Freehold, NJ --- Sassy Sarah will always be amazing in the eyes of Lisa Saindon. A 14-year-old female pacer, Sassy Sarah won on Nov. 22 at Scarborough Downs to notch her first victory of the year. It was the 64th triumph of the mare’s lengthy harness racing career, and it also was her final one. With mandatory retirement at age 15 looming for Sassy Sarah, Saindon --- who owns and trains the horse --- decided there was no need to go to the track again. “I was thinking about racing her, but I decided I wanted her to go out as a winner,” Saindon said. “She’s not what she used to be, but she gave it her all and raced awesome that day. That’s what I want her to remember.” Saindon has owned Sassy Sarah since October 2012. From the moment the mare stepped into Saindon’s barn, the two created a relationship that goes beyond racing. “We’ve bonded like you wouldn’t believe,” Saindon said. “She’s like a friend. She’s just been amazing. I’ve been doing this since I was 15 or 16. I’ve loved all my horses, but there are a few that just truly touch your heart. She’s one of them. She makes me smile.” Sassy Sarah is a daughter of stallion Village Jiffy out of the mare Intwine. For much of her career prior to the age of 10, she was owned by Ralph Kennedy and trained and driven by Wallace Watson. An ownership change saw her land in the stable of trainer Kevin Switzer for the period of time prior to Saindon buying Sassy Sarah. In 2011, with Switzer, Sassy Sarah set the track record of 1:56.1 for a female pacer at the half-mile oval at the Topsham Fair. In 2013, she was her division’s “Claimer of the Year” at Scarborough Downs. “She was just a tough mare, and that’s what I liked,” Saindon said about purchasing Sassy Sarah. “She’s never done anything wrong. She’s easy to handle. I have nothing negative to say about her.” For her career, she won 64 of 321 races and earned $204,199. Her win on Nov. 22 was her first victory since Oct. 26, 2014 --- which happened to be Saindon’s birthday. Although she went 30 races in between wins, she hit the board 12 times. “She’s always tried for me,” said Saindon, who lives in Bridgton, Maine, and trains a small stable of horses. “There have been a lot of amazing races. Just being with her is the highlight. It’s just been a great experience. “Horses sometimes come to me and they don’t seem to have any personality, but all horses have a personality. It’s there. You just have to bring it out. All the (horses) I’ve got here are all individuals. I’ve never had kids, but these are my kids.” Saindon, who recently discovered Sassy Sarah has a penchant for Dunkin Donuts munchkins, is considering turning the mare into a riding horse. “She’s feeling good and I’m thinking of having a friend help me to see how she would take to it,” Saindon said. “I’m going to keep her here and I’ve got a lot of thinking to do about her future. But she will always be safe.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
Winbak Farm of New York has reported in sadness that the pacing stallion Village Jove has passed away. Village Jove’s pedigree, race record and offspring performance made him a strong member of Winbak Farm’s stallion lineup. He was a half-brother to Village Jiffy, p, 2, 1:53.2f; 3, 1:52.4f; 1:50 ($1,527,683), and a half-brother to Village Jingle, dam of Village Jolt, p, 2, 1:51.1s; 3, 1:50.4f ($1,634,220). Village Jove p, 2, 1:51.4; 3, 1:49.4 ($284,365) was a stakes-winner at two and three. His wins included the Governor’s Cup elimination at two, and the American-National elimination (in a divisional track record) and Meadowlands Pace consolation at three. As a stallion, he has sired several stakes winners, including 61-time race winner, Golden Receiver, p, 3, 1:51.4f; 1:48 ($2,160,911), Winbak Speed, p, 2, 1:54.4; 3, 1:52.2f; 1:49 ($879,682), and Winbak Dimensions, p, 2, 1:55.3h; 3, 1:53.2h; 1:50.4f ($631,032). Winbak Farm will be selling two Village Jove yearlings at the Morrisville College Yearling Sale on September 21. His last crop will be foaled in 2015. For more information, visit winbakfarm.com. From Winbak Farms
Gotta Have Nukes nosed out favourite Playbook to post a 27-1 upset in this week's $10,500 Open Pace at Fraser Downs on Sunday afternoon for trainer/driver Rick White. Playbook and trainer/driver Keith Clark set up shop on the front end and led the field of nine Open pacers through fractions of :27.3, :57.4 and 1:25.1 with second choice Prairie Illusion and Scott Knight advancing from third and going head-to-head with the leader around the final turn. Playbook held that foe at bay, but went down to defeat to the late-surging Gotta Have Nukes. White had the longshot positioned fourth throughout the mile before moving him into the pocket spot. Gotta Have Nukes then sprinted a final quarter in :28.1 along the pylons to score the victory and a new lifetime mark of 1:53.4. The winner returned $56 to his backers. Playbook settled for second with Prairie Illusion following less than one length behind. The five-year-old Kents On Nuke gelding is owned and bred by White and June Kauffman. A multiple stakes winner at two and three, Gotta Have Nukes earned just one win in 20 starts last year during his four-year-old campaign against Open company. Sunday's win was his 13th lifetime and bumped his bankroll to $172,048. Gotta Have Nukes' former stakes competitor Steve O was also in the spotlight on Sunday, winning the following $10,000 Abbetross A Claiming Series Final for $5,500 claiming pacers. Trained and driven by Jim Marino, Steve O sat third for most of the mile before kicking home in :28.3 to prevail by half a length in 1:56.1 over pocket-sitter Mr Prospector and Brad Watt. Marlin Hanover and Glenn White rounded out the top three finishers over three lengths behind. Steve O was a winner in the Jan. 5 opening leg of the series and a runner-up in round two over a sloppy track on Jan. 12. His eighth career win pushed his earnings over the $100,000 mark. Sent postward at odds of 7-1, Steve O paid 16.50 to win. The five-year-old Village Jiffy gelding is owned by J.F. Gagne, Carl Warnaar and Peter Van Seggelen. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Fraser Downs' Abbetross A Claiming Series for $4,500 claiming pacers began with a pair of close finishes on Sunday afternoon. The $5,000 series opener went to Cenalta Pride ($6.40) when all was said in done. The popular pacesetter held on by a nose in a five-across finish in 1:56.4 for trainer/driver Bill Davis and owners Westcan Stables and Last Shot Stable. Finishing second through fifth, Promise To Lynette, Ronnie Woo Woo, Western Nitro and Taylor Special were separated by less than a length across the wire. Cenalta Pride, who has hit the board in his previous five starts at the same level, was claimed by Richard Knight. The eight-year-old As Promised gelding earned his 19th career win. Steve O ($6), the favourite in the second division who is trained and driven by Jim Marino, out-sprinted first over Branding Party to prevail by half a length in 1:58.2 for owners J.F. Gagne, Carl Warnaar and Peter Van Seggelen. In a photo for a show, Marlin Hanover edged out Somethinsgoinon, Cenalta Wizard and Outlaw I See Red one length behind. The win was Steve O's seventh lifetime. The five-year-old Village Jiffy gelding earned his first victory since a successful stakes campaign during his debut season in 2012 as a three-year-old. Davis' series win was one of his three training/driving triumphs on the 10-race card. Travis Bowman drove four winners. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Fraser Downs. From Publcity Department Fraser Downs
John Williamson has been in the harness racing business for more than 40 years, so it will be a special occasion when he watches his first Breeders Crown finalist -- Urbanite Hanover -- go behind the starting gate in Saturday's $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers at Woodbine Racetrack.
Robert Briley and Baron Racing Stable's Dancin Yankee ($2.60, Ross Wolfenden) overcame post eight to prevail in the featured $20,000 Open harness racing event on Monday (September 23) at Harrington Raceway in 1:52.
It doesn't seem possible but eight days from now (September 3), the 17th running of the Bert Beckwith Memorial will be run at Plainridge Racecourse. Since its beginning October 23, 1994 the race became an instant harness racing classic and its purse reached $75,000 on several occasions.
When the eight-year-old harness racing mare Bio Link walked into David Grisenthwaite's barn just seven starts ago, he never thought she would become the fastest horse he has ever trained. 'She was kind of a joke at first,' said Grisenthwaite. 'We were pleasantly surprised when she starting winning for us.'
The weather was beautiful, and the harness racing was too Saturday night at Hanover Raceway. A large crowd filled the grandstand to watch twelve great races as part of the long weekend festivities. Saturday evening was Hockeyville Night at the races, a tradition that has been taking place since Hanover's bid to become Kraft Hockeyville several years ago.
Winbak Farm will be giving a $1,000 harness racing discount to anybody who books by the end of February to Riverboat King and Village Jove.
Plainridge Racecourse harness racing officials announed the 14th running of the Bert Beckwith Day festivities will take place September 5, (Labor Day). The 2011 'Beckwith Memorial will carry a purse of $20,000 and the field will be established a week earlier with a pair of $6,000 eliminations on Monday, August 29.
Moffat (Ontario) based harness racing driver, Jody Jameson keeps on proving why he is one of the best reinsmen in the world following another classy display at tonight's (Thursday June 30) meeting at Mohawk Racetrack. The 35-year-old was again in dynamic form winning four of the 10 races programmed.
Andrea Hill's Jeremy's Successor ($7.20, Sean Bier) earned his fifth Harrington Raceway win in 2011 Monday with a 1:53.1 score in the harness racing featured $18,600 Open Pace. Trained by Crissy Crissman, the 7-year-old Mach Three gelding sat behind pacesetter Harlingen Hanover throughout and surged up the inside late for the win.
The Bergstein and the Beckwith are both classics run on Labor Day (Sept. 6) at Plainridge Racecourse. Three weeks from now the holiday festivities will once again bring hard core harness racing fans together for another enjoyable weekend which honors greats of the present and the past.
Former North American Two Year Old Pacing Colt of the Year, Village Jolt will be racking up the frequent flyer harness racing miles when he arrives in Australia to stand the 2010/11 season at Empire Stallions in Avenel, Victoria.
Rusty's For Real and Roll Call win opening day co-feature races while Corey Callahan had five driving wins and Ross Wolfenden four winners on Sunday, Nov. 1 at Dover Downs. Harness racing trainer Art Brewer had a training triple.