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They might not be standard for a harness racing pacer, but Jeff Cullipher has a good idea what his 3-year-old Roll With JR will need to wear in Saturday's lone Meadowlands Pace elimination. "I hope he can put his big-boy pants on," Cullipher said with a laugh. Roll With JR was among a dozen 3-year-old male pacers entered in the Meadowlands Pace. Two horses, Allywag Hanover and Chief Mate, advanced to the final courtesy of byes based on seasonal earnings. The top-eight finishers in Saturday's $50,000 elimination at The Meadowlands Racetrack will join them in the $631,650 final July 18. The elimination field includes returning Dan Patch Award-winner Tall Dark Stranger, who in his only start this year defeated older horses in 1:47.4 at the Big M. The time is tied for the fastest mile of the season. Also in the field is last season's richest 2-year-old male pacer, Papi Rob Hanover, who finished second to multiple Grand Circuit winner Capt Midnight in their only start of 2020. Roll With JR, who finished second to Meadowlands Pace hopeful Catch The Fire in last year's Kentucky Sire Stakes championship, will be making his first trip to The Meadowlands since finishing third in a 2-year-old qualifying race there on June 22, 2019. He heads to the elimination off a 1:51.2 win in his seasonal debut at Harrah's Hoosier Park. For his career, the colt has won four of 12 races and $176,516. His wins last year included a division of the Bluegrass Stakes. "He was such a green horse (last year) I never felt like he reached his full potential," the Indiana-based Cullipher said. "But he went a couple decent miles and showed that he can. He kind of grew into himself over the winter; he's developed and is kind of a nice-sized colt. "He's still the kind of colt that's only going to do what he's made to do. I know I don't have a (1):48 mile in him yet, I don't even know if he could do it. I'd like to think he could step it up with the better horses." Cullipher owns Roll With JR, a son of Roll With Joe out of No One Is Alone, with Pollack Racing. Cullipher and Tom Pollack have been increasing their presence on the Grand Circuit in recent years. "It's exciting," Cullipher said. "Me and Tom are starting to step into these races a little bit. We're just having fun right now. "This might be a one-shot deal, I don't know, but so far I'm happy." Another horse making his first trip of the season to The Meadowlands for the elimination is Major Betts. The Mark Harder-trained colt prepped with qualifiers at Gaitway Farm and Harrah's Philadelphia before winning his only 2020 start in the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs on June 28. Major Betts defeated favorite Splash Brother by three lengths in 1:49.4, the fastest mile of the young season by a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. "I trained him Tuesday morning and I thought he was super," Harder said. "I couldn't be happier with him." Harder had an opportunity to accept one of the two byes for the Meadowlands Pace but decided against it. "I couldn't be off three weeks going into the final, that would not make sense at all," Harder said. "He needs the work." Major Betts, a son of Art Major out of Southwind Johanne, has won five of 12 lifetime starts and $153,390 for owners Harder, Joseph Jannuzzelli, and Deena Rachel Frost. His wins last year included divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Tompkins-Geers. "He was just always fast, he was just beautifully gaited," said Harder, who won the 2004 Meadowlands Pace with Holborn Hanover. "He was a colt that had one of those gaits that he just didn't work at it. He did everything pretty easy. "A couple of times last year he did some silly colt things. This year, he acts more professional. He drives like an old horse. It's probably a little bit of rigging, a little bit of growing up, a little bit of everything. Hopefully it's a bit of good management. It might just be good luck." Harder wouldn't turn down any good luck in the upcoming weeks. "A lot of (the 3-year-olds) are very impressive," Harder said. "Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover are very good, Allywag Hanover has been very impressive. They've been racing at The Meadowlands and times there have been crazy. "We beat a horse that looked pretty impressive, Splash Brother. It's a completely different class, but it shows we're there and we're competitive. Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover are the two standouts for sure, but there are a lot of really, really good horses. Nothing is easy." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at The Meadowlands. The 13-race card also includes $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters and divisions of the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

This Week: Graduate Series finals, Meadowlands Pace elimination, W.N. Reynolds Memorial and Miss Versatility leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. and MGM Springfield Stakes final, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: This week's Grand Circuit racing will open on Friday (July 10) at The Meadowlands with the $40,000 second leg of the Miss Versatility for open trotting mares. Cutler Memorial champion Atlanta leads a field of nine into this race. The Saturday (July 11) card at The Meadowlands features the $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old open pacers and trotters; a single $50,000 Meadowlands Pace elimination for 3-year-old pacers; the $61,000 Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters; and two divisions in the $88,800 Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt trotters. Yonkers Raceway will host the $104,250 MGM Springfield Stakes final for 2-year-old pacing colts next Monday (July 13). A pair of elimination races for the stake were held this past Monday. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: In what is now unquestionably harness racing's best rivalry, Atlanta bested Manchego in Saturday night's (July 4) $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for free-for-allers at The Meadowlands in round two of the rabid duel between the top two trotters in training. Atlanta bested Manchego in Saturday night's (July 4) $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for free-for-allers at The Meadowlands. Lisa photo. Two weeks ago, Manchego held off Atlanta by a nose in the Miss Versatility in the fastest trotting mile of the year of 1:50. Things panned out similarly this time around, except that Atlanta got the better of her foe. Atlanta (post five) was the first away from the gate and led into the first turn. Driver Yannick Gingras was willing to yield to Manchego (post six) and Dexter Dunn, but not before extending that one ever so slightly into a sizzling opening quarter of :25.4. "Maybe not :25.4," was Gingras' response when asked about the fast opening fraction. "I didn't think we'd be going that fast. I definitely wanted to stretch her out. I had drawn inside of her and wanted to take advantage of it." That took just enough starch out of the even-money choice. While rating the middle half, Manchego took a stiff challenge from 17-1 longshot Chin Chin Hall, who was on even terms with the leader while parked at three-quarters in 1:23.1. Once straightened away in the stretch, Manchego and Atlanta - who opted to get behind Chin Chin Hall coming out of the far turn before swerving three-wide into the lane - would once again duke it out, just as they did on June 19. In deep stretch, it would be Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner, prevailing by a half-length in 1:50.1, just a fifth of a second slower than round one. Lindy The Great rallied to get third. "There were some anxious moments around the last turn," said Gingras. "We were going pretty slow, and there was strategy on both sides. He was trying to keep me locked in. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze out. I thought I had it won at the top of the stretch when I cleared." The Ron Burke-trained Atlanta, a 5-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip, returned $5.40 as the 8-5 second choice in the wagering. She's won 21 of 41 career starts for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, and became harness racing's newest double millionaire, as her earnings swelled to $2,006,089. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 95; 2. Tim Tetrick - 52; 3. Dexter Dunn - 47; 4. Brian Sears - 42; 5. Aaron Merriman - 30. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 160; 2. Marcus Melander - 34; 3t. Nifty Norman - 20; 3t. Norm Parker - 20; 3t. Nancy Takter - 20. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 32.1; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 27.1; 3. J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby - 23.8; 4. Black Horse Racing - 20; 5. L & L Stables - 12. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again be taking place next weekend at The Meadowlands. The massive July 18 Meadowlands card will offer the Meadowlands Pace final, the William Haughton Memorial, the Hambletonian Maturity, the Stanley Dancer Trot, the Del Miller Memorial, the Mistletoe Shalee, the Dorothy Haughton Memorial and the third leg of the Miss Versatility. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

HARRINGTON, DE - Rod Allen Inc's Zulu ($5.40, Allen) and Linda Mac Donald's Stella A ($21.20, Ross Wolfenden) won their respective $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) finals for 3-year-old harness racing trotters Wednesday at Harrington Raceway. In the male division, Zulu went off as the 8/5 second choice and took advantage of miscues by fellow contenders Touch Of White, Riddle Me This, Rocky Bomber and Master Of Mine, all of whom broke stride, to prevail in wire-to-wire fashion in 1:59. Trained by his driver/owner Allen, the CR Commando-Cr Penny Lane gelding notched his 6th career win as his lifetime earnings soared over $100,000. Air Time was second and Rocky Bomber recovered from an early break to finish third. Meanwhile in the filly final, Stella A corralled early leader Orabelle near the three-quarters after a powerful first over brush and never relented in a one length score over Happy To Do It and Emmys Mayflower. The Anders Bluestone-Mocha filly notched her 4th career win for trainer Joe Mac Donald. It was one of three wins on the card for Wolfenden. The winning time tied the DSBF stakes mark for 3-year-old fillies set by Callmemza in 2015. Allan Davis, Mike Cole and Art Stafford Jr. had two wins apiece. Joe Columbo and Andrew Stafford each had training doubles. Live racing continues July 13-15 at Harrington before a summer hiatus when the schedule will resume on August 17. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrrington Raceway

Young Queensland harness racing driver Dannielle McMullen will be politely passing up any celebration drinks this month. Dannielle, of Alberton, 40 minutes from the famous Gold Coast, has joined the challenge to ‘Go Dry this July’ and raise much-needed funds for people affected by cancer. “I’ve always thought about doing it – and I’m now so happy that I’m actually a part of it,” she said. And offering plenty of support is her partner, well known trainer Ryan Veivers, who was one of the first to kick in with a $200 donation. Dannielle describes herself as a social drinker, with the odd cocktail and wine her usual tipples. “I’m certainly not a big drinker, but over the past few months prior to the challenge I probably had a few extras, being stuck at home and not going out during the coronavirus pandemic,” she said. The money raised over the month will go toward making difficult times that little bit easier for cancer patients, their families and carers. This could mean access to an informative voice, specialist nursing services, therapy programs or the provision of a bed close to treatment centres. Dannielle said raising funds for the ‘Go Dry this July’ challenge was something close to her heart. “We lost Ryan’s dad Peter last year through cancer and there’s been quite a few other family members affected by the disease,” she said. “The support I’ve so far received has been enormous, and I just hope it continues.” Dannielle has so far raised nearly $500 for the cause, and said she made a pledge at the beginning of the challenge that if she broke the rules and had a drink, she would match the total of promised donations. “But there’s no way known that will be happening, I can guarantee it. If there’s one thing I like as much as a drink, it’s saving my hard-earnt dollars! I just won’t be slipping up,” she said. Dannielle is one of more than 37,000 people who have agreed to go dry and $5.1M has so far been raised. The harness racing industry has been urged to get behind Dannielle in this important fund-raiser and donate by going to dryjuly.com and search for Dannielle McMullen.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Brian Brown is happy with what he sees from Workin Ona Mystery so far this harness racing season on the racetrack. He is even more pleased by what is not readily visible. The horse's health. Workin Ona Mystery is among the contenders in Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers at The Meadowlands. The event is part of a 13-race card at The Big M that also includes the $250,000 Graduate championship for 4-year-old trotters, a single elimination for the Meadowlands Pace, and Reynolds Memorial divisions for 3-year-old trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). Last year, Workin Ona Mystery started his campaign with three consecutive wins and finished third in the finals of the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace, where he was beaten by a head. But health woes slowed the horse's progress from there and he won only once in his final five starts. This year in three starts, Workin Ona Mystery has a win, a second, and a third. He captured his opening-round race in the Graduate Series by a neck over Century Farroh in 1:50 at Tioga Downs on June 21 and finished second to Bettor's Wish in last week's second round at The Meadowlands. Bettor's Wish, who skipped the first round in favor of the Roll With Joe Stakes, won by two lengths in 1:48.2. "Right now, we're in pretty good shape," Brown said. "He seems pretty healthy, very alert. He seems full of himself. Every day, he's out there playing and jumping around. I think he's coming into the race pretty good, a lot better than a lot of times last year." As far as how Workin Ona Mystery has changed from last year, Brown said, "Ninety percent of it is that he's healthy." "He did pack on some weight," Brown added. "He was not a real big horse last year. He wasn't short, like a small horse, but he wasn't a thick horse either. He has thickened up quite a bit, so he's got more strength to him. I'm hoping that will help him stay healthy." Workin Ona Mystery has won 10 of 20 career races and $469,641. The son of Captaintreacherous-Dragon's Tale is owned by Diamond Creek Racing, Stambaugh Leeman Stable, Alan Keith, and Wingfield Brothers. Brown brought the horse back slowly in the winter and does not plan to test Workin Ona Mystery against older horses on the Grand Circuit until the Dan Patch Stakes at Harrah's Hoosier Park in mid-August. "He's got to race older horses this year, and that can be hard on them, but he's got such a great attitude," Brown said. "He wants to be a winner, he loves passing horses, and he's an easy horse to drive. He's not the easiest horse to be around in the barn. He's ornery. But on the track, training and racing, he's so easy to drive. "After we struggled so much last year it's nice to just see the real horse. And he may not be the best 4-year-old or older horse, but he will hold his own against them as long as he's healthy." Both preliminary rounds of the Graduate Series had three divisions and resulted in six different winners. Joining Workin Ona Mystery as first-round winners were Dancin Lou and Hurrikane Emperor. Joining Bettor's Wish as second-round winners were Bllack Hole and Brassy Hanover. Bettor's Wish was the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male pacer of 2019. He finished third in last month's Roll With Joe, which was his seasonal debut. His 1:48.2 score last week in the Graduate was the slowest of the three divisions; Bllack Hole won in 1:48 and Brassy Hanover in 1:48.1. A total of nine horses in last week's three divisions paced their final quarter-mile in less than 26 seconds. "There are so many horses that come home fast out there," Brown said. "Anymore, time really means nothing. It's who you beat and how much money you made, that's all that matters." For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for USTA

Scarborough, Maine - July 8, 2020 ... In the midst of the 70th season of racing at Scarborough Downs, the summer harness racing meet will be suspended following the card on Friday (7/10) due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, which currently do not allow the track to entertain patrons. The Downs was prohibited from racing its customary April and May dates due to the state of emergency declared in Maine. Working with others in the industry, however, the Downs received special permission from the Maine Department of Economic Development to launch its season on June 3rd, under strict protocols, which included racing without spectators at our live cards. Operating with funds secured from the Payroll Protection Plan and with financial grants received from the Maine Harness Racing Commission, the track was able to conduct an abbreviated 17 day meet, allowing our proud industry and our animals a chance to compete. Those funds are exhausted, however, and the Downs is working on plans for new and different revenues, perhaps including revenues from patrons or other sources, so that the Downs and our industry can resume the competition, fun, and excitement of live racing this fall. Scarborough Downs hopes to generate revenues through full card simulcasting, which we understand is allowed under stage three of the state's re-opening plan, and other revenue ideas management is pursuing. Downs management is cautiously optimistic live racing can reopen September 5th. "The Downs is proud of its long history as an integral part of Maine racing since 1950," Denise Terry, President and Treasurer of the Downs, said, "The hard work of our loyal employees and others in the industry allowed the Downs to operate live racing with only remote wagering this spring. "No other Maine track and only a handful of tracks in the country were able to operate during the COVID shutdown. We appreciate the efforts of our employees, Maine's wonderful horsemen, and the leadership and the Maine Harness Racing Commission and its staff, including in particular Executive Director Henry Jennings. Everyone worked cooperatively to provide safe, exciting racing on the limited basis that was possible under the circumstances. We are optimistic we will find a way forward to an even more robust and exciting, but equally safe, fall meet." For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs  

Gimpanzee was in the shadow of stablemate Greenshoe much of last season, with the latter being named the sport's best 3-year-old male trotter as well as Trotter of the Year, but is basking in the spotlight now as he aims for a win in Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters. The Graduate final for trotters is part of a 13-race card at The Meadowlands that also includes the $250,000 Graduate championship for 4-year-old pacers, a single elimination for the Meadowlands Pace, and Reynolds Memorial divisions for 3-year-old trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). A 4-year-old stallion, Gimpanzee heads to his Graduate test off victories in the two preliminary rounds of the series. He won his first start in gate-to-wire fashion by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51.2 at Tioga Downs. Two weeks later, on June 27, he rallied from sixth at three-quarters to win by a half-length in 1:50.2 at The Meadowlands. That time is tied for fourth fastest of the season by a trotter. For his career, Gimpanzee has won 19 of 25 races and earned $1.77 million. "He trained well all winter and we were very excited to bring him back," trainer Marcus Melander said. "He showed me how he was feeling all winter and he's come back great. I couldn't be more happy with him after two starts. "He was a great horse last year and he's filled out and put on a lot more muscle this year. You can really see that he's a year older. He never threw in a bad race last year, and so far this year, he's been very good." Gimpanzee, owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, was undefeated in nine races at age 2 and received the Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male trotter. Last year, he won eight of 14 races and earned $1.12 million but saw Dan Patch honors go to now-retired Greenshoe. Gimpanzee's Grand Circuit victories in 2019 included the Breeders Crown (he also won the event in 2018), Yonkers Trot, and Matron Stakes. "At 3, everyone was talking about Greenshoe because he was so extremely fast," Melander said. "Gimpanzee didn't have the speed or acceleration that Greenshoe had, but he still showed a lot of speed. It was just Greenshoe was so much faster than all the other horses. There are not too many like Greenshoe." Not too many like Gimpanzee, either. "He's the nicest horse to train," Melander said. "At home, he's perfect. He does exactly what I want him to do. He's just the horse you're looking for. If everyone was like him it would be very easy." Following the Graduate, Gimpanzee will have one more opportunity to face trotters in his age group when the Hambletonian Maturity is contested July 18 at The Meadowlands. Then, it will be into open stakes action, where the likes of Atlanta, Manchego, and Guardian Angel AS await. "Obviously Atlanta and Manchego and those horses are really, really good," Melander said, "but I have a pretty good horse too." Gimpanzee is one of three Graduate finalists for Melander, joined by mare Grand Swan and gelding Reign Of Honor. Grand Swan, who arrived in Melander's stable in mid-April after two successful seasons in Indiana, won her opening race in the Graduate and finished sixth in her second, which was won by Gimpanzee. "She's nice," Melander said. "I was very happy with her (in her first start) at Tioga, she was very good. I was maybe a little disappointed last time, but it was a fast race. She's never been that fast, really. I think it was good for her to open up a bit and I expect her to be better Saturday. "She really likes the training. When you train her, you can see she works with her whole body. She's a very big horse but she has a good gait and could go around any size track. I think she will get better and better." Reign Of Honor, another newcomer to the Melander stable, started this year with a victory in a conditioned race and finished third in each of his Graduate races. "We had all winter training with him and we were super happy with him," Melander said. "He's a little like Gimpanzee; he's very easy on himself out on the track, not grabby. He's got a lot of speed too. I've been very happy with his performances and I think he will step up with more races and when he gets older. I think he will go with the open horses in the highest division. He feels like that kind of horse." Other finalists in the Graduate include Southwind Avenger, who made his only preliminary-round start a winner on June 27, and Chin Chin Hall, who finished second to Gimpanzee in his two prelims and was fifth in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial last week. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. by Ken Weingardner, for the USTA

YONKERS, NY - Tuesday night, Yonkers Raceway hosted four $35,450 New York Sire Stakes Divisions for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters and harness racing stallion Chapter Seven stole the show with his offspring winning three of the four divisions. In the first division, race three, Incommunicado led from start to finish, prevailing by two and a quarter lengths in 1:59. Ahundreddollarbill was second with Dee's Red Delicious finishing third.   Incommunicado is a gelded son of Chapter Seven trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt and owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. of Del Ray Beach, Florida and Little E LLC from New York, New York. In the second division, race four, Special Prosecutor held off a fast closing Super Cruiser by a neck in 2:02.1 with Manuka being placed third after Limitless Winner was disqualified from that show spot.   Special Prosecutor is also a gelded son of Chapter Seven. He was driven to victory by Andy Miller for trainer and co-owner David Dewhurst of Clinton, New York. Philip Hale from New Hartford, New York co-owns the trotter. In the third division, race six, Ambassador Hanover made a strong brush to the lead around the final turn and held off Sevenshadesofgrey by a length in 1:59.1 with Steel finishing third.   Just like the first division winner, Ambassador Hanover is a son of Chapter Seven trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt. Svanstedt also owns the colt along with Order By Stable from Boras, SD and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. In the eighth race final division, In The Cards sat a perfect pocket trip and prevailed by a length in 2:00.1 over the pace-setting Credit Con with Fix-It-Up finishing third.   In The Cards is a gelded son of RC Royalty owned and trained by George Ducharme. Other co-owners are Campbell, Dickson and Cimetti with Scott Zeron the winning driver. Tuesday's card also featured the first pick 5 carryover for Yonkers Raceway since returning from the stoppage. A $5,894 carryover from Monday night produced an additional $39,291 in wagering for the Tuesday Pick 5. The winning sequence of 2-2-3-1-6 returned $462.25 for a 50 cent wager. This week and next week, Yonkers expands to a four day race week, adding Friday nights to the Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights, first post is 7:12pm each night. by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway

Anderson, IN -- The Harness Horse Youth Foundation's 2020 set of Harness Heroes trading cards is now available. The front of each harness racing card features a full-color photograph, while the back includes statistics and biographical information; both sides are laminated. The subjects include the following champions from the 2019 season: Alicorn, Atlanta, Bettor's Wish, Caviart Ally, Century Farroh, Dip Me Hanover, Evident Beauty, Forbidden Trade, Greenshoe, HP Royal Theo, Lyon's Sentinel, McWicked, Musical Rhythm, Only Take Cash, Ramona Hill, Real Cool Sam, Shartin N, Six Pack, Sunny Dee, Tall Dark Stranger, and Warrawee Ubeaut. The human honorees include Tom Charters, Dexter Dunn, Joe Faraldo, Jeff Gural, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Robert Lasky, Bob McClure, Marcus Melander, Richard Moreau, Phil Pikelny, Bill Popfinger, Louis Philippe Roy, Tim Tetrick, and Ken Weingartner. To order your complete set of Harness Heroes cards, click this link or send a (suggested) donation of $20 ($30 Canadian) per set along with your name and address to: Harness Horse Youth Foundation, 2711 Friar Tuck Road, Anderson IN 46013. HHYF also offers packs of 10 random cards as handouts for youth groups, farm tours, and other promotional events. A limited number of previous years' card sets are also available for a similar donation. For more details, please e-mail Ellen Taylor at Ellen@hhyf.org. From the Harness Horse Youth Foundation

One of Australia's greatest ever harness racing drivers Daryl "Dasher" Douglas could be on track to reignite his career. Douglas, who was only relicensed a few days ago, competed in six of seven official trials at Bendigo on Monday night, finishing with three wins and two placings. The six-times leading Australian driver made his previous appearance at a racetrack on January 28, 2015, when he finished unplaced on Art Of Locksley for trainer John Nissen, at Maryborough, later stepping away from the sport. But being away from it for well over five years didn't present any problems at the trials for Douglas. "I suppose it's a bit like riding a bike. You just hop back on and away you go," Douglas, 47, said yesterday. "To be honest, I haven't set any plans or anything like that. If it all happens and I get back to the races one day, it will have to work in around my day job," he said. "I'm working with roads maintenance crews, which involves a bit of truck driving. I really love it and I get to work all over the State." Douglas said there was no chance whatsoever of returning to the heady days of the 2000s when he would do 18 to 20-hour double-header days at opposite ends of the State. It was nothing for him to compete in some early races at a day meeting at Kilmore and then turn up for the night fixture at Mildura. On another occasion he landed the first four winners at Stawell and then drove a full book at Geelong later that night-but didn't increase on his tally. Douglas was doing over 100,000 kms each year driving to meetings and after a series of speeding tickets (which, if they continued, weren't going to have a happy ending in court) he elected to charter a small plane and pilot to get to-and-from the venues. "When I was in the top half dozen in the State, I was driving more than 2100 horses a year. The others in Chris Alford, John Caldow, Brian Gath and the late Gavin Lang were doing around the 1200 mark, so I was going close to two to their one," he said. "And I can say that in the past five years since I've been away from harness racing, I've had just one speeding ticket!" Douglas enjoyed a meteoric rise in the sport, which started gathering swift momentum from the late 1990s. "When I was growing up, I was never going to be a driver. I started jogging horses when I was a 12-year-old at my parents (Keith and Judy Douglas) Sebastopol property," he said. "Then when I couldn't get a job after turning 16, I stayed with the horses. It wasn't until I was 18 that I thought I may as well get my licence-so I guess had I been real keen I would have jumped at it earlier when I could have." It took Douglas only a short time to land himself in the winner's circle, breaking through at St Arnaud on a horse named Bad Land in 1991. Trainers began noticing his uncanny ability and after picking up more and more drives, he posted 80 wins in 1997/98. He then smashed the century mark the following season with 149 (fifth on the national premiership). From there until 2014/15, Douglas was in the top two drivers most seasons. In the 2008/09 season, he drove his best ever tally of 388 winners. Along the way he posted the quickest century of wins (now held jointly with Chris Alford), taking two months and 26 days. He followed up with the quickest double century (five months, 15 days) and one of his quickest triple centuries, recorded in nine months and 19 days. He shaved two weeks off this remarkable feat in the 2010/11 season. Daryl later joined his younger brother Glenn as one of the sport's most formidable partnerships. Glenn concentrated on training, preparing big numbers for his father-in-law and owner Eric Anderson. It was then left to Daryl to consistently put the stable runners in the winner's circle, carrying the familiar Anderson letter A royal blue and white racing colors. And come they did, in the form of superstar Franco Tiger, Make Mine Cullen, Bold Cruiser, Hanover Zip, Saint Flash, Brigalow Bush, Bold Stefan, Our Pocket Liner and others. "For now I'll just keep coasting along and see where it all takes me," a laid back Douglas said. "I loved having a catch-up with B. Gath and a few others at the trials. I enjoy the really nice people in the sport."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With a limited number of 12 harness racing horses having dropped into the entry box, there will only be one Meadowlands Pace Elimination necessary on this Saturday (July 11) night's program at the Big M. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Two horses - Chief Mate and Allywag Hanover - took byes and will automatically go in the July 18 big-money final for 3-year-old open pacers. Conditions call for those with the highest earnings this season getting the option to skip the elim. Trainer Mark Harder wanted Major Betts to race, so he's in this Saturday. As a result, Chief Mate and Allywag Hanover, who were next in line in 2020 earnings, took a free pass to the final. The elimination has a field of 10, with the first eight in official order of finish advancing to the $631,650 final. The elimination winner will get a major perk: That horse will draw a post position from one through six. Tall Dark Stranger has drawn post three in the elim. The Nancy Takter trainee's only start this year resulted in a national season's-best equaling mile of 1:47.4. The Brett Pelling-schooled Papi Rob Hanover, second in his 2020 debut a week ago after a tough trip from post 10, once again was luckless at the pill drop, having drawn the 10 hole for a second straight start. The field for Saturday night's Meadowlands Pace Elimination in post position order, with horse (and driver): Major Betts (D. Dunn), Captain Barbossa (A. McCarthy), Tall Dark Stranger (Y. Gingras), Manticore (J. Stratton), Captain Kirk (D. Dunn), Roll With Jr (T. Tetrick), Mocha On The Rocks (S. Zeron), Catch The Fire (W. Wilder), Capt Midnight (A. McCarthy), Papi Rob Hanover (D. Miller). Also on Saturday's program are a pair of $250,000 Graduate Finals. The open events for 4-year-olds - one for pacers and one on the trot - both have full fields of 10. The trot has double Breeders Crown and New York Sire Stakes champion Gimpanzee as the one with the target on his back. He's been ultra-impressive in winning both of his starts this year - each of which were Graduate preliminaries - by scoring once on the front end and once from well off the pace. The field for the Graduate Final for trotters in post position order, with horse (and driver): Chin Chin Hall (D. Dunn), Kings County (D. Miller), Gimpanzee (B. Sears), Winnerup (T. Smedshammer), Explosivebreakaway (T. Tetrick), Southwind Avenger (A. McCarthy), Goes Down Smooth (No Driver), Pure Chance (No Driver), Grand Swan (T. Tetrick), Reign Of Honor (D. Miller). Bettor's Wish was the top money-earning horse in harness racing a year ago with over $1.6 million in the bank, and despite drawing post 10, will likely be the post-time favorite in the Graduate for pacers off his 1:48.2 off-the-pace win a week ago at the Meadowlands in the series' final leg. The field for the Graduate Final for pacers in post-position order, with horse (and driver): Century Farroh (D. Miller), Shamwow (J. Stratton), Workin Ona Mystery (T. Tetrick), Dancin Lou (B. Sears), Hurrikane Emperor (M. MacDonald), Aflame Hanover (D. Miller), Captain Victorious (Y. Gingras), Brassy Hanover (S. Zeron), Bllack Hole (T. Tetrick), Bettor's Wish (D. Dunn). From the Meadowlands Media Department  

HARRINGTON, DE -  Jo Ann Looney King's Apple Valley Art ($2.40, Tim Tetrick) won the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Final for 3-year-old harness racing pacing colts and geldings Monday at Harrington Raceway in 1:55. The Artzina-Shake Away gelding led throughout and held off a fierce late charge from American Nitro for the victory, his third straight for trainer Jim King Jr. Aidan was third. Apple Valley Art has won 3-of-4 career starts and was one of 5 wins on the card for Tetrick, two of which were trained by King Jr. Tetrick won three consecutive races mid-card, including Jo Ann Looney-King's Q's Cruise ($3.40), who was a 1:51.2 winner in the $12,000 Open Pace, the overnight feature. The Yankee Cruiser 6-year-old was a wire-to-wire winner over Slick Tony and Sicily for trainer Jim King Jr.  Tony Morgan won both halves of the daily double with a pair of rail horses in Providential ($3.40) and Cruise Patrol ($2.60). He had three wins total on the program.  Meanwhile, 10-year-old pacer Lucan Hanover ($2.20, Tetrick), notched his 50th career win in 1:53 in a $7,200 conditioned pace for trainer Eric Ell and owner Bill Emmons.  Louis Tomczak's Proper One ($3, Art Stafford Jr.) dominated a $9,000 conditioned pace field with a five-length romp in 1:51.1 for trainer Carlo Poliseno.  In the $15,000 DSBF consolation event for male pacers, Bernard Stingone's White Lands ($15.60, Russell Foster) prevailed in 2:00 for trainer Jason Skinner.  by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

On Saturday, July 4th, Woodbine Mohawk Park in Ontario, Canada hosted 11 baby races for 2YO pacers. Six of these impressive harness racing qualifiers were won by sons and daughters of first crop stallion BETTING LINE. All of them were trained by Casie Coleman-Herlihy and all were driven to victory by Jonathan Drury. The quickest colt of the morning was the $75,000 Harrisburg purchase LINEDRIVE HANOVER. LINEDRIVE HANOVER left the gate quickly then settled into third through a :30.2 opening quarter. As the field straightened down the backside, the rookie pacer pulled and made the lead with a three-length advantage at the :59.3 half. LINEDRIVE HANOVER then found another gear for the back half of the mile, hitting the third station in 1:26.4 before sprinting home in :26.3 to trip the timer 18 lengths the best in a sizzling 1:53.2! LINEDRIVE paced his last half-mile in :53.4 and is out of a mare by another Empire Stallion – WELL SAID. The colts AMAZING BET, TWIN B EDGE and DEAN B HANOVER also scored victories in their respective races. AMAZING BET was dominant winning by seven lengths in 1:57.1. The $110,000 Harrisburg purchase TWIN B EDGE, out of a mare by ROCK N ROLL HEAVEN, dashed home with a last quarter of :27.4 to win by four lengths in 1:57.2. DEAN B HANOVER held off his challengers to cross the line first in 1:56.3. DEAN B HANOVER is out of the SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE mare Deli Beach and was purchased for $340,000 at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale last November. The talented filly INDRA HANOVER captured her qualifying outing, settling in third position early through the opening quarter of :29.4 then moving to the lead down the backstretch before the half. After middle panels of :59.2 and 1:28, INDRA HANOVER fought hard in the stretch to win by half-length in 1:55.1. Her dam is by WESTERN IDEAL and she is another Harrisburg Alumni bought for $65,000. EXTRILLA HANOVER, out of a ROCKNROLL HANOVER mare, was also quite impressive with her 1:55.4 gate to wire performance winning by over three lengths. Watch the BETTING LINE qualifiers below AMAZING BET (2YO Colt) – 1:57.1 BETTING LINE-Amazing Marker-Cole Muffler Trainer: Casie Coleman-Herlihy Driver:  Jonathan Drury _______________________________________________________________________________________________ LINEDRIVE HANOVER (2YO Colt) – 1:53.2 BETTING LINE – Lillian Hanover – Well Said Trainer: Casie Coleman-Herlihy Driver:  Jonathan Drury _______________________________________________________________________________________________ DEAN B HANOVER (2YO Colt) – 1:56.3 Trainer:  Casie Coleman-Herlihy Driver: Jonathan Drury _______________________________________________________________________________________________ EXTRILLA HANOVER (2YO Filly) – 1:55.4 BETTING LINE – EZ Rock – Rocknroll Hanover Trainer:  Casie Coleman-Herlihy Driver:  Jonathan Drury _______________________________________________________________________________________________ INDRA HANOVER (2YO Filly) – 1:55.1 BETTING LINE – Ideal Newton – Western Ideal Trainer:  Casie Coleman-Herlihy Driver:  Jonathan Drury _______________________________________________________________________________________________ TWIN B EDGE (2YO Colt) – 1:57.2 BETTING LINE – Twin B Exquisite – Rock N Roll Heaven Trainer:  Casie Coleman-Herlihy Driver:  Jonathan Drury

We’re all looking for that special horse to transform our lives – but for Mildura harness racing administrator Michelle McGinty, that life-changer had very little to do with races and trophies. When a cantankerous little pacer name Charlie Knew came into her life three years ago, the Mildura Harness Racing Club CEO admits he probably saved her and changed the life of her son Cooper. “We’d moved to Mildura in 2016 to be closer to my family and had been through a really tough period.  My ex-partner Ian had been diagnosed with cancer and been through treatment three times in the space of six years and we’d lost three family members in a short space of time.  There was a lot of stress going on,” Michelle said. “On top of that, I was working full time and we were raising two little boys under five with special needs.  The move was meant to be about winding down but I was still working 50+ hrs a week from home in a senior role and still having to do a lot of travel interstate and overseas,” she said. “It all became too much, anxiety kicked in with little to no warning and one morning I woke up just completely unable to function.  I had literally cracked.” Michelle said the episode was her turning point though, and she resigned the next day.  She said she was “completely lost” for a good six weeks until she visited the Irymple stables of good family friend and trainer Geoff Bottams and his wife Dorothy. “My family had always been involved with racing.  My dad trained and drove in Mildura back in the 1960s and 70s, my uncle Brian trained horses and my cousin Jason still does. My Uncle Gary is an owner, as was my Uncle Bob and also my late Uncle Red, so I’d always been around horses,” Michelle said. “But when I visited Geoff and Dorothy that morning, Geoff suggested I get involved again. He told me to get my stable hand licence and give him a hand as a bit of an outlet. I took up the offer and it was the best thing I could have ever done.” Michelle said from the first days she had an affinity with one of the Bottoms’ pacers, Charlie Knew (Grinfromeartoear – Who Knew (Powerful Toy). “Charlie was a rough nut, always at the top of the pecking order and giving every horse and human hell!  He’d drag Geoff around on the lead, he’d often kick and he was always rounding all the other horses up.  He was clearly the stable boss,” she said. “But it was funny, Charlie was always my favourite.  We just clicked and he rarely gave me a hard time like he did to others.” And while Michelle’s connection to Charlie was unique – it was his interactions with her sons that stunned her. “Chase is six and Cooper is eight now, but they were quite young at the time.  Both the boys are high functioning on the autism spectrum. They’ve both been reading and writing since they were two and their maths and number skills are completely off the charts,” she said. “But Cooper has selective mutism, which meant that he couldn’t speak in certain situations, no matter how hard he tried, and he was completely non-verbal outside of home.” Michelle said the day Cooper met Charlie is a day she’ll never forget. “Mad Charlie Knew went from absolute feral to an angel when he saw Coop – he started licking Cooper’s hands and playing with his hair and making him laugh.  And Cooper who had never spoken outside of the house before, turned around, looked at me and said: ‘Love Charlie Horse’. “I’m not sure what shocked me most and it still gives me goosebumps to think about.  From that day on, Cooper started talking a little more to the point now where he regularly talks in public, especially at the racetrack. “Charlie’s always been the third child and much-loved member of the family since.” But while his stable antics were legendary, Charlie Knew’s on-track performances were less flattering.  About six months later Geoff and Dorothy took the decision to retire the pacer, but with concerns about Charlie’s limited prospects for rehoming, given his attitudes and behavior. “I was devastated and the next day I offered to lease him. I think they thought I was mad, but I couldn’t just let him go.” Michelle said Charlie’s first race for her a week later was an absolute blur, but also a career highlight. “I’d only had him for a week and even though there were no expectations, I remember being so nervous that I literally made myself sick,” she said. “I was pacing the grandstand right through the race and when Charlie got up and won, I was completely dumbfounded! It wasn’t until everyone started congratulating me that it sunk in and the tears started. It was his first of his five wins for us. He also had nine seconds and eight thirds.” Charlie finally reached the end of the racing road this week, and will spend his remaining days as a paddock pony. “He’s one of many retirees at my partner’s property down south, but at nine, he’s still a bit of a baby because the other horses there are aged up into their mid-20s. It was absolutely devastating to have to let him go, though, and I cried pretty much the three hours all the way home,” Michelle said. “Animals, especially horses have an amazing ability to relieve stress and they really do have a truly unique way to empathise with humans. They’re so non-judgemental and it’s easy to see why equine assisted therapy does help and inspire rehabilitation. “Charlie has seen us through a lot of tough times and has lowered my stress levels – he’s probably saved my sanity during the last few months of COVID-19. “He’ll never be replaced – he’s irreplaceable to us – but I do have a two-year-old A Rocknroll Dance Colt out of Lady Kardashian who’s currently being broken in, and I also have an untried four year old A RocknRoll Dance mare, Party Rocking, I’ve leased from Geoff and Dorothy. “I can’t wait for both to be racing and if they give us a tenth of the enjoyment that Charlie has given us, we will be very happy.”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The following letter was received at Harnesslink from Joseph Faraldo and it pertains to a letter in Harness Racing Update over the weekend from Danielle Henri, the mother of Rene and Simon Allard. If Rene Allard’s mom owned her own  horses for years she should be allowed to race her horses if her only involvement in any of the allegations against Rene, is her being Rene’s mom. A  similar argument could be made for Simon Allard ie., that guilt, by association is similarly wrong. As far as the new trainers they are free to choose who they train for and guilt by association should not be the standard by which the industry further tarnishes otherwise  innocent trainers who are not acting as beards.  The presumption that relatives are as  guilty as those charged, whose guilt is not yet proven,   is a favorite pastime of our industry and is why the industry suffers in the eyes of the outside world , because it comes from inside.  The justice system is competent in ferreting out the guilty from the innocent and those who are guilty should and must be penalized. Those who are complicit with anyone directly involved in breaking regulations whether they rise to the level of crimes or not,  including other trainers, beards, grooms and even owners, should  be punished. Penalizing any of the owners, trainers or a myriad of others who would aid criminal activity should have some modicum of proof, not be applied by mere association. As far as Yonkers, the HRU headline was disgraceful in and of itself but endemic of the mob mentality that is prevalent in this business. Yonkers rightfully accepted her  entry and that was appropriate until the firestorm created by Harness Racing Update article. At that point  Yonkers then succumbed to the mob mentality giving the impression that  the entry was accepted incorrectly and then decided to follow up by sacrificing up this owner to satiate the presumably false narrative that was promulgated by HRU.  It was interesting to hear a  new version  for the Yonkers action and that  was that Rene’s mom made a lot of money  from the prior relationship with her son . One has to wonder if all the owners, some of the biggest to the smallest in the game, should be barred by some or all the tracks in the country or at their own tracks who used any specific  trainer or driver who subsequently violates any rule. The question is which trainer with a valid license may be the next to get get accused of some wrongdoing or trouble. Some very good owners have quit the business because some tracks have taken this just a bit too far, Yonkers included. You can’t make this up.  Think of the hypocrisy inherent in this mob mentality. So many others who have  horses with those indicted or  those charged in an information, are allowed to still race their  horses even though they may have indirectly profited from trainer activities which are alleged to be criminal in nature  but whose activities were  unknown to them. Where is the outcry for similar punishment  to that meted out to  this one owner and driver or is that too  logical for the industry to ask? Or is it simply that the industry does not wish to apply the same rationale to others it gives a pass too.? It is because  all of this, that this current industry sanctioned  approach is wrong and hypocritical for so many reasons. Many presumed guilty  owners have sold their horses because they are now wearing their “scarlet letter” and have quit the game altogether.  Every, let it be repeated that every  successful trainer starting in my memory with George “Buddy” Regan, is suspect of wrongdoing by this wrongheaded mentality. George  was so disheartened he basically quit the game. Lets  acknowledge then that every successful trainer and all their owners in our game are  guilty regardless of the necessity of proof. We all know better than to need proof and we can all just keep demeaning the game instead of better policing it. When speculation becomes the substitute for proof and rumor mongering and innuendo become the basis for action, driven manly from within the game, the game is shooting itself in the foot. The failure to make more serious efforts to regulate the sport by those vested with such responsibility has in part led us to this precipice.   Hopefully, an independent, repeat independent  and hard working organization like Dr Jablonsky has  recommended and USTA president Russell Williams and the Executive Committee has embraced will do its work successfully and the industry will enjoy a reawakening. From Joseph Faraldo

Columbus, OH – As part of the initiative that commenced with Hanover Shoe Farms’ Executive Vice President Bridgette Jablonsky’s announcement in April of a $250,000 matching fund grant to promote integrity in harness racing, on Monday (July 6), U.S. Trotting Association President Russell Williams announced the establishment of the Standardbred Racing Investigative Fund. The SRIF will exist as a division of the USTA but with independent, third-party oversight. “After announcing the $250,000 challenge grant, we heard from several industry stakeholders who were concerned about industry participants having the ability to exert influence on or make decisions regarding investigations into possible regulatory or criminal abuses,” said Williams, who is president and CEO of Hanover Shoe Farms. “These concerns are valid, so we have worked diligently with a leading Pennsylvania law firm to design a structure that would remove funding and investigative decision-making from the USTA and allow for total confidentiality.  This difficult task has taken time, but it is almost complete,” added Williams. The plan for the SRIF will be presented at an upcoming USTA Board of Directors Executive Committee meeting to be held within the next few weeks in order to gain Board approval. If approved, complete details including who will serve on the SRIF Oversight Board, the way that money from donations will be allocated, how investigations will be conducted, and details of the plan for cooperative efforts with state racing commissions and local, state and federal authorities will be announced. To read Dr. Jablonsky’s original announcement of the $250,000 matching funds grant from Hanover Shoe Farms, click here. From the USTA Communications Department

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