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Batavia, NY---On Sunday afternoon (Aug. 31) the New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old pacing fillies come to town to compete for their cut of $119,000 in purses. The group is highlighted by Major Dancer (Art Major-Two Steppin' Sally), who is currently the fourth highest money earning 3-year-old pacing filly in North America with $201,644 in the bank. She is a seven-time winner in twelve attempts and has only finished out of the money once this year. She won the $46,248 Town Pro stake at Mohawk Raceway earlier this year in her lifetime best time of 1:51.2 as well as an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs in 1:51.4. She finished second in the $244,875 final to Precocious Beauty in a 1:51.1 mile. Major Dancer will be driven by Jonathan Drury for trainer Casie Coleman. She is listed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the third $39,900 NYSS division carded as the eighth race that also features A La Notte Hanover driven by Matt Kakaley and Table Talk with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines. A La Notte Hanover (Art Major-All Night Long) starts for the powerful Ron Burke stable and is a two-time winner in 2014. She won her last outing at Yonkers in NYSS action with an impressive 1:55 wire-to-wire victory that brought her bankroll up to $87,733 for the year. She also competed in the Empire Breeders Classic and finished close despite having a lot of traffic to deal with in both of those races. Table Talk (Bettor's Delight-Place At The Table) took an early seasons mark of 1:51.4 at Mohawk and has competed in the $420,900 Fan Hanover Stake and $212,150 Mistletoe Shallee where she paced back-to-back 1:49 miles for driver Tim Tetrick. She has been plagued with some bad posts and a breaking issue of late but looks to be in a good spot here for trainer Brad Dalious. In the first $39,900 division carded as the fourth race, Ron Burke and Julie Miller have the one-two punch going to post. Burke sends out Jaded Dream and Miller counters with Just Add Vodka. Jaded Dream (If I Can Dream-Jaded Gal) put forth a handy effort at Yonkers in her last, winning a NYSS leg there in 1:54.4. It was a welcome sight after a series of poor post draws and the resulting tough trips. She has three wins in 13 starts and $62,586 in the bank. Matt Kakaley is back in the bike behind her for the first time since June 18. Just Add Vodka (Art Major-Regal Wish) only has two wins this year but has been consistently in the money; 13 out of 16 starts and that made her $74,283 for the year. Her mark of 1:55.3 was at Monticello but she has paced considerably faster than that in defeat on several occasions. Jim Morrill Jr. who has driven her several times over the summer gets the assignment. The second $39,200 division which goes as the seventh race has three very tough competitors going post-ward and looks to be the most closely contested event. It features the first, second and fourth leading points leaders for this sex and gait in the NYSS this year. Blush Hanover (Art Major-Brissonte Hanover) currently tops the leader board and comes into this race sporting five 2014 wins for trainer Linda Toscano. She finished a strong third in the Empire Breeders Classic final after a very rough parked-out trip. She has a 1:52 mark at the Meadowlands and has only failed to hit the board once out of 14 starts this year. Her $168,831 in earnings is tops in this field and she looks to add to that total in here with Jim Morrill Jr. at the helm. Spreester (American Ideal-Rodeo Spree) is second in points despite also having recorded five victories. This filly can race on the front or from behind and that versatility makes her a formidable foe. Her $115,080 in earnings is also second highest in the field and driver Jason Bartlett who has driven this filly twice before with winning outcomes, opted to driver her today for trainer Paul Zabielski after having been down to steer two horses in this same race. Medusa (Bettor's Delight-Mythical) ranks fourth in points among the group but is not that far behind the leaders. She has seven wins in 14 starts and $102,723 stashed away. The Paul Kelley trainee has a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at Vernon Downs and also had two good efforts in the Empire Breeders Classic races. Tioga Downs regular Aaron Byron gets the drive tonight from Tim Tetrick who had been at the lines for her last three starts. Post time for Sunday's races is 1:15. Batavia Downs also has a special Labor Day matinee 12-race card on tap for Monday (Sept. 1) with a 1:15 post. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The fourth and final preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies was held at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Friday night, with all three favorites winning and some idea of the Stallion Series Championship qualifiers developing. In the first cut, Somenicebeach made easy work of her career stakes debut by leading at every call en route to taking a new mark of 1:52. McVita Bella who *preliminary* calculated to be the Stallion Series pointsleader (*all official figures will come from the Harrisburg office of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission*) was second to the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, who was guided by Pocono's leading driver George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Susan Oakes. Jim Morrill Jr. was in the sulky behind the other two winners, first with the Real Desire filly Real Drama, who was a pocket rocket in reducing her speed tab to 1:52.3. Kelly O'Donnell conditions the winning filly for the Bay Pond Racing Stable. Real Drama won her cut by three lengths; Morrill had much harder work in the third division, as he and the Well Said filly Lucy's Pearl rallied gamely from the two-hole to edge stubborn pacesetter Beach Body by a half-length in the fastest time, 1:50.3. "Trotting Guru" Ron Gurfein may train more pacers if he continues to bring out tough misses like this one, who is owned by Gurfein in partnership with Elizabeth Novak. After careful math (and again we STRESS these are NOT official figures), the following pointstandings (based on a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 distribution) for the PAStS 3PFs emerge: 1. McVita Bella, 120; 2. Lucy's Pearl, 105; 3. Eiffel Tower, 4. Real Drama (both had 95 points, but Eiffel Tower wins the money tiebreaker $25,000 to $21,600); 5. Do Your Job, 6. Stucklikeglue (both with 70 points, Do Your Job with more money $20,000 to $12,200); 7. Beach Body, 65; 8. Baby Cat, 64; tie 9. Marathon Day and Oogle Google (both tied at both 60 points and $15,000 in earnings; if needed to split them, there would be a shake of the pills). The top nine declaring in will advance to the Stallion Series Championship, to be held at The Meadows on September 9.

WAYNESBURG PA - The annual two-day harness racing meet at the Greene County Fair in this southwestern PA town (hometown of Dave Palone) saw two three-year-old trotters run their 2014 fair records to 7 for 8, and a two-year-old trotter make a very promising debut. Fly Past Hanover opened the sophomore action with a 2:07 win, last quarter 30.2, for driver Steve Schoeffel, who had three wins each day to lead the meet, trainer Bill Daugherty Jr., and owner Susan Daugherty. The altered son of Cantab Hall is a nose shy of an undefeated fair campaign, as it took Faust edging him by the smallest margin in a Bedford all-age trot record of 2:00.4 to spoil his sheet this summer. Another Cantab Hall offspring, the filly Cantabs Lightning, is also 7 for 8 at the Pennsy twicearounds after a tally in 2:05.3, last quarter 30, winning by 19¾ lengths - imagine what she might have done if she hadn't made a break before the quarter. Wayne Long owns, trains, and drove the impressive miss. Roger Hammer trainees produced the fastest miles of the day on both 3YO day (Friday) and 2YO day (Thursday). The sophomore Yankee Cruiser gelding Fangled Hanover went the fastest mile of the meet, 2:01.4, in winning a Fair Sire Stakes division, with owner Hammer also driving the winner. Hammer didn't have the sulky seat behind Thursday's fastest baby as he was racing at Honesdale, but Steve Schoeffel more than capably deputized, as he and Rustlercafe distanced a Quaker State field in 2:02-29.2. Hammer, as usual, got the big end of the money, as he owns and trains Rustlercafe, now 5 for 6 in Quaker competition. In the 2YO Fair Sire Stakes, three horses posted a 2:06.3 time for speed co-honors, two being the pacing filly Joltstheice and the pacing gelding Jed Kidd Squawking. But the third 2:06.3 baby winner, the one that made the fans sit up and take notice, was a trotter - the Muscle Massive filly Piano Rose, who won effortlessly, and in her career debut to boot. Steve Schoeffel got the call to drive the undefeated neophyte for trainer Fred Grant and owner Ralph Del Priore Jr. The racing at Waynesburg signaled the shift of the PA fair circuit back west for the rest of August, after several weeks of being based in the central and eastern parts of the state. Next stop is at the historic Arden Downs oval at the Washington County Fair, where they'll go to the gate on Monday and Tuesday at 10 a.m. TOP FIVE PA FAIR CIRCUIT DRIVERS AND TRAINERS AFTER THE RACING of AUGUST 8 DRIVERS TRAINERS Chris Shaw 60 Jason Shaw 44 Steve Schoeffel 54 Steve Schoeffel 32 Roger Hammer 25 Roger Hammer 27 (tie) Todd Cummings 15 Bill Daugherty Jr. 15 (tie) Wayne Long Bob Krenitsky Jr. 13 Publicity Office of the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association    

Charlottetown PE- Old Home Week is here and so are the crowds. Fans packed into Red Shores' Charlottetown for the first card of Old Home Week 2014. Teddys Place in line to the recent 1,500 win man Mike Stevenson managed to sneak up in the final strides to nail C L Eighty and Kenny Arsenault at the wire. Teddys place got away in the six hole and followed the cover of second place finisher C L Eighty who cleared fraction setter Deuce Man past the three quarters, flipping off his back at the head of the stretch to win by half-a-length in 1:58.3. Deuce Man laid down fractions of :28.2, :59 and 1:29.2. Talk Back rounded out the top three making it an Arsenault trainee one, two, three finish. Thane Arsenault owns Teddys place and also trains along with Talk Back, while Kenny trains C L Eighty. Jason Hughes picked up a driving and training double on the card extending his lead in both categories at Red Shores Charlottetown. He kicked off the first race of Old Home Week with Rocks Confession in 2:03.1 and followed it up with Blue Star Outlaw in 2:00. The Alpine $3, 000 claiming series highlighted the Thursday night card. Lexis Mandy laid parked every step for driver trainer and co-owner Neil Bambrick and Shawn Baglole, winning by a head in 2:00.3. Hello America and Mike Downey picked up the second division of the fillies and mares in 1:58.3 for owner Ellen Stevenson. The third division winner Machintosh was the only mare claimed on the opening night of the two leg series. She was on top at every call, taking a new lifetime mark of 1:58, for owner - trainer Patrick Shepherd and driver Steven Shepherd. Veteran pacer Cam Cool found himself back in the winer circle in the first division of horses and gelding, Jamie Copley trains for Ann Copley and Evan Gillis of Inverness. Marc Campbell handling the driving in 1:57. The second division went to another claimed horse, Ebandtheboys in line to Kenny Murphy rolled right down the highway winning in 1:57.3 for owner Clarkie Smith. Racing returns to Red Shores' Charlottetown tomorrow night at 7 p.m. By Bo Ford

August 1-7, 2014; At this point in the season, it's typical for 3-year-old horses at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs to be battling against others of their own age in Stallion Series or Sire Stakes action. Yet our two top performers of the week that was at Pocono dared to take on older horses. Not only did they survive, but they thrived. Here are the details of both their exploits and those of the other top performers as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: LUCK BE WITHYOU This 3-year-old colt from the Chris Oakes' barn started the season in Canada but quickly found a home at Pocono with a condition win on June 28 in 1:50:1. He then battled his way to a 7th in finals of the prestigious Meadowlands Pace before returning for an even more impressive victory in a blistering 1:48 on July 19. On Saturday night, Luck Be Withyou faced his sternest test yet by going up against the non-winners of $22,500 in the last five races grouping. Among the competitors he would have to face were Meirs Hanover and Bolt The Duer, a pair of veterans as talented and as tested as there are in the sport. If the relative inexperience of Luck Be Withyou was ever going to be a factor, this was the race. At the top of the stretch, the 3-year-old was staring at the tail of Bolt The Duer, who had set the pace and done so in reasonable fractions. Yet Luck Be With You was ready for the challenge when driver George Napolitano Jr. asked for another gear. He sped by a stunned Bolt The Duer and held off fast-closing E Street Plan for the win in 1:49:2. Even though the time wasn't as flashy as his previous win, this victory was the best evidence yet of this sophomore's incredible talent. Other top pacers this week include: Show Runner (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), a mare whose victory in Friday night's featured condition pace in a career-best 1:50:3 was her second straight win; Gold Deuce (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who powered to a win over $10,000 claimers on Saturday night in 1:50:4, a career-best and his Third Straight win; and Mach It So (Andrew McCarthy, PJ Fraley), who picked up a win in Saturday night's featured Preferred Handicap pace in 1:48:2, a new career-best and the fastest time posted this week at MSPD. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: REVRAC HARBOUR This award was probably a little overdue for this 3-year-old colt from the barn of trainer Tony Alagna. From June 3 to July 1, he ripped off four consecutive wins at Pocono, topping out with a back-to-back career-best miles of 1:54:1 in wins over the non-winners of four condition. He traveled to the Meadowlands after that and struggled against some of the top trotters in the country in a pair of stakes races. Revrac Harbour returned on Tuesday night to face all older horses in a non-winners of $13,000 in the last five starts condition trot. Back at Pocono again, he found his stride quickly by making a move to the front end early in the race. Yet Picture This, the race favorite, lurked behind him In The Pocket for much of the mile and enjoyed a much better trip. In the stretch, Picture This took to the inside passing lane and briefly seemed like he was about to get past. That's when driver Scott Zeron coaxed just a little extra effort from an already-taxed Revrac Harbour, who dug in and surged back in front in the final strides in 1:55:4 on a sloppy track. That makes it five wins in the last five races he's started at Pocono, with this maybe the gutsiest yet. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Zooming (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter),who shipped in from New York for a condition win on Saturday in 1:51:4, easily the week's fastest trotting time; Waldorf Hall (Corey Callahan, Jim Raymer), who churned through the slop for a condition win on Tuesday in 1:53:4; and Swiss Lightning (Anthony Napolitano, Kevin Lare), who ripped off his fourth straight claiming victory on Wednesday night in 1:54:4, matching his career-best in the process. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RESCUE PLAN It's not often George Napolitano Jr., the meet's leading driver, pilots a long shot, but this condition pacer was at 42-1 when G-Nap steered him to victory on Tuesday night for a $87.60 win payout on a $2 ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. Who else could it be this other than George Nap, considering that he won seven of the thirteen races on the card on Saturday and nearly pulled off a 20-win week. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: CHRISTIE COLLINS Collins' barn has been steadily gaining momentum in the summer months, and her trainees picked up three more wins this week, including a double on Friday. That will do it for it this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. Jim Beviglia          

The Hambletonian Monte Series Final at the new Meadowlands and two Ontario pari-mutuel races at Grand River Raceway showcased North American monte activities this weekend. On Friday evening the $27,500 Hambletonian Monte Final took place (non-wagering) at the new Meadowlands. Sponsors were Jeff Gural, Valley High Stable, Back On Track, Ron Burke Stable, Arden Homestead Stable, Crawford Farm, Aldrich Properties, George Ducharme and Winners Circle Blueberries. The final followed two $10,000 legs the previous two weekends. This week, A Penny Earned (5g Conway Hall-Penny Dream-Dream Vacation) scored for Michelle Crawford and trainer George Ducharme in 1:57.2 (last quarter :28.2), just short of the north American speed race record set by Master Pine two years ago in 1:57.1. The winner was second in a July 18 leg behind Take My Picture that was second in the final for Therese Lindgren and trainer Nikolas Drennan. O U Gus (the July 25 winner) ended third for Stephanie Werder and trainer Whitney Richards. Master Pine finished fourth for Helene Gregory and trainer Julie Miller in the competitive (seven starters timed in 2:00.1 or better) ten horse field. In Ontario, Grand River Raceway hosted two pari-mutuel events on August 1st and 4th. The August 4th International Monte was part of the raceway's Industry Day and attracted riders from Canada, Belgium and Finland. The US rider-entrant Jennifer Connor was a scratch due to travel problems. Previous monte winner Radical Dreamer (Marit Valstad) made the fast pace, tracked and battled by eventual winner Tragically Shipp (Saara Jalasti aboard), that pulled away late for an comfortable win over Angies Lucky Star (Philippe Massachaele) in 2:02.4h over a rain soaked surface. Tragically Shipp (8g Shipps Speed-CH On Tour-Armbro Laser) is trained by Lee Watson for owners Lynne and David Magee. Jalasti and Massachaele regularly ride in monte races in Europe, where monte is very popular and part of most pari-mutuel racing cards at French and Scandinavian tracks. Race replay follows: The August 1 race at Grand River was billed as the Canada vs. Norway Challenge and it went to Callie Magoo (5g Magoo-Callie Alyssa-Wesgate Crown) with Norway's G. Berg up for trainer John Braid. This pair scored in 2:04.3h over King Tut (Sarah Town up for Canada) and Charlie Tuna. Both Grand River races were well received in the pari-mutuel wagering, as had been the case in previous Ontario pari-mutuel monte races. Standardbred Canada and Meadowlands files Thomas H. Hicks  

After enjoying a cozy pocket trip, Stitch in Time ($19.20) made a late push to the fore, collaring 6-5 favorite Wisenheimer to take the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot at Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 2) evening.   Brandon Simpson floated forward with the four-year-old Keystone Nordic gelding, settling behind House Money (Aaron Byron) on the first turn. As Wisenheimer brushed to the fore through a :28 first quarter, House Money broke stride, enabling Stitch in Time to inherit the pocket with just over a circuit to go. The two would continue as an uncontested leading pair throughout, but Stitch in Time was able to benefit from his tracking trip in the final eighth. Off the far turn, Simpson angled him wide, and the response was instant. Stitch in Time wore down Wisenheimer, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1. I Love New York (Bruce Clarke) was carried to the grandstand side off a stalking trip, staying on for third.   Amber Buter trains Stitch in Time for owners Lynette Buter, Carol Fuhs, and William Fuhs.   Racing returns to Tioga with a stakes-filled Sunday (August 3) afternoon card. The 13-race pari-mutuel program is slated for a 1:30 p.m. EDT start, with a pair of non-wagering events to commence a half-hour earlier.   by James Witherite

MANALAPAN, NJ - July 30, 2014 - Saturday's Hambletonian Day 15-race card at the Meadowlands is loaded with rich stakes worth nearly $3.6 million in purse money, including the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic and its filly companion race, the $100,000 Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey. The two stakes for New Jersey-sired three-year-old pacers are early in the card - the third race for the Miss New Jersey and the fourth race for the New Jersey Classic - and have the possibility of being two of the most contentious and bettor-friendly events, with no prohibitive favorites. Racing conditions for the two stakes were amended to eliminate eliminations. The finals are limited to the 10 highest lifetime money-winning horses in the entry box. To further sweeten the pot, even those who do not share in the top five purse distribution will not go home empty-handed. The connections of the New Jersey Classic colts finishing sixth through 10 will receive $1,500 each while the connections of the Miss New Jersey fillies will receive $1,000 each. "We are very pleased that we have full and competitive fields for both stakes, in fact, 11 entered in each with 10 going postward," said Tom Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey [SBOANJ], which sponsors the two races. "We feel stallions will return to New Jersey once we have casino-infused purses, a likelihood in the next few years, but for now we are trying our best to make it worthwhile for breeders to support our program and owners to buy New Jersey-sired offspring with the opportunity to compete in such events as the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey," Luchento added. Post time on Saturday, August 2, 2014 is 12 noon with gates opening at 10 a.m. Admission is $5. The $1 million Hambletonian [Race 13] and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks [Race 12] and the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trot will be featured on the live television broadcast from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network [for Channel Finder - www.cbssportsnework.com]. The program will be hosted by Gary Seibel, Dave Brower and Justin Horowitz. The fields for the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey with post, horse, sire, driver, trainer and morning line odds: Race 4 - $225,000 ANTHONY ABBATIELLO NEW JERSEY CLASSIC 1-Doo Wop Hanover - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Steve Elliott - 9-5 2-Western Vintage - Western Ideal - Brian Sears - Nancy Johansson - 5-2 3-Rockeyed Optimist - Rocknroll Hanover - Matt Kakaley - Steve Elliott - 20-1 4-Buckwacker - Rocknroll Hanover - David Miller - Chris Ryder - 9-2 5-Sweet Rock - Rocknroll Hanover - Brett Miller - Wayne Given - 20-1 6-Dancin Hill - Rocknroll Hanover - Scott Zeron - Tony Alagna - 10-1 7-Rock Out - Rocknroll Hanover - Tim Tetrick - Steve Elliott - 15-1 8-Card Shock- Cam's Card Shark - George Brennan - Mark Silva - 20-1 9-Beat The Drum - Tell All - Ron Pierce - Staffan Lind - 6-1 10-Rocknroll Reality - Rocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 12-1   Race 3 - $100,000 THOMAS D'ALTRUI MISS NEW JERSEY 1-Ideal Helen - Western Ideal - Marcus Miller - Erv Miller - 10-1 2-Act Now - Western Ideal - Brian Sears - Nikolas Drennan - 3-1 3-Gettingreadytoroll - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 2-1 4-My Lady Day - Western Ideal - David Miller - Joe Holloway - 15-1 5-Surfside Sexy - Rocknroll Hanover - Ron Pierce - Ron Burke - 20-1 6-Cut A Deal - Rocknroll Hanover - George Brennan - Nick Surick - 20-1 7-Blixtra - Rocknroll Hanover - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 9-2 8-Highland Rockstar - Rocknroll Hanover - Mike Lachance - Buzzy Sholty - 20-1 9-Rockingcam Park - Rocknroll Hanover - Tim Tetrick - Ron Coyne Jr. - 8-1 10- Kate Can't Wait - Rocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan - Ross Croghan - 6-1 By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

When I talk to overseas harness racing administrators, trainers and owners on my travels and we discuss the management and governance structures of our respective countries and whether they are delivering the best results for participants in our industry, I am frequently having to defend the structure and management of the industry in New Zealand. Northern Hemisphere people struggle to see how you can run harness racing in 2014 with a structure and governance that is a relic of a different time. Northern Hemisphere tracks are owned by either wealthy individuals or companies and they make all the decisions with regards to their tracks. This gives them the ability to adapt their programs and race structure to suit their immediate needs or those of the stakeholders who operate at their tracks. These tracks live or die on the strength of their product and  they try at all times to deliver a superior product to their customers.  As with any structure, there are issues and conflicts but in the main they do a far better job of selling and marketing harness racing to the general public than we do here in New Zealand. Over a period of time I have come to the conclusion that they have a far better management and governance structure than the Southern Hemisphere does. I have given up defending the structure of harness racing in New Zealand and have become a strong advocate for major change in how our industry is governed. How can it be in 2014 that we have a system of governance for our industry that is manifestly inappropriate for a business in the 21st century.  Currently we have a system that is controlled by the trotting clubs of New Zealand. Any major changes to the administration or structure of  ANYTHING  within the trotting industry requires the approval of a majority of those clubs. They meet once a year which means change within the industry happens at a glacial pace. The Executive of Harness Racing New Zealand can tinker at the edges but for anything major they need to take the proposal to the annual meeting of trotting clubs for their approval. Can you imagine any business in 2014 being able to survive and prosper if they were unable to adapt to changing trends and challenges in their business on a regular basis due to the necessity to wait for a once a year meeting for approval. If you speak as I do regularly do to a  lot of the successful businessmen who are involved in the harness racing industry in New Zealand, you quickly appreciate how frustrated they are at the inability to change what many see as a dysfunctional governance and management structure. Both the Auckland and New Zealand Metro trotting clubs have made massive gains in recent years in how they structure and manage their business due to the influence of several successful businessmen on their respective boards. But there is so much more they would like to do both now and in the future but are hamstrung to a certain extent by the current management and governance structure.  So what should any new management and governance structure look like.  First and foremost the clubs should concentrate on what they do best, running their clubs and their race meetings in a professional and profitable manner. That is what they were originally set up to do and most do an exemplary job. But any governance or leadership role in the management structure of harness racing in New Zealand should be withdrawn. The management of the day to day running of harness racing  should remain as it is now. Harness Racing New Zealand employees do a sterling job implementing the current policies and strategies of the industry as set by the executive and we are lucky to have them. The current executive and clubs structure should be replaced by a board that has industry representatives but also has a much stronger business focus and expertise. An eight member board with five business orientated members who have a knowledge of the harness racing industry along with one representative from each of  the three industry groups that have a large monetary investment in the industry; 1)                  Owners 2)                  Breeders 3)                  Trainers/Drivers  Should this board be elected by industry participants or be a mixture of elected /appointed members is something for wiser heads than mine. However the details of how a structure such as this would evolve need to be carefully developed so we don't harm the industry we are trying to help.   Now I can hear the screams emanating from some quarters but I also know from having already had this discussion with many of the major players in the New Zealand Industry that there is a broad consensus on the need for structural change. People involved in the harness racing industry are some of the most passionate people you would  ever come across. Why would you work in this industry with its long hours in any weather if it wasn't for a genuine love of what you were doing. We have some fantastic people in the harness racing industry in New Zealand who do a wonderful job of promoting our sport to the wider public and we have a great racing product that is in my view as good as anywhere in the world. What we don't have is a governance structure that lets this industry flourish. Just have a look at the last twenty years and see how much this industry has changed and progressed. Frozen Semen and Shuttle Stallions have opened our industry up to the very best stallions available worldwide with a result that our equine product has closed the gap enormously with the Northern Hemisphere product. Trackside has taken our racing product to a much wider audience throughout Australasia. Betting options have expanded and harness racing clubs have diversified their income streams. The only thing that has NOT changed for several generations are our governance structures. I have spoken to several government ministers about this issue and the message is always the same. Any change to the present structures must come from WITHIN the industry itself. If this industry is to truly reach its potential and maximize its returns to its stakeholders, then we need a governance structure that is more applicable to the 21st century and not the 19th century. I therefore invite any like minded people who hold a similar view to my own to contact me to see if there is a way we can progress this matter further.  John Curtin JC International jdci@harnesslink.com

Harnesslink has become aware of the recent death of  that well known harness racing identity, Ian Hunter who was involved in the harness racing industry from the 1950s through to the late 1980s. Ian died last week at the Waikato Hospice after a short illness at the age of 75. Forever known in the harness racing industry as the brother of Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Hunter, Ian was a well respected trainer in his own right. Over the course of his career Ian trained 114 winners on his own account with another 12 winners from the time Ian trained in partnership for 18 months with Bevan Paterson. One of the better performers to pass through his hands was the former smart juvenile, Major Lord 2:00.1 ($67,353). In his early years he worked for his father Jack Hunter when he trained for the late Sir Roy McKenzie from a property at Moonshine in Upper Hutt from where they won the 1964 trainers premiership with brother Charlie doing most of the driving. The most memorable driving success for Ian was when he drove Scottish Command from 60 yards behind to win the 1959 Auckland Cup for Sir Roy McKenzie. Harnesslink would like to pass on our condolences to his wife Pat and family at this time.     Harnesslink media

Junior harness racing reinsman Matt Anderson got his All Stars career away to the best possible start when guiding juvenile pacer Bettor With Bourbon to victory at Rangiora today. In what was his first ever drive for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Anderson sent the Bettor's Delight two-year-old to the front from barrier three before taking a trail behind favourite Western Art. He then looked flat down the back straight but under the urgings of Anderson he picked up the bit again and finished strongly along the passing lane to down Western Art by half of a length. Livura finished a further length and a half away in third. Anderson, who only started work with All Stars a fortnight ago, took up a spot with the country's leading stable after an opening appeared as a worker and junior driver earlier this month when Purdon's sons Nathan and Michael headed away on their big OE. With the encouragement of mate Nathan, Anderson was quick to, not only take up that opening, but also notch up his first winner in the bullet proof colours. Anderson, 22, returned home to Canterbury to take up the position after spending six months in the North Island working for Purdon’s brother-in-law, leading trainer-driver Tony Herlihy. Anderson said that he had learned a lot from Herlihy and had thoroughly enjoyed his time in the North but he had struggled for drives during his six month stint. "I was stoked to get a good opportunity for All Stars so soon after joining the stable and was pleased that I didn't let them down," beamed Anderson post-race. "Hopefully it is the first on many for the stable." "I am really enjoying working for Mark and Natalie," he added. "They have phenomenal team around them and putting on the colours certainly gives you a lot of confidence." Anderson, who looks a natural in the sulky, does not come from a racing background but gained earlier experience in harness racing through Canterbury trainers Dean Taylor and Robbie Holmes. Matt, who won his first race aboard the Robbie Holmes trained Highview Ember at Rangiora back in August of last year, has now won seven races from just 57 drives. *Bettor With Bourbon was All Stars 21st individual two-year-old winner this season. Their 20th was Big Lucy, who was successful in a heat of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat on Saturday night. By Mitchell Robertson

The talented 3-year-old trotter Madewell Hanover picked up his fourth straight win in the Wednesday featured, a trot for non-winners of $12,500 in their last 5 starts or non-winners of 7 pari-mutuel races. The heavy favorite coming in was another 3-year-old, Kelly Walker's Don Dorado. The Hambo hopeful brushed to the front past the opening quarter, and held the lead until the stretch. In the end however, it was Madewell Hanover out dueling Don Dorado in the final strides, closing home in 28.3, and completing the mile in 1:54.2, It was the seventh career win for Madewell Hanover, who is owned by trainer/driver Chris Ryder. Don Dorado held place, while long shot Sina closed for third. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

The Alabar News is out and about and it can also be read online. A must read for all breeders and sales buyers, It contains plenty of interesting information, including interviews with leading trainers Mark Purdon and Robert Dunn, as well as a look at Anne and Bill Anderson’s Lauriston Bloodstock. Alabar’s new star stallions A Rocknroll Dance and Alta Christiano are also profiled. To read the Alabar News please click here: http://bit.ly/1k6YaFw

The Dunn family name has been around harness racing circles as long as most remember. In recent years, it has been youngest son Dexter who has hogged many of the headlines as he breaks records none would of thought possible. However, today 20 July is a day the family will proudly remember as the day the patriarch of the family, Robert (RJ) Dunn trained his 100th winner for 2013-2014 harness racing season, joining a small but select club of trainers who have also done so.   While the 100 win milestone had been creeping closer over the last few weeks, starting this week, there still 4 winners required. With 18 runners engaged over three meetings it seemed inevitable that this week would be it. Starting on Thursday night, 2yr old Johnny Jet did the right thing, scoring the first win of his fledgling career, at the last Forbury Park meeting of the season. Onto Friday night, it was a recent newcomer to the stable, Westburn Warrior, that took the winning count to 98. Today's Ashburton meeting was full of promise. "To be honest I was quite confident about the two that won doing the job," reflected Robert. "I was also quite keen on the 2yr old filly (Cullens First Meddle)." Unfortunately this runner lost her stride early in the race and finished tailed off.  After having had little luck recently, Art Critic came home with an undeniable run over the top of them, in the 5th race for driver Sam Ottley, who must surely have wrapped up the junior drivers premiership now also. She has built to an unassailable lead with 49 win for the season. Coming to the last of the day and the question was would it be 99 not out heading into the next week of racing? A confident drive by John with newcomer to the stable in Wesley Silcox, quickly put an end to this debate. After looming large on the turn, he eyeballed pacemaker Change Time before quickly asserting his dominance, going on to win by 2 lengths without being overly extended.   While the 100 win milestone was not something that the stable had set out to do at the start of the season, over the last two months it certainly became a point of focus. "I wouldn't call getting there the highlight of my career," said Robert, "but it is something to be proud of and tribute to a great team effort." "If you'd told me two years ago that I would train 100 winners in a season, I would have told you, that you are kidding." The 2011-2012 season was disappointing by the high standards that had been set previously and produced just 44 winners. An opportunity to lease some boxes at Woodend beach came about and from there the results began to grow. A career high of 90 wins were achieved in the 2012-2013 season and some new stars unveiled. So it was that high hopes were set for the current season. A lightning start to the season that had the stable going toe-to-toe with the powerful Purdon/Rasmussen barn up to the end of January, was followed by quieter months in the autumn and early winter. "It did look a bit tough at one stage," confessed Robert. However, the annual Nelson/Marlborough winter circuit got things rolling again. Starting July, it became a case of not if, but when. That said it is a huge sense of relief as well as pride that all involved in the stable operations must be feeling today. For Robert, this is just another tick in the box for an already stellar training career in which he has trained a New Zealand Cup winner - Mainland Banner - in 2005 and trained and driven Master Musician to win the 1992 Auckland Cup. With new stars in the form of Elios and Franco Nelson, hopes will be high for these features in the upcoming season. In all, Robert has now trained the winners of 960 races in New Zealand and $9,905,373 in stake-earnings. These days the stable operation is solely based at the beach and who could argue with it as a recipe for success. While the kudos goes to Robert, he would be the first to acknowledge the role of eldest son John in being Robert's "unofficial" training partner and right-hand man. John has worked tirelessly setting high standards for all to follow. No-one would begrudge his success. John has also had another great year in the cart, driving 92 winners to date (4th in the premiership). By Mike Drury (ROBERT DUNN RACING)

Heavily favored Solvato (5m Donato Hanover-Solveig-Yankee Glide) won today's V75 Gold Division at Axevalla, Sweden over 2640 meters autostart for a 150,000SEK first prize. Peter Ingves was in the sulky for trainer Veijo Heiskanen as that pair scored in 1.13.4kr by a comfortable two lengths. Ingves drove the race to perfection from post two as he was away fourth and patiently waited for the pace to relax at which time he jetted to the front after 1000 meters and led the remainder of the contest. Solvato won for the ninth time in 40 career outings, now for earnings of 4,577,341SEK. On Track Piraten (6g Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line) stayed covered In The Pocket much of the way and secured second for Erik Adielsson as Kaffir Face (7g Dahir de Prelong-Elegance OK-Lindy Lane) had rallied from the back gain second in the lane but flattened in late going to finish third for Lutfi Kolgjini. Earlier on the Axevalla card (before a huge crowd on a bright sunny day) the Bronze Division for 110,000SEK to the winner went to Jeppas Maxi (5g Varenne-Absolutely Perfect-Balanced Image) with Torbjorn Jansson up. This emerging campaigner scored in 1.12.6kr in a close battle with Acriter (5m Gentle Star-Puttan Fri-Super Arnie) and Jorgen Westholm. Italy's Naglo'del Nord (7g Naglo-Entita'del Nord-And Arifant) was third for Peter Ingves. Jeppas Maxi is undefeated in six 2014 starts and has won eight times in nine career starts for 609,897SEK. He's owned by Robert Ekstrom and Aland Pia. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

WA harness racing lost one of its most successful lady trainers with the passing yesterday of Cass Haese – one day after her 83rd birthday.    Cass trained some 119 winners including 47 in Perth and she remains the only woman to train a WA Oaks winner. Alfa Dyna, which was bred by Cass and her late husband Keith, won the 1992 WA Oaks three weeks after winning that years Country Derby.    Alfa Dyna won a total of 12 races for Cass and other good winners for her were the 1995 Bunbury and Harvey Cups winner Scanio which won 22 races, 1987 WA Breeders Stakes winner Alfa Freeway which won a total of 22 races and the smart Motobuchi which won 19 races.    Cass trained a pair of 2yo Silver Bracelet Stakes winners in Gay Adventure and Alfa Triumph.    Even more remarkable is that each of Cass’s 47 Perth wins came with horses she and her husband bred and reared themselves.      Alan Parker

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