harness racing

NJ Harness Driver Fined $5,000, Suspended 20 Days for Whipping Prior to 3-horse Spill

A harness driver in New Jersey--where whipping a horse to make it run faster is prohibited in Thoroughbred racing but permitted with restrictions in Standardbred races--has been fined $5,000 and suspended 20 days for whipping his pacer so indiscriminately during a race last month that the judges deemed his actions caused a three-horse spill that injured one rival horse so severely it had to be euthanized. According to a ruling posted on the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) website, driver Joe Bongiorno was in the bike behind Pat Stanley N...

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With 140-Mare Cap Of Its Own, Harness Industry Weighs In On Farms Suing Jockey Club

When the United States Trotting Association (USTA), the breed registry for standardbred racing in the U.S., proposed in 2006 limiting the number of mares a stallion could be bred to, Russell Williams, who then was a member of the USTA Board, prepared for an impending storm. He knew some breeders would be unhappy and there would likely be lawsuits looking to overturn the rule. But Williams, who is also an attorney, never wavered, confident that, in the end, the legal system would side with the USTA. He was right. The...

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Kentucky Advances Clenbuterol Regulations; Turfway Switches Weekly Race Days

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) advanced a proposal Dec. 8 that will create a set of new regulations designed to curb clenbuterol's off-label abuse as a lean muscle mass builder. The move is part of a trend this year among North American racing jurisdictions aiming to eliminate clenbuterol's misuse as a performance enhancer while putting in place restrictions that will still allow the drug to be prescribed for its intended purpose as a bronchodilator to treat airway disease. The new Kentucky rules on clenbuterol will require 1) A specific...

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NYSGC Adopts Enhanced Harness Racing Wagering

The New York State Gaming Commission adopted three new wagering rules that will provide bettors more options in the sport of harness racing in New York. The rules were adopted by the Commission at the Nov. 30 meeting and will take effect on upon publication in the State Register. "The new wagering formats will provide increased opportunities for bettors, and, we hope, increase interest in the sport. Any increase in handle is beneficial, as it ultimately leads to incremental purse offerings at racetracks here in New York," said Commission Executive...

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Scarborough Downs, Maine's Former Thoroughbred Track, to Be Razed

Another link to New England's horse racing history will go dark this month, soon to be razed for development: Scarborough Downs on the southern Maine seacoast confirmed it will host its final Standardbred program Nov. 28, ending 70 years of horse racing at the venue that first opened as a one-mile Thoroughbred track in 1950. The Portland Press Herald first reported the news, although the track's demise had been signaled by a purchase two years ago by developers who have been rebuilding over adjacent property while letting the harness operators...

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Meadowlands Closes Temporarily Due to COVID-19

The Meadowlands Racetrack, a top harness racing venue in New Jersey, temporarily shut down starting Tuesday evening after several employees tested positive for COVID-19. Live racing will take place as scheduled Friday, but without fans. The facility will reopen to fans Saturday at 10 a.m. The following is part of a statement the track release Tuesday evening: "The racetrack continues to take an aggressive stance against the spread of COVID-19. Over the past several days the medical team has identified a few individuals that tested positive for COVID-19 that they...

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Taylor Made Purchases Another Standardbred Stallion

Taylor Made Stallions has purchased the trotting stallion Pastor Stephen (Cantab Hall) and will stand the horse next year in Indiana, it was announced Tuesday. The purchase marks the second time since 2018 that Taylor Made has made an investment in harness racing. In 2018, the Taylor operation was part of a deal to import New Zealand champion Lazarus. A pacer, he won two of six starts in the U.S. in 2018 and now stands at stud at Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. In its early days, Taylor Made...

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NY Harness Trainer Suspended 20 Years for Blood Doping

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) on Sept. 21 suspended Standardbred trainer Michael Temming for 20 years after two of his horses tested positive for a blood doping agent in a pair of December 2019 races at Yonkers Raceway. The Paulick Report first reported the story, describing the drug involved as IOX-2, a stabilizer of hypoxia-inducible factor, which is known as a blood and gene doping agent. TDN reported back in January that when the New York Equine Drug Testing Program announced the detection of this drug in Temming's...

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Faraldo Tests Negative for Coronavirus

Standardbred Owners Association of New York President Joe Faraldo has tested negative for coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. SOA NY Director John Brennan, who was posted at Yonkers Raceway, became the first coronavirus-related death in New Jersey Tuesday, resulting in the closure of Yonkers Raceway. Faraldo had close contact with Brennan and recently developed symptoms similar to those of coronavirus. The SOA NY made the following statement on their Twitter account: "We were notified today that SOA President Joe Faraldo has been tested and confirmed negative for COVID-19. He is...

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Harness Trainer Rene Allard Latest Arrested in Doping Scandal

Harness trainer Rene Allard has joined the long list of those indicted for their role in a massive horse doping scheme that has rocked Thoroughbred and harness racing. The number of individuals who are known to have been involved is now 29. Allard was not among the original list of names of those who were indicted that was released Monday by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Allard is second in the current trainer's standings at Yonkers Raceway, behind only Richard Banca, who has also...

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Yonkers Cancels Racing After Horseman John Brennan Dies of Coronavirus

Yonkers Raceway canceled live racing Tuesday night after John Brennan, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York Director representing horsemen at Yonkers, passed away Tuesday from Coronavirus. The New Jersey resident was the state's first reported victim of Coronavirus.    DRF Harness originally reported Brennan's death and the Yonkers cancellation, but had not confirmed a connection. Harness Racing Update received confirmation from SOA of N.Y. President Joe Faraldo that racing was cancelled due to an "abundance of caution." HRU also reported that Faraldo has a fever and his doctor is...

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Links to Harness Game All Over Doping Indictments

Jorge Navarro, among the 27 individuals indicted Monday by the District Attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan for doping horses, had become the go-to trainer for many harness racing horsemen who dabbled in thoroughbred racing. Including Shancelot (Shanghai Bobby), who was owned by prominent harness breeders and owners Al and Michelle Crawford, Navarro trained a number of horses for people involved in the standardbred game. According to the indictment, Navarro's ties to several of those individuals involved far more than the typical client-trainer relationship. Harness trainers...

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