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When we last raced at The Raceway - we did so without harness racing fans, spectators and horseplayers on track, but they were still with us - cheering, watching and playing - somewhere… Whether it was through HPI, TVG, an OTB or tuning in online for our live video feed - we’ve always appreciated the strong presence of our off-track crowd.  Meet one of our biggest off-track racing fans Andrew Herpy, 53, of Dayton, Ohio… First introduced to thoroughbred racing, as a child, he really enjoyed those majestic animals, but he quickly fell in love with harness racing because those horses raced more frequently and he got to know them better. “After a while, I didn’t even need to look at a program - to know who they were - their characteristics told me who they were… For example their colour, gait, head and just the way they went over the track - I just knew who they were. At the end of the day, though, I have a deep respect for all breeds of horses.” Herpy describes himself as ‘the biggest horse race fan in the world’ and he still remembers when and where it all began… “I was just six years old, at River Downs, near Cincinnati, Ohio… My family had box seats and dad would put me on his shoulders so I could see the stretch runs. Looking back I can still remember a turf race - with the bright colours of the jockey silks - contrasting against the lush green grass - the excitement of the crowd… I was hooked right then and there!” He’s been the fan, the player, the online supporter for horse racing, but he does feel that someday there could be more… “I’ve always wanted to be a part of racing, but I’ve never owned or raced horses… Many times, I’ve thought, that there’s likely more for me in this business - we’ll have to see. I still have a lot of friends that race and I do enjoy giving them my best wishes and cheering them on whenever they’re in to go.” Favourite harness horse(s) past and present? “Artsplace period,” states Herpy. “He was prolific on the racetrack and legendary in the breeding shed. It also helped that he was trained by Gene Reigle - who happened to be from Greenville, Ohio - which was very close to my parents’ house. I used to ride my bike to go see him (Artsplace) when he was there. It wouldn’t have been too many times though - he was a busy horse back then… He was amazing!” And then came simulcast racing… “I gained an interest in Canadian harness racing about twenty years ago through Woodbine and Mohawk,” Herpy explains “When I lived in Ohio, we were likely one of the last places to bring in simulcasting, of other tracks, from across North America. We started going to Hoosier Park for both live racing and simulcasting - this would’ve been when I was first introduced to some of the other tracks in Canada. It opened up a whole new racing world for me.” Favourites at The Raceway, for Herpy, past and present… “My favourite horse is easy - it’s Blue Moose all the way - he’s so honest… And for drivers it’s Trevor Henry - before he moved on, to the big track, he dominated Western Fair. He’s aggressive, but has a great sense of pace. I knew he’d make his way to Woodbine and he’s done great there too. I’ve loved all the aspects of racing at Western Fair.” As a horseplayer Herpy enjoys chasing after the PICK 4 plays in London… “I had a great run with them last year, cashing eight in a row - some were big and some were small… I remember playing a PICK 4 ticket, there, six years ago and getting back almost $2,000 with a 19/1 single to complete it. The ticket cost just $3.60 - so that’d be my best score ever in London.” Trevor Henry With there being zero harness racing action, currently in North America, what’s been keeping this die-hard racing enthusiast occupied? “Over the past five years, or so, I’ve really been interested in bloodlines,” says Herpy. “So I’ve now been dragging out my sales/auction books every day and reviewing every page. That definitely keeps me busy. You can likely tell, by now, that I have a great passion for the sport. I’ve always wanted to be more involved somehow and maybe I’ll get that chance to bring it to another level at some point - I would really like to be an advocate for the sport on any level. Time will tell and I have lots of it!” And now it appears we’re running out of time and track for this ‘big race fan’ - final words Andrew… “I would just like to extend my best wishes to all horsemen and women, across the world, during this tough time… One of my best friends, Jeremy Day from Daydream Racing, has a two-year-old trotter in training - Muscles Frankee - a well-bred Southwind Frank colt… I’ll wish him and all the connections good luck. Here’s hoping we get to see that colt and all the other harness horses in action soon!” Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle The Raceway at Western Fair District

Stienam's Place retired from racing at age 4 following a Dan Patch Award-winning career. Now, at the age of 25, she is retired again, this time following a broodmare career that landed her in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Barry Guariglia, whose Green Mountain Farms shares ownership of Stienam's Place with Kentuckiana Farms, said the mare would sell her final foal during next week's opening session of the Lexington Selected Sale. Twenty-four years ago, Guariglia and his racing partners, Peter Goulazian and James Greenwald, purchased Stienam's Place under the name Tranquil Sands for $62,000 at the Kentucky Standardbred Sale. "She's officially retired and will stay at Kentuckiana for the rest of her life," Guariglia said about Stienam's Place, who was the sport's Dan Patch Award winning 3-year-old filly pacer in 1997 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. "She's done well and gone a long time. It's time for her to just relax, eat some grass, and run around." Stienam's Place was from the first crop of Artsplace and the first foal out of Stienam's Girl. Her second dam, Stienam, was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3 in 1985. Bruce Riegle trained Stienam's Place and Jack Moiseyev handled the driving in all but several races. For her career, she won 18 of 31 races and earned $1.40 million. Her top win at age 2 came in the Sweetheart; at 3, her triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Jugette, Glen Garnsey, Helen Dancer, and Matron. She won 14 of the final 15 starts of her campaign. She raced once at 4, suffered a severe bone bruise, and was retired. As a broodmare, Stienam's Place has produced 10 horses to reach the races, totaling 108 wins and $4.67 million in purses. First foal Donkeys Can Talk was a Kentucky Sire Stakes champion, but her greatest successes came during the second half of her career as a mom. The filly Showherthemoney was a world-record-setting stakes-winner at age 3 whose victories included the Jugette, Nadia Lobell, Matron, Glen Garnsey and Miss New Jersey. She won 19 of 54 races and $871,161 lifetime. At the same time Showherthemoney was enjoying her big 3-year-old campaign in 2009, 2-year-old filly Put On A Show burst on the scene by winning seven of nine races, including the She's A Great Lady. The following season, she received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old filly pacer, with wins including the Breeders Crown, Nadia Lobell, and Valley Forge. She finished her career with 31 wins in 50 starts and $2.40 million. Two of Put On A Show's offspring have gone on to be stakes-winners, Come See The Show and Meadowlands Pace champion Best In Show. Following Showherthemoney and Put On A Show, Stienam's Place produced three more horses to earn six figures in purses: Good Day Mate ($597,623), Rockstar Stride ($173,240), and The Show Returns ($377,327). "She's had a big impact," Guariglia said. "It took her a while to hit, but with her pedigree and performance as a racehorse, we kind of figured it was just a matter of time before she clicked. Sure enough, she did. "As a racehorse, she was a little ornery in the stall. Bruce had to keep her with a goat (named Bunny) to keep her calmed down. It worked for her. As a broodmare, she's been a perfect lady." Guariglia, whose top horses since Stienam's Place include Dan Patch Award-winning trotter Manchego, said he always enjoyed following the horses produced by Stienam's Place. Her final foal, a colt by Somebeachsomewhere, is named Ponzu. He is hip number 62 and will sell on Oct. 1 at the Lexington Selected Sale. "Some people say, why did you sell Put On A Show?" Guariglia said, adding with a laugh, "Well, first of all, if I knew she was going to make $2.4 million, maybe I wouldn't have. But I wish people the best luck and I want to see them do well. People have a weird angle on that stuff; it doesn't bother me at all. I enjoy watching (her offspring). Absolutely. It's kind of neat. "She was my first great horse. She was good on the track and great in the shed. All the way around, it was a great experience." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

At his peak he was a mighty colt the equal of any and Guaranteed’s owners are hopeful their Group 1 harness racing champ will continue to make waves in the trots in retirement. Pasco Keep, who co-owns the Emma Stewart-trained horse with Mark Thompson, said connections drew the curtain on the seven-year-old’s career after his latest disappointing attempt to return to racing. Before the 2015 A. G. Hunter Cup, which Guaranteed started a $6.80 chance amid favourites Adore Me, Christen Me and eventual winner Arden Rooney, his 37 starts had produced 24 wins including 12 triumphs at Group level. With four Group 1s to his credit – a SA Cup, Chariots Of Fire and Vicbred two and three-year-old wins – the world was at his feet, and then a suspensory injury was discovered, prompting a 19-month lay-off and a sequence of stuttering campaigns. “He struggled since he had the injury,” Mr Keep said. “We kept hoping he was going to come back, but at that age he kept getting other injuries as well. “We all decided if he wasn’t going good (last Saturday) would be the last run for him.” It’s a decision made with a heavy heart. “To win $800,000-plus was an incredible feat,” Mr Keep said. “He was a champion two-year-old and a champion three-year-old, and then won the Chariots Of Fire as a four-year-old and was flying until he broke down as a five-year-old. “The Chariots Of Fire was unbelievable. They told me you couldn’t win three-wide at Menangle, but he lobbed three-wide and won and broke the class record.” The 1:50.4 mile rate delivered Guaranteed his greatest stakes win and remains a valuable mark for a potential stud career, in addition to a family line that includes renowned sire Artsplace and dam Jadah Rose. “Artsplace is a super seller,” Mr Keep said. “He’s got the temperament, the stamina and the speed and ticks all the boxes. “If you have a hard look at it, Jadah Rose’s grand dam (Toast To Missy) is American, so these are internationally bred horses. “When he first broke down a lot of the studs were interested, but we were just trying to get him back to racing. Now the new breeding season is coming around and we will be in talks with stud masters and are hopeful he will have a stud career.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Veteran harness racing pacer Paradise Willie (Artsplace) set a lifetime mark on Thursday night in a low level condition race at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Why is this noteworthy? Paradise Willie is a thirteen year old pacer who was making his 357th lifetime start on Thursday. Trained throughout his career by Simone Noud, Paradise Willie has been a fixture at Spa for better than a decade. Competing in a $4,280 conditional pace with Billy Dobson in the sulky on Thursday, Paradise Willie moved out to the early lead and broke away from his rivals while sprinting through a third quarter of 27.4. The "senior citizen" pacer scored by almost eight lengths in 1:53.2, the fastest time of his long career. Paradise Willie's previous mark of 1:53.3 was set at Vernon Downs on their 7/8 mile track ten years ago as a three year old. Paradise Willie, who now has career earnings of over $275,000, has raced almost all of his lifetime starts at Saratoga and is now the fastest 13 year old pacer to ever race at the track after his dominant Thursday score. Live racing continues on Friday at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Batavia, NY---Trainer John Sullivan is a regular at the Meadows Racetrack. But the Rochester, NY native visited his old stomping grounds on Saturday night (Aug. 6) and left with the winner's share of the $10,000 purse after winning the Open pace at Batavia Downs with his classy harness racing veteran, Sam Hill. If the race were a fight, they would have called it early after Kevin Cummings left with Sam Hill and put local top side-wheeler Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) in his place when he tried to leave against him. From there, Sam Hill called all the shots. Sam Hill led and Fireyourguns was sitting second when they passed the half in :56.3, then Whosurpal (Todd Cummings) joined the party when he pulled from fifth and tried to challenge. But the best he could do was get within a loose length of the leader in the :28.3 third panel. From there Kevin Cummings gave Sam Hill his head and he powered away to an easy two-length victory in 1:53.3. The time was the fastest pace of the 2016 meet to date. It was the fifth win in 15 starts for Sam Hill ($5.10) and it pushed his earnings to $55,100 for the year. The 10-year-old Artsplace gelding now has 44 wins and $478,767 lifetime. Sam Hill is owned by Don Tiger. In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, the red hot Jim Graham Stable saw Closing Credits ($8.70) add to their win total as the 6-year-old Rambaran gelding went wire to wire in 1:54.3 for driver Dave McNeight III. Closing Credits is owned by his trainer and the Cybo Stable Inc. Drivers Dave McNeight III and Jack Flanigen both scored triples on the card, as did trainers Jim Graham and JD Perrin. Flanigen and Perrin teamed up to win the last three races of the night. Racing resumes on Sunday Afternoon (Aug. 7) at Batavia Downs at 1:15 p.m. when the NYSS 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings invade the Genesee County oval to compete for $119,300 in purses.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Harness racing driver George Dennis picked right up where he left off last week at Dover Downs when he drove 14 wins in four days, driving three winners including Springforth in the $24,000 Mares Open pace. With a post position other than outside in his last four outings, Dennis left quickly and then turned back an effort by $1-million winner Sassa Hanover, driven by Ross Wolfenden, on the backstretch to pull off with a :27.2 final quarter for a personal record 1:51.4 triumph in the week's top distaff event. Jeff Clark owns and trains the Artsplace-Spring Morning six-year-old who wins for the second time this year along with four seconds and two thirds. She has won $$52,920 in 2016. It was her 18th career win good for $368,474 earnings. Empress Deo and Allan Davis closed strongly to finish second in front of Sassa Hanover. KDK Standardbreds' Apple Bottom Jean, winner of both the Dover Downs and Harrington $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) finals raced off to another big start chalking up an impressive 1:53.3 victory in the first of two $20,000 1st leg preliminaries for three-year-old filly pacers. Montrell Teague steered the black daughter of Mr. Apples-Scylla Hanover to her sixth career win in seven starts for trainer Kevin Switzer. Eternal Ring (Jonathan Roberts) was second best with Mortgage Bags (Eddie Dennis) third. Use Your Noodle pulled a mild surprise in the second $20,000 test. The Artzina-Gophobia brown filly defeated freshman defending champ Delle Donne (Callahan) in 1:53.3. The win was the first of the campaign for Use Your Noodle and fourth in her career with six seconds. Jim Morand drove the win for trainer Les Givens and owners Henry Faragalli III, Feeney, Johnson and Nanticoke Racing. Delle Donne, who had a perfect three-for-three wins going-in, finished second. She's Brilliant (Davis) was the show horse. Vic Kirby drove Cougar Creek to victory in 1:53.4 in the third $20,000 DSBF filly pace. Trained by Jim King for his wife JoAnn Looney-King, the Dream Away-Fire One Up filly won easily besting Fiftyshadesofrusty (G.Dennis) and Motel Molly (Wolfenden). The 2nd leg DSBF events will be held next Tuesday. In an $18,500 4&5-Year-Old Mares pace, Marigold Bloom got up in 1:53.3 for Corey Callahan's third win. Trish Foulk trains the Foulk Stables owned Artistic Fella-Classic move five-year-old who recorded her second straight victory. Little Sandyloan (Montrell Teague) finished second with Yanklet Hanover (Wolfenden) third. George Dennis and Corey Callahan had two winners each. Trainer Jim King and owner JoAnn Looney-King had doubles. Monday through Thursday racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Dover Downs is dark on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays When at the track, watch live races and enjoy dining in the Winners Circle Restaurant's acclaimed Harness Racing Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight at Dover Downs where there is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. - Marv Bachrad                                

Motherhood might not be in Aqua Artist's immediate future, but winning races is again part of her present. A 9-year-old female pacer, Aqua Artist was away from the races for 19 months as her owners tried to get her in foal. The attempts were unsuccessful, so Aqua Artist returned to the track in October. And last Friday, she won the Fillies & Mares Open at Miami Valley Raceway --- nearly two years to the day from the date of her most recent triumph at that level of harness racing competition. Aqua Artist, bred and owned by Harold Lee Bauder, his father Harold L. Bauder, and friend Michael Dixon, has won 29 of 106 career races and earned $336,346. She won a Standardbred Stakes at age 2, but made only three starts as a 3-year-old because of an ankle injury. She bounced back to capture 19 of 76 starts over the next three years, with seven of the wins coming at the Invitational or Open levels. This year, Aqua Artist has won three of five races, with her first two victories of the season coming in conditioned races, and earned $22,500. She is racing again in the Fillies & Mares Open on Friday at Miami Valley. Trace Tetrick will drive for trainer Steve Bauder. "I think it took her some starts to get back tight and to her old form," said Harold Lee Bauder, who is Steve Bauder's cousin. "She sure has improved as the new year rolled around, that's for sure. We thought she would come back pretty good, but we didn't know how she would do competing against the open mares. The last race at Miami Valley, it was a really good group of mares that was in there. We were thinking maybe she would get a fourth or fifth, so it was a little bit of a surprise for us. "It looks like she's back to her old self. Maybe the two years off have helped her; she's a young 9. We're going to think about breeding her again, but she's racing pretty competitive so we're probably going to keep her on the track for now." The Bauders and Dixon raced Aqua Artist's mom, Aquatic Yankee. They purchased her for $3,000 at the Kentucky Standardbred Sale in 1997 and she went on to earn $751,230 as a stakes-winner and top-level Open competitor. Aquatic Yankee, a daughter of Cambest-Yankee Attraction, won Kentucky Sire Stakes races at ages 2 and 3 and finished second to Eternal Camnation in the 2001 Breeders Crown Mare Pace and second to French Panicure in the 2000 Lady Liberty. "I watched Cambest-(bred) fillies race in Lexington and I thought they were really good," Bauder said. "This was his second crop and (Aquatic Yankee) was the horse we picked out. I remember after we bought her, we went back to see her and the groom that took care of her at Yankeeland Farms said we got the steal of the sale; that this filly was really, really good. We won the sire stakes as a 2-year-old and the rest is history." The 57-year-old Bauder is from Delaware, Ohio, and got hooked on harness racing while showing livestock at the Delaware County Fair, which is home to pacing's prestigious Little Brown Jug. Bauder previously owned several Great Clips hair salons with friends and now is on the staff of the Delaware Area Career Center. Aquatic Yankee proved to be valuable beyond the racetrack for the Bauders and Dixon. In addition to Aqua Artist, her offspring include multiple-stakes winner Sectionline Yankee, who finished second in an elimination of the 2012 Jugette at the Delaware County Fair and was fifth in the final, Sectionline Aqua ($217,648 earned), Sectionlinefriskie ($144,818), and Fire On The Water (who the group sold as a yearling for $65,000 and has earned $410,982). Aqua Artist is a daughter of Artsplace, from the great sire's final crop. "I always wanted an Artsplace," Bauder said. "Fortunately, I got it just in time. "It's been a really good ride with (Aquatic Yankee) and a lot of fun with some of her horses that we kept," Bauder added. "It's just been a great family. I bought a farm here in Delaware and that family really helped pay for it. My dad is in his 80s now and they just enjoy watching them, and they enjoy this horse, Aqua Artist. It's just been great." Ken Weingartner A division of the U.S. Trotting Association  

Today's harness racing Australian Pacing Gold Sydney sale was slow to begin but eventually got going with a lot of the big players starting to get involved after the first thirty lots. One promient buyer who had kept his powder dry through the first half of the sale was the leading New Zealand trainer and yearling judge Mark Purdon who had several of his stable clients present in Sydney at Randwick today. That all changed when Lot 301 walked into the ring. Mark Purdon never needs much prompting to buy progeny by Bettor's Delight at the best of times but when you have a stunning filly like Lot 301 combined with a pedigree to die for meant she was always on Mark's radar. Lot 301 is the first foal from an unraced Artsplace daughter of Rye Hanover in Rockahula Baby. Rockahula Baby is a half sister to six winners including tomorrows Miracle Mile runner in Blazin Cullen 1:51.9 ($263,302) who Mark trained earlier in his career and the smart Rockin Roll Lad ($64,761) who also raced out of the All Stars barn during his career. The third dam is one of the all time great broodmares in Rich N Elegant who is an inductee into the USTA Hall Of Fame. The statistics of Rich N Elegant are mind blowing with three in 1:50, seven in 1:54, two $2,000,000 winners and five winners of $500,000 or more. Those winners include Rocknroll Hanover 1:48.3 ($2,754,000) and Royalflush Hanover 1:49.3 ($2,153,893) to name just two so you can see why Mark Purdon was hot on the filly. Their was spirited bidding from the time she walked into the ring and with long time stable clients Phil and Glenys Kennard in the action from the start, the filly was always heading back to the All Star barn at Rolleston in New Zealand. When the dust had settled, the Kennards had gone to $100,000 to secure the classy looking filly. The Kennards have a great record in there own right with their yearling sales purchasers and in Lot 301 they looked to have purchased another outstanding addition to their race team. For full details on Lot 301 click here. Harnesslink Media

Aqua Artist, the oldest mare in Friday night's $20,000 Open at Miami Valley Raceway at age nine, showed a group of talented and wealthy younger 'girls' that she can still get the job done. An aggressive drive by Trace Tetrick produced a 1:53 triumph for the harness racing daughter of Artsplace, her first tally in open company in almost two years. Owned her entire life by breeders Harold Lee Bauder, Michael Dixon and Harold L. Bauder, Aqua Artist now has 29 career victories in just 106 starts, good for $336,346 in earnings. Steve Bauder, who has managed the winner's entire career, raced her just ten times in 2015 with a single conditioned class win in 1:54.2 and earnings of just $7150. She has rebounded in 2016, however, with three wins in her first five starts good for $22,500 in seasonal bounty. Aqua Artist left alertly in her latest conquest, yielded to eventual runnerup Cast No Shadow (Tyler Smith) just past the quarter, then sat the pocket until shaking loose early in the stretch. Safe From Terror (Chris Page) raced first-over much of the way and held on for third in her first start after shipping north from Pompano Park and resting for a month. In total, the ten-horse field of open mares combined for 248 lifetime wins and over $2.8 million in earnings. While Aqua Artist was proving that age and experience can be important in harness racing, a driver two races sooner was displaying the value of youth on the other end of the spectrum. Hunter Myers turned 18 years old on February 16 and just ten days after becoming eligible to race at a pari-mutuel track he scored his first triumph, winning a claiming handicap race for $12,500 and $15,000 claiming mares in 1:55.4. In just his fifth commercial start, Myers guided Ride A Cowboy to a mild upset over A Little Starstruk (Tyler Smith) and E R Taylor (Jeremy Smith). The eight-year-old Bettor's Delight mare, owned by James Hess, now has 24 life tallies and surpassed the $200,000 earnings plateau with the win. While Hunter Myers couldn't race at Ohio's four commercial tracks until he turned 18, the native of Williamsport, Ohio, did get a heavy dose of seasoning on the Buckeye state's expansive county fairs circuit while ages 16 and 17. The promising reinsman visited 74 winner's circles at the fairs, from 382 starts, good for an impressive .355 UDRS. With statistics like those, before he barely needed to shave, its very likely there will be many more success stories to tell about Hunter during his promising future in racing. Gregg Keidel

One of the great differences that exist between the Thoroughbred Racing industry and the Harness Racing industry in New Zealand is the reluctance by the harness racing industry to use high profile New Zealanders who are heavily involved in harness racing in its promotion. With the recently completed Thoroughbred yearling sales still fresh in the memory, one couldn't help but notice the amount of main stream TV and newspaper coverage throughout the sales that was centered around the involvement of high profile sporting celebrities. Brendon McCullum and Richie McCaw were popping up all the time in coverage of the sales but they were just two of the many high profile people that the thoroughbred industry used to get that all important media coverage at their biggest time of the year. Harness racing on the other hand seems almost reluctant to use high profile sports people in the same way and it is something that we should really address as in the view of Harnesslink, we are missing a great promotional opportunity here. Mainstream media will cover our upcoming yearling sales but the amount of coverage will be guided in a lot of ways by how many human interest stories that have a wider public appeal they can report on. Brendon McCullum has been involved in harness racing for a long time now and is one obvious route we could go down but to us the involvement of the Whitelock brothers in harness racing presents a great opportunity to present harness racing to a wider mainstream audience. The family have been heavily involved in harness racing for generations and All Blacks such as Sam have helped out at the All Stars barn when learning about the game. The fact that the Whitlocks are seen as such great role models for aspiring rugby players in New Zealand is a big plus in the wider community. Braeside Lodge at Palmerston North, the boutique breeding establishment run by Braeden Whitelock and his wife Caroline is one of New Zealands most successful and they have had a presence at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale for several years now. This year is no exception where they have four yearlings entered and all from quality mares and all by leading sires. We found it hard to select one above the others but we took a real liking to Lot 61, Hicori after watching the video of him parading. A son of Mach Three, Hicori is typical of that stallions progeny and you would struggle to get a better maternal pedigree page than his one. The dam Paddy Brown 1:57.7 ($46,726) is a daughter of leading broodmare sire Christian Cullen and Hicori is just her second foal. The second dam Braeside Star 1:59.8 $(67,225) has left six winners from eight foals including such smart horses as Braeside Derby 1:54.2 ($160,784) and Ohoka's Artsplace 1:57.9 ($94,313) while her unraced Artsplace daughter Braeside Lady has already produced the champion three year old filly O Baby 1:54.8 ($391,273) The third dam is the champion broodmare Tuapeka Star so the pedigree page is as good as you will find in this years catalogue. Promotion of harness racing through people like Sam Whitelock and his wider rugby family is essential for the industry if harness racing is going to attract more widespread coverage in the main stream media. Harnesslink Media  

The headline above is a question that we here at Harnesslink get asked repeatedly in the weeks leading into the New Zealand and Australian harness racing yearling sales each year and this year has been no different. As we try to explain to people, everyone has a different view on what makes or breaks a pedigree and how their preference can be influenced by their opinion of the stallion and not the maternal family involved. We rarely find ourselves in full agreement with people on this matter which is not surprising when you consider the variety of bloodlines offered at New Zealand sales these days. We are never afraid to state our opinion and looking at this years catalogue we came to a decision pretty quickly and conclusively. Lot 460 at The New Zealand Premier Sale in Christchurch on behalf of Cavalla Bloodstock a filly named Pearl White has as good a pedigree page as you will find in any sales catalogue worldwide. She is a daughter of the champion sire Artsplace who has lifetime figures as a sire that are just mind blowing. *Total Stakes won worldwide of over $182,000,000 *18 $1,000,000 winners *468 $100,000 winners *48 in 1:50 or better Artsplace is now dominating the broodmare ranks in the same fashion with numbers that are hard to comprehend. *Total stakes worldwide of over $345,000,000 *11 $2,000,000 winners  *42 $1,000,000 winners *849 $100,000 winners *1452 in 1:55 or better Pearl White is a daughter of the very quick Western Hanover mare West End 1:52.4 ($139,346) who was stakes placed at three before being imported downunder by Cavalla Bloodstock. West End made a healthy $85,000 when sold at Harrisburg as a yearling The second dam of Pearl White is the Matt's Scooter mare Grand Lady who also went 1:52.8 on the way to earning $235,571 but it is in the breeding barn that she has established herself as one of the best broodmares anywhere in the world in the last twenty years with a string of outstanding progeny. One of the all time great racemares in Glowing Report 1:49.4 ($2,095,144) was the best of them and being by Artsplace, she is a three quarter sister to Pearl White. Another three of her progeny have broken the 1:50 mark and all of them were involved on the Grand Circuit in North America. *Perfect Union 1:49 ($723,598)  -  By The Panderosa *Urgent Action  1:49.6 ($699,700)  -  By Artsplace *Get It Now 1:49.8 ($406,984)  -  By Western Hanover Another three quarter sister to Pearl White in the Artsplace mare Must See 1:52 ($487,122) is the dam of the brilliant racehorse and now sire, Well Said 1:47.6 ($2,569,342). Yet another daughter in Subtle Charm 1:55.6 has already produced Jazz Band 1:51.4 ($407,084) and Scandalous Hanover 1:49.3 ($363,570) to just keep the roll going. So Pearl White is a three quarter sister to Glowing Report 1:49.4 ($2,095,144) and a three quarter sister to Must See 1:52.4 ($487,122), the dam of Well Said ($2,569, 342) It is a world class pedigree and convinced us very quickly to make Pearl White our selection for the best bred yearling at this years sale. To view the New Zealand Premier Sale catalogue click here. Harnesslink Media

It is that time of year when all the juveniles are starting to appear at harness racing trials and workouts and pundits such as Harnesslink are trying to find that extra smart two year old amongst the multitude of trialists. As we reported from the Cup trials earlier this year, we thought we saw a special talent in More The Better that day and nothing we have seen since has changed our mind about that. More The Better makes his debut at Auckland on Friday night in the first heat of the Young Gun series and they will know he is there for sure. Not a lot of the other southern trialists have really stood up and taken our eye to date but one that did make us sit up and take notice was Red Moon Rising at the Rangiora workouts on Tuesday. The colt by Artsplace was bred by Cavalla Bloodstock and was sold at last years New Zealand Premier Yearling sale for $38,000 to Gavin Smith. " I was very surprised I was able to buy him for that." " I was really taken by him as he is such a beautiful type of horse and I thought he would make a $100,000 being bred the way he is." " However for some reason being by Artsplace seemed to put people off him," Gavin told Harnesslink this week . The price was a bit of a surprise to to us as well as Red Moon Rising would have to rate as one of the best bred two year olds in the country. A son of Artsplace, his dam is the imported daughter of The Big Dog in Sirius Flight who won all her five lifetime starts and took a mark of 1:54.4. At stud Sirius Flight has already produced the very talented Timeless Perfection 1:56.9 (7 wins from 13 starts) and the outstanding Malak Uswaad 1:49.2 ($542,585) so she has made a great start as a broodmare. The grand dam of  Red Moon Rising is the former champion New Zealand filly Pacific Flight 1:51.2 ($562,345) who after dominating the New Zealand scene as a three year old, was sold to North America where she starred against the very best mares up there. Pacific Flight has left five winners to date including the very talented two and three year old Droppinthehammer 1:50.1 ($373,027) who ran third in both the $1,125,000 Metro Pace and the $500,000 Hoosier Cup. So this family is as good as it gets and we thought Red Moon Rising on breeding and type looked to be a horse with serious potential. Trainer Gavin Smith has taken his time with the two year old colt but thinks Red Moon Rising has the potential to be an elite level age group horse. " I have a lot of time for Red Moon Rising and think he could make a lovely late two year old." " He is such a laid  back horse and not a naturally zippy two year old like a lot of them are." " For that reason we thought we would miss the Young Guns Series with him and concentrate on some of the bigger races later in the season that are over a bit more ground," Gavin said. Red Moon Rising was having just his second look at a racetrack on Tuesday at Rangiora when he won his heat with a fair degree of authority. His closing sectionals of 57.8 and 28.6 without being asked for a serious effort were a pointer to his natural ability. " I put the blinds on him the other day which really sharpened him up from the week before and he won Tuesday's heat with a lot in hand."  " He has such a lot of bottom to him and I think he will make a great stayer later on." " He can have two weeks in the paddock now and then come back and get ready for the big two year old races later in the season," Gavin said. On his progress to date Red Moon Rising appears capable of making his mark in the feature two year old races this season. Harnesslink Media

DOVER, Del. --- Paradise Lost, overlooked at 34-1 after a victory last Tuesday, stormed from far back to win the $21,000 Mares Open Handicap in 1:52.1 on a longshot filled Tuesday, Dec.15th harness racing card at Dover Downs. Elliesjet N wins seventh straight. Red hot Allan Davis had a driving 'grand slam.' While Fashion Showdown (Ross Wolfenden) and Double Joy (Jim Morand) were battling on the front, Montrell Teague edged out from the back with Paradise Lost. On the final turn, still far behind, Teague moved the Artsplace-Loving Ideal eight-year-old into high gear and she rolled on to overtake the leaders and beat Montenegro (Brett Miller) to the wire for her fifth victory of the year. So in her return to top form after an injury last Spring, owner, trainer Bob Winkelman has nursed Paradise Lost back for five wins and $48,562 earnings this year and a $331,523 lifetime winner, Elliesjet N made her first start on this side of the Pacific a winning one on Oct. 13 a t Harrington Raceway, and in the six that followed including a 1:52.4 wire-to-wire victory in one of two $15,000 3,4&5-Year-Old Filly and Mare paces. Art Stafford Jr. drove the five-year-old black Jereme's Jet-Elle Mary Rose mare holding off a strong challenge from Girlofyourdreams, second the entire route, with a :27.2 final panelIn all seven of her U.S. starts she has had the lead after all quarters. Spedden, Evans, Nanticoke Racing and trainer Josh Parker own the winner of $36,750 since arriving. Who Dat Heather (Allan Davis) finished third. In the other $15,000 division. George Dennis piloted Fashion Rocker to victory in 1:53.2 For Blake Baker and Leah Messick, it was the sixth win of 2015 for the Rocknroll Hanover-Show Off three-year-old. Mildred's Button was runner-up with Freeding Frenzy (John MacKinnon) third. Allan Davis led the drivers with four wins. George Dennis has three, Tony Morgan, Corey Callahan, trainer Darrell Lewis and owner Leah Messick had doubles. WAR CRY HALL SEEKS SECOND STRAIGHT $20,000 DOVER OPEN TROT War Cry Hall held off fast-finishing Ashes Cash to win last week’s $20,000 Open Handicap trot and both return in a strong field of eight in the Wednesday, Dec. 16 feature at Dover Downs. First post is 4:30 p.m. Ross Wolfenden drove 12-time winner this year, War Cry Hall, trained by Jim King, for owner RBH Ventures. Ashes Cash with Vic Kirby has been razor sharp. The Leigh Raymer owned and trained gelding has three wins, a second and two thirds in his last six races. Hemi Seelster came from far back for Brett Miller to take third for Carl Atley, Bob LeBlanc and Rich Lombardo.   Again this week, Corey Callahan will drive Mike Casalino’s highly regarded Tough Mac from the outside post 8. Five Towns owned by LA Express Stable, has been racing well lately and will be driven by George Dennis. Callam Racing’s consistent Spunky Jack and Roger Plante cannot be overlooked leaving from the rail. David Miller’s Cash On Delivery with Vince Copeland and Razor Ramone, owned by Steve Iaquinta and Bill Dittmar make his first start of the meet with Allan Davis in the sulky. A $15,000 3,4&5-Year-Old trot  is the sub-feature. Bob Shahan owned and trained Machuca (Allan Davis) is the lone winner last time among nine starters. Max Walton’s Someway Same Hall (Art Stafford Jr.) and Myclaimtovictory (Kim Vincent) finished second and third in that race. Drinksforthehouse (Corey Callahan), one of three sophomores in the field, was second last week and starts from post 9 in the second tier. Gregg and Tom Morris’ Juanna Be The Man (Plante), Gary Simpson and Eric Good’s Adrenalin Junkie (Jim Morand), Emily Carrow’s Color Me Royal (Tyler Davis) and John and Sarah Swart’s Power Wheel (Vince Copeland) complete the lineup.       After Thursday, the traditional Christmas Break Week gives horsemen a reprieve from racing, Dec. 18 through Dec. 27. Racing will resume on Monday, Dec. 28, Tuesday, the 29th and Wednesday, Dec. 30, post time is 4:30 p.m. Dover Downs will not race on Thursday, Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve day. Starting In January and February the track will also race on Sundays, for five days a week, starting on Sunday, Jan. 3. Marv Bachrad  

Well known harness racing trainer Wayne Honan is pressing ahead with plans to try his former star pacer Flightpath again and at this stage everything is on track. It is over 75 months since the son of Artsplace set foot on a racetrack but the eleven year old has had a lot of solid groundwork in his preparation for a return to racing. "It has been in the back of my mind to try him again for quite a while but with him being at stud I have never taken it any further." However when it looked like I had sold the farm earlier this year and he wasn't going to stand this year, I thought then it would be a good time to see if still had what it takes to be competitive." Wayne said. Flightpath was a star two year old, taking out the $314,000 Australasian Breeders Crown Final at Ballarat and after a run of issues over the next two years following that great win, he was retired to stud the winner of twelve lifetime for stakes totaling $290,694.  Flightpath was well received in his initial two years at stud and although the mares weren't top class they were nice middle of the road mares. He left 23 winners from his first crop including such good types as Alphitania 1:57.3 ($71,645) Tulhurst Sarsha 1:55.8 ($58,545) and Flytomo 1:58.3 ($ 53,783)  and seemed off to a good start. The talented Quagmire 1:56.1 ($53,165) quickly followed in year two but then a decision to move the stallion away from Golden Gait Stud did the horse more damage than good with the quality of the mares dropping while the number of mares served dropped bigtime as well. Still there are plenty of Flightpath progeny doing a good job with the latest being Lucy Lamb who is unbeaten in four todate and goes around in the $30,600 Eugowra Cup later today. Wayne has being varying Flightpath's training as he gets closer to a resumption with a view to keeping his mind on the job. " I have started swimming him again which he loves and I have been driving him around the farm in his work as well. " In the next couple of weeks I will head down to Sydney and look for a trial for him." " If he handles that okay I will start looking for a suitable race to kick off this campaign," Wayne said. It should be an interesting few weeks as we watch to see if the talented Flightpath still has what it takes to be competitive on the track. Harnesslink Media

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 7, 2015 -- Sam Hill had to work hard for the early lead, but he was much the best once he got there, capturing his third straight harness racing victory in Friday's $15,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life Pace at The Meadows. Carol's Comet seized the lead and forced Sam Hill to a 27.1 opening quarter. But the 9-year-old Artsplace-Apple Of My Eye gelding suffered no anxious moments thereafter, easily thwarting the first-over challenge of Hillbilly Hanover to defeat him by 1/2 length in 1:51.3. Visible Gold rallied for show. Greg Wright, Jr. piloted Sam Hill, who extended his lifetime bankroll to $378,477, for trainer John Sullivan and owner Don Tiger. Eric Goodell drove three winners on the 12-race card. Friday's 11th race, a $5,000 claiming pace, produced what might be called the geriatric trifecta -- Fox Valley Armor (age 13), Just Pretend A (age 14), Western Kissed (age 10). Among them, the trio has amassed 812 career starts. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino    

Ten new inductees were enshrined in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Wednesday evening in front of a packed house in Mississauga, Ontario. From the thoroughbred side, owner/breeder (the late) Robert Anderson, Trainer Roger Laurin, jockey Stewart Elliot, 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and communicator Jim Bannon were inducted. Representing the Standardbred breed, breeder owner Charles H. Armstrong, driver William Gale, racehorse Artsplace, broodmare J Cs Nathalie and communicator Harry Eisen also received their Hall of Fame rings. Harry Eisen’s wife Maxine summed up her husband’s all-encompassing love of harness racing when she accepted on his behalf. “He loved his job so much, he’d have worked for free,” she told the audience. “But I’m glad he didn’t!” Horse racing shaped Harry Eisen’s life from his pre-Kindergarten days attending races in Palmerston, Ontario through to the end of his career as a journalist. He used to sell tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a youngster and later used his knowledge of racing to become an expert handicapper. Eisen, who passed away in 1993, combined his passions for racing and writing into a storied career at the London Free Press, where he reported on the sport, wrote a popular column called Mostly About Horses and made the daily Western Fair Raceway selections. Eisen spent 22 years covering horse racing full time for the newspaper and retired in 1983, earning many accolades and honours - including the first media award handed out by the Canadian Trotting Association, also in 1983 - and the respect of horsepeople and other reporters along the way. His first full-time gig was with the Sudbury Star before he arrived in London, where he met his wife Maxine. “When I found out (about the induction) I couldn’t believe, it!” Maxine Eisen said upon accepting the Hall of Fame ring. “It’s nice to know Harry was remembered and appreciated.” Roger Laurin  saddled the first winner of the Breeders’ Cup in 1984, Chief ’s Crown, and conditioned Eclipse Award winning filly Numbered Account for Ogden Phipps in 1971. Born in 1935, Roger was involved in horse racing as a youngster. He galloped horses for his father before going to school while living in Florida or where Lucien was racing at the time. At age he 16 earned a trainer’s license at Narragansett, RI. Roger came into prominence in 1964 when he took charge of the conditioning of Miss Cavandish, a $1,500 purchase by Harry Nichols. “I’d like to thank my father for being born before me,” Laurin quipped to the delight of the crowd while accepting his award. “Thank you for the induction; it’s greatly appreciated and a great part of my life.” Laurin was of course referring to Lucien Laurin, whom he coaxed out of retirement to help train at Penny Chenery Tweedy’s Meadow Stable in Virginia in 1971 “on a temporary basis” which culminated in the elder Laurin conditioning 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat for Chenery. Roger Laurin enjoyed success locally winning the 1970 Canadian International Championship with the remarkable filly Drumtop, who broke three track records in 1971. That year was a huge one for Laurin as he had eight stakes winners, including Phipps’ Numbered Account, champion two-year-old filly. In the late 1970s he trained for Reginald N. Webster and the U.S. racing division for E.P. Taylor’s Windfields Farm. Chief ’s Crown was champion 2-year-old after his Breeders’ Cup victory in 1984 and was in the money in all three Triple Crown races in 1985. He won the Travers, Flamingo, Blue Grass and Marlboro Cup Invitational that year. Laurin, however, left the main stage at age 50, retiring along with Chief ’s Crown. He was quoted as saying after Chief ’s Crown’s disappointing fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, “He’s the horse of a lifetime. It took 30 years to find him, and I can’t wait another 30.” When John Lamers claimed pacing mare JCs Nathalie as a five-year old for $25,000 at Mohawk Racetrack on Nov. 11, 1993, he never suspected she would become Dreamfair’s foundation Broodmare. But Lamers of Ingersoll, Ontario said his outstanding broodmare is proof that desire is a breedable characteristic. She’s instilled it in her remarkable sons and daughters, among them the farm’s first great champion Dreamfair Vogel, a winner of nearly $1.2 million, and 2010 Canadian Horse of the Year Dreamfair Eternal, the sensational pacing mare that earned over $2.5 million and was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2014. From 13 foals, including 11 starters, JCs Nathalie’s progeny have earned more than $4.5 million and averaged $409,230 per starter for Lamers’ Dreamfair Farms. “It’s a bit emotional for me,” Lamers began when accepting JC S Nathalie’s Hall of Fame induction. “Every morning I look out the back door and see JC S Nathalie in the paddock eating grass, as healthy as can be. Hopefully she’s going to be there for a long time yet.”  Lamers was almost ready to get out of the business the autumn before Dreamfair Vogel started winning. “I guess my suggestion to anyone would be: Don’t give up, there’s a winner out there. Do your homework, study your pedigrees. Then you need to be patient,” Lamers said. “I’m not always a patient man, but for some reason I am when it comes to the horses.” In over 35 years in the sulky, 2015 Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Bill Gale won 6,375 races, but none were more memorable than winning his first Breeders Crown in 1986 with Sunset Warrior at Garden State Park in New Jersey for trainer, friend and fellow LaSalle, ON resident Bob McIntosh. “It was such a big thing at the time for an Ontario-based guy to go to the States and win a race of that stature. I think they were going for $800,000 or so that night,” Gale said. “I think that was the win that kind of pushed me into the spotlight a little.” Gale first thanked his wife of 46 years Janice while delivering his acceptance speech. “I know there’s a few in the audience that think she deserves an award for putting up with me,’ He joked. “They’re probably right!” Gale went on to thank the owners and horseman that “put him in a position to succeed” during his career. “To be recognized by your peers is one of the highest honors you can receive,” he said. “I find this honor greatly humbling, but it is also one I accept with great pride and I thank you all.” Legends of the game such as fellow driver John Campbell and McIntosh — Hall of Famers in both Canada and the United States — made it clear when the 2015 ballot came out that Gale deserved to join them in Canadian Hall. Campbell said Gale was, “easily the best driver not yet enshrined.” McIntosh said Gale, “deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. We traveled all over the United States and Canada and he won a lot of stakes races for me. He had the lightest set of hands. He could keep a bad horse quiet. He was very good with them. Strategically as a driver he was right up there with the best, though he was underrated all the time.” Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons. In his career, he drove the winners of $42.1 million in an era before slots-fattened purses. In 1991, Gale was honoured with an O’Brien Award as Canada’s Driver of the Year following a season where he exceeded $3.2 million in purse earnings. He holds the record for the most driving wins at Windsor Raceway (some 3,500) and was inducted into the Windsor / Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. Gale last drove in 2007, having his career cut short due to injuries sustained in a number of racing accidents. In May, 2004, Canadian jockey Stewart Elliott became the first jockey in 25 years to win the Kentucky Derby in his first appearance when he guided chestnut colt Smarty Jones to victory over 17 contenders over a sloppy track in front of 120,000 racing fans. Under Elliott’s guidance, Smarty Jones became the first undefeated horse since Seattle Slew in 1977 to win the Kentucky Derby. Elliott and Smarty Jones then set the horseracing world abuzz with an 11 1/2 length romp in The Preakness Stakes and expectations of the first Triple Crown winner in 31 were high. But in the Belmont Stakes, Elliott and Smarty Jones set most of the pace only to be nailed in the closing strides by longshot Birdstone, who went on to win by a length. “I know this is an industry where many toil with little or no recognition,” Elliott, a Toronto native, said accepting his Hall of Fame induction. “So I know how fortunate I am to have had a successful career in both Canada and the U.S.” 2004 was a career year for the 39-year-old Elliott as his mounts earned more than $14.5 million. Included in that total was a $5 million bonus from the people at Oaklawn for winning their Arkansas Derby along with the Rebel and the Kentucky Derby. And as he continues to ride into the 2015 season, the 50-year-old Elliott is approaching 4,800 wins, many of which came at Keystone Park, later named Philadelphia Park and now named Parx Racing. He won his first race at Keystone and was leading apprentice rider. Artsplace won 37 times in 49 races, including an undefeated 4-year-old campaign in which he won 16 races without tasting defeat. He set a world record of 1:51 1/5 winning the Breeders Crown at Pompano in 1990 in a performance that to this day is hailed as one of the greatest rookie performances ever. But his excellence was not limited to the racetrack as Artsplace is one of the greatest sires in the history of the sport. To date, his progeny have accumulated over $173 million in earnings with an average of $126,372 per starter. Many of Artsplace’s sons and daughters have gone on to sire champions, including Art Major, sire of 2008 Meadowlands Pace champion Art Official, who won in 1:47, which, at the time, was a world record for three-year-old pacers, and the second fastest race mile in harness racing history.  Artsplace was also unique being both a sire of great sires and also of great broodmares, an unusual circumstance in today’s mostly abbreviated sire careers. Art Zubrod – for whom the great champion was named – accepted the induction and thanked “everyone that was involved with the horse,” and specifically thanked trainers Gene Reigle, who developed Artsplace and trained him at two, and “the great Bob McIntosh” who campaigned the champion for Brittany Farms at three and four.  Artsplace – who won Horse of the Year both in Canada and the U.S. in 1992 - goes into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 15 years after being enshrined in the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame. He is part of the third crop of predominantly U.S.-connected superstar horses to gain entry to the Canadian Hall since eligibility rules were loosened in 2013 to allow entry to horses that made a significant contribution to Canadian racing. Previously horses had to be Canadian-bred or owned, predominantly, by Canadians. H. Charles (Charlie) Armstrong of Brampton, Ontario, built the Armstrong Brothers farm into the second largest Standardbred breeding operation in North America from 1978 until 2005 when the farm ceased operation. Armstrong, 93, who appeared via video accompanied by family members when told of his Hall of Fame induction replied, “Mercy me, thank you kindly. Armstrong’s wife Lenore accepted the award in his absence and thanked Murray Brown of Hanover Shoe farms for the nomination and the Hall of Fame for the induction. Armstrong and fellow Hall of Famer Gustav Schickedanz were also the breeders of champion trotter Goodtimes, who retired after 11 years on the track, as the richest Canadian bred trotter of all time. Goodtimes was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004. Outside of heading Armstrong Bros., Charlie also had tremendous success with his own Village Acres farm, which produced two-time Breeders Crown winner Village Jiffy, as well as such horses as Village Jove, Village Jolt, Village Connection and Village Beretta. In 1999, Charlie was named to the Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame and the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association presented him with the Chris Van Bussell Award in 2003. Jim Bannon’s induction was met with a lengthy standing ovation from all in attendance as the audience showed their appreciation for a lengthy and charismatic career as a broadcaster, educator and humanitarian. Bannon, who first arrived at Woodbine in 1965 looking for a job at one of the stables, parlayed that interest in horseracing at a young age into a storied career as a public handicapper, analyst and television commentator and as a deeply religious and emotional man, he has led Woodbine’s Chaplaincy program since the late 1980s. Bannon has also produced the popular “Journal” since 1972 which offers bettors his observations and insights in print every racing day. Hall of Fame communicator Louis Cauz presented to Bannon, joking that he was breaking a rule that he instituted as Director of the Hall of Fame that forbid presenters to speak. “Tonight I pass the mantle to a legend who has dedicated his life to the sport of horseracing,” an emotional Cauz said. “It makes me feel I belong,” Bannon said of his induction. “I don’t think anyone wants anything else than to feel they belong to such a distinguished community.”  Bannon recalled fondly his first introduction to the sport of horseracing. “I was seven years old and my grandmother took me down to Greenwood Racetrack,” he began. “This isn’t your ordinary grandmother. Grandmothers take you to the Exhibition. This grandmother, who was the mother of 16, took me to Greenwood and put me right where I could see the start of a 7 Furlong race.” “She held my hand as the horses came out of the gate,” he continued. “I got a picture that I would have all my life; the yelling, horses thrusting, the screaming. She looked down at me as if to say “did you get that”, and I got it. I still have it 60 years later.” Bannon, who won a Gemini Award in 2010 as Canada’s best sports analyst acknowledges that “an act of providence” was the main factor in his achievements. A deeply religious and emotional human, Bannon admits it was “an unmistakable evidence of God’s providence, which is everywhere in my life.” The late Robert Anderson, who died suddenly at the age of 64 in 2010, led one of the most influential breeding operations of the 1970s and 1980s. In the heyday of thoroughbred breeding and selling, Anderson surged to the top of the breeders charts. He sold yearlings for millions and bred numerous graded stakes winners. In 1985, Anderson Farms was the leading consignor at Saratoga and Keeneland yearling sales. For more than 41 years before his death Anderson did exactly what he wanted to do for a living. It was something he predicted when he was very young. “I went to Wellington Street School and I remember one day in Grade 5 a teacher asked everybody what they wanted to do, and I said I wanted to raise horses and sell them,” he once said. Anderson’s son David, accepted the induction with his sister Jessica Anderson Buckley remembered his father as a “true sportsman” that did something that he truly loved, traveling millions of miles up and down the 401 corridor following his racehorses. He was also remembered as a man who “treated everyone equally” by his son. That’s one of the things I loved about my father,” he remarked. “One minute he’d be rubbing shoulders with a Fortune 500 executive the next minute he’d be out drinking a Bud Lite with a Hot Walker laughing and telling jokes.” Anderson personally created the match-ups of stallions and mares that produced so many top class Canadian-bred thoroughbreds, most notably Alydeed and champions such as Pinafore Park, Larkwhistle, Prince Avatar, Bounding Away, Triple Wow, Northern Craze, Fifty Proof, A La Reine and Raymi Coya. Another key to his success as a breeder was the stallions he bred, Alydeed, National Assembly and Ascot Knight, who sold for $1.4 million in 1985. Ascot Knight, who stood at Windfields Farm, sired champions Pennyhill Park, Hey Hazel, Influent, Plenty of Sugar and Southdale, who was owned by long-time friend and business partner Rod Ferguson. In 2000, Anderson Farms became involved in Standardbred racing and immediately found success with such champions as Pampered Princess, who earned $1.7 million, Southwind Allaire, Cabrini Hanover, who earned close to $1.5 million, and The Pres. It is estimated Anderson Farms was the birthplace of some 1,400 horses. Anderson was a complete horseman, delving into every facet of the game. He was a director of the Ontario Jockey Club (now Woodbine Entertainment Group) for 25 years, president of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, director of the Hambletonian Society, board member of The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, a member of The Jockey Club of Canada and the Ontario Racing Commission. He was also the first chairman of the Guelph Equine Centre for Equine Research and a member of the E.P. Taylor Equine Research Fund. He was the guy you wanted to have on your team,” David Anderson said “I always said: stand behind him or stand beside him; but don’t ever stand in front of him”. During his four-year racing career Mine That Bird won five races, four at Woodbine, the other in a monumental upset in the 2009 Kentucky Derby at Louisville’s Churchill Downs. He went off at odds of 50-to-1 and galloped from 19th place to win going away by six lengths and paying $103.20, the second largest payoff in Derby history. He was just the second gelding to win the Derby since 1929. The other one was Funny Cide in 2003. Bred in Kentucky by Toronto’s Peter Lamantia and partners Jim Blackburn of Chicago, and Kentucky horsemen Phil Needham and Bill Betz, Mine That Bird’s Canadian connections trace back to Northern Dancer on both the male and female lines of his pedigree. Accepting the induction for Mine That Bird was Dr. Leonard Bloch, who still seemed a bit surprised to this day that the gelding with Canadian connections won the world’s most famous horserace against all odds. “Who would have thought that a 50/1 shot coming out of New Mexico that hadn’t won since we bought him would win the Kentucky Derby?” he said. “It had to be divine intervention.” Like the grandsire of Mine That Bird’s dam, Mining My Own, the bay gelding had not celebrated his real birthday before the Derby. Both the Dancer and Mine That Bird were late May foals. The gelding was viewed as being a little small, with a crooked leg and was withdrawn from the Keeneland September yearling sales. “He was small because of his May birth date and we figured it might help if we sold him later,” said Needham. The following month he went through the sales ring at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October mixed sale and was bought for $9,500 by Woodbine-based trainer Dave Cotey on behalf of Dominion Bloodstock owners Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith. Another Canadian connection was the gelding’s dam, Mining My Own, a daughter of Sam- Son Farm’s champion sire Smart Strike. The acquisition of Mine That Bird, a son of Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, was profitable for his owners. At Woodbine he won the Swynford, Silver Deputy and Grey Stakes and was named Canada’s champion male two-year-old in 2008. He earned $324,000 as a juvenile and was sold to New Mexico owners, Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine for a reported $400,000. He was transferred to New Mexico to begin his sophomore campaign for trainer Chip Woolley Jr. He was second in the Borderland Derby in New Mexico before Woodley vanned him 1,450 miles to Kentucky. The graded-stakes earnings from his win in the Grey Stakes at Woodbine earned him a place in the starting gate at Churchill Downs. Its track was rated as “sloppy” after an overnight rain and Mine That Bird, ridden by Calvin Borel, had trouble out of the starting gate and was left about eight lengths behind the rest of the 18 starters. His gallant trip from 19th place escaped the attention of NBC announcer Tom Durkin as the field sped down the backstretch. Borel, using his ground-saving, rail-skimming riding technique, made up 21 lengths, moving into contention at the turn for home. Durkin, focusing on the leaders, didn’t see Borel steering his mount past tiring horses along the rail until he was three lengths in the lead, pulling away with each stride. Borel selected the great filly Rachel Alexandra for the Preakness, defeating Mine That Bird and jockey Mike Smith by a length. He closed rapidly in the stretch but the finish line came before he could catch her. Borel was back on the gelding in the Belmont but was third. A movie called “50/1” was made about Mine That Bird’s career – and more specifically his improbable Kentucky Derby win – and Bloch said he brought the horse to several premieres in the United States for which he sometimes gets recognized. “Hey, you’re the guy that won the Kentucky Derby,” he said people will stop him and say. “I reply: No I’m not. The horse won the Derby!” Standardbred Inductees Male Horse Category:  Artsplace – bred and owned by George I. Segal, Chicago, Illinois & Brian P. Monieson, Northbrook, Illinois;   later owned by Artsplace Syndicate, Versailles, Kentucky. Veteran Horse Category:  J Cs Nathalie – bred by Gaetan Dessureault, St. Ours, Quebec;   owned by John P. Lamers, Ingersoll, ON Builder Category:  H. Charles Armstrong, Brampton, Ontario Communicator Category:  Harry Eisen, London, Ontario Driver/Trainer:  William (Bill) Gale, Ingersoll, Ontario Thoroughbred Inductees Male Horse Category:  Mine That Bird, bred by Lamantia, Blackburn & Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds; owned by Double Eagle Ranch Inc. and Buena Suerte Equine, New Mexico Builder Category:  Robert (Bob) Anderson, St. Thomas, Ontario Communicator Category:  James (Jim) E. Bannon, Toronto, Ontario Jockey Category:  Stewart Elliott, Auburn, Kentucky Trainer Category:  Roger Laurin, Ocala, Florida Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at Presentation photos available at:  HOF 2015 Awards Linda Rainey Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame  

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