Day At The Track

By Garrick Knight After three months on the sidelines, Todd MacFarlane is just happy to be back doing what he loves. The experienced horseman returned to race night driving last week after an extended period of convalescence thanks to a couple of grumpy horses. “I copped a decent kick in the back while out with a jog team,” he told HRNZ. “I had one in the cart and two on the leads and they were fighting with each other. I got caught in the cross-fire.” The result? Some pretty serious injuries. “The main issues were a bruised kidney and a split liver. “It meant two months recovery but for the third month I felt fine and like I could return. “But they wouldn’t give me medical clearance because they felt like it hadn’t given my liver enough time to heal properly. “So, even though I felt alright I had to watch from home.” The worst part, MacFarlane says, was that he was on his own when the incident happened and he had three horses in his control. “I just had to suck it up for a while there and try and get back to the barn.” Any good trainer is only as good the team around them and that more than rung true for MacFarlane, who had to rely heavily on his staff for a fair few weeks. “Luckily I’ve got a good crew and they all did their bit, keeping things going.” MacFarlane has his second night back driving at Alexandra Park this evening and will pilot three horses, including two stable runners. Maiden mare Royal went out very well-supported in her resumption last week off the back of an impressive trial on August 31. But she let her supporters – and MacFarlane – down with a middling effort to finish fourth behind Some Do last week. “She’s no star but I was a little bit disappointed with her last week. “I’m hoping for a bit of improvement this week because if she runs like she did in that trial, she won’t be very far away.” Bookies have let her go this week, opening her at $14, well behind race favourite, Down The Hatch ($1.70), who has drawn the ace for Steve Telfer and Benjamin Butcher. “He went super last time out and will be very hard to beat. “Hopefully we can settle handle and finish in the money.” Recent maiden winner Cyclone S Adams opened at $21 for the R47-55 trot and MacFarlane concedes that he’s still a wee way away from reaching physical maturity. “He’s still very much a work in progress. “I think once mentally and physically he develops, he’ll be a good honest horse. “He’s got a lovely way of going and generally his manners are really good. “But he’s a bit tall and immature and that’s just going to hold him up for now.” MacFarlane expects his race team to ramp up over the next month and is looking forward to the return of stable star Heavyweight Hero, along with a number of promising maidens, including Joshua Richard and Harvey Spector. “Hopefully one or two of them step up; in another month we should have quite a handy team around us.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Little Rocket Man might be on the small side, but it has not prevented the 3-year-old harness racing pacer from coming up big for trainer Missy Essig and owners Russ Beeman and Jack Freeman. The gelding, unraced at age 2, has won 10 of 14 races this season and earned $137,630 as he heads to his first career Grand Circuit event, Friday's (Sept. 20) $170,000 Jenna's Beach Boy Stakes at Harrah's Hoosier Park. "He has no idea he's small," Essig said. "He's full of himself." Entering this season, Essig expected "absolutely nothing" from Little Rocket Man. Last year, the horse was sidelined longer than expected following surgery to be gelded and his connections decided to skip the season to give Little Rocket Man additional time to heal and, perhaps, grow. He did not grow much and training down for his 3-year-old campaign showed little interest in breaking the two-minute barrier. It seemed the horse was destined for the Indiana fair circuit, until he got behind the starting gate with a field of horses. "Then, he woke up," Essig said. "He's got his own personality. He's kind of aggravating in the barn; he can be a little ornery. But on the racetrack, he's great. He's very versatile. He can leave, he can sit in the pocket; he's very easy to control that way. You can put him where you want to put him in a race. That's the best thing about him, just the way he races." Little Rocket Man is by Rockin Image out of GT Miss Royal. Essig trained GT Miss Royal for part of her 10-year career on the racetrack. "My dad (Beeman) always said he wanted a baby out of her," Essig said. Little Rocket Man, bred by Victory Hill Farm, was GT Miss Royal's first foal. Freeman signed for Little Rocket Man, then named Just Like Pete, after purchasing the horse for $18,000 at the 2017 Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale. "He's been a nice one to have in the barn, that's for sure," Essig said. Little Rocket Man has picked up four victories on the Indiana Sire Stakes circuit and swept the Jerry Landess Series as part of a four-race win streak in April. He is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line in the Jenna's Beach Boy, leaving from post five with driver Trace Tetrick. Century Farroh, who has won 11 of 13 races this year including the Simcoe Stakes over Meadowlands Pace champ Best In Show and North America Cup winner Captain Crunch, is the 3-1 favorite. "We're really pleased with the post position," Essig said. "I have a good feeling. I hope it all pans out. You don't know until the gate folds." The Jenna's Beach Boy is part of a stakes-filled card Friday at Hoosier Park. Maple Leaf Trot winner Guardian Angel AS is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $230,000 Caesars Trotting Classic for older trotters. The field also includes 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, 2016 Trotter of the Year Marion Marauder, and stakes winners Crystal Fashion, Six Pack, and Fiftydallarbill. McWicked, the 2018 Horse of the Year, is the 3-1 favorite in the $176,000 Harrah's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers. This Is The Plan is the 7-2 second choice followed by Jimmy Freight at 4-1. Evident Beauty, coming off a victory in the Elegantimage Stakes, is the 9-5 favorite in the $135,000 Moni Maker Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. There also are Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers and trotters and the Elevation for 2-year-old male pacers. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) Friday at Hoosier Park. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Cut Above bounced back to her best form with a fast-finishing win in fast time at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night and is poised for another powerful effort in the Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace on Friday night. The Matt Scott-trained mare, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, is favourably drawn at barrier three on the front line and should prove to be a serious rival for the strong, in-form Craig Saligari-trained six-year-old Bob Wheel. “Racing twice in the space of four days won’t worry her,” said Scott, who will set a personal record of nine starters at a Gloucester Park meeting. “Cut Above and Son of a Tiger are probably my best winning chances, but Clarenden Hustler, Rock Me Over and Charlie El have each-way prospects.” Cut Above sat behind the pacemaker Highroller Joe before finishing fast to win narrowly from Dredlock Rockstar on Tuesday night, rating 1.56.9 over the 2130m after the three final quarters in 28.4sec., 27.5sec. and 29sec. Cut Above, a winner at one of her two starts in New Zealand, has proved a good investment for Tim Blee, who outlaid $25,000 to buy the mare, who now has had 34 starts in Western Australia for 11 wins, 12 placings and $66,352 in prizemoney. “She has also been high maintenance,” said Scott. “On her first day here, she bucked and got her leg over the cart. She had to have three months off and still has a big scar on a back leg. She’s fine now, but we only lead her in her work because she still bucks at home.” One of Cut Above’s rivals on Friday night is stablemate Always On, who will start from barrier six with Chris Voak in the sulky. The five-year-old Always On, a former Mildura performer, set the pace from barrier four before wilting to finish sixth behind Atmospherical over 1730m last Friday week when making her first appearance in WA.       “It was a very disappointing first-up run,” said Scott. “I’ve changed his work and he has worked a bit better and I’m not sure whether we’ll blast him out (at the start) or drive him with cover. “ Scott admitted that he was also disappointed with Neighlor’s past two unplaced efforts but is hoping for an improved effort from the No. 1 barrier in the Etch Coating Pace. “Whether we’ll lead or race with a sit — I’ll leave that up to Shannon (Suvaljko),” he said. Scott said that he expected another strong showing from Son of a Tiger in the Simmonds Steel Pace in which the New Zealand-bred five-year-old will start from barrier six. “It’s a tricky draw and he goes up in class, but the speed should be on, and that will suit him,” he said. “I reckon they’ll go 1.55 again and he’ll be coming home.” Son of a Tiger started out wide at barrier nine last week and impressed when he was ninth at the bell and charged home to win from Carter Micheal and Extreme Prince, rating 1.55.2 over 2130m. “He will probably have a spell after this week’s run and then freshen him up for Christmas when the Christmas Gift or Nights of Thunder should be right up his alley,” Scott said. “Clarenden Hustler and Rock Me Over are each-way chances. Clarenden Hustler from barrier eight has quick beginners inside of him, but he doesn’t have to lead to win; he can win with a sit and he’s definitely not out of it (in the Worldwide Printing Pace). “Rock Me Over is consistent and has each-way claims in the final race, while Charlie El is likely to find it hard from the wide draw at No. 8 in race six. But Clarenden Hustler couldn’t beat Charlie El on the track two weeks ago and he didn’t get out when fifth at Northam on Saturday night.” Ken Casellas

A sparkling trial at Byford on Sunday morning is a strong pointer to a win by James Butt in the 2130m Specialised Equipment Funding Solutions Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He’s a nice horse who is tough and tries hard, but his greatest strength is his high speed,” said eight-time West Australian premier trainer Ross Olivieri, fresh from preparing four winners last Friday night. James Butt, who was handled in the 2150m trial by his regular reinsman Chris Voak, has drawn awkwardly at barrier five in the field of nine at his first appearance after an absence of 54 days. But he has the natural speed to overcome this disadvantage. In a three-horse trial at Byford, James Butt burst to the front after 500m and then dashed over the final three quarters in 30sec., 29.3sec. and 27.2sec. to win from open-class performer Waylade at a 1.58.2 rate. “He’s in with a chance and will go good on Friday night,” said Olivieri. “Hy Leexciting and Major Pocket have drawn to his inside and they are in good form and should prove hard to beat.” James Butt, a five-year-old by American stallion Big Jim, won at three of his 20 starts in New Zealand and has impressed in Western Australia with four wins and two placings from ten starts. Hy Leexciting, an eight-year-old to be driven by Emily Suvaljko for Banjup owner-trainer Ian Barker, is racing keenly and was a convincing winner three starts ago after racing without cover. He is favourably drawn at barrier two. The Ray Williams-trained Major Pocket also will have many admirers from barrier No. 3. With five seconds and one third from his past eight starts, he is overdue for a change of fortune. Also in contention is the polemarker, the Craig Hynam-trained Presidentmach, who will be driven for the first time by Shannon Suvaljko. He is a noted frontrunner, with eight of his 12 wins in South Australia coming after setting the pace. The most recent of his four wins in this State was when he started from the No. 2 barrier and set the pace before scoring from Quincey Brogden at Gloucester Park last April. Olivieri said that he was also looking forward for strong showings from The Last Parisian in race one, the Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace, and Ardens Concord in race eight, the Worldwide Printing Pace. The Last Parisian, to be driven by Chris Lewis from out wide at barrier eight, will return to mobile racing after contesting stands at his past five starts. This will be his first appearance since he galloped at the start and finished at the rear behind Seven Demerits over 2560m at Northam on August 3. The Last Parisian came from fifth in the middle stages to finish second to talented four-year-old Ana Afreet in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. “It was a very good trial and he has gone forward since then,” said Olivieri. “Ardens Concord is also an each-way chance.” Ardens Concord will be driven by Chris Voak from the prized No. 1 barrier and he is capable of improving considerably from unplaced efforts at his past six starts since he set the pace from barrier two and won from Waimac Attack at a 1.57.5 rate over 2130m in March this year. Ken Casellas

World champion Warrawee Ubeaut turned in an impressive two heat performance to win the $259,600 Jugette for three-year-old filly pacers Wednesday (September 18) at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. At the start of the $155,760 final heat, Treacherous Reign (Dexter Dunn) protected his rail position forcing Warrawee Ubeaut and Yannick Gingras to sit second. As the field passed the 1/8 mile pole, Gingras sent Warrawee Ubeaut after the lead but Treacherous Reign forced the eventual winner back into the two-hole at the quarter in :26 2/5. The field raced in post-position order past the half in :55 2/5. As the field approached the same point as the failed clearing attempt, Warrawee Ubeaut exploded out of the pocket and cleared Treacherous Reign past the three-quarter pole in 1:23 3/5. Gingras sat cool in the bike as the duo sprinted home in :26 3/5 to stop the timer in 1:50 1/5, which equaled the stakes and world record. Ideation Hanover (James MacDonald) rallied to take the place spot, Treacherous Reign held on for third and Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett) was fourth. The win was trainer Ron Burke and Gingras' third Jugette title. The swift daughter of Sweet Lou is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Phillip Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel-Libby and Weaver Bruscemi. Warrawee Ubeaut leaves Delaware with a five race win streak and $1,175,393 in career earnings. Warrawee Ubeaut with all the happy connections (Brad Conway Photo) The second $51,920 elimination, Stonebridge Soul (Tim Tetrick) was sent hard off the gates wings and led the field briefly until Warrawee Ubeaut retook control before the opening quarter of the mile. Warrawee Ubeaut was not seriously challenged and cruised to a 6¼ length win over Stonebridge Soul with Carbon Capture (Chris Page) and Under The Hood (Joe Bongiorno) also advancing to the final heat. In the first elimination, Treacherous Reign was sent off the starting gates wings and took control of the field with Bestseller Hanover sitting in the pocket. Treacherous Reign turned back a challenge from Ideation Hanover and cruised to a 1¼ length victory in 1:52. Bestseller Hanover and She's Allright (Chris Page) finished third and fourth respectively to advance to the final. Jay Wolf

Morton Grove, Illinois (USA) – September 18, 2019 – The Night of Champions (NOC) – the biggest night of standardbred racing in the State of Illinois at Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney, Illinois, this Saturday night, September 21, 2019, at 6:30 PM CDT ,The Horseman’s Voice will be covering the harness racing event from strictly a grass-roots level.  “The information age is upon us, for it is now time for us to showcase and highlight the beauty of standardbred racing from all aspects as we plan our efforts for 2020 and beyond,” stated Publisher/Podcaster Eric M. Poders, “The international horse racing community has waited long enough and the people of the State of Illinois will be excited for the future prospects of Illinois racing will be in the next 2-3 years.” Due to the uncertainty of racing over more than a decade, Illinois racing is at the forefront of revitalizing the sport internationally, “The time has come as Illinois racing has spiraled and as they say ‘when you get to the bottom you go back to the top’ will be our new drive in re-vitalizing efforts in promoting strictly Illinois racing worldwide,” Poders continued, “Moving forward for 2020 we’re anticipating lots of new technological advances for promoting the sport all while keeping it local, and grassroots – and we’re excited moving forward. Hawthorne Racecourse is planning to invest $500 million all whilst preserving live racing and building a facility suitable for all breeds of horse people and we’re excited to showcase to the world their efforts statewide.” The Horseman’s Voice is an international online media source that originated in 2003 as a small tri-fold brochure then quickly grew into an international podcast within six (6) months within the Standardbred (Harness) Racing Industry. For more information contact Publisher Eric M. Poders at +1.847.530.2222 or publisher@horsemansvoice.com

The studmaster at Australasia’s leading harness racing breeding farm has warned the trend towards the use of frozen semen threatens to collapse the industry “within a few years”. Alabar Farm proprietor Alan Galloway was a pioneer of cryogenics (frozen semen) 30 years ago, but now says it’s not feasible on an industry-wide basis and has the potential to threaten the viability of harness racing. “It’s too expensive, it has poor outcomes and actually can be quite cruel on the mares, but none of those things are admitted to by those advocating frozen semen,” Galloway said. “From a breeder point of view, the difference is not well understood. Most breeders think ‘frozen’ means ‘chilled’ and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said. “Frozen semen gets terrible results in comparison to fresh, chilled semen – foaling rates suffer, because there are lower conception rates and also higher percentages of foals aborting. “On top of that, to impregnate mares using frozen semen is expensive for the breeder, taxing on the mare and stressful on farm staff.” Galloway said the intensity of effort required for acceptable fertility rates was one reason Alabar virtually ended its use of frozen semen. “We still do a little but it’s a huge amount of work,” he explained. “Frozen semen is less viable – just by freezing the cells, you reduce their viable number by half – and getting mares pregnant means costs go through the roof because of the work involved. Frozen semen is normally packaged in 0.5-ml straws, with eight straws (800 million sperm cells) representing one insemination dose. Although there is tremendous variability between stallions, a typical ejaculate from a stallion will provide approximately eight insemination doses (approximately 64 straws). “You need to be absolutely accurate in your timing of insemination, because instead of fresh semen living for five or six days in the fallopian tubes of the mare, you have only three or four hours where frozen semen is viable,” he said. “So, to have the best chance of getting a pregnancy, you need to be scanning mares every three or four hours in their fertility phase.  This can be hard on the mares and you need experienced operators. There are only a handful of vets skilled enough. Historically, the insemination of mares with frozen stallion semen often resulted in disappointing results and high veterinary bills. “All of this comes with an added risk to the mare. Inflammatory reaction or infection can be more prevalent which means higher vet bills. Lower conception rates also mean the mares have to go through these procedures on more cycles per season. The costs just continue to rise – and even then there’s much lower percentages of live foals at the end of it all. It’s just too expensive and frustrating for the general consumer, so you have breeders, especially new or first-time breeders, getting burnt and exiting the industry. “It just doesn’t add up, but there’s a very strong trend happening, which concerns me deeply.” Galloway said key owners of American standardbred stallions were moving to “lock up” their sires in the Northern Hemisphere. “The trend is to keep those stallions there, in view of the reduced risk to the stallion, and because it’s cheaper and more convenient to simply send frozen semen to the Southern Hemisphere,” he said. “A good number of the American sires ‘standing at stud’ here in Australia this season are not here at all – they’re still in the Northern Hemisphere and the studs are simply shipping the frozen semen and offering a distribution service. “There needs to be more transparency because at the moment, the real fertility rates, the real results in foaling rates and the costs to owners are being hidden – and that’s to the detriment of breeders who are right now making decisions about what stallion to send their mare to.” Galloway said the industry’s administrators had also failed to identify and act on the risk the trend presented to harness racing. “One of the great injustices is that foals from North American stallions available here via frozen semen are eligible for our futurity and sires’ stakes races – yet to be eligible for their own sires’ stakes racing in North America the stallions have to be physically resident in the state!” he said. “So, there’s no incentive for breeders to support local studs and stallions – which is what sires stakes racing was set up to do, to encourage and nurture our own industry.” Galloway said he was excited about the prospects of work by the University of Newcastle of an “equine extender”, a process which allows semen to live for two weeks outside the body, without the need for freezing. He said he also wanted to encourage breeders to think carefully about their options for the upcoming season. “I’m not advocating breeders to come to Alabar, but just to be aware of what decision they are making and what that means– for their potential of getting a foal this year, for their costs and for the long-term future of our industry,” he said. “I don’t want to see frozen semen banned because if you did, we wouldn’t have had access to some of the truly great sires, particularly in trotting, which are just not available here.  But don’t hide the fact that you get reduced pregnancy results with frozen semen. “If it becomes the ‘norm’ then it will destroy our industry within a few years – we simply won’t have enough racing stock, because foaling rates will collapse.” Alabar has been the dominant Standardbred stud in Australasia for 30 years, breeding 40 percent of the mares in the Southern Hemisphere in the past decade (between 2500 and 3000 mares each year). “All I am asking is for more transparency around how the system is evolving and what it means for the future.  And if the switch is made to frozen semen, I’m out – simply because I won’t subsidise the industry to that extent,” Galloway said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

By Jonny Turner Trainers Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon hope to continue the brilliant start they have made to the new season at Addington on Thursday night. Their new training partnership has gotten off to a flying start in its first six weeks by producing 11 winners from just 30 starters. And they hope to keep that up that good form. “As you know you have to keep it going, we don’t want to be a flash in the pan,” Dalgety said. “So, we will try to keep the momentum going.” Four of Dalgety and Purdon’s 11 victories, so far this term, have come from Arden Roanoke. Dalgety said the trainers are reaping the rewards after the former high priced yearling finally grew in to his frame. “When you pay a lot of money for them you want to get to the races as quick as you can.” “But, he simply wasn’t ready and he was quite immature for a few seasons.” Arden Roanoke beat Hayden’s Meddle, Smarter VC and Pay Me Visa when getting up late to nail Kruizr on the line in a similar event at Addington, last week. The five pacers will square off again on Thursday night. Arden Roanoke could be an even harder horse to beat when he returns to the track, this week, Dalgety said. “He has really improved since his last run.” Almost all of the eight runners in 1980m event look to have legitimate winning hopes. Smart 3yr-olds Global Domination and Dadndave return to make their 4yr-olds in the race. Storm Prince drops massively in class after starting in Classie Brigade’s Maurice Holmes Vase. The Dalgety and Purdon stable are looking forward to Bettathanfast resuming from a short winter spell on Thursday night. Dalgety said the 4yr-old should also return to Addington better than before. “We do like him – he has really improved.” “He was big and ugly, he was a bit like a big thoroughbred, he just lacked a bit of middle in him, last campaign.” Bettathanfast showed he was looking good when he held out Koenigsegg, who looks also looks a strong winning chance on Thursday night, to win a trial at Rangiora, last week. “I think he will be a really good under grade free-for-all horse and country cups horse and I reckon he will perform really good [on Thursday] night,” Dalgety said. Maiden 3yr-old Invaluable looks another strong chance for the Dalgety-Purdon stable at Addington. He went down fighting to Tyron's Bit Of Lemon after working hard in his last start at Winton. “I would like to think he wouldn’t be a maiden for too much longer,” Dalgety said. Woman In Gold will also attempt to break her maiden at Addington. The 3yr-old faded in to fourth after doing plenty of work in her last start at Winton. “She did work hard early, she worked for about the first 700m.” “I thought it wasn’t a bad run, because she did fight hard up the straight.” Pocket Watch steps sharply up in grade after clearing maiden ranks at Forbury in his last start. Dalgety is hopeful the 3yr-old’s good manners can help put him in a striking position. “He has got to jump up three classes, rather than one.” “But his forte is he is very quick from a stand and I am excited to draw the front line with him.” “So, he will put himself in a good position for the first part of the race.” Dalgety and Purdon will have one other starter this week with Donegal Mary Francis heading to Invercargill on Saturday. The 5yr-old looks a strong winning chance for new stable employee, junior driver Sarah O’Reilly.  Reprinted with permission of Harness Racing New Zealand

The 6.8/1 outsider Tony Gio (7m Varenne-Ilaria Jet) rallied to win today’s Gr. III Grand Prix de la Federation Regionale du Nord (purse 90,000€, 2700 meters autostart, eight starters) held at La Croise Laroche in France. He was clocked in 1.10.8kr. Eric Raffin teamed the Sebastien Guarato trainee for Scuderia Bivans Srl to his seventh career victory in 51 starts now for life earnings of 867,815€. The winner exploded past early pocket sitter, 1.6/1 Bold Eagle (8m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) reined by Bjorn Goop for trainer Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski, that had followed 47/1 leader Express Jet (5m Goetmals Wood-Run For Jet) until top of the stretch. Bold Eagle was second beaten two lengths. The 8/10 favorite Looking Superb (6m Orlando Vici-Classical Pine) with J-M Bazire aboard was away last before making a halfway point move to the death seat alongside Express Jet. But his effort was futile and he finished a tired fourth with Express Jet fifth for Pierre Vercruysse. Bazire’s stablemate, 18/1 Bel Avis (8g Ganymede-Gloria Maris) rallied late to be third for Alexandre Abrivard. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

This Week: Harness racing action with the Delaware Grand Circuit, Delaware County Fair, Delaware, Ohio; Caesars Trot, Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, Jenna's Beach Boy, Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, Moni Maker and The Elevation, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Metro, She's A Great Lady and Milton, Woodbine Mohawk Park Milton, Ontario. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks into full gear on Wednesday (Sept. 18) at Delaware with the $259,600 Jugette for 3-year-old filly pacers, the $76,125 Buckette for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $46,800 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly pacers and the $46,000 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday (Sept. 19) card at Delaware is highlighted by the $640,000 Little Brown Jug, the third leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Also on tap that day is the $100,000 Miss Versatility final for older trotting mares, the $95,425 Old Oaken Bucket for 3-year-old male trotters, the $48,100 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $47,100 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt trotters. Grand Circuit racing at Hoosier Park will be held on Friday (Sept. 20) with the $230,000 Caesars for Open trotters, the $230,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers, the $215,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $176,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for Open pacers, the $170,000 Jenna's Beach Boy for 3-year-old colt pacers, the $135,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters, and the $125,000 Elevation for 2-year-old colt pacers. Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk will be held on Saturday (Sept. 21) with the C$750,000 Metro final for 2-year-old open pacers, the C$540,000 She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old filly pacers and the C$250,000 Milton for older pacing mares. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk Park races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Woodbine Mohawk Park this past Saturday, with four major stakes, led by the Canadian Trotting Classic. Green Manalishi S and driver Tim Tetrick went to the front and never looked back to capture the $453,750 Canadian Trotting Classic. The Marcus Melander trainee held off a late push from Pilot Discretion to win Woodbine Mohawk's marquee event for 3-year-old trotters by a half-length in 1:52.4. Tetrick became the winningest driver in the history of the Canadian Trotting Classic with four titles now to his name. "That's a big honor," Tetrick said. "It just kind of fell into place and worked out really good." Tetrick's previous three victories in the Canadian Trotting Classic came with Crystal Fashion (2018), Bar Hopping (2016) and Market Share (2012). Green Manalishi S won the Canadian Trotting Classic in 1:52.4. New Image Media photo. Green Manalishi S, who went off as the 6-5 favorite, shot to the top from post four and led the field by the opening quarter in :27.2. After an easy :29 second quarter, Tetrick ramped up the tempo with the son of Muscle Hill to trot a :27.3 third quarter. Swandre The Giant raced in the two-hole, but made a break going to three-quarters. Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade moved out from third entering the final turn and was nearly four lengths behind Green Manalishi S turning for home. Pilot Discretion followed the move of Forbidden Trade to sit third at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Green Manalishi S had close to three lengths on his rivals with an eighth of a mile to go. The push to the finish line saw the lead shrink with Pilot Discretion closing in, ultimately coming up a half-length short. "I wanted to get out of there and either sit really close or go ahead and cut it, but I didn't want to have to work too hard to do it," said Tetrick of his strategy. "I wanted him to feel really brave going down the backside and I went a little faster in the third quarter to get a little separation on them and down by the wire it was getting close, but my horse held on good and he never wins by too many." Forbidden Trade finished third, but was placed back to fifth for causing interference in deep stretch to Only For Justice. Smart As Hill was moved up from fourth to third, while Only For Justice entered the superfecta going from fifth to fourth. Owned by Courant Inc., Green Manalishi S is now five for nine this season with $590,788 earned. The Canadian Trotting Classic victory is his 10th career visit to the winner's circle and pushes his career earnings over the $1 million plateau. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, 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 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 905.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 678; 3. David Miller - 600; 4. Dexter Dunn - 491; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 454. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 748; 2. Tony Alagna - 483; 3. Marcus Melander - 394; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 317; 5. Jim King Jr. - 316.5. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 192; 2. Brad Grant - 173.8; 3. Courant Inc. - 172.5; 4. Burke Racing Stable - 135.9; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 123.4. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Lexington's historic Red Mile. There will be eight Bluegrass stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Hollywood Dayton Raceway will also be hosting a pair of Grand Circuit events, the Dayton Pacing Derby and the Dayton Trotting Derby for older horses and Harrah's Philadelphia will contest John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers and trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Anthony Iafelice and Vincent Ali Sr., who passed away in 2017 and 2013, respectively, never owned a harness racing horse like Southwind Ozzi. But family members feel their presence as they enjoy the ride with one of the favorites in Thursday's $640,000 Little Brown Jug. Iafelice and Ali were friends, sharing a love of horses and harness racing. Iafelice's grandson, Bill MacKenzie, began training horses for Ali a number of years ago and now MacKenzie conditions Southwind Ozzi for his grandmother, Alma Iafelice, and Vincent Ali Jr. Southwind Ozzi enters the 74th Little Brown Jug, presented by the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio, with seven wins in nine starts this year and $480,935 in purses. His victories include the Adios and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. He is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the first of two $128,000 Little Brown Jug eliminations, with Brian Sears in the sulky. "This is a first for everybody," MacKenzie said. "My grandparents owned a couple nice horses, but nothing like him. It's great. This is what anybody that buys a yearling or buys a horse is aiming to do. This is what we do it for. Unfortunately, (my grandfather) is not here to see this, but I'm sure he's looking down." Said Ali Jr., "My dad never had nothing like this either. I wish he was alive to see it. He'd be going crazy right now. That was his dream, to have a horse like this. He's the reason I do this, he got me involved." The Little Brown Jug is the third jewel in the Triple Crown for 3-year-old pacers, following the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes. Captain Crunch won the Cane and was not entered in the Jug. Messenger winner American Mercury, one of three Jug entrants from the stable of trainer Chris Oakes, is the 5-2 favorite in the second Jug elim. The top-four finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the $384,000 final. Southwind Ozzi, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Southwind Solara, was purchased as a yearling for $85,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale. He was the only horse MacKenzie bought that year for his grandmother and Ali Jr. As a 2-year-old, Southwind Ozzi won once and finished second on four occasions. He was the favorite in the Kindergarten Classic Series championship in November but was derailed by sickness and finished 10th. He began this season with three wins and a second-place finish before being sidelined for nearly two months because of emergency hernia surgery. He returned in July and captured the Adios. "He missed six weeks, but you know what, in hindsight maybe that's helped him," Ali Jr. said. "Maybe it's kept him fresh in a sense. He's racing real good now." Ali Jr. hoped Southwind Ozzi would have a good season, particularly in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, but tried to temper his expectations beyond that. "My expectations weren't going to the Jug, that's for sure," said Ali Jr., who is a contractor in New York City. "Who would have ever thunk? It's not too often you get a horse like him. It's never been for me, so it's a lot of fun. It's a good time. "This has exceeded my expectations by far." Southwind Ozzi will start from post four in his Jug elimination. The division also includes Hempt Memorial winner Shake That House, who is the 2-1 second choice. "I just do what I have to do, and I leave the rest up to Brian," MacKenzie said, referring to driver Sears, who won the Little Brown Jug in 2013 with Vegas Vacation. "That's what I do with any race. I don't tell him what to do." Following the Jug, Southwind Ozzi is staked to the Simpson Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sept. 29. He is not eligible to the Tattersalls Pace or Breeders Crown in October but could be supplemented to those events. But those are decisions for another day. "We're just going week to week," MacKenzie said. "Those are all options that we'll keep the door open on, but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. He'll tell us where he's going. That's where we're at." Following are the fields for Thursday's Little Brown Jug eliminations. The first elim is race 15 on the afternoon's card, with an approximate post time of 3:27 p.m. (EDT). The second is race 16, with an approximate post of 3:45 p.m. The final is race 20. First Elimination PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1-Caviart Rockland-Dexter Dunn-Nancy Johansson-12/1 2-De Los Cielos Deo-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-6/1 3-Shake That House-Tim Tetrick-Chris Oakes-2/1 4-Southwind Ozzi-Brian Sears-Bill MacKenzie-8/5 5-Air Force Hanover-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-8/1 6-U S Captain-Jason Bartlett-Tony Alagna-12/1 7-Stag Party-David Miller-Casie Coleman-15/1 Second Elimination PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1-Semi Tough-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-9/2 2-Lyons Johnnyjnr-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-9/2 3-Quatrain Blue Chip-Aaron Merriman-Chris Oakes-6/1 4-Artie's Ideal-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller-7/2 5-Fast N First-Brett Miller-Blake MacIntosh-12/1 6-Spectrum-Andy Miller-Nick Surick-25/1 7-American Mercury-Tyler Buter-Chris Oakes-5/2 8-Escapetothebeach-Joe Bongiorno-Tony Alagna-10/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Delaware, OH - Action Uncle rewrote the harness racing record book in winning the second division of the Ohio Breeders Championship for freshman colt trotters in Tuesday action at the Delaware County Fair. The Uncle Peter colt established a new stake, track and world's record with his 1:54 victory over Big Box Hanover (Dan Noble) and Count On Barney (Kurt Sugg). Driver Brett Miller sent the eventual winner to the top of the field before the opening quarter in :28 and controlled the remaining quarters in :56 4/5 and 1:25 3/5. Action Uncle is trained by Virgil Morgan, Jr., who won for the 101st time at Delaware, for owner and breeder Kenneth A. Sommer Trust. The bay colt became an Ohio "Triple Crown Winner" as a result of his previous wins in the Ohio State Fair and Ohio Sire Stakes Final. Action Uncle's seasonal earnings jumped to $225,575 with his third seasonal win. It's Academic gained a bit of redemption in winning the first $58,550 division. The Uncle Peter colt broke in his last start, the $300,000 Ohio Sire Stakes Final, but he behaved himself at Delaware to score in a then stakes record 1:55 2/5. When the field of seven was sent on their way, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. sent Exhibit Class after the early lead with Buxton (Brett Miller) and It's Academic sitting second and third respectively. Chris Page tipped the eventual winner off the rail and past Exhibit Class before the three-quarter mile pole and cruised to a 2 1/4 length win over Buxton. It's Academic                                                                                --Conrad photo It's Academic is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, W Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Hatfield Stable. He now has six wins in 8 starts. Wednesday's racing will feature 21 races, including the 49th Jugette. The card will feature a pair of guaranteed pool Pick 4s. Post time is 1:00 PM. For results, entries and program information, please visit littlebrownjug.com. by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

MILTON, ON - September 17, 2019 - The $750,000 Metro Pace headlines another $1.7 million-plus harness racing card this Saturday (September 21) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.   Harness racing's richest race for two-year-olds will see a field of 10 pacing colts and geldings clash to add their name to a long list of memorable Metro champions. The $540,000 Shes A Great Lady for two-year-old pacing fillies and $250,000 Milton Stakes for pacing mares join the Metro Pace as marquee races this Saturday.   Capt Midnight (PP3) is the expected favourite for the Metro Pace. The Tony Alagna trainee has dominated rookie stakes this season at Mohawk Park, winning five in a row at the Milton oval to bring his season record to five wins, a mark of 1:49.4 and $212,819 earned in seven starts.   A son of 2012 Metro winner Captaintreacherous, Capt Midnight won his elimination easily in 1:51.4 for driver Andrew McCarthy to go with his victories in the Dream Maker, Nassagaweya and Champlain. The Alagna student sold for $350,000 at last November's Harrisburg yearling sale and is owned by Marvin Katz, Kenneth Jacobs, Brad Grant and Capt Midnight Racing.   Capt Midnight is joined by stablemates Captain Kirk (PP5, Bob McClure) and Esai Hanover (PP8, Trevor Henry) to give Alagna a trio of starters in his attempt for a third Metro Pace victory. Artspeak, who is the sire of Esai Hanover, won the 2014 edition to give Alagna his second Metro following Captaintreacherous' triumph in 2012.   Tall Dark Stranger will look to stop the run of Capt Midnight and continue his own for trainer Nancy Johansson. The son of Bettors Delight is undefeated in five starts and took last Saturday's other elimination in a career-best 1:50.1 for driver Yannick Gingras.   A $330,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, Tall Dark Stranger has won four in a row since arriving at Mohawk Park, including a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions. The only horse with a perfect record in this year's Metro has earned $124,533 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor.   Trainer Johnasson has already won the Pepsi North America Cup this season and a victory Saturday with Tall Dark Stranger would give her a sweep of the track's two most-richest races.   Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion Papi Rob Hanover (PP9, David Miller) dueled with Tall Dark Stranger in last week's elimination, surrendering the lead in deep stretch to come up just a head short. The Brett Pelling trained son of Somebeachsomewhere is two for six and has hit the board in each start to earn $186,295 for owner David McDuffee. He was a $130,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase.   Blake MacIntosh joins Alagna as the only other trainer with multiple horses in this year's Metro Pace. Somebeachsomewhere colt Team Best (PP6, James MacDonald) and Sportswriter colt Beach Blanket Book (PP10, Doug McNair) race for Team MacIntosh.   Local hopes will also ride with trainers Richard Moreau and Dustin Jones. Sportswriter colt YS Mathis (PP1, Louis Philippe Roy) goes for Moreau and has victories in the Champlain and an OSS Gold to his name. Jones' One For Julius (PP7, Chris Christoforou) is a son of Hes Watching and finished second to the aforementioned Ys Mathis in an OSS Gold division on August 31.   Completing the field is Pennsylvania Sires Stakes division winner Seeyou At Thebeach (PP2, Tim Tetrick). The Brian Brown student is the third entrant for sire Somebeachsomewhere.   The $750,000 Metro Pace has been carded as Race 9.   The $540,000 Shes A Great Lady for pacing fillies will have all eyes on the respective stars of the Ontario and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes programs.   Chantal Mitchell trainee Alicorn (PP5, Roy) has rewritten the Ontario Sires Stakes record book multiple times this season and cruised to a career-best equaling 1:50.3 victory in her elimination. The daughter of Bettors Delight is five for eight and is riding a three-race win streak.   Alicorn was a $30,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase by Windermere Stable LLC and Robert Muscara. Her sensational rookie campaign has earned her connections $234,389.   Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion Lyons Sentinel (PP4, Tetrick) tied the Track and Canadian record with a stunning 1:50.1 victory in her elimination. The Jim King trainee is charted with an insane :52.3 back-half in her dazzling elimination victory.   A daughter of Captaintreachrous, Lyons Sentinel enters Saturday's rich final on a four-race win streak to sport a record of five wins and three runner-up finishes in eight starts. The $55,000 Harrisburg yearling grad has banked $292,330 for owners Threelyonsracing.   Alagna trainee Reflect With Me (PP2, McCarthy) had a four-race win streak snapped by Lyons Sentinel in their elimination, but the daughter of Captaintreacherous will be ready for a shot at redemption in the event her connections have had their eyes set on.   A $120,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, Reflect With Me captured the Whenuwishuponastar, Eternal Camnation and Champlain during her win streak. She currently sits at four wins, a pair of runner-up finishes and $147,818 earned in eight starts for owners Brittany Farms and Brad Grant.   Trainer Johansson will have a pair of chances in the $540,000 event. She sends out Western Ideal filly JK First Lady (PP6, Gingras), who is the first-foal out of 2014 'Great Lady' winner JK Shesalady, and Bettors Delight filly Peaky Sneaky (PP7, McNair).   The field for the Shes A Great Lady is completed by Paul Reid trainee Off The Press (PP1, Sylvain Filion), Bill Budd trainee Saulsbrook Raven (PP3, MacDonald), Dr. Ian Moore trainee Alexa Skye (PP8, Dexter Dunn), Dave Menary trainee Somebeachsometime (PP9, Jody Jamieson) and Susie Kerwood trainee Betalady (PP10, Miller).   The $540,000 Shes A Great Lady has been carded as Race 5.   Moving away from the rookies, older pacing mares will also have a chance to shine in the $250,000 Milton Stakes.   The dominant Shartin N was the expected heavy-favourite for the Milton, but sickness has forced her connections to scratch from Saturday's race. The removal of harness racing's leading candidate for Horse of the Year opens the door for a competitive contest.   Youaremycandygirl (PP1, Roy) has been the talk of the town in recent weeks at Mohawk Park. The four-year-old is two for two since moving into the barn of trainer Moreau, posting dazzling victories of 1:49.1 and 1:48.3 in back-to-back Mares Preferred events.   Owned by W J Donovan, Youaremycandygirl won the 2017 'Great Lady' and went on to earn more than $1.4 million during her first two seasons on the track. This year she is three for 11 to bring her career numbers to 21 wins and $1.5 million earned in 39 starts.   Trainer Moreau will also send out Double A Mint (PP8, Bob McClure) in Saturday's contest. The four-year-old has raced in every month this year, winning 12 of 25 starts and earning $225,400.   Caviart Ally (PP9, McCarthy) returns to Mohawk Park to defend her Milton Stakes title. The five-year-old won last year's Milton by three-lengths and has put together another strong campaign in 2019, racing in the shadow of division leader Shartin N.   Trained by Pelling, Caviart Ally has hit the board in all 14 of her starts this season, including five wins and seven runner-up finishes. She has earned $1.5 million during her racing career for owners Caviart Farms.   Nick Surick trainee Bettors Up (PP4, Tetrick) rolls into the Milton with confidence after edging Caviart Ally by a head in last week's Great Northeast Series final at Pocono. The five-year-old joins Double A Mint as the mares with most starts this season, winning six of 25 outings and earning $167,205.   It wouldn't be a major stake this season at Mohawk Park without representation from the Johansson barn. Not to overlooked, Kissin In The Sand (PP2, Gingras) has earned her only two victories this season over the last month at Mohawk Park. The winner of $1.1 million is two for 12 this year with $62,630 earned.   Local connections are all over the Milton Stakes final, with three other mares joining Double A Mint as regular competitors in the Mares Preferred. Rene Dion trainee Shower Play (PP6, Jamieson), Alagna trainee Seaswift Joy N (PP7, Tetrick) and Rod Boyd trainee Kendall Seelster (PP10, MacDonald) will look for home-track success.   Completing the field is Dylan Davis trainee Apple Bottom Jeans (PP3, Callahan). The six-year-old will be making her Mohawk Park debut and most recently was third in the Great Northeast Series final.   The $250,000 Milton Stakes has been carded as Race 7.   Post time for Saturday's $1.7 million card is 7:10 p.m. For full event details, visit www.WoodbineMohawkPark.com.   Click here to view the early program pages for Saturday's card.   by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

AUSTRALIA’S best pacer Tiger Tara is in limbo. His past two runs have been well below his best, he’s nowhere near peak fitness and Sydney’s big wet is severely hampering his training. It’s likely he will be scratched from what would normally be an ideal race, a 2300m free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night. “I’ve got a bit on my plate with him at the moment,” a very open trainer Kevin Pizzuto conceded. “And the worst part is, there’s not much I can do about it until the weather turns here. I wanted to give him a strong workout this morning, but it’s so wet the track was washed-out. “He’s not fit, nowhere near it. I’d say he’s been 50 per cent or so in those past two runs. “Am I worried, no, because I know my horse and I can turn him around, but in the short term it is an issue. “Unless this weather turns quickly and I can give him a strong training workout, I’ll scratch him this week because I’m not taking him there so underdone again.”  Pizzuto said everything has gone wrong since a rushed trip to Queensland in July for the Group 1 Blacks A Fake.  “I almost had him back where I wanted for that, but he had a hard run and trip up so I laid off him after that … he’s older again and he just got away on me,” he said.  “It’s my fault. I’ll own it. It’s now a challenge to get him back in that real zone again where’s really fit and races at his top.”  But Pizzuto was quick to stress he remains confident of peaking Tiger Tara for another raid on the NZ Cup.  “I’ve got plenty of time for that,” he said. “But I am looking at my options to give him the best preparation and that may mean some extended time down in Melbourne where the races are more suitable.  “There’s the Kilmore Cup (2690m) Thursday week, the Smoken Up Sprint (1720m, October 5) and the Victoria Cup (2240m, October 12).  “Right now, I’m probably leaning towards getting him down and going through some or all of those races.”   by Adam Hamilton

Hype pacer U May Cullect faces a tricky introduction to the big time of New Zealand pacing. Because the Southland star has drawn the ace for Sunday’s Hannon Memorial at Oamaru and while that sounds good, it almost certainly isn’t. The winner of seven of his eight starts, U May Cullect is one of the more exciting pacer to emerge away from the usual age group channels to open class in recent seasons. Even his last start third off a 50m handicap when resuming saw him pace sectionals that suggest he won’t be out of place in open class and he adds a fresh dynamic to a sometimes stale elite pacing scene. Sunday is his chance to prove he can run with the big boys, up against proven superstars like Miracle Mile winner Spankem but while the ace draw may sound ideal in a mobile start, it could be niggly in what is U May Cullect’s first full standing start. He has had two standing starts before and both have been off handicaps, where most horses tend to step well with plenty of room to move. But on Sunday he will have to come into line first and stand the longest with a full front line outside him. That can be annoying for even the most experienced horses and he is going to need to be very professional to hold his field position against many of the best pacers in the country. Driver Kirsten Barclay told Trackside TV yesterday the six-year-old pacer had come through his resumption well but admitted the standing start under full front line conditions concerns her. Spankem looks set to start a dominant favourite on Sunday after a huge second when resuming at Addington last Friday night but the Hannon has drawn the best field of the season so far, with Chase Auckland, Ultimate Stride and A G’s White Socks also entered. The latter’s trainer Greg Hope has decided to give both his open class trotters Monbet and Enghien this weekend off but has not given up on getting Monbet back to winning form. The former champion trotter has looked a shadow on himself in two starts this campaign, finishing 23m behind Sundees Son in the Ordeal Cup last Friday night. “He just isn’t fit enough and I think he might be looking after himself when he is getting back in the field,” admits Hope. “But he is sound so we are going to press on with him and up his work. “It is hard for him because he had almost three years away and it is like a rugby player not playing for three years and then coming back at All Black level, rather than playing at club then provincial level first. “So I’d like to see him get more handicapping relief so we can race him back into form.  “If he runs a few more races like that retirement might loom but for now we are heading toward Addington next week.”   by Michael Guerin

GOSHEN, NY - Results from the balloting for harness racing's highest honor, membership in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, and from the balloting for the Communicators Hall of Fame, have been tabulated and certified. Four candidates have received the sport's highest honor, election into the Harness Racing Hall Of Fame: Tom Charters, of the Hambletonian Society and Breeders Crown; Jeff Gural, racetrack executive and owner/breeder; Bill Popfinger, a respected horseman for over half a century; and Tim Tetrick, who has set new standards for harness racing sulky success before reaching the age of 40. In addition, Phil Pikelny, noted primarily as an author and a publicist for the U.S. Trotting Association and Columbus (OH)'s Scioto Downs, and Ken Weingartner, the USTA's Media Relations Manager, have been elected into the Harness Racing Communicators Hall of Fame. The Hall of Famers achieved their distinction by getting 75%+ of the "yes-no" ballots distributed in mid-summer; eligible for voting for the Hall of Famers were qualified members of USHWA and the existing Hall of Fame members. Those on the ballot were decided by the USHWA Screening Committee from the nominations of the Writers' chapters. Tom Charters worked his way through the ranks in harness racing, starting out as a caretaker (among his charges was Horse of the Year Delmonica Hanover) before becoming a racing secretary. In 1984 the Hambletonian Society hired Charters as executive director of the Breeders Crown, a newly-created series of season-end championship races, and his work in establishing the Crowns as signature events led to his being named executive director of the Society in 1994, then being promoted in 1998 to president and chief executive officer. Charters' tireless work in such diverse fields as increasing racing handle, simulcasting and television production, international racing, and brand name establishment, plus the temperament to juggle all of these jobs along with dealing the wide range of personalities at the highest levels of the sport, firmly established him as one of the captains of the industry. Jeff Gural was a longtime racing fan, owner, and breeder, associated with Allerage Farms, Little E LLC, and other equine partnerships, along with proprietorship of New York's Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs racetracks, when he undertook the monumental task of leading the privatization of the sport's flagship track in North America, The Meadowlands, away from a state-run operation of New Jersey. Enlisting the aid of many of the sport's top figures in addition to large investments of his own money, time, and expertise, Gural has been the directing force of the revitalization of the mile oval, with a new grandstand built on the old backstretch side of the track, a facility and the parallel racing program aimed squarely at maximizing revenue for all of racing's interlinked parties in today's changing, challenging gaming environment. Bill Popfinger has been a horseman for over 50 years, going from success at smaller tracks to operating a powerful Grand Circuit stable, and he continues his winning tradition today. Popfinger first hit the harness limelight 50 years when he guided Lady B Fast to an upset win over the great trotters Fresh Yankee and Nevele Pride at Yonkers, and he cemented his stardom with his famous daring early move to the lead with Happy Escort, "the lights on, the horn honking, and the pedal to the metal," to defeat heavy favorites Falcon Almahurst and Flight Director in the 1978 Little Brown Jug raceoff. That quote also cemented Popfinger's nickname of "Showbiz," and over the years he campaigned such marquee horses as Happy Motoring, Praised Dignity, Spellbound Hanover, Say Hello, and Spicy Charlie. Tim Tetrick, at age 37, has already become one of only four drivers to have driven the winners of over $200 million in his career, and few doubt he will contend for the top spot, John Campbell's $299M+ career total, before all is done - after all, any possible mishaps may not slow a man who already has two "bionic hips" after replacement surgery. Also the single-season money recordholder for a driver with $19.7M in 2008, Tetrick also produces quantity with quality, driving his 11,000th winner earlier this year, putting him ninth all-time, fifth among active drivers, and second in the 2019 dashwinning standings. The list of top horses associated with Tetrick is too long to mention here, but it is fairly safe to say that when it comes to Breeders Crown time and the selection of year-end awardwinners, the name "Tetrick" will be associated with several of the champions. To determine the Communicators Hall of Famers, chapter nominees were whittled down to five finalists by a blue-ribbon panel of USHWAns, and then the organization's directors selected two of that quintet for placement on the summer election ballot. They too were elected by winning 75%+ of the "yes-no" ballots returned, with all Active members of USHWA eligible to vote. Phil Pikelny was first noticed by harness executive Stan Bergstein while still at Northwestern University. He worked for the Horseman and Fair World, then at age 23 he became the youngest national publicity director in any sport when joining the U.S. Trotting Association. During that period he authored, with Don Evans, the book Rambling Willie: The Horse That God Loved, about the sport's first double millionaire, who had his earnings tithed to an Ohio church. He then was publicity director at Scioto Downs for a number of years. He was the president of the Harness Publicists Association, and the president of the Ohio Chapter of USHWA. Ken Weingartner first went to the harness races with his father "before I could walk," and upon returning to his native New Jersey after college and early newspaper work, his harness racing stories attracted the notice of the U.S. Trotting Association, for whom he now works as Media Relations Manager, writing stories about the leading horses and humans in the sport and conducting the national Top 10 weekly balloting. He received the Allen Finkelson Golden Pen Award for excellence in harness racing publicity, and also has been honored by Harness Horsemen International. The honorees will first be publicly honored at the USHWA Dan Patch Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, where the Halls of Famers will take their first ensemble bow during the banquet honoring the top humans and equines of the previous year's racing. Then comes next July 5's formal induction to the Halls of Fame, at a dinner set just outside the building in which their likeness will be placed to immortalize their selection as harness racing's best of the best. From the United States Harness Writers Association