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Unless you live near the I-90 East-West section of the New York State Thruway, there is no easy way to get to harness racing at Vernon Downs.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful place and a great facility to race and train Standardbreds.  But, if you are heading there from New York’s Southern tier toward Oneida County, plan on winding your way through Cow country on twisting, turning single-lane state routes.  Route 8 Sidney, 12b Hamilton, 26, 46—it sounds like a Peyton Manning audible. My journey started on Thursday, en route to Crawford Farms in Durhamville, New York.  The farm’s owners, Michelle and Albert Crawford are two people who are zealous about harness racing.  They demonstrated that fervor by investing as premier sponsors of the Meadowlands Pace.  They treat it like a business and realize that marketing is key.  In their everyday lives, they also own and operate a multi-million dollar medical finance firm. The Crawford family farm is about 15 minutes from Vernon, just outside of Oneida.  With video camera in hand, I met with farm manager Heather Reese and her assistant Bobbi Jean Carney.  Following a quick tour of all the new foals, 23 and counting, Michelle arrived and we were ready to shoot the farm’s :30 second commercial by 9:15 am. Mares with foals, foals with mares.  Two by two they pranced and strutted like actors in a Hollywood production.  W.C. Fields, who famously said, “Never work with animals or children,” could not have known the pleasure of filming young horses.  When they are not running away, they are nibbling on the camera or the cameraman.  All of which is quite amusing and makes for fun footage. Following the youngsters we moved on to the yearlings.  They were energetic and eager to investigate.  A fabulous looking group of babies—I am looking forward to seeing them sale- prepped and polished. The Crawford gals are farm-savvy and well-versed in all things equine.  When these Morrisville alums are not foaling mares, they are breeding mares and halter breaking babies.  Heather and Bobbi really know their stuff and were equally as comfortable recounting all the bloodlines on film as they were inseminating a mare with a recently delivered Crazed collection. On the other side of the farm is a brand new 40-stall barn with an adjacent horse spa and half-mile training track.  Michelle Crawford could easily double as a tour guide.  No section of the property went unnoticed.  She explained in great detail the state-of-the-art Aqua-Spa and Treadmill that was recently installed.  Leigh and Tyler Raymer keep a large portion of their racing stable in the new barn, along with training some of the race-age Crawford horses. Following a full day of shooting farm and training video, it was off to Vernon Downs to capture some footage of the Crawford Farms starting car in action.  It is a brand new Toyota Tundra, bright red, with a Brian Sears bobble-head on the dashboard.  On the way home I passed the ever-expanding Chobani yogurt plant in New Berlin Friday morning’s major attraction was the qualifying debut of 2013 Dan Patch Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous at The Meadowlands.  The Tony Alagna-trained 4-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere did not disappoint as Tim Tetrick steered him to a 1:51.3 mile, throwing in a :26.1 last quarter aided by a 30mph tailwind. Following qualifiers, the Tattersalls sale had nearly two dozen 2-year-olds in-training.  The colts and fillies performed for tele-timed and video-taped work-outs while track announcer/pedigree reader Sam McKee added color.  I sat with Jimmy Takter in the VIP simulcast room to watch the babies go and was treated to some insightful observations. Saturday was Preakness Day.  The Big M had an over abundance of events planned for the day.  Registration began at 1pm for the Stride for a Cure 5k, which benefits the American Cancer Society.  I registered and paid my $25 online, however only had plans to chase the runners with my camera.  At 3 pm the race began, and after capturing the runners’ shotgun start, I jumped into Marketing Manager Rachel Ryan’s car and starting taking more photos of the runners.  As they strode down the backstretch in front of the original grandstand, several industry notables were present.  Sam McKee must have had the exacta as both his daughters, Lindsey and Melissa were one-two for the women at the half, and finished in that order. Following the leaders, the elder McKee and other not-so-hurried runners moved down the long stretch toward the finish.  Bob Boni of Northwood Bloodstock and Callie Davies-Gooch of the Hambletonian Society cruised by at different times.  Andrea Caswell, the Meadowlands Stakes Administrator, and Rudy Maag, a 30-year employee of the track were encouraging each other with every stride.  Rudy was the stall man for the NJSEA from 1982 through 2011, but his first job in the horse business was as Thoroughbred a jockey! I jumped back into Rachel Ryan’s car and made my way to the finish line, being careful not to cross it.  Unfortunately the signal from my race bib transponder mistakenly picked up my presence.  I got an Email a few minutes later that noted I had finished in 7th place overall and 1st in my divison—22:29. Running immediately back to the finish, I lodged an objection.  “I am number 524 and I did not actually run the race in that time,”  I told the judges.  “I tripped the timer from 50 feet away!” This forced a complete re-posting of the leader board.  Even with runners still out on the track, the top 20 had already been published.  No good deed goes unpunished. Preakness post time was just after 6pm, with all eyes on California Chrome.  The shiny colt from Cali did not disappoint as throngs of fans filled the apron to watch the “Run for the Black Eyed Susans” on the M1 infield teletron.  For the D. A. P.-owned colt, it’s off to the Belmont, having successfully navigated through a few nasal-strip-enabled anxious moments. The Roosevelt Raceway Legacy night drew a hundred honored guests, as well as hundreds of fans seeking autographs.  As the crowd gathered on the apron around such legendary reinsman as Herve Filion, Carmine Abbatiello and Benny Webster, the line stretched halfway down the stretch.  The West Terrace housed an invitation only event complete with hot buffet and open bar.  Hollywood Heyden interviewed many of the icons of the era for the in-house broadcast. Inside the entrance to the grandstand, the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame had a memorabilia sample of their soon-to-be-unveiled Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Exhibit.  Old photos were for sale and a watercolor featuring Lucien Fontaine winning the Messenger with Valiant Bret was raffled-off by artist Jerry Dahl. An overnight race with modern drivers wearing the colors of their Roosevelt counterparts was won by Yannick Gingras wearing Fontaine’s colors.  The “Green Hornet” won 7 of 14 races on the busy night’s card. Of course, world-class racing was also on tap as the match-up between Sebastian K and Market Share took the stage in the $175,000 Cutler final.  Unfortunately, that duel never materialized as the latter made an uncharacteristic break, allowing the former to sprint home in a stakes record 1:50.2.  Somewhat fractious in the winner’s circle, the $2.4 million-winning Swedish star does not like to stand still.  Perhaps the lovely wife of owner/breeder Mike Knuttson held the key.  As she touched Sebastian K on the nose, the big horse stood still, albeit briefly, for the paparazzi. Sunday, it was back to the Meadowlands for a third straight day.  The Tattersalls Spring Mixed Sale was held in the race paddock where 4-year-old pacing mare American In Paris fetched $157,000 from Mark Harder.  The 2-year-olds in training also sold reasonably well.  Sales Manager David Reid noted that the reception was encouraging and should help garner support for future 2yo in-training offerings. The crew from the #Harness Racing Fan Zone was on-hand conducting interviews and building content.  Not only is the Top 100 moments in full swing, but a new promotional video was launched that captures the excitement of racing using Hi-Def action sequences shot with GoPro cameras affixed to the bikes and helmets of leading drivers.  Also, the Harness Racing Ambassadors platform has been buzzing with user-initiated content from tracks across the country. The always cheerful Jessica Schroeder was stationed at the USTA outreach booth, selling literature and facilitating ownership transfers.  We chatted about the upcoming #USTA Driving School, being held in mid-June at the Harness Racing Museum and Goshen Historic Track.  Students will learn from trainers such as Ray Schnittker and Mark Ford with the country’s leading conditioner, Ron Burke, giving the keynote address. Having had so much harness racing-related fun, I can’t wait until my next whirlwind weekend—this one was just over 800 miles! An exclusive blog for Harnesslink.com by Chris Tully    

Tonight’s excellent Paris-Vincennes card featured European eligible and Gr. III action for four-year-old males and females plus the Gr. II €120,000 Prix Kalmia for three year-old colts. Brillantissime (by Ready Cash) and favorite Duke of Greenwood scored victories and Athena de Vandel won the four year-old mares contest defeating favorite Tast of Bourbon (by Donato Hanover). Coverage follows. The Gr. III Prix Heraclite (Gr. III European four year-old females, purse €80,000) went to Athena de Vandel and trainer/driver Cedric Megissier. The Prince Gede mare scored her sixth career victory in 1.14.6kr over 2700 meters raising career earnings to €190,500. The fast closing favorite Tast of Bourbon (Donato Hanover-Qualita Bourbon-Love You) just missed for Jean-Pierre Dubois after escaping traffic trouble too late in the contest. Her stablemate Alisma du Corta (by Love You) was a very competitive third for reinsman Franck Nivard. Jean Baudron trains the Dubois pair. May 20, 2014 Paris Vincennes, Prix Heraclite, Gr. III European, €80,000, females, 2700 meters, 11 starters, 1.14.6kr Athena de Vandel (4f Prince Gede-Maelia de Vandel-Coktail Jet), Cedric Megissier trainer/driver, 3.4/1, owner Ecurie La Tour de Vandel, sixth win for €190,500 earnings 1st Tast of Bourbon (4f Donato Hanover-Qualita Bourbon-Love You), Jean-Pierre Dubois driver/owner, Jean Baudron trainer, Denmark, 1.3/1 favorite, first foal of dam she a winner of 21races for €1,538,050 and third in Prix d’Amerique 2nd Alisma du Corta (4f Love You-Marquise du Corta-Vikings Way), Franck Nivard for Jean Baudron trainer, Jean-Pierre Dubois owner, 20/1 3rd Rori Axe (4f Ready Cash-Gamire Grif-Kaisy Dream), Jos. Verbeeck for trainer Philippe Allaire, 9/2, Italy 4th Mustang’s Sally (4f Quick Wood-Star Groenhof-Malabar Man), Robin Bakker up for trainer P.J.P, Hagoort, 11/1, Germany The €80,000 Gr. III Prix Camilla for four year-old males went to favorite Duke of Greenwood (4, Otello Pierji-Nikki Groenhof-Meadow Road). Peter J. Strooper trains the Germany bred campaigner and Hugo Langeweg Jr. engineered the front end victory, his fourth for earnings of €174,698. The 2700 meter course was covered in 1.15.3kr. Regio (by Varenne) and Romanesque (by Love You) trailed the winner home. May 20, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Camilla, Gr. III European males, €80,000, 2700 meters, 12 starters, 1.15.3kr 1st Duke of Greenwood (4m Otello Pierji-Nikki Grounhof-Meadow Road), Hugo Langeweg Jr. for Peter J. Strooper trainer and M. Rothengatter owner, fourth win for €174,698, 1.2/1, Germany 2nd Regio (4m Varenne-Leopardia-Muscles Yankee), 9/2 odds, Robin Bakker for P.J.P Hagoort, Italy 3rd Romanesque (4m Love You-Quantanamera-Viking Kronos), Marco Smorgon trainer/driver, 29/1, Italy 4th Ah Quel Micha  (4m Rocklyn-Oceana du Phare-Vroum d’Or), Julien Dubois up for Philippe Moulin trainer, 6.5/1 5th Arpent d’Ostel (4m Meaulnes du Corta-Quina Perrine-Buvetier d’Aunou), J-Ph. Mary trainer/driver, 16/1 The Prix Kalmia, a Gr. II event for three-year-old colts over 2175 meters went to great gaited  Brillantissime (3m Ready Cash-Ivre de Victoire-Buvetier d’Aunou) for teamster Joseph Verbeeck and trainer Philippe Allaire. The owner/breeder is Frederic Saugue of this seven time winner of €318,950. He slipped through on the inside late to score a narrow win. Another Allaire pupil Boccador de Simm (by Rieussee) was a solid second for Pierre Vercruysse with third to favorite Brutus de Bailly (by Niky) and J-M Bazire. Purse was €120,000 and winning time was 1.13kr. May 20, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Kalmia Gr. II males, €120,000, 2175 meters, 9 starters, 1.13kr 1st Brillantissime (3m Ready Cash-Ivre de Victoire-Buvetier d’Aunou),  Joseph Verbeeck up for Philippe Allaire trainer and owner/breeder F. Saugue, 2/1 odds, seventh win for €318,950 2nd Boccador de Simm (3m Rieussee-Poupee Charmeuse-Hetre Vert), Pierre Vercruysse for Philippe Allaire, 3.5/1 odds 3rd Brutus de Bailly (3m Niky-Ninon de Bailly-Carnac), J-M Bazire, 1/1 favorite 4th Bolide du Gueron (3m Cygnus d’Odyssee-Olivia-Jenko), Franck Anne trainer/driver, 42/1 5th Bixente (3m Quaker Jet-Ketty Mesloise-Blue Dream), Jean-Etienne Dubois trainer/driver,  18/1 odds The Prix Firmament for aged European eligibles went to Sweden’s Moving On (5f Quite Easy-Kings Blondie-Ride The Night) in 1.14.3kr over 2100 meters autostart. Franck Nivard drove the winner for trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner I.C. Equine AB. Moving On recorded her tenth win now for earnings of €179,966. Italy’s Plutonio (by Self Possessed) was second for Christophe Martens in this €56,000 event. May 20, 2014 Paris Vincennes, Prix Firmament, European, €56,000m 2100 meters autostart, 13 starters, 1.14.3kr 1st Moving On (5f Quite Easy-Kings Blondie-Ride The Night), Franck Nivard up for Fabrice Souloy, 7.5/1 odds, Sweden, owner I.C. Equine AB, tenth win for €179,966 2nd Plutonio (5m Self Possessed-Indra Bi-Toss Out), Christophe Martens for trainer Ake Kristofferson, 4/1 odds, Italy 3rd Vertige d’Avril (5g Historien-Katia de Mai0Uhlan de Cocherel), M. Bezier up for Pascal A. Geslin 4th Staro Foot Loose (6m Daguet Rapide-Ideal Lease-Conway Hall), Robin Bakker for trainer Arnold J. Mollema, 4.8/1, Sweden 5th Revenna (6m Legendary Lover K-Coccola Jet-Supergill), Mathieu Mottier for Fabrice Souloy trainer, 25/1, Denmark by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Over a hundred runners, walkers and striders hit the Meadowlands Racetrack under partly sunny and breezy skies this afternoon in the 5th annual Stride For A Cure at the E. Rutherford oval.   The winning time of 19:39 was set by Mike Favocci of Hawthorne, NJ. The 24-year-old medical supply distributor broke from the start and never looked back to complete 3.1 mile course faster than the rest.   Several prominent people from inside the harness industry participated in the event, as well as several people with close ties to the Meadowlands. Director of Television/Announcer Sam McKee entered the event as did both his daughters, Lindsey and Melissa, who finished 1-2 respectively, in the women's group. Lindsey a former M1 publicity department employee, finished the race 2nd overall in just over 20 minutes.   Along the race route, Rudy Maag, long-time M1 stall man could be seen keeping pace with stakes administrator Andrea Caswell. Carrie Davies-Gooch from the Hambletonian Society made her second appearance in the event. Bob Boni, well-known horse sales agent and owner of Northwood Bloodstock was also keeping the pace.   Kids as young as four-years-old participated in the event, as well as adults in their 60s.   The event was founded by Meadowlands track photographer Michael Lisa and his wife, Annette, a breast cancer survivor. Runners and walkers, who paid a $25 entry fee which benefits the American Cancer Society, enjoyed their chance to trot around the racetrack before the horses take the stage for tonight's big card featuring the $175,000 Cutler Memorial. Billed as a 'Clash of the Titans' the race features a match-up between local hero Market Share and Swedish star Sebastian K.   by Chris Tully, for Harnesslink  

Charlottetown, PE - Van Zant has drawn the rail in the Saturday night feature event at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park while newcomer Sa Summers Luck is the morning line favorite in the Victoria Day pace for opening day card Monday at Red Shores Summerside to set the stage for a busy weekend of harness racing at Island tracks. First race post time on Saturday is 6pm while the Monday card is slated for a 1pm post time. Ron Matheson will drive Van Zant for his co-owner Tom Clark of Charlottetown and goes into the program with 989 career wins as a driver only 11 away from milestone 1,000. The team, which includes son Jackie as trainer, has been sharp posting two seconds and a victory over his last three starts. The Matheson stable will also send out General Luckypercy from post 6 with Gilles Barrieau in the bike. There will be stiff competition from Tempo Seelster (Vince Poulton) from post 3 while Sterling Seelster, who's riding a two race winning streak, will also make his presence felt for driver Marc Campbell and new owner Marie Cameron of Summerside. The all-star line-up also includes Blue Star Outlaw, Nobestbfor and Machinthesand. In other action, Abundaspin is making headlines in his last year of racing as the trotter hasn't tasted defeat since he returned to the track on April 26. Harold Shepherd will handle the 14 year-old lifetime winner of $471,504 in the open trot class. The other morning line favorites include newcomer Kan Wire, who arrives from London Ontario, and Caliban Hanover will attempt to spoil the party for Abundaspin and owner Mikeala Lustic of Cornwall. The Saturday card will begin with a first race post time at 6pm. For race programs, top picks and live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca Horses are back at Summerside Summerside, PE - The horses are back at Summerside! The new season gets underway Monday afternoon at Red Shores Summerside with an exciting 12 dash program. Post time is 1pm and the card will official launch the countdown to the Governor's Plate. The 11th race Victoria Day pace will headline the program with newcomer Sa Summers Luck being established as the morning line favorite for driver Corey MacPherson and the Bing Easter stable from O'Leary. The pacer was in action at Flamboro Downs in Ontario then made three starts at Truro which included a second place finish in a sparking 1:57.2. The Jason Hughes stable has two starters in the race with Bunny Mach (pp1) and Cambest Kisser (pp7) both capable of hitting the triactor ticket. The field has top guns like Paphos, Bet the House, Carnivore, Windemere Eric and Lucky Encounter. What a great match-up to kick off the 2014 season. Darren and Jennifer Trainor of Vernon River, who walked away with a truckload of trophies at the annual Prince County Horsemen's Club awards night recently, are favored to win the back-up class on the afternoon with Panda Bear in race 10. Marc Campbell gets the driving assignment from the husband and wife team who enjoyed Great Success at Summerside oval in 2013. Race analyst Jared Stretch is back with his top picks for the 2014 season and put Capitalism as his top choice in this class followed by Panda Bear and Onhotvet (4-3-5). For race programs, Jared's top picks and live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca. you can also follow the action on twitter @red_shores. by Lee A. Drake, for Red Shores

ANDERSON, Ind.-May 14, 2014 - Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will play host to a special matinee card of live harness racing on Friday, May 16 with an adjusted post time of 1 p.m. A total of 14 races will compliment the afternoon festivities showcasing exciting horse racing action, fan-friendly activities, and giveaways. The matinee card of live harness racing will be the prelude to a night full of entertainment as country music legend Clint Black will take Hoosier Park's Terrace Showroom stage at 8 p.m. In conjunction with the earlier post time, Fridays at Hoosier Park, dubbed 'Fan-tastic Fridays', feature $1 beers, $1 hot dogs and $1 live racing programs and will also start at 1 p.m. Also on Fridays, racing fans will be welcomed to enter the 'Beat the Big Guy' promotion for a chance to win up to $250 in race wagering. To enter, guests must submit their designated win selections for races 3 through 8. The participant who earns the most in winnings and beats Rod 'The Big Guy' Ratcliff, Centaur's chairman and chief executive officer, will win $250 in race wagering. All participants earning more winnings than 'The Big Guy' will have a chance at another $500 in a next day drawing. The 14-race card will be highlighted by two divisions of the "Go On BB" late closing series, an event open to fillies and mares that are non-winners of 2 pari-mutuel starts or $15,000 lifetime. At the conclusion of the live racing card, Hoosier Park will prepare for Clint Black to take the stage at 8 p.m. with gates opening at 7:15 p.m. "We strive to bring our fans the very best in racing and the very best in entertainment here at Hoosier Park," Hoosier Park's Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. "With the earlier post time, it will allow us to showcase everything Hoosier Park has to offer to our customers and we hope they are as excited about the entire day as we are." With more than 30 singles on the US Billboard country charts, 22 of which have reached number one, Clint Black will make a stop at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino as part of the 2014 concert line-up in the brand-new Terrace Showroom. The 1,200-seat, state-of-the-art indoor facility features custom built and cushioned theater-style seating and an arena quality light and sound system. Additionally, 14 luxurious private suites complete with personal thirty-two inch HDTVs, modern lounge furniture, and a premium-dining menu will be available. Clint Black concert tickets, starting at $30, are still on sale and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 800-745-3000 or by visiting Ticketmaster.com. Concertgoers may also purchase directly from the box offices located in Shelby's Gifts at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino or the Logo Shop located at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. Club Centaur and Grand Rewards members will receive a 20 percent discount on tickets purchased at their respective box offices. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park  

The 2014 Pinjarra Pacing Cup Sponsorship Raffle was drawn at the Pinjarra Paceway on Friday evening; Mr Kim Tuckey is the winner of naming rights to the $50,000 Kim Tuckey Pinjarra Pacing Cup, to be run on Monday 2 Kim Tuckey is a familiar face to most at the Pinjarra Paceway; not only is he a local business owner, horse owner and current Vice President, Kim has been a dedicated volunteer, Committeeman and Past President of the Club for many years. Kim was an instrumental figure in the construction of the Club’s Paceway Pavilion, which opened in 2011. In addition to naming rights to the premier country Pacing Cup in Western Australia, Kim’s prize includes hospitality for twenty guests on Cup Day, race book advertisements and on-course promotional opportunities. This is the third consecutive year that the Pinjarra Harness Racing Club has conducted the Naming Rights Sponsorship Raffle and the 33 tickets sold this year indicates great support for this unique promotion. Second to eighth placegetters in the Raffle each receive naming rights to a supporting race on Cup Day, racebook advertising and hospitality for four guests, including a delicious roast lunch and beverages. The lucky 2nd to 8th prize winners are: Medic Aid Tuckey’s Mitre 10 Huckleberry’s Tank & Water Service Regency Foods (x2) Off The Track (RWWA) Dudley Parker All ticketholders who didn’t win a major prize will each receive hospitality for two guests on Cup Day. The Pinjarra Harness Racing Club sincerely thanks all those who supported the Naming Rights Sponsorship Raffle by purchasing a ticket this year.

Westfield, IN- May 15th is the deadline to apply for the Harness Horse Youth Foundation summer programs. Complete 2014 schedule information, along with applications for the Foundation's Youth Camps, and one- and two-day introductory events, is available at http://www.hhyf.org/schedule-applications. HHYF's popular overnight youth camps, for students 12-14, will be held June 21-25 at Harrington, in Delaware; July 14-18 at Vernon Downs in New York; and July 21-25 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, in Pennsylvania. These camps culminate with a driving exhibition on Hambletonan Day at The meadowlands on August 2. These camps feature hands-on experience, including driving, using the organization's stable of Trottingbred horses. The HHYF Leadership camp at Goshen New York is full and closed. Week-long camp fees are just $150, including lodging, meals and all materials. Fees are not due until registration. Shorter introductory programs for children ages 11 and up are scheduled for Ocean Downs in Maryland on June 27; Cumberland, Maine on June 30, July 1 and 3 (separate programs); Cornish, Maine on July 2; Gaitway Farms in New Jersey on July 30-31; and at Scioto Downs in Ohio on August 5. Registration fees for one day programs are $25 and include lunch and all materials. Fees may be paid at registration. "Our sponsors help us keep our fees quite reasonable compared to other camps," says HHYF project manager Keith Gisser. "I don't think there's a youth equine program anywhere that gives you more bang for your buck. Regardless of cost there is no better way to introduce youngsters to the business and sport of harness racing. Remember applications need to be postmarked by May 15." The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org. For more information on this press release, contact Keith Gisser, hhyfkeith@earthlink.net or 216-374-1392. From HHYF    

MANALAPAN, NJ - May 7, 2014 - Nomination payments are due for New Jersey-sired yearlings on May 15, 2014 for the 2015 Harold and Marion Dancer Trots, the 2015 New Jersey Futurity and the 2016 editions of the Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic, Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey, the Charles and Helen Smith Trots. Additionally, the second sustaining payments for the 2014 Harold and Marion Dancer Trots and this year's New Jersey Futurity are also due on May 15. Applications and conditions are available on www.sboanj.com or by contacting the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey at 732-462-2357. The payments for these stakes should be sent to SBOANJ, 64 Business Route 33, Manalapan, NJ 07726. The yearling nominating fees range from $25 to $35 while the sustaining payments are $400 for the Dancers and $300 for the Futurity. by Carol Hodes, for SBOANJ      

The excitement in harness racing starts to build as the starting car drives into position and the gates fan out engaging the horses to approach. During that time, the Starter announces to the drivers to approach and the race is about to kick off! Brad Pittock of The Raceway at Western Fair, (located in London, ON) is the Starter who prides himself on fairness and always keeping in mind safety at all times. Whenever the starting car moves into position, Brad like all starters faces the field and is also the eyes for the driver of the starting car, notifying him of any horses nearby if and when the cars has to make any turns. Brad watches as each horse approaches ensuring everyone is aware of the timing. The starter must also control the tempo using a joystick as an accelerator, (which is connected to the driver's foot accelerator), to increase the starting car's velocity while on his left side there is a switch to open and close the gates. "I operate the speed of the car around the turn" explains Brad. "It is pretty much like a golf swing, you continue to pick up speed around the turn and ideally when you get to the start, you're flowing away from (the field). You don't want to bring them up to the start and just take off... this way the horses can come out on their best foot and follow through." Yes there is a driver in the front seat who steers, but it's the Starter who must ensure there is fairness by maintaining a gradual rise in speed so all horses leave the gate together. The Starter keeps an eye out for any broken equipment and is in constant communication with the judges pending any inquiries after the race and if a horse is required to go to the test barn after each race. The Starter must relay all information clearly to the horsemen, so everyone is aware and not caught off guard. Communication is of vital importance as any hiccup not only affects the horses and horsemen, but the betting public as well. Brad announces through his microphone to the drivers at one minute intervals starting when there is three minutes to post. "I say three minutes, two minutes, one minute and when we get to the middle of the track that is the official call (to post). There is a horn and a light, what I will do is hit the horn and turn on the light and that is called by the rule book the 'official call' and then I will see the horses coming my way." Brad says. "Generally if there is a scratch in the race, when they're coming up I will give a verbal (announcement) as to what the scratches are." Brad notes, "they're very aware, but if a driver is in every race, he may not know (there is a scratch). A 'scratch' means a horses has been pulled out of the race after the program has been released. A horse can be scratched for various reasons, primarily the reason is due to the horse being sick or the racetrack Veterinarian doesn't feel the horse is fit enough to race. "I've had my starter's license for 14 years" says Brad. "I originally started in Hanover and I've also filled in at Flamboro Downs. I've also worked at Woodstock and at Grand River when Grand River first started. I've been here (at Western Fair) for the last eight years and I work at Clinton Raceway as well." By doing so, Brad has a year round job as a starter as Western Fair races from September to May and Clinton Raceway conducts live racing from June through August. Brad also trains two horses on the side. Brad went to Seneca College for the Harness Horse Industry Operation program that was taught by well known trainer Benjamin Wallace. "I also worked down in the States for a few years for a buddy who (learned) his trade under Linda Tuscano." Brad explains. "I've also worked for a couple different barns training horses and then had a public stable. More recently, probably the last twelve years I've just had a couple horses myself and do the starting for a living." Brad's personality suits his career as he's always conscientious about others and their well being. "I want to be able to give everybody an opportunity to make a living with their horses" says Brad and this is his motivation for every race. Aside from looking out for everyone's interest, Brad took the Starter's role as a means to make a living as well as training horses. Brad taking care of his own needs helps facilitate the needs of others in an honest and moral way. "You want to make sure the public has a fair and equitable opportunity for their dollar and give them a good chance. Also with my horse background I know how tough it is to make a living owning horses and training horses... it is a strength for me to be conscientious for others to make a living." Every track Brad works at has a different driver. So being able to work cohesively with as many people possible is a major aspect for Brad to ensure everything from his standpoint runs in a fluid manner. "It's a partnership for sure" says Brad. Every race needs someone like Brad, someone who cares for everyone! Brad enjoys taking fans in the starting car for a great experience, a view unlike any other. To see the horses, nostrils flaring in eager anticipation, going into full step as the starting car pulls away is second to none. The only people with a better view are the harness drivers themselves. At Western Fair, the car pulls away going into the first turn and sitting to Brad's right give you a full view action of the horses battling for position going into the turn and you are able to get a full view on the back end as the horses come out of the first turn. Even better, with Western Fair being a half mile track, as the starting car sits in the far side away from the grandstand, you're able to witness the thrill of the drivers making moves to the outside as they gear up for the final 1/2 mile coming out of the third turn. This is where key decision making comes into play by the drivers and ultimately having a major factor in outcome. If you're interested in riding along in the starting car, be sure to check with the Racing Manager at Western Fair, Greg Blanchard. If and when it is possible, Greg would be sure to have you enjoy the experience of a lifetime along with Brad. The ride does get bumpy so be sure to hold on! By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com  Twitter: ScSupernova

Topflight trotting action took place Friday-Saturday in France at Paris-Vincennes and Enghien including Quinte+ on both programs and graded events for four year-olds (males and females). The Prix Gaston de Wazieres, a Gr. II 120,000e test for four year-old mares over 2100 meters autostart, went to Alesia d'Atout with Mathieu Mottier aboard. This pair prevailed in a close photo over two Dubois-clan rivals, Africaine with Jean-Etienne Dubois up and the Julien Dubois teamed Atlesima. The winner was timed in a solid 1.12.6kr as she recorded her sixth career victory. April 18, 2014, Paris-Vincennes, Prix Gaston de Wazieres, Gr. II females, 120,000e, 2100 meters autostart, 13 starters, 1.12.6kr 1st Alesia d'Atout (4f Defi d'Aunou-New York Jet-Halimede), Mathieu Mottier up for trainer Dominique Mottier and owner J.Y. Lherete, 3.7/1, her sixth win for 321,250e lifetime 2nd Africaine (4f Oiseau de Feux-Italiene), Jean Etienne Dubois driver/trainer, 3.5/1 odds 3rd Atlesima (4f Rocklyn-Noblessima), Julien Dubois up for trainer Philippe Moulin, 2/1 The males four year-oilds contested the 120,000e Gr. II Prix Gaston Brunet and favored Aladin d'Ecajeul took the top prize for reinsman Eric Raffin and trainer Sebastian Guarato. The victory raised his earnings to over 496,000e as he scored in hand to stop the timer in 1.13kr. The son of Quaker Jet looks like he could be an aged contender for future years. April 18, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Gaston Brunet, Gr. II males, 120,000e, 2100 meters autostart, 9 starters, 1.13kr 1st Aladin d'Ecajeul (4m Quaker Jet-Nancy d'Ecajeul-Halimede), Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastian Guarato, 1.1/1 odds, owner Philippe DeWulf, ninth career win 2nd Africain (4m Oardo-Kamine), Franck Nivard up, 9/1 3rd Adonis du Goutier (4m Coktail Jet-Quintaescencia), Dominik Locqueneux, 43/1 Also on the Friday evening program at Vincennes there was an interesting undercard. The Quinte+ Prix Alethem went to Under Blue, handled by Pierre Vercruysse for trainer Bjorn Goop. The six-year old daughter of Elvis de Rossignol scored in 1.14.5kr over 2850 meters. Favorites dominated the contest causing the 2e exact order payoff (absent jackpot) to be only 2,784e. April 18, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Alethem, 75,000e, 2850 meters distance handicap, 16 starters, 1.14.5kr, Quinte+ jackpot 7.45 million euros 1st Under Blue (6m Elvis de Rossignol-Jangala-Buvetier d'Aunou), Pierre Vercruysse for trainer Bjorn Goop and owner Lars Hallberg, ninth career win for 210,850e lifetime, odds were 2.5/1 2nd Ultra Classique (6m Kiwi-Javana de Moi), Eric Raffin, 6/10 odds 3rd Tina Jolie (7f Jasmin de Flore-Minea des Picanes), Anthony Barrier, 9/1 Lightly raced three year-old fillies contested the Prix Palma with victory to the second time winner Bianca de Lou. The daughter of Ready Cash from Prima de Lou by Coktail Jet was reined by Christophe Martens. Dubois fillies by Password and Goetmals Wood finished second and fourth in the closely fought event. April 18, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Palma, females, 35,000e, 2850 meters, 14 starters, 1.16.9kr 1st Bianca de Lou (3f Ready Cash-Prima de Lou-Coktail Jet), Christophe Martens, 2/1, Vincent Martens trainer for Ecurie Olmenhof, her second win for 30,600e euros lifetime 2nd Belle d'Hommeur (3f Password-Place d'Honneur), Julien Dubois, 66/1 3rd Blue Comet (3f Ni Ho Ped d'Ombree-Komete d'Urzy), P-Y Verva, 56/1 4th Be You Soon (3f Goetmals Wood-See You Soon), Patrick Chevrier, 50/1 Saturday action at Enghien showcased a solid victory by well-regarded Clint W. Boko in the Prix de l'Arginne. The five year-old son of Abano As from Holland scored in 1.12.9kr with fast closing fractions over the 2150 meter distance. Robin Bakker was in town to handle the winner for trainer Paul Hagoort. April 19, 2014 Enghien, Prix de l'Argonne, 2150 meters autostart, 15 starters, 72,000e, 1.12.9 kr Fractions: 1.13.5kr at 1000; 1.13.7kr at 500 1st Clint W. Boko (5m Abano As-Vantz Boko-Garland Lobell), Robin Bakker up for trainer Paul J.P. Hagoort, his ninth win for career earnings of 244,591e, Holland, 4.7/1 2nd Vulcain de Vandel (5m Jag de Bellouet-Ophelia de Vandel), Franck Nivard trainer/driver, 2.5/1 3rd Dream Magic BE (5m Dream Vacation-Dentesca Cla), Josef Franzl trainer/driver, 14/1, Germany Also on Saturday, Alex The Winner posted an impressive score in the Prix de Lons-le-Saunier for male four year-olds. Jean-Etienne Dubois piloted his owned/trained pupil to the fourth career victory for the powerful striding chestnut son of Orlando Vici. April 19, 2014 Enghien, Prix de Lons-le-Saunier, 2150 meters autostart, 13 starters, 46,000e, 1.14.4 1st Alex The Winner (4m Orlando Vici-Likely Jet-Defi d'Aunou), Jean-Etienne Dubois driver/trainer/owner, 9/10 favorite, his fourth win for lifetime earnings of 72,520e 2nd Ambre Atout (4g Coktail Jet-Maya d'Atout), Franck Nivard up, 8/1 3rd Andalou d'Huon (4m Otello Pierji-Nina d'Huon), Michel Lenoir, 33/1 The day's Quinte+ event went to Uprince with Franck Nivard teaming. He defeated a solid veteran field in 1.12.7kr over 2150 meters autostart in the 60,000e Prix de la Porte d'Auteuil. The Barjon owned, Pierre Levesque driven Tornado de l'Ocean was second ahead of Elles W.Phedo with Johanna Lindqvist at the lines. April 19, 2014 Enghien, Prix de la Porte d'Auteuil, 2150 meters autostart, 15 starters, 60,000e, 1.12.7kr, Quinte+ with 7.5 million euro jackpot 1st Uprince (6g Prince d'Espace-Malupricia-Capriccio), Franck Nivard, 2.7/1, his 10th win for career earnings of 312.700 euros 2nd Tornado de l'Ocean (7g Look de Star-Taluina), Pierre Levesque, 3.5/1 3rd Elles W. Phedo (8f Kesaco Phedo-Elles W. Lolita), Johanna Lindqvist, 12/1 by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

American In Paris has taken the Meadowlands by storm. A 4-year-old female pacer, American In Paris is 6-for-6 this season, with all her victories coming at the Big M. Her two most recent triumphs were in the preliminary rounds of the Artistic Vision Series, which concludes Saturday with a $55,800 final. American In Paris will start the final from post two with driver Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines for trainer/co-owner Ron Burke. Art Ideal, another Burke mare, leaves from post seven in the seven-horse field. She finished second in both her preliminary legs. Saturday's card also features the $63,000 Whata Baron Series final for male pacers. Captive Audience, who is unbeaten in three races this year, drew post three for trainer Corey Johnson. Wake Up Peter, who also won both his preliminary rounds, starts from post seven for trainer Larry Remmen. American In Paris won five of six races as a 2-year-old, then won five of 16 last season at age 3. She was winless in her final six starts last season, but turned the corner this year with the addition of Lasix. She won the second round of the Artistic Vision Series in a career-best 1:50. "She had a few issues last year," said co-owner Mark Weaver. "This year, I think the key is we added Lasix; maybe we should have had her on it sooner. "Earlier this year, she almost raced like a thoroughbred, with two or three weeks between starts. It's hard to be in top condition when you do that, so I thought we still hadn't seen the best of her. She's pretty good. I'm not saying she could beat the top horses, but I'm not saying she couldn't." American In Paris is a daughter of stallion American Ideal out of the mare Sendingforth. She was purchased originally for $4,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale by Iowa's Nolan Van Otterloo. She finished second in her first start and then won twice before being purchased by Burke, Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. "We've bought horses from (the Van Otterloos) before and it's been a good connection for us," Weaver said. "They have a pretty good knack at buying some underpriced horses and usually at least one of them hits." Although Weaver thinks American In Paris might be able to compete against the division's best, she probably will have few chances this year. "She's not staked, but she's only (age) 4, so that might not be a bad thing," Weaver said. "We usually don't stake the 4-year-olds too heavily. We'll probably pick our spots; there's enough money to be made, hopefully, in some of the invitationals and opens. "Depending how she does, we could shut her down a little early and may stake her up for her 5-year-old year." As for the immediate challenge of fending off six rivals in the Artistic Vision final, Weaver likes American In Paris' chances. Other contenders include Josh Parker's JK Letitgo, who has won seven of nine races this year, and Chris Ryder's Road Bet, who won a preliminary leg in the series. "She's in a good spot," Weaver said about American In Paris. "There are some pretty nice horses in there, but the way she's been racing, I think she'll be pretty tough to beat." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

TORONTO, April 14 - After failing to find the winner's circle in both preliminary legs, Reasonable Force found his best stride when it counted the most as he captured this year's edition of the $36,200 Youthful Series final Monday at Woodbine. In doing so, the Doug McNair-driven sophomore returned $33.00 to his backers. McNair and Reasonable Force were in no hurry off the gate as Account Rollover (Randy Waples) cleared to the lead past the opening station in :27.1. Account Rollover, who found the wire in the first leg of the series, continued to lead his nine rivals past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. McNair began the first-over attack around the final turn and was within striking distance of the tempo-setter turning for home. Down the stretch, McNair asked his charge for more pace and the three-time winner responded with a two length win. Post time favourite Andreios Kardia (Steve Byron) finished second, with Dragon Seelster (Paul Macdonell) finishing third. Trained by Tony Montini for owners Doug Dunbar and Steve LeBlanc, Reasonable Force lifted his career earnings to $44,840. The son of Shadow Play now has a 2-2-1 record from eight starts this season. Also on Monday's program, the second round of the Lifetime Dream series continued with two $18,000 divisions. Rose Run Oriana (Randy Waples) kicked-off the 10-race programme with a 1:54.2 score in the first division. The daughter of Trainforthefuture enjoyed a new career best in the debut for trainer Corey Johnson. Waples led gate-to-wire with the 15-time winner through panels of :28, :57 and 1:25.3, before fending off 3/5 favourite Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) in deep stretch to win by one and a half lengths. Samira Hanover (Paul Macdonell) finished third. Owned by Rolling Hills Racing Stables, Rose Run Oriana will look for the series sweep next week as her bankroll increased to $134,717. She paid $4.90 to win. One race later, Her Name Is Lola (Phil Hudon) enjoyed her fifth career score at odds of 3-1. The daughter of Majestic Son laid parked on the outside at the quarter in :28.2, before clearing to the lead before the half in :57.2. From there, the trotting miss led her five rivals past in 1:26.1 before fending off a late challenge from Frisky Magic (Randy Waples) to win by a nose. Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Trained by Russell Bax for Baxmar Holsteins Ltd, Her Name Is Lola increased her bankroll to $85,560. She paid $8.70 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

The Pinjarra Harness Racing Club is once again conducting a sponsorship raffle for Naming Rights to the $50,000 Pinjarra Pacing Cup. The annual Pinjarra Pacing Cup Raffle, now in its third year, has proven to be a great success for the Club as a unique promotion in WA harness racing. The Raffle Winner will receive Naming Rights to the 2014 $50,000 Pinjarra Pacing Cup – the richest event on the Pinjarra Paceway calendar. There are strictly limited 50 Raffle tickets available and all ticketholders win a prize. In addition to the Cup naming rights, the Club has added new component to the Raffle for 2014 – the 1st Prize winner will also receive a Track Sign (on the perimeter of the track fence) on-course for 12 months. Permanent track signage on-course is an excellent mechanism for sponsors to not only achieve visibility to the race day audience, but also gain exposure on Sky Racing television and to members of the public who attend private functions and community events at the Pinjarra Paceway throughout the year. Full details of the Naming Rights Raffle Prizes are: 1st Prize Exclusive Naming Rights to the 2014 $50,000 Pinjarra Pacing Cup.  Naming rights to one supporting race on Cup Day.  15m x 1.2m Track Sign for 1 year. Company logo placement in all Cup Day advertising. Full Page, colour race book advertisement on Cup Day. Hospitality trackside for 20 guests – including a delicious lunch & beverages on Cup Day.  On-course promotional opportunities.   2nd to 8th Prize Naming rights to one supporting race on Cup Day.  Half page race book advertisement.  Hospitality trackside for 4 guests on Cup Day. 9th to 50th Prize Hospitality trackside for 2 guests on Cup Day. The Pinjarra Pacing Cup race day is on the long weekend, Monday 2nd June 2014. All Raffle Ticketholders will be invited to a cocktail function for drawing of the Naming Rights Raffle, in early May. Last year popular Pinjarra local trainer and business owner, Dudley Parker, was the winner of naming rights to the 2013 Parker Family Pinjarra Pacing Cup. The Pinjarra Harness Racing Club sincerely thanks all those who have previously supported the Sponsorship Raffle and encourages them to be involved again this year. Not only does the Pinjarra Pacing Cup attract some of the best pacers WA has to offer, it’s a day filled with fun and entertainment for the entire family. There will be live music between races, a Punters Club, bouncy castle and activities for the kids. Three bars, a canteen and the Paceway Pavilion restaurant will be open with delicious dining options. For further information or to purchase a Pinjarra Pacing Cup Naming Rights Raffle Ticket please contact General Manager, Sian Hughes at the Pinjarra Paceway. Alan Parker    

The Gary Hall trained Elegant Christian can give those who are fascinated with the breeding of Standardbreds a night to remember in the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby on Friday night. The gelding is bred on almost identical lines to the 2013 WA Derby winner Alta Christiano which gave trainer Gary Hall his first WA Derby win last year. Both horses are sons of Christian Cullen and both are out of mares by sons of Cam Fella (out of mares by Albatross) and both have a grand-dam by a son of Albatross. Victory to Elegant Christian would give Christian Cullen his third WA Derby success after the success of Alta Christiano in 2013 and In The Force in 2005. Three sires in Alfred Donald, Sheik and Classic Garry have each sired four winners of the WA Derby and Christian Cullen would join King Oro as a three time winning sire. King Oro’s three WA Derby winners were Jack Oro (1953), Bobbie Oro (1956) and King Aflame (1960). All three were out of different mares by Jack Potts that had been imported to Western Australia from New Zealand to improve bloodlines in this State. Alan Parker   Assistant Manager - Harness Racing                  

With the Championship Meet at The Meadowlands nearly upon us, The Road to The Meadowlands Pace has begun. The 2014 Road to the Pace is quite different than the 2013 edition. One year ago, just 30 horses were nominated with 29 still eligible after the first sustaining payment. A large factor in this was the presence of Captaintreacherous. With no standout performer and improvements made to the payment schedule of The Meadowlands Pace in 2014, 59 three year olds were nominated to The Meadowlands signature event and 56 of those 59 made the March sustaining payment. Each week leading up to the event, Director of Racing Operations and Oddsmaker Darin Zoccali will publish an installment of "The Road to The Meadowlands Pace," with the first installment available today. The publication features a top 10 of Meadowlands Pace contenders, each of which is assigned a spring-book morning line for the event and includes updated information regarding earnings, lifetime mark, trainer, driver and also includes some of Zoccali's thoughts on each horse. He's Watching will begin as the #1 horse in Zoccali's rankings, set at 4-1. "He was voted as the Two Year Old Pacing Champion last year. He deserves to be on top of the rankings until he gives me a reason that he shouldn't be. It's a wide open year and I expect a lot more movement through the rankings this year as opposed to last year when it seemed to be Captaintreacherous and nine others each week." One horse not in the rankings is Arthur Blue Chip as it was announced via Standardbred Canada that the Ian Moore trained colt suffered a stall injury and would miss a "significant part of the year." Zoccali initially had Arthur Blue Chip listed at #2 in the rankings prior to the injury. Conspicuous by his absence in the top 10 is National Debt, the undefeated winner of The Buddy Gilmour Series earlier this year at The Meadowlands. "I am sure some in the industry would have him in the top 10," said Zoccali. "But as of now, the only Meadowlands Pace eligible that he has defeated is Capital Account and while his upside and potential is immense, I want to see what he does against these quality horses before moving him up on the list. But make no mistake, he is on the doorstep." The complete Road To The Meadowlands Pace is available at http://www.meadowlandspace.com/pdf/Road_To_The_Pace-Week1.pdf and will be updated each week. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

TORONTO , April 7 - Sophomore pacing colts and geldings were showcased Monday evening at Woodbine in the second round of the Youthful Series. Andreios Kardia, driven by Steve Byron, captured the first of two divisions in 1:55.4 over a 'Good' track. Byron was in no hurry at the start as Regal Son (Randy Waples) made his way to the front to lead the field of six past the first quarter in :27.2. As the talented pacers headed towards the half, Paul Macdonell elected to send second-choice Dragon Seelster to the front before the half in :58. Kuchar (Jody Jamieson) began the first-over attack around the final turn, giving live cover to 4-5 favourite Andreios Kardia. Kuchar and Dragon Seelster matched strides past three-quarters in 1:27.3, but down the lane Byron showed Andreios Kardia open racetrack and the son of Badlands Hanover exploded in deep stretch to capture his third career victory. Trained by James Madill for owner Ina Madill, Andreios Kardia increased his bankroll to $28,480. With the track down-graded to 'Sloppy,' Highland Tartan and James MacDonald captured the second division as the favourite in 1:56.2. MacDonald elected to sit in the two-hole in the early going as Reasonable Force (Jody Jamieson) made their way to the front past the opening quarter in :27.1. Highland Tartan was then angled to the outside and crossed over to command to lead past the middle-half in :59.1 and 1:29.1. As the field turned for home, Reasonable Force angled out of the pocket, but could only reach the leaders saddle pad as Highland Tartan prevailed in deep stretch to score the narrow win. Little Ben (Luc Ouellette) enjoyed a ground saving trip to finish third. Trained and co-owned by Marty Fine along with Mary Clark, Highland Tartan enjoyed his second career victory as his lifetime earnings now sits at $15,200. The son of Major In Art paid $4.90 to win. The Youthful Series is for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers, who are non-winners of three races of $15,000 in 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

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