HOT Corey Callahan finished thirteenth in money and eighth in wins last year. As 2013 comes to a close, he’s sixth in money and fourth in wins. Callahan finds himself in the select company of Tetrick, Gingras, Sears, David Miller and Pierce. He’s ahead of Brennan in both categories.
NOT Googoo Gaagaa had what was described as minor surgery for an entrapped epiglottis after finishing fifth in his Cutler elimination in May. At the time it was labeled a minor procedure and he was expected to be miss a week and then compete in the Maxie Lee. That didn’t happen. He qualified in Maryland in August and raced for $500 at a Fair in September, but never started in a meaningful race. He’s registered as a Maryland trotting stallion with a book that’s full and closed. Goo will apparently race and breed.
HOT Ronnie Wren Jr. was fourteenth on the dash list in 2012 with 437 wins. He ascended to the top during 2013 and had accumulated more than 665 wins by mid-December.
HOT Ohio has been inundated with standardbred stallions, some young and untried and others not up to competing in Pennsylvania and New York. Although slots money will pump new life into the sire stakes program, there isn’t enough dough in the pot for all of them. Many of the holdover stallions and mares will be pushed out of state when the new group comes online. The musical chairs style culling of substandard stallions is a long time coming but that day is finally here. A few like Hypnotic Blue Chip, Santana Blue Chip and Foreclosure have been able to return to the races but most don’t have that option.
NOT Ontario has seen Bettor’s Delight, Muscle Mass, and a slew of others head south. Glidemaster, with only one ace in his portfolio, is the only one headed there.
HOT Art Major had a very good year on the Grand Circuit and in the NYSS. Precocious Beauty is a good bet to win her division and Shes Da Bomb was another top 2-year-old filly pacer. Also, JK Endofanera emerged as a force in the freshman colt class in the late fall, winning the Elevation and the Governor’s Cup. Fool Me Once and Doctor Butch won lots of dough in the NYSS, and White Bliss, the snow white colt out of Coochie Mama, brought 240K at Harrisburg. Art Major was second only to SBSW among stallions that sold ten or more at Harrisburg.
NOT After years of dipping his hand in the money room cookie jar at Plainridge, to the tune of a million dollars, Gary Piontkowski was forced to resign in disgrace from the track he helped found and served as president.
HOT Hanover Shoe Farms hosts the breed’s hottest pacing stallion—SBSW—and his trotting counterpart—Cantab Hall.
HOT Bee A Magician won all 17 starts and clinched HOY honors in the US and Canada.
NOT Canadian Sportsman, which featured the premier visual presentation in all of harness racing, and served as a forthright voice for Ontario racing, is closing shop after 143 years.
NOT George Teague Jr., who was twentieth on the trainers earning’s list last year, doesn’t even make the top 50 this year. His pride and joy, Somwherovrarainbow, has been switched to the Holloway barn.
HOT Pet Rock set world records on half-mile and 5/8 mile tracks in 2013. He was much improved over his sophomore season, with wins in the Haughton, Roll With Joe and Winbak, among others, and he finished second to Foiled in earnings within the division.
NOT Fourteen Mister Big yearlings sold at Harrisburg in 2012 and 85% of them brought less than 15,000. This year only one sold at Harrisburg and one at Lexington. Six averaged 7,500 at the Canadian Yearling Sale and three averaged 2,000 at Forest City. Mister Big comes up small in the eyes of buyers.
NOT The Little Brown Jug was shunned by The Captain’s connections as they favored a soft invitational in Indiana—of all places—over the Delaware, Ohio classic. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Richard Young ripped them a new one for shortchanging him on Nitelife’s Jugette purse, and, for keeping him waiting when he went to get his license renewed.
HOT Cantab Hall, the top trotting sire in the sport, had his fee doubled to 20K, making him our highest priced trotting stallion. (Advertised stallion--Muscle Hill’s fee is not disclosed.)
NOT Dewey has had his 2014 fee slashed to 7,500. That represents a 62.5% reduction from his opening fee of $20,000 in Kentucky.
NOT After a perfect nine for nine freshman campaign that netted him a Dan Patch and an O’Brien, Wheeling N Dealin came up empty in 2013.
NOT Wheeling N Dealin’s trainer, Dustin Jones, was fired by owner Serge Godin.
HOT David Miller, number four in lifetime earnings behind John Campbell, Ron Pierce and
Mike Lachance, was voted into the HOF.
NOT After an excellent freshman season, topped off by a dominant BC win and a Dan Patch, To Dream On managed only two wins, the Reynolds and the Kentucky Filly Futurity.
NOT In an election for a seat on the board of directors of the Harness Breeders of New York, Joe Faraldo was trounced 80 to 32 by chief nemesis Jeff Gural.
HOT After wins in the BC and the TVG, nine-year-old Foiled Again is the toast of the town, prompting a slew of silly season articles treating him like a legitimate HOY/POY candidate.
NOT After being favored in the Meadowlands Maturity in the spring, while ARNRD went off at 46/1, the beloved speedball, Hurrikane Kingcole, saw his season go from bad to worse. He won one race after that—two for the season—and finished up on the losing end of an open at Tioga. He earned about $62,000.
NOT The Credit Winner colt, Jurgen Hanover, who swept the Weiss Series and then won the EBC, was 7 for 7 going into his Beal elimination, but he lost that and a NYSS race as well, and was soon out of action for the season.
NOT San Pail made a couple of starts in the preferred class at Mohawk late in the season, and then disappeared again. Seven of his eight career open wins occurred in 2011.
HOT He’s Watching went 8 for 8 in the NYSS and set a world record for his age group at Tioga. Despite his restricted environment he stood out amidst a weak group of GC colts and will no doubt win his division.
NOT The Shadow Play filly Book Babe went a big :52.4 mile winning a Gold Leg at Mohawk on July 1 for Billy Davis Jr., but she broke a sesamoid bone in her left hind leg and may not race again.
NOT Walter Case Jr. was denied a license again, this time in Pennsylvania.
NOT David Brooks was sentenced to 17 years in prison for running a 185 million dollar stock swindle.
HOT American Jewel was pronounced in foal to SBSW.
NOT Odds On Equuleus and Wake Up Peter went a combined 0 for 34 in 2013.
NOT Crazed has been deported to Ohio after a general failure to produce and a disappointing Harrisburg sale.
NOT Ontario stallion, Vintage Master, has been exiled to New Jersey. He went from the Titanic to the Andrea Doria.
NOT Shark Gesture has been relocated from Pennsylvania to Ohio. His stud fee was lowered from 6K to 4K. The WEG preferred pacer, Piston Broke, is probably his best performing offspring.
HOT Baberhood, the dam of He’s Watching, was sold to Hanover for 130K by Perretti. She’s in foal to Rocknroll Hanover.
HOT Ron Burke set new records for wins and earnings in 2013. He became the first trainer to win 1,000 races in a single season, and he broke his own 20 million dollar earning’s mark.
HOT Jimmy Takter trains the outstanding pair of freshman trotters, Father Patrick and Shake It Cerry. He will finish second to Ron Burke with more than 700 wins and about eight million dollars earned.
HOT Team McNair, trainer Gregg and his son Doug, had a great year and are among the leaders in the trainer/driver categories in Canada thanks to the likes of Precocious Beauty, Three Of Clubs, Crafty Master and Luck Is All Indeed. Doug is the only one of the top six WEG based drivers from 2012 to improve his position on the money list in 2013. Jamieson, who finished seventh, is currently in twelfth; Filion dropped from ten to fifteen; Scott Zeron went from ninth to seventeenth etc. McNair made a modest jump from eighteenth to sixteenth. All of this with two weeks left.
NOT 2011 Hambletonion winner, Broad Bahn, was withdrawn from the stallion ranks in New York and given a one way ticket to Europe. There was a chilling lack of interest in breeding to the son of Broadway Hall.
HOT Jeff Gural. The Meadowlands enjoyed an increase in handle and interest as the new grandstand was completed and opened for business on schedule. He also brought the TVG race concept to fruition and won the public over with it.
NOT Alan Leavitt, the only standardbred member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, was voted down when he advocated for separate medication rules for thoroughbreds and standardbreds. Instead the commission adopted the new RMTC rules package for all breeds. Beyond that, Leavitt has watched his stallion, Deweycheatumnhowe, struggle to establish himself as a credible sire.
HOT Bettor’s Delight, the sire of Vegas Vacation and Shebestingin, was inducted into the Living HOF this year. He leads all pacing sires on the all age earning’s list in 2013.
NOT More was expected from Jimmy Takter’s trio of four-year-old trotters than what they delivered. Little Brown Fox couldn’t cut it in the FFA class; Guccio only won twice for 210K; and while Uncle Peter earned good money and did establish a new world record for 4-year-old stallions at Pocono and established a track record for his class at Hoosier Park, he had no stakes wins aside from the Centaur. Add to this the lack of participation by Goo and Intimidate and we see why this division as a whole didn’t meet expectations and only contributed seven starters for the TVG final when ten were called for.
HOT Marvin Katz owns pieces of Captaintreacherous, Father Patrick and Uffizi Hanover.
HOT Driving all those Burke horses has been a boon for Matt Kakaley. Last year he finished seventeenth on the money list, but with a couple of weeks to go he currently sits in eighth, just behind George Brennan and in front of Andy Miller. He’s 320 short of last year’s total number of drives right now but has won about 60 more races and earned 1.4 million more in purse money.
NOT The Trackmaster Predictive Rankings had Odds On Equuleus, Doctor Butch, Rockin Amadeus, Windsong Jack, Somewherovrarainbow, Mach Pride, Dovuto Hanover and Johns Polyview in this year’s pacing top ten. And on the trotting side their top ten contained To Dream On, Dontyouforgetit, Fashion Athena, Wheeling N Dealin, Angies Lucky Star, Royal Assets and Fashion Blizzard. It’s time for a new approach.