Saturday, March 08, 2014


Like a Box of Chocolates?


He's certainly one of the most interesting horses in the sport. But is National Debt one of the best? Will his bubble burst when the purses go up and the heavyweights of the division are back in action? These are fascinating questions and they might be a bit easier to answer after tonight's $60,500 final of the Buddy Gilmour Memorial Series at the Meadowlands.

By way of Alberta, where he won his first four career races, National Debt burst into national prominence two weeks ago when he scored an easy win in the first leg of the Gilmour Series. Beating the previously undefeated Dinner At The Met, he won in 1:50.3.

That he came out of Alberta and won so easily in his U.S. debut made National Debt an instant celebrity within the harness racing world and several big owners wanted a piece of him. Eventually, co-owners Blair Corbeil and Kelly Hoerdt sold a third of the Allamerican Native colt to Jerry Silva.

But what exactly did Silva get? That remains the mystery.

He's certainly one of the most interesting horses in the sport. But is National Debt one of the best? Will his bubble burst when the purses go up and the heavyweights of the division are back in action? These are fascinating questions and they might be a bit easier to answer after tonight's $60,500 final of the Buddy Gilmour Memorial Series at the Meadowlands.

By way of Alberta, where he won his first four career races, National Debt burst into national prominence two weeks ago when he scored an easy win in the first leg of the Gilmour Series. Beating the previously undefeated Dinner At The Met, he won in 1:50.3.

That he came out of Alberta and won so easily in his U.S. debut made National Debt an instant celebrity within the harness racing world and several big owners wanted a piece of him. Eventually, co-owners Blair Corbeil and Kelly Hoerdt sold a third of the Allamerican Native colt to Jerry Silva.

"We don't really know yet because he's had only one race there," Corbeil said when asked how good his horse is. "It was a nice race and it was an impressive way of doing it. Our hopes, like every owner in the world when they have a nice horse, is that he can be very, very good.

"Right now, we are cautiously optimistic and like our chances. He's still green and has lots to learn yet. There are a lot of other great horses out there so we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves."

Tim Tetrick drove National Debt in the first round of the Gilmour and liked what he saw.

"He's got a lot of pressure on him now," Tetrick said about National Debt, "but he impressed me very much. When I qualified him I thought he was a nice colt, but I didn't know he was going to go in 1:50.

When he got out there under the lights, he turned it on and he did it real handy. I moved with him at the half and he brushed and crushed. He's got a big motor."

Written by Bill Finley of Harness Racing Update

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Friday, February 28, 2014


Chester Team Says LIttle About Track But Racing Datesa Reinstated


Barry Brown, the head of the racing operation at Harrah's Philadelphia, didn't tell the Pennsylvania Harness Commission much about the track's plans to deal with its controversial racing surface, but he said enough to get the 2014 racing dates reinstated.

In late January, the commission had suspended the Harrah's 2014 racing dates because management had not come forward with any information about what, if anything, it planned to do about a racing surface that many drivers had complained was unsafe.

The situation took on a far more serious note after driver Anthony Coletta was critically injured in a Nov. 17 spill that occurred in an area some drivers have said is particularly dangerous.

Meeting before the commission yesterday, Brown never specifically said that management would take any action which would involve fixing the racetrack, only that experts were being brought in to examine it.

Brown was not subjected to any follow-up questions from any of the commission members. When asked to clarify the situation afterward by Harness Racing Update Brown refused to comment.

He did say that the meet would not start on time, but was careful to blame the delay on the surface being frozen and made no mention of the delay being the result of possible repairs to the track.

He said the meet would be delayed by "one, maybe two weeks at the most." Brown said he would submit a revised racing schedule to the commission on Friday.

The track was originally scheduled to open March 14.

Written by Bill Finley of Harness Racing Update

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Monday, February 24, 2014


Bee A Magician in Horse of the Year Romp


To those who say no one is perfect, meet Bee A Magician. The magnificent female trotter capped off a 17-for-17 3-year-old season in fitting style last night as she was named the 2013 Horse of the Year at the annual Dan Patch Awards banquet at Dover Downs. She was, of course, also named Trotter of the Year.

With Bee A Magician running the table in 2013, there wasn't much suspense last night when it was time to rip open the envelope that held the winner of the Horse of the Year title.

But there were several categories that were announced that many thought were to close to call. In one of the most widely anticipated races of the year, Captaintreacherous was named Pacer of the Year over golden oldie Foiled Again.

In the other categories that were not announced until last night, Royalty For Life won the 3-year-old male trotting championship over Spider Blue Chip, He's Watching won the 2-year-old male pacing title and

Anndrovette won the older pacing mare championship for the third straight year.

For much of the year Bee A Magician and Captaintreacherous were locked in a tight battle for the Horse of the Year title. But when Captaintreacherous was unable to beat older horses in the TVG Free-For-All Pace on the same night that Bee A Magician took the Moni Maker to end her year with a perfect record it was apparent that the filly was going to win the coveted title.

"I actually thought we were the underdog until that last start of the year when we won that night and he didn't," trainer Nifty Norman said. "That probably caused a swing. But you never know. I was confident but I am glad it is over. I am very happy for the owners. They deserved this."

Written by Bill Finley of Harness Racing Update

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