Day At The Track

WASHINGTON, PA, April 17, 2018 -- Show Runner turned back the extended challenge of Miss Read en route to a harness racing victory in Tuesday's feature at The Meadows, an $11,500 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace. Show Runner quarter-poled to the front for Jim Pantaleano, who gave her a 30.1 second-panel breather. But she could not put away the first-over Miss Read, finally defeating her by 1/2 length in 1:55.2 over a "good" surface. Gingertreescarlett rallied for show. Christen Pantaleano trains Show Runner, an 8-year-old daughter of Little Steven-Peace Runner who now boasts $497,311 in career earnings, for A Piece Of The Action LLC. Aaron Merriman collected four wins on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

An Australian gambler was able to parlay A$1,600 (US$1,245) into an incredible A$56,000 (US$43,000) after pulling off an upset win during a horserace in February 2013. While he basked in his winnings and the attention he received after the long-shot victory, some began quietly questioning how it was possible. The truth has finally come out, with the gambler among 78 looking at charges of fraud. Edward Ridgway was the prophet who foresaw Alma’s Fury winning the race that day. The track was wet, which always resulted in a poor performance by the horse. Always, except for one race. That win unleashed an investigation that uncovered a history of fraudulent bets. All of the bets were perpetrated by the same individual, Stephen Charles Fletcher, who was already in hot water for receiving insider information in various gambling activities, according to The Sydney Morning Herald report. Fletcher was first introduced to authorities in 2006 after he and his betting partner, Eddie Hayson, had won millions wagering on a rugby match. Authorities accused the pair of learning prior to the match that a key player wouldn’t be on the field due to an injury, and used the information to enter their bets. Both Fletcher and Hayson denied the allegations, and there wasn’t enough proof for a conviction. However, Fletcher was subsequently banned from gambling. From September 2012 to March 2013, Fletcher used the identities of 77 individuals, including police officers, to continue his betting activities, according to the report. He has been shown to have been behind bets placed at a number of horserace tracks around Australia, and also in Hong Kong and Singapore. In one instance, he used Ridgway’s account in a horserace in Hong Kong, turning US$233 into US$13,774. In February 2013, Fletcher made 28 bets under the names of others in racing events ranging from greyhounds in Western Australia to harness racing in Penrith. Former police officers Senior Constable Marc Smith and Senior Constable Tony Williams were also caught up in the investigation. The duo face charges for soliciting fellow officers to join in on the fraud. It has been determined that Williams met Fletcher through the latter’s friend, Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen, who is also under investigation. Fletcher has now been charged with 78 counts of “dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception.” Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in an Aussie prison. Knowing his propensity for using others’ identities, authorities will probably want to make sure it’s really him before sending him away. By Erik Gibbs Reprinted with permission of Calvinayre.com site

Carter Pinske will graduate from college next month and he is looking forward to the work ahead. That means lending a hand at the family's custom cabinetry and millwork business, which dates back to the 19th century, as well as taking an increased role in what by comparison is a more recent pursuit -- harness racing. The Pinskes have been involved in harness racing since the mid-1950s when Carter's great-grandfather Robert began competing at the Minnesota county fairs. Pinske Stables is now led by Carter's father Karl and Karl's parents Tim and Marlys. Carter has worked with the horses for years, when not in school, and is anxious to spend more time around them in the future. "The horses have been my passion," Carter Pinske said. "I've been involved with them since I was old enough to be. I jogged my first horse when I was 9 or 10 and went my first training mile when I was 11. It's hard to get out of your blood once it's in there." In the past, Pinske helped prepare the family's horses for racing by assisting as much as time permitted with the winter training at Southern Oaks in Florida. Now, he hopes to spend the entire winter working with the horses before they head to their respective trainers, primarily on the East Coast, for their campaigns. "I'd like to make the trip east to visit the horses as many times as I can," said the 22-year-old Pinske, who is an animal science/business dual major at South Dakota State. "Since I started college, I've been involved in making decisions with my dad and grandpa. I really like going to the sales and picking out the horses. But what I most enjoy is the training side, watching them develop on a weekly basis." There was plenty for the Pinske Stables to enjoy in 2017, led by stakes-winning pacers Hayden Hanover and Points North. Hayden Hanover, owned with Jim Simpson and trained by Julie Miller, had the fastest winning mile of the season for a 2-year-old male pacer thanks to his 1:50 score in a division of the International Stallion Stakes. He finished second in both the Metro Pace and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Points North, trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman, won a division of the Bluegrass Stakes and capped his season with a victory in the Kindergarten Classic series championship. Points North qualified on Saturday at the Meadowlands, timed in 1:53.1 with a :26.4 final quarter-mile. "Both of them trained back great," said Pinske, who spent the summer following his freshman year in college working with Julie Miller and her husband Andy at their stable. "Points North has shot up; he really put on weight and got taller, actually. Hayden stayed about the same height, but he put on a lot of muscle too. Training back, the two were great. No hiccups so far, and that's all you can ask for. You just keep your fingers crossed." Another 3-year-old male pacer, American Vision, also qualified Saturday, finishing in 1:53 for trainer Norman. American Vision, owned with Mitchell and Tom Pinske's Curly Tall Curly Small stable, was winless in seven starts last year, primarily on the New York Sire Stakes circuit. "We thought he would be able to go with them, but he didn't have luck the whole year, between post positions and some trips," Pinske said. "Then about halfway through the year he had some sickness trouble. He never really got the chance to show himself. This year training down he's really come around. He's been able to go with Points and Hayden. "I don't like to jinx myself, but I think that (3-year-old male pacer) division is probably as open as it's been. There are a lot of tough horses and I think every week you could see a different horse show up. So it's going to be tough, but I think we have a chance to have some fun. But it's a long season and a lot of tough horses in that division." Also among the returnees are 3-year-old female trotter Lucky Rainbow, who finished third in the New York Sire Stakes championship, and 3-year-old male trotters Voss Volo (a full brother to stakes-winner Bill's Man) and Haveitalltogether. The stable retired stakes-winning female trotter Overdraft Volo, co-owned with Kentuckiana Racing Stable and bred to Muscle Hill last week, and sold female pacer Inverse Hanover. "Last year was like a dream season," Pinske said. "And all of the owners we're involved with are awesome. It's really fun when it works out. That's all you can hope for; you hope to have a little bit of fun with it." The Pinskes also have a group of 2-year-olds comprised of four male pacers, three female trotters, two male trotters, and one female pacer. "We have a pretty good group of trotters that I really like," Pinske said. "They've been a solid group. They show potential. On the pacing side, same deal. It's a real solid group. "The season is slowly starting and I'm getting excited." Ken Weingartner

Finally the Harness Jewels may be set for some serious Australian interest. Former Kiwi trotter Custodian, now trained in Victoria, has been issued the first Australian invite to the $1,275,000 mega meeting at Cambridge on June 2, which means he will return to the venue where he won the two-year-old division two years ago. Custodian, who stayed in Australia after winning the Breeders Crown that season, missed the back end of last season when his connections were keen to defend their title. But they have jumped at the opportunity to come back for the four-year-old trot division and take on hot favourite Enghien. And it looks likely they could have some company, with at least five high-profile Australian-trained horses in the running for invites. Since Harness Racing New Zealand started inviting one Australian runner for each division a few years ago they have had plenty of disappointments, with withdrawals for a variety of reasons seeing most Jewels meetings run with only one or two Australians and some with none. Getting Australian horses to the series is seen as pivotal in increasing awareness and popularity in Australia, leading to increased turnover. Last season two Aussies made it to Ashburton and both ran second so no visitor has won a Jewels race yet. Custodian will need to be good to change that if Enghien turns up in his best form. But HRNZ are confident they have and will continue to secure some other big names. "We have had a lot of interest, more than any other year," says HRNZ's Darrin Williams. "The Custodian team are thrilled to be coming back because Nathan Jack [trainer] loved it last time he brought a horse. "And I think having it at Cambridge helps this year as it is easier to fly in to Auckland, stay a few days and fly out again. "But we have some really high profile horses we are speaking to the connections of." The biggest of those is Miracle Mile runner-up Jilliby Kung Fu, who is a real chance to take on Star Galleria in the four-year-old Emerald. Last season's champion Australian two-year-old trotter Wobelee is also rated a serious hope as is Ladyship Mile winner Carla's Pixel. And two of Australia's best three-year-old pacing fillies Shez All Rock and Soho Burning Love are believed to be competing for that invite, with the New Zealand Oaks next month possibly the deciding race. The New Zealand TAB has yet to open markets on the Jewels even though the main Australian TAB has had them open for the last two weeks. Meanwhile, Cambridge race on their newly resurfaced track tonight just a week after 320 tonnes of new surface was put on it in preparation for the Jewels. They host a rare Wednesday meeting the next two weeks with tonight's feature actually being a non-tote, with some of the north's best juvenile pacers in a five-horse Sires' Stakes heat. By: Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

A local builder has run away with a $2.7 million post-auction deal on a rundown 1890s Ascot Vale racing stable complex. Goodwood, at 42 Myross Ave, was once home to late harness-racing trainer and driver William “Bill” Davin for 60 years. The property was quoted at $2.5 million-$3 million, but John Paul Kavanagh, and his wife Erin, were the only ones to raise their hands at the auction of the 1336sq m block on Whiskey Hill, which comprised an original heritage-listed home and nine stables. A string of harness-racing champions were housed in the stables, including eight Hunter Cup winners and three-time winner of “the Melbourne Cup of harness-racing”, the Inter Dominion, Our Sir Vancelot.   Nelson Alexander Ascot Vale’s Michael Keogh said while he didn’t plan to buy horses — let alone harness-racing champions — for the stables anytime soon, he hoped to renovate the home. “We live just around the corner and we’d been looking for a bigger block in the area, but they’re aren’t too many of them around,” he said. “I’d been keeping a bit of an eye on this property though and I’ve met with heritage advisers so I know what we can and can’t do to the home.” By Charlotte Durut Reprinted with permission of news .com.au  

Farmington Hills-based homebuilder Hunter Pasteur Homes is under contract to buy the Northville Downs harness racing racetrack and redevelop the 48-acre property for housing. The harness racetrack's land has long been sought by developers in upscale Northville, but the project wouldn't necessarily end horse racing in the area. The site near Sheldon Road and Hines Drive is expected to be turned into 500-600 apartments and for-sale townhouses and single-family homes, according to a news release. Commercial uses are also expected. Northville Downs, Michigan's last horse track since Hazel Park Raceway closed earlier this month, will remain open until the development begins. The track's owners will seek to continue racing and wagering operations "at an area in close proximity to its current location," according to the statement from Hunter Pasteur Homes. "This project is in the preliminary stages, and we're eager to continue working with the city of Northville and our partners to iron out the numerous details that come with a project of this scale," Randy Wertheimer, president and CEO of Hunter Pasteur, said in a statement. "We expect to have all entitlements in place in 2019. As more details become available, we will share them with the community." Additional details such as purchase price and planned development cost were not disclosed. The Carlo family owns some of the track's acreage, and an investment group called Northville Driving Club Corp. owns the rest. The Carlos are minority shareholders in that entity. It's the second expected redevelopment of a horse racing track in Southeast Michigan this month following the April 5 closure of the Hazel Park Raceway. That track is expected to be sold for industrial or commercial use after 69 years as a thoroughbred and harness track. Northville management told Crain's last week that it's adding staff and buying $50,000 or more of Hazel Park's track, horse and hospitality equipment and fixtures to handle the influx of gamblers with nowhere else to wager on horses in Michigan. Northville Downs has 69 employees for the waging and racing business. It's been profitable for the past three years, track co-owner Mike Carlo said, and the closing of Hazel Park Raceway will help ensure Northville Downs remains in the black for a while longer. No details are yet available on what Northville Downs might do to race elsewhere after selling its current site. Carlo has promised a statement. Track land such as Northville Downs and Hazel Park are seen as more valuable for other purposes as interest in racing as declined. Eight Michigan horse tracks have closed since 1998 as the public has instead opted to spend money at the commercial and tribal casinos across the state, and because the lottery expanded and online forms of gambling have proliferated. The amount of money wagered at Michigan horse tracks on live racing has fallen from $22.1 million across seven tracks in 2006 to $4.2 million at two tracks in 2016, according to state data. That's an 81 percent decline. Combined live and simulcast betting in the state over that decade dropped from $281.1 million in 2006 to $103.2 million in 2016. Northville Downs can trace its roots to 1902. A driving club was formed in 1907 to manage land in Northville that had been turned into a rudimentary fairgrounds horse track in 1902. Michigan didn't create a formal pari-mutuel harness racing law until 1933, and Northville Downs became the entity it is today in 1944. The track business itself leases the land from the Northville Driving Club on an annual basis, and any sale would require both the club and family to jointly sell. Northville Downs gets a handful of offers every year from developers interested in buying some or all of the track's acreage, Carlo said. By Kirk Pinho and Bill Shea   Reprinted with permission of Grains Detroit

ANDERSON, Ind.—April 17, 2018 — Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is set to host Celebs in the Sulky, the first-ever IndyCar Driver celebrity race for charity, on Friday, April 27 at 6 p.m. Just off the race circuit and taking the reins in the sulky, world-famous Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Alexander Rossi, James Hinchcliffe, Robert Wickens, and Zach Veach will pair with Hoosier Park’s leading harness drivers Trace Tetrick, John DeLong, Sam Widger, and Ricky Macomber. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will contribute $1,500 to the winning driver’s charity at a check presentation, held just after the celebrity race. The remaining three charities will also receive $500 each. Hoosier Park guests of all ages are invited to meet the celebrity drivers at an autograph session in the lower level of the Terrace Showroom, following the charity race. Each of the four celebrity drivers are also competing in this year’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27. Celebs in the Sulky is sponsored by Flat 12 Bierwerks, located at 414 Dorman St. in Indianapolis. To kick off the event, Hoosier Park will offer Flat 12 Bierwerks exclusive Hinchtown Hammerdown brew on Friday, April 27. The pilsner-style beer, brewed in collaboration with James Hinchcliffe, will be available throughout the day and evening. Dan Patch Wit Beer, another Flat 12 Bierwerks exclusive brew, will also be available during the event. The elite Wit beer was created in honor of Dan Patch, a Hoosier icon and the most historic harness horse in Indiana history. Guests may enjoy the Belgian Witbier year-round at Hoosier Park. “We’re thrilled to host Celebs in the Sulky, the first-ever IndyCar celebrity race for charity, here at Hoosier Park,” said Tony Renz, director of marketing partnerships for Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand. “May is a big month for racing fans, and this event will help set the pace for the entire summer. My personal thanks go out to the folks at Flat 12 Bierwerks for their help in putting this all together. It’s going to be a great event to raise awareness for four great causes.” ABOUT THE DRIVERS AND THEIR CHARITIES OF CHOICE Alexander Rossi, driver of the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda for Andretti Autosport: Representing Find Your Grind Foundation, Alexander Rossi is known for his athletic skill and professionalism in racing. With his win at the Indy 500 in 2016, Rossi is set to be one of America’s next great racing heroes. Find Your Grind Foundation inspires youth through an entrepreneurial spirit by using partnerships with innovative nonprofits that use music, arts, and technology to enable students to become future visionaries. To learn more click here: http://fygfoundation.com/. James Hinchcliffe, driver of the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: Involved with the International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF), James Hinchcliffe is a five-time Verizon IndyCar Series race winner with many on and off-track successes, including a second place win on Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. IWMF is a patient-founded and patient-led, nonprofit organization that is dedicated to a simple but compelling vision: Support everyone affected by WM while advancing the search for a cure. Since WM is a rare disease, the foundation relies upon individuals for financial support and volunteers to do much of its work. For more information visit https://www.iwmf.com. Robert Wickens, driver of the No. 6 Lucas Oil Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: A supporter of the work done at Make A Wish America, Robert Wickens is one of auto racing’s standout stars. Since starting his career in 2001, Wickens has raced in premiere series and recently completed a successful six-year run in the German DTM series capturing six wins. Make A Wish America consists of tens of thousands of volunteers, donors, and supporters who advance the vision to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a critical illness. On average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes in the United States, inspiring and changing the lives of the families served. Click here for more information: http://wish.org. Zach Veach, driver of the No. 26 Group One Thousand One Honda for Andretti Autosport: An Indianapolis resident, Zach Veach is dedicated to advancing the work done at Riley Children’s Foundation. In 2017, Veach made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut and his Indy 500 debut, which helped secure his return as a full-time Verizon IndyCar Driver. Veach is the only driver to ever compete in all four levels of the Mazda Road to Indy with one team and Andretti Autosport. Riley Children’s Foundation is the fundraising arm of Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and the founding organization that opened Riley Hospital in 1924. Today Riley Hospital is recognized as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. Visit  http://www.rileykids.org/ to learn more. ABOUT THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES The Verizon IndyCar Series is the premier open-wheel series in North America, competing on a challenging combination of superspeedways, short ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits. The Verizon IndyCar Series conducts races in the United States and Canada – all available in high-definition worldwide through comprehensive agreements with ABC, NBCSN, ESPN International, Sportsnet and TV Bandeirantes. The Verizon IndyCar Series continues to be the fastest, most diverse and most competitive racing series that features an international cast of star drivers and venues. For more information about the Verizon IndyCar Series, visit www.indycar.com. About Hoosier Park Racing & Casino: Hoosier Park Racing & Casino holds multiple awards for customer service, entertainment, gaming, dining, and team member culture. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, a fully-integrated gaming and racing facility, features 2,000 of the latest slots and electronic table games and a 7/8 mile oval horse track offering live harness racing each year. Simulcast wagering is offered year-round at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, the Winner’s Circle Pub, Grille & OTB in Downtown Indianapolis and Winner’s Circle OTB & VooDoo BBQ & Grill in New Haven/Fort Wayne, Ind. For more information on upcoming entertainment and promotions at Hoosier Park visit www.hoosierpark.com. by Kiersten Flint

MILTON, April 16, 2018 - A messy Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park saw harness racing six-year-old trotter Big Rich complete a Preferred-triple. The aftermath of a brutal weekend ice storm left the track crew working non-stop until post time Monday, but once the first-race went behind the gate, it was back to business as usual. A field of seven older trotter clashed over the "sloppy" track in the $34,000 Preferred. Richard Moreau trainee Big Rich won the final two editions of the Preferred at Woodbine Racetrack and he carried that momentum over to Woodbine Mohawk Park. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Big Rich went to the front and never looked back to pick his third consecutive win and fourth of the season. The six-year-old gelding posted fractions of :29.3, :58.2 and 1:27.2 before trotting home in :30.1 and fighting off Free Willy Hanover, who pressed the leader going to three-quarters. Big Rich's margin of victory was a length. Luc Blais trainee Warrawee Roo rallied to finish third in his five-year-old debut. Owned by 9099 3833 Quebec Inc and Frank Spagnolo, Big Rich has now banked $90,700 in 10 starts this season. The Moreau trainee picked up his 22nd career victory with his triumph over the "sloppy" track Monday. A $2 win ticket on Big Rich paid $3.40. Live racing resumes Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Maori Time is the fifth entrant into Sweden’s famed Elitloppet as Australia bursts back on to harness racing’s European stage. The much-anticipated invitation was received overnight, which will see Maori Time leave Australia’s shores on May 9 to contest the May 27 Elitloppet at Stockholm’s famed Solvalla race track. Harness Racing Australia CEO Andrew Kelly said the invitation was a great result for connections and the Victorian trotting gait. “It is a terrific feather in the cap for all to have a horse considered good enough to make that trip,” Mr Kelly said. “This is not a small adventure to be undertaken by connections and by Maori Time herself.” Owner and breeder Fred Crews and trainer Brent Lilley have both long awaited the invitation, which was pursued soon after Maori Time produced an Australian record smashing 1:51.5 mile rate when saluting at Menangle on February 24. She will be the first Australian-trained horse to make the trip since Sundons Gift ran sixth in his heat in the 2009 Elitloppet. “It’s a very short and elite list,” Mr Kelly said of Australia’s Elitloppet entrants. “It’s the most famous race in Scandinavia if not Europe. “Fans from all over attend the day, they paint their faces and dress in their traditional grab to make the most of the day. The horses are very well known in that part of the world and have their own fan clubs.” Maori Time is only the fifth horse to have been invited for the May 27 race day, which features two heats into a final. The eight-year-old by Pegasus Spur out of Sundonna joins other invitees Readly Express (Sweden), Uza Josselyn (Switzerland), Bold Eagle (France) and Propulsion (Sweden). Her exposure on the world stage further reinforces Australia’s trotting wealth and strengthens European bonds. “It’s important not only to be sharing our racing product to Europe but that people realise the bloodstock talent that exists in Australia and that Europeans may want to invest in Australia as well,” Mr Kelly said. “It is a great opportunity to showcase some of our bloodlines. The wagering on our racing is bubbling along really well in Europe and those in Sweden are really interested in our product.” Trots Media - Michael Howard READ: ELITLOPPET A TRIP OF A LIFETIME, FRED CREWS TOLD THETROTS.COM.AU

WILKES-BARRE PA - Sharen Hanover and Kimberlee both recorded their second victories in the Bobby Weiss Series for harness racing pacing females on Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where earlier in the dank evening Eric Carlson recorded his 3000th driving victory. The Well Said mare Sharen Hanover is now perfect in two starts for the brothers Allard, driver Simon and trainer Rene, as she quarter-moved to command and went on to win her $15,000 division of the series' third preliminary leg. Three lengths clear at the end of a 1:55.3 mile in "sloppy +2" conditions, the mare appears to be peaking at just the right time for owner Geoffrey Mounds. In the other section, the Rock N Roll Hanover filly Kimberlee, who won in the first round and then sat out last week, raced just off a contested pace, then caught the series' only double winner in the first two prelims, Miss Hill, by a half-length in 1:55.4. Marcus Miller was in the sulky behind the winner, now undefeated in three seasonal starts, for trainer Ãke Svanstedt and the ownership of Knutsson Trotting Inc. and Asa Sjoberg. Eric Carlson, starting the night with 2999 career sulky successes, got the wait for his milestone over quickly, guiding Call Me Richard to a safe victory in the night's opener. The 42-year-old Carlson, a Detroit leader before "coming East" some years ago and establishing himself as a talented catch-driver, then wasted no time setting out on the road to 4000, making a big sweeping move with Western Bayama to take the night's eighth event. PHHA / Pocono

YONKERS, NY, Monday, April 16, 2018 - Post positions have been drawn for North America's two richest races of the harness racing season to date, Yonkers Raceway's $532,000 final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series and $373,000 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. The finales, set for Saturday night (Apr. 21st), wrap up their respective six-week sojourns and highlight a 12-race card worth just over $1.3 million. First post is the usual 6:50 PM. The events, for the sport's leading older pacers of both gender, go 'ladies first,' with the Matchmaker as the ninth race and the levy as race No. 10. The field for the 10th Matchmaker is...1-Shartin N (Tim Tetrick), 2-Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton), 3-Medusa (Yannick Gingras), 4-Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett), 5-Motu Moonbeam N (Brent Holland), 6-Dude'salady (Scott Zeron), 7-Twinkle (Eric Goodell), 8-Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan). The 31st Levy rolled off the autodraw showroom as such...1-Western Fame (Mark MacDonald), 2-Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller), 3-Keystone Velocity (defending series champ, Dan Dube), 4-Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno), 5-Somewhere in L A (Bartlett), 6-Mach it So (Dave Miller), 7-Bit of a Legend N (2016 series champ, Stratton), 8-Rockin' Ron (Gingras). At first glance, the intriguing storyline for the Matchmaker is Shartin N. After easily winning her first three Matchmaker starts-and getting a subsequent week off-she returned as the 3-10 favorite last Friday night (Apr. 13th), unable to get out of own way, breaking right before the start and again at the half. At least the bridge jumpers stayed dry, since the Raceway eliminated show wagering. "We couldn't find anything wrong with her," trainer Jim King Jr. said this past weekend. "Regroup and try again." The final of the Levy is flush with inside speed, with the first half of the gate probably just as comfortable with someone on their backs as someone in back of them. A pair of consolations, worth $100,000 (Levy) and $75,000 (Matchmaker), are also included in the Saturday card. This story shall be updated. Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Eric Carlson wasted no time in recording his 3000th career victory Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking the first race of the night with Call Me Richard for the milestone victory. Call Me Richard pressed forward to control the pace over Monday's sloppy racetrack at Pocono, and he opened up a large lead towards the ¾. In the stretch Holy Halibut, second choice to the winning favorite, made up some late ground, but Carlson kept after his charge and crossed the wire with a safe 1¼-length margin at the end of the 1:57.3 mile. The 42-year-old Carlson was half that age when he won his first race, an FFA pace worth $930, at the Fowlerville MI fair with Calamity Clyde. Eric grabbed industry attention in 2010, when he won 603 races, sixth-highest in North America, while dominating the Detroit circuit. He soon afterwards decided to take his driving skills eastward, with his earnings benefiting from the transplantation: his best money year was 2014, when his horses brought in $5.3 million of his career $27.3 million tally. PHHA / Pocono

LEBANON, OH. - Red Storm, dispatched as the betting favorite based on an impressive elimination win last week and an inside post draw, prevailed in the first-ever $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championship for Ohio-sired harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies held at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday (April 16). Although the Hackett Memorial is one of the longest continuous events in Ohio harness racing, pre-dating even the Ohio Sires Stakes when it started in 1971, it has always featured pacers only until this year. Most of the best sophomore trotting colts in the Buckeye state will assemble Tuesday (April 17) afternoon for their $40,000 final. Red Storm withstood not only the challenge of a talented field of finalists-the top four finishers all got the identical time with a scant neck separating each one at the wire-but also the elements as a sudden snow squall accompanied by high winds descended on the track minutes before post time. Impinktoo , last year's 2-year-old Ohio Sires Stakes champion, was first away from the gate for driver Peter Wrenn, reaching the quarter mile station in :28.3. After she got a relative breather to the :57.4 halfway point, Red Storm (Aaron Merriman) made a bold brush to the front before the three-quarters was reached in 1:26.2. As the field fanned out coming off the final bend, a thrilling cavalry charge ensued to the finish line. Longshot Spunky Bottom Girl (Tyler Smith) got up for second followed by Non Smoker (Dan Noble) and California Love (Trace Tetrick). All four fillies were timed in 1:57.4. Sandra Burnett bred and is still the owner of Red Storm, who banked $109,975 in 2017 on the basis of a 3-2-1 scorecard in just seven starts. The chestnut daughter of Stormin Normand has learned all her early lessons from highly regarded trotting trainer Chris Beaver. The top three finishers in each Hackett final, as well as the defending Ohio Sires Stakes freshman champion (if qualified), receive automatic bids to one of the four $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitationals that Miami Valley will present on Friday, April 27 (fillies) and Saturday, April 28 (colts). Other owners and trainers with good Ohio-breds worthy of consideration should contact Race Secretary Gregg Keidel or enter online in hopes of receiving an invitation to take one of the remaining spots on the Scarlet & Gray starting gate. Gregg Keidel

Harness racing trainer Gareth Dixon has been fined $6500 for producing a horse to race when not free of a prohibited substance. The horse in question was Gimmegold who won a race at Alexandra Park on the 16th December 2017. During the night he won, Gimmegold underwent a random Post Race urine swab and on the 9th January 2018 the Official Racing Analyst reported in writing that the samples from “Gimmegold” had tested positive to Cobalt. The horse returned a Cobalt level of 293 ug/L (micrograms per litre). Cobalt at a concentration above 100 micrograms per litre in urine is a Prohibited Substance within the meaning of the Rules and its presence in a race day sample is, prima facie, a breach of the Rules. The horse Gimmegold has since been disqualified from winning the race on 16th December 2017. Full details below:   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003 IN THE MATTER of the Rules of Harness Racing BETWEEN THE RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU) Informant AND Mr GR Dixon Licenced Public Harness Trainer Respondent Information No: A8465 Date of hearing: 8 April 2018 Venue: Counties Racecourse Appearing: Mr O Westerlund- Investigator, Racing Integrity Unit Mr G Dixon – Licenced Harness Trainer Mr R Lawson – Lay Advocate representing Mr Dixon Judicial Committee: Mr A Dooley, Chairman - Mr A Smith, Committee Member Charge The Informant Mr O Westerlund, Racing Investigator alleged that on Saturday the 16th December 2017, Gareth Ryan DIXON was the licenced Trainer of the Standardbred Harness Racehorse “Gimmegold” which was presented for and raced in Race 8, the New Year’s Eve Auckland Cup Twilight Races Mobile Pace 2200m, at a race meeting conducted by the Auckland Trotting Club at Auckland, when the said Standardbred was found to be presented to race with a Prohibited Substance in its system, namely Cobalt, being an offence under the provisions of Rules 1004(1A) and 1004(3) and punishable pursuant to Rule 1004(7) and (8) of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. The relevant Rules are as follows: Rule 1004(1A) A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. Rule 1004(3) When a horse is presented to race in contravention of sub rule (1A) or (2) the trainer of the horse commits a breach of these Rules Rule 1008 In the absence of any express provision to the contrary in any proceeding for a breach of these Rules: (a) it shall not be necessary for the informant to prove that the defendant or any person intended to commit that or any breach of the Rule; and (b) any breach of a Rule shall be considered as an offence of strict liability. Penalty Provisions Rule 1004(7) Every person who commits a breach of sub-rule (2) or (3) shall be liable to: (a) a fine not exceeding $20,000; and/or (b) be disqualified or suspended from holding or obtaining a licence for any specific period not exceeding 5 years. Rule 1004(8) Any horse connected with a breach of sub-rule (1), (2) or (3) shall be disqualified from any race entered and/or liable to a period of disqualification not exceeding five years Mr Dixon acknowledged that he understood the Rules and he confirmed that he admitted the breach. Mr R Lawson, Lay Advocate, represented Mr Dixon at the hearing. Mr Dixon acknowledged that all the relevant documents from the RIU had been disclosed to him. Mr Dixon confirmed that the Summary of Facts were not disputed. Mr Westerlund produced a letter from Mr M Godber, General Manager for the Racing Integrity Unit, authorising the filing of the Information pursuant to Rule 1108(2). Agreed Summary of Facts by the Informant The respondent Gareth Ryan DIXON is a licensed Public Trainer and Trials Driver under the Rules of New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. On Saturday the 16th December 2017 “Gimmegold” was correctly entered and presented to race by Mr DIXON in Race 8: 9.15pm – New Year’s Eve Auckland Cup Twilight Races Mobile Pace 2200m at the Auckland Trotting Club meeting at Alexandra Park, Auckland. “Gimmegold” is a 6 year-old bay gelding (Changeover – Charbella Gold) owned by Mr AM Roberts and Mrs CD Roberts and is trained by the Respondent, Mr DIXON. “Gimmegold” finished first of the nine horse field and won a stake of $7758. “Gimmegold” underwent a random Post Race urine swab. Mr DIXON does not contest the swabbing process. All swab samples from the meeting were couriered to the New Zealand Racing Laboratory and were analysed for the presence of substances prohibited under the Rules of New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. On the 9th January 2018 the Official Racing Analyst reported in writing that the samples from “Gimmegold” had tested positive to Cobalt. The horse returned a Cobalt level of 293 ug/L (micrograms per litre). Cobalt at a concentration above 100 micrograms per litre in urine is a Prohibited Substance within the meaning of the Rules and its presence in a race day sample is, prima facie, a breach of the Rules. Cobalt is an essential trace element required for life through the actions of Vitamin B12 of which Cobalt makes up about 5% of its weight. Cobalt is absorbed from the gut either as elemental or incorporated in Vitamin B12. Mr Dixon was spoken to on Monday the 15th January 2018 at his Stable in Pukekohe. He could offer no explanation for the positive test result on the horse. In the Stable Block several items were located which contain Cobalt. Located ‘Blud-Boost-Equine Athlete’ a 1kg packet that was already opened - a supplement containing B12. When the ‘Blud-Boost’ was tested it was found to contain Cobalt at the level of 1.4 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram). Also located ‘Ironcyclen’ 1 litre container. The label indicates that this product is an iron supplement with copper and cobalt for horses and dogs. Mr Dixon admitted giving the horse 10-15mls the day before it raced. When the ‘Ironcyclen was tested it was found to contain Cobalt at the level of 5.2 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram). Also located was a 100 ml bottle of ‘Hemoplex’. The label indicates a supplement source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids for horses, cattle, dogs and cats, for use during periods of stress and convalescence. Mr Dixon admitted giving the horse 10mls two days before the horse raced. When the ‘Hemoplex was tested’ it was found to contain Cobalt at the level of 81 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram). A Certificate of analysis provided by the Assure Quality laboratory confirmed there were no anomalies in any of the products tested. Mr DIXON has been involved in the Harness Racing Industry for 35 years. He holds a Public Trainer and Trials Driver Licence and trains eight race horses. He has been training for 15 years. He is aged 45 years and has not previously appeared. An order is sought for the horse “Gimmegold” to be disqualified from the race and the stakes money to be repaid. In response to a question from the Committee, Mr Westerlund said that the RIU analysis of TAB betting records revealed that there was nothing out of the ordinary associated with the betting patterns on GIMMEGOLD. Submissions by the Respondent Mr Lawson made the following points: 1) The Positive Test result of the swab was notified to the RIU on the 9th Of January 2018. 2) Gimmegold (the horse concerned) raced again on January 13th (4 days later) 3) Mr Dixon was not notified until January 15th. 4) Gimmegold was swabbed on January 13th after finishing in sixth position. Mr Dixon felt this extremely unusual at the time. (although obviously on the following Monday he found out why) 5) Gimmegold was tested for Cobalt and returned a reading of 11 for the January 13th run. 6) Gimmegold was given the exact same proprietary items as his race winning (and positive swab for December 16th.) 7) Mr Dixon is at a complete and utter loss as to explain why the horse tested high on December 16th. 8) Cobalt is a natural substance and horses will have natural levels and each may also excrete excess Cobalt differently. 9) Many Horse feeds including hay have Cobalt in them and so do water supplies. 10) Trainers are not in a position to test their own horses for Cobalt levels so at any time are totally unaware of the levels in their horses. 11) Despite the proprietary items having low levels of Cobalt in them – on one occasion the horse tests high and then on the next occasion it tests low. 12) Cobalt in racehorses is a very inexact science. 13) There is no definitive scientific evidence that proves it is detrimental to a horse’s welfare and there is also no scientific evidence to prove that it improves equine performance. 14) However it is conceded that – it does not have to have either of the above to be determined that it is at a certain level – a prohibited substance. 15) The point we are making here is that despite a large amount of publicity surrounding Cobalt there is very little if any definitive evidence of how and why a horse can test high for it. 16) Mr Dixon has been and is extremely concerned and upset that he has received this positive result. He prides himself on his integrity and this is an unfortunate chapter in his training career. 17) Mr Dixon has compensated the owner of this horse for loss in winning stakes due to this positive test. 18) In an effort to keep costs to an absolute minimum the “B” sample was not requested to be tested. 19) It is accepted that the horse will be disqualified from the race in question. 20) Mr Dixon now takes extreme care and is fastidious in trying to ensure his horses are not exposed to potential Cobalt that could cause a high reading. Mr Dixon provided the Committee with two written character references and advised that he was also a commercial breeder and seller. He said that his reputation is everything and he wouldn’t knowingly put himself in this position. He added that his Trainers percentage for winning the race was $700. Decision As Mr Dixon admitted the breach the Committee found the charged proved. Submissions on Penalty by Informant 1. INTRODUCTION: 1.1 The respondent Gareth Ryan DIXON is a licensed Public Trainer and Trials Driver under the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. 1.2 He has been involved in the racing industry for 35 years and a trainer for 15 years. 1.3 Mr DIXON is 45 years of age. 1.4 It is submitted that a fine of $8000 is sought. 2. OFFENDING: 2.1 Mr DIXON has admitted the breach of the Rules in relation to the standard bred race horse “Gimmegold”. 2.2 “Gimmegold” raced at the Auckland Trotting Club meeting held at Alexandra Park on Saturday the 16th December 2017. 2.3 The details of Mr DIXON’s offending are contained in the Summary of Facts which is agreed. 2.4 The prohibited substance concerned is Cobalt. Noted: That the level for Cobalt under New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing was reduced on the 1st August 2017 from 200 ug/L to 100 ug/L (micrograms per litre). 3. PENALTY PROVISIONS: 3.1 The penalties which may be imposed are fully detailed in the Charge Rule Penalty Provisions document. 4. SENTENCING PRINCIPLES: 4.1 The four principles of sentencing can be summarised briefly: - Penalties are designed to punish the offender for his/her wrong doing. They are not meant to be retributive in the sense the punishment is disproportionate to the offence but the offender must be met with a punishment. - In a racing context it is extremely important that a penalty has the effect of deterring others from committing similar offences. - A penalty should also reflect the disapproval of the JCA for the type of offending in question. - The need to rehabilitate the offender should be taken into account. 4.2 The first three principals have relevance in this case. 5. PRECEDENTS: 5.1 In support of this penalty I will refer to four previous decisions by the J.C.A which may be of some assistance. 5.1.1 RIU v BROSNAN (13.02.18) – 3 x Cobalt positives. Total fine imposed of $19,200. 5.1.2 RIU v DALGETY (16.05.2017) – 5x Cobalt positives. Total fine imposed of $32,000. 5.1.3 R.I.U v BAMBRY (4.12.17) - 1 x Cobalt positive. A fine imposed of $11,000. 5.1.4 RIU v O’SULLIVAN & SCOTT (22.03.2016) – 3x Cobalt positives. Total fine imposed of $50,000. 6. MITIGATING FACTORS: 6.1 That he has admitted the breach at the first opportunity. 6.2 That he has been fully co-operative throughout the process. 6.3 That he has had no previous charges before the Committee. 7. AGGRAVATING FEATURES: 7.1 No aggravating features. 8. CONCLUSION: 8.1 The RIU believe that the breach can be dealt with by way of a monetary penalty. To that end the RIU seek a fine of $8000. 8.2 Under Rule 1004(8) 8.2.1 “Gimmegold” is required to be disqualified from the respective race on the 16th December 2017 8.2.2 Any stake money paid out is required to be repaid. 8.3 The RIU are seeking no costs. Submissions of Penalty by Respondent Mr Lawson made the following points: 1. The JCA Penalty Guide shows a Starting Point as an $8000 fine for a Breach of The Prohibited Substance Rules. This is for a first offence and a single positive. 2. We are dealing with a first offence and a single positive in this case. 3. From the Starting Point we must add or detract based on the aggravating or mitigating circumstances of the case. 4. In this case we agree that there are no aggravating features. 5. There are a number of mitigating circumstances – they are as follows:- - The Guilty Plea and admission at first opportunity - Mr Dixon has been fully co-operative throughout the enquiry - Mr Dixon has no previous charges before the committee and in fact has an exemplary record. - The References as to the excellent character of Mr Dixon - His dismay at this charge and the effect on his reputation. 6. Mr Dixon is a family man with a new baby and two other young dependents. 7. He is able to pay a fine although would appreciate a modest one. In Summary given all of the above we submit that a fine based on the starting point of $8000 with a 20-25% discount for the mitigating factors would be appropriate. This would be in line with principles on previous cases (in particular the R Brosnan case) The RIU are generously not seeking any costs – that is appreciated and as the case is being heard on a raceday it would also be appreciated if there were no JCA costs – in line with a number of other similar cases heard on raceday. Reasons for Penalty The Committee have carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented. The JCA Penalty Guidelines have a starting point of $8,000 fine for a first offence of presenting a horse to race with a prohibited substance in its system. That figure was adopted in this case. The Committee was conversant with the four precedent decisions referred to by the RIU. The Committee notes that the level of Cobalt detected (293 ug/L) in GIMMEGOLD’s system was in the mid-range compared to other cases involving this Prohibited Substance. There has been much publicity and discussion about Cobalt in both the Harness Racing Code and the Thoroughbred Code in New Zealand in recent years. This should have put all Licenced Holders on notice. The purpose of Rule 1004 is to maintain the integrity of Harness Racing and to impose an obligation on all Trainers to ensure horses are presented to race free of Prohibited Substances. It is a long established principle of racing that there is a high obligation on the part of Licence Holders who transport a horse to a race meeting to ensure compliance with the Rules. It is therefore paramount that racing is conducted on a level playing field. There were no aggravating factors that warranted an uplift in penalty. The mitigating factors for which we afforded Mr Dixon a reduction in penalty were: • Mr Dixon’s admission of the breach. • Mr Dixon was fully cooperative with the RIU during their investigations. • Mr Dixon has an unblemished record under this Rule after 15 years of training approximately 2,200 Standardbred horses. We had regard for the two written character references where both referees had known Mr Dixon for many years and both emphasised his honesty and integrity. After having regard for the particular circumstances of this case we consider that a fair and reasonable reduction from the starting point was $1,500. After taking into account all of the above factors the Committee considered that an appropriate penalty was a $6,500 fine. Penalty Accordingly, Mr Dixon was fined the sum of $6,500. Disqualification of the Horse Pursuant to Rule 1004(8) the Committee orders the disqualification of GIMMEGOLD from, the New Year’s Eve Auckland Cup Twilight Races Mobile Pace 2200 metres. Disqualification effective from Monday, 16 April 2018. The amended placings are: 1st No.1 IDEAL LASS 2nd No. 3 WILL TAKE CHARGE 3rd No. 9 LYNTON CREEK 4th No. 2 STAND SURE The Committee was informed that the stake money for this race has not been paid out. Therefore the Committee authorised the payment of stakes in accordance with the amended placings. Costs The RIU has sought no costs. As this charge was heard on a raceday, there was no order for JCA costs. Dated this 10th day of April 2018 Adrian Dooley Chair   Harnesslink media

AT last there is some great news in pacing’s open-class ranks. It’s a tough few months with horses like Vincent retiring, stars like Heaven Rocks and Have Faith In Me leaving our shores and questions marks on Lazarus’s racing future. But one of the sport’s absolute stars, the brilliant Hectorjayjay, is just weeks away from a comeback. The millionaire pacer hasn’t raced since sustaining a suspensory ligament injury after the biggest and best win of his career in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15. Managing-owner Matt McLellan hopes Hectorjayjay could be back to defend that title. “It’s been a long road, but we are getting to the business end now,” he said. “He’s had PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) treatment, a full body scan and several extra targeted scans, four different vets go over him and eight months of rehab. “The past few months he’s been with Peter Clarke on the water-walker. “He’s been back in work for three weeks, will have another month with Peter and then head to the stables to decide when he can race again. “I’d love to think he’ll be back for a few lead-up runs in Victoria and then head to Queensland, but that’s the aim more than anything definite.” Champion driver Gavin Lang will be Hectorjayjay’s new trainer, mainly because he is Melton-based and much closer to McLellan’s home. “This horse is special to me and I want to see him regularly. I’ve had a long association with Gavin, he knows this horse so well and he’s 45mins from my place rather than two hours or so to David (Aiken’s) stables,” McClellan said. “David has done such a fantastic job with the horse, but this is last roll of the dice with Hectorjayjay and there are no guarantees he will make it back. The signs are good, but I want to be close to him to see him often as I can and stay right across his progress. “I also want to give special mention to the huge input Josh Aiken and Kima Frenning had when the horse was at the Aiken stable.” Lang has driven Hectorjayjay 12 times for eight wins – including the 2016 Group 1 Len Smith Mile and Group 2 Sunshine Sprint – three seconds and a luckless fifth. Hectorjayjay’s record sits at 79 starts for 42 wins, 21 placings and $1,143,907 in stakemoney.   Adam Hamilton

MILTON, April 16, 2018 - The $6 million Breeders Crown, harness racing's richest and most prestigious year-end divisional championship series, is set to return in October 2019 to the newly renovated Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville, Ontario, Canada. "Woodbine has hosted many Breeders Crown events, however, we are thrilled to welcome the championship series back 35 years later to the new Woodbine Mohawk Park," said Jessica Buckley, President, Woodbine Mohawk Park. "We look forward to having our fans and community experience this world class event with all the top horses in North America." Woodbine Entertainment has played host to more Breeders Crown events than any other racetrack, with the events contested in the past at Woodbine, Mohawk and Greenwood. Woodbine has held all 12 Breeders Crown events three times in the past seven years, most recently in in 2015, setting a Canadian harness racing handle record of $5.7 million. Mohawk Racetrack was in the initial rotation of host tracks in 1984, and was granted the $539,825 Two-Year-Old Filly Trot won by the late Hall of Famer George Sholty driving Castleton, Dawson and Simon's Conifer. The seven-eighths mile oval last staged the four Open divisions in 2008, capped by an epic rematch between open pacers Mr Big and Artistic Fella, with Mr Big emerging the winner. In 2017, Woodbine Entertainment announced a $10 million renovation and rebranding of Mohawk Racetrack to Woodbine Mohawk Park, to create a year-round showcase for Standardbred racing. Woodbine's continued support of championship events resulted in a commitment to host the Breeders Crown as soon as there was an opening. "Woodbine Entertainment has been an exemplary partner of the Breeders Crown series since our inaugural year in 1984," said John Campbell, president & CEO of the Hambletonian Society, which owns and administers the races. "We look forward to bringing the Crown back to a familiar but also brand new setting of Woodbine Mohawk Park." The Breeders Crown series has typically crowned champions in every division for trotters and pacers and been the deciding factor in Horse of the Year honors. A Breeders Crown title is one of the most coveted honors in harness racing. Woodbine stakes payments due today Woodbine Entertainment would like to remind owners and trainers of today’s stakes payment deadline for events in 2018. A round of sustaining payments for all 2018 Woodbine’s major stakes, including the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, are due today (April 16). The following major stakes require a sustaining fee payment: Armbro Flight (Fillies & Mares Trot) Canadian Pacing Derby (Open Pace) Canadian Trotting Classic (3-year-old Trot) Casual Breeze (3-year-old Filly Trot) Elegantimage (3-year-old Filly Trot) Eternal Camnation (2-year-old Filly Pace) Fan Hanover (3-year-old Filly Pace) Goodtimes (3-year-old Trot) Maple Leaf Trot (Open Trot) Metro Pace (2-year-old Pace) Milton (Fillies & Mares Pace) Nassagaweya (2-year-old Pace) North America Cup (3-year-old Pace) Peaceful Way (2-year-old Filly Trot) Roses Are Red (Fillies & Mares Pace) Shes A Great Lady (2-year-old Filly Pace) Somebeachsomewhere (3-year-old Pace) William Wellwood Memorial (2-year-old Trot) The SBOA Stakes for Ontario sired three-year-old fillies also requires a sustaining payment today for this year’s event (foals of 2015) and next year’s event (foals of 2016). Woodbine continues to handle stakes administration duties for tracks throughout Ontario. A sustaining payment is due today for Grand River Raceway’s Battle of Waterloo, Battle of the Belles (Ontario Sired 2-year-old Pace) and Flamboro Downs’ Confederation Cup (4-year-old Pace). For full details regarding stakes payments, including sustaining fee amounts, click here. Stakes payments can be made online by clicking here. If sending stakes payments by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than April 16, 2018 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. Mark McKelvie