Day At The Track
Sheila Napier, harness racing

Nominations open for Caretaker of the Year

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Caretaker of the Year. The award, sponsored by Art Zubrod and Leah Cheverie's Fair Island Farm in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), recognizes the unsung heroes of the sport - the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the horses on a daily basis. Initially titled Groom of the Year Award when first presented in 1982, the honor was instituted as a result of a suggestion made by Delvin Miller at the annual Harness Tracks of America meeting when he received HTA's Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award. Previously sponsored annually by HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, the tradition lapsed in 2014 but was re-established in 2015 by Hard Rock Northfield Park and USHWA, with Fair Island Farm coming on this year. "We have been presenting trophies to the winning caretakers during the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile for a couple of years now, so we are very honored and happy to be able to now recognize the national Caretaker of the Year," said Zubrod. The Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500, a trophy, and transportation costs to the USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday evening, Feb. 23, 2020, where he or she will be recognized. The winner will also enjoy a two-night stay at Rosen Shingle Creek, host hotel for the USHWA activities, as well as two complimentary dinner tickets. "Caretakers are the day-to-day unsung heroes of the industry, long before and after the spotlight of the grandstand lights," said USHWA President Shawn Wiles. "This cadre toils in anonymity, not looking for a pat on the back, but always looking out for the best interests of their charges health and welfare. We are fortunate to have many outstanding caretakers in our industry to look after our equine athletes." Any caretaker working for any stable or farm in North America is eligible to be the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year. All that is needed to nominate is a letter or email, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker. The winner will be chosen by a seven-person selection committee comprised of USHWA members, all of whom are former caretakers: Tim Bojarski (chair), Tom Charters, Moira Fanning, Dean Hoffman, Rob Pennington, Kim Rinker and Shawn Wiles. All nomination letters and emails must be received and/or postmarked by Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, and sent to chairman Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, N.Y. 14001. (USHWA) From the United States Harness Writers Association

Bold Eagle, harness racing

Bold Eagle's emotional Breeders Crown win

The journey began exactly a month ago, when Bold Eagle and his harness racing caretaker Hugues Monthule boarded a horse van in the French countryside. The pair made their way to the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, flew into Toronto International on Oct.19 and were ensconced in the woodsy, overgrown Mohawk backstretch by the first race on Breeders Crown elimination night. Flash forward to 10 a.m. Sunday morning (Oct. 27), Pierre Pilarski, Thomas and Sabine Bernereau, and Francois Jamier sat around a high-top table near the front of the Quest Restaurant on the ground floor of the Hilton hotel in Mississauga. Situated about halfway between downtown Toronto and Woodbine Mohawk Park, the hotel was quiet, save for a few families checking out and a handful of early risers enjoying the pool and hot tub, and only a few of the restaurant's tables were occupied. Outside, overnight downpours late in the preceding evening and early that morning gave way to gray, overcast skies. The sharp, cold air left flags in tatters and whipped open hotel doors as high winds gusted through the Eastern Ontario city. Despite the dreary conditions, Bold Eagle's connections sat looking relaxed and content. Bright-eyed and with smiles on their faces, they enjoyed each other's company and cordially entertained the occasional visitors who offered congratulations, accolades, and thanks to the team who brought their champion trotter across the Atlantic to post a dominating victory in the Breeders Crown Open Trot only 11 hours before. While the aftermath proved tranquil, the hours leading up to Bold Eagle's victory were fraught with nerves and stress. Bold Eagle arrived in the Mohawk paddock around 8 p.m. on race night and took his place in a stall in the northwest corner near the test barn. With his cotton-stuffed ears forward and head held up in the crossties, Bold Eagle stood quietly with a black-and-red cooler draped cleanly over his back as the finishing touches were put on his braided forelock. As the time to warm up grew closer, though, the stallion became animated. While longtime caretaker Monthule and trainer Sebastien Guarato began to pull equipment out of the black tack box positioned in the aisle just in front of the stall, Bold Eagle began lowering his head and pawing at the rubber-matted floor. Gentle pats on the shoulder, stern warnings, and kisses on the nose from Monthule helped stem the trotter's eagerness, but Bold Eagle soon grew more excitable. As Breeders Crown winners made their way past to the test barn, Bold Eagle fixed his gaze on them, extended his neck, and delivered deep, loud roars. His demonstrations intensified as the sophomore trotting fillies, stationed in the row across from Bold Eagle's stall, lined up to head out to the track. Jamier, an agent, the Bernereaus, co-owners, and Priscilla Navillod, Bold Eagle's masseuse and dentist, joined Monthule and Guarato as Bold Eagle prepared for his warmup around 9:45 p.m. Absent from the group was Pilarski, who remained in the clubhouse. "He was too nervous to come see 'Bold,' " said Kim Gudmand, a Danish photographer and fan who has followed Bold Eagle around Europe since the trotter's 3-year-old campaign and has become close with the trotter's owners. "He wanted to stay upstairs." "I was nervous, but it was not so much pressure from outside, it was more inside pressure," Pilarski explained via translation by Jamier. "Now (Bold Eagle) is getting on the edge where he is not so easy in front like he used to be. We came over here, so of course there was some pressure. "We arrived (Friday). We were pretty tired (Friday) night. We were at the racetrack," Pilarski said. "We went to downtown Toronto (Saturday) to get lunch and we all tried to get time just to destress. But when we arrived here, we could feel the pressure." In the early years of Bold Eagle's career, the trotter would warm up twice on race day, once with Monthule and once with his driver. Now, the 8-year-old is too excitable on the track and only goes for one light preparation with his driver. Two races after winning a Breeders Crown with Winndevie and immediately after driving McWicked to a fourth-place finish in the Open Pace, Brian Sears met Bold Eagle in the paddock and headed out onto the track with him, led by Monthule and with the rest of the team in close pursuit. The warmup was Sears' first time taking the lines behind Bold Eagle and although he talked briefly with the connections in the days leading up to the race, there was little other prep work the Hall of Famer could do ahead of hopping in the sulky. Sears took Bold Eagle one lap clockwise around the seven-furlong oval during a short break in the rain. Although high-strung, Bold Eagle quickly trotted up on the heels of two other joggers near the end of his lap and slowed to match their pace. Sears took Bold Eagle past the paddock and down the stretch, turned him, and went a short spurt at a quicker tempo before returning Bold Eagle to the hands of Monthule. Sears hopped off the bike outside the paddock door and made a B-line for the front of the paddock, darting down a narrow alley formed by the building's exterior and the parked starting gate. The White Knight's colors were tarnished with wet stone dust and the driver chomped furiously on a piece of gum. "He was alright, pretty grabby," Sears quickly commented before jumping in the bike behind Greenshoe and heading out for another heat. After his warmup, Bold Eagle's attitude changed again. After returning to his stall, Bold Eagle stood with all four feet planted firmly on the ground. Neck bowed and ears pinned back, the trotter put on his game face as the final preparations were made for his start. Boosted by Bold Eagle's work leading up to the race, Guarato had been steady all night. The trainer felt confident his trotter would earn a check after training Bold Eagle over the Mohawk oval Thursday (Oct. 24) "I was very satisfied and confident about the fact that he trained well," Guarato said via translation by Jamier. "He handled the turns the right way and he was calm and relaxed and had good energy. I was confident to be one-two-three." A chink in Guarato's armor of confidence finally showed as the trainer watching unnervingly as a Go-Pro was affixed to one of the shafts of Bold Eagle's sulky shortly before race time. Only after being reassured that American History carried the camera in his Open Pace victory earlier in the evening did Guarato's fixation on the device subside. At 10:40 p.m., Guarato and Monthule were at work in Bold Eagle's stall making the final preparations for the race. Sabine Bernereau found a seat on the edge of the tack box while Thomas stood in front of the stall, hands shoved in his pockets, shuffling his feet. Finally, Monthule unhooked the crossties and led Bold Eagle into the aisle. Guarato and Navillod hitched the brand new black-and-red Gorilla race bike to Bold Eagle's harness and tightened the Go-Pro mount a final time. The Gorilla was one of two equipment changes that evening, replacing the Custom model bikes used by Björn Goop and Franck Nivard overseas. Bold Eagle would also race without an undercheck in the Breeders Crown. "He has a tendency to play with it. It was the first time I took it off," Guarato said. Sears donned Pilarski's black-and-red colors, slipped a yellow cap over his helmet, and adjusted his goggles before striding up to Bold Eagle. Tucking the whip under his right arm, Sears clipped the pull-cord for the earplugs in place near his left stirrup, took the lines in his brown-gloved hands, and then came the call from the judge crackling over the paddock's loudspeakers. "Bring 'em out." Monthule led Bold Eagle to the paddock door, Sears hopped in the bike, and the trio made their way out. While the rain had given way for Bold Eagle's warm up, it returned with a vengeance for his race. In combination with high winds blowing down the stretch, the monsoon delayed the start of the 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace as pylons floated up out of their moorings and blew into the center of the track. Earlier in the evening, a wayward pylon forced a recall. Such delays and recalls proved Bold Eagle's undoing before the 2018 Elitloppet elimination. Although there were no such hindrances before the Open Trot, Bold Eagle still appeared agitated in the post parade. He threw his head up and down, darted left, then right, and looked to the grandstand as something caught his eye. Monthule watched from the porch outside the paddock, seeking refuge from the weather under the overhanging roof. Photographers, journalists, and fellow horsepeople - by now, friends - put their hands on his shoulders, hugged him, and wished him luck. Monthule politely accepted each, but his gaze never left his champion on the track. Each time Bold Eagle passed in front of the paddock, Monthule hopped down from his perch and ran to the edge of the track, black-leather shank in hand, ready to lend assistance to Sears if needed. Once, he obliged and Monthule led Bold Eagle up the stretch, past the row of photographers before turning Bold Eagle loose again. Monthule remained out on the track at the end of the line of cameras as Bold Eagle and his 10 rivals faced the gate for the Open Trot. Even as his competitors put their noses on the barrier, Bold Eagle lagged behind from his inside post position, throwing his head and jerking from side to side. However, as he caught the gate, Bold Eagle picked up his head and put his nose to the wings. As the truck sped away, Bold Eagle trotted straight and true, quickest off the car for the first several strides before letting Atlanta, Guardian Angel As, and Lindy The Great dictate the tempo. Reaching the backstretch, Sears yanked on the right line, tipping Bold Eagle's face into the stiff wind. Bold Eagle glided up from a 4 1/4-length deficit to take the lead passing the half. Lindy The Great faded in the pocket while Six Pack tried to follow Bold Eagle's move, but was left without cover, and Atlanta rode the pylons. Bold Eagle straightened away with the lead as Six Pack continued to give chase and Atlanta angled wide. Sears turned the whip onto Bold Eagle's hind end, and as easily as Bold Eagle left the gate, he put up 2 lengths in deep stretch. Sears took three glances over his right shoulder and on the last, realizing he could not be caught, raised his whip in victory. Bold Eagle trotted past the finish post with the plugs still in and his ears pricked as he completed the mile in 1:52.0. A huge smile lit up on Monthule's face and the caretaker thrust both arms straight up over his head as he part-ran, part-skipped, part-jumped up the stretch watching Bold Eagle cross the line. In the clubhouse, Pilarski, the Bernereaus, and Jamier stood pressed up against the glass. They clapped, clamored, and leaned as Bold Eagle neared the finish. Just like Monthule, the quartet threw their hands up as he crossed the line before embracing in a group hug. The pent-up stresses of the evening were instantly lifted, and the heavy rains went unnoticed to the dozens of owners, friends, and fans of Bold Eagle who flooded the track on the way to the winner's circle. Pleas of "clear the track, clear the track," from the outriders as a new batch of horses started their warmups went unheeded as Bold Eagle returned to the winner's circle. Sears threw a Bold Eagle scarf around his neck, "Allez Bold Eagle" and French flags flew, and smiles lit up the night as the cameras clicked away. Back in the paddock, after completing the post-race testing procedures and getting cleaned off, Bold Eagle stomped around with his neck bowed and his ears pinned back, looking none the worse for his dominant display. "I'm very, very happy for Bold, just to get this race in his record. To come here and to win," Pilarski said, looking over his champion. "It's going to make all his fans very happy." Although Bold Eagle is most regarded for his victories in the French classics going 2,700 meters, Guarato praised the trotter's abilities at 1-mile. "The first time he went to Solvalla, he beat the European record. It was amazing. The first time he went to Solvalla, nobody saw that before, what he did there," the trainer said. "The first time he's come here, he's a monster." The Breeders Crown Trot is Bold Eagle's 46th victory and boosts his earnings to $5,692,680. It is the first North American win for the horse, owner, and trainer. Although Bold Eagle and Pilarski had never raced in North America before, Guarato sent Rapide Lebel to a second-place finish behind San Pail in the 2011 Breeders Crown Trot at Woodbine. "I'm extremely satisfied and happy," Guarato said. "This horse brings a lot of happiness to everybody. The last couple of months, he was maybe not as good as he used to be. But he's still a champion and today, to win in front of everybody in North American is huge, huge." Bold Eagle traveled home to France Friday, Nov. 1. He will seek a third victory in the Grand Prix d'Amérique at Vincennes this January. "The plan is to probably race every four weeks to prepare for the Prix d'Amerique," Guarato said." It depends on how he takes the trip back home, but he could race in the Prix du Bourbonnais (Dec. 8) or the Prix du Bourgogne (Dec. 29)." The connections have since stated the Dec. 8 race at Vincennes will be Bold Eagle's next start. The morning after their Breeders Crown win, as Jamier sat with Pilarski and the Bernereaus back at the Hilton, it wasn't too early to dream about the future. "Maybe we'll be back next year," Jamier teased with a smile. by Brandon Valvo, for the Breeders Crown

Purse increase.jpg

Purse raise, extra race day Red Shores

Charlottetown, PE - The Prince Edward Island Harness Racing Industry Association has added an additional race date to the winter meet at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park for Sunday December 1, 2019. Post time is 12pm.   "Through good fiscal management and a strong wagering pattern the industry is pleased to add an extra race date plus we will increase each race by 100 dollars per card until the end of the meet," said Chairman Blaine MacPherson.   The winter meet at Charlottetown will conclude on January 25, 2020.   For race dates go to redshores.ca. by Lee Drakes, for Red Shores

Harness racing

TheStable.ca hosting Christmas Open House

GUELPH, ON -- Horse racing's fastest-growing fractional ownership stable is hosting its annual Christmas Open House on Sunday, December 15. TheStable.ca welcomes clients and newcomers of all ages to Tomiko Training Centre (210 Campbellville Rd., Hamilton) to drop-in any time from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event is free but an RSVP is requested. Those who RSVP online will be eligible to enter a draw to win a 1% share of their favourite horse with free bills for one year (conditions apply). During the Open House, guests are invited to meet the horses of TheStable.ca and chat with founders Anthony and Amy MacDonald, their staff, clients, and industry professionals. During each Christmas Open House, TheStable.ca raises money for a local charity; this year the company is collecting non-perishable food items to donate to the Guelph Food Bank. Supporters can also donate funds online directly to the food bank. The Open House will showcase many of the engaging features of TheStable.ca, including its bi-weekly live streaming video broadcasts of the horses in training. Visitors can also explore the barns on their own or register for a guided tour (spots are limited). The Open House broadcast kicks off at 10:00 a.m. EST when the yearlings will train in sets on the racetrack. TV commentators preview the horses' pedigrees. The broadcast will include live commentary, interviews and video features and will be live streamed at TheStable.ca. A catalogue will be available on The Stable.ca website on December 13, detailing all horses for which fractions are available for purchase. The catalogue will include a schedule of when each horse will be showcased on the broadcast during the Open House. Onsite purchasing will be available for horses and merchandise. Payment can be made with credit card, PayPal, cash, cheque and e-transfer. The facility offers a heated viewing area with limited seating. Hot and cold drinks will be sold and lunch is also available to purchase. by Kelly Spencer, for TheStable.ca

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Euchred took control of the lead from the start and beat back his preferred harness racing foes Sunday afternoon at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Gilles Barrieau was the hot driver of the day and Euchred did not let him down as the son of Shadow Play left well off the gate to make the lead in the $2,900 preferred pace and proceed through splits of 28.3, 57.2 and 1:26.2. Woodmere Ideal Art (Driven by Jason Hughes) took a run at Euchred in the final quarter but had to settle for second while race favourite Rose Run Quest (Marc Campbell) had too much ground to make up and finished third in the 1:55.2 mile. Walter Walker trains Euchred for owner Kayla Habicht Walker of Inverness, N.S. Barrieau made four trips to the winner's circle on the 13-dash card. The New Brunswick pilot started the action off winning with Selkirk Echo in 2:00.2 for trainer Jackie Matheson of Charlottetown, and that duo teamed up later on the card to win with Clare Hall Hanover in an open-length 1:59.3 score. Barrieau's other win was in a $1,750 trot class as Daisy River overcame an early break in stride to win in 2:04.1 for trainer William Lanigan of Montague. For more information go to the newly redesigned Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores  

MILTON, ON - November 16, 2019 - Series finals, a milestone and Jackpot score headlined an eventful harness racing Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. An 11-race card featured a trio of main events with a pair of Harvest Series finals for Ontario sired three-year-old colts and geldings and a $34,000 Preferred Pace. Easy Lover Hanover became harness racing's newest millionaire with 1:51.4 victory in the $34,000 Preferred Pace. The Ben Wallace trainee scored his eighth win of the season and 42nd in 106 career starts to cross the $1 million mark. Sitting second-over at three-quarters, Easy Lover Hanover displayed the determination that fans have become accustomed to seeing by charging down the centre of the track and overtaking the lead in the final-eighth to win for driver Bob McClure. A six-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, Easy Lover Hanover has competed in several of the sport's top pacing events during his career with his biggest victory coming in the Progress Pace as a three-year-old. Brad Grant is the owner of racing's new millionaire. 'Easy Lover' was made the 4/5 favourite in Saturday's Preferred, returning $3.70 for a $2 win ticket. Tony O'Sullivan trainee Angers Bayama took off on rivals racing to three-quarters to secure a 4 ½ length victory in the $49,600 Harvest Series final for pacing colts and geldings. Sylvain Filion guided the gelded son of Big Jim to the career-best 1:50.4 victory for the series sweep. The First Step, who had victories in each of the preliminary legs, finished second. Prestige Seelster and Bettor B Going completed the Superfecta. Angers Bayama is now on a six-race winning streak to bring his career record to six for 14 with $78,655 earned for owner Bayama Farms Inc. The six wins have all come since joining the barn of O'Sullivan. A $2 win ticket on Angers Bayama returned $3. Lifetime Royalty claimed the top at the opening-quarter and never looked back for a 10-1 upset victory in the $47,800 final for trotting colts and geldings. Jody Jamieson was the driver behind the gelded son of Royalty For Life for trainer Scott McEneny. Okeanos trotted a :27.3 final-quarter to challenge Lifetime Royalty, coming up just a neck short for a runner-up finish to the 1:54.4 winner. Arcanum and A Royal Line rounded out the top-four. Lifetime Royalty's experience in the Harvest Series was an up and down ride, as the McEneny trainee captured a first leg division, finished seventh in the second leg and then rebounded for the victory Saturday. The sophomore gelded is now two for 16 this season and three for 25 overall after his career-best victory to bring his career earnings to $99,231 for owners Brad Grant, McEneny and Martwest Racing Stable. Lifetime Royalty paid $22.90 to win. The Harvest Series was open to Ontario sired three-year-old colts and geldings, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2019 as of September 30, 2019. Saturday's final race saw the Jackpot Hi-5 taken down, as a horseplayer from Chicago had the only winning ticket for a score of $92,381.06 (USD). The 6/5 favourite Mc Pat captured the final-race, but the top-five also included the two-longest shots in the race. The top-five finishers are listed below: 1st: #5 Mc Pat (6/5) 2nd: #10 Cliffhanger (5/1) 3rd: #9 St Lads Thriller (46/1) 4th: #1 Mighty Mach (110/1) 5th: #3 Cortez The Killer (12/1) The $0.20 winning ticket cost $134.40 and was built 5,10/5,10/ALL/ALL/ALL. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment              

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Three-quarters of the entire Saturday afternoon program saw driver David Dowling finish first or second as he cruised to his first Paul MacDonald Memorial Driving Championship harness racing title during Horseperson's Day at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The Warren Grove driver dominated the card with six wins and three second-place finishes including four wins in the eight race MacDonald Memorial Driving Championship, sponsored by the P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owner's Association. Dowling won the competition with 73 points. Gilles Barrieau finished second at 66 points and Earl Smith third on the day with 51 points. Fourth was Mike McGuigan with 48 points then Brian MacPhee and Corey MacPherson were tied for fifth place at 47 points. Jason Hughes was seventh in the challenge with 46 points and Mark Bradley rounded out the field at 44 points. Dowling started the action off in the first race of the competition winning with Sendmeasign in 2:01.4 for trainer Alex Sobey of Summerside. Noplay won the second leg of the contest in line to Dowling in 2:01 for Allan Gregory of Charlottetown, then Lincoln Seelster from the Jackie Matheson stable captured leg three to give Barrieau a spot in the win column with a 2:01.1. score while Dowling finished second with Sanchez Blue Chip to maintain his healthy points lead in the championship. The winning resumed for Dowling in the fourth leg of the championship as Casimir Obama romped in 2:00.3 from the Todd Walsh Stable. Veteran pacer gave MacPherson his first win of the competition in leg five as the 13-year-old scored by a quarter-of-a-length in 2:00.3 for trainer Kerry Taylor with Dowling finishing second with Confident Fella. The sixth race of the challenge saw Jens Credit double up Barrieau for trainer Ryan Perrot of Charlottetown stopping the clock in 2:01.1 with Dowling continuing his driving perfection with a second place finish with Back In The Game. Smith won the next leg aboard West River Ambyr for trainer Harold Shepherd in 1:58.4 while the race had Dowling's worst finish of the day with a fifth-place behind Cougar Gal. To top the day off, Outrageous Spirit was a winner in the last race of the eight-race championship for Dowling and trainer Kevin Peters in 2:01.1. Dowling other two wins came in regular overnight action with Best To Hurst in 1:58.2 for trainer Earl Watts and Knockout Punch in 2:02.4 for trainer Marvyn Webster of Kensington. For race replays and more go to Redshores.ca. by Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - This harness racing season has seen non-stop action at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park and it is not going to let up anytime soon as Horse Persons Day takes the stage Saturday afternoon. The annual event presented by the P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owner's Association will feature a number of second chances draws for race patrons, prizes for winning owners, trainers and grooms as well as the Paul MacDonald Memorial Driving Championship. First race post time is 12:30 P.M. for the 12-dash program. The Driving Championship will be featured in eight races on the program starting in race 2 with a field of eight talented reinsmen from three different categories competing. The annual challenge takes the top four dash-winning drivers from combined Charlottetown and Red Shores Summerside statistics which are Gilles Barrieau, David Dowling, Corey MacPherson and Jason Hughes. The top percentage drivers with over 75 drives in the challenge are Mark Bradley and Mike McGuigan, while the final two spots go to the top percentage drivers with between 40 and 75 drives which will see veteran drivers Earl Smith and Brian MacPhee in the competition. The driver with the most points at the end of the day will receive the MacDonald Memorial Trophy. All drivers must hold current memberships with the PEISHOA to be eligible. For the second chance draws for the fans, patrons can simply fill out their name and phone number on the back of any un-cashed wagering tickets and enter for a chances to win a variety of prizes. Also on the Saturday afternoon card, the top mares on the Eastern Seaboard will again butt heads in the $2,600 feature in race 12. Collective Wisdom earns top billing in the event from post 6 with Barrieau in the bike for owner Woodmere Farms of Marshfield and trainer Jackie Matheson. The American Ideal lass was a two-length winner in her latest. Dancers Pass has been the model of consistency lately and gets post 2 this week for driver Dowling and trainer Philip Kelly, while fellow Matheson trained The Time To Win (Driven by Ron Matheson) leaves from post 7. Race analyst Les MacIsaac will take the advantage of post position as he puts Dancers Pass on top. "Dancers Pass has got the versatility to handle any racing style and from this favourable post the trip of her choosing could be in the cards," MacIsaac said. "She's a potential sleeper." Also in the field are Mrs Dragonfire (MacPherson), Rocknrols Image (Hughes), Arc Light (Marc Campbell), Imagine Speed (Bradley) and Julep Hanover (Wade Myers). For more information go to the newly redesigned Redshores.ca. Euchred Returns To Red Shores CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - The last time they met Rose Run Quest easily prevailed but Euchred will come off a nearly month long break as he takes another crack at his top foe in the featured event Sunday afternoon at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The 13-dash card has a 12:30 P.M. first race post time with the $2,900 preferred pace hitting the track in the finale. Rose Run Quest has a four-race win streak on the line but has been assigned post 7 in the field for trainer-driver Marc Campbell and owner Blair Hansen of Charlottetown. The seven-year-old son of If I Can Dream has 12 victories this season from 22 starts and has only missed the top-three four times in 2019. Euchred has not seen action since Oct. 19 and moves back into the Walter Walker stable for owner Kayla Habicht-Walker of Inverness. Gilles Barrieau gets the catch driving call behind the 51-time winner. Nogreatmischief won the top class last week but will have to work out a trip from post 6 on Sunday for trainer-driver Walter Cheverie. Race analyst Les MacIsaac admits going against Rose Run Quest for the winning position is far from a safe play but he likes a rejuvenated Euchred on top of his tickets. "With Euchred's gate speed he should be able to secure an uncontested lead and with the dominant horse in this class assigned the outside post, this guy is a suitable option if you're trying to get the heavy favourite beat," MacIsaac said. Rounding out the field are Mick Dundee (Driven by Don MacNeill), JJ Powerball (Myles Heffernan Sr.), Screen Test (Corey MacPherson) and Woodmere Ideal Art (Jason Hughes). After an unsuccessful run at the top class last week at Red Shores, Well Did will move into the back-up class on Sunday afternoon and the top Truro Raceway pacer gets rail control in the $2,500 event. Paul Langille of Lower Onslow, N.S., owns, trains and drives the Well Said pacer, who knocked off the top class at Truro Raceway in Bible Hill, N.S., two starts in-a-row before competing at Red Shores last week in the preferred. Creepin (David Dowling) is the morning line favourite in the class from post 2 while veteran pacer Eagle Jolt (Campbell) is another top entrant from post 5. For race programs, live video and more go to the newly redesigned Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores  

MILTON, ON - November 14, 2019 - Thru The Wickets and Lady Driver took home the gold in Thursday evening's Harvest Series harness racing finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The $47,500 final for trotting fillies and $50,200 final for pacing fillies wrapped up the three-week event for Ontario sired three-year-old fillies. Thru The Wickets tipped three-wide from fifth shortly before three-quarters and powered down the centre of the track to win the trotting final by a length and three-quarters in 1:57.1. Trevor Henry guided the daughter of Kadabra to victory for trainer Shane Weber. Warrawee Ultra shot from the rail and led by open-lengths to three-quarters in 1:26.1. The leader was all done at the head of the lane, allowing rivals from well-back to pick up the pieces. Thru The Wickets took the top spot over runner-up Northern Royale, who rallied from eighth, while Club Belvedere crossed the line third after racing a few lengths behind Warrawee Ultra throughout the opening three-quarters. The Harvest Series victory is the second win in 12 starts for Thru The Wickets, who was unraced at age two and had last collected a victory on August 1. She now has $38,152 earned for owners Tom & Elizabeth Rankin. Thru The Wickets paid $16.90 to win. To see the race replay, click here. Lady Driver converted off a two-hole trip behind Esprit Dequipe to best that rival by a pair of lengths and win the pacing final in 1:54.2. Jonathan Drury steered the Sportswriter filly to victory for trainer Carmen Auciello. The top-two at the finish were the same two leading at every call in the $50,200 event. Lady Driver left from post-seven and cleared Esprit Dequipe at the opening-quarter at :27.3. The fillies flipped positions racing to the half with Esprit Dequipe posting fractions of :57 and 1:25.1. The stretch drive saw little drama, as Lady Driver angled out and powered by for the score. Jessicas Legacy was third, while race-favourite Free Exchange was never in the mix and finished fourth. Lady Driver improves her three-year-old record to six wins and $74,055 earned in 22 starts. Her career numbers escalate to eight wins and $110,360 banked for owners Michael Hall, Ctc Stable and Our Three Sons Stable LLC. A $2 win ticket on Lady Driver returned $6.70. To watch the race replay, click here. The Harvest Series was open to Ontario sired three-year-old fillies, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2019 as of September 30, 2019. Live racing resumes Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:50 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

Mark MacDonald is still more than a month away from returning to the racetrack as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but the veteran harness rcing driver is feeling good and looking forward to a successful 2020. MacDonald was injured in July when he was unseated from the sulky prior to a race at Saratoga. He suffered a fractured left shoulder joint and is now rehabbing following surgery and three months in a sling. He hopes to return to action sometime in January. "I'm doing really good," said MacDonald, who is working out at the gym daily and getting physical therapy four days a week. "I'm taking it day to day. It was a massive surgery and it takes time. It's just time to stabilize the muscles around it. But I'm feeling good. I feel like I could drive tomorrow. I don't know if I'd want to hit the ground tomorrow, and that's what they're worried about. The surgeon wants me clear for contact. "Strength-wise, it's no problem. But I don't want to mess it up if something were to happen. It's frustrating because it feels really good and they're saying just take it easy. That's easier said than done sometimes but I'm working through it and listening to what they tell me. "They X-rayed it the other day and said it's perfect. They were really happy with the way it looked." In addition to repairing MacDonald's shoulder, the surgeon was able to correct tendon issues MacDonald suffered in a previous accident. "I always had pain in that shoulder for a long time," MacDonald said. "Not horrible, but it always bothered me a little bit. Where he fixed it up, it feels really good. They did a great job and I have a feeling that when I do start driving again it's going to be a lot better than it's been in a long time. "It's hopefully short-term pain for long-term gain." MacDonald has suffered his share of injuries over the years but said this one was the most difficult. "I seem to get myself into these predicaments," MacDonald said with a laugh. "For a while, I was bummed because I couldn't do anything. Shoulder surgery is really tough, the toughest one I've had. "You're just sitting around doing nothing. I had a hard time getting out of bed for a long time, physically; I needed a hand up. I couldn't move my arm for months. It's hard to sleep, hard to get comfortable. I couldn't even put my socks on, it was terrible." A native of Prince Edward Island who now lives in Goshen, N.Y., the 40-year-old MacDonald has won 6,220 races lifetime and $91.6 million in purses. He was Canada's Driver of the Year in 2005 and 2006. "Hopefully I'll get back at it in January," MacDonald said. "Maybe I'll change it up a little this year and go to The Meadowlands a little bit more. We'll see what happens. Hopefully I'll have a real good year. I'm just staying positive now. I have something to look forward to." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Guelph, ON Nov 14, 2019 - On November 17, the 4th annual Equine Industry Symposium will be hosted by the University of Guelph.   Join attendees from different areas of the horse industry to discuss the theme of "change" and what the word means for the equine community.   "With a consistently growing industry, keeping pace with change is crucial for everyone," says Katrina Merkies, event organizer. "As part of an inclusive community we can all work toward improving the welfare of the horse."   The Symposium will be held in Rozanski Hall, Room 101 on the University of Guelph campus. The event will run from 9 a.m. to  5 p.m.   Registeration is open for this free event, and is available online.   The symposium agenda features three international speakers: Dr. Sandra Olsen from the University of Kansas will discuss the evolution of our relationship with horses. As a renowned scientist and zooarcheologist, Dr. Olsen has extensively researched horse domestication and the development of horse-human relationships. Lisa Ashton, a clinician from the United Kingdom, will present an evidence-based approach to riding and training. Ashton advocates to "be the change your horse needs".  Ashton runs two educational equestrian businesses, EquiSci and Equicoach.life, which are both dedicated to helping horses by helping people. Debbie Busby is a BHS certified Stage 4 coach and registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist in high demand by a variety of people from riders to PhD students to veterinarians. Busby is often called on to provide expert witness opinion in legal disputes involving horse welfare and specializes in human behaviour change for animals.   The symposium will also hold a panel discussion featuring industry entrepreneurs Anthony MacDonald (Thestable.ca), Warren Byrne (The Horse Agency), Linda Hauck (Tapestry Equine Products), and Pam Coburn (Ontario Equestrian) presenting how they have embraced change in the industry.   "Experiences and approaches shared by the panel members are intended to spark open conversation with attendees," says Katrina Merkies. "Their innovative and forward-thinking approaches will showcase how we can expand and improve our equine industry."   Akaash Maharaj, former CEO of Equine Canada, is returning for a fourth time as the symposium facilitator.   This event is organized by students in the Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management -Equine Management program. Updates leading up to the symposium will be shared on Facebook: "Equine Industry Symposium 2019".   Register: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/equine-industry-symposium-2019-tickets-72742947113   From Equine Guelph  

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The curtain closed on the 2019 harness racing season at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday. The leading driver of the meet was Stephane Gendron, who led from early on in the season and was never really challenged. Gendron scored one win Sunday to end the season with 63 wins and a batting average, UDR of .355. "I am very proud of being the leading driver," Gendron said. "It's always an honor to win this title, and I work very hard for that." Will Gendron be driving anywhere this winter? "No," Gendron said. "I will not drive anywhere this winter. I'm taking time for myself, and will be coming back next year for the H3R race meet." Second to Stephane Gendron in the driver standings was Pascal Berube with 54 wins. The leading trainer, for the third straight season, is none other than Francis Richard. He held a strong lead halfway through the race season and ended the race meet with 32 wins. His closest competition was trainers Yves Tessier with 24 and Maxime Velaye with 23 wins. After the sixth race trot there was a very moving ceremony for the 14-year-old Chinnys Wings as this was his last pari-mutuel race. All Standardbred racehorses must retire from racing when they turn age 15 on January 1. Although Chinnys Wings finished 8th in his last race, he was brought to the winner's circle where the race bike and harness were removed and a beautiful winter monogramed blanket was placed on the son of Armbro Ricochet. For the record, Chinnys Wings started 235 times with 45 wins and earnings of $382,333. His record was 1:56.2. He was trained and driven by Jean Lord and owned by his wife, Nancy, of Trois-Rivieres. The Lord's have said that Chinnys Wings will have a good home and maybe even race in the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit next year. In the third race Preferred Trot, Preciecuse CC, one of only two mares in the field, took full advantage of starting from the trail for trainer/driver Claude Beausoleil and wired the field. Despite a first-over effort by Seeyou Men (Francis Picard), Preciecuse CC was not to be caught, winning by one length in 2:00.3 over Seeyou Men with the other mare in the field, Missionoftheheart (Jocelyn Gendron) third. It was the second straight win and eighth victory of the season for Preciecuse CC, a four-year-old mare by Angus Hall, owned by Marie Andree Courney of Chicoutimi. She paid $10.10 to win. The fastest mile on closing day was in the ninth race Preferred Pace where Maracasso and trainer/driver Carol Voyer would not let anyone pass them by. They wired the field in 1:56, barely holding off a late charging Appleby Hanover (Jocelyn Gendron) to win by a diminishing neck. Hooter Shooter (Pascal Berube) was third. It was the eleventh win on the year for Maracasso. The seven-year-old gelded son of Lis Mara is owned by The Alpha Stable of Metobetchouan and paid just $3.10 to win. The biggest highlight of the 2019 season was in the $200,000 Prix d'Ete Pace when driver Daniel Dube led from start to finish with This Is The Plan, who stopped the teletimer in 1:49.1. The mile was the fastest ever in Canada on a half mile track and shattered the prior track record of 1:50.3. This Is The Plan is trained and co-owned by Ron Burke and it was Burke's third triumph in the Prix d'Ete. Track Notes: Pierre Luc Roy scored a driving triple on closing day. The Hippodrome 3R and its Off-Track-Betting sites throughout Quebec, will be open seven days a week all winter long for simulcasting. The 2020 live harness racing season at H3R will begin next April. For more information, past race results, news stories and more, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - A perfect trip for Nogreatmischief paved the way to knock off the heavy harness racing favourite in the Sunday afternoon feature at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Walter Cheverie sent Nogreatmischief off the gate and guarded the rail in the $2,900 featured event before releasing Woodmere Ideal Art (Driven by Jason Hughes) to the front. The favoured Woodmere Ideal Art laid down splits of 28.2, 58.4 and 1:28.4 before Nogreatmischief tipped off his back to engage the leader in the stretch and get up to a neck decision in 1:58.1. Mick Dundee (Don MacNeill) completed the $113.50 triactor. Cheverie co-owns and trains Nogreatmischief for co-owner Brian Thompson of Charlottetown. David Dowling was the most popular driver of the day with four winners on the card starting off the winning with Silverhill Buddy in 1:57.3 for trainer David Myers of Charlottetown, followed by wins with Zack The Men in 1:58.2 from the Elton Millar stable of Tyne Valley and a 16-1 upset with Knockout Punch for Marvyn Webster of Kensington in 2:01.2. The final win for the Warren Grove driver was a dead-heat between Junebugs Baby and Forever Paradise (Gilles Barrieau) in 1:59.3. Cornwall reinsman Corey MacPherson had three trips to the winner's circle including a dead-heat in the race 2 Lester Chappell Memorial pace with Dangle Ona Dime for Darla MacEachern of Summerside, who landed on the line together with Complete Player (Mark Bradley) in 2:01.1. MacPherson also won with Screen Test in 1:58 for trainer Stephen Gass and Er Quinn in 2:00.2 for trainer Jeff Holmes. For race replays, prize payouts and more go to www.Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Forwardly placed from the start, Collective Wisdom took the top harness racing event Saturday afternoon at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park as part of a four win performance by driver Gilles Barrieau. Collective Wisdom left smartly from post 4 in the $2,400 featured fillies and mares pacer to strike the lead and put down a 29.3 opener over a sloppy track. Arc Light (Driven by Marc Campbell) came first over and cleared to the lead at the half of 59.1, leaving Collective Wisdom sitting second. Arc Light then battled with Dancers Pass (David Dowling) through the three-quarters of 1:30.2 with Collective Wisdom taking the passing lane in the stretch to win in 2:01.4. Jackie Matheson trains the winning mare for owner Woodmere Farms of Marshfield. Second went to Dancers Pass with Mrs Dragonfire (Jason Hughes) completing the healthy $703.20 triactor ticket. Barrieau also won with Hp Rubis Joyce in 2:03.1 for Blaine Baglole of Cornwall, Labero in 2:06.4 for trainer Randy Van Meer of Mount Herbert and What A Babe from the Todd Walsh stable of Charlottetown. Freddie captured the $2,250 Open Trot in 2:06.2 for trainer-driver Campbell and owner Three Wisemen Stable of Kingston over Star Photo (Hughes) and Suicide Shift (Steven Shepherd). Trainer Kevin Gilles had a pair of winners from his Charlottetown barn, both with Hughes in the bike, as Rockrols Image won in 2:04.2 and March Magic scored a 2:08.3 victory for owners Kurt Hughes and Peter MacPhee. For complete results and prize payouts go to www.Redshores.ca.   By Nicholas Oakes For Red Shores

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Sunday (Nov. 10) is closing day for the 2019 harness racing season at the Hippodrome 3R. Honored during the 11-race program will be the race meets leading driver, Stephane Gendron and leading trainer Francis Richard. Both Gendron and Richard have enough of a lead in their respective categories that no one can catch them on closing day. For Gendron, 50, from Quebec City, it Is his first driving title at H3R. He kept his lead up from early in the season and goes into Sunday's program with 62 wins, nine more than rival Pascal Berube (53). Gendron also has a great Universal Driving Rating (Baseball average) of .355. He is scheduled to compete in seven of the eleven races on the program. Mathematically, Breube has a very minimal chance to tie Gendron for the driving title on closing day. As for trainer Francis Richard, he will be winning his third straight training title at H3R and the resident of Cambridge, Ontario is just 29 years old. Richard holds a nine-win lead (32 wins) over his nearest rivals, Yves Tessier and Maxime Velaye, each at 23 wins. "I might have seemed quiet this season," Richard explained. "but we were just out of luck on the day of the rich finals. We won multiples legs of the different Quebec sires stakes in the summer but when the draw came out for the finals, we drew a horrible bunch of 8 posts, and still got 6/7 cheques, it's racing. "You need luck and it just wasn't there for us that day," Richard added. "We did win the Quebec Final with Lucky Promesses for the older trotting mares." Richard also added about the people he works with. "I'm really proud of our team winning the training title," Richard said. "Three times in a row is something special, and we work hard and it's paying off in the end! I can't thank my crew enough; they are dedicated to their work and we are all having fun doing it!" This season there were two horses that Richard had from his stable that kept a smile on his face all season long. "My two best horses this season has to be Major Bay," Richard said. "He had not been worse than 2nd in all of his starts before drawing post 8 in the final and unfortunately hit a wheel, but he went on to Toronto to continue his season where he did very good. "My friend Ben Baillargeon and his team took the training duties for my partners and I," Richard explained. "And he made over $80,000 his season. I am very proud of him. "My second favorite horse would be HP Napoleon," Richard said. "If you remember this spring in an interview, I said he could be a nice horse if he puts it all together, which he did. So far, he has bankrolled over $85,000. Francis Richard says he is somewhat set for this winter. "We plan on having around 5 babies this fall to break," Richard said. "And we got some homebreds and got a few from sales. We will be very busy all winter." The third race co-feature Preferred Trot features the return battle between Seeyou Men (post 5) and Capteur De Reve (post 4). Seeyou Men won the battle last week. He will again be driven by Francis Picard. Capteur De Reve will be handled by Stephane Gendron. These two top contenders have been facing each other all season long in some great trotting matchups. Also entered are Missionoftheheart (post 3), Sir Chopin (post 2) and Precieuse CC (post 1). Then after the sixth race trot, win, lose or draw, the 14-year-old Chinnys Wings will receive a retirement blanket in the winner's circle. He will bow out for owner Nancy Lord and her husband, trainer/driver Jean Lord of Trois-Rivieres. All horses must retire from pari-mutuel racing at age 15. But don't count Chinnys Wings out as he will still be able to compete next season in the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit. The final feature race of the season takes place in the ninth with the Preferred Pace. The field features the mainstay of the top pacers who raced at H3R all season long. Surf Report (post 1), Mister Big Top (post 2), Appleby Hanover (post 3), Maracasso (post 4) and Hooter Shooter (post 5). Maracaso leads the way for trainer/driver Carol Voyer with ten wins this year. Both Hooter Shooter and Appleby Hanover have nine wins each. It will again be a classic matchup as it has been all season long. First race post time is 1:00 pm. For a free race program or to view the races live via the internet, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

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Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Caretaker of the Year. The award, sponsored by Art Zubrod and Leah Cheverie's Fair Island Farm in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), recognizes the unsung heroes of the sport - the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the horses on a daily basis. Initially titled Groom of the Year Award when first presented in 1982, the honor was instituted as a result of a suggestion made by Delvin Miller at the annual Harness Tracks of America meeting when he received HTA's Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award. Previously sponsored annually by HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, the tradition lapsed in 2014 but was re-established in 2015 by Hard Rock Northfield Park and USHWA, with Fair Island Farm coming on this year. "We have been presenting trophies to the winning caretakers during the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile for a couple of years now, so we are very honored and happy to be able to now recognize the national Caretaker of the Year," said Zubrod. The Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500, a trophy, and transportation costs to the USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday evening, Feb. 23, 2020, where he or she will be recognized. The winner will also enjoy a two-night stay at Rosen Shingle Creek, host hotel for the USHWA activities, as well as two complimentary dinner tickets. "Caretakers are the day-to-day unsung heroes of the industry, long before and after the spotlight of the grandstand lights," said USHWA President Shawn Wiles. "This cadre toils in anonymity, not looking for a pat on the back, but always looking out for the best interests of their charges health and welfare. We are fortunate to have many outstanding caretakers in our industry to look after our equine athletes." Any caretaker working for any stable or farm in North America is eligible to be the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year. All that is needed to nominate is a letter or email, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker. The winner will be chosen by a seven-person selection committee comprised of USHWA members, all of whom are former caretakers: Tim Bojarski (chair), Tom Charters, Moira Fanning, Dean Hoffman, Rob Pennington, Kim Rinker and Shawn Wiles. All nomination letters and emails must be received and/or postmarked by Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, and sent to chairman Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, N.Y. 14001. (USHWA) From the United States Harness Writers Association
The journey began exactly a month ago, when Bold Eagle and his harness racing caretaker Hugues Monthule boarded a horse van in the French countryside. The pair made their way to the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, flew into Toronto International on Oct.19 and were ensconced in the woodsy, overgrown Mohawk backstretch by the first race on Breeders Crown elimination night. Flash forward to 10 a.m. Sunday morning (Oct. 27), Pierre Pilarski, Thomas and Sabine Bernereau, and Francois Jamier sat around a high-top table near the front of the Quest Restaurant on the ground floor of the Hilton hotel in Mississauga. Situated about halfway between downtown Toronto and Woodbine Mohawk Park, the hotel was quiet, save for a few families checking out and a handful of early risers enjoying the pool and hot tub, and only a few of the restaurant's tables were occupied. Outside, overnight downpours late in the preceding evening and early that morning gave way to gray, overcast skies. The sharp, cold air left flags in tatters and whipped open hotel doors as high winds gusted through the Eastern Ontario city. Despite the dreary conditions, Bold Eagle's connections sat looking relaxed and content. Bright-eyed and with smiles on their faces, they enjoyed each other's company and cordially entertained the occasional visitors who offered congratulations, accolades, and thanks to the team who brought their champion trotter across the Atlantic to post a dominating victory in the Breeders Crown Open Trot only 11 hours before. While the aftermath proved tranquil, the hours leading up to Bold Eagle's victory were fraught with nerves and stress. Bold Eagle arrived in the Mohawk paddock around 8 p.m. on race night and took his place in a stall in the northwest corner near the test barn. With his cotton-stuffed ears forward and head held up in the crossties, Bold Eagle stood quietly with a black-and-red cooler draped cleanly over his back as the finishing touches were put on his braided forelock. As the time to warm up grew closer, though, the stallion became animated. While longtime caretaker Monthule and trainer Sebastien Guarato began to pull equipment out of the black tack box positioned in the aisle just in front of the stall, Bold Eagle began lowering his head and pawing at the rubber-matted floor. Gentle pats on the shoulder, stern warnings, and kisses on the nose from Monthule helped stem the trotter's eagerness, but Bold Eagle soon grew more excitable. As Breeders Crown winners made their way past to the test barn, Bold Eagle fixed his gaze on them, extended his neck, and delivered deep, loud roars. His demonstrations intensified as the sophomore trotting fillies, stationed in the row across from Bold Eagle's stall, lined up to head out to the track. Jamier, an agent, the Bernereaus, co-owners, and Priscilla Navillod, Bold Eagle's masseuse and dentist, joined Monthule and Guarato as Bold Eagle prepared for his warmup around 9:45 p.m. Absent from the group was Pilarski, who remained in the clubhouse. "He was too nervous to come see 'Bold,' " said Kim Gudmand, a Danish photographer and fan who has followed Bold Eagle around Europe since the trotter's 3-year-old campaign and has become close with the trotter's owners. "He wanted to stay upstairs." "I was nervous, but it was not so much pressure from outside, it was more inside pressure," Pilarski explained via translation by Jamier. "Now (Bold Eagle) is getting on the edge where he is not so easy in front like he used to be. We came over here, so of course there was some pressure. "We arrived (Friday). We were pretty tired (Friday) night. We were at the racetrack," Pilarski said. "We went to downtown Toronto (Saturday) to get lunch and we all tried to get time just to destress. But when we arrived here, we could feel the pressure." In the early years of Bold Eagle's career, the trotter would warm up twice on race day, once with Monthule and once with his driver. Now, the 8-year-old is too excitable on the track and only goes for one light preparation with his driver. Two races after winning a Breeders Crown with Winndevie and immediately after driving McWicked to a fourth-place finish in the Open Pace, Brian Sears met Bold Eagle in the paddock and headed out onto the track with him, led by Monthule and with the rest of the team in close pursuit. The warmup was Sears' first time taking the lines behind Bold Eagle and although he talked briefly with the connections in the days leading up to the race, there was little other prep work the Hall of Famer could do ahead of hopping in the sulky. Sears took Bold Eagle one lap clockwise around the seven-furlong oval during a short break in the rain. Although high-strung, Bold Eagle quickly trotted up on the heels of two other joggers near the end of his lap and slowed to match their pace. Sears took Bold Eagle past the paddock and down the stretch, turned him, and went a short spurt at a quicker tempo before returning Bold Eagle to the hands of Monthule. Sears hopped off the bike outside the paddock door and made a B-line for the front of the paddock, darting down a narrow alley formed by the building's exterior and the parked starting gate. The White Knight's colors were tarnished with wet stone dust and the driver chomped furiously on a piece of gum. "He was alright, pretty grabby," Sears quickly commented before jumping in the bike behind Greenshoe and heading out for another heat. After his warmup, Bold Eagle's attitude changed again. After returning to his stall, Bold Eagle stood with all four feet planted firmly on the ground. Neck bowed and ears pinned back, the trotter put on his game face as the final preparations were made for his start. Boosted by Bold Eagle's work leading up to the race, Guarato had been steady all night. The trainer felt confident his trotter would earn a check after training Bold Eagle over the Mohawk oval Thursday (Oct. 24) "I was very satisfied and confident about the fact that he trained well," Guarato said via translation by Jamier. "He handled the turns the right way and he was calm and relaxed and had good energy. I was confident to be one-two-three." A chink in Guarato's armor of confidence finally showed as the trainer watching unnervingly as a Go-Pro was affixed to one of the shafts of Bold Eagle's sulky shortly before race time. Only after being reassured that American History carried the camera in his Open Pace victory earlier in the evening did Guarato's fixation on the device subside. At 10:40 p.m., Guarato and Monthule were at work in Bold Eagle's stall making the final preparations for the race. Sabine Bernereau found a seat on the edge of the tack box while Thomas stood in front of the stall, hands shoved in his pockets, shuffling his feet. Finally, Monthule unhooked the crossties and led Bold Eagle into the aisle. Guarato and Navillod hitched the brand new black-and-red Gorilla race bike to Bold Eagle's harness and tightened the Go-Pro mount a final time. The Gorilla was one of two equipment changes that evening, replacing the Custom model bikes used by Björn Goop and Franck Nivard overseas. Bold Eagle would also race without an undercheck in the Breeders Crown. "He has a tendency to play with it. It was the first time I took it off," Guarato said. Sears donned Pilarski's black-and-red colors, slipped a yellow cap over his helmet, and adjusted his goggles before striding up to Bold Eagle. Tucking the whip under his right arm, Sears clipped the pull-cord for the earplugs in place near his left stirrup, took the lines in his brown-gloved hands, and then came the call from the judge crackling over the paddock's loudspeakers. "Bring 'em out." Monthule led Bold Eagle to the paddock door, Sears hopped in the bike, and the trio made their way out. While the rain had given way for Bold Eagle's warm up, it returned with a vengeance for his race. In combination with high winds blowing down the stretch, the monsoon delayed the start of the 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace as pylons floated up out of their moorings and blew into the center of the track. Earlier in the evening, a wayward pylon forced a recall. Such delays and recalls proved Bold Eagle's undoing before the 2018 Elitloppet elimination. Although there were no such hindrances before the Open Trot, Bold Eagle still appeared agitated in the post parade. He threw his head up and down, darted left, then right, and looked to the grandstand as something caught his eye. Monthule watched from the porch outside the paddock, seeking refuge from the weather under the overhanging roof. Photographers, journalists, and fellow horsepeople - by now, friends - put their hands on his shoulders, hugged him, and wished him luck. Monthule politely accepted each, but his gaze never left his champion on the track. Each time Bold Eagle passed in front of the paddock, Monthule hopped down from his perch and ran to the edge of the track, black-leather shank in hand, ready to lend assistance to Sears if needed. Once, he obliged and Monthule led Bold Eagle up the stretch, past the row of photographers before turning Bold Eagle loose again. Monthule remained out on the track at the end of the line of cameras as Bold Eagle and his 10 rivals faced the gate for the Open Trot. Even as his competitors put their noses on the barrier, Bold Eagle lagged behind from his inside post position, throwing his head and jerking from side to side. However, as he caught the gate, Bold Eagle picked up his head and put his nose to the wings. As the truck sped away, Bold Eagle trotted straight and true, quickest off the car for the first several strides before letting Atlanta, Guardian Angel As, and Lindy The Great dictate the tempo. Reaching the backstretch, Sears yanked on the right line, tipping Bold Eagle's face into the stiff wind. Bold Eagle glided up from a 4 1/4-length deficit to take the lead passing the half. Lindy The Great faded in the pocket while Six Pack tried to follow Bold Eagle's move, but was left without cover, and Atlanta rode the pylons. Bold Eagle straightened away with the lead as Six Pack continued to give chase and Atlanta angled wide. Sears turned the whip onto Bold Eagle's hind end, and as easily as Bold Eagle left the gate, he put up 2 lengths in deep stretch. Sears took three glances over his right shoulder and on the last, realizing he could not be caught, raised his whip in victory. Bold Eagle trotted past the finish post with the plugs still in and his ears pricked as he completed the mile in 1:52.0. A huge smile lit up on Monthule's face and the caretaker thrust both arms straight up over his head as he part-ran, part-skipped, part-jumped up the stretch watching Bold Eagle cross the line. In the clubhouse, Pilarski, the Bernereaus, and Jamier stood pressed up against the glass. They clapped, clamored, and leaned as Bold Eagle neared the finish. Just like Monthule, the quartet threw their hands up as he crossed the line before embracing in a group hug. The pent-up stresses of the evening were instantly lifted, and the heavy rains went unnoticed to the dozens of owners, friends, and fans of Bold Eagle who flooded the track on the way to the winner's circle. Pleas of "clear the track, clear the track," from the outriders as a new batch of horses started their warmups went unheeded as Bold Eagle returned to the winner's circle. Sears threw a Bold Eagle scarf around his neck, "Allez Bold Eagle" and French flags flew, and smiles lit up the night as the cameras clicked away. Back in the paddock, after completing the post-race testing procedures and getting cleaned off, Bold Eagle stomped around with his neck bowed and his ears pinned back, looking none the worse for his dominant display. "I'm very, very happy for Bold, just to get this race in his record. To come here and to win," Pilarski said, looking over his champion. "It's going to make all his fans very happy." Although Bold Eagle is most regarded for his victories in the French classics going 2,700 meters, Guarato praised the trotter's abilities at 1-mile. "The first time he went to Solvalla, he beat the European record. It was amazing. The first time he went to Solvalla, nobody saw that before, what he did there," the trainer said. "The first time he's come here, he's a monster." The Breeders Crown Trot is Bold Eagle's 46th victory and boosts his earnings to $5,692,680. It is the first North American win for the horse, owner, and trainer. Although Bold Eagle and Pilarski had never raced in North America before, Guarato sent Rapide Lebel to a second-place finish behind San Pail in the 2011 Breeders Crown Trot at Woodbine. "I'm extremely satisfied and happy," Guarato said. "This horse brings a lot of happiness to everybody. The last couple of months, he was maybe not as good as he used to be. But he's still a champion and today, to win in front of everybody in North American is huge, huge." Bold Eagle traveled home to France Friday, Nov. 1. He will seek a third victory in the Grand Prix d'Amérique at Vincennes this January. "The plan is to probably race every four weeks to prepare for the Prix d'Amerique," Guarato said." It depends on how he takes the trip back home, but he could race in the Prix du Bourbonnais (Dec. 8) or the Prix du Bourgogne (Dec. 29)." The connections have since stated the Dec. 8 race at Vincennes will be Bold Eagle's next start. The morning after their Breeders Crown win, as Jamier sat with Pilarski and the Bernereaus back at the Hilton, it wasn't too early to dream about the future. "Maybe we'll be back next year," Jamier teased with a smile. by Brandon Valvo, for the Breeders Crown
Charlottetown, PE - The Prince Edward Island Harness Racing Industry Association has added an additional race date to the winter meet at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park for Sunday December 1, 2019. Post time is 12pm.   "Through good fiscal management and a strong wagering pattern the industry is pleased to add an extra race date plus we will increase each race by 100 dollars per card until the end of the meet," said Chairman Blaine MacPherson.   The winter meet at Charlottetown will conclude on January 25, 2020.   For race dates go to redshores.ca. by Lee Drakes, for Red Shores
GUELPH, ON -- Horse racing's fastest-growing fractional ownership stable is hosting its annual Christmas Open House on Sunday, December 15. TheStable.ca welcomes clients and newcomers of all ages to Tomiko Training Centre (210 Campbellville Rd., Hamilton) to drop-in any time from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event is free but an RSVP is requested. Those who RSVP online will be eligible to enter a draw to win a 1% share of their favourite horse with free bills for one year (conditions apply). During the Open House, guests are invited to meet the horses of TheStable.ca and chat with founders Anthony and Amy MacDonald, their staff, clients, and industry professionals. During each Christmas Open House, TheStable.ca raises money for a local charity; this year the company is collecting non-perishable food items to donate to the Guelph Food Bank. Supporters can also donate funds online directly to the food bank. The Open House will showcase many of the engaging features of TheStable.ca, including its bi-weekly live streaming video broadcasts of the horses in training. Visitors can also explore the barns on their own or register for a guided tour (spots are limited). The Open House broadcast kicks off at 10:00 a.m. EST when the yearlings will train in sets on the racetrack. TV commentators preview the horses' pedigrees. The broadcast will include live commentary, interviews and video features and will be live streamed at TheStable.ca. A catalogue will be available on The Stable.ca website on December 13, detailing all horses for which fractions are available for purchase. The catalogue will include a schedule of when each horse will be showcased on the broadcast during the Open House. Onsite purchasing will be available for horses and merchandise. Payment can be made with credit card, PayPal, cash, cheque and e-transfer. The facility offers a heated viewing area with limited seating. Hot and cold drinks will be sold and lunch is also available to purchase. by Kelly Spencer, for TheStable.ca
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