Hi there,

Welcome to issue #9 of Insider Access.

Released every 2 weeks, Insider Access showcases insider rumors and commentary in the worldwide harness racing industry.

Each issue includes an exclusive Stallion review not available anywhere else - this week we review Well Said.

You are receiving this because you subscribed to Insider Access. Unsubscribe here

Do we need to have Starting Gate safety checks?

Usually you rarely hear or read about starting gate problems or malfunctions until this past year with the disaster at Freehold Raceway this winter, now a starting gate wing recently fell off at Summerside Racetrack at the start of a race. Over the years there have been other incidents with starting gates. Usually all you hear is that the starter goes too fast or too slow or just right, but the mishaps this past season has to make some think if safety checks for starting gates need to be set up.

They have had inspections of race bikes for safety and any catch-driver worth their salt knows they must check out all the equipment on a horse before they jump in the sulky to race.

It may be time for the racing authorities throughout the harness racing world to consider safety checks annually for starting gates. Why not? On average there are eight to ten horses and drivers that get behind the gate nine, ten, up to 16 times a day plus qualifiers. Starting gates are nothing but mechanical devises that over time, inclement weather, wear and tear, will one day fall apart if not maintained and checked properly. It’s a safety issue we cannot afford to overlook.

Bitter-sweet Meadowlands closing weekend

It is a bitter-sweet week for harness racing fans world-wide this coming weekend as the Meadowlands features it’s final weekend of harness racing action for their summer meet.

Culminating with one of Standardbred racings greatest days headlined by the $1.2 million Hambletonian Trot, the Meadowlands, as always, will close out with a bang featuring ten top-notch stakes events featuring the best trotters and pacers in the sport.

Even the long range forecast is cooperating with possible sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80’s which could help produce some world record miles as the track surface is usually in tip-top condition.

It should also be the biggest crowd of the year in attendance so fans are urged to get out to the track early in the morning as parking space is at a premium at the new facility.

But have no fear with the closing of the meet as before you know it the Meadowlands will be back racing again starting Friday, November 14 and will close out the 2014 season hosting the prestigious Breeders Crown with eliminations starting opening night.

Harness Racing Clubs in New Zealand - The need for change

When I talk to overseas harness racing administrators, trainers and owners on my travels and we discuss the management and government structures of our respective countries and whether they are delivering the best results for participants in our industry, I am frequently having to defend the structure and management of the industry in New Zealand.

Northern Hemisphere people struggle to see how you can run harness racing in 2014 with a structure and government that is a relic of a different time. Northern Hemisphere tracks are owned by either wealthy individuals or companies and they make all the decisions with regards to their tracks. This gives them the ability to adapt their programs and race structure to suit their immediate needs or those of the stakeholders who operate at their tracks. These tracks live or die on the strength of their product and they try at all times to deliver a superior product to their customers.

As with any structure, there are issues and conflicts but in the main stream they do a far better job of selling and marketing harness racing to the general public than we do here in New Zealand.

Over a period of time I have come to the conclusion that they have a far better management and government structure than the Southern Hemisphere does. I have given up defending the structure of harness racing in New Zealand and have become a strong advocate for major change in how our industry is governed. How can it be in 2014 that we have a system of government for our industry that is manifestly inappropriate for a business in the 21st century?

Currently we have a system that is controlled by the trotting clubs of New Zealand. Any major changes to the administration or structure of ANYTHING within the trotting industry requires the approval of a majority of those clubs.

They meet once a year which means change within the industry happens at a glacial pace. The Executive of Harness Racing New Zealand can tinker at the edges but for anything major they need to take the proposal to the annual meeting of trotting clubs for their approval.

Can you imagine any business in 2014 being able to survive and prosper if they were unable to adapt to changing trends and challenges in their business on a regular basis due to the necessity to wait for a once a year meeting for approval. If you speak as I do regularly do to a lot of the successful businessmen who are involved in the harness racing industry in New Zealand, you quickly appreciate how frustrated they are at the inability to change what many see as a dysfunctional governance and management structure.

Click here to read the rest of this piece on Harnesslink

Stallion Review - Well Said
Modern Art
Well Said

Well Said is by Western Hanover from the very good race mare Must See ($562,858), an Artsplace daughter of the Matt's Scooter mare, Grand Lady.

Western Hanover's story has often been told, but it is one that bears repeating. A beautiful, but slightly diminutive yearling, he was nevertheless Hanover Shoe Farms highest priced yearling in its 1990 consignment.

He was purchased for $105,000 by George Segal because his Hall of Fame trainer, Gene Riegle, had told him, George, this is a colt you need to buy. Despite having respiratory problems in the winter, which delayed his debut until August, he virtually swept the table thereafter and was voted Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of 1991, earning $697,322 (U.S.).

At three, Western Hanover again demonstrated the ability he had shown the previous campaign, as he was voted the Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of 1992, a season in which he earned $1,844,315 (U.S.). An interest in him was purchased by Hanover Shoe Farms, and he was slated to be syndicated and to enter the stud in 1993. The syndication process was difficult, and after virtually all of the leading market breeders had been offered the opportunity to buy shares in Western Hanover, only one, Allamerican Harnessbreds, did so. The reasons for this were probably twofold.

Firstly, he was entering the stud the same year as his stablemate and Horse of the Year, Artsplace. Artsplace was formidable competition and the large commercial breeders were more inclined to invest in him. Their investments were well made, as Artsplace met all expectations and almost immediately became one of the sport's epic sires.

The second, and perhaps just as important, reason was that some of the sports self-proclaimed experts began to refer to him with disdain as 'Little Ralph,' implying that they felt that he would become a disappointment as a stud, as had Ralph Hanover.

This talk was especially prevalent after Western Hanover's difficult Little Brown Jug loss. Nevertheless, the small, but exclusive, syndicate went forward with him beginning his stud career in 1993 at Hanover Shoe Farms at a service fee of $4,000.

Aside from the support given him by his owners and the odd commercial breeders, his first book consisted mostly of 'mom and pop' mares. From that first crop came the 1996 Metro Pace winner, Rustler Hanover, and the 1997 Triple Crown winner and Pacer of the Year, Western Dreamer. It wasn’t until his fifth crop that Western Hanover received the quality of broodmares that his previous success proved that he deserved. From that point forward, he ranked at or near the very top of all the worlds pacing sires.

Subsequently, virtually all of the harness world's leading commercial breeders bought shares in him at a far higher price than for what he was originally syndicated. What was initially a disappointment for George Segal, ultimately turned into a windfall.

Recently, Western Hanover reached a threshold that a minuscule number of horses ever attain. He is now the all-time money-producing sire of all equine breeds. He passed the previous leader, Abercrombie, who had led the list for more than the last decade.

Western Hanover is now the sire of the winners of $209,115,977 in North America. There is no accurate way to predict how long Western Hanover will remain at the top of the all-time-money-producing sire of all equine breeds list. However, with a host of older pacers still racing, it's fairly safe to predict that he should maintain his position for a long time to come. "If there is harness racing a hundred years from now, you won't find a pacer without his blood flowing through their veins" - Murray Brown, Publicity Director, Hanover Shoe Farms

Western Hanover - statistics

Eligible to race - 1952

Winners - 1432

$2,000,000+ - 5

$1,000,000+ - 25

$100,000+ - 552

Sub 1:50 - 67

Average earnings per starter $127,822

Average earning per eligible horse - $107,129

Total earnings to date $209,115,977

Western Hanover is the all-time leading sire of $100,000 winners, plus he is the all-time leading sire of purses won, a incredible $209,115,977 and still rising. Most important though is that in 2013 Western Hanover was the sire or grand-sire of 7 of the 12 leading money winning pacing sires of two and three-year-olds. They are Western Ideal, Western Terror, Badlands Hanover, The Panderosa, Rocknroll Hanover, Always A Virgin and American Ideal. Western Hanover is the all-time leading money earning sire of Breeders Crown winners at $7,241,542. Western Hanover's influence on the worldwide breeding scene cannot be under-stated as it is phenomenal. Western Hanover is also making a huge impact on the broodmare sires list. In 2013 he was second (to Artsplace) on the all-aged broodmare sires list and he was second again (to Artsplace) on the two and three-year-old broodmare sires list.


The first dam of Well Said is the very good stakes winning Artsplace filly Must See 1:52 ($562,858). She won the Sweetheart Pace Final at the Meadowlands, the Bluegrass and the International Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile and she also won an elimination of the She's A Great Lady at Woodbine.

Must see has left 5 winners to date and besides Well Said 1:47.3 ($2,690,820) she has produced the full sister See And Be Seen 1:54 ($226,265) and the Somebeachsomewhere two-year-old So Surreal that won in 1:49.4 as a two-year-old making $94,547 for the season.

The second dam of Well Said is the Matt's Scooter mare Grand Lady 1:52.4 ($235,571) and she is the dam of 11 winners including the champion full sister to Must See, Glowing Report 1:49.2 ($2,328,052). Glowing Report was the 2003 two-year-old pacing filly of the year and she won the 2006 O'Brien Award for older pacing mare of the year. Another full brother to Glowing Report and Must See is Urgent Action 1:49.3 ($676,050) and he is still racing in great form as we write this report. Grand Lady also left the very good racehorse and now sire in Canada, Perfect Union 1:49 ($746,163) as well as the Western Hanover gelding Get It Now 1:49.4 ($401,955).

The third dam of Well Said is the Albatross mare Grand Vitesse who has left just the 5 winners and nothing of any real note except for the Matt's Scooter mare Grand Lady as detailed above. One of Grand Vitesse's daughters is the granddam of Allamerican Major 1:49.1 ($400,403). Other than that the pedigree from Grand Vitesse back is very light on known performers.


The first two dams of Well Said have really become exceptional producers of racehorses and broodmares. From the third dam back you could say the pedigree is average to say the least with only a handful of known decent racehorses. On further research into the pedigree though, it is interesting to find that Grand Vitesse's mother by Race Time called Susie Tip, left 14 foals and 12 winners between 1976 and 1991. The next dam back born in 1963 called Trotwood Tup by Painter produced 11 foals between 1968 and 1984 that produced 6 winners. Trotwood Tup's mother Hideaway Carol by The Widower, was born in 1955 and she had 13 foals for 12 winners between 1959 and 1974.

Hideaway Carol's mother born in 1939 was Leomite and as the name suggests she was by the great sire in those days, Volomite. Leomite left 6 foals for 4 winners between 1947 and 1961. Leomite's mother Leola the Great, born in 1928, by McGregor The Great, produced 10 foals for 7 money earners between 1938 and 1951 and her mother Leola McKinney born in 1908 by Wallace McKinney, left 3 foals for 2 winners. Now we get back to Clara Trip born in 1895, by Red Lauril, the dam of Leola McKinney, her only registered foal. The point shown here, is that although Well Said's third dam Grand Vitesse certainly did not produce anything of note other than the Matt's Scooter mare Grand Lady, her maternal pedigree right back a further eight dams produced a stack of winners and money earners. As shown each and every one of those eight mares back from Grand Vitesse left good money earners in those days. Really to say that the pedigree of Well Said from the third dam back was average is not quite right. Perhaps we should just say, from the third dam back Well Said's pedigree was not that well known with few outstanding known racehorses.

Well Said was sold as a yearling at the Harrisburg Sale in 2007 as lot 108 for $240,000.


Well Said had the 12 starts as a two-year-old for 4 wins, 4 seconds and a third for $601,127 in stakes. He started his career in a division of the Reynolds at Pocono Downs and put on an inglorious display breaking several times. He won his next two starts, at the Meadowlands in 1:54.3 and at Mohawk in 1:53 before finishing second in a race at Mohawk. He then started in the elimination of the $1,000,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk finishing second to Annieswesterncard ($1,423,966).In the Final he finished fourth to Major In Art ($896,060).

Well Said then captured the $162,454 Champlain Stakes in 1:52.2 at his next start and then he was beaten by Shipps Xpectancy ($592,518) in the $194,600 Nassagaweya Stakes. He then started in the elimination of the $820,000 Governor's Cup in which he finished second before making a break in the final and was distanced. After this race Well Said took time off to prepare for the $700,000 Breeders Crown. The Breeders Crown was held at the Meadowlands in late November and Well Said was third in his elimination before by winning the Final in 1:51, beating in the process Art Colony ($863,750), Dial Or Nodial ($1,658,194) and If I Can Dream ($2,038,153). It was a fitting finale to his two-year-old year.

Watch - 2009 Meadowlands Pace

Well Said had 14 starts as a three-year-old for 10 wins and 1 third for $2,089,693 in purses. At his second start of his three-year-old campaign Well Said was placed fourth in the $100,000 Burlington Stakes. He then went on a hot streak of five straight stake races, the elimination (1:50, home in 26.2) and Final (1:48.1, home in 25.4) of the $1,500,000 North American Cup, the elimination (1:49.2) and Final (1:47.3 - his life mark) of the $1,000,000 Meadowlands Pace, in an over-powering performance by 6 lengths, the elimination of the $677,665 Adios. Well Said was beaten in the Final by Vintage Master ($2,162,979) and Mr Wiggles ($1,195,099).

After getting beat in the Adios Final, Well Said then started off on another four race win streak, winning the $500,000 Battle Of Brandywine in 1:50, the $136,153 Simcoe in 1:50.2 and the heat (1:51.1) and Final (1:51.2) of the Little Brown Jug on a half mile oval and that was Well Said's last win. He had two more starts, in the $295,500 Tattersalls finishing fourth to If I Can Dream ($2,038,153) and in the $617,888 Breeders Crown finishing fifth to If I Can Dream again. All in all Well Said won the money ($2,690,820) and got the race record of 1:47.4 to launch a successful syndication and a promising stallion career with the premier stud farm in the world, Hanover Shoe Farms.


What can you say about a horse that paced in 1:47.4 as a three-year-old, won $2,690,693 in purses and only had 26 starts for 14 wins 4 seconds and 2 thirds? Nothing, except it was an outstanding result!

Steve Elliot on Well Said

Trainer Steve Elliott was quick to defer all credit to his colt. He's sharp and good horses make trainers look good, Elliott said. I think he's better with a target, but he could win either way.


First crop of 102 foals born in 2008 from 149 bred

Well Said's richest performer to date is the three-year-old filly Uffizi Hanover 1:50.3 with money won $650,375. Uffize Hanover won the Breeders Crown as a two-year-old. Well Said has also produced a handy three-year-old colt this year, Tellitlikeitis 1:48.4 ($505,364) competing against the best of his age group. Tellitlikeitis ran second in the $1,000,000 North American Cup to JK Endofanera ($982,059) and finished third in the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace to He's Watching who paced the equal fastest mile in history that night of 1:46.4. Tellitlikeitis paced his mile that night in 1:47.1. Well Said's third richest to date is the very promising filly Southwind Silence 1:52.2 ($454,800).

This filly won the $250,000 PA Sire Stakes Final as a two-year-old and also ran third to Uffizi Hanover 1:50.3 ($650,375) in the Breeders Crown Final to give Well Said a first and a third in that Breeders Crown Final for two-year-old fillies. Well Said is placed second on the North American three-year-old sires list to Somebeachsomewhere at the time of writing this report.

Watch - Uffizi Hanover - 2013 Breeders Crown Final - Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies

Eligible to race - 99

Winners - 63

$1,000,000+ - 0

$500,000+ - 2

$100,000+ - 7

1:50 - 2

1:53 - 25

Average earnings per starter - $48,499

Average earning per eligible horse - $41,640

Total earnings to date - $4,122,405

Second crop of 100 foals born in 2009 from 128 bred

Well Said's second crop of a 100 foals are now two-year-olds and have just started racing. He already has 47 starters with 12 race winners to date. At this early stage of the season Well Said is currently running second to Sportswriter on the two-year-old money winning sires list.


Unlike his sire Western Hanover, that took a while to make an impact on the breeding scene as a result of a breeding, initially to "Mom and Pop" mares, Well Said was given a huge advantage as a stallion, he was syndicated, he was standing at Hanover Shoe Farm, he was bred to the very best mares that the Hanover Shoe Farms could provide. You only have to look at his top performers Uffizi Hanover, sold for $100,000 as a yearling at Harrisburg and out of a mare that won $615,000 on the race track, Tellitlikeitis, from the great race mare and now well established broodmare Kikikatie 1:48.3 ($1,415,556) and Sometimes Said whose mother paced in 1:49.4. Well Said has been given a great opportunity as a stallion, as good as could be given and now it is time for him to produce the goods, that real exceptional horse on the stakes scene. Well Said bred 134 mares in 2012 and 149 in 2013.


Well Said bred 36 mares by frozen semen in the 2012/2013 breeding season in Australia for 22 live foals that are yearlings on the 1st of September. He bred 40 mares in the 2013/2014 season just gone and these will be foals in the 2014/2015 breeding season


Well Said bred 29 mares by frozen semen in the 2012/2013 breeding season in New Zealand that resulted in 12 live foals. He bred 24 mares in this past season.


With 64% winners from his first crop to date, only half way through his three-year-old season, Well Said's stats are encouraging and are as good as you can expect. Good sized crops are coming on stream and it should only be a matter of time before he sires those exceptional top end horses that every owner wants.


Has Well Said got the ability to lift maternal families in the same way his sire Western Hanover did is still an unanswered question? While he has two $500,000 winners to date, Well Said really needs that dominant colt or filly to cement his spot in the elite sire group. The $15,000 stud fee may have got ahead of where he is at the moment as a sire and could come back to hurt him in the future although as a syndicated horse the service fee does not count as much.

His biggest negative is the fact that so much is expected from him as a high profile stallion with a large group of syndicated breeders that it is going to be difficult for him to meet those expectations. Even if he does perform with credit he is expected to and he will have to overcome that image to become a top end stallion as the breeders today are an unforgiving group.


Well Said has been given every opportunity at stud and to date has done a decent job without being outstanding. The expectations of those broodmare owners are high. His overall numbers are fine and up with most sires but with the mares he served those numbers are where they should be. With his numbers where they are, all he needs to do, is to cement his place in the elite sire group in harness racing, by producing those top end dominant colts or fillies. Until Well Said does that, there will be a question mark over his siring career.

Overall rating - 6/10

Privacy | Unsubscribe