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WILKES-BARRE PA - Keystone Velocity has been selected as Pacer of the Year at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono by the harness racing team, with the same group picking Wilberforce as local Trotter of the Year and Mccedes as Claimer of the Year. Keystone Velocity had already established himself as a piece of harness racing trivia before he first set foot on the racetrack ("At $3000, who was the lowest-priced offspring sold at auction from the last crop of the great sire Western Hanover?"), and had added to his credentials with many placings in important races during his youth. After 22 months away from the racetrack, Keystone Velocity returned to sulky sport competition in mid-May, and he showed a distinct liking for the red clay Pocono oval, posting five wins and a second in nine local starts, good for $54,365 in earnings, and at age eight twice paced in 1:48.2, his lifetime best. Lauretta Galm had owned Keystone Velocity from the time he was auctioned off as a yearling until his last start at Pocono in September, and he earned just a shade under $500,000 for her account. Wilberforce, a gelded son of Caviar Crown owned by Dale Wareham in parternship with trainer Kris Rickert, came to Pocono in June with a 1:56 mark, a last start win over a low-level conditioned field at The Meadows, and little respect from the fans - in his four 2016 victories before shipping eastward, the horse had paid $26.80, $89.20, $10.40, and $18.40. But the four-year-old matured into a rugged high-level performer locally, posting a 13-5-1-3 record, adding $62,320 to his bankroll and lowering his lifetime mark to 1:53.1 in his first victory at Pocono, on July 10, while moving up to the highest regularly-scheduled totting class offered at The Downs. Mccedes, an 11-year-old McArdle gelding, certainly had seen his share of racetrack success before this year, earning $1,310,011 and posting a mark of 1:49.3 at age three. The desire and class of this tough pacer was again evidenced during the 2016 campaign, as on April 16 he went wire-to-wire, throwing a 27.2 last quarter to complete a 1:50.2 mile - just 3/5 of a second behind his lifetime best taking eight years previously! The solid performer, going up and down the claiming class ladder in the $10,000 to $20,000 range, had eight victories this year at Pocono, along with two seconds and two thirds, in 19 starts, and he earned $54,060 at The Downs while "just racing in claimers." He changed hands via the claiming box several times over the season, and virtually everyone associated with him made money with him. All three horses will be honored in special ceremonies in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner's Circle on Saturday, November 19th; Wilberforce after the 8th; Keystone Velocity after the 10th; and Mccedes after the 12th race. The Driver and Trainer of the Year will be awarded and honored on closing night, November 26th with a full release to follow. Jennifer Starr 

Gippsland trotter Cruisin Around has been declared the Australian Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding of the Year on the back of a stellar season of harness racing. The young horse captured the Breeders Crown Final, Vicbred Super Series Final and the Holmfield Classic for local horseman Michael Hughes and a syndicate of owners. All told, the Bacardi Lindy gelding collected eight wins and three placings from 14 starts for stakemoney of $123,310 last season. Australian Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding of the Year for the recently completed season is the Gippsland bred, New Zealand trained Our Waikiki Beach. In his second season of racing, Our Waikiki Beach won 11 races with one placing from 12 starts, including the Breeders Crown and New South Wales Derby Finals. The horse was only beaten once during the season - in fact that was his only defeat so far when he took on the older horses in Sydney. Our Waikiki Beach won the Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding of the Year title in 2015. Former local Jodi Quinlan trains Illawong Byron, declared Australian Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding of the Year for 2015/2016. Further award success may come for local harness racing over coming weeks, with the Victorian industry awards to be announced in early November. Kyle Galley

Goshen, NY - The Dan Patch Horse of the Year trophies will be presented on Sunday, March 6, 2016 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tickets for this gala event, the Dan Patch Awards Banquet--Night of Champions, are still available, but the deadline for advertising in the souvenir journal is Wed., Feb. 10.   In addition to equine divisional honors, a host of the industry's biggest and brightest will be feted at the annual awards ceremony, including this year's inductees to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, Charles Keller III & Bruce Nickells; and Communicators Hall of Fame, David Carr and Jerry Connors.   The U. S. Harness Writers list of human awards also includes the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award winner, James Simpson, as well as the Owner, Trainer, Driver, and Breeder of the Year, Rising Star, Breakthrough, Good Guy and a host of others, which are listed below and available on the USHWA.org website.   Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are now available can be reserved via telephone or Email by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson at 302-359-3630 or Email: zoe8874@aol.com Steve Wolf at 954-654-3757 or Email: stevenwolf1956@gmail.com   Savings on hotel rooms can be attained for this event, which is being held at the luxury resort of Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six. A special rate can be reserved by calling 888-421-1442 BEFORE February 11, and mentioning code: DAN PATCH or by clicking this link: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/USHWA The deadline for the Dan Patch Awards journal is Wednesday, February 10. To advertise in the Souvenir Journal, please contact Chris Tully by calling 845.807.7538 or Email: tullytrot@yahoo.com All of this information and applicable advertising forms can be accessed via internet link: USHWA.org   Dan Patch Horse Awards – 2015 Champions   E. Roland Harriman Harness Horse of theYear: Wiggle It Jiggleit Trotter of theYear: Pinkman Pacer of theYear: Wiggle It Jiggleit 2-Year-Old Colt Trotter: Southwind Frank 2-Year-Old Filly Trotter: Broadway Donna 3-Year-Old Colt Trotter: Pinkman 3-Year-Old Filly Trotter: Mission Brief Trotting Horse: J L Cruze Trotting Mare: Bee A Magician 2-Year-Old Colt Pacer: Boston Red Rocks 2-Year-Old Filly Pacer: Pure Country 3-Year-Old Colt Pacer: Wiggle It Jiggleit 3-Year-Old Filly Pacer: Divine Caroline Pacing Horse: State Treasurer Pacing Mare: Venus Delight   United States Harness Writers Association – Awards and Honorees United States Harness Writers Association Awards Harness Racing Hall of Fame: Charles Keller III Harness Racing Hall of Fame: Bruce Nickells Communicators Hall of Fame: David Carr Communicators Hall of Fame: Jerry Connors Stan Bergstein–Proximity Award: James W. Simpson Norman Woolworth Owner: George Teague Jr. Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year: Jimmy Takter Driver of the Year: David Miller Breeder of the Year: Hanover Shoe Farms Lew Barasch Breakthrough: Gabe Prewitt Rising Star: Montrell Teague President’s Award: Breana Carsey President’s Award: Michelle & Albert Crawford W. R. Haughton Good Guy: Jo Ann Looney-King USHWAn of the Year: Ellen Taylor Lee Anne Pooler Unsung Hero: Joanne Young January Davies Humanitarian Award: Marvin Chantler Amateur Driver of the Year: Hannah Miller Caretaker of the Year: Mike Taylor Trotting Broodmare of the Year: Margie Seelster Pacing Broodmare of the Year: Mozzi Hanover Hervey Awards - Writing: Feature: Kimberly French; Writing: News & Commentary: Dave Briggs Broadcasting: CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley Smallsreed Photography Awards - Feature:  Frances Lund; Racing:  Clive Cohen Grand Circuit – Driver: Yannick Gingras; Trainer: Ron Burke; Owner: Burke Racing US Trotting & US Harness Writers Railbird Recognition Awards - Horse Person: Joe Bellino; Racing Moment: Wiggle It Jiggleit’s Jug US Trotting & US Harness Writers Dash Winning Driver: Aaron Merriman Harness Horse Youth Foundation Service to Youth Award: Callie Davies-Gooch   Chris Tully    

The harness racing community will gather in Christchurch this weekend to honour and celebrate the elite performers of our industry over the last twelve months. The winners of the age group pacers and trotters divisions will be able to celebrate and remember what a great last twelve months they have had. That is unless you happen to be the owner or trainer of a four year old pacer or trotter. This is nothing at this years awards dinner for four year olds and that is due to the incredibly short sighted decision to combine the awards for four year olds and older horses into one category. So Sky Major has to go up against Christen Me, King Denny against Stent, Venus Serena against Adore Me and Poppymalda against Kincaslough. Hence no four year old in New Zealand from last season will win an award which is a travesty when you realize what an incredibly talented bunch of pacers and trotters we had in this age group last season. In recent years some of our major four year old classics have been turned into four and five year old races with the aim of trying to keep some of our older horses in New Zealand and to produce stronger fields. But like all poor decisions it is only a half way house. Not all the four year old races have been made into joint affairs with the five year olds with the Harness Jewels the obvious exception. Surely if it is such a great idea to make the Messenger and the Taylor Mile joint races with the four and five year olds, why not the Harness Jewels. Logic would suggest that having made four and five year olds a joint age group for some classics they would follow suit and do the awards on the same basis. Instead we have a situation were we have four year old Group races, four and five year old Group races and then when it comes to awards time we have four year olds, five year olds and older horses in one category. It is a mess of their own making and one that needs urgent attention. The owners and trainers of four year olds deserve to be treated better and to be acknowledged for the massive contribution they make to our industry. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing breeders in Australasia saw the passing of the great racehorse and sire Sundon this year but his impact on breeding downunder continues to grow. With the end of the season in New Zealand in sight, we thought we would have a look at his stats this season and yet again he has been dominant on all fronts. With his win in the 2015 sires premiership for trotters, Sundon took his 15th consecutive title as the leading sire of trotters in New Zealand. During that period he also managed to win two New Zealand Siring premierships covering all starters This year Sundon will also take out his fifth consecutive New Zealand trotting broodmare premiership with a lead of over $2,000,000 on his nearest rival. Even more impressive this year was his feat of winning the overall broodmare sires premiership with a lead of over $300,000 on last years winner In The Pocket The record across the Tasman is no less impressive. If he wins the premiership this season and he is $60,000 in front at the moment, then it will be  Sundon's13th successive title in Australia. The broodmare title in Australia is also a non event with Sundon nearly $2,000,000 in front of his nearest competitor. Sundon is currently setting records for premiership wins that are unlikely to ever be challenged. He is without doubt the greatest trotting stallion to have stood in Australasia and he isn't finished yet. Harnesslink Media

For the first time in 43 years of harness racing, two horses with Trotter of the Year honors to their credit will meet when Bee A Magician and Shake It Cerry clash in Saturday's C$272,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. Both mares were elimination winners last week; 5-year-old Bee A Magician in a Canadian-record 1:51.1 and 4-year-old Shake It Cerry in 1:52.4. It will mark the first time since 1972 that two horses with Trotter of the Year awards already on their resumes face each other in North America. Fresh Yankee, the inaugural Trotter of the Year winner in 1970, and his successor Speedy Crown met six times that season. Bee A Magician, who received the 2013 Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year awards, has won five of six races this year and earned $284,910. She will start the Armbro Flight final from post five with driver Brian Sears and is the 3-5 morning line favorite. Shake It Cerry, the 2014 Trotter of the Year, has won three of six starts this season and earned $68,738. She brings a three-race win streak to the Armbro Flight final, where she will start from post three with driver Yannick Gingras. She is the 5-2 second choice. The field also includes Classic Martine, a Dan Patch Award divisional champion in 2014, who leaves from post two with Tim Tetrick in the sulky. She is third best on the morning line, at 8-1. "It's a great field, a fantastic field," said Richard "Nifty" Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. "You couldn't ask for more. "(Bee A Magician) seems great. She looks good and is nice and relaxed. I'm really happy with her going into the race. She was fantastic last week. If she can repeat that kind of performance this week, she should be in good shape. I think it will be a pretty honest race. We'll see how it shakes out." Earlier this year, Bee A Magician beat the boys to become the first female trotter to win the Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands. Her only loss this year was a second-place finish to Father Patrick in the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational. She has won three times this year in 1:51.3 or faster -- the three fastest win times of any female trotter this season. Shake It Cerry and Armbro Flight finalist Frau Blucher are not far behind, both with a 1:51.4 victory in the books. Rockin With Dewey and Allie Labrook, two more Armbro Flight contenders, each has a mark of 1:52 this year. "It's going to be a hell of a race," said Jimmy Takter, who trains Shake It Cerry for the Solveig's Racing Partners ownership group. "I don't say I'm going to beat Bee A Magician because she is one of the better mares I've ever seen. But Shake It Cerry is one of the better mares I ever saw too. The trip could work out for her. She can open as fast as you want and maybe if she can get into position behind Bee A Magician it could be a good horse race. "I might try to make (Shake It Cerry) a little faster this week, lighten her up a little bit. We need another second to beat Bee A Magician." Following is the Armbro Flight field in post order with sires, drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. Bax Of Life by Windsongs Legacy, Chris Christoforou, Jerry Duford, 20-1 2. Classic Martine by Classic Photo, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes, 8-1 3. Shake It Cerry by Donato Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2 4. Rockin With Dewey by Deweycheatumhowe, Mario Baillargeon, Benoit Baillargeon, 10-1 5. Bee A Magician by Kadabra, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 3-5 6. Charmed Life by Majestic Son, Jody Jamieson, Dave Menary, 12-1 7. Frau Blucher by Broadway Hall, Corey Callahan, Chris Oakes, 12-1 8. Harley Momma by Sjs Caviar, Sylvain Filion, Richard Moreau, 30-1 9. Handover Belle by Andover Hall, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 20-1 10. Allie Labrook by Here Comes Herbie, Dan Shetler Jr., Brad Maxwell, 20-1 By Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA  

NZ Trotter of the Year Master Lavros is set to have another trial this week for Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones. Master Lavros made a return to the track at the Rangiora workouts on Wednesday, September 17, but wasn’t pushed after losing ground early. “He missed away bad being so fresh,” Mark said. “But I was very happy with afterwards.” Master Lavros wasn’t asked for a serious run in the C1 and faster trot taken out by fellow 40m marker Phil’s Gift, who trotted the 2600m (stand) in 3:26.6 for driver Stevie Golding. Mark has a return to racing earmarked for the big Sundon gelding in a $12,000 C4-0C trot over 2600m at Addington on October 3. He’s had a great long slow build-up,” Mark said. Master Lavros will be a leading hope to repeat last year’s dominant Group One Dominion Handicap success at the New Zealand Cup meeting. Now six, the Kypros Kotzikas-owned trotting star is still lightly-raced, despite kicking off his career with three starts at two. He’s faced the starter only 31 times for 15 wins and five placings, banking $351,468. Last season, he won seven of 15 starts, securing his place in NZ trot history as the winner of three NZ Group One trot races in the same season. He was spelled after taking out the G1 Canam Rowe Cup at Auckland on May 9. Master Lavros also won the G1 $80,000 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship at Addington in April in a NZ record for the mobile 2600m of 3:13.1 (1:59.4 rate). For good measure, he also won two Group Three trots at Addington last term, the $25,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Summer Trotting Free-For-All (mobile 1950m) and $25,000 Dr Cliff Irvine Memorial Canterbury Park Trotting Cup (2600m). Unfortunately, his only start in Australia resulted in gallop in the Glenferrie Challenge at Menangle on March 2, but will be given the chance to show his best across the Tasman this season. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing - Visit site here

Trenton, NJ --- For most of her life, the extent of Shelley Johnson’s photography featured holiday and vacation photos, much like the rest of the world. About 10 years ago, her husband Jeff surprised Shelley with a point-and-shoot camera for Christmas, in hopes that nine months later she would be able to take sharp action photographs at the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. “I’m not sure what Jeff was thinking,” said Johnson, who lives 35 miles east of Columbus, Ohio. “I had never taken action shots. I took it as a challenge.” Jeff must have known something no one else did, because the challenge has been well met. A decade later, most of the cover photos on Scioto Downs programs are taken by Shelley, who has developed an eye for action and just this week enjoyed shooting another Little Brown Jug. But her efforts in photography go beyond the racetrack. She also shoots photographs for the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, which has Standardbred facilities in Ohio and Michigan. “I find great joy shooting photos of Standardbred horses retiring from the track and moving on to other careers,” she said. “New Vocations retrains Standardbred racehorses for various occupations under saddle and places them in new, caring homes. Each month I photograph these great horses going up for adoption. This is my way of promoting harness racing and helping the Standardbred horse adoption program.” While Jeff is the big horseman in the family, he did provide Shelley with a birthday present when he bought her a horse for her birthday named Master Chip in 2005. But it wasn’t like she just had to unwrap the horse at the stable. “I had to do all of my own bidding at the (Ohio Selected Jug) sale,” she said. “I had never been to an auction, let alone bid on anything. It was quite stressful. He didn't do much on the track, but I sure loved him. He has a good home now and enjoys life.” The Johnsons have also partnered with other owners on trotting fillies She’s Not Red and ML Cupcake, who are both broodmares now. They still have ML Cupcake, who was Ohio’s 2-year-old filly Trotter of the Year in 2010. “I can't wait until next spring to see her baby,” Shelley said. They also have a 2-year-old filly trotter, Carolina Charm, who has won four of six starts this season. “The racing was always Jeff's thing,” Shelley noted. “He knows horses, stallions, etc. I only enjoyed watching the races if it was a horse I knew. That's when I started taking pictures. It gave me something to do, and he was able to stay for the entire card without me wanting to go home!” It has led to a long, steady climb for the Ohio retiree who is technically a professional photographer by virtue of her sales, but still considers it a hobby. After receiving that first camera, she experimented on her feathered friends before horses, taking photos of birds at the feeder outside the dining room window. When she and Jeff bought their first horse, Shelley would try to capture him in action at the track. When she shot the Jug, it became a bit tougher as horses trying to win races traveled a lot faster than those being jogged and trained. “I took pictures, but they didn’t really turn out,” she said. Johnson kept plugging away. She took online classes for nature photography and equine photography. Neither dealt with shooting actual race action, but did help in the process. “I learned a lot about headshots and conformation shots in the equine class,” she said. “Also the proper distance to avoid distortion in the photos.” She also put in countless hours practicing at the farm of her friend Doris, who jogged and trained her own horses and taught Shelley a lot about the animals. But all the practice and all the talent in the world can only get a photographer so far without the right equipment. As her interest increased, so too did the quality of Shelley’s cameras. The big turnaround in her photos came several years ago when Jeff bought his wife a professional grade lens. “That’s made a huge difference,” Johnson said. “He even said if he had known the lens would make that much difference, he would have gotten it for me sooner.” She knew she arrived as a photographer when Scioto Downs made her a cover girl two years ago. “At that point,” she said, “I guess I thought, hey, I got this!” The monumental first cover came on June 21, 2012, with a photo of the entire field of a race on the starting gate, and an Ohio Lottery billboard behind them proclaiming “Winners Are Everywhere.” “It felt amazing to see it,” Johnson said. Aside from the program covers, she has had several photos in magazines by virtue of New Vocations using them. A week ago, Johnson was thrilled to see that one of her photos was used on the Scioto Downs billboard out front. She has discovered that she gets her finest results when not focusing on anything in particular. “I do my best when I just shoot random, with no pressure,” she said. “If I get it, OK. If I don't, OK. I will try to focus on a certain horse in a race if someone wants me to get a picture of their horse. That's hard though. The horse isn't always in view.” And as good as she has become, Johnson still feels the biggest key to her success “is probably just good luck.” “Most of the time I single-shoot the pictures,” she explained. “My camera doesn't shoot enough frames per second to use continuous mode. If I try to shoot in continuous mode and the horse has its foot planted on the track, it usually ends up planted in all of the shots. I like to try for shots with all four off the ground.” As for attempting to choose her favorite photo, Shelley said it’s like trying to pick a favorite child. She notes that when so many photos do not come out, “whenever I get one that I think looks good, I’m happy.” Judging by her success in recent years, Shelley Johnson has had quite a bit of happiness lately. To view Shelly Johnson’s work, check out her website at www.sfjohnsonphotos.com by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent  Courtesy of the US Trotting Association Web Newsroom    

The votes have been tallied and the winners announced at the 2014 New Zealand Harness Racing  Awards in Christchurch. Tonight our industry celebrated the many successes of the exciting 2013/14 season. Below are the winners for 2014. Please note a total of 21 voting papers were received. PGG Wrightson 2YO Pacing Filly of the Year  SUPERSONIC MISS 14 Owners: Butterworth Racing Syndicate, K J Riseley, D M Riseley, MacLean Family Syndicate, Kaos Syndicate. (Joanne’s A Delight - 5, Linda Lovegrace - 2) Woodlands Stud 3YO Pacing Filly of the Year VENUS SERENA 21 Owner: R L Sandford, Mrs J A Sandford, G R Dunn Nevele R Stud 4YO & Older Pacing Mare of the Year ADORE ME 21 Owner: Charles Roberts, Paul Kenny, Mary Kenny. McMillan Equine Feeds 2YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year  FOLLOW THE STARS 20 Owners: Mrs G J Kennard, P I Kennard, N Pilcher, G R Douglas, P J Creighton, Mrs M C Creighton (Alta Orlando - 1) Copthorne Commodore 3YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year TIGER TARA 17 Owner: R L Sandford, Mrs J A Sandford, J S Gould, G R Dunn (Locharburn - 3, Isaiah - 1) Christchurch Casino 4YO & Older Pacing Entire or Gelding of the Year TERROR TO LOVE 21 Owner: McDonald Bloodstock Limited (Terry McDonald) Alabar Stud Pacer of the Year TERROR TO LOVE 19 Owner: McDonald Bloodstock Limited (Terry McDonald) (Adore Me - 2) Trotters Crombie Lockwood 2YO Trotting Filly of the Year WANNA PLAY 14 Owner: Trevor Casey, Natalie Rasmussen (Arya - 6, Yagunnakissmeornot - 1) XCM 3YO Trotting Filly of the Year MAJESTIC TIME 21 Owners: J M Ward, Mrs P L Ward, Miss S L Ward, C M Ward Advanced Joinery 4YO & Older Trotting Mare of the Year SUPERBOWLCHEERLEADER 21 Owner: Mrs Sue Grainger, Studholme Bloodstock Limited Lone Star 2YO Trotting Colt or Gelding of the Year MONBET 20 Owners: Greg Hope, Mrs Nina Hope, Maurice Molloy (Prince Fearless - 1) The Caxton Press 3YO Trotting Colt or Gelding of the Year KING DENNY 21 Owner: Butterworth Racing Syndicate NRM 4YO & Older Trotting Entire & Gelding of the Year MASTER LAVROS 20 Owner: Kypros Kotzikas (Peak - 1) Lincoln Farms Trotter of the Year MASTER LAVROS 21 Owners: Kypros Kotzikas Harness Racing New Zealand Horse of the Year TERROR TO LOVE 19 Owner: McDonald Bloodstock Limited (Terry McDonald) (Adore Me - 2)

Nevele R Stud, in conjunction with EMP Invest Oy of Finland, is delighted to announce that one of the world's leading and most influential trotting stallions Andover Hall will be available to New Zealand and Australian breeders for the first time this coming breeding season. The youngest, and arguably the best, of the legendary triumvirate of Hall brothers - Angus Hall and Conway Hall being the other two - Andover Hall was a brilliant juvenile, winning eight of his nine starts at two which saw him crowned the Dan Patch and Nova 2-year-old trotting colt of the year in 2001. A natural two-year-old, legendary reinsman John Campbell had this to say about Andover Hall. “He was great-gaited and very athletic. It was unusual for a two-year-old to come to his speed as quickly as he did.” At three, Andover Hall set a then world record of 1:51.6 when winning the $550,000 World Trotting Derby at the Du Quoin State Fair in Illinois – defeating the likes of millionaire square-gaiters Like A Prayer, Chip Chip Hooray and Kadabra in the process. As good a racehorse as he was, it is unquestionably as a sire that Andover Hall has really made his mark. Incredibly popular with North American breeders from the day that he first went to stud at Hanover Shoe Farm, Andover Hall’s sensational first crop of foals included the champions Donato Hanover and Pampered Princess – whom both went on to claim the 2 and 3-year-old colt and filly trotter of the year titles and whom both contributed to him finishing his debut season as North America’s leading sire of two-year-old trotters – almost $850,000 clear of his nearest rival, his brother Conway Hall. Next season that phenomenal first crop would produce the Hambletonian winner (Donato Hanover), the Hambletonian runner-up (Adrian Chip), the Hambletonian Oaks winner (Danae) and the Elegantimage and Del Miller winner Pampered Princess. This exceptional group of youngsters, along with another very capable crop of 2-year-olds, saw Andover Hall become the Leading All Age Trotting Stallion with just two crops racing – something that very few stallions of either gait ever achieve. That incredible initial success saw his progeny sell up to $825,000 in the sales ring and his service fee rise at one point to $30,000.  Andover Hall remains one of North America’s leading trotting stallions with progeny earnings of over $53 million, six millionaires, 133 $100,000 earners and average earnings per starter of $97,000. He was the leading North American sire of 3-year-old trotters in 2013, courtesy of the outstanding Spider Blue Chip (winner of the Breeders Crown) and Creatine (winner of the Kentucky Futurity and Bluegrass Stakes), and also finished second on the All Age Trotting Sires Premiership. By Garland Lobell and out of the greatest trotting mare of the modern era Amour Angus (by Magna Force), Andover Hall is essentially an outcross sire and as such suitable for the majority of Australasia's trotting broodmare population, and should be a great match in particular for Sundon mares - with both his full brother Angus Hall and Angus Hall's son Majestic Son achieving tremendous success with daughters of Sundon to date. Andover Hall's service fee has been set at  NZ$7,500 + GST and AU$8,250 incl GST. For more information please visit Nevele R's website nevelerstud.co.nz or phone 03 349 8627.  

Most years when you look at the list of nominees for the annual harness racing awards, there are many age group awards that have the potential to be highly contentious. In our view this is one of those years where most of the award winners pick themselves. The exception is the two year old filly trotter of the year where Wanna Play and Arya can both present a compelling case in support  of claims to the award. How media voting in these awards regard the disqualification of Arya on Jewels day will have a big bearing on who wins this award. If the result as they passed the line had stood ( as many in the industry think it should have) then Arya would have beaten Wanna Play in four of their six meetings. As it stands after the disqualification, the tally is three apiece. Our vote would go to Arya but we can see the reasoning for people voting for Wanna Play who got better as the season went on. In several of the divisions the winner for this year is clear cut. In the pacing awards Adore Me, Venus Serena,  Follow The Stars and Terror To Love look ready made winners while over on the trotting side of the awards, Monbet, King Denny, Majestic Time, Superbowlcheerleader and Master Lavros look certainties. One category that will divide some voters is the two year old filly award. For us this was settled on Jewels Day where Supersonic Miss gave all her competition for this award a start and a beating. The other category that may see differing views is in the three year old colt award. Several colts had great seasons but for us Locharburn stood out with him finishing one/two in all twelve starts. Finally we think the overall awards are clear cut with Terror To Love the Pacer of The Year and Master Lavros the Trotter Of The Year. We think the Harness Horse Of The Year must go to Terror To Love for his outstanding season in winning the New Zealand Cup for the third time along with an Auckland Cup.  Here are our selections for this years awards. PACERS 2 year old filly - Supersonic Miss                             2 year old colt/geld - Follow The Stars 3 year old filly - Venus Serena                                  3 year old colt/geld - Locharburn 4 year old+ mare - Adore Me                                     4 year old+ entire/geld - Terror To Love TROTTERS 2 year old filly - Arya                                                   2 year old colt/geld - Monbet 3 year old filly - Majestic Time                                    3 year old colt/geld - King Denny 4 year old+ mare - Superbowlcheerleader                   4 year old colt/geld - Master Lavros   PACER OF THE YEAR - Terror To Love TROTTER OF THE YEAR - Master Lavros HARNESS HORSE OF THE YEAR - Terror To Love Harnesslink media

Top harness racing horseman Mark Jones was confident Master Lavros would be declared Rowe Cup champion before entering the inquiry room at Alexandra Park, Auckland, on Friday, May 10. Dexter Dunn, driving runnerup Sheemon, put in a protest after Master Lavros drifted outwards under pressure in the run home, but there wasn’t enough in it to change the result. Mark says the professionalism of all participants in the inquiry was pleasing. “Not just because I won, but it was probably one of the best inquiries I’ve been involved with,” he said. “Everyone stuck to that facts. Dexter was very good. He never went out of his way to overturn it and Kevin Townley (Sheemon’s trainer) was extremely good.” Mark said John Muirhead (Stipendiary steward) was very good and fair with his interpretation of events. “He said Mr Jones had run out but has not made any contact and I cannot say that Mr Dunn would have beaten Mr Jones.” “I would have hated the backlash if we’d been put out,” Mark said after delivering with the $3 favourite. “I think Kevin Townley felt a bit bad about it, but you have to look at it from their situation. They’re doing their best to win the race too.” “Even before we went in there Kevin said I don’t want to protest and I don’t want to win a race like that.” Kypros Kotzikas, the owner of Master Lavros, was asked for his interpretation of events and according to Mark quite simply told the inquiry: “I don’t know why we are here. We did nothing wrong and did not interfere with that horse.” The Judicial Control Authority agreed the home straight movement wasn’t enough to change the placings, although they took $450 from Mark for allowing Master Lavros to shift outwards. Mark says there are adjustments to turn a trotter like Master Lavros around from racing left-handed at Addington, which he prefers, then rig him differently to race right-handed. Mark says Master Lavros was running on empty the final 100m in the Rowe, but when Sheemon challenged, he put his head down and toughed it out. “Probably six months ago he wouldn’t have done that,” he said. “All it boils down to is that good horses just want to do it.” Master Lavros, three back on the outer, zipped up a lap out and strode to the front at the 700m. He held the booming finish wide of Sheemon by a neck, trotting the 3200m in 4:06.4 (2:03.4 mile rate), the last 800m in 60.1s During the race, Mark says it was as good as Master Lavros had trotted. “During the running he felt a million dollars,” he said. Master Lavros had mixed his gait in the Greenlane Cup, and has also broken at other times during the season, but Mark says he can’t find anything wrong with him. “He has a few niggles but nothing that you could say is a problem. What probably makes things a lot worse is that mentally when he does make one mistake and gallops, he loses the plot.” He expects him to come back better at six and is looking forward to the horse proving himself in Australia. The Rowe win was very satisfying for Mark as a horseman, emulating father Peter, who drove Tussle to win the 1985 Rowe and 1986 Dominion, and also won the 1990 Dominion with Sundon. It also came as a bonus as it was a late decision to keep him going another month for the Rowe. He now heads to the spelling paddock the winner of 15 races from 31 starts for $351,468 in stakes. Mark, who was recording his 61st training win of the term in the Rowe, with the team earning over $680,000 in stakes, says the season had exceeded expectations. “We’ve probably won the right races with the right horses,” he said. “But it will probably be my best for a few years. Numbers-wise we’re way down,” he said. However, having a “flagship” horse and the raging favourite to be crowned NZ Trotter Of The Year, is the icing on the cake. “Cran (Dalgety, former boss) always said that. You can win 100 races in a season but no-one really remembers it unless you have a flagship horse that wins some big races.” Maximising their potential takes skill and management. Mark continues to make most of the right calls with Master Lavros and providing he stays sound, the huge Sundon gelding will cement his claim as NZ’s leading squaregaiter. By Jeff Scott (MARK JONES RACING)

Mark Jones has always had huge faith in Master Lavros and tonight the giant five-year-old gelding justified it by winning the Group One Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park. In doing so, Master Lavros not only cemented himself with the Trotter of the Year title, but also helped Jones emulate what his father Peter achieved in 1985 when winning the prestigious race with grand trotting mare Tussle. “He’s a great horse and he had to be the best one tonight as he was made to work hard mid-race,” said Mark Jones post-race. Master Lavros drifted out during the run home causing the runner-up Sheemon to race wider on the track but Mark Jones was adamant that it didn’t affect the results and stewards agreed by eventually dismissing the inquiry. “The other horse got outside my wheel but he held him easy in the end,” said Jones. Jones thanked owner Kypros Kotzikas for his support after the race and was also full of praise for stable foreman, Regan Todd. “This horse has a few issues and causes us some headaches and heart breaks sometimes but Regan (Todd) does a lot of the work with him which makes my job a lot easier. He virtually sleeps with the horse,” he added. Master Lavros, who trotted a very good 4.06.4 when winning tonight’s feature, will now be spelled before returning in the spring to defend his Dominion title. Boizel finished strongly into third, giving him his second placing in the great race, while Cool Cobber rounded out the First4. By Mitchell Robertson

Harness racing prominent breeder-owner Pat Driscoll knocked down the three top-priced lots at the second Pryde’s EasiFeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale held at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 23. Driscoll, who trades as Yabby Dam Farms, pocketed a cool $119,000 for his three-strong draft including the sale topping colt at $41,000, a son of USA superstar Muscle Hill out of the Malabar Maple mare Calder Luck, a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 placegetter Calder Sensation, Calder Image and Bella Cheval. The handsome youngster was bought for a syndicate by John and Maree Caldow, who developed and trained Calder Sensation, a winner of 16 races and $142,762. An Angus Hall colt out of Maori’s Dream, the grand-dam of the top priced lot, realised the second highest price of $40,000. He was knocked down to Romsey trainer Chris Alford on behalf of stable clients Phil Walshe and Craig Nott. While another of the Muscle Hill progeny, a colt from the USA bred Let’s Be Happy, the dam of Bathurst Gold Coronet winner Verbier, was garnered by Christchurch trainer Tim Butt for $38,000. Two Angus Hall youngsters, one out of the Muscles Yankee mare Lindy’s Two Step (1:57.4) and the other from the useful Sundon mare Pinevale Ellason, realised $30,000 and $28,000 respectively. Majestic Son, a leading sire of juvenile trotters, had three head sell including a gelding out of the R C’s Dee Jay mare Howdoudo, the dam of Vicbred champion Split Image, which was haltered by Chris Lang Jnr for $30,000. Two Majestic Son colts out of strong New Zealand-bred mares from Harness Breeders Vic committeeman Gerard Moloney’s draft sold for $22,000 and $20,000. Former local champion Skyvalley was the sire of the highest priced filly Aldebaran Eve, out of the Victoria Oaks winner Aldebaran Dream, consigned by Aldebaran Park and sold for $18,000, while a Skyvalley colt from the 2YO and 3YO Trotter of the Year Jauriol realised $20,000. Running Pinevale, also a Victoria Oaks champion, was represented by her second foal, a colt by NZ-based import The Pres, who was knocked down for $22,000. Of the 36 lots offered, 31 were sold for an average price of $16,359, up almost 25 percent on last year. by Peter Wharton

BOWDEN ALSO BUYS SHARES IN FATHER PATRICK...WILL STAND HIM AT DIAMOND CREEK FARM

DOVER DE - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's principal organization for media workers, held its annual meetings this past Saturday and Sunday at the Dover Downs complex, with the weekend culminating in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet held Sunday (Feb. 23) night, attended by almost 400 people and streamed worldwide for live viewing. During the Saturday meeting, the Directors of the Association voted for Bob Marks and Kathy Parker to be on the Communicators Hall of Fame voting ballot this summer. Marks has been a leading force in many harness dimensions over his 50 years in the sport, most recently as Marketing Director for Perretti Farms, while Parker, from a prominent harness family, worked her way through the ranks at the Horseman and Fair World weekly magazine until becoming editor in 1995 and later general manager of the Horseman Publishing Company, positions she maintains to this day. At the conclusion of the meetings, the membership voted in their slate of association Officials for 2014-15. Chris Tully, an MBA marketing specialist and writer whose digital literacy and social media acumen has helped bring USHWA to the cutting edge of communications technology, was elected President of the association, succeeding Steve Wolf of Harnesslink.com; Tully's "first official act" was to present Wolf, who now becomes the Chairman of the Board, with a gold Lifetime Membership pin. Tim Bojarski, writer/blogger for the USTA, moved up a chair to 1st Vice President, with the 2VP position going to Shawn Wiles, Monticello Raceway chief racing officer and a longtime USTA and USHWA director. Judy Davis-Wilson, who is based in Dover and worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the weekend, especially the banquet, was returned as Treasurer; Alan Prince, who attended his 48th consecutive USHWA meetings weekend, remains as Executive Treasurer. Also elected was Jerry Connors as USHWA secretary. Much of the discussion during the two days of meetings focused on the sport's Halls of Fame in Goshen NY, where plans for renovation and modernization are starting to advance rapidly, and where USHWA makes a significant contribution. In addition to the physical reconfiguration of the Halls of Fame area, the directors and membership discussed several by-law and rules change relating to the Halls, especially the re-establishment of a Seniors category for both. Debate was plentiful, lively, and well-reasoned on all sides, and some of these matters were tabled until a Committee, soon to be appointed, can focus on the merits - and the eventual wording -- of the varied proposed changes. The attendees heard reports from the many committees that keep USHWA functioning throughout the year, and were glad to hear from Davis-Wilson, voted the organization's member of the year, that the treasury was in a very good shape, pointing to future success in USHWA's upcoming progressive efforts. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner was as always the highlight of the gathering, with superstar sophomore trotting filly Bee A Magician "finishing her unbeaten season" by being elected Trotter of the Year and then Harness Horse of the Year; her contemporary, the pacing colt Captaintreacherous, took down overall honors for that gait after a brilliant campaign showing speed and courage in equal amounts. Also honored were the quartet to be inducted into the Halls of Fame Sunday, July 6 in Goshen: Harness Racing Hall of Famers David Miller and William Weaver, and Communicators Hall inductees Carol Cramer and John Pawlak. by Jerry Connors for USHWA

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