Day At The Track

Shartin N, the 2019 Harness Horse of the Year, returned to defend her harness racing title in winning form once again, capturing the $33,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace Tuesday at Yonkers Raceway. It was just the second start of the 2020 season for Shartin N as she remains undefeated for trainer Jim King. Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick.  The fifth race feature started off with Snobby Town and driver George Brennan shooting out to the early lead with Cavairt Ally (Andrew McCarthy) leaving from post seven and settling on the lead as they went by the opening quarter mile in :27.4. They raced single file until the half mile marker in :57.2 and that is when Tetrick made his move from fourth place with Shartin N. The world champion mare moved up to collar Caviart Ally and start to pass her by at the three-quarters in 1:24.3. Unable to completely clear to the lead on the final turn, Shartin N kicked in another gear in the stretch and went on to win by one and one-half lengths over Snobbytown in 1:52. Caviart Ally was third.   Owned by Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King and Tim Tetrick, Shartin N is a seven-year-old mare by Tintin In America and she paid $4.20 to win as the even money favorite. 2019 was a banner year for Shartin N as she won 15 of her 19 starts and $982,177 in purse earnings, leading toward her being named the Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year. Lifetime Shartin N has 43 career wins and $2.1 million in earnings. by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

The Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) is pleased to announce an expanded line-up of Facebook Live Shows for 2020 which will showcase 12 major event race days from across the province. The Facebook Live Series will kick off this Sunday afternoon at picturesque Clinton Raceway with coverage of the track's signature event, the $64,700 Kin Pace for three-year-old fillies. The 90-minute broadcast will also feature a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for three-year-old filly trotters. "COSA is pleased to be able to continue our Facebook Live Series with even more shows this season," said the association's President Bill O'Donnell. "We've seen the audience for these shows continuing to grow and this platform allows us the flexibility to broadcast from various tracks throughout Ontario. It gives us a chance to showcase their special event days to a broad audience of race fans and industry stakeholders." CUJO Entertainment will produce the shows and each 90-minute broadcast will feature live races, interviews, features and the ability to engage with viewers in real time through questions, comments and contest giveaways. Greg Blanchard, Mark McKelvie and Jaime MacDonald will serve as the show's hosts. "We are really looking forward to bringing a high quality production to these big race days," said Curtis MacDonald who owns and operates CUJO Entertainment. "When possible, we will incorporate some of our new technology like the drone camera and the cable camera into the broadcasts in order to enhance the viewer's experience. We want the audience to be entertained and engaged." The live stream can be accessed by subscribing to the COSA TV YouTube page which also gives fans access to other feature content. The shows will also be broadcast on COSA TV's Facebook and Twitter channels. A tentative schedule of 12 Facebook Live events is listed below. For complete details, visit www.cosatv.ca. Kin Pace Final - Clinton Raceway (July 5) Battle Of Waterloo - Grand River Raceway (Aug 3) Des Smith/Earl Rowe - Rideau Carleton/(Remote) Georgian (Aug 16) Balanced Image - Hanover Raceway (Aug 22) Canadian Pacing Derby/Maple Leaf Trot - Mohawk (Sept 5) Wellwood Memorial Final - Mohawk (Sept 12) Canadian Trotting Classic - Mohawk (Sept 19) Confederation Cup - Flamboro Downs (T.B.D.) Mohawk Million/Metro Pace - Mohawk (Sept 26) Grassroots Final - Mohawk (Oct 10) OSS Super Finals - Mohawk (Oct 17) SBOA Finals - Mohawk (Nov 14) by Greg Blanchard, for Western Fair

Over the years, Melbourne harness racing trainer-driver Mario Attard has tried his hand successfully at a number of business pursuits, but horses have always been in the background. Attard, based at Rockbank, just minutes away from Tabcorp Park, Melton, now admits that he's fully focused on his small team of pacers-and the results are certainly coming. Two of his three horses in Don't Hold Back (Courage Under Fire-Braeview Express (Badlands Hanover) and Power Of Faith (Art Major-Golden Showgirl (Armbro Operative) recently scored longshot wins at his home track. Three-year-old filly Power Of Faith started the ball rolling with a narrow victory on June 22 at bolter's odds of 40/1 and stablemate, seven-year-old stallion Dont Hold Back, joined the party with a win last Saturday night at 15/1. "I've been licensed for nearly 40 years, but during most of that time I was trying to run businesses and do the horses at the same time. To be honest, the horses probably weren't getting the care they needed," Attard said. "So I decided not all that long ago to give it my best shot. I'm a happy sort of guy, but I'm really enjoying it at the moment," he said. "I've nursed Dont Hold Back along for a number of years and now I'm going for broke with him. He ran a good fourth first up at Melton after a little break and then his last start win in 1.55-5 was solid." Dont Hold Back has been a marvellous performer for Attard with 14 wins and 11 placings from 52 starts for nearly $250,000. After starting out as an electronics technician, which involved making specialized gauges for refineries, Attard was lured to the automotive industry in the late 1980s. "I was one of the first in Melbourne to be qualified to convert motor vehicles to run on gas. I put in a huge amount of hours for probably 12 or 13 years," he said. "Then I went into curtains and drapes for a bit before running a big building business called New Look Homes Pty Ltd. I was in that with one of my sons, Ian, and we had four supervisors and a team of office staff. "It was successful, but one day I just thought to myself that I'd had enough. So I went and told Ian of my decision-he was okay with it because he'd had the same feelings. "There were a few other ventures. It was all fun and it certainly taught me how to deal with a lot in life, particularly learning how to read people. "We dabble in a bit of development now. But the boys take care of me. 'Leave it to us', they tell me! Our other son Darren has Dream Design Build in Melbourne, while the oldest, Karen, runs Que One Homes with her husband. "My wife Anna is my biggest supporter in harness racing, while our children and 10 grandchildren are in it for the fun." Attard was always going to be involved in the sport with his father Charlie being a successful trainer-driver for many years, while his late grandfather Tony was also a keen participant. Charlie, who still attends meetings with Mario, was associated with many great horses when training at nearby Sydenham. He was involved with such smart pacers as Lombo Limmo (23 wins including the 2008 Devonport Cup), Bells and Whistles (Moonee Valley 2yo recordholder, 12 wins, $99k), Oh Lord (21 wins, $40k, before continuing a successful career in the US), and Gold Glen (4 wins from just a handful of starts). "Dad had a great eye for a nice horse. He could pick them out and he never paid a lot. He was also very good with young ones and got them going, just by understanding them," Mario said. And the Attard father-and-son team will be back at Melton tonight with Power Of Faith, one of the top fancies in the IRT Australia 3yo Pace.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Coral Springs, FL - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will host the next free harness racing handicapping contest on Scott Alberg's Facebook page on Independence Day, Saturday, July 4 at The Meadowlands. One special race will be selected from the Meadowlands Saturday program and contestants can enter free of charge. All you have to do is select the correct exacta (first two official finishers in the race, either by their starting post position number or by the name of the horse). The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame have arranged for the three Swag Bag prizes that will be given away in this week's contest. If more than three correct answers are submitted, then a drawing will take place with all the correct winners and the first three names drawn will win a swag bag prize package. This week's prizes come from the Harness Racing Museum and includes a copy of the USTA's Care & Training of the Trotter and Pacer book, a copy of Bill Heller's novel on Billy Haughton, plus other surprise items. Scott Alberg, the 2006 National Harness Handicapping Champion, who also has numerous other handicapping titles, has been a Standardbred owner in the past, and has agreed to partner with USHWA as the contests new title sponsor. "Since USHWA came on board with this contest, we are setting records with every event," said Alberg, "Our last contest set the bar now at 287 people entering. We have never had that many people enter before. This contest is all about having fun and we hope even more people will enter this week." To enter the contest, fans must go to Scott Alberg's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/scott.alberg.3,, where the contest will be prominently displayed. Alberg, as he has done in the past, will run the contests. All contest winners will have their name posted after the event and the ranking they finished in from the prize drawings. As soon as the draw takes place at the Meadowlands this week, the program proof page for the race selected will be posted for race fans to handicap from. For more information check out Scott Alberg's Facebook Page, USHWA's Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram accounts or the new USHWA website at www.usharnesswriters.com. By Steve Wolf, for USHWA  

Since the indictment of more than two dozen thoroughbred and harness racing trainers, assistants, veterinarians, and pharmacists in connection with a horse doping ring this March, rumors have swirled that more names could be forthcoming in connection with the federal investigation. Speaking at a status conference for the case on Tuesday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Adams told U.S. District Judge Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil that a superseding indictment could be around the corner, but did not provide details as to the timing. “We are looking seriously at superseding indictments,” said Adams. “For the moment, and I made this point at least to some defense counsel previously, the nature of what we're looking at is largely in the same kind of criminal conduct as what is in the current indictment. We're looking at expanding timeframes for certain of the conspiracies. We're looking at potentially adding different statutory charges with respect to certain of the defendants. What I do not anticipate for the moment is that those superseding indictments, if and when they come, would require the production of some substantial large set of materials not already produced to date or already in the queue of things we expect to produce.” A superseding indictment is one which replaces an existing indictment, and could add charges against already-named defendants and/or could name new defendants. Vyskocil reminded Adams that the court would not hold things up while the government finishes its investigation. Adams said he understood and that he would not ask to hold up the proceedings for that reason. The charges on the current indictments, which names former top trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis, among others, focus on drug adulteration, misbranding, and conspiracy. The indictments claim a network of horsemen, veterinarians and pharmacy reps sold, distributed and used drugs in racehorses for the purpose of performance enhancement. Other than a potential superseding indictment, there are not likely to be many updates in the case until late fall. Currently, attorneys are going through the discovery process, meaning each side is requesting and providing requested evidence in the case. Adams said he believes his office will be able to provide the last of the discovery material requested by defendants by the end of September. Already, the office has provided some 90 gigabytes' worth of data to all defendants in three different volumes, and has fielded 20 additional individual requests. That data includes the results of 30 different search warrants, intercepted phone calls and text messages, geolocation information for various devices, email accounts, file transfer accounts, inventory lists, shipping records, veterinary records, drug promotional and marketing material, and much more. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is still extracting data from devices like cell phones and tablets seized from defendants at the time of their arrests. Adams mentioned that labs inside and outside the United States had been asked to conduct testing on samples related to the case, although it was not immediately clear whether that referred to samples of substances seized in searches of pharmacies or biological samples from horses, or both. Those results were not all known to the federal government as of yet, and some defense attorneys expressed a desire to work out some sort of split sampling process where possible, acknowledging there was a finite amount of some samples available to test. After the government produces requested evidence, it is sent to a coordinating discovery attorney for organization and distribution. One defense attorney pointed out that it generally takes the coordinating discovery attorney roughly a month to process large document releases before they are given over to defense counsel, so a late September target for discovery completion means they will get a look at the last of the evidence in early November. Vyskocil scheduled a status conference for Nov. 19. Most participants on the call agreed it would be impractical to set a trial date or motion schedule until the defense has seen all the government's evidence against their clients. Read more about the federal indictments in this March 9 piece from the Paulick Report. By Natalia Ross Reprinted with permission of The Paulick Report

YONKERS, N.Y. – One of the biggest rivalries in harness racing resumes with another round Tuesday night (June 30) at Yonkers Raceway as Horse of the Year Shartin and reigning Breeders Crown Pacing Mare Champion Caviart Ally headline the featured $33,000 filly and mare open handicap pace. The pair of star mares were assigned the outside post positions, with Caviart Ally starting from post seven for driver Andy McCarthy and trainer Brett Pelling while Jim King Jr.’s Shartin will start from post eight with Tim Tetrick. “I actually think when you’re racing in those divisional races, when you’re in a rivalry, a rivalry is by far the greatest thing we have in the sport. It’s great,” Pelling said. “You know the other horses inside and out, the drivers get to know the horses inside and out. I think it’s cool.”  With 20 rounds between Shartin and Caviart Ally completed to date, the record stands at 15-3 Shartin with only two occasions where another horse has won when they have both been in the field. However, Caviart Ally has proven victorious in three of the last four matchups: the Filly and Mare Allerage Pace at the Red Mile Oct. 6, the Breeders Crown Open Mares Pace Oct. 26, and the TVG FFA Mares Final Nov. 23, the pair’s most recent faceoff. “Last year, it took us different attempts at different ways of trying to beat Shartin. I’m not saying we figured it out, but we got better at it,” Pelling said. “It was trial and error on Andy’s part, my part, everyone’s part. We never gave up trying to beat her. “I think one of the big things was not going full gas out of the gate. We found that (Caviart Ally) was just better to be put in position rather than trying to out-speed (Shartin) because Shartin gets off the gate extra-good and they have a lot of speed, so they take advantage of that speed. If you have three horses that are trying to race the same way, something has to give.  “A lot of times, we were drawn outside of her, so you had work that little bit harder early and you’re put in the wrong spot, sitting in the two-hole,” Pelling continued. “The two-hole is not actually a good spot to race against Shartin because she’s so quick at the top of the lane, she’d just put a length on us and we’d never really get close enough. Getting away in the three or the four spot and being able to work up close to her, that seemed to help. Sometimes the two-hole is not the best place to be; they have you stuck where they want you and horses are so good these days, they only need an eighth-of-a-mile breather and they’re tough to beat.” While Shartin is a Yonkers veteran, owning seven victories in 10 local starts, including back-to-back Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Finals in 2018 and 2019, Tuesday night will mark Caviart Ally’s first start at the Hilltop since logging a pair of third-place finishes in the Lismore Pace Eliminations and Final in May 2017 for previous trainer Noel Daley. “I had nowhere else to race, it’s as simple as that,” Pelling said of the decision to enter at Yonkers.  Caviart Ally was entered multiple times at multiple tracks since her last start June 5 at the Meadowlands, but Yonkers proved to be the only venue carding a filly and mare open. As such, Pelling was not surprised when Shartin also showed up in the entries. “They had the same issue that we had, so I kind of expected that,” he said. “I nearly raced her the week before, but I just tried to time it a little bit as well. We always planned on racing there through the winter. She was in the Matchmaker, we had her all ready for the Matchmaker, that was a real goal. The best laid plans have gone awry this year I’m afraid.” Caviart Ally Caviart Ally, a 26-time winner and earner of $1.8 million for owner Caviart Farms, qualified twice in February before winning her 2020 debut in 1:49.4 in a $30,000 filly and mare preferred at the Meadowlands March 6. She was entered in the first leg of the Matchmaker March 13, the same week racing halted at Yonkers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With no way of knowing when racing would be allowed to resume, Pelling kept Caviart Ally in training throughout the interruption.  “We never missed a day, we just kept right on going,” Pelling said. “I didn’t bike them up and go (1:) 53 or any of that stuff, I just couldn’t do that. We basically treated every day as if it was an off week and just let her cruise along, just keeping her on hold. I never buzzed her or anything. She had a good time; for a horse, it was a good time. It might have been a bit boring, but she definitely wasn’t put under any stress.” Pelling describes Caviart Ally as “a machine” and says the most difficult part of training her is managing her weight. “Every time I look at her, I think she’s carrying twins. People that see her can’t believe she’s a racehorse because she carries so much condition,” he said. “She thrives on racing because she’ll just eat anything. She’s one of the best eaters you’ve ever seen in your life,” Pelling said. “Keeping the weight off of her is always the goal, it’s really nothing else; no soundness issues, no health issues, it’s all about keeping the weight off her. She was all up and ready to go in March and she really hasn’t done a lot. You can only train them so much.” Caviart Ally qualified behind Kissin In The Sand May 30 before finishing third behind the same rival upon her return to racing in a $22,500 filly and mare preferred at the Meadowlands June 5. While Kissin In The Sand dictated the pace in that start, Caviart Ally was followed the cover of Imprincessgemma, who never got closer than 1 3/4 lengths of Kissin In The Sand. Although Caviart Ally closed with a :25.4 final quarter after kicking off the cover, she could not make up the ground. “She got away fourth, she got away in the right spot and then a horse who was (10-1) pulled in front of her and basically just got in her way,” Pelling said. “She would have been much, much better just coming first-over and I think if she had got to Kissin In The Sand’s wheel, it would have been a dogfight, but she just never got close enough.” Caviart Ally tuned up with a 1:51 qualifying win at the Meadowlands June 20 ahead of her return to Yonkers.  Like Caviart Ally, Shartin had one start in March ahead of a planned attempt at a third conquest of the Matchmaker Series. Shartin earned a neck victory in 1:50 in a $50,000 filly and mare invitational at Dover Downs March 4 before the shutdown hit. She qualified twice for her return Tuesday night, scoring a 2-length win in 1:53.3 at Magical Acres training center June 3 and another qualifying win in 1:51 at Harrah’s Philadelphia June 18. Owned by Poillucci, King, and Tetrick, Shartin is a 42-time winner and earner of $2.1 million. In addition to the two heavyweights, Tuesday night’s pacing feature also includes last week’s winner Snobbytown, who drew post three for George Brennan and Ron Burke, and last week’s runner up Imprincessgemma, who will start from post five for the Bongiornos. Machnhope scored a 1:51.4 victory in a local $20,250 overnight June 23 and will start from post four for Dexter Dunn and Noel Daley. Delishka, Sandy Win, and Anytime complete the field.  “I’d just like to stay in front of Shartin, that’s all,” Pelling said. “I’m sure that will mean moving forward. (Caviart Ally) will get around there like a hoop around a barrel. She won the Jugette, so I’m not concerned about how she gets around there or anything. She’ll be fine. She also has a long stakes season coming up, so this is another race, and it’s a race because we need to race. “It’s a good race. I’m really thankful to Yonkers for going with the filly and mare open,” Pelling continued. “No one else is. For a Tuesday night, I can guarantee you that the harness racing world will be watching Yonkers, and I think that’s a good thing. Good on them for doing that.” The amended Yonkers Raceway calendar will see live harness racing conducted Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights until July 2. Beginning the week of July 6, the schedule will add Friday nights. Saturday night racing will resume the week of July 20 as the track returns to its normal five night per week schedule through Dec. 19. First post time is 7:05 p.m. The complete revised racing calendar is available online here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Have Faith In Me N was a winner once again on Saturday when he smoked his harness racing rivals in the $18,000 Open Pace at Scioto in a slick time of 1:49.3. J D Perrin trained the winner and also second placed Our Corelli N making it a Down Under Quinella. Our Corelli N was some 1.7 seconds behind the winner. Blindswitch Racing Stable and Bukers Stable were the successful owners of the Down Under quinella. The win took Have Faith In Me N to over $1.7m in stake earnings for his racing career. The son of Bettors Delight set Down Under harness racing alight when he won the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle in Sydney in a scotching time of 1:47.5.   Monday 22nd June Harrington Raceway DE Waikiki Beach A – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $2,500 Bettor Rock On N – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $2,500   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Stormont Czar A – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $6,800   Tioga Downs NY Shecouldbegood N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $6,700   Tuesday 23rd June Running Aces Casino & Racetrack MN Firenglow A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $6,700 Keep On Rocking A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $10,000 Last Flight In N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,200   The Meadows PA Amelia’s Courage A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $11,500 Tioga Downs NY Kotare Yael N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $5,600   Yonkers Raceway NY Provocativeprince N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $14,250         Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Fizzing N, 3rd Kenrick N Rockin The Boys A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $17,250 Yayas Hot Spot N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $17,250   Georgian Downs CA American Tour N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $8,800   Wednesday 24th June Buffalo Raceway NY Empire Earl N – Time: 2:01.0, Stake: $8,400 Harrington Raceway DE Stella A – Time: 2:03.2, Stake: $20,000   Thursday 25th June Harrahs Hoosier Park IN The Empiressister N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $19,750 Saratoga Harness NY Bontz N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $8,500 Culinary Delight N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $4,800 Scarborough Downs ME Dontustopbelievn N – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $3,500 Yonkers Raceway NY Wardan Express A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $14,250 Raukapuka Ruler N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $33,000 One Off Delight A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $20,250 Charlottetown Driving Park CA Misty Memory N  – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $1,550   Friday 26th June Harrahs Hoosier Park IN Saloon Passage N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $7,500 Threeofthebest A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $12,500 Ana Malak N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $15,000 Scarborough Downs ME Rock Diamonds N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $5,000   Saturday 27th June Buffalo Raceway NY Electric Chapel N – Time: 1:58.4, Stake: $4,400 Harrahs Hoosier Park IN Backup A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $7,000 Late Night Date A – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $8,000 Meadowlands NJ Campora N – Time: 1:48.4, Stake: $10,000 Campora N Persimmon N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $12,000 Ana Afreet N – Time: 1:50.0, Stake: $15,000 Northfield Park OH Rollin Witholly A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $6,500 Scioto Downs OH Havefaithinme N – Time: 1:49.3, Stake: $18,000 Messi N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $11,000 Picard A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $14,000 The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Lachie Maguire N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $11,200   Sunday 28th June Harrahs Philadelphia PA Vettel N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $11,600 Our Max Phactor N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $14,400 Saratoga Harness NY Nerve Of Steel N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,750 Crockets Cullen N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,500 The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Rock n Shard N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $10,000 Rideau Carleton Raceway CA Darcee N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $6,000 Flying Isa N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $9,000 Carter Dalgety

MILTON, ON - JUNE 29, 2020 - Just over eight months since her last appearance at Woodbine Mohawk Park, three-year-old pacing filly Alicorn returned to the Milton oval on Monday evening and marched straight back into the harness racing winner's circle. Making her sophomore debut in the first of three $73,067 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions, Canada's Two-year-old Pacing Filly of the Year eased away from Post 5 as Betalady led the field to a :26.2 opening quarter. After sitting briefly on the rail in third, driver Louis-Philippe Roy sent the fan favourite to the front and Alicorn rolled on to a :55 half and 1:23.3 three-quarters. Lauras Love and Rose Run Victoria mounted an attack in the lane, but Alicorn held them off for a three-quarter length victory in 1:50.4. "To come off of an eight month layoff and have to pace 1:50 and change her first start, that's not easy for any horse," said Chantal Mitchell, who trains Alicorn for Windermere Stable LLC of New York, NY and Robert Muscara of Ivyland, PA. "She did the vast majority of the work in there tonight. I don't know if she could have gone faster if she was pushed, but she did what she had to do and I'm quite happy with her." To watch the race replay click here.  The Bettors Delight daughter came into Monday's Gold Series season opener off a trio of qualifiers on June 4, 11 and 18, with the most recent clocked in 1:52.2. Mitchell was confident that Alicorn was ready, but the Waterdown resident was still happy to get the win in the books. "There's always a lot of expectations. When the stakes schedule came out and she didn't have any races for a month then I scratched her from the (May 29) qualifier, and it was, you know people were losing their minds," Mitchell recalled. "They said, 'What's wrong with her?' It's fine, it's just I don't have anywhere to race her so I'm not going to qualify her this week, we'll qualify next week. I mapped out a plan for her after I had a stakes schedule so then it was - because everybody was questioning what I was doing - it was, hopefully I made the right decision." The winner of $536,907 wintered in North Carolina and Mitchell said, while she did not grow taller, Alicorn did fill out and looks stronger than she did as a two-year-old. "She's a lot thicker. She filled out a lot, and I think she filled out quite a bit just in the last two months. With all this extra time it did her some good. A lot of people were calling her fat tonight. I said it's a good thing she doesn't care what other people think because she would develop a complex," said Mitchell with a laugh. "It's like I said to one of her owners, it'll take a couple more of those 1:50 miles to get her back to her fighting weight, but she's starting in a good spot." Sex Appeal also started her sophomore campaign in a good spot, finding the OSS winner's circle for the first time. The Bettors Delight daughter and driver Trevor Henry caught the pacesetting Rose Run Vantage in the stretch to record the victory in a personal best 1:51. Fan favourite Rose Run Vantage settled for second and Saulsbrook Raven was third. "She's a nice filly, she's just starting to learn how to race. She grew up a lot from last year," said Henry, who drives Sex Appeal for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington. "Hopefully she keeps it up." To watch the race replay, click here. A Grassroots competitor at two, Sex Appeal now has three wins to her credit in four sophomore starts. The final Gold Series division went to All Day Sunshine and driver James MacDonald, who tracked Probert through the mile and then circled the stalled favourite in the stretch. All Day Sunshine sprinted all the way to the wire, getting a nose in front of So Delightful in a 1:52 personal best. Keystone Kalimba completed the top three. To watch the race replay, click here. "I was hoping to find a nice trip with her and get as much as we could, but Dan (Lagace) has the horse great and the trip worked out," said MacDonald. "When I gave her some racetrack, she did the rest." A Gold winner at two, Sunshine Beach daughter All Day Sunshine is owned by trainer Daniel Lagace of Cambridge, Christopher Nicol of Caledonia, ON and Billy Joe Timmins of Birmingham, GB. The three-year-old pacing fillies will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 17 for their second Gold Series Leg. Complete results for Monday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

ELORA, ON - JUNE 29, 2020 - Chocolate Pie is more than just a harness racing starter in the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, July 1. The three-year-old trotting colt is a building block in trainer Kyle Bossence's long-term plan to shift his stable toward developing and racing young horses. "That's the game plan. I kind of grew up around (Gregg) McNair's and that's what I know. I got to train a lot of babies down around there," said Bossence. "That's kind of the goal, but I mean you've got to start somewhere, right. The racehorses help, in the wintertime, help pay for the babies." Currently ranked second in the trainer standings at Grand River, Bossence has sent out 18 starters in the last month and won five races. Chocolate Pie was among the winners, going gate-to-wire in 2:01.4 on June 17. One week earlier the Archangel son finished second in his sophomore debut and Bossence is hoping the trotter is on track for a more consistent season than he delivered at two. In his freshman campaign Chocolate Pie recorded one win, one second and one third in seven starts for earnings of $13,800, qualifying for the Grassroots Semi-final where he made a break and finished tenth. "He won his first Grassroots last year with no trotting hopples or nothing on, but as he progressed he just got a little warmer and needed the hopples just to kind of keep him sensible," said Bossence, who purchased Chocolate Pie from the 2018 London Selected Yearling Sale for $17,000. "And he really started to grow halfway through the year and that kind of hurt his two-year-old season." Chocolate Pie will make his sophomore OSS debut from Post 7 in the fourth $23,150 Grassroots division on Wednesday. Regular reinsman Colin Kelly will steer the colt, facing off against a field of eight that includes 2019 Grassroots finalist Remember Titans from Post 1 and 2019 Gold Leg winner Crossfit Mouse from Post 3. "He's matured a lot and he grew a lot and filled out, so we hope for some luck. I was hoping for a little better post position, but we'll see how he makes out," said Bossence. "He's good on a half, but I mean post position can really help you on a half-mile track." In addition to Chocolate Pie, the Arthur resident has three other sophomores and six two-year-olds in his stable. Bossence has been pleased with the progress of some of his two-year-old pacers and hopes at least one will prove talented enough to compete in Grand River Raceway's signature Battle Of Waterloo eliminations in late July. "We've got a couple two-year-olds I think are all right," said the trainer. "I've got a couple paid into the Battle of Waterloo - that's one race I've always wanted to win so we'll see how that goes - hopefully they're good enough by then to at least make the (Aug. 3) final." Chocolate Pie gave Bossence his first provincial stakes win last July and pacing colt Doc Fanelli added another in September. The trainer will be looking to add to that number this season as he makes progress toward his long-term goal. "The game plan was always to get away from the claimers," said Bossence. "Eventually it would be nice just to have the younger ones, and a few conditioned horses." Chocolate Pie and his peers will battle in Races 2, 4, 6, 9 and 10 on Grand River Raceway's Wednesday evening program, which gets underway at 6:30 pm. While fans cannot cheer the trotting colts on in person, downloadable programs and a live stream are available on the Grand River Raceway website. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

A Queensland harness racing trainer is being rewarded for his kindness after stepping in and saving a horse more than 1500 kilometres away. Respected horseman Alistair Barnes said a six-year-old pacer "caught his eye" as he was browsing over an Echuca saleyards catalogue obtained by his partner Cassie Saunders. "There was a well-bred thoroughbred mare being offered for sale and Cassie was interested in it," Barnes said. "But I just liked everything I saw about a pacer that was listed, a horse which was named Somebeachsomegift (Somebeachsomewhere - Ulanart (Perfect Art) -he'd only been to the races on 11 occasions and won the Southern Cross 3YO final in Adelaide and also won at Mildura, although admittedly, it was back in 2017!" Barnes said. "After making a few phone calls I was told the horse had broken down and had been virtually retired, but a girl I spoke to, who had a fair bit to do with him, was quite upset that he was at the saleyards," he said. "She was in the middle of moving house though and had nowhere to put him, and I promised her I'd rescue the horse and get him up to our place. It was in my mind I might be able to get him back to the races because over the years we've done pretty well at patching up horses with bad legs." Alistair and Cassie are based at Tallegalla, near Marburg, 60 kms from Brisbane, where they prepare a small team of pacers, including brilliant last start Redcliffe Gold Cup runner-up Northview Hustler. Barnes said after navigating the logistics of purchasing Somebeachsomegift and having him transported north to Queensland, he found him to have a bad tendon as well as stifle issues. "But I was confident with time and patience I could patch him up and told the girl that when I was finished racing him, she could have him back," he said. "It turned out that he was one of the easiest horses to fix up that I've ever had!" But when the pacer was ready to go to the races, Barnes encountered another hurdle with Somebeachsomegift having been deregistered. "That took ages to sort out. I had Harness Racing Victoria helping me and the stewards were terrific, along with the Harness Racing Authority. My parents Geoff and Lorraine, along with a close family friend, played a big role in sorting it all out. Their work behind the scenes was awesome," he said. Somebeachsomegift finally made it back to the races in May, nearly three years after he last raced. But, after scoring an emphatic sprint-lane victory at Albion Park (1:57.9) last week, the pacer is now repaying Alistair and Cassie's persistence. To watch the video replay click here "We got there in the end and he's rewarded us, with the win and three placings from eight starts in a pretty short time. He's sound as a bell, now, and should keep racing consistently. I'm just elated because later the horse will end up having a nice home." And Cassie and her thoroughbred from the saleyards? Well she was also a successful purchaser and is now the owner of a well-bred broodmare by High Chaparral, a former Irish champion racehorse who won 10 of his 13 race starts. "We've booked her into Tassort, a first-season sire who had just two starts for a five-length debut win in the Golden Gift followed by a second in the G2 Silver Slipper Stakes," Cassie said. "Al got lucky-so hopefully I do as well," she laughed. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands Racetrack will re-open its doors to fans this Thursday, July 2 when onsite simulcasting and sports wagering is allowed to resume in New Jersey. Per the Executive Order 157, the grandstand will open to 25% capacity. The Backyard and Apron areas will also be open. All guests will be required to wear a face covering, have their temperature checked and complete a brief health questionnaire. No one with a temperature exceeding 100.4 will be allowed to enter. All guests will be required to enter via the simulcast entrance and valet parking will not be available at this time. Dining will also resume on Friday and Saturday nights for live racing (7:15 pm post). Trotters will be open to horse owners and members and the West Deck will be open for all other reservations. Reservations are required and dining must be prepaid. Reservations can be made by calling Marianne Rotella at 201-842-5059 or emailing mrotella@playmeadowlands.com. The Backyard BBQ & Grill along with the Rooftop Terrace will also be open weather permitting. Further details regarding the re-opening will be posted on PlayMeadowlands.com by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

Columbus, OH — From a young age, Isaiah Shrake always had a passion for racehorses. Little did he know that at the age of 19 he would co-own and train a rising Ohio-bred harness racing star in the 3-year-old pacing filly Rockin Farrari. Shrake first started going to the races as an 11-year-old with Aunt Sherree Cox who raced at Northfield Park. “I would travel to watch her pacing mare Coupon Lady compete,” said Shrake. Along with watching his family race, fair time was fun time for the aspiring horseman, enjoying the sights and sounds of the horses on the track warming up before each race. A graduate of Canton McKinley High School, Shrake was heavily involved in not just the daily grind of high school athletics, but taking care of a 2-year-old trotting filly named Foolmegypsy, who was trained by his uncle, Jeff Cox. “I would start around six to get her jogging, and get the stall clean before heading to school,” said Shrake. “From there I would have a normal school day, then drive back to the fairgrounds to make sure my filly was good, then back to school for athletics.” Shrake began jogging horses when he was 15 and at the time was too young to get his trainer’s license. In 2019, his uncle Jeff suggested that he get his trainer’s license so he could start being listed on his own horses. “The entire family inspired me to go for it and accomplish my goal of becoming a trainer,” said Shrake. “They have all been great trainers to look up to and help me along the way.” Rockin Farrari (Rockin Amadeus-Look Close) would kick off the first of three straight victories for Shrake on May 29 at MGM Northfield Park against conditioned company. After getting being parked to the first quarter, driver Kurt Sugg took back into fourth allowing the fractions to settle upfront. Sugg tipped Rockin Farrari to the outside and took dead aim at the leaders after the half-mile pole. He would fight the remainder of the mile with Sugarpie Honey Bee, but through the stretch was able to get by the early leader, winning by a length. Rockin Farrari “My first win was unbelievable, I did not expect to win my first start either,” said a jubilant Shrake. “Things like this is what we work for; this feeling is the greatest feeling.” For Shrake, the win had even more meaning as he personally picked Rockin Farrari out before purchasing her for $5,700 at the 2018 Buckeye Classic Yearling Sale. Shrake would go on to win two more starts with Rockin Farrari, including a victory in a $17,500 Buckeye Stallion Series race at Eldorado Scioto Downs, before tasting defeat for the first time on Sunday (June 28) when finishing fifth at Northfield Park. A humble Shrake credits his uncle for helping him with Rockin Farrari and helping him get where he is today as a trainer. He also credits drivers Kurt Sugg and Brett Miller for always giving Rockin Farrari the best chance to win. “This feeling I will remember forever, having my first ever training start come out as a winner to also winning a leg in the Buckeye Stallion Series in the same year.” Shrake hopes to have his own stable one day to create a legacy that will make his family proud. “I started my first semester at Stark State and took three classes at the time, but I had to remember that I still had barn work to do,” said Shrake. “I am still just unsure about college at this point in my life past this semester.” He plans on getting his driver’s license in 2021, during some of the fair races, after gaining more experience and being more aware of his surroundings on the track. “I need more fast training miles in the bike before I can even think of entering a race,” he said. Shrake says he looks up to fellow driver Daren Harvey who has been a wealth of knowledge when it comes to learning to drive in a race. As for future accomplishments, Shrake says that he has already accomplished a few of his goals, but wants to take as much advice as he can from others and put that towards his horses to improve his own status as a trainer. “If you love what you do every day, it won’t even feel like work when you get into it. If you treat the horses right, then they will show you respect as a trainer,” said Shrake. by Michael Carter, USTA Social Media and Publicity Coordinator

INNISFIL, JUNE 28, 2020 - They arrived at Georgian Downs off impressive wins, harness racing fans made them the heavy favourites, and three-year-old trotting geldings Hayek and HP Royal Theo delivered the goods, cruising to victory in their respective Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series divisions on Sunday evening. Hayek led off for the Ben Baillargeon stable, starting from Post 3 in the first $105,600 Gold division, and the E L Titan son made it look easy from the moment the wings closed on the starting gate. Driver Sylvain Filion sent the gelding to the lead and Hayek rolled unchallenged through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27.1 before opening up a five and three-quarter length margin on his peers heading for the 1:55.2 finish. Your Still Up was promoted from third to second and Northern Sultan moved up from fourth to third after Port Perry made a late break in the stretch, crossing the wire second but being placed back to fourth. "He was a lot smarter tonight than he was Monday when I won with him," said Baillargeon. "I was a little bit anxious to see how he was going to behave himself, you know. He looks like he's fast enough, but he's still racing against better horses like Port Perry and company, but he was well behaved and Sylvain said, 'Geez, he was well-behaved and he was very good, very nice'. He asked him to go a little bit and he just went." The Guelph-based trainer shares ownership of Hayek with Teresa Davidson of Milton, Santo Vena of Brampton and Nunzio Vena of Bolton, ON. The partners acquired the trotter on June 8 and Hayek has now delivered two wins and $60,300 in earnings to his delighted new owners. In the second $106,400 Gold Series division, HP Royal Theo and driver Louis-Philippe Roy lined up behind Post 5. Roy eased the fan favourite away from the starting gate, allowing Horse Trader and Hot Wheelz to battle to the :28 opening quarter, and then sent HP Royal Theo to the front. Like his stablemate, HP Royal Theo was unchallenged through a :57 half and 1:26.1 three-quarters, and sailed home to a three and one-quarter length win in 1:54.1. "He's a fast horse and he's a lot more mature this year and everything," said Baillargeon. "He's pretty smart, like he could have ducked in in the four-hole, but I told Louis, 'Take your time, but don't duck. You're the best, drive him like you're the best, but take your time at the gate.' And he's getting to be very smart and very good. "I couldn't ask for anything better right now. If I can keep them both like that, with their head on their shoulders, we're going to have a good summer." Breeder Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, QC share ownership of HP Royal Theo. The Royalty For Life son won a Gold Leg at two and also captured the William Wellwood Memorial Final, earning $286,040. Sunday's victory boosted the gelding's lifetime earnings to $350,240. "You need some of them to pay for the ones we don't see. I have some in the field, so it's nice to get some to pay for them. It's a wheel you know, it's a big wheel. These two will keep the wheel turning for a while anyway, let's put it this way," said Baillargeon with a chuckle. "I have broodmares and I have all kinds of stuff too. Monsieur Hamel is the same thing, and Santo (Vena), he's the same thing. We dabble in about everything there is about the sport, so you need to get a few like that sometimes." The next Gold Series event for the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings takes place July 21 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, so Baillargeon said Hayek and HP Royal Theo will make one overnight start before continuing their Ontario Sires Stakes campaign. Complete results for Sunday's races are available at Georgian Downs Results. Georgian Downs will host its second Ontario Sires Stakes event on Saturday, July 11 when the two-year-old trotting colts will make their Grassroots debut. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

What Cheer, IA -- Fifteen fields of Iowa-sired harness racing two-year-olds and three-year-olds competed in the first of two 2020 Iowa Sires Stakes meets.   Freshman trotters led the card with Searching For You and driver Chad Svendson capturing the first race in 2:08.4. Owned by Kayveonna Johnson and Rick & CD Huffman, the trotting colt is from the first crop of Stage Muscles, a son of Muscle Hill. Rick Huffman trains. The second division of 2-year-old trotting colts & geldings went to Roll On Whitey in 2:08.2. The Honeydont Hanover gelding is trained and driven by lessee Gary Liles.   Only one of the eight competitors in the lone division of two-year-old trotting fillies stayed flat during a chaotic mile. Chad Svendson drove Airman's Kisses to a 2:11 win for owner's Rick & CD Huffman. Trained by Rick Huffman, the filly is by Airman Batten, a son of Swan For All.   The two-year-old Iowa Sires Stakes colt and gelding pace went to Duane & Connie Roland's Western Waltz. From the first crop of Western Trademark, driver Cory Larson and Western Waltz found room through a tight pack in the final stretch to steal a win in 2:05.2.   17-year-old driver Justin Gould gave a perfect trip to CharChar earning her a win in the first division of 2-year-old filly pacers. Hailing from the Mintun-Gould Stable, CharChar is from the second crop of In Over My Head. Freshman fily pacers picked up the pace in the second division with Curvyhipsandredlips capturing a gate-to-wire win in 2:03.1 with Will Roland in the bike. The daughter of Millionaire Cam is trained by Curtis Carey and owned by Jay Delong, Jeff Carey and Rick & CD Huffman.   First Gunner continued his winning streak bringing the tally to four with a 2:03.1 mile in the 3-year-old Trot. The son of Amigo Ranger was a top five pacer as a 2-year-old, only switching to the trot in 2020. First Gunner is owned by Kathy Shipley and trained by Tom Shipley.   Driver Chad Svendson paired with the Huffman Stable for another win on the trot. CR Valentine followed Broadway Sweetheart until the three-quarter pole then tipped out to challenge the mile leader. CR Valentine, a daughter of Amigo Ranger, took over in the stretch to win earning a new lifetime mark of 2:05.   Ivy B Poison raced a strong mile to take the first division of 3-year-old pacing fillies. Trained and driven by Scott Smith, the Sneaky B Skipalong filly clocked a 2:03.4 mile for owner Chris Philipp. After a 1:58.4 performance at West Liberty last week, Jennie Ann remained in top form besting the competition in the second division of filly pacers in 2:00.2. A daughter of the Rocknroll Hanover stud Lettherockbegin, Jennie Ann is owned, trained and driven by Rob Anderson.   In the last feature race of the day, the 2019 pacing colt champion Slippin The Clutch drew post position seven, starting in the second tier. Driver Will Roland navigated around some early traffic and pulled the 3-year-old son of Millionaire Cam at the half. The gelding found another gear breezing up to second where he was hung by Cashncam. The two battled to the finish when a late charge from Legal LIar threatened the pair. Slippin The Clutch won in 1:59.2 for trainer Curtis Carey and owners Jay Delong, Jeff Carey and Rick & CD Huffman.   For the full results of todays racing click on this link   Iowa racing action resumes on July 3 (Friday) at the Humboldt COunty Fairgrounds. Post time is 12:30pm.     Gretchen Roland for the Iowa Harness Horsemen's Association    

Good luck and good fortune go hand in hand with harness racing - and horseshoes have been a symbol of good luck for centuries. And perhaps there was more than a slice of good fortune at Albion Park on Friday night when a horseshoe became a flying missile - and fortunately caused no harm. Several harness racing drivers could be excused for counting their lucky stars after the shoe dislodged from one of the starters in the first 60 metres of race six in Brisbane. It's invisible to the naked eye and on replay, but ace racetrack photographer Dan Costello was right on the spot to capture several brilliant shots that show how close the "lucky horseshoe" came to a number of runners. Experienced reinsman Darren Weeks, who was driving 40/1 chance Newmerella Ladykay, said he saw "something flash past" out the corner of his eye. "I gathered it was a shoe. There was probably a few of us a bit lucky-you certainly wouldn't have wanted it to hit you that's for sure," he said. For the race replay click here  The video of the race replay shows Grant Dixon in black and white checks, on Good As It Gets (no 3) and Shane Graham, wearing blue and white colors, on Vienna Boy (4), both running the gate and seemingly oblivious to the flying shoe as they concentrate on getting forward positions. Weeks (number two: Gold with purple diamond yokes) eased out of the speed battle at the start, but glances quickly across to his right side, and then looks back toward the racetrack as the shoe hits the surface. Stewards reported the shoe was cast from Notorious, driven by Dannielle McMullen (8), wearing bright red and purple colors. They started on the inside of the back row, directly behind Couldntbetold, Chloe Butler (1). Happily no harm done. This photo shows how lucky the drivers were not to be hit in the face just after the horseshoe starts its trajectory But what's the story behind the "luck" associated with horseshoes? Over the ages, people have hung them over their doorways to bring good fortune, rubbed them to ward off spirits, and used them on their racing colors in an attempt to bring good karma. Iron has long been believed to ward off evil spirits, and the shoes were traditionally held in place by seven nails - seven being considered the luckiest number. Myth has it that the tradition of hanging a horseshoe at the front door dates back to the tenth century, and a blacksmith named Dunstan. It is said that a man Dunstan recognised as the devil asked him to put horseshoes his hooves. The devil was in agony, and Dunstan chained him up, releasing him only after he promised never to enter a place that had a horseshoe hung over the door. Therefore, any house with a horseshoe was guaranteed to be lucky. But be careful with how you display your horseshoe-it's only good luck if the ends point upward so that the horseshoe can fill with luck. Well, it's a nice thought anyway!   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The progeny of former USA 2YO Colt of the Year and dual harness racing world champion He’s Watching 1:46.4 fifths ($1.1 million) are firing on all cyclinders in both hemispheres! In Canada, the talented He’s Watching three-year-old Night Watchman showed he is genuine candidate for the $1 million North America Cup with his second straight win in 1:52.2 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. To watch the video replay of Night Watchman click here. A number of He’s Watching’s babies qualified in Canada over the weekend. They included Watch My Beverage (1:57.2), Always Watching (1:57.6), Sono Bella (1:58), Siri Blue Chip (1:58), Socrates Blue Chip (1:58.2) and Winsun Gaga (2:00). On the home front, the brilliant He’s Watching three-year-old Watchmylips led most of the way to score at Launceston, his fourth success from six lifetime starts. To watch the video replay of Watchmylips click here. Chamonix, a two-year-old by He’s Watching, overcame a difficult draw and a torrid passage to post his first win at Albion Park, rating 1:57.1 over 1660 metres. To watch the video replay click on this link He’s Watching is now standing at Tipperary Equine, Young (NSW) of well known studmaster Luke Primmer. To refresh your minds of just how fast this horse was, watch this video below of He's Watching winning The Meadowlands Pace in 1:46.4 still the fastest mile ever at The Meadowlands. He had explosive speed with Tim Tetrick declaring that he is the fastest horse he has ever sat behind. Remember also that when He's Watching won the Meadowlands Pace he was only one month into his three-year-old season as he was a very late foal been born in June of his year.   Peter Wharton