For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Saturday, May 31, 2014

State Treasurer Wins a Hum-Dinger

Now this is what half mile track racing used to be like.  When you think about it, this is what mile track racing should be like as well.

The 2014 Molson Pace was a doozy with State Treasurer bobbling at the start, wiping out the trailer, Captive Audience, of all chances.  Foiled Again made a bold grinding move to the front, reaching the quarter in :26.1.  At most tracks, that would be it until the end, but they kept coming, forcing fractions of :54.4 and 1:23 with State Treasurer making an exciting move from the back to be third on the final turn (don't forget the move by Apprentice Hanover as both made three-wide moves at the 3/4 pole).

Granted, State Treasurer who made his own trouble, was aided by the swift pace of the race which let him wind it up and go on to victory, but this is what makes racing exciting to the public.  Action, action, action.  Not what passes for a race most of the time.  If the public doesn't get action, why not just go push the buttons on a slot machine?

Foiled Again showed guts in this race but as I suspect age is starting to take its toll as he was unable to grind it out as he once was able to do.  Make no mistake, he will win his share of races, but in those races where the post draw is unfavorable, he is going to be up against it.

Great Handle:  Handle for Molson Pace night was up 24% over last year.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Molson Pace Preview

Tonight is the start for a big weekend of stakes races and begins with the $150 Molson Pace Invitational.  This is the second year where the Molson Pace is being run as an Invitational.

One has to love Foiled Again, but at 10 years old sooner or later time catches up.  I will be looking to beat him.

12th Pace - $150,000; Molson Pace - Invitational
1 - State Treasurer (7-5. Christoforu) - Last year's champion looking to repeat. Reels off three preferred at WEG.  May be one to beat.
2 -  Bettors Edge (8-1, Henry) - Draws needed post relief.  Threat with a trip.
3  - Bandolitio (5-1, Macdonald) - Steps up slightly.  Must get away well to be a threat here.
4  - Aprentince Hanover (7-1. Jamieson) - Finishes second to early favorite State Treasurer.  Worth a look..
5 - Dancin Yankee (9-2, Miller) - Riding two race win streak.  Expect another good effort.
6 -  P H Supercam (3-1, Bartlett) - Road problems in last.  May face same this week.
7 - Foiled Again (4-1, Gingras) - May be able to handle this field but no one beats Father Time.  Sooner or later, time will catch him.  Draws the extreme outside.
8 - Captive Audience (10-1, Filion) - Second tier will compromise chances if the fave doesn't get away first.
Selections:  4-1-7-5

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday Briefs

I would be remiss not to mention the passing of Hall of Famer Doug Ackerman.  I really don't know much about him so I won't pretend I was and write something, but when a Hall of Famer passes it is worth mentioning.  I'll refer you to the USTA website for an article about Ackerman.

Most experienced gamblers recognize bets like the Rainbow Super High Five is a bad bet, not only is it a sucker bet, but it takes money out of game with respect to churn.  That being said, the public demands jackpots so who are we not to offer them?  After all if racing won't offer these jackpots, someone else will.  The Meadowlands and other tracks with decent handles should offer such a wagers.

Joe Faraldo and the horsemen don't like the law which requires casinos to ensure horsemen get the same subisdies they did in 2013, figuring it would put racing in a stall.  Well, they claim a good law is a law which leaves both sides unhappy and if that is the case, this law is good for Penn National/Cordish has backed out of applying for a casino license due to the very law.  Projections showing it is possible that a casino planned for Rennslar, New York could be responsible for up to $6.5 million in subsidies to Saratoga Raceway has killed the plan.  So while horsemen are not thrilled with having revenue capped, casino companies are not thrilled with the idea of making payments to racinos they don't own.

New Jersey's case against the NCAA regarding sports wagering will be heard on June 19 with a possible decision on June 23.  This will not be a decision on the merits but rather if the court will hear the case at all  My guess is the court will decide not to hear it.

Thanks to my friend Scott Ehrlich for finding this video gem on YouTube.  From Sportsman Park, here is the 1976 Sportsman Park Grand Prix.  In this field are horses like Nero, Fly Fly Solly, and Rambling Willie, Nero, Handle With Care, and Young Quinn.  You don't have fields like this anymore.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

You Be The Judge Update

If you played, "You Be The Judge' regarding the 2nd race on May 6 at Bangor Raceway, you probably want to go back to the blog entry as the entry has been appended with the photo finish picture to tell who was the winner.  Regardless of who the winner was, you have to still wonder who decided to put graphics over the photo posted to those watching the races.

A Sale Much Needed

In a HRU article published in Saturday's HRU, and probably lost to mot readers due to the coverage of the Elitlopp, it was announced a new sale is being established; the Sunshine Select Sale.  This mixed sale, primarily established for 2yos in training is a sale the industry needs desperately.

Organized by a group of breeders, the Sunshine Select Sale will be a boost to the breeding industry.  For one thing, yearlings not sold because the RNA has not been achieved may be sold to pinhookers; people looking to flip these yearlings quickly at a 2yo sale (commonly done with the runners).  If the reserve is set correctly, this will reduce the number of horses breeders will have to buy back and provide them with needed cash flow.  In addition, thanks to these speculators, prices paid for other 2yos may be increase.

These sales will also help breeders with yearlings 'not ready for prime time' (sale).  Again, instead of not being able to sell the 'ugly swan' in November, they may be in the position to sell a horse which turns into a prospect come January.

But don't think this sale will only benefit breeders, it will help purchasers of yearlings as well.  A buyer of yearlings who concentrates on the Grand Circuit may determine a newly 2yo horse may not be Grand Circuit stock will have a place to sell the horse to someone interested in sires stakes horses.  A person who doesn't race on the Grand Circuit may find a horse too good for their stable and decide to sell the horse to someone who has the means to nominate a horse to all the stakes races whereas the original owner may only nominate to a couple of minor stakes.  Everyone wins.  Coupled with the sale at the Meadowlands just before the baby races, these sales will provide owners checkpoints to either sell or buy prospects as the freshmen approach their debuts.

With Bob Marks as the Sales Manager, this sale will obtain quality horses for sale.  As for marketing these horses to thoroughbred owners, it promise to be a challenging prospect.  While we can tell and demonstrate how standardbreds are a better investment with regards to ROI, the problem is purchasers in Florida are going to direct their gaze towards Pompano Park where they will find a horseman's group in a weak position.  It will be the Sunshine Select Sale's responsibility to downplay Pompano Park and show the options available elsewhere if they want these thoroughbred owners to believe there is a real opportunity to make a killing purchasing babies.

Dereliction of Duty in Trenton

To say the NJ State Legislature and Governor are derelict in their responsibilities to the residents (taxpayers) of New Jersey is unquestionable when it comes to the expansion of gambling in the Garden State.

Let me state now, I abhor the racino concept and relying on alternative gaming for purse enhancement.  However, as much as I find it distasteful, denying horsemen of both racing breeds in New Jersey access to revenue from casino gaming would be akin to tying both arms of a boxer behind their back while they go against a champion boxer in the ring; someone is going to get a good whooping and can't do anything about it.

Right now racing at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, Monmouth Park, and to a much lesser degree Atlantic City Race Course are fighting for their lives and horses thanks to slot fueled-purses in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York because their legislators recognized casino gambling raises revenue for the state.  In the meanwhile, New Jersey continues to give Atlantic City a monopoly in gaming, even allowing for online gambling which 'is happening in Atlantic City' (nod, nod, wink, wink) to meet the constitutional requirements despite the fact casino gambling has become a commodity, meaning the glory days of Atlantic City being a gambling mecca are long over.  This exclusivity to protect their market comes despite these very casino companies are the ones opening casinos in surrounding states.  While Atlantic City is starting to realize their  revenue growth must come from non-gaming activities, the state continues to give the casinos protection from other casinos.

How much longer will this continue?  When will New Jersey publicly acknowledge the millions of dollars lost in tax revenue due to this exclusivity?  I say acknowledge because unless you are a Christie number cruncher, you know the state is losing million of dollars in revenue to New York as a result of convenience gambling; revenue the state can ill afford to lose.

Things are going to get worse.  It is all but certain at least one casino will be constructed in the Sullivan or Orange County area.  One proposal has a casino built near the current Monticello Raceway which will have a lessor impact on New Jersey while there are proposals which put a casino near Woodbury Commons or even in Sterling Forest which is a mere 16 minutes from the NJ border.  How much more revenue, which the state can desperately use (the Governor is trying to come up with funds to close a shortfall), is going to be lost?  Property tax rebates to the elderly and disabled, rebates these people depend on, has been cancelled for the second year.

I respect there is a large investment in Atlantic City and as hopeless as their situation may be, there needs to be steps taken to protect the moribund industry there.  However, to sacrifice revenue the state desperately needs is sheer insanity and a dereliction of duty to the taxpayers.  Casinos at racetracks are a logical place to house them plus it puts the state's racing industry on an even keel with racing in other states.  You want to help Atlantic City?  Fine.  Let's reverse places and for a certain number of years supplement Atlantic City with some revenue from casinos at racetracks.   The fact is the state is going broke and all which is happening is the state is cutting services to its citizens for the benefit of a protected class.

It is time to end Christie's five year experiment and allow the expansion of gaming in a controlled manner.  Let's get that constitutional amendment filed and let the voters of the whole state make a decision if they want the expansion of casino gambling.  If not, let's see the voters of NJ remove those elected representatives who can't or refuse to read the tea leaves.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

International Racing

Admit it.  We love our International racing.  While we may not yet be able to wager on it, there was plenty of interest in the Elitlopp this year by racing fans, curious to know how our representatives, Maven and Uncle Peter did.

Unfortunately, the Elitlopp is over and we have another disappointing outcome for North American interests. One must ask why our horses are not doing as well over there?  Part of the answer can be explained by the thus far successful American campaign of Sebastian K.  So far the Swedish horse has been successful thanks to an extended period of acclimation.  Typically, when a European horse is shipped to the States to race, they are immediately put in quarantine only to be allowed to work on the track by themselves when the locals are done training, far from their typical routine.  How can we expect them to perform at the levels they performed in Europe?  Same thing when we have our horses crossing the pond; with the disruption to their schedules, they are not likely to perform at the top of their game.

Some people think Auckland Reactor was over-hyped when he came to the United States to race.  No doubt he flopped royally when he came here; but he was a better horse than he showed.  Part of his problem was medical, part was he was expected to come out of the Australasian winter and race in the summer months up here with no transition to speak of.  I dare suspect after the Reactor had his surgery, if he was given time off he could have become a credible force in North America.  Instead, his connections shipped him back down under where he finished his career with some success to become the leading stallion with respect to bookings last year.

While the Reactor's connections were likely unrealistic and there was no salvaging his performance based on their plans, there is a way to have meaningful international racing.  What if we set up an International series with races in the United States and Canada?  The only difference is I would have them ship over earlier and card a race only for International horses so they would compete against horses which had been in a similar situation with respect to quarantine so they would be racing under the same conditions.  Then, the horses would come out of quarantine and two weeks later, the first International race with North American representation would compete to be followed up with a subsequent race in Canada (assuming an American race was first).

I realize the plan has one big problem.  Would horsemen dedicate purse money for an Invitational which excludes their horses from participating?  It would certainly take a change in attitudes to do so.

Only when European and American horses have had a period of similar training could we say who is the best horse.   Isn't that something worth finding out; worth organizing?

Monday, May 26, 2014

TVG Trotting Series Has Obstacles To Overcome

Attrition took a toll on the TVG Trotting Series at the Meadowlands last year. Only six trotters started in the last leg, the week prior to the final, and only seven went in the final. Five of those are retired, racing in Europe or simply out of sight. Only the winner, Market Share, and that venerable warhorse Arch Madness are back for more. Thirty trotters were nominated to the series this year, including the brilliant mares, Maven and Bee A Magician. Twelve of the thirty are not viable participants for one reason or another. Some like Ice Machine and Mister Herbie have entered the witness protection program, while others, like Pine Credit and Sixteen Mikes, don’t appear to be up to the challenge. Some like Upfront Billy and Quick Deal tried their luck at the Cutler, but aren’t staked to the TVG series.

Between his half-share of points for winning a Cutler elimination and the 35 points earned for winning the final, Sebastian is on top with 53 points. He’s followed by Modern Family, Arch Madness, Sevruga, Market Share, Undercover Strike, Archangel, Intimidate, Possessed Fashion and DW’s NY Yank. Possessed Fashion, who was fifth in his Cutler elimination and seventh in the final, is the only four-year-old in the top ten at this point—despite the fact forty-three percent of the nominees are four-year-olds. Most of the better ones haven’t kicked off their aged campaigns. Creatine just qualified; Royalty For Life appears to be aiming for the Hambletonion Maturity—exclusively for four-year-olds—on July 5; Flanagan Memory makes his first start tonight; the status of Spider Blue Chip, Smilin Eli and Your So Vain is unknown; Corky is racing in Europe.

There are two TVG legs scheduled between now and the Hambletonion Maturity. Not having the premium four-year-olds entered would be unfortunate. Also, a horse must race in at least half the legs to qualify for the final. This would put those trotters that don’t join the fray until after the July 5 Maturity in a position where they must compete in all five of the remaining legs. If the Maple Leaf requires an elimination round it will only be four, as the July 12 race would be cancelled. (There has been no elimination round for the Maple Leaf during the last three years.)

The mares will have a conflict with the Armbro Flight, which is the day after leg three of the TVG series. And the following leg conflicts with a leg of the Miss Versatility. And the next one with the Ima Lula. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Bee and Maven to come aboard.

The Maturity fell a month earlier on the schedule last year so it wasn’t an issue. The pacing Maturity, in which Captaintreacherous is expected to make his debut, is two weeks from Friday, on June 13. That will have a negligible effect on the series. Timing is everything.

The TVG trotting final lacked the drama created by the face-off between sophomore champ Captaintreacherous and his elders on the pacing side. Tetrick blew to the top with 6/5 favorite Market Share and, despite a noble effort by race caller Sam McKee, drama was lacking. There was no three-year-old trotter entered as Chuck Sylvester declined the invitation to have Breeders Crown winner Spider Blue Chip start. Let’s hope that Royalty For Life, Creatine and the rest get in the ring with Sebastian, Market Share, Father Patrick, Bee and Maven in a TVG final that trumps the one the pacers gave us last year.

Joe FitzGerald


by Peter Lawrence

Today's coda ...

The free-for-all trotting picture on this side of the pond just became a bit more interesting.

Following by several hours the big win by Timoko in Sweden's Elitloppet at Solvalla, Market Share won the Maxie Lee Invite trot in 1:50-2/5 at Harrah's Philly yesterday afternoon, the fastest mile ever trotted on a five-eighths mile track.

To put that in perspective, Sebastian K. is two-for-two in the U.S., his wins in 1:50.3 and 1:50.2 over the Meadowlands miler (granted, at night) ... and Timoko won over Solvalla's five-eighths surface in 1:51.4 today.

Of course, the Sebastian K. v. Market Share showdown in last Saturday's Cutler FFA at M'lands never truly came off, as Market Share made an uncharacteristic break early in the race and was never in contention.

Market Share's trainer, Linda Toscano, thought long and hard before graciously declining an offer to race in the Elitloppet. I believe Linda made that decision before the Cutler final.

One wonders how the Elite Trot would've been different, had Market Share gone over and competed in it.

Gonna be some excellent FFA trots around here this season!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Timoko Wins 2914 Elitloppet

by Peter Lawrence

Congratulations to the connections of Timoko ...

... winner of today's Elitloppet - elim and final - at Solvalla in Stockholm, Sweden in a time that I think was right around 1:51.4 or 1:52.(Ironically, the race was contested at a mile, but the time is reported in a kilometer conversion of 1:09.5.)  Panne De Moteur, the other elimination winner, was second. Drivers finishing 1-2 were Bjorn Goop and Orjan Kihlstrom,

The U.S. hopes, Uncle PETER (gotta love that name) and Maven, were unplaced and third, respectively, in their separate eliminations. Maven was unplaced in the final.

Delicious was third in that final. I know it's late in the game to ask this question, but how did they allow that name to be used again in the U.S., when the original Delicious was the dam of three major stakes-winners, Hanovers Delmonica, Devil and Delvin G.?  I thought the names of stakes-winners, and SW-producing dams, were off -limits.

Guess not ...

Well, anyway, Timoko has now won nine or ten Group One trots in Europe, as I understand it. I hope he comes over here for races like our John Cashman Memorial and the Breeders Crown, later this year.

Interestingly, Timoko has undoubtedly raced against the newest U.S. free-for-all trotting sensation, Sebastian K. in Europe, and they could knock heads again. And by that time the division could be historically awesome with the addition of new 4-year-olds Royalty For Life, Spider Blue Chip and Creatine, plus our veteran class-masters like Market Share, Sevruga and Modern Family.

I have a feeling Arch Madness is going to be heard from, too. And then, there are the mares, Maven and Bee A Magician, who will probably tangle with the males from time to time, as well.

Don't forget Uncle Peter, Corky, Mister Herbie, Intimidate and others.

I'm all tingly just thinking about it.E

The Six Minute Elitlopp

Here is the replay of the first elimination of the Elitlopp won by Timoko in 1:09.9.  Watch Maven make a three wide move to finish a strong third to advance to the final..

Here is the replay of the second elimination of the Elitlopp won by Panne de Moteur, who came up to nip the second place finisher Raja Mirchi in 1:08.9.  Uncle Peter made a first over move but was unable to sustain it, finishing last.  His day was done.

And of course, the final won by Timoko in 1:09.5 to make him the 2014 Elitloppet Champion.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

You Got to be Kidding Me!

The Molson Pace is looking like it will be a great race with Foiled Again, leading the roster of invitees.  Also expects is State Treasurer, winner of the 2013 edition as well as Levy winner P H Supercam.  Granted, many FFAllers are bypassing the Molson, but considering The Raceway at Western Fair District is a half mile of track (seven across), it is a solid field.  The field and post positions will be announced Monday afternoon.

In a late-added promotion, the Meadowlands will be having California Chrome's jockey Victor Espinoza making an appearance on May 31st, signing California Chrome posters.  This is a great promotion, if it was occurring at Monmouth Park.  For a harness track, not so much.  The sad thing is this promotion is likely to be a huge success.  What makes matters even worse is in this day and age, could there be a 'name' personality from the current standardbred world who would draw much attention?  I don't think so.

Speaking of thoroughbreds, Colonial Downs must really not want to race this year.  Earlier this year, after the contact with the VHBPA expired, the horsemen withheld their permission for thoroughbred simulcasting, forcing Colonial Downs to close most of their OTW locations; keeping a couple open for standardbred racing.  The horsemen and Colonial Down have met with the track wanting compensation from the horsemen for lost revenue.

Are they kidding?  They lost the signal as a result of not reach an agreement.  This is one of the few, if not only tools, horsemen have against management.  Losing the signal was a result of faulty negotiation.  If they negotiated a little more reasonably, they may be racing this year and there may have been no need to pull thoroughbred signals.  It's part of the negotiation process and to ask for reimbursement for money lost is like one of the Big 3 Auto companies asking the UAW to reimburse them for profits lost as a result of a strike.

The harness meet is still supposed to be run.  I have my doubts about this because, and this is pure speculation and I can be totally wrong about it, one has to wonder without any thoroughbred OTW revenue coming in, will there be a need to file for reorganization.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Thoughts As The Season Heats Up On Memorial Day

Dropping the Roses Are Red back five weeks to the night of the NA Cup will bring even more energy to that card. It replaces the Elegantimage, which got lost in the shuffle on Cup night. The addition of Somwherovrarainbow, Shebestingin and Yagonnakissmeornot to division holdovers  Anndrovette, Rocklamation and Drop The Ball should make for an exciting season. And pushing the Casual Breeze and Elegantimage ahead to August and September, respectively, will allow the trotting fillies to mature and be in a better position to compete in those stakes.

In both 2012 and 2013 Golden Receiver kicked off the season with eight wins in his first nine starts. Right now he’s two for nine. The Presidential and the Graduate series amounted to early season cake for him, and the Spring Pacing Championship at Woodbine was dessert. But all of that is gone. Age and the reconfigured schedule have taken a toll on the Receiver. By now he’s generally got a nice cache put aside to carry him through the heart of the season when, with the exception of 2012, he’s had a tendency to fade. This year Golden Receiver is only averaging $5,000 a start.

North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud has only started nine times in the past 29 months. He has a win in the USPC and two preferred wins at Woodbine. Bolt The Duer has five more lifetime wins and $300,000 more in the bank. He can’t match TOL’s Cup victory but he has wins in the Adios, Messenger and Bluegrass, and he also set a couple of world records. Duer has taken over as the premier son of Ponder. Bandolito will have to make up a lot of ground to take that title away from him.

Last year the inaugural Meadowlands Maturity Pace was held on May 18; this year it’s a month later. It’s surprising that Team Treacherous has scheduled that race for his aged campaign kickoff. Last year’s winner, Sweet Lou, had a start in a TVG leg prior to that race, and the second place finisher, Warrawee Needy, had the TVG leg and three WEG preferred races in him. It was the first start of the year for ARNRD, who finished out at 46/1 from the rail, and the same for Bolt The Duer, who shook free late and finished fourth. The Captain lays over his division and will probably win anyway but he will have allowed two TVG legs to pass, and a horse is required to race in half of them to qualify for the final. So, he will be required to race in four of the six remaining legs.

There are some nice opportunities for older trotters in June. The $200,000 Charlie Hill is in two weeks (June 7) at Scioto Downs. Nominations closed April 15. That track has a Mickey Mouse web site that doesn’t list the eligible, but the race will be restricted to the top ten bank accounts. The elimination round for the Armbro Flight is the previous day, so there’s not much chance of Maven or Bee taking on the boys in the Hill, but this race fills a space in the calendar for the open trotters so it should draw well. Will Svanstedt try Sebastian on the 5/8 track? Probably not. It seems like they want to stick with the Meadowlands, with forays to Mohawk for the Maple Leaf and Lexington for the Allerage.

The top tier male sophomore trotters from 2013 haven’t contributed anything thus far. That being the case, it was nice to see Creatine qualify for Mike Lachance today at the Meadowlands. The Andover Hall stallion, who won a heat of the Hambletonion, finished up his three-year-old campaign on a high note with a second place finish to Spider Blue Chip in the BC and a win over that one in the $300,000 (almost) Erskine. And prior to that he won a split of the Bluegrass as well as the Kentucky Futurity. Bee has stolen the spotlight from her male classmates. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait until the Hambletonion Maturity on July 5 to see RFL, SBC and friends in action. Last year Guccio, My MVP, Knows Nothing and Goo were all in the TVG top ten after the Cutler, while this year Possessed Fashion, who finished out at 99/1, was the only four-year-old starter in the Cutler final. Last year the Meadowlands PR machine was pumping the TVG nonstop; this year they can’t be bothered posting the point totals for the participants on their web site.

He’s Watching won three times at Yonkers last year, including the $225,000 Night of Champions. Unlike many high profile sophomores from the recent past, his connections don’t live in fear of the twice around. Heston Blue Chip—another NYSS wunderkind—and Michaels Power, were also willing to tackle the tight turns. That being the case, it makes perfect sense for Team Watching to begin the season in the Rooney, which offers a lot more dough than a split of the SBSW. The Rooney hasn’t exactly been a common stepping stone to the NA CUP: 2012 winner Pet Rock is the only starter from the last three editions to race in the Cup.

Some of Brian Sears regular drives in 2014 should include Bee A Magician, Royalty For Life, Beach Body, McWicked, Designed To Be, Somwherovrarainbow (some) and Vegas Vacation.

 Tetrick has Captaintreacherous, Market Share,  All Laid Out (some), Scream And Shout, Modern Family (some), I Luv The Nitelife (?), Somewherovrarainbow (some), Anndrovette, Shelliscape, Stevensville, Mach It So, Smilin Eli and Warrawee Needy.

Gingras has Father Patrick, Maven, Foiled Again, Southwind Spirit, Western Vintage, Lifetime Pursuit, DW’s NY Yank, Rocklamation, Summertime Lea and Hurrikane Kingcole (some).

David Miller has Uffizi Hanover, Arthur Blue Chip (some), Muscle Network, Shebestingin, Lucan Hanover, Mystery Woman and All Laid Out (some),

Ron Pierce has Shake It Cerry, Sweet Lou, Spider Blue Chip, Sunfire Blue Chip, Limelight Beach (some) and Frau Blucher (some).

Corey Callahan has Drop The Ball, Golden Receiver, Ma Chere Hall and Allstar Partner, among others. And John Campbell has Nuncio, Thinking Out Loud, Sunshine Beach, Sometimes Said, Cooler Schooner and Gallie Bythe Beach

Joe FitzGerald

Friday's Briefs

Starting Saturday night, the Meadowlands program will now show the sale and price a horse sold for as a yearling.  For those handicappers who look at sales prices for yearlings, this will be convenient way to gather the information.  Personally, I feel this information is helpful for 2yos, before they have raced enough to establish a sufficient body of work, but once they have a track record, I tend to discount this information.  That being said, a handicapper can't have too much information available to them, they can discount whatever information they feel is excessive.

This year, the Elitlopp is being simulcasted to the Meadowlands with wagering offered.  Some ADWs are likely accepting wagering on the race as well; check with your provider to see if they are handling the race.  If you don't have wagering available to you, you will still be able to watch the race at Maharajah.Se .  The first heat is scheduled for 8:55 EDT.

Ted Gewertz is livid about his mare Somewheroverarainbow not being invited to compete in the Betsy Ross since it would have given trainer Joe Holloway two horses in the race,  As such, Gewertz is planning to greatly reduce his involvement in the sport.  One can't blame him.  Why a trainer is not allowed to start two horses in the race is absurd and makes no sense.  Being an invitational, the racing secretary can make sure any one trainer is not stuffing the entry box.  With Pennsylvania allowing horses to be uncoupled in stakes races, it isn't a question of not having sufficient wagering interests. Then again, Harrah's is a little tone deaf when it comes to racing so it shouldn't surprise us they pulled such a boner.  With racing is losing owners left and right, the last thing it needs is someone chasing people from the sport.

Bet you didn't know Thunder Ridge Raceway is still active.  The track which was supposed to go to the quarter horses is still racing standardbreds since there is uncertainty regarding the historic racing machines.  The betting is as anemic (non-existent) as in the past; but with the situation in Kentucky so poor, horsemen need to be able to get some races for their horses.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Build a Win 4 Series

The Molson Pace is coming to The Raceway at Western Fair District next Friday, May 30, 2014.  As in previous years, management is asking racing fans to pick the first three legs of the Win-4 (Pick-4) as the final race in the series will be the Molson Pace Invitational.  To select the three races you would like to see linked to the Molson Pace in the Win-4, click here.  The deadline is Monday, May 26.

Western Fair makes Molson Pace night their big evening.  The early Win-4 will have a $7,500 guaranteed pool with the final Win-4 (the one you are selecting the legs for), having a $10,000 guarantee.    There will be a Super High-5 in the seventh race which will also have a $10,000 guarantee and since it is closing night, there will be a mandatory distribution.

As for the race, the Molson Pace will once again be an invitational with Foiled Again committed to return for a sixth time in an effort to win his third Molson which will have a purse of $150,000.  In addition to the race, there are plenty of activities and giveaways which makes it worthwhile for fans to attend the race in person.

So if you haven't voted on which races you want to see part of the $10,000 guaranteed Win-4, make sure you go to the survey site and vote.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why Aren't You Playing These Tracks?

If you are like me and you don't have time to watch the replays of the races but there was someone willing to do so for you at no charge, would you consider playing those races?

If the answer is yes, why aren't you playing Tioga Downs and/or Vernon Downs?

You see, at these tracks, Tioga Downs track announcer James Witherite is doing the work for you, reviewing each race at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs and compiling trip notes in addition to providing his analysis of the races.

We are not talking about the two or three worded trip note in the past performance line if the track even provides the information; we are talking about fully descriptive trip notes such as the following:

7. Prince Marathon 
16May sprinted clear, yielded, 2w str, driving, just up 
09May locked in ½, labored ¼, evenly 
04May 2w 9/16, failed to catch cove 

The information compiled in the notes is any race since April 11 at the two track.s  Unfortunately, if a race is contested elsewhere other than Tioga and Vernon, the information won't appear so  a day where there are NYSS races, the information may be limited but when overnight races are being contested, this information may be invaluable; especially if you are a trip handicapper.  To access this information, follow these links for Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs.

So knowing this information, why aren't you playing Tioga Downs and/or Vernon Downs?  True, the handles are not Meadowlands-size but it may still be profitable to play these tracks even if you cuts back on the size of your typical bets.  Don't forget, Tioga Downs has some of the lowest takeout rates in America so you get more bang for your dollar.  In enough time, handle will build up and larger bets can be handled without impacting the odds.  If you are a casual player, then these track should be on short list of tracks to play.  After all, what other track(s) provide you with this level of information?

Ripping Off the Regulars

A seat in the dining room at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day goes for a princely sum of $450.  I understand there is a demand for seats, but what about the horseplayer who comes regularly to the track and eats in the dining room?  No room in the inn for them?  If it was me, I would tell them they have seen the last of me.  Don't get me wrong, I understand demand is high and accept the fact the prices will be somewhat elevated since it is a special event but to attempt to extract this much money from the regulars or tell them the hot dogs are available downstairs is unconscionable.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Miscellanery

Wow, how wrong I was with California Chrome and his nasal strips.  I didn't realize the odds of making a change to the approved equipment list would be done so easily before a hearing that was supposed to occur today.  I guess I didn't consider the money factor.  The odds of them changing the list should have been 1-9 instead of even money.  Amazing what happens when a lot of money comes into play, both in attendance and handle.

I am not saying the rule shouldn't have been changed, especially since New York allows strips for standardbreds.  My problem is how quickly the stewards folded, like a cheap suit.  Do you think if the trainer of a $10,000 claimer went to the stewards a decision would have been rendered so quickly?  They probably would be discussing this two or three months later.

Everyone is treated equally, some just more equal than others.  How true it is.

Anyway, you have read the last of my Triple Crown coverage for the year and back we go to the standardbreds.

Perfect Alliance is a perfect 10 for 10 this year thanks to setting a Canadian and World Record in the Miss Versatility on Woodbine Racetrack's closing night.  In winning the race, Perfect Alliance handed Bee A Magician her first defeat in her last fourteen starts.  Of course, with Bee A Magician making her first start of the season, her defeat could not be a shock.  I suspect as the season goes on, Bee A Magician will win her share of races.

The Elitlopp is this Sunday.  If you happen to be aware of a track or ADW taking action on the race, share it with your fellow trotting enthusiasts so they have time to open an account if necessary.  Maven draws post position 6 in the first elimination while Uncle Peter draws post 3 in his elimination.  There are a couple of ex-Pats competing as well, having started their career in North America but now race under the Swedish Banner.  Those horses are Shaq is Back and Delicious.

Interesting to note with all those American Stallions doing double duty in Australasia, the leading sire was Auckland Reactor.  I am sure the $3,000 stud fee helped greatly in attracting broodmares.

Some racing commissions do a good job of keeping their website current.  Then there is New Jersey.  Checking out the NJRC website, you will be happy to know the November, 2013 NJRC meeting was rescheduled for their offices in Trenton; that is, if it was November.  Six months later, not exactly relevant.  Opposite the NJRC website, is the CHRB website where not only is it kept current, you have access to the meeting packets each commissioner gets in advance of the meeting, stewards notes and other interesting information.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Triple Crown Fantasies

Editor's Note:  Today's column talks about the thoroughbred triple crown but really is a lesson that applies to all forms of horse racing.

The thoroughbred industry is all in a tizzy that their long awaited Triple Crown messiah may finally arrive in the name of California Chrome although the possibility of a triple crown winner may lie with the Stewards at Elmont, NY (Belmont Park), where the connections of California Chrome reportedly will be apply for an exception to a New York Gaming Commission  rule which prohibits the use of nasal strips by a horse in a race.  If the judges rule against the nasal strips, there is a chance California Chrome will not be entered into the Belmont, meaning there will be no Triple Crown winner this year.

For those who like odds (and that means you), I am setting the odds of the Stewards turning down the request by California Chrome's connections to use the nasal strips at 1-2.  I base those odds. perhaps stupidly, on the fact if the sport has integrity, a nasal strip banned in an overnight event is the same as a nasal strip banned in a triple crown race.  What is prohibited now shouldn't be allowed because the money people show up for a classic race.  Letting California Chrome to race with nasal strips makes a mockery of the sport and  its regulations.  On second thought, the odds of the stewards allowing California Chrome to use nasal strips is probably even money.

Let's assume for a moment California Chrome is entered in the Belmont and wins the Belmont Stakes and  Triple Crown.  The sport crowns their long-awaited Messiah, newspapers spread the word of his crowning and the industry is as giddy as a high school girl being invited to their prom.  Then once the dust settles, what happens?

The thoroughbred industry realizes California Chrome is a false prophet.  A false prophet because there are those in the industry who just know a Triple Crown (TC) winner is the answer to their prayers; that somehow having a TC winner is going to right a bunch of wrongs with the industry.  No doubt, there will be those looking to see California Chrome race so before he is rushed off to the breeding shed, tracks hosting him will get a bump in their attendance and handle.  Others may decide to go to the track anyway due to the excitement of the Triple Crown winner to see what the fuss is in person.  What awaits these new followers?

At many tracks, these newcomers will arrive to beautiful slot parlors as they head into less glamorous (if not downright shabby).racetrack areas,  Once they get over the cultural shock of walking into the third world, they will be thrown to the wolves, expected to bet with little if any assistance in learning the game.  Once they get past the learning curve, they will find themselves subjected to high takeout rates and find the money disappearing faster than it will on a slot machine, which will discourage them from horse racing.  Let's face it, as much fun as it may be, when  you suffer continual losses when you visit the track, the fun soon disappears.  The end result?  All those newbies that the Triple Crown Messiah attracts to the sport, disappear and racing is back where it was before.

My suggestion to the thoroughbred industry is to fix the game before wishing for a Triple Crown winner.  Otherwise, you will be showing these new customers the same product which people have rejected for years and the cycle will repeat

Change the game first, and then wish for a Triple Crown winner.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

RUS Further Explained

Taking a brief break from handicapping (not the Preakness, but the Arthur J Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands tonight) to write this column, I need to continue a discussion of the decision of the ORC approving RUS racing for parimutuel wagering.

This can be big, real big.  First of all, it has the possibility of attracting new people to standardbred racing, those confused or hating those sulky 'do hickeys' and how they cause horses to get boxed in.  Secondly, those individuals of RUS Ontario who have spent countless hours going to businesses in order to seek sponsorships for purses may now spend that time doing what needs to be done,  training their horses more to make them better monté horses, and yes make these ladies better riders in the races.  In addition, knowing there is a source for continuing funding of purses (from the purse account), trainers can no longer dismiss RUS as a fad and must seriously consider the option of having their horses participating in these events.  Also, RUS racing by default gives women a chance to participate in racing while they are kept back in the sulky.

Lastly, with a horse shortage, horses which have may have no longer make it as traditional racers, may be able to become decent monté horses, increasing the pool of horses available for other races.  After all, if one race a night is set aside for under saddle racing, it means ten horses which don't get to race in a traditional race will be available to race in one of the other races carded that night thus filling out fields.

Of course, it is all depends on the acceptance of RUS racing from the general public.  Horsemen in Ontario are willing to give RUS a chance but if wagering doesn't hit a certain level, horsemen may think twice about allowing them to tap into the purse account.

Given a chance, I think RUS can become a great extension of harness racing.  We need the racing community to put a product out there which gives the sport a fair chance.

Horse Welfare.  An issue I haven't discussed in a while, has made it back in the news in Australia.  Why do I bring this up?  What starts in one country will eventually make its way here.  In response to complaints by the public, certain types of bits, which as the media down there refers to as tools which appear as if they were used in the Spanish Inquisition, have been banned.  Specifically, The use of chain, twisted wire or rope pulling bits (irrespective of covering), or devices which constrict a horses jaw, is banned.   

What does this mean in North America?   The industry needs to think of the picture it presents when the public sees horses being whipped and yanked to perform.  It is not an easy picture to take.  American harness racing needs to think about what equipment is allowed to be used on horses and reconsider the laisez-faire approach when it comes to developing equipment.  There needs to be a standard set of equipment which is  allowed to be used, not only based on effectiveness, but its perception to the horse lover.

Friday, May 16, 2014

"Riders Mount Your Trotters"

The Ontario Racing Commission has approved rules for Racing Under Saddle and as a result, is now eligible for purses funded from the purse account (endorsed by COSA and OHHA) and approved for parimutuel racing.

That's right, parimutuel racing.  Racing will be similar to regular racing but there are differences with regards to licensing and qualifying.  It will be interesting to see how well RUS is received in the province.  Of course, time will be required to allow people to become accustomed with this type of racing before making any judgement as to the popularity of RUS.

I don't expect RUS racing to become widespread in the province; a circuit of horses and riders is likely.

As for American parimutuel racing, time is still required to get everything in place but the USTA can license riders who may go to Canada to race if they so desire.  But with rules not formally approved by the USTA directors yet, one would think it will be at least another year or two before there will be parimutuel racing in the States.

The Arthur J Cutler Memorial Trot Preview; The Runners Considering Tinkering with Tradition

Saturday night Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Trot is perhaps the most anticipated race of the year thus far as Sebastian K and Market Share will do battle for the first time this year.  With the two of them drawing posts 1 and 2 respectively, will this race live up to it's promise?  Will a world record fall?  Will we see a sub 1:50 or even the 1:49.3 mark set on the 1 1/2 mile Colonial Downs oval surpassed?

While one of these speed marks has a decent chance of falling, the big question is who will be the one standing in the winner's circle when the dust settles.  On paper, one of the two favorites will likely take the championship, but if you are looking for a value, you may be willing to take a shot with someone else.  I will let you look at my analysis and see wish camp I fall into this week.

7th Meadowlands Trot - $175,000; Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Final FFA
1. Sebastian K - A. Svanstedt - 9/5 - Eyes opened this side of the Atlantic last week.  Won without seeing the whip.  While easy win last week, this field is different.  Figures to land share, worth a play at 9-5?  Not so sure.  
2. Market Share - T. Tetrick - 8/5 - Here is one of those tougher this week.  A real possibility but not likely a play at 8-5.
3. Sevruga - R. Pierce - 8-1 - So far this year has  not shown he belongs in this class.  A-2 at best.  Pass. 
4. Archangel - Y. Gingras - 15-1 - Yet to show he has came back strong.  Only if playing a deep ticket.
5. Intimidate - V. Ginsburg - 10-1 - Was unable to keep up with Sebastian K when he pulled.  Why different this week?  Pass.
6. Undercover Strike - C. Callahan - 30-1 - Raced well but aims harder.  
7. Arch Madness - G. Brennan - 8-1 - Finished second to Market Share last week,  Maybe worth a look at these odds.  
8. Possessed Fashion - J. Campbell - 50-1 - Held on to qualify in first start at M1.  Looks like he belongs on a smakkk
9. Modern Family - D. Miller 6-1 - Stepped up and raced well but offered no response when Sebastain K passed by.  
10. DW's NY Yank - M. Lachance - 30-1 - Never should have left the half mile circuit.  Pass.
Selections: 7-1-2.

The other featured Grand Circuit event, The Laverene Hill Memorial is being contested at Scioto Downs,  There I like #2 Igotafeelinfran (3-1), #7 Native Dream (6-1), and #4 So Long My Love (8-1).

On Friday night, Jeff Gural is seeking to defeat himself, well sort off.  In the 1st race, a Gural partially owned horse does battle in the first race against a horse named Gural Hanover.

The thoroughbred world may be wakening to the fact the modern thoroughbred is unable to survive the current schedule of three races in five weeks.  The MJC wants to propose a new schedule which has the Kentucky Derby remain the first weekend or May, the Preakness on the first weekend of July, and the Belmont Stakes on the first weekend of August.  Forget a moment how that would put the Belmont up against the Hambletonian, potentially causing the standardbred race to move; the fact is they realize it will be a long time before another triple crown winner arrives on the scene, if ever.

Harness racing's Triple Crowns have other problems, but one problem is the series are too long.  I would suggest a once a month schedule would be successful in harness racing.  No, you don't want to make the Triple Crowns too easy to win, but you don't want it to be so hard that you can't promote a triple crown winner.  The thoroughbreds realize tradition only goes so far, we need to realize it as well..  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Law and Order

Sometimes I think this website can be called 'Law and Order' as once again, we get into a legal action which threatens the existence of a track; this time Plainridge Racecourse.  Remember when the licenses was given to Plainfield, the losers acted as good sports but here we are, Raynham Park, the former greyhound track has filed a lawsuit asking the courts to revoke the license from Plainfield claiming it was illegally granted to them as the disqualified company will still profit from the gaming license.

Does their case have legal merit?  The gut feeling is no; anyone can file a lawsuit but it doesn't mean it will be successful.  Being the slots permit was issued supposedly without the right of appeal, there is a tall order for Raynham Park to reach.  So while one doubts the success of a lawsuit, as long as it is in front of the court, you never know what may happen; hence uncertainty remains.

The Meadows has been sold to GLPI (pending licencing), a spin-off of Penn National Gaming.  Some are making a big deal about this fact but GLPI will not be operating the track for Penn National.  As a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), GLPI has bought the track for the property and will seek an operator to run the racino.  All GLPI is doing is leasing the property out and collecting rent.  I guess it is possible PNG could become the operator of the track but it is just as likely that a different gaming company will operate.  Will this be good for racing or worse?  There is no way to know until the operator is named.44.

This year the final of the Hambletonian Monté late closing series will be held on Hambletonian Eve, August 1, instead of Hambletonian Day.  While it would be nice to have it shown in front of the largest possible crowds, there are enough stakes races on Hambletonian Day so having it as a 'feature' on the night before probably makes sense.

In an early preview of this week's final of  AJ Cutler Memorial, it is clear people now believe Sebastian K is being acknowledged seriously as the Swedish wonder is listed at second choice at 9-5 while Market Share is the 'overwhelming' favorite at 8-5.  Right now I am leaning towards Sebastian K but I must admit Arch Madness at 12-1 is certainly interesting.

Here is a  preliminary morning line for the Cutler.  Expect it to change once the driver changes have been made.

1. Sebastian K 9/5
2. Market Share 8/5
3. Sevruga 10-1
4. Archangel 15-1
5. Intimidate 6-1
6. Undercover Strike 30-1
7. Arch Madness 12-1
8. Possessed Fashion 50-1
9. Modern Family 8-1
10. DW's NY Yank 30-1

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Food Trucks and Raspberries

Food Truck Mash-Up is coming to Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment as part of Jerseyfest on Saturday, May 31 from 5pm until 11:00pm.  Being 10,000 people attended last year's affair at a county park with limited parking, it should be a big night at the Meadowlands.  If exploring the culinary delights of chefs who own their own food trucks is your thing, it is a can't miss event.

Raspberries to the ORC for their conclusions regarding the March 27 accident at Flamboro Downs which ended up with no changes to procedures as a result of an investigation of the affair.  For those who may not recall, this was the accident where a horse turned around after an accident and hit another horse head-on resulting in both horses being euthanized.  One would have hoped the ORC would have issued guidelines declaring such races as no contests but apparently, the ORC fears the refunding of wagers.  I guess it will require a serious injury or worse of a high profile participant before  the ORC changes the rules.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Creative Mass Marketing; Less is Better

One thing I love about Elitlopp time are the great commercials they put together for the big race.  This year's commercial doesn't disappoint.

A typical horse racing commercial is not going to cut it anymore. Advertising on television is expensive, so if you are planning mass marketing/advertising, it better be unique.  Certainly the industry could create a trailer which could be branded for and by local tracks if they wish to advertise using such a commercial.

They finally get it in New Zealand.  To produce a better product, both the runners and standardbreds are cutting the number of race meetings and races during the next racing season (starting in July).  The expectation is with the shortage of horses, the horses should still be able to make the same number of starts but will provide for larger fields which, with better wagering, should provide owners greater rewards as purses will increase.

Now if only we will learn this lesson Stateside, tracks and horsemen would benefit, but people still need to learn the lesson

The Year of the Trotter (aka Meet Me in Lexington)

If you have the ability and means, it is time to secure your hotel reservations in Lexington for the Grand Circuit meet at the Red Mile for this looks like it will be the year of the trotter.  A subplot may be the European invasion of trotting royalty.

By the end of the Lexington meet, if not earlier, the all-time record of 1:49.3 set by Enough Talk at Colonial Downs will become history as Sebastian K and Market Share have shown they have come back sharp and looking to do battle this season.  Last Saturday in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, the Swedish star (Sebastian K)  and domestic star Market Share announced in their individual eliminations (1:50.1, 1:50.3 respectively) they are ready to do battle.  We will see the first of hopefully many battles this year with these two in the Cutler Final.

However, it gets better.  The performance of these two has prompted the owners of Ready Cash to put their star back in training after being retired briefly.  The thought of one of the two previously mentioned horses setting the all-time world record  has apparently has prompted the owners of the French-sired trotter to change their plans and send the French horse to the Takter stable at the end of the breeding season to get Ready Cash ready for some races before the Lexington meet so he may challenge the early favorites in the quest for a world record trotting mile.

So get ready to see Market Share, Ready Cash F, Sebastian K S, as well as others all season.

Of course, while these three have the spots on the marquee, there is a credible group of horses to fill out the cast.  Expect to see Uncle Peter and Maven when they return from their European trip as well as Arch Madness to compete in the FFA ranks.

Some unknown horses in other ranks may become stars in their own right, but 2014 certainly looks like it is   'The Year of the Trotter'.  Enjoy

Monday, May 12, 2014

Memorable Moments In Harness Racing Part 3

Aug 28, 1959: Bye Bye Byrd set a 1:57.4 world record at Roosevelt Raceway.

July 26, 1974: Handle With Care had her win streak stopped at 24 by Joanna’s Time in the Bronx Filly Pace.

Sep 18, 1963: Ayres, a two-year-old Star’s Pride colt, won by eighteen lengths in world record time of 2:00.1 in the first heat of a Grand Circuit stakes race at Delaware, Ohio for John Simpson.

Aug 3, 1978: The Meadowlands experienced an all-time high handle for harness racing--$3,288,654 for ten races. Attendance was 27,965.

Sep 18, 1980: Niatross won the Jug in straight heats, setting a new world record of 1:54.4 for a pacer on a half. His combined time of 3:49.4 also set a new world record. At that point Niatross had won 16 of 18 for the year and 29 of 31 lifetime.

Aug 16, 1993: Cambest TT in a world record 1:46.1 at Springfield, Ill for Bill O’Donnell.

Nov 4, 2004: Armstrong Brothers stock was dispersed at Harrisburg.

Oct 9, 1964: Ayres clinched the Triple Crown with a straight heat win in the Kentucky Futurity.

Aug 4, 1978: Speedy Somolli set a world record of 1:58.1 in an invitational at The Meadows.

July 11, 1980: Niatross broke stride in his Meadowlands Pace elimination, but after coming to a stop he regained his composure and finished fourth, making the final.

Sep 19, 1972: Albatross raced three unexceptional mares for a purse of $2,000 at the Delaware, Ohio fairgrounds, as Stanley Dancer aimed for Bret’s 1:57 mark, which was set on that same track. Super Bird made his own mile of 28.3, 58, 1:26.4 and 1:55.3, breaking the record and winning the so called race by 30 lengths.

Aug 9, 1975: Silk Stockings won her twelfth in a row over Tarport Hap in the Adioo Volo at The Meadows. World record 1:57.2 from the 11 post.

Dec 13, 1978: Stars Pride died at Hanover Shoe Farms.

Jan 25, 1980: Peter Haughton died in an automobile accident at age 25.

Sep 19, 1963: Overtrick set several world records as he won the Little Brown Jug in straight heats for John Patterson. He beat Meadow Skipper in the first heat in 1:57.1 and Country Don in the second in 1:57.3.

Aug 17, 1957: New world records for harness racing attendance and betting were established at Roosevelt Raceway as more than 50,000 fans bet almost $2.4 million. More than $160,000 was bet on the daily double alone.

June 22, 1996: Four-year-old Jenna’s Beach Boy won at the Meadowlands in a world record 1:47.3 for Bill Fahy.

July 20, 1951: Proximity was retired in a ceremony at Roosevelt Raceway.

May 27, 1990: Mack Lobell won the Elitlopp for the second time.

April 13, 1978: Bea Farber beat Jack Bailey in the “Battle of the Sexes” at Vernon Downs.

Aug 20, 1960: a record crowd of 54, 861 attended the races at Roosevelt Raceway.

Aug 31, 1966: Frank Ervin’s filly, Kerry Way, won the Hambletonian in straight heats of 1:58.4 and 1:59.3, breaking Elaine Rodney’s world record for elapsed time by a filly.

Jan 6, 1954: Volomite died at Walnut Hall Farm at age 28.

July 9, 1966: Armbro Flight won the Roosevelt International for Joe O’Brien over Roquepine and Noble Victory.

Aug 16, 1975: Wayne Eden, the fractious trotter who won the largest purse of any New York bred trotter ever when he upset Colonial Charm and MacArthur in the Realization Trot at Roosevelt Raceway, was kidnapped from his stall at the Tuscan Spa in Italy in the middle of the night. He was found wandering on a beach Sept 9.

July 19, 1983: Dancer’s Crown died after surgery.

Sept 26, 1974: Colonial Charm became the fastest trotting mare ever when she beat Dream Of Glory and Geranium in the Transylvania in 1:56.1.

Aug 16, 1958: On a picture perfect summer night Yonkers Raceway played host to a record turnout of a shade under 41,000 fans.

Sept 27, 1978: Sonsam turned in the second fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old at the Red Mile for George Sholty—1:54.2.

Aug 15, 1975: Silk Stockings paced the second fastest mile of the year when she won at Syracuse in 1:55.2.

March 14, 2013: Rocknroll Hanover was euthanized after complications from a gastric impaction.

Aug 30, 1972: Super Bowl won the Hambletonion in straight heats and trotted the fastest heat ever in the race—1:56.2—which topped Ayres’ record.

June 30, 1961: Adios Butler equaled the track record of 1:57.4 at Roosevelt Raceway, which was also the world record.

Nov 14, 2000: Abercrombie died at Castleton Farm at age 25.

Oct 30, 1964: Bret Hanover completed a perfect 24 for 24 freshman campaign by winning the Sheppard at Yonkers Raceway.

Aug 19, 1972: Horses hitched to a single shaft sulky won five races at Monticello Raceway even though only ten horses on the card used the bike. Two races had none, so horses pulling the shaft won five of the eight races they were used in.

March 5, 1966: USTA announced that Adios, who led the earning’s list the previous nine years, had been eclipsed by Gene Abbe in 1965.

Aug 19, 1965: Adios Vic, driven by Jim Dennis, ended Bret Hanover's thirty-five race win streak, when he beat him in the first heat of the Review Futurity at Springfield, Ill. The time of the mile was 2:00. Bret did redeem himself to a degree by winning the second heat.

June 30, 1951: Hall of Fame of the Trotter opened in Goshen, NY.

Sept 27, 1972: 2-year-old Ricci Reenie Time set a world record in the second heat of the Meadow Lands Pace at the Red Mile for Harold Dancer Jr—1:56.1. Fastest two heats ever by a freshman—two seconds faster than Bullet.

Aug 16, 1985: Grade One won the Wilson for Ray Remmen, paying $100. His win price was second only to that of Land Grant who paid $142 when he won.

Aug 21, 1991: After winning the Shalee in world record time of 1:51:1, Miss Easy became the sport’s richest filly, with earnings of more than $1.5 million.

July 2, 2009: Snow White died after surgery to alleviate colic.

Aug 26, 1961: Su Mac Lad became the all-time earnings leader for trotters when the 7-year-old gelding won the Volo Song at Yonkers Raceway.

Aug 29, 1967: Nevele Pride trotted the fastest mile ever by a two-year-old in the second heat of the Castleton Farm Stake at DuQuoin for Stanley Dancer. The 1:58:4 mile beat the 2:00 record shared by Scott Frost and Noble Victory.

Aug 30, 1983: Upon winning the Prix d’Ete at Blue Bonnets, Ralph Hanover became the top grossing harness horse for a single season ever--$1,486,638. Ralph, who was syndicated for $7 million, was retired to Almahurst Farm after the season ended where he embarked on a career as a super sire—not really.

Aug 3, 1985: Nililator set a record for the fastest mile in a competitive race—1:49.3—in a $50,000 invitational at the Meadowlands.

July 8, 1995: CR Kay Suzie equaled Moni Maker’s world record for a three-year-old filly trotter on a half when she won the Yonkers Trot by 7 lengths in 1:56.

Aug 26, 2007: Western Hanover died at Hanover Shoe Farms at age 18.

Sept 27, 1963: Speedy Scot set a world record 1:56.4 at the Red Mile.

July 28, 2001: Varenne won the Breeders Crown Open in a world record 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands.

July 17, 2004: Holborn Hanover won the Meadowlands Pace at 58/1.

Aug 7: 1999: Self Possessed becomes the sport’s first sub-1:52 colt with a 1:51.3 Hambletonion win.

Sept 20, 1984: Fancy Crown set a world record for a female trotter on a half at Delaware, Ohio for Billy O—1:57.1.

Joe FitzGerald