Day At The Track
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Weekly Spotlight on Breeding

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound. WA Oaks winner Benesari Lane, who won the $150,000 WA Oaks, is a WA bred filly with an interesting and successful family background. Bred by Dr Ed Dewar, of Meelon she was got by Mach Three from Terrifying, a WA bred mare by the Western Hanover horse Western Terror. Benesari Lane, who took a record of 1:57.8 in the Oaks, has run up a tidy score of four successes and six placings from 23 starts for $135,749 in stakes. Benesari Lane’s dam, Terrifying (1:55.3), the winner of 19 races and $131,200, was by Western Terror, a Breeders Crown champion from the Medio family, and who proved a successful in North America, NZ and Australia.  Benesari Lane     --Paceway Photos                          Terrifying was out of Whitby’s Rhapsodie (2:04.7), an Astreos mare from a capable racemare in Typhoon Whitby 1:59.7 ($163,751), who won 17 races including the WA Sires 2YO Final and became the dam of winners in Bronzwhaler Whitby (1:55.6, the winner of 19 races and $135,652), Mach Destroyer (2:01, who won three) and Decima’s Whitby and the unraced Island Life, dam of Delightful Mandy (1:56.7) and Ideal Life (1:59.2). Typhoon Whitby was a sister to the WA Pearl placegetter Tempestuous Whitby (1:59.4) and a half-sister to Tempt Me Whitby (2:02) and Pipes Of Whitby (2:00.3), who both bred on with marked successes. Tempt Me Whitby ranks as the dam of the WA Sires Stakes placegetter Go On Tempt Me (2:00.2) and the second dam of the two high class pacers Kimba Bay 1:56.8 ($219,382) and Scot Bay 1:56.5 ($134,886). Pipes Of Whitby left the WA North East Derby winner Time Passenger (1:56.4) and Top Gun Whitby (1:59.5). Tempting Franco, the fourth dam of the WA Oaks winner, was a half-sister to the Miracle Mile winner and Grand Circuit hero Franco Tiger.   Mach Dan wins Mildura Cup The most important race in Victoria’s Sunraysia district, the $60,000 Mildura Pacing Cup, was won by the Mach Three four-year-old gelding Mach Dan, who downed a top field including Silent Major, Like A Wildfire and Malcolm’s Rhythm. Mach Dan, who was bought for $100,000 as a yearling, has now earned $304,072 from 14 wins and six placings in 24 starts. He has won at Group level as a two, three and four-year-old. Mach Dan, who was bred by Shannon and Meaghan Nixon, of Nixon Bloodstock, was sired by Mach Three from the Bettor’s Delight mare Bettor Give It 1:57.4 ($138,061), whose dam, Giveitawhirlgirl, was by Jenna’s Beach Boy from Impish (1:54.9), by Falcon Seelster from the noted producer Smarty Pants (1:58.6), by El Patron from the Lordship mare Smart Doll. Bettor Give It, a dual Listed winner, ranks as a half-sister to the NZ Great Northern Oaks winner Twist And Twirl 1:56 ($283,258), dam of the dual Miracle Mile winner and 2020 Horse of the Year King Of Swing 1:48 ($2.2 million) and to the thrice Group 1 winner Bettor Twist 1:52.1 ($284,300), winner of the GN Oaks recently. Mach Three, the sire of Mach Dan, sired the 2019 Mildura Cup winner San Carlo.    Aladdin is Derby material Aladdin, who won the Mildura Guineas in runaway fashion and is regarded as Derby material of the highest order, is a three-year-old gelding by Sweet Lou from Pacing Delight, an unraced mare who is proving a successful broodmare. Aladdin      --HRV Photo A $140,000 purchase at the NZ Yearling Sale at Auckland in 2019, Aladdin has earned $163,769 from four wins and seven placings in 18 starts. He is a member of an old time NZ family, which was represented by the recent Tamworth Gold Nugget winner Marty Major and the SA Fred Jones Trotters Cup winner Milly’s Magic. Marty Major won again at Menangle in 1:51.6.  Pacing Delight was a Bettor’s Delight mare from Pacing Grace (1:57.7), by In The Pocket from the noted producer Jessie Grace, by Vance Hanover. Pacing Grace was the dam of a top NZ juvenile in Pacing Major 1:52 ($636,036), a cup class pacer in All U Need Is Faith 1:49.8 ($386,877) and Our Amazing Art 1:57.4 ($165,363) and to Grace Way (1:56.8) and the unraced Maddison’s Delight, who both bred on with distinction. Maddison’s Delight (by Bettor’s Delight) left the NZ Sires Stakes 2YO Final winner American Dealer 1:53.3 ($200,978) and the star WA filly Sweet Maddison (1:57), while Grace Way became the dam of the VHRSC 3YO Cup winner Three Ways 1:54.1 ($243,434), the Redcliffe Derby winner Make Way 1:51.7 ($150,495) and Forgotten Highway 1:55.6 ($150,540). Aladdin ranks as a brother to the Group 2 winner Virgil 1:52.3 ($137,405) and a half-brother to the Menangle victor Mason’s Delight (1:51.9).   Ignatius in 1:50.9 Ignatius gave a further taste of his class when he easily won the Group 3 Free-for-all, the main event at Menangle last Saturday. He was not in danger of defeat over the last half mile, running out the mile in a brisk 1:50.9. By Roll With Joe, and one of the second crop of the Cam’s Card Shark horse, he is out of Ashkalini 2:00.2 ($124,338), winner of the Tasmanian Sires Stakes as a two and four-year-old. Ashkalini was by Art Major from Gorse Bush (10 wins), by Ticket To Heaven from the Holly Sand mare Barrington Lass, who founded a good winning batch of the Black Annie family. Ashkalini, who produced earlier winners in Goggo Gee Gee 1:58.2 ($137,010) and Harshali, ranked as a half-sister to the Miracle Mile winner and dual Inter Dominion champion Beautide. Ignatius was bred by the Rattray family in northern Tasmania.   Siring feat to Bettor’s Delight Rather a notable siring feat was credited to the Cam’s Card Shark horse Bettor’s Delight at Addington recently, when he had five runners in the 14-horse field in the NZ Pacing Derby. Three of his stock, Krug, a good type of colt, The Falcon and Shan Noble finished first, third and fourth respectively, while his other runners were Yorokobi (9th) and Pace N Pride (13th). Krug became the seventh NZ Derby winner sired by Bettor’s Delight, whose earlier winners included Ultimate Sniper (2019), Sherrif (2018), Lazarus (2016), Have Faith In Me (2015), Border Control (2013) and Gold Ace (2011).   Petillante is promising Petillante, a most impressive winner on debut at the recent Melton midweek meeting, is a two-year-old filly who can claim some worthwhile blood. Petillante winning at Melton – Stuart McCormick Photo Petillante was an Australian Pacing Gold purchase in 2020 in Melbourne, and is a filly by the Mach Three horse Somebeachsomewhere from Art De Triomphe (1:58.8), who ranks as a sister to a champion juvenile in Follow The Stars 1:53.8 ($707,237), now a successful sire in WA, and a half-sister to the APG runner-up Stefsbest 1:54.7 ($148,527). Their dam, Smyrna Duruisseau (1:56), an American-bred mare, won two races but left five winners. She was by Cam’s Card Shark from Secret Date, by Abercrombie from the Race Time mare Dateable, who has founded an outstanding family of winners. They include the Metro Pace winner Historic, a top racemare in Seven O Clock, Dontgetinmyway (Woodrow Wilson) and the Breeders Crown champion Digger Almahurst.   A star from Beaudiene Bad Babe A star four-year-old in NSW so far this year is Bad To The Bone, who was bred in NZ’s Southland by Todd and Fleur Anderson and is trained by Paul Fitzpatrick. A gelding by Bettor’s Delight, he is out of a top flight racemare in Beaudiene Bad Babe 1:55.7 ($404,898) and the first of her progeny to race. A younger sister to Bad To The Bone in Five Bangles won at her second start at Pinjarra earlier this month. Bad To The Bone won the Waikato Guineas at three and a Group 3 race at Menangle and looks a four-year-old with the potential one would expect of his breeding.   Mirragon on top A bright future is being predicted for the Art Major four-year-old Mirragon, whose success at Gloucester Park last Friday was his fourth winning run from nine starts since being shipped to WA. Mirragon winning Gloucester Park – Paceway Photos The entire has a good deal in his favour on the score of blood. Apart from being by Art Major, a leading sire in Australia for many years, Mirragon is out of the Mach Three mare The Waratah (1:57.9), a half-sister to a champion racemare in Lady Waratah, being out of Waratah Way, by Tompkins Hanover from the Select Yankee mare Yankee Leanne, and tracing back to Miss Tommy, whose family today is one of the best in the Australian stud book. It includes the million dollar winners Lennytheshark and Frith, the Derby winners Greg Kelly and Albert Kelly and others in McRae’s Mate, Miss Paula, Von Trap, Midnight Dylan, Sandy Bay, Blacksweet Adda and Intoxicated. Mirragon was bred in Victoria by former leading studmaster Ross Gange.   First winner by Guaranteed The Artsplace horse Guaranteed, a dual Vicbred champion and now at Goodtime Lodge stud in Victoria, was represented by his first winner when the two-year-old Pas Guarantee was successful on debut at Shepparton. Bred and raced by Sue-Ellen Thompson, who also owned Guaranteed, Pas Guarantee is out of the Live Or Die mare Dieing Secret, whose dam, Secret Bonus was by Barnett Hanover from the What’s Next mare What Bonus, who left several useful winners including the Moonee Valley winner Golden Czar, who later competed successfully in America. Dieing Secret, the dam of Pas Guarantee, won nine races and $68,688 in stakes and took a record of 1:57.1 and at the stud, left the Tasmanian Matron winner Gone And Forgotten.   Victorian trotter has strong bloodlines Peregrine Phoenix, a double winner at Melton this year, who had been placed in Group 1 company as a three-year-old, is rated one of the most capable young trotters racing in Victoria at present. Peregrine Phoenix winning at Melton – Stuart McCormick Photo Peregrine Phoenix has a wealth of blood to back up her claims to further promotion, being by the great American sire Muscle Hill from Maple Eve Phoenix, by Malabar Maple from Dodo Rocket, by Wagon Apollo. Her dam, Maple Eve Phoenix, who was unraced, left an outstanding juvenile trotter in Eljaykay Phoenix 1:58.6 ($256,877), who won eight races as a two-year-old including the Breeders Crown, Vicbred Final and The Redwood. Maple Eve Phoenix was a half-sister to the Vicbred 2YO champion Princess Phoenix 1:55.5 ($167,515), Veruckte Phoenix (1:59.1) and Hadrian’s Phoenix (2:00) and to Fortunate Phoenix, the unraced dam of last year’s Breeders Crown and Vicbred placegetter Ofortuna. Other trotters further back in this pedigree have been the cups winner Joseph Boppard, Justa Phoenix (Vic. Princess of Speed), Supreme Gent, Go Ahead Makemyday and Aldebaran Eastwood.   by Peter Wharton

Anthony Butt proudly holds the Riverina Championship Cup at Wagga Wagga earlier this month, less than 30 minutes after Zac Phillips gave the Butt-Smith training team victory in the Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup, Harness racing

Butt border-hopping for more silverware

Victorian-based training duo Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith are making their first foray to Globe Derby Park for “quite a few years” chasing silverware on offer in two of the State’s most prestigious harness racing features. Butt said the couple’s relocation to Victoria six months ago opened up many more possibilities in three States for their elite team, backed by prominent owners Emilio and Mary Rosati. Their mission on the Adelaide trip tomorrow night is the Group 2 South Australian Pacing Cup, with Perfect Stride and Boots Electric; and the Group 3 South Australian Pacing Derby, with Radar Stride and Platinum Stride. Just 12 days ago, Butt and Smith claimed cups on both sides of the NSW-Victoria border on the one day.  Zac Phillips piloted Perfect Stride to victory in the $30,000 Downtowner Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup – then half an hour later, Butt got Wolf Stride home in the Group 1 $100,000 Milbrae Quarries Riverina Championship at Wagga. “I’ve never won a South Australian Pacing Cup – I won the Trotters Cup one year, and I’ve won the derby.  But in the Pacing Cup we’ve been second and third and all around the place, but never managed to win it, so we’d love to do that this time,” Butt said. “These races have good money on them, so they’re worth going over for, and that’s one of the things we’ve been able to do since moving down to Victoria,” he said. “We’re in the middle between Sydney and Adelaide and we’re able to place our horses at a lot more meetings than when we were based at Menangle.” Boots Electric (barrier 6) is probably Butt’s best chance of achieving a South Australian Pacing Cup. He showed his potential by winning the (Group 1) Bonanza at Melton in February, then finished only 10 metres behind the winner in the Chariots of Fire at Menangle two weeks later. “He’s had a freshen up and just the one run back and is probably handy enough drawn off the front at Globe Derby,” Butt said. “He has some gate speed, and he should be able to put himself into the race.  Perfect Stride (Zac Phillips) has drawn a bit awkwardly off the back row, but on his mark that was probably always going to be the case.  He’s a bit of an opportunist, so I don’t think it will worry him – he will just need the chance to get into the action at some point.” Perfect Stride and Zac Phillips (pictured) are lining up with his stablemate Boots Electric in the SA Pacing Cup this weekend Butt is also quietly confident about the prospects of his Derby hopes, Radar Stride and Platinum Stride. “Again, we have one drawn off the front (Radar Stride (5) Zac Phillips) and one off the back (Platinum Stride, 8), but there’s not much between them in ability,” Butt said. “They’re a step below the real superstars of their crop but those ones they’ve been racing against aren’t here.  We need a bit of luck, but with an ounce of that, we should be in it.” Butt and Smith travelled yesterday to Adelaide and will spend a few days there. “We’re staying at Luke O’Neill’s place at Globe Derby, which is great.  It’s not really a break, with four horses, but it’s nice to get away for a couple of days,” he said. “We’ve always got 25 or 30 horses in work with good staff around us now, with four or five of us there on most mornings.  It’s been one of the great advantages of the move to Victoria – we have a terrific team on board. “When we’re not there, everyone steps in behind us and they all know what they’re doing – we have total faith in them. “We spent seven or eight weeks up in Sydney over the Miracle Mile Carnival and things just ticked over really well at home.”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Anna Tucciarone, harness racing

Teenager living the horse ownership dream

The photos, dozens of horse images that hang on the 17-year-old's bedroom walls, take on more meaning with each new day. Every time Anna Tucciarone opens the door, turns on the light, and sees the harness racing photos, any stresses in her life, big or small, immediately wash away. "There haven't been a lot of things to look forward to because of the pandemic," started the soft-spoken high school student from Mississauga, Ontario. "But the horses, they always bring you up if you are feeling down." Some of the horses she speaks of are in fact, her horses. Along with her father Jon, Tucciarone currently owns shares of eight Standardbred racehorses through, a fractional ownership group created by Anthony MacDonald and his wife Amy in 2015. Her interest was sparked four years ago when her father shared a photo of the yearling he purchased shares in through A longtime racing fan, Jon had often thought of joining the ownership ranks over the years. "I've been going to the races for over 40 years. I love it. It's a long history for me. My uncle used to own horses. I had always wanted to be owner and one day I came across one day. It was easy to get involved and it wasn't expensive. And it just makes things so exciting, the thrill of going to the races and watching a horse that is yours." Anna's early recollections of going to the races differ greatly from those of her father's. "When I was a kid, I didn't like going because I was so young and I would get so bored. I'd give my dad a hard time. But that's all changed." Father and daughter are now fixtures at southwestern Ontario racetracks. Although the pandemic has limited the opportunity to watch their horses in person over the past 13-plus months, they've found alternatives to keep track of their respective pacers and trotters. "I wish I had a horse racing every night," said Jon. "With COVID, it's tough not going. We watch the races on TV, and for now, that will have to be the way we enjoy it together. But whenever you're there in person, if you are having a bad day or going through a tough time, that all goes away." He's also seen it, first-hand, in his daughter. "It's wonderful to see her love for the horses. Whether it's going to the training centre or to the racetrack, she always wants to go and I always want to go. We go together and we can talk about horse racing and our horses. She's always in the barn when I'm out watching them train. You can see just how much these horses mean to her." Anna's forged a deep bond with two horses in particular. Stonebridge Symba, a 5-year-old son of Yankee Glide, became a game changer for the teenager. "I can say the first horse I fell in love with was Stonebridge Symba. He was the first horse that won for me. My eyes were watering when he won. It was something so special. He has changed my whole life." The bay trotter provided Anna, among many things, clarity when it came to her post-school aspirations. After struggling to land on what she wanted to do outside of the classroom, she has finally found her calling. "Before I decided to own horses, I didn't know what I wanted to be. But after I started owning horses, I found what I wanted to pursue in life. Right now, my goal is to become a groom. After that, I'm not really sure. I'm just happy I was able to find something that I love." Her friends and teachers are certainly aware of her passion for racehorses. She's even managed to incorporate her endearment for Standardbreds into her homework. "It's easy to fall in love with the horses. I talk about Stonebridge Symba and all of them in school and I also talk about them to my teachers. I've even done some school projects on my horses, talking about why people should become owners. My friends think it's really cool that I own horses." Canadian Titan, a 4-year-old trotting daughter of E L Titan, has also had a profound effect on Anna's life. The bay mare was the last horse she saw on her first-ever visit to the stables. "I remember going through the barn, one-by-one, looking at all the horses, and she was at the end. She had her head out of the stall and she was puffing out her lips. I just loved seeing that. I ended up becoming one of her owners last year. It was the most wonderful feeling. I made a Power Point presentation on why I wanted to buy her and showed my dad. That night, we got a share of her. It felt great to finally say that I was one of her owners. "When she was racing before I owned her, we'd still go to watch her, just to support her. The first winner's circle moment I had was with Canadian Titan. We didn't own her at the time, but I loved watching her race and I followed her career. I really enjoy owning her and my other horses, and I really love having that connection to them with my dad." Horse talk between father and daughter is a daily occurrence. Often, it's multiple conversations throughout the course of a day, chats ranging from the latest updates on their respective horses, to commentary while watching videos of past wins, or the time they can stand railside again to watch the races. "It's wonderful to share this," offered Jon. "I went to the races with my father and my uncles. It was always a family thing. Once I bought my yearling, Anna started following along and she wanted to come with me. I never forced her to go... she fell in love with it on her own. It's something that we can share together, something we can relate to. So now, it's a family thing again." Whenever spectators are allowed back at the races, Jon and Anna will be ready. For now, their usual front-row spot will be in a decidedly different setting. "We watch them race online or on TV, but we just want to see them racing when we can stand there and cheer them on," said Jon. "I can't wait for that day to come." Neither can Anna. Whether it's when she's working at her part-time job cleaning a local parking lot, finding a way to include horses in her latest school assignment, or posting images of them on social media, the horses she owns are always top of mind for the Grade 12 student. "If I'm having a tough day, I know the one thing that can change it." Happiness for Anna Tucciarone is always just an open door away. "It's just memories, those photos, something to look at where I'll think, 'That was such a great day.' And when I do, it puts the biggest smile on my face every time." by Chris Lomon, for Ontario Racing  

Alexa Skye, harness racing

Alexa Skye eyes $232,000 Matchmaker final

After his mare went four-for-four in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series preliminary races, owner Tom Pollack wasn't about to get too technical about Alexa Skye's chances in Monday's (April 19) $232,800 final for older female pacers at Yonkers Raceway. "If luck's shining on you, it is. And if it isn't, it isn't," surmised Pollack of Pollack Racing LLC, which owns the horse along with trainer Jeff Cullipher. "Just as long as you put your best foot forward, and I think she will. "Obviously, we'd love to see her finish the deal on Monday night and win this series. But we're just hoping for a good effort, that's all you can do." The 4-year-old drew post six and is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line behind Blue Ivy at 2-1. Pollack admitted that things broke right for Alexa Skye in her four races in the series as she was able to take charge in the short fields. "She's made her mark right at the beginning and that kind of garnered the respect of the other ones in there," Pollack said. "We've been able to get to the lead fairly easily and kind of dictate the races. From that standpoint it's been great." In Monday's eight-horse final, Blue Ivy will start from post three. She won three times and finished second twice in the preliminary rounds. Machnhope, a two-time winner in the series, is 4-1 from post one while Siesta Beach, also a prelim winner, is 5-1 from post two. "Obviously when the money's on the line, that's why they hold the race," Pollack said. "Anything can happen. All eight horses can probably win. We're going to have to earn it, for sure." Speaking of earnings, Alexa Skye has already garnered a career-high $117,250 this year by winning seven of nine starts and finishing second by a head and a nose in the other two. She has already tied her career-best seven wins (in 17 starts) from last year and far surpassed her purse money of $63,430. The mare, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Pirouette Hanover, was bought by Pollack on Feb. 17. She had already won three of four races when the transaction was completed. Pollack was contacted by an agent he hadn't previously worked with and was immediately interested after having seen Alexa Skye at The Meadowlands last year and seeing her dominance early this season. "We want to be in the game," the western Pennsylvania native said. "We're not huge yearling players outside of Indiana, we're more into the aged racehorse game. Having a chance to get one that's eligible to all these Grand Circuit races and performing at that level, she was too good to pass up. The fact she comes from a good family and has some breeding value when she's done racing made it even easier to pull the trigger." After being off for three weeks, she finished second by a nose for her new owners before rolling through the Matchmaker prelims. Pollack estimates he and Cullipher own around 70 horses together and each one has their responsibility. "I'm the legs of finding and acquiring," he said. "That's my forte. He sticks more toward training them. But when I find horses, he's watching replays or talking to folks he knows who might have been associated with the horse. That's kind of the way our partnership works." And the duo appears to have nailed it with this latest acquisition. Pollack hoped she would be good, but is pleasantly surprised about the success so far. "Obviously, you could have never predicted we'd be racing in five- or six-horse fields in the Matchmaker (prelims) for $35,000 a week and then the $230,000 final after that. It kind of looks like I knew what I was doing in buying her, with her kind of being one of the top dogs in this series." Alexa Skye is staked to the Grand Circuit in the U.S. this year, but her connections will skip Canadian stakes due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 protocols, and also because of the length of the six-week Matchmaker. But she will be a busy mare and appears ready for the grind. Asked what he likes most about the horse, the owner noted two specifics. "Number one, the fact she is so versatile; she can win at Yonkers or the Meadowlands," Pollack said. "And number two is her toughness. She's kind of all business. She's a sweetheart to be around in the barn but once she gets on the track, she's all business. Hopefully, she's ready with her A game Monday, that's all you can ask." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Monday at Yonkers. The Matchmaker final is race seven on the card, which also includes the $514,000 final of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for older males (race eight) as well as consolations for both series. For complete entries, click here. by Rich Fisher, for the USTA  

Mike Tanev of Toronto, CA has been a longtime harness racing fan, owner and an activist for the Standardbred industry in Canada. He has been calling upon industry officials and government representatives to allow racing to resume during both lockdowns in Ontario. He has a vast understanding of the Covid-19 situation as he has two sons, Brandon and Chris Tanev, playing in the NHL, who are allowed to play during the lockdown and go through protocols every day for Covid-19. When it comes to expressing his opinion, watch out as Tanev’s bark is worse than his bite. Especially when it comes to the second shutdown of harness racing in Ontario. “It is just ridiculous what is going on,” Tanev said at the start of the interview. "I did an interview with a reporter from the Toronto Sun Tuesday and I asked him 'tell me what businesses are now closed during this lockdown in Ontario.' He thought about and I then told him, gyms, barbers, hair salons, nail places and the racetracks. Every other business in Ontario is open in one form or another." “And of all these places,” Tanev stated, “the safest place to be is the racetracks because before the lockdown they had proper protocols in place and not one reported case of Covid-19 during the entire time they were racing." “It is an absolute joke that racing is not allowed in Ontario,” Tanev added. Tanev also slammed Woodbine and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA). “They (COSA) ran their televised podcast Sunday,” Tanev said. “And the first thing out of the mouth of hosts Greg Blanchard and Mark McKelvie, who I had respected very much as top people in our industry until this show. They started off talking about without any racing now they would have plenty of time for golfing. These guys are the voice of harness racing and at such a crucial time they are joking about going golfing while there are thousands of horse people whose livelihood are being taken away from them. It was an absolute joke for them to start off the show that way. “It just threw me overboard,” Tanev said. “I thought we were getting some headway. Jim Lawson of WEG called me Friday and I thought we had a great discussion on going forward full blast to get harness racing back going. He told me he was 'taking off the gloves' and instead, he announces that the Thoroughbred meet will be put on hold. “Then he (Lawson) announces that hopefully we will be able to race after the lockdown,” Tanev said. “Well, the way the Canadian government is handling the Covid crisis so poorly, that this lockdown could continue for another month. It’s just brutal the way this has all been handled.” Tanev has also been on the phone with COSA President, Hall of Famer Bill O’Donnell. “I talk with Bill sometimes three times a day,” Tanev said. “I talked with him this morning (Monday) and asked why I’m not on the COSA TV program? I’m one of the few owners in Ontario that gives a s—t. The vast majority of owners are silent. They are not going out and talking with the media, not going out and talking to their government officials. The Toronto Sun reporter asked me for the names of other owners. I told him what’s the use of giving you names, these owners don’t say a word. “Since the first lockdown,” Tanev complained, “I’m the only one that has gone out and spoke with the media, with COSA, with Jim Lawson, with government officials.” There has also been a drove of horses leaving Ontario to race in the United States and that alone could cause big problems even if racing is allowed to start up again. “These owners and trainers know we are in trouble,” Tanev explained. “And I guess they are smart to send their horses to race in the USA. At least they have a chance to earn some money back to pay for all the bills. Horses have to be cared for seven days a week, racing or not. I would be curious to know how many horses have left Ontario to race in the USA. At least 500 or more I would think at this juncture.” Tanev also talked about a recent meeting with all the top sports organizations in Ontario and government officials. “Lawson was telling me last Friday,” Tanev said. “That there was this major meeting with all the major sports teams’ executives about getting the exceptions to continue to play the high-level professional sports. Well, guess what, they did not invite horse racing! The Ontario government did not think that horse racing is not a major sporting event in the province? “Well, we’re a professional sport,” Tanev said about horse racing. “A high-level professional sport. If we had been invited to that meeting, we well could still be racing live today. “Right now,” Tanev explained. “The only team that’s playing in Toronto is the hockey team because we have a separate Canadian division.” “Racing in North America had done so well with little or no Covid cases for months,” Tanev said. “We have developed protocols that have worked so well. But we need to get this across to the government officials and the only way to do that is for everyone in the industry to open their mouths, write or call their government officials and tell them like it is. “A lot of people look at me like I have three heads,” Tanev laughed. “They call me a loud mouth. But they fail to realize I have two kids who play in the NHL. I know what they have to go through daily with Covid protocols. “Owners have to get off their duffs,” Tanev ranted. “And become outspoken and demand that we can start racing again. I told Lawson that what needs to be done right away to for everyone to send a legal letter. Not a law suit, just a legal letter from a top law firm in Toronto, explain all the protocols and why racing should be allowed to start up again. The government must respond to a legal letter. We need to get their attention in a big way.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is announcing that a previously unscheduled leg will be added to the Graduate Series for harness racing pacers to be raced on Saturday, May 15 in response to the cancellation of the Confederation Cup for 2021.   Horses that are fully paid up and eligible for the Graduate will be eligible to race in the added leg and it will be considered for points toward the final just as the the scheduled legs.   This added leg will make a total of four $75,000 ($50,000 div) preliminary legs for the pacers and three for the trotters heading into the $250,000e finals.   There will not be a leg added for the trotters as it would conflict with existing stakes.   "We scheduled the Graduate around the Confederation Cup to provide the 4-year-olds the best chance to race in stakes against their own age before moving into the open stakes," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "Without the Confederation Cup, which provided an elimination and final for them, there's a month between stakes. We'll add a Graduate leg same day as Cutler Memorial to give them a race and make a nice card on that night."   Graduate Series Schedule (at The Meadowlands unless otherwise indicated)   PACE: Saturday, May 1 Saturday, May 15 Saturday, June 5 (Woodbine at Mohawk) Saturday, June 26 Final on Saturday, July 10   TROT: Saturday, May 22 Saturday, June 5 (Woodbine at Mohawk) Saturday, June 26 Final on Saturday, July 10   From The Meadowlands    

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series finals and consolations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers on Monday (April 19) features the $514,000 final of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers and the $232,800 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The card will also have the $100,000 MGM Borgata Pacing series consolation and the $60,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker consolation. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: Preliminary round action in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series concluded on Monday night (April 12) at Yonkers Raceway with a trio of $40,000 divisions that were won by Backstreet Shadow, Mach N Cheese, and Leonidas A. Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire a half-length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Chris Brokate photo. Backstreet Shadow (Yannick Gingras) took full advantage of the pole position in the first split, going to the lead and putting up fractions of :27.3, :56.1, and 1:24.1 over a surface that was rated "good" and a second off. Western Joe (Dexter Dunn) took up the chase by going first-over out of third in the backstretch, but he couldn't make any headway on the outside, allowing Backstreet Shadow to turn into the lane with a clear advantage. Once they hit the stretch, Western Joe suddenly hit top gear and began to gain on Backstreet Shadow, but Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire a half-length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) came in third. A 6-year-old gelding by Shadow Play, Backstreet Shadow is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Backstreet Shadow, who won twice in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, now has a record of 26-12-6 from 64 starts and he has earned $910,162. The 3-5 favorite, Backstreet Shadow paid $3.40 to win. Alexa Skye and driver Todd McCarthy served notice in the fifth and final preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway with an imposing 1:52.3 victory in their $35,000 division on Friday night (April 9). The fleet-footed 4-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere had to work just a bit to gain control at the quarter, but from that point, her four rivals chased her in vain. Alexa Skye left the gate along with Monica Gallagher (Jason Bartlett) from the inside, with Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) between those two into the opening bend. Siesta Beach settled along the pylons, but McCarthy pushed Alexa Skye to the top and cleared passing a :27.4 opening fraction. Alexa Skye maintained the lead after that, setting fractions of :56.3 and 1:24.4, with Siesta Beach moving to the outside into the final turn as Monica Gallagher lost contact with the pacesetter. McCarthy let his mare do the talking, and Alexa Skye spoke volumes, cruising home effortlessly with a :27.4 kicker to win by open lengths. Siesta Beach held down the place spot, with Soho Burning Love A (Austin Siegelman) showing decent late foot for third. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite in the field, Alexa Skye paid $2.40 to win. Alexa Skye won all four of the Blue Chip Matchmaker preliminary legs she participated in for Pollack Racing LLC and Jeff Cullipher. Now a winner in seven of nine starts on the season, Alexa Skye moves into the $232,800 final on April 19 as the clear horse to beat. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 4-12-21): Drivers: 1. Todd McCarthy - 60; 2. Austin Siegelman - 56; 3t. Andrew McCarthy - 49; 3t. George Brennan - 49; 5. Tyler Buter - 44. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 109; 2t. Jeff Cullipher - 40; 2t. Todd Buter - 40; 2t. Sheena McElhiney - 40; 5. Nicholas DeVita - 38. Owners: 1t. Jesmeral Stable - 40; 1t. Renee Bercury - 40; 3. Eric Prevost - 38; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 31.1; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 31.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place on April 24 at Freehold Raceway with the Dexter Cup eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

“He’s now better than he has ever been, even better than when he won the WA Pacing Cup last December,” declared breeder-owner-trainer Phil Costello when assessing his wonderful nine-year-old’s prospects in the 2130m $25,000 TABtouch Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night.  Vultan Tin, to be driven by Emily Suvaljko from the outside barrier in the field of seven, gets a good chance to turn the tables on another outstanding evergreen performer in Galactic Star, who will be handled by Ryan Warwick from the No. 6 barrier. Galactic Star, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, set the pace from barrier one and fought on grimly to defeat Vultan Tin by a half-head over 2536m last Friday night. Vultan Tin started out wide at barrier eight and worked in the breeze for most of the way. “Vultan Tin is jumping out of his skin and is loving racing,” said Costello. “I have changed his work this week to suit the race distances. He is dropping back from 2536m to 2130m, and his work has been lighter and he should have more sprint in his legs. “The shorter distance this week shouldn’t affect his chances of turning the tables on Galactic Star when much will depend on what tactics are used on that horse who has the advantage of drawing on the inside of Vultan Tin. “Vultan Tin is strong and doesn’t mind doing some work, but we don’t want to gas him out and bust his guts in the first 200m. The plan will be to just keep working forward. If you don’t bustle him too early, he usually finishes off really well. “His run last week was super, and his win in the Pinjarra Cup (2692m) about seven weeks ago when he led and beat Miracle Moose and Mighty Conqueror by a few lengths, going 1.57.2 in the mud, was outstanding. There probably hasn’t been a Pinjarra Cup win like that for ten years.” Costello said that Vultan Tin, a veteran of 178 starts for 29 wins and 46 placings for stakes of $936,678, would be aimed for the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the coming summer. “He will keep racing in Free-For-Alls until he shows me that he wants a break,” Costello said. “Then he will have a rest, and after a spell he will be prepared for the big Cups.” Vultan Tin certainly will need to be at his peak to defeat the eight-year-old Galactic Star, who took his earnings to $683,127 from 31 wins and 29 placings from 93 starts when he beat Vultan Tin last Friday night. Adding interest to this week’s race will be the first appearance in Free-For-All ranks for New Zealand-bred five-year-old Valbonne, who will be driven by Michael Grantham from the No. 1 barrier. Valbonne had his first start for Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell to win from Rock Me Over and Quick Stride over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. “Valbonne is a really nice horse,” said Brennan. “We decided to step up a grade to enable him to get a good draw. They tell me that he goes really good in front. But I haven’t yet spoken to Albert (owner Albert Walmsley) or Michael (Grantham) about what we will do. “He won’t disgrace himself. His win at Pinjarra was very good and he has come on in leaps and bounds since then.”   Ken Casellas

Harness racing betting favorites Get Legs and Timon AS won for the second straight week, and Tad Krazy Hanover pulled a 25-1 upset in the three $20,000 divisions of the third and final leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series on Wednesday night (April 14) at Yonkers Raceway. Get Legs (Andy Miller), dispatched at odds of 1-9, started from post one in the second flight, and he raced in fourth to the 28.2 opening quarter before Miller brought him to the outside late on the second turn. Get Legs moved up into second as Lady Jeter (Yannick Gingras) reached the half in 58 seconds, then took over command past that marker. Get Legs cruised over to three-quarters in 1:26.3, negotiated the final turn without incident, and kicked away in the lane to prevail by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:55.3. Lady Jeter held second over Mcmatters (Mark MacDonald), who raced in the first-over position after Get Legs hit the front. GET LEGS REPLAY   Julie Miller trains Get Legs, a 4-year-old son of Muscle Hill, for owners Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Michael Anderson. Get Legs has earned $86,010 to go with his 10-0-2 record from 12 starts, and he paid $2.10 to win, place, and show. The exacta returned $4.30 and the trifecta was worth $13.20. Timon AS (Tyler Buter) went off as the even-money choice in the third split and after leaving quickly from post three, he would be overtaken and put in the pocket by Grinder (Greg Merton) before the 29 second opening quarter. Grinder then proceeded to give a parking ticket to a two-wide Look In My Eyes (Jordan Stratton), who had fired out from post eight, through the 58.4 half and the 1:28 three-quarters. It looked like Timon AS was in big trouble at three-quarters and on to the last turn as he was stuck on the pylons and Look In My Eyes was hanging around enough to keep him pinned in. Then, Lifetime Royalty (Dan Dube) moved out three-wide from second-over, giving Timon AS even more traffic to deal with. Fortunately for Timon AS, his connections, and his backers at the windows, Grinder drifted out in the lane and couldn't keep the inside closed, giving Timon AS a seam to shoot through. Once he had the space, Timon AS had the trot to go with it, getting up to tally by half a length over Grinder in a final time of 1:57. Lifetime Royalty could only finish evenly and had to settle for third. TIMON AS REPLAY   A 5-year-old Lionhunter gelding, Timon AS is trained by Melanie Wrenn for owner Michael Guest. Timon AS picked up his 21st career victory, and he has put away $121,280. Timon AS returned $5.10 to win and was atop a $13.40 exacta and a $33.60 trifecta. Back in the opening section, 4-5 favorite Windsong Pioneer (Brent Holland) figured to be tough after he put up comfortable fractions of 28.3, 58.1, and 1:27, but driver Scott Zeron moved Tad Krazy Hanover out three-wide late on the far turn after following Kasha V (Jason Bartlett) from second-over, and Tad Krazy Hanover kicked home strongly to chase down and defeat Windsong Pioneer by a head in a 1:56 mile. P L Notsonice (Renaldo Morales III) tracked Tad Krazy Hanover's cover and finished well for third. TAD KRAZY HANOVER REPLAY   Tad Krazy Hanover, a 5-year-old Donato Hanover mare, is owned by Barbara Terranova. Tad Krazy Hanover is now an eight-time winner in her career, and she has pocketed $76,262. Tad Krazy Hanover paid $52.00 to win and keyed a $151.00 exacta and a $539.00 trifecta. The John Brennan Trotting Series will conclude next Wednesday (April 21) with a $69,000 final and a $30,000 consolation. Nobody had six-of-six in Wednesday's Pick 6 sequence at Yonkers, so when action resumes on Thursday (April 15), there will be a $2,355.38 carryover in that wager. The Pick 6 will begin in the third race.  Stakes action picks back up at Yonkers Raceway on Monday (April 19) with the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and the $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final. There are also consolation events for both series, with the MGM Borgata consolation carrying a purse of $100,000 and the Blue Chip Matchmaker consolation going for $60,000. For full results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Former topline West Australian harness racing junior Stuart McDonald is excited by the fresh challenges and opportunities ahead in his new home-State of Victoria. Originally from New Zealand, the talented reinsman has the role of stable foreman working for another former Kiwi trainer Nathan Purdon, who recently set up base at Lara, near Geelong.  Nathan is son of champion trainer-driver Mark. “I got to know Nathan when he was working in WA for Greg and Skye Bond, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Nathan was looking for someone to work for him and to do some driving, so I jumped at it,” McDonald said. “I’ve only been here less than a week, but I see it as a great opportunity – I think Nathan can go a long way in the industry and I definitely want to be hands-on in that,” he said. “But I’m also looking forward to being able to re-establish myself as a driver and make the most of any opportunities that come along for me there.” McDonald arrived in Perth ten years ago, as a 16-year-old. “My dad Malcolm was a jockey and got involved later with some harness racing people, but never as a trainer or driver,” he said. “I began working at the stables of a mate of dad’s after we had the (Christchurch) earthquake. My school was closed, and we were sharing another school and I only had classes in the afternoons.  “I had the mornings free, and I’d go to work in the stables, but I never drove in trials or races.  The trainer I was working for knew (WA trainer) Greg Schofield, and that’s how I came to shift out for the opportunities in Australia. “As soon as I started driving, I knew that was what I wanted to do and I aspired to being the best I could be.” McDonald later worked for Ross Olivieri for three and a half years, during which time he was twice the State’s leading junior driver. He established himself in the State’s top ten overall driver’s rankings while still a junior, then spent a six-month stint in 2017 freelancing in New South Wales. After returning to WA, McDonald started working for Gary Hall Senior, achieving a career highlight in his first Group One victory in the Fremantle Cup on Caviar Star in January last year. “I’d have to say another highlight was to be able to drive Chicago Bull a couple of times – driving such an amazing horse is one thing, but the fact that ‘Senior’ was prepared to entrust me with some of his best horses meant a lot to me,” he said. McDonald said he was looking forward to pursuing the opportunities presented in his move to Victoria. “Nathan and his partner Mikayla (Lewis, also a driver) are setting themselves up for the future and I want to be part of that.  I want to get back to just enjoying the sport – I’ve probably lost the passion a little bit for it recently, but I’m definitely inspired by the change and to get back into my best form,” he said. “Obviously that requires opportunities, so the challenge for me is to find those and make the most of them when they are given to me.”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Guelph, ON - April, 14, 2021 - Prevention of airway problems is the best way to protect your horse, but when not successful, what is next?   Early intervention is paramount when dealing with the irreversible disease, equine asthma, commonly referred to as heaves, RAO or IAD. Equine asthma starts off with a hypersensitivity reaction to particles in the air (e.g., dust, mould). These particles cause inflammation in the airways and restrict airflow.   Heaves is now called severe equine asthma as the horse will struggle to breathe even at rest. Heave Line - the heave line develops along the lower edge of the ribcage as the horse has to work harder to breathe, due to inflammation and airway obstruction. The chest muscles must work harder during each breath taken by the horse.   If you wait until a heave line appears, the disease has already progressed to advanced stages.   It is important that horse owners never ignore a cough in their horse. It should be investigated and diagnosed without delay. There is much that can be done on the management side to prevent further damage, as a global paper on equine asthma attests.   Intervention is recommended at the first sign of coughing, and more so if the cough is repetitive or persistent. Triggered by the microscopic particles that cause airway inflammation, common signs of equine asthma include coughing, nasal discharge, exercise intolerance and breathing difficulties. Equine asthma can affect horses at any age in any discipline of riding.   According to Renaud Leguillette, DVM, DACVIM, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, feeding horses from a round hay bale can potentially double the risk of developing equine asthma! Horses are picky eaters and do not hesitate to bury their heads deep in the round bale to look for the most desirable hay first. In doing so they inhale all sorts of dust, mould and particulates.   Many stabled horses are exposed to exponentially more inhalable irritants than horses kept outside. Pasture board is often the best option for horses suffering from equine asthma – minus the round bales of course. Every precaution to reduce dust in the environment should be taken. Low dust bedding, turning horses out before sweeping, cleaning stalls regularly to keep ammonia levels low and clearing out any mould under stall mats are just some of the effective measures that can be taken. Maintaining arena footing to minimize dust, making sure the barn is well ventilated and feeding steamed hay and soaked concentrates are all environmental factors within the farm owner's control.   If asthma is suspected, the veterinarian will be looking closely at the horse’s environment to determine what is causing the irritation in the lungs. They will be looking at all potential causes which could include: dusty environments, smoke inhalation, pollen or other allergens and particles in the pasture or hay.   One cannot jump to conclusions at the first sign of a cough. The vet will need to rule out upper airway diseases and bacterial or viral infections. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) is the gold standard diagnostic test for asthma. Corticosteroids administered with or without a bronchodilator may be prescribed to help the horse recover from bouts of equine asthma, but environmental improvement is the key to long-term management. Always bring in the veterinarian to check a horse that repeatedly coughs. It is vital to prevent the debilitating progression of asthma.   by Jackie Bellamy-Zions, for Equine Guelph  

Kasper Foget has enjoyed success in Europe as a harness racing trainer and driver and now the 27-year-old native of Denmark is hoping to do the same in North America. He is off to a good start. Foget is working as second trainer for Per Engblom in New Jersey and also picking up drives behind some of the stable's horses. He has driven in 31 races since making his U.S. debut in 2019, winning seven and hitting the board on nine other occasions. Last year, Foget's victories included a Grand Circuit score behind Sermon in the Circle City Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters at Harrah's Hoosier Park. The tandem also captured the Kentucky Commonwealth Series final at Red Mile. "He's a great hand in my barn that's passionate about the business," Engblom said. "As a driver, he's patient and knows where the finish line is. He reads up well before the races and makes very few mistakes." Foget made a name for himself as a top young driver in Europe prior to arriving in the States. His family owned racehorses and as Foget got older he began driving and working in a stable as a second trainer. In 2018, Foget won the European Championship for Apprentices (under the age of 25) one year after finishing second in the competition. "That was a thrill," Foget said. "And it was in Russia, so it was a new and exciting experience." A vacation several years ago to Florida, where he spent time with trainer Paul Kelley, led to Foget beginning his new chapter at Engblom's 35-horse stable. "At first it was just seeing the United States, and seeing how people do things over here, especially with the young horses," Foget said. "When I got the opportunity to work with Per, it was a big opportunity. I had no idea I was going to drive in races. Everything just turned out really nice." Foget enjoys driving but at this point is in no rush to make it the focus of his career. "I really like driving races and if I could be a big catch driver, why not," Foget said. "But I also really like working with the horses and training them. I like to watch them develop. That's what I fell in love with. For now, that's what I'm practicing more. I think we've got some nice horses and want to do good with them. "Of course, if Per can use me (as a driver) with the right horses, maybe they need my point of view with the horse, then maybe he can use me. If anybody else asked me to drive, I'm not going to say no, but my job with Per is my first priority." Foget's top moments so far in the U.S. have come with Sermon. In addition to winning the Circle City and Kentucky Commonwealth Series final, they were third in the Pegasus and a division of the Bluegrass stakes. They also were fourth in the Carl Erskine Trot. "From only driving a couple of races to going to the (Grand Circuit) with all those good horses, that was a nice experience," Foget said. "That was exciting, for sure. When you are sitting behind amazing racehorses, I really like that. "But," he concluded, "I enjoy it all." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Down Under trainer, driver and horses have fantastic harness racing day of winning. Kelvin Harrison and Andrew McCarthy who are both ex-pat down under horse trainer and driver respectively had a big day at the office on Friday at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Trainer Kelvin Harrison won four races and driver Andrew McCarthy won five races. It was a large day for the pair and to top it off all four of Harrisons winners were with down under racehorses all driven by McCarthy. Starting of the successful day came Big On Personality N who lead throughout and hung on to win in 1:51.4 for American Owner and big time supporter of down under horses Richard Poillucci. Next was well bred mare Bettor Trix N who found her way back into the winners circle in North America after a successful Canadian racing campaign. She got up to win in 1:52.1. Big On Personality N winning at Harrah’s Philadelphia Persimmon A then backed straight up in the following race and smashed fellow race competitors to clock 1:51.4. Finally making it three races in a row Claytons Bettor N made a mess of rivals when leading up in the running and shooting clear to cruise past the wire in 1:52.4. Bettor Trix N, Persimmon A and Claytons Bettor N are all owned by Curtin ANZ Stables who also has a large down under connection. Overall it was an outstanding effort by all down under horse people and races horses involved.   Monday 5th April Miami Valley Raceway OH Ideal Legacy A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $4,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Leonidas A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $40,000   Tuesday 6th April Yonkers Raceway NY Galante A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $15,000 Speed Man N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $15,000   Wednesday 7th April Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Jenora A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $5,600 Real Lucky N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $6,800 Trojan Banner N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $6,800 American Boy N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $8,800   Saratoga Harness NY Rckaroundtheclock N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $5,100 Gina Grace N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $4,825 Misty Memory N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $7,200 Pasultimatedelite N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $3,600   Thursday 8th April Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Thebuckeyebullet N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $8,500 Imshortandsweet N – Time: 1:53.3 Stake: $9,000   The Meadows PA Dream Out Loud N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $7,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Motu Moonbeam N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $12,000   Friday 9th April Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Bigonpersonality N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $6,800 Bettor Trix N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $8,800 Persimmon N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $6,800 Claytons Bettor N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $5,600 Steel The Deal N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $10,000   Meadowlands NJ Bettor Not Bitter A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $11,250   The Meadows PA Dream Out Loud N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $7,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Im Benicio A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $12,000 Wardan Express A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $10,500   Saturday 10th April Freehold Raceway NJ Solid Asa Rock A – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $6,300 Sporty Spook A – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $4,200   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Callmequeenbee N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $8,500   Meadowlands NJ Ana Afreet N – Time: 1:49.4, Stake: $30,000 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Colossal Stride A, 3rd Vettel N   Miami Valley Raceway OH Lucifers Legend A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $6,500   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA   Blow A Cloud N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,800   Sunday 11th April Bangor Raceway ME Media Queen N – Time: 1:58.1, Stake: $3,300   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Robbie Burns N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $10,000 Tango Dancer N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $10,00   Northfield Park OH Rub Of The Green N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $10,500 He Can Fly N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $7,200   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

Following a Judicial Control Authority hearing last month harness racing trainer Mitchell Kerr has been banned from ever training horses again. The JCA has handed down the life ban effective immediately, after Kerr was found guilty of four charges. NON RACEDAY INQUIRY RIU V M P KERR - REASONS AND PENALTY DECISION DATED 13 APRIL 2021 - CHAIR, HON J W GENDALL QC Created on 14 April 2021   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY Information Numbers: A11694, A11696, A11698, A11699 In the matter of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT S A Irving, Investigator Informant AND MITCHELL PAUL KERR Licensed Trainer and Open Driver Respondent Inquiry held at Addington Raceway, Christchurch on 25 March 2021 REASONS, and PENALTY DECISION DELIVERED 13 APRIL 2021 Judicial Committee: Hon J W Gendall QC - Chair Ms F Guy Kidd QC - Member Present: Mr D Jackson – Counsel for Informant Mr S Irving – Informant (RIU) Mr D Bates – Witness for the Informant Ms K Williams – Registrar On 25 March 2021 there were other persons present including Harness Racing and press representatives. 1. The Informant RIU charged Mr Kerr with 4 Serious Racing Offences as provided in Rule 1001, alleging that he on each of the occasions, or during the periods defined, committed dishonest or fraudulent acts connected with harness racing. 2. The Informations allege that he offended, by acting in breach of New Zealand Harness Racing Rule 1001(1)(p) and subject to penalties pursuant to Rule 1001 (2) in the following ways: CHARGE 1: Information A11694 “Between September 2019 and November 2020, fraudulently sold a horse and charged training fees and expenses to the owners of the said horse that did not exist, for the purpose of his own financial gain…” [Although perhaps inelegantly worded, the charge was understood to mean, in its first line that he purported to sell a horse that did not exist, and later charged training and other fees to the owners when such did not arise for the non-existent horse] CHARGE 2: Information number A 11696 “Between 2017 and 2020 dishonestly syndicated ownership in horses “A Taste of Honey” and “Come Together” for the purpose of his own financial gain…” CHARGE 3: Information Number 11698 “Between 2019 and 2020 fraudulently over syndicated ownership of the horse “California Dreaming” for the purposes of his own financial gain…” CHARGE 4: Information Number 11699 “Between 2018 and 2020 dishonestly charged owners for insurance premiums on horses when no policies were purchased, for the purpose of his own financial gain…” 3. Rule 1001 (1) in its relevant provision, states: “Every person commits a serious racing offence …who…. (p) commits any dishonest or fraudulent act connected with harness racing”. 4. The penalty provisions for a Serious Racing offence are contained in Rule 1001(2), an offender being liable to (a) a fine not exceeding $30,000 and/or (b) Suspension from holding or obtaining a licence for any specific period or for life, and /or (c) Disqualification for a specific period, or for life. 5. We record some of the background process leading up to the hearing as follows: • After complaints had been made, and Mr Kerr had surrendered his Trainer’s Licence, he refused any interview with the RIU Investigator. • The Informations (originally 5 but one was later withdrawn) were lodged with the JCA on 21 December 2020 and Mr Kerr was served with them on 22 December 2020. Receipt acknowledged by Mr Kerr on 12 January 2021. • He was requested on 13 January 2021 to advise the JCA and RIU whether he admitted or denied any or all of the charges and whether he had legal representation. • He sought time to engage counsel and advise of his plea(s). This was granted. • On 12 February 2021 his counsel advised the Committee had he had received initial instructions to act but there had not been sufficient time to advise as to any plea(s). • Consequently the Committee accorded the Respondent a further indulgence, and asked him to advise by no later than 22 February 2021 whether Mr Kerr proposed to admit or deny any or all of the charges. • No response was forthcoming. • The JCA then fixed the hearing date for 25 March 2021 at Addington and advised the parties. Over 2 months had elapsed since Mr Kerr was served and further delay was unacceptable given his silence. 6. Then, on 15 March 2021, the JCA was advised by Counsel that Mr Kerr had dispensed with the services of Counsel and that “Mr Kerr will now be representing himself in this matter”. 7. The Executive Officer of the JCA at the direction of the Committee advised Mr Kerr that he was required to attend at the hearing on 25 March 2021. He has not attended. 8. Mr Kerr at 8.53am on the morning of the hearing sent an email to the JCA Executive Officer. He said he “could not afford to attend” because of cost and “mental health” issues. He gave no particulars and we cannot see cost of attendance was an issue given that he was representing himself. He said, “I dispute the allegations”. He apologised to the JCA. He added: “I would ask that any material that is prejudicial to me is to be suppressed as it is likely that I will be facing police charges and therefore I would like to protect my fair trial rights”. 9. We heard Submissions on that issue from Counsel for the Informant and a Press Representative present. The application for suppression was declined (Fifth Schedule, Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Judicial Committee and Appeals Tribunal) • Under R 20.1 all hearings are open to the public unless the Committee makes an order that it or any part be held in private. Members of the public are present, and in any disciplinary hearing it is inevitable that “prejudicial material” will be presented to support charges. The profession and public are entitled to know if there has been misconduct through breach of the Rules of the profession. • No criminal proceedings are pending. • Issues of admissibility of evidence and standards of proof are specifically different. • What the Respondent does not want is publicity but that has in a large measure already occurred in Media articles since the Respondent handed in his Trainer’s Licence in late 2020. • Even if later criminal charges were to occur, a Judge (if trial before a Judge alone) will well understand which evidence or material can be admitted. If, which is unlikely, a jury trial occurred – as is always the case, the Judge can properly direct a jury on only using evidence heard in court, and to ignore and put aside anything they may have heard earlier. • Respondents in professional disciplinary proceedings – whether in Racing or other professions – cannot expect a cloak of secrecy to prevent embarrassment when other community and industry interests prevail. • Finally, any decision of the Judicial Committee shall be published by the JCA on its website, unless there is otherwise a direction – Rule 30.2 10. Given the non-attendance of the Respondent, and he clearly had notice of it, he chose to dispense with Counsel and maintain the cloak of silence, we have had to proceed under R. 24.1. Rule 24.2 provides that evidence of fact or opinion which could have been given orally may be given by way of written statement or affidavit and that the Committee has the same power to deal with the Respondent as if he had appeared. 11. We received written statements, properly certified as required, from 7 witnesses together with 39 Exhibits. The evidence which we accepted as persuasive, and which was relevant to the Informations to which it applied, established to our comfortable satisfaction, that is on the balance of probabilities (as required by Rule 31.1 Fifth Schedule) that each Information was proved. Indeed, we concluded by a wide margin, well beyond what the Rule required, that the charges were established. 12. Having delivered our findings as to liability we heard Submissions from the Informant’s Counsel as to penalty. We also heard oral evidence or Statements from Mr D Bates, and Mr P Varcoe (by telephone from Queensland), in the form of victim impact statements. 13. We have since accorded Mr Kerr a further opportunity to submit any penalty submissions he wished us to consider. These were to be received by 5pm Tuesday, 6 April 2021. He has not responded. 14. We now record our reasons for the findings on each Information and deliver the penalty decision. 15. At the outset we need to make it clear that Mr Kerr cannot escape a disciplinary hearing and possible sanctions by relinquishing his Trainer’s Licence. Apart from the fact that his serious misconduct occurred when he held a licence, in any event the long-established law (as early as 1934 by the Privy Council in Naylor v Stephen and the New Zealand Supreme Court in Caddigan v Grigg [1958] NZLR708), any person who so acts as to bring himself within the ambit of the Rules of Racing is liable to the sanctions provided in those Rules. Indeed the NZ Rule of Harness Racing, in Rule 102(1)(o) specifically provides that the Rules apply to “every person who acts so as to bring himself within the purview of these Rules”. That proposition has been applied in several New Zealand cases of discipline for those who infringe against a Racing Code. 16. Information 11694 – Dishonestly or fraudulently selling a “horse” and charging training fees and expenses to the owner, for his own financial gain, when the horse did not exist. 17. Mr P Varcoe is a businessman residing in Queensland. His evidence was that he had been involved in the NZ Harness Racing Industry for many years and he had 3 horses with the Respondent whom he regarded as a friend. In September 2019 he was telephoned by the Respondent. His evidence was that he was told: a) He had a horse brought to his stable and that he had “driven the horse and it was that good that I had to buy it”. b) He was told the price was $40,000 but he only had $20,000. A persuasive salesman, the Respondent said it was by “Bettor’s Delight” (a colt or gelding) and “it’s too good to miss, you’ve got to buy it”. c) Mr Varcoe talked a good friend, John Beverley, into buying the other $20,000 half share in the horse. He advised the Respondent the next day, who told him that the “horse was good to go and it would be ready to run in 3-4 weeks”. An invoice for $40,000 was sent to Mr Varcoe and partner, and paid. 18. Over the next 9 months the Respondent sent monthly invoices to the “owners”, which have been produced as exhibits, for incidental expenses, shoes, vitamins, winter and summer covers, hopples, bridle, herpes injection, training fees, grazing fees, massage and the like. These totalled $26,175.75 over the 9 months. 19. The “horse” was given the stable name of “Beaver” as that was Mr Beverley’s nickname. 20. Mr Varcoe and Mr Beverley telephoned the Respondent monthly to inquire as to progress that their “horse” was making over those 9 months as they had not been able to sight it at workouts, given they had been told it was likely to run 3-4 weeks after October 2019. The Respondent deflected inquiries by saying he would take the horse to workouts “the next week”. 21. By 9 November 2020, the parties’ concerns increased and Mr Beverley emailed the Respondent to say that since purchasing the horse on 27 September 2019 they had received no proof of ownership; he had seen his solicitor; they would like a copy of the “vendor/purchaser document and would like to see a photo of the horse with brand neck visible; and a copy of “insurance papers which has expired”. 22. Mr Beverley concluded: “If we don’t have these documents within 7 days my solicitor will be contacting NZ Harness as well as Christchurch police. Cheers, Beaver.” 23. The Respondent’s email reply was immediate. He said: “No worries Beaver. I will get all this through to you within 7 days. I’ve had nothing but a challenge with this horse and it’s very frustrating as I’m trying to do the best I can for you guys; it certainly hasn’t worked out like I thought it would ….. I am hopeless with the paperwork side but understand your frustration. I will get you what you are wanting, that is fine and hopefully we can get a result soon”. 24. Next, within a week, on 16 November 2020, the Respondent sent an email to the “owners”, in which he said: “Hi guys. I will call you both today to discuss the future of this boy but he is not shaping up at all and I don’t think he is going to make the grade. He has really failed to progress like he should have and I expected, his attitude has certainly slipped and his work on Saturday morning was very ordinary and he is failing to impress me. Enough is enough he either goes for a break and try again next year, give him away as a hack or I will try and sell him to someone else for you guys (this will be hard but I’ll do my best and is the best option I feel). There’s not enough money in the game at the moment for a horse like him … Anyway will call you both today …” 25. The deception and pretence continues. Mr Beverley is not to be fobbed off. Within 8 minutes on 16 November 2020, he sent an email to the Respondent. He said: “I am very disappointed in your email reply you have not answered one of my requests Theirfor (sic) you give me no option but to take legal action. You have continually avoided sending any photos or ownership documents this is why you give us no other option but to take this action”. 26. The fat is now well in the fire. But the Respondent continues the pretence. He emailed back the next day on 17 November 2020, and said: “For God sake!!! I sent an email yesterday outlining my thoughts around the horse and ask for you to get back to me. A: What you wanted to do and B: if you still wanted me to register him now that you had my views and that it would be a waste of money. Now that clearly is all you want is this. I will get this organised, give me a couple of days and it will be done. …. However, I will get an email away to the old owner and get that side sorted hopefully today. I’m really upset that you both think you don’t have a horse, this is insane! I agree paperwork is not a strong point but gee whiz I’m certainly not like that! …. Now please hold off on whatever your thinking as you are way off the mark. Leave it with me.” 27. The stance of a professional Trainer is breath-taking. He endeavours to demean those who he has cheated by saying how upset they have made him by the “insane” belief they did not have a horse. It reflects a continued betrayal. 28. The Respondent is now desperate. The evidence is clear that: a) He immediately sought to acquire a 4yo Bettor’s Delight gelding that a Senior and highly respected Canterbury Trainer had (or he thought he had). He desperately wished to buy this horse but was honestly and responsibly told by the Trainer that “he was no good and I’ve sacked him”. His evidence was “the horse was simply not good enough and I could not recommend him”. His evidence was that the Respondent was “insistent that he wanted to buy” the horse. So he referred him to the owner so as to ask if it could be leased. “No, (said the Respondent) I want to buy him”. b) Two days later the Trainer was told by that Owner that she had “the most bizarre call ever from Mitchell Kerr … he had offered her $20,000 to buy (the horse) but she wouldn’t sell as it was not worth that.” c) The Senior Trainer’s evidence was that he was really surprised “how Mitch was so desperate to buy him after I told him he was no good”. 29. It is obvious, now that the full facts are known, why there was such desperation to find a horse so as to perpetuate his deception. 30. Undeterred, the Respondent, then approached the Spreydon Lodge training operation on 19 November 2020. The evidence of Mr McRae, which we accept, was: • The Respondent, by phone, asked if Mr McRae had an unraced Bettor’s Delight for some owners of his. • He was told there was an unraced 4 year old (Franco Lebanon) spelling in a paddock (nearby). • The Respondent said he would go out and have a look at it that day. • Later that day the Respondent rang back to say he “had just looked at the horse, and he’d take it.” • Price was discussed and he agreed to pay $25,000. • The whole thing was “really unusual and he was in a real hurry. Buying and selling horses is never done like this and it’s just not normal”. 31. The $25,000 was never paid so the horse never left the property. 32. But, the Respondent had something of what he wanted; a photograph of a Bettor’s Delight horse. He immediately sent to the Australian clients the photo of Franco Lebanon, which he obviously took, with the message: “Hopefully it works this time, if it doesn’t I’ll try a different method. If you cannot read the brand – Breeding Bettor’s Delight/Lucca Bromac. Ring today with what you decide with, regarding me training for free and scraping (sic) the bills and taking a share. We’ve come this far so now I’m invested as well and want a result for us all”. 33. Mr Varcoe’s further inquiries revealed that he was certain the Respondent had “deceived, defrauded and lied to me about this horse for over a year.” The partners had paid out $66,175.75 for a horse that did not exist. The Respondent further has not said how they might be repaid and restitution has not occurred. 34. The evidence was overwhelming. There had been not only one act of deceit in securing the purchase price of $40,000 but 9 further and separate frauds on the clients in obtaining monthly payments for expenses that did not, and could not, exist. There had been multiple acts of dreadful betrayal. The serious Racing offence, and corruption, involved multiple dishonesty. Information A11696 – Between 2017 and 2020 dishonestly syndicated ownership in the horses “A Taste of Honey” and “Come Together” for the purpose of his own financial gain. 35. Mr Don Bates was a retired mature person who owns a standardbred horse breeding business. He has spent all his life involved in the Harness Racing profession/industry. He bred a filly by Art Major out of the mare from a family that he had developed and loved over many years. It was named “Taste of Honey”. He was a friend and client of the Respondent. 36. In 2017, when the filly was a yearling, she was offered to the Respondent on a “50/50 deal”. This is a common arrangement in the Racing Industry – where the owner pays no training fees, and 50% of incidental expenses are shared, as is any stake money earned split 50/50. But Mr Bates’ evidence, which we accept, was that he explicitly told the Respondent he was not to sell his share as he did not want to have anyone else in the racing of the horse. 37. Despite those clear directions, the Respondent proceeded to try to syndicate his “share” in the horse. It came as a complete surprise to Mr Bates, about 6 months later, when he was told by a stranger that he had a 10% share in the filly. He went to see the Respondent to tell him, again, that he had given him a half share to train, not to sell. The Respondent said that there were no other owners. 38. The next development was about 2 days prior to the horse’s first race on 12 April 2019, when the Respondent presented Mr Bates with change of ownership papers which showed that 40% of the 50% share of the Respondent had been sold, the Respondent retaining 10%. Mr Bates, a compliant and kindly man, thought it was a fait accompli and did not want the horse prevented from racing because of an ownership dispute. 39. It was later on 2 July 2020 that the Respondent told Mr Bates that he “had a real problem that I’m like the only one that can help him out, he said he had sold 60% of Taste of Honey and he only had a 50% share” … he said it was a genuine mistake. He said he had sold 6 shares for $10,000 each, having valued her at $100,000. Mr Bates said the Respondent should have to pay him the $10,000 he had received for his 10% he had sold. The Respondent said he did not have the money but if Mr Bates would agree to be shown as having only 40% of his filly, he would make up the deficit from any stakes thereafter won. Mr Bates was very unhappy about this yet felt he had to reluctantly agree so that this promising filly could continue to race. There was never any such payment made by the Respondent to Mr Bates. 40. There were other matters of concern to Mr Bates including the non-payment of insurance premiums (although paid by him to the Respondent) for the filly, and this is dealt with under Information A11699. 41. Mr Bates also bred a filly by Art Major named “Come Together”. It was given to the Respondent to train, on the same 50/50 deal and he had no agreement or consent to dispose of his share. Within 10 days, on 10 December 2019 the Respondent had, unbeknown to Mr Bates, emailed his other clients as follows: “Hi …. Here is an awesome opportunity to get involved in a beautiful 2yo filly called “Come Together”. “She is an Art Major out of Blackbird Fly I’ve done everything with her from day dot and she is very nice! She will be all set to race in February. There is a 25% share available for $12,500 10% $5,000 I own 25% Don Bates 40% [this was false] Mark … 10% Really nice guys…” 42. Mr Bates confronted the Respondent and told him that he did not have to honour any sales, but he was told that “he had to”. On 26 November 2020 the Respondent told Mr Bates that he had sold shares to 5 persons for percentages of 25%, 25%, 10%, 12%,25%, and it was not difficult for Mr Bates to conclude that with his 50%, the total ownership shares was 147%. So, whoever was to be the loser, the Respondent was obtaining 97% on his half share. Mr Bates was adamant that he would not agree to any change of ownership and has advised those persons from whom the Respondent has obtained funds to seek refund from the Respondent. 43. The evidence, which we accept, overwhelmingly establishes Information 11696 that the Respondent dishonestly over syndicated (and indeed oversold), for his own financial gain, ownership in the 2 horses, and seriously breached his duty of good faith to his owner and friend. Information A11698 -Between 2019 and 2020 fraudulently syndicated ownership in the horse “California Dreaming” for the purpose of his own financial gain. 44. California Dreaming was a $20,000 purchase at the 2019 sales and owned by a Nelson client of the Respondent. He gave the horse to the Respondent on the usual 50/50 deal. Mr Bates was offered and took a 15% share for $8,000, but later found out that the Respondent had “oversold” his 50% share to 14 persons. He had obtained $92,300 payment for what represented 152.5%, without the knowledge or permission of the original 50% owner. Exhibit “6”, a message from a financial advisor to those who “invested”, confirms that figure. It appears that there were actually 29 “shareholders” who became victims, as some smaller shares were secured on behalf of groups. The Advisor says: “As for the debt Mitch has with us ….. It may be a good idea that we issue a request for payment of the $92,300 he has taken off us before we consider setting up any syndicate with the proper owner so that he has the chance to pay or face the consequences. Does anyone not wish to chase him for their share?”. 45. As with his actions under Information A11696, the evidence clearly establishes that the Respondent for his own financial gain corruptly obtained funds from others by selling that to which he had no entitlement. His modus operandi as used with Mr Bates’ horses was repeated. He has offered no explanation or information to illustrate that he has any answer to what on its face is apparent. Information A11799 – obtaining funds from several owners for insurance premiums for hoses he trained when he did not obtain policies and pay those premiums 46. This was a representative charge. The evidence before us was that, at the very least, despite invoicing clients and receiving payments, for insurance premiums the Respondent did not take out any insurance policies and pay premiums on the following: Taste of Honey The Major William Wallace Come Together California Dreaming Manhatten Absolute Dynamite The “Dummy” horse 47. This has been confirmed by NZB Insurance and Crombie Lockwood. And the Respondent has provided no answer. There are likely to have been other horses not insured and premiums unpaid, although paid by owners to him. There is ample evidence to prove the representative charge. Amounts in excess of $20,000 have been obtained. And, seriously, some of the horses had calculated insurance values, (upon which premium were invoiced) at levels as high as $150,000, $100,000, $120,000. So, the owners were, unbeknown to them, having to carry the uninsured risk. 48. This charge was proved. 49. The Committee received expert evidence which may have relevance to each of the 4 charges as it relates to possible financial issues of the Respondent. It is evidence of B D Payn, an expert Betting Analyst employed by the RIU. The essence of his evidence was (a) Between 2009 and 2016 the Respondent had opened and closed a number of accounts with the New Zealand TAB (b) In November 2020 information had been received that the Respondent had been betting with accounts with the Australian based corporate bookmaker Ladbrokes. On 27 November 2020 Ladbrokes was (under its formal agreement with the New Zealand TAB) requested to provide betting details for the Respondent’s account for 2019 and 2020, (c) The account was opened on 9 November 2016 and spreadsheet detailing all activity encompasses over 60 pages and was produced to the Committee. (d) expert analysis of the spreadsheet data is that the Respondent’s account showed betting on New Zealand and Australian harness, thoroughbred, and greyhound racing and; in the 2019 year it lost approximately $320,000 in the year 2020 it lost approximately $630,000 50. That evidence naturally does not prove any of the allegations but might be seen to provide a background to the fact that the Respondent, a horse Trainer, needed access to some source of funds to accommodate, in 2020, a net deficit of about $50,000 per month. PENALTY OUTCOME 51. The various considerations that ought to be taken into account in the exercise of the sentencing/sanctioning exercise are well known. We have been referred to the comments made by an Appeal Tribunal in RIU v Lawson (13 May 2019) (in particular in paras [26] – [33] as to the general purpose of disciplinary sanctions . We need not repeat all that was then said. Suffice if we say that factors may include: • punitive outcomes on a transgressor • the professional body marking its condemnation and disapproval of the offending conduct • the gravity of any transgressing conduct • the need to protect the public and profession and those who participate in it • the need to maintain or restore public confidence in the profession • the upholding of proper standards of conduct and behaviour • protection of the reputation of the profession and Trainers • deterrence both personal, but also crucially in a case such as this, general deterrence. That is that others who might be tempted to offend in similar ways will know the sanction that they will face if they offend. Other offending is to be deterred so as to protect others and the Industry/profession. 52. We have been referred to comments by the Supreme Court in Z v Complaints Assessment Committee [2009] 1 NZLR 1 as to the purpose of professional disciplinary proceedings which essentially marry with remarks made in Lawson. 53. The Respondent’s conduct as illustrated over the 4 Informations, reaches in its cumulative sense the highest level of serious misconduct. We find it to be seriously corrupt as mentioned in Rule 1001 (1). The interests of Harness Racing requires that the Respondent be subject to an order for disqualification, he has by his repetitive actions forfeited any right (which there is none in that sense, as rather it is a privilege) to be involved in the Harness Racing profession or enjoy any of the benefits of horse racing. 54. As mentioned, the need to deter others who might choose to deceive owners or others in the misguided view that they are entitled to operate in similar ways is crucial. The confidence of owners and others in the absolute integrity of Trainers in whom total trust is vested, is vital. The Sport cannot endure if owners cannot trust Trainers. We heard somewhat poignant evidence from Mr Bates when he said that he found it hard now to trust other Trainers any more having felt cheated and defrauded. He has spent 50 years in the Code that was part of his life. Disturbingly, he said that he has been subject to adverse comments from some sections of the Canterbury Harness Racing community, in a sense ostracising him, and blaming him, he feels, for daring to make his complaints about the Respondent. If that is correct, it is lamentable. So as a consequence he has had to remove his horses to race in Southland and no longer in Canterbury. The significance of that is, if there should be any Trainers or others who might breach these Rules, the general deterrence following from this sanction may prevent similar abuse and deceit of, helpless, owners. It is that general deterrence principle to which we give special weight, in the sentencing balancing exercise so that any Trainer who might tend to forget to whom their duty lies, are aware of possible sanctions they might face if they transgress in similar ways to their owners’ detriment. 55. The confidence of owners in Australia who invest in the New Zealand Harness Racing Industry, must have taken a serious impact, with significant harm to the Code. 56. The Respondent must be disqualified. The only question is for what period. The aggravating features of his offending are many. They include: • dishonest betrayal of many clients over a lengthy period • multiple separate deliberate deceptions of the Australian clients over a year with the reputational harm to New Zealand Harness Racing that must follow • the amounts of funds in excess of $60,00 extracted from the Australians • his blatant actions and attempts to hide his actions and continued self-entitled demeaning of their legitimate concerns • the degree of harm, financial and otherwise, he has caused to those who paid him large sums for shares in horses that could not be supported • his leaving the owners of valuable horses uninsured without their awareness, but took the premium payments for which he rendered invoices • the cumulative impact of the four Informations with the estimated loss to others is in the region of $250,000 which might be greater if smaller syndicate members and owners, and close associates of the Respondent are included • The multiple individual victims – as many as 50 – although precise number are to ascertain • The emotional impact, apart from financial, on many who have been betrayed by the professional they believed they could trust. • Mr Bates’ emotional harm and loss of many thousands of dollars, after 50 years in the sport he has loved is immeasurable • the Respondent has a previous historical offence in 2015 for betting in a race, on a horse which he was driving, for which he was fined $650 57. There are no mitigating factors. All the Respondent has said was that: he has “mental health issues”, but provides nothing in support. It may be that, as a result of the proceedings and disclosure of his grievous wrongdoing, he has developed anxiety, worry, depression and the like (who would not in the circumstances). But there is nothing to suggest intellectual incapacity or compromise over the lengthy period of his offending he says that he has no financial means to meet any financial or costs orders. 58. He cannot call in aid an early, or any guilty pleas. He has continually declined to cooperate and as recent as the day of hearing maintained a denial. Sadly, he has never expressed any remorse or contrition to his victims or the RIU or the JCA. This attitude of self-entitlement illustrates no genuine remorse or sorrow for his victims or the serious harm that has been done to the Harness Racing Code to erode the trust all persons must have in Trainers. We allow the possibility that he has been so embarrassed and traumatised by the discovery of his actions that he cannot “face the music”. But he cannot call in aid as mitigation on sentence any claim of remorse, contrition, apologies (of which there have been none), guilty pleas. 59. The seriousness of the totality of the Respondent’s actions over an extended period, affecting multiple owners/clients, involving very substantial amounts of money, with egregious, appalling breaches of duties of faith and fiduciary obligations, (the ghost horse, the taking of insurance premiums, and the deliberate overselling of syndicate shares), require disqualification for life. Where there is egregious corrupt practice, over an extended period, life disqualification should follow. No other sanction can meet the need to uphold the objectives to which we have already referred in para (51). He is unfit to be involved in any way in the Racing Industry or profession. He can access the provisions of the Rules (Rule 1303,1205) to see the effect of a disqualification order. OUTCOME 60. The Respondent is disqualified for life commencing, in terms of Rule 1301 immediately today the 13th day of April 2021. 61. Somewhat benevolently, the RIU did not seek an order for costs, despite what we gather had to involve vast expenses incurred in investigating and prosecuting the charges. 62. So too, the costs incurred by the JCA have increased expotentially only because of the actions, or inaction, of the Respondent. They now amount to very significant amounts and have arisen only because of the Respondent’s actions. He is ordered to pay a small contribution towards those expenses. We fix that sum as $3,000. It may be that he will not meet that order but under Rules 1401 – 1410 the JCA requests the Board of Harness Racing NZ to direct that Mr Kerr be put on the Unpaid Forfeit List. 63. Likewise, those many victims who have sustained financial loss, are entitled to act under Rule 1403 and request the HRNZ Board to direct that the debts (arrears) owing to them by Mr Kerr be recorded on his Unpaid Forfeit List. By the Judicial Committee. Dated this 13th day of April 2021. Hon J W Gendall QC Chair Ms F Guy Kidd QC Member

On Tuesday afternoon (April 13), the harness racing draws were held for the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, both of which will take place on Monday, April 19 at Yonkers Raceway. In addition to the finals, there will also be consolation races in both events. Leonidas A finished with the most points in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, but the draw for the final was not kind to him, as he will start from post seven in the eight-horse field. Austin Siegelman will be in the bike behind the Sheena Mcelhiney-trained and Jesmeral Stable-owned 6-year-old Mach Three gelding. Trainer Ron Burke has a powerful trio in the MGM Borgata final, as he will send out Rockapelo, Backstreet Shadow, and This Is The Plan. Rockapelo drew the coveted pole position for driver George Brennan, while his stablemates Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) and This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) weren't as fortunate in the draw, as Backstreet Shadow has post six and This Is The Plan the eight. Western Joe, driven by Dexter Dunn for trainer Chris Choate, and Hesa Kingslayer N, piloted by Jim Marohn Jr. for trainer Mike Deters, both scored multiple victories in the prelims, and they will start from posts five and two, respectively. Rounding out the group are Mach N Cheese (post three, Joe Bongiorno/Edwin Quevedo) and Lyons Steel (post four, Corey Callahan/Dennis Watson). Mach N Cheese secured a spot in the final by winning in the final round of the event, while Lyons Steel picked up his lone victory back in the opening leg. In the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, Alexa Skye, who went four-for-four in the preliminary rounds she entered, got post six for driver Todd McCarthy, trainer/co-owner Jeff Cullipher, and co-owner Pollack Racing LLC. Her main rival, Blue Ivy, who raced in all five legs, scoring three victories and two second-place finishes, will leave from post three for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Todd Buter, and owner Renee Bercury. Trainer Nick Devita has a pair of finalists in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final in Siesta Beach (post two, Matt Kakaley) and Caviart Cherie (post seven, Austin Siegelman). Siesta Beach picked up one victory in the preliminaries, while Caviart Cherie checked in second three times. Ron Burke will also be represented in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final as he has Snobbytown in the race. Snobbytown, who had one win, one second, and one third-place result in four starts, will depart from post five with George Brennan at the lines. Machnhope, who will be driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley, started the Blue Chip Matchmaker two-for-two before finishing second and third in her last two appearances. She had the best luck in the draw for the final, as she will start from post one. Completing the entrants in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final are Monica Gallagher (post four, Jason Bartlett/Chris Height) and My Ruebe Star N (post eight, Jordan Stratton/Shane Tritton). Neither mare was able to get a win during the preliminary rounds, but they did score points in each leg they entered. Monday's card gets underway at 7:15 p.m., with the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final going as race seven and the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final following it in race eight. The $60,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series consolation is the fifth dash on the ten-race card, and the $100,000 MGM Borgata Series consolation comes up after that in race six. From Yonkers Raceway

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Plainville, MA --- After hitting the board five consecutive times heading into today's action, Pammy Jo scored her first victory of the 2021 harness racing season in the $15,000 Open Handicap pace for fillies and mares at Plainridge Park on Thursday (April 15) afternoon. Driver Bruce Ranger had a huge day in the bike, winning five races on the card. Ranger scored with Frills N Lace (1:56.2, $3.20), Mach Me Onemore (1:56.1, $2.60), Hired Luck (1:55.1, $6.80), Royalty Again (1:54.3, $14.20) and Major Ted (1:57.3, $9.00). After two days of action, Ranger is the dash leading driver of young Plainridge meet. Pammy Jo (Shawn Gray) left from post four and tucked in behind a hard-charging The Fun Marshall (Bruce Ranger) then remained there for the first half of the race. After a swift :26.1 first quarter and :55.3 half, Gray pulled Pammy Jo at the five-eighths only to be quickly rebuffed back to the pylons by The Fun Marshall, who stepped up the pace again in a :27.3 third panel. After the mares rounded the final turn, Gray pulled Pammy Jo once again and this time went right by the leader. Pammy Jo marched home in :28.3 to post a 2-1/2 length win in 1:52, which was a seasonal mark. PAMMY JO REPLAY   Pammy Jo ($2.40) is owned by Jeffrey Epstein, who privately purchased the mare this past January. The Roll With Joe mare is trained by Alicia Gray. In the co-featured $15,000 distaff non-winners pace for 6-year-olds and under, the 2020 Massachusetts Sire Stake 3-year-old pacing filly champion Ry's Red Rocket (Matty Athearn) took and early lead before yielding to Maverick Fibre (John Nason) to take the pocket trip. The mare stayed patient until the top of the stretch where she pulled, went by Maverick Fibre and then held off the late closing Rockin' Ellie (Bruce Ranger) and Sweet Sue (Jim Hardy) to win by a neck in 1:56.3. RY'S RED ROCKET REPLAY   Owned by Linwood Higgins and trained by Gretchen Athearn, Ry's Red Rocket ($6.40) scored her first win of 2021 in her first attempt of the year. The second fastest mile of the day was registered by Roll With Dom (Ron Cushing) after he cleared past the quarter and then led the rest of the way en route to a 2-3/4 length win in 1:52.3, which was a new lifetime mark. Roll With Dom ($2.60) is owned by the Ed Hart Stable, Tamms Horse Farm LLC and Sweeney Downs LLC and is trained by Heidi Gibbs. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (April 16) at 4 p.m. For full race results, click here. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      Virus-free.
Sb Mikes Hot Beach scored his fifth straight victory in dominant fashion at Monticello Raceway in the conditioned harness racing co-feature on Apr. 15.   The 13-year-old went straight to the lead in his usual style for Greg Merton from post six. He set fractions of :28.3, :58.1, and 1:27.2 before kicking away to win by five-and-a-half lengths in 1:56.1. I'm A Gift (Cory Stratton) rode the pocket and took place, and Cee Pee Panic (Michael Merton) was promoted to third through disqualification.   SB MIKES HOT BEACH REPLAY     Sb Mikes Hot Beach is now 46-for-277 and has earned just shy of $360,000. Candace Brandstatter trains the Magical Mike stallion for Nicole Mason of Freedom.   In the first co-feature, Masterson went three-wide to upset at 10-1.   Driver Brandon Parker dropped him back to fifth through a first quarter of :28.2. The duo rolled second-over going by the half in :58.1. They then went around stalled cover heading to three-quarters in 1:27.3 and bore down on leader Art Nukem (Bruce Aldrich Jr.).   Masterson went by Art Nukem and sailed to a length-and-three-quarter win in 1:56.2. Ideal Magic (Kyle DiBenedetto) closed from last to take the place spot, and Art Nukem held onto third.   MASTERSON REPLAY     Masterson is a nine-year-old Bettors Delight gelding owned and trained by Thomas Milici of Montgomery. The horse has raked in more than $345,000 and won 34 of his 165 lifetime attempts.   In the other co-feature, the North American Amateur Drivers Association Trot fifth leg, Exarch capitalized on his inside post position to go wire-to-wire.   Anthony Verruso rushed him out to an early lead and turned away Keystone Blade (Joseph Pennacchio), who was attempting to drive on. Exarch led through the quarter in :28.3, but Keystone Blade was unable to find a hole and re-rallied through the half in :58.1, and three-quarters in 1:28.2.   The tired challenger kept going through the final quarter and Madhatter Bluechip (Joseph Lee) attempted to go up the rail, but Exarch had too much left. Exarch made it to the finish line to win by a neck in 1:59.1. Madhatter Bluechip got up for second, and Keystone Blade was a game third.   EXARCH REPLAY     Exarch is now 13-for-67 in his career with just less than $200,000 in earnings. Sean Campbell trains the six-year-old Cantab Hall gelding for Fortune Valley Stable of Ballston Spa. Verruso previously drove the horse to victory in a December 2020 NAADA event.   Verruso is enjoying his best season in the sulky already with 4 wins, 2 seconds and 5 thirds in just 16 starts for a .424 UDR. He now has 86 career driving victories.   Monticello Raceway will return on Monday, Apr. 19 with nine races starting at 12:10 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink
MANALAPAN, NJ -- April 15, 2021 -- Attention all Owners and Breeders of New Jersey Sired horses you must be a current SBOANJ member and have a W9 on file with the SBOANJ to be eligible for NJ Sired and Breeder Awards. Owners of New Jersey Sired horses 6-years-old and under racing in overnight races are eligible for an award from the SBOANJ if their horse finishes in the top five at a New Jersey racetrack. Owners must have a current SBOANJ membership and a W9 on file with the SBOANJ to receive these awards. Breeders of New Jersey Sired horses that earn purse money in NJSS and SBOANJ Sponsored races are eligible to receive breeder awards. Breeders must also have a current SBOANJ membership and a W9 on file. If you have any questions please contact the SBOANJ office at 732-462-2357. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  
CHESTER, PA - Two of the three harness racing winners in the featured trots at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday overcame the outside post seven - a starting spot that had been 1-for-60 in the first six days of 2021 racing here - to record impressive victories. Top purse event was a $12,800 contest for developing horses, and the Lionhunter gelding Banzai As reduced his record to 1:56 in defeating pacesetting favorite Rose Run Vincent by a length. Driver Tim Tetrick had to go the tough tuck-then-first-over trip with the Annette Lorentzon trainee, but Banzai As showed himself capable of going on despite the hard journey for the ownership of ACL Stuteri AB. BANZAI AS REPLAY   In one of two $11,600 co-features for fast-class trotters, the Explosive Matter gelding Rich And Miserable went over a half million dollars in career earnings when he posted a 1:54.2 victory for trainer Todd Buter and the partnership of Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. With regular driver Tyler Buter not present, the horse's braintrust turned to driver David Miller - who won with him the last time Tyler wasn't present, on December 4 at The Meadowlands - and the Hall of Famer guided the winner of $500,436 to the lead after an early wide battle and kept him rolling to defeat late-closing Chaptiama by 1¾ lengths. In the other $11,600 fast-class trot, the E L Titan gelding Hayek, who started from post four in his six-horse field, rode a pocket trip behind Sylvesteramericait, then easily overhauled that one by 2½ lengths while taking a new mark of 1:53.2, a tick lower than his former best of last year when he set the all-age track mark at Ontario's Grand River Raceway. Joe Bongiorno, here for his only work of the duty with Hayek, made the old handicapping "single-drive" theory stand up as the favorite in guiding him for trainer/sister Jennifer Bongiorno and the partnership of Evan Katz, David Rovine Stable LLC, and Frank Canzone. Prompted by a carryover of $3,017.50, the Friday (April 16) Pick-5 pool at Harrah's Philadelphia will be guaranteed at $10,000. The guaranteed pool is offered in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. As such, past performance pages for the Pick-5 sequence will be available on the USTA website. The Pick-5 at Harrah's Philadelphia is a 50-cent base wager spanning races five through nine daily, and it offers a low 18% takeout. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

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