Due to an insufficient number of nominations, three harness racing events at the Meadowlands from the February 15 deadline have been cancelled and refunds will be issued. Two late-closers, the Artistic Vision for pacing mares and Giant Victory for trotters, scheduled to be raced throughout April came up short. Overnight races with similar conditions (Non-Winners of 4PM Races or $100,000 Lifetime) will be written for the same time period to offer those horses displaced a racing opportunity. Also cancelled and refunded is the Ima Lula early closer for 4 year-old trotting mares. Questions should be directed to Andrea in the Racing Office at (201) 460-4214. Also due to the impending storm, this week's qualifiers at The Meadowlands have been postponed from Friday to Saturday, March 7th post time 9:30 a.m.
Goshen, NY - Before heading to the Mid-Hudson St. Patrick's Day Parade, join us for an open-house family workshop on Sunday, March 15, 2015 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame located at 240 Main Street, Goshen. Children ages 3-11 will make a craft, play horsey-themed games and will take a ride on the Harness Racing 3D Simulator. Everyone is invited to enjoy cookies, tea & hot chocolate. All for only $3 per child; and adults are free. This is an open-house event; no reservations are necessary; you may come and go as you please. After the workshop, stake out a spot for the parade, which begins at 2:00 pm. Children will begin by creating their own Lucky Pot of Gold noise maker that they can carry and shake while watching the parade pass by the Museum. When making their Lucky Pot of Gold, children will enjoy cutting, gluing, stamping and painting! Staff will then lead kids through a series of fun games throughout the museum. Seamus McGee, our Irish Standardbred mascot, will make an appearance, so bring your camera and take pictures of your kids with him. Cross the finish line with an exciting ride on the Harness Racing 3D Simulator. Cookies, tea and toasty hot chocolate will top off the fun. All paid participants may enter the drawing to win a fun prize. Before leaving, visit the museum gift shop for a wide selection of horse related items and take advantage of an added bonus with a reduction of 20% off of any green item in the shop. You may even find yourself something green to wear at the parade! For more information, please call (845) 294-6330. For further information about the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, the museum's educational workshops or children's birthday parties, please contact the Education Department at (845) 294-6330 or e-mail at email@example.com. For information on all the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame events, please visit our website at www.harnessmuseum.com. The museum is located at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY and is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. www.harnessmuseum.com
10 different drivers won a race last Saturday, February 28. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 3, 2015) - The names have changed from O'Donnell, Manzi, and Lachance to Gingras, Tetrick, and Miller, but one thing remains the same going back to the early days of the Big M - the driving colony at the Meadowlands is still the most competitive in harness racing. That fact was on full display again this past Saturday night when ten different drivers won on the 13-race program that included three stakes finals and two opening leg divisions of the Buddy Gilmour Series. The winning names of Callahan, Campbell, Gingras, McCarthy, Pierce, Andy Miller, Brett Miller, David Miller, Zeron, and Teague reads like a 'who's who' of the sport's leaders. That list doesn't even include Tim Tetrick, a fixture near the top of the Meadowlands standings, who has been absent the past two weeks while representing Team USA at the World Driving Championships in Australia. "The Meadowlands is, and always has been, the toughest place to win races," said Corey Callahan, North America's leading money-winning driver so far in 2015. "It's the equivalent of "the big leagues" in baseball. Every driver there has been a dominant force in their respective areas of the country and they've migrated to the Meadowlands to compete against the best North America has to offer." Four of the top five leading money-winning drivers of 2014 are Meadowlands regulars, including Gingras, who led North America in earnings with $17,295,456. "Anytime you win a race at the Meadowlands you know you have done something right," said Gingras. "In any 10-horse field everybody gets quality a driver." Gingras is one of four drivers in just the past 12 racing programs to have won at least four races on a single card. Further depth in the Meadowlands driver colony comes courtesy of newcomer Brett Miller, second in the standings in just his first full season competing at the Big M, and breakout star Jim Marohn, Jr, a perennial leading driver at Tioga Downs and Monticello, who is 10th in the Big M standings. Rachel Ryan The Meadowlands
The United States Trotting Association's Save Our Standardbreds (SOS) program assisted the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) recently in the expense of the seizure of two adopted horses. The first seizure was for Kokorama. The SPCA of Delaware helped SRF when the adopter stopped complying with his agreement to produce a semi-annual veterinary follow-up form. "This was Kokorama's third home since he came into our program in 2009. Much time and money goes into protecting these horses," notes Paula Campbell, SRF's President. "Leaving a horse out there puts not only the horse at risk but defeats the purpose, it reflects poorly on racing, and doesn't serve what our supporters intentions are." SRF knows that without an implemented follow-up system for life, the risk of a horse to neglect, abuse, and being sold to slaughter is great. The second horse seized was with the assistance of the SPCA of New Jersey and the case is still under investigation. The follow-up form from the veterinarian of the adopter of Here Taz, a 13 year old gelding indicated non-compliance. SRF's staff did a home visit with a trailer and found deplorable conditions and many emaciated animals. Here Taz stood struggling to get a chance at a bite of hay from the round bale that was surrounded by more than fifteen animals including pigs, goats, miniature horses, lactating mares and their foals, and a bull. Taz was walked through three fields of knee-deep manure and urine to the trailer. "Even with a very time intense screening system, this happens," says Judy Bokman, SRF's Executive Director. "Saving these two horses is a result of SRF's mandatory follow-up program which clearly indicates the need for it." Statistics show that adopted horses go through four homes in their lifetime due to circumstances such as financial hardship, divorce, loss of interest and many other reasons. No one knows what happened in these two homes to cause this neglect, but the help of the USTA's SOS program to provide financial assistance to horses whose care has fallen to a criminal level and who are subject to legal intervention because of that was very helpful. The remaining expenses for the rescue and rehabilitation for these 2 horses comes from the support of SRF's donors. SRF is the only Standardbred program that implements follow-up for life and fully supports 130 retirees no longer attractive to adopters due to age or injury. Where would a horse like Rubbernecker be, a 30-year-old Standardbred, if SRF was not there? He lost his adopted home of 12 years just after his 29th birthday. Standardbred Retirement Foundation | 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101 | Millstone Twp. | NJ | 08535
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, March 3, 2015-Yonkers Raceway has announced post times for its next two Sunday matinees, March 8th and 15th . This Sunday (March 8th), first post is 1 PM, with races 2 through 8 serving as the oversized-field, added-distance "French" trots. Next Sunday (March 15th), first post is 1:10 PM, with that day's first seven races featuring the overstuffed, mile-and-a-quarter trotting events. Frank Drucker
Harness Horsemen International's Annual Meetings got underway today at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida. Tom Luchento, HHI President opened the March 2 General Session with welcoming remarks to the group of harness racing association members from the United States and Canada. After association member reports and HHI business topics were discussed, a lengthy and lively discourse followed concerning racing commission issues and frustrations on the perception of whipping and kicking at North American raceways. Keynote speaker Dr. Mary Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, Chester, PA will present "Equine Drug Testing in the 21st Century" during Tuesday's (March 3) General Session beginning at 9 am. HHI committees will later convene to deliberate insurance, finance, legal, convention and foundation issues. HHI elections and committee reports are the highlight of Wednesday's (March 4) General Session, starting at 9 am, followed by the HHI Awards Luncheon at 12:30 pm, during which harness racing's Gene Oldford, Jerry Knappenberger and Derick Giwner will be feted with HHI's top honors of 2014. Oldford, an HHI past president, is the 2014 Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year; Knappenberger, former GM of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, will accept the 2014 HHI Appreciation Award; and Giwner, the Daily Racing Form's harness racing editor and writer, is the 2014 Clyde Hirt Media Award winner. Kimberly A. Rinker
Attorneys who practice in the commercial law arena are all quite familiar with the laws governing the risk of loss for goods in transit. The Uniform Commercial Code, or “UCC” is a body of laws that have been adopted by the overwhelming majority of states. The UCC sets forth certain terms that dictate at what point the seller of goods is no longer responsible for their loss and the buyer bears the risk of losing them prior to receipt. Consider a seller who entrusts millions of dollars’ worth of goods to a shipping company. The merchant delivers the goods to the dock and leaves. Loaded with the merchandise, the vessel hits stormy weather, and the goods are damaged beyond repair. Neither seller nor buyer is at fault for such an unfortunate event. Does the seller take the loss; or does the buyer have to pay for the goods, notwithstanding that they no longer have commercial value? The answer dictates which party will need to pursue a claim against the shipping company, so as to be made whole. In claiming, the rules of racing in a jurisdiction establish the risk of loss as between the claimant and the horseman who enters the horse for the tag. Traditionally, state rules have provided that once a claim is filed, it is irrevocable and is at the risk of the claimant1. In New York, for example, the applicable harness rule provides that every horse claimed races in the interest and for the account of the owner who declared it to such race, but that title to the claimed horse is vested in the successful claimant from the time the word “GO” is given by the starter. At that point, the successful claimant becomes the owner of the horse, whether it is alive or dead, sound or unsound, or injured either before, during or after the race2. Exceptions to this rule occur when horse’s age or sex is misrepresented, a mare races with an unannounced pregnancy, or there is a drug positive. In these limited circumstances, the claim is not automatically void; it is “voidable” at the option of the claimant3. While Thoroughbred claiming rules typically followed suit, recent spates of equine injuries and deaths have led to the abandonment of tradition in some states. After a rash of catastrophic breakdowns at New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack in the winter of 2011/2012, both the track and the state’s gaming commission established emergency, later permanent, rule changes. In New York Thoroughbred racing, in the event that a horse dies during a race or is euthanized on the track following a race, any and all claims made for the horse are void4. Additionally, a claim is voidable at the discretion of the new owner, for a period of one hour after the race is made official, for any horse that is vanned off the track after the race5. Further, based upon the questionable opinion of New York regulators that the VLT-enriched purses in claiming races caused horsemen to enter less than sound horses in such races, the Commission promulgated a rule setting the minimum price for which a horse may be entered in a claiming race to be at not be less than fifty percent of the value of the purse for the race6. For example, if a race is carded for $20,000 claiming tags, the purse of the race cannot exceed $40,000. In California, claiming procedures have changed even more dramatically. Prior to 2013, the Golden State’s applicable rule called for voiding a claim only if the horse suffered a fatality during the running of the race or before the horse returned to be unsaddled. On May 16, 2013, an amendment to the rule took effect, mandating the stewards to also void a claim if the racing or official veterinarian determines the horse will be placed on the Veterinarian’s List as unsound or lame before the horse is released to the successful claimant7. Concededly, lameness is a fairly objective veterinary diagnosis. What constitutes unsoundness obviously runs an entire gamut of potential maladies, not all of which can be readily or correctly diagnosed during the course of a cursory veterinary examination. Invariably, any horse suspected of unsoundness would have passed a pre-race veterinary examination, possibly conducted by the same professional now charged with the post-race examination, just hours before it raced. Of further concern is that fact that the successful claimant cannot accept the horse, even if he or she wants to take the halter despite the vet’s opinion. The rule renders the claim void, as opposed to voidable at the claimant’s option. On February 18 of this year, California decided to go even further. The Board approved for public notice a proposed regulatory amendment requiring that claims be voided for horses that are placed on the veterinarian’s list for having visibly bled8. Epistaxis, the veterinary term for blood presenting in the nostrils, is somewhat rare. One can only surmise that eventually, in addition to serum collection, horses with a slip deposited in the box will be mandatorily scoped for blood and mucous, resulting in a voided claim for a positive result. The intentions that form the basis for all of these rules changes are laudable. Protection of the well-being of the animal and the finances of the prospective claimant are legitimate objectives. Still, amidst these Band-Aid approaches among various jurisdictions, there is a larger picture that is being overlooked. At base level, both handicappers and horsemen are asking the same question: When a horse is in for a claiming tag less than its previous start, is the steed being risked to get much needed purse money at a soft level, or is it being unloaded by its present connections? There are trainers of both breeds who are specialists at the “drop down” game. The horse is competitive at a higher claiming price, but the conditioner takes a plunge, often getting both a large slice of the purse and the horse back to his barn. Potential takers literally fear fear itself, passing on the horse based on the belief that because it was in for so low a tag there was necessarily something amiss with him. Conversely, there are horses that go down the claiming ladder simply because they are not presently, and may never again be competitive at their recent level. Euphemistically, the horse is now “slower,” or “she ain’t what she used to be.” Putting it bluntly, the horse has problems, the nature and extent of which may or may not render them correctable. The horse may or may not pass a swift, abbreviated post-race soundness exam. What is sure is that the claimant is putting a slip in on the horse because he or she thinks it’s a bargain. Unless the drop down is for a quick purse grab, the present connections are not going to want the horse back in the barn. Yet, governmental rules increasingly interfere with the business decisions of the prospective seller and purchaser. Purse ceilings on claiming races make the contests less attractive for the “drop down” conditioners. The likelihood that connections will be forced to take a less than perfect horse back anyway based upon a singular, subjective opinion of unsoundness, make claiming races less and less of an attractive place to sell the unwanted. In truth, horses die or are vanned off because of issues other than soundness. Less than optimum track conditions or on-track accidents involving quite healthy horses can lead to catastrophic results. If a sound horse, approved for racing by the state or track vet, enters the track but fails to leave under its own power, why should the selling connections be forced to retain the horse? The solution might be to allow prospective claimants to examine a horse before a race, and at a time just prior to when a slip is due in the claim box. In the same way a hopeful bidder is permitted to have his vet examine a horse in a consignment barn before it goes through the sales ring, a claimant could make an informed decision about soundness issues without a state or track vet making a decision for him, post-race. This approach would allow the ancient principle of caveat emptor (‘let the buyer beware’) to retake its prominence in the claiming realm. It would also ensure that claimed horses are healthy ones. The recent hodge-podge of curative regulations which increasingly interferes with the horsemen’s right of contract would be rendered unnecessary, and the traditional, less government-intrusive rules of claiming will return. In sum, it’s time to look very carefully at the overregulation of claiming, before we lose claiming races altogether. Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network. 1 - See, generally, New York, 9 NYCRR 4038.9; Delaware, Harness Racing Rule 220.127.116.11; Pennsylvania Harness Rule 183.151(u) 2 - 9 NYCRR 4109.3(i); see, also, Pennsylvania Harness Rule 183.151(g); U.S.T.A. Rule 11.03(d)(6) 3 - 9 NYCRR 4109.6; 4109.7 4 - 9 NYCRR 4038.5(a)(2) 5 - 9 NYCRR 4038.5(a)(3) 6 - 9 NYCRR 4038.2 7 - CHRB Rule 1658 8 - Summary of California Horse Racing Board Actions and Discussions 2-18-15, last read online February 23, 2015 at: http://www.chrb.ca.gov/press_relea by Chris E. Wittstruck, Esq.
Pompano Beach, FL...March 2, 2015...The two best pacing mares on the Pompano Park roster--Just A Bee and Senorita Santanna--hooked up in a classic harness racing duel on Monday night and, while Senorita Santanna won the battle out of the gate, it was Just A Bee, again exquisitely handled by Mike Micallef, who prevailed by three-parts-of-a-length at the end of their 1:51 epic mile. The "Queen Bee" left hard from her post four, as did Senorita Santanna from post five with George Napolitano, Jr. handling her lines, with these two wrestling hard for the early lead and the latter assuming control shortly after the opening eighth and zipping to the initial quarter in :26.3. Reaching the half in :55.2, Senorita Santanna enjoyed a 1 1/2 length advantage over Just A Bee with positions still the same way past three quarters in 1:23.2. Turning for home, Just A Bee left the coziness of her pocket and began gnawing away at the leader, reaching the lead in mid-stretch and edging away late as Micallef peered back at the main rival as if to say "so long!" De Vins Girl finished third for Jason Dillander--4 1/2 lengths away--while Mach Me Not was fourth over Southwind Trini in the quintet. In a post race interview, driver Mike Micallef said, "Once again, she went quite a journey. The week off didn't seem to be a bother to her as she has won a couple of times off of a brief vacation. We tussled early so I had no choice but to take the pocket--not such a bad thing, as she is very handy and does anything asked of her. "When we turned for home, she proved herself again with a final quarter that had to be in the area of :27.2 or so." (It was) "She raced giant." Trained by Mike for owners Anita Micallef, John Mc Goff and Greg Heath, Just A Bee, a seven year-old daughter of Mr Feelgood, won for the third straight time and fifth time in seven starts this season, good for $34,750. She now has 30 lifetime victories with a career bankroll of $184,416. As the 6 to 5 second choice in the betting, Just A Bee paid $4.40 to win. Two other notable events on the Monday night card were the second leg of the "Happy Wife, Happy Life" Late Closing event for claiming pacing mares and the "Over The Hill Gang" pace for $4,000 claiming pacers 10 years-old and up--the latter event featuring a field of 10 with combined earnings of almost $3,000,000 on the strength a combined 355 wins in 2,069 lifetime starts. The "Happy Wife, Happy Life" leg went to Taylor B Good, overcoming her eight rivals from the nine post with a lifetime equalling best 1:53 performance for George Napolitano, Jr. This six year-old daughter of Kilowatt, trained by Joe Sanzeri for the J L Benson Stables, came out sprinting from her outside post and clocked panels of :27.3, :57.1 and 1:25.1 before going into yet another gear turning for home, completing her journey with a :27.4 finale to pin a defeat measuring 10 3/4 lengths on Newsmaker, driven by Wally Hennessey. Flying Topless, teaming up with Aaron Byron, was third while Five Stars Queen and Viewish picked up the minors. Hot property off claims the last two starts, Taylor B Good won for the second straight week and was promptly claimed again this time around, too, with the mare returning to her previous owner, Hilda Wolin as the final of this late closer looms ahead. In a post race interview, driver George Napolitano, Jr. said, "Ya know, in a situation like this, I thought, 'if I don't give it a whirl from here, I'd be 10 lengths back...and I'm don't think that any mare is 10 lengths better than any other here.'" Turns out that George was both right and wrong. He was right to "give it a whirl" but wrong about the "10 lengths" reasoning as the mare won by 10 3/4! Third choice on the board, Taylor B Good paid $8.80 to her faithful. The "Over the Hill Gang" pace went to the 11 year-old Shark Dressed Man, driven by Rick Plano, in wire-to-wire fashion stopping the tele-timer in 1:53.3 for his first win of the year. The son of Shark St Partners clocked hot panels of :26.3, :54.3 and 1:23.2 en route to a 4 1/4 length win over the 10 year-old No Shenanigans handled by Kevin Wallis. Oil Magnet skimmed the pylons and was third under the line but a subsequent disqualification for a pylon violation pushed him back to seventh allowing Allamerican Major to move up one notch to third while Dr Flamingo also was placed up a rung to fourth. Clive Hanover completed the Super Hi-5, which, once again, had several winners cashing a 20 cent ticket worth $444.80 allowing the carryover for Wednesday's Super Hi-5 to swell over the $15,000 plateau. For Shark Dressed Man, owned by Ernest Durse, it was his 47th lifetime success in 204 career starts, good for bounty of $327,745. As the 3 to 5 choice, Shark Dressed Man paid $3.20 to win. John Berry
March came in like a lion, but the weather didn't stop the harness racing stables at Mohegan Sun Pocono from opening on Monday morning. At a minute after 8:00am, trainer William Mullin made his way down the steep incline to the Stable Gate with his precious cargo, officially kicking off the 50th Anniversary Season of racing at Pocono. Accompanied by his stable groom, John Sharp, Billy began unloading Easter Legs; Tamasin Hall; and Skyline Road into their new home for the next nine months. All 3 seemed more interested in chowing down than their new surroundings. The first Qualifying races of the meet are on Tuesday, March 10th at 10:00am, with two other dates set aside - Thursday, March 12 and Thursday, March 19. Opening night is Saturday, March 21st, with a Post Time of 6:30pm. Pocono Downs opened their doors on July 15, 1965, and are celebrating their 50th Anniversary season this year with numerous events planned throughout the summer. Sun Stakes Saturday, with nearly $2 million in purses, is set for Saturday, July 4th, and Super Stakes Saturday, with $2.1 in purses, will be on Saturday, August 22, also the big anniversary celebration. Jennifer Starr
DOVER, Del.--- Spin Vision, a Delaware-sired homebred, made it four straight trips to the winner's circle in the $14,500 4&5 Year-Old Mares Winners-Over Monday, March 2 feature at Dover Downs. Bred, owned and trained by Virginia Louthan, Spin Vision rolled down the passing lane with Ron Pierce to record a 1:53.4 career best victory in the day's headliner. Ms. Louthan owns the No Spin Zone - David's Art brown filly, the only three-year-old in the nine-horse lineup. Velocity Sonja, as usual, cut out the early fraction with McArma (Vic Kirby) pressing hard on the outside from mid-backstretch until deep in the stretch. Pierce, enjoying a 2-hole trip exploded upon reaching the passing lane and darted to victory. McArma was a game second with Hidden Land (Roger Plante) coming on to finish third. Spin Vision is now a perfect four-for-four this year with seven lifetime wins and four seconds in 15 races good for $65,480 earnings. In a $13.000 distaff pace, Bay Pod Racing's Hearts N Flowers, over looked at 8-1, won for the third time in her last five starts with two seconds, as Allan Davis guided the Artiscape - Hasty Dewar mare to victory in 1:53.3. Twin B Heartland (Corey Callahan) was runner-up. Valerya (Jonathan Roberts) recovered from locking wheels with Jeremes Sweetheart (Kirby) on the backstretch, to close well for third. The win was the 14th lifetime for Hearts N Flowers extending her earnings to $186,361. Allan Davis, Ron Pierce and Tony Morgan had two wins, including a 29-1 shot for Morgan driving Yanklet Hanover in a $12,500 mares pace. BETTOR AND BOLD ONE-TO-BEAT IN $20,000-$25,000 CLAIMER TUESDAY Just Bettor, fresh from victory last week, is the one-to-beat in the $20,000-$25,000 4&5-Year-Old Claiming Handicap pace, the Tuesday March 3 feature race at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Ken Wood, Bill Ditmar and Steve Iaquinta’ Just Bettor has thrived in his eight starts in 2015 finishing either first or second, with one exception, a third. Vic Kirby has driven the gelding conditioned by Eric Ell in all of his local starts. Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing’s UF Dragons Cruiser, driven by Allan Davis, led for the early part of action last Tuesday but relented to Just Bettor and took second money. Wade Wyatt’s good closer Swift As A Shadow with George Dennis, was third last time, and drew the rail this week. Not to be overlooked in his first local appearance is Black Magic Racing’s PL Hoofhearted, piloted by Corey Callahan. Tim Tetrick and CC Racing’s Better And Bold made an untimely break last time for driver, Trace Tetrick, is among other contenders. Toby Lynch will drive Jim Jacobs’ Button Fly, while Tony Morgan will be behind Wayne King’s LA Camcharger. Marv Bachrad
WASHINGTON, PA, March 2, 2015 -- Simeon exploded three-wide into the final turn and scored by 6 lengths in a division of Monday's Ken Weaver Memorial Trot at The Meadows. The opening leg of the harness racing series for 3- and 4-year-old colts, stallions and geldings was conducted over three divisions, with Kickoff Hanover and Great Magic also taking $12,000 splits. The series honors the memory of the late Ken Weaver, a fixture at both The Meadows and the Pennsylvania Fairs. Simeon was sitting fifth when Dan Rawlings asked him for trot. The 3-year-old Andover Hall - Keystone Ariana gelding, who was unraced at 2, blew by the leaders and triumphed in 2:01.4 on a sloppy surface. Flying Muscles and Just Hang Out completed the ticket. David Wade trains Simeon, who has won five of eight starts, and owns with Anne Wade, Gerald Brittingham and William Peel III. In the $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Classicality made it two straight when he moved first over down the backside for Brian Zendt and prevailed in 1:58, 1-1/4 lengths better than TSM Photo Bugger. Tall Cotton was third. Lisa Dunn-Adams conditions the homebred Classicality, a 5-year-old Classic Photo-Penn Worthy Lane gelding who vaulted over $200,000 in career earnings, for Dunn Stable. Dave Palone drove six winners on the 14-race card for as many trainers -- Ron Burke, Rich Gillock, Kevin Johnson, Todd Keith, Mike Palone and Bill Popp, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
Recently Harnesslink editor Steve Wolf sat down with Larry Rosenblum, President of the Equine Tax Group and asked him what tips he could offer horsepersons for the upcoming tax season, Rosenblum had the following to say. “My belief as an experienced accountant in horse related business is that if you run a business properly and have competent counsel the tricks of the trade and opportunities for tax savings are things that are best discussed on a case by case basis between you and your accountant. There is no one size fits all answer. I have no secret formula to pay little or no taxes, however I can provide your readers with some tips here to keep your business running more smoothly and with fewer tax related crises.” Tip #1 “Taxes are not a do it yourself project in my opinion. Selecting an accountant should be a careful process. It should never be based on the size of a refund or how fast you will get your money back. You should ask if they are a CPA (state licensed) or an enrolled agent (licensed by the IRS). If they are neither then Caveat Emptor.” Tip #2 “IRS Agents like to say if it isn’t in writing it never happened. Record keeping is a must for any business and it is no less important in the horse business. I suggest you pay for as many expenses as you can with a debit or credit card so you have some trail of where you spent your money, even if you lose receipts. Cash is the absolute worst way to pay for expenses.” Tip #3 “I encourage everyone to deposit 100% of your income and make sure income deposited equals income reported on the top line of your tax return. Virtually every IRS fraud case involves unreported income. If you follow what I just stated above you will very likely never be investigated for tax fraud provided your expenses are reasonable for the type of business you are engaged in. Remember there is rarely a valid excuse for “forgetting” any appreciable amount of income. By the way do not try using a check cashing service. They report every check they cash right to the IRS.” Tip #4 “In general ask your tax advisor about claiming the standard mileage rate for auto expenses unless you drive under 15,000 business miles a year or have a compelling need for a very expensive vehicle. I have found the convenience of the mileage rate method and the reduced record keeping that accompanies it saves my clients considerable time and money. The issue here is how much burden do you want in keeping gas receipts and other records related to auto maintenance.” Tip #5 “I recommend filing extensions on March 15th. This protects you in the event of sickness, injury, floods, fires, etc. Thus if you can’t file for some reason by the 15th of April. You are thus allowed until October 15th to file. It takes 5 minutes and it’s free. You have to pay any tax due by April 15th, but you will save needless penalties for late filing by getting a preventative extension “just in case.” Larry Rosenblum added, “If people follow these simple steps they will avoid 80 percent of the problems people run into as far as taxes are concerned. All too often horse persons do not take taxes seriously and invariably it gets them in trouble. They fail to realize that of each dollar they take in almost 40-45% if probably going to be needed to pay taxes. There is an illusion that drivers and trainers are making big money when in fact all but the very top competitors in the sport are earning middle class incomes.” Owners on the other hand need to be cognizant of the “hobby loss rules” which we discuss thoroughly on our website at www.equinetaxgroup.com." On a final note, Larry wanted everyone to know that “The horse industry has long been a favorite target of the IRS so do not become a victim because of your failing to use due diligence!” Larry Rosenblum, E.A., MBA, is an enrolled agent and president of The Equine Tax Group a national tax firm specializing in representing the horseperson before the IRS and State tax departments. Rosenblum retired from the IRS after a 33-year career, which saw him involved in numerous cases involving the equine industry. He can be reached at 888-338-2999 or equinetaxgroup.com. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Pompano Beach, FL...March 1, 2015... Jailhouse Jessica, handled by Bruce Ranger, scored a repeat harness racing victory in Pompano Park's top ($12,000) Open trot for mares on Sunday night (March 1). The five year-old daughter of Jailhouse Jesse, claimed just six weeks ago for $7,200 and now known for her devastating stretch surges, used different tactics this night in wiring her competition in 1:55.3. She's All In, driven by Rick Plano rallied for second, 3 1/2 lengths away, while Little Bitty Lies, with Lewayne Miller in the sulky, finished third. Saint Patty's Doll, prominent as the gate opened, finished fourth while Barbies Korvette picked up the final award in the sextet. Trained by Dale Gilmour for Karma Racing, Inc., Jailhouse Jessica took command right after the bell rang and clocked fractions of :29.1, :58.2 and 1:27.1 before effortlessly strolling home in :28.3 to seal the issue. In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger said, " There didn't seem to be much happening when the gate opened and I sure didn't want to take a chance of being last if the fractions turned out to be soft, so I sent her and she made the top rather easily. The fractions turned out to be right for her and she had plenty left in the lane." "Jessica" now has three wins and a second in five starts since her "claim to fame" and $18,498 of her $18,813 have come in those five starts. She has also taken a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2 in the process, that set one week ago, also in the main event for trotting mares. She's banked $78,845 lifetime. As the 4 to 5 public choice, Jailhouse Jessica paid $3.60 to win. Also on the card was the $10,000 pace for $20,000-$25,000 claimers and JJ's Doughnut extended his winning skein to four with a decisive win measuring 1 3/4 lengths for George Napolitano, Jr. in 1:51.2, equalling his lifetime best. The eight year-old son of Yankee Cam, hot property on claims in his last three starts, left alertly from his outside seven post and tucked in fourth--briefly--before making a sharp move just past the opening quarter of :27.3 to the top and going on to break subsequent beams of :55.1 and 1:23.4 before rocking home in :27.3 to score over Remissionofsins, handled by Peter Wrenn. Premier and Rick Plano teamed up for show honors while One Lucky Dream finished a neck better than Machinist for fourth in the septet. The only real battle for supremacy here was early on as Machinist and Remissiionofsins both vied for the top spot with the latter achieving the top a step past the opener before yielding to the winner shortly thereafter. After the race, driver George Napolitano, Jr. said, This one is sharp--razor sharp--right now and this mile was almost the identical journey I had with him last week. You can drive a horse like this with confidence and he justified that confidence tonight." As the 4 to 5 favorite, JJ's Doughnut paid $3.80 to win...and was, once again, for the fourth straight week, claimed, this time for a tag of $24,000. (Remissionofsins was also claimed out of the event as claiming continues at a record pace at the south Florida oval.) Owned coming in to this race by Susan Oakes and trained by Chris Oakes, JJ's Doughnut won for the sixth time in nine 2015 starts, good for $28,164. He has banked $149,153 lifetime. John Berry
World record holder Mission Brief is considered to be a shoo-in for super-stardom by many; few would be surprised to see her win the Hambletonian. When she cruised to a ridiculous 1:50.3 world record in the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile trainer Ron Burke didn’t seem in the least bit nonplussed: he characterized her as being “super freaky.” Unlike ‘Ms Perfection’, JK She’salady, the daughter of Muscle Hill did go down to defeat in four of her 13 starts—all on breaks. Reminds one of the scary fast colt Arnie Almahurst, who won 14 of his 26 starts at three, back in the early 1970s, and broke stride in 8 of his losses. His son Arndon and grandson Pine Chip both retired as the fastest trotter ever. But we all know success doesn’t always beget success in this game—stuff happens, even to horses that carry all-time great potential. In 2012 Dan Patch winner To Dream On won 8 of her 9 starts, including the Breeders Crown, Merrie Annabelle and Bluegrass. The Credit Winner filly took her split of the ISS in 1:53.2, considerably slower than Mission Brief. Still, she was described as a “super-filly” and Jimmy Takter rated her up there with the best of her age and class he had trained. But while O’Brien winner Bee A Magician did progress and win Horse of the Year honors at three, To Dream On only won 2 of 14 starts. She was retired soon after capturing the Kentucky Filly Futurity. To Dream On didn’t possess Mission Brief’s blinding speed, but she was more reliable and was held in high regard coming out of her freshman campaign. Still, for one reason or another, she didn’t go on. Wheeling N Dealin, from that same class, is another who failed miserably in making the transition from stardom at two to success at three. The Cantab Hall colt, who won all of his freshman starts, including the Breeders Crown, Wellwood and Champlain, was winless in ten starts at three. As was the case with To Dream On, his fall from grace was shocking. Snow White won 11 of 13 at two and set a world record of 1:52.4 for freshmen trotters, of either sex, in the ISS, as well as an all-time earnings record for two-year-old trotters. The Self Possessed miss was already a super star when she entered the sophomore ranks, but health issues got the best of her, and she was ultimately euthanized, the following summer. On the other hand, Continentalvictory and CR Kay Suzie both came back to win Horse of the Year honors at three. Florican, the dam sire of Speedy Crown, was a world record holder at two, winning 7 of 8 starts for the Arden Homestead Stable. However, he was chronically lame and suffered from bouts of sickness at three, as he won once in 12 tries, earning less than $10,000. He did redeem himself with a successful campaign in the aged ranks. Broadway Hall was a very good freshman, winning all nine starts, including the Breeders Crown, and banking more than $435,000. Suspensory issues got the best of him, however, and he wasn’t able to compete at three. The fifteen-year-old son of Conway Hall, and sire of Broad Bahn, Action Broadway and Cooler Schooner, recently moved to Ohio. Dancer’s Crown, two-year-old division champ and Peter Haughton winner, in 1982, impressed Castleton Farms so much that they paid $3.75 million for a three-quarter share in him. The Dickerson Cup was his only noteworthy win at three. After freshman Donerail won his tenth in a row at two, Stanley Dancer eschewed his pet retort that Nevele Pride was the best trotter he ever had; he said Donerail was better. The elegant and handsome son of Valley Victory won 13 of 15 starts that year, including the Haughton, and he was awarded a Dan Patch. Owner Robert Suslow and Hanover Shoe Farms put together a syndication deal. But after banking $637,000 at two, he earned only $66,000 at three, winning 3 of 6 starts, after which he was forced into early retirement by injury. Royalty For Life, Pampered Princess, Dejarmbro, D Train, Broad Bahn and Big Rigs are all out of Donerail mares. Super Bowl’s son Express Ride earned $840,000 at two, back in 1985, as he won 9 of 14 starts and never failed to make the board. The division champ took the Breeders Crown and the Haughton. The following year Express Ride only managed to win twice in five starts and his earnings plummeted to less than $50,000. He was remanded to Castleton Farms where he proved to be sterile, but like several others who suffered from the sophomore blues, he went on to have a productive career in the aged ranks and also resuscitated his stallion career in Europe. Cumin was another precocious son of Super Bowl. He won the 8 races where he didn’t break at two, and lost the other 4. The product of the Super Bowl-Speedy Crown cross was stopped short by injury at three and didn’t race. Starlark Hanover won 21 of 22 heats as a freshman; she beat the boys from the 13 post at Yonkers Raceway in the Harriman. But David Wade’s Hickory Smoke filly regressed to journeyman status at three. Wesgate Crown became the sport’s all-time fastest two-year-old when he time trialed in 1:55.1 He won 7 of his 8 starts and was valued at a million dollars when 25% of him was purchased for $250,000. But, alas, the winner of the Breeders Crown and Valley Victory only won 3 of 12 the following year, none of them noteworthy. The son of Royal Prestige went on to have a successful aged career in North America and Europe, banking $2.5 million. Jodevin, a son of the mercurial speedball Dayan, managed to win 19 of his 21 starts at two in Midwest races like the Hayes and the Hoosier, to the point where he captured his division. Lameness took its toll at three. Noble Gesture, a certified nut job blessed with extreme speed, overcame his personal demons and won 8 of his 10 starts at two. He became the second fastest freshman trotter ever by virtue of a 1:59 win. But the demons won out at three, as the sire of Balanced Image and grandsire of Mack Lobell won only 3 of 13 starts, with the Matron serving as his premier victory. In his case there was no mystery to unpack regarding the factors that sabotaged his sophomore campaign. The majority of trotters that fail to graduate to greatness are waylaid by obvious injuries, while in other cases the fall from grace remains wrapped in mystery. By all accounts Mission Brief is healthy. One assumes Burke has done what he can to correct her fractious ways, but from Dayan and Marlu Pride, back in the day, to Manofmanymissions in the modern era, the puzzle of fire breathing trotters that lose their composure has never leant itself to easy solutions. (Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink)
The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that horse owner Bob Key has donated a breeding to Winning Mister, to be auctioned off to benefit the MSOA's Collegiate Scholarship Fund. The breeding has a value of $6,000. "Bob Key has been a longtime supporter of racing at The Meadows and throughout the industry," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "The MSOA is very thankful of his donation to our scholarship program." The auction is currently underway on the website OnGait.com. Terms are 10% non-refundable down at the conclusion of the auction. The remainder is payable upon a live foal. The auction ends on March 16. Winning Mister, a son of Angus Hall, earned over $1.1 million in his career and took a mark of 1:51.3. He is currently standing at Lindwood Farms in Greensburg, PA for a fee of $6,000. The MSOA would like to remind breeders that a previously announced breeding to Western Ideal, donated by Hanover Shoe Farm, is also being offered by auction on OnGait.com. That auction ends (tomorrow) Monday, March 2 at 2PM Eastern. Jeff Zidek
Last year's harness racing Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year Road Bet (Bettor's Delight) started out her season in style on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Kyle Spagnola-trained mare made the early lead in the $18,000 co-featured Fillies and Mares Open and would not look back. Frank Coppola Jr. piloted Road Bet as she sped through a 27.1 opening quarter and lasted on the lead. Road Bet held off the challenge from the pocket sitting favorite as Campanile (Austin Siegelman) had to settle for second while Goddess's Rosa (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Road Bet was dismissed at odds of 4-1 and led an exacta that returned $17.60. The trifecta came back $80 in the six horse co-feature. The $18,000 Open Trot was won by Banco Solo (Dobson) who nosed out the 1-5 public choice Zooming (Tyler Buter) at the wire. Banco Solo returned $16.80 to win in the five horse co-feature. Driver Bruce Aldrich Jr had a big day on the matinee card as he piloted four winners. Live racing resumes at Saratoga on Thursday with a 4:00pm first post. Twilight racing is new this season and will take place on every Thursday throughout the spring. Melissa Simser