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The NSW Standardbred Owners Association in conjunction with participating race clubs and HRNSW will once again conduct the NSWSOA Bonus Scheme during 2014. The conditions are the same as last year's series and are as follows: 1. To be eligible for the NSWSOA Bonus Scheme, the Managing Owner of the winning horse must be a financial member of the NSWSOA at acceptance time for the nominated event; 2. To qualify for the NSW Breeders Challenge component of the bonus as sponsored by HRNSW: a) Condition 1 must be met; b) any 2yo or 3yo winner must have sustained their eligibility this season; c) any 4yo or older winner must have sustained their eligibility as a 2yo and/or 3yo. Eligible winners will win the following cash prizes: 1. NSWSOA Bonus - if the Managing Owner is a financial Member of the NSWSOA, the NSWSOA will contribute $250, the Club will contribute $250; 2. HRNSW Bonus - if the horse is sustained or was sustained for the NSW Breeders Challenge, HRNSW will contribute $500. The total bonus payable per race is $1,000 and there is no limit on how many races individual horses can win in the Scheme. The race date schedule is as follows and the NSWSOA Bonus is applicable to every programmed event: Metro Hunter Western Districts South West & Riverina Menangle 10 June Newcastle 18 July Parkes 28 June Wagga 27 June Penrith 10 July   Dubbo 20 July Young 27 July Bankstown 28 August   Bathurst 20 August     Membership forms may be downloaded from the NSWSOA website www.nswsoa.org.au Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Nick Surick, the leading harness racing trainer at Freehold Raceway, did not have a racing background when he became a horseman. All Nick knew was he wanted to be a part of harness racing industry any way possible. As of the 22nd of May, Nick leads as the top trainer at Freehold Raceway with 26 wins out of 118 starts resulting in $86,000 in total purse winnings for 2014. "I have no horse racing background whatsoever" says Nick. "I actually grew up in Freehold, NJ and I lived about five minutes away from Freehold Raceway which was a ten minute bike ride. I used ride my bike to the track to watch the races as a kid." Nick credits his mom, Debbie, for always supporting him. "Through the bad times she helped me, good or bad she always stood behind me. She always wanted me to be happy" says Nick. His parents divorced right around the time Nick was getting into the harness racing industry and it must have been difficult for him, for anyone in that position. What originally drew Nick to the track was the gambling component. Nick's father, Kevin, helped introduce Nick to this unhealthy lifestyle due to the fact that Nick's father had substance abuse issues and was a known gambler. "I was a gambler; I was actually thrown out of a lot of tracks for underage gambling. My father was an alcoholic and a degenerate gambler." Nick admits. "I was more hooked that way more than anything. Aside from the gambling back then, I think the horse itself intrigued me and I liked the animal so much that it was good for me. " "I really wasn't the best student when it came to school." Nick explains, "I really couldn't care less about school. I dropped out of my second year in college so I could train full time when I got the opportunity from one of my big owners, Howard Schneidler. It all came together at the right time. "Once I learned the backside to horse racing, that's when I lost the itch for gambling. It was about growing up, maturing and getting smarter." Nick says. "Now that I was physically with the horse, gambling was not an issue anymore." The fact Nick was able to break away and cut the cord, so to speak, speaks volumes. Once Nick established himself as a horseman, it came to the point where Nick's father was constantly causing Nick problems at the Raceway and in life as a whole. "He caused me a lot of headaches at the track" Nick says about his father. "With me training horses, it wasn't good for him. He started making things up, telling people to bet horses (based) on what I said which are things I never said. If I talk to him a couple times a year, that's a lot. He was hurting my livelihood. "I had to take a step back, even though he's my dad I had to cut him out." Nick admits. "I had to think about my future and hopefully I have a lot of years ahead of me. "Drug and alcohol abuse made him a person he wasn't." Nick continues, "He was nasty to people... when you're under the influence you become a different person." The best piece of advice Nick ever received was from Richard Annunziata and it was about Nick ensuring he surrounds himself with good people. "He told me this when I was 16 and I am 26 now but I still remember it" says Nick. "Surround yourself with successful people; surround yourself with people that are better than you.... If you surround yourself with bad apples, that's who you're going to be. "That's what I did" says Nick. "I cut out all of the bad people from my life. The people who were bringing me down." Once Nick graduated from high school, he admits he changed lives. Nick did a 180 degree turn to better his life and to develop into a better person. Was it easy? That's tough to say as everyone deals with changes in their own manner but knowing that change is needed and working towards that is a task in itself. What Nick did is commendable, not many people can switch 'tracks' in life and to do so at a young and impressionable age is astounding. When Nick got started, he first worked for fellow trainer Eric Abbatiello. "I never had anyone behind me to push me, I did it all on my own." After working with Eric Abbatiello, Nick and his (now former) partner Anna Glide joined forces. "We worked together for four or five years and the business grew together between us" Nick explains. "We went from two horses to thirty five horses almost overnight. "When it comes to owners, I am happy with who I have," Nick says. Once Nick finds people he is comfortable with and who he believes has a good heart, Nick is content and doesn't go looking for more. It's about quality, not quantity for Nick. "I've learned a lot from Erv Miller... like who to accept in your barn." Nick states. "My girlfriend Hannah is his daughter." Working with Erv, Nick says "I've learned to individualize each horse. Treating each horse as their own... treat each horse as a separate entity." "Anytime I need any advice, I can pick up the phone and call Erv," says Nick. "He has one of the best managed barns I've ever seen. His memory is unbelievable!" Nick is open when he admits he doesn't like change, right now he's very happy residing near Freehold Raceway and all the major tracks are within driving distance. "Right now I take it one day at a time" says Nick when asked about what the future may hold for him. "I'm comfortable with my 30 to 40 horse barn." When it comes to Pacers or Trotters, hands down Nick prefers the Pacers. "I just haven't had any luck with the Trotters" laughs Nick. Nick pulls double duty at Freehold Raceway where he drives as well. Nick only plans on driving at Freehold Raceway and admits it's a lot of fun. Nick considers driving more of a hobby compared to training which is his passion. Nick believes the harness racing industry is headed in the proper direction by pushing to have the major races showcased on National TV. "We need a lot more one on one interaction with the drivers, trainers and the public." Nick says. Nick credits the success of his barn to his employees, the second trainers, the grooms and most importantly his owners. "I'm nothing without them and their financial backing" Nick states. "I've got great people behind me; I've got to give them credit. Nick Surick can't take care of 35- 40 horses, it takes a team. There's no magic, its teamwork." Roderick Balgobin's column will appear weekly on Harnesslink. You can contact him at rod.balgobin @supernovasportsclub.com or Twitter: ScSupernova        

Lovers of the squaregaiter will be enthralled by Wednesday’s meeting at Maryborough – home of The Redwood, when six of the nine races on the program are for trotters.  With Redwood Day (July 20) not all that far away, the program will feature four races for the Two Year Olds – two heats for Fillies and Two for the Colts & Geldings of the $10,325 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic over 1690 metres, with some beautifully bred youngsters facing the starter for the first time.  No doubt connections will be eagerly looking forward to participating in the big race should they perform admirably.   Heats of the $7,505 Glenferrie Farm Sweetheart Trotters Mobile for four and five year olds - T0 Only and T1 to T3 class over 2190 metres will also be an attraction on the day.  The T1 to T3 class sees Dizzyinterest, Pride Of Sundon, Frances Annie, Rosemma and I Dreamt It all do battle in an interesting contest which is race eight on the program – last leg of the Quaddie.  Racing commences at 12.22pm.  At Ballarat on Wednesday evening, race seven – the Brett Knight Pace for C6 & C7 class over 2200 metres which is the third leg of the Quaddie and second leg of the Daily Double highlight’s the meeting.  Here we see a clash of the Emma Stewart pair Johnny Quid and Hes Kinky doing battle against former stablemate Fearless Leader and Andy Gath’s Quadentate, plus Narra Operative which returned to form when a huge second at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday.  By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)  

Over a hundred runners, walkers and striders hit the Meadowlands Racetrack under partly sunny and breezy skies this afternoon in the 5th annual Stride For A Cure at the E. Rutherford oval.   The winning time of 19:39 was set by Mike Favocci of Hawthorne, NJ. The 24-year-old medical supply distributor broke from the start and never looked back to complete 3.1 mile course faster than the rest.   Several prominent people from inside the harness industry participated in the event, as well as several people with close ties to the Meadowlands. Director of Television/Announcer Sam McKee entered the event as did both his daughters, Lindsey and Melissa, who finished 1-2 respectively, in the women's group. Lindsey a former M1 publicity department employee, finished the race 2nd overall in just over 20 minutes.   Along the race route, Rudy Maag, long-time M1 stall man could be seen keeping pace with stakes administrator Andrea Caswell. Carrie Davies-Gooch from the Hambletonian Society made her second appearance in the event. Bob Boni, well-known horse sales agent and owner of Northwood Bloodstock was also keeping the pace.   Kids as young as four-years-old participated in the event, as well as adults in their 60s.   The event was founded by Meadowlands track photographer Michael Lisa and his wife, Annette, a breast cancer survivor. Runners and walkers, who paid a $25 entry fee which benefits the American Cancer Society, enjoyed their chance to trot around the racetrack before the horses take the stage for tonight's big card featuring the $175,000 Cutler Memorial. Billed as a 'Clash of the Titans' the race features a match-up between local hero Market Share and Swedish star Sebastian K.   by Chris Tully, for Harnesslink  

Westfield, IN- May 15th is the deadline to apply for the Harness Horse Youth Foundation summer programs. Complete 2014 schedule information, along with applications for the Foundation's Youth Camps, and one- and two-day introductory events, is available at http://www.hhyf.org/schedule-applications. HHYF's popular overnight youth camps, for students 12-14, will be held June 21-25 at Harrington, in Delaware; July 14-18 at Vernon Downs in New York; and July 21-25 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, in Pennsylvania. These camps culminate with a driving exhibition on Hambletonan Day at The meadowlands on August 2. These camps feature hands-on experience, including driving, using the organization's stable of Trottingbred horses. The HHYF Leadership camp at Goshen New York is full and closed. Week-long camp fees are just $150, including lodging, meals and all materials. Fees are not due until registration. Shorter introductory programs for children ages 11 and up are scheduled for Ocean Downs in Maryland on June 27; Cumberland, Maine on June 30, July 1 and 3 (separate programs); Cornish, Maine on July 2; Gaitway Farms in New Jersey on July 30-31; and at Scioto Downs in Ohio on August 5. Registration fees for one day programs are $25 and include lunch and all materials. Fees may be paid at registration. "Our sponsors help us keep our fees quite reasonable compared to other camps," says HHYF project manager Keith Gisser. "I don't think there's a youth equine program anywhere that gives you more bang for your buck. Regardless of cost there is no better way to introduce youngsters to the business and sport of harness racing. Remember applications need to be postmarked by May 15." The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org. For more information on this press release, contact Keith Gisser, hhyfkeith@earthlink.net or 216-374-1392. From HHYF    

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – Come this Sunday, May 4, track management at the Hippodrome 3R will be more than ready for an exciting new season of harness racing action and the fans and horsemen are in for a great meet. Boasting the revival of the Prix D’Ete stakes race with $250,000 in purses, a 50% increase in total purses over 2013, simulcasting of the entire race meet throughout North America in both French and English, a newly designed and easy access website plus exciting new promotions and special events throughout the race meet all adds up to a great start in 2014. “We have been planning and looking forward to this day since our meet closed last year,” said 3R general manager Vincent Trudel. “It is very exciting and our goal is to make the Hippodrome 3R race season something that everyone will take part in and enjoy. “The renewal of the Prix D’Ete stake on Sunday, September 21 will be the highlight of the new meet.” Trudel explained. “The $200,000 final and $50,000 consolation races make this the richest stakes race in North America for four-year-olds pacers this year. Already we have nine of the top ten money winning horses from last year nominated to the race. We have added a special Saturday afternoon race card so that we will have a Prix D’Ete weekend of special events and top racing action.” For the first time since the Quebec Jockey Club took over Hippodrome 3R, the entire race meet will be simulcast to racetracks, betting parlors and ADW’s (advance deposit wagering online sites). In what is being billed as an industry first, the track will have parallel race calls: one in French and one in English. The French call, by track announcer Guy Lafontaine, will be carried at the track and on its simulcasting network in Québec. The English call will be by veteran announcer Jean Desautels, who pioneered the bilingual race call at Blue Bonnets until it closed in 2008. His call will be carried on the HorsePlayer Interactive website and at simulcast locations outside Québec that will be carrying the Hippodrome 3R races this year. Québec Jockey Club manager Vincent Trudel said he called on Desautels because reaching an English-speaking audience is important to the track`s overall growth plan. To date, 93 simulcast sites across Canada have signed on to take the Hippodrome 3R races this season. “The simulcasting of our race meet is an expensive but needed avenue for Hippodrome 3R,” Trudel said. “In order for us to expand our product, grow revenue and create interest in our superb racing product we must have full card simulcasting of our races. We will be offering players throughout North America a great show with full fields of competitive racing. “Last year our average win price was $10.83 per race,” Trudel explained. “Our average starters per race were 8.01, which is excellent for a half mile track. And our racing surface is one of the best half miles in the sport with well banked turns that the horses will fly around. I know this season the all-age track record of 1:52.4 will be surpassed!” The Quebec Jockey Club recently released its redesigned website, www.quebecjockeyclub.com, which now features everything a patron or horsemen needs to know about the track. “This was quite an undertaking,” Trudel explained, “As we must do everything in both French and English, but our staff outdid themselves with the new website. Everyone should take time to check it out and see the great photograph section too that really tells about what a good time people can have at Hippodrome 3R. We are still working out some of the details with the website as it is a work in progress.” During the season the Quebec-bred Sire Stakes program will be in full swing with rich events for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers throughout the season, culminating with the $500,000 finals on Sunday, September 7. “Since the Quebec Jockey Club took over Hippodrome 3R,” Trudel said, “The breeding program in Quebec has grown and improved. Our Quebecbreds are becoming much more competitive in the racing world and we look for great improvements with our young horses this year.” The Hippodrome 3R meet will take place every Sunday afternoon with a 1:00 pm post. Tuesday evening racing with post time at 7:00 pm gets underway May 27. The only changes in the race schedule is that there will be no racing on Sunday, August 10 or Tuesday, August 12 and there will be a special Saturday afternoon live race program September 20 as part of the Prix D’Ete weekend. “We hope that everyone will come out this season and enjoy our great racing program and Québécois hospitality,” Trudel said. “There are no finer vacation and tourism areas in the Quebec region than Trois-Rivieres, Montreal and Quebec City during the summer and fall months.” From the Quebec Jockey Club

Muscle Beachboy (Somebeachsomewhere) became the fifth horse to win the Open Pace in five seasonal Opens at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Tracy Brainard-trained pacer went out to the early lead and had to withstand sizzling fractions on a chilly Saturday night before having plenty left in the stretch. Dan Cappello Jr piloted Muscle Beachboy to the 1:54.2, a win time that matched the fastest of the young season at the Spa. Spinarama (Austin Siegelman) finished second in the $18,190 feature while Village Jackson (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Muscle Beachboy, the race’s morning line favorite, returned $8.40 to win. By Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

I recently penned a piece in the Atlantic Post Calls, the premier Maritime racing paper on looking ahead to the 2014 and looking for positives for racing in New Brunswick. While it was a challenge in compiling positive information without a one thing to focus on, one thing became clear. New Brunswick horse racing, and some involved, feel the only hope is a change in government in 2014. This fall, the New Brunswick electorate will have the chance to choose four more years of the Alward Tories, or take a change on a new young politician in Brian Gallant to lead the province. While there are three other options in N.B when it comes to official parties, I would be shocked to see anything but a Red/ Blue party again leading the province. So where does that leave harness racing? From everyone I have contacted, it seems to be a growing agreement that a change to a Liberal government is the only hope. As many are aware, the gov't opted out of the five-year deadline to support racing any further. It was the Shawn Graham led Liberals, who then had Mike Murphy in cabinet who is a horse owner and breeder that struck the deal when in power. Graham was turfed out after only one term and then it was up to the industry to keep things flowing with the Tories led by Alward and Finance Minister Blaine Higgs, a rookie cabinet choice with experience with the Irving Empire. It was no secret when the Tories took over that the province was in a dismal state of finance and it was up to Higgs and the new caucus to reign in spending, and horse racing was one area that was cut. There was even talk of a lawsuit by Horse Racing New Brunswick against the gov't for a breach of contract and a feasibility study was done, reportedly just to pacify the industry. Many insiders say the study was never going to amount to anything and was nothing more than a stall tactic. Also, there has been talk that gov't is not interested in dealing with H.R.N.B the way it is set-up now. So, it appears that the industry leaders in the province will do all they can to keep racing going this spring with approx. 23-24 dates in total. They will wait and see how the election of 2014 turns out and take it from there. Politics- they play a part in just about everything, including harness racing. Let's hope something can be done to keep the tradition of N.B racing alive but it may rest, as I mentioned, all up to politics. Scary. By Scott Waddell, for New Brunswick Horse Racing. Contact Scott at swaddell12@gmail.com

The 2014 stake schedules for both Balmoral and Maywood Park have been released by racing secretary Doc Narotsky. The action kicks off at Balmoral on March 29th with the Taurus Bomber Stake for Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing colts. Maywood’s stake season gets underway on Friday, April 11th with sophomore pacing colts slugging it out in the Sportsmaster Stake. The first “major” state-bred stake of the season will be contested on Sunday, May 18th with three-year-old pacing fillies squaring off in the $45,000 Violet Stake at Balmoral. There will also be Violet and Cardinal Stakes for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters on Sunday, May 25th, Wednesday, May 28th, and Saturday, May 31st at Balmoral Park. Maywood’s first big event of the season will be the $100,000 Filly Maywood Pace for ICF three-year-old fillies on Friday, June 13th.  The $100,000 Maywood Pace for ICF sophomore pacing colts will be held the following Friday, June 20th. . The first Hanover Stakes of the season at Balmoral Park will feature a pair of events for three-year-old trotters on Saturday, June 7th.    The Southland Festival of Racing will provide a weekend filled with state-bred action at Balmoral on Saturday, July 26th and Sunday, July 27th with pacers and trotters squaring off in $50,000 battles like the Mini Me Stake, Loyal Opposition Stake, Incredible Finale Stake, Ann Vonian Stake, Kadabra Stake, Fox Valley Evita Stake, Fox Valley Flan Stake and Plesac Stake. A pair of $50,000 Hanover’s for two-year-old colt and filly pacers are scheduled for Saturday, August 2nd at the Crete oval while a pair of $60,000 events for freshmen trotters will be contested on Sunday, August 3rd. Balmoral will also play host to Illinois’ biggest night of racing, Super Night, on Saturday, Sept. 13th.  As always, the state’s top pacers and trotters will be on display as they battle for more than $1 million in purse money. The prestigious American National’s kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 17th with a pair of $90,000 trotting stakes for two-year-olds. October will be a busy month for the youngsters as the $100,000 Lady Lincoln Stake for two-year-old trotting fillies takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 1st while their male counterparts battle in the $100,000 Lincoln Land Stake on Sunday, Oct. 5th Balmoral Park. Maywood will also host the $60,000 Cardinal and Violet Stakes for two-year-old colt and filly pacers on Friday, Oct. 3rd. If the last few years were any indication of things to come then racing fans throughout the country will want to circle Saturday, Oct. 11th and Friday, Oct. 17th, on their calendars as some of North America’s best pacers and trotters are expected to visit the Chicagoland area as Grand Circuit action comes to town. Balmoral Park will play host to the $250,000 three-year-old colt pace, $225,00 American National three-year-old colt trot, $200,000 American National Aged Pace, $180,000 aged trot, $175,000 American National three-year-old filly pace, $150,000 three-year-old filly trot, $125,000 two-year-old colt pace and $125,000 two-year-old filly pace approximately one month earlier than in recent years.    Maywood’s biggest card of the season is just six days later on Friday, Oct. 17th with the $225,000 Windy City Pace for three-year-old pacing colts, the $130,000 Abe Lincoln Stake for two-year-old pacing colts, the $110,00 Galt Trot for three-year-old trotting colts and the $100,000 Cinderella Stake for three-year-old pacing fillies sharing the spotlight. The $30,000 Associates-McKeever Stake for ICF pacers is also scheduled for that same night. Below is a complete list of both tracks entire stake schedules. All purse values are estimated. Date       Day Track A-S-G ICF Name Est Purse 3/29/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Taurus Bomber 10,000 4/5/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Song Cycle 17,000 4/5/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Direct Balance 10,000 4/11/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Sportsmaster 10,000 4/13/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Trotting Tilly 10,000 4/16/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Speedy Rodney 10,000 4/18/2014 Fri May 3fp ICF Desperate Lady 10,000 4/26/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Rambling Willie 17,000 4/26/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 4/27/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Koochie 10,000 4/30/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Iggy Magoo 10,000 5/2/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Taser Gun 10,000 5/3/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Betzotic 10,000 5/11/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Violet Eliminations 10,000 5/11/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Betzotic 10,000 5/14/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 5/16/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Gosox 10,000 5/18/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Violet 45,000 5/18/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Violet Eliminations 10,000 5/21/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Cardinal Eliminations 10,000 5/24/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Cardinal Eliminations 10,000 5/25/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Violet 40,000 5/28/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Cardinal 40,000 5/31/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Cardinal 45,000 6/1/2014 Sun Bal 2cp ICF Jimmy Sunshine 5,000 6/4/2014 Wed Bal 2fp ICF Egyptian Grande 5,000 6/5/2014 Thur May 3fp ICF Filly Maywood Pace Elim 10,000 6/7/2014 Sat Bal 3ct Hanover 35,000 6/7/2014 Sat Bal 3ft Hanover 35,000 6/8/2014 Sun Bal 2cp ICF Bingo Johnnie 5,000 6/11/2014 Wed Bal 2fp ICF Misty Misty Misty 5,000 6/13/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Maywood Pace Elim 10,000 6/13/2014 Fri May 3fp ICF Filly Maywood Pace 100,000 6/14/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Broadway Preview 30,000 6/14/2014 Sat Bal 3ct ICF Southern Rocketop 10,000 6/15/2014 Sun Bal 2cp ICF Wicked Brew 10,000 6/15/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Million Dollar Bye 5,000 6/18/2014 Wed Bal 2fp ICF Incredible Tillie 10,000 6/18/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Star Slinger 5,000 6/20/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Maywood Pace 100,000 6/21/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Sue Fee 20,000 6/22/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Betzotic 10,000 6/25/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 6/26/2014 Thur May 2fp ICF Juxtaposition 10,000 6/27/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Enzo The Baker 10,000 6/28/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 6/29/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Mystical Victress 10,000 7/2/2014 Wed Bal 3ft ICF Sorce Ann 10,000 7/4/2014 Fri May 3+p ICF Cook County 30,000 7/5/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Hot Head 10,000 7/5/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Ohyouprettything 10,000 7/6/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Vaporize 10,000 7/9/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Psychic Spirit 10,000 7/9/2014 Wed Bal 3ft ICF Fox Valley Diva 10,000 7/10/2014 Thur May 2fp ICF My Metallica 10,000 7/11/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Fox Valley Barzgar 10,000 7/12/2014 Sat Bal 3cp Hanover 45,000 7/12/2014 Sat Bal 3fp Hanover 40,000 7/13/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Brandenburg 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Mini Me Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Loyal Opposition Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Incredible Finale Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat/Sun Bal 3ct ICF Kadabra Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat/Sun Bal 3fp ICF Ann Vonian Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat/Sun Bal 3ft ICF Fox Valley Evita Elim 10,000 7/20/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Plesac Eliminations 10,000 7/20/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Fox Valley Flan Elim 10,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Mini Me 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Loyal Opposition 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Incredible Finale 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 3ct ICF Kadabra 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Ann Vonian 50,000 7/27/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Fox Valley Evita 50,000 7/27/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Plesac 50,000 7/27/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Fox Valley Flan 50,000 8/2/2014 Sat Bal 2cp Hanover 50,000 8/2/2014 Sat Bal 2fp Hanover 50,000 8/3/2014 Sun Bal 2ct Hanover 60,000 8/3/2014 Sun Bal 2ft Hanover 60,000 8/3/2014 Sun Bal 3+T ICF Mikes A Mystery 25,000 8/16/2014 Sat Bal 3+P ICF Big Tom 40,000 8/16/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Parklane Powerful 40,000 8/29/2014 Fri May 3+p ICF Egyptian 30,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Orange & Blue Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Filly O&B Eliminations 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat/Sn Bal 3+p ICF Tony Maurello Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Pete Langley Mem Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Grandma Ann Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat/Sn Bal f&m p ICF Lorna Propes Elim 15,000 9/7/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Su Mac Lad Elim 15,000 9/7/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Lady Ann Reed Elim 15,000 9/10/2014 Wed Bal 2ct American National Elim 15,000 9/10/2014 Wed Bal 2ft American National Elim 15,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Orange & Blue Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Orange & Blue 250,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Filly O&B Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Filly O&B 225,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Tony Maurello Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Tony Maurello 115,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Pete Langley Mem Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Pete Langley Mem 170,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3ct ICF Su Mac Lad 100,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Grandma Ann Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Grandma Ann 170,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3ft ICF Lady Ann Reed 100,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Lorna Propes Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Lorna Propes 115,000 9/14/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Su Mac Lad Cons 25,000Date Day Track A-S-G ICF Name Est Purse 9/14/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Lady Ann Reed Cons 25,000 9/17/2014 Wed Bal 2ct American National 90,000 9/17/2014 Wed Bal 2ft American National 90,000 9/20/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Yates Eagle 15,000 9/20/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Thrifty Way 15,000 9/24/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Lady Lincoln Land Elim 15,000 9/26/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Cardinal Elim 10,000 9/26/2014 Fri May 2fp ICF Violet Elim 10,000 9/27/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Bye Bye Byrd 15,000 9/28/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Lincoln Land Elim 15,000 9/28/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Direct Dottie 15,000 10/1/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Lady Lincoln Land Cons 25,000 10/1/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Lady Lincoln Land 100,000 10/1/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Betzotic 10,000 10/3/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Cardinal 50,000 10/3/2014 Fri May 2fp ICF Violet 60,000 10/5/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Lincoln Land 100,000 10/5/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Lincoln Land Cons 25,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 2cp American National 125,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 2fp American National 125,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3cp American National 250,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3ct American National 225,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3fp American National 175,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3ft American National 150,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal ap American National 200,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal at American National 180,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 2cp Abe Lincoln 130,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3+p ICF Associates-McKeever 30,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3cp Windy City Pace 225,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3ct Galt 110,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3fp Cinderella 100,000 10/18/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Beecher 10,000 10/19/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Violet Elim 10,000 10/22/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Cardinal Elim 10,000 10/26/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Violet 40,000 10/26/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 10/29/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Cardinal 40,000 10/30/2014 Thur May 3ft ICF Speed N The Tunnel 10,000 10/31/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 10/31/2014 Fri May 3fp ICF Giggles The Clown 10,000 11/1/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Crete 10,000 11/2/2014 Sun Bal 2fp ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/2/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Monee 10,000 11/5/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/6/2014 Thur May 3ct ICF Lifes A Holiday 10,000 11/14/2014 Thur May 3fp ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/15/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/21/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Cole Muffler 10,000 11/22/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Fox Valley Memory 15,000 by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral & Maywood Park

Taylor Spitzig, 23, of Courtright, Ont., celebrated her first ever career win, as a trainer, this past Tuesday at The Raceway at Western Fair District, In London, Ont.. Taylor is the owner and trainer of Windwood Nick who would roll gate-to-wire at 11/1 for driver Lorne House in 2:00 flat.   When asked about her background in racing, she says she’s been involved her whole life. “My dad (Rusty) has always had horses and back before harness racing was popular he was racing ponies in Sarnia and in Indiana, Michagan and Ohio,” shes says. “As a young child I’d bring my colouring books to the track - while my dad drove or looked after the horses we had racing that night. I was ten when I picked up my groom’s license just so I could actually be in the paddock with my dad.” “Dad has been my biggest influence, but I also look at trainer Casie Coleman and the success she has had in the business,” continued Spitzig. “Not only is she the top female trainer, but she’s a top trainer in a male dominated industry.” Together with her dad, the Spitzigs look after sixteen horses  - a mixture of race horses, two-year-olds, yearlings, broodmares and retired horses. “I have a two-year-old of my own that I’m getting ready for O.S.S. action this year - Casimir Ozzy aka Ozzy - and then I’m training two Dontgetinmyway two-year-olds to go back to Indiana for their sire stakes this summer,” she explains. “Some other ‘project’ horses I have are my two three-year-olds and my old trotter Twin B Rawley. I’m hoping to have those three qualified by mid-April.” Going into Tuesday’s race with Winwood Nick, Taylor said there was no need to be any more confident about her chances of winning. “Whenever I am confident it seems to backfire on me... All I said to Lorne (House), before the race, was - I hope ‘Woody’ has his game face on... I figured I was good enough for a cheque but not the win. Being in against my dad’s horse (Birkdale) and my pet, I was just hoping they could both finish in the money - which they did!” When asked if she had purchased a win ticket on Winwood Nick, for that first training win, Taylor was quick to admit that she’s very superstitious. “No I didn’t have a ticket on him,” she says. “I won’t bet my horses... I won’t Tweet about them or go on Facebook to talk about them until after they race. I feel like I jinx them when I do any of that,” she continued. “You may just see me in the same jeans, tank, sweater and sneakers next time ‘Woody’ is in to race because that’s how superstitious I am!” Here’s Taylor describing the feeling of watching and winning her first race... “When they got past the half and ‘Woody’ was still on top – the excitement started to kick in... I was yelling at the top of my lungs from the fence hoping he would keep going. I don’t even remember seeing the finish I was just way too excited. And then I questioned myself thinking he may have got nipped at the wire - because it was close - but then I heard Brad in the starting car say ‘test the winner #3’ and I started walking to the winner's circle with probably the biggest, goofiest, smile on my face ever. All the guys going out to warm up horses kept congratulating me... It felt amazing! All I could think was 'I finally won my first race!’ and that smile hasn’t left my face yet... My dad keeps teasing me - asking how many copies of the win photo I'm going to have made.” by Shannon "Sugar" Doyle, for the Raceway

Just when we thought it was going to get a little easier to get a handle on formlines, so the V75 shows you just why this is the best multi-race betting system in the world. While we got 2 legs home, we sat by as favourite after favourite got rolled as Sanity didn’t prevail and outsiders including a $50/1 longshot and two paying in the high teens came in. And the lucky punter who  chose the seven winning horses correctly walked off with 613,588.60 EUR ($845,437). And just to make it a little tougher, this week the V75 shifts to Norway for one of those occasional joint V75s, this one coinciding with a Norway versus Sweden apprentice drivers challenge. The Norwegian breeding programme is nowhere near as strong as Sweden’s and so the racing in one of Europe’s richest nations is heavily influenced by imports from not only its bigger neighbour but also Italy and the United States. Several prominent Danish trainers such as Bo Westerdaard, Flemming Jensen and Jeppe Juel  also make a living racing their second-string  horses  between Denmark and Norway while the top ones foot it in Sweden. And like Finland, coldblood trotters make up nearly half of the racing stock, which adds another bit of spice into the handicapping stew – although there is only one coldblood race in the V75. So what is the strategy? Does the horses for courses theory favour local runners or  do, Swedish raiders have the tougher racing so are basically dropping back in grade here? They certainly cleaned up in France which should be much tougher.  Or shall we go with the early tote, which to be frank hasn’t been that reliable lately as a guide to the “smart” money. Decisions, decisions. At least the French racing has a bit more familiarity to it, we've been following most of these horses over winter. Anyhoo here goes.   V75-1 Silver division   2140m: The Swedish-breds  Your Highness (12), Jaguar Broline (1), Stormysky (3) and Burning Line Gral (6) are the logical picks. Looking for an outsider, and there is a US-bred locally trained runner with three wins in her last five starts who might figure, so I’ve taken Cantabharmony (5).  Selection  12-1-3-6-5 V75-2 Klass I   1640m:  Ulf Ohlen’s  Pedro Bi (1) has had three Sovalla wins in his last five starts while Flemming Jensen’s Roxy Hill (2) won at Aby last start. From these draws, they look the two to beat. As Elvis had it,  1 for the money and 2 for the show. Selection  1 (2) V75-3 Dack Partner Bil-Vulkan loppet (mares)  2140m: Italian-bred Nalda Nof (5) has won group two races in Italy and Norway and been placed in the same class in France where she was trained for a while. Now with Marcus Lindgren in Halmstad, she looks a class above these, this is her second start back from a decent spell and has the brilliant Swedish driver Bjorn Goop in the cart. That makes her an anchor.   Selection  5 V75-4 Östfoldpokalen    2140m: Coldblood race where Gylden Balder (13)  and Timian Scott (15) are the heavy early favourites. They’ll do me in the dartboard selection of the mix. Selection  13 (15) V75-5 Klass II  2640m: A lot of recent winners in this, so it’s a matter of sifting through who they beat and where. Flemming Jensen has another consistent performer here in Solo Nolo (12)  off the wide second draw, Reims Gasti (5) has three recent Solvalla wins,  while Spirit (2) has won three races in a row, at Aby, Sweden  and two in Denmark. This is wide open, with many chances but we’ll stick with these three.  Selection  12-5-2 V75-6 Steinlagers Hederslopp (Gold)  1640m: This has been a tough meeting to find bankers, but I was really impressed with  Francais du Gull   (1) last time out. He might not be in the class of Mr Picolet or Beanie MM, the last two winners of this race, but from this draw he should get to the front, and he is definitely good enough to win from there.  Selection:   1 V75-7 Bronze division  2140m: Another toughie with More Than Enough (1), KLM Buymethemoon (6), Huge Star (10) who all have strong Swedish form looking the strongest suspects. We need an outsider somewhere and Vacqueryas (8) is due a change of form, and this might be an easier race than he has been in for a while.   Selection   1-6-10-8 R4    Prix Louis Forcinal (Group 2) monte 2700m: This looks a match race between the two best monte horses of their generations, Ulysse (8) and Vision Intense (9). Normally I would choose the older horse over the younger and the stallion over the mare, which in both cases favour Ulysse, but Vision Intense is something special and mares hold their own under saddle more than in the bike. So it’s Vision Intense for me. R8    Prix Robert Auvray (Group 2) 2850m: A very competitive race with plenty of form to consider. Jean Etienne Dubois’ Villeroi (8) has won his last two starts,  but is trailing the early favouritism to Viking de Val (9) while the Jean-Michel Bazire factor is behind  the 4 horse Varade d’Hermine’s short price (5/2). Jean Phillippe Dubois has three entries but I’m leaning towards Voltigeur de Myrt (10), the Criterium des 4 Ans winner who was a gallant sixth in the Prix de Selection in a joint equal fastest time  under handicap, (1.11.1 or 1.54.2MR/2200m) which was his new record. That indicates to me a horse at the top of his game, and there are no others in this field that fronted in that prestigious  group one.  So Voltigeur de Myrt for me. TOTAL COMBINATIONS 60 – Cost $5, +1 alternate $10, + 2 alternate $20 Also here are my win wagers from Momarken and Vincennes. SINGLE WAGERS  $2 MOMARKEN Race 5  Your Highness (12), Race 6  Pedro Bi (1) Race 7  Nalda Nof (5) Race 8  Gylden Balder (13)   Race 9  Solo Nolo (12)   Race 10  Francais du Gull   (1)  Race 11 Vacqueryas (8) VINCENNES Race 4 Vision Intense (9) Race 8 Voltigeur de Myrt (10)

It is common practice in France, but standing a stallion at stud while pursuing an active racing career is a rarity in the United States. So when Deo Volente Farms in Flemington, New Jersey decided to stand their $2.2 million trotting star Wishing Stone at stud while also continuing his track career, it sent a buzz of excitement through the industry. Keeping stars racing is a proven formula for maintaining the public interest in Europe, and of course Wishing Stone himself has already proven himself highly competitive on both sides of the ditch, even more so considering his European sojourn was conducted when he was just four and five-years-old, a mere baby in European terms. And the news that he will also be available to European breeders has been warmly received – he has been oversubscribed already in Europe for services for the upcoming season – aware as they are that many of the top sires in Europe have competed successfully as an aged horse there – with Scarlet Knight and SJ’s Photo prime examples. “Wishing Stone brings to breeders, durability and longevity.   An exceptional colt and aged performer, it is likely his offspring will inherit those qualities,” says Sue Agopian, managing partner at Deo Volente Farms. Wishing Stone certainly ticks all the boxes as a potential stallion, a world record holder with major wins in four countries, the United States, France, Sweden and Denmark – he also competed in some of the very best races in Europe –where only the elite are invited. In France they pay down to seventh, and a placing in a group one event is the equivalent of a black type credential, with many going on to successful stud careers simply with the words classique or semi-classique on their CV. It showed they were good enough to race against the very best. Take Wishing Stone’s seventh placing in the 2011 Prix de France, one of the French Triple Crowns, the absolute jewels in the sparkling European circuit where the royally-bred French, Swedish and Italian elite race The winner of the Prix de France in 2011 was none other than Ready Cash, the greatest horse of a great generation in France. A dual Prix d’Amerique winner and winner of last year’s Masters du Trot grand final, he retired last month as the richest trotter in history with earnings of 4,282,300 euros (US $5,953,675).  . Second was Maharajah, the greatest horse that Sweden has produced in decades and the winner of this year’s Prix d’Amerique, while third was Lana Del Rio, a multiple Group One winning Italian millionaire mare, who beat the boys in Italy’s richest race, the Italian Derby. Fifth was Olga du Bewitz who retired as the twelfth richest horse of all time in France, and the best of her generation with wins in the world championship of saddle racing, the Prix du Cornulier and under harness a win in the Prix de Bretagne and a third placing in the Prix d’Amerique. These races mean little to American breeders, but mean plenty to those in Europe and again Wishing Stone appeared in this blue ribbon event as a 4YO, which is incredibly young in European terms. Wishing Stone not only competed against the best trotters in the world on their own turf, he won several of their biggest races. When he came from an almost impossible position, with a withering sprint to win the Copenhagen Cup, he ran down Quarcio du Chene, a Group One winner (Finlandia-Ajo) and one of Sweden’s best aged performers, with Group Two victories in France, Norway and Sweden. In the process he also beat the German sensation Brioni , the winner of the Elitloppet and Olympiatravet – the two biggest open Group One races in Sweden, and French star, and popular stallion Oynonnax (who won the Prix d’Amerique) and also another brilliant French horse Rapide Lebel, the greatest gelding of the R generation who was second in the Elitloppet by a whisker and earned 2.5 million euros. When Wishing Stone won the Group One King Gustav Pokal, he beat Kadet C.D and Raja Mirchi, two of the brightest young stars in Sweden and when he won the Grand Prix de Sud-Ouest in France, he beat Premiere Steed  a multiple Group One winner, who won the prestigious French Prix Rene Balliere and Finland’s prestigious St Michel Ajo. In the USA he is a world record holder at 6 in 1:51.2f beating Uncle Peter,  Arch Madness and Market Share. As a 5YO he was winner of the Maxie Lee in 2013 (again over Uncle Peter) and before he left for his two-year-stint in Europe he was a top colt, winning the 2010 Kentucky Futurity in straight heats with a final time of 1:51.2. The same year he won the Matron, the American National and was third in the Hambletonian. Wishing Stone was also a winner as a 2YO with victories in the International Stallion Stake, the Bluegrass Stakes, and the NYSS at Monticello.  He has a super pedigree, especially for Europe, being the best son of Conway Hall, who is the brother of four successful stallions in Europe and closely related to several more. Wishing Stone is out of the super broodmare Meadowbranch Magic, a $330,000 yearling and the granddaughter of $1.1 Million winning Davidia Hanover. Wishing Stone’s full brother, Make It Happen, nearly a $1 million winner, has become a sought after stallion in Europe after producing two near Swedish  millionaires from his first crop including TravKrterium (Sweden’s top 3YO race)  second place finisher Final Oak.  Wishing Stone is also a sibling of three other $100,000 winners, which is always a great guide to prepotency. His durability says volumes for his physique and conformation and he is blessed with a perfect gait, which is a necessity for competition in France, where rough gaits lead to disqualifications. He has a wide-striding front action which will remind Swedes of the likes of Maharajah, the winner of this year’s Prix d’Amerique. With services to stallions in Europe heavily regulated, his popularity already is such that he is over-subscribed for his first season, for which he is in Maryland at SBS for frozen semen collection serving the non-US market.  He is to be distributed through Offspring Management in Sweden, Allevamenti Toniatti sas in Italy, ENS Snapshot in Denmark and Stallions Australasia  for Australia and New Zealand. “We plan to bring him home to New Jersey at Deo Volente Farms this week to serve the US breeding market,” says Sue Agopian.  “We will be breeding the mare Yalta Hanover dam of horse of the month Perfect Alliance to Wishing Stone this year. “He will continue breeding and start jogging and training at the training facility few miles from our farm and will be racing come summer. Breeding is part of his daily life, when we need to serve the US breeders we will bring him to the farm for collection.” Wishing Stone  will be breeding until June and his immediate racing programme is likely to  be focused on the the U.S looking towards the Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown. However, the Copenhagen Cup & TVG trot are also on the future agenda.  “Our strategy is for him to have a global career. With Ron [Burke] as his trainer we have all the confidence that he will have a well rounded global career,” says Sue Agopian.  There are no plans for how long  Wishing Stone can continue combining a race career and breeding, it is common in Europe for racing stallions to continue until nine and ten if their form holds up, Ready Cash a great example, retiring recently at nine, just as his first progeny were cleaning up group races in France.  “He will tell us how long to continue breeding and racing him.  He had an exceptional season at age 6 setting world records in the process.. As long as he is able to compete at that lofty level, we will breed and race. He has a phenomenal legacy and we want to make sure it remains that way!” By David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com

DOVER, Del. ---- Bestofthebunch and Thetruthaboutdavid, both were beaten favorites last time out, head separate Delaware $9,500 3,4&5-Year-Old Male pace divisions on Sunday, March 16 at Dover Downs. After winning two of three 2014 starts, Bestofthebunch, who was beaten by a neck last week and in both of his recent starts, must overcome starting for post 8 in the nine-horse field of younger horses. Ron Pierce will drive for trainer Trish Foulk and owner Foulk Stables. Two of the gelding's rivals won last time out; Jeff Franklin and LeBlanc Racing's Reindance with Ross Wolfenden, the only other three-year-old in the lineup, and Brenda Teague's Sink The McBismark, handled by Montrell Teague. Trainer Lauren Allen's Public Enemy, reined by Vic Kirby, heads the opposition. In the other 3,4&5-year-old section, George Teague's Thetruthaboutdavid (M.Teague), a two-time winner this year and beaten favorite last start, drew the rail, with his expected stiffest opponents starting alongside; Louis Catana's Pantheon Seelster (Jonathan Roberts), Lauren Allen's On The Horizon (Wolfenden) and William Moffett Inc.'s Leyden (Allan Davis), from posts 2,3 and 4 respectively. Driver Jack Parker and Carol Parker's Suits and Arty Foster Jr.'s Champion's Club (Trace Tetrick) have upset credentials. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs

Alberta's Kelly Hoerdt, co-owner and developer of the undefeated top harness racing colt, National Debt, announced tonight that his next race will be in the Diplomat at Woodbine Entertainment & Gaming in Toronto on April 26th.   It was expected that his next race would have been in the Bobby Weiss at Pocono Downs. The first leg of the Diplomat on April 26th goes for $20,000. The second leg on May 3rd goes for $20,000, and the final on May 10th for $50,000. The Diplomat is for three-year-old colts that are non-winners of $100.000 in 2013.   "The schedule was going to be tight," Hoerdt said. "The Bobby Weiss Final was only a week away from the start of the Diplomat. The Diplomat goes for a little bit more money. We were deciding between the Diplomat and The Simpson at the Meadowlands for his next start. He needs to be up there anyway as he has the Somebeachsomewhere and the North America Cup after that at Woodbine.   "We are going to give him  a little time off," Hoerdt explained. "He is going to go in the care of Bob Young in Ontario. He is going to look after him for a month or so. We will qualify him around the 19th of April.   "We were estatic after winning the Buddy Gimour Final the other night," Hoerdt said. "Timmy ( Tetrick ) gave Ron Coyne a great report on the horse after the race.  Ronnie said he was fully recovered when he got back to the winner's circle. Ronnie said he was real happy with the way he came out of the race. Ron Coyne is going to be his trainer for the whole three-year-old campaign."   by Brian McEvoy, for Harnesslink.com

"I just try to put the horses in the best spot and usually when you put them in the best spot they can do it from there.” A month into his return from hip surgery, driver Tim Tetrick is eyeing two big races Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack, not to mention another career milestone. Tetrick, who was last season’s Driver of the Year as voted upon by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, will take the lines behind National Debt in Saturday’s $60,500 Buddy Gilmour Memorial Series final for three-year-old male pacers and Ray Hall in the $53,200 Charles Singer Memorial final for trotters. In addition, the 32-year-old Illinois native is 10 wins from 8,000 lifetime victories. When he reaches that mark, he will become the youngest driver in harness racing history to do so. Walter Case, Jr. holds the record, having notched win No. 8,000 at the age of 37 in 1998. “That’s a huge number,” said Tetrick, who became the youngest driver to reach 7,000 wins in May 2012. “I’ve been very fortunate. I never dreamed something like that could happen when I started out, but I’m glad it did. The main thing is just trying to do the best I can for all the clients that trust me with their horses." Tetrick, who also was USHWA’s Driver of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2012, ranks No. 25 on the all-time list for wins. He has led the sport in purses for each of the past seven years and ranks No. 7 in career earnings, with $141 million. Only Billy Haughton won more consecutive purse titles, with eight straight from 1952-59. In December, Tetrick had surgery on his left hip, which sidelined him until Feb. 5. He has won 24 of 163 starts since his return and is getting more comfortable every day. “When I first came back I felt out of shape; it was like starting something all over again,” said Tetrick, who has suffered from a degenerative hip condition since childhood and had surgery on his right hip in 2008. “I can understand why horses don’t win right off the bat. “It took some time to get my legs back under me, but I feel good now. The muscles are getting stronger and I’m pretty much pain free.” Tetrick will drive for his biggest purses since his return when he races Saturday night at the Meadowlands. National Debt won his only start this season, drawing off for a three length win over Dinner At The Met in 1:50.3 in the first leg of the Gilmour Series on Feb. 22. The colt was unbeaten in four starts in Alberta last year, when he was trained and driven by co-owner Kelly Hoerdt. Hoerdt, who received the 2013 O’Brien Award of Horsemanship, sent the horse to trainer Ron Coyne, Jr. to race at the Meadowlands. The horse is staked to all the major races for three-year-old pacers. “He’s got a lot of pressure on him now,” Tetrick said about National Debt, “but he impressed me very much. When I qualified him I thought he was a nice colt, but I didn’t know he was going to go in 1:50. When he got out there under the lights, he turned it on and he did it real handy. I moved with him at the half and he brushed and crushed. He’s got a big motor.” National Debt, who starts from post one, will be challenged by eight rivals, including Dinner At The Met and Capital Account. The Erv Miller-trained Dinner At The Met has won four of five starts this year and the Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account has captured three of four races. Ray Hall, out of the stable of trainer Mark Harder, faces two horses that are unbeaten this year in the Singer. Time To Quit has gone five-for-five and Perfect Alliance is four-for-four. Ray Hall, who has won two of six races, finished second to Perfect Alliance in his two preliminary legs of the Singer. “My horse has done nothing wrong at this point, he just ran up against the standout of the series,” Tetrick said. “Perfect Alliance is definitely the one to beat, but I like (Ray Hall). Hopefully in the final he can be right there and get a good piece of it.” From Harness Racing Communications

After looking back at the results from last month’s Yearling Sales, it’s not surprising to see that Mark Purdon and Robert Dunn are the country’s leading trainers. Purdon, along with his formidable band of owners, purchased approximately 22 yearlings for costs of around $1,066,000 at the New Zealand Sales, while Dunn and clients acquired roughly 12 yearlings spending around $500,000. Purdon and Dalgety were also active at the Australian APG Sales. Which raises the question, how can the small compete? Don’t get me wrong, Purdon, Dunn, and all of their brilliant owners are great for this industry and deserve and earn all the success that they get. But in a few years is it going to be Purdon, Dunn, and Dalgety racing each other? Now that is something that wouldn’t be good for the industry at all. Mark Jones, who is in no way, shape, or form, a “small trainer” says that if he wasn’t a ‘seller’ he would struggle to survive, which makes you think.  How does everyone else fear? “I don’t have the numbers of Purdon or Dunn so I survive by selling, but I am worried that the majority of the people in the game won’t be able to survive as it is simply getting too tough,” said Jones. “I’m one of the lucky ones, but it’s becoming increasingly hard for young and small trainers to compete and unless stakes go up their chances of staying in this industry are very grim which is very bad for the future of the sport.” “I believe it is up to clubs, especially Addington, to up stakes as owners need to race for more money.” Jones also believes that HRNZ could cut a lot of costs and direct that money into the stakes. “And we need more races for the poorer horses, so they have a chance to earn,” he added. “I also think we need training centres to give young enthusiast somewhere to start from as no young trainer can afford their own property,” Jones suggested. “It’s very hard for young people to get backers, as owners are a dying breed, especially in the Auckland region.” “The way things are going it won’t be long before the big stables are racing each other,” he concluded. So, “How can the small compete?” – It’s something worth pondering over anyway. Perhaps it could be ‘The Big Question’ on The Box Seat? Or would that mean that they were just trying to ‘Keep Up With The Joneses’? By Mitchell Robertson

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