Trot Monte - Racing under Saddle "RUS"


Archive 2

Radical Dreamer and Marit Valstad Win Hanover (ONT) Monte

July 26, 2014

The second pari-mutuel monte event took place tonight at Hanover Raceway, as its third race on an 11 race card also featuring Dream Of Glory series eliminations. The monte test was highly competitive with three horses and riders within a length on the line. Marit Valstad teamed Radical Dreamer to a pacesetting victory in 2:03h to take the winners’ share of the C$2,200 purse in this the Canadian/Norwegian Challenge. Radical Dreamer is a five year-old son of Majestic Son-Paidindreams-Royal Strength owned by trainer Ron O’Neil and Doug Millard. The victory increased his career earnings past the US$90,000 mark, with this second straight monte score. Replay link follows:

Ms. Valstad represented Norway and has been a monte rider since 2000.

Handle on the monte contest was the highest of any race on the card with 11.9% of the total handle wagered on race three. Wagers were taken on win-place-show-exactor-triactor propositions with Radical Dreamer returning C$10.30 to win.


O U Gus Wins Hambletonian Monte Leg#2

July 25, 2014

Stephanie Werder piloted O U Gus to an impressive between horses win in tonight’s competitive second leg of the 2014 Hambletonian Monte Series, with a purse of $10,000. Tina Duer was first to the lead with Chinese Cuisine from post seven and that pair led at the quarter mile mark in :29.1 with O U Gus landing in the pocket. Flowing James settled last but then, past the half-mile mark in 1:00.2, rallied three-wide from last to first at the top of the lane. Chinese Cuisine battled on until late stretch when Werder and O U Gus split the leaders and drew clear for the two-length victory. O U Gus is a nine year-old gelded son of Angus Hall-O U Guys-Balanced Image that is trained by Whitney Richards for Ontario owners Glengate Farm (also breeder) and Pat Hunt and he scored in 1:59.4 with a :29 last panel. Flowing James was a game second ahead for Bambino Hall and Chinese Cuisine.

O U Gus recorded his first monte win for money and now has $366,967 earned lifetime with nine victories (sulky and monte).

Don’t forget next weeks’ Hambletonian Monte final on Friday night and the July 29 Monte/RUS clinic scheduled for 5:00pm at Gaitway Farm.


RUS New York announces new sponsors and High Point Rider


Friday, July 25, 2014 - from RUS New York Monticello, NY – With the first three races of the RUS New York 2014 Fair Series complete, horses and riders are gearing up for the second half of the series starting with Otsego County Fair in Morris, NY on Tuesday, July 29. Currently there are several horses that have qualified for the final race, and thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, RUS New York is excited to announce the addition of the High Point Rider award.

Similar to the way horses earn points based on their finishes in the series, riders also earn points. They must finish in two races and compete in the final to be eligible to win the High Point Rider award, which consists of prizes from series sponsors Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, and now also Hawthorne Products.

Two lovely gift baskets were donated by Hawthorne Products to be added to the Champion Horse prize, as well as the High Point Rider award. Hawthorne makes great horse care products, including hoof care, leg care, poultice, and breathing aid products.

The next race in the series is scheduled for Tuesday July 29 at the Otsego County Fair in Morris, NY, where RUS has been on the card in past years as well. After the race, the riders will be available for a meet & greet, photos, and autographs in the stands with the fans. RUS NY Fair Series t-shirts will also be on sale for $10 to help support the series, so be sure to buy one and get your favorite rider or riders to sign it for you!


RUS Nation, the sister organization to RUS New York, just launched a blog series called “We Are RUS Nation” featuring riders and their horses. Along with the entrants for the RUS race at Morris, the first two featured riders in the blog series, Tara Hynes and Ashley Eldred, will be available for autographs as well. You can read their stories at and

In addition to the prizes, purse money also increased for some of the races, and as more sponsors come in, the purses will continue to increase. There are three more legs left in the series. Points earned by finishers count towards their qualification for the final race, as well as for the High Point Rider Award, to be held at Tompkins County Fair in Trumansburg, New York on August 19. For full race conditions and current standings, please visit the RUS New York website (

There is the still the opportunity to become a sponsor of the RUS New York Fair Series! Horsefly Group’s digital director, CJ Millar, is also the marketing director for RUS New York and RUS Nation, and a licensed RUS rider as well as an avid equestrian. All sponsorship inquiries can be directed to her at or 973-626-3673.


Stephanie Werder in Hambletonian Monte; Clinic at Gateway

Farm July 29

July 25, 2014

Swedish/Norwegian monte rider Stephanie Werder is in the US to ride in the 2014 Hambletonian Monte Series, aboard Canadian entry O U Gus. Stephanie, only 23 years old, has over 150 starts in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark plus three starts in the United States, in the 2013 Hambletonian series.

Monte America, with Stephanie, will hold a clinic about RUS/Monte riding at Gaitway farm, NJ, on Tuesday, July 29 at 5:00 pm. Anyone interested in RUS /Monte is welcome to attend the free event featuring topics such as equipment, riding styles, racing strategy, what to look for in finding a suitable trotter and how to obtain a RUS license. One horse will be available for the demonstration, but riders with their own horses are welcome to bring them.

Contact Helene Gregory for more information (, telephone 609- 439- 7818).


Hanover Hosts 2nd Ontario Monte Pari-Mutuel Race Saturday

July 23, 2014

Saturday’s Hanover (Ontario) Raceway card includes Ontario’s second-ever monte/RUS race with pari-mutuel wagering. Seven women from Canada and Norway will compete in race 3 on the card. Among the competing trotters will be Radical Dreamer, a monte event recent winner at Clinton Raceway in 2:04.4h. The five-year-old son of Majestic Son-Paidindreams-Royal Strenght is owned by Ron O’Neill of Cambridge and Doug Millard of Woodstock and will be ridden by Marit Valstad. He’s a career winner of US$89,791 (sulky and monte) with 12 career victories and a record of 3, 1:58.4f.

Race 3 – Hanover Raceway July 26, 2014

Trot, purse C$2,200 (EX, TR)


Post time: 07:51 P.M. Horses Entered: 7 (Horse, Rider, Trainer, ML Odds)

1 Callie Magoo, G Berg, J Braid, 7/1

2 Radical Dreamer, M Valstad, R O’Neill, 9/5

3 King Trut, S Town, P Shepherd, 9/2

4 Charlie Tuna, B Kennedy, J Yake, 10/1

5 Tragically Shipp, A Aursand, L Watson, 3/1

6 Dayplanner, V Amundsen, J Walker, 2/1

7 Hetties Honey, A Humphris, M Macri, 7/2

Hanover Raceway will also play host to ‘Wanna Drive?’ on Saturday evening. Fans will get a chance to drive a racehorse around the Hanover oval between races thanks to the Hands On Horses Program.


Hambletonian Monte Leg#2 Friday

July 22, 2014

A competitive group of seven start Friday in the $10,000 non-wagering second leg of the Hambletonian Monte Series. The race will follow race two on the regular Meadowlands program. 2014 monte winners Flowing James (Tara Hynes), Tymal Oh So Nice (Heather Reese) and Truth In Action (Karen Isbell) lead the lineup. The final is slated for Friday evening of Hambletonian weekend with an estimated purse is $30,000.

Flowing James, a nine year-old gelded son of Ilooklikemymom-Flowing Jody-Rule The Wind, took a division of last week’s first leg in 2:00, defeating Bambino Hall and Tymal So Nice. Truth In Action finished fourth a week ago, timed in 2:00.4, to another division winner, Take My Picture that scored in 1:58.1.

Be there to support the generous sponsors and equine connections of the 2014 Hambletonian Monte Series.


Take My Picture and Flowing James Win Hambletonian Monte

Leg#1 Divisions

July 18, 2014

Take My Picture (7g Classic Photo-Habits Lady-Muscles Yankee) with Therese Lindgren in the irons for trainer Nikolas Drennan captured the second division of the first leg of the Hambletonian Monte Series at the new Meadowlands in a hotly contested affair. Bred by Status Stables and owned by Joseph and Laurie Davino, the winner scored in a sharp 1:58.1 (last quarter :27.4) to defeat Vernon open trotter A Penny Earned and Michelle Crawford with pacesetter, veteran Master Pine and Helene Gregory home third. Master Pine holds the North American monte record of 1:57.1 taken August 4, 2012. Take My Picture is a career earner of $836,916 with 23 victories in 109 starts (both sulky and monte).

The first division went to Flowing James (8g Ilooklikemymom-Flowing Jody-Rule The Wind) and trainer Tara Hynes. This pair scored in 2:00 over Bambino Hall, Stephanie Jacobs aboard, with Tymal So Nice and Heather Reese finishing third. Each division carried a purse of $5,000 and were conducted as non-wagering races after the second and fourth races on the regular card.

The Hambletonian Monte Series Final will take place the evening prior to the Hambletonian and will carry an estimated purse of $30,000.

Hambletonian Monte Series Friday – 1st Leg; Two Divisions


July 17, 2017

The much anticipated first leg of the Hambletonian Monte Series drew 11 entrants and has been split into two divisions, each for a $5,000 purse. The races will be contested as non-wagering events after the second and fourth races on the regular card. The lineups are shown below (horse, rider,trainer):

Division 1

Tymal Oh So Nice, Heather Reese/R. Macdonald

Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer/B. Bittle

Flowing James, Tara Hynes also trainer

Bambino Hall, Stephanie Jacobs/Julie Miller

OU Gus, Whitney Richards also trainer

CJ’s Crown, Caroline Green/J. Haigh-Bivona


Division 2

Blue Boy Yankee, Kristina Smith/R. Smith

Take My Picture, Therese Lindgren/N. Drennan

Truth In Action, Karen Isbell also trainer

Master Pine, Helene Gregory/J. Miller

A Penny Earned, Heather Reese/G. Ducharme

Be there for the RUS action at the New Meadowlands.


Kash Now Wins NYS Monte at Waterloo

July 14, 2014

Michelle Miller rode Kash Now to victory in today’s NYS Monte Series event at Waterloo, NY. The ten year-old El Paso Kash-Nowerlandmspauline-Sir Taurus mare, trained by Michael Miller, scored in 2:12h to defeat Striking Mystery and Jennifer Lowrey. The winner now has combined sulky/monte earnings of $42,728.

Separately, the July 19 monte race scheduled for Georgian Downs has been cancelled based on RUS Ontario and Georgian Downs’ Ian Fleming agreement to delay until more riders, trainers and horses can become qualified. More qualifiers are planned including Friday at Mohawk.

Truth In Action Monte Winner at Ocean Downs

July 13, 2014

Truth In Action (8g Cantab Hall-Cressida Hanover-Mr. Lavec), owned, trained and ridden by Karen Isbell, scored a decisive victory in tonight’s $6,000 monte test at Ocean Downs, his second under-saddle win in as many starts. The event took place after the fourth race on the regular card and was sponsored by friends of the Maryland Standardbreds and the Maryland Horse Industry Board. Truth In Action was a winner in 2:04.4h defeating CJ’s Crown and Caroline Green by six lengths with Flowing James home third with Tara Hynes aboard.

Truth In Action is from the Mr. Lavec mare Cressida Hanover, she dam of three $100,000 plus winners from nine foals, six of those with records of 1:57.4 or better including Hambletonian winner Glidemaster 3, 1:51.1 ($1,968,023), Truth In Action 7, 1:54.4f ($320,810 total sulky and monte), Global Desire 2, 1:57.1 ($131,287) and the excellent 2014 two year-old Canepa Hanover 2, q1:56.1 ($25,000).


Radical Dreamer Nose Monte Winner at Clinton

July 13, 2014

Sarah Town teamed Radical Dreamer (5m Majestic Sun-Paidindreams-Royal Strength) to a nose victory in today’s kickoff of pari-mutuel wagering on monte contests in Ontario. Ron O’Neil trains the winner that he co-owns with veteran breeder/owner Doug Millard of Woodstock. The winning team, favored by the wagering public at 1.55/1 defeated Dayplanner (5m Oaklea Juilian-Our Day-Tagliabue) handled by Marit Valdtadt, that one off at 2.2/1.

Radical Dreamer 3,1:58.4f ($89,791) is the fourth foal of Paidindreams 5,1:57s ($188,980), she by Royal Strength-Call Me Paid-Elesnar) and also dam of Magical Wand (by Kadabra) 3,q1:58s ($104,948).

The monte event took wagers on win-place-show and exactor. All other races this day also took triactor wagers. Handle on the monte race exceeded all other races on a comparable basis (i.e., excluding triactor handle).

Congratulations to all participants (equine and human) and special congrats to Clinton Raceway and Ontario management for embracing monte pari-mutuel racing.


North American Monte Action

July 13, 2014

Monte action is heating up throughout North America!

On Saturday July 12, at new Meadowlands, Orange Bigi (6f SJ’s Caviar-Emerald City-Donerail) qualified in 2:01 for Sofia Fredlund and trainer Joe Hanney. The same day, at Saratoga Harness, a monte/RUS exhibition was staged that drew an eight horse field. The top two finishers were a nose apart in the 2:04.4h contest with Jessie Say More (4g Jailhouse Jessie-Need We Say More-Super Ben Joe) securing the victory for Michelle Crawford and trainer Frank Davis. Tymal Oh So Nice with Heather Reese aboard was second with Admirable Hanover and Jennifer Conner third, ten lengths back.

Action continues Sunday July 13th at Ocean Downs with a three horse field battling for a $6,000 purse. The field consists of CJ’s Crown (Caroline Green), Flowing James (Tara Hynes) and Truth In Action (Karen Isbell). In Ontario, at Clinton Raceway, their monte event is the first on the regular card with pari-mutuel wagering. Five trotters will contest this event for a purse of $2,200 and it’s race #2 on the afternoon program. The field includes Charlie Tuna (B. Kennedy), Twin B Excalibur (E. Harms), Dayplanner (M. Valstad), Radical Dreamer (S. Town) and Shipps Xceptional (J. Fenwick).

On Monday July 14 the NY RUS Series continues at Waterloo. Race #5 is a three-horse monte event for a purse of $530 with the field consisting of Kash Now (Michelle Miller), Striking Mystery (Jennifer Lowrey) and John-michael (tba).

Be there and support the participants in the 2014 monte season races.

Hambletonian Monte Series Leg #1 on July 18 – Draw July 14

July 12, 2014

The first leg of the Hambletonian Monte/RUS  Series is on Friday July 18, with draw on Monday 7/14. Condition sheet follows at the new Meadowlands

Today there is another monte qualifier at the new Meadowlands and a full-field monte event at Saratoga Harness.


Mr. Web Page Wins Monte Qualifier at Vernon

July 11, 2014

Veteran open trotter Mr. Web Page qualified today at Vernon under saddle for Andrea Pratt and trainer Roman Lopez. The six year-old son of Muscles Yankee-India Hall-Garland Lobell scored easily in 2:05.2s with a solid final half in 1:02. He has a record to sulky of 6, 1:54.1s ($424,656) and 21 victories in 85 starts. As a three year-old in 2011 Mr. Web Page earned $227,242 with nine wins in 19 outings. He is owned by Helping Hands Stables of Woodburn, IN. Royalist ended second for Jocelyn Lavigne, timed in 2:06.1s for trainer George Ducharme.


Vassar Hall Wins Monte at Afton, NY

July 10, 2014

Michelle Crawford reined Vassar Hall to victory in today’s monte test at Afton, NY. The Brett Crawford trained ten year-old daughter of Striking Sahbra-Vera Hall-Conway Hall is owned by the trainer and Len Woidvla. She scored in 2.11.4h over a track rated good to earn the winners’ share of the $1,000 purse.  John-michael was second for Tara Hynes with third to Kash Now, Michelle Miller in the irons.


Racing Under Saddle at Clinton Raceway

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

One of Canada’s oldest sports is getting a shake-up: Standardbred horse racing in Ontario has historically been dominated by harness racing, where horses compete in a mile long race, pulling their drivers in two-wheeled carts. New to the Ontario harness racing circuit is Racing Under Saddle (RUS) or Monté Trot as it is widely known as in Europe. RUS racing gives a fresh spin on what patrons would typically see at a harness track, by removing the sulky cart and placing a rider on the horses’ backs.

The hybrid of harness and thoroughbred racing began to materialize in Ontario last year. The majority of the RUS Ontario riders are young females established in the industry. They work as trainers and grooms in harness racing, and have eagerly tackled the new twist on racing. Competing at Clinton Raceway on Sunday, July 13th, are several horses who have changed pace, crossing from harness racing into the RUS world. This edition of RUS Ontario marks the first time that patrons will have the opportunity to wager on this unique style of racing. Recently approved by the Ontario Racing Commission which oversees horse racing of all disciplines in Ontario, RUS allows bettors a new and exciting challenge to handicap.

On Sunday, July 13th, come to Clinton Raceway at 147 Beech Street, Clinton to see Racing Under Saddle in action and try your luck with this exciting and new betting opportunity. The full card of racing starts at 1:30 pm, with the under saddle race scheduled for the second race. Join the RUS riders in the grandstand after the race for a meet and greet, as well as a 50/50 draw.


Monte Qualifier at M1

July 9, 2014

The last change to qualify under saddle at the Big M will be this Saturday July 12th. Enter Thursday morning July 10th before 10:30 with race office 877-782-2537

Monte July 13 at Ocean Downs

July 7, 2014

Ocean Downs has listed on the condition sheet for July 13 program a lucrative monte/RUS event. Declare by July 9 by 9:00am. See below.


Craig Andow, Racing Secretary

Race Office: 410.641.0600 XT 3211 OR 3212 Fax:410.629.6667

Scratch time the following day by 9:30 with Judges: 410.641.0600 xt 3237 or 3238

First Race Post Each Racing Day is 7:20 pm


Scratch time for Sunday will be Thursday at 9:30 AM


racing or qualifying line in 2:08 under saddle If More than 8 enter there will be a random draw 5

or less horses purse $6,000 - 6 or more horses purse $6,500

Rapid Strategy Wins Monte/RUS at Goshen

July 6, 2014

Rapid Strategy, ably handled trainer/owner Lindsey Blackler, took today’s monte event at Goshen Historic track, securing the winners’ share of the $2,100 purse with the 2:08h victory. The winner is a nine year-old gelded son of King Conch from the Master Willie dam Rapid Sahbra. Admirable Hanover was second for Janice Connor with Kash Now home third for Michelle Miller.


Take My Picture and Bambino Hall Win Monte Qualifiers at M1

July 5, 2014

Veteran trotters Take My Picture (7g Classic Photo-Habit’s Lady-Muscles Yankee) and Bambino Hall (6g Tom Ridge-Sumpin Sweet-Royal Prestige) qualified today at the new Meadowlands finishing as a team in 2:01,2, final quarter :29. Therese Lindgren teamed Take My Picture for trainer Nicolas Drennan and Helene Gregory was the pilot of Bambino Hall for trainer Julie Miller. Watch for these in the upcoming Hambletonian Monte/RUS series.

Truth In Action Wins Monte at Goshen Historic

July 3, 2014

Karen Isbell rode her owned and trained Truth In Action (8g Cantab Hall-Cressida Hanover-Mr. Lavec) to victory in today’s NY Fair RUS event. Timed in 2:05.2h, the half-brother to Glidemaster lead from the start to score by over six lengths over Admirable Hanover with Vanessa Karlewicz aboard. The winner was bred by Brittany Farms

RUS NY 2014 Fair Series conditions and purses announced
Friday, June 27, 2014 - by CJ Millar, Horsefly Group

Monticello, NY --- The official conditions for the RUS New York 2014 Fair Series have been published and are available on the website.

Conditions differ slightly from some of the other RUS events such as the Hambletonian Series, to allow a wider selection of horses and riders to participate, in keeping with traditional fair racing. Some of the key differences are a more lenient qualifying time of 2:20 on a half or larger for horses, and the allowance of horses over the age of 14 to participate in the Fair Series. Rider requirements, however, remain the same and all riders must hold a current, active RUS license on file with the USTA. Full details in the NYSS Fair Book can be found at RUS New York’s website, including entry deadlines and draw dates.

RUS New York is thankful to flagship sponsor New York Sire Stakes and to two nationally recognized brands, Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, in conjunction with series sponsors Crawford Farms and Eric Abbatiello Racing. Thanks to their generous support, RUS New York has put together an estimated purse schedule for each of the races. The following purses are tentative with the minimum purse listed below as of June 25. As more sponsors come on board, purses may increase, so we encourage everyone to consider becoming a sponsor.

  • 7/3 Thurs - Goshen Meet, Goshen, NY – $1,000 est., plus winner prizes from Horse Quencher and Draper Therapies
  • 7/10 Thu – Afton Fair, Afton, NY – $1,000 est.
  • 7/14 Mon - Seneca County Fair, Waterloo, NY – $500 est.
  • 7/29 Tues – Otsego County Fair, Morris, NY – $500 est.
  • 8/5 – Chenango County Fair, Norwich, NY – $500 est.
  • 8/12 Tues – Steuben County Fair, Bath, NY – $500 est.
  • 8/19 Tues – Tompkins County Fair, Trumansburg, NY, Series final race – $2,000 est. plus 20 pound bucket of Horse Quencher and embroidered championship cooler from Draper Therapies. Rider gift bags from our sponsors for all participants.

In addition to the Goshen and Tompkins County Fair races, many of the legs will have prizes awarded to the winner from our sponsors, Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, and some races will also have rider gift bags for all participants.

Sponsorship is a great way to support the world of Standardbred Racing and RUS, while also gaining exposure for your company and brand. Benefits vary by level of sponsorship, and include mention in fair programs, across the web, and ongoing mention in all publications online and off -- including social, blogging, press releases and in the winner’s circle at the conclusion of each race.

All marketing is being handled by Horsefly Group, an international marketing agency. Horsefly Group’s digital director, CJ Millar, is also the marketing director for RUS New York and RUS Nation, and a licensed RUS rider as well as an avid equestrian. All sponsorship inquiries can be directed to her at or 973.626.3673.



New Meadowlands Monte/RUS Qualifiers

June 24, 2014

New Meadowlands will host RUS qualifying on Friday July 4 if two or more horses enter. Entries and timing thereof are on the same schedule as regular qualifying races. Please note that horses wishing to race in RUS events must qualify in 2:08 to be eligible.

The Hambletonian series has conditions of 2:05 on a mile or 7/8 mile track, 2:07 on a 5/8 and 2:09 on a half-miler to be eligible for the series. Qualifiers can only be ridden by a USTA RUS licensed rider.

Openings remain for sponsors for the Hambletonian Series.


RUS NY announces additional sponsors
Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - by CJ Millar, Horsefly Group

Monticello, NY --  RUS New York is welcoming two new sponsors in Crawford Farms and Eric Abbatiello Racing.

Crawford Farms will be a full series sponsor for the 2014 season. Crawford Farms has been a family-owned and operated farm since its inception in 1966. Located on more than 100 acres in Durhamville, N.Y., it’s in the heart of New York State and their support for the 2014 Fair Series is greatly appreciated. Along with supporting RUS New York, Crawford Farms is also a major sponsor of the upcoming harness racing television series. They are deeply committed to the harness racing and Standardbred industryand their sponsorship and support will help promote RUS and harness racing across the nation.

The leading driver at Freehold, Eric Abbatiello of Eric Abbatiello Racing, has been a supporter of RUS since 2013 and is happy to support the RUS New York 2014 Fair Series.

RUS New York is thankful to the New York Sire Stakes and to two nationally recognized brands, Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, which have also signed on as series sponsors to support RUS as a sport and promote the air Series.

RUS New York is still seeking funds to make the series a success. Benefits vary by level of sponsorship and include mention in fair programs, across the web, and ongoing mention in all publications online and off -- including social, blogging, press releases and in the winner’s circle at the conclusion of each race.

All marketing is being handled by Horsefly Group, an international marketing agency, to ensure that sponsors get their brand in front of as many potential customers as possible. Horsefly Group’s digital director, CJ Millar, is also the marketing director for RUS New York and a licensed RUS rider as well as an avid equestrian. All sponsorship inquiries can be directed to her at or 973.626.3673.


Race dates set for 2014 RUS NY Fair series
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - by CJ Millar, Horsefly Group

Monticello, NY --- County fairs throughout New York State are poised to come to life in a few months. While the New York Sire Stakes harness racing has become an American tradition at many of these fairs, RUS NY hopes to heighten the excitement for another kind of racing -- racing under saddle.

Also known as Monté racing internationally, RUS is a hybrid of harness and Thoroughbred racing. Standardbreds that generally race pulling sulkies are ridden with English, Thoroughbred or special RUS saddles. The horses are started behind a moving starting gate just like in harness racing.

In conjunction with the NYSS, RUS New York has put together a seven race fair series to promote the sport as well as showcase the versatility of the Standardbred.

The series will feature six legs, culminating in a championship final race to be held at Tompkins County Fair in Trumansburg.

Official dates and locations for the summer series are as follows:

  • 7/3 Thu - Goshen Meet, Goshen, NY
  • 7/10 Thu - Afton Fair, Afton, NY
  • 7/14 Mon - Seneca County Fair, Waterloo, NY
  • 7/29 Tues - Otsego County Fair, Morris, NY
  • 8/5 Tues - Chenango County Fair, Norwich, NY
  • 8/12 Tues - Steuben County Fair, Bath, NY
  • 8/19 Tues - Tompkins County Fair, Trumansburg, NY -- series final race

Full race series conditions and point system will be published prior to the start of the season and available on the RUS NY Facebook page, as well as through a press release distributed via USTA and RUS America. Race dates subject to change.


Under Saddle Race Wagering Approved

Published: May 16, 2014 2:41 pm ET

On Friday, May 16, the Ontario Racing Commission made a major announcement that has the potential to dramatically change the look of standardbred racing in the province.

The Commission approved rules that will allow Racing Under Saddle races to be pari-mutuel racing events, and to race for funds from the purse pool.

In its release issued Friday, the ORC stated that, ‘With the rules in place and where pari-mutuel wagering is conducted on the RUS events, the purse account can be used to provide the purse for these races.’ In many countries around the world, standardbred races are contested regularly under saddle, and top horses are trained to race both under saddle and with a racebike.

For more information, please review the documents that the ORC released Friday as part of its announcement (links to the documents appear below).

Rules for Racing Under Saddle Events Approved by ORC
2014 Standardbred Directive 3 - Racing Under Saddle
Summary of Racing Under Saddle Rules
Process for obtaining a Standardbred Rider Licence

(With files from the ORC)


Hambletonian Under Saddle final scheduled for August 1
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - by Moira Fanning, publicity director, the Hambletonian Society

Cranbury, NJ --- The popular Hambletonian Monte (racing under saddle), a late-closing series for trotters, will feature a $25,000 final on Hambletonian Eve (Friday, August 1) at Meadowlands Racetrack.

The inaugural Hambletonian Monte final was won by 2008 Hambletonian winning driver Ray Schnittker, who rode Flex The Muscle to victory in the $32,800 final.

Monte racing, a hybrid of harness and Thoroughbred racing, is a popular pari-mutuel sport in Europe, especially in France where many top trotters and drivers compete in both top-tier sulky and saddle races. It’s also a rising trend in North America, as last year saw nine tracks host events worth more than $90,000 in purse money put up by industry sponsors. A celebrity appearance by star Thoroughbred jockey Chantal Sutherland aboard DW's NY Yank resulted in a new under saddle world record at The Meadows in Pennsylvania.

The Hambletonian under saddle event has shown rapid growth under the direction of Helene Gregory, who won a U.S. Harness Writers Presidents Award for her efforts to bring the discipline to prominence. The organization Monte America put together the series for trotters comprising two legs worth $10,000 on July 18 and July 25, respectively, and a $25,000 final showcased on the eve of harness racing's richest and most prestigious day -- a night dedicated to females, fun and fashion at the New Meadowlands Racetrack.

There will be RUS qualifiers and practical tests for RUS licenses held at Gaitway Farms in Manalapan, N.J., on three consecutive Mondays -- June 9, 16 and 23.

“The Racing Under Saddle program has proved to be an interesting twist for harness racing,” said Gregory. “The support from trainers, owners and most of all racetracks has been incredible. The Meadowlands has taken the lead with Jeff Gural personally having a big impact with his support and sponsorship. The RUS riders bring a whole new stream of fans, as families, friends and barn mates come along to cheer on these new races.”

Hambletonian Monte sponsors for 2014 include Allerage Farms, Valley High Stable, Back On Track, Arden Homestead Stable, Ron Burke Stable, Paul Kelley Stable, White Birch Farm, Winners Circle Blueberries and 2013 Hambletonian winning trainer George Ducharme. Sponsorships are still available by contacting Gregory at for more information.

There are currently more than 60 licensed RUS riders in North America. Jennifer Connor, who competed on the circuit last year, sees the event as a real positive for harness racing.

“I like that Monte has opened a door for more women to participate competitively in harness racing and I think that it has the ability to attract fans from other equestrian disciplines. I also believe it helps these horses have a life after racing, as they are going to be trained to also race under saddle,” said Connor.

A $200 nomination fee is due June 15 for those wishing to compete. Conditions, nomination blanks and more information can be found on the Monte America website ( or on the Hambletonian Society website.


Hambletonian Monte Entries Close June 15


May 5, 2014

Don't forget to nominate your trotters for the Hambletonian Monte/RUS series. Entries close on June 15. Horses do not have to be qualified at the date of nominations, but must be for the entry time of the first leg. See conditions using following link:


Hambletonian Monte Trot Series 2014 Finalized

The second edition of the Hambletonian Monte Trot Late Closing Series has been finalized and conditions published by The Hambletonian Society, Inc. Nominations are due June 15, 2014 with an entry fee due for each preliminary leg. There is no entry fee for the final to be held August 1, 2014. Preliminary legs are scheduled for July 18 and July 25 at the new Meadowlands. Nomination and sustaining checks should be made payable to and mailed to The Hambletonian Society, Inc., Cranbury Gates Office Park, 109 South Main Street, Suite 18, Cranbury, NJ 08512-3174.


RUS NY announces 2014 Racing Under Saddle Fair Series
Thursday, April 10, 2014 - by CJ Millar, Horsefly Group

Monticello, NY --- RUS NY, an organization that helps promote the sport of Racing Under Saddle in New York State, is excited to announce a 2014 RUS Fair Series.

The seven race series will feature six qualifying races to be held at county fairs across the state, culminating in a championship final race to be held at the Tompkins County Fair in Trumansburg.

The series will run throughout the months of July and August, giving participants the opportunity to earn points towards qualifying for the final. Flagship sponsor New York Sire Stakes has generously donated initial purse money, and RUS NY will be offering additional sponsorship opportunities.

Kicking off over the July 4th weekend at the oldest harness racing track in the world, the first qualifier will take place at Goshen Historic Track in Goshen, N.Y. Qualifying races will also be held at the Afton Fair in Afton, Seneca County Fair in Waterloo, Otsego County Fair in Morris, Chenango County Fair in Norwich, and Steuben County Fair in Bath.

Points earned based on race finish will be tallied to determine the entrants in the championship final race at the Tompkins County Fair to be held on Aug. 19.

Currently RUS NY has secured several major national brands as series sponsors, including Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher. These national brands will bring a heightened sense of awareness to the sport, as well as cross-promote the RUS series and race sponsors on their own social networks, blogs, and across the web. There is also the opportunity for local, regional, and national businesses to become a race sponsor for the 2014 series, to help promote RUS as well as to gain exposure for their company.

Benefits vary by level of sponsorship, and include mention in fair programs, across the web, and ongoing mention in all publications online and off -- including social, blogging, press releases and in the winner’s circle at the conclusion of each race.

All RUS NY marketing, including promotion for the 2014 Fair Series and all sponsorship packages, is being handled by Horsefly Group, an international marketing agency with expertise in the equestrian sporting world. This will offer sponsors the opportunity to get additional exposure through packages that include marketing above and beyond traditional purse sponsorships.

Horsefly Group’s digital director, CJ Millar, is also the marketing director for RUS NY, and a licensed RUS jockey as well as an avid equestrian. All sponsorship inquiries can be directed to her at or 973.626.3673.

Riders wishing to participate in the series must hold a current active RUS license with the USTA and be familiar with the rules and requirements of RUS racing in New York State. Horses must be trotters registered with either the United States Trotting Association or Standardbred Canada in the name of the current owner. No horse under the age of three shall be eligible to start for the RUS NY 2014 Fair Series, while horses older than 14 will be permitted.

Horses used in the 2014 Fair Series races must show a charted mile in 2:18 or faster under saddle. Horses must compete and finish in any two of the six qualifying races to be eligible for the 2014 Fair Series final. Entries for the final race are to be selected based on points earned for finishes in the series qualifying races.

Full race series conditions and point systems will be published prior to the start of the season and available on the RUS NY Facebook page, as well as through a press release distributed via USTA and RUS America.



RUS Ontario Seeks Board Committee Members

Published: April 8, 2014 9:54 pm ET

Last Comment: April 9, 2014 1:28 pm ET | Racing Under Saddle Ontario is on the lookout for interested, passionate individuals to serve on its Board Committees.

Are you a person interested and committed to the development of Racing Under Saddle in Ontario? Why not serve on a board committee and provide input into RUS programs, marketing and fundraising, to name a few?

Racing Under Saddle Ontario (RUS) is seeking individuals who can bring knowledge,
connections and ideas relevant to the different Committees, to provide input and advice to the Board of Director’s on RUS product development. RUS Ontario is looking for individuals interested in participating in the following committees:

RUS Secretary
1. Is a member of RUS Ontario
2. Maintains records of the board and ensures effective management of organization's records
3. Manages minutes of board meetings
4. Ensures minutes are distributed to members shortly after each meeting
5.Is sufficiently familiar with legal documents (articles, by-laws, legal letters, etc.) to note applicability during meetings

RUS Treasurer
1. Is a member of RUS Ontario
2. Manages finances of the organization
3. Administrates fiscal matters of the organization
4. Provides annual budget to the board for members' approval
5. Ensures development and board review of financial policies and procedures

RUS Committees - Finance
Lead by the board treasurer. The finance committee which is charged with overseeing the budget, financial controls, investments and grants. An additional audit committee will be formed from this group that works with outside auditors to maintain the organization's accounting and financial reporting controls.

The fundraising committee will be charged to create a plan that will guide RUS Ontario in seeking out and securing funding from an array of outside sources. This committee must identify and communicate with potential donors to support the work of RUS Ontario.

Marketing/ IT
The Marketing/IT committee develops and implements a marketing and social media plan that identifies the needs of its target audience and how to meet those needs with the products, services and programs of the non-profit.

RUS Ontario is also looking for experienced riders for the upcoming racing season. Anyone who has previously ridden and interested in becoming a rider should contact RUS Ontario.

Individuals with an interest in serving on one or more of the Committees are asked to send their personal profiles to the Racing Under Saddle Ontario (RUS) by April 23, 2014. Please include a resume outlining your affiliations, experience with similar initiatives and a general profile of your role(s) within the racing industry.

Individual applicants will be considered based on their expertise in various different sectors of the industry, their applied knowledge, industry achievements and experience. Group members are expected to serve a term of two years.

"The immediate needs of Racing Under Saddle Ontario are not breed specific or horse racing centered, said Julie Walker, President, Racing Under Saddle Ontario. “I have found that industry knowledge can, and does cross over between the different breeds and equine industries. I would encourage everyone who is interested to consider their possible contribution to the development of this product in any of the three breeds or other equine disciplines. The cross-pollination of ideas within the industry often brings a fresh view to the table, and helps build a better product for all sectors."

Applicants are asked to send a profile/resume to Racing Under Saddle by April 23, 2014, as follows:

Attention: RUS Board Committees
By Email:

For more information contact:
Julie Walker, President Racing Under Saddle Ontario

Pootoolal Named CEO Of RUS Ontario

Published: April 7, 2014 11:54 am ET

Allan Pootoolal has been appointed CEO by the Board of Directors of Racing Under Saddle Ontario (RUS). Most recently, Pootoolal has served as a member of the Horse Improvement Program Committee of the Ontario Racing Commission, which worked with industry participants and worked to implement a vision for the industry's HIP Program.

Pootoolal’s knowledge, leadership and dedication will benefit both the horse racing industry and Racing Under Saddle Ontario as it implements the new governance structure. "I'm totally honoured and we are very excited to have Allan and his direct industry experience leading our organization at this particularly difficult time," said Julie Walker, who confirmed that his appointment is effective immediately.

RUS Ontario Issues RFP

Published: March 5, 2014 4:51 pm ET

On Wednesday, March 5, officials with Racing Under Saddle Ontario (RUS) issued a Request for Proposal for business case development services.

In its release, RUS stated that it is inviting prospective proponents to submit their proposals for business case development services. “These enhancements will make the Racing Under Saddle Product a ‘must see viewing’ for racing fans,” says Julie Walker, President, Racing Under Saddle Ontario (RUS).

As part of their submission, proponents are required to provide certain information to carry out the task.  A detailed description of the desired work is attached here.

Proponents shall direct all questions regarding this RFP in writing, or by email to the following RUS Ontario Contact:

Julie Walker
Racing Under Saddle Ontario
35 Crawford Crescent
Campbellville ON L0P 1B0



Vision Intense Wins Gr. II Prix Louis Forcinal at Paris-Vincennes

March 22, 2014

Outstanding monte five year-old mare Vision Intense (Prodigious-Intense Action-Cezio Josselyn) took today’s featured monte contest (Prix Louis Forcinal, £120,000 purse, 2700 meters) on a top-flight card at Paris-Vincennes. Nathalie Henry carefully piloted Vision Intense to her 13th career win, now with increased earnings to £778,250. The speedy mare is trained by Philippe Moulin for Ecurie Victoria Dreams and scored today in 1.14.1kr. Ms. Henry took back early and trailed the field for the first 600 meters before easing to the outside and moving steadily to the front. Rating speed conservatively the pair drew away entering the stretch before Vision Intense began drifting out. She held off hard-charging Ekerlza du Benjo to win by 1-1/2 lengths.

The monte co-featured Prix de Gabarret (£45,000, 2700 meters) went to Urbain Jet, a six year-old son of Meaulnes du Corta, handled by Philippe Masschaele. The Luc Roelens trainee increased his earnings to £129.920 with a solid front-stepping score in 1.14.8kr. Valijean Wild battled toward the front throughout and held on for second with Fabien Gence aboard. The winner was off at 6.1/1 odds.


 2014 Hambletonian Monte/RUS Series

February 23, 2014

The 2014 Hambletonian Monte/ RUS series is almost complete. $40,000 in sponsorships have been secured and additional sponsorships are available. Contact Helene Gregory as shown below. Dates for the legs are July 18, 25 and the final is on Friday, August 1 of Hambletonian weekend.

2014 Hambletonian Racing Under Saddle Sponor opportunity.

The 2014 RUS series will be conducted over 3 weeks, with the first two legs on July 18 and 25th and the Final on August 1. Sponsorships are sold for $5,000 and they include a ½ page program ad from date of the commitment, every race day up until Aug 2. On final day, all sponsors will have to share an ad space due to limited space, but the sponsors name will be presented on winners silk cooler, trophy and from announcer.

Race conditions can be found on The Hambletonain Societys website

The series is a Late Closer, meaning each horse that wish to compete has to pay in a nomination fee and a starting fee, and horses that wish to enter after the closing date of nominations can supplement for a higher amount then the nomination fee.

Please send sponsor checks out to

The Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment

Attn. Jason Hall,

1 Meadowlands Drive, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Please earmark the donation with “RUS”

Thank you,

Helene Gregory; (609-439-7818_

Schedule of all Monte/RUS events will be published when finalized. A fair circuit is being contemplated and tracks that have not previously hosted monte racing have expressed interest in doing so during the upcoming season.


Vision Intense Captures Gr. II Prix Paul Bastard

February 23, 2014

Nathalie Henry teamed the excellent five year-old monte mare Vision Intense to a two-length win in the 120,000€ Gr. II Prix Paul Bastard on the Paris Vincennes card today. The Philippe Moulin trainee, for Ecurie Victoria Dreams, scored in 1.14.8kr over the 2700 meter course. The dominant favorite won for the 12th time in her career and increased earnings to over 724,000€.

February 23, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Paul Bastard, Gr. IImonte, 120,000€, 2700 meters, 7 starters


Vision Intense (5f Prodigious-Intense Action-Cezio Josselyn), Nathalie Henry for Philippe Moulin and Ecurie Victoria Dreams, her 12th win for 724,250€, 0.4/1 favorite

Valdice de Marrs (5f Lynx de Bellouet-Tiphganie-Beausejour II), Yohan Lebourgeois for Loic Groussard, 5.1

Valse Castelets (5f Memphis du Rib-Elide-Florestan), J.L.C. Dersoir up, also trainer, 8/1


Roxane Griff Wins Prix de L’lle-de-France Today

February 2, 2014

The great French mare Roxane Griff controlled the field and the pace, drawing clear for an easy seven length win in today’s “classique” Prix de L’lle-de-France at Paris-Vincennes. The Gr. I International UET Masters Series event drew eight starters for a purse of 200,000€ contested over 2175 meters. Roxane Griff was competing in her third Gr. I race in as many weeks as she took the January 19 Prix de Cornulier, then finished fourth in the Prix d’Amerique on January 26. She was timed in 1.11.6kr with a sharp final 500 meters Roxane and jockey Eric Raffin drew clear albeit she drifted wide down the lane. Quarry Bay, another great mare, in rein to Camille Levesque, was second after making a fine run from a trailing position. She was no match for the winner but increased her career earnings to 1,058,020€ for trainer Mike Lenders and owner Ecurie Pierre Levesque.

Race record was set in 2011 by that years’ victor Piscou de Villabon timed in 1.10.9kr. The race began in 1980 and was won last year by Singalo, Priscilla Blue in 2010 and Revenue in 2003

February 2, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix de L’lle-de-France, Gr. I UET Masters Series, monte, 200,000€, 2175 meters, 8 starters

1.11.6kr (race record in 2011 in 1.10.9kr by Piscou de Villabon)

Fractions: 1.11.2kr at 1500; 1.11.4kr at 1000; 1.12.1kr at 500; 1.11.6kr finish

Roxane Griff (9f Tenor de Baune-Julia Mesloise-Sancho Panca), Eric Raffin up, Sebastien Guarato trainer, Ecurie Griff owner/breeder, 0.7/1 favorite, her 17th career win for earnings of 2,193,118€

Quarry Bay (10f Cygnus d’Odyssee-Barrorolle-Fakir du Vivier), Camille Levesque up for Mike Lenders trainer and Ecurie Pierre Levesque owner, 3/1 odds, this mare with 17 career wins and earnings of 1,058,020€

Saphir de Morge (8m Guenor-Folie de Morge-Roc), P-Y Verva up, Franck Terry trainer, owner Ecurie Pole Position, 6.6/1 odds for this winner of 558,490€

Quinoa du Gers (10m Ganymede=Targa du Chalange-Jorky), Franck Nivard up for Fabrice Souloy trainer and owner Ecurie le Tremont, 14/1 odds, this mare with 21 career victories for 990,343€


Roxane Griff Upset Winner of Prix de Cornulier

 January 19, 2014

Is the grand mare of French Trotting back? Today she was as Roxane Griff stormed home for Eric Raffin to capture the classic Prix de Cornulier (Gr. I UET Masters Series, 700,000 euro purse, 2700 meters) in a sharp 1.12.3kr, the second fastest time in the history of the race that began in 1931. Raffin had the chestnut nine year-old daughter of Tenor de Baune away alertly and settled along the pylons where during most of the journey she was fourth on the inner and seventh overall. Ulysse set a torrid pace and defended a challenge by last year’s winner Singalo but was unable to match favorite Tiego d’Etang and C-J Bigeon into the long stretch. Raffin eased to the outside with 10/1 Roxane Griff and followed live cover before driving past Tiego d’Etang for a comfortable score. Saphir de Morge was third at 59/1. Singalo faded to ninth, behind Save The Quick (sixth) and Ulysse (eighth).

Roxanne Griff is trained by Sebastien Guarato for Ecurie Griff. She posted her 16th career win in 89 starts and increased life earnings to 2,023,118 euro (over US$2.73 million). She had raced consistently in 2013 but not to her form of 2011-2012. Today’s sharp finishing triumph was a reminder of Roxane Griff at her best. Can she show that form next week? Only two Prix de Cornulier winners of the past came back to win the Prix d’Amerique (Bellino II and Jag de Bellouet) but in a wide open 2014 anything can happen. Don’t count the grand mare out!

Helene Gregory reflects on her love for RUS
Thursday, November 21, 2013 - by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Louisville, KY --- When Helene Gregory goes to Julie Miller’s barn, Master Pine is always thrilled to see her and it’s not because she dispenses the best treats. The 10-year-old son of Master Lavec is simply looking forward to being ridden.

“When I have the saddle in my hand, he always nickers at me,” Gregory said. “He really likes it.”

The ‘it’ Gregory is referring to is trotting under saddle or racing under saddle and it is near and dear to her heart. Also known across the pond as monte, RUS was something she had seen in her native Sweden, but Gregory decided it was definitely something she wanted to experience and has now expanded that initial interest to create Monte America, which is simply a group of Standardbred participants that enjoy this aspect of the sport.

Over the last two years, Gregory’s efforts have produced more than 20 RUS events in both the United States and Canada. In 2012, 41 riders, 45 trainers and 46 horses competed in these contests and in 2013, there were 47 trainers, 41 horses and 29 riders. But Gregory feels that until these races can be wagered on, RUS will always be a little under the radar.

“We have to do that in order to have money for purses,” the 2012 USHWA President’s Award winner said. “We can’t ask people to ship horses and not have any money for them. We have operated largely on sponsorships for the last two years, but I’m afraid that source is beginning to get a little short for funding. The rules for this vary based on each individual state, but there is a bill in New York right now that touches upon this.”

Not only is RUS an excellent way to get new people involved in the sport or supply women with more opportunities to participate, it can be an outstanding choice for the horse. Some horses, like Master Pine (4,1:55f, $765,504), who Gregory has ridden in all four of his RUS races, two of them victories, truly relish the alteration to their routine and can actually improve under saddle.

John Campbell and Brian Sears had both driven Sundance Bayama and after he won the race at Pocono, John, who I’m good friends with, tugged on my arm and shook his head at me,” Gregory said. “Henrik Lundell wanted us to try out this horse and at first I didn’t know if he was going to make it because he was all over the place, but we got him out there and he won. John and Brian both had said he wasn’t very good in the harness. It can also serve as a way to prepare horses for a regular race in harness, because you can race this way one week and then the other next. It provides another option.”

Gregory claims she has been very lucky to have people offer her horses, such as these two, to ride and it might not be suitable for every horse, as you would ideally like an animal that doesn’t break stride. Obviously, it’s a lot more difficult to control the horse and adds another element to the rider’s task, which is also why only trotters are considered for the sport.

When asked what got her hooked, Gregory was straight to the point.

“There is no other feeling in the world like it,” she said. “When you put their noses on the gate and you are out competing it is the most exhilarating, amazing thing in the world. I’m going to be 45 and I’m getting to the age where I won’t be able to do it all that longer, but I go to the gym and try to do everything I can to keep myself in great shape. This is something I don’t want to give up and Standardbreds are the perfect horse for it because of how much they want to please you.”


Monte America 2013 Statistics (U.S. and Canada)

November 11, 2013

2013 leading Monte America (RUS) performers in the United States (horses, riders and trainers based on earnings) are shown below.  Congratulations to all for making the monte season memorable and for setting the stage for future years. The equine leaders were Flex The Muscle and Vassar Hall with three wins each. Ray Schnittker posted three riding wins versus two each for Michelle Crawford and Helene Gregory. Schnittker and Brett Crawford earned three training victories.

Horses: Flex The Muscle led the US equine monte competitors with three wins in five starts earning $19,750. Vassar Hall recorded three wins but did not hit the top five money earnings that also included single dash winners Chinese Cuisine ($14,420), Master Pine ($9.250), A Penney Earned ($6,500) and the consistent non-winner Muscolo ($7,004). Other monte winners during the season included Andover America, Admirable Hanover, John-Michael, Motown Dream Girl, First Tail U See, Pointe Of Honour, Fort Valley As, and Sundance Bayama.

Riders: Ray Schnittker earned three wins with his trainee Flex The Muscle for earnings of $19,750. Helene Gregory recorded two wins for $14,250 with the other top five money winners being Tina Duer (one win for $14,420), Jenny Melander (one win for $8,520) and Karen Isbell ($7,250 earned with one victory). Other winners included two-time dash winner Michelle Crawford and single dash winners Heather Reese, Tara Hynes, Jennifer Lowery, Ashley Eldred, Jennifer Connor, Therese Lindgren, Melinda Giroso and Mary Dolce-Conti.

Trainers: Schnittker also led the trainer category in 2013 with three wins and $19,750. Brett Bittle’s charges earned $11,300 with one win followed by Julie Miller ($9,250, one win), Paul Kelley ($7.004 without a win) and George Ducharme ($6,500, one victory). Other dash winning monte trainers not in the top five money winners were Brett Crawford (3 wins) and single dash winners Henrik Lundell, Jennifer Sabot, Frank Scamporino Jr., Robert Bresnahan, Robert Lounsbury, Daryl Bier, Janice Connor, Ashley Eldred and James Doherty Jr. 

Our Canadian monte colleagues are listed below based on wins. All events were exhibitions without purses.

Horses: Harlequin led the 2013 equine monte performers with three wins and a second in four starts. Other single dash winners were Ill Be There, Katla, Lady Is A Pirate, Sixth Man and Speedy Desperado.

Riders: Riina Rekila posted a category leading four victories in six starts steering Harlequin and Katla to wins. Evelyn Harms, Maggie Jones, Sharleen MacDonald and Emma Jayne Wilson scored one win each.

Trainers: Geoff Maltby led the way with three wins in eight starts for a UTRS of .444. Maggie Jones, Doug McIntosh, Anthony Montini, Riina Rekila and Julie Walker recorded one training win each.

Thanks to all participants, owners, sponsors and track operators for making 2013 a successful monte campaign and in heightening interest in racing under saddle in North America. Special thanks to USTA’s David Carr for being the diligent scorekeeper and to racetrack photographers for recording the racing action.


RUS Ontario Hosts Final 2013 Event; Caen (FR) Hosts Three Monte Races

October 19, 2013

Western Fair Raceway hosted ROS Ontario’s final 2013 exhibition monte race on Friday evening. The Doug McIntosh owned and trained Lady Is SA Pirate (5f Mutineer-Self Secure-Self Possessed) scored in 2:03.3h for rider E. Harms after taking the lead approaching the three quarter mile mark. The pair held off Riina Rekila piloting Katla (3f Cadillac Hall-Flores-Balanced Image) for a two-length win in the eight horse field.

At Caen (FR) the Saturday nine race card showcased three monte events, two for 30,000 euro purses and one for 25,000 euro. The Prix d’Argentra started the action and Elisabeth Allaire won for the 27th time this year as she rallied veteran SpeedyFac to victory in a hotly contested race over the sloppy going distance of 2450 meters. A recap of this race and the other two monte contests, each featuring large fields, are shown below.

Prix d’Argentre, monte males, 30,000 euro, 2450 meters, 20 starters, 1.15.2kr, 9/1 winning odds - winner Speedy Fac (7g Kepler-Mira-Gai Brillant), Elisabeth Allaire up, 27th win in 2013

Prix de Nehou, monte females, 30,000 euro, 2450 meters, 1.15.6kr, 9/1 winning odds, 16 starters, winner Very Sweet (4f Prodigious-Hikese de Bellen-Viking Sun), Laurent Michel David up, 17th win in 2013

Prix de Champcerie, monte females, 25,000 euro purse, 2450 meters, 1.14.6kr, 12/1 odds, 17 starters, winner Ussia du Declic (5f Meaulnes du Corta-Opale du Declic-Vieux Sam), Antoine Weils 64th win in 2013


Monte Action at Aby

October 12, 2013

Today’s V-75 card at Aby showcased two well-contested monte events, The Swedish Monte Masters, with 250,000SEK to the winner, was raced over 2140 meters autostart. Ypsilon Boko (8g Express Ride-Flordalie-Minou du Donjon) took the win for Peter Jarven (also a gallop jockey) in 1.14.4kr. The winner now has three wins and two second place finishes in his last five monte appearances and sports earnings of over 1.3 million SEK with 12 wins in 39 lifetime starts (monte and sulky). Favored La Bellouet (7f Jag de Bellouet-Ironiessa-Texas) raced in the death seat for most of the journey and took the lead for Asa Svensson before the winner rallied past in late stretch. Look la Marc (10g Giant Cat-Taylor Guy-Pershing) was third with Sofia Aronsson aboard.

The Swedish Monte Masters for Riders (2140 meters autostart, 100,000SEK to the winner) went to Delux Haleryd (6g Jag de Bellouet-Velvet As-Mr. Vic) with Emma Wahlberg up. The combination scored in 1.14.2kr over Palermo Tars (6g Storstadsbusen-Nutria Sund-Sugarcane Hanover) and Asa Svensson. Jonathan Palema (5g Adams Hall-Rosakinde Palema-Alf Palema) was third for Sandra Eriksson. The winner record his 14th career victory in 47 starts. It was his third win with Wahlberg aboard in six attempts by this pair.


Speedy Desperado Wins Leamington Monte Exhibition

October 6, 2013

Veteran Speedy Desperado (13g Wesgate Crown-Cornelia Lobell-Speedy Crown) captured today’s monte exhibition at Leamington Raceway. Ridden by owner, trainer Maggie Jones, Speedy Desperado raced second most of the way before taking the lead in the stretch and drawing clear to a three-length victory timed in 2:10.3h. Pacesetter Whitesand Diego (7g Angus Hall-Yankee Mission-Balanced Image) ended second for Lindsey Kerr in the four horse field.


Master Pine and Gregory Win Red Mile Monte

October 6, 2013

Veteran open class trotter Master Pine (10g Master Lavec-Pine Career-Pine Chip) with Helene Gregory aboard won today’s $16,000 Monte/RUS special over a rain-dulled Red Mile surface in 1:58.4. The winner is trained by Julie Miller for owners Mark Moger and Albert Delia Jr. and was bred in Ohio by Double Springs Farm. Gregory used a backstretch brush to pass early contenders Chinese Cuisine (5g Revenue-Missymandarine-Malabar Man) with Tina Duer up, for owner Peninsula Farm Inc., and the Balanced Image son Harlequin handled by Riina Rekila. Master Pine opened a five length advantage around the final turn and maintained a steady stretch pace closing in :30.3 for a head advantage on the line to win over fast finishing A Penny Earned (4h Conway Hall-Penny Dream-Dream Vacation ), with Heather Reese aboard. Chinese Cuisine was third. A Penny Earned was 17 lengths back at the half and closed impressively for trainer George Ducharme and owners Ross, Fontaine, Ducharme and Oliva that includes Royalty For Life’s Hambletonian winning connections.

Thanks to Red Mile management, purse sponsors, monte/RUS supporters (including Red Mile photographer Nigel Soult) for making this special competitive eight horse event a successful reality.


Leamington Hosts Monte

 October 6, 2013

Leamington Raceway today hosts another Ontario monte event, this one comprised of a compact five horse field. The race continues a series of monte races in Ontario and the US that is attracting industy and fan interest. Organizers seek the opportunity to add monte racing to harness racings pari-mutuel menu subject to regulatory approvals.

Leamington Raceway 10/6/13Trot, one mile

RIDERS UNDER SADDLE/MONTE – exhibition non-wagering

1 Lady Is A Pirate                   S Macdonald,D Mcintosh                                  

2 Speedy Desperado             M Jones,M Jones                                     

3 Whitesand Diego                L Kerr,L Kerr                                      

4 Chiquita Banana                 J Fenwick,J Fenwick                

5 Katla                                     S Town,R Rekila                                 


The Surge Of Under Saddle

Published: October 5, 2013 10:58 am ET

With two high-profile races making headlines over the past two weeks and two more races coming up on Sunday, Racing Under Saddle is becoming increasingly popular in the North American Standardbred industry.

What's the future for Racing Under Saddle? On today's edition of Trot Radio, Norm Borg speaks to RUS Ontario President Julie Walker. Walker commented on the plan to graduate from exhibition events to offer under saddle racing as a pari-mutuel product with purse money available.

"We need [racing under saddle] to benefit the horsemen of this industry, that's the big thing. If we get people out to see the races, that great but it doesn't really benefit us," said Walker. "This year, we needed to sit down with OHHA and COSA and run a full year of exhibition races and get the support from the horsemen and that's what we did."

Walker stated that the group has already been in discussions with the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, who have expressed interest in this venture.

"I hope it is [a pari-mutuel product] next year."

Walker also offered her opinion on the Chantal Sutherland-Kruse time trial as well as the recent RUS race on Super Final night at Mohawk Racetrack, won by thoroughbred jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson.

"Emma was lucky because she got to learn from Chantal, they're good friends and I know she watched the race over and over," said Walker. "She came out to train with us on the Tuesday before the race and she did a phenomenal job."

On Sunday, both Leamington Raceway and The Red Mile feature under saddle races. The Red Mile's race offers a $16,000 purse with money coming from sponsorships. Canadian rider Riina Rekila, who finished second in last weekend's RUS race at Mohawk, will send out Harlequin in a field of eight trotters.

To listen to the full interview with Walker and Borg, click the play button below.

Trot Radio - Episode 308 - RUS Ontario's Julie Walker
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg

-- Right-Click here to download --


Monte Field Set for Red Mile

October 3, 2013

The field has been drawn for the $16,000 Kentucky Futurity Day monte/RUS special event set for 12:35 pm post time. Thanks to the sponsors, Red Mile management and equine participants and their connections for making this race happen. The field is shown below and includes several past monteamerica winners plus the leading Canadian invader Harlequin with Riina Rekila aboard.

Red Mile 10/6/13, $16,000, one mile, monte/RUS (horse, rider, trainer)

Custom Tag, Karen Isbell, also trainer

Master Pine, Helene Gregory, Julie Miller

Muscolo, Michelle Crawford, Paul Kelley

Rock With It, Tina Sundqvist, Donna Gilson-Eferstein

NF Soaring, Rachel Matthews, Brooke Nickells

Harlequin, Riina Rekila, also trainer

A Penny Earned, Heather Reese, George Ducharme

Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer, John Duer



Monte Headliners at Paris-Vincennes

October 1, 2013

Two 75,000 euro purse monte events graced the evening card at Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. The first, an apprentice monte event named the Prix Jean Mary, offered 12 starters over the 2200 meter distance for the 75,000 euro purse. 8/1 upsetter Ryswick d’Avril (8g Carpe Diem-La Grandcopaise) with Mlle. Marion Lemonnier aboard took the victory. She confidently steered the winner to his 13th career victory worth 379,000 euro lifetime. The winner is owned and ytrained by Patrice Lebouteiller

The co-featured Prix Lilius went to jockey Maxene Pean aboard the R-C Larue trained Upero de la Fye (5m Jasmin de Flore-Ours Yoni-Podosis) over 2850 meters on the petite-piste. Purse was also 75,000 euro. The winner, off at 13/1, scored in 1.14.7kr to defeat Pop Life and Franck Nivard.


Prix Radio Alpha (Monte) won by Anastasia Fella

September 29, 2013

Franck Nivard won both Gr. I events on the Paris-Vincennes card today including the monte event that headlined the Vincennes card. The 240,000 euro Prix Radio Alpha (Gr. I Monte, 2200 meters distance handicapped, 240,000 euro purse) went to Nivard aboard Anastasia Fella (3f Goetmals Wood-Jeanne’s Fella) timed in 1.13kr over 2200 meters. Ecurie le Tremont owns the winner, trained by Fabrice Souloy. Ultissimo, Michel Mottier up, was second timed in 1.11.6kr (handicapped 50 meters) with the Nathalie Henry handled Utopie Imperiale third timed in 1.11.7kr (also traveling 2250 meters).


RUS/Monte at Red Mile Purse $16,000

September 29, 2013

A Race Under Saddle has been added to the closing Kentucky Futurity Day of The Red Mile, October 6. The condition sheet is online and entries are due on Thursday October 3 by 10am. The purse will be $16,000, provided by generous sponsors and RUS supporters: Anthony Legacy Foundation, Alan Leavitt. Karen Isbell, Burke Racing Stable, Crawford Farms.,Hunterton Farms, Peter Gerry, Cane Run Farm, Dr. Cummings, Thomas Cancelliere and Winners Circle Blueberries. A winners’ Trophy has been donated by LV Harkness. For sponsorships contact Tina Duer at 859-967-4333. All donations must be received at The Red Mile by Thursday morning before the draw: 1200 Red Mile Rd.,Lexington, KY 40504. Contact Connie Hochstetler 708-921-1719.

Riders need a USTA RUS license and a KY Racing Commission license.



Monte America Stats Updated

September 27, 2013

As of September 27 the Monte America category leaders are as follows.

Leading Horses by Earnings:

Flex The Muscle, $19,740, 3 wins

Chinese Cuisine, $12,500, 1 win

Muscolo, $5,724

Sundance Bayama, $5,600, 1 win

Flowing James, $5,586


Leading Riders by Earnings:

Ray Schnittker, $19,750, 3 wins

Tina Duer, $12,500, 1 win

Jenny Melander, $8,850, 1 win

Karen Isbell, $7,250, 1 win

Emma Pettersson, $5,586


Leadings Trainers by Earnings:

Ray Schnittker, $19,750, 3 wins

Brett Bittle, $11,300, 1 win

Paul Kelley, $5,724

Henrik Lundell, $5,600, 1 win

Mark Harder, $5,586, 1 win


Thanks to David Carr (USTA) for his data management services and to all monteamerica participants, sponsors and hosting racetracks for their support and extra effort to make the 2013 racing program happen. Next up is Lexington’s Red Mile on October 6th (Kentucky Futurity Day). Interested sponsors should contact Helene Gregory or Tina Duer (


I’ll Be There Wins Mohawk Monte for Emma-Jayne Wilson

September 28, 2013

I’ll Be There, a Kadabra four year-old owned by Albina Montini and trained by Anthony Montini, in rein to Queen’s Plate winning thoroughbred jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson, eased into an early lead that she never relinquished. The veteran $400,000 plus career winning Harlequin, handled by Riina Reila, settled in the two spot in the first turn and enjoyed a perfect journey but when she pulled on the leader late in the final turn Wilson pulled the plugs and jetted away to a two-length score in 2:02.2s, last panel in :29.2. Charlie Tuna and Mr. Euro finished 3-4 in this very competitive field.

In a post-race trackside interview, the personable Wilson, who the final race on today’s Woodbine’s afternoon gallop card, acknowledged her support of monte racing and gave thanks for the nicest bouquet of carrots she has ever received. Riders later took part in an excellent meet and greet session for the grandstand racing fans.


Ontario preps for Saturday’s monte race at Mohawk (Super Finals

Night) featuring Queen’s Plate Winning Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson

September 27, 2013

The field lines up as follows for Saturday’s Super Finals Night monte test at Mohawk. Ontario’s leading riders from the standardbred sport face off against leading thoroughbred jockey and Queen’s Plate winner Emma Jayne Wilson. Be there!

1         Leonardo Da Lindy - M Brooking

2         ll Be There - E Wilson

3         Snoops Sourceress - S Town

4         Wedgewood - T Enberg

5         Hetties Honey - A Humphries

6         Sixth Man - S Macdonald

7         Charlie Tuna - B Kennedy

8         Loco Caballo - L Lindstrom

9         Harlequin - R Rekila

Red Mile Planning Monte/RUS event October 6th

September 27, 2013

Red Mile has advised that it would like to hold a monte/RUS trot on October 6th, Kentucky Futurity Day at the famed Lexington oval. Interested purse sponsors are asked to contact Helene Gregory or Tina Duer (859-967-4333),


DW’s NY Yank and Sutherland-Kruse Set North American 5/8

Mile Time-Trial Record

September 23, 2013

Chantal Sutherland-Kruse successfully set the North America 5/8 mile speed mark with the Ron Burke trained DW’s NY Yank (4g Dilbert Hanover-Nicky Mantle-Muscles Yankee), bred by W.D. LePage Stable of North Bangor, NY. Using the mobile gate, Sutherland-Kruse let the open trotter, owned by Burke Racing, Howard Taylor and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, roll and he carved out fractions of :28 - :57.3 – 1:27.3 reaching the line in 1:59f. The record occurred on the day’s third attempt by the talented pair, testimony to their endurance and effort to achieve their goal.

Sutherland-Kruse, the successful jockey from Winnipeg, a career winner of over 930 races on the gallop for $47.3 million, and on her way to Santa Anita via Japan and the Meadows, thanked trainer Burke and prompter driver Dave Palone (closing in on a dash winning milestone) for the opportunity to participate in today’s historic event. She also thanked the Meadows driving/training colony for her experience today with DW’s NY Yank (4, 1:51.3f, $204,988 and a 14 time winner in 50 sulky starts).


Monte on Stage at Vincennes – Gr. III Prix Alfred Lefevre to

Quarnac L’iton

September 21, 2013

Quarnac L’iton (9g Ideal de L’iton-Classic Meslois-Muskateer) captured today’s Gr. III Prix Alfred Lefevre (95,000 euro purse, 2850 meters, monte European, 11 starters) with Simon Laloum aboard for trainer Henri Levesque. The winner scored for the 12th time in his career for earnings of 396,200 euro. Torre Crepin was second with Satin d’Avril third in a race in which the top five finishers were off at odds of 112, 18, 25, 14 and 67/1. The upset winner was timed in 1.13.7kr. Three of nine Paris-Vincennes races today were well contested monte events.

The Prix de Pontivy (48,000 euro, 2175 meters, 12 starters, monte) produced a sharp 1.12.3kr win for Soleil d’Argent (7g Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree-Icellia d’Argent), off at 2.4/1 odds with Caroline Cheradame up, his 11th career win for 190,030 euro in the bank. Second went to Reve d’Aure (8g Love You-Jessica s’Aure-Podosis), P-Y Verva up, with third to Roi Arthur (8g Biesolo-Kawabata-Dream With Me) for trainer Alain Roussel.

The Prix de Bagneres (46,000 euro purse, 2700 meters, 10 starters, monte) produced a nice rallying victory for Aquarelle de Fael (3f Look de Star-Nadia Pierji-Vikings Way) in The Look de Star filly was off at 1.6/1 and produced her fifth career win with Franck Nivard aboard for Ready Cash trainer Thierry Duvaldestin.


Celebrity Playboy Prevails at Freehold for Melander

September 21, 2013

Celebrity Playboy (9g Yankee Glide-Clover Mist-Balanced Image) prevailed over seven rivals in today’s monte event at Freehold, in the one mile distance race for a purse of $5,000. The winner scored in 2:06.2h by eight lengths in a wire to wire journey for Jenny Melander and trainer Robert Bresnahan. Veteran open class performer Master Pine overcame two miscues to be a fast closing second with a final panel in :30.3 for Helene Gregory and trainer Julie Miller. Docdor Chaser took the show spot for Ruth Calcagni.

Thanks for Freehold Raceway, sponsors and the equine connections for making this race a reality.


Palone, Burke to drive prompters in Monday's under-saddle

record attempt

Saturday, September 21, 2013 - by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Washington, PA --- When Chantal Sutherland-Kruse tries for the North American trotting under-saddle record on Monday (Sept. 23) at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, two of harness racing’s most accomplished horsemen will be part of the effort.

The Meadows and The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association announced today that Dave Palone, the winningest driver in North American harness history, and Ron Burke, who has topped the North American trainers' standings each year since 2009, will drive the prompters in the record attempt.

The event, which will follow traditional harness racing time trial standards, will take place at approximately 3 p.m. after the seventh race on The Meadows card.

Sutherland will be aboard DW’s NY Yank, the Burke trainee who boasts a lifetime mark of 1:51.3f and career earnings of $204,988. The pair will be trying to beat 1:59.1; that’s the North American record for five-eighths-mile tracks established by Karen Isbell and Fort Valley As on June 29, 2013, at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

As a special feature, Sutherland-Kruse will be wearing an HD helmetcam provided by EquiSight Inc. to offer a unique view of the time trial. The video will be posted on YouTube and can be accessed at or

Sutherland-Kruse, one of Thoroughbred racing’s most prominent jockeys, twice was apprentice of the year in her native Canada. Her mounts have won more than $47.3 million, and she was featured on Animal Planet’s Jockeys series as well as the HBO series Luck. The graduate of Toronto’s York University was named one of the “100 Most Beautiful People” by People Magazine in 2006.

Riding a Standardbred, however, represents a return to her roots. She was around Standardbreds for much of her youth as her father, Hugh Sutherland, was a Standardbred trainer and campaigned many horses at The Meadows in the Garry Martin stable.

Palone, meanwhile will have other important business on Monday’s card. With his career total at 15,995, he needs five wins to become the first North American driver with 16,000 victories.


Aby’s Stora Montepris to Organdi d’Or

September 21, 2013

On Aby’s Stora Pris Day monte racing was also on display as race one on the card was the Aby Stora Montepris worth 100,000SEK to the winner. Traveling 1640 meters autostart, Organdi d’Or (11g Archille-Hovillara-Vroum d’Or) was the winner for Sofia Aronssen in 1.12.7kr. The French bred gelding defeated Norway owned invader Lumiere de Nuit (7g Dahir de Prelong-Nightight-Super News) with Emilie Lovvold in the irons. Schwerin Boko (7g Pearsall Hanover-Opera Hanover-Meadow Road) finished third in the ten horse field for Peter Jarven. Favored Prince de Montfort finished seventh. The winner posted his 18th victory in 109 total starts (monte and sulky).


Freehold Hosts Monte America Today

September 21, 2013

Freehold Raceway hosts today’s monte event with off-time set at approximately 4:40pm. Eight veteran trotting campaigners will go to the post including the 2012 Hambletonian Day monte winner Master Pine, with Helene Gregory aboard for trainer Julie Miller. Master Pine is a total career winner of $748,000 with 43 wins in 159 starts and a speed badge of 4, 1:55. His challengers include Celebrity Playboy (8, 1:53.2, $433,000 from 26 wins in 159 starts) with Jenny Melander to ride  and Lemon Pepper (6, 1:53,2, $598,000 earned with 40 wins in 254 total appearances) with Jennifer Lowery.

The field lines up as follows for the one mile carrying a $5,000 purse (horse, rider, trainer):

Striking Mystery, CJ Miller, Vernon James

Lemon Pepper, Jennifer Lowrey, Patrick Beeler

Southwind Cornell, Caroline Green, Julie Miller

Docdor Chaser, Ruth Calcagni (also trainer)

John Michael, Mary Dolce Conti, Jim Doherty Jr.

Master Pine, Helene Gregory, Julie Miller

Celebrity Playboy, Jenny Melander, Robert Bresnahan

Mr. Go, Tara Hynes, Frank Scamporino, Jr.


Jockey Chantal Sutherland-Kruse to wear helmetcam

in record attempt

Friday, September 20, 2013 - By Kenleigh Hobby, Equisight Inc.

Washington, PA & Tucson, AZ --- One of Thoroughbred racing’s biggest stars, jockey Chantal Sutherland-Kruse, will come to The Meadows Racetrack & Casino on Monday (Sept. 23) with one thought in mind -- setting a new North American under saddle record with an open class trotter. The attempt will be following the seventh race, which has a scheduled post time of 2:55 p.m. (EDT) on Monday.

Fans will be able to get a unique view of the record-breaking attempt.

EquiSight will be outfitting Ms. Sutherland-Kruse with a HD helmetcam to allow viewers a first-person perspective of the record breaking attempt, putting the fans in the middle of the heart-pounding record attempt. Full video coverage of the record attempt is slated to drop on YouTube Sept. 23 or

For the mile, Sutherland-Kruse will team with The Meadows’ -- and harness racing’s -- leading trainer, Ron Burke. The Burke Stable will send Sutherland-Kruse to the track aboard DW’s NY Yank, an accomplished 4-year-old trotter that has won 10 of 17 starts so far this season. The gelding’s fastest win time is 1:51.3, set on July 20 at Pocono Downs, also a five-eighths-mile track like The Meadows.

The current record of 1:59.1 under saddle on a five-eighths-mile track was set by Karen Isbell riding Fort Valley As on June 29, 2013 at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

“I’m looking forward to riding a trotter in my ‘pink saddle’ which has taken me from Canada to the States, Hong Kong, Dubai, then England, and now The Meadows Racetrack in an attempt to break a world record,” said Sutherland-Kruse. “This is an exciting time for me to experience the Standardbred equine after having been in the Thoroughbred world for so long. It will be a joy to get back to my roots, to the good old days when my dad would take me to the Standardbred farms and tracks all over Canada."

The September event is sponsored by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association.

About EquiSight

EquiSight enhances the viewership for horse racing fans and officials. EquiSight utilizes cutting edge technology to bring the traditional two-dimensional binocular video experience into the present day by allowing viewers to Ride the Race from the jockey's point of view. This new perspective allows people the ability to feel the speed, beauty, and intensity from this “Sport of Kings.” For more information about EquiSight visit Keep track of the action by following EquiSight on Facebook, Twitter @equisight and YouTube.

For further information, contact Kenleigh Hobby, Equisight Inc at: 208.346.1609 and or Heather Wilder, MSOA, at 724.255.0569 and


DW's NY Yank preps for Monday's record attempt

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - by Jeff Zidek for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Washington, PA--This Monday (Sept. 23), the worlds of harness and Thoroughbred racing will cross paths at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. 

Chantal Sutherland-Kruse, one of Thoroughbred racing’s most well-known jockeys, will team with DW’s NY Yank, one of harness racing’s fastest trotters, in an attempt to set a North American record for trotting under saddle. Sutherland has won more than 900 races and $47 million in her storied career. DW’s NY Yank has won 11 races this season and banked around $200,000 lifetime. 

But while both bring impressive resumes to the track, there is one “catch": Sutherland has never raced the clock atop a trotter, and DW’s NY Yank has never time trialed under saddle.  
Trainer Ron Burke has been prepping the 4-year-old trotter for Monday’s event. “He won his last start at Pocono Downs in 1:52 (on Sept. 7) and since then he has just been training under saddle,” said Burke.  “Allie Conte, my assistant trainer’s girlfriend, has been riding him and getting him ready.”
Burke reports that the horse has been training well. “He has been very good so far; no problems at all," he said. "He will train again this Friday (Sept. 20). The plan will be to go a mile in 2:20, but with a fast last quarter, around 28 seconds.”
On Monday, Sutherland-Kruse will handle the final preparations. “Chantal will warm the horse up on Monday and get familiar with him," Burke added. "She needs to get comfortable with his gait and make sure that when the time trial starts, that we get to the half fast enough.”
The current record on a five-eighths-mile track under saddle is 1:59.1. “I’m confident he can set the record,” says Burke.  “He will be ready for Monday.”
The under-saddle event is sponsored by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association.
Post time for Monday's card at The Meadows is 12:55 p.m.

Rekila Wins Monte at Hiawatha

September 14, 2013

Riina Rekila, the accomplished veterinarian and trainer/driver from Finland, won again on the Ontario monte circuit, piloting Katla (3f Cadillac Hall-Flores-Balanced Image) last evening at Hiawatha Horse Park. Her Overseas Farms Ltd. homebred three year-old filly scored by three lengths in 2:05.2f after patiently waiting mid-pack in the six horse field until moving toward the front with a quarter mile remaining. Katla swept to a three length win posting a last quarter in :30.2 and her last half in 1:00.2. Britt Kennedy was second aboard Charlie Tuna with Lindsey Kerr taking the show spot with Whitesand Diego.

Later on the regular pari-mutuel card, Rekila won again, this time driving Overseas Farms’ two year-old colt Ehrnrooth (2m Ken Warkentin-Mona Simoni-General November). The pair triumphed in 2:01.3f.

Next stop for the monte Ontario events are scheduled for September 28 at Mohawk as part of OSS Super Finals night and October 18 at Western Fair Raceway.


Ulysse Takes Monte Gr. I Prix de Normandie

September 14. 2013

Ulysse (5m Love You-Loctudy-Extreme Dream) took today’s Gr. I Monte Prix de Normandie for 240,000 euro purse at Paris-Vincennes. Thomas Levesque was aboard the winner, timed in 1.14.5kr over the 3000 meter course rain soaked surface. Off at 3/1 Levesque took command late and stretched his lead heading for home despite drifting wide in the stretch. Mike Lenders trains the winner (Pierre Levesque stable) for owner Ecurie des Pommiers. SNC Jean Levesque bred Ulysse, now with eight career victories in 28 outings, good for earnings in excess of 350,000 euro. Utopie Imperiale (5f Kepler-Joie Imperiale) finished second for Mlle. Nathalie Henry with Unikaranes (5f Montecatini-Pivoine des Hayes) third for Alexandre Abrivard. Favored Un Mec d’Heripre was fifth after stalking the leaders throughout from the outside.


Vincennes Co-Featured Prix Georges Dreux to Sourire de Voutre

September 14, 2013

The Prix Georges Dreux (monte, purse 105,000 euro, 2850 meters) went to Sourire de Voutre (7g Gazoullis-Goella) for jockey Eric Raffin and owner/trainer Franck Leblanc. He decisively scored in 1.14.1kr over Santa Rosa France (7f Kaisy Dream-Helice France) with P-Y Verva aboard, with third to Quarlos (9m L’As de Vivetaute-Cette Angevine) and Michel Mottier. The winner now shows earnings of over 630,000 euro with 15 wins in 24 starts.


Vassar Hall Wins Monticello Monte

September 6, 2013

Vassar Hall (9f Striking Sahbra-Vera Hall-Conway Hall) won today’s Monticello Monte for Michelle Crawford and trainer Brett Crawford. The pair scored in 2:08.3h for an eight length victory over John Michael with Jodie Doherty aboard.  Docdor Chaser handled by Ruth Calcagni took third in the six horse contest. Vassar Hall now has two 2013 monte wins and she earned this one with a rally that started when she was third at the half-mile mark, 12 lengths behind the pacesetter John Michael. 


Monte America Stats – Schnittker Tops Standings

September 4, 2013

The to-date 2013 Monte America statistics (as USTA compiled by David Carr) show Ray Schnittker leading in all categories with his veteran $800,000 plus career winning trotter Flex The Muscle. The pair won the Hambletonian Monte event at the Meadowlands to secure the top spots. This team has posted two other victories and a third in five appearances.

Leading Horses:  (earnings, wins)

  1. Flex The Muscle, $19,750, 3 wins
  2. Chinese Cuisine, $12,500, 1
  3. Muscolo, $5,724, no wins
  4. Sundance Bayama, $5,600, 1
  5. Flowing James, $5,586, no wins

Leading Jockeys: (earnings, wins, UDRS)

  1. Ray Schnittker, $19,730, 3, .667
  2. Tina Duer, $12,500, 1, .556
  3. Karen Isbell, $7,250, 1, .630
  4. Jenny Melander, $6,020, 0, .093
  5. Emma Pettersson, $5,586, 0, .296

Leading Trainers: (earnings, wins)

  1. Ray Schnittker, $19,750, 3
  2. Brett Biddle, $11,300, 1
  3. Paul Kelley, $5,724, 0
  4. Henrik Lundell, $5.600, 1
  5. Mark Harder, $5,586, 0

Congrats to all the leaders and to all participants, owners and sponsors. Best of racing luck to all for the remainder of the2013 monte season.

The Canadian monte performers have also posted admirable numbers with veteran Harlequin posting three wins in as many starts. Jockey Riina Rekila has three wins in four starts and trainer Geoff Maltby also has three victotries.


Sourire du Voutre Wins Prix Camille Leperq at Vincennes

August 31, 2013

The Saturday monte featured Prix Camille Lepecq for 120,000 euro purse over 2700 meters (the “grande piste”) resulted in a 7/1 odds victory for  Sourire du Voutre (7g Gazouillis-Goella) and jockey Franck Nivard. He scored in 1.13.7kr for owner/trainer Franck Leblanc over a classy field. Top mare Santa Rosa France (7f Kaisy Dream-Helise France) took second for Pierre-Yves Verva with Paladin Bleu (10m Jag de Bellouet-Une Picolina) third for Mlle. M. Grolier. Horses finishing fourth through sixth were Tiaga du Rib, Rive Droite and Pluto du Vivier, all winners of over 500,000 euro lifetime.

On Friday at Tioga Downs (Nichoils, NY) the monteamerica family had a new qualifier as Docdor Chaser (10g Sand Chaser-Shesatrottnjenny-Striking Sahbra) qualified in 2:09.2f for trainer/jockey Ruth Calcagni.


Chantal Sutherland-Kruse to Pilot Standardbred

in World Record Monte Attempt

by Press Release | 08.27.2013 | 12:39pm


One of Thoroughbred racing’s biggest stars, jockey Chantal Sutherland-Kruse, will come to The Meadows Racetrack & Casino on Monday, Sept. 23 with one thought in mind – setting a new North American record with open class trotter DW’s NY Yank (1:51.3, $189,488).

The current record of 1:59.1 under saddle on a five-eighths-mile track was set by Karen Isbell riding Fort Valley As on June 29, 2013 at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

“I’m looking forward to riding a trotter in my ‘pink saddle,’ which has taken me from Canada to the States, Hong Kong, Dubai, then England, and now The Meadows Racetrack in an attempt to break a world record,” said Sutherland-Kruse.  “This is an exciting time for me to experience the Standardbred equine after having been in the Thoroughbred world for so long.

“It will be a joy to get back to my roots, to the good old days when my dad would take me to the Standardbred farms and tracks all over Canada,” said the jockey who is currently riding at Del Mar in California.  “I used to jog horses sitting in the cart with him and also dangle my feet off the back of a pickup truck with a lead shank attached to a couple of young horses to drive them around our track to get them fit.”

Sutherland-Kruse, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, rose to fame as a jockey, actress and model.  Her list of accomplishments both on and off the track are extensive, and she will look to add to her resume when she attempts to break the record for a mile on a five-eighths-mile track with a Standardbred under saddle.

Starting her riding career in Canada, Sutherland-Kruse captured the 2001 and 2002 Sovereign Award as that country’s leading apprentice jockey.  She was second leading rider at Woodbine in both 2008 and 2009, and third in 2010.

In 2011, she shifted her tack to Southern California where she made history as the only female jockey ever to win the Santa Anita Handicap aboard Game On Dude.  A year later, she also captured the Hollywood Gold Cup with that mount.  Sutherland, who has 932 career wins and more than $47 million in lifetime earnings, recently returned to riding after a brief retirement in October 2012.

Off the track, she has appeared in People, Vogue, Vanity Fair and Sports Illustrated magazines as well as two TV series, “Jockeys” on Animal Planet and “Luck” on HBO.

For the mile, Sutherland-Kruse will team with The Meadows’ – and harness racing’s – leading trainer, Ron Burke.  The Burke Stable will send Sutherland-Kruse to the track aboard DW’s NY Yank, a four-year-old accomplished trotter that was won 10 of 17 starts so far this season.  The gelding’s fastest win time is 1:51.3, set on July 20 at Pocono Downs, also a five-eighths-mile track like The Meadows.

The event will follow traditional harness racing “time trial” standards, using a starting gate with two prompters that can stay behind or along side of Sutherland-Kruse’s mount.

The record attempt is sponsored by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association.

“I’m grateful to the MSOA for giving me this opportunity,” said Sutherland-Kruse.

“We are excited about the opportunity that this gives us to bring such a highly recognized name from the sport of Thoroughbred racing to The Meadows,” said Heather Wilder, marketing representative for the MSOA.  “With her beginnings nurtured in harness racing, and the success and notoriety that she has received throughout her accomplished career as a jockey, it just shows that we all share the common love of the animal and the enjoyment of competition.”

Ron Burke, whose stable has led harness racing in both wins and purse earnings every year since 2009, is prepping DW’s NY Yank, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Howard Taylor and Weaver Bruscemi, LLC.

“This is a great opportunity for the two sports to meet, said Burke.  “I love the opportunity to get a chance to see if we can do something special.”

The record attempt will come between races at the Meadows, which has a first post time of 12:55 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Monday, Sept. 23.  The exact time as well as additional details will come in the next few weeks.


Rekila Wins Monte Again

August 24, 2013

Riina Rekila, the Finland raised veterinarian and accomplished standardbred trainer/driver won tonight’s Monte Special on Hanover Raceway’s “All Trot Night”. Rekila reined veteran Harlequin (12g Balanced Image-Wellesley Doll-Dream Of Glory) to a narrow come-from-behind score in 2:04h. The winning team was away fifth in the six horse contest, before steadily moving forward where a :29.3 final panel secured the win over a game Charlie Tuna. Rekila has extended her patient driving style to the monte sport with great effectiveness, having won earlier in the month at Clinton Raceway also aboard Harlequin.


Gr. II Monte Prix Pierre Gamare to Arca des Jacquets

August 21, 2013

Eric Raffin directed Arca des Jacquets (3f Prodigious-Kichenotte Jolie-Camino) to a convincing win in the featured Gr. II Prix Pierre Gamare on today’s afternoon card at Paris-Vincennes. She took home the winners share of the 120,000 euro purse for owner Ecurie Victoria Dreams and trainer Phillipe Moulin by scoring in 1.16.7kr over the 2700 meter grand piste. The winner is now five for 13 lifetime for earnings in excess of 280,000 euro. She’s the second foal of her dam, herself a winner of US$263,000.


Monticello Raceway to host Monte Race

August 13, 2013

Monticello Raceway is planning to conduct a monte/RUS event on September 6th. Expected purse will be $3,000 and entries are being sought to permit a full competitive field of monte trotters. Contact Jennifer Lowery at

Gambling website suggests Florida is on way to

pari-mutuel cheese rolling (Video); Hambletonian

Monte Shines Brightly

Adam Sinclair,

Are the Division's bizarre actions when it comes to authorizing barrel racing an example of regulators being complicit with gambling interest lawyer/lobbyists whose aim is to circumvent decades-old laws? (No Casinos/youtube)

 In recent years, gambling has gained traction in Florida, and across the country, as a way for struggling states to try and increase their tax rolls. In the 2012 election, voters showed their willingness to expand the availability of slot machines throughout parimutuel facilities an the legislators in Tallahassee were left trying to figure out how to legislate, regulate, and expand wagering in a responsible way. This has proven to be an uphill battle, and many gaming interests have proposed some interesting ways of defining the term parimutuel.

A recent video released by No Casinos, a lobbying group against expanded gaming in the state of Florida, raised questions as to what the next event will next be approved for parimutuel wagering in the state. After Gretna was given a “mysterious” license earlier this year for an unspecified set of events that likely include barrel racing, lobbyists wonder where the expansion will stop.

Among the possibilities: bog snorkeling, tail chasing, ferret legging, cheese rolling, and what appears to be competitive ironing. “Why do the people who are supposed to regulate gambling make up nutty excuses to have more of it? Because they’re not very good regulators!” quips the video.

Of course, the real world of pari-mutuels in Florida and across the country can be almost as crazy as some of the schemes laid out by the Paulick report. However, the world of harness racing can still be quite the money making proposition. The first weekend of August drew thousands of viewers in person, online, and on television to the historic Meadowlands for the Hambletonian.

On Saturday, August 3, Royalty For Life, trained by a small-time trainer based at Vernon Downs who spent the first part of his year jumping all over the racetrack, surprised the assembled masses by winning the first elimination and final of the $1.2 million Hambletonian, that was beamed on network television in the US and throughout the world via Equidiavideo. Experts in the trotting world never doubted that Royalty For Life had the talent to accomplish something special., but were in awe when has was able to finally put it all together.

One of the largest events of the harness racing calendar, the weekend also culminated with the Hambletonian Monte Final.

"Firing off a fast pace, veteran Flex The Muscle (6m Muscles Yankee-Alix Hall-Conway Hall) with trainer Ray Schnittker aboard stormed home to easily take the $32,800 Hambletonian Monte Final in 1:59.2," stated a release from Thomas H. Hicks, Managing Partner, Renaissance Partners LLC for "The winning stallion is owned by Schnittker, J&T Silva Stable LLC and Arden Homestead Stable and was bred in Indiana by Silver Linden Farms. Now a career winner of over $847,000 and a 27 time winner in 114 total starts, Flex The Muscle was ten lengths back of early pacesetter Point Of Honour ridden by Tara Hynes as she rolled to the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:28.1. Chinese Cuisine (5g Revenue-Missymandarine-Malabar Man) then closed in and took the lead for Tina Duer before Flex The Muscle surged by to score by four lengths with Flowing James (8g Ilooklikemymom-Flowing Jody-Rule The Wind) closing for third with Emma Pettersson. The fourth and fifth checks went to Muscolo with Michelle Crawford up and Waldorf Hall handled by Jenny Melander."

South Florida fans of harness racing can enjoy the sport weekly at the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park starting in September. You really haven't seen anything until you've been to an actual horse race, as television and the internet really don't do the sport justice.

"The trotting sport is very much alive and growing on a global basis," added Hicks.

Rekila and Harlequin Win Clinton Monte

August 4, 2013

Rina Rekila won her second straight Ontario monte contest, this one on August 4that Clinton Raceway aboard Harlequin (12g Balanced Image-Wellesley Doll-Dream of Glory). Rekila, a veterinarian and accomplished trainer/driver from Finland, rallied the veteran to a four length win in 2:07h to defeat pacesetter Whitesand Diego reined by Sarah Town with Leonardo de Lindy finishing third for Marie Brooking in the six horse field.


Flex The Muscle and Schnittker Win Hambletonian

Monte Final

August 3, 2013

Firing off a fast pace, veteran Flex The Muscle (6m Muscles Yankee-Alix Hall-Conway Hall) with trainer Ray Schnittker aboard stormed home to easily take the $32,800 Hambletonian Monte Final in 1:59.2. The winner is owned by Schnittker, J&T Silva Stable LLC and Arden Homestead Stable and was bred in Indiana by Silver Linden Farms. Now a career winner of over $847,000 and a 27 time winner in 114 starts, Flex The Muscle was ten lengths back of early pacesetter Point Of Honour ridden by Tara Hynes as she rolled to the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:28.1. Chinese Cuisine (5g Revenue-Missymandarine-Malabar Man) then closed in and took the lead for Tina Duer before Flex The Muscle rolled by to score by four lengths with Flowing James (8g Ilooklikemymom-Flowing Jody-Rule The Wind) closing for third with Emma Pettersson. The fourth and fifth checks went to Muscolo with Michelle Crawford up and Waldorf Hall handled by Jenny Melander.

Twelve horses and riders faced starter Danny Dale’s starting gate in what was to-date the richest and most prestigious monte event in North America.

Thanks to the Meadowlands, the Hambletonian Society and the sponsors (Jeff Gural, William Weaver’s Valley High Stable, Ron Burke Racing Stable, Back On Track, White Birch Farm, Blue Chip Farm and Global Graphics) and supporters that made the Hambletonian Monte Series successful.

Hambletonian Monte Final August 3rd

July 31, 2013

The $32,800 Hambletonian Monte Series Final will go postward at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day between the second and third races. A fine field on 12 qualifying point leaders will face the starter led by six 2013 monte winners, Chinese Cuisine, Motown Dreamgirl, Point of Honour, A Penny Earned, Flex The Muscle and Sundance Bayama. The full field of equine stars, riders and trainers are listed below in post position order:

  1. Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer, Brett Bittle
  2. Waldorf Hall, Jenny Melander, Jim Raymer
  3. Flowing James, Emma Pettersson, Mark Harder
  4. Motown Dreamgirl, Jennifer Lowery, Robert Lounsbury
  5. Muscolo, Michelle Crawford, Paul Kelley
  6. Armbro Doyle, Ashley Eldred, Dawn Anderson
  7. Admirable Hanover, Jennifer Connor, Janice Connor
  8. Point Of Honour, Tara Hynes, Frank Scamporino Jr.
  9. Amoreena, Marielle Enberg, Pat Lachance
  10. A Penny Earned, Heather Reese, George Ducharme
  11. Flex The Muscle, Ray Schnittker (also trainer)
  12. Sundance Bayama, Stephanie Werder, Henrik Lundell

Separately, yesterday the New York Fair at Morris, NY conducted a monte race with the win going to Vassar Hall (9f Striking Sahbra-Vera Hall-Conway Hall). Michelle Crawford rode the winner for trainer Brett Crawford, covering the mile in 2:13.4h over an off track. Veteran Lemon Pepper was placed second ridden by Jennifer Lowery with First Tail U See second placed third for Ashley Eldred.

Be at the Meadowlands Saturday for the Hambletonian Monte Final and an outstanding card of major league racing featuring the Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, and the John Cashman Memorial. Thanks also to our sponsors, supporters, participants, Meadowlands management and the Hambletonian Society for making the Hambletonian Monte Series a success.


Prince de Montfort Wins 2013 German-Monte Derby

July 27, 2013

Veteran monte performer, and heavily favored, Prince de Montfort (10m Ipsos de Montfort-Eva du Verbois-Pactole de Tillard) stormed past his rivals to win the 1900 meter autostart German Monte-Derby in 1.13kr. The purse was 20,000 euro and with the victory the Prince now has 1 million euro in career earnings. He’s owned by Stal de Groningers, trained by Henk A.L. Grift and ridden today by Quentin Segiun. Seguin patiently followed the field before making a decisive move on the backstretch to circle his rivals and secure an easy win.

Hannieball (8g Santana Boko-Kathleen Dragon) finished second for Silvia Raspe with Reve de Servette (8g Sancho Panca-Irina d’Iquaine) third with Michelle Kokkes aboard.

Replay of the race from historic Berlin-Mariendorf can be seen at the following link:


Hambletonian Monte Leg #2 Divisions to Duer and Hynes

July 26, 2013

Hambletonian monte action was in full display tonight at the Big M. The first division went to Chinese Cuisine (5g Revenue S-Missysmandarine-Malabar Man) with Tina Duer up for Peninsula Farm and trainer Brett Bittle in a sharp 1:58.1, final quarter :29.3. The winning connection scored decisively over Amoreena with Marielle Enberg in the irons. Muscolo finished third for Michelle Crawford. Ambro Doyle (Ashley Eldred) and Admirable Hanover (Jennifer Connor) earned the other checks.

Division two went to pacesetter Pointe Of Honour (7g Striking Sahbra-Garland Bonita-Garland Lobell)) ridden by Tara Hynes for trainer Frank Scamporino Jr. and owner James Datri. This pair scored in 1:59.1 over Flowing James and Emma Pettersson with Flex The Muscle third for Ray Schnittker. Waldorf Hall (Jenny Melander) and Celebrity Playboy (Maria Andersson) also earned checks.

Top point winners from the legs (all point winners shown below) will be back on track during Hambletonian Day seeking the $32,800 purse in this Hambletonian Society managed monte event. Be there to applaud the participants and thank the sponsors and Meadowlands management for their direction and drive to make monte (under saddle) racing part of the American standardbred sport.

Point Of Honour 75; Chinese Cuisune 62; Motown Dreamgiurl 51; A Penny Earned 50; Muscolo 37; Flowing James 28; Amoreena 27; Flex The Muscle 14; Sundance Bayama 13; Waldorf Hall 6; Armbro Doyle 4, Admirable Hanover and Celebrity Playboy 3 each; Where's Harry and First Tail U See 2 each.


Hambletonian Monte Leg #2 on Friday

July 25, 2013

The Hambletonian Society managed Hambletonian Monte Series Leg #2 takes place Friday at The Meadowlands. The Final, comprised of the top point earners in the two legs, will face the starter on Hambletonian Day for a $25,000 purse. Be there tomorrow night to watch the non-wagering monte action starting at 7:00 pm and wager on an exciting Meadowlands card of pari-mutuel harness racing.

 Leg #2 entries (horse, rider, trainer) are shown below with the first division slated to go postward at 7:00pm.

Monte RUS 1st Division, one mile, $5,000 purse, non-wagering  7:00pm

  1. Armbro Doyle, Ashley Eldred, Dawn Anderson
  2. Where’s Harry, Caroline Green, James Porter
  3. Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer, Brett Bittle
  4. First Tail U See, Helene Gregory, John Battiato
  5. Admirable Hanover, Jennifer Connor, Janice Connor
  6. Amoreena, Marielle Enberg, Pat Lachance
  7. Muscolo, Michelle Crawford, Paul Kelley

 Monte RUS 2nd Division, one mile, $5,000 purse, non-wagering after race 3

  1. Sundance Bayama, Stephanie Werder, Henrik Lundell
  2. Waldorf Hall, Jenny Melander, Jim Raymer
  3. Pointe Of Honour, Tara Hynes, Frank Scamporino Jr.
  4. Celebrity Playboy,Maria Andersson, Ron Burke
  5. Flowing James, Emma Pettersson, Mark Harder
  6. Flex The Muscle, Ray Schnittker (also trainer)
  7. Motown Dreamgirl, Jennnifer Lowrey, Robert Lounsbury

2013 monte winners in the fields include First Tail U See, Sundance Bayama, Flex The Muscle and Motown Dreamgirl. Thanks to Meadowlands management and to our generous sponsors for making Hambletonian Monte a reality.


Racing Under Saddle Friday at Grand River Raceway
Thursday, July 25, 2013 - by Kelly Spencer, manager of marketing and communications, Grand River Raceway

Elora, ON --- The Racing Under Saddle Ontario series makes its next stop at Grand River Raceway on Friday (July 26). The group of talented riders will be accompanied by trotters normally seen in harness racing, showcasing the versatility and speed of the Standardbred.

RUS Ontario organizer Julie Walker is working hard to promote and expand RUS in Canada. “Our goal is to become a regular pari-mutuel wagering event in Canada. We see ourselves attracting riders and business people from other equestrian sporting events including Thoroughbred, quarter horse racing, eventing and jumping,” says Walker.

The RUS event is carded as race 9B (approximate post time 9:55 p.m.). The RUS riders will also meet-and-greet patrons on the tarmac from 7–7:30 p.m.

Sarah Town, who rides Entry Hanover in the one-mile dash, will be the guest announcer on the Friday night feature, From Bike To Mic. Town will make her race calling debut in race three.

Sharleen MacDonald and Sixth Man look to defend their victory in the most recent RUS event at Hanover Raceway on July 6. Julie Walker owns and trains the 4-year-old trotter. Two weeks earlier at Hanover Raceway, Walker piloted him to her first-ever driving win in a harness race. Riina Rekila joins the field of RUS riders for the first time this year. In 2010, the Finnish-born trainer-driver was the first-ever female nominee for the prestigious O’Brien Award of Horsemanship.

The complete field is shown below:

1-Hetties Honey-Anna Humphris-Campbellville, ON 
2-Oaklea Uptown-Marit Valstad-Moffatt, ON
3-Leonardo Da Lindy-Marie Brooking-Rockwood, ON
4-Entry Hanover-Sarah Town-South Hampton, ON
5-Sixth Man-Sharleen Macdonald-Paisley, ON
6-Harlequin-Riina Rekila-Campbellville, ON
7-Lollipop Gal-Linnea Lindstrom-Guelph, ON
8-All Cantab-Jenni Judin-Campbellville, ON

Post time for race one on July 26 is 7:05 p.m


Hambletonian Monte (RUS) Series Starts at M1

July 19, 2013

The new Hambletonian Society managed Hambletonian Monte Series began last night at the new Meadowlands with two non-wagering $5,000 divisions of leg #1. The first division went to the Heather Reese ridden A Penny Earned(4m Conway Hall-Penny Dream-Dream Vacation) in 1:58.3 for trainer George Ducharme, also trainer of Hambletonian hopeful colt Royalty For Life. Owned by Ross, Fontaine, Oliva and Ducharme, the winner (bred by Walnut Hall Limited) moved from fourth at the half to defeat Pointe Of Honour with Tara Hynes aboard. Chinese Cuisine was third for Tina Duer

The second division went to The Standardbred Ventures Inc. owned Motown Dreamgirl(7f Keystone Nordic-Spurtacular High-Esquire Spur) handled by Jennifer Lowrey in 2:01.3. The Bonley Farm bred mare defeated Muscolo with Michelle Crawford up and third place finisher Sundance Bayama ridden by Stephanie Werser. The winning trainer was Robert Lounsbury. Race pacesetter Celebrity Playboy ended sixth with the Ray Schnittker ridden Flex The Muscle finishing fifth.

The second leg of the Hambletonian Monte Series will take place next Friday night, with the final on Hambletonian Day.


Hambletonian Monte Leg #1 Friday

July 17, 2013

Two divisions of Hambletonian Monte’s first leg are set to go Friday at the new Meadowlands. Last year winners Master Pine, Chinese Cuisine and Armbro Doyle will be at the start along with early 2013 winners Flex The Muscle, First Tail U See and Sundance Bayama. Entries are shown below (horse, rider, trainer). Second division entrant Flowing James just qualified under saddle at M1 on July 13, scoring in 2:00 for rider Emma Johansson. Thanks go to the host track, all participants, series manager The Hambletonian Society and sponsors Allerage Farm, William Weaver, White Birch Farm, Back on Track, Blue Chip Farm, Burke Stable and Global Graphics for supporting this exciting series that showcases the leading point winners final on Hambletonian Day for a $25,000 purse.

Monte/RUS Division 1 – post time 7:00pm, Purse $5,000, One Mile

Master Pine, Helene Gregory/Julie Miller

Where’s Harry, Caroline Green/James Potter

Admirable Hanover, Jennifer Connor/Janice Connor

Waldorf Hall, Jenny Melander/Jim Raymer

Pointe of Honour, Tara Hynes/Frank Scamporino Jr.

A Penny Earned, Heather Reese/George Ducharme’

Amoreena, Marielle Enberg/Pat Lachance

Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer/Brett Biddle


Monte/RUS Division 2 – after race 3 on M1 card, Purse $5,000, One Mile

Motown Dreamgirl, Jennifer Lowery/Robert Lounsbury

Flowing James, Emma Pettersson/Mark Harder

Flex The Muscle, Ray Schnittker (also trainer)

Muscolo, Michelle Crawford/Paul Kelley

Celebrity Playboy, Maria Andersson/Ron Burke

First Tail U See, Ashley Eldred/John Battiato

Sundance Bayama, Stephanie Werder/Henrik Lundell

Armbro Doyle, tba/Dawn Anderson


Be there for this significant Monte America event and for an excellent standardbred card at the new Meadowlands.


Entries Due Monday for Hambletonian“Monte”

Trot Racing Under Saddle Series

July 12, 2013

Entries for the first leg of the late-closing exhibition series for trotters racing under saddle are due Monday, July 15 at 9:00 a.m. at The Meadowlands race office. There are currently 19 eligible horses and two supplements to the program. Horses may supplement to the series at a cost of $500, up to the 9:00 a.m. entry time on Monday; after that no further supplements will be accepted.

The first $10,000 leg will take place on Friday, July 19, with a second $10,000 event contested the following Friday, July 26. The top point-earners in preliminary legs will advance to $25,000 final, showcased on harness racing's richest and most prestigious day - the 88th edition of the Hambletonian, Saturday, August 3 at the Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ.

The Hambletonian Monte series was made possible through the generous backing of the following sponsors: Jeff Gural’s Allerage Farm, Back To The Track Equine Products, Blue Chip Farm, Burke Racing Stable, Global Graphics, Bill Weaver’s Valley High Stable and White Birch Farms.

Monte racing, a hybrid of harness and thoroughbred racing is a popular pari-mutuel sport in Europe, especially in France where many top trotters and drivers compete in both sulky and saddle races. 

Pointe Of Honor, who recently rewarded backers with a $226.00 mutuel while in harness at the Big M, is one of two current supplements to the Hambletonian Monte series.  Another notable eligible is Green Day, a winner of $1.3 million, including the Yonkers Trot, a leg of the Trotting Triple Crown.

2013 Monte America races were previously conducted at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Saratoga Harness, Goshen Historic Track and the Afton Fair, NY. 

“Jeff Gural’s  help in hosting and sponsoring  the series at the Meadowlands has been a huge boost in helping to grow monte racing in the U.S., “ said series founder Helene Gregory, who received a President’s Award from the U.S. Harness Writers for her efforts in staging under saddle racing in 2012.

Complete conditions and more information can be found on the Monte America website or on the Hambletonian Society website

Eligibles to the Monte America series are listed below. Supplements are accepted until Monday, July 15.

Admirable Hanover, Amoreena, Armbro Doyle, Celebrity Playboy, Chinese Cuisine, First Tail U See, Green Day, Hour Lavec, Mado Dream, Majestic Man, Master Pine, Muscolo, My Irish Molly, Rapids N Currents, Ringside Lauryn, Road Rash, TJS Mr Lavec, Waldorf Hall and Winuendo.

Supplements: Pointe Of Honor and Sundance Bayama.

Race conditions may be found at:

Entry form is also on the Hambletonian Society site at:

Any horse that has not met the required times for under saddle races, before draw time for the preliminary legs, will not be eligible to race.

In related monteamerica news, today at Vernon Downs A Penny Earned (4f Conway Hall-Penny Dream-Dream Vacation) qualified for trainer George Ducharme with Heather Reese aboard. She completed the task in 2:01.4s with a last half in :58 and a sparkling last panel of :26.4.


Monte at Afton NY – Frank Tingley Memorial to First Tail

U See and Ashley Eldred

July 11, 2013

Monteamerica action continued Thursday as the Ashley Eldred ridden/trained, well-bred, First Tail U See (6f Conway Hall-Speedrise Hanover-Super Bowl) took the Frank Tingley Memorial at Afton, NY on their 21 race card that also included Billings Series amateur and NYSS Fair races. The pair of females scored in 2:11h over the track rated good from post seven. Stephen Merhbach owns the winner that was bred by well respected Raymond Campbell Jr. The winner has a lifetime record to sulky of 1:57.1s and has earned over $52,000.

Veteran class-master Lemon Pepper (14g Cumin-Lemon Sole-Armbro Goal) finished second (he a $596,000 career earner with a 1:53.2 record) with Jennifer Lowery aboard and Saratoga monte winner Vassar Hall (9f Striking Sahbra-Vera Hall-Conway Hall) was third for Michelle Crawford. Vassar Hall is a $109,000 career winner with a 1:57.4h mark. Six quality monte contestants faced the starter with one scratch.

Monte (RUS) will soon take to the larger new Meadowlands stage on July 19, where leg #1 of the Hambletonian Monte Series takes place. The new series, capably managed by the Hambletonian Society, promises to be an exciting and competitive opportunity for monte practitioners and fans. Leg #2 is scheduled for July 26 with the Final on August 3rd, Hambletonian Day.


Schnittker Wins Goshen Historic Track Monte

July 7, 2013

Trainer/driver Ray Schnittker, now turned RUS jockey, won today’s Goshen monte (RUS) event in 2:04.2h. Veteran stallion Flex The Muscle (6m Muscles Yankee-Alix Hall-Conway Hall) burst off the gate from post four to assume the lead he never surrendered, holding off fast closing Muscolo (4g Muscles Yankee-Vernon Blue Chip-Sir Taurus) and Karen Isbell to win by a neck. Muscolo closed from eight lengths back at the ¾ mile mark to make a close contest at the wire. The winner is owned by Schnittker, Silva Stable and Arden Homestead Stable. Where’s Harry was third for Caroline Green.

Purse was $5,000 for the one mile monte trotting test. Since the monte (RUS) events began again in 2012, today was the first win by a male rider. Schnittker regular exercises his trainees to saddle, a practice that received attention during the racing career of Deweycheatumnhowe.


Sixth ManWins RUS Ontario Exhibition


Published: July 7, 2013 2:12 am ET (Hanover Raceway)

Hanover Raceway played host to a special exhibition race of trotters under saddle Saturday night. The event, organized by newly formed "RUS Ontario" was a big hit with the crowd and showed off the versatility of the Standardbred horse.

The race was won by Sixth Man and was that horse’s third in a row after winning in the race bike in his last two starts in Hanover. Sharleen MacDonald of Paisley, Ont. was the winning rider, competing for the first time with Sixth Man under saddle.

After the race, she said it was very special to win the race under saddle and she hoped that it would continue to gain support in the coming months ahead.

Hanover Raceway also dished out their monthly driver and trainer awards, with prizes from Brucelandair. J. Harris of Dundas, Ont. was the top driver for the month of June with 12 wins and a UDR of 0.464. Harris picked up two wins on Saturday night with Yo Gaba Gaba and In Dinos Pocket.

Larry Fitzsimmons took home trainer of the month honours as he had three wins in six starts, with his other three starters all finishing in the money during June. Fitzsimmons finished the month of June with a 0.648 trainer’s rating. Fitzsimmons raced Stoney Durkin in the night’s seventh race and finished third.

Race seven was also the Spinal Cord Injury Ontario Pace and was won by Lawmen Reign and Ross Battin. The win was the six-year-old Rambaran son’s 14th career score and there was a special blanket presentation with the group from Spinal Cord Injury Ontario.

Hanover Raceway returns with live racing next Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. It will be the final time fans can qualify for the Survivor contest finale. Fans who pick four horses in a row, who all finish in the money will have a chance to compete for three great prizes on July 20 courtesy of Country 93 Radio. First prize is a 58-inch high definition television.


Saratoga Monte to Vassar Hall

July 6, 2013

Vassar Hall (9f Striking Sahbra-Vera Hall-Conway Hall) in rein to Therese Lindgren stormed from off the pace to capture tonight’s Monte (RUS) event at Saratoga Harness. Away sixth from post four, Lindgren steered the winner steadily toward the front, reaching her objective at top stretch and drawing off to a three length victory in 2:07.1h, last quarter in :30.2, last half in 1:01.4. The winner is trained by co-owner Brett Crawford and partner Len Wojdyla. The veteran mare was bred by Walnut Hall Limited, a supporter and sponsor of racing events. Pacesetter First Tail U See held for second with Ashley Eldred aboard.


Weekend Monte Action

July 5, 2015

The second weekend of Monte America (RUS) action is on tap at Saratoga Harness and Goshen Historic Track.

A field of seven will answer the starter’s call Saturday at Saratoga for a purse of $7,000. Off-time is scheduled for 6:45pm. The field and riders line up as follows for the one mile non-wagering test:

  1. That’s All Folks, Karen Isbell
  2. Mr. Go, Tara Hynes
  3. Ackbro Crazylegs, Jenny Melander
  4. Vassar Hall, Therese Lundgren
  5. First Tail U See, Ashley Eldred
  6. Let’s Get Serious N, Jennifer Connor
  7. My Irish Molly, Jocelyn Lavigne

 Goshen Historic Track hosts a monte trotting event on Sunday’s Hall of Fame Day card, over the one-mile distance for a $5,000 purse. Race seven on the card shows off-time as 2:30pm. Two male contestants (Michael Miller and Ray Schnittker) are included in the starting field:

  1. Where’s Harry, Caroline Green
  2. Cartier Field, Michael Miller
  3. Admirable Hanover, Jennifer Connor
  4. Flex The Muscle, Ray Schnittker
  5. Lemon Pepper, Jennifer Lowrey
  6. Majestic Man, Mary Dolce Conti
  7. Muscolo, Karen Isbell

The Goshen Sunday card features the annual Legends Trot and a full slate of New York Sires events.

Be there for the Historic Track and Hall of Fame festivities and to thank all monte America sponsors, participants and racetracks that host and embrace RUS events.


Hanover (ONT) Hosts RUS Exhibition

Published: July 4, 2013 11:44 am ET

This Saturday night as part of its card of racing, Hanover Raceway is excited to host a special exhibition race with six trotters set to race under saddle.

The track caught up with one of the organizers, Julie Walker, to take a closer look at what could be the next big thing in Ontario Horse Racing.

The race will be Hanover’s third trotting under saddle event and second this season. Last year, RUS first took to the track on the raceway’s All-Trot Day, and Amoreena was victorious in 2:00.2. This season, Hanover hosted a special qualifying race and RUS racing was charted for the first time, as Amoreena prepped for stakes action south of the border. That horse will return Saturday with five others to promote Racing Under Saddle in Ontario. Walker says she hopes the event will “bring people into the grandstand and get them excited about racing standardbreds.”

RUS Ontario has been bolstered by a few Europeans that have come to the province and helped get the movement off the ground. In the race on Saturday night, three of the six riders hail from Scandinavia, and Walker says their expertise has been vital in growing and developing RUS Ontario.

Walker explains that RUS racing is far more prominent overseas, stating, “In Europe, it’s a part of the horses’ training. When they train their horses over there, they ride on day and go in the cart the next. In France, racing under saddle has more prestige than going in a sulky. If you can drive a horse, you should be able to ride.” As for what the foreigners bring to the table, Walker added, “The girls have experience and have been working really hard teaching skills and they’ll make the racing more exciting over here.”

The six riders that will be competing on Saturday in Hanover have been hard at work in preparation for the exhibition, and recently got licensed as riders through the Ontario Racing Commission in schooling action at Grand River Raceway.

Walker is really hoping that racing under saddle grows in popularity and thinks it is good for the sport of racing standardbreds, as it highlights their versatility. “It’s amazing what a standardbred can do. You can jump on their back and they catch on so quickly. Standardbreds are an amazing breed. I saw my first race under saddle in 2005 and fell in love with it.”

Surely, RUS racing is a new trend that is growing in this province, and is still very new and unique for racing fans to witness. But Walker is very hopeful that this is only the beginning.

“I’d like to see it on the condition sheet. The girls we have now are talented enough that they could hop on any horse as catch riders. We’d like to see it as part of the purse pool and on condition sheets at tracks around the province.”

For anyone who has never seen a trotter raced under saddle, Hanover Raceway is the place to take it in this Saturday night. Walker says the sport is as exciting for fans as anything she’s seen. “Watching two horses so close together look each other in the eye and really race is so awesome. For me, it has the same excitement as any sporting event. When you watch RUS racing, it’s the same thrill. The feeling inside when you watch a professional athlete I think is the same as what fans will get when they watch these horses and riders on Saturday night.”

(Hanover Raceway)


Monte (RUS) 2013 Action at Pocono

June 29, 2013

The 2013 monte racing season began tonight at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs that contested two full fields of quality monte trotters, each race carrying a $10,000 purse.

The first event resulted in a North American monte record on a 5/8 mile track as Fort Valley As (5g Tom Ridge-Caspian-Baltic Speed) scored by five lengths in 1:59.1f for Karen Isbell and trainer/owner Jennifer Sabot. The ACL Stuteri bred trotter defeated Waldorf Hall with Jenny Melander up, and the Tina Duer ridden Chinese Cuisine finished third. The previous 5/8 mile track North American standard was 2:00.2f recorded last year by Armbro Doyle.

Sundance Bayama (5h Taurus Dream-Genesis Bayama-Garland Lobell) and Helene Gregory scored a 2:00.3f victory over Celebrity Playboy, with Maria Andersson up, in the second monte division. The Ron Burke trained Playboy set all the fractions before being headed on the line by the fast closing winner trained by Henrik Lundell. Gregory and Andersson were winners during the 2012 campaign and among the most consistent monte riders during that season. Celebrity Playboy raced just two days before tonight’s effort, scoring a 1:54.1f win to sulky at Harrah’s Philadelphia on June 27. Tonight five monte trotters recorded times of 2:00.3f or better.


Monte (RUS) Seeks P-M Wagering in NY
Saturday, June 29, 2013 - by Helene Gregory

East Windsor, NJ --As the 2013 season of Racing Under Saddle is getting underway, there is some information I feel I have to share with the harness industry.

RUS/Monte in the United States is something we want to move up in priority as last year we saw a tremendous interest in this “new” form of racing trotters. To be able to move on and be able to have pari-mutuel wagering, there is a need to change the statute of the stated wording of how to race a harness horse.

New York state has been presented with a bill just recently to do just this, but it needs support from our leaders from harness racing.

The bill has number A07709A and reads:

Introduced by M. of A. Pretlow -- read once and referred to the Committee on Racing and Wagering -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee.

An act to amend the racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law, in relation to harness racing.

The people of the state of New York, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:

Section 1. Subdivision 3 of section 301 of the racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law is amended to read as follows: The term "racing," as used in this article, shall be construed to mean utilizing only (horse racing in which the horses participating are harnessed) horses that are registered with a recognized breed registry as Standard (harness) and where the Standardbred horse is attached to a sulky, carriage, or similar vehicle, and shall not include any form of horse racing in which the horses participating are or mounted (by a jockey). This act shall take effect immediately.

The following is a memorandum of support for bill A07709A, an act to amend NYS Racing Law to allow competition and wagering on “Racing Under Saddle” at New York’s harness tracks.

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York, representing New York State harness horsemen, supports an act that will amend New York’s Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law to allow competition and wagering on “Racing Under Saddle” at New York harness tracks -- in which Standardbred harness horses race with a mounted rider, rather than attached to a sulky or carriage.

Under current law, the definition of harness racing limits this unique horse breed to racing attached to a sulky, carriage or similar vehicle, and effectively prohibits the practice of RUS with a mounted rider. In 2010 Yonkers Raceway hosted an RUS exhibition/promotional event which created a great deal of interest. However, RUS has remained a novelty with unrealized potential solely because of the inability to pay purses.

This form of racing would benefit Standardbred racing, harness tracks, and New York State in the following ways:

  • Extend horses’ racing careers and give carriage horses a chance to develop a racing career under saddle
  • Expand available horse population to benefit tracks that deal with perpetual shortages
  • Create larger fields, which utilize more horses and generate more interest
  • Give NYS a significant advantage over our regional counterparts who also arbitrarily prohibit RUS
  • Generate significant new interest in New York Standardbred racing and extend markets for pari-mutuel wagering

In order for the above to occur, the specific prohibition under NYS racing law against harness horses being ridden “under saddle” or mounted should be removed. This proposal specifically limits such racing at harness tracks only to registered Standardbred horses (and, obviously, only at a trot or a pace). Such changes will allow licensed harness tracks to conduct either harness races or RUS races and will allow wagers to be made and purses to be paid under the same regulatory guidelines currently in place for the conduct of harness races.

This is a common sense policy change that will immediately enhance New York’s critical agriculture and horse industries, at essentially no taxpayer cost. Please do not hesitate to call the SOA’s Joe Faraldo at 718.544.6800 or Yoswein New York at 212.233.5700 should you have any questions. Thank you for your consideration and support of A7709.

As of now, a RUS race in New York state is not even allowed to race for any form of purse, each participant has to make equal amount of money for the races to be held on a pari-mutuel track.

With the trend we saw last year, and add a purse structure and the ability to fit 10 RUS horses behind an eight-horse starting gate, there is a huge chance that gamblers and trainer/owners will welcome this new form of racing.

We have a chance here to introduce the females in our sport and that have been lacking in the past and also create interest from riders' friends and families. Also, we want the other people in the world to see that we have adopted something that they are familiar with in their countries.

The United States has always been one foot ahead of other harness racing countries as far as breeding and quality of horses, why are we not doing the same with the Racing Under Saddle? As an example, a stallion cannot stand stud in France unless he shows marks in both regular and under saddle races.

This could be a whole new market for young riders and also females to participate in our sport and introduce new people to harness racing. 


Monte Begins at Pocono

June 26, 2013

Saturday June 29thbrings out the best racing action in North America, and that includes two Monte (RUS) America early non-wagering events, both with full fields of eight. Race 1 is highlighted by veteran Free-For-All trotter Andover America, a recent monte qualifying winner at Gaitway. Melina Giroso will ride for trainer Daryl Bier and owner McTrade Enterprises. He will be challenged by the 2012 monte winner Chinese Cuisine with Tina Duer in the irons for trainer John Duer and the Jenny Melander handled Waldorf Hall. Race 2 brings out the Ron Burke trained Celebrity Playboy with Maria Andersson up. Expect a challenge from Helene Gregory aboard Sundance Bayama for trainer Henrik Lundell and today’s Monticello qualifying winner Motown Dreamgirl with Jennifer Lowery up. This Robert Lounsbury trainee circled the Monticello half-mile oval in 2:02.4h.

Fields and riders are listed below, each race for a $10,000 purse:

Race 1 Monte RUS

  1. Andover America, Melinda Giroso
  2. Admirable Hanover, Jennifer Connor
  3. Ringside Lauryn, Susanne Kovacic
  4. Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer
  5. Fort Valley As, Karen Isbell
  6. Muscles Marinara, Mary Dolce Conti
  7. Waldorf Hall, Jenny Melander
  8. Hour Lavec, Brittney Ohol

Race 2 Monte RUS

  1. Up The Middle, Megan Coombe
  2. Sundance Bayama, Helene Gregory
  3. First Tail U See, Ashley Eldred
  4. Amoreena, Marielle Enberg
  5. Motown Dreamgirl, Jennifer Lowrey
  6. Mystic Splendor, Jocelyn Lavigne
  7. Celebrity Playboy, Maria Andersson
  8. Lets Get Serious N, Jennifer Connor

Be there to support our monte participants and to enjoy top-flight trotting and pacing action at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs.


Pluto du Vivier Wins Gr. III Monte Prix Paul Delanoe

June 25, 2013

Pluto du Vivier (10g Extreme Dream-Iguine du Vivier-Buvetier d’Aunou), handled by Eric Raffin for owner Pierre Sanchis and trainer Jean-Christophe Sorel, scored a narrow victory in today’s Gr. III Prix Paul Delanoe for monte trotting specialists at Paris-Vincennes. The 2850 meter test over the grande piste carried a purse of 120,000 euro. The favored winner scored in 1.12.9kr for his 21stcareer win in 73 starts, good for 770,000 euro. Pluto last won a 120,000 euro monte event at Vincennes on March 2ndin the same time, over the same distance. The veteran was bred by SNC Jean-Yves Lucuyer. Second place went to Paladin Bleu (10m Jag de Bellouet-Una Picolina-Ianthin) with Franck Nivard up

Andover America on the Monte

June 24, 2013

Veteran top-level campaigner Andover America used his typical come from behind strategy to win a RUS (Monte) qualifying event today at Gaitway. The $704,000 plus career earner, with a lifetime record of 1:51.4s taken at Mohawk in 2012, covered the mile in 2:00 for a five length margin of victory with Melinda Giroso aboard for trainer Daryl Bier and long-time owner McTrade Enterprises of Davie, FL. Pointe of Honour was second for Tara Hynes timed in a respectable 2:01.

Monticello Raceway hosts a monte qualifier on June 26.

June 29 – First 2013 Monte Event

June 20, 2013 (Jenny Melander)

Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs hosts the first 2013 monte event, an exhibition event. Entries are due by Tuesday June 25 to the Pocono Downs race office before 9:00 am. All riders must have a current USTA RUS license at time of entry and all horses must have proof of coggins, rabies and health papers on file with the race office at time of entry. These documents must be dated January 1, 2013 or after. No Pennsylvania license is required since this is an exhibition race.

Our thanks to Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs management for hosting the start of monte 2013, on what is one of the track’s premier racing programs. Monte participants are committed to conducting their race in an efficient and professional manner.

Monte at Goshen and Gaitway

June 17, 2013

Goshen held its third weekend of monte qualifying, on June 15th won by Admirable Hanover (6g Cantab Hall-Almost An Angel-Crowning Point). Ridden by Jennifer Conner the winner scored in 2:04h defeating veteran Lemon Pepper with trainer/jockey Jennifer Lowery aboard,

At Gaitway on June 17 Ringside Lauren (7f Dream Vacation-Ringside Gigi-Giant Victory) scored in 2:01.2 for Susanne Kovacic and trainer Mark Capone in a RUS qualifying event.

Arca des Jacquets, Valse Darling and Ulysse Win Graded Monte

events at Vincennes

June 15, 2013

The Gr. I Prix d’Essai (monte, 200,000 euro, 2175 meters) went to favored monte specialist Arca des Jacquets (3f Prodigious-Kichenotte Jolie-Camino) with Eric Raffin up for Ecurie Victoria Dreams and trainer Philippe Moulin. She easily defeated Alexia du Charisay (3f Le Big Boss-Precious Thing-Dan des Sarts) and Aston Fly (3f Hermes de Montfort-Quie Daidou-Korean). The winner covered the distance in 1.13.5kr, posting her third straight monte win.

The featured Gr. I Prix du President de la Republique (240,000 euro purse, monte, 2850 meters, four year-olds) went to 36/1 upset winner Valse Darling (4f Prodigious-Fly Darling-Podosis) for jockey Franck Nivard. Valse Darling is also trained by Philippe Moulin for owner Ecurie Victoria Dreams and scored in 1.14.7kr. She defeated Vincitore Ermitage ridden by Damien Bonne, with Vaquero du Mont third. Her stablemate and prohibitive favorite, Vision Intense, actually won the race easily but was disqualified for being rough-gaited in the stretch.

The Gr. II Prix Xavier de Paint-Palais for 120,000 euro (2175 meters) went to even money favorite Ulysse (5m Love You-Loctudy-Extreme Dream) and jockey Thomas Levesque. The son of leading sire Love You is trained by Mike Lenders for owner Ecurie des Pommiers. Time was a sharp 1.11.3kr as Ulysse defeated Utoky (5m by Cygnus d’Odyssee) handled by Franck Nivard. Udayama finished third.

Ray Schnittker Rides A Winner

June 10, 2013

Yes, the headline is correct. On Sunday, June 9, Ray Schnittker rode a winner in the Under Saddle Race at Historic Track as part of the National Historic Landmark’s matinee race card.

Schnittker was aboard Flex The Muscleand they turned down two others in a time of 2:06.2. The dash was the ninth and final race on the track’s second of three matinee programs. They finished 27 lengths ahead of Lemon Pepper, ridden by Jennifer Lowrey. Majestic Man went off-stride at the start much to the dismay of rider Mary Dolce Conte, and finished third. Flex the Muscle, an $817,000 career winner with a career trotting record of 1:52.2 is co-owned by Schnittker with J & T Silva Stables and the Arden Homestead Stables and Schnittker.

Those who know Schnittker know that he has a penchant for riding his standardbreds. Among the stalwarts from his barn that have had saddles on them include the great Deweycheatumnhowe and the outstanding trotting filly Check Me Out. “I won [an] under saddle race (with a standardbred) 20 years ago and it’s just something else in harness racing,” he explained. “I like putting a saddle on some of mine as part of their training program and I do that from time to time so they don’t get racetrack-sour.”

Schnittker, who has his large stable of horses at Historic Track, also drove two winners on the matinee card, both two-year-olds, one a trotter and the other a pacer.

(Historic Track)


Having Said That Wins Monte Feature on Copenhagen Cup Card

June 9, 2013

Having Said That, with Christina Lindhardt up, won his fourth straight Sunday at Charlottenlund, taking the 2000 meter autostart monte event in 1.12.6kr. The veteran campaigner upset Prince de Monfort in his previous effort. The winner (10h SJs Photo-Pay TV-TV Yankee) was exported to Finland in 2006 from the US and bred by Cedar Post Management, LLC. He comes from the family of Gill’s Victory, a 31 time winner from 76 starts for over $438,000, who was second in the Oslo Grand Prix, Copenhagen Cup, Forus Open, and Gran Premio Della Lotteria. Race video link is shown below.

Charlottenlund - 2013-06-09







2000 meter













Having Said That

Christina Lindhardt






Palermo Tårs

Nicole Marsing






Sing of Mars

Amanda O. Viktorsson






Pikant Brogård

Anette Uglebjerg







Sabina Gammelgård






Kir G

Maria Hansen





Armateur Wins Monte Gr. III Prix Dido at Vincennes

June 4, 2013

Tonight’s Gr. III Prix Dido, for monte three year-olds, at Paris-Vincennes went to Armateur (3m Norman Jet-Ovation du Lys-Chenu) and Yoann Lebourgeois in a stretch long battle, decided on the line, with Alexia du Cherisay (3f Le Big Boss-Precious Thing-Dans des Sarts). The winner, owned and trained by Philippe Allaire, covered the 2200 meters in 2:44.94 (1.15.kmr) to capture the winners share of the 58,000 euro purse. Allaire owns Prix d’Amerique winner Ready Cash.

Aged monte contestants battled in the 78,000 euro Prix Perseus, also on tonight’s card. The 2700 meter event went to Remember Jihem (8m Jag de Bellouet-Feriana-Pietro) ridden by Fabien Gence in 1.14.3kr to defeat Rolls de Guez (8f Urfirst des Pres-Eau Blanche-Quebir de Chenu). Remember Jihen, who won the 100,000 euro Prix Antigone on April 27, is owned and trained by J.M. Monchin.


Afton Fair to host Under Saddle race
Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - by Helene Gregory

The Frank Tingley Memorial, an under saddle race for trotters, will be held July 11 at the Afton (NY) Fair. The estimated purse of $1,000 is sponsored by Jeff Gural and will have the following breakdown: $500, $250, $100, $50, $50, $50. There is a $10 entry fee and a maximum of six starters, with a minimum of five entries to hold the race.

Horses must be trotters that are registered with the USTA. Riders must have a RUS license from the USTA. Horses must wear over check and crupper.

For questions and entry call Fran at 607.639.1815 or 607.343.7393. After July 1, call 607.639.1167 to enter. Entries close July 8 at 10 a.m.


Goshen to host Monte/RUS qualifiers
Saturday, June 01, 2013 -

Goshen, NY--Goshen Historic Track will host qualifiers on June 9 and 16 (both Sundays) for the upcoming Racing Under Saddle series at the Meadowlands. Entries must be made by 11 a.m. the Friday before the race date to (845) 294-5333 and the race will be a go with three or more entries.

Riders must be licensed, the process which includes both a written and a practical exam, before qualifying their horses under saddle. For more information about Racing Under Saddle rider licensure, contact Michele Kopiec at michele.kopiec@ustrotting.comor (877) 800-8782 x3294.

On June 2nd Goshen Historic Track also hosted a RUS/Monte qualifier, won by Majestic Man (6g Malabar Man-Sleek N Unique-Sierra Kosmos) for Mary Dolce Conti and trainer Richard Gayton, covering the mile in 2:09.1h, final quarter in :30.1.


Vision Intense Takes Gr. II Monte Prix Lavater for

J-Ph Dubois’ Ecurie Victoria Dreams

May 31, 2013

Tonights’ co-featured Prix Lavater, a European Gr. II Monte event for 120,000 euro over 2850 meters, went to 3/2 favorite Vision Intense (4f Prodigious-Intense Action-Cezio Josselyn) with Ms. Nathalie Henry up. The winner produced a double for Ecurie Victoria Dream (J-Ph Dubois) and trainer Philippe Moulin, following Texas Charm’s win of the Prix Chambon P a race earlier for Julien Dubois. Vision Intense was ridden patiently by Ms. Henry before taking the lead at the top of the stretch and drawing clear to win by open lengths in 1.13.7kr. The slick gaited mare was bred by Jean-Philippe Dubois and scored her eighth win in 19 starts for life earnings of 498,650 euro.


Monte Elite to Having Said That Defeating Prince de Montfort

May 26, 2013

US bred Having Said That (10g SJs Photo-Pay TV-TV Yankee) was a 29/1 upset winner in the 300,000SEK Monte Elite (1609 meters autostart) today at Solvalla, riden by Christina Lindhardt and trained by Christian Lindhardt. Bred by Cedar Post Management LLC the winner rallied past pacesetter Safari Dream to gain a comfortable lead and held off favored Prince de Montfort handled by Matthieu Abrivard to win by three lengths. Time was a sharp 1.11.2kr for the winner. Rock Me finished third. Having Said That scored his third 2013 victory in five starts.


Prince de Montfort at Solvalla Sunday

May 21, 2013

Veteran FR monte campaigner Prince de Montfort continues his push toward one million euros Sunday in the Solvalla Monte Elite, race three on the Elitloppet card. To be ridden by Matthieu Abrivard for trainer/owner Sebastian Guarato, the Prince enters off two consecutive wins in Scandinavia.

Solvalla May 26 Monte Elite 1609 meters autostart, 150,000SEK, race 3

  1. Rock Me, Josefine Ivehag
  2. Conrads Garland, Linda Eriksson
  3. Having Said That, Christina Lindhardt
  4. Limerick, Malin Beras
  5. Moon Dreamer, Emilie Lovvold
  6. Stensro Macho, Lina Aim
  7. Ekets Patrik, Emelie Knutsson
  8. Just Indeed, Linda Hedstrom
  9. Prince de Montfort, Matthieu Abrivard
  10. Safari Dream, Elisabeth Allaire

Prince de Montfort Wins at Bjerke

May 12, 2013

The day’s top class monte event at Bjerke, the Kingsrod Trading Pris over 1609 meters, autostart, purse 75,000 krone, was an easy winning open-lengths task for favored FR monte campaigner Prince de Montfort (10m Ipsos de Montfort-Eva du Verbois-Pactole de Tillard) handled by Matthieu Abrivard for owner/trainer Sebastien Guarato. He scored in 1.11.4kr for his second 2013 win in as many starts. The Prince excels in Scandinavia each year. Moon Dreamer (Dream Vacation (finished second with pacesetter Limerick (Master Thoj) third for Malin Beras.

Quarry Bay Wins Prix Guillaume de Bellaigue

May 11, 2012

HippodromeParis-Vincennes today hosted an exceptional trotting card highlighted by the Gr. III International Prix Guillaume de Bellaigue, a monte event over 2700 meters for a 120,000 euro purse. Billed as a battle between Quarry Bay (9f Cygnus d’Odyssee-Barcarolla-Fakir du Vivier) and Pluto du Vivier (10g Extreme Dream-Iguine du Vivier-Buvetier d’Aunou), the prognosticators were right. Ms. Camille Levesque rallied her mare to a close win over Matthieu Abrivard handling Pluto du Vivier, timed in 1.13.2kr and off as even money favorite. The winner is owned and bred by Ecurie Pierre Levesque and trained by Mike Lenders. Second place Pluto du Vivier was bred by Jean-Yves Lecuyer, a leading commercial breeder in France.

Seeking Sponsors

May 5, 2013

The new late closing series, under saddle, at the Meadowlands is now offering sponsorship opportunities. Priced at $5,000, that includes program page ad’s from now until the day of the final, sponsorship offers attractive value and exposure to thousands of patrons. The Monte America  series has two $10,000 legs and a $25,000 final. $15,000 in sponsorships have been obtained so far. Potential sponsors should contact Helene Gregory through this site or the Hambletonian Society (that is handling purse distribution).Thanks for your time and help!

Helene Gregory


Remember Jihen Wins Monte Prix Antigone at Vincennes;

Prince de Montfort Wins at Helsinki

April 27, 2013

At Paris-Vincennes the Friday evening featured Prix Antigone (2850 meters, monte Gr. III European, 100,000 euro purse) was taken decisively by Remember Jihem (8m Jag de Bellouet-Feriana-Pietro) with Fabien Gence aboard for owner/trainer Jean-Marie Monclin, timed in 1.14kr. Favored Utoky and Frank Nivard finished a good third, overcoming a 25 meter handicap and timed over that distance in 1.13.6kr.

On April 28 the veteran FR monte performer Prince de Montfort won the 2100 meter Avoin Vantaan Energia for his regular rider Antoine Weils and owner/trainer Sebastian Guarto. The ten year-old son of Ipsos de Montfort raised his career earnings to just short of one million euro. Prince de Montfort covered the distance in 1.13.0kr to defeat another FR invader Pacha de la Frette (10g Icare de Pouline, he by a son of Speedy Somolli named Beautiful Somolli) rider by Elisabeth Allaire.

Hambletonian Day "Monte" Trot Racing Under Saddle Series Announced 2013

A late-closing series for trotters racing under saddle will feature a $25,000 final on Hambletonian Day, Sat., Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ.

April 25, 2013

Monte racing, a hybrid of harness and thoroughbred racing, is a popular pari-mutuel sport in Europe. Racing trotters under saddle enjoyed resurgence last year in North America under the direction of monte rider Helene Gregory. Under her direction, Monte America, has announced a series for trotters comprised of two legs worth $10,000 (divided) on July 19 and July 26 respectively and a $25,000 final showcased on harness racing's richest and most prestigious day - the 89th edition of the Hambletonian, traditionally the first Saturday in August.

A $200 nomination fee is due May 15 for those wishing to compete. Conditions, nomination blanks and more information can be found on the Monte America website or on the Hambletonian Society website

THE HAMBLETONIAN® DAY MONTE TROT                    A Late Closing Series For Trotters Racing Under Saddle

OWNED & SPONSORED BY: The Meadowlands Racetrack LLC.

SERVICED BY: The Hambletonian Society, Inc.

FOR: Three-year-old to fourteen-year-old trotters to be “raced under saddle” (Subject to U.S.T.A. Foaling Date Rules).

TO BE RACED AT: The Meadowlands (“Track”), East Rutherford, N.J. The preliminary legs will be raced on July 19 and on July 26. The Final will be held on August 3. If for any reason it becomes impractical or undesirable, in the opinion of the Sponsor, to hold any or all of these races at the track or dates designated, the Sponsor reserve the right to change the date and the location of any or all of the races.

CANCELLATION: The Sponsor further reserves the right to cancel any or all of the races if for reasons beyond their control it becomes impractical or undesirable in the opinion of the Sponsor to conduct said race(s).

If an event is not raced due to circumstances beyond their control, the Sponsor's responsibility and liability will be limited to refunding without interest nomination, sustaining and entrance fees collected toward a canceled event that have not been disbursed at the time of cancellation. These monies will be prorated among the owners of the horses eligible as of the time of cancellation.

PURSE: All purses are estimated:

Each preliminary leg.....................................$10,000 divided

Final..............................................................$25,000 estimated

PAYMENTS: For each of the above four events (U.S. Funds only).

May 15, 2013 (Nomination)...........................................$200.00

Entrance Fee (Entry Fee) for each preliminary leg........$100.00

There is no Entrance Fee for the Final. Nominated horses must be properly identified to the satisfaction of The Hambletonian Society at the time of nomination. Payment fees must accompany all nominations. (U.S. Funds Only) Nomination, sustaining and entrance fees are non-refundable except as provided above in the event of a cancelation.

SUPPLEMENTAL NOMINATIONS AND ENTRIES: A horse that has not been nominated can enter to race after the May 15 nomination date, up until draw time for the first preliminary leg with the amount of $500.00 plus the Entrance Fee for each preliminary leg. There are no supplemental entries allowed for the Final.

PAYMENT DISTRIBUTION: All nomination fees and entry fees for the preliminary legs will be added to the Final.

NOTICE: U.S.T.A. Rule 11, Section 3 provides: "Failure to make any payment required by the conditions constitutes an automatic withdrawal from the event." The Hambletonian Society, Inc. will construe payment to require that cash or check duly honored upon presentation be received at the time specified in U.S.T.A. Rule 12, Section 4.

DECLARATION: Entrance Fee shall be due with declaration to start at the track where the race is being held at the times and dates posted on the Condition Sheet.  Horses must show at least one clean race “under saddle” on the trot with no breaks in the qualifying time below, as recorded by the United States Trotting Association (U.S.T.A.), within 12 months of the racing date to be eligible to race. The qualifying times for trotters are: 2:09 on a half mile track; or 2:07 on a five-eighths track; or 2:05 on a seven-eighths or one-mile track. Such races must have been started with a mobile starting gate. Entrance Fee shall be due at time of declaration and payable not later than one hour prior to post time of the preliminary leg. There will be no refund of entrance fees for horses that do not start. All entrance fees shall be made payable to “The Hambletonian Society.”  The Track reserves the right to reject any entry and return the Entrance Fee, declare off any event if conditions warrant, call off any event not filling satisfactorily and place entries in their eligible class if entered incorrectly.

RACING CONDITIONS: All races are one dash at one mile. The races will be contested at one (1) mile with the mobile starting gate. In the event that more than 12 horses enter for the preliminary legs, they will be divided with each division receiving an equal share of the total purse.  All draws will be handled by Meadowlands race office and all post positions will be by open draw. Points in the preliminary legs will be awarded as follows: 50 points to winner; 25 for second; twelve (12) for third; three (3) for fourth; and two (2) for fifth. All other starters will receive one (1) point. Horses with the highest total points in the preliminary legs will compete in the Final. The Final will be limited to twelve (12) starters. Should two (2) or more horses tie for the final position(s) by virtue of equal points in the preliminary legs, thereby qualifying more than 12 horses, such tied horses shall be eliminated by lot, until there are a maximum of 12 starters selected. All horses are required to wear an overcheck and a crupper. No head poles or head numbers allowed. All races are non-wagering exhibition races.

MONEY DIVISION: Purses for races will be divided 50-25-12-8-5% in the eliminations and 50-25-12-8 and the remaining 5% to be divided among the other starters in the Final.

RIDERS AND TRAINERS FEES: The riders (jockeys) and trainers fees may be disbursed in accordance with the policy of the track at the time of the races.

WAIVER: As a condition of participation in this event and/or these events, the Owner(s) of the nominated horse(s) hereby grants to the Sponsor, its representatives, successors, and assigns the absolute right to copyright and publish, use or reuse still and motion photographic pictures of its horses, riders, trainers, employees, officers and agents, in whole or in part, in composite or in distorted character, with or without use of names, in color or otherwise, for the purpose of promotion, advertising, trade or other lawful purpose in any and all media. Owner(s) waives any right to inspect and/or approve the finished product or the copy that may be used in connection therewith or the use to which it might be applied.  Owner(s) further agrees to inform his riders, trainers, employees, officers and agents of the authority granted to the Sponsor herein, to hold the Sponsor, the Track, The New Meadowlands LLC, the United States Trotting Association and The Hambletonian Society, Inc. harmless from any and all liability and damages, and to indemnify the Sponsor from same should any such owner(s), driver(s), trainer(s), employee(s), officer(s) and agent(s) challenge Sponsor's rights herein as set forth herein. Owners, trainers, riders and their employees are all entering their horses into these races on their own risk.

DISPUTES: In the case of any dispute as to the interpretation of these conditions, the decision of the Sponsor shall be final. All fees and payments in any race are accepted on the condition that all claims, objections and appeals arising out of these races or with respect to any interpretation of any rules or conditions of the races, or otherwise shall be decided by the Sponsor.

RULES: A U.S.T.A. Racing Under Saddle (RUS) license is required for all riders. Additionally a New Jersey Racing Commission license is required by all owners, trainers and riders. Riders must wear approved helmet, safety vest, silk tops (colors) with white pants and a dark boot or half chaps reaching to below the knee. Crops cannot to exceed 28 inches. Riders may not strike horses on the head or behind the saddle. Horses may only be tapped on shoulder.

Further rules and guidelines are on the U.S.T.A. web site.

Unless otherwise specified and except as may be affected by a state or provincial racing Commission or Board, U.S.T.A. rules not in conflict with these conditions or the future amended conditions in the year of the race to govern, as well as the Track rules & regulations. The conditions and rules and regulations shall be those in effect at the time of the race.


The Hambletonian Society, Inc.

Cranbury Gates Office Park

109 South Main Street, Suite 18

Cranbury, NJ 08512-3174


Pompano Beach, FL (March 30, 2013) - Fred Segal, President of the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association (USHWA), has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2013 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards.

The scholarship fund was established in memory of Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. Preference for these scholarship awards will be given to a student majoring in journalism, communications or equine related studies. Last year there were three awards of $1,000 each.

Applicants must be a resident of the State of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Applicants must have demonstrated scholastic ability with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.8 and show evidence of community service and leadership through certificates, awards and/or letters of commendation.

Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than June 30, 2013, for consideration of a September 2013 award. Recipients may reapply annually for a maximum of four years.

Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, P.O. Box 669273, Pompano Beach, FL 33066. For more information or to receive an application on the internet, contact Steven Wolf via email at or Thomas H. Hicks

Jenny Melander 4th in Australia’s Monte Championship

March 24, 2013

Tabcorp Park-Melton (Melbourne, Australia) yesterday hosted an 11 race all trots card (each event 1720 meters, 1.07 miles) featuring the inaugural Great Southern Star Gr. I  A$50,000 eliminations and A$250,000 final plus the A$20,000 Team JC USA Drivers FFA Invitational and the A$10,000 Victorian Monte Championship Final. In the latter event, race 2 on the card, Jenny Melander (representing USA) finished 4thaboard Kyvalley Rap (5g Kadabra-Kyvalley Diva-Pine Chip), giving that one a safe ground saving journey. Winner Save A Sixpence (10g Safely Kept-Half A Sixpence-Gee Whiz) overcame a break late in the race, rallying to win in a mile rate time of 2:05.3.

The Team JC USA Drivers Invitational was won by G.R. Sugars driving I See Icy Earl (5g Earl-Cinders-Vintner) in a mile rate of 1:58.4. European drivers Johan Untersteiner and Torbjorn Jansson finished 6th and 11th respectively.

The featured Great Southern Star produced impressive elimination winners, the first being Stig (10g Armbro Invasion-Naraya-Gekoj) with a 1:57.2 mile rate score for D.J. Butt defeating Elegant Image (SJs Photo-Whitney Grace-Armbro Invasion) and Ridgehead Cahore (Buvetier d’Aunou-Love Queen-Barbeque), that made the trip from Sweden with driver Torbjorn Jansson. Elimination #2 saw Vulcan (6g Earl-Epona-Sundon) score impressively for A.M. Butt in 1:57 ahead of The Fiery Ginga (CR Commando-Anreca Hest-Pine Chip) and Aleppo Sunrise (Sundon-Insulated-Safely Kept).

The Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star Final produced another easy win for Vulcan in 1:56.5, scoring by seven meters over Elegant Image and the US bred My High Expectation (6r Ken Warkentin-Kovel-Garland Lobell). Elimination winner Stig made a miscue early and was no factor. Anthony Butt, from Lyell Creek fame, did the driving for trainer Tim Butt. Vulcan now has won four Gr. I races in the last 15 days, quite an accomplishment since his trainer considers him third best among his trotters.

Following Vulcan’s victories, he may be invited to Sweden’s Elitloppet in May to take on many of the world's best trotters, a series which mirrors Saturday night's elims and final format. The only problem is the Elitlopp trotters are among the best and Vulcan isn't world class so said his connections. That might be exactly why he makes the trip as stable-mates will remain home to compete in Australasia’s major races.

A trotter to watch down under in the future is Blitzthemcalder (4c Metropolitan-Like A Calder-Balanced Image), winner of the A$10,000 Prince of Speed for colts in 1:56.6. He’s won 12 of 16 lifetime starts

Jenny Melander to head Down Under for RUS event

Thursday, March 07, 2013 - by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Trenton, NJ ---Jenny Melander has put herself in pretty good company.

While much of America will be celebrating the Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day next weekend, the Nazareth, Pa.-based trainer will trade a “begorra!” for a “g’day mate!” She is one of two special invitees who will compete in the inaugural Great Southern Star weekend’s racing under saddle event in Melbourne, Australia.

Aside from Aussie riders, Melander has been invited to GSS Day by virtue of her Sept. 30 win in a $20,000 RUS event at The Red Mile in Lexington. It was America’s richest RUS race. Joining her as a special invitee will be Denmark’s Nicole Marsing, widely recognized as one of the top RUS riders in all of Scandinavia. Marsing was the winner of last year’s Swedish Monte Championship -- RUS is referred to as Monte in the rest of the world -- so her credentials are top-notch. Considering the status of her fellow Scandinavian, Jenny knows this invitation is a pretty big deal.

“I’m very honored, it’s unbelievable,” the personable Melander said. “I was so hoping it was going to happen, but you can only hope so much.

“The win at Kentucky was good in so many ways. It was good to have a great race in Kentucky because so many people were watching and so many people were getting excited about it. That’s great in trying to get the sport up. And obviously it helped in getting invited over there.”

Jenny came to America from Sweden in 1998 and earned a degree in elementary education with a 4.0 grade-point average from Rider University. With harness racing running through her blood, however, she has embarked on a career as a caretaker and trainer. But the urge to ride was always there and RUS events seemed perfect for Melander because the race incorporates the rules of harness racing (no breaking strides) with no sulky and the rider sitting atop the horse.

“I’ve always been riding my entire life,” she said. “I trained Standardbreds under saddle as a kid in Sweden. Here I’ve been riding horses and training Standardbreds. I love to ride and I also really enjoy harness racing so it was kind of a good combination for me.”

Jenny has been pretty good in her brief riding career, copping two victories in four starts. The win in Kentucky caught the eye of Australia, thanks in part to Melander’s boyfriend.

“He’s from Australia,” she said. “Since we got started in this, he had some contacts down there and let them know. They were keeping an eye on me and I got an e-mail the week after I won to congratulate me.

“They e-mailed later to say if they were to get this together would I consider coming? I said ‘Absolutely.’ It just started spiraling from there.”

This will be the first Great Southern Star weekend and it is a big international weekend with numerous international horses. Jenny is leaving Sunday for the event, which has a series of seven legs and a final. It will mark the first time there will be betting on RUS racing in Australia.

“I’m supposed to ride a horse on the last day, which will be the 16th,” Melander said. “The horse they told me I’m riding has already qualified for the final. But they haven’t told me any more since then. I’ve been wondering why the girl who qualified with the horse wouldn’t want to ride her, so I’m not really sure yet, but that’s what they told me.”

Regardless of which horse she gets, Melander isn’t making her first trip to Australia just to enjoy some shrimp on the barbie.

“Of course I want to win,” she said with a laugh. “I’m in it to win it. But it’s going to be a good experience. I’m looking forward to the trip and everything else. They’re making it a great thing with an international cocktail party and things like that. It’s going to be an unbelievable experience. Hopefully I’ll get a horse that will be competitive.”

While Melander loves riding, she is working toward getting a driver’s license but doesn’t think she will do it too seriously.

“Maybe I’d do the women races, it would be more for fun,” she said. “If I had my choice, I would ride Monte races any day over driving. Unfortunately, the sport is not taking off that quickly over here.”

RUS racing was introduced to the U.S. in the 1980s, but diminished over time. Several years ago there was a half-mile race at Yonkers and last year it started catching on at Goshen, where Jenny won her first race.

“I’ve only competed here over the last year, and so far, so good,” she said. “I won a division at the first Monte race at Goshen with a North American saddle race record on a half -- 2:00.3. We think it could be a world record but we don’t have any proof, so we just say it’s a North American record.”

And while RUS racing has not taken hold in America, Melander feels it has the potential to. In fact, she feels it could be important to the industry, especially since the majority of riders are women.

“I absolutely think it can catch on,” she said. “We need something new here, we need something fresh. In a way it’s great because you can promote racing to a new group of people who come out and watch. There’s all the young girls and all the riding’s a different kind of group of people who can come out and watch and enjoy it.

“Every race I go in, the public goes nuts, and everyone really enjoys it. The only thing everyone says is ‘It’s too bad we can’t bet on it.’ But in America they’re working hard to get that accomplished. It’s really a long-term project to change that law. Once we are able to bet on it, it will be a different ball game. It’s something the sport needs, something new, something fresh, something different.”

Having an ambassador like Jenny Melander touting the sport certainly doesn’t hurt.


Gregory Receives USHWA President's Award

Friday, January 04, 2013 - by Jerry Connors, secretary, USHWA

Harrisburg, PA --- Helene Gregory, who spearheaded the movement in harness racing that has brought Racing Under Saddle to prominence in North America, has been selected by United States Harness Writers Association president Steven Wolf as the recipient of the 2012 President’s Award.

Gregory, who resides in East Windsor, N.J., is originally from Malmo, Sweden, which, she says, is five minutes from Jagersro, the third biggest racetrack in Sweden. She grew up watching, learning and training horses and has been riding Standardbreds her whole life.

When not working as track photographer at Freehold Raceway or watching her husband, successful harness driver Jeff Gregory, competing in races, Helene has been working relentlessly on RUS and has succeeded with it beyond her dreams.

“Not only did Helene do a heroic job in developing the RUS program, getting people involved, working with the United States Trotting Association and race secretaries, helping to secure sponsorships and setting up the tracks to host events, but also competed in the races and won several times,” Wolf said. “Helene is very worthy of this special honor and I can only hope it will help keep her desire thriving for RUS to continue growing within our industry.”

During the first season as she competed in seven RUS events at six tracks with purses totaling $86,950, Helene Gregory was a standout. She ended the year with three victories and set a mile race record of 1:57.1 in riding Master Pine to a dramatic head victory at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day. She also set a record for a five-eighths-mile track, winning with Armbro Doyle in 2:00.2 at Pocono Downs and she also won before her hometown crowd at Freehold Raceway with Armbro Doyle in 2:06.4. She finished the season with $16,612 in purse earnings and an amazing URR (Universal Riding Rating or batting average) of .685.

“I started working on RUS a little after an exhibition race at Yonkers in 2011,” Gregory said. “I then went to Sweden in January and bought a race saddle there, without even knowing if I would get it going. But it was my intention all along. I have had a lot of people telling me to give it up because it was a lot of work and sometimes I was worn out from it, but I am a very stubborn soul and my motto is ‘if there is a will, there is a way.’”

Helene Gregory will be honored on Sunday (March 3) at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, the climatic event of Harness Congress VI weekend, to be held at the Westin Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Further information about the banquet, the Congress, and related events is available


Monte America Gets Press

March 5, 2013

The Monte America website ( received television time through a Tennessee Walking horse show last week ( . The show mentioned the progress of monte racing in 2012 and showed the Red Mile race. While discussing monte racing, the link to our website showed the entire time!

Also we have some updates about this year’s monte races. Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association’s website has referenced their interest in hosting a monte event on the July 5-7 weekend (below).


SHHA would like to hold a Racing Under Saddle Exhibition Race at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on the USTA’s annual Back to the Track. The USTA has scheduled the Back to the Track promotion for the weekend of July 5-July 7. At this point in time anyone seriously interested to compete in RUS please contact Ozzie Cole in the SHHA office during live racing dates, so we can determine the number of eligible competitors for an exhibition race. Please visit the USTA site www.ustrotting.comfor the necessary forms and guidelines for racing under saddle. There will be forms in the SHHA Office and each rider (over 16) must complete an application and forward it to the USTA, then take a written and practical test behind the gate with eligible horse before receiving a license for racing under saddle. All horses participating in RUS should be registered and identified by a lip tattoo or neck freeze with the USTA or Standardbred Canada. Horses under the age of three are ineligible to race under saddle”.

In addition, plans are underway for a series at the new Meadowlands culminating in a Hambletonian Day final plus a repeat of Freehold’s monte event on Open Space Pace day, this year on September 21. More details will follow as the monte “RUS” schedule develops.


Tango Quick Wins Prix de Pontavice de Heusey

February 17, 2013

The monte feature on the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes card today was the Grade III 110,000 euro Prix de Pontavice de Heussey over 2,175 meters. Tango Quick captured this one for jockey Franck Nivard, trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Ecurie Quick Star. The six year-old son of Hasting covered the 1-3/8 mile course in a mile rate of 1:55.85 to raise his life earnings to over 770,000 euro. Monte specialists Rive Droite, Paladin Blue and Lover Power (Supergill-Brava Power-Pine Chip) finished two through four.


Vision Intense Wins Prix des Centaures for Ecurie Victoria Dreams

February 10, 2013

Heavily favored (1/5) Vision Intense easily won the 240,000 euro Grade I Prix des Centaures for Jean-Ph Dubois’ Ecurie Victoria Dreams, jockey Nathalie Henry and trainer Philippe Moulin. She covered the 2,750 meter course in a mile rate of 1:59.06 on a snowy afternoon at Paris-Vincennes. Vision Intense raced well back in the early stages before circling the field around the last bend and drawing clear under mild urging. Vision Intense is a 4 year-old mare by Prodigious-Intense Action. She recorded her 7thlifetime win in 16 starts. Her earnings are now over 444,000 euro.  The win gained satisfaction for the connections immediately following Royal Dream’s second place finish in the Grand Prix de France.

Viscaria (39/1) finished second with Vaquero du Mont (17/1) third.


Recit Jeloca Wins Prix de Lisieux

February 9, 2013

The day before the Prix de France annually reflects a very competitive card at Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. Today was no exception, whether monte or attele competitiveness was on display. Today’s monte feature was the 85,000 euro Prix de Lisieux over 2,700 meters. Recit Jelocca, a 8 year-old gelded son of First du Retz-Flora Castelets-Sancho Panca , prevailed in a four-way blanket finish for trainer/jockey J.L.C. Dersoir, defeating Torre Crepin (Eric Raffin up) and Royale de Perthuis (Nathalie Henry) in a mile rate time of 1:58.26.

The monte undercard again highlighted competitive under-saddle trotting. The Prix de Rammbouillet, contested over 2,700 meters for 62,000 euro, was taken by Star du Coglais (Goetmals Wood-Azalee du Coglais-Quito de Talonay). This 7 year-old mare was handled by Ms. Camille Levesque for trainer Mike Lenders, and she covered the 1-11/16 mile distance in a mile rate of 1:58.91.

Monte is again in action tomorrow as the co-feature is the 240,000 euro Prix des Centaures. This Grade I event, over 2,750 meters, is led by favorite Vision Intense for J. Ph. Dubois’ Ecurie Victoria Dreams, trainer Philippe Moulin and jockey Ms. Nathalie Henry. Vision Intense has won four of her last six, the last two being under saddle. The 4 year-old mare is by Prodigious from Intense Action, she being a daughter of the Armbro Goal sire Cezio Josselyn. This 63% FR/37% standardbred combination has Speedy Crown in the pedigree, top and bottom.

Singalo Doubles –Wins Prix de I’lle-de-France

February 3, 2013-02-03

Singalo ridden by David Thomain captured the Grade 1 Prix de I’ll-de-France today, repeating his victory in the Prix de Cornulier on January 20. The 7 year-old son of Goetmals Wood-Ingala-Buvetier d’Aunou won easily over Quarry Bay and Ms. Camille Levesque, also his adversary two weeks ago. Lover Power (bm8 Supergill-Bravo Power-Pine Chip) with Julien Raffestin riding for trainer Marco Smorgon finished third. Singalo covered the 2175 meter course (1.35 miles) in a mile rate time of 1:55.04.

Singalo is bred, owned and trained by Louis Baudron and stands stud at Haras de Rouges Terres for 5,500 euro (including a 500 euro reservation fee). His life earnings are now in excess of 1.14 million euro. Sangalo’s pedigree is one of the best in France, having also produced Terre Rouge (142,000 euro), Camino (1,066,000 euro), Mandarino Blue (356,000 euro), Gobernator (885,000 euro) and Abercrombie (437,000 euro). His pedigree is 60% FR/40% standardbred and includes US blood from Quick Song, Nevele Pride and Royal Prestige.

The monte undercard at Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes included the 2175 meter, 90,000 euro Grade II Prix Indienne, won by Titus de Baffais for Franck Nivard and trainer Thierry Duvaldestin, the Ready Cash combination. The favored 6 year-old gelding by Kaiser Soze defeated Texas d’Liton and Travel Jet in a mile rate time of 1:54.72.

Prix de I’lle-de-France Sunday

February 2, 2013

The Grade I UET International Masters Series returns Sunday  February 3 to Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes in the form of the classic monte Prix de I’lle-de-France, carrying a purse of 200,000 euros over the 2,175 meter distance (1-3/8 miles). The 10 horse field (for 5-10 year old stallions and mares) is led by Prix de Cornulier winner Singalo, ridden by David Thomain, for breeder/owner/trainer Louis Baudron. The winner of over 1 million euros is a 7 year-old stallion by super-sire Goetmals Wood from Ingala, an outstanding FR maternal family also active in the US via $300,000 plus winner Lorenzo Dream.

Singalo, with two wins and a third in his last four monte appearances, will face formidable challengers including Quarry Bay and Ms. Camille Levesque, a close second in the Prix de Cornulier, Lover Power (Supergill mare from Italy and winner of her last monte start), and the veteran FR monte stalwart Quif de Villeneuve trained by Franck Leblanc.

The Sunday card also includes the Grade III Prix Indienne, a 90,000 euro monte event over 2,175 meters. This group of 5-6 year-olds is led by the Franck Nivard ridden Titus de Baffais and Travel Jet, to be ridden by Eric Raffin for owner/trainer Jean-Etienne Dubois.


Prix d’Amerique Weekend Showcases Monte

January 27, 2013

The January 26-27 Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes cards showcased several exciting monte events. On Prix d’Amerique day the card contained two graded monte races, the first the Grade II Prix Jacques Andrieu (Lalique) over 2,850 meters for 120,000 euros. This UET Master Series race produced a 27/1 upset winner in veteran 8 year-old mare Rive Driote (by First de Retz), ridden by Fabien Gence.

Two races later the Prix Camille Blasiot (Lenotre), also a Grade II 120,000 euro event over 2,850 meters, yielded a 5/1 winner Udo de Nieul, ridden and trained by Romain Derieux. This one is a 5 year-old stallion by Cygnus d’Odysse.

The prior day (Prix du Luxembourg Day) card included a fast class monte event, the Prix Clamecy for 68,000 euro over the 2,700 meter distance. The 38/1 upset winner, Ukepepere, is a 5 year-old by Indy de Vive (sire of Ready Cash) ridden by Ms. Amandine Brouel.


Singalo Upsets in Prix de Cornulier

January 20, 2013

Singalo, bred, owned and trained by Louis Baudron and ridden by David Thomain won the 700,000 euro Prix de Cornulier in mile rate time of 1:56.49, defeating Quarry Bay (Camille Levesque) in a close finish. Off at 18/1 Singalo took the lead around the final bend and looked like an easy winner until he drifted wide allowing Quarry Bay to rally on the inside. Scolie de Brasserie was 3rd with Tiego d'Etang 4th (the favorite). The top three were off at 18, 11 and 13/1 respectively. Last year's winner Quif de Villeneuve led early before fading to 10th in the field of 18.

Singalo is a 7-year-old son of Goetmals Wood from the Buvetier d'Aunou mare Ingala (US$434,000). A 60/40 French trotter/standardbred pedigree this monte expert represents the maternal family of Camino (US$1,495,000), Gobernator (US$$1,180,000), Mandarino Blue (US$474,000) and the US Saratoga Open trotter Lorenzo Dream.

Visit our website Gallery-Videos for a complete look at the Prix de Cornulier. Singalo's winning time was the second fastest in the long history of this event which began in 1931.

Vision Intense wins Prix de Pardieu

January 19, 2013

Vision Intense easily won her second straight graded monte event, scoring in this 2175 meter Gr II race for monte females carrying a purse of 120,000 euro. The 4-year-old mare covered this distance in 2:38.08, a mile rate of 1:56.97 in cold snowy conditions at Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. Nathalie Henry was in the irons for trainer Philippe Moulin and Dubois' Ecurie Victoria Dream. Vision Intense is by Prodigious from the Cezio Josselyn mare Intense Charm, representing a 63/37 mix of French trotter and standardbred. Ms. Henry waited patiently in mid-pack until moving strongly to the front entering the stretch and drawing off for the open-lengths score.

Prix de Cornulier Day-2 Entrants for January 20 Monte Classic

The lineup is set for the world's richest and prestigious monte trotting event on Sunday at Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. Trainer Franck Leblanc sends out four participants, including two favorites. Mike Lenders will start two.

Groupe I - International - UET Masters Series (Monté - 700.000 € - 2.700 mètres - Grande piste)


Tx Récl






Poids Monté



Dernières perf.

Rap prob


Cote Calcul


Save The Quick







E. Raffin


F. Leblanc

Ecurie Quick Star

0a (12) Da 0a 2a2a

1 216 492



Quif de Villeneuve







Y. Lebourgeois


F. Leblanc

Ecurie Augustin-Normand

(12) Dm Da 2m 0a0a 0a

915 220










A. Abrivard


J.-M. Bazire

Ecurie Jean-Michel Bazire

1m (12) 0a 10m0a 0a

776 640



Tango Quick







F. Nivard


F. Leblanc

Ecurie Quick Star

9m (12) 1m 4mDm Dm

694 800



Surabaya Jiel







M. Abrivard


J.-L. Dersoir

J. Luck

Dm (12) 2a Da 6a4a

691 490









D. Thomain


L. Baudron

L. Baudron

Dm (12) Da 3mDa 1m

690 620



Tiego d'Etang






C.-J. Bigeon


Ch. Bigeon

F.-L. Adam

(12) 4a 1m 4a 3a1m Aa

688 680



Lavec Kronos ITY






P. Masschaele


Lutfi Kolgjini

Whap Trotting AB

Dm (12) 7a 1a 7a1a

659 321



Quarry Bay







Mlle C. Levesque


M. Lenders

Ecurie Pierre Levesque

(12) 1m 1m 0a 0a2m 1m

568 220



Paladin Bleu







Mlle M. Grolier


L. Thieulent

L. Thieulent

6m (12) 8m 6m 0a4m

555 700



Tigresse du Vivier







T. Levesque


M. Lenders

J.-P. Barjon

Dm (12) 0a Dm2m 5a

499 060



Tchao de Loiron







D. Bonne


F. Leblanc

B. Briand

4a (12) 3a Da 1aDm

481 400



Taïga du Rib







J.L.C. Dersoir


Joël Hallais

Ecurie Rib

(12) 0a 2m 3m 8a0a 3m

480 350










M. Mottier


M. Dabouis

M. Dabouis

0a (12) 4m Dm10a 1m

468 250



Le Cannibale FIN







Mlle N. Henry


F. Souloy

Ecurie Bon Appetit

2a (12) 8a Dm 4a2a

444 459



Scolie de Bassière







A. Barrier


T. Duvaldestin

J.-L. Ducatel

1m (12) 2a 3a Da1a

439 720



Rive Droite






F. Gence


J.-M. Monclin

J.-C. Ballier

0a (12) 3m 2m 2m3m

422 550



Soleil d'Enfer






R. Joly


G. Delacour

G. Gautier

3m (12) 9a 1m 9aDa

335 450

The Prix de Cornulier began in 1931 to honor the founder of Cheval Francais. The winner receives an invitation to the Prix d'Amerique, held a week later, and two champions have won both events, Bellino II and Jag de Bellouet. Four horses have been three-time winners:

Souarus, 1946-1948; Bellino II, 1973, 1975-1976; Kaiser Trot, 1981-1982, 1984; and Jag de Bellouet, 2004-2006

A 2013 favorite, Quif de Villeneve, won the 2012 edition in race record time of 1.12.0 (mile rate 1:55.85). Yoann Lebourgeois will be aboard and he's hot, having won two on January 17, one of those with a Franck Leblanc trainee.

Two US breds have won the Prix de Cornulier, Stellate in 1934 and Net Worth in 1937.

Melander's Wisenheimer wins again in Super Bowl

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Wisenheimer was a front-end winner in the final Super Bowl division tonight, prevailing from post 10 with driver David Miller. The four-year-old son of Revenue S-Connemara, a 1:56.2 winner in the opening leg of the Super Bowl series, brushed to the front on the backstretch and took the field through middle panels of :56.3 and 1:25.3 before being engaged late by favourite Helios. Wisenheimer turned back the challenge and held on to win over Helios in 1:54.3 with Volare De Vie third.Trainer Jenny  ("monte america") Melander  leases Wisenheimer, who posted his fifth career win, taking his lifetime earnings to $39,405.

Jenny Melander trains Super Bowl Series hopeful

Monday, January 07, 2013 - by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Jenny Melander always wanted to train her own horses, but she was too busy helping other trainers with their stables. Last summer, though, Melander decided to give it a go. She bought a 6-year-old trotter, Don Dinero, and became the lessee on a 3-year-old trotter, Wisenheimer.

On Thursday night, the now 4-year-old Wisenheimer makes his seasonal debut in the Super Bowl series for trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Wisenheimer is in the fourth of four $12,500 divisions in the opening round.

The 37-year-old Melander is an accomplished rider -- she won two racing under saddle events last year -- and has worked for trainers Erv Millerand Mark Harder. She currently works for the John Butenschoen Stable, handling a stable of seven horses in Pennsylvania in addition to training her own two.

“I’ve been working in this sport forever and never was really able to have my own,” the Swedish-born Melander said. “So I thought I would try it a little bit and see how it goes. I really would love to have 10 of my own, or something, but it’s never really been possible.

“I’ve had second trainer jobs for Erv and for Mark and it’s just so time consuming. I left Mark’s stable in June and moved to Pennsylvania and thought I’d try two and see how it goes.”

Melander came to the U.S. from Sweden in 1998 and was immersed in harness racing from the beginning. Although she later got a degree in elementary education from Rider University, graduating with a 4.0, she could not resist the urge to continue teaching horses rather than people.

“I enjoy being outside,” Melander said. “You can make your own decisions, for better or worse, and be your own boss and set up your day as you want to. I enjoy every aspect of it; I ride a lot and do the racing under saddle and train. They’re all different in their way, but they’re all the same.

“If you enjoy the horse as an animal, and it’s pretty much my life, it’s a good lifestyle.”

Working for several large stables has been its own education, as well.

“Everybody has their own way of training and it’s been a great school,” Melander said. “Mainly I learned that it takes a lot of hard work and you can’t give up; you’ve got to keep trying different methods when you run into any problems. You just have to put your head down and keep working and hopefully success will come.”

She added, with a laugh, “And when you have success you better enjoy it because bad days can come quickly.”

Wisenheimer has presented Melander with challenges, but the trainer hopes she has the gelding on the right track. Prior to arriving in Melander’s stable, Wisenheimer went off stride in four consecutive starts. In six starts since then, he has won in 1:55.3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and hit the board twice. He did make breaks twice, though, including in his most recent outing Dec. 19 at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

For his career, Wisenheimer has won three of 21 races and earned $25,655.

“He’s not an easy horse in any way, but he’s very talented when he brings his game,” Melander said. “I changed his shoes and I think he likes our regimen. He spends half a day in the paddock and I ride him a lot. I take him on the trails fairly often. That seems to be great for his mindset. He’s a hyper-strong horse and he gets to worry sometimes. Coming on the trails, he’s a different kind of horse. He gets a chance to get the work in without all the pulling.”

Wisenheimer prepped for the Super Bowl with a 1:56.2 qualifier on Jan. 3 at the Meadowlands. David Miller was in the sulky and will be back for Thursday’s race.

“David was pretty happy with him when he qualified,” Melander said. “I did that because he couldn’t get in at the Meadowlands. I wanted him to go around that mile track and try it out.”

The Super Bowl series, which is open to 4-year-old trotters with fewer than two pari-mutuel wins or $30,000 lifetime, drew 35 horses. Among that group, two have won already this year: Windsun Galliano, in 1:54.4, and Helios, in 1:56.1. Both are from the Julie Miller Stable.

“I’m hoping (Wisenheimer) fits in good,” Melander said. “Julie’s horses are always hard to beat and she always seems to have them ready for the Super Bowl. If my horse behaves, which is his main problem, he should have a little bit of a shot. If he behaves, I know he’s a good horse.”

Pinson wins Prix du Calvados in upset

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pinson, a 10 year-old son of Baccarat du Pont, owned/trained by J.M. Bazire and ridden by Damien Bonne, scored a 23/1 upset over heaviliy favored Roi du Lupin in today's 150,000 euro monte feature at Paris-Vincennes. Roi du Lupin appeared headed for victory despite being handicapped 25 meters, before abruptly slowing just before the line, in this Gr. II UET Masters Series event. US bred Moon Dreamer (Dream Vacation) raced forwardly placed before finishing 8th. Pinson covered 2850 meters at a mile rate of 1:58.26 while Roi du Lupin traveled 2875 meters in 1:57.30.

There were three monte events on the nine race card.

The 100,000 euro Gr. III European Prix du Portugal (sulky) was also contested on the card. Triode de Felliere was the winner for Anthony Barrier and owner/trainer J.P. Marmion over 2100 meters (autostart) in a mile rate of 1:53.92. Le Cannibale (from an American Winner mare Heart's Queen) was 2nd with the Supergill mare Nalda Nof 3rd.

Ugenie du Citrus wins Prix Leon Tacquet

Saturday, January 5, 2013

J.P. Barjon's  bred and owned Ugenie du Citrus took today's Gr. II Prix Leon Tacquet (purse 120,000 euro, 1-3/8 miles), the top monte event on Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes card. Ridden by Alexandre Abrivard, the favored five year-old mare by Meaulnes deu Corta from Onna Lisa - Defo d'Aunou covered the distance at a mile rate of 1:56.82. Plenty of US pedigree shows up in this one as her sire is a son of Kimberland (Nevele Pride) from a Florestan (Star's Pride) dam while on the maternal side Onna Lisa's sire Defi d'Aunou is by Armbro Goal from the fabulous mare Nesmile, and her dam is by And Arifant, by Sharif di Iesolo (by Quick Song). That's a 40% standardbred, 60% french trotter mix.

Tomorrow another monte headliner takes the stage. The Gr II International Prix du Calvados carries a 150,000 euro purse over 2850 meters (1-3/4 miles) with favored Roi du Lupin (winner of over 1.45 million euro) handicapped 25 meters behind the rest in this 11 horse lineup. The field includes Singalo (Goetmals Wood - Ingala), the maternal family of US open class trotter Lorenzo Dream, and US bred Moon Dreamer (Dream Vacation), a recent winner of four monte races at Biri, Bjerke and Jagersro.

Gregory receives USHWA 2012 President's Award for

Monte America/RUS achievements

Friday, January 4, 2013

Helene Gregory, the harness racing leader that brought Monte America/Racing Under Saddle to prominence in North America, was selected by United States Harness Writers Association president Steven Wolf as the recipient of the 2012 President’s Award.

Gregory, a resident of East Windsor, N.J., is originally from Malmo, Sweden, close to Jagersro, a major racetrack in Sweden, where she grew up watching, learning and training horses. Helene has been riding standardbreds her whole life. When not working as track photographer at Freehold Raceway or watching her husband, successful harness driver Jeff Gregory, competing in races, Helene worked diligently on monte racing and has succeeded with it beyond her dreams.

“Not only did Helene do a heroic job in developing the RUS program, getting people involved, working with the United States Trotting Association and race secretaries, helping to secure sponsorships and setting up the tracks to host events, but also competed in the races and won several times,” Wolf said. “Helene is very worthy of this special honor and I can only hope it will help keep her desire thriving for RUS to continue growing within our industry.”

During the first official monte season she competed in seven RUS events at six tracks with purses totaling $86,950. She ended the year with three victories and set a mile race record of 1:57.1 in riding Master Pine to a dramatic head victory at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day. She also set a record for a five-eighths-mile track, winning with Armbro Doyle in 2:00.2 at Pocono Downs and she also won before her hometown crowd at Freehold Raceway with Armbro Doyle in 2:06.4. She finished the season with $16,612 in purse earnings and an amazing URR (Universal Riding Rating) of .685.

“I started working on RUS a little after an exhibition race at Yonkers in 2011,” Gregory said. “I then went to Sweden in January and bought a race saddle there, without even knowing if I would get it going. But it was my intention all along. I have had a lot of people telling me to give it up because it was a lot of work and sometimes I was worn out from it, but I am a very stubborn soul and my motto is ‘if there is a will, there is a way.’”

Path to Prix de Cornulier

January 4, 2013

The world's richest (700,000 euro) monte race is fast approaching (weekend before the Prix d'Amerique) and fast class monte events are beginning to be showcased at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes winter meeting. On January 5th the feature is the Gr II Prix Leon Tacquet over 2175 meters for a purse of 120,000 euro. This race for five year-olds has 12 entrants at the start led by the J.P. Barjon owned Ugenie du Citrus, winner of three of the last five monte starts. Barjon owned Prix d'Amerique winner Meulnes du Corta and has been a bloodstock buyer at the Harrisburg Mixed Sale.

The Prix de Cornulier was begun in 1931 and is contested over the 2700 meter classic distance. The 2012 edition was won by Quif de Villeneuve (by Coktail Jet) at a 1000km rate of 1.12.0. Well known winners include Reve d'Udon (sire of Revenue) in 1989 and three time winners Jag de Bellouet, Kaiser Trot amd Bellino III since 1970.

Vision Intense wins Prix de Vincennes on December 23

Sunday December 23, 2012

Vision Intrense was a decisive winner today of the Prix de Vincennes, the prestigious Grade I monte contest for three year olds at 2700 meters, corde start, for a purse of 240,000 euro. Trained by Philippe Moulin for J. Ph. Dubois' Ecurie Victoria Dreams and ridden by Nathalie Henry, Vision Intense was well placed throughout and followed heavily favored Vanishing Point ( a winner of seven straight monte races) out of the last turn before accelerating away from leader Vipsie Griff and others for an easy win over the field of 15. Vision Intense covered the 2700 meters in 3:20.04 (1000km rate 1:14.1). This filly is by Dubois' stallion Prodigious from the Cezio Josselyn mare Intense Action. Vipsie Griff held on gamely to finish 4th while Vanishing Point ended unplaced.

The undercard included another monte event, the Grade II Prix Emile Roitteau over 2850 meters, 11 starters, corde start. This 120,000 euro prize was won by Ursula Speed, a 4 year old mare by Ludo de Castelle from the Blue Dream mare Johanna Dream. Off at 8.3-1 she covered the course in 3:34.22, winning by a half-length.

Tango Quick wins UET Masters Monte Series GRII at Paris-Vincennes

Saturday December 22, 2012

Tango Quick took the Prix Jules Lemonnier in heavy rain and wind today, defeating a stellar field of 12 in this 120,000 euro event conducted over 2175 meters from a corde start. The five year old son of Hasting, bred and owned by Ecurie Quick Start, trained by Franck Leblanc and ridden by Franck Nivard, covered the distance in a quick 1000km rate of 1:11.4. The top six finishers are listed below:

5. Tango Quick, F. Nivard 1:11.4

11 Roi du Lupin, A. Barrier  1;11.6

2 Prince des Lucas, A. Wiels 1:11.9

4 Quarlos, M. Mottier 1:12.1

3 Royale du Perthois, JLC. Dersoir 1:12.3

12 Oyonnax, P. Edou. Mary 1:12.3

Vote Monte

Saturday December 1, 2012

Today the USTA started a poll of nine memorable racing moments of 2012. The Monte America race on Hambletonian day is one of them. Please take a minute to vote, which will help the future of Monte America!

Maria Andersson wins Meadows' under saddle event
Thursday, November 08, 2012 - by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Washington, PA --- Maria Andersson and Celebrity Playboy, the only horse in the field who had raced under saddle this year, used that experience well as they scored a front-end victory in 2:04.1 in Wednesday’s (Nov. 7) special Racing Under Saddle Invitational at The Meadows.  Andersson and Celebrity Playboy got the early jump on Dana Mock and Keystone Bernard, who chased the winner home but fell 3-1/4 lengths short. They were the only finishers in the five-horse field, as Wendy Ross (Dontevenknowmymame) and Julie Allison (Y-Dat) broke stride and pulled up, and Nadine Habke (Catch K D) was scratched for refusing to approach the gate. Ron Burke trains Celebrity Playboy, an 8-year-old Yankee Glide-Clover Mist gelding, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Twenty percent of the race’s $6,000 purse was contributed to a Pittsburgh breast cancer awareness program.

November 7, 2012 RUS Trot, $4,800, 1 mile (pp, horse, jockey, trainer) :30.3-1:01.1-1:33-2:04.1f

1. Celebrity Playboy, Maria Andersson, R. Burke

2. Keystone Bernard, Dana Mock, D. Mock

dnf Dontevenknowmymame, Wendy Ross, R., Burke

dnf  Y-dat, Julie Allison, Casey Koza

Special thanks to supporters of Monte America including connections of the horses entered, riders, Meadows management and sponsors.

Hot Tub a Monte Winner Again in Sweden

Solvalla Hästägarförenings Montépokal - Montélopp ALN

4-åriga och äldre lägst 150.001 kr.

2140 m. Monté. Autostart. 10 startande.

Pris: 100.000-50.000-25.000-15.000-10.000-(6.000) kr.

6. Hot Tub, A. Svensson 1.14.4

10. Precious Metal, L. Fritz 1.14.4

2. Hot Star, J. Ivehag 1.14.7

7. Ludvig Palema, S. Eriksson 1.14.9

3. Derby Clipper, J. Brunzell 1.15.2

8. Molly Streamline, L. Pettersson 1.15.6

9. Real de Rabut, S. Swartling dq

Rapide Lebel Prix Reynolds Easy Winner at Paris-Vincennes

in 120,000 euro Gr II UET Trotting Masters Monte Series, 2175 m.

10. Rapide Lebel, E. Raffin 1.10.8

6. Riglorieux du Bois, A. Abrivard 1.11.5

7. Risque Tout, J. Rafferstein  1.12.2

5. Paladin Blue, Mille. M. Grolier 1.12.5

2. Roi Star, Y. Lebourgeois  1.12.9

3. Precieux Perrine, R. Ed. Mary  1.12.9

9. Prince de Montfort. A. Wiels  1.13.1

8. Picsou de Villabon, M Mottier  1.17.5

1. Pouillenay de Nuit, Mille. A. Barthelemy  dq

4. Sourire de Voutre, M.  Abrivard  dq

MSOA, Meadows announce under saddle race
Monday, October 22, 2012 - by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

Washington, PA --- The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, in conjunction with The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, announces that a special Racing Under Saddle event will be held next Wednesday night, October 31. The draw for the race will be held on Monday, October 29. The box will close that morning at 9 AM. Please note that the deadline is for the RUS race ONLY. Other October 31 races will follow the usual draw schedule. Entries for the RUS event will be taken at the Race Secretary's discretion. For more information contact Julie Allison at 412-582-0688. To enter, call 724-225-9300. 
The purse has been donated by various sponsors. A percentage of the purse will go to the Magee Women's Hospital (Pittsburgh) Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Other events will take place that night that will benefit the foundation, including an all-female drivers race. Additional details will be released in the coming days. Post time for the October 31 card will be 6:55PM.

Indiana Downs RUS Monte  - Chinese Cuisine (Tina Duer) Impressive Winner

Shelbyville, IN --- Indiana Downs hosted an under saddle race on Saturday October 20 with results below:

RUS Turf 1 mile Purse $10,000 (horse, jockey, trainer)  :30 - 1:01 - 1:30.1 - 2:01 on the main track

1. Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer, J. Duer

2. Felipe Makaay, Kristin Shetler, H. Lunsford

3. NF Soaring, Rachel Matthews, Br. Nickells

4. Dakota Dancer, Karen Isbell, M. Fry

5. Rock With It, Tina Sundqvist, D. Gilson-Eferstein

The Indiana Downs undercard featured a $10,000 under-saddle race on the main track due to weather. Tina Duer rode Chinese Cuisine to a 2:01 winfor the mile over Felipe Makaay (Kristin Shetler), NF Soaring (Rachel Matthews), Dakota Dancer (Karen Isbell) and Rock With It (Tina Sundqvist).

Nickells to saddle trotter Saturday at Indiana Downs
Saturday, October 20, 2012 - by Dean Hoffman

Shelbyville, IN--Brooke Nickells has a little edge on the trainers of the other trotters entered in the unusual race under saddle at Indiana Downs Saturday (Oct. 20).

It was Nickells who made headlines in harness racing 18 years ago when she rode a trotter at The Red Mile in Kentucky, shattering a speed record set 54 years earlier. On Saturday Nickells, 40, is the trainer, not the rider, of the 7-year-old gelding NF Soaring in the $10,000 non-betting race.

“I wanted to ride him,” she said. “I tried riding him a little bit, but I’m not legged up for riding in a race, so I’m very lucky to have Rachel Matthews to ride for me.”

The innovative race will be held at 6:45 p.m on Saturday night before the regular races start at Indiana Downs. Weather permitting, it will be raced over the track’s turf course. If not, it will be held on the main track.

NF Soaring has post 5 with four rivals--Felipe Makaay, Dakota Dancer, Rock With It, and Chinese Cuisine--starting inside him.

Harness horses normally pull a sulky and a driver, so carrying a saddle and rider requires an adjustment for a horse. Nickells, however, was confident that NF Soaring would take the change in stride. “He’s just the type for a race under saddle,” she said. “He trots very square and has great manners. You could put a little kid on him.” When Nickells first put a saddle on her horse, she said he acted as if he’d been ridden every day. “He’s really a lazy horse and not scared of anything,” she said. “He’s not going to do anything in a race to hurt someone. He’s just a very honest horse and stays on the trot all the time.”

She admits that a horse going at high speed under saddle has to get accustomed to having the weight on its back instead of behind it with a driver and sulky. She added some rubber bell boots to NF Soaring’s front feet to help balance him in his new role.

Matthews, 28, was able to train the horse over the turf course at Indiana Downs to get familiar with NF Soaring and allow the trotter to adjust to the grass surface.

“It was hard work for him,” said Nickells. “He came back huffing and puffing. It’s hard work for the riders, too. Some people think riding a trotter looks like fun, and it is fun. But physically it’s hard work.” The five riders in the race are all female and Nickells says that they use different styles.

“Some ride standing up, some sitting down, and some post with the horse,” she said. “A rider finds what works best and what is most comfortable through trial and error.”

Nickells added that she appreciates the fact the Indiana Downs racing secretary Scott Peine has been willing to try so many new ideas. She said horsemen have been interested in Peine’s innovations, too.

Nickells grew up around horses as her father, Bruce, is an accomplished horseman with a string of outstanding horses to his credit. Still, she was shocked in the fall of 1994 when she was drafted into riding the trotter Preferential.

“Don Swick trained Preferential and he had a girl working for him who rode the horse at Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio,” Nickells said. “Don asked my parents if I’d ride him in an exhibition and they said yes without even asking me.”

Her parents were confident that Brooke could handle Preferential, and that confidence was validated. Preferential and Brooke created a sensation when he broke the time record set by the legendary Greyhound in 1940. That sparked an interest in trotting under saddle, but it wasn’t sustained. It has enjoyed a revival in 2012 with several under saddle races at major tracks in addition to Indiana Downs.

When Nickells saw Rachel Matthews on a horse, she knew immediately that she was a good rider and would fit NL Soaring.

“She looks good on a horse, very natural and poised,” she said. “I sure wish I could ride him, but it’s good enough to be the trainer in this race.”

Saddled Trotters To Race On Turf

Published: October 19, 2012 1:25 pm ET

Indiana Downs will host an innovative race on Saturday night when a field of trotters races under saddle on the track’s turf course.

This is a follow-up to a similar race for saddled trotters at the track earlier in the month. Saturday’s race is believed to be the only such turf race ever held in North America in many years.

Standardbreds normally race pulling a sulky over a dirt track. Races with riders on trotters are extremely rare in North America and contesting one over a turf course is an added challenge. “We’re doing this because we believe in trying new ideas at Indiana Downs,” says Scott Peine, racing secretary. “It will be something different for the racing fans that come out. I think they’ll really enjoy it.”

The October 6 race under saddle was won by Celebrity Playboy with Angel Eyes Hanover second and Rock With It third. Only Rock With It will be in the Saturday night race, which has five horses and will be contested for a purse of $10,000. No betting will be allowed. “This is just a start,” admits Peine, “although there is an emerging trend to racing trotters under saddle in the United States. It’s just going to be some time before we can allow betting on them.”

The other starters in the event, known officially as Racing Under Saddle, are Indiana Downs regulars Felipe Makaay, Dakota Dancer, NF Soaring and the Kentucky invader Chinese Cuisine.

Tina Sundqvist, a 31-year-old native of Finland, owns Rock With It, and will be in the saddle when the six-year-old gelding starts on Saturday. Rock With It is expected to face strong competition from Chinese Cuisine, ridden by 30-year-old Tina Duer, a Swedish native. Chinese Cuisine won a race under saddle for Duer at the Meadowlands in New Jersey in mid-August.

France, which has the strongest harness racing program in the world, regularly schedules trotting races under saddle on its turf tracks. 'Monte' racing, as it is called in France, is a traditional and historic part of French trotting. Racing trotters under saddle was popular in America in the 1800s, but fell out of favour as standardbreds raced primarily to sulky in the last century.

Innovation is nothing new at Indiana Downs as the Shelbyville track has hosted a 'Dash and Distance Challenge' with races as short as one-eighth-mile and as long as 1-5/8-miles. Virtually all harness races are contested at the one-mile distance, but Peine began the mixed distance program, which is unique in America.

Peine’s only concern as he looks to the Saturday event is the weather forecast, which calls for rain. That may alter plans for the race on the turf.

The trotting under saddle event will be held at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday evening, with the regular racing program beginning at 6:55 p.m.

Monte Makes Return

19 September 2012 by HRV Media

The recent renaissance of saddle trotting appears likely to continue with the inaugural Victorian Monte Championship set to start on November 3 at Bendigo.

A handful of Monte races were staged last season and drew enormous interest from crowds at the Ballarat Cup, Breed For Speed and Redwood Classic meetings throughout the term.

The poster pair for those events was Daylesford driver Anne-Maree Conroy and eight-year-old gelding Optimum who won three of their four Monte starts last season. They will return for this series which will encompass seven $5,000 heats and and an $8,000 final on March 23 at Melton.

“We’d hoped we’d have even more than one horse to target the series but it’s difficult to find a trotter suited to it; they’re either naturals or they’re not,” Conroy said.

“Having said that if any trainer out there found the right sort of horse you’d only need a couple of weeks to get them ready.

“Thankfully Optimum is that right type. He’s had four starts in the Montes for three wins and a second. He’ll be off 10m but hopefully we’ll contest most of the heats with him moving forward.”

Those participants wanting to join Conroy in contesting the Victorian Monte Championship must be a licensed A, B or C Grade reinsperson or Stablehand licensee with a ridden race endorsement.

All squaregaiters will be handicapped in accordance with their assessment, with T0 to T3 trotters drawn off the front, T4 to T9 horses off 10m and T10 or better off 20m. Combatants will be penalised an additional 10m handicap for each two career penalty Monte wins and the winner of a heat will only be eligible to contest another heat if there are insufficient acceptors to comprise a full field for that heat.

Heats of the Victorian Monte Championship will be staged on the following dates and at their corresponding location.

· November 3 – Bendigo (1650m)

· December 24 – Maryborough (1690m)

· January 10 – Kilmore (1660m)

· January 25 – Ballarat (1710m)

· February 8 – Stawell @ Tabcorp Park Melton (1720m)

· February 23 – Geelong (1609m)

· March 16 – Shepparton (1690m)

The $8,000 Championship final will be contested on the same programme as the inaugural Great Southern Star at Melton’s Tabcorp Park.

Aby Monte Masters October 13, 2012

Results are shown below. Winner Hot Tub riden by Linda Hedstrom recorded his 41st lifetime win from 125 starts and 5th monte victory in 2012 from nine monte appearances. Hot Tub is a 12 year-old son of Sugarcane Hanover from the Nevele Pride mare Bathing Beauty.

Aby, SWE

10-13-12  Monte SM, 10 starters. 2140m, auto start

Purse 250,000kr, 125,000kr, 62,500kr, 35,000 kr, 23,000kr

7.  Hot Tub, L. Hedstrom 1.13.8, bh12 Sugarcane Hanover-Bathing Beauty-Nevele Pride  (41stlifetime win, earnings 8.6 million kr, 5thmonte win in 2012)

8. Precious Metal, L. Fritz 1.14.1

5. Ekets Patrick, E. Knutsson, 1.14.1

3. Nouvelle Pelle, I. Nilsson, 1.14.2

6. Lord Photo, C. Skold, 1.14.4

1. Poison Composite, A. Svensson, 1.14.4

Indiana Downs hosted a $10,000 RUS event Saturday October 6 showcasing

monte racing and producing a two-time winning horse, rider and trainer

Celebrity Playboy, with Maria Andersson in the irons for trainer Ron Burke, scored an impressive 1:59.2 score, trotting a final quarter in :29.2 to defeat Angel Eyes Hanover and Rock With It. Thanks to Indiana Downs management, monte sponsors, Coady Photography and organizers for another excellent Monte America event.

 RUS 1 mile Purse $10,000 (horse, jockey, trainer) :29-:59.3-1:30-1:59.2

1. Celebrity Playboy, Maria Andersson, R,. Burke

2. Angel Eyes Hanover, Helene Engblom, S. Lind

3. Rock With It, Tina Sundqvist, D. Gilson-Eferstein

The Red Mile and Sponsors conducted a $20,000 Monte event September 30

and a competitive 12-horse field it was

Results are shown below:

RUS 1 Mile Purse $20,000 9-30-12 (horse, jockey, trainer)  :28.1-:58-1:28.4-2:00

1. Sand Top Gun, Jenny Melander, T. Raymer

2. Take My Picture, Therese Lindgren, N. Drennan

3. Angel Eyes Hanover, Anita Valstad, S. Lind

For Sand Top Gun this was his second Monte win in just two starts. He previously scored in 2:03.4f at Tioga on September 3. Jenny Melander picked up her second riding win in five starts and trainer Tyler Raymer scored his third Monte victory as trainer in just four attempts.


Freehold Raceway and sponsor The Open Space Pace and Festival of Horses

hosted September 29 Monte ("RUS") Open Handicap with $5,000 purse

Results are shown below:

RUS 1 Mile. Purse $5,000 (horse, jockey, trainer)  :30.1-1:03.1-1:35.2-2:06.4h

1. Armbro Doyle, Helene Gregory, R. Harmon

2. Swatissimo, Mary Dolce Conti, R. Gayton

3. Mr. Go, Tara Hynes, F. Scamporino, Jr.

Armbro Doyle posted his second victory in six monte starts in 2012 while jockey Helene Gregory delivered her third win in six events.

Paulick Report and Lexington Herald Leader Cover Monte

Red Mile to host unique 'trotters under saddle' race on Sunday

by Paulick Report Staff | 09.28.2012 | 11:18am

This Sunday, the Red Mile in Lexington will host a unique race for trotters competing under saddle. The $20,000 contest, which is being held as a non-betting event in between the fifth and sixth race on the card, has attracted a field of 12. Trotters racing under saddle is popular in Europe, but not seen to often on this side of the pond

Under-saddle race for trotters Sunday at Red Mile

Published: September 27, 2012 Updated 15 hours ago

By Herald-Leader Staff Report

Fans of standardbred horses will have an opportunity Sunday to see a form of racing they might never have witnessed before.

The Red Mile is hosting a $20,000 race for trotters competing under saddle. No sulkys. No drivers. Just riders and saddles. The race has attracted a field of a dozen trotters, who will compete in the non-betting contest between races five and six on Sunday. Post time for the afternoon card is 1 p.m.

This "hybrid" type of horse racing is not new, but many American racing fans have never seen such a race, which is common in Europe. Two of the dozen rider/trotter combos competing on Sunday have already won under saddle this year, in addition to competing regularly in traditional races in harness. Leigh Nichol will be riding Windsun Galaxie, who's won $311,843 in his career. Tina Duer will ride Chinese Cuisine, with career earnings of $62,953. Chinese Cuisine and Duer won an under-saddle race at Meadowlands Racetrack on Aug. 17.

Pair of under saddle race winners to compete at Red Mile
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications 

Freehold, NJ --- Hybrid horse racing comes to The Red Mile in Lexington, Ky., this Sunday afternoon with a race for trotters competing under saddle. The $20,000 race has attracted a field of a dozen trotters, who will compete in a non-betting contest between races five and six. Post time for the afternoon card is 1 p.m. This “hybrid” type of horse racing, with riders and a saddle, not drivers and a sulky, is not exactly new, though most racing fans have never seen such a race. In fact, Standardbreds have been racing under saddle since the early 1800s, and “monte” racing, as it is called in Europe, is common.

When this country was new and flat, smooth roads were hard to find, Standardbred racing was often conducted with riders, not drivers. The earliest depiction of Standardbred racing in America was a race for trotters under saddle in October of 1831. The painting is in the collection of the Harness Racing Museumin Goshen, N.Y. and was done by R.S. Hillman. The oil depicts a field of horses racing three miles with riders in silks on trotting horses.

Two of the dozen rider/trotter combos competing on Sunday have already won under saddle this year, in addition to competing regularly in traditional races in harness.

Leigh Nichol will be riding Windsun Galaxie, who’s won $311,843 in his career, of which $475 came under saddle, from post one. While competing with a saddle, not a sulky, is new for the horse, it’s not for the rider, though her family works in harness racing. “I started competing with hunter jumpers when I was 12,” said Nichol. “I went to the University of Georgia and rode on their two-time national champion equestrian team. I started the Delaware State College equestrian team (as a coach) and also coached the English side of South Dakota State University’s equestrian team.” Nichol now assists boyfriend Tyler Raymer in training the racing stable that includes Windsun Galaxie, a 5-year-old that Steve Moss and Helane and Harold Solomon bought in February. Nichol said Windsun Galaxie already had many miles under saddle before he started racing that way. “I ride probably half the horses we have here,” said Nichol. “Tyler’s very intelligent with the horses and likes to keep them fresh. He really encouraged me to do it (attempt racing) and the owners are behind it also. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Nichol says that her mount on Sunday has the manners of a veteran school horse. “I can get on and off Galaxie on my own, don’t need anyone to hold him, he’s an absolute gentleman,” she said. The first few seconds off the mobile starting gate, though, gave the veteran rider a challenge she was not prepared for. “The first strides off the gate were one of the scariest things I’ve done on a horse,” said Nichol. “I wanted to automatically ask them to stop. I had to learn, because I ride hunters so much, you don’t hold on to their mouths all the time and with a trotter, you have to hold on to them. It was a completely different feel. I had to learn to put everything aside and just hang on.”

Tina Duer, who will ride Chinese Cuisine (with career earnings of $62,953) from post seven, brings a global perspective. The 30-year-old mother of two boys, Mason (5) and Colton (2), is a native of Sweden who is married to John Duer, who trains Chinese Cuisine and bred the 4-year-old with his father, Carter Duer, who now owns him. Chinese Cuisine and Duer won an under saddle race at Meadowlands Racetrack on August 17. Duer worked in both Sweden and France caring for Standardbreds; two countries where monte racing is common. Duer also had Chinese Cuisine under saddle before the current monte races were organized. “I did use him a couple times for trail riding and I’ve ridden my whole life,” she said.

Duer has competed with Standardbreds in jumping and other classes, but of late, the responsibilities of motherhood have pushed the horses aside. “I have a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old,” she said, laughing. “I can’t tell you I have a whole lot of practice in between the races, but it works. “The trainer I worked for in Sweden, she liked to do dressage with them and gallop in deep sand, so we did a lot of that. A lot of Europeans do that and with older horses, they need other things (besides racing on the track) to do.”

Duer thinks Chinese Cuisine will benefit from his past experience. “He does like it, he can be a little nervous sometimes,” she said. “I think we have a good shot. There are some good horses in there but I’m going to try to give him a good trip. He likes to come from behind. The way I have him rigged now is the way I had him rigged for the Meadowlands win. It worked out perfect and I can pretty much do what I want with him now.”

The field for the race is shown above. Sponsors of the $20,000 purse are: Walnut Hall Ltd., Peter Gerry, Cane Run Farm, Blue Chip Farm, Diamond Creek Farm, William Weaver and Alan Leavitt.

Freehold hosts Open Space Pace and Festival of Horses

Saturday, September 29, 2012 - by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Freehold Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 29) was the scene of the Open Space Pace and Festival of Horses, designed to raise awareness of the importance of the equine industry to the preservation of open space and farmland.

The day kicked off with a mostly equine parade through the center of Freehold to the track, where bands played throughout the afternoon and other special events took place for new visitors and regular fans.

There were booths from many equine and agriculture-related groups including the Rutgers University Equine Science Center, FFA, 4H, the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, Harness Horse Youth Foundation and about a dozen others. Sports celebrities Gerry Cooney, Joe Klecko, Ron Greschner, Nick Fotiu and Keith Elias signed autographs for fans, as did drivers Cat ManziJeff Gregoryand Eric Abbatiello. In addition to the regular card, there were under saddle and amateur races. The day was capped off with a concert by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

Prix des Elites Sept. 30 at Vincennes - 6th Consecutive Monte Win for Vanishing Point

Monte trotters were featured on September 30 as Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes in the 240,000 euro Prix des Elites for 3-5 year olds. This Groupe I event over 2,200 meters (1-3/8 miles) for 3-5 year olds was won convincingly by favorite Vanishing Point, ridden by Damien Bonne for trainer Sebastian Guarato. Vanishing Point scored his sixth straight Monte win that carried combined purses of 950,000 euro. Vanishing Point, a 3 year-old, covered 2150 meters at a mile race of 1:57.13. As a 3 year-old Vanishing Point started with a 50 meter advantage along with nine other 3 year-olds in the 11 horse field.


September 7 at Vernon Downs produced another first time "RUS" winner in My Irish Molly, ridden and trained by Jocelyn Lavigne to a 2:02.2s score. Thanks to Vernon Downs management for their support and for the connections of the participating horses. Full charts are available at

RUS Monte Vernon Downs   ;29.2 - 1:01.1 - 1:31.3 - 2:02.2s

1. My Irish Molly, Jocelyn Lavigne jockey and trainer

2. First Tail U See, Ashley Eldred, Ron Abbott

3. Vassar Hall, Michelle Crawford, Brett Crawford

Monte America Year in Review - 2012

13 monte races to date in 2012 have produced eight different winners, Celebrity Playboy (2:04.1f at The Meadows, 2:00.2f at Tioga Downs and 1:59.2 at Indiana Downs), Sand Top Gun (2:03.4f at Tioga and 2:00 at the Red Mile), Master Pine (1:57.1) at the New Meadowlands, My Irish Molly (2:02.2s) at Vernon Downs, Keepin The Chips and Windsun Galaxie at Goshen Historic Track, Chinese Cuisine at the New Meadowlands and Indiana Downs and Armbro Doyle at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs and Freehold. Leading jockeys are Helene Gregory and Maria Andersson with three wins, Leigh Nichol, Tina Duer and Jenny Melander with two victories each, followed by one for Jocelyn Lavigne. Leading trainers' Ron Burke and Tyler Raymer have posted three victories each followed by two for John Duer and one each for Tracy Brainard, Brooke Vermett, Jocelyn Lavigne, Julie Miller, and Rob Harmon. Monte America thanks all connections, including owners, for their outstanding support.

Many thanks to our sponsors and participating tracks for making "RUS" Monte America racing possible. Sponsors links are shown on the Links page to this site (as available), as are Industry resources that may be helpful to viewers regarding various international Monte races. Sponsors include Jeff Gural's Allerage Farm, Alan Leavitt and Walnut Hall Ltd., Elizabeth Caldwell and Cane Run Farm, Winbak Farm, Blue Chip Farm, Bluestone Farms, Diamond Creek Farm, Peter Gerry and Arden Homestead Stable, Open Space Pace and Festival of Horses, Meadowbrook Horse Transport, Hogan Equine, Big D's, Julie and Andy Miller Stable, Pennsylvania Standardbred Breeders, Jason M. Settlemoir, Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, Harness Horse Association of Central New York., Nigel Soult Photo (Red Mile photographer), Fotowon (Vernon Downs photpographer), Fred Brown (Tioga Downs photographer), Coady Photography and William B. Weaver and Valley High Stable.

In addition, Canadian horsemen have also embraced Monte "RUS" through a series of exhibition races and a Trot Magazine article shown below. See the youtube video of Hanover Raceway's "RUS" monte trot on September 8.

The Full Monte

Racing Under Saddle

In the mid-1990s, racing under saddle, or RUS (better known in Europe as monte), tried to get a foothold on this side of the Atlantic in the form of the Boots and Saddle Series, but it was, at that time, a passing fad. Today, however, RUS is once again trying to gain traction in both Canada and the United States. And the fad, this time, looks as though it just might stick.

Story by Debbie Little for Trot Magazine

As the warmth and sun of summer turned to the cool evening breezes of autumn in 2011, a sport foreign to most North American harness racing participants was beginning to emerge on both sides of the border. In Canada, an exhibition under saddle race was carded on Georgian Downs’ flagship Xtreme Day. In the United States, the Fall Harvest Festival at Yonkers carded one too.

Strangely enough, these two races came about independently — and simultaneously.

“Under saddle was kind of always on the radar screen for us,” says Jackie Warner, Marketing & Public Relations Manager at Georgian Downs. “It’s tremendously popular in Sweden, and we have a group of ladies in Ontario that come from that area of the world and they’re very experienced with this. We were absolutely thrilled with the race. It was one of the highlights and of all the things we did on that crazy night, racing under saddle got the most comments in terms of email and feedback, and it was all positive. I know everybody loved it,” adds Warner.

The RUS road to Yonkers, however, was less anticipated.

“They [Yonkers] came up with the idea of having an exhibition race,” says Helene Gregory, Swedish-born wife of prominent New York Sire Stakes driver Jeff Gregory. “I was asked to pull a group of horses and riders together. That was the first time I rode monte. I’d seen it in Sweden and Norway and France and I thought it was right up my alley. After that race I started thinking that this is something we should really pursue and maybe fuel some interest in harness racing again.”

Gregory found a kindred spirit in Alan Leavitt of Walnut Hall Ltd., and together they planned the reintroduction of saddle racing to American shores.

“There were some hurdles that we had to overcome, and some of them are still out there,” says Leavitt. “But the first thing we needed was somebody who’d put on a race and [the new Meadowlands Racetrack chairman] Jeff Gural said he would do it. He understood the potential. He said, ‘When would you like it?’ and I said, ‘Hambletonian Day’, and he said ‘I’ll do it.’ ”

But getting a race scheduled is one thing. Making it look professional with an eye to one day developing it into a wagering event is a whole other kettle of fish. “Mike Tanner, USTA Executive Vice President, and Phil Langley, USTA President, have both been terrific,” says Leavitt. “I told them that we needed a USTA license and they created one. It requires a written exam followed by a practical test. The only people that will be allowed to ride in any of these races in the U.S. will be those holding a USTA rider’s license.”

In the beginning of July there were a dozen riders licensed. By Hambletonian Day that number had grown to 33.

And indeed, Gregory and company had been focused on making everything perfect for Hambletonian Day, but news of the sport’s developments travelled quickly, and before they knew it, race requests started coming in. “Goshen wanted to have a race for Hall Of Fame Day,” says Gregory. “They were hoping for five horses and Jennifer Connor from Blue Chip Farms came up with two sponsors for a $2,000 purse. And when the entry box closed there were 14 horses entered! The positive interest has been overwhelming. I did not expect that at all.”

Coincidentally, Hall Of Fame Day at Goshen was Canada Day north of the border, and Swedish trainer Rinna Rekila had a race planned for that night at Mohawk.

“I think right now, at this time, it would be really good to have something new to get people to the races because the future doesn’t look so good, especially in Canada,” Rekila admits. “I think so many people from overseas are here now and they know it’s pretty successful there. And there it’s for purse money and they can bet those races. In France it’s as good as harness racing. All the best horses and top drivers go under saddle.”

With her goal to host a race that would be viewed well by the public, Rekila and her group spent a lot of time trying to find horses that would be appropriate to race under saddle. “It’s tough to get horses and we would like to test ride them some if no one has ever ridden them, because even if it’s a good horse, some can’t trot under saddle so well,” she says. “We don’t want to get horses that make breaks all the time because under saddle they’re worse to handle than with a cart.”

The two races at Goshen were the most anticipated of the weekend and did not disappoint, as Jenny Melander riding Keepin The Chips set a North American record of 2:00.3 for trotting under saddle on a half-mile track.

Mohawk’s Canada Day race was won by Marielle Enberg, aboard Ive Got It All. “I’m from Sweden, so I pretty much started with it there,” says Enberg, who also won the under saddle race on Xtreme Day 2011. “I got my license for driving at the same time as my under saddle license. We have pretty much one under saddle race every race day back home.

“I really hope that it’s something that gets started here,” she adds. “It’s going to be a lot of work to get it going because people know so little about it. We have to try to get more people involved and interested.”

On Hambletonian Day, owner/trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer dropped Blacktuxwhitesocks in the box with the hope of breaking Moni Maker’s under saddle mark of 1:54.2, set in a time trial at the Red Mile in 2000.

“I watched under saddle racing in Scandinavia and Europe and I really enjoy watching it,” says Smedshammer. “So when they said they’re going to do it on Hambo Day, I wanted to create a buzz; I brought Malin Berås over from Norway. She’s the best rider in Norway, and she’s attractive and gets a lot of attention.”

Berås, who has 55 under saddle victories, also drives and won her last race in the bike prior to coming to the U.S. to compete. “The experience has been very good I love being here. I’m comfortable here,” says Berås. “This is huge for me to come here and ride on Hambletonian Day. It’s just awesome!”

Sponsored by Blue Chip Farms, Winbak Farm, Walnut Hall and Big D’s, the $15,000 purse was the largest prize ever offered in a North American race under saddle (RUS). Although it was a non-wagering event, it could be argued that it contained some of the fastest and richest trotters ever assembled in one occasion for riders. With combined harness earnings of $3,789,000 the field had average earnings approaching $400,000. In addition, 8 of the 10 starters boasted records of 1:55 or faster.

Unfortunately for Smedshammer, Berås was off the gate at the start of the race, giving them no chance to challenge Moni Maker’s mark. But Helene Gregory, riding Master Pine (who won the race by a head in 1:57.2), went the fastest under saddle race mile ever recorded in North America, regardless of gait.

“I was tickled to death that there was a tight finish like that,” Gregory says. “Before the race I didn’t think I was going to win at all, because there were some nice horses in that field. I told all the girls: ‘I hope everybody stays safe, everybody stays flat and we show a good race.’ I think we accomplished that. Me winning was just a big bonus. It was very unexpected.”

Two days after the Hambletonian Day triumph, Mohawk staged its second under saddle race, won by Emily Hughes aboard As Yall Like It in a sparkling 1:58.4.

In both events, the ladies put on a competitive race — though their focus is always on safety.

“It’s really easy for a horse to go down if you ride up too close behind them since they stretch out much further back without the bike. It’s easy to get hooked in the other one’s leg,” says Enberg. “So that’s why we don’t want any inexperienced riders. You need some practice. And when we have these races it’s so important for us that it looks good. It has to look good and look exciting.”

It’s also for safety’s sake, says Leavitt, that you are not allowed to ride pacers under saddle in the United States. “A question came up about using pacers and I felt very, very strongly that it could not be pacers,” says Leavitt. “If a horse under saddle, a trotter, makes a break... he just breaks and he runs. If a horse with hobbles on makes a break, that’s when they get tangled up and go down and God forbid we have anything like that.”

In Canada, there currently are no such restrictions, and in June of this year, a pacing under saddle race was contested in St-Hughes, Quebec, and more have been carded for other fair events throughout the summer.

A second race at the Meadowlands — on closing day (August 17) — was won by Tina Duer riding Cinese Cuisine in 2:00.4. And the number of races in the U.S. keeps growing, with Tioga, Vernon, Yonkers, Freehold, The Red Mile, and Batavia all on the schedule.

“There might be people getting horses just to do this,” Gregory says. “And it gives women a way to be involved in the sport, too — a very male dominated sport. I think it’s a great way to incorporate the ladies that work so hard and enjoy racing.”

“But we welcome testosterone!” she’s quick to add.

On the male front, owner/trainer/driver Ray Schnittker is known for riding his race horses, and competed on Hall Of Fame Day at Goshen. “Ray even told me he doesn’t care about the purse — he just wants to have fun and have fun races. He will always be behind us with this,” says Gregory.

The biggest test for Rekila and Gregory will be putting together enough races to be able to show form for the competing horses and riders — which will be what one day leads to wagering. And moving in that direction means forming an association, making conditions, and communicating with the tracks and the public to find sponsors. Eventually, though, we may be lucky enough to see RUS blossom as a wagering option on this side of the Atlantic. And that would, indeed, be the full monte.