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BEDFORD PA – District 7 (Pennsylvania) of the United States Trotting Association held its annual meeting on Saturday (January 14) at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in this city in the southwest corner of the Keystone State, the hometown of District Chairman Sam Beegle. Fellow directors Russell Williams and Rich Gillock, along with USTA CEO/VP Mike Tanner, were also present and helpful in discussions at the well-attended meeting. In polling attendees about the USTA proposed rule changes, so that the Pennsylvania directors can represent the opinions of its membership at the USTA annual meeting, starting on February 26 in Las Vegas, the following were the membership opinions: (Dead Heat language) – Rejected. (Driver Insurance by Racetrack) – Rejected. (Outrider) – Rejected. (Mile rate in program) – Rejected. (Symbol for 2nd tier starter) – Accepted. (15YOs in amateur races) – Rejected. (Purse Distribution) – Rejected. (% of trainer/driver % to retired horses) – Rejected. (Qualifiers from 60 days to 30 days) – Rejected, with one dissenting vote. (Omitted horse drawn, others out one PP) – Rejected. (Breaker must go outside or inside) – Accepted. (Specific pylon violation standards) – Accepted, with one dissenting vote. (Appeal / objection relationship) – Tabled, and asked to be reworded. (Registration without owner’s signature) – Accepted. (Delete “spayed or neutered”) – Accepted. (Register foal online) -- Withdrawn / moot with passage of #14. a. (Letters/spaces in names from 18 to 20) – Accepted. b. (Disallowing former names) – Rejected.         18. (Definition of “outstanding”) – Accepted.         19.-28. (RUS rules) – Tabled; no RUS racing in Pennsylvania.         29. (Movement after allowing tuck) – Rejected.         30. (Track Directors) – Accepted.         31. (Term lengths for Directors) – Rejected.         32. (Language housekeeping) – Accepted. The other major topic discussed at the meeting was the first of a set of revisions in the funding of fair racing in Pennsylvania. Saturday’s discussion focused on the initial item for which a framework had been reached, a revamping of the Fair Sire Stakes, which were strengthened by the PA Breeders giving a portion of their revenue stream to these PA-sired races. There will be an “A” and a “B” division in the Fair Sire Stakes for the first time, the latter in large part to replace the Quaker State races, which had no assured source of funding. Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Fred Strathmeyer, whose departmental portfolio oversees harness racing, gave a broad overview of the proposed and possible future restructurings of fair funding that will allow Fair Sire Stake purses to increase and also shore up funding in administrative areas. Questions were asked about the developing program, specifically the Fair Sire Stakes proposal; as much information as could be was imparted to the gathering, with the prospect of further discussion likely this Thursday, with the annual Fair Sire Stakes meeting at the Pennsylvania Fair Convention in Hershey PA. Jerry Connors

HARRISBURG PA - The United States Trotting Association's annual meeting for District 7, Pennsylvania, will be held at the Bedford Springs Omni Hotel and Resort in Bedford PA on Saturday, January 14, with "post time" for the meeting in the southwest Pennsylvania town at 3 p.m. District 7 Chairman and PHHA President Sam Beegle, a native of Bedford, has stated, "I will fulfill my first pledge of 2017 - there will NOT be 24 inches of snow on the District 7 meeting's weekend, as there was last year."   Beegle and fellow District 7 Directors Barry Brown, Rich Gillock, and Russell Williams will head the meeting for USTA members; also to be in attendance will be USTA Executive VP/CEO Mike Tanner. They will report on USTA activities of this past year, and they will take the recommendations of those assembled on the various proposed USTA rule changes (those wishing to "study in advance" can find the proposed changes at this link: http://www.ustrotting.com/pdf/USTARuleBook-Insert.pdf). The feedback from those on hand will guide the District 7 Directors when they attend the annual USTA Board of Directors meeting, which begins on February 26.   Shortly after the USTA meeting, the annual banquet highlighting the best and brightest of the 2016 fair harness racing season in Pennsylvania will get underway, with a cash bar open at 5 p.m. and dinner to be served at 6 p.m. The meal will be followed by the annual awards, which will honor both the leading divisional point-winning horses during the 20-stop fair circuit and also the winners of the divisional Championship races held this past October 10 at The Meadows.   Tickets for the dinner are priced at $40, and "insiders" know they are among the best investments anywhere in harness racing, thanks to the generosity of area harness suppliers and organizations in donating "door prizes" year after year. Tickets may be obtained from Sam Beegle; at this juncture it may be better to contact Mr. Beegle immediately about reserving tickets, via e-mail at gingertree@frontiernet.net.   Inquiries about availability of accommodations at the popular host Bedford Springs Omni Resort (2138 U.S. 220 Business, Bedford PA 15222) can be directed to 1 800 623 8100 - be sure to note that you are attending the USTA meetings and Fair Banquet. There are also many quality national-brand motels located right off the Bedford Exit of the PA Turnpike, a less than 10 minute drive to the Bedford Springs Omni - if Chairman Beegle holds up his end of the weather bargain.   Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association

HARRISBURG PA - Barbara Brooks, secretary of the United States Trotting Association (USTA), a person who during her remarkable 62-year career with the Association has worked with generations of harness racing horsemen and horses via the USTA's Registration Department, ensuring meticulous recordkeeping and a smile at every turn, has been voted the sport's Unsung Hero Award by the members of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading group of communicators. When Barb first joined the USTA, the world record for a mile was 1:55; now it is 1:46. When she first went to work there, the tools of her trade were the typewriter and the file folder; now they are the computer and the database: just like the speed for a mile, research and production go much more quickly and efficiently. This upturn in individual production time is part of what has allowed the USTA to retain its ever-growing mass of records about the sport, and to explore and implement new ways of serving its public. The one constant, the other half of the equation for this progress, has been Barb Brooks, at the end of a telephone, mail, or (now) computer inquiry directed to the USTA's registry by a horseman or horsewoman wanting to make sure a horse, parentage, and ownership has been correctly recorded. Barb is by no means a "one-man team" - as she would be the first to acknowledge - but it seems no accident that the Registration Department has functioned so smoothly over decades in an exponentially-expanding sport, and she has represented the best of customer service, knowledge, and collegial cooperation. Barb Brooks retires from the USTA on Friday, but the effects of her service to the Association, to its history and its future via the registry, will be felt for decades to come. Mike Tanner, executive VP/CEO of the USTA, noted, "Barb Brooks exemplifies everything that is right about this industry." No higher tribute can be made. Barbara Brooks will be honored at the "Night Of Champions," the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will take place on Sunday, February 26 at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Information about the banquet and the entire weekend, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found on the communicators' website, www.ushwa.org - including links for making hotel reservations at special rates at Planet Hollywood; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake Souvenir Banquet Journal, annually one of the best chronicles of a year in North American harness racing. United States Harness Writers Association

The new harness racing owner promotion at Yonkers Raceway held in conjunction with the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and the United States Trotting Association comes to a close with 10 lucky new owners tasting victory and some strong returns. In early November, 10 harness racing fans were randomly chosen from the USTA new owner's database to each receive five percent of the earnings of a designated horse racing at Yonkers Raceway through the end of the meet. The 3-year-old trotting gelding Emerald Chip was chosen for the promotion with trainer Andrew Harris. Emerald Chip made five starts, including a win in his first start of the promotion, a $20,000 non-winners of four conditioned event. He moved up in class and made four starts in non-winners of six trotting events at Yonkers for purses of $25,000 and $32,000. Emerald Chip picked up checks for $2000 with a fourth and $1600 with a fifth place finish and also earned $500 for starting in a 10-horse field at Yonkers. For the five starts, Emerald Chip earned $14,100, netting each of the 10 virtual owners $705. As part of the promotion, the winners were not responsible for any expenses associated with the horse. I have to thank the SOA of NY, Yonkers Raceway and the USTA, said trainer Andrew Harris. Without movements like this, it's hard to show people how easy it is to get involved. It just takes a push in the right direction. We can make this business great again! The 2016 racing season at Yonkers Raceway concludes Sunday December 18 with a 1pm first post. Yonkers Raceway has submitted a 2017 calendar of 238 racing dates to the New York Gaming Commission with a proposed return to racing Sunday afternoon January 8. The opening day card in 2017 will feature purses boosted from their normal levels in appreciation of horsemen both old and new. TIME CHANGE FOR FINAL ‘NEW YORK, NEW YORK DOUBLE’ A bit of change in times for this Sunday (Dec. 18th) final 2016 ‘New York, New York Double’. Aqueduct has moved its first post up an hour, to 11:20 AM, to accommodate more races. Thus, the third race—first half of the gimmick double—now goes at 12:20 PM, instead of the originally-scheduled 1:18 PM. Yonkers’ season-ending first post remains at 1 PM sharp, with our second race—second half of the wager—going at 1:30 PM, as planned. Past performance pages for these races shall again be made available in all corresponding on-track and simulcast programs. The ‘New York, New York Double,’ also available through Empire City Bets, is a one dollar minimum wager and an 18.5 percent takeout rate. With Aqueduct having moved up the start of its Sunday program, Yonkers’ mutuel windows shall now open at 10:30 AM. Frank Drucker

As part of ongoing efforts to simplify and streamline transactions for their members, the U.S. Trotting Association (USTA) now offers harness racing mare owners the option to register foals online. Members can register foals any time of the day, holidays or weekends, through the USTA’s Online Services. Additionally, there is an option for stallion owners or syndicate managers to issue paperless mating certificates. In order to take advantage of online registration, members must have a free account at myaccount.ustrotting.com.  Once the account is activated, members can complete online registration by providing just a few details –foal color, gender, location, as well as an option to submit names. Markings will be documented by a USTA ID technician at the time the foal is permanently identified. Stallion owners and syndicate managers can also release mating certificates electronically with no need to mail the green paper certificates. In addition to online foal registration, myaccount.ustrotting.com also displays a new Owners Dashboard, which will supply a TrackMaster program page on any horse that they currently own as soon as it’s posted by the host track.   The USTA processes approximately 7,000 registrations a year, and the new online registration program is expected to expedite the process and realize time and cost efficiencies for both USTA members and staff. On April 7th, 2013 the USTA launched an online entry service for racehorses, which has now seen more than 800,000 horses entered to race, replacing a process that formerly required a phone call for each trainer to each track where they raced horses and untold hours of time making those calls. The move to online registration will have a comparable effect. Paper registration continues to be available. If you have questions or need help with your online registration, please call 877.800.8782, ext. 1 or e-mail memberservices@ustrotting.com.  

The United States Trotting Association has reported that Standardbred owner Ralph Branca, 90, the beloved three-time All-Star pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers who gave up a home run known as the ‘Shot Heard 'Round the World,’ passed away on Wednesday, November 23. On October 3, 1951, Branca gave up a three-run homer by outfielder Bobby Thomson as the New York Giants beat the Dodgers at the Polo Grounds in the ninth inning of a playoff game in the National League. The Shot Heard 'Round the World lifted the New York Giants right into the World Series. Branca was born January 6, 1926, in Mount Vernon, N.Y. He played 12 seasons in the MLB, from 1944 through the 1956 season. The right-handed starting pitcher threw for three teams: the Dodgers from 1944 to 1953 and then again in 1956, the Detroit Tigers from 1953 to 1954, and the New York Yankees in 1954. Branca was also a member of the USTA and was an owner of Standardbreds, most notably under the nom de course of Bramble Patch Farm. World champion pacer Kassa Branca p,2,1:52.3 ($743,893), a son of No Nukes who was foaled in 1986, was named after Branca and co-owner Doug Kass. The pacer won the million-dollar Woodrow Wilson in 1988 at the Meadowlands Racetrack in a world record time of 1:52.3.

Columbus, OH --- U.S. Trotting Association President and Director Phil Langley announced Sunday (Nov. 20) at a meeting of the USTA Board of Directors executive committee at the Columbus (OH) Airport Marriott hotel that he will resign from those positions effective Dec. 31, 2016. His current harness racing term was set to expire in 2019. Langley explained that given the situation in Illinois, where both Balmoral and Maywood Parks have been closed, he feels that he can no longer fairly address the ongoing concerns of the USTA. "I no longer have a track to represent and there is little quality racing in Illinois anymore," said Langley. "For years, my tracks were involved on a national basis with the American Nationals, the World Trotting Derby, the Windy City Pace and the Hanover Stakes among others. Without that base, I no longer feel a part of the national scene that is necessary for the USTA President." In accordance with USTA bylaw 11.04, since the vacancy in the presidency will occur within 60 days of the next USTA Annual Meeting, which is scheduled for Feb. 26-28, 2017 in Las Vegas (NV), USTA Chairman of the Board Ivan Axelrod will serve as interim president until the election of a new president at that time who will serve the remainder of Langley's term until 2019. USTA bylaw 11.04 states, "If a vacancy occurs in the office of the president, a meeting of the executive committee shall be called immediately to elect an interim president who shall serve until the next annual meeting of the full board of directors, at which time a president shall be elected for the balance of the term or a new four-year term if the existing term has expired. However, if the vacancy occurs within sixty (60) days of the next scheduled annual meeting, the chairman of the board shall serve as president until said meeting." Langley was first elected to the USTA Board of Directors from District 5 in 1983. He began the first of his four terms as USTA president in 2003. A 1959 graduate of Dartmouth College, Langley became racing director and racing secretary for the Chicago Downs Association and Fox Valley Trotting Club in 1965. He served in those positions as well as vice president of Fox Valley until 1998 when Sportsman's Park discontinued harness racing. Langley also was a member of the ownership group for both Balmoral Park and Maywood Park as served as treasurer of Balmoral and director of racing at both tracks. In addition, he was a member of the Illinois Department of Agriculture Advisory Board, Racing Industry Charitable Foundation board of directors, Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame board of trustees and the North American Harness Racing Secretaries Association. He also served in an advisory capacity for both the Illinois State Fair and Du Quoin State Fair. Langley was inducted in the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. on July 1, 2007 and was previously inducted into the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Hall of Fame in 1994. USTA Communications Department

Batavia, NY --- If you have ever attended live harness racing and realized you may be interested in becoming an active participant in America's oldest organized sport, Batavia Downs in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association and the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State is offering a new owner seminar on Saturday (Sept. 10) at 3:00 p.m. in the Robert J. Kane board room located in the lower grandstand. The program will include a two and a half hour classroom presentation by representatives of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) and the Harness Horse Breeders of New York (HHBNYS) and will include guest trainers, drivers, owners and management from Batavia Downs Race Track. Topics being discussed will be risk and reward, what it costs, choosing your horse, trainer and driver and will allow time for questions and answers throughout the evening. The package includes all needed classroom materials, a hands-on tour of the paddock as horses prepare for the nights action, reserved seating in the clubhouse, dinner at the prime rib, crab leg and shrimp buffet, a trip to the winner's circle for a win picture after a race, membership to the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, $20 worth of free-play on the gaming floor and a free one-year subscription to the industry's award winning publication, Hoof Beats Magazine. The cost is only $30 for a single and $50 for a couple. Reservations should be made in advance but payment will be made at the door. There are several ways to register. There are links on both USTA and Batavia Downs Facebook pages or go to shop.ustrotting.com and click Prospective Owners Events. You can also e-mail owners@ustrotting.com or call 877-800-8782 ext. 5555 or 585-343-375 ext. 6322. This is your opportunity to own your own sports franchise and go from the grandstand to the winner's circle with your winning horse. Purses have never been higher at many tracks in North America and there has never been a better time to get involved in all the fun and excitement of harness racing ownership than right now.By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The United States Trotting Association, in conjunction with the Goshen (NY) Yearling Sale, will conduct a free seminar on Saturday (Sept. 17) for current or former harness racing owners considering making the transition to owning yearlings for the first time. The seminar will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Topics include making a business plan and budget, staking considerations, the basics of pedigree and conformation analysis and how to evaluate pre-sale videos. Students will have the chance to inspect some of the yearlings in the next day's sale for real life examples of conformation strengths and weaknesses. "While it is exciting to own a proven raceway performer, there is little to compare with selecting a yearling and then watching that horse possibly develop into an accomplished stakes performer," says Bob Boni, president of the Goshen Yearling Sale. "The satisfaction is unmatched and the enjoyment can be unlimited. This USTA educational service can be very helpful in making that dream come true." The seminar will be held on the sales grounds at the Ford Training Center at 90 Slaughter Road in Middletown, N.Y. The next day, (Sunday, Sept. 18), approximately 175 yearlings will be sold at public auction. To sign up, go to the USTA store or call 732.780.3700, ellen.harvey@ustrotting.com. Ken Weingartner

Harnesslink has learned that a memo from United States Trotting Association (USTA) Executive Director Mike Tanner, was sent out on July 8 to all USTA Directors informing them that Converseon has opted out of its contract with the USTA. As per their agreement, Converseon had provided 60 days’ notice and will work with the USTA Marketing/Communications department through the transition period. The USTA had been working with Converseon for the past three years. Tanner said a strategy for 2017 would be developed in Columbus (OH) in preparation for a presentation to the USTA Executive Committee in November. Also that the Social Media Advisory Committee has been disbanded. “We were already entering our last year with the USTA,” said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon. “I alerted the USTA late last week since now seems a good time to begin a transition. “It is time for the sport to begin to take this over itself,” Key explained, “and more groups need to get involved. I’m very proud of what's been accomplished so far. “We have a first rate digital platform, ambassador program and more.” Key said, “We have reached millions of potential new fans. We are now generating new owner leads. Everything is now in place to go to next level. So this is time for us to step aside so that it can go to next level. “Two things are important moving forward,” Key added, “That this remains a first rate professional initiative platform and that more groups, including horseman groups, need to get involved too. Can't be all USTA only.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

After winning a race several years ago at Goshen Historic Track as a "student," Kimberly Gilman-Daios hopes to notch a victory at the upstate New York oval as a "teacher." Gilman-Daios won the U.S. Trotting Association Driving School exhibition race at Historic Track in 2012, with assistance from professional driver Gareth Dowse. Gilman-Daios attended the USTA Driving School because she wanted to get licensed as a trainer and driver, which she did soon after completing the program. On Friday, Gilman-Daios returns to Historic Track with Steuben Magic Ride, who competes in the first of two divisions of the New York Excelsior Series B for 3-year-old male pacers. Gilman-Daios owns and trains the gelding. "I'm looking forward to getting back there," Gilman-Daios said. "I love Goshen. That was like the best time of my life. It was a learning experience, definitely. I was in Ray Schnittker's barn and he does a really good job with his horses. Some of the things that he does I was able to take back with me and use on my own." Friday's eight-race card, which begins at 1 p.m., kicks off the Grand Circuit meet at Historic Track. There will be four days of racing at the track and Sunday's festivities include Hall of Fame inductions at the adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Steuben Magic Ride heads to his race Friday looking for his first win, but the pacer has posted two second-place finishes and two thirds in five career races. Four of his starts came last year, when Gilman-Daios drove the horse herself on the New York fair circuit. "He's still learning to race this year," Gilman-Daios said. "I wanted to win with him last year in the worst way, but he wasn't ready yet. He wasn't a fighter. But this year he's a tiger." Gilman-Daios got married last fall and gets help from husband Greg when he has time. "He wasn't into the horses before, but he married into it so he has no choice," Gilman-Daios said, laughing. "He works full time for a company, but he's been giving me a hand at the barn when he can." Gilman-Daios' family has been involved in harness racing for generations. She lived in New Hampshire when she attended the Driving School, but has moved to Vernon, N.Y., where she has a four-horse stable. She owns three of the horses and also trains a horse for another 2012 Driving School graduate, Sophie Engerran. "So far so good," said Gilman-Daios, who worked for a utilities company prior to deciding to focus on training horses. "Before I was at a retirement stage I wanted to have a stable and do this as a job. At the time (of the Driving School) it wasn't the right time because I had a career. Now I've made the time to do it. I enjoy it, I really do." by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced on Wednesday (June 29) that a new, online version of the Trotting & Pacing Guide, the harness racing industry's media guide, was launched on its website, www.ustrotting.com. "Through the efforts of several departments at the USTA who have worked closely together on this project, we now have the most complete compilation of up-to-date information, statistics and records in the history of our industry," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner in making the announcement. "The new, online T&P Guide contains more current information than the annual, printed publication and it is available anywhere, anytime on any internet-capable device." The online version contains much more information than the printed edition and provides up-to-date information, statistics and records on a daily basis instead of being restricted to annual updates. It will now provide interactive features for desktop and laptop computers as well as mobile devices. Since the information resides in a number of different places, a new landing page was created for the T&P Guide that will provide navigation to the previous information in the book as well as all of the new information that is now available. A new T&P Guide tab is located on the top (black) menu bar on every page of www.ustrotting.com beside the existing PATHWAY link for ease of access. Up-to-date, industry-wide statistical information will reside in PATHWAY to provide greatly expanded reports and categories. Many reports will be available at no cost, but will also include hyperlinks and the ability to research other paid PATHWAY offerings, including video replays. In addition, a new All-Time category is offered for the Top Performers' reports. Updated daily for current leaders, this will also allow easy online research of all previous year's Top Performers' information without the need for a library of the annual, printed editions of the T&P Guide books. Additional statistical categories and more new information will be added moving forward. From the USTA Communications Department  

ANDERSON, Ind.-June 22, 2016 - With carry-overs in excess of $5,000, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino has announced a $15,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 pool and a $15,000 Guaranteed Hoosier High-5 pool for Thursday, June 23 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. In partnership with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering program and the Indiana Standardbred Association, Hoosier Park will offer these signature wagers for the 14-race harness racing card on Thursday that is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. Two long-shot winners in Wednesday's Pick-4 sequence at Hoosier Park sparked a carryover of $5,163.92 and will kick-start the Pick-4 pool for Thursday. The long shot trend continued throughout Wednesday evening and produced carry-overs in both the pick-5 sequence and the Hoosier High-5. The Pick-5, which will start in race 10, will feature a $1,499.36 carry-over. The Hoosier High-5 is featured in the last race of every program and will offer a $15,000 Guaranteed pool with $5,701.72 in carry-over money. The 14-race card slated for Thursday, will be highlighted by the $21,000 Invitational Trot and the $20,000 Ralph and Dorothy Rose Series Final. The Pick-4, which offers a 50-cent minimum wager, begins in the third race and will continue through the sixth race. Approximate post time for the first leg of the wager, the third race, is 6:25 p.m. (est.). Free past performances for the Pick 4 and Hoosier High-5 races will be available on the Hoosier Park website. Expert selections and handicapping tools are also available on Hoosier Park's website and The United States Trotting Association's website. The USTA Strategic Wagering program, which began five years ago, is a cooperative program among the USTA and its member tracks that is designed to provide value to horseplayers by guaranteeing the size of designated betting pools. Live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday-Saturday schedule, with a daily post time of 5:45 p.m. The 160-day, all harness racing meet will be conducted through November 12. Racing fans are reminded of an upcoming adjusted 4:30 p.m. post time at Hoosier Park on Saturday, May 25 to accommodate the Steve Miller Band concert in Hoosier Park's outdoor music center. For more information on the upcoming entertainment of live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. Emily Gaskin

Columbus, OH --- The Meadowlands Racetrack and the U.S. Trotting Association will host a special Night at the Races on July 30 for new and prospective harness racing owners. The event will begin at 5 p.m. with an educational session on the basics of racehorse ownership and will feature a lineup of successful owners and trainers to share their knowledge and experience. An exciting night of live harness racing will follow, featuring eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks, hosted in a Pink Skybox. There will be on-site opportunities to purchase shares of horses already racing, as well as a special invitation to the Preferred Equine Summer Mixed Sale the following day (July 31) with a sales concierge to guide the experience. Special guests include: David Reid - President, Preferred Equine Marketing, Inc. Tony Alagna - trainer Paul Kelley - trainer Julie Miller - trainer Tom Janes - VIP Stable Frank Baldachino - owner Christine Czernyson - Team JC Stable Brian and Ira Wallach - owners David Glasser - amateur driver and owner Interested parties can sign up now at http://shop.ustrotting.com/events.aspx. USTA Communications Department      

STICKNEY, IL - Beginning this Thursday, June 2, Hawthorne Race Course and the United States Trotting Association have teamed up to offere guaranteed pools in a pair of pick 4 harness racing wagers at Hawthorne. Through the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, with assistance from Trackmaster.com, guaranteed pools for the Late Pick 4 at Hawthorne every Thursday and Sunday will be offered. On Thursdays, the guarantee in the Late Pick 4 pool will be $15,000, covering races 8-11. On Sundays, the guarantee in the Late Pick 4 pool will be $20,000, covering races 7-10. At Hawthorne Race Course, the Pick 4 wagers carry a $.50 minimum wager and a low 15% takeout. By joining with the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, bettors will receive free past performances through Trackmaster.com for both of these wagering sequences. Jim Miller

Amidst the current controversy concerning the use of the word “God” in a race horse’s name, I have taken pen in hand to explain the mistake I have made concerning the Harnesslink “Name Pinky’s Foal Contest” of the past few days. I was the one who came up with the idea for the contest, procured the prizes and set up the promotion. It was never intended to have this outcome. I should have called Standardbred Canada and checked with Registrar Linda Bedard on the eligibility of the names of the six finalists before Sunday’s announcement at Flamboro Downs. I did not do that and I am wrong for not doing so. It might have saved all this commotion from happening. Then again, it may not have. That being said, I still feel adamant that both organizations, whom have stated that not permitting the use of the word “God” or a religious statement in a horse’s name has been “unofficially” instrumented for years, is still wrong. The USTA posted a story yesterday saying I was irresponsible and misleading and that was not the case. I was told by SC to check the names with the USTA and I did that. We did talk a lot and there was confusion as per the horse being bred by a USA stallion but foaled in Canada. The issues here are not as much where the foal must be registered and whom can approve names and whom cannot, but the fact that both organizations stated that they do not want the word God used in a horse’s name and that they do not state that in their official rules. A simple one-line statement in the rules of both organizations explaining this should have been placed in the official rules once the respective boards came up with this concept. It may well happen in the very near future. If not for this occurrence, I would never have known in a thousand years that the word God cannot be used in a horse’s name, as have many other people. It was explained to me that in prior years the word God was allowed and even through both organizations try their best, some improper names still slip by. Improper names, I consider, include Domedomedome, Porno Queen and Nickel Bag as these are totally either sexually explicit or are a pure illegal drug reference. There are many other cases like this in pretty much all breeds of horses that have official registered names. It happens. Many get a good laugh out of them, many are offended by them and have issues when they bring their children to the races and have to hear the announcer shout them out. But when I can look up and see a foal of 2016 (USTA) officially registered with the name, Bythegraceofgod, then I think to myself, what did Sydney Weaver do that is so wrong to not have her Only God Knows Why name rejected? Heck, there is even a very popular stable registered in Canada called "The Stable That God Loves". I apologized to Sydney Weaver and her mom and dad for not doing my due diligence in calling Standardbred Canada or the USTA to get the six finalist names approved before the announcement. While the Weaver’s say I did not do anything wrong, and are still dumfounded that both Standardbred Canada and the USTA would not accept the name because it has the word “God” in it, I still did not do right by them in insuring that the contest would run smoothly as possible. That being said, and with Standardbred Canada saying that God cannot be used in a horse’s name, then can someone explain to me how they could support and have this article/video produced for Standardbred Canada that was up for a major award in 2015? http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/news/3-2-16/so-god-made-racehorse-honoured.html There are two petitions online currently asking Standardbred Canada to allow the name to be used. I have signed both of them, even though one of them incorrectly states the USTA instead of Standardbred Canada. The Weavers have stated they will not end this battle for the name of the foal. I can’t blame them. I just wish people and organizations could get over this problem of being so “politically” correct in trying not to offend everyone that they forget common sense. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

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