Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Competition Heating Up in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Challenge

 May 26, 2015 -  Nine legs into 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, finds Michael Carter holding on to his early lead with 319.7 points but as could be expected finds himself with company at the top.  Two other handicappers find themselves within a hundred points of Carter; Anne Stepien, thirteenth place as of the last report now finds herself vaulted into second place with 283.6 points; Bryan Owen, third in the last report remains in the show spot with 268 points.  In addition to these two handicappers, five others are laying in contention in the 200s. 

Prior to this week, with single race dates, movement has been slight but as stakes action has kicked into high gear, dates have multiple races and this is where the points start adding up fast and it showed this past weekend.  On Sunday, three handicappers (Ray Garnett, Josi Verlingieri, and Bob Zanakis) went a perfect three-for-three earning 145.8 points thanks to victories by Great Vintage, Radar Contact, and Father Patrick in the trio of invitational races at Harrah’s Philadelphia.  Stepien and Brandon Valvo, going two for three earned 64.2 and 51.8 points respectively.

On Monday DRF Harness’ Derick Giwner and Stepien went four for four in the Graduate series races at Tioga Downs crediting each with 128.4 points as a result of selecting Shake It Cerry, Opulent Yankee, Doo Wop Hanover, and Rockeyed Optimist to win their respective divisions.

After the first nine divisions, the standings show:

Standings as of Monday, May 25, 2015 - Leg 9
Total Points
Points Earned
Overall
Position
Pos
Handicapper
Prior Week
This Week
Total Points
Last Week
1st
Michael Carter
331.70
45.60
377.30
1st
2nd
Ann Stepien
91.00
192.60
283.60
8th
3rd
Bryan Owen
173.30
94.70
268.00
2nd
4th
Josi Verlingieri
87.60
179.80
267.40
9th
5th
Gordon Waterstone
162.30
94.20
256.50
3rd
6th
Ray Garnett
69.70
182.70
252.40
15th
7th
Derick Giwner
111.20
137.90
249.10
5th
8th
Bob Zanakis
50.80
175.30
226.10
17th
9th
Sally Hinckley
129.80
53.60
183.40
4th
10th
Brandon Valvo
100.10
66.20
166.30
6th
11th
Mark Dezii
76.00
84.40
160.40
13th
12th
Jay Hochstetler
85.20
68.00
153.20
11th
13th
Dennis O'Hara
80.30
69.80
150.10
12th
14th
Garnet Barnsdale
98.00
38.80
136.80
7th
15th
Earl Paulson
86.30
50.00
136.30
10th
16th
Rusty Nash
71.10
58.20
129.30
14th
17th
Mark McKelvie
52.80
33.20
86.00
16th
18th
Mark Deutsch
50.50
34.30
84.80
18th
19th
Ray Cotolo
48.20
33.10
81.30
19th


This week (May 29 and 30), the Grand Circuit challenge heads north to The Raceway at Western Fair District for the season closing Molson Pace on Friday then heads to Yonkers Raceway for the Art Rooney Pace and Lismore Pace on Saturday for three year olds of both sexes.  The following week finds the contest at June 5 at the Meadows for the Currier & Ives for three year old filly trotters and June 6 at a quartet of tracks; The Meadows for the Currier & Ives (three year old open trotters); The Meadowlands for the Graduate Series (four year old open pacers and trotters); Scioto Downs for the Charlie Hill (four year old open trotter); Mohawk Raceway for the Somebeachsomewhere (three year old open pace).

For details on the specific races and other information regarding the contest, visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com


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/.