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Hightstown, NJ --- After a journey of more than 5,000 miles, the harness racing starting gate used for the prestigious Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, is now safely in the least likely of racing locations, Budapest, Hungary. The starting gate is used to start the harness races. It has a special attachment with long wings that open up and close. The horses get behind the gate at their assigned post position numbers and follow the gate to the starting point of the race and then the vehicle accelerates away from the field of horses and then follows them on the outside of the track throughout the race. The extensive journey for the unique Ford F-150 pickup truck with its starting gate attachment began in early July of 2017 when Petronella Kovács, an equine photographer and assistant manager at Kincsem Park in Budapest, contacted harness racing publicity consultant and Hall of Famer, Steve Wolf, in Coral Springs, Fla. Kincsem Park is a major events facility in Budapest that features not only harness racing, but also Thoroughbred and greyhound racing, concerts and festivals. “I received an email from Petronella,” Wolf said, “asking if I could assist them in purchasing a good used starting gate and having it shipped to Budapest. Little did I know the kind of journey this would take us on. “Thank goodness for Google translate, as I do not speak Hungarian, and Petronella speaks some English. We had some minor situations where we did not understand each other, but always were able to work it out.” “I speak English somewhat,” Kovács said. “Our communication was the best I think, easy, fluent and simple. “I was searching for a company or a person who could arrange these kinds of things like this. I wrote to some companies, and only Steve said he can and wanted to help me.” So Wolf began searching for a good used starting gate, which was no easy task. “I contacted the two major companies that build starting gates in the USA,” Wolf said. “And either they did not have any used vehicles for sale or they were too old for what they wanted at Kincsem Park. I contacted race tracks and found a couple of used starting gates, but again, too old for what they wanted.” Then Wolf went to Mike Woebkenberg of Superior Sulky in Farmerville, Ohio. Mike and Steve had never met before, but through talking on the phone, had become friends. “I realized that Steve really wanted to help find a starting gate for the people at Kincsem Park,” Woebkenberg said. “And I wanted to help him, so we looked into building a new one, but that became too costly with shipping and import taxes. We tried all sorts of scenarios and then I said to myself, why not sell them the main starting gate I use at the Little Brown Jug and other tracks and just build a new one for myself.” After working out a price, a deal was reached between Woebkenberg, Wolf and Kovács that was acceptable to Kincsem Park management. But then came the paperwork for the Ford F-150 starting gate. “I thought at first that this would be an easy purchase agreement,” Wolf said. “Then came an 18-page bidding form in Hungarian! It took some time as Google translate was not as helpful, but Petronella worked with me and soon enough I had it done. I nicknamed her my “Job Angel” and Mike also was a major help as we had to include all dimensions of the truck and the starting gate mechanisms in kilometers, etc.” Because Kincsem Park is owned and run by the Department of Agriculture in Hungary, bids must be done for all major machinery purchases. So next came the waiting game for Wolf to see how the bidding would go. It was early July when the adventure first started and then on Oct. 13, Wolf received via email a document from the Hungarian government with an official seal on it. “I thought at first it was the official notice that my bid was successfully submitted,” Wolf said. “So, I forwarded it to Petronella and she got back to me and said ‘Congratulations Steve, your bid is the winning one,’ and I was ecstatic about it.” Of course, more work remained. Arrangements were made to have the starting gate shipped from Ohio to an East Coast port, then across the Atlantic to a port in Europe, and then to have the vehicle transported to Budapest, which is totally landlocked from any major shipping port by hundreds of miles. “I had done pricing on all facets needed to get the starting gate to Budapest for the bidding contract,” Wolf said. “And now I was able to negotiate final deals with the different transport companies.” So, Woebkenberg began preparing the truck for a long trip to Europe. “I had the truck totally detailed,” Woebkenberg said. “New tires and an extra new spare, new brakes, extra spare parts and prepared the truck for being in a container for a while and how the salt air could affect it. I also wrote out instructions for basic repairs and maintenance for the truck and starting gate and made sure that the company folded in the big side-view mirrors in order for it to fit inside the container.” The starting gate was then transported from Farmerville, Ohio to the port in Jersey City, N.J., then shipped to the port at Bremerhaven, Germany and transported 740 miles to Budapest, Hungary. “I had all the information,” Wolf said. “The name of the ship, the route it was going to take, when it might arrive, but still I was nervous waiting for it to finally arrive in Germany. I even learned how to track a vessel at sea provided it passed near some of the tracking stations across the Atlantic. “And then I got an email on Monday, Jan. 22, from my customs agent that the ship had docked the night before,” Wolf added, laughing. “So, my worries about the starting gate sinking were over with!” “I did not think it would take so long,” Kovács said. “With the truck coming from America, it is not the closest or the easiest way to Hungary. A good job takes time. “My colleagues and I were so excited when I got the message on my phone that the truck had arrived. I finally felt calm and secure. Everyone was so excited and could not wait to see the truck at work.” Both Steve Wolf and Mike Woebkenberg are hopeful that this experience will be repeated with other tracks around the world that are interested in getting either a new or used starting gate. They can be reached via email at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com or mike@superiorsulky.com. “I’m ready to do it all over again,” Wolf said. “It was most certainly a life experience that I really enjoyed doing, made new friends around the world and now I can add international exporter to my resume.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has debuted their new website at www.ushwa-florida.com. The Florida Chapter has also developed a Facebook Page at Florida Chapter USHWA. "The Florida Chapter has dedicated this year to working harder than ever to help promote the sport of harness racing in Florida and across the nation." said Florida USHWA Chapter president Steve Wolf. "The debut of our website and our new Facebook Page is just the start of our 2018 program. "The harness racing industry, especially in Florida," Wolf explained, "needs to have more exposure to the general masses. We will be doing more stories on owners, trainers, drivers, caretakers and the many training/breeding farms throughout the state, working on special events in the local communities, and hopefully help educating new fans to this great sport through our chapter. "Our Chapter's treasurer, Thomas H. Hicks," Wolf credited. "created and developed the website and did a super job." The Florida Chapter of USHWA was first formed in 1964 following the opening of the Pompano Park racetrack. Over the many years the Chapter has worked with racetrack management and the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association in helping promote the sport both locally and nationally. The Chapter annually hosts the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Banquet, has given out tens of thousands of dollars through the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship for Florida residents studying journalism or equine related majors, and provides special funding for Florida horsemen and women in need due to poor health, accidents and/or dire financial situations through the Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA          

Pompano Beach, FL --- Steven Wolf, president of the Florida chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association (USHWA), has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2018 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park, and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. Preference for these scholarship awards will be given to a student majoring in journalism, communications or veterinarian related studies. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Applicants must have demonstrated scholastic ability with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and show evidence of community service and leadership through certificates, awards and/or letters of commendation. Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than June 1, 2018, for consideration of a July 2018 award. Recipients may reapply annually for a maximum of four years. Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, 3508 Sahara Springs Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33069. For more information or to receive an application on the internet, contact via e-mail to Thomas H. Hicks at renparlc@gate.net or Steven Wolf at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA  

Deerfield Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) held its 27th annual Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame banquet Friday evening, March 2 with three new members inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Royal Fiesta Ballroom. There were 14 awards given out with the three Hall of Fame inductees the highlight of the evening. Induction recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry. The inductees were owner, trainer and driver, Dan Daley of Vero Beach, long time trainer/driver Warren Harp of Bell, and renowned second trainer, Odell Thompson, of Lauderdale Lakes. "What a special honor this is tonight for all my years working in harness racing," Said Warren Harp. "I could not be prouder with this award and am especially thankful to the Florida USHWA Chapter." "It is so great to get this special honor," said Dan Daley, "And to have my family with me tonight made it all the better." "I was just about speechless when I went to the podium to get my trophy," said Odell Thompson. "I could not thank enough people to have helped me throughout my career and who have been my friends for so many years. It's a blessing I will never forget." Elected to the Communicators Corner of the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame was renowned author, owner and publicist Victoria Howard, of Boca Raton. "This is one of the biggest thrills of my lifetime," Howard said. "I could not be happier. I love writing about racing, owning and breeding race horses, everything about harness racing. It has been in my blood for most of my life and I could not think of doing anything else but being in this great sport." The William Popfinger Award for developing outstanding juvenile pacers went for the second time to trainer Kim Sears of Osteen. Kim could not make the dinner but her trophy was accepted by horsewoman Donna Richardson and former USHWA national Chairman of the Board, Chris Tully. The current president of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA, Tully was also the events special auctioneer for the evening. Florida Chapter treasurer, Thomas H. Hicks, was the Emcee for the evening presentations. All money raised from the silent auction, live auction and program journal go to support the Allen J Finkelson Scholarship Fund and the Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund. The Stanley Dancer Award, which recognizes achievements of a trainer who has been continuously outstanding in the development of young trotters, was presented for the first time to trainer-driver Jason MacDougall of Astor. Winner of the Delvin G. Miller Award, which recognizes someone or an organization whose life in harness racing reflects dedication and integrity furthering the growth of the sport went to Elizabeth Hennessey Schaut of Pompano Beach. The Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award, which recognizes an outstanding female who has made great contributions to the sport was presented to Kathy Breedlove of Pompano Beach. The Peter Haughton Award, which goes to an upcoming young driver at the Pompano Park meet went to 23-year-old James "JD" Yoder of Bell. The winner of the Dana Irving Award for breeding excellent juvenile performers in 2017 was presented for the first time to Marianne and Maggie Audley of Gold Star Farm in Bell. The Florida USHWA Chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to longtime trainer/driver Tom Merriman of Delray Beach and caretaker, racetrack maintenance man, Emmitt Davis of Pompano Beach. The annual Caretaker of the Year Award is presented to an outstanding individual who, over his or her career, has dedicated untiring time and efforts caring for the horses in the stable(s) they worked for. This year's winner was Joanie Uszak from the Mike Murphy Stable, who has been grooming horses for nearly 60 years. "It was a superb event tonight," said Florida USHWA Chapter president, Steve Wolf. "Everyone had such a great time with family and friends and those who won awards I know were well earned and will cherish them always. We even had a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday for Ann-Mari Daley's mom, Cookie Fedun, the long-time horsemen's valet at Pompano Park, who was celebrating her 89th birthday. It's all made for a fun-filled evening." From the Florida Chapter USHWA

Come this Sunday night, February 25, the United States Harness Writers Association will host its annual Dan Patch Awards Night and part of the festivities will be the largest silent auction in the history of the event. Thanks especially, to all the donors who came forth with some super items. "Members from all corners of the harness racing community have really supported our silent auction with donations this year," said Tim Bojarski, president of the USHWA. "and as a result, we have a plethora of quality items for everyone to bid on. With a large live crowd expected and with the opportunity for anyone to bid in advance from home, this auction could prove to be one of the most profitable ever. "And all the proceeds will help fund worthy initiatives within the industry, spearheaded by the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and USHWA," Bojarski concluded. There are 26 unique items in the silent auction, great vacation and racing packages, superb artwork, special collectables, gift certificates, media services and even private handicapping lessons. Something for everyone. The items in the auction are listed below with the donor(s) for each item. For complete information, item descriptions, available photos and bidding instructions, please visit www.ushwa.org or call Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor at 317-908-0029.  Rosen Shingle Creek Package (Rosen Shingle Creek) 2018 Preakness Package (Maryland Jockey Club) Phillies/Mets Package (Nick Saponara) Batavia Downs Package (Batavia Downs) Red Mile Package (Red Mile Sponsorship Team) Always B Miki Print (Michelle Hogan) NY Yankees tickets vs Houston Astros plus food and beverages (Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock) Autographed baseball from C C Sabathia (Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock) Autographed baseball from NY Yankees Aaron Judge (Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock) Stained Glass Panel (Barbara Dresser & Callie Davies-Gooch) Cigar Label Collection (Barry Lefkowitz and Harness Racing Museum) Adios Print (Tom Charters) Macau Print (Leon Zimmerman) Cam Fella Print (The Farm Ventures, Off and Pacing, Ryan Clements, Lanon Mulhall) Wine Goblets (Suzanne D'Ambrose) Bow River Necklace (Bow River Jewelry) Ohio Sires Stakes Gift Basket (Ohio Sires Stakes) Hoosier Park Gift Basket (Hoosier Park) Canadian Horse Racing Gift Basket (Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Retromedia Publishing & Melissa Keith) Tim Hortons Gift Basket (Melissa Keith) Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Gift Bag (Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown) Campbell Collection (Gordon Waterstone, Moira Fanning) Meadowlands TV Night (New Meadowlands) PR Services (Mark McKelvie & Melissa Keith) Handicapping Session (Garnet Barnsdale) Off & Pacing Package (The Farm Ventures & Off and Pacing Team) Fennell's Gift Certificate (R E Fennell's Company) Red Mile Gift Shop Gift Certificate (Jeremy Wilson) Big Dee Gift Certificate (Big Dees Tack & Vet Supply) Submitted by National USHWA  

Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the States Harness Writers Associations' president, Steven Wolf, has announced the Hall of Fame inductees for 2018 and the annual award winners for the 2017 harness racing season. They will be honored at the association's 27th annual Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on Friday, March 2, 2018 at the Royal Fiesta Catering Ballroom in Deerfield Beach. Elected to the chapter's Hall of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry, are owner, trainer and driver, Dan Daley of Vero Beach, trainer/driver Warren Harp of Bell, and renowned second trainer, Odell Thompson, of Lauderdale Lakes. Elected to the Communicators Corner of the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame is renowned author, owner and publicist Victoria Howard, of Boca Raton. The William Popfinger Award for developing outstanding juvenile pacers goes for the second time to trainer Kim Sears of Osteen. The Stanley Dancer Award, which recognizes achievements of a trainer who has been continuously outstanding in the development of young trotters, goes for the first time to trainer-driver Jason MacDougall of Astor. Winner of the Delvin G. Miller Award, which recognizes someone or an organization whose life in harness racing reflects dedication and integrity furthering the growth of the sport goes to Elizabeth Hennessey Schaut of Pompano Beach. The Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award, which recognizes an outstanding female who has made great contributions to the sport goes to Kathy Breedlove of Pompano Beach. The winner of the Allen J. Finkelson Award recognizes an individual in the sport who has contributed to the positive promotion of the Standardbred industry and being honored this year is amateur driving champion Dein Spriggs of Jupiter. The Peter Haughton Award, which goes to an upcoming young driver at the Pompano Park meet goes to James "JD" Yoder of Bell. The winner of the Dana Irving Award for breeding excellent juvenile performers in 2017 goes for the first time to Marianne and Maggie Audley of Gold Star Farm in Bell. The Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award, presented annually to an outstanding individual who has always contributed positively to the sport, goes to FSBOA President and amateur driver Joe Pennacchio of Delray Beach. The Florida USHWA Chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to longtime trainer/driver Tom Merriman of Delray Beach and caretaker, racetrack maintenance man, Emmitt Davis of Pompano Beach. The annual Caretaker of the Year Award is presented to an outstanding individual who, over his or her career, has dedicated untiring time and efforts caring for the horses in the stable(s) they worked for. This year's winner is Joanie Uszak from the Mike Murphy Stable, who has been grooming horses for nearly 60 years. Tickets are $80 per person for the full course dinner that begins at 6:30 pm with a one-hour open bar with appetizers. Tables of ten are available. There is free parking at Royal Fiesta Catering, located in the Cove off Hillsboro Blvd at 1680 SE 3rd Court, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, to purchase tickets, or place a congratulatory ad in the program book, please contact Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or email stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter USHWA

Oakwood Stud in County Offaly, Ireland has reported that semen from their top harness racing pacing stallion, Foreclosure N, will be made available in Australia and New Zealand shortly. Kody Charles of KTC Bloodstock in Perth, Australia has been friends via Facebook with Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud for years and they finally met face-to-face in 2015. "When we first got Foreclosure N in Ireland," Derek Delaney explained, "Kody contacted me to say he has his dam in Australia and he had a keen interest in him and had followed his success as a sire in the USA. He asked about shipping his frozen semen to use for some of his mares and we stuck a deal to also make it available for outside mares too." This will be the first time that KTC Bloodstock, which is run by Kody with his mom and dad and Brittany, have been involved with shipping semen overseas and they are very excited to see his foals on the ground next year in Australia and New Zealand. "This is a new venture for KTC Bloodstock," said Kody Charles. "We are very pleased to be selected as Agent for the frozen semen of Foreclosure in Australia and New Zealand. "It has been a dream of ours for some time to get involved in a stallion, Kody explained. "and I can't think of no better stallion to get involved in at our first attempt. He is already competing with the best in the states and already has the points on the board from his first small crop. I think he will a big plus for local breeders. He will be supported by our own mares and frozen semen will be available in Australia and New Zealand for a fee of $2,500 including GST." Foreclosure N, (Rocknroll Hanover - Pleasing Package A - Fake Left) was bred in USA and foaled in NZ, then shipped back to USA as yearling, raced in the USA and Canada, then bred one crop with 21 foals in the USA. His oldest foals are now age 4 and have earned over $1 million through their three-year-old season. He finished 6th on the top 20 sires for average earnings for three-year-old pacers in 2017 and sired the Ohio Sire Stakes Championship winner, Drunk On Your Love p,3 1:51.1f. He was also recently honored as the top Ohio-bred 3-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the year in 2017 and earned $328,286 to date. Foreclosure N's richest daughter is Rosemary Rose p,3 1:51.4h $255,692, and holds the track record for 3-year-old fillies at Northfield Park with her record mile of 1:51.4 and won multiple legs of the OHSS and won the Grand Circuit event, the Courageous Lady. World renowned driver Tim Tetrick had this to say about Foreclosure N: "I think this stallion has a very good opportunity at stud," Tetrick said. "He is already having fantastic results from a small crop in the USA. I really liked him as a racehorse. He was a real professional on the track that tried hard every inch of the mile. He had a great gait with a great attitude and really wanted to do his work and was one super-fast horse." Foreclosure N was sold to Oakwood Stud in 2015 and bred mares in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England and now is going to be breeding foals in Australia and New Zealand, so it's fair to say he's well-travelled once again in his career. "Our first crop here in Ireland from Foreclosure N are now 2," Derek Delaney said. "and in training they look superb and the feedback from trainers is phenomenal at this early stage." For more information about getting semen down under for Foreclosure N, please contact either Oakwood Stud at www.oakwoodstud.ie or KTC Bloodstock at www.ktcbloodstock.com.au. By Steve Wolf, for Oakwood Stud      

Albrighton, UK - Authorities working to host the Wolverhampton Dunstall Park harness racing meet this Sunday, October 1 have announced that they will be raising charity aid for Leukemia Research will money going to the Leukemia ward at Leeds Hospital which treated Jaqueline Gill, who is now in remission. “Everyone has so far been so kind,” said meet organizer Claire Fletcher. “It just shows when we all pull together anything can be done. “We are expecting a great meeting,” Fletcher said. “And we hope to have 16 races run that Sunday.” There will be a disco and bar Saturday night in a private room for entertainment and after the races on Sunday, a singer at the upstairs bar at the racetrack. Donations have already been given for the charities including services to Western Jackpot, Matador, and Smack Talk. A new set of harness, a holiday trip to Spain, a spa weekend, designed jewelry, even the breaking/gentling of a racehorse. World-renowned equine artist, Nadina Ironia, is also donating an oil painting of a horse of their choice to the highest bidder on Saturday. Gates open at 11:30 am on October 1 and the first race is scheduled to go out at 1:00 pm. For more information or to make a donation and to place a bid on the many auction items, please contact Claire Fletcher at Clairefletcher7@icloud.com or via Facebook.  by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

If harness racing fans, owners, breeders and trainers thought 2017 was a banner year for trotters with the richest purses ever in the history of the UK and Ireland, thanks to the support of LeTrot, then just wait for the 2018 season! The 2017 season recently concluded at Tir Prince Raceway on Saturday, September 9 with the €30,000 Gold Final, which is now the richest race ever for trotters or pacers in UK/Ireland history. Total purses that evening for the Gold, Silver, Bronze and the consolation race were a record £61,850 ($80,000 US) for just the four finals. “The 3-year-old 2017 TROTBritain/LeTrot Series was an unqualified success,” said George Button, a director for TROTBritain. “This year’s series captured the imagination of the harness racing community in the UK and led to the biggest Series ever to be held in the history of our sport. The 2018 TROTBritain/LeTrot series for French 3-year-old trotters will be bigger and better. “The emphasis now is on the young horses racing in the UK,” explained Button. “And encouraging the breeding of a Trotteur Francais for the sustainable future of our sport. Never before has there been an opportunity to progress trotting here, and TROTBritain will continue to push forward with their ambition to establish LeTrot racing as a major force in the UK. We thank LeTrot for their continued support with sponsorship enabling us to help achieve our objectives.” The LeTrot Super Finals at Tir Prince saw the €30,000 Gold Cup Final go to Equilea Du Hauty and trainer/driver Rhys Evans in the closest finish of the series finals, winning by just a half-length in 2:07.60 for the 1,760 yard race over Ecurme De Mer (Jak Foody) with Eliothrope (Steve Lees) third. Equilea Du Hauty is owned by Geoff Lyons-Mound, Sr. In the €15,000 Silver Cup Final, it was Eldivina D’Esge and trainer/driver Rhun Wilson, who were able to post a two-length triumph in 2:11.50 over Espoir Lila (Joseph Ripley) with Eclair Du Torp (Joss Edwards) third. Jobie Randall owns Eldivina D’Esge. Then in the €9,025 Bronze Cup Final, driver Richard Haythornthwaite blew away the field, winning by six open lengths in 2:13.80 with Emirat Du Levant. Second was Emeraude De Dourse (Andrew Cairns) with Etoile Vive (Gary Dowse) third. Emirat Du Levant is trained by Teresa Haythornthwaite for the Globe Trotters Stable. “The finals night was such a great success,” Button added. “And we thank Emmanuelle Morvillers, Head of Overseas Development at LeTrot for attending the race card, and everyone involved with TROTBritain for all their hard work as it has really paid off! We also want to thank the management at Tir Prince Raceway for hosting not only the finals, but many of the legs of the series this summer. Also thanks to all the tracks that held heats of LeTrot and to all the individuals who participated in the series and gave their support to the LeTrot 3-year-old initiative. It was so great this season.” By Steve Wolf, for TROTBritain

Chester, PA - Harrah's Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA), are hosting the final of three special Summer Series reunion nights on Friday, September 8 with the Brandywine Raceway Reunion Night. Post time for the special evening program is 6:30 pm. "Our first two Summer Series Reunion nights for Liberty Bell Park and Garden State Park were really well attended," said Barry Brown, Director of Racing Operations at Harrah's Philadelphia. "But I believe the Brandywine Raceway Reunion Night will be the best of all. The track was only a few miles away from Harrah's Philadelphia and we are giving the first 400 fans who purchase a Harrah's program that night a free Summer Series commemorative t-shirt." Brandywine Raceway first opened in 1953 and raced through 1989. During its 36 years the track featured harness racing's greatest horses and horsemen. The property is now the site of Brandywine Hunt luxury homes and the Brandywine Corporate Center offices. Race fans are urged to search around their storage areas and bring any memorabilia from Brandywine Raceway to the track. Everyone that brings in a piece of Brandywine Raceway memorabilia, a race program, admission passes, giveaway items, win circle photos, etc., will receive a gift from Harrah's Philadelphia. Memorabilia items will be judged and those people bringing the top items will receive $300 in betting vouchers as prizes. A special guest appearance will be made by WIP Radio Sports legend, Jody McDonald, who will be at the track to meet fans. There will be a souvenir eight-page insert of Brandywine Raceway photos in the race program, plus live harness racing, live music during the evening, food and drinks, free mechanical bull rides and other games on the outdoor patio. "We encourage everyone who raced, went to or remembers Brandywine Raceway to come on out," Said Brown. "We hope to see lots of race fans, former employees and horsemen and women from the Brandywine Raceway days of old enjoying a great reunion night. We already know that there will be many surprise guests that will be in attendance." For more information, visit or contact Harrah's Philadelphia at www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly. By Steve Wolf, for Harrah's Philadelphia    

CHESTER, PA - From tables and tables loaded with memorabilia to eight Hall of Fame inductees in the crowd, it was a fitting evening of "catching-up" and remembering the "old times" at Harrah's Philadelphia Friday evening for the Garden State Park Reunion Night. Hosted by Harrah's Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association as part of their Summer Series of Racing and Remembering, hundreds of race fans came out to the track and were treated to an evening of live harness racing, live music, mechanical bull rides, outdoor BBQ and terrific memorabilia show and contest with hundreds of pieces on display. "I enjoyed reconnecting with people from Garden State that I had not seen in some time," said Hall of Famer John Campbell, now President and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. "I particularly enjoyed the memorabilia and the race replays that were running on the big TV. It brought back great memories of all the tremendous horses and top-notch races that Garden State hosted over the years." Campbell was one of eight inductees of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame that were in attendance, meeting fans, employees and horsemen and women that all worked, raced or wagered on the harness meets at Garden State Park. Other Hall of Famers in attendance included Cat Manzi, Ron Gurfein, Marvin Bachrad, Leon Zimmerman, Moira Fanning, Jerry Connors and Steve Wolf. Missing from the lineup was another Hall of Famer, Robert "Bob" Quigley, the former President of Garden State Park, who could not make the trip from Florida due to hip replacement surgery. "If not for my surgery," Quigley said. "I would have been at Harrah's for the Garden State Park Reunion Night. I send my deepest regards and well-wishes to everyone who made it out. So many great people, employees and horsemen and women I would love to have seen again. I hope everyone had a great time." Conducting interviews throughout the night was Steve Ross, the former advertising and promotions manager. Other guests were Jay Farrar, who headed simulcasting at the track, race office official Al Kraszewski, publicist Gen Sullivan, former driver Jimmy Larente, Jr., track photographer John Pantalone of World Wide Racing Photos and other horsemen and women, plus numerous former employees including pari-mutuel tellers (some who were still working right at Harrah's Philadelphia), admissions personnel and more. Perhaps the "hit guest" of the evening was none other than former track announcer, Larry Lederman, who called the sixth race on the card, which was the Bill Fidati Memorial, a tribute to the former head of publicity at Garden State Park. "We are really pleased with our Summer Series of Racing and Remembering," said Barry Brown, Director of Racing at Harrah's Philadelphia. "Last month's Liberty Bell Park Reunion Night was great and tonight's Garden State Park Reunion was even stronger with much more memorabilia than expected. It was great that we had to add more tables for the show and contest. Philadelphia's sports radio icon, WIP's Jody McDonald, an avid racing fan, was the judge for the Memorabilia Contest. The top prize, a $150 wagering voucher, was awarded to Dennis Sanford, a big harness racing fan from Woodlynne, NJ for his collection of every collector's glass giveaway, both Harness and Thoroughbred, from Garden State Park. Second prize of a $100 voucher went to former employee Connie Scerati of Mt Laurel, NJ for collection of GSP uniforms and pins, many of which she wore and, of course, saved over the years. Third place with a $50 voucher went to Al Kraszewski, who is currently the assistant race secretary at Ocean Downs in Maryland, for his autographed win photo of the great Secretariat, who won at Garden State Park as a two-year-old. Next month the Summer Series of Racing and Remembering concludes on Friday evening, September 8 with the Brandywine Raceway Reunion Night starting at 6:30 pm. In addition to the memorabilia show and contest, live racing and other activities, the first 400 fans to purchase a Harrah's Philadelphia race program, will get a free Summer Series commemorative t-shirt. "I know we will be needing more tables for the memorabilia show for this night," said Barry Brown. "We really look forward to this final Friday night of live racing as Brandywine Raceway was such a fixture here in the Delaware Valley and the track was located just down the road from Harrah's Philadelphia." By Steve Wolf, for Harrah's Philadelphia & the PHHA        

On Friday, August 11, Harrah's Philadelphia will host, along with the Pennsylvania Harness Horseman's Association (PHHA), the third Summer Series Friday night harness racing card of the season. The theme of the evening will be the Garden State Park Reunion Night with the festivities getting started at 6:00 pm. One of the special highlights of the night will be the 6th race $17,500 pace, The Bill Fidati Memorial. William C. "Bill" Fidati, was the publicity director at Garden State Park and was loved by everyone who ever worked with or for him or was able to be friends with him. He passed away at age 76 in 2011. Before coming to Garden State Park, he worked for two decades for two of the top newspapers in Philadelphia, the Daily News and then the Bulletin. He covered City Hall and in 1970 won the area's Press Association award for his stories. Bill also covered horse racing, both Thoroughbred and Standardbred and became the publicity director of Philadelphia Park in 1982 and then moved across the Delaware River to work at the new Garden State Park four years later. Everyone who was associated, worked for or raced at Garden State Park is invited to Harrah's Philadelphia Friday evening. Special guests in attendance will be Hall of Famers John Campbell and Catello "Cat" Manzi along with former track announcer Larry Lederman and other co-workers and horse people that competed at the track. Patrons are urged to bring in any memorabilia from Garden State Park, win photos, giveaway items, etc. and they will receive a gift from Harrah's Philadelphia. The memorabilia will then be put on display for all to see and there will be $300 in betting vouchers given away to the top three items. Judging the memorabilia contest will be WIP Sports Radio legend, Jody McDonald. After each live race on the program there will be a replay of one of the great races held at Garden State Park and former advertising and promotions manager, Steve Ross, will be interviewing the special guests in the winner's circle. There will also be live music, free mechanical bull rides along with an outdoor BBQ and more, all taking place on the outdoor grandstand patio. The race program will feature a special eight-page insert of photo memories of Garden State Park. Garden State Park was located on Route 70 and Haddonfield Road in Cherry Hill, NJ. It opened on July 7, 1942 as a Thoroughbred track until a disastrous fire burned the Clubhouse and Grandstand on April 14, 1977. Garden State Park no longer held races until securities trader Robert Brennan financed construction of a new $178 million steel and glass grandstand/clubhouse which opened on April 1, 1985. The track held both Thoroughbred and Standardbred races until it closed in 2001. For more information, visit or contact Harrah's Philadelphia at www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly. By Steve Wolf, for Harrah's Philadelphia    

JOHN CAMPBELL & CAT MANZI TO ATTEND

CHESTER, PA - Harrah's Philadelphia kicked off its Summer Racing Series Friday with a Liberty Bell Park Reunion Night at the track that was enjoyed by all in attendance. It was the first of three Friday Night live race cards with reunion events for former Delaware Valley harness tracks. The next is Garden State Park Night on Friday, August 11 followed by Brandywine Raceway Night on Friday, September 8. Post time each Friday is 6:30 pm. There was live racing on the track Friday, live music on the patio area, a mechanical rodeo bull for people to try and ride, games for both children and adults, outdoor barbecue and more. Meeting racing stars and former employees from Liberty Bell Park was the main attraction for the many racing fans that crowded the Harrah's patio. Other draws included an outstanding memorabilia show with a contest for $300 in betting vouchers judged by legendary sports talk show host, Jody McDonald of WIP Sports Radio and video clips of past races from Liberty Bell. Jody, also on hand to greet fans and answer questions, will return to host the next two Reunion Nights. He was assisted in the judging contest by John Polvinale and The Summer Series Reunion Nights were developed by Harrah's Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA). Former track announcer at Liberty Bell Park, Steve Ross, was the emcee for the night and after each live harness race showed video clips of top races from Liberty Bell Park and then interviewed drivers, trainers and former employees from the winner's circle. Eddie Davis, the all-time winningest driver/trainer at Liberty Bell Park and Brandywine Raceway, nine titles at both tracks plus a national dash winning title one year, was trackside, meeting horsemen and women, former employees and race fans. "This was so great tonight," Davis said. "I saw people from Liberty Bell that I haven't seen in 30 years. What a great idea. When they called and invited me to come to the track for this, I could not say no. Now I am really looking forward to coming back for the Brandywine Reunion Night." "We were pretty worried that people would not come out because of the severe thunderstorms and rain we had earlier in the afternoon," Said Barry Brown, Director of Racing Operations at Harrah's Philadelphia. "But the rain ended by 5:30 pm and we had a great crowd come out and everyone really enjoyed themselves." Other horsemen and owners from the Liberty Bell Park days that came out included Joe Green, Jimmy Larente, Jr., Alvin Stafford, Kim Hankins, John Polvinale, Rick Wyatt and Dave Krelow. Former employees in attendance were Hall of Famers Marv Bachrad, Jerry Connors and Steve Wolf along with Judy Davis Wilson, Peter Lawrence, John Pantalone, Al Kraszewski and former Philadelphia Inquirer horse racing writer Jack Chevalier. Representing the PHHA were Peter Marinari and Ed Kobesky. The memorabilia contest featured hundreds of items including race programs, photographs, giveaway items, even an original letter from the owner of Liberty Bell Park to Herve Filion congratulating him on winning that year's driving title. The top prize of $150 went to Alvin Stafford's family, who brought in the original first race finish and win circle photo of Majesty's Knight from opening night in 1963. "Tonight, was so overwhelming to me," said horseman Jimmy Larente, Jr. "I had not been back to a racetrack since 1989 and had forgotten so many people. When I saw someone I thought I knew, and they looked at me the same way, we introduced ourselves and then hugged and talked about the old days. It kept bringing tears of joy to my eyes. I will not miss the next two reunions for sure." Details for the Garden State Park Reunion Night (Aug. 11) will be announced shortly. For the Brandywine Raceway Reunion Night (Sept. 8), the first 400 race fans to purchase a Harrah's race program, will get a special Summer Series T-Shirt. For more information, visit www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly. By Steve Wolf, for Harrah's Philadelphia    

Chester, PA - Harrah's Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA), are hosting the first of three special Summer Series reunion nights starting this Friday, July 14 with Liberty Bell Park. Post time Friday is 6:30 pm with prizes for the best memorabilia brought to the track. "We wanted to do a racing promotion with the PHHA for these Friday night programs," said Barry Brown, Director of Racing Operations at Harrah's Philadelphia. "We decided on the reunion nights for the three main tracks in the Delaware Valley area that are gone. We are excited that so many people are talking about them." Liberty Bell Park was located on Knights Road off I-95 in Northeast Philly and featured world class harness and thoroughbred racing from 1963 through 1986. The property is now the site of the Franklin Mills Mall. Race fans are urged to dig around their storage areas and bring any memorabilia from Liberty Bell Park to the track. Everyone that brings in a piece of Liberty Bell Park memorabilia, a race program, admission pass, collector glass, matchbook, win circle photo, will get a gift from Harrah's Philadelphia. There will be judging of the memorabilia items with prizes given out to the top pieces. Special guests attending include WIP Radio Sports legend, Jody McDonald, who will be at the track to meet fans each of the three Summer Special Reunion Nights. Also in attendance will be Eddie Davis, the all-time leading driver at both Liberty Bell Park and Brandywine Raceway. The emcee for the evening will be Steve Ross, former track announcer at Liberty Bell Park. There will also be a special eight-page insert of Liberty Bell Park photos in the race program and live music during the evening on the outdoor patio. Other Liberty Bell Park guests include harness racing Hall of Fame journalists Jerry Connors (LBP pr assistant), Nick Saponara (Philadelphia Bulletin) and (LBP pr assistant) Steve Wolf. "We encourage everyone who remembers or went to Liberty Bell Park to come on out this Friday night," Said Brown. "We hope to see lots of race fans, former employees and horsemen and women from the Liberty Bell Park days of old and enjoy a great reunion night. We are also hopeful of some surprise guests that will be in attendance." The next Summer Series Reunion Night will be Friday, August 11, celebrating Garden State Park and then the finale will be Friday, September 8, Brandywine Raceway Night. For the Brandywine Raceway Night, the first 400 fans to purchase a Harrah's race program, will get a free commemorative T-Shirt for the Summer Series Reunion. For more information, visit or contact Harrah's Philadelphia at www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly. By Steve Wolf, for Harrah's Philadelphia      

Coral Springs, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced five candidates who will receive awards this year from the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization "There were eleven candidates that were eligible for the scholarships," said Thomas H. Hicks, who chairs the scholarship committee. "And our committee worked diligently in deciding who would be the winners. We are very pleased to have had so many applications this year and it was not easy making the final selections." Two students, Daniel Clien and Jessica Hallet, will both receive scholarship checks for $750 each as the two top candidates. Students Amber Kelley, Paul Levia and Sarah Birkhold will each get $500. Preference for these scholarship awards were given to a student(s) majoring in journalism, communications or equine related studies. On average, there has been up to $3,000 awarded annually in scholarship money. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Daniel Clein will start his freshman year this fall at the University of Central Florida with a goal of becoming a veterinarian. He is a graduate of Wellington High School with a GPA of 3.6, was in the Wellington HS Equine Pre-Vet Academy Magnet Program and participated in numerous community outreach programs, including creating a 501C3 not-for-profit charity. Jessica Hallett will be a freshman at Nova Southeastern University. She is the daughter of trainers John & Michelle Hallett and has spent most of her life around harness racing. She graduated from Deerfield Beach High School with an impressive GPA average of 5.12, was a star athlete, volunteered in numerous community service activities and has been writing feature stories on harness racing for Harnesslink.com. Sarah Birkhold is from Sarasota and is a first year graduate student at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinarian Medicine. She has been an Allen J. Finkelson scholarship winner the past four years. Her GPA is 3.72 and she has been President of the Gator Collegiate Cattlewomen Society, Treasurer of Block & Bridle Group, a teaching assistant in Equine Management and did an internship at Firethorn Equine in Ohio. She is the daughter of FSBOA Director and horse owner, George Birkhold. Amber Kelley is from North Lauderdale and is a sophomore at Florida Atlantic University and is majoring in Multi Media Journalism Studies. She has a GPA of 3.789 and was nominated for both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Society for Collegiate Leadership. She is also secretary of the Kiwanis Circle K International local chapter and is involved with a Mentoring Project. Paul Levia hails from Pembroke Pines and is a junior at Florida International University and is majoring in Broadcast Media. He has a GPA of 3.875 and is an AP Scholar, National Honor Society since 2014 and is a volunteer at the Broward Public Library. By Steve Wolf, for the Florida USHWA Chapter  

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