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The 93rd Hambletonian at the Meadowlands will feature a bet that takes horseplayers back to the future - a Hambletonian Future wager. Beginning at noon (EDT) on Friday, June 22, wagering will open on the first of three pools for the $1 million Hambletonian race conducted Saturday, August 4 at The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, NJ. Wagering will be available at racetrack and online sites throughout North America and internationally until Sunday, June 24 at 10:00 p.m. (EDT) when the first Future pool will close. A team of harness racing analysts and handicappers led by Meadowlands announcer Ken Warkentin, whose Road to the Hambletonian annually tracks the leading candidates to the race, will select a group of 14 trotters out of the 235 colts, fillies and geldings that remain eligible to start in the Hambletonian after the final February 15 payment. Though fillies have their own division in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, several have started in the $1 million event for males in recent years, most recently world champion Mission Brief, who was second to Pinkman in 2015. The connections of two fillies, Manchego and Atlanta, have not ruled out the richer division yet. The horses in each of the pools will be listed in alphabetical order. The mutuel field will consist of the remaining horses eligible to the 93rd edition of America's Trotting Classic, including all fillies eligible to the Oaks. There are no supplements permitted to the Hambletonian or Oaks. The minimum future wager is $1.00 and all future wagers are win wagering only. The winner of each pool will be determined by the official first-place finisher in the 2018 Hambletonian. The second future pool will open Friday, July 20 and close Sunday, July 22. The third and final future wager pool will open Wednesday, August 1, when the entries and elimination heats will be sorted, and close on Friday, August 3, Hambletonian eve. The Hambletonian Future Wager will be set-up in the tote system as one separate event. The event code is MZH and the future wager pools will be placed as follows: * Race 1: Hambletonian Future Wager Pool 1 June 22 Opens at noon (EDT) - June 24 Closes at 10:00 pm (EDT) * Race 2: Hambletonian Future Wager Pool 2 July 20 Opens at noon (EDT) - July 22 Closes at 10:00 pm (EDT) * Race 3: Hambletonian Future Wager Pool 3 Aug. 1 Opens at noon (EDT) - Aug. 3 Closes at 10:00 pm (EDT) Past performance lines for the Hambletonian eligible horses will be available free of charge on the Meadowlands website playmeadowlands.com. All rules and updates can be found there and on www.Hambletonian.com. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands resumes live racing on Friday with a nine race card beginning at 7:15 pm.   The overnight mix is highlighted by a few Hambletonian eligibles sprinkled over the program, including a very interesting Jimmy Takter pupil. Takter has a barn load of Hambo horses including a few intriguing prospects that have kept a very low profile, Zephyr Kronos among those.   By International classic winning sire Ready Cash, Orange Kronos raced but twice at age 2 but Takter and company recognized the talent enough to put the colt away early and count on time to season him.   The early returns would lean toward that being time well spent, though Zephyr Kronos still requires careful handling and has been driven by the trainer in all starts this season, the speed is evident. He has exhibited a wicked turn of foot on several occasions with sub 27 second final quarters a regular occurrence on his past performance lines.   The pair will leave from post two in a short field of six in the second race where he'll find a pair of potential Hambo rivals in Dawson Springs and U Need Stones.   With the Hambletonian now just seven weeks hence, Takter will have to ask the hard questions soon to determine whether Zephyr Kronos is indeed worthy of owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz, Perry Soderberg and Jimmy's wife Christina's patience and investment.   The last race Jackpot Hi-5 carryover pool is now in excess of $250,000. You can find free past performances for that and the Pick 4 on the web.   by Nick Saliv, for the Meadowlands  

There is some movement in Week 4 of Ken Warkentin’s Road to the Hambletonian.  Wolfgang moved into the second spot off his dominate Goodtimes performance.   Rank Horse Driver, Trainer, Owner Ken Warkentin’s Comments 1 Fourth Dimension Brian Sears, Marcus Melander, Courant, Inc Dan Patch Award winner with a mark of 1:52.4, fifth [1:55] in a Big M qualifier May 19 on sloppy track, rallied in :27 to win a Big M qualifier in 1:53.3 on June 2, did not race/qualify last week 2 Wolfgang Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, Brixton Medical, Goran Falk, Hatfield Stables, Fair Island Farm, Inc. Matron Stake upsetter & Valley Victory runner up, won his second qualifier in 1:54 on May 19, dominated his Goodtimes elimination in career best 1:52.2, post four in Final 3 Alarm Detector Trevor Henry, Benoit Baillargeon, Thomas & Elizabeth Rankin, Claude Hamel & Santo Vena Set a Canadian record of 1:52.4 in William Wellwood Memorial, O’Brien Award winner took two Mohawk qualifiers, then won his 3YO debut in a Goodtimes elimination in 1:53.3, post three in Final 4 You Know You Do Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Bud Hatfield, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband Peter Haughton Memorial winner in 1:54.2, second in the Wm. Wellwood, won three Big M qualifiers in 1:54.1, 1:55.3 on sloppy track & 1:53.2, second [1:54] in a fourth qualifier on June 9, post eight in PA Allstars division @ Pocono Downs on June 17 5 Six Pack Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt Inc, Little E, Stall Kalmar FF, Lars Berg NYSS champion @ made it three-for-three in 2018 @ Vernon Downs, 1:53.1, 1:52.1 and a track record 1:51.2 in the EBC Final on May 28, did not race last week 6 Met’s Hall Andy Miller, Julie Miller, Stroy, Inc. Andy Miller Stable, Inc. Grand Circuit winner @ Red Mile & runner up in Breeders Crown, first qualifier was a fifth [1:55.3] behind Fourth Dimension on June 2, did not race/qualify last week 7 Evaluate Corey Callahan, Marcus Melander, Stall TZ Inc Son of Andover Hall rallied to win PASS division in 1:51.4 @ Pocono Downs on May 26 in only his sixth career start, drew the rail in a N/W 4 @ Pocono on June 12 & won in 1:53.3 8 Samo Different Day Jimmy Takter, Christina Takter, Samo Partners Second in the Peter Haughton, third in Breeders Crown & Valley Victory, second in the Matron Final, second [1:53.4] in a qualifier on May 26, fourth [1:54.1] in his 3YO debut @ Big M on June 8, post four in PA Allstars division @ Pocono Downs on June 17 9 Moosonee Christopher Beaver, Winterbeary Farm Ltd. Kicked off his 3YO season winning a PASS division in 1:54 @ The Meadows, second to You Know You Do @ Pocono Downs on May 26, won a Currier & Ives division in career best 1:53.4 on June 6 10 Captain Morgan Christian Lind, Staffan Lind, Lind Racing Stable, Bender Sweden Inc, Roy Holth, KemppiSuojalampi Stable Cantab Hall colt won his first two starts this season, including a PASS division in 1:54.1 in the slop @ The Meadows, then was second [1:52] to Evaluate on May 26, did not race last two weeks KEY PREP RACES Date Stakes Site Winner Trainer Driver 2nd Horse 3rd Horse Time 05/05 Dexter Cup Fhld Lindy’s Big Bang Nifty Norman Dave Miller DON Perlucky 1:56.1 05/11 NYSS VD SIX PACK Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt Voss Volo CRUISING IN STYLE 1:53.1 05/11 NYSS VD Helpisontheway Linda Toscano Tim Tetrick Clive Bigsby VIC’S WINNER 1:55 05/11 NYSS VD DON Julie Miller Andy Miller CLASSICHAP Seven Iron 1:54.3 05/18 NJSS M SHOSHIE DEO Deshawn Minor George Brennan U NEED STONES Brutal Storm 1:56.2 05/18 E. Breeders Elim VD SIX PACK Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt Helpisontheway CLASSICHAP 1:52.1 05/18 E. Breeders Elim VD Seven Iron Linda Toscano Tim Tetrick On The Ropes Voss Volo 1:54.2 05/19 PASS Mea What’s The Word Janice Conner Corey Callahan HILL STREET DAWSON SPRINGS 1:54.1 05/19 PASS Mea CAPTAIN MORGAN Staffan Lind Christian Lind EVALUATE Im Your Captain 1:54.1 05/19 PASS Mea MOOSONEE Chris Beaver Aaron Merriman FASHIONWOODCHOPPER GEMOLOGIST 1:54 05/19 PASS Mea Donatover Trond Smedshammer Trond Smedshammer CRYSTAL FASHION MISSLE HILL 1:54.4 05/25 NJSS M SHOSHIE DEO Dewayne Minor George Brennan U NEED STONES Brutal Storm 1:53.4 05/26 PASS PcD EVALUATE Marcus Melander Corey Callahan CAPTAIN MORGAN Make It A Double 1:51.4 05/26 PASS PcD YOU KNOW YOU DO Jimmy Takter Yannick Gingras MOOSONEE Scirocco Rob 1:53.2 05/26 PASS PcD Whats The Word Janice Connor Corey Callahan HILL STREET Donatover 1:53.2 05/28 E. Breeders Final VD SIX PACK Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt SOUTHWIND CHROME Clive Bigsby 1:51.2 06/01 NJSS Final M SHOSHIE DEO Dewayne Minor George Brennan U NEED STONES Brutal Storm 1:53.4 06/06 Currier & Ives Mea MOOSONEE Chris Beaver Aaron Merriman PATENT LEATHER RICH AND MISERABLE 1:53.4 06/06 Currier & Ives Mea CRYSTAL FASHION Jim Campbell Tim Tetrick Scirocco Rob MEADOWBRANCH RICKY 1:56.2 06/08 Goodtimes Elim Moh WOLFGANG Jimmy Takter Yannick Gingras LAWMAKER Run Director 1:52.2 06/08 Goodtimes Elim Moh ALARM DETECTOR Benoit Baillargeon Trevor Henry Fiftydallarbill CRUISING IN STYLE 1:53.1  

No changes in Ken Warkentin’s Road to the Hambletonian Week 3 top ten list. ank Horse Driver, Trainer, Owner Ken Warkentin’s Comments 1 Fourth Dimension Brian Sears, Marcus Melander, Courant, Inc Won Dan Patch Award & Valley Victory in 1:53.3, owns a mark of 1:52.4, fifth [1:55] in a Big M qualifier May 19 on sloppy track, rallied in :27 to win a Big M qualifier in 1:53.3 on June 2 2 Met’s Hall Andy Miller, Julie Miller, Stroy, Inc. Andy Miller Stable, Inc. 1:52.4 Grand Circuit winner @ Red Mile & runner up in Breeders Crown, Team Orange Crush on board in last two Hambos, first qualifier was a fifth [1:55.3] behind Fourth Dimension on June 2 3 Alarm Detector Trevor Henry, Benoit Baillargeon, Thomas & Elizabeth Rankin, Claude Hamel & Santo Vena Chapter Seven colt set a Canadian record of 1:52.4 in William Wellwood Memorial, won two Mohawk qualifiers on May 14 [1:57.4] & May 21 [1:55.4], did not qualify/race last two weeks 4 You Know You Do Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Bud Hatfield, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband Peter Haughton Memorial winner in 1:54.2, second in the Wm. Wellwood, has won three Big M qualifiers in 1:54.1, 1:55.3 on sloppy track & 1:53.2 on May 26, did not race last week 5 Six Pack Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt Inc, Little E, Stall Kalmar FF, Lars Berg NYSS champion @ two kicked off his 3YO season with three straight wins @ Vernon Downs, 1:53.1, 1:52.1 and a track record 1:51.2 in the EBC Final on May 28, did not race last week 6 Evaluate Corey Callahan, Marcus Melander, Stall TZ Inc Son of Andover Hall & stablemate to Fourth Dimension rallied to win PASS division in 1:51.4 @ Pocono Downs on May 26 in only his sixth career start, did not race last week 7 Captain Morgan Christian Lind, Staffan Lind, Lind Racing Stable, Bender Sweden Inc, Roy Holth, KemppiSuojalampi Stable Cantab Hall colt won his first two starts this season, including a PASS division in 1:54.1 in the slop @ The Meadows, then was second [1:52] to Evaluate on May 26, did not race last week 8 Samo Different Day Jimmy Takter, Christina Takter, Samo Partners Second in the Peter Haughton, third in Breeders Crown & Valley Victory, second in the Matron Final, second [1:53.4] in a qualifier on May 26, did not qualify/race week 9 Wolfgang Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, Brixton Medical, Goran Falk, Hatfield Stables, Fair Island Farm, Inc. Upset stablemate Samo Different Day to win Matron Stake in 1:55.3 & second in the Valley Victory Final, won his second qualifier in 1:54 on May 19 & did not qualify/race last two weeks 10 Moosonee Christopher Beaver, Winterbeary Farm Ltd. Explosive Matter gelding kicked off his 3YO season winning a PASS division in 1:54 @ The Meadows, then finished second to You Know You Do @ Pocono Downs on May 26, did not race last week, post four in first division of Currier & Ives @ The Meadows on June 6     KEY PREP RACES Date Stakes Site Winner Trainer Driver 2nd Horse 3rd Horse Time 05/05 Dexter Cup Fhld Lindy’s Big Bang Nifty Norman Dave Miller DON Perlucky 1:56.1 05/11 NYSS VD SIX PACK Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt Voss Volo CRUISING IN STYLE 1:53.1 05/11 NYSS VD Helpisontheway Linda Toscano Tim Tetrick Clive Bigsby VIC’S WINNER 1:55 05/11 NYSS VD DON Julie Miller Andy Miller CLASSICHAP Seven Iron 1:54.3 05/18 NJSS M SHOSHIE DEO Deshawn Minor George Brennan U NEED STONES Brutal Storm 1:56.2 05/18 E. Breeders Elim VD SIX PACK Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt Helpisontheway CLASSICHAP 1:52.1 05/18 E. Breeders Elim VD Seven Iron Linda Toscano Tim Tetrick On The Ropes Voss Volo 1:54.2 05/19 PASS Mea What’s The Word Janice Conner Corey Callahan HILL STREET DAWSON SPRINGS 1:54.1 05/19 PASS Mea CAPTAIN MORGAN Staffan Lind Christian Lind EVALUATE Im Your Captain 1:54.1 05/19 PASS Mea MOOSONEE Chris Beaver Aaron Merriman FASHIONWOODCHOPPER GEMOLOGIST 1:54 05/19 PASS Mea Donatover Trond Smedshammer Trond Smedshammer CRYSTAL FASHION MISSLE HILL 1:54.4 05/25 NJSS M SHOSHIE DEO Dewayne Minor George Brennan U NEED STONES Brutal Storm 1:53.4 05/26 PASS PcD EVALUATE Marcus Melander Corey Callahan CAPTAIN MORGAN Make It A Double 1:51.4 05/26 PASS PcD YOU KNOW YOU DO Jimmy Takter Yannick Gingras MOOSONEE Scirocco Rob 1:53.2 05/26 PASS PcD Whats The Word Janice Connor Corey Callahan HILL STREET Donatover 1:53.2 05/28 E. Breeders Final VD SIX PACK Ake Svanstedt Ake Svanstedt SOUTHWIND CHROME Clive Bigsby 1:51.2 06/01 NJSS Final M SHOSHIE DEO Dewayne Minor George Brennan U NEED STONES Brutal Storm 1:53.4  

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is offering two series to be raced during the month of June that are closing today.   The Caramore (Pace) and Flower Child (Trot) each have the following condition: All ages NW of $20,000 in 2018 who have started 8 or more times at Freehold Raceway in 2018.   There will be 2 legs for $8,000 each and the final is $20,000 added.   Call Pete Koch in the racing office at 201-842-5130 TODAY to nominate. The fee is $50.   The nomination form is here.   ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN Week Two The 2018 Hambletonian will take place Saturday, August 4, 2017 Fourth Dimension remains in top spot in Week 2 of Road to the Hambletonian.  After strong showings in the Empire Breeders Classic and PASS Divisions, Six Pack, Evaluate, Captain Morgan and Moosonee move into the Top Ten Rankings.   Rank Horse Driver, Trainer, Owner Ken Warkentin’s Comments 1 Fourth Dimension Brian Sears, Marcus Melander, Courant, Inc Capped Dan Patch Award winning season dominating Valley Victory in 1:53.3, fifth [1:55] in a Big M qualifier May 19 on sloppy track, did not qualify nor race last week 2 Met’s Hall Andy Miller, Julie Miller, Stroy, Inc. Andy Miller Stable, Inc. Son of Cantab Hall took a mark of 1:52.4 @ Red Mile & runner up in Breeders Crown, Team Orange Crush on board in last two Hambos, has not qualified yet 3 Alarm Detector Trevor Henry, Benoit Baillargeon, Thomas & Elizabeth Rankin, Claude Hamel & Santo Vena Chapter Seven colt destroyed them in William Wellwood Memorial in Canadian record 1:52.4, won two Mohawk qualifiers on May 14 [1:57.4] & May 21 [1:55.4], did not qualify last week 4 You Know You Do Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Bud Hatfield, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband Muscle Hill colt romped in the Peter Haughton Memorial in 1:54.2, second in the Wm. Wellwood, has won three Big M qualifiers in 1:54.1, 1:55.3 on sloppy track & 1:53.2 on May 26 5 Six Pack Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt Inc, Little E, Stall Kalmar FF, Lars Berg Muscle Mass colt a NYSS champion @ two has kicked off his 3YO season with three straight wins @ Vernon Downs, 1:53.1, 1:52.1 and a track record 1:51.2 in the EBC Final on May 28 6 Evaluate Corey Callahan, Marcus Melander, Stall TZ Inc Lightly raced son of Andover Hall rallied to win PASS division in 1:51.4 @ Pocono Downs on May 26 in only his sixth career start 7 Captain Morgan Christian Lind, Staffan Lind, Lind Racing Stable, Bender Sweden Inc, Roy Holth, KemppiSuojalampi Stable Son of Cantab Hall won his first two starts this season, including a PASS division in 1:54.1 in the slop @ The Meadows, then finished second [1:52] to Evaluate @ Pocono Downs on May 26 8 Samo Different Day Jimmy Takter, Christina Takter, Samo Partners On the board in 11 of 13, second in the Peter Haughton, third in Breeders Crown & Valley Victory, second in the Matron Final, second [1:53.4] in a qualifier on May 26 9 Wolfgang Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, Brixton Medical, Goran Falk, Hatfield Stables, Fair Island Farm, Inc. Upset stablemate Samo Different Day to win Matron Stake in 1:55.3 & second in the Valley Victory Final, fourth [1:54.3] in first qualifier, won his second qualifier in 1:54 & did not qualify/race last week 10 Moosonee Christopher Beaver, Winterbeary Farm Ltd. Son of Explosive Matter kicked off his 3YO season winning a PASS division in 1:54 @ The Meadows, then finished second to You Know You Do @ Pocono Downs on May 26   From the Meadowlands Publicity Office  

Hickory Lane Farm, Findlay, OH has partnered with Taylor Made Stallions, Inc., Lexington, KY, and Steve Stewart of Hunterton Farms, Lexington, KY, to purchase the 2017 Dan Patch award winning 'Three Year Old Colt Trotter of the Year', What The Hill, 2, 1:54.4, 3, 1:51.4 ($1,263,864.00) (Muscle Hill-KT Cha Cha-Angus Hall), who will stand the harness racing 2018 breeding season in Ohio at Hickory Lane Farm. “We are thrilled to have the privilege of partnering with Taylor Made and Hunterton Farm, two of the most well-known and respected names in the horse racing industry.” Stated R. Kevin Greenfield, President, Hickory Lane Farm. Trained by Ronald Burke throughout his career and driven by David Miller for his previous owners Burke Racing Stable, LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, LLC, and Deo Volente Farms, LLC, What The Hill was the top performing three year old colt trotter this year winning numerous prestigious races including the $527,500.00 elimination and final Breeder’s Crown; the $684,000.00 (Can.) Canadian Trotting Classic in stakes record time, 1:51.4; an elimination heat of The Kentucky Futurity; and, the $350,000.00 TVG Series Championship defeating aged trotters in 1:51.4. At two, he won the New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship and the $294,450.00 Peter Haughton Memorial Final. In a dramatic twist of fate this year, What The Hill crossed the finish line first in the $1,000,000.00 final of the Hambletonian Stake only to be disqualified by a controversial judges decision that is presently under appeal. What The Hill is being syndicated and shares are now available for purchase under very attractive terms. He will stand at a service fee of $7,000.00 and it is expected that his book will fill quickly. For more information regarding purchase of shares or bookings contact Hickory Lane Farm c/o Ashley Stickel, Office Manager or Brad Wallace, Farm Manager at ashley@hickorylanefarm.com ph: 419-422-3004; fax: 419-425-2999; website: www.hickorylanefarm.com. Hickory Lane Farm, Taylor Made Stallions, Inc., and Steve Stewart of Hunterton Farm. 2017 Hambletonian Trotting Stakes 2009 Hambletonian Final - Muscle Hill Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Trot – What The Hill What The Hill - Canadian trotting classic

Unless you grew up in Du Quoin, you probably don't fully understand how much the Du Quoin State Fair is part of the life of this city -- and one of the most exciting happenings each year that still includes harness racing. Those of us who have lived in Du Quoin for more than 80 years remember well how years ago the carnival arrived by rail, unloading at night while most of Du Quoin was asleep. Tractors would pull the huge rides and wagons through Du Quoin's Main Street, down Rt. 51 and onto the fairgrounds, which until 1945 were just inside the main gate and adjacent to the half-mile track. The huge trucks still arrive at night, with a relatively small group of workers who assemble the rides. They must pass safety inspections prior to the fair's opening, which this year is Friday, Aug. 25. Action gets underway long before that. Tents for the exhibitors, concessionaires and free attractions are the first to be erected. Even that is exciting to many of Du Quoin's old-timers who drive through the grounds in the evenings to check out the annual invasion. One has to be in his or her 70s to remember the fairs prior to the July 18, 1945, fire that destroyed the 3,000-seat grandstand alongside the half-mile track. (Excuse the side note, but Virgil Bishop, the Du Quoin Evening Call's superb news editor, had taken a rare vacation day and I, at age 16, was subbing for him. I had never written a news story in my life, let alone the biggest story of the year. It wasn't good, but Mr. L.S. Smith was understanding). The all-wooden grandstand had been built in 1923 when more than a dozen Du Quoin businessmen, including W.R. Hayes, pooled their money to start the Fair. Hayes bought them out two years later and took over sole management of the Fair along with other family members, primarily sons Gene and Don and grandson Bill. The fire was a true disaster, but plans were already in the works to "move" the Fair several blocks east to its present location. The Hayes family had bought more than a thousand acres to go with the initial 30-acre plot. A mile track was already completed. The foundation of the new grandstand was in place. An army of workers managed to complete enough of the present structure to hold the 1945 Fair on schedule. The orchestra seating area was not in place, but there was enough to get the job done. It was an amazing accomplishment. A few years earlier in the early 1940s, the Illinois State Fair at Springfield had been shuttered and converted into a military facility. That, too, was important for Du Quoin as the Grand Circuit (harness racing's governing group) already had dates for Springfield. Learning of the closure, they merely shifted to Du Quoin where they had never previously raced. It was a major happening, and the horsemen were impressed with the facilities and hospitality offered them by the Hayes group. They voted to add Du Quoin to their annual schedule after Springfield reopened. And, when a Hayes-owned horse -- Lusty Song -- won the 1950 Hambletonian (held in Goshen, New York), it solidified the Hayes family with the upper crust of the sport. That led to the Hambletonian Society shifting its number 1 event to southern Illinois in 1957 -- the break the Hayeses needed. Much of the rest is history. The Hambletonian thrived in Du Quoin for 24 years until Bill Hayes sold to the Jabr family, who were unable to get a contract renewal. Observers feel that was the beginning of more problems. True, perhaps, as far as harness racing was concerned, but not as far as the Fair itself. The Fair acquired a "replacement" race, the World Trotting Derby -- which was the poor man's Hambletonian. Motorized racing was still a meaningful draw although not to the extent it had been earlier when A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and the like drew sellout crowds. Under state of Illinois ownership and leadership, Fair exhibits increased. More free attractions were added, including rodeos and thrill shows. The Fair remains southern Illinois' overall top attraction. Already recognized for attracting national entertainment, the Fair's grandstand crowds got even larger after Don Hayes, W.R.'s younger son, began booking country music artists. Don had taken over entertainment after Gene Hayes' unexpected death in 1964. The country music caught on, and Nashville types have been popular ever since. Of course, it wasn't totally country. Liberace was a big hit in the 1970s. Sonny and Cher, Perry Como, Lawrence Welk, Wayne Newton, Liza Minella and dozens of others followed and attracted profitable crowds. The Fair is Du Quoin's claim to fame ... even without the Hambletonian. There are so many other happenings. Other points of interest. Other meaningful features for citizens to be proud of, and thankful for. Fortunately, thousands and thousands of others in Southern Illinois share the good times with us. The fair is our biggest single spectator attraction, and all because W.R. Hayes and a handful of his buddies had an idea. By Fred Huff Special to the Du Quoin Call Reprinted with permission of The Randolph County Herald Tribune  

NEW YORK, Aug. 12, 2017  -- How a race that went terribly wrong can ruin the future of Harness Racing, with rippling effects across Agriculture and the US Economy; according to the World Chariot Racing Federation. On August 5, the day of the 92nd Hambletonian, the penultimate competition of the Harness Racing world, a beautiful August day, the sun shining. Droves of racing enthusiasts of all ages from nations across the globe entered the New Jersey Meadowlands to see the best of the three-year old crop of Standardbred Trotters raced to become amongst the immortals of harness history, the Hambletonian Winner. Many thousands were in attendance, and millions around the world watched the crème de la crème race for the illustrious title. The race was action packed from the moment the starting gate opened. The excitement mounted leading past the half and around the final turn and like many great races before; the stretch drive would determine the victor through the striking synergy of both human and equine athletes. Cheers roared across the grandstand and across the world, the loudest from the owners, when half ways down the stretch, What the Hill taped into his class and blew past the leader, A Perfect Spirit, to easily win the mother of all harness races. That was not to be the fairytale ending for this horse or its connections. Only minutes later, due to a stretch drive inquiry, the judges disqualified What the Hill and named the second place horse, A Perfect Spirit the winner of the 2017 Hambletonian. A collective groan was heard throughout the stands, and with it, millions of fans, enthusiasts and could be fans from around the globe were given another reason to be disenchanted by the unbridled and unfair bureaucracy of the sport. Connections to appeal Hambletonian disqualification Stathis is certainly not alone with his viewpoints the owners and connections were quick to appeal to the judges. Ron Burke, The trainer of What the Hill was quoted as saying there was only "5 minutes between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat." I know this feeling of "lightning striking" all too well, one memory takes me to my 2013 Hambletonian experience with Celebrity Maserati. Stathis was quoted, in his opinion; the disqualification of What the Hill was at the very least an egregious mistake. More so when considering the magnitude of this race and the resulting economic and social consequences that could take down the harness racing industry and devastate the local and national economies.  He further stated I would not be in favor of this but would be more sympathetic to a lesser evil, if all three horses were proportionately penalized, not one disqualified and the other two rewarded. In addition to the agony suffered by the owners and fans, we must raise awareness to the catastrophic and unintended consequences one race will have on agriculture and the entire US Economy. The Unintended Consequences (Brief Summation) "The purpose of this release is to raise awareness to the catastrophic and unintended consequences one race will have to all of us and our children if we don't act immediately and decisively," Mr. Stathis added.  Breakdown of the Video: Stathis took the time to break down his technical analysis on how the video evidence from the race clearly shows that #4 What The Hill and driver David Miller could not be held responsible (with all certainty, not solely liable) for the interference or the break of #9, Guardian Angel AS. A licensed Owner, Trainer and Driver, of harness horses, with patented technology for training and racing horses as well plus extensive expertise in evidence based research and having reviewed the tapes countless times, frame by frame. In this court of public opinion, your viewpoint matters. Please don't take my word for it, with a fresh open mind just look at the full, slow motion video that was shown at the live race. Besides the incident itself very troubling to me is what "clips were selected" to reveal to the fans when the disqualification was being announced. Even more disturbing is what video evidence was omitted at the critical moment of the disqualification announcement. Make close observation of the "Limited View" that was shown during the announcement of the disqualification, "The Limited View" starts after the # 3 horse makes a very significant move/ lane change. The #6 horse does a lesser obvious to the novice, "drift"  but very significant move in the opposite direction. As the saying goes, maybe you can fool the fans, but you can't fool the players. Harness racing is a game of skill not a game of chance, our fans include the best horseman from around the world,  many of which own a relative of the connections or the disqualified horse. Some were stakeholders simply from  a two dollar win ticket, and others that just liked that chose him because they like David Millers Colors. The Judges may have announced that they disqualified the #4, but that's kind of cold in-it-of-itself. They didn't disqualify just a horse, they disqualified thousand if not millions around the world. The  above-interested parties plus all the ones I missed down to the church or charities Hill's connection contribute to or the waitress that served Ron Burke breakfast the next morning, what kind of tip did she receive. When you watch the video, answer for me if in the future David Miller should be called the Buckeye (or) the Iceman. Except for a quick look over his right shoulder when he was "blind sided, from behind," you would think he was meditating for the entire race and up to just 1/8 a mile from winning his first ever Hambletonian. That's why he is a legend and major factor why the headlines and history should record: Ron Burke, David Miller and What the Hill Won the 2017 Hambletonian. Furthermore, Stathis added "I have no ownership in this horse, and I consider myself a friend to all those involved in this incident and their connections. That makes this especially hard for me, but someone has to lead the charge. I offer these statements as my personal opinion, subjecting myself to criticism. I do so because "I answer to a higher power," and know I am doing this purely for the greater good. Most of all I am not going to watch the sport that founded the Olympic games just fade away, nor allow our economy to collapse and our horses to be to slaughtered.  I have been blessed with all I need in my life and much more; a loving wife, children and family with dozens of great employees, despite being a "biblical sinner." I love all things exotic, I have owned many exotics cars, exotic chariots and exotic horses I have met and dined with many exotic people and have competed at all levels of harness and chariot racing competition few as exotic as the Hambletonian.  I have had another blessing the gift of loving horses and having received as much from them as I have given. It's hard to sum it up but in the words of Ronald Reagan; "There is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse." About Sam Stathis: Sam Stathis, founder of the World Chariot Racing Federation, The New USTA and Celebrity Farms Racing Stables has been an avid horseman of over 20 years with multiple Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks contenders to his credit over the years. Some of his top jewels include; Muscle Hill, the sire of What the Hill, Celebrity Secret, Celebrity Maserati, Celebrity Sweedie, Celebrity Athena, Celebrity Juliet, Celebrity Tribute, Celebrity Deville and others. About World Chariot and the New USTA Dedicated to rebranding harness racing as the sport of the future, and to reintroducing exotic chariots to the Olympics. Showcasing the thrills and excitement of Formula One Racing, franchise ownership opportunities of the NFL and fractional horse ownership and benefits costing as little as five dollars. The World Chariot Racing Federation brings together exotic cars, exotic chariots, exotic horses and exotic people living exotic lifestyles. It also creates high‐end happenings bringing together the best athletes, celebrities, and connoisseurs from around the world. Made up of breeders, owners, trainers, drivers, tracks, fans, media groups and corporate sponsors, the Federation also seeks to lead the field in the green revolution. Stimulating economic growth, creating advanced technical education and certification programs, advancing workforce development by "driving"  the agricultural industries technological revolution.See the exciting video about Sam Stathis and WRCF. The court of public opinion: Keep a scout's eye out for upcoming articles on the ways in which we can all work to rebuild the glorious industry of Harness Racing, to stimulate growth of our economy not further divide us. Please Vote Here. SOURCE World Chariot Racing Federation Related Links http://www.worldchariot.org

MANALAPAN, NJ — August 10, 2017 — This year’s Hambletonian was full of surprises from the absence of trotting star Walner, to the disqualification of what appeared to be the harness racing winner.  With all of that one of the biggest surprises may have come off the track with the attendance of many political figures. Hambletonian Day was full of friendly faces with New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidate Kim Guadagno, State Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer and Former NJ Governor Richard Codey, all present to show their support of the racing industry. Oaks Trophy Photo Former NJ Governor and current State Senator Richard Codey awarded the Hamiltonian Oaks trophy for Ariana G and her winning connections. Cane Pace Trophy Photo Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblyman Ronald Dancer presented the Cane Pace trophy to the winning connections of Huntsville, along with Founding SBOANJ Director Taylor Palmer. Duenna Winner Circle Photo Ice Attraction took home the trophy for the Duenna which was presented by New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidate Kim Guadagno and Assemblyman Ronald Dancer. It was wonderful to see so many New Jersey politicians present on one of harness racing’s most important days.  We are all hopeful that this is a sign of what is to come with continued political support for our sport. Courtney Stafford

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (August 9, 2017) - All-sources handle on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands increased by 4.5 percent versus 2016 including a double-digit increase in separate-pool wagering from Europe and Australia. Total handle on the 16-race program was $7,287,712 up from the $6.9 million wagered in 2016 on a similar 16-race card. Field size was nearly identical to last year (9.7 versus 9.6) with the Hambletonian attracting 19 entries this year versus 18 entries last year. Foreign outlets, which wager into separate pools, showed especially strong growth. All international wagering including outlets throughout Europe and Australia topped $1.5 million, an increase of 14 percent from 2016. "Not only did we see a historic finish to the Hambletonian, we also saw a strong increase in wagering which reflects the continued strength and reach of the Hambletonian and Meadowlands brand amongst horseplayers domestically and internationally," said Jason M. Settlemoir, Meadowlands GM/COO. "We would like to thank the Hambletonian Society, all of the horsemen, fans, employees, and especially the horseplayers for their support of Hambletonian Day." Wagering on the Hambletonian Oaks was also up this year versus last year. Including the two elimination races held a week prior and the final, handle increased an impressive 17.1 percent including a nearly 8 percent increase in the final. Hambletonian Day is traditionally the highest-handling harness racing program in North America. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - August 5, 2017 -- Perfect Spirit was the winner by disqualification in a chaotic Hambletonian Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands Racetrack. It was a first time a horse first under the wire had his number taken down in the 92 editions of the $1 million trotting classic for harness racing 3-year-olds. What The Hill squeezed off the pylons in deep stretch and sprinted past the pacesetting Perfect Spirit as the crowd cheered what appeared to be the first Hambo winner for trainer Ron Burke and driver David Miller. But then the inquiry sign flashed on the tote board. The judges studied the replay and detected contact between What The Hill and Guardian Angel AS, who broke stride. After a lengthy review, the Hambletonian had it first DQ. "It was a tough break," Miller said. What The Hill was placed ninth and Perfect Spirit was stunningly on his way to the winner's circle. "Your horse raced great both heats," said Hall of Famer John Campbell, presiding for the first time as president of the Hambletonian Society as he handed the connections the cherished trophy. "It's unfortunate circumstances, but you can't take anything away from his performance today." Winning owner Lennart Agren, who races as the SRF Stable, chalked the victory up to the breaks of the game. "I know you have to be very lucky like we were today," he said. "It can end very quickly, so you have to live in the moment right now." The win gave international trotting master Ake Svanstedt, 58, his first Hambo win as both a trainer and driver in only his fourth year in the U.S. "It's very big," the Swedish horseman said. "I'm very happy." Perfect Spirit is by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare. Perfect Spirit paid $17, $6.40 and $5.40 for his fifth win in nine starts this season. In the revised order of finish, Devious Man ($3 and $2.40) moved up to second and Enterprise ($4) was placed third. It was a tough race for the favorites. Devious Man, the 2-1 choice, had dead aim turning for home but could not sustain his bid. International Moni, the 5-2 second choice, broke stride in the first turn. By Mike Farrell

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Perfect weather and perfect conditions couldn’t prevent an imperfect result in harness racing’s most storied stakes event. Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt and his horse, Perfect Spirit, were second across the wire, beaten a half-length, in Saturday’s 92nd edition of the $1,000,000 Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands, but were placed first in the official order of finish, giving Svanstedt his first Hambo trophy. Thus, for the first time ever, a Hambletonian winner was declared as the result of a disqualification.  What The Hill, who was first across the wire in 1:52.3, bothered Guardian Angel AS (placed eighth) in deep stretch as he squeezed his way out of the pocket and sent that one off stride, causing the DQ. What The Hill was placed ninth by the judges. The official order of finish was Perfect Spirit first, 2-1 favorite Devious Man second and Enterprise third. Perfect Spirit paid $17.00 to win and now has seven wins in 16 lifetime starts and sports a bankroll of $646,419. ARIANA “GRANDE” IN OAKS: Ariana G brought her “A” game in the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies, and as a result, the rest of the field had no chance. The daughter of Muscle Hill toyed with nine overmatched foes in the $500,000 sister event to the Hambletonian, putting on a dazzling display as she sped clear of the field through the stretch to win by 4¾ lengths over Magic Presto. Dream Together was third. As the heavy favorite, Ariana G returned $2.40 to win and upped her lifetime stats to 15 wins in 18 starts, good for earnings of just over $1.2 million. For the team of driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter, it marked their fourth consecutive victory in the Oaks. HAMBO HOPEFUL: In what amounts to an early look at next year’s Hambletonian, You Know You Do made his way into contention after vacating the rail at the five-eighths and went first over from there, eventually wearing down leader Samo Different Day inside the eighth pole before going on to an easy 2¼-length victory in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Farsetti Hanover was third. You Know You Do, a son of Muscle Hill, stopped the clock in 1:54.2 and paid $5.00 to win as the public choice for the team of Gingras and Takter. A LITTLE MORE: Attendance for the Hambletonian Day card was 18,356. … All-source wagering totaled $5,788,870. … Takter trained five winners on the card while Gingras drove four. Svanstedt trained and drove three to victory lane. … Live harness racing returns to the Big M on September 8 for an abbreviated four-day September meeting. The other dates are Sept. 9, 15 and 16. Post time is 7:15 p.m. The results of the other major stakes events on the Hambletonian Day program, with winner (driver, trainer), time and win payoff (*-denotes betting favorite): Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies: Blazin Britches (David Miller, Brian Brown), 1:48.4, *$2.60 Dr. John R. Steele Memorial for free for all trotting mares: Pasithea Face S (Tim Tetrick, Jimmy Takter), 1:51.2, $9.60 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old trotting fillies: Manchego (Yannick Gingras, Takter), 1:52.4, *$3.00 John Cashman Memorial for free for all trotters: Resolve (Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt), 2:04.2 for a mile and an eighth, $7.00 Cane Pace for 3-year-olds: Huntsville (Tetrick, Ray Schnittker), 2:03 for a mile and an eighth, *$3.40 Sam McKee Memorial for free for all pacers: Check Six (Gingras, Ron Burke), 2:02.1 for a mile and an eighth, $79.00 Lady Liberty for free for all pacing mares: Pure Country (Mark MacDonald, Takter), 1:50, $10.40 By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

In addition to the race on the track, Hambletonian Day is a chance to salute harness racing champions of days gone by. This year, the trotters will be led to the post by four-time Hambletonian winning driver Mike Lachance. Lachance, 66, is now retired, but he won the race four times, between 1994 and 2003. He's fourth on the all-time money winning list with $190 million and 10, 422 victories. Lachance will also present the trophy to the winning driver of the Hambletonian. Lachance will be driving the four-year-old trotter, Chukkar, owned by the Arden Homestead Stable and Janice Connor. Chukkar will be competing in the Hambletonian Amateur Drivers race on Friday at The Meadowlands with Peter Gerry driving. Chukkar will be pulling a high wheel sulky from the collection of the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, N.Y. The Miller High Wheel Cart #1 was produced in about 1903. At the time of production, the manufacturer characterized it as, "in a class by itself." Jim Campbell, who trained 1995 Hambletonian winner Tagliabue, will present the trophy to the winning trainer of this year's Hambletonian champ. Sylvia Hovde, who cared for 2009 Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill, will present to the winning caretaker. Substituting for William Mulligan, breeder of the 2016 Hambletonian winner, Marion Marauder, will be the manager of Mulligan's Marion Farms, Lynda Barnhart. Barnhart will present the trophy to the person who bred this year's Hambletonian winner. From the Hambletonian Society      

Harness racing trainer Ron Burke and his fellow owners of male pacer R J P were pleased with the horse's first performance for the stable when he finished fourth in his Adios elimination July 22 and even happier when he was third in the final last weekend behind Fear The Dragon and Huntsville. They hope for another surge of good feelings Saturday when R J P races in the $334,325 Cane Pace for 3-year-olds at the Meadowlands. The race, which features a 12-horse field going the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles, is the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. R J P is 5-1 on the morning line, behind favorite Huntsville at 9-5 and supplemental entry Downbytheseaside at 3-1. "With him racing for the third week in a row, we're just hoping he's getting tighter and keeps getting better," Burke said. "We bought him because he was eligible to the Adios, but he's a big, good-looking horse that hadn't been over-raced. Those kinds of horses don't become available very often. It was nice to pick up a horse like that." Burke shares ownership of R J P with the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Jack Piatt II, and the partnership of Purnel Jones Jr. and Elizabeth Jones. The group purchased R J P, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Vysoke Tatry, from the stable of trainer Erv Miller on July 12. R J P has won three of 18 career races and earned $160,210. He won a division of the Bluegrass Stakes last year. In the Cane Pace, he will again see Huntsville, who has won six of nine races this year and was the 2016 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. Huntsville, the Ray Schnittker-trained Meadowlands Pace champion, is the No. 2-ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll and his three losses were second-place finishes to No. 1 Fear The Dragon. Downbytheseaside, trained by Brian Brown, has won five of eight races this year. He finished second by a head to Huntsville in the Meadowlands Pace and was third behind Fear The Dragon and Huntsville in the North America Cup. His wins include the Art Rooney Pace. The remainder of the field is Chip Walther, Art Scene, Lawrencetown Beach, Photobombr Hanover, Uffizi, Mac's Jackpot, Filibuster Hanover and second-tier starters Ocean Colony and Santafe's Coach. Lawrencetown Beach and Filibuster Hanover also are from the Burke stable. "(R J P) is kind of a trip horse on the big track," Burke said, "so he's going to need a little bit of a battle to set up." Burke has 17 horses racing on Saturday's Hambletonian Day card, including three in the day's main event, the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes. Burke, who finished second with filly Mission Brief in the 2015 Hambletonian and second by a nose with Southwind Frank in last year's event, will send out What The Hill, Southwind Cobra, and Southwind Woody in the hopes of hoisting the trophy for the first time. "It's kind of different this year because I don't have the favorite, but mine also aren't coming in with problems," Burke said. "They seem like everything is good with them. I have a feeling they're going to be as good as they can be. The question is whether that's good enough." Following is a brief look at some of Saturday's remaining stakes action at the Meadowlands. Racing begins at noon and the Sam McKee Memorial, Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian air live from 4-5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. $113,950 Shady Daisy (Race 2) Idyllic Beach, last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a group of six that includes supplemental entries Blazin Britches and Ella Christina. Jimmy Takter-trained Idyllic Beach heads to the race off a second-place finish in the Mistletoe Shalee at the Meadowlands. Blazin Britches, the 2-1 second choice from the Brian Brown stable, and Nick Surick's Ella Christina were Adioo Volo division winners on July 29 at The Meadows. The remainder of the field is Sister's Delight, Awash and Caviart Ally. $176,250 John R. Steele Memorial (Race 3) Hannelore Hanover, last year's Dan Patch Award winning trotting mare, is back to defend her crown in the Steele Memorial, formerly known as the Fresh Yankee. The Ron Burke trainee is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in a field of nine older female trotters. She won this season's Armbro Flight Stakes and enters off a second-place finish to JL Cruze in the Spirit of Massachusetts. Luc Blais-trained Emoticon Hanover is the 4-1 second choice followed by Takter's Swedish-bred Pasithea Face at 5-1. The rest of the field is Caprice Hill, Earn Your Wings, Jewels In Hock, Broadway Donna, Non Stick, and Barn Doll. $360,650 Peter Haughton Memorial (Race 4) Takter sends six horses to the Haughton, which is for 2-year-old male trotters, led by 2-1 morning-line choice You Know You Do. Julie Miller-trained Met's Hall is the 4-1 second pick followed at 5-1 by Takter's Samo Different Day, who won his Haughton elimination by a half-length over Met's Hall in 1:54.2. The remainder of the field is Farsetti Hanover, Hill Street, Fashion Forever, Captain Morgan, Storming Mist, Maxus, and Bautista. $330,800 Jim Doherty Memorial (Race 5) Takter has the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Doherty, for 2-year-old female trotters, in undefeated Manchego. The filly is 4-for-4. Trond Smedshammer-trained Phaetosive, who is 2-for-2 and won her elimination by seven lengths in 1:53.1, is the 4-1 second choice and Mark Harder's Lily Stride is next at 5-1. The rest of the finalists are Vivacious Allie, Follow Streak, Top Expectations, Dab Hanover, Supergirl Riley, Front Circle, and Bella Glos. $303,050 John Cashman Memorial (Race 6) A field of 12, led by last year's Hambletonian and Trotting Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder, will go the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles. Marion Marauder, trained by Paula Wellwood, enters off wins in the Graduate Series championship and Hambletonian Maturity. He is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Ake Svanstedt-trained Resolve is 4-1 and Burke's Crazy Wow is 5-1. The rest of the field is JL Cruze, Wings Of Royalty, Rubber Duck, Dayson, Flanagan Memory, Musical Rhythm, Lookslikeachpndale, and second-tier starters Rose Run Parker and Obrigado. Obrigado, last year's Dan Patch Award winning older male trotter, and Flanagan Memory, last year's Breeders Crown Open Trot champion, are previous winners of the Cashman. $224,400 Sam McKee Memorial (Race 11) Mel Mara aims for his first stakes win of the season and is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in a field of 11 older male pacers going 1-1/8 miles. Mel Mara, trained by Dylan Davis, was second in the Ben Franklin Pace and enters the race off a win in the preferred handicap at the Meadowlands. William Haughton Memorial winner Mach It So is the 7-2 second choice from the stable of Jeff Bamond Jr. and Steve Elliott's Boston Red Rocks, the runner-up in the Haughton and Graduate Series championship, is next at 9-2. The rest of the field is Rock N' Roll World, All Bets Off, Dude's The Man, Check Six, Lyons Snyder, Wakizashi Hanover, Rockeyed Optimist and second-tier starter Dealt A Winner. $200,400 Lady Liberty (Race 15) Golden Girls winner Nike Franco, from the stable of Jo Ann Looney-King, is the 6-5 morning-line favorite. The New Zealand-bred mare headlines a field of eight older female pacers that also includes Takter-trained Pure Country, the 4-1 second choice, and Patrick Lachance's Penpal, who is 5-1. The remainder of the field is Call Me Queen Be, Medusa, Frost Damage Blues, Blue Moon Stride, and Shesjustadelight. Ken Weingartner

Coming off a career year, harness racing trainer John Butenschoen might be on his way to a career day. Butenschoen's stable will start three horses in Saturday's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack, plus one horse in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. Prior to this year, Butenschoen made one start in the Hambletonian, which came in 2013 with Punxsutawney, who failed to advance from his elimination to the final. This year, Butenschoen has contenders Bill's Man (5-1 on the morning line) and Giveitgasandgo (8-1) in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations. Dover Dan (8-1) is his stable's hopeful in the second division. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million final later in the day. Soon after the eliminations, which are races eight and nine on the card, Butenschoen will send Fine Tuned Lady into the Hambletonian Oaks. She is 10-1 on the morning line. The 54-year-old Butenschoen was born in Illinois and out of high school went to work for Delvin Miller, who won two Hambletonians as a trainer and one as a driver. He met his wife, Jackie Kiger Butenschoen, while working for Miller. Her father was also a trainer and for a time was the farrier at Miller's Meadow Lands Farm. The Butenschoens work together in their stable, where they are joined by son Tyler. Butenschoen enjoyed his first million-dollar season as a trainer in 2001, when the trotter Plesac (named in honor of then-major league pitcher Dan Plesac) was the star of his barn. Plesac raced from 1999 to 2003, earning $2.5 million in his career. Last year Butenschoen set career highs with 85 wins and $2.34 million in purses. Butenschoen's successes included Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships with Fine Tuned Lady (2-year-old female trotter division) and Giveitgasandgo (2-year-old male trotter division). He also trained New York Sire Stakes champion pacer Funknwaffles. Fine Tuned Lady was fourth in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination after racing as the first horse in the outer flow while tracking leader Ice Attraction. Ariana G followed Fine Tuned Lady's cover to the top of the stretch and trotted home a winner from there in 1:51.3. Ariana G, last year's divisional Dan Patch Award winner, is the 6-5 favorite in the final. "We didn't really want to be first up," Butenschoen said. "She got a little lost up there and a couple fresher horses went by her, but then she dug right back in and she fought hard to the wire. Hopefully we can get a trip off someone else (in the final) instead of supplying someone else with the right trip. "But she shows up all the time. She's consistent. She's handy." Fine Tuned Lady, a daughter of Cantab Hall-Poster Princess driven by Corey Callahan, has won nine of 20 career races, finished worse than third only twice, and earned $518,029 for owners Bill Wiswell and M And L of Delaware. The same connections will send out Bill's Man in the Hambletonian eliminations. Bill's Man, a son of Credit Winner-Silver Springs, has won four of 21 lifetime starts and earned $186,427. He heads to his assignment off a third-place finish in the Reynolds last weekend at the Meadowlands. "We were a little disappointed he finished third, but he was parked the whole mile and seems to have come out of the race fine," Butenschoen said. "He's shown he's good enough to go with them. "He's had a good year. Maybe we've been a little too cautious with him. Last year he made some very untimely miscues and it didn't seem to matter if we had hobbles on him or not. The main thing was trying to teach him to race and have his confidence and have him trotting. He has the ability. I think if we can work out a trip we should be OK." Giveitgasandgo, a son of Yankee Glide-Mazda Hanover, competes in the same elimination and enters the race off a 1:52.1 win in a 3-year-old open at the Meadowlands last weekend. He raced with Lasix for the first time in that start, but Lasix is not permitted in the Hambletonian. "I thought he might have had a little more trot finishing Saturday, but it was his first start back in 20 days off of a scratch (because of sickness)," Butenschoen said. "We won't be able to use Lasix, but hopefully we've got everything in shape and under control." Giveitgasandgo has won 11 of 19 career races and earned $352,349 for owners Harmony Oaks Racing (which is Butenschoen and his wife), David J. Miller, Lawrence Means, and VIP Internet Stable. In the second elimination, Dover Dan is a son of Andover Hall out of the mare CR Kay Suzie. His dam was a three-time Dan Patch Award winner, including 1995 Horse of the Year. She took on the boys in the 1995 Hambletonian, but went off stride in her elimination and failed to advance to the final. Dover Dan has finished off the board four times this year, with three of those instances coming when starting from a post No. 9. He started from the nine post in the Reynolds in his most recent race and also had the outside in the final of the Beal Memorial and a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. "I've been disappointed with the draws we've had," Butenschoen said. "He's just been a little bit of a victim of circumstances with post positions. "The other night (driver Brian Sears) said he had a ton of trot. Usually for a horse to trot as hard as he did to get back into the race they're kind of tired. He said he wasn't tired. He trotted his back half in :54.2 or :54.3 and came from way, way, way out of it. I've been pleased with him performance-wise. You can't do anything about the post positions." Dover Dan has won six of 19 lifetime races and earned $181,823 for owners Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Gene Schick. Goehlen's father, George Alexander, bred 1992 Hambletonian winner Alf Palema. It was the last horse he ever bred. Alexander, whose Chestnut Farm raised and bred only trotters, was a director of the Hambletonian Society. He was elected as an Immortal to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1990. CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the Hambletonian from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The Sam McKee Memorial (formerly U.S. Pacing Championship) and Hambletonian Oaks also will be featured during the 90-minute broadcast. First race post time on Hambletonian Day is noon. The Hambletonian final is 5:11 p.m. Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Avanti by Muscle Hill from a Windsong's Legacy mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 2 - Dream Together by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Daniel Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1 3 - Caviart Wonder by Muscle Massive from a Conway Hall mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 20/1 4 - Ariana G by Muscle Hill from a Cantab Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/5 5 - Magic Presto by Kadabra from a Muscles Yankee mare - Brian Sears - R. Nifty Norman - 5/1 6 - Fine Tuned Lady by Cantab Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 10/1 7 - Feed Your Head by Muscle Hill from a Donerail mare - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Sunshine Delight by Credit Winner from a Cantab Hall mare - Brett Miller - Staffan Lind - 20/1 9 - Overdraft Volo by Yankee Glide from a Tagliabue mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 10/1 10 - Dream Baby Dream by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Rod Allen - Rod Allen - 15/1 Ken Weingartner

Elkhorn is one of the few harness racing hotbeds in Wisconsin. On Saturday, 71-year-old Bill Wiswell of Elkhorn will live a harness horse owner’s dream. Wiswell and his partners have two horses that have a good chance to race in Saturday afternoon’s $1 million Hambletonian final, the “Kentucky Derby” for 3-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands in New Jersey. Only 19 trotters will compete in the two $100,000 ($50,000 first-place prize money) elimination races early Saturday afternoon, with the top five finishers in each race going for the $500,000 first-place prize in the Hambletonian final at approximately 4:20 p.m. Wiswell’s ownership group has Dover Dan trotting in the first elimination and Bill’s Man in the second. Dover Dan is 8-1 in the morning betting line, and Bill’s Man is 5-1—which indicate both trotters have a shot. Bill’s Man, named after Wiswell, appears to be the group’s best hope. Bill’s Man has earned $186,427 in 21 career starts, including $115,986 in nine starts this year. “Bill’s Man was the second- or third-fastest (2-year-old trotter) last year,” Wiswell said. “He’s coming on strong.” In addition, Wiswell’s filly trotter, Fine Tuned Lady, will compete in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and is 10-1 in the morning line. Fine Tuned Lady earned Wiswell and his Delaware partners $438,349 last year in 12 starts and has $79,689 on her card in eight starts this year. The filly Ariana G, whose owners considered racing against the boys in the Hambletonian, is the huge favorite in the Oaks. Having three entrants (with $886,279 in combined career earnings) among the 29 going for the two biggest trotting races is noteworthy—especially for someone that grew up in Elkhorn. Wiswell has owned many high-priced horses in his long career in the sport. “Probably 35 years or something like that,” he said of his association just hours before he flew out to the East Coast on Thursday morning. And how many horses has he been part of in those 35 years? “Too many,” he said. Wiswell is a speculator of harness horses. He and several long-time partners from Illinois and Delaware deal with yearlings. He met his trainer, John Butenscheon, who was from Marengo, Illinois, when harness racing was in its prime in Chicago. Now, like many other things in Illinois due to its governing, the sport has withered into nothing. Butenschoen has moved his training base to Pennsylvania, where he is within a two-hour drive to casino-driven tracks in Pennsylvania and New York, along with the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Wiswell and his partners own 15 horses—all 3-years-old or younger. After their 3-year-old campaigns, Wiswell and his partners put the horses up for sale. Why deal with all the uncertainty, and in some cases, pay six figures for a yearling that might never get to the track? “That is where the money is, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. Dealing with yearlings is somewhat like buying penny stocks. Much of the sales are based on the colt’s or filly’s parents—the dam and sire. But just like humans, there are no guarantees. Unless your dad is LaVar Ball, of course. Walner was considered the Hambletonian favorite since his 2-year-old campaign. Then this week, he suffered an injury, forcing his connections to withdraw him from Saturday’s eliminations. Say goodbye to a likely $600,000 payday. “The name of the game in this business is luck,” Wiswell said. “You keep your fingers crossed.” But the bad luck suffered by Walner’s connections can only benefit Wiswell and his partners. The trip to the Meadowlands on the first Saturday of August for the Hambletonian is an annual date for Wiswell since the event was moved from DuQuion, Illinois, to the New Jersey track in 1981. This year, the trip is special. For the first time in all his years in the business, Wiswell will have an entrant—two, in fact. Plus Fine Tuned Lady in the Hambletonian Oaks. That’s not bad for someone who once got out of the harness business because of a lack of success. But because he loved the horses, he still went to the top yearling sale in Lexington, Kentucky, every year. At one sale, the itch proved to be too much. “I told my wife, ‘I want to get back in,” he said. “I want to go see John (Butenschoen) and see what’s going on.” Butenschoen had owners from Delaware, which combined with Wiswell’s Illinois partners, formed the present ownership group. And that group will have their day Saturday. So, what horse will he have his money on? “I don’t bet on my own horses,” he said. “The last time I bet on one my horses, he finished sixth for $200,000 (purse money). That was 35 years ago.” Only the top five finishers share in the purse money. When you are talking about the quality horses Wiswell’s group are involved in, the purse money is enough to keep their interest. And Saturday afternoon, Wiswell and his friends will have a lot on the line—the finish line. By Tom Miller Reprinted with permission of the GazettXtra

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