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East Rutherford, NJ - Nominations for The Meadowlands slate of Grand Circuit stakes/Early Closers will close on February 15, 2018. Heading up the nearly $10 million in stakes purses, The Meadowlands will host two of harness racing's premier events.    The July 14 $650,000 Meadowlands Pace headlines a card worth an estimated $2.3 million.   Just a few weeks later, "The Greatest Day In Harness Racing" $3 million Hambletonian Day extravaganza closes the "Championship Meet" on Saturday, August 4.   Also closing on February 15 is the first group of Meadowlands Spring Late Closers for older horses.   Nick Salvi      

DOVER, Del. --- Shartin N stepped up to the $25,000 Mares Open/Handicap on Wednesday, Feb. 7 for a 1:52.3 triumph ending long win streaks for two harness racing rivals over a sloppy track at Dover Downs.    . The five-year-old daughter of Tintin In America-Bagdarin won for the fourth straight time, including her last race Down Under, ending Divas Image and Terror At Night’s three wins-in-a-row. With Tim Tetrick at the controls, Shartin N pealed three-wide around the final turn to take the lead on the way to a 1:52.3 victory. Scandalicious (Jonathan Roberts) moved closer to $500,000 lifetime earnings, finishing second with Divas Image (Tony Morgan) third. Enhance Your Mind was scratched. Shartin N joins several others owned by Richard Pollucci and JoAnn Looney King as a top-class performer in the Jim King Stable. On the undercard: Moments Of Joy , owned and trained by Bryan Truitt with Vic Kirby driving equaled her lifetime record of 1:54 besting Goin Again (Vince Copeland) at the wire for her second consecutive win and fourth in her last six to win the $15,000 Mares pace. The Lion Sleeps (Russell Foster) was third. Moments Of Joy is a four-year-old by Western Terror-Joy Luck Hall. Montrell Teague guided Use Your Noodle to her fourth win in her last six races registering a 1:53 victory in a $13,000 distaff pace. Henry Faragalli III, Feeney, Johnson and Nanticoke Racing own the five-year-old Artzina-Lo Gophobia mare who held off a determined challenge by Duneside Chella (Kirby) by a half-length. Skateboard Chic (Russell Foster) was the show finisher. Tetrick had a triple while Teague and Callahan made the winner’s circle twice.   MISSLE J, SOMETIMES SAID, SICILY HEAD DOVER $27,500 THURSDAY Missle J, last week’s 1:50 winner of the $27,500 Preferred- Open/Handicap returns to meet emerging speedster Sometimes Said, a 1:49.3 winner of a sub-feature and Sicily, a 2017 standout,  among the seven speedballs in this week’s feature on another standout 13-race card at Dover Downs on Thursday, Feb. 8. John McGill and Brian Carsey’s Missle J, with Tim Tetrick turned in a wire-to-wire victory last week and faces Bobby  Glassmeyer’s Sometimes Said, who stepped up after his sixth consecutive win, even faster, a week ago. There is plenty of opposition headed by Reggie Hazzard and Legacy Racing’s Sicily, who closed out last December with a font-pacing 1:48.4 performance, with Montrell Teague at the controls. Cajon Lightning is another hard-hitter with regular driver Art Stafford Jr. back in the bike. Eric Ell trains for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisik Farms. Rich Pollucci’s Baileys Rock N has won six times with Tim Tetrick in his last eight races with two close-up seconds during that spell, Mike Hall and Dave Hamm’s Super Imposed N drew the rail with Corey Callahan while the only newcomer Jennifer Bongiorno Stable’s Gratian Hanover reports from Yonkers but must start from post 7. Three in the $18,000 4-Year-Old Open/Handicap seek to extend win streaks: George Teague Jr.’s fast Daiymir (Montrell Teague), with three in-a-row, JoAnn Loone-King’s Q’s Cruise (Tetrick) off a Meadowlands win and George&Tina Dennis’ Nothwest Yankee (Mike Cole), a 1:51.4 winner last week. Nine start in the last race on the strong 19-race card going for a $19,000 purse in a highly competitive $25,000-$30,000-$35,000 Claiming Handicap: For the second straight week, Mike Casalino and trainer Dylan Davis’ Jet Airway (Callahan), a winner last Thursday, starts from the outside, post 8. Chief contenders are Arty Foster II and Wanda May Saulsbury’s sharp Whirl Monroe (Kirby), Mildred Ventriglio’s fast finishing Reggiano (Morgan), and Arty Foster’s Legion Of Boom (Russell Foster), On a solid undercard are a $16,000, two $14,500 and three $13,000 paces. Dover Downs offers a 50-cent Pick 5 wager, starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Live racing each Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. A fine and varied selection of food is available to enjoy while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races is featured daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

HAMILTON, OH --- Howard F. Beissinger, 94, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame for 44 years, died February 6, 2018 in Hamilton, Ohio. Born on May 23, 1923 on the family farm near Hamilton, Beissinger died only a few miles from where he'd been born. He won the Hambletonian, America's greatest trotting classic, three times, earning the nickname "Hambo Howard." He enjoyed international fame, and raced across the United States and Canada as well as at tracks in Russia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, and elsewhere. He was also a member of the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame and the Butler County (Ohio) Sports Hall of Fame. He was known for his tough, no-nonsense approach to his profession. His unfailing attention to detail in matters such as proper shoeing won him the admiration of many of his fellow horsemen. He is best known as the trainer and driver of the great trotter and stallion Speedy Crown. Speedy Crown was foaled in early 1968 and raised on the Beissinger family farm in Hamilton. In 1971 Speedy Crown won the Hambletonian in straight heats and went on to a breeding career that would make him legendary in the world of trotting. Two years earlier, Beissinger had won his first Hambletonian with Lindy's Pride, a colt that overcame faulty hooves with his speed and competitive spirit. Beissinger drove him to victory in the trotting Triple Crown---Yonkers Trot, Hambletonian, and Kentucky Futurity---in 1969. His third Hambletonian victory came in 1978 behind the meteoric Speedy Somolli, a son of Speedy Crown that Beissinger always said was the fastest trotter he'd ever driven. Beissinger learned the horse business from his father, who farmed and raced a few horses in the summer. After World War II, when Howard told his mother that he planned to make horse racing his profession, she greeted the news with tears. Her son achieved success quickly, however, becoming one of the leading drivers on the tough Chicago racing circuit. His abilities and his work ethic drew notice and he began to attract the support of prominent owners. In 1955, he married the former Ann Wingers. They were divorced in 1999. In the mid-1960s Beissinger earned the confidence and patronage of the Antonacci family of New York, a partnership that lasted for decades. For the Antonaccis and partners, Beissinger developed and raced countless stakes winners. Howard's peers in the training fraternity admired his mastery of all aspects of horsemanship. For decades he campaigned a stable that competed with success in the sport's largest stake races. In 1984, Beissinger entered four trotters in the Hambletonian, but decided to find other drivers for all four horses so that he didn't show favoritism to certain owners. In 1987, he drove Defiant One to victory in the Breeders Crown in Toronto, Ontario at age 64, and he is still the oldest driver ever to win a prestigious Breeders Crown event. For a half-century, he was also involved in rodeo and traveled across North America to visit rodeos and connect with his cowboy friends. His daughter Vana was extremely successful as a barrel racer in rodeo. Beissinger produced rodeos throughout the Midwest in partnership with Don Hight, a South Dakota cowboy Howard greatly admired. Beissinger was well known in the rodeo world to the cowboys and cowgirls, as well as stock contractors and officials. In many ways, Beissinger personified the Cowboy Way: he was strong, independent, and resilient. He was up every day before dawn to start work, and his associates marveled at his energy and work ethic. Beissinger was fearless in pursuing his passion for adventure. When he became interested in rodeo, he took up steer wrestling, an event in which the cowboy jumps from a running horse onto the back of a running steer and wrestles it to the ground. This event is often called "bulldogging" and it's most appealing to young men who feel invincible, but Beissinger began steer wrestling when he was in his 40s. He earned the nickname "Bulldog Beissinger." On his 80th birthday, he went para-sailing off the coast of Florida. A decade later on his 90th birthday, he went hang-gliding at 3,000 feet near Lookout Mountain, Georgia. He is survived by daughter Jane Freeman (Dave) of Naples, FL; daughter Gloria Beissinger (Joseph Rickard) of Naples, FL; son Orrin (Minna) of Randolph, NJ; daughter Vana Beissinger; and two grandchildren Julia Ganzi and Markus Beissinger. A memorial service will be held at the Webb-Noonan-Kidd Funeral Home in Hamilton, OH on March 10. Dean Hoffman      

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- After a couple of narrow defeats the past two weeks from the five post, Voltina drew the rail and took full advantage of it to capture the featured $7,700 pace for the harness racing distaff pacers at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (Feb. 7).   Voltina set sail from the rail with John Cummings Jr. in the bike and posted splits of 30.2, 1:00.3 and 1:29.3 over the good track. With a quarter mile to pace, the heavily favored Forbettor Or Worse (Shawn Gray) was getting a perfect pocket trip with Cut And Paste (Mike Micallef) poised to strike on the outside. But Voltina wasn't going to be denied.   Cut And Paste called it a night in mid stretch while Forbettor Or Worse tried in vain to get past the stubborn Voltina ($7,50) in the lightning lane but came up a neck short. Escada De Vie (Larry Stalbaum) rallied for the show position.   Owned by Chs Racing LLC and trained by Anthony Cummings, it was the first win in four attempts for Voltina (Allamerican Native-Best Not Tell). The 8-year-old mare has now earned $8,150 this season and $218,147 lifetime.   It was a good night for Billy Davis Jr. and John Cummings Jr. as both had driving triples with Gray getting two. Trainers Maria Rice and JD Perrin each picked up three victories with Anthony Cummings registering a pair.   Action will resume at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night will an 11-race program set for 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Goshen, NY –Visit the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, located at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY on Sunday, February 18th 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm for a presentation and activities related to understanding the effects of winter weather on horses. Participate in experiments that explain and illustrate the stress that cold wet weather can impose. To add to the fun, bring your favorite model horse and design a felt blanket of your own design and ride the 3-D simulator. The cost is $5 for this event and free to current 4-H members. For further information about the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, the Museum’s educational workshops or children’s birthday parties, please contact the Education Department 845-294-6330 or email education@harnessmuseum.com.  The Museum is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. For information on all the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame special events, education programs or gift shop services, please call (845) 294-6330 or visit our website www.harnessmuseum.com.   The Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.    

Pompano Beach, FL...February 7, 2018...Rick Plano has won 6,896 during his illustrious harness racing career to go along with 3,766 training wins but Tuesday night, February 6, was a first for Plano as he set a world record with his homebred Sooo Handsome in the unique five-eighths mile dash over Pompano Park's five-eighths mile oval. The five year-old gelded son of Cash Hall went once around the slick track to hit the wire in 1:09.3, which eclipsed the former mark of 1:11 set by The Prowler at Georgian Downs on September 1, 2012. Thundercrest, driven by Dave Ingraham, was gallant in defeat, 1 1/2 lengths away, while Legend Field, with Corey Braden in the bike, finished third. William Star was fourth while Railee Workable picked up the nickel in the speedy septet. Sooo Handsome was away third after the wings folded as Prayer Session took the field through an opening panel in :27.3 with Thundercrest right behind. That's when Plano tilted Sooo Handsome to the outside and forged to the front after a half in :55.1. From there, the issue was never in doubt as Sooo Handsome sped his final eighth in :14.1 to crush the world record by almost two seconds. In a post race interview, driver Rick Plano lamented, "this, especially, was a very satisfying win as this is a homebred that we've had from day one. He always seems to be on his game and, tonight, we has REALLY on his game. Rick's wife, Maryann Plano, who owns Sooo Handsome, added, "I named him after my husband, because I think he's 'sooo handsome.' It's very exciting to have a world record holder in the family!' For Sooo Handsome, it was his second win of the year to go along with a pair of seconds in four starts, good for $15,000 starting this young season. Lifetime, Sooo Handsome has banked $108,340 to go along with a three year-old mark of 1:54.1. Off as the 6 to 5 favorite, Sooo Handsome paid $4.60 to his multitude of followers. Racing continues Wednesday night with a competitive 10 race program with a Super Hi-5 carryover of $161,432. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Celebrate Valentine’s Day early at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment this Friday, February 9th and Saturday, February 10th.   Live harness racing begins at 6:35pm on both nights On both Friday and Saturday, PINK has a special lavish buffet, perfect for a couple’s night out.   For $44.95 per person, you can dine on a sumptuous buffet menu that includes lobster bisque, carved boneless prime rib, pan roasted pork tenderloins with shallots and champagne reduction and fresh made chocolate confections. To add more passion to the night, diners will enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling champagne and a red rose for the ladies. Reservations can be made by calling 201-THE-BIGM (201-843-2446)                The BigM also has two great promotions planned for the weekend.  On Friday customers can enter to win a $50 betting voucher every time a driver with red in his colors wins a race.  Then on Saturday fans can enter the Get Lucky Getaway Sweepstakes.  One lucky contestant will win a trip for two to Orlando, FL.  Hotel and airfare are included in the prize. The Meadowlands

Friday night’s harness racing program at Cal Expo features a pair of carryovers, kicking off with an $8,245 carryover in the 20-cent Pick 5 that covers the first five events on the evening. There will be a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool for the Pick 5, which is one of two wagers each night along with the 20-cent Pick 4 that features a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. There is also a $3,840 carryover in the 50-cent Pick 6, which is decided on the penultimate six races on the card. There is a carryover in the Pick 5 despite the fact that last Saturday night’s sequence featured a 3-5 winner in I’m An Athlete, who was recording his second straight victory in the Open Pace. While three of the other winners were very logical at 5-2, 3-1 and 7-2, what ignited this carryover was Hi Fidelity’s victory in the opener at $50 for owner/trainer Rick Cisco and pilot Ryan Grundy. In addition, on Friday night Cisco sent out the 13-year-old Blue Note for a victory in the Alan Kirschenbaum Final with Luke Plano doing the honors. She made every pole a winning one in a 1:54 2/5, just a tick off the lifetime mark she established here last season. Fittingly, Blue Note is a daughter of Little Steven, who was a tremendous racehorse and sire for Kirschenbaum. Pair of Open Paces sharing spotlight A $5,500 Open Pace that finds I’m An Athlete heading the cast and another contentious renewal of the $6.600 Filly and Mare Open Pace are the main events on Friday night’s 11-race card at Cal Expo. I’m An Athlete is fresh from back-to-back scores at the head of the class and for his efforts, the Jessie Pacheco trainee will be asked to do his work this time around from the assigned No. 10 post position with James Kennedy once again guiding the Ronald Rettig-Zucchi colorbearer. An 8-year-old son of Art Major, I’m An Athlete has put his class and versatility on display in his last two scores at this Open level, going off at 13-1 in his January 27 tally and hammered down to 3-5 for last week’s decision. In that first victory from the outside post in a field of nine, Kennedy left into a tracking trip, cleared once straightened for home and came home powerfully to get the job done by a length and a half that evening. In last week’s clash at this top level, I’m An Athlete shot right to the front for Kennedy, carved out all the fractions without pressure and came to the wire with a length and three-quarters to spare in a 1:52 flat tour. Taking him on from the rail out are Bettor’s Promise, Cantholdmebackmack, Jimp The Shark, Ragin’s Flight, Almost Cut My Hair and Gorgeous For Real. A strong case can be made for most of the distaffers in the co-featured Filly and Mare Open, with trainer Kathie Plested represented by last week’s flying finish runner-up Shark Festival with Mooney Svendsen and Boozer Bruiser, who will have the services of Steve Wiseman. By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal; Expo Harness

Columbus, OH --- Former Hoof Beats editor and Communicators Hall of Fame member Dean Hoffman has reported that harness racing 'Hall of Famer' Howard Beissinger, 94, died Feb. 6, 2018, in his home state of Ohio. One of the sport's top trainer/drivers and trotting specialists, Mr. Beissinger won three Hambletonians, with Lindy's Pride (1969), Speedy Crown (1971) and Speedy Somolli (1978). Mr. Beissinger drove Lindy's Pride to win trotting's Big Five in 1969: the Yonkers Trot, Kentucky Futurity, Hambletonian, Dexter Cup and the Colonial. The third generation Beissinger to make harness racing a profession, he also had Lindy's Crown, who held a world race record of 1:54.4 before Cornstalk broke it in 1984 with a 1:53.4 mile. Cornstalk was also driven by Mr. Beissinger. He was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1975. More information will be posted when available. USTA Communications Department

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica is excited to announce their harness racing line-up for Thursday mornings show at 10:30 AM. Trainer of Stay Hungry, Tony Alagna will join the program to talk about his top two-year-old pacing colt.  Stay Hungry was recently named the two-year-old pacing colt of the year at the O'Brien Awards in Canada.  He swept both the elimination and the final of the 2017 Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino.  Alagna will speak to what is next for his top pacing colt. Pacey "The Wiz" Mindlin the enthusiastic handicapper at Miami Valley will join to talk about his career in harness racing.  He currently handicaps the races with track announcer Barry Vicroy and also does the handicapping for the week of the Little Brown Jug. Canadian driver Nick Steward will join the program to talk about his driving career in Canada.  Steward, a native of London, Ontario, has won just over 1,800 races in his short career and just over $10,000,000C in earnings.  Steward will discuss how he got started in the sport and talk about what his hopes are for the upcoming years. Post Time with Mike and Mike can be heard every Thursday via their website here and on the archive here.      By Michael Carter for Post Time with Mike and Mike

Retired standardbred trainer/driver and author Freddie Hudson is currently organizing and establishing the United States Harness Racing Alumni Association.   The new USHRAA's purpose and goal is to promote the sport of harness racing, provide funding for the aftercare of Standardbreds and to offer the harness racing industry representation in Washington, DC.   The USHRAA will be open to everyone including past and present horseman, racetracks, farms, backstretch personnel, track employees and fans who wish to help promote the sport of harness racing and are interested in the well being and aftercare of our horses when their racing careers are over.   The by-laws are currently being written and the formation of the regional chapters is being organized. A board of advisers is being set up and the Association's website is under construction and will be unveiledsometime during the spring of 2018.   For more information or if you have any Ideas and suggestions, you can contact Hudson directly at 631 896-9838 or email fhudsonscva@yahoo.com   By Ted Black    

DOVER, Del. --- Race favorite Moonlight Cocktail and longshot Bro Hanover came through with harness racing victories in the Tuesday, Feb. 6 Dover Downs co-feature races while Tony Morgan rang-up four winners . Moonlight Cocktail destined to be bred later this spring to Chapter Seven, owned by the Kadabra-Angostua four-year-old’s co-owners Richard Gutnick and TLP Stable, recorded her second win in the last three outings, a 1:53.2 lifetime best in the first $12,000 Winners-Over trot of the day. Tony Morgan , who has driven her in all of her Dover starts, guided the convincing win. Soda Pump (Tim Tetrick) was runner-up with Honor And Serve (Corey Callahan) third. Sean Bier shot Bro Hanover into the lead on the backstretch and then pulled away for a 1:53.3 career mark in the other $12,000 Winners pace event. Crissy Crissman-Bier owns and trains the altered son of Somebeachsomewhere-Burning Point four-year-old. It was also his second win in the last three races. Takeittotheface (Morgan) finished second in front of BT’s Breeze (Vic Kirby). Rollinlikethunder was a late scratch. Big Valley Speed won the $15,000-$17,500 Claiming/Handicap trot and  was claimed. Tim Tetrick left fast from outside post 8 in a nine-horse field, and then was never troubled on the way to a 1:54.4 equaling his lifetime record It was the Valley Speed-Biggirlreautyful gelding’s second straight triumph and fourth in his las five races for trainer Traci Berry and owners J. Craparotta&P.Berry Racing. Big Valley Speed was claimed for $17,500. Everyone’s Talkin (Russell Foster) and Man Of Muscle (Kirby) were second and third respectively.    . On Wednesday, a hard-hitting octet of fast females headed by Divas Image (Morgan), seeking a fifth straight $25,000 Mares Open win takes on three-time winner Terror At Night (Montrell Teague) and Shartin N (Tetrick)) a winner of her last two in-a-row. DIVAS IMAGE, SHARTIN N, TERROR AT NIGHT LEAD $25,000 MARES OPEN Three starters-Divas Image, Shartin N and Terror At Night – all with win streak alive – lead an eight-horse field in the $25,000 Mares Open/Handicap on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at Dover Downs. A  $15,000  and $13,000 female pace head the undercard . Post time is 4:30 p.m. Last week Corey Callahan drove Ed Maas, Arlene Paisley and Nanticoke Racing own Terror At Night to a convincing victory in the distaff feature. Our Hrs Cents, Stable 45 and J&T Silva stable’s Divas Image has a potent four straight victories to her credit with Tony Morgan handling the reins. Meanwhile Shartin N, a recent addition to the Rich Pollucci and JoAnn Looney-King barn has been perfect in his two North American starts with Tim Tetrick at the controls.   Gary Ewing’s Sweet Robbie was again right there finished second with regular driver At Stafford Jr. back to drive one of the meet’s most consistent performers finishing out of the money in only two of her starts. Enhance Your Mind and Vic Kirby are last season’s Horse of the Meet. JFE Enterprise’s Scandalicious nearing the $500,000 earnings mark will be driven by Jonathan Roberts piloting. Claim To Fame’s Hold It Hanover, with Eddie Davis Jr. completes the field. On a strong undercard, in the $15,000 Mares Winners pace, owner-trainer-driver Vince Copeland’s Goin Again, Bill Cantrell’s Lil Miss Gorgeous (Stafford Jr.) and Bryan Truitt’s Moments Of Joy (Kirby) seek to extend win streaks.  Use Your Noodle (Montrell Teague) owned by Feeney, Johnson, Henry Faragalli III and Nanticoke Racing, and Duneside Chella (Kirby) lead nine to post in a $13,000 Mares pace. Live racing is featured four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Dover Downs’ features a 50-cent Pick 5 wager starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Watch the live racing and enjoy fine food at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

MANALAPAN, NJ — February 6, 2018 — Don’t miss these Feb 15th sustaining payments. New Jersey Sire Stakes - 2 & 3 Year Olds •  Premier Division sustaining payment in the amount of $300.00 •  Standardbred Development Fund sustaining payment in the amount of $100.00 The February 15th payment must be made in order to maintain eligibility. For more information and payment forms visit the New Jersey Sire Stakes website at http://www.jerseyequine.nj.gov/sirestakes.htm or call (609) 292-8830. SBOANJ Sponsored Stakes - 3 Year Old Trotters •  Charles Smith sustaining payment in the amount of $200.00 •  Helen Smith sustaining payment in the amount of $200.00 The Charles Smith and Helen Smith Trots will be contested at Freehold Raceway in September. For more information and payment forms visit the SBOANJ’s website at sboanj.com or call (732) 462-2357. Courtney Stafford  

Hightstown, NJ --- Stanley Wildharber might not have been born to race at the Kentucky fairs, but it seems close to the case. Wildharber grew up two blocks from the Ballard County Fairgrounds in La Center and at an early age was riding his bicycle there to be around the horses. Eventually, he was cleaning stalls, harnessing horses, jogging, training and traveling to other fairs. Today, the 46-year-old Wildharber remains a fixture at the fairgrounds, helping to maintain the track and promote harness racing, even when he had no horses of his own to race. Right now, though, Wildharber has a horse. Her name is Worldofrockzee and she is one of the queens of the fair circuit. Last year at the age of 2, the homebred filly pacer won four of 11 starts, including the Kentucky Fair Stakes championship, and earned $19,372 in purses. “It was a great year,” said Wildharber, whose harness racing operation is made up of two horses: Worldofrockzee and her dam, Cara Mia Hall. Cara Mia Hall was Wildharber’s first horse, and she came into his life as a gift. Literally. An acquaintance gave the filly to Wildharber soon after she was purchased as a yearling in 2005. Cara Mia Hall was unraced as a 2-year-old because of an injury, but won her debut at 3 by 16-1/2 lengths at Bluegrass Downs. Unfortunately, health issues continued to hamper Cara Mia Hall, prompting Wildharber to give her a try as a broodmare. “She was meant to be a racehorse, but she had something always going wrong with her,” Wildharber said. “But she wanted to be a racehorse. She is all heart.” Worldofrockzee, sired by World Of Rocknroll, is Cara Mia Hall’s fourth foal and the third to find the winner’s circle multiple times on the fair circuit. “She was mean from the day she was born,” Wildharber said about Worldofrockzee. “I didn’t have anybody to help me break her, so I took her to a guy in Illinois and got her broke. She was ornery from there on, but she was a natural pacer from the start. She’s not very tall, but she has a very long gait. And a big muscular rear end. “I wasn’t going to breed my mare back, but after I got (Worldofrockzee) to pacing, I knew I had to breed her again. She is expecting a foal by Riggins in the middle of March.” Wildharber brought Worldofrockzee to the fairs in western Kentucky, where she finished second in all three starts, before turning the filly over to his friend Jack Gray Jr. to handle the training. Worldofrockzee, driven regularly by Randy Crisler, won her next four in a row, culminating with her victory in the fair championship at Lexington’s Red Mile. Worldofrockzee raced four more times at Lexington the remainder of the campaign. She finished third in an overnight behind Kentucky Sire Stakes champion Band Stand and concluded the season with a sixth-place finish in a late closer, after which she was found to be sick. “She raced pretty good, but she didn’t have the pop she had been having,” Wildharber said. “That was it. We treated her, brought her home, and turned her out. She’s been back jogging now for a week. I took her to Jack and he’s going to get her ready. We’re going to try to race maybe in Ohio a little bit before the fairs start. “Maybe we’ll be good and ready and win all the fairs this year,” he added, laughing. “That’s the hope.” Wildharber said Worldofrockzee filled out during her time off, but had not changed in other ways. “She’s still mean as ever,” he said. “You just have to make her think she’s getting her way even though she’s not. She’s pretty headstrong.” Wildharber, who works in a power plant, says harness racing is a hobby, but a big part of his life. “I have a lot of good friends that I’ve made over the years through horseracing,” Wildharber said. “Jack Gray is like my second dad. We talk every couple days. I’ve really bonded with a lot of people through the horseracing.” Worldofrockzee, who last year was seventh, beaten by five lengths, in her only start in the sire stakes, will again look to rock the fair circuit in 2018. The fair program, administered by the Kentucky Colt Association, offers purses of $5,000 for each race in seven preliminary rounds and $15,000 for each final. The Kentucky Sire Stakes and Kentucky Fair Stakes have both enjoyed resurgences thanks to a change in eligibility requirements to permit foals out of “resident mares” to compete regardless of where the stallion stands. This season marks the second year of racing under those conditions. Worldofrockzee's sire, World Of Rocknroll, was standing stud in Ohio when bred to Wildharber's Cara Mia Hall in 2014. “We’re going to focus on the fairs,” Wildharber said about Worldofrockzee’s 2018 schedule. “For the money they’re going for, I just can’t not go for the fairs. “I can’t wait for this year. We’ve got high hopes.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

York Expo Center CEO Michael Froehlich today shared a long-range strategic business plan that includes possibly moving the York Fair to July or August – and expanding exhibition space by 40,000 to 50,000 square feet. A grant from the York County Tourism Fund paid for a consultant to study the Expo Center and offer recommendations. “For the past 10-15 years, we’ve been transitioning from a fair to a year-round expo trade show center," Froehlich said. "So, because of that, we’re having to take a look at our business plans, we’re having to take a look at our mission statements and our value statements and how we’re organized.” Froehlich said the plan includes suggestions to change the structure of the fair board. He said fair management will study the recommendations and decide how to proceed. The recommendation to change the York Fair dates is part of a strategy to expand net revenue opportunities and business lines, according to the long-range strategic business plan. "That's something we're going to be taking a good serious look at," Froehlich said. The fair, which will celebrate 253 years this year, has been held over 10 days in September for a very long time. But in many ways, the 10-day event has become more of an evening and weekend endeavor, he said. Moving the fair to July or August when students are off school could make it more of a “day fair,” he added. One of the advantages of holding the fair in the summer is more hours of daylight. “It stays lighter later in the evening, so concessionaires can sell more food,” Froehlich said. “You can basically go from 10 in the morning to 10 at night.” Plus, taking advantage of a season when school is not in session and people take vacation time could draw a larger crowd on weekdays. More: Kohr's leaves York Fair because 'it's going downhill.' Can attendance be revived? “I think the next big increase in fair attendance is going to come from changing the fair dates,” he said. The 2018 York Fair will still be held as scheduled on Sept. 7-16. In the meantime, the fair will look at a number of factors, including livestock breeding schedules and availability of the ride company and food vendors, Froehlich said. “We don’t want to be disruptive,” he said. “It may take a year or two to go through that process.” The consultant also suggested expanding exhibit space to better compete as a convention center. Froehlich said the expansion – to the Utz Arena and other buildings – could cost $40 million to $50 million and would likely be funded by a capital campaign and government grants. The plan suggests eliminating harness racing at the York Fair this year, but the center would consider holding harness racing at other times of the year on weekends. Another recommendation was to “establish in-house produced Expo Center events such as seasonal and cultural festivals, music festivals, concerts and trade shows.” This is a developing story. Check back for updates. Scott Fisher and Abbey Zelko, York Daily Record Reprinted with permission of The York Daily Record

Breedings to Donato Hanover, Muscles Yankee, McArdle, Rock N Roll Heaven and Dover Dan are among the 85+ offered in New Vocations harness racing stallion auction via www.OnGait.com that is currently in progress and will end at 2:00 pm Thursday Feb 8. The auction is held in an open-ended-format that allows for bidding slightly beyond the 2:00 pm cutoff on seasons with high activity. All proceeds go to rehab, retrain, and rehome Standardbreds that are leaving the track. Click here to view the auction in progress http://www.ongait.com/stallionbreedingsandsharessale.asp   For more information call (937) 947-4020 or email dot@horseadoption.com Dot Morgan Executive Director New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program  

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