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NICHOLS, NY - When nine of North America's top harness racing drivers compete at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs later this month in the 8th Annual All-Star Drivers Championship, they'll be racing for more than just prize money and bragging rights. They'll also be raising money for the charity of their choice. All nine drivers will donate their 5% driving commission to charity. The amount will be matched by Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs plus the tracks' owner, Jeffrey Gural. Last year, more than $9,000 was donated. "This event is the premier driving tournament in the country with a first place prize of $25,000," said Jason Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing and Simulcast at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. "Anytime we can use this big stage to raise awareness and money for some great organizations, we're happy to do it." Defending champion Jimmy Marohn, Jr. will be donating his earnings to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. Two-time champion Yannick Gingras and first-time participant Matt Kakaley will also support the SRF. Tim Tetrick and Scott Zeron will be competing on behalf of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Corey Callahan has selected the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Canadian representative Jody Jamieson will be donating to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. Vernon Downs representative Chris Lems will be competing for locally based Sunshine Horses and David Miller has chosen to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Round 1 of the All-Star Drivers Championship takes place on August 29 at Vernon Downs and the final round moves to Tioga Downs on September 1. Both days will also feature a Jimmy Marohn, Jr. bobblehead giveaway, commemorative t-shirt giveaway and other fan-friendly promotions and contests. by Justin Horowitz, for Tioga & Vernon Downs  

(August 18, 2014 - Wyomissing, PA) Three racetracks operated by Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PNGI), the largest operator of harness racetracks in North America, will be active participants in the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) "Back to the Track" program over the next month. The "Back to the Track" program is an initiative to encourage on-track attendance at harness racetracks across the country through promotions and interactive events. More information on the program can be found at http://backtothetrack.ustrotting.com/. "Back to the Track is a great way to bring new guests to our tracks and also say 'thank you' to our loyal customers as well," said PNGI Vice President of Racing Christopher McErlean. "Plainridge, Freehold and Rosecroft each have come up with some unique events and activities for their guests to enjoy," he added. Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville, MA, the newest member of the PNGI racing family, will be hosting a full weekend of events and live racing on August 23 and 24. On both days the Hambletonian Trophy, Harness Racing's most prestigious prize, will be on display. The trophy was won by the locally owned and trained Royalty for Life in 2013. On Saturday, barn tours will be conducted from 12 noon to 2 p.m. with all participants to be entered in drawings to announce a post parade on either day, ride in the starting gate car and participate in an exhibition race on Sunday with top Plainridge drivers. Plainridge drivers will participate in a meet and greet on both days and serving customers in a special cook out area during both afternoons. Drivers will also give out commemorative "Back to the Track" t-shirts following each race. A free scratch off ticket will be given to all guests Sunday with a $50,000 grand prize. The "$50,000 Match and Win" promotion is sponsored by Mom's Motorcycles of Foxboro, MA. Post time Saturday, August 23 is 4 p.m. Post time on Sunday, August 24 is 1 p.m. Admission and parking is free at Plainridge every live racing day. For more information go to www.prcharness.com. Freehold Raceway in Freehold, NJ will be hosting "Back to the Track" events on Labor Day, September 1 during its afternoon live racing program. All guests will receive a free "Back to the Track" baseball cap with the purchase of a Freehold live racing program (while supplies last.) Drawings throughout the day will be conducted for "Back to the Track" t-shirts and Season Parking passes. Fifty-cent ($.50) hot dog and soda specials will be offered as well as a driver autograph session. Post time Labor Day is 12:30 p.m. and admission is free. For more information go to www.freeholdraceway.com. Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD will celebrate "Back to the Track" as part of its summer-fall meet opening night on Saturday, September 13. The first 400 guests after 6 p.m. will receive a free "Back to the Track" t-shirt and guests will have a chance to enter losing tickets all evening for "Second Chance" drawings after races 5, 7 and 9 for $50 betting vouchers. In addition, a popular Asian Festival will be held all day Saturday, September 13 in the Rosecroft parking lots. Post time on September 13 is 6:4 0 p.m. with free admission and parking. For more information go to www.rosecroft.com. Christopher McErlean

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association teamed with The Meadows Racetrack & Casino this past Friday night (August 8) for a special evening to benefit the harness racing Horsemen's Emergency Fund.   The MSOA and Meadows Racing donated each group's commission of all wagers on Race 7 on the card, designated as the Horsemen's Emergency Fund Race.   Additionally, The Meadows Casino then added a separate donation to the cause.   "We are very thankful that everyone came together in support of this cause," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "It's a fund that we hope to never need to use, but over the years we have had to step in to help several of our fellow horsemen. Thanks to the support of the horsemen, the track and the casino, we are able to help when needed."   The night also featured a special match race among local legislators, who, led by PA State Senator Tim Solobay, were also on hand to show their support for the Horsemen's Emergency Fund.   by Jeff Zidek, for MSOA

Woodstock, Virginia-- It's that time of year again for the Shenandoah County Fair which kicks off on August 22. The age old tradition of Harness Racing returns to the Shenandoah half-mile oval on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 and runs through Saturday, August 30, 2014. Entries will be accepted by phone or in person and the entry box will close 2 day prior to the scheduled race day at 11:00 AM. As usual there will be charted lines for the races and the condition sheet is now available and is attached below. If you need a hard copy you can contact the race office at (540) 459-7203. For more information contact the fair at shencofair.com. Attached: Condition Sheet Shenandoah County Fair. Photo: Racing Returns to the Shenandoah County Fair on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 Race Program Shenandoah County Fair Association, Inc. Woodstock, Virginia 22664 (540)-459-7303 (Race Office) TWO DAY BOX (closing @ 11:00 AM) August 27 - August 30, 2014 POST-TIME 1:00 PM RACES WILL BE CHARTED Wednesday, August 27 (Box closes Monday @ 11:00 am) Trot- Two-year olds VA Preferred Purse $700.00 Pace-Two-year olds Va. preferred Purse $700.00 Trot- Non-Winners $2,000 Last 5 Starts [in 2013] (AE Three-year olds) Purse $1,000.00 Non-Winners $5,000 Lifetime/ Maidens, Winners over $20,000.00 Life Not Eligible Pace-(Rocking Rose Pace) - Non-Winners $2,500 Last 5 Starts (in 2013), Maidens Purse $1,000.00 (AE) Three-year olds, Winner over $20,000 not eligible Thursday, AUGUST 28 (Box closes Tuesday @ 11:00 am) Pace-Non-Winners $10,000 Year Purse $1000.00 Ed Long Memorial Open Trot Purse $1,200.00 Pace- Aldine Jenkins Memorial Open Pace Purse $1,200.00 Sub. - Two Year Old Trot / Pace Friday AUGUST 29 (Box closes Wednesday @ 11:00 AM) Pace-Non-Winners $2,000 Last 5 Starts (Princess Rose Pace) Purse $1,000.00 (AE) Maidens Trot-Non-Winners $5,000 Year Purse $1,000.00 (AE) Non-Winners 2 P.M. races this year Pace-Non-Winners $5,000 Year (AE) Non-Winners 2 P.M. races this year (AE) Two- and Three-year olds/ Maidens Purse $1,000.00   Saturday, AuGUST 30 (BOX CLOSES Thursday @ 11:00 AM) Trot- Marvin G. Sigler - Free For All Trot (Preferred Virginia Bred or Owned) Purse $1,600.00 Pace C R Associates - Veterans Free For All Pace- (Preferred Virginia Bred or Owned) Purse $1,600.00 Trot- Non-Winners $3,000 Year Purse $1000.00 Pace-Non-Winners $3,000 last five starts Purse $1000.00   Conditions Rules of United States Trotting Association govern. RACES Will BE CHARTED. ­Entry fees $15.00, No Deductions. Money divided 45, 25, 15, 10, and 5 percent. Each class is to go two dashes, a distance of 1 mile each. Two or more horses under the same ownership may start in any race. Horses will start in classes in which they are eligible, (Must be VHHA Member) Rights reserved to decline an entry, or call off any event that does not fill satisfactory. If an event does not fill, a substitute event may be scheduled for available horses. Right reserved to cancel any race due to weather conditions, or other good or sufficient cause. Four or more horses must start each class. Right reserved to handicap any race. Horses must be declared in no later than 11:00 am two days prior to races and entrance fee paid. Right reserved to declare any race off at any time. All horses racing and stalled at Shenandoah County Fairgrounds are at risk of owner. The Shenandoah County Fair Association, Inc., will not be responsible or liable for any accident to any person or property or loss by fire, theft, storm, or from any other causes. All horses must have a current Coggins test and health papers. Driver Accident Insurance Is Not Provided. Entries Accepted On These Terms Only. Entries: Terry Lee Kibler, Cell 540-335-8768 / Beginning August, 24th call Race Office 540-459-7303 By Michael Carter, for Shenandoah County Fair      

What a difference a week has made in the Horse Racing New Brunswick year long harness racing handicapping contest.   After week number twelve ( 12 ) there is a new leader who has leap-frogged into first place. Rose Doyle had an outstanding week, earning $ 30.70 for her wagers which puts her in first.   Her new total after week twelve is $ 186.50.   Adam Saunders has also made a bold move into the number two slot. He has now earned $ 178.00 while last week's leader, Brad MacPherson drops to third with a total of $ 174.90.   Also of note, Kayden Buchanan is just eighty-cents behind Saunders in fourth place. Next leg will be hosted on Saturday, August 23rd at Exhibition Park Raceway.   This week's co-winners of Horse Player Interactive prizes are Rose Doyle and Adam Saunders. Both had an identical week's total with $ 30.70 as they both selected the same horses.   Horse Racing New Brunswick reminds patrons, there is no racing this coming Saturday.   Rose Doyle              186.50 Adam Saunders      178.00 Brad MacPherson   174.90 Kayden Buchanan   174.10 Jenn Ritchie              126.70 Bruce Smith                93.50 Wayne Hubbard         45.30 Roy Flowers               31.00 Dale Spence Sr         18.60   Scott Waddell

August 10, 2014 - Perhaps with the Hambletonian in the rear view mirror the general opinion was it was time to swing for the fences in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, but whatever the reason, the Dan Patch Invitational leg of the handicapping contest turned into a survivor round. While Sweet Lou was an obvious key horse in the race, the handicappers for the most part were unable to construct a ticket which used both Bettor's Edge and streaking Carol's Comet in their exotic plays. As a result, the successful handicapper this past Friday was the handicapper who managed to get their head over the waterline. Three handicappers were successful in the effort with Brandon Valvo winning the week with a $50 net profit and regaining the overall lead ($2,774.50) from Bob Zanakis with a tenuous lead of $65.80. Other handicappers who managed to show positive results for the week were Earl Paulson ($30) and Brian McEvoy ($20). Obviously, the number of key wagers this week were minimal but Rusty Nash greatly reduced his potential deficit by wheeling Sweet Lou in the Superfecta for a dime investment ($33.60 total) and managed to collect $116.65. Earl Paulson managed his $30 profit with a $150 Win ticket on the race winner which paid $180 while weekly winner Brandon Valvo employed similar strategy by earning $50 with a $250 win ticket on the FFA pacer. Brian McEvoy managed his $20 profit with a combination of Win and Show wagers on the race winner. Bob Zanakis managed to stay close and within reach of the top spot by playing a $15 exacta partial wheel ($75) which grossed $193.50. The current standings are:   As of August 8, 2014 - Leg 21 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,774.50   2nd Bob Zanakis ($56.50) $2,708.70 $65.80 3rd Derick Giwner ($237.00) $98.77 $2,675.73 4th Earl Paulson $30.00 ($55.10) $2,829.60 5th Mark McKelvie ($240.00) ($124.00) $2,898.50 6th Brian McEvoy $20.00 ($165.00) $2,939.50 7th Ray Garnett ($248.00) ($622.15) $3,396.65 8th Josi Verlingieri ($235.00) ($1,272.10) $4,046.60 9th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,400.30) $4,174.80 10th Ann Stepien ($238.00) ($1,509.11) $4,283.61 11th Rusty Nash ($45.35) ($1,642.63) $4,417.13 12th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($1,728.00) $4,502.50 13th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($1,888.00) $4,662.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($2,583.70) $5,358.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($4,048.40) $6,822.90                                                                                 This coming weekend, the Challenge picks up the tempo with races at several tracks.  Friday evening the contest stops at Northfield Park for the inaugural $400,000(Est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3yo pacing colts.  The contest then moves north Saturday with the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway before heading to the Canadian Maritimes for the popular $75,000 Gold Cup and Saucer at Red Shores Charlottetown.  Two year olds get their time in the spot light as well with Mohawk Raceway hosting the $215,000(Div.) Eternal Cammation for 2yo pacing fillies and the $245,000(Div.) Nassagaweya for 2yo pacers.  As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.    Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator

WILKES-BARRE PA - No winner had a particularly easy time of it in their respective divisions of the $225,049 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes fourth and final preliminary leg for harness racing three-year-old filly pacers Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, but Katie Said, Sandbetweenurtoes, and Cinamony all had enough within them to make it back to the Pocono winners circle. Katie Said posted the fastest clocking of the three divisions, a new lifetime mark of 1:49.4, and she also had the shortest win margin, a nose, and the least amount of time spent in the lead, about 10 feet. Katie Said, a daughter of Well Said trained by Julie Miller for the Andy Miller Stable Inc and Black Horse Racing, rode the wave off cover provided by the "Beach"s - first-over Beach Story and second-over Beach Gal -- to get into the race after being last at the quarter. The raw Beach Story struck the lead into the final turn, was ground down by Beach Gal in midstretch, but then she in turn was just nipped in the last two strides by the game Katie Said and driver Marcus Miller. Not all that many horses rally from behind at the speed-favoring Pocono track, but nationally-ranked Sandbetweenurtoes made it two straight winning closers on the night when she won the second section in 1:50. The Larry Remmen-conditioned Sandbetweenurtoes was put on her toes by driver Brett Miller swinging wide off the last bend, and the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere outrushed passing lane shooter Allstar Rating to get the decision by a half-length. The Mistletoe Shalee winner remains perfect after eight seasonal starts for owner Bradley Grant. The Pocono faithful thought that it would again be "Miller time" in the third cut, hoping driver David Miller could follow Marcus and Brett to Victory Lane with the 2013 Breeders Crown winner (at this track) Uffizi Hanover, but Uffizi's late rally was 1 ¾ lengths short of Cinamony and driver Corey Callahan at the wire in 1:50.2. The phrase "speed-favoring Pocono track" normally is not complemented by the phrase "parked to the half for the lead," but that's the 26.3 / 53.3 fate that befall the victorious daughter of Art Official, making her victory even more notable. Trainer Alexander Rice Jr. and the owning partnership of Alexander Rice Sr . and Michael Horn saw their $3500 Harrisburg yearling purchase also lower her mark a tick with the triumph. With the four preliminary legs of the Sire Stakes completed, the points (earned on a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 finish basis) were *unofficially* added up, and came out this way: 1. (tie) Cinamony and Sandbetweenurtoes, 105 points each (ties in the top eight don't matter because you get in if you declare); 3. (tie) Allstar Rating and Also Encouraging, 90; 5. Beach Gal, 85; 6. Weeper, 70; 7. Someislandsomwhere, 64; 8. Southwind Silence, 52. Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship rules call for eight starters, so AE1 would be Katie Said, raising her total to 48 with the win tonight, and AE2 would be Tyra at 43. The PA Sire Stakes Championship for this group will be held Sunday afternoon, September 7 at Harrah's Philadelphia. *Official pointtotals will be calculated by the Harrisburg Office of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission.* Pennsylvania Harness Horsemans Association    

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.

The young hipsters dressed to the nines sipping cocktails while lounging on rooftop patio furniture was the first indication this was not your granddaddy's Hambletonian. That it was a surprisingly pleasant overcast August afternoon, and not a sauna, was another. In the end, the track belonged to imported Swedes -- Jimmy Takter and Ake Svanstedt, especially -- along with Ron Burke, of course. But the day? That belonged to the gleaming new $88 million grandstand that thrummed with youthful energy and passed its first big test with aplomb. Track owner Jeff Gural was pleased and, naturally, couldn't resist an "I told you so" dig at his critics. "I think if you go back to the weekend we opened, I think if you look at some of the blogs, they were all critical, 'Gural's an idiot. The place is much too small. What's he going to do for theMeadowlands Pace and Hambletonian?' We saw the place is just perfect. It was designed exactly right," he said of a building about a third the size of the behemoth across the pond. Give the man his due. On this Hambletonian, he wasn't wrong. The crowd, estimated at 20,700,was thick -- particularly in the new version of Paddock Pack now called The Backyard -- but not impenetrable. The queues -- for pari-mutuel or more ordinary refreshment -- moved withimpressive speed given the volume. The on-track wagering wasn't as strong as the Nouveau Big M folks would have liked to have seen, mind you, but then the young kids don't bet like their granddaddies, either. It's the cost of trying to introduce the business to a generation to which harness racing is as foreign as rumble seats. But out there in our hyper-connected world, from Hackensack to Helsinki to Sydney the bets poured in. With a few countries still to be heard from, the expectation is that the haul will be about $1 million higher than last year. The total handle of more than $8.7 million is already the third best Hambletonian Day in history and foreign wagering could still push this year's number to the top spot, exceeding some $9 million bet in 2005. "That's impressive in this day and age," Gural said. "That's a tribute to the card. We had full fields, a couple of big fields, almost all the major stars were there with the exception of the three-year-old (pacing) colts. But on the trotting side, we got a little lucky with Father Patrick drawing the 10-hole. It wasn't a walkover, as it turned out." The Ãber trotter, bet down to 2-5 despite starting from parking lot, was part of Takter's Terrific Trio instrumental in scaring off challengers in the main event and leaving the Hambletonian heatless just one year after returning to its old format. That Father Patrick made a jump at the gate immediately made for some interesting drama whether you watched on the huge high-definition infield screen from one of the outdoor grandstand seats or in the hinterland via the spectacular show on the CBS Sports Network that employed 13 cameras to great effect, including a wide-angle mounted on the starting gate. Takter's intact duo of Trixton and Nuncio got the job done, of course, with a neck-and-neck stretch battle to boot. When the stone dust finally settled, Takter celebrated his first Hambletonian victory in the bike (and third lifetime), nipping John Campbell for what would have been his seventh triumph in harness racing's premier race. You needed a cab ride to reach the rest of the field scattered by three breakers, which was particularly disheartening to driver Yannick Gingras and the rest of Father Patrick's connections. That it was likely Gingras' greatest day at the track was little consolation for the Quebec native who won four stakes -- including the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit -- and just shy of $600,000 in purses in all, but was crest fallen about losing the big one. "It's probably the best day I've had racing horses but it's also the most disappointing day. I scored (Father Patrick) down pretty hard because I've never left with him before, and I wanted him to pay attention and be ready for it. The gate opened, I just touched him on his tail with the whip and he took off running. It's so unfortunate. Knock on wood, I'll have another chance, but you never know," Gingras told the ubiquitous Bob Heyden, one of the few things about the new place that thankfully was not traded in for a newer model on Hambletonian Day. That Kevin Jonas of Jonas Brothers fame was tabbed to present harness racing's Stanley Cup to Takter and Co. speaks to that youth movement again -- unless you're referring to that glorious silver bowl that now has 90 of the sport's greatest trotters inscribed in silver discs on its wedding cake base. Dear Lord, let's hope no one ever entertains trading that in for a newer model, because newer isn't always better. Progress isn't always positive. Sorely missed in the new digs is the old front paddock that radiated with equine and human stars and served as the annual meeting place for the sport's far-flung powerbrokers on Hambletonian Day. The signs that once hung above the stalls on the facade of the old place honouring each of the Hambletonian winners since the race moved to New Jersey in 1981 seem out of place now lining the infield. Try as they might, even the Copacabana rum girls sporting huge feather headdresses and littleelse other than smiles, didn't make up for the loss. Though, they were a nice touch along with the fathead driver cutouts seen throughout the day, the appearance by Captain Bill Wichrowski from the Discovery Channel's show Deadliest Catch and old style pennants each bearing the name of a Hambletonian finalist. The bridge from old to new was the free Hambletonian hats, The Nerds bashing out loud, enthusiastic covers in the park and the track itself, of course, which yielded three more world record performances. "I've been coming to the Hambletonian since 1960's when it was staged in DuQuoin [IL], and appreciated its growth and renewed pageantry when it moved to New Jersey in the old grandstand setting. We're working to build on that great tradition.," said Tom Charters president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. "In a way it was similar to the first Hambletonian here in 1981 - a new experience entirely. This is a new venue and a wonderful new facility, a new era. We will work with the Meadowlands to establish some new traditions that underscore the Hambletonian's place as America's trotting classic and the most important harness race in the world." Classic Martine got things started in the first race, equaling the world mark for trotting mares with a 1:51.1 score in the $52,000 Ima Lulu Final. Five races later, Mission Brief equaled the global mark for two-year-old trotting fillies with a 1:52.2 score in the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle. Barefoot speedster Sebastian K capped the record-setting parade in race 11 when he equaled the 1:50 record for older trotters while winning the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial the same day Cashman's 14-year-old granddaughter, Grace Cashman, sang the national anthem. None of which -- even the Hambletonian winner -- topped spectacular sightlines from multiple decks, a Hollywood-style sign on the roof that spells out Meadowlands in huge letters and a massive sports bar that transforms into a dance club at night -- all designed to lure the next generation critical for the sport's survival. "Everybody loved it. Everybody thought it was spectacular," said Gural, who is fond of wandering his plant to make himself available to his patrons. "The biggest compliments were from the people that had never been there. If you've never been there, you're really shocked when you pull up to the door." As the start of a new era for harness racing greatest day drew to a close, even the sky brightened and the Manhattan skyline materialized like a mirage out of the haze. The hipsters on the roof barely noticed, what with their iPhones, friends and cocktails to attend to, but the rest of us noticed them all right. They were completely foreign to the old place and a most welcome addition to the club. by Dave Briggs for the Hambletonian Society

(Millstone TWP, NJ) - The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries, awarded Verified status to Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF), August 5, 2014. Verification means that SRF meets the criteria of a true equine sanctuary/rescue and is providing humane and responsible care of the animals. To be awarded Verified status, an organization must meet GFAS's rigorous and peer-reviewed animal care standards which are confirmed by a site visit, and they must also adhere to a demanding set of ethical and operational principles. "Standardbred Retirement Foundation is an important resource for New Jersey and Kentucky," said Jackie Beckstead, GFAS Director, Accreditation and Field Operations. "The Standardbred Retirement fills a crucial niche in the equine rescue community by specifically focusing on the needs of retired Standardbred horses, saving those animals from slaughter, educating the public about the need to provide second careers and rehoming opportunities for these amazing equine athletes, and using the benefits of equine contact to connect with at-risk youth in the community," she said. Jannine Kraus, Business Administrator of SRF, said, "Our Verified status with GFAS affirms our absolute commitment to provide our rescued Standardbred horses with the very best care possible, as well as maintaining strict adherence to a code of transparency and organizational integrity. She continued, "GFAS verification is very important to us; they provide a standard of rescue best practices, support for funding sources and education, and open a network of resources that would otherwise be unavailable to us. We are appreciative of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and proud to have received GFAS Verification." Beckstead states, "Standardbred Retirement Foundation provides a strong example for other equine rescue organizations to follow. We applaud their efforts to constantly upgrade and improve their already outstanding efforts in helping Standardbred horses, both in their care and those still at risk, as well as the at-risk youth who are inspired by the time they spend with the horses who live at the SRF facilities located at Cream Ridge, NJ, Wallingford, KY and Blairstown, NJ. The GFAS Equine Accreditation Program is made possible by a generous grant from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®. About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting these animal care facilities is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization's work in a collaborative manner. While the board includes those in top leadership at Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the ASPCA, and American Anti-Vivisection Society, all board members serve as individuals dedicated to animal sanctuaries. www.sanctuaryfederation.org. Heart: The story of Pam Berg Pam Berg is the consummate advocate and founder of GEVA, a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and retirement of horses - Many of which are thoroughbreds off the track. Pam is also "off the track," being an x-racehorse trainer and rider. Visit GEVA's website at www.glenellenfarms.com About Standardbred Retirement Foundation Standardbred Retirement Foundation, incorporated in 1991 as a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation, operates three separate rescue facilities in Cream Ridge, NJ, Wallingford, KY, and Blairstown, NJ. The organization's mission statement says, "The Standardbred Retirement Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization created to care for, rehabilitate, and secure lifetime adoption of non-competitive racehorses, to ensure their proper care with follow-up, and to combine the needs of youths at risk and these horses in therapeutic equine programs to benefit both." For more information, visit admin@srfmail.com or call 732.446.4422. http://www.adoptahorse.org About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation's leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org. To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/aspca. To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to http://www.twitter.com/aspca. Standardbred Retirement Foundation | 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101 | Millstone Twp.

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs will host its second Back to the Track night in seven days this Saturday (Aug. 9) after having been forced to cancel live racing last week. This is possibly the first time it has happened in the history of this United States Trotting Association (USTA) promotion. The original date of August 2 featured Harness Racing Bingo along with drawings for Back to the Track t-shirts and driver bobbleheads. A great crowd turned out to enjoy an evening at the races and the trackside drawings were about to start when Mother Nature had other ideas. Flood warnings we're posted throughout Upstate New York that day and America's oldest lighted track was unable to avoid the fray. A heavy down pour ensued that included lightening and it basically washed the racetrack away making the surface impossible to race over. After a half hour delay the decision was made to end the proceedings. Batavia Downs was looking forward to participating in the USTA's national promotion but the decision to pull the plug was an easy one. "We would never put our horsemen or equine athletes at risk in unsafe conditions" Todd Haight, Director/GM of Live racing said. "It was the first time we had to cancel a program once it got underway since 2002. Hopefully it will be another 12 years until we have to do so again." So because of the cancellation, Back to the Track will take place for the second time in a week. Customers that swipe their Players Club cards beginning at 5:00 p.m. at Players Club will receive a new Harness Racing Bingo card and be automatically entered into the drawings that take place after the third race. Patrons holding a bingo card from August 2 must pick up a new card; August 2 cards will not be eligible to win prizes. Harness Racing Bingo prizes include $100 wagering vouchers to the first five customers that get full card bingo and $10 gaming free play vouchers to the first 25 that get single bingo. If you have a racing form from last Saturday please bring it with you and exchange it for this week's program free of charge. Just stop by the program stand to make the switch. Also beginning at 5 p.m., Sahlen's hot dogs and sodas will be just 50-cents as part of the tracks annual old fashion night celebration. With great weather in the forecast, it's sure to be the busiest night of the season. For more information please visitwww.bataviadownsgaming.com. Tim Bojarski

Millstone Twp. - The Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) is opening its barn doors! We are hosting a Meet and Greet at both our New Jersey and Kentucky locations on Friday, September 12th from 4:00-8:00 pm.   Please join us, even if adoption is not in your plans for the near future. As we approach the Fall of SRF's 25th year, we are excited to present a wonderful selection of under saddle, ready-to-go horses.   Open to the public, our event will give visitors the opportunity to interact with and observe first-hand this friendly and versatile breed.   SRF staff will be available to answer questions regarding our organization, upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and ways to make a difference through horse sponsorship and adoptions.   At our New Jersey location, special guest Laurette Simanski- Snook, CIT, from NJ Equine Imaging/ThermScan Diagnostics, LLC, will be on hand performing ThermScan demonstrations.   Please spread the word, and come make some equine friends. Event Locations In New Jersey: 42 Arneytown-Hornerstown Road, Cream Ridge, NJ 08514. In Kentucky: Chasing the Sun Stables, 2111 Wilson Run Road, Wallingford, KY 41093. For questions or additional information, please contact admin@srfmail.com or call (732) 446-4422. You may also visit our website www.adoptahorse.org for adoption applications and event updates. Celebrating 25 years of adoptions Standardbred Retirement Foundation

July 27, 2014 – The Meadow’s Adios Card is in the books and at the end of the day Handicapper Ray Cotolo reigned supreme for the week in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest with a weekly net profit of $305, nearly $100 ahead of his closest opponent.     While Cotolo is a newcomer to the list of weekly winners, Bob Zanakis continues his run as overall leader with a combined net profit of $3,000.70 ($140 for the week), leading second place Brandon Valvo by $607.20. This week, the adage it only takes one hit to make you a winner applies as Cotolo’s victory came thanks to a single wager, a $150 win wager on Allstar Rating in the Adioo Volo which returned a $705 dividend.  Other handicappers had winners, but due to the short-priced nature of the card, significant winners were at a premium, amongst them were: Derick Giwner’s $150 Win ticket on Too Darn Hot in the second division of the Adren Downs 2yo C&G pace paid $480; Mark McKelvie’s $50 Win ticket on Rich Wisdom in the first division of the Arden Downs for 2yo C& G pacers paid $195; Rusty Nash’s $100 wager on the same horse paid $390; Dennis O’Hara ‘s $10 Exacta part wheel ($30 total) in the first division of the Arden Downs for 3yo Filly trotters returned $125; Josie Verlingierli $40 straight wager on the second division of the Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace, earned $156; Gordon Waterstone’s $50 Exacta in the third division of Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace which returned $115. As the Hambletonian marks the unofficial mid-point in the stakes season, the standings for the Handicapper Shoot-Out at the mid-point are: As of July 26, 2014 - Leg 19 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $140.00 $3,000.70   2nd Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,393.50 $607.20 3rd Derick Giwner $206.00 $623.17 $2,377.53 4th Ray Garnett ($218.00) $15.85 $2,984.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($119.50) ($91.50) $3,092.20 6th Brian McEvoy $7.50 ($185.00) $3,185.70 7th Earl Paulson ($71.00) ($437.00) $3,437.70 8th Josi Verlingieri ($126.00) ($956.40) $3,957.10 9th Gordon Waterstone $108.60 ($989.30) $3,990.00 10th Ann Stepien ($189.00) ($1,020.11) $4,020.81 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($280.00) ($1,078.00) $4,078.70 12th Sally Hinckley ($400.00) ($1,325.00) $4,325.70 13th Rusty Nash $160.00 ($1,712.40) $4,713.10 14th Dennis O'Hara $30.50 ($2,097.70) $5,098.40 15th Ray Cotolo $305.00 ($3,398.40) $6,399.10 This week, the Grand Circuit Handicapper Shoot-Out visits Meadowlands Racing & Gaming for the Hambletonian Day card amongst which are the $1.2 million Hambletonian, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $352,050 Merrie Annabelle, $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial, $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship, $177,750 Lady Liberty, and $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial.  For more information regarding the handicapping contest, please visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.   by Allan Schott, for HANA                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Former world champion Perfect Alliance, who was victorious in her first 11 races this year before suffering back-to-back setbacks, will try to get another win streak started when she faces five harness racing foes in Friday's $20,000 first round of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Perfect Alliance finished seventh in the third round of the Miss Versatility Series on July 12 at the Meadowlands. The race was won by Bee A Magician in a world-record 1:51.1, with Perfect Alliance 4-1/4 lengths back. Afterward, Perfect Alliance was found to have bled, in addition to scoping sick, and will compete with Lasix on Friday. In her previous start on June 14, Perfect Alliance finished second to Classic Martine in the Armbro Flight Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. Perfect Alliance starts Friday's Ima Lula from post six, with Corey Callahan driving for trainer Julie Miller, and is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The remainder of the field is Ma Chere Hall, Mistery Woman, Handover Belle, Rockin With Dewey, and NF Happenstance. "I was pretty surprised because she had a layoff and trained good during the week," Miller said about Perfect Alliance's performance last week. "This time of year, we do have a little bit of sickness in the barn with the young horses. She still went in (1):52 with a last quarter in :27, it's still an impressive mile, but I didn't like how she did it. "After scoping her and pulling the bloodwork, we elected to put her on Lasix and treat her for being sick. She seems really good. We took the necessary steps to get her better for this week. I'm just hoping for a nice bounce-back race. I'll let Corey decide behind the gate what he wants to do, if he wants to leave or race from behind. I just want to see her finish strong at the wire." Perfect Alliance -- owned by Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz, and Arthur Geiger -- won the Singer Memorial Series and the Bobby Weiss Series during the winter and equaled the then-fastest mile ever by a 4-year-old female trotter when she won a division of the Miss Versatility in 1:51.2 at Woodbine Racetrack. She also set a track record at Mohawk, winning in 1:51.4. "You always want more, and we're the same way," Miller said. "She started luckily in good spots [earlier in the year] where she seemed to be the prohibitive favorite all the time, to where she did prove herself in those races in Canada. "You're going to have a clunker every now and then. They're living animals; they're going to have an off day. You just need to listen to your horse and let them decide their schedule. I'm still proud to train her and I'm sure the owners are still proud to own her." The second round of the Ima Lula is July 25 and the $55,000 estimated final is Hambletonian Day, Aug. 2, at the Meadowlands. Reynolds Memorial Stakes divisions for 3-year-old trotters are on Saturday's Meadowlands card. Only four fillies entered, so that race will be a non-betting event prior to the regular 7:15 p.m. post time for the night's first race. One of those fillies is Julie Miller-trainee Take The Money, who is auditioning for the chance to race in the upcoming Hambletonian Oaks. Eliminations for the Oaks are July 26 and the $500,000 final is Aug. 2 at the Big M. Take The Money, owned by Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing, has won six of 10 races this year, primarily in Pennsylvania. She has twice finished second to top Hambletonian Oaks contender Shake It Cerry. She will be driven Saturday by Marcus Miller and faces Bikini So Teeny, Silent Opera K, and Mity's Winner. "She's been a nice [Pennsylvania] Sire Stakes horse, in my opinion," Miller said. "We're using this race to decide whether if we're a Hambletonian Oaks contender or not. She's had a little bit of a layoff, but I want to see a nice race, finishing with trot. With a four-horse field, it's usually just a race home. That's what I want to do. "If Marcus hops off the bike and says 'She was vicious, she was super,' then you go in the Oaks. If he says she didn't seem strong, then we have to have a discussion. She trained really good. I know by program she seems to be the best, but that's why they still race. I'm just hoping for a strong race." On the boys' side, there are two 11-horse divisions worth $32,207 each. Jimmy Taker-trained Nuncio, who has won four of six races this year and twice finished second to nemesis, and stablemate, Father Patrick, is part of the 3-5 favored entry with Amped Up Hanover in the first division. Nuncio and Amped Up Hanover are eligible to the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Aug. 2. The rest of the field is Uva Hanover, Another Deposition, Sarcastic Man, Southwind Poseidon, Revrac Harbour, Resolve, Home Front, Dony Andreas, and Montalbano Bi. All are eligible to the Hambletonian except Another Deposition, Dony Andreas, and Montalbano Bi. Takter's Trixton is the 3-5 choice in the second division. The split also includes Mister B's Way, Skates N Plates, Another Transcript, Truxton, Well Built, Speak The Truth, Scacco Matto, Lightning Force, Muscle Midas, and Datsyuk. All are eligible to the Hambletonian. * * * The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters on Friday visits Harrah's Philadelphia, where several horses with famous siblings will go behind the gate. Kolachke (Donato Hanover-La Riviera Lindy) is a half-sister to 2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven and Sistas (Andover Hall-Honorable Mother) is a half-sister to Honorable Daughter, the 2008 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter. Inch By Inch (Yankee Glide-Armbro Niagara) is a full sister to millionaire Falls For You, Lilu Hanover (Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover) is a full sister to stakes-winner Luckycharm Hanover, and Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough) is a three-quarter-sister to 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Heaven's Door. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that seven students will share more than $11,000 in MSOA scholarships as they continue their educations this fall. Garrett Adams, son of John and Lisa Dunn-Adams, has been named the winner of the $5,000 MSOA Scholarship. He will attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall. The $2,500 MSOA/CSC Insurance Options Scholarship has been awarded to Alyssa Cummings, daughter of Todd and Tammy Cummings. She attends Community College of Allegheny County. A $1,800 MSOA/Hypnotic Blue Chip Scholarship, via a donation of a breeding to the stallion, goes to Hallie Nesselroad, daughter of Joe and Janet Nesselroad. She attends the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. The $1,000 MSOA/LCM Nutraceuticals Dr. Barry Betts Memorial Scholarhip has been split between Ryan Bush and Chelsea Fahy. Bush, the son of Steve and Kim Bush, will attend Washington & Jefferson College, while Fahy is a student at the Ohio State University's School of Veterinary Medicine. A $1,000 MSOA/Tom Ridge Scholarship, also created through the donation of breedings to the stallion, will be shared by Shannon Teed and Courtney Wrenn. Teed is a student at West Liberty State University, while Wrenn attends Indiana University. The MSOA would like to congratulate all of this year's recipients, and thank all of our partners, Tom Svrcek of CSC Insurance, Dr. Larry Smith of LCM Nutraceuticals, Fran Azur and Ted Tomson," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "Without their help, none of this would be possible, and we believe it is valuable to help these young people work toward their future. We are proud to be part of that." Jeff Zidek

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association teamed with Variety Pittsburgh’s “My Bike” program, hosting a special night of racing at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino on Friday, July 11.    The evening included a special match race to benefit the group, and the MSOA ended the night with the announcement that the group is purchasing an adaptive bike for a local child.   Variety (http://www.varietypittsburgh.org) provides adaptive bikes to eligible children with disabilities so that they may have the freedom of a bike and the joy of riding alongside friends and family.   “This was a special night for everyone involved,” said MSOA President Rich Gillock. “It’s always great to give back to the community, and to work with Variety on their My Bike program was a great experience for all of us at the MSOA.”   Variety’s My Bike program launched in 2012, and their supporters include Pennsylvania State Senator Tim Solobay and PA State Representative Brandon Neuman. Both were on hand to take part in the match race, along with PNC Bank executive Andrea Carelli and former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Schneck, also Variety Pittsburgh supporters.   The Meadows Racetrack & Casino also announced that it will match the MSOA’s contribution by donating another bike to the program.   by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

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