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YONKERS, N.Y. – Since making her 3-year-old debut at Hoosier Park this spring, Wisdom Tree has been nearly unstoppable. The daughter of Betterthancheddar out of the Artsplace mare Wisdom posted three straight wins in overnight competition in Indiana and at Saratoga before jumping into New York Sire Stakes. In three legs so far, she’s 2-for-3 with another runner-up finish. The only blemish on Wisdom Tree’s 2018 campaign came in her first start of the year when she made an early miscue and finished seventh. “She’s a really nice filly. She’s a doll, I love her,” trainer Ed Hart said. “I think she was a little immature last year. She made the odd mistake. You could never move her too fast, you always had to be a little careful with her. She definitely matured. She’s a sweetheart in the stall, does everything right, just a classy horse.” Jeff Cullipher co owns Wisdom Tree with Tom Pollack and prepared the filly for her 3-year-old campaign before sending her east to Hart. Over the years, the relationship between Hart, Pollack, and Cullipher has proven fruitful. “I started training horses for Tom Pollack. He was also an owner with Randy Bendis and Randy sent me horses from The Meadows when they came out East to race, especially for New York Sire Stakes,” Hart said. “And then Tom branched out to Indiana with Jeff Cullipher and they race together. They do the same thing, when they come out east, they send them to me. “They always send me good horses and they’re good people to deal with. Jeff Cullipher developed this filly and trained her down. I just manage her out here and race her. It’s really nice,” Hart continued. “Jeff has a big stable out in Indiana, he’s a good guy to work with. It really is nice, it works out real well for me.” In her first start in Sire Stakes competition this year May 27 at Saratoga, Wisdom Tree raced from off the pace as the race’s 2-5 favorite Youaremycandygirl cut blistering fractions of :26.3 and :53.3. As the leader’s strides began to shorten nearling three-quarters, Wisdom Tree mounted a first-over bid. She struck the lead at the top of the stretch and powered away with a :28.2 final quarter to beat Alexis Faith by a length in 1:52.2 at odds of 8-1. “That was a pretty wild race,” Hart said. “My filly did it right, she pulled going to the half and she was coming first-over and ground that one down. She raced tough as nails, you can’t take anything away from her.” Wisdom Tree’s victory at Saratoga showed the filly has developed a new dimension this year. In 11 starts at 2, Wisdom Tree won three races, all of which came on the front end. She frequently made breaks in stride when forced to sit in a hole. Now more mentally and physically mature, Hart thinks Wisdom Tree has outgrown her breaking issues and is much more versatile. “Last year, when she was on the lead where you could steady her and keep her on her own pace, she was really good,” Hart explained. “She was never quick to come out of the hole, you could never force her into anything. This year, you can. She can leave, she can sit, she can do it all.” Wisdom Tree proved her efforts at Saratoga were no fluke as she finished second next out, pacing a 1:50.3 mile from post eight at Tioga Downs June 3. In her most recent start, Wisdom Tree posted a 4 ¼-length victory after sitting the pocket trip at Buffalo June 13. “I know Buffalo, I’ve raced there all my life and you’ve got to be really careful up there,” Hart said. “I was happy to see her get around that track and she handled it perfectly. Kevin Cummings said she never took a bad step. And there again, she left pretty quick and sat the hole and sat there nice. That was a nice trip up there for her.” Wisdom Tree will try to score her third NYSS victory of the year Thursday night at Yonkers when she starts in the third and final division of the state bred stakes in race 11. Wisdom Tree will start from post five as the 2-1 morning line favorite and will once again face Alexis Faith, the Casie Coleman trainee who finished second in a Fan Hanover elimination at Mohawk June 9. For complete entries, click here.  “I know Casie Coleman’s horse on the outside of us is a tough horse, I know she’s raced good in Canada. At that level, they’re all good, anything can happen. Hopefully we’ll get a good trip and we’ll see what happens,” Hart said. “I think Wisdom Tree is sharp. That Buffalo trip is tough. It’s a 6-hour trip each way, it’s a 2-day thing, but I think she’s sharp. She feels good.” Hart will also start Medusa in Friday night’s featured $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. A 6-1 chance from an assigned inside post, Medusa will face the likes of Lispatty, Sell A Bit, Newborn Sassy, and Mach It A Par.  Hart broke Medusa as a yearling, but she campaigned with a host of stables including Paul Kelley, Ron Burke, and Randy Bendis before finally coming to Hart this spring for the Matchmaker Series. She was victorious in one leg and hit the board in three others to make the final, where she finished sixth. I her last start, the 7-year-old finished second beaten a nose in the Filly and Mare Open June 15. In her career, Medusa is 32-for-109 with $732,753 earned. “I had her a long time ago as a baby and she came back to me this year,” Hart said. “She raced tough in that series. Five, six weeks in a row is a tough series. Last week, she was super, but the fractions were a little slower up front, kind of played into her a little bit. That’s a really nice mare. Big, beautiful, sound mare. Pretty much tries every week and just another good horse.” First post time Thursday and Friday at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. For Friday’s entries, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Monday, April 23, 2018 - After three preliminary rounds and sufficient whittling, the field is set for Tuesday night's (Apr. 24th) harness racing  $85,000 final of the Bonus Trotting Series. The event, co-sponsored by Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of the New York, goes as the ninth of 11 races. Post time is the usual 6:50 PM. Seasoned Saint (Jim Marohn Jr., post 2) was the only perfect participant, winning all three of his series starts. The 5-year-old Dewycheatumnhowe gelding, co-owned by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby and Alan Weisenberg, has won six of his 10 seasonal starts and half of his 32 career efforts. Allard also co-owns (with Blue Chip Bloodstock and John Lengacher) and trains the lone lass, Romancing Rachel (Mark MacDonald, post 3). The 4-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill won her first two starts before a tiring pocket third in the final leg. 'Rachel' has hit the board in nine of her 11 '18 tries. Due to overlapping ownership, Optimist Blue Chip (Andy Miller, post 4) completes this three-pronged posse. The 4-year-old Dewycheatumnhowe gelding, owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock and trained by Julie Miller, has gone 1-2-3 in his series starts. Bluebird Jesse (George Brennan, post 1) was another prelim 'two-timer,' the wins sandwiching a race mired by incessant road trouble. The 4-year-old Jailhouse Jesse gelding is trained by Scott DiDomenico co for-owners Brian Carsey, John McGill and Adam Friedland. Ei Ei O (Scott Zeron, post 8) also won twice before being victimized by an interference break a week ago. The 4-year-old son of pacing stallion Cam's Rocket is owned and trained by Arlene Cameron. Aces and Eights (Ray Schnittker, post 5), Icanflylikeanangel (Jeff Gregory, post 6) and Tyson (Yannick Gingras, post 7) each had a win in the series, the first two of this set at 14-1 odds. The 'bonus' portion of the series title is an additional $10,000 SOA payday to the winner, provided the owner(s), trainer and driver(s) of the horse throughout the series were association members before the first draw of the series. A $35,000 series consolation goes as the fourth race. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – Although trainer Ron Burke has sent out more than 40,000 starters who have earned more than $194 million in purses, he’s never had the opportunity to work with a French trotter. That will change this spring when Burke, Mike Lachance, and Ray Schnittker travel to France to purchase 24 trotters for the French American Trotting Club, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York’s pioneering effort to bring a contingent of European horses to compete at Yonkers Raceway. “Going over there, it will be a completely new thing for me. That I’m excited to see,” Burke said. “I’ve heard the training centers there are incredible, like nothing we have over here. I’ve never been to France, so I’m excited to go there, meet the people, see a different way of racing. I’m anxious to see it.” The Club will see the 24 selected horses randomly distributed to 24 registered owners and trainers. A few months after the horses arrive in New York, they will be eligible to compete in a multi-leg series with a $100,000 final. The program is aimed at strengthening the trotting fields on Yonkers Sunday programs, which are simulcast to France. “I love the whole idea of the program,” Burke said. “I think it’s forward-thinking and exciting. It really is interesting to bring the horses over here, see how they adapt, and see who does the best with them, and how they’re received by both the American public and by the French. They may bet even more on them because they know the horses.” The trio of American representatives will travel to France in late May to select the horses from a sale organized by LeTrot. Each of the 24 trotters selected will be a gelding aged 4-year-old and up of comparable talent. The ability to navigate the half-mile oval at Yonkers will be the biggest factor in selecting the trotters, Burke said. “The biggest things you’re going to look for are gait and some semblance of speed, that they show some ability to trot fast at least for a piece,” Burke explained. “But the biggest thing, you don’t want to go over there and buy bad-gaited horses, horses that are bred more for distance and less for speed. You’re going to look for horses that will like the American game even better.” In addition to the inspections typical of most sales around the world, the trainers will also have the ability to train each horse before deciding which ones to bring across the Atlantic. Burke feels getting hands-on with the horses will play to his strengths.  “Getting to watch them is great, but for me, sitting behind them is such a bigger advantage,” he said. “I do think I have a good feel for that. I probably train more horses than any guy in the country just due to the fact that I have such big barns and I train a lot. I spend a lot of time sitting behind trainers, so I’m actually excited to go over there and see if I can help in that way to pick out the horses that are competitive.”  Although he’s reached the pinnacles of the sport over the last 10 years, Burke hasn’t become complacent. He is excited for the rare opportunity to work collaboratively with and learn from mentors Lachance and Schnittker. “That was part of the draw to me was Ray and Mike. They are two very good horsemen who are also two of the best guys in the game,” Burke said. “To me, it’s one of the best parts of it. For me to go over there, it’s a chance to learn more from the best guys in the sport and two of the best personalities. To me, I’m very excited for that part of it.” Burke also hopes to study the differences between American and French training and racing. After a weeklong trip to Sweden proved influential on the conditioner, he is excited to discover unfamiliar techniques and methods that can be applied to the horses competing the Club and beyond. “Once you stop learning, you stop winning,” he said. “You’ve got to learn from everybody and these are two of the best and we’re going to meet the best French trainers. The time I went to Sweden, I learned so much in just the week I was there and saw things done totally different than we did over here. A lot of the stuff I do now, I justify like, ‘if it works over there, why can’t it work here?’  “Over there, nobody wears boots hardly. They just take them off. They end up taking shoes off,” he continued. “Why can they do it and we can’t? They strip the horses down compared to what we do. It was a completely different outlook.” Burke sees the French American Trotting Club as a great opportunity to try something new with minimal risk. In addition to its potential to spur more competitive trotting fields and encourage stronger international wagering, he feels the Club keeps the sport fresh and fun. “It’s a great idea, I don’t see a downside to it,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of owners and trainers who are really going to enjoy this and that’s the thing about the game. I want to make money, but the other thing about that game is it has to be fun and this is going to be fun, it’s going to be interesting, it’s going to be different. I’m excited to be a part of it.” In March, a total of 24 different owners each made a deposit of $10,000 to participate in the French American Trotting Club and acquire a trotter. Those owners are reminded that the balance of $18,000 is due on or before April 26. Le Trot will present horses for selection to the American trainers on the week of May 28 and the horses will be shipped back to New York and go through quarantine in mid-June. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York is pleased to announce that the French American Trotting Club has reached capacity and will move forward with the acquisition of French trotters to race at Yonkers Raceway. The French American Trotting Club will move forward with 23 or 24 participants, each acquiring a French trotter for $28,000 which includes shipping costs. The horses will be eligible to race without any further entry fee in a series at Yonkers Raceway exclusively for horses brought over in this program with legs carrying a $30,000 purse and a final for $100,000. We would like to thank all horsemen for their tremendous support and enthusiasm expressed for the program. Further information will be provided to the participants shortly. Tentative plans call for horses to be selected in France the week of May 28 and shipped back to New York in mid-June.  

Time is running out for interested parties to register for the purchase of a French trotter with the Standardbred Owners Association of New York in the French American Trotting Club. A total of 24 spots are available and more than half are already filled. Those wishing to participate must submit a $10,000 non-refundable check to the SOA of NY to reserve a space by March 26. The balance of $18,000 will be due by Thursday April 26. If the program is not fully subscribed by March 26, those making an initial deposit will be refunded. The program is first come first served until 24 deposits are received. The SOA of NY with Yonkers Raceway is pleased to announce that a series of races will be written at Yonkers for these 24 French trotters after they arrive in the United States. The races will carry two or three weeks of legs with a minimum of $30,000 purse and a final of $100,000 for the top performers in the legs. The SOA Board of Directors was pleased to work on the details of this unique and innovative project over the course of a year and a half along with the officials from France's Le Trot, said SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo. The project was advanced in order to introduce an innovative program to advance and expand the global market so harness racing can grow and expand while creating some excitement domestically in a new and creative venture, Faraldo added. The SOA of NY is also pleased to announce that Ray Schnittker and Mike Lachance are tentatively scheduled to go over to France and inspect and train the prospective horses that will be acquired. We will be bringing very experienced trainers with us to help in the selection process with all expenses paid by the SOA of NY, Faraldo said. One or two other trainers will also join Ray Schnittker and Mike Lachance and travel across the pond during the racing break at Yonkers. The SOA of NY will also bring a veterinarian to aid in the selection process. If you are interested in participating in this program or for further information, please contact the SOA of NY at 914-968-3599 or via email at All monies paid after the initial deposit will be held in escrow in an interest-bearing account to the credit of the person depositing the funds. Space in the program is limited to the first 24 owners that reserve a slot by making a deposit.  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Two weeks after announcing an ambitious harness racing program that would see 24 French-bred trotters flown to North America to compete at Yonkers Raceway, Standardbred Owners’ Association of New York Executive Director Alex Dadoyan’s initial nerves have transformed to cautious optimism. With several of the spaces already filled, the program is attracting significant interest from local horsepeople. “We did bounce the idea off some people, but it was a big unknown how it was going to be received,” Dadoyan admitted. “Right away when we announced it, there was a lot of positive interest, which is really rare in this game. The owners, trainers, and horsepeople who called looking for more information all seemed genuinely interested in it, intrigued by it, and wanting to learn more about it. “The reception has been very positive,” he continued. “We have a bunch of people who are already lined up and have made their deposits and we have a bunch of people who say they are going to participate and we hope to fill the number that we’re looking for.” The SOA of NY’s pioneering program to import two-dozen French trotters was formed with several goals in mind. It serves to strengthen the relationship between Yonkers and the French trotting association LeTrot, entice French bettors to increase their handle on Yonkers’ races simulcast to France, and address a shortage of trotters competing at the track. The program will also give local horsepeople a chance to buy a horse at a relatively low price point who will be eligible to race in a rich series restricted to French-bred trotters. “There’s multiple things going on. We simulcast the races over to France and if people are betting on races from Yonkers, obviously races that have French horses that they know are going to be more attractive, more interesting to their bettors than horses they’ve never heard of,” Dadoyan explained. “If we were going to do this, we wanted to be able to card races that we could then send back over there,” he continued. “Those races are normally larger fields that we send over, so we weren’t going to do it and just bring back eight horses; that wasn’t going to achieve all of the goals, so we said, we’ll try to see if 24 people are going to be interested and ideally come back and card two full fields of races to send back there in the series for these horses that we bring over.” Organizing the sale of a large number of trotters to a foreign country isn’t a new endeavor for LeTrot. The organization routinely offers sales of promising high-steppers to developing trotting countries, such as Ireland. In this case, LeTrot will prepare a group of geldings 4-years-old and up who compete at a similar level for inspection by highly-experienced Yonkers horsemen. The team who selects the horses will be independent from those participating in the program and the horses selected will be randomly distributed to the 24 owners and trainers who commit to the program. “The thing that excites me, gives me a level of confidence is we’re taking over several trainers with us. The French are accustomed to holding these sales for other countries. They organize a bunch of horses and then people can come out and look at the horses,” Dadoyan said. “We’re going to get to go training trips with all of the horses and we’re going to have experienced trotting guys with us to make an educated assessment as to which of the bunch might have the best chance of having some success back home.” Each trotter selected will sell for $25,000 with an additional $3,000 shipping charge, meaning the total expenditure to buy into the program is $28,000. The trotters who make the cut will be eligible to race in a multi-leg series with a final to be held at Yonkers a few months after the horses arrive stateside. In addition to the purse money contributed by the track and the SOA, LeTrot will also add to the purses for these races. Specific details and purse-levels for the series will be announced in the coming weeks. “This gives the participants a chance to recoup their investment before they move to the local competition at whatever level they might end up racing at,” Dadoyan said. “We thought it was important to give an opportunity for these horses to just be in against themselves and it gives everyone a fair chance to make back some or all of their investment immediately. “When we card races exclusively for French-bred horses, the French Trotting Association will contribute money for the purses for those races, so we would have an amount of money contributed from over there for these races that are exclusively for French-bred trotters,” Dadoyan said. “It’s not a small amount of money. We’re going to make the races meaningful enough anyway, but it’s just a little something extra that we can offer everyone.” To participate in the program, a non-refundable deposit of $10,000 is required by March 26. The balance of $18,000 will be due by Thursday April 26. If the program is not fully subscribed by March 26, those making an initial deposit will be refunded. The selection of horses is scheduled in France during the period of the Yonkers shutdown at the end of May. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact the SOA of NY at 914-968-3599 or via email at All monies paid after the initial deposit will then be held in escrow in an interest-bearing account to the credit of the person depositing the funds. Space in the program is limited to the first 24 owners that reserve a slot by making a deposit.  YONKERS’ TUESDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $8,400 CARRYOVER, 20G GUARANTEE  A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Tuesday evening’s (March 13th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $8,478.75 and a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 (if less than 11 races, it’s final five races during that particular card). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Monday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York is organizing an opportunity for interested trainers/owners to purchase a French trotter to race at Yonkers Raceway. This effort is in furtherance of the global racing activities begun at Yonkers. The French trotting association Le Trot will be conducting a sale of prospective racehorses. The cost to purchase each horse will be $25,000 and they will all be geldings greater than 4 year olds that are currently racing in France and will be at a similar ability level and value. There will also be a charge of $3,000 to go towards the shipment of the horses to the United States. The SOA of NY will also contribute to the shipping costs for these horses. The total expenditure to acquire a horse through this program will be $28,000 Three trainers will be chosen by the SOA of NY to travel to Paris and inspect the horses that are offered for sale. The French Le Trot will gather many horses together for inspection and training. Veterinary exams will be required. The trainers will select the horses that show some ability to handle a half mile track like Yonkers Raceway. A total of 24 horses will be selected and brought back to New York. If at least 20 horses cannot be acquired, all monies will be returned and the program will be canceled. The three trainers will be given the opportunity to participate in owning a horse, along with anyone else that expresses interest in participating in this program until the capacity is reached. Those trainers involved in the selection process will not be allowed to select any individual horse for themselves or their owners. Once the 24 horses have been identified by our selected trainers, they will be randomly distributed by public lottery to the 24 entities that have expressed interest in participating in this program. This random distribution ensures that nobody receives an unfair advantage. A couple of months after the horses have arrived in the United States, Yonkers Raceway will write a series of races open only to these horses that came over from France in this lottery drawing, no other horses will be eligible . There will be several legs at various distances and a rich final for the top 8-12 performers. In these races, horses will be paid down to last an amount to be determined by the SOA of NY and the Management of Yonkers in each of the legs. Once the lottery drawing is complete, title will pass to the owner(s) who have placed their deposit for this program. The SOA of NY will be covering all costs associated with transporting the horses to the United States above the contribution made by each owner. The SOA of NY will not insure any of these horses but will bear all costs associated with the two to three day quarantine upon arrival in New York. After the quarantine is completed, all responsibility shifts to the owner which will include the obligation and cost for transportation from the NY quarantine facility to the horse’s final destination. Neither the trainers reviewing the horses nor the SOA of NY makes any representation or warranty express or implied as to the fitness of said horses and bears no responsibility of any kind for the selection of said horses but represents to exercise their best efforts in the selection and transportation of said horses to the USA. In order to participate in this program, a non-refundable deposit of $10,000 will be required by Monday March 26. The balance of $18,000 will be due on or before Thursday April 26. If this program is not fully subscribed by March 26, those making an initial deposit will be refunded. The selection of horses is scheduled in France during the period of the Yonkers shut down at the end of May. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact the SOA of NY at 914-968-3599 or via email at All monies paid after the initial deposit will then be held in escrow in an interest bearing account to the credit of the person depositing the funds. Space in the program is limited to the first 24 owners that reserve a slot by making a deposit. Participation in the French American Trotting Club does not hold out any promise of income to any owner but provides an opportunity to race horses in the series and participate in this novel project. Standardbred Owners Association of New York

The $1 million Yonkers International Trot is one month away with the harness racing classic trotting event scheduled for October 14, 2017 at Yonkers Raceway. Find all the latest news and videos at as the North American and European contenders are announced in the coming weeks. Last year’s winner Resolve has an accepted an invitation to return and defend his title. Also already accepting are France’s Dreammoko and Italy’s Twister Bi. Plus follow along on social media on the Standardbred Owners Association of New York Facebook page, and on Twitter @soaofny by using the hashtag #International2017. There will be weekly free contests for International Trot prizes and merchandise. In addition to the International Trot, Yonkers Raceway will be hosting eight New York Sire Stakes Finals on the October 14 afternoon card, each carrying a $225,000 purse.

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - "It ain't a fit night out for man or beast." Such were the words of W. C. Fields many decades ago, repeated Tuesday evening (Apr. 25th) before, during and after the $100,000 harness racing final of Yonkers Raceway's YR/Standardbred Owners Association of New York Bonus Trotting Series. The all-card wind-driven rain didn't deter one man (Jeff Gregory) and one beast (Tight Lines, $2.40), who made short work of their rivals over the gooey going. The race wasn't officially over after the draw, but even those that weren't behind the eight-ball were in fact behind the eight-ball. From the pylons, Tight Lines deferred to a couple of early leavers before taking over from Golden Son (Jason Bartlett) From there, the only entrant to sweep all three preliminary legs hydroplaned his way to happiness (:28.1, :57.3, 1:26.3, 1:56.1). The final margin was 3¼ lengths over Pridecrest (Dave Miller), with Golden Son third. The minors went to Hillosophical (Tyler Buter) and Ameliosi (Yannick Gingras), while an out-the-mile Triumphant's Chip (Dan Dube), Windsong Magic (Brian Sears) and Steed (Joe Bongiorno) completed the order. For Tight Lines, a 4-year-old Yankee Glide gelding co-owned by his trainer/driver, Jesmeral Stable and William Richardson, is was his fifth win (all at odds-on) in as many seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.20, the triple returned $45.40 and the superfecta paid $290.50. "The weather didn't play a part in my strategy." Gregory said. "I figured a few of the others would take a shot leaving and I wasn't going to stand mine on his head in the first turn. I thought I'd be able to get to the front at some point. "I paid him into some stakes for 4-year-olds, including the Graduate and Hambletonian Maturity," Gregory said. "He's going to have to step up his game to go with those trotters. If not, he stays here (Yonkers)." As per the conditions of the series, a $10,000 bonus was awarded to the winner by the SOA of New York. A $35,000 series consolation was won by Showmeyourguns (Jordan Stratton, $2.40, part of entry) in 1:58.2. Frank Drucker

As Standardbred horsemen that participate in the harness racing New York Sire Stakes program we have very real reason for concern. The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund, which oversees monies used to administer the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS), is on the verge of replacing the Harness Horse Breeders of New York (HHBNYS) with the Albany based firm, Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. The President of Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. is John Graziano Jr., a politically appointed trustee on the New York Thoroughbred Breeding Development Fund as well as a registered lobbyist. For the past 50 years, since 1967 and the inception of the New York Sire Stakes program, the HHBNYS have been the administrative arm of the program. Handling the processing of NYSS eligibility payments, eligibility lists, the residency mare program, stallion registry, breeders rewards program, mares bred reports, shipped semen records, NYSS points records and purse breakdowns. The HHBNYS also provides for representation at NYSS race draws and representation at most NYSS racing events, as well as management of an industry website which tracks daily changes in the points based system for all divisions of Sire Stakes, Excelsior and County Fair events. The HHBNYS provides this service with a staff headed by Betty Holt and two office employees. Their projected budget for 2017 was to be $157,500. Conversely, Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. has submitted a working budget of $48,500 to administer this same program for 2017. With this bid, the New York Sire Stakes program will be one of 300 clients of this firm. As horsemen that are invested and interested in the future welfare of the New York program, we have several grave concerns with the direction in which the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding andDevelopment Fund is steering us. Prior to this year, the bylaws governing the administration of the management and integrity of the NYSS program has always contained a "lobbying clause" in each and every contract between the HHBNYS and the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. Specifically Political Activity. Funds provided pursuant to this Agreement shall not be used for any partisan political activity, or for activities that may influence legislation or the election or defeat of any candidate for public office. Based on Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. connection with political lobbying, we find it very curious that this language was removed from the contract this year. Further, we feel this proposed arrangement with Capitol Hill Management Services should not proceed until its officers and the officers of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund explain, publicly under oath, why the so called "lobbying clause" in the agreement was deleted this year after being a part of the contract for so many previous years. Did Capitol Hill Management Services lobby for the change in the contract knowing that it would benefit from it? Did the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund members who approved the change receive some sort of benefit for deleting the clause? At a minimum the timing of the change in the proposed agreement and a lobbyist's push for the work, raise profound questions of ethics and propriety that must be answered for industry participants- owners, trainers, drivers, breeders, etc.- to have any measure of confidence that the proposed new agreement isn't some sort of "sweetheart" deal. Another requirement clause in the contract calls for the successful bidder to have a minimum of two years experience in the scope of work required. The successful bidder must have demonstrated knowledge of competitive equine racing programs that include point standings. While John Graziano Jr. may have some knowledge of Thoroughbred racing, we argue it doesn't make him necessarily experienced in tracking and administering a NYSS points based system program that involves multiple categories of sex and gait. NY Thoroughbred racing does not have a like format. In fact, no argument can be made that Capitol Hill Management Services has the requisite training under the rules. Nor has Capitol Hill Management Services publicly explained how it is going to do the same job or a better job of administering the program for one-third the cost, a difference that is so great as to raise questions about whether it is even possible for the scope of work to be performed at a level to which the industry has become accustomed. At a minimum, Capitol Hill Management Services should be required to publicly and precisely disclose how it intends to do the work. Which people, specifically, will be involved and what is their knowledge? What will be the scope of their work? As experienced horsemen that have worked for years with the HHBNYS, we know full well the depth of work involved and hours of commitment needed to provide the excellence in service required to fulfill the needs of this program. Each day there are a myriad of issues be it breeding, racing or otherwise that must be addressed by experienced and confident personnel. Race draw oversight, coupled entries and eligibility issues are regular issues that need professional and seasoned people to oversee and implement a successful and orderly program. As participants in the New York Sire Stakes program we rely on the ease of communication between horsemen and the HHBNYS to help answer and sort sometimes difficult interpretations of bylaws. Often times needing answers at odd hours of the day, weekday or weekend. These are circumstances that are often unpredictable but in need of immediate attention and direction. These are issues that we have historically relied upon the HHBNYS to respond to and handle with confidence. Everyone wants to keep costs down but the suspicious manner in which the contract was changed and they way in which the new group seeks to proceed, raises fundamental questions that must be cleared before the HHBNYS is replaced. We realize that the HHBNYS has not always perfectly administered the program but it has done so consistently in a way that has earned it the trust and respect of virtually every participant in the NYSS program. The HHBNYS deserves better than to be cast aside in this manner. As investors and participants in the New York Sire Stakes program we are outraged and dismayed with the current direction of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund. This is not the type of leadership we can endorse or accept. The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund has a planned meeting scheduled for April 27th, at which time they are expected to "rubber stamp" their approval of Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. as the new administrative arm of OUR New York Sire Stakes program. We suggest that fellow horseman that feel similarly with us, contact the members of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund directly to express your like disdain. Ronald Ochrym, Agricultural Fund Acting Executive Director, 518-388-0178; Peter Arrigenna, NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee, 585-721-4869; Mike Kimleman, NYSS Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee, 845-249-5693; Richard Ball, Commissioner of Ag and Markets, 518-457-8876 Time is of the essence people. Please make the call or send an email now. Let's keep control on how OUR New York Sire Stakes program is administered. Respectfully submitted.... Paul Kelley Linda Toscano Ken Jacobs Steve Jones Ray Schnittker George Ducharme Jeff Gregory Joe Faraldo Pres. SOA of NY Wanda Polisseni Harness Horse Breeders of New York State

YONKERS, NY - When Devil Child makes her 2017 debut Friday night at Yonkers Raceway, she will also make her first start for trainer John Butenschoen, who was tasked by owners Crawford Farms Racing and Susan Oakes of prepping the daughter of American Ideal for the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. "We had a little bit of luck last year for the Crawfords," Butenschoen explained. "Chris (Oakes) is still in South Florida training the horses and this filly had the series coming up. They asked if I would take her." Butenschoen accepted and delegated the daily care and training of the multiple-stakes winner and $604,549-earner to his son, Tyler. The 27-year-old manages Butenschoen's northern string in the winter while the bulk of the team, John included, head to Florida to prepare the 2-year-olds for the coming year. This season, the Butenschoen stable has swelled with nine horses in training in Pennsylvania and about 50 2- and 3-year-olds prepping in Florida. The lineup of about 60 trotters and pacers is about 10 more than Butenschoen is used to conditioning at any given time. "We're really lucky. We've got a lot of good help down here in Florida and I've got a lot of good help up in Pennsylvania, so we were able to take it on to where it really didn't affect anything other than we've got to work a little bit more," Butenschoen said with a chuckle. His dedication to the 2-year-olds means Butenschoen has spent limited time with Devil Child. What he has seen first-hand impressed the conditioner. "When I went up there to the Meadowlands sale, she was in the barn. I looked at her and she was in great shape " he admired. "Physically she looked great. I mean great flesh, her legs were all clean, so we were able to put her on a pretty recommended schedule and the weather thankfully cooperated to where we were able to get things going." Although she hasn't raced since finishing second in a $26,000 overnight at Yonkers November 18, Devil Child's break at Crawford Farms in Durhamville, NY served her well and made the comeback process easier. "She was just freshened up. From what the Crawfords told me, she was out in the field, they have an Equicizer, they have exercise wheel, they have things that you can keep the horse in training without being in training. So, all we were trying to do was get her back racing, fit, and let her talent take care of it." Devil Child's final preparations for her return to racing began March 3 when she qualified at Yonkers. With Mark MacDonald at the lines, she showed speed from post seven before finishing third in 1:55.0 with a :28.4 final quarter. A week later, she qualified again. This time, she finished fourth in 1:56.0 with a :29.2 final panel for leading driver Jason Bartlett, who will drive Friday night. "We trained her in :58 at the farm before we took her in to qualify. Both of her qualifiers were encouraging. Mark was happy with her the first week and Jason was happy with her last week," Butenschoen said. Devil Child is a 6-1 morning line chance in her $40,000 division of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. She drew post position four and avoids some of the series favorites in week one as Mach It A Par and Bedroomconfessions will start in division two. "She got into a good spot. It worked out where if we would've been in either of the other divisions, the horses that Jason is driving in those divisions are obviously a little more accomplished this year. We're able to retain him to drive her, so that's a plus. The four hole is a plus. It looks like probably on paper it's the right division," Butenschoen reasoned. "We'll see where we're at. The first start it will be interesting to see what she's up to, but I think she's capable of going along otherwise we wouldn't have put her in there," he continued. "We're hopeful. I'll be watching from sunny Central Florida here and hoping that she does a little good." The first of five weeks of preliminary competition in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series features three $40,000 divisions, each with a full field of eight. First post time is 7:10 p.m. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Let’s face it - our industry loves to demean itself and is often the victim of self-inflicted wounds and so let’s acknowledge that we will have difficulty drawing  any new people to harness racing unless we address ongoing rumors and innuendo and start tackling issues – or even supposed issues – in a fact-based, structured manner.  A perfect example is the issue of “beard” trainers and I would like to suggest action is needed immediately by industry stakeholders to clarify exactly what the scope and scale of the problem is and then root it out entirely. The issue of “beard” trainers is one of those things we all believe to be true, despite lacking the type of details and data that would either substantiate or disprove the many industry pronouncements we often hear (and the tendency to feed upon these pronouncements like piranhas doesn’t serve anyone’s interest).  So why don’t the Commissions  proactively put this to bed and take concrete steps to end the careers of “beards” and those who utilize them with a coordinated, thoughtful industry initiative? The Standardbred Owners Association of New York has taken a first step to do just that and has sent an open letter to  the Executive Branch, the New York Gaming Commission, formally requesting that they incorporate the following proposed procedure to weed out any and all so called “beard” trainers.    And since this is not a unique problem to New York harness racing, but also seems to be endemic at a number of tracks, I would offer an invitation to all concerned industry participants especially horsemen’s to join with the SOA of NY and support this initiative in other jurisdictions as well. The intended purpose is to seek a regulatory procedure to expose factually, not anecdotally, “beard” trainers. To follow, will be a similar recommended course regarding undisclosed owners or “beard” owners seeking either the avoidance of race conflicts or as a consequence of some impediment to their identity being revealed on the racing program. The Commissions having this jurisdiction should incorporate a number of suggested protocols as soon as possible.  And the Presiding Judges, under their broad powers to regulate racing, can and should delegate to an  Associate Judge the following directives to ferret out these this  serious problem: FOR TRAINERS  At each track in your state or commonwealth, the Presiding Judge should assign to one or more of his/her Associate Judges the task of asking in writing – to any trainer, at any time – to supply the following information: The number and names of all horses in your care for whom you are listed as trainer. The name/s of all help employed or working as an independent contractor directly in the day to day care of horses under your control. The location of any and all horses under your care, including the farm, training center and the name/s of any other trainers with who you share a barn during the relevant period.. The names and addresses of any and all veterinarian/s, farrier/s, and supplier/s of feed and/or tack that are utilized for the care of those horses. Include the name/s of the contact person you communicate instructions to when requesting care, service or supplies. Copies of proof of payment to the daily employee/s or independent contractor/s including vet/s, farrier/s and supplier/s of feed and tack. Copies of the last  Worker’s Compensation quarterly filing listing  your covered employee/s. Copies of any and all bills sent to the owner/s of the horse/s for which you are the programmed trainer. Copies of any and all deposit slips demonstrating payment related to the care your horses for which you are the programmed trainer. Copies of evidence of proof of payment, if any is made to the farm or training center where your horses are trained or turned out, and if you are not the payer, indicate who is and their address. Copies of payments, if any, made by you , to any other person or persons who now hold or have held a trainer's  license in this or any other jurisdiction within the last ten years in this or any other jurisdiction. Copies of evidence of proof of payment, if any that is made to the farm or training center where said horse/s are trained or turned out, and if you are not the payer, indicate who is and their address. Copies of  proof of payment received from any other person or entity that either holds a license issued by the Commission, or not, for any services related to your care of horses for which you are the programed trainer. Copies of payments made to any other person or persons , licensees or non licensees of the Commission which in whole or in part represent a distribution of earned purse money less driver/trainer fees and cost of care. The name and address of your billing agent or accountant. •       The Associate Judge will, upon making the request, immediately inform the Commission in writing that said request was made, to whom it was made, and the date thereof.  If the trainer is not in attendance at the track, the designated trainer shall be so notified and asked to acknowledge the notice.  In the event of the non-appearance at the track of the programed trainer, a writing shall be sent to the trainer at the address appearing on his license application, certified mail with return receipt requested. •       All records hereby requested shall be for the period encompassing the last completed quarter of the year or quarter in the prior year preceding the request.  Said records are to be provided pursuant to this request within forty five (45) days from the date of the writing and or acknowledgement by the trainer or his/ her designated substitute. •       Notice of failure to provide this information within the time set forth will be sent to the Commission with a request to issue a subpoena for those documents along with a request by the Presiding Judge to the Commission to commence a formal investigation. •       Individuals would not be the subject of multiple requests from each track raced at, as once an Associate Judge informs the Commission of the request that will constitute the sole request that needs to be complied with for that period. In no calendar year will a trainer be requested to supply thus information more than for two quarters. •       The judges shall keep a listing of any and all information received regarding suspected “beards” whether the judges in their discretion, act upon the same or not. Once again, the idea behind this thoughtful, substantive and fact-based initiative is to stop once-and-for-all the rumor mongering undertaken by too many individuals in this business and that, frankly, too many of us simply accept as true.  Let’s finally get all of the actual facts on the table and then either honestly or transparently resolve the problem we all “believe” exists and ferret out “beards” or stop accusing people of something unproven.  I am fully confident it can be done the right way and all it takes is the resources currently possessed by the regulatory agency. While this is not perfect by any means, the thought process is to have the Commissions undertake without tremendous cost the necessary regulatory function of addressing this problem. Joe Faraldo, president of the SOA of NY

A bonus program that has been in place for the last month for SOA of NY members who hit the board at Yonkers Raceway will be extended through March 31. Each racing night, one race is drawn at random and designated the SOA Bonus race. The owner(s) of the horses finishing first, second and third in the Bonus race will receive a Bonus of $1,000 for finishing first, $500 for finishing second and $250 for finishing third in addition to the normal purse money earned, provided that all parties involved with the horse - all owners, trainer and driver - are current members of the SOA of NY. Joining the SOA of NY is easy. Applications are available at and prospective members can also join and pay by credit card by calling the SOA of NY office at 914-968-3599. A one year membership is $35 or a three year option is available for $75.  

SOA of NY members are about to be rewarded at Yonkers Raceway. For two consecutive weeks starting on Valentine’s Day, February 14 through February 28, one race will be drawn at random and be designated the SOA Bonus race with special rewards for members that hit the board. The owner(s) of the horses finishing first, second and third in the Bonus race will receive a Bonus of $1,000 for finishing first, $500 for finishing second and $250 for finishing third in addition to the normal purse money earned, provided that all parties involved with the horse – all owners, trainer and driver – are current members of the SOA of NY. Each day, the Bonus Race will be chosen before the start of the daily program in the SOA paddock field office with at least two horsemen present.  The selected race will become the SOA Bonus race for that day and the selection will be announced in the paddock. Any memberships tendered or received after the selection is drawn will be eligible for the next day’s selection and for the remaining days of the Bonus period. The Bonus payment will be made to the winning owner(s) by the SOA of NY. In the event of a dead heat or multiple owners on one horse, the Bonus will be split. Joining the SOA of NY is easy. An application is attached which can be mailed back or dropped off in person. Also, applications are available at and prospective members can also join and pay by credit card by calling the SOA of NY office at 914-968-3599. This is just one of many benefits of being an SOA of NY member. This is a benefit that may be repeated. Don't be shut out, join today!  

Yonkers Raceway wrapped up its 2016 season with nearly $20 million US Dollars wagered from European sources throughout the French PMU network. Just under $18 million Euros were wagered on 32 race cards from Yonkers. Those programs were 20 Tuesday afternoons, 11 Sunday afternoons and one Saturday featuring the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. Each simulcast is a partial card of five to seven races, just trotters. Wagering on pacing races is not allowed in France. An exciting addition in 2016 was the first commingled pools on a regular basis between Yonkers and the PMU. Win and show wagers began to be commingled on May 24. In total 12 Tuesdays, six Sundays and the Saturday card were commingled, resulting in $3.6 million Euros, or about $4 million Dollars, being added to the Yonkers North American win and show pools. The exchange rate fluctuates daily and in 2016 went from a high of $1.15 US Dollars per Euro to a low of $1.03 with an average of $1.10. Just two years ago that same exchange rate was approximately $1.36 US Dollars for each Euro. "We're very pleased with how the relationship between Yonkers and the PMU and Le Trot has grown," said Bob Galterio, Vice President and General Manager of Yonkers Raceway. "We were thrilled to quickly begin commingling some pools in 2016 and look forward to more cooperation and collaboration in 2017." There were larger field sizes and all different classes of races simulcast to France but the biggest factor in the wagering figures was the day of the week and the time of day the races were simulcast. With Paris normally six hours ahead of New York, the Sunday cards which started around 11:30AM in New York arrived in Paris at 5:30PM. The Tuesday French races were normally at 3PM at Yonkers which is 9PM in France. "Just like here in the US, Sundays are very strong racing days in France and Tuesdays aren't as busy," explained SOA of NY Executive Director Alex Dadoyan. "Also, at least half of the betting locations do not stay open at night so the Sundays were much stronger as expected." Nine of the 11 Sunday Yonkers cards handled more than $1 million dollars throughout the PMU Network. For 2017, all of the regular simulcasts originating from Yonkers to France will be on Sundays. There will be 24 Sundays and one Saturday again for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot October 14. Yonkers returns to racing Tuesdays at night. "The additional money generated by the European wagering is in addition to the daily handle figures normally reported and they've been very encouraging," said Joe Faraldo, SOA of NY President. "Yonkers Raceway and the SOA of NY continue to work very cooperatively to expand the wagering base and add to our win and show pools for the benefit of our bettors." The 2017 season at Yonkers Raceway begins Sunday January 8 with an 11:30AM first post. The card features seven trotting races at a mile and a quarter distance being simulcast to France as well as purse levels boosted well above their normal levels to welcome everyone back for the New Year. From the SOA of New York

HARRISBURG PA -- The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's largest and leading membership organization for industry communicators, is very pleased to announce that Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York (SOA/NY) are partnering with USHWA in sponsoring the Cocktail Party and Open Bar at its annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at the Planet Hollywood casino in Las Vegas. The sponsorship features a lavish cocktail party from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm., and then an open bar during the Dan Patch awards dinner until 10:00 pm. In addition, every guest attending the dinner will receive a special edition Yonkers-SOA/NY-USHWA commemorative wine glass. Yonkers Raceway "dates back" as a host of harness racing to 1899 and its origins as the Empire City Trotting Club; in 1950, William Cane recast the facility as a pari-mutuel harness racing track, and the Rooney family has operated the oval since 1972. For over three decades, Yonkers combined with Roosevelt as the undisputed "power center" of quality harness racing performance, uniquely hosting a leg of the Triple Crown at both gaits - the Cane Pace and the Yonkers Trot. Today the quality of racing at Yonkers is evidenced by the fact that they feature, by some margin, the most lucrative purse schedule in North American harness racing. The Standardbred Owners Association of New York, founded in 1954, tirelessly works for the horsemen racing at the New York City oval: meeting with management on purse negotiations, marketing, and backstretch and other matters (including the recent successful addition of simulcasting into the lucrative French market); providing insurance, health benefits, and scholarships to its members; and liaising with local and state politicians to ensure that the scope of harness racing's contribution to its community, in economic and other terms, is understood and appreciated. Tim Bojarski, president of the Harness Writers Association, noted that "USHWA is honored to have both Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York partner with us for the 2017 Dan Patch banquet presentation. They are institutions in our industry, one of harness racing's leading tracks through the pari-mutuel era and a horsemen's group tireless in their advocacy for the best of their membership. The fact that the two groups can combine in this sponsorship shows the 'win-win' attitude of both groups, so necessary in this competitive entertainment market, and we of USHWA are proud they have chosen to support us as we honor the best in our sport early next year." The Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park will be held during the same weekend when USHWA holds its annual business meetings. Further information about the Banquet and the weekend, including links for dinner tickets, Souvenir Journal advertising, and room reservations at special USHWA rates for Planet Hollywood, is available on the group's website, From the United States Harness Writers Association

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