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Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound   Big Wheels leading Queensland two-year-old When he won the $100,550 QBred Triad Final last Saturday Big Wheels proved himself the top Queensland two-year-old of the season. Earlier in the season the gelding won the QBred Breeders Classic and from seven starts he has now won three and been three times placed for $78,845 in stakes for breeder-owner John Polson, of Taree (NSW). Big Wheels                                                     --Dan Costello photo   Big Wheels is by the Rocknroll Hanover horse A Rocknroll Dance (sire of No Win No Feed) from Washington Lass NZ, who took a record of 1:55.6 and won nine races. She left an earlier winner in Blacksadance (1:52.8), a winner of six and a placegetter in the recent South-East Derby. Washington Lass was by Washington VC (1:52 son of Presidential Ball) from Supreme Duchess, by Son Of Afella from Sparkle Bret (2:08.6), a half-sister by Knowing Bret to the good Perth winner Hillas Esquire. This is a long-established South Island family and an earlier top pacer belonging to it was Viking Water, who won numerous races at Harold Park in the 1960’s.   QBred Triad winning line The Group 1 QBred Triad 2YO Fillies’ Final winner, Jasper, is a Mach Three half-sister to Joys A Babe, who won the 4YO Triad a few years earlier, and is closely related to other Triad winners in Catwalk Beauty, Attack Life and A Good Chance. Jasper                                                      --Dan Costello photo   Both bred by Kevin and Kay Seymour, Jasper and Joys A Babe are out of the top racemare Joy To Behold (1:56.2), who left others in Jakes A Joy (1:54.1), Kwasii (1:56.6), Joyous Times (1:57.9), Spread The Joy and Johnny Come Lately. By Fake Left, Joy To Behold is out of Sweet Mover (2:01.8), by Rip Van Winkle from Naivasha, by the NZ Derby winner Willie Win from the Brahman mare Hindu Star and tracing eventually back to the American-bred Norice, who founded one of NZ’s best winning families and one that is widely successfully represented today. Sweet Mover, an Albion Park winner herself, was the dam of 10 winners, six of whom took records of 2:00 or faster. Besides Joy To Behold, Sweet Mover is also the dam of Son Of Fortune 1:58.3 ($118,537), a dual Group winner in Queensland, the exported Jaccamo 1:53.6 ($281,471) and the Albion Park winners Saldivar 1:57.6 ($101,070) and Slick Style (1:59.2). An unraced daughter of Sweet Mover in Down The Catwalk (by Vanston Hanover) became the dam of the Triad winners Catwalk Beauty 1:58.2 ($156,566) and Attack Life 1:57.7 ($132,832) and others in Moi Attack (9 wins) and the Perfect Art mare Chance The Walk (1:57), a winner of 13 races and who, in turn, left the Triad and Queensland Breeders Classic winner A Good Chance 1:51.9 ($260,007) and recent Redcliffe winner Chanceless Century.   John Higgins Memorial winner Gifted as an unraced two-year-old and now a winner of $83,733, One For Dave Andme became the latest WA Group winner when he won $30,000 John Higgins Memorial at Gloucester Park, rating 1:55.7 over 2130 metres. By the Grinfromeartoear horse Smiling Shard (now in Tasmania), One For Dave Andme is out of a smart racemare in Another One For Me 1:56.3 ($154,565), by the American-bred horse Armbro Operative.  Another One For Me, whose 13 successes included the WA Lord Mayor’s Cup, was a half-sister to the prolific NZ and US winner Ann Other Porsche 1:51.6 ($489,192), who became the dam of the Albion Park winner Red Terror (1:55.3) and grand-dam of the NZ Winter Cup winner Billy Badger 1:50 ($188,637), Stars Tonight 1:56.7 ($100,583) and Need You Now (1:55). The next dam, Ann Other Vance (2:00.5), was by Vance Hanover from the noted producer Wee Ann, by Lumber Dream from the U Scott mare Forenoon, a half-sister to Blankets, the dam of the mighty Mount Eden. In the back removes of One For Dave Andme’s pedigree are pacers of the calibre of Impressionist (WA Golden Nugget), Soho Wall Street (1:49.6), Rapid Vance, Our Angel Of Harlem (WA Dainty’s Daughter) and trotters in the same class such as Into The Unknown (Tr 1:56.5) and Bonito.   Well related three-year-old Alta Blues, a three-year-old by Alta Christiano from Child By The Sea (a half-sister by Astreos to a champion pacer in Somebeachsomewhere), did not race as a two-year-old last season. But the Alta Christiano gelding has proved himself to some purpose in his three-year-old racing, and he won at Gloucester Park last Friday at a 1:55.7 rate over 2130 metres.  It was Alta Blues’ second success from only five starts and his 1:55.7 clocking was put up when he had nothing in his favour, being trapped wide for a good portion and being several lengths from the leaders at one stage. He is a very good youngster. Child From The Sea, the dam of Alta Blues, won seven races and took a mile record of 1:56.6 in North America and, at the stud has left three winners including the Wagga Oaks victor Grande Anse (1:57.3).   Tasmanian sale produces winners When Stepping Stones outfinished her rivals at Hobart last Friday, she became the second winner which had been sold at the 2019 Tasmanian Yearling Sale. Stepping Stones, a filly by the Artsplace horse Stonebridge Regal, was sold for $4,500 at the sale to Broadmarsh horseman Heath Woods. Written In Silk (Sportswriter-Mon Soie), bought for $20,000 and a winner at Launceston in March, is the other winner from the sale. Bred by Elderslie studmaster Sue Streit, Stepping Stones is out of the top racemare Step Up And Play, and the first of her produce to win. Step Up And Play, who won 12 races and $70,937 including the Tasmanian Golden Slipper and Mother of Pearl, is by Peace Of Art from Harmonia, by Golden Greek from the Perfect Blue Chip mare Ima Blue Chip, the dam of eight winners including the Blue Bonnet winner Lambretta and grand-dam of the former top Tasmanian juvenile Ima Miss Molly and the Breeders Plate winner Nitro Blue. Stepping Stones can claim three strong strains of Abercrombie blood through her sire, Stonebridge Regal, damsire Peace Of Art and grand-dam sire Golden Greek.   Star trotter by Ready Cash One of the most capable young trotters racing in Victoria at present is Cash Lover, who is quickly working her way to the top flight. She has now won at six of her last seven appearances.                                                                                                    --HRV photo   Cash Lover has a wealth of blood to back up her claims to further promotion, being by the French champion Ready Cash from Lucky Love, by Love You from All Sunny, by Sundon from the Speed In Action mare All Action Gal, who established a great winning line for Roydon Lodge Stud, Christchurch. Lucky Love, who was unraced, ranks as a half-sister to the dual Menangle winner All Action Man (Tr 1:58.8), Sun Prince (Tr 2:07) and to Sunny Sierra, a Sierra Kosmos mare who is the dam of the top Queensland trotter Southern Alps Tr 1:59.9 ($106,544 to date). All Sunny was a sister to cup class trotters in All Action Sun Tr 1:55.6 ($314,784), Solar Active ($180,639), Sunny Action ($180,173) and All Sundon Tr 1:55.1 ($240,442) and the unraced Roydon Action, the dam of the country cups winners All Royal Gal Tr 1:57.2 ($172,116) and Action Kosmos ($123,234). Cash Lover was bred by Yabby Dam Farms principal Pat Driscoll.   Further Group success for Bettor Enforce Bettor Enforce, winner of the Group 3 Ladyship Pace at Menangle, continues to prove herself in the top bracket among the mares. She holds a mile record of 1:48.9 and has earned $232,469 in stakes. Watch Bettor Enforce win the Group 3 Ladyship Pace at Menangle Bred by Invercargill identity Ben Calder, Bettor Enforce is a seven-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare from the Falcon Seelster mare Their Excuse (TT1:59), dam also of The Paua Diver (1:56), who won two. Their Excuse was out of Last Excuse, by Live Or Die from the Smooth Fella mare My Excuse. A champion pacer in Just An Excuse (1:55.6), a winner of 17 races and $1 million in stakes including two NZ Cups, belongs to this family which has produced others in Mach’s Gladiator (1:57.5) and Excuse Maker, both minor cup winners in NZ. The family has also been successfully represented in Australia where it has produced such winners as the dual Vicbred champion Tell Me Tales (1:49.3), Mojo Major (1:53.3) and Talamahara (1:53.9).   From family of Sokyola Soho Brandenburg, an impressive two-year-old winner at the Shepparton midweek meeting, is a Bettor’s Delight colt from the same family as that which produced the dual Miracle Mile winner Sokyola. Bred and owned by Robert Watson, Soho Brandenburg is out of a capable racemare in Soho Berlin 1:56.4, and the first of her produce to race. Soho Berlin, who won nine races including the Vicbred 4YO Silver, was a three-quarter sister to the prolific Albion Park winner Any Chance 1:53.5 ($138,032), being by Somebeachsomwhere from Giveusachance (1:55.6), a Melton winner by Live Or Die from Maudola, by Chiola Hanover from the Lumber Dream mare Maudey, and tracing to the taproot Norice. Only lightly raced, Maudola figured as the dam of the champion Sokyola, who won a record 29 races at Moonee Valley including the Victoria Cup and The Legends twice, and others in the Harold Park winner Holmes Dean (2:00), Julia Jones (2:00.8) and Jackieola, a sister to Sokyola, who left the useful sorts Spunkyola (1:55.6), Sassyola (1:56.5) and Smokenola.   Broodmare double The Mach Three mare Miss Brazilian produced a two State double last Saturday with Benicio (Menangle) and Mister Brazil (Albion Park). Both bred by Sloy’s Company are by Rock N Roll Heaven and Sportswriter respectively. Benicio, a seven-year-old gelding, has won 17 races and $177,102 in stakes, while Mister Brazil, an eight-year-old, has won 15 races and $207,916. Other winners from Miss Brazilian have been Lets Go To Brazil, winner of the NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Blue series, Handsome Major, Misterriodejaneiro, Brazilian Rocker and Smoothe Style. Miss Brazilian ranks as a half-sister to the high class racemares Louvre 1:54.5 ($402,665) and Miss Hazel 1:57 ($310,063) and the Derby winner Renaissance Man 1:53.1 ($297,904), being by Mach Three from My Ami Lee, by Safely Kept from Cosmophylla, by Thor Hanover from  the Entrepreneur mare Calophylla. This is the family of top pacers the calibre of Gumdrops (Vic. Queen of the Pacific), My General Lee (Treuer Memorial), Prince Benji 1:55.3 ($255,998), Fourwing Sweepa (O’Shea Guineas), Christian Sloy, and others.   Peter Wharton  

Harness racing in Victoria is certainly looking different and officials say the calendar continues to be fluid in order to keep racing safely through the State's worsening COVID-19 second wave. Despite predictions to the contrary, Victoria has managed to maintain race meetings almost without disruption since the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. A suite of strict hygiene and behavioural protocols in place since the first wave of coronavirus is now even tighter, with participants at all race meetings and trials in Victoria now required to wear masks. HRV introduced the mask requirement ahead of Victoria's Statewide "mask up" order in place from Sunday. A shock 700-plus cases reported on one day this week will again test the sport's leadership - but CEO Dayle Brown says returning to a regionalisation model has safeguarded the industry throughout the crisis and is the best option to keep participants racing, and the sport functioning. "The racing calendar now for us is changing as we move forward," Brown said. "You have to look at the knife edge we are on at the moment and the priority that always needs to be on keeping our people healthy and well and keeping our sport going," he said. "As this second wave continues on this six-week lockdown by the State Government (in the Melbourne Metropolitan area and Mitchell Shire) has the potential to go longer. "We don't know what these numbers will do day to day and what the government response will be, so our calendar is fluid." The regionalisation model, which divides the State into five hubs each racing at a single track, reduced the movement of participants around the State, and was a key plank in convincing the Government to allow racing to continue. The model was briefly abandoned when the COVID-19 curve flattened late in June, but rising cases have again seen a return to the structure. "Going back into the regional model was the best option for us," Brown said. "If we do have to close down this Metropolitan-Mitchell Shire area, at least we can isolate that for the short term and keep racing elsewhere." HRV's caution in introducing the mask requirement was questioned by regions of Victoria without active COVID-19 cases, but appears to have been vindicated since, with the State Government's blanket rule. "You only have to look overseas to see young people coming back and them talking about the effect that this virus has had on them. It can become a disability for life - even in people who were healthy, fit normal people before," Brown said. "This is an insidious virus and it's important that we as a collective at this point in time double down and keep everyone safe and well and keep racing." HRV has reminded participants to ensure they do not attend any race or trial meeting if they are in any way unwell. Brown said HRV stewards were continuing to take a zero-tolerance approach regarding any person who breaches the directions and requirements, which are in place to protect the health and wellbeing of all persons involved in the harness racing industry. In line with the zero-tolerance approach, stewards have issued a charge against unlicensed person Matthew Talty and stablehand Dylan Schembri. It's alleged Talty breached the COVID-19 protocols by gaining entry to a trial meeting at the Kilmore Racecourse on 19 May 2020 with licensed stablehand Dylan Schembri. The charge will be heard by the Victorian Racing Tribunal on a date to be fixed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

On Saturday,harness racing trainer Julie Miller will experience her Hambletonian present. One night earlier, maybe she will get a glimpse at her Hambletonian future. Miller sends out Big Oil in the first of Saturday's two $50,000 Hambletonian eliminations at The Meadowlands. The top-five finishers from each elim advance to the $1 million final for 3-year-old trotters Aug. 8 at The Big M. On Friday, she will watch Venerate in the lone $20,000 elimination of the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands. The top-seven finishers will join bye recipients Locatelli, Spy Booth, and Type A in the final, also Aug. 8. Big Oil is 10-1 on the morning line in his Hambletonian elimination. Andy Miller will drive the colt, who starts from post four. Back Of The Neck is the 2-1 favorite, followed by Amigo Volo at 7-2, Beads at 9-2, and Dan Patch Award winning filly Ramona Hill at 5-1. Ready For Moni is the 5-2 favorite in the second elimination. "I'm proud just to be in the race, first of all," Miller said. "I think that's a really deep group. I think it's the tougher (elimination) but it's going to be even tougher next week, so we might as well get it figured out this Saturday. I just hope we have a little luck. Actually, a lot of luck." Big Oil, a son of Father Patrick out of former Miller standout and world-record-setter Cee Bee Yes, won two of eight races last year and hit the board a total of six times. He finished in a dead-heat for win with Real Cool Sam in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile in 1:52.1, a clocking that was the second fastest of the year for a 2-year-old male trotter. This season, Big Oil opened with wins in a conditioned race and division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars before finishing third behind Back Of The Neck and Third Shift in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. "I've been trying to manage him and get ready for this race," Miller said. "I just hope I've got my I's dotted and my T's crossed. I think he's special, but of course because he's mine, I think that way. I just hope I've got him the best he can be and he can leave it all on the racetrack. "When Andy gets behind him and they start to go, he gives 110 percent. He's handy, it's not like he's got to be raced from behind or he's got to be up front or he's got to have this or that. He has a good relationship with Andy and when Andy asks, he's going to deliver." Big Oil, a homebred owned by Jason Allen, Doug Allen, and Ron Allen, also owns a big personality. "No matter what is going on, he never loses his zest for life," Miller said. "He has this whinny where he doesn't open his mouth, it's like an internal one; it's the weirdest thing I've ever seen. He's got such a personality. Anybody that comes in the barn, everybody knows him. He makes sure his presence is felt. He's just a fun horse in that respect." Prior to last year, Miller posted three consecutive top-three finishes in Hambletonian finals. In 2018, Met's Hall finished second to Atlanta. In 2017, Devious Man was third-placed-second and a year earlier Sutton was a fast-closing third, beaten only a neck, in the race won by Marion Marauder. As for the Haughton elim, Venerate won his only start this year, a 1:55.1 triumph in a conditioned race at The Meadowlands on July 17. The colt is 7-2 on the morning line, second choice behind 3-1 Caruso from Hall of Famer Joe Holloway's stable. "He's just been a pleasure," Miller said. "He doesn't realize what he's doing yet and it's fun to see his development. He's a big good-looking colt. People always ask me, 'Who is that?' He's eye-catching on the track." Venerate is a son of standout French sire Love You out of Peaceful Kemp. He sold for $90,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton as well as Dan Patch Award winners Andover Hall and Conway Hall. He is owned by Pinske Stables and Andy Miller Stable Inc. Carter Pinske had the colt in Florida for the winter before sending him north to Miller's stable in New Jersey. "We went down a couple times to train with Carter and we were really impressed with him," Miller said. "As luck would have it, he is Kentucky sired, which starts (its sire stakes series) after this race, so we really just babied him along. I was happy with his race, for him to get stretched out a little to see what we've got. I think he deserves a chance in (the Haughton)." In addition to the Haughton elimination on Friday, there are two $20,000 elims of the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old female trotters. Insta Glam, 2-for-2 on the Pennsylvania stakes circuit for trainer Nancy Takter, is the 7-5 favorite in the first; New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Altar, from trainer Per Engblom's stable, is the 8-5 choice in the second. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Friday and Saturday at The Meadowlands. For Friday's complete entries, click here. For Saturday, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Claude Levesque, president of the Quebec Jockey Club (QJC), sent a notice to all harness racing people in Quebec on Wednesday, stating that the OJC board members felt the risks are too great right now to allow spectators to attend the races at the Hippodrome 3R this season. "If admitting spectators were to lead to more cases of Covid-19 and the racecourse was then forced to suspend racing, it would be catastrophic for the industry, its jobs and even its survival," said Claude Levesque. For the moment, the Club Jockey will continue to apply the same policy that is currently in progress, i.e. presenting races without spectators and continuing to apply to the paddock the same protocol approved a few weeks ago by the Public Health of Quebec. Two-year-old goes against older horses Harness racing fans will take notice of the first race Friday at the Hippodrome 3R. It's a trotting event that features a two-year-old, X O X O (that's its name), taking on older horses. Something you don't see every day. Breeder, owner and driver, Jerome Lombart of Bromont, owns just two broodmares, yet almost every year he has young horses ready to race. Over the years Lombart has a track record, his horses have won series championships at H3R and now he has high hopes for X O X O (the symbol for hugs and kisses). "She's a filly that does everything you want her to do well from the very beginning when I tamed her," Lombart said. "It doesn't guarantee anything, but at least it's going in the right direction. "The dam of this filly," Lombart explained. "Is Promising Lavec, and she gives offspring which generally go well at 2 years old. Sometimes things go bad at 3, however. These days I only count on Promising Lavec and Fauvette Gale for my foals. The first gives more calm horse, the second more speed but less calmness." X O X O is from the mare Promising Lavec, who is also the dam of Lucky Promesses, who also races Friday in the fifth race Preferred Trot. "X O X O is the half-sister of Lucky Promesses," Lombart said. "She's is sired by Lucky Fool, not by Angus Hall. In fact, the last three offspring of Promising Lavec are by Angus Hall (Silky Lavec, X OXO and a filly born this year that I called La Bromontoise). "And the good progress of X O X O," Lobart added. "prompted me to pay for its Ontario Sire Stakes eligibility. But there is still a long way to go. Keep in mind that last Saturday X O X O beat only two opponents. We will have a better idea this week." X O X O starts from the rail. She is trained by Andreane Lapierre and in her first career start last week in the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit, led from start to finish in 2:05.3. On Friday she goes against That's Hooligan (post 5), a four-year-old return winner, along with three-year-old winners Miss Melodie (post 2) and Indi (post 4). The fourth race Preferred-Handicap Pace has a full field of eight featuring the dominant Windsun Cheyenne, who has won this class the last two starts in 1:56.2 and 1:55.3. He won from post seven last week so being handicapped with post eight on Friday should not hinder his chances of making it three-straight wins for H3R's leading driver Pascal Berube. Also, in the field are rivals Hooter Shooter (post 7), the return of Surf Report (post 5) and D J Power (post 4), who has the red-hot young driver Samuel Fillion in the sulky. Then in the fifth race is the Preferred-Handicap co-feature trot headlined by two return winners in Missionoftheheart (post 6) and Keepall (post 5). Missionoftheheart was the best of her career last week at H3R, leading from start to finish for driver Stephane Gendron in a lifetime record mile of 1:58.2. The six-year-old mare by Manofmanymissions is trained by co-owner Michel Allard and romped last week by four and one-quarter lengths. Keepall has won his last starts at H3R, the fastest in 1:59.1 for driver Carol Voyer and trainer Sylvain Tremblay. He already has three wins this season. Post time on Friday is 4:00 pm. For a free race program, visit www.hippodrome3R.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club      

Horse owners and trainers should very much beware when a racetrack advocates on behalf of a new horsemen's organization. That is what is happening in Kentucky as Churchill Downs Inc. in Louisville and The Red Mile in Lexington have endorsed a fledgling group to rival the 47-year-old Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association to represent horsemen at the new casino/harness track in Oak Grove near the Tennessee border, an hour's drive northwest of Nashville. In fact, “endorsed” may not be a strong enough term. It wouldn't be that much of a stretch to say Churchill Downs Inc. and The Red Mile have masterminded a quiet coup d'etat of an existing harness horsemen's organization and that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission obsequiously rubber-stamped, giving legitimacy to a nebulous entity called the Kentucky Harness Association. Approval of this dubious move is on the agenda of the Kentucky General Assembly's Legislative Research Commission at the state capitol in Frankfort on Thursday. There's no reason to believe the commission will do anything but accept the changes recommended by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. There is so much wrong with this, not the least of which is that Churchill Downs Inc. appeared to work in collaboration with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on language for the regulation that helps create this new organization while neutralizing the longstanding harness horsemen's representative. Last Nov. 22, Mike Ziegler, executive director of racing for Churchill Downs Inc., sent an email to Marc Guilfoil, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, stating: “Per a conversation between John and Secretary Russell, attached are the proposed regulation changes in a word document for the track extension regulation and the Standardbred horsemen group.” The email was acquired from the commission via public records requests. Interestingly, Nov. 22 is also the date of a  letter Ziegler sent to Guilfoil saying that “it has been brought to our attention that the Kentucky Harness Association has requested approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to serve as an association representing Standardbred horsemen in the Commonwealth. Churchill Downs Incorporated is fully supportive of this request.” It's amazing how Ziegler and Churchill Downs Inc. simultaneously went from having something “brought to our attention” to actually proposing language for the regulation to make it happen – all on the same day. In that Nov. 22 email from Ziegler to Guilfoil, “John” would be John McCarthy, a powerful lobbyist in Frankfort representing Churchill Downs Inc. “Secretary Russell” would be Gail Russell, then secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet for lame duck Gov. Matt Bevin, who lost his bid for reelection on Nov. 5, 2019. While the wheels were set in motion during Bevin's tenure as governor, his successor, Andy Beshear, will share in the blame if these changes are approved by the general assembly. By their own admission, this new Kentucky Harness Association had a grand total of three members when the issue came before the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for recognition. Let me repeat that: three total members. The person said to be the organizer of the Kentucky Harness Association, Bob Brady, is brother-in-law of Ken Jackson, a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Jackson voted in favor of recognizing the organization started by his brother-in-law that could be charged with negotiating contracts on behalf of hundreds or thousands of horse owners and trainers. Brady and Jackson are partners in a Lexington-based Standardbred auction company co-owned with the entity that owns The Red Mile harness track. The latter endorsed Brady's new organization, an association it might negotiate contracts with. This is about as incestuous as you can get. It should also be noted that Jackson, in his role with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, made the motion in 2018 to award the Oak Grove casino and harness license to Churchill Downs Inc., which partnered with the Keeneland Association on the proposed project. There were other viable bidders. Why should anyone in the Thoroughbred industry care about what organization represents harness owners and trainers at a small Kentucky casino/racetrack? If you are a Thoroughbred owner or trainer, don't think this can't happen to you. I've seen this movie play out in Florida, where loopholes in state law are exploited to create bogus race meetings that operate with the approval of sham horsemen's organizations. The organizers do this to retain profits from casinos, card rooms or simulcasting and they don't have to share as much of that revenue with the sham horsemen's organizations as they would with a legitimate group. Can this happen in Kentucky? I wouldn't bet against it. Churchill Downs pulled a bait and switch scheme at Calder Race Course in Florida, getting horse owners and trainers to support a slots machine referendum and then, after public approval, tearing down the grandstand and eventually connecting the casino license – one the horsemen helped secure – with a jai-alai permit. I can't blame Churchill Downs Inc. for trying to overthrow a legitimate harness horsemen's organization and replacing it with hand-picked toadies. Company executives are only trying to maximum revenue to shareholders and increase the potential for their own bonuses. They are not looking out for the best interests of everyone in the horse industry. That's my view from the eighth pole. by Ray Paulick Reprinted with permission of The Paulick Report

WASHINGTON, PA, July 30, 2020 -- Saturday's $375,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids promises to be exciting, and now, The Meadows has upped the ante by adding a harness racing Super Hi-5 wager on the Adios with a $50,000 guarantee. Moreover, the entire pool will be paid out. Ordinarily, the Super Hi-5 jackpot is paid only if there is a single correct ticket with the top five finishers in their exact order of finish. However, The Adios Super Hi-5 pool will be split among all those with correct tickets. The last time The Meadows offered a mandatory Super Hi-5 payout, players bet so enthusiastically that the pool exceeded $300,000 and provided a healthy return for all winning ticketholders. In addition to the Super Hi-5, the program offers two total-pool carryovers: $2,441.84 in the Early Pick 4 (race 3), $1,908.78 in the Early Pick 5 (race 2). The Adios Day card gets underway at the special post time of 11:25 AM, with advance Adios wagering available beginning at noon Thursday. The Adios, which goes as race 15 with an approximate post time of 4:02 PM, anchors a powerhouse card that also features the $107,320 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, a $59,088 Arden Downs stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers, and a $35,690 Arden Downs event for 2-year-old filly pacers. Other highlights include a pair of stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters: a $187,182 Pennsylvania Sires Stake and an $80,000 PA Stallion Series event. While the Adios will be staged without spectators, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is keeping the event festive with a number of digital activities. First, the MSOA will live stream from the winners' circle beginning at 11:15 AM Adios Day. The live stream, which will feature celebrity guests, will be available on the MSOA's Facebook and YouTube pages. The MSOA also will offer free Adios Day programs and a virtual hat contest (sponsored by Altmeyer Wilder Racing) with a $250 top prize. Visit meadowsharnessracing.com for your free program and the chapeau competition. And if you enter, think orchids, think purple. The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association is sponsoring the live stream and events along with: Altmeyer Wilder Racing; Amulet Equine Rehab & Conditioning Center; Betts Racing; Billboards on Wheels; Buxton Racing; Corkboard Concepts; Dentons Cohen & Grigsby; Dirk Simpson Stable; Hambletonian Society; Kahrig Racing; Keystone Films; Kristen's Beauty Salon; Pacing for the Cure; Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association; Saxton & Stump; Silverstone Decorative Concrete; Twaddle Racing; Visit Washington County PA; Washington Wild Things and Winbak Farm. The MSOA gratefully acknowledges the support of all sponsors. Here's the field with post positions, Sire - trainers, drivers and morning line odds: $375,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids 1. Later Dudes - Sweet Lou - Brian Brown - David Miller 8-1 2. Capt Midnight - Captaintreacherous - Tony Alagna - Andrew McCarthy 4-1 3. Catch The Fire - Captaintreacherous - John Ackley - Mike Wilder 3-1 4. The Greek Freak - Captaintreacherous - Ron Burke - Matt Kakaley 5-1 5. No Lou Zing - Sweet Lou - Nancy Takter - Josert Fonseca 7-1 6. Sweet Truth - Sweet Lou - Ron Burke - Yannick Gingras 12-1 7. Chief Mate - Captaintreacherous - Tony Alagna - Scott Zeron 20-1 8. Captain Barbossa - Captaintreacherous - Tony Alagna - Brian Sears 6-1 9. Elver Hanover -  Yankee Cruiser - Ron Burke - Chris Page 10-1 By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since the husband and wife training duo of Lauren and Shane Tritton arrived in the United States this spring, their harness racing stable has been on a tear, winning 10 of its first 35 starts, including a 4-for-17 start at Yonkers Raceway. Of the 12 horses the Trittons brought over from Australia, none have adapted quicker or been more consistent than My Ruebe Star, who brings a four-race win streak to the $33,000 filly and mare open handicap Thursday night (July 30). “The horses have done pretty well,” Shane Tritton said. “We’re still learning and we’re still trying to work out the changes between training in Australia and here, but we’re trying to mold it as we go. The horses have been getting better; we knew they’d get better as we went because we are still trying to work out exactly where to race them and where they needed to be. “(My Ruebe Star) has been the horse that’s acclimatized the quickest. She looks a million dollars and she adapted to the way we’re training here better than the rest. We’re pretty happy with her and hopefully she can keep the ball rolling,” Tritton said. “There’s a couple of little things there that you need to adjust and some horses pick up on it quicker than others. She’s been one that you can just tell by looking at her, she’s dappled up and she’s full of beans. I knew she’d keep getting better, we just don’t know where that will end up.” My Ruebe Star is a 6-year-old New Zealand-bred daughter of Falcon Seelster out of the New York Motoring mare Zenola Star. After showing promise in New Zealand for breeder and co-owner Mike Siemelink, My Ruebe Star was exported to Australia in May 2019 and joined Tritton’s ranks. My Ruebe Star won on debut for her new connections with Lauren Tritton in the sulky in a $14,280 overnight at Menangle June 22, 2019. My Ruebe Star racked up another five wins through the end of February 2020 as she climbed the class ladder. She also finished fourth in the Group 3 Garrards New Years Gift Final at Menangle Jan. 11, in which winner Bright Energy was clocked in 1:50.1. “The guy that owned her in New Zealand sent her over to us just to see how she’s shape up at Menangle and she came to us almost a maiden and she raced right through her grades at Menangle,” Tritton said. “She was probably a season shy of going to the top. She ran fourth in a 1:50.1 mile back home a month before we came over. She was just starting to break into some of the better mares’ races and then we shut her down to bring her over here.” Among My Ruebe Star’s best attributes is her gait. Tritton knew she would fit the American style of racing and the half-mile track at Yonkers Raceway, he just needed to persuade the owners, who had their eyes on stakes races in Australia and breeding her later on. “She’s certainly a horse we were desperate to bring,” Tritton said. “It took a bit of convincing of the owners to bring her over. Once we explained that she should do well here, they were happy enough to give us a crack with her and now they’re obviously pretty happy with the decision. We know she can’t keep winning forever, but she’s certainly got the qualities to take out a big race if she can get the right run. “We just knew that with her gait, she would suit the tracks here and she’s probably fitting them better than we could have imagined,” Tritton continued. “We think she’s only going to get better with a season of racing under her belt here. She really hasn’t taken any harm out of the runs she’s had so far, so hopefully she’s still got a bit in the tank and she can keep stepping up.” My Ruebe Star qualified a runner-up at the Goshen Historic Track June 4 before making her first stateside start in a $10,000 Meadowlands overnight June 12, becoming the first pari-mutuel starter and winner for Team Tritton in America. My Ruebe Star took a lifetime mark of 1:50.1 in repeating a week later. “She was a little bit fresh and needed to get that race start under way,” Tritton said. “First two starts, she came through really well at the Meadowlands and we wanted to get her to Yonkers as soon as we could because we knew she was so good-gaited that she’d have a bit of an advantage there over most horses. Once we got her there, she’s come through those runs brilliantly and it hasn’t really taken much of a toll on her.” Tritton moved My Ruebe Star to Yonkers July 9, where she overcame post eight in a $17,250 overnight, riding a pocket trip behind favorite Feelin Red Hot and utilized a :27.0 final quarter to glide past the pacesetter in the stretch for her third consecutive win. In her latest start at the Hilltop July 16, My Ruebe Star went gate-to-wire in 1:52.3 in a $20,250 overnight to make in four in a row.  My Ruebe Star drew post seven in an open draw in this week’s distaff feature and is 8-1 on the morning line with regular driver Jordan Stratton. Snobbytown, twice a winner and once the runner-up in this class in her last three starts for George Brennan and Ron Burke, is the 3-2 morning line favorite after drawing the inside. The field also includes Imprincessgemma, who’s lone win this season came in the filly and mare open handicap Feb. 14 and who has since finished second in this class three times, including twice behind Snobbytown in her last three starts for the Bongiornos. She drew post eight and is 6-1 on the morning line. Monica Gallagher, Lispatty, Kaitlyn, Robyn Camden, and Diamondtoothgertie complete the field. “It’s a tough draw this week and we know these are the best mares going around Yonkers at the moment, so it’s going to be tough,” Tritton said. “We just know that she’s good enough to mix it with them. When she gets the right run, she’ll certainly be good enough to stick her nose out, that’s for sure.” By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

For the second time in as many years West Melton driver John Morrison has won the New Zealand Junior Drivers Premiership. Going into today’s Southern Harness meeting at Ascot Park Morrison was on thirty three wins with Northern driver Dylan Ferguson. In the EH Ball ITM Mobile Pace driving Miss Impression he came with a late run up the passing lane to snap victory by a length and a quarter from Lite Percussion, which finished wide out. This year the junior drivers premiership has been very competitive with Ferguson, Ben Hope and Sheree Tomlinson all vying for the top slot with Morrison. “There’s a great bunch of young drivers out there now. They all do the work and are willing to travel. I’ve been lucky because I can sneak down here and I’ve usually had a few drives. If I didn’t have that I’d probably be struggling really,” he said. Morrison works for West Melton trainer Malcolm Shinn who trains Miss Impression and says the three year old filly is likely to return to the province in the new season for the Southland Oaks. Miss Impression after winning for John Morrison             -Photo Bruce Stewart He says he’s grateful to Shinn who helped start his career as a reinsman. “Back when I was a young fella I hadn’t had many drives. I’d probably only won five races and I was lucky (that) he put me on Seaswift Joy. She kicked my driving career off because she was a pretty good horse.” He says one of the highlights of the season was winning the Waimate Cup on Di Caprio. “I like driving on the grass. He’s probably the best horse I’ve got to drive at the moment. That win was probably the main highlight for the season.” Morrison has won four races on the Brian O’Meara trained pacer and says he has one more season driving as a junior. “I’m the old fella out there. I’ve got one more season so I’m on the way out (laughter).” Meanwhile See Ya Write capped off a great three year old season by winning the Yaldhurst Hotel Handicap Pace. See Ya Write                            -Photo Bruce Stewart The Sportswriter gelding owned by the Test Syndicate was superbly handled by the country’s leading reinsman Blair Orange who never left the inside running line. Orange saved ground all the way to the top of the straight before encouraging See Ya Write up the passing lane to beat Rocknroll King by a nose. The win was the horses fourth this season from just ten starts. He has won all of his three post Covid starts at Ascot Park.   Bruce Stewart

The Southland Trainers Premiership went right down to the wire today but Branxholme trainer Nathan Williamson with two winners fended off Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis to take out the season’s title by two wins. Williamson’s first winner was Southland’s rising trotting star Chinese Whisper who came from a long way back after pacemaker Davey Mac shot away to a big lead. “You don’t want to be too far back but I knew when I asked him he’d close the gap pretty good,” Williamson said after the four year old won by three and three quarter lengths. “Well probably give him another start in a few weeks’ time. I might ever take him away at his next start to give him a trip away.” The premiership was sealed later in the programme when pacing filly Flight Crew showed plenty of toughness to overcome a wide draw. The winning crew with sponsors Craig Heyrick                – Photo Bruce Stewart “She did plenty of work, came off the unruly and they went 43 (2-43.1). I managed to get a good run early and get into a reasonable spot without her getting too worked up. I was four wide with a lap to go and worked up to sit parked. I was quite impressed with the run.” The wins qualifies the Panspacificflight filly for the Southland Oaks in October. Flight Crew navigating her way to the finish                  – Photo  Bruce Stewart This was the Williamson fourth Trainers Premiership. He’d previously won it in 2013, 2015 and 2016. “Win as many as you can is always the goal. It’s great to do it again. I thought this year I’d have a good shot because we had a lot of nice horses then Covid mucked everything up. We managed to last which was great.” The win also sealed his twelfth Southland Drivers Championship with fifty wins, ten clear of Brent Barclay. The day was capped off for Williamson when he won the Southern Harness Website ‘Drive with Five’ betting competition. He didn’t have a win on the board and was last in the five driver competition. His last bet of $10 each way was on rank outsider Mr Olympus which won and paid $60-30 and $10-50 netting Williamson a cool $738.00   Bruce Stewart

Superstar pacer Chicago Bull is thoroughly enjoying racing every week, and his Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr declared that the little champion, who has triumphed on the past two Friday nights after racing without cover, will be seen in the role of pacemaker in the $20,000 TABtouch Race Replays Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chicago Bull, with champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky as usual, will start from the outside barrier in the field of six and is poised to notch his fifty-second victory. “There will be a bit of a war early, and whoever wins that war will sit on Chicago Bull,” said Hall Snr. “He’ll lead for sure. He doesn’t do hoppled work during the week and is happy to race every Friday night.” The Murray Lindau-trained Chiaroscuro, who was an easy all-the-way winner of the Kerry Clarke Four And Five-Year-Old Westbred Classic at the corresponding meeting 12 months ago, will begin from the No. 1 barrier on Friday night and Dylan Egerton-Green will be determined to win the start from noted speedy beginner Saleahs Comand (barrier four). Obviously, Chiaroscuro’s best chance of winning would be to sit behind Chicago Bull. The Hall stable will also be represented in Friday night’s event with Ideal Liner, who will be driven by Stuart McDonald from the No. 2 barrier at his second start after resuming from a spell. Ideal Liner enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail last Friday week before wilting to sixth behind Chicago Bull, who raced in the breeze and got up in the final stride to beat the pacemaker Handsandwheels by a nose over 2536m. “Ideal Liner (who has won at 13 of his 27 starts) will improve on his first-up effort and should run second to Chicago Bull,” said Hall snr. Hall is hoping, but not optimistic, for a change of fortune for Our Rhythm N Blues, who will start from barrier two on the back line in the Community TAB Pace. Our Rhythm N Blues has managed just one win (seven starts ago) from his past 28 starts and Hall bemoans the fact that the six-year-old is a non-winner. “Working together at home Our Rhythm N Blues beats Tuas Delight easily, and he can work with Ideal Liner and beats him from time to time. But put him in a race and he won’t poke his head in front. Our Rhythm N Blues will clash with Tuas Delight (Michael Grantham) on Friday night and Hall gives the seven-year-old Tuas Delight “some chance” after working hard and being placed at his past two starts. In this event the Ross Olivieri-trained Madame Meilland is handily drawn at barrier three and has some hope of ending a disappointing losing sequence of 30. Reinsman Chris Voak said: “I think that she will improve sharply, maybe not this week, but in the next two to three weeks. If she was in her best form, she would win this race; she’s got wins over Major Reality and Gotta Go Gabbana.” Voak has sound prospects later in the program with Stroke Of Luck in race seven and Kiwi Bloke in the following event. Stroke Of Luck, an impressive first-up winner three starts ago, maintained his excellent form with close seconds to Son Of A Tiger and Chicago Bull, and he has bright prospects of beating in-form runners Robbie Easton and Machs Gold. Kiwi Bloke, resuming after a spell, will start from barrier one on the front line and should fight out the finish with Im Rocknroll Magic and Rebel With A Grin   Ken Casellas

Punters would be best to remind themselves that it’s not Groundhog Day on Friday night at Addington with the feature pace of the night, the Mico Plumbing Hornby Handicap Pace, mustering the same exact field as the week before. On that occasion Self Assured proved a little too strong from a parked position to pip the brave Classie Brigade who had dictated the mid-race tempo. As punters may appreciate it tends to be a little difficult to make much of the small fields with tempo generally coming out of the event with a dictator of speed likely to score some easy mid-race sectionals. The improvement of both Princess Tiffany may represent the interest factor here along with the form of Self Assured. The feature trot of the night, the Allied Security Handicap Trot,again lacks numbers but does see the clash of the R Dunn trained stablemates in Sundees Son and Pres The Belle. Both have been seen doing sound work in recent workouts and trials with Pres The Belle offering the value in a field that also includes Enchance Your Calm who was well beaten behind the flying Cracker Hill last week. Other animals of note that fill out the card on Friday include the Dalgety / Purdon trained Krug who goes around in race four and looks to continue his strong form. The son of Bettor’s Delight looks to bring up his 5th race day victory from just the 7 starts. An All Stars quinella looks likely in the last of the night the Thanks For Your Support Blue Stars Taxis Pace with Italian Lad drawn on the back of stablemate Aqua Sancta. Main threats in the race may lie with the Mitchell Kerr trained Koenigsegg with a watch on the effort of Cardinal Sin.   Ben McMillan     

The afternoon harness racing card is set for Grand River Raceway’s 30th annual Industry Day event on August 3. The lineup boasts purses of $669,663 with nine stake races, featuring the track’s marquee dashes — the Battle Of Waterloo and Battle Of The Belles — and sophomore pacing fillies in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS). 23rd annual Battle Of Waterloo The Battle Of Waterloo is the tenth and final dash of the day. Elimination winner Bettor Sun drew the rail in the $200,964 contest for freshman Ontario-sired pacing colts.  A 35-1 champ in his maiden-breaking effort, Bettor Sun’s 1:54.1 finish with Doug McNair set a Canadian season record for two-year-old pacing geldings over a half-mile oval. Gregg McNair trains the Sunshine Beach colt for breeder/owner Willow Oak Ranch.  The runner-up by a head in that elimination dash was betting favourite Springbridge Duel. He starts from the second tier (post nine) in the final. Trained by Casie Coleman Herlihy, the son of Big Jim is owned by West Wins Stable, Steve Heimbecker and Mark Kantrowitz and is the richest of the field with $110,150 banked in three starts, including two OSS Gold wins. The other elimination race winner, Candy Trader, starts from post seven. His second consecutive victory for trainer Anthony Beaton came in rein to Sylvain Filion when the pacer popped out from the rail to rush by stretch leader Avion Seelster (post six in the final), winning by a neck in 1:55.2. This mile was also a Canadian season record for two-year-old pacing colts over a half-miler. Past winners of the Battle Of Waterloo contending in this year’s final include: Blake MacIntosh, trainer of Armor Seelster (post three) who won the race with Sports Column in 2016; and the McNair father-son duo won with Magnum J in 2017, Three Of Clubs in 2013, and Trail Boss in 2008. 12th annual Battle Of The Belles Andra Day was an impressive four-length winner in her elimination division, capturing her third consecutive win for trainer Dr. Ian Moore. The in 1:55 clocking set a Canadian season record for rookie pacing fillies over a half-mile track.  She did it all after leaving from the far outside (post eight), which is where she starts again for the $128,149 final. The Shadow Play filly is owned by Let It Ride Stables and Bottom Line Racing. Scarlett Hanover wired the field to capture her maiden win in her elimination division. With Ed Hensley in the bike, the pair clocked the mile in 1:55.3. She’ll start from the second tier (post nine) in Monday’s big dance.  Ashleigh Hensley trains the Bettors Delight daughter, a $45,000 yearling purchase and winner of $37,781 in three career starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, Jandt Silva Purnel & Libb, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Trainer Anthony Beaton was third in the 2018 edition of the Battle Of The Belles with Village Joules and has two fillies in contention this year. Ring Of Kerry (Betterthancheddar) and Turning The Table (Bettors Delight) leave from posts one and two, respectively. Gregg McNair won last year’s edition of the Battle Of The Belles with Karma Seelster. In 2013, he won this race (with Lady Shadow) and the Battle Of Waterloo (with Three Of Clubs). This year he campaigns Siri Blue Chip, a runner-up in her elimination division. She leaves from post three in the final. OSS undercard The day starts with a bang at 12:30 p.m. with the first of two OSS Gold races, this one headlined by current division leader Sex Appeal and last year’s freshman division champ (and O’Brien Award winner) Alicorn. Undefeated in both OSS Gold starts this year, Sex Appeal drew the rail for Monday’s $105,600 contest with Trevor Henry for trainer Bob McIntosh who shares ownership of the homebred daughter of Bettors Delight with Al McIntosh. She has finished first or second in all six season starts for earnings of $115,583. Her last OSS victory at Woodbine-Mohawk Park established a new career mark and Canadian season record of 1:50.2. Starting the race to Sex Appeal’s right from post two, Alicorn is currently tied for third in the OSS standings and jogged in a seven-length qualifying win over the Elora, ON track last week in 1:55.2 (a Canadian season record over a half-mile track). Trained by Chantal Mitchell and driven by Louis Philippe Roy, the Bettors Delight filly is a current track record holder at Grand River Raceway. In 2019, she matched the 1:54.2 clocking for rookie pacing fillies during her elimination win in the Battle Of The Belles. Alicorn was second in that final, beaten a half-length by 27-1 shot Karma Seelster. She too is back in Elora for this 2020 Industry Day opener, leaving from post four with Doug McNair for trainer Gregg McNair. The second OSS Gold division is carded as Race 7 and includes all of the fillies currently holding division standings from second through sixth. Rod Boyd trainee Rose Run Victoria is the most recent OSS Gold winner of the bunch. She set a new career best of 1:51.2 two weeks ago over Woodbine-Mohawk Park and leaves from post two with Robert Shepherd in Monday’s outing. Five divisions of three-year-old pacing fillies in the OSS Grassroots division round out the action-packed card. WAGERING & BROADCAST DETAILS The 10-race Industry Day card kicks off at 12:30 p.m. EST  The Early Pick 4 (starts in Race 3) and the Late Pick 4 (starts in Race 7) both feature guaranteed pools of $7,500 each. Race programs and live streaming video in HD are available for all cards at www.grandriverraceway.com and wagering is available through www.hpibet.com. COSA-TV (managed by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association) will present exclusive Industry Day coverage in a live two-hour special hosted on its social media platforms. The show is hosted by Greg Blanchard, Mark McKelvie and Jaimi MacDonald and will include coverage of the Battle of Waterloo and Battle Of The Belles, feature stories about the contenders and prizing opportunities for viewers.    SPECTATORS Grand River Raceway is currently allowing 100 guests on the tarmac during live races. Attendees are still required to follow strict physical distancing requirements. The grandstand and main building remain closed. Attendance is restricted to AGCO licensees and pre-registration is required. Tickets are available through Eventbrite at www.industrydaytarmacregistration.eventbrite.com Tickets for owners of horses racing on August 3rd will be made available July 29 at 12:00pm, AGCO Licensees on July 31 at 12:00pm, and General Admission, if tickets remain, on August 3rd at 9:00am. Owners and their guests of the finalists in the Battle Of Waterloo and Battle Of The Belles will be given first opportunity to secure tarmac attendance. From Grand River Raceway  

Ake Svanstedt believes Back Of The Neck has got it all, which is everything a harness racing horse needs in the Hambletonian. Back Of The Neck is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first of Saturday's two $50,000 Hambletonian Stakes eliminations at The Meadowlands. The colt is a nose from being unbeaten in three races this season and will start from post one with Scott Zeron in the sulky for trainer Svanstedt. The top-five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million Hambletonian final Aug. 8 at the Big M. Elim winners draw for post one through five for the final. The Hambletonian is racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. Svanstedt will send out a total of four horses in the eliminations, with Third Shift joining Back Of The Neck in the first, followed by Jula Trix Treasure and Moon Bridge in the second. First post is at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) and the Hambletonian eliminations are races six and eight on the 13-race card. Back Of The Neck, trained by Marcus Melander in 2019, won three of nine races last year, including a division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial and an elimination of the Willliam Wellwood Memorial. He finished third in the Wellwood final. This year, the colt was second in a 3-year-old open before winning divisions of the Reynolds and Stanley Dancer Memorial, both in 1:52. All three starts were at The Meadowlands. "He has won with power left every time," Svanstedt said. "He feels good and he trains good. I think he's in good condition. "He is a strong horse. He has a big engine and is good gaited. I think he has a good head also. I think he has everything. But for a horse to have a chance to win the Hambletonian, they must have everything. They must have the power, they must have the speed, and they must have the heart. They must want to win." Back Of The Neck raced on the lead in his first start in 2020, but from off the pace in his most recent outings, winning with strong stretch drives. "Scott said he was grabby the first time, but the last two races he hasn't been grabby," Svanstedt said. "It was no problem to back off. He is very nice to drive and he can come home very fast." Zeron is already a two-time winner of the Hambletonian at the age of 31. He won in 2018 with Atlanta and in 2016 with Marion Marauder, who went on to sweep the Trotting Triple Crown (Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, Kentucky Futurity). Back Of The Neck is owned by Howard Taylor, Judy Taylor, and breeder Order By Stable. The colt is a son of French star Ready Cash out of Big Barb. Ready Cash also sired the favorite in the second Hambletonian elimination, Ready For Moni. Third Shift heads to his Hambletonian elim off a second-place finish behind Back Of The Neck in the Dancer. In his other two starts this season, he won a division of the New York Sire Stakes and a division of the Empire Breeders Classic. Last year, the son of Chapter Seven-Overnight Command won three of eight races, including the New York Sire Stakes championship. He will start from post two in his Hambletonian elim, with Svanstedt driving. "I think Back Of The Neck is a better horse, but Third Shift is not so bad," said Svanstedt, who owns Third Shift with Mellby Gard Inc. "I raced him (on the lead) last time, drove him tough, because I wanted to stretch him out before the Hambo. I think he can do better." Svanstedt also will drive Jula Trix Treasure in the second Hambletonian elimination. Jula Trix Treasure, by 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton out of Victory Treasure, won a division of the Reynolds on July 11 in 1:51.2, which is tied for the second-fastest victory time by any of the 17 horses entered in the Hambletonian. For his career, he has won four of 10 races for owner Jula Racing. He enters his Hambletonian elim off a fifth-place finish in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes last week. He will start from post three and is 6-1 on the morning line. "The last race he wasn't a hundred percent gaited and lost ground in the last turn," Svanstedt said. "We're going to do some small changes to try to make his gait better. He's always been strong and comes home good. He's a fighter." Moon Bridge, who will have Andy Miller in the sulky, has a win and a second in three starts this year. His triumph came in his most recent race, July 17, by 12-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2. The Hambletonian elim will be his first Grand Circuit race of the season. Last year, he won two of eight races, including the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. Moon Bridge, a son of E L Titan-Classic Belle, will start Saturday from post nine and is 20-1. He is owned by Esa Lahtinen, Janne Korpi, and Jussi Hietalahti. "He's good gaited and he always does the job," said Svanstedt, who won the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit as the result of What The Hill's disqualification for interference. "I think he's as good as he can be. We'll see how far he can go." Eliminations for the Aug. 8 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters were unnecessary, but eight Oaks finalists will be in action in an open for 3-year-old filly trotters. Also in action will be Meadowlands Pace champ Tall Dark Stranger in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers. For complete entries, click here.  Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

What was billed as the final race for champion Bold Eagle on August 1 shapes up as just that as nine rivals will challenge the Hugues Monthule driven and Sebastien Guarato trained winner of 46 races for 4,990,967€ earned and a speed record of 1.08.9kr. Driver Monthule is a long time lad that has looked after Bold Eagle during his career and who now is driving regularly and has 58 victories. The race is the Gr. I Grand Prix de Wallonie to be raced over 2300 meters at Mons Ghlin (Belgium) for a purse of 120,000€. Bold Eagle, the nine-year old son of Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet will face a top field that includes his son Face Time Bourbon (5m Bold Eagle-Vita Bourbon) that will have Bjorn Goop at the lines along with Valokaja Hindo and Tony Gio among the contestants. FTB has posted 21 victories so far worth 1,716,300€ in career earnings. Hippodrome de Wallonie Mons Ghlin files/images by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

While all eyes have been on the harness racing return of crack reinsman Daryl "Dasher" Douglas, his younger brother Glenn has bobbed up with a career highlight to steal the march on Dasher's comeback victory. Glenn, based at the Bendigo suburb of Strathfieldsaye, landed his 2000th training victory at his home track on Sunday night. "I really had no idea that I was getting near that number. I guess I'd never really thought seriously about it," the laid-back trainer said. "I suppose in years to come I might look back on it and think it was a bit of an achievement - it's a bit like footballers who kick a winning goal. You don't think much about it at the time, but it's brought up by fans years and years later." The multiple Victorian premiership trainer said while he wasn't aware of the significance of the win, members of his family were. "I think (longtime family friend) Steve Warren might have tipped off our eldest daughter Laura that I wasn't far away from reaching 2000. And of course, I'm happy to have achieved it. "Steve got to know us after he was left to baby-sit us at Bathurst years ago. We were quite young, but he's watched us grow up and taken a personal interest. He's a great mate, who is just passionate about harness racing." Glenn reached the magical 2000-win milestone with stable newcomer You Ninety Two (Auckland Reactor-Numismatic (Elsu). He later made it a double when successful with Van Niekerk (Net Ten Eom-Rosie Lindenny) which took him to 54 wins and 127 placings for the season. But not to be outdone, two nights later again at Bendigo, brother Daryl posted his first comeback victory after stepping away from the sport more than five years ago. Daryl has over 4000 wins to his credit and is one of our country's most successful reinsmen - and got the money with six-year-old trotting mare Bacardi Jess prepared by Glenn. It was only a matter of time before Daryl got back into the winner's circle. He drove at Shepparton last Saturday night and then had one engagement at Bendigo the following night, prior to competing at that venue again on Tuesday. He had posted a third, two fourths and a fifth from 10 attempts, but in fairness they ranged in double figure starting price from 12/1 to 50/1. "We were giving Daryl heaps of ribbing about not being able to get a winner," Glenn laughed. "Someone even suggested he should try and apply for a five-point concessional claim! He took it all on the chin, and he got there in the end. He's never someone who's full-on with emotion, but he was entitled to feel that it was some sort of achievement," Glenn said. Glenn said former training great Peter Tonkin, father of Clayton, would have been one pleased to see Dasher's success. "He's always been a great support to Daryl and was another one who did a lot behind the scenes to get him back driving." Bacardi Jess (Bacardi Lindy USA-Strapon (Straphanger) led all the way to win the $7000 TLC Carpentry Trot for owners Margaret Cameron and Roma Pocock, who helps out at the Douglas stables. Glenn said he was elated to see Bacardi Jess, not only win for his brother, but also for the connections. "They both love the sport and Roma in particular has been involved in a number of roles over many years. She is an absolute gem to have around our stables. We have between 25 and 30 in work and without her help and support, we'd be lost," he said. "Roma comes and gives us a hand for three hours on most days and keeps things rolling along."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Guelph, ON - July, 29, 2020 - A generous donation of $100,000 to Equine Guelph has been made by the Kerr family to establish an equine education and community outreach endowment. A portion of the Kerr Fund for Equine Education and Community Outreach will support much needed ongoing operational funding for the University of Guelph’s not-for-profit Centre for the horse owner.   Sheryl Kerr was inspired to set up the fund through her positive experience taking courses on TheHorsePortal.ca, Equine Guelph's online learning platform. After taking the Horse Care and Welfare course, quoting from the National Equine Code of Practice came naturally for creating a Covid-19 response plan for her 150-acre farm and training facility. Kerr was impressed with the practicality of the Equine Guelph course and how lessons learned could be directly applied to daily operations.   Having learned so much myself from Equine Guelph's online courses, I know first-hand how much value they bring to the horse community," said Kerr. "Our horses deserve the very best, and Equine Guelph has access to the latest advice from experts across a range of topics that are essential for any horse owner from beginners to barn owners."   Equine Guelph Director Gayle Ecker expressed gratitude and says, “the funding will help us to continue to build our practical and affordable educational programs and industry resources that help improve horse welfare.   The global reach of Equine Guelph's programs was recognized recently by Equestrian Canada as the 2019 recipient of their National Health and Welfare Award. Equine Guelph has been a pioneer in the development of evidence-based, award-winning online education since 2002.   Many student testimonials resonate with Kerr's sentiments, extolling the merits of a wonderful online learning community, the quality of content and expertise of the instructors and guest speakers.   "My hope is that the Kerr Fund for Equine Education and Community Outreach will bring greater awareness for the excellent programs and resources that Equine Guelph has to offer, as well as to inspire others in the horse community to give," said Kerr. "Any horse enthusiast can benefit from what Equine Guelph has to offer, and programs like this rely on donations to survive and thrive."   by Jackie Bellamy-Zions, for Equine Guelph    

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