As a daughter of privilege, Amy Bull Crist could have rested on the laurels of her lineage. Rather, this remarkable first lady of Orange County spent her entire life serving the interests of others. It is thus fitting that George Casale, a tireless advocate for our industry and other worthy endeavors should be the 2014 recipient of the award named in her memory. On November 16 at the 56th Annual Awards Banquet of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA Casale will be the 31st recipient of the chapter's Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award. George N. Casale received his bachelor's degree from St. Francis College, a master's from Long Island University and his juris doctorate from the University of New Hampshire School of Law. For over 35 years, George enjoyed a rewarding career as an insurance executive and practicing attorney. His work and leadership positions in various professional societies led George to places around the globe. His last employment was as a partner in Rivkin Radler LLP; Long Island's largest law firm. Despite the time and intensity of George's career, he always found time for those things that were foremost to him: Family, friends, service... and Harness Racing. A lifelong horse enthusiast who as a young boy marveled at the western movie genre on his television screen in Bay Ridge, Casale formed Brooklyn Cowboy Farms, a training and boarding center in Farmingdale, New Jersey. From this facility, George honed his skills as an amateur driver. The hard work paid off, as George was the Monticello-Goshen chapter's 2004 Amateur Driver of the Year, as well as a three-time victor in the American Harness Club Finals. George, however, is much more than an owner-driver. For over ten years, he served as the Executive Director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York. Here, he championed the health, wellbeing and economic wherewithal of countless drivers, trainers, grooms and owners competing in New York. He was an all-important point person in negotiations with the New York State legislature, especially its insurance and workers compensation committees, as well as with the former New York State Racing and Wagering Board. As George's time commitments have lessened in retirement, his dedication to our industry has strengthened. Casale presently serves as the Vice-President of Goshen Historic Track and as volunteer counsel to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He is a frequent speaker on behalf of the Historic Track and Museum before Kiwanis clubs, chambers of commerce, schools and anywhere else he can share his love and knowledge of Goshen's favorite sport with others. He is also a U.S.T.A. certified judge, and serves in the stand of Goshen's favorite sport with others. He is also a U.S.T.A. certified judge, and serves in the stand during the July Grand Circuit meet. Yet, as to his spirit of selfless altruism, George is no one-trick pony. As Former Chairman of the Board for Daytop Village and Trustee of Daytop International, Casale fostered the drug and alcohol recovery of countless teens and young adults. As a member of Hofstra University's Paralegal Advisory Board, he followed in Amy Bull Crist's footsteps as an education advocate. A licensed pilot, George is a past President of the Orange County Pilots Association. George is married for nearly 50 years to his beloved Anita. They have two sons, Thomas and George, and three grandchildren Angelina, Christina, and Sabrina. While home is Staten Island, the young gals love spending time with their grandparents at George and Anita's second home bordering on, where else; the far turn of the Goshen Historic Track! by Chris Wittstruck, for the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA
There's hardly anyone involved in harness racing who hasn't heard of Ken Weingartner. And if by some chance they hadn't, there's a good probability they've read some of his news releases because Ken sends out plenty as the media relations manager for the US Trotting Association. Weingartner is precisely someone whom the late great Phil Pines would have been proud to be associated with. And an association of sorts will be formed on November 16 when the Monticello -Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) presents the chapter's prestigious Phil Pines Award to him at their 56th Annual Awards Banquet. "I would guess I've written in the neighborhood of 3,000 stories since joining the USTA and HRC, and yet almost every day brings excitement and the potential to discover or witness something special," Weingartner said. "Not a lot of people can say that about what they do." Weingartner is beginning his 13th year as the media relations manager for the U.S. Trotting Association's Harness Racing Communications division since he was hired in 2002 by Ellen Harvey. "I got to know Ellen and Gen Sullivan while writing for the Messenger-Press. So that's how I landed here when Gen left," he explained. Weingartner grew up in central New Jersey and was introduced to harness racing by his father who began taking Kenny to Freehold Raceway before he could walk. In the ensuing years, Weingartner spent countless Saturday afternoons at the track, where he honed his skill for picking winners and betting losers. Harness racing remained a leisure pursuit until the late 1990s, when Weingartner was named managing editor of the weekly Allentown Messenger-Press in New Jersey. With the opportunity to determine coverage in the newspaper, Weingartner began writing a column, called "Horse Play," that focused on the harness racing community in central Jersey. The column appeared regularly until Weingartner was hired by the USTA in November 2002. "When I started working as managing editor of the Messenger-Press, I was talking to someone about how disappointing it was that harness racing got so little attention in the area, particularly when so many of the top trainers and horses are in the area. And then it hit me, I'm the boss now. I can write about whatever I want. So I began writing about harness racing, without ever imagining where it would lead. It was just a fun way for me to become more involved in the sport, and bring it to a wider audience. Brian Magie let me jog a horse back then, which kind of led to the "Pitchfork Diaries" series when I started working at HRC." For someone who loves racing Ken believes he has the best job in the world. "There are so many mornings when I'm wandering around the training centers that I just feel so lucky, because it's hardly a job," he says. "I enjoy the racing, for sure, but I really enjoy getting to know the people and the horses. And I love to tell their stories. I'm fortunate to get to tell the stories of a Foiled Again or Arch Madness or any great champion," he added. But I'm also lucky to get to tell the stories of drivers, trainers and owners getting their first wins, or small family stables winning with a homebred." Weingartner's professional career began prior to graduating college. In the winter of his senior year, he was named the public relations director of minor league baseball's Williamsport Bills, the then-Class AA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, and began working with the team while completing his degree in communications. The franchise moved at the end of the season, but Weingartner was hired as a Sportswriter by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. He later served as the sports information director at his alma mater, Lycoming College, and as a Sportswriter for several weekly newspapers in New Jersey. Weingartner received multiple awards - spanning news, sports and editorial writing - from the New Jersey Press Association, as well as recognition from the College Sports Information Directors of America. Prior to joining HRC, he was honored by the New Jersey chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers for his coverage of the sport. In 2007, he received the Golden Pen Award from the Standardbred Marketing and Media Association. by John Manzi for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA
Jason Settlemoir will be honored at the upcoming Awards Banquet of the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA on November 16. A man who wears and has worn many hats in the harness racing industry will be the recipient of the chapter's Good Guy Award. At age 37 Settlemoir is already accomplished but his star continues to rise and it seems that there is nothing in the Standardbred sport that he can't do. His list of accomplishments is amazing. However, much of his fortune was dictated by fate. First his association with trainer/driver Terry Holton and then later with a meeting with Dave Stoltz. When Jason was a youngster in Newark, Ohio he found out that Terry Holton moved and was on his paper route and it was his association with Holton that helped direct Settlemoir's future. "When Terry found out I was interested in harness racing he took me under his wing. He was like a dad to me and took me with him when he raced around the fairs and raceways and taught me all about racing. Terry had wanted me to be a catch-driver but I refused to clean stalls," Settlemoir remembered. "When we traveled I'd practice calling races in the car and I enjoyed it. So instead Terry helped me to call races at some of the fairs. I got to call my first race at the Hartford (Ohio) Independent Fair." But vivid in his memory is the time Terry helped him to get me the announcer's job at the West Virginia State Fair. "I was only 13 years old at the time so I had to get my mother and grandmother to drive me there, " he laughed. Settlemoir graduated high school in 1995 then matriculated at Ohio State University and then at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. In 1995 he went to work at Scioto Downs for Bob Steele and Jerry Kalb and he was there for nearly 10 years where there wasn't anything there that he didn't do, or learn to do. "I was the simulcast program manager, worked in the money room, worked in admissions and programs, assistant race secretary, track announcer, you name it I did it," Settlemoir said. Two mottos that Settlemoir said he learned and lives by are; "I will never ask someone to do something that I wouldn't do or have not done and the other is 'an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of gold'. In 2005 he worked for a while at the USTA as director of advertising and it was there that he had a conversation with a customer he met at Scioto Downs Dave Stoltz; a meeting that would forever change Settlemoir's life. "Dave asked me how would I like to work for a good friend of his who had two race tracks in New York. He gave me his number and told me to call him. I did. It was Jeff Gural and he asked me if I'd like to join his organization. Unfortunately it was at a time when I had many personal problems; my granddad had recently passed away and Terry Holton had advanced pancreatic cancer, I thanked Mr Gural and told him at this time I can't." However it wasn't too long after that initial phone call that Settlemoir again heard from Gural. This time Gural called him and this time they connected. "I asked Mr. Gural about a contract and he told me he doesn't do contracts. He told me to shake his hand and we'll have an agreement," Settlemoir explained. "I guess you could say I'm a pretty lucky guy that I got an opportunity to work for him. He's a man of his word." Initially Jason was heavily involved with both Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs but when Gural and his company started the New Meadowlands Settlemoir had more on his plate. And he responded to his new duties magnificently. In 2006 he was awarded the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Lew Barasch Breakthrough Award for his work in opening up Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs and was inducted into the Upstate New York Chapter of USHWA's Hall of Fame in 2011. Settlemoir is also simulcast director for the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio as well as the second announcer at the legendary racetrack. He is vice president of Harness Tracks of America; and past president of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and sits on the board of directors for the United States Trotting Association, and in September of this year Settlemoir was elected to the prestigious Little Brown Jug Society. He is also active in the sport as a Standardbred owner and he was appointed to the Board of Directors for American Racing and Entertainment in September 2011. Also in 2011, he received the Tioga County United Way Appreciation Award. Jason sat on the board of directors for the Tioga County Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Tier Red Cross and the Tioga County United Way, where he was chair for the annual campaign drive before making his move east. Currently he is the CEO/GM of New Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners OTW at Bayonne, N.J., and is vice president of racing, simulcast and sponsorship for American Racing and Entertainment (Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs). He and his wife, Lori, reside in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, with their sons Jeffrey and Travis. Born in the Buckeye State, Settlemoir is an avid fan of Ohio State sports and Cleveland Browns football. He likes spending time at home with the family. by John Manzi, for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA
Monticello, NY--Few harness racing horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms of Durhamville, New York. From the second-story Crawford Farms mural at The Meadowlands to the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet where the water trucks proudly displayed the farm’s iconic insignia, racing fans are constantly reminded of the dynamic duo’s substantial commitment to the sport. Evident across multiple digital platforms, the Crawford’s are very active on social media and have produced and broadcast several TV commercials during key, nationally televised harness races, including the Hambletonian. Driven by a passion for the sport, and a desire to help harness racing prosper, the Crawford’s have sponsored this season’s Meadowlands Pace, Kindergarten Classic, Crawford Farms Trot and the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet. In addition to vast purse support, they have recently completed a state-of-the-art equine therapeutic spa, 40-stall barn, and an 8-stall horse exerciser at their central New York breeding & racing operation. For their considerable investment in the future of the Standardbred and support of harness racing and breeding in the state of New York, the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has awarded Crawford Farms their annual Excelsior Award. The award will be presented on Nov. 16 at the chapter’s 56th annual awards banquet. Somewhat surprised when they learned of the award, Michelle and Albert Crawford were humbled by the honor. “We love this business, and we are very pleased that someone has noticed and appreciated our efforts” noted Albert, son of the late Jim Crawford who was the affable former president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. “My wife and I are committed to breeding top horses in New York State and supporting the industry in the process. We know that it is a considerable challenge, but we are rolling up our sleeves and eager to do the work!” Michelle, the spark that energizes much of the daily operations added, “Every day that I am on our farm I am amazed at the work ethic and dedication that our staff contribute to our vision. Whether we are breeding, foaling, weaning or performing racehorse rehab, they always give 110%, and for that I am very grateful.” The farm, which was founded in 1966 by Jim and Patricia Crawford, continues to be a family affair. The 100-acre nursery has continued to expand not only their footprint, but also their broodmare band. Their yearling consignments to Lexington and Morrisville have continued to improve in scope and scale. When they are not raising future harness racing stars, Michelle and Al own and operate one of the most successful healthcare lending institutions in the nation, Bankers Healthcare Group. In fact, BHG was ranked as the 5th Fastest Growing Private Company by Inc. Formed in 1992 from a modest group of four finance experts, BHG now employs close to 200 business professionals. From the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA
In 2004 when Ted Gewertz had Windsong Legacy and Housethatruthbuilt he felt as if he was on top of the world. And he was; the harness racing world that is. Together both horses earned purses in excess $2.55 million. Windsong's Legacy had nine wins in 12 starts while Housethatruthbuilt won 11 of her 15 races that year. "I can't tell you how exciting that season was and what a great time my partners and I had traveling to watch them race," Gewertz recalled." We won the Hambletonian with Windsongs Legacy and the Breeders Crown with Housethatruthbuilt. Wow, what a year we had." Scant few people have ever owned more horses than Gewertz who got involved with limited partnerships early on. "I usually owned anywhere from twenty to sixty percent and I was lucky to be involved with top stakes horses," he said. "And for a guy who loves to win that was right up my alley." Gewertz made two more trips to the Hambletonian winners circle on the prowess of Giant Victory and Deweycheatumnhowe. "Giant Victory was one of my real favorites, too. We won the '91 Hambo with him but I think I had the most fun with 'Dewey' because we had such a great group of partners," Of course, the aforementioned were the cream of the crop as far as the horses Gewertz has been involved with, but make no mistake he helped pay the bills on plenty, currently 800 or so, 74 this year alone. Originally from the South Bronx (NY) and because of his perspicacity he got a free ride to an education starting at the Bronx H.S. of Science and on to City College of NY (CCNY) and finally to New York University School of Law, where he was a classmate of Colin Powell. Like many from his era Ted would spend the summers of the mid- 1950's in the Catskills waiting tables at the hotels that brought the population out of the sweltering city. "That was before Monticello Raceway opened but later on I used to go to the races there on occasion." In the early 1960's Gewertz started going to Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceways three or four times a week and he became a fan of several drivers. "There were lots of great drivers there during that era and everybody loved Sach Werner, but my all-time favorite back then was Hughie Bell." During those years one could find Gewertz at the Palladium (Dance Hall) in New York City on the nights he wasn't at the racetracks boogying to hot Latin music. "They call it Salsa, today but it's really not the same as the music from my era," he admits. "And I also liked early rhythm and blues, you know the music prior to 1955. They called it race music but it was great and hard to find on the radio." After he finished his schooling Ted became a lawyer, and a good one, specializing in corporate law and his firm was, and is, one of the biggest defending corporate America. Still, harness racing bubbled under, and Ted would spend many an evening at the racetrack I'll tell you a funny story," he continued. "I used to get thrown out of the box seats so many times until I found out if I owned a horse I would be OK. So I decided to buy a horse so I could sit in a box without any harassment." During the '60's Ted got involved in handball, an urban sport which utilizes a "Spaldeen", and he became an outstanding handball player. Today, at age 76, despite two hip replacements he still is playing-and winning. "I play singles exclusively. Since I had my hips done it's hard for me to play doubles anymore." But it's not hard for Ted to go and watch his stock race. He has a piece of over 70 horse this year and some of his better ones include; Somwherovrarainbow, Shebestingin, Thirty Two Red Neighsay Hanover and Driving Miss Crazy , to mention a few. But to fully understand Gewertz's participation in harness racing one just needs to peruse a list of outstanding horses he's been involved with. However, it is much too extensive to be included here. Harness racing is very lucky to have a gentleman like Ted Gewertz involved. He certainly isn't shy about investing in the industry. Although he has many accolades in his chosen profession Ted is very proud of his Owner of the Year Award that was given to him by the US Harness Writers Association (USHWA) in 2004. On Sunday, November 16, he will add another trophy to his wall when he will be presented the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Monticello- Goshen Chapter USHWA at the scribes 56th Annual Awards Banquet which will be held at The Fountains on Sands Road in Middletown, NY. by John Manzi, for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA
The Monticello Goshen Chapter began in 1959 and is currently one of 13 chapters that constitute the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), a national organization, now with Canadian members, whose main business is to help promote the sport of harness racing. Members of 'Mon-Go' are extremely proud that the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, as well as Historic Track, are in its jurisdiction. The fact that the sport of harness racing was weaned in-and around--Goshen, NY in the late 1830's and still continues today, explains why Goshen has always been known as the "Cradle of the Trotter", although it was often referred to as Trot Town-USA. That also is the reason why the chapter goes out of its way to make annual donations to help perpetuate both venues. On November 16 the 56th Annual Awards Banquet of the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA will be held at The Fountains at the Wallkill Golf Club on Sands Road in Middletown, NY and once again promises to be an outstanding gathering of great people in our sport. Besides honoring the exploits of our local horses and horsemen the chapter will also cite prominent industry people. This year the main honoree will be longtime horse owner, Ted Gewertz, who'll receive the chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award. Other prominent awards will be presented to the New York State breeding operation at the Crawford Farms (Excelsior Award) and to the U.S. Trotting Association's great writer and publicist, Ken Weingartner (Phil Pines Award). Harness racing's Mr. Everything and one of the sports true rising stars, Jason Settlemoir will receive the John Gilmour Good Guy Award. The major award from Goshen Historic Track, the Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award, will be presented to the Historic Track Board of Director's vice president, George Casale. Geri Schwarz, Monticello Raceway and Historic Track's award winning photographer, will receive an Award of Appreciation for her expertise behind the camera. At earlier banquets the chapter has cited many outstanding individuals some who have gone on to be elected the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Those Hall of Famers include: Phil Tully, Cat Manzi, Bill Brown, Hal Jones, John Cashman, Harry Harvey, and most recently Joe Thomson, who'll be inducted this coming summer. However the chapter's strong support also has helped Joe DeFrank, Tommy Thomson, Ron Gurfein, Jim Doherty, John Simpson Jr., Wally Hennessey, Phil Langley, Clint Galbraith and Buddy Gilmour to reach the hallowed Hall. Chapter members, both past and present, who are now enshrined in the Communicators Hall of Fame (and their year of induction) include: Jim Harrison (1986), Al DeSantis (1989) Phil Pines (1990) Allen Finkelson (1992), Wesley "Bo" Gill (1999), John Bradley (2000), Ed Palladino (2001), John Manzi (2006) and Joe Hartmann (2010). Many Monticello-Goshen Chapter members have also gone on to become the USHWA National President. It began with Allen Finkelson and followed over the years by Phil Pines, John Manzi, Ed Palladino and currently Chris Tully. And last year at the national meetings Shawn Wiles was elected second vice president and he will work his way up the chairs and become the sixth member of Monticello-Goshen who has risen to national USHWA prominence. The Banquet is open to the public and anyone can attend. The ticket price of $65 includes a one-hour open bar, a full course dinner and door prizes. Congratulatory ads, ranging from $100- $300, can be purchased by calling 845.794.4100ext.455 or emailing email@example.com. Oh, I almost forgot--but maybe on purpose. I serve as master of ceremonies and after the presentation of awards, four or five of my friends who may end-up being ex-friends, will 'roast' me, gently I hope, since they know that I will have the microphone last. by John Manzi, for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA
The 56th annual awards banquet of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will be on Sunday, November 16 at the Fountains at the Wallkill Golf Club on Sands Road in Circleville, NY. A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m with dinner to follow. Honorees are Ted Gewertz, Crawford Farms, Ken Weingartner, Jason Settlemoir, George Casale and Geri Schwarz. The evening will break from the usual format of presenting awards early, to a friendly roast of longtime master of ceremonies and banquet chairman John Manzi. Manzi also has been the eyes of the Monticello Raceway, heading the public relations team for so many years that his name is synonymous with the track. The roast should be quite a lot of fun. (He also is host of the Bop Shop Radio Show that coincidentally is celebrating its 31st anniversary today, October 10. Tune in from 8 p.m. to midnight on WVOS-FM.) Manzi is co-chairing the banquet this year with Chris Tully, president of the national USHWA, and Shawn Wiles, second vice president. The banquet will continue the tradition of donating the profits from the printed journal with congratulatory ads and messages. Recipients are the Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, two separate entities although next door to each other in Goshen. Tickets are $65 per person and to place a congratulatory ad in the awards journal please call the raceway at 794-4100, ext. 455. From the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA
With the resignation of John Berry from the US Harness Writers Association's Hall of Fame Screening Committee USHWA president Chris Tully has appointed Shawn Wiles to replace Mr. Berry. Due to personal family issues, Mr. Berry could not make it to Goshen this weekend. Wiles, a vice president and longtime member of the Monticello- Goshen Chapter USHWA and general manager of Monticello Casino and Raceway is a current USTA District 8 Director as well as second VP of USHWA National and he has a long history in the sport. His career in harness racing started in the backstretch of Monticello Raceway during the 1970s where he worked as a groom for Richard Sturgis, Robert Camper and Jim Grundy. He then went on in search of a Grand Circuit stable to work for and found success with the famed trotting specialists of Continental Farms under the guidance of Hakan Wallner, Hall of Famer Berndt Lindstedt, and Jan Johnson. Wiles was the first American second- trainer to work for the famed Scandinavian trotting experts from 1980-1986. During his tenure as a groom he rubbed many top performers, most notably the crack stakes filly Dominant, and then worked for Castleton Farms from 1986-1988. Wiles joined Monticello Raceway in 1996, working under John Manzi in publicity and Bill Sullivan in operations. Wiles was initially promoted to assistant GM of Monticello Casino and Raceway, and lately promoted to General Manager of the entire facility. He was recently lauded by the local scribes on his tough stance on racing integrity. Wiles is also on various other USHWA committees including the Integrity Committee, Location Committee, and the Fan Award Committee. "I am honored to be part of the process that honors the legends of Harness Racing," Wiles said referring to his recent appointment to the Hall of Fame Screening Committee. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
Suzanne D'Ambrose, of Neptune, N.J, is the winner of the 2014 Stanley Dancer Award from the N.J. Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. The award honors an individual whose efforts on behalf of racing and cooperation with the media are in keeping with the example set by the late Hall of Fame driver and trainer Stanley Dancer, a native of New Egypt, N.J. D'Ambrose, a retired high school teacher and mounted police officer, has given countless hours of both her time and that of her family-friendly 13 -year-old trotter, Independent Act, aka Indy, in doing outreach events for the Standardbred industry. D'Ambrose and Indy have appeared at libraries throughout the state to help celebrate New Jersey's Month of the Horse each June. This month so far, the duo will be at the Howell Library at 6 pm on June 11, the Manalapan Library on June 30, as well as June 29 at Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge, N.J. Indy has patiently been petted and fed carrots by hundreds of adults and children, many of them making their first ever equine encounter. He has often been the only "boy" at Girl Scout camps where D'Ambrose teaches horsemanship. D'Ambrose, who is a freelance equine massage therapist, also volunteers extensively with the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) on fund raising events as well as helping with adoption outreach events. She even provides complimentary massages for horses rehabilitating from racing injuries and awaiting adoption. Independent Act retired from racing at age 6 and now accompanies D'Ambrose as the two represent the breed in parades, hunter paces, Western trail classes and showmanship competition. Previous winners of the Dancer Award, since1991, were drivers John Campbell, Herve Filion, Ray Remmen and Luc Ouellette; trainers Robbie Siegelman, Kevin and John McDermott, Kelly Stackowicz and George Teague Jr.; the father-son team of Carl and Rod Allen; the duo of trainer Jimmy Takter and owner/amateur driver Mal Burroughs, the Meirs Family of Walnridge Farms for the Niatross Tour, Robert J. Sharkey, the go-to guy at Meadowlands, SBOA of New Jersey President Tom Luchento, Meadowlands General Manager Chris McErlean, the late veterinarian Dr. Pat Knapman. By Ellen Harvey, for the New Jersey chapter of USHWA
The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association presented its April, 2014 Caretaker of the Month award to Louis Ginesi Wednesday evening at the Isle Pompano Park. He and and wife Erin Ginesi developed, along with regular teamster Mickey Mc Nichol, the young pacing mare Goldstar Rockette to an impressive month's performance. Now owned by Ginesi, after purchase in June 2013 from breeder Tom Audley, the four year-old daughter of Rock On-Tony's Silveraider-Keystone Raider has emerged recently with three wins and a second in April. She scored in a lifetime record 1:54.4f at Pompano Park on April 23 and now shows a slate of 4-3-2 in 12 starts this year, good for earnings of $13,824. Ginesi (shown below with Erin and USHWA presenters), credits the turnaround of Goldstar Rockette to patience, maturity, excellent farrier and veterinarian work and the special driving skills of veteran Mickey Mc Nichol. The connections of pensioner Tweedle Dum said in interview that they look forward to another ten years of racing success for their pacing mare. That could happen as the maternal family is one of aged pacing success. Dam Tony's Silveraider took her 1:55.2f mark at age seven and earned $114,166. Her other offspring include Goldstar Raider 5, 1:52.2f for $109,178 and recent winner Gold Star Kenny P 3, 1:57f. Ginesi was presented by the Florida Chapter with a plaque and a check for $100. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Florida USHWA
The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) held its annual awards banquet on Friday during which both human and equine stalwarts received their 2013 Hall of Fame awards. Chapter members Lucien Fontaine and communicator Steve Wolf, along with veteran driver/trainer Mark O’Mara, were inducted into the Hall of Fame. On the equine side Florida’s leading pacing stallion Six Of Diamonds, open trotter Tweedle Dum and the pacer I’d Like To Win received accolades for their career performances. Lucien Fontaine After starting his career with Keith Waples and later Clint Hodgins in the US, Fontaine trained Bye Bye Byrd and Elaine Rodney before earning his stripes with an initial victory at Roosevelt Raceway in 1961 behind longshot Carmita Hanover. That start earned Fontaine the reputation as a leading catch-driver on the metro NY circuit and he also raced at Pompano Park during its initial season in 1964. At age 28 Fontaine became the youngest driver to reach $1 million in purse earnings and he also led efforts to have racetracks deduct driver/trainer purse percentages directly from the purse account for each race. In 1986 “Loosh” directed Forrest Skipper to an undefeated 15 race season (and named Horse of the Year) setting track records at Freehold, Rosecroft, Roosevelt, Canterbury and Dover followed by a track record tying Breeders Crown win at Los Alamitos. Fontaine also campaigned Big Towner, Country Don, Irish Napoleon, Pocomoonshine, Cigar Store Injun and W.W. Smith and he won the standardbred sport’s most prestigious events (Breeders Crown, US Pacing Championship, Messenger, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Dan Patch, and others) in a career that produced over 3,400 wins and over $21 million in purses. Mark O’Mara Mark O’Mara’s driving career began at age 15 with a win behind Son Of Waygale at the Troy, OH matinee. Developed by his stall active training father, Frank, Mark successfully campaigned on the Grand Circuit during which he led 1986 Two Year-Old Pacer of the Year Jate Lobell. Jate was undefeated in 15 starts that year and the pair returned at age three to earn the Three Year-Old Pacer of the Year title before retiring with career earnings of $2.2 million. O’Mara also directed Breeders Crown winning trotters Firm Tribute and Lassie’s Goal. The Michigan native and now Parkland, FL resident has 2,266 career victories as driver, good for over $24.3 million in purses earned. Mark also has 288 training wins that account for $3.3 million in earnings. Currently, Mark campaigns top class veteran pacer Cruizin KC and the open trotters Jolene’s Pinehonker and HP Forte at Pompano Park and is an annual dominant driving and training leader at Hoosier Park during the summer season. Steve Wolf Steve Wolf is a worthy recipient of the Communicators Corner USHWA Florida award. Currently Director of North American Operations of Harnesslink.com, Steve first came to Florida as Isle Pompano Park’s Director of Marketing and later as Senior Director of Racing Operations. He led numerous successful promotions including driver tournaments, claiming series events, family nights, live concerts, car shows, giveaway and cash contests, charity and celebrity events and the noteworthy “Hot to Trot” horse racing fireworks show featuring Australia’s Vincent Silvestro and his chestnut pacer Hand Me Silver. Wolf was previously Director of Marketing and Publicity and Freehold Raceway and Assistant Director of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey. He also worked in the publicity offices at Liberty Bell Park and Brandywine Raceway. Born and raised in Flemington. NY, Steve was part of the Leo Wolf & Son Inc. breeding and racing operation with his parents, Ruth and Manny Wolf, during which they bred million-dollar winning pacer Doc’s Fella. Steve was a hands-on horseman, prepping yearlings at Lana Lobell Farm of New Jersey and as racehorse caretaker. Other USHWA Florida, FSBOA and Florida Amateur Driver Awards USHWA Florida awarded deserving attending recipients of its other prestigious awards to Joe Harvilla, Pam Senclair, Victoria Howard and Peter Roccasano, Laurie Poulin, Michelle Hallett, Tom Audley, Kim Sears and Jody Dancer. In addition, USHWA Florida held its traditional silent and live auctions of standardbred memorabilia and a 50/50 raffle that benefit university scholarship and Aime Choquette funds. The well attended annual event had nearly 200 guests and also served as the presentation venue for the FSBOA Crystal Awards to its top 2013 stakes and overnight leaders, Breeder of the Year (Kim and Jay Sears) and Florida Amateur Driver of the Year (John Campagnuola). Crystal Award Winners Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly - Sandalonia Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt - Tough Issue Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly - Markie Two-Year-old Trotting Colt - Showing Off Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly - Tashia Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt - Hillybilly Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly - Tyree's Treasure Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt - Railee Kwik Older Pacing Mare - Diamond Amber Older Pacing Horse - Diamond Cowboy Older Trotting Mare - Briell T Older Trotting Horse - Lugar By Tom Hicks, for Florida Chapter USHWA
Pompano Beach, FL --- Tickets are still available at the door for tonight’s Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association’s 23rd annual Hall of Fame awards dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Deerfield Beach. Tickets are $75 per person and late registration can also be made by phone (954) 654-3757. Cocktail party starts at 6:00 pm followed by awards dinner at 7:30 pm. Elected to the chapter’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years and who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry, are two longtime harness racing driver/trainers, Lucien Fontaine of Coconut Creek and Mark O’Mara of Parkland. Being inducted into the Communicators’ Corner of the Hall of Fame, which is presented to an outstanding individual who had devoted his or her print or broadcast career to promoting the harness racing industry goes to former Isle Pompano Park Marketing Director, Steven Wolf, of Coral Springs. Three horses will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for their outstanding racing and/or stallion/broodmare careers. They are former stakes and Invitational pacer, I’d Like To Win, Florida’s leading pacing stallion, Six Of Diamonds and the former world and track record holding trotter, Tweedle Dum. The other Florida award winners are: JODY DANCER – Delvin Miller award TOM AUDLEY – William Popfinger award KIM SEARS – Stanley Dancer award MICHELLE HALLETT – Frances Dodge Van Lennep award Victoria Howard/Peter Roccasano – R.D. Ricketts award ED HENSLEY – Peter Haughton award ROB WYRE – Dan Gawlas Good Guy award JOE HARVILLA – Lifetime Achievement award PAM SENCLAIR – Caretaker of the Year award In addition to the Florida USHWA chapter’s awards, presentations will also be made by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association to the owners of the top 2- and 3-year-old state-bred trotters and pacers from the 2013 season and the annual Breeder of the Year Award, which goes to Kim and Jay Sears. The Florida Amateur Driving Club will also present their Driver of the Year award to John Campagnuolo. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA
Westfield, IN- Chris Tully, the Social Media Director of Harnesslink.com, national Vice President of the United States Harness Writers Association and Marketing Director for Winners Circle Blueberries, has been elected to a three-year-term as a trustee of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Upon being notified of his election, Tully commented, “From working with the campers at Goshen to loading the two-seated jog carts at The Meadowlands, I have always enjoyed working with these enthusiastic youngsters. I am honored to be elected a trustee and expand my interaction to an official capacity.” The energetic fortynine-year-old brings a wealth of Standardbred industry experience to HHYF. In addition to being a caretaker and amateur driver, Tully served as General Manager of the Goshen Historic Track, where he hosted and assisted with several HHYF Youth and Leadership Camps. In addition, Tully is a talented graphic artist and is responsible for the design and production of the Dan Patch Awards journal, as well as the Hall of Fame Souvenir journal and the Harness Racing Museum gift catalog. The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people’s lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org. Submitted by Harness Horse Youth Foundation
The deadline for entries for the 2013 John Hervey Awards, which honor the best of harness racing journalism, is Dec. 6. Entries will be accepted in five categories - news and commentary writing, feature writing, television, audio and the George Smallsreed Awards for race and feature photography. Winners will be honored at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's annual Dan Patch Awards dinner on Feb. 23 at Dover Downs. Judges in each category will select a winner and, where appropriate, up to two honorable mentions. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 6 for materials that were published or aired between Dec. 1, 2012 and Nov. 30, 2013. There are no entry fees or cash prizes. The rules are available by request to Ken Weingartner, chair of the Hervey Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries should be sent to Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications, 49 E. Main St. #5, Freehold, N.J. 07728. Entries also may be sent via email to email@example.com. If using an overnight service, please indicate that no signature is required. Rules for the 2013 John Hervey Awards The best of harness racing journalism in 2013 will be honored with the 52st edition of the John Hervey Awards for writing, the 30th edition of the Broadcasters Awards for electronic media as well as the 14th edition of the George Smallsreed Awards for photography. Please read these rules carefully. Failure to follow instructions may result in disqualification of the entry. Entries will be judged in the following categories - all must be in English: 1. News & Commentary Writing [hard news, opinion pieces and essays] 2. Feature Writing [articles not written on overnight deadline; involving background research or expanded profiles - not Q&As] 3. Television [a featured or live racing segment no longer than 10 minutes which must have aired on a network, local or cable station or have been included in a racetrack's simulcasting presentation] 4. Audio [a segment no longer than 10 minutes which was broadcasted through a radio station or through a recognized website as a podcast]. 5. Racing Photography 6. Feature Photography Winners will receive a plaque/trophy as well as two dinner tickets to the Dan Patch Awards dinner on Feb. 23 at Dover Downs. There are no cash prizes. The decisions of the Hervey Committee and the judges are final. Photo and written submissions - news or feature categories - must have appeared in a paid-circulation publication OR on the website that is the same-name affiliate of a paid-circulation publication, recognized broadcast news organization or established industry/news website. Content that appeared on personal websites, message boards or lists and similar entities is not valid for inclusion in the competition. The final decision on eligibility is in the hands of the Hervey Committee. Television or audio entries must have aired on a commercial or public television/radio station or be part of a racetrack's simulcasting broadcast. Additionally, audio/podcasts are eligible if they were posted to the websites of recognized news organizations or established industry websites. Documentaries or other long-form productions are not eligible although one segment of that documentary, edited only to fit the length limitations of no more than 10 minutes, may be submitted for consideration. The final decision on eligibility is in the hands of the Hervey Committee. General Rules The decision for eligibility of Internet posted materials is at the discretion of the Hervey Committee and all decisions are final. These awards are not open to entries which are fiction or were prepared for commercial purposes [for advertisements/ promo/publicity purposes]. There is a limit of one submission per person in any one category. You may enter more than one category, but not with the same submission. The Hervey Committee, at its discretion, may disqualify an entry at any time in the process, and reserves the right not to bestow an award in a particular category based on the quality and quantity of entries. An entry may only be submitted in one category and the category for which someone is submitting must be clearly indicated. What You Must Submit All entries must originate with the author/photographer/producer and MUST include a signed cover letter expressing the wish to enter materials in the contest and granting permission for the materials to be used for promoting the awards in press releases. The letter must also include the following contact information for the writer/producer/photographer: name, full address, telephone numbers [home, office, cell and fax] and email address. The letter must also include the date that the media organization published/aired the submission and specify the category for which the entry is being submitted. All the rules for submission must be followed. Editors may submit on behalf of authors provided that the cover letter is provided with information on the writer/producer/photographer as well as the person submitting the entry. All other third-party entries will be rejected. Rules for Submission All written entries - news or feature - must specify the category [news or feature] for which the author wishes to be considered. All print entries must include both a tearsheet of the entry [a PDF is acceptable via electronic submission] as it appeared in print and an electronic or emailed version that is plain text, without identifying information [no bylines, publication names, graphs, photos or other graphic elements]. The emailed [or electronic] file must be named for the author so that it is easily identifiable as being by the author. The plain text version must be AS IT WAS PUBLISHED. The tearsheet from the publication must show the author's name, title and date of publication. Tearsheets for Internet-based submissions will consist of a "screen print" of the document. At the discretion of the Hervey Committee, an editor or similar senior official of the publication or website may be required to provide a letter attesting that the document is the work of the author who submitted it and it appeared on the website or in the publication on the date in question. If the author wishes to submit a multi-part series, it must be where the parts were published at the same time [sidebars with a primary story] or where it covers a single theme over the course of two or three publication dates. Multi-part submissions are not to exceed three parts. All television entries must not exceed 10 minutes and must not contain commercials. Each submission [one per person or group] should have its own cover letter. Each submission should be in the form of a DVD. Please provide TWO  DVDs of each submission. The submission may be a segment from a live show or a pre-taped feature but must be submitted "as broadcasted" and not edited other than to meet the length restriction and to remove commercials. Commercials or promotional videos are not eligible. A single segment of a documentary may be submitted but not a full length documentary. All audio entries must not exceed 10 minutes and must not contain commercials. Each submission [one per person or group] should have its own cover letter. Each submission should be in the form of a DVD or CD. Please provide TWO  DVDs [or CDs] of each submission. Entries which aired on the Internet should include the URL for that broadcast. All photography entries must be in the form of TWO  non-returnable 8-by-10 prints of each photograph as it appeared in print, WITH NO identifying information on the front or back along with the cover letter that provides all the identifying information. The two prints should be accompanied by a single tearsheet of the published photo, showing the date, name of publication and photographer's name and info. Tearsheets for Internet-based submissions will consist of a "screen print" with an accompanying letter from the editor or similar senior official of the website, attesting to who submitted it and that it appeared on the date indicated in connection with a news-related story. Each photographer may submit one entry in each the race and feature categories. Additionally, the winners [and any honorable mentions] must be able to provide a JPG version of the photograph upon request from the Hervey Committee. Photographs should not be digitally enhanced beyond the basics needed to achieve realistic color balance and sharpness. Failure to follow these rules will result in disqualification. Deadline: All entries must be in the hands of Hervey Chairman Ken Weingartner by 5 p.m. on Dec. 6. This is NOT a postmark deadline but actually when the entry must be RECEIVED. You are urged to submit early to avoid missing the deadline. Where to send the entries: Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications, 49 E. Main St. #5, Freehold, N.J. 07728. If using an overnight service, please indicate that no signature is required. Where to email the digital portion of the entry: firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions may be sent to: Ken Weingartner at the above email address. by Ken Weingartner for USHWA
Harness racing driver David Miller and breeder William Weaver will be on this summer's ballot for election to the Living Hall of Fame, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Monday.
On Saturday night (6-28) Buffalo Raceway hosted the families of two local harness racing legends as they were inducted into the Upstate New York USHWA Harness Racing Hall of Fame.