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Fans this week were given the opportunity to vote on the Top 10 horses in the sport in a manner similar to the weekly Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The fans, like the voters in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown rankings, put Hannelore Hanover in the top spot. Nine of the top 10 horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll were in the fans' Top 10, with McWicked being the lone difference, at No. 10. Following is a look at the fan poll, with the final column showing each horse's ranking in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Rankings based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred FAN POLL: Week 1 – 6/20/2018 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points H/BC 1 Hannelore Hanover (5) 6tm 4-4-0-0 $208,338 59 1 2 Shartin N 5pm 14-11-1-0 $560,923 50 3 3 Lather Up (1) 3pc 6-6-0-0 $458,165 48 2 4 Filibuster Hanover  4pg 5-5-0-0 $202,225 42 4 5 Will Take Charge 5tg 12-6-3-1 $205,268 21 9 6 Wolfgang 3tc 2-2-0-0 $112,630 17 7 7 Atlanta 3tf 3-3-0-0 $127,284 16 5 8 Manchego 3tf 2-2-0-0 $43,240 13 6 9 Bit Of A Legend N 9ph 9-3-4-1 $330,775 10 8 10 McWicked 7ph 4-2-1-0 $57,350 9 -- Also: Done Well, Jimmy Freight (7); Shower Play (6); Keystone Velocity, Sintra (4); Dancer Hall, Heaven Rocks A, Wes Delight (3); Emoticon Hanover, Marion Marauder, Six Pack (2); Alarm Detector, Stay Hungry (1). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Steve Stewart has come full circle in harness racing. Now living in Berlin, New York, Stewart first got involved in the sport decades ago while living in Long Island. He started going to the races in the late seventies at Roosevelt Raceway as a fan and eventually became a groom for trainer Bob Bencal. His career path eventually took him through several jobs both in and out of the business including a stint at the Sports Eye. As life took over, Stewart (who now works in online sales) moved upstate away from the city where he and his wife Laura raised their family. Living only about an hour's drive from Saratoga Raceway, Stewart's love for the trotters was rekindled and it came time for him to revisit an old passion; he wanted to buy a Standardbred. "The idea just kind of came to me randomly since I was living up here and it's been something I've always wanted to do. It was a line on my bucket list to be crossed off. That's all I wanted to do was get into the winner's circle one-time; that was my main goal" said Stewart. Decades removed from the business and not quite sure how to get started, Steve and Laura signed up for a new owner seminar that was being presented by the Harness Horse Breeders of New York at Saratoga Raceway in 2014. That was all it took for him to start what has turned into a very successful venture. "After i attended the seminar I needed to find a trainer to get started and went to the race office at Saratoga. I got the contact information of a couple trainers I was interested in and went from there. The first one I spoke with just didn't feel like a good fit but the next guy clicked with me and that's who I got started with" Stewart recalled. That guy was Mark Beckwith. His first horse was a trotter named Sixth Man. After winning three races, Sixth Man got injured and unfortunately had to be put down. He then bought pacer Artistic Blue, who they raced and then resold after a few starts. After getting off to a less than stellar start, Stewart needed to re-think his strategy and stepped away for a couple of months to regroup. "When I finally decided to get back in I called Mark to see if he had any horses on the radar. But his stable was full and he really couldn't take any more training bills. So he recommended I call Scott Mongeon who he said would be able to get a horse for me" said Stewart. Mongeon told Stewart he could help him out and in a couple of weeks called him about a trotter he knew was for sale named Twisted Pretzel. "When Scott called me about Twisted Pretzel I told him I knew the horse because Sixth Man had raced against him several times and ironically I had a win photo of him with Twisted Pretzel second, just a neck apart. I told him I was definitely interested. We had the horse vetted out, sent them a check and the following week the horse was in the box." Twisted Pretzel won his first start for his new owners in September of 2016 in a lower level condition race. He won two more races after that and moved up the ranks into the weekly trotting feature at Saratoga where he finished third in 1:54.1. But the best was yet to come. The following year in 36 starts, Twisted Pretzel won 13 races (six of which were Open Handicaps), was second three times and third another seven while amassing $121,909 in purses and taking a new lifetime mark of 1:55. The career year Twisted Pretzel had, earned him the designation of 2017 Trotter of the Year from Saratoga Raceway. Now having a solid race horse in his barn, Stewart was ready to expand the operation and get another one. This time however, he wanted a New York bred yearling. "I thought it was time and I wanted to buy a horse that was staked in New York. But I also wanted one sired by Crazed, who was Twisted Pretzel's father. I got the Morrisville Sale catalog and started looking at Crazed-sired yearlings. I saw a few but I particularly liked a horse named Party Saver who was hip #55, which just happened to be my year of birth. Oddly enough my trainer had him on his list as well" Stewart said. Stewart went into the sale with a price of $20,000 in mind. As the bidding went on he reached that plateau, and then was outbid with a $21,000 counter. Stewart thought, turned around and walked away from the ring. "The auctioneer stopped the auction and started talking about the horse, his breeding and such. By the time the bidding resumed I was back to my seat just in time to watch my wife put her hand up and bid $22,000! The gavel fell and we walked away with the horse, thanks to my wife" Stewart recounted. With respect for their stable star, Party Saver was renamed "IM TP's Crazed Bro" and he made his first lifetime start for the Stewarts at Saratoga this year on June 14 in a baby race where he finished second. He will also be starting in the New York Sire Stakes this summer where Stewart will hopefully stand in the winner's circle once again with his wife and New York bred winner. On Sunday (June 24) the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State will be holding another new owner seminar at Tioga Downs and would like to invite all interested parties to join them. This seminar will provide valuable information for prospective new owners and focus on all aspects of horse ownership that can get you on your way to standing in the winner's circle with your own horse. Registration is at 9:30 a.m. and the seminar begins at 10:00 a.m. with beverages and Danishes. The seminar will include materials, lunch, programs and live racing. Tuition is $20 per person or $30 per couple and will be collected upon arrival at registration. To register for this seminar, contact the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State at 518-785-5858, email info@hhbnys.com or through this link. (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/harness-horse-breeders-of-ny-ownership-seminar-tickets-46525686581?aff=es2 ) by Tim Bojarski, for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State  

The first of five opportunities this year for fans to submit their own Top 10 poll arrives following this weekend's stakes action, highlighted by the Pepsi North America Cup card at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Fans can submit their Top 10 rankings beginning at 12:01 a.m. (EDT) Monday (June 18), by emailing HarnessTop10@gmail.com. Voting will close at 5 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday (June 19). A total of 35 submissions will be selected randomly and points will be tabulated in the same manner as the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Submitted polls must include the fan's first and last names to be accepted. Rankings submitted as attachments will not be accepted. The results of the inaugural Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Fan Poll will be announced Wednesday (June 20), the day after the regular media rankings are released. Names of fan voters will not be revealed with the poll, but fans whose rankings are selected will be notified via email. Fans are encouraged to share their rankings and the poll on social media. Other weeks for fan voting will follow the Meadowlands Pace, Hambletonian Day, Kentucky Futurity Day, and the Breeders Crown. To view the current Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

This week's Top Ten Poll still has Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 Harness Horse of the Year, strongly as #1. Filibuster Hanover moved up to #2 over Shartin N.  Lather Up jumped up from #9 last week to #5 after his 1:49.2 victory in his Pepsi North America Cup elim last week. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 3 – 6/12/2018 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Hannelore Hanover (24) 6tm 3-3-0-0 $113,338 325 1 2 Filibuster Hanover (6) 4pg 5-5-0-0 $202,225 285 3 3 Shartin N (1) 5pm 13-10-1-0 $420,323 220 2 4 Atlanta (3) 3tf 3-3-0-0 $127,284 203 5 5 Lather Up 3pc 5-5-0-0 $78,165 180 9 6 Manchego 3tf 1-1-0-0 $28,240 109 8 7 Bit Of A Legend N 9ph 9-3-4-1 $330,775 103 6 8 Will Take Charge 5tg 12-6-3-1 $205,268 94 4 9 Keystone Velocity (1) 10ph 6-2-2-0 $320,000 88 7 10 Rockin Ron 6pg 11-5-3-0 $217,750 42 10 Also: Ariana G (37); Wes Delight (36); Six Pack (28); Stay Hungry (25); Homicide Hunter (24); Blazin Britches, Trump Nation (20); Jimmy Freight (18); Marion Marauder (12); NF Happenstance (9); Mach It So (7); Alarm Detector (6); KJ’s Justine (5); Emoticon Hanover, Elmo Blatch, Highalator (4); Done Well, Dorsoduro Hanover, Wolfgang (3); Crazy Wow, Jet Airway (2); Fox Valley Gemini, Plunge Blue Chip, St Lads Neptune, Theresademoninme (1). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Columbus, OH --- In conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program, the Harness Racing FanZone is introducing the "USTA Play of the Day," which will be hosted by Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator Michael Carter and appear daily on the HRFZ website and social media platforms starting Tuesday (June 12). Carter will make selections from different racetracks on one of the USTA's guaranteed pool Strategic Wagers each day. This new feature kicks off on Tuesday (June 12) with Hoosier Park's record $50,000 guaranteed High-5 wager on race 11 that has a carryover in excess of $19,000. The USTA Play of the Day will be posted daily on the Harness Racing FanZone's wagering page, which is available by clicking here. For free TrackMaster past performances on the Hoosier Park High-5 wager and most USTA Strategic Wagers every day as well as the schedule of wagers and more information on the program, please click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Columbus, OH --- Michael Carter, the 2017 U.S. Harness Writers Association Breakthrough Award winner and well-known co-host of Post Time with Mike and Mike, presented by BetAmerica, joined the U.S. Trotting Association on Monday (June 4) as social media and public relations coordinator. Carter comes to the USTA from Northfield Park where he served as assistant director of mutuels and back-up track announcer. "Michael Carter is a great addition to the USTA's communications team because he brings knowledge, experience and a large network of contacts throughout the industry to the position," said USTA Director of Marketing and Communications Dan Leary. "Through his weekly show, he has helped positively promote harness racing and we're looking forward to having him continue to do that with us." In his last position, Carter also worked closely with the marketing team on the track's promotions and served as on-air talent conducting interviews on the simulcast of big race nights. From 2014 to 2015, Carter called races at Buffalo Raceway and managed the mutuels department during the off-season. He also was responsible for building the track's Facebook page and worked as the on-air handicapper providing daily race analysis. With his co-host Michael Bozich on Post Time with Mike and Mike, Carter has been responsible for helping to build and promote the show through their website, social media, press releases and live remotes from some of harness racing's major events such as the Hambletonian, Breeders Crown and Dan Patch Stakes. From the USTA Publicity Department  

Goshen, NY --- When Joni Gibb was a teenager, she had quarter horses and was involved in barrel racing. She gave up the sport 30 years ago, which until recently ended her involvement with horses. But now Standardbreds are reminding Gibb what it's like to be a kid again. "They're such athletes and have different personalities," Gibb said. "That's what is so much fun for me. I remember that from when I was a kid and had forgotten." Gibb, an artist from northern Ohio, is among the participants in the 19th annual U.S. Trotting Association Driving School, which is being held this year in upstate New York. The four-day school runs through Saturday and offers a mix of hands-on learning at the Mark Ford Training Center and classroom sessions at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. At the completion of the program, participants can take the USTA's driver and/or trainer exam. Thursday's session included discussions about training with Mark Ford and Rob Harmon, stable management with Amber Buter and Kelly Ford, and veterinary care with Dr. Janet Durso. Gibb and her husband Jim, a corporate lawyer, always liked to go to the races and decided a year ago to join with friends and buy a horse. One quickly became seven. "It's been kind of a whirlwind year," Gibb said with a laugh. "We've kind of become obsessed. I used to like the gambling, but I don't even care anymore. Now I just love being in the paddock or at the farm with the horses. We like being in the barn as much as being at the finish line. We've had a great time." Gibb has helped with the horses at the stables, but is attending the Driving School to increase her knowledge of the sport and possibly become an amateur driver. "I just want to be educated on every aspect of racing," Gibb said. "I have a lot to learn." James Mazzocco, an attorney from Pittsburgh, discovered harness racing less than a year ago and is attending the Driving School with an eye toward buying a horse. "I went to my local track (The Meadows) and thought it was a lot of fun," the 35-year-old Mazzocco said. "The more I got into it, the more I wanted to learn. I thought this was a great opportunity to get all this access and hands-on experience. I thought it was a good way to accelerate the learning process. "I guess the bug bit me." Mazzocco got to sit behind a horse for the first time on Thursday. "Jogging was a lot of fun," Mazzocco said. "I rode a little bit as a kid, but it's been years since I've been around a horse up close like that. You watch them on the track and there is obviously a lot of speed and power there. To feel that in the lines and be behind a horse is a whole different experience. It kind of gives you a new appreciation of what's going on out there on the track." John Quigley, a semi-retired healthcare consultant from New York, also is a relative newcomer to the sport, having gone from fan to racehorse owner in 2014. "There is nothing more exciting than seeing the horses come pounding down the stretch fighting to be the first across the finish line," Quigley said. "I wanted to be more involved. I wanted to be able to jog my own horse and get the experience from a driver's perspective. "This has been very interesting. I've learned quite a bit already. I'm learning the terminology and ways of doing things. Now all the pieces are coming together." Prior to 2004, Janet Collins' equine activity involved riding horses. Then she sold a horse to a woman that had Standardbreds, who ended up bringing Collins to the racetrack. "I was hooked as soon as I walked through the door," Collins said. "I sold the riding horses and bought a Standardbred." Collins is at the Driving School for more hands-on learning. "I want to learn to be able to jog our horses at home; to build up some confidence and know what I'm doing out there on the racetrack," said Collins, who now works at Amulet Farm in western Pennsylvania. "I learn every day. I don't know a lot, but I'm getting there. "This is fantastic. I'm really enjoying this." Driving School participant Allen Miller, who works as a sales rep for his family's roofing and construction business in Ohio, grew up around horses and enjoys harness racing as a hobby. He owns three horses and likes to work with one, Johnsbadgirl, on a regular basis. "I'm here to learn new things," the 25-year-old Miller said. "After a day of dealing with a bunch of customers, it's fun to go jog the horse and you forget about everything else. It's a fun hobby. I'm not in it just for the money. I just enjoy it. Horses teach you more about life than you can teach yourself." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Columbus, OH --- As part of the U.S. Trotting Association's social media initiative, the new "Harness Racing FanZone Face Time" feature with the nation's winningest driver, Aaron Merriman, debuted Thursday (May 31) on the Harness Racing FanZone. "Harness Racing FanZone Face Time" will become a regular, one-on-one video feature with drivers, trainers, owners and other harness racing industry participants. "This new one-on-one interview format will be focused on allowing harness racing fans to get to know the stars as well as the everyday people that work in the industry more personally in a light-hearted way and to explore some of their interests away from the track," said USTA Director of Marketing and Communications Dan Leary. The Merriman pilot interview was conducted by new USTA Social Media Coordinator Wendy Ross at Eldorado Scioto Downs on Saturday (May 26) and edited by 2017 Hervey Award-winning producer Rich Johnston, the USTA's multimedia coordinator. To watch the Merriman interview, click here. To find out more details and when new interviews are posted, follow Harness Racing FanZone on Facebook and @HarnessRacingFanZone on Twitter. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Goshen, NY --- Eric Dickson hoped for the past several years to attend the U.S. Trotting Association Driving School, but it never fit the emergency department physician's schedule until now. "This is a little bit of a dream come true," said Dickson, who got started in harness racing less than five years ago and now owns seven horses, including a yearling he foaled at his Massachusetts farm. "To be able to get three days of concentrated experience and the lectures, that you really can't get otherwise, is a great opportunity. I've been trying to get this on my schedule for three years and finally got it done." Dickson is among 20 participants in the 19th annual U.S. Trotting Association Driving School, which is being held in upstate New York this year. The school runs through Saturday and offers a mix of hands-on learning at the Mark Ford Training Center and classroom sessions at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. At the completion of the program, participants can take the USTA's driver and/or trainer exam. Participants came from 10 different states, led by Ohio with five and New York with four. The school opened Wednesday with a welcome reception and dinner at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Mark Loewe, who among his responsibilities for Penn National Gaming Inc. is the vice president of racing operations at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, was the keynote speaker following dinner. Loewe grew up in New York City and was introduced to harness racing at Roosevelt and Yonkers raceways. After graduating from college, Loewe worked for trainers Bill Popfinger and Jerry Silverman before running his own stable for a decade. Dickson is among a number of Driving School participants hoping to get training and driving licenses. "I've always wanted to do the amateur races or some qualifying races," Dickson said. "I always loved being around horses. I just found that Standardbreds are probably the nicest horse out there. I've really enjoyed it. I'm an emergency physician and kind of need that release that gets me thinking of something other than work. This is an absolutely great release. There is nothing like sitting behind and jogging a horse. It's very, very relaxing." Dickson got started with Thoroughbreds about 20 years ago, but "didn't feel like I could get involved enough." After focusing on his medical career, he decided several years ago he wanted to get involved with horses again. He brought home a retired pacer, which his daughter rode and Dickson began jogging on a small track at his farm. He got his first racehorses in 2014 and races at Plainridge with trainer Todd O'Dea. "I really got into it," Dickson said. "It's been absolutely wonderful." In late 2016, Dickson bought a mare named Yankee Nola in foal to Deweycheatumnhowe. In March 2017, she gave birth to a colt that was named Dewey Dog. "By my nature I just love to learn," Dickson said. "I learned everything I could about deliveries. I've delivered a lot of human babies, but I've never delivered a 60-pound baby before. That was a lot of fun. "I've been working with him from the first hour he was born until now as a yearling. At the end of this year, we'll start to put him into some real training. I'm looking forward to that. Whether he makes it or not, I still love him and I've loved the experience." In addition to his racehorses and broodmare, Dickson has two retired Standardbreds. He jogs them on his farm track and enjoys bringing newcomers with him in a double-seated cart. "There is nothing more fun than taking someone out in the double and letting them hold the reins for the first time," Dickson said. "They get as addicted to it as I am." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Columbus, OH --- In the June 2018 issue of Hoof Beats, USTA President Russell Williams outlined the USTA's opposition to the proposed legislation, H.R.2651, being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives. We're calling on everyone in the harness racing industry to contact their local legislators to express your opposition to this bill. Read on to find out how and why. If you need further information or have any questions, please contact USTA Director of Marketing and Communications Dan Leary at dan.leary@ustrotting.com and put "H.R.2651" in the subject line. Don't We Have Better Things to Do? by Russell Williams, USTA president Proposed House bill H.R.2651 is federal legislation that isn't good for harness racing State governments, through their racing commissions, have regulated medication in horse racing for about 60 years. The Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017, or H.R.2651, now pending in Congress, would preempt long-established state regulatory authority, add about three new layers of regulation at the federal level, and impose the costs of it all on horse racing. H.R.2651 proposes a private, independent, self-regulatory, nonprofit corporation to be known as the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority (HAMCA). HAMCA would be charged with developing and implementing a medication control program for Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and Quarter Horses. It would operate under the ultimate authority of the Federal Trade Commission rather than the Department of Agriculture. At the next level down, HAMCA's board would be composed as follows: the chief operating officer of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), six USADA members, and six members that USADA would appoint. The odds on whether any of the 13 members of this board might have any connection with harness racing are impossible to calculate, partly because at no point has anyone representing harness racing been consulted in the preparation of this legislation, with the possible exception of three harness tracks all controlled by the same person. H.R.2651 is the brainchild of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI), which alleges failure to finalize an interstate compact on racing medication as the reason this federal legislation is needed. The Jockey Club, along with a number of Thoroughbred entities that The Jockey Club guides for purposes of this legislative enterprise, leads CHRI. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is also a member of CHRI. Contrary to law and policy existing today in every racing state, H.R.2651 bans all race-day medication. Frank Stronach asked for this as a precondition to the Stronach Group (which owns six Thoroughbred tracks across the country) joining CHRI. This clause in the federal bill would ban the use of furosemide (marketed under the brand names Lasix or Salix). But the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) opposes such a ban, observing that there is no evidence that furosemide either enhances performance or masks substances that might do so, and that using the only medication proven to alleviate exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage is simply the humane way to race horses. Also on the humane front, in the September/October 2017 issue of its magazine, HSUS describes the use of furosemide, the only medication currently permitted on race day, as follows: "Currently, a patchwork of state laws enables trainers to give horses drugs that mask pain, allowing the animals to race even when injured." As a revealing aside, in April 2018, HSUS condemned anyone who would call for "a heavy-handed government to impose its will from Washington." HSUS used those words in opposing a separate piece of federal legislation. But HSUS evidently supports heavy-handed government in the case of H.R.2651. Unfortunately, by spreading among its many members (HSUS has claimed to have millions of members) an opinion that is unfounded and contrary to the official position of veterinary medicine, HSUS is only darkening the future of all types of horse racing. The federal bill disregards any differences between the racing models of different breeds. State racing commissions, on the other hand, and the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) do recognize the importance of these differences in regulating racing medication. Historically, Congress has appropriated federal anti-doping funds and granted them to USADA to help cover the cost of drug testing in human sports, which is USADA's sole area of expertise. But H.R.2651 contains no provision for federal funding for HAMCA. Instead, it imposes assessments on state racing commissions as its basic funding mechanism. HAMCA can also borrow money, and the bill states that assessments on state commissions can be used to liquidate loans. Yet HAMCA gets to determine its own budget, giving it a blank check to impose unlimited new costs on racing. It is only reasonable to project that the operating costs that HAMCA would impose on racing would be substantial. For example, in calendar year 2016, state racing commission expenditures in Pennsylvania alone exceeded $16 million. If more money is to be spent, instead of supporting a redundant, inexperienced, and uncontrolled new federal spending organization, we should consider supporting existing medication research as well as any of the other efforts that are already being made to support and improve the sport. Contact your legislators and ask them to oppose H.R.2651 and any companion legislation that may emerge in the Senate. You can find your representative in the House at www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and your senator at www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_correspond_senators.htm. * * * Following is a sample letter that you can use to send by email or regular mail to your Congressman/Congresswoman. Or as an alternative, you are encouraged to call your representative to express your opposition to H.R.2651. Date Honorable XX XX [OFFICE BUILDING] House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Dear Congressman/Congresswoman XX [Last name]: As you know, several states support and host pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing. On the other hand, in some states that do not host such betting, there are significant horse breeding and training businesses throughout the state, along with county fair racing, for example. Many of our state's residents, including myself, enjoy and are supportive of the horse industry. In that context, I and many others who are supportive of the horse industry are very concerned about, and have strong feelings against, H.R.2651, the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017. If enacted, H.R.2651 would be significantly burdensome to the horse industry in that it would create a new, duplicative regulatory bureaucracy at the federal level, on top of an existing state regulatory structure that is operated in 34 state racing jurisdictions around the country -- a system that has functioned well for over 100 years. Moreover, it is likely that this new bureaucracy would create a new structure of fees and taxes to cover some of the federal costs of the new regulatory structure, and those fees and taxes would come from horse owners and the industry at-large. In addition to the regulatory burdens noted above which would be created under H.R.2651, the bill seeks to ban the drug Lasix, or Furosemide. This drug is used in horses to control or prevent Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhages (EIPH), or "bleeding." Horses often experience EIPH during intense exercise, such as during races. Lasix is recognized as an effective, preventative treatment for "bleeding" in the lungs of horses, which is the reason its use is recognized by the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians and the American Association of Equine Practitioners as safe and effective. These veterinarians believe that the use of Lasix to treat "bleeders" is in the health and welfare interests of the animals. According to a recent American Horse Council study, the horse racing industry contributes some $36 billion annually to the national economy and provides about 240,000 direct jobs. Any measure which will add further regulatory and cost burdens will only harm those state and local economies that depend on the industry. Accordingly, I urge you to oppose H.R.2651 or any identical or similar companion measure. Sincerely, From the USTA Media Department      

Hightstown, NJ --- Hannelore Hanover finds herself in a familiar spot in the year’s first Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The female trotter, now age 6, ended 2017 at No. 1 and opens this season at the top again. The defending Horse of the Year is 2-for-2 this year, with victories in the Cutler Memorial and a leg of the Great Northeast Open Series for trotters. Shartin N, a 5-year-old female pacer who leads harness racing in purses, is No. 2. She counts the Blue Chip Matchmaker championship, Betsy Ross Invitational, and Sam “Chip” Noble Memorial among her 10 wins in 12 races. Rounding out the top five are 4-year-old male pacer Filibuster Hanover, 5-year-old male trotter Will Take Charge, and 10-year-old male pacer Keystone Velocity. Filibuster Hanover, unbeaten in four starts this year, won Sunday’s Commodore Barry while Will Take Charge captured the Maxie Lee Memorial with a world-record-equaling performance. The remainder of the Top 10 finds 3-year-old female trotter Atlanta at No. 6 followed by 6-year-old male pacer Rockin Ron, 3-year-old female trotter Manchego, 4-year-old female trotter Ariana G, and 3-year-old male pacer Trump Nation. Atlanta won Monday’s Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs with a track-record 1:50.3 mile. Rockin Ron and Trump Nation also were winners over the Memorial Day weekend, with Rockin Ron winning the inaugural Camluck Classic (formerly Molson Pace) and Trump Nation victorious in the Art Rooney Pace. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. From Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

The 2018 Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll will debut Tuesday and continue every week through the stakes season. And for the first time, fans also will get to participate on selected weeks. Fans will have the opportunity to submit their own Top 10 polls on the weeks following the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Hambletonian Day, Kentucky Futurity Day, and the Breeders Crown. A total of 35 submissions will be selected each of those weeks and points will be tabulated in the same manner as the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The Fan Poll results will be announced on the Wednesday of the selected weeks. Additional details will be announced the week prior to the first Fan Poll, which will be released June 20. by Ken Weingartner, for USTA

Columbus, OH --- Wendy Ross has joined the U.S. Trotting Association's Communications Department as social media and public relations coordinator and Jason Turner has been promoted to assistant editor of Hoof Beats and digital brand strategist for the USTA. In addition, James Witherite has been hired as a freelance editor for the newsroom on the USTA's website, www.ustrotting.com. "We are excited to add Wendy to the communications team for the skills and experience she will add to our social media and publicity efforts," said USTA Director of Marketing and Communications Dan Leary. "And we're pleased to provide Jason with a larger role with our magazine as assistant editor of Hoof Beats as well as a new opportunity to assist us in shaping the USTA's digital strategy moving forward. "With these additions, we've diversified the skills of the communications department and added creativity to our team, which will allow us to do an even better job of promoting the sport of harness racing." Ross, a third-generation horsewoman, is a familiar face to harness racing fans through her work as an on-air television personality at The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Northfield Park, The Meadows and The Little Brown Jug. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Ross began her career at the age of 15 as an outrider at local fairs in Ohio. She later worked in that capacity at Northfield Park and Tioga Downs and has had the opportunity to be an outrider at some of harness racing's most prestigious events including the Hambletonian, Breeders Crown and Elitloppet in Sweden. After leaving the industry for about a year-and-a-half during 2016 and 2017, Ross recently returned to harness racing at The Meadows where she has been back in front of the camera doing live interviews in the paddock and winner's circle on the track's simulcast. Turner started his USTA career as an intern for Hoof Beats in 2006. After graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism, he was hired as a full-time publishing assistant in 2007 and, later that year, was named as editor of Youth Beats magazine, a publication whose subscribers have grown from 40 to 1,700 under his guidance. A year later, Turner began writing and copy editing and had his first feature story published in Hoof Beats. In 2011, he was promoted to graphic designer. Also in 2011, Turner was named the recipient of the International Media Award for Best Feature Article for his "Racing and the Recession" story in the November 2009 issue of Hoof Beats. His work on the magazine has also won multiple American Horse Publications and Hervey Awards for writing and design. Witherite currently serves as the chart caller and racing analyst at Harrah's Philadelphia. Previously, he was a track announcer from 2006 to 2016 at Harrah's Philadelphia, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. He also served as morning line oddsmaker and program handicapper at The Meadowlands and makes numerous appearance as the bugler at many of harness racing's top events. by Ken Weingartner, for USTA Communications Department  

Columbus, OH --- The United States Trotting Association, through the Medication Subcommittee of the USTA Board of Directors, has established a group, to include both academic and practicing veterinarians, to be called the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative (HRMC). The HRMC's purpose is to assist in identifying and developing the scientific background for medication regulation in Standardbred racing. Scientific research projects may be conducted if needed to support Standardbred regulatory policy, once funding can be organized. The USTA plans to provide the HRMC's reports and supporting data to the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which would transmit those reports to its regulators in the various racing commissions. The members of the USTA Medication Subcommittee are: Joe Faraldo (Chair) Sam Beegle Mark Loewe John Brennan Andrew M. Roberts DVM Robert Boni The Medication Subcommittee identified the following veterinarians as having expertise in the Standardbred racehorse: Dr. Thomas Tobin Dr. Kenneth McKeever Dr. Mary Robinson Dr. Clara Fenger Dr. Peter Kanter Dr. Richard Balmer Additional practicing and academic veterinarians will be invited to join the HRMC. "The HRMC will close a gap in the science and policy underlying Standardbred medication regulation," stated USTA President Russell Williams. "Our primary goal is to improve the quality of medication information available to our regulators." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager    

Columbus, OH --- The new U.S. Trotting Association rule book is now available online on the USTA website under the Horsemen/Regulatory tabs on the homepage or by clicking this link. Following are some of the highlights of the new rules in the 2018 USTA Rule Book: • The use of a fair start pole was approved at all extended pari-mutuel tracks, to be erected at a clearly identifiable point before the start. If a horse has not reached the fair start pole when the horses are released by the starter, the judges may call an inquiry and request that money bet on the horse be refunded. • Whip regulations and prohibitions are now more clearly defined. • Breath analyzer requirements have been expanded to include any recognized test that shall produce immediate test results, and who is subject to a test. • Action against the use of illegal drugs was expanded to prohibit the use of any illegal drug, any medication that may detrimentally impact performance or any unapproved stimulant, depressant, narcotic, or hypnotic, unless prior approval of the state regulatory authority verifies the use will not adversely affect the safety and well-being of both equine and human participants. • Any horse that has been gelded or any mare that has been spayed must be recorded with the USTA within 30 days of being gelded or spayed. All horses programmed as a horse/colt/ridgling shall be verified as such prior to each start. A notice of castration form is also now available here. • An option added to Pleasure Horse Registration will now allow owners to choose, upon application, either Pleasure Registration, where the owner prohibits registration of future offspring and terminates any electronic eligibility previously issued, or Pleasure Registration No Racing, in which owners terminate any electronic eligibility previously issued, but do allow the registration of offspring. The new pleasure horse conversion application may be found here. • The breeder of record, as defined in Rule 4.18, may only be changed by the Registrar upon receiving proof that the transfer date of the dam was incorrectly submitted. Otherwise, the listed breeder of the horse shall not be changed after a foal has been registered and a registration certificate has been issued. • The use of head numbers shall not be permitted at extended pari-mutuel tracks, but may be used at non-extended meetings/fairs. • Any person listed as the registered owner(s) of a horse who is found to be directly or indirectly paying for training services on that horse by an individual who is ineligible to be programmed as a trainer, shall be suspended from membership. • The registration of stallion syndicates and racing, farm, corporate, or stable names has been streamlined so that application may be made with one application for stallion syndicates and one for registered stables, regardless of type. In addition, all registered stables will be required to be renewed annually by Dec. 31. The new forms may be found here under “Membership.” These changes will be reflected in the next update to the USTA’s Rule Book App, found on Apple’s iTunes, and Google Play stores, which can be found by searching “USTrotting.” USTA Communications Department  

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association is currently accepting applications for the Social Media Promotion and Publicity position in the Harness Racing Communications Department at the USTA office in Westerville, Ohio. The deadline for applications is Friday (April 13). The responsibilities of the Social Media Manager are to: create and implement the USTA's social media and promotional strategy, develop and promote brand awareness on social media platforms, manage content strategy and creation, monitor and positively influence brand sentiment, and provide leadership in social media platform utilization, community participation and customer engagement. The position will also coordinate social media efforts with USTA member tracks, harness racing industry organizations and other outside partners. In addition, the Social Media Manager will have responsibilities that include: travel for on-site coverage of major harness races and industry events, serving as on-air host for video content produced by the USTA Communications Department and as one of the newsroom editors for the ustrotting.com website. For full details and requirements for the position, visit the employment page on the USTA website. Interested applicants should send their cover letter, resume and two writing samples to Human.Resources@ustrotting.com by Friday (April 13).  

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