Top Gear front-stepped his way to a top class victory at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday night, winning a $28,000 event for conditioned pacers by a neck over a pair trained by meet leader Corey Johnson Driver Mike Saftic pulled Top Gear from the pocket after the :27-second opening quarter and he took over command from early leaver McKinney. He then led the way past middle splits of :56.2 and 1:24.3 before holding off a deep stretch challenge from McKinney for the 1:52.2 triumph. The runner-up's stablemate and odds-on favourite Wazzup Wazzup advanced first over to finish one length behind in third. Top Gear paid $5.80 to win as the slight second choice. He earned his second win of the year in seven starts. His first came in the same class (non-winners of $28,000 last five starts) on Feb. 8 prior to his last two races at the Preferred level. To read rest of story click here.
After earning a diploma in Marketing and Sales from Humber College, Carmen Auciello could have walked through many different doors. Despite the good possibilities, the door closest to his heart was the door that led back home and after spending a short time away in the business world, that is what Carmen did. Carmen has never had to look back and he may not want to. "I was bored with my job and about a year after I finished college, I decided 'if I'm ever going to try this I am going to do so now when I am 21 years old instead of later in life and regretting why I didn't try this sooner'. And it's been great!" Carmen says. "My father and I have been partners and we started at the bottom and worked our way to a bigger and 70 horse stable and now we are one of the top (stables) in Canada." It's a touching thought knowing Carmen could just of easily chosen another career path but he trusted his gut, his intuition and the hard work has paid off for him and his family. Carmen credits his dad for all of his inspiration. "He's been supporting 4 kids and a wife for many years now. He had his ups and downs and there were years we struggled financially. I saw the heart and soul he put into it, year after year after year to try and support myself and my sisters and the family. I felt I owed it to him to get involved and continue the family business. Definitely owe everything to him." "Hard work has a lot to do with (the success) but there is more to it. I think with me, I went and got an education and learned how to run a business. I learned how to sell myself and sell my services and I learned how to deal with owners and clients. Without them, the owners, we are nothing. I can't afford to own all these horses by myself." Carmen continues his beliefs that without his owners providing him quality horses, no matter how good he is, Carmen could only go so far. "Aside from working with the horses, there is a lot more to being successful than just training horses." Carmen explains he's "put more of a business oriented aspect into my job, my career and my business... there is having the right people, you have to have them doing it right and you need to trust them. You need to become affiliated with people who believe in you and want to invest in you. That is what I've worked on the last few years and I am proud of that." Carmen offers wonderful advice for anyone wanting to get into the horse racing industry. Passion is vital, yet more is needed to ensure security let alone success. "I would ask them to what capacity do they want to be involved? There are a lot of people who are happy to jog horses and do the more hands on approach for a living. You're not going to get rich, but you can have a very fulfilling career. Do they want to train? Do they want to drive? Do they want to own their own business and grow it to where they're one of the biggest stables in North America?" "Learning to have an eye for a horse, spotting a good horse when you see one....You got to put the time in and everyone is not cut out for it. There are a lot of people that can train a horse better than me, but they cannot run a business." Carmen emphasizes that working with top quality stables is the best way to learn, whether you want to drive or train. At the end of the day, any chance of success is based on having a plan and knowing how to execute that plan to fruition. With the cuts in racing within Ontario, Carmen still manages to employ ten workers, three in the USA and the rest at his stable in Port Perry, Ontario. Why has Carmen been able to employ close to a dozen employees? "Why? My rates are fairly reasonable, we are a family orientated business but at the same time we are trying to grow it the best we can. I didn't settle, when 25 horses was at my max I didn't say 'I'm full'. If somebody offered me a horse I found a way to accommodate them." "We expanded to the States and we had upwards of 20-25 horses at one time. We are making expansions to our facility here to accommodate ten more horses. When people are willing to invest in you and bring you horses, you have to accommodate them." Carmen also acknowledges the scary part to any business; "There will be times when things aren't as good and you need to be prepared for that as well." Something unique Carmen offers to all of his owners is a flat fee rate, ensuring there is no end of the month surprises baring any extreme circumstances such as veterinary emergencies. "What you see is what you get" explains Carmen. "Not only are my rates very reasonable compared to other guys, it is also flat rate and owners know what their bill is going to be at the end of the month. It's all inclusive." "There are so many costs in training a horse and running a stable" Carmen acknowledges. "Owners think $45 a day? Oh this is cheap. But when trainers need to add in the additional costs for shoeing, vitamins and anything extra that comes up, which always happens, it adds up and then owners think they are getting ripped off. It's all about perception." Carmen emphasizes managing costs and looking for ways to save. Such as buying in bulk does help him keep his prices low. "If I feel the horses don't need it, they don't get it. It is not cutting corners; it is keeping the costs down. If I keep my cost down, then that saves money for the owner and we all have a chance to make money." In terms of which races and where Carmen likes to place his horses, he prefers to stick with Woodbine Racetrack (and Mohawk in the summer months). Whether the horse races for a $4,000 purse or a $16,000 purse, it will eat the same and need the exact amount of care and attention regardless. So for Carmen, he steers clear of the 'B' tracks since it is not as easy to make money. Sure if the horse wins three or four races at a 'B' track, it may cover costs and provide a little profit but in reality it is not feasible for growth in the long term. If owners are not making money, they are most likely to pull out of the game and that is one less horse immediately and that experience may sour the owner for a lifetime ensuring they will not buy anymore horses. Carmen's stable has the most starts at Woodbine this year and his stable has the second most starts in North America. How did he get to this point? "You have to invest money, but you also have to sell yourself and find others to invest. I consider myself a salesman because that is what I am doing, selling my services.... Anybody can do it, I would suggest you put something together where you can claim one horse, race it at Woodbine. Start with one and hopefully have it snowball from there. As for Carmen's stable in the USA, he is based in Pine Bush, NY and mainly has his horses race at Yonkers and the Meadowlands for the time being. Once more racetracks open up in Pennsylvania such as Pocono Downs and Harris Philadelphia; he will expand to racing at all four. Right now his stable in the USA has 15 horses, but Carmen hopes to have that number grow to 25 maybe even 30. For 2014, Carmen considers his best horse to be Bugger Bruiser who he bought for $40,000 last year, and then went on to win all four races after he joined Carmen's barn bringing in over $200,000. "He hasn't raced yet this year but I have him entered into all the big races, the North America Cup, the Meadowlands Pace" confirms Carmen. "He's the nicest horse we've ever had and we are going to give him a shot and hopefully he will dance the big dance with all the other good horses. He's definitely my number one contender this year." Away from the track, Carmen enjoys playing hockey and golf with his buddies, though he admits he doesn't have the time to get out as much as he used to. Carmen has a 3 year old daughter named Leah and a 7 month old son named Hudson. Carmen also gives a lot of credit to his wife Ashley, who he says has been so amazing, supportive and strong. "She's allowed me to chase my dream" Carmen says. "There are a lot of nights where I am out at the track, I'm not at home and she's at home taking care of the house and the kids.... She's been supportive since day one." As Carmen's stable grows and with more owners joining the ranks, one thing Carmen ensures is that he wants his owners to have a say. For instance, for a long while Carmen was loyal to driver Anthony Macdonald and vice versa, and not to say there is no loyalty but Carmen does his best to respect an owner's choice for who is driving their horse. Which is understandable as this is a team endeavor. "90 percent of the time it's up to me, but at times owners may request a driver change". In the midst of all the racing going on, Carmen is currently building his man cave in his basement! At the time of the interview, Carmen was headed out to buy an 80 inch TV for the cave. Yes I said 80 inch TV, well done sir! Aside from the TV, Carmen will add a booming stereo as well has his racing trophies and the blanket from the Super Final last year and a blown up picture of the Super Final Win. Carmen's goal is "to add as many trophies and pictures as I can." At the rate Carmen is going, he may need to expand the man cave shortly, or build a second man cave. Maybe have one in Canada and the other at his stable south of the border. by Roderick Balgobin of Supernova Sports Club www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova
Last week was not great. Just had three of eight winners with one minor exacta and trifecta payoff. We have handicapped the feature races at five different tracks for Saturday. They are the Meadowlands, Yonkers, Woodbine, Pompano and Miami Valley. Good Luck! $28,000 N/W $25,000 last 6 starts Pace Woodbine 2nd race – Without Apprentice Hanover in the field, I look for Wazzup Wazzup to return to his winning ways. He has been second or third to Apprentice in his last five starts and nearly beat him two starts back in a neck loss. Looms to be the best in this short field and should be able to work out some live cover to score from. Use Cool Rock and Top Gear in exotic plays. $10,000 Open Handicap Pace Pompano Park 3rd race – After taking nearly three weeks off, Northern Companion returns to the racing wars well rested and should be ready for action. No Prairie Jaguar to compete with in here so I look for Northern Companion to be at his best. He has won three of his last four starts but it won’t be a cakewalk tonight. Use Premier and Cruizin K C in exotic plays. $53,200 Final Charles Singer Memorial Trot Meadowlands 6th race – She is a perfect four for four this year and the aptly named Perfect Alliance should remain perfect after this race. She has beaten everyone in this field already and keeps lowering her lifetime mark while winning from either on or off the pace. Adds to her bankroll again tonight in the final. Use the entry of time To Quit/You Rock My World and Cajole Hanover in exotic plays. $33,000 Open Handicap Pace Yonkers Raceway 6th race - Despite morning line odds and having to start from the far outside in post eight, Clear Vision is clearly the class of the field and more than likely needed first start back for Ron Burke Stable. Won nearly $600,000 last year racing against the best in the country so I see him fit and ready to pop in this tough field. Use Fat Man’s Alley and Pan From Nantucket in exotic plays. $24,000 W/O $25,000 last 6 starts Pace Yonkers Raceway 8th race – Currently on a three-race winning streak, Glass Prince is my top choice in here. He may be moving up in class for this event but as long as he gets live cover I think he can handle hike with success. He can’t leave nor is any good racing first-over but Eric Carlson seems to have him going well right now. Use P H Supercam and Montana Pablo A in exotics. $60,500 Final Buddy Gilmour Pacing Series Meadowlands 11th race – First decent test for some nice three-year-olds tonight. I am going with National Debt. He is the talk of the town these days and after winning Meadowlands debut very easily two weeks ago he could be the real thing. He is undefeated in five lifetime starts and should stay that way as long as he minds his manners as he is still a youngster but with some awesome speed. Use Capital Account and Dinner At The Met in exotic plays. $10,000 Open Handicap Pace Miami Valley Raceway 12th race – There is a reason that Master Of Desire was handicapped with the far outside post nine tonight. He has won this class the last two starts at the new track and likes the oval. Does not show any early speed but once he does get to the front he usually does not get caught. Use Royal Outlook and Lookinforadventure in exotic plays.
On Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack, a racing rarity took place when a dead-heat for win happened. Even more rare is that both horses are homebreds, and owned by their trainers. In the evening's sixth race, a conditioned race for Ontario-sired three and four-year-olds, So Bad Im Good (Joe Hudon) tried to cut all the fractions but couldn't hold off the backfield heading into the stretch. Kuchar (Jody Jamieson) and Sanattle Slew (Billy Davis, Jr.) were both poised to pounce on the pacesetter from the outer flow and both powered past, hitting the wire simultaneously. To read entire story click here.
Last week was decent with four winners in eight races and a few minor exacta payoffs. Looking to do a lot better with my selections tonight. Action this Saturday is from Woodbine, Meadowlands and Yonkers. Good Luck! $34,000 Preferred Pace Woodbine 2nd race – Saturday – I have almost lost count on how many straight wins Apprentice Hanover has now…He is going for his eighth straight win. He barely held on last time in defeating Wazzup Wazzup by a neck. But with a week off he should be fired up and ready for action against another short field. Use Wazzup Wazzup and Lucky Terror in exotic plays. $30,000 FFA Handicap Pace Meadowlands 2nd race – Saturday – Last week Golden Receiver gave notice that he is ready for another big season at the races in 2014. In his first start back he wired the field in 1:49.2. May have only held on by a neck but that was his first start back. He should be tighter and ready to demolish this field with ease. Use the entry of Easy Again/Annieswesterncard and Dovuto Hanover in exotic plays. $22,000 NW $16,000 Pace Woodbine 4th race – Saturday – This is a very well matched field. I am going with Cool Rock from post four. He is coming off a super strong closing effort last start in winning with ease and seems to be that tough every week. I see him handling hike in class and out kicking these to the wire once again. Use Thorn In Your Side and Classic Gent in exotic plays. $33,000 Open Handicap Pace Yonkers 6th race – Saturday – The class of the field in here should also be the winner. Clear Vision is a career winner of $1.7 million and looked primed to win right out of the box after two decent qualifying wins. Earned nearly $600,000 last year for Burke Stable and has the back class to take this field. Use Dancin Yankee and Domethatagain in exotic plays. $19,000 NW 3 PM Trot Woodbine 8th race – Saturday – Mares taking on male rivals and I think the mares will win. Her Name Is Lola is my choice. She finally draws a good inside post and is coming off a neck triumph in her last outing which was a lifetime mark of 1:56.4. She has a great burst of speed she can use when poised to get to the front and not look back. Use Our Mojo and Moontan in exotic plays. $24,000 W/O $25,000 Pace Yonkers 1 1/16th mile 8th race – Saturday – Going the extra distance has not been a problem for this Tom Fanning trainee. Shark’s Legacy is moving up in class off two sharp scores at 1 1/16th mile. He has shown in the past that he can grind it out if necessary and still remain in the hunt until the finish. Has yet to finish off the board in his last six starts. Use Arachache Hanover and Hello Hot Shot in exotic plays. $20,000 Buddy Gilmour Series Pace Meadowlands 11th race – Saturday – With last week’s opening round winners taking the second leg off, the role of favorite in here goes to Dinner At The Met. He was a distant second to National Debt last week but prior to that showed three straight wins as the favorite at the Meadowlands and should be able to regroup and take this field. Use Rock Fame and Grandpa Don in exotic plays.
In the world of harness racing, there is plenty of excitement and daily thrills to be had at any track. One track tucked away in South West Ontario is Flamboro Downs, (located in Hamilton, Ontario). "From the starting gate to the finishing line, Flamboro Downs presents a unique and entertaining outing for individuals and groups alike. Parking and admission is always FREE."... Is the promotional phrase used on the Flamboro Downs website. It is quite unique indeed. At Flamboro Downs there is a decent and very respectable colony of drivers, many who are a breakout horse away from becoming a household name. One name fans of the racing world should get to know is J Harris. When I asked J Harris what the J stood for, maybe Jay or James? J replied "it stands for J, the letter J". J Harris, yes his first name is the letter J, how cool is that? I have never met anyone with an initial for a first name, perhaps I need to get out more often. J considers himself a regular guy and when discussing horse racing, you are quick to learn how much respect J has for horses. Many are drawn by the speed and thrill to horse racing or the fact it's a family business, but with J you hear the respect he holds for the animals he works with when he is describing his reasoning for being in the horse racing industry. "The horses...," answers J when asked about what draws him to the industry, "...they are completely majestic. I love being around them and they just got me. It's their eyes; you can look at them and make a connection. They are muscle machines with grace." J, a third generation horseman, worked with his father who always kept him busy in and around the family stables as a young person. "I started working with (horses) once I was old enough to get out of bed," J said/ ."He got me out to the barn early." J's father is a successful trainer who J says "had a lot of success with fillies and mares." With J's dad having Great Success when he was young, J was able to be around winning connections from an early age. Back then, J admits he loved being at the winner's circle and being a part of the winning picture. Almost a decade into his career, J who is 29, admits it has been a slow grind, but that will not hold him back. Last year J won the driver's title at Hanover Raceway, (located in Hanover, Ontario) and hopes to rank among the top 10 in the driver standings at Flamboro Downs. One of J's fondest memories is his first win, but more so because it was with a family owned horse. "It took me 22 races to get my first win," J explained, "It was a home bred my parents had.... My mom happened to be at the racetrack that night and she balled her eyes out. It was the right horse to win with." The name of the horse, Maxx Factor. J is a low key person who prefers to take it easy and unwind at home after the races. "Lately I've been focusing on racing and going to the gym. I don't go out much and if I do it's to the movies." says J. "I'm big into movies and I rent every new release that comes out. I like action and comedy (movies), but I will take action over comedy. Anything that is a true story I am guaranteed to love." As for what are J's favorite movies, J lists "Days of Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Butler, it's an awesome movie. I watched the movie Rush and it was motivational, seeing one guy throw it all away and one guy striving for it all." As for the night life, well that is not who J is and he flat out says, "I'm sick of it, I grew up." J has raced at Flamboro Downs, Hanover Raceway, Clinton Raceway, Western Fair Raceway, Grand River Raceway, Mohawk and Woodbine Racetrack. "Mainly I focus on Grand River and Flamboro. Flamboro is my home track, I live closest to it and I seem to get a lot of support (at Flamboro), it's been a great track to me. Grand River has a great atmosphere and they do great job with the public. I drive an hour and twenty minutes there (because) it's a great track." As for what the future holds for J and the horse racing industry in the next 10 years, J bluntly says, "I don't see it. In 5 years time we are going to have to make hard decisions whether to stay in (the industry) or not. I think it's going to dwindle down to less than what people think it will be and I think there is only going to be a select few people who can afford to continue with horse racing in Ontario." "It's going to be tough for new owners to go to 'B' tracks in Ontario because they are racing for less money. Anyone who wants to race horses at Woodbine will have a great shot. They go for decent money and I think new owners can make it work. I think Woodbine will keep their horse's value up." Other spots J believes the horse industry has room for growth outside of Ontario and Canada is Ohio State and New York State, in particular, Yonkers Raceway due to the influx of money for purses. Outside of driving, J does train horses and the idea of being a full time trainer is quite appealing to him. "If I can find the owners to do it, I would make a successful go at it." There are plenty of reasons to believe J will be successful regardless of what transpires with the horse racing in the next few years. J is a 'go-getter' who takes whatever may happen in stride and he's not afraid, calm and collected are the two words that come to mind. Good things happen to good people, and it is people, like J, with positive attitudes who persevere through the thick and thin. If J had a man cave it would be a movie theatre and knowing J's love for movies I am sure there will be plenty of fresh popcorn and comfortable seats. J explains there "will be a (huge) TV and a bar, probably a pool table as well. I think I would want the whole movie (experience). I would want the nice comfy lazy boys and a huge TV for the screen." His backup plan would be owning a Cineplex! Be sure to check out J Harris and the rest of the drivers at Flamboro Downs. It's a lot of fun with a great group of people. by Roderick Balgobin, for Harnesslink.com
Woodbine Racetrack's current leading driver Jody Jamieson was in the hot seat on Saturday night as a guest host of the Woodbine Racing Live broadcast to offer up some insight on his drives for handicappers and discuss his 2013 racing season. During the pre-game show, Jamieson declared his 11th race mount, Carmen Auciello trainee Champagne Phil, as his "most probable winner" on the card and proved to be correct. "I really drove him bad [last week]," explained Jamieson. "He's been at Yonkers and they didn't like the trips he's been getting there. They weren't trying him as much as they wanted him to be tried so I gave him a shot and I actually over-drove him and I'm not planning on doing the same thing tonight. I believe there is some competition in there...but I really like Champagne Phil in there tonight. I think it's his race to win." In the evening's finale, Jamieson sent Champagne Phil first over from fourth down the backstretch and wore down early leader Roethblissberger to win by a head in 1:51.3. Icr Racing's four-year-old Shanghai Phil gelding was backed by the bettors and paid $5.40 to win as the 8-5 favourite. The victory was his first in five starts this year. During the interview, the three-time O'Brien Award winning driver also reflected on his 2013 campaign in which he ranked second nation-wide for earnings ($5,338,101) behind 2013 Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion and third for wins (337). "I had a great year," said Jamieson. "This biggest disappointment for me was I had a lot of seconds in major races and classic races. It took me until the middle of December to win the Cleveland Classic with a great horse, Apprentice Hanover, who you folks are well adhered to right here at Woodbine. He's got seven [wins] in a row now dating back to the Cleveland Classic or the week before. He's just a hell of a horse and he seems to be getting better as we go forward." While the Preferred class in which Apprentice Hanover has been dominating of late was not carded on Saturday, Jamieson catch-drove another "ultra consistent horse" to victory lane in a top conditioned event. "I think he was in over his head last week," Jamieson said of Lucky Terror, who finished sixth in the Preferred on Feb. 15. "He's not an Open horse, but he is, however, a very decent, middle of the road, conditioned horse and this is his class." The $22,000 ninth race was indeed Lucky Terror's class as he closed from second over and edged out a from-last Grin For Money to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.2. The win was his second in six starts this year and gives him a seasonal bankroll of $27,560. Trained by Shaun McDonald and owned by Glenview Livestock Ltd. and Leonard Christopher, the seven-year-old gelded son of Western Terror paid $9.10 to win. In Commando's 1:51.1 score in the 10th race co-feature was the fastest of the night and one of the biggest upsets as he rallied home from third over at odds of 10-1 for driver Chris Christoforou. The class-climbing Camluck gelding paid $22.80 for his second straight win. He prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Joshua My Boy, who closed from the back of the pack to place. Don Lindsey trains and co-owns the winning five-year-old pacer with Paul Kleinpaste, William Alempijevic and Dennis Mavrin. In Commando now has three wins and one second in five seasonal starts to add $31,000 to his career bankroll. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
There wasn’t a whole lot of pari-mutuel love given to Battle River Storm in Friday evening’s eighth race at Woodbine Racetrack, but that didn’t stop him from engineering the biggest upset on the Friday evening card. In rein to Mike Saftic, the six-year-old son of Freedoms Pass-Presidential Jenna dropped into an early five-hole and sat there through first-half fractions of :27.4 and :57.2. He was backed up to be sixth at the three-quarter pole, but Mike Saftic found him some clearance between rivals in deep stretch and Battle River Storm shot through and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:58. Beeeyouuuuuu was second, with Matts Delivery rounding out the top three finishers. The Rod Boyd pupil, who was sent off at odds of 54-1, returned $111.60 to his backers and added $3,500 his own bank account. Timothy McCoy of Edmonton, Alberta owns the pacer who won for the first time in six starts this season. The victory was one of three on the card for driver Mike Saftic. He and Jody Jamieson led the way with driving triples, while Phil Hudon notched a driving double on the 11-race card. To view results for Friday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Friday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
TORONTO, February 19 - Due to the mild forecast scheduled for this Friday, Woodbine Racetrack has postponed its qualifying sessions for Friday afternoon. Woodbine's next session of qualifiers will go postward on Saturday, February 22 with the first race set for 4 p.m. All horses entered for Friday's qualifiers will remain in the box for Saturday. Woodbine Racetrack will also not be available for training on Saturday. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Hldontghttoyurdrms was pushed to the limit in Monday’s $34,000 Preferred Trot at Woodbine Racetrack, but he managed to stave off a late challenge from his stablemate Nowucit Nowudont en route to winning the top class for square gaiters for the third straight start. With Jonathan Drury at the controls, Hldontghttoyurdrms was parked by Amigo De Grande past the quarter pole in :26.2 before being released to the lead. Once he crossed over to the pylons, the Corey Johnson pupil managed to whack out middle panels of :56.2 and 1:25.4 before coming under attack. Amigo De Grande sprinted out of the two-hole to come after him while Nowucit Nowudont swung wide off cover and started to go to work. Hldontghttoyurdrms used a :28.1 closing quarter to win by a nose over Nowucit Nowudont in 1:54. Amigo De Grande was a head back in third. Frank Spagnolo, Frank Schimizzi and Saverio Spagnolo share ownership on the five-year-old son of Muscles Yankee-Sweet Gabriella who won for the third time in four starts this season. The 13-time winner pushed his lifetime earnings over $170,000 with the victory. To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Apprentice Hanover cruised to his seventh straight win on Saturday night in the $34,000 Preferred Pace at Woodbine Racetrack despite Wazzup Wazzup's surprise attack late in the mile. Leaving from post six with Jody Jamieson at the reins, Apprentice Hanover worked his way to lead and cleared into the first turn before hitting the first quarter mark in :26.4. Apprentice Hanover took a second quarter breather to the half in :56 with McKinney (Sylvain Filion) content to sit a pocket trip behind the heavy 1-5 favourite and Wazzup Wazzup (Jonathan Drury) on his back. As Apprentice Hanover led his six rivals to the next marker in 1:24.4, 50-1 longshot Lucky Terror (Jack Moiseyev) made the first over sacrifice from the backfield, but began to back away as they turned for home. Apprentice Hanover looked strong on the lead in the stretch, but 25-1 shot Wazzup Wazzup made things a little more interesting, sneaking up the inside late in the lane. However, Apprentice Hanover managed to keep him at bay to earn his seventh straight win in 1:52.2. Wazzup Wazzup came up a neck short while McKinney rounded out the top three finishers one and a half lengths behind. Apprentice Hanover is now three-for-three this year with his win streak stretching back to November 2013. He now has 14 wins in 32 career starts -- his richest in Northfield Park's $126,000 Cleveland Classic on Dec. 14 -- for lifetime earnings of $563,474. Ben Wallace trains the four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere for owner Brad Grant of Milton, Ont. Apprentice Hanover paid $2.40 to win. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
OK…we had three out of seven last week and a couple minor exotic hits for a losing weekend. Now we need to get back into the plus column. Weather has been a big factor so make sure to take that into account before wagering. This weekend we lost Yonkers on Friday but have Woodbine, a few at the Meadowlands and Yonkers too. Good luck! $30,000 A/2A/1/FFA Handicap Trot Meadowlands 2nd race FRIDAY – Not even knowing yet who will drive Sweet Justice as Campbell is out for four weeks after surgery for a broken collarbone, I think the horse is in a great spot to return to winning ways and pay a price. Good inside post and in super tough field he should be able to work out needed live cover. Use Dylon Magician and Not Afraid in exotics. $9,900 C/2 Trot at 1 1/16 mile Meadowlands 10th race FRIDAY – Love extra big fields at a distance. Really makes this a possible wide-open race. I think Pilatus, despite outside post, will work out late cover just like he did in his last start and just got nipped at the wire by a neck. Use One Awesome Master and Heidi Falls in exotics. $30,000 FFA Handicap Pace Meadowlands 6th race Saturday - Was caught at the wire last week after game effort so I am coming right back with Emeritus Maximus in here. I look for him to dictate fractions, back it off for an easy half and then sprint home a winner. Use Dial Or Nodial and Road Untraveled in exotics. $33,000 Open Handicap Pace Yonkers Raceway 6th race Saturday – Taking a shot in here that Atta Boy Dan can handle the hike in class having not finished off the board in months. Burke Stable always has them ready to fire out and this one can win from both on and off the pace. Use Lumberjack willie and Sapphire City in exotics. $34,000 Preferred Pace Woodbine 10th race Saturday – You just can’t go against perfection and in his last six starts Apprentice Hanover has been perfect. Always seems to get a little cover and then off to the front and holding the field at bay. Remains unbeaten in 2014. Use Modern Legend and Wazzup Wazzup in exotics. $9,900 C/2 Pace at 1 1/16 mile Meadowlands 10th race Saturday – There are 12 horses in this race and nearly everyone has a shot at winning. Love it when you can connect in a race like this. I am going with Smokealittlesmoke who is dropping in class for this race. Draws decent post and even with extra distance should be able to handle older competition. Was a decent two-year-old and now should be prime for a big effort. Use Yes Your Mattjesty and Astreos Flash in exotics.
TORONTO, February 14 - Nominations for Woodbine Entertainment Group's major stakes events, including the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup and the $685,000 Canadian Trotting Classic, close Tuesday, February 18. Woodbine Racetrack will once again proudly host the 'Fall Four' stakes for two-year-olds in 2014, which includes the Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds for fillies and the Governor's Cup and Valley Victory for open competitors. Nominations for these rich events are acquired by February 18. Also, sustaining payments are due for the 2014 Simcoe, Simcoe Filly and SBOA stakes events for three-year-olds. Woodbine Entertainment Group will also handle the nomination process for the 17th annual Battle Of Waterloo and sixth annual Battle Of The Belles at Grand River Raceway. Their marquee event will be raced during the track's annual Industry Day Celebration, on Monday, August 4 with a 1:30 p.m. post time. Nominations can be made online through the following link: https://www.woodbineentertainment.com/Woodbine/Horsepeople/Standardbred/SBNominationForm.aspx For more detailed information on all events that close February 18, please click the link below: http://www.woodbineentertainment.com/Woodbine/Horsepeople/Standardbred/Pages/StakesNominations.aspx If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than the said due date or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Ideal Shadow was bet off the board in Monday’s debut effort at Woodbine under the guidance of trainer/co-owner Ben Baillargeon, and the betting public was bang on in its assessment of the lightly-raced youngster. Purchased by Baillargeon and partners Nunzio & Santo Vena for $45,000 from the 2014 January Select Mixed Sale at The Meadowlands, Ideal Shadow appeared to barely break a sweat in what was just his second lifetime start. After making a break and failing to crack the top three in his first lifetime start on January 18 for former trainer Erv Miller, the three-year-old son of American Ideal-Shadow Baby cruised to an easy win by lengths in 1:54.3. Mario Baillargeon got away third with the new recruit, and the pacer maintained that position to the quarter pole before brushing his way to the lead in the backstretch. He cleared to the top without a tussle and successfully chopped out panels of :57.4 and 1:26.2 before using a :28.1 closing quarter to win by a pair of lengths in 1:54.3. Monday’s 11-race card also saw pacer All Chrome extend his personal winning streak to six thanks to a 1:54.4 score in come-from-behind fashion for the tandem of driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Corey Johnson. Filion got away fifth with the five-year-old son of Tell All-Ever Western before advancing the gelding on the rim in the middle stages of the mile. The 4-5 favourite then used a :28.4 final frame to prevail by a half-length margin over Canbec Kingkazimir, with third prize going to Rock N Go. Brian Paquet of Quebec owns the photogenic pacer who is now three-for-three this season after having gone 4-for-12 last year. The 10-time winner pushed his lifetime earnings over $50,000 with the victory. To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Standardbred Canada has announced the winners of the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the event, the annual Black Tie Gala was held in Charlottetown, PEI, at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel and PEI Convention Centre. The awards are named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. O’Brien was born in Alberton, PEI. Bee A Magician who was perfect in her 2013 season, was the unanimous choice in the Three-Year -Old Trotting Filly division and was also voted Canada’s Horse of The Year. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her races last season and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore campaign. The daughter of Hall of Fame sire Kadabra took a mark of 1:51 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The invincible filly’s stakes victories included the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Sylvain Filion successfully defended his Driver of The Year title. In 2013 he led all reinsmen in the nation in terms of purse earnings, as his mounts banked $6,111,736. Filion finished as the leading money-winning driver on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk Racetrack and Woodbine Racetrack. The resident of Milton, Ont. earned the Lampman Cup for the second straight year, as he topped the Ontario Sires Stakes standings for drivers. Filion celebrated his richest win of the season while steering Boomboom Ballykeel to a 10-1 upset victory in the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Richard Moreau was voted Trainer of The Year following an impressive season that saw his stable win 279 races and earn $3,623,805 in purses. The resident of Puslinch, Ont. earned training titles across Ontario at Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Mohawk Racetrack, The Raceway at Western Fair District and Woodbine Racetrack. Moreau topped the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. The 2013 season marked the 14th consecutive year that his stable has surpassed the $1-million mark in purse earnings. Alberta’s Kelly Hoerdt won the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship. Hoerdt is a successful driver/trainer who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. The 2013 season was another productive year for Hoerdt, as he trained 82 winners and horses to $623,000, and drove 66 winners and horses that earned over $490,000. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in terms of earnings at Alberta Downs. His stable was led by sophomore pacing colt Premium Attaction, a multiple stakes winner that rattled off six wins in 11 races and over $111,000 Precocious Beauty was honoured as Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year. Precocious Beauty won seven of 11 races, $462,912 in purses and took a mark of 1:50.1 which tied a world record for a one-mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. The two-year-old pacing colt title went to Arthur Blue Chip, who scored six wins in 11 starts and bankrolled $400,120 for his connections. The son of Shadow Play took a mark of 1:51.2 in his Metro Pace elimination at Mohawk before being scratched ‘sick’ from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore in 2013 and added another O’Brien (Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year) to her trophy case. The talented filly boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner up finish in the American National. Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation took the hardware home as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of The Year. Vegas Vacation gave his connections the ride of a lifetime in 2013. Conditioned by Casie Coleman, the son of Bettors Delight put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 from 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses. He wheeled off victories in his first four races which included the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup. On September 19 he captured the Little Brown Jug in straight heats – both timed in 1:50. ‘Vegas’ finished his sophomore season with a win in the Matron Stakes to put his bankroll at just over $976,000. Anndrovette continued to dominate the pacing mare ranks in 2013, and, for the third consecutive year, was crowned Canada’s Older Pacing Mare of The Year. The daughter of Riverboat King was on the board in all but three of her 21 races. Some of her major wins included three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway along with the Roses Are Red and Breeders Crown eliminations. On July 20 at Mohawk Racetrack she captured the Roses Are Red final in a career best 1:48. The talented mare now has 35 lifetime wins and a career bankroll of almost $2.6 million. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again was voted Canada’s Older Pacing Horse of The Year. Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season, as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final, as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final for his third straight million-dollar campaign. He entered the year within reach of the all-time earnings record for pacers, and he managed to obliterate that mark by adding $1.4 million to his bank account while visiting 11 different racetracks along the way. He closed the season by sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at the Meadowlands. Riveting Rosie was the winner in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Riveting Rosie closed out her rookie campaign with six wins in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Her major victories included the Peaceful Way Final, her Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain Stakes. In the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division, it was Father Patrick who took the O’Brien trophy. He topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Series. Flanagan Memory was voted Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year after a productive season which saw him win seven of 11 races and $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning his Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Maven was voted Canada’s Older Trotting Mare of The Year. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She added wins in the Miss Versatility Trotting Series, an elimination and final of the Armbro Flight, and the Allerage. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her bankroll. For the second consecutive year, Mister Herbie captured the title as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse of The Year. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in stakes competition, including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067 in purses. Seelster Farms, of Lucan, Ont. was honoured as the Armstrong Breeder of The Year. In 2013, Seelster-bred horses scored 248 wins and $2.1 million in earnings. In the Future Star category, the winner of this first-time award was trainer/driver Travis Cullen. The 21-year-old Alberta-based horseman closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the final card of the meet while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. The complete list of winners follows. 2013 O’BRIEN AWARD WINNERS PACERS Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer - Precocious Beauty owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Arthur Blue Chip owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer - I Luv The Nitelife owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Vegas Vacation owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON Older Pacing Mare - Anndrovette owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Older Pacing Horse - Foiled Again owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL TROTTERS Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Riveting Rosie owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Father Patrick owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Bee A Magician owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Flanagan Memory owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Older Trotting Mare - Maven owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL Older Trotting Horse - Mister Herbie owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY PEOPLE AWARDS O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Armstrong Breeder of The Year Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON Driver of The Year Sylvain Filion, Milton, ON Trainer of The Year Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB STANDARDBRED CANADA MEDIA EXCELLENCE AWARDS The Media Excellence Awards program, established by Standardbred Canada in 2008, is aimed at honouring exceptional work that covers Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal. Outstanding Written Work Paul Delean ’Reaching Improbable Heights’ 'Reaching Improbable Heights', written by Paul Delean, was published in the December, 2012 issue of Trot Magazine. It tells the story of trotter Intimidate’s incredible journey from obscurity to harness racing’s biggest stage and the ride of a lifetime that two smalltime owners from Quebec are still pinching themselves over. Outstanding Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group North America Cup HD Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group’s North America Cup broadcast aired across Canada on The Score television network on Saturday, June 26, 2013. The one-hour special of the $1-million North America Cup was the first live high definition broadcast of a standardbred race in Canada. The show featured live race coverage of the main event, a feature on Marvin Katz (co-owner of eventual winner Captaintreacherous) and a profile of a very special racing fan – Sydney Weaver. The broadcast was a production of WEG’s broadcast department, produced by Rob Platts and directed by Kris Platts. Outstanding Photography Clive Cohen Clive Cohen captured the sunset behind trainer Rene Dion warming up Ocean Mist Beauty on September 19, 2013 at Mohawk Racetrack. The image was published on WEG’s Facebook page later that night. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Libertys Best Star notched his fifth straight victory on Friday at Woodbine Racetrack with a tough front-end effort in the evening's seventh race. Sent postward as the 5-2 favourite in the full field of $8,000 claiming pacers, Libertys Best Star ($7.10) front-stepped his way to a 1:54.2 victory with Jonathan Drury in the sulky. The 35-time career winner prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Duke Did It (Chris Christoforou) in 1:54.2 with a from-last First Impression (Sylvain Filion) closing for third-place honours. The six-year-old son of Cammibest is now six-for-seven this year. He was claimed for $5,000 two starts ago on Jan. 26 at Flamboro Downs by Jonah Moase of Cornwall, P.E.I. and is trained by Thomas Riley. Drury, who won four times on Friday's 11-race card, also teamed up with Riley to win the third race aboard Mopey Corey. His other winners were Rock N Roll Xample for trainer Shawn Robinson and Laneside Lexus for conditioner Corey Johnson. To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca