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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Free Trackmaster Full Card PP’s available for Hambletonian Day

Thanks to an ongoing agreement between The Meadowlands and Trackmaster, we are happy to offer the trackmaster past performances for Hambletonian Day to our customers completely free of charge.  Those looking to get a head start on their handicapping for the biggest day in harness racing  can access the past performances here.
Hambletonian Day kicks off at noon with Hambletonian post time set for 5:11 P.M. 

- Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment 


By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

 MANALAPAN, NJ – July 30, 2014 – Saturday’s Hambletonian Day 15-race card at the Meadowlands is loaded with rich stakes worth nearly $3.6 million in purse money, including the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic and its filly companion race, the $100,000 Thomas D’Altrui Miss New Jersey.

The two stakes for New Jersey-sired three-year-old pacers are early in the card – the third race for the Miss New Jersey and the fourth race for the New Jersey Classic – and have the possibility of being two of the most contentious and bettor-friendly events, with no prohibitive favorites.

Racing conditions for the two stakes were amended to eliminate eliminations.  The finals are limited to the 10 highest lifetime money-winning horses in the entry box.  To further sweeten the pot, even those who do not share in the top five purse distribution will not go home empty-handed.  The connections of the New Jersey Classic colts finishing sixth through 10 will receive $1,500 each while the connections of the Miss New Jersey fillies will receive $1,000 each.

“We are very pleased that we have full and competitive fields for both stakes, in fact, 11 entered in each with 10 going postward,” said Tom Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey [SBOANJ], which sponsors the two races. 

“We feel stallions will return to New Jersey once we have casino-infused purses, a likelihood in the next few years, but for now we are trying our best to make it worthwhile for breeders to support our program and owners to buy New Jersey-sired offspring with the opportunity to compete in such events as the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey,” Luchento added. 

Post time on Saturday, August 2, 2014 is 12 noon with gates opening at 10 a.m.  Admission is $5.

The $1 million Hambletonian [Race 13] and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks [Race 12] and the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trot will be featured on the live television broadcast from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network [for Channel Finder –].  The program will be hosted by Gary Seibel, Dave Brower and Justin Horowitz. 

The fields for the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey with post, horse, sire, driver, trainer and morning line odds:

1-Doo Wop Hanover - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras – Steve Elliott – 9-5
2-Western Vintage – Western Ideal – Brian Sears – Nancy Johansson - 5-2
3-Rockeyed Optimist – Rocknroll Hanover – Matt Kakaley – Steve Elliott – 20-1
4-Buckwacker – Rocknroll Hanover – David Miller – Chris Ryder – 9-2
5-Sweet Rock – Rocknroll Hanover – Brett Miller – Wayne Given - 20-1
6-Dancin Hill – Rocknroll Hanover – Scott Zeron – Tony Alagna – 10-1
7-Rock Out – Rocknroll Hanover – Tim Tetrick – Steve Elliott – 15-1
8-Card Shock- Cam’s Card Shark – George Brennan – Mark Silva – 20-1
9-Beat The Drum – Tell All – Ron Pierce – Staffan Lind – 6-1
10-Rocknroll Reality – Rocknroll Hanover – Corey Callahan – John Butenschoen – 12-1

1-Ideal Helen – Western Ideal – Marcus Miller – Erv Miller – 10-1
2-Act Now – Western Ideal – Brian Sears – Nikolas Drennan – 3-1
3-Gettingreadytoroll – Rocknroll Hanover – Yannick Gingras – Jimmy Takter – 2-1
4-My Lady Day – Western Ideal – David Miller – Joe Holloway – 15-1
5-Surfside Sexy – Rocknroll Hanover - Ron Pierce – Ron Burke – 20-1
6-Cut A Deal – Rocknroll Hanover – George Brennan – Nick Surick – 20-1
7-Blixtra – Rocknroll Hanover – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svandstedt – 9-2
8-Highland Rockstar – Rocknroll Hanover – Mike Lachance – Buzzy Sholty – 20-1
9-Rockingcam Park – Rocknroll Hanover – Tim Tetrick – Ron Coyne Jr. – 8-1
10- Kate Can’t Wait – Rocknroll Hanover – Corey Callahan – Ross Croghan – 6-1


By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ – July 31, 2014 – If the pieces all fall into place, the connections of Western Vintage could be sipping champagne on Saturday.

The son of Western Ideal is making his return to the races, after being sidelined since late June, in the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic, the fourth of 15 races on the Hambletonian Day program on Saturday, August 2, 2014 at the Meadowlands. 

The New Jersey Classic and its filly companion event, the $100,000 Thomas D’Altrui Miss New Jersey for fillies, are restricted to New Jersey-sired three-year-old pacers.  Both events are sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. 

In a well-balanced field, Western Vintage is rated the 5-2 second choice [Doo Wop Hanover is 9-5] and will leave from post two with Brian Sears at the lines.

Last season, Western Vintage won five of eight races and earned $316,838.  His victories included the $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship for two-year-old pacing colts and a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at the Red Mile.  He finished second in the $648,850 Metro Pace at Mohawk.

This all marked the bargain colt – he cost only $7,000 at the 2012 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale – as a potential divisional star at three.

Health issues, however, detoured Western Vintage after four starts this spring.

“We gave him a break after the Hempt [on June 21] for a couple of reasons,” said Perry Soderberg, the colt’s co-owner.  “One, because he had some really tough races up to that point, and two, his blood work wasn't perfect so we needed some time to improve that.  It is a long year and another year after this one, so we want to take care of the horse.”

Western Vintage opened his 2014 campaign with a New Jersey Sire Stakes win in 1:49.4 on May 17 at the Meadowlands and a week later was second to Doo Wop Hanover in the $100,000 final.

Then it was on the road to Mohawk Raceway for the North America Cup elims [he finished fourth] and to Pocono for the Hempt [he was eighth].

Trainer Nancy Johansson qualified Western Vintage twice in July, including a 1:50.3 clocking and five and a half length victory on July 19 in the hands of new pilot Brian Sears.

“Well, Yannick [Gingras, who previously drove the colt] has been great, but he has [Jimmy] Takter’s and [Ron] Burke’s horses to choose from down the road, and they have been better than mine so far this year,” Soderberg explained.  “I know Brian has JK Endofanera and other options as well, but I am thankful that he wants to drive him now.

“All in all, I thought it was time to get the horse used to different drivers,” he added.  “He has been a bit tricky to drive, but he better get used to different drivers; that’s how this business works.”

Swedish-born Soderberg, who has been evaluating horses since 1986, usually picks out yearlings for others, primarily trainer Jimmy Takter and his owners.  But when no one wanted Western Vintage, he purchased the colt for himself for $7,000.  Marvin Katz of Toronto bought an interest last October.

With $53,890 earned this year, Western Vintage now has a bankroll of $370,728.

“Western Vintage is coming in to this race in good shape,” said Soderberg.  “He qualified well, and I think he is the type of horse that can race good after a break.”

Post time on Saturday, August 2, 2014 is 12 noon with gates opening at 10 a.m.  Admission is $5.

The $1 million Hambletonian [Race 13] and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks [Race 12] and the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trot will be featured on the live television broadcast from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network [for Channel Finder –].  The program will be hosted by Gary Seibel, Dave Brower and Justin Horowitz. 

The fields for the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey with post, horse, sire, driver, trainer and morning line odds:

1-Doo Wop Hanover - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras – Steve Elliott – 9-5
2-Western Vintage – Western Ideal – Brian Sears – Nancy Johansson - 5-2
3-Rockeyed Optimist – Rocknroll Hanover – Matt Kakaley – Steve Elliott – 20-1
4-Buckwacker – Rocknroll Hanover – David Miller – Chris Ryder – 9-2
5-Sweet Rock – Rocknroll Hanover – Brett Miller – Wayne Given - 20-1
6-Dancin Hill – Rocknroll Hanover – Scott Zeron – Tony Alagna – 10-1
7-Rock Out – Rocknroll Hanover – Tim Tetrick – Steve Elliott – 15-1
8-Card Shock- Cam’s Card Shark – George Brennan – Mark Silva – 20-1
9-Beat The Drum – Tell All – Ron Pierce – Staffan Lind – 6-1
10-Rocknroll Reality – Rocknroll Hanover – Corey Callahan – John Butenschoen – 12-1

1-Ideal Helen – Western Ideal – Marcus Miller – Erv Miller – 10-1
2-Act Now – Western Ideal – Brian Sears – Nikolas Drennan – 3-1
3-Gettingreadytoroll – Rocknroll Hanover – Yannick Gingras – Jimmy Takter – 2-1
4-My Lady Day – Western Ideal – David Miller – Joe Holloway – 15-1
5-Surfside Sexy – Rocknroll Hanover - Ron Pierce – Ron Burke – 20-1
6-Cut A Deal – Rocknroll Hanover – George Brennan – Nick Surick – 20-1
7-Blixtra – Rocknroll Hanover – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svandstedt – 9-2
8-Highland Rockstar – Rocknroll Hanover – Mike Lachance – Buzzy Sholty – 20-1
9-Rockingcam Park – Rocknroll Hanover – Tim Tetrick – Ron Coyne Jr. – 8-1
10- Kate Can’t Wait – Rocknroll Hanover – Corey Callahan – Ross Croghan – 6-1

Living The Dream With "The Captain"

East Rutherford, NJ - The $257,700 United States Pacing Championship (USPC) will provide the stage for nine of the finest in the aged pacing division to do battle on Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands. A testament to the quality of the group is the fact that the combined career earnings of these nine pacers is in excess of $20 million.

Among the chief contenders in Saturday’s race is Captaintreacherous who dominated his division and was subsequently named “Pacer of the Year” as a freshman and sophomore, a distinction he shares with only the immortal Niatross. Faced this season at age four with graduation into the open ranks to battle the best of the older set was expected to be a daunting task and the competition has been fierce.

Captaintreacherous was born to be a star with the pedigree and presence to demand $250,000 at the 2011 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. He came from the greatly anticipated first crop of champion racehorse Somebeachsomewhere and boasts a very accomplished maternal line. White Birch Farm bred and raised the colt and when Myron Bell and Tony Alagna saw him during their annual farm canvass they agreed he was priority one.

The winning bid was made by Bell on behalf of a partnership that included George Segal’s Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and Myron and Stephanie Bell’s Riverview Farm. White Birch proprietor Michael Parisi was offered a stake and remained a partner on the horse as well. They would choose the nom de course Captaintreacherous Racing for this endeavor.

Myron Bell has been the racing manager for George Segal's Brittany Farms for more than thirty years. Throughout their relationship many of the sport's stars both on the track and in the breeding shed have campaigned under the Brittany banner.

Over the past decade, Myron has managed a number of partnerships that include several high-profile Standardbred owners and breeders with remarkable results. Captaintreacherous represents the culmination of a lifetime spent breeding, buying and racing the best.

“My groups, such as Captaintreacherous Racing, are looking for that top horse that we can race successfully at the highest level and then hopefully have a future in the breeding shed. I could not do any of this without their confidence and support,” said Bell. “We bought just one colt from Somebeachsomewhere’s first crop and our aim was to buy the best one.

"Captaintreacherous was the number one colt from that crop, in our opinion. He showed beautifully and offered the best pedigree that I’d seen for years. He had all of the attributes that we seek; conformation, attitude, ability…and he had no weaknesses.”

Things began well for Captaintreacherous. He seared through his two-year-old campaign with Tim Tetrick joining the team as his regular driver, listing the Wilson and Metro among eight wins in ten starts for over $900,000 and his first “Pacer of the Year” title.

Brought back at three with great expectations, "The Captain” exceeded even those lofty ambitions and ran the table with the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace and Breeders Crown among his thirteen triumphs and $2 million in seasonal earnings.

Along the way Captaintreacherous captured the hearts of racing fans with his grit and determination, often appearing on the brink of defeat only to battle back and get to the wire first. His talent and will; coupled with his breeding and imposing presence, drew the attention of several suitors for his services as a stallion.

Ultimately it would be industry leader Hanover Shoe Farms whose participation in a syndication agreement led to a decision to stand Captaintreacherous at their Pennsylvania nursery when he goes to stud in 2015.

“It is absolutely imperative that you have a strong syndicate when the horse goes to stud,” Bell opined. “You need breeders with the right mares to want the horse to succeed and support him with those mares. If they are shareholders they are enhancing their own interests as well as that of the horse. After the first two seasons in the shed, when a new star retires to stud, if you don’t have that support, interest wanes and you have a few down years even if the horse hits.

“We sold a few shares of the horse to serious breeders after his freshman season to establish value. There was understandably great interest in “Captain” last year and by Lexington we had a few serious offers to stand him. Hanover bought a significant interest in him and they have the type of mares we seek to give him a chance to be his best. We will syndicate him further at the end of this racing season and he will go to stud at Hanover.”

For his career, Captaintreacherous has won 22 of 31 starts and over $3.1 million, averaging a remarkable $100,000 per start. He won the Meadowlands Maturity his first race this season, but is winless in his last four starts. In Saturday’s USPC as "The Captain” looks to move forward off a wicked tune-up in last week’s prep, he finds himself starting from post eight, just outside Sweet Lou who has won seven straight and been the star of this division thus far in 2014.

“We had no illusions that he was going to go through this season against these types of horses without getting beat. I think he has raced well in each of his starts this year and was fantastic last week, pacing his last half in :52 flat. Sweet Lou has been very good, but I don’t fear him. My feeling is that “Captain” is improving in each race and will continue to improve. He needs to get lucky at the draw and you always need racing luck, that’s a given.

“Tony Alagna and Tim Tetrick have done a marvelous job racing Captaintreacherous. To campaign a horse at that level over three seasons, keep him fit, healthy and sound is a testament to Tony and his crew. Tim handles the pressure that comes with the job beautifully and deserves tremendous credit for his body of work driving “Captain”. It truly “takes a village” to campaign a horse like this and I really feel that we have yet to see his best.

"One of the most gratifying elements of this ride has been the response to Captaintreacherous by the harness community and particularly the racing fans," Myron said in closing. "He has given the ownership group many thrills and the enthusiasm shown by his fans is right at the top of that list."

The complete field:
1. GOLDEN RECEIVER CoCallahan JaHuff
3. THINKING OUT LOUD JCampbell RoMcintosh
5. FOILED AGAIN YaGingras RoBurke
6. BETTOR'S EDGE MaKakaley RoBurke
7. SWEET LOU RoPierce RoBurke
9. CLEAR VISION BrAMiller RoBurke
The US Pacing Championship is race five on Saturday’s All-Star Hambletonian card and clearly one of the most anticipated races of the day. The fifteen-race program begins at noon, gates open at 10:00am with the annual Hambo hat giveaway. The Hambletonian may be viewed on CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30pm. Find more information including access to a free Hambo Day program by visiting The Meadowlands website.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tioga and Vernon prepare for new-format Drivers’ Championship

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs announce a new format for the 2014 Drivers’ Championship, scheduled to take place on a pair of marquee race days at both New York courses.

The first round will take place at Vernon Downs on Friday, August 29, along with the $200,000e Crawford Farms Open Trot and the Zweig Memorial Trot for three-year-olds.  The second round is slated for Monday, September 1--three days later--at Tioga Downs, where the Drivers’ Championship will share the spotlight with the Cane Pace, the Shady Daisy, and a preliminary leg of the Miss Versatility series for distaff trotters.

Past years have seen the six top money-winning drivers in North America and a sponsor’s exemption join the leading driver from both Tioga and Vernon, but the 2014 Drivers’ Championship will implement a new means to compile the nine-driver field.

This year, the leading drivers (by wins) at Tioga and Vernon will be joined by:

-       the top three (3) Meadowlands drivers (by purse earnings)
-       the top Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit driver
-       the top Harrah’s Philadelphia/Pocono Downs driver
-       the top driver aged 25 or younger
-       a sponsor’s exemption

As of right now, the field would be comprised of Jim Marohn, Jr., Chris Lems, Yannick Gingras, David Miller, Tim Tetrick, Sylvain Filion, George Napolitano, Scott Zeron, and the sponsor's exemption.  The field will be finalized according to drivers' statistics as of the close of racing on Sunday, August 3.

As in past years, the overall winner takes home $25,000—equivalent to a driver’s commission for winning a $1,000,000 race.  Additionally, the leader at the conclusion of the first round wins $10,000.

In addition to a slew of other giveaways and promotions, both tracks will host a Jim Marohn, Jr. bobblehead giveaway in conjuction with the Drivers’ Championship to commemorate last year’s winner.  With a healthy lead over Aaron Byron in the Tioga Downs standings, the “Mighty Mite Part Two” is poised to defend his title.


An astute horse player once said “time only counts in jail” when referring to handicapping a harness race. “Class wins out” he added.

Final times were usually a good barometer when trying to pick a winner in a horse race, but today that idea might not ‘hold water’.

With all the new equipment, and there is plenty of it, and improving breed of horseflesh, the horsemen of yesteryear wouldn’t believe the final race times that trotters and pacers produce today.

There were always fast times on the big mile tracks of long ago but final times on the double ovals have improved to where even cheaper claiming pacers today shade the two-minute mile--the former standard of excellence—and many obliterate it.

Monticello Raceway opened in June of 1958 and prior to 1974 there were just 12 recorded miles in 2:00 or faster. Now, a two-minute, or faster, mile hardly raises an eyebrow. It seems like the new time-standard  is 1:55 which was a world record clocking in 1955 when a pacer by the name of Adios Harry was driven to victory by Luther Lyons one warm summer evening over Vernon Downs three-quarter mile oval.

Perhaps a time of 1:55 is a non-entity on  the mile and 5/8th mile tracks,  and that clocking is even becoming passé on half mile tracks. 

However, a 1:55 clocking here at the Mighty M doesn’t happen often and is a special local accomplishment. But yesterday, (July 29) there were two miles clocked faster than 1:55 and one that stopped the timer in 1:55.1 which excited- to an extent- the local rail birds
True, at some other half mile tracks  if a horse can’t pace in 1:55 or better he won’t get much purse money. But here in the fresh Catskill Mountain air miles faster than 1:55 are far from commonplace.

The fastest mile on the Tuesday (July 29) card was turned in by a pacer named Johnny Grippa and driver Jimmy Devaux when they toured the Mighty M oval in 1:53:3. A time like that may not be special downstate  but here it was the fastest mile of the year, thus far.

Johnny Grippa, a 6 year old Cam Cardshark gelding, owned and trained by Jack Sheehan, cut all fractions (27.2; 57.2; 1:25; 1:53.4)  carrying a $12,500 claiming tag and finished one and half lengths ahead of Bettorsluckystreak (Jimmy Taggart, Jr.) and Memory Game (Mike Merton) who ended-up in a dead-heat for second.

Sent off at odds of over 5-1 Johnny Grippa paid $12.60 for win.

The other swift mile was recorded by Muscleshooter when driver Austin Seigelman yielded command at the quarter pole and retook before the paddock turn and went on to score a 1:54.1 triumph, three lengths ahead of Tyler’s Great (Jimmy Marohn, Jr.)

Owned by David Hamm and trained by Chris Marino, Muscleshooter returned a $3.00 win mutuel.

By the way, the pacer who won in  A:55.1 was Ideal Carver, driven by Bruce Aldrich, Jr. And every one of the 10 races on the card went in 1:59.3 or faster.


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, July 29, 2014—New York Sire Stakes continued downstate Tuesday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $201,600 Mike Cohen Trot for 2-year-old fillies. The quintet of races honored the memory of the former Yonkers and NBC Sports publicity director, with his family and friends making winner’s circle presentations. 

The opening ($39,900) event saw a down-the-road Pig Hunt (George Brennan, $9.80), from post position No. 5, break the tape in a spiffy 1:59.4 (:30.2, 1:01.2 and 1:30.1).  The effort matched her previous season’s-best.

Frou Frou (Brett Miller), as the 7-10 favorite, lost her tow when Icy Sprite (Jason Bartlett) broke, then could not get near the winner. The final margin was a length, with Praying Gear (Jeff Gregory) third.

For third choice Pig Hunt, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (trainer) Janice and Jennifer Connor, it was her second win in four first-season starts. The exacta paid $20.20, with the triple returning $53.50.

“She shows trotting every start, so I wasn’t worried about her,” Brennan said. “I was able to back down the half and control the race.”

Tuesday night’s second ($40,900) sire stakes event was a successful debut for Shaqline (Jimmy Takter, $6.20). In play early from post No. 2, she found a :30.1 opening quarter-mil. Then, Concentration (Chris Lems) grabbed the baton (1:01.2, 1:30.2), 17-10 choice Barn Girl (Gregory) trotting in place first-up.

Concentration owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Shaqline took to the passing lane like a veteran. She ducked in and went by, the final margin a length-and-a-quarter in 2:00.1.  Cherry Crown Jewel (Dan Daley) was third, with Barn Girl winding up fourth.

For second choice Shaqline, a  Credit Winner trained by Takter for Brixton Medical Ab, her sire stakes debut came after just one baby race. The exacta paid $39, the triple returned $104 and the superfecta paid $439.

“She’s bred to be very good,” Takter said of the full-sister to $400,000-plus winner Shaq is Back. “She had breathing issues and three surgeries. Fortunately, she had some good doctors.”

The third ($39,900) Cohen division saw Summer Scent (Daley, $17.40)—from post No. 4--sit behind 2-1 choice Kaliska (Ray Schnittker) through fractions of :28.3, :59 and 1:29.2. Summer Scent then made her way past, winning by a half-length in a maiden-breaking 2:00.3. Third went to Duolectra (Corey Callahan).

For fourth choice Summer Scent, a Malabar Man miss trained by Daley for co-owners Ann-Mari Daley and Jlrl LLC, it was that first win in five ’14 tries,. The exacta paid $16.20, with the triple returning $556.

“She keeps at it,” Dan Daley said. “She doesn’t always want to pass another horse, but she drew better tonight and that helped.”            

The fourth ($40,600) sire stakes event was won by an in-form, 9-10 fave Barn Doll (Gregory, $3.80). Unhurried from post No. 2, she watched as Summers Windsong (Schnittker) and Nunkeri (Callahan) took turns through fractions of :29, :59.4 and 1:30.1.  

Barn Doll methodically made her move, first-up from fourth before collaring the leader early in the lane. She then edged away to beat Nunkeri by a length-and-a-half in 1:59.1…night’s fastest and matching her previous life-best.  Summers Windsong was third. 

For Barn Doll, a Conway Hall lass co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, it was her fourth (consecutive) win in five seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $14, with the triple returning $47.80.

“She’s a smart filly,” Gregory said. “She’s able to relax and that’s going to help her as she moves along. Tonight, when we moved, there was no one in front of  her, but can just as easily chase another.”

The evening’s statebred schedule ended in the fifth ($40,600) grouping, where slight choice Stirling Debutant (Ron Pierce, $6.80) showed good speed on both ends of a first-win 2:01.2 effort.

Leaving from post No. 5, “Debutant” wound up sitting behind Northern Obsession (Schnittker) and that one’s weight stations of :30, 1:01.3 and 1:31.2. When Zanna Blu (Gates Brunet) attacked the leader with a bold second move, Stirling Debutant extricated herself from the cones and angled out.

She then whipped a stubborn Zanna Blu by three-quarters of length. Third went to Meshugana Miss (Jordan Stratton), with Stories to Tell (Lems) fifth-placed-fourth.

For Stirling Debutant, a daughter of Credit Winner co-owner by (trainer) Rick Zeron, Cool Cat Racing and James Walker, she’s now 1-for-4 this season. The exacta paid  $51.50, the triple returned $529 and the superfecta paid $9,871.

“I spoke to Rick (Zeron) a couple of days ago, and he said if I just gave her a chance, she’d be alright,” Pierce said. “I made the (final turn) decision to take her outside, because with some of these 2-year-olds get a bit skittish when you duck them inside. “  

New York Sire Stakes continue Thursday night, with $200,900 New York Sire Stakes Jim Meagher Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings).

The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily.  


 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J _ Father Patrick puts a 15-race winning streak on the line as the 4-5 favorite in the $1 million Hambletonian on Saturday at The Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment.

The Hambletonian, the world’s most famous trotting race, headlines a stellar 15-race program on closing day of the meet. Gates open at 10 a.m. for the card that starts at noon.

The supporting events include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for trotting fillies; the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings; the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies; the $300,650 John Cashman, Jr. Memorial Free-For-All trot; the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship; the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic for state bred 3-year-old pacers and the $177,750 Lady Liberty featuring Free-For-All pacing mares.

The Hambletonian card has attracted international media interest, including live television coverage on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.

As usual, all eyes will focus on the Hambletonian where Father Patrick, a winner of 16 of 17 races, drew post 10. He is 6 for 6 on the season heading into the contest for 3-year-olds.

Father Patrick is one of three entrants for trainer Jimmy Takter who is well positioned to capture his third Hambletonian. Takter also sends out 7-2 second choice Trixton from post 7, and 9-2 third choice Nuncio from post 5.
They are all training really good," Takter said. "All three are coming into this race the best I can have them."
Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick. Hall of Famer John Campbell, the record holder with six Hambletonian victories, handles Nuncio while Takter will drive Trixton.

Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick. That victory came here last summer in an elimination for the Peter Haughton Memorial.

Father Patrick drew the widest post behind the mobile starting gate that accomodates 10 horses.

"Father Patrick is my strongest horse," Takter said. "But it's not an ideal post, but this horse is extremely good."

The strength of the Takter trio discouraged the competition. The 11 entrants are the fewest since the filly Continentalvictory beat 10 rivals in 1996.

This will be first time in the 89-year history of the Hambletonian that the field advances directly to the final without heats or elimination races. It will also be the first Hambletonian raced before the spectacular Meadowlands grandstand that debuted last November.

$1,006,125 Hambletonian, Race 13, Post time 5:11 p.m.
1-Resolve-Corey Callahan-Nancy Johansson-20-1
2-JJ Alex-Francisco Del Cid-Francisco Del Cid-50-1
3-Doncango-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-20-1
4-Datsyuk-Charlie Norris-Charlie Norris-12-1
5-Nuncio-John Campbell-Jimmy Takter-9-2
6-Royal Ice-Ron Pierce-Trond Smedshammer-20-1
7-Trixton-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-7-2
8-Il Sogno Dream-Aaron Merriman-Chris Beaver-50-1
9-Harper Blue Chip-Sylvain Filion-Mark Steacy-12-1
10-Father Patrick-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-4-5
11-Don Dorado-Tim Tetrick-Robert Baggitt Jr.-20-1
*Don Dorado will start from second tier

$500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, Race 12, 4:41 p.m.
It’s Julie Miller who has the strong hand in the Oaks, with three entrants including Designed To Be, the 2-1 favorite from the rail.

Miller's other fillies are Cee Bee Yes, 20-1 from post 2 and Take The Money, 12-1 from post 5.
Takter trains the 5-2 second choice, Shake It Cerry, who starts from the second tier in post 11.

1-Designed To Be-Brian Sears-Julie Miller-2-1
2-Cee Bee Yes-Marcus Miller-Julie Miller-20-1
3-Vanity Matters-Scott Zeron-Jonas Czernyson-30-1
4-Harley Momma-Corey Callahan-Jim Raymer-15-1
5-Take The Money-Dave Palone-Julie Miller-12-1
6-Tweet Me-Brett Miller-Don Swick-30-1
7-Lifetime Pursuit-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5-1
8-Heaven’s Door-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt- 9-2
9-Cooler Schooner-David Miller-Jim Campbell-12-1
10-Nitro Nittany-Howard Parker-Jim Raymer-30-1
11-Shake It Cerry-Ron Pierce-Jimmy Takter-5-2
*Shake It Cerry starts in second tier
$300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial, Race 11, Post time 4:14 p.m.
The Cashman, formerly the Nat Ray, is one of the glamour events of the day, featuring the Swedish sensation Sebastian K S who has taken the U.S. by storm.

The 8-year-old trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt set the world trotting record with his 1:49 victory at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in the Sun Invitational. He was the handy winner of his Cashman elimination in 1:51 as the 1-10 favorite.

Archangel took the other elim in 1:50 for a mild 5-1 upset.

The field also includes Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, and Arch Madness, a career winner of over $4.2 million.

1-Sebastian K-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-3-5
2-Your So Vain-Mike Lachance-Ake Svanstedt-20-1
3-Arch Madness-Brian Sears-Trond Smedshammer-20-1
4-Archangel-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4-1
5-Uncle Peter-David Miller-Jimmy Takter-15-1
6-Appomattox-Brett Miller-Liisa Vatanen-50-1
7-Mister Herbie-John Campbell-Mark Ford-20-1
8-Intimidate-Ron Pierce-Luc Blais-8-1

9-Market Share-Tim Tetrick-Linda Toscano-9-2

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cal Expo Announces Incentive Plan for upcoming meet

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Watch and Wager LLC, the operator of Cal Expo, has announced the Incentive Plan for their upcoming meet, which is set to begin October 4 and will run through May 2 of 2015.

Each returning (non new) horse will receive a onetime owners credit of $300, with the incentive money being credited to the owners account upon making its first Cal Expo start. To be eligible, the layover/returning horse must start by November 2 of 2014.

Meanwhile, each approved new horse will be eligible to receive up to $1,200 in incentive money. Of that amount, $900 will be paid to the owner of record after the new horse makes it first start, with that start coming by January 14, 2015.

The remaining $300 will be paid to the first start owner after such horse makes its eighth Cal Expo start, and that start must come prior to the end of the meet in May of 2015.

A new horse is defined as a horse who has not started at Cal Expo since May 25 of 2013, and to be eligible the horse must have raced at another track in 2014.

All new horses must be approved by Watch and Wager management and the new horse incentive program will be limited to the first 150 approved new horses.

There is on track stall space available free of rent.

Newly-renovated grooms quarters are also available for this meeting. 

For more information, please contact or call (916) 800-1395 

Kindergarten Classic Begins on August 1

East Rutherford, NJ - The 2014 Kindergarten Classic Series begins on Friday night, August 1 at The Meadowlands with eight healthy divisions of freshman trotting fillies and colts, each racing for a purse of $10,000. The entry fee is $250 made payable to The Meadowlands.  

Fifty-two fillies and thirty-three colts will face the starting gate as the series begins its course though summer into fall with several stops on tap. The road leads to Tioga Downs in late August, then off to The Red Mile for a pair of September legs before trekking back north to Vernon Downs in mid-October for the last leg and the $200,000e final for each on November 1.

Now in its eight season, the Kindergarten series has become very popular with trotting trainers, offering a place to race the youngsters against their own kind early and as a safe haven for those not quite ready to tackle the top caliber Grand Circuit types.

The entire Friday card is now available on the USTA website.


When race horses do well it creates interest. But when they do real well the interest magnifies.

Case in point: Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, two of the winningest harness horses in North America today. Diamond Tiara has won 17 times this year while Shortest Distance has 16 wins.  And both pacing mares compete at Monticello Raceway.

Diamond Tiara, a 7-year-old daughter of McArdle-Diamond In The Rough, and Shortest Distance,  a 9-year-old Park Place mare out of Camrissa, were quality mares in their youth and now against lesser talent they are stick-outs in their classes here at the Mighty M.

True, each mare’s number of wins is of interest and that they are one-two in races won this season on the continent adds to their appeal, but delving closer one will find that each mare has been claimed three times in the past six weeks.

Now, that in itself, is not revolutionary but the fact that those doing the claiming are the same people each time.

Yesterday (Mon. July 28) at Monticello Raceway Shortest Distance carried a $6000 claiming tag in her race andwent wire to wire winning in 1:56.2 with Bruce Aldrich, Jr. at the controls. When she got back to the paddock her previous owner Philip Schultz claimed her back from trainer Al Annunziata for owner, Marissa Godinez who claimed her  from Schultz the previous week.

That same afternoon, Diamond Tiara, who used to be Schultz’s possession but currently  owned by Al Annunziata, was beaten a nose in her attempt to win her 18th race when Mike Merton, with Get Your Own, stalked her and driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr. the entire mile and then beat Diamond Tiara in the final strides in a mile timed in 1:57.

On June 10 Annunziata claimed Diamond Tiara  from Schultz for $9,000 and the following week Schultz claimed her back for the identical price. But wait, on June 30 Annunziata took her home again for $9,000. Yesterday (July 28), Schultz reclaimed Diamond Tiara for $9000 from Annunziata.

But hold on, Schultz wasn’t done plunking down his denero.

After her 16th victory, Schultz reclaimed Shortest Distance from Marissa Godinez --whose trainer, is the aforementioned, Al Annunziata- who claimed her from Schultz last week.

Mike Watson was Diamond Tiara’s trainer when she won the overwhelming majority of her races this year, and now she, and Shortest Distance, will race from the Mike Watson barn, at least for next week!

So, for now, Philip Shultz owns the top two horses with the most wins this year. But it’s a good bet that this saga is not over yet.

Stay tuned.

Hambletonian Attracts 11 – Straight to Final

With 11 horses entered in The Hambletonian, the three year old colts will go straight to the Final worth $1,006,125. The Hambletonian will be carded as race 13 on the 15 race program.

The Jimmy Takter trained trio of Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton will headline the field for the 89th American Trotting Classic.

Joining those three are Datsyuk, Don Dorado, Doncango, Harper Blue Chip, Il Sogno Dream, JJ Alex, Resolve and Royal Ice.

The Hambletonian post position draw will take place at 4PM at Victory Sports Bar along with the draw for The John Cashman Memorial and Hambletonian Oaks.

RCI Meets This Week in Del Mar

Expanding Jurisdiction Over Horses in Training to be Discussed

DEL MAR, CA - North American racing regulators are meeting in Del Mar, California this week to consider various issues, including a proposal by RCI President Ed Martin to expand the jurisdiction of racing commissions over horses in training to better identify those being treated with medications for a condition or injury that might require exclusion from competition or training.

Under the proposal, racing commissions which currently license people working in racing would expand their authority to include horses, effectively extending jurisdiction over equines in training.

At the Grayson Jockey Club Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit earlier this month, a common theme was the necessity to have a better way to identify those horses that may be at risk as well as to ensure that the information is not only received but clearly understood by the trainer and ownership interests.

The United States Congress and the Food and Drug Administration have authorized almost every approved drug on the market for direct or indirect use in a horse based upon the professional judgment of a veterinarian. With the veterinary regulatory policy of twenty-one states requiring the issuance of a written prescription upon client request in lieu of direct veterinary administration, legitimate questions exist as to whether drugs are being used beyond their intended purpose.

Unlike the Olympics and other sports that permit athletes to compete with a Therapeutic Use Exemption when medicated, horse racing has taken a tougher approach by saying if a horse needs a medication that can affect performance, it should not race.

In a memo to the RCI Board of Directors, Martin wrote, “The purpose of this effort is not to assess the propriety of veterinary treatment or cite licensees for medication rule violations, but to foster a dialogue between all interested parties - owners, trainers, veterinarians, and regulators - about the health of the horse in making a determination as to whether a horse is plagued with a condition that might require placement on the Veterinarians List to be excluded from competition.”

Just as motor vehicle regulations require the registration (licensure) of automobiles and state safety inspections, horse owners or the ownership entity would be required to obtain a license for their horse and authorize the regulator access to the horse and the ability to perform a veterinary treatment audit or out-of-competition testing as appropriate.

In his concept memo, Martin wrote:

“Upon initial registration issued by the appropriate breed registry, notification would be required and appropriate information would be forwarded to the regulator or designee.

Horse licensure is best handled centrally and not on a state-by-state basis. The existing National Racing Compact is the logical entity, but RCI could serve as a regulatory designee. In any event the regulatory entity or designee would need to work closely with the breed registries in developing a plan for implementation.

Just as with an automobile, changes in ownership would have to be officially filed with the regulatory entity or its designee and appropriate documents generated.”

“This would obviously need a tremendous amount of work and industry dialogue,” Martin said, noting that this concept has not yet been addressed by any national racing organization or any group advocating for legislative intervention. “We have a collective moral responsibility to our horses to do whatever we can to identify those who may be at risk. This is an idea worthy of consideration.”

In other RCI News:

      A two-day training session is currently underway at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for new racing regulatory personnel. RCI periodically conducts such training for new commissioners or senior regulatory personnel.

      The Model Rules Committee will consider matters pertaining to the use of multiple Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

      At the request of The Jockeys Guild, there will be a discussion about regulatory participation in the Jockey Injury Database.

      At the request of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association there will be a discussion about reciprocity of Veterinarian’s and Steward’s Lists between the United States and Canada.

      There will be a demonstration by The Jockey Club of the Electronic Treatment Records Database offered to regulators to assist in the submission of pre-race veterinary records consistent with existing regulatory requirements.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Archangel - Fastest Trotter in Meadowlands History

East Rutherford - Many of the sport’s stars were out on Saturday night at The Meadowlands and none shown brighter than Archangel who won the first elimination for the John Cashman, Jr Memorial trot in a world record 1:50 flat. The mile broke a six-way tie for the fastest mile ever by a trotter on a mile track.

Yannick Gingras sent the handsome five year old millionaire son of Credit Winner out fast for the lead with a wicked 26.1 opening quarter then set even fractions of 54.4 and 1:22.3 in the record mile. Archangel was a geared down length and a three quarter winner over Intimidate with Market Share third. Your So Vain and Sevruga round out the qualifiers from this elimination for next Saturday’s $300,000 final.

Gingras had high praise for Archangel in the post-race interview, “I told his caretaker Sarah I was gonna roll him. He has the ability, just hasn’t been lucky. He was staying with Sebastian K in the 1:49 mile at Pocono when he broke on the turn. I think he’ll give Sebastian some competition in the final, I’d take it if I could cut the mile against him next week in the final.”

Ron Burke trains the winner for Legendary Standardbred Farm and Claire Semer.

Sebastian K was back to his winning ways in the second elimination for Ake Svanstedt with an easy three length score in 1:51. The race began with Creatine flying off the wings from the outside for Mike Lachance and clearing Sebastian as they reached the quarter in a dazzling 26 flat. The pace slowed abruptly when Lachance took up on the lead and Svanstedt was forced to yank Sebastian K out quickly before Mister Herbie could get the jump on him from third. He got out, though the judges flashed inquiry and reviewed the move, and back to the top.

Sweet Justice mounted a final turn challenge but was rebuffed with a 27.3 final quarter. Mister Herbie split horse late to be second, Uncle Peter third in his return to US soil, Appomattox a solid fourth and Arch Madness captured the final berth in next week’s race.

The winner is trained in the Svanstedt barn for Knutsson Trotting and was winning for the sixth time this year in seven tries.

The 2014 Hambletonian Oaks did not require eliminations and Racing Secretary Peter Koch offered the entrants the chance to race in a $35,000 prep. Nine of the eleven accepted but the field was reduced to eight with the defection Cooler Schooner, a sick scratch.

Designed To Be and Shake It Cerry would square off again in what would prove to be a driver’s race. Posted just to the right of Designed To Be and Brian Sears, Ron Pierce send Shake It Cerry away crisply to secure the lead, repelled the mild bid Sears offered from the pocket then slowed the pace through the middle fractions. Clearance would not be availed to Designed To Be again until deep in the stretch and by then Pierce had used Cerry’s quickness to pad the cushion on her rival, which diminished to a half-length at the wire. Lifetime Pursuit was third.

Shake It Cerry is trained in the Jimmy Takter stable for Solveig’s Racing Partners. It was her fourteenth win in eighteen career starts and she has earned over $1 million.

It sets up to be a very interesting contest in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks next Saturday afternoon.

The United States Pacing Championship drew nine entries that will all advance directly to next Saturday’s $257,700 final and a $40,000 tune-up was offered to that group as well. Sweet Lou has been invincible since uniting with Pierce mid-May and would add another sub 1:48 mile to his résumé in this one with a 1:47.3 score. Pierce brushed the flashy pacer to the front near the 54.1 half then strung together 27.2 and 26 flat quarters to close it out.

Captaintreacherous went a big trip to be second, coming from last in the field of seven at the half and pacing his individual final half 52 flat and 25.4 last quarter to be beaten less than two lengths. Thinking Out Loud also raced great, surviving an uncovered run at Sweet Lou and living to tell of it, finishing third.

The winner is trained in the Ron Burke stable on behalf of owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. He has now won his last seven starts, all in 1:48.3 or better with a five eighths mile track world record of 1:47 flat the fastest.

The Lady Liberty required a single $40,000 elimination when eleven Free For All quality pacing mares dropped in the box. A free pass to the $177,750 final in the form of a bye was offered to the top seasonal money winners and after a few declined (more on that later) Ron Burke accepted for Rocklamation. The remaining ten went to the post with their assignment to avoid be last and thus eliminated.

They raced it out like it was for the big money here, with Corey Callahan sending Drop The Ball out hard, yielded to Shelliscape for a step then removed and took on all comers. Dead game to the wire, Drop The Ball held sway in 1:49.2 using a 26.4 final quarter to seal the deal. Jerseylicious was a closing second and Charisma Hanover third.

On the flip side, division leader Androvette’s connections declined the bye, then she finished last of the ten (though beaten a mere 3 ½ lengths) and is, at this point, eliminated from the final.

When Drop The Ball is good, she’s really good and she’s looking pretty good lately for trainer Ross Croghan and her owners; Let It Ride Stable, Mentally Stable and Dana Parham. She won the right to select her post for the final and she’ll have to be dealt with.

Things are shaping up nicely for a fantastic end to the 2014 Championship Meet with next Saturday’s Hambletonian program.

On the wagering front, total handle for the Saturday program yielded an increase of nearly 10-percent from the same program in 2013, while live handle was up nearly 15-percent.


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 26, 2014—Sapphire City (Dan Dube) did his damage from off the pace Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace.

            Forced to change his tact and race from behind, Sapphire City--assigned post position No. 6--saw Heston Blue Chip (Brent Holland) have work to get around pole assignee Life Up Front (Eric Carlson) after a contested :26.2 opening quarter-mile.

            From there, a rated :29.1 second interval (:55.3 half) before 9-10 favorite Pancetta (Jordan Stratton) moved from fifth. Sapphire City went along for the toward a  1:23.4 three-quarters.

            Pancetta ducked in a quick rest stop when Life Up Front gave up the ghost. However, the leader remained such into the lane, with a length-and-a-quarter advantage in and out of the final turn. Sapphire City angled inside and closed stoutly, whipping Heston Blue Chip by a neck in 1:51.1...a tick of his season's-best.

            Pancetta settled for third, with Dream Out Loud N (Eric Goodell) and P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) settling for the remainder.  

             For Sapphire City, a 6-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stables and Jordan Sklut, he returned $15.20 (third choice) for his fourth win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $48, with the triple returning $152.

New York Sire Stakes continue Monday night, with the $226,200 Art Watson Pace (3-year-old fillies).

The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. 

Wisenheimer rallies late in top Tioga trot

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Taking full advantage of a cozy pocket trip, Wisenheimer ($8.10) found ample room up the inside to defeat Dough Dough in Saturday (July 26) evening's $14,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs.

The five-year-old Revenue gelding achieved the early lead, but driver Jim Marohn, Jr. quickly yielded to the pocket, allowing 6-5 favorite Dough Dough (Mike Simons) to handle the pacesetting duties.  While I Love New York (Bruce Clarke) advanced two-wide to force a strong :57.0 middle half, Dough Dough accelerated to maintain her advantage.  After reaching the three-quarter split in 1:24.4, Dough Dough was able to dismiss the challenge of I Love New York, but was softened up by the steady pressure.  In the final hundred yards, Wisenheimer found room at the pegs to strike the front, prevailing by just over a neck in 1:53.4.  Dough Dough held second, while House Money (Aaron Byron) sustained a three-wide bid off the far turn to take third.

Jenny Melander leases and trains Wisenheimer, who is now a 13-time winner.

The drive aboard Wisenheimer was one of three winners on the evening for Marohn, who again took top driving honors on the card.

Live racing returns to Tioga with an 11-race Sunday program.  First post is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.