Horses

Trottin' & Pacin': Harness Racing News Roundup

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Endeavor and trainer-driver Pat Lachance take the Meadowlands feature on Jan. 27, 2018 scoring in the Preferred Handicap for pacers. Credits: Lisa Photo
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Having beaten mid-range conditioned foes in his last start, Endeavor wasn’t given much of a chance by the betting public in the Jan. 27 feature at the Meadowlands, when he went up against some tough customers in the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers and was sent off at odds of 12-1.

The betting public had this one all wrong.

After a tough-trip, fifth-place finish at the hands of the red-hot Western Joe a week earlier, Bettor’s Edge was sent to the gate as the 3-2 public choice. The son of Bettor’s Delight was permitted to rate the middle half in :57, so it appeared the veteran with the $2 million bank account was on his way.

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But Endeavor wasn’t having it.

The Pat Lachance trained and driven son of American Ideal sat a three-hole trip from the start, tipped off the rail at the head of the stretch and steamrolled right by the leader uncorking a final quarter of :25.4 to win by three-quarters-of-a-length in 1:50.2. Bettor’s Edge held second with Sweet Rock claiming the show dough.

Endeavor returned $27.60 to his backers for owner Helene Fillion of Mirabel, QC, CA.

Trainer Ross Croghan was on target with his “Down Under Wonders” on the program, scoring with New Zealand-breds Hug The Wind N ($4.60 to win, 1:50.2 for the mile) and Mr Euroman N ($3.40, 1:50). He missed going three-for-three when his Sprinter N failed as the 1-2 choice in the finale.

Anthony Napolitano and Andy Miller both recorded driving triples on the card.

Next Handicapping Contest Is Feb. 17

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment’s next handicapping contest of 2018 takes place on Feb. 17. Four seats for the World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier presented by DerbyWars.com are up for grabs.

The qualifier has a $200 total fee ($100 entry plus a $100 real-money bankroll). The format requires players to bet a minimum of $10 win wagers on 10 Meadowlands races. Players can wager on more than 10 races if they so desire. Players can register on-site up until 7:15 p.m.

The remaining Meadowlands contest schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday, March 10 - $200 contest with top two finishers winning WHHC Final seats
  • Saturday, April 7 - $100 Last Chance contest with top two finishers winning WHHC Final seats

DerbyWars.com hosts weekly WHHC Qualifiers at www.derbywars.com/tournaments/list/whhc.

Buffalo Raceway is hosting a WHHC Qualifier on March 24. Additional qualifiers from partner outlets will be announced in the coming weeks.

The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com Final is scheduled for Saturday, April 28 at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and has a guaranteed prize pool of $75,000.

For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment at raryan@playmeadowlands.com or 201-842-5015.

Marohn Wins TwoAmateur Trots In A Row At The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Under unseasonably warm mid-50 degree temperatures on Jan. 12, 10 amateur trotters went to post in the second race on the Meadowlands card.

There were only three leavers once the gate opened and everyone found their spot as these trotters completed the first turn. That is where Drama Free, with trainer Rob Harmon in the bike, took the lead through a fast :27.2 quarter over the sloppy surface. He maintained that lead until the three-quarter stanza.

That is where the challenger Rockin Redford, with Roy Marohn holding the lines, took over the lead after going first-over and carried that through the stretch en route to a four-length victory. Getting up for second was pocket-sitter Real DJ Hanover, with Sarah Svanstedt doing the driving. Uriel, with Annie Stoebe in the sulky, got up for third.

Marohn, who is a regular on the GSY circuit, didn’t get any respect at the windows and his backers cashed in for a $2 win bet to the tune of $25.20. The mile for this event was timed in 1:57.1. This 6-year-old gelding by SJ’s Caviar is owned and trained by Mark Ford.

A week later under clear skies and 35 degrees at post time, nine trotters went to post in the first race on the card.

There were only two horses that left the gate into the first quarter and finding his customary position on the lead was Robert Hechkoff aboard No Recess. He would not relinquish the lead for the first three-quarters of a mile and left Keystone Ace, with Bob Davis in the bike, parked on the outside.

In the meantime, Marohn, aboard post time favorite Rockin Redford, who got away last, pulled down the backside and made a three-wide brush to the lead at the top of the stretch and coasted to a four-length victory in a very fast 1:55 mile for this amateur event.

Getting up for second was David Yarock, aboard Landonfitz, at big odds and Uriel, with rookie Annie Stobe, nosing out the race leader for third.

Bouchard Takes Over As ID Technician

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Former driver Stephane Bouchard has signed an agreement to serve as a U.S. Trotting Association ID Technician, covering the upstate New York and New England territories, areas that were previously serviced by Keith Hamilton for 43 years. After he receives training in late February, Bouchard is expected to be fully operational on or about March 1, 2018.

A native of Montreal, Quebec, who now resides in Malta, N.Y., near Saratoga Springs, Bouchard had a very successful driving career and also served on the USTA Board of Directors representing District 8-A for three years starting in 2009.

Bouchard’s first experience with horses was at age 10 when he followed in his father’s footsteps as a barrel racer in Canada.

His introduction to harness racing, while he was a college student at St-Hubert, came as a regular attendee of the races at Hippodrome Blue Bonnets in Montreal. It was there that he approached trainer Pierre Touchette to ask for his first job in harness racing.

After working for Touchette and later Jean-Paul Gauthier, he was first licensed to drive in 1989 when he got his career off to a fast start by winning 28 of 101 races and recording a .404 UDR in his rookie year.

During his career, Bouchard drove in Canada, Italy and Germany, but came into prominence when he moved to New York and was a top driver at Yonkers and Monticello Raceways.

Among his career highlights that included 8,589 trips to the winner’s circle and more than $75 million in purse earnings, Bouchard was the leading driver in North America with 656 wins in 2003. Also, in 2000, Bouchard was named the recipient of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Rising Star Award and in 2001, he won the Harness Tracks of America’s Driver of the Year Award.

Bouchard retired from driving after suffering a significant neck injury in a racing accident at Saratoga Casino Hotel on June 22, 2017.

Big Payoffs At The Big M

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. —  Western Joe might have been the top performer at the Meadowlands after taking the Preferred Handicap on Jan. 20, but the big winners were the betting faithful, who were treated to big payoffs, which were created by spirited wagering.

Over the course of the 14-race program only four favorites visited victory lane, which served as the catalyst for big payouts in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick 10 ($18,028), Pick 5 ($11,645) and Pick 4 ($2,022). The total pools for the ‘Survivor’ ($21,653) and Pick 4 ($86,996) reached new 2018 heights while the Pick 5 remained strong as usual ($54,802).

Thus far in 2018, here are the average payouts for three popular nightly puzzles (all of which offer a reduced takeout of 15 percent):

  •          Pick 4: $1,322 (50-cent base wager)
  •          Pick 5: $6,692 (50-cent base wager)
  •          Survivor Pick 10: $8,050 (20-cent base wager)

All-source wagering on reached $2.7 million, which was another 2018 best, while the average payoffs that evening for the Win ($18.65), Exacta ($181.27) and Trifecta ($1,549.20) wagers were rock solid.

On Jan. 27 The Meadowlands’ 20-Cent Survivor Pick 10 wager attracted bets totaling $19,196 and when the dust cleared, one lucky simulcast player in Canada walked away with a payout of $16,312.50 for ‘surviving’ six races.

The Pick 5 returned $12,188.15. The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $84,140.06. … All-source wagering on the 13-race card reached $2,790,201, a new high for 2018.

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