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TORONTO, ON, July 31 – Tickets for the upcoming the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala Fundraising Dinner on August 6th are now sold out.   Over three-hundred people are scheduled to attend the evening at the Mississauga Convention Centre which will celebrate the induction of Standardbred honourees Albatross, Dreamfair Eternal, Rocknrollhanover, Dr. Ted Clarke, Wally Hennessey, Robert Murphy and Bill Galvin.  Thoroughbred honourees include, Apelia, Cool Mood, Wando, William D. Graham, Robert Landry, Horatio Luro and Arthur Stollery. The event will also pay tribute to 2014 Legend honourees, Archworth and E. King Dodds.  Two significant anniversaries will be celebrated – the 25th Anniversary of Matts Scooter’s world record set at Mohawk Racetrack and the 50th Anniversary of Northern Dancer’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Queen’s Plate wins. The Planning Committee and Directors of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame would like to thank and acknowledge the generous sponsorship support of this year’s event:  Event Sponsor – OLG; Reception and Wine Sponsor – Central Ontario Standardbred Association; Photography Sponsor - Ontario Standardbred Alliance Tracks and Woodbine Entertainment Group for producing the video tributes to each of the 2014 inductees.  Thank you also to a long and prestigious list of donors to both the live and silent auction portion of the evening.  A complete list of items and donors is available at:  www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com. by Linda Rainey for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame  

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (July 29, 2014) – On August 1st, the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association (SHHA) and Saratoga Casino and Raceway will host ‘Wally Hennessey Night,’ at the casino’s harness track. The night will be dedicated in honor of the legendary driver who made his Saratoga debut in 1987. Following the third race of the night, Hennessey will be honored by world famous horse racing announcer and local favorite, Tom Durkin.    “Wally Hennessey Night” will offer fans plenty of fun filled activities in addition to the evening’s harness racing card. Stewart’s will be on hand offering up free ‘make-your-own’ sundaes while supplies last, sponsored by the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund.  Additionally, following the third race, a group photo will be held on the harness track near the winners circle. All guests will have the opportunity to join the photo with both Wally Hennessey and Tom Durkin in what is being planned to be the largest group photo in the history of the harness track. The photo will be available to purchase and take home later that evening.  Drawings will be sponsored and conducted by the SHHA for all horsemen and guests who present a valid New York State racing license, for a chance to win grain and other equine supplies. Parking and admission are free, as always, and in honor of the event, programs for the evening’s races will be available for no charge. The first post time for the August 1st event is at 7:05pm.  “Hosting an event like this is truly an honor for us,” said John Matarazzo, Director of Racing Operations at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. “We’re very proud to be a part of Wally’s historic accomplishments and couldn’t be more excited to celebrate such top class in harness racing.”  Hennessey will be inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in Ontario on August 6th where he will join an elite group of standardbred drivers. Hennessey is already a member of the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame, the Florida Hall of Fame, the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame and the Prince Edward Island Wall of Fame at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino in Charlottetown. Immediately following his induction in Canada, Hennessey will be traveling to Ireland, where he will be driving in the Ladbroke's Vincent Delaney Memorial series at Portmarnock Trotting Track in Dublin.  “The SHHA is honored to be part of such a special event honoring Wally Hennessey for being inducted in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and being invited to represent the United States at the Delaney Memorial in Ireland,” said Tom McTygue, Member of the Board of Directors for the SHHA. “We hope to have the opportunity to do this for other drivers in the future to showcase and promote the sport of harness racing.” Wally Hennessey’s storied career began in the early 70’s and has brought him to tracks all over the world. Since then, Hennessey has become one of the premier drivers in all of harness racing, amassing 8,588 career wins and nearly $58 million in purse earnings.  by Tom Engle, for Saratoga Raceway 

It was Friday, August 19, 1960. Six starters lined up behind the starting gate for the once two dash event. Dee's Boy picked up the first dash victory in 2:06 for driver Lloyd MacAuley. Newport Frisco picked up the second dash victory in 2:06.3 but despite having the better summary (2-1), Dee's Boy and MacAuley were declared the first ever winner of the Gold Cup and Saucer. The first ever Gold Cup was contested for a purse of $2, 500, now in 2014, the 55th edition of the Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer will race for the largest purse in the race's history $75, 000. The prestigious race isn't about the money. It's about the show. It's about the people. It's about Prince Edward Island. When the horses hit the track for post parade and they walk in front of the grandstand, the lights go dark and Kerri Wynn MacLeod sings the Island Hymn as thousands of people in attendance stand for this Island tradition. The only thing in site is the Farris Wheel from the carnival lit up in the background. The rail horse parades down the track, whether it be Eighteen, R Js Dexter. Winner's Accolade or Kilkerran Ingle, as soon as that spot light from above picks up the first horse and the sound of track announcer's voice booms over the crowd, chills instantly spill down a person's spine. During those 54 years of bone chilling action, there have not only been some great races but some memorable race calls as well. In 1968 Miramichi Post became the first Maritime-bred to ever win the Gold Cup. Ten-years later two-time winner Ventall Rainbow was the first horse to make Four appearances in the Cup and Saucer. That very same year Eric and Harry Webby of Dartmouth won a record fifth Gold Cup. In 1980, The Gold Cup trials were first introduced as well the Gold Cup and Saucer consolation debuted. Who can forget 1986 when Phil Pinkney flipped Rev Your Engine out three wide from last just past the 5/8's hooking up with fraction setter Angels Shadow past the three quarters and they battled the whole way down the lane before Rev Your Engine landed on the line a nose in front. How about 1993, When Little Black Book started to open up on the field up the back stretch, "Little Black Book is turning it on, look at her go! Little Black Book has them by four and she's looking for more," said track announcer Kevin 'Boomer' Gallant. She jogged in 1:54.1 just missing her own Canadian record for aged mares on a half mile track of 1:54 that she set in her Gold Cup trial. The record stood for 15 years. 1995, Mike MacDonald aboard Sandy Hanover converted off a three-wide move past the three quarters to become the winningest driver in Gold Cup and Saucer history with five victories. ( Ventall Rainbow twice, Pearl's Falcon, Winner's Accolade were his others). In 1993, Native Born and driver Brett Robinson moved out of the two-hole approaching three quarters, drawing away from the field winning by 12 lengths in 1:53.1 closing it out in :27 flat, setting a new Canadian record for aged stallions on a half mile track at the time. MacDonald almost had number six in 2003, Harmony P, raced in the Consolation the night before, and drew into the final after a scratch. It was a young protege of MacDonald's that nailed his on the line. Mark MacDonald had Sand Olls Dexter coming from the clouds just at wire to nail his old teacher by a nose. Sand Olls Dexter would then win it the following year in the slop giving Mark MacDonald his second of three career Cup victories. Hall-of-Famer Wally Hennessey picked up his second victory in 2005 aboard Driven To Win, establishing a new track record of 1:51.2. Long-time Island horsemen Earl Smith made history in 2008 aboard the longest shot on the board Pownal Bay Matt, leaving from post 8, Smith laid parked the entire mile before getting up in the final strides to become the oldest driver at 59 years of age to ever win the big event. That was also a special day as the Cup and Saucer was raced on Sunday afternoon due to the cancellation of the races on Saturday night. Over its 54 years of winners, The Gold Cup and Saucer has played host to many 'Boom, Just like that!" calls from track announce Vance Cameron. The island would become a buzz wondering who Mike MacDonald would have coming to the big race over the years, but over the last five years the race has grown to see trainers such as Mark Ford, Jeff Gillis and the top trainer in North America make his first trip to the Gold Cup and Saucer last year, Ron Burke. Who can forget last year's Gold Cup and Saucer. In a race full of Cameron's famous race calls, it was arguably one of his most entertaining Gold Cup's to date. As Up The Credit and Carl Jamieson parked out R Caan and Jason Ryan, Cameron voice started to electrify. "There's a brouhaha in the Cup and Saucer, opening quarter, Boom just like that! :26.2." Up The Credit and R Caan slugged it out to the half before R Caan cleared around the 5/8's turn. "Making the front now is R Caan, Up The Credit is second, WOW! :53.2," boomed Cameron. R Caan started to draw away from Up The Credit up the back stretch before the Burke Brigade of Hillbilly Hanover (Gilles Barrieau) and Escape The News (Marc Campbell) started to eat up race track. As they move three-wide past the three quarters with Escape The News the furthest one out, the track record was in clear sight. "Three quarters, amazing. 1:21.4, they got a shot at the track record, they got a shot at the Canadian record," said Cameron as every member in the crowd was now cheering for the record. As they hit the head of the lane it was a battle of the Burke Brigade. The two top drivers in the Maritimes, Campbell and Barrieau dueling it out, both with a pair of Burke horses, Escape The News paced onto the lead by the tote board. "Marc Campbell has won the Gold Cup and Saucer, Escape The News, a driving quadruple. Hillbilly Hanover is second, R Caan is third. 1:50.4, that's a new track record for the Charlottetown Driving Park, and that is, Marc Campbell's biggest lifetime win." So much history, so much class and so much excitement all build into one race. The Gold Cup and Saucer. This year, the 55th running will carry it's highest purse ever of $ 75,000. Rumours are starting to float on what trainers are coming and what horses they will be bringing. One thing that can be guaranteed, No matter who comes, the Gold Cup and Saucer will still be one of the greatest shows in North American racing. Nominations for this year's Gold Cup and Saucer are due Monday, August 4. The post position draw for the trials will be held on Tuesday, August 5, with Trial 1 scheduled to go post ward on August 9. The final for the Gold Cup and Saucer, presented by Sobeys, is held on Saturday, August 16. by Bo Ford, for Red Shores

Last Saturday night, Bet On Roulette (Bettor's Delight) put up the fastest mile of the year at Saratoga Casino and Raceway behind a wire-to-wire victory in 1:51.3. This week, it was back into the Open Pace for the Paul Kelley trainee and it was back to the front end as well. Wally Hennessey piloted the six-year-old pacer in the $17,000 Open and marched him out to the lead after starting from post five. Bet On Roulette never had an anxious moment on Saturday and recorded his second Open Pace score of the season. His win time of 1:52.2 wasn't where it was last week when he scored last week but he was equally as impressive securing the Open victory. Ronny Bugatti (Austin Siegelman) closed for second while That Man Of Mine (Billy Dobson) finished third. Trainer Paul Kelley swept the two Opens this weekend as his Obrigado prevailed in Friday night's Open Trot. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

With less than three weeks away from the race weekend, it’s time to take at look at some of the leading contenders for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series at Portmarnock’s Harness Racing venue in Dublin, Ireland the 9th and 10th of August. The series is for two-year-old pacers and have been developed into the richest series ever in the history of harness racing in the British Isles with more than €30,000 euros ($40,000 US) in total purses. Conditions are tough for the freshmen pacers as there will elimination races Saturday evening, August 9th and then the mixed final on Sunday afternoon, August 10th. Fillies will draw for inside post positions in the final on the half mile track. At the time of writing there are a record number 52 two-year-olds that are eligible for the series. Currently the 6/4 favourite and leading contender is Alexander Camden, who was the highest priced yearling ever sold in Ireland and the United Kingdom last season, fetching £38,000 sterling ($53,000 US) at the York Standardbred Sale last year. His is sired by Cambest out of Lola making him a full brother to two sub 1:49 pacers Canyon Wind and Paragon. In his short career on the track, Alexander Camden seems to be living up to his purchase price as the good looking youngster is being trained by English maestro Mick Lord for Scottish owner Davy Morton. In his four races so far, the colt has two wins and two seconds with his fastest victory in 2:02.3 at York Raceway, the UKs premier half mile track. However, the fastest of the freshman pacers so far this season is a filly, Carmel Camden, who is owned and trained by Dubliners Derek and James Delaney, who originally developed and sponsored the race back in 2012 in memory of their younger brother Vincent, who tragically past away in 2011 at age 27. Since the inception of the event, the brothers have dearly sought to have a runner in the line-up and last October they acquired Carmel Camden, a £12,000 sterling ($17,000US) daughter of No Pan Intended out of Pan Cullottes, who were both US Breeders Crown winners respectively back in 2003. Carmel Camden has made three starts so far and remains undefeated. Her fastest win was 2:01.7 over Portmarnock’s half mile oval, just a few ticks shy of tying the track record for two-year-old fillies. Gaining in popularity with each renewal, the Delaney brothers have gone all-out to make this year’s memorial to their brother a world class event and have invited Hall of Fame drivers Wally Hennessey from North America and Anthony Butt from New Zealand to compete in the series. Both drivers are booked to drive some horses over the weekend adding an exciting new dimension to the meeting. In addition, they have also invited Hall of Fame and world renowned track announcer, Roger Huston, to call the races both days at Portmarnock. Racing fans in Ireland and the UK will be in for a real treat as Huston’s inimitable style of race calling will inevitably have the people standing up and cheering throughout each race. Another top prospect is Titanium, who was a bargain £3,400 sterling ($5,000 US) yearling purchase and is by super sire Hasty Hall, who has dominated the ranks of the juvenile classic winners in the UK in recent years. Owned and driven by leading lady driver Vicky Gill of Yorkshire and trained by Vicky’s Dad, John Gill, of the Emerald Stables, Titanium has won two of his three starts so far and has a personal best time of 2.02.2. Vicky and dad John won this race just last year with Camden Tino, so the combination know just what it takes to win the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial. Other contenders include Lyons Premier, another son of Hasty Hall, who has but one start so far and scored a strong win at York Raceway in 2:03.3 for Welsh owner/breeder Geoff Mound. He races pacers all over Canada and the USA under the Lyons prefix; Mikey Camden, by Cambest, who is a £27,000 sterling ($38,000US) yearling purchase, has one in after three starts in 2:03.1 and locally owned Meadowbranch Ideal, an imported son of Western Ideal who has been impressive in three qualifiers so far, but as yet to win at the Dublin venue. With less than three weeks to go before the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend of racing, there will be more two-year-olds qualifying and prepping for the big series and competition is guaranteed to be fierce among trainers right across the British Isles, all eyeing up the lucrative €13,000 ($22,000US) first prize, a record purse for a pacing race in all of Europe.   By Steve Wolf and Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink.com

Three-year-old pacing fillies were featured on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as part of the New York Sire Stakes. Locally-based Spreester (American Ideal) scored a victory in her division of the $59,100 Sire Stakes behind a late surge with driver Jim Morrill Jr in the sulky. Spreester continued her terrific stakes season behind the 1:53.2 seasonal best victory on Saturday night. The fastest winner of the three "big time" Sire Stakes races was Major Dancer (Art Major). Making her NY debut, the Casie Coleman-trained pacer came charging hard late before drawing away to win in 1:53.1 with Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey in the sulky. The upset of the three stakes races came when Ken Doll J (Bettor's Delight) survived a first over journey to prevail in 1:55.2 with Jimmy Whittemore in the bike. Ken Doll J was dismissed at odds of 9-1 for her first win of 2014. Sire Stakes action returns to the Spa on Wednesday evening when three year old trotting fillies take center stage. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

The Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series for two-year-old pacers has truly become an international affair as Australasia’s leading harness racing driver, Anthony Butt, has announced he is heading to Dublin, Ireland’s Portmarnock Trotting Track to compete in the series. “I had read the stories on Harnesslink about Derek and James Delaney developing the series to honor their lost brother,” Anthony Butt said, “and then Irish Joe Hanney, who is a friend of mine in the USA, got in contact with me asking if I was interested in going up for the race weekend. When I looked at the dates and it fitted in well with my schedule, I jumped at the opportunity.” “How great is it that one of the leading drivers from Australasia, Anthony Butt, is coming here to Ireland to drive,” said Derek Delaney. “Now we have two world class drivers from the other sides of the globe, Wally Hennessey and Anthony, coming to Portmarnock for my brother’s memorial series. This is going to be one super weekend of racing. Plus we also have the world renowned announcer, Roger Huston coming over from the USA to call the races both days.” Anthony Butt hails from three full generations of harness racing in his family. His grandfathers, Wes Butt and Derek Jones, belong to the short-list of New Zealand’s outstanding trainer/drivers. Little Anthony began working in the stables at age 9. Starting out as a driver and entering the sport as a 17-year-old in 1983, Anthony began carving out a distinguished career with a victory in just his third start in a race. His first season saw him win the New Zealand Junior Title. From there it has been a career dreams are made from by his Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final victory with the great Lyell Creek (2000) and Take A Moment (2001 and 2003). He also scored a Pacing Grand Final victory in 2009 (Mr. Feelgood USA). His success in the industry has also been a family affair as his brother Tim does the training for the stable and has been instrumental in Anthony’s and the stables success. Anthony has consistently been in the top 10 of New Zealand reinsmen since the 1990’s and his career was recognized by his peers and fans as he was inducted into the New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame. Between driving in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, Anthony has more than 2,176 career wins and $19.8 million in purses won with the horses he has driven. Has Anthony ever been Ireland or the United Kingdom? “I have only been to England on holiday, Anthony said. “I have visited Newmarket/Ascot a couple of times to have a look at the Thoroughbreds. A great friend of our family is Sam Ballentyne, who was a leading trainer/driver in Scotland before he emigrated to NZ in the 1970's. I have driven many winners for Sam over the years and always enjoyed his stories of trotting in the UK back then. Also quite a few New Zealanders were involved with harness racing in Wales back in the 1960/70's. “We have had several people work for us over the years from the UK,” Anthony added, “including Richard Haythornthwaite, who is from a famous harness racing family in the UK. Anthony talked about how great a trip this will be. “This is a great opportunity to visit and drive in a new country,” Anthony explained, “As well as to help Derek and his family promote the race meeting worldwide. It’s fantastic to see harness racing taking off in a country like Ireland and any chance we get we should do whatever we can to support occasions like this. “I can’t wait to experience harness racing in Ireland and meeting the people involved. They appear to have a real passion for the sport and hopefully a meeting like this can really give the sport a boast there. It looks to be a unique kind of meeting.” Anthony said. The Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series has 54 two-year-old colt and filly pacers nominated. The series has $2,000 elimination heats Saturday, August 9 and the $35,000 final will be raced Sunday, August 10. Fillies in the final will draw for the inside posts on Portmarnock’s half mile oval. There is already a reported golf match schedule Monday morning after the race meet between Derek Delaney, Wally Hennessey and Anthony Butt. “I have no idea how good Derek is so by the sounds of it definitely Wally, I am only a hacker and I might be better driving the cart with the drinks in it,” laughed Anthony. 'There is also a reporter for a Dublin newspaper and the Standardbred Ireland Facebook page, Eric Haughan, who will be playing with us so I am sure everyone will be able to read about the golfing went." The Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series has developed into an exciting weekend of racing in Ireland and promises to have plenty of action and drama for those who are fortunate enough to attend the meet live. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

TORONTO, ON, July 17 - The 38th Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala Fundraising Dinner on Wednesday, August 6th promises to be an evening of celebrations as fourteen new members, including Wando, Rocknroll Hanover, Wally Hennessey, Albatross, Dreamfair Eternal, Dr. Ted Clarke, Robert Murphy, Bill Galvin and Robert Landry, join the best of Canadian Horse Racing.  Held at the Mississauga Convention Centre, the evening will be emceed by Jim Bannon, Woodbine Entertainment Group Thoroughbred Racing Analyst and will feature a cocktail reception, a fantastic auction lineup with TSN Radio personality Matt Cauz as guest auctioneer, a four course gourmet dinner and the Induction Ceremony. The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame acknowledges the generous sponsorship support of this year’s event:  Event Sponsor – OLG; Reception and Wine Sponsor – Central Ontario Standardbred Association; Photography Sponsor - Ontario Standardbred Alliance Tracks and Woodbine Entertainment Group for producing the video tributes to each of the 2014 inductees. The CHRHF Planning Committee is putting together an impressive list of live and silent auction from donors and supporters including Adena Springs, The Royal Horse Show, Equilease Corp., Greenhawk, the Toronto Maple Leafs and many others.  All proceeds from the auction will go directly toward helping the Hall of Fame recognize the achievements of those that have built and established the roots of horse racing in Canada. Live Auction Halter worn by two-time US Thoroughbred Horse of the Year “Wise Dan” (donated by Charles LoPresti) Halter worn by 2014 Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate winner “Lexie Lou” (donated by Casse Racing) Dinner for 2 at the Turf Club & 2 tickets to the Nashville Predators vs Toronto Maple Leafs (donated by Woodbine Entertainment Group) Silent Auction 4 box seat tickets to The Royal Horse Show, Friday November 8th including Tanbark Lounge access (donated by the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Horse Show) 2 tickets to Toronto Raptors game during the 2014-15 season (donated by Equilease Corp.) Golf for 4 at Angus Glen Golf Course (donated by Angus Glen Golf Course) Framed limited edition print by Linda Shantz of 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Somebeachsomewhere Framed limited edition print by Debbie Goldring of 1976 Hall of Fame inductee Northern Dancer, the original of which hangs permanently in the Hall. Golf for 4 at Ballantrae Golf Club (donated by Schonberg Farm & Ballantrae Golf Course) Plus many more items from sports memorabilia and tickets to equine art and collectibles, there’s a little something for everyone. The Auction item list is being updated as new items are added and can be viewed at:  www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com  To order tickets contact Linda Rainey – 416-417-9404 or by email at linda.rainey@horseracinghalloffame.com by Linda Rainey, for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Royal Reception (Stonebridge Regal) prevailed in Thursday evening's $6,955 conditional pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Jackie Rousse-trained three-year-old has been consistent in his freshman season and came into Thursday's race hitting the board in twelve of seventeen lifetime tries. Frank Coppola Jr. piloted Royal Reception and moved the morning line favorite out early and positioned him in the pocket. Pulling out at the top of the stretch, Royal Reception had to withstand a stretch challenge from rival Meetyouatmidnight (Wally Hennessey). Hanging on to win by a head, Royal Reception recorded his third lifetime victory and Thursday win came in a career best 1:55.1. The freshman pacer returned $8.10 to win. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with first post time switching to 7:05pm for the remainder of the summer. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Road Bet moved her local record to two-for-two on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the distaff pacer prevailed once again in the Fillies and Mares Open. Frank Coppola Jr.sat behind Road Bet (Bettor's Delight) and moved her out to the lead for the second consecutive week. Despite sizzling early fractions which saw the four year old click off an opening quarter of 26.3 and a half of 55.3, Road Bet had something left in the tank in the stretch to repeat. The win time of 1:52.2 served as a track record for four-year-old pacing mares as the Kyle Spagnola trainee has asserted herself as one of the mares to beat among the top local pacers. The race's 8-5 favorite, Road Bet provided driver Frank Coppola Jr.with one of his three victories on the card. Campanile (Austin Siegelman) was the runner up in the $17,000 Open for the third consecutive week while Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey) earned the show spot. Live racing resumes on Thursday night with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sparacino, for Saratoga Raceway  

Traverse Seelster came to Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Friday night for the first time off an eye-popping mile at Harrington Raceway in Delaware. Under the care of trainer Amber Buter for the first time, the six-year-old trotter was assigned the outside post in Friday's $17,000 Open Trot. Leading driver Billy Dobson floated the race's 1-5 favorite out early and landed him midpack. Moving first over at the half mile pole, Traverse Seelster (Angus Hall) appeared overpowering and cruised by the front running Just Like Lloyd (Mark Beckwith) before stopping the timer in 1:56. Count Speed (Wally Hennessey) also made up quite a bit of ground in the final half to finish second in the feature while longshot A Megabuck (Chris Long) came on for third. For Traverse Seelster, the victory in his local debut was the 29th of his career in 98 starts and served as one of three on the evening for Dobson. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Keystone Wallace pulled off theharness racing upset on Thursday night in the $6,500 featured race for condition trotters at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The four year old added trotting hopples for his last qualifier and raced with them for the first time over the sloppy going on Thursday’s card. The race’s 1-9 favorite Powerful Valor (Austin Siegelman) marched out to an easy lead while Keystone Wallace (Yankee Glide) worked hard early to overcome his outside post and get into the pocket behind the favored leader. Those two drew away from the competition around the final turn before Keystone Wallace got up in the final strides to win in 1:59.2. Powerful Valor, while a beaten favorite for the second consecutive week, was again a close second while Secret Ingredient (Frank Coppola Jr) got up for third. It was the first local victory for Keystone Wallace who was also a beaten favorite in his previous start. The Dan Hennessey-trained trotter was driven to the Thursday score by Wally Hennessey who piloted four winners on the card. Live racing continues on the Fourth of the July with a 6:45pm start to the Friday card.  Mike Saradella

Keystone Wallace pulled off a harness racing upset on Thursday night in the $6,500 featured race for condition trotters at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The four year old added trotting hopples for his last qualifier and raced with them for the first time over the sloppy going on Thursday's card. The race's 1-9 favorite Powerful Valor (Austin Siegelman) marched out to an easy lead while Keystone Wallace (Yankee Glide) worked hard early to overcome his outside post and get into the pocket behind the favored leader. Those two drew away from the competition around the final turn before Keystone Wallace got up in the final strides to win in 1:59.2. Powerful Valor, while a beaten favorite for the second consecutive week, was again a close second while Secret Ingredient (Frank Coppola Jr) got up for third. It was the first local victory for Keystone Wallace who was also a beaten favorite in his previous start. The Dan Hennessey-trained trotter was driven to the Thursday score by Wally Hennessey who piloted four winners on the card. Live racing continues on the Fourth of the July with a 6:45pm start to the Friday card. Mike Sardella  

Obrigado became a rare trotter to win back to back Opens at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as he outclosed his rivals on Friday night in the $17,000 feature. The Paul Kelley trainee set a lifetime mark last Friday with a 1:55.3 score and this week had to overcome the outside post. Kim Crawford sat patiently behind Obrigado (Boy Band) and asked him for his best around the final turn. Fanning four wide in the lane, Obrigado trotted by his rivals to record the 1:56 victory. Count Speed (Wally Hennessey), another closer, came on to be second while the favorite Political Desire (Billy Dobson) had to settle for third. Obrigado has now won 24 of his 32 lifetime starts and three local features in nine tries here in 2014. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

High Blue continued his breakout season at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Thursday night. The Dan Hennessey-trained four-year-old made his local debut in April and has yet to finish worse than third. On Thursday night, High Blue (Majestic Son) moved aggressively to the lead before being met with the challenge of the race's even money favorite Powerful Valor (Austin Siegelman) at the half mile pole. These two dueled for a half mile while drawing away from their competition. High Blue and driver Wally Hennessey held on to win in 1:58 in the $6,500 trotting race. Owned by Paul and Patricia O'neil of Saratoga Springs, High Blue has now won four of eight tries since coming to town after pulling off the mild upset on Thursday night and has been worse than second only once. Powerful Valor finished a strong second while longshot Montana Skies (Brian Cross) finished a distant third. Live racing continues on Friday night featuring a pick five carryover of just shy of $1,400. First post time is set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

It’s beginning to look like Ake Svanstedt’s trotter Sebastian is so superior to the competition that he’s racing only against the clock. There was a time when time was privileged over purse money in the pursuit of assessing a stallion or mare’s suitability for the breeding ranks, but those days are long gone. Bob Marks never had much use for them, although he says he did “use them occasionally to get marks on horses that could never accomplish much in actual races.” Flip through the latest edition of the Breeder’s Book and you’ll find a couple of pacers with time trial marks—Jereme’s Jet and 26-year-old Cambest—and the Indiana stallion Jailhouse Jesse on the diagonal side. How sweet it would be to see Sebastian take to the track during the Red Mile meet with a pair of t-breds or pacers behind him and a jacked-up crowd cheering him home. He’d surely rid us of the 1:50 burden as well as Enough Said and his Colonial Downs asterisk. Fifty years ago just about every premium stallion and mare was measured against the clock at some point. Rodney, Fancy Crown, Most Happy Fella, Scotland, Yankee Lass, Bullet Hanover, Bye Bye Byrd, Dancer Hanover, Cheer Honey, Dayan, Hickory Pride, Elma, Isle Of Wight, Steady Beau and Sampson Direct all carry time trial marks. Some drivers specialized in handling the time trialing horses, while others were good with the prompters. When Adios Butler knocked two ticks off Billy Direct’s 22-year-old mark, which was set the day before Greyhound’s at The Red Mile on October 4, 1960, owner Paige West drove the 4-year-old while Del Miller and trainer/driver Eddie Cobb drove the t-bred prompters. When the 4-year-old Cash Hall went after Pine Chip’s 1:54 world record at Delaware in 2006, John Campbell drove the son of Self Possessed while Dave Palone chased after him with the Real Artist mare, Valentine. Cash Hall annihilated the mark with a 1:51.1 mile. On the trotting side, Greyhound’s TT1:55 ¼ mark, set on September 29, 1938 for Sep Palin, held fast for 31 years, until Nevele Pride dropped it to TT1:54.4 for Stanley Dancer at Indianapolis on Sunday August 31, 1969. Twelve thousand enthusiastic fans were in attendance that day. Coincidentally enough, a longstanding pacing mark of 1:55 was also set at that same Lexington meet in 1938: Billy Direct time trialed free-legged in 1:55 for Vic Fleming on September 28, 1938. That mark remained untouched during the 1940s. Frank Ervin put a 1:57.1 mark on 5-year-old Adios in a time trial when he was offered $500 to break the track record, and four years later another great progenitor, Gene Abbe, time trialed in 2:00.3, also at age five. But it took a race mark of 1:55 from Adios Harry in the American Pacing Derby at Vernon Downs on July 16, 1955, with the owner’s son Luther Lyons in the bike, to match Billy Direct’s mark. Adios Butler undercut the 1:55 standard five years later in the time trial referenced above. That 1:55 barrier was finally shattered. The great Speedy Crown didn’t break any records when he time trialed in 2:01.2 as a freshman in 1970, but after winning just four of eight starts and earning a paltry $2,000, he did prove that good things were on the way. Actually the first significant time trial for trotters in the 1970s came from Arnie Almahurst, a crazy fast son of Speedy Scot, who pretty much won every start he didn’t break stride in. He had little in common with his paternal brother, Speedy Crown, who never broke stride—not ever. Arnie time trialed in 1:57.2 at The Red Mile for Joe O’Brien and became the sixth fastest trotter behind Super Bowl, Nevele Pride, Ayres, Speedy Scot and Speedy Crown. Nine years later his 3-year-old son Arndon trotted the fastest mile ever by a trotter when he hit the wire in TT1:54 for Del Miller at The Red Mile. And twelve years after that Arndon’s 4-year-old son Pine Chip became the world record holder when he time trialed in 1:51 for John Campbell at Lexington. Arndon and his dad both retired as the fastest ever. Another important trotting time trial in the ‘70s was ABC Freight’s TT1:57.1 as a 2-year-old for Joe O’Brien at Hollywood Park in 1976. The sire of Garland Lobell topped Nevele Pride’s 1:58.2 freshman mark and became the fastest 2-year-old trotter ever. ABC set his lifetime mark of 1:56.3 the following year in a time trial. The market for blockbuster trotting time trials pretty much dried up after that, although Cash Hall did crush the half-mile mark with that 1:51.1 mile for John Campbell at Delaware in 2006 that was referenced above. The time trials involving Standardbred trotters under saddle has been less prevalent, nonetheless, it has played a prominent role due to the horses and people involved. In 1940 Greyhound ended his racing career under saddle at Lexington. Frances Dodge rode him to a world record of 2:01 ¾. That mark stood for 54-years, until Preferential and Brooke Nickells broke it in 1994 with a 1:58.2 mile. And six years later the mighty Moni Maker, like Greyhound, ended her career under saddle at The Red Mile. Jockey Julie Krone, with Jimmy Takter and Wally Hennessey following with prompters, trotted in an incredible 1:54.1. In the pacing camp it was up to Bret Hanover to continue the assault on the longstanding 1:55 standard that his paternal brother, Adios Butler, had begun. In early September of 1966, 4-year-old Bret, who was within a few months of being retired, time trialed in 1:54 at Vernon Downs for Frank Ervin with a single prompter chasing him. Five weeks later in Lexington Ervin put the TT1:53.3 mark on the big guy that would serve as his lifetime mark. Dancer preferred to put race marks on Albatross so there are no flashy time trials on Super Bird’s resume. He did become the fastest ever in a race when he won both heats of the Tattersalls Pace at The Red Mile in 1:54.4, topping Adios Harry’s race mark, which Bret had matched. He also won in 1:55.3 at Delaware, matching Adios Butler’s time trial mark and eclipsing Bret’s 1:57 half-mile track race mark. Steady Star, a free-legged son of Steady Beau,  who was a year older than Albatross, cornered the time trial market in that era. At three he circled The Red Mile in 1:54 for Joe O’Brien and the following year, on October 1, 1971, he time trialed in a head turning 1:52. Later on, in 1976, 4-year-old Nero time trialed in 1:55.1 and the following year Warm Breeze was race timed in 1:53.1 at Golden Bear in Sacramento. Two years later Meadow Skipper’s son Falcon Almahurst became the fastest 3-year-old pacer ever with a 1:52.2 time trial at Lexington for Bill Haughton. Only Steady Star had gone faster. Then came the game changer: 3-year-old Niatross’s TT1:49.1 at The Red Mile on Oct 1, 1980. It was the sport’s first sub-1:50 mile and, while it parallels Adios Butler’s breach of the 1:50 point, it was so much more. The closest thing to it was Steady Star going 1:52, but the sleek son of Steady Beau didn’t win a single open stakes race during his career—not so for Niatross. His son Nihilator was later positioned to outdo dad in a time trial at Springfield but the weather didn’t cooperate and he was unable to lower his 1:49.3 race mark in a time trial at DuQuoin.  Matt’s Scooter went after the 1:49.1 mark at The Red Mile in 1988 and knocked four ticks off of it. His 1:48.2 time trial for Mike Lachance established a new world record. Matt’s Scooter beat Niatross’s mark but 5-year-old Cambest blew it out of the water with his 1:46.1 time trial at Springfield. The problem was that he wasn’t tested afterwards and not long after that his 1:52.1 win in the Senior Jug was disqualified due to elevated bicarbonate levels. Cambest was slated to stand at Hanover Shoe Farms but in light of the controversial final chapter of his career they passed. So stick Jimmy Takter and Bernie Noren behind a couple of fast pacers and let’s see if Ake can wheel Sebastian around The Red Mile in a time that will cause the crowd to gasp the way they did for Steady Star’s 1:52 mile and Niatross’s 1:49.1. Speed has always sold in this game; time to pump it up via the time trial. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

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