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Jovial Bendigo harness racing farrier John McDermott isn't sure how his dance moves looked as he was cheering home his longshot winner this week, but he's adamant he's sticking to his day job. "I don't think there would have been much finesse at all. I'd best describe it as a bit of a rap dance. I know I had arms and hands flaying around everywhere," he laughed. McDermott was watching his first-starter from about 50 metres from the finish line at the Ballarat meeting on Wednesday night when he went from being satisfied - to realizing he was about to land a winner. And judging by the performance of 137/1 shot Waikare Colleen (Tennotrump-Waikare Patricia (Last Sunset) on her two-year-old race debut, there's sure to be many more to come. To watch the video replay click here. Driver Scott Rains pushed forward from a front line barrier to land one-one early. But after the leaders sorted themselves out, Rains found himself leading the outside division. "I was happy because our aim was to get around safely and do it right," McDermott said. "She was in the death-seat, but looked comfortable and we knew she would trot all the way. Coming up the straight, I was so pleased that she was still hanging in there," he said. When Maryborough veteran Mark Hayes kicked on the leader Igniting Stride on the home corner, Waikare Colleen was up for the fight and wouldn't go away. She did her best work over the final stages to win by nearly two metres in a most creditable mile rate for the 2yo maiden trotters of 2.04-5. "I haven't had a square-gaiter for a long time. And this is the first two-year-old trotter I've raced, although I did drive one over 20 years ago for Paul Morrissey. It was called Just Like Jack and we won a few as well as running third in the Redwood and Sires Final," McDermott said. "We really haven't any big plans for this girl because we thought she would take time being so big. She's paid up for the Sires and that's about all. We've put her in at Maryborough next Monday as there's nothing much else about." McDermott said he was surprised by the long odds of Waikare Colleen at Ballarat because the filly had been trialling quite nicely. "The first two were against older horses and she was far from disgraced because we didn't bustle her at any stage. Then at her latest trial she ran third against her own age group and peeled off a 29 second quarter," he said. "We are working a team of four at present. Scott (Rains) has now driven a few winners for us and he was pretty excited as well with Waikare Colleen." The filly is raced by John's wife Kelly, his mother Shirley and the estate of Max Lancaster. She is one of two live foals from Waikare Patricia (13 wins, 16 p for $150K) - the other being a Sebastian K yearling colt. Waikare Patricia was raced by the McDermott family and was sensational in 2013 with wins in the $30K Glenferrie Kahdon Trot, $15K Empire Platinum Trot Final, $10K Petstock Platinum and $10K Empire Platinum. Three generations of the McDermott and Waikare family tree – Ciarah, Sophie and Brady McDermott with Waikare Colleen (left), John and Kelly McDermott and the “family matriachs” Shirley McDermott and Waikare Colleen’s grand-dam, 27 year old (interdominion place-getter) Waikare Gold. Waikare Gold (by Golden Greek), also raced by the McDermotts and the grand dam of "Colleen", amassed 15 wins, 44 placings for $131K. She had five foals to race, all being winners. Another notable apart from "Patricia" was Waikare Aristocrat with 15 wins for $124K. McDermott said the late Max Lancaster, who lived near the Snowy Mountains, had been good friends with his dad, Henry, who died in early 2007. "Dad reckoned Max was a gem - he loved taking him to the trots. He always said Max was like a good luck charm. "Two of the horses have been named in honor of the late wife of Max-her name was Patricia Colleen. Their children told us that when Waikare Patricia was racing, it had added five years onto the life of Max. He passed away a couple of years ago and two of his kids have taken over his interest in the horses." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It was a moment that New Jersey horseman, John McDermott, had been longing for from the moment his champion pacer and stallion, Hurrikane Kingcole, left him in the USA three years ago. Hurrikane Kingcole’s co-owner and former trainer was in the Toowoomba region on Monday (April 1), and specifically came to Queensland to visit his beloved mate who is standing at Egmont Park Stud in Biddeston. He also attended the Albion Park Trots and the Redcliffe Sales on Saturday and Sunday. “Of course I shed a tear. I’m almost shedding a tear now - a day just later - just thinking about it," McDermott said. “It was a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life. You know I couldn’t sleep some nights thinking about my best friend. I was so worried about how he would look now. Everyone who knows me will tell you I love my animals. “I didn’t have to worry about a thing though did I?. What beautiful, healthy condition he is in! All my fears were allayed. Peter and Leann (Bell) have done a wonderful job with him. He’s exactly how I hoped he would look. I can’t thank them enough. “And you know what? He knew me. It was like old friends meeting up after such a long time. Forever mates reunited. It’s truly a moment I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” McDermott said from the Sunshine Coast. Hurrikane Kingcole was a $10,000 yearling sales purchase. The son of Cam's Card Shark and Blazing Yankee then went on to win 14 of his 49 starts and earned $582,807 in an injury-plagued career.. His lifetime mark was 1:47.3. His crop of 2-year-olds are just starting to hit the ground running now in Australia, but McDermott loved the horse from the moment he saw him at the sales. “If you thought I loved him at first sight, try now. I remember the moment the hammer went down and we got him for a bargain $10,000. Then the phone rang at home and I was told (my dog) ‘King Cole’ had just died," he said. “’King Cole’ was my best friend back then. My 16-year-old Great Dane. From that moment on I believe the dog’s spirit moved into that yearling. That’s why he’s called Hurrikane King Cole and that’s why this horse has long been my best friend." He also explained that the term ‘Hurrikane’ came from his mother and his son. “Kane is my son. He’s 22 now. He was named after my mother’s maiden name which is Kane. Kane’s sister nicknamed him Hurrikane one day and it stuck," he said. McDermott said when he bought Hurrikane Kingcole the colt was a bit fat. “He was like a tubby little school kid and then within months he blossomed into the wonderful racehorse and now the striking stallion he is today. It’s just a shame he was injured and sick throughout his career," he said. “If he had been raised in Queensland he could have been anything. Your fresh air would have been amazing for him, but instead he was always cooped up back home recovering in boxes. “Sadly we only got to see glimpses of him at his very best because of his immune system issues, as well as his breathing difficulties." Apart from reuniting with his old mate again for the first time in three years, McDermott said one of the other highlights ‘Down Under’ was visiting Albion Park with Hurrikane Kingcole’s co-owners and lifetime friends, Scott Mangini and Carl Garafalo (pictured). “Yes I am an emotional kinda guy, but it completely blew me away to see Hurrikane Kingcole’s name in large letters along the back-straight," he said. “That was touching. What a great place to visit. It was so good to see so many young ones in their twenties having a great night out at the races. We could learn a thing or two from you guys back home." The day after the trots McDermott and his mates were under-bidders on Lot 35 at the  Redcliffe Yearling Sale - a Hurrikane Kingcole - Too Smart For You colt. “We really liked him too but had to let him go at $47,000. That was also a great day out. It was so heartening to know that he produced the top lot and there were eight others by him at the Sale," he said. “When he raced his gait was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. His front leg stood so far out beyond his nose when he was in full gear, it was ridiculous. “He was the reason I got up every day to go to the barn. l loved his personality. He was such a pleasure to be around. He liked us. He was just a happy-go-lucky horse – just awesome. It was so good to see him again." And that wasn’t owners bias either. One of North America’s best reinsmen also agreed Hurrikane Kingcole was something special. “He is the fastest and most powerful horse I’ve ever driven. His gait was effortless and sitting behind him was awe inspiring,” said Yannick Gingras. Now Hurrikane Kingcole is starting to make his mark as a sire in both hemispheres. His son and daughter Hurrikane Emperor and Hurrikane Empress are really making a name for themselves against the best company in North America. Hurrikane Emperor is the current New Jersey Horse-of-the-Year. They are both trained by McDermott. “I live in both New Jersey and Florida depending on the season, but have to be back in New Jersey on April 7 for our Stakes season. Believe me these two pacers are something special. They have competed and won against the best and you will hear a lot more about them this season. They have a lot of their father’s traits. “Also down here Vic Frost speaks highly of his Hurrikane Kingcole 2-year-old, Frost en Ice. That is a huge compliment. “I tell you Hurrikane Kingcole is the greatest bargain going, both back home, and Down Under. I just know his offspring will do well. “But I’ve leased him to Kevin Seymour, and he knows I want my old buddy back. I think it’s a 10-year lease, but Kevin is a great guy and he told me 'HKC' would be coming home to me one day. “That news made my day. I hated saying goodbye to him again,” McDermott said.   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

MANALAPAN, NJ -January 28, 2019 - On Sunday (Jan 27), the New Jersey Department of Agriculture held its 62nd Annual New Jersey Breeder Awards Luncheon at Hilton Gardens Inn in Hamilton. This year the committee dedicated the luncheon to the late Steve Williams, longtime farm manager of White Birch Farm. SBOANJ directors in attendance were Mark Mullen, Anthony Romano, Chris Ryder, and Executive Administrator Al Ochsner. Take a Wish won the NJ Sire Stakes Horse of the Year for owner Dawn Anderson and the John McDermott trainee Hurrikane Emperor received the Standardbred of the year honors. The $7 million dollar horse Foiled Again also received special recognition. Mark Mullen presented Steve Williams sons Steve and Joseph Williams the Breeder of the Year award for White Birch Farm. The SBOANJ congratulates all of the award winners and wishes them continued success in 2019. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ -- September 27, 2018 -- The trainer and co-owners of the New Jersey-sired stallion Hurrikane Kingcole enjoyed much success with him as a racehorse and now as a sire. In 2012, Hurrikane Kingcole paced 1:48.1 at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs to equal the then world record for a three-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. Then in 2015 after going 2 for 2 on the season and posting a 1:49.4 win he suffered a broken splint bone and was retired to stud. On Sunday (Sept 16) at the Red Mile Hurrikane Emperor, son of Hurrikane Kingcole, became a two-state champion for McDermott, Klee, Kuhen and their partners. Already a winner of the New Jersey Sires Stakes final, the John McDermott trainee captured the $250,000 KYSS final for 2-year-old pacing Colts at The Red Mile. Leading every step of the way, Hurrikane Emperor held off the competition to win in a blistering 1:49.3. Jonathan Klee said, "This is a great win for New Jersey breeding, he is now a dual sire stakes champ and has posted the fastest 2-year-old time to date." This win earns Hurrikane Emperor his sixth win in eight starts and brings his earnings to $214,400 for breeder and co-owner Jonathan Klee Racing. He is also owned by Kuhen Racing, Pegasis Investment Group, and Lind Racing Stable. McDermott, Klee, Kuhen, and partners have also had success with the Hurrikane Kingcole filly Hurrikane Empress, a full sister to Hurrikane Emperor who won a leg of the KYSS for 3-year-old pacing fillies. As a 2-year-old, Hurrikane Empress was a NJSS champion and the winner of the New Jersey Futurity and Renaissance Final. To date, the filly has eight wins and earnings of over $180,000. McDermott, Klee, Kuhen, and partners are doing an amazing job with their New Jersey-sired horses. The trio has worked hard committing time and money to the New Jersey breeding program and are getting the results they deserve. by Courtney Stafford for the SBOANJ

The 2018 season at Goshen Historic Track opened today with five exciting and picturesque matinee races. Although the fields were short, two year old trotters and pacers rounded the oval for the first time to a receptive and vocal crowd. Jonathan Klee Racing and partners introduced two 2 year old pacing fillies and two 2 year old pacing colts to the spectators. Trained and driven by John McDermott, Hurrikane Lori Ann and Hurrikane Emperor won in 2:07.4 and 2:08.1, respectively. Pictured is Hurrikane Lori Ann, driven by John McDermott, passing Hurrikane Norakane, driven by Brian Connor, in the stretch, ultimately beating her by a nose. As a matter of fact, the wrong horse and driver came to the winner's circle to pose for the photo before the race was official. In an added treat, Racing Under Saddle Trot, Sasha Moczulski, owner, rider and trainer of Hyway Marcus, wooed the crowd with a wire to wire win in 2:14.3. Matinee Racing continues at Goshen Historic Track on June 10 and 17. Grand Circuit racing on June 29, 30 and July 1 and 2. Post time at 1:00 p.m. by Geri Schwarz, for Goshen Historic Track

FREEHOLD, NJ — November 2, 2017 — Freehold Raceway hosted the $10,000 New Jersey Futurity for harness racing 2-year-old open pacers on Saturday (Oct. 28). For the first time in history this particular New Jersey Futurity was referred to as the battle of the brothers.  Hurrikane Empress trained and driven by John McDermott faced off against his brothers Kevin McDermott’s trained and driven, Melanie’s Fran. Melanie’s Fran and Kevin Mcdermott left as the gate folded to take the lead over Hurrikane Empress and John McDermott.  The Hurrikane Kingcole filly stalked the Hypnotic Blue Chip Colt in the two hole until the stretch where she tested the leader.  The brothers were battling it out down the lane when Hurrikane Empress surged at the wire to nose out her competition in 1:58.2. This makes win number 6 out of 13 starts for the partnership of Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhn Racing LLC and Pegasus Investment Group.  Bred by Johnathan Klee Racing, Kuhn Racing LLC and Hurrikane Racing LLC the New Jersey filly has banked $140,815 in her career thus far. Freehold Revises Live Racing Schedule Freehold Raceway will be dropping four Thursdays of live racing due to limited horse supply.  The dates being dropped are November 9, 16, 30 and December 7.  Freehold will be adding back two days of racing on Friday, December 15 and Saturday, December 16.  According to Freehold General Manager Howard Bruno, “There simply aren’t enough horses to support a three day a week schedule this time of year.  We will pick up with Thursday racing again in late December once some of the regional tracks have closed for the winter.” Freehold will race Friday and Saturday through Saturday, December 16.  After a brief break, the winter/spring meet will begin Thursday, December 28.  Racing dates for 2018 will be released in mid-November. Post time will remain 12:30pm.   Courtney Stafford

You won’t miss John McDermott’s smile over the next few weeks, because it’s one of the largest anyone in Harness Racing has at the moment. The past few weeks have been some of the best for the Prebbleton based trainer and amateur driver. It all started with the win of She’sa Tricky Bridge, on Premier day at Addington back on the 14th of May. The 3yo Stonebridge Regal filly cracked her maiden victory and gave McDermott one of his biggest victories’s to date. A week later and McDermott was down to drive Sheza Springfield and Shantahlia Knight in the first two heats of The Dexion New Zealand Amateur Drivers Championship. That night saw John salute the judge on both occasions and head to Rangiora leading the pack on maximum points. Luck continued when John was drawn to drive Franco Exeter in the third heat. “I could never have dreamed of picking up two wins at Cambridge, I drew a couple of nice horses and the luck went our way on the night” said John Apart from a failure at Forbury Park back at the end of April, the 5yo Lis Mara gelding hasn’t missed a top two finish for Burnham trainer Mark Jones. Sent forward from a wide draw, Franco Exeter took up his customary leading role and McDermott let the Wayne Higgs owned gelding roll along at a steady tempo. “The Dominator John McDermott” as commentator Mark McNamara called him, was off and gone at the 500m and had most of the field off their feet. Franco Exeter managed to hold on and win by ½ length over a fast finishing As Kiwi As (Gavin Cook), with 2 ¼ lengths back to Going Going Gone (Sheryl Wigg). “The connections weren’t that confident after his last start failure, but his previous form had been so good” said McDermott. One punter was that confident that John would go 3/3 that they placed a whopping $3,500.00 to win on Franco Exeter. Somehow even with maximum points from the first 3 heats, there was a chance that John could be pipped at the post, but that was put to bed when he took inside runs on outsider Midfrew Tarpediem to finish strongly for 5th and secure a maiden NZ amateur title. “They told me coming into the last I had to either beat Sheryl home or if she won, it would turn into having to beat four home to win, and three home to win on a count back." "It’s been a wonderful competition; having four heats this year has been great. Last year they only managed to get the 3 heats and some drivers only got to have two drives, but thanks to all the trainers and connections at Cambridge and Canterbury, we had full fields and several of those trainers backed their horses up from Friday night which really helped.” Sheryl placed 3 times and won the last heat, usually that sort of form would win most drivers series in New Zealand but nobody could begrudge McDermott’s victory, nor the smile on his face after achieving his career highlight (to date). She’sa Tricky Bridge Sheza Springfield Shantahlia Knight Franco Exeter Andrew Fitzgerald

A terrible tragedy in the 1939 New Zealand Trotting Cup might not have much to do with the 2016 New Zealand Amateur Driving Championships, but for double heat winner, John McDermott, the race has always meant everything to him. “It means even more now,” Canterbury’s McDermott said after winning both of the opening heats at Cambridge Raceway on Friday. The 66-year-old Canterbury horseman said his grandfather Eugene (McDermott) was the man that inspired him to be a driver. He said everything he now did in the sulky was a personal dedication to him. McDermott (Eugene) was driving Colonel Grattan in the 39 Cup and they were several lengths ahead of the field and looked to have the race parcelled up when McDermott had a heart attack and died. “It might have been 77 years ago but it’s a race that is stuck in time and one our family will never forget. He was just 54 and his passing and his horsemanship was the catalyst that led to my love of harness racing,” McDermott said. McDermott Senior was a better than average reinsman who won numerous big races including the 1934 New Zealand Cup from 12 yards behind the three-time New Zealand Cup winner, Indianapolis. His grandson hasn’t reached those dizzy heights but achieved his own personal career highlight in the sulky when winning the first two of the four New Zealand Amateur heats.  “It was a wonderful feeling. I don’t think I’ve had a bigger smile since my wedding day, and that was a very long time ago. “Things just went my way tonight. Sometimes nothing can go your way and other nights everything just pans out like you want it to. I couldn’t have asked for a better result tonight. A truly wonderful feeling,” McDermott said. McDermott, who is a long-time New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club board member, drove the Paul Springall trained Sheza Springfield to win $6,000 The Dexion heat for the C1 to C3 pacers (and claimers) by a neck from Shards Phoenix and Sue Blake. Sheryl Wigg and Our Southern Man were a neck back in third. McDermott settled the Attorney General mare in the one-one and then powered down the outside in the straight to notch up the 4-year-old’s second win in 25 starts. She was the $7.40 fourth favourite. That was McDermott’s fifth career win since obtaining his advanced amateur licence in 2009. Career win number six came less than an hour later when he drove the Andrew Stuart trained Shantahlia Knight to win the second heat by a length from Vibe and Richard Sissons. Chequeme Rosie and Wigg were three quarters of a length back in third. This time McDermott took the $15.30 sixth favourite to the lead after 500m. They then hung on to hold out the fast finishing favourite Vibe. “I didn’t know much about either horse but Robbie Close did tell me at the Rangiora Workouts on Wednesday that Shantahlia Knight was the sort of horse that liked to bowl along once in front. “I thought at the time, gee that’s not going to be easy from four on the second line, but I managed to get a run through early and then found myself in front turning for home the first time. Young Robbie was spot on with what he said,” McDermott said. McDermott’s last driving success prior to tonight’s double came via the Greg and Nina Hope trained Earthbound at Rangiora on April 17. He’s also trained 35 winners as a trainer. “It’s been a very special week really. I trained She’sa Tricky Bridge to win at a premier meeting at Addington last Saturday. That was a huge thrill, and now this has just capped it off. “I think I will retire from driving at Cambridge now. Two starts for two wins will do me just fine,” McDermott joked. Going into the final two heats at Rangiora on Sunday week, McDermott leads the Championship from Sheryl Wigg. It is the second time McDermott has competed in the New Zealand Amateur Driving Championship after finishing third in a heat, when unplaced overall last year. Points: John McDermott 26 Sheryl Wigg 20 Richard Sissons 18 Sue Blake 16 Jeff Darby 16 Gavin Cook 15 John Kriechbaumer 15 Tremain Thorby 11 Tim Vince 10 Gerry Cronin 9 Miranda Hallett 7 Alan Edge 7   Duane Ranger 

On 17 September 2015, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard the application for review of Mr John McDermott in regard to the decision of the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on 17 June 2015 to impose a number of fines upon Mr McDermott regarding various breaches of the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR).  The details of the HRV RAD Board hearing of 17 June 2015 can be viewed here. The fines imposed by the HRV RAD Board on 17 June 2015 were as follows: Breach 1 - AHRR 192(1) - $5,000 ($3,000 suspended) Breach 2-5  -  ARHR 193(1)  - $2,000 for each offence Breach 6 – ARHR 190B(1)(b) - $200 At the commencement of the hearing, the representative for Mr McDermott advised that the application for review would only proceed with respect to the penalties imposed for breaches 2-5, the offences committed against AHRR193(1) which provides: AHRR 193(1) A person shall not attempt to stomach tube or stomach tube a horse nominated for a race or event within 48 hours of the commencement of the race or event. The review application was not continued with respect to the fines imposed for the other breaches against AHRR 192(1) and 190B(1)(b). On 29 September 2015, the VCAT released its decision regarding the review application of Mr McDermott. The VCAT varied the penalties imposed by the HRV RAD Board for breaches 2-5 under 193(1) to a $1,000 fine for each of the four offences. The VCAT also ordered $2,000 of this total $4,000 fine imposed for breaches 2-5 be suspended for a period of 12 months. Mr McDermott was therefore fined a total of $9,200 (with $5,000 suspended) for the 6 admitted breaches. The full decision of the VCAT can be viewed here. Harness Racing Victoria

Dublin, Ireland – Tickets are nearly sold out for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial gala dinner on Friday, August 7 at the Hilton Dublin Airport Hotel. This is the kickoff dinner before the big harness racing weekend at Portmarnock Raceway Saturday and Sunday, August 8 & 9. There are only 20 tickets left before the dinner is sold out. Everyone that attends the dinner will get to hear from and meet the USA and New Zealand racing stars who have come over for the weekend. They are USA top reinsman George Brennan, renowned trainer John McDermott and Hall of Fame announcer Roger Huston. New Zealander Dexter Dunn, who this year won the World Driving Championship in Australia, New Zealand’s leading trainer Cran Dalgety and USA racing journalists Steve Wolf (Harnesslink) and Heather Vitale (Post Time TV). There is room for just 220 people at this special affair that begins at 7:30 pm. The cost of a ticket is just €40.00 each and it will be a cash bar. “I can’t believe how these tickets are flying out the door,” said race developer and founder, Derek Delaney. “After we announced that George Brennan was coming over from the USA to drive in Vincent’s race, we are nearly sold out. “I may have to talk with the hotel manager and see if we can get a couple of tables in the lobby!” Delaney joked. “If anyone wants to get a ticket they better hurry up.” In order to get tickets to the dinner go to  By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend

There could come a time when Hurrikane Ali can be called the greatest, but for now he is just out to prove himself on the harness racing scene. Hurrikane Ali is 3-for-3 this season as he prepares for Saturday's $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old male pacers at the Meadowlands. Among the horses standing in his way of winning the crown is Artspeak, who defeated Hurrikane Ali by 1-3/4 lengths to capture last year's NJSS title and also received the Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer. "We've got Ali here, who would like to be the champ," said John McDermott, who trains the colt with his son John Jr. "But to be the champ you've got to beat the champ, and we ain't beat him yet." Hurrikane Ali, whose three victories this season include two preliminary rounds of the New Jersey Sire Stakes, and driver Yannick Gingras will start from post four in the NJSS final. Artspeak, who has won nine of 11 career starts and never finished worse than third, leaves from post eight with Scott Zeron at the lines for trainer Tony Alagna. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also features $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championships for 3-year-old female pacers as well as 3-year-old male and female trotters. Dan Patch Award winner Mission Brief headlines the race for female trotters, but will have to overcome starting from post 10. Stakes winner Happiness and Lindys Old Lady, unbeaten in her only two career starts, are among the 10 finalists among female pacers while French Laundry and Guess Whos Back will try to stay unbeaten this year in the final for male trotters. Hurrikane Ali is a son of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare She's The Greatest. He is a half-brother to stakes winners Driven To Win and Latte Lady and his family includes Dan Patch Award winner She's A Great Lady. He was purchased under the name He's So Great for $63,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale. "I don't spend that kind of money, but after watching Pet Rock and A Rocknroll Dance against 'Cole' I said I've got to give it one more shot," McDermott said, referring to his now retired world champion Hurrikane Kingcole. "I really liked this one. He's really nicely put together, a solid horse with a great head. His conformation is real good and his body, he just has mass to him. He's a strong, strong horse." Hurrikane Ali raced five times at age 2, finishing second on three occasions, including the New Jersey Sire Stakes final. But the colt would get on the right line while racing - to the point of going off stride in his final start of the campaign - and McDermott decided to shut down the horse in August after he was unable to find any physical ailment causing the trouble. The issue resurfaced again earlier this year, but a bridle change corrected the problem. "He came off the line and he hasn't touched it since," McDermott said. "I guess it was just dumb luck, but I'll take it." Hurrikane Ali has won all three of his starts this year by at least 1-1/4 lengths, with a best time of 1:50. McDermott knows the horse can go faster, the question is how much faster. "I've yet to see him tired," McDermott said. "He doesn't blow after the races. He's got a huge set of lungs on him and he loves what he's doing. He comes out of the race sharper than he goes in. "He's just a happy-go-lucky colt. He doesn't know he's working right now, which is absolutely great. There's no stress to him at all. He's got some great manners and a great head on his shoulders. I just hope he has the speed." Hurrikane Ali - owned by Kuhen Racing, Jonathan Klee Racing, Kenneth M. Rucker, MD, and Robert Pucila - is eligible to a number of major stakes, including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, and Breeders Crown. For now, though, his connections are focused on Saturday. "I think it's going to be a great race," McDermott said. "I think my horse is really sharp. Artspeak is a wonderful horse and I just hope we get to have a great battle. Either way, I just want it to be a really wonderful race. There are a few other real nice ones in there, too, but Artspeak is the one to beat. "If we have a great race and they go on the wire together, I'm thrilled with that. Win or lose I'll be thrilled with that kind of mile." For a look at the entire Meadowlands card, including the four New Jersey Sire Stakes finals, click here. Ken Weingartner  -

Freehold, NJ --- John McDermott stares into the stall of Hurrikane Kingcole and a wistful smile crosses the harness racing trainer’s face as he watches his 6-year-old pacer move playfully toward him.  “I just wish we had a chance for him to show what he’s really made of,” McDermott says. He thought this might be the year. Hurrikane Kingcole, back on the racetrack after throat surgery last year appeared to correct a myriad of health issues, was 2-for-2 in 2015. The speedy stakes-winner captured his two starts by a total of seven lengths and posted one of the season’s fastest times to date -- 1:49.4 -- in January. But two weeks ago, Hurrikane Kingcole turned up sore after a training mile. Last week, tests revealed that Hurrikane Kingcole suffered a broken splint bone in his left front leg. Although McDermott said the injury was minor, and a return to racing was deemed probable following surgery, he decided it was time to stop. Hurrikane Kingcole, who in 2012 paced 1:48.1 at Mohegan Sun Pocono to equal the then-world record for a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track, has been retired. McDermott, who last year bred Hurrikane Kingcole to two mares, hopes the stallion can land a stud deal sometime soon. A son of Cam's Card Shark out of the mare Blazing Yankee, Hurrikane Kingcole won 14 of 49 career races and earned $582,807. His lifetime mark is 1:47.3. “He had an undefeated 6-year-old season; he’s got that going for him,” McDermott quipped Monday morning. “But really I’m thrilled that he won his last two starts. It couldn’t have gone a better way. “It’s important to me that this horse doesn’t get hurt on the racetrack. Every veterinarian I’ve talked to believes we could do the surgery and bring him back to race, but you’re going to lose a percentage (of performance). I don’t want him to come back to race in non-winners and hope he’s going to work out and make $100,000 the hard way. That’s not what he’s about. He’s supposed to be a special horse, and he always has been.” Hurrikane Kingcole struggled with immune system issues as well as breathing difficulties throughout much of his career. Still, he managed to produce memorable performances -- even if not always in victory. As a 3-year-old, Hurrikane Kingcole jumped and went off stride behind the gate in his elimination for the North America Cup at Mohawk, spotting the field more than two dozen lengths. That he rallied to miss advancing to the final by only 1-1/4 lengths was impressive, but not nearly as much as what track officials told McDermott following the race: A transponder carried by Hurrikane Kingcole clocked the horse in 1:46.1 for his mile. “The speed that he went that night was just insane,” McDermott said. “But that sums his whole life up. It was the most amazing mile I ever saw -- and I got absolutely nothing for it.” Later that summer, Hurrikane Kingcole missed advancing to the final of the Meadowlands Pace by a whisker, but won the consolation the following week by 8-3/4 lengths in 1:47.3. The Pace final went in 1:48.1. Less than a month later, Hurrikane Kingcole led the field in the New Jersey Classic to three-quarters in a record 1:18.2 only to lose by a head to Panther Hanover. Hurrikane Kingcole’s top career victory came in a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes in 2011 at Mohawk. “His gait is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before,” McDermott said. “His front leg stands so far out beyond his nose when he’s in full gear, it’s ridiculous. He wears a 64-inch hobble, but he strides out so far that it’s not a true measurement of his gait. That’s what really made him special.” Purchased by McDermott for $10,000 as a yearling, Hurrikane Kingcole is owned by Jeffrey Kuhen and the partnership of Arthur Brewer, Mitchell Cohen, Jeffrey Gorden and Jonathan Klee. And while McDermott is losing a very good horse from his stable, he is losing a very good friend as well. “He’s the best,” McDermott said. “He’s the reason I get up every day to come to the barn. The rest of them, I love them all, but he has such a life to him. He wants to make you happy. He’s never once thought there was something wrong with him. He thinks he’s ‘The Man’ every day and he just loves doing what he does. “I love the personality. He’s just such a pleasure to be around. He likes what he does, he likes us; he’s just a happy-go-lucky horse. He’s just awesome.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Prebbleton trainer John McDermott was more than a touch emotional yesterday when Supreme Gem stormed home late to win the mares mile at the Boxing Day harness racing meeting at Ashburton. John couldn't help but contemplate how the people who taught and helped him get involved in harness racing weren't around to share the victory with him. "Peter Cowan and his partner Vicky were very good friends of mine and taught me the ropes when I was starting out." "Peter wanted to send his top mare Flying Sands to Christian Cullen but didn't have a booking so I let him use one of my bookings and the resultant foal was Supreme Gem." "I saw her from a foal right through to the yearling sales when helping Peter out but I really had no intention of buying her at that stage,"John told Harnesslink today. By the time of the sales Peter had died and Vicky had taken over the racing and breeding operation. Sold for $60,000 to Burnham trainer Mark Jones at the sales, John was told soon after that Mark didn't have any owners in mind when he purchased her. "So I contacted Mark and ended up buying a quarter share for myself and my wife and some very good friends of ours Pat and Fred Dowie also brought a quarter share. "The other half was taken up by one of Marks owners in the first instance but we along with the Dowies brought out the other owner of Supreme Gem when she was a 4 year old." "I took over her training in April 2012 but I couldn't have done it without Mark Jones's help" "I really owe Mark Jones a huge debt of gratitude for all his help and advice through Supreme Gem's racing career," John said. Of course by this time Vicky had also died and John admits he was fairly emotional yesterday when Supreme Gem finally got a time in line with her ability. Restrained off the gate early from barrier nine by driver Mark Jones yesterday, SupremeGem was last at the 800 metres before latching on to the three wide train at that point. From there she stayed on Stradowan's back until 250 metres from home where she peeled off and grabbed a game Stradowan in the last fifty metres for a deserved success. "She was beaten as a 3 year old by a head in 1:54.4 after being three wide for 800 metres and then being parked for the last 800 metres so I was rapt yesterday that Supreme Gem finally got a time in keeping with her ability." "I heard the commentator Mark McNamara say that I would be doing handstands over the win and I would have been if the old body had been up to it,"John said. But John also was aware that his very good good friends Peter and Vicky were no longer here to share in the victory. "I was thinking of them straight after the race and it was a bit of a bitter/sweet moment," John said. Supreme Gem is lucky to be racing at all after fracturing a pasten a couple of years ago. " She had a few screws inserted and why she has had a few niggles with the leg, she has still managed to continue racing." " I've had her on the beach with Regan Todd for the last ten days and that has helped with all those little niggles," John said. Regardless of how her leg holds up, the racing future of Supreme Gem is limited as the daughter of Christian Cullen is in foal to champion sire Bettor's Delight. " She and her stablemate Flyover are both in foal to Bettor's Delight so don't have many races left," John said. With Supreme Gem having won over $80,000 to date and with a winning time of 1:53.7 besides her name, she has plenty to recommend her as a broodmare. However when you take into account that her dam Flying Sands went 1:56.5 and won $113,194 and that she is very closely related to a myriad of outstanding horses such as Venus Serena 1:52.1 ($701,921), Bettor's Strike 1:55.7 ($890,201) and Bella's Boy 1:52.1 ($473,171) then Supreme Gem looks very well placed to add to this outstanding family's achievements. Harnesslink Media     

He’s a three-time New Zealand Darts national title winner and now Jack Harrington has another scalp to add to his already impressive list of sporting achievements. The 20-year-old horseman produced an inch-perfect drive on Nicaela to win the maiden trot on Friday night at Addington. It took a lot longer to get there than what Harrington would have liked with win No.1 coming in drive number 58 so the salute offered up at the winning post was well and truly deserved. Originally from Australia, Harrington has proven to become a popular figure around the harness traps and has been well supported by his boss Robbie Holmes. It was fitting then that his first winning drive should come aboard a horse trained by Holmes and also owned by Robbie’s wife, Carla Robertson-Holmes. “They have been a huge support to my career,’’ Harrington said during the week. “I really owe them a lot.’’ A long way off the speed when the field turned for home, Harrington angled Nicaela, who had been turning in some tidy performances in her recent races, found clear air and trotted stylishly in the run to the line to win impressively. The combination will be back on the track today when they step out in a junior drivers event at Rangiora. Friday night was a good night for Holmes who also picked up the last race with Kate De Goldie. John McDermott had a night worth remembering too when his grand mare Flyover broke through for win number 10 at start number 101. The tough mare, who ran second to Adore Me in a Group One last season, also picked up the met-multiplier bonus in the process and so did her equally talented stablemate, Supreme Gem. Courtesy Of Matt Markham - Harness Racing New Zealand    

MANALAPAN, NJ - October 3, 2014 - Demons N Diamonds picked the $25,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes -Green Acres Final for two-year-old trotting fillies to post her first career victory on Friday, October 3, 2014 at Freehold Raceway. The Muscle Hill - Half Ours filly trotted the mile in 2:00 flat, passing the pacesetter Model Behavior [Muscles Yankee] in the stretch for a half-length victory in the non-wagering event. Contraire [Muscles Yankee] was three and three quarter lengths back in third. Demons N Diamonds, driven by Daniel Dube and trained by John McDermott Jr., improved her record to one win, three seconds and two thirds from 11 starts for a bankroll of $38,921. The filly, bred by TLP Stable of Kearny , NJ, passed through the Lexington Selected Sale for $20,000. She is owned by the partnership of Jonathan Klee Racing of Mineola, NY; Domenic Costanzo of Westbury, NY and Kuhen Racing LLC of Yardley, PA. In the $7,000 third leg of the Green Acres for two-year-old pacing fillies, Cheyenne Robin [$7.60] was much the best, putting away 1-5 favorite Smart Zone in the co-featured sixth race. Cheyenne Robin, driven by Daniel Dube and trained by Robert Siegelman, was a seven-length winner in a stakes record equaling 1:55.4. It was 11 ½ lengths to World Of Rock in third. All three are daughters of Rocknroll Hanover. The mile matched the Green Acres mark of 1:55.4 set by Happy Dreamer [McArdle] in 2007. Cheyenne Robin races for The Cheyenne Gang of Port Washington, NY. In Green Acres action on Thursday, October 2, Jim Meittinis drove the winners of both non-wagering divisions for three-year-old trotters, both offspring of Chocolatier. Shelikescandy won the filly split in 2:01.3 for a sweep of the three preliminary legs of the series. The Dawn Anderson trainee, owned by George Beck of Freehold, NJ, won by 24 ½ lengths over Coin Collector [Chocolatier]. In the first leg of the colt division, Choco Sun was a half-length winner over Angels Ransom [Revenue] in 1:57.2. The Orjan Torstensson trainee races for Eirik Djuve Inc. of Bordentown, NJ. by Carol Hodes, for SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - September 11, 2014 - Trainer Chris Ryder sends out a pair of Muscle Hill colts, rated the 9-5 morning line favorites in the $55,000 Charles I. Smith Trot, the seventh race on Friday, September 12, 2014 at Freehold Raceway. The Charles I. Smith is restricted to New Jersey-sired three-year-old trotters and sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. Ryder will sit behind Well Built, leaving from post two, while Gregory Merton will be at the lines of Muscle On It from the rail. Well Built was second in the $60,000 Zweig at Vernon Downs in his last outing on August 29 and brings a record of three wins, two seconds and one third from 15 starts this year, earning $52,350 toward a career total of $156,047 for Ryder and co-owner Robert Mondillo of Delaware, OH. Ryder and Mondillo share ownership of Muscle On In with Max Wernick of New City, NY. Muscle On In will be making his third start of the year and looking for his first check of 2014. At two, he won four of 12 starts and banked $62,566. Hillustrious, also by Muscle Hill, leaves from outside post seven with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. He is listed at 2-1 in the morning line with four wins, two seconds and a third in 10 starts this year, adding nearly $50,000 toward total earnings of more than $72,000 for the partnership of Deo Volente Farms of Flemington, NJ; Rivers Stable Inc. of East Windsor, NJ and TLP Stable of Kearny, NJ. The stakes record for the Smith of 1:55.4 was set in 2010 by Flex The Muscle [Muscles Yankee]. The field for the $55,000 Charles I. Smith with betting number, post number, sire, driver, trainer and morning line odds: 1-1-Muscle On It-Muscle Hill-Gregory Merton-Chris Ryder-9-5 1A-2-Well Built-Muscle Hill-Chris Ryder-Chris Ryder-9-5 2-3-Skates N Plates-Revenue-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-5-1 3-4-Opulent Yankee-Muscles Yankee-Ake Svanstedt-AkeSvantedt-6-1 4-5-Choco Sun-Chocolatier-Jim Meittinis-Orjan Torstensson-12-1 5-6-Angels Ransom-Revenue-George Brennan-Roland Mallar-7-1 6-7-Hillustrious-Muscle Hill-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-2-1 Sharing the Friday card is a $7,000 opening leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes-Green Acres for two-year-old trotting fillies, carded as the third race. Demons N Diamonds by Muscle Hill, driven by Daniel Dube and trained by John McDermott Jr., is the 8-5 morning line favorite from post five in the field of seven fillies, four of whom are by Muscles Yankee and two by Muscle Hill. by Carol Hodes, for SBOANJ

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