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Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA, is excited to announce the harness racing line-up for Thursday morning (February 27th, 2019) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Dave Briggs, Jazmin Arnold, and Mark McKelvie. Briggs, who is the Managing Editor of Harness Racing Update, explained in an article on February 16th of nine ways horse racing can retain slot revenue. Briggs has won multiple awards for excellence in journalism. Arnold, the 2019 Dan Patch Amateur Driver of the Year, will talk about what it meant to her to win the award. She'll also touch on what the future holds in harness racing. McKelvie, the Communications and Content Manager at Woodbine Mohawk, will talk about the recently filled Mohawk Millions. The first of its kind race in harness racing is a $1 million event for 2-year-old trotters. It will take place on September 26th at Woodbine Mohawk Raceway. McKelvie will also talk about his team winning the McKee Broadcasting Award this past Sunday in Florida. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m.via their website or on archive on their website as well. From the Mike and Mike Show

HARNESS RACING UPATE's Dave Briggs  reports that Rick Zeron's suspension was cut in half to 90 days, but the $10,000 fine remains. Ontario's Horse Racing Appeal Panel (HRAP) has ruled trainer/driver/owner Rick Zeron will serve a 90-day suspension (to begin Jan.24,2020) and pay a $10,000 fine for a series of infractions..The fine was upheld, but Zeron's suspension was reduced to half of the 180-day suspension he was initially facing. The case stems from an inspection of Zeron's Ontario barn at Classy Lane Stables in July of 2018. Through his lawyer,Larry Todd, Zeron did not contest the following two charges: - Possessing improperly labelled medications. - Failing to have proper prescription for medications. He did contest the other three charges: - Attempting to avoid detection by using counterfeit medication labels. - Attempting to bribe another licensee to adjust their statement to help hide his use of counterfeit medication labels - Using "shockwave"therapy within the prohibited 96 hour period on horses Lady Ellaand and Urban Legend prior to qualifying races. To read the rest of the story, click here.

Dave Briggs and Bob "Hollywood" Heyden were named the winners of the 2018 John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing journalism while Chris Gooden and Michael Burns were named recipients of the George Smallsreed Awards for photography and Woodbine Entertainment Group was selected the winner of the Sam McKee Award for broadcasting, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Tuesday. The winners will be recognized at the Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 24 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando. Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeffrey Gural is continuing his longstanding sponsorship of the awards by providing banquet tickets for the winners. Briggs won in the feature writing category for his two-part series "Inside the Mind of Jimmy Takter" that appeared in the Nov. 24 and Nov. 25 editions of Harness Racing Update. To read part one, click here. To read part two, click here. With the win, Briggs extended his record for Hervey honors to 12, with eight of the trophies for feature writing. Heyden won in the news/commentary category for his essay "Requiem for Sam McKee," which appeared in the March 9 edition of Harness Racing Update. To read the piece, click here. The honor was Heyden's first in the journalism category; he was recognized previously, with McKee, in the broadcast division. Honorable mention in the feature writing category went to Jessica Hallett for her story "Stronger Together: Florida horsemen work together to bring a friend to a survivor," which recounted the efforts of horsemen to find a therapy dog for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Kayla Schaefer. The story appeared in the June issue of Hoof Beats magazine. Honorable mention in the news/commentary category went to Derick Giwner for his column "Is the Standardbred horse shortage real?" that appeared in the June 21 edition of DRF Harness Weekend and to Briggs for his coverage of the Hambletonian Stakes in the Aug. 6 edition of Harness Racing Update. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of past Hervey winner Brad Schmaltz, freelance writer Lou Monaco, and former Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. In the Smallsreed competition, Gooden won in the race action category for his photograph "Blizzard," which appeared online on March 14 on Australia's National Trotguide website. Gooden is a two-time Smallsreed winner. Burns won in the feature category for his photograph of pacers behind the starting gate that appeared on Oct. 18 on the Woodbine Mohawk Park website. Burns also is a two-time Smallsreed recipient. Honorable mention in the action category went to Clive Cohen's racing silhouette photograph that appeared on March 23 on the Woodbine Facebook and Instagram pages and to Ryan Thompson's Hawthorne triple-dead-heat photograph that appeared on the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association's website on Jan. 11, 2018. Honorable mention in the feature category went to Brad Conrad's snowy post parade photograph that appeared in the January 2018 issue of Hoof Beats and to Gooden's "Ice Crystals" that appeared on Nov. 20 on the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association's Facebook page. Judges for the photography categories were racetrack and newspaper photographer Bill Denver, multiple Eclipse Award-winning photographer Barbara Livingston, and former harness racing groom and longtime newspaper/magazine photographer Phil McAuliffe. In the McKee competition, Woodbine Entertainment Group was honored for its story on 3-year-old pacer Lather Up, which appeared as part of the June 16 North America Cup coverage on TSN. The story was written and produced by Phil McSween for the NA Cup special produced by Kris Platts. It was narrated by Paul Salvalaggio and edited by Jason Vanderzee. The camera operators were David Syrie and Gage Fletcher. The win gave WEG its third award in the broadcast division. To watch the story, click here. Honorable mention went to CBS Sports Network's coverage of the Aug. 4 Hambletonian Stakes eliminations, produced by Peter Lasser and featuring broadcasters Gary Seibel, Dave Brower, and Greg Blanchard. Entries for the Sam McKee Award were judged by Kurt Becker, track announcer at Keeneland and an Eclipse Award-winning broadcaster. For more information about the Dan Patch Awards banquet, visit From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

Goshen, NY --- Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg took different roads to success as harness racing breeders and owners, but those paths merged Sunday when they were inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame during ceremonies on the grounds of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Siegel, a retired pharmacist who operated a chain of drug stores before turning his full attention to harness racing, owns Pennsylvania’s Fashion Farms. Siegel and his late wife Arlene owned 1995 Hambletonian Stakes winner Tagliabue. Other successes have included eight divisional champion horses and five victories in the Breeders Crown. She was introduced by USTA President Russell Williams, who spoke first in Swedish and then in English.Wallenius-Kleberg, the first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame, is widely regarded as the First Lady of International Trotting. She owns Menhammar Stuteri, the renowned breeding farm that has led Sweden in purses each of the past 11 years. The farm was purchased by her father, shipping magnate Olof Wallenius, in 1947 and has produced an impressive list of notable trotters. "Being here tonight is the result of a fantastic combination of American and Swedish friends and partnerships through the years," Wallenius-Kleberg said. "I do hope I can fulfill what is expected of me as a Hall of Famer. And as the first woman with this title, I hope I can be inspiration to all girls and young women out there." Also honored Sunday were the late horseman Hakan Wallner, who was inducted into the Hall of Immortals; writer Dave Briggs and announcer Carl Becker, who were inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame; horses Cantab Hall, Western Ideal, Gala Dream, and Sweet Future; and amateur driving champion Hannah Miller. Siegel was steered into harness racing by his wife Arlene, a retired nurse whom Jules has called “the real inspiration” for a retirement spent with horses. The couple worked together at Fashion Farms, with Arlene among those who guided Jules through the early years of the farm’s operation, even getting him to assist with mares when foals were born. “This honor is by far one of the most unbelievable experiences of my 90 years," Siegel said. “First, mostly John Campbell was my go-to guy in the beginning. I was amazed at his consistent ability to make good horses into great winners. Jim Campbell, my trainer, taught me how the horse business works. How in the world can I ever reward him for all he’s done for me? “The one person who is responsible for my standing here is my wife Arlene who made all this possible. She told me ‘dear, I will not let you retire to nothing.’” The Siegels received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association in 2002 and 2009 and Siegel was Standardbred Canada’s Owner of the Decade for the 2000s. Other honors included being named the Pennsylvania chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Breeder of the Year in 2008 and 2009. Tagliabue was the first of the Siegels’ Dan Patch Award-winning horses, followed by two-time recipient Galleria, Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner, Possess The Will, and two-time honoree Broadway Donna. Broadway Schooner, a daughter of Broadway Hall bred by the Siegels, won the 2009 Hambletonian Oaks and is the dam of Broadway Donna. Wallenius-Kleberg was one of the first people to recognize the importance of international bonds among trotting breeders and regulators. She created a North American-European comingling of racing and breeding talent with her partner, the late Hall of Famer Norman Woolworth, headed by stallions Zoot Suit and Smokin Yankee. Zoot Suit was Sweden’s top sire for six consecutive years, 1991-96, and was preceded at the top of the list by Smokin Yankee in 1990. Menhammar Stuteri also was home to two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Mack Lobell. One of Menhammar’s earliest stars was Big Noon, who was Scandinavia’s version of American’s early 20th century star Dan Patch. Among the horses bred by the farm are 2014 Prix d’Amerique winner Maharajah, 2013 Elitloppet winner From Above, and 2005 Hambletonian Oaks winner Jalopy. Beginning this year, Menhammar Stuteri stands recently retired Nuncio, who was a star in North America and Europe. Nuncio’s wins included the Kentucky Futurity, Yonkers Trot, and Elitloppet. After Wallenius-Kleberg’s purchase of Zoot Suit from Woolworth, the two trotting devotees developed a bond that opened doors in North America for her burgeoning interests in trotting. Wallenius-Kleberg began keeping and breeding mares in the U.S. and having fillies trained and raced in North America before they entered the Menhammar broodmare band. By the 1980s, Wallenius-Kleberg was a familiar figure at the Hambletonian, the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile, and the Hall of Fame weekend in Goshen. She also traveled to Florida regularly to see her young horses in training. Concurrently she was developing contacts and friendships throughout Europe so that she could broaden the Menhammar influence on the continent. She was a regular at the Prix d’Amerique in Paris and cultivated contacts among French horsemen and breeders. Recognizing the importance of sustaining the trotting sport, Margareta has assisted and encouraged many young people in racing. She always insisted on the highest standards in the horses she acquired and used her business skills to operate successfully. Already a member of Sweden’s Trotting Hall of Fame, Wallenius-Kleberg has held numerous positions in organizations related to the sport in her native country and abroad and worked to promote harness racing on both sides of the Atlantic. She is a Hambletonian Society director and received the Harness Racing Museum’s Pinnacle Award in 2011. Wallner, too, was a globe-trotting pioneer who raised the bar of Swedish racing and breeding to an international level. Wallner, who won the Elitloppet and Prix d’Amerique in Europe, was convinced he could succeed in the U.S. as a trainer of trotters and in a short amount of time he was competing at the highest level and affecting every facet of harness racing from the yearling sales to the Grand Circuit. With Jan Johnson and Berndt Lindstedt he founded Continental Farm, which counted among its many accomplishments winning the first-ever Breeders Crown race with Workaholic in 1984. The stable was a force in the series, winning four trophies and $2.85 million in the first eight years of the Breeders Crown. Its $3.94 million in purses overall in the event remain No. 6 among all trainers in history. Continental Farm also won the Hambletonian in 1988 with Armbro Goal and multiple editions of the Hambletonian Oaks. Wallner led the way for other Scandinavian and European horsemen to move to the U.S. and compete at the sport’s highest level. The list includes Soren and Jan Nordin, Jimmy Takter, Per Eriksson, Per Henrikson, Stefan Melander, Mario Zuanetti and Pekka Korpi. Collectively that group has nine Hambletonian winners. Wallner died Jan. 20, 2001, in Treviso, Italy. He was inducted to the Swedish Trotting Hall of Fame in 2015. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

World champion, Hall of Famer, leading harness racing stallion and legendary standardbred racehorse Somebeachsomewhere was euthanized Sunday afternoon (Jan. 14) at Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Center in Ringoes, NJ after a short battle with cancer. Somebeachsomewhere had just turned 13 on Jan. 1. It’s devastating. It’s a terrible day,” said Brent MacGrath, the trainer and part-owner of the Canadian-owned pacer who was syndicated as a stallion but his original owners — the six-member Schooner Stable of Bible Hill, NS — still held majority ownership in the horse. The Schooner Stable is comprised of Maritimers MacGrath, Garry Pye, Stu Rath, Reg Petitpas, Pamela Dean and Jamie Bagnell. “I mean, when cancer is mentioned, you’ve got to be prepared for the worst. I wasn’t expecting it quite this quickly, but, you know, the last few days haven’t been good, obviously, so mentally I was a little more prepared than I was at this time last week. It’s just a bad, bad day. Bad timing, bad everything. “For a horse that was so healthy his whole life, it’s just a shame to see him end up this way. He got short changed and the industry got short changed, big time, in the breeding side. He should have bred well into his 20s.” MacGrath said all six of the original owners are animal lovers and when Somebeachsomewhere began to suffer they quickly made the decision to euthanize him. “He was going downhill fast, he lost a lot of weight, he lost a lot of muscle tone. At the end of it, he was down and struggling to get up because his balance was off. His white count was through the roof and it appears as though he became septic,” MacGrath said. “We’ll know a little bit more when we get the autopsy.” MacGrath said Somebeachsomewhere was euthanized around 2 p.m. Sunday. After the autopsy is complete, Somebeachsomewhere will be returned to Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, PA where he will be laid to rest at the farm where he stood as a stallion since his racing career ended at the end of 2008. Somebeachsomewhere was being treated for cancer by Dr. Rodney Belgrave an internal medicine specialist at the Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Center. The cancer was discovered in November after Somebeachsomewhere had an issue with colic that led Hanover Shoes Farms’ farm manager Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky to send the Somebeachsomewhere to the equine hospital to get thoroughly examined. “Beach has had some stomach issues for some time,” MacGrath said in November. “We have treated him for colic in the past and, this last episode, Bridgette wanted him sent to the hospital and checked out. So we did and they found the intestine in a bad spot. It was making him uncomfortable and we determined that we were going to go in and move it into its proper position. Everything looked very good, but he did have a small mass in there that was half the size of a grape.” The mass was removed and Somebeachsomewhere underwent the first of six weekly chemotherapy treatments on Nov. 18. “Bridgette, she obviously loved the horse and she’s devastated,” MacGrath. The Ontario Sired superstar is a son of Mach Three out of Wheres The Beach. Somebeachsomewhere, driven throughout his career by Paul MacDonell of Guelph, ON, earned $3,289,755 on the track in 2007 and 2008, winning 20 of 21 starts and setting an all-age world record of 1:46.4 at age three at The Red Mile in Lexington, KY. His lone loss (to Art Official) was an epic second-place performance in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace that only furthered his legacy. “I am absolutely devastated by the loss of Somebeachsomewhere. He has had a great impact on myself, my family and the sport of harness racing,” MacDonell said. “It was truly and honor to be a part of his amazing legacy.” Somebeachsomewhere shared the Canadian Horse of the Year award in 2007 with Tell All and was named the Horse of the Year in both Canada and the United States in 2008. Somebeachsomewhere was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2009, the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2015 and has already sired the winners of more than $84.6 at the time of his death with just six racing-aged crops on the ground. He led all pacing sires in progeny earnings in 2016 with nearly $20 million earned by his offspring. He was also the leading pacing stallion in 2017. His progeny earned $23.7 million in 2017, which is a single season record for a standardbred stallion. “The people that he exposed us to is probably one of the big things I will remember,” MacGrath said. “The ride he took us on, the way he made us feel when he was racing. I never went into a race thinking he was going to be beat. “When we took a run for the world record in Kentucky, it never entered my head that he would get beat and, of course, that’s what concerns people when they do stuff like that, I’m sure. That just never entered my head.” Somebeachsomewhere also elevated harness racing into the mainstream, particularly in his native Canada in 2008, when he was considered for the Lou Marsh Award honoring the nation’s athlete of the year. Somebeachsomewhere was featured on CBC’s The National news program and he was named the Newsmaker of the Year for Nova Scotia by the CBC. He was profiled in the nation’s biggest newspapers and on national radio. His Facebook page topped 1,600 members. He and his connections made the cover of harness racing trade publications 18 times. Along the way, his fan base swelled, never more so than in the Maritimes where his every start was cause for a Beach Party, particularly at his hometown Truro Raceway. Somebeachsomewhere’s back story is nearly as compelling as the horse itself — a dreamer’s tale. In 2006, MacGrath, a car salesman by trade with a lifetime of experiencing training a small stable of horses, cobbled together five partners from the Maritimes to buy an Ontario-sired horse. He picked out one yearling in October of that year on his first trip to Lexington, KY and was able to purchase the horse at exactly his limit. “I didn’t have $40,100. I had $40,000. I said, ‘If he goes for $40,000, I own him,’” MacGrath once said. On Oct. 4, 2006 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, the hammer fell on hip number 268 at exactly $40,000. MacGrath defied conventional wisdom by training the colt in Truro. Teamed with his old friend MacDonell, the two Macs meticulously planned every step of Somebeachsomewhere’s career. MacGrath even took a year’s sabbatical form the car dealerships he owns with Pye to personally manage every facet of Beach’s all-important sophomore campaign — one that ended with a lucrative stallion deal from Hanover Shoe Farms. While the perfect plan deserves some of the credit, MacGrath knows he was blessed to land a genial, charismatic, physical specimen with a rare array of talents. “He’s got strength, he’s got the gait — which is flawless — and he’s got the will. Those are three things,” MacDonell said. “A lot of horses will have one of them. He’s got them all.” MacGrath said Somebeachsomewhere helped inspire dreamers throughout the harness racing industry. “He gave the industry a boost. He gave small-time people something and showed them that it was possible. It happened, and Beach proved that it happened,” MacGrath said. by Dave Briggs  

Becker & Briggs to Communicators Hall of Fame

David Heffering said he will never forget the phone ringing late one night just before U.S. Thanksgiving in 1995. It was his brother Richard on the phone with a simple message: "Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas. Go pick up the horse" The horse was trotting stallion Mr Lavec, a horse that would prove to be a game- and life-changer for David and Tara Hills Stud of Port Perry, ON. The farm was in its infancy at that time and has grown to become one of the biggest Standardbred breeding operations in Canada home to such stallion stars as Kadabra, Mach Three and Sportswriter. "Mr Lavec was standing at Blue Chip Farms in New York," David said. "We needed a horse badly up in Canada and my brother bought out the lease on the horse after a whole day of negotiations with Mr. Kimelman." Trouble was, David had never trucked a horse up to Canada from the United States before and the trip was anything but smooth. Along with Mr Lavec, David brought back a tank loaded with Precious Bunny's frozen semen and some Christmas lights. "t claim the semen and I got in trouble and the truck and trailer and horse were impounded for nine hours. It was a simple misunderstanding," David said, adding that not claiming the Christmas lights also riled the border guards and caused the situation to snowball out of control. "We got the horse back to Canada finally on that day, but it took us awhile. I can sit back and laugh at it now, but at that time it wasn't that funny. I was in one of those rooms calling people; I used some of it as my bonding time with Mr Lavec, but the rest is history for us. We got him to the farm and Armstrongs called and came in and bought 10 per cent of the horse. They used all their breedings. It really helped put us on the map. "Mr Lavec was the first big time horse we had. He is this big, dark horse. A strong horse, gorgeous horse. He has French bloodlines in him. He was something different and we clicked. He never produced that Hambletonian winner, but Ontario was a good spot for him at the time because the (Ontario) Sires Stakes program was just starting to get rolling. I think we had 15 years of full books to that horse" Mr Lavec sired the winners of more than $41 million. He is now 25, in good health, and living in luxury at Tara Hills in their immaculate stallion barn and access to his own paddock. "He was syndicated and when wasn't worth paying his bills anymore, I basically bought the horse for $1," David said. "I said he would always have a place to live. He.s in great shape. He looks great. He's not ornery. He likes the kids when they go out. When they walk around the track, he comes right up to them. He just wants his head rubbed. He's a great horse. Who knows how long he will live, but you look at this horse and his feet are in great shape. He has no lameness issues." by Dave Briggs from Ontario Racing

In this week’s edition of Ontario Racing’s ongoing feature The Horse That Changed My Life, learn what Ontario Sired horse was a game-changer for harness racing driver Paul MacDonell long before the great Somebeachsomewhere came into his life............. Paul MacDonell knows you’re expecting him to say Somebeachsomewhere is the horse that changed his life. MacDonell was, after all, the only man to ever drive the world champion pacer and Hall of Famer in a pari-mutuel start. There’s no question that Somebeachsomewhere was the best horse MacDonell has ever driven. But if it wasn’t for Cavans Jovial, MacDonell isn’t sure whether he would have had the kind of career that led to Beach in the first place. MacDonell was just 21 and racing at Kawartha Downs near Peterborough, ON in the spring of 1984 when Cavans Jovial came into his life. “I just happened to drive her at Kawartha Downs in an overnight race,” MacDonell said. “I liked the way she went. The owner was there and I just happened to ask him, ‘Would you be willing to sell her?’ Sure enough, he came with a price.” MacDonell remembers the price was $12,000 and he, his father, Blaise, and Bob Hayes jumped at the chance to buy Cavans Jovial, who was in the early stages of her sophomore season. “She went on and made $100,000 in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) that year,” MacDonell said. “She was a horse that launched me into driving in the OSS. She sprung me to a different level. I can remember she raced against Annie Ivy. She raced against her and Ted Jacobs had a really nice mare. There were three or four really nice ones and she raced right with them. We were riding on Cloud 9 to be able to compete against those horses.” Lifetime, the daughter of Kawartha Skipper out of Jovial Georgia earned $142,611 with a record of 17-10-6 in 50 starts and a mark of 1:57.3 taken at the Meadowlands in her five-year-old season. MacDonell went on to win more than 5,300 races and post earnings exceeding $116 million. In all likelihood, he will always be associated with Somebeachsomewhere “What amazes me today is how people still come along and want me to sign stuff that has Beach on it, or a program, or something as simple as a card — anything that has Beach’s picture. I just find that amazing eight years later,” MacDonell said. “People ask about him. They ask, ‘Have you seen him lately?’ They’re truly interested in the horse. I think that’s kind of neat.” by Dave Briggs For Ontario Racing

In this week’s edition of Ontario Racing’s ongoing feature The Horse That Changed My Life, learn how three-time Canadian driver of the year Sylvain Filion earned his harness racing driving license by baby racing a future North America Cup winner. It’s a safe bet Sylvain Filion is the only person that earned his driver’s license by baby racing a future North America Cup winner. It’s one of many reasons the three-time — and reigning —Canadian driver of year lists Runnymede Lobell as the horse that changed his life. Filion was 18 in the summer of 1987 when he and the son of Nero out of Racy Heart learned their first racing lessons together in Montreal. Filion said he didn’t know at the time that the colt was something special. “I didn’t really realize then, but I knew he was very easy to drive, so that made it easy for me. You could feel he had a lot of power,” Sylvain said. Runnymede Lobell, owned by Filion’s father, Yves, of Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, QC and Norm Mondoux of Laval, QC, went on to win 31 of 48 career races, over $1.6 million and the 1988 North America Cup with Yves in the sulky and Sylvain as the trainer. It was the first NA Cup victory for a horse owned and trained by Quebecers. “It was just a great night,” Sylvain said of the ’88 NA Cup. “It was at Greenwood back then. We were all there, the family. It was just a great, great time.” Another great night is quickly approaching. In August, Yves Filion will be officially inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Runnymede Lobell not only got Sylvain’s driving career started and earned the family a NA Cup, Sylvain likes to remind his father of one other important fact. “I told him I was the only one that didn’t get beat with him. I won the qualifier,” Sylvain said, laughing. Sylvain, 46, has driven in more than 46,000 races, winning more than 8,000 and in excess of $95 million in purses. Though Runnymede Lobell was the first, he said other horses have had a tremendous impact on his life — most notably Supreme Jade, who gave him his first win in 1987 at Rideau Carleton; millionaire pacing mare Tricky Tooshie and his father’s $1.5 million-winning pacer Goliath Bayama, who was second to The Panderosa in the 1998 NA Cup. Yet, the driver said he is still looking for another great horse to come along. “I hope the horse that will really change my life is the next one,” he said. “I’m still looking for it.” by Dave Briggs

Harness racing driver Doug McNair will be making his NA Cup driving debut and trainer Casie Coleman will be looking for her second Cup triumph when they send out Ontario Sired pacers Magnum J and morning line favourite Betting Line, respectively, in the $1 million race. Casie Coleman said she isn't the least surprised there are two Ontario Sired horses in Saturday's (June 18) $1 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack, including her trainee Betting Line, the 5-2 morning line favourite, and Magnum J trained by Gregg McNair. "We've got great stallions, we've got great broodmares. We've got a really good program," Coleman said of the Ontario Sires Stakes program. "Here we are with two Ontario Sired horses in the final of the $1 million North America Cup -- two out of 10 with all those Somebeachsomewheres and other American sires that are very, very expensive... Hopefully, they show themselves well and people are wanting to buy Ontario Sired more." Betting Line, a son of Bettor's Delight out of Heather's Western, won the faster of the two NA Cup eliminations on Saturday, June 11 with a 1:49.1 victory that was three-quarters-of-a-length better than Lyons Snyder. Winning the elimination gave Coleman the right to pick her post for the final. She selected the post three on behalf of driver David Miller and her fellow owners Ross Warriner, Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol, all from Ontario. They purchased Betting Line for $60,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sales Company's 2014 yearling sale in Harrisburg, PA. Coleman, a resident of Cambridge ON, won the 2010 Pepsi North America Cup with Sportswriter, now a leading stallion in Ontario that stands at Tara Hills Stud in Port Perry, ON. "I'm lucky enough that I've been in enough of these big races now that it's just another race," she said when asked about the pressure a trainer feels the week of a big race. "Obviously, it's a million-dollar race, so it's a big one and we want to make sure we don't mess anything up, but it's the same daily routine that we always go through." Coleman said Betting Line, the winner of his Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Super Final a year ago, is primed and ready for Saturday's $1 million final. "He had a really good week," she said Thursday. "I trained him on Tuesday a couple of trips. He trained great and I went into the vet after he trained and everything looked really good. Blood was good and he's sharp, sound and healthy. Everything seems A1 right now." Magnum J will have a tougher assignment for the father-son training and driving team of Gregg and Doug McNair of Guelph, ON. The son of Big Jim out of Jamirotoy will start from post 10 in the 10-horse field. Doug will be making his North America Cup driving debut. "First or last it's going to be a good experience," Doug said. Even though the pressure's off having the outside post, Doug said he would "rather have had the pressure of having the one or two or three hole... than to have to come from the outside. But, I guess, it's only where you're starting from." Magnum J was purchased for $10,000 by Gregg McNair and Hanover, ON residents Tony Lawrence and William Brown at the 2014 Forest City Yearling Sale in London, ON. In 2015, the gelding won one of the premier events for Ontario Sired horses when he captured the $200,000 Battle of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON. The pacer was saddled with the seven-hole in that race and Doug said Magnum J has been particularly unlucky with post positions. In Magnum J's last two starts, Doug has had to craft money-winning trips from far outside starting spots. Magnum J was fourth in his $75,000 Somebeachsomewhere division at Mohawk on June 4 from the 10-hole. A week ago, he started in the closed from eighth at the top of the stretch to be fourth in his $50,000 NA Cup elimination. "He couldn't race any better than he did the last two starts. He came home in :25.4 one day and he was probably six, seven wide in the stretch. Then last week he came home in:26.2 into a big, strong headwind," Doug said. As for working out a winning strategy in the $1 million final, Doug said he'll have to see how things unfold off the gate. "He can leave as fast as you want him to leave, but going for a million dollars you know they won't leave you alone on the front end. Everything is different behind the gate. It would be nice to get away at the back and have them go big fractions, but sometimes that's not the way it goes either. Play it by ear and hopefully we get lucky," he said. "It's just a bad post. He's as good as any horse in there, I think." Regardless, Doug said he's determined to make his first NA Cup drive a good experience. "I've got a bunch of my buddies coming out to watch. I still have a lot of high school buddies around. They don't understand racing, but they'll have fun being there. The race is on TSN2 and (Magnum J) is in the race. You've got no shot if you're not in it. It's the 10-hole, but it's better than being also eligible." Doug said he's also looking forward to driving Ontario Sired four-year-old pacing mare Solar Sister (Mach Three--Cabrini Hanover) in the $370,000 Roses Are Red final for owners and breeders David Willmot of King City, ON and Clay Horner of Toronto. Solar Sister won her Roses Are Red elimination on Saturday (June 11). "She's been really good, but that's a tough race. There's some good mares in there, but I got lucky and won it last year (with Lady Shadow) so it would be nice two years in a row," Doug said. As for Coleman, she said she is relishing Betting Line's success even more after deciding to downsize her stable. "Right now these smaller numbers are working for me. I'm actually making more money on my bottom line with smaller numbers. It's a lot less stress, less staff, fewer owners and fewer horses. I'm really enjoying how I'm doing it now," she said, adding she will enjoy herself even more if Betting Line wins the big one on Saturday. "Now he just needs the trip to work out and we'll see if we can get out picture taken," she said. by Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Racing

Dave Briggs, writing for "Harness Racing Weekend Preview," and Kimberly French, writing for "Hoof Beats" magazine, were named the winners in the 2015 John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness writing journalism, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Monday. Winners in the Smallsreed Award photography contest and Hervey broadcasting division were announced last week. French won in the feature writing category for her story titled "Heart of a Lion: Champion trotter King Mufasa walks away from gruesome trailering accident," which appeared in the November 2015 issue of "Hoof Beats." It is French's first Hervey honor. Bill Finley and Melissa Keith received honorable mention in the feature category. Finley was recognized for his story about Breana Carsey and her Ohio Sire Stakes champion MJB Got Faith "Just 10, Owner has big horse, big dreams, big heart," which appeared in the Sept. 17, 2015 issue of "Harness Racing Update." Keith was recognized for her story "Been there, bought the T-shirt: The relevance of trademark race calls," which appeared in the February 2015 issue of "Trot" magazine. Briggs won in the news and commentary category for his "Stretch Call" column titled "Suspension of Sears points to systemic flaw," which appeared on Nov. 20, 2015 in "Harness Racing Weekend Preview." Briggs has been awarded a record eight Hervey honors in the writing categories. Kathy Parker and Perry Lefko received honorable mention in the news and commentary category. Parker was recognized for her story, "Battle to the Wire: Wiggle It Jiggleit astounds crowd with victory in 70th Little Brown Jug," which appeared in the Sept. 30, 2015 issue of "The Horseman and Fair World" magazine. Lefko was recognized for his story, "Four Michigan drivers seeking huge sums in damage suit after race fixing case went nowhere," which appeared in the Sept. 11, 2015 issue of "Harness Racing Update." The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of past Hervey winners Brad Schmaltz and Maryjean Wall, horse racing publicist and writer Lynne Snierson, and Daily Racing Form Programming Manager Lou Monaco. Award winners will be recognized during the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet at Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on March 6. Information on tickets and accommodations for the event can be found at Meadowlands Chairman Jeffrey Gural is continuing his longstanding sponsorship of the Hervey and Smallsreed awards by providing banquet tickets for the Hervey and Smallsreed winners. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

As the 2015 live season comes to a close at the Toronto plant, new CEO Jim Lawson gives his take on the year that was and what the future may hold for Canada's largest racetrack. In May, a little over a month after becoming the chief executive officer of Toronto's Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), Jim Lawson was busy setting up a satellite office in the stable area and professing a love for the backside of a racetrack first stoked as a boy on visits to the Woodbine barns with his father. "There's nothing better that being around a racetrack in the morning and seeing everyone," he said at the time. "They love their job. They just love being around the horses, but they love being part of the community. That's what means a lot to me." Six months later, a few days before Woodbine will bring an end to both the 2015 racing season and its 9-year-old Polytrack surface, Lawson laughed when asked if being in the backstretch regularly was still good for his soul. "It’s definitely challenging," he said carefully. "It's an interesting business in that the complaints far outweigh the praise … but that's okay. I understand that and that's why we're back there. If we can make this a better place as a result of that, that's what it's all about." In a nearly hour-long interview just before yesterday's season-ending card at Woodbine, Lawson spoke candidly and passionately about the state of horse racing at Canada's largest racetrack less than two years after the province pulled the plug on the lucrative Slots at Racetracks Program. Lawson, who is also the chair of the Canadian Football League and was the league’s interim commissioner when he took the job at WEG, is the son of the late Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer Mel Lawson, who established the Jim Dandy Stable in the 1960s. Being more accessible to the horsepeople is one part of Lawson’s efforts to institute a significant culture change at WEG, one of seven positive indicators — including a 14 percent increase in wagering — that Woodbine may have a bright future. 1. Culture Change "We’re working at a transformation that's consistent with getting more people interested in the game," Lawson said of the culture change he began leading shortly after April 1, when he took over for outgoing CEO Nick Eaves. "What we're faced with in this industry is just a challenging landscape in terms of the competition for that sports and entertainment dollar. I think what we need to do is become better as an organization in terms of attracting people and showing people what horse racing can do, how people can come out and enjoy themselves. That starts with having a happy workplace. People who are excited about what they do, they pass on that excitement to the customer." Lawson said increasing employee investment in the operation requires removing some of the hierarchy in an organization that has nearly 2,000 employees and operates both Woodbine Racetrack just down the road from Toronto’s Pearson Airport and its Standardbred-only sister track, Mohawk Racetrack, 30 miles west of the city in Campbellville. "Part of our cultural change is challenging people for that new vision to give them the empowerment to do things differently," Lawson said. “I think that’s the way horse racing is going to survive in this province - by being new and innovative - and that's part of our cultural vision and our vision, generally, as a company." 2. Turf is King One example of different thinking involves experimenting with racing the opposite direction — clockwise — to better utilize Woodbine’s celebrated, European-style turf course, named for the track’s founder, E.P. Taylor, the man who brought the world the incomparable Northern Dancer. "Why not run clockwise? What’s wrong with that? We never thought of it before. Let’s try something different. Let's build some innovation and excitement back in this game," Lawson said. "The idea really relates to the fact that we've got this world class turf course and a good part of it doesn't get used unless we’re running a mile-and-a-quarter or a mile-and-a-half on the grass. "We’ve been looking at ways to add chutes to our turf course and different approaches. We are likely going to experiment in the spring with running horses clockwise. We've already worked horses clockwise successfully. It doesn’t seem to impact the horses at all. I appreciate from a handicapping angle that some horses may turn right better than they turn left, but that’s a handicapping angle. I don’t think, from the experts we talked to, the horses notice the difference. "I can see us running 25 races or more next year clockwise." Lawson said one of Woodbine’s biggest selling points is its turf course. The plant could even add a second turf course in the future. Currently, Standardbreds race at Woodbine in the winter on a dirt track that was a Thoroughbred turf oval prior to harness racing coming to the facility in 1994. WEG is exploring the possibility of Standardbreds racing at Mohawk year-round, which would allow the company to put in a new turf track where the harness racing oval is now. A lot of that is dependent on casino expansion at both facilities, but more on that in a second. For the time being, WEG is concentrating on replacing its Polytrack surface. 3. Ditching the Poly for Tapeta Shortly after racing ends on Nov. 29, construction crews will begin tearing out Woodbine’s Polytrack surface in favour of a new synthetic cushion — Tapeta. Weather permitting, the hope is to have the new track installed in December so it can settle over the winter. Lawson predicts there will be business advantages to Tapeta being installed." It's a very consistent surface, so people coming up here or shipping up here to run know what they’re going to run on," Lawson said. "Our numbers show us that our biggest selling point is our turf course. We're looking at ways of increasing our turf racing. Horses that ship in to run on our turf, they at least have the luxury of knowing that if there's a rainstorm… and the race comes off the turf, they will run on a Tapeta surface. That way they're not faced with scratching the horse on a sloppy or muddy track. "We will average a fewer scratches when a race moves from a grass surface to a Tapeta surface." Lawson said field size is critical to WEG’s bottom line. "There's such a direct correlation between field size and wagering," he said. "Across North America, every racetrack is struggling with horse supply and field size. Part of the challenge here is to try and increase wagering faced with not only the competition for the entertainment and wagering dollar, but also in our own world, even if we have the wagers there, they're just not going to wager the same amount of money when field sizes are down." 4. Business numbers are up Despite struggling, at times, to card full fields, Lawson was proud to announce betting at Woodbine was up almost 14 per cent in 2015 over 2014. "That's a substantial increase in a period where it’s been difficult with all the competition for the wagering dollar. We’re pleased," Lawson said, indicating the numbers are slightly inflated because the Canadian dollar is currently trading around 75 cents compared to the U.S. dollar. "But it's also indicative, I think, of our product being very well received in the United States, in particular, and the Woodbine brand being recognized," Lawson said. "I think a credit to our marketing people, who work very hard on those U.S. relationships." Woodbine smashed betting records on its three biggest event days this year — the 156th running of the Queen’s Plate on July 5, the Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Sept. 13 and the Pattison Canadian International on Oct. 18. The Queen's Plate card produced an all-time record Woodbine handle of $11.06 million (excluding the 1996 Breeders’ Cup held at the track). The previous, non-Cup Woodbine record was the $9.7 million wagered in 2013. Lawson said he is "boldly predicting" that at next year’s Queen’s Plate, Woodbine will exceed both the $11 million in wagering and this year's Plate crowd of 36,000. That's the good news. However, betting at Woodbine on the Breeder' Cup at Keeneland was not without its challenges. Higher commissions imposed by the Breeders’ Cup forced Woodbine to increase its takeout rates for the day, which, despite being well-publicized, rankled some of Woodbine's customers. "We were faced with some tough decisions. Do we not carry the Breeders’ Cup, which our customers would not have appreciated? Do we go ahead and take a loss? To me there’s something terribly wrong about operating a business of this size and having a Breeders' Cup weekend where we’re going into it knowing we’re going to take a loss on the wagers, or, thirdly, do we try and increase, at least for the day, our pari-mutuel commission takeout? That is the route we took and had to take in order to avoid a loss on those pools." 5. Double the number of Off-Track Betting facilities Thanks to changes in the post-slots era, Woodbine has also nearly doubled the number of Off-Track Betting (OTB) locations it manages in Ontario from 27 in 2013 to 53 today. A five-year, $500 million funding package from provincial government that began April 1, 2014, gave WEG authority over all of the province’s teletheatre locations. WEG now pools the OTB revenue and returns a percentage of it to Ontario's smaller tracks. "We've been working hard at it. The truth is, it’s such a difficult, competitive and, I don’t mind saying, low-margin environment. We need to work very hard to make any gains, particularly any net gains," Lawson said. 6. Casino expansion Woodbine is already home to one of Canada’s most successful slot machine operations, with 3,000 machines on its gaming floor. Though the track no longer gets direct revenue from the slots, it does get money for leasing the gaming space to the province. In July, Toronto City Council voted 25-19 in favour of a full casino expansion at Woodbine that would add 300 table games and 2,000 electronic gaming machines. An outside casino company picked by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) will operate the casino. Lawson said the latest is the OLG, "has now short-listed to seven bidders, but we don’t know who they are… The OLG appears anxious to move (the casino expansion) along." Though no plans have yet been approved at WEG's Mohawk Racetrack, Lawson said, “my goal, quite frankly, is to duplicate (casino expansion) at Mohawk". Mohawk is located in the municipality of Milton, which has already approved the zoning for a potential casino expansion. WEG just needs the go-ahead from the OLG. 7. Extensive property development Casino expansion is critical to unlocking a sustainable future because WEG plans extensive property development to go along with it. "We have a large land development opportunity and between the two sites we have 1,000 acres of land that we hold," Lawson said. Lawson is a big proponent of bringing a wide range of entertainment, hospitality, retail and residential tenants to Woodbine's 700-acre property, which features terrific access by surrounding highways, more than 7,000 parking spots and the possibility of a light-rail or subway stop in the future. Pearson Airport just added a rail link to downtown. It is one of the largest parcels of undeveloped land in the city of Toronto. "We're keen on what it will mean to the community and the jobs in the community. In effect, once that process gets secure, we have entered into an arrangement or a negotiated agreement for a long-term development at Woodbine Racetrack. "To me, what that does for the entire industry, Thoroughbred and Standardbred, certainly puts some long-term economics into this organization ,whose sole mandate is horse racing," Lawson said. Dave Briggs  

There are 27 Ontario Sired Breeders Crown finalists racing at Woodbine Saturday night, including homebred elimination winner Solar Sister trained by Gregg McNair and driven by his son, Doug, who are both looking for their first harness racing Breeders Crown victory. Veteran Ontario trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph said he would love nothing more than to win the Breeders Crown with his son, Doug, in the sulky and ultra-talented Ontario Sired three-year-old pacing filly Solar Sister leading them to the winner’s circle Saturday at Woodbine. It would be the first Crown victory for either McNair. “I’ve had a few Breeders Crown starts and it’s awfully good to just have them race well and get money, but with that horse and with Doug driving her, it would be a great thrill to win it,” Gregg said. Solar Sister is one of 27 Ontario Sired horses racing in the 12-race, $7.6 million Breeders Crown at Woodbine and one of the best. No horse, regardless of gait or gender, earned more money in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program in 2015 than Solar Sister, which is only fitting since she’s the product of a royal Ontario family going back to her Ontario Sired graddam Cathedra, one of the greatest mares in the history of harness racing. “You don’t have to be up on the horses too much to know the family,” Gregg said. Solar Sister, a homebred owned by David Willmot of King City, ON and Clay Horner of Toronto, earned $317,150 of her seasonal total of $507,494 in the OSS competition, where she won three Gold Series legs and the $250,000 Super Final on Oct. 10 at Woodbine Racetrack. But after a lacklustre fourth-place finish on Oct. 1 in a Gold Series leg at Flamboro Down, Gregg said he knew something was wrong. At first he thought it was the fact the daughter of Mach Three out of the millionaire Cabrini Hanover had not raced in almost a month. Then he discovered a foot injury. “It was quite a mess,” Gregg said. “Either some gravel or maybe she hit it one time in the field or something. I don’t know what it was, but she was really sore on it. You wouldn’t have been able to race her. She wasn’t just a little off, she was a lot off.” Gregg said the injury healed the week before the Super Finals. “Touch wood, she’s been good ever since,” he said. Last Saturday, Solar Sister posted a one-length victory over Frost Damage Blue in 1:52.1 in their Crown elimination. “We didn’t have a lot of work in her before the Super Finals,” Gregg said. “We didn’t have her quite as tight as she should have been, so I’m expecting a pretty good effort Saturday.” Solar Sister will start from post three in the fourth race, going for a Breeders Crown purse of $648,700. She’s the second choice in the morning line at 7-2 behind Joe Holloway’s trainee Divine Caroline (2-1). Solar Sister will not only be trying to win a first Crown for the McNairs, she will also be trying to avenge her mother’s two Breeders Crown defeats. In 2005, Cabrini Hanover, finished second by a neck to Belovedangel in the Breeders Crown three-year-old filly pace at the Meadowlands. The year before, she was leading at the top of the stretch in the Crown final for two-year-old pacing fillies and finished fifth. Cabrini Hanover was originally purchased for $350,000 as a yearling at the 2003 Standardbred Horse Sales Company sale in Harrisburg, PA by Willmot and his close friend Bob Anderson of St. Thomas, ON. When Anderson died in 2010, Horner bought into Cabrini Hanover. Shortly after that, the decision was made to breed Cabrini Hanover to Mach Three. The resulting foal was Solar Sister, named after a clean energy movement for women in Africa. Willmot also has an advanced solar energy project at his Kinghaven Farm. “We were coming off a pretty good season and she was bred in Ontario, so we got the opportunity to train her. It’s sure something to train something out of that family,” said Gregg, who hadn’t trained for Willmot or Horner prior to Solar Sister. “I would say we raced her a few times early as a two-year-old probably thinking she was fairly average. We really didn’t know she was having a tie-up issue. We were part way through her two-year-old season when we figured it out. She finished off really good last year as a two-year-old… She was fairly close to (U.S. and Canadian Horse of the Year) JK Shesalday at the end of the year.” Solar Sister did indeed finish second, one-and-a-half lengths behind JK Shesalady in the $424,000 final of the Three Diamonds on Oct. 25, 2014 at Woodbine. She ended the year with a record of 2-3-4 in 13 starts, earnings of $214,828 and a mark of 1:54. This year, she is 8-2-1 in 15 starts and a mark of 1:50.3 earned at Mohawk on July 2 in a Gold leg. “Obviously David and I are very pleased with her season and in particular her last two starts,” Horner wrote in an email. “She loves Woodbine (two wins this year and her two seconds to JK Shesalady in Three Diamonds last year) and has a great post.” If she does win the Breeders Crown, Solar Sister would enhance her chance to win an O’Brien Award as Canada’s top sophomore pacing filly of 2015. “If she is fortunate enough to win the O'Brien, she would be the third straight generation on the female side to win, which would be very special,” wrote Horner, adding it would be the sixth O’Brien Award in Solar Sister’s talented clan, counting the male side. Dave Briggs Ontario Horse Racing

L A Delight’s caretaker has looked after 11 horses and three generations of a harness racing royal Ontario equine family going back to a Camluck-sired matriarch named Los Angeles. Three generations, 11 horses, more than $4.1 million in earnings and one common denominator — Nicole Pedden-MacQuarrie has groomed virtually every horse from a royal equine family produced by the Bob McIntosh Stables going back to an Ontario Sired matriarch named Los Angeles. The latest star from that talented clan is Los Angeles’ granddaughter L A Delight, a winner of 10 of 11 races and $579,335 that will start from post six Saturday (Oct. 10) in the $250,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final for two-year-old pacing fillies at Woodbine Racetrack. It is one of eight Super Finals on the card that serve as the de facto provincial championships (first race post time is 7:25 p.m.) “This is three generations and (Pedden-MacQuarrie) treats them like her own. She’s done a great job,” said Al McIntosh, L A Delight’s part-owner and part-breeder, the cousin of the filly’s trainer, co-owner and co-breeder Bob McIntosh of LaSalle, ON, who also shares her with the C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. Eighteen years ago, Pedden-MacQuarrie graduated from high school and was supposed to return to a summer job working for trainer Jim Ainsworth before heading off to post-secondary school. She landed at the McIntosh Stables instead. “The first year I started there I got the horses nobody wanted and I had a little homebred that made over $100,000 named McGetty,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. Before long she was vowing to stay just five years. Good thing she reconsidered. After looking after stars such as Woodrow Wilson winner Richess Hanover ($557,537), a Camluck filly named Los Angeles landed in her lap in year six. “I wasn’t the first person that had her in the stall. Actually, she was in a couple of other people’s hands before I got her. Her first start I remember her making a break. It was in Elmira. She had tied up and I thought, ‘What kind of a project do we have here?’ But Bob’s got a pretty good program with tie-up fillies and he just made some changes, worked on her and she came right around. “That mare was just the biggest sweetheart of all of them. She never gave you any kind of attitude in the barn,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said of Los Angeles, who earned $289,213 in 2003 and 2004 before being bred. So began a beautiful relationship. Along the way, Pedden-MacQuarrie also met her husband, Mark MacQuarrie at Windsor Raceway. MacQuarrie has worked as an assistant trainer for Bob McIntosh for some eight years. Today, all three horses Pedden-MacQuarrie looks after for McIntosh are members of Los Angeles’ prolific family, including L A Delight, a two-year-old grandson named New Talent ($64,826) and the family’s superstar, 2012 Pepsi North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud, who has earned just shy of $2 million. Thinking Out Loud, now six and still racing, is Los Angeles’ son. “He’s my boy,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. “He was pretty exceptional right from day one. He had a lot of go. It’s just too bad he had a bone bruise as a two-year-old and we had to shut him down, but he did exceptionally well as a three-year-old… He’s pretty confident in himself, which is a good thing. He’s just always done everything right.” Pedden-MacQuarrie was five months pregnant with her son, Benjamin MacQuarrie, when Randy Waples drove Thinking Out Loud to victory in the NA Cup. “I was up on the track and I thought I was in the way of the cameras. I was screaming for him before he hit the wire. I remember jumping six feet off the ground. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped that high. That was quite the thrill,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. Bob has said L A Delight — a winner of all four of her OSS events, as well as the $227,500 final of the She’s A Great Lady at Mohawk — turned out to be a bit of a surprise. It explains why he didn’t keep her eligible to the Breeders Crown. Pedden-MacQuarrie said she knew L A Delight was special from the start. “He was really high on a couple of other fillies and she wasn’t really strong finishing when it came time to qualifying. Bob knew she was nice and he really liked her, but she just wasn’t the standout he was looking for.” Until she hit the track. “When she’s at the track, she knows what she’s there for. She’s all business when she’s there. As soon as you take her in the paddock, she is a different horse. She has the desire to win,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. “As I said to Bob, ‘It’s been an exceptionally nice family, but her desire is like no other.’” L A Delight is a Bettor's Delight filly out of Los Angeles’ daughter West Of L A, who earned $257,150 before being bred. Pedden-MacQuarrie looked after West Of L A, as well, of course, as well as her sister You See L A ($249,339), the dam of New Talent. From that same family, the groom also has cared for L A Confidential ($6,400), See You L A ($3,160), West Coast Rocker ($34,478) and Somewhere in L A ($698,595). The only one she didn’t look after was LA Rockstar, who came along the year Pedden-MacQuarrie was on maternity leave. Is it a coincidence LA Rockstar is the only horse in the family not to earn a penny on the racetrack? “Everyone in the family I can say has been pretty smart and they’ve all been pretty easy on themselves. It’s a good family,” Pedden-MacQuarrie said. But L A Delight might one day rival Thinking Out Loud for superstar status. “She’s so smart, probably too smart for her own good,” said Pedden-MacQuarrie, who knows a thing or two about what makes this outstanding equine family tick. Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing

An average that was up nearly 70 per cent over the 2014 harness racing sale wasn’t the only thing to like about the Canadian Yearling Sale held Sunday in Hamilton. David Reid said Ontario standardbred horse breeders have reason for optimism after Sunday’s (Sept. 20) Canadian Yearling Sale at the Standardbred Canada Sales Pavilion at Flamboro Downs in Hamilton, ON. Reid, whose U.S. -based bloodstock business Preferred Equine Marketing sold nearly half of the 119 yearlings that went through the auction ring, said he thought the sale, “was very good.” In all, 119 yearlings grossed $2,540,700 for an average price of $21,350 that was up 69.4 per cent from the 2014 sale average of $12,614. Thirty-six fewer horses were sold this year compared to 2014. “The attendance was terrific and the enthusiasm was great,” Reid said. “There was a lot of interest really from (the preview on) Saturday and it carried right into Sunday. From the sales ring perspective, I thought it was a very encouraging market, better than it had been in the past. “You have to drill down into the numbers to figure out where the increases came from, but I would say maybe the four components are: supply and demand, currency, the bonus program and the overall strength of the Ontario (Sires Stakes) program. I think people realize it’s a very good program.” The Ontario Sires Stakes program is one of the most lucrative jurisdictional breeding programs in the global harness racing industry with total purses in 2015 of more than $15 million. This year’s crop of Ontario Sired yearlings is one of the smallest in recent years and that has led to the supply and demand issue. Reid said he thinks the low crop numbers, taken in concert with the fact the Canadian dollar is currently relatively low versus the U.S. dollar means Canadians may be opting to spend more of their money on Ontario Sired yearlings sold in Ontario, rather than traveling to the United States to buy the Ontario Sired yearlings sold there. Trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON agreed with Reid. “The nicer individuals did sell for a good dollar,” Jones said, “but I think the big cause was the supply and demand and not having many out there.” Reid said he thinks new bonuses for owners of Ontario Sired horses ( also helped drive the sales numbers up. In place for 2015 and 2016 is a purse bonus of 20 per cent for owners of Ontario Sired two-year-olds competing in overnight races in Ontario and a bonus of five per cent for owners of Ontario Sired two-year-olds competing in Ontario Sires Stakes events. For 2017, the purse bonus system will be replaced with a $2 million program that will provide pro rata bonuses based on horses’ earnings to owners of Ontario Sired and/or Ontario Bred horses. Owners of a horse that is both Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred will earn double the bonus. Ontario Sired horses are ones sired by registered stallions standing in Ontario. Ontario Bred horses are those produced by Ontario Resident mares that reside in Ontario when enrolled in the Ontario Resident Mare program and remain in the province for a minimum of 180 consecutive days surrounding foaling. Reid said the positive sales results gives the province’s standardbred breeders, “some numbers to back up what the industry’s been asking for and stressing, which is if you put in a nice program, a viable program, it will keep the industry going. It’s good for employment and it’s good for the province of Ontario if the industry is strong.” Jones purchased two yearlings at the sale, both are trotters sired by Manofmanymissions including a filly named Jayport Rosita that he bought for $16,000 on behalf of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association’s (SBOA) New Owner Mentoring Program ( “It’s really nice to see people so keen,” Jones said of his group of new owners being mentored by Hall of Fame driver Bill O’Donnell. “The mare that we bought has a good pedigree. She’s not small, but she’s not a big filly and I thought we made a really good buy. I couldn’t get over how keen the people were and after we bought the filly how happy they were.” Reid said the breeders for which his Preferred Equine Marketing sold horses were happy, too. “My pulse from my customers was very good. But it was almost like a sigh of relief. They got a little return on their investment, versus taking a loss,” Reid said. The next step, he said, was for breeders to reinvest in better quality mares. “I think what Ontario did with the Sires Stakes program and adding bonus money for Ontario Bred and Ontario Sired horses for overnight races for the younger horses I think is going to encourage breeders maybe to reinvest some money,” Reid said. “I think it’s important for the industry to have a little churn and ultimately it comes from purses. If we can benefit the breeders, there’s going to be horses to race in the province… I think it’s a very important thing to recognize that they need to be paid for what they’re producing.” Reid and Jones both said breeders selling yearlings on Oct. 25 at the Forest City Yearling Sale at the Western Fair Agriplex in London, ON also have reason to be optimistic. “I imagine the people selling at Forest City are pretty happy with what they saw at the Canadian Yearling Sale,” Jones said. Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing

When Ontario Sired super mare Bee A Magician turns to the starting gate Saturday in the $680,000 final of 63rd edition of the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack, her part-owner Mel Hartman will be biting his nails watching the race on TV from his Ottawa home. The five-year-old daughter of Kadabra out of Beehive has earned more than $3.3 million, but Hartman said he still gets nervous every time she races. "If she can beat the boys I think it is another feather in her hat," Hartman said. "It's an honour, in a way, because usually horses race in their own class, which is tough enough." Hartman shares ownership of Bee A Magician (New Image Media photo) with Montreal native and former Toronto resident Herb Liverman and David McDuffee of Florida. Bee A Magician finished a neck behind Natural Herbie Sept. 12 in their Maple Leaf Trot elimination. The mare drew post two in the final, which is race seven on a card that features four other rich stakes finals for trotters, including the $700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for three-year-olds. "I feel more confident this week, because last week she hadn't raced in about three weeks and I thought she'd be short, but she raced very well," Hartman said. Earning a cheque would push Bee A Magician past Hall of Fame pacer Somebeachsomewhere on the all-time earnings list for Ontario-sired standardbreds into fourth place behind trotter Arch Madness ($4.3 million) and pacers Mister Big ($4.1 million) and Boulder Creek ($3.8 million). Hartman said Bee A Magician would be given every opportunity, health willing, to continue to climb the money list. On Oct. 10, she will represent Canada while taking on the boys again in the $1 million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway in New York City. "I think we would like to race her as long as she's sound and healthy. If she can continue to race at this level I take a look at what Moni Maker made and there's been some comparisons of (Bee A Magician) to that horse," Hartman said of the late, great U.S. trotting mare that earned nearly $5.6 million lifetime and frequently beat the boys in stakes races on both sides of the Atlantic. "That horse was a hell of a horse. I don't know if (Bee A Magician) is in the same league or not, but she can be mentioned in the same paragraph, that's for sure." Two years after Bee A Magician was a perfect 17-for-17 and earned more than $1.57 million en route to the Horse of the Year Award in both Canada and the United States, the magic mare is still a model of incredible consistency. She's won eight of 12 starts this year and put more than $550,000 in the bank for driver Brian Sears and New Jersey based Richard "Nifty" Norman. "Honestly, every day I think about her I have to pinch myself that I own a horse like that," Hartman said. "She's just one hell of an athlete. She knows how to take care of herself and she's really something special... I can't say enough about her. She's just a special, special horse. It's more than a once-in-a-lifetime dream. It's an honour to own a piece of her." Hartman, the owner of the wholesale produce company Orleans Fresh Fruit based in Ottawa, said some of his customers get a kick out of seeing what trinkets he's added to the Bee A Magician display he has in his office. "It's nice to work away at my desk and look up and see her. It just gives me a warm feeling," he said. "I have Breeders Crown trophies, I have pictures. If I added more I'd have to build a bigger office and add more walls." He would dearly love to add a Maple Leaf Trot to the collection, despite no longer having the desire to make the long road trip from the nation's capital to Campbellville to see the race in person. "It would be a hell of an honour to win Canada's prestige trotting event and something that would be down in history forever. It's something they'd never be able to take away from her," Hartman said. By Dave Briggs, for Ontario Horse Racing  

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