Top Gear front-stepped his way to a top class victory at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday night, winning a $28,000 event for conditioned pacers by a neck over a pair trained by meet leader Corey Johnson Driver Mike Saftic pulled Top Gear from the pocket after the :27-second opening quarter and he took over command from early leaver McKinney. He then led the way past middle splits of :56.2 and 1:24.3 before holding off a deep stretch challenge from McKinney for the 1:52.2 triumph. The runner-up's stablemate and odds-on favourite Wazzup Wazzup advanced first over to finish one length behind in third. Top Gear paid $5.80 to win as the slight second choice. He earned his second win of the year in seven starts. His first came in the same class (non-winners of $28,000 last five starts) on Feb. 8 prior to his last two races at the Preferred level. To read rest of story click here.
Sing Like An Angel racked up her sixth straight victory for Canada's 2013 Future Star Award winner, Travis Cullen, on Friday night at Northlands Park. Leaving from post four, 3-5 favourite Sing Like An Angel ($3.30) scored a 1:58 wire-to-wire victory in the seventh race. Longshot Crimson Promise challenged the race leader around the final turn, but couldn't get by and had to settle for a fourth-place finish with the late-closers, Kim Chee and Real Pretty, edging by. Now seven-for-nine this year, the four-year-old mare has doubled her career win total in just over two months. To read entire story click here.
It turned out to be a good night for One Badland Nite as the lightly raced sophomore filly held on to win the $20,000 Muriel Fornwald Memorial Stake in a career-best clocking of 1:55.4 at Fraser Downs on Friday. The Fornwald Memorial is for three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares that are B.C. owned, bred or sired and are non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of January 1, 2013. One Badland Nite and driver Steve Hudon led the field of nine through fractions of :27.4, :57.4 and 1:26.1 while Terrormissu and Bill Davis advanced into the pocket spot ahead of entrymate Two Timing and Jim Marino. Terrormissu tried to wear down the leader down the stretch, but One Badland Nite held on for the half-length victory. To read entire story click here.
"I just try to put the horses in the best spot and usually when you put them in the best spot they can do it from there.” A month into his return from hip surgery, driver Tim Tetrick is eyeing two big races Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack, not to mention another career milestone. Tetrick, who was last season’s Driver of the Year as voted upon by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, will take the lines behind National Debt in Saturday’s $60,500 Buddy Gilmour Memorial Series final for three-year-old male pacers and Ray Hall in the $53,200 Charles Singer Memorial final for trotters. In addition, the 32-year-old Illinois native is 10 wins from 8,000 lifetime victories. When he reaches that mark, he will become the youngest driver in harness racing history to do so. Walter Case, Jr. holds the record, having notched win No. 8,000 at the age of 37 in 1998. “That’s a huge number,” said Tetrick, who became the youngest driver to reach 7,000 wins in May 2012. “I’ve been very fortunate. I never dreamed something like that could happen when I started out, but I’m glad it did. The main thing is just trying to do the best I can for all the clients that trust me with their horses." Tetrick, who also was USHWA’s Driver of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2012, ranks No. 25 on the all-time list for wins. He has led the sport in purses for each of the past seven years and ranks No. 7 in career earnings, with $141 million. Only Billy Haughton won more consecutive purse titles, with eight straight from 1952-59. In December, Tetrick had surgery on his left hip, which sidelined him until Feb. 5. He has won 24 of 163 starts since his return and is getting more comfortable every day. “When I first came back I felt out of shape; it was like starting something all over again,” said Tetrick, who has suffered from a degenerative hip condition since childhood and had surgery on his right hip in 2008. “I can understand why horses don’t win right off the bat. “It took some time to get my legs back under me, but I feel good now. The muscles are getting stronger and I’m pretty much pain free.” Tetrick will drive for his biggest purses since his return when he races Saturday night at the Meadowlands. National Debt won his only start this season, drawing off for a three length win over Dinner At The Met in 1:50.3 in the first leg of the Gilmour Series on Feb. 22. The colt was unbeaten in four starts in Alberta last year, when he was trained and driven by co-owner Kelly Hoerdt. Hoerdt, who received the 2013 O’Brien Award of Horsemanship, sent the horse to trainer Ron Coyne, Jr. to race at the Meadowlands. The horse is staked to all the major races for three-year-old pacers. “He’s got a lot of pressure on him now,” Tetrick said about National Debt, “but he impressed me very much. When I qualified him I thought he was a nice colt, but I didn’t know he was going to go in 1:50. When he got out there under the lights, he turned it on and he did it real handy. I moved with him at the half and he brushed and crushed. He’s got a big motor.” National Debt, who starts from post one, will be challenged by eight rivals, including Dinner At The Met and Capital Account. The Erv Miller-trained Dinner At The Met has won four of five starts this year and the Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account has captured three of four races. Ray Hall, out of the stable of trainer Mark Harder, faces two horses that are unbeaten this year in the Singer. Time To Quit has gone five-for-five and Perfect Alliance is four-for-four. Ray Hall, who has won two of six races, finished second to Perfect Alliance in his two preliminary legs of the Singer. “My horse has done nothing wrong at this point, he just ran up against the standout of the series,” Tetrick said. “Perfect Alliance is definitely the one to beat, but I like (Ray Hall). Hopefully in the final he can be right there and get a good piece of it.” From Harness Racing Communications
The Weather Network's Chris Mei paid a special visit to Flamboro Downs on a chilly -12 degree Sunday evening and took over the announcer's booth to share the nightly forecast and call the third race as part of the track's Announcer Idol competition. When the wings of the starting gate closed for the 'Idol' race, pacing mare Victoria established the lead from post six as Mei searched for his binoculars in the booth. "Boy, it's really hard to see that far away! Where's my binoculars?" laughed Mei as the horses headed down the backstretch for the first time. To read the rest of the story click here.
Trainer Gord McKnight's stable has been perfect for the month of February with Spartan Victory being his latest to turn in a winning performance in Wednesday's featured $7,000 Preferred 3 Trot at Flamboro Downs. McKnight drove the four-year-old trotting mare Cause I Can down the road to a dead-heat win (with Neils Golden Girl) in the ninth race and turned the reins over to James MacDonald in the 11th dash to complete his flawless evening at Flamboro. With MacDonald aboard, seven-year-old gelding Spartan Victory sat a pocket trip and prevailed up the passing lane by a quarter-length over the on-coming Cracker Zack in the Preferred. The winning time was 2:03.1 over the 'good' track, which was rated two seconds slow. Blazing Shot, the longest shot on the board at 81-1, came from last to show in the final quarter. To read more click here.
North America's top percentage harness racing driver in 2013 has been named the inaugural winner of the Earl Avery Award. Gilles Barrieau, the perennial New Brunswick driving champion and leading UDRS driver in North America last year with a phenomenal .420 average, edged out Woodstock, N.B. native Ivan Davies in voting for the award by industry leaders in New Brunswick. Janet Stevenson Davis, Dale Spence, Chris Davies and his horse, Dusty Lane Oscar, and Philip 'Bo' Sowers were also nominated. "I'm really honoured to win this award," said Barrieau, who maintains a large stable at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B. "Earl Avery was an outstanding horseman and just to hear that I was nominated had already been a special moment for me. My father [Alfred] actually worked for him when he was racing in the United States so I thought that was interesting connection. "This award is a fitting tribute to Earl Avery himself and a great addition for the harness racing industry in New Brunswick." Earl Avery was a native of Knowlesville, N.B. who later moved to Woodstock to begin a legendary career in the sport back in the early 1920’s. He was the first member of the harness racing fraternity to be inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1976; the normal five-year waiting period after retirement being waived for the much-respected Avery. Avery is the only horseman from New Brunswick to ever be elected to Horse Racing Hall of Fames in both Canada and the United States. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1977 and later the same year became the 25th person to be elected to the Living Hall of Fame of the Trotters in Goshen, New York. It was a fitting culmination of a career that saw him win more than 4,000 races and $3.5 million in career earnings and establishing nine world records. During his career, Avery became associated with arguably the greatest pacing horse in the history of harness racing when he convinced owner Norman Woolworth to purchase Meadow Skipper 50 years ago. Meadow Skipper went on to become a world champion race horse for Avery, pacing Lexington, Kentucky’s famed Red Mile in 1:55.1 in October 1963. He later developed into one of the most prolific stallions of the 20th century and his influences on breeding continue to be felt today. “This new award creates an opportunity to bring recognition to outstanding harness racing achievements in New Brunswick while also honouring an industry pioneer,” said Brent Briggs, administrator of the Earl Avery Award. “Besides being an outstanding horseman, Earl Avery was also a great ambassador of the New Brunswick industry for over 50 years. "I think the voting panel made an excellent choice in Gilles Barrieau as he has always been an outstanding representative of New Brunswick harness racing, not just this year but throughout his career. He is widely recognized for his training and driving talents; a complete horseman and gentleman, much like Earl Avery was himself." Barrieau will receive a cheque for $1,000 in the name of a recognized charity that he has chosen and will have an opportunity to present it to that charity on behalf of all horse people in the province during the upcoming horse racing season. The creation of the Earl Avery Award and the prize is a collaboration between Horse Racing New Brunswick and the Horseman’s Associations in Woodstock, Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. Submitted from Earl Avery Awards
Woodbine Racetrack's current leading driver Jody Jamieson was in the hot seat on Saturday night as a guest host of the Woodbine Racing Live broadcast to offer up some insight on his drives for handicappers and discuss his 2013 racing season. During the pre-game show, Jamieson declared his 11th race mount, Carmen Auciello trainee Champagne Phil, as his "most probable winner" on the card and proved to be correct. "I really drove him bad [last week]," explained Jamieson. "He's been at Yonkers and they didn't like the trips he's been getting there. They weren't trying him as much as they wanted him to be tried so I gave him a shot and I actually over-drove him and I'm not planning on doing the same thing tonight. I believe there is some competition in there...but I really like Champagne Phil in there tonight. I think it's his race to win." In the evening's finale, Jamieson sent Champagne Phil first over from fourth down the backstretch and wore down early leader Roethblissberger to win by a head in 1:51.3. Icr Racing's four-year-old Shanghai Phil gelding was backed by the bettors and paid $5.40 to win as the 8-5 favourite. The victory was his first in five starts this year. During the interview, the three-time O'Brien Award winning driver also reflected on his 2013 campaign in which he ranked second nation-wide for earnings ($5,338,101) behind 2013 Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion and third for wins (337). "I had a great year," said Jamieson. "This biggest disappointment for me was I had a lot of seconds in major races and classic races. It took me until the middle of December to win the Cleveland Classic with a great horse, Apprentice Hanover, who you folks are well adhered to right here at Woodbine. He's got seven [wins] in a row now dating back to the Cleveland Classic or the week before. He's just a hell of a horse and he seems to be getting better as we go forward." While the Preferred class in which Apprentice Hanover has been dominating of late was not carded on Saturday, Jamieson catch-drove another "ultra consistent horse" to victory lane in a top conditioned event. "I think he was in over his head last week," Jamieson said of Lucky Terror, who finished sixth in the Preferred on Feb. 15. "He's not an Open horse, but he is, however, a very decent, middle of the road, conditioned horse and this is his class." The $22,000 ninth race was indeed Lucky Terror's class as he closed from second over and edged out a from-last Grin For Money to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.2. The win was his second in six starts this year and gives him a seasonal bankroll of $27,560. Trained by Shaun McDonald and owned by Glenview Livestock Ltd. and Leonard Christopher, the seven-year-old gelded son of Western Terror paid $9.10 to win. In Commando's 1:51.1 score in the 10th race co-feature was the fastest of the night and one of the biggest upsets as he rallied home from third over at odds of 10-1 for driver Chris Christoforou. The class-climbing Camluck gelding paid $22.80 for his second straight win. He prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Joshua My Boy, who closed from the back of the pack to place. Don Lindsey trains and co-owns the winning five-year-old pacer with Paul Kleinpaste, William Alempijevic and Dennis Mavrin. In Commando now has three wins and one second in five seasonal starts to add $31,000 to his career bankroll. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Favourite Who Doesn't converted off a perfect pocket trip to nail last week's Open Pace winner Smooth Criminal at the wire in Saturday's feature race at Northlands Park. Trained and driven by Canada's 2013 Future Star Award winner Travis Cullen, Who Doesn't established a new lifetime mark with his latest victory, clocked in 1:52.1, on a -17 degree afternoon in Edmonton. Who Doesn't followed Smooth Criminal and Bill Tainsh Jr. through fractions of :28, :56.1 and 1:23.3 in the $9,000 Open before kicking home in :28.2 to steal the spotlight. Despite drifting out in the stretch, Who Doesnt prevailed in a photo finish by a head over the pacesetter while Flak Jacket and Jamie Gray finished nearly seven lengths behind in third. Who Doesn't, who now has two wins and two seconds in six seasonal starts, paid $4.70 to win as the 6-5 bettors' choice. Cullen shares ownership of the five-year-old Mach Three gelding with his family -- Jeanne, Kenneth and Jodie Cullen. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Northlands Park. Repritned with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
There wasn’t a whole lot of pari-mutuel love given to Battle River Storm in Friday evening’s eighth race at Woodbine Racetrack, but that didn’t stop him from engineering the biggest upset on the Friday evening card. In rein to Mike Saftic, the six-year-old son of Freedoms Pass-Presidential Jenna dropped into an early five-hole and sat there through first-half fractions of :27.4 and :57.2. He was backed up to be sixth at the three-quarter pole, but Mike Saftic found him some clearance between rivals in deep stretch and Battle River Storm shot through and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:58. Beeeyouuuuuu was second, with Matts Delivery rounding out the top three finishers. The Rod Boyd pupil, who was sent off at odds of 54-1, returned $111.60 to his backers and added $3,500 his own bank account. Timothy McCoy of Edmonton, Alberta owns the pacer who won for the first time in six starts this season. The victory was one of three on the card for driver Mike Saftic. He and Jody Jamieson led the way with driving triples, while Phil Hudon notched a driving double on the 11-race card. To view results for Friday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Friday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
The betting public was spot on with its assessment of Keep The Dream’s chances of winning Friday’s $25,000 Miss Valentine Final at Fraser Downs. The four-year-old Mach Three-Keepsake Killean miss, who was sent off at odds of 1-2, went to the front and didn’t look back in the seven-horse affair en route to posting a three-length triumph in a career-best clocking of 1:54.2. Trainer/driver Bill Davis hustled Keep The Dream to the front from Post 5 and she successfully led the field through fractions of :28.3, :58.4 and 1:26.2 before finishing off her foes with a :28-second closing quarter. Farside Baby was best of the rest, while third prize was earned by Im Tu Die For. J J J Stables of Aldergrove, British Columbia own the 10-time winner who now boasts a 2-1-1 record this season from just five trips to the track. She’s banked more than $20,000 this year and close to $100,000 to date. It also turned out to be a fantastic night at the office for trainer/driver David McKellar, who celebrated a four-win performance on the 12-race card. He got the ball rolling with Red Star Brooklyn (1:57.2) in Race 5 before tacking on wins with Stonebridge Lyric (1:54.1) in Race 6, Ad Scootin Ivy (1:55.3) in Race 7 and As Seely Promised (1:55) in Race 11. The Langley, British Columbia horseman currently finds himself batting .444 as a trainer this season while holding down a UDR of .387 in the driving department. Trainer Allan Molloy also had a productive night thanks to his three-win performance. Molloy took the opener with Genuine Promise (1:57.3) and followed it up with wins with Bush Baby (1:57.4) in Race 4 and Zeballos (1:56.3) in Race 12. Molloy has already put together a record of 8-3-2 from just 26 starters this season – a major improvement from the 14-for-110 record his barn assembled over the course of the entire 2013 campaign. To view results for Friday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Friday Results – Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbred.ca
Hldontghttoyurdrms was pushed to the limit in Monday’s $34,000 Preferred Trot at Woodbine Racetrack, but he managed to stave off a late challenge from his stablemate Nowucit Nowudont en route to winning the top class for square gaiters for the third straight start. With Jonathan Drury at the controls, Hldontghttoyurdrms was parked by Amigo De Grande past the quarter pole in :26.2 before being released to the lead. Once he crossed over to the pylons, the Corey Johnson pupil managed to whack out middle panels of :56.2 and 1:25.4 before coming under attack. Amigo De Grande sprinted out of the two-hole to come after him while Nowucit Nowudont swung wide off cover and started to go to work. Hldontghttoyurdrms used a :28.1 closing quarter to win by a nose over Nowucit Nowudont in 1:54. Amigo De Grande was a head back in third. Frank Spagnolo, Frank Schimizzi and Saverio Spagnolo share ownership on the five-year-old son of Muscles Yankee-Sweet Gabriella who won for the third time in four starts this season. The 13-time winner pushed his lifetime earnings over $170,000 with the victory. To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
A class-dropping CIS Buckeye came up big in Monday’s $7.350 Preferred 3 for trotters, and in doing so he provided driver Alfie Carroll with one of his four trips to victory lane on the 12-race card. Carroll got away fourth from Post 8 with CIS Buckeye, who watched Sombrero Hall throw down first-half fractions of :28.3 and :59.2. CIS Buckeye was first-over and driving as the field moved to the half, and he eventually muscled his way to the lead and led the field to the three-quarter pole in 1:30.1 before using a :30-second final frame to win by a pair of lengths over longshot Sonny Vale in 2:00.1. Third prize went to Rainbow Gold. Keith Cullen trains the six-year-old son of Ilooklikemymom-LRs Peanut for James Morency of Windsor, Ontario. The victory was the first of the season in five attempts for the career winner of $139,056. Doing Some Damage did just that to the competition he faced in Monday’s $7,000 Preferred 3 for pacers. The former claimer went the front and didn’t look back for driver J.R. Plante who successfully sliced out splits of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27 before cruising home in a :30-second clip en route to the 1:57 victory. It was 1-1/2 lengths in arrears to runner-up Judge Jon, with the show dough going to Calgary Seelster. Sent off as the even-money favourite, Doing Some Damage won for the fifth time in six starts this season. George Robinson of Windsor, Ontario owns and trains the 19-time winner who pushed his lifetime earnings to $60,899 with the score. To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – The Raceway at Western Fair District. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Aarons Mattjesty edged past his more popular harness racing stablemate, Peenie, late to steal the spotlight in the featured $6,400 Winners Over Handicap Pace for trainer Yves Tessier on Sunday evening at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Driven by Denis St. Pierre, favourite Peenie was caught three-wide in an early battle for the lead and eventually cleared at the quarter pole. He then turned back first over challenger Dont Rustle Myluck and Sylvain Lacaille, but couldn't fend off his quick-closing barn buddy in the stretch. After trailing the nine-horse field early on, Aarons Mattjesty and Claude Larose moved into the outer flow and rallied home from third over to nab the victory. The winning time was 1:57.4 over the 'good' track, which was rated two seconds off. Aarons Mattjesty, a three-time winner with two seconds in five starts this year, paid $21.50 to win as the 9-1 fifth choice in the field. Peenie finished a neck back with Poppys Bucky Boy and Stephane Pouliot between the stablemates in third. The seven-year-old son of Royal Mattjesty is owned by Francois Morin of Beauceville, Que. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Rideau Carleton Raceway. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Ted Yates, from the Morning Show on Oldies 1150 CKOC, joined Flamboro Downs' Gary Guy in the announcer booth to call the third race as the track's Announcer Idol competition continued on Sunday evening. Stephen Morton's Pasta Vera ($5.30) made up a 10 length deficit in the final lap of the third race to win in 1:58.2 for brothers Robert and Patrick Shepherd. "And flying now is Pasta Vera and Pasta Vera has passed them all!" called Yates with assistance from Guy while Shepherd sent the five-year-old pacer wide from the backfield to take over command down the backstretch. "Look at that lead! Pasta Vera is going to win," said Yates as the leading horse opened up down the stretch. "Close for second, they're all there for second!" There was a five-across battle for the runner-up honours five lengths behind the winner. Pacesetter War Boots and Tyler Moore held on for second while Grissini and James MacDonald rounded out the top three finishers. The career-best win was Pasta Vera's third in a row over a span of nine days since shipping to Ontario. Andrew Gerrior from FreshFM 95.3 will take the mic for next Sunday's edition of Announcer Idol. The competition continues through March 23 with a different, local broadcast media personality calling the third race every Sunday night. Fans and patrons will get to vote for their favourite race call on the Flamboro Downs website and the winning announcer will receive a donation to the local charity of their choice, compliments of Flamboro Downs and Great Canadian Gaming. Sunday night's featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Pace was won by the repeating Nothingbutmach ($5.40), who fought off My Man Charley and Jody Jamieson for the 1:55.4 victory. Phil Hudon drove the winner for trainer Corey Johnson and owner Debbie Element. Web Cam and Scott Coulter finished third. Gaetan Hebert's homebred pacer Live And Learn ($7.30) won the $7,000 Preferred 3 in 1:57.2 with Bob McClure aboard. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Flamboro Downs. Repriinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
The annual Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) Awards banquet honoured the breeders of the top Ontario Sires Stakes performers of 2013 on Saturday night at the Holiday Inn Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre. The evening included cocktails, dinner, a silent auction, a stallion auction and the awards presentations. The award winners are listed below. Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly Performing Art, bred by Bob Young, David Garrett, Premier & Associates 2013 OSS Earnings: $182,600 Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding Bugger Bruiser, bred by Gerald Mijal 2013 OSS Earnings: $206,100 Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly Riveting Rosie, bred by Schare Adams 2013 OSS Earnings: $232,750 Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding Muscle Matters, bred by Reg and Donna Higgs 2013 OSS Earnings: $216,300 Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly Pan Luis Obispo, bred by Peter Pan Stables Inc. 2013 OSS Earnings: $165,000 Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding Mach It So, bred by Enviro Stables Ltd. 2013 OSS Earnings: $215,000 Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly Bee A Magician, bred by White Birch Farm 2013 OSS Earnings: $280,000 Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding Flanagan Memory, bred by Michel Flanagan 2013 OSS Earnings: $271,500 Masterfeeds Awards - Outstanding Pacing Broodmare Teig N Riley, owned by Ballykeel Racing Masterfeeds Awards - Outstanding Trotting Broodmare Beehive, owned by White Birch Farm Lampman Cup Sylvain Filion Johnston Cup Gregg McNair Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award Canadian Sportsman Chris Van Bussel Memorial Award Cool Creek Farms - Harry Rutherford and Diane Ingham Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca