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The U.S. Trotting Association announced Friday (Jan. 26) that all Fines and Suspensions Ruling Reports, which are searchable, are now available for free in Pathway (, the online harness racing database on the USTA's website. Previously, only weekly Fines and Suspensions Bulletins in pdf format were available at no charge but were not searchable. "We realized that our searchable integrity-related information would be highly valuable to our track members, horsemen and prospective new owners," said USTA President Russell Williams in making the announcement. "Although we're highly conscious of funding all of our activities at the USTA and this will decrease some revenue in our budget, we feel that it is a significant item for racing integrity." To access the Fines and Suspensions data, users must have a Pathway account. There is no charge to set up an account. In addition to these rulings and other free reports, users also can purchase a wide variety of Standardbred performance and pedigree reports. To create a Pathway account, click here or on the Pathway tab on the USTA website. Under the Rulings tab in Pathway, Fines and Suspensions can be searched by People, Facility or State. There are three separate reports available in the People section that includes career rulings for all data available to the USTA: Rulings Summary Report All Rulings Report Major Rulings Report Within both the Facility, pari-mutuel tracks and fairs, and State sections, there are two types of reports that allow the user to input specific timeframes by start and stop dates. For each category, the reports are either: Summary Major Rulings Report Summary Rulings Report The information provided in the USTA rulings reports rulings is submitted by the judges/stewards and state racing commissions. The USTA is not responsible for the accuracy or timeliness of the information. For further details on specific rulings, please contact the racing commission where the ruling was issued. For questions regarding Pathway, please contact Pathway support at or call 877.800.8782, ext. 4. Ken Weingartner      

Yonkers, NY --- The annual meeting of the United States Trotting Association’s District 8A, encompassing downstate NY , was held on Saturday (Jan. 20) at the Hilltop Oval on the night Foiled Again was foiled in his attempt to achieve a career milestone 100th win. But as they used to say of the Brooklyn Dodgers, “wait till next time”. District Chairman Joe Faraldo , Yonkers GM Bob Galterio and newly appointed Director of Racing Cammie Haughton guided the 27 attendees through the debate over various rule change proposals. The was no change in any of the current directors including Tim Rooney Jr., Jordan Stratton or Mike Kimmelman, Jr. The entire list of rule changes and the sole by-law proposal may be found here.  Below are the recommendations of those attending the District 8A meeting to guide their directors at the USTA national meetings in Columbus this March. The recommendations are presented as they were numbered. It was noted that at the beginning that the wording used in all of the proposals should indicate the rules  will not apply at “extended pari-mutuel tracks. under the jurisdiction of the various state racing commissions” (uniform claiming allowance percentages) - Approved  2. (head numbers) – Rejected 3. (define “length”) – Approved 4. (breath analyzer requirements) - Approved   5. (vs. human illegal drugs) - No action taken 6. (officials at charted matinees) – Approved 7. (track condition, variant, wind indicator) – Rejected 8. (identifier verifies males)- Rejected 9. (stable vs. corporation) –  Specifically section 8.04 trigger the Rejection  10. (scratches due to date change) – Approved 11. (“fair start” pole) - Rejected 12. (driver in accident – medical clearance) - Approved  13. (human disorderly conduct) - Rejected 14. (equality of substitute driver) -- Rejected with the caveat, primarily because it was felt the decision should belong to the trainers, not the judges in the first instance and the words comparable with similar skill sets for multiple race wagers could involve way too much discretion in the judges. 15. (whipping regulations #1) – Rejected; it was felt tgat the current rule is sufficient. 16. (whipping regulations #2) – Rejected 17. (“unnecessary” on track conversation) – Rejected 18. (“change of sex” notification) – Rejected  19. (restricted trainers/”trainers”) – No Action taken 20. (pleasure horse registration) – Approved  21. (correction of ownership transfer date) – No action taken 22. (non-reusable horse names) – Rejected  23. (embryo transfers) – Approved  24. (dissolution of district meetings; by-law change) – Rejected with the thought of not only expansion to some form of an on line USTA open discussion and exchange of comments before a cut off date for on line voting.There was also a discussion of the improvements made at Yonkers Raceway by Management with support from  its horsemen . That support and cooperation included moving the finish line, removing the photo finish’s distorted angle, adding larger fields and distance races for global consumption, resumption of the International Trot, removing the passing lane to create more movement and thus excitement in the races as well as discussions on the Belmont initiative, a slanted starting gate and banking the racing surface. A very positive highlight was the appearance of a couple from Somers, NY who are totally new to the business, have acquired a few horses and are enjoying and participating in the game to the fullest. Lastly, the efforts of Cammie Haughton in his careful attention to the important detail of avoiding head to head post times with other tracks in order to increase handle at Yonkers crafted by Management’s Bob Galterio was duly noted. Joseph Faraldo

BEDFORD PA - The United States Trotting Association's District 7, encompassing Pennsylvania, was held on Saturday (January 13) at the Omni Bedford Springs Report in this southwdbriggsest Pennsylvania city. District Chairman Sam Beegle was joined by directors Russell Williams, Rich Gillock, Barry Brown, and Kevin Decker. Beegle asked Williams to guide the review of the USTA rule change proposals. Russell stated that the group would start with the series of proposals turned in by the Universal Rules Committee, chaired by John Campbell and including Pennsylvanians Williams, Brett Revington, and Anthony Clark; the other proposals were then discussed. Below are the recommendations of those attending the District 7 meeting for their Directors at the USTA national meetings in Columbus late this winter. The recommendations are presented as they were numbered; those marked with an asterisk (*) were the proposals of the Rules Committee. It was noted that at the beginning that the wording used in all of the proposals should indicated the rules should be applied only at "extended pari-mutuel tracks." 1. (uniform claiming allowance percentages) -- TABLED. 2. (head numbers) - APPROVED. 3. (define "length") - APPROVED. 4. (breath analyzer requirements)* -- APPROVED. 5. (vs. human illegal drugs)* -- APPROVED. 6. (officials at charted matinees) - TABLED. 7. (track condition, variant, wind indicator)* - TABLED. It was proposed that the "variant" should include both wind and weather factors, and that other track condition designations should be considered. 8. (identifier verifies males) - APPROVED. 9. (stable vs. corporation) - APPROVED. 10. (scratches due to date change) - TABLED. 11. ("fair start" pole)* -- APPROVED by a 14-4 vote. This proposal drew one of the most spirited participation, with the discussion basically dividing at the term "protecting the majority of the public" vs. the extra betting from "wagering whales" which often follows this triggering situation. 12. (driver in accident - medical clearance)* -- APPROVED. 13. (human disorderly conduct)* -- APPROVED. 14. (equality of substitute driver)* -- REJECTED, primarily because it was felt the decision should belong to the trainers, not the judges. 15. (whipping regulations #1) - REJECTED; several horsemen were concerned by "loose lining," especially in the stretch. 16. (whipping regulations #2) - REJECTED. 17. ("unnecessary" ontrack conversation)* - APRROVED WITH AMENDMENT limiting the objectionable conversation to range from "the start of the post parade to the finish." 18. ("change of sex" notification) - APPROVED. 19. (restricted trainers/"trainers")* - APPROVED by a 16-1 vote. 20. (pleasure horse registration) - APPROVED. 21. (correction of ownership transfer date) - APPROVED. 22. (non-reusable horse names) - APPROVED. 23. (embryo transfers) - APPROVED. 24. (dissolution of district meetings; by-law change) - REJECTED. There was also a discussion on the coming of chip implantation, with most favoring the move but some expressing a concern for hardship imposed on several groups, with the Amish particularly focused on, but the low cost of the scanners offset many of these concerns. Jerry Connors

Columbus, OH --- In early September, the United States Trotting Association (USTA) learned of social media reports concerning the condition of a Standardbred named Killean Cut Kid, which, it was reported, had been acquired by a horse rescue group from a sales pen in Bastrop, Louisiana. Photos showing wounds to Killean Cut Kid's ankles accompanied several of the Facebook and Twitter postings.  On Sept. 3, the USTA engaged the Association's contracted investigator, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, to conduct an inquiry into this matter to determine if any USTA rules on animal welfare had been violated. Thursday, the USTA issued the following statement regarding the investigation. Details of the investigation and the USTA’s rules on animal welfare follow below the statement. “The USTA is dismayed and disturbed by the chain of events revealed by its investigation, and by the actions that contributed to Killean Cut Kid’s plight. All of us who share a passion for horses find the images concerning and difficult to view, and we approached this investigation vigorously and seriously. “It is important to understand that State racing commissions, and not the USTA, determine who can and who cannot participate in racing in their respective jurisdictions. USTA’s scope of authority is clear -- we may only suspend memberships when specific rules are broken. While this situation is emotionally troubling, the investigation affirms that neither of the specific conditions for disqualification from the Association has been met. “The USTA has relayed its findings to the Ohio State Racing Commission and has been in contact with law enforcement in Union Parish, Louisiana. Should additional information pertinent to the investigation be made known, the Association will act accordingly.” ### Investigation Background: • The investigation indicates that Killean Cut Kid changed hands several times in the days following the initial social media postings regarding the need to euthanize the horse. • His trainer stated that Killean Cut Kid was given to an acquaintance in western Ohio.  • That acquaintance stated that he then gave custody of the horse to a local horse broker. The broker stated that he transported the horse with others to the sale in Louisiana.  • Those involved in the transfers and transport of Killean Cut Kid provided disparate and incomplete descriptions of Killean Cut Kid's ankles, and of the origin of their condition.  • Absent additional, corroborating information, the investigation was unable to ascertain definitively the timing and progression of Killean Cut Kid’s injuries, nor could it determine possession of the horse at the time they were incurred.  • The investigation found no evidence that the horse was insured. • Unannounced visits to the trainer’s farm and stable were conducted. All horses appeared to be in good condition, stalls were clean with sufficient shavings, and all had clean water. There were ample bales of hay and bags of horse feed available at both locations. • The investigation has determined that no charges have been filed by any law enforcement or animal welfare agency possessing the power to act upon them, and none are anticipated at this time. USTA rules governing animal welfare: In the area of animal welfare, the USTA rule book specifies the following: 1) Any person who has admitted to or been adjudicated guilty of participating in causing the intentional killing, maiming or injuring of a horse for the purpose of perpetuating insurance fraud or obtaining other illegal financial gain shall be barred from membership in this association for life. 2) Any person who has been the subject of an adverse finding in a final order in a prosecution arising out of treatment of a horse under any state animal welfare statute shall be disqualified from membership in this association for a minimum period of one (1) year with the length of disqualification beyond one (1) year to be determined by the gravity of the offense. USTA Communications Department 

Columbus, OH --- While the United States Trotting Association (USTA) strongly supports breed-specific, uniform medication rules for horse racing, the USTA, which has had no input into the preparation of the bill, opposes the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R.2651) for a number of reasons. Two of the primary objections to the proposed legislation are the elimination of race-day medications, specifically furosemide (Lasix), and the lack of separate, uniform regulations governing the use of therapeutic medications for the different breeds. In March 2012, the USTA announced its official position on furosemide stating, "The U.S. Trotting Association believes that the most humane way to address this problem (Exercised-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage) is through the continued approval of the race-day administration of furosemide under controlled conditions and by a licensed veterinarian." "After a year of considering all the issues concerning the race-day administration of furosemide, commonly known as Salix or Lasix, the U.S. Trotting Association believes the determining factor should be the welfare of the horse," said then USTA President Phil Langley in making the announcement at that time. The American Association of Equine Practitioners also endorses the use of race-day Lasix "based on the overwhelming body of international scientific and clinical evidence." The USTA has long been an advocate for separate rules for the different breeds in the use of therapeutic medications. "As the Association of Racing Commissioners International has recently agreed and the USTA has advocated all along, the differences in the racing breeds and their business models, particularly the frequency that the horses race, requires there to be separate rules for each breed in the use of therapeutic medications," said USTA President Russell Williams. "A 'one-size-fits-all' approach, which is what H.R.2651 appears to advocate, isn't right, isn't fair, doesn't promote equine health, and won't work." Further, the USTA has concerns about the makeup of the proposed federal board of the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority (HAMCA) created by the legislation. "The proposed board members will have no experience with or understanding of the horse racing industry or the welfare of the horses," said Williams. "It seeks to replace the current state regulatory system where uniformity largely exists and is made up of regulators with extensive experience and knowledge of horse racing. "Also, it is a significant concern to the USTA that this legislation would designate the Federal Trade Commission as the ultimate regulatory authority, bypassing agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration that have experience with animal welfare issues." In addition, the proposed legislation would create a regulatory commission that could mandate significant additional expenses to the horse racing industry. "There is no stipulation for federal funding in the legislation as there is for the United States Anti-Doping Agency in its testing of human athletes, which would give HAMCA a blank check to impose new costs to racetracks and horsemen with minimal oversight or accountability," added Williams. The USTA joins the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (the two major, national organizations representing Thoroughbred owners, breeders and trainers); Harness Horsemen International (the international organization that represents Standardbred owners, breeders and trainers in the U.S. and Canada); Association of Racing Commissioners International (the national organization representing independent state racing commissions); the American Association of Equine Practitioners and North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (the two principal organizations representing the equine veterinary community); and the American Quarter Horse Association as well as numerous other racing and breeding organizations in opposing the proposed Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651). Ken Weingartner USTA Communications Department

The United States Trotting Association (USTA) has offered assistance to multiple animal welfare groups caring for horses displaced in the recent hurricane and flooding in east Texas. The USTA's Support Our Standardbreds (SOS) program has, since 2011, provided financial help to animal welfare groups or agencies caring for registered Standardbreds subject to criminal neglect or abandonment. There are nearly 100 USTA members in Texas, many of them in east Texas, where flooding has caused massive damage and separated thousands of horse owners from their animals. SOS funds can help cover costs of their care until they can be reunited with owners. Additionally, freeze brands or tattoos should help identify the horse and expedite return to their owners; USTA staff will assist in that process. "Most of our membership is a long way from Texas, but we want to support Standardbreds and their owners, wherever they are," said USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner. "By extending assistance through the SOS program, we can help care for Standardbreds who may be sick or injured as a result of the flood and we'll also help identify them and get them reunited with their owners. In emergencies such as these, very few animals have any kind of traceable ID, but our horses will be the exception." by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications

Washington, DC --- Russell Williams, the president of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) chairman of Standardbred Horse Sales Co., and chairman of Hanover Shoe Farms has been named to the American Horse Council's (AHC) Board of Trustees following the organization’s Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum, which was held in Washington D.C. June 11-14. Williams replaces Michael Tanner, executive vice president of the USTA and joins Matt Iuliano, the executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club in this role. “Russell Williams has served as both a member and chairman of the American Horse Council board and we are grateful that he will be re-joining the board to lend us his extensive knowledge and understanding of not only the harness racing industry but the equine industry itself,” said Julie Broadway, president of the AHC. “At the same time, we deeply appreciate the guidance and commitment Mike Tanner provided to the council.” Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia, as well as a law degree from the University of Richmond. He also currently serves as a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum and the Hanover Foundation for Excellence in Education. Additionally, he is a member of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Mr. Williams previously served on the AHC’s Board from 2001-2008 and as chairman of that board 2009-2012. “Working with the trustees and staff of the AHC adds energy to the other work I do in the horse industry,” said Williams. “I’m very glad to be back on the board.” Iuliano was elected upon the expansion of the board of trustees from 14 to 15 and was also named treasurer of the AHC, succeeding Alex Waldrop in that role. He was named executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club in 2010, after more than eight years as the organization’s Vice President of Registration Services. He oversees all matters concerning The American Stud Book and represents The Jockey Club as it interacts with national and international industry organizations and committee. “Matt Iuliano has played an active role with the AHC while serving on our Racing Advisory Committee, and we are looking forward to his increased involvement as a board member and treasurer,” Broadway said. Prior to joining The Jockey Club in 2011, Iuliano served in several executive capacities at Churchill Downs Incorporated. He also spent seven years as the Director and Operations Manager of Lasma East, a prominent Arabian horse farm that was located in LaGrange, Ky. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Equine Physiology and Biophysics from Colorado State University before earning an MBA and a law degree from the University of Louisville. “The Jockey Club is grateful for the support and dedication of the American Horse Council as an advocate for the entire United States equine industry, and I am honored to have been selected as a member of the board of trustees,” said Iuliano. In addition to Williams and Iuliano, the other AHC board members are: Chairman Dr. Jerry Black (American Association of Equine Practitioners - AAEP), Vice-Chairman Jim Gagliano (The Jockey Club), Dr. Glenn Blodgett (American Quarter Horse Association - AQHA), Marilyn Breuer-Bertera (USTA), Craig Huffhines (AQHA), Dr. Tom Lenz (AAEP), Don Marean (USTA), Dr. Richard Mitchell (United States Equestrian Federation - USEF), Chrystine Tauber (USEF), Johnny Trotter (AQHA), Bill Thomason (National Thoroughbred Racing Association - NTRA), Alex Waldrop (NTRA), and Joe Wilson (Thoroughbred Racing Associations) for the 2017-2018 term. At the annual meeting, the AHC Board of Trustees also approved a name change for the AHC’s Recreation Committee. The new name will be the “Recreation, Trails and Land Use Committee.” Historically, this committee has dealt with trail and land use issues in addition to traditional recreational riding. In addition to the election of two new Board members, the Chairs of the five AHC Committees were also confirmed: Animal Welfare Committee: Dr. Tom Lenz, American Association of Equine Practitioners Health & Regulatory Committee: Dr. Richard Mitchell, United States Equestrian Federation Horse Show Committee: Gary Carpenter, National Reining Horse Association Racing Advisory Committee: Alex Waldrop, National Thoroughbred Racing Association Recreation, Trails and Land Use Committee: Jim McGarvey, Back Country Horsemen of America by Ashley Furst, for the American Horse Council 

The U.S. Trotting Association announced Friday (June 16) that it has suspended the membership of Northfield Park due to an alleged violation of USTA Rule 20.09 on financial responsibility. Northfield Park was notified of the suspension on Thursday (June 15). Rule 20.09 Financial Responsibility -- states that, “Any participant who shall demonstrate financial irresponsibility by accumulating unpaid obligations, defaulting in obligations … may be denied membership in the USTA or may be suspended on order of the Executive Vice-President.” This action by the USTA is a result of a dispute over payment for eTrack and related services provided to Northfield Park and, as a consequence of Northfield Park’s suspension, also means that the track’s director, Dave Bianconi, has lost his qualifications to continue his service on the USTA Board of Directors. "It's an unfortunate situation that has been ongoing for some time, but track members must be held to the same level of accountability as individual members,” said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. “We hoped to achieve resolution with Northfield, but have been unsuccessful." The ruling for the Northfield Park suspension will appear in the USTA Current Fines & Suspensions Bulletin that will be posted on the USTA website on Friday (June 16). USTA Communications Department 

East Rutherford, NJ --- The Meadowlands and U. S. Trotting Association are inviting horsemen, friends, and harness racing fans to contribute to the McKee Fund to benefit the family of the late Sam McKee. McKee, 54, passed away March 8 after suffering a stroke in February. The Hall of Fame announcer and television personality was universally loved and respected throughout harness racing with his smooth race calls serving as the soundtrack to some of the most historic moments in the sport. "Sam's widow, Chris, and three daughters continue to deal with the devastating and sudden loss of Sam and we want to continue to do all we can to help them," explained Jason M. Settlemoir, Meadowlands GM and COO. "We have all been so touched and blown away by all of the support from so many people throughout the industry and this fund will go towards paying the remainder of student loan debt incurred by the McKees' three daughters." "At the center of this heartfelt gesture will be the educational loans of Sam's and Chris' three accomplished daughters," added USTA President Russell Williams. "Nothing else we could do now would have made Sam happier than this." The preferred method of contributing to the McKee Fund is to send checks directly to the Meadowlands. Checks can be made out to Meadowlands Racetrack with McKee Fund in the memo line. Checks should be mailed to the attention of Jason Settlemoir at: Meadowlands Racetrack 1 Racetrack Drive East Rutherford, NJ 07073 Contributions can also be made on the GoFund Me page that was previously established ( Please be aware that a percentage of each donation is deducted by GoFund Me. All funds raised will be presented to the McKee Family at the Meadowlands on Friday (Aug. 4), the night before the Hambletonian. On that night, the Meadowlands broadcast center will also be renamed in honor of Sam McKee. Hambletonian Day will also feature the Sam McKee U.S. Pacing Championship for free-for-all pacers. For more information, visit Meadowlands Media Relations Department         Ken Weingartner   Media Relations Manager   Harness Racing Communications   A division of the U.S. Trotting Association   Office: 732-780-3700   @harnessracenews   @HarnessKenW      

Columbus, OH --- The United States Trotting Association is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Matching Funds Grant program. The winners were selected from 29 applications submitted vying for their share of $10,000. A total of 20 fairs and horsemen’s associations were awarded money for advertising and promoting harness racing at their fairs, with eight of them being awarded money for the first time since the program was started in 2006. Winning proposals included billboard, radio and newspaper advertising; door hang tags; television commercials; posters; banners; road signs and social media promotions. The following fairs were 2017 recipients: Agricultural Society of Oswego County (Sandy Creek, NY) Columbiana County Fair (Lisbon, OH)  Cuyahoga County Ag Society (Berea, OH) Darke County Fair (Greenville, OH) Defiance County Fair (Hicksville, OH) Delaware County Fair (Delaware, OH) Erie County Fair (Wattsburg, PA) Farmer City/Dewitt County Fair (Farmer City, IL) Fayette County Harness Horsemen (Washington C.H., OH) Fowlerville Harness Horsemen (Fowlerville, MI) Goshen Historic Track (Goshen, NY) Jayland Trotting Association (Portland, IN) Madison County Amusement Park (Camden, MS) Mahoning County Agricultural Society (Canfield, OH) Morrow County Fair (Mt. Gilead, OH) Ottawa County Fair (Oak Harbor, OH) Richland County Fair (Richland Center, WI) Wapello County Fair (Eldon, IA) Western Michigan Fair Association (Ludington, MI) Wisconsin Harness Horse Association The Matching Funds Grant program was started in 2006 to aid county fairs and horsemen’s associations to support a grassroots marketing initiative at the fair level. The need for assistance this year ranged from $84-$1,000 (with $1,000 being the maximum assistance provided by the USTA to an applicant), proving that marketing and promotion can be done at any level. There is an additional $10,000 available to assist fairs and horsemen’s groups in purchasing items to be given away during the races at their fairs. Groups must submit the invoice for and a photo of the product to and they will be reimbursed for half of the cost, up to $1,000 per group. Reimbursement is available first come, first served until the $10,000 budget is reached. The USTA also has some racing promotional items available for purchase, which can be viewed here. For more information about the program, visit the Matching Funds Grant webpage on the USTA website. by Jessica Schroeder, USTA Outreach & Membership Enrichment Coordinator 

Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a harness racing $40,000 Pick-4 total pool guarantee on Tuesday (May 23rd). Beginning in Race 8, the $40,000 Pick-4 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $9,442.41. This wager is being offered as part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association. Northfield's Pick 5, Pick 4 and the Pick 3's offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent. Tuesday's post time is 6:00 p.m. Ayers Ratliff

Pompano Beach, FL - Screaming and shouting, cries of joy echoing throughout the grandstand. These echoes travel across the racetrack to where drivers, trainers, owners, and grooms can hear. Anyone within an ears distance can hear these chants and cheers. The atmosphere of the racetrack brings a variety of emotions whether it be tears of joy or sadness, screams of happiness or anger, the crowd is never silent. The noise doesn't fall short of the horsemen and women that work behind the scenes and stand near the paddock gate watching their horse race on any given night. However, there is one voice that overpowers them all, draining out all of the noise. Rather than putting the name to the face, people put the name to the voice for one track announcer, John Berry. John Berry is a man of many talents and wears many hats as most would say. “He is the Picasso of Harness Racing. Journalistic knowledge and professionalism second to none,” Wally Hennessey, Hall of Fame Driver and leading trainer at Pompano Park, recounts. Aside from a race announcer, John Berry has played a vital role in harness racing as anything from a race office assistant to a publicity man to a live broadcaster. It's no doubt that John Berry is one of many that form the base of the horse racing business. In the February 5, 1964 edition of The Horseman and Fair World, the week Pompano Park opened, there was a letter to the editor concerning time trials by John Berry. And here we are, 53 years later, and Berry is still at it---writing brilliant, informative stories, announcing on occasion, co-hosting the Pompano Park pre-race show, writing a handicapping column, and serving the horsemen and our sport with the same enthusiasm that was evident back more than a half century ago. Inducted into the Hall of Fame as a communicator several years ago, he has participated in school career days, countless charitable events, seminars, and many promotions to enhance the image of harness racing. He was even highlighted on a CBS (Chicago) news segment entitled “Someone You Should Know.” The feeling all horsemen know or come to know at some point in their careers is the moment when your horse is pacing or trotting lengths ahead of the pack at the three-quarter pole. Down the stretch and the win is a guarantee. That moment in time is brief but the memory of the feeling lasts a lifetime. At this point in John Berry’s life, it was like he had experienced this brief moment forever. “That was amazing, I must admit,” Berry smiled. “It was a surreal moment. “I used to get films from Sportsman’s Park---16 millimeter films---and I went to different nursing homes and rehab facilities lugging my 50-pound projector to put racing programs on for the patients there. “I went to the administrators of these facilities to see who needed a morale boost, so to speak.” Berry explained. “Then, I made programs up and put patients down as drivers of the horses. On this one occasion, the ‘winning’ driver was a lady that had a stroke several months prior and could not speak. “Well, after the race,” Berry said. “I went right up to her with her daughter alongside and congratulated her on her win. I asked her to tell me how she won the race (as the doctors and nurses were cautioning me that she couldn't speak) and she grabbed the ‘mike’ and, after struggling a bit, said, “I tried hard’. “To say that the doctors and nurses were amazed is an understatement,” Berry recalled. “Their jaws literally dropped. The administrators got ahold of CBS news about this miracle of sorts and, a few weeks later, when another show at the facility was arranged, CBS was there with a crew and it became a segment on a newscast in Chicago. “It wasn't necessary,” John said, “but they said this story must be told. “It merely propelled me to keep trying and looking for yet another miracle.” John Berry, a man with a long history that keeps growing. Aside from racing, he holds his own titles himself - for bowling. Interestingly enough, the 16-year-old's career in bowling led him to harness racing. In Chicago of 1959, Berry won a match that began his new and long lived career. “It was a match,” Berry recalled, “where four of us put up five dollars apiece with the winner taking $15, second place getting his money back and the lowest two scorers paying for the highest two bowler’s lines (games). “I bowled a 248, 268, and 258 and I took the money.” Berry said with a smile. “A gentleman by the name of Luke Schroer approached me after that match to give me a “tip” of sorts,” Berry added, “as he won some money betting on the match.” Although John refused the offer, they ended up going out for a bite to eat. On that August in 1959, Schroer had taken John Berry to the racetrack, up to a box at Sportsman's Park---”41-A” Berry recalls. From that night on, Berry had an ever-growing interest in the sport. The gentleman who arranged for Berry to get Sportsman's Park films, Don Stevens, introduced him to Stan Bergstein. Bergstein, who later would become harness racing’s only double Hall of Famer, being inducted to both the Living Hall of Fame and as a Communicator, helped John to get his very first position in the harness racing world, as an Associate Editor of the ‘The Illinois Sulky News,’ working for the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association. His first position led to other doors opening. These ‘doors’ included jobs in publicity and public relations at Balmoral Park. At Balmoral, he wrote press releases and worked on handicapping and interviews. “It was demanding since it turned out to be a seven day a week grind from early morning to late at night.” John said. Developing a passion as well as a talent for writing, John Berry won a few regional awards for journalistic evidence. In 1979, Berry accepted a position with the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey. His new agenda included handling publicity and public relations; and hosting the long running series of television shows featuring Stakes races from The Meadowlands, Freehold Raceway and Garden State Park. He also created and designed New Jersey's Stallion Directory and hosted several Miss Equine New Jersey contests. “The Board of the SBOANJ was extremely active in partnering with the racetracks to publicize the sport,” Berry said. “Tony Abbatiello and Ronnie Dancer led the brigade back then and one couldn't have asked for a more dedicated Board of Directors looking to move the sport in the right direction. “I worked with John Higgins, then the Executive Director, a very knowledgeable horseman.” Berry added. “I also worked with an extremely talented gentleman by the name of Leon Zimmerman, who know every nook and cranny in Trenton, New Jersey, where the political stuff went on. “Leon and I got elected to the Hall of Fame the same year,” Berry said. “and it was an honor to work with him and gain a bit of insight into the world of politics.” During that time, Berry won the prestigious National John Hervey Award for an article he wrote in 1979 for Hub Rail Magazine about the Little Brown Jug. “I have written many, many articles,” he said, “but this is, absolutely, one of my favorites because, when I put it in the typewriter---yes, we still used typewriters back then---the words just kept flowing and I, literally, didn't make any changes once the article was finished. “It included a Roger Huston race call and I have been told on many occasions that the reader could ‘hear’ Roger’s voice while reading it.” After three years with the SBOANJ, he accepted a position with the USTA as Public Relations Manager, working from an office, in Freehold, New Jersey, to cover the New York-New Jersey and eastern racing scene, which was blossoming at the time. When they asked him to move to Columbus, Ohio, he parted ways with the USTA and accepted a position with Sports Information Database (SIDB) as a Senior Editor for harness racing with the objective of putting the entire history of harness racing on computer. “I was honored to work with many of the great minds in sport, including Bill Shannon, the famed official scorer for baseball; Logan Hobson and Bob Canobbio, the inventors of ‘punch-stat’ for boxing matches; and one of harness racing’s great geniuses, Phil Sporn.” A consolidation deal fell through and SIDB went out of business. Berry was asked if he was interested in moving to South Florida to be Public Relations Director at Pompano Park. The track enjoyed its finest two seasons in history benefitting from promotions like a car giveaway, cruise nights, where 10,000 cruise passes were distributed to guests, and mall promotions. John Berry has always worked to make the name of harness racing go viral across the world. He gained more exposure to the track when he became the host of his own radio show, featuring big bands and jazz from the 1920’s and 1930’s. “The show featured music from many of the great bands that were left somewhat obscure to the vast majority,” Berry explained. “I guess you would call them ‘territory bands.’ While modern and pop music was taking over the radio stations, Berry’s interests in the ‘throwback’ tunes caught on in the public ‘ear’, so to say, and he had a lot of loyal listeners. Around this time, Berry was elected President of the United States Harness Writers Association and served that organization for a two-year term. In the 1980’s, he was lured into taking a position with a newly formed company--brainchild of well-known owner and breeder Eric Cherry. The start-up company, National Raceline, had a goal to provide results and race calls from tracks coast-to-coast. Within the company, Berry secured many racetracks that sent in results by fax for the information to be disseminated over a “900” network of telephone lines. In short order, the “Raceline” became the nation's leader in providing information on racing results with nightly calls growing by “leaps and bounds”. Later, he was approached by Allen Greenberg to see if he would be interested in conducting auctions aboard cruise ships. “I agreed to ‘try it for a couple of weeks’ to see if I liked it enough to continue.” Not only did Berry like the position, he was “auctioneer of the year” the first two years the award was given and broke several records along the way. During one of the auctions at sea, a representative of WPBT-Channel 2 Public Television approached John with an offer to go on the air during the station’s membership drives. Accepting the offer, John became one of the hosts of the show and eventually served the station during their on-air auctions. Conducting over 1,800 auctions within his career and raising money for many charitable organizations, libraries, and his beloved Harness Writers Association; the most expensive item sold at one of his auctions was an internet domain name $450,000. Serving as an auctioneer, Berry was absent from the sport for a few years. However, like any true horseman who cannot stray too far from the track, he returned after an offer from Isle of Capri’s director, Jim Patton, and Director of Publicity and Marketing, Steve Wolf, in 2004. Both directors persuaded Berry to return to the track, to work in publicity, serving as a “point man” for the upcoming referendum on allowing casinos to be built in Broward County. “Steve (Wolf) came up with an ingenious plan to canvas the area to try and secure support for the casino referendum,” Berry said. “which had failed in two previous attempts. “Well, we got it done and it was quite a scene as we broke ground and, here we are, with a now well established casino that has a 10-year history and racing is still flourishing in South Florida.” Today, Berry, now approaching his mid-70’s, continues to perform several duties at the track---a “three-of-all-trades” ---as he says. He particularly enjoys handicapping for his many followers and looks for “value” in his selections. “Hardly a man in now alive,” he says, “who paid his mortgage at 3 to 5!” One of his most memorable recollections from the handicapping floor comes from the time he predicted a dead-heat during a seminar at The Meadowlands in 1980. Other moments being earning his PHD--Professional Handicapping Degree-- from Tele-Track in 1983 after a six-for-six night there, selecting a “cold” pentafecta at Pompano Park this season, and a string of recent longshot winners in his nightly Pickin’ Berrys handicapping column, one as high as 50 to 1. “The prediction of a dead-heat was as much luck and handicapping skill---something like Babe Ruth predicting his home run at Wrigley Field. “I couldn't separate numbers six and seven and just happened to blurt out, ‘to tell you the truth, I cannot separate these two horses, so I think it'll wind up to be a dead-heat and it was!” Aside from picking his most memorable handicapping memory, John claims the most memorable race he has ever seen was on March 17, 1962 at Maywood Park in Chicago. “I've seen a lot, yes, from Su Mac Lad to Bret Hanover to Albatross to Niatross to Nihalator, to the stars of today but [this] was my most memorable race.” John describes the temperatures to have been wavering in the 30’s mixed with snow, sleet, and rain. “The track had turned into a quagmire,” John explained. “There was a horse named Scotsman, driven by Ken Lighthill, who won in 3:38 ⅗… yes, 3:38 ⅗, which was the slowest winning pari-mutuel mile in history. “It's a record that will ever be broken and it, indeed, is the most memorable race I have ever seen.” John has gotten some well-deserved accolades when in the announcer's booth, too, subbing for Gabe Prewitt when called upon. Racing fan Rich Stern from Chicago lamented, “I love his race calls. They are clear and concise and he's added some nice terms like ‘double-bubbled’ when a horse is three wide. “He gives those behind the scenes nice credit, too. I like that!” His meticulous morning lines have also drawn praise and he was the first and only Morning Line maker to make all horses the same odds--7 to 2--in a six-horse field last season at Pompano Park. The horses had all been around the same time, been beaten about the same number of lengths and were so evenly matched that they all deserved consideration. “I decided to make them all the same in the morning line and that race got huge attention from the media because of it!” Clearly, John Berry has a knack for talent as well as talent himself, in the harness racing world. As a publicity man, fill-in announcer, and writer among many other hats that Berry wears, he covers all bases of harness racing. “He is the equivalent of an encyclopedia of harness racing, a true gentleman,” Standardbred owner and trainer, John Hallett, conveys. Outside of racing, as mentioned before, John was a champion bowler, including capturing the Illinois State Bowling Singles in 1970 by averaging 246 for the tournament. And he is one of few who have ever bowled a perfect 300 game. He lives with his “bride of many years,” Abby and their Quaker Parrot, Pistachio, who, as he says, “brings us joy beyond belief.” Berry has had a lot of “firsts” during his career and plans on helping the sport he loves and its participants as long as possible. Today, John splits his time helping publicize the sport for the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association in the am and doing the late shift in Pompano Park's racing operations office in the afternoon and night. Many horsemen know and recognize John Berry for his talent as a writer and his character as a horseman. “I've known John for many years. He's a nice guy and fun to be around. Working with him sure makes the day go by faster,” iterates Rosie Huff, who works with Berry at the FSBOA office. Berry related, “at the FSBOA, I am lucky enough to work with Rosie Huff, one of the most dedicated individuals with whom I have ever worked. At Pompano, I am honored to work alongside someone as great as Gabe Prewitt, who has an enthusiasm for the sport like no other. “We enjoy and respect each other's talent and company. “You could call it a ‘pari-mutuel’ admiration society!” If there is anyone that the sport of harness racing needs to clone to help promote the industry, they should look no further than John Berry. By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink   Jessica Hallett is a new correspondent for Harnesslink. Jessica, 17, lives in Margate, Florida and is currently a senior at Deerfield Beach High School. She is the daughter of Pompano Park owner/trainers John and Michelle Hallett.

Spots are still available in a workshop for those who would like to learn to call a horse race. The United States Trotting Association, in conjunction with the Meadowlands Racetrack, is sponsoring the educational event on Saturday (June 17) at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. The workshop, open to all ages, will be conducted by Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway announcer Ken Warkentin, who has called Standardbred and Thoroughbred races, including 17 Hambletonians. Warkentin, who started calling races at age 16, anchors the Meadowlands show on SNY and has also been on racing broadcast teams for CBS, NBC and ESPN. He provides voice overs for a variety of outlets and has a website, The workshop was last conducted in 2015 with announcer Tom Durkin as the instructor. Video of that workshop can be seen here. The two hour workshop has been logged so viewers can skip to the segments of most interest to them if they do not want to watch the entire segment. The day's events will start at 8 a.m. at the track and wrap up with students who wish to do so calling one of the non-betting, non-purse races for 2-year-olds that will start at 10 a.m. If the number of students who want to call a race exceeds the number of races that day, a random draw will be held to match a student with a race. Tuition is $40 for adults and $10 for high school and college students. Tuition will take the form of a tax deductible donation to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Class size is limited to 30. As a tribute to Sam McKee, the late Meadowlands announcer who started calling races at age 14, the USTA and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation have teamed up to provide travel grants, if needed, for high school and college students attending the class. For more information or to sign up, contact Ellen Harvey at or call 732.780.3700. by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications  

The United States Trotting Association announced Tuesday (May 9) that the social media-based, content hub website,, has been re-launched with a new look and additional information. The newly-designed site focuses on four important pillars: Own, Watch, Wager, with an emphasis to Share on social media plus it is more mobile friendly. The homepage, which maintains the social wall from the original site, will be highlighted by more feature content concentrating on interesting and entertaining stories that will be refreshed more frequently than in the past. It also includes top headlines for the most important latest news. In addition to the content that will posted by the USTA, a “Tell Us Your Stories” form has been added to provide a method for harness racing fans to submit their own stories to share with others. Also on the homepage, there is a tab for mobile phone wallpaper downloads. The Own page, which has been a consistent source for providing ownership leads, still provides basic information on different forms of ownership as well as a form to contact the USTA’s Ownership Committee to get more specific details on how to become an owner. There is also a Recent Owners Posts section for stories about current owners in the industry. The expanded Watch page has added many more historical videos and will now include a wide range of video for major races and events that will include USTA original productions utilizing Go Pro, 360 degree camera and drone footage. The page also provides a listing with links to all harness tracks currently racing, including many that have live racing and video replays on their websites to watch harness racing. Current carryovers and Strategic Wagers now appear each day on the new Wager page as well as a list of all racetracks with links to their Advance Deposit Wagering partner websites. Also, there are handicapping and wagering features in the Recent Wager Post section and an RSS feed with handicapping analysis from Daily Racing Form. USTA Communications Department 

Columbus, OH - Changes to United States Trotting Association rules and bylaws that were approved at the annual meeting of the harness racing Board of Directors in February 2017, were enacted and went into effect on Monday (May 1). The changes apply to venues in which the USTA is the sole regulatory authority. As specified in the USTA Rulebook's preface, "the rules...are applicable only to those non-pari-mutuel meetings over which no State Racing Commission, or other State Regulatory Body asserts primary jurisdiction." It is not uncommon, however, to see state racing commissions adopt USTA rules. The bylaw pertaining to procedures and eligibility for election of directors representing racetracks was approved to specify a variety of issues, including timing and eligibility of individuals for election. It was discussed and debated in Las Vegas in February, then remanded to an ad hoc committee for further review and amendment before being ratified by the full board again in early April. Track directors now will serve three-year terms, as opposed to the previous two-year standard. Districts 1 (Ohio) and 7 (Pennsylvania) each picked up one additional track director seat, with Dave Bianconi (Northfield Park) and Kevin Decker (The Meadows) both recently elected to fill those positions, while Districts 2 (Michigan) and 5 (Illinois) each lost one seat. Among the regulations pertaining to racing and breeding, dead heats in races where a point system is in place for eligibility to subsequent events, the points and purses will now be divided and/or shared. The components of an official chart are now expanded to include trainer's name, reason for a scratch, removal of hobbles from both trotters and pacers, and designation of a second tier starting position. The requirement for specifying monetary allowances for age and gender in claiming races has been eliminated; the overall claiming price remains in place. Regulations regarding horses that go inside the pylons were amended to specify the number of pylons crossed to constitute a violation, placing of horses that do so, and delineation of escalating fines and suspensions for drivers who commit pylon violations. The new regulations largely mirror those employed at racing venues in Ontario, Canada. Drivers who believe their horse's performance in a race has been compromised by another driver and wish to appeal the matter to their USTA District Board are no longer required to lodge the initial complaint before they dismount the sulky. They must still appeal to the District Board within 10 days of the decision or ruling they wish to appeal. For breeders, signature requirements for mare owners registering progeny have been simplified to remove the requirement when there is no change of ownership. Those seeking to register a horse as "Non-Standardbred" will no longer be required to spay or neuter their horse before such registration can be granted. Rule book production is currently in progress, and a PDF reflecting all of the changes will be posted online at by the end of May. Ken Weingartner

The U.S. Trotting Association's annual Driving School will be May 31-June 3 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, home of the Little Brown Jug, in central Ohio. As this year's school approaches, the USTA will periodically profile "graduates" of the program. For more information about the harness racing school, click here. Sitting behind a horse wasn't Mike Cayouette's first time around a track. Before he found harness racing, Cayouette was active in snowmobile racing. "We raced on horse tracks; they iced them down in the wintertime and we raced on them," said Cayouette, who lives in Maine. "(Racing) a snowmobile is a little easier," he added with a laugh. "You've got a little more control with that one." Solving issues with a snowmobile and making one go fast might be easier, but working with a horse and unraveling the mysteries to each one's success is what drives Cayouette now. "It's fun with the horses, figuring out what they need to have, need to wear," said Cayouette, who has eight horses in training. "You're learning as much as they're learning." Cayouette, who owns the Sidney Training Center, started his own learning at the U.S. Trotting Association Driving School in 2010. Cayouette owned racehorses for a decade, but wanted to get more involved as a trainer and driver. Since the school, the 59-year-old Cayouette has posted 93 wins as a trainer --- including a career-best 22 last year --- and 24 victories as a driver. "It's been good," said Cayouette, who also operates a retail flooring business. "The school was a lot of help to me because I was pretty green as far as being a trainer or driver. Mostly I was just an owner and occasionally I would jog some now and then. "At the school, I liked the part about the shoeing a lot. And Aaron Merriman spoke and he was quite helpful, too, as far as driving. I would definitely recommend the school." Seven years after attending the school, Merriman drove one of Cayouette's homebred pacers at Ohio's Northfield Park. Merriman won with the horse, Sinners Prayer, in a then-lifetime-best 1:53 on Feb. 27. "That was awesome," Cayouette said. This year's Driving School will begin Wednesday, May 31, with a welcoming reception/dinner featuring Bob Boni, co-owner of 2016 Horse of the Year Always B Miki. Participants work alongside grooms and trainers stabled at the fairgrounds Thursday-Saturday mornings. Each afternoon, topics such as horse ownership, veterinary care, driving strategy, training and conditioning and stable management will be covered by guest speakers. As for Cayouette's biggest accomplishment since the school, he said "just driving is an accomplishment to me." He won 10 of 72 races as a driver in 2012, but has cut back on his driving in recent years. "In the future I'd really like to have a nice open (level) horse," Cayouette said. "We don't have the better grade of horses, but we get around. My wife (Brenda) loves the horses and is an owner on a lot of them. It's a lot of fun." Ken Weingartner

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