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Travis Cullen wrapped up his second consecutive harness racing training and driving title at Alberta Downs with three wins on the meet-closing card Sunday afternoon. The 22-year-old horseman added to his leading win totals on Sunday with victories aboard his trainees Frisco ($5.30), Captain Hazardous ($2.70) and Da Terror ($4.50). Canada's 2013 Rising Star Award winner dominated at the Alberta Downs meet with a total of 118 driving wins and 98 training wins. Brandon Campbell finished second in the driving standings with 68 victories while Kelly Hoerdt was the runner-up in the training category with 55 wins. From Standardbred Canada Flamboro Preferred Pace to McKinney Quebec Series champion McKinney made a wide backstretch brush to make the lead and cruised home to win the $11,000 Preferred 2/3 Handicap Pace for horses and geldings on Sunday night at Flamboro Downs. The four-year-old Santanna Blue Chip gelding, trained by Corey Johnson, returned to his winning ways in his second week back in racing action since capturing the Quebec Final back on June 8 at Hippodrome 3R. McKinney tipped second over from fourth after a contested opening quarter and rallied wide down the backstretch to take over command by the three-quarters en route to his fourth win of the year. James MacDonald drove the even-money favourite to the 1:54.3 victory over Champagne Phil and Allstar Seelster for leasee G. Arthur Slack of Rockwood, Ont. To view the rest of this story click here. Undercover Bro last to first at Rideau Undercover Bro trailed the six-horse field early on in Sunday's $6,500 Winners Over Handicap trotting feature at Rideau Carleton Raceway, but emerged down the stretch to complete his stealthy off-the-pace operation. The six-year-old Classic Photo gelding earned his fifth victory of the season for the driver and trainer team of Stephane and Richard Lareau, who also co-owns with Stephane Legrand of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que. Leaving from the outside, Out Of The Hat crossed over to command just past the eighth of a mile mark and clocked the first quarter in :28-seconds before being overtaken by the parked and pressing favourite, Decret Justiciale, into the clubhouse turn. The new leader hit the half in :55.4. To view the rest of this story click here. Turner Memorial to Earl Watts at Truro Trainer Earl Watts swept the Donnie & George Turner Memorial Stakes for three-year-olds on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Truro Raceway as Arties Magic and Lovineveryminute each won their respective $12,932 divisions. Arties Magic ($6.60) and Lovineveryminute ($3.10), both co-owned by Windemere Farms of North Wiltshire, P.E.I., used different tactics to achieve the same result over the track rated "good" with a two second variant. With Todd Trites at the lines, Atlantic Breeders Crown champion Arties Magic circled the field in the first division to prevail over race leader Absolootly Hot by three-quarters of a length in 1:59.3. The favoured first over challenger, Super S Yzerman, rounded out the top three finishers two lengths behind. To view the rest of this story click here.  Fraser Downs Open to Rock Allstar Favourite Rock Allstar was first off the gate and first across the wire in a dominant Open Pace victory on Sunday afternoon at Fraser Downs. A 1:54 winner in his last Open start on a sloppy track Oct. 17 with a matching qualifying mile last week, Rock Allstar was sent postward as the 3-2 favourite and lived up to expectations in Sunday's $10,500 feature race. He paid $5.10 to win. Driver Brandon Campbell put the seven-year-old gelding on the lead and he never looked back, pacing through panels of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:26.2 en route to the victory in 1:54.4. Rock Allstar has now won four of his six Open starts at the current Fraser Downs meet. To view the rest of this story click here.

Over the past two seasons, pacing gelding Need You So Bad has been nearly unbeatable at Fraser Downs. On Thursday night, he didn't stray from his past successes. Competing in the $7,500 fourth leg of the Robert Murphy Breeders Stake for three-year-old colts and geldings, Need You So Bad was settled into the pocket by trainer-driver Bill Davis while longshot Astronomical Storn (Rod Therres) carved out fractions of :27.2, :57.2 and 1:26. Davis then popped the pocket around the final turn before sprinting away to a two-length victory in 1:55.4 over Cold Finger (Jim Marino) and Hosisahos (Brandon Campbell), who rallied strongly from an early break to grab show honours. JJJ Stables of Aldergrove, B.C. owns Need You So Bad (American Ideal - Sending Forth), who now sports a career record of 12 wins in 15 starts at the B.C. oval. To view the rest of this story click here.  Flamboro Downs co-feature trots Thursday's Preferred trot winners at Flamboro Downs took totally different paths to eventually make their way back to the winner's circle. In the $11,000 Preferred 2 Trot, Spartan Victory (Ryan Holliday) paraded the field through fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:28.2, all the while pestered by Lakefield (Luc Ouellette) to his outside. Putting away that foe, Holliday urged on his gelding but was caught in the final strides by Tornado Tim and driver Garrett Whelan. After moving three-wide around Lakefield at the three-quarter pole, Whelan had Tornado Tim within striking distance at the head of the lane and hit the wire a quarter-length ahead of Spartan Victory in 1:58.3. Despite winning this class twice in October, the Everette Hanson-owned and Dan O'Brian-trained seven-year-old Revenue gelding was dismissed at odds of 15-1 but notched his ninth win of the season and 27th lifetime. To view the rest of this story click here.  Battle of Alberta Super FInals The top Alberta-sired pacers of the 2014 season will invade Alberta Downs on Saturday afternoon as the Lacombe track plays host to the $280,000 Battle of Alberta Super Finals. The four $70,000 Alberta Sires Stakes championships will be contested as races eight through 11 with $15,000 consolations for each division earlier in the day. Two-year-old fillies will face off in the first Battle and the Jamie Gray-trained and driven My Villas On Fire is favoured to take the crown with morning line odds of 5-2 from post six. The Blue Burner-My Villa filly has won half of her 10 starts, including back-to-back ABSS Starburst and Stardust divisions in September, and has earned $39,090 in purses. One of the fastest fillies in the field, My Villas On Fire enters the Super Finals fresh off a career-best 1:56.4 victory in the Premiers Stakes last Saturday. My Villas On Fire is owned by breeder Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy, both of Edmonton, Alta. To view the rest of this story click here. 

Tickets are going fast for the tribute night for Keith and Ron Waples, which is a fundraiser for the educational funds for Paige and Paula Austin, daughters of trainer Mark Austin, who passed away suddenly last month. The event will be held on Wednesday, October 29, at Mohawk Racetrack with doors opening at 5 p.m., buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. with the tribute portion to follow dinner. Tickets are $50 each with tables of eight available for $400. To order tickets, or donate an item to the auction or the fundraiser, please contact Jack Darling (jackdarling@rogers.com - 519-653-2698), Ian Fleming (ifleming@clintonraceway.com - 519-482-5270) or Bill O’Donnell (billodonnell01@aol.com - 905-854-2672). An online and onsite silent auction will be held. The online auction will begin on Monday, October 20 at noon and close the following Monday, October 27 at 7 p.m. All funds raised will go to the education fund. Some of the notable auction items received to date are a breeding to red hot sire Sportswriter from Tara Hills Stud, a breeding to Big Jim donated by Darlene Carr, box seats for eight for a Toronto Raptors game from Brad Grant, a Brodeur jogger donated by Jack Darling and Larry Ainsworth, an autographed Bobby Orr jersey from Michelle and Scott McEneny and a month’s training from McNair stables. A full list of items available for bid will be released next week. Longest shot on the board comes in at Fraser Sent off as the longest shot on the toteboard in Thursday’s $10,500 Fillies & Mares Open for pacers at Fraser Downs, Real Pretty got up in the closing strides to prevail in 1:54 for driver Serge Masse. The Justin Currie-trained Real Pretty got away fourth and held that position throughout the first half of the contest. Keep The Dream and Call Me Up took turns on the lead through panels of :26.4, :56.1 and 1:25, but it was Real Pretty who commenced a first-over rally going to the three-quarter pole before eventually posting the win by three-quarters of a length over Gracie Montana in 1:54. Call Me Up weakened late and settled for third. Sent off at odds of 7-1, the four-year-old daughter of Real Desire-Prettytrickynicki improved her 2014 record to 4-4-7 from 18 starts with the win for owners Alice and Derek Gilbert of Brandon, Manitoba. The 10-time winner has banked more than $42,000 in her career. To view the rest of this story click here. Equity pays off at Flamboro Equity went to the front and kept on trucking for driver Paul MacKenzie en route to a front-stepping score in the $11,000 Preferred 2 for trotters Thursday evening at Flamboro Downs. The eight-year-old son of Kadabra-Earl Of My Dreams shot to the top from Post 2 and sliced out panels of :28., :57.2 and 1:26.4 before using a :30.4 closing quarter to win by a quarter of a length over Lexis D J in 1:57.3. Third prize was earned by Cimeronken. Sandra Houghton trains Equity for the partnership of Charalambos Christoforou and Banjo Farms. The homebred won for just the third time this season and for the 29th time in his career. The classy campaigner has banked $824,460 to date. To view the rest of this story click here.   

The new harness meet began at The Raceway at the Western Fair District on Friday and Miss Coco Luck was the star of the opening night feature race. Trainer Jack Parsons kicked off the 2014-15 meet sweeping the early Daily Double with Robert Robinson's Tymal Patriot ($16.40), in rein to Mike Horner, and Samuel Taylor's Miss Mach ($23.90), driven by Lorne House. Both Mach Three pacers scored their first wins of the year in front-stepping fashion. Miss Coco Luck ($6.60) later won the featured $7,500 Preferred 3 Handicap for filly and mare pacers in 1:57.4 over the 'good' track with Alfie Carroll aboard for trainer Blake MacIntosh. The four-year-old homebred Camluck mare sent her earnings over the $100,000 mark with her eighth career win for owners Dan and Kim Sergeant of Straffordville, Ont. To view the rest of this story click here. Rock Allstar wins another at Frasier Downs Rock Allstar turned in a career-best 1:52.2 performance over a fast track on Friday night to earn his second straight Open Pace victory at Fraser Downs A winner in his previous Open start on Sept. 19 with a qualifying tune up last Friday (both miles over an off track), Rock Allstar was sent postward as the 7-5 favourite in the $10,500 ninth race feature and didn't disappoint his backers at the betting windows. Leaving from post three, Rock Allstar out-sprinted insider Cantbeatacheetah around the first turn and led the rest of the way to record his 30th career win and shave more than a full second off his lifetime mark. Cantbeatacheetah pulled the pocket down the homestretch, but was only able to get within three-quarters of a length of the pacesetter. Blue Star Admiral came on for third. To view the rest of this story click here.

Three-year-old pacing fillies Go To The Windows and T Squared, both daughters of sire Allamerican Cobalt, swept a pair of $7,500 first leg divisions of the Mary Murphy Breeders Stakes early Friday night at Fraser Downs. Dennis Johnston and his homebred filly Go To The Windows kicked off the card with a wire-to-wire score in a career-best clocking of 1:58.3. Leaving from post four, 4-5 favourite Go To The Windows crossed over to command after the starting gate sped away and she led her five foes in single-file alignment through fractions of :29, 1:00.4 and 1:30.1. Second choice Philly Collins (Mark Abbott) pulled the pocket at the top of the stretch, but came up a half-length short at the wire and had to settle for second-place honours. Coastal Treasure (Rick White) followed six and a quarter lengths behind in third. To view the rest of this story click here.

Fraser Downs resumes live harness racing starting this week on Thursday, Sept. 4 and Friday, September 5. There is a ten race program set with first race post time at 6:00 pm. Before the start of the races there will be a moment of silence for horseman Steve Petrachuck, who recently passed away, and the third race will be named in his honor. Post time on Friday is 7:00 pm. The main event is the $10,500 Open Pace in race two with Thunder Noiselisted as the 9-5 morning line favourite, starting mid-pack in the five-horse field for trainer/driver Bill Davis and the J J J Stables. The five-year-old gelding by Island Fantasy won the Open in his last Fraser Downs race on April 25 and competed at Alberta Downs earlier this summer. He faces Miss Valentine Stakes champion Keep The Dream and newcomer Alligator Falls to his inside and regular Open competitors Cantbeatacheetah and Gotta Have Nukes to his outside. Live racing will be held every Thursday and Friday evening until switching to a Friday evening and Sunday afternoon schedule in November. With files from Fraser Downs

Although Arthur Pegg, Vice President of Simulcast Sales for WatchandWager.com LLC (the company now owning Cal-Expo) and its parent company WatchandWager.com LTD, has a great deal of experience with horses and horse racing (his father, Peter Pegg, was a bloodstock agent), he hadn’t had much contact with harness racing until Cal Expo joined the WaW “team” 18 months ago. But you can tell that Arthur “thinks” like a harness racing executive. He has a copy of Guerilla Marketing “right in front of my desk.” Guerilla Marketing, written by Jay Conrad Levinson in 1984, is a seminal book on modern advertising: it identifies the major players in a given field, the second-tier providers, and the smaller “others” trying to make their mark, and emphasizes that the “others” cannot employ the same marketing tactics as their larger competitors, that they must find innovative, “unconventional” methods of attracting and keeping customers, and that then “it must provide a product that delivers the promised benefits.” (The latter is the corollary of the adage “There’s no better way to kill a bad product than with good advertising.”) Harness racing certainly can be defined as “outside the mainstream” in terms of modern wagering and entertainment, and Cal-Expo, 900 miles from Vancouver’s Fraser Downs and just over double that from the nearest U.S. track, Running Aces near Minneapolis-St. Paul, is an outsider within an outsider. Yet in the first year under the stewardship of Pegg and WatchandWager, “simulcasting sales for Cal-Expo were up 27%,” he reports. “People like the larger track with movement in the racing, larger fields when we can provide them, and competitive racing, and we are delivering that regularly.” (Not to mention the Pacific Standard Time product, putting out content late in the East Coast day, when there is little competition.) WatchandWager.com is a subsidiary of WatchandWager.com LTD (the ultimate “parent company” is Webis Holdings PLC, traded on the London exchange), which offers an advanced deposit wagering platform for all forms of gaming. “In looking to expand to the U.S. marketplace,” Pegg continued, “the models showed that it was best to be associated with a racetrack as a ‘hub,’ and Cal-Expo was available and fit in our plans. So we began to operate the meet there in October 2012, and the company is U.S.-based in San Francisco.”And WaW has followed classic guerilla marketing tactics through its central website for gaming: “We offer more tracks than any other platform, and we offer more free programs than any site.” You can get a program for Solvalla on WatchandWager.com, but not Woodbine or Meadowlands – “We are working on trying to find a pricing model that is acceptable to all parties involved.” “The customer is king for WatchandWager,” Pegg notes. “We go the extra mile for our patrons, and deliver value-added tools to them, such as the separate basic instructions on wagering that we have developed for five different breeds of horses on which we offer opportunity.” Pegg himself has seen a lot of the U.S. en route to his present high position, achieved at age 33. A native of Virginia, Pegg graduated from Penn State University (100 miles from the nearest racetrack, Penn National), where “interestingly, I majored in meteorology.” But one can see a definite connection between the weather and the ponies: racetrack conditions play such an important part of racing, and what is “a 40% chance of rain tonight” but another way of saying “Rain this evening is 3 to 2”? Pegg is also a graduate of the renowned University of Arizona Racetrack Management Program, steered that way by Lenny Hale, of NYRA and Maryland Jockey Club fame. He joined WatchandWager, where in short order he developed a job profile entailing ADW operations and business/product development, which includes overseeing simulcasting, licensing requirements and compliance, the company website, performance analytics, and … …marketing. And he’s working with California harness veterans Chris Schick and Ben Kenney, subcontracting as operations overseers to WatchandWager as Golden Bear Racing, to help revive the fortunes of Cal-Expo, while the parent company tries to expand its “footprint” in the United States. by Jerry Connors, for Harnesslink.com

Brandon Campbell took the lead early in the Western Regional Driving Championship and never relinquished it from that point forward while racking up three wins during the nine-race challenge on Fraser Downs' meet-closing card Saturday afternoon. Campbell and runner-up Jim Marino will advance to the 2014 National Driving Championship, which takes place on August 26 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. Campbell, a P.E.I. native now based in Alberta, is looking forward to his homecoming and competing at the national level. "My mom and two sisters and the rest of my family will get to meet my new daughter," said Campbell. "I'm really, really pumped about it. To read the rest of the story click here.

Fraser Downs' biggest weekend of harness racing in 2014 kicked off with the $200,000 British Columbia Sires Stakes Finals on Friday night. A BCSS champion at two, sophomore pacing filly Run And Tell defended her divisional title with a 1:57.4 score in the $75,000 final for trainer Debra McCarthy and owner/breeder Mark Anderson of Willows, California. Driver Kevin Anderson sent the Power Of Art-Muddy Waters filly from third to first after a :28.4 opening panel and cruised through middle splits of :58.1 and 1:28.4 before holding off pocket-sitter T Squared (Rick White) in the passing lane by a neck for her first win this year. Run And Tell paid $3.30 to win as the favourite. Early leaver Go To The Windows (Dennis Johnston) finished over two lengths behind in third. To read the rest of the story click here.

Keith Clark's American Venture put a stop to Big N Bad's Open win streak on Sunday afternoon at Fraser Downs with a 1:51.4 career-best effort in the $10,500 feature. Riding a four-race win streak, Big N Bag was assigned outside his four rivals in the first race on Sunday, but easily swept from last to first after the :27.1 quarter for trainer/driver Bill Davis. The heavy favourite proceeded to lead the field past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:23.4. However, driver Don Monkman Jr. made his move with American Venture around the final turn from third and the American Ideal gelding sprinted home in :27.2 to prevail by two lengths. The time of the mile matched Big N Bad's Canadian season's record for a five-eighth-mile track and came within two-fifths of a second of the gelding track record. To read the rest of the story click here.

A last-to-first sweep was turned in by Credit Card Junkie in Friday’s $10,500 Fillies & Mares Open at Fraser Downs, and that was music to the ears of the longshot players that had faith in the Debra Mc Carthy trainee. Sent off at odds of 27-1 in her first start for the new barn, Credit Card Junkie got away sixth for driver Kevin Anderson while Call Me Up and race favourite Prairie Illusion took turns on the lead through panels of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:24.1. Still sitting last as the field turned for home, Credit Card Junkie fired home in :28.3 and came away with a half-length score of Prairie Illusion in 1:54. Keep The Dream was third. To read the rest of the story click here.

The drivers for the 2014 Western Regional Driving Championship have been solidified with John Chappell securing the last spot in the competition after this weekend's harness racing cards at Fraser Downs. Heading into the weekend, just two wins separated Chappell, Scott Knight and David Hudon for the third spot in the local win standings. Scoring a pair of victories on Sunday's card and pushing his meet total to 50, Chappell managed to maintain the slight edge over his rivals. With two wins of his own over the weekend, Knight pushed his total to 49. Hudon had one victory on Friday putting his total at 47. Chappell steered Soft Spoken out of traffic down the stretch to a maiden-breaking victory in Sunday's second race for trainer/owner Allan Dawn. The four-year-old gelding won by just a neck over favourite Hosisahos in 1:59.1. To read the rest of the story click here.

Keith Linton Memorial champion Premium Stock added another stakes win to his resume on Sunday at Fraser Downs as he was three lengths the best in the $15,000 Wendell Smith Memorial Stake. Local horseman Jim Marino trains, drives and co-owns the lightly raced three-year-old gelding with Cameron Gardner of Cloverdale, B.C. Leaving from post six in the seven-horse field, favourite Premium Stock established the early lead during a :28.3 opening quarter, but gave way to second choice Astronomical Storm (Scott Knight), who advanced from third during the second panel. Premium Stock then played "follow the leader" through middle splits of :58.2 and 1:27.2 before surging by down the stretch for the 1:57.2 triumph. Astronomical Storm stayed for second while Four Diamonds (Travis Bowman) came on for third. To read the rest of the story click here.

Big N Bad scored another romping victory in Fraser Downs' weekly $10,500 Open Handicap Pace, this time building up a seven-length leading margin over a sloppy track. Mr Vancouver champion Big N Bad ($3.20) circled Sunday's field of six to earn his third straight victory in 1:54 over the track rated two seconds off for trainer/driver Bill Davis and the J J J Stables of Aldergrove, B.C. After getting away last from the outside post position during a :28-second opening panel, Davis sent the 3-5 favourite after the leading American Venture. He quickly swept to command past the :58.1 half-mile mark and opened up two lengths by the 1:25.2 third quarter station. Big N Bad then unleashed a :28.3 final frame to draw away from his rivals. Gotta Have Nukes edged out Trumpt In Hanover, American Venture and Cantbeatacheetah in a close race for second-place honours. To read the rest of the story click here.

Terrormissu and T Squared found their way to victory lane in their respective eliminations of the Marian Young Memorial during Friday’s 12-race card at Fraser Downs. In the $7,500 opening division it was Terrormissu winning as she pleased for trainer/driver Bill Davis. The three-year-old Western Terror-Michelles Fury miss brushed to the top past the quarter pole and went on to lead the field through middle splits of 1:01 and 1:31. A :29.1 closing quarter propelled her to the two-length score over Killemwithmyawsome, while Shaleslittlespirit took home the third prize. J J J Stables of Aldergrove, BC owns the four-time winner, who improved this year’s record to 3-1-0 from just five trips to the track. She’s banked just shy of $34,000 to date. To read the rest of the story click here.

The lightly raced sophomore pacer Premium Stock took advantage of the passing lane to win his first stake event off a pocket trip on Sunday afternoon at Fraser Downs in the $15,000 Keith Linton Memorial. Starting from post two, the Jim Marino-trained and driven Premium Stock followed inside starter Great Quote and Serge Masse for most of the mile through fractions of :27, :57.4 and 1:25.3. Favourite Need You So Bad and Fraser's leading trainer/driver Bill Davis stalked the leader first over, but could only make it within a length of Great Quote turning for home. Great Quote opened up a pair of lengths at the top of the stretch, but Premium Stock wore him down in a tight finish for the 1:56 victory. Hosisahos and Travis Bowman prevailed in a photo for third over Need You So Bad one and three-quarter lengths behind. Premium Stock paid $14.70 to win as the 6-1 third choice in the field scratched down to six. To read rest of story click here.

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