Day At The Track
Cover Girl, Harness racing

Upset in listed fillies final

Exciting southern trained harness racing filly Cover Girl has provided a minor upset tonight by taking out the listed $150,000 NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2 Final at Alexandra Park at just her 4th start. After sitting in the trail for the majority of the race Cover Girl (Bettor's Delight-Sossusvlei) utilized the passing lane to beat hot favourite True Fantasy who was brave in second after being left parked for the entire race.. Trainer Bob Butt did the driving of the winner Cover Girl, who paced the mobile 1700m distance in 2-04.1 which equates to a 1-57.4 mile rate. The last 800m of the race was cut out in a slick 56.4 seconds. Earlier in the night speedy trotting filly Time Up The Hill got a deserved win in the Group 3 Haras des Trotteurs Northern Trotting Oaks! The ultra consistent filly went straight to the front for regular driver Ken Barron and held off second favourite Mexicana who ran home well for second. Michael Ward does the training of Time Up The Hill (Muscle Hill - Majestic Time) and he also owns and bred the trotting filly.   View the Alexandra Park harness racing results click here!   Harnesslink Media

Carter Dalgety,Harness racing

Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety

Down Under pacer wins race in North America 10 years after his debut harness racing win in New Zealand. Astonishingly the 13yo Down under pacer Heez Orl Black N was the winner of race number 2 on Sunday at Pocono in Pennsylvania, pacing a winning mile of 1:56.0 around the 1000m (5/8 miles) racetrack. In a completive finish he beat out another down under pacing in the 12yo Highview Conall N. An awesome result to see two down under pacers quinella a race at ages 12 and 13 respectively. The win was a significant one for Heez Orl Black N as it was 10 years and two months since he won his first ever race in February of 2011 in New Zealand, in this race he was driven by the one and only Dexter Dunn. While racing in New Zealand the son of In The Pocket won over $110,000 and was the winner of the Group 1 2yo Welcome Stakes. He was then exported to Australia in February of 2013, where he raced for the next 19 months. In his Australian racing career he won 9 races and was placed at listed level. His next stop was to the USA in November of 2014 where he remains now and has had an extremely successful career. Credit to all horse people involved with this horse.    Monday 3rd May Harrington Raceway DE Match In Heaven A – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $11,000 Major Pocket A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $14,800 Itsrockandroll A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $17,000 Bad Boy Brad A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $14,000 Always Flashing A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $6,000   Plainridge Park MA Duplicated N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $14,000 Mach Up A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $7,000 Ideal Star N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $10,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Sheriff N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $21,000 Raukapuka Ruler N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $37,000 Micky Gee N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $24,000   Tuesday 4th May Harrington Raceway DE Rock N Shard N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $11,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH Persistent Threat A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $5,500   Saratoga Harness NY Gunpowder N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $9,100   Yonkers Raceway NY Alta Leroy N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $14,000 Soho Leviathan A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $12,000 Kerford Road A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $21,000 One Off Delight A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $17,000   Wednesday 5th May Bangor Raceway ME Millwood Faith N – Time: 1:59.3, Stake: $4,000   Buffalo Raceway NY Milliondollargem A – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $7,900   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Kerrin Joseph A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $9,900 On The Cards N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $9,900   Harrington Raceway DE Afterdinnerspeaker N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $4,900   Monticello Raceway NY Machtu N – Time: 1:58.0, Stake: $5,000   Saratoga Harness NY Eden Paige N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $4,500 Misty Memory N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $10,000 Onspeed N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $9,500   Thursday 6th May Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Flying Wingard A – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $6,500   Monticello Raceway NY Go Cullect N – Time: 1:58.4, Stake: $3,400   Plainridge Park MA Patanjali N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $4,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Milwood Bonnie N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $12,000 Jive Dancing A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $21,000   Friday 7th May Freehold Raceway NJ Lynbar Rose N – Time: 1:56.4, Stake: $4,800   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Sly Eleanor N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $6,300   Meadowlands NJ Deltasun A – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $22,500   Scioto Downs OH Lovin Miss Daisy N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $6,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Elrama A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $17,000   Saturday 8th May Cumberland Raceway ME Ima Tragedy A – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $2,400   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Eyespywithmylileye N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $14,000   Meadowlands NJ Keep Rockin A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $16,500   Northville Downs MI Stening A – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $5,500   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA   Bravo Tex N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $7,600 Alluneedisfaith N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $13,000   Sunday 9th May Harrah’s Philadelphia PA San Domino A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $16,200 Dbldelitebrigade N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $11,200   Rosecroft Raceway MD Buckeye N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $4,600   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Heez Orl Black N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $5,400 Lady Rocknrolla A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $11,200   Tioga Downs NY Highrthananeagle A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $5,800   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

Brent Holland, harness racing

Sound Idea solid at Yonkers

Sound Idea was steady on the front end at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday night, leading from start to finish in the conditioned harness racing feature pace.   Sound Idea set out for the lead and her third straight victory as the starting car pulled away. Her post five positioning forced her wide, but she acquired front end control midway through the first turn for driver Brent Holland without much difficulty. Holland rated his charge to fractions of :28.2, :58, and 1:25.4 while maintaining an uncontested advantage.   Somebeachsomefra (George Brennan) lurked in the pocket throughout and gained in the stretch, but Sound Idea got to the line a length clear to score in 1:54.2. Somebeachsomefra was second, and P L Nelly (Daniel Dube) closed for show. A $2 win ticket returned $7.10.   SOUND IDEA REPLAY     Sound Idea has now visited the winner's circle after her past three starts and won 8 from 38 overall. The four-year-old Mach Three mare has earned more than $240,000 for East End Standardbreds of Hampton Bays. Co-breeder John Balzer trains the horse.   Yonkers Raceway will be back on Thursday, May 13 with ten races starting at 7:15 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Louis Baudron, harness racing

Impressionist scores in Gr. III at Vincennes

Impressionist (3m Ready Cash - Une Lady de Nappes - Love You) took the Prix de Faulquemont (Gr. III, purse 70,000€, 2700 meters European males) at Vincennes. Timed in 1.15.9kr this four time career winner now has 100,800€ earned for Ecurie Hunter Valley, breeder/trainer Louis Baudron and reinsman Eric Raffin. Baudron will race Cuatro de Julio on Friday night at the new Meadowlands (USA). Impressionist was the even-money favorite and defeated 46/1 Charmant de Zack (3m Vivid Wise As - Martina Grif) handled by his trainer Marco Smorgon for owner Renato Bruni. Third was 6.9/1 Ikacou des Cinty (3m  ) for owner/trainer/driver Gabriel Angel Pou Pou. Impressionist In the companion Gr. III Prix Fama (purse 70,000€, 2700 meters, three year old European fillies) the 6.5/1 odds I Love Me (3f Love You - Reedite Gede - Buvetier d’Aunou) scored in 1.14.8kr for Tony Le Beller the breeder/trainer/driver and owner Florence Dreux. The 16/1 outsider Chloe Bar (3f Love You - Ohle UR) was second for Marco Smorgon and 7.6/1 Ilga de l’Ormerie (3f Carat Williams) was third for Matthieu Abrivard. I Love Me Three year olds were also on stage at Marseille-Borely this day in the Prix Carcanniere (purse 18,000€, 2300 meters autostart, the LeTrot Open des Regions). The 7/10 favorite Indie Love (3f Ready Cash - Tes Amours - Goetmals Wood) scored in 1.16.8kr for trainer/driver Loris Garcia. This Ecurie D bred, Jean Pierre Dubois owned, filly recorded her second career triumph in four starts now for 16,420€ earned. I Letro Julry was second and Invictus Love took third money. Indie Love LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Stallion Series circuit makes its local 2021 debut during the Sunday twilight harness racing card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono - and they've saved the best for first, as the "glamour division" three-year-old pacing colts kick off the Pennsy-sired action at the mountain track with three divisions of Sire Stakes and seven divisions of Stallion Series action. 2020's Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year Perfect Sting makes his seasonal bow in the ninth race Sire Stakes division after posting wins in all ten of his freshman starts. The fastest-pedigreed Standardbred horse (by 1:46 pacer Always B Miki out of the 1:47 mare Shebestingin) has put in qualifiers of 1:52.2 and 1:52.3 for trainer Joe Holloway in preparation for this contest, and David Miller will be driving the colt from post five in the field of seven. Drawing the outside starting slot in this field is the Somebeachsomewhere colt Summa Cum Laude, who dead-heated for the win with Perfect Sting in last season's Breeders Crown final. Trainer Ron Burke has selected Dexter Dunn to handle Summa Cum Laude on Sunday. Southwind Gendry, an altered son of Always B Miki who was beaten just a head in that Breeders Crown final and who won the faster division (1:49.4) of the first Sire Stakes prelim at The Meadows, is the early favorite in the tenth race division; the Burke trainee will team with Yannick Gingras here. Sure to drawn attention is the $800,000 yearling One Eight Hundred, a Somebeachsomewhere colt who tied for fastest win in Pennsylvania All-Stars action here last weekend with a 1:50.1 triumph, and who Sunday has drawn the rail for trainer Nancy Takter and driver Tim Tetrick. The other 1:50.1 All-Stars winner was Gamblin Mo (post four, trainer John Butenschoen, driver Tyler Buter), and the other Sire Stakes winner was Literl Lad Hanover (1:51.1, post three, trainer Burke, driver David Miller). But neither of these horses is favored in the eighth race Sires cut; that honor went to Exploit, second in the Governor's Cup last year and third in his seasonal debut at The Meadowlands, with closing fractions of :53.1 - :26.1. Exploit begins from post five for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Joe Bongiorno. The Stallion Series races will not lack for competitiveness or speed: the five divisions at The Meadows averaged 1:51.2, and four of the winners, plus 1:50.2 All-Stars winner Emblaze Hanover, are among the entrants. The first of fourteen races on Sunday is set to go postward at 5 p.m.; program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. From the PHHA/The Downs

When it comes to physical talent, Muscle Dynasty checks all the boxes for trainer Paula Wellwood. When it comes to focusing on his work, though, the 3-year-old harness racing trotter leaves Wellwood scratching her head. Muscle Dynasty is one of 20 Hambletonian-eligible horses entered in Friday's opening round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands. The colt, who won last year's New Jersey Futurity, competes in the third of three $25,000 NJSS divisions. For his career, Muscle Dynasty has won three of 15 races and hit the board a total of seven times. He has gone off stride in seven starts, including his most recent on May 7 at The Meadowlands against a field of mostly older rivals in a conditioned event. "He has all the tools, but he doesn't have a brain to go with them," Wellwood said. "It's concentration, that's all it is. He's got all the attributes. He doesn't do anything wrong, he's a lovely horse, but his concentration will lapse. It's aggravating because he's such a pleasure. "Talent-wise, it's there. Whether we can get the brain to match, I don't know." Muscle Dynasty, named Storm The Hill originally, is by Muscle Hill out of Miss Liv. He was purchased for $55,000 at the 2019 Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Dreamville Stable, which is Wellwood, her husband and training partner Mike Keeling, son Devin Keeling, and mom Jean Wellwood. The family shared the experience of winning the 2016 Hambletonian, and subsequently the Trotting Triple Crown, with Marion Marauder. Wellwood has tinkered with Muscle Dynasty's equipment in the hopes of improving the colt's focus, but nothing has clicked. "He was like this last year," Wellwood said. "We gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought he would grow up, but he hasn't. Every day is a new day in his world. What happened yesterday is gone. "He takes nothing seriously. He's just like a big kid and he doesn't want to mature. It's not there yet anyway. He trains good, he's a sound horse, he's a big, strong horse. If the switch gets flipped, he's going to be a very, very nice horse." Muscle Dynasty faces seven rivals Friday, with six eligible to August's $1 million Hambletonian, including 2-1 morning-line favorite Take This Society from the stable of trainer Nancy Takter. In the first division, Cuatro De Julio is the 9-5 favorite for trainer Marie Ortolan Bar. Ake Svanstedt's Lindysmusclemania is the 5-2 favorite in the second division. That field also includes Valley Victory winner Bee Forever and Peter Haughton Memorial champ Zenith Stride. The Meadowlands on Friday also hosts two 11-horse divisions of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. Seventeen of the fillies are eligible to August's Hambletonian Oaks, including Wellwood-trained Limoges. Limoges, who is in the second NJSS division, made her career debut on May 3 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. She was three-wide around the final turn and last at the top of the stretch but closed strongly to finish fourth, beaten by only one length. She missed last season because of an injury. "We were just ready to qualify her when she had a crack in a knee and we had to quit," Wellwood said. "But she always showed ability. She was very good gaited, wanted to do her work, and had some speed. She had all the attributes needed. We gave her a lot of time and, knock on wood, we have no issues right now." Limoges is by Trixton out of Spice Queen. She was purchased for $40,000 at the 2019 Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Dreamville Stable. She is a half-sister to Grand Circuit winner Dancing For Money, who is the dam of O'Brien Award winner Dip Me Hanover. Wellwood shared a connection with both those horses, either as trainer or owner. "We're very happy with her," Wellwood said about Limoges. "She's grown up and gotten stronger, she just doesn't know anything. She's so very green. But she is getting it. I think when she figures it out, she's going to be OK." Imhatra AM S, trained by Marcus Melander, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the second NJSS division. Eazy Pass, from the stable of Nifty Norman, is the 9-5 favorite in the first. Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EDT) Friday at The Meadowlands. The Big M and TrackMaster have teamed to regularly provide free past performances for each race card. Past performances can be found here on The Meadowlands website. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Lavra Joe has bounced back from his WA Derby defeat in stunning fashion, winning last night’s harness racing Retravision Pearl Classic first heat (2130m) at Gloucester Park by 15.7m. The Roll With Joe colt finished fourth in the Derby last month, but returned to his brilliant best, leading throughout and rating 1:53.8. Machnificent took a sit on Lavra Joe, who was able to work to the front comfortably in the early stages and never troubled. The other heat was taken out by the David Thompson-trained Otis, who sat outside Rock On The Beach and fought off a late challenge from WA Derby winner Mighty Ronaldo. The Justin Prentice-trained Mighty Ronaldo settled rearward for Gary Hall Jnr and stormed home to finish second and set up a rematch with Lavra Joe in the May 21st final. Bettor Beach Belle made a winning start for her new trainer Nathan Turvey in the first heat of the Diamond Classic for the fillies. The daughter of Bettors Delight, fourth in last month’s WA Oaks, held up comfortably from the inside draw and rated 1.59.5. Turvey wasn’t sure what to expect from Bettor Beach Belle. “I was happy to get away with the win,” he said. “She hadn’t settled in too well since I took her over. “I hope the 10 days to the final help her.” Hall Jnr sealed a Diamond Classic heat double when he teamed up with the Prentice-trained Always An Angel. It was a terrific drive by Hall Jnr, who was able to land in the one-one position from barrier nine and wear down leading pair Newsy and Joelene.   By Tim Walker for RWWA

A patient Scott Zeron kept Levine in the pocket until the final eighth and rolled past in the stretch to score in the Yonkers Raceway harness racing feature pace on Tuesday.   Levine was quickest off the car from post five, but Genius Man and Austin Siegelman pressed on to the lead from the outside and took it as the field of eight turned onto the backstretch. Genius Man paced panels of :28.1, :58.3, and 1:26 with no first-over opposition, but Levine angled outside as they entered the stretch.   Levine needed only a short burst of speed to get by, and Zeron had him wrapped up as he came to the finish victoriously in 1:54. Genius Man was second, and Tell Them Lou (Matt Kakaley) converted his three-hole trip into a show finish.   LEVINE REPLAY     Levine, a four-year-old American Ideal gelding, has won nine of his 32 lifetime tries and raked in more than $130,000 in earnings. The driver also owns; he employs Megan Scran as the trainer. The horse paid $4.10 to win.   Yonkers Raceway will return on Wednesday, May 12 with a nine-race card starting at 7:15 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

HARRINGTON, DE - She's Pukka N ($17.20, Tony Morgan) was a 1:53.2 harness racing winner Tuesday in the featured $20,000 Mares Open Pace at Harrington Raceway. The 6-year-old Betterthancheddar mare, a mild 7-1 long shot, led most of the way after gaining early control from post position seven, for a decisive win over Rock N Shard N and My Kiwi Lady N. She's Pukka N rebuffed a bold charge out of the pocket from favorite Anytime N towards three-quarters and drew away confidently from the field for a two length victory. Trained by Brian Malone, it was her 4th win of the year. SHE'S PUKKA N REPLAY   Morgan had 4 wins on the card, following his 3 win night Monday.. Mike Cole and Art Stafford Jr. each had a driving double. For full race results, click here. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway    

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Dragon Again four-year-old horse Gray Dragon, in career form, gained into a :26.2 last quarter to overhaul 2019 Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show in 1:49.2 in one of three $15,300 featured harness racing contests Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Mark MacDonald sent Gray Dragon right to the lead early, encouraging other leavers to tuck, then ceded command to Best In Show when that one, favored in his 2021 debut, brushed to command past the :27 quarter. Best In Show (whose dam, Put On A Show, was in the news today as she was sold after being bred to Tall Dark Stranger to a Hunterton Farms-based group) put up good midrace fractions of :54.4 and 1:23, then really turned on the afterburners in the lane, but Gray Dragon had an even higher gear, coming his last eighth likely better than :13 to go by the pacesetter by a half-length.   GRAY DRAGON REPLAY   John Butenschoen, the hottest of trainers at Pocono lately, has found the key to this one for Emerald Highlands Farm. In the feature event for distaff pacers, Marsala Hanover, a winner of over $275,000 at two, made a successful seasonal bow for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Linda Toscano with a 1:52.2 victory. The daughter of Captaintreacherous came uncovered past a soft half, but she paced her own back half in :55 to win impressively for the Let It Ride Stable Inc., Bottom Line Racing LLC, South Mountain Stables, and Little E LLC.   MARSALA HANOVER REPLAY   In the trotting section of the day's features, Papi Hanover was hard-used to make the lead, but then had a great view from the two-hole as Rose Run Vincent went by and hung favored Can't Say No in a vicious duel. Papi Hanover then came back in the Pocono Pike for driver Fern Paquet Jr. to win a five-horse blanket finish in 1:54.3, a new mark.   PAPI HANOVER REPLAY   The altered son of Explosive Matter scored the 18-1 upset for trainer Karen Fread, who is also co-owner with Randy and Michael Toth and James Mims Jr. A huge early-season clash among the horses in the sport's glamour division, the three-year-old colt pacers, will take place at Pocono on Sunday's twilight card, with three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action and seven sections of Stallion Series racing. Among the stars coming to Pocono are the undefeated Perfect Sting, last year's two-year-old champion making his seasonal debut here; Summa Cum Laude, who dead-heated for the win with Perfect Sting in the Breeders Crown last year; Southwind Gendry, a head behind the dead-heaters and a 1:49.4 winner in the first Sire Stakes prelim at The Meadows; and One Eight Hundred and Gamblin Mo, both of whom won in 1:50.1 here in Pennsylvania All-Stars action this past Saturday. For full race results, click here. From PHHA/Pocono

Nancy Takter's (@NancyTakter) latest training artistry comes in the form of sculpting a stable of promising harness racing trotting talent. One of Standardbred racing's most accomplished and decorated trainers isn't one to leave all the challenges to her horses. Having already built a reputation as a producer of primetime pacers, a list that includes Tall Dark Stranger, Kissin In The Sand, Always A Miki, and Captain Crunch, just to name a handful, Takter, who also campaigns trotting titans Manchego, and Sorella, is bolstering her band by introducing more trotters into the fold. With a notable number of trotters now under her care - the most she's ever had in her career to date - the winner of 410 career races is busier than ever. Not that she's complaining. "In the past, I didn't have a big group of higher-end trotters that I do now," said Takter, the Dan Patch Trainer of the Year award winner in 2020. "Bad trotters are really tough to train, but good trotters, they are amazing to train. I'm appreciative to have the opportunity to train these horses and to get them prepared for their racing careers." Orchestrating the development and consistent performances of a trotter demands a broad skillset and a patient hand. From the constant tinkering of equipment, to transferring lessons learned from training over to race night, to finding ways to lower times while keeping the horse flat, endeavoring to find the winning trot formula is hardly an easy undertaking. "With trotters, their gait is obviously more difficult than a pacer's - you put hobbles on them and they pace, generally. As far as trotters go, it's a lot more of a fine line getting them gaited and getting extra seconds out of them. A shoe change can completely change your trotter, where if you're going from aluminum to steel, or vice-versa, on a pacer, you might change the horse a little bit, but you're not going to have that much of a drastic difference. The gait of a trotter, timing is just so much important. You have to find the exact key that fits each particular horse. If they aren't relaxed with themselves they can get into interfering and causing more problems for themselves. There are a lot of small pieces that have to come together more so training a trotter than it does a pacer." An accomplished bay daughter of Muscle Hill, trained by Takter, is a prime example of the precision required for trotting success. "If you look at a horse like Sorella, she wore four or five different shoes last year and she won the Hambletonian Oaks with no shoes. The horses change throughout the season and you need to adapt your methods constantly. They develop and get stronger over the year and you're going to want to find more speed. It's a constant tinkering game with the trotters. You could win an elimination or do well, but the next week, you need to find another gear and that extra fifth of a second. That fifth of a second could mean a major difference between whether you win or not." So, does all of that multi-layered, labor-intensive effort, make Takter part scientist, engineer and mathematician? Not quite. "Training horses isn't a science. I think people want it to be a science, but I think it's more of an art form." Fortunately for Takter, access to one of the sport's masters is just a phone call away. "If we're going to go with the art theme of training, the greatest artist ever is probably my dad [legendary trainer Jimmy Takter]. I think what made him so great at what he did is that he was able to find out the timing and the key for each individual horse. He always tell me, 'Don't just settle and be happy with how it is.' That's great advice." Advice she will be sure draw upon when working with her expanded group of trotters. "There are so many variables. Very rarely do you see a pacing race at a high level where horses make breaks. Occasionally, it will happen in a trot race. Whether it's because they're anxious or something happens leaving the gate... you do see those things occur. So, any success you have with a trotter is a little bit more fulfilling." A first win in the prestigious $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot, slated for September 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, would certainly be fulfilling for Takter. "That would be great. I think we have a couple shots this year. Maybe we can get it done." By Chris Lomon / @ChrisLomon

The Aby harness racing card in Sweden on Sunday was a great show featuring four top races and some well-regarded winners. The Lovely Godivas (250,000SEK first prize, 2140 meters autostart) saw 2/1 Allegra Gifont (5f Maharajah - Realm of Fancy - Ginger Somolli) triumph in 1.13.2kr for Mika Forss and trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro. This was her 17th career win in 30 starts for 2,082,760SEK earned. 10/1 Mellby Harissa (5f Maharajah - Merger Blue Chip - Cantab Hall) was second for Robert Bergh. In the Gr. I King Gustaf Pokal (1,000,000SEK first money, 2140 meters autostart), Onas Prince (4m Chocolatier -Sobra - Pine Chip) scored in 1.13kr for trainer/driver Per Nordstrom at 1.6/1 odds. Onas Prince is unbeaten in four 2021 starts and has 12 career victories in 17 appearances now for 2,762,200SEK earned. Rome Pays Off (4m Muscle Hill - Order by Wish) was second for Robert Bergh. Onas Prince In the Queen Silvias Pokal (1,000,000SEK first prize, 2140 meters autostart, mares) the 4.3/1 Fifty Cent Piece (4f Muscle Hill - Thatsnotmyname - Windsongs Legacy - Graceful Touch) scored for Robert Bergh timed in 1.12.6kr. This one secured her seventh career triumph in 20 starts now for 2,429,854SEK. This day she bested Honey Mearas (4f Readly Express - Khao Manee - Muscles Yankee) with Orjan Kihlstrom up. The card also included the Lyon GP (250,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) and 12/1 Rotate (5g Scarlet Knight - Hermit Lady - Express Ride) won in 1.13.8kr for Bjorn Goop. He defeated 1.1/1 favorite Hail Mary (5m Googoo Gaagaa - Dreams) for Robert Bergh and Upset Face (5m Joke Face - Iona LB - Supergill) was third for Adrian Kolgjini. The Elitloppet invites as now listed below: Hickothepooh Dorgos de Guez Don Fanucci Zet Ecurie D Vivid Wise As Aetos Kronos ATG, Aby. Elitloppet files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

Trotting stallion Volstead is the first victim of the proposed ‘Stallion TAX’ Harness Racing Australia announced on April 16. Haras des Trotteurs Principal Pat Driscoll felt coerced to not shuttle the American-bred European-winning stallion back Down Under after having close to 90 services this last breeding season. The Stallion TAX will see a 15 per cent charge on the advertised service fee of shuttle and internationally domiciled stallions (transported and frozen semen) and is anticipated to generate in excess of $2million annually. “It just does not make any sense to bring Volstead back down here with this crazy tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like,” said Driscoll about the only trotting stallion shuttled to Australia in the 2020/21 breeding season. “I had to make the call by the end of April and I have had to say no. “It is a shame. We worked hard to find a nice stallion and we bred him to our good mares to give him a great start and through all the expenses of bringing him down, we didn’t cover costs in year one, no money was returned to the US (United States) and it will probably be that way in year two when we finish working the numbers. “Even this year if we brought him down we probably would have broke even but then apply this TAX, it just doesn’t make it worth while. “Through Volstead we sponsored the Redwood Classic for the past two years and now that won’t be happening. “These are some of the flow on affects of this new tax/levy/financial imposter that have not been thought about.” Following such positive results from the recent Nutrien Standardbred Yearling Sale in Victoria plus the latest news that breeding numbers were up 10.3 per cent nationally for the first time in more than a decade, Driscoll believes this Stallion TAX is a backwards step. “It is easily the worst decision I’ve seen in the years since I’ve been involved,” stated Driscoll. “There is no other place in the world that there is a tax/levy/financial imposter that subsides racing. “You have the sires’ stakes-type races but that money generally goes back into the same pool . . . this doesn’t. “There isn’t a river of gold at studs as some may perceive. “I can only speak of Haras des Trotteurs but I’ve been operating at a loss since I started. “There are transport costs, advertising, futurity payments, stallion collection and quarantine costs, administration fees and so on. “It’s not this golden goose that people think it is, it is a labour of love for many including Haras des Trotteurs. “We’ve just come off a successful sale where for the first time in history the trotters average was higher than the pacers. “Then, we received some great news that breeding numbers are on the way back up. “We are on an upward trajectory and then they do this. “I didn’t think too many things would derail the growth of trotting in Victoria but this will. “This will severely impact the breeding of trotters in Victoria as the cost of breeding will increase, people will breed less and it could also severely compromise the quality of trotters bred. “We sent out a survey to our stakeholders, a big cross-section of the industry from those that spend who spend $1925 for Used To Me to a service fee of $11,000 for Love You, and 85 per cent are not in favour of this new levy and 80 per cent said they would breed less mares.” The HRA Executive, a ‘membership limited to the State Controlling Body in each of the six states of Australia as well as the six Principal Clubs’ has proposed the immediate introduction of this Stallion TAX to raise funds for the harness racing industry in Australia.  The way in which these funds will be distributed has not been decided yet. The HRA Executive has anticipated this TAX will generate in excess of $2million annually and will be responsible for the invoicing, collection and distribution of the TAX. This has Driscoll and others perplexed. As documented on the HRA website the AHRC (Australian Harness Racing Council and changed to HRA in 2008) was initially created to administer the Australian Trotting Stud Book, to maintain a Central Register of Name, to keep records and to control and enforce the Rules relating thereto. It is the forum and co-ordination point between the State Controlling Bodies for uniformity of rules and reciprocity of horsemen’s licences, registration of horses and suspensions and disqualifications. In addition, HRA acts as the national body in international harness racing affairs and is a member of the International Trotting Association. As a joint member of the Event Committee set up in 2008 with Harness Racing New Zealand, HRA is involved in supervising the Australasian Inter Dominion series (formerly under the auspices of the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council Inc). “How did we get this far?” asked Driscoll. “If you read HRA’s legislations they are keepers of the studbooks, rules and regulations and each state runs their own racing. “It’s gone from that to wanting to put a tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you may, on stallions. “I feel as though Victoria has been sold, as most of this money will be raised here. “I’m staggered that Harness Racing Victoria have let this happen to their own state. “Add to the fact that roughly 90 per cent of trotting mares bred are bred/reside in Victoria and assuming a very large number of pacing mares are bred and also located in Victoria, it’s not difficult to see that most of the tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like, raised, would be in Victoria and go where and to what?” Going by this past breeding season’s numbers, if all the same shuttle/frozen semen stallions were to remain, this levy will affect 52 stallions (28 trotting and 24 pacing) in Australia and New Zealand. A breakdown of those numbers show that 28 of those stallions are with Victoria, nine in Queensland, eight stallions in NZ, five in New South Wales and two in Western Australia. “I just can’t come up with a logical answer. “I’m all for improving the sport, I’ve invested a lot of my own money trying to do so with sponsorship and breeding. “If people want to have a $1million race, ask those seeking to have the race sponsor it!” To read HRA’s entire media release regarding the ‘Stallion Levy’ and propositions for these funds, click here. By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

Rollwithpapajoe was solid on the engine as he went wire-to-wire in the Monday night $37,000 harness racing Open Trot at Yonkers Raceway after trailing throughout in the start prior.   Joe Bongiorno moved decisively as the gate left this week and sent the son of Roll With Joe to the lead out of the three-hole. There was no opposition from his seven rivals as Rollwithpapajoe put up :28.1, :57.1, and 1:24.2 splits. Pocket-sitter Escapetothebeach (Jason Bartlett) gained nothing on the leader in the stretch, and Rollwithpapajoe withstood a charge from Ostro Hanover (Tyler Buter) to score in 1:52.   Ostro Hanover was a length back in second, and Escapetothebeach mustered the show spot. The winner paid $4.30.   ROLLWITHPAPAJOE REPLAY     Rollwithpapajoe is now a 17-time winner with earnings greater than $350,000 in 49 starts. Jennifer Bongiorno trains for owners Barbara Bongiorno Stable LLC of Monroe, Bill Kambos of Astoria, and Dionisios Liberatos of Manhasset Hills.   Yonkers Raceway races again on Tuesday, May 11. There are 10 contests scheduled and a first post of 7:15 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Disgraced harness racing trainer Jesse Alford has been disqualified for period of seven years after he was caught injecting two horses with a prohibited substance. Details below: BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003 IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing SIMON ANDREW IRVING, Racing Investigator for Racing Integrity Unit (“RIU”) Informant JESSE JAMES ALFORD, Licensed Trainer Respondent Information Nos: A14131 – A14133 Judicial Committee: Mr A Harper, Chairman - Mr R McKenzie, Member Counsel: Mr M Hodge, for Informant                Mr K Cook, for Respondent In Attendance: Mr J Alford, Respondent                         Mr N Grimstone, Manager Integrity Assurance for RIU                         Mr S Irving, Registrar  RESERVED PENALTY DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE DATED 10 MAY 2021  Background 1. On 25 February 2021, the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club conducted a meeting at Addington Raceway. 2. The Respondent, Jesse James Alford is a Licensed Public Trainer and a Junior Driver under the Rules of New Zealand Harness Racing (“Rules”). He has been a Harness Trainer for two seasons. 3. The Respondent had three horses engaged for that race meeting. They were: (a) Race 1 – Jimmy Cannon; (b) Race 5 – Johnny Nevits; and (c) Race 5 – Motor Mouth. 4. As a result of information which had been received, the RIU conducted a surveillance operation of the Respondent’s stable during the day of the race meeting. 5. As a result of that surveillance operation, all three horses were scratched from their engagements that evening, and three Informations were filed against the Respondent. In addition all three horses were ordered to be transported to Addington Raceway for the purposes of swabbing. 6. By letter dated 11 March 2021, the General Manager of the RIU authorised the lodging of these Informations pursuant to Rule 1108(2) of the Rule of Harness Racing New Zealand. 7. Counsel for the Respondent has indicated all three Informations are admitted. Informations 1. Information Number A14131 alleges: “That on 25 February 2021 at Woodend Beach, North Canterbury…did administer to Jimmy Cannon which was entered in race 5 at the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Clubs Meeting at Addington that evening, a prohibited substance by way of hypodermic syringe, in breach of the New Zealand Harness Racing Rule 1004(l) and subject to the penalties pursuant to Rule 1001(2)”. 2. Information Number A14132 alleges: “That on 25 February 2021 at Woodend Beach, North Canterbury…did administer to Johnny Nevits which was entered in race 5 at the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Clubs Meeting at Addington that evening, a prohibited substance by way of hypodermic syringe, in breach of the New Zealand Harness Racing Rule 1004(I) and subject to the penalties pursuant to Rule 1001(2)”. 3. Information Number A14133 alleges: “That on 25 February 2021 at Woodend Beach, North Canterbury…did attempt to administer to Johnny Nevits which was entered in race 5 at the New Zealand Metropolitan Clubs Meeting at Addington that evening, a prohibited substance by way of nasal gastric tube in breach of the New Zealand Harness Racing Rule 1004(I) and subject to the penalties pursuant to Rule 1001(2)”. Summary of Facts 1. As a result of information which had been received, the RIU conducted a surveillance operation of the Respondent’s training premises at Woodend Beach, North Canterbury. This was on the day the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club was conducting a meeting at Addington Raceway. The date was 25 February 2021. 2. At 3.10pm on that day, the Respondent arrived at his stables and all three horses were brought into the tie up area of the stables. 3. At 3.21pm the Respondent was observed coming out of the feed room with a syringe. While another person held the horse Jimmy Cannon by its headcollar, the Respondent injected the horse in the neck with 10mls of “Formalin”. 4. The Respondent then returned to the feed room and placed the empty syringe in a rubbish bin. 5. The Respondent then emerged from the feed room shaking a plastic container containing bicarbonate of soda and water mix. This is more commonly referred to as “milkshake”. 6. On removing tubing gear from the feed room, the Respondent blew out the tube and applied a twitch to Johnny Nevits. Another party held the twitch. 7. The Respondent attempted to insert the nasal tube at which point Johnny Nevits became fractious. The tubing was abandoned and the gear was taken back into the feed room. 8. On returning from the feed room with a syringe in his hand, and while holding Johnny Nevits with his left hand, the Respondent injected the horse in the neck with Formalin. 9. The cap was replaced on the syringe and returned to the feed room. 10. Investigators entered the property and spoke to both the Respondent and the other party who was present. 11. They located in the feed room a plastic bucket containing tubing gear, including a rubber hose and plastic funnel, several empty syringes in a wheelie bin and a 2 litre plastic container containing Formalin. The labelling on the plastic container had been removed. 12. There was also located in a closed drawer in the feed room, a third syringe loaded with Formalin. 13. All horses were scratched from their engagements at Addington Raceway that night and were transported for the purposes of swabbing and blood testing. 14. Betting analysis indicated there had been a number of unusual bets placed on the day prior to race day. Analysis confirmed fixed odds for Motor Mouth opened at $9 and reduced to $2.80. 15. Tubing is the process of inserting a rubber or plastic tube through a horse’s nose into its oesophagus for the purposes of administering a liquid substance. A funnel is usually attached to the tube and the liquid poured into the funnel by using gravity. This forces the liquid into the horse’s stomach. 16. Needling or to needle is the process of injecting intravenously into the neck of the horse. 17. Formalin is a ready to use solution for fixation of histological samples and may also be used for treating footrot and scald in animals. Its active ingredient is 10% formaldehyde. The side effects from injecting a concentrated solution of Formalin into the vein can affect the cardiovascular system thus making it a prohibited substance under the Rules when administered in this manner. 18. The concentrated Formalin is very corrosive to live tissue. No studies have been conducted as to the effects of intravenous Formalin as no Ethics Committee in the world would approve a trial on welfare grounds. Respondent’s Statement 1. On questioning, the Respondent made a statement to investigators. Comments made in the statement included: (a) He admitted to injecting Jimmy Cannon with a “bleeder shot” and attempting to tube Johnny Nevits with a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and water. (b) He denied injecting Johnny Nevits stating that he went to inject the horse, but then his conscience got the better of him and he did not proceed. (c) He initially confirmed the injection consisted of 2mls vodka and 10mls of sodium chloride, but later acknowledged it was Formalin. (d) These admissions were forthcoming only when he became aware his actions had been observed, or when challenged. (e) When loading his horses to transport to Addington Raceway for swabbing, the Respondent stated “what made you guys come out here today, was it the betting that…. It must have been the betting”. Informant Penalty Submissions 1. The Informant makes reference to two recent decisions in this jurisdiction being an Appeal Tribunal Decision in RIU v Lawson and also the decision in RIU v Kerr. 2. It is the position of the Informant these two cases, together with consideration of animal welfare issues, should guide the Committee when determining penalty. 3. It is submitted the penalty must be a period of disqualification given there are three serious racing offences. 4. The JCA Penalty Guide suggests a starting point of 18 months disqualification for a first administration offence, followed by periods of 3 years and 5 years disqualification for second and third offences respectively. 5. The RIU maintains the starting point must be significantly higher given: (a) Prohibited substances were successfully administered to two horses within a period of hours before they were due to race. (b) The Respondent may well have also administered a prohibited substance to a third horse being Motor Mouth if investigators had not arrived when they did. (c) The Respondent also attempted to administer a second prohibited substance to Johnny Nevits, and was only prevented from doing so due to the horse’s distress and becoming fractious. (d) Investigators located a number of empty syringes which may be seen as demonstrating a pattern of this type of offending. (e) There are serious animal welfare consequences of the offending. (f) Another party was involved, although the Respondent was clearly the primary offender. (g) This offending has caused significant reputational damage to the Industry. 6. Reference was also made to the recent case of RIU v McGrath. 7. Mr McGrath attempted to administer a prohibited substance by way of nasal gastric tube. However, it was noted: (a) Mr McGrath’s only intention could have been to enhance the horse’s performance and therefore the motivation for the offending must have been financial. (b) Another Licence Holder was involved, although that is not the case in this instance. (c) The most likely substance to be administered was an alkalising agent designed to improve the horse’s performance. (d) The conduct had a significant impact on the Racing Industry’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. 8. In the McGrath case a starting point of 10 years disqualification was adopted. Having regard to some mitigating factors, the Committee ultimately determined a penalty of 8 years disqualification. 9. RIU submissions suggest: (a) The Respondent’s offending is more serious than Mr McGrath given there were two and potentially three horses involved and two successful and one attempt at administration of prohibited substances. (b) There is direct evidence of the substance which has been administered and this gives rise to very serious animal welfare concerns. The substance which was likely to have been administered by Mr McGrath carries less severe welfare consequences. (c) The prohibited substance is Formalin and the dose administered is an aggravating factor. (d) The motivation can only have been financial as evidenced by the Respondent making reference to betting. (e) Weight has to be given to the impact on not only the owners of the horses, but also the Racing Community as a whole. (f) A serious impact on animal welfare concerns given the very high standards which are now demanded by not only the public at large, but also the Industry. 10. The Informant therefore submits a starting point of 12 years disqualification as appropriate, but having regard to mitigating factors being: (a) An admission of guilt quickly; and (b) His cooperation with Authorities; and (c) It is his first breach; Then a final disqualification of 8.5 – 9 years is sought. Respondent’s Submissions on Penalty 1. The Respondent has admitted his guilt to the three Informations and understands a condign response is necessary. He acknowledges a period of disqualification is inevitable, but submits a disqualification that is “sufficient but no more than is necessary to achieve its purpose” is called for. It is submitted a penalty must be “proportionate”. The reference is RIU v Lawson. 2. The issue therefore becomes what is an appropriate period of disqualification. 3. The Respondent submits the penalty which the Informant seeks is manifestly excessive. It is unjustified when having regard to the JCA Penalty Guide. 4. The Respondent submits a starting point in the range of three years disqualification is appropriate. 5. We were referred to a recent Court of Appeal decision Zhang v R (2019) NZCA 507 when referencing Penalty Guidelines. The underlying principle and justification for guidelines is to promote consistency and to ensure like cases are treated in a like manner. 6. However, the case also confirms that consistency is not an absolute determinant. “The Guidelines judgements are just that, “guidelines” and must not be applied in a mechanistic way”. 7. Reference was also made to the recent Appeals Tribunal decision in Orange v RIU where it was stated: “The Guide does stress the need for consistency, but recognises the need to retain the Judicial Committees discretion to be exercised within readily ascertainable and transparent parameters”. 8. Mr Cook on behalf of the Respondent then deals with the starting point, having regard to the Penalty Guidelines. He submits a three-year disqualification is an appropriate starting point 9. It is accepted that given the Respondent has pleaded guilty to three Informations an uplift from the suggested starting point of a first offence being 18 months disqualification is appropriate. 10. There is a further submission that as the three offences are of a similar kind and are connected in time, they should be treated as concurrent offences. 11. Mr Cook has set out in some detail the personal circumstances of the Respondent. He has a partner and together they have one child with another child due later this year. The Respondent has been the primary income earner, but since the interim suspension of his trainer’s licence, he has found it difficult to earn an income. 12. There has been adverse media publicity which has impacted the Respondent. Any disqualification will have a significant impact on the Respondent both during the period of disqualification and subsequent to that. 13. There are also clear indicators the Respondent is extremely embarrassed and remorseful. 14. Concern is expressed by the Respondent to submissions by the Informant that we should be attracted to a starting point which had been adopted in the McGrath case. It is suggested the uplift in starting point was not adopted by the Committee because of the administering offence, but due to subsequent behaviours of Mr McGrath. 15. We were referred to a 2015 decision of RIU v Lynch. This case involved three charges of administration on three different dates. This is as opposed to the situation with the Respondent where there are three charges in respect of offences which took place on the same day and within minutes of each other. 16. In the RIU v Lynch case the Committee applied a separate penalty in respect of each charge. The RIU sought a penalty of five years disqualification, but in that instance the Committee determined a four-year disqualification in respect of one charge and that penalty was to be served concurrently with the other two. 17. Mitigating factors submitted on behalf of the Respondent include: (a) An early guilty plea; (b) His very clear embarrassment and remorse; (c) His previous good record; (d) The harm which he will suffer both during the period of disqualification and subsequent; and (e) His previous good character. 18. A discount is therefore sought in the range of 30% from the initial starting point as being appropriate. Penalty Decision 1. Both parties are agreed the appropriate penalty is one of disqualification. Under Rule 1001(2) the penalty provisions for a person who commits a serious racing offence are: (a) A fine not exceeding $30,000.00; 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. 2. The issue for this Committee is therefore what is an appropriate term of disqualification. 3. Compelling submissions as to penalty were filed on behalf of both parties. 4. Mr Hodge on behalf of the Informant maintained the offences were at the top end of offending under Harness Racing New Zealand Rules and were extremely damaging to the Industry and public confidence. 5. Mr Cook on behalf of the Respondent submitted we should be guided by the JCA Penalty Guide. We can deliver a stern response, but the penalty should be no more than necessary. 6. There is an obvious gulf between the parties as to the appropriate level of disqualification. That is the matter currently in front of the Committee to determine. 7. We noted the Appeals Tribunal decision in RIU v Habraken where it was stated: “The lifeblood of racing depends upon millions of dollars wagered in New Zealand. Loss of confidence with punters and the community and the integrity of the sport/industry, inevitably carries grave risk to its wellbeing.” 8. There are a number of aggravating issues we have considered. These are: (a) There are two admitted charges of administration and one admitted charge of attempted administration. Parties all agree the attempt was so close to the administration they should all be treated in like manner. (b) The Respondent involved another party who although not a licence holder, may well have been exposed to charges as well. (c) The offences occurred on the same day as a Race Meeting where the horses were engaged and therefore the only motivation could have been financial. (d) There are serious animal welfare issues arising from the administration of Formalin. This has a significant impact on the Racing Industry’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. The Industry cannot maintain its social licence in order to continue to operate without maintaining a high standard of animal welfare. (e) The actions have brought the whole Industry into disrepute and challenges the integrity of the sport which could potentially have a devastating effect from any lack of confidence from the wagering public. 9. Matters of mitigation include: (a) Although initially in a denial the Respondent quickly admitted the inevitable. (b) A guilty plea was entered early on, although again having regard to the circumstances of the surveillance, a finding of guilt was inevitable. (c) An agreed summary of facts was put before the Committee. (d) The Respondent is remorseful for his actions, even though this remorse came after apprehension. However, the manner in which the Respondent spoke to the Committee both during the hearing and at the conclusion, leads us to believe there is now genuine remorse. (e) A clear record within the Industry, even though he has been licenced for only a relatively short period of time. (f) A number of favourable character references. 10. Sentencing principles were detailed in the Appeals Tribunal decision in RIU v Lawson: “Proceedings under the Rules are designed not simply to punish the transgressor, but crucially are to protect the profession/public/industry and those who are to deal with the profession… The Harness and Thoroughbred Racing Industry is a profession where key participants are required to be licenced in order to practice in various ways within that sphere. Comprehensive Rules of practice behaviour procedure and the like are set down in extensive detail in the Rules which govern the codes and behaviour. As with most professions a careful internal disciplinary and regulatory process is set up. Those who practice within the professions…are subject to sanctions for breaches of standards of conduct or rules designed to protect members of profession as well as the public. Such sanctions can be at the highest end, include removal from a profession for serious breaches of professional rules and standards involving dishonest or immoral conduct. Such behaviour if unchecked may greatly harm the reputation of the profession and bring it into disrepute – that is the public loses confidence in it”. 11. Given the aggravating features to the offending, together with the very serious concerns on matters of animal welfare, the interests of the Industry and Profession must take a higher priority than the personal interests of the Respondent. 12. In RIU v Lynch which was referred to by Mr Cook, there was a penalty of four years disqualification imposed. This was in response to three administrations, but over a period of time rather than simultaneously as we have on this occasion. 13. However, that decision was in 2015 and since that time there has been a significant shift in attitudes in matters of animal welfare. On that basis alone, we see comparisons with Lynch not compelling. 14. Equally we do not see the Penalty Guide as being any more than a guide only in these circumstances. The penalties referred to in the Guide even with the uplift suggested by Mr Cook would clearly result in our view, in a manifestly inadequate penalty. 15. We have considered RIU v McGrath. In that case a starting point of ten years was adopted. There was one administration charge and two other charges which were not matters of administration. The Committee in the McGrath case did however state the starting point of ten years disqualification included a small uplift for previous breaches of the Rules and further offending in 2020. From those comments we assume the starting point would have been slightly less than ten years disqualification, but for these other matters. 16. There are some difficulties in directly comparing the McGrath case and this present one. These include: (a) A case of one administration and second offence in respect of Mr McGrath. (b) Two administrations and one attempted administration, but no previous breaches in the case of Mr Alford. 17. Even aside from those differences when looking at a totality by means of comparison, we have determined an appropriate starting point to be nine years disqualification. 18. We will give an allowance for the mitigating factors which we have referred to, although the allowance cannot be to the extent sought by Mr Cook. 19. Having regard to the mitigating factors we reduce the period of disqualification to a period of seven years and that penalty is to be concurrent in respect of all three charges. In assessing this penalty, we do take into account the fact Mr Alford had his Licence suspended from 25 February 2021. The disqualification will take effect from the date of this decision that is from 10 May 2021 to 9 May 2028. Costs 1. Mr Hodge at the hearing advised the Committee the Informant would not seek costs. That is a generous position to take but in recognition of the early guilty plea and the acceptance of an agreed summary of facts. 2. The JCA is entitled to costs. We fix those at $2,000.00. This is significantly less than the actual costs actually incurred.   Alan Harper Chairman

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Sound Idea was steady on the front end at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday night, leading from start to finish in the conditioned harness racing feature pace.   Sound Idea set out for the lead and her third straight victory as the starting car pulled away. Her post five positioning forced her wide, but she acquired front end control midway through the first turn for driver Brent Holland without much difficulty. Holland rated his charge to fractions of :28.2, :58, and 1:25.4 while maintaining an uncontested advantage.   Somebeachsomefra (George Brennan) lurked in the pocket throughout and gained in the stretch, but Sound Idea got to the line a length clear to score in 1:54.2. Somebeachsomefra was second, and P L Nelly (Daniel Dube) closed for show. A $2 win ticket returned $7.10.   SOUND IDEA REPLAY     Sound Idea has now visited the winner's circle after her past three starts and won 8 from 38 overall. The four-year-old Mach Three mare has earned more than $240,000 for East End Standardbreds of Hampton Bays. Co-breeder John Balzer trains the horse.   Yonkers Raceway will be back on Thursday, May 13 with ten races starting at 7:15 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink
A severe acident occured in the second race pace at Saratoga Raceway Wednesday. Lady Floquence and driver Samuel King were in fourth at the half mile marker when they moved first-over to challenge the race leaders. Then on the third turn Lady Floquence fell to the track. That caused a chain reaction with five horses interfered with and four horses falling to the track. Harness racing driver Jay Randall was taken to the hospital with several injuries. The horses involved all eventually walked away from the incident. Since the race was declared a no contest, the Virginia O’Brien Memorial Pacing Series has now been postponed for two weeks and will start anew on May 26th with the first of two legs that will lead up to the Final which will go for a purse of more than $30,000. The $14,000 Fillies and Mares Open-Handicapped Pace was the harness racing feature Wednesday. Driver Greg Merton picked up the catch-drive behind the Rob Harmon-trained Robyn Camden in the feature for distaffers after scheduled pilot Jay Randall was injured in a race two wreck. Robyn Camden always thrives when she comes to town and the invading mare continued that trend as the race’s 1-5 betting favorite on Wednesday. Merton took Robyn Camden back early and she sat patiently in a first half that went in 57 seconds. The six year old swung first-over past the half and unleashed an attack on the race’s front-running longshot before drawing away to win in 1:53.4. Surreal Feeling (Alek Chartrand) brought a three-race local win streak into the Open and made a late move after getting away last in the six-horse feature. Behind a strong final quarter, Surreal Feeling finished as the runner-up to Robyn Camden.Thats Incredible (Brett Crawford) earned the show spot. Robyn Camden is now two-for-two in the local Open this season for her owner Jason Osullivan of Dublin, Ireland. ROBYN CAMDEN REPLAY   Live racing resumes at Saratoga on Monday afternoon with first post set for noon.    For full race results, click here. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It was a 'blue chip' performance by Protect Blue Chip ($3.70) as she captured the $10,200 Class A-Open Handicapped Pace for the harness racing filly and mares at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday evening (May 12). She held off Ellieonthemove by a solid length in season's best of 1:56.1.   Wonderful World (David McNeight III) took command from the rail in the featured event and cruised along with splits of :28.4, :58.0 and 1:27.0. Those fractions proved to be too much for Wonderful World in the end.   The first over Protect Blue Chip took over the lead with a panel to go and her cover brought Ellieonthemove into serious contention.   It turned out to be a two horse race to the wire with Protect Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) keeping Ellieonthemove at bay and registered the length score. Yankee Secret (Ray Fisher Jr.) managed to collect the third place check.   Co-owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable, Team Rice Racing and Adelphia Bloodstock Inc., it was the second win in six outings for 6-year-old mare Protect Blue Chip (American Ideal - Lucky Turn). The Maria Rice trainee has now produced a bankroll of $15,140 in 2021 and $134,505 in her career.   Call My Broker (McNeight III) took full advantage of the inside post and went gate to wire in winning the sub-featured $7,900 Class B trot over All About Thechase (Mike Caprio) in a seasonal best 1:58.4 over the fast track.   It didn't take long for Call My Broker to fire to the lead and put up fractions of :29.2, :59.1 and 1:29.4. In the lane, there were threats coming inside and out but Call My Broker stood strong and held off All About Thechase by a neck behind while Le Millenaire (Billy Davis Jr.) had to settle for third.   Owned by Franklin Meier and conditioned by Angelo Nappo, it was the third victory in 11 appearances this season for the 7-year-old gelded Call My Broker (Muscle Massive - Pretty Crafty). The win jumped his seasonal earnings to $15,480 and $167,124 lifetime.   Kevin Cummings, Kyle Cummings, McNeight III and Shawn McDonough all had driving doubles while Tammy Cummings had two training wins.   Racing will continue on Saturday evening with an 11-race card scheduled with a special 7:15 p.m. post time in order to accommodate the running of the Preakness Stakes.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HARRINGTON, DE - Quiksilver Bluechip ($2.20, Victor Kirby) was a dominant winner in 1:56.3 in the $15,000 winners-over trotting feature Wednesday at Harrington Raceway. The 5-year-old Credit Winner gelding was sent to the front from post position six and never relented in his 3-length score over Pardon My Way and Jammin Jack. Trained by his driver and co-owner Kirby, it was the second win of the year for Quiksilvr Blue Chip, who is also owned by Tyler Raymer, Stephen Moss and Brian Hoffecker. QUIKSILVR BLEUCHIP REPLAY   Former Harrington driving champs Kirby and Allan Davis each had success on the card, as Davis had 4 wins, including 3 in succession in races 3 through 5, while Kirby had a driving triple. Art Stafford Jr. had a double, including a win aboard trotter Manatlas ($3), who won his 3rd straight race in 1:57 for trainer and co-owner Wayne Givens. Co-owned by Reginald Hazzard and Gary Calloway, the 5-year-old EL Titan gelding notched his 5th win in 6 starts this year. Live racing will continue on a Monday through Wednesday schedule. For full race results, click here. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway
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