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HORSE SLAUGHTER (The Safe Act)...., and DRUG USE (The Integrity Act) - Freddie Hudson gives Bob & Trade of the Harness Racing Alumni Show the 'LOWDOWN' on his trip to WASHINGTON DC to meet with the LAW MAKERS in CONGRESS....!!! Don't miss this interesting broadcast.

Bettor's Wish, winner of the Art Rooney at Yonkers and the Millstein Memorial at Northfield Park, will be supplemented to the Messenger Stake next Saturday at Yonkers Raceway, it was announced by Eric Cherry representing the ownership for the sensational Bettor’s Delight sophomore trained by Chris Ryder. Said Cherry "We already know how he handles Yonkers and half mile tracks in general, so we figured the Messenger is a natural for the colt who just recently won a Kentucky Sires Stake In 1:47.4 at The Red Mile." Should he win the Messenger, Bettor’s Wish would be able to supplement to the Little Brown Jug. By Bob Marks

Four members of the inaugural crop of Hambletonian champion Trixton will make their harness racing freshman debuts in Meadowlands baby races on Saturday June 2nd it was announced by Deo Volente principal Sue Agopian “As Trixton is the first world class stallion, to stand at our Flemington Facility, it is especially gratifying and perhaps a little nerve wracking to see his babies finally make the races”, Agopian continued but from what we’ve heard so far, the Trixton colts and fillies have been impressive” The four Trixton’s include GIVEN a homebred from Donatella Hanover trained by Jimmy Takter. Starita a $50,000 yearling purchase from Morningstar trained by Joe Holloway, Battenberg a $210,000 yearling from Coffeecake Hanover trained by Joe Holloway and Gerri’s Trix a homebred from Gerri’s Joy trained by Jimmy Takter. The entire staff of Deo Volente Farms will be rooting for “our Trixton babies” Bob Marks

In December 2015 both the New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey Assembly passed bills to put casino gaming on the ballot in November 2016.  Despite the fact that those bills had some minor differences that could not be worked out by the end of 2015, it is clear that there was wide spread agreement to place the question of Northern New Jersey Casinos on the ballot in 2016. When the Legislature reconvenes in early 2016, there will be  renewed efforts to reconcile those minor differences as reported by the State’s largest Newspaper, The Newark Star Ledger.   We are confident that reconciliation will occur because it is in the political best interests of the legislators in both political parties to effect that reconciliation. Assuming we are correct, it will be a decision to be made by the voters in New Jersey in  November of 2016 regarding the expansion of casino gaming to the populous Northern part of the state.   If that ballot question passes, then Rock N Roll Heaven and Lis Mara will be the only pacing stallions whose offspring will have eligibility for entry in what should be a much more lucrative Sire Stakes in 2019. Thus it will be a boon to those breeders who had the foresight to breed to one of these two stallions in 2016.  One look at how the few Kentucky sired horses fared at the yearling sales can attest to this. In addition to the referendum for casino gaming in Northern Jersey, many key legislators (including the prominent state senator who has already announced his intentions to run for Governor in 2017) have firmly committed to supporting the horse racing industry in New Jersey. This has been reiterated in several releases this month  This will add yet additional revenues for horsemen and probably will be in advance of revenues realized by casino gaming – another boon to the breeder with foresight to support New Jersey stallions. There is also the prospect for Fantasy Gaming, and this is not just “pie in the sky”.  In all likelihood, a fantasy gaming provider with ties to Las Vegas that will manage fantasy gaming in New Jersey.  Again, this will generate significant additional revenues for the horsemen in New Jersey and again, the winners among winners will be those select few who bred to New Jersey stallions in 2016. Moreover, one look at how historical racing fared at The Red Mile with but limited population within a 30 minute drive, can only whet the appetite for how fantasy gaming would fare at say The Meadowlands with mega millions of people within a short drive in the Tri State area.  Of course whenever and wherever breeders choose to breed, they are always hoping hit the grand slam and that grand slam can come after being bred to any stallion.  Why not increase the chances of a major home run by breeding to a select few New Jersey stallions? Bob Marks

Boca Raton, FL - Meadow Skipper will be at the Harrisburg, PA Standardbred Yearling Sales starting on Sunday, November 1. At least in spirit and bloodlines he will be! Meadow Skipper, the untold story, written by Victoria Howard and Bob Marks, is an unofficial biography of the world champion harness racing horse, who singlehandedly changed the direction of an entire breed of animal. Every pacing horse sold at the upcoming sale can trace their bloodlines to Meadow Skipper, who passed away in 1982. The book will be available at the table area throughout the sale in Harrisburg and co-author Bob Marks will be there to autograph copies. Meadow Skipper, the untold story, is an unforgettable saga of an equine Rocky Balboa, who overcame insurmountable odds to emerge as harness racing's greatest progenitor since Adam. This story is relayed in a unique way to authors Howard and Marks -- straight from the horse's mouth as only he could tell it. "The book is not just for equine lovers," said author Victoria M. Howard, "but also for sports enthusiasts and those who cherish the rags-to-riches underdogs who overcome challenges at any cost. It reads like a breathtaking feel-good roller-coaster ride, and in the end, you too will believe!" Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, the book is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore, or by visiting barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com. "I encourage everyone coming to the Harrisburg sale to stop by and see me," Marks said, "We can talk about the book and about Meadow Skipper as I saw him race throughout most of his career. The book will make the perfect holiday present for the equine lover in your family." By Steve Wolf

Lexington, KY - While the first 108 yearling buyers at the upcoming Lexington Select Yearling Sale may not be able to purchase a son or daughter of the world champion stallion Meadow Skipper, they will get the next best thing. A copy of the newly released book, Meadow Skipper, The Untold Story. The unofficial autobiography on the great Meadow Skipper, written by Victoria M. Howard and Bob Marks, will be given to the first 108 yearling buyers at the prestigious sale, compliments of the Lexington Select Yearling Sale Company. The sale begins Monday, October 5 at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Lexington. Authors Howard and Marks will be at the sale the entire week starting Sunday at the sale preview day. Their booth will be located next to the Hunterdon Farms consignment and they will autograph each yearling buyers copy. "This is a great thing that the co-sales managers, David Reid and Randy Manges are doing," said co-author Bob Marks. "Both Victoria and I will be at the sale starting this Sunday and signing the books for everyone that gets one." Meadow Skipper, The Untold Story, is an unofficial autobiography of the historical life story of the Standardbred world champion pacer, Meadow Skipper, as told in a unique fashion with commentary by the horse himself. The book features many action photographs of Meadow Skipper during his racing career and his life as the most prominent stallion in the history of the sport since Rysdyk's Hambletonian back in the 1850's. Tate Publishing has issued Meadow Skipper, The Untold Story, and the book can be purchased on their website at https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-68187-954-3. The actual Lexington Yearling Sales catalog has been mailed, and it's available for download on the Equineline app and website, and videos have been posted. For more information or interview requests please contact Steven Wolf, publicist, at (954) 654-3757 or send an email to stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. by Steven Wolf  

Meadow Skipper "The Untold Story" by Victoria M. Howard and Bob Marks is presented as an unofficial autobiography--as told to the two authors. That's right: Skipper himself gives us his first person perspective on the highs and lows of being an excellent pacer and the most influential sire in the modern era. The authors have steered clear of the traditional narrative style employed by Don Evans in Big Bum, Nevele Pride Speed N Spirit and Super Bird; and Marie Hill in her biography of Adios and Ron Bisman in his chronicle of the life and exploits of Cardigan Bay. All of these books were published forty or more years ago: Marks and Howard chose to add an anthropomorphic twist. The breadth of information imparted on Skipper's racing and breeding career, as well as the contributions, or lack thereof, of all of his prominent heirs is leaps and bounds ahead of what has been given in other equine biographies, yet, the literary devices employed throughout the book make all that data very easy to digest. There's all the inside baseball the seasoned fan would want, but the sport's arcane lexicon that might leave general readers flummoxed is either avoided entirely or explained away. Skipper is presented throughout as a kind of Rocky Balboa figure. He was an awkward, lazy colt who came very close to being gelded. A confirmed mama's boy, he didn't take kindly to being separated from Countess Vivian. Nor was he pleased about being rigged and asked for speed. He spends a good part of the book trying to rationalize away his reputation as a sulker. The iconic stallion played second fiddle to the great Overtrick on the racetrack, and it took breeders several years to realize Skipper was a sire worthy of quality mares, or, any mares at all, for that matter. It was a long, arduous journey to the top of the heap. Meadow Skipper dedicates the book to three men: Joe Lighthill, who first used his whip to wake him out of his race day lethargy; Norman Woolworth, who showed $150,000 worth of faith in the unproven colt; and Earle Avery, who never saw a ground saving rail trip he liked. The first thirteen chapters detail Skipper's racing career; the next five examine his sixteen year stint at stud, as well as the contributions of his offspring; and the final chapter is a flashback on his life, delivered as he crosses over to the other side after suffering a heart attack in his paddock at Stoner Creek Stud. The authors state at the outset that the book is a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Magic realism marries harness racing. The first thing that came to mind was Marks' Race of the Decade series that was published in Hub Rail during the 1970's. Skipper's primary rival throughout the racing chapters is Overtrick, who fell to our hero in the Cane, but beat Skipper more often than not, including in the Messenger and Jug. Marks was present for many of these races and is able to provide an informed firsthand account, buttressed by the omnipresent wry commentary of Meadow Skipper himself. Walter R Brooks, who created Mister Ed and other talking animals in a series of short stories he penned seventy-five years ago, has nothing on Howard and Marks: That Skipper is a funny fella. Skipper's "love interest" throughout is Laughing Girl, the dam of his near clone and premier siring son, Most Happy Fella. She passed after a pasture accident at age nine, and our boy is devastated when he gets the word. Marks knows the sons and daughters of Meadow Skipper better than anyone; he knows which ones were producers, and to what level, and which ones failed to live up to their lineage and race records. These chapters are crack for pedigree junkies, as sons, grandsons and great grandsons are examined and graded one at a time, in detail. From modern day progenitors, like No Nukes and Cam Fella, to the wildly successful Albatross, who failed to extend, to abject failures like Ralph Hanover, Computer, Genghis Khan and Jade Prince; it's all there. The same sort of care goes into examining Meadow Skipper's impact on the breed from a bottom line perspective. Marks views Matt's Scooter and Call For Rain as Skipper's finest credits as a broodmare sire. The former is characterized as a successful, though not great, sire, while the double Breeders Crown winner by Storm Damage is labeled an abject failure at stud. Detailed accounts of the influence of Meadow Skipper on the pedigrees of present day stars the likes of McWicked, Artspeak, Colors A Virgin, JK She'saldy, Sweet Lou, Anndrovette and Foiled Again follows. We learn that Meadow Skipper is the only Standardbred ever embalmed in Kentucky, and that Skipper rests between Count Fleet, Crown Champ and the headstone of Rodney. The physical Skipper, that is. His spirit is frolicking on the other side with Laughing Girl. Howard knows plenty about harness racing and Marks is a skilled writer, who has always lived outside the box with his annual yearling prognostications and the like. It's impossible to figure out just who is responsible for what in Meadow Skipper "The Untold Story," but it's the best book about the sport I've ever read. The book is currently only available from the publisher in paperback or ereader form by clicking here.  Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.

Boca Raton, FL - August 27, 2015 - Meadow Skipper, The Untold Story, written by equine professionals Victoria M. Howard and Bob Marks, has been pre-released. Meadow Skipper, The Untold Story, is an unofficial autobiography of the historical life story of the Standardbred world champion pacer, Meadow Skipper, as told in a unique fashion with commentary by the horse himself. The book features many action photographs of Meadow Skipper during his racing career and his life as the most prominent stallion in the history of the sport since Rysdyk's Hambletonian back in the 1850's. The novel follows Meadow Skipper from his birth in 1960 through his intense racing career with trainer/driver Earle Avery. Meadow Skipper was a world or seasonal champion during each year that he raced. Once retired to stud duty, he went on to sired more than 1,700 progeny and as a stud, his progeny earned more than $66 million. Some of his world champion foals include Albatross, Most Happy Fella, Ralph Hanover, Handle With Care, Naughty But Nice, Genghis Khan, Chairmanoftheboard and Governor Skipper, just to name a few of the nearly countless top horses he bred. Published by Tate Publishing, the book is now available only through the publisher at https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-68187-954-3. It will be sold throughout bookstores nationwide beginning in September. Victoria M. Howard has raised, bred and raced harness horses for over 40 years. Howard has published 12 books. Her prior equine novels include Roosevelt Raceway; Where it all began and a children's book, The Adventures of Max & Molly. Bob Marks is a longtime marketing head of Perretti Farms in New Jersey and a noted equine writer, Standardbred pedigree expert and professional handicapper. He was recently inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in July, 2015. This is his first novel. A book signing tour is set to begin on Sunday, October 4 at the Lexington Select Yearling Sales in Lexington, KY. For more information or interview requests please contact Steven Wolf, publicist, at (954) 654-3757 or send an email to stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. by Steven Wolf

Goshen, NY--- Joe Thomson, founder and co-owner of the expansive Winbak Farms breeding operation, was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame Sunday night (July 5). Also receiving honors on the night were Living Horse Hall of Fame inductees Somebeachsomewhere and Deweycheatumnhowe; Communicators Hall of Fame inductees Bob Marks and Kathy Parker; Immortals Jimmy Jordan and Garland Lobell; Hall of Fame broodmares Art’s Vintage and Presidential Lady; amateur driving champion Steve Oldford; and 2014 Horse of the Year JK She’salady. Thomson and his wife, JoAnn, started Winbak Farm in 1991. Headquartered on nearly 3,000 acres in Chesapeake City, Md., Winbak Farm has been ranked the leading breeder more than 20 times in three different states or provinces and was U.S. Harness Writers Association Breeder of the Year three times in a single decade. In light of his success, Thomson was quick to point out that he has a crack staff at his operations in four states and Ontario. “I often think to myself, ‘What would you do without that staff?’” he said. “Well, you wouldn’t be able to do a lot of business. I would make an analogy to be like a guy in a canoe, in the middle of a lake, without a paddle. [He’s got] lots of ideas, but a failure to execute.” Thomson was introduced by fellow Hall of Famer Jim Simpson, president of Hanover Shoe Farms, making him a rival on the breeder leaderboard and an ally when the duo travel to Harrisburg, Pa., to remind state legislators of the benefits of alternative gaming revenue to the horse racing industry. “He built an outstanding broodmare band, well over 350 mares,” said Simpson before adding, tongue-in-cheek, “I’ve asked him how many mares he has. He won’t tell me.” Somebeachsomewhere and Dewewycheatumnhowe were 2008 Pacer of the Year and Trotter of the Year, respectively, with “The Beach” taking Horse of the Year. Brent MacGrath, who trained and co-owned Somebeachsomewhere with James Bagnell, Pamela Dean, Reg Petitpas, Garry Pye and Stuart Rath, marveled at how consistent the horse was during a two-year career in which he won 20 of 21 races, $3,221,299 in purses, and took a mark of 1:46.4 at The Red Mile at 3. “It really made me feel good that in his last race he appeared to be as good as he was the first day he stepped on the track,” he said. Local boy Deweycheatumnhowe was trained, driven and co-owned by Ray Schnittker, who kept the horse at his barn a stone’s throw from the Museum at Historic Track. He noted that the winner of $3,155,178 in purses, who he co-owned with Charles Iannazzo, Ted Gewertz and Frank Baldassare, was a favorite among his connections and even his competitors. “When ‘Dewey’ won the Hambo, Kelvin Harrison said that the roar from the grooms and second trainers in the paddock at the Meadowlands, he’d never heard that before,” he said. “It was a great honor that everybody was rooting for the horse.” Marks is a longtime writer, pedigree analyst and yearling marketer, and was introduced by fellow Communicators Hall of Famer, Murray Brown, of Hanover Shoe Farms. Parker, editor and general manager of The Horseman and Fair World magazine, was introduced by fellow Communicators Hall of Famer Moira Fanning of the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown. Immortal inductee Jordan was a leading driver at Roosevelt Raceway in the 1940s and '50s. Horse Immortal inductee, Garland Lobell, was best known for siring the "Trotting Triumvirate" of Andover Hall, Conway Hall and Angus Hall. Broodmare inductees to the Hall of Fame were Art's Vintage, dam of world champion Vintage Master, Great Vintage and Ideal Vintage; and Presidential Lady, dam of 2014 Horse of the Year, JK She'salady, and North America Cup winner JK Endofanera. Oldford was honored as 2014 Amateur Driver of the Year, his fifth such award. The connections of JK She’salady were presented with the 2014 Delvin and Mary Lib Miller Horse of the Year award. by T.J. Burkett, Executive Editor, Hoof Beats

In that the final number of sales entries will prevent the usage of conventional auction techniques, two-year-olds slated to be auctioned on Sunday (Jan. 25) in the inaugural Sunshine Select Sale will not be sold that day. Instead, those horses will be sold either privately or via utilizing the existing internet network of ongait.com. According to sales manager Bob Marks, “We had significant interest from potential buyers but just not enough quality consigned horses other than a number of unacceptable potential culls to make a go of it this year. Plans are to shoot for next year and purchase at least 35-40 pin hook quality yearlings from the 2015 yearling sales in order to provide the necessary nucleus to get this project off the ground in 2016.” The principals, Eric Cherry, owner of South Florida Trotting Center, and Tom Grossman, owner of Blue Chip Farms, remain committed to the gaited and going in training sales concept but regretfully recognize that a change in approach is in order at this time. While we regret the postponement of the Sunshine Select Sale to next year, we feel it will greatly benefit the industry in the long run with a proper liftoff. From the Sunshine Select Sale Company

International trotting star Wishing Stone, a winner of the Kentucky Futurity at three and the Copenhagen Cup in Denmark at age five, will be officially retired from harness racing and will stand stud. On Friday, Bob Marks of Deo Volente Farms and Joe McLead of Sugar Valley Farm jointly made the announcement that Wishing Stone will stand at Sugar Valley Farm in Delaware, Ohio. Both Marks and McLead emphasized, “Wishing Stone’s world record performances on five-eighths and half-mile tracks make him a natural for the Buckeye State which at this time features exclusively five furlong and half-mile ovals. Given the fact that he raced sound from ages two through seven strongly suggests that his foals would be ideal for the Ohio racing circuit and beyond.” A winner of more than $2.3 million lifetime, Wishing Stone returned to the races this year at age seven after fulfilling stallion duty at Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. He has been entered in the Breeders Crown for older trotters and will be retired following that event. By one of the great sire of sires, Conway Hall and from the productive Meadowbranch Magic, Wishing Stone won such stakes as the Kentucky Futurity, Copenhagen Cup, Maxie Lee Memorial, and Cutler Memorial and was stakes placed in eliminations or finals of the Hambletonian, Peter Haughton Memorial, and Elitlopp in Solvalla, Sweden. In addition, Wishing Stone was the New York Sires Stakes trotting champion during his two-year-old year. Wishing Stone’s stellar race career against some of the fiercest competition in both America and Europe earned him 24 lifetime wins. Wishing Stone will bring this international speed, performance and durability to Ohio for the 2015 breeding season. He will stand for a fee of $4,500 and all foals will be eligible to the growing Ohio Sires Stakes program. Wishing Stone breaking Varenne's long standing World Record From Deo Volente Farms and Sugar Valley Farm

Joe Thomson, owner of Maryland-based Standardbred breeding operation Winbak Farm, has been elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) announced Tuesday. Thomson and his wife JoAnn started Winbak Farm in 1991. The operation has ranked No. 2 among all breeders in purses earned each of the last 12 years, totaling more than $205 million since the start of 2002, and produced three Horse of the Year Award winners. In addition, Bob Marks, the longtime marketing guru of Perretti Farms and a noted writer and handicapper, and Kathy Parker, the editor and general manager of the Horseman and Fair World publishing company, were elected to the Communicators Hall of Fame. The three honorees will be inducted during ceremonies at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., on July 5. Winbak Farm - which stands stallions in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario - bred consecutive Horse of the Year Award winners in pacing colt No Pan Intended, in 2003, and pacing filly Rainbow Blue, in 2004, and later saw trotting colt Muscle Hill claim the honor in 2009. No Pan Intended is the last pacer to win the Triple Crown. Rainbow Blue is one of only three filly pacers to be named Horse of the Year. Muscle Hill is one of two Hambletonian winning trotters bred by Winbak, joining 2005 winner Vivid Photo. Thomson, who lives in Phoenixville, Pa., is the president of the Pennsylvania Harness Breeders Association. He also is co-owner of The Red Mile, the historic harness racing track in Lexington, Ky., and serves as a director of the Hambletonian Society. In 2013, Thomson received the Stanley F. Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award from USHWA, an honor bestowed by the organization that is second only to election to the Hall of Fame. Other honors for Thomson include being named to the Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame in 2009. Marks' work in harness racing spans 50 years, starting as a contributor to Trotter Magazine and later as a writer and editor for Trotter Weekly. He handicapped for Top Trotter's daily letter from 1966 to 1978 and was among the original chart commentators for Sports Eye, starting in 1968. Over the years, Marks was a contributor to Hub Rail, Times Standard, Hoof Beats, and Sports Eye. He also was host of "Accent on Racing," on Meadowlands Cablevision, from 1980 to 1985, and host and analyst for "Racing from Roosevelt" in 1982. In 1988, he began working as pedigree analyst and marketing director at Perretti Farms. He wrote more than 500 "Trotlines" for the farm's website and 1,000 advertisements, in addition to naming more than 2,000 horses. Parker started her employment at Horseman and Fair World, a Lexington, Ky.-based trade magazine, in 1980 while still attending the University of Kentucky, and rose through the ranks until arriving at the top by being named editor and general manager in 1995. During Parker's tenure, Horseman and Fair World has expanded its efforts to provide news and information, starting with the launch of a website in 1998, and then the introduction of an e-newsletter, "Harness Racing Weekend Preview," in 2009. As a writer, Parker has traveled the world to report on the sport's top events, including all major stakes races in North America, plus the Elitlopp in Sweden, Prix d'Amerique in Paris, and Inter-Dominion in Sydney. Among Parker's honors are a Hervey Award for excellence in writing, the Harness Horsemen's International Media Award, and the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Media Award. In 2010, Parker's Horseman and Fair World received the Proximity Award from USHWA. From the United States Harness Writers Association

BEDFORD PA - The two-year-old pacer Gordo astonished the racing fans at the Bedford (PA) Fair on Monday afternoon when he scorched to a 1:57 victory in a Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes event, missing both the all-time Bedford track record and the national season's record for age, sex, and gait by only 2/5 of a second. Driver Steve Schoeffel sent Gordo right to the front and blitzed amazing fractions of 28.2, 58.2, and 1:26.2 en route to the sensational victory. A son of McArdle out of the Blissful Hall mare Blissard Of Oz (who had had only one winner in four living foals pre-Gordo), the fast freshman was bred by Perretti Farms. (As to whether this horse is named after Gordon Waterstone, the Hervey Award-winning journalist for the Horseman and Fair World magazine, there are only two possible clues: 1) being a Perretti-bred, he was likely named by Communicators Hall of Fame candidate Bob Marks, who often incorporated people's names into horses' names: an earlier foal of Blissard Of Oz was named Duke Of Pellington; 2) the pacer is a gelding.) For driver Steve Schoeffel, the circuit's leading driver and trainer, it was his fifth visit to Victory Lane on the day (but first with a pacer; more on that later), all five of whom come from his own barn. His wife Kathy had her fourth winner of the day with Gordo, and co-owner Lander Stables LLC got their third. The other two winners in the sections of the FSS two-year-old colt pace had a distinctly "hometown" flavor. In the first, R N Nate paced in 2:00.2, which would be a divisional track standard for about 30 minutes, for breeder-owner-trainer-driver Roger Hammer, perhaps the best-known citizen of Bedford in harness racing. And in the second, Sam Beegle, PHHA president and a state wrestling championship finalist when attending his native Bedford High School, paraded back Modern Yankee after a 2:01.3 triumph. Two impressive freshman fillies paced home first in their Fair Sire Stakes cuts. Keystone I Wish was first up, and she went the first 2:00 mile of the local fair season when she won in even time for trainer/driver Todd Schadel. Her clocking shaved two seconds off the previous divisional track mark co-held by Keystone Trixie and Keystone Haden - a tribute to the Hempt Farms' "Keystones," which are still producing winners; Schadel is co-breeder of "Wish" with the Estate of George Hempt Trust. (And that is not to forget Keystone Famous, whose 1:56.3 here in 1986 is still the pacing record, though threatened by Gordo today.) The other baby filly winner, Tropical Terror, kept her distinction intact: she has now won at all seven stops to date on the circuit, here in 2:02.1 for (driver Chris) Shaw / (trainer Jason) Shaw / and (owner and 2YO himself Mason) Shaw. The Schoeffel barn sent out four of the five winners in Fair Sire Stakes freshman trotting competition, including the new track recordholder for 2TFs, Mooksie, who lowered the old mark 5 2/5 seconds with a 2:02.1 tally, over three seconds faster than any of her colt counterparts trotted today. Also a winner was Missive, in 2:05, for the same ownership as Gordo. The Schoeffelites winning the colt events were Police Navidad, fastest of the victorious trio in 2:05.3, and the unusually-bred Shark Gesture trotter out of an Artsplace mare, Chiney Babco, who has now won six "on the trot," here in 2:07.2. Trainer-owner Boots Dunn and driver Chris Shaw sent out 2:06.3 winner King Karma to break up a total Schoeffel sweep. Oh ... and the track was rated "slow" throughout the card. FINISHING LINES-The first race of the day was a Quaker State trot, and the only two entrants were from the Syl King Stable, so it was not really shocking to see a final time of 2:27.4 - which by the way, grouped with Gordo's 1:57 mile to produce a 30 4/5 second variance from fastest to slowest mile on a card, was NOT a record for Western Pennsylvania - just about 29 years ago, Marauder won his heat of the 1985 Adios in 1:52.1, and then, when Nihilator did not return for the final, took the trophy by walking over in 2:27.4, for a 35 3/5 second variance!... The three-year-olds take to the track at Bedford Tuesday at 11 a.m., and given the speed show put on by the babies, who knows how fast the sophomores will go? From the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association  

Joe Thomson, owner of the successful Standardbred breeding operation Winbak Farm, based in Maryland, but whose impact is felt in every racing state and province, has been selected by the screening committee of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) for inclusion on the ballot for election to the sport's Hall of Fame, to be decided later this summer. Thomson's Winbak Farm operation is located in Maryland, while Thomson himself lives in Paoli, PA, not far from the state line. A portion of his harness operation is centered in Pennsylvania and he is the current President of the Pennsylvania Harness Breeders Association. Thomson/Winbak stands the leading trotting and pacing sire in another bordering state, Delaware. In all, Winbak has six horse breeding operations throughout North America. Winbak has produced three Standardbred horses of the year in the last dozen years: No Pan Intended (2003), Rainbow Blue (2004), and Muscle Hill (2009). Muscle Hill joins Vivid Photo (2005) as Winbak graduates who have won the sport's most prestigious race, the Hambletonian. This "mating" of quality and quantity has elevated Winbak to second place among producers of money winning harness horses, behind only Hanover Shoe Farms. In 2013, Winbak horses won over 2,000 races and in excess of $18.2 million, with $7.8M of the latter figure contributed by two- and three-year-olds. Thomson is a co-owner of The Red Mile, the historic track in Lexington KY. Among other important positions he holds in the sport, Thomson serves as a trustee and director of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and a director of the Hambletonian Society. In addition, Thomson was recognized with the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award at the recent Dan Patch Banquet in Dover, Delaware, considered the second highest honor in the sport. Chapters of USHWA nominate Hall of Fame candidates; these candidates are then discussed by the Hall of Fame Screening Committee of USHWA, separately and in conjunction with an advisory committee consisting of Hall of Famers. Thomson emerged through this process, and his name will appear on the summer ballot along with those of Bob Marks and Kathy Parker, who were nominated by USHWA directors as ballot candidates for the Communicators Hall of Fame. From the United States Harness Writers Association    

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

DOVER DE - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's principal organization for media workers, held its annual meetings this past Saturday and Sunday at the Dover Downs complex, with the weekend culminating in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet held Sunday (Feb. 23) night, attended by almost 400 people and streamed worldwide for live viewing. During the Saturday meeting, the Directors of the Association voted for Bob Marks and Kathy Parker to be on the Communicators Hall of Fame voting ballot this summer. Marks has been a leading force in many harness dimensions over his 50 years in the sport, most recently as Marketing Director for Perretti Farms, while Parker, from a prominent harness family, worked her way through the ranks at the Horseman and Fair World weekly magazine until becoming editor in 1995 and later general manager of the Horseman Publishing Company, positions she maintains to this day. At the conclusion of the meetings, the membership voted in their slate of association Officials for 2014-15. Chris Tully, an MBA marketing specialist and writer whose digital literacy and social media acumen has helped bring USHWA to the cutting edge of communications technology, was elected President of the association, succeeding Steve Wolf of Harnesslink.com; Tully's "first official act" was to present Wolf, who now becomes the Chairman of the Board, with a gold Lifetime Membership pin. Tim Bojarski, writer/blogger for the USTA, moved up a chair to 1st Vice President, with the 2VP position going to Shawn Wiles, Monticello Raceway chief racing officer and a longtime USTA and USHWA director. Judy Davis-Wilson, who is based in Dover and worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the weekend, especially the banquet, was returned as Treasurer; Alan Prince, who attended his 48th consecutive USHWA meetings weekend, remains as Executive Treasurer. Also elected was Jerry Connors as USHWA secretary. Much of the discussion during the two days of meetings focused on the sport's Halls of Fame in Goshen NY, where plans for renovation and modernization are starting to advance rapidly, and where USHWA makes a significant contribution. In addition to the physical reconfiguration of the Halls of Fame area, the directors and membership discussed several by-law and rules change relating to the Halls, especially the re-establishment of a Seniors category for both. Debate was plentiful, lively, and well-reasoned on all sides, and some of these matters were tabled until a Committee, soon to be appointed, can focus on the merits - and the eventual wording -- of the varied proposed changes. The attendees heard reports from the many committees that keep USHWA functioning throughout the year, and were glad to hear from Davis-Wilson, voted the organization's member of the year, that the treasury was in a very good shape, pointing to future success in USHWA's upcoming progressive efforts. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner was as always the highlight of the gathering, with superstar sophomore trotting filly Bee A Magician "finishing her unbeaten season" by being elected Trotter of the Year and then Harness Horse of the Year; her contemporary, the pacing colt Captaintreacherous, took down overall honors for that gait after a brilliant campaign showing speed and courage in equal amounts. Also honored were the quartet to be inducted into the Halls of Fame Sunday, July 6 in Goshen: Harness Racing Hall of Famers David Miller and William Weaver, and Communicators Hall inductees Carol Cramer and John Pawlak. by Jerry Connors for USHWA

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