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Columbus, OH -- In an announcement from the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium on Wednesday (Nov. 21) regarding NSAID administration time and intra-articular injections, that organization inaccurately portrayed their relationship with the U.S. Trotting Association when they stated that, "The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing." "A review of the RMTC release reveals an unjustified and regrettable misrepresentation," said USTA President Russell Williams. "The RMTC does not represent the Standardbred breed in any way. Only the United States Trotting Association and the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative can speak for the Standardbred breed regarding medication issues." HRMC Chairman Joe Faraldo echoed Williams' declaration. "As chairman of the USTA's Harness Racing Medication Collaborative let me be quite clear that RMTC does NOT represent the Standardbred industry," said Faraldo. "The harness industry operates under an altogether different training regimen and is a more durable breed than our Thoroughbred counterparts," explained Faraldo. "The genesis for such a proposed rule is founded on the unfortunate reaction to the Santa Anita catastrophe, which has gathered significant negative public attention but has no relationship to any Standardbred experience. Our incidence of catastrophic breakdowns is a statistical anomaly as compared to other breeds and hence such rules such as these, should under no circumstances be made applicable to the Standardbred industry. "Rules such as these, referred to any state commission through RMTC or even RCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International), as its conduit, is not representative of rules more appropriately applicable to the harness racing industry and should therefore not be applied to it," added Faraldo. "The HRMC shall provide the state racing commissions and others with appropriate regulations that are consistent with any and all integrity concerns related to permitted, therapeutic medications whether directly or through RCI." On Sept. 25, 2013, the Executive Committee of the USTA unanimously voted to reject RCI proposed model medication rules and in a separate unanimous vote, agreed that the USTA would immediately withdraw its membership from the RMTC. "We have carefully considered the RCI proposals and have come to the conclusion that the physical characteristics of the breeds are significantly different. Trying to fit them together makes little sense," said then USTA President Phil Langley. "We believe both breeds, Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds, will benefit from having rules concentrated solely on their needs." On May 8, 2018, the USTA, through the Medication Subcommittee of the USTA Board of Directors, established the HRMC, a group that includes both academic and practicing veterinarians. The HRMC's purpose is to assist in identifying and developing the scientific background for medication regulation in Standardbred racing. The USTA utilizes HRMC's reports and supporting data to present to the RCI for dissemination to regulators in the various racing commissions. From the USTA Communications Department

Columbus, OH -- U.S. Trotting Association District 8 Director Bruce Tubin has resigned his position effective immediately, and the other harness racing district directors have elected Michael L. Torcello as his replacement. Torcello will make his official Board debut at the annual meeting in Columbus, OH in March 2020 and will serve the remainder of Bruce's term until the next scheduled District 8 meeting, at which time he will be able to stand for election if he so chooses. "While we are excited to have Torcello join the Board, it is with regret that we accepted Bruce Tubin's resignation," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. "Bruce discontinued a growing law practice in 1976 to pursue his first love, harness racing, and was instrumental in advancing horsemen's interests in New York and in bringing video lottery terminals to Empire State racetracks. "Beyond that, he served actively and admirably as a USTA director since being elected in 1997, including his contribution of significant time and expertise to clean up and update the USTA Rule Book in 2016-2017 as part of an ad hoc committee first assigned by former USTA President, Phil Langley," added Tanner. "We thank Bruce for his service and wish him well as he transitions away from the Association." Torcello, a Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association board member, boasts a long involvement in our sport. He was first exposed to harness racing through his uncle, Ralph Torcello, who owned Standardbreds in western New York. Currently the owner of 15 horses and a USTA member since 1979, Torcello was a trainer from 1982 through 1998 before deciding to attend law school at SUNY-Buffalo. Since graduating, Torcello has worked as an attorney at Doran & Murphy, PLLC in Buffalo, where he focuses on representing railroad workers. He is a married father of two college-aged children. His wife is an elementary school teacher in the Orchard Park, NY district. She taught third grade for years and is now a math intervention specialist. His son is attending Harvard Law School while his daughter is an undergraduate at SUNY-Geneseo. Torcello's cousin, also named Mike Torcello, is the track superintendent at Harrah's Philadelphia. From the USTA Communications Department

On Friday (Nov. 8) , Young adults in harness racing from across the country gathered in Columbus, Ohio, for the inaugural USTA Youth Delegate Summit. Seven USTA Youth Delegates participated in the two-day event, which included an evening of team-building activities, a tour of Virgil Morgan's Winners Circle Training Center, and a visit to Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. On Saturday, delegates spent the morning learning about social media and event coverage from the USTA social media team. They then took turns practicing what they'd learned in a simulated reporting exercise with caretakers from the Brady Galliers stable. The group spent the afternoon discussing social media etiquette and the efficacy of the Youth Delegate program and heard presentations from social media coordinator Michael Carter, USTA director Gabe Wand and HHYF Executive Director Ellen Taylor. The summit concluded with an action-packed trip to Dayton Raceway. Delegates were given a special tour of the facility, met with race office personnel, and interviewed several top drivers including Chris Page, Tyler Smith, and Dan Noble. Following his interview with District 9 Youth Delegate Colin Boyle, Brett Miller gave his helmet to the young harness racing fan--a generous reward for a job well done. Serendipitously, the delegates also met and took a photo with State Representative J. Todd Smith who was visiting the racetrack, as well. "My favorite part of the summit would have to be the evening at Dayton Raceway," said 17-year-old Scarlett Wilder, the Youth Delegate Chairperson. "I'm really proud of our group and I think we performed very well. Everyone stepped up and went outside of their comfort zone, which helped this group grow tremendously." Launched in 2018, the USTA Youth Delegate program is designed to raise up young leaders in the sport of harness racing, encourage them to participate in local and regional racing-related events, and give them an opportunity to influence and shape the future of racing. The USTA Youth Delegates will next convene at the annual USTA Board of Directors meeting in Columbus, Ohio, March 13-16, 2020. From the USTA Communications Department

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - U.S. Trotting Association (USTA) District 8 has announced the winners of its 2019 year-end awards. George Ducharme has been named Trainer of the Year; Pari-Mutuel Driver of the Year is Tyler Buter; and Claude Huckabone Jr. is the County Fair Driver of the Year. Ducharme earned $705,226 in the New York Sire Stakes program this year with 113 starts. His stable was led by 3-year-old trotting filly Sensibility, who earned more than $250,000, and 2-year-old trotting colt Berkery J, who took home nearly $150,000. Ducharme was also the leading money earner at his home track, Vernon Downs, with $213,968 in purses. Overall, Ducharme's horses have banked $1,940,793 this season and he sports a .415 UTRS. Buter has $1.5 million in combined NY Sire Stakes and Excelsior earnings this season and 63 wins on the circuit. He drove New York County Fair Champions Certify (Credit Winner-Good Intentions) and Roll with Mimi (Roll With Joe-Dream of Mimi) into the winner's circle. He also steered American Mercury to a win in the $500,000 Messenger Stakes and a third-place finish in the Little Brown Jug. For the year, Buter has guided 306 winners to $5.2 million in earnings. Huckabone Jr. finished atop the New York County Fair earnings chart with $51,514 in 58 starts. He drove 2-year-old colt pacer Flow With Joe (Roll With Joe-Hidden Play) to a County Fair championship, and trained Champion 3-year-old filly pacer Roll With Mimi, whom he drove most of the season. Awards will be given at the joint NYSS and USTA District 8 Banquet at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Sunday, Nov. 10. Horse of the Year will be announced at the event. Also honored that evening will be these USTA Divisional Champions: Mr. Vicktor - 3-Year-Old Trotting Colt Owner: Robert Santagata, Jennifer Lappe, Diamond Pride and Joseph Lee Trainer: Jennifer Lappe Winndevie - 3-Year-Old Trotting Filly Owner: Purple Haze Stables Trainer: Trond Smedshammer Hickfromfrenchlick - 3-Year-Old Pacing Colt Owners: Raymond Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico Trainer: Ray Schnittker Brooklyn Lilacs - 3-Year-Old Pacing Filly Owner: Crawford Farms Racing Trainer: Jennifer Bongiorno Chaptiama - 2-Year-Old Trotting Colt Owners: Purple Haze Stables Trainer: Trond Smedshammer C And T's Credit - 2-Year-Old Trotting Filly Owner: Peter Barbato and Samuel Bova Trainer: John Stark Jr. Cigars And Port - 2-Year-Old Pacing Colt Owner: Raymond Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing, Theodore Gewertz and Steven Arnold Trainer: Ray Schnittker Racine Bell - 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly Owner: Chris Lawton and Dale Lawton Trainer: David Dewhurst "On behalf of our board of directors, I'd like to congratulate this year's winners," said USTA District 8 Chairman Michael Kane. "These horses and horsemen are shining examples of the level of quality coming out of this area and each has represented this district well, both at home and on the Grand Circuit. We are proud to have this opportunity each year to honor their contributions to our sport." The award winners were selected in balloting of the New York State race secretaries. Horses were selected from those with ownership in District 8. Tickets to the awards banquet are $35.00 and include reception and dinner. Special room rates are available in which banquet guests can receive 15% off a reservation at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Click here for booking information. A USTA District 8 meeting will precede the banquet and is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the hotel. Guests are asked to please RSVP no later than Monday, Nov. 4. RSVPs can be given to Sarah Quinn at squinn@caphill.com or 518-694-5002. Payment should be made out and sent to: Agriculture & NYS Horse Breeding Fund c/o CHMS 230 Washington Avenue Extension, Suite 101 Albany, NY 12203 From the New York Sire Stakes

The Board of the Standardbred Transition Alliance (STA) is pleased to announce that Jennifer Daniels has been named its Administrator. Daniels, a seasoned Standardbred aftercare professional, comes to the position with considerable experience operating a Standardbred transitional training program at her own Laurel Haven Farms, in Ohio. She previously worked in the regulatory department of the United States Trotting Association. A graduate of Ohio State University, Daniels holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture/Animal Science. "We are delighted to have the benefit of Jennifer's significant expertise in both transitioning our horses to new careers and as a professional within our industry. She will be working closely with our board in accrediting the first group of programs serving our horses, with our inaugural grants going out early in 2020," said STA President David Reid. Formed in the fall of 2018 and granted 501(c)(3) status in April 2019, the primary mission of the STA is to inspect, accredit and award grants to approved organizations that acquire, rehabilitate, train and rehome Standardbred horses, using industry-wide funding. As Administrator, Daniels will be responsible for representing the STA in a leadership role, focusing on facilitating the accreditation process, establishing industry partnerships, project planning and exploring further program developments to enhance greater breed marketability and increased visibility. "I am excited to join the STA and help carry out its important mission," said Daniels. "I look forward to working with the Board of Directors and the various stakeholders in Standardbred racing to showcase the transitioning of horses we care so deeply about." Daniels will be attending the upcoming Harrisburg Yearling and Mixed Sale. To learn more about the STA mission, visit www.standardbredtransition.org. From The Board of the Standardbred Transition Alliance

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes and USTA District 8 will host their Annual Awards Banquet on Sunday, Nov. 10 at Saratoga Casino Hotel, honoring the top horses, trainers, drivers, owners and breeders of the 2019 harness racing season. Awards will be presented to the 2 and 3-year old champions of the NYSS, the Excelsior Series and the New York County Fair Series. USTA District 8 will also present divisional awards, along with Horse of the year and honors for leading breeders, trainers and drivers. Racing Under Saddle-NY will also present year-end awards. The banquet will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., hosted by USTA District 8 racetracks. The banquet will follow immediately at 7:30 p.m. A USTA District 8 meeting will precede the banquet and is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the hotel. Tickets are $35.00 and include reception and dinner. Special room rates are available in which banquet guests can receive 15% off a reservation at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Click here for booking information. Guests are asked to please RSVP no later than Monday, Nov. 4. RSVPs can be given to Sarah Quinn at squinn@caphill.com or 518-694-5002. Payment should be made out and sent to: Agriculture & NYS Horse Breeding Fund c/o CHMS 230 Washington Avenue Extension, Suite 101 Albany, NY 12203 From the New York Sire Stakes

THE PAULICK REPORT today by Joe Nevills reports that Horse racing is an industry built on using past performance to predict future outcomes, and if The Jockey Club goes through with its proposal to limit stud books to 140 mares bred per season, the Thoroughbred business has a decade of experience from the Standardbred side of the aisle to map out the road ahead. The United States Trotting Association, the regulatory body for Standardbred racing and breeding in the U.S., has imposed a 140-head limit on mares bred by stallions who debuted in 2009 or later, and after early periods of potential legal battles and business adjustments, the cap is now considered business as usual. The U.S. Standardbred gene pool is far shallower than its Thoroughbred cousin, both in the number of foundation pedigrees and in its current population – roughly a third of the national Thoroughbred head count. By the mid-2000s, a small handful of sires had taken command of the marketplace, and a growing abundance of 2×3 crosses had some in the USTA concerned about the genetic diversity of the breed. Only a small handful of stallions exceeded what would become the 140-mare limit, but with artificial insemination expanding a stallion's availability beyond his immediate surroundings, the busiest ones could top out near 300 mares. Among the industry leaders seeking a change was Russell Williams, president and CEO of top breeding operation Hanover Shoe Farms in Pennsylvania and president of the USTA. At the time the cap was first being discussed, Williams was a board member with the breed organization. To read the rest of the story, click here. 

Columbus, OH -- Richard "Dick" Brandt Jr. notified the U.S. Trotting Association in writing at the end of last week that he was resigning his seat on the Board of Directors as well as his position as Treasurer of the Association. Elected to the USTA Board in 1986 and Treasurer in 2010, he served as a representative of District 1. "With the state of racing in Ohio on solid footing, now seems to be a perfect and comfortable time for me to step aside and grant an opportunity for someone else to help oversee our great sport," said Brandt in tendering his resignation. In addition to his role as treasurer, Brandt was also the chairman of the Rules Committee and an active member of the Universal Rules Committee chaired by John Campbell. Among his many contributions to harness racing over several decades, Brandt was a past president and director of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association; past chairman of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Health and Retirement Fund; treasurer of PACER (Political Action Committee for Equine Racing); past president of the River Valley Colt Circuit and former trustee of the Ohio Standardbred Breeders Association. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in industrial production and is currently chairman and director of the Logan Clay Products Company. He is also chairman of the National Clay Pipe Institute and past chairman of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Brandt and his wife, Connie, reside in Logan, Ohio. "Selfless and principled -- those are the best words that I can think of to describe Dick and his contributions to harness racing and the USTA," said USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner. "He's an unsung hero of the sport, a man who has made a difference, and the Association is grateful for his many years of counsel and service." Kevin Greenfield was selected to fill the remainder of Brandt's term that expires in 2020. As prescribed in USTA Bylaw § 5.04 Vacancies Membership Elected Directors. Any vacancy on the district board of a membership director through death, written resignation filed with the United States Trotting Association office in Columbus, Ohio, removal, or other cause, may be filled from the membership of such district by the remaining membership directors for such district, with the individual so elected to serve until the next scheduled district meeting, at which time an election shall be held for the purpose of electing a membership director for the balance of the term or a new term if the existing term has expired, as provided in article 4.02 herein. The remaining membership directors of District 1 chose to replace Brandt with Greenfield, a respected Ohio breeder who is the president and treasurer of Hickory Lane Horse Farm in Findlay, Ohio, where he oversees the overall operations of the farm and is actively involved in the purchases of the farm's broodmares and stallions. Greenfield is a past president of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association in addition to being a shareholder in and past treasurer of the Ohio Harness Horse Breeders Association. Following is the procedure for election of a new membership director for District 1 in 2020. (4.02 Election of Membership Directors. Membership directors shall be elected as follows: (a) Nomination Petition Requirements. Candidates for membership director other than incumbent membership director shall be made by filing a written petition signed by at least twenty-five (25) voting members from the district for which the person seeks to become a candidate to be filed at the main office of the association in Columbus, Ohio at least fifty (50) days before the election. In computing the fifty (50) day period, the day of filing shall be counted and the day of the district meeting excluded. Nominating petitions forwarded by mail shall be by registered mail return receipt requested and shall be considered filed as of the postmark date. All others shall be considered filed at the time they are actually received at the main office of the association.) From the USTA Communications Department

Columbus, OH - With the upcoming Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday (Oct. 25) and Saturday (Oct. 26), the U.S. Trotting Association is partnering with Daily Racing Form to present a wagering educational program called "Learn to Bet Harness." "We are pleased to expand our partnership with Daily Racing Form with this program that will promote our championship day in harness racing and be beneficial to both new fans as well as players who want to improve their handicapping skills," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. On Breeders Crown Saturday, the national print edition of the DRF will feature a special "Learn to Bet Harness" section that will examine all aspects of handicapping harness races with best practices from industry experts and tips from some of the best handicappers in the country. The special section will be seen by horse players across North America. "People often say horse racing is too difficult for new people to learn by themselves. That's nonsense. People simply need the tools," said DRF Harness Editor Derick Giwner. "If I can Google how to change an electrical outlet or build an extension to my house, I should be able to find meaningful information on how to handicap harness racing. "The 'Learn to Bet Harness' insert coupled with the video series will go a long way toward furthering the mission of increasing our sport's exposure to a wider audience," added Giwner. "With the reach of DRF and USTA through digital, print and social media, this could truly move the needle in terms of education for the general public as well as Thoroughbred players who may have been hesitant to cross over." The special section will include Giwner's step-by-step guide on betting harness racing, Breeders Crown content and some general handicapping tips. It will also provide an analysis of the similarities and differences between harness racing and Thoroughbred racing past performances and handicapping in order to help promote crossover play by Thoroughbred bettors and educate players with the potential to increase their level of wagering to include the Breeders Crown races and on harness racing in general. In addition, the "Learn to Bet Harness" program will feature a series of five videos hosted by Giwner with expert DRF handicappers Matt Rose and Dan Illman as well as the USTA's Michael Carter. The video series will provide basic harness handicapping tips that will be hosted on both www.DRF.com and www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com. Some of those strategies will include considerations of drivers, trainers, track size and trip handicapping in determining how to bet harness races. The "Learn to Bet Harness" program will be promoted on social media leading up to the Breeders Crown on both DRF and USTA social media platforms. From the USTA Communications Department

Columbus, OH - The 13th annual U.S. Trotting Association Speaker Series, presented by the Harness Racing FanZone, at the Delaware (Ohio) County Fair will be held on Wednesday and Thursday mornings before the Jugette (Sept. 18) and Little Brown Jug (Sept. 19), respectively. The 2019 edition will feature some of the sport's best drivers and trainers as well as a trio of analysts and Hall of Fame all-time leading driver and current executive John Campbell. This year's lineup is: Wednesday, Sept. 18 9 a.m. - Driver Brett Miller and Trainer Scott Blackler 10 a.m. - Driver Chris Page and Trainer Ron Burke Thursday, Sept. 19 8 a.m. - Handicapping with Roger Huston, Dave Brower and Wendy Ross 9 a.m. - Trainers Tony Alagna, Casie Coleman and Bill MacKenzie 10 a.m. - Hambletonian Society President and CEO John Campbell (Schedule subject to change) From the USTA Communications Department  

When the Standardbreds (Harness Racing) instituted Breeding Limits and what happened? When The Jockey Club proposed last week a limit to the numbers of mares a stallion could be bred to, Russell Williams, the president of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) had many thoughts, among them, “What took you so long?” Williams, who is also the president of Hanover Shoe Farms, by far the largest breeder in harness racing, was the one who led the charge to have similar rules enacted by the USTA, the Standardbred equivalent of The Jockey Club. He started to call for limits on the amount of mares a stallion could be bred to as far back as 2004. Starting in 2009, no new Standardbred stallion was allowed to breed to more than 140 mares. That’s the same number being proposed by The Jockey Club. Because there are roughly one third as many Standardbreds bred in the U.S. each year as there are Thoroughbreds, the problems of in-breeding were more dire for the trotters and pacers. The breeding industry was dominated by a handful of top stallions, some of whom were sent to 200 or more mares a year. There was not a lot of science available at the time, but you didn’t need to be an expert in the field of genetics to realize this could cause serious problems. “I was the instigator,” said Williams, who, at the time was a vice president at Hanover and on the USTA Board of Directors. “I felt we might be breeding ourselves into a corner and we needed to look a that.” The USTA commissioned a study by Dr. Gus Cothran of the University of Kentucky. Cothran concluded that the Standardbred gene pool was becoming less diverse, and that the breed would suffer in the future because of that lack of diversity. “Cothran, he did a study for us to assess the loss of heterozygosity in the Standardbred breed,” Williams said. “He looked at both pacers and trotters and he calculated we were going to breed ourselves into a corner if we kept on going with unlimited books.” Heterozygosity has been defined as “overall genetic diversity in an individual that can then be averaged over the entire population–or in this case, the breed.” Williams said that the breeding industry was already seeing a rise in the amount of horses born with Osteochondritis Dissecans problems (OCD), as well as an increase in fertility problems, but it was more the fear of the unknown that had the sport worried. Certainly, too much in-breeding was likely to lead to a less healthy horse. “When I was growing up you did not see cancer in horses,” Williams said. “You just didn’t see it and (top pacing stallion) Somebeachsomewhere died of cancer (in January of 2018) at the age of 13, half the age you’d expect a horse to die at. What’s going on? Situations like that show you how careful you have to be.” It took a few years from the time Cothran’s study was completed until the USTA implemented its new rules, but once they went into effect the industry has not looked back. In fact, some believe 140 is still too high a number and have called for the number to be reduced to 100. As expected, some breeders objected and sued. The same could happen in Thoroughbred racing if The Jockey Club goes through with its proposal. Williams said the lawsuits went nowhere, a factor The Jockey Club’s lawyers are likely well aware of. Williams said antitrust lawsuits were filed alleging restraint of trade by the USTA and Williams was among those deposed. He said that once the depositions began it became so clear that the plaintiffs had no case against the USTA and the lawsuits were dropped. “I had contacted lawyers with what is probably the best antitrust law firm in the country and the lawyers there gave us their opinion that we were OK,” Williams said. “He said there were no antitrust problems with doing this. Basically, if you do something which is a burden on commerce but it is not done for commercial reasons but rather for scientific reasons that benefit an industry you can do it.” He said most people in the industry already understood that in-breeding was a problem that had to be dealt with and didn’t object to the rule changes. “Most people were very good about this,” he said. “They felt in their hearts a dedication to the breed and saw the value to this. A feeling persisted that this is good for our horses, so we’re OK with it.” Ironically, Hanover had more to lose than perhaps any other entity in the sport. It has been the annual leading breeder in the sport for as many years as the USTA has been keeping records and was among the guilty parties when it came to breeding their stallions to huge books of mares. “At Hanover, we were clearly hurt by this,” Williams said. “It was one of those situations where, as a USTA director I had a potential conflict of interest, but, because I took a position contrary to my economic interests it was a moot point.” At least for now, Williams is not in favor of lowering the number of mares a stallion can be bred to any further. He said there’s no reason to make any changes until the results of on-going research into the Standardbred genome are completed. A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. In time, when the full make up of the DNA of a Standardbred is available to breeders, people will be able to make breeding decisions equipped with scientific data that will give them the ability to avoid problems that could be caused by in-breeding. The USTA is strongly opposed to the Horse Racing Integrity Act, which is being pushed hard by The Jockey Club, so the two organizations are often at odds. But when it comes to The Jockey Club’s attempts to limit book sizes, Williams believes it is on the right track. “This may be the only thing I agree with them on, but, yes, definitely, I believe what they are trying to do is important and the right thing to do,” he said. By Bill Finley Reprinted with permission of The Thoroughbred Daily News

Hightstown, NJ — Adios winner Southwind Ozzi found a spot in the top 10 and Clara Barton winner Shartin N remained No. 1 in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Southwind Ozzi joined the top 10 for the first time this season, landing at No. 10. Shartin N, who won the Clara Barton with the fastest pacing mile in Plainridge Park history, 1:49.1, stayed solidly entrenched in the top spot with 33 of 35 first-place votes and a 66-point cushion over No. 2 Atlanta. Millies Possesion, who is unbeaten in eight races, moved from No. 10 to No. 8 thanks to her win in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination. No other horses in the top 10 raced last week. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, which runs weekly through November, does not determine Horse of the Year. The members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association vote on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 10 – 7/30/2019 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (33) 6pm 12-11-0-0 $655,765 347 1 2 Atlanta (1) 4tm 7-6-1-0 $438,330 281 2 3 Greenshoe (1) 3tc 5-4-1-0 $326,500 276 3 4 Lather Up 4ph 9-6-0-1 $411,405 233 4 5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 7-5-2-0 $554,630 157 5 6 Captain Crunch 3pc 6-4-0-0 $511,574 156 6 7 Gimpanzee 3tc 3-3-0-0 $161,688 108 7 8 Millies Possesion  3tf 8-8-0-0 $195,517 63 10 9 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 5-3-0-0 $79,282 60 8 10 Southwind Ozzi 3pr 6-5-1-0 $291,921 45 -- ALSO: Stonebridge Soul 36; Best In Show 32; McWicked, Western Fame 16; Guardian Angel As 13; Evident Beauty 9; Caviart Ally 8; Boadicea, When Dovescry 6; Rich And Miserable 5; Bettor Joy N, None Bettor A, Highalator, JK First Lady, Pilot Discretion, Shake That House, Tequila Monday, This Is The Plan 4; Crystal Fashion, Green Manalishi S, Sister Sledge, Six Pack 3; Courtly Choice, Jimmy Freight, Workin Ona Mystery 2; Mr Vicktor, Warrawee Ubeaut 1.

Columbus, OH -- This week leading up to the $1 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands on Saturday, the USTA is producing a video series of the leading contenders in the race. The "Road to the Hambletonian" is presented by the Hambletonian Society and the daily videos can be viewed by clicking on the banner on the homepage of www.ustrotting.com or by clicking here. Hosted by the USTA's Wendy Ross and Michael Carter, each video will feature footage from farms and training centers and will include interviews with the connections of the top horses scheduled to compete in the 94th Hambletonian this weekend. The $1 million Hambletonian will be part of the live CBS Sports Network broadcast this Saturday from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). From the USTA Media Department  

The Standardbred Transition Alliance is seeking an administrator for the 501(c)3 charitable organization. Interested applicants are reminded to respond by Wednesday (July 31) for consideration. An administrator will be responsible for working closely with the Board of Directors to manage all functions of the organization, including fundraising, accreditation and granting, and communication. Please see a full job description here. Applicants should send a cover letter detailing compensation requirements and resume to jobs@standardbredtransition.org. Questions may also be sent to this email address. The STA has a mission to award grants to approved organizations that acquire, rehabilitate, train and re-home Standardbred horses. It was established in 2018 and is modeled after a similar Thoroughbred organization. Applicants may be subjected to a background check. The STA is an equal opportunity employer. From the Standardbred Transition Alliance

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Some harness racing fans are not satisfied with just watching the races from rail, they want to be on the other side — and in the driver’s seat — and they can! Many enthusiasts, both men and women are part of amateur harness racing clubs in the tri-state area. Most have day jobs but on weekends they trade business attire for racing colors. According to the United States Trotting Association website: “An amateur driver is a driver who has not received valuable compensation for his or her services as a driver. To participate in amateur driving events, the person must hold a driver's license issued by the United States Trotting Association.". Most amateur drivers donate the percent of the purse money won that a driver would normally receive, to charity, raising money for a variety of good causes. While there are races restricted to amateurs, the amateurs can and often do compete against the pros. For esample, Mal Burroughs, then of Flemington, N.J., won the harness racing’s most prestigious race for trotters — the Hambletonian with Malabar Man in 1997. Only one other amateur has won that race since it started in 1926. The other was Harrison Hoyt, who won it in 1948. The Hambletonian with Malabar Man in 1997 However, it doesn't have to be a world class stakes race to be fun. New Jerseyan, Matt Zuccarello, a Field Sales Representative for Herr Foods Inc. by day, fell in love with harness racing when he attended the races as a kid with his father, at the legendary Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island. “I love so many things including the excitement, speed (even though it feels like slow motion at times), strategy, and camaraderie among all the amateurs. When you win a race and get your picture taken in the winner’s circle, especially surrounded by friends and family, it is awesome!” Over Memorial Day weekend at the Meadowlands, Zuccarello just missed getting his picture taken in the winner’s circle, finishing second in a division of the GSY Amateur Driving Club series. Zuccarello also competes with the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the CKG Billings series, and in a total of 16 starts this year he has two seconds and two thirds. Since 2012 he has raced 347 times, won 12, as second 34 times and was third 39 times. Anthony Verruso, a Flight Attendant for Jetblue Airways also just missed winning the CKG Billings trot at the Meadowlands on May 25 — by a head. Just because they are amateurs, doesn’t mean they are any less competitive than the pros. In 2019 Verruso has won twice and finished second five times in 14 starts with his most recent win at Monticello Raceway in New York. “It is an experience like no other. Racing at high speeds in such tight quarters and having to make split second decisions is as exhilarating as anything you could ever do. And there is no feeling like sweeping a field up the back side and opening lengths to win a race,” Verruso said. He is also president of the Delvin Miller Amateur Drivers' Association which runs the Billings series which will conclude in November with the top point earners earning a start in the final. Verruso was introduced to racing a t a young age. “My Dad was a workout clocker and went to Roosevelt and Yonkers every night for what was my entire life. He told me I could go with him if I got A's in school. So I did and he took me on a regular basis from when I was 10 years old. I learned to clock the workouts too but from those early days on I wanted to be Carmine Abbatiello,” he said referring to the professional driver who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. For Anthony Beltrami, a state trial judge for the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Pa., driving in races is a welcome change of pace. He loves, “that I get to do something that is really fun and totally different from anything else I do.” His father owned harness horses as long as he can remember. “Before I went to law school, I worked as a groom for Earl Beal, Jr. and David Rovine. Several years ago, I got my trainer's and driver's licenses.” This year he has two wins, a second and a third from eight starts. Men and women compete on equal terms in harness racing. Hannah Miller, not only competes with the men, she often beats them. She was the first woman to earn National Amateur Driver of the Year honors in 2015.  The next year she represented the United States in the amateur World Cup in Budapest, Hungary. So how does one get started in amateur harness racing? Zuccarello said, “I told my dad that one day I wanted to drive and own horses. Years later, I took a class in Delaware, Ohio, where the Little Brown Jug is raced at, was connected to a trainer, Dennis Laterza and his son, who I still have horses with, learned how to clean stalls, jog horses, train and equip them, and I was hooked.” Zuccarello suggests attending the USTA driving school, although none are scheduled for 2019, check http://www.ustrotting.com/standardbred-driving-school/ for 2020 opportunities. Next, Zuccarello said, “get connected with a local trainer near where you live to learn everything about the industry. Once you get this experience under your belt, I would suggest purchasing an inexpensive horse to use for qualifiers while also networking with other trainers and try to secure as many qualifying drives as you can and this will help you work your way towards getting your amateur license.” “You need to start from the ground up. Find an old time guy who likes to impart knowledge and listen to what he says. Don't just go and jump in the seat and think you can drive. First learn to muck a stall. Then understand how to put on the equipment. Jogging would be the next progression and finally going training miles. From there try to get drives in qualifiers to obtain a license. In my opinion, that is the best road to success,” Verruso said. “Find a trainer/stable that you can work for and start out as a groom — hopefully one that can eventually jog and train the horses you care for. Be willing to put in long hours and to learn as much as you can along the way, said Beltrami. See www.ustrotting.com/trackside/amateur-driving-clubs/ for more information on local clubs. For the younger set, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation offers summer camps at area tracks and training centers. At the camps kids learn to care for and drive Trottingbred ponies, miniature versions of Standardbreds.Several former campers have gone on to become professionals. By Lillian Shupe Reprinted with permission of Tap Into Plainfield      

Columbus, OH - The U.S. Trotting Association (USTA) strongly opposes the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2019 (S. 1820), which was introduced Wednesday (June 12) by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The legislation is bad for harness racing, horse racing, and the health and welfare of horses. "At a time in which the industry is focused on preventing deaths, this legislation will have the opposite effect, and more horses will die," said USTA President Russell Williams. The legislation seeks to ban the use of a race-day, therapeutic medication called Lasix. Lasix is endorsed by veterinarians as the only known treatment for Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH), a disease that causes bleeding in the lungs of a racehorse. Both the American Association of Equine Practitioners and North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians support the use of Lasix and oppose the legislation. The bill also increases the cost of regulation and threatens the livelihoods of USTA members. "This newly-created regulatory body will have to impose additional fees and costs on the industry because it will receive no federal funding. Harness racing horsemen will be hit particularly hard because most of them are working-class people," added Williams. "It will drive many of them out of the business." According to a recent American Horse Council study, the racing industry contributes $36 billion annually to the national economy and provides 240,000 direct jobs. Any measure that will add further regulatory and cost burdens will only harm those state and local economies that depend on the industry. Finally, the proposed legislation would federalize horse racing and place it under the control of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), adding an unnecessary layer of oversight to the current state-based system. It would create an unelected, national board that specifically prohibits current owners, trainers, drivers, and practicing veterinarians from serving on it. Williams questioned, "Why an unelected board at the FTC would be better at regulating horse racing than those that know our industry best is beyond me." While the recent deaths in California are alarming, and more research needs to be done on what caused the tragedies, the proposed legislation would not have prevented a single death. Instead of working to reduce deaths in the industry, this legislation covers up the problem by pointing the finger at so-called "rampant doping" in the industry. Test results prove that doping is not a problem. In 2018, the Anti-Doping and Drug Testing Program conducted by U.S. racing regulatory bodies and compiled by the Association of Racing Commissioners International found that 99.4 percent of all racehorses were compliant with the rules. The "clear" rate for Standardbred horses was even higher at 99.71 percent. The USTA strongly opposes the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2019 (S. 1820) and encourages all industry participants and racing fans to contact their U.S. Senator to express their opposition to Senator Gillibrand's proposed legislation.   Ken Weingartner

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