Sunday, May 3, 2015

Carter Takes Early Lead in HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

With four legs of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the
Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, Buffalo Raceway announcer Michael Carter has taken an early lead with 319.70 points.  Carter managed to surge to the lead due in a large part to his performance on Saturday afternoon where he had three winners, including Lady Suffolk second division winner, Northern Obsession which paid $46.20 to win.   Carter would have gone four for four on Saturday if not for his selection in the Dexter Cup, Divisionist finishing second.  Other performers of note were Bryan Owen and Gordon Waterstone who went three for four, alas without selecting Northern Obsession.  The current standings after four legs are:

Standings as of Sunday, May 3 - Leg 4
Total Points Points Earned Overall Position
Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week
1st Michael Carter  11.60 308.10 319.70 13th (tie)
2nd Gordon Waterstone 43.50 105.20 148.70 2nd
3rd Bryan Owen 39.70 107.30 147.00 5th
4th Sally Hinckley 48.20 47.70 95.90 1st
5th Derick Giwner 33.90 58.20 92.10 8th
6th Brandon Valvo 40.90 51.00 91.90 4th
7th Earl Paulson 43.20 34.90 78.10 3rd
8th Ann Stepien 11.60 65.70 77.30 13th (tie)
9th Mark Dezii 37.00 34.60 71.60 6th
10th Josi Verlingieri 33.40 31.70 65.10 9th
11th Dennis O'Hara  18.10 45.20 63.30 11th
12th Jay Hochstetler  4.20 58.60 62.80 18th
13th Rusty Nash 35.70 21.20 56.90 7th
14th Garnet Barnsdale 8.00 46.90 54.90 15th (tie)
15th Mark McKelvie 5.90 46.90 52.80 17th
16th Mark Deutsch 11.90 38.60 50.50 12th  
17th Ray Garnett 31.80 18.10 49.90 10th
18th Ray Cotolo 8.00 40.20 48.20 15th (tie)
19th Bob Zanakis 0.00 37.20 37.20 19th


Three new handicappers join the fray, two replacing handicappers forced to scratch due to circumstances beyond their control, while one handicapper is a new addition.  Coming off the also eligible list is Bob Zanakis who is a handicapper familiar to followers of this series and Jay Hochstetler, an intern at the Horsemen and Fair World and an assistant trainer.  Added to the roster is Mark Deutsch, a former owner and trainer who now enjoys handicapping harness racing primarily on the WEG circuit.  As substitutes, Hochstetler takes over representing Rainhill Sanctuary, while Zanakis assumes representing Helping Hearts Equine Rescue.  Mark Deutsch chose New Vocations as his rescue of choice. 

Two new sponsors have joined the contest.  HANA welcomes Red Shores Charlottetown as a Silver sponsor while an Anonymous donor has signed on as a double Bronze sponsor.  Thanks to these additions, the contest handicappers are playing for a HANA Harness-record $5,700 in prize money to be distributed to the top three handicapper's selected standardbred rescues and Canadian rescues selected by the Canadian sponsors. 

This coming week, there are no events but the Handicapping Challenge returns the following week for events Saturday-Monday (5/16-5/18).  For details on the specific races and other information regarding the contest, visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com

Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge Begins Friday

(April 20, 2015) – The sponsors have stepped up and the handicappers selected for the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs.  With the handicappers chomping on the bit, the contest finally gets underway with The Meadows Maturity on Friday afternoon, April 24, 2015, followed the next evening with racing action at Yonkers Raceway where the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Memorial series finals will be contested.

This year the sponsors have allowed the handicapping challenge to secure a record $5,250 in prize funds to be divided between the standardbred rescues of the top three handicappers at the conclusion of the contest.   In addition to the presenting sponsors, additional sponsors are Green Acquisition Corporation, Harness Racing Update, Isle of Capri Pompano Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, and Scioto Downs Racino.  HANA thanks all the sponsors for stepping up to support the contest and standardbred rescue.

Handicapper selections will be available on the contest website the morning of each day’s events.   Race fans and horseplayers may find those selections and additional contest information at the contest website http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com .  In addition, fans may follow the contest on social media by searching for the hash tag #hanagc2015.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New Sponsors Announced; Last Call for Sponsors in 2015 Handicapping Contest

HANA Harness welcomes the Bellino Stables as a Gold Sponsor and The Raceway at Western Fair District as a Silver sponsor in the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Contest presented by the Hambleotnian Society, Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs

With less than two weeks prior to the commencement of the contest on April 24, it is Last Call for becoming a sponsor.  While naming rights for the handicapping contest have been sold out, affordable sponsorship opportunities remain, starting with our Bronze Level ($100), Silver Level ($250) and topping out at $500 for the Gold Level.  If you are a racetrack, horsemen association, racing stable, or a vendor who does business in the harness racing industry, sponsorship is a perfect way to get your name out within the industry as supporters of standardbred rescue.

The deadline for becoming a sponsor is Friday, April 17.  To become a sponsor or for further information, you may contact allan@hanaweb.org.

For further information on the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge, visit the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com .

Friday, March 13, 2015

Field and Rescues Announced for 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

(March 13, 2015) - The field has been set, the races picked,  and the rescues selected for the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, all sponsors who have renewed their support for standardbred rescue with their sponsorship (additional sponsors are anticipated).

 As for handicappers, one old friend and three new faces join the returning roster of handicappers.  Richard Scott returns to the contest after a one year hiatus.  Scott was the winner of the 2013 handicapping contest and looks to attempt to reclaim his title.   Scott is a former trainer who worked for the Bessinger, Silverman, and David Elliot stables in his career.  Making their debut to the contest this year are Michael Carter, the current track announcer at Buffalo Raceway; Mark Dezii, a racing fan who is a musician who hails from Philadelphia, PA; Bryan Owen. a former owner of horses such as Corleone Kosmo (BC Open Trot Winner 2008)and Luckycharm Hanover as well as an amateur handicapper.

The complete roster, last year’s placing, and selected rescues for the 2015 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is:

Garnet Barnsdale – Harness Racing Writer, WEG Handicapper for DRF Harness; (1st); TROTR; Therapeutic Riding and Off-Track Rehabilitation)

Michael Carter – Track Announcer at Buffalo Raceway; (Did Not Compete); Central Virginia Horse Rescue

Ray Cotolo – Internet Harness Racing Analyst and Writer; (15th); Sunshine Horse Rescue.

Mark Dezii – Race Fan and Musician; (DNC); Horse Lovers United

Ray Garnett –Handicapper; (14th);  Rockin T Equine Rescue

Derick Giwner - Editor, DRF Harness; (8th); New Vocations

Sally Hinckley – On-air Handicapping Personality; (12th); Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals 

Brian McEvoy - Works for Harnesslink, (3rd); Helping Hearts Equine Rescue

Mark McKelvie – Communications Coordinator for WEG; (2nd); Horse Rescue United

Rusty Nash – Trackmaster Handicapper; (9th); Rainhill Sanctuary.

Dennis O’Hara – Handicapper, Former Asst Race Secretary; (11th); Standardbred Retirement Foundation

Bryan Owen – Former Owner, Handicapper ;(DNC); Standardbred Retirement Foundation

Earl Paulson – Handicapper, Yahoo Harness Racing Forum Director; (5th); Racer Placers

Richard Scott – Handicapper/Former Trainer, (DNC; 1st in 2013); Rainhill Sanctuary. [Update: Jay Hochstetler replaces Richard Scott]

Anne Stepien – Handicapper, Former Trainer; (13th); Heading for Home

Brandon Valvo – Handicapper, Writer for Harness Racing America; (6th); Horse Lovers United

Josi Verlingieri – Handicapper; (7th); Heart of Phoenix

Gordon Waterstone – Associate Editor, Horseman and Fair World; (10th); Changing Fates Equine Rescue

A new scoring system has been implemented for this year’s contest with handicappers focusing on the horse who will win the race, bringing a mix of quantity and value to the handicappers’ plans this year.  For those who wish details on how the scoring will be done, the rules page explains.  The competition begins on April 24 with the inaugural Meadows Futurity Trot and concludes on November 29 with the Progress Stake at Dover Downs.  Handicappers and fans may follow the contest by visiting the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com

 HANA Harness is the Harness Racing division of Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA), a group which since 2008 represents over 3,000 horseplayers in dealings with the racing industry.  Since HANA Harness began sponsoring handicapping contests, over $10,000 has been donated to standardbred recues.  All horseplayers, regardless of breed are invited to join HANA for free.  For further information regarding HANA, please visit the HANA website at http://horseplayersassociation.org/.  


For further information on joining the current sponsors by becoming a sponsor at the Gold, Silver, or Bronze level, click here

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sponsorship Opportunities Remain for 2015 HANA Harness Handicapping Challenge

The handicappers are already getting ready for the 2015 Edition of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge, prepared to spend stakes season doing battle for the benefit of the standardbred rescue of their choice.  A new format for scoring this year will be used, making the handicapper's selections more meaningful for fans following the contest.

Already, the Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs have renewed their sponsorship for this year's event so the prize fund starts at $2,000.  Other sponsors are expected to re-enlist and hopefully new sponsors will join up this year.

Who would be a good candidate to become a sponsor?  Racetracks, horsemen associations, businesses connected to the standardbred industry, breeders, and individuals are encouraged to consider becoming sponsors.  It doesn't matter if you are American or Canadian, your sponsorship dollars remain in your country.  With three levels of sponsorship, there is a sponsorship level affordable for all.

For information regarding sponsorship, please e-mail allan@hanaweb.org.
    

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Garnet Barnsdale Wins HANA Harness’ 2014 Grand Circuit Shoot-Out

December 9, 2014 – With the Cleveland Classic not filling, the last leg of HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs has been cancelled resulting in Garnet Barnsdale being named the top handicapper for this year’s contest with a net profit of $4,553.40, over $3,000 ahead of second place Mark McKelvie who had a net profit of $1,276.  In a last minute move, Brian McEvoy managed to nail Bob Zanakis for the show position, thanks to his $250 win wager on McWicked on Sunday’s Progress stake at Dover Downs.

While not finishing in the money, the last leg’s big winner was Earl Paulson who had a $250 play on the winning Trifecta which gave him a weekly net profit of $2,850, allowing him to move up from tenth to fifth place, putting him withiin striking distance of the third spot if he was successful in the Cleveland Classic but alas, it was not to be.

By nature of Barnsdale’s winning of the contest, a donation of $1,500 will be made to his selected standardbred rescue, TROTR (Therapeutic Riding and Off Track Rehabilitation) in addition, donations of $250 will be made by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) and Red Shores-Charlottetown to the Canadian rescues of their choice in honor of Garnet’s victory.  For his second place finish, a donation of $1,050 will be made to McKelvie’s selected rescue, Rainhill Sanctuary.  A donation of $450 will be made to Horse Rescue United, Brian McEvoy’s selected rescue.

Final Standings (53 Legs)
Pos
Handicapper
Week Gain
Net Profit
Behind
1st
Garnet Barnsdale
($204.00)
$4,553.40

2nd
Mark McKelvie
($250.00)
$1,276.00
$3,277.40
3rd
Brian McEvoy
$175.00
$33.50
$4,519.90
4th
Bob Zanakis
($250.00)
($53.05)
$4,606.45
5th
Earl Paulson
$2,850.00
($57.50)
$4,610.90
6th
Brandon Valvo
$175.00
($620.00)
$5,173.40
7th
Josi Verlingieri
$175.00
($1,005.40)
$5,558.80
8th
Derick Giwner
($250.00)
($1,073.23)
$5,626.63
9th
Rusty Nash
$350.00
($1,733.36)
$6,286.76
10th
Gordon Waterstone
($250.00)
($2,131.30)
$6,684.70
11th
Dennis O'Hara
($250.00)
($4,086.65)
$8,640.05
12th
Sally Hinckley
$370.00
($4,267.40)
$8,820.80
13th
Anne Stepien
($180.00)
($4,787.93)
$9,341.33
14th
Ray Garnett
($250.00)
($6,352.80)
$10,906.20
15th
Ray Cotolo
($250.00)
($10,048.40)
$14,601.80

           

HANA Harness would like to once again thank its Gold Sponsors, the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowland Racing and Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs as well as COSA and Red Shores-Charlottetown for their sponsorship and the handicappers which allowed this contest to help standardbred rescues across North America.


For further information on HANA, please visit our website http://www.horseplayersassociation.org/.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hinckley Runs Away with Weekly Honors in Handicapping Shoot-Out

November 30, 2014 – How do you best describe Leg 52 of HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs?  A Romp.  Admittedly, with only four races remaining going in to last night’s action, many of the handicappers were looking for that hit to vault them into contention while others were thwarted by the upset in the TVG Trot which was won by Intimidate making their efforts for naught.   However when the dust settled, Sally Hinckley remained true to form and was rewarded with the sole winning wager of the evening to show a weekly net profit of $1,625 to get top honors for the week.

Hinckley’s hit came in the TVG Pace Final where she played a $125 Exacta Box of Sweet Lou and Foiled Again which paid $1,875, cutting her overall loss to $4,637.40.

Despite being shut out last night, Garnet Barnsdale continues cruising towards the contest finish line with an overall net profit of $4,757.40, leading his closest competitor by $3,231.40 with just two races remaining.   

The current standings with two legs remaining in the competition are:  
As of November 29, 2014 - Leg 52
Pos
Handicapper
Week Gain
Net Profit
Behind
1st
Garnet Barnsdale
($250.00)
$4,757.40

2nd
Mark McKelvie
($250.00)
$1,526.00
$3,231.40
3rd
Bob Zanakis
($150.00)
$196.95
$4,560.45
4th
Brian McEvoy
($250.00)
($141.50)
$4,898.90
5th
Brandon Valvo
($250.00)
($795.00)
$5,552.40
6th
Derick Giwner
($248.20)
($823.23)
$5,580.63
7th
Josi Verlingieri
($250.00)
($1,180.40)
$5,937.80
8th
Gordon Waterstone
($250.00)
($1,881.30)
$6,638.70
9th
Rusty Nash
($250.00)
($2,083.36)
$6,840.76
10th
Earl Paulson
($250.00)
($2,907.50)
$7,664.90
11th
Dennis O'Hara
($240.00)
($3,836.65)
$8,594.05
12th
Anne Stepien
($250.00)
($4,607.93)
$9,365.33
13th
Sally Hinckley
$1,625.00
($4,637.40)
$9,394.80
14th
Ray Garnett
($240.00)
($6,102.80)
$10,860.20
15th
Ray Cotolo
$0.00
($9,798.40)
$14,555.80


The Handicapping Shoot-Out takes a week off before the final two legs are contested beginning with the Progress Stake at Dover Downs on December 7 before wrapping up on December 12 at Northfield Park for the Cleveland Classic.  For more information, visit HANA Harness’ contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.