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After missing out on an opportunity to qualify for Saturday’s Ladyship Mile harness racing connections of Group 1 winning mare Don’t Think Twice have quickly re-evaluated their options. Now, a concentrated country campaign is the immediate target for the $211,645 earner, starting at Bathurst this Sunday afternoon. This move is a “blessing in disguise” according to trainer Brooke Wilkins. “She was balloted from the nominations for Menangle on Saturday night so we thought we would give her a run at Bathurst,” Wilkins said. “All we can do is hope for the Ladyship with her for next season. “It’s not a bad thing she missed out as she is only four and taking on the older mares might be a bit hard. “We are considering racing her at a few of the Carnival of Cups meetings coming up with races like the Young and Wagga Cup and then of course there is the Breeders Challenge.” As for Bathurst, Don’t Think Twice is no stranger to this track. Although based at Menangle Park, the daughter of Armbro Operative has had six starts at this circuit for five wins, including her victories in the Gold Tiara and Gold Bracelet. She has overcome the second row to win at this venue before and that will be the case on Sunday in the Orange CYMS Group 10 Rugby League Cup (2260m) where Don’t Think Twice has drawn inside the second row. “It’s a good race and hopefully she can come off the pegs straight away,” Wilkins said. Last start Don’t Think Twice finished eighth, beaten 5.9m in the Group 3 Paleface Adios Sprint at Menangle. That was the first time in a year she has finished outside a top two placing. “We were really happy with her run, they got home in a fast time and it was just too hard to make any ground,” Wilkins said. “Her sectionals were good and she has come through the run really well.” Don’t Think Twice will be driven by Jason Grimson who will also drive Ima Jaymar for Wilkins in race seven. Wilkins has won three races with the gelding since acquiring him. “He’s been going really well,” Wilkins said. “He is really quick off the gate and he is a funny little horse, he likes to do his own thing so we let him do whatever he wants and it seems to be working so far.” Wilkins has been on the sidelines from driving after a trackwork accident resulted in her fracturing her patella and tearing a ligament. She is expected to be back driving in two months’ time. Amanda Rando

Keinbah trainer Roy Roots jnr expects The Black Prince to qualify on Saturday night for the New South Wales Derby and be better again for the group 1 final the following week. The Black Prince will start from gate three with Chris Geary in the gig in the second of three 2400-metre heats at Menangle Park. The Bettors Delight gelding has won five of six starts since coming from New Zealand. His only defeat was a half-metre second in the group 3 Simpson Memorial (1609m) to the Darren Elder-trained Bright Energy last month after a luckless run at Menangle. Roots said he would be shocked if The Black Prince didn’t finish in the top four and make the Derby decider.  “He’s a really good horse,” Roots jnr said. “He just needs a bit of luck in running and he will be right there. “These races are always hard, there’s good horses in there, but he’s a good horse himself. “The whole preparation has been based around this race and I think he will go really good tomorrow night but even better the week after.” Morisset trainer Mark Callaghan will start Royal Gamble from gate 10 in the same heat.  Callaghan also has Culinary Delight racing in the group 3 Robin Dundee Stakes for mares on the program.  Roots jnr’s brother-in-law Shane Tritton and his wife Lauren will chase Miracle Mile places in the two group 1 sprints with Anything For Love and Yayas Hot Spot in one and Franco Nelson in the other. The top two from each sprint qualify for the $750,000 Miracle Mile. Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

DOVER, Del. --- Major Uptrend scored in 1:49 to win the $27,500 Preferred-Open feature at Dover Downs. Harness racing trainer Tim Crissman posted three wins including his 1,500th Tony Morgan drove four winners, two for owners Ness Allen on Thursday (2/15). For the second straight week, Major Uptrend, piloted by Tony Morgan, recorded a sub-150 victory, this time in 1:49 following last Thursday's 1:49.4 success, both wire-to-wire. The fast Sicily and Montrell Teague sat second the entire mile and could come no closer than three-quarters of a length at the final wire. Highalator, the only four-year-old in the select field, with Roger Plante Jr. in the bike, came on to finish third Major Uptrend's win was the second in three 2018 starts for the Somebeachsomewhere-Tricky Tooshie gelding who now has three sub-1:50 triumphs at Dover for owners Crissman and Ness Allen. Tony Morgan One race earlier, Morgan guided another Tim Crissman trainee, Mildred Ventriglio's Kid PK to a 1:50.3 triumph in a $14,000 Winners-Over pace. The Wearable Art-Lightning D Dube gelding made it four wins in his last five races. Star Messenger (Art Stafford Jr.) was runner-up with Gerries Sport (Tim Tetrick) third. Morgan also drove Niss Allen's 7-1 Mississippi Rabbit, a Richess Hanover-Dixie Darlin gelding, along the passing lane to catch Cash Is King (Corey Callahan) in the final stride for a 1:52 victory going for $18,000 in a Winners pace. Rock The Town (Tetrick) took show honors. Air Strike, an altered son of Always A Virgin-My Best Girl, got up for Corey Callahan in a $15,000 Winners event for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Ted Gewertz and Val D'Or Farms. American Sportsman (Mike Cole) and James Isaac (Morgan) finished second and third respectively. Morgan had four winning drives, Tim Crissman conditioned three of them, two for owners Niss Allen and Crissman Inc. Tim Tetrick and Corey Callahan had driving doubles. Live racing is featured Monday through Thursday weekly with a 4: 30 p.m. post time. No live racing Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. A changing menu of fine foods is available to diners watching the races from the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races continue each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Dover Downs Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

Hightstown, NJ --- With a full year of harness racing and learning under his belt, 25-year-old Lucas Wallin is looking forward to his second season training his own stable. And while Wallin is interested in seeing how his young horses develop through the remainder of this winter with an eye toward summer success, he is happy to have a seasoned veteran to watch right now. Rossini, an 8-year-old gelding, will try to make it two wins in a row at the Meadowlands Racetrack when he competes against nine rivals in a conditioned trot Friday. Rossini, who won in 1:54.2 on Feb. 3, is 9-2 on the morning line and will have the services of regular driver Eric Carlson. The race will air as part of the Meadowlands Harness Live broadcast from 9-10 p.m. on SNY (SportsNet New York). Prior to the current Meadowlands meet, Rossini had made only 16 starts in his career, a span of 100 races, on a big track (either one mile or seventh-eighths). His past five starts, though, all have been at the Big M and he has posted two victories as well as a third-place finish. “He was racing well before, but he really seems to like the Meadowlands,” Wallin said. “He’s feeling really good. His last race when he won at the Meadowlands he raced really good. He feels the same right now. We gave him a week off and he’s training good into this race. “It looks really interesting (Friday). If everything works out in the race and he has some luck, he will be there, I think.” Rossini, a son of Classic Photo-Beverly Crusher, has won 29 of 105 lifetime starts and earned $457,552 in purses. He is owned by Steve Organ, who also bred the horse. He is a three-quarter brother to stakes-winners In Focus and Not Afraid. Rossini’s top win came in the 2013 Galt Stakes at Maywood Park. “I enjoy his personality,” Wallin said about Rossini. “He’s 8 years old, but he’s acting like a 2-year-old. He’s playing all day. He really enjoys his life.” Wallin grew up in Sweden, where he was driving ponies at the age of 8. Several years later, he began helping at his uncle Joakim Wallin’s stable. In mid-2014, he was alerted to an opportunity to work for Ake Svanstedt’s stable in the U.S. by childhood friend Oskar Florhed. Wallin spent two years with Svanstedt before deciding to go on his own. Last year, Wallin’s stable won 18 of 110 races and earned $183,712 in purses. This season, he has 19 horses in training, with nine being 2-year-olds. “I learned a lot of things, that’s for sure,” Wallin said about his first full season. “It was an OK year. The horses that raced, they raced good, and we won a couple of smaller stakes races. Of course you always want to win more and bigger races, but I was happy with my first year. “It’s a lot of responsibility and I have really good owners that trust me and tell me to do the best for the horses. They never rush.” Wallin’s 2-year-olds are Anniversary Magic (Lucky Chucky-Beach Magic), Bartolo (Muscles Yankeee-Cameo Credit), Cotton To You (Trixton-Polyester Hanover), Death Bringer (Exposive Matter-Agenda Tom Ridge), Luisa (Andover Hall-Ashley’s Carousel), Quiksilvr Bluechip (Credit Winner-Sea Raven), Rendezvous Kemp (Trixton-Smarty Had A Party), Tenacious Seelster (Trixton-Tara Seelster), and Valentin (Muscle Massive-Nirvana Blue Chip). Another new addition to his stable is stakes-winner Signal Hill, a 4-year-old trotter purchased for $95,000 at the Tattersalls January Select Mixed Sale at the Meadowlands. “Of course every year you want to see the 2-year-olds. Last year we had five 2-year-olds and this year we have nine 2-year-olds. We bought a little better breedings and we’re looking forward to them. They look good. We’re not in a rush. Some stick out a little more than the others, but all of them are doing good right now. I don’t want to say any names, but there are a couple that look really interesting. We’re hoping for a good season. “I have a couple of 3-year-olds, especially the fillies, that look really interesting. We took it easy with them last year; they only raced like five to seven times. They won some overnights and they did good. I think they can develop and be in a little bigger races this year.” For Friday’s Meadowlands entries, click here. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (February 15, 2018) - Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment has partnered with Metropolitan Area-based 360SiteVisit to give potential harness racing visitors and clients the ultimate virtual tour of the East Rutherford racetrack and event space. The 360-degree virtual tour gives visitors an interactive view of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and allows them to see what their trade show, special event or bar/bat mitzvah could look like in one of the venue's restaurants or event spaces. "Having a virtual tour of our 155,000sq ft facility offers clients more than just photos of various rooms. It gives them a much bigger picture of the environment and a great introduction of what hosting an event at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment has to offer. " states Andrea Lokshin, VP of Marketing & Sales. Each room of the virtual tour took less than 10 minutes to shoot using one camera equipped with a specialized lens and bracket. Utilizing five separate pieces of software, 360SiteVisit was then able to enhance, combine, stitch and create the ultra high-resolution virtual tour in the span of three days."Somebody who is looking for event space would need to take the time to visit multiple locations. We make this process easier and hassle-free by allowing venues to showcase the versatility of their spaces 24/7, 365 days a year so that clients can review at their leisure ," explained Greg Riccardi, CEO of 360SiteVisit. As Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment continues to grow its event and trade show business, the newly created 360-degree virtual tour will be a major selling tool," added Lokshin. To take the virtual tour, click here. For more information, click here.  

February 15, 2018 - Today’s superb harness racing card at Paris-Vincennes included the Quinte+ race and three groupe contests. The Gr. II monte Prix Edouard Marcillac (purse €120,000, 2175 meters, eight starters) went to 1.14.9kr timed and 4/5 odds favorite Fado du Chene (3m Singalo-Star du Chene) with Paul Philippe Ploquin up. Julian LeMer trains for breeder/owner Claude Guedj. 16/1 First Daidou (3m Univers de Pan-Djakarta) was second for trainer Romain Derieux and Ecurie Daidou. 17/1 Fascinoso de Lou (3m Prodigious-Riviera de Lou) with Matthieu Abrivard in the irons. The groupe level action continued with the Gr. III Prix de Nevers (purse €110,000, 2850 meters, 12 starters) with the 1.15.2kr timed victory earned by 3.1/1 Coffee Look d’Eam (6g Look de Star-Nidra Pierji) for Franck Nivard. 9/1 Chica de Joudes (6f Jag de Bellouet-Queschua Love) was second for owner/trainer/driver Alain Laurent. 5.5/1 Colonel (6g Goetmals Wood-Royale Star) was third for J-M Bazire who trains for Ecurie des Charmes. The Gr. II monte Prix Holly du Locton (purse €120,000, 2175 meters nine starters) produced an impressive victory by the 5/10 favorite Ferreteria (3f Goetmals Wood-Avenue Victoria) that score her second monte win in a very brief career. Matthieu Abrivard was the jockey for trainer Yves Boireau and owner Jean Pierre Dubois. SARL Haras de Villepelee bred the winner, timed in 1.13.8kr, that defeated 25/1 Flore de Janeiro (3f Vanishing Point-Ozie de Janeiro) with Anthony Barrier in the irons for owner/trainer Franck Blandin. 6/1 Fylla du Goutier (3f Scipion du Goutier-Scylla du Goutier) took third for Yoann Lebourgeois, trainer Sebastien Guarato and Ecurie Saint Martin. The Q+ Prix Chateaurenard (purse €75,000, 2700 meters, 17 European starters) went to 1.12.7kr timed and 1.2/1 favorite Ble du Gers (7g Quinoa du Gers-Moorea) with trainer Jean Michel Bazire at the lines for Ecurie Jean Michel Rancoule. 18/1 Blues d’Ourville (7g Password-Pursuit Of Charm) was second for Pierre Houel driving for Mme Virginie Lecroq, the trainer. 17/1 Auch (8g Niky-Migraine) took third for owner/trainer/driver Christian Bigeon. 12/1 Sorbet (7m Super Photo Kosmos-Altar Bound) and driver Franck Ouvrie and 97/1 Voeland (9m Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree-Oquita  d’Harcourt) with Dominik Locqueneux completed the top five finisher, and set up a €17,286 exact  order payoff. Jean Michel Bazire recorded another victory in the Prix de Marcenat (purse €50,000, 2175 meters, 12 starters) with 1.12.4kr timed and 10/1 odds Defi de Retz (5m First de Retz-Nouvelle j’Atout), a mare he trains for breeder/owner Ottavia Roffi-Urano. Before groupe action commenced. the Prix de Guerande (purse €50,000, 2175 meters, 14 starters) took the stage and the 1.13.5kr timed victory went to 4.9/1 Daisy Team (5f Timoko-Daisy Chain) with owner/trainer Julien Dubois aboard. Ecurie D was the breeder of this mare and she reflects a superb pedigree that includes 16 foals of Daisy Chain (1991, Speedy Somolli-Kravotte-Caprior), 11 winners such as Kaisy Dream (profiled below and sire of a US Breeders Crown winner Brigham Dream), Orsy Dream, Paisy Dream, Jackpot Dream, Crazy Dream: 1998 Kaisy Dream (FR)      1.12,4v  1.12,3a   EUR 1,017,503   43  12- 13- 5        h, by Extreme Dream (FR)   - Daisy Chain (FR)     At 3, Winner of Prix Kalmia, Prix Maurice de Gheest, second in Criterium des 3 ans, Criterium des Jeunes, Prix Albert Viel, Prix de l'Etoile, Prix Jacques Vauloge, third in Europeiskt Treåringschampionat. At 4, Winner of Prix de Sélection, Prix Ephrem Houel, Gran Premio d'Europa, second in Prix de Milan, Prix René Ballière, third in Prix de l'Etoile, Prix de Washington   Thomas H. Hicks  

John Dunn knows American Tart may need every favour she can muster to claim group one glory at Addington tonight but believes she has already got the biggest one. The speedster mare is drawn wide on the front line in the $100,000 Breeders Stakes and while that doesn't sound ideal, driver Dunn sees it as a major tactical advantage over his three main rivals. Because American Tart has high gate speed and Dunn thinks that gives him a chance to at least get in front of Bonnie Joan, Better B Amazed and Utmost Delight, all of whom are drawn the second line. "She gets her chance now because even though she is wide I reckon I can stay in front of those other good mares," said Dunn. "And the way she went last start then she can probably win. But she is going to need nothing to go wrong because Bonnie Joan was super last start too." The latter clearly outpointed American Tart two weeks after sitting parked, with Utmost Delight a booming late third in the same race. So if American Tart is made to burn early by those inside her to get to the markers tonight, then Bonnie Joan would be favoured to beat her again. Better B Amazed worked too hard last start so might enjoy her second line draw tonight and ran third in this race last year to two Jewels winners in The Orange Agent and Piccadilly Princess so is good enough to win if the other favourites work too hard. Dunn warns punters to expect improvement from Yagunnakissmeornot, the trotting mare he unofficially co-trains with his father Robert, in the opening race at Alexandra Park tonight. "She badly needed her run last week but still made good ground in a fast last 800m," says Dunn. Back to her favourite 1700m distance and off the front line in a race where her fellow open class opponents are not at their peak, the sit-sprint specialist appeals tonight. Meanwhile, the Kiwis almost all have great draws at Menangle tomorrow night as some of our biggest pacing names try to qualify for Sydney harness racing's richest night. Lazarus (drawn the ace) and Heaven Rocks (unruly) contest preludes of the Miracle Mile, where if they both race up to anything like their best they should confirm their invites to next week's A$750,000 Miracle Mile. Their stablemates All U Need Is Faith, drawn the ace in a weakish heat of the NSW Derby and The Devils Own, also drawn the ace in a stronger heat should cruise through to next week's Derby. But Our Bare Knuckle, who was below peak fitness when beaten last week, has a wide draw and will probably be driven to qualify for the final in her Oaks heat. The barrier draw for the Miracle Mile will be held around 3pm NZ time on Sunday. Michael Guerin

A new agreement will result in a multi-million dollar expansion of the facilities at the Hanover Raceway, including the use of a partially finished vacant area previously known as the banquet hall. “We are very proud and very happy to be in Hanover,” said Rob Mitchell, spokesperson for Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited, which operates the casino at the raceway. “We were able to work very quickly with the municipality in Hanover. The mayor (Sue Paterson) was wonderful and the chief administrative officer Brian Tocheri was terrific, and of course the folks at the Hanover, Bentinck and Brant Agricultural Society were great folks to work with.” Gateway announced Wednesday the approval by OLG of a lease agreement with the agricultural society that will include new dining experiences and allow for an expanded gaming floor. “I think it is going to be a very positive impact for the community in Hanover and the surrounding region because we are going to be building what amounts to a brand spanking new entertainment complex,” Mitchell said.  Gateway is hopeful to start construction in the spring or summer with completion in the first half of 2019. Mitchell said the company will hold an event at the facility in the future to unveil the plans for the Hanover site, including the investment in terms of the money being spent to redevelop the facility and the details on the new amenities and gaming entertainment that will be provided. “It is an existing space that was originally intentioned to be a banquet facility,” said Mitchell. “It is quite large and was never completed so we have basically an expanded footprint that we need to develop.” The raceway put the brakes on the $30,000-square-foot banquet hall project back in 2011 after there was a threat of reduced government funding and questions surrounding harness racing's future in Ontario. The proposed $11-million facility was to be built using the ag society's share of slots revenue, but has sat unfinished ever since. The government eventually reached a new agreement with the raceway, but it was strictly for operations and didn't include any capital work. In late 2016, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced that Gateway had been awarded the contract to operate a number of regional gaming centres, including the 18,720-sq.ft. slots at the Hanover raceway. The company, which started in B.C. in 1992 entered the Ontario market in May. Gateway, which is responsible for operating the facilities, re-branding them and paying staff, was awarded a 20-year licence.  Mitchell said they will need OLG approval to expand the gaming floor, but that is the company's plan. “Hanover and the surrounding Bruce Peninsula is a very good market for us,” said Mitchell. “We have been very successful there.” The expansion will also mean additional staff will be hired to compliment the approximately 100 employees already at the Hanover site. “How many more jobs we add will be determined by the size and scope of the operation,” Mitchell said, adding there will be jobs in food and beverage, at table games, in information technology, in finance, electronic surveillance, security and grounds-keeping and maintenance. “There are opportunities to convergences with craft breweries and theme nights for food and all manner of things,” said Mitchell. “All these things we believe will open up employment opportunities in the community and within the region.” Mayor Paterson said the town is thrilled that Gateway is investing in Hanover. “It is going to have a positive impact, not just for Hanover, but for the region, through the investment and jobs and support of the horse racing industry,” Paterson said. “It has been close to seven years that (the banquet hall building) has been vacant so it is eagerly anticipated to see someone expanding into that building. We are looking at it as an entertainment destination for Hanover.” By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound Reprinted with permission of The Owen Sound Sun Times

Columbus, OH --- When Bill Bercury took his future wife, Renee, out on their first date, he selected The Meadows as his venue of choice. For two people that were not involved in harness racing in any way, shape or form, it’s pretty darn ironic their lifetime commitment has not only included a magnificent relationship, but two of The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association’s 2017 award winners in Barn Girl and Dapper Dude. “Neither one of us knew anything about horses,” Bercury said. “But we did know we liked them. I just thought it was a good place to take someone on a first date because everything was there for us. Who would have thought this would ever happen? And it is because I do have such a wonderful wife; she has never been anything but supportive of the horses.” When the Bercurys had the opportunity to acquire world champion Barn Girl in Nov. 2016, they did not hesitate. After all, the daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie was a veritable winning machine and had already amassed $315,146 while competing in the New York Excelsior Series, New York Sire Stakes and Open events at The Meadows. “She came up for sale because Ron Burke had so many good female trotters, like Hannelore Hanover, he was thinking he couldn’t get them all raced,” Bercury said. “I am so grateful and fortunate we could get her. She is tied for the world record on a half-mile track at Northfield (1:53) and she just loves to race; she loves to pass horses.” With a record of 90-43-17-16 and $583,368 in the bank, Barn Girl, a 6-year-old, has demonstrated her ability on many occasions and will continue to do so in 2018 as The MSOA's defending champion older trotting mare. “She is nervous and is like that all the time,” Bercury said. “She can be tough to deal with and when she bites, she bites hard and when she kicks it is with purpose, but she is easy to drive. Aaron Merriman has done a great job with her and really loves her.” The Bercurys also own Dapper Dude, The MSOA's older pacing horse/gelding of the year. The 9-year-old son of The Panderosa-Dress To Suggest defeated world champion Sweet Lou to claim the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship in 2012. Dapper Dude also finished ahead of that rival, but behind Thinking Out Loud and Time To Roll in that year’s $1,470,000 North America Cup final. State Treasurer, A Rock N Roll Dance, Pet Rock and Warrawee Needy were also in his wake. “When I first heard he was up for sale (in 2015) I was outbid on him,” Bercury said. “So when I heard he was up for sale again (in 2016) I jumped on it and didn’t ask any questions. He is such a great horse to be around. You can do anything with him and he has excellent manners; he’s just a joy to be around.” To date, Dapper Dude has amassed $1.18 million and sports a resume of 158-42-28-30. He, like Barn Girl, will remain primarily in the Keystone State for this year’s campaign. “We are not going to do the Miss Versatility Series with Barn Girl this year,” Bercury said. “It just didn’t work out for her last year and we think she is a second tier mare, but a very good second tier. We might go to Miami Valley with her, but otherwise she will stay close to home. With Dapper Dude, we will also keep him here; he’s right there every time.” The Bercurys, however, may have a fortuitous issue as two of their six horses will likely have to compete against one another as their newly acquired world champion, Wind Of The North, will most likely have to take on Barn Girl yet again. “I think he is just going to have a great season,” Bercury said. “Not that I don’t think Barn Girl or Dapper Dude won’t and I also have two 4-year-olds I think will do well, but I think this horse is going to do really well. He fits in perfectly with our stable and has his own paddock he goes out in every day, like everyone else, and he seems really happy. He is another horse that is great to be around and you can do anything with. He’s the only one I own, as Renee owns all the rest of our horses. And he has already beaten Barn Girl.” No matter what the future holds for the Bercury stable, Bill credits Renee for a majority of their success. “She is never afraid to take a chance,” he said. “I have to give her a lot of credit for seeing opportunities and believing in them with the horses. And we have our motto and stick to it: harness racing is fun. That is just what we believe in and how we approach it.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Harnesslink's columnist, Sydney Weaver, of Acton, Ontario, has been selected as the 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador.  Weaver says, “Representing kids with physical disabilities is an honour.” It’s in part because of this attitude that Weaver has been selected as a 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador. Along with her male counterpart, Alex Krenta from Ottawa, Weaver looks forward to representing all children and youth who live with a physical disability in Ontario. Weaver, a chatty 17-year-old from Acton, Ontario, is thrilled to have been chosen as a 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador, and her mom and dad, Lisa and Don, along with her older brother, Scott, couldn’t be more proud. Born with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy that sometimes causes muscle spasms, Sydney uses a wheelchair for mobility and requires help picking up items and getting dressed. With assistance from Easter Seals, her family was able to modify her van to be more accessible, making it easier for her to get around her community. Sydney is an accomplished young woman with many interests and hobbies. In 2015, she was a torch bearer at the Parapan Am Games. In addition, she has an orange belt in jiu jitsu and a junior lifeguard badge in swimming. Currently in Grade 12, Sydney’s favourite subjects are History and English. She also enjoys writing, listening to music and singing, though she freely admits that “I can’t sing!” In addition, Sydney loves harness racing, and writes for an online industry publication, and is developing a love of Thoroughbred racing, as well. In 2012, she won the Marie Hill Youth Writing Contest for HoofBeats, an American harness racing magazine. In considering her future path, Sydney hopes to pursue a career in journalism and communications. “I enjoy writing because it gives me a chance to express myself through words and I think that’s an incredible power, and it can bring people together.” When discussing her disability, Sydney says, “My life is so typical of any teenager, the only difference is that when planning activities I have to take my physical disability into account, and make adjustments. Other than that, I can do anything any other kid is capable of.” An Easter Seals camp veteran, Sydney has been to Camp Woodeden for six summers, where she’s been able to try new activities, meet old and new friends, and be independent. She says, “Easter Seals has meant so much to me over the course of my young life. I can go to camp and meet other kids like me, do any activity, and I can get the equipment I need to be more independent.” On becoming an Easter Seals Provincial Ambassador, Sydney says, “Because Easter Seals has been life changing for me, I want to be able to help kids have the same experiences I’ve had, the ones that Easter Seals has allowed me to have. I’m looking forward to letting people know that kids with physical disabilities are just like other kids. Sometimes we just have to alter how we do things to accomplish our tasks.” For the past 95 years, Easter Seals has played an important role in providing support for children and youth with physical disabilities from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Thanks to its generous donors, Easter Seals continues to offer programs to allow kids to experience freedom, independence and a sense of accomplishment. Easter Seals helps by providing financial assistance for mobility equipment and communication devices, as well as fully accessible summer camp opportunities at its two properties, Camp Merrywood and Camp Woodeden. Easter Seals helps kids BE KIDS. For more information or to donate, visit easterseals.org. From Easter Seals Ontario

Notching his twelfth victory in a group feature event should be just a formality for harness racing superstar Chicago Bull when he contests the $50,000 Group 2 RWWA Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start from barrier six on the front line and should prove the master of his nine rivals as he seeks his 29th win from 48 starts. He has won four Group 1 events and seven Group 2 races and has already amassed $1,404,479 in prizemoney. After Chicago Bull coasted to an effortless win at a 1.56.3 rate over 2536m in the Group 2 Lord Mayor’s Cup last Friday week, champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr described the performance as “like a trial; he did it that easily.” Describing the gelding’s small stature and insignificant looks, Hall said: “when you look at him, he’s the last one you would pick out of a stable. It just goes to show you what’s on the inside, not what’s on the outside.” Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr said “Bettors Fire and Argyle Red are racing well, but you would think that Chicago Bull will be winning. He will go forward and will probably get to the breeze outside Argyle Red, and then Junior will make up his mind what to do from there. “I was going to spell him a week or two ago, but now I plan to race him for the next month. I have picked out the $50,000 Four and Five-Year-0ld Championship on March 16 as his final run before going for a spell.” Hall said that he expected his other runner Ohoka Punter would enjoy being the only runner on the back line. “He’s probably the equal second best in the race and I’d say that he and Bettors Fire will fight it out for second place.” The Kyle Harper-trained and driven Bettors Fire notched his 34th win last Friday night when he gave a strong frontrunning display from the No. 1 barrier to win over 2130m from Our Jimmy Johnstone and Cut For An Ace. A week earlier, he ran on from sixth at the bell to be fourth behind Chicago Bull. Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald and driven by Morgan Woodley, has excellent place prospects. He should be the early leader from the No. 1 barrier and is likely to take the sit behind Chicago Bull as the race unfolds. Ken Casellas

DOVER, Del. --- Bettorhaveanother made his fist Dover Downs appearance a winning one overtaking Scandalcious (Jonathan Roberts) at the wire in a 1:51.4 four horse photo to win the $25,000 Valentine's Day harness racing mares open/handicap on Wednesday (2/14). Tim Tetrick and Corey Callahan had three winners each. Corey Callahan drove 5-1 shot Bettorhaveanother to his second straight win of the year along with two seconds in four starts for trainer Ron Burke and owners Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing Stable. Scandalicious had taken the early lead and maintained the front with horses coming on strongly before Bettorhaveanother finally caught him at finish ine. Enhance Your Mind (Vic Kirby) and Sweet Robbie (At Safford Jr. were close up third and fourth place finishers. The winner is a six-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Katie My Girl who now has won $288,452 lifetime. Bad Lightning struck at 7-1 in the $18,000 distaff sub-feature winning in 1:57.2 for driver Jonathan Roberts and owner-trainer Josh Parker and Nanticoke Racing. It was the second success in her last three outings for the Badlands Hanover-Malocchio five-year-old. Berazzled (Tetrick), the race favorite, was second with OK Jamine (Russell Foster) third. Stormtracker had just enough to beat Moments Of Joy (Kirby) in 1:52.4 to take the $16,000 female pace. Linda Toscano conditions the four-year-old by Big Jim-Stonebridge Breeze, piloted by Tetrick, now a winner of four of her last five races. Gypsy Rose (Montrell Teague) finished third. Tetrick and Callahan had three wins apiece. Tony Morgan and trainer Mike Hall posted doubles. MAJOR UPTREND, SUPER IMPOSED N, HIGHALATOR LEAD $27,500 THURSDAY FEATURE Super Imposed N, last week's 1:50.2 event winner and Major Uptrend, a 1:49.1 sub-feature winner lead a powerful field of six fast pacers in the $27,500 Preferred- Open/Handicap, on another standout 13-race harness racing program at Dover Downs, Thursday, Feb. 15. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Corey Callahan has driven Mike Hall and Dave Hamm's Super Imposed N to consecutive victories including last week's 15-1 upset in the feature. Reggie Hazzard and Legacy Racing's Sicily came flying from far back with Montrell Teague to finish second. Cajon Lightning and Art Stafford Jr. racing for Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisik Farms, finished a half-length off in third. Major Uptrend steps up in company after a powerful wire-to-wire effort, his second sub-1:50 victory this meet for Niss Allen Inc. and Tim Crissman Inc. with Tony Morgan driving. Highalator, owned by Jenny Bier and Joann Dombeck, was another longshot winner last Thursday winning the $4-Yea-Old Open at 10-1 with Roger Plante Jr. in the bike. Tim Tetrick drives Rich Pollucci's Baileys Rock N, a hard-hitting pacer from Down Under. Heading the usual solid undercard: Cash Is King (Callahan) puts a three-race win streak on the line for owners, Hood, Breakaway and Bonucelli in a $18,000 Winners pace while Al Carter and Doug Lewis' Captive Audience, a 1:50.4 winner last week returns in a $25,000-$30,000 Claiming Handicap. Dover Downs offers a 50-cent Pick 5 wager, starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Live racing each Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. A fine and varied selection of food is available to enjoy while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races is featured daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

Winton breeders John and Katrina Price produced a sale topper at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales in Christchurch today (Wednesday). Their Bettor's Delight colt Chicago Cub reached $190,000 before the hammer dropped on the full brother to West Australian pacer and multiple Group winner Chicago Bull. He was bought by Emilio and Mary Rosati under the E&M Stride banner.  Prior to heading to Christchurch the Prices thought they had a nice colt to present but the interest went to another level once the prospective buyers started to view the colt.  Katrina commented "Yesterday and this morning there was a lot of interest. He was in and out of the box and we did have every major buyer come and look at him. There had been a lot of positive comments and we didn't really know where he was going to go (pricewise). It was more than we wildly expected. All the potential buyers said the same thing - that he was just a lovely colt. They all loved his walk. He's got this lovely rolling walk. To be fair he didn't have any faults. He was so correct and a nice size." Price says Chicago Cub is darker in colour and a bit bigger than his older brother. "He's not a big horse this fella but he's physically a lot stronger. But temperament wise, very similar. They were both lovely horses to work with and wanted to please. Both laidback and knew how to look after themselves. We drove up there and all he wanted to do was eat, drink and sleep. Bull was the same. He was like a family pet. The kids absolutely loved him and this fella, even though he was a colt, was the same at home."  Katrina prepared the colt and lead him into the ring and says she wasn't sure early on where the bids were coming from but once the numbers started to rise she knew who was vying to buy him.  "You've got your mind on other things but at the end I thought it was between Barry Purdon and Emilio and that ended up being the case." The Rosatis generally rename their horses using the word 'Stride' and Katrina says this will be the case with Chicago Cub.  It was the second year in the row that the Rosatis have purchased the top lot at the Christchurch sale. They paid the same price - $190,000 for Franco Stallone last year. He was renamed Puntarno Stride.  As for Chicago Cub's mother Chicago Blues; she had a full brother to Chicago Bull and Chicago Cub but unfortunately it was born dead.  The Prices have ventured to the sales a few times in the last ten years and today's experience has reinforced their belief that buyers have become very choosey.  "One thing we've learned today and in past years is that they've got to be the complete package. They've got to have the page (pedigree page) and the individual. We'll only take the ones that are nice individuals otherwise we'll get them up and running ourselves and do what we've done all along."  It was another good sale for Southern Bred Southern Reared horses with five of the top ten lots sold being promoted under that brand or having some southern connection.  "It's been a good result for Southern Bred Southern Reared. Lex and Heather Williams have come under the SBSR banner. They topped the trotters and sold a couple of good ones today, so they had a great sale. Michelle Caig had the second top trotter. The second top pacer today was out of Beaudiene Bad Babe so it had it roots down our way too." Kauana Kid (Bettors Delight - Beauidene Bad Babe) was offered by Taffy Limited of Winton and was sold to Barry Purdon for $125,000 while Lex and Heather Williams Bettor's Delight colt out of Flying Mrs Williams was bought by the Kennards for $90,000. The top four fillies at the Christchurch sale had southern connections as well. The top two fillies were Perfect Beauty (Bettor's Delight out of Nitouche Franco) offered by Southlanders Noel and Diane Cournane and Porscha (Bettor's Delight - De Lovely) sold by Taffy Limited of Winton. The next top two fillies were Amazing Dream (Bettor's Delight - Christian Dreamer) - Vin and Daphne Devery $77,500 and Born To Be Bettor - Vin and Daphne Devery and Alan and Phillipa Blackler which sold for $72,500. "We've had a moment in the sun today and it'll be someone else's turn next time won't it," said Katrina.  "He'll have a name change and be called something Stride. Mary, Emilio's wife, wanted him to stay in New Zealand so he's going to be racing out of the Ray Green barn. Ray was one of the trainers that really liked him and wanted to buy him as well so it was a win win for him."  The Prices are naturally thrilled Chicago Cub will be staying in New Zealand as they'll be able to watch him develop into a young racehorse.  "I hope he does a great job and they get all the success they deserve."    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Doug McNair does not remember the exact moment he knew driving racehorses is what he wanted to do for a living, but he knows it came early. Probably around the time he was 6 or 7 years old and his father, harness racing trainer Gregg McNair, would let Doug hop into the race bike following a training mile and bring the horse back to the barn. “I’d go on Saturdays down to the farm and watch them,” McNair said. “I’d walk a quarter of a mile up the track and as soon as they got done finishing, dad would jump off and let me drive the horse back in the race bike and he would walk back. That was pretty cool, especially being 7 years old or 6 years old, whatever it was. “That’s probably when I knew that’s what I wanted to do. That was a lot of fun.” A little more than two decades later, McNair is still having a lot of fun. Eleven days ago, McNair received the O’Brien Award for Canada’s Driver of the Year. McNair, who was a finalist for the honor in 2013, was the top driver on the WEG circuit. He led all drivers in Canada with C$5.92 million in purses and was third in wins with 318. In addition, McNair was the regular driver of three O’Brien Award winners -- Stay Hungry, Bettor’s Up, and Sandbetweenurtoes -- captured his first Breeders Crown (with Stay Hungry), won two Ontario Sire Stakes championships (with Western Passage and The Joy Luck Club) and drove Dr J Hanover to the fastest mile in Canadian history, 1:46.4, in June at Mohawk Racetrack. “It’s a pretty good feeling when they call your name,” the 28-year-old McNair said. “I was nervous. I had a pretty good year, and you never know if you’re going to have a nice year like that again to have a shot at winning an O’Brien. I’m glad I got it.” McNair started driving in 2008 and has won at least $1 million in purses every year of his career. He was the youngest driver to earn $1 million, at the age of 18, and in 2010 became, at the time, the youngest driver to 1,000 wins. He has won 2,906 races lifetime. Over the years, McNair has seen himself mature as a driver. “You just take it race by race,” he said. “You race horses the style they like to race. You try not to get in too much of a hurry. I noticed that (I’m not in as much of a hurry) in the last year and a half, even in overnight races. I see myself not getting in a big hurry off the gate. Sometimes, you have to. Other times, you just slow things down and watch what everyone else is doing and try to make the best choices as it comes. “Everybody has one or two game plans, but it doesn’t always work out, and you don’t have much time to think. I think I’ve been able to read a race a lot different. Confidence is a big thing, too, for a driver. Even if you get a lot of top drives, you have to have the confidence or you’re not going to win those races. You have to be confident in yourself and know the right choices are coming.” McNair hopes to build off his 2017 campaign and continue to attract attention, particularly when it comes to Grand Circuit races. “I’m hopefully going to get a lot of opportunities when guys are bringing live horses up from the States for stakes races,” McNair said. “Hopefully they’ll think of my name. I think (the O’Brien Award) really helps. There are a lot of good drivers. You want to be on the best horse. When you’re winning a lot of races, guys are going to give you a shot. I used to be second and third shot and now you get top shots at it. It makes a big difference. “I just hope I stay at the same level; that things keep working out. There are going to be a lot of bad days, too, so you just have to stay positive. I just want to keep trying to win a lot of races.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

Cobram and District Harness Racing Club past presidents and stalwarts were honoured at the club’s meeting last week on a day when a long-standing record fell. Horses sizzled on the track and master horseman David Aiken gave the young guns a lesson in driving, proving experience can not be disregarded. Renowned as one of the fastest tracks in Victoria and southern NSW, full credit must go to track curator David Kennedy and his race day team. The prestigious $25000 George Croxford Tribute didn’t disappoint, with elder statesman Aiken, who is rarely seen in the sulky these days, taking on the emerging young star reinsmen in the cart behind three-year-old Higherthananeagle and running the rest of the field ‘ragged’ as they raced away to break the 2010 track record for the 2170m by three-tenths of a second. Damian Wilson snatched the driving honours for the day, scoring a double after reining the Albury mare Ismaha to a thrilling win in the Tom Stillard Memorial Pace. The four-year-old mare now heads the club’s 2017-18 Horse of the Year Premiership after chalking up three successive wins at Cobram in the past four weeks. Aileen Williams was trackside to present the trophy in memory of her uncle, Tom Stillard, a young man who was the fledgling club’s inaugural leader for 16 years until his untimely passing and is credited with being instrumental in forming the club more than 60 years ago. On a day when only two of the favourites delivered, Bensonfire set the tone for the meeting in the Jim Cox Memorial Pace, the first on the program. The longshot broke the drought for patient Invergordon trainer Stuart Govers The next race meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 19. Meanwhile, the course is undergoing a facelift, with new concrete paths being laid from the entrance to the TAB shed, dining room and the administration block, while new carpet is being laid in the members’ room and the drivers’ rooms floors will be spray paved. By Courier Cobram Reprinted with permission of The Riverine Herald

Pompano Beach, FL...February 14, 2018...Sooo Handsome, who earned a world record mark of 1:09.3 for five-eighths of a mile on a similar sized track just a week ago at Pompano Park, smashed that mark on Tuesday night by sizzling that same distance in 1:09 for harness racing trainer-driver Rick Plano. The homebred five year-old gelded son of Cash Hall used his rail post position to perfection, out-dueling the anxious opposition early and sprinting through fractions of :27.2 and :55.2 before tacking on a 13.3 final eighth to hit the wire 5 1/4 lengths to the good over William Star, handled by Wally Hennessey, finished second while Legend Field, teamed up with Corey Braden, next. Love Hunter and Overnight Shipper completed the order of finish in this quintet. In reflecting on his second world record performance in just seven days, Plano said, "He did it very easily tonight. You know, he's a very good gaited horse and he's very handy, so all I did was ask him for a bit early and he gave it to me. He was on cruise control the whole way. "He's very fond of Florida and loves this weather. It's especially gratifying because he's a homebred and we have had him since day one." In response to whether a short distance event makes training for a longer event more difficult, Plano responded, "I usually train him a mile-and-a-half and then a mile-and-a-quarter, so I really don't think it will bother him. We'll see how he does against the Open horses where he's been competitive over the last several starts." Now showing a 3-2-0 scorecard in five starts this year, Sooo Handsome has banked $19,000 this semester and $112,340 lifetime in 73 starts to go along with his 1:54.1 mark at Pompano Park set as a three year-old. Off as the 1 to 10 favorite, Sooo Handsome paid $2.20 to win. Racing continues on Wednesday night duet of $11,000 Open Handicap trotting events highlighting the competitive card. Prairie Fortune makes a return following a brief respite from the racing wars and will have Born To Thrive, Zoraze, Uncle Hanover and Foundonabeach as his rivals while A TC Queenie looks for a repeat in the companion event for mares. The Super Hi-5 finale has ballooned to $193,652 for the Wednesday card with post time set at 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

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