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Columbus, OH --- Bruce A. Weingartner, 73, of East Windsor, N.J., died Dec. 25, 2013 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton. Mr. Weingartner was a serious racing fan and an owner of both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds in group partnerships. His son, Ken, is the media relations director for the USTA's Harness Racing Communications. Born in East Orange, he lived most of his life in East Windsor. Mr. Weingartner was a researcher for Law School Admission Counsel, Newtown, Pa., retiring after 10 years of service, and prior to that he worked for about 20 years for AT&T. He was a member of the Hightstown/East Windsor Jaycees, past president, and 1974 Jaycee of the Year. Mr. Weingartner was a regular blood donor for the American Red Cross. He was a member of a barbershop quartet and the Keytones of Elmira, N.Y., and did a weekly TV Show, Club 24. He was an avid NY/SF Giants fan and a partner in Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing ownership groups. A son of the late William and Lydia (Faulhaber) Weingartner, and husband of the late Angela M. (Sirianni) Weingartner, he is survived by his three children, Kenneth P., Laura L. (Mark) Moffa and Brian J. (Rose); and his brother, Bill. Funeral services will be held on Saturday (Dec. 28) at 11 a.m. at Glackin/Saul Funeral Home, 136 Morrison Ave., Hightstown, N.J. Interment will follow at Princeton Memorial Park. Family and friends may call on Saturday (Dec. 28) from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Glackin/Saul Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 1 Union Street, Suite 301, Robbinsville, NJ 08691 or the American Cancer Society, Memorial Processing Center, P.O. Box 7, East Syracuse, NY 13057. Submitted by USTA Communications Department

When the term 'Ponzi scheme' is mentioned these days, the names Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford instantly spring to mind. The pair of them ran multi-billion dollar frauds (US$60bn and $8bn respectively) that destroyed the lives of thousands of investors who had put their life savings into a 'wonderful' investment strategy. How so many people were sucked into the scheme is baffling to those on the outside. The lifestyle, the sales pitch, the success stories of the early investors - I suppose it all adds up.  So where does this link to racing you ask? A prominent Australian 'racing identity' this week has been reported to have lost access to a bank account with punters' club funds of $194m in it. Firstly - is there a worse term for anyone to be labelled with that 'racing identity'? It ALWAYS ends up meaning shonky crook! Secondly - who the hell has a punters' club with an active bankroll in the tens of millions? It simply can't be done.  The media has just started to scratch the surface on this case:  - Racing identity Bill Vlahos denies punting club losses  - $5m bill for Caviar's brother unpaid  - Punters' club man faces suit over Black Caviar's half-brother  but my sources tell me there is a lot left to expose.  Let's examine the alleged punters' club run by Bill Vlahos:  There was no prospectus for potential investors, no contracts securing their investments, nothing at all in writing. No public records of the club activity. All members were sworn to secrecy. (Anyone hearing alarm bells?)  Members would put money into the club and then receive regular dividends. Members were promised a return of over 6% per quarter, adding up to 25% annual profit on investment, and that's what the early investors received. It was a betting syndicate. Since when are betting returns consistent?  All the dodgy betting investment scams in Australia are based on the Gold Coast, so surely this one had to be legitimate? The syndicate was allegedly betting on Melbourne and Sydney racing each week, but with 'offshore outlets' via a broker. Punters worldwide will tell you that getting on is harder than ever. As soon as you start winning, your cards are marked and the industry works against you to shut you down. Corporate bookies shut or heavily restrict your account. Betfair hits you with a Premium Charge of up to 60% of your profits. There simply aren't offshore outlets who will let you bet millions on Australian racing, and there certainly aren't charitable betting firms out there who will let you win a million dollars per quarter to keep up with your promised 6% quarterly return. There is more truth in a Harry Potter novel!  The master system behind this money tree:  "Mr Vlahos developed his system during a two-year stint living near Randwick racecourse when he was not working full-time.  He said he used his mathematical training gained during his La Trobe University psychology degree to come up with a way to beat the odds.  Mr Vlahos said that members of his club trusted him despite the lack of written contracts, and accepted that he collected five per cent of the winnings.  "There's nothing in writing because it's a punting club and it's a trust punting club, the people that are in it have made the decision that they understand how the punting club works between me and them," he said."  "Mr Vlahos said that the maths-based system he used for the punting club brought constant quarterly profits back into the common pool."  The "mathematical training gained during a psychology degree" allowed him to develop a system, which he coincidentally did while living next door to one of the biggest racecourses in the country. I'm calling bullshit on that one. Wagering is an incredibly complicated business which requires an enormous workload just to keep up with continually evolving markets. Maths alone will not make you a profit. Form study alone will not make you a profit. The best money management scheme of all time will not make you a profit. Anyone who tells you they can make consistent, unlimited profits on horse racing has as much credibility as a politician....  The reference material for a successful and disguised Ponzi scheme is the success of the early members. They make their money from introducing new members, although it is highly likely they are unaware of the mechanics of it. Every new member brought into the syndicate bring new liquidity, which is actually the profit they supposedly make every week from their betting investments. The ground-floor investors do very well out of it, and continue to innocently provide glowing references for anyone else considering joining. For them, everything seems above board. So Bob is considering putting money in, he looks at Jim who has been in for a year and done well, then he looks up to Max who has been in for longer and is genuinely displaying the lifestyle of someone making solid, regular profits from their investments. So Bob thinks he's onto a good thing, everyone knows each other and believes what they see, and injects more money into the 'club'. This cycle continues with everyone profiting until it gets too big. Suddenly the rate of signing up new members starts to fall away, the liquidity dries up and so does the flow of profits. Vlahos claims that they had only lost money in one quarter in eight years - that's all it needs to start crumbling....  One piece of anecdotal evidence I have heard is of an early member in regional Victoria who had an incredible run signing up new members - while they all bought cars and swimming pools with their profits, he kept re-investing his profits to create that golden nest egg for retirement. I'm told he believed his share of the syndicate pot was as much as a third - in the vicinity of $60-120m! I'm tipping he'll be rather disappointed.  The Westpac account allegedly containing the $194m hasn't been locked by the bank, it hasn't gone missing, they haven't lost the account due to a computer glitch. It never existed in the first place.  Bill Vlahos doesn't exactly have the cleanest of connections in the racing industry - he has a link to Tony Mokbel, the big time drug dealer who laundered much of his cash flow through various forms of gambling. When the heavy hand of the law started closing in on Mokbel and his associates, it was Vlahos who took over ownership of a horse owned by Tony's brother Horty Mokbel, Pillar of Hercules. The chances of that being coincidental are very slim. And it was this love of horses which reports say, saw him come up with another front for the Ponzi scheme.  Vlahos was most famous for his backing for BC3 Thoroughbreds - a new age bloodstock syndication company who entered the market with a bang, paying huge prices for yearlings, including $5m for a half-brother to Black Caviar. It seemed over the top at the time, their attitude was "we weren't going to be outbid on this one". And now we know why. Value didn't seem to matter to them. So long as the horse could attract investors, they'd be fine. The sales company, Inglis, have yet to be paid for the horse. This isn't uncommon, trainers often take a while to syndicate horses, but they have to pay interest on their debts. It is reported that several people have paid cash for shares in the blue-blood colt, but none of that money has been passed onto Inglis - the allegations are that it has all been tipped into the Ponzi scheme.  If all this is true, and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt my sources who have seen this building up for several years, there are many highly respectable people caught up in this, completely innocently. Investors from Melbourne society, football clubs, players and administrators. Highly respected administrators who have left their jobs to become part of the BC3 'success story'.... My sources tell me that BC3 staff were told this morning Australian time that the company is no longer. I'd expect most of them knew nothing of all this until very recently.  The interest started to mount up on 'Jimmy', the half-brother to Black Caviar. Pressure was on to find more funds to put into the club - surely this sham would last forever? Vlahos allegedly relocated to Singapore earlier in the year - to secure more suckers? To get away from the front-line pressure of the scheme? To stay away from investigators and start preparing an escape route? Theories of what has happened to 'Jimmy' are plentiful. The SMH article said 'the insurance policy can only be paid out in death'. Spider bite, heavy dose of anti-biotics from a vet which is rumoured could be linked to laminitis, a potentially fatal disease.... If the horse survives this ordeal which he is still recovering from, a successful life on the racetrack must be highly improbable now. A stud career for an unraced colt, no matter how esteemed the bloodlines, will be nowhere as lucrative as it could have been with a few wins under his belt.  This scandal has only just started to hit the courts, brought upon by legal proceedings from an unhappy member who is unlikely to ever see his money again. Vlahos' assets have been seized, his passport taken away. Criminal reporters will dig further into this, further than the traditional racing media who are always reluctant to expose/embarrass people within the industry. I'm told investigative journalists from The Age have been close to breaking this story but were holding back - articles from their rivals may now force their hand.  The fallout from this will be enormous. Racing can't afford to have thousands of people with significant sums of money involved become disenchanted with the sport. When the Nathan Tinkler empire crumbled, the people who felt it most were the businesses and staff he owed money to. This scandal goes so much wider. And yet it's not a new blight on the racing industry. Go back to the 80s and a Melbourne conman called Joe Talia did something similar, using the gift of the gab to convince people to invest in his schemes. There were no miracle investment schemes, it was just him pissing the money away at the racetrack, in casinos or living far above his means.   Courtesy of Scott Ferguson   "This article written by and reprinted courtesy of Scott Ferguson, seasoned betting industry expert and editor of www.sportismadeforbetting.com blog. You can also follow him on Twitter via @borisranting"  

Mount Gambier conducted their first meeting of the season and while it was a big punting weekend at the Mount with Thoroughbreds & Greyhound meetings during the day the twilight fixture still drew a good crowd to the trots.   President Phil Wood could not have been happier with the result " our gate was good as were takings at canteen and the bar". The committee has worked hard to make the venue more family friendly during the off season and this was well received by patrons.   On the track the action was hot - three of the six winners broke the magical two minute barrier, another two rated just over two minutes while Caleb Lewis was allowed to walk on the Kevin Brough trained Amberlu Lilly.   Driving honours went to David Dury who won with Alta Antonio, the promising Big Gorilla and former Kiwi filly Our Mackalena who was having her first SA start after having trialled impressively winning a trial by 25 metres, the Christian Cullen filly started at the lucrative odds of $5.60.   Caleb Lewis also drove a double, while Rodney Baker won the Boarder Watch Pace heat for his father Jim on board Dee Cees Desire. The final of this race is to be held at Hamilton next Monday.   The Mount Gambier club has negotiated with a Victorian club to run five heats. The final will be run at either Hamilton , Horsham or Terang, Phil Wood said "it gives the opportunity for local trainers to qualify for $5000 finals in Victoria and also encourages Victoria trainers to boarder hop and come to Mount Gambier for the heats" Gary Newton    

The Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has agreed to move Thoroughbred and mixed-breed racing next year to Detroit-area harness tracks Hazel Park Harness Raceway and Northville Downs, making them both permanent Thoroughbred racing sites, pending state approval. The five-year agreement was reached on Dec. 1, a deadline set by the Michigan Gaming Control Board after the tracks earlier this year proposed amendments to their live dates applications to include Thoroughbred and mixed-breed licenses. The contracts have been sent to the board’s office and await approval. The Michigan HBPA has been in talks with both tracks, as well as Flint-area harness venue Sports Creek Raceway, to host Thoroughbred racing since the closure of Pinnacle Race Course in southern Detroit at the end of 2010. Since Pinnacle’s closure, the state’s Thoroughbred meet has been conducted at Mount Pleasant Meadows, a mixed-breed track in rural central Michigan. To read the rest of this story click here.

Regulations governing the use of anti-inflammatory corticosteroids and the bronchial dilator clenbuterol should be the same for both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium said on Tuesday after releasing two papers examining the effects of the drugs in both breeds. Regulations governing the use of corticosteroids and clenbuterol have become a contentious issue with Standardbred horsemen since the RMTC approved recommendations calling for longer withdrawal times for the drugs. In September, the United States Trotting Association dropped out of the RMTC, citing the organization’s support for the new policies, which call for a seven-day withdrawal period for intra-articular administrations of corticosteroids and a 14-day withdrawal for clenbuterol. One of the papers released on Tuesday stated that the ability of corticosteroids to mask pain and erode joint tissue when administered intra-articularly justified the RMTC’s decision to recommend the longer withdrawal times. The other paper said that clenbuterol should also be more tightly regulated because of its ability to build muscle mass when used regularly. Both papers said there were no physiological differences between Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds that would justify separate regulations. To read the rest of this story click here.

The career of one of the all-time greats of New Zealand harness racing could be over. Champion trotter I Can Doosit could be retired this morning after his troublesome joint problems flared up yesterday. Trainer Mark Purdon says the fetlock joints which forced I Can Doosit from the racetrack and on to the operating table last season are again showing signs of wear and tear. "He is still a fair way from being ready to race so if he is having problems now it could be a real issue," Purdon told the Herald. "He is definitely feeling one of them and maybe both so we got him x-rayed and we will look at those with Bill Bishop [vet] tomorrow and then make a decision. "The final decision will be up to Ken and Karen [Breckon, owners] but it doesn't really look that good." The problem is even worse with a topline trotter than a good thoroughbred or even pacer because they take so much ground work to even get to the trials, let alone the races.   And I Can Doosit is an extreme case as he is a huge lump of a horse who has never had the best action, so he puts his now eight-year-old body under enormous stress. But those difficulties haven't stopped him developing from an immature young horse into one of the best trotters to ever race in the Southern Hemisphere. He won the last two ever Interdominion Trotting Finals, as well as two Rowe Cups, a Dominion Handicap, NZ Trotting Free-For-All, National Trot and Harness Jewels. They were part of a 55-start career in which he won 36 times, with seven placings for $1,445,774 in stakes, the highest earnings ever for a trotter who raced solely in the Southern Hemisphere. His strike rate would have been higher but for his early immaturity and his problems later in life, although this time last year he had won 18 races in succession, all at the elite level. "He has been a remarkable horse which is why, if his fetlocks are going to be giving him issues, he could be retired," says Purdon. Purdon revealed only late in I Can Doosit's career how hard it was to develop him into the intimidating trotting machine he was, with his gait so flawed he would often bash his legs together at full speed, a problem known as "touching" in trotting. "It wasn't ideal but he wanted to win so badly he kept going," says Purdon. Even if this morning's vet report is better than expected, the writing now appears on the wall for the champ as he is still so far from race fitness and after the fetlocks were operated on last season there don't appear to be many treatment options left. Meanwhile, Purdon will briefly give up the reins behind wonder mare Adore Me when she returns to Alexandra Park this Friday night. Stable driver Blair Orange will take the reins behind the great pacer for the $30,000 Breeders Stakes, her first Auckland start since finishing second in the Woodlands Derby last season. "Blair was going up to drive a couple of our other horses and I am very busy down here so was happy for him to drive her too," explained Purdon. Purdon will come north on Sunday to oversee his 14-strong northern team for the next month. Adore Me is set to clash with Bettor Cover Lover in a meeting of New Zealand's glamour mares on Friday week. Can't do it any more? *Champion trotter I Can Doosit could be retired today. *He is suffering fetlock issues even though he hasn't raced since February. *The eight-year-old has won more money than any other trotter to have raced solely in the Southern Hemisphere. *Adore Me will have a new driver this Friday. Courtesy of Michael Guerin and the New Zealand Herald

Join Ged Mooar and others involved with the Standardbred industry on this special tour to Elitloppet, which is Sweden’s biggest annual sporting event and one of the world’s most prestigious trotting races. The first race was held in 1952 and always takes place on the last Sunday in May at the beautiful Solvalla Racecourse in Stockholm. Highlights • Enjoy the excitement and atmosphere of Elitloppet • Have an introduction to Sweden’s racing industry • Visit Aby Travbana, a track for harness and thoroughbred racing since 1936, now dedicated solely to harness racing • Visit a variety of horse breeding and training facilities • Sightseeing of Gothenburg by Paddan boat on the Gotha River • Explore Stockholm, a city built on 14 islands and connected by 57 bridges Return date is flexible so stay on in Europe if you wish. For terms and conditions and further information contact: C R McPhail Ltd PO Box 2091 Palmerston North 4440 New Zealand Ph 06 357 1644 Fax 06 357-1648 Email enquiries@crmcphail.co.nz Website www.crmcphail.co.nz Harness Racing New Zealand  

DOVER, Del. --- Hot Roddy, who won all but one of his 2012 starts, drops down into the Tuesday, Dec. 3 feature at Dover Downs. After winning most of his $253,831 lifetime earnings in Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund two-and-three-year-old events, Hot Roddy has changed ownership and trainer. Now with a $30,000 tag, Hot Roddy is currently owned by Daryl Bier and J&T Silva and trained by Phil Goldwater. A lifetime winner of 12 races, Tony Morgan will drive the Roddy's Bags Again gelding again six opponents in the $20,000 3&4-Year-Old Claiming Allowance. Heading the opposition is Don Reed and trainer George Wager's McPort In A Storm with George Dennis driving, Beaver Creek Farm's Blue Ridge Dancer and Chris Page. Other contenders are Legacy Racing Of DE's Cactus Bill handled by Allan Davis, Chad Webb's Double McTwist with Ross Wolfenden, Tina Clark's Jingle Bell Rocker with meet leading driver Corey Callahan and Skyway Shooter and Roger Plante from the rail for Bob Davison and Bill Cox. Monday through Thursday racing starts at 4:30 p.m. There is no racing on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday post time is 5:30 p.m. by Marv Bachrad for Dover Downs  

If the game is rigged, only the cheaters win. If everybody thinks the game is rigged, then nobody wins, because eventually everyone just walks away in disgust. No, this column isn’t about medication positives; it’s about something even more concerning. The very existence of our sport depends upon its ability to at all times render secure the way in which wagering is handled. Any conversation concerning the integrity of racing is incomplete unless issues involving tote security are discussed. Past-Posting is but one threat to wagering integrity. Past-posting is the placing of bets after the race has started, when all betting is supposed to be closed. In 2010, a computer malfunction allowed for wagering on a completed Thoroughbred race at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) well after the last horse crossed the finish line. To read the entire story click here.

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 20, 2013 — Summer Indian continued his domination of The Meadows’ trotting elite, winning his Third Straight — and fifth in the last seven — in Monday’s $18,000 Preferred Handicap. His time of 1:52.3 was a tick off the track’s all-age trotting record. Summer Indian was caught wide in a three-ply battle for the early lead, finally making the front in a rapid 27.2. But he was untouchable thereafter, rolling on for Dave Palone to defeat Count Me In by 2-1/4 lengths. Rembrandt Spur finished third. Ron Burke trains the 4-year-old Majestic Son-A Touch Of Frost gelding, who now boasts $349,636 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jack Piatt III and RTC Stables. Tony Hall, Aaron Merriman and Brett Miller each drove three winners on the 16-race program. With one victory on the card, Wilbur Yoder pushed his career total to 999. by Evan Pattak for the Meadows  

They reward their customers with birthday cash; cash back rewards, not points, promptly paid on every wager; over the top customer service; email, newsletters; special promotions and contests; free handicapping  materials; an easy to use, customizable wagering interface; support horse racing related charities; and the list goes on.  They are Bruce and Trish Soulsby, who own and operate the ADW Company Darkhorsebet.com. While competing against well-known big name brands, their small independent Internet horseracing watching and wagering site, is making a name for itself and gaining strides quickly. Less than three years old, the Soulsby's have assembled a management team and employees that have been involved in horse racing  on one level or another for most of their lives.  They share a passion for the sport and have a model different than most. “The formula is simple,” Bruce explained, “There wouldn’t be another horserace run, if it weren’t for the player. So by taking care of the player, we keep horseracing around, and can even grow the game. “People get infected by going to the track. You can’t replace the live experience. That’s how we all got bit by the bug,” he continued, “But, today, it is a different landscape and it isn’t feasible for many to get to the track on a consistent basis. With the ADW, you are offered choice and convenience, and you can stay connected by your PC, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. You reach a larger audience and everyone benefits.” Originally from New Zealand, Bruce sees a difference in the way horseracing is viewed here. “At home and in many other parts of the world, horseracing is much more of a social event. It is truly seen as a special day or night out.” Trish and Bruce Soulsby have been married for nearly 17 years. Trish brings to the table a lifetime of racing experience. Her family has been involved in the sport for generations. Her brother, Rick Schaut, is a trainer/driver; Trish has worked as a groom, trainer, charter,  publicity director,  and was an on-air anchor at the Meadows , when one of her co-hosts suggested she interview Bruce on the Meadows Racing Network. “I like to say the interview is still going on.” she laughed, before taking a serious tone. “Horseracing, I believe, is an exciting enough sport to be able to stand on its own. I think it is all in how you package and sell it. We need to engage, excite and educate people about it. Get them to connect with the experience, and you will likely have a new fan. Today, social media is a great tool to introduce people to the sport and cultivate new fans. It is something I strive to do with our ADW. We have a Facebook page, and a Twitter account and we are very active with both. I am delighted with the steps the USTA has taken in this direction, striking a deal with the social media marketing giant Converseon.” Because both Bruce and Trish are pretty much die-hard harness racing fans, they take every opportunity to turn the spotlight on the Standardbreds. “We have been able to get some thoroughbred players to cross over, “ said Bruce, adding, “We are a small fraternity that must work together to keep this sport vibrant. As a small group in this industry, we need to help each other and work as a team. We are certainly trying, as best we can, to keep the game alive, by giving back as much as we can to the player. To understand how rebates work to the benefit of all, Bruce, a long-time horseplayer himself, shared this scenario. “So, you live in Minnesota, or Wisconsin, or Oklahoma, or Alabama, or where have you and there isn’t a track open within a hundred miles, or there is a track, but you have obligations that keep you from getting there, even though you are a fan and player. So, you have an account with DHB and you simply log in and you are off to the races and place some wagers. The track you play on doesn’t receive the same takeout, as if you placed a wager at the track, but you were never going to be at the track to place it anyway, so the 7, 8, 9 % you get on those wagers is revenue they never would have had. Then, by us giving cash back rewards to the player on every dollar wagered, they open up their account the next morning and their balance isn’t zero, even if they lost on their bets. It keeps them going and they end up wagering more, churning more dollars.” When asked about the growth of the company since it’s opening on Feb 5, 2011, Trish replied. “We are happy with where we are, but never happy enough. I have so many ideas and programs I want to implement that I think will stimulate further growth and make us even more unique among ADWs.” With so much passion, knowledge and overall savvy about horse racing, it’s a natural that Bruce and Trish Soulsby are making a good go of it with Dark Horse Bet. It’s a positive example for our industry to consider when treating the people who help keep our sport alive, the customers. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com  

DOVER, Del. --- A full 15 race program opens the Dover Downs’ 2013-2014 season on Sunday, Nov. 3. First post is 5:30 p.m. Trace Tetrick joins track driver colony. The opening feature race pits Ted Gewertz, Bob Feldman, Kovach Stables and George Teague’s Feel Like A Fool, a career winner of $931,611 with Montrell Teague driving, and Three Of Spades, who has banked $741,203 for owners Bib Roberts and Bill DeLodovico, in the $9,500 feature pace. Hard-hitting veteran Itchy, owned, trained and driven by Vince Copeland, High Joltage, racing for former Philadelphia Flyers standout Rick MacLeish and trainer Ben Stafford, and Pike Hanover, with Allan Davis driving for Pat McCrae, are among the challengers. Maude Birney and Archie Peel’s Chipoffablueblock with Jim Morand, Sir Globalop Z Tam starts from post 9 in the second tier with Eddie Davis Jr.in the bike for Josh Parker and Nanticoke Racing, Russ Foster’s Hi Sir, driven by Eric Carlson and Q Rock, owned by Dawn Webb and Bill Bright with Corey Callahan, drew the rail. On the undercard, Trace Tetrick makes his first local appearance in a non-stakes event at the track. Track, younger brother of one-time track champion driver, Tim Tetrick, is one of the leading drivers at several Mid-Western tracks. He will drive Enee Weenie And Me, the program favorite in a Delaware $15,000 Male Claiming pace. Sunday post time is 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday racing begins at 4:30 p.m. There is no live racing Fridays. It is suggested that reservations be made early to dine in the Winner’s Circle Restaurant. There is no charge for parking or admission at Dover Downs. Harness and thoroughbred Simulcasting is featured in the Race and Sports Book from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight daily. Marv Bachrad  

StartWinningMoney.com, LLC has now emerged as one of the fastest growing account wagering service provider in the United States. Co-founded in 2008 by Richard Pelland and Frank Giordano, their players were responsible for over $20 million in handle in 2012. "As a professional gambler for many years, I really wanted to create something that was going to go the extra mile to help the player be able to turn a profit." Giordano explains, "With all the positive feedback we have received from our customers, I believe what we've created will attract every greyhound, harness, and thoroughbred gambler in the world." StartWinningMoney.com is a rather unique concept.  When someone signs up on their website, their customer service team finds out which racetracks the customers are most interested in, and then signs them up with the Advanced Deposit Wagering services, or ADWs, that offer the highest rebates available at those tracks. They currently have contracts with seven ADWs around the world that offer a broad range of pari-mutuel options: everything from international harness racing, greyhound racing, thoroughbreds and jai alai.  StartWinningMoney.com then deposits $20 free in the customer account to get started.  From there the team sends out daily emails to their customers with carryover pool information, detailed expert selections, news and links, and enters them into a free weekly handicapping contest that offers cash prizes.  "Unlike many other companies today,” Pelland boasted, “We don't mistreat our customers by charging them fees to make deposits or for expert selections. All or our services are 100% free! "We make sure our players are receiving the highest rebates in the industry,” Pelland explained and they are privy to the best information that can help them profit money.  Our company is all about winning, no one in this business sets out to lose their hard-earned money." With handles declining at many racetracks across the United States, StartWinningMoney.com  may just be the concept that reinvigorates the disillusioned gambler and inspires them to get back to the racetrack again.   "If StartWinningMoney.com can retrieve some of the customers that the upstart casinos and online poker sites have stolen away from the racetracks, then we have begun to do our job." Pelland said.  "Winning at the races can be as exhilarating as anything and as our company tagline says, 'We want you to win!'" In addition to the aforementioned services, StartWinningMoney.com ensures that their customers are able to watch every track from anywhere through online streaming video, and has recently implemented state-of-the-art online wagering platforms.   On top of their normal line-up of promotions, during the month of November Richard Pelland and Frank Giordano say they will feature some of the best promotions offered by any account wagering service provider. So we guess you should check them out yourself and see what all the talk is about. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com

At the starts of the racing season trainer Chris Howlett was on the verge of retiring his stalwart free-for-aller Jilliby Rio. Most pacers who reach the age of 12 are usually long retired but Jilliby Rio is one of the exceptions to the rule and his performance record suggests he might still have wins to come. In Launceston last Sunday night the gelding led all the way to win the Kohnke Products Claimer with the trainer’s son Matthew Howlett in the sulky. It was the gelding’s 27th win with his record also including 46 minor placings for stakes of $218,000 from 182 starts. Jilliby Rio is owned and raced by the trainer’s parents-in-law Paul and Elizabeth Geard who also own and race thoroughbreds and they snared a double in that code in Hobart on the same day courtesy of wins by Geegees Velvet and Geegees Doublejay. “At the start of the year I thought this horse was getting to the end of the road and I suggested to Paul (Geard) that we might have to retire him,” Howlett said. “But after I freshened him up for a couple of weeks he came out and won at his next start and he’s won another three races since.” “Like most horses of that age he has got his issues but he tries very hard and that carries him a long way but he also loves to race,” he said. Jilliby Rio has become almost a family member so whenever he does retire there is no doubt he has a home for life roaming the fields of one or many of the paddocks on property owned by the Geards at Broadmarsh about 40 kilometres north-west of Hobart. By Peter Staples

We all know that harness racing lacks in the marketing department on almost every front. However, I have recently noticed that many organizations are lacking even with the most basic marketing techniques, such as websites and social media.   For instance, The Little Brown Jug's official Twitter account was posting about the event in the months leading up to race day. However, it suddenly stopped ten days before the big day. The final tweet issued by the account was "10 Days until the Little Brown Jug 2013!!! #LBJ13."   This was a huge missed opportunity to interact with the tens of thousands of people who attended the Little Brown Jug. If they had tweeted more aggressively about the races, including facts about contenders, race results, exciting news, photos, and most importantly, fan polls and questions, then more people would have been engaged in the event.   In addition, posters and signs promoting the Little Brown Jug twitter account could have been placed around the grounds in order to gain more followers. People in charge need to realize that when the average person at the fair follows their account, every time a tweet is sent that person will see it in their feed and think about harness racing, even if they never normally would.   I contacted Phil Terry, the Director of Marketing at the Little Brown Jug, and he admitted that he was not even aware that anything had been tweeted at all, but said that he would "try finding someone to be tweeting on a consistent basis." I am not sure he understands just how important marketing via social media is to the future of racing.   Fortunately, the USTA account was very active on twitter during the Little Brown Jug and did an excellent job promoting the event. However, the vast majority of people attending the event have likely never heard of the USTA and as a result, would not have seen those tweets.     Our big names like the Little Brown Jug have to be actively engaged in social media year round in order to keep people thinking about the sport. They understand this in thoroughbred racing and you can find examples of this concept done correctly by viewing the twitter accounts of the Breeders Cup and Kentucky Derby.   Another major marketing inefficiency I have noticed recently revolves around the Breeders Crown. First of all (and I am not going to sugar coat this), their website is a disgrace. If you search "Breeders Crown" and click on the website, it brings you to a very plain looking page of horseperson's information with no relevant information for fans. Payment forms, eligibles, supplement information. Things no average fan trying to find event information would ever care about.   Ok, let's go back and click on the next link in the search. Now we get the Hambletonian Society's homepage. It's a little better, with links to news stories, blogs, and social media. That's nice, but I still have not found a website dedicated to the Breeders Crown with information for the fans.   We go back to the search and find the USTA's "mini site" for the Breeders Crown. Finally, a decent looking website with fan information.   But wait, this information has not been updated since the conclusion of the 2012 Breeders Crown.   By now you have figured out where I am going with this. One of our biggest events looks like a complete joke online and it would be almost impossible for the average fan to find useful information on the event.   Compare this to the Breeders Cup, the thoroughbred equivalent of the Breeders Crown. We search "Breeders Cup" and click on the first result, "BreedersCup.com." Imagine that, a huge event actually has a dedicated website. Not only that, there is a beautiful design, information on planning your trip, buying tickets, a short biography on every contender for every race, history of the event, fashion. It goes on and on. They get a very important concept. ANYONE who goes on that website has something that will interest them. For example, girls age 18-25, a group horse racing struggles to appeal to, might click on fashion, and suddenly someone who would never think about racing is now doing just that.   What would the same person look at on the Breeders Crown site? Nothing. That's a huge issue that needs to be addressed.   Another issue with the Breeders Crown's marketing is in their social media. I will not go into this too much since many of the things said about the Little Brown Jug can also apply here. I will say though, that the Breeders Crown is fairly active on social media. That is good. However, they seem to create a new profile for the event every year. For example, their twitter name is "Breeders Crown 2013."   The Breeders Crown also still posts Facebook updates under the name "2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack."   Anyone searching for the Breeders Crown would come across that page, think it was obsolete, and move on without looking at it. As it turns out, they also have a Facebook page simply titled "Breeders Crown" that they also post updates from.   I just came across it while researching for this article. Confused? Me too. My question: why post from two pages, one of them with an obsolete name? It is confusing and even I, a social media addict, did not know there was a second page.   The average person is not going to search for pages. They want to find what they are looking for immediately, and move on. They cannot do that with the current setup. Besides which, if you make a new page every year, you lose all of your previous followers and have to start from scratch every time.   That is a big reason why the Breeders Crown only has 556 followers on twitter and 821 likes on Facebook, less than the average teenager with a blog.   For those keeping score at home, the Breeders Cup has nearly 24,000 followers on Twitter and over 55,000 likes on Facebook.   A harness racing page will likely never have that many followers, but can't we do better than our current numbers? I think so....   Brandon Valvo   Note to the reader: In the article above, I am not taking a cheap shot at the Little Brown Jug or Breeders Crown. These are just two examples I have chosen. I could have easily chosen any number of similar events in harness racing to write about to which the same concepts would apply.

The 2012/13 harness racing season was capped off with the announcement of Majestic Mach as the Queensland Horse of the Year tonight. The Grant Dixon-trained gelding won the award for his stellar three-year-old season winning the Group 1 Queensland Derby, the Group 2 Nursery Pace 3YO colts and geldings Final and QBred Final 3YO colts and geldings as well as three Group 3 events. In the eyes of the industry media and administrator voting panel, the gelding beat other Horse of the Year nominees Forever Gold and Devil Dodger. Majestic Mach’s owners Solid Earth Pty Ltd managed by Kay Seymour accepted the award at the 2013 Queensland Harness Awards Night on Sunday, October 13 at the Tattersall’s Club with a host of industry stakeholders. The star three-year-old also took home the Queensland 3YO Horse of the Year title as well as the QBred Achiever of the Year. The performance of Majestic Mach and stablemates Charming Allie and Joys A Babe ensured that owner and breeder Solid Earth Pty Ltd secured the Queensland Breeder and Owner of the Year titles also. Hosted by Racing Queensland, the night recognised the season’s achievements in the harness racing industry. Grant Dixon was the recipient of the Queensland Trainer of the Year, also taking home the Albion Park, Gold Coast and Redcliffe Harness Racing Clubs’ Trainers Premierships. Mathew Neilson was awarded the Queensland Driver of the year, also claiming the Redcliffe Drivers Premiership. The 2013 Queensland Harness Awards winners include: Queensland Horse of the Year – Majestic Mach Sponsored by Sky Racing Queensland Trainer of the Year – Grant Dixon Sponsored by TattsBet Queensland Driver of the Year – Mathew Neilson Sponsored by TattsBet Queensland 4YO & Older Horse of the Year – Forever Gold Queensland 3YO Horse of the Year – Majestic Mach Queensland 2YO Horse of the Year – Hezarealgem Queensland Breeder of the Year – Solid Earth Pty Ltd Queensland Owner of the Year – Solid Earth Pty Ltd QBred Achiever of the Year – Majestic Mach Chairman’s Award – Narissa McMullen Sponsored by Racing Queensland Hall of Fame – Chris Garrard and Wayne Wilson BOTRA Pegasus Award – Warren Cummins BOTRA Junior Driver Encouragement Award – Lauren Jones and Trent Moffatt BOTRA Rising Star Award – Narissa McMullen and Adam Sanderson Trotting Horse of the Year – Mister Malakye Trotting Drivers Premiership – Grant Dixon Trotting Trainers Premiership – Neville Ryan Redcliffe HRC Horse of the Year – In Default Redcliffe HRC Drivers Premiership – Mathew Neilson Redcliffe HRC Trainers Premiership – Grant Dixon Gold Coast HRC Horse of the Year – Jaxon Fella Gold Coast HRC Drivers Premiership – Grant Dixon Gold Coast HRC Trainers Premiership – Grant Dixon Albion Park HRC Horse of the Year – Montana Pablo Albion Park HRC Drivers Premiership – Grant Dixon Albion Park HRC Trainers Premiership – Grant Dixon For the first time in years, Racing Queensland once again inducted two nominees into the Hall of Fame. Both Chris Garrard and Wayne Wilson were inducted for their many years of service to the industry. Chris Garrard Chris Garrard is one of Queensland harness racing’s most prominent personalities. Initially a hobbyist with a trainer-driver licence, ‘CJ,’ as he is commonly referred to, has drastically increased his involvement in the sport over the last three decades and he now wears many hats with pride. His sponsorship contributions through his various businesses have seen him acknowledged as one of the industry’s major benefactors. He is an active owner and breeder, and races a team of pacers under the care of his son Daren Garrard. He has also played a key role in the committees of Albion Park and Redcliffe, where he is the patron. With a family history that goes back generations, Chris Garrard has a deep passion for harness racing. Wayne Wilson Wayne Wilson began broadcasting the trots soon after his arrival in Brisbane in the late sixties and early seventies. He became the voice of Queensland harness racing in 1976 until his retirement at Village Kid’s Inter Dominion in 1986 when he took on the full-time role of the metropolitan gallops caller. The recipient of many media awards and more recently, an induction into the Hall of Fame at the 2013 Queensland Thoroughbred Awards, Wayne modernised the harness broadcast and was one of the leaders in his field. He has given the Queensland harness industry some great promotion over many years through radio and television and still to this day, retains a love and active interest in the harness industry. Elaine Dittman

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