Day At The Track

Vincennes, France – The maiden visit to the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes was an amazing experience to this first-time visiting American. And I never saw a horse on the track. There was no live racing today because the entire grandstand area was jammed packed with exhibits for the Prix d’Amerique Horse Expo plus outside was the annual ARQANA Trot horse sale. Just about anything you could imagine for your horse was there and so were the people, hundreds of people, visiting the booths, socializing with friends and business acquaintances, making deals for stallion breeding’s. They had just about everything that you could want for your horse and then some. And there was champagne, not just bottles, cases and more. Of the 100 or so exhibits I think 70% of them offered perspective business associates’ champagne. And we all drank some. Well, more than just some. I also saw tons of empty bottles stacked or being tossed out. “When you are in France, you drink champagne,” said Filip Van Hauwermeiren, a top breeder and trainer from Belgium who owns Star Breeding. “It is actually less expensive than bottled water or coke.” Hauwermeiren was promoting his stud farm where he not only has local stallions, but can provide breeders with frozen semen from world champion stallions Father Patrick, Trixton, Southwind Frank, Propulsion and Paster Stephen. There were plenty of stud farms there, along with a huge display from Finn Tack of all the equipment you can imagine from harnesses to jogging and race sulkies. There were horse shoes, feed, track surface materials, even a small backhoe just perfect for the smaller farms. Out of the racetrack, on the apron area you could check out the latest horse vans and trailers. There was even a big display of newest Hippocenter that sells swimming treadmills and water therapy units for horses. They even had the newest portable washing machine called My Groom that is able to clean all horse equipment. Not just a winter blanket that a horse has been rolling in the mud with. But you can even throw in the harness and bridle with the bit and this machine will clean it right up and in many cases all you need is the cleaning soap and a little water. It was just amazing. And, for those of you that are hungry, and we all need some food after drinking all that champagne, then just stop by one of the many concession stands that sold hamburgers and fries or perhaps a two pound lobster, some colossal shrimp, oysters and clams for $100 per person. They had it all there.   Check out the photos as they can tell the story of what this major Expo was all about. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Not a day goes by when popular Adelaide horseman Paul Cavallaro isn't reminded of the serious injuries he copped in a sickening harness racing crash nearly 12 months ago. "I've certainly got aches and pains that I didn't have-but I'm still alive and our good horse (Culture King) come through it all okay," he said. And Culture King's runaway performance at his NSW debut at Goulburn on Sunday would have been just the tonic for the recovering Cavallaro. Culture King was sent north by Cavallaro and his owners (the Ready to Run Syndicate) to chase the riches on offer in that State over the next few months, in particular, the inaugural NSW $1 million pace at the end of May. Culture King is now under the care of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy at Cobbitty. "He's a lovely horse - he went super in winning at Goulburn," McCarthy said. "They went 1.57 but he did it so easy - and there's been a bit of a change of plans for him as a result. He'll now be aimed at the Chariots of Fire next month at Menangle," he said. The emerging potential of Culture King has no doubt given Cavallaro a kick along in his return to training after the injury. "I'm at the stables most days. However, I'm more or less just doing light duties. I don't know if I'll ever return to race driving, but I'm not really fussed if I do or I don't," he said. The race accident happened on Group 3 South Australian Pacing Derby night of February 9 last year. I'm Sir Blake, driven by star reinswoman Danielle Hill veered out sharply in the straight with a lap to go after it choked down and crashed into Major Exclusive (Darby McGuigan). Cavallaro, driving Culture King, was left with nowhere to go, resulting in a horrific pile-up. He was catapulted into the air before landing heavily on the track. Cavallaro was rushed to hospital with a fractured vertebra in his back, broken wrist and severe facial injuries, including a broken nose and lacerations. McGuigan was fortunate to escape injury, but Hill was also admitted to hospital with a badly fractured tibia. Remarkably, she returned to race driving in July and has been consistently in the winner's circle ever since, despite on occasions still feeling the injury to her knee and leg. Paul Cavallaro on HRSA’s Mobile Rolling recently (Watch the interview below) Cavallaro said that in the past nine months, he had been operated on six times. "I had a gaping hole in my face. My mouth was ripped halfway across my cheek in the fall. The first lot of face surgery just before Christmas didn't go all that well," he said. "The stitches dissolved early after just a few days, so I had to have more surgery, which was under local anaesthetic this time. "I felt fine afterwards when I was loaded with pain-killers. But when they wore off, I have never felt so much pain in my whole life." Cavallaro said that while his back was on the mend, he couldn't say the same about his wrist. "I don't think it will ever be the same again. It becomes quite painful because it's sort of bone on bone," he said. Watch an interview with Paul Cavallaro on HRSA's Mobile Rolling program. Cavallaro trains a small team with a number of helpers. "I've got Culture King's full brother, who is two, and he's in work and goes along okay. There's another two-year-old here, sired by Art Major, and a racehorse in Miss Iconic who is only lightly raced, but has a win and a few placings," he said. "Mark Billinger is doing the driving for me at the moment and he does a top job." Cavallaro is a member of a strong harness racing family, with his father Neil being most successful over many years. His sister Angela (Chapman) is also involved and recently won at Kapunda with brown mare Sally MacLennane, prepared by her father.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Fresh American Import Major Occasion A, was far too good for her field in Friday nights harness racing $25,000 Fillies and Mares Pace at The Meadowlands. Now trained by Down Under’s Nifty Norman and driven by Dexter Dunn the quality mare completed her mile in a tidy 1:51. The win only being her third American race start. The daughter of Art Major did her previous racing in Australia where she was the winner of 15 races and earned over $235,000 in stake earnings. Notably pacing a winning 1:50.4 mile at Menangle Raceway, while being a Group race winner and placing at Group level 6 times. Her racing future looks bright. Another Down Under export in Franco Totem N, was also successful at The Meadowlands over the weekend. His win being on the Saturday night of racing in the $37,500 Preferred Pace beating the six horse field in 1:51.2. This win capped off another good weekend for Down Under horsemen in Nifty Norman and Dexter Dunn, as they also trained and drove Franco Totem N respectively. "He's a very nice horse and doesn't take anything out of himself in the mile." Said Dunn, of the 7yo Gelding. The win being the son of Changeovers 21st career win. Handy Down Under pacer kicks off American racing career nicely. Quality New Zealand pacer Global Domination N won his second start in the US on Monday night at Yonkers Raceway. Now trained by Peter Tritton and driven by Jordan Stratton, Global Domination clocked 1:53.2 around the half mile (800m) track in the $16,000 Pace. Before recently heading to America, the son of Bettors Delight was the winner of four races and just shy of $50,000 in stake earnings while racing in New Zealand. Major Occasion A Franco Totem N Global Domination N Monday 13th January   Dover Downs DE Hug The Wind N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $7,500   Miami Valley Raceway OH Gunrneedabgrboat A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $12,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Globaldomination N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $16,000 Alberto Contador N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $12,500     Tuesday 14th January   Miami Valley Raceway OH Return To Sender N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $6,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Motu Moonbeam N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $12,500     Wednesday 15th January   Dover Downs DE Bettor Rock On N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,000 Bettor Trix N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $16,000   Northfield Park OH Copper Coast A – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $7,000     Thursday 16th January   Yonkers Raceway NY Neon Sky N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $14,500     Friday 17th January   Freehold Raceway NJ Bronskimackenzie A – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $9,000   Meadowlands NJ Major Occasion A – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $25,000 All American N  – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $19,000   The Meadows PA Mister Spot A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $11,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Mach Time N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $20,000 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Lachie Maguire N, 3rd Anythingforlove A Kotare Yarra A – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $20,000 Rockin The Boys A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $22,000     Saturday 18th January   Freehold Raceway NJ Texican N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $5,000   Meadowlands NJ Captain Dolmio N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $11,500 Franco Totem N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $37,500 Italian Delight N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $20,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH Lucifers Legend A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $15,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Lord Willoughby A – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $17,000 Soho Lennon A – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $22,000   Previous weeks 15th January 2020 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 7th January 2020 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 17th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 10th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 26th November 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 19th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th of Nov 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29th October 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 22nd October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 15th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 8th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 1st October 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 24th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 17th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 11th Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 27th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 20th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety     Carter Dalgety    

Grosbois, France – Growing up in New Jersey in the USA and getting into the harness racing industry, I was around when they broke ground and built exquisite training facilities at Showplace and Gaitway Farms. But they are not that exquisite when compared to Grosbois, just outside of Paris, France. In fact, there may not be another harness racing training facility in world that could be compared to Grosbois. Upon entering the grounds, the entrance way features wrought-iron 20-foot gates attached to 12-foot walls that encompass the entire facility, which is just over 1,000 acres in size. In the far distance you can see a huge Manor House and green grass and dirt roads, also paths that lead to wooded areas with harness racing trotters galore jogging about. We were greeted at the horsemen’s entrance by Damien Beau, who is with the International Department of LeTROT, that oversees all of trotting in France. He was our guide for the private tour. We first went to the home of renowned Swedish and French trainer Anders Lindqvst, who was so kind to show us his home, his office, and his attached courtyard with maybe 40 stalls filled with trotters. There are no pacers in Europe except for Ireland and England. Linqvist first became interested in harness racing at the age of 14. “I wanted to be a professional soccer player,” Linqvist said. “But someone took me on a jog with a horse and I really liked that. My father wanted me in the family business,” Lindqvist added. “but after I worked with the horses a little, I trained a fast mile and that feeling convinced me to go into harness racing. “My first good horse I got I was age 22,” Lindqvist recalled. “And it was at that point that I said goodbye to working for my father part-time and took up harness racing full time. This horse, which gave me many wins, was at the time, sadly named Mr. Nixon. But despite his name he was my foundation horse. Mr. Nixon raced for me 431 times. That is the all-time record still in Sweden. “Then I was once racing in the Elitloppet in 1985,” Lindqvist said. “And after the race with Viroid (finished 5th) I was contacted by Mr. Lew Barash in the USA, asking me to come and race in the International Trot at Roosevelt Raceway and then I was hooked on international racing. “From there I was on my own for ten years,” Lindqvist explained. Until the great trainer/driver Jean-Pierre Dubois asked me to work for him in France. It was like being invited to be part of the Dream Team in basketball and I have been here ever since.” Lindqvist has driven in 19 countries, even twice in Russia. “When I won my first race in Russia,” Lindqvist said. “I got towards the winner’s enclosure, they stopped me and said they had to take my whip away. This was some security people and I did not understand why. Then I saw that the trophy was going to be presented to me by President Valdimir Putin and realized security would not let anyone get near him with a whip. That was something very special in my life.” Anders home has four bedrooms in addition to the attached 40 horse stalls and he said he pays around $8,000 per month rent for everything. That might seem a lot, but he also rents his spare bedrooms and most of his stalls to other trainers for their horses. He said it is like that throughout Grosbois, although some of the beautiful homes and barn areas are leased by horse owners, who turn around and rent or trade rooms/stalls for trainers and grooms to take care of their horses. Lindqvist also has a coffee vending machine in his office. Why one might ask and Anders jokingly said because during the winter season he has so many visitors he gives away around 4,000 cups of coffee. There are over five miles of just jogging tracks at Grosbois. It also has two tracks that horses can fast work on, a five-eighths mile track and a 15th/16th mile track, where horses can qualify to race at nearby Vincennes Racetrack. They also have an equine hospital on the grounds that is used by some 15 veterinarians. That many vets are needed for the 1,500 racehorses that call Grosbois home throughout the winter season. There are also numerous blacksmith shops on the grounds. At Grosbois, there are about 60 people that work in track maintenance to keep the large grounds clean and the track surfaces in prime shape. They use three different materials that are used on the jogging tracks and horseman use certain courses depending if they want a deep cushion, harder or softer surfaces for the horse’s hooves. You will also see many trotters being ridden at Grosbois as in France they have many trotting races under saddle. This past weekend the richest monte race (monte means under saddle) in the world took place at the Vincennes track with 15 horses racing for a purse of 650,000 euros. There is also a very nice horseman’s cafeteria and a party room on the grounds, tennis courts and soccer fields. The jogging trails also cut through the massive wooded area of Grosbois where people jogging horses have come across wild boar, reindeer, foxes and many birds of prey. The entire area was purchased and developed into the training facility in 1962 and continues to grow. It is 11 miles from the outskirts of Paris and only six miles away from the Vincennes Racetrack. And what if the weather is raining but you still need to work your horse. Then you just head over to the covered training track or perhaps lunge-line your horse at the indoor arena. It’s all at Grosbois. Coming up on Thursday, it’s back to Grosbois we go, this time to visit the special Manor House that is home to the French Trotting Museum and more. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

The Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Oaks has been thrown wide open after pre-draw favourite Stylish Memphis drew outside the back row, which has meant opportunity knocks for her rivals in the $150,000 classic. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's talented raider was impressive in winning her heat but the fellow Kiwi who pushed her all the way, Dr Susan, has rocketed into favourite for Saturday night's 2760-metre Group 1 after drawing gate 5. "First money that came in was for Dr Susan," TAB's Adam Hamilton told this morning's live Sky Racing broadcast. "I expect her to lead." Dr Susan shortened from $3 into $2.50 post-draw, while Stylish Memphis eased from $2.70 to $2.80 and Victoria's leading hope Maajida, who drew gate 9, eased from $3 to $3.20. "It looks a match in two and a half," Hamilton said. "I thought Maajida was just OK winning her heat. She will be a lot fitter for the run. "There's almost no scenario in which Stylish Memphis isn't sitting outside the leader with a lap to go. I think she's faster than she is strong, it might not be down her alley. Maajida looks probably our only hope of fending off the Kiwis." Good Form analyst Blake Redden has broken down the Oaks hopes runner-by-runner: 1: Jenden Strike ($14 with Perfect draw after an excellent heat performance. She comes in as a serious winning chance now. 2: Amelia Rose ($17 with Was less than spectacular in her heat and would have to jump out of the ground to be a factor even from the nice gate. 3: Rockingwithsierra ($31 with Draws handily but probably can’t cross the polemarker and she may be a half level below the better fillies. 4: Good Faith ($51 with One of the eye catchers out of the heats and she draws to lob somewhere handy to the speed, which makes her the best roughie in the race. 5: Dr Susan ($2.50 with This draw may look OK on paper but when you consider where her major dangers have drawn, it’s bordering on spectacular. Favourite now? 6: Its Ebonynivory ($201 with She’ll be going back and look to run on late. 7: Itz Longtall Sally ($101 with Similar story to the above and she’s unlikely to feature but has a bright future. 8: Soho Gloria Jane ($41 with This girl doesn’t have many options but she can follow through early and hope to end up no worse than three pegs. If she lobs behind the leader then she’s a solid place hope. 9: Maajida ($3.20 with This filly is no one-trick pony so the draw doesn’t cruel her and from the running line Amelia Rose uses her gate speed, she may be able to get in front of her major dangers. 10: Dasha The Great (emg) ($201 with She’ll be looking for a quiet run if she gets into the field. 11: Alice Kay ($26 with Sit/sprint filly who will need luck but the draw may not be as bad as it first looks on paper. 12: Its Beaujolais ($151 with Nice filly who will look for the pegline early and hope to be running on. 13: Stylish Memphis ($2.80 with Truly horrible draw for what could have been the odds-on favourite. She comes right back to the field now and while she can clearly still win, her job has been made incredibly difficult.   HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

Harness racing at Red Shores in Summerside and Charlottetown saw significant gains across the board in 2019. The live wager saw a 10 per cent increase in 2019 compared to 2018 with $392,236 in new wagering dollars for a total $4.28 million in all sources wager. The 2019 increases were thanks to bumps in on-track wager as well as a 15 per cent increase from 2018 in the off-track wager. When the wager increases, the percentage to the purse pool also increases. Racing experience manager Adam Walsh pointed to the hard-working individuals in the racing community for making 2019 a banner year with 100 race dates. Lee Drake, manager of marketing and brands, said guest experience is the No. 1 focus at Red Shores and a key reason the business continues to grow in every facet. “We work hard on getting new people to our properties through strong partnerships and relationships in tourism, meetings and conventions and the corporate community,” Drake said.  “We have beautiful clean properties with a professional staff and it’s all about the experience whether it’s racing, dining or the casino,” he added. “We have really stepped up our social media presence which also drives new business as well.” The starting gate approaches the start during a recent harness racing card at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway Red Shores’ two signature events also saw gains in 2019 with the Gold Cup and Saucer program pulling in $307,134 from all wagering sources, putting that handle second all-time in Island racing to the Gold Cup and Saucer card in 1994. The 2019 Governor’s Plate card was the second-highest grossing program in the history of the Summerside Raceway with $96,651 wagered on the card, narrowly putting it behind the $99,994 record handle of 1996.  Walsh said the difference in outside competition from those record wagers in the 1990s to today’s climate should not be overlooked.  “There is quite a difference in the landscape today compared to 10 or 25 years ago, but we are focused on growing those numbers,” he said. The Red Shores race day broadcast network had 2.6 million viewers, including 1.9 million in Atlantic Canada. The 2020 winter racing season is coming to a close at Red Shores in the coming weeks, but the action will be back at the Charlottetown track on Saturday, May 2, for the summer racing meet with the Kentucky Derby theme. Governor’s Plate week is July 5-11 while Old Home Week is Aug. 13-22 featuring The Guardian Gold Cup & Saucer. Red Shores is owned by Atlantic Lottery. Compiled by Nicholas Oakes for Red Shores. 

By Garrick Knight    A spur-of-the-moment decision has paid dividends for Invercargill horseman Steve Lock, who prepared a quinella on the grass at Waterlea on Sunday. Lock brought six horses the length of the South Island for the four days of racing, firstly in Nelson last week and then in Blenheim this week. After three thirds, a fourth and four fifths across Nelson and day one at Waterlea, he was hoping to break his duck on the fourth and final day. He went close with Maximilian in a mobile sprint earlier on the card, but it was the honest toiler, Honour Scroll that broke through, setting up a $101.70 quinella with stablemate, Kansas City Jim. Needless to say, Lock isn’t looking forward to going back to Southland. “I’m in no rush to go home. “In fact, I think I might have a week or two in Canterbury first. “We were thinking about going to Manawatu but a few of our horses wear spreaders and I’m not sure it the track would suit them.” The trip north wasn’t in the pipeline for long, more an instinctive move to avoid dreary weather. “The plan was hatched after the Cromwell meeting. We were sitting there at 10 o’clock at night and Rory (McIlwrick) said to me, Nelson and Marlborough looks like a decent option. “We were getting sick of the rain and what not back home and here we are. “So it was his doing, his planning.” Ironically McIlwrick wasn’t actually driving Honour Scroll, instead sticking with the runner-up and that left Kerryn Tomlinson to continue her charmed run by recording another win. “Kerryn seems to get on well with Honour Scroll, so I was happy to keep her on.” Lock left Invercargill with seven horses, but lost two and picked up one on the way north. “I re-homed Tact Denzel on the way up and then called in and did a swap for My Nikalya, too. “I would have brought seven but I needed the seventh bay in the truck for all the feed.” Lock spoke effusively about club officials from both Tasman clubs, saying they’ve gone abo end beyond to make him feel welcome and accommodated. “I really can’t thank the two clubs enough for what they have done for us. “A lot of clubs could learn from how both Nelson and Marlborough operate their meetings. “And the horses have just enjoyed their trip away with the sun on their backs; they’ve been so relaxed.” Later in the day, Stars Tonight continued a brilliant summer for his connections, with a dominant win in the $15,000 Waterlea Centenary Marlborough Cup. He adds that to his Westport Cup win on Boxing Day, and the Cup prelude he took out at Waterlea on Friday. Dunn trained the quinella with Hayden’s Meddle tracking through for second while Dadndave finished on out wide for third. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Paris, France – Not a lot of people can really say in Paris that they know nothing about the Prix d’Amerique race this Sunday at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. It’s on nearly every major street pole intersection throughout this wonderful city. Big, bold and beautiful, a harness racing horse draped in the colors of the American flag. Every year the Prix d’Amerique is the richest race in the world for old trotters, only this year the prestigious event is even bigger as it is the 100th anniversary of this spectacular day of racing. The Grand Prix d’Amerique was created to pay homage to the Americans for the help which they gave to France during the First World War. And every year the French go all out in this special day as a tribute to America. The race card will have 11 races, most of them held in early on. Then it’s parade time with perhaps the greatest display of tribute to America taking place on the track. The drivers are brought in on Harley-Davidson antique motorcycles, stilt-walkers dressed in the Stars and Stripes, the prestigious French Lancers Brigade on horseback and much more will take place. And then there is the actual Prix d’Amerique race. There will be 18 of the world’s top older trotters and sadly no representation from North America this year. These horses will go from a standing start and race 2,700 meters (1.67 miles), up and down a slight hill on the course at breakneck speeds. And, they will be racing for total prize money of 900,000€ euros ($1 million dollars US depending on exchange rate). On the betting side, around $40 million euros ($44.3 million US) will be wagered on Sunday. There will be 40,000 plus people coming out to the racetrack to view the race and all the special festivities that day and approximately 36 countries will broadcast the race on four different continents. It’s a big deal to say the least. And what about the horses that have entered the race. The return winner from last year, Belina Josselyn, is back. She is one of only a handful of mares who will be taking on their male counterparts in the Prix d’Amerique. Jean-Michel Bazire trains and drives Belina Josselyn, who comes into the race off a very impressive triumph two weeks ago in the Grand Prix of Belgium at Paris-Vincennes. The nine-year-old mare by Love You is a career winner of 2,335,470€. Other world class champion trotters in the race include two-time Prix d’Amerique winner, Bold Eagle, who back in October 2019 traveled to Canada and won the Breeders Crown at Mohawk Park; 3.1 million euro winner Propulsion is shipping in from Sweden; 2018 Elitloppet winner Ringostarr Treb will be in the race for trainer Jerry Riordan, Face Time Bourbon, Beillie de Montford and a host of other top flight trotters will be in the race. Also, this week Harnesslink will be reporting from the world class training facility, Grosbois, plus coverage of the horse sale Thursday and Friday, the Standardbred Expo Friday and the superb race cards this Saturday and Sunday at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. It’s been sunny and around 40 in Paris as we toured the wonderful city a bit after landing this morning. There is a possible forecast of rain showers on Sunday and it is hopeful that will change later this week. Our hotel, the Pullman in Bercy Centre, is sold out this weekend as are other hotels in the area as the hype begins to build for the big race day on Sunday. Here are the leading 25 horses for the Prix d'Amerique. This number will get reduced to 18, By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

MILTON, January 20, 2020 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced the 2020 schedule for its harness racing industry-leading Standardbred stakes program at Woodbine Mohawk Park. More than $20 million in stakes races will be contested over the Mohawk Park racing surface in 2020, including $12 million-plus in Woodbine administrated events. The 2020 stakes season is headlined by a pair of $1 million events (Pepsi North America Cup and Mohawk Million). The 37th Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacers is scheduled for Saturday, June 20, while the inaugural Mohawk Million for two-year-old trotters is slated for Saturday, September 26. Woodbine Mohawk Park will be the only Standardbred track in North America to host multiple million-dollar races in 2020. The Pepsi North America Cup card (June 20) will again feature five additional marquee stakes to go with the nation's most prestigious race for Standardbreds. The $425,000 Fan Hanover for three-year-old pacing fillies, $370,000 Roses Are Red for pacing fillies and mares, $260,000 Goodtimes for three-year-old trotters, $250,000 Armbro Flight for trotting fillies and mares and $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational make up the stacked undercard. Total purses for the evening will exceed $2.5 million. Mohawk Park will provide the setting for harness racing's largest showcase of elite two-year-old talent on Saturday, September 26. The $1 million (USD) Mohawk Million, $850,000 Metro Pace and $550,000 Shes A Great Lady will feature the finest two-year-old trotters and pacers competing in the sport's richest races for rookies. The Mohawk Million for two-year-old trotters follows a buy-in formula, with nine of ten slots in the race available for purchase ($110,000). The tenth and final spot in the Mohawk Million will be awarded to the winner of the $400,000 William Wellwood Memorial, which will be contested on Saturday, September 12. The earlier date for this year's Wellwood provides a clear week prior to the Mohawk Million. New in 2020, Woodbine Entertainment has changed the format of the $650,000 Maple Leaf Trot and the $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby to remove eliminations and instead proceed to directly to the rich final with the highest lifetime earners (limited to 10) competing on Saturday, September 5. The $665,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and $350,000 Elegantimage follow the same format of highest earners competing for the second consecutive season. They are scheduled for Saturday, September 19. In total, the month of September will feature more than $7 million in stakes races. Woodbine Mohawk Park will again play host to legs of the Miss Versatility and Graduate Series in 2020. The Miss Versatility for older trotting mares takes place on Friday, May 29, while the Graduate Series for four-year-old pacers and trotters will be held on Saturday, June 6. The province's best will compete all-season at Mohawk Park building up to the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals and Grassroots Championships. The Grassroots Championships are scheduled for Saturday, October 3, while the Super Finals will be held on Saturday, October 17. Woodbine will again distribute money to all finishers in major stakes finals during the 2020 season. The winner of the finals will receive the traditional 50% of the total purse, while those finishing sixth through last will take home 1% of the purse. The horses finishing second through fifth will receive 50%-24%-16%-10% of the remaining purse. Nominations for all Woodbine Standardbred Stakes close on Tuesday, February 18. Woodbine continues to administrate stakes for Ontario Racetracks in 2020, including Grand River Raceway, Flamboro Downs, Clinton Raceway and Hanover Raceway. Stakes payments for all Woodbine administrated events can be made payable to Woodbine Entertainment. Payments can be made through the Race Office, by mail or online. To view the 2020 Woodbine Standardbred Stakes schedule, click here. Mark McKelvie

The Tattersalls Sales Company’s 2020 Winter Mixed Sale is taking place today (Monday, Jan. 20) in the race paddock at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The harness racing sale is scheduled to get underway at 12:00 noon (ET). More than 130 lots are scheduled to go under the auctioneer’s hammer, including more than 100 racehorses. “Not only are we very pleased with the overall quality, but like so many of our sales, a large number of these horses are currently racing with success and ready to go,” sale manager David Reid has said. For complete information and resources, visit • Live Sale Video The Tattersalls Sales Co.

In this series sponsored by Southern Bred Southern Reared, Bruce Stewart looks back on some of the great harness racing stock that’s come out of the Southern region. Whilst last year he profiled horses from the south that have become millionaires, this series is about other pacers and trotters that that were bred, reared and raced for part of career in Southland, and made an impact in the Harness Racing industry. Diamond Field Age: 1986 Bay Gelding by Yankee Jolter out of Robyn Evander Bred by: Nigel and Marianne Sim Raced by: Southland Standardbred Number Two Syndicate Trained by: Allan Beck, Roy and Barry Purdon, Mark Purdon, Neil Cavallaro and Patrick O’Reilly Race record: 150 starts, 33 wins, 29 seconds, 20 thirds for $536,607 in stakes. Best season: As a 7 year old 19 starts, 7 wins, 4 seconds and 2 thirds for $212,480 Successful trainers with wins: Roy and Barry Purdon (12), Allan Beck (8), Mark Purdon (6), Neil Cavallaro (5) and Patrick O’Reilly (2). (33) Successful driver with wins: Tony Herlihy (15), Allan Beck (7), Paul Cavallaro (4), Mark Purdon (3), Patrick O’Reilly (2), Al Chapman (1) and Kirk Larsen (1). (33) New Zealand Records: 11/05/1996 Auckland TC 2200 metre stand 2-48.8 04/05/1996 Auckland TC 2700 metre stand 3-26.6 18/03/1995 New Zealand Metropolitan TC 2000 metre mobile 2-29.3 NB: This record stood for 16 years before being bettered by I Can Doosit 2-25.0. Major wins: 1994 FAI Rowe Cup (Group One) $90,000 OC Handicap Trot 3200 metres. (To watch this race click on this link) 1994 Interdominion Trotting Championship at Harold Park 1996 FAI City of Sails FFA Trot (Group Two) M5 and faster 2200 metres. 1993 Air New Zealand New Zealand Trotting Free For All (Group Two) OC FFA Mobile 2600 metres 1993 Radio Pacific Challenge Stakes (Group Two) C5 and faster FFA Mobile 2700 metres 1995 Firestone Firehawk New Zealand Trotting Championship (Group Three) Major Placings: 2nd 1993 Dominion Trotting Handicap (Group One) 2nd 1993 Rowe Cup (Group One) 3rd 1997 V.L. Dullard Trotters Cup 1996 Waikato Times Flying Mile (Group Two) 1995 New Zealand Trotting FFA (Group Two) 1994 National Trotting FFA (Group Two) 1997 EB Cochran Trotters Cup 1993 New Zealand Trotting Championship (Group Three) 1993 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup (Group Three) Australian form: 28 starts, 9 wins, 7 seconds and 4 thirds for $153,178 in stakes. Note: Diamond Field started in five Interdominion Championship Finals finishing 4th (1993), 1st (1994), 3rd (1995), 6th (1996) and 6th (1997). Southland trainer Allan Beck developed Diamond Field and remembers him well. “He was quite flighty. He was more like a thoroughbred than a standardbred,” he said. As a yearling Diamond Field was destined for the Sales in Christchurch. And although he made it to the sales complex, he never made the sales ring. “They couldn’t plait his main so they got the vet to come round and tranquilise him. But after a tranquiliser they still couldn’t do it so he never went through the ring.” Beck was then given the task of training the Yankee Jolter gelding which owner Grant Sim syndicated. “When you were on the track he’d spot anything 200 metres away and he’d shy and get off gait. That’s why it took longer to get him moulded.  The only time he got a bit of a fright was the first day he went to the workouts. He drew the outside and the tape went from the inside to the outside. When the tape was released it hit the outside running rail and that woke him up a bit.” At one point Beck, who was training a large team at the time was starting to struggle with the flighty trotter. “I said to Grant ‘look he’s going to take a bit of time and he may be better with a trainer with a smaller team.’ But he said the syndicate wanted him to stay with me. We got him going and he won his first start as a three year old. As time went by he did relax. But even when he won the Interdominion he had a break in the run.” Diamond Field ended up winning eight races for the Winton trainer before he was transferred to Roy and Barry Purdon’s stable. “He had a great engine and that always stood to him.” Diamond Field in the birdcage at Ascot Park with Allan Beck in October 2016.   Bruce Stewart

January 19, 2020 - Saturday’s Cornulier harness racing program at Vincennes included several other groupe level races and some other interesting events. The Prix Roxane Griff (monte, purse 50,000€, 2175 meters, nine starters) began the “interesting” action with a quick 1.11kr clocked victory by 9/10 favorite Egao Jenilou (6g Village Mystic-Queen Jenilou) with Eric Raffin aboard for trainer Louis Baudron. He won for the ninth time in 26 career starts now for 272,460€ earned. 7/2 Dede de Montauren and 9/1 Daniel Bon trailed the winner to the line. The first groupe test was the Prix Bellino II (Gr. III, purse 80,000€, 2100 meters, 11 starters) and 5.5/1 Gimy du Pommereux (4m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) scored for Matthieu Abrivard, trainer Sylvain Roger and owner Noel Lolic. The victory was his fourth in 12 career starts now for 132,810 in life earnings. 18/1 Gia Olmenhof (4f Ready Cash) rallied for second for Christophe Martens and 2/1 Girolamo (4m Uriel Speed) took third for Franck Ouvrie. Gimy du Pommereux The 80,000€ purse Prix de Mirande (Gr. III, 2700 meters, eight five year old starters) produced a 1.12kr timed victory for 3/2 odds Fire Cracker (5g Quaro-Urganza) for Eric Raffin at the lines for trainer Gregory Thorel. He scored for the eighth time in 24 appearances for career earnings of 191,200€. 1.1/1 favorite Fairplay d’Urzy (5m Ready Cash) and driver Jean Michel Bazire was second and 6/1 Foxtrot Sea (5m Olitro) was third for Cedrik Megissier. Fire Cracker The Gr. III Prix Michel Marcel Gougeon (purse 90,000€, 2850 meters, nine starters) saw 3.2/1 Eliot d’Ambri (6g Tipunch River-Rivale du Raleis) score for the hot teamster Eric Raffin. Race time was 1.14.9kr as the winner increased his career earnings to 196,380€. 2.8/1 Eclat de Gloire (6g Tiego d’Etang) was second for Loris Garcia and 10/1 Éclair du Mirel (6m Orlando Vici) and pilot Matthieu Abrivard took third money. Eliot d’Ambri Monte action resumed in the Prix Camille de Wazieres (Gr. II, purse 100,000€, 2175 meters, eight starters). 5.6/1 Gospel Pat (4m Uriel Speed-Namorosa) scored timed in 1.12.9kr for jockey David Thomain and trainer Philippe Allaire. This was his fifth career victory in 16 outings now for 174,050€ earned. 6.5/1 Gef de Play (4m Gazouillis) was second with Adrien Lamy in the irons for owner/trainer Franck Leblanc. 5.1/1 Gainsborough (4m Bird Parker) took third with Yoann Lebourgeois up. Gospel Pat   Thomas H. Hicks  

Harness racing two-year-old trotting filly of the year Tailored Elegance is back at the track and ready to continue her winning ways. The daughter of Muscle Hill was most impressive in her first campaign with a Group 3 placing in behind Muscle Mountain in the NZ 2yr Old Trotting Stakes and a subsequent Group 2 victory in the Sires Stakes 2yo Championship when beating the Brad Williamson trained Cracker Hill. That progressive form-line was only blotted by a mid-race gallop in the 2yr Old Ruby at the Harness Jewels that saw the filly unable to make up the ground required on what was a rain effected Addington track eventually finishing a meritorious fifth to the long-odds winner Bolt For Brilliance.   Tailored Elegance has received a good grounding at workouts and trials this time in with all three performances in recent weeks coming in behind her stablemate, the Group 1 placed, Kings Landing. The last of which saw the filly obtain a running line sit and find the line nicely from off the speed to close within some 3 3/4 lengths of the winner.   While campaigns and best laid plans can quickly go awry in the harness racing game a potential target this time in could come in the form of the NZ Trotting Oaks in mid March, a race you'd have to believe Tailored Elegance would be tailor-made for.    The Sires Stakes 2yo Championship For those interested in getting into a "Classic" trotting family a full brother to Tailored Elegance is being offered by Breckon Farms at the 2020 National Standradbred Yearling Sale. Lot 89, a bay colt, "Instant Classic" could become just that with the son of Muscle Hill having plenty of family success to associate himself with. Instant Classic is out of the Tim Butt trained Armbro Invasion mare Classic Armbro who never missed a placing as a three year old notching up two wins and two minor placings. The formidable race record of second dam Merinai (A Dominon Trotting Handicap and Rowe Cup winner) should appease those looking for evidence of trotting ability within the wider bloodlines. Merinai's broodmare success is highlighted by the fact that Classic Armbro is a half sister to both Miss Pegasus (9 wins) the free wheeling Wingsonhai (7 wins) and a NSW Trotters Oaks runner-up in Sunny Elegant. Instant Classic is a full brother to "I See Fire" a now two year old who is currently in the Tony Herlihy stable.  Ben McMillan 

Leamington Raceway is one of the most kid-friendly harness racing tracks you will find in Ontario, Canada with its welcoming family atmosphere.  When Lakeshore Horse Racing Association started operating Leamington Raceway in 2013 for their race meet, one of their main priorities was to make it a family destination, so all ages could enjoy an exciting afternoon at the races. After losing Windsor Raceway, a local anchor in the industry, the group decided the way to bring back some sustainability was to encourage youth participation in the industry for the future, and a family atmosphere with entertainment helps to achieve that.  This racetrack usually sees an average of 50-75 kids on a usual race day, with totals in the hundreds on special event days. One of Leamington’s most successful event days is the annual Kids’ Day held on the Sunday of Labour Day weekend. This past Kids’ Day, there were over 30 bicycles given away to some of the lucky kids in the crowd who came to the races that day. This event has always been a big hit since its start in 2013, with a popular giveaway of bikes and other prizes. Another exciting part is our t-shirt toss, which gathers younger fans all around with excitement on their faces.  Kids’ Day is also highlighted by the much-anticipated Hands on Horses Program run by the Ontario Harness Horse Association, which gives rides behind a retired racehorse, giving a very cool up-close feeling of what it’s like in the sulky. We are very fortunate to have this program come two race days a year and put on this amazing experience for everyone to enjoy.   On the Sunday before Halloween, there is always a costume contest and the best costumes receive prizes. The same goes on the Derby Hat Day, with there being a category for kids. On a regular weekly basis, youth are still a focus as Leamington offers a “kid zone” underneath the grandstand which features colouring and crafts for the kids to do, and an opportunity to meet a retired racehorse named Lenny behind the grandstand. While young fans are at the track there are plenty of options they can order from the canteen, as there is a kids’ menu available including healthy options as well as freezies, ice cream, popsicles and more.  Another unique point worth mentioning is how Lakeshore Horse Racing Association gives opportunities to youth by providing jobs that provide great experience in customer service and working in the backstretch, as well as volunteer hours for school. I was fortunate to receive an opportunity to call my first harness race at the age of 12 on Kids’ Day, which sparked my passion to want to become an announcer. That opportunity, along with a few more years in the backstretch, led to my being promoted to become the on-track host at the age of 15. This position has helped to create more interest in the sport by youth, as they can relate to one of their peers in this role.          You can find Leamingon Raceway Raceway on many different social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so all ages can access their info. The 2020 season is going to be even more exciting for horsepeople and the fans: The season kicks off on Sunday August 9th, with racing every Sunday until October 25th and a special card of racing on Monday September 9th. Post time for all race dates is 1:30 p.m.  By Nathan Bain, USHWA Youth Member  

Harness racing superstar Greg Sugars has had a whirlwind week in the sulky - but he saved the sweetest moment for last, with his unashamed stable "favorite" Little Peanut. The undisputed highlight of the week was Sugars' victory in the $110,000 Ballarat Pacing Cup on Saturday night with rising New Zealand star A Gs White Socks for Greg and Nina Hope. But it was the more modest $14,500 Wedderburn cup victory on Sunday, with former brilliant juvenile Little Peanut (Blissfull Hall-Janbob (Speedking) that was perhaps the emotional high point for Sugars and his partner Jess Tubbs. A memorable week began when Tubbs and Sugars took out a double at Warragul last Sunday with Little Peanut and Robert The Bruce (McCardle-Bumble Bee). The latter then followed up by winning again at Melton on Friday night and the dream run continued with the Ballarat Cup victory, and with Sugars also qualifying the brilliant Emma Stewart-trained filly Maajida (Somebeachsomewhere-Arterial Way (Art Major) for the final of the Victoria Oaks. Then on Sunday Sugars made it a weekend cups double with Little Peanut. Little Peanut “tastes” success in the Wedderburn Pacing Cup (Wedderburn HRC Photo) "You don't get weeks like that too often - and I took a short break in New Zealand to catch up with some friends during the week, so maybe I should do that more often!" Sugars joked. "It's been a long road with Little Peanut - but that's the most satisfying thing. Firstly, that he's back on track, but also that he's racing so well," he said. Little Peanut is pint-sized, but the handsome chestnut has personality plus and he quickly endeared himself as a stable favorite when arriving at the Tubbs-Sugars establishment Larajay Park as a yearling. He was a terrific youngster, taking out a heat of the NSW Breeders 2yo Challenge and finishing second in the final, before winning the Mildura Guineas and the Central Victorian Pacing Championship in his three-year-old season. As a four-year-old, he was Chariots of Fire bound when he went amiss early last year, suffering a sesamoid injury. "He had an operation and the recovery is always a slow one, but for a while it didn't look too good for him," Sugars said. "But credit to Brian Anderson and the team at Ballarat Equine Clinic that we were able to overcome the issues and get him sound and eventually back in work," he said. "Jess and I did most of the work at home with him and he's a real character and he loves attention, so that was probably a plus in his recovery. But it also did make it extra special just to be able to get him back to the track - to win at his second start, then the Wedderburn Cup. We are just so proud of him." Sugars said he didn't expect the pacer would ever be "100 percent back to what he was". "But he's a little favorite, and always has been, so it's just great that he's been able to get this far." The Wedderburn Cup win made it back-to-back in the Central Victorian feature for Sugars after taking out the race last year with Emain Macha. Not so, regarding the Ballarat Cup, which Sugars has finished runner up in twice on Sushi Sushi in 2012 and 2013. "Sushi Sushi is another of my all-time favorite horses, so it was satisfying to win it this time on A Gs White Socks - a great thrill," Sugars said.                                                                                                            --Ballarat HRC photo "It was my first time sitting behind this horse, but he's such an easy going free-roller. He was just cruising, I was very confident a long way out." A Gs White Socks' Ballarat Cup win was a more than impressive warm up to the pacer's main mission on this campaign - the AG Hunter Cup in two weeks.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Club Menangle has moved to ensure that harness racing owners and trainers have every opportunity to provide their three-year old fillies with appropriate lead-in races into the John Gibson Memorial Oaks. The John Gibson Memorial Oaks will be held on 29 February, on Ladies Night of the 2020 Sky Racing Carnival of Miracles, at Club Menangle. Ladies Night, in the middle of the Sky Racing Carnival of Miracles, will showcase the best of Australasia’s fillies and mares with the Group 2 Allied Express Pink Bonnet for two-year old flies, the Group 1 Bodens Projects Ladyship Mile for the mares and – of course – the time-honoured race for three-year-old fillies, the John Gibson Memorial Oaks. Club Menangle Racing Manager, David Wonson has highlighted the racing program developed by Club Menangle to provide the appropriate lead-in during February into the Oaks. David said that Club Menangle is conscious of the need to provide opportunities for owners and trainers to condition their horses for what is the premier event on the New South Wales three-year old fillies racing calendar. The John Gibson Memorial NSW Oaks will showcase some of the best fillies in Australasia. However, a race over the Oaks distance of 2400m requires suitable lead-in opportunity and Club Menangle recognises that need. In keeping with Club Menangle’s commitment to filly and mare racing, the John Gibson Memorial Oaks program includes every opportunity for the successful finalists to position themselves for glory. David asked all owners and trainers to note the following race program developed for the three-year old fillies: 8 February – $14,280 Three-year old fillies’ race over 2300m 22 February – $20,000 Heats of the John Gibson Memorial Oaks over 2400m 29 February – $200,000 The John Gibson Memorial Oaks over 2400m Club Menangle Director, Daniel Cordina echoed David’s comments and emphasised the Board was conscious that for the three-year old fillies to peak on Oaks Night, they needed opportunity to race over the longer distances, prior to the race. The John Gibson Memorial NSW Oaks recognises the dedication of John Gibson, a NSW standardbred breeding legend who, with wife Mary, made a significant contribution to juvenile harness racing in this state. Club Menangle believes John would have welcomed the 2020 NSW Oaks program. Daniel said this program, developed by David for the Club Menangle Board, needed to be on the radar of all trainers who have a NSW Oaks campaign mapped out for their horses. Club Menangle