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During May and June 2014, Victoria's Racing Integrity Commissioner (RIC), Sal Perna, will undertake a series of presentations in regional and Metropolitan areas of Victoria. These presentations build on those undertaken the previous two years to create a greater understanding and awareness of the role and responsibilities of the RIC, the work the office has undertaken and an overview of what is in place to ensure that the Victorian Racing Industry operates free from the influence of crime and corruption. The sessions will be an opportunity to raise questions and hear first-hand of the Commissioner's perspectives on integrity in the racing industry. All members of the public are invited to attend, whether racing industry participants or not. Details of the Commissioner’s presentations are as follows:- Date Location Time Venue Wed 7 May Warrnambool 7.30PM Lighthouse Theatre  185 Timor Street, Warrnambool Thurs 8 May Geelong 11.00AM Royal Geelong Yacht Club  25 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong Mon 19 May Mildura 7.30PM Quality Resort Inlander Mildura  373   Deakin Ave, Mildura Tues 20 May Swan Hill 6:00PM Swan Hill Jockey Club  Gray St, Swan Hill Mon 26 May Melbourne 7.30PM Telstra Conference Centre  Conference Room 2  242 Exhibition St, Melbourne Mon 2 June Sale 7.30PM Gippsland Regional Sports Complex  11  116 Cobains Rd, Sale Tues 3 June Cranbourne 2.00PM Cranbourne Turf Club  Grant St, Cranbourne Tues 10 June Ballarat 7.30PM Ballarat Golf Club  1800 Sturt St, Ballarat Wed 11 June Horsham 7.30PM Wesley Performing Arts Centre  Corner Roberts Ave & Urquhart St, Horsham Wed 18 June Shepparton 7.30PM Quest Shepparton  177-183 Welsford St, Shepparton Thurs 19 June Bendigo 7.30PM Quest Bendigo  228 McCrae St, Bendigo All sessions will commence at the allocated time and will run for approximately 1 hour. Those interested in attending any of the sessions are kindly asked to indicate their attendance online via the website or email rsvp@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au prior to the session. Further queries can be directed to Lauren Clausen, Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, via the above email address or 03 8684 7776. www.racingintegrity.vic.gov.au    

The parents of a harness-racing driver, Anthony Coletta, who was severely injured in a crash at Harrah's Philadelphia Race Track in Chester last year, has sued the track and its owners, Harrah's and its parent company Caesars Entertainment Corp. Anthony Coletta, of Hammonton, N.J., suffered what lawyers claim is traumatic and irrevocable brain damage in the terrifying high-speed crash on the rac track Nov. 17, 2013. Video of the wreck showed Coletta thrown high into the air after his sulky collided into another sulky and horse. Coletta suffered "horrific and catastrophic" injuries, including what the lawsuit described as "profound abnormalities indictative of severe and permanent brain damage," in a crash his family's lawyer contends was preventable. "The defendants, including track owners Caesars/Harrah’s turned a blind eye when it came to track maintenance and they permitted an unreasonably dangerous condition to exist at the exact location where the chain-reaction accident began," Philadelphia attorney Michael Barrett said in a statement Monday. "Anthony Coletta would now be preparing for the spring racing card — not fighting to regain some semblance of a normal life — had it not been for the track’s utter disregard for safety and human life." Coletta is currently at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey. A lawyer for Harrah's could not be reached for comment, but told the Associated Press he had not seen the lawsuit and would not immediately comment. The lawsuit claims that the track's condition, particularly at locations of the first and third turns, had deteriorated over time and went unfixed. "Numerous disturbing accounts have surfaced regarding years of Harrah's Philadelphia and Caesars turning a blind eye to track maintenance, despite reports to management of an unreasonably dangerous condition at the exact location where the horse Coletta was driving, had raced into Marcus Miller's horse, , Rocknmyjeans' who had fallen ahead of Colletta's horse," the suit claims. Coletta's parents seek in excess of $50,000 in damages by Steve Wolf with files from the Association Press   d catastrophic" injuries, including what the lawsuit described as "profound abnormalities indictative of severe and permanent brain damage," in a crash his family's lawyer contends was preventable. "The defendants, including track owners Caesars/Harrah’s turned a blind eye when it came to track maintenance and they permitted an unreasonably dangerous condition to exist at the exact location where the chain-reaction accident began," Philadelphia attorney Michael Barrett said in a statement Monday. "Anthony Coletta would now be preparing for the spring racing card — not fighting to regain some semblance of a normal life — had it not been for the track’s utter disregard for safety and human life." Coletta is currently at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey. A lawyer for Harrah's could not be reached by Philly.com for comment, but he told the Associated Press he had not seen the lawsuit and would not immediately comment. The lawsuit claims that the track's condition, particularly at locations of the first and third turns, had deteriorated over time and went unfixed. "Numerous disturbing accounts have surfaced regarding years of Harrah's Philadelphia and Caesars turning a blind eye to track maintenance, despite reports to management of an unreasonably dangerous condition at the exact location where [the horse Coletta was riding] 'rocknmyjeans' fell," the suit claims. Coletta's parents seek in excess of $50,000 in damages Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Harness-race_driver_sues_Harrahs_Philadelphia_for_horrific_race_track_crash.html#y31WixTZ77oVcsIR.99 he parents of a harness-racing driver severely injured in a crash at Harrah's Philadelphia Race Track in Chester last year has sued the track and its owners, Harrah's and its parent company Caesars Entertainment Corp. Anthony Coletta, of Hammonton, N.J., suffered what lawyers claim is traumatic and irrevocable brain damage in the terrifying high-speed crash on the track Nov. 17, 2013. Video of the wreck showed Coletta thrown high into the air after his sulky — the vehicle attached by harness to the race horse — collided with another sulky and horse. Coletta suffered "horrific and catastrophic" injuries, including what the lawsuit described as "profound abnormalities indictative of severe and permanent brain damage," in a crash his family's lawyer contends was preventable. "The defendants, including track owners Caesars/Harrah’s turned a blind eye when it came to track maintenance and they permitted an unreasonably dangerous condition to exist at the exact location where the chain-reaction accident began," Philadelphia attorney Michael Barrett said in a statement Monday. "Anthony Coletta would now be preparing for the spring racing card — not fighting to regain some semblance of a normal life — had it not been for the track’s utter disregard for safety and human life." Coletta is currently at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey. A lawyer for Harrah's could not be reached by Philly.com for comment, but he told the Associated Press he had not seen the lawsuit and would not immediately comment. The lawsuit claims that the track's condition, particularly at locations of the first and third turns, had deteriorated over time and went unfixed. "Numerous disturbing accounts have surfaced regarding years of Harrah's Philadelphia and Caesars turning a blind eye to track maintenance, despite reports to management of an unreasonably dangerous condition at the exact location where [the horse Coletta was riding] 'rocknmyjeans' fell," the suit claims. Coletta's parents seek in excess of $50,000 in damages Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Harness-race_driver_sues_Harrahs_Philadelphia_for_horrific_race_track_crash.html#y31WixTZ77oVcsIR.99 he parents of a harness-racing driver severely injured in a crash at Harrah's Philadelphia Race Track in Chester last year has sued the track and its owners, Harrah's and its parent company Caesars Entertainment Corp. Anthony Coletta, of Hammonton, N.J., suffered what lawyers claim is traumatic and irrevocable brain damage in the terrifying high-speed crash on the track Nov. 17, 2013. Video of the wreck showed Coletta thrown high into the air after his sulky — the vehicle attached by harness to the race horse — collided with another sulky and horse. Coletta suffered "horrific and catastrophic" injuries, including what the lawsuit described as "profound abnormalities indictative of severe and permanent brain damage," in a crash his family's lawyer contends was preventable. "The defendants, including track owners Caesars/Harrah’s turned a blind eye when it came to track maintenance and they permitted an unreasonably dangerous condition to exist at the exact location where the chain-reaction accident began," Philadelphia attorney Michael Barrett said in a statement Monday. "Anthony Coletta would now be preparing for the spring racing card — not fighting to regain some semblance of a normal life — had it not been for the track’s utter disregard for safety and human life." Coletta is currently at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey. A lawyer for Harrah's could not be reached by Philly.com for comment, but he told the Associated Press he had not seen the lawsuit and would not immediately comment. The lawsuit claims that the track's condition, particularly at locations of the first and third turns, had deteriorated over time and went unfixed. "Numerous disturbing accounts have surfaced regarding years of Harrah's Philadelphia and Caesars turning a blind eye to track maintenance, despite reports to management of an unreasonably dangerous condition at the exact location where [the horse Coletta was riding] 'rocknmyjeans' fell," the suit claims. Coletta's parents seek in excess of $50,000 in damages Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Harness-race_driver_sues_Harrahs_Philadelphia_for_horrific_race_track_crash.html#y31WixTZ77oVcsIR.99 he parents of a harness-racing driver severely injured in a crash at Harrah's Philadelphia Race Track in Chester last year has sued the track and its owners, Harrah's and its parent company Caesars Entertainment Corp. Anthony Coletta, of Hammonton, N.J., suffered what lawyers claim is traumatic and irrevocable brain damage in the terrifying high-speed crash on the track Nov. 17, 2013. Video of the wreck showed Coletta thrown high into the air after his sulky — the vehicle attached by harness to the race horse — collided with another sulky and horse. Coletta suffered "horrific and catastrophic" injuries, including what the lawsuit described as "profound abnormalities indictative of severe and permanent brain damage," in a crash his family's lawyer contends was preventable. "The defendants, including track owners Caesars/Harrah’s turned a blind eye when it came to track maintenance and they permitted an unreasonably dangerous condition to exist at the exact location where the chain-reaction accident began," Philadelphia attorney Michael Barrett said in a statement Monday. "Anthony Coletta would now be preparing for the spring racing card — not fighting to regain some semblance of a normal life — had it not been for the track’s utter disregard for safety and human life." Coletta is currently at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey. A lawyer for Harrah's could not be reached by Philly.com for comment, but he told the Associated Press he had not seen the lawsuit and would not immediately comment. The lawsuit claims that the track's condition, particularly at locations of the first and third turns, had deteriorated over time and went unfixed. "Numerous disturbing accounts have surfaced regarding years of Harrah's Philadelphia and Caesars turning a blind eye to track maintenance, despite reports to management of an unreasonably dangerous condition at the exact location where [the horse Coletta was riding] 'rocknmyjeans' fell," the suit claims. Coletta's parents seek in excess of $50,000 in damages Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Harness-race_driver_sues_Harrahs_Philadelphia_for_horrific_race_track_crash.html#y31WixTZ77oVcsIR.99 he parents of a harness-racing driver severely injured in a crash at Harrah's Philadelphia Race Track in Chester last year has sued the track and its owners, Harrah's and its parent company Caesars Entertainment Corp. Anthony Coletta, of Hammonton, N.J., suffered what lawyers claim is traumatic and irrevocable brain damage in the terrifying high-speed crash on the track Nov. 17, 2013. Video of the wreck showed Coletta thrown high into the air after his sulky — the vehicle attached by harness to the race horse — collided with another sulky and horse. Coletta suffered "horrific and catastrophic" injuries, including what the lawsuit described as "profound abnormalities indictative of severe and permanent brain damage," in a crash his family's lawyer contends was preventable. "The defendants, including track owners Caesars/Harrah’s turned a blind eye when it came to track maintenance and they permitted an unreasonably dangerous condition to exist at the exact location where the chain-reaction accident began," Philadelphia attorney Michael Barrett said in a statement Monday. "Anthony Coletta would now be preparing for the spring racing card — not fighting to regain some semblance of a normal life — had it not been for the track’s utter disregard for safety and human life." Coletta is currently at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey. A lawyer for Harrah's could not be reached by Philly.com for comment, but he told the Associated Press he had not seen the lawsuit and would not immediately comment. The lawsuit claims that the track's condition, particularly at locations of the first and third turns, had deteriorated over time and went unfixed. "Numerous disturbing accounts have surfaced regarding years of Harrah's Philadelphia and Caesars turning a blind eye to track maintenance, despite reports to management of an unreasonably dangerous condition at the exact location where [the horse Coletta was riding] 'rocknmyjeans' fell," the suit claims. Coletta's parents seek in excess of $50,000 in damages Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Harness-race_driver_sues_Harrahs_Philadelphia_for_horrific_race_track_crash.html#y31WixTZ77oVcsIR.99

A bushfire which started in Bunbartha, a small town in Northern Victoria, Australia, has caused havoc to many Standardbred farms and harness racing properties within a 30 kilometre area.  Geoff Barnes of Balmain Lodge at Bunbartha North of Shepparton is just one person that has been affected by the fire.  “We have a 97 acre farm and the majority of it is now black,” said a disgruntled Barnes. “We have lost 250 large round bales of hay, fencing and a few house water tanks, there is also damage to the house,” he added.  “However we won’t be able to tell the extent of the damage until the power comes back on, it has been off since Sunday.” Although clearly disappointed about the unfortunate event, Barnes was pleased with how the local community and the CFA (Country Fire Authority) had helped in our hours of need. Geoff also said that Harness Racing Victoria had contacted everybody offering their assistance with immediate needs.  “The main thing is that I believe that all the people and horses came through it unscathed,” said Barnes.  “The CFA were great and minimized the amount of damage as only they can,” he added. Barnes said that fire had spread quickly due to the strong winds and the extremely dry pastures and other fuel that dry farmlands provide. “There has also been major damage done to our neighboring properties, including Warwick stud and the harness racing stables of John and Maree Newberry.”  “We must have lost 10 – 15 miles of fencing just in the three farms in our block” advised Barnes.  Barnes applauded Alabar’s Echuca stud farm for their offer to agist horses that have become homeless or without viable pasture. “They have led the way through this whole ordeal,” revealed Barnes. Barnes also advised that there had been a lot of damage to harness racing properties in the Kilmore region and that area is still under threat of further damage. By Mitchell Robertson  

How would you like to watch the 2013 O’Brien winners receive their awards live from the comfort of your own home? For the fourth consecutive year, there will be a live video stream for the O’Brien Award presentations. This will be made available courtesy of Bell Aliant and is sponsored by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and Red Shores Racetrack and Casino, Charlottetown and Summerside Locations. You’ll be able to watch all of the presentations exclusively on standardbredcanada.ca as SC will distribute the live video stream from the O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala live this Saturday, February 8. The video stream will go online live at approximately 8:15 p.m. (EST); 9:15 p.m. (AST) and 6:15 p.m. (PST) on Saturday night. The awards presentations are expected to last for 60 to 90 minutes. Winners will be honoured in 18 categories including 12 horse divisions, Future Star, Horsemanship, Breeder, Driver, Trainer and Horse of the Year. The winners of the Standardbred Canada Media Awards of Excellence will also be recognized. The awards will be hosted by Ken Middleton and Lee Drake. Haley MacDonald will sing the American National anthem and O Canada. Prior to dinner, guests will be entertained by a special SC video feature. The 2013 edition of the O’Brien Awards is the 25th anniversary of this National Awards event. The Black Tie Gala event features a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner and the awards presentations. Vintage 4.0, one of Atlantic Canada’s top party bands, will entertain guests to round out the evening’s celebration. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

The dispute over a simulcasting contract between management at Colonial Downs and the Virginia Horsemen's Association has ended up with the simulcast signal being cut until an agreement can be reached. Below is a letter from Colonial Downs President Ian Stewart....... The Virginia Racing Commission ("VRC") has ordered 25 days of thoroughbred racing over five weeks for 2014, which is the same schedule that Colonial Downs conducted in 2013. The VRC reached its decision after long debate. The Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association ("the VaHBPA") is unwilling to accept the VRC's decision to race 25 days over five weeks. The current contract with the VaHBPA expired as of midnight on January 29, 2014. We have offered to sign the exact same contract as last year. We have also offered several alternatives in an attempt to accommodate their wishes. However, despite extensive efforts by Colonial Downs to reach a compromise, the VaHBPA has refused to sign a new contract. Consequently, we believe that our ability to accept wagers on thoroughbred races at our satellite wagering facilities may be severely restricted. We believe customers can continue to wager on thoroughbred horse races through account wagering and can continue to wager on standardbred racing in the SWFs. Without the ability to wager on thoroughbred races, we cannot keep our Alberta, Vinton, Martinsville and Scott County satellite wagering facilities open and they will be closing January 31, 2014 until we reach a contract resolution that will allow us to re-open them. Customers will still be able to wager on Standardbred races at our Richmond West Broad Street, Richmond Hurley's, Chesapeake Indian River Road and Hampton locations. In addition, we believe customers will continue to be able to wager on both thoroughbred and standardbred races through the four licensed account wagering providers, EZ Horseplay, TVG, Xpressbet and Twinspires. If you would like help opening an EZ Horseplay account, please see one of our staff members. Every effort has been made to work with the VaHBPA and I am very disappointed that we have reached this point. I hope this interruption of normal business will be brief and that a mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached. Ian M. Stewart President

Harrisburg, PA --- The Pennsylvania Equine Coalition is fully opposed to the proposed legislation introduced by Representative Todd Stephens to transfer $250 million annually from the Race Horse Development Fund to support education funding in Pennsylvania. Representative Stephens has unfortunately chosen to propose this legislation as a means to score political points. While we agree that equitable and fair funding for all Pennsylvania schools is a necessity, we strongly encourage legislators to seek alternative funding sources so as to not decimate a burgeoning industry in Pennsylvania. To be as clear and concise as possible, the proposed legislation introduced by Representative Stephens will effectively eliminate the RHDF and spell the end of Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing in Pennsylvania as we know it. To provide some context, the total allocation to the RHDF for Fiscal Year 2013 was $264,200,662, which was a $16 million decline from FY 2012, the highest allocation on record for the RHDF. We have witnessed a steady decline in Pennsylvania slot revenues over the past 18 months, and the continued regional expansion of non-racetrack casinos (from which the RHDF receives no percentage of slot revenue) will further dilute gaming revenue. While it is too early to predict the total allocation to the RHDF for 2014, we project it will remain stagnant or continue to fall below the $260 million mark. Transferring $250 million from the RHDF will effectively eliminate the fund and all affiliated programs it supports throughout the Commonwealth. This elimination of funding will result in an exodus of breeders and racing professionals from our state, which can have catastrophic consequences for a number of sectors. The loss of farmland will lead to more residential development, which studies consistently show is actually a negative drain on municipal services (including education) versus open spaces. The Pennsylvania equine industry contributes $4.6 billion to the Pennsylvania economy each year, making it a major economic driver for the state. Live racing alone generates $1.6 billion in economic activity and directly supports more than 23,000 jobs in casinos, racetracks, backstretches and more. The additional $3 billion in annual economic impact is realized through the countless breeders, blacksmiths, trainers, veterinarians and other support industries scattered throughout the state. Unfortunately Rep. Stephens chose to cite the exception within our industry rather than the rule when citing an example of who has won purse money. The vast majority of purse funds (more than 90 percent) remain here in Pennsylvania, sustaining mom and pop farms who have invested their life savings into a passion for caring for and training our beautiful equine athletes. More important than residency of the owner is the residency of the horse itself, which in many cases could be considered the actual “job creator” -- i.e. the litany of services a racing horse requires support a robust local infrastructure in Pennsylvania. These are your neighbors who earn their living within the equine racing industry as growers, blacksmiths, breeders, trainers, grooms and more. They are preserving open space and providing a critical market for farmers to grow and sell feed, to stable horses, and invest in new breeding facilities, rivaling those found in Kentucky, California and Florida. Many of our newly elected legislators may not understand the nature and origins of Act 71 as it related to casino gambling in the state of Pennsylvania. The 12 percent cap on slot revenues used to fund the RHDF was developed as a “statutory assessment” on casino operators that would otherwise have been seen as additional profit in their pockets. The agreement was struck on the basis that casino slot gambling in Pennsylvania would support the “enhancement of live horse racing, breeding programs, entertainment and employment in this Commonwealth.” (Act 71, Section 1102). Additionally, the RHDF funding is pale in comparison to the “Commonwealth take” of approximately 42 percent of total casino slot revenues, a portion of which (approximately $1 billion annually) actually does provide school funding relief through property tax subsidies to local municipalities. In short, casino gambling, and the subsequent predictable funding stream, would not exist in Pennsylvania had it not been for the work of horsemen’s organizations to negotiate such favorable terms for the Commonwealth. The Racing Fund created by Act 71 is succeeding as intended. We have a successful, viable model thanks to Act 71 and the ongoing innovation, initiative and competitiveness it has spurred. To abandon this model now would spell disaster for the burgeoning breeding and racing industry in the Commonwealth. We commend our legislators for devising creative solutions to the state education crisis, but would encourage them to do more research on the far-reaching implications of such legislation to many hard-working residents of Pennsylvania. From the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition

With the 25th anniversary edition of the O’Brien Awards fast approaching, organizers are putting the finishing touches on many of the items associated with the awards and the entire weekend. A reminder to book your tickets if you plan on attending and haven’t done so, as ticket sales will close onMonday, January 27. You can purchase tickets by contacting SC’s Industry Marketing Department at 905-858-3060. You must have a credit card to purchase tickets. Here is a look at the event line up for the O’Brien weekend: Friday, February 7 The Horses Live Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at CDP Post Time 6 p.m. Kitchen Party (9 p.m. – 12 a.m.) EastLink Centre The Island Kitchen Party will feature food stations showcasing some of the Island’s best products from P.E.I., live entertainment, O’Brien Memorabilia and more! This exciting event takes place in the EastLink Centre. Tickets are only $15. To purchase tickets, visit the Rewards Club at Red Shores Summerside or Charlottetown or call 902-620-4222 and press '5' or if you are purchasing O’Brien tickets, you can also order your Kitchen Party tickets from SC’s Industry Marketing Department. Saturday, February 8 Harness Racing Industry Forum (10 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at CDP - Grandstand Join PEIHRIA's harness racing panel for an information session on today’s harness racing industry. Guests will include breeders, owners, trainers, drivers and racing executives. Pre registration required; no cost. Email Kathy Wade Vlaar to register. Tour of PEI (9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) Guests arriving for the O’Brien Awards weekend are invited to book a tour of historic Charlottetown and surrounding areas. Our motor coach, hosted by an Island tour guide, will begin with pick up at 9:30 a.m. at the Delta Prince Edward hotel followed by a second pick-up location at the main entrance of Red Shores Charlottetown at 9:45 a.m. Departure from Red Shores is 10 a.m. The Island tour includes stops at the famous Cows Cream Factory and Gift Shop, factory outlets Reebok, Paderno and Rockport Shoes. At approximately 11:15 a.m., guests will travel to the new PEI Brewing Co for a tour of this state of the art facility. Space is limited for the Island tour. Please note. This tour will end at approximately 12:30 p.m. For reservations for the Island Tour, email Heather Dixon. O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala (6 p.m. – 1 a.m.) The 25th Anniversary edition of the O’Brien Awards takes place at the Delta Prince Edward and PEI Convention Centre. Cocktail Reception – 6:00 p.m. –- 7:00 p.m. in the Harbourview Room Dinner & Awards Presentation – 7:00 p.m. –- 10:30 p.m. in the Palmer Pope Ballroom Dance – 10:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. in the Palmer Pope Ballroom Accommodation Information Click here for phone numbers and rates for area hotels. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

Today at the New Jersey Racing Commission meeting their official report will state that the Borgata is now the only casino in Atlantic City to offer horse racing simulcasting. As of New Year’s Eve, Bally’s Caesars, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat all ended having simulcasting. The once great Mecca on the east coast for gambling has come upon hard times over the past years and horse players are the first to feel the effects.  Casinos in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland have taken their tolls on business along with online wagering sites. The casino operators state that profits from horse racing simulcasting have decreased to the point where it is no longer profitable to offer wagering on the horses so they have cut it out and thus are cutting their losses. About 12 miles from the casino strip in Atlantic City is Atlantic City Racecourse, which is also still offering simulcasting, but the majority of players who still enjoy watching and wagering on the ponies are flocking to the Borgata.  In December the Borgata posted simulcast revenue of more than $133,000, which was equal to the total amount of revenue from the other four casinos that called it quits on simulcasting. Most casinos thrive on being able to offer their patrons the opportunity to wager on any and all events they can legally offer. One could consider having simulcasting a proper addition to a gaming venue to keep patrons happy, even at a break even or loss, but such is not the case in Atlantic City. Thus the Borgata’s simulcasting revenue has already begun to increase as they are now the only game in town if you want to bet on horse racing. It is hard to believe that in the coming months that only one casino in AC will offer wagering on the Kentucky Derby. I guess the lines will be out on the street that day to place a bet. Alan Mitchell has been in Atlantic City since simulcasting began at the casinos back in 1993. He was the former harness racing handicapper for the Philadelphia Inquirer for many years who still follows and plays the horses. “I just can’t believe there is only one casino in all of Atlantic City that has simulcasting,” Mitchell said. “Now there is no place on the boardwalk to place a bet. And all the numbers totaled leaves room for at least one casino on the boardwalk to have a racebook. “Harrah’s came in years ago and built the casino and harness racetrack in Chester,” Mitchell said, “So they have invested in racing to get the casino yet their four casinos in AC have stopped simulcasting. That does not make sense. They own a racetrack yet cut out wagering on it at their sister casinos. “The Delaware Valley area was always steeped in tradition for horse racing.” Mitchell explained. “Liberty Bell Park, Brandywine Raceway, Garden State Park, Atlantic City Racecourse, Keystone “Philadelphia” Park and Delaware Park all had successful meets and now only three tracks are left because they are in Pennsylvania and have casinos attached to them. But Harrah’s Philadelphia is the worst because they have never really tried to promote racing. The place is very poorly run. “Harness racing was always a great night time entertainment venue in Philadelphia,” Mitchell explained. “And Harrah’s could have been popular if they raced at night instead of during the day and go against the other local thoroughbred tracks. That was just plain ludicrous. They have the same caliber of horses and the same top drivers competing as does the Meadowlands in New Jersey. But the Meadowlands races at night and takes in $3.5 million in handle while Harrah’s Philadelphia goes during the day and takes in maybe $500,000. Harrah’s has the lights to race at night but in all these years they have never made an effort to try a nighttime race schedule. If they had they may have gotten thousands of people to come out for the races at night. “Harrah’s is not going to change what they are doing,” Mitchell said. “I predict they will put their track and casino on the market and try to get out of the racing business in Chester. If they do I hope someone comes along who will give it a try with night racing. It may not be a solution to the simulcasting ending at the casinos in Atlantic City, but perhaps once the other casinos see how well the Borgata can do being the only location in town to place a horse racing bet, other casinos may come back and reopen. We can only hope.” By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com 

Commencing from 1 January 2014, the split of prizemoney in NSW will change for standard races following a resolution by the Board at its December meeting. The minimum stake for any runner increases to 2% of prizemoney and is designed to offset the drivers fee and miscellaneous expenses such as fuel. The new allocation is as follows:   Place % Total 1 60 60 2 15 75 3 10 85 4 5 90 5 2 92 6 2 94 7 2 96 8 2 98 9 2 100 10 2 102 11 2 104 12 2 106 13 2 108 14 2 110     It should be noted that 100% of the allocated prizemoney is paid to ninth because, after scratchings, 70% of all races have nine starters or less, however in the cases when there are 10 starters or more those runners will still receive the equivalent of 2% of prizemoney funded from the prizemoney contingency fund. So, for example, if there are 11 runners in a particular event, the total prizemoney paid will actually be 104% of the value of the race. This means that an extra $300,000 will be paid to participants over the course of a year and into the pockets of unplaced runners. The trainers and drivers percentages will be paid to 4th under this model.   The prizemoney distribution for the NSWHRC Country Series, Trotting and Claiming races, Penalty Exempt Events and NSWHRC Monthly Consolation Races is unchanged and as follows:   Place % Total 1 50 50 2 18 68 3 12 80 4 6 86 5 4 90 6 2 92 7 2 94 8 2 96 9 2 98 10 2 100 11 2 102 12 2 104 13 2 106 14 2 108   Further prizemoney distribution models are used for Breeders Challenge events, non-TAB meetings and races such as the Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion. The full policy and updated tables can be viewed at the HRNSW website. Dale Walker | Manager - Marketing | Harness Racing New South Wales                      

After more than a century of harness racing, there is speculation Saint John’s Exhibition Park may have hosted its last race. The final race card of the season was cancelled and a recent study found that the facility is not a suitable location for a racino. Gilles Barrieau has been working around the barns and race track at Exhibition Park since he was 15 years old, but now he’s uncertain about his future as an accomplished harness racer. “There’s absolutely nobody left and it’s gotten so bad that I just don’t know how this place is going to get revived again, actually,” says Barrieau. In past years, hundreds of horses filled the barns at the Exhibition Park Raceway, but today many of the barns sit empty. Some horseman have moved to other communities while others have left the industry altogether. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation looked at the possibility of locating a racino at Exhibition Park, but found no viable business case. “Unless there is some plan that I haven’t seen, then as far as I’m concerned, it’s just a matter of time and harness racing will no longer be in the City of Saint John,” says Tory MLA Glen Tait. Tait has been a long-time supporter of the industry, but says neither government nor business has the money needed to keep harness racing going. “It would take a huge amount of investment to bring it up to where it should be, to attract people, because it’s not going to attract anybody the way it is today, and I don’t know any business or anybody that’s going to invest that kind of money,” he says. Tait says hope for a racino in Saint John was quashed when a decision was made to build a casino in Moncton. Barrieau says he is considering joining local horseman who have moved to Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Maine to make a living. “If I was a betting man, I would think things are not going to happen here again,” he says. “I hope they do, but I’m keeping my options open for the spring.” Click here to see the TV news story about this by Mike Cameron, reprinted with permission from http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/    

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 20, 2013 — Summer Indian continued his domination of The Meadows’ trotting elite, winning his Third Straight — and fifth in the last seven — in Monday’s $18,000 Preferred Handicap. His time of 1:52.3 was a tick off the track’s all-age trotting record. Summer Indian was caught wide in a three-ply battle for the early lead, finally making the front in a rapid 27.2. But he was untouchable thereafter, rolling on for Dave Palone to defeat Count Me In by 2-1/4 lengths. Rembrandt Spur finished third. Ron Burke trains the 4-year-old Majestic Son-A Touch Of Frost gelding, who now boasts $349,636 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jack Piatt III and RTC Stables. Tony Hall, Aaron Merriman and Brett Miller each drove three winners on the 16-race program. With one victory on the card, Wilbur Yoder pushed his career total to 999. by Evan Pattak for the Meadows  

The NZ Racing Board will consolidate its broadcasting operations from Petone, Avalon and Ellerslie to a purpose-built facility in Auckland late next year. The facility in Auckland – which will consolidate NZ Racing Board’s broadcasting operations and Auckland-based staff – is one of a number of options which were the subject of extensive research and due diligence by a team comprising internal management and external expert advisors. NZ Racing Board Chief Executive Officer Chris Bayliss said “The NZ Racing Board has been considering the best long term location for its broadcasting operations for several years. “The organisation is also prioritising improved customer experience and business growth from its broadcasting operations. “This consolidation aligns with the corporate strategy we have developed to achieve our ambitious goals and vision for the industry. “A key strategic initiative for our broadcasting operations is to address and resolve platform, studio and ageing infrastructure challenges to allow a high quality comprehensive content and channel plan to be delivered in 2014.The plan includes an upgrade from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD). NZ Live, proven experts in studio production were selected as the best strategic partner for us to continue our outsourced studio model.” said Mr Bayliss. There will be a range of options available to the NZ Racing Board broadcasting staff based in Avalon and Petone, including moving to Auckland and moving to other divisions within the organisation.  The NZ Racing Board has no plans to relocate its Head Office from Petone.  

His nickname, “The Voice”, is on his license plate. His signature harness racing announcer voice is known by everyone in North America and throughout the world who has ever listened to harness racing. And most recently he called his 165,000th race. He’s Roger Huston, the voice of The Meadows Racetrack in Washington, PA., and today is the 30th anniversary of The Meadows going live with its television broadcast show. And Roger has been there and hosted the show in nearly every performance since its inception. “It was on Wednesday, October 16,” Huston said, “My 165,000th race call was the third race and it was won by Tomasso and driver Mike Wilder in 1:58.3. It was an $11,000 Claiming Trot.” Most people would not be able to recall such data in a moment’s notice. That’s not the case for Roger Huston. His memory of racing dates, events, horse names, drivers, trainers, records, the whole nine yards, is part of his trait as one of the best racetrack announcers of any horse breed in history. But where does keeping all those statistics both horse related and personal come in? “I have always been a stats person,” Huston explained. “It started from my teenage days watching the Cleveland Browns. I then started keeping stats during the game for the Sports Information Director at Wilmington College and the Mid Ohio Conference. Keeping Wilmington and League stats and writing stories for newspapers and the schools in Wilmington, Cedarville, Ashland, Defiance, Bluffton, Ohio Northern and Findlay. “So when I started announcing,” Huston added, “I also started keeping track of the races and time trials and a complete itinerary for each year. 128 different venues I have called races at and 165,128 races going into today’s card at The Meadows.” Huston is also very proud of his records as an announcer. Records that will most likely never be broken as Huston, age 71, has no plans on retiring any time soon. He has also called races at 37 different locations for remote broadcasts of the Meadows races. At these venues Huston actually called the races at the Meadows from the other tracks, watching them on television. “My first remote broadcast was pretty unique,” Huston said. “I called the races at the Meadows from my parent’s house in Xenia, Ohio. It was their 50th wedding anniversary. It was covered by two newspapers and three Dayton TV stations. “I once called a race from a viewer’s swimming pool.” Huston recalled. “We did a remote from the residence of horse owner Jim Schamming. They had a party that night with about 35 people and we did the whole TV show from his living room and the swimming pool.” I asked Roger if that was the most unique venue to have called a race from, but he shook his head, laughed and said no way. “Aside from horse races,” Roger said, “I have called actual baby races, pig races, turtle races, you name it but one of the most unique races I called was from 2,000 feet above the Three Rivers in a Medivac helicopter and it was broadcast by a Pittsburgh radio station. The race was between the inclines of Mt. Washington and Duquesne. It was trolley cars racing down the incline.” When it comes to different racing venues, Huston has done most of them. He has called at 37 different county fairgrounds in Ohio alone. Then there are the fairs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota and more. But Roger, you forgot New Jersey! Only because this reporter was there, working at Freehold Raceway and I got to co-host the show that night with Roger Huston. It was great. We were set up in the hallway at the restaurant entrance, an eight foot table, head sets, one 19” TV monitor, broadcast equipment and tons of Roger’s stat books and race programs. People stayed and watched us all night. They wanted to personally meet Roger and get his picks for the night. But most exciting was to see Roger call the Meadows races on TV yet it sounded just like he was at his home track. As for calling races outside the USA, Roger has done that too. He has called at tracks all over Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Wales and even in Australia. “And to this day I still keep records each year,” Huston said. “I use them for the TV show which I am so proud is celebrating its 30th anniversary today! Our first show was Tuesday, November 1, 1983. Jerry Connors was my co-host for the first two shows and then we had various drivers, trainers, owners and caretakers on the show.” It is an amazing feat for Roger Huston and he never tires from traveling to remote fairs and events to call races. It’s what he lives for and enjoys. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com

Fort Washington, MD --- Since reemerging from bankruptcy in 2011 under the direction of Penn National Gaming, Rosecroft Raceway has provided an economic kick start to Prince George’s County and the Maryland Standardbred industry. Since reopening in the fall of 2011 the focus at Rosecroft has been on directing racing opportunities and increasing purses towards Maryland horses and horsemen. Penn National Gaming has established a preference system benefitting Maryland horsemen racing at Rosecroft that provides for maximum opportunity for Maryland connected horses. Horses with a Maryland connection now enjoy a 100 percent entry preference at Rosecroft Raceway -- a first in the industry. This current race meet more than 80 percent of the purses earned have been directed to horses and horsemen under this Maryland preference system. Based on that success, Penn National, Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association, and the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association have agreed to a contract extension that will guarantee live racing at Rosecroft through 2014 with extension options through 2016. All parties agreed that this was a very positive development for the Maryland Standardbred industry. All parties also agreed that it is critical for the long term survival of Rosecroft that a casino be authorized for Rosecroft Raceway. The decision by the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission on the location of the casino for Prince George’s County is expected in December. Penn National Gaming has pledged that 100 percent of its profits will be directed to both the new Prince George’s County Hospital satellite neighborhood health care system and a new supplemental retirement plan for Prince George’s County educators. “The hardworking horsemen are very grateful to Penn National for their ongoing commitment to the Maryland Standardbred industry and for their innovative plan to help the residents of Prince George’s County. Rosecroft is the cornerstone of our industry and we are pleased that Penn National understands our importance to Maryland and has worked with us to save an industry that spans generations of families in the state,” said Thomas Cooke, President of the CSOA. “The continued operation of Rosecroft and Penn National’s commitment to Maryland are evidenced by the preferences and this contract extension to insure live racing continues. Penn National has been a very good partner in its relationship with the horsemen and women and we enthusiastically support a casino at Rosecroft. I hope the Selection Commission will keep the families who earn their living from harness racing in mind when they make their decision.” The Standardbred industry supports more than 1,600 direct jobs, has more than $66 million in assets committed in Maryland and protects more than 18,000 acres of green space in Maryland. MSBA President Dan Myer commented, “Successful overnight racing is the key to establishing a revitalized breeding industry in Maryland. Our horsemen need a place to race their horses and we appreciate Penn National’s commitment to Maryland Standardbred racing as a whole. This contract extension to preserve live racing and new contract for the MSBA is greatly appreciated. “As happy as we are about both contracts we all recognize the importance of a casino being based at Rosecroft. The long term survival of the Standardbred industry rests with the decision of the Commission and I hope the Commission members will consider the economic value of our industry as they consider the proposals before them. Only one proposal will save existing jobs and the harness racing industry in this state for the long term.” ”Penn National has enjoyed a good collaborative working relationship with CSOA and MSBA and these extensions will help us continue to rebuild the racing program at Rosecroft to benefit the industry and the state. Penn National Gaming has put forth the best casino plan to benefit Prince George’s County, the state of Maryland and the horse racing industry,” said Chris McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, Inc. Submitted by Penn National Gaming

Charlottetown, PE - The stakes stars continue to invade Island tracks with divisions of the Maritime Breeders being staged at Red Shores Charlottetown Saturday at 6pm and Red Shores Summerside at 1pm. The two-year-old colts lead the parade Saturday in race 5 with Rancousy listed as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Darren Crowe will do the driving after the colt posted a second place finish in breeder's crown finals last Sunday. Settlement Request (Gilles Barrieau) and Mr Comraderie (Mike Stevenson) are also top contenders. Rebelseven, owned and trained by Kevin MacLean of Vernon Bridge, gets top billing in the next colt division. Marc Campbell will attempt to put the son of Force of Life in the winner's circle for the fifth time this season. Dumas Walker will headline the final $3,000 MBA elimination for driver Myles Heffernan. The colt is a breeder's crown champion after his 1:57.4 victory last weekend. Two-year-old filly Saulsbrook Alana is back after her record- setting track performance from a week ago. Marc Campbell piloted the Reg MacPherson owned pacer to a sparkling 1:56 score. The duo has drawn post 8 in race 10 on the card. In other action, Bunny Mach, who has won her last two in a row, will tackle a full field of contenders in the Mares Open. Gary Chappell will be in the bike. The program will also feature the David Rose Memorial leg 1 presented by Meridian Farms. A special fans promotion will be tied to the series. The action will be carried on the live race broadcast from www.redshores.ca Summerside Showcase Trotters in Maritime Breeders Eliminations Summerside, PE - Red Shores Summerside will play host to an action packed card of racing Sunday with two divisions of the Maritime Breeders Eliminations for two-year-old trotters, Lea Bell Memorial and leg 1 of another new series with the Louis McIsaac Memorial conditioned claiming series presented by Meridian Farms. First race post time is 1pm. The first MBA elimination is in race 3 and is named in honor of Lea Bell. The veteran horseman from Kensington and former president of the Prince County Horsemen's club campaigned many successful trotters in his career. Bell passed away at the age of 76 in December 2012. The race will star Dusty Lane Galaxy from post two. The two-year-old trotter will be handled by Gary Chappell for owner Peter Buchanan and the estate of George Boswall. Race analyst Jared Stretch is on board with the Stacey Lund trainee. "The resume speaks for itself after six straight victories and one unfortunate start it's hard to find a better record out there." Stretch had also picked BJ Comanche(5) and Phantom Beau (6) as his other top choices. Bo Digger (Mark McKinnon) and Southfield Shadow (Terry Gallant) will square off in the next MBA split for $3,000. The field has the potential of an upset coming from Villager(Brian MacPhee), Lets Trade Ladies (Garth Cole), Scarlet MacDream (Marc Campbell) and Saulsbrook Pippa (Corey MacPherson). Meridian Farms is proud to present leg 1 of the Louis McIsaac Memorial. The series, staged on races 7 and 9 on the card, will also have a fan component to the event with customers filling out ballots for chance to win vouchers on the McIsaac races. The Andrew family has a shot in the memorial with Evalina trained by Ron Gass of Cornwall in race 7 while Charlottes Ace is listed as the morning line favorite in race 9. All the action will be carried at www.redshores.ca. by Lee A. Drake for Red Shores  

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 9, 2013 — The Meadows Racetrack & Casino and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) on Wednesday honored driver Aaron Merriman for achieving 6,000 career victories. Merriman, who splits his time between The Meadows and Northfield Park, notched the milestone win Tuesday at Northfield. Following Wednesday’s first race, the MSOA congratulated Merriman with a winners’ circle presentation. “I’m happy to be at 6,000,” said Merriman, 35, whose mounts have won more than $30 million. “I treat every race the same — I want to win every one — so every win is a milestone for me.” A native of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Merriman averaged 590 victories per season from 2006 to 2009 and was the leading driver at Northfield all four years. He sustained serious injuries in a June 11, 2010 race mishap that sidelined him for five months. Merriman says he’s driving as confidently as ever since the horrific crash. “Mentally, I’m past it,” he said. “I don’t even think about it. Most of the guys will tell you I’m probably more aggressive than most everybody. Physically, I know I’ll never be the same. It’s something that you learn to live with. Everybody’s got aches and pains. It’s nothing to complain about. You just wake up every day and do your job.” Merriman said his top priority is to roll up as many wins as he can. “Eventually, I’d like to win 10,000 races,” he said. “That’s a goal of mine because at the 6,000 plateau, I think it’s very conceivable if I stay healthy. If I make it, we’ll go on from there.”    

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