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TROT INSIDER has reported that Hall of Fame trotting sire Kadabra was laid to rest this past weekend at the age of 22. After sustaining an injury to his right hock in November 2020, personnel at Tara Hills Stud — where Kadabra stood — retired the stallion from breeding duty. "Kadabra leaves a great legacy and influence on the Standardbred breed, not only in Ontario, but industry wide," said David Heffering of Tara Hills Stud in a statement on his retirement this past January. "Over the course of a 17-year stallion career, Kadabra has cemented his place as one of the all-time great trotting stallions with progeny earnings of over $101 million. Champion fillies and colts included Bee A Magician, Emoticon Hanover, Daylon Magician, Flanagan Memory, Caprice Hill, Forbidden Trade, Poof Shes Gone, Will Take Charge, and many more. "It has been a great honour for us to have cared for and managed Kadabra throughout his stallion career. Thank you for your support over the years." The Illinois-bred son of Primrose Lane and Quillo enjoyed outstanding success on the racetrack, winning 10 of 14 races as a two-year-old before an unforgettable sophomore season which saw him win another 11 races and bank nearly $1.6 million. After winning the Stanley Dancer and the American-National in the summer of his three-year-old campaign, Kadabra strung together four wins in as many tries north of the 49th parallel, registering clean sweeps in the 2002 Canadian Trotting Classic and Breeders Crown. Wins in the Arther Cutler Memorial and Titan Cup highlighted his brief four-year-old season, which brought a 25-win, $2.1 million showing on the racetrack to its conclusion. And though mightily successful on the racetrack, it was through his career a stallion that Kadabra marked himself as a true game changer in Canadian harness racing. All told, Kadabra sired over 1,300 horses, with 926 having made the races, 147 taking marks of 1:55 or faster, and eight earning at least $1 million in their respective racing careers. His dominance on the racetrack and in the breeding shed alike earned him the highest distinction in Canadian horse racing possible: a place in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted in 2012. After his induction into the Hall, Kadabra's offspring continued to cement his legacy. His top performers include quadruple millionaire Bee A Magician, who won a Breeders Crown in 2013 and collected O'Brien Awards in 2012, 2013 and 2015; two-time Breeders Crown winner Emoticon Hanover; and 2019 Hambletonian and Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year winner Forbidden Trade.   From Trot Insider

Officials with Harness Racing BC have announced that Fraser Downs' scheduled card of live racing for tonight (Friday, December 5) has been cancelled. The cancellation has come due to unsafe track conditions. Jackson Wittup, HRBC’s executive director, has told Standardbred Canada's Trot Insiderthat “after a week of cold and frost and warmer temperatures today the frost is now coming out of the track.” Wittup also stated that a decision will be made Sunday morning in regard to the card of live racing which is scheduled to go forward this Sunday afternoon.  

It was announced yesterday by owners Richard and Joanne Young and trainer Chris Ryder that the party is over for world champion pacer I Luv The Nitelife as she has been retired from racing. After attempting to come back from an injury sustained at the end of the 2013 season, owners Richard and Joanne Young made the decision to quit with I Luv The Nitelife on Tuesday. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover - Lisjune was winless in two starts this year after recovering from a slab knee fracture and atrial fibrillation. "[She] has a few issues we didn't feel she deserved to race with," trainer Chris Ryder confirmed to Trot Insider. "Just a great mare, all heart. Very saddened by her retirement but it is the thing to do." Richard Young purchased I Luv The Nitelife, a daughter of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Lisjune, for $60,000 under the name Hard Rock Deo at the Lexington Selected Sale in 2011. Richard Young loves to name his yearlings with something unique and came up with "I Luv The Nitelife" as he has done with other top horses he and Joanne own including Put On A Show.  Now according to the Young's, I Luv The Nitelife will go to the breeding shed next season. "We are going to miss you racing sweet girl!," Joanne Young said, "Oh, but the babies you will make!" As a two-year-old, 'Nitelife' put together a record reading 4-4-1 in 10 freshman starts to bank $682,574 in purses for the Youngs and trainer Chris Ryder. In addition to setting a world record of 1:50.1 in an elimination of the She's A Great Lady at Mohawk Racetrack, she also won the final along with divisions of the Eternal Camnation and Bluegrass Stakes. I Luv The Nitelife was also a runner-up in the Champlain Stake, International Stallion Stakes and Breeders Crown. The O'Brien voters gave her the nod as their choice for Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in 2012. The voters had no doubt who was the best three-year-old pacing filly in 2013. I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races last year and $1.25 million en route to divisional honours as Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in Canada and capturing USHWA's Dan Patch Award in the U.S. Her sophomore triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge, Lynch Memorial, Jugette, Mistletoe Shalee and Miss New Jersey Pacing Classic. Her 1:48.4 time in the Valley Forge is the world record for a three-year-old filly on a five-eighths-mile track.   For her career, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune has won 17 of 27 races and $1.94 million. No female pacer in harness racing history has won more money at ages two and three. "‎Very appreciative of the honors she accumulated," added Ryder. "Very special. She will be impossible to replace." With two world records and multiple stakes under her belt, one of her losses stands out to her co-owner as the race that shows her guts and determination. "Her last race [at three] in the American National," Richard Young told Trot Insider. "She should have lost by 10 and just got beat. One of the most memorable races of my life, and more than likely the race that ended her career." ‎"A mare like 'Nitelife' is as good as it gets, all business," continued Young. "She gave all she had in every race. She didn't wait for things to set up. She forced everyone to alter their style to race her. "If she passes her will to compete, she will be the ultimate broodmare." by Steve Wolf for with files from Trot Insider

Trot Insider has learned that O'Brien Award winning driver Trevor Ritchie, one of the most respected and accomplished drivers in Canadian harness racing, is handing over the reins and retiring from active competition. Ritchie, who cut his teeth driving at Western Fair before moving to the Ontario Jockey Club, has won both the prestigious North America Cup (Quite A Sensation, 1986) and Hambletonian (Yankee Paco, 2000) in his long and illustrious driving career. "Driving horses gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people and go to a lot of places that I would not have otherwise visited and I consider myself lucky," Ritchie told Trot Insider on Monday. "I have been very fortunate in my career to have driven some great horses and I would like to thank all the trainers and owners that trusted me to drive for them. I would also like to thank all the caretakers who as we all know were a very important part in any success I've had." To view the rest of this story click here.

At least 20 horses perished Sunday, June 1 in a barn fire which took place in Langley, British Columbia. The reports state the barn that caught fire was located on 224th Street near 40th Avenue. It has been reported that the majority of the horses stabled in the barn were trained by Bill Davis and owned by Rick Mowles of the J J J Stables. Investigations into the cause of the fire are currently underway. Early reports indicated that no horses made it out of the blaze. Pat Walker, the assistant fire chief with the Township of Langley, has told the CBC that two people from an adjacent barn were treated for smoke inhalation and were later released. Walker also said that the cause of the blaze is unknown at this time. "At this point in time, we're aware of at least 20 horses that perished in the fire, so we're in the overhaul process right now and due to the nature of the construction of the barn and the contents, we'll have to get a machine to clear the tin off and get at the animals," Walker told the CBC. A report which appears on the website of the Vancouver Sun states that 17 Standardbreds, which were valued at up to $1 million, lost their lives in the blaze. The report also quotes Harness Racing BC Executive Director Jackson Wittup as saying that the horses were mainly two and three-year-olds. "They're all young horses so you're hoping they're the next world champion," Wittup said. "They had some great expectations of some of them." The article explains that an older pacing mare and a miniature horse were among those that lost their lives in the fire. Township district fire chief Russ Jenkins told the Langley Advance that the fire department had to send out a second call, as more resources were needed to respond to the blaze. The report states that blaze required the help of several fire halls, 60 to 70 firefighters and five engines. The response to Sunday’s devastating stable fire in Langley, British Columbia has been swift, as the horse racing community is already mobilizing efforts to get affected horsepeople back on their feet. Horseman Walter Slopianka contacted Trot Insider first thing Monday morning and explained that efforts are already well underway to get Davis back on his feet. “Along with the devastating loss of all the horses, Bill and Laurie Davis lost their entire livelihood as well,” Slopianka said. “It was a total loss of everything they have worked their lives to build.” “As a close personal friends, we (Slopianka and his wife, Brenda Arsenault) are sending condolences and are reaching out to Canadian horsemen for donations of any kind,” Slopianka explained. “Anything and everything horse racing related was lost, from water buckets, harnesses, etc. to all of Bill's racing colours and helmets. Anything extra that people can spare would be greatly appreciated.” Please contact Slopianka by phone at 780-996-9711 or email at Those in BC can contact Donna Cunningham at 604-626-6934. Slopianka explained that an account will be set up as well to take any financial donations. Information will be posted available as soon as possible. Slopianka told Trot Insider that news of the fire really hit home. "As I was stabled at the farm with them as little as a month ago, Bill and Laurie were always ready and willing to help us when we had issues,” he said. “Now it's our turn to do the same." With reports from Standardbred Canada, CBC News and the Langley Advance

Last year's O'Brien Award winning two-year-old colt pacer Arthur Blue Chip has been sidelined and will miss the 2014 Pepsi North America Cup. In a conversation with Trot Insider on Monday, the colt's trainer and co-owner Dr. Ian Moore reported from Florida that the son of Shadow Play suffered an unspecified stall injury a few weeks back, and that injury will keep Arthur Blue Chip off the track for an undetermined amount of time. "He incurred a stall injury and he's off the track for a little while right now. The prognosis is pretty good for full recovery." To read the rest of the story click here.

For six decades respected horseman Jerry Silverman has been campaigning champions, but the 78-year-old has decided the time has come to hang up the harnesses and retire from training racehorses. Now living in Florida, the New Yorker made his decision to retire after qualifying back his two-horse stable consisting of stakes starters Another Transcript and Another Deposition. “You know, I had two beautiful three-year-old trotters and I just felt that I was ready,” Silverman told Trot Insider. “I didn’t want to go through the stress and I couldn’t do justice to them shipping them all over the country, etcetera, etcetera. That basically was it.” While Silverman has yet to determine his retirement plans, he is happy to share his wealth of harness racing knowledge. To read the rest of the story click here.

On Sunday, harness racing's social media world exploded with outrage when Sydney Weaver's prized Standardbred Sydney Seelster was claimed at Flamboro Downs. The brown lass had been racing well in 2014 having won three of her four starts heading into Sunday’s race and had yet to miss the board in all of her races. It was learned after Sunday’s race that Sydney Seelster had been claimed by trainer Guy Gagnon. The resident of Gatineau, Que. is off to a strong start in 2014, as his stable has sent out 12 starters and has recorded five wins and four seconds, good for $12,865 in purse earnings and an impressive .601 UTR. The pride and joy of former ‘I Love Canadian Harness Racing’ fan club’s ambassador, Weaver was heartbroken with the news of her prized horse being claimed. Sydney Seelster and Weaver made headlines in 2012 when the mare was bought for Weaver so she could pursue her dream to become the trainer of a Standardbred. Gagnon told Trot Insider that he did not know of the story of Weaver and her mare and upon hearing about the young owner, agreed to allow the horse to be claimed back. "I never heard of her story before; I'm not on Facebook, I'm not on Twitter, I'm not a 'computer guy' and I didn't know the story before last night." The father of two kids and a hockey coach for young boys, Gagnon clearly meant no harm in claiming the pacing mare from the young fan and felt bad for the situation. He merely saw a horse in for a claiming tag that he thought would race well at Rideau Carleton Raceway after recently having a horse claimed from his barn. After the races, fans of harness racing were irate with the situation and posted numerous messages on Facebook and Twitter -- much like Gagnon, without knowing the entire situation. With a plan now in place to allow Weaver to get Sydney Seelster back, Gagnon added that he would like to meet Weaver one day and hopes that the same predicament doesn't happen again, fearing that someone else will come along and simply see a horse in for a claiming price. Reprinted with permission by

Western Fair Raceway's Friday night card of harness racing was marred by a pair of accidents, both occurring in the stretch. As an eight-horse field of pacers turned for home in the fourth race over a fast track with a one second variant amidst snow flurries, a rough-gaited Daylyn Horizon stumbled and fell dumping driver Scott Wray. Light Shine In was unable to avoid that horse and went over top, catapulting his driver Ryan Holliday to the track. Officials from the London, Ont. oval confirmed Friday night that both horses and drivers left the track under their own power. Wray completed his remaining drives on the card while Holliday booked off his and was taken to hospital for observation and released early Saturday morning with multiple broken bones. "He has two broken bones in his wrist and one in his elbow," Holliday's wife, Caroline, told Trot Insider. "They were worried about his head as well, but all seems fine there." Just two races later, another mishap took place in the home stretch when Strokin rolled off stride and stumbled over a wheel at the back of the seven-horse field. The pacer was back up on his feet shortly after and both he and trainer/driver Dean Wall appeared to be fine. Trot Insider will update this story when further details are made available. To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Western Fair Raceway. Reprinted with permission by

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce that Ken Middleton and Lee Drake will co-host the 2013 O'Brien Awards. Middleton is Woodbine Entertainment Group's standardbred race announcer and has been a regular anchor at the O'Brien Awards. This will mark the eleventh consecutive year that he will co-host the event. "Co-hosting the O'Brien Awards for the last decade has been an incredible honour, and it's truly something I take great pride in. It's so cool to think back and recall all of the great horses and horse people that have been honoured on the stage over the years, and to be a part of those nights is amazing," Middleton told Trot Insider. This will mark Middleton's first trip to the Island. "I think it's a perfect fit to have this year's event in the home province of the awards' namesake, Joe O'Brien. I know Maritimers are extremely proud and passionate about harness racing, and I'm sure it will mean a lot to them to have the opportunity to host this year's edition - especially since there are a number of finalists with ties to PEI," commented Middleton, "This will be my first visit to PEI and I'm really looking forward to it." Lee Drake, manager of Marketing and Sales for Red Shores Racetrack and Casino, Charlottetown and Summerside locations, is also looking forward to hosting the event in his native province. "It's an honour. I've attended the awards for many years now and I'm excited about the opportunity to play a role in such a prestigious event." Drake co-hosted the 2004 awards but explains that this year is "very special." "This year has very special meaning to me. It's being a part of history. I've been fortunate to be involved in some special moments over the years, but to co-host the 25th anniversary edition of the O'Briens from the home province of Joe O'Brien is certainly a career highlight." The 2013 O'Brien Awards will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Delta Prince Edward and PEI Convention Centre in Charlottetown, PEI. For more info you can go to Standardbred Canada Website: by Rebecca Duffy for Red Shores    

On Saturday's card of racing at Red Shores Charlottetown, Marc Campbell notched five wins but another "Mark" made headlines for what could be harness racing's recovery of the year. In Saturday's first race at CDP, Bradley had pacer Mr Macleod three-wide into the final turn when tragedy struck and the horse fell onto its side with all four feet off the track. Taking a firm hold of the lines as the horse slid, Bradley urged Mr Macleod back to all four feet and actually finished the race. "He ended up losing two shoes. I felt him lose one about halfway around the last turn. In a perfect world if everybody's shoes stay on, nothing happens but when something like that happens you're can't do much about it," Bradley told Trot Insider. "All I could do was just more or less keep a hold of him. If you pull too much on him, he might slide." Bradley and Mr Macleod were very fortunate that no horses were following, as once he sensed the horse lost the bit he was off his hooves and sliding. Somehow the horse made it back to a standing position -- something Bradley has never seen before. Mr Macleod was no worse for wear after the incident, and is back in to race on the New Year's Eve card at CDP. "Surprisingly, no," said Bradley when asked if the horse had any injuries. "The bike was fine, the harness was fine...I talked to the trainer the next day and he said 'he's fine'." Bradley almost had another scare later on in the card, as in his next race another horse lost a shoe around that same spot. "She didn't go down but her hind leg just started going, and there was somebody right in my back then too," said Bradley, noting that this time he was able to pull the horse up and get her off the track without losing footing. Perhaps thinking that things have a tendency of happening in threes, Bradley booked off his remaining drives. "I said 'that's it for me'. I had two or three other drives, and I just booked off," said Bradley with a chuckle. "What's the chances of that happening, bang-bang, in two drives like that?" Reprinted with permission by 

A disappointed and shocked Doug McNair informed Trot Insider on Saturday morning that he's unable to participate in Starurday's Prix des Rencontres Internationales du Trotteur Français at Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. McNair learned moments ago that his horse, Ramses de Vaudon, was scratched from the race and there is no also eligible. "I can't believe there's no backup plan for a situation like this," a notably upset McNair told Trot Insider. He was graciously offered the drive from Swiss driver Jean Bernard Matthey but the racetrack officials wouldn't allow it. McNair is representing Canada in the international drivers tournamament. (reprinted with permission from

A recently released music video prominently features a harness racing theme, containing footage shot on a breeding farm and starring a current participant along with her retired Standardbred. The video for the song Horseshoe Woman by Caracol was set to be shot at Hippodrome 3R. Carole Facal is the singer-songwriter who professionally performs as Caracol, and she told Trot Insider that she was looking for a horse racing theme to accompany her latest single. "Horseshoe Woman is a song about a man who lost his good fortune. He is looking for the Horseshoe Woman, a symbol of good luck, to bring it back," Facal said via email from Europe. "We had the idea of going to Hippodrome 3R to find female racers to represent that persona. That's where I met Anne-Marie by pure coincidence." Anne-Marie Veilleux, daughter of Standardbred Canada director Richard Veilleux, was working for 3R as the outrider when she was approached to appear in the video. The horse she used as the outrider was retired Standardbred racehorse Wedding Crasher. "They approached me, as I was dressed like an outrider or jockey with the helmet and everything...they asked me if I was doing horseback riding and what I was doing here, and told me they were here to do a music video but this [the racetrack setting] wasn't what they were looking for." Veilleux, of St-Hugues Que., told Facal and her videographer that she had access to a farm -- Ferme Drummond, owned by Veilleux's grand-father Alain -- and the crew felt that setting would be ideal. On the Saturday of Thankgiving weekend, the crew arrived to shoot. "My parts took about seven hours...changing costumes, preparing the horse. They took a lot of shots to make sure they had everything," Veilleux, 17, told Trot Insider. Facal was thoroughly impressed and pleased with the setting and the participants. "I was amazed at how professional [Anne-Marie] acted -- even though she had never done it before -- and her whole family was so helpful. We had never done an animal videoshoot before, it was a great experience." Also pleased and impressed was Veilleux with her Standardbred, Given the seven hours of shooting, his temperament was exemplary. "At the beginning he was fine but near the end he was getting a bit tired," said Veilleux. "At some moments when they were shooting, I was on the horse and nobody was holding him so I was happy that he was fine not moving a lot!" After the footage was assembled to create the final video to accompany the single, everyone involved gave the video a glowing report. "I talked to the group shortly after and they were very happy with their day. Everything they wanted in the video, they found it at the farm," noted Veilleux. "I talked to them again when the video came out and they were so happy because the video was exactly what they thought about at the beginning, and they only got good feedback from their people." Facal added that the story behind how the video came about reflected the fortuitous nature of the song, making it even more meaningful. "We are very happy with the result, the images are beautiful and they create a magical vibe mixed with the live footage of the band," said the singer. "The clip was created entirely by luck and that's why it will always be special for me." Veilleux wasn't familiar with the group prior to the video but is now a fan. "I was happy to see Quebecers making great music and involving local people in their projects." Caracol recently embarked on a tour of Europe, starting this past Wednesday in Austria with future dates in France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.   Repritned with permission from

Trot Insider has learned that Premier Kathleen Wynne will be at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ont., on Friday, October 11 to release the long-awaited plan for Ontario's horse racing industry. The press conference, open to accredited media, will reportedly start at 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Nearly one month ago, Premier Wynne issued a letter to the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel -- Elmer Buchanan, John Snobelen and John Wilkinson -- asking for a five-year-plan for Ontario's horse racing industry for release this month. That plan, which in the words of Wynne required "specific recommendations on how to best achieve the integration of gaming and horse racing in Ontario" was reportedly delivered to government last Friday. Reprinted with permission from Trot Insider

Mario Charron has put himself solidly in the driver's seat in his quest for a first driving title at Hippodrome 3R. He had a two-win lead entering Sunday's card and left it with a five-win edge after an impressive four-win performance. Charron's four victories were all consecutive. He won races four through seven with Moments In Terror ($4.60), Erge Jack ($19.50), Thebestofme ($22.00) and Aquanilla ($3.90). That gives him 54 wins for the season so far, with three Sunday cards remaining. His nearest pursuer, Sylvain Lacaille, has 49 victories after scoring once on Sunday with City Loft ($15.80). To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Hippodrome 3R. (Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)

Buoyed by strong attendance and solid wagering at Hippodrome 3R, the Quebec Jockey Club has decided to extend the 2013 harness racing season. The season had been scheduled to end Oct. 6, but the Jockey Club has applied to add live dates for three additional Sundays: Oct. 13, 20 and 27. The QJC said fans in Quebec have demonstrated their enduring bond with harness racing this season and the numbers have exceeded QJC projections. (A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean at

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