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Monday, October 31, 2016


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, October 30, 2016—A late-afternoon downpour forced the cancellation (unsafe track conditions) of Yonkers Raceway’s final two races during Sunday afternoon’s scheduled 11-race card.

After a lengthy delay, the horses did parade for the 10th race, but returned to the paddock during more track maintenance. The surface was eventually deemed ‘unplayable’ and the last two races were scrapped.

Live racing is scheduled to resume Monday night (Oct. 31st), with a Trick or Treat first post of 7:10 PM. 

The abbreviated card resulted in some abridged multi-race payouts…

Pick 3 (races 8 thru 10) – winning combination (1-6-all)         $2 payout $43.80
Pick 5 (races 7 thru 11) – winning combination (1-1-6-all-all)             $.50 payout $55.87 

Sunday, October 30, 2016


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, October 30, 2016—Tweet Me (Pat Lachance, $17.20) was given a perfect trip Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $56,000 Open Handicap Trot.

Leaving from the pole in a field of 10 going the mile-and-a-quarter, Tweet Me was pocketed to the quick start of Cash Me Out (Tyler Buter). That one led through early intervals of :28 and :57.1), with Lily’s Swan Pond (Joe Bongiorno) managing to get parked out from post position No. 2.

Cash Me Out maintained the lead at the 1:26.3 three-quarters, with ‘Lily’ dropping anchor. Luminosity (George Brennan) went wide around that one, but couldn’t sustain a bid.

After a snappy 1:55.2 mile, the leader was in trouble. Twee Me edged from the cones and went by, getting the jump on her main threats, stout closers by a ninth-early Wind of the North (Jason Bartlett) and a last-early Dot Dot Dot Dash (Steve Smith).

Tweet Me parlayed the route to win by a neck in 2:24.4…breaking (by a tick) her own track record for an aged mare at the 10-furlong distance.

Dot Dot Dot Dash snapped second over Wind of the North, with Luminosity and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) settling for the remainder.
For Tweet Me, a 5-year-old daughter of Andover Hall owned by Bridget McNeese and trained by Nicholas Devita, it was her fifth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $157, with the triple returning $897.

This was the first of a half-dozen Sunday matinees leading to the end of the season. Post times for the remainder (next one is Nov. 11th) are TBA as of this writing.

Meadowlands Racing Recap - Saturday, October 29, 2016

by James Witherite, Meadowlands racing media

East Rutherford, N.J. -- A trio of Breeders Crown records were broken or tied on Saturday (October 29) evening at The Meadowlands, highlighted by Racing Hill’s 1:48 effort in the $500,000 Crown for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

Brett Miller drove the son of Roll With Joe to his 12th seasonal victory, shaving three-fifths of a second off the previous divisional record held by Somebeachsomewhere. Tony Alagna trains Racing Hill, who also won the Messenger and Adios this year, for owner-breeder Tom Hill.

Tim Tetrick turned in a pair of stakes records as part of a natural hat trick on the night, teaming up with Linda Toscano trainee Walner for a 1:53 win in the $600,000 Crown for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings, and Jimmy Takter trainee Bar Hopping for a record-tying 1:54.1 mile in the $500,000 event for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

A pair of drivers earned their first Breeders Crown titles, both in upset fashion. Marcus Miller took the 2-year-old filly pace with 17-1 shot Someomensomewhere, while Scott Zeron teamed up with 12-1 outsider Call Me Queen Be in the 3-year-old filly pace.

Other Crown winners on the night were Ariana G (2-year-old filly trot, Gingras/Takter), Huntsville (2-year-old colt pace, Tetrick/Schnittker), and Broadway Donna (3-year-old filly trot, D. Miller/Campbell).

In all, the weekend’s 12 Breeders Crown events attracted a total of $3,954,042, with total all-sources handle for the weekend coming in at $6,409,792.

Pacing divisions of the final Kindergarten Classic series preliminary highlighted the Saturday undercard, each going for $10,000. Eleven 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings contested the opener, and Chip Walther ($3.60) lived up to his odds-on billing. The son of Art Major and Bittorsweet Terror sustained a first-over bid for over half a mile to barely collar Air Strike (David Miller) in 1:51.2, earning a third consecutive victory in the act. Marcus Miller handled the driving duties for trainer Erv Miller.

In the filly division, carded as the night’s finale, Gurl Band K ($6.60) evaded her nine rivals for a 1:52.3 score. Matt Kakaley drove the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven and Native Flower for owner Robert Key and trainer Andrew Harris.

Live racing returns to the Big M on Friday (November 4) evening, with post time slated for 7:15 p.m. Eastern.


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 29, 2016—Despite nearly falling asleep at the wheel, favored Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $3.70) prevailed Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway $45,000 Open Handicap Pace.

In play from a generous post position No. 5 (posts 2 through 6 were drawn), the Levy Series champ worked around Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) before a pokey 28-second opening quarter-mile.

There were no goose bumps at the pedestrian :57.2 intermission or 1:25.4 three-quarters, with longshot B J’s Guy (Brent Holland) vacating the three-hole.

Bit of a Legend  N owned a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn, and looked home…before he looked disinterested.

            It was Keystone Velocity finding his best mojo late, but a bit too late, as the fave held by a desperate nose in 1:52.4. The Real One (Steve Smith) was a rallying third, with Dream Out Loud N (Tyler Buter) and B J’s Guy rounding out the payees.

For Bit of a Legend N, a 7-year-old son Down Under son of Bettor’s Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his 12th win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $7.20, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) returning $20.40.

Reminder that Sunday matinees return tomorrow (Oct. 30th), with a 12:30 PM first post and the first seven (of 11) races as the 10-horse, mile-and-a-quarter, simulcast overseas trotting category. 

Gale, Paquet notch hat tricks

Vernon, N.Y. – Drivers Truman Gale and Fern Paquet, Jr. each captured three of Saturday (October 29) evening’s 12 races at Vernon Downs.

The 27-year-old Gale began his hat trick in the second race, a $3,900 second-level Miracle Mile event, with Card Knock Life ($8.90, 1:52.2), trained by his wife Jocelyn. Team “Night Train” would team up again in the fifth, a $3,600 maiden event, with Springhouse Mojo ($5.20, 1:56.1), who drew off to a convincing 11-1/4 length victory after making all the pace. Gale concluded his driving triple with Dave Dewhurst trainee Pantheon Hanover ($9.50, 1:54.1), who recovered from a break to circle the seventh-race field and just prevail in the $4,300 third-level pacing event from third-over.

Paquet, a winner of over 2,800 races in his career, teamed up with trainer Joe Skowyra to take the $3,100 sixth event with Rockavellian ($6.70, 1:54.2) before holding sway in the $3,300 first-level distaff ninth race for a narrow front-end win with Paul Minckler trainee Table Games ($6.00, 1:55.3). Paquet concluded his hat trick in the $3,500 first-level eleventh, pulling the pocket and vaulting forward with Jordan Hope trainee Ultra Shok N ($4.80, 1:53.4).

The evening’s featured event, a $6,700 pace, saw Damon Blue Chip ($11.60) rally off cover and edge away to a 1:53.4 score for trainer-driver John MacDonald. The J P Stables own the 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding.

Closing weekend at Vernon Downs kicks off Friday (November 4) evening, with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Skip Jive dominates in feature; MacDonald wins six

Vernon, N.Y. – The W. Springtime Racing Stable and Shannon Brott’s Skip Jive ($9.70) made every yard a winning one in a sparkling 6-1/4 length victory in Friday (October 28) evening’s featured $7,900 Miracle Mile Pace at Vernon Downs.

The 3-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding achieved the early lead from his midpack draw, sprinting off from Cheyenne Raider (Truman Gale) and controlling the pace through splits of :26.4, :55.1, and 1:22.3. Skip Jive edged away upon turning for home, leaving Cheyenne Reider well in his wake at the completion of his 1:51.3 mile. Modern Gesture (Chris Lems) emerged late to take the runner-up spot off a clear stalking trip, defeating the tiring Cheyenne Reider by 1-1/2 lengths. Odds-on favorite Super Soph (Brett Derue) only managed fourth place off an even effort.

Fern Paquet, Jr. drove Skip Jive for trainer Dave Spagnola.

Leading driver John MacDonald proved victorious in half of the evening’s 12 races, teaming up with Azucar ($5.30, 1:57.3), Triple Charm ($5.30, 1:55.4), Jinxy’s Delight ($3.60, 1:53.3), Some Major Beach ($3.60, 1:53.4), Well Excuuuse Me ($3.10, 1:54.2), and Ittakestwobaby ($7.80, 1:56).

A 12-race card is on tap for Saturday (October 29) evening at Vernon Downs; post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.

Always B Miki duels down Wiggle It Jiggleit; Gingras takes two Breeders Crown events

East Rutherford, N.J. – While Yannick Gingras captured both $250,000 Breeders Crown events for older distaffers on Friday (October 28) at The Meadowlands, teaming up with Hannelore Hanover ($3.40) in the Mare Trot and Lady Shadow ($2.40) in the Mare Pace, all eyes were on the showdown between pacing stalwarts Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $421,000 Open Pace.

The much-anticipated showdown between the top two harness horses in the world lived up to the hype as Always B Miki ($3.20) forged ahead by three-quarters of a length to upend 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit to capture his second straight $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at The Meadowlands.

Wiggle It Jiggleit stormed to the lead right from the gate and led throughout with Always B Miki right at his heels in second place every step of the way until surging ahead to take the lead right at the wire.

Always B Miki won in 1:49 after tracking fractions of :27.1, :55.1, and 1:22.1. Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki have met seven times this year with Always B Miki now leading the head-to-head matchup at 4-3.

David Miller drove Always B Miki for the Bluewood Stable, the Roll the Dice Stable, Christina Takter, and trainer Jimmy Takter.

After using a middle move to take charge from Bee a Magician, Hannelore Hanover found no serious challengers in a 1:53.3 victory in the Mare Trot, sprinting away from the field in the last eighth of a mile to defeat Bee a Magician (Brian Sears) and Shake It Cerry (David Miller).

Hannelore Hanover is trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and Jerry and Teresa Silva. 

Gingras completed his Crown double in the Mare Pace with Lady Shadow, the world-record holder at 1-1/8 miles by way of her Golden Girls win in July. The Ron Adams trainee stalked an early duel before pushing clear upon reaching the backstretch, and held sway for a 1:49.4 score over the late-rallying Sassa Hanover (Matt Kakaley) and staying Frost Damage Blues (Brett Miller) while kept to task.

Lady Shadow, now a 27-time winner, is owned by the partnership of Kryway, Atley, Gold, and the BFJ Stable.

In the $500,000 Open Trot, Flanagan Memory ($10.60) flushed out heavy favorite Resolve (Åke Svanstedt) and waited his turn to wear down the field to prevail by a length in 1:52.1. The Rene Dion trainee angled off second-over cover off the far turn and trotted fastest of all to the finish after Resolve briefly headed pacesetter Windsun Revenge (Scott Zeron).

Liette Flanagan shares ownership of Flanagan Memory with the winning conditioner.

Kindergarten prelims highlight undercard

A pair of Kindergarten Classic preliminary events headlined the Friday undercard, with 2-year-old trotting fillies vying for $10,000 in the night’s opener and freshman trotting colts and geldings competing for an identical purse in the third event.

In the filly division, Feed Your Head ($7.20) pushed to the fore on approach to the backstretch, clearing Overdraft Volo (Andy Miller) just upon completing a :29.1 first quarter mile. From that point, the daughter of Muscle Hill and Flawless Bluestone refused to relinquish control, evading her eight foes by two lengths and earning a lifetime mark of 1:55.4 in the act. Overdraft Volo parried a late bid from Crann Tara (Tim Tetrick) to defend the runner-up spot by another three-quarters of a length. Yannick Gingras once again drove Feed Your Head for Mellby Gard, Inc. and trainer Jimmy Takter.

New Jersey Viking ($5.60) similarly made virtually all the pace to capture the Kindergarten split for colts and geldings, edging away from pocket rival Explosive Ridge to prevail in 1:55.3. The son of Muscle Hill and Hall of Wishes achieved the lead after being strung out by Explosive Ridge (David Miller) on the first turn, and New Jersey Viking would subsequently parry a challenge from that foe in upper stretch under moderate encouragement from Andy McCarthy while International Moni (Scott Zeron) rallied belatedly to just miss Explosive Ridge for second. New Jersey Viking scored his fifth career win by three lengths for trainer Åke Svanstedt and owners Knutsson Trotting, Inc. and Jeff Gural’s Little E, LLC.

The Kindergarten Classic finals, with trotters vying for a combined $350,000 in estimated purses, are scheduled for next Saturday (November 5) at the Big M.

Eight Breeders Crown events remain in the balance on Saturday (October 29) evening’s card, with 2- and 3-year-olds in all divisions competing for a combined $4.4 million. First post is slated for 6:35 p.m. Eastern


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 28, 2016—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Oct. 29) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $2,744.27.

The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. 


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 28, 2016—Favored Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $4.80) lasted on the lead Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.

Away quickly from post position No. 5, Krispy Apple was strung out by Moma’s Got a Gun (Tyler Buter), then made the lead before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile.

From there, she finished it off (:56.4, 1:24.3, 1:52.4), getting the line a nose before ‘Moma’ and a head before a stretch-smokin’ Mach it a Par (Jordan Stratton).

Diva’s Image (Mark MacDonald) and a first-up Devil Child (Dan Dube) rounded out the payees.

For Krispy Apple, a 8-year-old, $1.7 million daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her seventh win in 20 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $24.80, with the triple returning $158.50.

Breeders Crown Horses Come Back Negative for Prohibited Blood-Doping Agents

Out of Competition Testing Important Component of Breeders Crown Races

All 117 horses entered in the Breeders Crown events this weekend have been subjected to out-of-competition testing by the New Jersey Racing Commission. To date, 80% of the collected blood samples have been analyzed and have cleared the lab. This includes 20 entrants that have had blood drawn and analyzed more than once. 

In addition, the standard pre and post-race testing will be conducted by the NJ Racing Commission, which has jurisdiction over all pari-mutuel races conducted in the state.

“The Hambletonian Society is committed to the challenge of dealing with the issue of illegal medication and appreciates the cooperation of the NJ Racing Commission and the Breeders Crown participants as well as Meadowlands management in our execution of the out-of-competition testing rules,” said Tom Charters, president of the Hambletonian Society. 

The $6.2 million Breeders Crown events, to be raced Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29 at The Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ bring together the top harness horses in North America. 

The Hambletonian Society’s rules are a condition of entry in the Breeders Crown races. The Breeders Crown out-of-competition rules as specified in the racing conditions were used for the first time in 2007 and have continued to date with the cooperation of host tracks and state and provincial commissions.

Under the Breeders Crown conditions blood samples may, without notice, be taken for testing of any racehorse participating in the Crown event, stabled on or off the grounds, in New Jersey or out of state.  Additionally, all samples taken from these horses may also be frozen for future testing.

The Society is also a supporter of the Racing, Testing and Medication Consortium.

DerbyWars, Cal Expo free $500 Handicapping contest continues

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Cal Expo and are offering another in a series of free $500 handicapping contests on Saturday night’s Watch and Wager LLC program.

Last week’s opening-night card saw a strong 390 entrants in the initial free contest and this week’s limit has been raised to 500.

The contest covers Cal Expo races 2 through 7 and will start at 6:30 Pacific Time. Players can enter the free $500 contest by going to
First post for the 14-race program is 6:10 p.m.

Sir John F May Turn Into Mr. Holland's Opus in Breeders Corwn Freshman Trot

Veteran trainer Herb Holland is happy to be a member of harness racing’s dream team.

The 59-year-old, whose career in the business goes back to the early years of the Meadowlands, is part owner of a horse, Sir John F., that is owned by brothers John and Jim Fielding and Christina Takter, whose husband, Jimmy, trains the two-year-old Donato Hanover colt. Sir John F is entered in this year’s Breeders Crown in the Two-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot, only the third time Holland has had a horse in harness racing’s championship event.

Holland trained Light Beam, which raced in the 1988 Breeders Crown in the Two-Year-Old Filly Pace and did not hit the board. He also was affiliated with onetime world-record holder Sweet Michelle, who raced in the 1994 Breeders Crown Open Mare Pace and finished third.

Holland purchased Sir John F for $45,000 at the Lexington Select Sale, and a mere 15 minutes later he was approached by Jim Fielding about buying a share in the colt. Subsequently, Kevin McKinlay, who has had horses with the Fieldings, bought a share. The horse was subsequently sent to Takter, who liked the horse so much when he began training the colt that he wanted to buy a share.

“As soon as he qualified him, he said ‘tell your partners I want in,’” Holland said.

So Holland has gone from owning 100% of the horse to now owning 22.5%, but the upside is that he is now associated with Takter, one of the top trainers of the modern era, and the Fieldings, among the top owners in the business. Takter and the Fieldings have outstanding success in the Breeders Crown. Takter leads all trainers with 21 wins. John Fielding is second to Brittany Farms in wins and earnings among owners. Jim Fielding has also had success, winning four of 21 races in which he is named as an owner.

Holland said selling off interests in the horse was the right thing to do.

“Would he have still raced in the Breeders Crown? I think so,” Holland said. “The ownership group is good. I’ve got a good relationship with Jimmy Takter. I’m happy to have John and Jim and Kevin McKinlay and Jimmy involved with him. It’s old hat to Jimmy racing in the Breeders Crown, and for John it’s nothing new. It’s nice when you’re part of a big race and you have a chance to get some money.

“Jimmy is pretty down to earth. If he doesn’t like the horse, he doesn’t mince his words. He tells you straight up. He liked the colt early on. We did have some bad luck with him. He was getting a little warm behind the gate with us. Jimmy raced him one time and realized what the issues were and he attacked it and everything has gone forward since then. We’re hoping for better things ahead.”

As an aside, Holland was training in the United States when Jimmy Takter came over from Sweden back in 1982.

“He’s the trainer (of the horse), so it’s not quite the same as when you’re actually the trainer, but as an owner it’s always exciting to be in those big races,” Holland said. “When he’s in Takter’s barn, the benefits you get are he’s probably the foremost trotting trainer in North America. If I take a colt to race it myself I may not get the driver I wish. He usually gets the top drivers, and you get his experience in the Breeders Crown and the big races. With one horse it’s not financially feasible to race them all over the U.S.

“When they approached me I thought it might be a good business opportunity to get involved with them. I didn’t really want to give up any part of my ownership, but if you’re going to be on board, you’re on board so I was willing to let a bit of mine go and everyone followed suit. I was happy with the partnership. It worked out well for everybody.

“When Takter bids on them, you don’t get them,” he added. “I don’t know who was the underbidder, but (Takter and the Fieldings) weren’t involved on it.”  
Holland changed the name of the colt from Estok Hanover, which he didn’t particularly like, to Sir John F.
“When I got to train him down, I thought he was a pretty nice colt, so I changed his name and told John,” he said. “I told him a good horse deserves a good name.”
John Fielding had some concerns that naming a horse after him could backfire because that type of thing can sometimes be a curse.

“I’m not a believer in black magic, folklore,” Holland said. “I believe it is what it is. If it’s a good horse it will be a good horse. I don’t think naming one after anyone jinxes it. I was praying he would turn out as well as I was hoping he would and win some big races for John and us. But you never know for sure. I thought he was a nice colt and that’s why I did it. John is an icon in the industry, and if you’re going to knight someone in our industry as an owner, you’d certainly knight John.

“I’ve raced lots of horses, and even though I haven’t been to that many Breeders Crowns it’s exciting to be involved with a horse like this. When it’s part of an ownership and I’m not in the paddock warming him up and doing the day-to-day things with him, it’s a little bit different. But it’s still good.”

The horse has raced nine times so far and has a win and two seconds and earnings of $28,090. He raced fifth in his elimination race.

Sir John F starts from post six in the $600,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot and drew a morning line of 20-1 against the superstar colt Walner. He does pick up the services of Yannick Gingras, who ranks seventh in the all-time Crown driver standings. The two-year-old colt trot race is carded as the sixth race with a slated post time of 8:40 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Who knows, Sir John F might turn into Mr. Holland’s opus.


The signature crystal trophies that have graced the Breeders Crown championship series since 1984 will bear additional etching this year- in memory of Frederick Van Lennep and William B. Weaver, two men with enormous influence on the sport of harness racing and the Breeders Crown championship series in particular.
Frederick Van Lennep was a vital advocate in the advancement and promotion of harness racing. Inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1974, Van Lennep was Chairman of the Board of Pompano Harness Track, The Red Mile, and owner of Lexington-based Castleton Farms, one of the world`s foremost Standardbred horse-breeding operations.
In 1983, Van Lennep, a director of the Hambletonian Society, was instrumental in creating and executing the concept that led to the Breeders Crown series, the year-end championship races for each age, sex and gait. Van Lennep, along with close friend and business partner, thoroughbred breeder John Gaines, conceived a season-ending championship forum for their respective breeds, similar to baseball’s World Series or the Super Bowl in football. Both versions, thoroughbred racing’s Breeder’s Cup and harness racing’s Breeders Crown, were an immediate success. The two-year-old filly trot trophy will be named the Frederick Van Lennep Memorial Trophy in his honor. 
Van Lennep passed away in 1987, and one year later a 2-year-old colt trotter named Valley Victory took the harness world by storm, winning the Breeders Crown at Pompano Park and subsequent divisional honors. Bill Weaver was responsible for the mating that produced Valley Victory, who sent a shockwave of speed through the bloodlines of the modern day trotter. His first crop featured five offspring in the Hambletonian, with Victory Dream winning. His stupendous daughter Continentalvictory won one of the most memorable versions of America’s trotting classic the next year (1996) in straight heats. Valley Victory’s third Hambo winner in five crops was the equally impactful Muscles Yankee (1998). Over a span of 15 years, Valley Victory sired the winners of $35 million, highlighted by champions like Lookout Victory, Rum Boogie, Lindy Lane, Donerail, Southwind Allaire, Armbro Monarch, Act Of Grace, Bullville Victory and Must Be Victory.
That is the impact of just one horse Bill Weaver bred. Additional breeders credits of only Breeders Crown champions Valley Victory, Chocolatier, Juliet's Fate (a rare pacing-bred Breeders Crown winner by Weaver), Wheeling N Dealin and To Dream On ranks Valley High is 13th on the all-time earners list of Breeders Crown breeders, which is dominated by commercial entities like Hanover, Brittany, Kentuckiana and Winbak Farms. From just 26 Breeders Crown finalists, Weaver bred five champions and four runner-ups for an astonishing record of 26-5-4-0 and $2,064,315 in purse money in the series.
William B. Weaver, a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, will be honored by the Hambletonian Society with the Bill Weaver Memorial Trophy for 2-year-old trotting colts.
These trophies join the H. A. Grant Jr. Memorial Three-Year-Old Colt Pace Trophy, the John Cashman Jr. Memorial Three-Year-Old Colt Trot Trophy, the Max C. Hempt Memorial Three-Year-Old Filly Pace Trophy and the John Simpson Sr. Memorial Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly Trophy.
The Hambletonian Society, which owns and administrates the Breeders Crown races, will continue to designate Breeders Crown memorial trophies annually, as a tribute to the legacies of those who have guided the 32-year-old series so successfully.

Crystal Apex Awards and Design of Sheridan, Ontario, handcrafts the winner’s trophies that feature 12-inch high crystal monoliths individually deep-etched to carry the ornate Breeders Crown logo. Each crystal piece is mounted atop a tiered, ebonized wood base upon which a plaque is hand engraved with the name of the Breeders Crown champion. 

Friday, October 28, 2016


By john manzi for the Billings & NAADA Series

The cold and rainy afternoon of October 27 in the Catskill Mountains certainly wasn’t a day that amateur drivers could embrace still three races dedicated to the amateurs went to post on the betting card at Monticello Raceway; one in the CKG Billings Series and two in the North American Amateur Drivers series, with many participants competing in both.

 “Hurricane Hannah” Miller added another victory --her 30th this year--to her seasonal totals when she won the Billings trot with Jack’s To Open. In NAADA action both Tony Ciufettelli and Alan Schwartz copped their respective divisions; Ciufettelli with Tagmaster and Schwartz behind Ladys Big Stormont.

Upon her return to the paddock a cold and shivering Ms. Miller managed a smile while hanging up the lines on Jacks To Open who was an easy 2:00.4 victor in the Billings Trot.
“I’m freezing,” she said, “but I’m happy that my horse was real strong today. He went a tough mile and still drew off to an easy victory.”

When the gate sprung four horses went for the lead which was commandeered by Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff with Justtherighttouch. When Miller ranged alongside Hechkoff with Jacks To Open the two horses raced head to head to the half and up the backside at which point Miller’s trotter took command with only the second and third place finishers in doubt.

As Jacks To Open rounded the final turn he had five lengths on the field which was opened to eight at the wire. A shuffled-back Mack’s Gold Band, with “Buffalo Bob” Davis at the controls, found daylight late and rallied to finish second, a length ahead of “Smokin’ Joe” Faraldo’s Permanent Joy.

Nick Surick trains Jacks To Open ($6.80) who’s owned by the Nick Surick Stable and Hannah Miller. 

Alan Schwartz got the amateur soiree started with a gate to wire triumph with Ladys Big Stormont in the first of two NAADA trots.

Schwartz sent the 5-year-old Earl Of Stormont gelding to the lead, one that they never relinquished although Hannah Miller and Rocket Master supplied stiff pressure as the field headed for the three quarters.

Schwartz’s charge rebuffed Ms. Miller’s trotter and went on to score a length victory in 2:01.1 over the soggy race track.

“My horse is was testy behind the (starting) gate but once the race was underway he was perfect,” Schwartz said referring to Ladys Big Stormont’s winning trip.

With a two-hole journey throughout Bob Hechkoff’s, The Franchise, garnered second money and after his early rally Rocket Master just hung and finished third.

Owned by his driver and trained by Raheim Strong Ladys Big Stormont returned a $7.30 win mutuel to his backers.

The second NAADA Trot saw hot-handed Tony Ciufettelli sit back off the early speed with his own Tagmaster and then charge home an easy winner in a time of 2:04.

“After some fast early fractions over the soaked racetrack the leaders seemed to come back to me,” Ciufettelli said about the tiring horses on the front end. “I was back, off the early pace and when I moved him (Tagmaster) up the backside he took off like gangbusters and was the strong horse in the stretch. I guess the soft track was good on his (my horse’s) feet."

Trotalot finished second for Bob Hechkoff while 50-1 shot Saraboo garnered the show dough for Pete Seibert.

Ciufettelli also owns and trains Tagmaster who paid $41.20 for win. He (Ciufettelli) is currently the hottest driver in amateur racing. With his victory today the retired correction officer now has four consecutive driving victories and five wins in his last six starts. 

Breeders Crown Win would Be Sweet "Revenge" for Durham

It is with a sense of emotion that Jeff Durham is going into the Breeders Crown for the first time following the passing of his father, who had been instrumental in his career, earlier this month.

Durham’s father, Jack, had been in failing health the last 10 years and passed away at the family home in Omemee, a couple hours east of Toronto. He was 71.

“He hadn’t been well, but it went a little quicker than we thought,” Jeff said. “It’s emotional and to talk about (going into the Breeders Crown) really gets to me. He wanted us to go. It’s just one of those things where life carries on.”

The night before Jack passed, Windsun Revenge, who Jeff owns with Robert Van Camp and Van Camp Trotting Corporation and will race in the $500,000 Crown Trot on Friday, won a race at Mohawk with a career mark of 1:51 4/5.

“My father got up and watched the race and the next day he passed away,” Jeff said. “It was kind of a bittersweet type of thing. We always thought the horse had a little bit of talent otherwise we wouldn’t have kept him eligible in the spring. It cost $6,000 (Canadian) to keep him eligible. He had a few hiccups in the spring and summer and we quit with him. We took him to a few vets and one found something and he’s a total different horse. He couldn’t trot in 1:56 in the summer and now he’s trotting in 1:51 4/5. He always had the ability; it’s just one of those things where you hope they step up at the right time, and I think he’s stepping up at the right time.”

Windsun Revenge, who has won four races in 13 starts this season and earned $72,530 and has collectively banked $293,763, finished seventh in the Maple Leaf Trot by 6¼ lengths. But the gelding has won his last two races and qualified with a 22-length win.

Windsun Revenge starts from post four 4 in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot on Friday, Oct. 28 at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ, and is 12/1 in the morning line.  It’s race nine on the 13-race card, with a planned post time  of 10:29 p.m.

“He’s definitely going to be a long shot, but it’s an eight-hour drive for us and we weren’t coming down just for a check, that’s for sure,” Jeff said. “If we didn’t think we have a shot we wouldn’t be paying a $13,000 (Canadian) starting fee. We wouldn’t be coming down just for something to do.”

Rick Zeron had been scheduled to drive the horse, but was asked by Jeff if he would allow his son, Scott, to drive and he gladly turned over the reins. Scott, who has been one of the top drivers at the Meadowlands, had already named to drive another horse in the race.

“It’s kind of exciting to be in the Breeders Crown for the first time,” Jeff said. “I’m not one to get too excited about things. But not too many people get opportunities to race in the Breeders Crown, that’s for sure. I think he belongs. There’s a couple in there that are tough, but I don’t think we’re out of place in there, to be honest with you.”

Van Camp owns Brooks Performance Horse Feeds, where Jeff is a wholesaler and salesman. Windsun Farm and Robert Van Camp are the breeders of the gelded son of Kadabra, sharing ownership in the Windsun Revenge’s dam, Oaklea Polly. The Revenge part of his name was borrowed from a TV show of the same title starring  Van Camp’s daughter, Emily, who is also known for her roles in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016).

Windsun Revenge is Jeff’s only horse in training at the moment. He has a couple yearlings and a two-year-old. Jeff looks after the horses in the morning and spends the afternoon delivering feed for his customers.

His father, Jack, had been instrumental in Jeff’s start in the horse business, buying a property 35 years ago where he built a farm and two homes.

“I never really worked other than on the farm,” Jeff said. “It was my dad that got me into the horse business. My dad had horses before my brother and I were even born. He had to get out of the horse business. It was either feed the horses or feed the family. When he could afford to get back into it, he bought some land, built some barns and built some houses and the rest is history. He always had a few broodmares and colts, and my brother and my dad claimed a few horses. We’ve had some good horses, one that raced in 1:49, Durham’s Cam, about 10 years ago. He was a good raceway horse. He made about $400,000. He was a good overnight racehorse at Mohawk that you could race every Saturday. My dad used to name the (family) horses with the prefix Durham. Durham’s Cam was probably the last Durham horse.

“Between my brother and myself, we always had four or five horses racing,” Jeff added. “Because my dad hadn’t been in good health the last 10 years, I had been doing most of the training. But I always asked him for fatherly advice. Robert bought Windsun Revenge back at the yearling sale and I bought a piece of him. You never know with horses. The young ones are the ones you can hit a home run with if you get lucky.”

Clements barn scores opening-night triple

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Robin Clements was a frequent visitor to the winner’s circle last Saturday, sending out Cheryls Surprise, Quality Sport and Serious Art for victories on the opening-night program.

Quality Sport and Serious Art both carry the banner of Ron and Tammy Wells, while Cheryls Surprise goes about her business for Benvenga Racing LLC, Tyler Wiseman and Kathie Plested.

All three pacers had been campaigning at Running Aces in Minnesota, with Mooney Svendsen guiding Cheryls Surprise and Serious Art, while Quality Sport prevailed with Nick Roland in the sulky.

“Serious Art came back from Aces, where he had done well with the bottom claimers,” Clements related. “He’s more effective on a mile track with a longer stretch as he’s more of a grinder.

“Quality Sport had a lot of bad luck back there this summer. He’s now back healthy and was very sharp in that race. I was happy that both horses were able to get a win on opening night for Ron and Tammy.”

Cheryls Surprise got the hat trick started by going coast-to-coast for Svendsen while returning $21.40 to her backers. “She was purchased this past spring here by Mark, Tyler and Kathie, knowing she could race at Aces and had raced there before,” Robin noted.

“She had a decent meet in Minnesota in the upper filly and mare conditions and she’s a rugged and tough mare, yet a diva in the barn. The crew did a great job for opening night and it showed in the results.”

Trotting, Pacing Opens head the marquee

A pair of $6,600 Open Handicaps headline the Saturday night program at Cal Expo, with Flameon getting top billing in the trotting event and Just Bettor looming a major player in the pacing contest.

A 14-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. There will two more weeks of Saturday-only racing, with the schedule expanding to Friday and Saturday cards beginning on November 11.

Flameon has been assigned the outside post in the field of seven for the Open Trot and comes into this assignment having captured nine of his 17 starts on the year. He is owned by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will have Chip Lackey at the controls.

The 6-year-old son of Angus Hall set his career mark of 1:55 3/5 over this track last season and spent the past summer at Running Aces in Minnesota, where he did his work successfully at the head of the class. He posted a nice qualifying victory last weekend with Lackey guiding.

Just Bettor is a 6-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight who campaigns for A Piece of the Action LLC with Gene Vallandingham the conditioner and will have Mooney Svendsen handling the lines.

The gelding has won 21 of 122 lifetime appearances with $266,000 in his account and a 1:50 3/5 standard that was established over the five-eighths Dover Downs course two years ago. He posted a sharp 1:54 3/5 win over conditioned company last week and will be facing tougher now from the outside slot.  


Saturday’s action will include a simulcast of the complete Breeders Crown program from The Meadowlands.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Monticello Raceway Post Time Changes to 12:25 on November 1

Starting on Tuesday November 1st, Monticello Raceway will adjust its Post Time to 12:25 for its Monday - Thursday live racing schedule.   ”It has been our normal schedule to starting racing earlier on November 1st as the days get shorter, and it has worked very well for us in the past” said longtime Race Secretary Eric Warner.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Will be moved to a special spring date to be announced

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (October 26, 2016) – In light of Saturday’s huge Breeders Crown card that is expected to end well after 11:00 p.m. the Meadowlands Racetrack has decided to postpone the fireworks show that was scheduled for Saturday to a date next spring. The date is to be determined, but will be part of a special fan appreciation night that will include an earlier-than-normal post time and food & beverage specials.

“We want people to be able to enjoy the fireworks and by moving them to a spring evening when the weather is nicer, our fans can watch the fireworks from our beautiful rooftop terrace that has amazing views of the Manhattan skyline and our racetrack,” said Meadowlands Chairman Jeffrey Gural.

Father-Son Teams Looks to Zeron in on Breeders Crown with Shamballa

By Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown

It’s been a great year for Rick and Scott Zeron and what would make it even better is winning a Breeders Crown race, something the father-and-son have yet to do in their illustrious careers.

Rick, one of the sport’s best all-around horsemen, has driven in 39 Breeders Crown races, his best finishes a couple of seconds with Armbro Rosebud in the 1997 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace and Soulful Hanover in the 2000 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot. Soulful Hanover also represented his best finish in 13 starts as a trainer.

Scott has driven in 44 Breeders Crown races, his best result a second-place finish with Cee Bee Yes in the 2014 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot.

If the racing gods are co-operative, the Zerons will celebrate their first Breeders Crown wins with Shamballa in the Open Pace in this year’s event at the Meadowlands, a track which has been kind to both members of Team Zeron in 2016.

Scott drove Shamballa to victory for his father in August in the U.S. Pacing Championship, upsetting a field that included the likes of Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki. Both are entered in the Open Pace.

On the same card that he steered Shamballa to victory, Scott won the Hambletonian with Marion Marauder, who subsequently went on to sweep the Trotting Triple Crown. Scott will be driving Marion Marauder in the Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot. He also has several other drives in the two-day championship event.

Rick said Shamballa has a shot considering he has drawn the two hole in the field of 10, the same starting position in which he won the U.S. Pacing Championship, after drawing the outside post in his last three races.

“Miki has the four hole and Wiggle It has the seven hole, so you’re going to have some outside flow moving and the rail horse leaves so I’m looking for good things,” Rick said. “Scott is really happy with the draw and, cross our fingers, we’ll see if we can get our picture taken with a Breeders Crown trophy on Friday. That would be an extra boost if we can get this done. It would be a great achievement for Team Zeron. I’d be ecstatic to win a Breeders Crown. I have no words to describe it. I’d have to wait until it happens and then I could give you the words. Right now we’re in the Breeders Crown and we drew good and I’m looking for good things.

“I thought I was going to win it with Soulful Hanover. I came from about ninth at the head of the lane and finished second by 1½ lengths, beaten by Aviano. It was the shot that I thought I was going to win, and I think we’ve got a shot this week, too.”

Shamballa, a six-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, has won four of 16 races this season and almost $400,000 for an ownership group that includes Rick.

“I got him late when he was a four-year-old,” Rick said. “I raced him late at five. I trained him like the Europeans train their trotters to have them strong at six, seven and eight. He’s done everything that I’ve asked of him. We came up light in the Canadian Pacing Derby (finishing seventh by five lengths). He got a little bit sick on me. I kind of let some money go out the door there, but he’s made close to $400,000 this year and I’m happy with that. We’ve got two more races this year – the Breeders Crown and the TVG – so hopefully we can get some money in there and get him over the $1 million mark.”

Rick was originally scheduled to drive Windsun Revenge in the Open Trot, but the ownership group of Van Camp Trotting Corp., Robert Van Camp and trainer Jeff Durham asked the patriarch if he would allow his son to drive. Scott had been listed to drive to Il Sogno Dream.

“My son has a great head on his shoulders,” Rick said. “He’s very confident in himself. He prides himself in looking good all the time. He works out more than most 27-year-olds. He keeps himself in as good a shape as a horse trainer can keep a top horse in shape. He handles himself extremely well and he holds in his nerves in big races. He analyzes things extremely well. He knows when he’s got a shot to put his horse into the race and he knows when he doesn’t have that good of a shot to fall off the gate and try and get the owner as much money as he can.

“He’s learning every day, which I’m extremely happy about because a lot of young drivers stop learning because they think they know it all. My son learns every day.”

Scott left the Ontario circuit three years ago to race full-time in the U.S., in particular at the Meadowlands, and he’s become one of the top-10 earners, currently sitting in the top-five this season with more than $7.5 million.

“It all comes down to the Breeders Crown,” Scott said. “I’ve been close a couple times. I’ve had very good chances to do it and have come up just short. To me it’s not the same thing as the Hambletonian where you get one race once a year. We have 12 Breeders Crown races, so I have a good chance of doing it – a very difficult one, too. It’s missing on the résume, but I’ll get the Breeders Crown win sooner rather than later.

“It would be gigantic to win with Shamballa. A lot of the fact is it’s my Dad’s horse and we have such a great relationship. The other element is you’re battling the Goliaths every single time we get behind the gate in that division with Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki. When I won the U.S. Pacing Championship, it was all the emotions of winning for my Dad and being a giant slayer. It’s a big, big deal winning that division and the added incentive of winning it with my Dad.”

Scott is also excited about the prospect of winning with Marion Marauder, who would be in contention for Horse of the Year if the son of Muscle Hill won in the Breeders Crown.

“I feel like there’s a lot riding on this race in that respect,” he said. “I want Horse of the Year just for the magnitude of the races he’s won and what he’s done. It’s so hard to argue against Miki and Wiggle because they race 30 starts a year. They are in the box every week, racing non-stop in all their dances, whereas my horse will have 15 starts. It’s so tough. I can’t be the attraction that those horses are because they are always racing.

“We pick our spots because we’re only a three-year-old, but the magnitude and prestige of the races that my horse has won it’s a big deal to get this last one.”   

The complete field for the $421,000 Breeders Crown Pace is as follows:   
Race 7: post time 9:35 p.m.
Post Position, Horse, Driver, Trainer, Morning Line
1 – Split the House – Brian Sears – Chris Oakes- 25-1
2 – Shamballa – Scott Zeron – Rick Zeron- 8-1
3 – Mach It So – Tim Tetrick – Jeff Bamond- 20-1
4 – Always B Miki – David Miller – Jimmy Takter-6/5
5 – Dealt a Winner – Andy Miller – Mark Silva-15-1
6 – All Bets Off – Matt Kakaley – Ron Burke-15-1
7 – Wiggle It Jiggleit – Montrell Teague – Clyde Francis-8/5
8 – Luck Be Withyou – Brett Miller – Chris Oakes-12-1
9 – Melmerby Beach – Yannick Gingras – Ettore Annunziata-40-1
10 – Americanprimetime – Andrew McCarthy – Rick Dane-40-1

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, October 25, 2016—Our long national nightmare is over…Yonkers Raceway’s Sunday matinees have returned.

The first of six such cards goes this postward this weekend (Oct. 30th), with first post of 12:30 PM, as races 1 through 7 (all trots) are simulcast to our French-hubbed audience.

Those events again each have 10 scheduled starters at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. The weekly Open Handicap Trot, with its vitamin-enriched $56,000 purse, is the first race on the dozen-dash program.

Tornado Tim, last week’s first-up marquee trot winner, starts from post position No. 7 this time around, with Dan Dube retaining the assignment for co-owner/trainer Rene Allard.

Dot Dot Dot Dash (Tyler Buter, post 4) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton, post 9) both move up off wins against softer, while Yonkers Invitational Trot participant Winds of the North (Matt Kakaley, post 8) makes his first overnight start since late August.

Luminosity (George Brennan, post 3), Cash Me Out (Buter also listed, post 6) and Tober (Brent Holland, post 10) all made money in last week’s featured trot.

Note that Thursday live racing (evening simulcasting) is done for the season after this week (Oct. 27th) and post times for the remaining Sundays (Nov. 13th, 20th, 27th & Dec. 4th  and 18th) are TBA as of this writing.

Per Henriksen Seeks Fourth Breeders Crown Title with Muscle Hustle

Trainer Per Henriksen is old enough to know that you’re never too old to take a shot in the Breeders Crown.
The 70-year-old native of Norway, who is based out of Norwood, Ontario, is back in this year’s Breeders Crown presented by Mullinax Ford at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on Saturday night, seven years since he last raced in the championship event.

He sends out Muscle Hustle in the $500,000 Three-Year-Old Colt Trot, a race stacked with some solid contenders, including Bar Hopping, Southwind Frank and Marion Marauder, each of whom has won some prominent stakes races this season.

Muscle Hustle has been a topnotch horse this season on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit, including setting a Canadian and OSS record on a five-eighths mile track, banking almost US$200,000 in 14 starts.

The horse was sent to Henriksen as a two-year-old by Robert Bergh, Sweden’s top trainer, who was having some issues with the son of Muscle Mass. Henriksen is considered somewhat of a horse whisperer because of his ability to figure out the head cases. In the case of Muscle Hustle, Henriksen decided to put trotting hopples on the colt early in his career. This will the last time Henriksen harnesses the colt, who is scheduled to be sent back to Sweden after the Breeders Crown.

“If I didn’t think my horse had a shot to win, I would not spend $7,500 for to go in the race,” he said.

“It’s always a pleasure going back to the Breeders Crown when you have horses that you think are good enough to compete. I thought I had three that were good enough to compete, but I got one to the final and he qualified really good (with driver Chris Christoforou) and Chris said he’s as good as any of these horses with the right trip. We drew the five hole, which is good, so we’re optimistic.”

Henriksen has had 22 previous starters in the Breeders Crown for $1.2 million in earnings and has won three times, all in the Three-Year-Old Filly Trot: Expressway Hanover in 1993, Oolong in 1999 and Southwind Serena in 2007. Expressway Hanover and Oolong won at short prices, Southwind Serena at 50-1. She is notable for being Yannick Gingras’ first Crown win and is also the dam of the world champion and Breeders Crown freshman winner Mission Brief. 

“Any time you can win a Breeders Crown it means a lot, there’s no doubt about that,” Henriksen said. “That’s something special. Yes, I’ll take a new owner if they pop up with a good horse, don’t misunderstand me. Not that I need it, that’s not the point. I’m 70 years old. I just don’t want to live in a tent when I’m done doing this.
“I just had a (physical) and the doctor said he couldn’t find anything wrong with me. He said, ‘Per, you’re like a 55-year-old – your heart rate, everything. You don’t have any aches or pains. You’re so lucky, you don’t know how lucky you are.’

“If I can win the Breeders Crown, it will be such a pleasure, most of all for the people around me who support me all the time – my owners, my support staff. It’s not going to change my lifestyle, let’s put it that way, but it’s a joy.

“It would mean a lot to me to win, especially with Robert Bergh,” he added. “He’s my friend. I’ve sent horses to him in Sweden as four-year-olds when I thought they were better off there than in North America. Muscle Hustle struggled 


 by john manzi for NAADA

In early December four members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) will travel New Zealand to represent America in a series of races in a Friendship Competition against their counterparts from Down Under. 

Leading the USA team will be Peter Kleinhans who earned that honor after winning a lottery drawing upon the completion the NAADA Summer Trotting Series.  Recently the international amateur drivers organization had released that Dave Offenberg will join Kleinhans on the overseas journey to represent the USA in the competition. Now NAADA has named Joe Lee to join the aforementioned and in upcoming weeks they’ll name the fourth and final member of the USA team. 

Joe Lee is the assistant to the head equipment manager of the New York Yankees and has been for 22 years. He is also a member of many amateur driving organizations and this year he has been able to compete in amateur races more than in past seasons. Thus far this year “Yankee Joe” has eight wins, 10 seconds and eight thirds in 64 starts and all with what would be considered in the industry as “catch drives”.

Asked how a youngster from New York City got so involved in harness racing, Joe was pleased to expound.

“My parents owned some Standardbreds when I was a kid and I grew up going to Freehold, Roosevelt, Yonkers and the Meadowlands.  I show-jumped horses for just about 20 years so I definitely was always around horses.

“Going to the racetracks as much as I did, I wanted to see what it was like to sit behind one rather than in a saddle, so my good friend Sandy Goldfarb put me in touch with Buzzy Sholty who trained many of Sandy's horses over the years. 

“I began going to White Birch Farm (in New Jersey) every Saturday morning and any other chance I had.  I would leave my house at 4:45 in the morning to get there on time and start jogging and training the barn with Buzzy.  Buzzy, knowing I had been around horses began trusting me right away with some of his horses and I never looked back.  

“In 1995, while in high school, I was offered a position with the New York Yankees as their batboy which I enjoyed for three seasons.  After that I got the opportunity to become an assistant to the head equipment manager, and have done so ever since.  This year completed my 22nd season there. 

“Since 2001, I have worked in the Financial Services industry. I was a financial advisor with UBS from 2001-2004.  In 2004 my team and I started our own registered investment advisory firm in Westchester (NY).  I have assisted families with the managing of their assets and helped with their estate planning since 2001.  

“It has been a great thrill over the past few years to own some horses with family and friends.  An even bigger thrill is the excitement of going behind the gate and racing.  It never gets old.  I have been so fortunate to have so many trainers give me the opportunity to drive their horses and am thankful for the relationships I have developed in the sport.  Being invited to represent the NAADA in New Zealand is a thrill and an honor. 

“Many people drive in the NAADA races and to be asked to go is definitely something that I couldn't even think of turning down.  It is always a thrill to go to a new racetrack and drive but this time it’s combined with sharing the experience with other people from the opposite end of the planet that share the same passion of the sport as I do. I look forward to the experience and thank everyone involved that puts these trips and competitions together. 

“I think it’s always important for the amateurs, as well as everyone involved in racing, to do what they can to spread their enjoyment for racing so the sport can continue on.”

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fields set for Breeders Crown finals

by James Witherite, Meadowlands racing media

East Rutherford, N.J. – A full slate of elimination races on Saturday (October 22) evening at The Meadowlands narrowed down the fields for next weekend’s $5.8 million Breeders Crown, presented by Mullinax Ford.

Given that the withdrawal of likely favorite Betting Line from his elimination due to injury drastically changed the complexion of next week’s $500,000 Crown final for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, elimination winners Check Six and Western Fame were the pair to draw for post positions 1 through 5 before the other qualifiers took part in an open draw for all remaining post positions. That procedure was followed for all nine Crown events which required eliminations.

The complete fields for the 12 Breeders Crown finals, with elimination drivers and trainers, follow (elimination winners are identified with an asterisk):

Open Trot - $500,000

1 – Il Sogno Dream – S. Zeron – Beaver
2 – Resolve – Svanstedt – Svanstedt
3 – JL Cruse – Campbell – Ell
4 – Windsun Revenge – R. Zeron – Durham
5 – Crescent Fashion – Svanstedt – Svanstedt
6 – Centurion ATM – Svanstedt – Svanstedt
7 – Flanagan Memory – Sears – Dion
8 – Crazy Wow – Gingras – Burke
9 – Lookslikeachpndale – Filion – Blais

Mares Trot - $250,000

1 – Charmed Life – B. Miller – Menary
2 – Hannelore Hanover – Gingras – Burke
3 – Classical Annie – Kakaley – Burke
4 – I’m So Fancy – Tetrick – Alagna
5 – Bee a Magician – Sears – Norman
6 – Barn Doll – Gregory – Gregory
7 – D’One – Tetrick – Walmann
8 – Shake It Cerry – D. Miller – Takter

Open Pace - $421,000

1 – Split the House – Sears – Oakes
2 – Shamballa – S. Zeron – R. Zeron
3 – Mach It So – Tetrick – Bamond
4 – Always B Miki – D. Miller – Takter
5 – Dealt a Winner – A. Miller – Silva
6 – All Bets Off – Kakaley – Burke
7 – Wiggle It Jiggleit – Teague – Francis
8 – Luck Be Withyou – B. Miller – Oakes
9 – Melmerby Beach – driver TBA – Annunziata
10 – Americanprimetime – Tetrick – Dane

Mares Pace - $250,000

1 – Divine Caroline – D. Miller – Holloway
2 – Lady Shadow* – Gingras – Adams
3 – Katie Said – S. Zeron – Takter
4 – Frost Damage Blues* – B. Miller – Fanning
5 – Solar Sister – D. McNair – G. McNair
6 – Skippin By – Callahan – Burke
7 – Sassa Hanover – Gingras – Burke
8 – Regil Elektra – Bongiorno – Armer
9 – Bettor Be Steppin – D. Miller – Holloway
10 – Bedroomconfessions – S. Zeron – Alagna

3-year-old Colt and Gelding Trot - $500,000

1 – Waitlifter K – Kakaley – Harris
2 – Marion Marauder – S. Zeron – Wellwood
3 – Bar Hopping* – Tetrick – Takter
4 – Sutton* – A. Miller – J. Miller
5 – Muscle Hustle – Christoforou – Henriksen
6 – Double L Lindy – Svanstedt – Svanstedt
7 – Love Matters – Sears – Takter
8 – Winter Harbor – D. Miller – Alagna
9 – Southwind Frank – Gingras – Burke
10 – Lagerfeld – D. Miller – Takter

3-year-old Filly Trot - $500,000

1 – Caprice Hill – Tetrick – Alagna
2 – All the Time* – Gingras – Takter
3 – Earn Your Wings – B. Miller – Lorentzon
4 – Celebrity Eventsy – Campbell – Lind
5 – Broadway Donna* – D. Miller – Campbell
6 – Dewdle All Day – J. MacDonald – Jones
7 – Emoticon Hanover – Filion – Blais
8 – Fad Finance – Smedshammer – Smedshammer
9 – Flowers N Songs – Gingras – Reid
10 – Side Bet Hanover – Callahan – Czernyson

3-year-old Colt and Gelding Pace - $500,000

1 – Western Fame* - MacDonald - Takter
2 – Check Six* - Gingras - Burke
3 – Lyons Snyder – Sears - Takter
4 – Fine Diamond – Kakaley - Burke
5 – Racing Hill – B. Miller - Alagna
6 – Katies Rocker – McCarthy - Campbell
7 – Dr J Hanover – Zeron - Alagna
8 – Fernando Hanover – Gingras - Burke
9 – Manhattan Beach – Kakaley - Burke
10 – JJ Flynn – M. Miller – Ryder

3-year-old Filly Pace - $500,000

1 – Kiss Me Onthebeach – M. Miller – Ryder
2 – Penpal – Lachance – Lachance
3 – Pure Country* – B. Miller – Takter
4 – Newborn Sassy* – Tetrick – Looney-King
5 – Skinny Dipper – S. Zeron – Croghan
6 – Darlinonthebeach – D. Miller – Johansson
7 – Blue Moon Stride – McCarthy – Harder
8 – L A Delight – Campbell – McIntosh
9 – Call Me Queen Be – S. Zeron – Croghan
10 – Lindwood Beachgirl – Gingras – Steacy

2-year-old Colt and Gelding Trot - $600,000

1 – Giveitgasandgo – Callahan – Butenschoen
2 – Walner* – Tetrick – Toscano
3 – Snowstorm Hanover – Kakaley – Burke
4 – Sortie* – McCarthy – Daley
5 – Dover Dan – S. Zeron – Butenschoen
6 – Sir John F – Kakaley – Takter
7 – Moonshiner Hanover – S. Zeron – Beaver
8 – What the Hill – D. Miller – Burke
9 – Fly On – A. Miller – J. Miller
10 – Jake – Filion – Blais

2-year-old Filly Trot - $600,000

1 – Thats All Moni* – Tetrick – Takter
2 – Cameron Hill – Campbell – Bax
3 – Chezatter* – D. Miller – Smedshammer
4 – Ariana G – Gingras – Takter
5 – Hillarmbro – Smedshammer – Smedshammer
6 – Sunshine Delight – Campbell – Lind
7 – Evelyn – D. Miller – Svanstedt
8 – Treviso – Norris – Norris
9 – Broadway Idole – S. Zeron – Campbell
10 – Princess Aurora – Tetrick – Takter

2-year-old Colt and Gelding Pace - $600,000

1 – Filibuster Hanover – Kakaley – Burke
2 – Downbytheseaside* – D. Miller – Brown
3 – Huntsville* - Tetrick – Schnittker
4 – Ocean Colony – Gingras – Takter
5 – Boogie Shuffle – S. Zeron – Harder
6 – Miso Fast – Kakaley – Burke
7 – Normandy Beach – Gingras – Burke
8 – Odds On Delray – S. Zeron – Alagna
9 – Blood Line – Sears – Takter
10 – Ozone Blue Chip – Filion – Coyne

2-year-old Filly Pace - $600,000

1 – Tori Hanover* – S. Zeron – Alagna
2 – Jaye’s a Lady – Callahan – Johansson
3 – Rockette – Kakaley – Burke
4 – Brazuca – Palone – Cancelliere
5 – Roaring to Go* - B. Miller – Lare
6 – Someomensomewhere – M. Miller – E. Miller
7 – That’s the Ticket – M. Miller – Ryder
8 – Blameitonthenight – Gingras – Alagna
9 – Idyllic Beach – Gingras – Takter
10 – Agent Q – D. Miller – Lambert

All told, Jimmy Takter and Ron Burke lead all trainers in horses to qualify for the Crown finals, as they each send 17 horses to next week’s championships.  Takter will have three starters in each the 3-year-old colt trot and 2-year-old filly pace, while Burke accounts for four in the 3-year-old colt pace and three in the 2-year-old colt pace. Tony Alagna will have the third most starters, with nine.