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Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Citing the widespread use of drugs on yearlings and two years olds that may result in improper bone development and the recent use of horse auctions to launder money for the drug cartel, the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) is formally calling for the independent regulation of the breeding and sales industries.

“These significant portions of the racing industry are totally unregulated,” said ARCI Chair Jeff Colliton.   “If we care about our horses and the integrity of the sport, the racing industry can no longer turn a blind eye to the need to address this shortcoming.”

Bisphosphonates: Need to Regulate Use of Drugs in Horses Intended for Sale.

The ARCI Equine Welfare Committee, chaired by Dr. Corrine Sweeney, met via conference call on November 7, 2017 to discuss the use of Bisphosphonates on horses that race or are intended to race.    While this class of legal medication has been specifically approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat navicular disease in older horses, federal law currently does not preclude their use in young horses despite concerns about their safety and research in other mammals showing a link to stress fractures.  In horses, stress fractures may contribute to a catastrophic breakdown.

Committee members were concerned about the use of these drugs in young horses amid reports of their widespread use on yearlings and two-year olds to treat pain or get them ready for the auction ring.

Some noted that the bones of horses treated with bisphosphonates may falsely appear to be fully developed when subjected to a radiograph prior to entering the auction ring.  “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the profit motive for the seller.   But this should never be allowed overrule the concerns about the welfare of the horse,” said ARCI President Ed Martin.

There is sentiment within ARCI to outlaw the use of these drugs in young horses, following the lead of the British Horseracing Authority which has banned their use in horses younger than 3.5 years of age.     In addition, the published drug policies of the sales companies are more lenient than those adopted by racing commissions governing the conduct of the race, particularly the permitted stacking of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

The high-profile US federal investigation and convictions that revealed that the Mexican drug cartel was utilizing quarter horse sales to launder drug money exposed another reason why the breeding and sales aspects of horse racing need to be regulated, Colliton said.

The use of “front” owners and corporations is outlined in the book Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty by Melissa Del Bosque which is reportedly being made into a movie to be released at some point in the future.

Per the noted author Alfredo Corchado whose work has focused on the drug cartels, this case is “a harrowing portrayal of a cartel family’s thirst for power, money and fast horses.”   He also notes that this work offers a “a critical, up close look into organized crime’s growing influence over the sport of kings, and the deadly consequences.”

“It is naive to think that this may be an isolated instance in an area of the sport that is unregulated,” ARCI President Ed Martin said.  “I know first-hand from my experience in New York that criminal activity can occur right under the nose of the most prominent people in racing.”    Martin, as the NY regulator, was instrumental in the 2003 criminal indictment of the New York Racing Association for a federal felony conspiracy to defraud the government, a charge NYRA pled guilty to under a deferred prosecution agreement.

“Equine breakdowns and activities relating to organized crime are damaging to the public image and acceptability of this sport,” he said.    “While the conduct of the race is adequately regulated and racing’s anti-doping program is comparable if not superior to corresponding programs in human sport, the above-mentioned issues highlight the limitations of the existing regulatory authority in many ARCI jurisdictions.”

On December 8, 2017, the ARCI Board of Directors adopted the following resolution:

WHEREAS reports that the use of some medications on young horses, yearlings and two year olds, may potentially endanger their proper development as race horses, increasing the potential risk of fractures and catastrophic injury; and,

WHEREAS the use of such drugs on young horses may misrepresent the extent to which bones have developed to potential buyers and may mask ailments or conditions that would not only impact the price paid at auction but affect a future racing career; and,

WHEREAS young horses intended to be racehorses are often beyond the regulatory authority of the racing regulator and their care and development is not subject to any independent oversight; and,

WHEREAS it has also been proven that the sale of racehorses has recently attracted members of the drug cartel who have used racehorses to launder money; and,

WHEREAS both the breeding and sales aspects of the racing industry are un-regulated and outside the regulatory framework that prohibits activities deemed dangerous to the horse or contain the necessary safeguards to deter and detect illegal activity;


The Association of Racing Commissions International (ARCI) is in agreement with statements made by Louis Romanet, President of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities, indicating that horses should come under the authority of an independent regulatory authority from the moment of birth and throughout their racing career;

The ARCI calls for the expansion of the racing regulatory authority of its members or other suitable entity to include the breeding and sale of race horses and empowers its Officers to begin a conversation with policymakers at all levels and racing industry constituencies to advance this concept and develop all appropriate details.

Veteran Gerry Longo lights up the night

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Gerry Longo put on a show here last Friday night as he sent out four winners on the card, guiding three of them himself. The 71-year-old Longo kicked off his four-bagger when Sparkin Your Fire accounted for the Filly and Mare Open with Mooney Svendsen in the sulky, making it two straight scores at the head of the class.

Longo came right back and captured the next race with HairwayTo Heaven to the delight of the chalkpayers and added victories with Place at the Beach and Gene Eugene before the 12-race program was concluded.

Once a fixture at or near the top of the standings at this track, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos, Gerry was away from California for three decades when he came out for this meet in 2014 and has been returning on a regular basis for the local action.

“I can tell you that the weather is nice, the people are great and I’m impressed with the way they’ve upgraded the facility,” Longo has said.

When asked about his exit from the Golden State in the mid-1980s, Longo explained that he made the move to Chicago at a time when it looked like harness racing was about to go down for the count in California.

“I did some racing back there in '78, '79 and '80, then I bought a place and started racing in Chicago full time,” he said. “I like to travel, so I’ve also been racing at tracks in Virginia and Minnesota.”
Last Friday evening, he was traveling quite a bit to the winner’s circle and it was great to see those green, black and gold colors getting photographed.  

Sparkin Your Fire, Capitol Hill clash

Friday night’s Cal Expo program is headed by a $6,600 Filly and Mare Open Pace that finds Sparkin Your Fire and Capitol Hill getting another chance to settle the score.

A 13-race program is on tap with first post set for 6:10 p.m. and the main event is scheduled as the 4th contest on the evening.

Sparking Your Fire is a 5-year-old mare who carries the banner of Peg Hoffman with Gerry Longo the conditioner and Mooney Svendsen doing the honors.

She is coming off back-to-back decisions in the Distaff Open, storming home late for Svendsen on both occasions to get the job done. While the first of those tallies was going away by three lengths, the most recent saw her late heroics handing a neck decision on Capitol Hill.

The latter will leave from the No. 6 post just inside her main rival for owners George McChrystal and Kathie Plested with Plested the conditioner and Steve Wiseman giving directions. She captured three of her first four outings at this meet between November 4 and November 25 at this Open level.

There are two wagers that are offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races on the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, on the penultimate four races. The Pick 4 comes with a guaranteed gross pool that has been raised to $30,000.


There will be no live racing here next week, with the trotters and pacers back in action on December 26 with a special Tuesday evening card that will begin at 5 p.m. There will also be racing that week on Friday and Saturday, December 29 and 30.


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, December 12, 2017—Yonkers Raceway has made nomination forms available for its early 2018 stakes (those not serviced by the Hambletonian Society) and series.

By visiting the racing portion of and going to the ‘horsemen’ section, horsemen shall find said forms for the Petticoat/Sagamore Hill Pacing Series (closing Feb. 1st), Blue Chip Matchmaker/George  Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (March 1st), YR/SOA of New York Bonus Trotting Series (March 15th) and Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace (Apr. 1st).

The forms shall also be available in the coming weeks in the racing program as well as any number of harness publications and/or their sites. For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Thursday Night at the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ – Live racing returns to The Meadowlands on Thursday with a nine race offering set to begin at 7:15 p.m.

The program features full fields including two divisions of the popular GSY Driving Club events and a carry-over of more than $35,000 in the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 wager.

Racing Secretary Pete Koch has taken a page from the Thoroughbred condition book and written a short Starter Allowance series. The second of two preliminary legs goes on Thursday where twenty-two declarations resulted in a pair of eleven horse fields with returning winners Esprit De Kayjay A and May I Cruise West among the entrants.

Access expert selections and free program pages from The Meadowlands website.

The Meadowlands will race live Thursday through Saturday for the balance of December with post time set for 7:15 p.m. each card.

Saturday, December 9, 2017


FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 8, 2017—Stop us if you’ve read this missive before.

Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $8.40) did her thing from first-up Friday night (Dec. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace.

Away fourth from the pole, the Matchmaker victress watched Best of Jenna (Mark MacDonald), Newborn Sassy (Brent Holland) and 3-5 choice Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) all take early shots.

Lady Shadow, back here first the first time since the 2016 Matchmaker, had to work for it, racing wide to  make the lead. The $1.9 million lass, now racing for her fourth trainer in the last three months, did get around Newborn Sassy after a 27-second opening quarter-mile.

It was a rated :56.1 intermission when Mackenzie A moved to engage. She did so passing a 1:24.4 three-quarters, her gait better than it was off the same trip a week ago. Mackenzie A collared Lady Shadow in the final turn, closing the repeat sale by a length-and-a-half in a life-best 1:52.4.

Newborn Sassy ducked inside to grab second, with Lady Shadow tiring to third. Lakeisha Hall (Joe Bongiorno) and Pretty Image (Matt Kakaley) settled for the remainder. 
For third choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Ellen Kinser & Harry von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fifth win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $22.60, with the triple returning $63.

Friday, December 8, 2017


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 8, 2017—Yonkers Raceway has announced its 2018 live racing schedule.

The 238-program season is set to begin with a ‘French’ Sunday, Jan 7th. Post times for that matinee and all subsequent 21 Sundays are TBA.

Evenings are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday in January, with Thursdays added the next month (all @ 7:10 PM), The mid-season hiatus goes from May 27th-June 7th, inclusive, with other breaks around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The fourth renewal of Yonkers International Trot @ Empire City Casino is set for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 13th (post time TBA).

Racing concludes with a special ‘French Thursday’ Dec. 27th (again, post time TBA). 

A copy of the 2018 schedule accompanies this release. As always, all dates are pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. The stakes schedule shall be sent when available.

A reminder that 2017’s season concludes Sunday, Dec. 17th (first post 11:30 AM)

Saturday Night at The Meadowlands

The Meadowlands' Saturday night card offers a dozen pari-mutuel puzzlers for those horseplayers questing for value. The fields are solid in size and quality with the better classes for pacers and trotters alike being concentrated on the Saturday card. 

Jody Reidel's Can Do is a contender in the fifth race $13,000 conditioned trot. Can Do has been in Jody's barn for some time now and the 8-year-old shows up pretty much every week to do his work. In 39 starts this season Can Do has won 7 and been on the board in 21 of them for earnings of $83,325 and only recently crept past the half million dollar mark in career earnings. He'll begin from post four on Friday with Anthony Napolitano in the sulky.

Always At My Place (PP #4) will look to repeat in the pacing feature for the top trainer/driver team of Ron Burke and Yannick Gingras in the $17,500 third race. Gingras floated Always At My Place from the gate, ground to the front past a 26.4 opening quarter then set an honest pace using a 27.3 close to hold Art History at bay in 1:50.4. Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura share ownership of the career winner of more than $750,000.

Pink offers a delightful buffet and a grand view of the racing action for the hungry handicapper.

Post time is 7:15 p.m. on both nights.


There will be a Pick Five carryover at the Meadowlands Friday for the second straight week. $17,117.45 will be added to the pool tomorrow that covers Races 2-6. It carries a 50-cent base wager and a low 15-percent takeout rate.

In other Meadowlands wagering news the Early Pick 4 (Races 3-6) returned $10,625. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017


  by  john manzi for USHWA National Amateur Driver of the Year Award

It was unanimous. The USHWA National Amateur Driver of the Year Award Committee has named  “Yankee Joe” Lee the  National Amateur Driver of the Year for 2017.  The ever- improving 38-year-old Bronxville, NY native is enjoying his best season in the sulky while being  a member of multiple  amateur organizations.

When contacted, Lee was at Yankee Stadium where he is the New York Yankee’s assistant equipment manager, thus the moniker “Yankee Joe.”

When told of his recent accolade, Lee paused a moment and then said: “I’m greatly honored and I’m humbled by the award. This is only my third full season of amateur driving and I love it.  And I’m especially grateful for the confidence that the owners and trainers have shown in my abilities”
Lee could be considered a true amateur in that he owns no racing stock nor does he have any  specific trainer to drive for exclusively (save Bruce Aldrich, Sr. at Monticello Raceway) and has taken the reins from at least 15 different trainers this year alone.

This National Award comes on the heels of the local Amateur Driver of the Year Award from the  Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA ,which, by the way, pioneered showcasing the talents of amateur drivers back in the 1980’s.

Currently Lee has a career best 15 driving victories to go along with 11 seconds and 10 thirds. Arguably the most prolific was the triumph in the 1-1/4-mile $25,000 CKG Billings Gold Cup Final at Yonkers Raceway with Dizzy Rizzy  on November 26.  However, it didn’t come easy.
And Lee recalls that triumph vividly.

“We had tough trip that that night but we got the job done. I tried leaving but Steve Oldford , with Gonna Fly, was giving Paul Minore and Wygant Prince a tough time. I then tried to slip down along  the pylons to no avail but got lucky when Bob Krivelin’s horse made a break.

“Sitting third I thought I had a good spot. Then Oldford pulled the pocket with over a half mile to go so I got to slip into the two hole. At the top of the stretch I rolled out of the pocket grunted at her (Dizzy Lizzy) a little and she scampered  past the leader and got there in time. I was real honored to win the Billings Gold Cup for her connections.”

However, Lee’s  fastest victory this year was a 1:54.3 triumph with Soul Train  at the Meadowlands on September 8th for trainer Al Annuziatta.

Not bad for a kid who began with show jumpers. “Once I jogged a (harness) horse I never had anything more to do with jumpers,” he said.

Lee credits his friend Buzzy Sholty as his mentor. “ I love the sport  and once this game gets into your blood it consumes you. And the more involved you become the more dedicated you are to the sport of harness driving.” Lee alleges.

Says competitor and two time National Amateur Driver of the Year, Dein Spriggs:  “Joe Lee demonstrates what I feel is required to receive the 2017 National Amateur Driver of the year Award” “He’s a strategic driver using tactics and not losing composure during a race while readjusting strategies  during the race to overcome his competition. He’s of good character and moral standing besides being the 2017 Billings Gold Cup winner.”

Lee will receive his accolades at the National US Harness Writers Awards Banquet in Orlando, Florida during late February, 2018.

Kenny Fowler gets things started at Cal Expo

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

The start of a harness race is extremely important, and when it comes to getting the fields away in good order here at Cal Expo, Kenny Fowler is the man.

Along with his assistant/driver Larry Dana, Fowler is responsible for making sure everybody is up close and personal with the starting gate when the car starts to speed ahead to send them on their way.

“I’m coming up on my 30th year,” said Fowler. “I started in 1988 with Larry Jones and then I spent 20 years as the driver with Bill Vallandingdam, and that experience was invaluable.”

For the last four years, Fowler has been the starter here at Cal Expo and does an excellent job of giving every horse and driver the best possible start. Much like a referee in a sporting event, when you don’t hear much about them, that means they are doing a good job.

One of the changes that has been made over the years is the switch from the traditional Cadillac to a four-wheel drive, which is especially import when it comes to traction and off tracks.

“There are special challenges when it’s raining, no question about that,” Kenny related. “One is getting the wings on the starting gate closed before you get into the turn. When the wings are open all the weight is on the back of the car, so it’s a little tricky.

“To be honest, the wind and the fog are much tougher obstacles than the rain and a muddy racetrack.”

Robert Staats Prep matches pacing distaffers

A well-matched field of eight pacing fillies and mares will do battle in Saturday night’s featured Robert Staats Prep, with Rockin Repeat and Be My Lucky Lady among the major contenders.

The feature will go as the eighth on an 11-race program under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m.

Rockin Repeat and Be My Lucky Lady will have a rematch Saturday after finishing a head apart in a conditioned event here last week. Rockin Repeat got the better of that skirmish after sitting a pocket trip that evening.

A 3-year-old daughter of Rockin Image, Rockin Repeat is owned by George Reider and Dave and Rob Haness with Reider training and Luke Plano once again doing the honors. Last week’s 1:53 2/5 victory established a new lifetime mark for the sophomore.

Be My Lucky Lady is a Hi Ho Silverheel’s homebred who takes her lessons from Kathie Plested and will have Steve Wiseman at the controls. She has been runner-up in her last two trips to the post and is a nice fit with this group while leaving from the No. 6 post.

Cenalta Call Girl took the measure of several of these rivals in the Annette Funicello Final last month and should be right in the thick of things. The Canadian miss races for Rene Goulet and Helen and Myrna Empey with Goulet reining and training.

Rounding out the field are Cenalta Couger, Yeswellnomaybe, Alwaysalittlemore, Free Radical and Wizzel Stix.

G-Notes Featured on Friday at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday night at The Meadowlands brings eleven overnight races led by the $17,500 final of the popular "Dash for the G-Note" short series. That race comes up as the seventh on the card, kicking off the $50,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 Pool. 

Ron Burke sends three entries out in pursuit of the top prize including ten-year-old class-master Ideal Matters, a recent addition to the barn. Ideal Matters (PP #9) has raced the best around the East coast for the past few seasons then finally found the claimers a few weeks ago and eventually was transferred via a private purchase.

The fresh surroundings apparently agreed with him (a perfect trip from driver Anthony Napolitano certainly didn't hurt) as he dashed from the pocket to wear down 1-5 race favorite Kotare Yael N for a comfortable win with something left.

Ideal Matters now races in the Burke stable colors for the interests of the trainer as Burke Racing, LLC in partnership with Weaver Bruscemi, LLC and Napolitano retains the drive on Friday.

Moonlight Ransom collected his first win of the 2017 season in last week's elim and has drawn well, starting from post three on Friday. Moonlight has shown steady improvement since joining the Jenn Bongiorno stable for owner Michael Singer and is poised to contend for driver Simon Allard.

Justified is the third horse returning off a win last week for trainer-driver Eric Abbatiello. Another "War-Horse" the nine-year-old winner of nearly a third million dollars went the fastest mile in the elims when he crossed the wire in 1:52.2. He races in the familiar colors of The Red Man Stable.

Promotions-wise The Meadowlands is in holiday mode with the direction being cash for the giving season. Friday it's that old chestnut "Money Machine Fever", a true fan favorite, that is not to be missed.

The fun starts at 7:15 p.m.

George Reider expecting things to heat up

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

George Reider admits his barn “hasn’t been lighting them up so far” at this meeting, but he’s optimistic that things are headed in the right direction.

“We had a good meet this summer at Running Aces,” Reider noted. “At the end of that meet we purchased a few horses and now it’s just been a case of getting to know them.”

One pacer in the barn that George is really pinning his hopes of is a 2-year-old who answers to the name of Pride of the Sierra. “I think he’s going to be a real nice colt. We’ll be qualifying him in a few weeks.”

Meanwhile, the Reider barn of 14 is starting to warm up and you can look for him to bemaking his share of winner’s circle appearances in the near future and through the end of this session in the spring.

George also mentioned that he’s very pleased that his good friends Nick Roland, Jessica Johnson and Terry Kaufman are among the new connections competing here at Cal Expo “They’ve really added to our races and I’m so glad to see them competing here.”

Pair of Opens sit atop the marquee

A $6,600 Open Pace featuring Jazzmanian Devil and Firedrake and a $5,500 Distaff Open Pace headed by Sparkin Your Fire and Capitol Hill are the main events on Friday night’s Cal Expo program.

Jazzmanian Devil is a 6-year-old son of Sand Shooter from the Artsplace mare Artbeat who is owned by William Condon, takes her lessons from Kathie Plested and will have Mooney Svendsen giving directions.

The long-fused performer looped the field to prevail at 6-1 in the November 4 Open, had to settle for the show money at this level the following week, then got back to his winning ways at most recent asking as he came home in a sizzling :26 flat to get the job done by a neck.

Firedrake also has two Open victories to his credit at this meeting for Set The Pace Racing LLC and driver/trainer Nick Roland. The Dragon Again gelding has posed for snapshots following 11 of his 20 starts on the year with a 1:51 2/5 lifetime standard that was recorded at Running Aces over the summer.

Firedrake accounted for the October 28 top dance despite a tough trip from the demanding No. 10 post and also captured the November Open as the 3-5 favorite, but has had to settle for a third and fifth behind Jazzmanian Devil in the other two contests for the top pacers on the grounds.

Looking at the Filly and Mare Open, Sparkin Your Fire carries the banner of Peg Hoffman with Gerry Longo the conditioner and Mooney Svendsen handling the lines.
She got a nice prep race in her local debut in the November 25 distaff Open, then stormed home to prevail at 9-2 in the most recent clash at the top level for the pacing fillies and mares while taking the measure of favored Capitol Hill.

The latter mare won three of her four outings at this Open level between November 4 and November 25 and had to settle for second in the most recent clash after being hard used on the front end. George McChrystal and Kathie Plested own, Plested is the trainer and Steve Wiseman will be in the sulky.

There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, affording players the chance to gets some real value.

They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races of the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which covers the penultimate four contests on the program. The Pick 4 comes with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Longtime Monticello Raceway Horseman Norman Bradbury Retires

By Shawn Wiles

In the winner’s circle after the 7th race on Tuesday, December 5 at Monticello Raceway, longtime Monticello Raceway horseman Norman Bradbury was honored for his extensive and prominent career and was honored in a retirement ceremony.

The native of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland, Norman Bradbury has been a fixture at Monticello Raceway for over 4 decades since his first start in 1979.  Prior to arriving to the backstretch of Monticello, Norman served as trainer for the Grey Brothers of Providence, Rhode Island for many years and trained several winters in Pinehurst NC.  Norman and his wife Donna, a longtime Monticello Raceway employee where married in Pinehurst in 1976. 

During his rich career, he has enjoyed many highlights, Normans career pinnacle moment came aboard Kittiwake, ($554,206 – 1:54.3) when he drove her to victory in the Lady Catskill at his home track Monticello Raceway. Other of Bradbury’s top performers include Pride N Price, Tiffany Collins, Good Night Action and the recently retired Red Eye Bluechip. Norman’s final career stats display 403 driving wins, $1,390,362 in amassed purse earnings, he trained winners of over $1,797,797.

The 7th race of the program was carded as the Norman Bradbury Retirement Race, it contained a field of gritty campaigners, much like Norman. After an early slugfest between Fools Gold (PP3) and (Kyle Dibenedetto) who set a 28 second opening quarter, Can’t Knock M finally got the lead at the half in 58.2 B Seventeen, who was driven by Justin Huckabone started the outer flow at this point. 

The stealthy Vaganova (Jim Devaux) followed B Seventeen with live cover right behind B Seventeen, B Seventeen got the lead down backstretch as they hit the ¾ in 1:28, as they turned for home, both were poised for victory, the duo raced in tandem down the lane and split the teletimer at the exact same time, resulting in a semi rare Dead Heat of 1:58.

B Seventeen is a 5 YO Art Major gelding, out of Jugette and multiple stakes winner Armbro Bombay, the former $125,000 yearling is trained by Jon Berube of Circleville, NY, his DH win ticket returned $4.90. Vaganova is trained by Jim Doherty Jr. the 4-year-old son Rock N Roll Heaven who notched his 6th win for the waning 2017, pushing his seasonal earning over $30,000 and paid $22.20.

Congratulating Norman Bradbury on his retirement at Monticello Raceway.  Photo Credit: Geri Schwarz

Following the race, Norman was accompanied in the winner’s circle by his wife Donna and son Grant, as well as numerous friends, and many of the horsemen that he has come to know Norman well during his many years in the backstretch of Monticello Raceway.


Petruccelli and Gerber Qualify for WHHC presented by

Mike Petruccelli of Haworth, NJ, captured the December 2nd World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier presented by at the Meadowlands Racetrack. 

Petruccelli had $131 to win on 12-1 Starznheaven in Race 12.  He cashed for $1,716, earning him the $756 top cash prize and a $1,000 seat in the WHHC Final April 28, 2018 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. 

Guy Gerber of New City, NY, also qualified for the April 28th Final with his second place finish in Saturday’s contest.  Geber cashed on two plays with his largest score of $655 coming off a $50 win wager on Starznheaven.

The $200 Qualifier required contestants to place at least ten $10 minimum win wagers on Meadowlands races. 

The top five contest finishers were:
Prize $
$756 + $1,000 WHHC Seat
$396 + $1,000 WHHC Seat

 The WHHC presented by is a one-day tournament [April 28, 2018], with a welcome reception the evening prior.  Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,000.  The WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of six Meadowlands races, plus four designated mandatory races from partner tracks.  Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings.  Prize payouts are to the Top 10, with a guaranteed prize pool of $75,000. is currently hosting regular online Qualifiers for the Final.  For more information visit
For more information on the World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by can be found at

Meadowlands Races Live on Thursday

East Rutherford, NJ – The Meadowlands goes live this Thursday and will present live racing three days per week, Thursday through Saturday, for the balance of December 2017.

This Thursday night’s offering is a nine race program composed of full fields with the usual guarantees on horizontal wagers including the popular new Survivor wager which of course becomes a nine race bet for this card. The last race Jackpot Hi 5 carry-over is still growing with $28,871 now in the pool.

A pair of GSY Driving Club races are on the menu in races one and five populated by many of the usual suspects in the amateur ranks. The fields are large and even with the horse quality at a high level, promising interesting competition for the club races.

Handicapping aids like Dave Brower’s Race Reviews and Ken Warkentin’s selections are available plus free program pages for a few of the bets.

Live racing follows a Thursday –Friday – Saturday schedule until the new year. Post time each night is 7:15 pm.

The live dates for 2018 are available here.

Sunday, December 3, 2017


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, December 3, 2017—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (Dec. 4th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,036.97.

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


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, December 3, 2017—Rank outsider Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory, $62.50) was the ground-saving star Sunday morning (Dec. 3rd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Trot.
With just a seven-horse field, the weekly trotting feature went as the late-morning opener, before the seven ‘French’ trots.
In play from post position No. 5, Tight Lines actually surrendered an early pocket to lone lass Charmed Life (Yannick Gingras), as both sat behind just-over-even-money favorite Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett).
Meanwhile, Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) found himself in no man’s land and rushed up to prompt early intervals of :27.3 and :56.4.
Going toward the 1:25.4 three-quarters, Rubber Duck was retreating. Melady’s Monet, meanwhile, owned a length lead into the lane before Charmed Life pulled pocket. The lady went past ‘Melady,’ but a cone-skimming Tight Lines went past both of ‘em.
Tight Lines defeated Charmed Life by a half-length in 1:55.1. Melady’s Monet faded to third. The minors went to DW’s NY Yank (Jordan Stratton) and Muscles on Fire (Brent Holland).
For Tight Lines, a 4-year-old Yankee Glide gelding co-owned by his trainer/driver, Jesmeral Stable and William Richardson, it was his 10th win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $164.50, with the triple returning $530.

Those sagacious handicappers who unearthed Tight Lines and Taco Tuesday (Dan Dube, $41.80) in the $26,000, second-race trot took home a season-high $1,279 daily double (last Sunday’s early double paid $1,162),

This ‘New York, New York Double’ saw a winning combination of 4-Dream Pauline (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 3-Gruden (Yonkers’ 5th race) returned $13.30 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,927.

Sunday matinees, along with the ‘New York, New York Double,’ conclude Dec. 17th (post time TBA). It’s the final program of the season.


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, December 2, 2017—Pole-assigned Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton, $11.60) needed every bit of a perfect pocket trip Saturday night (Dec. 2nd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Pace.
It was 11-10 favorite Caviart Luca (George Brennan) as the only leaver, working around Thisjetsabookin’ before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a :56.1 intermission, The Real One (Pat Lachance) took out of fourth. He engaged the leader in and or of a 1:24.2 three-quarters, actually poking his noggin in front.
While Caviart Luca and The Real One were just about in synchronized step entering the lane, Thisjetsabookin’ was patiently awaiting his turn. He ducked inside, making it a three-way scrum. The short route was the best route, as Thisjetsabookin’ won by a neck in 1:52.4…matching his season’s-best effort.
The Real One won the battle, but lost the war, with Caviart Luca, Orillia Joe (Brent Holland) and Bakersfield (Greg Merton) rounding out the payees.      
For third choice Thisjetsabookin’, 5-year-old Jereme’s Jet gelding owned by William Emmon and trained by William Adamczyk, it was his fifth win in 19 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $61, with the triple returning $177.
Sunday matinees continue tomorrow (Dec. 3rd), with first post of 11:45 AM.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Longshots dominate Friday program leading to large payoffs

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (December 1, 2017) – Horseplayers will be treated to a Saturday night special at the Meadowlands thanks to a series of longshots triggered a Pick Five carryover of $18,646 on Friday.

The Friday night Pick Five featured zero winning favorites and winners that paid $34.80, $37.40, $6.20, $16.40, and $23.20.

With an always-low 15-percent takeout, Saturday’s carryover sequence will have an effective takeout of zero with up to $124,310 in the pool. This provides horseplayers with their ideal scenario – a large pool with zero or negative takeout.

Saturday’s sequence covers Races 2 – 6 and features fields with an average of 8.6 wagering interests.

Free past performance pages are available here

The parade of longshots also led to a lone winning ticket worth more than $14,000 in the new Pick 10 Survivor wager and an Early Pick Four that paid $3,893.

Jim Marohn, Jr. and trainer Patti Harmon teamed up to win four races on the card.

Live racing continues Saturday with a 7:15 p.m. post time.

For more information, visit


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 1, 2017—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Dec. 2nd) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,687.64.

The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. 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 racing program. 


FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 1, 2017—It wasn’t terribly attractive, but certainly effective.

Odds-on Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $2.90) did her thing from first-up Friday night (Dec. 1st), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace.

Away fifth from the pole in the scratch-abbreviated field of seven, the Matchmaker victress saw Call Me Queen Be (Eric Goodell) outleave all of her inside rivals, working around Best of Jenna (Mark MacDonald) with All About Madi (George Brennan) third.

After early intervals of :26.4 and :56, Mackenzie A moved. She engaged Call Me Queen Be in and out of a 1:24.3 three-quarters, despite not steering all that well.

Call Me Queen Be maintained a short lead off the final turn, but her pursuer was relentless. Mackenzie A forged past in mid-stretch, prevailing in 1:54. Best of Jenna was a pocket second, missing a half-length at 33-1. She did ‘photo’ an angled-out All About Madi, with Call Me Queen Be and Regil Elektra (Joe Bongiorno) coming away with the remainder.  

For Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Ellen Kinser & Harry von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fourth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $41.60, with the triple returning $84.50.


There will be a Pick Five carryover at the Meadowlands thanks to a tough sequence on Friday night where the post time favorite was defeated in all five legs. $18,646.60 will be added to the pool tomorrow that covers Races 2-6.

Free pps for Saturday’s Pick 5 can be found here -

Post time is 7:15 p.m

Friday, December 1, 2017


      by john manzi for NAADA

Yonkers, NY--When Alan Schwartz claimed Ladys Big Stormont for $12,500 in early July of last season he knew he was purchasing a quality trotter and after owning the Earl of Stormont gelding for over a year and a half the trotter has returned his purchase price ‘four fold’.

Tonight (December 1) at Yonkers Raceway, in the $15,000 NAADA Trotting Series Final, Schwartz and his trusty steed kept all comers at bay and went on to score  a neck triumph over Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore in 2:00. Another neck behind the leaders in third place was Peter Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright

After starting from the five-hole Schwartz sent Ladys Big Stormont toward the front as the wings of the mobile gate folded but Dave Yarock had the same idea with Mr Ridgetaker and they gained command midway around the first turn. Schwartz and Ladys Big Stormont then settled in along the pylons in third position directly behind Pail Minore’s Wygant Prince and the three trotters raced in file order past the first stanza in :28.4

Yarock then led the field by the halfway point in :59.4 and although Schwartz was anxious he waited until they straightened up the backside to move Ladys Big Stormont.

“When I pulled him he shot up alongside Yarock’s trotter and we raced head to head to the three quarters and around the final turn and we finally cleared to the lead as we headed down the homestretch,” Schwartz related.

But trouble was coming when Minore moved Wygant Prince to the passing lane and Peter Kleinhans  rallied Toss Cartwright on the outside  and the three trotters charged side by side for paydirt
“My horse was real gritty and he turned back  the challengers and we held on for a neck victory over Paul’s trotter. Peter’s horse finished third ,” Schwartz said.

To say that Ladys Big Stormont is currently at the top of his game would be an understatement. In his last eight races the venerable trotter has five wins and three seconds and for the season Ladys Big Stormont reached  the winners circle 11 times. Add that to 10 seconds and four thirds and  the 6-year-old Earl of Stormont gelding raised his seasonal earnings to over $55,000.

Good Gambling Card on at The Meadowlands on Saturday

East Rutherford, NJ - Good field size, competitive races and top drivers highlight the Saturday offering at The Meadowlands along with the standard menu of guaranteed exotic wagers and delightful dining options in Pink.

The Saturday night feature comes in race seven where eight solid pacers vie for a purse of $17,500 in a conditioned event.

Ron Burke sends a duo of accomplished veterans out as a coupled entry with Always At My Place and Speed Again representing the top barn in racing.

Always At My Place is only recently removed from winning the Open class at Yonkers twice in late October. The 2017 winner of over $173,000 has won 9 of 28 seasonal starts for trainer Burke as Burke Racing along with partners Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Yannick Gingras will drive from post six on Saturday.

Speed Again has been around forever and may have last a step or two at age eight but recently eclipsed the $1 million mark in career earnings. He races for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stables with Corey Callahan aboard from post seven.

There is a qualifier for the World Harness Handicapping Contest (WHHC) sponsored by Derby Wars on Saturday with two seats in the big final up for grabs.

Post time is 7:15 p.m.

Rusty Nash Winner of 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

(December 1, 2017) – With the victory of Downbytheseaside in Dover Down’s Hap Hansen Progress Stakes on November 30, Rusty Nash was crowned the winner of the 2017 Edition of the Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge.

With seven handicappers sharing the 100 points for selecting the race winner, there was no opportunity for Gordon Waterstone, Sally Hinckley or the others to move up and challenge Nash for the checkered flag.

By winning the Handicapping Challenge, Rusty Nash earned $3,225 for Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue in the United States and $925 for Greener Pastures – BC Standardbred Horse Adoption Society in Canada.  Second place finisher Gordon Waterstone earned $1,650 for Horse Lovers United (US) and $450 for Galahad Refuge (CA).  For finishing third, Sally Hinckley earned $825 for Helping Hearts Equine Rescue (US) and $225 for Morningstar Acres (CA).

HANA Harness would like to thank our Gold Sponsors Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment; our Silver Sponsors Aquaflow LLC, Eldorado/Scioto Downs, The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, and the Raceway at Western Fair District for their contributions which make this contest possible.  With the $8,000 being distributed to standardbred horse rescues this cycle, the HANA Harness contest will have facilitated in the distribution of over $33,000 over the past six years.


Total Points Earned
Legs Won
Points Back
Last Week
Rusty Nash

Gordon Waterstone

Sally Hinckley

Anne Stepien

Megan Maccario

Dennis O’Hara

Matt Rose

Steve Horoky

Russ Adams

Ray Garnett

Jay Hochstetler

Bryan Owen

Michael Carter

Terry Wilson

Ray Cotolo

Rich Mattei

This contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//