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DOVER, Del. --- Elysium Linda used the passing lane to end Royal Becca J's two-race win streak in the $25,000 Open/Handicap trot while Soda Pump made several moves en route to a harness racing victory in the sub-feature. Jack Parker Jr. rushed Royal Becca J from the outside into the lead at the quarter in :27.1. The gelding held the lead through a :564 half and 1:25.3three quarters and continued to lead until deep in the lane when Corey Callahan took the passing lane and got up by a neck in 1:53.3. Theresademoninme (Jonathan Roberts) closed strongly to nab third place in the field of eight. The previous race, a $13,00 Winners-Over trot, found Soda Pump used several times during a 1:53.1 mile. Tim Tetrick spend most of the race two wide and apparently beaten before rallying in deep stretch for his third win of the year for trainer Scott DiDomenico and owners Tetrick and Triple D Stables. Horses were two and three wide at several points with Perseverance (Art Stafford Jr.) challenging at the half-mile and later Tough Mac (Corey Callahan) three-wide before the three-quarters snatching the lead and seemingly opening up on his eight opponents until Soda Pump's late rally. Crazsahana (Allan Davis) also came on to edge Tough Mac for place. Stafford Jr. and Filled Donut scored an impressive 1:54 triumph in a $13,500 trot. L Dees Yoyo Ma (Steve Nason) was a fast-finishing second with Torkil (Montrell Teague) the third-place finisher. Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta AND Lou Walls own the Andover Hall-Miss Gertrude gelding who now is three-wins, a second and a third in five races this year. Bro Hanover won the $12,000 Winners, the card's top pace. Sean Bier drove the Somebeachsomewhere-BurningPoint gelding's third win in four 2018 starts for owner-trainer Crissy Crissman-Bier. Sonny Somewhere (Tony Morgan) was runner-up. Takeittotheface (Tetrick), third. NEWBORN SASSY, BETTORHAVEANOTHER JOIN $25,000 MARES OPEN Stakes seasoned Newborn Sassy and newcomer Bettorhaveanother  are new faces in this week’s $25,000 Mares Open/Handicap on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at Dover Downs. An $18,000 and a $13,000 female pace head the undercard . Post time is 4:30 p.m. In the $25,000 distaff feature, Gary Ewing’s solid Sweet Robbie drew the rail with driver At Stafford Jr. is  one of the meet’s most consistent performers and last season’s Horse of the Meet; Enhance Your Mind and Vic Kirby and JFE Enterprise’s Scandalicious, now only less than seven dollars from earning  $500,000 will be driven by Jonathan Roberts. These are the 1-2-3 starters in post-position order. Newborn Sassy, owned by CC Racing and JoAnn Looney-King, is the richest in the eight-mare field at $762,415. The two sharpest among the stats are Divas Image with Tony Morgan with outside post 8 for owners Our Hrs Cents, Stable 45 and J&T Silva stable’s Divas Image who won this event four of the last five weeks and Terror At night racing for Ed Maas, Arlene Paisley and Nanticoke Racing,  a winner of three of her last four outings. Eddie Davis Jr. will pilot Claim To Fame’s Hold It Hanover, who completes the field. Heading the undercard, in the $18,000 Mares Winners pace with four starters fresh from victories: Brian and Carrie Malone’s Rosy Outlook (Morgan); Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms; Roselily (Art Stafford Jr.) She’s No Spinster (Davis) and Marion Beachy’s Berazzled (Tetrick) making her first local start. Live racing is featured four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Dover Downs’ features 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. Watch the live racing and enjoy fine food at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

February 13, 2018 - 16/1 Danne Edel (8g Coktail Jet-Osprey Boko) took today’s Q+ Prix de Chateau-Gontier (purse €54,000, 2100 meters autostart, 18 European starters) at Vincennes timed in 1.12.4kr for harness racing trainer/driver Bjorn Goop. Stall Edelstoff AB owns the winner. 13/1 Romero (8m Kadabra-Etrille) was second for trainer/driver Andrea Guzzinati for Ecurie Louisiana. 12/1 Andiamode Monchel (8g Kiwi) was third with J-M Bazire up, ahead of 2.6/1 MT Joinville (7g Meaulnes du Corta-Ivy LB) and Jorma Kontio with fifth to 16/1 Sylvester America (7g Varenne-Armbro Voice) driven by Davis Thomain for owner/trainer Jerry Riordan. Trainer/driver Bjorn Goop piloted 12/1 Tellmeastory (6g Zola Boko-Katydid) to a 1.16.2kr victory in the Prix de Bercy (purse €46,000, 2850 meters, 18 European starters). Tero Pohjolainen owns the winner and Goop booked victory two on the program. 24/1 Cabernet (6g Prince Gede-Neophyte) took second for Matthieu Abrivard and trainer/owner P. Edouard Mary. 5/2 odds Tarim (6m Varenne-Explosive) was third for J.Ph. Monclin and trainer H.E. Bondo for Scuderia AEC Borsani.  11/1 Canular (6g Jet Fortuna) was fourth for Yoann Lebourgeois. The Prix du Mesle (purse €52,000, 2175 meters, 12 starters-four year old females) produced victory for 7.4/1 East Island (4f Very Pleasant-Queen Along) clocked in 1.14.1kr for driver Julien Dubois, Ecurie Victoria Dreams, trainer Philippe Moulin and breeder Jean Philippe Dubois, 5.4/1 Extremity (4f Coktail Jet-Tentation de Star) held second for trainer/driver Sebastian Ernault and owner N.V. Hicewa. Ecurie D bred this one. 2.3/1 Elena Princesse (4f Timoko-Quatinka) rallied for third handled by J-M Bazire for trainer Philippe Billard and Ecurie le Tremont. Thomas H. Hicks  

The biggest name in New Zealand racing is set for a surprise season swansong - maybe even two. Champion pacer Lazarus could start in both Auckland and Christchurch before the end of the season, giving New Zealand fans a rare chance to see the freakish pacer. Trainer Mark Purdon is reluctant to confirm either of those options until after next week's A$750,000 Miracle Mile in New South Wales but says they are both on the table as he would love to give Lazarus's fans a chance to see him in the flesh. Lazarus has drawn the ace in his A$100,000 Miracle Mile Prelude at Menangle on Saturday night and is a $1.60 favourite to win Sydney's greatest harness race a week later. He would then have 13 days before the $50,000 Co-Op Taxis Free-For-All at Alexandra Park, a race his stablemate Smolda started in last season after running a close second in the Miracle Mile. "Laz has to travel home through Auckland anyway and could well be there around that time so he is definitely a chance to start at Alexandra Park," says Purdon. "I wouldn't make any decision until after the Miracle Mile because he has had a busy summer and done a lot of travelling but I would like people at home to get a chance to see him. "The way the fans in Perth and Victoria have received him has been wonderful and we know plenty of people back home would love to see him too." Even if Lazarus doesn't make it to Alexandra Park for what would be harness racing's version of a Winx-like occasion, he is almost certain to head to the Easter Cup, fittingly sponsored by Purdon's All Stars stables, at Addington on March 31. "That is definitely on his programme at this stage," confirmed Purdon. If Lazarus doesn't race at Alexandra Park he may need a blowout in the Addington free-for-all a week earlier, so he looks likely to have two starts in New Zealand to end his season. "And then regardless of what happens in the Easter Cup he will be finished for the season and we will aim him at a third New Zealand Cup next term." While he is New Zealand's most loved harness horse Lazarus has only had four starts here this season, the last being his New Zealand Cup win on November 14. Since then he has won the Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup and if he adds the Miracle Mile will be the only horse to hold Australasia's four greatest race titles at the same time. Meanwhile, exactly who drives stablemate and second favourite Heaven Rocks in the Miracle Mile is unclear, with no date set for Natalie Rasmussen's appeal against her suspension that could cost her the drive. With Jilliby Kung Fu having accepted his invitation to the Miracle Mile, the other seven spots in the super sprint will be filled from the starters in Saturday's two preludes. Lazarus's list • A$100,000 Prelude at Menangle on Saturday. • A$750,000 Miracle Mile on Feb 24. • Potentially $50,000 Free-For-All at Alex Park on March 9 or $30,000 Free-For-All at Addington on March 23. • $100,000 Easter Cup at Addington on March 31. Michael Guerin

Hightstown, NJ --- Chuck Sylvester believes he’s got a nice trotter returning from last season in 3-year-old filly Hey Blondie. He’s hoping to discover additional nice ones among the six harness racing 2-year-olds joining Hey Blondie in his winter stable at Spring Garden Ranch in Florida. That group includes $240,000 yearling purchase Girl With A Past. Hey Blondie won five of 13 races and earned $295,595 last year, ranking No. 3 in purses among all 2-year-old female trotters in North America. Her victories included the Kindergarten Series championship and a division of the International Stallion Stakes. Her best win time of 1:53.1, set in her International Stallion triumph at Lexington’s Red Mile, was tied for fourth fastest among 2-year-old female trotters. “She just came back into training,” Sylvester said. “If we handle her like last year I think she should have a real nice year. We let her race from behind and she liked that; she passed horses all the time. When it was right toward the end (of the season) we let her roll and she responded. She’s just not a filly that can go to the front and race every week. But I think in spots she’ll do fine.” Hey Blondie, who flashed final quarter-mile speed as fast as :26.4, led at the halfway point of a race only three times last season, winning twice. Her loss came in the season-ending Goldsmith Maid, where she went off stride and finished 10th. The race was won by Plunge Blue Chip. “I didn’t have her quite right her last start or she would have had some more money,” Sylvester said. “It was my fault. (Plunge Blue Chip) was sharp right then; I don’t know if we would have beaten her, but we should have been an easy second.” Hey Blondie is a daughter of Cantab Hall out of Winbak Blondie -- who is a full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill -- and sold for $125,000 under the name Whovian Hanover at the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale. Andy McCarthy drove her throughout last year. The filly is owned by Steve Jones, Mary Kinsey Arnold, Paul Bordogna, and David McDuffee. Last season’s group of 2-year-old filly trotters was led by undefeated Dan Patch Award winner Manchego, trained by Jimmy Takter. Other fillies at the top of the division in earnings included Ake Svanstedt’s Plunge Blue Chip, Julie Miller’s Seviyorum, and Trond Smedshammer’s Phaetosive. “If Manchego comes back as good as she was last year, she’s going to be tough,” Sylvester said. “Ake, I’m sure he’ll have his filly right when the time comes. It won’t be easy, but we’ll pick up some piece and we’ll be OK.” Sylvester’s group of 2-year-olds is made up of four filly trotters and two colt trotters. Girl With A Past (Cantab Hall-Shared Past) sold for $240,000 under the name So Diane Hanover at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. Her dam was a New Jersey Sire Stakes champion and her family includes millionaires Dejarmbro and Manofmanymissions. The remaining fillies are Chanel De Vie (Cantab Hall-Lola De Vie), Lollipop Lindy (Cantab Hall-Dana Boko) and Shes A Bronxbomber (Donato Hanover-Housethatruthbuilt). Lola De Vie was an Empire Breeders Classic champion. Housethatruthbuilt was a Dan Patch Award winner and is the dam of three horses to earn six figures, including stakes winners Real Babe and Murderers Row. The colts are Gardepat (Father Patrick-My Dream Gar It; original name Patrick’s Diamond) and Lucky Weekend (Lucky Chucky-Weekend Vacation). Sylvester trained Lucky Chucky, a two-time Dan Patch Award winner and earner of $2 million lifetime. “Right now they’re all training and nobody is on the shelf, so that’s good,” Sylvester said. “We’ve been in the (2):40s, that’s all, which is OK. “The weather hasn’t been very favorable. We’ve had a lot of rain and we’ve missed a lot of days. It’s just been nice the last 10 days where we’ve been able to train more consistently. But it seems like no matter what, when it’s time to go the good ones will be ready. I’m not one that’s going to drop one from (2):40 to (2):25, but if we have good weather and nothing happens we’ll be ready whenever the time comes.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

February 12, 2018 - Monday’s Quinte+ was the Prix de Senlis (purse €54,000, 2100 meters autostart, 18 European starters seven and eight year old harness racing females) at Paris-Vincennes. 70/1 Royal Roc (8f Filipp Roc-Gressy Roc) scored the upset timed in 1.12.2kr for driver Filippo Rocca that started from post 17. Lucio Becchetti trains the winner for Scuderia Saint Eusebio. 11/1 Arrival de Genai (8f Jag de Bellouet-Nymphe de Genai) was second for trainer/driver Patrice Pacaud and breeder/owner Pascal Plassais. Third was 3.1/1 Olympia Gold (7f Olimede-Shelle Gold) handled by David Thomain for trainer Per Linderoth and Team Gold. 13/1 Black Rain (5f Niky) was fourth for Alexandre Abrivard and fifth was 34/1 Bela du Vivier (7f Korean) for Matthieu Verva and trainer Guy Verva. The top four finishers raced barefoot. There were no Q+ exact order winning tickets on this event. The Prix de Blain-Bouvron-le Gavre (purse €52,000, 2175 meters, 10 starters) produced an impressive 1.12.7kr timed victory for 1.9/1 Exit Money (4m Coktail Jet-Making Money) with trainer J-M Bazire the pilot for Ecurie Yvan Bernard. This youngster now has four wins in 10 career starts. 4.8/1 Etonnart (4m Timoko-Migraine) was second with Bjorn Goop driving for owner/trainer Richard Westerink. 26/1 Esteban Jiel ) 4m Coktail Jet-Dirkonia Jiel) took third money for driver Matthieu Abrivard and trainer J.L. Dersoir. Freegate Island (3f Timoko-Agneska) was an easy 1.17kr winner of the Prix d’Olouom (purse €46,000, 2700 meters, seven starters) with trainer Bjorn Goop aboard. Jean Etienne Dubois bred this filly that is now owned by P&D Bronsman AB. The 9/1 winner bested 4.7/1 Fa de Bellouet (3f Quinoa du Gers) with trainer J-M Bazire up for owner Jean Claude Montwean. 3.1/1 Famille Royale (3f Village Mystic-New York) was third for driver Eric Raffin and Louis Baudron, the breeder / trainer / owner. The Prix de Juan les Pins (purse €46,000, 2800 meters, 18 starters) this day went to 11/1 Freeway Fortuna (6f Conway Hall-Saratoga Yankee) timed in 115.5kr and driven by Matthieu Abrivard. ACEM Schoonderwoerd trains and owns this fast closing mare. 2.4/1 Kash Brodde (6f Ready Cash-Kismet la Marc) was second for driver Dominik Locqueneux, trainer Peter Untersteiner and Full Moon Stable. 4.9/1 Capella de Vrie (6f Prince d’Espace) was third for driver Franck Nivard and breeder/owner/trainer Roger Baudron. Thomas H. Hicks    

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 12, 2018—He came. He saw. He conquered. Thrice. Harness racing driver Billy Dobson celebrated Abe Lincoln’s 209th birthday Monday night (Feb. 12th) with a honest-to-goodness memorable Yonkers Raceway performance. The Saratoga standout came downstate for three drives, resulting in three off-the-pace wins…even if one was behind a trotter. Said trotter was Western Credit ($14.60), who reeled in a stubborn fave Aruba Vacation late in the $7,500 second race. The margin as neck in 1:58.1. Next, a last-to-first Stonedust ($41.60), overcoming the eight-hole in the $10,000, third-race pace (1:56.2). The 4-year-old Sagebrush gelding was making just a seventh career start. Dobson’s three-fer was completed in the $17,000, seventh-race pace, pouncing after a contested battle to prevail with Gussy’s Dragon ($10.20) in 1:55.3. ‘Gussy’ held off 8-5 choice Queen Josephine by a scant nose. Donald Billings trained Western Credit, who turned out to be a one start rent-a-trotter, while Monica Krist trained both Stonedust and Gussy’s Dragon.       Frank Drucker  

DOVER, Del. ---Papa Ray won the Lincoln’s Day feature at Dover Downs, one of three harness racing victories for driver Victor Kirby, trainer Wayne Givens and owners Reggie Hazzard and Legacy Racing on Feb. 12. Kirby finished with four wins. Gallic Beach (Corey Callahan) raced alongside Papa Ray from the three quarters until mid-stretch when Kirby finally shook off his challenger to pull away for a 1:51.triumph, his first of the New Year in four tries giving the Village Jolt-Liamatters horse his 43rd lifetime win to up his career earnings to $613,488. Gallic Beach was followed by Pretty Boy Hill (Jonathan Roberts) third. The same driver, trainer, owners combination came back to races later when Downthehighway turned back eight opponents in 1:52.1 to beat I Found My Beach (Callahan) and Hide Me Away ( ).The five-year-old winner is a son of Dontgetinmyway-Happy Tears and is a $368,937 lifetime winner. Earlier, Inforce, a Western Hanover-Kats Treasure five-year-old scored a 1:54.4 success to start the trio of Kirby, Givens winners. Skyful Of Lighters (Sean Bier) was runner-up. Bobby The Greek (Callahan) finished third.   Kirby finished with four winners, Givens , Legacy Racing and Reggie Hazzard had three winners, Morgan and Russell Foster had two wins. ROYAL BECCA J, ONE TO BEAT, IN $25,000 OPEN TR0T TUESDAY Super-sharp Royal Becca J takes on Theresademoninme, Celebrity Pegasus and Moonlight Cocktail in an eight-horse field on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Riding an impressive two-ace win streak in the Open and a winner of three of her last five starts with two seconds, Jack Park Jr. drives the blossoming eight-year-old owned by Chip Moore from post 7 facing two multi-winners of this event, Mike Casalino and Dylan Davis' Theresademoninme with Jonathan Roberts at the controls and Art Stafford Jr. driven Celebrity Pegasus, from outside post 8 for trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms. The list also contains Richard Gutnick and TLP Stable's Moonlight Cocktail leaving from the rail with Tony Morgan in the bike. Former Delaware-bred champion I Like My Boss and Allan Davis is alongside. Lazurus piloted by Tim Tetrick has a win, a place and a show in his last three outings for Dana Parham, CC Racing and Triple D Stables. John DeVito's fast Golden Son reined by Russell Foster and newcomer Elysium Lindy piloted by Corey Callahan for Burke Racing, J. Di Scala and Weaver Bruscemi make up a strong lineup of contenders. A strong card of trotters includes a $13,000 Winners-Over led by driver Tim Tetrick and Triple D Stable's Soda Pump, a winner of two of his last four; Midsize Construction's Blownoutofthewater (Vic Kirby) a winner last start; Wood, Dittmar, Iaquinta and Tribbett Racing's Perseverance (Stafford Jr.) drew the rail with Jenny Melander leased Wisenheimer (Roberts) alongside after a wire-to-wire qualifying win over an off track. Not to be overlooked in the field of nine are Mike Casalino's steady Tough Mac (Callahan) from the second tier; Bamon Racing's Crazshana (Allan Davis), dropping down from the Open; William Cantrell's Deacons Valley (Eddie Davis Jr.), William Mofftt's sharp Gillie The Kid (Ross Wolfenden) with an inside post; and Mark Ford's Moose Madness (Kirby). A $13,500 trot has Wood, Dittmar, Iaquita and Walls' Filled Donut , the program favorite; Magic Maddy (Morgan), fresh from a win for Lou Catana and Vince Bradley and Fred Hertrich's Gravitator (Eddie Davis Jr.) among nine starters. Dover Downs features 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. Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. An excellent selection of food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

Western Australia’s leading harness racing driver this season Shannon Suvaljko is on the cusp of a milestone after a winning double yesterday at Pinjarra lifted his career wins tally to 1497. This season Suvaljko has driven 84 winners and leads Chris Lewis by eight with a further five winners to Chris Voak in third place. Shannon Suvaljko is in seventh place on the all-time list of the State’s leading drivers which is headed by Chris Lewis with 5223 wins. Shannon and his brother Callan (1183 wins) are the only siblings to have each driven in excess of 1000 winners in Western Australia. Shannon Suvaljko can add to his tally with six drives at this afternoon’s Gloucester Park meeting. Alan Parker

Brayden White was named on Monday as the 2018 Easter Seals ambassador for P.E.I. Brayden is a Grade 7 student from Georgetown Elementary. He has Down syndrome. "I know that I learn slower than most people, but I am smart and I learn the same as everyone. It just takes me longer," Brayden writes in his introductory letter. 'I am smart and I learn the same as everyone. It just takes me longer.'— Brayden White "I am just like you. I am no different. My dad always says that someday I will be able to live on my own and have a job." Brayden says Georgetown Elementary is a great school, where he gets to be with his best friends every day. He plays hockey, basketball and soccer, and loves to watch harness racing. Brayden's motto is, "Be brave! Never give up!" His duties as Easter Seals ambassador will include a tour of Island schools to talk about the work Easter Seals does in the province. As part of the tour, students will be encouraged to hold fundraising events. By Kevin Yarr Reprinted with permission of CBC News

Jean Feiss has a simple philosophy to buying yearling these days, the only problem is she bumped into somebody with the same attitude at Karaka yesterday. Feiss, best known as the owner of Auckland Cup hero Vincent, outlaid $230,000 to secure the sales topper at the Australasian Classic harness sale, huge money for a standardbred yearling in this part of the world. She did something very similar at the same sale last year when she purchased that sale's top lot in Jessie Duke, who has already won his debut and looks worth every cent of his $220,000 price. "My attitude these days is go and buy the horse you actually want, rather than miss him and buy one that is left," says Feiss. "Obviously [husband] Bill and I are fortunate enough to be in the position to do that but because we are, my approach to the sales has changed a little bit in recent years." While Feiss was pleased to get her prime target it would have cost a lot less had one of the true big spenders of New Zealand racing in John Street not been the underbidder. Street and Feiss went bid for bid in $10,000 increments from about the $100,000 mark and while it made for an entertaining minute on a largely sedate day, either one of them could probably have secured the colt for $150,000 and gone home happy had their other not been so keen. Their bidding war was indicative of how the sale played out, with the big buyers willing to spend up to $100,000 probably numbering around 10 and almost of all of them interested in the same 10-12 colts. Feiss is a filly buyer and will head to the Christchurch sale tomorrow looking for her next Spanish Armada but the fairer sex are becoming a harder sell in harness racing, with many of the top-end buyers focusing on colts. Yesterday's top lot was, as expected, a son of Bettors Delight and a brother to Linda Lovegrace, being the fourth foal of a mare whose only three progeny to race have all won. Bettors Delight was the big dog again, siring the top three lots but Woodlands Stud were just as thrilled with their new stallion Sweet Lou producing the fourth highest lot, a half-brother to Let It Ride, who finished second in the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on Saturday. Another big winner from the day was Canterbury boutique breeding operation Dancingonmoonlight Farms, the breeding business set up by Robert Famularo of Monkey King fame and now run by daughter Sara. They sold two lots for $90,000 and one for $85,000. Overall the sales average yesterday at $33,850 was down about 10 per cent on last season. The clearance rate of 73.36 per cent will raise to around 77 per cent after the usual business is done on passed in lots but there were still plenty of vendors disappointed. Until harness racing finds 50 new buyers to boost the middle market, that won't change. Big bucks babies $230k Bettors Delight-Linda Grace colt. $140k Bettors Delight-Sossusvlei colt. $130k Bettors Delight-Beach Parade colt. $100k Sweet Lou-Love A Gamble colt. Michael Guerin

Hightstown, NJ --- Carl Becker was barely a teenager when he provided play-by-play for a summer softball league in Altamont, Ill., but at that moment he knew he wanted a career behind a microphone. Becker’s election to harness racing’s Communicators Hall of Fame is the result of his ambitions fulfilled, although not exactly as he imagined during those early days. “I thought I was the next Cardinals baseball broadcaster; I had no doubt in my mind that’s what I was going to be,” Becker said with a laugh as he recalled his start. “Things took a little turn. It worked out the best for all of us, including the Cardinals fans probably.” Becker, who has spent more than five decades calling horse races, will be honored at the Dan Patch Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 25, with his official enshrinement in the Communicators Hall of Fame coming July 1 at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. “It’s a tremendous honor when you think about the people that are in the Hall and the ones that are going in,” Becker said. “It’s something I didn’t expect and I really appreciate it.” Also elected to the Communicators Hall of Fame was writer Dave Briggs. Elected to the Hall of Fame were Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, two of the sport’s most successful breeders and owners. Becker’s introduction to harness racing came at the Effingham County Fair in Altamont. “I would watch the horse races and I loved them,” Becker said. “When I got to high school, my buddies and I would pick a number and play for a penny or a nickel. I couldn’t get away from it. I liked the excitement of it. I had a favorite horse named Trigger Colleen. When he raced at Altamont I was on edge the night before and couldn’t wait to see what happened the next day. It just kind of grew from there.” His path to the racetrack announcer’s booth was gradual, but his career picked up steam quickly once he headed that direction. Becker graduated from the University of Illinois, where he majored in agricultural education and minored in animal science, and spent five years as a teacher. He was 27 when he began calling races regularly at the fairs and soon found himself on some of the sport’s biggest stages. “The announcing part, I thought I could do that,” Becker said. “It all just fell into place. I just thoroughly enjoy watching horses race. We would have some very competitive races at the county fairs. “I did the Illinois State Fair, and that was a dream come true. Back then, the Grand Circuit went from Springfield to Indianapolis to Du Quoin, and The Red Mile was a few weeks later. I did the Illinois State Fair, and I did Indiana, and Du Quoin and The Red Mile. It was a six-week period and it was exciting. I saw all the great drivers, all the great horses. It just was a real trip.” Two of Becker’s many memorable days occurred in 1980. The first was Billy Haughton winning the final Hambletonian Stakes at Du Quoin with Burgomeister, a horse owned by his late son Peter, who had died in a car accident earlier that year. The second was Niatross’ 1:49.1 world record time trial at The Red Mile, which marked the first time a horse broke the 1:50 barrier. “I was very blessed,” Becker said. “Two of the greatest moments in harness racing I was fortunate to be part of. The Haughton win with Burgomeister, there were a lot of tears flowing. It was a very emotional time. “The Niatross time trial, to this day I haven’t seen anything like it. The emotion was unbelievable. When he hit the wire the crowd erupted. People were rushing onto the track wanting to touch the horse. (Trainer/driver) Clint Galbraith was so generous and so good; he spent a lot extra time on the track making sure people did get to touch Niatross.” Other top races for Becker included Workaholic’s win in the first Breeders Crown in 1984, the world-record 1:51.2 dead heat between Jaguar Spur and Laag in 1987, and Trim The Tree’s world-record 1:53.3 mile in the rain in 1982. All three were at The Red Mile. Becker’s career in harness racing has also involved owning and breeding horses as well as serving as a pedigree reader for numerous auctions. The 80-year-old remains active as a pedigree reader and still calls races at the fairs. “I do seven or eight fairs a year now,” Becker said. “I do as many as they ask me to do. It’s fun. My son Kurt does a few fairs when he’s home. Between us we do most of the fairs in the area.” Becker’s enthusiasm for harness racing has been a key to his success. “You have to be excited about what you’re doing,” Becker said. “If you’re not excited, it’s hard to call races. For two minutes, you have to put something into it. I believe it’s always come naturally because I’ve always felt that way. I’ve always been excited.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Harrisburg, PA --- The Dan Patch Awards Dinner is rapidly approaching and along with it, the annual silent auction held in conjunction with the evening's festivities on Feb. 25 in Orlando. Once again the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and USHWA's industry outreach will benefit from the sales. This year's auction features a wide variety of items so there is sure to be something of interest for everyone in attendance. Phone bidding is possible but must be arranged prior to February 24. Lots available include: 14K horsehead necklace with diamond and chain (donated by Bow River Jewelry); 2018 Preakness Stakes Package (donated by Maryland Jockey Club); The "Campbell Collection" of memorabilia including board game, posters, shirts, hats, programs and more - most autographed by the one and only John Campbell; Custom harness racing stained glass panel (donated by Barbara Dresser and Callie Davies Gooch); Signed and numbered Always B Miki mounted pen & ink print (donated by Michelle Hogan); "Night on the Meadowlands TV Set" experience; "Handicapping Session with Garnet Barnsdale"; Production of audio advertising piece by Retromedia; (PR services for audio production, script and voiceover: donated and provided by Mark McKelvie and Melissa Keith) Red Mile Package $1000 value Dinner and programs for 4 in The Red Mile Clubhouse (excluding alcohol) and Railbird Box Seats (for up to 6 people) - all during  2018 The Red Mile Grand Circuit meet! Exact location for box seats to be determined. (Donated by the Red Mile) Rosen Shingle Creek hotel vacation package (donated by same); Baseball package including tickets for Mets and Phillies games (donated by Nick Saponara); Collection of framed, vintage cigar box labels of Ashwood, Peter Manning, and Single Kay; Off & Pacing game package; Limited-edition Cam Fella print by equine artist Fred Stone: (donated by The Farm Ventures (Off and Pacing/Ryan Clements/Landon Mulhall) Set of 6 hand-painted goblets (donated by Suzanne D'Ambrose); Variety of gift baskets from Batavia Downs, Hoosier Park, Ohio Sires Stakes, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, and Hambletonian/Breeders Crown; (Canadian horse racing gift basket: items donated by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Retromedia Publishing, and Melissa Keith) Gift certificates from Fennell's, Big D's and The Red Mile Gift Shop; And perhaps a few late entries! Proceeds from the silent auction go to fund the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's Summer Programs as well as the U.S. Harness Writers Association's industry outreach initiative, which this past year made contributions to the Harness Racing Museum, Historic Track rebuilding fund, the Filion family and the Clyde Hirt Media Workshop during Hambletonian week. For complete information, item descriptions, available photos and bidding instructions, please visit www.ushwa.org or call Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor at 317-908-0029. by Ken Weingartner, for USHWA

Pompano Beach, FL...February 12, 2018...Waikiki Beach A, the harness racing Australian bred six year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere, scored a repeat win in Pompano Park's $11,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night (February 11). The gallant gelding, who made a successful debut at the South Florida oval in 1:51.4 one week ago, overcame the assignment of the outside eight post and seven classy foes to score in a lifetime best 1:50.2--eking out a photo finish win over another Aussie bred gelding, Hollywood Sign A, handled by Matt Krueger. Fritzie Pic Up Man, cutting fractions of :26.2, :54.3 and 1:21.4 along with way, finished third for George Napolitano, Jr. Doo Wop Hanover and Dee's Rocketman picked up the minors in the octet. At the opening bell, Waikiki Beach A "half-heartedly" left and went in search of a better spot, finally finding one in fifth around the opening turn. On the backside, Zeron tilted his charge out and began gnawing away but was still some three or four lengths away around the final bend. Once they straightened away, Waikiki Beach A was in full attack mode, sticking his nose in front right on the wire. In a post race interview, driver Scott Zeron lamented, "He had to overcome a lot in the mile tonight and I couldn't have asked for much more finishing. I will say that these were two great starts prepping for the Levy." Trained by Ross Croghan for the Let It Ride Stables, Waikiki Beach A is, of course, a perfect two-for-two in the U.S. to go along with his newly established mark. Lifetime, Waikiki Beach A has banked $719,019--$11,000 of that in his two starts this year. Off at even-money on the tote-board, Waikiki Beach A paid $4.00 to win. In other Sunday action, Lyons Johnny, with Wally Hennessey handling the lines, won the $9,000 Claiming Handicap, scoring in 1:52.1 over The Onlyest One, with George Napolitano, Jr. in the bike. E R Melvyn, driven by Rick Plano, was third while Backup A finished fourth. E Y Cowboy picked up the nickel in the sharp sextet. The win was the 40th career-wise for the 10 year-old altered son of Mach Three, whose earnings leaped to just under the $400,000 mark--$399,019 to be precise. Lyons Johnny was trained by Ray Vizzi for owner Mildred Ventriglio and was promptly claimed for the $30,000 tag. Off as the second choice at 3 to 2, Lyona Johnny rewarded his many faithful with a $5.00 mutual. Another noteworthy performance was put in by A Cool Card, driven by Rick Plano. This 10 year-old gelded son of Cole Muffler toured Pompano Park's slick five-eighths mile over in 1:51, highlighted by a final half in :54 flat. A Cool Card carded panels of :27.3 and :57 before beginning his lethal sprint on the backside, reaching the third station in 1:23.3. Driver Rick Plano also trains for owner Maryann Plano. It was the first success of the season for A Cool Card, who now has 41 career wins and $473,909 in bounty. Off at 4 to 5, A Cool Card paid $3.80 to win. Racing continues on Monday night with a Super Hi-5 season high carryover of $181,597. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park        

Elite du Royal (4f Timoko-Romance du Ruel) at 12/1 ran off to a huge lead in the Gr. II Prix Ephrem Houel (purse €120,000, 2850 meters, 11 starters) for trainer/driver Franck Anne and held it for a 1.18.9kr harness racing score. Mme. Annick Bazin bred and owns the winner. 3.7/1 Enino du Pommereux (4m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) and J-M Bazire was second for trainer Sylvain Roger and breeder/owner Noel Lolic. 1.1/1 favorite Erming d’Oliverie (4f Scipion du Goutier) was third with Franck Nivard up for trainer Franck Leblanc. The day’s featured Q+ Prix de Munich (purse €95,000, 2100 meters, 15 European starters) went to Bigeon stalwart 1.8/1 favorite Afghan Barbes (8g Meaulnes du Corta-Nuance Barbes) with Charles J. Bigeon up for trainer Christian Bigeon and owner Andre Francis Bigeon. The 1.17.=2kr timed winner now has 16 victories in 45 career outings for €523,260 earned. 3.1/1 Bel Avis (7g Ganymede-Gloria Maris) was second for trainer/driver J-M Bazire, owner Wildenstein Stables and the breeder was Comte de Belaigue. 18/1 Bad Boy du Dollar (7m Magnificent Rodney) with Matthieu Abrivard up took third ahead of 81/1 Coquin Bebe (6m Rancho Gede) and 20/1 Unbridled Charm (10m Password) that completed the top five. Treasure Kronos was 1th and Rod Stewart was a dq in this event. The Prix de Verneuil (purse €72,000, 2850 meters, 13 European starters) went to 3/1 Deesse des Landes (5f Millenium Wood-Tifosa) with owner/trainer L.M. David at the lines. Race time was 1.21.9kr over the heavy surface. 12/1 Decennie (5f Love You-Parabola) was second for Mathieu Mottier and trainer Dominique Mottier. Third was Danseuse du Citrus (5f Otello Pierji) with David Thomain up for trainer Bjorn Goop, and Gilda Newport landed the fourth spot. The monte Prix de Lisieux (purse €88,000, 2850 meters, 12 starters) produced a 23/1 odds victory for Vinci Pierji (9g Meaulnes du Corta-Intaille) with trainer Matthieu Abrivard in the irons. Race time was 1.17.3kr. 17/1 Tell Me No Lies (9g Offshore Dream-B.Glorious was next for pilot David Thomain, KLV Holding AB and trainer Philippe Billard. Third was 1.9/1 Shadow Gar (7f Pine Chip-Lady Killer Gar) for jockey Alexandre Abrivard and trainer/owner Pietro Gubellini. The Prix de Selestat (purse €33,000, 2700 meters, 14 starters) began the Saturday racing action over a heavy, thawing, snow melting day at Vincennes. The winner was 7/2 odds Famous Quality (3f Rocklyn-Union Quality) with Jean Philippe Dubois up for his Ecurie Victoria Dreams and trainer Philippe Moulin.  Time was 1.22.1kr. 1.9/1 favorite Flora du Pommereux (3f Up And Quick-Salsa du Pommereux) took second for Franck Nivard, trainer Sylvain Roger and owner Noel Lolic. Third went to 7.3/1 Ficite de Baille (3f Neutron du Cebe-Korella)  for Mathieu Mottier, trainer Dominique Mottier and breeder/owner Ecurie Mathieu Mottier. Later in the program the Prix du Bouscat (purse €37,000, 2700 meters) went to 1.19.3kr timed Ducal Vrie (5g Kesaco Phedo-Shalima Vrie) with Franck Nivard up for legendary breeder/owner/trainer Roger Baudron (now with 1,104 training victories). Thomas H. Hicks  

With close to 2800 winners and 47 Group One wins as a harness racing trainer Gary Hall has seen it all and it takes something pretty special for him to get emotional on the track. On Friday night at Gloucester Park Gary Hall was emotional as he took in the fact the his three-year-old filly Slick Artist had won the $50,000 Group Two Daintys Daughter Classic. Having just her ninth start, Slick Artist has now won three races and set a new race record when she rated 1:56.4 for the 2130 metres and took her earnings to more than $43,000 as she led home Infinite Symbol and short-priced favourite Cott Beach. Slick Artist is by Art Major from the Bettors Delight mare Slick Bird and she is raced by Beth Richardson, Gary’s wife Karen Hall, Gary Ralston and WA Turf Club Chairman Neil Pinner. The quartet bred Slick Artist along with the Falsify Syndicate. Slick Bird won ten races in WA including a prelude of the 2011 WA Oaks and finished third to Artemis Belle and If I Have A Dream in the final. “Slick Artist is the first horse I have been involved with breeding,” a visibly excited Hall said after the race. “I have had her since she was born and it is special to see her come so far”. “I have a two-year-old half-brother to Slick Artist by Alta Christiano and he looks like being even better,” he said. Alta Christiano won the 2013 WA Derby for Hall in a career severely restricted by injury and his first crop have just begun to appear in this season’s 2yo races. The Daintys Daughter Classic was first run in 2000 and was the brainchild of the WA Standardbred Breeders Association who wished to honour arguably the greatest race-mare to have raced in this State. Daintys Daughter, who was the first mare inducted into The West Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame in 2010, won 36 races against all-comers including a WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup and set World Records over one mile and two miles for her owner/breeder Jock Coleman and trainer/driver Bernie Cushing. Bernie Cushing's daughter Dot presented the 2018 Daintys Daughter Classic trophy to Gary Hall on Friday night. The first winner of the race was Black And Blue which coincidentally is from the same maternal family as Daintys Daughter. A grand-daughter of Black And Blue in Cott Beach started a favourite in Friday night’s race to add more to the coincidence. Alan Parker

A new action group is fighting plans to build 300 homes at Globe Derby Park. Resident Des Nolan, who owns a business selling horse supplies in Globe Derby Park, has rallied more than 100 supporters and racing club members in a bid to prevent a large section of harness racing land being used for housing. In December, the South Australian Harness Racing Club voted to sell off 70 per cent of Globe Derby Park to investment company GIC. Club president Richard Miller said this would secure the long-term future of harness racing. But Mr Nolan and his action group disagree. “I have mass concerns with the sale,” he said last week. “If we lose this, it will be the end of horse-keeping in Globe Derby Park and where will all these people go to keep their horses? “The community was behind the South Australian Harness Racing Club developing along Port Wakefield Rd ... but now what they want to do is develop all the way along Globe Derby Drive, down Trotters Drive and into Alabar Crescent and put in 300 homes.” Mr Nolan has launched an online petition that last week had attracted close to 400 signatures – and is now trying to collect another 100 by doorknocking the neighbourhood. The petition will be presented to Salisbury Council and the State Government in an attempt to prevent rezoning. A GIC spokeswoman could not confirm whether there was a plan to build 300 new homes at the site, saying it was early days for the project and “there are still a number of processes, procedures and community consultation that will need to be overseen and managed”. “The vision for the final product will encapsulate a happy, thriving, and open community for families and existing residents in the area,” the spokeswoman said. Mr Miller said the harness racing club would ensure local trainers to the west of Globe Derby Park would continue to have safe access to the track and facilities. “We will be giving the local community the opportunity to hear more about our plans in the near future,” he said. Ashleigh Pisani, Northern Weekly Messenger Reprinted withg permission of The Advertiser

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