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Whether driving a golf ball or driving a harness racing horse, Marianna Monaco knows the thrill of victory. The 25-year-old New Yorker has won a total of eight races as an amateur driver and her share of tournaments as an amateur golfer. In 2017, Monaco captured the New York State Women's Amateur golf championship one year after being the event's runner-up. The past two years, she has won the Women's Dutchess County Amateur. On the racetrack, Monaco got her first win in 2018 in a matinee at Goshen Historic Track. The victory came on her 23rd birthday. She notched her first pari-mutuel triumph last year in the GSY Amateur Series at The Meadowands and finished the season with six wins. Earlier this week, she won a Billings Amateur Series race at Yonkers. It was her first victory at The Hilltop, which is where Monaco and her family spent many nights enjoying the races over the years. As a child, Monaco imagined herself competing at Yonkers and accumulated a collection of whips and other items that numbered in the hundreds. "Growing up there, it was always a dream," said Monaco, a Yonkers native. "Getting a win there was a surreal experience. I was once that kid on the other side of the fence driving my imaginary horse across the wire. It was a thrill." On Friday, Monaco will be back in the GSY Series at The Meadowlands. She is starting from post one with Deerfield Beach and is 10-1 on the morning line. "Hopefully, the race will set up nicely for him and we can come a good last quarter and we should be fine in there," Monaco said. Monaco began jogging horses at a young age. Her father, Nick, owned horses and she had other family members in the business. Her involvement around the barn increased over the years until other sports began to occupy her time. It was fast-pitch travel softball at first, but a trip with her dad to a driving range changed her focus. "The pro asked my dad how long I'd been playing," Monaco said. "My dad said, 'She plays softball, she doesn't play golf.' The pro said, 'There's talent there.' My dad said there wasn't much after college for softball and asked if I wanted to keep playing. From that point on, I was going for golf lessons and practicing. It just stuck with me." Monaco got a full scholarship to play golf at Newberry College, where she was the South Atlantic Conference Freshman of the Year and, as a sophomore, the SAC Player of the Year. She transferred to the University of South Carolina for her final two years and graduated in 2017 with a degree in criminal justice. After finishing her collegiate career, Monaco stepped back from playing golf regularly. That's when driving entered the picture. "It's something I wanted to do," Monaco said. "I just wanted to win a race. I thought I would get that first win and I would be satisfied. But I wasn't. As soon as I got off the bike, I told my dad I wished there was another race because I wanted to get back in the bike again. It's just been something I've kept after." Monaco intends to play more golf this year, possibly with an eye toward turning pro. But she also plans to keep driving on. "I think the driving is more for fun, but as soon as I get off the bike I watch replays to see what I could have done better," Monaco said. "In golf, you can shoot 65 but you can look at the scorecard and say you left a couple shots out there. It's the same with driving; you can win a race, but it's always a learning process. I think that's why I enjoy it a lot. "Most importantly, if a trainer I'm driving for thinks I could have done something differently, I want them to speak up and tell me. That way I can learn from that and go forward. I appreciate that. They're trying to help me learn and be a better driver." In addition to driving, Monaco owns three horses. She trains one of them herself. "I enjoy the atmosphere, being around the animals," Monaco said. "It's something different every day. You see the same horses, but they have different attitudes day to day. I don't think you ever get tired of it. I look forward to seeing them. As much as you make them happy, you're just as happy to walk through the door and see them." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

The temporary migration across Bass Strait of notable Victorian harness racing representatives continues this weekend, as the competition hots up for lucrative Autumn rewards in Tasmania. Astute Dean Braun, of Lara near Geelong, posted an impressive double at Hobart last Sunday and appears to have piqued interest in the Apple Isle from his Victorian counterparts. Braun teamed with champion driver Chris Alford to win with Willie Go West (Auckland Reactor-Better Go (Bettors Delight) and Jaffa Josh (Auckland Reactor-Silk Rose). Willie Go West scored a 13-metre win in the first heat of the Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup, while Jaffa Josh was just as impressive, winning by 19 metres in the second heat of the Tasmanian Labor Eric Reece Memorial. This Sunday at Hobart will see Momentslikethese (Jess Tubbs/Greg Sugars) and Tay Tay (Kate Hargreaves/Alex Ashwood) run in the $12,000 3yo Fillies Championship. The spotlight then turns to the second heat of the Tasmania Cup where Bullys Delight (John Nicholson), Form Analyst (Alex Ashwood), Guptas Cullen (Shaun McNaulty) and Triple Eight (Greg Sugars) do battle. The $75,000 final is tomorrow week at Elwick. Nicholson also has Alby Two Chains and Sebs Choice in the 3yo Guineas. Ashwood will drive Elita in the $8750 Downtown Property Pace. Greg Sugars, chasing success in Tassie this Sunday __________________________________________________________________________________ The Country Cups action continues in Victoria this weekend, with the tiny Mallee town of Birchip conducting its renowned Sharp’s Bakery Mallee Bull Pacing Cup meeting on Sunday afternoon, also featuring the TMC Enviro Trotters Cup. Later that night, Wangaratta will stage its Cup meeting at Shepparton. In-form Bendigo trotter Well Defined will chase his fourth consecutive trotters’ country cup, while the pacers’ feature sees Major Jodi, Uncle Jord, Mummys Boy, I Cast No Shadow and Boy From Bondi chasing top honors. And over the border into SA, Gawler has a twilight Sunday meeting where both the Trotters and Pacing Cups will be run. __________________________________________________________________________________ The Victorian Square Trotters Association has sent out an SOS for nominations for honors in three of square gaiting’s most prestigious awards for the 2019-20 season. Nominations close at 5pm today for three individual awards, with the three categories all named in recognition of key “advocates of the gait” in Victoria. There’s the Rising Star Award, named in honor of Dick Lee who, in his 80s, still keeps a sharp eye on the racing scene. Sponsored by Fred and Elizabeth Crews, this award is for a young person under 25 regarded as an up-and-comer in the industry. Drivers, trainers, stable hands, mini pony trot competitors, volunteers and promoters are eligible. The Bob Conroy Excellence in Trotting Award, sponsored by the Conroy family, is named in honor of a legend of the sport. “Gentleman Bob”, died in December 2017 doing what he loved at age 88, jogging a horse in the bush. “This is for a passionate person involved in the industry—-someone who is dedicated and making a mark in our trotting family,” the VSTA said. The Colin Redwood Encouragement Award, for perseverance and determination, is aimed at those outside the professional ranks. Proudly sponsored by the Redwood family, this award covers hobby trainers, stable hands, drivers, volunteers, etc. The late Mr Redwood, who died almost 12 months ago, was a HRV Distinguished Services Medallist. The VSTA was formed in 1980 to promote the trotting gait in the State. Over the following years, the Association has worked tirelessly with HRV to develop the sport. The popular Redwood Carnival at Maryborough, a flagship event for the VSTA, is now a highlight of the Australian trotting calendar. Award nominations can be emailed to I.R (Dick) Lee, a talented horseman, Hall of Famer, and prolific G1 trainer and driver __________________________________________________________________________________ Former country Victorian talented pacer Im Sir Blake (Alta Christiano-Jupiters Darling (Dream Away) will continue his career in America. O’Brien Racing at Armstrong, near Ararat, said it was with mixed emotions that their mate “Whiskers” would have his next chapter overseas with new owners and trainer. Co-trainers Danny and Leroy O’Brien did an outstanding job with the gelding, taking him to 14 wins and 12 placings from just 39 race appearances. “From a $4000 purchase at a Shepparton sale, to a lifetime stakes winner of over $120,000, he was a horse you dream to have in your stable,” the father and son training combination said. The pacer was bred by prominent Perth breeder and owner Robert Watson. A winner at his first start at Horsham when handled by ace freelance reinsman Michael Bellman, I’m Sir Blake then went onto record victories at Stawell, Bendigo, Ararat, Kilmore, Ballarat, Terang, Melton and Mildura. Undoubtedly one of his most exciting wins was in the far north-west corner of Victoria at MIldura in June 2019, when the pacer took out the rich Mitavite Northern Region Victorian Championship Final with champion horsewoman Kerryn Manning aboard. And it was probably fitting that Whiskers returned to that venue last November and scored again—in what was to be his last victory on Australian soil. The O’Briens also sold Imprincessgemma (Village Jolt-Melody Stride (In The Pocket), a winner of 11 races, to the States over 14 months ago and the mare has acquitted herself very well. “Whiskers” aka Im Sir Blake, who has been sold to the USA (Stacey Lear Photography)   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Kentuckiana Lodge colt Krug is perfectly poised ahead of his first classic race tilt in Friday night’s Northern Derby at Alexandra Park. Trainers Cran and Chrissie Dalgety go into the Group One feature after enjoying an ideal final lead up with their three-year-old. After two solid hit-outs to start his latest campaign Krug unleashed a powerful victory in the Northern Derby Prelude last week. And after enjoying a faultless week since, amid the chaos of a COVID interrupted night of premier racing, the Krug camp go into Friday night’s race full of confidence. “Everything has come together and we couldn’t be happier,” Cran Dalgety said. “95% of is just where we would want it to be and the other 5% is out of our hands and will depend on what happens on the night.” “The horse is fit and healthy and he has got a nice draw in 5.” “The driver has won more races than anyone else in the history of the country, so we couldn’t ask for too much more.” Tony Herlihy took Krug to the front for a strong final hit-out in last week’s Northern Derby Prelude. Well known as a good-doer, that run and this week’s training have the colt primed to be at his peak for Friday night’s Group One. “Tony summed it up nicely last week and it was just what the horse needed," Cran said.  “The three runs he has had in Auckland have brought him on each time and he is really match fit going into the big one.” “Now he just had to go out there and do battle.”  Few of the Northern Derby field have had a lot of experience over 2700m and Krug is a complete novice at 2700m.  But if any horse looks suited to the classic race trip it is the Kentuckiana Lodge colt. His ability to drop the bit and settle in any race scenario and pick up again with push-button speed makes him the ideal derby horse. “Of course it helps he is by Bettor’s Delight, so he has got plenty of staying power there.” “But you can drive him on a rein of cotton and stepping up to 2700m is actually a big advantage to him whereas it might not suit some of the others quite as much.” “There will be no excuses, put it that way.” Kentuckiana Lodge start a second Northern Derby contender in Alta Sensation from barrier 7 with Jay Abernethy in the sulky.  The three-year-old earned his spot in the field with a powerful win in the grades at Alexandra Park last week. While he may not be among the favourites, Alta Sensation has all the credentials he needs going into a derby. “He is a little bit unheralded compared to some of the big names, but he wouldn’t be there if we didn’t think he could run a big race," Cran said.  “He has got a nice draw (2) to work with and he has got gate speed.” “He is fit and well and we are hopeful can show he is up with the big boys.” “He certainly won’t disgrace himself, that is for sure.” Kentuckiana Lodge also starts Casino Action in the Group One Young Guns Final and Chevrons Bypass and Mitsi Gaynor in the Group Two Delightful Lady Classic on Friday night.  Casino Action has not been able to show his best in his last two after copping tough trips. But from barrier 3 it is hoped he can show his true potential and the kind of form that saw him beat many of his rivals in his outstanding debut win.  Both Kentuckiana Lodge fillies have copped tricky draws with Chevrons Bypass starting from barrier 7 and Misti Gaynor in barrier 1 on the second row. “The two-year-olds are all fit and well, they just need a bit of luck and they will be right there.” On a busy weekend for Kentuckiana Lodge, Twlight Bromac starts in race 1 at Addington on Friday night.    by Jonny Turner

MILTON, ON - March 4, 2021 - Woodbine Entertainment today proudly revealed the names of the slot owners for the second edition of the Mohawk Million for two-year-old trotters on Saturday, September 25 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A total of nine slots were available for purchase at the cost of $100,000 (CAD) each for entry in the $1-million (CAD) Mohawk Million. The deadline to purchase a slot passed on February 15 with all slots sold. The tenth and final slot will be awarded to the winner of the William Wellwood Memorial on September 11. The slot owners for the 2021 Mohawk Million are listed below: Brad Grant Crawford Farms Determination (two slots) EquineX (two slots) Gino Toscani (two slots) Steve Heimbecker The owners of the slots are not required to declare a two-year-old trotter for the race until entry time and the slot is an entity that may be sold, traded or subject to lease. Each slot owner was required to submit $50,000 per slot by the February 15 deadline. The remaining $50,000 is due by June 1. The Mohawk Million will take place along with the $850,000 Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers on September 25, putting the sport's two richest races for freshmen on the same card. The $540,000 Shes A Great Lady for two-year-old pacing fillies will also take place on the Mohawk Million card, which will feature total purses of more than $2.6 million. Fans can track the march to the Mohawk Million by following @WoodbineSB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The official hashtag of harness racing's richest race for two-year-olds is #MohawkMillion. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment            

The Riverton Trotting Club carded two Free for Alls, a Nuggets Final and a heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series today at Central Southland Raceway in Winton, and they were rewarded with some top harness racing. The pacing FFA was won by comeback horse U May Cullect. He lead early and ran his last 400 metres in a slick 25.8 to beat favourite Pembrook Playboy. “I was thrilled. Nathan’s horse (Pembrook Playboy) has been racing against the good ones so I thought we’d have to use our speed,” said co-trainer and driver Kirstin Barclay. From gate four Barclay went forward to take the lead inside the first quarter of the race and dictated the tempo. “I was really lucky to get a breather in the middle and run that quick last quarter. Nathan’s horse is so fast but you can’t catch them when they’re running those sorts of quarters.” U May Cullect looked very well and primed for today’s 1609 event and Barclay says the stable is not planning too far ahead, preferring the horse to tell them where to race next. “There are a couple (of) wee things that bother me at times but I think it’s just muscular. We just get the vet to go over him after every race and keep on top of things. But he seems pretty well within himself.” U May Cullect’s win today was his third over a mile on this track. He’s now won nine races in fourteen starts. Pearl Harbour capped off some good form to win the last heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series when she came from well back to beat Might Be Me by a head. “That’s just her racing pattern. You have to save her for one run, you can’t do any work early. They ran hard early today and it panned out well,” said driver Brent Barclay. Trained by Katrina and John Price the Somebeachsomewhere mare has now won six of her twenty two starts. “I haven’t driven many as fast as her over three hundred metres. She’s just electric.” Idealism confirmed his potential among a good crop of Southland three year olds when he won the Nuggets Final today in the hands of Nathan Williamson. Realising his main rival, stablemate Keep On Dreaming was behind him, Williamson set the gelding alight inside the 600 metres and that was the winning of the race. “Yep super drive,” said trainer Alister Black. On straightening Idealism mastered pacemaker Lynryd Skynryd, winning by three quarters of a length with Keep On Dreaming running home for fifth more than five lengths back. “I think if you reversed the draws you’d probably reverse the result to be fair.” Black said Idealism will be aimed at the end of season Southern Supremacy Stakes. “I think he’s going to be a better four year old. I didn’t pay up for the Derby for that simple reason.” Dark Horse showed quality when she won her fourteenth race winning  over a mile today. Running in the inside running line the eight year old mare was taken one out with 400 metres to run by driver Craig Ferguson. “She was cruising,” She challenged pacemaker Rydgemont Son though it took her most of the straight to get past him. “The second horse certainly made it tough for us. We really had to knuckle down up the straight.” The winning margin was just a neck. “In the end she did it easy and didn’t want to pull up after the line. She was just foxing a wee bit.” The Gordon and Colin Lee trained Bertie Jones had a nice win on debut today. The four year old was an impressive qualifier on this course in January and won today’s race by two lengths in the hands of Brent Barclay. Trotter Gold Chain trained by Bob Butt was the biggest winner of the day, clearing out to take the line by eleven lengths. The Muscle Hill mare has now won four of her seventeen starts.   by Bruce Stewart

Brittany Farms is thrilled to announce the arrival of their first foal by Bettor's Wish from Brittany Farm's mare Shining Beauty. The colt from 2021 and 2020 Dan Patch award winning Bettor's Wish has a special connection to Brittany Farms. Bettor's Wish and the dam Shining Beauty were both bred and raised by Brittany Farms. Shining Beauty is a stakes winning Captain Treacherous daughter of World Champion, Dan Patch and O'Brien Award winning mare American Jewel who herself was Brittany Farms born and raised. The first time mother is standing close by as her foal poses for his first photo. From the Bettor's Wish Syndicate

Police have launched an investigation into allegations a star harness racing trainer defrauded people in the industry for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Stuff previously revealed the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) was investigating allegations that promising trainer Mitchell Kerr over-syndicated horses and charged for non-existent insurance policies. Kerr was said to have cheated an All Black, a Black Cap and several wealthy businessmen in his scam, and was thought to have lost nearly $1 million through an Australian betting agency. The RIU’s manager of integrity assurance, Neil Grimstone, confirmed on Thursday the allegations had been referred to police. Read the full story here!   by Sam Sherwood and Martin Van Beynen Courtesy of Stuff

It’s been a week to remember for Charlton harness racing partnership Michael Gadsden and Denbeigh Wade – and, as they are the first to point out, that’s definitely something to be savoured. The young couple notched up their first training double at Shepparton on Tuesday night, hot on the heels of one of their most satisfying victories in the sport, with rehabilitated pacer Doitson at Boort on Sunday. “You’ve got to enjoy the highs and just ride out the lows – this week is a high and it’s been the best feeling, especially to get the win with Dewie (Doitson) because of what he’s been through,” Wade said. “I think that’s one of the things we’re learning – not to beat ourselves up when things aren’t quite going right.  Just keep working, do what you know to have the horses right, and things turn around.” Things certainly did turn around for Doitson (Bettors Delight – Sister Bertrand) on Sunday – 12 months to the day since the former Kiwi had his first start for Gadsden and Wade. Doitson did it at Boort on Sunday – a much celebrated comeback story (Claire Weston Photo) In that year, Doitson managed only six outings– three of them before being diagnosed with a fractured pastern in April last year. “He’d put up a couple of reasonable runs when we first got him, but he was disappointing at his third start at Stawell, and we were racking our brains about what was going on,” Wade said. “Then Michael fast-worked him a few days later and as he slowed up, he just went very lame.  The fracture initially didn’t show up on x-rays, but we kept him boxed up and resting,” she said. “Then a couple of weeks later the second round of x-rays showed a big, straight fracture – which was bad, but if you’re going to fracture a pastern, the vet told us that’s probably the best way to do it. “The Ballarat veterinary clinic was absolutely amazing. They operated to put four screws in his leg, but you honestly wouldn’t know it.  It’s healed perfectly, without a mark.” Dewie was rehabilitated by Kelly Stuart-Mitchell and partner Darren Aitken, two of the 20-member Youcandoitson Syndicate, which part-owns the horse.  “Straight after his operation Dewie went down to Kelly and Darren’s to stay boxed for six weeks so they could manage his recovery. Then he went out into a paddock and they looked after him there,” Wade said. “They did a great job. He came back here to go back into work in terrific order.  We started off just walking him, then light jogging and we had a few x-rays along the way to check on things.  But since then, he’s just been one of the team.  It’s all healed up and there’s no worries at all with him.” Wade said they were thrilled with Doitson’s two comeback runs, but the win in the $12,000 Bill Foley Tribute was one of the most celebrated wins on Boort Cup Day. “Everyone was just stoked. Claire Weston the raceday photographer had a day out – I think every one of the syndicate members bought a photo because a lot of them are first time owners, and because it’s been such a long road,” Wade said. “He was bought with the idea of chasing a few country cups – not the big ones, but cups that will suit him.  He’s pretty tough and durable, and he likes the longer distance.  We won’t win them all, but I think we can snag one or two and that will be a great thrill for the owners…and us!” Wade and Gadsden are among the happy tenants at the growing Charlton Harness Racing Club training centre, where up to 60 horses are expected to be based by the end of the month. Gadsden moved the couple’s team from their former property at Ararat in the middle of last year, and Wade, who previously worked for Kerryn Manning and Grant Campbell at Great Western, made the move at Christmas. The couple has now bought a house at Charlton and Wade says the town, and the close-knit harness racing community, is home. “When we started getting offered some more horses last year, our place at Ararat was never going to let us do it and we couldn’t have managed to buy a property with all the facilities we need to turn professional,” she said. “So we decided to pull the trigger and give it a crack here.  It’s been the best decision.  We have the facilities we need, but still have our own little space which still feels like it’s ours. “Everybody works hard at this game – you wouldn’t be in it if you didn’t love it.  But we’re blessed. Charlton is such a great harness racing community and so supportive.  Any win you get here isn’t a win just for you, it’s a win for Charlton.  We love it!”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A pair of new names have entered the most horses in the 2021 editions of the MGM Borgata and Blue Chip Matchmaker series to be contested at Yonkers Raceway throughout March and April. Both newcomers to the stakes scene, trainer Shane Tritton has seven horses between the two events and Neil Balcerak has five in the Borgata. A total of 46 horses nominated for the 2021 Borgata (nee Levy) and 20 were made eligible to the Matchmaker. Both events were canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With four in the Borgata and three in the Matchmaker, the Down Under native Tritton is feeling good about his chances and excited about his first stakes action since arriving in the U.S. less than a year ago. "I'm 100% looking forward to the series. It is very close to the Inter Dominion back home where you have to go four runs in a row. It is a war of attrition, but it is good to have something to work through. I'm looking forward to the challenge," said Tritton. Tritton's male quartet in the Borgata include 2019 Borgata champion Western Fame, Pat Stanley N, Bronx Seelster and Yayas Hot Spot N. His mare trio is formed by Lady Dela Renta A, Maczaffair N and My Ruebe Star N. "This has always been the goal for these horses," said Tritton. "Western Fame, Bronx Seelster and Pat Stanley are starting to hit their stride at the right time and the mares have been racing at a high level. Yayas Hot Spot just needs more racing." Neil Balcerak has been training horses on a limited basis since 2015 but is getting his first taste of stakes action in a big way. He paid the $5,000 nomination fee on five horses, all of which he owns in partnership with another newcomer to the game, Matthew Morrison. "Matt is new to the business. He did well on his first horse and wanted to take a shot," said Balcerak about entering so many horses. "He is a fresh owner to the game. He really enjoyed owning his first horse (Jahan Hanover) and now he goes to the track a couple of times a week. Having a new owner is great for the game. "We bought a couple of nice ones over the summer and we had a few others we just wanted to give a shot to because there wasn't much available for the horses to race for good money," continued Balcerak on entering five horses. Balcerak, who said he started out small as a trainer with just some county fair horses, is hoping for good things from all five of his Borgata entrants. He has the highest hopes for Caviart Rockland and The Wall, who was fifth in the 2019 Borgata. The 37-year-old Pennsylvania native also has Indictable Hanover, Jahan Hanover and Esai Hanover in the series. The Borgata, which begins on March 15 with the first of five legs raced in $40,000 divisions, is loaded with talent. The list includes 2019 Breeders Crown winner American History, who is standing at Walnridge Farm and is expecting to pull double-duty as a stallion and racehorse this year. Three-year-old Ohio standout Ocean Rock makes his first journey outside of the Buckeye state and is one of three newcomers to the Nancy Takter barn in the series. Undoubtedly one of the favorites going into the opening round will be overseas import Let It Ride N. The Richard 'Nifty' Norman-trained 8-year-old has won all six of his starts since coming to America including an impressive 1:52 1/5 win at Yonkers on January 11. "He'll be a handful for anybody," said Norman about Let It Ride N. "I'm sure others will be ready, but he proved he gets around the track very well." Alexa Skye, who joined the Jeff Cullipher barn before a recent second-place finish at Yonkers in the Open Handicap, is certainly one of the favorites going into the March 12 opening leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. She has won three of five starts in 2021 and has never finished worse than second. The Borgata and Matchmaker both feature five legs and culminate with finals and consolations on Monday, April 19. A complete list of the eligible horses can be found here and below: 2021 MGM Borgata Eligibles American History American Mercury Ana Afreet N Artie's Ideal Ashley Locaz N Backstreet Shadow Blood Line Bronx Seelster Caviart Rockland Chief Mate Esai Hanover Fine Diamond Hesa Kingslayer N Ideal Jimmy Indictable Hanover Jahan Hanover Jesse Duke N Leonidas A Let it Ride N Lyons Steel Mach n Cheese Mac's Jackpot Micky Gee N No Easy Day None Bettor A Ocean Rock Ostro Hanover Pat Stanley N Raukapuka Ruler N Rockapelo Rodeo Rock San Domino A Semi Tough Sheriff N Shnitzledosomethin Springsteen Stars Align A Tellitsabb The Wall This is the Plan Tookadiveoffdipper Tyga Hanover Western Fame Western Joe Windsun Ricky Yayas Hot Spot N 2021 Blue Chip Matchmaker Eligibles Alexa Skye Alii Nui Bettors Heart N Blue Ivy Caviart Cherie Dbldelitebrigade N Kaitlyn N Keep On Rocking A Lady Dela Renta A Machnhope Maczaffair N Monica Gallagher My Ruebe Star N Parisian Bluechip Seaswift Joy N Siesta Beach Snobbytown Soho Burning Love A The Bandit Queen N Trillions Hanover By Yonkers Raceway Media

In this exclusive edition of The Horseman's Voice we have Freddie Hudson a 3rd generation harness racing driver/trainer extraordinaire and primary host of the Harness Racing Alumni Show talks about his own history of the sport as a little kid and taking over the responsibilites of his father's training stable then starting out on his own from the 1970's.   He then opens up immediately about lobbying efforts he's undertaken with a myriad of people since 2015, how the process works and how important collaboration is with the entire Standardbred Industry.   Freddie then brainstorms several ideas, mostly marketing centric, and gives his viewpoints on the 'State of the Industry' from the past, currently and for the future.   Wishing him the best of luck on his continued lobbying efforts in our nations' capital, Washington, D.C.     The next edition of The Horseman's Voice is set for Monday, March 15, 2021, with three (3) horsewomen, so hold onto your lines - we're going to tap into some really interesting women in the sport from all aspects - new, old, multi-generational; yet they all have their own stories!   The International Source for Harness Racing    The Horseman's Voice

Harness racing trainer-driver Gavin Smith backed his judgement and it paid off when My Ultimate Chevron (NZ) (Sweet Lou) sprinted to victory in the $23,000 Group Three Sapling Stakes (1609m) on Saturday.  Smith’s ability to assess a horse was on full show when NZB Standardbred graduate took inside runs to charge through to win the Ashburton feature. Smith has had faith in My Ultimate Chevron from the time he was a yearling, securing him in partnership with Tumby Park owners Scott Whitton and Jodie Foster for $27,500 from NZB Standardbred’s 2020 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Prepared by Lisa Daly, the colt from Bettor’s Delight mare Bet I Can (NZ) was not on the buying list that the trainer-driver and Tumby Park owners Scott Whitton and Jodie Foster had agreed on. But Smith backed his eye for the horse resulting in Whitton and Foster enjoying stakes race success little more than a year later. “When I went to the sales he wasn’t actually on Scott’s [buying] list, he is a student of form and breeding,” Smith said. “This one was one that I really liked and sort of pushed him into a bit.” Smith was modest about his of weaving My Ultimate Chevron through runners like a seasoned professional to win Saturday’s feature in just his first start. Though he clearly had the horse ready for such a feat, he deflected all praise onto his two-year-old. “He is a just a natural wee horse, he has always been well balanced and good gaited and zippy,” Smith said. “We just needed to see if he could do it when we went a bit quicker, which he stepped up today and did.” My Ultimate Chevron was not among the original nominations for the Sapling Stakes. But, Smith again backed his judgement. “I didn’t originally nominate him because he probably needed another trial.” “But when it was a small field I thought I might as well throw him in.” “A couple of the better ones weren’t there, so we hoped for a good draw, then he drew barrier eight.” “So I went back and drove him quietly and hoped the gaps came our way.” My Ultimate Chevron won Saturday’s mile (1609m) feature by three-quarters of a length, in a winning time of 1.56.5. Prior to going through the ring at NZB Standardbred’s 2020 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch, My Ultimate Chevron also went under the hammer as a weanling at NZB’s Standardbred’s 2019 All Age Sale at Auckland. He has purchased by the Lake Brunner Syndicate for $13,000 from Woodlands Stud draft. The Tumby Park owners Scott Whitton and Jodie Foster were active again at the 2021 edition of NZB Standardbred’s National Yearling Sales in Christchurch. They purchased Lot 376 for $40,000, an Art Major filly from Bettor’s Delight mare Joanne’s A Delight (NZ) out of Graeme and Ann Mee’s draft. Tumby Park also purchased Lot 406, a Captaintreacherous filly from Bettor’s Delight mare Milwood Ivy (NZ) out of Millwood Farm’s draft for $35,000.   Vendor L. F. Daly Purchaser Tumby Park Breeding Sweet Lou – Bet I Can Sale 2020 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch, Lot 335, $27,500 Bred by Woodlands Stud   NZB Standardbred

Down Under pacer grabs another harness racing win in the US. Joesstar Of Mia A picked up his first win of the 2021 North American season on Sunday at Pocono. The win was as dominant as you will ever see as the 8yo Down Under gelding absolutely obliterated the field of 9 pacers racing for $6,800. Joesstar Of Mia A passed the post in cruise mode clocking 1:53.3, which was a whole one second in front of the second place getter in the race. Anthony Napolitano was in the race bike and Steven Brabrook did the training. The son of Roll With Joe was exported to North America after an extremely successful down under harness racing career where he won 17 races and placed on a further 21 occasions. To highlight his career he placed in Group 1 races twice and placed and Group 2 and 3 level 7 times. He was also the winner of four Group 3 races while racing for the Turnbull family Down Under.    Tuesday 23rd February Miami Valley Raceway OH Mach Doro A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $7,200   Monticello Raceway NY Ohoka Johnny N – Time: 1:59.0, Stake: $5,600   Pompano Park FL Glenferrie Blade A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $7,500 Lucky Artist A – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $10,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Audi Hare N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $9,500 Our Max Phactor N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $11,000 Ideal Star N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $14,000   Wednesday 24th February Dover Downs DE Anytime N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $16,000   The Meadows PA Amelias Courage A – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $9,400   Yonkers Raceway NY High Rolling A – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $9,500 Bronze Over N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $11,000   Thursday 25th February Dover Downs DE American Colt N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $13,000   Pompano Park FL Risk N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $4,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Dongal Rundlscrk N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $14,000 Maczaffair N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $17,500 Bontz N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $17,500   Friday 26th February Freehold Raceway NJ Jenora N – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $4,200 Follow The Wind N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $5,000 Alta Jerome N – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $3,800   Miami Valley Raceway OH Shards Halo N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $16,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Tom Me Gun N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $9,500 Yankee Roller A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $14,000   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Sly Eleanor N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $16,000   Saturday 27th February   Freehold Raceway NJ Vergeofgreatness N – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $4,900 Tisadream N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $7,700   Meadowlands NJ Thatswhatisaid N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $10,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH The Great Buzz N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $11,700   Northfield Park OH Massive Attack A – Time: 1:58.2, Stake: $3,500   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Ivana Flybye N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $26,000     Sunday 28th February     Northfield Park OH Executive Dash N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $6,500   Rosecroft Raceway MD Buckeye N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $7,000   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Joesstar Of Mia A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $6,800 Heez Orl Black N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $7,500   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

On Saturday night, the next leg of the 2021 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place with the running of the $1 million Garrards Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle. It is ‘Australasia’s Premier Harness Racing Speed Test’ and first staged in 1967 when Robin Dundee prevailed at Harold Park before switching to its current home since 2009. The list of champions that have won the sprint feature reads deep although some obvious names are missing with the race proving elusive. Six equine freaks have recorded back-to-back victories including Westburn Grant (1989/90), Chokin (1993/94), Holmes DG (1999/2000), Sokyola (2003/04), Be Good Johnny (2005/06) and Smoken Up (2010/11). West Australian Village Kid also won two Miracle Miles, but the wins were split by New Zealand pacer Master Mood. This weekend, King Of Swing is aiming to become the seventh pacer to claim back-to-back titles following his triumph last year in 1:48.0. Oddly, King Of Swing will become the first pacer to record repeat victories with different trainers if successful. Last year, the hulking Rocknroll Hanover entire was prepared by Craig Cross while this year he races under the banner of Belinda McCarthy. King Of Swings boasts an outstanding record at Menangle with 11 wins from 13 starts, he was the runner-up in the other two starts behind Balraj and Ignatius (whom he meets again on Saturday night). The Cobbitty based mentor will be represented by three runners including the defending champion plus Expensive Ego and Alta Orlando. Only King Of Swing and Alta Orlando back-up from last year’s edition – Mark Purdon took the drive behind Alta Orlando who finished third behind King Of Swing and Lochinvar Art. Champion reinsman Chris Alford takes the drive behind Alta Orlando this year. Can history repeat? Last year, Luke McCarthy beat David Moran and the pair will battle again this weekend with McCarthy driving King Of Swing while Moran has been booked for the stablemate, last start Chariots of Fire winner Expensive Ego. If any of McCarthy’s trio scores, she will join her father-in-law John (Be Good Johnny) as a dual winner of the famed sprint after winning back in 2013 with Baby Bling. Also, she will officially become the most successful female trainer in the event’s history. Natalie Rasmussen was the co-trainer of 2019 winner Spankem but not officially recognized in 2016 when Have Faith In Me proved triumphant. Interestingly, the last stable to have a trio of chances in the event was the All Stars (Purdon & Rasmussen) two years ago when Spankem beat Thefixer while Chase Auckland finished fourth. Also, Spankem was the last horse to complete the Chariots of Fire/Miracle Mile double while the McCarthy prepared Expensive Ego is looking to join him this year. If King Of Swing repeats, he will become the 15th richest Australia/New Zealand bred pacer with earnings of $2,298,796. The list of pacers ahead of him includes Blacks A Fake, Im Themightyquinn, Lazarus, Smoken Up, Monkey King, Lennytheshark, Christen Me, Bit Of A Legend, Shartin (mare), Smolda, Terror To Love, Tiger Tara, Chicago Bull and Changeover. Also, he will become the 7th highest earning stallion behind Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Bit Of A Legend, Terror To Love, Tiger Tara and Changeover. The Roy Roots Jnr trained The Black Prince who stamped his ticket via his victory in the Newcastle Mile is looking to become the first pacer since Beautide (2013) to complete the double. Westburn Grant is only other pacer who has completed the double, he did it back in 1990. Bonny New Zealand mare Stylish Memphis becomes the first pacer to compete in the Chariots of Fire/Ladyship Mile and Miracle Mile in the same year. Prepared by 2003 World Driving Champion Mark Jones, this is his first runner as a trainer although he has driven in the Miracle Mile previously when partnering Mach Beauty (7th) in the 2013 edition. The last mare to win the Miracle Mile was Baby Bling back in 2013 while other mares that have won include inaugural winner Robin Dundee (1967) plus Norms Daughter (1996). Since the Miracle Mile took-up residency at Menangle on the 1400m oval back in 2009, only Kiwi Ingenuity (4th – 2009), Make Mine Cullen (5th – 2010), Baby Bling (1st – 2013), Arms Of An Angel (3rd – 2016) and Bettors Heart (7th – 2020) have competed in the sprint. Stylish Memphis joins that list this weekend. Driver Jack Trainor (Stylish Memphis) is the only driver competing this year for the first time while four drivers have won previously including Luke McCarthy (King Of Swing – 2020), James Rattray (Beautide – 2013), Chris Alford (Lennytheshark – 2017) and Anthony Butt (My Field Marshal – 2018). Robbie Morris (Karloo Mick 2nd in 2011), David Moran (Lochinvar Art 2nd in 2020) and Greg Sugars (Soho Tribeca 3rd in 2018) have all been placed in previous Miracle Miles. Of the eight runners this weekend, only two stallions are duly represented with Bettors Delight (The Black Prince & Stylish Memphis) and Rock N Roll Heaven (Expensive Ego & Wolf Stride) having multiple runners. The fastest time in a Miracle Mile is 1:46.9 set by My Field Marshal back in 2018 while the slowest winning time recorded at Menangle is 1:51.8 back in 2011. Since being staged at Menangle from 2009, here’s a snapshot of times; 2020 – won by King Of Swing – 1st quarter 25.9 – 1st half in 54.7 – winning time 1:48.0 2019 – won by Spankem – 1st quarter 26.9 – 1st half in 55.1 – winning time 1:47.7 2018 – won by My Field Marshal – 1st quarter 26.3 – 1st half in 53.6– winning time 1:46.9 2017 – won by Lennytheshark – 1st quarter 24.8 – 1st half in 55.1 – winning time 1:49.2 2016 – won by Have Faith In Me – 1st quarter 26.4 – 1st half in 53.8 – winning time 1:47.5 2014 – won by Christen Me – 1st quarter in 25.2 – 1st half in 53.7 – winning time 1:49.1 2013 – won by Beautide – 1st quarter in 26.6 – 1st half in 55.4 – winning time 1:50.2 2013 – won by Baby Bling – 1st quarter in 26.1 – 1st half in 54.4 – winning time 1:50.5 2011 – won by Smoken Up – 1st quarter in 26.7 – 1st half in 56.6 – winning time 1:51.8 2010 – won by Smoken Up – 1st quarter in 27 – 1st half in 56.2 – winning time 1:50.3 2009 – won by Monkey King – 1st quarter in 26.2 – 1st half in 55.6 – winning time 1:50.8 And here is a list of the eight starters this year and their quickest time. The Black Prince – 1:51.0 Ignatius – 1:50.2 Expensive Ego – 1:48.9* Alta Orlando – 1:49.8 King Of Swing – 1:48.0 Wolf Stride – 1:49.1* Out To Play – 1:53.3 Stylish Memphis – 1:49.2* *Indicates recorded at their most recent start The 2021 Garrards Miracle Mile is only the second leg of the current APG Grand Circuit and with Hunter Cup hero Lochinvar Art not starting this weekend, it provides reigning Grand Circuit champion King Of Swing a clear opportunity to retake the lead if successful while Alta Orlando is eyeing major points following his second placing in the Hunter Cup last month. Lochinvar Art banked the maximum 100 points with his Hunter Cup triumph while Alta Orlando (60) and King Of Swing (40) are poised to strike. The 2021 APG Grand Circuit takes in seven events throughout Australasia.   by Chris Barsby

Fourth generation harness racing participant Aleisha Bond won't be changing too much in her hectic life for quite a while yet. That's despite the 21-year-old joining the winner's circle for the first time, courtesy of 20/1 shot square gaiter Gold Sovereign at Menangle recently. Bond lives with her partner, the busy and talented young gun reinsman Josh Gallagher at the Lucky Lodge property of Rob and KerryAnn Morris, but the childcare worker is not tempted by any suggestion of a career change. "I'll just keep at it on a hobby basis because I really enjoy my full-time work at the childcare centre," Bond said. "It is a bit of a juggling act most times. I thoroughly love race driving, but it will just have to fit into my schedule around my work." The breakthrough win on Gold Sovereign (Monarchy-Lockerup (Sundon) for the Morris stable was a polished display by the young driver to down more credentialled opposition. After getting away safely from the 30-metre handicap, Bond was six back on the fence as the field raced in Indian file. She was quick to grab the one-one position and made her move at the 400metre mark. Watch the race replay click here! "He felt strong. He certainly had a lot left in him, so I kept him balanced and he did the rest with a nice solid run to the finish line," she said. "He's a lovely horse to drive and is one of the old favorites because he's just an honest and faithful trotter." Bond, who has been around horses all her life, is following in the footsteps of her Maitland dad Jamie, as well as other family members. "Dad is an electrician by trade and trains a few as a hobby. My pop John is retired now in West Australia, but he was involved as well as his father, my great grandfather," she said. "I've had my driver's licence for a few years, but in that time, I've probably had no more than 40 drives. It was a thrill to finally get my first winner and even better that it was with Gold Sovereign. "We've developed a bit of a good strike-rate between us. Leading up to the win, I'd been runner-up with him on two occasions and there were also a few thirds and fourths." Bond enjoyed a lot of success in the mini pony trots for nine years. "I started out when I was a seven-year-old and it was heaps of fun. It provided the perfect grounding to graduate to harness racing driving. As an added encouragement, you get your licence paid up for free for five years," she said. Among her pony-trotting highlights was winning the Mini Miracle Mobile at the Menangle Miracle Mile. "That was my biggest success. It was exactly five years ago last Sunday and I drove my pony Velvets Little Star. When I gave up the mini trotting, Grace Panella got my pony and she did really well, including a win in the InterDominion pony event in Melbourne," she said. "I competed against Josh on occasions. I used to beat him most times, but I wouldn't have a hope now -he's just driving in sensational form!" *With Bond unavailable (due to work commitments) yesterday to drive Gold Sovereign at the Menangle meeting, Gallagher took the reins and finished third. The square gaiter is raced by Margaret Morris, mother of Rob.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Whether it's her performance on the racetrack, or her demeanor around the barn, Bill Bercury can find an abundance of reasons to be happy with female harness racing pacer Blue Ivy, who on Thursday will take on five male rivals in the $14,600 Open Handicap at The Meadows. "She's ready, willing, and able," said Bercury, who trains the 5-year-old mare for his wife Renee. "She's put together perfectly, and she's got a great attitude. I throw my arms around her and give her a big hug and she doesn't pin her ears or anything. She's very pleasant, very accommodating. She's never at the back of her stall, she's always at the door, ready for you to get her. "She's a wonderful mare. I just love her." Bercury bought Blue Ivy, a daughter of Captaintreacherous out of Grand Circuit stakes-winner Ali Blue, near the end of her 3-year-old season. She has won 16 of 24 races for Bercury, earning $134,825 in purses. For her career, she has captured 22 of 50 starts and banked $301,560. "I loved watching her race," Bercury said about his initial attraction to Blue Ivy. "When (drivers) pulled her, she went. I was very impressed with the way she raced. Obviously, she's royally bred. I just liked her a lot." Blue Ivy has won three of four races this year. Following Thursday's start in the Open at The Meadows, where she is the 2-1 morning-line favorite, Blue Ivy will head to New York for the six-week Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway. "I have to race her against the boys because I just can't find a race for her," Bercury said. "That will be challenging. I hate to do it, but I hate to send her into the Matchmaker without her being reasonably tight. "In my opinion, I have her just right. I've not pushed her this year, knowing that's where I was going. I think she is going to be very comfortable with that six weeks in (the Matchmaker)." Bercury will send Blue Ivy to trainer Todd Buter and driver Tyler Buter for the Matchmaker. Tyler Buter has won four times with Blue Ivy during her career. "He's a very good driver," Bercury said. "He drove her some before I bought her and did very well with her. I think I made a good choice. "When I bring her up there, it will be (Todd's) horse. I'll stay out of it. Two guys can't train a horse." The Matchmaker will be Blue Ivy's first appearance on the Grand Circuit since joining Bercury's stable. Bercury hoped to race the mare in the Breeders Crown last year but decided against it because he thought Blue Ivy was getting tired at that point in the year. He has the Breeders Crown on his radar again this season. "I think she's that kind of horse," Bercury said. "I'm looking to find another one just like her." Racing begins at 12:45 p.m. (EST) Thursday at The Meadows. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk  Southland driver-trainer Kirstin Barclay has had one last chance to say “see you later” to Watch Me Now. The two combined for their first ever Group One in the Breeders Stakes at Addington last month in what was the mare’s last race before heading offshore. It was an emotional win for Barclay and recently she took time out from her time at the NZB Standardbred yearling sales in Christchurch to have one last sit behind the horse she admits to being “very attached to”.     HRNZ Marketing

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