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WASHINGTON, PA, July 25, 2014 -- Just as the winner of Saturday's $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids presented by Coors Light will cash big time, harness racing bettors playing the Adios Day card at The Meadows will enjoy opportunities for a lucrative payday. For the Saturday card, The Meadows is offering four pool guarantees totaling $42,500 in association with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Initiative. Three of the multirace wagers include the Adios final, which goes as race 12. Here's the line-up: $20,000-guaranteed Pick 4, races 9-12; $10,000 guaranteed Pick 4, races 4-7; $7,500-guaranteed Pick 3, races 11-13; $5,000 guaranteed Pick 5, races 12-16. Minimum wager in each case 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 Saturday is 12:20 PM, with the Adios final set for approximately 4 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 14, 2014 -- On Tuesday, July 15, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $35,000 guarantee -- largest since the track began offering pool guarantees -- for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the "instant" guarantee after Tuesday's Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a three-day carryover of $11,587.31. In addition, The Meadows will offer a $5,000-guaranteed pool for the Pick 4, a regular feature of the track's Monday and Tuesday cards. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (Races 4-7) and Pick 5 (Races 12-16) 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 Tuesday's program, which features a $236,210 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters, is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Batavia, NY --- Condition sheets for the first week of racing at Batavia Downs Gaming, America's oldest lighted harness track, located in Western New York, are now available online at... http://www.bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing/racinginfo/condition/. Simply click on "Live Racing" and then the "Horsemen" tab. Batavia Downs is the latest racetrack to participate in the United States Trotting Association's Online Entry Program. Trainers will be able to enter their horses online, effective Wednesday July 16, 2014, according to Batavia's longtime racing secretary Joe Zambito. Even though the track remains under construction, purses will be increased by $200,000 this season. "Our purse account is in much better shape than in recent years and despite our ongoing construction project we're happy to be able to raise purses," said Todd Haight, Director/GM of live racing. "I wouldn't be surprised once we get back to normal and our front entrance reopens that we could be looking at another increase." The 2014 season gets underway on July 23. Horses may begin arriving on July 17. The 68th racing season at Batavia Downs features 72 race dates. There will be a total of eight matinees, six Sundays, (the last Sunday in July and all five in August) and the extremely popular Labor Day and Columbus Day matinees. Evening post time is 6:350 p.m. while afternoon post time is 1:15 p.m. New York Sire Stakes season, featuring the glamour division, the three-year-old colt pacers, kicks off the July 27. For more information please call the race office at 585-344-6161. From Batavia Downs Media Relations.

WASHINGTON, PA, July 14, 2014 -- Adios Week at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, the annual festive celebration of harness racing highlighted by the 48th edition of the $600,000 (est.) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light, kicks off the evening of Saturday, July 19, with Adios eliminations. The final of this major test for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers is set for Saturday afternoon, July 26 as the highlight of a card that features six Grand Circuit stakes. Purses that day are expected to top $1 million, making it one of the richest cards in the history of The Meadows. "We've gone all out to make this the most memorable Adios Week ever," said Kevin Decker, director of racing for The Meadows. "We deeply appreciate the support of our fans, and we've put together an exciting week to support our signature event." Among those exciting elements are four Adios Day (July 26) pool guarantees offered in association with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Initiative. The guarantees, which total $42,500, cover a Pick 3, a Pick 5 and a pair of Pick 4s. Other Adios Week activities -- many offered in association with the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association -- include: The finals of the ever-popular Miss Adios Contest, which actually launches Adios Week a day early on Friday, July 18; An Adios hat giveaway on track Saturday, July 19; A pair of handicapping contests at all Meadows locations on Monday, July 21 and Tuesday, July 22. The hat giveaway and handicapping contests are limited to Racing Player Rewards members. Friday, July 25 party for all on the track apron. The card that evening features a pair of Grand Circuit stakes. The draw for Adios eliminations post positions is set for the morning of Tuesday, July 15. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- There's plenty to see and do at Buffalo Raceway Sunday afternoon (July 13) when the popular 'Back To The Track' promotion takes place along with a 13-race program featuring the New York Sire Stakes for the 2-year-old pacing fillies. The action gets underway at 1:05 p.m.   The 'Back To The Track' day, in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association and Buffalo Raceway, features harness racing bingo, free programs, sno-cones, cotton candy, pony rides and t-shirts. It's a great day of activities for those of all ages.   There will be plenty of action on the Hamburg half-mile oval as well with three $36,566 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes, slated as the second, fourth and sixth races, along with three $12,700 legs of the Excelsior Class A series.   The young ladies will be gunning for the divisional track record of 1:56.3 set by Silk Purse (2011) and Summertime Lea (2012). A total of six track marks have been either broken or tied at Buffalo Raceway this season so hang onto your hats.   The first division of the Sire Stakes features Sheeztoughenough (Art Dealer-Sheezadiamondealer) who'll score from the two post with Jim Morrill Jr. Installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite, Sheeztoughenough's last outing was a beauty with a 1:55 win at Mohawk in a $11,280 conditioned pace.   The main threat should come from Ameritime (American Ideal-L'Charm) who enters with two straight victories. She scored in a Excelsior A Class race with a 1:58 mark at Monticello and captured a fillies and mares maiden conditioned race at Tioga in 1:58. Mark MacDonald will get the call on the 7-2 second choice.   The remainder of the field includes My Little Delight (Jeff Gregory), Mo Molly Blue Chip (Kevin Cummings), Our Hot Majorette (Mike Saftic) and Heavens Legacy (Brent Holland).   The inside posts are the place to look in the second division as favorites will start from there. Mosquito Blue Chip gets the two hole for Morrill Jr. and is the 2-1 favorite. She comes to town after finishing a solid second at Monticello on July 4 in a $27,750 Sires Stakes race.   Lurking on the rail is Bin N Heaven (Rock N Roll Heaven-Binions) with Doug McNair in the bike. She was won both her qualifiers including a 1:56.3 at Mohawk Raceway back on June 29 and is the 3-1 second pick.   Others in the division include Amazing Phrasing (Jim Mettinis), Float On By (Saftic), Fan Mail (MacDonald) and Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore).   The final leg has Neverhaditsogood (Art Major-Indulge Me) who finished second behind Bettor N Bettor in the Sire Stakes at Monticello on July 4. She finished 2-3/4 lengths back. McNair will be at the controls for Neverhaditsogood, who'll score from the four post.   The main threat could come from the rail-sitting Bullville Maggie with MacDonald set to go in the sulky. Bullville Maggie finished third in a $27,250 at Monticello on July 4 and was 6-1/2 lengths. She was straddled with the seven post, however, so the inside draw here could make a huge difference.   Also in the race as Mydelight Bluechip (Chirs Lems), Crucial Moment (Whittemore), Bachata Hanover (Morrill Jr.), Bussers Joy (Holland) and Yes You Can (Saftic).   After Sunday, it will be closing week at Buffalo Raceway with just four cards remaining. The racing schedule shows a 5 p.m. post on Wednesday while Friday and Saturdays will start at 6:40 p.m. Next Sunday is closing day with a 1:05 p.m. matinee slated.   For more information including upcoming promotions, race replays, results and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The 'Back To The Track' promotion returns to Buffalo Raceway on Sunday afternoon (July 13) with a 1:05 p.m. post time. It's a way to bring long-time horse players and newcomers to the track for a fun-filled day of activities for all ages. The day will include the harness racing bingo game, free t-shirts, pony rides, sno-cones and cotton candy along with some great racing including the New York Sire Stakes Series for 2-year-old pacing fillies.A total of 13 races are scheduled. The man in charge of the 'Back To The Track' event at Buffalo Raceway is Director of Operations Jon Cramer. He said of the upcoming promotion, "This was an idea by the United States Trotting Association and we've been involved since its inception. They've taken the lead role in the promotion of it. They've also done a great job with it along with the guaranteed pool promotions such as the $5,000 Pick-4 we've had." And while the USTA has been involved in getting people back to the track on a national level, it's Cramer who is spearheading the Buffalo Raceway campaign to increase business at the Hamburg half-mile oval. "I'm committed to Western New York and harness racing here," Cramer said. "My family and I are all from here and I can't see myself leaving." But harness racing was the furthest thing on Cramer's mind when he graduated from Keuka College with a marketing degree. He said, "The only thing a knew about harness racing was that there were horses involved. I wasn't involved in the industry at all. When I was growing up as a kid, I wasn't thinking I wanted to work at a race track. It never crossed my mind. "I think I saw harness racing once before I got the job here," Cramer added. "I worked for the Erie County Fair full-time and as an intern. For marketing, it's a sprint with the fair because it's just 12 days long. In harness racing, it's a marathon." Cramer, who also got his feet wet in marketing at Walt Disney World, with the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Bisons, said, "When I took the job at Buffalo Raceway, I really didn't know the harness racing end at all." Chief Operating Officer of Buffalo Raceway Jim Mango said of getting Cramer, "Denny Lang (Chief Executive Officer of the Erie County Agricultural Society and Buffalo Raceway) told me about Jon when he was working on the Fairgrounds. Denny said Jon would be a good fit here on the racing side. I didn't know anything about Jon but we needed someone because we had long-time employees leaving back then. When we first met, Jon and I sat down and said this is what we have to do to succeed here." Well, it has become a perfect fit for Mango, Cramer and Buffalo Raceway. "Jon was a quick study. He picked up things quickly," Mango said. "His value has grown as I've gotten older." Cramer was the Marketing and Simulcasting Coordinator for five years and now has been in the role of Director of Operations for the past two seasons. "I am kind of like the jack of all trades at our track," Cramer said. "You have to be with a small staff like we have here. I've found the more you know, the better off you'll be. If I can't find the answer to a problem, I'll call in an expert." Mango said of Cramer, "Jon really knows a lot about marketing and simulcasting. He does everything I don't want to do and things I can't do," he added with a laugh. "He's in his 30's so he's a perfect fit for using social media," Mango continued on to say. "Social media is something that has long passed me by but Jon knows how to use it." The 34-year-old Cramer said, "I think social media is very important now. We are finding ways to keep the fans engaged with the track and the horsemen. It's the generation now. Using all the social media outlets is so important to keep everyone informed." Simulcasting continues to grow at Buffalo Raceway as the export signal is up 20 percent this season. Since the arrival of Cramer, Buffalo's export handle has grown from $7.1 in 2006 to what will exceed $14 million in 2014. "It was an area that I thought we were lacking in," Cramer said of the simulcasting numbers he saw at Buffalo Raceway when he first started. "I think we've made strides in getting into some key outlets. I attend the annual simulcast conference and put on my salesman's hat." What has also help drive up the export numbers was the new television graphics that the track added at the start of the 2013 season. "It made our simulcast product much better," Cramer said. "We added new cameras, new sound, new video presentations and graphics and improved lighting in the front stretch." Mango said, "I've think we have a pretty good relationship with our simulcast outlets now. We give some priorities to some like the time we race. I also think we've developed a pretty good relationship with TVG thanks to Jon and (former Buffalo Raceway announcer) Gabe Prewitt." Michael Carter, Buffalo Raceway's first year announcer said of Cramer, "Jon is very professional. He has great knowledge about the business side but equally cares about the harness racing side as well. I know he cares about the long-term stability of Buffalo Raceway. I also really appreciate him as well for taking a chance on me as an announcer." So for the guy who knew little about harness racing when he started, he is now completing his seventh season. "The fun part of my job is I learn something new every day. It's always a challenge. But we all have to continue to work together, the track and the horsemen," Cramer said. And with Cramer still learning, he's keeping all facets of Buffalo Raceway on the front burner. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

ANDERSON, Ind.-July 8, 2014 - Hoosier Park Racing & Casino has recently partnered with The Harness Racing Fan Zone, an industry wide social media initiative, and is excited to announce a new "30 out of 30" Grand Circuit Challenge, which provides fans the opportunity to win a $1 million prize if they can pick the winners of 30 designated top races during this year's racing season. The first of its' kind in the sport of harness racing, this unique handicapping contest is sponsored by the United States Trotting Association and will highlight the biggest harness races across North America. Hoosier Park's signature event, the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational, will be included in the "30 out of 30" contest and will highlight the 2014 racing season on Friday, August 8. Now in its' 21st edition, the Dan Patch Invitational pace attracts the top rated horses in North America to Hoosier Park's seven-eighths mile oval seeking the lucrative $200,000 purse and a spot in Hoosier Park's history. The contest also features key Grand Circuit races, including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown at leading tracks in North America, including Mohawk, The Meadows, The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Northfield Park, Saratoga, Delaware (OH), The Red Mile, Scioto Downs, Balmoral Park, Dover Downs, Yonkers and Maywood Park. "This contest is designed in the spirit of one of harness racing's most treasured traditions, the Grand Circuit," said John Campbell, president of the Grand Circuit. "The Grand Circuit has always been a traveling roadshow to success and riches for horsemen and horses alike," added Campbell. "This contest now allows fans to come along and participate, while having the chance to become a millionaire in the process." For those who miss a race and don't qualify for the $1 million grand prize, there are $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 second, third and fourth prizes available for those who choose the most correctly. Each week, entries will be posted online to give fans the opportunity to pick the winners in advance of each race. A leaderboard will help all entrants track their progress so that they can play along throughout the racing season. Fans can also participate in the optional Harness Racing Ambassador program, to connect with other fans, earn rewards and share their experiences through social media. All sign-ups for the $1 million prize must be received before noon on July 12, 2014 and are limited to one per person. Contestants can enter immediately at www.harnessracingambassadors.com/million_dollar_challenge where they will find specific details of the contest, rules and access information about each race. Participants will be provided with Track Master Platinum Plus Past Performances, as well as 'pro-picks' and race analysis from featured handicappers. The Harness Racing FanZone is brought to you by the USTA and their partners at Converseon as part of the ongoing social media initiative to build awareness and promote the great sport of harness racing. To find out more about this initiative please visit www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com or join the Ambassadors at www.HarnessRacingAmbassadors.com. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park  

There are few, if any, issues facing the harness racing industry where all segments are in complete agreement. Just mention of words like whipping, takeout or Lasix® evokes countless vocal opinions across a broad spectrum. If ever there was a matter on which the entire horseracing community could stand uniformly positioned, it is the obstinate insistence by the Internal Revenue Service to treat horseplayers differently from all other types of investors with regard to withholding of portions of their winning wagers. On June 6, the United States Trotting Association joined a chorus of prominent industry groups, publications and federal officeholders in calling on the I.R.S. to stop harming racing by failing to either understand or appreciate the unique nature of 21st century pari-mutuel betting. This lack of knowledge or concern results in the unfair calculation of the amount of tax withholdings assessed against handicappers who successfully prevail when playing super-exotics. Fortunately, much has recently been written about the withholding problem in industry publications. This article will identify the problem; summarize how the industry is attempting to formulate a solution, and how you can play a part in getting the solution implemented. In our grandfathers’ day, tracks offered only win, place and show wagering, later adding a revolutionary bet called the daily double. In essence, it was difficult to make an outrageous score on a $2 wager. Very few horses go off at 99-1 or better, and only an infinitesimal amount of them actually win.   Only the rare daily double pays in the hundreds of dollars. Today, the superfecta, pick-six and other combination and parlay offerings constitute the lion’s share of wagers made on horse races. These dominant betting opportunities often produce payoffs in the tens of thousands of dollars for a single $2 wager. Of course, winning the big one is usually not simply an exercise of pure luck; professional players often invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in an attempt to cover as many potential outcomes as possible. By anticipating the probable value of a payoff, the bettor assesses the risk and intensively wagers accordingly. These plays constitute what is aptly called gambling, but arguably the gamble is little different than, for example, those involved in oil wildcatting or opening of a high-end restaurant. Of course, it’s the province and duty of the I.R.S. to assess and collect taxes. If a bettor hits a score over $600 and the odds are 299-1 or more, the track is required to report the winnings on I.R.S. Form W-2G. In applying this law, consider a bettor who cashes a $50 win ticket on a horse at 50-1 odds and receives $2,550. Since the odds were less than 299-1, there is no reporting requirement. Conversely, if a neophyte bets a single, straight $2 superfecta on his 4-digit street number and hits for $1,000, the lucky first-timer would go home with lots of cash, as well as a copy of Form W-2G which the track uses to report his gain to the I.R.S.       While the reporting rules might appear to produce conflicting results, the true concern involves the area of mandatory withholding on certain winning wagers.  Although the I.R.S. recognizes that legitimate expenses are to be subtracted from gross revenue in calculating taxable profit for a business venture, the problem is that the assessment of tax withholding from supposed “profit” in the racing realm is skewed, to say the least. The applicable section of the Internal Revenue Code requires racetracks to withhold 25% of purported profit when the bettor wins more than $5,000 from a wagering transaction in a pari-mutuel pool with respect to horse races, provided the amount of such proceeds is at least 300 times as large as the amount wagered. From the statutory language, it plainly appears that Congress intended that the total amount wagered into a particular pool be treated as the handicapper’s investment capital. Like in any other business, that capital investment should serve to reduce by equal amount his gross winnings when calculating his profit for withholding purposes. Unfortunately, congressional intent in the tax realm is solely determined by the I.R.S. In a 1976 private letter ruling, a vehicle by which the I.R.S. gives its guidance to taxpayers under a set of submitted facts, the Service determined that only the investment on the actual winning combination counts as the “wagering transaction in a pari-mutuel pool” for tax reporting and withholding purposes. How does the present application of this archaic Service interpretation of the Code create the problem? Assume a gambler invests $800 to cover 400 possible pick-six combinations at $2 a pop. He hits the parlay, and it pays $5,600. While the payout is over $5,000, the fortunate bettor really only received odds of about 6-1 in relation to his investment: or did he? The I.R.S. takes the position that only the wager on the winning combination, and not the other 399, constitutes the specific “wagering transaction” referenced in the Code. In other words, rather than credit his entire $800 outlay in the pick-six pool as congress unmistakably envisioned, the Service credits only the $2 spent on the cashed winning combo. Thus, while only receiving 6-1 on his total investment, his I.R.S. imputed odds are about 2,800-1. This triggers not just Form W-2G reporting, but also a 25% tax withholding on winnings. The racehorse gambler actually walks away from the mutual window with $1,399.50 less of the payoff. The overwhelming majority of horseplayers don’t invest thousands of dollars into super-exotic pools on a regular basis. Should we cry for the successful, high-end handicapping aficionados? Maybe not; but the concern is that some of these folks might place their investment capital elsewhere.  Undoubtedly, some already have. This simply drains the already well-parched pari-mutuel pools. Moreover, by taking 25% of earnings out of the hands of the career players who are still around, the industry loses churn; meaning that instead of being able to wager this money again and again, the sum literally sits on account with the Service unless and until the big gambler can recoup it months later via her federal tax return filing. This decrease in handle, especially in racing states with no alternative gaming, is devastating. Racetrack managements, horsemen, breeders and the state all miss out on countless sums of takeout dollars. Luckily, it doesn’t take an act of congress to reverse this situation. While previous attempts at congressional clarification have failed, the problem isn’t really with the language of the law, but rather with how the I.R.S. inexcusably construes it against horseplayers. Consider a medium-sized retailer who embarks on a $1,000,000 marketing campaign. The endeavor actually yields a 6% increase in gross sales. Would the I.R.S. limit the deduction for the marketing expenditure to $60,000? Hardly. Yet, the I.R.S. withholds pari-mutuel earnings as if only that tiny fraction of the total investment made by the horseplayer allocated to the single winning combo was his cost of doing business. You can help change this surreal circumstance by adding your name to an online petition already supported by thousands of individuals and groups. The petition simply mirrors what at least 17 members of congress have already demanded: That the I.R.S change course and consider the total amount invested by a taxpayer in a pari-mutuel pool when determining whether tax withholding on winnings is warranted. A link to the Petition is here:   Apparently, the Washington-based tax lawyers working for the Service don’t frequent Rosecroft Raceway or Laurel Park. If they did, they’d understand the business of pari-mutuel wagering from the big bettors’ prospective. We can only hope that they amend their tax guidance in this matter soon, while there are still some whales around that can benefit. Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network. Chris E. Wittstruck Courtesy of the USTA web newsroom

ANDERSON, Ind.-July 3, 2014 - Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, in its 21st season of harness racing, will kick start summer weekends with a mix of 'family fun' promotions, free fireworks, entertainment and harness racing as part of the annual "Back to the Track" campaign on July 4 and 5. Hoosier Park, in conjunction with the Indiana Standardbred Association (ISA), United States Trotting Association (USTA), will offer racing fans dining specials, handicapping contests, various entertainment, live racing, and prizes on Friday and Saturday in an effort to bring fans back to the track. The USTA has coordinated the Back to the Track event with its member racetracks and horsemen across the United States to make it a national event. The campaign is designed to promote harness racing and encourage occasional or former race fans to come Back to the Track for an exciting night of entertainment. When the doors open at 4 p.m. at Hoosier Park, racing fans will be greeted by Hoosier Park's harness racing drivers signing autographs and handing out free, quick pick wagers to the first 200 guests. Also, Harness Racing Bingo is back by popular demand and is free to racing fans with prizes totaling more than $250. Fridays at Hoosier Park, dubbed 'Fan-tastic Fridays', feature $1 beers, $1 hot dogs and $1 live racing programs starting at 5 p.m. In addition, guests will be welcomed to enter the 'Beat the Big Guy' promotion for a chance to win up to $500. The popular 'I Win, You Win' promotion is back featuring all of Hoosier Park's champion drivers. Guests can enter each night during live racing at Club Centaur for a chance to win a $25 gift card after each race. A free fireworks presentation will culminate the Friday night festivities with an estimated start time of 10 p.m. "Hoosier Park is proud to offer racing fans the chance to be part of a national horse racing campaign," Hoosier Park's Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. "It's a weekend that harness racing fans have come to enjoy, and hopefully, they will invite their family and friends to join them here at Hoosier Park." On Saturday, Hoosier Park has partnered with the Indiana Standardbred Association to provide fans an opportunity to win gas cards, hats and t-shirts while supplies last. Hoosier Park's 'Family Fun Days' will return Saturday and continue each weekend throughout the entirety of the Standardbred meet. Activities will include a bounce house, face painting, live entertainment, games and winner's circle giveaways. In addition to the Back to the Track activities on Saturday, the evening will be highlighted by a 14-race card featuring the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for two and three-year-olds. Eight new Indiana Sires Stakes champions will be crowned on the program that boasts lofty purses for the Indiana program. The first race will line-up behind the starting gate at 5:15 p.m. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park              

On Thursday, July 3 Northfield Park will host six divisions of Ohio Sires Stake racing action as part of the 15-race program. This will be the first leg of the Sires Stakes for the freshman fillies. The stakes action will help to highlight "Back to the Track." The United States Trotting Association has coordinated "Back to the Track" with racetracks across the United States to make it a national event. "Back to the Track" is designed to promote harness racing and encourage occasional or former race fans to come "Back to the Track" for an exciting night of entertainment. Freshman filly pacers will start Thursday's stake action in Race 1 for the $40,000 first division. Finefeelinfriskie (Feelin Friskie-Lady Shuffle-Cam's Card Shark) is the 7-5 morning-line favorite for owners CT Howard of Hilliard, Ohio, Herres Stables of Bellbrook, Ohio, GS Tucker of Quebec, Canada and DA Mitchell of Novi, Michigan. Virgil Morgan Jr. is the filly's trainer and has enlisted the services of Greg Grismore. Finefeelinfriskie makes her first lifetime start. She has posted three qualifying efforts, most recently winning at Scioto Downs in 1:56.4. Finefeelinfriskie will start from post three. Also competing in the first division will be Naughty Osborne, Friskie Lil Devil, Happy Jude, Feelin Outragous, Zebra Stripes and Hailstorm Grace. Race 2 will be the $40,000 first division for two-year old filly Ohio-bred trotters. Trainer Dan Ater will start Honey B (Victory Sam-Honey Mesquite-Angus Hall) as the 3-1 slight morning-line favorite. Honey B starts from post two and faces seven rivals. Honey B shows two qualifying lines, most recently finishing second in 2:03.3 at Scioto Downs. Kyle Ater is scheduled to drive for owners Jim Burnett of Wilmington, Ohio and Tim Homan of Maineville, Ohio. Song Of The Valley, Iron Lucy, Student Of Life, I'd Rather Walk, Hello Chipper, Star Of Thine and Sammy Star complete the line-up. Pacers return to the stage in Race 3 for the $40,000 second division Ohio Sire Stakes. Karlee Sue (Feelin Friskie-Magical Jeanie-Magical Mike) is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for owners Dennis Stolz of Midland, Michigan, Daniel Mitchell of Novi, Michigan and co-owner/trainer Allen Tomlinson of Mason, Michigan. Karlee Sue has one start to her credit, a 3rd place finish in a $11,160 race at Mohawk. Driver Chris Page will start the pacer from post-six in a field that consists of Suite Feelin, Playa Del Sol, Zoey's Lemon Tart, Blinded, Fellin Flirty and Corner Girl. Trotters again compete in Race 5 for the $40,000 second division of the Ohio Sires Stakes. Sunrise Nibbles (Iron Duke-Sweethomeourbama-Kadabra) starts from the rail and is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. She is owned by C Beaver of Delaware, Ohio, Synerco Vent of Ontario, Canada, S Zeehandler of Worthington, Ohio and D Lang of Hird, Ohio. Trainer, Christopher Beaver, has called upon Chris Page to drive. This filly has two qualifying efforts, winning both, the fastest in 2:02.1 at Scioto Downs. Sunrise Nibbles starts from the rail and has a host of rivals consisting of Influential Girl, Dolly Dunn, Defiant Victory, Talissa, Bettys Sam, Soaring Flight and Sammie's Delight. Race 11 will host the $40,000 third division for two year-old filly pacers. Medoland Kendolin (Feelin Friskie-Wanida Jean-Mattcando) is the 3-1 morning-line favorite for owners TF Hoovler of Pataskala, Ohio, RV Hutchinson of North Ridgeville, Ohio and Dr. R Van Hutchison of Avon Lake, Ohio. Mike Medors trains the filly and uses Aaron Merriman to drive. This freshman has two qualifying lines, most recently finishing second and pacing in 1:59.3 at Scioto Downs. Medoland Kendolin starts from post three in a field consisting of The Light, Indian Rockette, Friskie Til Dawn, Tolatetoapologize, Colossal Chaos, Forever Golden and Bevnlindas Blossom. Race 12, the final freshman stakes on the night, is the $40,000 third division for trotters. I'm Chiptastic (Chip Chip Hooray-Pleasure Skate-Super Pleasure) is the 3-1 morning-line favorite for owners Mel Rose Stable of Hopewell, Ohio and David Pierce of Houston, Texas. John Ryan Melsheimer is the filly's trainer and driver. I'm Chiptastic makes her first lifetime start. She has posted two qualifying efforts, most recently being timed in 2:02.3 at The Meadows. I'm Chiptastic will start from post five. Also competing in the third division will be Miss Fanci Cash, Hot Chip, If I Could Count, Chip Chip Skater, Little Casino, Dark Roast and Lisa Jane. Northfield's Lady Luck's Clubhouse restaurant will be open featuring a picnic style buffet for just $12.95. Reservations are preferred and are placed by calling 330/467-4101. Harness Racing Bingo is back by popular demand as part of the "Back to the Track" festivities. Bingo is FREE to participate in and offers prizes worth over $1,500. Guests in attendance will receive a FREE 2014 Northfield Park Drivers Poster. A driver autograph station and meet and greet will be open from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Fans can catch t-shirts that will be tossed into the crowd by the winning driver of each race. "Back to the Track" also features FREE television carrels. Dollar programs, hot dogs and soft drinks will be offered as well as $3.00 beer specials. With exciting racing action and a host of great activities, everyone has a reason to come "Back to the Track." Thursday night has a regular 1st race post time of 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park      

"Back to the Track" returns to Northfield Park Thursday (July 3). Northfield Park and the United States Trotting Association have joined forces once again to present this annual promotion of racing. The United States Trotting Association has coordinated "Back to the Track" with racetracks across the United States to make it a national event. "Back to the Track" is designed to promote harness racing and encourage occasional or former race fans to come "Back to the Track" for an exciting night of entertainment. Northfield's Lady Luck's Clubhouse restaurant will be open featuring a picnic style buffet for just $12.95. Reservations are preferred and are placed by calling 330/467-4101. Harness Racing Bingo is back by popular demand as part of the "Back to the Track" festivities. Bingo is FREE to participate in and offers prizes totaling over $1,500. Guests in attendance will receive a FREE 2014 Northfield Park Drivers Poster. A driver autograph station and meet and greet will be open from 6:00 until 10:00 p.m. Fans can catch t-shirts that will be tossed into the crowd by the winning driver of each race. "Back to the Track" also features FREE television carrels. Dollar programs, hot dogs and soft drinks will be offered as well as $3.00 beer specials. While enjoying the plethora of "Back to the Track" promotions, fans will enjoy great racing action. $225,000 in purses will be slated on Thursday, featuring freshman filly Ohio Sires Stake trotters and pacers. With exciting racing action and a host of great activities, everyone has a reason to come "Back to the Track. Thursday night has a regular 1st race post time of 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Batavia, NY -- Batavia Downs is pleased to announce that national harness writer Tim Bojarski has joined their staff as a media correspondent of racing information. Bojarski is a 36 year veteran of harness racing and has actively participated in all aspects of the sport during that time. He currently writes a monthly column and periodic feature articles for the award winning Hoof Beats magazine, is a content contributor for the United States Trotting Association website and serves as the national vice-president of the United States Harness Writers Association. He has also reported as a live blogger covering every major stake including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown. Todd Haight, General Manager of live racing at Batavia Downs said "I received numerous e-mails about the job opening from some amazing talents in this business for which I am greatly appreciative. But in the end my choice was relatively easy." "Tim's knowledge of harness racing, Batavia Downs and his tremendous writing skills made him the right person for the position. Batavia Downs has worked closely with Tim in the past and we look forward to taking that relationship to the next level this season."   Tim Bojarski will start his position immediately, preparing for the upcoming racing season which begins on July 23. Batavia Downs Media Relations           Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:15:45 -0400 Subject: Press release From: a159star@gmail.com To: askthehandicapper@hotmail.com   Obviously, make any changes you like. Thanks -- Tim Bojarski Hoof Beats Magazine Columnist National Vice-President United States Harness Writers Assn President-Upstate NY Chapter www.ushwa.org, www.upstatenyushwa.com 716-572-1801   "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is try to do as much as you can in the time that you have."    

“We (SBOANJ) had spoken with Jeff Gural and he was pretty adamant about banning Brian Sears,” said Tom Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ). “He has his reasons. Whether they were valid reasons or not, I can’t say because he did not share all the reason with us.” Last week management at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ contacted Brian Sears and informed him he could not drive in any harness racing at the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. All tracks that are owned by businessman/horseman Jeff Gural. “We are not happy with it,” Luchento said pertaining to the SBOANJ. “This is something that is Jeff’s call. We talked that unless he came up with something substantial that this was not an easy pill to swallow, just telling the guy to take a walk. By the same token I think that Jeff needs to sit down with him (Sears) and that they have to iron this out.” Sears, 46, is one of the leading drivers in the harness racing industry. According to the United States Trotting Association, Sears has 8,832 career victories and $153,829.234 in purse earnings by the horses he had driven. He hails from a family deep in harness racing tradition. His late grandfather, Gene, is a member of the Hall of Fame and his father, Jay, is a prominent owner, breeder, trainer and driver. “I am pretty confident that they will work this out and that is going to happen,” Luchento said. “I am disappointed that something like this has had to happen. Do I think this will get ironed out? Absolutely yes. I think Jeff and Brian will sit down, work their differences out and will come together and end this. “We are not taking sides with anyone on this issue,” Luchento said. “I am not siding with Jeff Gural and I am not against Brian Sears. It is our job at the SBOANJ to protect our horsemen but if Jeff Gural has something and he brings it up and there is a legitimate beef that they have to work out depending on what that is. ‘At the very end,” Luchento said, “I know they will work it out.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Columbus, OH --- The Harness Racing Social Media Initiative, sponsored by the United States Trotting Association and key partners, today announced a new “30 out of 30” Grand Circuit Challenge, which provides fans the opportunity to win a $1 million prize if they can pick the winners of 30 designated top races during this year’s racing season. Entrants can enter the contest immediately at www.harnessracingambassadors.com where they will find specific details of the contest, rules and access information about each race. Sign-up generally takes less than five minutes. The first race will be the Meadowlands Pace on July 12.   The contest features key Grand Circuit races, including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown at leading tracks in North America, including Mohawk, The Meadows, The Meadowlands, Hoosier Park, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Northfield Park, Saratoga, Delaware (OH), The Red Mile, Scioto Downs, Balmoral Park, Dover Downs, Yonkers and Maywood Park.   A full list and schedule is available at www.harnessracingambassadors.com/million_dollar_challenge. The hashtag, #Harnessracing1m, has been created for sharing. “This contest is designed in the spirit of one of harness racing’s most treasured traditions, the Grand Circuit,” said John Campbell, president of the Grand Circuit.   “The Grand Circuit has always been a traveling roadshow to success and riches for horsemen and horses alike,” added Campbell.  “This contest now allows fans to come along and participate, while having the chance to become a millionaire in the process.”  For those who miss a race and don't qualify for the $1 million grand prize, there are $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 second, third and fourth prizes available for those who choose the most correctly.   Each week, entries will be posted online to give fans the opportunity to pick the winners in advance of each race.   A leaderboard will help all entrants track their progress so that they can play along throughout the racing season.   Fans can also participate in the optional Harness Racing Ambassador program, to connect with other fans, earn rewards and share their experiences through social media.    All sign-ups for the $1 million prize must be received before noon on July 12, 2014 and are limited to one per person.  About the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative Launched in September 2013, the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative is a partnership among the U. S. Trotting Association, the social media consultancy, Converseon, and key industry groups to help drive marketing innovation and engagement with current and new fans for the sport.  The initiative’s mission is to help support key racetracks, industry groups and help provide foundational support and a common, “best practice” framework by leveraging social technologies and platforms and strategies to positively brand the sport of harness racing and generate greater awareness, visibility and engagement with a new generation of fans.   Other active promotions include the 100 Top Moments in Harness Racing Contest (http://harnessracingfanzone.com/promotions/top100moments).  Key foundational elements of the initiative to date include the Harness Racing Ambassador Program and the www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com. Dan Leary Director of Marketing and Communications USTA

Columbus, OH --- The Harness Racing Social Media Initiative, sponsored by the United States Trotting Association and key partners, today announced a new "30 out of 30" Grand Circuit Challenge, which provides fans the opportunity to win a $1 million prize if they can pick the winners of 30 designated top races during this year's racing season. Entrants can enter the contest immediately at www.harnessracingambassadors.com where they will find specific details of the contest, rules and access information about each race. Sign-up generally takes less than five minutes. The first race will be the Meadowlands Pace on July 12. The contest features key Grand Circuit races, including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown at leading tracks in North America, including Mohawk, The Meadows, The Meadowlands, Hoosier Park, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Northfield Park, Saratoga, Delaware (OH), The Red Mile, Scioto Downs, Balmoral Park, Dover Downs, Yonkers and Maywood Park. A full list and schedule is available at www.harnessracingambassadors.com/million_dollar_challenge. The hashtag, #Harnessracing1m, has been created for sharing. "This contest is designed in the spirit of one of harness racing's most treasured traditions, the Grand Circuit," said John Campbell, president of the Grand Circuit. "The Grand Circuit has always been a traveling roadshow to success and riches for horsemen and horses alike," added Campbell. "This contest now allows fans to come along and participate, while having the chance to become a millionaire in the process." For those who miss a race and don't qualify for the $1 million grand prize, there are $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 second, third and fourth prizes available for those who choose the most correctly. Each week, entries will be posted online to give fans the opportunity to pick the winners in advance of each race. A leaderboard will help all entrants track their progress so that they can play along throughout the racing season. Fans can also participate in the optional Harness Racing Ambassador program, to connect with other fans, earn rewards and share their experiences through social media. All sign-ups for the $1 million prize must be received before noon on July 12, 2014 and are limited to one per person. About the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative Launched in September 2013, the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative is a partnership among the U. S. Trotting Association, the social media consultancy, Converseon, and key industry groups to help drive marketing innovation and engagement with current and new fans for the sport. The initiative's mission is to help support key racetracks, industry groups and help provide foundational support and a common, "best practice" framework by leveraging social technologies and platforms and strategies to positively brand the sport of harness racing and generate greater awareness, visibility and engagement with a new generation of fans. Other active promotions include the 100 Top Moments in Harness Racing Contest (http://harnessracingfanzone.com/promotions/top100moments). Key foundational elements of the initiative to date include the Harness Racing Ambassador Program and the www.HarnessRacingFanZone.com. from USTA Communications Department  

It was confirmed early this afternoon (Thursday, June 19, 2014)  that harness racing driver Brian Sears has been banned from competing at three racetracks, the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, which are all owned by Jeff Gural. Sears, 46, is one of the leading drivers in the harness racing industry. According to the United States Trotting Association, Sears has 8,829 career victories and $153,761.224 in purse earnings by the horses he had driven. He hails from a family deep in harness racing tradition. His late grandfather, Gene, is a member of the Hall of Fame and his father, Jay, is a prominent owner, breeder, trainer and driver. In a telephone conversation, Sears confirmed that he has been banned from the three tracks but refused to comment about it at this time. Sears would still be able to compete in stakes races at the three tracks but would not be allowed to race in any regular overnight events or qualifying races.   Jeff Gural did not return any phone calls or emails concerning the situation. Sears had been a regular fixture at the Meadowlands for many years. While he does most of his driving at Yonkers Raceway, he had been competing at the three tracks on a regular basis for most of their stakes events. It was just last season that Sears won both the $1.2 million Hambletonian Final with Royality For Life and the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Bee A Magician, on the same day at the Meadowlands, the second time he has acheived that feat. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

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