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Tuesday, September 29, 2015


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 29, 2015—What’s an International Trot without a chapeau?

Perish the thought, which is why Yonkers Raceway is giving away International Trot hats (see accompanying photo) to commemorate the return (after two decades) of the world-class event.

Fans who attend the Saturday, Oct. 10th, million-dollar International receive a complimentary hat (while supplies last). It’s a spiffy, blue and yellow number, featuring the International Trot logo.

For further information, please visit

The alphabetical list of International Trot participants, with their “home” countries, are…

BBS Sugarlight (Norway)
Bee a Magician (Canada)
Creatine (United States)
Mosaique Face (Sweden)
Natural Herbie (United States)
Oasis Bi (Italy)
On Track Piraten (Sweden)
Papagayo E (Norway)
Rod Stewart (Italy)
Timoko (France).

Several other International Trot-related promotions and giveaways shall be announced in the coming days.

Again, please note the International is part of a matinee card, with first post at 2 PM and the race itself going at approximately 3:10 PM. The race is to be drawn Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 6th

ARCI Compliance Committee Set, Will Begin Work Immediately

LEXINGTON, KY - The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has formally announced the members of the committee recently formed to work with individual commissions to complete the implementation of the ARCI medication reforms.

The 12 members of the ARCI Compliance Committee, as it will be officially known, were invited by Chairman Mark Lamberth. Lamberth has assigned the committee members to three working teams, with each team reviewing the regulatory policies of a set of racing jurisdictions. The regulators assigned to those teams are as follows:

Team Member
Member Jurisdiction
Team Assigned
John T. Ward, Jr.
Kentucky Horse Racing Commission
Team A
Jonathan Zachem
Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering
Team A
Judy Wagner
Louisiana State Racing Commission
Team A
Domenic DiCera
Illinois Racing Board
Team A
Rick Baedeker
California Horse Racing Board
Team B
Jeff Colliton
Washington State Horse Racing Commission
Team B
Tom DiPasquale
Minnesota Racing Commission
Team B
Dr. Corinne Sweeney
Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission
Team B
Mike Hopkins
Maryland Racing Commission
Team C
Duncan Patterson
Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission
Team C
Robert Williams
New York State Gaming Commission
Team C
Frank Zanzuccki
New Jersey Racing Commission
Team C

The committee teams will begin by completing a thorough review of the medication policies in each United States jurisdiction, and then will work state-by-state to advance the ARCI medication reforms.

The jurisdictions assigned to each team are as follows:

Team A
Team B
Team C
New Mexico
New Jersey
New York
North Dakota
South Dakota


West Virginia

Lamberth stated that the committee will begin work this week, and three teams will meet on a regular basis. The committee work report to the ARCI Board of Directors during their meeting in December.

Six Bluegrass splits highlight Red Mile card Friday

By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY-- A trio of divisions were carded for the $292,200 Bluegrass two-year-old colt pace and the $243,000 Bluegrass two-year-old filly pace, set to go on Friday, Oct. 2 at The Red Mile.

The opening split of the Bluegrass filly pace kicks off the Grand Circuit program, with seven fillies set to line up on the gate. Pennsylvania Sires Stakes final runner-up Call Me Queen Be headlines the event off a win in a $127,150 division of the Kentuckiana Stakes at Hoosier Park on Sept. 26. Owned by Let It Ride Stables and Dana Parnham, the Ross Croghan-trainee will face New Jersey Sires Stakes champion Blue Moon Stride, who enters off a 1:55.1 qualifier at Pocono Downs. She’s owned by Emilio and Maria Rosati and is trained by Mark Harder.

Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion Pure Country, competing for the interests of Diamond Creek Racing, will be competing for her seventh win-in-a-row in the second division. Up against the Jimmy Takter-trained filly is She’s A Great Lady finalist Upside Surprise, drawing in after finishing fourth in a New York Sires Stakes split at Batavia Downs on Sept. 16. Trained by Ross Croghan, she’ll start from post 1.

Shezarealdeal leads the final division, shipping in after a win in a $35,000 division of the Liberty Bell at Harrah's Philadelphia. The $122,567 earner also had to her credit a fourth in the $350,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes final. Ross Croghan trains for interests Let It Ride Stables and Dana Parnham.

Ron Burke's pacer East Side Hanover is another contender in the last episode, coming into this race after finishing third in a division of the Liberty Bell. The Somebeachsomewhere filly's grand accomplishment came in the $40,000 Stallion Series, where she won by 12 1/2 lengths in 1:54.2. She'll start from the rail.

Prefacing the final filly group is the premier colt split, going for $97,400. Tony Alagna-trained American Passport, starting from post 5, broke his maiden in his last mile, winning in 1:52.2 in the $150,150 Elevation at Hoosier Park. He also finished second in an elimination of the Metro Pace and a $59,543 division of the Nassagaweya at Mohawk. The American Ideal colt competes for connections Brittany Farms, Riverview Racing, Alagna Racing, and Jodi Siamis.

Improving into this event is Thomas Cancelliere trainee I'm Some Graduate. Debuting in mid-July, he has since made five starts, with four wins and one second. His wins have come from a division of The Stallion Series, an overnight, a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and the $50,000 consolation. Owned by John Cancelliere, I'm Some Graduate will race from post 8.

The second split of colts features Biggie, who won a split of The Stallion Series at The Meadows in 1:51.4. Trained by Ron Burke, he has won two races in six outings, with the other being in an overnight at Harrah's Philadelphia. Competing for Jerry & Theresa Silva Stables, T L P Stables, and Deo Volente Farms, rivaling him are maidens Mindtrip and Fine Diamond, with both entering off of second-place efforts. Mindtrip placed to stable-mate American Passport in the Elevation on Sept. 26, while Fine Diamond was second at 67-1 in the $225,000 New York Sires Stakes final at Yonkers Raceway. Ron Burke trains Fine Diamond for owners Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr, and Panhellenic Stable. Mindtrip races for Alagna and Crawford Racing, Joe Sbrocco, John Fodera, and Tangie Massey.

The last colt division also caps the Friday program. Winner of the $85,400 Lou Babic Memorial Ideal Rocky competes from post 1. John Butenschoen trains the four-time winner in nine miles for owners William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schickwith. The Rocknroll Hanover colt's notable achievements being a second in a Metro Pace elimination and a fifth in the final. Racing Hill, another Metro Pace finalist, will neighbor Ideal Rocky on the gate. The son of Roll With Joe, owned by Tom Hill, has won two races in six tries and draw into this race off a 1:52 qualifier at Lexington. Trained by Tony Alagna, he was seventh in the Metro final, but followed that performance with a fourth in a $88,055 division of the Champlain at Mohawk.

The 11-race program slated for Friday, Oct. 2 commences at 7:00pm.


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, September 28, 2015—Yonkers Raceway’s million-dollar International Trot features contestants from six countries, one of which a lucky Empire Club member gets to visit.

Here’s how it works…current and newly-enrolled (as of International Trot Day, Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10th) Empire Club members shall be given a scratch-off card (one per member), revealing one of the countries (Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden and United States) represented in the race.

Members are then asked to deposit their cards in that country’s entry box—located on the track apron—before 4 PM.

After the International, a ticket is to be drawn from the first-, second- and third-place finishers, based on the official order. The card from the winning country earns a trip to that country. Should the good, ol’ U-S of A win, it’s a trip anywhere in this country.

The card selected from the second-place finisher gets a night out in New York City, while the card selected from the third-place finisher receives a dinner for two at any ECYR restaurant, plus $250 cash.

International Trot mugs are awarded to other cards selected after the top three prizes.

For further information, please visit

The alphabetical list of International Trot participants, with their “home” countries, are…

BBS Sugarlight (Norway)
Bee a Magician (Canada)
Creatine (United States)
Mosaique Face (Sweden)
Natural Herbie (United States)
Oasis Bi (Italy)
On Track Piraten (Sweden)
Papagayo E (Norway)
Rod Stewart (Italy)
Timoko (France).

Several other International Trot-related promotions and giveaways shall be announced in the coming days.

Again, please note the International is part of a matinee card, with first post at 2 PM and the race itself going at approximately 3:10 PM. The race is to be drawn Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 6th

Freshmen colt Bluegrass attracts 25 trotters

By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY-- The $289,000 Bluegrass stakes for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters, going on Thursday, Oct. 1, was split into four divisions when 25 horses dropped into the box.

The first of three $72,000 divisions goes as the third race on the program. Julie Miller-trained Milligan's School headlines the six-horse field off a 1:57.2 qualifier at Harrah's Philadelphia. Owned by Stroy Inc., the son of Yankee Glide has three wins to his credit, including an elimination of the Peter Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands and a division of the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs. Jimmy Takter's Earn And Burn is also a major contender, with his resumé consisting of $65,551 in earnings, a second in a Peter Haughton Memorial elimination, and a third in the Peter Haughton final. Earn And Burn is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, and Brixton Medical Ab.

Kindergarten series star Hollywood Highway leads the second split, entering off of wins in both prelims of the series held at Lexington. Trained by Staffan Lind, the Muscle Massive colt has hit the board in three of four starts, with $14,000 banked. Jimmy Takter sends a Kindergarten contender in Honor Above All, who has hit the board in the Kindergarten preliminaries but is still seeking his maiden win. He's owned by Order By Stables.

Winner of the $351,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, Jimmy Takter's Lagerfeld highlights the third division, owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, and Herb Liverman. He has entered the winners' circle twice this season in seven starts, with the other occasion being in a $36,030 sires stakes division. Another state-bred star will line up on the gate with Kanthaka. Third in the $225,000 Ohio Sires Stakes, the Triumphant Caviar colt won six legs of the Ohio Sires Stakes leading into the final, accumulating $135,054 this season. He was more recently fourth in a $35,061 division of the Ohio Breeders Championship. He's owned by trainer Christopher Beaver in partnership with Wilbur Stoll Lang.

The final round goes for $73,000 and features a septet of trotters. It also features the return of Jimmy Takter-trainee Bar Hopping, who enters off a 1:57 qualifier at The Red Mile. Owned by Christina Takter, Hattfield Stables, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld, he has one win this season, coming in a preliminary of the New Jersey Sires Stakes at the Meadowlands. He makes his first pari-mutuel start since scratching sick from a division of the Reynolds in late August. He was fourth in the Peter Haughton Memorial after finishing second in an elimination for the Peter Haughton and in the $100,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes final. He'll be competing against improving trotters Celebrity Pilatus, who enters off a fourth in a $50,000 division of the Standardbred at Delaware, Ohio, and Ake Svanstedt's Dupree, who finished third in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes final.

The quartet of Bluegrass stakes holds the spotlight for Thursday's program, which consists of 10 races and kicks off at 7:00pm.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

RUS Ontario in the spotlight at Mohawk

from RUS Ontario

Campbellville, ON---Mohawk Raceway was the place to be on Saturday evening as RUS Ontario put on the first annual Harlequin RUS Invitational. Before an enthusiastic crowd the race participants, sans two that were scratched, post paraded and headed to the mobile starting gate.

The race was carded as race two and was set to be a full field of ten, however A Penny Earned was scratched lame and Funny Photo was scratched transportation. Eight others went to the gate for the first ever wagering RUS event at Mohawk Raceway.

Leaving sharply from the rail Cool Creek Valley and Finnish native Marrta Smura were quickly covered up by Santo Domingo being reined by Philippe Masschaele. Trotting strongly past the quarter marker in .28 flat the field settled behind the leader and bided their time. Hidden Identity and rider Marielle Enberg inherited the loose pocket when Cool Creek Valley miscued while Wine Photo and Mad Barn Equine Nutrition sponsored Sarah Town eased along on the outside.

Evelyn Harms and Twin B Excalibur held ground along the rail with Broadway Prince and Stephanie Werder content to sit some ten lengths off the pace. After a breather second quarter movement began as Werder loosened the reins on Broadway Prince moving from 5th to second with long, confident strides.

Meanwhile Hidden Identity suddenly gave up several lengths, but as the field straightened for home the tandem recovered strong strides and began to chase down the leaders eventually hauling down Broadway Prince, but falling short of the winner who cruised to victory in a North American RUS race record 1:56.4.

Crossing the wire well in hand for the win was Santo Domingo and Belgium Monte legend Masschaele, who added another win to his lifetime total wins which including driving wins are numbered 1376. The duo returned to the chaotic winners circle were trainer Mike Guitard and owners Jalade Investments Ltd, Deanmar Sons Stable and Peter Miskolczi accepted the trophy from Geoff Maltby, trainer of race namesake Harlequin, and family.

Watch the race replay here.

In addition to the trophy and winners share of the purse the connections also received a blanket courtesy of Greenhawk Tack and a gift bag compliments of Jackie’s Mobile Tack.

Hidden Identity was making just his second start under saddle for owners William Cripps, Charles Gazzola and trainer/owner Pat Hudon and is looking good to earn his way into the $10,000 RUS Ontario Finale being held October 31 at Flamboro Downs with the second place finish tonight. Rounding out the win, place, show spots were Broadway Prince and Swedish Monte star Stephanie Werder for owner Tor Jan Larsen and trainer Per Henrickson. The remaining checks were taken by Wine Photo for owners Rebecca & Jeffrey Williamson and Twin B Excalibur for owners Randall Fulmer and Phillip Katcher.

While presenting the beautiful crystal trophy to Santo Domingo’s owners Geoff Maltby and family received a framed double photo of their prize trotter Harlequin from RUS Ontario President Julie Walker.

RUS racing continues on Saturday October 3rd at Flamboro Downs, where the $100,000 Ellamony Mares Invitational and the Horse Festival will be taking place with a first post of 6:00 p.m. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Broadway Donna headlines premier card of Grand Circuit meet

By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY— Undefeated in eight starts this season, Jim Doherty Memorial-winner Broadway Donna tops the 16 freshmen filly trotters divided into two divisions of the $259,000 Bluegrass Stakes, scheduled for the eight-race card on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at The Red Mile. 

Entering off a 2-length win in the $351,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes final, the Jim Campbell-trained Broadway Donna will start from the rail in the opening division of the Bluegrass. She will line up with seven other fillies, including Kindergarten Series-contender Southwind Pearl, trained by Jonas Czernyson, who will be trying for her maiden victory. Broadway Donna has earned $466,536 in her eight outings, which is more than the rest of the field’s earnings combined. The filly by Donato Hanover out of Hambletonian Oaks champion Broadway Schooner is owned and bred by Fashion Farms and will be guided by regular driver David Miller.

Jimmy Takter sends a pair of fillies in the first Bluegrass division, them being Twice Is Right and I’m Outstanding, both of whom are shipping from Mohawk off of breaks in the Peaceful Way eliminations. The daughters of Donato Hanover were also runner up to Peaceful Way-champion Caprice Hill in a $66,850 division of the Champlain Stakes. The duo will start from posts 5 and 8 respectively. Twice Is Right races for the interests of Brittany Farms, while I’m Outstanding is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, and Herb Liverman.

Celebrity Eventsy, from the first crop of Manofmanymissions, leads the second division. The Staffan Lind trainee has banked $102,462 this season and comes into this event off a second-place finish to Caprice Hill in the $311,600 Peaceful Way. She has won two races in seven attempts, including  an elimination for the Peaceful Way. Brett Miller will steer the Celebrity Farms filly.

Takter has another pair of fillies on the Grand Circuit card, with the second-division entrants All The Time and Miss Tezsla. All The Time, a homebred owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, approaches this race off a break in the Peaceful Way Final. A winner of four in seven starts, the daughter of Muscle Hill has earned $99,865 this season. Her stable mate Miss Tezsla ships in from Delaware, Ohio, where she finished third in a $37,200 division of the Standardbred Stakes. Before that, she won the $40,000 Stallion Series championship at Pocono Downs, a race restricted to Pennsylvania-sired horses. The $45,000 Lexington Select yearling has won four out of eight starts for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical Ab, and Herb Liverman. She has earned $63,374 this season.

The opening card of the Grand Circuit meeting kicks off at 7:00 p.m. A sextet of late-closing events will be contested on the undercard of the two Bluegrass Stakes. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 22, 2015—The field has been finalized for Yonkers Raceway’s million-dollar International Trot, set for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10th.

Creatine and Natural Herbie have been chosen as the United States representatives.

Creatine, a 5-year-old son of Andover Hall, has raced abroad this far in 2015 for Johnny and Jimmy Takter.

This season, his wins include Hugo Abergs Memorial (Sweden) and Prix Saint Michel (Finland), as well as a second in the final of UET Masters (Belgium).                                              

His three-season North American resume, when he was trained by co-owner Bob Stewart, included 14 wins, nine seconds and six thirds in 40 starts ($1,329,170).

Creatine’s career North American highlight was the 2013 Kentucky Futurity at the Red Mile, when he authored a 15-1 upset in a soggy 1:53.2.

As for Natural Herbie, he already impressed the local screening committee with last season’s win over a world-class field in the $250,000 International Trot Preview.

The 5-year-old Here Comes Herbie gelding, the pride and joy of owner/trainer/driver Verlin Yoder, won his elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot before finishing third in the final. His career earnings are approaching $900,000. His winning time of 2:24.4 for the 1¼-mile distance (same of the International) was/is a world record for the distance over a half-mile oval.

The two American reps round out the stellar 10-horse field as the International returns after a two-decade hiatus

The previously-confirmed (alphabetical) attendees, with their “home” countries, are…

BBS Sugarlight (Norway)
Bee a Magician (Canada)
Mosaique Face (Sweden)
Oasis Bi (Italy)
On Track Piraten (Sweden)
Papagayo E (Norway)
Rod Stewart (Italy)
Timoko (France).

Again, please note the International is part of a scheduled matinee card, with proposed first post (pending approval of the NYS Gaming Commission) at 2 PM and the race itself going at approximately 3:20 PM.


Sunday, September 20, 2015


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, September 20, 2015—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway about the Saturday, October 10th, $1 million International Trot and accompanying special post time.

First post for that matinee program is listed at 2 PM (ET), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. The International is scheduled as the fourth race, with post time at approximately 3:20 PM (ET).

Additional information and updates shall be provided when available.

Friday, September 18, 2015


By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ – September 17, 2015 – Saturday is Open Space Pace Day at Freehold Raceway, but the racing highlight of the card is actually a trot --  a $20,000 preferred trot -- with nine going to post for a mile and a half race.

That is three times around the half-mile track, and the first mile and a half race in the modern era of Freehold Raceway, or as long as anyone can remember.  The traditional distance for most harness races is one mile.

Gural Hanover, driven by Joe Bongiorno and trained by Ron Burke, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the featured seventh race, the $20,000 Open Space Pace Preferred Trot Handicap.

“This is the first featured mile and a half distance race at Freehold Raceway,” said Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Karen Fagliarone.  “We have an outstanding field of trotters, totaling lifetime earnings of over $3.3 million.  We are excited to offer something new to both our patrons and horsemen. We are thankful to the group of trainers and owners who co-sponsored this event along with Freehold Raceway.

New Jersey-based trainers and owners donated half the purse: Ross Croghan’s Dockside Stables, Joe Holloway. Linda Toscano, Mark Harder, Weaver & Bruscemi Stable. Ron Burke, Tom Fanning, Scott DiDomenico, Julie and Andy Miller, and Tony Alagna.

The field, from the rail out with driver, trainer and morning line odds: PL Eureka, Nick Surick, Tara Hynes, 10-1; Pip I, Harry Landy, Harry Landy, 15-1; Silver Credit, Steve Smith, Karen Garland, 12-1; In Nomine Patri, Joe Haney, Joe Haney, 15-1; Mugshot Jess, Pat Lachance, Taylor Gower, 10-1; Sevruga, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 4-1; Lucky Colby, Eric Abbatiello, Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, 9-2; Gural Hanover, Joe Bongiorno, Ron Burke, 8-5, and Photosavvy, Vincent Ginsburg, Robert Bresnahan Jr., 9-1. 

Photosavvy, the nine horse, will leave from the second tier.

Longtime standardbred owners and the founding sponsors of the event, Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Landy will serve as grand marshals for the Fourth Annual Open Space Pace Day “Parade of Horses,” starting  at 10:30 a.m. at the Freehold Borough’s Hall of Records and ending at Freehold Raceway.

The parade will feature marching bands from Freehold Township and Freehold Borough high schools.

After the parade, the festivities move to Freehold Raceway where there will be live harness racing, a petting zoo, vendor tables, food trucks and educational exhibits.

There will be an autograph session with Julie Miller and Hannah Miller from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the winner’s circle at Freehold Raceway

A concert featuring Burlap to Cashmere and The Nerds begins at 3 p.m.

The Kindergarten Trotting series continued on Thursday evening at The Red Mile.

The colt divisions began the evening with Mavens Way scoring a $37.20 upset for young Oskar Florhed taking a nice record of 1:55.3 in the process. The son of Muscle Hill from Doris Deo sat close up early then wore down Dominion Beach in the shadow of the wire for the win. He is trained by Ake Svanstedt for his own interests along with partners al & Janet Burroughs and TLP Stable.

Charlie Norris worked out a perfect pocket trip for Cloud Nine Hanover in the next division for a huge $54.40 upset after favored Southwind Flash broke on the final bend. Charlie trains the son of Muscle Massive who was winning for the first time on behalf of his wife Carrie, Acadia Farms and G&B Racing. Celebrity Express rallied from well back for the place.

Hollywood Highway struck a blow for favoritism winning right back for Dave Palone in a new record of 1:55.2 in the third and last colt split.  He’s another by Muscle Massive who has found his best form here on the clay for trainer Staffan Lind. Marvin Katz and Al Goldband share the ownership.

Palone won the very next race with Haughty, who has clearly been the class of the Kindergarten filly races in Lexington. Jimmy Takter conditions the winner and had the second place finisher as well in Hollywood Hill. Haughty was well within herself tonight in a measured 1:55.4 tally. She races for the ownership group of Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband.

Howie Okusko, Jr steered Sweet Ashley T to yet another upset in the last of the Kindergarten races returning $38.60 to her small legion of backers. The Conway Hall filly took a 1:56 record in the process for trainer Homer Hochstetler who owns her with South Of The Tracks Racing.

The Kindergarten goes on hiatus until leg five set for October 23 at Vernon Downs with the finals the next week.

Red Mile racing resumes on Saturday before going dark for week. The Grand Circuit kicks off on Wednesday, September 30 racing at 7pm through Saturday, October 3 then matinee racing the following Wednesday through Saturday.

Find all the info you’ll need on all things Red Mile on the website.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Vernon Racing Recap - Wednesday, September 16, 2015

by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media

Express Jet resurgent in feature; MacDonald wins five

Vernon, N.Y. -- Briefly headed by odds-on favourite Asset Management in mid-stretch, Express Jet ($6.50) battled back in the final yards to just prevail in Wednesday (September 16) evening's featured $7,000 top-level distaff pace at Vernon Downs.

The 6-year-old Jereme's Jet mare controlled the terms from the outset, uncontested through the first six furlongs in 1:27.1 before facing a challenge from the first-over Asset Management (Dan Daley).  In upper stretch, Express Jet briefly was headed, but she fought back gamely to not only reclaim the lead, but to also stave off pocket rival Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore), who chased valiantly in third once availed room, missing by just a half length.

Trainer John MacDonald was in the bike behind Express Jet, a 1:54.4 winner over good going.

MacDonald earned four other driving wins on the evening's 10-race program, teaming up with Kyler's Valentine ($6.50, 1:54.2), The African ($4.40, 1:59.1), I Saw Red ($3.60, 1:54.4), and Winbak Heavenly ($2.40, 1:52.1).

Live racing returns to Vernon Downs with a 14-race program on Friday (September 18) evening, featuring New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings.  Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


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

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, September 16, 2015—It wouldn’t be an International Trot without international trotters, now would it?

Accordingly, Yonkers Raceway is pleased to announce seven more confirmed participants for the million-dollar event, set for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10th.

The list--alphabetically--includes…

BBS Sugarlight (Norway)
Oasis Bi (Italy)
On Track Piraten (Sweden)
Papagayo E (Norway)
Rod Stewart (Italy)
Seabiscuit (Finland)
Timoko (France).

All are scheduled to leave for New York Wednesday, Sept. 30th. We are in the midst of compiling biographical/statistical information about these “invaders,” and shall disseminate as soon as possible.

Other invitees are to be determined based on this weekend’s racing, including, but not limited to, Mohawk’s Maple Leaf Trot.

Again, please note the International (back after two decades) is part of a scheduled matinee card, with proposed first post (pending approval of the NYS Gaming Commission) at 2 PM and the race itself going at approximately 3:20 PM.

Lamberth Appoints Committee to Complete Implementation of Medication Reforms

LEXINGTON, KY - The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) announced today that a new committee will be formed to work with individual commissions to complete the implementation of the ARCI medication reforms. The reforms are embodied in the Model Rules, the association’s recommended best regulatory practices and policies.

Mark Lamberth, who also serves as a commissioner on the Arkansas State Racing Commission, made the announcement following a Monday conference call with racing regulators. The regulators asked to participate will be named in the near future.

The goal of the committee is to complete implementation of medication reforms that were developed by ARCI members and staff working with the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC). The committee will identify the jurisdictions that have yet to adopt portions of the reforms and develop strategies to work with the individual commission to advance the reforms.

“Racing regulators working together with the racing industry have made tremendous strides over the past few years in some of the biggest racing states to implement sound, uniform medication policies in areas such as therapeutic medication use, laboratory testing standards and accreditation, and increased penalties for repeat offenders. There are some jurisdictions that have not implemented all of these reforms, and the goal of the committee is to aid those jurisdictions in the implementation process,” said Lamberth.

Lamberth said that all racing regulators were uniform in prohibiting performance enhancing drugs, and the ARCI is committed to resolving relatively minor differences in regulations pertaining to testing thresholds for some therapeutic medications. “Full adoption of the ARCI Model Rules, which have been thoughtfully and carefully developed in conjunction with the RMTC, would accomplish that,” he said.

Lamberth also said that a model Request for Proposals for laboratory services was an important reform and predicted that racing commissions will rely upon it as laboratory contracts expire and future procurements are implemented.

“We know that the racing industry is in a much better position today than it was just five years ago when it comes to medication policy, and the regulators on this committee want to continue that progress for the good of racing,” added Lamberth.

Lamberth said that the committee will begin work immediately and report to the ARCI Board of Directors in December.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kindergarten Back at The Red Mile - Late Closers Due Today

Lexington, KY - The Kindergarten series returns to The Red Mile on Thursday evening with five divisions of the Grand Circuit event that include all four of last week's winners.

The colts are up first in races three, five and six and there are promising prospects in each.

Jack Vernon looks to make amends with the horseplayers for a miscue in last week's race having made a break at a nickel on a dollar. He'll face stiff competition led by Dominion Beach who comes into this race off a win in the Champlain at Mohawk for the training - driving team of Nancy and Marcus Johansson and owner Courant AB.

Southwind Flash appears to have found himself in recent efforts, chief among them an impressive start to finish 1:55.2 score over the clay in the series last week. Dave Palone is back in town to drive for trainer Ron Burke who owns the Muscle Hill colt in partnership with Weaver Bruscemi, Phil Collura and Jack Piatt III.

Division three appears to be a good spot for Hollywood Highway to repeat. The Muscle Massive colt broke maiden in 1:56.1 here at a huge price for Palone last week. Trainer Staffan Lind has his lightly raced charge going in the right direction for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.

Fillies split into a pair of nines and go in races seven and eight, both interesting and competitive contests.

The first of the two features both returning filly winners in Haughty and I'm Volo.

Haughty looked like a million bucks for trainer - driver Jimmy Takter last week drawing away to an eight-length win in 1:54.1 with the greatest of ease. Libfeld and Katz also own this Donato Hanover lass in partnership with Sam Goldband.

I'm Volo converted a perfect trip afforded her by trainer - driver Jan Johnson into a win, albeit four seconds slower than Haughty, last week. She is a homebred racing for Jorgen Jahre, Jr,.

Choosing a focus in the second split is slightly more complicated, of the nine six have yet to win a race.

Among the winners Gifted Lady is the most accomplished, having won a Kindergarten leg at Tioga Downs in 1:56 for Takter. She makes her Red Mile debut on Thursday for owners Silver Linden Farms.

Post time for Thursday evening is 7:15pm. Visit The Red Mile website for information on all things racing.

Nominations to the Grand Circuit Late Closing events must be postmarked by today, find the form here

Friday, September 11, 2015


By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ – September 10, 2015 – Stayin Strong, driven by Eric Abbatiello and trained by Julie Miller, was a length and a quarter winner in the $7,000 opening leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes – Green Acres for two-year-old trotting colts, the third race on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at Freehold Raceway.

Stayin Strong, a son of Muscles Yankee, picked up his first win in six starts, covering the mile in 2:00.4.  He paid $6.20 to win.

Threeupthreedown [Muscle Hill] was second with five and a half lengths to Luv at First Site [Muscle Yankee] in third.

Stayin Strong, bred by Lauren and Robert Tucker, campaigns for Jason and Douglas Allen of Vincentown, NJ


By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ – September 10, 2015 – Rules Of The Road, runner up to Wild Honey in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, faces three rivals in the $30,000 Helen Smith Trot on Friday, September 11, 2015 at Freehold Raceway.

With only four entrants, the Helen Smith for New Jersey-sired three-year-old trotting fillies, sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, will be contested prior to the betting card with a post time of 12:10 p.m. 

Facing Rules Of The Road, driven by Jason Bartlett for trainer Janice Connor, will be Southwind Cartier [trained and driven by DR Ackerman], Blue Muse [trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt], and Riley’s Dream [driven by Steve Smith for trainer Julie Miller]. 

Blue Muse is by Muscles Yankee and the other three are by Muscle Hill.

Rules Of The Road, owned by Arden Homestead of Delhi, NY and Janice Connor of Goshen, NY, has five wins, four seconds and two thirds in 18 starts this year for earnings of $211,235 toward a career total of $244,285.  Her wins this year include a division of the Tompkins Stakes at Tioga Downs on August 16

The Helen Smith stakes record of 1:56.2 is shared by Marla Bar [2002], Silver Credit [2013] and Cee Bee Yes [2014]. 

On the betting card, eight two-year-old trotting fillies, four by Muscles Yankee and four by Muscle Hill, are scheduled in a $7,000 first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes – Green Acres. 

Installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the field of eight is Jazebel De Vie by Muscles Yankee.  She is set to leave from post two with driver-trainer Chris Ryder.  The eighth-race field, from the rail out with driver, trainer and morning line odds: Southwind Hope, Steve Smith, Julie Miller, 9-2; Jazebel De Vie, Chris Ryder, Chris Ryder, 5-2; American Spa, Jim Marshall III, Rick Gillock, 30-1; Cree, Trond Smedshammer, Trond Smedshammer, 3-1; Casino Cutie It, Vincent Ginsburg, Ray Schnittker, 9-2; Peg O My Heart, Christopher Freck, Christopher Freck, 30-1; Energy Bar, Eric Abbatiello, Jonas Czernyson, 4-1 and Heal The World, Marcus Johansson, Nancy Johansson, 30-1. 

Kindergarten at The Red Mile

Lexington KY - The Kindergarten Classic series came to Kentucky on Thursday night with a mixed bag results-wise. 

Fillies began the stakes with Jimmy Takter steering the unbeaten Donato Hanover lass Haughty to an as easy as can be 1:54.1 win. 

Takter moved Haughty to the front on the backstretch and widened at will in a very impressive outing. Southwind Adele was second and Sweet Ashley T third.

The winner is owned by Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband who paid $80,000 at the Lexington Select sale last fall.

Jan Johnson steered I'm Volo to a 1:58 win for owner and breeder Jorgen Jahre at 17-1 in the second division. Johnson put the Yankee Glide filly in play early, accepted cover then angled out late to rally past Earn Your Wings and Coco Truffles late.

The tote board exploded in the first of two colt divisions when Dave Palone and Hollywood Highway closed from well back to win in 1:56.1 at odds of 43-1. 

With 1-9 favorite Jack Vernon eliminated by a break in the final turn, Palone found clear sailing wide from last and guided the Muscle Massive colt to his first victory for trainer Staffan Lind and owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, who have $50,000 for this fella at the Lexington yearling sale and had a pretty good night.

Sigmund came second and Mavens Way third.

Palone completed a driving triple on the night with a front end score aboard Southwind Flash in 1:55.2 for trainer Ronnie Burke. The striking Muscle Hill colt took to the clay beautifully for his first win in six outings. 

Honor Above All went beautifully in his very first career start tracking the winner and actually gaining late for driver Nicolas Roussel with Brownie Hanover third.

The winner is another Lexington Select sale grad costing Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Phil Collura and Jack Piatt lll $85,000 last fall.

Racing returns to The Red Mile on Saturday and the Kindergarten returns for leg four next Thursday.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


London, Ontario, September 10, 2015 -- Live harness returns to The Raceway at Western Fair District in less than a month and track officials are gearing up for what promises to be another exciting season. The Raceway will operate on a three-day-a-week schedule this Fall with post times on Mondays and Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m. and Fridays at 7:15 p.m.

The first live race day is slated for Tuesday, October 6th and the meet will kick off with a bang on opening weekend, Friday, October 9th, as a new event will be unveiled.

The $50,000 Oktoberfest Classic Invitational will feature the best local aged pacers and will be held in conjunction with Oktoberfest - Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival, which is coming to London for the first time. The marketing team is busy planning a fun-filled night of Oktoberfest-themed events, including a German themed menu at the Top of the Fair Dining Room. Some event details are now available on the new Western Fair District website at

“The Western Fair District is very excited to be able to bring the wonderful tradition of Oktoberfest to London,” says Racing Manager Greg Blanchard. “Horse racing was a part of the early beginnings of Oktoberfest back in the 1800’s, so this is a perfect tie-in for us and is a great way to kick off our season. We plan to make it a fun event that will mark the start of a new tradition.”

Another new event called the Forest City Preview will take place on Friday, October 23rd. It is for three-year-old trotters and pacers who have raced in the OSS Grassroots Series in 2015 and will feature races for a purse of $12,500 each in four categories. The Raceway will release further details closer to the event.

On the wagering side, The Raceway will continue with its popular Super Hi-5 and Pick-4 wagers (both with a 15% takeout) and will be adding a late Pick-3 to the menu, also with a low 15% takeout rate.

Customers will also notice some significant changes when they come to the facility this season. The wooden seating from the Grandstand has been removed, and will be replaced with a smaller section of bleacher seating, as part of the initial phase of The Raceway’s plan to restore and enhance the Grandstand seating area.

As part of this plan, structural improvements are also planned for the Grandstand while work is already underway on The Raceway’s paddock location. Customers can also take advantage of free Wi-Fi access now available throughout the entire Grandstand facility.

The Raceway will also unveil a brand new, state-of-the-art, video board which is expected to be in place by the end of October. The new giant screen display will feature live video, odds and payouts and digital advertising.

“I’m very pleased that we are going to be able to offer this to our customers,” explains Blanchard. 

“They patiently went last season without a tote board and I know it is something they have missed greatly. I think people will be quite impressed when we get the new board in place and operational.”
In total, close to $1 million will be spent on infrastructure upgrades at The Raceway this year.

The Top of the Fair Dining Room will be open every Friday night, all season, featuring a top-of-the-line buffet menu and on Monday nights for Pub Night. To make reservations, call 519-438-7203 (ext. 252) or email

Many of last year’s popular promotions will be back, including Survivor Tuesdays (Free to play and available for online and on-track customers) and Friday Fun Nights, featuring some all new games this year.