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Saturday, December 31, 2011

CalX1 - CAL EXPO MEET GETS OFF TO FLYING START

   
The winter/spring Cal Expo harness meet began on Friday night with an excellent opening night handle of $928,858 on the 15-race card. 


"Our field size average was decent and Los Alamitos canceling their card midway through their program were obviously two factors that encouraged our players to take a shot on our races," said Director of Racing David Elliott.


The all sources handle figure could top $1 million when all wagers are reconciled, he said. "It's nice to step up to the plate and hit a double every once in awhile and we hope our fans will stay interested in our product".


Cal Expo offers two Pick 4s on each program with a reduced 15 percent takeout rate, and the Late Pick 4 every evening comes with a $10,000-guaranteed gross pool.

M1 - Video Feature: Meadowlands Qualifier Report

Hosts Sam McKee and Darin Zoccali gave their scouting report from the first round of qualifiers held Thursday and Friday morning at the Meadowlands.


Click here to watch now on Meadowlands Racetrack's YouTube Channel:





To watch all the qualifier replays, click here and choose Meadowlands Qualifiers for either date: http://replays.robertsstream.com/racereplays/search.php?customerid=6739fab5b66f6bdce7e7b0b158b38865

The 2012 harness meet gets underway Friday, January 6 with free admission, program and parking.  Post time is 7 p.m. 

CalX1 - "Spirits" Are High For Tequila On Ice At Cal Expo

Saturday, December 31, 2011 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity – Cal Expo

He didn't knock his opponents out, but a win is a win and that's what Tequila On Ice got.

Conditioned pacers were co-featured at Cal Expo on Friday night (December 30) for a purse of $3,000, on which Tequila On Ice made it two of his last three.

Before starting from post-position two in the field of a half-dozen, driver Jim Lackey was right to the point.

"I thought Live A Little (Lemoyne Svendsen) was the best horse, but after that I thought it was pretty wide open," stated Lackey.

Softly leaving to come away in third a sixteenth of a mile past the start, the sophomore pacer raced two-lengths off the foe in front of him into a :28.3 opening-quarter, but that what was Lackey wanted.

"I just didn’t want to get up tight on anybody because when you do that, sometimes he can get sideways."

Continuing to race a couple of lengths off until narrowing that margin to 1-1/2 lengths at the half-mile marker, timed in :57.4, Lackey was actually pleased.

"I was happy at that point because I didn't have to probably move him until somewhere in the final-turn."

Pulling first-over at the five-eighths mile station, then moving forward midway through the last bend, Lackey and his charge were just 1-1/4 lengths back at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:27.4.  Was a rated third-quarter an aid?

"I'm sure the :30 third-quarter helped because when you're on the outside you're always working harder especially when you're uncovered.  So obviously if the pace is slower - - it takes less out of your horse.  As for his chances, I know that usually once he straightens away that he'll do what he can.  But I had to wait and see because Live A Little was on my back and I was expecting him to make a pretty strong move."

Taking over the lead with an eighth of a mile to go and now under an all-out drive, Tequila On Ice couldn't put away the pace-setting Glad To Be Back (Rich Wojcio).

"He does what he can and it's either going to be good enough or it's not.  He tried through the stretch, but I thought Glad To Be Back was coming back at us to the wire, but the wire came up in time for us."

Owned by Dennis Giles in partnership with Jim Wilkinson Jr., the gelding prevailed ($14.60) by a neck over his stable-mate, in 1:56.1.  Glad To Be Back had to settle for second, and Live A Little finished three-quarters of one-length back, in third.

"It was a solid effort," finished Lackey.

On the 15-race program, leading driver Steve Wiseman had five winners.

Live racing continues at Cal Expo on Saturday (December 31) with a special 5:00 p.m. (PST) post-time.   On Saturday, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m.  Also on Saturday, its Dollar Night, on which hot-dogs; beer, soda, and wine will be sold for one dollar from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. 

Cal Expo now offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee).  In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool.  On Saturday night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at Twinspires.com.


Lon - Western Fair District Rings In New Year In A Big Way

London, December 30, 2011 -- The Western Fair District will be rocking in a big way on New Year’s Eve.  South Western Ontario’s Premier Entertainment Facility will once again be the hub of New Year’s Eve activity with a wide variety of entertainment options.

The Raceway closes out the 50th Anniversary Season with a special card of Horse Racing.  Post time for the first of 12 races will be at 7:05.  Fans can expect party favors, numerous giveaways, a chance to meet the new Be Entertained Team and two very special races.  The first will be the Old Lang Syne Pace with the oldest pacers in Southern Ontario battling it out before they turn a year older at midnight.  Then, the oldest Trotters will face the starter in the “ Eldorado Max Memorial Trot “.  The race, in honour of the recently departed fan favourite, will bring down the curtain on a very successful year at The Raceway.

At the Western Fair District Sports Center, the family can take part in a skating session from 2 to 8 p.m. with the donation of a food item for the local food bank.  The kids can meet “ Horace “  The Raceway’s ever popular Mascot, and members of our Be Entertained Team will give out free balloons.  At 8 p.m. the kids will have their own special countdown of the clock.

The “ Big Bash “ will be in the Progress building with outstanding cover bands, and a party second to none.  Some tickets are still available on-line at www.westernfairdistrict.com.

A Dance Party is sold out in the Carousel Room.

The new Yuk-Yuk’s Comedy Club is proving to be a big hit in the Grandstand, as the New Year’s Eve Show is sold out.  The club will operate on a three day a week schedule in the New Year.  Shows will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday’s, and at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Raceway will alter the racing schedule for the winter meet on January 2nd.  Racing will be held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with a 4:05 post time, and Friday nights at 7:05.

As 2012 rolls ever closer, the Western Fair District will again be South Western Ontario’s Premier entertainment stop...because as we say “ COME...BE ENTERTAINED ! “



MR - ALDRICH TOP DRIVER; MESSENGER TOP TRAINER AT MONTICELLO DURING 2011

BRUCE ALDRICH, JR. TOPS IN WINS; ZEKE PARKER COPS DRIVING PERCENTAGE TITLE; GARY MESSENGER TOP TRAINER; BOB LOUNSBURY LEADING PERCENTAGE TRAINER

The 2011 season at Monticello Raceway ended on December 29 with Bruce Aldrich, Jr.’s  410 winners  tops among drivers. Aldrich, who now has won back to back driving titles here, finished with 22 more wins than runner-up Billy “Zeke” Parker, Jr.’s whose total was 388.
Trailing Aldrich and Parker in driving victories last season was Jimmy Taggart, Jr. with 285 followed by Jimmy Marohn, Jr. ( 184) and Mike Forte-( 155).

Moreover, two horses regularly driven by Aldrich—Edie’s Desire and Blue Creek Angie—each finished with 19 seasonal triumphs which tied them for top honors –with two others- in races won by a horse in North America this year.

Garry Messenger (Geri Schwarz Photo)
 On the training side  Gary Messenger sent out 104 winners from his barn to garner top honors having harnessed 10 more winners than runner-up Elisha Lafreniere who had  94. Quietly Bill Kapinos’ 90 wins  was third best in training leaderboard, followed by Brian Horlacher (80) and  Art Green (68).


Billy Parker, Jr (Geri Schwarz)

Zeke Parker’s universal driving percentage of .341 was tops in that category some seven points higher than Bruce Aldrich, Jr’s .334. Greg Merton’s .329 was third best followed by Jordan Stratton’s .326 and Billy Dobson’s .318, for drivers with 125 starts or more.





Bob Lounsbury (Geri Schwarz)
Bob Lounsbury’s  universal   training average of .491 out-distanced runner up Eisha Lafreniere’s .427  to take top honors in that department. Bruce Aldrich, Jr’s .374 was third on the list followed by Joe Carruiba’s .365 and Brian Horlacher’s  .352.

The  season was highlighted by the duel for leading driver honors  between Aldrich and Parker  where the lead went back and forth for months  until early December when Aldrich pulled away for good.




Bruce Aldrich (Geri Schwarz)
Bruce Aldrich’s purse earnings of 1,213,948  was tops  while  Zeke Parker’s $1,151,635 was second best. They were the only two drivers to reach the $1 million plateau. Among the trainers Gary Messenger’s purse earnings  of$ 372,155  was over $125,000 more than runner-up,  Elisha Lafreniere’s $247,081.


GOSH - BERNIE WHITE RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT OF HISTORIC TRACK BOARD OF DIRECTORS

by John Manzi for Goshen Historic Track


On December 21 at the monthly meeting of the Historic Track Board of Directors in Goshen NY,  Bernie White was  re-elected to another two-year term  as President of the Board. For White it marks the sixth time that he has been elected President.
“I’m very appreciative of the support  the Board members have shown me over the years,” said White  who lives in nearby Pine Bush, NY. “I’ll continue work hard to help maintain Goshen Historic Track as   the best training center in the area and a great place to visit.”

Also re-elected at that meeting were; Steve Jones, vice president; Judy Green, secretary;  Frank Baldassare, treasurer  and Kerry English , Chairman of the Board.
The 24- member Board of Directors donate their time and efforts on behalf of America’s oldest harness racetrack and National Historic Landmark to preserve its history and tradition for future generations.

Goshen Historic Track is a not-for profit entity.

Friday, December 30, 2011

MR - FOX VALLEY KINCADE OFFICIALLY RETIRED IN A WINNERS CIRCLE CEREMONY

He hadn’t stepped a foot on a racetrack since 2008 but during his formative years Fox Valley Kincade  was a force to be reckoned with .

                 Fox Valley Kincade shown here driven to victory during in 2008 by
Stubit's husband, Mike Merton (Geri Schwarz Photo)

In the pacers illustrious career the Sportsmaster gelding earned over $300,000 in purse money and earned lifetime record of 1:53.1 taken at Maywood Park during the 2003 racing season.

“He wasn’t as sharp towards the end of his career as injuries slowed him,” admitted current and longtime  owner, Liz Stubits  of Monticello. “I claimed him for $12,500 at Yonkers in  April of 2005  and lost him for that same price  in August of that year. I claimed him back one year later for $10,000 and will have him until the day he dies.”

During the period from 2005 through 2008 Fox Valley Kincade rewarded Ms. Stubits with over $60,000 in purse money.

“I decided to retire him in July 2008 and I knew  he would have  a good life after racing,” Stubits continued. “I loved racing this horse; loved watching him go, aside from the butterflies that were in always  my stomach when he raced.”

Always afraid that Fox Valley Kincade was going to get hurt while racing Stubits’ real nightmare  came four and half months  after the horse was retired.

“First his legs blew up like stove pipes and he could not walk,” Stubits related.” He couldn’t even move around the stall and in one month he lost close to 350 pounds. He just stood in one spot for a long time  and  several vets told me that I should put him down and it was real hard for me to disagree with them.

“He (Fox valley Kincade) was fighting infections but thanks to the great efforts of Dr. Gary and Tracy Smith  who started him on antibiotics and constantly checked his blood. Then Dr. John Kokinos  became involved with Fox Valley Kincade’s recovery.“He would draw blood at midnight and  test it and give me the results in the middle of the night. Numerous times I would ask John ‘is it time to put him (Fox Valley Kincade) down?’ But John’s response was “he’s eating now and somehow he seems happy and he not ready. I will not put him down and   I’m going to save him’, he told me.

“John  worked on him for months and thankfully he  succeeded. But it took a year and a half over that period  and he gained so much weight that I now call him ‘Tubby’.”

Since he was brought back to life “Tubby” has been  the mascot for Stubits’ dad’s L&B Tack softball team . He has been ridden in several gymkhana horse shows and has been trail ridden by beginner riders.
Liz Stubits and her beloved Fox Valley Kincade  aka “Tubby” (Geri Schwarz Photo)

“ He represents retired standardbreds alongside my sister’s former pacer  The Chosen One”  and both  marched  in Goshen’s  St Patrick Day Parade last year.. Both horses represented  the Sullivan County Horse Council in the Margaretville, (NY) parade as well as being  part of the 2011 Renaissance  Parade. Fox Valley Kincade also has competed in a Cowboy Challenge and this past summer he gave rides around the track to the public on All Amateur Day at Monticello Raceway,” Stubits added.

Stubits says  she will keep Fox Valley Kincade forever and give him the best life possible.” He was good to me on the track the least I can do is be good to him off the track”

Liz Stubits posed with Fox Valley Kincade  after the winners circle ceremony (Geri Schwarz Photo)

On December 29th Fox Valley Kincade, now 14 years of age, was given An official  retirement ceremony at Monticello Raceway.

CalX1 - Franks Best, Marlin Hanover Co-Headliners On Saturday At Cal Expo

A pair of $4,500 Winners-Over races head the New Year’s Eve program on Saturday (December 31) at Cal Expo, with Franks Best getting top billing in the trotting event while Marlin Hanover looks to keep his streak going in the pacing contest.

First post for the special card is 5 p.m. (PST), with the co-features set as the first two events on the 15-race program.

Franks Best is fresh from two clear-cut wins at the head of the class and will be challenged again by Putoneonnetformom, the only trotter who has been able to beat him over the last two months.

A 4-year-old son of Armbro Scribe and the American Winner mare Inside Edition, Franks Best is owned, trained and was bred by Bob Johnson with Lemoyne Svendsen taking his usual place in the sulky.  He comes into this assignment with $115,000 in the bank and a 1:57 flat career standard.

The Johnson performer established his mark when he won here on October 10, sitting a pocket journey that night behind Putoneonnetformom.  He had to be happy with exacta completions behind that one in his next two trips to the post, missing by a neck and a half-length with strong finishes on both occasions.

Franks Best has returned to the winner’s circle following his last two outings and has left little doubt in those victories.  He changed tactics to set the fractions in his November 17 tally, drawing clear once straightening for home and reporting to the line with two and three-quarter lengths to spare.  In the most recent, he sat off a spirited early duel, swooped the leaders turning for home and romped home by seven and a quarter while shaving a tick off his mark with that 1:57 final clocking.

Meanwhile, Marlin Hanover is attempting to win for the fourth time from his last five appearances in the co-featured pace for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, trainer Liberio Pacheco and driver Luke Plano.  He posted a 6-1 upset with this group two back, then actually dropped in class for his most recent tour and proved a punctual 4-5 favorite.

Cycle Power is a 5-year-old son of Cambest and the Life Sign mare Life Cycle who is shooting for his third victory from his last four trips to the post and seven snapshots on the season.  He established his 1:52.3 career standard earlier in the year.

 *******

The January live racing schedule here at Cal Expo will find Friday and Saturday action next week; Thursday-through-Saturday cards on 12th through 14th; Friday and Saturday racing the following week; and the regular three-night line-up for the 26th through 28th of January.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (December 30) at 6:00 p.m. (PST) & Saturday (December 31) with a special New Year’s Eve post-time of 5:00 p.m.  On Friday, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m.   Also on Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour between 6:00-8:30 p.m., where $2 Beer, $2 Wine & $2 Buffalo Wings an order is offered.  

Cal Expo now offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee).  In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool.  On Saturday night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at Twinspires.com.

CalX1 - Which Cycle Power Will Come To Play At Cal Expo?

Friday, December 30, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Nathalie Tremblay admits you don’t know what you’re going to get week-in and week-out when it comes to the 5-year-old pacer Cycle Power.

Tremblay owns and trains the 5-year-old son of Cambest and Steve Wiseman will be at the controls when Cycle Power attempts to win for the third time from his last four starts in Saturday night’s (December 31) featured pace at Cal Expo.

“He’s been very good the last few starts, but I’m never really sure which Cycle Power is going to show up,” Tremblay noted.  “He always seems the same, and if you watch him warm up it’s the same, but some nights it’s a little funny the way he races and he's disappointing.  Lately it’s been the good one, though.”

Because Cycle Power likes to his best work from off the pace, he can fall victim to the race flow.  In his most recent appearance two weeks ago, he benefited when Haggin Oaks carved out some very legitimate fractions and he was able to rally from last with a :27.3 final quarter for Wiseman.  He prevailed by three quarters of a length over the front-end mare that evening.

"That was a real nice mile by him, and the week before he had to come first over and was very game,” his mentor noted.  “Good fractions are always going to help him, and slow ones are going to work against him.  That’s just how it is when you have his racing style.”

Like everybody else on the program, Cycle Power had a week off as we transition from the official end of the fall 2011 stand to the start of the winter 2012 meeting.

“He’s just been doing light jogging,” Nathalie explained.  “The week off was good for him, and I can also say that it was good for his trainer.”




M1 - Meadowlands Video Feature: Drivers Expect Track Banking To Make A Big Difference In 2012

Wonder what the Meadowlands drivers had to say about the banking added to the turns on the track? Find out in our latest video feature.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

M1 - Renovations Showcased As Meadowlands Racetrack Holds First Round Of Qualifiers

East Rutherford, NJ [December 29, 2011] -- A new era of racing at the Meadowlands began Thursday morning as horses took to the track for the first time since new lessee Jeff Gural took over operations of the facility.  

The track moved from public to private ownership last week as Gural inked a 31-year lease with the State of New Jersey to operate the Meadowlands.
 

Meadowlands lessee Jeff Gural (center) and General Manager Mike Newlin (second from left) discuss
the recent renovations with trainer Pat Lachance (left) and driver Andy Miller (right)
Twenty qualifiers were held Thursday morning in preparation for the start of the 2012 harness meet on Friday, January 6.  The non-wagering events marked the first trip over the newly banked track surface for many of the Meadowlands’ leading horsemen.  Grading was restored to the track this fall in order to spur more competitive racing. 

The banking of the track is highlighted as Western Shore and driver John Campbell round the
far turn in the nineteenth qualifier on Thursday morning, December 29, at the Meadowlands.
The Meadowlands track was re-banked this fall in an effort to make the racing product more competitive


 “The track was lightning fast,” noted driver Andy Miller, who steered Cruzin Angel to victory in the morning’s first qualifier.  “[The banking] should enable the outside horses to be much more competitive.”

 The back paddock also underwent a transformation this fall as gates were added and walls were raised in each race stall to eliminate the need for a receiving barn. 


  The Meadowlands paddock is now a ship-in paddock, eliminating the need for a receiving barn.

Video clips will be available on MeadowlandsRacetrack.com and the track’s YouTube Channel (youtube.com/meadowlandsracetrack) later today.


MR - ZEKE PARKER DOESN’T GO QUIETLY—WINS SIX ON THE DEC. 28TH CARD

The battle for driving supremacy at Monticello Raceway was a back and forth situation between  Bruce Aldrich Jr and Zeke Parker nearly all season long. However with a hot hand in early December when Aldrich drew off  and  by the end of the month he had everything well in hand. Aldrich had a 25 win lead-on Parker and  just recently it was announced that Aldrich would win his second consecutive driving title.
Parker capped his 6-win day with a 2:02.1 triumph with
Zero Boundaries in the 12th race (Geri Schwarz Photo)
Although Parker  had been  relegated  to the runner-up position he’s not going quietly.

On the Tuesday December 27th card the bearded wonder reined  four winners on the card. And yesterday, December 28th, Zeke put on a driving clinic over  muddy racetrack  where he won six   races. With those victories Parker now has 387 wins here and a career total of 10,621.

He won the third race with Speedcentric  ($4.90) and then the  fourth with Prince Rudyard ($10.40) and his ‘hat trick’ victory  came  the fifth behind  Cosmic Illusion N ($11.80). Win number four on the card qwas with Major Speed ($4.00) in the ninth race and then Zeke proceeded to win the 10th with Valcyon Days ($7.20) and then capped his muddy afternoon  by winning the  12th race with Zero Boundaries (14.00).
                Cosmic Illusion N splashed to a 2:02.1 victory which was
Parker’s 4th win on the card (Geri Schwarz Photo)


Though he closed the gap on Aldrich the 17-time Monticello Raceway driving champion still will be second best in races won this season  and to use race track vernacular ‘ he was charging at the end  but he ran out of racetrack’ . Still finishing some 19 races behind Aldrich, Parker can at least have some  salvation—not that Zeke ever needs it- knowing he will cop the  driving percentage trophy at seasons’ end.

CalX1 - ALAN ANDERSON PASSES AWAY

Cal Expo is sad to report the passing of trainer Alan Anderson, who succumbed to complications from cancer on Tuesday morning (December 27) in Phoenix, Arizona.  He was just 48.

Mr. Anderson is survived by his daughter Gena, 21, and son Jonny, 14.  He is also survived by four brothers, Kevin, Mark, Jon and Drew, who are all harness trainers; and sisters Sonja, Renee and Dana.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (December 30) at 6:00 p.m. (PST) & Saturday (December 31) with a special New Year’s Eve post-time of 5:00 p.m.  On Friday, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m.   Also on Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour between 6:00-8:30 p.m., where $2 Beer, $2 Wine & $2 Buffalo Wings an order is offered.  

Cal Expo now offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee).  In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool.  On Saturday night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at Twinspires.com.

CalX1 - Mares Make It Twice As Nice For Clements

Robin Clements’ one-two punch of Taxi Dancer and Tutiming Gal come into the final week of 2011 in razor-sharp form, having captured three of their last four combined starts.

Tutiming Gal will be gunning for a hat trick to close out the year, while Taxi Dancer is fresh from a win and a game second and will be eyeing her 12th snapshot on the season.  Once again, they will have Steve Wiseman giving directions.

“Both of these mares have been racing well lately and it helps that Steve gets along so nicely with them,” Robin said.  “Taxi Dancer loves this time of year and she has made amends from racing in the recent amateur series, as she just seemed to run into a lot of bad luck.  Now the luck seems to have swung the other way.”

Both Taxi Dancer and Tutiming Gal race off the Desomer farm and are constant companions.

“Tutiming Gal is a temperamental mare and doesn’t seem to like people too much, but she loves Taxi Dancer and if they’re separated they go ballistic and start hollering for each other until they get together again.”

Clements related a recent incident that backed up that statement.

“Taxi Dancer was taken to the blacksmith one day and Tutiming Gal got so upset she actually broke out of her stall to go look for her.  Luckily, she was caught by one of the grooms and the small patch of grass helped to contain her in the barn area.

“Tutiming Gal also has a habit of trying to buffalo the driver on the final turn by wanting to cheat and get lazy, but Steve knows how to handle her and those last two wins have been a real nice birthday present.”

For Robin, seeing this pair go out and do their thing on a weekly basis is something special.

“I get a real kick out of these mares and it was really something when they won on the same night a few weeks ago.  It’s my passion for the horses that keeps me in the game of harness racing.”

CalX1 - Friday, Saturday Programs Ring Out Year At Cal Expo

Thursday, December 29, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

This week will find the trotters and pacers in action on Friday (December 30) and Saturday night (December 31), with the Saturday New Year’s Eve card getting underway at 5 p.m.

Looking at Friday’s program, the featured trot is a $3,000 affair that finds Style Element bringing consistent resent form to the fray and getting the slightest of calls.  The 5-year-old daughter of Broadway Hall and the Yankee Glide mare Now From Then is owned and trained by Bob Johnson with Lemoyne Svendsen once again handling the lines.

From her last four trips to the post, Style Element has come away with a win, two seconds and a third-place finish while doing all her work at this same level.  The victory came on December 1, as she played the role of stalker for the half, came calling at mid-stretch and was up for the length tally as a 6-1 shot that evening.

In her most recent try, the Johnson performer finished with interest to dead-heat for the place money with the odds-on Thatsomebracciola, while 12-1 K D Amazin Spirit was taking bows at double digits following the mile.

Aston Boko should be a major player with a mistake-free mile for Marco Rios and pilot Rich Wojcio, while Betty Elizabeth is a multiple stakes-winner who is owned, trained and was bred by Lisa Wilson-Caposio with Tony Succarotte at the controls.

Rounding out the field are Eggwhite Inmy Beer; Chaxie; The Goose, to be handled by Scott Cisco; Carpathian Hooray with Jim Lackey; Exquisite Gem, who will have Dave Siegel guiding; Connie’s Lady with James Kennedy; and K D Nicol, who leaves from the second tier with Keith Willey.

PPK5/8 - Top Trot To Jaavos Boy

The last edition of Florida's top weekly trot in 2011 went to the gate on December 28 with Jaavos Boy a dominating winner in 1:54.4. David Ingraham was in the bike to send the 5 year old S J's Photo-Hayworth Hanover gelding through fractions of 27.2, 56.0, and 1:25.0 enroute to his 6th win in 33 trips this year for season's earnings of $103,875. In the event handicapped by earnings in the last five starts, the pocket-sitting Keystone Thomas driven by Bruce Ranger followed in for second and Master Solutions in rein to Ricky Macomber Jr. was third. Barry Probber conditions Jaavos Boy for the Probber Morse Stable of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

The New Year's eve eight race card at 7:15 p.m. Eastern on Saturday night will include the return to the racing wars of 2011 Little Brown Jug champ Big Bad John in the Open Pace, the probable coronation of Dan Noble as the season's dash title winner as he wraps up his 2011 campaign with four drives scheduled on the December 31 Pompano card, the Miami Food Trucks with a trackside deejay and a post race fireworks show.


Post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday at The Winter Capital Of Harness Racing. Free race night live streaming, nightly handicapping selections by John Berry, and replays are in the 'racing' tab at www.theislepompanopark.com along with the full season racing schedule through July.

PPK5/8 - McNeil's Vernon Success Continuing at Pompano

The McNeil racing family from Vernon Center, NY has competed for just three months in Florida but their minds are already made up to return in future years.


24 year old trainer John McNeil III was all smiles in the Pompano winner's circle on Wednesday, December 28 after his family's three year old pacing filly, Mc Tbone Ida won the 4th race. It's his first meet at Pompano and he's joined elite company in the trainers' standings by winning with 25% of his starters. (Skip Smith Photo)


"It's working out much better than we expected and we're so relieved we've been able to continue the strong year at our home base of Vernon Downs in the summer months to here at Pompano for the winter" beamed John McNeil. "We really weren't sure what to expect, and we'd been told the racing in Florida is tough and competitive but so far, so good for my son and our stable" he added after the family's homebred filly, Mc Tbone Ida won Wednesday's evening's 4th race. Other recent starters under the ownership of Ellen McNeil and Ben McNeil have included trotters Mc Thunderstruck and Salome Marvel, pacing mare Cajun Pearl, claiming pacer Kommander Hawk. Their three year old pacing filly Looney Dune was denied a fourth straight win by a neck to the cone skimming pocket sitter Pams Legacy in $10,000 claiming company on the December 28 program.

By the numbers, John McNeil's son, trainer John McNeil III, is capping off a career best year at age 24. Including his accomplishments at New York's Vernon Downs and Saratoga Harness in 2011, purses for the year earned by trainer John McNeil III have surpassed $110,000 with 27 winners from 168 starters. The December 28 win at Pompano moved John McNeil III into elite company in the Pompano trainers' standings with a 25% win statistic. He's harnessed up 9 winners from 36 starters so far at his first winter meet in Florida.

"Considering that we're racing a small stable made up mostly of our own homebreds it's been real relief to find we can fit in as well here as we do back in New York state" McNeil says. "My wife and I have to go home now for a couple weeks. Trust me, we're looking forward to coming back to be with our son and help him out, and after seeing winter again in New York state we'll be coming back to Pompano as soon as possible."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

M1 - NEW LASIX PROCEDURES ISSUED FOR THE MEADOWLANDS; TWO DAYS OF QUALIFIERS THIS WEEK

MANALAPAN, NJ – December 28, 2011 – The New Jersey Racing Commission’s veterinarian, Dr. Barbara Greene, has issued changes in Lasix procedures for the 2012 Meadowlands meet.

Qualifiers will take place on both December 29 and December 30 and the first night of live racing is Friday, January 6, 2012.

Director of Racing Peter Koch has split the qualifiers with pacers going on Thursday and trotters [and additional entries] on Friday.  The box will close at 10 a.m. on Thursday for Friday’s qualifiers.

The renovated Back Paddock, now with gates on the stalls, will serve as the receiving barn and include a Lasix Stall where the medication will be administered. 
 

LASIX INFORMATION FOR THE 2012 MEADOWLANDS MEET

Issued by Dr. Barbara Greene, New Jersey State Veterinarian
 
·         All horses racing on Lasix must report directly to the Back Paddock and will be treated with Lasix FOUR [4] hours prior to post time for their race
 
·         Each horse must have a representative bring the horse to the designated treatment stall and witness the Lasix administration.

·         Your horse will be scratched if late or if there is not a representative with the horse for treatment.


KELLY WALKER— NAMED AMATEUR DRIVER OF THE YEAR BY USHWA

by John Manzi for USHWA

The US Trotting Association recognizes him as  Mitchell K. Walker but in harness racing circles  he’s known by his middle name, Kelly. And to be more precise,  in the amateur movement  he goes by the nickname “Sky”….. and for Kelly “Sky”  Walker these are good times.

He placed well in the seven month  C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series  and in early December Walker  won the premier event of the Billings Series,  the $25,000 Delvin Miller Memorial Gold Cup Driving Championship at The Meadows.

Kelly Walker
And now  Walker has been  named  National Amateur Driver of the Year by  the United States Harness Writers Association .
“My goodness I can’t say enough about how I feel about receiving this honor,” Walker said after being told of his accolade.” It’s amazing to me. I’m thrilled. I had a great year and more than that I had a great time driving and to receive an honor like this is just the icing on the cake.”

Over the past three years Walker has won 43 races in 210 starts and has shown real ability as a harness driver. Asked if he has any aspirations of turning professional it didn’t take him long to answer, “No… I’m  not interested in becoming a professional. Not at my age now. Maybe if I was in my 20’s I’d think differently but I’m having too much fun as an amateur.”
Back in October  Walker was the selection of the North American Amateur Drivers Association to represent the U.S.A in the upcoming and most prestigious World Cup of Amateur Racing which will be staged in New Zealand in Mid-January.

When he heard the news Walker said joyously, “It’s absolutely fabulous. I’m overwhelmed and exceedingly  honored to be selected to represent the United States in the  World Cup. “It’s (the World Cup) the top of the game and a huge honor.”
Walker, 55,a farmer out of Davison, MI, was introduced to the harness races by his dad when he was a youngster. He learned to read a program and handicap the races but at age 18 his main  interest was purchasing a Corvette which he had been saving for. However, his dad told him he could attract as many girls with a horse as he could with a car. So  instead of buying that famed  sports automobile Walker purchased  his first race horse and then shortly after he had four; and even  employed a professional trainer. 

Walker was a hands-on owner and would help jog and  train. But when his father passed away the demands of their family farm and greenhouse left him with no time for the horses. Twenty years had transpired before Walker  purchased his next racehorse. .
Finally after jogging and training his own stock for seven years  under the mentoring  of veteran horseman ,Terry Tomlin, Kelly drove his first amateur race in 2004  as a member of the Michigan Great Lakes Amateur Driving Club. During the 2009 campaign Walker was named the Michigan Amateur Driver of the Year.

A few years ago Walker joined the Billings Series and as time allows he competes whenever he can.  
This year was Walker’s best season to date when he finished  with a lofty .391UDRS on the strength of 15 wins, 10 seconds and four thirds in 56 starts. Thus far in just six short seasons of amateur  driving,  with a limited amount of starts, Walker currently has 54  victories.

Walker will receive his accolade when the U.S. Harness Writers Association presents their  Dan Patch Awards Dinner  at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at Sea World on International Drive in Orlando, Fla. on February  12th.

The Option of Breeding While Racing

It was recently announced that 2011 North America Cup winner, Up The Credit, will be bred to mares in 2012 but rather than retiring from racing will be pointed toward a four year old campaign on the race track.
Quoting from a piece on the topic in Harness Racing Update; “He (Up The Credit) had a knee problem all year and he's over it and better now than he's ever been, so we thought we'd bring him back and race him as a 4-year-old and maybe even a 5-year-old,” co-owner and trainer Carl Jamieson said.
“Up The Credit’s return to the races will provide racing fans the opportunity to watch a major stakes winning three year old compete for another season, rather than disappear into the breeding shed,” observed Jeff Gural. “I applaud their decision and am hopeful that others will consider continuing to race their top horses while breeding them in the future. We encourage breeders to support Up The Credit as it shows that the Jamiesons recognize the current model of retiring our best three year oldsis not working and we need to take some chances for the long term benefit of the industry.”

PPK5/8 - Brooke Nickells Returns, Win

Brooke Nickells sure didn't take long making her impact felt upon returning from the Indiana circuit to her winter base at Pompano.

The 39 year old trainer and driver now based at Anderson, IN made a well timed final half move to capture a $4,000 purse conditioned trot with BK's Felon over Sea Drill in rein to Bruce Ranger and Mega Man with Ed Hensley in tow. Nickells is also the owner of the Jailhouse Jesse-Luv To Trot three year old gelding who earned a 1:58 life's mark with the effort.

Post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday at The Winter Capital Of Harness Racing. Free race night live streaming, nightly handicapping selections by John Berry, and replays are in the 'racing' tab at www.theislepompanopark.com along with the full season racing schedule through next July. Simulcasting from Gulfstream Park at 3 p.m. from Thursday through Sunday each week is now also on the extensive list of tracks offered at Pompano.

PPK5/8 - Big Bad John Draws Outsite New Year's Eve at Pompano

The clock is not only ticking toward the arrival of the New Year but also toward the highly anticipated return to the track of the 2011 Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John. His final start as a three year is set for New Year's Eve, Saturday, December 31 at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.

If he's going to win the final start of his three year old campaign and challenge the track's three year old colt pace track record of 1:51.2 set by Beach Towel in 1990, Big Bad John will need to be at his best. In the seven horse field assembled for the $12,000 Open Pace, the draw luck resulted in an outside post seven verdict. Now racing from the Dan Hennessey barn at Pompano, Big Bad John certainly appears to be ready after a 1:52.1 qualifier and Wally Hennessey is slated for bike duty. The career winner of over $988,000 for Edward Telle's Winchester Baye Acres of Ocala, FL is slated for stallion duty at Midland Acres in Ohio at a future date after surpassing $1 million in career earnings.

Also on the New Year's Eve card, Dan Noble is expected to put the finishing touches on his quest for the 2011 drivers' dash title. The 28 year old reinsman from Ohio will appear in at least three races at Pompano on the December 31 program. Going into Tuesday evening's action, Noble had amassed 764 victories on the year for a ten win advantage on George Brennan, and Noble was scheduled for duty in 11 of 13 races on the Northfield Park program. The support party festivities trackside at Pompano on Saturday night include the Miami Food Trucks, free race programs, and a huge fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. after the eight race card convening at 7:15 p.m. is completed. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Eldorado Max Passes

London (December 27, 2011) - Tuesday’s program at The Raceway in London was marred by tragedy in the afternoon’s fourth race when 14-year-old Eldorado Max collapsed just after the finish and passed away.

The local fan favourite was scheduled to make his final career appearance in the Old Lange Syne Trot on New Year's Eve at The Raceway.

The Raceway's television crew had just paid a visit to Eldorado Max at the farm just days ago. His longtime owner/trainer Dan Creighton commented that the trotter’s love of competition was what made him so good for so long.

“This is a very sad turn of events and we want to send out our condolences to the connections of Max who gave everyone so many wonderful memories,” said The Raceway’s General Manager, Ian Fleming. “He gave everything he had every time he faced that starting gate and he will certainly be missed.”

A son of SJs Photo, Eldorado Max ended his remarkable racing career with 46 wins from 195 lifetime starts while amassing $512,184 in purse earnings.


Qualifiers Canceled Friday In London

London, December 27, 2011 -- Horse people should note that The Raceway at The Western Fair District has canceled qualifiers for this Friday, December 30. There will also be no training on the track for the balance of this week.

Qualifying races will be held next at The Raceway on Friday, January 6.

There is live racing at The Raceway on Friday night with a 7:05 p.m. first post and there will also be live racing on New Year's Eve with the same 7:05 p.m. start time.

BRENNAN, PENA LEADING YONKERS 2011 DRIVER, TRAINER

BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway


YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, December 27, 2011 -- George Brennan and Lou Pena easily won their respective driver and trainer titles for Yonkers Raceway's recently-concluded 2011 season.


The racing calendar, which ended this past Friday night (Dec. 23), saw Brennan run away and hide with 697 local victories from 2,413 drives, winning with just under 29 percent of his escorts. Brennan, in his first full Westchester season, also rolled home with the money belt, ending with purses of $11,197,878.


The victory figure just about doubled-up three-time defending champ Jason Bartlett's 349 wins, with Bartlett also finishing second in purses ($6.6 million). Dan Dube (249 wins), Cat Manzi (193) and Brent Holland (179) rounded out the first flight among drivers, though Brian Sears gets honorable mention for 176 wins in 510 fewer drives than Holland at No. 5.


Pena successfully defended his training title, with 246 winners from 628 starters (39.2 percent). That total outdistanced Mark Ford (135 wins), though Ford--with 379 more starters--led in purses ($3,717,162 to $3,446,118).


Ron Burke (110 wins), Casie Coleman (92) and Chris Marino (84) rounded out the training quintet win category, respectively.


        
Yonkers' 2012 live season begins Friday night, Jan. 13. First post for all racing programs remains at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule (note Aqueduct returns Wednesday).