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Fowlerville, MI -- On Monday, July 22 there was a five-horse Billings Trot at the Fowlerville Family Fair in Michigan posted as the last race on a lengthy harness racing card that featured Michigan-bred colts and fillies and being not far from his home, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford not only participated but he came away with yet another driving victory when he guided Blasco to a gate to wire triumph in a 2:05 clocking over National Forces, driven by Jerry "the Jet" Mihelich. When the wings of the mobile starting gate folded Oldford sent Blasco to the front and they led the others by the first quarter in a soft 33 seconds. However, Steve picked up the pace when "Fast Freddie: Davis came calling on the outside and the trotted by the half in 1:04. Up the backside the two leaders were still heads apart until Blasco rebuffed the challenge and went on to a one length victory. Sitting a two-hole journey paid dividends for Mihelich as his Natural Forces rambled home for second money. Third place went to Stirling Boudica driven by "Michigan Miriah" Wright. The race winner, Blasco, is owned by Oldford Racing and trained by Oldford. Oldford, whose quickly becoming the face of amateur racing, owns many standardbreds employs many trainers and will travel almost anywhere to drive spirited steed. But in recent years he's become a member of multiple amateur racing organizations. Currently the vice president of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series Steve was recently awarded the Harness Racing Museum's Amateur Driver if the Year Award. It was the sixth time Oldford has received that honor.. A few seasons ago Oldford was named National Amateur Driver of the Year and now with 11 wins, four seconds, nine thirds and a .416 UDR he's got a good chance at yet another national driving award this season. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

One of the most unlikely charges toward this season’s Horse of the Year honours has been put on hold for a week. But if Kenny’s Dream can pull off a title that will cement her broodmare career champion trainer of trotters Phil Williamson will have good mate Tony Herlihy to thank.  Just three months ago Kenny’s Dream was a battling southern trotter going nowhere fast, except at home where she worked well before failing to live up to that on racenight.  Williamson brought her north hoping the right-handed racing her work had suggested would suit her would re-ignite her stumbling career.  Not even he could have dreamed what would unfold.  Kenny’s Dream has won four of her five starts at Alexandra Park, the last two when trained by Herlihy and captured a $25,000 race last Friday night.  Herlihy will allow her to bypass the 2200m main trot at Alexandra Park this Friday because her handicap would have made it awfully hard to win but she is likely to take on 2700m again next week.  And if she continues on her winning way then the Four-Year-Old Mare of the Year title looks as good as hers.  She already has more wins than any other mare of her age, with four this season and five would almost certainly wrap up the title.  Her biggest rival might actually be a horse who hasn’t raced in New Zealand this season in Show Gait, who won the Breeders Crown for three-year-old trotters in Victoria last August.  Because that falls outside our season Show Gait’s group one performance will be eligible for votes for the four-year-old mare category but the fact that race was nearly a year ago and she hasn’t raced since means many voters will overlook her.  So the title looks the surprise package Kenny’s Dream’s to lose and while four-year-old trotting mare of the year is hardly the most glamorous title in racing, it stays in the yearling sales catalogues for as long as that family exists.  That and the fact Kenny’s Dream is beautifully bred means Williamson, who still owns the mare, now has a serious broodmare prospect on is hands.  “I think Phil is pretty happy about how it has all gone,” laughs Herlihy.  “He hoped the trip up here would turn her around and it has totally changed her.  “Now she races like a really good mare yet is laid-back at home.  “So we will probably give her one more start and then a spell and might even nominate her for the Inter Dominions since they are close to home.”A horse of the year title for Kenny’s Dream could make for a big awards night for Herlihy as he has two Jewels winners in Tickle Me Pink (three-year-old filly) and Bolt Of Brilliance (juvenile male trotter) who could also win HOTY titles.  Add to that his open class star Temporale, who is due back into stable work in a few weeks, new top level graduate in Forget The Price Tag and one of the country’s best juvenile trotting fillies in Cheeky Babe and the South Auckland trainer has one of the strongest trotting teams in Australasia. “I probably have 8 or 10 trotters here from about 30 horses in work and with the improvement in the breed they are easier to train than they used to be.”   Michael Guerin

Yonkers, NY -- When Annie "Get You Gun" Stoebe sent Dark Poole to the lead in the $15,000 Billings East Region Final at Yonkers Raceway she encountered very little trouble and they went on to an oh-so-easy 1:56.2 victory. And the triumph was extra special for Stoebe since her family came all the way in from Montana to see her drive the biggest race of her fledgling career. "I was blessed to get to drive Dark Poole again, he's such a nice horse," Stoebe said via telephone. Two weeks ago Stoebe won a Billings trot at Harrah's Chester."Now we're two-for-two and I couldn't be more thrilled." When the wings of the mobile gate folded Stoebe sent Dark Poole to the lead and they were never in any trouble trotting away to and easy five length victory over Fiji (Dave "the Rave" Offenberg) and Revrac Harbour, driven by Tony "Shifty" Ciuffetelli, Jr. Billings president Tony "the Capo" Verruso , who finished fourth with Tropical Trice had lined-up sponsors who supplied various items to all the participants. Among those who supplied gifts were: Monte Gelrod; John Duer; Danny Taylor; Irv & Vic Sportswear; Buzzy Sholty; Chick's Saddlery; and Advantage Edge Equine by John Manzi for NAADA

Manalapan, NJ - S Class, a full brother to 2016 Trotter of the Year Marion Marauder, and So So De Vie, from the family of the sport's all-time richest pacer Foiled Again, were among the two dozen 2-year-olds sent out by harness racing trainer Ron Burke for qualifiers Monday morning (June 3) at Gaitway Farm. Gaitway hosted the first of this month's three Monday qualifiers, which essentially was Breakfast with the Burke Brigade as all but three of the 2-year-olds in action were from the Burke barn. S Class won his qualifier by one length over Ontopofthehill in 1:59.1. S Class, by Muscle Hill out of Spellbound Hanover, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Crawford Farms Racing, Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. He was purchased privately. "He was very good today," Burke said about S Class. "Ontopofthehill (a $250,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase by Muscle Hill-On The Bright Side) is a fast horse that's going to learn to be a very good horse. "This is a good group. All the trotters today are good horses, there's not a bad one in them. I've got a couple more, maybe two of the better ones, that aren't ready yet. But these are some of my better ones." Burke's other 2-year-old trotters Monday included filly winner Sister Sledge (1:59.2) and colt Cupid Hanover, a $250,000 Standardbred Horse Sale buy who finished second to 3-year-old Zeus PV in his qualifier. Sister Sledge, by Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors, was purchased for $35,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. "Sister Sledge was really good," Burke said. "I was happy with all (four of mine) in there. Cupid Hanover is good. We're just trying to teach him to be patient and sit in a hole. If we let him roll, I think he'd be better." Sister Sledge                        --Ken Weingartner photo So So De Vie, a $15,000 Standardbred Horse Sale purchase by American Ideal out of Place Your Best (a half-sister to Foiled Again) finished second in his qualifier to Cattlewash, who stopped the clock in 1:58.3. Cattlewash, bred and owned by Bill Donovan, is by Somebeachsomewhere-Road Bet. "Cattlewash has been great training down the whole time," Burke said. "So So De Vie is the best one we've had in (Foiled Again's) family since him. I'm really happy with him." Colt pacer The Greek Freak won the day's fastest race for the 2-year-olds, in 1:56.1, despite a change in conditions that saw him face a strong headwind in the stretch. The Greek Freak, the nickname of NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, is a son of Captaintreacherous-Thirty X and was purchased for $75,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. He is owned by Burke Racing, Piatt Racing, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. The Greek Freak                         --Ken Weingartner photo Burke-trained filly pacers Merga Hanover and Shouldabeenatd were Burke's remaining winners in the seven qualifiers for the 2-year-olds. Merga Hanover, by American Ideal-Magic Starlight, won in 1:56.4. Purchased for $150,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, she is owned by Thomas Dillon, Scott Dillon, Joe Sbrocco, and Donovan. Shouldabeenatd, by Sweet Lou-Breakheart Pass, won in 1:57.1 for breeder-owners Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. Sailaja Deo finished second in the three-filly field. Merga Hanover         --Ken Weingartner photo "Merga is out of a mare I used to train, Magic Starlight, and she's been good the whole way. She was very good today," Burke said. "Sailaja Deo is a nice filly. She had to cut it into the wind. I think she might be a little better than Shouldabeenatd, but Shouldabeenatd is a nice filly too out of a good mare. I was happy with the way she paced home. Another typical good (Sweet) Lou filly." For Monday's complete charts from qualifiers at Gaitway, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

On Sunday May 19 two classic races took place at Modena’s Ippodromo Ghirlandina.   The fillies first battled in the 88,000€ purse Premio Unione Europeo Filly (1600 meters autostart, 13 starters) with the 1.11.9kr timed harness racing victory earned by Zaniah Bi (4f Equinox Bi-Fendi Bi-Sugarcane Hanover) reined by Alessandro Gocciadoro to her seventh career victory in 22 appearances.   She sat the pocket until the final bend when she zoomed to the front and secured a four-length score over Zabriskie OK (4f Conway Hall- Georgia Pines-Pine Chip) with Bjorn Goop aboard.   Third was Zealand As (4f Donato Hanover-Fortune As- Tenor de Baune) with Rene Legati up.   The male adversaries contested the 407,000€ purse Premio Unione Europea (2080 meters, 13 starters) and it was a battle between pacesetter Zacon Gio (4m Ruty Grif-May Glade Font SM-Yankee Glide) piloted by Roberto Vecchione and timed in 1.11.2kr. Zacon Gio won for 18 th time in 28 lifetime starts. His sire is a son of Varenne. Second finishing was Face Time Bourbon (4m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon-Love You) with Bjorn Goop up for trainer Sebastien Guarato, timed the same as the winner. Face Time was away fourth and moved first up and within a half-length of the leader entering the final turn. Then Zacon Gio pulled away to a three- length advantage. Late in the lane Zacon tired under heavy urging from Vecchione and Face Time pulled back to within a quarter-length at the wire. Third was Zidane Grif (4m Ready Cash-Taffeta’Grif-Varenne) handled by G.P. Minnucci. Zlatan (4m Napoleon Bar) was fourth.    

Today at Halmstad Sweden the 2018 Elitloppet winner Ringostarr Treb (9m Classic Photo-Farsalo Egral- Supergill) returned to the races (first since October 13, 2018 at Yonkers) and scored in gate to wire fashion in the Yngve Larssons Memorial (100,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart).   Race time was 1.10.3kr for the 2.4/1 harness racing favorite that is trained by Jerry Riordan for EVAM Racing Trotter Srls. of Italy and reined by Wilhelm Paal.   Ringo won for the 31 st time in his 88 race career and he now has career earnings of 13,434,364SEK.     The pace was quick (first 500 1.08.4 (3 Ringostarr Treb), 1000 1.09.5 (3 Ringostarr Treb) and Ringo was a diminishing length winner over 2.54/1 Racing Mange (6m Orlando Vici-Kara Kickan-Alf Palema) reined by trainer Joakim Lovgren and third finishing 9.49/1 odds Dante Boko (9g Going Kronos-Sandra Dime-Alf Palema) with trainer Adrian Kolgjini up.   Earlier on the card was the Euro Classic New Year (50,000SEK first prize, 2140 meters autostart) with that victory to 17/1 Global Action (3m Broadway Hall-Global Mix-Cantab Hall) timed in 1.14.6kr and reined by Joakim Lovgren. Guzz Mearas (3m Muscle Mass-Intensity Kronos-Viking Kronos) at 1.6/1 odds took second for Johan Untersteiner and 48.6/1 One Deep Valley (3m Weingartner-Heavenly East-Juliano Star) was third for Stefan Soderkvist. Also today the lineup for the April 27 Olympiatravet at Aby was announced as shown below.   Thomas H. Hicks  

IT was an exciting night last Wednesday for trainer - driver partnership Mat and Gemma Rue with pacer Fouroeight winning at his first start back from an injury after almost 18 months between runs. Trained by Gemma and driven by her husband Mat, the six-year-old gelding proved too strong for his rivals sitting outside the leader for the majority of the race and running away to score comfortably in a final quarter of 27.3 seconds. Winning the Group 3 Gold Chalice Final in 2016 and running fourth in the Group 1 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Colts and Geldings Final as a three-year-old Fouroeight looked to have a promising career ahead of him. “We’ve always had a high opinion of him and we knew he would mature and get better with age,” Gemma said. After only finishing 6.7 metres off of the winner in the Group 1 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Four-Year-Old Entires and Geldings Final last year the gelding went for a well-deserved spell. Unfortunately, just before he was ready to return to racing Fouroeight injured himself in the paddock resulting in a fractured pelvis and tailbone which meant seven months’ recovery with no guarantee of him returning to the racetrack. “We spoke to many people about horses who have broken their pelvis, some make it back and some just don’t,” Gemma said. “We were lucky, but even with the all clear we were still unsure as to how he would cope due to his size. “After a slow preparation back to the track everything looks to be perfect and he seems to be better than ever”. Fouroeight is set to step out in the Group 2 Kriden Park Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst’s TAB Carnival of Cups meeting this Wednesday and has drawn barrier one. “The distance (2790 metres) will be a task but with a good run on the fence he could definitely be in the money.”   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Licensed harness racing owner Mitchell Robertson has been fined $950.00 by the JCA for directing both insulting and abusive words towards Racing Secretary Richard Bromley. Robertson noticed his horses Gunpowder and Ain't Nothing Bettor had been placed on the ballot at the Waimate meeting on 25 March 2018, instead of gaining automatic starts. This upset Mr Robertson as he believed the horses had the necessary credentials to gain a start and were entitled to be drawn into the field and he began a series of abusive phone calls and texts to Mr Bromley. The JCA thought a fine of $1,300 to be the appropriate starting point in this case, but imposed a fine rounded down to the sum of $950 for mitigating factors which are detailed in the JCA report below. The Committee was satisfied that a fine of $950 will suffice to satisfy the general purposes of sentencing which are well-established – to hold the offender accountable for his actions, to promote in the offender a sense of responsibility, to denounce the conduct of the offender and to deter the offender or other persons from committing the same or a similar offence. The Committee has also had regard, as always, to the important consideration of the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in Harness Racing. Full details below:   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing IN THE MATTER of Information No. A10226 BETWEEN N M YDGREN, Chief Stipendiary Steward for the Racing Integrity Unit Informant AND MITCHELL JOHN ROBERTSON, Owner Respondent Judicial Committee: Mr R G McKenzie, Chair - Mr S C Ching, Committee Member Venue: Addington Raceway, Christchurch Present: Mr N M Ydgren, the Informant Mr M J Robertson, the Respondent Mr S P Renault, Stipendiary Steward (Registrar) Date of Hearing: 26 April 2018 Date of Decision: 3 May 2018 RESERVED PENALTY DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE The Charge [1] Information No. A10226 alleges that Mr Robertson “wrote and directed insulting and abusive words towards Racing Secretary Richard Bromley” in breach of Rule 1001(1) (v) (ii) of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. The Rules [2] Rule 1001 of the Rules of Harness Racing provides as follows: (1) Every person commits a serious racing offence within the meaning of these Rules, who, in New Zealand or in any other country:- (v) either by himself or in conjunction with any person: (ii) at any time writes or causes to be written, publishes or causes to be published, or utters or causes to be uttered, any insulting or abusive words with reference to a Judicial Committee, Appeals Tribunal, an official of HRNZ, the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, the Board, a paid official, or any person engaged by a Club or by HRNZ in a professional capacity and/or as an independent contractor. [3] The penalty Rule is Rule 1001 (2) which provides as follows: (1) Every person who commits a serious racing offence shall be liable to the following penalties: (a) a fine not exceeding $30,000.00; and/or (b) suspension from holding or obtaining a licence, for any specific period or for life; and/or (c) disqualification for a specific or for life. [4] Mr Ydgren presented a letter signed by Mr M R Godber, General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit, pursuant to Rule 1108 (2) authorising the filing of the information. The Plea [5] Mr Robertson had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that he admitted the breach. He was present at the hearing of the information. The charge and relevant Rules were read to him, after which he confirmed that he admitted the breach. [6] The charge was found proved. Summary of Facts [7] Mr Ydgren presented the following written submissions to the hearing: “Mitchell Robertson is a licensed owner with HRNZ and as such is captured by Rule 102 (1) (d). (Rule 102 provides: (1) These Rules shall apply to all Races and Race Meetings and shall apply to and be binding on: (d) all Owners and all persons entering or nominating any horses for any race whether such Owners, trainers or persons in charge be resident in New Zealand or otherwise) He currently has an interest in 17 registered horses. He assists in training responsibilities with his father Peter Robertson who trains in Templeton. Mr Robertson also acts as a bloodstock agent. On the 14th of March 2018, Mr Mitchell Robertson nominated the horses AIN’T NOTHING BETTOR and CALENDAR GIRLZ for the Waimate TC meeting which was to be held on the 25th. This was done via the HRNZ computer login. On the 19th of March, he further nominated TOM RULE and GUNPOWDER for that same meeting. Again, this was done via the HRNZ login. This was done as a job that Mitchell regularly undertook on behalf of his father. The fields were assembled by the Waimate Racing committee on the 21st of March. This committee comprised of Richard Bromley, Gareth Murfitt, Lex Williams and the handicapper Andrew Morris. Soon after the fields were released, Mitchell Robertson noticed his horses GUNPOWDER and AIN’T NOTHING BETTOR had not gained starts but had instead been placed on the ballot. This upset Mr Robertson as he believed the horses had the necessary credentials to gain a start and were entitled to be drawn into the field. Mr Robertson immediately contacted Richard Bromley by cell phone to voice his displeasure. This phone call was made at approximately 1.40pm. The conversation contained comments from Mr Robertson such as “this is f...... bullshit”. Mr Bromley was returning from Waimate at the time of the call and was troubled by poor reception and resultantly the phone call was disconnected. Immediately Mr Robertson reconnected the call and continued to question Mr Bromley on the non-selection of their horses. This call was again disrupted by reception issues and was also disconnected. At 1.47pm Mr Robertson began a series of text messages. The first read “You c.... have no f...... idea no wonder the industry falling apart (sic)” The second, which was sent at 1.48pm, one minute later said, “Don’t f...... hang up”. (Mr Ydgren produced a screen shot of Mr Bromley’s phone confirming those text messages). Mr Bromley did not respond to these messages.” Informant’s Penalty Submissions [8] Mr Ydgren presented the following written penalty submissions to the hearing: “Richard Bromley was serving in his first year as Racing Secretary for the Waimate Trotting Club. He has 12 years’ experience working for other clubs in this role, primarily NZMTC, and enjoys an outstanding reputation as a thorough and efficient staff member within the industry who is extremely well thought of. Stewards’ inquiries have confirmed that Mr Bromley and his colleagues were only employing standard practices that have been used for a number of years. When assessing this incident the Committee should be mindful that no person should be subjected to this kind of treatment when undertaking their formal duties. A person of Mr Bromley’s standing in the industry should reasonably expect that he can go to work and fulfil such duties without receiving such abuse. The direction of such language towards any official is intolerable. Rule 1001 (v) (ii) is a serious racing offence. The maximum penalties in relation to a breach of a serious racing offence are as follows, • A fine not exceeding $30,000 • Suspension from holding or obtaining a licence for life • Disqualification for life Mr Robertson has not appeared before the Stewards in regards to a breach of this or any similar rule. As a young man attempting to forge a career in Harness Racing he finds himself in a less than ideal position on that path. Mr Robertson should be aware of the importance of conducting himself in a professional manner and maintaining integrity in racing. He has admitted the breach at the earliest opportunity and conducted himself in a professional manner throughout the inquiry at all times. Mr Robertson has shown remorse and accepted that his comments were not acceptable. To date, however, he has not apologised. That the comments were in written form does show a degree of premeditation. Along with the language used and the personal nature of them this is an aggravating factor. On this occasion he has made a serious error and the penalty imposed should reflect the nature of that. It should also act as a strong deterrent to any other individual who may feel that addressing any person in a similar manner is acceptable. Other penalties which may assist this Committee are attached. They are that of; • RIU v T Vince 2014 Rule 1001(v)(ii) – Mr Vince fined $1000. • HRNZ v S Dickson 2017 Rule 303(2) Misconduct – Mr Dickson fined $850. The following is a list of misconduct charges which may also assist the Committee. • S LETHABY (12.10.2010) – HR Open Horseman - swearing in the Stewards room and failed to remain when ordered to do so. $650 fine (guideline starting point $500) • R NYHAN (21.07.2009) – HR Open Horseman - insulting language to a Steward. $400 fine • A PYERS (12.03.2013) – HR Open Horseman - offensive and abusive text messages and phone calls to Racecourse Inspector. $850 fine • G VILE (25.06.2014) – TR trainer - abusing a NZTR Handicapper during a telephone conversation. $350 fine • M WALKER (28.03.2009) – Jockey - used insulting and threatening language to another jockey in the weighing area post inquiry. $2,000 fine. A breach of this Rule brings with it a penalty starting point of $1,500 in the JCA guide. Stewards say the appropriate penalty is that of a monetary fine and that the level of that fine should be in the vicinity of $750”. Respondent’s Submissions [9] Mr Robertson confirmed that he accepted the accuracy of the Summary of Facts presented by Mr Ydgren. [10] Mr Robertson said that he was apologetic for his actions and explained that he had acted “in the heat of the moment”. In reply to a question from the Committee, he said that had not made a personal apology to Mr Bromley. He went on to say that he felt angry that the horses had not gained starts as he felt they were each deserving of a start. GUNPOWDER was the highest rated horse in the field. Mr Bromley had explained to him that the selection committee had given preference to horses that had not started in the last week. The Emergency 1 horse was also racing for the second time in a week and it was a one-win horse with approximately $14,000 stakes won and a lower rating, whereas GUNPOWDER, at the time, was a five-win horse with earnings around the $90,000 mark and a better-credentialed horse to have gained a start, Mr Robertson said. [11] Mr Robertson said that he had spoken to Stipendiary Steward, Mr Scott Wallis, the day before the fields came out enquiring as to whether he could leave GUNPOWDER in the nominations for the Wairio TC at Winton on 24 March as a contingency of not getting into the Waimate field. He was advised by Mr Wallis that to do so would involve a breach of the Scratching Penalties Regulation. On the basis that there was no chance that GUNPOWDER would not get a start at Waimate, he withdrew the horse from Wairio. The horses were based at Oamaru, all four (including AIN’T NOTHING BETTOR and CALENDAR GIRLZ) having raced at Forbury Park on 22nd March [12] Mr Ydgren explained that the Waimate selection committee had used discretion to ensure that a wider pool of horses was given the opportunity to race that week. Obviously, Mr Robertson did not agree with that policy but the policy has been in force for some time and in areas such as Canterbury where there is a large horse pool. Mr Robertson’s horses had been accepted at another meeting that week so it was the committee’s decision to place Mr Robertson’s horses on the ballot and horses that had not started elsewhere would thereby be given the opportunity to race. [13] Mr Robertson replied that that did not explain why the first ballot horse, which was also “backing up”, was given preference over GUNPOWDER when the latter had better credentials. [14] In relation to penalty, Mr Robertson told the Committee that they had arranged accommodation in anticipation of the horses racing at the Waimate meeting. This resulted in a “monetary loss”, he said. He had phoned Mr Bromley seeking an explanation on behalf of one of GUNPOWDER’s owners who had phoned him when the fields were published. [15] The conversation with Mr Bromley could have “gone a lot smoother” had it not been for the “reception issues” which created tension when neither he nor Mr Bromley could make himself understood, Mr Robertson said. Mr Bromley had declined to give an explanation, he said. [16] In reply to a question from this Committee, Mr Robertson acknowledged that he was aware of the policy of some Clubs to give preference to horses having their first run for the week but was not aware, at the time, that the Waimate Club was observing that policy. He did not agree that the policy was a fair one. [17] Finally, Mr Robertson said that it was his intention to make a personal apology to Mr Bromley, not for the policy adopted by the Club but for his conduct. The reason that he had not done so before now, he explained, was that he thought it might prejudice this hearing. Reasons for Penalty [18] This charge came about as a result of two horses, TOM RULE and GUNPOWDER, nominated by Mr Robertson for the Waimate TC meeting to be held on 25 March 2018 being denied starts by the fields’ selection committee of the Club. Mr Robertson was particularly upset that one of those horses, GUNPOWDER, had been balloted out with second right of re-entry. [19] Mr Robertson told the Committee and in no uncertain terms that, in his view, GUNPOWDER was deserving of a start based on its compelling “credentials” and, in particular credentials superior to those of the first emergency. The fields for the meeting were posted on the HRNZ website on the Wednesday prior to the Sunday meeting. He noticed that GUNPOWDER was the second emergency in its race. [20] Mr Robertson then acted very precipitously and contacted Mr Bromley, the Secretary of the Club, by cellphone. Mr Bromley was in his car returning to Christchurch. The precise details of the telephone conversation are not before us but Mr Robertson admitted that he used the expression “this is f...... bullshit” during the initial conversation. Reception difficulties were experienced during the telephone conversation. Mr Robertson thought that Mr Bromley had hung up on him. [21] Not wishing to leave the matter there, Mr Robertson then sent following text messages to Mr Bromley’s phone. The relevant text messages, one minute apart, are set out in the Summary of Facts (above). [22] Mr Robertson has now, quite properly in the Committee’s view, admitted the charge of using insulting or abusive words to Mr Bromley, Secretary of the Waimate TC, in breach of Rule 1011 (v) (ii) of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. [23] The Committee accepts that Mr Robertson believed, rightly or wrongly, that he had legitimate grounds to be upset at the exclusion of GUNPOWDER. We refer to that horse specifically because the exclusion of that horse, in particular, seemed to have been the catalyst for Mr Robertson’s behaviour. Whether that is correct or not is not strictly relevant. In any event, his subsequent behaviour towards Mr Bromley was completely unacceptable and cannot be condoned. While Mr Robertson may have felt aggrieved, there were no doubt more acceptable options by way of questioning the committee’s decision. [24] Mr Bromley is, the Committee was told, a well-respected Club official of many years standing who was simply performing his duties, we accept, in good faith and to the best of his ability. We have not lost sight of the fact that Mr Bromley was only one of a committee of four on this occasion, but he has been the one who was subjected to Mr Robertson’s abuse. He should not be expected, and neither should any other official in a similar position be expected, to be subjected to such a barrage of insult and abuse from a disaffected owner. [25] Mitigating factors to take account of in considering penalty in this case are Mr Robertson’s early admission of the breach, his cooperation throughout the course of the investigation and his previous good record. The Informant, in his penalty submissions, said that Mr Robertson had shown remorse for his conduct. The Committee is not satisfied that such remorse is total, supported by the fact that, by his own admission, Mr Robertson had not made a personal apology to Mr Bromley in the more than one month between the date of the offence and the hearing of this charge. We believe that, had his remorse been total, he would have made such an apology in that time. The Committee does not give Mr Robertson credit for showing remorse. [26] We do not identify any particular aggravating factors – they are mainly elements of the offence itself and we have touched upon these earlier in this decision. [27] Mr Ydgren referred the Committee to a number of previous cases in both the harness racing and thoroughbred codes. These are of only limited assistance to us as the fact situations are very different, which will nearly always be so and, furthermore, nearly all of those cases preceded the introduction of the Penalty Guide starting point. [28] The Committee is more inclined to consider the facts of this particular case in the light of the Penalty Guide starting point and the particular aggravating and mitigating factors that have been referred to. [29] The Penalty Guide starting point is a $1,500 fine. That starting point was only included for the first time in the Penalty Guide effective from which renders the cases referred to us by Mr Ydgren of limited assistance. That is the starting point for a mid-range breach of the Rule which. We believe, the present case is in the low-to-mid range. [30] Accordingly, to reflect that, we take a fine of $1,300 to be the appropriate starting point in this case. Applying the mitigating factors to which we have referred, we have come to the conclusion that those factors warrant a discount of 25 per cent from the starting point that we have adopted. Therefore, the Committee imposes a fine rounded down to the sum of $950. [31] The Committee is satisfied that a fine of $950 will suffice to satisfy the general purposes of sentencing which are well-established – to hold the offender accountable for his actions, to promote in the offender a sense of responsibility, to denounce the conduct of the offender and to deter the offender or other persons from committing the same or a similar offence. The Committee has also had regard, as always, to the important consideration of the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in Harness Racing. Penalty [32] Mr Robertson is fined the sum of $950. Costs [33] No order for costs was sought by the Informant and, since the hearing of the information took place on a raceday, there will be no order for costs in favour of the JCA. R G McKenzie (Chair)   Harnesslink Media  

Columbus, OH --- Applications for harness racing driver's and trainer's licenses can now be completed and submitted online through a USTA Online Account. After logging into the My Account Services page and selecting the license, then Driver/Trainer options, all of the necessary tools to apply for a license online are available. In addition, My Account allows the applicant to see the status of the licensing process, including whether references have been completed and exam grades, at any time. Typically, through the paper application method, it takes between two and six months for applications to be processed and written and practical exams to be successfully completed. However, the online application process, by utilizing referencing through My Account, can potentially reduce the processing time by weeks, if not months. As in the paper application, an applicant is required to provide at least six references, of which four who must indicate a positive response when their reference form is submitted. References must have a current USTA Membership/License in good standing and for drivers must hold an "A" Full Driver License, for trainers, an "A" Full Driver License or a "G" General Trainer License. The online process begins with an acceptance of terms and instructions prior to completing an application questionnaire and the submission of references, who will each receive an email notification or a form that will need to be returned to the USTA. Once the referencing requirement is met, the applicant is contacted by the USTA with a list of test administrators for the written exam. Once a passing grade on the written test is achieved, the USTA will send the practical exam, which also must be passed, and any other requirements, i.e. a vision exam, necessary to obtain a license. Upon completion of all licensing requirements, My Account will indicate the newly issued license with immediate access to the USTA Online Entry system for those who have obtained a trainer's license. To watch an instructional video on the license application process, click here. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

The first classic of Auckland Cup week was over almost before it began. Hot favourite Elle Mac led home an All Stars-trained quinella in the $125,000 Pascoes Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park last night, jumping straight to the lead and never getting out of third gear. While the Alexandra Park specialist probably would have won regardless, she was all but gifted the race when second favourite and arch-rival Bettor Joy's winning chances were extinguished early. She was checked by a galloping rival in front of her, effectively knocked out of winning contention, and did a remarkable job to recover into fourth. Elle Mac had all the ingredients for an Oaks winner, being by super sire Bettors Delight, trained by the All Stars and owned by huge sales spender Jean Feiss.   But it wasn't all plain sailing for All Stars hotshots in the three-year-old features last night as the Woodlands Northern Derby market was turned on its head when Chase Auckland tasted defeat for the first time in the Derby prelude. He was forced to sit parked and couldn't grab stablemate Sicario, who was having his first start since last winter. The result suggested Monday's barrier draw will play a bigger role than expected in who wins next Friday's Derby. The other stars of the night were the Michelle Walls-Bernie Hackett training team, who won both early trots including the Northern Breeders Stakes with Majestic Ali paying $13.90.   Michael Guerin    

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 28, 2017 -- Ned "The Insurance Man" Hodkinson urged Sunset Girl to the front at the quarter, and the pair moved strongly through the slop to capture Saturday's $10,000 leg of the CKG Billings Amateur Trot at The Meadows. Once on the point, Sunset Girl faced a determined uncovered bid from "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello and Drift Away, but Sunset Girl had Hodkinson on her side, and that policy was plenty. The duo defeated Mitchell "Sky" Walker and Stemilt Touch by 3/4 lengths in 2:00.3, while Zuccarello and Drift Away earned show. Early leaders David "Linemaster" Ehrenberg and United Bi completed the superfecta. Kris Hite trains Sunset Girl, a 4-year-old daughter of Swan For All-Swing Wing Hanover who won for the fourth time in her last six starts, for Wendy Ross. Elsewhere on Saturday's card, Sam Hill, the gallant 11-year-old Artsplace-Apple Of My Eye gelding, took the featured $13,000 conditioned pace on the front end in 1:53.4 for Dave Palone, trainer John Sullivan and owner Don Tiger. Sam Hill has a combined 13 wins at 10 and 11 and boasts a lifetime bankroll of $578,697. Palone collected four victories and Tony Hall three in the 11 non-Billings events.  THE MEADOWS DOUBLES MONDAY PICK 4 GUARANTEE TO $10K WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 29, 2017 — The Meadows Racetrack & Casino has doubled — to $10,000 — the total-pool guarantee for its Monday, Oct. 30 Pick 4 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. While $5,000 Pick 4 guarantees are offered each card, The Meadows upped the ante when Saturday’s Pick 4 was uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $2,387.32. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post Monday is 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Vernon, NY -- Two nights ago the Billings Amateur Driver Series was at Batavia Downs and tonight, Saturday Sept. 23 ,seven members of the granddaddy of all amateur harness racing organizations were in Vernon NY for an eastern region trot over the swift oval at Vernon Downs. Taking advantage of the pole position Dein "the Dream" Spriggs hustled Garlandandpearls away quickly to avoid the confusion caused by breaking horses at the start of the race and they led the way by the first quarter and they had three lengths on their competitors as the timer flashed :28.2. With the field in 'Indian file' (order) behind him Spriggs was able to give his trotter a breather and they passed the halfway point in a relatively soft :59.3. But from there the pace quickened and Garlandandpearls seemed easily in command as he led Toss Cartwright and driver Peter "Enough Talk" Kleinhans by the third stanza in 1:29. Around the final turn Spriggs trotter braced for a challenge from Kleinhan's charge but Garlandandpearls was up to the task,kept Toss Cartwright at bay and went on to a length victory in a 1:57.3 clocking. Third place, some eight lengths behind the winner, was "Buffalo Bob" Davis with Jelectric, who was stymied at the beginning of the race. (By the way one of Davis' other horses, Sand Bellini, won the first race on the card with professional driver Chris Lems at the controls.) Sent off as second choice in the wagering Garlandandpeals paid $8.30 for win. The veteran 6-year-old Futile Qwest gelding is trained by Patti Harmon. Spriggs was National Amateur Driver of the Year twice (2004 & 2005),and seems the be in the hunt for that title again this year as he currently sports a .501UDR with 14 wins in 33 seasonal drives. Next up in Billings action will be Midwest region trot at the Red Mile in Lexington, Ky.on September 28. By John Manzi for the Billings Series

Deak's Cici Barr (Armbro Barron) set a new lifetime mark in Thursday's feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel in what was a big day for harness racing driver Jimmy Devaux. Devaux has been red hot of late and chose Deak's Cici Barr over another one of the major dangers in the $9,300 feature for New York sired trotters. The choice proved to be the correct one as the seven year old mare who has been on top of her game since coming to Saratoga late last month continued her own hot streak. The George Deak-trained trotter put in her best career performance in her local debut in June scoring in 1:57.3 while upsetting at odds of 30-1. Following a second place finish last week, Deak's Cici Barr was the 6-5 public choice on Thursday as she scored an impressive victory in 1:56.4. The win was one of five on the card for Devaux who currently sits in fifth in the local driver standings. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

Two-time National Amateur Driver of the Year, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, blew away her competition in the Billings Trot at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (June 1) when she guided Hidden Identity to an oh-so-easy gate to wire harness racing victory over six others in a 2:00.2 clocking Unfazed by starting on the far outside from post seven, Miller hustled her charge to the front as the wings of the mobile starting gate folded and they had command even before the first turn. "He's a real nice horse to drive and I didn't have to do much other than just give him his head and we were on top almost immediately" Hannah said After a :29.2 first stanza Hidden Identity seemed to be on cruise control as the 10 year old altered son of Angus Hall had the field lined-up behind him and none of the trailing horses were game enough to take a shot at the leader in a 1:00.3 first half. As the field headed up the backside for the second time Billings president Tony "the Capo" Verruso had Sam's Honeybee tight on Hannah's back and they raced one-two by the third stanza in 1:30.4. But after that it was Katie bar the door as Hidden Identity began to open daylight on the field. At the top of the lane Hannah had two lengths on the rest of the field which her trotter effortlessly opened to five at the wire.in a 2:00.2 clocked mile "Even though he was so strong throughout the mile when we headed for home I still pulled the (ear) plugs but I really didn't have to. We were easily home free" Ms. Miller said. Sam's Honeybee held on for second money while Wygant Prince , driven by "Coach Paul" Minore kept Woody and "Yankee Joe" Lee at bay for the show dough. Hidden Identity is owned and trained by Tom Milici , Sent off as the odds-on favorite he paid $2.80 for win. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

Ten members of the Western Region of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series convened at Northfield Park on Wednesday evening, May 24, for a trotting contest and when it was declared official, "Tiny Tim" Miller walked off with the harness racing trophy after he reined Song in My Heart to a solid 3-1/4 length victory over Heza Rube and driver Bob "Lumberman" Troyer in a 2:01.3 clocking. Miller made short work of his triumph when he gunned the 6-year-old Cantab Hall for the lead from the four hole and took command on the first turn and in doing so they circled co-favorite Star Chip driven by Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel. As the field headed to the half way point Keep The Cash and Pat " the Write Stuff" Miller were hung on the limb from the start and looking for a spot down along the pylons. But no one wouldn't allow her any space so she was relegated to a fresh-air trip. As the field headed to the third station Song In My Heart couldn't shake off the parked-out Keep The Cash and they raced one-two as the timer flashed 1:31.1. However from there it was all Song In My Heart as the veteran trotter began to shrug off Keep The Cash and then open daylight on the field. At the wire Miller's charge was a 3-1/4-length winner over Bob Troyer's Heza Rube in a 2:01.1 clocking. And even after being parked the entire mile Keep the Cash finished third just four lengths behind the winner. Song In My Heart is owned by Bert Hershberger and trained by JD Wengerd. He returned a $4.60 win mutuel. For "Tiny Tim" it was his fourth seasonal driving victory and the 40th of his amateur driving career. Billings action continues tomorrow (May 25) with an Eastern region trot at Yonkers Raceway. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

Tony "the Capo" Verruso took charge in the Billings Trot at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (May 18) and went right on down the road with Flirting Duezy and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:58.1 harness racing triumph. "We had the pole and I wanted her to be on the muscle so I scored her down hard," the Billings president said in the paddock after his driving victory. "But I didn't expect her to be on the bit as strong as she was and when we got behind the (mobile starting) gate I had all I could do to hold her." Flirting Duezy zipped to the lead and took the field by the first stanza in :28.3. "I tried backing her off but she had a mind of her own at that point. So I left her cruise right along and we passed the half in :58.3 and got by the three quarters in 1:27 and 2," Verruso added. At that point Flirting Duezy was two lengths in front of Avivas Winner, who was being driven by "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli. But Avivas Winner could get no closer and he chased the eventual winner to the wire still two lengths in the rears as the photo finish camera snapped. Third place went to the betting favorite, AJ's Destiny, who was handled by "Buffalo Bob" Davis. Flirting Duezy, is owned by Carl Gillespie and Betsy Phillips and trained by Gillespie. It was the third seasonal victory for the 8-year-old daughter of Victory Sam and the first victory of the year for Verruso who has driven 66 winners in his amateur driving career. However, the day was not over for the Billings president. After the Monticello race he headed to Yonkers Raceway where he's slated to drive his own Sam's Honeybee in the $15,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Associations Spring trotting series. John Manzi

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