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Latham, NY---There was a full slate of accolades to pass out on Sunday (Nov. 15) when Batavia Downs hosted the USTA District 8 and New York Sire Stakes year-end awards banquet. This marquee event was presented by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. The gathering of top names in harness racing from the Empire State mingled at a cocktail party in Grandstands Banquet Hall at Batavia Downs that was sponsored by all the harness tracks in the state, before sitting down to a dinner of surf and turf. The awards presentation, which included video highlights of all the winners, began just before dessert. The focus for many was the announcement of USTA District 8 horse of the year and when the envelope was opened; Crazy Wow took home the hardware. Crazy Wow (Crazed-No Pan No Gain 1:51.1, $1,260,540) is owned by Our Horse Cents Stable, JT45, J&T Silva Stables LLC and Deo Volente Farms LLC and is a student of Ron Burke. The ownership group purchased the colt at the end of his 2-year-old campaign (where he became the NYSS 2-year-old trotting colt champion) and Burke guided him to a million-dollar season on the Grand Circuit in 2015. After starting his 3-year-old campaign off winning two of three NYSS events, Crazy Wow began collecting major stakes. He won the $255,325 Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs in a lifetime best 1:51.1 over an off-track. Next he took the $500,000 Colonial Trot at Pocono Downs. Then after an untimely break in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, he finished a fast-closing second to Hambletonian winner Pinkman, in the $532,000 Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk Raceway. Crazy Wow closed out the year with three out of four wins including the $109,000 Bluegrass Stake at the Red mile, $270,000 Erskine at Hoosier Park and the $243,550 Matron Stake At Dover Downs. For the year, Crazy Wow had nine wins in 17 starts and earned $1,027,612 in purses. The New York Sire Stake award winners featured some of the best horses in North America this year and in many cases, they outperformed their competition in any jurisdiction for their sex and gait. Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) was named the NYSS 3-year-old pacing colt of the year. Betting Exchange raced against the best 3-year-old pacers all year, acquitting himself well in every event. He finished second in the $380,000 Art Rooney at Yonkers and third behind Wakizashi Hanover and Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $810,000 North American Cup at Mohawk. He won three NYSS races including the $225,000 final. His seasonal mark tied the track record of 1:51.2 for 3-year-old pacing males at Batavia Downs and his 10 in-the-money finishes carded him $430,975 for the year. Habitat (Conway Hall-Habit's Best) was named the NYSS 3-year-old trotting colt of the year. Habitat started winning early in the year when he took the $133,170 Dexter Cup at Freehold on May 2, which was his seasonal bow. His schedule then turned quickly challenging. He finished second to Crazy Wow in the $255,325 Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Down, second to Hambletonian champion, Pinkman in the $157,250 Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands before finishing off the board in the Hambletonian. But Habitat would rebound in a big way, taking the $500,000 Yonkers Trot just a week before winning the $225,000 NYSS final, also at Yonkers. He tallied eight wins for the year and stashed $727,814 in cash for his efforts. Travel Playlist (Art Major-Village Madonna), who was named the NYSS 2-year-old pacing colt of the year, was the fastest 2-year-old of his sex and gait in North America this year, taking a 1:49.2 record at Vernon Downs in a division of the NYSS on September 7. In his speedy, albeit abbreviated season, Travel Playlist won five NYSS events which helped him bank $252,570 for the year to go along with his National season's record. Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover), who was named the NYSS 2-year-old pacing filly of the year, set a world record for her sex and gait over a half-mile track when she circled the course at Batavia Downs in 1:52.4 on September 16. She won four NYSS events including the $225,000 final. Those wins figured into eight top-three finishes and they padded her account with $219,989 for the year. Jim Morrill Jr. was named the NYSS Driver of the Year. Morrill scored 44 victories in the series that earned over $1.8 million in purses for their connections. Morrill also registered an amazing .460 UDR for the entire NYSS season. Ron Burke was the NYSS Trainer of the Year. Burke campaigned 29 horses on the Empire circuit this year and they account for 31 wins and just under $1.6 million in purses. Burke's trainees earned checks 74% of the time in races they competed in. And the NYSS Breeder of the Year was Winbak Farm. The 21 horses bred by Winbak earned $778,238 in the NYSS over the year and earned purse checks 72% of the time. Here is a complete list of all the New York Sires Stakes champions: 2015 USTA DISTRICT 8 CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Goosbump Hanover Owners: Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva Stables, Crawford Farms & Joseph Di Scala Jr. 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Dime A Dance Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc.& J & T Silva Stables 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Barn Doll  Owners: Steven & Nancy Pratt & Purple Haze Stables LLC 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Divine Caroline  Owners: Michael Ouriel, Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz & Rojan Stables 2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER Dayson  Owners: Margaret Butler & Amy Butler 2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Travel Playlist  Owners: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Ronald Michelon, Taylor Made Stallions & Frederick Hertrich III 3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER Crazy Wow  Owners: Our Horse Cents Stable, JT45, J&T Silva Stables & Deo Volente Farms 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Penji Hanover  Owner: W. Springtime Racing Stable DRIVER OF THE YEAR-Jim Morrill Jr TRAINER OF THE YEAR-George Ducharme HORSE OF THE YEAR-Crazy Wow 2015 NEW YORK SIRE STAKES CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) Owners: Ake Svanstedt Inc.& Little E LLC Breeders: Michael Andrew & Steve Stewart Trainer: Ake Svanstedt Driver: Daniel Dube NYSS Earnings: $178,948 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe- Hat Dance Hanover) Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. & J &T Silva Stables Breeders: Eugene Kurzrok, Richard Taylor & Stephen Springer Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Matt Kakaley NYSS Earnings: $214,016 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Jewels In Hock (Credit Winner -Jewels Galore) Owner: KJ Stables LLC  Breeder: Steve Jones Trainer: Linda Toscano  Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $293,553 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Band Of Angels (Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again) Owner: WJ Donovan  Breeders: Steve Stewart & Birch Hollow Farms Trainer: Ron Burke  Driver: Jason Bartlett NYSS Earnings: $206,569 2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Allerage Echo (Conway Hall- Echonomical) Owner: Kenneth Jacobs  Breeder: Little E LLC Trainer: George Ducharme Driver: Brian Sears NYSS Earnings: $261,939 2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Travel Playlist Art Major -- Village Madonna Owners: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Ronald Michelon, Taylor Made Stallions & Frederick Hertrich III Breeder: Winbak Farm Trainer: Erv Miller  Driver: Marcus Miller NYSS Earnings: $234,695 3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Habitat (Conway Hall- Habit's Best) Owners: Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables & Weaver Bruscemi LLC Breeder: Fredericka Caldwell Trainer: Ron Burke  Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $158,375 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight- Cheeky Hanover) Owners: Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz & Tom Fanning Breeder: Flintlock Farm Inc. Trainer: Tom Fanning  Driver: Jason Bartlett NYSS Earnings: $201,437 DRIVER OF THE YEAR-Jim Morrill Jr. TRAINER OF THE YEAR-Ron Burke BREEDER OF THE YEAR-Winbak Farm 2015 NEW YORK-BRED EXCELSIOR CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Outsidecourt (Conway Court-Getaway Cheyenne) Owner: P&J Stables  Breeder: P&J Stables Trainer: Gary Messenger  Driver: Bruce Aldrich Jr. NYSS Earnings: $46,800 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Lyra (American Ideal- Hypnotize) Owners: Stephen Schneider, William Siegel & Marthe Drolet Breeder: Winbak Farm  Trainer: Jean Drolet Driver: John Cummings Jr. NYSS Earnings: $58,050 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) Owners: Steven Pratt, Nancy Pratt & Out In The Country Stable Breeder: Morrisville Col Fdn Inc. Trainer: Howard Okusko Driver: Jeff Gregory NYSS Earnings: $41,100 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Hey Kobe (Bettor's Delight-American West) Owners: Stephen Schneider & William Siegel Breeder: Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. Trainer: Jean Drolet  Driver: Matt Kakaley NYSS Earnings: $53,250 2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Boxall (Credit Winner -Vallaire) Owner: Little E LLC Breeder: David Anderson Trainer: Jessica Okusko  Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $42,000 2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Artmagic (Art Major-Sammy's Magic Girl  Owner: Purple Haze Stables LLC Breeder: Hanover Shoe Farm Inc. Trainer: Trond Smedshammer Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $38,700 3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Andy Ray (Crazed-Crown N Lindy) Owners: Paymaq Racing, Ronald Michelon & Harvey Eisman Breeder: Lindy Racing Stable Trainer: Erv Miller Driver: Andy Miller NYSS Earnings: $46,425 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Masterson (Bettor's Delight-Tug River Princess) Owner: Let It Ride Stbls.Inc., Robert Cooper Stables LLC & Jerry Silva Breeders: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Trainer: Tracy Brainard  Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $56,250 DRIVER OF THE YEAR-Jim Morrill Jr. TRAINER OF THE YEAR-George Ducharme BREEDER OF THE YEAR-Winbak Farm 2015 NEW YORK COUNTY FAIR CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Linda's Choice (Conway Hall-Howard's Sister) Owner: Philip Hale Breeder: Philip Hale Trainer: David Dewhurst Driver: James Devaux NYSS Earnings: $8,850 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Niche Blue Chip (Art Major- PW Spare) Owners: Elizabeth & Dyce Spalluto, Veronica Dylo & David Widzinski Breeder: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Trainer: Mihalo Zdjelar Jr. Driver: Gregory Merton  NYSS Earnings: $12,857 3 -YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Hollywood Jess (Conway Hall-Howard's Sister) Owners: Philip Hale & David Dewhurst  Breeder: Philip Hale Trainer: David Dewhurst Driver: Truman Gale NYSS Earnings: $10,925 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Maya Scape (Kenneth J-AB Seascape) Owner: Laurier Sauve  Breeder: Howard Stables Trainer/Driver: Henry Westbrook III    NYSS Earnings: $11,875 2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Trooper Jim (Conway Hall- Alpine Goal) Owners: Heather & Barry White Breeder: Barry White Trainer: Barry White  Driver: Bruce Aldrich Jr. NYSS Earnings: $7,585 2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Americanation (American Ideal- Cool World) Owner: Pine Hill Stables Breeder: George Miller Trainer: Jeffrey Johnson Jr. Driver: Truman Gale NYSS Earnings: $7,275 3 -YEAR-OLD COLT TROT J A T O (Big Apple Deli-Highwaytoheaven) Owners: Margaret & Amy Butler Breeder: Steuben Farms Trainer: Margaret Butler Driver: Douglas Ackley NYSS Earnings: $17,787 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Adonis Bay (If I Can Dream-Kiss Me I'm Lucky) Owner: Harold Smith  Breeder: Bulletproof Enterprises Trainer: Harold Smith  Driver: James Devaux NYSS Earnings: $11,757 DRIVER OF THE YEAR-Truman Gale TRAINER OF THE YEAR-David Dewhurst BREEDER OF THE YEAR-Winbak Farm By Tim Bojarski, for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State

Plainridge, MA - A brand new Pennsbury jog cart will be the door prize when the USTA holds its annual meeting and dinner for District 9 at Plainridge Park on December 12th. The USTA gathering will get underway at 4:00 P.M., and will be followed by the business meetings of the Harness Horsemen's of New England and the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts. Following a social hour from 5:50 to 6:30, there will be a dinner compliments of Plainridge Park Casino, the H.H.A.N.E and the S.O.M. The evening will conclude with the annual awards from the local horsemen and breeders organizations, the New England Amateur Drivers Club, along with the drawing of the door prizes. Dinner reservations must be received by Friday November 27th. They can be made with Lenny Calderone on the telephone at 508-576-4482, or you can contact Lenny via email at From Plainridge Park

Columbus, OH --- The United States Trotting Association announced today that it is partnering with, the leader in horse racing contests, to create and present harness racing contests to a new audience. "With the rapid growth of daily fantasy sports websites and the success of as well as other horse racing handicapping contests and websites, this allows harness racing to become more involved with an industry that involves millions of participants," said USTA Director of Marketing and Communications Dan Leary. "Being involved with DerbyWars offers our racing to a group of sophisticated bettors and contest players who already participate and understand wagering on horse racing." $1,000 Survivor contests - Monday and Tuesday nights On Monday (Nov. 9), DerbyWars hosted the first of their Monday and Tuesday night $1,000 Survivor contests based on races at two Standardbred tracks. Contestants are tasked with picking a horse to finish first, second or third in each race in order to survive and advance to the next race. "Survivor contests are a great way for fans to get involved with the races," said Mark Midland, CEO of DerbyWars. "It's easy to get started when you only have to pick one horse to finish 1-2-3." The contest progresses until the last race or there is only one survivor left. Entries cost $4 to play. $10,000 Harness contest - Saturday, Dec. 26 Additionally, DerbyWars will be hosting it's first-ever $10,000 Harness game on Saturday night (Dec. 26). The contest will feature races from the Meadowlands and other tracks. The contest will be limited to 100 players. Players can qualify throughout November and December on DerbyWars or buy in directly to the contest. Yonkers Raceway contests - Sunday mornings DerbyWars will also host contests to coincide with the early Sunday morning racing at Yonkers Raceway on Nov. 8, 15, 23, 30 and Dec. 13. Contests will include a $500 Survivor contest and qualifiers for the upcoming $10,000 Harness game on Dec. 26. The USTA has previously run free, online handicapping contests as qualifiers to the World Harness Handicapping Championships. Harness racing fans can get started on and get the complete schedule at USTA Communications Department  

Batavia, NY---On Sunday (Nov. 15), Batavia Downs will be the site for the USTA District 8 membership meeting, Director election and New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) year-end awards banquet, hosted by the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. All members of USTA District 8 are invited to attend the general membership meeting which begins at 5 p.m. in the Robert J. Kane board room. The agenda includes a discussion of proposed USTA rule changes and other business, followed by questions and answers. There will also be membership voting for two Director’s seats that are currently available and polls will open at 4 p.m. If you are not attending in person, be advised that your mailed ballot must be received by the USTA no later than November 11. At the conclusion of the meeting, there will be a cocktail party (open bar) held in advance of the dinner that will start at 6:30 p.m. and be hosted by Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Raceway, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. Cocktails and hors devours will be available at in the Grandstands Banquet Room, located on the upper level. Dinner will start at 7:30 p.m. and will also be held in Grandstands. Shortly after dinner begins, opening remarks will kick off the NYSS awards ceremony and presentations by the USTA and the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. Tickets for the banquet are $30 per person and must be purchased in advance. Anyone purchasing a ticket will also receive $15 worth of "free-play" on the gaming floor. Tickets can be obtained by sending a check (payable to the NYS Harness Horse Breeders) to NYS Harness Horse Breeders, 12 Avis Drive, Suite 1, Latham, NY 12110 Attention: Betty. Payment must arrive no later than Wednesday (Nov. 11) and the general public is welcome to attend. If you need further assistance, please call the HHBNYS at 518-785-5858.  By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

The opportunity to own a piece of a successful sports franchise may be more attainable than you think. The United States Trotting Association (USTA), in conjunction with the Standardbred Horse Sales Co., welcomes those considering first time purchase of a Standardbred to learn more about harness racing and how to become a partner in racehorse ownership. The Harrisburg Sale Mixer will be held Thursday (Nov. 5) at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show complex, in Harrisburg, PA, at 5 p.m. Guests will be treated to light appetizers and cocktails and hear from top trainers and owners who have mastered racehorse ownership in today's market. Attendees will be given an overview of the business and learn about the process of owning a racehorse, and presented with the many options to consider when purchasing a racehorse. We will cover the benefits and risks associated with purchase options to help participants understand what choices may be best for them, from partnerships and fractional groups to yearling investments and claiming racehorses. They will also be able to get up close and personal with some of the racehorses arriving for the mixed sale and learn the ins and outs of what to look for in a productive racehorse. Standardbred racehorse ownership offers owners the opportunities to be as involved with their investment as they desire, and with buy in options as low as $350, there are investment options to suit anyone's budget and interest. Go to to sign up today or for questions, contact or call 877-800-8782 x3257. Ellen Harvey  

The United States Trotting Association (USTA) has provided a donation through their Support Our Standardbreds (SOS) program to the Starting Gaits Standardbred Transition program for the care of 22 Standardbreds of all ages horses in emergent need of care in Florida. The horses' owner was evicted from the farm where they were living and their condition is very poor from months of neglect. Their Henneke Body Condition Scores range from one to three; they need dental, farrier and veterinary care, and many months of careful feeding to regain good health. All 22 have "rain rot" from exposure to the elements with no shelter. The SOS donation will provide initial assistance in remedying long term neglect. These horses join 142 others previously given assistance through the USTA's SOS program over the past five years. Initial assistance was provided by the Neighbors' Equine Assistance Team (NEAT) of Fort White, Florida. The horses are now being cared for on a volunteer basis by USTA members and Chrissy Daniel, her father George Haislip and horseman Mark Drummond. Daniel transported the horses to her farm in Bell, Florida and that of a neighbor's, USTA member Steve Reisenweaver. They're getting treatment for skin conditions and a careful diet to safely regain much needed weight. The horses are expected to move to Starting Gaits' farm in Xenia, Ohio, via a donated air transport by H.E. "Tex" Sutton Forwarding Company on November 1. Company President Rob Clark has approved the flight, but details are pending scheduled transport of Breeders' Cup horses at around the same time. Backup options for transport, preferably via air-ride equipped vans due to the horses' condition, would be appreciated. While the USTA donation covers initial expenses for professional care and feed, the horses' recovery and eventual training and transition to adoption will take many months, well in to 2016. Daily costs for feed for the herd are expected to be about $85. Those that might like to help support their recovery can do so in many ways. For the short term, assistance is needed in Bell, Florida with daily baths, grooming of long and tangled manes, feeding almost two dozen hungry horses, and donations of hay. "The horses are just now starting to trot around a little and knicker. Every day, more of them start to act a little brighter," says Chrissy Daniel. The basis of their recovery diet is free choice of the best alfalfa hay available, with eventual frequent feedings of high fat, higher protein feed. Those that would like to donate or sponsor a hay delivery can do so by calling or texting Starting Gaits CEO Mandi Cool at 937-417-5271 or email Donations can also be sent to: 1599 Ireland Rd., Xenia, OH 45385 or via paypal at New or used halters, from yearling to horse size, will be needed, as well as lead shanks, feed tubs and blankets of all sizes. Gift cards to Big Dee's or Tractor Supply are appreciated and will help to provide the tons of grain necessary to restore them horses to good health. The Sweet Pro company has already pledged a donation of their EquiLix supplement. Sponsorship or assistance in providing ongoing dental and veterinary care is also welcome. All donations are tax deductible; updates on the horses can be seen on their Facebook page here. Ellen Harvey

Lexington, KY - Having been in existence since 1875, The Red Mile is the second oldest harness racing track in the United States. However, it will move into uncharted territory on Thursday afternoon's Grand Circuit program. A carryover in the 20-Cent Super Hi-Five of $50,398 will be the largest carryover in the 140-year history of the track. Track officials, in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program, have placed an 'Instant Guarantee' of $150,000 on Thursday afternoon's Super Hi-Five. The Super Hi-Five is a daily wager featured in the final race of each program, where fans must select the top five finishers in order. The wager features a 20-cent minimum. Wednesday afternoon's Super Hi-Five was made up of a 13-1 winner, followed in by a 9-1, 48-1, 6-1, and 4-1. Despite over $58,000 being wagered into the pool, there were no winning tickets, leaving the $50,398 carryover into Thursday afternoon's finale. The 10th and final race on Thursday afternoon is scheduled to go to post at 4:35 p.m. (EST). It will feature 12 two-year old trotters going to the gate in what appears to be a wide open crapshoot. The Perfect Lindy (Dave Miller) has been installed as the 7-2 lukewarm morning line favorite. Thursday afternoon's program will also feature a $10,000 guaranteed Pick 4 on races 7 - 10, and will be highlighted with five divisions of the $264,000 International Stallion Stake for freshman colt trotters. Live racing continues through Saturday, October 10th, with a first post of 1 p.m. The closing day card will feature over $1.8 million in purses, highlighted by the $527,000 Kentucky Futurity, third leg of the Trotting Triple Crown. Gabe Prewitt, The Red Mile

Freehold, NJ --- Three-year-old male pacer Wiggle It Jiggleit, who won a qualifier Tuesday by 14-1/2 lengths in 1:50.2 at Harrah’s Philadelphia as he prepares to return to action in next week’s Little Brown Jug, remained No. 1 in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. “He was good,” said Teague, who drives Wiggle It Jiggleit for his father, owner George Teague Jr., and trainer Clyde Francis. “He was definitely himself. I pretty much just let him do what he wanted to do. I let him float out and we were planning on going a (1):52 mile, but when I tapped him in the last quarter he took off, so I just let him do what he wanted. That (time) is not a bad thing at all.” The Little Brown Jug, which requires a horse to win two heats to be declared the champion, is the third leg of this year’s Pacing Triple Crown. Dealt A Winner won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, and Revenge Shark captured the second, the Messenger Stakes. Wiggle It Jiggleit was not staked to the Little Brown Jug, but his victory in the Meadowlands Pace permits his connections to pay $45,000 to supplement to the event. “On to the Jug,” Teague said. “I’m looking forward to it the most of any race I’ve been in so far.” Mission Brief, a 3-year-old female trotter, moved up to No. 2 in the rankings following her 15 length victory in her Elegantimage elimination last weekend while 3-year-old male trotter Pinkman jumped to third thanks to his triumph in his Canadian Trotting Classic elimination. Older male pacer State Treasurer dropped from second to fourth after his third-place finish in the Jim Ewart Memorial. The poll saw a tie for fifth, with Bee A Magician and Wakizashi Hanover deadlocked. Bee A Magician, an older female trotter, finished second by a neck to Natural Herbie in an elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot. Three-year-old male pacer Wakizashi Hanover won a division of the Liberty Bell Series. L A Delight, a 2-year-old female pacer, joined the Top 10 at No. 10. She won the Champlain Stakes over the weekend and has won nine of 10 career starts. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 18 – 9/15/2015  Rank Name (First Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Wiggle It Jiggleit  (33) 3pg 18-16-1-0 $1,439,144 339 1 2 Mission Brief (1) 3tf 8-6-2-0 $575,472 270 3 3 Pinkman 3tg 13-9-2-0 $1,220,965 235 4 4 State Treasurer 6ph 15-8-1-4 $788,357 233 2 T5 Bee A Magician 5tm 12-8-4-0 $525,145 154 6 T5 Wakizashi Hanover 3pg 15-9-3-2 $1,036,738 154 7 7 JL Cruze 4tg 20-16-2-0 $622,288 136 5 8 Southwind Frank 2tc 8-7-0-0 $308,579 74 9 9 Control The Moment 2pc 7-7-0-0 $331,757 70 8 10 L A Delight (1) 2pf 10-9-0-1 $397,502 53 -- by Ken Weingartner, for USTA

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced Monday that it will fund a research study by renowned equine researchers Dr. George Maylin from Morrisville State College in New York and Dr. Karyn Malinowski and Dr. Ken McKeever of Rutgers University in New Jersey to evaluate the effects of cobalt on red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) and performance enhancement in horses. Dr. Maylin anticipates that the study will commence at the beginning of September. "The purpose is to study the effects of cobalt on racehorses with the exercise physiology model used by Dr. McKeever to study drugs such as EPO," explained Dr. Maylin. "It's the only way to assess the pharmacological effects with this type of compound. It will be a dose-response study to see if some level of cobalt has an effect on performance." In a previous study funded by the USTA, the three researchers determined a baseline for what the normal levels of cobalt are in a Standardbred horse. "Most of the research has established that the naturally occurring levels in a horse are below 25 ppb but occasionally can range as high as 70 ppb," said USTA President Phil Langley in making the announcement. "The problem remains that, other than establishing the natural levels, little is really known about the effects of cobalt on horses when it is given in excessive amounts." Racing jurisdictions have set thresholds to regulate the use of cobalt because it is known to be toxic in humans. However, there is currently no scientific evidence to determine an appropriate threshold for horses because dose-response studies have not been reported. "The recent action of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on cobalt pretty much reflects the actions taken in many racing jurisdictions and the prevailing thought is that a warning at readings in excess of the 25 ppb level and a more severe penalty when the results exceed 50 ppb will dramatically reduce any improper use of cobalt," said Langley. In addition, there have been no controlled studies to document the purported performance enhancing effects of cobalt. The goal of the proposed study is to test the hypothesis that cobalt administration will alter biochemical parameters related to red blood cell production as well as markers of exercise performance. "The important questions are whether cobalt can dramatically improve a horse's performance or is detrimental to the horse's health," added Langley. "That's what this research aims to discover." Eight healthy, trained Standardbred mares will be used for this experiment. Before receiving any drug treatment, all animals will complete a series of baseline testing. According to the study plan, 50 mg of cobalt (Co HCl in one liter of saline) will be administered at 9 a.m. on three consecutive days. Blood samples will be obtained before and at one, two, four and 24 hours after administration. Administration will commence seven days after the first Graded Exercise Test (GXT). Plasma and blood volume will be measured two days after the last dose of cobalt. A post administration GXT will be performed the next day. Testing will be comprised of measurement of maximal aerobic capacity and markers of performance, measurement of plasma volume and blood volume as well as lactate, erythropoietin (EPO), thyroid hormones and various blood hematological factors. Cobalt toxicity and its ability to increase red blood cell production in humans have been known for more than 50 years. Recently there has been renewed interest in cobalt as a performance enhancing drug (PED) in race horses and human athletes. The possible toxicity associated with its use as a PED has become a welfare concern in the horse industry. The USTA Communications Department    

Nichols, N.Y. -- In conjunction with a United States Trotting Association initiative to boost purses for horses just beginning their racing careers, Tioga and Vernon Downs have elevated purses for select races, effective Friday, July 31, 2015.   Tioga Downs will increase purses for maiden, non-winners of two, and non-winners of five events by approximately 15 per cent. Those races will now be contested for $4,800, $5,600, and $6,400 respectively (formerly $4,200, $4,800, and $5,500).   Likewise, Vernon Downs will boost purses for maiden, non-winners of three, and non-winners of five races by approximately 10 per cent. Those races now will carry purses of $3,300, $4,000, and $5,600 respectively (formerly $3,000, $3,600, and $5,100).   For more information and current condition sheets, visit and   by James Witherite, Tioga and Vernon Downs

Columbus, OH --- United States Trotting Association Executive Vice President Mike Tanner is working with staff members and pertinent stakeholders on activities of greatest priority, as voted on by Summit participants, in increasing foal crops and the number of horse owners. The Summit was held in Columbus, Ohio, on July 13 and focused upon foal crop and ownership issues. "We'll take the message of our recent Summit participants to those in a position to make a change that we anticipate will show improvement in the target areas," said Tanner. "There was unanimous sentiment that a shift in purse offerings to provide incentives for racing young, untested horses would yield an upturn in the breeding industry. We will be taking that message to both Harness Horsemen International and North American Harness Racing Secretaries, Inc." Education, in reproductive technology and husbandry practices, is also a priority. "Nationally, we have a conversion rate of about 60 percent of mares bred to foals registered," said Tanner. "However, there's wide variation in that percentage between breeders. We have more resources to reach our members now than ever before and we plan to use them to empower all breeders, whether they have one horse or 100, to help their mares conceive and carry a healthy foal and raise that foal to be a commercially viable racehorse." The USTA will also team up with tracks, horsemen and pertinent stake holders to educate those considering first-time purchase of a Standardbred. The first such event is planned as a four-hour workshop on Sept. 12 at the Goshen (NY) Yearling Sale. For more information, or to sign up, contact Chris Tully at or call 845.807.7538. Planning is underway for the next Summit, to concentrate on pari-mutuel wagering issues, that will be scheduled during the first quarter of 2016. USTA Communications Department

Columbus, OH --- The United States Trotting Association has invited 40 key industry stakeholders to meet in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday (July 13) for an industry-wide summit to discuss the issues regarding declining foal crops and USTA membership as well as to investigate new ways to recruit owners to the sport. The USTA Summit will be held in the Hilton Columbus at Easton hotel starting at 8:30 a.m. “I am looking forward to hearing the thoughts of the many people from all economic levels of our industry during the discussions,” said USTA President Phil Langley. “Hopefully many of the ideas presented can be used to move the industry forward together as a whole instead of having several different segments working separately.” Following registration and breakfast, the Summit will commence with an introduction of the day’s moderators: 2015 Communicators Hall of Fame inductee, Bob Marks, and USTA Chairman of the Board, Ivan Axelrod. Led by Marks, the morning portion of the agenda will focus on a discussion of the annual decline in foal crops and membership in the USTA and ideas for reversing the trends. Axelrod will moderate the afternoon sessions that will be led by an examination of the current state of ownership and the recruitment of new owners into harness racing. The afternoon’s final segment will be aimed at formulating the initial phase of a strategic plan dealing with these industry issues and initiatives. Following both the morning and afternoon sessions, there will be a 15-minute media Q&A and open discussion with the panel. Harness Racing Update’s Bill Finley and Gordon Waterstone fromThe Horseman and Fair World magazine are expected to attend. Scheduled to participate in the Summit are USTA directors -- Chairman Ivan Axelrod, President Phil Langley, Sam Beegle, Joe Faraldo, Mark Ford, Alan Leavitt, Dr. John Mossbarger, Jim Reynolds, Nick Salvi, and Jason Settlemoir -- and USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. Also expected to attend are: Myron Bell – Brittany Farms Bob Boni – Northwood Bloodstock Agency Murray Brown – Hanover Shoe Farms Bob Carson – Writer Tom Charters – Hambletonian Society Eric Cherry – Owner Bob Debolt – Owner Mike Freibert – Bluegrass Staking Teena Freibert – Bluegrass Staking John Gallinger – Standardbred Canada Kevin Greenfield – Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association Tom Grossman – Blue Chip Farms Rob Key – Converseon social media agency Milt Leeman – Owner Mark Loewe – Penn National Gaming Tom Luchento – Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of N.J. Joe McLead – Sugar Valley Farm Dot Morgan – New Vocations Virgil Morgan Jr. -- Trainer David Reid – Preferred Equine Marketing Robert Schmitz – Ohio State Racing Commission  David Siegel – TrackMaster Steve Stewart – Hunterton Farm & Sales Agency Ann Straatman – Seelster Farms Janet Terhune – Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame Joe Thomson – Winbak Farm USTA Communications Department 

Harness racing tote bags will be given out to the first 250 paid fans at Goshen Historic Track on Thursday, July 2, to celebrate county fair racing day for New York-bred horse, with 10 of the bags containing gift cards for area businesses. The tote bags, produced by the United States Trotting Association (USTA), will be given out at fairs hosting harness racing across the country. Ten of the bags at Historic Track will contain gift cards ranging from $25 to $75 and good at Goshen businesses, Steve's Deli, Delancey's Restaurant, Harness Racing Museum Gift Shop and Kelley Jean's restaurant. The tote bags will be given to the first 250 box seat holders and paid admissions at the track on July 2. Children 12 and younger, who are admitted free, will also be given a tote bag. Admission is $5 and includes a program. The gift cards were purchased with a marketing grant from the USTA. Grand Circuit racing will be held at Historic Track on July 2, 3, 4 and 5 at 1 p.m. each day. For more information, call 845-294-5333 or go to Ken Weingartner

Goshen, NY --- Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter gave the keynote speech at Wednesday's opening session of the U.S. Trotting Association's 17th annual Driving School.   Takter's talk followed dinner at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He discussed his roots in the sport, training philosophies, and reflected upon his memorable 2014 campaign, which included driving Trixton to victory in the Hambletonian Stakes and seeing Shake It Cerry named Trotter of the Year.   A three minute PROMO with excerpts from the speech can be found on the Museum's YouTube channel by following this link:   "Jimmy Takter was a very gracious and accommodating speaker. He offered the USTA Driving School students a heart-felt and humble inside look into the life a superstar horse trainer. It's hard to imagine getting any greater inside access to success," noted Janet Terhune, the Museum's director, who has several staff members participating in the four-day driving school program.   The Driving School has attracted 24 participants, from 12 states plus the Canadian province of Quebec, for four days of hands-on activity at the Mark Ford Training Center as well as classroom presentations at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.   Participants have the opportunity to take the written portions of the trainer's and driver's exams at the conclusion of the program.   The entire 45-minute keynote address can be found at this link:   by Chris Tuly, for the Harness Racing Museum

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced today it has retained the services of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau to conduct a variety of integrity services. "The USTA is committed to integrity in harness racing and working with the TRPB will provide our industry with a wide variety of investigative, security and analytical services from the most experienced and professional integrity services organization in horse racing," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. "We look forward to assisting and supporting the USTA's integrity initiatives in horse racing and wagering, and tapping our shared resources to better serve customers, participants, racetracks and regulators in the Standardbred industry," said TRPB Vice President J. Curtis Linnell. The TRPB will utilize its in-house resource database to provide investigative reports and intelligence on topics, organizations, vendors and people as requested by the USTA. The TRPB will also seek to expand and develop information relevant to the Standardbred industry. TRPB Senior Agent Douglas Murray, working out of the headquarters office in Fair Hill, Md., will be the primary contact for the USTA to coordinate research and information requested by the USTA. Murray will support the USTA's role in integrity issues, including allegations of illegal medications, the identification and investigation of suppliers of such, and involvement of organized crime in any aspect of Standardbred racing. Also, the TRPB Wagering Integrity Unit will consult with the USTA in the event of allegations of wagering integrity issues, including tote security lapses, alleged altered races, and possible betting malfeasance of any type. Among other services to be provided to the USTA, the TRPB will conduct due diligence and background examinations of selected associations and vendors in the pari-mutuel industry. The TRPB will include Standardbred matters of mutual concern in USTA's existing industry relationships in France, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, as well as throughout the U.S. and Canada. Located in Fair Hill, Md., the TRPB operates as a multi-jurisdictional investigative agency in the horse racing industry. The mandate is to expose and investigate all activity prejudicial to horse racing and to maintain public confidence in the sport. The USTA Communications Department   

New York, NY --- The Harness Racing Social Media Initiative, in partnership with the U.S. Trotting Association and key partners, today announced the launch of a new marketing campaign to help recruit new owners into the sport. The "Ownership Experience" initiative is designed to target potential owners in key regions through online media targeting based on location, income and interests across multiple media channels. Initially the channel will include Google, Facebook and Twitter but is expected to expand over time to test other media, including the, Smart Money and select Thoroughbred magazines. The campaign encourages potential owners to sign up for an "ownership" brochure with specific information on the benefits of harness racing ownership at The most qualified prospective owners will eventually also have the chance to be invited to exclusive "Ownership Experience" meetings conducted at select participating tracks. The campaign appeals to all levels of ownership, ranging from low-cost, limited risk "fractional ownership" offerings to larger investments. In conjunction with the USTA, a limited "fractional ownership" offering is being tested at both The Meadows and Scioto Downs where new owners can invest a nominal amount for a partial, percentage ownership in a racehorse. Based on the success of the effort, the concept is expected to be rolled out more broadly with the goal of making harness racing ownership more accessible and affordable to the general public. The campaign is being fully integrated with other social media marketing activities, including the and through signage, video and other supporting marketing materials and activities at key tracks. Profiles of current owners will increasingly be featured describing their experiences as owners and why they believe others should also get involved in the sport. The campaign will initially run through June 30, 2015 to determine best performing channels and approaches before broader expansion in key regions, such as Pennsylvania, where the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association has already allocated some supporting funds. "Being an owner of a racehorse is not only prestigious, but also offers up great experiences for the entire family," said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon, which is heading up the effort with the USTA. "With horses racing for more money than ever -- more than $400 million in 2015 -- never has there been a better time for potential owners to get involved. It's important we help make the experience of ownership as compelling as possible, because whether you own one percent of a racehorse or a group of expensive stakes horses, the excitement and ability to participate in the thrill of the winner's circle is second to none." "This important effort builds on all the social media efforts to date and is the initial step in addressing a key issue of focus for us -- the decline in owners and foals over the last several years," said Mike Tanner, executive vice president and CEO of the USTA. "This will be a test, learn and expand approach working in partnership with various tracks and horsemen's groups. We look forward to expanding this program over time to spread the word about all the benefits of harness horse ownership. Clearly, recruiting new owners is not only critically important for the future of the sport, it benefits everyone involved in the industry." About the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative The Harness Racing Social Media Initiative is a partnership between the U.S. Trotting Association, the social media consultancy, Converseon, and key industry groups to help drive marketing innovation and engagement with current and new fans for the sport. The initiative's mission is to help support key racetracks, industry groups and help provide foundational support and a common, "best practice" framework by leveraging social technologies, platforms and strategies to help positively brand the sport of harness racing and generate greater awareness, visibility and engagement with a new generation of fans and owners. Converseon    

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