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Communicators Hall of Famer and long time North American stakes coordinator for the USTA, Carol Cramer, captured these magnificant photos of a herd of Standardbred yearling fillies frolocking in a snow storm. Carol's house is located adjacent to MIdland Acres in Ohio. She braved the snow storm to go out and take the photos. As you can see, one of the fillies did not mind the weather at all as she ends up rolling in the snow.  

Columbus, OH --- The United States Trotting Association has announced that the next meeting of its Television Committee will take place by conference call on Wednesday (Feb. 11). The committee was tasked last year with investigating the feasibility of a national broadcast campaign and delivering recommendations to the USTA Board of Directors upon completion. The harness racing group most recently met in late October. The committee is chaired by Dan Leary, the USTA's director of marketing and communications, and is composed of members Ivan Axelrod (USTA chairman of the board), Alex Dadoyan (Standardbred Owners Association of New York), Kevin Decker (The Meadows), Moira Fanning (Hambletonian Society), Sam McKee (Meadowlands), Chris Schick (Cal Expo), and Mike Tanner (USTA executive vice president). USTA President Phil Langley believes that the committee should and will be aggressive and open-minded in investigating various options that would increase harness racing's visibility. "Obviously, there are financial challenges that preclude the USTA from funding on its own a multi-race, national schedule of televised race broadcasts," said Langley. "The money just isn't there to do what The Jockey Club has sponsored for the past few years. "But all of the new research out there indicates that more people, especially the younger ones the sport would love to attract, are getting their news and entertainment via online platforms. I think that there's a real possibility there, from both a cost and exposure standpoint. It's like hockey. You don't go to where the puck was. You play where the puck is going." Nonetheless, Langley quickly points out that the USTA has funding available to assist those member racetracks that plan to televise their biggest, most prestigious races. "We, along with several other industry groups and individuals, gave money to the Meadowlands for the past several years to get the Hambletonian on television and plan to do the same in 2015. We also sent $25,000 to the Little Brown Jug last year that helped fund that race's live broadcast. But our executive committee also approved a budget line item that would have the USTA provide partial funding for other races, too. We would love to help racetracks help themselves in enabling top events like the International Trot, Meadowlands Pace, Dan Patch Invitational, or Kentucky Futurity, for example, to be broadcast." Langley asks that all such applications be received at the USTA offices by the end of February so that proper consideration of each request can be given in advance of discussion at the annual USTA Board of Directors meeting, which will take place this year from March 14-16 at the Hilton Columbus Easton hotel in Columbus, Ohio. All requests should contain details concerning the promotion of each respective broadcast, including any advertising, additional sponsors, and/or social media tie-ins. from the USTA Communications Department  

Columbus, OH --- Among the more positive news for harness racing as it moves into 2015 are the year-end results of the cross-industry social media marketing initiative sponsored primarily by the U.S. Trotting Association in partnership with 13 tracks and other key partners, including the Hambletonian Society and the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and Museum, the Grand Circuit and social media consultancy, Converseon. The 2014 initiative was designed as a critical first step in what is hoped to be a multi-year effort to rebuild the brand of harness racing and introduce it to new fans, owners and sponsors. The goals in 2014 were to first establish a solid foundation and online social presence that can then be leveraged and scaled more broadly across tracks and regions over time. This required the development of key digital assets to positively position the sport among key audiences, the creation of new content "shareable" content assets, and the facilitation of increased partnerships among the sport's different constituencies. The results of the effort met or exceeded all goals and has now set the stage for more advanced strategies in 2015 that will build on the momentum and focus increasingly on improving the product experience through digital technologies, increasing product and content distribution, acquiring new owners and continuing to build interest among current and new fans. Specific highlights include: The Harness Racing FanZone (http://harnessracingfanzone.com/), launched in March 2014, has become the sport's primary fan-oriented venue with more than 25,000 new and current fans "liking" the site on Facebook and sharing with their combined network of approximately 3.7 million friends and followers. A new mobile-friendly version of the site was launched in December to better meet the needs of mobile users (which accounts for approximately 70 percent of visitors). The Harness Racing Ambassador Program (http://www.harnessracingambassadors.com/), which allows fans to gain access to special rewards in return for helping to spread the word about the sport, attracted more than 1,800 Ambassadors in its first year, triple the target goal. New social media video assets, such as "This is Harness Racing" (http://youtu.be/UbyiJm2kYOA) and "Because It's The Jug" reached more than 945,000 people. The new digital assets were successfully applied to sponsorship support for Fazoli's investment in The Little Brown Jug, which can be now used as a model for other sponsorship support. Thirteen different tracks participated in the initial effort, setting the stage for greater partnership in 201 In addition to Facebook, the effort has generated strong growth in other key social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Online social media conversation doubled overall from 2013 and key year end  Overall, the efforts connected the sport to more than 16 million people, many of them new fans who otherwise would not have had key exposure to the sport. "By every measure, the Social Media Marketing Initiative met or exceeded all key goals in 2014 and laid a solid foundation for growth," said Mike Tanner, executive vice president and CEO of the USTA. "As other major sports have noted consistently, social media strategies are central to growth and connections, especially with a new generation of fans. My staff and I look forward to presenting a proposal at the USTA Board of Directors meeting in March that would see the continuation of the program." "Harness racing now has 'major league' digital assets in place and a strong social presence that can now be scaled and leveraged to new audiences," said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon. "But this is just the beginning. The next level of strategy provides us an opportunity to leverage these digital and social technologies to build on top of this foundation to drive even greater results in the coming year. But it's going to take even deeper industry collaboration and perseverance to make the long-term impact necessary. We thank our partners involved in this effort and look forward to even deeper integration as we move ahead." As other sports, like the National Hockey League, have noted, social media marketing has become the critical center of gravity for driving exposure, awareness and participation, and is increasingly becoming integrated across other marketing efforts such as television, radio and direct marketing activities. To help set the stage for 2015, the initiative concluded the year with a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive market research study conducted among current and potential fans to help form the next marketing strategies. The results of the study will be released at a later date. from the USTA Communications Department

BEDFORD PA - The United States Trotting Association's annual meeting for District 7, which covers Pennsylvania, was held here Saturday afternoon (January 17) at the Bedford Springs Omni Hotel Resort, in the hometown of District 7 Chairman Sam Beegle, followed as traditional by the Pennsylvania Fairs Awards Banquet. Beegle presided over the District meeting, which included presentations by USTA's executive VP Mike Tanner, reviewing 2014 activities and highlighting 2015's major projections for the organization, and Ron Battoni of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, who discussed several major economic factors that Pennsylvania racing would need to address in this year of a new state governor, Tom Wolf. The annual review of the proposed USTA bylaw changes was handled by USTA Director, lawyer, and Bergstein Proximity award winner Russell Williams. Among important decisions made by the membership for their Directors to take to the USTA annual meeting were rejection of a rule changing pylon size and placement, along with rejection of a change detailing a progressively-severe punishment schedule for drivers found guilty of kicking; among items accepted were the "uncoupled owner/driver" rule, amended to include only pari-mutuel races, and the end of forcing a horse to requalify with the removal or addition of hopples. Tabled were the proposals dealing with Racing Under Saddle (RUS) as pari-mutuel events, as Pennsylvania law does not allowing wagering on saddled harness racing contests. The annual Fair Banquet must rank among the "best values" in all of harness racing, as for the $35 price banquet attendees enjoy outstanding food as well as drawings for over $10,000 in harness equipment, generously donated, including a Spyder race bike. Equine fair prizes fall in two categories: a set for those who earn the most points during the regular fair season, and an award for the horses who capture their Fair Championship in the fall at The Meadows. Winners in the point category were: 2TC - Police Navidad; 2TF - Peoplesayimnogood; 2PC - Nippy (the season's leading pointwinner over all divisions); 2PF - Tropical Terror; 3TC - Fly Past Hanover; 3TF - Cantabs Lightning; 3PC - Mister Chaos; 3PF - La Fiesta. The championship winners were headed by 3TC Fly Past Hanover, who not only was the only horse to win both his points title and Championship, but who also was the only sophomore who repeated a freshman Championship victory. Others in this category were 2TC - Wimborne Hanover; 2TF -- Isabella Carina; 2PC - Marshmallow Fluff; 2PF - Keystone I Wish; 3TF - Sheema Star; 3PC - Wellsaidandone; and 3PF - Wiggle It Hanover. Singled out for special praise were trainer Bill Daugherty Jr., for his campaigning of both Fly Past Hanover and Wimborne Hanover - the fourth 2TC Champion for the Daugherty barn in the last six years; and Team Shaw - owner Mason (now all of three years old), trainer/father Jason, and driver/uncle Chris, primarily for their prowess with freshmen Tropical Terror, Marshmallow Pulse, and Nippy - who among them won 43 races in 56 starts, and amassed $136,325 in fair campaigning. And to round out the Pennsylvania Night of Youth, six-year-old Owen McMullen won the Spyder race bike. Local racing hopes these two, from royal racing pedigrees in PA, stay around the business for a long time to come. by Jerry Connors

Paul A. Fontaine, long time director of USTA has resigned and his successor as a race track director from District 9 will be elected at the annual District 9 meeting in Augusta, ME on Saturday (January 17). “I will certainly miss my colleagues and the many friends I’ve had over almost 40 years in the USTA arena. I am confident that my contributions to the board have added substance to  USTA and I wish all my friends good fortune. May God bless." Fontaine, a practicing attorney since 1963 has been active for 45 years as an owner, breeder, yearling buyer and racetrack representative. His horses have raced from Maine to California and include No No Yankee, winner of the Inaugural Woodrow Wilson in 1977. He was co-founder of the former New England Sire stakes program, and as President of the Standardbred Owners Association of New England, representing horsemen at three major New England racetracks, was a prime mover and signatory to the first-ever contract entered into between tracks and horsemen sharing a retention on a 50/50 partnership basis, helping to usher in a new era of cooperation between tracks and horsemen. A long time advocate for honesty and integrity in harness racing, throughout his career he has spearheaded the creation and adoption of integrity policies that are still in effect today at the USTA, HTA, HHYF and the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Fontaine has served for the past 4 years as President of the Harness Tracks of America, where he has served as a director for many years. He has served on the Board of Directors of USTA for over 35 years and was presently its longest continuously serving member representing both horsemen and racetracks on the Board. He served 7 years as the Chairman of the Board. For the past 15 years, he has been a Trustee of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, and was its Vice President for 12 years. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the American Horse Council for the past 10 years.   Fontaine was elected to the New England Harness Writers Association Hall of Fame in 1998 and was the 2009 recipient of the Joseph A. Vaccaro memorial award for lifetime achievement in the sport of harness racing. Drawing on his political background, having served in the Rhode Island State Senate from 1966-1976 and as a deputy majority leader, he has been active as a liaison to foster better relationships and communication between the racing industry and state racing commissions. He has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment and service in every aspect of the industry and sport that he loves and has represented harness racing with dignity and purpose. He lives in North Smithfield, Rhode Island with his wife Joanne. Fontaine has 5 children and 12 grandchildren. From the Media Department at the USTA

Columbus, OH --- The total wagering on harness racing at U.S. tracks in 2014 was just shy of $1.5 billion, a 6.67% decrease from 2013. However, the average amount wagered per race came in at $39,306, a 2.18% increase from the previous year when the total was $38,469, it was reported by the United States Trotting Association today. Purses paid totaled $408,135,386, a 3.26% decrease over 2013, when that total was $421,890,322. Race days totaled 3,695, a 4.77% decrease, or 185 fewer days than the 3,880 days contested in 2013. Total handle on U.S. harness racing in 2014 was $1,497,004,583, a decrease of $107,835,413 (6.67 percent) from the $1,604,839,996 wagered in 2013. Following are the comparative economic indicators for U.S. harness racing from 2014 and 2013. ECONOMIC INDICATORS ON U.S. HARNESS RACES         2014       2013   % Change   Total Wagered   $1,497,004,583   $1,604,839,996   -6.67% Per Race avg. $39,306 $38,469 +2.18% Purses $408,135,386 $421,890,322 -3.26 % Race Days 3,695 3,880 -4.77%   Please note: Includes U.S. and Canadian common and separate pool wagers on races contested in the U.S. Data source: United Tote. The United States Trotting Association, located in Columbus, Ohio, is a not-for-profit association of Standardbred owners, breeders, drivers, trainers, and officials, organized to provide administrative, rulemaking, licensing and breed registry services to its members. For more information on the USTA, please visit www.ustrotting.com. From the USTA Media Department

The 2014 Illinois champions will be announced at the USTA District 5 Awards Banquet in Springfield on Saturday, January 15 and since I’m also in the business of making predations I thought I‘d pass along who I think they will crown as the 2014.trotting division winners. I’ll post my picks for the ICF pacing divisions on Saturday along with my choice for 2014 Illinois Harness Horse of the Year. Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter Persuasive Look and Fox Valley Yoko Even though it’s unlikely the USTA District 5 members will have a dead-heat in their balloting for this division, both Persuasive Look and Fox Valley Yoko are very deserving and I simply couldn’t split them. Therefore, I have co-winners in this division. Persuasive Look posted a record of 4 wins, 4 seconds and 4 thirds in 13 starts, while taking the $40,500 Fox Valley Flan and the $57,200 American National, earning $96,186 for Illinois owners and breeders Homer Hochstetler of Crete and Robert Buddig of Hinsdale and trotting a first season mark of 1:58 flat at Balmoral. Casey Leonard drove the Powerful Emotion home bred youngster. Meanwhile, Fox Valley Yoko, a daughter of Pizzazzed out of the successful broodmare Yankee Victory OM, went 5-for-12 in her freshman campaign, captured both the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fair championships and Balmoral’s $40,050 Violet for trainer Curt Grummel and his owner Dr. Patrick Graham of Pittsfield, Illinois. “Yoko” only made $494 less than Persuasive Look and took a mark of 1:58.2 at Balmoral with regular driver John De Long. Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter Fox Valley Qatar While the freshman filly trotting division was too close to call, the colt category certainly wasn’t. Fox Valley Qatar was nearly perfect, This son of Pizzazzed, out of the dam Armbro Bahrian, was sensational for owner and trainer Herman Wheeler who turned the one-time $7,000 yearling purchase into an $84,215 money-maker and a multi-stakes champion. Fox Valley Qatar won his first eight career starts before a second place finish in the $97,000 Lincoln Land Final, his last race of 2014. Along the way he took the $48,000 Plesac Final, the $30,000 Springfield State Fair title and a $17,000 division of the Du Quoin’s Darn Safe. Todd Warren was at the lines of Fox Valley Qatar throughout his first season Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter Bailey’s Wish When the division’s major stakes came around you often found Bailey’s Wish in the winner’s circle along with her trainer Dirk Simpson and Illinois owners Jim Bafia (Minooka) and Gene White (Chicago). In her second season the 2013 Illinois Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year boasted first place finishes in the $47,000 Violet Final and Super Night’s $100,000 Lady Ann Reed Championship at Balmoral, along with Springfield’s $30,000 Final. The daughter of Southland Breezed also annexed such smaller ICF stakes as Balmoral’s Fox Valley Diva and a Betzotic and Maywood’s Speed N The Tunnel. Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter Fox Valley Veto Curt and Crag Grummel’s star trotter followed a freshman season with only 1 win with 9 triumphs with an outstanding second season that including triumphs in 4 major ICF championships and 3 others against the top open company trotters at Balmoral. The full brother to Fox Valley Yoko started out 2014 second best behind Tour Hall in the Cardinal, a Hanover and a Betzotic before he turned on the jets and powered his way through many of the division major stakes.. Fox Valley Veto won the $41,000 Kadabra, the $25,000 Mike’s A Mystery against older ICF trotters, and the $52,000 Springfield State Fair title in consecutive mid-summer starts. Later in the year he also posted back-to-back-to back victories in “Winner’s Over,” open events, all with driver John De Long. “Veto” finished 2014 with purse earnings of $148,093. Aged Trotters Trot Fudge Sundae and Mack’s Gold Band It was a “down” year for older ICF trotters with few opportunities here in Illinois. The Dirk Simpson Stable’s Trot Fudge Sundae, owned by Simpson, Bafia and White topped the aged mare division with 6 wins and 6 seconds as a 4-year-old. The American Native mare won a pair of Opens at Running Acres in Minnesota, took a new lifetime mark of 1:54 flat the The Red Mile in Lexington and finished her season with a trio of winner circle stops in Open Handicaps at Pompano Park. Mack’s Gold Band, also trained by Simpson, topped the ICF colt and gelding division for older trotters, taking both of the State Fair Aged Trotting stakes for Flacco Family Farms before the trotter was sold to east coast connections. The 4-year-old son of Bands Gold Chip ended last season with 7 wins in 19 starts, a mark of 1:53.3 at Springfield and a $32,528 season bankroll. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

Thomas John "Chad" Chadwick, 76, of North Huntingdon, PA, died Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. He was born Nov. 5, 1938, in McKeesport, the son of the late Chester and Mary Lakatosh Chadwick. Tom was a longtime owner of Standardbreds and a member of the US Trotting Association and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. His main trainer for several decades was Dane Snyder, with horses based at The Meadows. He also raced in Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey and Virginia. His top horse was Blueridge Abigail, a dual-state champion. After winning Virginia stake championships at 2 and 3 at Colonial Downs, she went on to win the Indiana Sire Stake aged trotting mare title in 2013. According to Tom King, Chadwick's longtime partner on many of his horses, "He would spend countless hours studying the sales books. He knew families, and knew everything about it. He was famous for how he marked his book, and people would always want to borrow his book to see what he liked. He was a real student of the business. I never saw anybody more liked by more people. He was genuinely a nice guy." Chadwick was a member of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church, and the Glassport Polish Club. He also owned horses and enjoyed harness racing at the Meadows. Chad was a pharmacist at UPMC McKeesport and retired after 39 years of service. He was an Army veteran. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Marie Catherine Stashko; stepson, Gene (Kristi) McCahill, of Delmar, Md.; stepdaughter, Lee (Thomas) Brown, of Boston; grandchildren, Alexandria, Mary Lee and Jacob Brown; and many cousins. Friends are welcome from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, at the Gilbert Funeral Home, 6028 Smithfield St., Boston, (Elizabeth Township), PA. Private funeral service will be held in the funeral home chapel. Private interment will be in the St. John the Baptist Cemetery, North Versailles. Condolences may be made at gilbertfuneralhomeandcrematory.com. by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

USTA Directors from District 8 will be conducting their annual meeting and Awards Dinner Sunday, October 26th at Vernon Downs. The event is hosted by Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and the United States Trotting Association. USTA directors who will be on hand are District 8 Chairman Shawn Wiles, Jason Settlemoir, Mike Kane, Kim Crawford, Ray Schnittker Mark Ford and Bruce Tubin. At the meeting the attending members will review this years Proposed Rule and Bylaw changes. On the slate are nine proposed changes, three of which pertain to the Racing Under Saddle (RUS). No Director elections are due this year. The dinner will honor District 8 horses and the district's Horse of the Year will be named that evening. Also being recognized is John Manzi, who is honored by being named this year's recipient of the prestigious Bruce Hamilton Memorial Award. The meetings will get underway at 5pm followed by a Cocktail Party at 6:30pm. The Banquet and Awards Dinner program will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets for the Dinner are $30 and anyone interested in attending should call Betty Holt at the Harness Horse Breeders at 518-785-5858.  

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 9, 2014 -- On Friday, Oct. 10, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $50,000-guaranteed pool -- the largest such guarantee in track history -- for its harness racing Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the "instant" guarantee after Wednesday's Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a three-day carryover of $17,142.70. Minimum wager for the Pick 5 (Races 11-15) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Friday's program is 12:55 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

The New York State Gaming Commission announced today that it is proposing amendments to its rules and regulations governing the administration of the bronchodilator clenbuterol in harness horses. Concerns about the purported misuse of clenbuterol were highlighted during an investigation into a rash of catastrophic breakdowns at New York's Thoroughbred tracks in 2012. The drug is thought by some to have anabolic properties, and is reportedly used as a muscle building substitute for steroids in athletes. The anabolic affect of clenbuterol in racehorses has yet to be conclusively established. The rule proposal, as revised, deletes a per se rule violation whenever the Commission's laboratory detects clenbuterol in excess of 140 pg/ml in urine or any clenbuterol in plasma by testing race-day samples. The revised proposal allows clenbuterol to be administered by any means until 96 hours before the scheduled post time of the race, except if a horse has been required to qualify when not showing a current performance within 30 days or more and has not yet raced after qualifying, then such horse may not race for at least 14 days following an administration of clenbuterol. The United States Trotting Association and Standardbred Owners Association of New York actively participated in a public hearing conducted by the Commission in January 2014 and advocated for the changes proposed today. "I laud the New York Commission on today's proposal, which not only follows the science, but also does what's right for the health of the horse," said Joseph Faraldo, SOA of New York President. "Because our horses by and large race weekly, the 14 day withdrawal rule adopted for Thoroughbreds would take clenbuterol out of the treating veterinarian's pharmacological armamentarium. The 96 hour rule ensures that horses cannot be excessively treated with the medication between races for an illicit purpose, but can still benefit from the relief it provides to horses constantly exposed to pulmonary contaminants in the environment. Mandating the 14 day withdrawal period for harness horses qualifying off a 30 day or more layoff, however, ensures integrity. There is no question that the Commission's well thought-out proposal has struck the proper balance." In addition to SOA President Faraldo, USTA President F. Phillip Langley testified at the January public hearing. Those also testifying at the request of the USTA and SOA at the January hearing included Dr. Thomas Tobin, DVM, PhD, University of Kentucky, Gluck Equine Research Center; Dr. Kenneth H. McKeever, PhD, Professor, Rutgers University, Department of Animal Sciences; Dr Peter M. Kanter, DVM, PhD, Harness Track Veterinarian; and Drs. Janet A. Durso, DVM, and Vincent DiCicco, DVM, Practicing Equine Veterinarians. From the SOA of New York

After going unclaimed on Thursday night, horseplayer's will have a shot at a big payoff on Friday night at Maywood Park as the 10 cent Hi-Five will have a carryover of $6,210.47. Thus with the help of Maywood Park management and the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative, Maywood will offer a guaranteed Hi-Five pool of $30,000 on the Friday night finale! Once again the Hi-Five can be played for as little as a .10 cent investment giving all gamblers, regardless of the size of the their bankrolls, a chance to play for a nice payday tonight. The wager is often referred to as the "ultimate get out bet" by handicappers throughout the country. There will also be a $10,000 guaranteed Pick 4 pool on races 10-13 this evening. The Pick 6 also has a carryover of $719.38 for Friday night's action. The Pick 6, which features a low 20 cent minimum wager is on races four through nine. Handicappers across North America can get a head start on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pools courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Post time for the opener on Friday, Oct. 3rd at Maywood Park is 7:10 p.m. (central). The racing action is headlined by a pair of two-year-old pacing events as the $43,600 Violet Stake (Race 7) & the $43,350 Cardinal Stake (Race 9) share top billing on the 13-race program. by Tom Kelley, for Maywood Park  

"Racing Under Saddle" Exhibition, T-Shirt Giveaway & Driver's Bicycle Race Highlight "Back to the Track" Promotion Sunday October 5 at Colonial Downs. (NEW KENT, VA --- 9/30/14) ---- Colonial Downs will host a "Back to the Track" promotion Sunday October 5th that features a "racing under saddle" exhibition race, t-shirt giveaway, harness driver's bicycle race, and bingo games that are based on race results. Member tracks of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) each are holding a "Back to the Track" event in 2014 and Colonial Downs has a list of events Sunday geared to fans of all ages. The first ever "racing under saddle" exhibition race at Colonial will be a non-betting event but will offer $3,000 in prize money. This is a hybrid of harness and thoroughbred racing that is popular in Europe. A field of five female harness trainers will sit atop their respective trotters instead of in the sulky, and will compete 1 ¼ miles around Colonial's entire oval, encountering both turns over the country's largest harness track. This exhibition will be held after the third harness race at approximately 1:45 PM. Six of Colonial's harness drivers will sit on top of two wheels in another non-betting competition later in the card, but their hardware features handlebars and pedals versus the shafts and aerodynamic aspects of a sulky. The first ever Agee's bicycle race will be contested at the distance of one-quarter mile after the seventh harness race, and the bikes will be given away via prize drawings as soon as the race is over. All fans will receive a free harness racing bingo card on Sunday and compete for $500 in prize money. Winning spaces on the bingo cards will be determined by race results, and the first five participants to complete an "X" on their card will win $100 each. The first 400 adults will also receive a free "Back to the Track" t-shirt and after each race, the winning driver will give distribute children's tees via a t-shirt toss. Other events include drawings for unique rides in the starter's car and winner's circle presentations, live music with the York River Concert Band, magic and juggling courtesy of Jonathan Austin, and a kids foot race on the track after the last harness race. Colonial Downs offers a Sunday $18 Family 'n Friends 4-Pack special, where four attendees can get admission, programs, tip sheets, hot dogs and soft drinks for $18 when they present a 4-Pack coupon which is available at colonialdowns.com. Gates open at 12:30 PM and racing starts at 1:00 PM. Darrell Wood

Columbus, OH --- Results of an intensive, United States Trotting Association-funded scientific study intended to ascertain the appropriate regulatory level for determining the excessive presence of the naturally-occurring substance cobalt were announced on Tuesday (Sept. 30). Based upon extensive research, the scientists have concluded that 70 parts per billion in blood is the appropriate regulatory threshold. The recommendation guards against false positives, while identifying those who are engaged in artificial administration with the intent to enhance a horse's performance. "I want to thank Doctors Maylin, McKeever and Malinowski for applying appropriate scientific principles and protocols to achieve a regulatory threshold that is both reasonable for the industry and efficacious in deterring those who would choose to violate it," said USTA President Phil Langley in praising the contingent's diligent efforts. "With substances that are a natural constituent of a horse like cobalt, there is always a fine line between catching the cheaters and protecting innocent horsemen from violation. These scientists worked hard to achieve a proper balance, which should serve as a guidepost for the rest of the industry," added Langley. The USTA Medication Advisory Committee will continue to study the overall effects of cobalt and other substances in the racehorse in greater detail. Research indicates that cobalt stimulates the production of erythropoietin (EPO) to produce red blood cells. Widespread abuse of cobalt by human athletes has been rumored for years, and its purported use in racehorses prompted the USTA to take a highly proactive approach in the prevention of its artificial administration for the purpose of illicit performance enhancement. In June, the USTA contracted with Dr. George Maylin of New York's Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College to determine at what level cobalt ceases being considered a naturally occurring substance and becomes a clear attempt at performance enhancement. His work was assisted by Director Dr. Karyn Malinowski and Associate Director Dr. Ken McKeever from the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Based upon the USTA's funding, Dr. Maylin was able to secure a long-term lease of a specialized state-of-the-art instrument required to conduct proper scientific analysis to determine the presence and levels of cobalt in samples. That new, unique equipment with unrivaled performance differentiates these results from any other scientific study on the artificial introduction of cobalt in horses. It is anticipated that the regulators in several jurisdictions will consider the suggested threshold when the supporting data is released. From the USTA Communications Department    

MANALAPAN, NJ - August 27, 2014 - Trainer Ray Schnittker will send out a trio of Muscles Yankee colts in the first round of New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres Division action when Freehold Raceway re-opens for its 2014 Summer/Fall Meet on Thursday, August 28. The 48-day meet [August 28 through December 13] will occupy Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays each week along with a special Labor Day card on Monday, September 1. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Seven New Jersey-sired two-year-old trotting colts and geldings are scheduled to go postward in the $7,000 first leg of the Green Acres, the third of 10 races, with the Schnittker entry of Switchblade Hall, Cruizinwithmuscles and Broken Record installed as the 1-5 morning line favorite by the newly adopted TrackMaster automated morning line. Broken Record, leaving fro post six with Steve Smith in the sulky, has two wins and three thirds from six starts and earnings of $41,763 for the ownership of Schnittker and Ted Gewertz. He finished third in his last start, the Tompkins at Tioga Downs. Harry Landy will handle Switchblade Hall from post three while Pat Berry has the assignment behind Cruizinwithmuscles from post four. The other starters are Firestop [Muscles Yankee] from the rail with Eric Abbatiello driving at 12-1; Wolfpack Muscle [Muscles Yankee] with David Pinkney Jr. at 25-1 from post two; the Francisco Del Cid trained and driven Mountain Top [Muscle Hill], the 5-2 second choice from post five and Muscle Night [Muscles Yankee] with Jim Marshall III from post seven at 25-1. A free t-shirt will be distributed with a paid Freehold live racing program [while supplies last] on Thursday, August 28. With six in the box, there will be no eliminations on Friday of this week and all the three-year-old filly trotters entered will advance to the $40,000 Helen Smith Trot on Friday, September 5, 2014. The field includes Cee Bee Yes [Muscles Yankee], Celebrity Fantasy [Muscles Yankee], Mistressswithmuscle [Muscle Hill], She Likes Candy [Chocolatier], Yoga [Muscles Yankee] and You And I [Muscles Yankee]. The Julie Miller trained Cee Bee Yes has banked more than $273,000 for Jason and Douglas Allen of Vincentown, NJ, with six wins, five seconds and two thirds from 19 career starts. This year, she has two wins and two seconds in eight starts. She captured the $33,075 Lady Suffolk at Freehold on May 2 and was second in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final at the Meadowlands on May 31. She qualified for the Hambletonian Oaks but broke at the start of the final and finished last. Labor Day is also Back to the Track, a cooperative effort by the United States Trotting Association, its member racetracks, and horsemen from coast-to-coast that combines exciting harness racing and fan-friendly promotions. Freehold's Labor Day festivities include a free Back to the Track cap with paid Freehold live program [while supplies last], 50-cent hot dogs, 50-cent sodas, drawings for a season's parking pass and Back to the Track t-shirts. Additionally, there will be a drivers' autograph session. by Carol Hodes, for SBOANJ

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to make a $3,000 donation to the ALS Association, raised through the organization's "Ice Bucket Challenge." Over 40 Meadows horsemen, led by track announcer Roger Huston, got together in the paddock prior to the races on Friday night (August 22) for a group challenge, and MSOA Executive Secretary Kim Hankins took the opportunity to issue a challenge to the members of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association and the United States Trotting Association. Donations were collected from not only those that participated in the challenge, but also from horsemen that were unable to attend. In all, $3,000 was raised. "The ice bucket challenge really brought together our group for a fun event," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "We are pleased to be able to support this very worthy cause and we thank our horsemen and women for their generosity." by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA  

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