racing applications for the new meet are now posted online at Draws will be held Wednesdays (for Saturdays) and Thursdays (for Tuesdays) with the box opening at 8 a.m. each day. Two qualifying dates have been set: Saturday (Feb. 22) and Saturday (March 1) at 11 a.m. each day. “Given the tough winter these two qualifying dates should help get our available horse population ready for the upcoming meet,” said Hanley. A new 6:40 p.m. post time will be in place for the new meet. Live racing will be conducted every Tuesday and Saturday night through June 7. Harness and Thoroughbred simulcasts are available day and night, seven days a week. Admission and parking are always free. Submitted by Rosecroft Raceway

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall invites the public to submit nominations for 2014 from both Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries in the following seven categories: Male Horse; Female Horse; Person, Jockey, Driver or Trainer; Builders, included but not limited to Breeders, Owners, and Officials; Communicators, those who have told the story of horse racing in Canada including broadcasters, announcers, writers, photographers, etc.; Veteran Horses, whose careers have been completed for 20 years; Veteran People recognizes those whose careers and impact on racing took place a minimum of 20 years ago. All nominations received will be considered by the Nomination Committees of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Both people and horses are eligible for nomination and in turn election to the CHRHF, regardless of whether they have Canadian connections, but have either raced in Canada or made a significant contribution to the betterment of racing in Canada. To read complete eligibility requirements click here. It is asked that nomination submissions be sent as a formal letter containing detailed information on the record and merits of each nominee along with the nominator’s contact information. Nomination deadline is 5:00 pm Tuesday, March 4, 2014 and submissions can be mailed, hand delivered, faxed, or emailed to: Chair of the Nominating Committee Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 555 Rexdale Blvd. P.O. Box 156 Toronto, ON M9W 5L2 The final list of the 2014 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Inductees will be announced on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. by Linda Rainey for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame  

Successful harness racing trainer/driver Sally Torrens started her thoroughbred training career with a bang when the first runner she saddled up saluted last week. Subtract ridden by Sophie Young won at Tamworth and Torrens was thrilled with the performance and will now look at another race later this month for the former Victorian trained mare. "Training gallopers is something I have always wanted to, ever since I started training the trotters it has been in the back of my mind and when Subtract was on the market for $6,000 I thought it was time to have a try but I didn't think I would have success straight away," Torrens said. "She looks a cheap buy now and I'm considering taking her to Mudgee for a Class 1 race on February 15th but it is very different from what I have done in the past." Torrens is working five pacers currently but only one of them is racing at the moment. "Yeah I have five in work, I have a couple of nice two year olds that I am hoping will make Bathurst but I don't work Subtract anywhere near as hard as I work them, she couldn't cope with that sort of workload." "It can get a bit frustrating with the lack of opportunities in this area for the pacers because there just isn't enough meetings and that is one of the reasons I decided to try something different and I will be definitely getting another galloper soon." Torrens has a strong family connection to both codes. "My grandfather had gallopers but dad is quite tall so he decided to try his hand at training the pacers because he could do everything with them and I have learned a lot off him." "I have to thank Kellie Mackney as well, she has been a great help to me since Subtract arrived just over a month ago and has been giving me plenty of pointers." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |           This email and any attachments are confidential and subject to copyright. If you are not the intended recipient any use, disclosure or copying is unauthorised. If you have received this email in error please advise us immediately by reply email and delete all copies. It is your responsibility to examine this email and any attachments for viruses. Any personal information in this email must be handled in accordance with privacy legislation.            

The dispute over a simulcasting contract between management at Colonial Downs and the Virginia Horsemen's Association has ended up with the simulcast signal being cut until an agreement can be reached. Below is a letter from Colonial Downs President Ian Stewart....... The Virginia Racing Commission ("VRC") has ordered 25 days of thoroughbred racing over five weeks for 2014, which is the same schedule that Colonial Downs conducted in 2013. The VRC reached its decision after long debate. The Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association ("the VaHBPA") is unwilling to accept the VRC's decision to race 25 days over five weeks. The current contract with the VaHBPA expired as of midnight on January 29, 2014. We have offered to sign the exact same contract as last year. We have also offered several alternatives in an attempt to accommodate their wishes. However, despite extensive efforts by Colonial Downs to reach a compromise, the VaHBPA has refused to sign a new contract. Consequently, we believe that our ability to accept wagers on thoroughbred races at our satellite wagering facilities may be severely restricted. We believe customers can continue to wager on thoroughbred horse races through account wagering and can continue to wager on standardbred racing in the SWFs. Without the ability to wager on thoroughbred races, we cannot keep our Alberta, Vinton, Martinsville and Scott County satellite wagering facilities open and they will be closing January 31, 2014 until we reach a contract resolution that will allow us to re-open them. Customers will still be able to wager on Standardbred races at our Richmond West Broad Street, Richmond Hurley's, Chesapeake Indian River Road and Hampton locations. In addition, we believe customers will continue to be able to wager on both thoroughbred and standardbred races through the four licensed account wagering providers, EZ Horseplay, TVG, Xpressbet and Twinspires. If you would like help opening an EZ Horseplay account, please see one of our staff members. Every effort has been made to work with the VaHBPA and I am very disappointed that we have reached this point. I hope this interruption of normal business will be brief and that a mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached. Ian M. Stewart President

Harrisburg, PA --- The Pennsylvania Equine Coalition is fully opposed to the proposed legislation introduced by Representative Todd Stephens to transfer $250 million annually from the Race Horse Development Fund to support education funding in Pennsylvania. Representative Stephens has unfortunately chosen to propose this legislation as a means to score political points. While we agree that equitable and fair funding for all Pennsylvania schools is a necessity, we strongly encourage legislators to seek alternative funding sources so as to not decimate a burgeoning industry in Pennsylvania. To be as clear and concise as possible, the proposed legislation introduced by Representative Stephens will effectively eliminate the RHDF and spell the end of Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing in Pennsylvania as we know it. To provide some context, the total allocation to the RHDF for Fiscal Year 2013 was $264,200,662, which was a $16 million decline from FY 2012, the highest allocation on record for the RHDF. We have witnessed a steady decline in Pennsylvania slot revenues over the past 18 months, and the continued regional expansion of non-racetrack casinos (from which the RHDF receives no percentage of slot revenue) will further dilute gaming revenue. While it is too early to predict the total allocation to the RHDF for 2014, we project it will remain stagnant or continue to fall below the $260 million mark. Transferring $250 million from the RHDF will effectively eliminate the fund and all affiliated programs it supports throughout the Commonwealth. This elimination of funding will result in an exodus of breeders and racing professionals from our state, which can have catastrophic consequences for a number of sectors. The loss of farmland will lead to more residential development, which studies consistently show is actually a negative drain on municipal services (including education) versus open spaces. The Pennsylvania equine industry contributes $4.6 billion to the Pennsylvania economy each year, making it a major economic driver for the state. Live racing alone generates $1.6 billion in economic activity and directly supports more than 23,000 jobs in casinos, racetracks, backstretches and more. The additional $3 billion in annual economic impact is realized through the countless breeders, blacksmiths, trainers, veterinarians and other support industries scattered throughout the state. Unfortunately Rep. Stephens chose to cite the exception within our industry rather than the rule when citing an example of who has won purse money. The vast majority of purse funds (more than 90 percent) remain here in Pennsylvania, sustaining mom and pop farms who have invested their life savings into a passion for caring for and training our beautiful equine athletes. More important than residency of the owner is the residency of the horse itself, which in many cases could be considered the actual “job creator” -- i.e. the litany of services a racing horse requires support a robust local infrastructure in Pennsylvania. These are your neighbors who earn their living within the equine racing industry as growers, blacksmiths, breeders, trainers, grooms and more. They are preserving open space and providing a critical market for farmers to grow and sell feed, to stable horses, and invest in new breeding facilities, rivaling those found in Kentucky, California and Florida. Many of our newly elected legislators may not understand the nature and origins of Act 71 as it related to casino gambling in the state of Pennsylvania. The 12 percent cap on slot revenues used to fund the RHDF was developed as a “statutory assessment” on casino operators that would otherwise have been seen as additional profit in their pockets. The agreement was struck on the basis that casino slot gambling in Pennsylvania would support the “enhancement of live horse racing, breeding programs, entertainment and employment in this Commonwealth.” (Act 71, Section 1102). Additionally, the RHDF funding is pale in comparison to the “Commonwealth take” of approximately 42 percent of total casino slot revenues, a portion of which (approximately $1 billion annually) actually does provide school funding relief through property tax subsidies to local municipalities. In short, casino gambling, and the subsequent predictable funding stream, would not exist in Pennsylvania had it not been for the work of horsemen’s organizations to negotiate such favorable terms for the Commonwealth. The Racing Fund created by Act 71 is succeeding as intended. We have a successful, viable model thanks to Act 71 and the ongoing innovation, initiative and competitiveness it has spurred. To abandon this model now would spell disaster for the burgeoning breeding and racing industry in the Commonwealth. We commend our legislators for devising creative solutions to the state education crisis, but would encourage them to do more research on the far-reaching implications of such legislation to many hard-working residents of Pennsylvania. From the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition

Pompano Beach, FL...January 25, 2014...Northern Companion and Rick's Sign shared the spotlight as they captured the duet of co-features Saturday night at Pompano Park.   Northern Companion, handled by Dave Ingraham, captured the $8,500 Open Handicap Pace, grinding forward from last the entire last lap to nail a 1:52.1 victory in the final strides.   The six year-old son of Cambest, trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza, achieved his initial victory of the year by a half length over Thebestofjoel (Ed Hensley) with Southern Sport (Joe Pavia, Jr.) next, 2 1/4 lengths away. Restless Yankee finished fourth and the 7 to 5 favorite, Eastend Eddie, picked up the nickel after making a very confident brush to the front just after the :26.4 opener and carding subsequent panels of :55.3 and 1:23.   Assigned post eight in the field, Northern Companion got to move in a notch with the scratch of Electric Lad and was away in a relaxed manner as Thebestofjoel and Southern Sport mixed it up early with the ladder carving up the opening number. Meanwhile, Northern Companion was out by turn two but still sixth about a half dozen lengths away from the leader. On the backside, the pace quickened but Northern Companion was still able to dent the official :27.2 third quarter and was about three lengths away turning for home.   At that point, Eastend Eddie was being attacked from all sides by Southern Sport and Thebestofjoel with Northern Companion grinding widest and fastest of all, collaring the remaining competition near the wire.   For Northern Companion, it was his 33rd lifetime victory, sending his career bounty to $197,282.   In a post race interview, driver Dave Ingraham said, "...I'll tell ya, this horse can take a lot of air. He just keeps mowing forward and doesn't quit. He can be kind of lazy leaving but, when he gets going, he REALLY gets going...and, of course, it helped that there were no jaguars (meaning Prairie Jaguar) in there tonight."   As co-second choice in the wagering, Northern Companion paid $7.20 to win.   In the $20,000-$25,000 Claiming Handicap worth $8,500, Rick's Sign, handled by Simon Allard, went a monstrous mile grinding out a 1:53 victory measuring three parts of a length over Red Hot Yankee (Ed Hensley) with the favorite Premier third in that same photo, Gentleman Friend finished fourth with Just Fred fifth in the quintette that, front to back, were separated by just a shade over two lengths.   Red Hot Yankee cut the moderate opening fractions of :27.2 and :57.1 with Rick's Sign out and pressuring from the second turn all the way home, the latter engaging the leader through a wicked :26.4 third panel and then finally squeaking on by inside the sixteenth pole for the win.   For Rick's Sign, it was his 49th career victory--second this year--with this nine year-old's lifetime bankroll now at $322,577.   Highland Thoroughbred Farm co-owns Rick's Sign with trainer Marty Fine.   As second choice in the win pool, Rick's Sign paid $9.00 to win.   Carry-overs in both the Pick-5 and Pick-4 wagers highlight the Sunday night card, which gets underway at 7:05 p.m.   John Berry        

Trenton, NJ --- Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth, that allows permitholders (racetrack operators) to enter into agreements with their respective horsemen associations, such as the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association for harness racing and with the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, was signed into law by Gov. Christie on Tuesday (Jan. 21). Under the new law (A-3489), the runners will jointly decide how to utilize a portion of their racing purses in order to promote the racing industry. The approval concurs with Gov. Christie’s recommendations and affects racing at both the New Meadowlands and Monmouth Park. The New Jersey Racing Commission is required to approve all the contractual agreements between the parties. “Racetrack permitholders, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have a shared interest in ensuring the success of horse racing in New Jersey,” said Dancer, who has sponsored many pieces of bipartisan legislation designed to help make horse racing sustainable in the state. “This bill provides an opportunity to preserve and enhance the sport of horse racing and will lead to greater fan interest and wagering. The contractual requirement that stipulates all sides must agree as to the means of how this goal will be achieved, along with the oversight by the racing commission, are important components of the bill.” The amount of the racing purses, which is specified by statute, would not be affected. Also, any agreement would not be permitted to reduce the statutorily dedicated funds for programs designed to aid the horsemen and the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association or for the administration of a health benefits program for the horsemen. “We are in a new era of horse racing in New Jersey. We are fortunate to have creative and talented private sector business people who love racing and believe it is viable in our state,” continued Dancer. “Giving them the flexibility to combine their skills in order to promote this sport is a sound strategy.” Dancer’s legislation is also sponsored by Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Ralph Caputo. The identical Senate bill, S-2540, received unanimous approval in June. From the New Jersey Assembly Republican Press Office

Okemos, MI --- The Michigan Gaming Control Board released orders on Tuesday (Jan. 21) dramatically reducing the harness racing schedule at Northville Downs and Hazel Park Raceway in 2014. The orders, which are being appealed by the Michigan Harness Horsemen's Association, authorize ten day harness meets at both Northville and Hazel Park. Those schedules represent a dramatic reduction from the harness dates previously anticipated. Needless to say, the MGCB decision to accept the tracks’ amended applications will have a devastating impact on Michigan’s Standardbred race horse industry. Even more devastating than the slashing of race dates is the timing of the schedule authorized for Northville Downs. Instead of beginning their meet Jan. 31, as originally announced, Northville intends to race Fridays and Saturdays from March 7 through April 5. Hazel Park intends to race their harness meet on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from April 12 through May 3. According to Tuesday’s orders, both facilities will then convert to Thoroughbred tracks. Despite Northville’s assertion that higher handle and lower track maintenance costs are the reason for their delayed start date, many believe that their strategy is to create as much disruption as possible for the Standardbred industry. Why you ask? Delaying the availability of purse money until March will force more harness horsemen out of business and accelerate the decline of live racing -- something Northville has stated publicly they would prefer. The MHHA and the race tracks have been at odds over track demands that horsemen pay entry fees for the privilege of racing at their facilities. It’s the tracks’ position that, because they are losing money, they are entitled to a greater share of simulcast purse pool revenue. Since the tracks already retain sixty percent of simulcast purse pool commissions, and their “solution” does nothing to solve the industry’s core problems, the MHHA has refused those demands. The financial situation of our horsemen, who collectively lost well over $1 million in 2013, is more dire than the tracks’, so shoring up their bottom lines on the backs of our horsemen is not a reasonable solution. Further, the MHHA believes that, by law, the horsemen’s share of the simulcast purse pool can only be used for purses. While the Thoroughbred horsemen believe they have found a way to circumvent that 1995 Racing Law requirement, the courts may ultimately have to decide if they will be able to do so moving forward. Recognizing the immediate impact that this MGCB decision would have on Michigan’s Standardbred industry, an emergency meeting of the MHHA Board of Directors was held late Friday. In an effort to mitigate the potential damage to our horsemen, the MHHA offered Northville Downs $100,000 in non-simulcast purse pool funds if they would agree to race their original 26 day schedule. That offer was ignored. We are horrified by the MGCB’s decision and have expressed our concerns about both the moral and legal implications of Tuesday’s orders. Time will tell if the tracks’ apparent strategy to wrestle complete control of the industry away from the horsemen will succeed, but there is no question that the short term impact will be harmful to thousands of horsemen -- not to mention countless local agricultural economies around the state. In fact, just since the MGCB orders were released, we have received word that dozens of horses are already being culled from Standardbred stables across the state. We ask all horsemen to be patient as the MHHA moves forward with its appeal of Tuesday’s orders and considers what further actions might be possible to try and mitigate the damage to our 2014 racing season. In the meantime, we encourage you to contact your representatives in Lansing. Make sure they understand what is happening in our industry and let them know how it impacts you and those with whom you do business. If the tracks believe they can force the Standarbred horsemen out of business in what appears to be an attempt to eliminate live racing here in Michigan, they should be prepared for a significant fight. Submitted by the Michigan Harness Horsemen's Association

Schenectady, NY – Harness Racing’s top guns descended upon the New York State Gaming Commission public hearing to advance concerns over proposed drug levels for racehorses.  U. S. Trotting Association President, Phil Langley, and Standardbred Owners Association of New York President, Joe Faraldo, led a group of distinguished veterinarians and research experts to counter the “one size fits all” approach being forwarded by the Thoroughbred-based Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) proposals. The appearance of the Standardbred leaders at the public hearing, called by the agency formerly known as the NYS Racing and Wagering board, was to hear “testimony about adoption of per se regulatory thresholds for 24 approved equine medications and amending pre-race restricted time periods for various drugs.” One particular therapeutic substance, respiratory aid Clenbuterol, has been at the forefront of a debate over uniform medication rules approved by the RMTC. Although there is widespread Thoroughbred support for the measures, the Standardbred industry has argued that the two breeds have very distinct differences and therefore should be treated differently.  The proposed rule would prohibit the bronchial dilator from being administered within 14 days of racing, effectively eliminating its potential benefit to Standardbreds that generally race every week. Langley noted that, “Our horses are so durable, they do not even look [like Thoroughbreds.]  Many of our horses race 30 to 40 times each year.  In fact, the leading money-winning horse of all time started 198 times.  We are not trying to get the standards lowered.  We just want to conduct [racing] the way we are.” Dr. Kanter, an expert in equine medicine and pharmacology, with over 40 years of experience as the track vet at Buffalo and Batavia.  “This measure could be denying horses the benefit of years of research of these useful therapeutic drugs, while the efficacy of known substitutes is yet unproven.” Dr. Janet Durso of Goshen, NY, reiterated those concerns.  “Clenbuterol is one of the best drugs for treating blood and discharge from a horse’s lungs.  Remedies would be problematic without it!” One of the contributing factors toward this proposal is the concern that some Thoroughbred trainers are abusing Clenbuterol by overdosing in order to achieve a repartitioning effect, or to build muscle mass.  That appears to be a non-issue in Standardbreds as they race too often for long-term dosages to be administered effectively. Dr. Tobin, a renowned expert from the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center, stated, “Clenbuterol did have a repartitioning effect and increased muscle mass, but this did not translate into an increase in performance.  In fact, it decreased performance.” Although the prospect of catastrophic injury of racehorses was discussed, Dr. Tobin noted that “Harness Racing was one of the safest sports in North America.  Only 1 in 15,000 fatal injuries occurred in Standardbreds, where 1 in 2,000 occurred in Thoroughbreds over the same time period.” Several other items were addressed, such as the list of 24 drugs that would provide for the basis of drugs that would have established levels for testing.  All others would be considered “off-limits” for use and result in positive tests if found in race-day blood or urine testing.  In addition, the proposal of special corticosteroid regulations sparked added debate. Of the nine speakers, eight of the experts gave convincing testimony toward the need for separate rules for each breed.  Dr. Dionne Benson, the executive director of the RMTC (Racing Medication and Testing Consortium), was the last speaker and lone dissenter.  She noted that the ad hoc committee for all breeds felt that the thresholds are appropriate, and that the state of Pennsylvania was “on-board” with her groups recommendations. Nonetheless, Joe Faraldo is not convinced that the RMTC proposals are suitable for Harness Racing.  “We heard today that not all of the scientific bases have been covered.  I believe that the [NYS Gaming Board] is cognizant of that fact.  Because this board took the time to listen to all of these points of view, and the science behind them, it is a good indication that Harness Racing will be treated fairly.” by Chris Tully for

Today at the New Jersey Racing Commission meeting their official report will state that the Borgata is now the only casino in Atlantic City to offer horse racing simulcasting. As of New Year’s Eve, Bally’s Caesars, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat all ended having simulcasting. The once great Mecca on the east coast for gambling has come upon hard times over the past years and horse players are the first to feel the effects.  Casinos in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland have taken their tolls on business along with online wagering sites. The casino operators state that profits from horse racing simulcasting have decreased to the point where it is no longer profitable to offer wagering on the horses so they have cut it out and thus are cutting their losses. About 12 miles from the casino strip in Atlantic City is Atlantic City Racecourse, which is also still offering simulcasting, but the majority of players who still enjoy watching and wagering on the ponies are flocking to the Borgata.  In December the Borgata posted simulcast revenue of more than $133,000, which was equal to the total amount of revenue from the other four casinos that called it quits on simulcasting. Most casinos thrive on being able to offer their patrons the opportunity to wager on any and all events they can legally offer. One could consider having simulcasting a proper addition to a gaming venue to keep patrons happy, even at a break even or loss, but such is not the case in Atlantic City. Thus the Borgata’s simulcasting revenue has already begun to increase as they are now the only game in town if you want to bet on horse racing. It is hard to believe that in the coming months that only one casino in AC will offer wagering on the Kentucky Derby. I guess the lines will be out on the street that day to place a bet. Alan Mitchell has been in Atlantic City since simulcasting began at the casinos back in 1993. He was the former harness racing handicapper for the Philadelphia Inquirer for many years who still follows and plays the horses. “I just can’t believe there is only one casino in all of Atlantic City that has simulcasting,” Mitchell said. “Now there is no place on the boardwalk to place a bet. And all the numbers totaled leaves room for at least one casino on the boardwalk to have a racebook. “Harrah’s came in years ago and built the casino and harness racetrack in Chester,” Mitchell said, “So they have invested in racing to get the casino yet their four casinos in AC have stopped simulcasting. That does not make sense. They own a racetrack yet cut out wagering on it at their sister casinos. “The Delaware Valley area was always steeped in tradition for horse racing.” Mitchell explained. “Liberty Bell Park, Brandywine Raceway, Garden State Park, Atlantic City Racecourse, Keystone “Philadelphia” Park and Delaware Park all had successful meets and now only three tracks are left because they are in Pennsylvania and have casinos attached to them. But Harrah’s Philadelphia is the worst because they have never really tried to promote racing. The place is very poorly run. “Harness racing was always a great night time entertainment venue in Philadelphia,” Mitchell explained. “And Harrah’s could have been popular if they raced at night instead of during the day and go against the other local thoroughbred tracks. That was just plain ludicrous. They have the same caliber of horses and the same top drivers competing as does the Meadowlands in New Jersey. But the Meadowlands races at night and takes in $3.5 million in handle while Harrah’s Philadelphia goes during the day and takes in maybe $500,000. Harrah’s has the lights to race at night but in all these years they have never made an effort to try a nighttime race schedule. If they had they may have gotten thousands of people to come out for the races at night. “Harrah’s is not going to change what they are doing,” Mitchell said. “I predict they will put their track and casino on the market and try to get out of the racing business in Chester. If they do I hope someone comes along who will give it a try with night racing. It may not be a solution to the simulcasting ending at the casinos in Atlantic City, but perhaps once the other casinos see how well the Borgata can do being the only location in town to place a horse racing bet, other casinos may come back and reopen. We can only hope.” By Steve Wolf for 

Chris Bayliss has no idea how to price a horse at the races but held betting slips totalling nearly $2 billion across every sporting event last year. Arguably the former banker turned New Zealand Racing Board head is the country's biggest punter, but running the institution charged with operating the TAB in New Zealand has killed sport for him. "Because now I always know our position, so I can watch sport with my heart, or I can watch it with my brain," Bayliss said. "It is terrible watching the All Blacks, wanting them to lose." Spending at the TAB ran away to a record $1.957b for the year ended July 31, 2013 - roughly 1 per cent of New Zealand's gross domestic product. In October the board, which was established under the Racing Act to run the TAB in New Zealand, announced a net profit of $144.1 million. For Bayliss, who is 17 months into his role as chief executive of the New Zealand Racing Board, this basically means he held a $1.957b betting slip last year. "I've always got a massive bet on every sporting event, a lot more than most Kiwis have got. "This job kills any enjoyment that you used to have of sport." Bayliss is British but has lived in New Zealand for ten years, and said he never imagined he would be in charge of the 62-year-old New Zealand Racing Board. He said he cheers for the All Blacks against England and enjoys watching the Ashes test series, but has no more of an interest in sport than most. The challenge for Bayliss, however, was upgrading and improving an industry which had lost half its active punters in the past decade and is riding on systems that are like "a 20-year-old car". All this despite a year of record spending at the TAB. Bayliss said the board's challenges first sprung about a decade ago, when its turnover first nosed over the $1b line. The organisation failed to understand it had then become a large, rather than medium-sized, company, and its frameworks and procedures had struggled to adapt since. This is why Bayliss believed his 29 years of banking experience, which started when he was just 16, would provide a good return on the industry's wager. "At the end of the day, businesses of this size, agnostic of industry, are about distribution, they're about product, they're about customers. "I would have no idea how to price a horse tomorrow, but I know how a trading book in a bank works. "I know, therefore, when you trade in currencies and you're trading interest rates, it's no different to trading sport, so I know what procedures and frameworks you'd expect to have in place." The 900-person, 690-outlet organisation, which Bayliss said was the biggest retailer in the country, would "easily" rank on the NZX 20, the largest and most liquid companies on the stock exchange, if it listed tomorrow. Furthermore, it was the largest broadcaster in the country, yet somehow flew under the radar. "Everyone knows who the TAB is and everyone knows they've got one in their town. "Somehow they never think about it more than that." Bayliss's more difficult challenge is the fact that the number of active customers has dropped from more than 200,000 in 2003 to about 100,000 today. At the board's annual meeting in Wellington earlier this year, the organisation's systems were compared to a 20-year-old car. The 62-year-old NZRB took the opportunity to outline which elephants would be replaced by runaway horses. The outdated technology, a need for high-definition broadcasting and the lack of a mobile app were identified as the "elephants" at the Racing Board. About 29 per cent of its turnover was generated online, but Bayliss said poor technology had saddled it with about $300m in "leakage"; betting lost to the TAB through offshore providers. It was not illegal for New Zealanders to use overseas bookmakers but it was illegal for them to advertise here. "Our customers are ageing and we haven't been able to attract the new breed of customer, because we haven't had the infrastructure to do that." A mobile app was planned for launch ahead of the Football World Cup in Brazil, an event Bayliss expected would turn over $30m at the TAB - the same as the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Live streaming also become available last month, allowing punters to watch events from their laptop or tablet. As well as people using overseas bookmakers to bet on New Zealand sport, the "leakage" figure included betting on events the TAB did not have an offering for. People were betting on the winner of New Zealand's Got Talent and who the next prime minister would be using overseas agencies. The TAB was not legally able to offer odds on such events, because of the provisions of the Gambling Act. "Brits are interested in it and Aussies are interested in it, so why would Kiwis not be interested in it?" Bayliss said. "They're betting on it, we're just not capturing any tax." One of the board's long-term objectives is to maximise returns to the racing industry, comprising thoroughbred, harness, and greyhound racing. For the year ended July, New Zealand's racing industry gained about $142m in dividends over the year. About $5.7m was also distributed to national sports and other bodies from sports betting and gaming takings. But for the $300m leakage, everybody misses out. Most Kiwis did not appreciate the NZRB had no commercial shareholders, and every single dollar made went back into sport, he said. "They're robbing New Zealand of GST, betting duty, problem gambling levy, and most importantly, any revenue back to the industry. "It's an online world now, customers can find it, and they do." Bayliss said it would target growth in racing stakes of about 50 per cent by 2018, up to $120m. This would be harnessed by a growth in profits as well, which he hoped would hit between $160m and $180m. To do this, the Racing Board also needed to adapt the racing calendar. Bayliss said the calendar was "steeped in history". November through to the end of January was the busiest period of racing in New Zealand, but Kiwis now bet more on Australian horse, harness and greyhound racing than on domestic races. Last year's financial result had been hit by the worst rate of cancellations in a decade, as 12 race meetings were abandoned because of the drought. "It's a concern for the domestic industry; it's a concern for the gate money and the money the clubs get. "Economically I can just switch, because punters will just switch to what's on, but it's the poor clubs here that lose out." As such, the local industry should look to opportunities to capitalise on "exporting" race meetings offshore, Bayliss said. The Auckland Cup was always in March, but the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which runs betting agencies there, had told him it would be interested in the Cup if it was run in January. He expected an exported broadcast of the Auckland Cup during January would be worth about $30m in turnover, the same as the Melbourne Cup - by far the TAB's largest trading day. Sydney bookies were also desperate for content at 10am, when no other sport was on. "That would only mean moving races forward an hour. "It's getting the constituency to understand there's a big world out there, we've got a great product and we've got a time zone we don't think about strategically." Bayliss said it would also look to gain more access to the world's VIP punters to further add to the growth of the betting industry. It was reputed about a dozen customers around the world spent more than $100m a year on betting, of which every betting agency courted a couple. The NZRB did not want them all, Bayliss said, because then half its turnover would be exposed to just 12 customers. But it had a prudential limit in place which included "an appetite to grow these by a couple". For the six months to January 31, 2012, nearly $800m was spent on racing bets alone, compared with sports betting of about $120m. But Bayliss said the sport pool was growing at about 30 per cent a year. Overall tipping would "certainly" be above $2b next year, he said. The 2013 financial year had been the first in many without a marquee sporting event, such as a world cup. He said the America's Cup had received over $1m in bets, and represented the sort of sport the TAB could garner more growth from. "Generally if there's a sport, there are customers that want to bet on it." He expected the growth would come from a younger audience, sitting around a TV watching the All Blacks, having a bet on who was going to score the first try. "Let's just put $10 on it, I'm not going to fall out with my wife, I haven't spent the grocery bill, put $10 on and four or five of your mates all decide we're going to put a different person. "Your enjoyment and excitement in that game, believe me, has exponentially increased." That is, unless you've got $2b riding on it. FAVOURITE FLUTTERS Sport 1. Basketball 2. Rugby Union 3. Rugby League 4. Football 5. Tennis 6. Cricket 7. Baseball 8. American Football 9. Golf 10. Ice Hockey Events Rugby World Cup, 2011 – $30m Melbourne Cup – $30m America's Cup – $1m  by Hamish McNichol reprinted with permission by and Fairfax NZ News

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